[Jerry A. Coyne] Faith Versus Fact [modern classics Book] ePUB – youbang.me

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Ce of religious prejudices and strictures as factors in politics education medicine and social policy make the need for this book urgentReligion and science compete in many ways to describe reality they both make existence claims about what is real but they use different tools to meet this goal In his elegant provocative and direct argument leading evolutionary biologi. There was a time when religious explanations of the world abounded illness weather births death earthuakes celestial events and were attributed to a god or gods the vestiges of some of these superstitions are still with us such as when we say bless you in response to a sneeze to ward off evil spirits Over time science has provided much better explanations of these natural phenomena and today religion s explanatory power is increasingly relegated to god of the gaps issues at least until science comes up with an answer to those mysteries as well But so what People are free to engage in superstitious beliefs if they so choose The problem is that these beliefs have important ramifications in the real world from denial of evolution to the role of women in society to access to contraception and reproductive services to the health of us all through religious exemptions to vaccination It would be one thing if religion could actually inform the debate of these issues but it can t Religion does not pose hypothesis produce data or seek evidence for its conclusions It relies on faith which by definition consists of belief without evidence uite simply religion is incapable of producing knowledge which of course is why different religions disagree with one another But what about science isn t it just another form of belief Of course not people trust in the scientific method because it works the fact that you are reading this text on an electronic device should be all the proof reuired in this regard We trust that the sun will rise tomorrow because it did so yesterday and all the days before and the scientific method has similarly earned our trust And while science can produce erroneous conclusions at times it is inherently self correcting and will discard those errors as evidence dictates As Neil DeGrasse Tyson has said The good thing about science is that it s true whether or not you believe in it Which brings us to the book at hand Dr Jerry Coyne professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Chicago teaches evolution and has therefore experienced the incompatibility of science and religion first hand Through his writing website and debates he s honed his arguments to a razors edge and brings his points to bear in his latest book Faith Versus Fact Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible In it he demonstrates that science and religion are indeed incompatible that the failure to accept scientific evidence is harmful to society that science construed broadly is the only true path to knowledge and that belief without evidence adds nothing of value to the discussion He also addresses the arguments of those who would disagree with his conclusions in a fair manner without resorting to strawmen or mischaracterization and adroitly dispatches each of these points in turn I also appreciate the fact that Professor Coyne characterizes faith as the primary source of the problem At best fallacious assumptions and unsubstantiated claims are a distraction from the real issues at hand at worse they lead to terrible outcomes Thus we have anti vaccination believers alternative medicine and homeopathy adherents and global warming denialists whose beliefs are not religiously motived but who continue to cause considerable harm Faith is not a virtue it is a poison which causes people who would otherwise be sane sensible and rational individuals to believe in things which in some part of their brain they must surely know are complete and utter twaddle Ample evidence exists that the use of critical thinking skills rationality and the scientific method can produce solutions to real world problems and that faith cannot Religious faith is but one form of belief without evidence though it is one that has enjoyed uniue privilege and power in US society Fortunately it is on the wane The fastest growing religious group in the US are those who claim no religious affiliation aka the nones The percentages of those who identify as atheists or agnostics is at the highest point in history and the young are the most likely to profess no religious beliefs Religion is on its way out in the US and barring some unforeseen natural or man made disaster belief and insecurity go hand in hand we ll begin to reap the benefits of an increasingly rational society uote Unknown source


