Two dogs got off

Hands down, the most memorable phrase spoken by DR. Charles Jackson at our ‘debate’ tonight.

It was a ton of fun, you guys! Might be a few days before the video is up, but it was fun! Few short comments before I get to sleep (1 hour of presentations, 2.5 of Q&A, Im seepy).

1. Jackson couldnt have illustrated the parrot-nature of Creationists any better. After I talked about an endogenization event in lemurs (theres more to the story, I blag about it soon!), part of Jacksons rebuttal was reading sentences from the papers I had just talked about 2 minutes earlier. He didnt understand a word he was repeating, to the point he didnt know that I had just paraphrased it! HA!

2. Jackson is a complete and utter douchbag. To the point I was *this* close to just walking off the stage in the Q&A. Okay, when you are taking Q&A from a general audience, you are going to get a wide range of questions from people– duh. While I fielded questions on ‘sea shells on mountains’ and ‘the second law of thermodynamics’ and ‘we have a snake that isnt venomous anymore but its still just a snake!’ with a smile and congeniality, Jackson was being a complete douchbag to people with… different… questions. One ‘different’ question was actually a really cool idea, Carl Sagan said something along the lines that if an alien species came here, they probably couldnt eat us because they would probably be made of different amino acids. From an evolutionary perspective, we all share amino acids (ie we can eat fish!) because we all evolved from an organism that used those same amino acids. Why wouldnt a god have made organisms from different amino acids– ie, kosher laws are easy, we cant digest shrimp or pork anymore! Dont need to worry about getting eaten by a shark, they cant digest us! Jackson laughed at him “WHO THINKS THAT IDEA MAKES ANY SENSE?? HUH??” He looks at me, I hold back flipping him off, “HUH??! SEE!”

3. Jackson made a big to-do about how I dont consider him a scientist. I dont consider kids disecting a frog scientists. He might be interested in science, and the kids might one day become scientists, but a professional scientist is a very specific profession. He thought that was ‘elitist’, I was like ‘Yeah, it is. Thats a good thing. I like my elite physicians. I like elite airplane mechanics. Elitism is a sign of expertise!’ Weeeeell he has more respect for KIDS INTELLECT than I do… but he has no problem ridiculing people for asking questions (see #2, lol!). He really hated the fact kids had to learn basics. He thought the basics were boring. Well, honey, kids dont sit down at a piano and play Rachmaninoff. They have to play scales. They have to play etudes. Its boring. But thats how you get gud, honey.

4. Always true phrases:

  • Never count a man dead till you see his body with your own eyes. And even then, dont be so sure.
  • Never get involved in a land war in Asia.
  • Never get in a scientific debate with a cute, sweet chick with ‘SCIENCE!’ plastered across her boobs.

5. Im not saying Ted Haggard. Im sayin ‘weird’. Theyre related, but different.

Comments

  1. #1 SVN
    March 27, 2009

    Too bad I missed out on the shits and giggles. Just got back home from the E.O. Wilson lecture and it was a very good lecture. There were a few retarded questions from the audience and one ‘closet-creationist’ was trying to be an ass but otherwise it was pleasant. He plugged for more viral research and asked students in the crowd to pursue careers in science. :)

    And christians are douchebags in general. From your impression of the crowd, did you make an impact on the kids or adults?

  2. #2 HalfMooner
    March 27, 2009

    Good for you, Abbie! It sounds as though you did very well indeed. Did you find the audience packed with fundies/creos? (Did you bring your own science supporters?) Was the moderator neutral? Did the church as a venue have any impact (aside from making you even tougher, that is)?

    Did Jackson use the “Gish Gallop,” and if so, how did you counter it?

    Inquiring people want to know!

  3. #3 starsediton
    March 27, 2009

    typical uncivilized hostile response from an evo :). if ignorance is bliss then you’re in paradise :D.

  4. #4 martin
    March 27, 2009

    I’m sooooo looking forward to this video! You just might be my idol.

  5. #5 Yoo
    March 27, 2009

    It sounds like it was hours of curbstomping the creationist: I think I’ll have to use the upcoming video to remind myself that the situation with creationism is far from bleak. :)

  6. #6 Rhology
    March 27, 2009

    You disappointed me a little when you said just before it started that it wouldn’t be a debate. ;-) But it turned out OK, I think – there was some good interaction between you and Jackson, the crowd got into it, it was saucy. I had a good time even though it was pretty long. I sat in my seat for like 2.5 hours before a break…whoof. That’ll take a toll. I’m not 18 anymore.
    Re #1 – you don’t think that the fact that he had those papers on a ppt already showed that he had at least a little familiarity with it? You threw them out from memory, and props to you. He had a copy on his PC and didn’t seem lost on the subject…to me. But I’ll admit that issue was a little hard to follow for a layman.

    #2 – You were extremely courteous, more than him. Your real-life persona is so diff from your online persona! But I wouldn’t say Jackson was a jerk or anythg. the 2nd Law of Th is a dead end, and we both know that. He ended up taking a detour (I think unintentionally) to a good point, but until he did that I was wondering why he was wasting his time. the polling the audience thing was a terrible idea. the question that led up to it about eating other animals, however, was the 2nd-dumbest question of the night.

    #3 – I agree, that was a dumb thing for him to make such a big deal about. I kept wincing, and it was worse b/c I thought he had done a fine job embarrassing your position with respect to “teaching the controversy” and all that. Don’t know why he had to go astray into whining about getting recognition. Herb’s constant braying of “get stuff published!” from the audience, however, is one of the stupidest things I’ve heard, and y’all keep saying it. It’s like you’ve never heard of bias before. It’s like you alluvasudden forget that you don’t have this visceral reaction to the idea of an “evil, megalomaniacal trickster God who murders children” that you like to make such a big deal about. Just think a little, is all we’re asking on the creationist side.

    More review later, I’ll link to it.

    Peace,
    Rhology

  7. #7 Aaron
    March 27, 2009

    That Carl Sagan issue (#2) is brilliant. I had never really thought of it in that way before. How *would* our bodies react to it, anyways? I imagine (superficially) the proteins would probably just pass through us, but what if a simple (D) stereoisomer happened to fit with one of our (L) enzymes? (one that was not originally intended). I suppose the Thalidomide tragedy is a good example of what COULD happen; although there’s no reason it HAS to be bad.

    that’s one thing I think the creationists don’t get. They think that (D) conformations are somehow inferior, toxic, or could not possibly support life the way (L) does. I’ve had to put quite a few in their place by explaining that the L/D issue was merely coincidental. [I have read some papers positing that (L)-amino acids are favored because of certain forms of radiation (relating to optical activity, IIRC… it’s been a while).

    Nice work though — how would you say the experience went, as a whole? Did you feel like you had won over the audience, or was it an even split? Kudos to you for being friendly with the audience, btw — I find communication works better when you’re nice. :)

  8. #8 DataJack
    March 27, 2009

    Oh, ERV, you rock. Can’t wait for the video.

  9. #9 ERV
    March 27, 2009

    SVN– Yay! I wish I could have made it to EO Wilson, but when I suggested we change the ‘debate’ date a couple weeks ago, I got ‘the event must go on as planned’ because Jackson-hobo was skipping town or whatever. The kids had really great Qs, the adults were certain I was an evilutionist because I hadnt read the Bible (I have, along with many other myths), and couldnt understand how I didnt believe in Heaven. I hope I gave them something different to think about :)

    HalfMooner– He didnt do a Gish Gallop as much as he did a Parrot Squawk. He used words I know the audience didnt understand, and quote-mined a million scientists. There was no attempt to educate the audience– his presentation was designed to intimidate, thus ‘impress’ the audience. When, it was very clear to me, he didnt understand the words he was repeating. The ‘moderator’ didnt say a word the whole time, which was good, and bad. He should have stepped in several times when Jackson was being far too aggressive with the audience (when ERV is horrified at someones behavior, you know its bad).

    The audience was almost evenly split, cause I got me a POSSE! I didnt mean to, but lots of people were upset they couldnt get to EO Wilson, so they were happy to come support me! Many of them were from OKC Atheists, who made my debate an official event :) And on top of it, I met quite a few pro-science people who I hadnt met before, they just showed up because of the ads in the Yukon Review!

    Martin, Yoo– Dont get too excited :) I considered this appearance a science outreach opportunity, thus I was extraordinarily civil. There were people in the audience that hadnt had a ‘science class’ outside of a YEC church for decades. I think a non-threatening, easy-as-possible to understand presentation, that connected evilution to themselves and their loved ones was what they needed. Not the steel-toed boots. I did get annoyed in the Q&A after Jackson started being an even bigger douche, though ;)

    Aaron– I had fun! You have to understand, these were YECs. Evilution, to them, is a battle between eternal salvation and eternal damnation. I knew going in I had no hope of convincing them of anything. But I could teach them some cool things about science, and research going on in their backyards, that requires evilution… A little seed :)

  10. #10 Jason Dick
    March 27, 2009

    Aaron: On L vs. D, the electromagnetic force is fully symmetric to mirror imaging. Because the interactions of molecules are almost entirely determined by the electromagnetic force, I don’t think it’s possible for there to be a fundamental difference between the two forms.

    There is, of course, a tiny difference on mirror imaging with respect to the weak nuclear force, but somehow I doubt that the weak nuclear force has any significant impact whatsoever upon the behavior of biological molecules.

    ERV: There wouldn’t happen to be any sort of recording of this event would there? Because it sounds like it might be somewhat entertaining to listen to ;)

  11. #11 Ian
    March 27, 2009

    Sounds like you did good, all things considered. Wilson’s talk was good, but he was much better with the Q&A. The creo kid was annoying – he kept challenging Wilson on a Darwin quote (Endless forms most beautiful, breathed by the Creator into a few forms or one) and why Wilson had left out “by the Creator”. Did the whole “I was reading your book, and on page 7 I noticed…” And when Wilson said “I was quoting from the first edition” (and went on to talk about why Darwin added that bit to later editions) the guy talked about having it on his iPhone, and tried to argue with Wilson. And then came back into the line, claiming he had a first edition…eventually Wilson said “show me that I’m wrong and I will apologise publicly”. Eventually the guy had to say “yes, I was mistaken…” and he seemed genuinely surprised to discover that he was wrong. (Maybe it was the first time I realised that his creo friends were lying to him). Anything, the thing that really impressed me about Wilson was how he remained really pleasant, almost jovial with the guy, while making a fool of him.

  12. #12 matt
    March 27, 2009

    “Never get in a scientific debate with a cute, sweet chick with ‘SCIENCE!’ plastered across her boobs.”

    Pics or it didn’t happen. :p

  13. #13 ERV
    March 27, 2009

    Oh there will be pics, but this is the shirt :)

  14. #14 Joshua Zelinsky
    March 27, 2009

    Congrats Abbie. It sounds like this went well.

    The idea of life on other planets not necessarily having the same amino acid set as life on Earth is actually used in a fair bit of scifi.

    What was the context of the phrase in the title? And what do you mean by point 5?

