A reader (who will be nameless, unless he wants to confess in the comments) sent me a chunk of Coulter’s book, Godless. It’s worse than I feared. It contains the usual stock creationist crap presented at a rapid pace, full of the usual bald assertions of outright lies, intentional misinterpretations, and lots and lots of quote mining. Seriously, it looks like every paragraph contains multiple falsehoods or screwy manglings of science.
She claims Darwin’s theory is “one step above Scientology in scientific rigor“, that it is a “tautology“, that there is “no proof in the scientist’s laboratory or the fossil record“, and the only reason it’s still around is that “liberals think evolution disproves God.”
That’s all in the first paragraph of chapter 8, which focuses on evolution. Go ahead and follow the links up there; each one is to a short, simple refutation of Coulter’s claim.
Now picture a whole 27 page chapter packed with the same nonsense. I could do a sentence by sentence dissection of this abomination, but I’d have to write nothing but Coulter exposés for the next month. Forgive me if I pass on that.
Not only is it wrong through and through, but Coulter is a plagiarist. This is the book that William Dembski thinks “will propel [their] issues in the public consciousness like nothing to date“—well, yeah. Let’s propel the idea that creationists are dishonest and stupid right into everyone’s consciousness.
I just saw Coulter and Carlin on the Tonight show. Carlin was bland and harmless; there was no confrontation. Coulter was contemptibly smug, and Leno was a wimp who tossed off a few lazy questions and let her slide by. Of course he didn’t bother to mention the gross factual inaccuracies in her book.
She also clearly had an audience of fans there. They ate up every sneer and lie. No one is going to call her on them.
No surprise. Leno tries to find Ann Coulter’s soul. Fails miserably.
Mind you, it wasn’t a total loss. Great performance by fellow countrywoman KT Tunstall. Note the quote on her guitar…
“This machine kills fascists.”
How appropriate considering who she followed.
At the risk of hogging the comments… We must remember that not only is old Billy-boy touting this book as “propelling the issues” he’s taking credit for much of what Coulter wrote in her diatribe against evolution.
PZ Myers says
Yes, she was pretty good, and the nod to Woodie Guthrie was very nice.
The contrast was good, too. Tunstall, with some real talent, and obviously a liberal; Carlin, with 50 years in the business, a revolutionary reputation, and definitely a godless liberal; and Coulter representing the right wing…and she’s a no-talent, dishonest hack.
Now you’ve spoiled it – it’s not on for another hour and a half here in California.
Seriously though, you didn’t really expect Jay Leno to be a tough interview, did you?
Proving my complete lack of knowledge of American folk music. Thanks for filling in that particular blank.
PZ Myers says
No, but I had hoped that Carlin would have an opportunity to tangle with her.
Stuff like that is why I don’t bother watching network talk shows anymore. The “interviews” are so pointless and empty. Leno isn’t funny, Conan O’Brien is too goofy, Letterman is just plain boring. And they’re all on the networks, so if they do anything even slightly controversial, like call out a darling of the fascist government for her lies and hatemongering, they’ll be fined heftily by the FCC.
Jon Stewart is the only one who even bothers to ask real questions anymore, and I doubt Coulter would ever have the stones to appear there. She has to know that he’d eviscerate her.
I found it entertaining when her right-wing “cheerleaders” started clapping during the monoloque after Leno made some comment about June having a decrease in the number of illegal immigrants from Mexico – he hadn’t even gotten to the punchline (as he even pointed out)! I wonder if they were planted in the audience so someone would cheer for her?
Regardless, her appearance was as atrocious as I expected. Liberals will still think she’s an idiot, and conservatives will still think she’s presenting an intelligent argument.
This is the book that William Dembski thinks “will propel [their] issues in the public consciousness like nothing to date”–well, yeah.
Well, in fairness to Mr. Dembski, the issues he always wanted to propel into the public consciousness have always been religious fundamentalism and creationism, and Ms. Coulter’s book is looking like yet another one of those sleazy cut and paste creationist publication type hack jobs, so I don’t think it would be fair to say that Ms. Coulter is not propelling some of Mr. Dembski’s issues – it’s just the “like nothing to date” part that I might have a quarrel with. I think perhaps if we look back in history we might find others who have done a better job at propelling Mr. Dembski’s issues.
I thought Coulter and Carlin on Leno were rather dissapointing. Should get the two on Crossfire or something similar where they can rail on each other.
She claims Darwin’s theory is “one step above Scientology in scientific rigor”, that it is a “tautology”, that there is “no proof in the scientist’s laboratory or the fossil record”, and the only reason it’s still around is that “liberals think evolution disproves God.”
