Skip to comments.The Coulter Hoax: How Ann Coulter Exposed the Intelligent Design Movement
Posted on 03/31/2007 1:48:09 PM PDT by EveningStar
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No you don't. I invited you to one in this post. I posted my personal analysis of something you had quoted, and said, "let me know if you find any oversights in it"
Rather than have a "good clean debate" on the analysis I posted, you just posted this childish retort.
When someone else pointed out to you here that the material deserved a better and more mature response from you, you came back with this load of excuses, false accusations, and insults.
I refuted all your false accusations and pointed out the flaws in your excuses here. Did you then choose to actually deal with the material I had posted? No, you did not. You ran away and couldn't even be man enough to apologize for the false accusations, much less return to the topic and address the material I had posted refuting the claim you had quoted.
Realizing that perhaps you weren't being disingenuous when you claimed that my post was "too big" for you to figure out what it was saying, I actually reposted it with "Cliff Notes" pointers summarizing the contents of each section for you, and again inviting you to actually address the material via the following passage which closed my post:
There, Dave -- now that I've helped you out by providing you with "signposts" that help you navigate that terribly, terribly long multi-page post, such that you won't get so easily lost and confused trying to read it due to your MTV-ruined attention span, I look forward to your response wherein you identify anything seriously wrong with my deconstruction of Behe's argument (and be sure to do it in your own words, since you several times have viciously attacked other people for using mere "cut-and-paste" and since you stated that you value "original content").Did you do that? No, you didn't. So much for your "LOVE" for "a good clean debate" -- every time you've ever been invited to one, you respond with excuses, evasions, "anger, hatred, bitterness and resentment", snottiness, or simply vanish from the scene.
Or if you can't do that, I look forward to your admitting that I have successfully identified serious flaws in Behe's "IC" definition and argument, and your promise not to use it anymore nor post anything bogus enough to include Behe's "IC" as part of its argument.
We've got your number, Dave. You're not fooling anyone at all. You have run screaming from every actual "debate" youv'e had a chance at partaking in, any time you've found yourself facing someone who knew what they were talking about. Even so, I kept trying to get you to stop your namecalling and "nyah-nyahs" and actually post what you consider your 2-3 very best items from your favorite cut-and-paste sources (AiG etc.), so that we could put them (and your trust in them) to the test. I did this many, many times, including this example. Did you take the challenge to discuss the material on its merits? No, of course not, you just engaged in a wall-to-wall "you're a meanie and you suck!" response instead of getting around to, you know, discussing the topic finally. We've come to know you well, Dave, that's your trademark style, and it bears no resemblance at all to "LOVING a good clean debate". All you have is prancing pretenses about how you're yearning for a real discussion while you whine and cry about how "mean" we're being and how you won't engage in a debate with brutes such as ourselves... It's really pathetic, and it's no wonder you don't get taken seriously.
Now, of course, Dave is going to be tempted to issue his favorite cheap excuse of, "gosh, I *started out* trying to talk to you, but you were mean to me from the *start*, so *now* I have an excuse to run away from actually dealing with the material you post". The problem with that, of course, is that I have previously reviewed the posting history between you and I, and demonstrated that I was civil to you from the start, and you kept rejecting attempts to get you to engage in a discussion, while repeatedly doing things that undermined my initial willingness to give you the benefit of the doubt and consider you someone who actually wanted to have an honest discussion. Eventually it became entirely apparent that you were both unwilling and unable to do so.
Lying to us about that is bad enough, but I suspect you're even trying to lie to yourself about it.
Feel free to prove me wrong, though, I'm always willing to start fresh with someone. Give a real shot, finally, at responding to my material about Behe, if you really, truly "LOVE a good clean debate". If you keep it clean, I'll be more than glad to do likewise. If you decline, on the other hand, well, that speaks for itself.
Very few of those ever took place here on FR.
Gosh, I wonder why? Oh, right, because you guys don't "do" debates, you just behave in the way I documented above, which is a typical exchange whenever someone who understands the science posts something you guys know you can't handle.
You can read some of the anger, hatred, bitterness and resentment that underscores the evolutionary dogma on the thread.
Oh look, more insults and slogan-slinging! Typical.
It's not one-sided, and I'll be the first to admit that.
Good, because otherwise I've got *plenty* of examples I could post of anti-evolution folks, including yourself, being completely over the line.
I've butted heads a few times with people claiming to represent the creationist cause.
Those aren't the only people you've butted heads with, Dave. You'd rather butt heads than have an actual discussion of the actual topic, as revealed by all the times you've dodged discussions or run away just as someone posted refutations of what you hoped you'd be able to post without opposition or rebuttal.
Perhaps Answers in Genesis was down?
"No it isn't! - It's called THE THEORY of evolution - not the SCIENCE of evolution."
