Thursday, September 19, 2013

Jerry Coyne goes on Polish television to talk about atheism

Jerry Coyne is traveling in Poland, and he's been invited by a Polish television station to talk about atheism.

Jerry's post, with my commentary:

I am astounded that this is even happening, but what I’m told is a fairly large nationwide t.v. station will interview me tomorrow morning (Monday) at about 9:30 a.m. The show is called “Good Morning, Poland,” and the amazing thing is that they want to talk about—atheism!
Jerry is under the delusion that he's going to teach the Poles something they don't know about atheism. The Polish people have a long intimate experience with atheism.
Remember, this is a country where “insulting religious feelings” is a crime punishable by a fine and, in principle, jail.
Blasphemy laws are terrible. I'm sure Jerry agrees that it shouldn't be illegal to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of any idea, anywhere, anytime.
Right now, as I mentioned in an earlier post, it’s big news that a nonbelieving policeman has asked that a crucifix be removed from his office (crosses are everywhere!), and for that simple request he’s being prosecuted. He may be fined, lose his job, or even incarcerated, though I doubt he’ll see jail time.
In Poland, criticizing God will get you into trouble. In America, criticizing Darwin will get you into trouble.
Religious education–always by priests or nuns—is obligatory for two hours a week beginning in kindergarten (!) through high school—and although students can opt out, it’s done in a way that stigmatizes them.
In America, indoctrination in atheism's creation myth is obligatory for public school kids. They can't opt out.
The religious instructors are chosen by the local bishop and they can neither be fired nor told what to teach. This forced indoctrination, and the blasphemy laws, are the two biggest things obstructing the secularization of Poland.
The main thing obstructing secularization in Poland is the Polish people's memory of the last time Poland was secularized.
So atheism is pretty much a taboo subject in a country whose inhabitants are 95% Catholic...
Atheism isn't a taboo subject in Poland. It is discussed continuously. The history of Poland from 1945 to 1989 is the history of atheist rule in Poland.

... and a t.v. interview is good opportunity for me to spread the gospel (so to speak) in a way that I hope will be persuasive.

Atheism is a "gospel"? The Poles will be interested to learn what aspect of their half-century experience with atheism was "good news".
The t.v. folks have submitted a lists of questions that they might ask me, and suffice it to say that those questions are both straightforward and provocative.

Questions for Professor Coyne:

"Could you please describe that state of political and religious freedom in Poland under the half-century of atheist rule?

"When atheists and Nazis divided Poland in 1939, why was it that Polish refugees tended to flee from the half of Poland occupied by atheists into the Nazi-occupied half?"

"From 1945 to 1989, atheists who ruled Poland committed crimes against humanity on an historic scale. Why should Poles accept the re-emergence of atheism in their country, given that contemporary atheists won't even admit the crimes atheists committed just a few decades ago?"

"Who was Fr. Jerzy Popiełuszko?"

"What famous Pole said "Being an atheist . . . means not knowing the true nature of created reality but absolutizing it, and therefore ‘idolizing’ it..."?

When Pope John Paul visited Poland in 1979 after 34 years of atheist rule, millions of Poles chanted "Chcemy Boga!" What does Chcemy Boga mean, and why were they chanting it?"

I believe the interview will take place outdoors, in the lovely town square of Cracow...
For a discussion of the impact of atheism on Poland that will resonate with the Polish people, perhaps Jerry should conduct the interview in the town of Katyn.

(Cross-posted on Evolution News and Views)


  1. Michael,

    Why don't you ask your 'questions' on Jerry Coyne's blog, and post a link to the answers?

    I'm certain you will get a lot of very good answers, not just from Jerry Coyne. His blog is orders of magnitude more popular than yours. And orders of magnitude more intelligent too. Your threads on popular culture, such as Bruce Springsteen, have been inane. Jerry Coyne's several threads on, for example, 'the Beatles', have been very good.

    1. I'm blocked on Coyne's blog. I've been trying to post comments there for a long time.

    2. @bach:

      Why don't you try posting the questions on his blog, or answering them on mine.

    3. Michael,

      I've answered your questions on previous threads. They're just the same questions, in different words, using the same assertions. I decided not to go to the bother of giving the same answers.