Am I the only one who sees that these are not arguments, but taunts? I’m sure Coulter believes in evolution as much as anybody here. In fact, to my way of thinking the comments above prove that, in a perverse way. She is saying these things PRECISELY BECAUSE she knows every one of them is absolutely wrong.
Arguing with Coulter is like agreeing to join your wife as a guest on the Jerry Springer show even after finding out the topic of the show is “Men Who Don’t Know Their Wives Used to be Men.” If you think the audience is there to learn something about the challenges faced by transexuals in marriage, you’re totally missing the point.
Kristjan Wager says
PZ, did you get it in a digital version? And if that’s the case, is there any possibility of getting a copy?
I think that you should address biology behind the points she attempts to make
in a serious way. Then, the NY Times can mention your blog for having such a good
correction to the bad science in her book and she, of course, can complain how
the liberals in the media and on the internet are all against her.
bad Jim says
She looked like a stick figure. It’s hard to believe that she uses her legs for walking. Anorexia is a hypothesis I’d entertain.
The audience may have been full of yahoos, or they may have been responding to the applause sign. She did say something self-gratifying about how her new book was making liberals howl.
Her necklace was a cross.
Were she just another fat male bloviator we’d probably just ignore him.
‘the only reason it’s still around is that “liberals think evolution disproves God.”‘
I like the built-in assumption that the success of an English biologist’s theory depended on the support of some branch of US politics.
G. Tingey says
ONE: By Coulter’s defifnitions, the Archbishop of Canterbury is an atheistic liberal.
TWO: WHY has no-one called Coulter a liar in public, and dared her to sue?
Because she IS lying, and we all know it.
I’m suprised she hasn’t call out over posts in blogs like this, quite frankly, since it is the written word, and, certainly in some juruisdictions is deemed to be equivalent to hard-copy, and therfore subject to the same laws.
We have major flaw in the essential fabric of America. It is that we cannot rely on *mainstream* journalism.
To see my point simply see that trash like Coulter’s book is essentially *promoted* by TV networks and other popular media. I say *promoted* because they give it considerable venue while offering no real effective and mature protestation, or nail-in-the-coffin counterpoint (both of which would be so INCREDIBLY easy and obvious to do).
What is wrong with this picture?!?! Does it not scare you?!?!? Any suggestions?
The Leno show is about as mainstream, middle-of-the-road as you can get. I’m sure there were ground rules, and there may have even been an agreement that had to be signed about what could be talked about. George Carlin is a longtime show biz professional. He knews which side his bread is buttered on and he wouldn’t be foolish enough to go too far and risk not being invited back.
Wally Whateley says
WHY has no-one called Coulter a liar in public, and dared her to sue?
Hell, why has no one sued Coulter for libel yet? It doesn’t seem like it’d be hard to prove that some of her rants are both untrue and malicious…
PZ: Obviously this is off-topic, but could you please for the love of squid sort out the HTML of your pages? In particular, the fact that the technorati and sitemeter tags appear before the text, which means that, when either is running slow, it takes about 5 minutes for the text to appear.
Good post btw
Mike Nilsen says
Maybe Coulter will be hounded by Scientology now for ‘insulting’ them. A match made in Hell.
It was as lame as any other Leno led show. I really didn;t expect for there to be any fireworks. However, it dod look like everytime MAnn touched Carlin’s arm he got a real bad case of the heebie jeebies.
i agree that ann coulter is stupid as the day is long, wrong in every word that she utters, a complete bigot, etc. etc.
but why is it that critiques of her devolve into insulting her as a woman? why is it necessary to insult trangendered people by calling her “MAnn”? why is it necessary to insult fat or anorexic people to insult ann coulter?
i know it takes a little more effort to insult someone properly, but hey, this is science blogs! we’re suppposed to be more intelligent than them.
George Carlin is a longtime show biz professional. He knews which side his bread is buttered on and he wouldn’t be foolish enough to go too far and risk not being invited back.
The George Carlin I knew and loved would have burned his Tonight Show bridges and roasted Ann Coulter over the ashes. He was a man who stood for things and wouldn’t have been afraid to be banned from a lame-ass talk show; in fact, he would have welcomed it. The George I saw last night is a weakling, and a sell-out. He may know about his bread and butter, but he’s forgetting the things that made people willing to buy his butter for him.
