Coulter and Paxman

Everyone is talking about this. Mike Power: “Paxman should have wiped the floor with her” [my emphasis], Andrew Ian Dodge “man did she stuff Jeremy Paxman”, Guido (curiously silent), Blairwatch.

Like Mike, I think Paxman “should have wiped the floor with” Coulter. But he didn’t. I admire Paxman; he adds to the gaiety of the nation. I’m still disappointed. I can think of reasons why he lost. (Is it a contest? The way Paxman plays, yes it is.) Here they are.

He had an attack of Neil Kinnock syndrome. (Do I have to explain this?)

Ms Coulter isn’t accountable to anyone; she’s a journalist. Paxo holds politicians up against their promises. He didn’t have that here.

He was under briefed; and Coulter boxes cleverer than she looks. (Yes, there are some terrible puns trying to get out there.) It all went wrong for me when Paxo tried the “You don’t really mean that, do you?” gambit, which is only marginally more likely to produce an “of course you’re right” response than “You are barking mad, aren’t you?” One problem I have is that he ought to have predicted that his question would have received her asseverative reply. And he should then have found a particularly weak passage. (She didn’t seem at all clear on alternatives to ‘Darwinism’* for instance.) The other problem is that she has been described as a “satirist”*. Now if Swift, say, had appeared in front of a leading Grub Street hack of his day and asked if he believed that the Irish poor should eat their children, he might have said ‘No.’ Or he might have said ‘Yes’ in an ironical way which told you that he meant ‘No’ and mischief besides. But Coulter deadpanned.

I don’t find Coulter funny. She has hyperbole, but so had Hitler. Her writing doesn’t have rhythm or grace. I find her polemics strangely repulsive and disturbing, like letters taunting the police from a serial killer.

But she has had a comeuppance on TV. With Alan Colmes of all people. She’s in the wrong: she does call him a liar, and doesn’t give grounds. (If I’m to sink to her style, she thinks grounds are what you throw out of the percolator.*) But there must be better ways of resolving conflict that a mirthless titter, a cheese-eating-surrender-monkeyite shrug, and a “but I’m a girl” look.

Apologies to the rest of crew here. No one’s posted in a week, so this is a placeholder, and an excuse for comments.

* Scare quotes because I prefer the term ‘[evolutionary] biology’.
* Scare quotes because there should be some humour in satire.
* I drink tea, me. But I used to watch Kojak.

  1. Jonn said:

    I think what people seem to miss about Coulter is that what she does isn’t journalism, it’s entertainment. And those who argue with her, those who call her on it and ask if she really thinks the west should kill their leaders and convert them to christianity, those who demand to know why she has such a ridiculous attitude towards liberals…

    …none of them realize that by getting into the debate, they’re becoming part of the act. Without them, Coulter’s nothing: just another crazy, ranting while she gets roundly ignored. (No better than a blogger, really…)

    But with them, what she does is nothing less than theatre. Those in the audience who agree with her love believing they’re seeing liberals get their asses kicked; those who disagree keep reading because of the car crash effect.

  2. Phil E said:

    There’s a curious parallel with Chomsky’s standing on the Left: in both cases, the question of whether they actually believe that – let alone whether their admirers actually believe that – is whipped off the table sharpish and replaced with the question of whether, if you start with that, it’s possible to construct a rhetorically persuasive and logically watertight argument for that. Which of course it vacuously is, for any value of that you care to name – logic is like that. But the exercise of constructing the watertight argument is what counts: Anne (or Noam) has logically proved that the other side can plausibly be categorised as not only wrong but evil, and what do you say to that, eh?

    It’s not theatre so much as porn – nobody in the target audience goes away with their priors unconfirmed.

  3. Quinn said:

    Coulter is one of those people who just loves the idea that she winds people up, and so the best defence is not to get wound up by her in the first place. Ignore her and perhaps she’ll go away.

    Ultimately I don’t think Paxman could be bothered to seriously engage her; and so while it may be true that he didn’t come out of it well, I don’t think anyone looks great while they are dealing with “the nutter on the bus”.

  4. The interview showed more than anything how utterly lazy Paxo has become. He’d obviously done zero prep., and it showed. He allowed someone whose ethical core barely extends beyond “kill all towelheads” to come across as the victim. A weird performance, I thought.

  5. On the other hand, perhaps she ‘won’ the debate because she’s right, as well as Right.

  6. Did you see it, then, DD? There was no debate. Just a series of non-sequiturs batted in her direction that she was able, without breaking sweat, to swat away. It was pathetic.