      I don't know whether I accept that you've been blocked on Jerry Coyne's blog or not. You're not the most reliable person I know, with your motivated reasoning and lying. You write the most stupid things, and then repeat them, even after you've been corrected.

    4. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavySeptember 19, 2013 at 7:44 AM

      blinkfast, if you're so disdainful of Egnor's blog, just hit the Batfarkian Compression Key.

      What I find interesting about you is the way you lionize logic and reason, then turn around and invent some ridiculous clanking, wheezing, Rube Goldberg model of the very cognitive system that gives rise to your inane mutterings, based wholly on misreadings of pop science.

      You Sir, are not in a position to "correct" anyone around here.

    5. Georgie,

      You really need to get out of your bathtub and stop playing with your toy plastic battleships in your fictional navy.

      The human brain is imperfect, subject to illusions, delusions and hallucinations, even in its normal healthy state.

      Refusing to acknowledge reality doesn't make reality go away.

      I don't lionise logic and reason - not above science and evidence.

    6. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavySeptember 19, 2013 at 8:26 AM

      Evidence as filtered through a clanking, wheezing, Rube Goldberg machine subject to deletions - oops! sorry! Batfarkian Compressions - illusions, delusions and hallucinations? Science as causal inferences drawn using a process that is irretrievably crippled?

      And then you, my self-described hallucinating and deluded friend, want to talk about reality?

      You can't have it both ways, batfark. But mutter on. Being wrong never stopped you from digging yourself deeper in a hole. Pretty soon, you'll pop up in Peoria. Let me know when you do. I'll travel up there and buy you a beer.

    7. Georgie,

      You're so delusional you still think that your fleet of plastic toy battleships in your bathtub is a real navy.

      Reality is that which doesn't go away when you examine it in depth. 'Reality' which is detected by unreliable human senses and which is incapable of being recorded and re-examined later is to be doubted. As shown by the myth of N-radiation.

    8. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavySeptember 19, 2013 at 9:02 AM

      So there was no reliable science before phenomena could be independently recorded by a device built by individuals crippled by a "clanking, wheezing, Rube Goldberg machine subject to deletions - oops! sorry! Batfarkian Compressions - illusions, delusions and hallucinations?"

      Keep going...

    9. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavySeptember 19, 2013 at 9:03 AM

      It's "turtles all the way down", isn't it, backfield?

    10. Georgie,

      You're still delusional. It's the experiment that makes science. Making repeated observations of the same phenomenon. Galileo might not have been able to record the results of balls rolling down an inclined plane, but he could (and did) record the method, allowing anyone to repeat the experiment if desired. Similarly, he was forced to make drawings of his observations of the Jovian moons, but anyone with a telescope could verify them if desired.

    11. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavySeptember 19, 2013 at 9:37 AM

      backfire, you're the one who's delusional. You say so yourself; a self-diagnosed schizophrenic. Unless you're exempt from your own "clanking, wheezing, Rube Goldberg machine subject to deletions - oops! sorry! Batfarkian Compressions - illusions, delusions and hallucinations".

      And tell me, batfark, what exempted Galileo? How did he get it right? Random process? And why in the world would other people with "clanking, wheezing, Rube Goldberg machine subject to deletions - oops! sorry! Batfarkian Compressions - illusions, delusions and hallucinations" see the same illusions and hallucinations if they have different long-term memories?

      You should publish all this stuff over at, batfark.

      But wait! I have a question... are you exempt, batfark? Or are you a deluded, hallucinating, meat machine in thrall to your own irretrievably crippled faculties? Because unless you are exempt, how do you know that your perception of my delusions are not just a delusion on your part?

      I look forward to more tangential mutterings.

    12. Georgie,

      You're a delusional senile old fart.

      A question; would you necessarily trust the word of an eyewitness of an event, even if the eyewitness is highly confident and you have no doubt of the honesty of the eyewitness?

      I'm a realist. I realise that although the human brain is very good, it still can be fooled. I insist on independent backup of my beliefs.

      It's dangerous to have someone who is convinced that the human brain is perfect, not prone to failure or error, as you are. As shown by your reference to 'Saint Steno'.

