Pharyngula

Awww, Mike S. Adams noticed me!

Mike Adams latest column is all about his UMM visit…although, actually, it’s more of a whine about me.

Dr. P.Z. Myer did, in fact, make my talk Thursday night and something very strange happened: He, too, experienced a sudden and dramatic change in his level of courage during the course of the speech.

During the question and answer session, Professor Myer simply leaned against a door post with his arms crossed and said nothing. He just stared at me blankly and stood motionless in the same place where he was standing for the last twenty minutes of the speech. During the “Q & A”, I looked directly at him and asked “Are there any other questions?”

He looked directly at me? How was I supposed to tell? He is correct that there was a big crowd there, and a spillover into the hallway. I arrived late, and there were 3 or 4 people in front of me before the entrance…as they trickled away at the end, I worked my way farther forward. I only got as far as the door by the halfway point in the Q&A.

I’d be flattered that he noticed my presence if he weren’t such a pathetic gomer.

More important than what the video will show is what it will not show. Specifically, there will be no image of Dr. Myer mustering the courage to ask a question of Dr. Adams. Instead, he simply cowered away, and then ran back to his home computer in order to blog a fictitious account of a wonderful event — probably while sitting in his pajamas.

But it is a shame that Dr. Myer lacked the courage to ask me a single question. I certainly had a couple to ask of him. And I’ll bet the audience would have liked to hear him explain how an evolutionist who deems the universe to be accidental can be so full of moral superiority. Or perhaps how the accidental moralist can be an atheist and yet so angry at God.

It takes courage for a man to admit that he is sometimes afraid. But that courage is not a gift of random mutation. It is a gift from a God who loves even the most hardened atheist.

“Cowered away”? Or stood (apparently, prominently) at the door listening?

It wasn’t a lack of courage, I have to say. I have a personal policy at these sorts of talks of always giving the students first crack at speakers, no matter whether I approve of them or not. I’ve been at events where a professor and a speaker get into a little dialog at the end, and entertaining as it might be, it’s not as instructive as getting the students involved. While the students were readily raising their hands, even if they were college Republicans, I wasn’t going to interrupt. And the questions were still coming fast when the organizer peremptorily ended the session.

Since he had questions for me, I suppose he could have asked them directly, since he seems to have noticed me there; I think he’d reply rightly that he wouldn’t do that as long as he was getting questions from his audience. In this column, he could have replied to my complaints about the unlikelihood of his stories—a guy who claims he converted to being a far right wing Republican because of his revulsion at the unprincipled abuses of their immense power by feminists has some explainin’ to do—but whining that I didn’t ask a question at his talk is mighty feeble stuff.

And speaking of courage—complaining on the web about a criticism while not giving a link and misspelling the critic’s name, let alone neglecting to address any of the points, is at best discourteous, and more likely a reluctance to let his happy audience of cheerleaders actually see the substance of the complaints.

But here’s a deal. Since Dr. Mike S. Adams is such an avid proponent of seeing alternative points of view expressed on college campuses, and since he has so much clout at the UNC as a beloved professor, he can always get one of the campus organizations there to invite me out to his university (I expect the same honorarium he got here, of course) to give a talk on evolution and creationism, and then he can ask me his questions. I’ll even make sure to keep a seat in the front row open for him.


His readers apparently are smart enough to figure out my email address despite Adams’ coy misdirection. I’ve got lots of messages calling me a “liberal pussy” this morning—why are they calling me that which Mike S. Adams fears the most?

Comments

  1. #1 Acteon
    October 30, 2006

    I think it’s sweet. He obviously needs the recognition from you, the acceptance. I almost want to give the man a cuddle and tell him everything will be alright…

  2. #2 coturnix
    October 30, 2006

    Gotta specify it’s UNC-W so people don’t think that UNC-CH would have him. And Wilmington is pretty, on the ocean, so the visit could be fun (and they have some great people in philosophy department as well as marine biology).

  3. #3 norbizness
    October 30, 2006

    As I grew up in the same squalid suburban hellhole as Dr. Adams (graduating from the same high school about 6-7 years later); let me say that the conservatism was always there, and any secular, mildly progressive inclination he showed was probably of the gas-huffing or wine-cooler variety rather than anything rigorous, as he was by all accounts a miserable student and lifelong mouthbreather.

  4. #4 PZ Myers
    October 30, 2006

    One other funny thing about him: try googling for “Mike S. Adams”. Two of the entries on the first page are my articles sneering at him. That must be galling — I’m not even trying hard, and my opinions of him are highly ranked.

    World O’ Crap and TBogg have a better history of ripping into Adams. Mikey ought to appreciate my attention more.

    Hey, wait: the same environment generated a Mike S. Adams and a norbizness? This is scary. Do you also fear the vagina? Are there like breast-shaped mountains near their that erupt and kill people? Can you hear the women’s teeth clack as they walk?

  5. #5 norbizness
    October 30, 2006

    Mountains? In Houston?

    And you’ll forgive me if I’m not familiar with the other examples, but I think you’ll agree that no community could survive a descent into self-destruction if everyone had the same sociopathies as Adams.

  6. #6 Bro. Bartleby
    October 30, 2006

    Do you actually wear pajamas while blogging? Or is that a figment of Dr. Adams’ imagination? I would think any real man would blog in his boxer shorts.

  7. #7 Nance Confer
    October 30, 2006

    The problem for Professor Myer is that – perhaps unbeknownst to him – the speech was videotaped. The videotape – taken by the school newspaper – . . .

    *******
    Is this true? How can we view this videotape?

    Nance

  8. #8 Acteon
    October 30, 2006

    A real man blogs only in that what the good lord has provided at birth…

  9. #9 andy
    October 30, 2006

    I’m most impressed by how he quotes the question you wanted to ask him (were it not for “cowardice”) and then neglects to answer it.

    I’m also impressed by the idiots in the Townhall comments who, being so familiar with you (so they claim), all seem to find creative ways to misspell your name. Maybe familiarity really does breed contempt!

  10. #10 George
    October 30, 2006

    My opinion of UNC is plummeting.

    What a Biggus Dickus.

    For me, his conversion story is the best revenge.

    He gets to go through life believing a load of tripe, and not understanding that it is a load of tripe. On his death bed he will not realize that he wasted all that time on a dumb fantasy God. Sad, really.

    Haha!

    Students of Mike S.! Don’t make the same mistake!

  11. #11 PZ Myers
    October 30, 2006

    I did see people going in and out of the A/V room near me, so I assumed it was videotaped. That doesn’t disturb me at all — as I said, there were lots of questions, and the last few did start to politely (we’re Minnesotans…always politely) raise questions that he did not answer very well.

    I’m pretty sure they didn’t catch me ‘cowering’ on the floor, weeping and pissing myself.

  12. #12 Warren
    October 30, 2006

    “Cowered away”? Or stood (apparently, prominently) at the door listening?

    Yeah, but what about the pajamas?

    Pretty pathetic of him; the best he can do to “discredit” you (and by extension reality) is try to dredge up the tired old stereotype of a loner-loser doing one-handed net surfing.

  13. #13 gg
    October 30, 2006

    Ugh. I’m now rather ashamed to be part of the UNC system.

    I would tend to look at Adams’ focus on PZ in his blog posting as something of a ‘Freudian slip’ – the fact that he’s so amazed/fascinated that PZ didn’t speak up suggests to me that he was spending a lot of time before the talk worrying about it, preparing for it, even fearing it. PZ, any time one makes a fanatic that nervous, it’s something to be proud of…

  14. #14 George
    October 30, 2006

    I found this advice in Psychology Today for Mike S. I’m just going to assume this is his real problem.

    Dear Dr. Frank,

    I am 43 and have masturbated every day for the past 29 years. Over this time many attractive young women have offered me their services with no strings attached. But this triggers great fear in me. Why?

    I have always had the desire to have great sex, but I’ve never been willing to risk it. Could there be something wrong in my thinking?

    — Nonesuch

    Dear None,

    Yes, you have too much imagination and too little spirit of adventure. There’s nothing wrong in masturbating. We’ve all masturbated since puberty, no matter what else we’ve done with our sexuality, but you got stuck there.

    You suffer from vagina-phobia — the fear of letting go of your penis and giving it over to someone else. Unless we began our heterosexual careers in a burst of postpubertal bravado, every one of us was frightened the first time, though most of us can’t remember exactly what we feared. Whatever it was, it didn’t happen, and it won’t happen to you, either. One thing that does often happen the first time is that your pecker feels your fear and shrinks up rather than rising to the occasion. Hang in there and in time you will both get comfortable. And don’t be concerned about having great sex; that will come later.