Gerard Harbison says
The reason why Coulter had a cheering section was Free Republic organized one for her
You’ll love this, spelling error and all…
You know, kids, I know it’s hard for y’all to believe, but once upon a time, there was a conservative intelligentsia. William F. Buckley could actually write in sentences. Nathan Glaser was a Harvard academic. Edward O Wilson actually helped found the National Association of Scholars. We might not have embraced Woody Guthrie’s politics or been big fans of his music, but at least we knew who he was.
Molly, NYC says
Did you notice her claim that, in lieu of hiring bodyguards, she traveled with conservative men?
That would be those guys who figure that if they type stuff in support of a war, it’s the same as fighting in a war (there should be a name for these people).
God help her if she’s ever really assaulted.
PZ, as I said a week or two ago when you lasted posted on obtaining her book and refuting it, and even now as you’re seeing in the flesh, don’t bother wasting your time refuting every little word. She’ll just keep loading the shotgun and putting a blindfold on as she shoots.
I think it would be smart to formulate groups of well-informed professional people acting in unison to refute wholly dishonest, illogical, weak and slanderous arguments. I think a group of people saying “NO, we will not tolerate you and your crap” would have more weight than a single person here or there trying to refuting her and others in every conceivable way. In that sense, it becomes a “your word against hers” scenario, and those don’t work in court, and I’d wager they don’t work for our newly judgemental popular culture.
Don’t forget that the whole point of hard-right “political activism” (or what could be more appropriately called “political mafiaism”) is to confuse the competition and/or its prospective customers, so they can’t focus on what’s really going on behind the red wizard’s curtain.
Bob O'H says
Well, he is CofE, so I wouldn’t rule that out. Bishop of Durham, anyone?
My apologies to the rest of you who don’t know the context. But let’s just say that ID’s big tent has nothing on the Anglican Broad Church.
They are typically referred to as “Chickenhawks.”
I tivoed the show. Looks like I shouldn’t bother watching it…
Btw, she made it even to the German news. For those who can read German: http://www.spiegel.de/kultur/gesellschaft/0,1518,421561,00.html
The article has it mostly right.
Her (novel?) book “Slander” has been checked for facts supported by her references, with unsupported parts blacked out. Enjoy! (Warning: you might run out of black pixels and have to buy more…)
I really wish Ann Coulter would make an appearance on The Daily Show. I’m confident that Jon Stewart would tear her a new orifice of some kind.
Alternatively, I would like to interview her. The interview would start like this:
ME: Ms. Coulter, thank you for agreeing to appear on my show. Okay, first question. Do you know what the difference between you and a circus pinhead is? Because the pinhead would.
Only enough to agree that Coulter is a “Gift” to American democracy.
You know what? It’s 100% schtick. At one point, and I’m paraphrasing here, she said, “No, I don’t wear my hair long and put on sexy clothing for attention.”
It’s all an act. File her books under “fiction” from now on. We don’t know how she really feels, because she’ll never let us know.
I hated Carroll O’Connor for years because of his “Archie” character (okay, I was pretty young when that show was on, so gimme a break; I wasn’t dense, I was 10). Imagine my surprise when, years later, I found out Archie wasn’t the REAL O’Connor.
Now… I’m not saying Coulter is a Democrat or a liberal; don’t get me wrong. I’m saying her character in books and in interviews is a characiture. It’s all an exaggeration; it’s a persona she puts on. Is she conservative? Clearly. Is she to the right of Pat Robertson? Probably not.
Do I think she’s a horrible human being? Yes.
I do the breast cancer walk yearly in my hometown. I would not invite her as the keynote speaker at this event; no doubt she’d bring up how HAPPY all those victims out there are to be “sick” (her air-finger quotes this time, not mine). I can hear it now.
As for her book, I have a suggestion: Book reviewers are allowed to quote passages from books when reviewing the books. I suggest that’s what you do; quote “selectively” (note my air-finger quotes) from the book, and then, as your review, point out the errors in the book. Do one of these reviews for each chapter, or half-chapter.
I cannot personally buy this book. However, I’d be happy to throw in a buck so you could. Then, “review” it. “Selectively”, of course.
It would be nasty, nasty, nasty if all of your lurkers and posters went out and bought a copy so we could see what you mean. But I’d be willing to help fund the purchase of ONE book for all of us to share.
I make this serious suggestion after a LOT of thought.
Yeah, Ann Coulter can use the “gangsta rap” defense. She was just portraying a very hateful character when she said all that. (Or am I confusing that with Dembski’s “Street Theater” defense.)
