Thinking Christian

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Dishonesty Is As Dishonesty Does

Posted on Sep 21, 2012 by Tom Gilson

This morning I posted a comment at New Atheist provocateur Jerry Coyne’s blog, “Why Evolution Is True.” I was somewhat surprised he let it out of moderation, because in the past he hasn’t let me comment there, except when he could twist my words to his purposes.

When I saw how he handled it, though, I had no cause for surprise. What he did, predictably enough in hindsight, was to admit my comment aboard so he could laugh at it again. Anyway he put it out where others could see it and ask questions. I replied, but he deleted those answers. The effect, then, was to make it appear that I had nothing to offer in response.

He has pulled these schoolyard shenanigans in the past. I have called him on his intellectual dishonesty in the past. He’s at it still.

His post was about a creationist who had written to him, whose message according to Coyne “instantiates the quality of thought exuded by creationists.” I wrote this in response:

You’re a scientist, Dr. Coyne. You know better than to present a non-random, single, anecdotal case as typifying a group. This instantiates the quality of one person’s thought, not that “exuded” by a group.

He let that through, though not without editing his original post to add this:

LOL! Why, first of all, is it nonrandom? In what respect? Because I didn’t select one creationist out of all of them in the world? It’s “random” with respect to “creationists who write fairly literate posts on evolution websites” (it has only two errors of spelling or usage).

As far as this comment not typifying the thought of a group, all I can say is that the Thinking Christian hasn’t been doing his/her homework: this is actually perfectly representative of the views of many creationists. It instantiates not only the God-of-the-gaps argument with respect to the complexity of the brain, but also the “irreducible complexity” view that two organs that seem to need each other (although they actually don’t!) can’t have evolved together. It must have been God! Above all, it bespeaks the embarrassing ignorance of biology—willful or otherwise—evinced by creationists.

Thinking Christian, put your thinking cap back on.

Oh well. What did I expect, after all?

I didn’t respond directly to that. I could have explained to him what “nonrandom” means, but I know he was only pretending to be ignorant; he knows well enough what it means. There was more relevant territory to cover, which I did elsewhere on the page, in response to two direct challenges issued by others. Achrachno asked me,

You seem to think none of us have ever seen creationists or their arguments before. Did this one seem uniquely defective to you? The ones I’ve seen are uniformly bad and the one Jerry posted was at least more literate than most we see on the web.

Would you like to present a good argument for creationism that we average WEIT readers can have a look at and perhaps comment about?

I answered,

Did this one seem uniquely defective to me? No, I’ve seen arguments this bad frequently enough. I’ve written about some of them. I’ve also seen some equally mindless nonsense from evolutionists. Both groups have their uneducated and thoughtless representatives. So what?

What is the point of this post from Dr. Coyne? If it’s to show that creationists are stupid, then a proper scientific approach (if he believes in science) would be to find some way of operationalizing the definition of “stupid” and measuring that defined “stupid” in contrasting groups. You would also need to define the groups appropriately. You would need, for example, to differentiate various groups of creationists, just as you would want to differentiate educated evolutionists from uneducated ones. Then you would need to show that one group exhibits more “stupid” than the other.

There’s nothing of that here. What there is instead is one non-random comment selected for the purpose of exposing it to ridicule. It’s there for laughs. It’s not at all unlike the bullying kind of ridicule that grade-schoolers do to each other.

(It would be interesting when doing the science on which group is more stupid, to do a parallel study on which group’s treatment of those who disagree with them is more mature. I’m not drawing any unscientific conclusions, but if I wanted to follow Dr. Coyne’s bad example and take a biased non-random sample on this topic—playground-bullying type behaviors—I could easily find it at Panda’s Thumb, Pharyngula, or even WEIT.)

Anyway, Dr. Coyne’s commitment to science seems rather selective, because there’s no empirical evidence that Aaron’s thoughts instantiate anything but Aaron’s thoughts. There’s only Coyne’s, and his acolytes’, admittedly biased opinions on the matter.

You’re baiting me to provide an argument for creationism. If you’re a thinking, rational person, then you know that that is nothing but a red herring with respect to what I am saying here. I’m saying Dr. Coyne’s practice of social science is absurdly biased and weak. Whether I pass or fail on evolution has nothing to do with whether he passes or fails on social science.

That answered remained stuck in moderation while deepakshetty brought this brief challenge forth:

Please present the best argument for creationism.

In reply I posted this:

deepakshetty, I’ve already replied, and that reply is awaiting moderation. So these things are going to show up on the site in an odd sequence.