  7. Right on the scare quotes. Darwinism is what creationists call evolution.

    Paxo is lazy these days, but lack of understanding of creationism is rife. John Humphries interviewing Peter Vardy showed similar ignorance, equating creationism with “Young Earth” creationism. “Do you believe the earth was made in 6 days, 4000 years ago….?”

    (for the range of creationisms, see

    The issue is not the flavour of creationism, but the opposition to evolution. The question to ask is “Do you accept that man and the chimpanzee have a common ancestor?”

  8. Reducing an interview to asking ‘You don’t really mean that, do you?’ is just the logical conclusion of Paxman’s methodology: his whole style appears based on an assumption that the role of an interviewer is to embody some kind of aggregated public disgust with politicians in general.

    Which is why he seems to think he’s done his job well if he can make an interviewee look like a bit of a twat, or at least vaguely mendacious. ‘You see? They’re all the same!’ It’s an attitude that I find as condescending as the results are tediously predictable.

    To be honest, I’m surprised he didn’t just turn to camera with a smirk, and raise an eyebrow. Or make the drinky-drinky motion.

  9. MatGB said:

    I first watched it streamed via Blairwatch, and the comments there led me to expect her to get a decent roasting. Instead, Paxo failed miserable. She’s a loon, but I don’t think anyone warned Pax that she takes herself seriously and is a true believer.

    Ah well, my first telly for ages, and that was online. Doesn’t look like I’m missing much…

  10. Donald your comment showed more than anything how utterly lazy you have become. You’ve obviously done zero prep., and it shows. It is not “kill all towelheads” she says “kill the ragheads”.

  11. “Do you accept that man and the chimpanzee have a common ancestor?”

    And with one simplistic question Joe Otten displays the sort of ignorance that might tempt a monkey to disown us!

  12. David Duff, while it’s always good to hear from you, perhaps when you comment again, you’d care to explain to the truly ignorant (in this case, me) why a) Joe’s question is ‘simplistic'; b) what you think is wrong with his phrasing (which seems to me to get to the nub of the split between faith and science here).

    I’m not going to tolerate ad hominems in comments threads on my posts. If any one wishes to accuse another commenter of stupidity or ignorance, you’ll need to justify yourself. If you choose to accuse them of worse, you’ll need a thick skin yourself.

  13. Certainly, ‘BD’, it is “simplistic” because assuming that man and apes have a common ancestor, and we must *assume* it because there is no specific and irrefutable evidence – the missing link remaining as elusive as ever – it neither proves Darwin’s theory, nor, if the ‘ancestor in the attic’ is ever found, will it prove it, either.

  14. Ann Coulter’s last comment, “I am the Number 1 best-seller in America” might be taken as indicative of a few things.

    The two most obvious of these, it seems to me, are, firstly her motivation: She is a career agitator; this is how she makes her money. She is every young right-winger’s wet dream and she plays on that well with her vampish style. The same segment of the population who like Bush’s shoot-from-the-hip, straight-talking style will confuse her invective for “telling it like it is”.

    Secondly (and stemming on from firstly), the Right need a new champion. Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and Rush Limbaugh have, in various ways, discredited themselves in the public forum. Ann Coulter is filling that space.

    In the end though I don’t think she’s all that politically irrelevant, ( when talking politics in it’s purest sense, if that’s not an oxymoron). She has very few points to make, much of what she says is vitriolic cant. She is more of a social indicator, is smart enough to see that politics is largely divided along social and religious lines in the US, and is cashing in on that. She has nothing valuable to add to the political discourse, but she is a compelling figure for the right let do their talking. In the most religious Western country which is 80% Christian, she has got the religious red-states thinking that they are a persecuted minority. That is her nebulous, indistinct power – not any real point that she has to make.

  15. That should be, “I don’t think she’s all that politically relevant” not irrelevant. Me’s a doofus.

  16. Matt Daws said:

    Has no-one else noticed the irony that is a discussion about Coulter, and in particular saying that “ignore her and perhaps she’ll go away”, we end engaging Duff and his nonsense about evolution having no evidence, and Coulter being “right” etc. People: WAKE UP, David Duff is the Coulter on the Blogosphere! He posts things just to be provocative. Does DD really believe what he posts? I don’t think that’s the point, he does it because he winds up all up, and boy do we rise to the bate… Not that I equate Duff and Coulter too closely: Duff is a couple of orders of magnitude more sane, and IMHO more entertaining. That doesn’t make him any more right on evolution though…

  17. Thank you, Matt, er, I think!

    Also my last phrase above should have read “neither does it disprove it either.

