Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Coyne, about whom we've had frequent occasion to comment, is probably still smarting from the intellectual beating he took at the hands of Christian philosopher Ed Feser a year or so back.
His most recent excuse for criticizing philosophy is a recent survey of philosophers that found a number of interesting things about philosophers opinions on major philosophical topics, and Coyne doesn't like many of the results.
Turns out most philosophers don't buy the idea that there is no free will. Coyne's response? "That doesn’t make me happy." Hmmm. Apparently Coyne didn't get the memo about the fact that philosophical rectitude is not determined by whether it makes atheists happy.
He is also displeased that 27 percent of philosophers believe the mind is non-physical. "That goes against everything that neurobiology has told us," he tells us, "and shows that not all philosophers are on board with science." Of course, neurobiology studies the brain, which is physical, and one wonders how, by studying the physical, one can say anything about the non-physical.
Whether the mind is physical or non-physical would necessarily involve you in philosophy, an art at which Coyne has shown, through repeated demonstration, in which he is incapable of engagint. And besides: There really aren't any scientists who believe the mind is non-physical?
The there's the matter of ethics. Coyne grumbles that the plurality of philosophers are deontologists (believers in a rule-based ethics) rather than consequentialists (a belief in which the consequences of actions determines whether they are right or wrong. He's not, he says, "wildly happy" with this result.
That's right. The result can't be right because the consequence is that it makes Jerry unhappy.
Paragons of rigorous logical thought, these New Atheists.