Dispatches from the Creation Wars

The Worldnutdaily actually has an article up responding to PZ Myers’ criticism of D. James Kennedy’s ridiculous TV show claiming that Darwin led to Hitler. PZ had initially reacted to the involvement of Francis Collins, head of the Human Genome Project and a staunch defender of evolution (and a committed Christian), in the show. Kennedy has promoted Collins’ involvement to gain credibility from his credentials. But Burt Humburg contacted Collins about it and Collins was furious at being misused. He stated that he had granted an interview with Kennedy’s group, but he thought it was supposed to be about his book, not part of this Darwin/Hitler nonsense. He said that he was absolutely opposed to their claims in this regard and was taking steps to have his name and footage removed from it. When PZ saw that email, he apologized to Collins and was happy to see he hadn’t lost his mind.

There is a good deal of utter nonsense in the Worldnutdaily article, not the least of which is the silly subtitle “Bloggers try to discredit experts on evolution’s connection to bloodshed.” Among the “experts” cited in the program are such luminaries as Ann Coulter, for crying out loud. And this statement:

He (Francis Collins) calls evolution a “compelling” theory that never can be proven.

In fact, Collins has made it clear that he believes that evolutionary theory is as proven as any scientific theory can ever be, and that it is beyond all reasonable doubt. His new book in fact offers numerous lines of evidence that confirm common descent as the only reasonable explanation for the history of life on earth. And this one:

The program, according to producer Jerry Newcomb, is about the social effects of Darwinism, and the bloodshed that can be attributed to those beliefs. He said before Darwin, the basic concept was that man was made in the image of God, and was therefore valuable. But Darwin changed all that.

Well of course, because before Darwin everyone was considered valuable and there was no bloodshed. The inquisition happened because, before Darwin, everyone was “valuable”. The Israelites slaughtered all the Midianites other than the virgin females because everyone was valuable (but clearly, virgin women are more valuable yet). Do we really want to add up all the bloodshed that was committed at the alleged direct command of this God who, according to them, taught that everyone was valuable? This is sheer idiocy and ignorance, folks. That’s all it is.

Comments

  1. #1 Treban
    August 22, 2006

    I actually heard Kennedy on the radio the other day – talking about evolution. His entire line of reasoning against evolution was that some scientists have apparently said that they believed in researching evolution so they could have loose sex. It literaly was the sum of his arguments on that particular broadcast.

    An interesting aside, listening to Focus on the Family yesterday they talked about a huge, conservative conference, coming up. And one of the speakers will be Ann Coulter. I am amazed that these “christians” would have a transvetite speak at their conference. . .Seriously though, it is frightening to me that “christians” would have any interest in what that nut job has to say. Someone who spews hatred and yells for violence has no place in a conference on faith and politics – a sad state of affairs.

  2. #2 SLC
    August 22, 2006

    Re Treban

    I thought Ann Coulter was a Hermaphrodite.

  3. #3 DragonScholar
    August 22, 2006

    Do we really want to add up all the bloodshed that was committed at the alleged direct command of this God who, according to them, taught that everyone was valuable?

    Actually, why not? First, start with the Bible, but also extend to modern times. Responding to hysteria with truth always unsettles the hysterics (and makes you look good). If they bring up the usual “Stalin was an atheist and he was bad,” you can note “yeah, and you’re any better?” with plenty of evidence.

    That’s what we need. http://www.religiousatrocities.com.

  4. #4 Lettuce
    August 22, 2006

    I actually heard Kennedy on the radio the other day – talking about evolution. His entire line of reasoning against evolution was that some scientists have apparently said that they believed in researching evolution so they could have loose sex.

    Because, before Darwin, there was no loose sex.

    Whatever that is.

  5. #5 plunge
    August 22, 2006

    One of the greatest mysteries in human sociology right now is why, after MILLENIA of humanity taking both racialism and sexism as near unquestioned givens, both of these ideas would suddenly crumble in the 20th century. Why then? Certainly Christianity can’t be given credit: after 2000 years of it, you’d think that any effect would be a little more immediate if it was all so obvious.