Are you really as stupid as you make out?
You evidently attempted to qoute the specious 'Evolution is Theory not fact' adage, but failed.
A lot of us did give up, because it became apparent that around here, even the most blatant falsehoods, gross distortions, and cynical propaganda would be defended and applauded (including by the site's management) as long as it was "politically correct" from the standpoint of certain conservatives and their shibboleths, even if that meant attacking truth, facts, and science, and the banning of large numbers of Freepers who (*gasp*) dared correct falsehoods and misconceptions on these topics. Like, for example, the scores of falsehoods that Ann Coulter chose to print in her latest book attacking 150 years of established science just because she knew that most of her intended audience would eat it up, and not double-check her claims themselves.
Personally, I like to defend truth no matter who says it, and blow the whistle on lies and deceit no matter which side stoops low enough to spew it, but hey, that's just me. Clearly the anti-evolution folks don't feel likewise, and don't mind repeatedly lying for their cause.
A few examples of many, from prior posts of mine:
Ann certainly isn't being dishonest.And:
She certainly is in the science chapters. I've lost count of the number of blatant falsehoods and gross fallacies and half-truths she employs. Let's check just one small passage, shall we? From page 225:Instead of gradual change occurring by random mutation and natural selection choosing the most "fit" to survive and reproduce--in other words, "Darwin's theory of evolution"--Gould and Eldredge hypothesized that evolution could also happen really fast and then stop happening at all for 150 million years. Basically, what happens is this: Your parents are slugs and then suddenly--but totally at random--you evolve into a gecko and your brother evolves into a shark and your sister evolves into a polar bear and the guy down the street evolves into a porpoise and so on--and then everybody relaxes by the pool for 150 million years, virtually unchanged.I count at least seven serious misrepresentations in these two sentences -- the kind that give a grossly incorrect impression to the reader about the actual science.
Okay, maybe she's not dishonest, maybe she's just parroting someone else's dishonest propaganda but is too ignorant of the topic to realize it. But neither option inspires confidence.
One way or the other, however, she's doing a remarkable Michael Moore impression when she attempts to discuss biology and other fields of science. The reader will actually know *less* about biology after reading her book than he did before, because the book contains very little accurate information about biology, while filling the reader's head with large volumes of misinformation. The reader will end up *farther* from an understanding of the issue than when they started, in the same sense that a liberal who knows very little about the Iraq war will be closer to an understanding of it than someone who "knows" nothing but giant loads of anti-war anti-Bush propaganda about it.
As an old saying goes, "it's not the things you don't know that get you into trouble, as much as the things you 'know' that ain't so". And there's a great deal of "ain't so" in Ann's chapters on science. In fact, I'm not exagerrating at all when I say that it's far harder to find things that she got *right* in those chapters.
and accepted without discussion.
Horse manure. Go right ahead and discuss it. No one's stopping you. And no, the result of the Kitzmiller and other court cases is not to bar "discussion". Anyone who claims that it is is grossly misrepresenting the actual cases -- like, say, Ann is doing on pages 223-224... Not only does she grossly misrepresent what can and can't be presented in classrooms, she misrepresents a number of cases such as that of Roger DeHart -- she pretends that he was removed from teaching biology simply because he wanted to present his students some fossils from China. The degree of this misrepresentation is shocking. For a more complete account of Dehart's problems with his school, see this, and then ask yourself whether Ann's description of this incident in her book is even remotely honest: "Meanwhile, when a high school biology teacher in America tries to tell his students about the Chinese fossils, he is banned from teaching biology".
Ann sort of "forgot" to mention that it wasn't his mentioning of some fossils that got him into hot water, it was his constant fighting with the school administration, frequent complaints from parents, his habit of using creationist materials which contained major falsehoods about biology after repeatedly being told not to use them, his hiding of his curriculum from the school by distributing materials to students for use during class then gathering them back again at the end of the class so that there would not be a "paper trail" of his material, etc. etc. etc. over a five year period. Gosh, that's just a *little* different from Ann's version, isn't it? Whether or not DeHart's behavior justified his removal from the biology class (he wasn't fired, just reassigned to teaching a different subject) can be debated, but the point is that Ann's description of it is GROSSLY misleading and false, and leaves out the most relevant issues involved in DeHart's reassignment, while "pretending" that it was just done over his "daring" to present some fossils that Ann tries to describe as some kind of major problem for evolutionary biology, when they aren't even that. The degree of distortion involved in her presentation is just jaw-dropping. If a liberal distorted some event that badly in order to misdescribe it in a way that slandered conservatives, we'd be justifiably up in arms, *and* take it as direct evidence of their gross dishonesty and/or their total incompetence.