    Just settle for letting a friendly woman play with your favorite toy. Don’t worry, she’ll give it back. Expect to be anxious at first, but you’ll relax with it in time.

    One last suggestion: You might be more sexually available to others if you gave yourself a little rest. Remember the old adage: “Don’t have sex in the morning; you never know who you’ll meet later in the day.

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/pto-19951101-000039.html

  15. #15 junk science
    October 30, 2006

    I bet he just wants a cookie for not pulling a Musgrave and trying to have you thrown out. Poor, brave Dr. Adam.

  16. #16 Kristine
    October 30, 2006

    “Don’t worry, she’ll give it back.”

    ??? *Laughter*

    I just stand in awe of the telepathic powers of these believer yucks. “PZ Meyers couldn’t muster the courage,” etc. “God loves even the hardened atheists,” because he and God are buds. And of course, the perennial “You’re angry at God.” What insight.

    Since he’s privy to this information (including what people do in their pajamas), Mike Adams should also know that the man that he saw and assumed was PZ was really an angel in human form, a poor, multitasking, working-joe angel (they’re short-staffed in heaven, a little secret) who, after having had a long day making jesus faces appear in the woodwork instead of healing amputees (it’s tough working for a micromanaging control freak), “experienced a sudden and dramatic change in his level of courage during the course of the speech” when he finally realized, “This job sucks, we need to form a union.”

  17. #17 Will
    October 30, 2006

    I too must defend UNC-Wilmington (where Adams’ is a professor) as I graduated from there with B.A.s in Anthropology and Philosophy & Religion. Coturnix is right, they have a fantastic P&R faculty (one professor presented atheism to me for the first time) and their marine bio program is one of the best on the east coast. Unfortunately I can’t say such nice things about the Criminology department.

  18. #18 Mena
    October 30, 2006

    This sounds way too much like the Janet Jackson nipple travesty- millions and millions of people who didn’t watch the half time show were so offended by what they saw but only after seeing it on the news a billion times and then looking at the uncensored pictures on the internet. This guy probably saw this blog and then made stuff up. Some people are so disconnected with reality that this may be the way that he remembers it, after all reality and this guy don’t seem to have even a passing acquaintance.

  19. #19 Dave Newton
    October 30, 2006

    So… what if we took up a collection and hosted our own little debate? I mean, I could easily scrounge up a thousand or two, and I would *love* to see a *real* debate.

    Whaddya think?

  20. #20 Steve Sutton
    October 30, 2006

    Apparently, common courtesy is a sign of weakness to him.

  21. #21 gengar
    October 30, 2006

    I see that you’ve got so fed up with people getting your name wrong that you didn’t even mention it this time…

  22. #22 Numad
    October 30, 2006

    You were scared because his God is stronger than your Evolution?

    If he weren’t so singleminded Adams might have succeeded to insult someone else than himself with this.

  23. #23 Dianne
    October 30, 2006

    I second Dave Newton’s idea. My only concern is whether a PZ Myers-Mike Adams debate might not resemble Godzilla versus Bambi a little too much…

  24. #24 jaimito
    October 30, 2006

    I have seen similar situations in my university and generally it is resolved by something like “We are lucky to have here with us Dr PZ Myers, a prominent proposer of evolution. Dr Myers, where are you hiding? Would you please come up and share with us the microphone?”

    As Mr Adams writes, what was NOT said is more important than what was said (by him).

    (BTW, his imaginative description of Dr Myers in pajamas reveals something. PZ is becoming a sex object!)

  25. #25 Kozinator
    October 30, 2006

    Hello all. TH reader here who followed some links given by PZ when he posted on the blog for Adams column (BTW, it would be easier to follow the links if they were correct. Next time omit the comma after the last forward slash). Interesting love-fest you guys have going on here. I especially like the last post I read by Dave Newton about common courtesy. It appears to be sorely lacking on this thread, and it’s more then apparent. I also enjoy the complaints about spelling Mr Myers name incorrectly. I’m no spelling whiz. I make mistakes all the time and am hardly ever able to catch them after re-reading what I’ve written before posting. I find it amusing because Mr. Myers himself uses “their” instead of the correct “there”. Would that fall under the “people in glass houses” or “the pot calling the kettle”? One last thing, Mr. Myers. You can expect the same honorarium paid to Mr. Adams, but you won’t get it. See, people are actually willing to pay Mr. Adams to hear what he has to say. Some time in the future when you have garnered a similar interest in what you have to say, then maybe you will. Cheers to all, and though I believe you don’t want to hear it, though I don’t know any of you, God does and he loves you and me in spite of ourselves!

  26. #26 George
    October 30, 2006

    Grammar and spelling troll. Disemvowel Kozinator instanter.

  27. #27 MarkP
    October 30, 2006

    I loved Bambi vs Godzilla.

  28. #28 QrazyQat
    October 30, 2006

    I’m pretty sure they didn’t catch me ‘cowering’ on the floor, weeping and pissing myself.

    We’ll fix it in post. — M. Adams

  29. #29 Sastra
    October 30, 2006

    The real reason Adams wanted PZ to ask a question — and was disappointed when he didn’t — was that he wanted to make rhetorical hay of the fact that this here scientist who is *pro-evolution* is an ATHEIST. Atheist, evolutionist; atheism, evolution. I was just asked a question by an ATHEIST, who favors EVOLUTION. Did you kids in the back hear that? Did you hear the question asked by the ATHEIST who is defending EVOLUTION? Did you get that okay? Is it on the videotape?

  30. #30 ifriit
    October 30, 2006

    “See, people are actually willing to pay Mr. Adams to hear what he has to say.”

    People are willing to pay to see and hear many things. Since when did this become a measure of merit?

    There’s one born every minute…

  31. #31 George
    October 30, 2006

    “See, people are actually willing to pay Mr. Adams to hear what he has to say.”

    A fool and his/her money are easily parted.

  32. #32 Manny
    October 30, 2006

    Wait a minute Dr. Myers, you haven’t explained your blatant fabrication about the “dark skinned man”. Please expound.

  33. #33 wildlifer
    October 30, 2006

    See, people are actually willing to pay Mr. Adams to hear what he has to say.

    There’s a sucker born every minute ….

  34. #34 BMurray
    October 30, 2006

    Actually people are willing to pay Adams to say things to people. That’s different than people being willing to pay to listen. It’s especially damning that someone paid him to talk to people and then bribed those people with extra credit to attend — essentially Adams was paid to speak and the audience was paid to listen. I don’t find that particularly flattering for Adams.

  35. #35 Shawn S.
    October 30, 2006

    Kozinator,

    If God loves us so much then why are we all going to hell if we don’t buy into his bullshit? God’s ‘love’ is so conditional it would make any psychologist shudder at the dysfunctionality of it.

    Being a member of God’s family (and we can use this metaphor freely because God The Father is always used in the Bible) is like being a member of some unpredictable, capricious, drunken guy’s family. He’s totally megalomaniacal, and plays head games. He has a stick in one hand and a dubious looking carrot in the other. He is constantly bugging your bedroom to make sure you aren’t breaking his house rules and he has fake birth certificates planted in a cheap lockbox (easily opened if you take the time) that makes you doubt your parentage, but if you look at these fake birth certficates he has in this cheap-ass lockbox (which you broke into because he kept saying, “Don’t look in that!”…and grinning) and take them seriously then he locks you in the garage where his estranged nephew (who is consigned to doing God’s dirty work in a dirty garage because of some falling out) tortures you all afternoon with a blowtorch. This is NOT LOVE!

    This is God’s family. It’s LESS functional than the Manson family.

    The best tool for converting Christians into atheists is the Bible.

    As Dawkins said, “God is one of the most awful characters in all of fiction.” (I may be paraphrasing a bit)

  36. #36 PZ Myers
    October 30, 2006

    Correct. The College Republicans and their conservative rag, the Counterweight, are getting money from outside sources that are willing to invest in building political institutions at the U. I don’t see much of that on the liberal side.

    People attended because 1) a minority of conservative students were pushing for him (this might have filled one row of the auditorium), 2) there was a controversy built up, so some came to see a fight, and 3) those liberal academics he cusses out tend to bend over backwards to encourage their students to see alternative points of view.

    So, no, I don’t expect an invitation from UNC-Wilmington. The right-wing does not make an effort to see different views expressed. Also, since any talk I’d give would be on the evolution wars, Adams knows deep down that he is abysmally ignorant on the subject, and he’d be hopelessly outgunned.

