More Gnu Intolerance

Jerry Coyne is upset again:

Dr. Benjamin Carson, a Seventh-Day Adventist neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins, and also an outspoken young-earth creationist, was invited to give the commencement address at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas…….Yes, Carson worked his way up from a horrible background (raised in Detroit by a single mom) to a position of prestige and accomplishment, and yes, he’s been a role model to black students. But none of that, to my mind, outweighs his profoundly creationist views. He certainly shouldn’t be barred from speaking because of his faith, but the officials who pick commencement speakers should have excluded him because his view of science, based on lies, is hardly exemplary of an institution devoted to learning. Truth outweighs inspiration.

It does not surprise me that the man who said Dr. Francis Collins should be barred from heading the NIH and that “it should be illegal to indoctrinate children with religious belief” advocates that Dr. Carson should be barred from giving commencement addresses. After all, Gnu atheism is a movement built on intolerance and hate.

Of course, people can try to rationalize the intolerance by claiming it’s all about Carson’s “view of science.” But then, by that metric, all Gnu atheists should also be barred from giving commencement addresses given their views of science, where they argue that science has somehow shown God does not exist. That crackpot view has long been rejected by such mainstream scientific organizations as the NAS and AAAS.

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14 Responses to More Gnu Intolerance

  1. apollyon911 says:

    Atheism appears to be synonymous with tyranny…not that they would see the connection but it always begins with the words ‘…should not be allowed…’ with the understanding that the organization in question will voluntarily ban ‘anti-science’ (anyone who is a staunch theist, not simply a creationist).

    It then progresses to suggesting laws should be passed in order to ‘protect the children’ (tyrants are always concerned about the children). Make it illegal to ‘brainwash’ them (that is, all views that atheists dislike).

    It doesn’t take long until they are suggesting making religion (usually Christianity) illegal.

    Atheism = Tyranny.

  2. stcordova says:

    Not only does Coyne lambast Midwestern University, but he would also have to criticize the Johns Hopkins administration for :

    1. hiring Carson to be the head of department
    2. inviting Carson to be the commencement speaker at Johns Hopkins

    Carson withdrew from speaking at the Hopkins commencement because of complaints by gay rights activists.

    Carson and Francis Collins have saved lives, by comparison, Coyne breeds fruit flies. Yet Coyne feels his work somehow qualifies him as someone of sufficient scientific stature to make such pronouncements?

    We have GNU intolerance plus GNU presumption of moral, professional, and intellectual supremacy = “The GNU delusion”

  3. TFBW says:

    Atheism = Tyranny

    Let’s not go overboard, apollyon911. A subset of atheists have tyrannical tendencies. So do a subset of theists. There’s probably a stronger correlation between being a tyrant and being an opinionated loud-mouth than there is between tyranny and a particular religious view. Coyne is an opinionated loud-mouth who, in his heart, dreams himself our master, but that’s not because he’s an atheist: his atheism merely shapes the kind of tyranny to which he would subject us. I suspect that if the obnoxious loud-mouths at Westboro had their druthers, we’d be subjected to a totally different sort of tyranny.

    I’d rather focus on the irony of the crowd that points at the “forces of theocracy” in the world (and the USA in particular), without the slightest glimmer of recognition that they, themselves, represent the forces of atheocracy.

  4. James says:

    TFBW,
    I couldn’t have put it any better myself.

  5. The Deuce says:

    Materialist atheism certainly has a more tyrannical and more murderous history than Christianity. I think recent posts about Coyne illustrate why. If nobody has free will, then their free will cannot be violated. It just becomes a matter of programming the robots in ways useful to the would-be programmer, and discarding the “malfunctioning” ones.

  6. A subset of atheists have tyrannical tendencies. So do a subset of theists. There’s probably a stronger correlation between being a tyrant and being an opinionated loud-mouth than there is between tyranny and a particular religious view.

    It’s a fact that a large number of atheists in the West are left-leaning, which is why they often seem so totalitarian and intolerant. The combination of atheism and leftism is deadly, and has resulted in the blood of tens of millions. On the other hand, listening to an atheist libertarian like Penn Jillette, I find that I have few problems with people like him. He won’t force state indoctrination of atheism on children, or shut down certain people from speaking. But atheist libertarians are rare.

  7. TFBW says:

    Materialist atheism certainly has a more tyrannical and more murderous history than Christianity.

    Perhaps it’s a minor quibble, but I prefer to phrase it the other way around: the history of murderous tyranny is over-represented by atheists. This is particularly so if we focus on (Western) history since the so-called Age of Enlightenment, which represented a major push towards separation of church and state, and really gave the atheists a chance to strut their stuff as Man at the Top.

  8. stevefarrell66 says:

    “Of course, people can try to rationalize the intolerance by claiming it’s all about Carson’s “view of science.””

    Isn’t that exactly the basis on which Coyne criticizes him? I don’t think people here would be defending him if the commencement were to be delivered by a believer in white supremacy, geocentrism, the flat Earth, or any other crackpot science.

