Credentialed leftist at work

Somehow, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this accusation is true.

Jerry Coyne SPIT on me yesterday. This man is a professor at @UChicago and a biologist and the university has been letting him spit on students and protestors. I just heard reports that someone matching his description was roaming the camp spitting on/near students last night

In his defense, in this article from 6 years ago, his leftist “credentials” are unimpeachable. OK, man, if you say so.

Very leftist. Very free speech.


  1. numerobis says

    Meanwhile in Montreal, McGill University wants to evict the protest. Mayor says she has confidence in the police to do the right thing, and that there won’t be a SWAT team involved. The city police have replied that it’s a civil thing, call us when you’ve got an enforcement order from a competent court. Courts have refused to issue an injunction.

    So … nothing much going on here.

  2. Akira MacKenzie says

    Coyne is “leftist” in the way the the NSDAP were “socialist” or the way North Korea is a “Democratic People’s Republic.”

  3. says

    Does he ever specify which people are allegedly trying to make which other people shut up?

    Also, if Coyne is going out of his way to actually spit on people, that suggests raving dementia — unless he’s been known to do that for many years already…

  4. Matt G says

    I was a regular over at WEIT for a few years, until 10 or 12 years ago. Something changed in him, and it changed surprisingly quickly. I know I’m not alone in leaving and not looking back. Does it align with the change in the country after Obama’s presidency?

  5. garnetstar says

    Matt @7, my own theory on the change is that he met, and became a lackey of, Dawkins, then Pinker.

  6. dclimey says

    Disturbingly common.
    There’s a well-known cryptozoologist that claims to be “left-wing”, yet has allied himself with every right wing position going.
    Anti-trans, anti-gay, anti-woman his feeds are full of it in the name of some “anti-woke” crusade.
    I seriously wonder what’s going on here.

  7. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    Yeah, I think Coyne got so caught up in trying to get invited to the big boys’ table that he doesn’t even realize there isn’t a big boys’ table anymore.

  8. microraptor says

    Matt G @7: I remember it being right at the time that the concept of safe spaces and trigger warnings gained significant mainstream popularity, in the second half of Obama’s second term. I remember he was super-offended by the idea that people would make spaces where they dictated what other people could talk about and was completely unaware of the irony of making such complaints on a blog where he had extremely strict rules that would result in no-warning bans on the first violation. And then he decided to cheer on Milo Yiannopoulos because the guy made liberals upset while completely ignoring the guy’s calls for violence against gay and Jewish people.

  9. imthegenieicandoanything says

    May whatever happened to his and Dawkins’ brain not happen to me as I hit the same age group.

  10. says

    numerobis@3 sounds like the higher ups in the Montreal police realise cracking down on the protesters will make them look bad to lots of people, so they want someone else to take the blame if they do.

  11. Jazzlet says

    Yeah, what you did fifty years ago is useful for assessing your political position fifty years ago, it’s no use at all in assessing your position now Mr Coyne, I am not impressed that you could think it is, let alone publicly state so.

  12. numerobis says

    timgueguen: police chief is from the de-radicalization, community policing end of the business, so he’s generally into preferring not stirring a hornets’ nest if possible. Also, he’s ethnic Lebanese so his sympathies are somewhat aligned.

    I suspect the mayor’s sympathies also lie with the protesters; in addition, the people who oppose these protests already don’t vote for her, while the people at the protest are part of her core supporters. So she has nothing to win and lots to lose.

    I’m sure our premier would be perfectly OK with an excuse to get all paternalistic and lecture the students but he’s likely mindful that the reason his party won the past two elections is that the previous centre-right party mishandled a student protest.

  13. StevoR says

    @9. dclimey :

    Disturbingly common.
    There’s a well-known cryptozoologist that claims to be “left-wing”, yet has allied himself with every right wing position going.
    Anti-trans, anti-gay, anti-woman his feeds are full of it in the name of some “anti-woke” crusade.
    I seriously wonder what’s going on here.

    They’ve become reichwing but don’t want to admit they are reichwing becuase they know the reichwing is wrong and nasty and deservedly has that reputation?

  14. StevoR says

    ^ Reality quite litetrally having a leftwing bias or the rechwing being biaewsed against it & frequently denying science & all.

  15. says

    Meanwhile, the Biden administration has announced (in response to a question from Fox News a few hours ago) that the DOJ, DHS, and Department of Education will be involved in their “response” to student protests. In other words, the Democrats will be pressing charges for nonviolent exercise of free speech. Sounds exactly as “leftist” as Coyne, and absolutely typical of the Democrats these days. Shame on all you people planning to reelect Biden — he’s genocidal and outright fascist. But do continue to tell me Trump will somehow magically be worse.