  37. #37 craig
    October 30, 2006

    I just love the “angry at God” bit.
    Yeah, we’re MAD at god, so we’re not gonna believe in him. That’ll show him! God HATES the silent treatment.

  38. #38 Lindsay
    October 30, 2006

    OH yes, please don’t think that UNC-Chapel Hill (the real and orignial “UNC”) would ever put up with that sort of BS.

    We can’t be held responsible for other schools in the UNC system. Especially UNC-W.

  39. #39 Kristine
    October 30, 2006

    I just love the “angry at God” bit.

    So do I. What I think is going on is that, being that no one can love someone they have to love (or they’re going to hell), they’re secretly angry at this someone, must repress it (or they’re going to hell), and resent anyone who has the gall not to buy into all this emotional blackmail in the first place, thus projecting their own anger at God onto the atheist, who is, naturally, “going to hell.”

    BTW, Myers, not Meyers! Typo.

  40. #40 Trespasser
    October 30, 2006

    Kristine and Shawn S. —

    Wow. WHO’s angry???

    And — I’m just curious to know how you’d react to hear your beloved P.Z. introduced in a similar (but reverse) fashion to how he introduced Dr. Adams. Any chance of a CIVIL reply?

  41. #41 minimalist
    October 30, 2006

    Weird, I didn’t detect any anger in Kristine and Shawn’s replies, Trespasser. Amusement and satire, yes.

    Bit touchy, are we?

  42. #42 PZ Myers
    October 30, 2006

    What’s with all this crazy talk about me “introducing” Mike S. Adams? I was not affiliated in any way with his visit; I had no role to play in his talk; I was even considering skipping the whole thing as a waste of time. If I’d been asked to introduce him, I would have refused.

  43. #43 plunge
    October 30, 2006

    Kozinator and Trespasser: when come back, bring argument. It’s funny how you guys just never get around to the point: never actually offer any substantive arguments anything. oooo PZ says mean things about Adams! oooooo! Well, PZ also prety deftly eviscerates any arguments Adams made (what few there were) and Adams entire claim that PZ was too scared to ask Adams a question doesn’t even pass the laugh test. What do you have to say about that? Nothing.

    Ad hominem is not, btw, when you say mean things about someone. Taking on all their arguments and THEN saying “boy, those were stupid arguments and the person that made them had to be pretty stupid to make them” is not ad hominem. Ironically, however, focusing EXCLUSIVELY on insults and slights while ignoring the arguments made, IS ad hominem. 🙂

  44. #44 Nathan
    October 30, 2006

    I have a couple of questions for Dr. Myers, and I ask in honesty, not in sarcasm: Where did all of the matter in the universe come from? If there is not some higher power, whether it is the God I believe in or not, how does anything exist? Has it all been here forever, and if so, how can anyone comprehend eternity? And how do you explain the inaccuracy of Louis Pasteur’s 1859 experiment, which disproved spontaneous generation? I’m sure you’ve considered these things, and while I doubt I’ll agree with your responses, I have never gotten a clear answer to these questions when I posed them to my atheist friends. Anyone who wishes to answer any of these questions is free to e-mail me at rednilla80@aol.com. I will be e-mailing these questions to Dr. Myers, but he stated that he sometimes does not respond, so I’d like to post them here in hopes that someone might be able to give me an intelligent answer to these questions if he is unable to reply. Peace.

  45. #45 Trespasser
    October 30, 2006

    Well, then maybe you ought to try reading them again, minimalist:

    “If God loves us so much then why are we all going to hell if we don’t buy into his bullshit? God’s ‘love’ is so conditional it would make any psychologist shudder at the dysfunctionality of it.”
    “. . .consigned to doing God’s dirty work in a dirty garage because of some falling out) tortures you all afternoon with a blowtorch. This is NOT LOVE! This is God’s family. It’s LESS functional than the Manson family.”

    Bit blind, aren’t we? (You’d take it as a love fest if someone spoke of you in that fashion?) But me touchy? Nope, doesn’t bother me any. They’re the ones who have the big surprise coming.

  46. #46 Mighty Blue Bustard
    October 30, 2006

    Liberals “Just Know” they are right, so they do not have to resort to reason or logic to substantiate their quaint beliefs. A “far, far right-wing nut case” is anyone who disagrees with a liberal. And if you disagree with a liberal, expect the following sort of claptrap:

    “Mike S. Adams, columnist for TownHall, Horowitzian shill, anti-feminist, creationist clown, homophobic bigot, warrior for free speech, professional racist, gun kook, academic-by-accident, beauty contest judge, and just generally contemptible far, far right-wing nutcase.”

    “I’m very disappointed in our students. We’re far off the beaten track and we don’t get that many speakers passing through our area, and they had to go exhibit the poor taste to invite this sorry sack of rethuglican excreta to our campus. Couldn’t they have at least tried to find an intelligent conservative to bring out here? Why’d they have to scrape the bottom of the barrel for this guy? At least we’re seeing our rather dismal right-wing campus rag’s fading credibility implode with their sponsorship of such a low-wattage guest speaker.”

  47. #47 commissarjs
    October 30, 2006

    PZ gets a couple students mixed up and suddenly it’s all a complete fabrication. We got him on which student asked which question! Go for the throat! Go for the throat!

    Man, I missed arguing with right wingers so much. Some of you are falling prey to the fallcy of irrelevant conclusion. Which student asked which question has absolutely no bearing on the validity of Dr. Adams statements. Nor does it have any bearing on Dr. Myers allowing the students to ask questions first.

    The faux outrage about the students, the hollow declarations of victory, and feigned wonder at the miracle of Yahweh stealing PZ’s voice are just about what everyone has come to expect from the 101st fighting keyboarders. Besides if that’s your threshold for miracles you should declare me the messiah right now. I can pull a quarter out of your ear and make it disappear from my palm. Don’t even get me started on card tricks, you guys would be falling all over yourselves to be martyrs in my name.

  48. #48 Trespasser
    October 30, 2006

    Hey P.Z. — you were right and I was mistaken about the introduction. I went back to Dr. Adams’ article and discovered I had misread it. It was your writings that I guess I was referring to. Nice stuff, Mr. Associate Professor. And quite telling.

    Hey, plunge — Gee I didn’t know that in order to post on a website, you always had to bring an argument. From what I’ve seen here and on lots of other blogs, folks just seem to put down opinions and responses. Your specific argument again was what?

  49. #49 George
    October 30, 2006

    “Where did all of the matter in the universe come from?”

    God blew it out his ass 6,000 years ago. Everyone knows that, for crying out loud.

    (Hmmmm. On second thought, maybe it was the God that made God that made God that blew it out of his ass.)

  50. #50 minimalist
    October 30, 2006

    Trespasser,

    Sorry, still doesn’t seem very angry to me. Bit contemptuous maybe, but it’s not like the sort of hypocrites Shawn rails against haven’t earned it.

    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised you’re having trouble with the concept though. Young Republicans have such rudimentary nervous systems, it’s easy to group negative stimuli into one very broad category of “ANGER.”

    In case you need help telling the difference, here’s an example of anger:

    “People like you deserve to be dragged down the street by your hair. . . . I hope you will have the good sense to keep you[r] liberal moth [sic] shut at a time like this. No one needs your shit.”

    That’s from the good Missus Adams, who no doubt was obeying her (future) husband in all things, and speaking only when ordered to. “Having a will of your own” is so “liberal feminist”, after all.

  51. #51 Dianne
    October 30, 2006

    I’m not PZ Myers, but I’m a sucker for a silly argument, so here goes:

    Where did all of the matter in the universe come from?

    I’ve no idea. Ask a cosmologist.

    If there is not some higher power, whether it is the God I believe in or not, how does anything exist?

    Why shouldn’t it have just come from no where and nothing? If you answer the question “where did the universe” come from by saying “god made it” then how do you answer the question “where did god come from”?

    Has it all been here forever, and if so, how can anyone comprehend eternity?

    Nope. A known, finite amount of time has passed since the Big Bang. And if things keep going the way they have been, the universe will eventually all turn into dark energy (whatever that is), making the universe a time limited entity. What does whether or not a bunch of monkeys with a little cortical hypertrophy can understand eternity or not have to do with whether or not it can exist?

    And how do you explain the inaccuracy of Louis Pasteur’s 1859 experiment, which disproved spontaneous generation?

    Huh? I don’t get the point of this question. Are you a believer in spontaneous generation or do you expect PZ to be one?

  52. #52 Jen
    October 30, 2006

    “Where did all of the matter in the universe come from? If there is not some higher power, whether it is the God I believe in or not, how does anything exist? Has it all been here forever, and if so, how can anyone comprehend eternity?”

