Hi new ERV readers!

Hi SciBlogs!

Please excuse the mess as Im moving in (this blog feels so naked!), and my ridiculously formatted posts as Im learning the new blogging system– Classes are over in a week and I will have more time to play πŸ™‚

And hi to any new ERV readers! I would just post a link to the old ERV so you new people can learn a bit about me and my writing style, but Im having some issues with the old site… So I thought Id better post a short introduction!

Im Abbie Smith, and Im obsessed with viruses.

Im currently finishing up my first year of graduate school, where Im getting my PhD in ‘microbiology’ (really, retroviral evolution). I use the principles of the theory of evolution to study retroviruses in two ways:
One– to figure out how to logically direct vaccines against HIV-1.
Two– to figure out how our bodies have evolved to react to integrated retroviruses, and how disregulation of these control mechanisms can lead to retrovirus-related cancers.

While those are both very serious topics, I take a very light-hearted approach to blogging. Thus there are a few quirks in my writing that new people should be aware of.

  • I rarely use apostrophes, and when I use them, its inappropriately. I declared war against apostrophes in third grade, my mother is an English teacher, there is nothing you can say that will change my mind.
  • I frequently slip into lolspeak when I get excited. I can be in the middle of a perfectly normal ‘Bloggers for peer review research’ post, get all excited about a new viral structure, and end up with ‘VIRUS KRYSTUL STRUCURZ– UR DOIN IT RITE!!!
  • I also slip into the slang of internet message boards I frequent, like AtBC. Lots of my readers are from those places, and sometimes I forget an inside joke is… an inside joke. For instance, Uncommon Descent, and other locations full of Creationists have been nicknamed ‘TARD-mines’. No, we are not making fun of handicapped individuals. TARD is a funny acronym for ‘The Arguments Regarding Design’. No amount of concern trolling will cause me to stop using that acronym. Its funny.

Other than viruses and evolution, I also post about religion (I know, shocking, but Im an atheist evilutionist in Oklahoma, so I vent, okay?), fitness, grad school stuff, and my best buddy in the whole world, Arnold Swarwarchenegger.

Ive got some of my old posts archived thanks to AtBCers, so I will move a few ‘reactivated ERVs’ here in the near future so you all can get a feel for ERV, but in the mean time, Pandas Thumb hosted one of my best posts, so you can still enjoy it there. That post started a domino effect that has culminated in some of the EXPELLED hilarity we are all enjoying today πŸ™‚


  1. #1 Bee
    April 28, 2008

    Good to see you here. Happy moving day!

  2. #2 firemancarl
    April 28, 2008

    Welcome Abbie. I wish you a long and prosperous future on this new blog!

  3. #3 stmarnock
    April 28, 2008

    Hey Abbie, great to see you back. Bookmarks changed. x

  4. #4 Blake Stacey
    April 28, 2008

    Crap. Now I have to do something about that list I was compiling — the debunkings of Michael Behe’s The Edge of Evolution. Lots of stuff from the old ERV was there.

    Anyway, I hope you enjoy your new digs. Rock on! KTHXBYE.

  5. #5 MacT
    April 28, 2008

    Welcome! Worried for a few hours there . . .

    Nice to have you back.


  6. #6 Dennis N
    April 28, 2008

    Hi! Good luck at your new SciBlogs home!

  7. #7 mlf
    April 28, 2008

    It’s about time you got into SB. Congratulations.

  8. #8 Brownian
    April 28, 2008

    Erv, you’re banner need’s an apo’strophe before the ‘s’ in ‘Gods own image.’

    I hope the new site lets you kick anti-science ass even better than you did at the old one.

  9. #9 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 28, 2008

    Well good to see you here. Any chance there was any hanky-panky in the old ERV’s deletion?

    You have made a few ..um…. non-friends over the past year. Of course that would mean some level of competence from them…..

  10. #10 themadlolscientist
    April 28, 2008

    I’m not exactly a “new” reader — I’ve been dropping in occasionally for a while — but I’m going to become a regular, starting RITE NAO.

    BTW, xqs me but I’m not a biologist. What is “gag, pol, and env”? Genes, I presume? What do they do?

  11. #11 Erasmus, FCD
    April 28, 2008

    YAYYYYYYY. You are so gneiss.

  12. #12 ImperialCreed
    April 28, 2008

    Good luck in the new digs Abbie. I’m a former lurker from the blog, glad to see you made the move okay.

