Monday, August 21, 2006

Where is the harsh review of Ann Coulter's Godless?

I was over at the Secular Web and didn't see what I expected to, a harsh, sarcastic review of Ann Coulter's best-seller Godless. What is the matter with you people?

I did find some stuff over at Panda's Thumb, though.


Blue Devil Knight said...

They should at least provide a link to this excellent group of three articles that critiques Coulter's creationist cackling. I am impressed this guy took the time out of his day to do it: her hysteria is the kind that academic biologists/philosophers foolishly take to be beneath their comment.

HiveMaker said...

Don't forget Jerry Coyne's takedown, oringinally published in The New Republic (to which I subscribe, and to which everyone else should as well), and generously reprinted online.

Lippard said...

Also Media Matters, Pharyngula,
Rude Pundit, etc.

Lippard said...

BTW, Victor, you can count this as an Internet Infidels commentary on Coulter's book.

Victor Reppert said...

Oh that's what I forgot to check. The Secular Outpost. Thanks. I hate to say it, but I think the ID movement is attracting the wrong sorts of friends.

HiveMaker said...

The ID movement was founded by a man who denies that HIV causes AIDS and has been funded to the tune of millions by a Reconstructionist who wants to destroy constitutional democracy in America and reestablish the death penalty for blasphemy. It is defended in court by people who place their hand on the Bible and then lie under oath about their religion. It allows people who believe that Reverend Moon is the messhiah and people who believe the universe is less than 10,000 years old into its highest echelons. It counts its publications as "peer-reviewed" when they appear in the obscure European vanity journal that originally broke the paradigm-shifting news that homeopathic cures could be magically transmitted over the telephone -- and over the internet.

When has the ID movement not attracted "the wrong kind of friends"?

Anonymous said...

You want to limit 'membership' based off of how appealing you find their beliefs to be? I don't agree with Wells' beliefs but he's entitled to have them. And if he still has something of importance to add to the discussion then why not let him talk.

But your approach of attacking the person to undercut any legitimacy of their claims is pathetic.
I wouldn't support an ID proponent who did that with their opposition, and I hope that those who affiliate with your views don't support you either.

"When has the ID movement not attracted "the wrong kind of friends"?"
This comment is rude and very short-sighted.
If you can't get a handle on your emotions to discussion these topics in a manner that at least has some civility, then possibly you might want to focus on another topic.

HiveMaker said...

I fail to see how anything I said is any more "rude" than Mr. Reppert's own put-down; is his dismissing Ann Coulter out of hand for the odious propagandist she is equally "pathetic"?

It is entirely appropriate to question someone's intellectual judgment if they believe in flying saucers, or that the earth is 6,000 years old, or that HIV does not cause AIDS. To do so requires more than a simple momentary lapse in judgment, it requires a calculated maliciousness and an unconscionable indifference to truth.

There are disagreements, and then there are disagreements. No one believes that Holocaust deniers or 9/11 deniers should receive the same treatment as one would give to disagreement over which baseball team is best. No one thinks it's inappropriate to ridicule because we should "be civil, and attack the argument, not the person." If there was a scientific debate in the scientific literature using scientific arguments between scientists who actively perform science, then it would be out of line to dismiss someone just because they voted for some fruity Libertarian candidate. But the members of the ID movement have stated -- explicitly, unambiguously, and in writing -- that there is no scientific disagreement going on, that ID is and always has been a sectarian political movement.

Is it "rude and short-sighted" to point out that Johnson, Wells, Dembski, and Behe, as part of this avowedly theocratic political movement, sat on the editorial advisory board of a magazine aimed at children and teenagers in which it was denied that HIV causes AIDS? I don't know about your ethics of discourse, but I would say that it's morally obligatory to expose such people at every turn.

Wouldn't you?

Victor Reppert said...

We had some discussion of these sorts of claims regarding ID a year ago. I don't support the effort to get ID into public schools, and while I think it logically possible to pose the question of design to science, I have some bones to pick with the way many ID advocates go about it. Politicizing the issue is the wrong move, and the political right has already ticked off the scientific community enough by opposing stem-cell research and rejecting the evidence for global warming. To ID fans I say, forget the school boards, forget political commentators, and do it the hard way by making a concerted appeal to the scientific community. If you're right, your day will come.

At the same time, I find the shrill guilt-by-association arguments by people like Forrest and Gross to be equally unjustified. I don't think ID is part of a vast right-wing conspiracy.

Grano1 said...

One of the Christian journals that has been most open to giving the ID movement a platform is Touchstone ( I know several members of the editorial board personally, and can say that there is not a Reconstructionist among them. While they are conservative in the old sense (paleocon as opposed to neocon) and believe that people of faith should have a hearing in the public square, they are by no means theocrats, and I think that if they caught a whiff of that in the ID movement they'd run the other way, or at very least offer a disclaimer of some sort. Thus I agree with Victor on this issue: while individual members of the movement may hold views that are problematic (couldn't that be true of any movement?), the ID movement is no more a part of a rightwing conspiracy than is the homeschooling movement.

HiveMaker said...

These denials border on the farcical. IDists self-identify as part of a right-wing conspiracy, both personally and institutionally. If Coulter is "the wrong kind of people", then what does that make the theologian Dembski who consulted/ghost-wrote/endorsed the anti-evolution chapters of her recent book?

Grano1 said...

Hivemaker, you seem to be confusing a "movement" with a "conspiracy." If the ID program were really a theocratic conspiracy would they publish their goals in such a readily available manner? Isn't it in the nature of a conspiracy to maintain some amount of secrecy?

Be that as it may, there's nothing in either of the two links you provided that indicate any conspiracy anyways. While you personally may not agree with their goals, there's nothing inherently wrong with them. In fact, there are probably millions of Americans would support those goals, including quite a few who undoubtedly have never even heard of ID.

Another thing you may want to consider is the fact that while a good many Reconstructionists are young earth, literal seven-day creation types, the ID movement folks are not. This difference may not seem like a big deal, but in the world of Evangelical and fundamentalist protestantism, it is a major thing. The young earthers have their own apologetic system, publishing organs, and discrete subculture and it only tangentially touches the ID movement. Many of them are actually suspicious of ID because they feel that it doesn't go far enough in defending the Judeo-Christian God, as opposed to simply positing the existence of an undescribed Designer.