The most recent thing we had heard that Darwinian biologist Darwinian evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne was unhappy about was David Qualen’s book on Carl Woese. The Tangled Tree:A Radical New History of Life has far too much about horizontal gene transfer for a Darwinist’s liking.
Before that, we heard that skeptical mathematician David Berlinski had vexed him.
Hey, say what you want about Jerry; he allows his complaints about life to be heard! This time, it is about Templeton, for funding a study of atheism.
Lois Lee, a religious scholar whom I’ve written about before, is the lead investigator on a big Templeton grant, or, as The Conversation describes her in erroneous spelling, “Principle [sic] Investigator on the Understanding Unbelief programme.” Templeton gave her and her co-PI Stephen Bullivant (also a religious scholar) nearly three million dollars to study the nature and variety of “unbelief”. While the grant summary pretends that this is a dispassionate inquiry into the origin and nature of atheism, I wrote at the time that giving the grant to these two was “like asking creationists to direct a sociological study of why so many scientists accept evolution.”
And indeed, it’s clear from Lee and Bullivant’s writings that their study is tendentious. It’s not a rational inquiry into atheism, but rather an attack on atheism, and, in Lee’s latest article in The Conversation, “Why atheists are not as rational as some like to think” (click on screenshot), she positively celebrates irrationality. Jerry Coyne, “Templeton funds more atheist-bashing” at Why Evolution Is True
Now there’s an idea: Give Uncommon Descent funds to study Darwinians in their natural habitat. It would be fun and we’d never lack material.
Seriously, Jerry goes to considerable trouble to defend the idea that atheists are rational and the obvious response must be: We will keep that fact in mind.
See also: Jerry Coyne continues to be unhappy over David Quammen’s book on Carl Woese