    Where did god come from? Did some “higher power” create him? If not, then how does anything exist? Has god been here forever? If so, how can anyone comprehend eternity?

    There’s no sarcasm in my response, just a thought to (hopefully) illuminate the false assumptions in your questions. If you can believe that your fictional god has always existed, why is it so difficult to grasp that the universe might also have always existed?

  53. #53 Dianne
    October 30, 2006

    …a bunch of monkeys with a little cortical hypertrophy…

    Duh. That should be “apes” not “monkeys”. Humans don’t have prehensile tails. Apparently my cortical hypertrophy could be better.

  54. #54 Acteon
    October 30, 2006

    I do like it when we get straight to the question. If there is no God, where did everything come from?

    You can go on and on about philosophy and theology but it all comes down to that question. The reply is of course that we don’t know. And people have always used gods a method to explain these unanswered questions. The sun god, the god of thunder etc etc etc…

    Just because we don’t know the answer now or indeed even know how we can know the answer doesn’t mean we never will. Someday a scientist somewhere will have equipment and methods we today can not even imagine.

    The answer to a difficult question is never “god”. Because that is not an answer it’s a cop out…

  55. #55 JY
    October 30, 2006

    Duh. That should be “apes” not “monkeys”. Humans don’t have prehensile tails. Apparently my cortical hypertrophy could be better.

    Don’t beat yourself up. If ‘monkey’ is a valid taxon, then humans are monkeys, as are all apes.

  56. #56 Trespasser
    October 30, 2006

    Minimalist — Not sure where you got the stuff “from Missus Adams,” but I refer you to Mighty Blue Bustard’s posting which quotes the Reverend PZ.

    I don’t think you have any room.

  57. #57 stogoe
    October 30, 2006

    I’m tempted to guess that Pasteur was brought in to counter the ‘matter just happened’ explanation. Pasteur was right that flies don’t just appear in spoiled meat, rather, adult flies lay fly eggs in spoiled meat. But this doesn’t have anything to do with the origin of all matter.

  58. #58 Yahweh
    October 30, 2006

    “Where did all of the matter in the universe come from? If there is not some higher power, whether it is the God I believe in or not, how does anything exist?,

    Unlucky for you that I just happened to tune into this blog. I AM God, and second-guessing smartasses like you are really starting to piss me off. It’s my game and I don’t have to explain a damn thing. I seem to have misplaced my powers at the moment, but when I get ’em back I’m gonna kick your ass. Just for the hell of it.

  59. #59 commissarjs
    October 30, 2006

    Here’s where the quote is from Trespasser:

    http://blogs.salon.com/0002874/2004/12/01.html#a1310

  60. #60 BlueIndependent
    October 30, 2006

    Projection has always been the right-wing’s most dangerous weapon of mass destruction/distraction. It worked so well in Jamestown, how could they let such a timeless warpiece go unused for 400 years?

    They’ve reached varitable psychosis on this point by now. They hide their disdain for though even less now. Anyone here catch the opinion piece in some Virginia paper the other day about one of Bush’s former speech writers? He literally expresses hate for liberals *in the title*, using the actual word. I don’t like the doomsayer game, but something tells me things are going to get worse before they get better…

  61. #61 Steviepinhead
    October 30, 2006

    1. Weak force symmetry breaking.

    2. Why should existence require a special explanation? Wouldn’t non-existence (no time, no space, no nothing, never, whatever “never” means in the absence of time…) be just as remarkable a situation, requiring as much or more special pleading?

    3. Absent a spacetime ticking away against which we can compare expanses of chronology, eternity seems like a pretty vacuous term.

    4. If you prevent any living matter from getting at water, dead matter, or some other substance for a short time, over a very limited space it would indeed be remarkable if life spontaneously generated. What, if anything, does this have to do with the likelihood of abiogenesis occuring over several hundred millions of years over all of the wildly varying chemical, geological, temperature, etc. regimes over an entire planet? Or over any number of plausible “candidate” planets, of which we were lucky enough to draw the correct one? In an interstellar medium filled with floating bio-molecules just waiting their chance to rain down on candidate planets?

    Now I’ve got a question for you? Are you entirely sure no “atheist” has ever “satisfactorily” answered these rather banal little questions?

  62. #62 PZ Myers
    October 30, 2006

    It’s this Mike S. Adams, columnist for TownHall, Horowitzian shill, anti-feminist, creationist clown, homophobic bigot, warrior for free speech, professional racist, gun kook, academic-by-accident, beauty contest judge, and just generally contemptible far, far right-wing nutcase.

    The other sad thing about these complaints about my characterization of Adams is that they quote that…and strip off the links. Every phrase in the original had a link to a site backing up the accusation, and now they act as if I were just making it all up.

    Shouldn’t internet trolls know about “links” already? Does this new-fangled technology confuse them?

  63. #63 Mad Dawg
    October 30, 2006

    Alexander Stevens appeals to science to justify slavery. Hitler appeals to science to justify his weird numerological racism. We all say this is bad science, we all admit there can be people who practice bad science.

    But in arguing against religion, it seems “trespasser” and others take the worst and least reasonable of the devout and use them to characterize all religious folks. All religion is bad because some religions, which you have had the misfortune to encounter, are bad. What happens to me when atheists do that is that I am left thinking that you have no clue what I am talking about, and wouldn’t understand why, as a Catholic, I also argue against a lot of what you argue against.

    “trespasser”, did you know that a lay protestant thinker considered by many Christians of many denominations to be a fine expositor of Christian thought — one of the finest of the last century — says that no one is in hell who doesn’t want to be there, that the door to hell is locked from the inside?

    If you don’t know that, then you haven’t done much opposition research and you won’t understand why your description of Christianity is so far from what some Christians think that useful discussion probably can’t happen. Not that that’s a problem to you.

    I don’t believe in the God you don’t believe in. There’s another God, however, that I haven’t heard you talk about. I do believe in Him.

    I note PZ has a quote about how some people think that their arguing from religion makes them wiser than others. No doubt. But I’ve seen enough smugly condescending atheists who show so little comprehension of the argument they seem to think they’ve refuted with dazzling logic, that I have to conclude that the same could be said of them. Just espousing atheism gives them a sense of such great intellectual superiority that they feel they don’t have actually to USE their great minds.

  64. #64 Mena
    October 30, 2006

    Liberals “Just Know” they are right, so they do not have to resort to reason or logic to substantiate their quaint beliefs. A “far, far right-wing nut case” is anyone who disagrees with a liberal. And if you disagree with a liberal, expect the following sort of claptrap:
    Oooh, he must be a genius, he calls people liberals. He obviously knows what he’s talking about! We must bow down to his awesome knowledge.
    By the way, Liberal:
    lib‧er‧al [lib-er-uhl, lib-ruhl]
    -adjective 1. favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs.
    2. (often initial capital letter) noting or pertaining to a political party advocating measures of progressive political reform.
    3. of, pertaining to, based on, or advocating liberalism.
    4. favorable to or in accord with concepts of maximum individual freedom possible, esp. as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties.
    5. favoring or permitting freedom of action, esp. with respect to matters of personal belief or expression: a liberal policy toward dissident artists and writers.
    6. of or pertaining to representational forms of government rather than aristocracies and monarchies.
    7. free from prejudice or bigotry; tolerant: a liberal attitude toward foreigners.
    8. open-minded or tolerant, esp. free of or not bound by traditional or conventional ideas, values, etc.
    9. characterized by generosity and willingness to give in large amounts: a liberal donor.
    10. given freely or abundantly; generous: a liberal donation.
    11. not strict or rigorous; free; not literal: a liberal interpretation of a rule.
    12. of, pertaining to, or based on the liberal arts.
    13. of, pertaining to, or befitting a freeman.

    -noun 14. a person of liberal principles or views, esp. in politics or religion.
    15. (often initial capital letter) a member of a liberal party in politics, esp. of the Liberal party in Great Britain.

    [Origin: 1325-75; ME < L līberālis of freedom, befitting the free, equiv. to līber free + -ālis -al1] --Related forms lib‧er‧al‧ly, adverb lib‧er‧al‧ness, noun --Synonyms 1. progressive. 7. broad-minded, unprejudiced. 9. beneficent, charitable, openhanded, munificent, unstinting, lavish. See generous. 10. See ample. --Antonyms 1. reactionary. 8. intolerant. 9, 10. niggardly. So Mighty Blue Bustard, are you reactionary, intolerant, or niggardly? Maybe a combination, since you are so against liberals and things that befit the free.