    But I would suggest that Darwin played a part there. Darwin’s new view of life on Earth broke the Great Chain of Being and ushered in an era in which we began to look at the commonality of life instead of just focusing on difference. The revolution in biology that Darwin touched off also brought us to an understanding of genetics that made it near impossible to anymore justify the idea that the races were radically different groups. While certainly not many laypeople really understood all the things going on behind the scenes in science that fatally undermined racialism, the general idea that it could no longer be supported by science or the facts was ultimately crippling.

  6. #6 Troy Britain
    August 22, 2006

    What is it with so many people who supposed to be more on the liberal side of things (and I don’t know if that applies to the two writers above) using transgender/hermaphrodite/transvestite as a way to attack/insult Coulter?

    She’s an idiot who says plenty of things that can be attacked for their stupidity, yet much of the attacks against her from the “left” seem to be in the form of “she’s a man in a dress”.

    I understand how being labeled transgender might be offensive to someone on the “right”, but are you not on some level buying into the idea that these things are a stigma when you use them as an insult?

  7. #7 Daniel Morgan
    August 22, 2006

    SLC,

    That’s an interesting theory that should be pursued with further data…ah, here’s a datum now, from no one but Jesus’ General himself!

    That’s how I noticed Ann Coulter. Still flat on her back from an overindulgence in alcohol, she was making the kind of movements that suggest that she was on the verge of waking. You know what I mean: a twitch of an arm, a shake of the head–that kind of thing. But it wasn’t the movement that caught my eye. It was the pup tent. Yes, you read that right. Ann Coulter was sporting morning wood.

  8. #8 Will
    August 22, 2006

    Thanks for turning it into “left” vs. “right”, Troy.

  9. #9 Daniel Morgan
    August 22, 2006

    Troy,

    Don’t mistake an insult of her looks (the kind of woman you don’t wake up next to with just dried vomit on you, but also a few empty ‘lude bottles and the residue of roofies in your mouth) with a moral judgment of homosexuals or transgenders. It’s not calling her a homo, but a very very ugly woman.

  10. #10 Troy Britain
    August 22, 2006

    So a persons arguments should be judged not by their logic and/or facts presented (things both lacking in Coulter’s claims) but by their physical appearance. Got it.

  11. #11 iGollum
    August 22, 2006

    Y’know, I’ve met transvestites and transgendered people who were more elegant, graceful and good-looking than many a ‘real’ woman… truth be told I’ve actually been jealous of a few :-)

  12. #12 iGollum
    August 22, 2006

    Yeah, what’s with the looks-based Coulter bashing anyway? There seems to be a lot of that all over the place, but really, people, it’s not like there’s a dearth of things to expose, rebutt and ridicule in what she says; no need to sink to her level with vulgar ad hominems.

  13. #13 Edward Braun
    August 22, 2006

    I have to agree with Troy – the “Coulter is a dude in a dress” stuff is really old. And insulting to transvestites (or transgendered folk depending upon the phrasing of the Coulter insult).

    That said, I think a big reason for the “Coulter is a dude” insults is the simple fact that Coulter portrays herself being sexy (and is viewed as sexy by some of her fans). She also tends to insult the appearance of feminist opponents, in some cases directly stating that they would not be appealing to men.

    I don’t find Ann particularly attractive, but I also don’t find her particularly unattractive on the basis of her appearance alone. Her views (at least her public views, whether or not she actually believes them) are vile. On that basis she is an ugly person, regardless of her appearance or sexuality.

  14. #14 Michael Wells
    August 22, 2006

    I gotta agree with Troy here. Attacks on Coulter’s physical appearance and locker room cracks about supposed transsexualism/hermaphroditism are ugly, irrelevant and right down at her intellectual – and ethical – level. I’m endlessly frustrated by their reappearance in criticisms of Coulter. We don’t need them and I wish people would knock it off. Appellations like “moron,” “liar,” “bigot,” etc., have the advantage of being true and relevant.

  15. #15 Ed Brayton
    August 22, 2006

    Count me on Troy’s side on this one as well. I’ll call Ann Coulter many things, but I don’t get what possible relevance the transgendered thing has. She looks a bit like skeletor to me, but that has nothing to do with why she’s a laughable fraud. If she looked like Elle McPherson she’d be no less ridiculous.