    The point I was trying to make was that modifications within species is nothing that horse and cattle dealers haven’t known about for years, it’s the appearance of entirely new taxa that prompted my slightly rude comment in response to Joe’s.

  18. David, David, David,

    My question hits precisely the nub of the matter. People who think their faith trumps science will say no. People whose faith is consistent with science, or who have no faith will say yes. I believe in freedom of religion, and in teaching science. So “yes” is the right answer.

    People who claim to have scientific objections to evolution are living in an alternate reality (

    See for comprehensive rebuttals of creationist arguments.

    The conservative Christian Republican judge in the Dover case threw out the Intelligent Designers’ arguments, because, under close scrutiny, it was clear that they were lying.

    Of course this prompted some creationists to retreat further into their paranoid fantasies and issue death threats against him. There’s nothing like having a solid moral foundation is there?

  19. Neil said:

    I think it’s very unfair that evolution gets all this attention. Why not mechanics or thermodynamics or quantum mechanics?

    Or even quantum thermodynamics – surely, given it’s almost impossible to understand, it would be the ideal subject for ignorant pundits to try and pick apart?

    Is it a conspiracy-theory-ish ‘follow the money’ type problem, or simply the fact that it’s currently rather fashionable to have a pop at Darwin?

  20. Matt Daws said:

    Neil, Both I think. Attacks on evolution are well-funded. But also, and more importantly, evolution challenges people’s belief in a way that, say, quantum thermodynamics (which I didn’t even know existed as a discipline with a name) doesn’t. Lots of physics and chemistry discovered in the last 100 years is far more paradoxical than evolution, and has a lot less “evidence” easily understood by the layman (anyone who’s wondered around a good natural history museum and still doesn’t believe in “common descent” for at least mammals in living in cloud cockoo land). It must be down to evolution being superficially easy to understand, and superficially in contradiction with “common sense” views of the world, which leads to the unfair treatment it gets.

    Which is not to say theoretical physics doesn’t have a rather small number of people attacking it (a google search can find some quite wonderful pages). That evolution gets attacked so much *does* have something to do with, say, church leaders constantly having a pop at it, and *some* well-funded PR constantly having a pop at it…

  21. Gentlemen, please line up whilst I take a shy at you in turn.

    Joe, first on the question of faith. I infer from the general tone of your remarks that you are an athiest. However, as there is no proof that God exists, or, that God does not exist, then belief in either is a matter of faith. Equally, it is perfectly consistent for a theist to accept Darwin’s theory, he merely has to predicate that God started life, or the universe, and that then Darwin took over, so to speak. In other words, there are many people, such as myself (and, as it happens, Charles Darwin, too) who can see the gaping holes in his theory which does not disprove it as an explanation for variety within a species but does not explain the appearance of entirely new taxa.

    The ‘6,000-year-old-world’ disciples who lost their court case, produce, I guess, a fair amount of gobbledegook but they are more than matched in silliness by the disciples (I use the word advisedly) of neo-Darwinism, like ‘bishop’ Dawkins who once wondered why child-bearing women were so upset at having children taken from them because it should allow them even greater chances of reproducing more of their DNA which, according to ‘bish’ Dawkins, is their only aim in life. Yeeees, quite!

    Neil, the answer to your question is probably because very few people understand quantum mechanics where-as every ignoramus, like me, thinks he understands Darwin! Even so, opposition to Darwin, by which I think you mean to include a reasoned but critical approach to a his *theory*, is well-founded, not least because it is, and remains to this day, just a *theory*. Unlike quantum mechanics, it makes no predictions and is thus unfalsifiable – rather like most religions, I suppose!

    Matt, claims that opposition to evoltion is “well funded”. Well, so far no-one has sent me any dosh! Also, if people did have a knowledge of quantum theory they certainly wouldn’t believe in that either. As Matt points out, just like Darwin’s theory, some very brainy people indeed who do know and understand quantum theory don’t believe in it either, starting with Einstein, himself.

    The most persuasive alternative explanation to evolution that I have read is espoused by Richard J. Bird. I am not capable of following the details of his mathematics but I *think* I follow his application of chaos theory as the means by which new taxa are formed and which surmounts the huge difficulty that evolutionists have in explaining the utterly impossible time-frame involved in the tiny incremental changes put up by Darwin.