    Looking forward to more lolz in serious academic discourse,


  13. #13 PalMD
    April 28, 2008

    Welcome! I’ve never heard of Blogger f’ing up like that, but, hey, if you wrote well before, you’ll continue to write well (and you did write well before).

    Enjoy the new quirks of MT! It’s fun!

  14. #14 Reginald
    April 28, 2008

    Woohoo! Glad to have you back! Time to reset my RSS Feeds, I suppose.

  15. #15 NP
    April 28, 2008

    Sweet…are you going to be the first lolspeaking ScienceBlogger?

  16. #16 Venger
    April 28, 2008

    Wow, so there’s actually two whole atheists in this scarily Christian state… I’d begun to wonder. Ha, they don’t stand a chance, two us, we have them out numbered. πŸ™‚

  17. #17 Laura
    April 28, 2008

    I’m a new reader. I’m looking forward to reading your blog, but I’m really sad about the war on apostrophes. The correct and judicious usage of language is one of the things that separates us (atheist evolutionists) from many of them (believing creationists). So I’m sad about that. (Full disclosure: I was an English major, and I write for a living.) It’s also going to make it hard for me to read your blog without cringing.

    But read it I will. You are already bookmarked, and I’m ready to go!

  18. #18 ShavenYak
    April 28, 2008

    Oh hai! Whew… I can has ur blog agin!

    Meh… Google Reader has decided to call the new ERV “(title unknown)”. OIC why… scienceblogs is giving a 404 for the RSS (and the Atom) feed. I no can has RSS?

  19. #19 Iron Soul
    April 28, 2008

    I’d gotten all caught up in the expelled and virus post I’d forgotten the fitness stuff you’ve done. Hope you find time to post some more of that now and then.

  20. #20 neil h
    April 28, 2008

    Yay for shiny new home! I can’t get the RSS feed working either, but I presume that the web elves at scienceblogs are working on it – right guys?

  21. #21 ShavenYak
    April 28, 2008

    By the way, though, my Google Reader has all the old posts back to Feb 4, 2007 saved. U can has dem if u wants dem.

  22. #22 chezjake
    April 28, 2008

    Welcome to the SciBorg! I read a number of your posts at the old site that were linked from here, and I really like what you have to say, despite the lack of apostrophes (and use of commas where there should be semicolons). Expect me to become a regular — you have been warned.

    I’m also curious about the rightward lean of comments here, behaving as though they were nested although they are not. How many comments will it take to reduce one to an inch-wide, very long string or go off the page completely? I really think a leftward lean would be more appropriate. πŸ˜‰

  23. #23 chezjake
    April 28, 2008

    And no sooner do I post and the rightward lean is gone. (I will miss the numbers; perhaps you can get PZ to help you get them back without the lean.)

  24. #24 Kseniya
    April 28, 2008


    Welcome (home) Abbie.

  25. #25 Quidam
    April 28, 2008
  26. #26 Jason
    April 28, 2008

    Woah – as a fellow grad student in biology (though I am finishing my 2nd year) I’m uber impressed you find the time to keep a science blog. I keep a personal blog, but I couldn’t imagine devoting the energy to a science blog…

  27. #27 PhysioProf
    April 28, 2008

    Sweet…are you going to be the first lolspeaking ScienceBlogger?

    No fukin wai! w00t!


  28. #28 alex
    April 28, 2008

    seems all the fellow lurkers of “old erv” are coming out, so i’ll nip out of the woodwork and wish ye a hearty hello too.

  29. #29 ScienceWoman
    April 28, 2008


  30. #30 wes
    April 28, 2008

    A fellow Okie on SciBlogs! It’s about time! πŸ˜€

    I’ve been checking your blog for a while. Glad to see you moved over here (I’m not a fan of Blogger). Now to go change my bookmarks…

  31. #31 Atticus
    April 28, 2008

    What ho! I’m something of a regular Pharyngula reader, and I think I’ll add this blog to my favourites too in an attempt to keep up to speed with that sciencey stuff, and the imbecilic rantings from the religites and ID whores. Not sure how I’ll get by in a world without apostrophes though. I imagine it will feel a bit like living without paper clips.

  32. #32 Muse142
    April 28, 2008

    OMG!! It’s so exciting to see you here on Sciblogs!

    Congrats. πŸ˜‰

  33. #33 Jay
    April 28, 2008

    Hey, if there are any diggers here,help spread the word!


