Because pretending that faith and science are equally valid ways of finding truth not only weakens our concept of truth, it also gives religion an undeserved authority that does the world no good. For it is faith’s certainty that it has a grasp on truth, combined with its inability to actually find it, that produces things such as the oppression of women and gays, opposition to stem cell research and euthanasia, attacks on science, denial of contraception for birth control and AIDS prevention, sexual repression, and of course all those wars, suicide bombings and religious persecutions.
Oppression of women and gays? Women made up a large percentage of early converts to Christianity because in comparison with the culture of the day, they had far greater freedoms inside the Church than outside it.Jerry Coyne is either ignorant or deliberately deceptive. I'll split the difference and say he's both.
Opposition to stem cell research? I notice that he left out the qualifier "embryonic". Opposition to embryonic stem cell research arises because the method of producing them destroys a human life. Simply producing stem cell lines from adult stem cells arouses no moral difficulties at all.
Opposition to euthanasia? Yes, I'm opposed to putting down human beings the way we put down animals because I value human life slightly higher than that of animals.
Attacks on science? You know why Galileo gets so much airtime in atheist quarters despite being a loyal son of the Church? Because when all's said and done, that's about the only example of conflict between "science" and "religion" that they can come up with, and the funny thing is, Galileo was wrong. Sure he was less wrong than his critics, but that's only a matter of degree. His best evidence for the rotation of the Earth was the movement of the tides, which we know is the result of the moon's gravitational pull. His models were no better than those of Tycho Brahe.
Denial of contraception? If people actually obeyed the Church's instructions on sexual morality then there would be no AIDS epidemic. They don't do that, so I seriously doubt they obey the Catholic prohibition on contraception. They don't use condoms because they don't want to wear condoms.
Sexual repression? Sexual repression is a real psychological condition that is seldom manifested in a sexual manner. What Coyne refers to is sexual discipline. I find it fascinating that so many atheists are obsessed with sex and indulging their every whim, along with their constant championing of homosexuality. Maybe they're all closet fags? Hey, whatever floats their boat man, I'm not one to judge.
Wars? As Vox Day pointed out in The Irrational Atheist, religion on the whole is responsible for about 7% of historical wars. Suicide bombings? Invented by the Tamil Tigers, a secular group, and far less effective than the high explosive, nuclear, chemical and biological weapons than Coyne and his boyfriends have given us.
Vox has also pointed out that the major religions have been around for collectively 10,000 years, and there has been no risk of world destruction. Science has been around 400 years, and given us weapons capable of wiping all life from the planet. If there's a group that we need to kill to save ourselves, it's the scientists who have to go.