I don't get it. P. J. O'Rourke has been saying way more controversial things for way longer, and hasn't received a fraction of the condemnation of Ann.And:
I get it just fine. P.J. manages to be hard-hitting without being completely obnoxious about it, and the things he says adhere closely to the truth, unlike Ann's willingness to spew blatantly false accusations.
If the many examples at the link aren't enough for you, here's another: On page 206, she wrote, in regards to an article by biologist Jerry Coyne, "But, curiously, Coyne never got around to addressing Behe's argument for intelligent design the centerpiece of the subject Coyne claimed to be discussing." This is a blatant and transparent lie. Coulter claims that "Coyne never got around to addressing Behe's argument for intelligent design", but Coyne actually spent FIFTEEN PARAGRAPHS of that article doing exactly that, starting at the sentence which begins, "IDers make one claim that they tout as truly novel..." Ann even quoted from Coyne's discussion of Behe's argument later in her book, so she can't claim not to have seen it. So why does she tell a blatant falsehood to her readers? Apparently because it's easier to pretend (no matter how false it is) that no one has been willing/able to mount a rebuttal to Behe's argument (in reality, scores of biologists have), than to actually deal with the points raised by such rebuttals. Ann would rather just lie to her readers in order to give them an entirely false impression. It's easier to "win" the issue that way -- just say what you *wish* the truth was, instead of dealing with the actual reality. Of course, that's exactly how Michael Moore and his ilk do it also. Ann Coulter has become the sort of propagandist she used to denounce.
I've documented many dozens of examples of this kind of flat-out dishonesty from Ann in her book's chapters on science and biology. If anyone wants to be pinged to my eventual post listing them all (warning, it's going to be LONG), just FreepMail me and ask to be put on the ping list.
Ann Coulter states in her book on page 201 -And:
Darwins theory of evolution says life on Earth began with single-celled life forms,
Wrong. The earliest life wouldn't even have qualified as "single-celled", and furthermore "Darwin's theory" doesn't even make any statement about the earliest form(s) of life or their origin. For that you have to look to other fields of biology.
which evolved into multicelled life forms,
Some did, some didn't.
which over countless aeons evolved into higher life forms, including man, all as the result of the chance process of random mutation followed by natural selection,
Wrong, there are more processes at work than just natural selection.
without guidance or assistance from any intelligent entity like God of the Department of Agriculture.
Darwin's theory makes no statement whatsoever about whether there was or was not any "guidance or assistance".
Which is to say, evolution I the eminently plausible theory that the human eye, the complete works of Shakespeare, and Ronal Reagan (among other things) all came into existence purely be accident.
Wrong again. First, see above, Darwin's theory makes no statement on whether the evolution of life proceeded "purely" by natural processes. Second, "purely by accident" is a really inaccurate and misleading way to describe evolutionary processes. Third, even if biological evolution was solely responsible for the rise of intelligent life, things like "the works of Shakespeare" came about via a different kind of process, as do most other works of man.
Coulter really needs to try to educate herself on this subject before she attempts to "teach" anyone else about it.
On page 202, she states The theory of evolution is:
1. Random mutation of desirable attributes (highly implausible)
Not *just* the random mutation of desirable attributes, that's extremely misleading as written. Furthermore, "desirable" is a misleading word in this context, especially since the fitness of traits is highly dependent upon conditions. And the fact that Coulter finds herself amazed by the notion doesn't change the fact that there is vast and overwhelming evidence that such mutations have occurred and do occur.
2. Natural selection weeding out the less fit animals (pointless tautology)
Natural selection is hardly the only process shaping the genepool, although people who don't know a damned thing about evolutionary biology (like Coulter) often presume it is. And it's in no way a "tautology", pointless or otherwise. That's a common creationist canard, but it's nonsense.
3. Leading to the creation of new species (no evidence after 150 years of looking)
Yes, #1 and #2, together with other processes, can produce new species (but are also responsible for changes *within* a species). As for "no evidence after 150 years of looking", that's quite simply a bald-faced lie.
My question is she correct in her statements?
No, she isn't. She grossly misrepresents evolutionary biology throughout her chapters on evolution, and tells an astounding number of outright falsehoods. I'm working up a (LONG) post documenting all the ways she outright misleads her readers in those chapters -- anyone who wants to be pinged to it when I finish it can FreepMail me to be added to the ping list.
Is that Darwins theory?
No, it isn't. It's a cartoonish distortion of it.
That is something else she discusses in her evolution chapter. She is not talking about gradual evolutions, such as when introducing more protein in the diet, a race of people become bigger and stronger.And:
She can't even get *that* right -- that is not "simple evolution" at all. Eating more protein isn't evolution. Genetic change is evolution.
She is talking about whole new species.
...and she talks about it in the same way that Michael Moore talks about conservatism and capitalism and America.
