Jerry Coyne on "Can Atheism Be Proven Wrong?"

Jerry Coyne, of Why Evolution Is True fame (the book and the blog), has put up a post today, Greta Christina on The Controversy, citing and discussing my recent AlterNet piece, Can Atheism Be Proven Wrong? You know, the one on whether atheism can be proven wrong… and how religion needs to provide, not only good evidence for its hypothesis, but a coherent hypothesis in the first place. (We’ve been talking about it here in this blog, too.)

Since he’s one of the two main participants in the debate I’m exploring in this piece, I’m really tickled that he’s talking about it. And the comment discussion is interesting and thoughtful. Check it out!

Jerry Coyne on "Can Atheism Be Proven Wrong?"
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6 thoughts on “Jerry Coyne on "Can Atheism Be Proven Wrong?"

  1. 1

    No matter what “deistic” evidence I might be confronted with, so long as my brain is functional I predict I will prefer the hypothesis that my brain has become dysfunctional.
    The only way around that would be for {Deity} to upgrade said brain (already well past its warranty), at which point all further perceptions and conclusions are more parsimoniously explained as part of the reprogramming.

  2. 2

    As an atheist, it irritates me so terribly when religious people say “atheism requires just as much belief as my religion” or even “atheism IS a religion!”
    It’s like comparing the day and the night, and saying that the night has just as much light in it as the day – when we all know that darkness is caused by a lack of light! It’s ridiculous.

  3. dan

    As a one time devoted agnostic, and a person that cringed at the absurdity of theism, a few years ago I somehow fell in love with the idea of a trickster god(s) as a plausible explanation for all the things we would file under the heading of ‘evil’. In some ways the trickster hypothesis feels like a strange cousin to the idea of a fallen world embedded within a larger domain, at the same time feeling refreshingly sovereign to any traditional religious teachings, but I digress.. Thought you may find my little yarn fun entertainment, enjoy:

  4. 4

    Since the relevant Pharyngula thread appears to be extinct, pls allow me to post here what I’d hoped to put there:
    Can anyone explain to me why the following comment, uploaded to Coyne’s blog post linked above at the time shown –

    Pierce R. Butler
    Posted November 5, 2010 at 7:52 pm |
    Purely for the sake of discussion, consider the state of physics circa 1886: confident in its models of the material world though unable to resolve minor anomalies, such as Michelson ‘n’ Morley’s experiments on the speed of light that year.
    Circa 1905, just about everything went back to the drawing boards. Even so, the previous paradigm continued to return good results (NASA still uses Newton’s 400-y-o equations, no?).
    Among the mysteries in the depths of the genome, the sheer complexity of the thing might well hide emergent effects the unweaving of which may eclipse Darwin in the same way Einstein superseded NASA’s buddy Isaac Whatsisname.
    Lacking the training to assess Fodor & Piattelli-Palmarini & Bennett’s claims for myself, I have no reason to doubt our esteemed host’s critiques thereof. It does seem safe to say that in terms of evidence they haven’t reached their 1886.
    Nonetheless, the probability that genetics-driven theoretical revolutions in biology await is considerably above zero, and (w.a.g. warning) probably better than that of civilization enduring to achieve them.

    – has, as of this morning, been disappeared without a trace?
    The first time I was apparently censored at WEIT, I had taken a swipe at an easily visible error of Coyne’s that had perhaps gotten too personal. Here, that doesn’t seem to apply. What taboo have I transgressed?

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