Anyway, I have three questions for you, and then a statement:

1. What makes you think I’m defending creationism?

2. What makes you think I am a creationist?

3. How do you define creationism anyway?

Those are the three questions I have for you. The statement is this: my grad degree is in quantitative social science (industrial/organizational psychology). I didn’t come here talking about creationism, I came here talking about Dr. Coyne’s poor application of scientific thinking to an issue that relates to social science–but one that is not so specifically in the social sciences that he should have been unaware of the relevant principles.

That’s what I’m here to discuss, and as I said in the other comment that’s awaiting moderation, whether I believe in or defend creationism is a red herring, completely irrelevant to whether Dr. Coyne is himself abusing science in the manner I have described.

Those two answers of mine are off the site now. They’re no longer awaiting moderation, they’ve just evaporated away. They were there in the moderation queue for a while (1.3 MB PDF), visible to me as the author, and also to the site administrator, but not to anyone else. They’re gone now (442 KB PDF). What that means, if you don’t know how blogging works, is that Dr. Coyne or someone under his authority looked at them and kicked them off.

Recently now someone there has asked why I haven’t had anything more to say, and has challenged me to “put my God where my mouth is.”

Dr. Coyne is not willing to discuss anything but on his own biased terms. As a result his commenters remain blithely uninformed that they’ve been throwing red herrings across my path, they’re unaware that I’ve called them on the fallacy, and by this suppression of information, Coyne has encouraged them to remain ignorant of the fact that not everyone who disagrees with him “instantiates” the same kind of thought “exuded by creationists.” He’s hiding empirical data on Christian thinking that’s every bit as relevant as what he highlighted.

Is Jerry Coyne a scientist? Certainly, when it’s convenient to him. Intellectual dishonesty is as intellectual dishonesty does.

41 Responses to “ Dishonesty Is As Dishonesty Does ”

  1. Sault says:

    Let us go right to the heart of the matter. Perhaps you wouldn’t mind responding to clubschadenfreude’s question to you -

    “so, TC, would you want to claim that you’ve Never ever seen this nonsense repeated again and again on forums and creationist websites?”

    Tom… this really seems petty on your part. I was really expecting more from you.

  2. Tom Gilson says:

    Sault, your question is confusing. What you’ve lifted out of this to complain about is something I’ve already owned up to. I mentioned it there on Coyne’s blog, though it wasn’t allowed to appear; I linked here to what I had already written long ago on this topic.

    What’s the problem?

  3. Tom Gilson says:

    Also, Sault: as I wrote to Coyne (though he disallowed it), the question is not whether it’s possible to find mindless creationism. The question is whether that means anything. As I said, mindlessness is easy to find anywhere, including evolutionist circles, by the way.

    Did Coyne mean to show that Creationism is stupid? Then it was incumbent upon him as a scientist to show that it’s stupid relative to some other reference group. One quote cannot do that. Or would you like me to display a mindless pro-naturalistic evolution quote and thereby proclaim all naturalistic evolutionists stupid? That would be stooping low. It’s exactly the kind of thing Coyne did.

  4. JAD says:

    I was just thinking, what a kind, compassionate and tolerant human being Jerry Coyne must be. Anyone else have the same thoughts?

  5. BillT says:

    You said it best here:

    “Oh well. What did I expect, after all?”

  6. Mike Gene says:

    Sault: Let us go right to the heart of the matter.

    The heart of the matter is Coyne’s behavior, Sault. As we can see, he does not allow dissent on his blog and does not value free speech. Give an Gnu some power and we see how they handle the religion issue.

    Yet Sault would distract us from this behavior. Could it have something to do with the fact that Sault could not bring himself/herself to criticize Coyne and acknowledge that Tom places more value on free speech and dissent than Coyne?

  7. Trey says:

    So what is your take on evolution? Did it or did it not happen? If it did happen what does it mean for the Genesis account of Adam and Eve and original sin? If you’ve covered it on here already my apologies for asking.

  8. My experience with Coyne was similiar; he makes PZ Myer look positively courageous. And Richard Dawkins, to give him credit, is willing to debate archbishops and Concerned Women for America, even if it unfortunately turns out that William Lane Craig fails to meet his lofty moral standards.

    To paraphrase C. S. Lewis, an atheist cannot be too careful about his conversation.

  9. Tom Gilson says:

    Trey, that’s a very large question. I appreciate your sensitivity to whether I’ve already dealt with it. I suggest you take a look through my category on Origins and Science. Thanks.