And she continually brings up the human eye.
...while misrepresenting almost everything about that topic. Let's take her screech on page 208, for example. I'll wait a moment while you go look it up....
Got it? Okay. Now read from the top of the page down to the sentence which ends, "...the Darwiniacs' version of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion."
(Background: In case you didn't know, the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" was an infamous forgery -- it was created by Jew-haters in order to make it look as if Jewish leaders were plotting world domination. It's one of the most disgusting and vicious hoaxes of all time, was made up out of thin air, and yet after being repeatedly debunked is still believed authentic by some conspiracy-minded kooks among the skinhead and neo-Nazi movement, because it "supports" their prejudices and paranoia about Jews.)
So when Coulter accuses the "Darwiniacs" (charming -- no one will ever mistake her for a lady) of something akin to the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", she's making one of the most extreme possible insults, insinuating that the "Darwiniacs" believe something that is a complete fabrication, and something that no sane person would want to associate with.
And her tale on page 208 sounds pretty bad, doesn't it? She's doing everything she can to try to imply that Dawkins et al just made something up out of thin air, and tried to attribute it to a researcher who, when asked, had no idea what Dawkins was talking about -- Coulter wants you to believe that a fraud had been committed, and that in fact no researcher has successfully modeled the evolution of the eye.
Do you agree that this is the impression she's trying to give? With me so far? Good.
It's a lie. But the person lying is Coulter. The ONLY grain of truth in her rant is that Dawkins had misspoken when he described the research as a "computer simulation" -- it was actually a combination of mathematical models, physical models, and computer analysis, but not a "computer simulation" in the strictest sense of the word. But the research WAS actually performed, it WAS actually done by the researcher Coulter tries to imply had denied its existence, Dawkins's description of the results of the research WERE ACCURATE.
If Coulter had wanted to take issue with the research methodology, she's free to do so. But to DISHONESTLY try to blow up an extremely insignificant slip of the tongue (calling something a "computer model" when it was analyzed in a different manner) into a false tale that the research was never done and that "Darwiniacs" just made it all up is an INCREDIBLY dishonest sleight-of-hand that would make Michael Moore green with envy.
If Coulter allegedly has a good case, why does she have to lie about it?
Here, read the research on the evolution of the eye yourself -- it really exists, and was really done by the researcher that Dawkins said it was done by, and which Coulter tries to give the impression had denied its existence:"A Pessimistic Estimate of the Time Required for an Eye to Evolve", Dan-E. Nilsson; Susanne Pelger, Proceedings: Biological Sciences / Vol. 256, No. 1345 (Apr., 1994), pp. 53-58Here you can watch a short video of the researcher discussing his findings: (Click on your choice of video format at the top of the page at this link).
Gosh, how honest was it of Coulter to mislead her readers into thinking that this research didn't even exist at all, and that the "Darwiniacs" were just lying and making it all up?
Worse, she can't even claim not to be aware of these things. In her endnotes for this chapter (second part of reference 10 for chapter 8 on pg. 297), she specifically cites the article in "Commentary" magazine which contains multiple rebuttals by Nilsson (the author of the eye evolution paper) and other researchers, who dismantle David Berlinski (the "authority" Coulter cites for her "it didn't exist" accusation) on his errors, his false accusations, and his making a mountain out of a molehill over the "computer simulation" label. Read that again until it sinks in -- COULTER ADMITS TO READING the letters in which the researchers themselves (and others) discuss the research itself (so Coulter KNOWS the research actually exists) and taking Berlinski to task for nitpicking about the "computer simulation" description (so Coulter KNOWS this is a trivial issue). And yet after KNOWING this, Coulter went ahead and MADE THE FALSE ACCUSATION of "it didn't exist" concerning Nilsson's research, *AND* spun that lie around the already discredited nitpicking about whether or not the research was best described as a "computer simulation" or some other descriptive term...
Out of curiosity, 7thson, do you approve of being knowingly misled in this manner by an author you trusted?
Here are some of the relevant excerpts from the "Commentary" rebuttal which COULTER ADMITS TO HAVING READ (since she includes a citation to it in her endnotes), but decided to lie about when she wrote about it on page 208...
By Dan-E Nilsson (author of the evolution-of-the-eye research):He further claims that we fail to explain how morphological change relates to improvements in visual acuity, though pages 54 through 56 (together with the graphs and legends in figures 1 and 3) deal with exactly that, and in great detail.From Paul R. Gross:
[...] Contrary to Mr. Berlinskis claim, we calculate the spatial resolution (visual acuity) for all parts of our eye-evolution sequence, and the results are displayed in figure 1 of our paper. The underlying theory is explained in the main text, including the important equation 1 and a reference to Warrant & McIntyre (1993), where this theory is derived. Yet Mr. Berlinski insists that Nilsson and Pelger do not calculate the visual acuity of any structure. It would be much simpler for Mr. Berlinski if he went just a tiny step farther and denied the existence of our paper altogether. [Funny, Ann Coulter seems to have taken him up on that sarcastic remark. -- Ich.]
