Mike the Mad Biologist

Thank You PZ

In what I think is the only way to

cope with the Blond Banshee (aka the Coultergeist), PZ writes (italics mine):

Like I said, I’m not going to take this trip apart sentence by sentence, even though I could, given enough time and interest. I will suggest instead that if anyone reading this thinks some particular paragraph anywhere in chapters 8-11 is at all competent or accurate in its description of science, send it to me. I couldn’t find one. That’s where the obligation lies: show me one supportable claim in Coulter’s farrago of lies and misleading statements and out-of-context quotes, and we’ll discuss it.

I think PZ hit on a great strategy for dealing with creationist arguments: make them explain their own ‘evidence’ to you. Many of them won’t be able to do it. Instead, they’ll just repeat their mindless catechisms over and over again, like the cultists that they are.

Comments

  1. #1 Tony Whitson
    June 25, 2006

    I have just picked up the book and started reading, beginning with chapter 8. From what I have read so far, I can’t disagree on the judgment that it does not deserve to be taken any more seriously than what PZ suggests.

    The book is #1 on many current lists of bestsellers, however, so maybe THE RECEPTION of the book (if not the book itself) is something that should be taken seriously.

    Is there something to be learned from the fact that, apparently, large numbers of readers who have completed at least high school biology courses ARE taking this book seriously?

    Consider this, from p. 199 (the first page of chapter 8):

    ” … Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution [is] a make-believe story, based on a theory that is a tautology, with no proof in the scientist’s laboratory or the fossil record — and that’s after 150 years of very determined looking.”

    If that sounds plausible to a reading public, can we take that plausibility as symptomatic of a problem with science education in this country?

    Just a guess here, for now, but it seems to me there’s a possibility that a comic book version of “the scientific method” taught to kids in school could lead to an expectation that scientists (motivated, in Coulter’s story, by an intent to “disprove God”) have been struggling for 150 years to come up with a laboratory experiment that would provide the proof of evolution. If they have no such experiment to show, then evolution is revealed to be a sham.

    I wonder: are chemists able to cite a “crucial experiment” which proves that “molecular theory” is true? Do physicists have an experiment which proves the truth of “gravitation theory”? Maybe SCIENCE doesn?t really work that way — but could it be that SCIENCE EDUCATION may have left generations of Americans with an idea of science that might render Coulter plausible?

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