  16. #16 John Pieret
    August 22, 2006

    . . . before Darwin everyone was considered valuable and there was no bloodshed . . .

    Hey! Southern Baptists thought other people were so valuable that they broke away from their Northern bretheren just so they could go on selling them.

  17. #17 Mithrandir
    August 22, 2006

    I suspect another reason for the prevalence of “Mann Coulter” jokes is the fact that her screeds are so often anti-woman.

    But such jokes are still ugly and unbecoming (much like Rush Limbaugh’s jokes about Chelsea Clinton or Janet Reno). Knock it off.

  18. #18 kehrsam
    August 22, 2006

    Hey! Southern Baptists thought other people were so valuable that they broke away from their Northern bretheren just so they could go on selling them.”

    Actually, we only valued them as 3/8 people apiece for the bretheren, nothing for the cistern.

  19. #19 Raging Bee
    August 22, 2006

    plunge wrote:

    One of the greatest mysteries in human sociology right now is why, after MILLENIA of humanity taking both racialism and sexism as near unquestioned givens, both of these ideas would suddenly crumble in the 20th century. Why then?…

    Actually, that’s not really true. Christianity and Islam both attacked racism pretty strongly from the beginning (in their doctrines at least), and made it clear that all humans would be judged by God according to the same set of rules. (Yes, they fought a lot about which set of rules was the “right” set, but that’s another issue.) Your race or sex didn’t matter; what mattered was whether you chose to worship the right God. In fact, both of those religions appealed to a wider range of people precisely because they presented themselves as universal faiths and morals, free from the constraints of obsolete traditions, pecking-orders, and blood-feuds.

    No, niether religion eliminated racism; and yes, there were racists working within both religions; but their doctrines began to question racism, and sowed some early seeds of doubt about racist world-views.

    Even before Christ, the Roman Empire also took racism down a peg, by (forcibly) uniting warring tribes under one more-or-less-uniform code of conduct, and creating a society in which different races and tribes could — at the very least — force themselves to be more civil to avoid crushing retaliation by the Imperial army. Primitive and brutal, yes, but attacking racism has to start somewhere.

  20. #20 DragonScholar
    August 22, 2006

    Put me up on “tired of the Coulter Gender jokes.” Whatever set of chromosomes she possesses, thats the least thing to be concerned about. It just distracts, really.

    I am still flat-out amazed about this niave idea that before Darwin, people were somehow valued equally, when history says otherwise, often with bloody exclamation points. I think plunge may have a point. It’s hard to think you’re super-special-better when you take a look at life in a more complex way via evolution and biology.

    Science can be wonderfully humbling. I still remember watching “Cosmos” as a kid and remembering it being a good kick in the perspective.

  21. #21 Ed Brayton
    August 22, 2006

    This notion that human life was valued before Darwin can be shot to hell just by looking at the obviously dehumanizing institution of slavery – which Darwin opposed staunchly. He hated slavery and railed against it in his letters. Yet slavery is endorsed in the Bible, even explicitly commanded by God, and was defended on that basis for centuries (to be fair, it was also opposed by many Christians, but that doesn’t change the fact that there is not one verse in the Bible that condemns slavery and dozens that both support it and command it – those Christians were far more influenced by enlightenment philosophy than by anything in the Bible or in Christian theology). Biology and anthropology, on the other hand, show beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are all one species, something denied for centuries by many.

  22. #22 Mark Frank
    August 22, 2006

    I think plunge has made an excellent point. Raging Bee may be right about what Christianity and Islam said in theory – but in practice racism and sexism were virtually taken for granted in a wide range of societies up to the 20th C.

  23. #23 GH
    August 22, 2006

    I was going to comment on the transgender post but several beat me to it.

    I’m not sure I agree with Raging Bee though with the religions attacking racism. If they did it was a pretty poor job of it. In most ways I think they where willing participants.

  24. #24 Jason Spaceman
    August 22, 2006

    Now the ADL is pissed off with Kennedy:

    NEW YORK, Aug. 22 /U.S. Newswire/ — The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today blasted a television documentary produced by Christian broadcaster Dr. D. James Kennedy’s Coral Ridge Ministries that attempts to link Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution to Adolf Hitler and the atrocities of the Holocaust. ADL also denounced Coral Ridge Ministries for misleading Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute for the NIH, and wrongfully using him as part of its twisted documentary, “Darwin’s Deadly Legacy.”

