Re: [asa] Jerry Coyne's Confused Attack on Religion Part 2

From: Nucacids <>
Date: Fri Jan 30 2009 - 07:23:36 EST

I agree with your points. Conflict seems to be inevitable. Remember that most of Coyne's essay was just borrowing from the New Atheist script, so Miller is not arguing with just Coyne here. And the New Atheists have been busy chipping away at the Dover decision. This is typically the point where Myers will step in.

  While I normally disagree with Miller, it's nice to see him hitting back fast and with some force. I think he could have made far stronger a case on all the points he's arguing about - but he makes some great observations (I notice he pointed out the timing question as well, etc) and didn't cut and run just because Coyne whipped out the 'creationist' label again.

  I think this whole exchange is going to lead to some interesting developments that Coyne may well regret.

  On Thu, Jan 29, 2009 at 11:04 PM, Nucacids <> wrote:

    Ken Miller replies:

    "Finally, what of his central criticism—the claim that science and religion are not only different, but incompatible and mutually contradictory?
    He's right on one score, obviously. That is that certain religious claims, including the age of the earth, a global worldwide flood, and the simultaneous creation of all living things are empirical in nature. As such, they can be tested scientifically, and these particular claims are clearly false. Claims of demonstrative miracles in the past, such as the virgin birth or the resurrection cannot be tested empirically, because there are no data from which to work. On such claims, science has nothing to say one way or the other. Coyne's complaint on such things, paradoxically, is that they must not have happened because there is no scientific explanation for them. That amounts, in essence, to saying that these things could not have happened because they would be miracles. Well, that's exactly what most Christians take them for, so Coyne's only real argument is an a priori assumption that miracles cannot happen. Make that assumption, and miracles are nonsense. But it is an assumption nonetheless, something that Coyne fails to see."


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Received on Fri Jan 30 07:23:56 2009

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