Patrick Coffin

Patrick Coffin is the man. Patrick is the host of most probably the biggest Catholic radio show there is, Catholic Answers Live. Anyone who listens to the show knows that Patrick means well.

Usually when someone says another person means well you are trying to say they are too stupid for their audience. I mean exactly the opposite. Patrick Coffin is too smart for his audience. But he makes a concerted effort to speak to each and every listener at his or her level, regardless of the stupidity of the questions. I cannot begin to tell you the effort that this takes.

Patrick is witty, incisive, and bitingly sarcastic when the moment calls for it. He is amazingly well educated in the faith without a whiff of the theological arrogance that typically comes along with it. He can defend without being defensive. He can destroy arguments with the greatest of ease, while making sure the daft purveyors are left mostly unscathed.

In short, when I grow up as an apologist, Mr. Coffin is my model.

Matt and I have both appeared on the show and have found him to be witty, sarcastic, and thoroughly Christian. Basically, the Patrick you hear on the show is the Patrick in real life.

Why do I bring this up? Coffin decided that he would spend his Good Friday the ol' fashioned way. Going to a meeting with the cowardly atheist Richard Dawkins and asking him to put up (as shut up is impossible.)

Dawkins, unlike Coffin, lacks the courage of his convictions. (Language Warning)
The video footage may be available at some point, but my main goal was to ask him a yes or no question: would he appear on a top-rated Catholic radio show before an international audience to talk about his atheistic worldview? No debate, no questions about why he refuses to debate his nemesis, Dr. William Lane Craig, no gotcha ambushes.

The crowd went silent and turned from me to Dawkins. After a beat, he began a filibuster about why he would not share the platform with a man who supports genocide (Dawkins has a favorite Bible passage that he thinks proves God is a moral monster — Saul’s commandment to wipe out the Amaleks in 1 Samuel 15), and a longish discourse on the fact that he only debates archbishops and cardinals — including his upcoming Easter Monday debate with George Cardinal Pell. He pointed to the next questioner, but I wanted to make sure his adoring supporters plainly saw that his answer to my public invitation was to refuse the challenge. I went on (I may be misremembering the actual words), “I’m neither a cardinal nor a trained philosopher; just a lowly radio host. And I’m inviting you to have a civil, respectful conversation that gets at the specifics of your atheism. You would have a large audience around the world in which to do so. Yes, or no?”

“I have answered your question sufficiently,” he huffed, to the satisfaction of the crowd. As I was walking back to my seat, someone thought it best to share with me his belief that I am an asshole. In foyer as we were leaving, two T-shirted atheists gave me the eeeevil eye. One announced, CHRISTIANS ARE ASSHOLES, the other ARREST THE POPE, complete with a rat-like caricature of Pope Benedict XVI.
Patrick is getting it done and he really deserves a lot of credit. On the list notable Catholics, Mr. Coffin deserves to be at the top of the list. Day in and day out, he does the good work with style, grace, and edge. That is not easy to pull off. Kudos to Patrick Coffin.

Ok. Enough with the niceties. I have mentioned this before.

In this head shot (Do real men have head-shots? I'm just asking?) In this head shot doesn't Patrick look like a cross between Potsie Weber and that guy Richard from "Lost" I just saying. I mean, he seems like a great guy. A great guy. But I'm fairly sure he is wearing makeup in this shot. Or something...

Did I mention that he is Canadian? I shoudn't even have brought that up, not with all the racial tensions these days. I even have some Canadian friends.

ht to Mark


  1. I think you meant "he can destroy arguments with the greatest of ease." ("slightest of ease" would mean that it is hard for him).

    Patrick Coffin would most likely not make that mistake!

  2. RE: "Richard" from LOST - does anyone have pictures of Patrick Coffin when he was young? i.e. do we have verifiable proof he has aged? Just askin'.

  3. Dawkins is very vocal on why he won't debate Dr. William Lane Craig. Patrick is intersting to listen to but I don't see where he or WLG are significantly different in content. They are worlds apart in form.

    Dawkins has no intention of debating minutia of God when he considers the question as germane as "What do Unicorn droppings smell like".


  4. If he believes that the question is that silly and to be ignored it is quite curious that he spends the majority of his public life hosting and speaking at conferences on the subject...perhaps a conference next year on "Why Unicorn Droppings Don't Smell like Anything Because they Don't Exist" would be in order?

  5. Well, in Dawkins world, There is no evidence of any god. Debating some part of Christianity is like debating some part of a unicorn. Debate what you will but there has to be some starting point in common for any debate. Him debating Coffin on religius doctrine would be like me debating you on what a unicorn likes to eat (and the future droppings).


  6. Ye Archbolds -- if I didn't know myself so well, I'd be impressed. BTW, you're all wet as to Richard from Lost. I am actually, though, the secret lost brother of Rob Lowe, John Stamos, John Travolta, and Bishop Fulton Sheen. m'kay?

    And yes, Virginia, real men do have head shots, as long as said head shots receive a Photoshop
    manipedie (sp.) Now keep a lid on that man crush. lol.

    A serious question: what's with these atheist combox chickens who can't post with their real names? Does disbelieving in God come with a coward gene? Dear "Rover/Anonymous," honestly, I recommend you actually read my account of the Dawkins event. I explicitly say that I am not challenging him to a duel or debate. Lacking his monster brain in evolutionary biology and a career at Oxford, he would kick my royal Canadian arse across the foyer and then take another sip of tea.

    Further, you write: "Dawkins is very vocal on why he won't debate Dr. William Lane Craig," but offer no examples of WHY he won't debate Dr. Craig. Here, let me do your homework for you for the benefit of interested CMR combox readers:

    And here is the opinion of fellow Oxonian atheist David Came as to why, as a result, he thinks Dawkins is a complete embarrassment to atheists:

    Does Dr. Dawkins REALLY think that William Lane Craig has never answered the alleged pro-genocide charge against the Old Testament 10,000 times before? If Craig is such a pushover, why not crush him in a televised debate and be over with it, and shut up these annoying unicorn-worshipping dolts once and for all?

    For myself, I take no delight in crushing debate opponents. And I pray for Richard every day, by name. What an incredible Saul-Paul Richard would make....God be praised.

    I just wish Richard would put on his big boy pants and face off against Dr. Craig.

    He is Risen! Alleluia!

    - Patrick Coffin, the Dick Clark of Catholic radio

  7. Dawkins is not only a philosophical illiterate—his "complexity of God" argument is tantamount to an admission he has not even skimmed the chapter headings in the Summa—he is also...not a real scientist. He's a behavioral entomologist. Or in other words, a bug sociologist. Or in yet other words, a glorified beekeeper. Similarly, Paul Z Myers is not a real scientist—the only papers he's actually published are glorified aquarium fancy. Also, Myers thinks desecrating the Eucharist on Youtube makes him a big man—when even the Westboro Baptist Church at least have the stones to do their hate-mongering in person.

    Dawkins may pretend Christians favor genocide—despite the Old Testament being about Jews' morals, not ours. But the fact remains, atheist regimes killed more people in 72 years than all religions put together killed in 6000. By about an order of magnitude.

    The Brights is a movement named on the same basis as Democratic People's Republics. More generally, Anglophone atheism is nothing more than unwarranted intellectual posturing by the shallowest, most reductive bunch of halfwits ever to somehow avoid eating from bottles with skulls on them. There is a reason Nietzsche described Dawkins' type of moralistic little blowhard as "English flatheads."

  8. I talk about Patrick Coffin to my friends as if I really knew him... when really I just listen to him on the radio all the time.

    Be a saint! What else is there?

  9. Patrick, I am honored you mention me (Rover here). I must remain anonymous due to my association with churches in the Lansing area and my wifes Catholic affiliations.

    I enjoy listening to you on WETN (Sirius radio).

    Coward gene (God given I'm sure). Atheists are hated, even more than Gays or Muslims. I must remain anonymous or I would be attacked at work in society.

    Finding someone to insult any public figure is easy. Dawkins is a thinker. You must be embarrased for AS an athiest to be embarrase FOR and atheist.

    To be specific, WLC will name 30 reasons why (name the subject) can not be proved. In a 1 hour debate, you might be able to cover 5. Oh well, the other 25 I threw out he couldn't answer.

    PZ Myers has an excellent blog of why he won't debate WLC.

    Someday, I will call into the WETN and identify as Rover.

    I do alot of work for Catholic and Methodist churches and can't be identified.

    Sorry for the anonymous part,

  10. Paul Z Myers won't debate WLC because he's a coward. Again, at least the Westboro Baptist Church do their hate-stunts in person.

    As for Dawkins being a "thinker", Dawkins is an idiot. He does not even understand the science terms he throws around—he regularly confuses cosmic rays and gamma rays, for instance, one of which is made up of nuclear particles and the other one of which is a kind of light. When the topic turns to philosophy, he instantly transforms into Dilbert's boss: "Anything I don't understand is either simple or unimportant."

    And I think the Christians in China and Cuba would love to live under the kind of "hate" you claim atheists live under, Rover. Given that both the Freedom From Religion Foundation and Americans United fulfill all the requirements to be classified as hate groups under federal law, I'm pretty sure that's projection. Oh, but then, of course it is—just like how religion is ever so violent, but atheists are the ones who murdered 120 million people in 72 years...not counting war-dead or forced abortions.

    Tell us again how scared of Christians you are, killer, I think it's funny.

  11. Rover, I appreciate your kind words and your stab at an explanation yet I must say your inconsistency is kinda glaring

    "I must remain anonymous due to my association with churches in the Lansing area and my wifes (sic) Catholic affiliations." Huh? Why do you affiliate with unicorn cult members at all?

    "Atheists are hated, even more than Gays or Muslims."

    Gee, gay (a worthless political identity term) is now upgraded to Gay? First, I hate a grand total of zero atheists. I don't know a single Christian who hates any atheists. We think they're wrong on THE fundamental question, but you're over playing the handy hate card, amigo. Same with Muslims. Oh, to live a thousand years as a Muslim in America than two weeks as a Christian in, say, Saudi Arabia.

    "I must remain anonymous or I would be attacked at work in society."

    If I had any nasally present milk, it would have spurted here. You must remain anonymous or you would be attacked at work in society? I seriously don't mean to make light of any actual threat or harm, but it sounds like you may be cowering behind your computer tower for fear of pitchfork-and-torch-laden Pilgrim villagers. Your right to speak up as a disbeliever in God's existence is well-protected under a little thing called the First Amendment.

    Sophia, you are my favorite, girl! Guilty pleasure: I am a full-blown Alice Cooper minion. Still trying to cement a radio interview with the great man (and thrashingly committed Bible Christian I might add with affection and no little satisfaction.)

    Liesl: the secret is way out...I'm a nobody who happened, by God's grace, upon the best job in the world.


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