  65. #65 Cat of Many Faces
    October 30, 2006

    Now now, this influx of new idiots is too entertaining. Maybe we can make our points, but obfuscate them so these people will stick around longer…

    Or not.

  66. #66 gravitybear
    October 30, 2006

    Acteon: Just because we don’t know the answer now or indeed even know how we can know the answer doesn’t mean we never will. Someday a scientist somewhere will have equipment and methods we today can not even imagine.

    Good, but I think it’s inportant to state further that even if we never know the answer, that doesn’t mean that “God did it” is a valid answer.

  67. #67 Ichthyic
    October 30, 2006

    All religion is bad because some religions, which you have had the misfortune to encounter, are bad. What happens to me when atheists do that is that I am left thinking that you have no clue what I am talking about, and wouldn’t understand why, as a Catholic, I also argue against a lot of what you argue against.

    an atheist does not use the evidence of the societal effects of religion to justify atheism. an atheist uses the lack of evidence in support of any deities to be all the justification needed.

    decrying the societal effects of various religious sects has nothing to do with atheism, as you rightly point out that you yourself can decry various religious sects as well.

    don’t confuse one for the other.

  68. #68 Scott Kemp
    October 30, 2006

    Dr. Myers –

    I think it would be great for two academics w/ differing points of view to speak to each other and the public from the same forum. Why don’t you try to get it setup?

    One of the concerns that many conservatives have is that liberal academics are unwilling to listen to opposing points of view & are certainly unwilling to give those points-of-view a fair hearing.

    Are you the man who can prove them wrong? (by providing / producing / cooperating to produce / … the forum where both sides can receive a fair hearing?

  69. #69 PZ Myers
    October 30, 2006

    Are you nuts? That’s about as complete a reversal of the situation as you can possibly get.

    Mike S. Adams, about as contemptible and fringey a right-winger as you can get, comes to this liberal campus, and our faculty give extra credit to students for attending his talk. I tell students to either not attend, or listen politely and ask hard questions, but that they shouldn’t protest. I attended his talk, despite knowing pretty well what kind of nonsense he’d spout.

    And we’re the ones who are unwilling to listen?

  70. #70 Steve_C
    October 30, 2006

    Hitler and Stevens were not practising science. They were twisting it to suit their ideologies. Hitler was Catholic and Stevens was a Presbyterian.

  71. #71 PZ Myers
    October 30, 2006

    Where did all of the matter in the universe come from? If there is not some higher power, whether it is the God I believe in or not, how does anything exist?

    If the only way for something to exist is for something greater than it to have created it, where did God come from?

    Has it all been here forever, and if so, how can anyone comprehend eternity?

    We don’t think the universe existed forever, but it doesn’t matter anyway–your inability to comprehend something is not a measure of its nonexistence.

    And how do you explain the inaccuracy of Louis Pasteur’s 1859 experiment, which disproved spontaneous generation?

    Louis Pasteur’s experiment showed that life is all about us, and that within the conditions and timecourse of his observations, it does not spontaneously emerge. He did not, of course, have a planet the size of the earth under the conditions that prevailed 4.5 billion years ago in his flask for a few million years.

    Is this the very best the readers of Mike S. Adams’ dreck can do? I’m not impressed.

  72. #72 commissarjs
    October 30, 2006

    Actually Mad Dawg most of us grew up in religious households. For whatever reason many us outgrew or altered our point of view over time. There was a whole thread about deconversion stories a while back.

    I am an atheist not because I think it gives me any moral or intellectual superiority but because I don’t believe in the existance of any deities or in the supernatural. If you see condescension it’s because most of us are tired of beating the same dead horse, but continue to do so anyway.

    There’s no new arguments for the existence of any deities. We’ve all seen the same logical fallacies over and over again. Each time we see the same old canards they are presented with the glee of a cat bringing in a dead bird for its’ masters. We’ve all seen every single argument that can be brought against us. We’ve beaten them before. They aren’t new. They aren’t innovative. So by the 50th time someone brings up St. Anselm’s ontological arguments we’re tired and cranky at fighting a battle we’ve fought 49 times before.

  73. #73 jaimito
    October 30, 2006

    And how do you explain the inaccuracy of Louis Pasteur’s 1859 experiment, which disproved spontaneous generation?

    This is a 150 years old, yet fresh and fertile argument. Aha, Louis Pasteur’s 1859 experiment was inaccurate! Pasteur was wrong, maliciously so, and spontaneous generation does exist. Which proves that evolution is a fabrication.

    I can imagine an anti-science biology class where the students observe how meat, left on the sun, breeds green flies, and how a sack of grain generates – spontaneously – maggots. We can also observe on a microscope how a drop of pure water soon fills up with small living creatures. We can also see the small humunculi swimming in some young volunteer’s ejection. We shall then watch Woody Allen’s instructive film showing the him as his collegues as sperm. Moreover, I can design an experiment showing that Einstein’s trains and watches experiment does not work, two teams of student travelling on two trains speeding off at opposite directions keep the same time, and we can prove that comparing by cell phones. No relativity here. And that famous Schrodiger’s cat in a box thought experiment! I can show with a real cat and a real box that he was wrong.

    Gentlemen, I understand creationism is a very profitable business, and I am willing to prepare a practical guide of creationist experiments and teaching aids in physics and biology for only a fistful of gold dollars. I hope Prof. PZ Myers will allow me to promote here my useful services. Contact address below.

  74. #74 bmurray
    October 30, 2006

    I don’t see how you can tell an adult not to worry, there’s no such thing as ghosts without sounding condescending.

  75. #75 llewelly
    October 30, 2006

    One of the concerns that many conservatives have is that liberal academics are unwilling to listen to opposing points of view & are certainly unwilling to give those points-of-view a fair hearing.

    Conservatives have that concern because right-wing radicals (who care nothing for conserving the status quo) have repeatedly told conservatives that liberal academics are close-minded. Right-Wing nuts have constructed strawman liberal academic, who is quite rare. Right-Wing propagandists have taken advantage of the fact that few people have the resources to investigate how most liberal academic institutions treat speakers. The true situation is much as PZ Myers describes it (with isolated exceptions), but Right-Wing propagandists have created a new reality for conservatives to live in. That is, conservatives to which you refer are the victims of a superbly executed con game.

    (FWIW, democrats, liberals, and libertarians have often been equally deceived by the same con games – but they reacted differently, and that’s another topic.)

  76. #76 SteveS
    October 30, 2006

    You know what’s really funny? You people can’t see how you’re validating Dr. Adams’ point.

  77. #77 George
    October 30, 2006

    “You know what’s really funny? You people can’t see how you’re validating Dr. Adams’ point.”

    I’ll bite. What point is that?

  78. #78 bmurray
    October 30, 2006

    You know what’s really funny? You people can’t see how you’re validating Dr. Adams’ point.

    Please, educate then. I hate it when people vaguely allude to a point they may or may not have rather than explain it. I always suspect that the point doesn’t exist. So please, elaborate.

  79. #79 Tom Foss
    October 30, 2006

    “See, people are actually willing to pay Mr. Adams to hear what he has to say. Some time in the future when you have garnered a similar interest in what you have to say, then maybe you will.”

    Wouldn’t the fact that PZ’s a professor at a major university suggest that people are willing to pay PZ to hear what he has to say? I mean, it’s possible that he’s doing it for free, or maybe they pay him in calamari, but it seems likely that he’s trading a service (speaking to impart knowledge, commonly called teaching) for some sort of reimbursement.

  80. #80 Ichthyic
    October 30, 2006

    …and as the counterpoint to that, Ann Coulter’s latest dreck spillage was a bestseller for several weeks.

    seems lot’s of folks were interested in what she had to say, based on book sales at least.

    doesn’t mean she actually did have anything original or factual to say, however.

    ahhh, the republican mantra:

    “If you’re rich, you’re automatically a genius!”

    just ask Dave Scott Springerbot over on Uncommonly Dense.

  81. #81 George
    October 30, 2006

    Mark S.: “Hello, my name is Mark S. and I’m a Vaginaphobe …”

    Everyone: “Hi, Mark S.!”

    (Just trying to envision the Professor in twelve-step recovery.)

  82. #82 George
    October 30, 2006

    Whoops, I meant to say Mike S.

  83. #83 Calladus
    October 30, 2006

    Where did all of the matter in the universe come from?

    Allah did it.

    If there is not some higher power, whether it is the God I believe in or not, how does anything exist? Has it all been here forever, and if so, how can anyone comprehend eternity?

    There is a higher power, Allah, pbuh. Unfortunately, that is not the god that you believe in. You are an infidel and are doomed to an eternity of Islamic Hell.

