Jerry Coyne

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—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 out understanding of human behaviour while PZ Myers strongly disagrees. The two are having a public spat on the subject.

  1. Another lame attack on evolutionary psychology


  1. Rosenhouse on God-guided mutations again
  2. 2.0 2.1 Another very Sophisticated Theologian explains why animals have to suffer
  3. Walter Kaufmann on the gerrymandering of theologians

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.

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