  15. #15 Lary
    March 27, 2009

    Jason: L vs. D makes a huge difference in biochemistry. Most(maybe all) enzymes depend on the spatial arrangement of the molecules they act on. Think hand and glove. Your right hand doesn’t fit well in a left glove. I think Aaron was talking about what might happen if a left something else happened to fit in a right glove. In that case something very bad might happen.

  16. #16 Prometheus
    March 27, 2009

    The Bride had stomach virus, so we stayed home. She was wearing one of her Landover Baptist T-shirts in a show of solidarity while shuffling around and throwing up, if that counts.

    Sounds like you did well and I’m glad you had a full entourage. Maybe next time.

  17. #17 Stacy
    March 27, 2009

    This guy has a Masters in environmental biology??

    I’ve just now decided that he is a con-artist.

  18. #18 minimalist
    March 27, 2009

    Rho:

    Herb’s constant braying of “get stuff published!” from the audience, however, is one of the stupidest things I’ve heard, and y’all keep saying it. It’s like you’ve never heard of bias before.

    Where is all this awesome creationist research being submitted to, and rejected by, scientific journals? Got examples? Manuscripts? Rejection letters?

    :tumbleweeds:

    Even if it did exist, how are you in any way competent to judge whether it’s actually any good and simply being rejected out of “bias,” or just the usual pseudoscientific kreationist kiddie krap dished out in fancier terminology?

    :crickets:

  19. #19 Ted H.
    March 27, 2009

    You left out what is slightly less well known:

    Don’t go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line.

  20. #20 Rhology
    March 27, 2009

    minimalist,

    No, I’ll have to admit I don’t have any of that; it’s certainly not my passion. If I contact ICR or AiG or someone like that, do you really think they’ll have NOTHING along those lines?

    As far as whether I’m competent, I’m just a guy who reads what you guys have to offer. It generally stinks and has fatal flaws; there’s no better conclusion than what I’ve said.

  21. #21 dNorrisM
    March 27, 2009

    If we had (D) aminos we would be evil.
    Don’t believe me? Read Spock must die! by James Blish. (Synopsis: They accidentally make a mirror-image Spock, who not only can’t ead regular food, but it mirrors his personality- making him evil.)

    Back to relavency, I look forward to the vids, but it sounds like a big CONGRATS.

  22. #22 jon
    March 27, 2009

    Rhology:

    It’s like you alluvasudden forget that you don’t have this visceral reaction to the idea of an “evil, megalomaniacal trickster God who murders children” that you like to make such a big deal about.

    This statement assumes all reviewers are atheists, but a fair amount of biologists being of various faiths sort of blows your bias bit out of the water….

  23. #23 BeamStalk
    March 27, 2009

    I wanted to go but I have to work today and the 2.5 hour drive would not have been good. I can’t wait to watch the video.

    Ooer, I have the T-Rex Science! shirt.

  24. #24 Albatrossity
    March 27, 2009

    Rho wonders: If I contact ICR or AiG or someone like that, do you really think they’ll have NOTHING along those lines?

    Yeah, I’m pretty sure that there is NOTHING in the peer-reviewed scientific literature that provides evidence for the notion that the earth was created 6-10,000 years ago, or provides any evidence that confirms anything that AiG or the ICR hold to be true. But that’s to be expected when your eyes are so firmly screwed shut that you accept this (from the AiG web pages) – “By definition, no apparent, perceived, or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the Scriptural record.” Conclusion-first activities are not generally going to be accepted as science.

    Oh, BTW, Rho, speaking of things that can be described as “generally stinks and has fatal flaws”, I think you are ignoring some unfinished business here. Of course, if you want to continue ignoring the stinky fatal flaws in your position, that’s fine too. Just make sure that you post links on your blog so that everyone can see that you got pwned.

  25. #25 James F
    March 27, 2009

    I’ll happily back up Albatrossity. There are about seventeen million peer-reviewed scientific research papers indexed at the National Library of Medicine, and none refute the evidence for evolution, or provide a single piece of data supporting ID or creationism. This is what we mean when we say “overwhelming evidence.” It would require a global, decades-long conspiracy that would make hoaxing the Moon landing a walk in the park to achieve that.

    Well done, Abbie! You’ll be giving the creationists headaches for many years to come.

  26. #26 Tommykey
    March 27, 2009

    Don’t believe me? Read Spock must die! by James Blish.

    dNorrisM, there was an original series episode where a transporter malfunction results in there being two Kirks, one good and one evil, though the “good” Kirk is weak and indecisive while the “bad” Kirk is aggressive and strong, and he tries to rape Yeoman Rand.

  27. #27 Joe
    March 27, 2009

    sweet chick with ‘SCIENCE!’ plastered across her boobs

    Wow, dedication! How long did the tattoo take?

  28. #28 Paul Lundgren
    March 27, 2009

    Abbie,

    Couple points. First, these poor oppressed dingalings have enough inadequacy issues without getting schooled by a “little girl.” Couldn’t you go easy on them for a change? [/dry humor]

    Second, Please forewarn of future uses of the phrase, “a cute, sweet chick with ‘SCIENCE!’ plastered across her boobs.” I nearly turned my computer monitor coffee-colored.

    ERV FOR THE WIN!

  29. #29 rrt
    March 27, 2009

    Just to elaborate on minimalist’s comments, Rho: If this pro-creationism/ID evidence exists, there is no excuse in the modern era for not publishing it. You have no grounds to cry “bias” when anyone can put anything on the web. Online publishing of research is well established now. And there are plenty of high-profile creationist sites that would host such material. Some of those entities still even have (ostensibly, at least) print journals.

    I guarantee you that if the DI posted a novel research paper that clearly stated it had found solid evidence for a Designer, we would be all OVER it. Scienceblogs alone would guarantee hundreds, if not thousands, of qualified scientists would give it a careful going-over.