  10. Tom Gilson says:

    David, I agree. Whatever else you might say about PZ Myers or Dawkins, at least they portray a semblance of intellectual honesty. (I’ll make an exception to that for the way Dawkins ducked the debate with Craig, though.)

  11. Mike Gene says:

    Trey: So what is your take on evolution? Did it or did it not happen? If it did happen what does it mean for the Genesis account of Adam and Eve and original sin? If you’ve covered it on here already my apologies for asking.

    LOL! Yes, let’s quickly change the topic by stirring up a creationism/evolution debate so we can all quickly forget about Coyne’s censorship.

  12. Mike Gene says:

    My experience with Coyne was similiar; he makes PZ Myer look positively courageous.

    Anyone surprised that the guy who engages in such heavy-handed censorship also wants to make a religious upbringing illegal?

    http://shadowtolight.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/jery-coynes-authoritarianism/

  13. Tom Gilson says:

    It’s called bullying.

  14. Mike McCants says:

    “because there’s no empirical evidence that Aaron’s thoughts instantiate anything but Aaron’s thoughts.”
    WRONG. Aaron’s ignorance and denial of science is very typical. Apparently you never look at Answers in Genesis, Ray Comfort, the Discovery Institute, Creation Ministries, etc. You are in denial.

  15. Mike Gene says:

    Anyway, Dr. Coyne’s commitment to science seems rather selective, because there’s no empirical evidence that Aaron’s thoughts instantiate anything but Aaron’s thoughts.

    LOL. Better yet, there is no empirical evidence that this “Aaron” is a creationist. Could just as well be a Gnu troll.

  16. Neil says:

    As we can see, he does not allow dissent on his blog and does not value free speech.

    Well, he doesn’t believe in free will, so no surprise there. In practice, people who give up on free will tend not to place too much weight on occupying their time with moral deliberation – they’re prone to instantly act in whatever way they perceive will satiate their ego’s immediate needs.

  17. Tom Gilson says:

    It took me a while to get to comments today, and Mike McCants’s was in moderation for several hours as a result.

  18. Tom Gilson says:

    Mike,

    Actually I agree with you that Aaron’s thoughts exemplify other creationists’, but which ones and how many, and in what degree compared to others? There is a more responsible way to deal with these matters. Coyne wasn’t laughing at Aaron, he was laughing at creationists. In order to do that with intellectual honesty (I won’t bring in the other aspect of relational maturity quite yet) he would have to show that creationists in general are more likely to be intellectually deficient than evolutionists. Not only that, but he would have to differentiate between educated and uneducated members of both groups.

    As my co-authors and I have shown in True Reason, there’s a strong case to be made that thought leaders in the New Atheist movement, most of whom are also strong advocates for naturalistic evolution, are weak in the skills of rational discourse. Coyne himself commits some real boners in reasoning, which I’ve identified elsewhere on this blog.

    So it’s at least open to question whether creationists deserve the derision Coyne gives them. If he were consistently a scientist, he would try to find out before basing his opinion on his anecdotal and biased judgment.

    And if you yourself believe in empirical evidence for your beliefs, you might take the time to follow the link I provided in the OP to “How Not To Argue Against Evolution.” (It’s not labeled that way in the OP but it’s not exactly hidden; you can find it.) What you would find if you followed that link is that I’m not so much in denial as you think.

    And what you would find if you were less biased about it is that the DI doesn’t fit on the same list as AiG, Ray Comfort, Creation Ministries, etc.

    Now about that matter of relational maturity–see my OP. ‘Nuff said.

  19. Sault says:

    Actually I agree with you that Aaron’s thoughts exemplify other creationists’

    See, now that wasn’t so hard. So what you’re really calling him “intellectually dishonest” because he expressed a broad sentiment that he didn’t substantiate as well as you personally would have preferred. I mean, even though you agree with him.

    Good Lord, Tom – that’s what I meant when I was saying that you were being petty.

  20. Tom Gilson says:

    Sault, you have a gift for taking things out of context. I won’t try any longer to rescue you from your bias, because apparently you are committed to it no matter what evidence may come against it–though I thought you were better than that, too.

    Other readers, please continue to the end of the sentence he yanked that fragment from, and to the end of the paragraph, even. Thanks.

  21. JAD says:

    I was being sarcastic when I wrote up above @ 4:

    “I was just thinking, what a kind, compassionate and tolerant human being Jerry Coyne must be. Anyone else have the same thoughts?”

