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Tripped Up by Snafu on Starling Murmurations, University of Chicago Evolutionary Biologist Jerry Coyne Tell Us to "Stuff It!"

Coyne at Podium.jpg

If it weren't for his activities trying to cast fear on career-vulnerable scientists who are open to intelligent design, there might be something almost endearingly oafish about Jerry Coyne.

In a post at Why Evolution Is True, he unwittingly promoted to his fans the latest outstanding intelligent design documentary from our colleagues at Illustra Media, Flight: The Genius of Birds. You have to love it! The clip that Jerry highlights, which is amazing so you can hardly blame him for being amazed, reveals the wonder of starling murmurations. See it here, and then look here for a viral video by a couple of young women in Ireland that I highlighted already.

Now, called on his snafu, Coyne updates his post with a snarl:

The phenomenon of murmuration, which scientists are trying to explain (and starting to succeed) gives not the slightest evidence for God, so those of you who are gloating that a pro-ID video appeared on this site, just stuff it! Nobody here is going to look at that video and say, "Geez, that's strong evidence for God!" If you do, you're at the wrong place.

Flight argues for design in nature. Nobody says anything about God. However to appreciate the argument and how beautifully and persuasively it's made, you have to watch the film. But Coyne will only denounce the theory of intelligent design, routinely. He won't actually take the time to inform himself about what ID scientists say. You have to wonder why.

He won't read a book like Stephen Meyer's Signature in the Cell or Darwin's Doubt. After Meyer debated UC Berkeley paleontologist Charles Marshall, who had reviewed the latter book in Science, Coyne assured his readers that he would listen to the debate -- a recording of which is easily accessible here. If he did listen, he never followed up. So is he going to watch a documentary, though I've offered to send him a free copy? Don't hold your breath.

Dr. Timothy Standish at the Geoscience Research Institute in California is featured in Flight and got in touch with me by email. He's amused, especially by Coyne's ranting update:

When I write my comedy script, the one that will fund my retirement as a hit movie, this will go in it. It sounds like something from a Seinfeld episode. This is just the sort of thing that George's angry atheist father would say.

Exactly. I've often thought, if Chelm had a village atheist, it would be Jerry Coyne.

I'm now on Twitter. Find me @d_klinghoffer.

Photo credit: zooterkin/Flickr.