Leading Atheist Activist Insists Theists are (somewhat) Stupid

 

Atheist activist Jerry Coyne recently admitted something that was always fairly obvious:

I don’t think one can be really smart and religious at the same time.

Of course not.  Y’see, if you were “really smart,” you’d be an atheist.

Coyne goes to insist theists display a form of stupidity:

To me, this means that someone, regardless of how “smart” they seem, is at the very least irrational if they believe in God or the attendant superstitions. It is as if their brain is a jigsaw puzzle with one crucial piece missing: the piece that accepts important propositions in proportion to the evidence supporting them. And to me that kind of irrationality is a form of stupidity, which the Oxford English Dictionary defines as “dullness or slowness of apprehension; gross want of intelligence.” It’s not that they’re totally stupid; just partially stupid.

Coyne doesn’t seem to realize that all he is doing here is giving us a window into his own mind.  Whether or not theism is a form of stupidity is merely a matter of subjective opinion.  For how does one objectively determine whether belief in God is irrational?  Of course New Atheists are going to think of theism as a form of stupidity. But how do they know?

Nevertheless, now that Coyne (and his fans) are so open about it, we can explore the implications of those subjective perceptions.

So I have to admit this: when a person who seems intelligent tells me that they are religious—at least in the sense that they’re theists who believe in unbelievable stuff—I immediately discount their minds. (emphasis added)

Coyne is effectively admitting he is closed minded about the existence of God.  Given his mind is so closed that he looks down upon theism as a form of stupidity, of course he immediately discounts the theist.  When the theist opens his mouth, Coyne puts his hands on his ears.  Why bother listening to someone who is espousing a form of stupidity?  Coyne has already determined The Truth and, in his mind, has discovered there is no God.  To think otherwise is stupid.

But he’s not done.  In case it’s not clear, he doubles down on his perception:

I’ll admit here, then, that if you tell me you’re a theist, or adhere to a religion that makes untenable reality claims, I’ll think less of you. I won’t deem you “stupid,” which is an overall assessment of one’s mental acuity, but I’ll think you somewhat irrational and, as the Brits say, perhaps a tad thick.

His mind is so closed that not only is he prejudiced against theism, but he extends this dogmatic approach to his perception of the theist – the theist is a person who is somewhat stupid.  Why?  Because the theist is a theist.

In the end, there is nothing new here. It has always been obvious to me that the New Atheists view theism as a form of stupidity.  After all, New Atheists commonly posture as if they are the smartest folk in the room and they purchase that self-image simply through their atheism.

Yet we must ask why any theist should take the “no evidence for God” foundational claims of a New Atheist seriously?  Of course the New Atheist thinks there is no evidence for God.  How could it be otherwise?  When you are so closed minded that you discount theism as a form of stupidity and look down upon theists as being a “tad thick,” it’s safe to say, from our understanding of human psychology, you are not open to any serious and intellectually honest consideration of the theist’s claims or evidence.

 

 

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18 Responses to Leading Atheist Activist Insists Theists are (somewhat) Stupid

  1. Doug says:

    Well — let’s call a spade a spade: Jerry is simply confessing to… bigotry.

    /’biɡətrē/
    noun
    intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself.

  2. mechanar says:

    I wonder if mr coyne can fit through any door with that ego

  3. pennywit says:

    Look at it this way: if someone spent much of their lives worshiping Santa, elves, fairies, or even Zeus, and maintained in all seriousness that Santa delivers presents to Western children at nearly the speed of light each Christmas, you’d think they weren’t playing with a full deck.

    I will have you know that I close my house shutters against

    Santa

    ‘s visit every year! Nothing irrational about that!!

    In seriousness, I think that Coyne’s admission is the first part in a two-step process. First, you admit that you have a bias. Then, once you are aware of that bias, you remain aware of it and try to actively counter it. If this piece represents all of Coyne’s thoughts, then he has not assayed the second step.

  4. pennywit says:

    Dang it, that second blockquote was supposed to be a link to Robot Santa.

  5. TFBW says:

    @pennywit:

    In seriousness, I think that Coyne’s admission is the first part in a two-step process. First, you admit that you have a bias. Then, once you are aware of that bias, you remain aware of it and try to actively counter it.

    Wow, you have an optimistic view of Coyne. I don’t think he sees it as admitting a bias: I think he sees it as justifying his disdain. He is not saying that he is predisposed to perceiving religious people as a bit thick: he is saying that they are a bit thick, and they must be so, because they do something akin to believing in Santa, elves, or fairies. I read the article in full, just to be sure that this was the tone it conveyed. Can you read the article and still stand by your assessment?

  6. pennywit says:

    Can you read the article and still stand by your assessment?

    I did read the article, and I stand by my assessment. People who fail to take that second step … well, they’re just bigots, then.

  7. Kevin says:

    Coyne: If you disagree with me, I think less of you.

    So basically, Jerry Coyne has many negative adjectives that can justifiably be applied to him.

