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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Jerry Coyne, certainly a man who speaks his mind ...

Recently, I've been writing about Jerry Coyne's comments on Mike Behe's most recent paper. Coyne is billed by his U as "internationally famous defender of evolution against proponents of intelligent design." Good man on fruit flies, too.

It occurred to me to pull up my Coyne files, re other things he has said. A most interesting picture emerges - in a world where hordes bravely speak the group's latest mind, the prof (Department of Ecology and Evolution) gives the impression of speaking his own. I won't hazard whether that earns him greater trust because I don't know whether Darwin's folk trust people who think for themselves, but here goes:

Coyne on the useful idiots of theistic evolution:

- Theistic evolution is compromise. ("Coyne is particularly annoyed by the folks at the Darwin-defending but religion-appeasing National Center for Science Education, for "compromising the very science they aspire to defend." - quoted in Klinghoffer )

Theistic evolution claims are wearing thin. ("Liberal religious people have been important allies in our struggle against creationism, and it is not pleasant to alienate them by declaring how we feel. This is why, as a tactical matter, groups such as the National Academy of Sciences claim that religion and science do not conflict. But their main evidence — the existence of religious scientists — is wearing thin as scientists grow ever more vociferous about their lack of faith." - quoted in Iannone)

He also enjoys taking the fun out of Fundamentalism, when not engaging in it himself.

(My best guess is that he pays closer attention to the ID guys, as they offer a serious challenge.)

What Jerry Coyne has said about evolutionary biology:

Almost no findings are replicated: ("Almost no findings are replicated, there’s a premium on publishing positive results, and, unlike some other areas, findings in evolutionary biology don't necessarily build on each other: workers usually don’t have to repeat other people's work as a basis for their own.")

Also here : (In science's pecking order, evolutionary biology lurks somewhere near the bottom, far closer to phrenology than to physics. ... The latest deadweight dragging us closer to phrenology is "evolutionary psychology," or the science formerly known as sociobiology, which studies the evolutionary roots of human behavior. There is nothing inherently wrong with this enterprise, and it has proposed some intriguing theories, particularly about the evolution of language. The problem is that evolutionary psychology suffers from the scientific equivalent of megalomania. Most of its adherents are convinced that virtually every human action or feeling, including depression, homosexuality, religion, and consciousness, was put directly into our brains by natural selection.)

- Randy "Flock of Dodos" Olson thinks Coyne more persuasive about evolutionary biology than Richard Dawkins

Oh, and Coyne on Ann Coulter:

From the Stop the Coult! files: ("The remarkable thing about all this is that Jerry Coyne thinks he needs to take on Ann Coulter. There was a time when a guy like Jerry Coyne would not know who Ann Coulter is, and possibly would not know what a pundette is, unless he had married his cook and she insisted on subscribing to some vile rag that ... " - O'Leary ) Just shows you how things change ...

Coyne vs. Behe :

But, Jerry, what about all those dogs?

Could Darwinists be running low on insults?

Mike Behe replies to detractor Jerry Coyne ...


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