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Godless: The Church of Liberalism by Ann Coulter

Reviewed by Jerry Coyne
The New Republic Online

"H. L. Mencken once responded to a question asked by many of his readers: 'If you find so much that is unworthy of reverence in the United States, then why do you live here?' His answer was, 'Why do men go to zoos?' Sadly, Mencken is not here to ogle the newest creature in the American Zoo: the Bleached Flamingo, otherwise known as Ann Coulter." Read the entire New Republic Online review.

42 Responses to "Coultergeist"

    Laura August 10th, 2006 at 6:53 am

    Well, I think it is a fair review, but I have no interest in Ann Coulter and would prefer to see Powell's ignoring her book. This is publicity for a type of thinking that should be ignored. (See "Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched" - a book that deserves a review).

    Michael J. Hayde August 10th, 2006 at 9:24 am

    Gosh, Mr. Coyne, that's quite an agenda you've got there. Just one question: If humans evolved from apes, why do apes still exist? Oh yeah, because we didn't.

    Good luck in Gehenna.


    Anne August 10th, 2006 at 9:48 am

    Terrific and very funny review.Do you think it will convince anyone who doesn't already believe in evolution? Probably not, that's the scary part

    Jenna August 10th, 2006 at 11:09 am

    I would rather read a book written by the review author than Coulter. She's just out for attention that I'd rather not grant her.

    Will Alford, MD August 10th, 2006 at 2:34 pm

    No one should read Coulter's book. Read Coyne's wonderful review instead!

    No decent organization should sell it.

    She is a soulless miscreant, a shrill harpy!

    A R Pickett August 10th, 2006 at 6:07 pm

    I appreciate Laura's point above - but I also give Powell's credit for posting the review and pointing out the obvious flaws in the book.

    I have never understood the appeal of Coulter. I hope I never do.

    Rafael_DeJesus August 11th, 2006 at 8:18 am

    Jerry Coyne's review of Coulters' book, "Godless .... blah....blah....blah", although disturbing and chilling it was no surprise to me. Her wealth and fame (shame) is earned by brilliantly feeding the far-right fundamentalist idiots that plague our land. Coulter's assertions based on a bible written by ancient men, for ancient men who would throw her "petite" ass along with her fake blonde "woman's glory" (bible talk for hair) to the lions ... are baseless, ignorant and incredibly insane. However she is not alone. That same fundamentalist feeding freenzy is satiated by hundreds of fundamentalist ministers accross America who weekly catapaults the same "slop" from pulpits into the open mouths and empty brains of bible toting, tongue-talking, Bush-worshipping (not the burning bush that Moses experienced) and hate-mongoring (if you are not a voting Republican, Israel supporting, anti-gay marriage, pro-Rove-Coulter-Dobson-Limbaugh-Comrade Cheney-Delay-Condi (short for the White House condiment used to make it ALL taste sweet)-Snow)... and all other idiots. It does not surprise me that they beleive the seven day creation story! This past weekend as a result of the devastating El Paso floods I went up into the surropunding mountains to see what the massive torrents of water unearthed. To my surprise and excitement I found twenty fossils. I wonder who had the time to pour the molds, encrust the shells, bones and vegetation....give it the "old" look and then go up into the mountains and so cleverly and strategically placed these fossils for a godless liberal (actually I am a Christian moderate) to find? I should contact the local Coulter pastor for his "non-biased" opinion! I think not!

    Theresa August 11th, 2006 at 9:40 pm

    I never intend to read any book Coulter writes! I can't understand why so many people read her books! I think she has serious emotional problems and is filled with hate!

    Sumitra August 12th, 2006 at 10:55 am

    Coyne's review is not only splendidly scathing, but also necessary. Coulter is among the worst of the political creatures (notice I did not use the word animals out of respect for them), and haven't we learned that they need to be confronted rather than ignored? Coyne's scholarship lends due weight to his review.

    Marianne August 13th, 2006 at 1:56 am

    You write beautifully and I'll admit I'm only half way through it, but I simply must point out that it is not true that every one is lapping it up. You must be basing that on her book sales.

