Jerry Coyne (uber-materialist dumbass) launches a new attack on Sheldrake

#1
http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress...give-prestigious-public-school-lecture-in-uk/

http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/woomeister-to-give-prestigious-public-school-lecture-in-uk/picture-1-350/
It’s outrageous that someone with such wacko ideas is not only being honored this way, but will be given the chance to corrupt young minds with ideas about morphic resonance, psychic phenomena, and How Dogs Know When Their Owners are Coming Home. And the lecture blurb actually boasts of this stuff, characterizing Sheldrake as “one of the world’s most innovative biologists and writers.” “Notorious” would be a better word than “innovative.” Sadly, a bunch of kids in this sold-out lecture will get to hear that materialism is a dying paradigm in science. What were they thinking?

I feel sorry for the lost opportunity to turn kids onto real, genuine, materialistic, hard science rather than fluffy woo. I don’t know about you, but I’m at least going to register a small protest.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#2
I find it amusing that this guy wants to go to such lengths to oppose Sheldrake.

Coyne seems like a special kind of internet troll, that he would follow Sheldrake into real life. :)

eta: Or does he simply plan to send a whiny little email to the school? Can't decide if that's sadder.
 
#3
I'm not really concerned about this sort of thing any more. You see actual sceptics just laugh at people like Jerry Coyne and wish similar people would stop doing a disservice to a cause they share.

I went to comment at WhyEvolutionIsTrue in reply to a romeviharo comment and returned to find my comment was removed. lol Funny stuff.
 
#4
I notice that the website makes no mention of what Sheldrake is actually going to talk about, making Coyne's fears that young minds will be "corrupted" premature this time instead of just shrill and paranoid.
 
#6
Yep Jerry is a cartoonish character, that is about the nicest thing I can say about him. This sort of thing has become his main focus, people should be concerned. As well as the Ted nonsense last year he rallied against physicist Eric Haden at Ball state university for teaching a course on the limitations of science and implications of design in nature. He claimed it violated the first amendment church separation requirement. It didn't but unfortunately Ball state caved. Ironicaly Coyne has no problem discussing religious concepts in his own recent course. Violating the separatipon requirement, but as long as it is negative then it is ok. He also took his frustration out on a sign at a museum that mentions God. What a dick!

He would never have the balls to debate Sheldrake, he has been challenged repeatedly to debate with some ID theorist and he has repeatedly turned tail and fled back to his little blog to throw stones in safety without having to answer anything. ;)
 
#8
I don't think it is helpful to refer to Coyne as a "dumbass". It often betrays a weak position in a debate to use those kinds of terms. I think he is wrong but that doesn't mean that I must use words that seem to attack him personally. Those are the things that people like Dawkins do. Obviously Coyne is not dumb just because he holds a different view. He is blind to certain kinds of evidence which don't support his ideology. It is why science has devolved into 'scientism'.

I am personally mystified by intelligent scientists who seem to have blind spots in their view of reality. But, then, we all have them don't we to a greater or lessor extent?
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#9
You make a good point Buzzard. Ad hominem is not an effective tactic.

At the same time, even for someone like myself who is not 100% convinced by "paranormal" phenomenon people like Coyne come off as malevolent. I left a comment asking that since Jerry didn't believe in free will why did it matter what Sheldrake did - and why should he be villified?

That wasn't allowed, but comments comparing Sheldarke's teaching to sexual abuse of children are apparently OK. Hard not to get a bit hot under the collar in the face of such behavior.
 
#10
You make a good point Buzzard. Ad hominem is not an effective tactic.

At the same time, even for someone like myself who is not 100% convinced by "paranormal" phenomenon people like Coyne come off as malevolent. I left a comment asking that since Jerry didn't believe in free will why did it matter what Sheldrake did - and why should he be villified?

That wasn't allowed, but comments comparing Sheldarke's teaching to sexual abuse of children are apparently OK. Hard not to get a bit hot under the collar in the face of such behavior.
I understand. Upon some reflection, I realize that my comment was a bit of the pot calling the kettle black. I am guilty of some of the same kinds of reactions to positions which I find not only untenable but blindly ridiculous.
 
#11
I don't think it is helpful to refer to Coyne as a "dumbass". It often betrays a weak position in a debate to use those kinds of terms. I think he is wrong but that doesn't mean that I must use words that seem to attack him personally.
Helps? Debate? Weak position.lol. I think the man's take on things is beyond silly. Lighten up a bit will ya. Do you prefer " uber-materialist wanker"? :D
 
#12
I don't think it is helpful to refer to Coyne as a "dumbass". It often betrays a weak position in a debate to use those kinds of terms. I think he is wrong but that doesn't mean that I must use words that seem to attack him personally. Those are the things that people like Dawkins do. Obviously Coyne is not dumb just because he holds a different view. He is blind to certain kinds of evidence which don't support his ideology. It is why science has devolved into 'scientism'.

I am personally mystified by intelligent scientists who seem to have blind spots in their view of reality. But, then, we all have them don't we to a greater or lessor extent?
As someone who has followed Coyne's jihad against Sheldrake from the TED controversy, I have been slowly coming to the conclusion that he is indeed on the very threshold of "dumbass" territory if he hasn't crossed over yet. I mean seriously, look at what he's written:

http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress...peaks-argues-that-speed-of-light-is-dropping/
http://www.newrepublic.com/article/115533/rupert-sheldrake-fools-bbc-deepak-chopra
http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress...give-prestigious-public-school-lecture-in-uk/

He's gone completely off the rails.

Sheldrake has responded to this latest bit of nonsense by writing to the president and provost of Chicago University. It's a nice, polite letter that says all the right things in the right ways. I've asked him for permission to publicly publish this letter, but not right now. I don't want it to appear as though Sheldrake is pressuring the folks at Chicago U. without giving them a chance to resolve this quietly.

Sheldrake is absolutely justified in doing this because Coyne uses his faculty position to lend weight to his arguments. Coyne has dragged Chicago U. into the fray and what he does reflects on them.
 
#13
I saw this in another part of the forum, was thinking about starting a thread over here about i actually. I think there are few better expositions of materialism as a religion than that blog post and associated comments. The vitriol has to be seen to be believed. It's actually striking how much of the imagery seems to come from religious fundamentalism. For example you could very easily read woo as "evil" and not lose anything in translation.
 
F

Frank Matera

#14
I saw this in another part of the forum, was thinking about starting a thread over here about i actually. I think there are few better expositions of materialism as a religion than that blog post and associated comments. The vitriol has to be seen to be believed. It's actually striking how much of the imagery seems to come from religious fundamentalism. For example you could very easily read woo as "evil" and not lose anything in translation.
  • Pushes the education of their religious belief system onto young children. - Check
  • Protests and placards others who don't hold the same beliefs as them - Check
  • Resorts to name calling and degrading terms to attack people personally. - Check
  • Tries to ban dissenting opinions from being heard. - Check
Oh you thought I was talking about Coyne? I was talking about Westbro Baptist Church. I can see why you could be confused.
 
#16
I'm not really concerned about this sort of thing any more. You see actual sceptics just laugh at people like Jerry Coyne and wish similar people would stop doing a disservice to a cause they share.

I went to comment at WhyEvolutionIsTrue in reply to a romeviharo comment and returned to find my comment was removed. lol Funny stuff.
The site name "WhyEvolutionIsTrue" immediately strikes me as an odd title. It feels like this person, Jerry Coyne, is trying to sell(?) the idea of evolution. I think it's well established life can and will physically alter and transform from; environmental stress, random mutation, inter species competition etc..., but the understanding and science, IMO, are vastly more incomplete and lacking than what is claimed to be known. Which is likely an honesty the Jerry Coyne types would never agree and admit to or are possibly incapable of grasping this concept beyond their own hubris and bias.

Matt
 
#17
The site name "WhyEvolutionIsTrue" immediately strikes me as an odd title.
I think it is aimed as a deliberate provocation towards a specific and quite narrow audience, there are some groups in which the mere mention of "evolution" is seen as a direct attack upon their particular faith.

This is one of the problems, that a small disagreement with one group is magnified and projected onto anyone and everyone, even those who do don't subscribe to a fundamentalist / creationist doctrine. In other words, it is tilting at windmills.
 
#18
I think it is aimed as a deliberate provocation towards a specific and quite narrow audience, there are some groups in which the mere mention of "evolution" is seen as a direct attack upon their particular faith.

This is one of the problems, that a small disagreement with one group is magnified and projected onto anyone and everyone, even those who do don't subscribe to a fundamentalist / creationist doctrine. In other words, it is tilting at windmills.
Dogma seems to be an often under estimated social influence across all demographics

The format of Skeptiko is exactly what lead me to this forum. I was raised by default atheist. Organized religion just wasn't something I was overly exposed to and I had a high aptitude for science.

But many personal experiences and my "gut feelings" have encouraged me to look beyond what humanity has attempted to encapsulate spiritualism in and seek an individual connection or faith in a Creator. However, I do not view the concept of a Creator as a singular entity or even "father" consciousness. Unfortunately, this is when words fail and there really is no way of describing a personal faith. It just is.

Evolution is real and it does exist, but IMO far too much emphasis has been placed on it. It's becoming a "house of cards" that is increasingly being defended with dogma and the Scientific Method is taking a back seat.

Matt²
 
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