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The Flatulent Raccoon

raccoon.jpg

That would be Ann Coulter on evolution. Via Media Matters, Robert Savillo writes:

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].

I think it's unlikely Ann Coulter, who graduated from University of Michigan's law school, is dumb enough to believe the world is flat or much of the other crap she spouts. I think what she's most concerned with is flat income theory -- the notion that her income will be much flatter if she doesn't appeal to the mob mentality of the lowest fearful yahoos out there.

Savillo continues:

Coulter uses this "theory" that she has concocted throughout the book to suggest that Darwinian evolution is similarly questionable once one has all the facts. Coulter appears to be trying to develop a parody of evolution analogous to Bobby Henderson's parody religion, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster -- created in response to the Kansas School Board's decision to require the teaching of "intelligent design" as an "alternative" to the theory of evolution. Henderson's Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster serves as an alternate version of "intelligent design" because of the obvious parallels. But while the satirists who created the Flying Spaghetti Monster use its similarities with intelligent design to comic effect, Coulter identified no comparable parallels between "flatulent raccoon theory" and the theory of evolution. Furthermore, Coulter's analogy makes a mistake common to many creationists who confuse Darwinian evolution, the explanation of how different species develop, with theories about the origin of life.

Coulter devotes two whole chapters to the discussion of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. Throughout, she offers falsehoods, misleading statements, and distortions of evolutionary theory, all packaged with smears of prominent progressive and Democratic figures as well as news reporters and media personalities. Coulter doesn't actually present new evidence to make her case against evolutionary theory; she only uses the space to criticize evolution, which is a tired tactic of creationists. Page after page, the reader is bombarded with classic creationist arguments. But evolution is a scientific theory that has the support of the National Academy of Sciences; it has no relation to beliefs that cannot be tested, thus the suggestion that "liberals think evolution disproves God" is completely illogical.

A summary of some of the idiocy Coulter spews about evolution in her book:

With a mix of misleading claims, pseudo-scientific arguments, distortions of evolutionary theory, and outright falsehoods, Coulter places herself not only outside the mainstream but truly toward the lunatic fringe.

...Though she stops short of saying that the earth is 6,000 years old and Adam and Eve rode through the Garden of Eden on the backs of dinosaurs, in her quest to disprove evolutionary theory, Coulter echoes the arguments of the creationists from whom even many religious conservatives distanced themselves long ago.

Among her falsehoods, misinformation, and distortions, Coulter:

* Misstates how fossils demonstrate the evolutionary transition from reptiles and mammals, as well as the fossil record of dinosaurs and mammals.
* Distorts the likelihood that a living creature will be fossilized.
* Distorts the duration of the period known as the Cambrian explosion, omits important information about its significance, and suggests that 10 million years is "sudden."
* On transitional fossils, misrepresents relation of the Archaeopteryx to modern birds.
* Omits information regarding the Piltdown man and Archaeoraptor hoaxes.
* Misrepresents the evolution of the eye and ignores recent research.
* Falsely suggests that "irreducible complexity" disproves evolutionary theory.
* On the drawings and theories of Ernst Haeckel, omits a century of scientific criticism while falsely suggesting that textbooks still use Haeckel.
* Falsely suggests that the Miller-Urey experiment did not accurately reflect early Earth atmosphere.
* Throughout the book, displays her own misunderstandings regarding evolutionary theory (i.e. descent with modification, the evolution of bacteria).
* Offers only classic creationist arguments from discredited, unscientific ideas, despite a claim on the inner jacket sleeve of the book stating that Coulter writes "with a keen appreciation of genuine science."

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."

...Rather than support her claims with scientific evidence, she instead substitutes the ad hominem attacks that have become her trademark.

Who here wants to bet Coulter believes in evolution -- as much as she disbelieves a lot of the other crap she throws around?

I don't have a problem in the world with whores -- the kind who trade sex for money. Trading lies and hate for money -- that kind of whore I just can't abide.

Posted by aalkon at August 8, 2006 11:41 AM

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Comments

There's no such thing as bad publicity. You're helping her sell books.

Posted by: Lena at August 8, 2006 4:14 AM

I think it's important to show the points in her book are wrong. There's a piece on Huffington Post about all her faulty endnotes, too (well, there was yesterday night).

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 8, 2006 5:00 AM

Amy, please tell me you didn't spend money on that garbage. Please.

Posted by: Brenda at August 8, 2006 6:32 AM

On her book? Horrors, no. I let others do my dirty work. I'm reading Robert Frank's "Passion Within Reason" now, and rereading parts of a book Lena gave me, Francis Wheen's "How Mumbo Jumbo Conquered The World." (I guess the answer, at least in the audience of dimwitted book-buyers, is: by being blond, hate-fomenting, and leggy.)

PS Wheen quotes Cockburn about Reagan and astrology: "The United States retains, unusually for an advanced industrial society, about the same per capita level of religious superstition as Bangladesh."

Another thing I'll soon be rereading is some of the ev. psych David Sloan Wilson's work on religion: the difference between religious conservatives and religious liberals. His grad student sent me the stats I need -- I hope to post on it soon.

Oh yeah...and a paper on Hayek. I'm looking to learn more about economics; particularly, economics, reason, and morality.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 8, 2006 6:46 AM

"I think it's important to show the points in her book are wrong."

Okay. It's just that I don't think she's worth the effort. Given her behavior, it's pretty obvious that she's more interested in a posture of moral outrage than in ideas. There are plenty of good conservative thinkers out there, but they're being eclipsed by her tits.

Posted by: Lena at August 8, 2006 8:12 AM

Trading lies and hate for money - that's the one thing we know Ann believes in. Sad.

Posted by: Russputin at August 8, 2006 9:41 AM

Don't cluck.

Posted by: Crid at August 8, 2006 10:46 AM

"they're being eclipsed by her tits."

And those are phony as well.

Posted by: cadavra at August 8, 2006 11:14 PM

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