    Believe me they are bought up by Regnery Books and the likes of Foundations funded by Richard Mellon Scaife. The hard rights equivalent of the lefts George Soros. Then the books are handed out freely to true believers. The title says it all. (though, it's doubtful they would admit buy blocks of book. I'm certain David Brock, the President of Media and author of Blinded by the Right, would know. I seem to remember reading in his book that they did that routinely, at least with their own published authors) It's not a conspiracy theroy. It's hard ball politics. Down and dirty. And, it's smart strategy. Their investments in buying up blocks of her books makes her rating on the NY Times Book list go up and that open her up to shows like Good Morning America, Hardball on MSNBC, The Tonight Show, ect. The fact that she's attractive doesn't hurt her there either. Matthews gushed all over her and even allowed her 30 nauseating minutes to spew her venom and insults to hafe the country. You see, the term Liberal, to her, means any one who happens to disagree with her,or the current Administration or any number of other social issues. Let's face it, she's a self-hating feminist. LOL.

    So, please, don't be fooled. I don't know anyone who can even stand her for more than two minutes. Even my horny brother who happend to catch her on the tube on day ended up screaming at the top of his lungs at the TV set to "shut the F* up!!) He hates big mouth women who think they know every thing and interupt constantly. Most folks I know can't stand her. Even the ones who don't care about politics. They watch much like one watches a train wreck.

    She's in her 40's now and her look are starting to then what. By then I suppose she'll be rich enough it won't matter. But one thing is certain. The country will be much poorer.

    Thanks for your beautifully written review. Very descriptive.

    Bonney Lake, WA

    Sushizero August 14th, 2006 at 11:34 pm

    Fact-distorting and insult-hurling have always been favorites for Coyne and the evolution community.

    He is not addressing any of Godless' issues. Just a guilt by accociation and distortion upon distortion in a so-called "book review". Why is this man still a "professor" at the University of Chicago???

    His "review" of Ann Coulter could have been written by Joseph Goebbels or whoring party hacks from Soviet Pravda.

    Thank G-d that Coulter is 1000 times more successful that a would be "scientists" like Coyne.

    Coyne, why don't you just get a life or at least a triple serving of Vallium?

    Megan Hikata August 14th, 2006 at 11:46 pm

    Hmm ... isn't Dr. Coyne just a pot calling an antagonistic kettle black? Read this review and note how large a portion of it is outright vituperation against Ann Coulter personally. That is going to Dr. Coyne affirmation from his co-believers, but does not the fact that a scientist becomes openly vicious ("a third-rate biologist ...": isn't that mere bitchiness?) when responding to a polemicist who fights under her own name & in the open, in part support for Miss Coulter charge of religiosity against the Coyne side?

    Gill Gimberg August 15th, 2006 at 2:20 am

    Way to go, JC. Er, that's Jerry Coyne, I mean. Nothing like a good laugh, first thing on a Tuesday morning. Coulter's book could almost turn me into an advocate for censorship. Er, that's genetic censorship, I mean.

    richard iaconelli August 15th, 2006 at 5:32 am

    I see that Mr. Coyne in his review could not resist the same insulting comments and snide remarks he claims are so bad in Ann Coulter's work.

    Coulter is not nice in her writings, and her views are sometimes extreme (though often tongue in cheek)--but she is a NECESSARY counter-balance to the arrogant, politically-correct leftism that has bored into our culture like so many termites, and is often considered NORMAL thinking by the mindless, mainstream media.

    robert wood August 15th, 2006 at 6:16 am

    I thought Ann Coulter was hard to take seriously. Professor Coyne, however, isn't even conscious of his bias: "Coultergeist" was more disturbing in its one-sidedness than Coulter. Why? Because there is a kind metaphysical anxiety and fury at the basis of Coyne's attempt to ridicule Ann Coulter. Coyne's essay has got me thinking: Maybe Coulter is right after all. Coyne is scarily unaware of his determination to see reality one way.

    David Barker August 15th, 2006 at 7:13 am

    Nicely written Jerry. I had drawn a similar conclusion about her motivations. But could this be simply that financial gain and the desire for approbation seem like the only "rational" explanation for her mistaken ideas and viciousness, and that it's just too scary to take it all at face value.

    I am glad you poked the stick into the cage a few times.

    Dave Foster August 15th, 2006 at 8:39 am

    A rather long and repetitive review written at a breathless, freshman-level. Mr. Coyne might have economized on his discussion of evolution - did it really require all those words to refute Ms. Coulter's shaky reasoning? - and critiqued the entire book.