    Prove me wrong.

    (Aside to my fellow Atheists, instead of Allah, imagine I said Invisible Pink Unicorn – pbuh)

  84. #84 Azkyroth
    October 30, 2006

    I’m also impressed by the idiots in the Townhall comments who, being so familiar with you (so they claim), all seem to find creative ways to misspell your name. Maybe familiarity really does breed contempt!

    Or in-breed… ;/

  85. #85 steve
    October 30, 2006

    why is it not possible to hold two mutually exclusive ideas simultaneously, and employ them as needed?

    example: my close friend and bandmate died of lung cancer. I was heartbroken. I asked, why did he die? as a chemist, I had a deep insight into why he died. but this knowledge was not making me feel better. so I made up a personal myth that allowed me to invoke his “spirit”, and allowed us to continue to play music together. I got great comfort knowing that Dan was happily “playing” bass with my banjo leads, and my friends and I celebrate his memory.

    I ask no one to adopt my personal mythology. I never invoke it when an intellectual/empirical approach provides satisfactory answers. I decide what is satisfactory.

    If anybody questions my scientific mind set, well, the first thing I say to myself after I read a PNAS article title is “bullshit…prove it to me…I’m gonna read every word and check your citations”.

  86. #86 Ktesibios
    October 30, 2006

    Pasteur was right that flies don’t just appear in spoiled meat, rather, adult flies lay fly eggs in spoiled meat. But this doesn’t have anything to do with the origin of all matter.

    Umm, for the love of Dowie and Ella Wheeler Wilcox, the meat/flies/maggots experiment was Francesco Redi in 1668. By Pasteur’s time, the notion of spontaneous generation for organisms of the size of even insects was long since dead, and the question was only whether microorganisms could arise spontaneously.

    Flawed or not, Pasteur’s experiments succeeded in falsifying the hypothesis of spontaneous generation by demonstrating that it was possible to provide all the circumstances necessary for microbes to arise spontaneously and yet not produce any. As one French academician put it,

    “If spontaneous generation is, what is required to produce animalculae? Air and putrescible liquor. M. Pasteur puts air and putrescible liquor together and nothing happens. Therefore spontaneous generation is not. To doubt further is to misunderstand the question”.

    (That’s from Vaillery-Radot’s Life of Pasteur, BTW, via my memory).

    One other observation- the use of the phrase “you people” in a blog comment should be considered prima facie evidence that the author of the comment is a mere troll resorting to vebal abuse.

  87. #87 Calladus
    October 30, 2006

    Believe what you like as a personal mythology. I would argue that no nonbeliever would have a problem with your personal beliefs as long as you don’t require others to believe as you do.

    I’d bet that nonbelievers would never have had the need to find their ‘voice’ if religious types had kept blatant fundamentalism out of legislation and out of Foreign and Domestic policy decisions. Political leaders making laws based on what an invisible being hates and likes tends to make Atheists, and people of minority faiths concerned.

    As long as political leaders give legislative advantages to religion, Atheism is going to remain important.

  88. #88 Tim
    October 30, 2006

    Your behavior and your name-calling as a first resort, even before Dr. Adams came to the campus to speak, show that you have no good arguments to make (or maybe they show your true character as just a nasty person). And then your after-the-fact casting of the affair to make yourself feel good and look better, is just pathetic. I feel sorry for the students who have to study under you.

  89. #89 stayingthecourse386sx
    October 30, 2006

    He looked directly at me? How was I supposed to tell?

    It’s all a part of the “pretend” worldview thingy. He imagines something, and then it all come true just like a big old fairy tale! It’s magical!

  90. #90 Kristine
    October 30, 2006

    Kristine and Shawn S. — Wow. WHO’s angry???

    And — I’m just curious to know how you’d react to hear your beloved P.Z. introduced in a similar (but reverse) fashion to how he introduced Dr. Adams. Any chance of a CIVIL reply?

    Certainly. Any chance of a civil question? What you quoted was not from my post (though I agree with Shawn). And exactly what kind of “surprise” do I look forward to in life? I so love surprises.

    When come back, bring dance tights.

  91. #91 Stogoe
    October 30, 2006

    Yeah, PZ, how didn’t you notice him trying to make eye babies with you?

  92. #92 jaimito
    October 31, 2006

    I wish to clarify a point made by Mr Ktesibos above. Louis Pasteur’s experiment did not refute but confirmed Francesco Redi’s experiment (“Esperienze intorno alla generazione degl’insetti” – Experiments about the generation of insects, Florence, 1668). But in this thread I became aware of the fact that the issue is yet to be settled, as still some people are unconvinced.

    Only in America!

  93. #93 Kansas Anarchist
    October 31, 2006

    Your behavior and your name-calling as a first resort, even before Dr. Adams came to the campus to speak, show that you have no good arguments to make (or maybe they show your true character as just a nasty person).

    Well, Tim, believe it or not, it is possible to make judgments about someone’s intelligence and positions with respect to their published opinions elsewhere, and PZ has been familiar with Mike S. Adams since at least two years ago.

    I grant that it’s possible for a person to change their ways, but given that Mike S. Adams has made himself part of the cottage industry of saying moronic things in support of the neoconservative movement, it would be unlikely that the speech at UMM would be massively different from his already-published idiocies.

  94. #94 Dianne
    October 31, 2006

    So where’s Nathan? Several people, including PZ, answered his questions. Is he satisfied with the answers? Does he have any follow up questions? Seems like very few of the Adams supporters who showed up to criticize PZ stayed to argue the point. Drive bys more their style perhaps?

  95. #95 Dave Newton
    October 31, 2006

    I still say we create our own debate. I’m betting we could raise the money to do it, get PBS and/or NPR to air it, and have a pretty darn entertaining time doing it.

  96. #96 Graculus
    October 31, 2006

    focusing EXCLUSIVELY on insults and slights while ignoring the arguments made, IS ad hominem

    No, that’s begging the question.

    Ad hominem is the logical fallacy of attacking the poster *as* argument.

    AD HOM: Mike Adams likes to give blow jobs to diseased weasels *therefor* his arguments are wrong.

    NOT AD HOM: Mike Adams arguments are wrong *and* he likes to give blow jobs to diseased weasels.

    Both ways describe his personal relationship with wildlife, but only one is a logical fallacy.

  97. #97 Acteon
    October 31, 2006

    Spontaneous generation is a fact. I keep doing the ironing yet more appears all the time out of nowhere. Does that mean I have god like abilities in the laundry department? Or is god just messing with my head?

  98. #98 Nance Confer
    October 31, 2006

    I did see people going in and out of the A/V room near me, so I assumed it was videotaped. . . .

    I’m pretty sure they didn’t catch me ‘cowering’ on the floor, weeping and pissing myself.

    Posted by: PZ Myers |

    **I don’t imagine they did. 🙂 I just thought, in this age of YouTube, it would be interesting to see the whole thing.

    **And, Acteon, ironing was invented by Satan. Resist!!

    Nance

  99. #99 SteveS
    October 31, 2006

    What point? See what I mean? Obviously not, even though it isn’t so difficult for a plain ol’ guy with a GED to figure out. It’s much too black and white for the intellectual elite to discern.

    Dr. Myer was bold enough to spew all manner of ad hominems toward Dr. Adams “Horowitzian shill, anti-feminist, creationist clown, homophobic bigot, warrior for free speech, professional racist, gun kook, academic-by-accident, beauty contest judge, and just generally contemptible far, far right-wing nutcase”, insulted the students at his own school, and wanted to “put on a show and argue with him.”

    Where was the boldness to confront Dr. Adams in person? There was none as far as I can tell, Dr. Myer just followed the typical liberal pattern of blindsided and premeditated attack due to apparent cowardice and intellectual exhaustion.

  100. #100 llewelly
    October 31, 2006

    Dr. Myer just followed the typical liberal pattern of blindsided and premeditated attack due to apparent cowardice and intellectual exhaustion.

    Polite == Blindsided
    Courtesy == Cowardice
    Freedom == Slavery.

  101. #101 truth machine
    October 31, 2006

    I have a couple of questions for Dr. Myers, and I ask in honesty, not in sarcasm:

    In honesty, your questions demonstrate that you are dimwitted and intellectually dishonest.

    Where did all of the matter in the universe come from?

    Dunno. Perhaps it always existed, or perhaps it sprung into being out of nothingingness, or perhaps some other unimagined alternative. Tossing in the notion of “God” does nothing to help answer the question; we still have the same question about matter, and the question applies to God as well. This is pretty obvious to people who aren’t dimwitted or intellectually dishonest.