    Be honest, Rho (or more charitably: Be clear). This is not a matter of bias against publication. Rather, you see it as a matter of bias against religious implications in science. You’ve basically said as much in your own comment about our reaction to an evil god. You know we do in fact evaluate creation science claims…but you want to beleive that we evaluate them not on the merits of the science, but on the conclusion. If you want to argue that the scientific method should be altered, or that we apply a double standard to creationism and evolution, than please do. But don’t try to claim that, in the era of blogs, DIs, ICRs, and Darwin’s Black Boxes, creationism’s voice cannot be heard.

    One other thing. You characterize us evilutionists as angry-at-god atheists. Some commenters have corrected you on the atheist part, but I would like to call your attention to the angry-at-god part. Because that’s false, too. Plenty of atheists are repulsed by the Biblical god, sure, and angry at those who would impose its commands. But that is not how some of us (indeed, I suspect most) ultimately came to atheism. I think simple questions of evidence and not making exceptions to the scientific method are probably the linchpins in most of our stances. And in my case, I never belevrd in the god that you think I did–my god was only ever Cosmic Muffin. No Hairy Thunderer at all. To this day I hesitate to even mention the evils ascribed to god in the bible when discussing atheism. Naturally the fundies would say that I was never a true Christian. Shrug. Whatever they wanna call me. I believed in A god, and Some Guy named Jesus, and to me they were always sugar ‘n spice and anyone who said different was just trying to project their own human flaws on him to justify them.

    It seems to me you aren’t challenging your own position, to make statements like that. You asked us to think a little. I ask you to do the same.

  30. #30 Ritchie Annand
    March 27, 2009

    How could the evil science establishment not accept papers like this? That you reject alchemical transmutation from water by a deity just shows your built-in bias against miracles as an explanatory force!

    Why, just this morning, I woke up! The odds of it being me that woke up are the odds of gene assortment times the odds of crossovers times the generations of all my parents. Coincidence!?

    Now I will go back to reading the ever so praiseworthy, laudable, logical book Refuting Evolution by Sarfati, which I will not point out anagrams to “Is a fart”.

    I won’t.

  31. #31 Jason F
    March 27, 2009

    rrt stated: “but you want to beleive that we evaluate them not on the merits of the science, but on the conclusion

    Because that’s how Rhology and creationists in general evaluate things. When they examine something, their decision tree is…

    “Does it agree with the Bible?” –> “Yes” –> “It is correct” “No” –> “It is wrong”

    Rhology is exhibiting classic projection behaviors.

  32. #32 Anton Mates
    March 27, 2009

    There is, of course, a tiny difference on mirror imaging with respect to the weak nuclear force, but somehow I doubt that the weak nuclear force has any significant impact whatsoever upon the behavior of biological molecules.

    It’s been argued that there could be an indirect effect–the asymmetry of the weak force leading to an asymmetry in the polarization of nuclear radiation, leading in turn to the preferential breakdown of organic molecules of a particular handedness. Still a tiny difference, but it might add up over millions of years to make one chirality significantly more common.

  33. #33 Matt
    March 27, 2009

    My pre-emptive letter to the editor if they ooo and awww over Dr. Jackson, at your expense, in the Yukon Review. :-)

    Though I regret not having weighed in during the evolution/Creationism debate on Thursday at Christ’s Church (as my letters to the editor, along with those of Rev. John Miller and Dr. Charles Jackson, were the catalysts for the debate), it is my feeling that one should not give his or her opinion on such weighty matters, unless said opinion is thought through. Or, “I like to know what I’m talking about before I speak,” as President Barack Obama recently quipped. And now I shall speak…or write, rather.

    Though the debate was promoted as a scientific debate, during the question-and-answer portion, it inevitably took a political turn when a woman in the audience asked of Ms. Abbie Smith (the speaker for evolution) why she was against Creationism being taught in science classrooms of public schools, alongside Darwin’s theory of evolution.

    Well, the easy rebuttal to give to such a question (which Ms. Smith was quick to give), is that such a tact opens a Pandora’s box of which and/or how many creation stories are we supposed to teach? Given that this is a predominantly Christian country, I think it not presumptuous on my part to assume that when a person demands that Creationism be taught in public schools, the creation story that he or she has in mind is the one given in Genesis, as it is interpretted by biblical literalists. But why not also teach certain Native American creation stories, Hindu creation stories, Greco-Roman creation stories, etc.?

    And why stop just at creation? Why not extend it further, that all said cultures’ views on agriculture, natural disasters, sickness and health, etc., also be touched upon? Were one to take such an approach, the class would cease to be a science class, and simply become a survey course of world history and religion.

    So, why must evolution necessarily win out?

    If the federal and state legislators of this secular, democratic republic are to pass legislation that determines the science curriculum of public schools, it is only right that they defer to the consensus that has been reached by the overwhelming majority of scientists throughout the world: evolution does occur, and Darwin’s theory of how it occurs is the most functional one across which we have come heretofore.

    Does consensus itself necessarily equal fact? Of course not! However, consensus, among experts, in a particular field, on a particular issue, DOES equal credibility. And, in the real world, credibility is the best thing with which we have to work, pretenses to the attainment of absolute truth being replete with hubris.

    Furthermore, I’d like to write that Creationism itself loses even more footing in the sense of being taught as a science because, obvious enough observation, it isn’t a science.

    The reason that I write this is because the very name for this worldview does not attempt to prove what its name suggests it would: the existence of a Creator God. As did Dr. Jackson, so have done so many other Creationists whom I’ve heard or read in the past: He merely criticized evolution, but offered no scientific argument FOR the existence of any god, creator or not. Such is not “Creationism”, but merely, anti-evolutionism. A mere reaction to a scientific perspective that is religiously inconvenient, but not a science in its own right.