  9. stcordova says:

    For the sake of argument, let’s say someone has mistaken views about a scientific idea. That doesn’t justify marginalizing them to the degree Coyne has. Carson is a gifted surgeon, head of department in an institution that boast 18 Nobel Prizes in Medicine, a presidential medal of freedom winner, and a man who overcame many obstacles. Coyne? He’s a fruit fly breeder that parades himself as a scientist and even Coyne’s colleague Shapiro at University of Chicago thinks Coyne’s ideas are wrong. So what qualifies Coyne to be the leader of the thought police? Even Coyne’s own ideas about biology are suspect. He’s a clown compared to Carson.

    So what did Coyne have to say about his own specialty of evolutionary biology:
    “In science’s pecking order evolutionary biology lurks somewhere near the bottom, far closer to phrenology than to physics.” Phrenology is a crackpot science. By his own words, Coyne disqualifies himself as being on the same tier as Carson or Francis Collins. Coyne ought to think about learning from them instead of lecturing them about science. Harris criticizing Collins, that’s even more of joke. PZ Myers calling Charles Townes (Nobel Prize winning inventor of lasers) a fraud, that’s rich. GNU hatred and jealousy in evidence under the guise of defending science.

  10. stevefarrell66 says:

    I think you’re misinterpreting Coyne here. When he mentions the “pecking order,” he appears to be talking about the prestige of the specialty. Regardless of what our views on evolutionary biology are, it’s much more likely that Coyne is lamenting his discipline’s reputation in the science industry, rather than casting doubt on its validity.

    And as far as “mistaken views,” I’d say that’s an understatement when applied to any believer in creationism. Ben Carson seems proud to be oh-so-controversial in the scientific community because of his outspoken views on political correctness, gay marriage, and creationism. So once again, I don’t know why people should be surprised that he’s stirring up trouble.

  11. stcordova says:

    ” I’d say that’s an understatement when applied to any believer in creationism.”

    Why? But does belief in creation vs. evolution prevent someone from learning or doing science in: mathematics, physics, chemistry, engineering — and in biology: medicine, anatomy, physiology, molecular biology, genetics, systems biology, cellular biology, micro biology, pharmacology, etc.

    The only disciplines that they might be hard pressed to succeed in is evolutionary biology which is on the bottom of the pecking order. Competence in evolutionary biology would hardly guarantee competence in some of the above listed fields.

    I can tell you many evolutionary biologists are not capable of doing physics. Because someone has inablity to do science in one discipline, are they automatically disqualified in another. Say a chemist has a strange theory of reality, does that disqualify him? No. Kerry Maulis believes in astrology, it didn’t stop him from getting a Nobel Prize in Chemistry which had an influence on biology Jerry Coyne can only dream of. Maulis discovered the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)….and PCR is a science that evolutionary biology really really needs. So the irony is that evolutionary biology got its key breaktrhough from a believer in astrology!

    The Darwin inquisition doesn’t pass muster even on operational grounds. If we required evolutionary biologists to demonstrate scientific competence in physics before they became scientists, the field would practically be non-existent. So Coyne’s behavior isn’t justified on the grounds of defense of science. There is a creationist who would run circles around Coyne in terms of his accomplishments as a scientist in the field of biology: John Sanford at Cornell. All Coyne is defending is GNU doctrine.

    It all smells of hatred, bigotry, and jealousy. Coyne can’t stand it that a creationist showed exceptional character, scientific achievement in medicine, and is a role model for others. Carson seems, in terms of society, a far better role model than Coyne the whiner.

  12. stevefarrell66 says:

    “It all smells of hatred, bigotry, and jealousy.”

    Oh, lighten up. Ben Carson is proud to tweak the “politically correct” with his advocacy of the pseudoscience of creationism. He wants to be a right-wing gadfly, so you shouldn’t feign surprise when his contrarian views stir up trouble.

  13. stcordova says:

    “It all smells of hatred, bigotry, and jealousy.”

    Oh, lighten up. Ben Carson is proud to tweak the “politically correct” with his advocacy of the pseudoscience of creationism

    You do have a point. I guess it does irk Coyne, an evolutionary biologist, that someone of far higher rank in the world of science and medicine and society thinks Coyne ideas are wrong, and that Coyne has wasted his life in the pursuit of a lie. Carson’s existence is a real insult to Coyne. It’s understandable Coyne is throwing a hissy fit.

  14. Michael says:

    Isn’t that exactly the basis on which Coyne criticizes him? I don’t think people here would be defending him if the commencement were to be delivered by a believer in white supremacy, geocentrism, the flat Earth, or any other crackpot science.

    It would help if you made a real attempt to address the point in the OP:

    Of course, people can try to rationalize the intolerance by claiming it’s all about Carson’s “view of science.” But then, by that metric, all Gnu atheists should also be barred from giving commencement addresses given their views of science, where they argue that science has somehow shown God does not exist. That crackpot view has long been rejected by such mainstream scientific organizations as the NAS and AAAS.

    The part in bold is the part you decided to ignore.

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