Tough Year for Dawkins

It’s been a tough year for Richard Dawkins. First, his autobiography (Part 1) was a flop. Then his documentary was a flop. Then, there were all the times he made of fool of himself with his radical tweets. Then, he got caught trying to sell himself and had to go back and quietly change his website. Feminists successfully tagged him as a sexist and more and more atheists just want him to go away.

With that context in mind, take a look at Jerry Coyne’s book promo listed over at Amazon:

Extending the bestselling works of Richard Dawson, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens, he demolishes the claims of religion to provide verifiable “truth” by subjecting those claims to the same tests we use to establish truth in science.

You know it’s bad when a supposed ally promotes his book by likening Dawkins to a famous game show host! And keep in mind that promo has been up for weeks on amazon, indicating Coyne has felt no pressing need to get this corrected.

Makes ya wonder – is Coyne trying to exploit Dawkins’ troubles to position himself as the new Leader of the Gnus? lol

Okay, on a more serious note, we’ll have to take a look at Coyne’s latest attempt to cash in on the New Atheist Movement.

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10 Responses to Tough Year for Dawkins

  1. Ilíon says:

    What is this “truth in science” thingie? Is “truth” even a meaningful term in science?

  2. Kevin says:

    Later in the book promo it says that any attempt to make religion compatible with science is doomed to fail. Since I have successfully done it, and everyone on this blog has successfully done it, and people a lot smarter and knowledgeable about both Christianity and biology than Coyne have successfully done it, the only two possibilities I see is either we are using different definitions of “compatible” and talking past each other, or Coyne is a towering pillar of idiocy.

  3. BenYachov says:

    Dawkins is just plain gay & of course by “gay” I don’t mean homosexual. I mean “gay” as in George Clooney playing Batman or Leonard Nimoy making a second appearance in the Star Trek reboot movies.

    I mean like why?

  4. Bilbo says:

    Would Dawkins have done better on this first question?

  5. TFBW says:

    Re Dawkins and Coyne, it seems that Jerry is still a staunch Dawkins supporter, and only too happy to get out the knives for old-school atheist John Gray when he writes unflattering things about An Appetite for Wonder.

  6. Michael says:

    Coyne’s response is a joke.

  7. Dhay says:

    Jerry Coyne (from TFBW’s linked article) > 3. Dawkins’s conversion to atheism was mundane. Nothing striking happened to convert Richard to nonbelief (unlike my own story, which was an instantaneous conversion involving a Beatles album); he gradually gave it up, probably influenced by Darwin.

    Note that Coyne thinks Dawkins’ gradual move away from religion was probably influenced by Darwin, but that Coyne is very clear, unapologetic and unashamed – he publicises it – that his own conversion was “instantaneous”, was nothing to do with his later discovery of evolution and Darwin, and that it was nothing to do with any rational consideration – “For reasons he still doesn’t understand…” ie no reasons, and he still cannot guess the physical or chemical cause.

    Let’s help him. The words I emboldened above were a link to the following:

    One of the more colorful scientific de-conversion stories comes from Jerry Coyne, a professor of genetics and evolutionary biology at the University of Chicago. It happened in 1967 when Coyne, then 17, was listening for the first time to the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album while lying on his parents’ couch in Alexandria, Va. Suddenly Coyne began to shake and sweat. For reasons he still doesn’t understand, it dawned on him at that moment that there was no God, and he wasn’t going anywhere when he died. His casual Judaism seemed to wash away as the album played on. The crisis lasted about 30 minutes, he says, and when it was over, he had left religion behind for good. He went on to study how new species evolve, and found the Darwinian view of nature perfectly in tune with his abandonment of faith.

    Coyne might have been suffering from the effects of an excess of banana peel at the time – see his blog dated February 22, 2014 entitled, “Caturday felids: Catnip madness!”.