Mr. Berlinski is right on one point only: the paper I wrote with Pelger has been incorrectly cited as containing a computer simulation of eye evolution. I have not considered this to be a very serious problem, because a simulation would be a mere automation of the logic in our paper. A complete simulation is thus of moderate scientific interest, although it would be useful from an educational point of view.
Our paper remains scientifically sound, and has not been challenged in any peer-reviewed scientific journal. I do not intend to take any further part in a meaningless debate with David Berlinski.Mr. Berlinski misunderstands or misinterprets critical elements of the paper. Then he quibbles ponderously about terms and assumptions and about a popular gloss of the paper by Richard Dawkins. He accuses some of his critics of fraud for having failed to denounce Dawkinss use in a trade book of certain of those terms. Mr. Berlinskis arguments are quibbles.From Matt Young:I will not respond to Mr. Berlinskis disdainful tone, nor to the cheap shots directed at me personally. Nor will I continue the pointless distraction of whether Nilsson and Pelger performed a simulation or a calculation.From Mark Perakh:But contrary to Mr. Berlinskis rhetoric, any scandal related to Nilsson and Pelgers paper occurred only in Mr. Berlinskis imagination. Nilsson and Pelger estimate the time necessary for the development of an eye, a calculation that entails certain assumptions but which is viewed by many scientists as sufficiently sound. (According to the Science Citation Index, Nilsson and Pelgers article has been positively referenced in at least 25 peer-reviewed scientific publications.)From Jason Rosenhouse:
But Mr. Berlinski, unlike all these scientists, does not like Nilsson and Pelgers conclusion, and obfuscates the issue by discussing the distinctions among computer simulations, models, and calculations. These semantic exercises are inconsequential to the real question: whether an eye could have developed in a geologically short time via a Darwinian mechanism, as Nilsson and Pelger and scores of biologists familiar with their work think.Once we have swept the field of Mr. Berlinskis distortions we are left with a few simple facts. (1) Several decades of research on the evolution of eyes has not only made it plain that eyes have evolved, but has also revealed the major steps through which they did so. (2) Nilsson and Pelgers paper provides an elegant capstone for this research, by providing a convincing calculation for an upper limit on the time required for an eye to evolve. (3) Minor errors in popular treatments of Nilsson and Pelgers paper do nothing to change facts (1) and (2). (4) Finally, David Berlinski is not a reliable source for scientific information.Coulter KNEW the research existed, she KNEW that Berlinski was nitpicking about descriptions of the research, and yet she chose to tell her readers that "it didn't exist", and to "support" her false claim about its non-existence on something as trivial as Berlinski's bitching about whether a popular book was justified in calling it a "simulation" or not... The mind boggles. Is this Christian behavior? To bear false witness in so cynical a manner?
Coulter repeats this kind of Michael-Moore dishonesty all throughout her chapters on evolutionary biology. When she doesn't want to do the hard work of dealing with the real evidence or research supporting evolution, she just misinforms her readers and denies it exists at all. How many more examples would you like?
I'm writing up a list of all of the lies in Coulter's chapters 8-10 (it's going to be HUGE) -- if you or anyone else would like to be pinged to it when I post it, please FreepMail me.
Hitler didn't invent Darwinism, he just used it as an excuse to "clense" the races.And:
Gee, really? Then why do his private notes show that he based his idea of inferior races on the Bible? Hitler's own handwritten notes, drawing an outline of his philosophy:
Hitler divided his study into five sections:1. The BibleUnder the first section, "The Bible -- Monumental History of Mankind", he lists these topics (among others): "2 human types-- Workers and drones-- Builders and destroyers", "Race Law", "First people's history (based on) the race law-- Eternal course of History".
2. The Aryan
3. His Works
4. The Jew
5. His Work
Hitler was actually privately basing his racial view of mankind on *Biblical* foundations.
Here's a Nazi propaganda paper -- no mention of evolution or Darwin, but references to Christ in regards to "driving the devil from the lands":
The headline reads, "Declaration of the Higher Clergy/So spoke Jesus Christ". The caption under the cartoon of the marching Hitler Youth reads, "We youth step happily forward facing the sun... With our faith we drive the devil from the land."
He just thought that "natural selection" thing needed a little boost I guess.
No, Hitler thought God needed a little boost:"I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.."While we're on the subject, did the Ku Klux Klan subscribe to Darwin when they were trying to keep the "mongrel races" in "their place" and preventing them from "polluting" the white race through intermarriage, or were they a bunch of God-fearing Christians? Let's check, shall we?
