At Algemeiner ( December 15, 2011) Reb Moshe Averick brings us up to date on the silver medalist for “sheer crudeness, abrasiveness, and obnoxiousness,” Darwin’s man Jerry Coyne (the one who was grousing with Dawkins over Lynn Margulis’s respectful New York Times obit, which got our vote in the Reb’s contest for sure, category: crude). Anyway,
Recently, Jerry (yes, we’re on a first name basis) lashed out (read: threw a temper tantrum) at a rather brilliant academic with whom I am friendly: Dr. David Berlinski, a mathematician, science and math writer, Senior Fellow of the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, self-proclaimed agnostic, and a well known critic of Neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory. I am not qualified to pass judgment on the substance of their disagreement, which revolves around the ability or inability of evolutionary theory to account for the organized complexity of life on our planet. However, the tone and maturity level of Dr. Coyne’s screed is worth noting. Here is a sampling of what he had to say about Berlinski:
Vintage Coyne follows. Some people only talk that way when they’ve had a few too … Reb asks,
Most revealing of all is Coyne’s confession that he has “trouble believing” that Berlinski is really an agnostic. I find this intriguing. Why is it difficult for Coyne to believe such a thing?
He tries an answer:
Coyne is a fanatical atheist and a fanatical Darwinist. From Coyne’s psychological perspective, it is impossible for there to be flaws in evolutionary theory. It is impossible for any rational person to have doubts about evolutionary theory. The only possible reason for anyone to question Darwinian Evolution would be in order to promote their religious agenda. It’s clear then, that few things could be more threatening than a brilliant agnostic (like Berlinski) raising doubts about Coyne’s dearly held worldview. After all, absent the motivation of a religious agenda, perhaps the reason Berlinski claims there are holes in the theory is because there are holes in the theory. That is a little to much for Dr. Coyne to handle, hence the hysterical pushback.
Sounds about right.
Thing is, we’re used to hearing Coyne levels of abuse of scholars from crackpots who don’t claim the mantle of science; one must adjust culturally to these new atheists who do.