  16. says

    Wait, Coyne works at the University of Chicago? The same university that gave us “the Chicago school?” That’s not exactly a winning credential…

  17. says

    Coyne, Dawkins, and Rowling are all as bad as Stupid Idiot Dump and other bigoted, sexist trash who shamelessly disrespects women and treat them like dirt.

  18. badland says

    VIcar @ 22

    The Trump who appointed three of the Justices who overturned Roe? The Trump who tried and is still trying to prevent aid reaching Ukraine? The loudly and viciously anti-union Trump who wants to gut Medicare and social security and give tax cuts to the ultra-wealthy? That Trump? Shithole Countries Trump? Emoluments Trump? “When you’re a star you can do anything” Trump? 88 felony charges Trump? Jan 6th autogolpe Trump? Rapey Trump? Currently on trial in New York for falsifying business records Trump? RICO Trump? Stolen classified documents Trump? Sleepy Trump who falls asleep at his own trial and farts himself awake?*

    [spooky fingers] woooo Trump will be “magically” worse than Biden woOOooOoo.

    *one of these things is not like the other.

  19. vucodlak says

    @ The Vicar, #22

    Trump will simply dispatch the military to campuses and order them to slaughter the protesters. He’s made it clear that he intends to invoke the insurrection act at the earliest possible opportunity, and use it to exterminate the “vermin” (to use his term) who oppose him.

    The only reason Trump didn’t do turn the military loose on BLM protesters in 2020 was the army of lifelong civil servants who opposed and subverted his will at every turn. This time, he’s got the very fine people behind Project 2025 to make sure there’s no one left to stop him.

    But then, you know all that. Planning to join up with Trump’s death squads, Vicar? Or will just stick to what you do best, and wank yourself stupid behind your keyboard?

  20. cates says

    Thanks vucodlak@28, I learned a new word. I guessed the wrong pronunciation though.

  21. says

    @22: Yes, Trump will absolutely be worse. He has said he will be a dictator on day one. That should scare the fuck out of you. It sure as hell scares the fuck out of me.

    Speaking of blogs: Do I have to be worried here?

    Her first story: “Columbia protester mocked after asking for food for occupiers
    …A reporter then replied: “It seems like you’re sort of saying: ‘We want to be revolutionaries, we want to take over this building, now would you please bring us some food and water’.’’ She also has this quote:

    “The pro-Hamas propagandists are blaming Biden (!) for the NYPD having cleared trespassers out of the building at Columbia (“blame”? for what? No one got hurt!).”

    Yeah, I drop by that blog for the memes but I’m starting to think that I might not want to give her any more clicks… 😬

    Got it? The whole performance of these faux-protests all over the country is a pro-Trump psyop. Can’t be any clearer. – DC Petterson

  22. says

    Crap, my thoughts ended up between the quote The pro-Hamas propagandists are blaming Biden (!) for the NYPD having cleared trespassers out of the building at Columbia (“blame”? for what? No one got hurt!).

    Got it? The whole performance of these faux-protests all over the country is a pro-Trump psyop. Can’t be any clearer. – DC Petterson

    Yeah, a little concerned that I might be following someone who’s not exactly leftist…

  23. Doc Bill says

    I don’t believe it. I’ve known Jerry for decades. No way this is true.

  24. beholder says

    @23 PZ

    Trump will be worse, no magic involved.

    Arguably so, and that’s really splitting hairs, but at that point you’re asking me to compare a jackboot crushing a bloody face with the same bloody face, but this time the jackboot crushing it has a rainbow flag and a Ukraine flag printed on it.

    The Vicar is right. It doesn’t matter if Coke or Pepsi win this election — genocide continues apace, and protesters are getting assaulted and locked away for saying things the ruling class doesn’t like in either case.

  25. says

    Beholder, if you can’t see the difference between Democrats and Republicans, it’s probably because you’re not really paying enough attention to the issues, and people, who would be affected by another Trump presidency. (Just for starters, it’s Republicans and Republican-aligned groups who are doing everything they can to sow division and chaos and provoke violent rhetoric and incidents among the pro-Palestine protesters.) Either that, or you’re just looking for any excuse to feel superior to both sides, like Nader and Lieberman did. Neither of those assholes did us any good, and neither will you.

