His latest target is Neil deGrasse Tyson. Coyne writes:
Tyson posits that religion doesn’t have an issue with science because most American’s “fully embrace science.” He says there’s been a “happy coexistence [between science and religion] for centuries.” ...Coyne conflates science with atheist beliefs. Americans do fully embrace scientific facts that can be demonstrated with observation and experiment. He is just unhappy that they have not fully adopted his "view".
First, of all, I don’t agree that most Americans “fully embrace science.” That’s certainly not true as far as my own field, evolution, is concerned. Only 16% of Americans embrace the scientific view of evolution as a mindless, materialistic process, one that takes place without divine guidance.
Coyne goes on to complain that Tyson is not fully on board with his strategy for extirminating religion:
if we’re going to expunge creationism from schools, going after it as cases of teachers pushing “bad science” would involve a painful, step-by-step review of each teacher’s behavior, and then the onerous process of correcting or firing that teacher. But going after creationism as an incursion of religion into the public sphere — a perfectly proper and justified thing to do — eliminates the problem in one swipe. No creationism can be taught, anywhere.This is yet another example of where evolutionists pretend to be just promoting science, but they are really much more interested in pushing an anti-religion agenda. I think that controversies over evolution are almost entirely driven by bad scientists who trying to use science to push their personal belief systems.
By “problem”, I mean, of course, the legality of teaching creationist views (including intelligent design) in schools. The bigger problem remains: religion, the source of creationism. So even if you don’t care about the other inimical (and more serious) side effects of religion, ignoring it as the source of creationism is a blinkered view.
Update: Tyson responds. He is simply promoting science, without getting sucked into unnecessary and unscientific disputes about religion. Not everyone wants to evangelize for the atheist cause the way Coyne does.