Monday, August 21, 2006

A Must Read

Say what you want about Ann Coulter, this latest book of hers is right on the mark, besides being an entertaining and fascinating read. No wonder the Left hates her so much: she is unafraid to call a thing what it is, and she does it with matchless wit and sauciness.

The reason I likewise am unafraid to recommend Godless: the Church of Liberalism is that it is not so much the reflection of a particular political stance as it is the exposing of scoundrels whose true aim seems to be the destruction of what is good (even of life itself, as in her arguments against the abortionists), and the rejection of the Creator (as in her case against evolution). This is not really a political book; it is true to its title, and it makes its case with remarkable skill.

And it does so with a flair which leaves no one wondering if Miss Coulter isn't just another fundamentalist bent on denouncing immorality for its own sake. She is too sarcastic and funny to be one of those; yet she argues with an aptitude which reminds me that she was once a lawyer by trade. She is a veritable Xena with words; even the New York Times has had to admit as much.

The first half of the book is methodical in its demonstrations of its claim that the Left is godless, so thorough that it left me feeling rather like St. Anselm's interlocutor blurting out that there is no possibility remaining of anyone issuing a rejoinder. Miss Coulter clearly subscribes to the doctrine of employing overwhelming force against the enemy, at least in literary terms.

About midway through the book she takes her case into the classroom, and proceeds to take on the myths promulgated by the behemoth teachers' unions in America. But this in itself provides a segue into the last, unexpected half, in which she dedicates several chapters to dismantling the myth of evolution.

She joins a host of recent writers who have begun to take on the scientific community's most basic Darwinian assumptions. In effect, the Scopes monkey trial is being revisited in our day. In fact, she exposes in particular that trial as the publicity stunt that it was.

But Miss Coulter is no slouch: she provides a tremendous amount of research and support for her claims, which is especially significant when she makes her case against Darwin and his heirs. And there is a difference between the way she battles the evolutionists and the way the fundamentalists have done so. She battles them on their terms, and exposes their tactics, while at the same time revisiting the case for Intelligent Design, unafraid to take on even a recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.

And she is not, contrary to popular belief, merely the conservative movement's answer to Michael Moore. Or if one insists on making the comparison, then only insofar as one can compare high class and savvy to juvenile follies.

But no mere reviewer can really make this point stick merely by saying it, which leads to the chief assertion of this review: Godless is a book that deserves to be read, by friend and foe alike. Anyone who chooses not to do so with a dismissive wave of the hand, as if to say, "Oh, that's just Ann Coulter, after all," has no business arguing against her case.

6 comments:

haliaeetus said...

But Miss Coulter is no slouch: she provides a tremendous amount of research and support for her claims, which is especially significant when she makes her case against Darwin and his heirs. And there is a difference between the way she battles the evolutionists and the way the fundamentalists have done so. She battles them on their terms, and exposes their tactics, while at the same time revisiting the case for Intelligent Design, unafraid to take on even a recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.

Puuuuuuuulease! Ann did no research but depended on the fallacious drivel of other's. She should know better.
She's been shown up for depending on that ignorance all across the media and internets. See
http://www.talkreason.org/articles/coultergeist.cfm
http://www.talkreason.org/articles/coulter1.cfm
http://www.talkreason.org/articles/coulter2.cfm
http://www.talkreason.org/articles/coulter3.cfm
http://www.talkreason.org/articles/alert.cfm
http://www.talkreason.org/articles/coulter.cfm
http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/06/ann_coulter_believes_every_dem.php
http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/06/ann_coulter_the_problem_with_e.php
http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/06/ann_coulter_no_evidence_for_ev.php
http://mediamatters.org/items/200607070010
http://scienceblogs.com/loom/2006/07/10/behold_for_i_am_the_giant_flat.php
http://newtonsbinomium.blogspot.com/2006/06/counter-coulter.html
http://newtonsbinomium.blogspot.com/2006/07/counter-coulter-ii.html
http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/06/anne_coulter_cl_1.html
http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/archives/2006/08/ann_coulter_on_evolution_part_1/
http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/archives/2006/08/ann_coulter_on_evolution_part_ii/
http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/archives/2006/08/its_just_a_theory/

These authors - mostly scientists, and just a drop in the bucket of the rebuttals - shred Coulter's second-hand "opinions" paragraph, by paragraph, exposing them for the ludicrous lies that they are.
I've lost any and all respect for her and her opinions if this is the best she can do.

Father Eckardt said...