  26. cheerfulcharlie says

    Jerry Coyne spat on people? Really? Or is it a malicious rumor. Like P.Z. Meyers destroying student newspapers some years ago? We should be careful with claims that may be utterly false until there is good evidence to support such claims.

  27. Hex says

    Why the fuck do y’all even still give an ounce of legitimacy to a system where we are even forced into this fucking shitty choice between two absolute fucking ghouls to begin with? Fuck the presidency, fuck the Supreme Court, fuck the senate, fuck these goddamn institutions made by and for rich white slaveowning men that have been trudging along, masses of bodies in their wake since inception. Why allow either of these two assholes a chance at so much power? Over 30,000 dead and counting in this fucking genocide, any asshole in power that supports keeping it going needs fucking stopped yesterday

  28. Hex says

    Fuck this entire goddamn country. If it can’t exist without feeding into oppression, literal fucking genocide around the world, then I don’t want it to fucking exist, even if it means the death of me (and it’s already been the death of millions around the world). The collapse of this awful empire and all others can’t come soon enough. How fucking hard is it for these piece of shit leaders to not support genocide? How the fuck can any of you even talk about them without your blood boiling at this point? Yeah Biden would be better than Trump in the sense that he’ll still continue a genocide and push fascist pro-police policies, but not as “hard”, but what would be way better would be NEITHER of these two creeps. What would be way better would be to not accept systems that allow such few people such power over hundreds of millions. I don’t want to live in a fucking world where tens of thousands of people are genocided and state sicks the militarized police on STUDENTS who protest it. I want to live in a world where the mass accepted response to people in power committing and assisting genocide is fucking bullets

  29. Hex says

    I wish the fucking fetishization of “nonviolent protests” would end. When there’s tens of thousands and counting dead in an ongoing genocide, I could give a shit if the actions against those in power perpetuating it and the systems that allow them power are violent or not. These systems perpetuate fucking violence on mass scales, the only fucking “legitimacy” they have over other forms of violence is in your head

  30. Pierce R. Butler says

    Of the 9 students arrested recently at the Univ of Florida, 8 got own-recognizanced and 1 got felony charges for, yup, spitting on an officer. (During arraignment, the courtroom & adjoining halls were packed with their supporters.)

    Reportedly video exists showing said student (coincidentally, a Young Socialists of America leader) wore a face mask throughout the encounter.

    Lawn chairs on a campus plaza! Not during a big-deal sportsball day! No wonder they had to call in state troopers in almost-full riot gear (absence of face shields reported) and confiscate lots of stuff while politicians accused the folding furniture fanatics of the usual suspicions. New rules about what was and wasn’t permitted on campus came out multiple times per day. (Per participants, not including me. They also emphasized that much of the leadership and membership included Jews, and kept up a string of teach-in staples (talks, workshops, music, serious discussions, yoga, …) with no reported frictions.)

    In what passes for good news in present context, a veteran civil rights lawyer seems on track to represent the UF YSA 1. Apparently some sort of presence on the plaza persists: relatively sane visitors welcome (not necessarily by UF Admin, of course: word has it DeSantis has them hopping when he says “frog”.).

  31. Hex says

    I fucking hate it when people tell others shit like “ooo well don’t you know if Trump wins he’s gonna put trans people in camps!” Yes I and other trans people are well aware of what Trump will do if in power. So is that it? Is the fucking extent of your politics to vote every few years and then just sit back and let them do whatever the fuck they want? Trump or Biden in office, when they commit genocide and you don’t yell about it, protest it, take direct action, when you sit idly in the sidelines and don’t actually risk anything, why the fuck should I give you credit?

    I know I’m yelling for the sake of yelling at this point, but fuck, I don’t care. I’m so angry and frustrated at the growing piles of dead and this country’s absolute complicity in genocide and the violent response to people who do so much as even speak up against it. I look back at Kent State, the 68 Columbia protests, etc, and I see that nothing has fucking changed for the better and the police have only gotten more militarized in response to far more peaceful protests. Fucking hell world

  32. birgerjohansson says

    Hex @ 39

    I sympathize. I am 63 years old and I am tired of seeing the same crap over and over again.
    My advice to avoid burnout – a real problem that I have experienced myself- is to sometimes pause, and not let the horrors of what you cannot realistically change in the short term get to you. Give newspapers and social media a rest.

  33. lotharloo says


    Non-violent protests are also the correct strategic approach. This is because as ordinary citizens you lack the fire power to take on the government or amred forces. Use of violence on your side will legitimize use of violence against you, and you can’t win that competition.

