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.
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. […]
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……..