Faith Versus Fact

St and bestselling author Jerry Coyne lays out in clear patient dispassionate details why the toolkit of science based on reason and empirical study is reliable while that of religion including faith dogma and revelation is unreliable and leads to incorrect untestable or conflicting conclusions Indeed by relying on faith religion renders itself incapable of finding tru. In the preface Coyne states his thesis clearlyMy thesis is that religion and science compete in many ways to describe reality they both make existence claims about what is real but use different tools to meet this goal And I argue that the toolkit of science based on reason and empirical study is reliable while that of religion including faith dogma and revelation is unreliable and leads to incorrect untestable or conflicting conclusions Indeed by relying on faith rather than evidence religion renders itself incapable of finding truth p xi xiiCoyne deserves credit for making his intention so transparent from the beginning but this also puts the success or failure of the entire book right in the open If his thesis is to be established he will have to have convincing and consistent definitions of religion and science as well as faithChapter 1 is titled The Problem and is really just a long recitation of the standard sociological data that is familiar to anyone who follows the endless chatter that surrounds this discussion Various polls about how religious the US is and how many people reject evolution are brought forward and the usual polls about scientists and their disproportionate level of disbelief in God are also presented Coyne provides a painfully superficial account of how a linchpin of religions free will is on the outs certain Calvinists would get a chuckle out of this assertion and that most scientists are now physical determinists and that genetic makeup and environmental factors are the only means by which decisions are made If taken seriously this would mean that one should put the book down immediately Thankfully Coyne is not dismissive of philosophy like other neo atheists but one would hope he would come to grips with the corrosive effect a denial of free will has on epistemology On the next page 16 he also gives brief praise to the idea that physicists are finally figuring out how the universe came from nothing This kind of statement does not give one much hope for Coyne s abilities outside his own field On page 21 the asserts that religious claims are empirical hypothesis On the previous page he has mentioned that mixing of the scientific with the metaphysical is not science so one would hope that he would understand that most claims made by the religious are metaphysical claims about reality but this seems to escape him He claims that Trinitarian Christianity is an empirical claim which is truly bizarre I know of no Christian who would claim that one could know that God is triune through empirical means Twice in the first chapter he makes mention of apophatic theology yet seems to be very mistaken on what it means Some argue that religion makes no existence claims at all That last category includes adherents to apophatic theology which says that one can say nothing about the nature of God although his existence never seems to be in uestion and the books that say nothing about him are many as well as those who assert that God isn t a humanlike spirit but a nebulous ground of being that defies concrete description p 24While some take apophaticism too far the majority do make positive claims about God and Coyne seems unaware of the distinction between God s essence and energies which most apophatic theologians like Lossky spend a lot of time unfolding To oversimplify this allows those very theologians to not speak of God s nature yet still discuss His acting in the world Eually confusing is his next comment about those who claim God is a nebulous ground of being that defies concrete description This seems to be a swipe at scholastics but anyone familiar with St Thomas Auinas as Coyne later claims to be will know that he used an apophatic approach combined with defining being itself ground of being as what we call GodChapter 2 is titled What s Incompatible and sets out to define science and religion To start Coyne makes a frank admission that Until I started pondering the relationship of science and religion for this book I never really thought about what science was although I had been doing it for three decades p 27 He goes on to explain that this is typical for scientists and they normally learn on the fly He doesn t seem to be the least bit bothered by this but the lack of training of scientists in the philosophy of their own discipline is a gaping hole that is made manifest every time a scientist makes a philosophical statement that leaves those educated in philosophy baffled at how someone so intelligent could say something so foolish Coyne even gently corrects Richard Feynman for this on page 38 after approvingly uoting him on his embracing of uncertainty Feynman said I m not absolutely sure of anything which Coyne points out is incorrect and gives a few examples The author sadly seems to have not considered that convincing those who are skeptical of science might be easier if scientists were skilled in the philosophy of science This would bring the epistemic problems into focus and give scientists the tools to address them In the end Coyne struggles to define science Perhaps this would have been easier if he had not neglected such a basic philosophical notion for 30 years He even ends up using apophaticism in describing what truth is in science p 30 His attempt to define religion begins on page 41 and consists of little than a paragraph He claims he will use a definition from the Oxford English Dictionary but uickly abandons it for tangential topics that should only be explored after a firm definition has been established It is absolutely crucial at this point in the book to have a very thorough examination of what religion is or his thesis will be left in tatters and that is what happens Coyne would probably argue that religion is inherently difficult to define but that is not the readers problem Coyne stated his thesis and fails to define both of the key terms in it He does a much better job describing what he means by incompatibility on pages 63 65 This section is thoughtful and shows an understanding of what incompatibility is and is not for instance logical incompatibility is not being asserted here This sensibility probably stems from his endless arguments with creationists Unfortunately he has so mishandled the definitions of religion and science that his careful explanation of incompatibility has no use In defining faith on page 67 the wheels come off again He claims that the New Testament gives the definition of faith as the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen This is a very lazy claim It would not take much research to see that the Greek word used for faith in the New Testament and as it has been used throughout Christian history is a kind of trust Coyne takes the route of giving the OED theological definition and then contorts it to mean what he wants belief without evidence Knowing that making fideism stick is his best weapon the author makes a few feeble attempts to claim his definition but fails Using Tertullian s out of context statement about absurdity as proof for Christian fideism is a big sign that a person is not doing their own research That uote is actually embracing reason by using classical rhetoric in a writing against Marcion Coyne next takes Pope Francis out of context in uoting a homily he gave in November 2013 showing that he was condemning curiosity In fact Francis was condemning curiosity in counterfeit spirituality seeking after visionaries who get messages from the Virgin Mary every day as an example Next comes Martin Luther whose classic For reason is the greatest enemy of faith uote is taken out of its Anabaptist context and used for a cheap point that only succeeds with someone who does not check the reference Perhaps the biggest howler is on page 74 when discussing the fact that Christians would not give up their belief under any circumstance I haven t cherry picked these responses while ignoring dissenting views I ve simply never seen any Christian avow in print that he d abandon belief in the resurrection if science proved it wrong Of course such evidence would be difficult to get but because the only evidence for the Resurrection is the Bible which is known to be unreliable in many other matters it seems judicious to avoid defending Jesus revival so strongly p 74The odd thing here is that you can find that very concession in the New Testament in verses uoted 30 pages earlier in the same book Even if no modern Christian were willing to admit it St Paul did in 1 Corinthians 15 I could go on but this is enoughIn the end the colossal failure of chapter 2 to provide the definitions crucial to establishing his thesis completely undermines the central argument of the book The seemingly endless string of errors in uotations and basic philosophical and theological concepts are the last nail in the coffin What little good you find is not worth the time or the money

