Now, criticizing what a book says when you haven’t actually read it is no mean feat. After all, you’re lacking some of the basic resources commonly thought to be useful in doing the job, such as knowledge of what the book says. How does Coyne pull it off? MacGyver style. He jerry-builds a critique out of the metaphysical equivalent of rubber bands and paper clips. Unfortunately, Coyne is more of a MacGruber than a MacGyver, so the result is (as it were) an explosion which brings the house down upon Coyne and his combox sidekicks while leaving Hart unscathed.
Where most reviewers would prepare to attack an author’s arguments by consulting his book to find out what they are, Coyne’s procedure is to consult his own hunches about what might be in the book. (All part of not “prov[ing] what one has decided is true beforehand,” you see.) Coyne writes: