Coyne/Harris and atheist dogma is guilty of magical thinking along with the religious beliefs they demonize – and they are being deeply dishonest as well. For example, Coyne mews, waving his hands wildly in the air: “Religion is clearly hindering scientific progress…(Larry Krauss made the same empty claim in the New Yorker!)…”It is my belief that religion is an invidious feature of today’s world.”
Coyne presumes that magical belief/statements causes behavior. This is probably not true but certainly unproven and just a pop culture presumption and intuition. In fact, the vast experimental evidence of no free will, which Coyne/Harris/etc accept, likely proves that beliefs/statements are post hoc and correlated but not causal with behavior.
OK, Jerry is paid to provide peer-reviewed evidence for his professional statements – let’s have the same for these claims. No!? Why not? Until we have extensive peer-reviewed experimental evidence, olde Jerry’s beliefs ain’t any less magical then the people he demonizes and blames for all the world’s problem!
I have posted on this elsewhere, specifically the Times of Israel:
American atheists accept the medical facts proving humans, nor any other animal, don’t have any free will. Harris and Coyne have both written extensively on the evidence and research. Coyne repeatedly claims that religion is the cause of “malevolent acts” claiming it is “insane” to even think otherwise!”
Coyne, along with other atheists, insists on demonizing religious “beliefs.” Beliefs are just statements people make using everyday language. Religious beliefs are just everyday statements of magical things happening and existing. By definition they are lies since nothing magical exists.
Larry Krauss also holds forth in The New Yorker which I reviewed: “Physicist Larry Krauss Joins the “Black Parade” Blaming Religious “Beliefs”, Good Lord!”
Joining the – “religion is the source of bad behavior”(esp the Muslim religion, apparently) parade, which includes Sam Harris and Jerry Coyne – Krauss hammers away with such howlers as:
“But it seems fair to say that, on average, religious faith appears to be an obstacle to understanding the world.”
That’s just silly.
“One thing is certain: if our educational system does not honestly and explicitly promote the central tenet of science—that nothing is sacred—then we encourage myth and prejudice to endure.”
Gee, if we could just get everyone’s “thinking” right so many problems would be solved! Here is a good example of a physicist engaging in magical thinking, outside of his specialty.
So atheist dogma fails the basic test of both empathy and scientific evidence for it’s central claim that religious beliefs/statements cause harmful behavior. That too is likely a lie and more magical thinking.
Why anyone with a public role would waste time debunking any magical belief is puzzling. Why hasn’t Coyne written about voodoo, astrology or belief in fairies? We can assume Coyne’s livelihood has always been threatened by “religious” spouters, so he defends his bank account. Fair enough.
We still wait for a public intellectual to look at the real brain-based causes of behavior and ignore magical beliefs/statements as the trivial, epiphenomena they are – in terms of causing behavior. That hard work will not come from a prof of evolution likely.