Intelligent Design

Evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne: Stop that Coult!

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Apparently, pundette Ann Coulter has continued to say unnice things about Darwinists and Darwinism (gasp! Say it ain’t so!):

Interviewer Charlotte Allen: Many arguments in favor of Darwinian evolution strike me as actually being arguments against the existence of God–that is, why would a creator create tapeworms, disease viruses, and other bad things? Why do you think such things exist in a world of intelligent design?

The Coult: Your question is incomprehensible. I assume you are trying to ask me: “Why would God create tapeworms?”

My answer is: God also created mosquitoes, which I hate. But purple martins love mosquitoes and would probably all starve without them. It’s kind of a “big picture” thing. Of course that doesn’t explain why He created Michael Moore. For that, I have no explanation. My guess is that disease, pestilence, and Michael Moore are all perversions of the good that God created, a result of sin entering the world through Adam and Eve.

The whole interview is hilarious. Interviewer Charlotte Allen, who belongs to the tut-tut school of religious journalism, is way out of her depth. She doesn’t understand that the Coult is actually not afraid of the people she herself is afraid of and can live without their good opinion.

And just when you thought the fun might end, evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne has found it necessary to take a swipe at the Coult (and a whole bunch of other people too):

First, one has to ask whether Coulter (who, by the way, attacks me in her book) really understands the Darwinism she rejects. The answer is a resounding No. According to the book’s acknowledgments, Coulter was tutored in the “complex ideas” of evolution by David Berlinski, a science writer; Michael Behe, a third-rate biologist at Lehigh University (whose own department’s website disowns his bizarre ideas); and William Dembski, a fairly bright theologian who went off the intellectual rails and now peddles creationism at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. These are the “giants” of the ID movement, which shows how retarded it really is. Learning biology from this lot is like learning elocution from George W. Bush.

Well, of course. To believe Darwinism, you must learn from a Darwinist, preferably an ascended master. Otherwise, you don’t stand a chance.

The remarkable thing about all this is that Jerry Coyne thinks he needs to take on Ann Coulter. There was a time when a guy like Jerry Coyne would not know who Ann Coulter is, and possibly would not know what a pundette is, unless he had married his cook and she insisted on subscribing to some vile rag that …

Personally, I do not know how the Coult manages to look nearly naked when she is actually, technically at least, wearing clothes. But that is not a suitable subject for a family blog.

32 Replies to “Evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne: Stop that Coult!

  1. 1
    tribune7 says:

    I love that girl.

  2. 2
    GilDodgen says:

    Denyse,

    I love your prose. It’s a rare treat. Compared to Jesus (at least on some occasions) Coulter epitomizes tact and subtlety:

    “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.” (Matthew 23:27)

    I’ll go with Ann’s comment: “I’ll just apologize for not getting it right and thank him for dying for my sins.”

  3. 3
    Comrade says:

    Here’s my favourite part of the
    Q: If the Church of Liberalism lets you do anything you want, why do you think the divorce rate is higher in red states than in the godless blue states?

    A: Assuming that’s true, probably because marriage is more popular in the red states than in the blue states and because of all the blue-staters living in the red states.

    Ann Coulter really is brilliant. I think she hit the nail on the head!

  4. 4
    timcol says:

    I agree – I don’t know why Coyne wants to take on Coulter, although given her all-encompassing presence in the media, it is understandable that those who are at the end of he tongue-lashes do want to respond. But I think the real question is — does Coulter have anything good to say? Does she have any profound or original new ideas that help society? What solutions does she have (other than tongue-whipping liberals?). Does she build up, or burn down? Is anybody going to be reading her books in 5, 10 years, or will they be relugated to the remainder pile? (And somehow I don’t think a Pulitzer is in her future anytime soon!).

    I have no idea what her motives are, but the disingenous part of me does wonder if this is all just an elaborate con on her part to make oodles of dollars.

  5. 5
    zapatero says:

    When Coulter’s reasoning is on display, it becomes apparent why she abandoned her law career for something more suited to her limited faculties.

    The interviewer points out that most liberals believe in God. Coulter’s reply:

    “I don’t say “most liberals don’t believe in God”; I say liberalism is a godless religion. Some liberals don’t understand the underlying religious dogma and principles of liberalism–if they did, they would flee the building.”