  34. #34 Duncan Wilson
    April 28, 2008

    Hey, I’m glad you’re still about – I was sad when I saw your blog on blogger got axed, and ran around looking for where the heck you went. Arnie is easily the most adorably destructive dog I’ve seen.

  35. #35 dveej
    April 28, 2008

    Shall immediately sign up for RSS for this blog.

    Can’t see what the picture of Arnold Swarwarchenegger is. Too dark. Explain? or, better picture?

  36. #36 Brian X
    April 28, 2008

    Welcome aboard, Abbie. I hope you’re vindicated over at Blogger, but in the meantime, have fun. I wasn’t a regular reader, but knew you by reputation, and I’m glad to see you here. (Too bad Derek Lowe and Phil Plait won’t be joining us any time soon…)

    (Just watch out for Tara’s loyal opposition over at Aetiology — she’s got some hardcore raving lunatics that she tolerates over there, and since you’re in a similar line of work, I suspect you’ll be a target too…)

  37. #37 Dustin
    April 28, 2008

    No amount of concern trolling will cause me to stop using that acronym.

    The SB readership’s primary skills are concern trolling, bedwetting, and sanctimony. That brings me to this:

    Just watch out for Tara’s loyal opposition over at Aetiology — she’s got some hardcore raving lunatics that she tolerates over there, and since you’re in a similar line of work, I suspect you’ll be a target too…)

    Wield the banhammer. Yes, it was forged in the fires of perdition but you can use its dark powers for good. It is your destiny.

  38. #38 Dustin
    April 28, 2008

    omg y mai blockquotes not werk?!

  39. #39 dreikin
    April 28, 2008
  40. #40 Sven DiMilo
    April 28, 2008

    Very disappointed to read of your bad apostrophe attitude. Smart, thinking people need signs to recognize their kind, and the correct use of the apostrophe is a useful talisman. If you submit something to a journal for which I review (unlikely, since I study real organisms, not bits of semi-autonomous tricked-up biochemistry on the loose), and you abuse the apostrophe, I will judge you and hammer you. Many feel as I do. Please reconsider, leave whatever is between you and your mother behind, and wholeheartedly join the literate.

  41. #41 John Dennehy
    April 28, 2008

    Congrats Abbie… I actually saw a cool tshirt that I should have bought for you! Darwin is R-evolution-ary! It was at the AMNH.

  42. #42 Dave Munger
    April 28, 2008

    As an English major, I object to your cavalier attitude towards apostrophes, but I’d say that avoiding them entirely is preferably to randomly peppering them about.

    Welcome aboard!

  43. #43 Dave Munger
    April 28, 2008

    Agggh! I violated the cardinal rule when posting about grammatical/mechanical issues. Or is it that I succumbed to the inevitable?


  44. #44 Cuttlefish
    April 28, 2008

    Congrats and welcome!

    (a present for you… don’t know if you saw it–I dropped your name into a recent verse):

    My scientific colleagues have been banned from Universities
    Expecting them to publish was just one of their adversities
    They’ve parried the attacks of retroviruses endogenous
    Maintaining all the while that Darwinians are dodgin’ us


  45. #45 Dustin
    April 28, 2008

    Agggh! I violated the cardinal rule when posting about grammatical/mechanical issues. Or is it that I succumbed to the inevitable?
    Pedantry is a harsh mistress. Also, I will award an internet to the first person to write a script for this blog that automatically removes any apostrophes appearing in the comments.

  46. #46 Darek
    April 28, 2008

    They can strike you down Abbie, but you shall become more powerful than they could possibly imagine.

    …assuming that it was the IDiots whining that got your blog deleted.

  47. #47 Dustin
    April 28, 2008

    …assuming that it was the IDiots whining that got your blog deleted.

    Google is good at two things: search engines and submissively urinating whenever someone pretends to have a copyright claim or feigns offense at something. If they weren’t so good with the first item, I wouldn’t bother with them at all.

  48. #48 PhysioProf
    April 28, 2008



  49. #49 szqc
    April 28, 2008

    Man its good to see you are still blogging. The whole interwebs been buzzing with the demise of ERV concerns (as opposed to a concern troll…).

    Kudos as usual to Cuttlefish for the verse above πŸ™‚

  50. #50 Dave S.
    April 28, 2008

    Welcome to SciBlogs Abbie! Always liked you on Blogger, looking forward to your stuff here.