-- Adolf Hitler, "Mein Kampf"
In 1916, the oath for joining the KKK included the following questions: "Each of the following questions must be answered by (each of) you with an emphatic "yes": [...] Fourth. Do you believe in the tenets of the Christian religion? [...] Eighth. Do you believe in and will you faithfully strive for the eternal maintenance of white supremacy?" Source: FBI internal document, "The Ku Klux Klan, Section 1, 1865-1944 .
And the Christian foundation of the KKK is hardly limited to 1916, in 1953 they declared that the only membership requirement was to "believe in God and the United States" (source), and even today they're still a proudly bible-thumping group (see also here).
Here's another goody from that same FBI document:In 1922, Evans gave Stephenson the job of organizing the Klan in Indiana. Stephenson hired full-time organizers and found Indiana a fertile field for the Klan's traditional program directed against Catholics, Jews, Negroes, and foreigners, which he extended to include communists, bootleggers, pacifists, evolutionists, and all persons the Klan considered immoral.Let's see... The KKK versus the "evolutionists"... Okay, I know which side the angels are on in *that* face-off...
Hey, mc5cents, if evolution is the root of all evil, how do you explain the Christians in the KKK despising the evolutionists instead of being inspired by them?
Meanwhile: The KKK is against the evolutionists, Ann Coulter is against the evolutionists -- so which side does that put her on?
Oh, and speaking of Coulter -- she cluelessly claims that "the first genocide in recorded history" occurred after "Darwinism gained currency" (hey, it also happened after "the New testament became popular, is she asserting cause-and-effect *there* too?), but clearly the woman's an idiot. She laughably tries to say that "the first genocide in recorded history" occurred sometime after 1859 (when Darwin published his book on evolution), but anyone with even a smidgen of knowledge (which leaves out Coulter, apparently) knows that there have been genocides for thousands of years, including several detailed in the Bible, countless throughout Asia and Africa, and notably the genocide of the aborigines in Tasmania, committed against the "savages" by good Christians quoting scriptural "justification", which ironically a number of anti-evolutionists have tried to blame on "Darwinism", despite the fact that it happened in *1847*, more than a decade BEFORE Darwin had published his first work on evolution...
So just how stupid *is* Ann Coulter, that she can say the "first genocide in recorded history" happened after 1859? The word "moron" seems woefully inadequate. And she's not very honest either.
Please acknowledge that you have not read the book in order that I can ignore you with a certain peace of mind!And:
Unfortunately for your peace of mind, I have read it, and am in the process of writing a very long critique of her chapters on evolutionary biology. Literally, almost everything she says about it is wrong. If you or anyone else wants to be pinged to it, FreepMail me.
I'm not the only one to notice that, either. It's so bad that over at Pharyngula (a biology-related blog, although it veers off into politics and other topics as well) they've put up a "Coulter challenge" -- at the end of this blog entry addressing Coulter's ludicrous claim that there's no evidence for evolution, there's the following challenge:Like I said, I'm not going to take this tripe apart sentence by sentence, even though I could, given enough time and interest. I will suggest instead that if anyone reading this thinks some particular paragraph anywhere in chapters 8-11 is at all competent or accurate in its description of science, send it to me. I couldn't find one. That's where the obligation lies: show me one supportable claim in Coulter's farrago of lies and misleading statements and out-of-context quotes, and we'll discuss it.So far no one's taken him up on it. He did a clarification the next day stating that, among other things, "Promising to pray for me, or assuring me that I will burn in hell" does not adequately meet the challenge.
There was another followup 8 days later to mention that no one has managed to find an error-free paragraph yet.
I concur -- it's harder to find anything *right* in those chapters than it is finding ten things just mind-blowingly wrong. She even lies about her own references.
In chapter 8, Coulter airly blows off the notion of evolution by snidely saying:And:A process that is supposed to have transformed an amoeba into Jerry Garcia by "random mutation" must have produced some spectacular failures. Why can't we find any of the amusing ones?I swear, I'm tempted to rebut that with photographs of some of the more "amusing" human and animal birth defects... If Coulter thinks that there aren't any "spectacular failures" due mutations, I could show her some that would make her puke into a bucket. Yes, Virginia, there *are* maladaptive mutations, since nature is not limited to just making "good" ones -- the bad happen along with the good, then selection filters the results among the descendants. Coulter's clueless question about the alleged lack of "spectacular failures" shows a large ignorance of basic biology.
Page 231:And if that's not enough, other writers have written very good deconstructions of many of her gross misrepresentations:Except the genome argument proves too much. The human genome is 35 percent identical to that of a daffodil. I think even a Darwiniac would admit humans are not 35 percent identical to a daffodil. Again, the cult's smoking gun of evolutionary proof turns out to be an imaginary water pistol.Oooookay... Where to start? This was at the end of a section admitting that "the human genome is 98.7 percent identical to the chimpanzee's". Rather than deal head-on with the implications of that in any honest fashion, Coulter just quoted a psychology professor (!) arguing that humans "are simply odd-looking apes". She didn't even state that he was even basing his statement on the 98.7% observation, but that was the implication she wanted to give, and trigger the reader's "I ain't no ape!" reflex, or at least their "how silly/stupid/naive to say we're 'just' apes" notion and then sit back and bask in her "discrediting" of the 98.7% observation.
But in case that wasn't enough, she played the "daffodil" card, and then called it a day -- that was the *entirety* of her "dealing with" the 98.7% genome similarity: Quote a guy saying something she thought her audience would find silly, then fire off a flip remark about daffodils. Genome comparison demolished, time to move on!
The key problem with the daffodil claim, however, is that it just isn't true. Nor does she even attempt to footnote or otherwise source it, she just asserts it.
But she obviously got this (directly or indirectly) from the paper, "98% Chimpanzee and 35% Daffodil: The Human Genome in Evolutionary and Cultural Context". But if she had *read* the paper, she'd have seen that a) the author pulled the "35% daffodil" figure out of thin air, just for discussion's sake, it wasn't based on any actual comparison of DNA, and b) the point he makes in the paper is that the chimp comparison is *highly* significant, even more than the 98% figure might appear at first glance, whereas even a "35%" difference with some other species would be *less* meaningful than it might appear at first glance (partly because two TOTALLY RANDOM genomes would still have a 25% match by chance, so that's the "baseline", the "zero point".
In other words, his paper demonstrates why Coulter's little rhetorical trick is a dishonest and inappropriate one. So ironically, her source for her figure is one that *torpedoes* the argument she's trying to make from it.
And again, the author just *made up* the 35% daffodil figure for discussion purposes, but Coulter cluelessly states it as established fact.
Furthermore, even if the 35% figure *had* been the correct one, only a naive reader (her favorite kind) would find any reason to conclude that it's "ridiculous", because a) as the author points out, 35% is only a little over the 25% "random match" rate, and b) all multicellular organisms do share a whole crapload of common biochemistry and foundational mechanisms regarding metabolism, cellular activity, replication, etc. Coulter is playing off the fact that the naive reader will ponder the *apparent* lack of similarity between humans and daffodils (e.g. "I ain't green!") without realizing how very much we have in common "under the hood" as multicellular eukaryotes.
The "35%" paper can be read here, although it's scanned sideways, very annoying: http://personal.uncc.edu/jmarks/pubs/natureculture.pdf
Another paper by the same author makes his "out of thin air" source for the daffodil figure even more obvious: http://personal.uncc.edu/jmarks/interests/aaa/marksaaa99.htmOnce again, the DNA comparison requires context to be meaningful. Granted that a human and ape are over 98% genetically identical, a human and any earthly DNA-based life form must be at least 25% identical. A human and a daffodil share common ancestry and their DNA is thus obliged to match more than 25% of the time. For the sake of argument lets say 33%.Underlining was in the original, red-fonting is mine.
The point is that to say we are one-third daffodils because our DNA matches that of a daffodil 33% of the time, is not profound, its ridiculous. There is hardly any biological comparison you can make which will find us to be one-third daffodil, except perhaps the DNA.
In other words, just as Simpson argued in the 1960s, the genetic comparison is exceptional, not at all transcendent. DNA comparisons overestimate biological similarity at the low end and underestimate it at the high end in context, humans are biologically less than 25% daffodils and more than 98% chimpanzees.
This "35% daffodil" meme, however, is making the rounds. For example it appears here in a Guardian review of a biology book: http://books.guardian.co.uk/reviews/scienceandnature/0,,1773515,00.htmlThe new starting point came from the recognition of the surprising continuities in genes between one species and another. We not only have nearly 99% of our genes in common with chimps, but some 35% in common with daffodils.From the way the review states it, you'd think he got it *from* the book. But fortunately the book itself is fully text searchable at amazon.com, and the word "daffodil" doesn't even appear anywhere in the book, nor its scientific name, nor is any occurrence of the number "35" in the book relevant.
Getting back to Coulter's inanity, what in the hell does it mean to say that the genome comparison "proves too much"? It's word hash.
And I'm afraid that her "hey, someone said we're apes", and "we share DNA with daffodils" remarks in no way demolishes the DNA evidence or demonstrates that the DNA similarities are "an imaginary water pistol", although she's apparently stupid enough to think it does.
Ann Coulter: Clueless(The three "Secondary Addiction" pages are all superb -- if you don't read anything else, read those.)