    I see. So liberalism is godless, despite the fact that most liberals believe in God. And those liberals “fleeing the building” are liberals despite not accepting the “principles of liberalism”. Got it.

    How on earth would you define a liberal, if not as someone who accepts and practices the “principles of liberalism”?

    I know that ID supporters feel embattled and are inclined to accept support from any quarter, but you really have to draw the line somewhere. Coulter is not helping your case among the thoughtful segments of the population.

  6. 6
    MikeFNQ says:

    Q: “why do you think the divorce rate is higher in red states than in the godless blue states”
    A1: “because marriage is more popular in the red states than in the blue states”

    That wouldn’t actually affect the rate would it? It may affect the total number.

    A2: “because of all the blue-staters living in the red states”

    Wow… Think how low the divorce rate would be in the red states if all those blues went home.

    Yep, Ann Coulter is brilliant and really hit the nail on the head, 🙂

  7. 7
    BC says:

    Let’s all just face the fact that Ann Coulter is popular because she says things that people want to believe. She’s worse than Michael Moore when it comes to misrepresenting the truth – and they’re both popular because so many people want to believe what they say, regardless of the facts. Does Ann think that democrats have low divorce rate in blue-states, but dramatically increase their divorce rates as a function of the number of republicans living in the same state? BTW, the divorce rate among agnostics and atheists is actually lower than the divorce rate among Christians, despite the assumption that is should be the reverse (though I’m sure that Ann could manufacture some explanation that would justify her belief that non-Christians are evil and Christians are great, maybe something along the lines of “the devil works against Christian marriages, but all the non-Christians are already on the way to hell”?)

    (Shaking my head at the state of public discourse in this country.)

  8. 8
    MikeFNQ says:

    Reading through the whole interview it’s even substandard for Coulter. Some highlights for me were:

    What’s a word that catches Jews and Christians better than “Christians”… How about Judeochristian? Hasn’t she heard that term before?

    “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” How does that even remotely address the question of whether or not liberals will go to Heaven?

    “God did not “cause” evolution because evolution doesn’t exist.”
    Yep, she’s just pro-ID, not a Creationist. Someone had better tell her to replace “evolution” with “Darwinism”.

    It’s obvious that Coulter is poorly informed, scientifically illiterate, and just a sloppy thinker.

  9. 9
    John A. Davison says:

    I am of the opinion that political liberalism and rabid, Godless Darwinism are either pleiotropic expressions of a single genetic condition or are closely linked on the same chromosome. The tentative genetic formula is DDLL.

    “EVERYTHING is determined…by forces over which we have no control.”
    Albert Einstein. (my emphasis)

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

  10. 10
    O'Leary says:

    Hey MikeFNQ,

    You fell right in, just as Charlotte Allen did.

    You huff and tut-tut and, if the Coult noticed you, she would turn you into an insta-joke.

    The key to understanding the Coult is: she savages sanctimony.

    So much sanctimony has grown up like quack grass in our society that the Coult can make a good living just by speaking her mind humorously in public places.

    No, she isn’t a woman of great ideas, but then it’s not her fault that she doesn’t need to be. So many people just fall right in.

  11. 11
    MikeFNQ says:

    O’Leary

    Coulter is praised not for “being funny”, the right seems to think she is insightful and well-informed. You essentially agreed with me that she isn’t (she isn’t a woman of great ideas). You attack me for being right?

    Coulter has, in the past, got a giggle out of me. That interview didn’t achieve such a reaction. So, she is mildly amusing at times, I agree. But I really see nothing else in her. Well, she is, as others have recently said in these pages, not unpleasant to look at.

  12. 12
    MikeFNQ says:

    sanc·ti·mo·ny n. Feigned piety or righteousness; hypocritical devoutness or high-mindedness.

    Coulter: I pretend to attend a giant church in New York City, where I pray for the souls of people who claim I’ve never been there. I pray for mercy and divine protection from God’s enemies. When I’m in a jaunty mood, I pray for Him to smite liberals.