Jerry A. Coyne Û 1 REVIEW

We are living today in a genuinely frightening scenario religion and science are engaged in a kind of war a war for understanding a war about whether we should have good reasons for what we accept as true The sheer fact that over half of Americans don't believe in evolution to say nothing of the number of Congressmen who don't believe in climate change and the resurgen. What can possibly go wrong when people who haven t touched a philosophy or theology book for most of their lives get on the pulpit to talk about philosophy and theology Well that s exactly what Coyne did here galvanized by Richard Dawkins and some others who built a second career out of downloading their misunderstanding of philosophy and religion into the minds of the uneducated masses In a way that reminded me of the appalling documentary Religulous Coyne s definition of Religion and Faith seems to apply only to the aberrations The embittered author cherry picks easy soft targets like the example of the parents of a seriously ill girl who refuse any medical treatment and all they do for her is pray and unsurprisingly avoids engaging in any serious analysis of intellectually powerful positions like the ones of Ratzinger Bonhoeffer not to mention St Thomas or St Augustine I agree with philosophy professor Edward Feser s brilliant review of this book especially when it comes to Coyne s lack of depth and inconsistent use of terms like religion and faith Here are some uotes from Feser s review Faith versus Fact is some kind of achievement Biologist Jerry Coyne has managed to write what might be the worst book yet published in the New Atheist genre True the competition for that particular distinction is fierce But among other volumes in this metastasizing literature each has at least some small redeeming feature For example though Lawrence Krauss s A Universe from Nothing is bad as philosophy it is middling as pop science Christopher Hitchens s God Is Not Great was at least written by someone who could write like Christopher Hitchens Though devoid of interest Sam Harris s Letter to a Christian Nation is brief Even PZ Myers s book The Happy Atheist has at least one advantage over Coyne s book It came out firstThe book flies off the rails before it reaches page one In an unintentionally comic passage in his preface Coyne explains what he has in mind by religion First he tells us that his main target isn t religions that emphasize practice such as the meditation oriented versions of Buddhism Rather it is religions that emphasize controversial truth claims about the world in particular theistic faiths those that affirm the existence of a God or gods But even specifically he says he will concentrate on the Abrahamic faiths Islam Christianity and Judaism Two sentences later we learn that in fact it is mostly the various brands of Christianity that occupy this book But far from all the brands since in the very next sentence he adds that actually he will talk mostly about science and religion in the United States By the following page he ualifies this even further indicating that the views of regular believers interest him than do the fancy arguments of theologians Next it is conceded that it is only a few specific areas of science such as Darwinism that are rejected by religious believers Yet as Coyne admits even evolution is accepted by many Jews Buddhists Christians and liberal Muslims In short when all the ualifications are in it seems that Coyne s paradigm of religion is Bible Belt creationism Apparently he was absent the day his college statistics class covered the notion of a representative sampleBut to be fair to Coyne he doesn t always use the term religion in this idiosyncratic way And that s the problem He has no consistent account at all of what religion is On one page he will tell you that Jainism is not really the sort of thing he means by religion Forty pages later he ll offer Jainism as an example of the sort of thing he means by religion If the views of some theologian are clearly compatible with science Coyne will assure us that what theologians have to say is irrelevant to determining what is typical of religion But if a theologian says something that Coyne thinks is stupid then what theologians have to say suddenly becomes highly relevant to determining what is typical of religion When churchmen refuse to abandon some doctrine Coyne tells us that this shows that religion is dogmatic and unwilling to adjust itself to modern knowledge When churchmen do abandon some doctrine Coyne tells us that this shows that religion is unfalsifiable and desperate to adjust itself to modern knowledge It seems Coyne also missed that lecture in logic class about the fallacy of special pleadingCoyne speaks repeatedly of religion s methods as if there were some common techniue applied by scholastic logicians Buddhist monks and Appalachian snake handlers The theology of Thomas Auinas Hindu nationalism the cargo cults of Melanesia Scientology all of these and are casually lumped together as examples of religion as if the differences weren t at least as significant as whatever similarities Coyne thinks he sees This is like pulling random lines from a physics textbook the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Mary Baker Eddy s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures and an episode of Star Trek and then putting them forward as eually typical illustrations of science and of science s methods Coyne s own method then is to characterize religion however he needs to in order to convict it of irrationality Nor is religion the only term Coyne uses in a tendentious way The uestion begging definition is perhaps his favorite debating trick He characterizes faith as belief without or in the face of evidence and repeatedly uses the term as if this is what it generally means in religious contexts Naturally he has no trouble showing that faith so understood is irrational But this simply is not how faith is understood historically in Christian theology For example for scholastic theologians faith is assent to something that has been revealed by God And how do we know that God exists and really has revealed it Those are claims for which the theologian agrees evidence needs to be givenOf course Coyne will disagree about whether the evidence really shows what theologians say it does The point though is that whether we should have evidence for what we believe is not what is in dispute Coyne acknowledges that theologians intensely dislike the definition of faith he proposes So he not only attacks a straw man but implicitly admits that that is what he is doing Indeed you will find in Coyne s book straw men than you would at a casting call for The Wizard of Oz Coyne mocks John Paul II s claim that truth cannot contradict truth insinuating that the pope sought merely to conform science to religious doctrine In fact the pope was no less concerned to emphasize that theology has to take seriously the findings of scienceSo Coyne really does embrace scientism right Not necessarily since a couple of pages later he acknowledges that philosophy constitutes a kind of knowledge and indicates that it is distinct from science but can be useful to scientists Further he dismisses the accusation of scientism as a mere canard ritualistically flung at New Atheists And so his settled position at long last the reader thinks would seem to be that scientism is false and that there is knowledge to be had outside the boundaries of scienceBut not so fast because a couple of pages after that he says that if scientism is the view that science is the only reliable way of knowing then most of my colleagues and I are indeed guilty of scientism and scientism is a virtue never mind that he has just dismissed the accusation of scientism as a canard Reading Coyne trying to do something as simple as defining his terms is like watching him play tennis with himself And losing