  8. TFBW says:

    Wow — you read the article, and you think that, “Coyne’s admission is the first part in a two-step process.” Are there any stand-out quotes which you feel support your interpretation?

  9. stcordova says:

    “I don’t think one can be really smart and religious at the same time.”

    Coyne ignores evidence like Richard Smalley, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry who became a Christian creationist or Bill Philips and Charles Townes who were evangelical Christians. Townes invented the laser. What has Jerry ever done by comparison.

  10. pennywit says:

    Wow — you read the article, and you think that, “Coyne’s admission is the first part in a two-step process.”

    Read my comment above, please:

    People who fail to take that second step … well, they’re just bigots, then.

  11. TFBW says:

    How long should we wait for the second step?

  12. pennywit says:

    How long should we wait for the second step?

    Until the end of time, until the cows come home, or until the Cleveland Browns win the Super Bowl. Until then … feel free to assume he’s just a little bigoted.

  13. TFBW says:

    So long as you’re not suggesting that we give him the benefit of the doubt in the meantime, because I don’t see any realistic basis for doubt. Any doubt as to his bigotry is pure charity after that exposition.

  14. Regual Llegna says:

    “I don’t see any realistic basis for doubt”

    … in public… with his base…

  15. Dhay says:

    Jerry Coyne evidently doesn’t get out much; he must be the only person in the world unaware of the universal human condition that whenever a person resists opinions that are strongly held by another, that other just about always considers the resister obtuse, slightly mentally deficient, “a bit thick”.

    Heck, Jerry Coyne, there’s plenty of people would say that about you, too.

    *

    Some of them will probably be readers or former readers of your blog, where there’s daily posts telling us what a Polish cat ‘says’ that day; here’s one typical looking example:

    And finally, we end up in Dobrzyń where Hili sounds like Alice in Wonderland having a philosophical conversation with the White Knight.

    Hili: When it’s raining, cats get wet.
    A: But you are inside.
    Hili: Yes, but if I were to get out I would get wet.

    In Polish:

    Hili: Kiedy pada deszcz koty mokną.
    Ja: Ale ty jesteś w domu.
    Hili: Tak, ale gdybym wyszła to bym zmokła.

    https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2017/04/12/wednesday-hili-dialogue-155/

    Or take your pick:

    https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/?s=Hili+dialogue&searchsubmit=Find+%C2%BB

    It’s not as if Coyne’s cat ‘quotations’ have any merit: they’re not humorous like Simon’s Cat or Garfield, they express no philosophical profundity or message worth hearing; unless he is a super-genius effortless reeling off Haiku poetry in English and/or Polish — I wouldn’t know or want to know how to recognise Haiku or how to evaluate its quality — I have to reckon Coyne slightly mentally deficient or “a bit thick”.

    Probably, even if Coyne is a Haiku whizz.

  16. stcordova says:

    Speaking as a Christian, it has been my perception (right or wrong) that there are a lot of gullible people who inhabit religious institutions. Hence it is easy to think of these people as stupid, and I definitely feel that way about Muslims. I’ve somewhat felt that way when I nearly left the Christian faith. But unlike Coyne, I didn’t feel contempt for the Christian churches…

    I’ve seen so many scams and preachers and evangelists preying upon congregations, it’s hard not to perceive a lot of parishioners as easily manipulated sheep. That is not to say we don’t see gullible atheists too. Look at Hemant Mehta’s blog and the post modernists that Jordan Peterson describes.

    There is the book, Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. As an Evangelical myself, I had to say that book is pretty accurate, and hence, I’m sorry to say, some of Coyne’s prejudices are justified by my own experiences. Dumb people in the church nearly ran me out of the Christian faith. I still am recovering from the resentment of some of my Church experiences.

    Ironically, Christianity Today hailed it as book of the year!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Scandal_of_the_Evangelical_Mind

    But unlike Coyne, I didn’t let the stupidity of other people close my mind to the possibility of God and the Jesus Christ.

  17. Anon says:

    Jerry likely has Toxoplasmosis from cats. In effect, his mind is controlled by bugs from cats. Poor guy, the cats literally make him sound stupid/dim.

  18. Dhay says:

    > So I have to admit this: when a person who seems intelligent tells me that they are religious—at least in the sense that they’re theists who believe in unbelievable stuff—I immediately discount their minds.

    Looking back, I see cookiejezz anticipated Jerry Coyne:

    cookiejezz > As with the Flying Spaghetti Monster, it seems that the one less God … argument is one of those silly defences of atheism that started out as a joke, yet most atheists haven’t had the wit to know when to stop taking it seriously.

    What it does point up is that fact that atheists think the whole God thing is a joke, and therefore they don’t feel the need to take any of it seriously. Which always amazes me when I consider that most of my atheist friends appear to respect me (and their other Christian friends) most of the time, yet still manage to convince themselves that we’re easily deluded simpletons when it comes to faith.

    https://shadowtolight.wordpress.com/2017/02/04/the-silly-one-less-god-argument/

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