    Also, food for thought, the veracity, or lack thereof, of Darwin’s theory of evolution is not the crux of the “God question”. Were we to pick up the paper one day and to find that Darwin had been definitely proven wrong, and that we may throw evolution into the dust bin of defunct ideas, along with geocentrism, the ontological objectivity, or existence of any god, of any kind, would remain what it always was: a matter of faith, and so, not the basis for any science.

    Most of the people in this world believe in some sort of God and/or religion. Some do not. Either way, to debunk evolution is an empty and vain attempt to bridge the gap between these two types of people. It is merely the misrepresentation of a religious idea as a scientific one. It is merely intellectual disingenuity and consummate sophistry.

  34. #34 David Marjanović, OM
    March 27, 2009

    but what if a simple (D) stereoisomer happened to fit with one of our (L) enzymes?

    Don’t some particularly horrible fungal toxins contain (D) amino acids?

    You left out what is slightly less well known:

    Don’t go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line.

    Actually, that’s not “Sicilian”, it’s “caecilian”.

    </inside joke>

    If I contact ICR or AiG or someone like that, do you really think they’ll have NOTHING along those lines?

    Yes, in fact… yes.

    But please do try to contact all of them. Being a scientist, I’d like to be proven wrong.

    Also, the entirety of comment 29.

  35. #35 David Marjanović, OM
    March 27, 2009

    the creation story that he or she has in mind is the one given in Genesis, as it is interpret[…]ed by biblical literalists.

    Except that there are two creation stories, one Gen 1:1–2:3, the other from Gen 2:4b onward.

    but merely[…] anti-evolutionism.

    Better spell that “anti-evolution-ism”, lest your readers believe there’s such a thing as “evolutionism”.

    Darwin’s theory of evolution

    Just call it the theory of evolution. (Neo)lamarckism is extinct, and Darwin for example didn’t take genetic drift into account.

  36. #36 David Marjanović
    March 27, 2009

    ARGH! The “OM” stuff is a Pharyngula inside joke. I’m not in the Order of Merit or anything.

  37. #37 Sili
    March 27, 2009

    Not being a proteinchemist, I’d imagine that it’d be possible to swap out the occasional non-conserved aminoacid with its enantiomer. If the sidechain doesn’t do anything for the conformation, but is only there to make a surface lipo- or hydrophilic, it could prolly just as well be D as L.

    Of course, this is not likely to happen unless there’s enough D available that it becomes an exploitable niche. There’d have to be a payoff for evolution to add the overhead of a D-processing subsystem.

  38. #38 JimNorth
    March 27, 2009

    On the D/L idea…I can imagine that slight differences in the weak nuclear forces may affect the stability of the formation of amino acid crystals (homo-D vs homo-L)which may lead to a small, but selectable, preference.
    The micro-environment of individual elements is strange but charming, to say the least. Things happen on that scale that can be classified as very weird (to Newtonians).

  39. #39 Matt
    March 27, 2009

    Thanks for the tips on spelling and style, David. :-)

  40. #40 Buzz
    March 27, 2009

    “Never get in a scientific debate with a cute, sweet chick with ‘SCIENCE!’ plastered across her boobs.

    Given previous posts on this blog, I think there is really only one way to address this statement…

    TITS or GTFO

  41. #41 Paper Hand
    March 27, 2009

    #40

    MWAHAHAHAHAHA! Awesome! :D

  42. #42 Azkyroth
    March 27, 2009

    Never count a man dead till you see his body with your own eyes. And even then, dont be so sure.

    Never get involved in a land war in Asia.

    Never get in a scientific debate with a cute, sweet chick with ‘SCIENCE!’ plastered across her boobs.

    Synthesis:

    Never get involved with a cute, sweet chick with SCIENCE plastered in Asia till you see her boobs with your own eyes. ^.^

  43. #43 faithless
    March 28, 2009

    Oooo. There was a cute sweet chick there? Who was that then? Do we know her?

  44. #44 Bayesian Bouffant, FCD
    March 28, 2009

    Not being a proteinchemist, I’d imagine that it’d be possible to swap out the occasional non-conserved aminoacid with its enantiomer. If the sidechain doesn’t do anything for the conformation, but is only there to make a surface lipo- or hydrophilic, it could prolly just as well be D as L.

    You make a good point; that it is easier to imagine any weird thing happen if you are not constrained by knowledge. Ribosomally-manufactured proteins contain only amino acid residues that have been selectively attached to tRNAs by tRNA-charging enzymes, which are notoriously stereo-specific. Even if you could artificially charge some tRNAs with opposite-handed amino acids, I don’t know (due to my own ignorance) whether they would work in the ribosome’s peptidyl-transferase unit. The few D-amino acids found in biological molecules, noted by David Marjanović, OM, are not made by ribosomes.
    D-alanine in the frog skin peptide dermorphin is derived from L-alanine in the precursor, K Richter, R Egger, and G Kreil, Science 9 October 1987: Vol. 238. no. 4824, pp. 200 – 202, DOI: 10.1126/science.3659910

    As to how a L-amino acid only biological world might have come about, I find “winner take all” to be an adequate explanation.

    You might look up “amino acid racemization” for an interesting side topic.

  45. #45 DAM10N
    March 28, 2009

    Herb’s constant braying of “get stuff published!” from the audience, however, is one of the stupidest things I’ve heard, and y’all keep saying it.


