Joined: Aug. 2005
In the summer of 2006, I heard that a new book called Godless presented an insightful and devastating criticism of the theory of evolution. Although I learned that its author, Ann Coulter, is not a scientist but a lawyer turned author and TV pundit, she nevertheless appeared to be an intelligent and well-educated person, so I started reading.
At first I was puzzled. There did not seem to be anything new; only tired and outdated antievolution arguments involving moths, finches, and fruit flies. But it wasn’t until Coulter dusted off the old Piltdown man story that I suddenly realized: it was a hoax! And it was brilliant.
Coulter has very cleverly written a fake criticism of evolution, much like the way NYU physicist Alan Sokal in 1996 published a fake physics article in a literary journal, an affair that has become known as the “Sokal hoax.” A self-proclaimed “old unabashed leftist,” Sokal was disturbed by the sloppily antiscientific, postmodernistic mentality that had started to replace reason and rationality within the academic left and ingeniously made his point by managing to get his nonsense article published by the very people he wished to expose.
Coulter’s aim at antiscience is at the other end of the political spectrum. An equally unabashed rightist, she is apparently disturbed by how factions within the political right abandon their normally rational standards when it comes to the issue of evolution. However, whereas Sokal revealed his hoax in a separate article, Coulter challenges her readers to find out the truth for themselves. Without claiming to do justice to Coulter’s multifaceted and sometimes subtle satire, I will attempt to outline some of her most amusing and salient points.
If I fly the coop some time
And take nothing but a grip
With the few good books that really count
It's a necessary trip
I'll be gone with the girl in the gold silk jacket
The girl with the pearl-driller's hands