    The following is the Amazon reference for Bird’s book:

  22. Neil said:

    Good point about the superficial understanding thing, Matt. I suppose this problem is not exclusive to Darwin’s theory. For example, judging by the way a lot of people drive, they don’t hold a lot of truck with Newton’s theories (particularly the less-intuitive one about energy being proportional to the *square* of speed), either.

    Also, it was Quantum Thermodynamics (aka ‘how to abbreviate four pages of nasty calculus as three symbols’) that caused me to abandon any hope of a career in academia. It almost drove me to drink, I swear.

    This is why I think there should be more public debate about Quantum Mechanics, just like there is about evolution. Undergraduates could then save the embarrasment I suffered by simply not learning any of the tricky calculus stuff but instead writing the five simple words “This theory could be wrong” on the exam paper, safe in the knowledge that they’ll get top marks for making such a profound observation.

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  24. MatGB said:

    Neil; I’ve seen people talkinng about how “evolution is discredited” who think that Big Bang theory is an essential part of evolutionary worldview/thought.

    Trying to explain to them that a) completely different branches of science and b) Big Bang is a much more “religious” than the Steady State theory it effectively replaced, “Mind of God” and all that.

    Some are anti-science completely, but have no real understanding of what science is, so conflate everything they think contradicts the literal bible and assume they’re all part of the “theory” of evolution.

    Moderating the off-topic section of a mostly US based busy gaming message board for a year was, well, an interesting experience…

  25. David,

    Did you even look at the link explaining the different flavours of creationism. The losers of the Dover case were not Young Earth Creationists (YEC = A 6000 year old earth), but Intelligent Designers. (ID = there is a designer, we don’t know what it is, could even be an alien, although we all happend to be Christians, and even the Raelians think we’re nuts, which is saying something.)

    What you say about Darwin is based on a selective quotation that does the rounds in creationist literature.

    Now can you produce a quote that supports your view of what Dawkins believes?

  26. ziz said:

    In her confrontation with Paxman she had the final say in that her book is, for whatever reason top of the NY bestseller lists.

    She is (frighteningly) hugely popular amongst the Fortress America folks that you will meet at NASCAR.

    You may chortle about her nastiness but she feeds on and supports the yard barbecue talk.

    An ariculate, urbane writer like Pat Buchanan meanwhile gets canned because he stood for POTUS and (say his many stupid detractors) and split the republican vote.

    I thought Paxman (as often) was just bluster – this lady has been around the block (as they say) and knew well how to handle him – but why anyone puts down US$29.99 of their hard earned money for her bile is beyond me.

  27. Ben said:

    I’d be interested to see David supply a source for that claim about Dawkins, too, I thought I’d read pretty much everything Dawkins has written.

  28. “The sociobiologist Dr. R. Dawkins […] finds the fact of baby snatching deeply and importantly puzzling; as well he might, given his Darwinian assumptions. As Dawkins sees the matter, ‘the adopter not only wastes her own time: she also releases a rival female from the burden of child-rearing, and frees her to have another child more quickly. It seems to me a critical example which deserves some thorough research. We need to know how often it happens; what the average relatedness is likely to be; and what the attitude of the real mother of the child is – it is, after all, to her advantage that her child *should* be adopted; do mothers deliberately try to deceive young females into adopting their children?'”

    Dawkins, R. (1972) ‘The Extended Phenotype’, p. 57; as quoted in “Darwinian Fairytales” by the late David Stove.

    It is the sort of eye-ball-swivelling lunacy that can only be taken seriously by those who believe (“YEEEEES, I BELIEVE!) that they and everyone else are controlled by little ‘itty-bitty’ things inside them. Actually, Dawkins himself disproves Darwinian theory because it is obvious that anyone who could write that sort of twaddle has obviously beeen beamed down to earth from Planet Zog! Or to put it another way, would you want to sit next to him on a bus?

  29. Matt Daws said:

    And like a moth to the flame, I’m drawn to rebutt Duff. Okay, firstly, I sadly only own “The Selfish Gene”, and not “The extended phenotype”. Thankfully, Google Print exists (I’ve no idea if the links will work, but it’ll take 30 seconds to re-create the search; you’ll probably need a google account to view some pages):

    Page 102 The Selfish Gene

    However, a search for “not only wastes” doesn’t find any link in The Extended Phenotype. Looking at page 57 doesn’t yield that quote. I think Duff is quoting from some bollocks by David Stone without bothering to check the reference in the orginal.