Well, I certainly don't have time to read all those, so I just read the first, by Jerry Coyne of the New Republic, and I'd say it's about 95% blathering invective and maybe 5% (to be generous) serious rebuttal. I quote the heart of that here: "And, when faced with the real evidence that shows how strongly evolution trumps ID, she clams up completely. What about the massive fossil evidence for human evolution -- what exactly were those creatures 2 million years ago that had human-like skeletons but ape-like brains? Did a race of Limbaughs walk the earth? And why did God -- sorry, the Intelligent Designer -- give whales a vestigial pelvis, and the flightless kiwi bird tiny, nonfunctional wings? Why do we carry around in our DNA useless genes that are functional in similar species? Did the Designer decide to make the world look as though life had evolved? What a joker! And the Designer doesn't seem all that intelligent, either. He must have been asleep at the wheel when he designed our appendix, back, and prostate gland." So these seven or so "proofs" for evolution are supposed to trump what Miss Coulter has offered? But where are the arguments to counter what she has said? Sift through the froth and you find none. Not one. Now just how did you miss that? Are you perhaps worried that your god is offended?

haliaeetus said...

Yes, Coyne responded in Ann in kind.

Try this trilogy:
http://www.talkreason.org/articles/coulter1.cfm
http://www.talkreason.org/articles/coulter2.cfm
http://www.talkreason.org/articles/coulter3.cfm
and
http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/archives/2006/08/ann_coulter_on_evolution_part_1/
http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/archives/2006/08/ann_coulter_on_evolution_part_ii/

beepbeepitsme said...

RE: evolution
Scientists Find Brain Evolution Gene
http://beepbeepitsme.blogspot.com/2006/08/scientists-find-brain-evolution-gene.html

Anonymous said...

I think that a useful addition to the evolution/creation debate was added by Cornelius Hunter in his book "Darwin's Proof". Now, some of the book goes into the regular debunking of evolutionary theory (stuff like irreducible complexity, etc), but the heart of the book is in chapters 6, 7, and 8 where he discusses the philosophical and religious assumptions of early evolutionists--who were also believers in God.

Hunter makes the point that evolution for them was a theodicy--a way to interpret how and why evil exists in the world. They adopted a deist approach, that God had originally created, but then let the world go its own way--the watchmaker idea of God. Therefore they can point to evolution as the reason things in nature don't add up how they believe they should add up. They then examine nature and come to conclusions like the one Father Eckardt quoted above, "[W]hy did God -- sorry, the Intelligent Designer -- give whales a vestigial pelvis, and the flightless kiwi bird tiny, nonfunctional wings?...What a joker! And the Designer doesn't seem all that intelligent, either."

Evolution gave them a way to view the world and still posit a God that in their view was "good" (later evolutionists just got rid of the idea of a creator at all). Yet, Hunter points out, they overstep their bounds. The god they posit is rather simple, and has to work according to what they see as good, and should design things the way they know it should have been done. Yet where did they learn about God, or how He should have designed?

How contrary to the God of scripture, whose thoughts and ways are above ours. Hunter points to God's questioning of Job. For instance Job 39:13-18 where God describes the ostrich, which He designed. It's a bird, but its wings are useless. It's a dumb bird that keeps its eggs on the ground where they can be trampled. Yet God still was the designer. "For four chapters God makes it clear that he is sovereign and creates according to his good pleasure....There is a natural temptation to rationalize the world--to make our own sense of God's creatiion. But Scripture describes God as sovereign. He does not create according to some optimization formula that we can derive....God is not limited in his creation acts to our idealized notions of perfection." (Hunter, 99-100)

I think this point by Hunter is crucial to the debate (at least for Christians who have questions about nature). He points out that, regardless of what evidence might be found, the early evolutionists have bad philosophy and theology that informed their view. Later evolutionists just run with evidence and have already adopted a philosophy that doesn't allow God. And if this is their starting point, then there is really no arguing with them. "If there is no God, evolution is the answer. Since evolution is the answer, let's figure out how it happened." From there it's just a modification or swapping of different theories, depending on where the evidence "leads". Evolution over long periods of time? No, the galaxy is younger than we thought. Ok, uh, how about rapid evolution in shorts amount of time (punctuated equilibrium)? Must be, the evidence doesn't lie.

In short, now evolutionists are committed to their world view before they've even looked at the evidence. They just have to put the evidence together in a way that adds up to fit it all in.


I'd recommend the Hunter book for those three chapters alone that talk about this view.

Sorry for the long comment. I broke a non-written blogging rule, but I think the point made by Hunter is interesting and unique to this question,

scott adle

Father Eckardt said...

Nice point. The 'sovereignty' of God is of course some Calvinists have taken way too far, interpreting it as an arbitrariness. But in this context it refers merely to the fact that God is above us and therefore we shouldn't expect we can figure Him or His creation out.