    I’ll wager that when Dr. Jackson’s hypothetical homo sapiens with 24-pairs of chromosomes is confirmed by the ICR researchers, in strata just below the Noahic floodline, somewhere between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, well then they will finally get the attention they deserve as full-fledged scientific researchers. The truly mind-blowing part will be the discovery that this hypothetical homo existed only a few thousand years ago!!!

    Thanks be unto the genius of Dr. Jackson for putting forth a testable hypothesis for the creation scientists to pursue. Go to it, guys!

  46. #46 ERV
    March 28, 2009

    AHAHA! I LOVED that he thought chimpanzees are closer to their Created State than humans. Chimpanzees are less sinful, and thats why their chromosomes had not fused. But he didnt think that– he never took the ‘evidences’ that were coming out of his mouth to their nonsensical conclusion!

    You nailed him on that. Repeatedly. **high-five**

  47. #47 DAM10N
    March 28, 2009

    Having seen the chimps openly masturbating and flinging poop (presumably their own) one has to wonder what pre-Noahic peoples must have done to warrant being punished by the removal of an entire chromosome.

    One also has to wonder how people can look at this as anything other than evidence of common ancestry, given that evolutionists were forced to predict a chromosomal fusion before geneticists discovered where it happened. If only creationists could throw out a few clearly falsifiable hypotheses like that, they’d be in business.

  48. #48 Alec
    March 28, 2009

    Interesting how you belittle Dr. Jackson. Especially since he is obviously highly more qualified. But often in debates when one has no better material they resort to personal attacks on the opponent. ad hominem argument. Questioning Dr. Jackons’ validity as a scientist made your argument look vulnerable, and weak. But on the other hand the debate was very interesting. I’m glad I attended

  49. #49 Erl
    March 28, 2009

    Re: “Never get in a scientific debate with a cute, sweet chick with ‘SCIENCE!’ plastered across her boobs.”

    What are you talking about? Aside from the sweet part (where YMMV) I’ve found that is the #1 way to get involved in badass projects, friendships, and miscellanea

  50. #50 rrt
    March 29, 2009

    Interesting how you belittle ERV. Especially since she is obviously more highly qualified. But often in debates when one has no better material they resort to personal attacks on the opponent, ad hominem argument. Questioning ERV’s validity as a debator made your argument look vulnerable, and weak. But on the other hand your comment wasn’t very interesting, and I wish you’d thought before writing it.

  51. #51 Alec
    March 29, 2009

    Mocking me isn’t going to make my point any less valid. In the debates, the topic soon became Dr. Jacksons’ qualifications, and not the subject matter. It’s funny you take the same approach as Abbie. Instead of supporting your argument in a respectable and logical manner, you instead chose to mock or belittle the opposition. It’s okay, it just further supports my point on my original post.

  52. #52 ERV
    March 29, 2009

    Lying for Jesus much, Ass?

    ‘the topic soon became Dr. Jacksons’ qualifications’– Soon? It was one of the very last things we talked about, and Jackson brought it up in response to an audience members question. He asked whether he was a ‘scientist’, and I responded that he most certainly was not. He has no advanced science degrees. He participates in no scientific research, even at a technicians level.

    And as far as Jackson being ‘more qualified’, of course he is. I mean, he is a professional HIV-1 and cancer researcher, and Im just a traveling hobo. I mean, I didnt even have that lemur ERV paper committed to memory, nor did I understand that once retroviruses become proviruses, the mutate at the rate of the host, not a retrovirus.

    Oh wait, Jackson is the traveling hobo pretending to be a ‘scientist’, making trivial errors and not realizing it.

    I corrected those errors in the Q&A, Ass. You know that. Jackson never corrected me.

    But hes the expert.

    Go fuck yourself, Troll.

  53. #53 rrt
    March 29, 2009

    DAMN, Alec, but you’re thick. Your point couldn’t BE any less valid, so of course I can’t make it so! You completely missed the point and compounded your error. Here, let me ‘splain as simply as I can, so you can digest it:

    You complained that Abbie didn’t present “substance,” that all she did was ad-hominem attacks. You also complained that she wasn’t qualified. So Abbie was an unqualified hack tearing down her opponent’s person and not his arguments.

    But now, are you seriously telling me that you didn’t consider: You are almost certainly not as qualified as Abbie. You did not present any substance–you just tried to attack her personally by portraying her as an unqualified ad-hominem-flinging hack, and that therefore her argument was weakened. See? You did precisely what you’re whining she did! And you apparently had to lie to do it, since it sure sounds to me like discussing papers on ERVs in lemurs, and correcting your opponent’s errors on same from your knowledge of said papers, is substantial.

    Maybe it smarts that she said things you didn’t like about your friend. Maybe it smarts that she Knew Stuff. I can understand that, even feel sympathy. But tough luck. Grow up. Be a big boy. It smarts less once you start taking responsibility for the maintenance of your ideas.

  54. #54 eddie
    March 29, 2009

    Try Twa Dogs
    but I don’t get the ted haggard ref. Xpln plz.

  55. #55 jon
    March 30, 2009

    I’m guessing he gave off the Ted Haggard vibe Eddie…
    (If you didn’t know, Haggard was an extremely popular evangelical preacher who was into meth and male hookers).

    I’m guessing he seemed like he was hiding some sort of hypocritical secret…NTTAWWT.

  56. #56 athorist
    March 30, 2009

    Hmm, thinking about the Carl Sagan thing, thats close to a plot point in Anathem by Neal Stephenson, except its slightly different and I’m not sure if the idea he uses is actually that plausible.

    Heh. BOOBS: they work, bitches!

  57. #57 Prometheus
    March 30, 2009

    “Mocking me isn’t going to make my point any less valid.”

    ………nor validate your pointlessness.

