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Why Science and Religion are Irreconcilable

Faith vs. Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible. By Jerry A. Coyne. Penguin Books, New York, 2016. ISBN: 9780143408269. 311 pp. Softcover $18.00.

Jerry Coyne is a highly respected evolutionary biologist who blogs regularly at whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com about the relationship between science and religion—a relationship that he has concluded after wide reading, reflection, and debate is antagonistic.

It will help, first, to appreciate what Coyne does not argue. He does not argue that science and religion are logically inconsistent with one another or that individuals cannot entertain both religious and scientific belief without any contradiction being perceived (at least not by them). For example, he acknowledges the latter and identifies a number of top tier scientists who are nonetheless religious in a somewhat traditional sense. Rather than demonstrate compatibility, however, Coyne simply sees examples of how people can entertain contradictory beliefs, in part because of such psychological factors as cognitive dissonance.

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