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.