Evolution News and Views (ENV) provides original reporting and analysis about the debate over intelligent design and evolution, including breaking news about scientific research.

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Lying for Darwin

Over the past couple of months at Jerry Coyne's blog, Why Evolution Is True, he and Matthew Cobb have written several blog posts attacking Stephen Meyer's Signature in the Cell -- by my count, five posts. The most recent by Coyne accuses Meyer of dishonesty:

Meyer does not mean well. He is spreading lies and confusing people by distorting real science. Is that the unfortunate result of "meaning well"? Do you think that because somebody is a "Christian brother," he's incapable of lying for Jesus?

Isn't it strange, though, that for all the persistent attacks on Meyer, in quite personal terms, Professor Coyne hasn't dared to actually read Steve's book? That's obvious because Coyne's throwaway summary of its contents -- Signature "maintains that cells must have been designed by God because they're too complex to have evolved" -- is an absurd misrepresentation. Even someone who had only read reviews of the book would know as much. Has Coyne in fact read the critical review of Signature, by Darrel Falk, on which he bestows approval? Or Meyer's detailed response to Falk, which Coyne dismisses as "more of the same ID pap"? Unless he's a very poor reader -- and being a professor at the University of Chicago would presumably indicate otherwise -- you do get the strong impression that he's commenting upon a bunch of writing by other people without having read it, certainly not with any care. Maybe he's too busy playing with his cats that he makes so much of on his blog. Or maybe he's sloppy. This is the same Dr. Coyne who earlier characterized Steve Meyer as a "young-earth creationist," which of course he's not.

But I dunno, attacking someone else for writing something that you haven't read or even carefully read about strikes me as just plain old dishonest. If you add to that Coyne's braying slurs against Steve Meyer as "lying for Jesus," a "lying liar," etc., then to the charge of dishonesty I think you'd have to add hypocrisy as well.