|Jerry Coyne: God shouldn't tell people what to do. That's my job.
Jerry Coyne takes a break from searching college catalogues for illegal courses that mention God and tackles Catholic ethics.
Jerry "this will now go to the lawyers" Coyne doesn't like the Divine Command theory of ethics (he prefers commands from lawyers at the Freedom From Religion Foundation). He is particularly annoyed with the Catholic Church (with my commentary):
Take, for example, the Catholic Church. Many of its adherents take their morality directly from Scripture (i.e., from God) because they think that whatever Scripture says, or however it’s interpreted by Church authorities, is moral simply because the Church says so. Things like the following, for example, would probably never be arrived at by secular reason alone. It takes religion. Catholic dogma sees these things as moral acts or opinions:
•Opposition to birth control (even to prevent AIDS)
Birth control doesn't prevent AIDS. The explosion of AIDS over the past 50 years correlates positively and strongly with the use of birth control.
Some people claim condoms help reduce the spread of AIDS. The problem is that condoms encourage the behavior that gives rise to AIDS, so the practical question is: does the protection offered by condoms outweigh the risks of the behavior engendered by condoms.
Answer: condom use has skyrocketed since the advent of the Sexual Revolution, and so has AIDS.
Coyne omits mention of the most effective "condom": chastity. Always available and no need to worry about micro-tears.
An old Catholic idea.
•Opposition to abortion (based on the view that life begins at conception...
Coyne is a biology professor, so it's surprising that he doesn't know that in organisms that reproduce sexually life begins at conception. If life begins after conception, then the embryo/fetus is a part of the mother up to a point, then it transforms into a human. The transformation of formed offspring from a part of the mother is budding, which is a form of asexual reproduction, and is characteristic of flatworms.
Coyne should correct this error in his classroom lecture notes.
... when the soul is instilled)
The soul is the form of the body. It exists from the moment life begins. The spiritual soul of a human being is created by God at the moment life begins.
•Opposition to stem cell research (same reason as above)
The Church opposes "human" embryonic stem cell research that kills humans. It teaches that all human beings at all stages of life deserve to be protected and cherished. The Church is quirky about that.
The Church supports adult stem cell research, which doesn't kill anyone, and is the only kind of stem cell research that actually works.
•Opposition to divorce
The Church teaches the truth that marriage is a sacrament-- a manifestation of the Holy Trinity in human life and an eternal commitment between a man and a woman. Coyne believes that this view couldn't be arrived at by secular reason alone. He's right.
•Opposition to homosexuality (viewed as a “grave disorder” or, if acted on, a “grave sin”)
Homosexual conduct is a sin. Homosexual desire is concupiscence, and is not sinful in itself. The Church has millions of people with homosexual desires. Some of the most beloved and heroic of the Church's sons and daughters are gay.
•Control of people’s sex lives
The Church doesn't "control" anyone's sex life. It has no enforcement power whatsoever. I've never had a priest arrest me or sue me or threaten me in any way about anything.
Jerry Coyne threatens people with legal force all of the time.
•Oppression of women
The Catholic Church liberates women. Women are cherished in Catholicism, and the Church was a pioneer in the in historical struggle to respect the full humanity of women. The social disintegration wrought by militant secularism has been catastrophic for women, who now raise families alone, are much more likely to be sexually abused and assaulted, who are pressured to have abortions, etc.
I should point out that the abortive/infanticidal morality of Coyne's secularism has been responsible for the worst femicide in history-- 100 million missing women in Asia.
Perhaps we should ask the vanishingly few women in the New Atheist movement how they feel about New Atheism and respect for women.
•Instillation of fear and guilt in children
Coyne is confident that children are reassured by The Sexual Revolution. "Honey, Mommy and Daddy don't like each other any more and we've found people who are much sexier, so our family is breaking up. But look at the upside: we decided not to kill you when you were in Mommy's tummy".
The Sexual Revolution is such liberation from childhood fear and guilt.
And the ready availability of contraception has made young girls so much happier and safer from sexual assault, much less likely to get pregnant, and so much less likely to be used by older men.
And young boys are particularly reassured by normalization of male homosexuality.
Our emancipation from Divine Command Theory marches from triumph to triumph. Jerry's dreams are being realized, in our broken families and our abortion clinics and our infectious disease wards. Liberation is even bearing fruit at New Atheist conventions.
How surprising that the abandonment of objective morality and transcendent accountability would have consequences.