  13. 13
    Chris Hyland says:

    She has been on TV over here only a few times, and most people in the UK are convinved that she’s playing a part to mock conservatism ala Stephen Colbert. A conservative friend of mine is actually quite angry about it, and I cant convince him that she isnt tring to purposefully parody conservatism.

  14. 14
    Smidlee says:

    “Coulter is praised not for “being funny”, the right seems to think she is insightful and well-informed.”
    Ronald Reagan wasn’t praised for being funny either. The trick is being funny just enough to get your point across but not too much or you’ll be to seen as nothing but a clown.
    I think it smart for her to use “evolution” instead of “darwinism” since most of those who doesn’t spend a lot time with the subject, knew what she was referring to. So she’s smart enough not to talk over people heads.
    Jesus himself spoke in the common way which was easy understood to the average Joe.

  15. 15
    olegt says:

    What’s next? A pro-evolution book by Al Franken? 🙂

  16. 16
    mike1962 says:

    Let me say as an agnostic and a right-leaning character who is ID friendly, Coulter does not speak for me. I consider her along the same lines as Rush Limbaugh, a “conservative” entertainer and profiteer. It is obvious Coulter is going to give ID even more of a bad name. It is a sad affair indeed.

  17. 17
    O'Leary says:

    I’m astounded at how few people on this list can understand that the Coult floats aloft on the huffs of righteous indignation THEY and thousands of similarly scandalized persons provide!

    And she knows it too.

    Wanna see the Coult brought down to earth? Stop huffing and start laughing. You made her important.

  18. 18
    tribune7 says:

    Chris,

    That’s OK.

    Most of us here are convinced tha every Tory leader you’ve had since Margaret Thatcher was just playing a part to mock conservatism 🙂

  19. 19
    lucID says:

    MikeFNQ….FYI

    (Unless you were being very sarcastic and I’m assuming you weren’t)
    ““Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” How does that even remotely address the question of whether or not liberals will go to Heaven?”

    Hellooo??? anybody home??? A key Liberal tenant is that all roads lead to Rome, i.e. if there actually is a God, and a heaven in the liberal mind, you’ll get there however you choose via Budda, transcendental meditation, wicca or just because you’re a good person and not evil like Hitler. I believe what Anne was referring to was Jesus saying that he is the way the truth and the light and that no one gets to heaven apart from following him. Whether or not you agree with Jesus is not the point. To Anne the majority of Liberal people would not subscribe to that theology and therefore in her mind very few would get to heaven. QED

  20. 20
    Ryan says:

    MikeFNQ,

    “When I’m in a jaunty mood, I pray for Him to smite liberals.”

    What’s wrong with that? Imprecatory prayer is found all throughout the Bible.

  21. 21
    O'Leary says:

    From moderator Denyse: I think we should move the theological discussion to another list. I only quoted the Coult on Darwinism, myself (and she hasn’t been shy about kicking that). How about this: ANyone who wantsto quote a Bible verse must offer an apposite quote from the Upanishads.

  22. 22
    Charlie says:

    MikeFNQ

    Q: “why do you think the divorce rate is higher in red states than in the godless blue states”
    A1: “because marriage is more popular in the red states than in the blue states”
    That wouldn’t actually affect the rate would it? It may affect the total number.

    The study the reporter is quoting is not given, but very likely it would.
    Divorce rates are generally recorded as x/1000 residents, not x/100 marriages.
    This skews the divorce rate against states where the marriage rate is highest.
    Blue state marriage rates at 4.5 % above the 10/1000 and 18% below the 6/1000.
    Red state marriage rate at 18% above the 10/1000 and 0% below the 6/1000.
    Obviously with that much more of the population marrying there will be more divorces ie: more divorces per 1000 residents.
    Using the 2002 census (and a 2004 Red State/Blue State map), and comparing divorce rates to marriage rates I get Red State divorces per marriages at slightly less than Blue State.

    A2: “because of all the blue-staters living in the red states”
    Wow… Think how low the divorce rate would be in the red states if all those blues went home.

    Yep, Ann Coulter is brilliant and really hit the nail on the head,

    You’re being facetious, I know, but if I recall, the percentage of Dems in Red states is higher than the percentage of Republicans in Blue. If I’m right here, then this, and their slightly higher divorce rate (from above) would skew the result as well.

