Faith versus Fact by Jerry Coyne

Prime Quotes

"Scientists are ten times more likely to be atheists than are other Americans" (pg. 12)

"Assuming the existence of gods and divine intervention has been of no value in helping us understand the universe. This has led to the working assumption ... that supernatural beings can be provisionally seen as non-existent" (pg. 65)

"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence" (pg. 23)

"In fact, I see science, conceived broadly, as any endeavor that tries to find truth about nature using the tools of reason, observation, and experiment."

"If religious claims can’t be substantiated with reliable evidence, they should, like dubious scientific claims, be rejected, until more data arrive.”

"Virtually no modern scientific research can be motivated by religion" (pg. 216)

"The findings of science are morally neutral; it is how they are used that is sometimes a problem. When one might be tempted to make a similar argument about religion, I'll claim that there are important differences between science and faith that make religion itself complicit in its misuse" (pg. 218).

“The danger to science is how faith warps the public understanding of science.” (pg. 224)
"Acceptance of evolution, the Big Bang, the Earth's age, and anthropogenic global warming was dramatically lower among those who were more confident about God's existence and who attended church more often.” (pg 245)

Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion are Incompatible by Jerry Coyne

Other thoughts

Feeling that something is true means you strongly sense that it is a fact. That will make it seem more convincing to you than cold hard logic and evidence and proof.  But do not forget that whether the "fact" is true or not, you have created the illusion that it is true.  Feeling something true is true is embracing the truth for the wrong reason.  You put yourself under the bondage of feeling.  If religion is wrong or makes out doctrines are true for it want them to be then religion is bondage and converts are caught in a trap.


Blind faith is belief in something in the absence of any evidence (good or bad/scientific or unscientific) that it is possibly true. Blind faith describes faith in something in the face of countervailing evidence (good or bad/scientific or unscientific) that it is wrong. The strongest blind faith is believing in p when there is actual hard proof that p is wrong.

There is such a thing as blind belief and also blind unbelief.  Blind belief in something means blind unbelief in anything that contradicts the belief.  To blindly believe in God if science disproves him and you see the disproof is the same thing as blindly unbelief in science.

Unscientific faith is belief in something in the absence of any (good or bad) scientific evidence that it is true. Or it describes faith or belief in things despite the evidence pointing to them being false. The strongest unscientific faith or belief is in the face of countervailing scientific proof that it is not true.

Blind faith is hugely much more broader than unscientific belief. It will happen much more often. Religion is definitely based largely on unscientific faith or belief.

Quote: "Even if multiverse theory is hard to test, the alternative `God theory' is IMPOSSIBLE to test, for it makes no predictions." (Pg. 163)

Comment: A scientific theory has to be testable.

If the multiverse is true, it makes it easier to explain how this universe is the way it is - seemingly designed - though it got that way through mechanical and purposeless processes.

No matter how far-fetched a theory is, it is better to have one that is testable than one that is not.

A science that gives out untestable theories is not a science at all. The more untestable the theory is the further science recedes.

Many argue that God cannot be a scientific theory because there is no way of predicting what he is going to do. That is exactly what excuse you would make if there were in fact no God at all!

If God is not a scientific theory he could still be intended to be one. There are nonsensical theories that pose as science.

Quote: "The social sciences are a bit less "scientific," because until recently the culture of these areas was less influenced by hard science, and the analysis and conclusions are usually far less rigorous than those of say chemistry or biology." Comment: Psychology, economics and sociology are examples of sciences that have weaknesses. If God wants us to be together and unified, then these are the most important sciences. They are the sciences closest to God. They show something of God. So those imperfect sciences are God's inept way of helping us and revealing himself. But that denies that the best evidence is given to you by hard science. It is anti-science. Weak science being exalted over strong and hard science is not respect for science. It is not respect for truth.

Quote: "But is morality itself a way of knowing? That is, are there objective moral "truths" to be discovered? I think not, for ultimately morality must rest on preferences: something seems "right" or "wrong" because it is either instilled in us by evolution, or conforms or fails to conform to how we think people should behave for their own good and for the good of their society. Some moral preferences are often nearly universal...Secularists like myself are often consequentialists, claiming that what is "moral" is what promotes a situation that you prefer, like harmonious societies, the well-being and flourishing of other people, and so on. And those preferences can (and must) be informed by observation and study - science. If you believe, for instance, that torture is wrong because it's incapable of extracting useful evidence that can save lives, such a belief can in principle be tested. But even if it can, that doesn't settle the issue, for people differ in how they weigh the saving of lives against inflicting pain on possibly innocent individuals, or against the detrimental effect that sanctioning torture has on a society's self-image and credibility. On what single scale can you objectively weigh the pain of someone who's tortured, the possible saving of lives from that pain, and the brutalization of society that might accompany the legal use of torture? Sam Harris ... argues that what is moral is what increases "well-being", and that well-being can be measured. Most philosophers, however, agree that "ought" can't be derived from "is". I take their side. And if there are no objective moral truths, then morality isn't a way of knowing, but simply a guide to rational behavior."

Comment: If God is kind then it does not follow that God ought to be. So if morality is not objective then bringing God in does not help make it objective. Believers seem to feel that morality is nonsense and is all about feelings and opinions and isn't real. They then try to force it to become real by saying it is a person and it is the eternal God. That smacks of intolerance. Objective morality endorses tolerance. Whatever believers come up with may have many overlaps with morality if it is real but fundamentally it is opposed to it and is a replica not the real thing. An objective morality based on intolerance is not a morality at all.



A lie repeated often when it is not believed to be the truth just because people are led to think because they hear it often it must be true, can be FELT to be the truth and end up treated as good as the truth though it is not.


Debate and integrity are vital but the problem with people of faith is that often they mistake the brainwashing they got as children and force of habit for faith. I think there are less people of faith in religion and among its leadership that you would realise. If faith is good then what passes largely for faith certainly is not. Real believers would see God as a God of evidence and respect evidence so much that if it led them to atheism or another religion they would comply. Belief should not be equated with closed mindedness.


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