Friday, June 30, 2006

Coulter on Evolution

Apparently, Ann Coulter has turned her (nonexistent) talents toward a consideration of the theory of evolution in her new book. Here's a little gem of her amazing reasoning power:

"As I understand the concept behind survival of the fittest, the appendix doesn't do much for the theory of evolution either. How does a survival-of-the-fittest regime evolve an organ that kills the host organism? Why hasn't evolution evolved the appendix away? (Another sign that your scientific theory is in trouble: When your argument against an opposing theory also disproves your own.)"

For the record, there are lots of explanations for why the appendix hasn't "evolved away." (For instance, scroll to the bottom of this article).

But what's really ironic here is the last sentence, since her appendix argument, which doesn't make a dent in the evidence for evolution, is a strong argument against Coulter's preferred "theory" of Intelligent Design. Because, after all, what "intelligent designer" would design "an organ that kills the host organism?" That would be, well, just dumb, wouldn't it? Perhaps Coulter is arguing for unintelligent design as a new challenge to evolution?

Jeesh. Do you think she even reads over this stuff before she sends it to her publisher?


At 5:07 AM, Blogger R. Paul Wiegand said...

I'd not heard that Ms. Coulter was planning such a book, and I've not read her argument; however, if she's really suggesting that the presence of the appendix is evidence against evolution then she is either woefully ignorant of how evolution works or attempting to sway people by using a blantant fallacy (straw man, in this case).

Still, I don't think we should sink to this absurd level in our response. I'm tired of jumping at every anti-evolution quip: "Well what about ..." that comes my way. It's a rediculous argumentative tactic that smacks of desperation on their part. I agree with an earlier post you made on the subject -- the correct position is, "Put up, or shut up: Offer an alternative natural model with more explanatory power for speciation than evolution, and I'll consider your alternative based on its scientific merits ... until then, go back and think harder."

As you've said, creationism is not an explanation, it is precisely the opposite of an explanation. Still, if that's what Ms. Coulter wants to believe, more power to her. I am not in the business of telling people what to believe. I deal with science, which in turn deals with the business of understanding and explaining the natural Universe. The only place where these two different perspectives really clash is in our educational system ... and it should be patently obvious scientists should determine the content science classes. If Ann Coulter believes that the color red is evil and should never be used, it's her prerogative ... just so long as she doesn't have the state require artists to include this view in our art theory courses.

Beyond that, let creationists shout their what-abouts; I remain unpersuaded until they have something constructive to add to our understanding ... and in the meantime, I yawn and go with the best model known, one that actually does have a great deal of explanatory power: Evolution.

At 10:13 AM, Blogger mooglar said...

Yes, but since I despise Ann Coulter, I can't help but take every opportunity to make fun of her stupidity. :^)


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