Jerry Coyne v. Robert Wright (Again)

The argument over “framing science” continues today on Jerry Coyne’s blog, where he responds to Robert Wright’s latest piece in Foreign Policy. Wright criticizes the “new atheists” for being uncivil and intolerant, and says they’re liabilities in the fight against creationism:

Though the New Atheists claim to be a progressive force, they often abet fundamentalists and reactionaries, from the heartland of America to the Middle East.
If you’re a Midwestern American, fighting to keep Darwin in the public schools and intelligent design out, the case you make to conservative Christians is that teaching evolution won’t turn their children into atheists. So the last thing you need is for the world’s most famous teacher of evolution, Richard Dawkins, to be among the world’s most zealously proselytizing atheists. These atmospherics only empower your enemies.

Coyne dismisses the accusation, of course:

I still haven’t encountered a believer who says, “You know, if Dawkins would just stop dissing God, I’d embrace evolution!” And does Wright really want us to lie here? After all, teaching evolution, like teaching other forms science—indeed, like teaching any sort of critical thinking and rationality—will help turn some children into atheists. Are we supposed to say, “No—not a chance in hell of that happening”?

The debate continues …

Category: Debates


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