I’m #3

This is gratifying, despite the numerous creationists infesting the comments—people who don’t know squat about biology and nevertheless feel compelled to pronounce on it. Several people said, “We know nothing about speciation,” apparently unaware that I wrote a 450-page book telling biologists what we know (and want to know) about that very field!

Even worse are those who, having no arguments, just call me names; as Hitchens said, “If they start insulting you, you know they’ve got nothing.” Or something like that.  (By the way, should remarks attacking the evolution of humans be called ad hominin?) Fortunately, my skin is too thick to be disturbed by them, though I briefly thought of playing the victim and starting a pity-based Patreon.

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I may post tomorrow on some of the craziness in the 500-odd comments on my Post review of Tom Wolfe’s new book.  


  1. rickflick
    Posted September 2, 2016 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    It’s satisfying to know you’re getting widely read. I’m happy to think that all the effort put forth by new atheists is having an impact.

  2. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted September 2, 2016 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    Ohh, the prospect of Caturday beef!

  3. Barry Lyons
    Posted September 2, 2016 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Hey: “Ad hominin”! What a great pun!

  4. Posted September 2, 2016 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    This “most read” list is only shown to you, I suspect. I get a completely different list.

    • Posted September 2, 2016 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      That’s weird, then, as I haven’t read ANY of the other articles and never look at the Post website. And one of my friends (not a scientist) got the same ranking.

    • Posted September 2, 2016 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      I just went on to see what I get. Apparently what is most read changes depending on which page I go to. Weird. (Sorry Jerry none of them was your review – although I thought it was a good one.)

    • Dave
      Posted September 2, 2016 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      That list tends to reflect the section you’re in. If it is on the front page (it isn’t), then #3 it is. However, another indicator is the number of comments and, at 504, it is respectable for that type of article. (I subscribe to WaPo.)

      • Dave
        Posted September 2, 2016 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        PS Things also turn over very quickly at WaPo so fame may be fleeting.

        • Grania Spingies
          Posted September 2, 2016 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

          It was #5 this morning from the front page (I was using a “clean” Italian ISP address).

  5. bluemaas
    Posted September 2, 2016 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    That’s actually mighty smashingly congratulatory, Dr Coyne. You / yours beat out two on Presidential Candidate Trump, two on matters of his most major campaigning controversies, too !


  6. Posted September 2, 2016 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Jerry, reading your list “of most read” topics there is reason for celebration, sans Wolfe perhaps. As to the wider issue of you getting thrown under the bus, not sure if Einstein’s admonition that “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds” is any comfort. If it’s not, know that there are many folks cheering and wishing you well from afar.

    Carl Kruse

    • Posted September 3, 2016 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      J. Swift expressed the same idea: “When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him.”

  7. James Walker
    Posted September 2, 2016 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    people who don’t know squat about biology and nevertheless feel compelled to pronounce on it

    If it’s any consolation, that’s true about linguistics as well (viz Mr Wolfe).

  8. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 2, 2016 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    I’m pretty sure ad hominin is the name of Trumps campaign. The post could do themselves a favor and make a few rules for their comments section. Maybe something like only one obnoxious comment per article. Adding 5 more just makes you five times as obnoxious.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted September 2, 2016 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      “Ad hominin” Ha Ha!

  9. Kevin
    Posted September 2, 2016 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    I look forward to some of the craziness of the commenters. It’s fascinating how the other side can simultaneously function in society while playing FantasyJesus.

    • serendipitydawg
      Posted September 2, 2016 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      It becomes a tedious read after a couple of hundred, though getting in excess of 500 comments is a gratifying response to the review.

      • eric
        Posted September 2, 2016 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

        I found it tedious after reading a couple tens. Like most large news outlets with a broad readership, most of the “critiques” (scare quotes intentional) consist of single-line, content-free variations on “I think you’re wrong” or “you stink.”

      • Nom de Plume
        Posted September 2, 2016 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

        If you sort the comments by “most liked”, it’s actually pretty encouraging. All the most popular comments (at least as far as I read) were in support of Jerry (and science).

        • Christopher
          Posted September 2, 2016 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

          but the “don’t agree” comments are more interesting! some dud named Ajax Martin, or something like that went on a rant about how humans don’t have fur and robins always build the nest the same, therefor evolution is wrong, etc. and while it is extremely annoying and depressing that another being can be so ignorant, it is interesting and somewhat educational to see the errors in thought that the general public has, especially those who are willing to voice their errors loud and proud. It’s a bit of an exercise in car wreck rubbernecking, I admit, almost an anthropological endeavor, but I hope it’s not one I do with chest-thumping pride. I know I don’t know many things, and while it’s somewhat embarrassing, I am ok in admitting it, but these people are so sure they are experts! It is amazing, stunning, and on full display. It’s like Trump, writ small.

  10. John Harshman
    Posted September 2, 2016 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    I’m surprised that Trump’s recent promise to deport all the taco trucks isn’t trending higher.

    • rickflick
      Posted September 2, 2016 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      I guess people like tacos.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 2, 2016 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

        Tacos are beating Trump in all the latest polls.

        • rickflick
          Posted September 2, 2016 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

          I think bed lice are beating Trump.

  11. Damien McLeod
    Posted September 2, 2016 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Keep up the good work Dr. Coyne. You’re one of shining stars in a in the midst of all the craziness. You, Dr. Dawkins, Dr. Harris, the late Christopher Hitchens, and a few more light up my declining years.

  12. Historian
    Posted September 2, 2016 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    The review is also a featured recommendation on the Arts & Letters Daily website, so it is getting a lot of play I am happy to say.


  13. Hempenstein
    Posted September 2, 2016 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    Just based on scanning comments in the original post on this for Koko and coming up empty, it looks like nobody’s noted this additional dilemma for Wolfe: 44y/o gorilla showing signs of pre-speech.

  14. kelskye
    Posted September 2, 2016 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

    Funny how “I don’t know” turns into “we don’t know” as if one can authoritatively speak on behalf of the collective.

  15. Graham
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 2:02 am | Permalink

    I am reminded of this quote by the Elizabethan scholar, John Dee:

    “Who does not understand should either learn, or be silent.”

    • serendipitydawg
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      Museum of Curiosity this week included this very quote… I knew that I had seen it written somewhere!

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