In the latest issue of Current Biology, Steve Pinker has written a longish review (2 pages) of Faith versus Fact, and it’s free online (pdf at the link). His review is called “The untenability of faitheism,” a title I like a lot. You can read it for yourself, but I’ll give two brief excerpts. The first shows Steve’s frequent use of tropes from popular culture.
The term faitheism was coined by Jerry Coyne, a Drosophila biologist who made major contributions to our understanding of speciation before becoming a prolific essayist, blogger and a vociferous public defender of the modern synthesis in evolutionary biology. (How vociferous? His blog is called ‘whyevolutionistrue’.) His latest book, Faith Versus Fact, is intended not to pile on the arguments for atheism but to advance the debate into its next round. It is a brief against the faitheists — scientists and religionists alike — who advocate a make-nice accommodation between science and religion. As with Michael Corleone’s offer to Nevada Senator Pat Geary in The Godfather Part II, Coyne’s offer to religion on the part of science is this: Nothing.
Now I didn’t coyne the term “faitheism”, as I recall: it was the winner in a contest I devised to invent a word that referred to atheists who are soft on religion; and I can’t remember who won. But I’m glad it’s become a part of the science/religion discourse.
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