    I was wondering if there are any like minded atheists out there (who think like Coyne), who truly do think that Coyne is “a kind, compassionate and tolerant human being.”

    I am trying to understand his thinking.

  22. Tom Gilson says:

    I’d be very interested to hear that too, JAD.

  23. Sault says:

    “Other readers, please continue to the end of the sentence he yanked that fragment from, and to the end of the paragraph, even.” [Tom]

    Okay.

    “Actually I agree with you that Aaron’s thoughts exemplify other creationists’, but which ones and how many, and in what degree compared to others?” [Tom]

    Let’s return to the comment that you are criticizing, Tom -

    “But then I thought that I should let his comment go through, since it instantiates the quality of thought exuded by creationists.” [Coyne]

    All he had to do was put the word ‘some’ or even ‘many’ in front of creationists and it wouldn’t have been a problem. All this fuss over one word? Calling him intellectually dishonest over one word??? I mean, he even goes back and restates himself later on -

    ” this is actually perfectly representative of the views of many creationists.” [Coyne]

    But you continue to bust his chops over it? To me, that’s petty.

    I have no axe to grind with you – I speak to only this one instance (although now I wonder about some of your other criticisms about Dr. Coyne). In general I consider you to be thoughtful, articulate, and well-spoken. I disagree with you on many topics, but I read many of your posts with interest. I am disappointed by this one.

  24. David Martin says:

    Sault, you need to consider not just the lack of the qualifying word “some” in one sentence, but also how Coyne chose to select which of Tom’s comments made it into the comment stream and which did not. Not qualifying the original statement may be a slip. However, allowing Tom’s original question and then blocking his replies to challenges indicates that Coyne’s intention is to make those who disagree with his position look bad.

  25. Tom Gilson says:

    All he had to do was put the word ‘some’ or even ‘many’ in front of creationists and it wouldn’t have been a problem. All this fuss over one word? Calling him intellectually dishonest over one word??? I mean, he even goes back and restates himself later on

    Sigh. Let me explain. Those of you who have already caught it need not read further, because I’m only repeating myself…

    What is the point of this post from Dr. Coyne? If it’s to show that creationists are stupid, then a proper scientific approach (if he believes in science) would be to find some way of operationalizing the definition of “stupid” and measuring that defined “stupid” in contrasting groups. You would also need to define the groups appropriately. You would need, for example, to differentiate various groups of creationists, just as you would want to differentiate educated evolutionists from uneducated ones. Then you would need to show that one group exhibits more “stupid” than the other.

    If the point of his post wasn’t to make fun of creationists generally, then what was it? I mean (and I’ve said this umpteen times here already!) you can find someone to make fun of in any group and it doesn’t mean a thing unless it means something more than making fun of one person! It only makes sense for Coyne to make fun of one creationist if in the process he thinks he’s making fun of a lot of them, or most of them, or most likely in Coyne’s case, all of them. If you doubt that last clause, then you haven’t read enough of Jerry Coyne.

    Sault, you’re aghast at me for making a big deal out of one word, the word “some.” I’m not the least bit impressed. Sorry. You’re the one that’s making a big deal out of that one word, and completely failing to see the whole purpose of his blog post.

    I’m sorry I’ve disappointed you. Maybe you don’t know enough about Jerry Coyne to get it. If you think he was waffling on “some,” then I guarantee you don’t know enough about him. He has nothing, I repeat nothing but contempt for what he calls creationism (into which he lumps considerably more categories than most creationists would count) and for what “accommodationism,” the idea that there might be some points of fruitful discussion between some religion and some science somewhere. I’m not making that up. That’s Jerry Coyne.

  26. Tom Gilson says:

    Thanks for that helpful clarification, David. Coyne was dishonest in the way he treated my comments, there’s no getting around it.

  27. JAD says:

    Consider the following:

    Atheists are dishonest and immoral.
    Sault is an atheist
    Therefore, Sault is dishonest and immoral.

    Is that a logically valid argument? I would argue that it could be because the major premise could be interpreted as making a universal claim: “All atheists are dishonest and immoral.”

    Now consider this argument:

    Some atheists are dishonest and immoral.
    Sault is an atheist
    Therefore, Sault is dishonest and immoral.

    Is that a valid argument? According to Sault it is because the only difference is one little word– “some”.

    My point is if Coyne did not include the word some in his original statement I don’t see that we are warranted in assuming that it is implicit.

