And he does. Which he has proven time and time again; and has, unsurprisingly, furnished us with more evidence of it:
In defense of Lawrence Krauss’s latest piece of intellectual self-immolation, Jerry argues:
“But if in fact one construes science broadly, as a combination of reason, empirical study, and verification, yes, existence of God should show up in “scientific” inquiry.” [But it does not, he goes on to argue].
If one “construes science” in such a manner, then yes, the existence of God, contra Jerry Coyne, does show up in “scientific inquiry”, for if we were to take, say, the argument from first cause, then we’re starting from principles that are not only based in reason, but are also empirically verifiable, and have in fact been empirically verified before the process of ’empirical verification’ had even been conceptualized.
But it’s even worse than that for Jerry, since “science”, so broadly construed, makes everyone a scientist — yes, even the theologians he expends great effort to criticize — for (almost) everyone goes about his merry way using reason, empiricism and verification. Apparently for Jerry, the mere act of mixing peanut butter and chocolate because reason and empirical verification has determined that the result can be extremely pleasing to the palate is already to do science.
And since Jerry is defending Krauss’s piece where Krauss argues all scientists must be militant atheists because “Belief or nonbelief in God is irrelevant to our understanding of the workings of nature . .”, then Jerry (and Krauss for that matter) might as well ride the crazy train all the way and argue all bakers need to be militant atheists given that belief or nonbelief is like totally irrelevant to making a cake.
And these guys — these scientists, no less! — claim to be rational and evidence-based.
As an aside, I can certainly say I used reason and have empirically verified that on matters philosophical Jerry Coyne demonstrably does not know what the hell he’s talking about. So, really, it’s just science.
But, yes, I’m sure other Christians like myself will be vastly amused to know that, as per Jerry, we can all start happily referring to each other as fellow scientists, since his broad definition of science not only grants us the status of scientist, it also grants theology the status of science.
Taking offense at John Gray’s takedown of Richard Dawkins, Jerry Coyne, again, prattles on about matters of which he knows nothing:
“Even I, a lowly biologist, know that many of the “church fathers,” including Augustine and Aquinas, took the Genesis story literally (including Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden); only after you accepted the historicity of these events, they said, could you also read into them other meanings. And get your story straight, you faitheists! […] It’s time to dispel the trope that nobody took Genesis literally until recent times. For millennia, theologians and believers have seen it as historical truth, and you don’t have to do much research to find that out.”
Of course Coyne means to say that biblical literalism isn’t solely a fairly recent phenomenon within the church, and evidences this by implying Augustine and Aquinas, perhaps two of the most influential thinkers of classical Christian theism, are literalists. Coyne obviously wants to be able to shriek “look, 6-day creation, Adam and Eve, an apple and a talking snake! — what utter codswallop!”
Only, St. Augustine was not a literalist. Ditto Aquinas. He –they– definitely took some parts literally, but that’s mainly because they were men of their time, and those were the parts of the bible they, being men of their time, had no reason to read otherwise. Someone from 3rd century Palestine, say, who’s never encountered a whale, or any scientific literature showing that the anatomical structure of whales precluded the possibility of humans surviving in them for periods of time, may well be justified in taking that part of the story of Jonah literally. There is, after all, no reason for him, as far as he can see, to take it otherwise. That they (Augustine and Aquinas) aren’t literalists in the sense Coyne wants them to be should be obvious to anyone who’s had a moment to acquaint himself with their writings. So Coyne’s bandying about of Augustine’s or Aquinas’s literal reading of some parts of the bible as evidence that they were literalists only further demonstrates Coyne’s incompetence on the matter. In trying to refute John Gray, Coyne only succeeds in doing the opposite of what he intended, making John’s broader point, which is that Dawkins, and, by extension, Jerry Coyne, love to, and ought to desist from, pontificating on matters about which they know bupkis.
What’s becoming abundantly clear is that neo atheists like Coyne are only competent inside the lab, if they can be said to be competent at anything at all. Outside it, they show a laughable ignorance of not only philosophy, but of history, by making assertions any competent historian, philosopher, or anyone else who has the time to take a cursory glance at wikipedia for that matter, can easily dispel.
Coyne is a prat who should seriously stick to cataloging fruit flies.
Jerry Coyne, respected biologist, responding to a one Fr. Aidan, says:
“If you think there is a supernatural ‘being,’ first give me convincing evidence that it exists. And that evidence cannot be your personal revelation, or that of earlier theologians, but must be something that nearly all rational, objective, and skeptical observers would agree on. If you adduce Scripture as your evidence, then you’re also adducing the very kind of god you reject. Until you give me evidence as strong as that which I’d give you if you asked for evidence for evolution, I needn’t engage you or take your arguments for god seriously.”
O.K., Coyne. As you wish:
Firstly I’ll note with amusement that right-off the bat you misrepresent what our foremost theologians do. They do not, at least when arguing with your kind, cite personal revelation or scripture as evidence for theism. Remember, it’s you who prats on about there being no good arguments for theism, yet you show us that you are simply mostly unaware of them, or maybe pretend they either don’t exist or are unaware of them, as evidenced by what you imply most apologists do.
