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What’s Up with the Science Uprising Mask?

I found a tirade by University of Chicago biologist Jerry Coyne directed at the new Science Uprising series. There’s not a lot to respond to. He appears to have watched the introduction, Episode 1, but no more. That’s typical. Coyne complains that Michael Egnor doesn’t explain his statement about “what a catastrophe for science materialism/atheism really is.” Well, for that you’d need to watch further, to Episode 2 and beyond.

Scanning down through the comments section under his post, I noticed a puzzled remark from one reader, “And what is it with that ugly Guy Fawkes mask with the ape nose?” Now perhaps that does deserve a reply. Others have also wondered. The mask is a reference to the 2005 film V for Vendetta, inspired in turn by the historical English rebel Guy Fawkes, and a comic by David Lloyd, who is right when he says it has become “an icon of popular culture,” “a common brand and a convenient placard to use in protest against tyranny.” The ape is of course a reference to evolutionary schemes that insist on human beings as no more than clever apes.

Bigotry and Intolerance

Is “tyranny” too strong a word here? No, it’s not. As the masked narrator explains in Episode 1, following on atheist Sam Harris’s statement that “the self is an illusion”: “What is not an illusion is the bigotry and intolerance of the scientific community.” We see the faces of men and women in the scientific world who fell victim to that “bigotry and intolerance,” for articulating arguments in favor of intelligent design. They include Eric Hedin, a Ball State University physicist successfully targeted by Coyne himself, punching down with an assist from his friends at the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

The narrator goes on: “Any view that challenges materialism is punished. It’s this materialist dogma that keeps many scientists behind a mask. But some scientists are willing to speak about where the evidence leads.” And that is where Dr. Egnor is briefly introduced.

The series asks us — the public, and scientists — to take off our own masks. Of course this is easier said than done, given the career catastrophe it can mean for a scientist who goes public with views challenging materialism. This is how materialists in academia maintain the farcical “consensus” on Darwinian evolution and more. 

Fear — Their Best Tool

A basic truth I don’t think I’ve ever heard a Darwinist acknowledge is that they have fear working on their side. It’s the best tool in their toolbox. Thank goodness for those like Egnor, a neuroscientist at Stony Brook University. Or like physicists Frank Tipler and Bijan Nemati. They speak unmasked in the latest episode of Science Uprising, Episode 4, which tackles the massive challenge posed by cosmic-fine tuning to the views of people like cosmologist Lawrence Krauss that “there is no evidence of purpose or design to our universe.”

Coyne, in his post at Why Evolution Is True, is generous in tarring opponents with insults. We are “superstitious yahoos,” “dupes,” “cowards.” “Cowards,” let that sink in. Really, coming from a censor, a bully, like Coyne, that is too rich. Sure, it takes a lot of courage to go on praising the opinions that your profession expects and rewards, while casting fear on scientists who disagree. Krauss and Coyne, what a couple of heroes.

Coyne’s own views on the self, crude yet influential, of human beings as “robots made out of meat,” are challenged in Episode 2. But I predict he won’t watch that far. With even greater confidence, I predict he won’t say what he thinks of Episode 4, perhaps the most powerful so far: