Saturday, October 05, 2013

Jerry Coyne's silly accusation that Chesterton was an anti-Semite

Atheist biologist Jerry Coyne, who is vying to be the poster child for cultural illiteracy, claims that Chesterton, who the Catholic Church is considering for sainthood, was an anti-Semite. He culls his reasons from a few scraps of quotes from Chesterton's detractors.

Coyne admits to not having read Chesterton:
I’ve tried to read Chesterton, but simply can’t do it, just as I can’t read P. G. Wodehouse (yes, I know I’ll be faulted for it; but I see it as one of those English/American dichotomies, like my complete failure to even giggle at “Yes Minister”).
He probably thinks Shakespeare is kind of mediocre too.

And if he thinks Chesterton and Wodehouse are a burden to read, he should try reading his own blog some time.

If you're going with any integrity to accuse someone of being an anti-Semite, then you should a) have actually read the person's writing, and b) read what that person may have said in his defense against the charge (which Chesterton did here). But Coyne not only has not done these things, but apparently doesn't see the obligation to do them. In fact, for someone who has so often accused others of "quote-mining," Coyne seems to be rather fond of it in this case.

Not only that, but the anti-Catholic remarks Coyne has made would surely qualify him as being anti-Catholic in the same respect he's accusing Chesterton of being anti-Semitic, which makes you wonder about the dullness of someone who, in the very act of accusing someone else of something, engages in it himself.

Chesterton talked about Jews the way he talked about the Germans or the French--or the Americans. In fact, there were a few British people for whom he had choice words: He saw how each man in some way displays the unique characteristics of his nationality and particularly for those who display it in extreme proportion.

"I should imagine that Jews varied in their moral proportions as much as the rest of mankind," he said.

But we'll just add this to the Jerry Coyne tag we've got here at Vital Remnants as another reminder of just how silly the scientific materialists can be.

UPDATE: Coyne has deleted several of my comments from his blog in response to the post. You gotta love these champions of rationality. It's so much easier when you can deal with disagreement by pressing a button.


Anonymous said...

A man walks into his neighbors living room and urinates on the rug. He then complains when he learns he isn't welcome.

Martin Cothran said...

I see. So an atheist views an argument against his position as the equivalent of urination. Well, that explains a few things.

Art said...

I hope you're going to share the deleted comments with us, Martin.

Anonymous said...

Jerry banned me from his blog several months ago in response to a post of mine (which was, in turn, a response to his extremely silly claim of cartoonist Gerald Scaife's being an anti-Semite, due to a caricature of Netanyahu he drew--Scaife's trademark elongation of facial features 'proved' to Jerry that Netanyahu had been depicted as some sort of 'Der Sturmer' hate portrayal with classic 'Jewish' nose. Hard to imagine what Coyne makes of Ralph Steadman's caricatures of Nixon); my response was that he was clearly over-reacting, all of Scaife's caricatures look very much like this--and I also made the cardinal mistake of including a few remarks pertaining to the hard-right Israeli governement's policies of eagerly working hand-in-hand with American Christian evangelicals to fund-raise in support of extremist policies. Jerry not only banned me--he failed even to print the comment, which I found cowardly.

As an atheist who is also of Jewish heritage on one side of my family, I really find Coyne's inability to get past his blind spot regarding Israel's behaviors embarrassing. it speaks poorly for a proclaimed rationalist to be apparently utterly incapable of letting go of tribal allegiances enough to examine their actions dispassionately.

I still subscribe to Jerry's blog--after all, we all need as many pic of kittehs and cute furry creatures in our lives as possible--but I do find him to be rather cringe-makingly subliterate at times--his series of recent blogs on the King James Bible, which contains some of the greatest poetry of the English language, as being nothing more than poorly written argle-bargle was another fairly pathetic demonstration of his seeming level of cultural impoverishment.