Sourced through Scoop.it from: jerrycoyne.uchicago.edu
In our work within education in South Africa, we’ve always encouraged serious research and investigation as the basis for making prudent choices. In fact, we always encourage principals, teachers and leaders of learning organizations to work hard at creating opportunities for students to think for themselves and draw conclusions based on evidence and not hearsay.
It is, therefore, sad to see that, by this world’s standards, highly educated men like Coyne, Harris, Pinker and Dawkins do not walk alongside us to bring attention to the value of testimony or testimonial witness as acceptable scientific evidence for the credibility of a claim.
These men would be the first to cry ‘injustice’ if a jury’s acceptance of a verbal or written lie as the truth lead to a verdict that would find the innocent guilty. Yet, they are so resistant to accept a community of faith’s basis of belief premised on reliable testimony. Any written claim in an historical document can be measured using, what the smart people call, basic principles of historiography. This is as scientific as it can get, yet it is completely ignored in Mr Coyne’s work, supposedly based on “reason and empirical study”.
Coyne’s work is therefore based on a limited view of evidence – a view where there is no place for reliable testimony. It is no wonder that his conclusions lead to a limited view of the important decisions about the world we live in and that he is actually part of a bigger harm: stunting comprehensive research in the name of scientific rigour.