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Michael Egnor: Jerry Coyne confirms a hypothesis about secular religion

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Michael Egnor

Serious news can wait as bit; let’s have some more entertainment. Remember when Darwinian evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne was insisting that secular humanism is not a religion? His “archenemy” (his term) Michael Egnor took this on:

At Why Evolution Is True, biologist Jerry Coyne has a post about a Quillette article on whether secular humanism is a religion. John Staddon, an emeritus professor of biology and psychology at Duke and the author of the Quillette article, says yes, and Coyne disagrees…

Staddon’s piece is topical, well written, and carefully reasoned. Coyne is of course free to disagree with Staddon’s conclusions. But he does not merely disagree. Coyne rants that Staddon’s essay should never have been published. In other words, he responds to the observation that atheism is censoriously thuggish by… being a censorious thug.

That’s a perk to the article. Staddon wrote a good article, and he got atheist Jerry Coyne to confirm his hypothesis. It would be funny, but for the display of hate and malice. Michael Egnor, “Evolutionist Seethes as Duke Professor Analyzes Secular “Religion”” at Evolution News and Science Today:

But it got people reading…

Hey, serious stuff again tomorrow!

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See also: Jerry Coyne insists that secular humanism is not a religion


Jerry Coyne vents his views on David Klinghoffer He tells readers, “The “Darwinian Perspective,” or at least the atheistic one, hadn’t at all proved terribly corrosive. Indeed, people found it liberating.” ENST editor Klinghoffer disagrees with that.

