Ann Coulter on Evolution: Part 1
Today at the bookstore I saw that Coulter’s book, Godless was marked 30% off and I decided to buy it. I’ve skipped the first 7 chapters as those arguments bore me (as is true of Coulter in general). But chapter 8….chapter 8 is very good, if you like looking at train wrecks that is. It is simply astonishing that somebody as intelligent as Ann Coulter is so damn ignorant. Right off the bat Coulter manages a nice bit of misdirection,
We wouldn’t still be talking about it but for the fact that liberals think that evolution disproves God. [page 199]
Evolution says nothing about the existence of God. Liberals like P.Z. Myers have acknowledged this view of evolution (i.e. it is silent on the question of God’s existence), so this is basically a bald faced lie to her readers, IMO. This is one of the oldest Creationist arguments against evolution: accept evolution and you have to accept atheism. The simple fact here is that this is patently untrue. To see that this is the case we need look not further that two sentences ahead in Coulter’s screed,
God has performed more spectacular feats than evolution.
Okay, lets accept this on faith, like a religious person would do, then it is entirely possible that God is working in ways that we can’t comprehend and that could very well mean via evolutionary processes and/or that evolutionary processes are true, and that the hand of God is not going to be found in the E. coli flagellum.
A little bit later on Coulter flips back the curtain for a quick glimpse of the falsehood that she is building with this book,
Although God believers don’t need evolution to be false, atheists need evolution to be true. [pages 199-200]
My, my what is this? People who believe in God needn’t be threatened by evolutionary theory?!?!?! What is going on here? Is Coulter slipping here? And note that it isn’t merely liberals who need evolution to be true, but actually atheists. News Flash for Ann ‘Dimwit’ Coulter and her lickspittle lackys: being and athiest does not make on a liberal. I expect that last will send some commenters into a full spittle flying spectacle of outrage. “No, no, no Steve!! You fool, of course all atheists are liberals!!” Ummmm, no. They aren’t.
And then Coulter dives right back in showing her scientific ignorance,
Just to clean the palate fo a century of evolutionists’ browbeating everyone into saying evolution is a FACT and we’ll see you in court if you criticize the state religion,…[page 201]
But evolution is a fact. Lets run over to the dictionary; the first definition is,
A gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form. See Synonyms at development.
The first definition is how we get to evolution being a fact. Organisms do change over time. In fact, Coulter must have realized she couldn’t hold the view that organisms don’t change because on 202 she backtracks and writes,
Evolution is not selective breeding, which procduces thoroughbred horses, pedigreed dogs, colored cotton and so on. Evolution is not the capacity of bacteria to develop antibiotic resistance, but which never evolves into anything but more bacteria. Evolution is not the phenomenon of an existing species changing over the course of may years-for example, of Frenchmen becoming shorter during the Napoleonic era or Asians becoming taller after immigratin to North America. In fact, evolution is not adaptive characteristics developing with a species at all. Darwin’s theory says we get new species, not a taller version of the same species. Evolutionists call such adaptations “microevolution” only to confuse people. [page 202]
So what do we call this kind of evolution? Certainly not evolution because that really isn’t evolution (and would somebody please purge the liberals at Miriam-Webster’s Dictionary before they do even more damage). Nope these changes are not evolution, that is too fanch-schmancy, and once we accept that these changes could happen and that there is a scientifically valid explanation why we might end up looking for a scientifically valid explanation for speciation events…and we can’t have that because Ann Coulter’s faith is incredibly weak.
Of course, microevolution is what biologists refer to as changes in organisms below the level of species. Macroevolution is change in organisms at or above the species level. But here is the real kicker that one couldn’t get from simply reading the bilge pumped out by Coulter, the process that lead to macroevolution are precisely the same processes that drive microevolution. In other words, if you accept microevolution, which looks like Coulter does, then you accept macroevolution in that there is no difference except the degree of change. For example, suppose we have an organism and part of the population is isolated for some reason (e.g. continental drift) and on part of the species gets bigger while the other does not change. Then we have a speciation event if the bigger species is (generally) not capable of producing fertile offspring with the smaller original species.
Coulter also does the old schtick of “it is all so amazingly unlikely it is therefore impossible!”
Which is to say evolution is the eminently plausible theory that the human eye, the complete works of Shakespeare, and Ronald Reagan (among other things) all came into existence purely by accident.
To see that this kind of reasoning is false, suppose you have to flip a coin 1,000 times and record the sequence of heads and tails, and call this sequence S. What is the probabiltiy of getting S? 1/(21,000). Go ahead, open up Excel and see what happens when you type that in. You should get the number 9.3326E-302, which is to say you first have zero, then the decimal point, then 301 more zeroes then 9. A really, really, really small number. So amazingly small it couldn’t happen, so you really didn’t just sit there and flip a coin 1,000 times and don’t show me the data that you did. I don’t care if you have video tape showing you did it, Ann Coulter says you didn’t and that is good enough for me.
So in just 3.5 pages Ann Coulter has managed to tell the entire world what a complete ignoramus she is when it comes to logical thinking, basic reasoning, and scientific knowledge (grade school scientific knowledge mind you, not cutting edge molecular biology). And given all this Ann Coulter writes that evolutionary theory has all the scientific rigour of Scientology. Of course, given this we can only assume that Ann Coulter is as addle-brained as your typical Scientologist.