A clarification

Responses to my challenge at the end of this article are trickling in, but so far, none of them are filling the bill. Let me explain what is not an appropriate reply:

  • Cackling that Coulter must be right because she’s got “liberal panties in a twist” is not cogent.
  • Telling me that the “WHOLE BOOK PROVES LIBERALS ARE THE PROBLEM WITH AMERICA” is not cogent.
  • Promising to pray for me, or assuring me that I will burn in hell, is not cogent.
  • Explicit details about how Ann Coulter is sexier than “fat harry hippie jew girls” is not cogent.

Here’s the simple summary. Ann Coulter has written this long book full of creationist gobbledygook. I can’t possibly take the whole thing apart, so I’m asking the Coulter fans to get specific in their support. Pick a paragraph that you agree with and that you believe makes a strong, supportable point about science—anything from chapters 8-11 will do. Don’t be vague, be specific. I’ll reply with details of my disagreement (or heck, maybe you’ll find some innocuous paragraph that I agree with—I’ll mention that here, too.)

Because the letters I am getting suggest that those fans have some comprehension problems, I’ll spell it out.

  1. Read Coulter’s book, Godless. (uh-oh, I may have just filtered out 90% of her fans with that first word.)
  2. Pick ONE paragraph from chapters 8-11 that you think is just wonderfully insightful, and that you agree with entirely.
  3. Open up your email software, and compose a message to me. You can use a pseudonym, but please do use a valid email address. I won’t publish your address, but I’m not going to reply to people I can’t contact.
  4. Type in the paragraph that you think is solid and believable. Yeah, it’s a tiny bit of work, but it’ll save me the trouble of typing it in myself. You’re a believer, it’s worth it, right?
  5. Explain briefly why you think this paragraph is good stuff. If you want to explain a little bit of the context in justification, that’s good too.
  6. Send it to me.

That’s not so hard now, is it? I’m finding that Coulter fans are fervent and enthusiastic and insistent, so asking them to take baby steps with me and show me the simplest first fragments that will lead to my comprehension of the wit and insight of the faboo Ms Coulter shouldn’t be too much to ask.

I promise to post any submissions that meet those criteria, with my reply, as long as I don’t get too many cut&paste jobs at once.

By the way, would Coulter critics please stop focusing on her appearance and dress, or speculating about her sexuality? I don’t find that any more appropriate than the guy who wrote to me about all those liberal women with armpit hair.

Fear of the godless

That’s what it all boils down to, isn’t it? People are afraid of reason, because they know it erodes faith—better to foster ignorance than risk encouraging people to think. Brian Flemming, of The God Who Wasn’t There, links to an interesting account of what happened when an ‘open-minded’ church offered to screen his movie: they only showed two clips and bracketed them with lots of apologetic padding. I think they know what would happen if they let that bomb go off in the minds of their faithful congregants.

This stuff is going to get out there, though. Dawkins’ series, The Root of All Evil? is available online right now: here are links to the two parts, The God Delusion and The Virus of Faith. Dangerous stuff, that. Expose a child to the Enlightenment today!

Last call for DonorsChoose from Pharyngula (I promise!)

This is the very last time I’ll be haranguing you about the scienceblogs fundraiser for schools—I’ve reached my goal of $2000 and doubled it! Reaching that goal was not enough to fund all of the projects, though, and there are four remaining that could use additional donations.

If those projects don’t appeal to you, click on over to Evolgen (challenge),

Island of Doubt (challenge),

Neurotopia (challenge), or

The Questionable Authority (challenge), who all also have challenges that haven’t been met yet.

I won’t be pestering you again, so this is your last chance; I have to admit that the generous readers of Pharyngula dug deeper than expected, and I don’t want to impose further. Thanks again!

IMPORTANT ADDITION: I’m sorry to say that DonorsChoose only accepts donations from Americans, so if you’re Canadian or European or Australian or Brazilian, you (and by that I mean “we”) are out of luck. It seems to me that they’re missing out on a golden opportunity: if they advertised this as a chance to improve US education, the money would come pouring in from all over the world. People respond well to the need to help the less fortunate overcome calamity.

Ann Coulter believes every Democrat is an atheist

One more thing about the odious Coulter…Amanda takes note of the bigotry lurking under her schtick in the way she uses “Jew” like it was a dirty word. But look at her book: her weird attitude is right there in the title, Godless. I really thought nothing of it except, well, she’s at least acknowledging us irreligious people, until I saw her on Leno where she made this same point, and read this Townhall column, Party of rapist proud to be godless.

My book makes a stark assertion: Liberalism is a godless religion. Hello! Anyone there? I’ve leapt beyond calling you traitors and am now calling you GODLESS. Apparently, everybody’s cool with that. The fact that liberals are godless is not even a controversial point anymore.

I suddenly realized that she intended the title as some kind of ghastly, unforgivable insult, and she’s disappointed that no one was taking it that way. When someone calls me godless, I scratch my head, wonder what the big deal is, and agree…I sure am, and proud of it. I may argue with my fellow liberal/progressives who call themselves the Christian left, but I can guess how they would react. They’d scratch their heads, think that was absurdly wrong, and wonder what the insult was supposed to be. Sort of like if someone called me a Jew; I’d just think they were wrong, wouldn’t be bothered at all, and wonder what the heck was wrong with someone who thought it was powerful slander. Everybody’s cool with it because it’s revealing the slimy nature of Coulter’s character, not ours. So I’m not complaining; I think it’s bizarre that someone believes everyone in the Democratic party is an atheist.

Since GODLESS didn’t have the effect she wanted, I guess she’s going to have to ramp up the hysteria further in her next title. Maybe it will be JEW or GAY, or maybe she’ll go all the way and drop the TOLERANT bomb on us…and we’ll all be scratching our heads again.

By the way, the “rapist” in “party of rapist”? Bill Clinton, of course.

Coulter is simply certifiable.

Ann Coulter: No evidence for evolution?

I’ve now read all of the science-related (that’s applying the term “related” very generously) stuff in Ann Coulter’s awful, ghastly, ignorant book, Godless, and it’s a bit overwhelming. This far right-wing political pundit with no knowledge of science at all has written a lengthy tract that is wall-to-wall error: To cover it all would require a sentence-by-sentence dissection that would generate another book, ten times longer than Coulter’s, all merely to point out that her book is pure garbage. So I’m stumped. I’m not interested in writing such a lengthy rebuttal, and I’m sure this is exactly what Coulter is counting on—tell enough lazy lies, and no one in the world will have time enough to correct them conscientiously. She’s a shameless fraud.

What to do? Well, we can’t take apart the whole thing, but what we can do is focus on individual claims and show that Coulter is outrageously wrong—that she has written things that indicate an utter lack of knowledge of the subject. Some of us at the Panda’s Thumb are going to be doing just that—look there later for more—and what I’m going to do here is address one very broad claim that Coulter has made repeatedly, and that is also common to many creationists.

That claim is that there is no evidence for evolution. I know, to anybody who has even a passing acquaintance with biology, that sounds like a ridiculous statement, like declaring that people can live on nothing but air and sunlight, or that yeti are transdimensional UFO pilots. Yet Coulter baldly makes the absurd claim that “There’s no physical evidence for [evolution]”, and insists in chapter 8 of her new book that there is “no proof in the scientist’s laboratory or the fossil record.” This is like standing outside in a drenching rainstorm and declaring that there is no evidence that you are getting wet.

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