  2. Atheists in Poland have it a lot better than Christians in America.


    1. Joey,

      Could you clarify what you mean by 'better'?

    2. I mean that if these instances that Jerry Coyne cites are the worst that Polish atheists suffer they're still better off than Christians in America.

      Some of them sound bad, though I have a feeling that Jerry Coyne might be leaving out some of the backstory. I don't defend Polish laws that forbid people from offending others' religious sensibilities. Offending others' religious sensibilities is a core right. Even so, the offenses he cites are pretty weak sauce. The suffocating power of the state is routinely unleashed here in America against believers in ways that are far worse.


  3. ” In America, indoctrination in atheism's creation myth is obligatory for public school kids”

    FYI, there’s a word for “atheism’s creation myth”, it’s called science. It encompasses physics, astronomy, geology, and biology. It’s sad that you don’t think it should be obligatory.


    1. "FYI, there’s a word for “atheism’s creation myth”, it’s called science."

      Science? KW must be referring to the goddess, not the method.

      Your comment reminds me of a response my old CO made when approached with an inane idea spun and worded as if it were a sound tactic. He said "You can put it in a dress, you can bathe it in bath salts, you can drench it with fancy French smells - but it's still a $2 whore and it still enjoys ------ ----."

      Just because you have chosen to base your beliefs (the non sciencey name for 'world view') on ideals counter to intuition and general human experience does not make you MORE than human. You are subject to all the same mental constructions as the rest of us - including your (shallow and banal) explanations for the unknown and knowable.

      Let have a look at the reality.

      Physics? LMAO. Super positioning (mind over matter - observer effect). Fine tuning. BOTH obvious indications of function/purpose and design to reality. All extremely convenient coincidence to an atheist. The first in the order of TRILLIONS of such wild, perfect coincidences that make up their pantheon of powers. Just like the coincidence that daddy was a theist and they did not like him - depicter him paying for college!

      Astronomy? Red shift and a finite age for the universe. This revelation clearly points to causality and design. You choose, as an atheist, to reject that obvious indication of design in favour of 'randomness' and 'emergence' - two mythological powers endowed with pagan deity in order to preserve the myths (of Atheism).

      Geology? This is funny. Looking at rocks and at meaningful ways to determine the age of sediments somehow proves the improbability of design, function, and ultimately a Divine mind? Okay... Talk about Plato's cave!
      There is, however a connection! Like an ostrich, the atheist often buries his head in the earth to avoid the heat and light of inconvenient reality.

      Biology.... poor abused biology. Actually biology does, once again, have an obviously designed nature. Living things are full of extremely complex information reliant (input) systems. They are finite (mortal). And human beings, at least, have a deeply felt and understood intuition that life is transcendent. To the atheist, this is all 'illusion'. A trick of the mind.
      What KW is actually referring to when he says 'biology' is 'natural history', which is a social science partially based on fossil finds and BLATANTLY ideologically invested in (monist or eliminative) materialistic naturalism.

    2. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavySeptember 19, 2013 at 8:36 AM

      Well said, C-Rex. In one of the most exquisite ironies of the whole "debate", Nicolas Steno (1638 - 1686), discovered what are still known today as Steno's Laws (of geological stratigraphy)that unlocked the time dimension of the fossil record.

      Steno, bishop and scientist, is more formally known as St Steno.

    3. Georgie,

      Nicholas Steno isn't a saint yet. He's been beatified but not canonised.

    4. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavySeptember 19, 2013 at 9:44 AM

      You're right, backfield. My error. He was, in fact, venerated as a popular saint after his death, but he is officially Blessed Steno. And blessed he was.

    5. Adm.

      My thanks. It's always nice to know that my post made some sort of sense to someone!
      I find it hard to discuss such an illogical and counter- belief system (ie
      eliminative/monist materialism/atheism, solipsism, satanism etc) and make any sort of logical sense. It is akin to a conversation about nothing with someone who believes in it with a passion. An exercise in futility, at least superficially.
      So it is extremely pleasant to get some feedback and input of a rational nature.
      Steno's case is so typical of what even the slightest research into the established record shows. Scratch under the surface of the greatest scientific minds and discoveries and you will often find extremely interesting characters possessed of ravenous philosophical curiosity and great faith.