    More to the point, if you read the fucking context in The Selfish Gene, Dawkins is talking about Monkeys and, especially, Cookoos. Is Duff suggesting that Cookoos don’t, erm, act like Cookoos? If there not something interesting in the fact that Cookoos trick other birds into raising their (to our eyes, obviously different) young in favour to the poor bird’s own offspring? Is there not something to explain when we see young female Monkeys adopting? These are all observed animal behaviour, and to my mind interesting things to think about. Why does it offend Duff so much? It couldn’t possibly be because the quote, out of context, is made to appear to be talking about Humans could it? Oh, I’m sure Mr Stone wouldn’t stoop to such levels, and I’m sure Duff has really read Dawkin’s own words, instead of just quotes. Oh, look, I think I just saw a pig fly past my window…

  30. Ben said:

    Right, there’s a lot to address here, so bear with me.

    1) It’s not the Extended Phenotype, it’s the Selfish Gene (p102 of the 1989 edition). Page 57 of the Extended Phenotype contains a line about communication that Stove also has a problem with. I assume you were in a hurry and got muddled up.
    2) Dawkins is talking about the practice of baby-snatching in bereaved female monkeys, not humans. In the article I found, Stove says “‘…it is, after all, to [a mother’s] advantage that her child should be adopted’ by another woman.” – “by another woman” are Stove’s words, not Dawkins’. Pretty out of context, I’d say. He continues “This, you will say, is a grotesque way of looking at human life; and so, of course, it is”, making it pretty clear that he doesn’t care that he’s misrepresenting the quote.
    3) Dawkins see this practice as an important example that could be taken as evidence against the Selfish Gene theory, deserving of more research. The point is about the idea of kin selection, and this practice of female monkeys can be viewed as an extreme example of a mistake by organisms that appear to violate the theory, along with domestic hens sitting on eggs that are not their own. (ie doing so does not benefit their genes – altruistic behaviour should in theory only be conferred on those that are likely to hold many of the same genes as the organism)
    4) Most if not all organisms DO benefit by getting another individual to rear their offspring – it frees up their resources to produce more offspring and propagate their genes. See cuckoos, for example, unless the study of these creatures wantonly abandoning their offspring in the homes of strangers also appalls you.
    5) Dawkins doesn’t think that the Selfish Gene theory can be applied so readily to humanity – as the famous last line of his first book says “We, alone on earth, can rebel against the tyranny of the selfish replicators”
    6) If saying you think he believes he “and everyone else are controlled by little ‘itty-bitty’ things inside them” means you think he’s a genetic determinist or thinks all behaviour is controlled by genes, you’re mistaken. He spends much of the early chapters of The Extended Phenotype clearing up such misunderstandings
    7) Genes do control behaviour to a great extent in many organisms. See for instance Rothenbuhler’s hygenic bees if you’re interested. Where else do you think instinctive behaviour (including in humans) comes from?
    8) Does “do mothers deliberately try to deceive young females into adopting their children?” really strike you as swivel-eyed lunacy, when we’re talking about animal behaviour and when you consider the behaviour of cuckoos?

    And finally:

    9) No matter what else, that quote really doesn’t back up your statement that “Dawkins who once wondered why child-bearing women were so upset at having children taken from them because it should allow them even greater chances of reproducing more of their DNA which, according to ‘bish’ Dawkins, is their only aim in life”, does it? Not only was the bloke you were quoting misquoting Dawkins, you were then misquoting Stove! He doesn’t mention humans, he doesn’t wonder why they’re so upset, and he doesn’t claim that producing children is the only aim in life for women (remember the quote from point 5). You’re pulling the old “is implies ought” confusion, and Dawkins doesn’t subscribe to it.

  31. Neil said:

    Nice detective work, that man. But never forget, this idea that pigs can’t fly is only a theory. It could turn out to be wrong.

  32. Gentlemen, I apologise. In my haste I read Stoves *meticulous* notes incorrectly. It was indeed from “The Selfish Gene”, Paladin Books, p 110. Sorry for sending you on a wild goose chase.

    Matt, of course, goes into instant Darwinian double-speak which Stove shows up so brilliantly in his book by claiming that in that quote Dawkins was referring to *animals*, forgetting,as neo-Darwinists always do (when it suits them), that humans are animals and just as subject to the inexorable rule of the “Selfish Gene” as any other animal. Even Dawkins, whilst maintaining this with one breath, and sensing perhaps the silliness of it, then expends another breath claiming that humans, of course, are quite different. A classic example of having one’s cake and eating it!

