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Critique of Intelligent Design

Evolution vs. Creationism

The Art of ID Stuntmen

Faith vs Reason

Anthropic Principle

Autopsy of the Bible code

Science and Religion

Historical Notes


Serious Notions with a Smile


Letter Serial Correlation

Mark Perakh's Web Site


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Title Author Date
Msg for James Downard Hinkle, John Jul 28, 2006
This is my first venture into talkreason.org, and I just finished reading your "appraisals" of Ann "Windbag" Coulter's views on evolution.

I just gotta say, you slay me! You truly have a gift to fisk with wit. (I don't know if "fisk" is a real word, but it's used by Josh Marshall at talkingpointsmemo.com).

Thanks for the entertaining and educational read.


John Hinkle


Title Author Date
Coutler and bird evolution Ichneumon Jul 27, 2006
DAMN that was good... And so are your installments #1 and #2. I eagerly await the rest.

A couple of trivial comments...

You write:
"These earliest birds were quite small, and illustrate some deeper implications for avian biology and ancestry: they could only fly by trading off the energy their theropod cousins had devoted directly to growth, Schweitzer & Marshall (2001, 323-325)."

I haven't read the cited paper, but I can think of some other factors driving the small size of the early birds beyond "trading off on the energy" devoted to growth. The first is that an early imperfect flier would obviously be more effective at remaining aloft (and/or surviving crashes) at a lighter weight (and thus smaller body size). The second is after hatching that modern birds "grow into" their feathers at an incredible rate -- I've raised parrots and even the largest species are full-grown in mere weeks. The necessity for this growth spurt appears to be related to "growing into their feathers", since even their first "coat" of feathers are full-sized. If their bodies didn't achieve full size quickly, the young bird would have a hard time flying with full-grown feathers (and conversely, if they grew a set of "baby feathers" first, their growing bodies would eventually leave them with undersized feathers until the next full moult, also an impediment to flight). So the evolved solution is to sprout full-sized feathers from the start, and grow into them as soon as possible. All of this is less of a make-or-break issue for a small-bodied bird, however, and I can envision that the early birds, before the "grow like a weed" process was made available, got around the feather/body match problem by reducing their overall size.

Near the end of your piece you remark on how "It took many pages to explain why Coulter's single paragraph was wrong." I call this the "demonstrating what huge volumes of scientific evidence the creationists left out of their cartoon versions" effect. It takes very little space to say something false. It takes a lot more to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and to document and support the validity of it.


Title Author Date
Why Coulter is Coulter Risner, Jeff Jul 27, 2006
Coulter objective is to sell Coulter. What she is doing is prostituting herself for 15 minutes of fame. That's a good a reason as any to turn a trick. She need's something to attack and evolution, homosexuals, the mentally ill are easy targets and usually don't fight back. She will move on to another target in her next book. Who are the ghost writers by the way?


Title Author Date
Coulter III Zickerman, Dennis Jul 27, 2006
A lively and well-reasoned rebuttal to Coulter's received wisdom. I look forward to Part IV. One letter writer has expressed surprise and dismay that Mr. Downard has devoted this much time and energy to Coulter's derivative ignorance. I'm not. I think it's justified because Coulter's book is a #1 best seller and it contains dangerously erroneous ideas that people (conservatives and creationists alike) will read and likely agree with--seduced (as I once was) by her rapidly wilting wit. If only she'd take time off from doing TV sound bites long enough to debate her book with scientists instead of talk show lapdogs.