The very name of Coyne's blog "Why Evolution Is True" refutes Coyne's belief that evolution is true. To claim that something can be true you must first believe in a worldview that can ground truth. Atheistic materialism in general and Darwinian evolution in particular, are unable to ground truth. Therefore Darwinian evolution can't possibly be 'true'. In particular, atheistic materialism denies the reality of the immaterial mind. And yet truth is an abstract property of the immaterial mind.
The Argument from Truth - Peter Kreeft and Fr. Ronald Tacelli, SJ (Intervarsity Press, 1994) Excerpt: This argument is closely related to the argument from consciousness. It comes mainly from Augustine. *Our limited minds can discover eternal truths about being. *Truth properly resides in a mind. *But the human mind is not eternal. *Therefore there must exist an eternal mind in which these truths reside. https://www.peterkreeft.com/topics-more/20_arguments-gods-existence.htm#11
At most, Darwinists can claim that truth is merely an emergent property of some material basis in a brain which has no independent existence apart from the material it is suppose to be 'emerging' from in the brain. In short, to an atheistic materialist, truth is dependent on whatever prior state the material particles happen to be in in some brain. Moreover, since reason itself is an abstract immaterial property of the immaterial mind then, to an atheistic materialist, the state that the material particles may happen to be in in some brain is, according to materialistic presuppositions, ultimately governed by pure chance and/or randomness and cannot be governed by the immaterial reason of the immaterial mind.
Atheists can give no reason why they should value reason, and Christians can show how anyone who believes in reason must also believe in God. Cogito; Ergo Deus Est by Charles Edward White Philosophy Still Lives Because God Isn't Dead - per Salvo THE ARGUMENT FROM REASON - John M. DePoe Excerpt: (CS) Lewis closes the third chapter of Miracles with this conclusion: Reason is given before Nature and on reason our concept of Nature depends. Our acts of inference are prior to our picture of Nature almost as the telephone is prior to the friend’s voice we hear by it. When we try to fit these acts into the picture of nature we fail. The item which we put into that picture and label "Reason" always turns out to be somehow different from the reason we ourselves are enjoying and exercising as we put it in. [. . .] But the imagined thinking which we put into the picture depends—because our whole idea of Nature depends—on thinking we actually doing, not vice versa. This is the prime reality, on which the attribution of reality to anything else rests. If it won’t fit into Nature, we can’t help it. We will certainly not, on that account, give it up. If we do, we should be giving up Nature too. http://www.reasonsforgod.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/DePoe-The-Argument-from-Reason.pdf Why Atheism is Nonsense Pt.5 - "Naturalism is a Self-defeating Idea"video Excerpt: "Since we are creatures of natural selection, we cannot totally trust our senses. Evolution only passes on traits that help a species survive, and not concerned with preserving traits that tell a species what is actually true about life." Richard Dawkins - quoted from "The God Delusion" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ff-5rsrDRGM Why Evolutionary Theory Cannot Survive Itself - Nancy Pearcey - March 8, 2015 Excerpt: Steven Pinker writes, "Our brains were shaped for fitness, not for truth. Sometimes the truth is adaptive, but sometimes it is not." The upshot is that survival is no guarantee of truth. If survival is the only standard, we can never know which ideas are true and which are adaptive but false. To make the dilemma even more puzzling, evolutionists tell us that natural selection has produced all sorts of false concepts in the human mind. Many evolutionary materialists maintain that free will is an illusion, consciousness is an illusion, even our sense of self is an illusion -- and that all these false ideas were selected for their survival value. So how can we know whether the theory of evolution itself is one of those false ideas? The theory undercuts itself.,,, Of course, the atheist pursuing his research has no choice but to rely on rationality, just as everyone else does. The point is that he has no philosophical basis for doing so. Only those who affirm a rational Creator have a basis for trusting human rationality. The reason so few atheists and materialists seem to recognize the problem is that, like Darwin, they apply their skepticism selectively. They apply it to undercut only ideas they reject, especially ideas about God. They make a tacit exception for their own worldview commitments. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/03/why_evolutionar094171.html
i.e. To an atheistic materialist, truth is primarily arrived at by pure chance and/or randomness and not by reason. The atheistic materialist, and all the thoughts that he or she may have, is/are simply a 'victim' of whatever state the material particles of his brain may randomly take. Why the state of material particles in one brain may randomly coincide to the state of material particles in another brain to produce an agreement that something/anything, say evolution, may be true, is, apparently, one of those 'miracles' of Darwinian evolution that we are not to examine too closely lest we become heretics of the Darwinian faith. Besides truth and reason, there are many other abstract immaterial properties of the immaterial mind that are held to be 'emergent', or more properly, illusory, within the atheistic materialist's worldview. Abstract immaterial things that everybody, especially including Darwinists, take for granted as being real. "Real' immaterial things that become illusory and therefore ‘non-real’ within the Darwinian worldview. As Dr. Egnor states in the following article, “Human beings think about mathematics, literature, art, language, justice, mercy, and an endless library of abstract concepts.”
The Fundamental Difference Between Humans and Nonhuman Animals – Michael Egnor – November 5, 2015 Excerpt: Human beings have mental powers that include the material mental powers of animals but in addition entail a profoundly different kind of thinking. Human beings think abstractly, and nonhuman animals do not. Human beings have the power to contemplate universals, which are concepts that have no material instantiation. Human beings think about mathematics, literature, art, language, justice, mercy, and an endless library of abstract concepts. Human beings are rational animals. Human rationality is not merely a highly evolved kind of animal perception. Human rationality is qualitatively different — ontologically different — from animal perception. Human rationality is different because it is immaterial. Contemplation of universals cannot have material instantiation, because universals themselves are not material and cannot be instantiated in matter.,,, ,,, It is in our ability to think abstractly that we differ from apes. It is a radical difference — an immeasurable qualitative difference, not a quantitative difference. We are more different from apes than apes are from viruses. https://evolutionnews.org/2015/11/the_fundamental_2/
