Point Counterpoint

In May, 2008 creationist bigot Martin Cothran complained at the Disco. ‘Tute blog about John Derbyshire reviewing a shitty movie without having watched it:

That’s right: Derbyshire reviews “Expelled” without actually having seen it. This is a man who has friends he has never met, and who can review movies he has never seen. It is perhaps fortuitous that Bill Buckley, the founder of National Review, recently passed from among us: this is a talent I am not sure he would have fully appreciated.

This ability to judge a movie without having to suffer the indignity of actually watching it surely sets Derbyshire apart. Who else could accomplish the task with so few tools: a little hearsay, a few second hand reports–and perhaps a Ouija board. This is a critical skill at which the rest of us can only marvel.

Most film critics attend screenings; Derbyshire conducts a séance.

Creationist bigot Martin Cothran complains about Ayn Rand’s shitty books at his own blog without having read them:

I tried The Fountainhead, and after several chapters just put the sorry thing down, wondering what it was that had so transfixed so many of my friends.

I would have tried harder, but I had already read Whitaker Chambers famous literary take-down of her books written more than 50 years ago now in his review of Atlas Shrugged…

Now a Randian could argue that I have not read the books, and that therefore I cannot judge them, to which I can only say that I am not judging them. I am only explaining why I have not read them: because I have never yet encountered anyone whose literary tastes I respected say they were worth reading–and plenty whose tastes I did respect who assured me I needn’t bother.

Now I could say that it’s hypocritical of Cothran to now defend reviewing things without having read them, but he is, in some narrow sense, right. I haven’t read Ayn Rand’s books, and I know they’re shitty, and I don’t plan to read them. I know it the same way I knew Expelled: No Intelligence would be a shitty movie before I saw it. Then I saw it, and it was a shitty movie. John Derbyshire made the right choice to avoid seeing it. And Martin Cothran owes him (and National Review) an apology.


  1. #1 Phillip IV
    February 9, 2010

    Cothran’s hypocrisy notwithstanding, I think you should have added a disclaimer to your post that John Derbyshire’s “review” of Expelled is by itself just as shitty as Expelled, the Discovery Institute or Ayn Rand’s books, and certainly not worth the read.

    There is a clear, succinct and coherent case to be made against creationism – Derbyshire’s column is a rambling, incoherent rant full of the same unsourced, guilt-by-(random)-association slights Derbyshire usually throws at (whoever he perceives as) liberals. He might have picked a worthy target for once, but on the principle of the matter it’s just the usual shit.

  2. #2 Arthur Hunt
    February 9, 2010

    Speaking of Martin Cothran …

    Does NCSE have a database of schools (public or private) that use the A Beka curriculum in high school science? if so, they should add Martin’s school in Louisville – Highlands Latin School – to the list.

    A brief exchange where Martin squirms around this issue.

  3. #3 Tom
    February 10, 2010

    Formatting makes it very difficult to understand where creationist bigot Martin Cothran ends, and humble blogger Josh Roseneau begins.

New comments have been disabled.