—Jerry Coyne[1]

The history of science and theology together shows that the former constantly nibbles away at the ambit of the latter, forcing theologians into ever more abstract conceptions of God, in which He either disappears or His actions become undetectable. This rearguard action, consisting entirely of special pleading and post facto rationalization (also called “making stuff up”), is known as Sophisticated Theology.

Jerry Coyne is a prominent New atheist and like Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers Coyne is an Evolutionary Biologist.

  1. Is there something about understanding evolution that made all three atheists?
  2. Is there something about Creationists attacking evolutionary biologists in silly ways that makes some of them become prominent, outspoken atheists?

Anyway Jerry Coyne is highly intelligent and a strong debater. Coyne runs a blog critical of religion and Christianity that's well worth reading.


Jerry Coyne has a low opinion of the sophisticated theology that he has read.


(...) dismissing atheists because they haven’t read the likes of Duns Scotus has been debunked by P. Z. Myers in a famous post called “The Courtier's Reply.“

Later in the same article Coyne adds


In the end, it still comes down to theologians making stuff up to buttress a shaky faith against the onslaught of science and rationality: the post facto rationalization of religion euphemistically called “apologetics.”

Coyne feels that sophisticated theology is far removed from what ordinary Christians believe and it is reasonable for atheist critics to address religion as ordinary believers see it. Coyne does not feel that sophisticated theologians are nearer to any real religious truth than other believers.


(...) no brand of religion knows more about God than any other; ergo “sophistication” rests not on more advanced knowledge, but on the ability to use fancier words or gain affiliation with a university. In what sense is Tillich more “sophisticated” than William Lane Craig? Does Tillich know more about God than does Craig? I don’t think so. (...) If you read Sophisticated Theology™ as Walter Kaufmann did, you’ll see (...) intellectual dishonesty. Its advocates make things up exactly like Less Sophisticated Theologians

Evolutionary psychology[]

Jerry Coyne believed evolutionary psychology can improve our understanding of human behaviour while PZ Myers strongly disagrees. The two had a public spat on the subject.

  1. Another lame attack on evolutionary psychology


Coyne dislikes the Templeton Foundation. He thinks there is too much money and not enough Science. [4] [5] Basically Coyne feels vast sums of Templeton money are used to bribe journalists and scientists to think in warm fuzzy ways about religion and spirituality and also to write warm fuzzy material about religion. [6]


Coyne feels labeling people haters is a way sloppy thinkers avoid adressing the reasons people criticise something. Antitheists are written off as people who hate religion. Opponents of Islam are called haters as are critics of Roman Catholicism and the same goes for others who criticise anything. Terrorists are described as haters without analysing the reasons for terrorism.[7]

Social justice[]

Coyne is concerned about Social justice. He drew attention to the plight of poor people in Rio de Janero (Brazil). They were driven from their homes so the area would look good for rich tourists coming to the Olympic games. Also the land where many poor people lived will be developed for profitable luxury housing. [8]

Coyne is concerned that western feminists tend to overlook oppression of women under Islam. Coyne appears to recognise that Feminists can achieve more dealing with discrimination against women in the west, at least he tries to discuss that. Still Coyne says he personally believes western feminists overlook discrimination against women under Islam because they see Muslims as an oppressed group and find it stressful to think about an oppressed group also being an oppressor. [9]

2016 US presidential election[]

Coyne prefers Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump but thinks a Trump victory is so unlikely that can be disregarded. [10] I disagree. I'm not betting any money that Trump will win as that's unlikely. [11] I don't want to bet my life either and the life of the whole world that Trump with his instability and poor impulse control will never get control of nuclear weapons. Even a ten percent or five percent chance of Trump getting the nuclear trigger is enough to frighten me.


Coyne supports costumes that make fun of, “Three blind mice” which could offend:

  • People registered blind who can see the costumes, perhaps with visual aids.
  • People with failing vision who can still see the costumes.
  • Blind people who hear a description of the costumes.
  • People with normal vision who know a blind person.

The rhyme Coyne cites ridicules blind mice that mistakenly run towards their attacker.[12]


External links[]

  • Jerry Coyne, Ph.D. Jerry Coyne is a professor at the University of Chicago and explains his work there.
  • Why Evolution Is True This is Jerry Coyne's other website, here he writes intelligently about many subjects and readers can post comments.