    Rebecca August 15th, 2006 at 9:27 am

    I liked the review but I didn't find the insults based on Coulter’s appearance illuminating. I don't follow Coulter so I don't know if or how much she uses her sexuality to gain fame, but couldn't she just happen to be a blonde skinny woman? Shouldn't you base your criticisms on her ideas rather than her looks? If she were a blonde skinny man instead, would you have even mentioned either of those facts in your review? The comments on her hair and body were irrelevant at best and chauvinist at worst. I think those insults only debase your argument that she is a hypocrite. You yourself would do well to follow the golden rule.

    John Lobenstein August 15th, 2006 at 10:09 am

    I fully share Jerry Coyne's criticism of Ann Coulter's attacks on evolution and its supporting science(s). Politically, she could not have been more correct.

    kathryn mckinley August 15th, 2006 at 11:12 am

    Evidently Ann Coulter's heavy irony goes right over Coyne's head. But it bothers him so she must be hitting home.

    tumbler August 15th, 2006 at 11:28 am

    Since the premise of Ann Coulter's book leads into the Darwinian dispute, that context should have been present in Coyne's review. What's referred to as intellectual honesty. He ignores it completely.

    Probably because Coyne is perfectly comfortable with ''proof'' that all humankind is descended from apes. (If this were proven.) Isn't that a propos in the Godless religion of Coulter's argument? There is no God. She needs no degree in biology to point out this conclusion, being taught in biology classrooms.

    Therefore, no one should heap scorn on her about any lack of scientific credentials. No more than we would revile Dawkins for not having read more theology. Ann isn't dumping so much on Darwin as she is on Liberals.

    Wayne McCoy August 15th, 2006 at 11:54 am

    Sushizero seems to think that Dr. Coyne's review could have been written by Joseph Goebbels or Lysenko. Actually, it is Ann Coulter who sounds more like a Nazi. Hitler made a fetish of his "Christianity", trumpeting it every chance he could. At heart, Coulter is a fascist, pure and simple, and she exploits the fact that she is an attractive blond woman to sell herself and her books, in a way that a thin blond man never could. She has a PhD, but I think she should be required to give her degree back for such sloppy research and, in many cases, outright distortion and plagiarism. She is to rational thought what Hitler was to racial diversity, what Stalin was to democracy.

    Barbra August 15th, 2006 at 12:15 pm

    What kind of a valid intellectual argument starts out with an attack on the author's looks? Had Ann Coulter been a man would she have been treated the same way?

    Lisa August 15th, 2006 at 12:39 pm

    Unfortunately, your review won't change many opinions on the subject of evolution. However, I believe that history will be the ultimate judge of the likes of Coulter, Limbaugh, Cheney and Bush. These characters will be ridiculed and hated by future generations. I feel sorry for their children and grandchildren - they will need to live with such ridiculous legacies.

    Tom August 15th, 2006 at 1:56 pm

    Spot on. Coulter and her ilk are a menace to humanity.
    The conservative commitment to delusion, obfuscation and inveigling, in religion, business and social management rivals anything ever engineered by the most ardent communist propagandists. The conservative pundits learned the lessons of what they ostensibly hated so well that they've adopted them as their own in an attempt to gain and keep power, at any cost, which is really the basis of fundamental conservatism. Their tenets have nothing whatsoever to do with freeedom and everything to do with control.

    Hans August 15th, 2006 at 2:06 pm

    Quote form Jerry Coyne's review: "H. L. Mencken once responded to a question asked by many of his readers: "If you find so much that is unworthy of reverence in the United States, then why do you live here?" His answer was, "Why do men go to zoos?" "

    Well, for me the reason why I am still in this country is because of people like Jerry Coyne. It seems like a minority (especially if you happen to live, like myself, in the bible belt), but a minority that outshines the stupid flock around us, to make it worth while.

    Hans August 15th, 2006 at 2:19 pm

    Irene Mettler, why don't you examine your own "approach to history" first?

    "Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord." Hitler

    "Gott Mit Uns!"

    Mondo Destroyo August 15th, 2006 at 2:55 pm


    Coulter's appearance is relevant, in context of her book marketing — have you seen the cover of Godless? What's she wearing — a leotard?

    Lee Austin August 15th, 2006 at 3:30 pm

    This overlong, screechy article does the writer no credit. Coulter is a 15-minutes-of-fame media star right now - not a respected scientist. Why add to the noise about her? Even so - the unnecessary and repetitive comments with regard to her appearance lower the tone of the entire essay.