    Job 1 – I think you need a snazzy banner. Can’t post without a snazzy banner.

  51. #51 Sven DiMilo
    April 28, 2008

    p.s. have you met my friend Bob the Angry Flower?

  52. #52 C
    April 28, 2008


    I am a new reader, but undoubtedly I will be a loyal reader because ARNIE IS THE BEST! I, too, have lived with a pit bull and I know the sweet, loyal destruction they inflict all over one’s life. I love the breed. (I am opposed to dog breeding of any kind, but since it’s done – whoops, sorry about the apostrophes! – those of us who care must rescue, love and play with them.)

    I look forward to more good reading. I’m fascinated by the work you’re (damn!) doing.

  53. #53 Griff
    April 28, 2008

    Welcome to ScienceBlogs!

  54. #54 Lledowyn
    April 28, 2008

    Hi Abbie!

    Welcome to Science Blogs, and I hope that you enjoy your stay here. πŸ™‚

    Just letting you know that your “old” blog is back up! Grab what you can from there while it’s there just in case they take it down again.


  55. #55 Evopeach
    April 28, 2008

    The only Abbie Smith that seems to show up at OU works in the athletic department as a PE Trainer and a massage therapist..is that you?

    People who keep pit bulls have deep seated mental problems …have you considered therapy?

  56. #56 ukko
    April 28, 2008

    Evopeach, project much?

  57. #57 Nomad
    April 28, 2008

    Someone already took the “oh hai”, so I’ll forgo that. But welcome to the new host, good to see you back, I trust SB will be a more reliable host in the long term.

    To those concerned about what really happened, I did a little… well… Googling, on the issue, and it sounds like this could very well have not been specifically targeted at ERV. There appears to have been issues of something being done to some people’s blogs that directed traffic to some sort of fake site loaded with pop up ads and browser redirects and all sorts of nasty stuff. The people reporting such things report being initially delisted from Google.

    I’d be extremely disappointed if Google’s response to having their own service hacked was to delete the accounts of those who have been victimized, but that’s starting to look like what may be happening.

    Then again it would have been simplicity in itself for the fundies to have gotten a script kiddie to do this to ERV’s site. I’m sure there must be someone out there who styles his or her self a “hacker for jesus”.

    And WOAH, IT IS BACK. Ya’know, I just acquired a plugin for Firefox that may allow me to mirror the whole thing. This looks like the perfect time to test it out.

    I’m sure ERV will stay on SB, and rightly so. But let’s just say this does make it look more like a crude, baby with the bathwater style treatment from Google than intentional disappearing, no matter how much this did look like standard Uncommon Descent practice.

  58. #58 Darek
    April 28, 2008

    And there’s the first troll of the new blog. Congratulations evopeach.

  59. #59 Matt Penfold
    April 28, 2008


    Clearly you need to a bit more research.

    Abbie is not Abbie’s given first name. Hence why you were unable to find her.

  60. #60 Dustin
    April 28, 2008

    Don’t help the stalker, Matt.

  61. #61 Eric Saveau
    April 28, 2008

    I like your new place.

    BTW, it seems that old ERV is back online.

  62. #62 Vegan Atheist
    April 28, 2008

    Welcome back, Abbie! Congratulations for snagging a spot on the SciBlogs roster. πŸ™‚

  63. #63 Hugh Slaman
    April 28, 2008

    I think you should keep an open mind about religion, Abbie. Consider the argument for God’s existence given by Richard Swinburne in “Is There a God?” It’s worth a look.

    My impression is that you have been studying at the Village Atheist School of Philosophical Theology, and hence you are clueless about religion. Swinburne fully accepts evolution, naturalistic abiogenesis etc. So do many other theists.

  64. #64 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 28, 2008

    “Swinburne fully accepts evolution, naturalistic abiogenesis etc. So do many other theists.”

    Which means exactly bupkis when you look at any evidence for a higher being. None available, KTHNX, so I’ll continue not having a belief in Thor until someone provides actual testable evidence that Thor is alive and he does in fact carry a huge hammer.

  65. #65 Dustin read his Aquinas.
    April 28, 2008

    Hugh is right. Speaking as a long time instructor in holistic quantum theology, I can also say that the comments on this blog show a disturbing lack of theological training. After all, William Dembski fully accepts that the world is round and that it orbits the sun. Hugh Ross fully accepts the theory of evolution. John Polkinghorne fully accepts the standard model. So do many other theists.

