Coyne Throttles Myers

I’ve been warning about the dangers of politicizing science.  Jerry Coyne recently provided a nice example concerning PZ Myers, a huge supporter of the March for Science (HT: Dhay).

Watch as Coyne takes the social justice atheist to the woodshed:

But someone who should know better is the evolutionary biologist and blogger P. Z. Myers, who bought into Fine’s bogus argument and fallacious mathematics in a post called “Cordelia Fine is doing the math.” Myers accepts Fine’s contention that promiscuous males don’t really have more offspring than do choosy human females—females who are prevented from getting fertilized when they’re pregnant.  Her arguments are wrong—for one thing, she sets unrealistic error limits for promiscuous males to outdo monogamous ones—but Myers has always rejected biology that is ideologically unpalatable to him.

In a rare occurrence at his site, the commenters, usually a choir of osculatory praise, gave him pushback. In fact one,  “Charly”, did the math correctly and showed that males in relationships with multiple females (bigamous or polygamous) have the potential to have more offspring than do monogamous males, supporting the ideas that men are selected to compete for women. (Duh!) Charly ended his calculations with this statement: “But maybe my reasoning and math is wrong, I am sure someone will point flaws out.”

In the next comment, Myers admitted that Charly’s math was actually right—math that invalidates Fine’s argument—but then he said this:

Your math is fine. It’s your humanity that is broken.

And there we have it, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters: an admission that the biology is right, at least in theory, but the person who did the calculations is immoral. What better example can we find of someone who opposes the truth because it’s ideologically repugnant? Even Myers’s regular commenters couldn’t live with that pronouncement. …


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8 Responses to Coyne Throttles Myers

  1. Kevin says:

    I wonder how long it will take for the sights of New Atheists to shift toward progressive ideology, which is far more aggressive toward dissenters than the vast majority of Christians. The seeds for that transition are already sown, with the schism between garden-variety anti-religious bigots and the even more distasteful Atheism Plus, and the pushback that Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Peter Boghossian, and presumably now Jerry Coyne are experiencing from the regressive left.

  2. stcordova says:

    Good find Dhay.


  3. Dhay says:

    Kevin > I wonder how long it will take for the sights of New Atheists to shift toward progressive ideology, which is far more aggressive toward dissenters than the vast majority of Christians. …

    I see Sam Harris was going to write — but decided not to, it was too dangerous to his image — an anti-progressive book entitled Letters to a Young Liberal; which book (by the same or other title) the more pugnacious Peter Boghossian has now decided to write, he’s doing that now. Add in Jerry Coyne, that’s already three of the more vocal New Atheists partly re-targeted against progressive ideology.

    Here’s an interview question from Malhar Mali for Areo Magazine which indicates others such as Mali have also seen this trend, noting over time a drift of “skeptics'” targets of focus — from Christianity, then to Islam, then to what I’ll paraphrase as progressive ideology (adding, should it now change to Donald Trump?):

    MM: Moving on, it seems what skeptics should focus on is constantly changing. In the 90’s and early 2000’s it was the Christian-Right and against creationism. In the past decade or so it’s been Islamism, morphing into postmodernism and “victimhood culture” in Academia. Do you think the time has come to turn more attention to Trump and his administration — or the picture is more complicated?

    JC: A lot of the Left seems to think we should concentrate all our energies on a single issue. That is misguided. …

    … I think the most pervasive danger facing the U.S. now is Trump and his administration.

    Coyne declines to contradict Mali’s description of the constantly changing focus of people like Coyne (“skeptics”); Coyne’s reply is that although it’s misguided to limit focus to any single issue, the most important (“most pervasive”) of those issues is now Trump.

    And by implication, Trump trumps Christianity in Coyne’s eyes, being for him the major issue and Christianity a lesser.

  4. pennywit says:

    This reminds me of a joke I heard once. A man complained to his wife that he should be allowed to have affairs. “I have evolved to spread my seed far and wide,” he said. “So I should be able to do so. It’s my best reproductive strategy.” His wife thought about this, then responded. “Well, my best reproductive strategy is to conceive a baby with a strong, alpha male … then marry a different male to take care of the child.”

  5. Regual Llegna says:

    Dhay says:
    And by implication, Trump trumps Christianity in Coyne’s eyes, being for him the major issue and Christianity a lesser.”

