Coulter-Bashing Secular Leftist Professor Featured in ‘Today’ Piece on Evolution

In a September 1 piece for the "Today" show, NBC reporter Keith Miller sought out Jerry Coyne, a University of Chicago professor, to discuss the struggle between science and religion, since it's now being debated in front of Pope Benedict XIV. NBC labeled him simply as a "evolutionary biologist." This is what he had to say about the mixing of faith and science:

Jerry Coyne: "The scientific way of looking at the world, which defends on evidence, and the religious way of looking at the world, which depends on faith, are fundamentally incompatible."

Coyne: "And if there is anything the history of the church should show, it's that if they fight scientific advances, they lose."

Who is Jerry Coyne really? He’s a leftist professor who attacked Ann Coulter for her new treatise on liberals and religion, "Godless." Writing in the "New Republic," he called her a "beached flamingo" and went on to compare Coulter to a zoo animal, saying:

"This beast draws crowds by its frequent, raucous calls, eerily resembling a human voice, and its unearthly appearance, scrawny and pallid."

This professor has also vociferously attacked anything less then treating the theory of evolution as, well, gospel. Coyne co-wrote a September 2005 column for "The Guardian" entitled "One Side Can Be Wrong."

Once again, the NBC piece, which aired at 7:20AM EDT, described him simply as a professor from the University of Chicago. Here’s how Keith Miller framed the religion versus science debate:

Miller: "Evolution is the current battleground. A hot button issue in America, where conservative Christians want a Bible based view of creation taught in classrooms."

First off, many Christians, conservative or not, would be happy if evolution wasn’t taught as absolute dogma. Also, the idea that they want literal, Genesis-based creation taught in schools is a distortion. But notice how these people are labeled "conservative Christians," while Coyne had no identifier that explains his liberal, anti-religious views?

Keith Miller did talk with George Weigel the network’s religion consultant. He offered this defense of faith:

"The Church, indeed no Christian community and no Jewish community, can accept the idea of an utterly purposeless and completely accidental natural order."

Weigel’s pro-religion comments are relatively benign and meager, especially when compared to Coyne’s harsh anti-religious statements. In Weigel’s defense, however, it’s hard to know what questions he was asked and the tone of his interview.

It’s certainly telling that when NBC and Miller wanted to discuss the roles of religion and faith, they found a leftist, secular scientist who could only be labeled as a "professor."

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org