New Atheist Leader Tries to Defend the Raelians

There was another person who dared to criticize Prof. Coyne for promoting Raelian pseudoscience as science. His/her name is “Tulse.” Tulse made several of the same critiques that I have made, but did so as gently as possible. It is fascinating to watch how Prof. Coyne responds.

Tulse wrote:

This seems to me to be a pretty silly study. Of course the wafer doesn’t change into flesh — I don’t think anyone, including the Catholic Church, has ever claimed that (since it’s rather obvious). Instead, as Jerry notes, the Vatican does its ridiculous theologico-philosophical dance about “substance”. This study doesn’t address that, so it really doesn’t address the claims of the Catholic Church (however silly those claims are).
And honestly, we’re going to cite Raëlian research? I know that Jerry addressed this point by comparing them to Collins, but Collins published in regular journals, not Scientific Born-Again Christians. At the very least I’d question their peer-review process.

And, to be clear, this is the same journal that also published this study:

Raelian baptism: a 35 year old hypothesis validated by science
The Raelian Movement, as many other religious organizations, has a baptism ceremony. A notable distinction is that the Raelian baptism is only performed on consenting adults, not on infants or children. In addition to being a symbolic rite (the recognition of the Elohim as our creators), the Raelian baptism also has a rational purpose and meaning. Called “Transmission of the Cellular Plan” (TCP), the Raelian baptism is understood as a wireless transmission of the baptized individual’s genome to an orbiting computer set up by the Elohim to record the information at the precise time of the ceremony. […]

Coyne responds:

Would you like to point out to me what you see as the ERRORS in this research? I don’t see any obvious ones? Or are you going to discount it purely because it was done by Raelians?
If you can’t find any errors, I’d appreciate it if you’d say that, and then tell us why Raelians should not be allowed to publish any scientific research.

Let’s dissect Coyne’s response.

1. It surprises me that a scientist like Coyne doesn’t see any errors in the “research.” Coyne seems to think that as long as someone successfully used a DNA isolation kit and carried out a polymerase chain reaction, everything is good. He doesn’t seem to understand that true research is built around a sound experimental design. And as I have shown with the Raelians, their experimental design is plagued with errors: a) the Introduction does not properly set up the context for the experiment and instead sets up a straw man; b) the Results are nothing more than a gel from one experiment where the essential negative control is contaminated and useless and c) the Discussion preachs and rationalizes the experiment’s reliance on deception by arguing the ends justify the means.

2. Given that the Raelians are an antievolutionary religious cult, it fascinates me how Coyne is so defensive of them – “are you going to discount it purely because it was done by Raelians?” and “tell us why Raelians should not be allowed to publish any scientific research.” Perhaps Coyne is such an accomodationist here because the Raelians happen to be an atheistic religious cult who share his Catholophobia.

3. Notice how Coyne continues to promote pseudoscience as science. He refers to an internet posting, posted on a Raelian apologetics site, as publishing scientific research.

4. Finally, note how Coyne never addresses the criticisms from Tulse. Coyne doesn’t address the fact the Raelians are attacking a straw man; he doesn’t address the false analogy between Collins and the Raelians; and he doesn’t address the questionable reliability of the Raelian website.

Surprisingly, Tulse was not banned or told to apologize. He/she was actually able to get in a follow-up response.

And it only gets better……..

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2 Responses to New Atheist Leader Tries to Defend the Raelians

  1. Ilíon says:

    3. Notice how Coyne continues to promote pseudoscience as science. He refers to an internet posting, posted on a Raelian apologetics site, as publishing scientific research.

    He also engages in dishonest misrepresentation of what ‘Tulse’ wrote, at least in part as a red herring.

    Coyne:If you can’t find any errors, I’d appreciate it if you’d say that, and then tell us why Raelians should not be allowed to publish any scientific research.

    How typical (*): criticism of the “published” “scientific” “research” Coyne wants to champion, as being not really research nor scientific nor published, becomes “They’re not allowed to publish any scientific research!

    (*) typical of ‘atheists’, and leftists, and DarwinDefenders; and Coyne has a triple-shot of it.

  2. Dhay says:

    Jerry Coyne > “Would you like to point out to me what you see as the ERRORS in this research?”

    “Dylan” and “Tulse” have already both of them pointed out serious ERRORS by this point. Coyne seems to have reading comprehension problems, or that selective blindness which, it seems to me, kicks in so often when he encounters what he doesn’t like and doesn’t want to understand.

    Coyne certainly has a hair-trigger when it comes to banning: here’s a comment from “Arthur”, responding Adam Lee’s rejoinder to Coyne ref Coyne’s blog post dated September 20, 2014, entitled “Adam Lee has lost it”, where Coyne let his acolytes know he disliked Lee’s “The Guardian” article entitled “Richard Dawkins has lost it: ignorant sexism gives atheists a bad name”.

    “Jerry Coyne certainly does moderate the posts on his site. [I] posted a comment critical of Richard Dawkins’s tweets, that was perfectly civil. Jerry deleted the comment within 5 minutes, and continued to delete any more that appeared from other posters that were similarly civil yet critical.

    I also appear to be banned from commenting on the site, for that one comment. After eight years of having friendly banter on everything from sport to cats.”
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism/2014/09/richard-dawkins-reasonable-and-proportionate-response-to-criticism/#comment-1599277255

    The banning of civil yet critical comments and commenters will bite back at Coyne, I am sure: in his recent blog post dated November 4, 2014, entitled “A question for compatibilists”, he asks for his blog readers – who he knows are mostly “compatibilists” on free will, and will disagree with his own “incompatibilist” views – to give their views on the (he emphasises the social) advantages of adopting their compatibilist view instead of his.

    I suspect he hopes their replies will help him amend his book proof, after a publisher’s query. But after so much banning of anything and anyone critical, and for such little criticism, is there anyone left who is able to post a reasoned and rational considered critical response; and is there anyone left who will dare risk incurring Coyne’s present or remembered ire, and an instant or future ban? What’s the real value of any feedback he gets?

    After a while of banning critical responses, you end up with responders who are capable of little more than joining in with Coyne’s “fun” sneering and jeering, plus partaking in Coyne’s ritual of Daily Readings from the Office of the Polish talking cat.

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