    What fun to think about the past, what the left and the gnu atheists did and said before the now-President of the United States Donald Trump entered the election campaign. Before the campaign Donald Trump was a democrat, that was what the people in the left say at the beginning, never a problem for the media or the anybody in a local mayority or in international level and now, for the left, he is a “Nazi (for the left that word means nationalists, but they do not include the very important socialist component of the menbers of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party), “White (male) supremasist”, “literally Hitler”, “etc…”.
    Even if i could not and i can not vote for Trump, because i don’t live in USA in any point in the past or the present, i support Donald Trump because he was “different”/he can not lie or is very bad to deceive people effectively like the 2000-2004 president of my country and he do not and he does not endorse words with the common relativistic rhetoric of the people of the left and the gnu atheists (hint: They mention their policies to implement while mentioning human rights so any opposition is “inhuman” in their world views), not a perfect role model but he has a family, and his opposition forget why people are look for leaders in politics and high positions of power (populism, probably; the Pope Francis apparent, by his own words, enemy of now-“socialists” christianity that he profess).
    They, the people in the left as well the gnu atheists, mention globalization as if that means “Unite humanity in the whole world” humanitarian effort (good for all) but they will never mention, maybe most never think, about how much power the people in the high positions of power over the entire humanity will have in a global world, one type or form of goverment in every country in the world concealing possibly one goverment for the for the humanity (yes, it is not the job to make a government for the world what they want but to control the life and humanity of people under the goverment, a total homogeneous “life style” for every person that exceed any individual or tribal difference), a wishfull thinking dream in which there is no reasons for the existence of ethics and morality, because every person would have the same goals and life styles, is impossible under differences of thought, philosophies and goals in life and any individual rights and duties.

    The current ideas and thinking of the people of the left and the gnu atheists, mainly the more news gnus atheists, are the reason WHY any civilization in the past has never been built by people from these groups.
    – The pattern is clear: when a civilization becomes remarkable or complacent enough with their own position is when their ideas appear (socialism/redistribute wealth, ¿seize the means of production?/goverment control the wealth in place of the individual person, SJWs ideals about life styles, gnu atheism crying, atheism “no cry or remarkable atheist groups outside nations whith a christian mayority or big enough group of people” in general, attacks on nationality and cultural identity, a lack of duties and honor but the uphold of “rights” that exist because politics and politicians only, stating “how unessential, bad or evil” are the common values of the mayority of the population/how common values and social norms in the past are always evil, relativizing serious ideas/philosophies/scientific theories/religions/laws/convictions or non-negotiable norms, etc,…).
    – This pattern lead to: the restructuring of civilization through the shedding of blood, which depends on the number of individuals living in it and their willing to use weapons (this time what weapons). In the moderm world mainly for the people on the left and gnu atheists, and maybe the UN people, that means a end of the world scenario that will effectively reset all their work towards globalization of societies and for others that means simply war and a blogation to fight in a war (the femminists and other SJWs, plus their current fight with old gnus atheists, go to far and dug literally their own grave, the current unnesesary leftists views about “what/how/when is a” women and the fact that women are the mority of the humankind means that women will be forced to fight in a posible next world war because many people simply will nt fight in their favor or for their privilege of being “unfit for combat” for the sake of being girls/women).

  6. Crude says:

    Tell us again that atheism is the bastion of reason, Coyne.

  7. itsonlyphotos says:

    I actually think I like Coyne better, although he sounds like he is not a very pleasant person. PZ Myers, on the other hand, seems unhinged. I had a chance to read the thread and although I don’t consider myself to know much about science, it does seem that a promiscuous man would on the whole have a greater capability of producing more offspring than a non-promiscuous man. You can separate your views on promiscuity and sexual morality without compromising the logic on that. It doesn’t really matter because the gent who triggered Myers didn’t actually appear to say anything remotely mysoginistic or hateful.Unless Myers was commenting on the fallen nature of man – fat chance – he took a shot at this man’s human character and then doubled down. I know he sees himself as sticking up for the little guy, but he is really only a bully himself and a self-important one at that. And with reasoning like this, it’s possible he’s mentally certifiable, or just in need of some counseling:
    “I could argue that if I shackled 5 women in my basement and raped the non-pregnant ones every night, I too could exceed the rate of reproduction in the Fine scenario. But once again, it carries an ugly assumption: that women’s autonomy can be ignored and they can be treated as wombs under my control.”
    He fits the stereotype of the spittle-flecked rage filled atheist quite well. Pure narcissist, too.

  8. SteveK says:

    DC Science March Organizers Racked By Infighting Over ‘Diversity’

    “The “March for Science” is being ripped apart by organizers who want to make gender and racial diversity the center of a march initially formed to push back against the Trump administration’s allegedly “anti-science” stance.”

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