Convincing evidence that ‘a supernatural being’ (aka “God”) exists are the following: 1, The Cosmological Argument, 2, The Moral Argument, and 3, The Historicity of the man Jesus.
As far as I can gather, most of the rebuttals to these arguments are themselves unconvincing. For instance, one of the most popular objections to the cosmological argument is that it raises the question ‘who created God?’ That is of course not a serious objection as it is to wholly misunderstand the argument it attempts to rebut. Another objection to the cosmological argument is that the universe is simply a ‘brute fact.’ But that’s just to avoid the question and is no different from saying the universe just exists ‘magically’. In the case of the moral argument, one of the best objections that people from the new atheist cabal can give is that morality is an evolutionarily helpful illusion. Fine. It’s either an illusion or it is not. If it’s not an illusion, then some form of theism must be true (needs unpacking, but not here). So people can hardly be faulted for wanting to affirm morality to be objective, in fact Sam Harris, failingly, tries to do it all the time. On the historicity of Jesus, there have been many counter-hypotheses to the resurrection, some more unconvincing than others, like Jesus had a twin, or that the apostles — and hundreds of other people a lot of whom were previously skeptics — collectively hallucinated seeing Jesus. Of course, none of these are convincing. The only way they may seem more convincing is if, as Craig argues, one assumes naturalism from the onset. But if we don’t engage in the fallacious practice of begging the question, then the resurrection hypothesis clearly becomes the most explanatorily powerful given the background evidence (like Jesus’s prescient claims about himself, and so on).
Sure, some, mostly philosophers, do engage these arguments seriously. But you do not. And so do most others like you. So, unfortunately for you, Fr. Aidan Kimel is right: you don’t engage with the best arguments. I doubt it can even be said that you engage with any of the moderately intelligent ones, much less the best ones. In fact you, on one occasion, have made the very unintelligent (to put it mildly) remark that there are no arguments for God’s existence “that aren’t taken up and refuted in [the book] The God Delusion.” You actually seriously meant that Richar Dawkins’s book has ‘refuted’ all the arguments for the existence of God, which is, if you’ll excuse me, downright stupid (more about this and why below).
First of all, Dawkins never addresses the contingency part of the cosmological argument, except in an absolutely puerile manner. He mentions Aquinas’s 3rd way, yet demonstrates that he does not know what Aquinas even means as evidenced by the fact that he believes Aquinas was trying to show the universe had a beginning — Aquinas argues that it’s impossible to show the universe had a beginning! Dawkins even makes, perhaps even popularized, the ‘who created God’ objection, which is, as I soften say, not even a sightly serious objection to the cosmological argument, since the argument isn’t that ‘everything has a cause’, rather it’s that everything ‘contingent’ (or that had a beginning) has a cause. It simply beggars belief that someone who clearly does not have an atom of knowledge about the argument he is criticizing has been able to successfully refute it.
Dawkins, who you say wrote this book that had successfully refuted ‘all the arguments for the existence of God’ at one point even said: “No one has given any reason to think that the First Cause is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good, etc”, which is, again, to show a complete bankruptcy of knowledge about the argument he attempts to refute. Aquinas, whom Dawkins is targeting, spends hundreds of pages exfoliating on this and getting those very characteristics of God from his first-cause argument. Other theologians like William Lane Craig, Samuel Clark, and Leibniz do the same thing. So to say that none of it had been done is simply wrong and shows that Dawkins — and, by extension, you — have zero idea, and have never actually read about the writers and theologians you both expend large amounts of energy criticizing. So addressing the best arguments for theism is something neither you nor Dawkins, or anyone like both of you for that matter, seem to do, or even want to do, or even will be doing in the future.
Contra the Moral argument, Dawkins, about whom you rather remarkably said had successfully refuted all the arguments for theism in existence, refreshingly admits that on atheism “there is at bottom no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pointless indifference..We are machines for propagating DNA.. It is every living object’s sole reason for being.”
Well, good luck with that. If that’s the case then religion isn’t the evil you claim it is, because, remember, as per Dawkins, “there is no evil, no good, nothing but pointless indifference.. We are machines for propagating DNA“!
I can go on about this book. But that, above, should suffice to show that Dawkins has not, like you claim, ‘refuted all arguments for God’s existence’. It should suffice to show that he (and you) do not understand, much less have successfully refuted, all, or even any, of the arguments for God’s existence. What he — you — was able to refute, and what Fr. Aidan claims you (and he) — and the likes of you and he — attempt to refute, are the strawman versions for the arguments for God’s existence, and not the arguments themselves.
So Fr. Aidan, 1, you 0.
Look, Jerry, clearly you’re an accomplished scientist. Evidence matters to you, I get it. But what’s also clear is that the evidence on this occasion is that when it comes to ‘tackling’ the arguments for God’s existence, you do not know what the hell you’re talking about.