    If there is not some higher power, whether it is the God I believe in or not, how does anything exist?

    If there’s some difficulty in explaining how anything exists, tossing in the notion of “God” doesn’t help any; this is pretty obvious to people who aren’t dimwitted or intellectually dishonest, as we would then have both the question of how God exists and the question of how God causes other things to exist.

    Has it all been here forever,

    Perhaps.

    and if so, how can anyone comprehend eternity?

    By not being dimwitted? Or intellectually dishonest — surely you think that God is eternal, so why should matter be any different? And surely no Christian should be arguing that something can’t be true just because it’s beyond comprehension — “God works in mysterious ways”, and all that rot.

    And how do you explain the inaccuracy of Louis Pasteur’s 1859 experiment, which disproved spontaneous generation?

    This is the most dimwitted (and dishonest) of all. How could a specific experiment prove a universal like “spontaneous generation isn’t possible”? Science doesn’t prove universals, and you quite obviously don’t know what Pasteur actually did in 1859 and can’t be bothered to find out. Pasteur simply demonstrated that microorganisms in fermentation broths did not, as a matter of fact, spontaneously generate; he did not prove that they could not do so in principle, nor did his work have the slightest bearing on the possibility of abiogenesis of the first life on planet Earth, or of the origin of matter in the universe. That you ask about Pasteur without having devoted a scintilla of thought or analysis to your own question the shows that you’re a stupid effing dishonest immoral scumbag — characteristics strongly correlated with your “religious” community.

  102. #102 truth machine
    October 31, 2006

    Dr. Myer was bold enough to spew all manner of ad hominems toward Dr. Adams

    When one is speaking of a person, everything one says is “ad hominem”, moron.

    “Horowitzian shill, anti-feminist, creationist clown, homophobic bigot, warrior for free speech, professional racist, gun kook, academic-by-accident, beauty contest judge, and just generally contemptible far, far right-wing nutcase”

    What’s relevant here is whether it’s true — and it is.

    Where was the boldness to confront Dr. Adams in person?

    In the hallway, behind a bunch of other folks who got there before him, jackass.

  103. #103 truth machine
    October 31, 2006

    “focusing EXCLUSIVELY on insults and slights while ignoring the arguments made, IS ad hominem”

    No, that’s begging the question.

    Bzzzt! Wrong! Begging the question is the fallacy of assuming the conclusion of an argument in making it. Addressing the person who makes an argument rather than the argument made is most certainly argumentum ad hominem.

  104. #104 truth machine
    October 31, 2006

    Your behavior and your name-calling as a first resort, even before Dr. Adams came to the campus to speak, show that you have no good arguments to make (or maybe they show your true character as just a nasty person).

    These are very different things. PZ has many good arguments to make, and has made them. At the same time, he can be a somewhat nasty person, especially when dealing with Horowitzian shills, anti-feminists, creationist clowns, homophobic bigots, professional racists, gun kooks, academics-by-accident, beauty contest judges, generally contemptible far, far right-wing nutcases, and other assorted rot.

  105. #105 T. Groover
    October 31, 2006

    I AM AN ATHEIST NOT BECAUSE I THINK IT GIVES ME ANY MORAL OR INTELLECTUAL SUPERIORITY BUT BECAUSE I DON’T BELIEVE IN THE EXISTANCE OF ANY DEITIES OR IN THE SUPERNATURAL. IF YOU SEE CONDESCENSION IT’S BECAUSE MOST OF US ARE TIRED OF BEATING THE SAME DEAD HORSE, BUT CONTINUE TO DO SO ANYWAY…. THERE’S NO NEW ARGUMENTS FOR THE EXISTENCE OF ANY DEITIES. WE’VE ALL SEEN THE SAME LOGICAL FALLACIES OVER AND OVER AGAIN. EACH TIME WE SEE THE SAME OLD CANARDS THEY ARE PRESENTED WITH THE GLEE OF A CAT BRINGING IN A DEAD BIRD FOR ITS’ MASTERS.

    Well here’s a different horse for you : I would like to invite all of you seemingly angry and mostly materialist people to my place out in the Texas woods. There you will be offered an introspective experience with the aid of a sleeping bag, a fire, and a powerful traditional divination and healing agent known as psilocybe cubensis. Do this on my land by the creek about 25 times and then see how well your claims to knowledge of what does not exist are holding up. This offer comes with a warning: This substance has been mislabelled “hallucinogen” for an understandable reason: those people who were not able to change and confront their ego honestly, have had some terrifying psychological experiences doing this. The correct generic term for this substance is “psychedelic” — the etymology of which is Greek for “soul manifesting”. If you want to do this with an open mind I can guarantee you a perhaps difficult but rewarding and productive experience. If you want to do this to prove you are right, I can guarantee you an awful experience, with no interference from me whatsoever. And if you think this offer of mine is based on the same logical fallacies or as coming from a nut case then I refer you to the 7-15-06 issue of The Economist, p 78 which refers to a study on the substance published in that week’s issue of Psychopharmacology. And one more thing about this miraculous substance. It is content neutral — that is, it does not possess psychological material of its own, so what you see is what is your own, and what is driving your philosophy of life and all of your neuroses and personality flaws.

    I extend this invitation in all seriousness. Unless there are materialists out there who are not afraid of where they come from, I’m not holding my breath for takers, though I will watch the posts for interest.

  106. #106 Kansas Anarchist
    November 1, 2006

    On the other hand, I could always reread my copy of Aldous Huxley’s The Doors of Perception and vicariously experience psylocibin without having to worry about what I read showing up in my workplace’s random drug screens.

  107. #107 truth machine
    November 1, 2006

    Mr. Groover is just another arrogant ass. “divination and healing agent”, “miraculous substance” — yeah, right. It’s a chemical, a material substance, interacting with your brain, another material substance. “so what you see is what is your own, and what is driving your philosophy of life and all of your neuroses and personality flaws” — no, what you “see” is a distorted version of your “normal” mental processes. You might want to look into the meaning of the word “veridical”. In any case, this has no bearing on atheism or the arguments for or against it; duh.

  108. #108 T. Groover
    November 1, 2006

    “no, what you “see” is a distorted version of your “normal” mental processes. ”

    Can I presume, kind sir, that you have not read the articles referred to in my post, including the one in “Psychopharmacology” about the use of this substance in psychotherapy? Can I also presume that you have not read the classic literature on the subject including the landmark “Realms of the Human Unconcious” by Sanislav Grof, M.D.?
    Should one presume also that the irrepressible urge to insult (“arrogant ass”) means that you would rather not have a normal discussion on a subject of which there exists an extensive written knowledge base? My prediction – straight answers to these questions won’t be forthcoming.

  109. #109 Kozinator
    November 1, 2006

    Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to hange around a thread all day to read and respond to posts. Someone has to work to pay the taxes that support our universities and subsidize your educations. I found Mr. Myers post with links justifying his demeaning remarks of Mr. Adams rather laughable. Some of the links refer back to his own comments on other threads. It’s somewhat like me asking the farmer how much the pig weighs and he replies “100 pounds.” I ask him how he knows his scale is accurate and he responds, “Because we calibrated to the pig that weighs 100 pounds.”

    It’s probably a waste of my time, but I would like to point out that being against affirmative action doesn’t make me a racist, beleiving in creation does not make me a clown, and believing that homosexuality is a sin does not make me a bigot or a homophobe. I don’t believe any of you here are evil and are going to “burn in hell” because you don’t believe as I do. Judgement of one’s salvation is not in my job description. It is apparent that many of you lack what use to be termed common decency. I guess tolerance is given to only those who believe as you do.

    Contrary to what many here believe, there is physical evidence that supports the theory of a young earth as would be the case if the creation account in Genesis is true and literal. I don’t expect this to change anyone’s belief system, but if you can explain the following, I would be more than willing to listen.

    When scientists were designing the first lunar landing module, they had many concerns. One was what would happen to it once it touched down on the moon. Using satellite technology, scientists are able to determine the amount of cosmic dust entering the atmosphere. It has been speculated over the billions of years of earths existence that over 50 feet of cosmic dust has entered our atmosphere. That was what scientists expected to find when the first probes landed on the moon because they believe the earth and moon are of similar age. They designed large pads on the modules so they wouldn’t sink deep into the dust. They were shocked to find only a few inches of dust. Using their same calculations but using the known amount of dust to calculate the time, you get an age of accumulation of 10,000 years. I have yet to hear a reasonable explaination for this.

    I have other questions if anyone would like to tackle them. BTW, attacking me is fine if that’s what you wish to do. My parents taught me better manners that.