      Alas, we both know the stock answer to this obvious reality, adm.
      We both know that the claim will be these minds were great DESPITE their delving into meaning and their faith in God. We both know the emergent simians will cite coincidence and blind luck as the cause of these improbable people making profound discovery and relating world changing ideas and delusion as the reason for their crediting of the Creator for inspiration.
      For, it could not possibly be that this pattern in the depth of personality we see is meaningful, for meaning (in the E/M-A/M view) is assigned - and the evolved minds chose not to assign it when it is inconvenient; which is, of course, most of the time and most specifically when it ripples the waters in their reflection pool of Neo-Paganesque, Narcissus-like self and leader/alpha worship cults.

    6. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavySeptember 19, 2013 at 11:48 AM

      C-Rex, one of the most amazing notions expressed during my discussions with materialists is the criticism and belittling of human biology and cognitive faculties (e.g. blankfield above).

      These people cavalierly disparage what is absolutely the most astonishing thing in the known universe, the human mind. It's a mind capable of understanding the very sinews of the material cosmos; capable of contemplating life, death, and existence; capable of contemplating itself; and capable of manipulating the ineffable mysteries of the quantum world to produce common, workaday objects like like tunnel diodes.

      In a talk I'm asked to give now and then, I have a slide with two images: a chimp poking a dead stump with a stick and two spacewalking astronauts performing a repair on the international space station. To put both those in the same category of "tool use" is laughable. And, in fact, people do laugh when they realize what they are truly being told by the materialists.

      I recall a few months ago, in a discussion like this, Hoots said he had a "colleague" claiming that had he been in charge of designing DNA, he would have done a much better job. While I strongly doubt the veracity of Hoots' story, I do not doubt that some strutting, self-aggrandizing biologist somewhere (like Coyne) said something like it.

      I say in reply: get down off the dais, cut the strut, and show me the working demo, big boy.

    7. Georgie,

      You're still a delusional senile old fart. I've never said that the human brain isn't incredible. I've said on several occasions that it's the most complex structure in the Universe (that we know of).

      We don't know exactly how the brain functions. It's been said that if the human brain was simple enough for us to understand, we'd be too simple to understand it.

      Tool use in chimps is interesting. They just don't pick up any stick in the vicinity of a termite hill and poke into it. They find a suitable at a distance, fashion into a suitable shape and carry it to the termite hill, so they also show planning and tool making. It's not just tool use.

      John Avise has said for one that the human genome could have been better designed. His book 'Inside the Human Genome. A Case for Non-Intelligent Design' makes the case. It was published in 2009, the same year as Stephen Meyer's 'Signature in the Cell', which caused a lot of creationists to wet their pants in excitement, although most of them later said in their Amazon reviews that they didn't quite understand it.

    8. "I say in reply: get down off the dais, cut the strut, and show me the working demo, big boy."

      As we have both noted on this page, adm, theirs is the madness of hubris. They buy into the whole Gen 3.5 thing.
      People like Troy call us the liars for 'Jeebus' for not sharing in their mythological views. Other more sophisticated bigots just whine about what they 'expect from creationists' is deception.
      Lies? Liars? No. We profess our beliefs, whether or not they like it.

      But it is they who profess to know all and slight others for their perfectly rational faith that are the liars, not the believers themselves.
      These 'new atheists' are arrogant, pretentious liars who dream of usurping moral power and control.
      They are Fabians, internationalists, and globalists in academic drag.

  4. This Christianist obsession with truth and facts and logic is so unfair!

  5. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavySeptember 19, 2013 at 8:13 AM

    One of the most salutory effects of strong faith and morals is the effect on criminal behavior.

    For example, according to the UNDOC (UN Office on Drugs and Crime), the rate of Theft in the secular Netherlands was 3,968.8/100,000 (2010). In Poland, it was 532.7/100,000 (2010). Similarly, the Assault rate in the Netherlands was 353.0/100,000, and Poland was 1.4/100,000 (again, 2010 UNDOC figures). And the problem of rape in secularized Western European countries like Sweden, the UK, and the Netherlands is well-known and publicized.