    I’m no pro, but it looks like Coulter said nothing wrong here.

  23. 23
    Charlie says:

    With all the real mathematicians here I’ll shut up now so as not to look too much like a monkey with a crayon.

  24. 24
    russ says:

    “She has been on TV over here only a few times, and most people in the UK are convinved that she’s playing a part to mock conservatism ala Stephen Colbert. A conservative friend of mine is actually quite angry about it, and I cant convince him that she isnt tring to purposefully parody conservatism.

    Comment by Chris Hyland — August 4, 2006 @ 6:52 am”

    Chris, most Americans don’t understand why Bennie Hill was ever popular either. I think it’s a culture thing.

  25. 25
    russ says:

    “…I’ll shut up now so as not to look too much like a monkey with a crayon.”

    Comment by Charlie — August 4, 2006 @ 12:13 pm

    I don’t think we should be disparaging anyone’s ancestors here either. 😉

  26. 26
    timcol says:

    “Wanna see the Coult brought down to earth? Stop huffing and start laughing. You made her important.”

    I think you are right Denyse. If we treat Coulter as basically ultra-conservative stand-up, she is actually quite clever and witty. As a person of ideas, though, of course she fails, and history will deal with her accordingly. Of course, this is coming from somebody who believes being called a Godless Liberal is actually a compliment!

  27. 27
    tribune7 says:

    timcol — As a person of ideas, though, of course she fails, and history will deal with her accordingly.

    I don’t think she’s breaking any new philosophical ground but her observations are right on the mark. Especially about the turmoil stupid decisions by our Supreme Court has put us through.

  28. 28
    Smidlee says:

    Denyse
    “Wanna see the Coult brought down to earth? Stop huffing and start laughing. You made her important.”
    Actually I already saw her as down to earth which IMO is the key of her popularity.

    For example from her quote: “When I’m in a jaunty mood, I pray for Him to smite liberals.”
    These kind of statements we sometimes think to ourselves but most will never admitted it. It’s humourous because first, she’s doesn’t take herself too serious and second, many can identify praying like this or atleast felt like it. Also her answers doesn’t sound like she’s been programed.

  29. 29
    jmcd says:

    Basically I think of Coulter and Moore as being similarly narrow minded people with an over abundance of tragically misplaced intelectual confidence. They both think of themselves as defenders of what is true and right in society but end up doing much more harm than good for their causes not only because most people will scoff at them and subconciously belittle their just causes but also because the people that do listen to them hone in on their black and white picture of the world and are blinded to the nuanced and complicated paths towards the laudable goals that both strive for.

  30. 30
    MikeFNQ says:

    Charlie

    Here in Australia the figure we always see reported is the percentage of marriages ending in divorce. Doing a few google searches I find both Divorces/Marriage and Divorces/Population being used in the US. Rather confusing. The former seems the more logical measure.

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_dira.htm seems a good and relevant discussion.

  31. 31
    tinabrewer says:

    use of figures aside, the divorce rate in the red states, even minus the corrupting influence of blue-staters, is nothing to shout proudly from the rooftops.

  32. 32
    Charlie says:

    Mike,
    That was the first site I saw last night when your post made me curious.
    It was because of the glaring absence of the relevant information on that site that I went looking for raw data (the US census) for my conclusions instead of accepting their interpretations.
    It is plagued by the problem I mentioned before in that it ranks groups by “% who’ve divorced”, without taking into account or measuring the necessary “% who’ve married in the first place”.

    The former seems the more logical measure.

    It is the more logical, but it’s not the one these sites use when presenting the Barna data.
    Here’s the relevant kind of statistic that those sites never seem to take into account:

    “ARIS noted, “the no religion group (28% would have married) was far more likely to be either single, never married or single, living with a partner than any other group.” Evangelical Christians and Assemblies of God followers were more likely to marry (73% and 74%), thus possibly contributing to the high divorce rates.”
    http://www.atheists.org/flash.line/atheist4.htm

    Tina is right, however, that any way you slice it the rates are nothing to brag about.
    Neither do we learn much from Red/Blue and divorce statistics at any rate.

    Besides, the point was that Coulter’s response was perfectly rational, not to spend a lot of time researching the appalling state of marriage in America.

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