    Addressing comments that have no merit only serves to give commentators the false impression they are somehow transmuted into being on the same intellectual level as the respondent.

    It is more fun {and honest} to put you in a box and poke you with sticks.

    That way everybody wins.

    Oh yea …except you…… sorry little buddy.

    *sticks out lower lip*

    *sheds tear*

    Take heart though. You can rip a page out of Rho’s book. Every time somebody calls him a douche he goes all pink and warm and writes a five page entry on his blog about his moral, ethical and intellectual superiority. The day ERV actually deigns to ban him I imagine he will dance around his living room doing the royal wave like the winner of a child beauty pageant.

  58. #58 Chris Challans
    March 30, 2009

    Hahahaha, this sounds golden. I can’t wait to see it.

    You should definitely post a link to the video when it gets uploaded. I haven’t had any luck on YT yet.

  59. #59 Rhology
    March 30, 2009

    So y’all don’t think I was just maliciously trolling, let me reappear here to take my lumps. I’m not all that interested in this topic of peer-review and all that, being a layman and being not much interested in the vagaries of scientific élitism and snobbery, so I concede out of disinterest.

  60. #60 LanceR, JSG
    March 30, 2009

    Wow. Even when he admits he was wrong, he can’t admit he was wrong. I believe the term for that is chutzpah.

  61. #61 Vorn
    March 30, 2009

    So, uh. Are you left-handed?

  62. #62 rrt
    March 30, 2009

    Rho, no offense, man (or is that due?), but that didn’t look good. You’re the one who thought it was interesting any worthwhile enough to complain about anti-creationist and anti-god censorship in science, and now all of a sudden you’ve lost interest in the topic? How is that “taking your lumps?”

    Look, aside from the “atheists aren’t necessarily what you picture them as” bit, all I was trying to get you to recognize was that there is no excuse today foe claiming good creation science exists but is being censored. You suggested that the likes of AiG and ICR have good research sitting idle, unpublishable only because of us. You also say that sort of thing isn’t your interest. Bwuh?! Don’t you think that it’s incumbent on you, precisely BECAUSE you believe that researh and evidence exists, to seek it out? To yes, ASK them for it and evaluate it as critically as you can? I assume you’re basing your beliefs on the existence of this good evidence you have no interest in actually seeing? Wha? If nothing else, surely you can see the problem in citing that suppressed evidence when you haven’t seen it. And again, as I said, these days there’s no excuse for it staying under a bushel.

  63. #63 jon
    March 30, 2009

    Rho@59

    So y’all don’t think I was just maliciously trolling, let me reappear here to take my lumps. I’m not all that interested in this topic of peer-review and all that, being a layman and being not much interested in the vagaries of scientific élitism and snobbery, so I concede out of disinterest.

    Yeah, those grapes were sour anyway…

  64. #64 jon
    March 30, 2009

    And…

    Rho@6

    Just think a little, is all we’re asking on the creationist side.

    Vs. Rho@59

    I’m not all that interested in this topic of peer-review and all that, being a layman and being not much interested in the vagaries of scientific élitism and snobbery, so I concede out of disinterest.

    Asking the real scientists to think a little and then admitting that you don’t want to think through your own argument…excuse me sir, I do believe you went full retard.

  65. #65 Tommykey
    March 30, 2009

    excuse me sir, I do believe you went full retard.

    Thank you Jon for giving me the best laugh I had all day!

  66. #66 jon
    March 30, 2009

    No problem, Tom.

  67. #67 Wolfhound
    March 31, 2009

    Gotta’ lurv the “elitist” card the fundies always play. Loosely defined, when applied to the opposition, it means “smarter, better educated, and/or richer than me”. And they use this as a pejorative?

  68. #68 bobxyxyxyx
    March 31, 2009

    Day four and we’re still waiting for the video.

  69. #69 Matt
    April 1, 2009

    Yukon Review misrepresentation, exhibit 1: Letter to the Editor

    To the Editor:
    In regards to the debate on
    evolution/creationism, I would
    like to thank both Ms. Smith
    and Dr. Jackson for sharing
    their knowledge and perspective
    with our community.
    Both clearly agreed upon
    some issues, coining the term
    “transparent.”
    One agreement is that evolution
    and religion both involve a
    heavy amount of faith. There
    was agreement on micro but
    not macroevolution. Another
    agreement was that evolution is
    theory, not fact or law.
    Ms. Smith shared that evolution
    is “functional” used to
    advance the study of science,
    which originates out of hypothesis
    or theory. I could relate
    this to being in a lab applying a
    known chemical equation in
    order to make a compound.
    At the end of the assignment,
    each person shares their results
    with others doing the same
    experiment. It is always a surprise
    to see how many different
    results turn out that are not the
    correct answer to the equation,
    not the desired, required compound.
    Thus the perils of science
    mixing known with unknown!
    I walked away wanting to
    study further about the “likely
    blood cells” found in the
    dinosaur bone that forces the
    question of how dates are
    applied to fossils. Is the age of
    earth within 6,000 years or farout-
    reaching?
    I walked away hoping that
    science teachers will teach evolution
    for what it is – a theory
    found to be functional and
    teach the difference between
    hypothesis and law. I walked
    away hoping science teachers
    would point out the intricate
    design nature, for example, the
    eye, versus the random, nonpatterned
    results of explosions
    – big bangs.
    I hope they teach why lab
    results don’t always match
    because we tend to overlook the
    slightest of details and variables.
    And I hope students are
    taught that raising questions is
    never wrong when theories,
    laws or faith are debated.
    Yes, there were three viewpoints
    at this debate and each
    worthy to hear: Evolution as
    functional in the lab – still theory,
    creationism in agreement
    with hard science, and the
    audience belief system or faith
    perhaps advancing forward in
    search for truth.
    Cheryl Drabek
    Yukon

    Not overtly hostile, but, I believe it was only Dr. Jackson who with sophistry (not sophistication, mind you) referred to evolution and/or the theory of the Big Bang as matters of faith on par with that in a Creator God. This he said, along with the assertion that, were a large swath of a class of his to subscribe to the “flat-earth” theory, he would teach it. Quite democratic and pluralistic of him…i.e. he’s a shmuck.

