I’m offended. I’m offended by the sheer stupidity, the voluntary stupidity – the non-thought, the hostility to thought, the chosen crudity. It’s from a reporter called Cathy Lynn Grossman, who is responsible for the “Faith and Reason” blog at USA Today. She is also a Templeton Fellow 2010, which makes her a classmate of Chris Mooney’s. was also a Templeton fellow in 2005 – the inaugural class.

She was of course reacting to Jerry Coyne’s piece declaring that science and religion are not friends. “Reacting” is all she did.

Move over Richard Dawkins. Yet another scientist is weighing in on science vs. religion and wheeling out his most outrageous language for his point

She tells Dawkins to move over then says “yet another” scientist is joining in – is more than one really “yet another”? Is two such a vast number that a reporter gets to roll her eyes at the exhausting flood? She probably had more than one in mind, but then it was stupid to tell Dawkins to move over as if he had been in solitary possession, wasn’t it. It’s just lazy cliché-mongering without actually thinking about the meaning.

And then what is so outrageous about a scientist “weighing in” on science v religion? It’s a subject that scientists have a stake in, surely, so why shouldn’t they write about it? No reason – Grossman just wants to convey an impression of impertinent intrusion without the bother of actually arguing for it. And then how does one “wheel out” langugage? And what is so “outrageous” about Coyne’s language, anyway?

Well it’s that unlike Chris Mooney (whom Grossman praises without mentioning the shared Templetonian history), Coyne “sees no reconciliation.” I suppose that could be because he doesn’t particularly want to share his lab with the theology department.

Coyne, whose latest book is Why Evolution is True, takes the Monday USA TODAY op-ed Forum spot to blast faith as an enemy of truth, an oppressive social force and the impetus of all evil rather than evil’s nemesis.

Notice all the veiled accusations of aggression – Coyne “takes” the op-ed spot, as if he had seized it by force. (How? Did he recruit his grad students to storm the building and tie up the editors?) And then there’s that favorite verb of Mooney’s to describe what enemies are doing – Coyne “blasts” faith. That’s faith-speak for “criticize.” And as for “evil’s nemesis” – tell that to generations of children raped by priests, tell it to the women whipped for showing a bit of hair or stoned to death for talking to a man, tell it to the women and children tortured to death as “witches.”

Coyne argues we must clear vision from the fog of belief and religious structures that nourish communities of faith. No common awe for the dazzling sunrise here.

Oh really – no awe for the glaciers on Denali? No awe for the Galapagos, for the Mojave, for the sunrise over Lake Michigan?

She’s a good example of the harm faith can do to the mind.

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