    Coyne can feel pretty safe from the predations of amoral thugs in Poland. Of course, I doubt he has the capacity to understand what's going on; as McLuhan famously said, "We don't know who discovered water, but we know it wasn't a fish."

    1. Interesting 'analysis', Adm Draft Dodger.

      Do you consider it "salutory" that the good Polish Catholics continued with pogroms and mass murder of Jews for years after the Germans had lost the war and had left Poland?

      Since you mentioned the Netherlands, it's interesting to note that, in the Netherlands, members of a certain religion are highly overrepresented among criminals. You know, that Christianity spin-off known as Islam.

      How do you explain that Ukraine, a far more religious country than the Netherlands, is practically run by the mob? My brother-in-law is the owner of a small factory in Ukraine, and because of this he has to travel with a bodyguard, 24/7. Unthinkable in the Netherlands. My youngest son, who was born 3 days ago, has dual Dutch and Ukrainian nationality, but I feel much safer for him to grow up here rather than in Ukraine.

    2. troy:

      Congratulations on the birth of your son!

      On the murders of Jews in Poland following Nazi occupation, you misrepresent the situation. Many Jews (and others) collaborated with the Soviets when they invaded and occupied eastern Poland in 1939-1941. There were a lot of scores to settle, and unfortunately some Catholics took revenge when they could. It's a much more complicated story than simple anti-Semitism.

      Regarding Dutch culture, only 30% of people are actually atheists. Church attendance is not high (20%), but the Netherlands has a very long history of rich Christian culture. You are living on its fumes.

      You will increasingly live in an Islamic culture, which is what will replace Christian culture in areas of Europe that are stupid enough to lose Christianity.

      Atheist culture per se is non-existent, outside of atheist totalitarian hellholes, which seem to implode with regularity.

    3. troy:

      Regarding the Ukraine, you seem to forget that the Ukraine was under the boot of your beloved atheist culture for most of the 20th century.

      Atheism in the former Soviet paradise lingers, like a stench.

    4. Troy,

      Congratulations on the birth of your son.

    5. Thanks very much for the congrats, Mike and Crus. No time further responses right now - the little guy needs attention and I'm sure you're familiar with the lack of sleep at this stage...

  6. C.Rex "What KW is actually referring to when he says 'biology' is 'natural history', which is a social science ..."

    Or, to put it another way -- "What KW is actually referring to when he says 'biology' is '[butterfly collecting]', which is a social science ..."

    Or, to put it yet another way, as the physicist John Borrow once said to the (alleged) biologist Richard Dawkins --
    "You have a problem with these ideas, Richard, because you're not really a scientist. You're a biologist"

  7. Hi from Poland
    The last words with "Krakow - Katyn" "disanalogy" was rarther unecessary.
    There are many simplifications in this blog note,
    but in quoted words of Jerry Coyne are many
    populistic and very exagerated thought, too.
    Summa (not theologica) is, in my eyes (I am born and know very well christian and catholic doctrine, but i don't declare myself as catholic, despite being "indoctr." in school :D)
    so..summa in about 1,5 point to 1,0 point, Egnorance win a bit.

    1. Hi Marat.
      If I understand you correctly you are saying that - even as a lapsed Catholic and despite the invective rhetoric - you still find Egnorance is more engaging/interesting than Coyne's mess of a blog.
      My great uncle who was very dear to me as a child was from Poland and was a WWII veteran (RAF), POW, and Soviet Labor camp prisoner. He was a NPC - or a 'non practicing Catholic' and an accomplished drinker .
      He believed and he did pray, but he was not a religious man any longer. He actually had a part time job as maintenance at man at the local RCC when he retired. He knew the priests, but only took communion a few times a year. He was thrilled at the election of John Paul II.
      He was a kind, hard working, sharp man.
      I miss his pragmatic personality very much.
      Hi from Canada.

  8. I think that instead of congratulating 'troy' on the birth of his son, you guys ought to react to the birth consistently with what his God-hatred asserts to be the truth about human beings and their place in the Grand Non-Scheme Of Things.