  70. #70 Matt
    April 1, 2009

    For some reason, the pictures themselves wouldn’t scan, but, such were the captions beneath said pictures of you and Dr. Jackson, they being Yukon Review misrepresentiaton, exhibit number 2. (Also, having further problems with my computer at the moment, forgive me if this is posted twice).

    Evolution Vs. Creation
    Right: Dr. Charles Jackson, a scientist with the Greater Truth
    Foundation, presents the creationist point of view during the recent
    Evolution vs Creation debate held at Christ’s Church of Yukon.
    Above: Abbie Smith, a research scientist with the OU Health Science
    Center, presents the evolutionist side of the argument at the debate.

    So have the elders of Yukon decreed: You are an evolutionIST. And, probably, also a Marxist, an abortionist, and an all-things-evil-and-unholy-ist. :-)

  71. #71 jon
    April 2, 2009

    wow @ matt @ 69….

    Some chem undergrad (or high schooler) thinks that she gets different results than the chemical equation because the equation is only a theory? It’s most likely that most early students are functionally retarded lab-wise and fail to follow directions or measure thoroughly (my experience). She didn’t even have the humility to consider that she might have been doing it wrong! The science must be flawed, because she could never screw up!

    The fail is strong with that one.

  72. #72 Truth
    April 2, 2009

    I am curious as to who won in this debate between Dr. Jackson and Abbie (my apologies for not knowing you correct qualifications as a scientist)

  73. #73 Boomer
    April 3, 2009

    Any word on the phantom video?

  74. #74 LanceR, JSG
    April 3, 2009

    One more time, loudly for the people in the cheap seats…

    The video is *huge*. It takes a *lot* of time and resources to edit video, especially when slicing it down into YouTube sized chunks. It may take a while. Keep your panties on.

    Sheesh. Read for comprehension, willya?

  75. #75 rrt
    April 4, 2009

    So, when is the video coming?

    (ducks)

  76. #76 Bobby
    April 9, 2009

    Wow Abby :( I can surely say that when I watched the videos I thought the debate went great. I thought both of you had some very good points and did an extremely good job. I thought overall (no offense)Dr. J did better at explaining all of the questions outside of the subject and that you seemed to know mostly only what was in your field of study. But I personally expected him to because he has a higher education on these subjects. But like I said: after watching the video I “thought” you both were very mature in answering your questions and that probably meant that you where very smart mature individuals. Although now that I am reading your responses to some of these people I cant believe what I am seeing.

    ERV:
    “I corrected those errors in the Q&A, Ass. You know that. Jackson never corrected me.

    But hes the expert.

    Go fuck yourself, Troll.”

    I don’t think any well known scientist would act like that cmon. I have seen high school students on youtube act more mature in arguments. And I bet your gonna cuss me out too now for writing this and completely ignore the fact that I thought you did a good job until now. But whatev I just think that if you want to be any kind of well known defense for evolution that your attitude better be a little more in check otherwise people are going to look at you like they look at the rest of these immature kids that are replying to your post and think that if you cant prove a point you’ll just get mad and cuss someone out just like a kid replying to a youtube video.

    But whatev just some thought for benefit.

  77. #77 jon
    April 9, 2009

    Your concern is noted bobby…

    *rolls eyes*

    Although I’d like to know what points of Dr. Jackson’s you thought were valid…

  78. #78 Bobby
    April 10, 2009

    It doesn’t matter what I thought was valid of Dr. Jacksons. Weather any of you think its true or not Abbie even agreed on the video (so she either lied or she agrees) but both sides are biased. Therefore you will never agree with anything of Dr. Jacksons side of the debate, so it doesn’t matter what points I thought were valid by Dr. J even if they are because you will never agree because you have your side picked. I on the other hand thought both of them did a good job. And roll your eyes if you want but like I said if you dont act professional about things you wont get noted as a great mind. I dont think any person who is noted for greatness in the scientific field got where they are at by doing immature things like name calling. A real scientist or debater or whatever you would want to consider Abbie would just aim to find more things out about the subject and prove them wrong. I know Dr. J and he did no such thing to Abbie in fact he thought she did a good job as well, he just disagrees with her and thats all the extent it should go. You should just disagree, it shouldn’t resort to name calling and cussing and whatever else if your not smart enough to prove the person so wrong that you dont have to do that immature stuff then your never going to be a great mind anyway.

    Anyway I don’t think anyone here is dumb or anything we just have different opinions (you Jon have a very sarcastic one) and so if someone says well your an Idiot because you don’t believe the way I do then your just sparking an argument for that person to come right back with the same thing or worse. Thats why there are so many stupid blog arguments. I would rather a person just say I disagree and here is why blah blah blah. Then you could say well I don’t really believe that and here is why. Not go to hell you idiot IM RIGHT AND YOUR WRONG lol. that doesnt solve anything.

    But whatever you guys argue all you want I just wanted to say I thought they both did a good job but I thought Abbie was better than that…thats all I didn’t want to start a debate about my side of things either because only the creationists will agree with why I thought Dr. J did good and maybe only the Evo’s will agree with why I thought Abbie did good but I don’t care I was stating something outside of that.

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