Let’s consider the rationale behind Jerry Coyne’s self-image of being smarter than all theists simply because he is not a theist.
And many public intellectuals—and virtually all accomplished scientists—are atheists. Why? Because there’s no credible evidence for God.
Let’s assume Coyne is correct about the public intellectuals and accomplished scientists. We need only pose one more question to such people – what would you count as credible evidence for God? Unless that question is answered, the “no credible evidence for God” position is nothing more than vacuous posturing.
So what would count? As we have seen again and again and again, the only thing that would appear to count is some type of mind-blowing, mighty miracle that could not possibly be explained by natural law and science.
Coyne himself made this clear on March 18, 2014:
Indeed, tests of whether miracles occur (studies of the efficacy of intercessory prayer, investigations of supposed miracles like the Shroud of Turin, and so on) have always shown that God didn’t show up. But he could have: all he would have to do is, one night, to rearrange the stars in a pattern that spelled out “I am who I am” in Hebrew. Science would have a tough time explaining that one! There are innumerable phenomena that would, if verified, convince scientists that a god would exist. Sadly, none have occurred.
Ah, the LiteBrite demo! If God exists, He should have turned the stars into a huge LiteBrite screen and given us all a message. That would convince scientist Jerry Coyne. Or so he says.
But hold on. Not so fast there. Just how did scientist Jerry Coyne get from a cosmic LiteBrite demonstration to God’s existence? The only way to connect those dots is with the God-of-the-Gaps argument. Which is why Coyne notes, “Science would have a tough time explaining that one! “ Coyne would interpret a pattern of stars that spelled out “I am who I am” in Hebrew as evidence of God’s existence only because science could not explain it. Since science/natural law could not explain it, God must have done it.
Well, well. Coyne’s atheism is built on the logic of the “God-of-the-Gaps” argument and assumes its legitimacy. For without assuming the legitimacy of this argument, there is no way to get from any star pattern to evidence of the existence of God.
So, according to Coyne, what makes him so smart compared to theists is that he concludes there is no evidence of God because there are no Gaps. If Coyne and the Gnus are so smart, how is it that they have yet to figure out their atheism presumes the legitimacy of the God of the Gaps logic?
It’s palpably and painfully obvious that religion is a human construct and that the tenets of different faiths are not reconcilable.
I would not dispute these are Coyne’s perceptions. I would simply note it’s palpably and painfully obvious that New Atheism is built on the foundation of God of the Gaps logic: There are no Gaps, therefore there is no evidence of God.
The things that the faithful say they believe are simply ludicrous.
Again, more subjective impressions from Coyne. I can match that by noting how ludicrous it is to insist there is no God because there are no universally agreed upon gaps.
Apart from assuming the “no Gaps, therefore no evidence for God” position indicates high intelligence, what else does Coyne have to offer?
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. But somehow it’s okay if they do the same with Allah, Jesus, Muhammad, God, Vishnu, and the like. They can profess such stuff and still be considered “smart.” I can’t agree.
Comparing God to Santa or fairies is a false analogy. Not because I’m assuming that God exists and the others don’t. But because I recognize the fundamental difference between God (if He exists) and the others. The existence of God has profound implications for the rest of reality. If there is no God, we can conclude many other things about reality: there is no reason for existence, there is no purpose to existence, there is no good or evil apart from our opinion, there is no right or wrong apart from our opinion, life has no value apart from our opinion, there is no free will, there is no life after death, etc. The non-existence of Santa or fairies does not have such far reaching ripple effects. While God (if He exists) would represent a reality “above and behind” our reality, Santa and fairies would simply be one more thing that is part of our universe.
While I am not be the smartest person around, it seems rather shallow and ham-handed to closed-mindedly insist there is no God because there are no gaps, while perceiving God as being in the same category as Santa Claus.