10 thoughts on “Faith Versus Fact

  1. says:

    What can possibly go wrong when people who haven’t touched a philosophy or theology book for most of their lives get on the pulpit to talk about philosophy and theology? Well that’s exactly what Coyne did here galvanized by Richard Dawkins and some others who built a second career out of downloading their misunderstanding of philosophy and religion into the minds of the uneducated masses In a way that remin

  2. says:

    It's already happening Coyne's Faith vs Fact is being panned as biased curmudgeonly and ignorant It is none of these Neither is it an atheist book It is a book about knowing epistemology and how we can confidently and relia

  3. says:

    I was fortunate enough to win an advance copy of Jerry Coyne's upcoming book Faith vs Fact Why Science and Religion are Incompatible from Goodreads Jerry Coyne is a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago the author of the book Why Evolution is True and blogs copiously at his wordpress blog likewise named Why Evolution is TrueSpoiler Fact wins Although if you are familiar with Coyne's w

  4. says:

    There was a time when religious explanations of the world abounded illness weather births death earthuakes celestial events and were attributed to a god or gods the vestiges of some of these superstitions are still with us such as w

  5. says:

    Faith Versus Fact Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible by Jerry A Coyne“Faith Versus Fact is an excellent book that presents the persuasive argument that while faith and science compete to describe reality; science is the best

  6. says:

    I received this book by winning a Goodreads giveawayJerry Coyne has a thesis Science and Religion are incompatib

  7. says:

    In the preface Coyne states his thesis clearlyMy thesis is that religion and science compete in many ways to describe reality they both make existence claims” about what is real but use different tools to meet

  8. says:

    I'm not sure where even to start in my review of the book mainly because all thoughts and opinions are highly variable based on emotion and experience So I'll start there If I was anything going into this book I was an accommodationist I atte

  9. says:

    Weird science to feed the confirmation bias of the believers in noneThe first page is excellent But that is the uotations page Than t

  10. says:

    While the author has some very good points to make about why science and religion are incompatible the chapters lacked structure He went back and forth over the same thing in multiple chapters which got boring Secondly he used the argument that because all scientists tend to be atheists it supports my case and went on explaining this for a long time However this is only a correlation and cannot be considered causation without bet