    Too late to deal in detail with the other comments (thank God, I hear you cry with but a single voice!) but I shall return tomorrow.

    However, before ‘lights out’, I will leave you with a quote from Ben, up above: “The point is about the idea of kin selection, and this practice of female monkeys can be viewed as an extreme example of a mistake by organisms that appear to violate the theory”. Yes quite, and you can say that again!

  33. Ben said:

    Actually, David, you should read Matt’s comment again – he doesn’t say Dawkins was talking about animals, he says he was talking about monkeys and cuckoos. Specific animals and specific behaviour, you see? Whether or not you think the selfish gene rule applies to humans too (I think it does, but at a much weaker level thanks to our highly developed brains that let us override our impulses), its effects are manifested differently in different species, and to apply a description of the behaviour of one species to another to make a rhetorical point is dishonest, and something both you and Stove are guilty of.

    Otherwise, it’s like taking this quote from the Selfish Gene: “it is possible that the female improves the male’s sexual performance by eating his head” and using it to further demonstrate his detachment from reality because of course no women eat their husband’s head to improve his performance in the sack! Ha ha isn’t Dawkins ridiculous? Then Matt comes along and points out that he’s talking about the praying mantis, and you go “oh, so he’s referring to animals, eh? Well, you seem to be forgetting that humans are animals too. Check. Mate.”

    Out of curiosity, have you read The Selfish Gene?

  34. Neil said:

    Dawkins is on firm ground here. In all the, ahem, art films I’ve seen, “eating the male’s head” is pretty much always the first thing the female does to the male.

    It seems to work, too, the male tends to get very excited and proceeds to mount a most impressive sexual performance.

  35. Gentlemen, I went off to visit Ford Abbey yesterday armed with a copy of “The Selfish Gene” (Yes, Matt, that *was* a flying pig you saw, I have two of Dawkins’s books on my shelf but, er, have you read Stove?) and a copy of “Darwinian Fairytails”. The idea was that whilst the little ‘Memsahib’ laboured in the fields picking enough fresh fruit to keep me, ooops, sorry, us in home-made jam through the winter, I was going to compose a suitable and dead-learned riposte to you all. Alas, the best laid plans of mice and men …
    I sat down in the warm sunshine and began to try and sketch Ford Abbey but the multiplicity of angles from protrusions, abutments, extensions, differing roof-lines utterly defeated my meagre ability to master perspective. No wonder those Flemish masters cheated by using a ‘camera obscura’!

    However, it is time I re-read (with gritted teeth) the nonsense that Dawkins produced in that book and which, incidentally, I swallowed hook, line and sinker at the time, and conducted my own critical assault instead of relying wholly on the excellent David Stove. When I have it, I will publish over at my place under the working title of “Dawkins v. Stove: The Unfairest Fight of the Century”, or perhaps our revered editors here might wish to publish it.

  36. Matt Daws said:

    have you read Stove? No, but then I’m not pretending to critique Stove. You quoted, massively out of context, a passage from Dawkins specifically to suggest that Dawkins was writing nonsense. When myself and others pointed out, at length, that the quote was way out of context, you simply ignored the point and continued to abuse Dawkins with funny little quips. The quote, and your interpretation of it, were so unfair to Dawkins that either you were deliberatly twisting the truth, or you hadn’t actually even read the work you were calling “eye-ball-swivelling lunacy”.

    Duff, you’re less offensive than Coulter, but you are actually as boring to argue with as I imagine she is. You simply fail to engage with the argument at all, ignoring any and all points put against your position.

  37. N.I.B. said:

    Don’t forget this is David “Nig-nogs should get back on the banana boat” Duff you’re arguing with here!

    That’s David “Jesse Jackson should have his feet tied to the back of a SUV and be dragged round Alabama” Duff, for anyone in any doubt that the man’s a swivel-eyed racist lunatic!

    (Can you see what I did there?)

  38. Now now. Ad homs are to be expected from people who argue from authority. If you believe or reject something on the basis of who is saying it, it makes sense to attack the character of people who say things you disagree with.

    Only when you have the tools to consider evidence and arguments, can a grown-up discussion be possible.

  39. N.I.B. said:

    Exactly my point, Joe!

    I was merely doing to Duff what Duff (and Stove) have done to Dawkins – that is, quote them out of context in order to ‘score points’.

    Pathetic, isn’t it?

  40. Yeah I got it. I should have said so.

  41. a said:

    zzzzzz …..