  28. Mike Gene says:

    Sault: All he had to do was put the word ‘some’ or even ‘many’ in front of creationists and it wouldn’t have been a problem. All this fuss over one word? Calling him intellectually dishonest over one word??? I mean, he even goes back and restates himself later on

    Are you ever going to deal with the fact that Coyne let Tom post one token comment and then blocked all further attempts to communicate? Are you afraid to criticize Coyne’s behavior?

  29. JAD says:

    This is Coyne’s view of accommodationism which he posted on Richard Dawkin’s website in 2009:

    Here I argue that the accommodationist position of the National Academy of Sciences, and especially that of the National Center for Science Education, is a self-defeating tactic, compromising the very science they aspire to defend. By seeking union with religious people, and emphasizing that there is no genuine conflict between faith and science, they are making accommodationism not just a tactical position, but a philosophical one. By ignoring the significant dissent in the scientific community about whether religion and science can be reconciled, they imply a unanimity that does not exist. Finally, by consorting with scientists and philosophers who incorporate supernaturalism into their view of evolution, they erode the naturalism that underpins modern evolutionary theory.
    http://richarddawkins.net/articles/3767#368197

    Also, take a look at what Richard Dawkins wrote(see comment #16):

    “If they’ve [the creationists] been told that there’s an incompatibility between religion and evolution, well, let’s convince them of evolution, and we’re there! Because after all, we’ve got the evidence. … I suspect that most of our regular readers here would agree that ridicule, of a humorous nature, is likely to be more effective than the sort of snuggling-up and head-patting that Jerry [Coyne] is attacking. I lately started to think that we need to go further: go beyond humorous ridicule, sharpen our barbs to a point where they really hurt. …You might say that two can play at that game. Suppose the religious start treating us with naked contempt, how would we like it? I think the answer is that there is a real asymmetry here. We have so much more to be contemptuous about! And we are so much better at it. We have scathingly witty spokesmen of the calibre of Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris. Who have the faith-heads got, by comparison? Ann Coulter is about as good as it gets. We can’t lose!”

  30. Otto Tellick says:

    I’ve known about Coyne for years (because I read Pharyngula pretty regularly), but I’ve only looked at Coyne’s blog once or twice. I don’t actually recall when I last saw it, or what I saw there, so for me at least, it seemed to lack that certain “je ne sais quoi.” Based on what Tom described, I feel like I haven’t been missing much there.

    I find Coyne’s use of (ahem) “moderation” to be pretty disappointing – especially when other respondents specifically asked Tom for a reply, and his replies were discarded.

    The only hint of some “benefit of the doubt” rationalization I could imagine might be that Coyne decided Tom’s replies were “off topic”: the topic was creationism and how ridiculous people can get when they try to argue for it – and then Tom went ahead and admitted, “I’m not here to talk about creationism.” Well, there you go then.

    Still, I’d say pass it along, and let the other readers see for themselves whether Tom is trying to change the subject.

    As for the notion of using ridicule as “debate strategy”, let’s admit that none of us on any side of the debate are immune to indulging in that temptation. I do admire Tom, and a number of his supporters here, for holding to a low score on the snark scale. Forgive me my trespasses, as I forgive those who trespass against me…

  31. JAD says:

    I would argue that Coyne and Dawkins use an approach that is more coercive than persuasive. When you ridicule people you are attempting to make them conform to a point of view rather than change their point of view. A true change of mind is voluntary and volitional; it is internal vs. external.

    In his book How We Believe: The Search for God in an Age of Science, skeptic Michael Shermer briefly describes how as a teenager he became an evangelical Christian and then how he lost his faith and became a secular humanist. He writes in the books preface:

    “The primary credit…for my turn toward science and secular humanism in graduate school goes to Professor Baynard Brattstrom, Meg White, and Doug Naverick at the California State University– Fullerton, whose passion for science made me realize that no religion could come close to the epic narratives told by cosmologists, evolutionary biologists, and social scientists about the origins and evolution of the cosmos, life behavior, and civilization.” (xv-xvi)

    Now let’s think through this for a practical perspective. Do you think that Shermer changed his world view because he was subjected to unending ridicule and contempt? Or, was it because professors were willing to engage him in a respectful, even friendly non-hostile manner?

    BTW I disagree with Shermer’s position, which in my view conflates a philosophical world view “naturalism” with “science.”

    My point is that this is how persuasion really works in a free, open and democratic society.

  32. Tom Rafferty says:

    You may want to consider an alternative view by reading my book “Making Stuff Up is Unwise.”

