Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Evolution and Proliferation of Nonsense



Late this afternoon a friend e-mailed me a review written by Jerry Coyne, professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, that originally appeared in The New Republic and was subsequently posted on the Powell's Books website. It is written in the bombastic style of Coulter herself, as something of a parody.

Here are some of the salient details:

"Enamored of I[ntelligent] D[esign], and unable to fathom a scientific reason why biologists don't buy it, Coulter suggests that scientists are an evil sub-cabal of atheist liberals, a group so addicted to godlessness that they must hide at all costs the awful 'truth' that evolution didn't happen. She accuses evolutionists of brainwashing children with phony fossils and made-up 'evidence,' turning the kids into 'Darwiniacs' stripped of all moral (i.e., biblical) grounding and prone to become beasts and genocidal lunatics. To Coulter, biologists are folks who, when not playing with test tubes or warping children's minds, encourage people to have sex with dogs. (I am not making this up)."

"We've known for years," Coyne continues, that nearly half of all Americans believe in the Genesis account of creation, and only about 10 percent want evolution taught in public schools without mentioning ID or other forms of creationism. But it's worth taking up the cudgels once again, if only to show that, contrary to Coulter's claim, accepting Darwinism is not tantamount to endorsing immorality and genocide."

It was then pointed out to me by someone I respect very much that he had read the review in TNR and participated in a discussion on The New Republic's website. He stated that most of those who responded to the review on the discussion board were unhappy that Professor Coyne attacked Coulter in the way he did. Specifically by making fun of her looks. Please notice that the quotes I posted are not the ones that attack Coulter personally, as I am only interested the views she expresses and grieve over how widespread such views are among Christians. As for myself, I didn't find Coyne's piece particularly offensive or enlightening, but I do think it appropriate for its genre- a short, negative book review. I find it all the more understandable, not justified, just understandable, because Coulter personally attacks him in her book with the accusations he lists in the review. I admit to having a visceral reaction to many of the less-than-enlightened opinions expressed by Coulter (i.e., referring to Middle Eastern Arab countries-"We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity") for many and good reasons, not least of which is her mean-spiritedness which is indicative of intellectual laziness. It is my personal hope that Coyne's review is disseminated and causes folks not buy her book and/or for Christians who think to challenge the lazy assumptions that lie therein.

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