Pieter B says
There is — “The 101st Fighting Keyboarders”
Ann Homily says
Re: “It’s all an act…”
You might be interested in reading this recent Guardian UK article:
On the Guardian article: Now I finally get it. She was raised by Mr. and Mrs. Bridge. That explains how she could grow up in the Northeast and still be such an… Ann Coulter. Actually, I bet there’s a lot of rebellion in her schtick. She was raised by staid WASPs. She didn’t rebel against their bigotry or sense of upper class entitlement, but she rejected all of the mitigating factors such as having any sense of shame.
When Coulter is asked questions she doesn’t like she just hangs up, as demonstrated here: http://www.firedupmissouri.com/coulter_on_ktrs.
The thing I found most interesting was Coulter’s complaint that “liberals” have been focussing on her comments about the 9/11 victims’ wives, but haven’t said anything about the fact that she has called them – and titled the book – “Godless”. She gave the impression that she thought that was the worst possible insult you could pay someone.
Has she ever actually met a godless liberal? I’m sure I’m not the only one who considers being called “godless” a compliment of the highest order.
I’m still not convinced she’s sincere though.
There is — “The 101st Fighting Keyboarders”
See also: “82nd Chairborne”
Rey Fox says
I was a tad disappointed in the Tonight Show too, but really, it’s the Tonight Show, they don’t bring guests on to rake them over the coals, they bring them on to have happy patter about this and that. And once the first guest is done, they rarely have any say in the rest of the show, this is a pretty standard rule.
It could have been that George was behaving out of deference to Jay Leno, or it could have been that he simply didn’t care enough about Coulter to waste breath on her. George really is something of a nihlist, perfectly happy to watch the world go down the drain, so I don’t think he’d be particularly comfortable with being The Left to Ann’s Right, anyway.
What really disappointed me is that when Jay asked him about whether he was thinking of Heaven and Hell at his age, he sidestepped a fine opportunity to say that he believes in neither. He’s said it on other shows before. The real contrast between Ann and George is that Ann thinks “godless” is some horrible insult, whereas George wears it like a badge of honor. This is what I was really hoping would be addressed somehow, but George just sidestepped it. Perhaps he really is more dependent on The Biz for appearances in animated films than I would have figured.
“but why is it that critiques of her devolve into insulting her as a woman?”
Well, I suspect one reason is because it’s fun. But one big reason why she’s so famous is because of her looks. She’s rather in the mold of the narrow conservative view of feminine beauty, i.e., blonde and skinny. Folks who agree with her are going to tout how she’s some great weapon because she’s not some old fat guy, she’s like, a hottie, dude. So people on the left like to poke holes in that notion.
“The musical guest was some chick from Scotland who stank, but had a mysterious message taped to her guitar which read: “THIS MACHINE KILLS FACISTS.” Nobody seemed to know what this meant,”
Yes, by all means, attack the musician as well. It must be a sad life, having so much negativity towards everything new.
Rey Fox says
One more thing: in the final camera pullaway (after a FAR TO CLOSE closeup of Ann’s face) before the commercial, I could see George blowing on his hands and rubbing them together. I found that mildly amusing.
It is kind of sad, though unsurprising, that people don’t get the allusion to Woody Guthrie’s guitar. Pete Seeger also put a message on his banjo: “This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender.” http://folkmusic.about.com/od/artistsaz/p/PSeeger_profile.htm I always thought Guthrie’s motto was more clever, but in this case of Ann Coulter, Seeger’s banjo might be very effective.
It is especially sad that the freepers dismiss the motto as meaningless because they don’t happen to know the meaning. While slumming once on a conservative blog comment board around the time of the 2004 campaign, I noticed a similar case of people making fun of Kerry referring to the “Pottery Barn Rule” in a debate, clearly ignorant of the fact that the phrase came from Bush’s own appointee Colin Powell. Ignorance is not limited to the rightwing of course, but you can begin to understand why people hold on to really stupid ideas when you see that they have not really been exposed to any information outside their echo chamber.
Leno was a wimp who tossed off a few lazy questions and let her slide by.
Nobody gets it do they? It’s TV. It’s a talkshow. That’s Jay Leno’s job. The whole reason they got her on the show was to promote her and her book, not chastise her. The only show that I know of that will openly confront their guests who are on there to sell their wares is The Daily Show, maybe the Colbert Report, even though any criticism will be thoroughly veiled by irony and subtle sarcasm.
The sad thing is though that “news” punditry shows have turned into the late night talk show too. They have guests on merely to trumpet their opinions. Questions are meant to prompt the next topic in the speech, not to challenge what the guest says too harshly. This isn’t a hard and fast rule. You’ll see challenging questions every now and again, but they are few and far between.
Anyway, it’s TV and too many people want TV to be real or reflect reality accurately, but it doesn’t and probably never will.
