No, I don’t have Ann Coulter’s book yet (it is so annoying to want something cheap and easily accessible, yet have to refuse to actually pay for it on general principles), but since she’s hammering the talk show circuit heavily, we’re getting dribs and drabs of her amazing knowledge of biology.
John Hawkins: If you were to pick three concepts, facts, or ideas that most undercut the theory of evolution, what would they be?
Ann Coulter: 1. It’s illogical. 2. There’s no physical evidence for it. 3. There’s physical evidence that directly contradicts it. Apart from those three concerns I’d say it’s a pretty solid theory.
1) Darwinian logic is quite simple and clear. Here’s a short summary:
- If heritable variation exists, (which, of course, it does)
- if excess reproduction occurs, (also obviously true, or we’d be up to our ears in mice)
- if variants differ in their likelihood of survival and reproduction, (a little trickier, but still fairly obvious)
- then the relative frequencies of the variants must change.
There’s also the greater point that evolution, not just Darwinian selection, was derived entirely from observation and experiment. There’s a kind of empirical logic running throughout it.
Note that Coulter doesn’t say what is illogical about it.
2) The claim that there is no evidence for evolution is both absurd and dishonest. For a short summary of the physical evidence, see 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution: The Scientific Case for Common Descent (“short”, of course, being a relative term. That page is huge, but it is dwarfed by all the new data pouring in every month in the scientific journals.)
3) The existence of evidence that contradicts evolution is a hard one to address when the critic can’t even bother to specify any. There are lots of instances of creationists claiming to have evidence contradicting evolution, but usually what we get is evidence contradicting their ignorant caricature of evolution. For instance, many argue that the Cambrian explosion is evidence against evolution—of course, it isn’t, but is simply an unusual and interesting phenomenon within the long history of common descent. It’s like saying that the Industrial Revolution is evidence against the facts of European history because it was a period of rapid technological change.
You know, when someone like Coulter has to flaunt their ignorance and lie to defend their thesis, you know there’s something wrong with it.