Abstract immaterial mathematics is particularly interesting to look at. Although every rigorous theory of science requires verification from mathematics, and experimentation, in order to be considered scientific in the first place,,,
“No human investigation can be called real science if it cannot be demonstrated mathematically.” – Leonardo da Vinci
,,, there simply is no place for the abstract immaterial, beyond space and time, realm of mathematics to find grounding for its reality in the reductive materialism that undergirds Darwinian thought.
What Does It Mean to Say That Science & Religion Conflict? – M. Anthony Mills – April 16, 2018 Excerpt: In fact, more problematic for the materialist than the non-existence of persons is the existence of mathematics. Why? Although a committed materialist might be perfectly willing to accept that you do not really exist, he will have a harder time accepting that numbers do not exist. The trouble is that numbers — along with other mathematical entities such as classes, sets, and functions — are indispensable for modern science. And yet — here’s the rub — these “abstract objects” are not material. Thus, one cannot take science as the only sure guide to reality and at the same time discount disbelief in all immaterial realities. https://www.realclearreligion.org/articles/2018/04/16/what_does_it_mean_to_say_that_science_and_religion_conflict.html Platonic World vs Physical World https://i2.wp.com/abyss.uoregon.edu/~js/images/platonic_physical.gif Naturalism and Self-Refutation – Michael Egnor – January 31, 2018 Excerpt: Mathematics is certainly something we do. Is mathematics “included in the space-time continuum [with] basic elements … described by physics”? It seems a stretch. What is the physics behind the Pythagorean theorem? After all, no actual triangle is perfect, and thus no actual triangle in nature has sides such that the Pythagorean theorem holds. There is no real triangle in which the sum of the squares of the sides exactly equals the square of the hypotenuse. That holds true for all of geometry. Geometry is about concepts, not about anything in the natural world or about anything that can be described by physics. What is the “physics” of the fact that the area of a circle is pi multiplied by the square of the radius? And of course what is natural and physical about imaginary numbers, infinite series, irrational numbers, and the mathematics of more than three spatial dimensions? Mathematics is entirely about concepts, which have no precise instantiation in nature,, https://evolutionnews.org/2018/01/naturalism-and-self-refutation/
Besides mathematics, literature, art, language, justice, mercy, the entire abstract immaterial concept of species also becomes illusory in the materialist's worldview:
Darwin, Design & Thomas Aquinas The Mythical Conflict Between Thomism & Intelligent Design by Logan Paul Gage Excerpt: First, the problem of essences. G. K. Chesterton once quipped that “evolution . . . does not especially deny the existence of God; what it does deny is the existence of man.” It might appear shocking, but in this one remark the ever-perspicacious Chesterton summarized a serious conflict between classical Christian philosophy and Darwinism. In Aristotelian and Thomistic thought, each particular organism belongs to a certain universal class of things. Each individual shares a particular nature—or essence—and acts according to its nature. Squirrels act squirrelly and cats catty. We know with certainty that a squirrel is a squirrel because a crucial feature of human reason is its ability to abstract the universal nature from our sense experience of particular organisms.,,, Denial of True Species Enter Darwinism. Recall that Darwin sought to explain the origin of “species.” Yet as he pondered his theory, he realized that it destroyed species as a reality altogether. For Darwinism suggests that any matter can potentially morph into any other arrangement of matter without the aid of an organizing principle. He thought cells were like simple blobs of Jell-O, easily re-arrangeable. For Darwin, there is no immaterial, immutable form. In The Origin of Species he writes: “I look at the term species as one arbitrarily given, for the sake of convenience, to a set of individuals closely resembling each other, and that it does not essentially differ from the term variety, which is given to less distinct and more fluctuating forms. The term variety, again, in comparison with mere individual differences, is also applied arbitrarily, for convenience’s sake.” Statements like this should make card-carrying Thomists shudder.,,, The first conflict between Darwinism and Thomism, then, is the denial of true species or essences. For the Thomist, this denial is a grave error, because the essence of the individual (the species in the Aristotelian sense) is the true object of our knowledge. As philosopher Benjamin Wiker observes in Moral Darwinism, Darwin reduced species to “mere epiphenomena of matter in motion.” What we call a “dog,” in other words, is really just an arbitrary snapshot of the way things look at present. If we take the Darwinian view, Wiker suggests, there is no species “dog” but only a collection of individuals, connected in a long chain of changing shapes, which happen to resemble each other today but will not tomorrow. https://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=23-06-037-f
Needless to say, if your materialistic Darwinian worldview can't even define what a species truly is then any claim that you may make that your Darwinian worldview is true and explains the "Origin of Species" is completely bogus to put it mildly. Perhaps most damning of all, the atheistic materialism that undergirds Darwinian thought cannot even ground the abstract immaterial concept of personhood:
"The Astonishing Hypothesis is that "You," your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll's Alice might have phrased: "You're nothing but a pack of neurons." This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing." Francis Crick - Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search for the Soul (p. 3) "Science provides clear-cut answers to all of the questions on the list: there is no free will, there is no mind distinct from the brain, there is no soul, no self, no person that supposedly inhabits your body, that endures over its life span, and that might even outlast it." Alex Rosenberg - The Atheist's Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life without Illusions – pg. 147
Thus, Coyne may think that he believes that 'evolution is true', but alas there is, according to his worldview, really no Coyne to believe anything, much less believe whatever illusory non-existent truth that he may be claiming to be true for his illusory self. bornagain77

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