They are also called The 101st Fighting Keyboardists.
If you ask me, Leno had Carlin take his medication early.
From the Guardian article: “She believes that defending the right to abortion is akin to defending slavery.”
Ann Coulter is against slavery? My, a chink in the armor. She getting soft or something?
I agree with PaulC. The woman is one toe-deep character, and truly believes every grunt she utters.
Dembski (who’s apparently as accurate as the Onion horoscope): “Phil Johnson’s DARWIN ON TRIAL took ten years to sell 300,000 copies”? Hey, that’s good news, anyway.
“…But why is it that critiques of her devolve into insulting her as a woman?” Because she’s published and I’m not, proud-to-swim, and that’s the ONLY thing I’m jealous of her for. (Yeah–blond, tall, and I don’t want to look like her. Something’s wrong there.) So, you don’t want me to tell my “so ugly her face could stop a sundial” joke?
Arun Gupta says
Charley Reese on Ann Coulter
Elizabeth Ditz says
Coulter’s on the cover of the National Enquirer: Most Hated Woman in America.
I had to buy it. It’s the June 26 2006 issue, with Loretta Lynn on the big cover, the coulter piece is on page 16 and 17.
They’re running a poll
She even popped up on BBC2’s Newsnight last night – Jeremy Paxman asked her about her views on Darwinism, but she declined to go into details about ID. It’s available here until 22:30 British Summer Time tonight, about 15 mins into the prog.
Have only just now read her column, off the Drudge menu; and it’s pure D Coulter.
Also saw Mark Steyn’s review of Godless; as well as a number of others. Her book is being touted as spot-on, a WINNER! I may have to buy it just for the yucks. Don’t be afraid to read her weekly column, Amigos. It costs us nothing and may delight you after all. She doesn’t even mention Darwin, nor biology. I guess she got side-tracked onto fragging, of all subjects.
I am appalled that virtually no one in this thread bothers to refute Coulter on Evolution or any other topic, using facts, reason, inference, etc. — you know, all that basic Critical Thinking 101 stuff. But no: It’s all how skinny she is, how that renowned evolutionary biologist Carlin should have intellectually beaten her up, etc. Other threads seem to take the matter up, but not here. It’s just another liberal circle jerk.
And if a Professor of Biology is going to cavalierly refer to mistakes too numerous to mention, vis a vis evolution and everything else in her book, and then to blow off the entire book without offering ONE, not even ONE, substantive rejoinder on a non-evolution topic, I know that I am dealing with former Usenetters who have simply migrated over to the blogosphere.
What chickenbleep. There goes the neighborhood.
I’m on record as thinking Coulter is completely wrong about evolution, so no bullbleep about me being a typical conservative neanderthal.
p.s. sorry, but the most hated woman in America is Hillary Clinton. Hands down. Republicans would just LOVE for her to run for President. She would get slaughtered. Just as Moulitsas and his people at Daily Kos.
To Arun Gupta:
You wrote, mindlessly:
“Of course, there has always been a yahoo element in the population, but at least in the past, most of them did not become rich and famous.”
Er…ummm…. in no society anywhere has most of the the “yahoo element” become rich and famous. That remains so today. If you have statistics or census data to the contrary, please produce it.
If you would like to tell us how classy AND substantively correct Alec Baldwin or Sean Penn are, to use just a few examples of rich and famous people who shoot off their mouths on politics, then by all means do so.
Still, you’re going to have to deal with a few facts: Coulter has a law degree. Do you? If not, just who is the yahoo here?
Coulter passed a Bar exam. Did you? Did you pass any equivalent?
Coulter did so well in law school that she was editor of the law review journal at her law school and clerked for a federal appeals court judge. Anyone who went to law school knows that puts her at the top or near-top of her class. Do you have any comparable academic accomplishments?
No chickbleep about “intellectual” yahooism. At this point the onus is on YOU to offer point-by-point refutations AND to tell the world why Coulter is a yahoo, but you are not.
I’m not saying you can’t do it, only that you didn’t bother to. One thing you can’t accuse Coulter of, is intellectual laziness.
But that’s exactly what I will accuse you of, if you don’t start dealing in substantive argument — a phrase I fear you will have to look up.
So enough of your drive-by slimings: stand and deliver!
Yikes! You would think that you were talking about the O’Reilly Factor or Hardball with Chris Matthews. Jay Leno is nothing of that sort. He’s a comedic and less argumentative host of his own TV show.
I don’t think it’s his job to do so.
Besides, I don’t think Jay Leno wants to run into a fight with Ann Coulter anyway.