    Had you bothered to study holistic quantum theology, you would all know that it’s completely logical to accept a general body of claims as true based on the fact that an adherent of that general body of claims also accepts one thing which we know to be true.

  66. #66 slang
    April 28, 2008

    Hi new ERV readers!

    My mind insists on reading “PERV” there. I don’t know why. I like it.

  67. #67 Nimravid
    April 28, 2008

    Congrats on the new digs!

    I declared war against apostrophes in third grade, my mother is an English teacher, there is nothing you can say that will change my mind.

    Nothing? πŸ˜‰

  68. #68 BW022
    April 28, 2008

    Welcome to your new digs!

    I’ve always enjoyed your writing style – especially when refering to Dembski or the Expelled legal briefs. Sometimes you just have to laugh. πŸ™‚

    However, it is always good to know that IDiots have nothing better to do than try to silence folks who dedicate their lives to AIDs research, while supporting folks who lie and steal. In science if you are caught lying, using someone elses research, etc. your career is pretty much over. With ID folks, it is pretty much standard operating procedure.

  69. #69 Todd
    April 28, 2008

    Wow, first day on SB and you’ve already got a concern troll. That doesn’t bode well…

    Anybody else having trouble with the RSS feed?

  70. #70 Darth Vader
    April 28, 2008

    I find your lack of faith disturbing.

  71. #71 Steven
    April 28, 2008

    Congrats on being a scienceblogs science blogger.

    I find your lack of faith heartening.

    Darth Vader blows



  72. #72 Darth Vader
    April 28, 2008

    (psssst…that was a joke, I love ERV)


  73. #73 Hugh Slaman
    April 28, 2008

    For Rev. BigDumbChimp,

    I think that Swinburne was one of the influences in Anthny Flew’s conversion to deism. I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss his work as being of no account: you say you have no evidence, but that may be because you haven’t had the evidence presented to you in the appropriate fashion. That is where Swinburne can help.

  74. #74 Christopher Sisk
    April 28, 2008

    … and ScienceBlogs just got that much better. ERV FTW!

  75. #75 Hgh Slaman
    April 28, 2008

    For “Dustin read his Aquinas”,

    Please try and be charitable when responding to my comments. Obviously I am not claiming that ERV should accept Swinburne’s views based merely on his acceptance of evolutionary theory. I am, rather, removing a potential obstacle to ERV’s appreciation of this man’s excellent philosophical work. I think his versions of the design and cosmological arguments are perfectly good, that is all.

  76. #76 ERV
    April 28, 2008

    slang– just for you, a post on PERVs.

    Hugh– I dont particularly like philosophy, and especially ‘professional’ philosophers. I mean its fun drunk talk, but it annoys me. Thank you for the suggestion, though πŸ™‚

    Nomad– It was a malicious disappearing. If you are on Blogger, back your stuff up now. It can happen to you too… *sigh*

  77. #77 Der Bruno Stroszek
    April 29, 2008

    Ok rite, I used to read ERV pretty regularly in its old home, but I didn’t have the right kind of account so I only posted once, anonymously (someone had made a post about the merits of the market in education that I just couldn’t leave unchallenged). But now I’m sort of disturbed, because I have a BA in English and I hadn’t noticed that Abbie spurns the ‘postrophe. I fail.

  78. #78 themadlolscientist
    April 29, 2008

    Thanks, dreikin. I can see I’ve got a lot of catching up to do where biology is concerned. πŸ™‚

  79. #79 Jane
    April 30, 2008

    Welcome to the neighborhood, Abbie!

  80. #80 alison
    April 30, 2008

    Hi Abbie – nice to find you again; missed you when you were disappeared.

  81. #81 Sven DiMilo
    April 30, 2008

    No, we are not making fun of handicapped individuals. TARD is a funny acronym for ‘The Arguments Regarding Design’. No amount of concern trolling will cause me to stop using that acronym. Its funny.

    Surely you are not so naive as to think that the term started as an acronym. The acronym is funny, but it was invented ex post facto to justify the continued use of the term “tard.” If this meakes me a concern troll, at least I’m an honest one.

  82. #82 Steve Matheson
    May 3, 2008

    Abbie!!! Congrats on being annexed by the Evil Empire. It’s good to see that ScienceBlogs is seeking balance by getting a new atheist. πŸ™‚ It’s a well-deserved honor. Best,

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