    Russell August 15th, 2006 at 5:00 pm

    Those who enjoy what results when a performance artist's "research" method consists of using quotes taken out of context, scouring biased secondary sources, and distorting what appears in the scientific literature." should flock to see the feature film debut of Miss Coulter's opposite number, former next bleached flamingo Gore, whose representation of the environmental sciences rivals what the ID movement has done to Darwin.

    It would be a milestone in evolutionary history if these mismatched lovebirds were to mate .

    chris August 15th, 2006 at 8:37 pm

    I suppose adding an additional comment on the already impressive cornicopia present here may be a bit unnecessary as all the typical but impressively cloaked personal attacks have been revealed and resent towards the author disagreed with,however, I wonder if perhaps the bigger question to be answered by Ms. Coulter, who is at best an imaginative conspiracy theorist on par with Holocaust deniers and at worst a non-scholar who has not studied a single bit of genocide scholarship for her innane equation of Darwinists(survival of fittest equals the pure race and an anachronistic Modernist presuposition to Hitler's Nazi regime also attributing massive murder/deaths to Marx???? As a historian who has had to stomach more Marxian theory than anyone should outside the realms of literary theory), and Dr. Coyne is what the exact ramifications of the truth of either position means. Having grown up farming, I have been forced to be quite aware of the evolution of nature, however, I do not subscribe to a universalist conception of scientific "truth" which would discount a quite useful scientific theory soley on the basis of not being able to, to quote a famous quantum theorist of whose name I cannot recall, to "unify the field." In other words, there exists no ultimate need to prove the "Complete" truth of evolution to nonetheless derive SCIENTIFIC use from the theory. Its merits should not be completely judged within a socio-political context. Pardon a mere and crude rhetorical device, but does one count chemotherapy completely worthless because it's rate of success is not 100%? I thankfully say no, of course not, and conclude, thusly, to treat Darwinism as a universal answer for human development and existential birth is utterly futile, while attempting to condemn the theory in its entirity seems equally pointless while the immense bulk of scientific research, and my own experiences with plants, points to the contrary. Species change and survive (in slight answer to the moron who wrote in above querying why monkeys and humans still existed), most obviously the miniature woolly mammoths found on an island (of whose name I also cannot recall but it is off the west coast of canada and my research notes are buried in my basement) who in a few generations adapted to radically different food intakes after a receding ice age stranded many of them on what was previously a land bridge between what is now deemed Russia and North America. My geology professor, renowned in the pacific northwest for his work on the Ice Ages, was a devout Seventh Day Adventist (I was not) and frequently expressed his frustration with his SCIENTIFIC knowledge of the earth's processes and his profound belief in divine creation. Whether or not Darwinism is the culminating theory of human development, it certainly is more useful than "in seven days God created the heaven and earth out of rib of a human being" which does anyone in search of scientific advancement little good despite its validity. A piece of advice: keep science and religion apart, one should never be proved as a wise man instructed Christians to have FAITH (religion) and one will likely never be proven completely true (science) but will still be of more use to Christians and non-Christians alike today than proving THEORIES such as Darwinism false. One wonders why Coulture has decided to resurrect such tired old arguments in such a mainstream fashion although, I admit, the answer seems to be unfortunately political rather a rational inquery for any sake of science's ability to drastically improve the human condition.
    walla walla, wa

    James S. August 15th, 2006 at 9:15 pm

    A demagogue can hijack a scientific theory or a philosophical argument to gain political power and commit crimes against humanity.

    After Ann Coulter's hasty work on Darwin, perhaps she could smackdown F. Nietzsche's 1882 bad news (God Is Dead) for the West.

    I would not try to defend ID pseudoscience, however, sitting in church, listening to The Beatitudes of Christ, in which Jesus defends the poor, the meek, the hungry, and asks us to have compassion and mercy for all living creatures...I can't help thinking that Christ is instructing us to use our powers of reason to disobey Darwin's law of natural selection.

    I haven't the time to read Coulter's book, but I seriously doubt the social darwinist moneybags funding the ID movement care to make this argument. It has a whiff of old-school liberal socialist politics.

    I also think that a sociopathic demagogue could take Darwin's theory of natural selection and Nietzsche's bad news of God's demise to justify a twisted ideology of racial superiority to lead a nation to war and commit horrific crimes against humanity.

    Thank God (and the Founders) we live in a liberal democratic republic which gives us the freedom to hold demagogues to account in print and on the airwaves.

    jsap3071 August 15th, 2006 at 10:20 pm

    A decent review. One idiot attacking another. Good. Do all us normal folks a favor and all of you yo-yo's head to your own private island and battle it out. Whoever wins, we won't pay attention to you either.

