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A Cordial Invitation to Jerry Coyne: Please Debate With Us at ENV

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University of Chicago biologist Jerry Coyne takes umbrage at the fact that we don't generally allow comments at ENV. In the context of exchanges over the matter of his intimidation campaign against untenured Ball State University physics professor Eric Hedin for teaching about intelligent design, Coyne writes at his "Why Evolution Is True" blog:

But what I want to say to Klinghoffer (besides requesting that he stop lying about me wanting Hedin fired) is this: if you’re so fond of “teaching the controversy”, why do you, and every other person who writes for Evolution News & Views, refuse to allow comments on your site?

There are good reasons for our policy -- which is not absolute since we have sometimes made exceptions and opened the Black Gate to would-be (civil) commenters. But for a sample of what we'd expect if we published all comers, look in the comments under the post where Dr. Coyne decries our policy. There's something really vile about people, including many of Coyne's readers, assailing the name of someone they don't like without having the guts to reveal their own name. Yet contemporary Darwinists have a special love for such cowardly anonymity. The idea of sponsoring a venue for free self-publishing by individuals like that -- no, no way. I would never agree to it.

But returning to Dr. Coyne, I confess to having participated in a needless escalation of rhetoric. To him we are "clowns" or worse, and I'm a stooge for defending the religion that well over a hundred generations of Coyne's own ancestors lived for -- and were murdered and died for -- the "despised faith" that includes among its hallmarks the imperative to defend the weak, the widows and orphans, the Eric Hedins, from their secure, powerful persecutors. For my part, I have said Coyne is an "ignoramus" (on intelligent design, and on his ancestral faith, Judaism). I would be very happy to be proven wrong, here in our own living room at ENV. I would cheerfully offer an apology if Dr. Coyne can show us he knows what he's talking about in condemning the theory of intelligent design. I don't mean he has to win me or anyone else over to Darwinism, just to offer something substantive, better than his summary of the yet unpublished book by Stephen Meyer, Darwin's Doubt, which he hasn't read a page of, as "Yes, baby Jesus made the phyla!"

With that in mind, we extend this cordial invitation to Professor Coyne. You say Darwinists want to debate. You say we don't. But we do! We have gladly published critics of ID in this space, friendly and not so friendly, notably your University of Chicago colleague James Shapiro and "skeptic" Michael Shermer. We have debated them in a way that I, at least, found interesting and enlightening. Shermer, for sure no friend of ID, was a perfect gentleman and put up a good fight (about Alfred Russel Wallace).

So, Dr. Coyne, please give us your thoughts, for publication here, on the Eric Hedin affair. Just keep it substantive and leave out the ad hominem attacks. And we'll publish it under your byline. Simple! Or better yet, we'll send you a copy of Stephen Meyer's Darwin's Doubt and you can review it here unimpeded on ID's home turf -- with the same minimal stipulations. You're a good, easy writer, to whom such things should not come hard providing that you can think of a way to effectively rebut Steve Meyer's evidence and arguments.

Of course, we'll reply, but then if you wish you can publish your counterblast here as well. A real debate. Please let us know. Here's how: You can reach us at ENV by clicking on the prominent orange Email Us button at the top of this page. We look forward to hearing from you.

Image credit: Wikicommons.