    After being contacted by the ADL about his name being used to promote Kennedy’s project, Dr. Collins said he is “absolutely appalled by what Coral Ridge Ministries is doing. I had NO knowledge that Coral Ridge Ministries was planning a TV special on Darwin and Hitler, and I find the thesis of Dr. Kennedy’s program utterly misguided and inflammatory,” he told ADL.

  25. #25 c.tower
    August 22, 2006

    Well, there ARE efforts to transcend pure racism in the New Testament (after all, Jesus and his followers are RACIALLY “Jewish”); However, Christians very quickly started defining themselves as being a different “race” then “those evil Christ Killers” (although NOT from the Romans, who actually did the killing… ) As for the “Coulter Gender” thing, given that she’s really fallen into the habit of acusing her enemies of being gay lately (both Bill AND Hillary recently), it’s best not to follow her down that trail- that whole “use their own tactics against them ” thing hasn’t really worked. We should probably “pull a Colbert” on her and start praising her grace and femininity, as she is obviously an unsullied and virginal innocent…

  26. #26 Lettuce
    August 22, 2006

    It’s definitely a left/right thing.

    No way Ann Coulter would ever call, say, Al Gore a “total fag.”

    That’s something liberals do.

    This tendancy among humans is definitely a left/right thing.

    That said, she’s a dude, baby.

  27. #27 Leni
    August 22, 2006

    I don’t have a problem with Mann Coulter jokes. Mostly because she makes such a big deal out of herself. “I’m a skinny blonde in heels AND a sassy republican with bigger cojones than Babe the Blue Ox! Take that you overweight, hairy-legged liberal cavewomen and fag-boy liberals!”

    For chrissakes, it’s at least 1/3 of her schtick and therefore open to as much mockery as the other two thirds. It has nothing to do with the rest of her arguments. Insults are not necessarily ad hominems. Anyway you can just attach “who makes a lot of stupid arguements about X for reason Y” at the end of the insult and voila!

    Of course, I don’t *actually* think she looks like a man in a dress, even if I think pretty much any joke about it is appropriate and, more importantly, deserved. I think she looks more like someone with a lot of image problems who deseperately wants into the good old boys club (and who made a lot of stupid remarks about at lesat one subject she knows nothing about, for reasons Ed and dozens of others already covered at great length).

  28. #28 c.tower
    August 22, 2006

    Actually, the more I think about it, I REALLY want to see someone ask Coulter if she’s a virgin- if she says “no”, she is, by her own terms, a slut… if she says “yes”, she’ll hurt her “ball-busting” image…and if she tries to equivacate, everyone will laugh at her…

  29. #29 Troy Britain
    August 22, 2006

    Thing is it is not just about name calling generally, it’s also about using the implication that someone is a hermaphrodite or transgendered as an insult.

    If being called one of these things is an insult the implication is that there is something wrong with being one of these things.

    I wonder if that is what those on the “left” really want to imply by using these sorts of attacks against Coulter, and can easily imagine the howls of righteous indignation that would issue from the “left” if the situation were reversed.

  30. #30 mark
    August 22, 2006

    Yup, I agree with Troy in that we shouldn’t be using hermaphrodite or transgender as insults. I’m sure none of us would use the word ‘gay’ to insult someone. Lets stick to the higher ground, and let Coulter et al have the sewers.

  31. #31 Steven Carr
    August 23, 2006

    Hitler, of course, was a creationist, at least as far as human beings were concerned.

    Hitler explicity rejected Darwinism and the evolution of man.

    From Hitler’s Tischgespraeche for the night of the 25th to 26th 1942 ‘Woher nehmen wir das Recht zu glauben, der Mensch sei nicht von Uranfaengen das gewesen , was er heute ist? Der Blick in die Natur zeigt uns, dass im Bereich der Pflanzen und Tiere Veraenderungen und Weiterbildungen vorkommen. Aber nirgends zeigt sich innherhalb einer Gattung eine Entwicklung von der Weite des Sprungs, den der Mensch gemacht haben muesste, sollte er sich aus einem affenartigen Zustand zu dem, was er ist, fortgebildet haben.’

