Jerry Coyne, born December 30, 1949, is an American professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago.
He is known for his teaching on evolutionary biology, speciation, and genetic analysis1, his book and blog Why Evolution is True2 and his attacks on organized religion3.
Considered a “New Atheist”, he is a member of the “Imagine No Religion”4 working group.
Coyne has been taken to task in The New York Times for his unyielding bias against religious belief. Ross Douthat wrote:
“One of the problems with belonging to a faction that’s convinced it’s on the winning side of intellectual history is that it becomes easy to persuade oneself that one’s own worldview has no weak points whatsoever, no internal contradictions or ragged edges, no cracks through which a critic’s wedge could end up driven. …right now its vices are often found in a certain type of atheistic polemicist, and in a style of anti-religious argument that’s characterized by a peculiar, almost-willed ignorance of why reasonable people might doubt the scientific-materialist worldview.
“… Coyne is a prominent evangelist, suggesting that its view of the cosmos — a purposeless, purely physical universe, in which human life is accidental, human history directionless, and human consciousness probably an illusion — is at odds with its general political and moral posture (liberal, egalitarian, right-based, progressive) in ways that make the entire world-picture ripe for reassessment or renovation.
“… For a man who believes in ‘a physical and purposeless universe’ with no room for teleology, Coyne seems remarkably confident about what direction human history is going in, and where it will end up. … I can’t imagine a permanent intellectual victory for a worldview as ill-served by its popularizers as atheism is by Jerry Coyne.”5
3. Jerry Coyne’s Twisted History of Science and Religion
Alex Berezow, Forbes, October 21, 2013
4. “Meeting report: Imagine No Religion”
Jerry Coyne, May 17, 2014
5. The Confidence of Jerry Coyne
Ross Douthat, The New York Times, January 6, 2014
Photo source: Wikipedia