  34. says

    Either the lady started the rumor for no reason but to smear Coyne or what she posted on X is true. We just don’t know. A part of me wanted to believe it, get angry, have tension headaches, and be outraged. But another part of me would rather disbelieve it, brush it off, forget about it, and go about my day and evening. With X being a hotspot for manufacturing lies and falsehoods which quickly gets spread about on social media, there’s really no telling whether the story is true or not.

  35. Derek Vandivere says

    #7 – Matt G: Me, too. I invited him out for a boat ride when he visited Amsterdam several years ago, and was surprised at how sullenly he was talking about woke this and woke that. His shift seems to have happened around the time of BLM protests, and to have been based on what he saw as excesses in academia. Now he’s to the point of buying into the “someone’s distributing the same tents to the protesters” level of idea.

    All that said, I find it very hard to believe that he’s walking around hawking loogies on protesters.

  36. says

    Apparently, Coyne has flat out said that he did not spit on that woman, so it’s a she said, he said situation. I wasn’t there, so I don’t know what happened.

    What I do know is that he has publicly denounced the entire pro-Palestine movement and called them violent and anti-Semitic, while also strolling unmolested and mostly unnoticed through the UChicago encampment. His words are bad enough.

  37. Hex says

    I’m not suggesting to do an armed clash with the militarized police, more so taking actions against individuals in power who are supporting the genocide and directing the cops on protesters, but the idea that using violence against the police “legitimizes” their use of violence against the protesters is total bullshit and exactly what I meant when I said “the only fucking “legitimacy” they have over other forms of violence is in your head”. For one they are ALREADY using violence against unarmed student protesters, and second, they are ALREADY upholding a violent, genocidal state. Like fuck, the very genocide going on right now, Israel is claiming is “legitimate” due to the events of Oct 6. That’s bullshit and giving “legitimacy” to the police to mow down protesters should anyone become violent in response to, and I cannot stress this enough, A FUCKING GENOCIDE, is bullshit as well.

    I just can’t fucking believe this world I was brought into and the deep unseriousness/hypocrisy political leaders have had my entire life and the tacit acceptance of it for so many here. Going through school with fucking shooter drills and now the admins setting the fucking guns ON the students. I hope they never have a fucking peaceful day the rest of their lives.

  38. Hex says

    I was gonna let that last post be my final one here, I actually emailed PZ and asked him to ban me because I was getting too stressed out about this stuff. But I want to say one thing in response to @Raging Bee

    Why should you care about me? Why should you care about any trans people? Why should you care about Palestinians? There’s no answer to that. I will tell you that my family is struggling due to systemic discrimination. The state threatens to cut off our access to medications, to allow bigots to discriminate us, to have control over our bodies. The community I’ve found solace in has been ravaged, we’ve been forced out of our homes due to not being able to afford rent. I can’t even fucking walk outside without someone harassing me. Just fucking the other day I was out for all but two minutes in broad daylight when a guy walking past me asked me to fuck him, and when I told him no, he responded with indignation and insults towards me. That’s just the latest incident I deal with on a daily basis, and a relatively minor one. I grew up with school shootings a regularity and none of these fucking politicians doing shit, and now the school ADMINS are directing the guns at the students for PROTESTING GENOCIDE. I and many other trans people and millions around the world who have experienced oppression, seen their loved ones suffer and die for abject bullshit, sees like cause with Palestinians and want a fucking stop to state and capitalist oppression around the world FUCKING YESTERDAY.

    Why should you care about me? Why care about anything that doesn’t affect you? If you’ve seen what I’ve posted and know my situation and that’s your fucking response, all I can say is hey, you don’t have to care. No one “has” to. But I hope you fucking choke.

  39. garnetstar says

    Doc Bill @31, care to share your perceptions on why Coyne seems to have changed a lot in the past decade or so?

  40. says

    I will tell you that my family is struggling due to systemic discrimination. The state threatens to cut off our access to medications, to allow bigots to discriminate us, to have control over our bodies…

    And nihilistic rage and both-sides-ism is going to make any of that better…how?

  41. Hex says

    TO EXPRESS MY ANGER AND GET PEOPLE TO ACT TO MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE YOU FUCKING DIPSHIT!!! Both parties are literally supporting this genocide, you want me to stay silent??? FUCK YOU!!!

  42. says

    Hex, as you have nothing useful to say other than angrily trying to create artificial parity where none exists, staying silent would be the better alternative.

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