    And in the entry for 27 February 1942 , Hitler says ‘Das, was der Mensch von dem Tier voraushat, der veilleicht wunderbarste Beweis fuer die Ueberlegenheit des Menschen ist, dass er begriffen hat, dass es eine Schoepferkraft geben muss.’

    Hitler also wrote ‘Die zehn Gebote sind Ordnungsgesetze, die absolut lobenswert sind.’

  32. #32 Prup aka Jim Benton
    August 23, 2006

    Let me join in on Troy’s side as far as the “Mann Coulter” jokes. He nails it precisely, and I hope you’ll follow the lead of the Huffington Post in removing them and requesting your commenters not use them. Let the right be the specialists in assholery — they do it better anyway.

  33. #33 Daniel Morgan
    August 23, 2006

    Troy/iGoulm/all,

    Coulter doesn’t deserve any better than insults, because there is nothing she says (or plagiarizes from others) which can be responded to in any rational way. Do you waste your time reasoning with the unreasonable (and apparently incapable)? The woman herself, and her followers, have no interest in dialogue, nor in hearing our reasoned response (which has been put out there for some time).

    She’s like a famous TV-based screeching troll. You know how they put out those Kuwaiti oil fields? Treat fire with fire.

  34. #34 Prup aka Jim Benton
    August 23, 2006

    My apologies for shouting too much, but this point is both important enough and, apparently difficult enough that it needs it.

    NOBODY is complaining about commenters insulting Ann Coulter — though simple insults rather than showing her up as the stupid fool she is seem to be less than the most effective way of reaching people.

    What everybody is complaining about is
    THE IDEA THAT CALLING SOMEONE A DRAG QUEEN OR A TRANSSEXUAL IS AN INSULT!!!!!

    Let me give a comparable example — my apologies for even writing this — if someone wrote that “Wolfowitz, Goldberg, Pipes, Horowitz and the rest of the yarmulke-wearing neocons should go back to the synagogue and shut up” he’d be rightly kicked off the board or piled on for being anti-Semitic enough to consider calling them Jewish was insulting them. The same thing with the Coulter jokes.

    GOT IT?????

  35. #35 SLC
    August 23, 2006

    The blogmaster and several of the commentators make a good point that making comments about Ms. Coulters’ appearence and possible possession of a Y chromosome is in poor taste. However, particularly relative to the latter hypothesis, it should be pointed out that Ms. Coulter is very much an antifeminist and appears to greatly dislike women. Therefore, I do not think it is out of line to inquire into questions concerning her gender.

  36. #36 Daniel Morgan
    August 23, 2006

    Jim,

    Hope you didn’t blow out any important pipes, there.

    I’ll admit that it is in poor taste, and I’ll refrain from saying it again. I agree I ought to have had better polity.

    That said…Your analogy is terrible. No one really thinks Coulter is a trannie. It is as clear as your exasperated comment above that it is a simply a mocking insult. Horowitz et al really are Jewish. Everyone knows that calling her a tranny is the functional equivalent of saying she’s a quite ugly woman, as well as playing on her own misogynism.

    Second, the intensity of the insult doesn’t compare to your analogy, in that “Mann Coulter” isn’t so harmful as saying, “How did you like getting that penis chopped off, Ann? Still on the estrogen?”

    As I said, I’m going to avoid using such inflammatory insults in the future, but…Chill out, dude, for your heart’s sake.

  37. #37 Michael Baca
    August 27, 2006

    Please, please, for what it’s worth – let’s not try to beat Coulter at her own ad hominem attack game. Humor’s fine but you’ll never win that game – she’s a pro at it – all you do is feed the beast. Utterly dismantling her nonsense bit by bit is in my opinion always the best approach.

    As my take, I think that over time if a certain segment of the republican party want’s to identify themselves with this nonsense, there on the road to political obscurity as the equivalent of the anti-holocost crowd. It surprises me that with the possible exception of Andrew Sullivan, I know of no prominent conservative who has publicly repudiated her (perhaps he did it due to her attacks on him) Remember, remember – Coulter is just an clever exploiter of the same audience that devours the left behind series – I like Eric Alterman’s descripion of her books as “primal scream.”