    Or Coyne might have been experiencing the effects (or after-effects, ie flashbacks) of LSD – his blog dated August 26, 2013, entitled, “I Want to Tell You”, tells us he was already taking LSD in 1966, at age 16; “The song [on “Revolver” (1966)] came out when I was in high school and the psychedelic era was just reaching the East Coast. Imbued with drugs, romanticism, and the sense that I was a more complex person than I really was (psychedelics will do that), I thought the lyrics really spoke to me.”

    Or Coyne might not have been experiencing drug effects at all, but some sort of abnormal but natural temporary imbalance of chemicals in the brain, or (as Michael Shermer would explain it) some sort of brain seizure – the sort of seizure Shermer implies Francis Collins experienced by the waterfall. Shermer’s “The Believing Brain” really should have used Coyne as his second example of someone undergoing an irrational brain abnormality driven conversion, not Collins.

    In his blog dated March 10, 2013, entitled “More woo and anti-science rants at TEDx”, Coyne manages to communicate the profundity (or seeming profundity) of psychedelic states as follows:

    When I was in college, a friend and I were – as was the custom in the Sixties – spending an evening under the influence of psychedelic substances. Suddenly I had a brilliant insight into the nature of the universe. Knowing I’d forget it, I wrote it down on a scrap of paper. After a while I went to bed, and when I awoke the next day I remembered the paper and reached eagerly into my pocket for it. On it was scrawled my eternal truth, which turned out to be this:

    “The walls are fucking BROWN.”

    Many who grew up in the Sixties have a story like this.

    So much for profundity.

    A lifetime of anti-religious obsession, based a spurious sense of profundity and certainty, but with a similar erratic brain chemicals cause (else what? – brain seizure? is that any better?), and with as much actual profundity and as much validation for lasting certainty, as his laughable LSD hallucination.

    It’s had other effects, of course: Coyne trawls the web obsessively to find in, unending supply and (for me) reassuring plenitude, anyone who is, as he terms it, “accomodationist” or “accommodatheist” – read moderate and reasonable – and to attack their views; in this he cannot help himself; “like Maru, if he sees a box he has to enter it.”
    (That is a Coyne blog in-joke, and a jibe that Coyne uses so often against others – now turned back on him. He really should see for himself the jibe’s applicability to himself, but evidently doesn’t.)

    And each and every day Coyne and his acolytes celebrate the ‘Hili Dialog’ ritual at the shrine of the talking Polish cat. Or did Coyne experience a separate conversion to cat worship?

    The main difference between Coyne’s drug-perceived certainty that he had a “brilliant insight into the nature of the universe”, namely, “The walls are fucking BROWN”, and his surely equally hallucinated, “it dawned on [me] there was no God”, is that in the first, the strong sense of profundity evaporated; whereas in the second, his strong sense of certainty persisted, locked in, and became a lifetime of anti-religious obsession.

    What I find really weird – and highly significant – is how oblivious Coyne is to how utterly irrational his conversion experience was; he is unapologetic and unashamed – he has weblink-publicised it twice on his own blog, and now done so again in the fully public arena of a New Republic article; Coyne is too irrational, even now, to conceive, understand and acknowledge how irrational his conversion was.

  8. stcordova says:


    I seem to recall that you said about 7 years ago that Dawkins Jumped the Shark (meaning he reached his peak and was on his way down). Accurate call!

    I think Richard Dawson/Dawkins would be a wonderful host of family feud.


  9. Ilíon says:

    I don’t know. Do you really think that twitty accent he affects would work on Family Feud?

  10. TFBW says:

    Tough year for Dawkins, indeed. He’s even been utterly out-snarked by those he’s riled with his oafish atheistic pontification — specifically his pronouncement that it would be immoral to bring a Down syndrome child into the world. Case in point:

    It’s a shame that Dawkins wasted his title ‘The God Delusion’ for his fundamentalist tract. He should have saved it for his autobiography.

    Egads. I nominate Simon Barnes for “Zinger of the Year” award, 2014.

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