    Aldousk August 16th, 2006 at 2:43 am

    An I-me-my-me book, right? Front cover shows grinning author, usually (but not exclusively) female. Open at any page and view the print at a shallow angle to see first person singular pronouns scattered through the text. Find a line not containing one of the words "I", "me", my" or "mine", and award oneself a pat on the back for perseverance. Use book to light the fire so that it will have served some purpose.

    naturalist August 16th, 2006 at 4:51 am

    The contributers above who do not understand evolution continue to believe that we evolved from apes(why are they still around?)As Mr Coyne related in his article we evolved from primate like ancestors with the same relation to apes. Apes are here because they evolved along a different line of descent.

    The science of evolution is the one of the most richly textured and awesome explanations for life that we we have discovered in our long cultural history. If you stop and consider this deeply, evolution reveals all life as an amazing display of continuity and wholeness.

    Religion to a large degree has caused devastating seperation and dissent among humans and with our relationship with all of life on this planet, where science in it's purest form, without political/religious bias, tends to find unity, symmetry and interconnection.

    It gets worse though for those who are so easily offended by these beautiful connections...
    Our earlier ancestors were creatures that probably resembled rodents(Oh the horror of it!)

    I think Ms Coulter, in her disingenuous polemics and breahtakingly ignorant assumptions of the liberal and scientific mind is an example of many people in the USA who obstinately resist change and stifle inner growth. Some simplistically minded conservatives(and liberals also) like Ms Coulter appear to embrace and promote mediocrity and hubris with every breath they take.

    Their mindset is the antithesis of nearly everything that represents the noble pursuit of intellectual curiosity, human growth, compassion and thoughtful, ecologically sustainable progress.

    Hans August 16th, 2006 at 6:56 am

    It is amazing, that some people actually try to compare Coulter to Gore. I would like to see some of your sources, Russell, for your claim of scientific distortion in Gore's film. I myself have read many scientists’ reviews of Gore's film and beside minor errors, it is quite accurate in its presentation of where science stands on global warming. Go see it. Here's one review:

    Bertram Cabot, Jr. August 16th, 2006 at 5:14 pm

    Whatever else her book accomplished, it got Liz Craig, who is critized in her book, quite annoyed, as she relates on the website of the organization she is the front woman for.

    That alone makes it worthwhile.

    Bertam Cabot Jr. August 16th, 2006 at 5:20 pm

    Liz Craig is the one who said that she liked to make opponents appear in the worst light possible.

    A real truth seeker, there.

    Ann us spot on.

    Emanuel Goldstein August 17th, 2006 at 4:38 am

    Right on, Bertram! Liz Craig is well known in Kansas, and the forum of the website of the organization she is "public relation" director of is well know for hosting atheistic rants about religion.

    Its gotten quite hilarious, really. The most vicous personal attacks will be make on anyone expressing theistic views will be made, and then the moderator will point out that OF COURSE this has nothing to do with our organization.

    One of the most offensive, is one of their own board members who goes under a code number. Everyone knows who he is though, because he used to use his own name. I guess he thinks changing it to a number is somehow courageous.

    Of course, dissenters are regularly banned.

    Try visiting them if you have a theistic bent and expressing your views. Consider it an experiment.


    Maria Rosales August 23rd, 2006 at 6:08 am

    That review was simply beautiful.

    Greg Robertson September 4th, 2006 at 6:57 pm

    Coulter is right on about the godless liberal religion. It is no mistake to call her writing a "jeremiad," because she sounds just like the prophets in the Old Testament who were constantly reproving the godless of their day.

    God promised a Savior. God promised a flood. God sent a flood. God sent a Savior. We've got fossils to prove the flood (catastrophism), we've got an empty grave to prove the Savior. Liberals can bless and defend murderers all they want, but they cannot keep Jesus in the grave, even when they set up a Roman guard.

    The Savior promised to return as a righteous judge and He promised a cleansing fire before the creation of new heavens and a new earth.

    Those who reject and refuse to believe the plain truth are suffering a supernatural judgment so that they believe stupid things and outright lies. That is the only explanation for liberals and evolutionists.

    M.D. Dunn October 19th, 2006 at 3:39 pm

    Mr. Murray:
    May God bless you and may He heal you
    with His Divine intervention. May you
    soon find peace of mind in order to spare yourself the anguish of bearing such malevolence as you have displayed in
    this "review" (??).

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