Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Ann Coulter’s “Flatulent Raccoon Theory” — and my role in it


Robert Savillo, an unknown in the evo-ID wars, has entered the fray with an attack against Ann Coulter’s treatment of evolution in her new book Godless (go here for Savillo’s screed). Savillo takes me to task for letting Ann’s “Flatulent Raccoon Theory” pass editorial scrutiny:

Ann Coulter’s “Flatulent Raccoon Theory”
Robert Savillo
Media Matters for America
June 2006

. . . According to the weblog of William Dembski, a supporter of intelligent design, all of the above-mentioned falsehoods, misinformation, and distortions can be attributed to his “generous tutoring.”

The evidence reveals that Coulter’s two chapters on the theory of evolution display her own ignorance toward the subject while providing an avenue to make ad hominem attacks against scientists, progressives, and Democrats.

. . .

According to right-wing pundit Ann Coulter, “flatulent raccoon theory” is as valid as Darwinian evolution. On Page 214 of her new book, Godless: The Church of Liberalism, she states:

“Throw in enough words like imagine, perhaps, and might have — and you’ve got yourself a scientific theory! How about this: Imagine a giant raccoon passed gas and perhaps the resulting gas might have created the vast variety of life we see on Earth. And if you don’t accept the giant raccoon flatulence theory for the origin of life, you must be a fundamentalist Christian nut who believes the Earth is flat. That’s basically how the argument for evolution goes” [emphasis in original].

. . .

The jacket of Coulter’s book states that Coulter writes from a “keen appreciation for genuine science.” Inside, she credits a cadre of supporters of intelligent design:

“I couldn’t have written about evolution without the generous tutoring of Michael Behe, David Berlinski, and William Dembski, all of whom are fabulous at translating complex ideas, unlike liberal arts types, who constantly force me to the dictionary to relearn the meaning of quotidian.” . . .

The problem with Ann’s “Flatulent Raccoon Theory” is, of course, Where did the raccoon come from? To be an adequate theory of life, we need to couple the “Flatulent Raccoon Theory” with a “Spontaneous Large-Cute-Furry Mammal Theory,” which explains how primordial matter spontaneously generates humungous raccoons whose gas attacks ultimately generate us. Provided the “Flatulent Raccoon Theory” is coupled with this more basic theory, we have an adequate comparison with conventional evolutionary theory. If I were to advise Ann again, I would have stressed the inclusion of such a complementary theory. We can thank Robert Savillo for highlighting this difficulty.

Of course the "Spontaneous Large-Cute-Furry Mammal Theory" is necessary because if the materialists can't come up with a credible origin of life model then the whole Darwinian ship sinks. If we concede that we need design at the beginning of life then why demand it be excluded the rest of the way up the chain? Must say I admire Ann's spunk and forthrightness. It takes all kinds to make a world. Those of us who are or have to be excessively nice sometimes find it more difficult to poke holes in falseness and pretense and simply tell it like it is. Rude
On a serious note, do you wish to distance yourself from some of her more outlandish claims? skiddlybop
Well, you know how the saying goes. There's a little of the primordial gasses in us all. Mung
The Flatulent Raccoon Theory could also explain Global Warming. glennj
Why is it that opponents always bring up origins when debating the “Flatulent Raccoon Theory”? tribune7

Leave a Reply