Secondary Addiction: Ann Coulter on Evolution (part 1) -- On Ann Coulter's habit of trusting biased secondary sources while remaining ignorant of primary sources, plus the evolution of the eye.
Secondary Addiction: Ann Coulter on Evolution (part 2) -- Ann Coulter and the fossil record.
The Dembski Alert -- (interlude) Downard attempts to get Dembski to answer a few questions about his assertion that he would "take all responsibility for any errors" in Coulter's chapters on evolution. Unsurprisingly, in standard "ID advocate" fashion Dembski refuses to actually address the questions.
Secondary Addiction: Ann Coulter on Evolution (part 3) -- Ann Coulter on Archaeopteryx and bird evolution.
Now it's Coulter's defenders' turn -- tell us the paragraph in Coulter's chapters on evolution that you consider her very best and most devastating bodyblow against evolution -- then I'll take it apart and show you just how badly she's propagandizing like Michael Moore covering, well, anything.
If anyone would like me to ping them to my eventual point-by-point deconstruction of all of Ann Coulter's gross misrepresentations of evolutionary biology, send me a FreeMail. I can't promise it'll be ready soon (I've been *really* busy the past few months), but I will finish it one of these days.
Now watch: Not one of the anti-evolution folks will deplore Coulter writing falsehoods while attacking science, nor even admit that she has said anything contrary to fact or at all misleading, nor substantively rebut any of my documented examples of Coulter's mendacity on this topic. It'll just be the usual "gosh, you must be obsessed if you take the time to write that much stuff", and "she's right, evolution is a religion/false/non-science/etc.", or links to other dishonest attacks on the actual science, etc. No one will engage on the actual points made. And then they wonder why most of us don't waste our time on them anymore...
Great post, but you're right - it will fall upon deaf ears. Too much collective ego at stake...and they can no longer burn you as a witch. See my tagline. ;)
I thought the article was about ID...you appear to think it's about creationists. Was there 2 articles?
No, it's just that ID is (very) thinly disguised creationism. For example, try saying something insulting about the alleged designer and see how fast the "ID" folks start whining about you "attacking God" or "attacking religion"... Discuss the flaws in the "Intelligent Design" arguments and see how often you get called "anti-God", etc., by the vast number of folks who are trying to get "ID" into schools precisely *because* they see it as a way of "returning God to the classroom". Etc. etc.
"Intelligent Design" is just a Trojan horse for creationism. Read the transcripts of the Dover _Kitzmiller_ trial for more than ample evidence on that score.
In their unguarded moments, the leaders of the "ID" movement even admit it flat out:
The protestations of "ID isn't creationism" don't seem to be fooling anyone, not even the editorial cartoonists:
Thanks for all your propaganda .. but you wasted your time .. I didn't read it .. and please don't force your garbage on me again!!
"Thanks for all your propaganda .. but you wasted your time .. I didn't read it .. and please don't force your garbage on me again!!"
If you didn't read it, how can you be so sure it was propaganda?
Ah, so you ask for proof and detail, when someone posts it, you ignore it?
Wow, nice firewall around your brain.
In the beginnig, God CREATED....
I have a better idea. Instead of worrying so much about religion sneaking INTO the classroom, perhaps we should just get gov't OUT of the classroom.
No Separation of Church and State would need apply, as if there were such a thing.
I agree. To me, Creation is the reason. Evolution is the method.
And there it is, the cultural world clash, one knowlegable of what actually happened inside our country 40 years ago, and one who has no clue.
We not only prayed in school sometimes, but we questioned our teachers when evolution came up, especially when they tried to teach Lamarkism, that Giraffes got longer necks beause generations of giraffes stretched to reach leaves, leaving the short necked baby giraffes to starve with no long necks...
A Baptist preacher had a valuable friend who was a biologist. One day at lunch, the biologist claimed he was so excited because after 25 years of research, he had discovered the 5 major elements in the universe:
The Preacher started laughing and said, "Well, that's too bad, because you could have saved yourself those 25 years if you had just read the first line of the Bible. It says:
In the beginning - TIME
God - FORCE
created - ENERGY
the heavens - SPACE
and the earth - MATTER
You can save yourself and your friends a lot of trouble. I do not nor will I EVER believe in evolution. I may be a lot of things, but I'm not ignorant about GOD!
Frankly, I don't give a rip what you believe. I believe God!
Bravo Ichy, its quite fine work that you do...I read everything, and look forward to even more when you have it completed..
And for those who will not read your grand rebuttal, so what?...I think you and many of us know, that will always be those who will refuse to read and understand what you have written...that is a given...
But rest assured, for many posters here, as well as for the lurkers, your work is appreciated...
I distinctly recall telling my 9th grade biology teacher that SHE might have come from monkeys; I did not.
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