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/1478106123

  33. SteveK says:

    From Tom Rafferty’s book page.

    The premise that the use of reason, skepticism and science is the best route to the understanding of reality and leads to maximizing well-being for individuals and society at large is well supported.

    This is obviously an incomplete list. I know that I love my wife, yet reason, skepticism and science played no part in my ability to understand this reality.

  34. Victoria says:

    @SteveK re: Rafferty’s book
    Alternative view? Really? Is he serious?
    It’s the same atheistic worldview all over again, another instantiation of Romans 1:18-3:1 and 1 Corinthians 1:18 and on. Paul really got it right.

    Unfortunately, not being a trained philosopher, theologian or scientist, he doesn’t seem to be too aware of this. Too bad, because his writing style is easy to follow and otherwise nice.

  35. SteveK says:

    Victoria,
    As irony would have it, Rafferty got the title right. Unwise indeed.

  36. Tom Gilson says:

    I’m sorry the idea of “libraries full of evidences for God” is giving you pause, Safe as Houses. I don’t quite see how it begs the question, though. First, it’s a factually testable statement: if there are libraries full of information that supports belief in, arguments in favor of, the existence of God, then there just are those libraries. That’s an empirical matter. And there are such libraries, or at least large portions of libraries, with that kind of information in them.

    This is not about “books professing God,” but books supplying reasons to believe in God. You may or may not think that’s sufficient evidence to believe in God, but your disagreeing with the conclusions of such evidence doesn’t make it into non-evidence. A criminal jury’s disagreement that a matching gun in the suspect’s possession nails him for the shooting doesn’t mean the fingerprint is automatically non-evidence. Both the prosecuting and the defense attorney can agree there are shelves full of evidence implicating the defendant without there being enough to convict.

    So please, if you think I’m begging the question with this, explain just what you mean, with a proper understanding of what “evidence” means. You might even take a long look at some of those evidences as you do so.

    Coyne apparently misunderstands “evidence;” I hope you can take a second look at it and see it more clearly.

  37. Tom Gilson says:

    oops. thanks. I see now that there were other errors and omissions in this comment. Please disregard any confusion here and go to the post SteveK aimed me back at.

  38. Victoria says:

    Rafferty has an interesting snippet from his chapter on ‘Claims in Support of a God”, regarding the design argument….

    Life is indeed complex but it does not imply design. Diamonds and snowflakes are complex but are not designed.

    Sorry, Mr. Rafferty, but diamonds and snowflakes are exceeding simple – diamonds are crystals that exhibit long-range order – if you know where one carbon atom is, given the crystalline lattice specification matrix, you know where all the carbon atoms are. Snowflakes, while structurally complex, arise from a very simple algorithm (process) and the quantum molecular properties of the water molecule. Had you had real scientific training in physics, you would know that.

    The Amazon blurb says

    This book is written for the educated individual who is open to objectively examining his or her worldview and the methods used in forming such. It is particularly appropriate for individuals who are religious and/or who are into any form of pseudoscience but are beginning to question their beliefs. The premise that the use of reason, skepticism and science is the best route to the understanding of reality and leads to maximizing well-being for individuals and society at large is well supported. Unlike most books of this nature, it takes a wide and consistent perspective. Religion, alternative medicine, politics, evolution, climate change, conspiracy theories, paranormal activity, education, finance, communication and miscellaneous pseudosciences are addressed. There are so many topics covered, with citations, that it may be considered a beginning reference resource for topics discussed

    Really? What sort of expertise and scholarly qualifications do you have to discuss these topics – if you couldn’t get some very simple physics right, why should we take you seriously about anything else?

    An educated person? Really? I have a PhD in Physics, taught it at the university level for a number of years – will that do? A scientifically and Biblically un-educated person might be taken in by this sophistry.

    The book is full of assertions without support and analysis, saying but not citing (except for Wikipedia and the Gnu Atheists), and no indication that he has applied critical thinking to the understanding of Biblical Christianity and what thoughtful, wise Christian scholars have to say.

    ‘Nuf said

  39. SteveK says:

    Victoria,
    Mr. Rafferty is a retired physical therapist according to his profile page. From that same page, there is this:

    I am chemically part of a vast universe (?multiverse). I am alive as part of the animal kingdom and the human family.

    What an odd way to describe yourself.

  40. Victoria says:

    @SteveK
    Ah, but it sounds so erudite, especially if a person wants to appear to be part of the post-modern intellectual elite (brights, I think they call themselves), or audition for a part on ‘The Big Bang Theory’

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