Jerry Coyne has an excellent post at Why Evolution is True, responding to a Christian writer who trots out the “evidence is only one way to approach the truth” meme that Christian apologists love so well, the idea that insisting upon evidence is “a philosophical picture of the world that gives science a monopoly position as the supplier and definer of truth.” Coyne’s reply is worth reading in full, but here’s a taste: “The use of science is justified because it works, not because we can justify it philosophically.”

Why Evolution Is True

Christian writer Francis Spufford sent me an email calling my attention to a post on his blog, Unapologetic, in which he belatedly answers two critiques I’d written of his pieces—one essay in the Guardian and the other his infamous “Dear Atheist” letter in New Humanist. You know what you’re in for when you see the title: “Dear Jerry Coyne [Caution: long]” And oy, is it long: 3620 words! This does not bode well for his new book.

I’m not getting into a back-and-forth with this man, who apparently wants me to help publicize his new book, but I’ll highlight just two points, neither of which is new. The real value of Spufford’s verbose post in serving as an exemplar of how a smart and literate man can justify Christianity in the complete absence of evidence for its tenets.

From his new blog post:


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Catnip: the cure for cat video ennui… or is it?

Earlier this month, Henri 2: Paw de Deux won the Golden Kitty at the Internet Cat Film Festival in Minneapolis. It’s a parody of a French film, complete with subtitles and existential ennui.

So what would cheer a sad cat up? Catnip!

But wait! Not so fast! Watch this video… Continue reading

What is Pretentious Ape?

You. You are the Pretentious Ape, you silly human, you.

OK, me too. All of us.

In naming this blog, I was partly inspired by John Janovy, a biologist at the University of Nebraska, who wrote:

A human being is, in the final analysis, an ape that tells stories, only a fraction of which are true, then acts on the lessons of those stories regardless of their veracity. (Pieces of the Plains, 2009, p. 158)

But I thought a blog called “The Storytelling Ape” might lead to disappointed parents and children coming in from Google and expecting some virtual gorilla to tell them stories. (What a blog that would be! What wonderful stories might an ape tell? So much better than, say, dog stories, which would mostly be about chewing things and getting toys stuck under the couch.) Continue reading