Faith vs. Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible

The New York Times bestselling author Jerry Coyne explains why any attempt to make religion compatible with science is doomed to fail

Faith vs. Fact book cover

In his provocative new book, evolutionary biologist Jerry A. Coyne lays out in clear, dispassionate detail why the toolkit of science, based on reason and empirical study, is reliable, while that of religion — including faith, dogma, and revelation — leads to incorrect, untestable, or conflicting conclusions.

Coyne is responding to a national climate in which over half of Americans don't believe in evolution (and congressmen deny global warming), and warns that religious prejudices and strictures in politics, education, medicine, and social policy are on the rise. Extending the bestselling works of Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens, he demolishes the claims of religion to provide verifiable "truth" by subjecting those claims to the same tests we use to establish truth in science.

Coyne irrefutably demonstrates the grave harm — to individuals and to our planet — in mistaking faith for fact in making the most important decisions about the world we live in.

© Jerry A. Coyne, 2015. All rights reserved.

Reviews

Sam Harris

Many people are confused about science — about what it is, how it is practiced, and why it is the most powerful method for understanding ourselves and the universe that our species has ever devised. In Faith vs. Fact, Coyne has written a wonderful primer on what it means to think scientifically, showing that the honest doubts of science are better — and more noble — than the false certainties of religion. This is a profound and lovely book. It should be required reading at every college on earth.
— Sam Harris, founder of the Reason Project and author of the New York Times best sellers The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation

Steven Pinker

The truth is not always halfway between two extremes: some propositions are flat wrong. In this timely and important book, Jerry Coyne expertly exposes the incoherence of the increasingly popular belief that you can have it both ways: that God (or something God-ish, God-like, or God-oid) sort-of exists; that miracles kind-of happen; and that the truthiness of dogma is somewhat-a-little-bit-more-or-less-who's-to-say-it-isn't like the truths of science and reason.
— Steven Pinker, Harvard University, and author of The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature

Richard Dawkins

The distinguished geneticist Jerry Coyne trains his formidable intellectual firepower on religious faith, and it's hard to see how any reasonable person can resist the conclusions of his superbly argued book. Though religion will live on in the minds of the unlettered, in educated circles faith is entering its death throes. Symptomatic of its terminal desperation are the 'apophatic' pretensions of 'sophisticated theologians,' for whose empty obscurantism Coyne reserves his most devastating sallies. Read this book and recommend it to two friends.
— Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion