Coyne was quoted in this article on homeschooling, which brought in an unexpected surge of email, including some rather nasty words from the Christians. This doesn’t surprise me at all; criticizing religion, especially the more far-out beliefs that are clearly unsupportable and in contradiction to all of the evidence, is always a reliable trigger to start some kooks spewing.
Homeschooling is another trigger. People care very much about their kids, and so telling them that they’re wrecking their children’s future by giving them a substandard education poisoned with a falsified ideology is not the kind of thing that will get you pleasant nods of approval…even if it is true. I’m one of those people who thinks we ought to be consistent and require everyone to attend an accredited school, public or private, and that private schools ought also to be required to meet certain secular standards, such as that their science education ought to address the evidence reasonably. You want to send your kids to a school that teaches them all about Jesus? Fine. But it doesn’t count as a legitimate education unless it also teaches the basics of science, math, history, English, etc. in a way that meets state education standards.
It’s the same principle that warrants requiring vaccinations for all children: for the defense of our society.