  110. #110 PZ Myers
    November 1, 2006

    Good grief, the moon dust argument. Are the people on Mike Adams’ site complete idiots?

    Here’s a refutation.

    The high number for dust accumulation (14 million tons per year on earth) comes from the high end of a single preliminary measurement that has long been obsolete. Other higher estimates come from even more obsolete sources, although they are sometimes incorrectly cited as being more recent. The actual influx is about 22,000 to 44,000 tons per year on earth and around 840 tons per year on the moon.

    The story that scientists worried about astronauts sinking in moon dust is a total fabrication. As early as 1965, scientists were confident, based on optical properties of the moon’s surface, that dust was not extensive. Surveyor I, in May 1966, confirmed this.

    Your parents may have taught you manners, but I wish they’d put a little more effort into correcting your ignorance.

  111. #111 Steve LaBonne
    November 1, 2006

    Are the people on Mike Adams’ site complete idiots?

    I presume that’s a rhetorical question?

  112. #112 Steve_C
    November 1, 2006

    Come to my ranch and hallucinate and it will prove what again?

    That there’s a god? That people have souls? I don’t get it.

  113. #113 SteveS
    November 1, 2006

    Polite == Blindsided
    Courtesy == Cowardice
    Freedom == Slavery.

    So you’re saying “Horowitzian shill, anti-feminist, creationist clown, homophobic bigot, warrior for free speech, professional racist, gun kook, academic-by-accident, beauty contest judge, and just generally contemptible far, far right-wing nutcase” = polite. Wow, did my parents ever give me the wrong idea of what polite meant. I also suppose courtesy is to be found somewhere in these ad hominem attacks. And by the way, I even furnished the link as best I know how to your “far, far right-wing nutcase” remark, Dr. Myers. Is that better?

    I must admit that fear would have been more a appropriate choice for me to use than cowardice. It seems plain to me that you extreme liberals/progressives or whatever it is you call yourselves these days, fear conservatives – religious conservatives in particular. Why is that? Really, I’d like to know what your deep-seated fears of us are as I believe the reasons I’ve read and heard are entirely without merit. I’d be willing to bet that not one of you could recognize me as an evangelical Christian conservative were we to sit down and have coffee together without coming right out and asking.

    As for you Dr. Myers, I am anything but confused and I’m no ‘troll.’ I have attempted to engage in literally hundreds of discussions with those on the opposite side of the spectrum in the past few years and in virtually every one the outcome was the same. My opponent’s argument centered on 3 things, a complete lack of openmindedness, a blatant disregard for the facts and a good dose of personal attacks. Much like the discussions here.

    And for you ‘truth machine,’ my apologies for misusing “ad hominems.” At least this “moron” that acknowledged his 11th grade education can speak somewhat intelligently without resorting to calling you a “jackass.”

  114. #114 CCP
    November 1, 2006

    I’ve mentioned this elsewhere but here it seems especially relevant.

    One time back in the day, having sampled some healing substances, a pal o mine was 100% certain–could not be disuaded–that Jerry Garcia had played the entire 2nd set wearing a space helmet. So, yeah, that challenged my “claims to knowledge of what does not exist”…is that the kind of thing you’re talking about?
    Or is the creek important?

  115. #115 SteveS
    November 1, 2006

    I guess my failure to understand how to properly post a link here blows that “troll” thing out of the water. Nevertheless here are the links:

    Horowitzian shill, http://frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=17595

    anti-feminist
    http://blogs.salon.com/0002874/2005/12/30.html

    creationist clown http://pharyngula.org/index/weblog/comments/is_mike_s_adams_a_fool/

    homophobic bigot
    http://pandagon.net/2006/08/27/another-asinine-mike-adams-homobigotry-column/

    warrior for free speech
    http://www.michaelberube.com/index.php/weblog/a_matter_of_principle/

    professional racist http://pandagon.net/2006/08/27/dr-mike-adams-and-the-glorious-rainbow-of-ways-to-be-racist/

    gun kook http://www.hairyfishnuts.com/archive/83_aug_06.htm#811061111AM

    academic-by-accident
    http://tbogg.blogspot.com/2005/06/mike-adams-beer-whore-world-ocrap-has.html

    beauty contest judge
    http://www.michaelberube.com/index.php/weblog/adams_and_steve/

    and just generally contemptible far, far right-wing nutcase
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/10/mike_s_adams_here.php

    Will that suffice or am I just a moronic internet trolling jacakss?

  116. #116 Steve_C
    November 1, 2006

    Thanks for the links Steve!

    Now we can see how PZ has a point.

    Adams is such a whiney ass titty baby.

  117. #117 SteveS
    November 1, 2006

    And thanks for revealing your inability to say anything of value, Steve_C.

  118. #118 Steve_C
    November 1, 2006

    One post and I can’t say anything of value?

    That makes alot of sense… from the “Reality Based Right”.

    PZ posted links that backed up his ridicule. He’s right.

    Where is he wrong?

  119. #119 Stanton
    November 1, 2006

    After skimming through this particular thread, I would like to add my own 32 cents…

    SteveS, do realize that the view that the vast majority of evangelical Christians are irrational anti-intellectuals who slaver at the thought of seeing their percieved opponents burning in Hell many of PZ Myer’s fans hold here is one that is, sadly, reinforced through experience. I, myself, have had a particularly odious experience where after failing to convince him that the Meister footprints weren’t actually footprints, and that the loss of .005 of a second doesn’t mean that the days were 5 minutes long 5000 years ago, one alleged Christian unsubtly suggested that I’m going to be cast into Hell upon my demise for holding a different opinion than him.

    Steve, you do must realize that the vast majority of Creationists have absolutely no motivation what so ever to study how Life or the Universe ticks. In fact, Creationists are motivated to prevent people from studying Life or the Universe simply because they’re afraid that understanding Life and the Universe will somehow compromise God. Furthermore, the vast majority of Creationists remain willfully ignorant of how science functions. I’m certain that there are only 2 Creationists out of the 200 million + Creationists in the US who know what a placoderm is, and I’m also certain that Mike S. Adams couldn’t tell the difference between a fossil placoderm, from a shard of concrete, from a live halibut if his miserable life depended on it.

    Mr T. Groover, using psychedelic drugs to enhance one’s spiritual nature is a serious, if not grave ordeal that must never be done on a whim. After all, in Aztec culture, why do you think that hallucinogenic Psilocybe mushrooms were under the supervision of Mictlantecuhtli, the god of death? Also, are you aware that the possibilities of having flashbacks and the inducement of psychotic episodes after having used psychedelic drugs are among the main reasons why using psychedelic drugs are prohibited in this country?

  120. #120 SteveS
    November 1, 2006

    Adams is such a whiney ass titty baby.

    And where is the value in that?

    PZ posted links that backed up his ridicule. He’s right.

    Is that the only justification you can come up with for calling Adams “a whiney ass titty baby?” Is that the only justification PZ can muster for for his pre-emptive personal attacks? Come on, somebody please explain to me the value in personally attacking conservatives as opposed to actually engaging them with an open mind? Are you afraid we might actually be right about something, that you may actually even like us, or that you’ll discover we’re not the evil threat we’re portrayed to be?

    Where is he wrong?

    For starters, his utter contempt for “tolerance” and fairness.

    “I’m very disappointed in our students. We’re far off the beaten track and we don’t get that many speakers passing through our area, and they had to go exhibit the poor taste to invite this sorry sack of rethuglican excreta to our campus. Couldn’t they have at least tried to find an intelligent conservative to bring out here? Why’d they have to scrape the bottom of the barrel for this guy? At least we’re seeing our rather dismal right-wing campus rag’s fading credibility implode with their sponsorship of such a low-wattage guest speaker.”

    And let us not forget the link:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/10/mike_s_adams_here.php

  121. #121 Steve_C
    November 1, 2006

    It’s a popular term for conservatives crying about everything they see as lined up against them. They’re big babies. Whiney ass titty babies. Google WATB or W.A.T.B.

    You’ll see what I mean.

    Adams is a third rate lame excuse for a conservative. That’s what PZ was complaining about. Waste. Waste of time and money on this guy. If you’re going to have a conservative come and speak. Get one who can actually think.

    No one has to be tolerant of people who are completely repulsive.

    And by all accounts PZ was fair and respectful of the guy. He didn’t disrupt his appearance. And what happens? The whining begins.

  122. #122 SteveS
    November 1, 2006

    Steve_C, I ask again, can someone please explain to me the value in personally attacking conservatives as opposed to actually engaging them with an open mind? Is the task too difficult, or was I correct in my first post (for which I was called a moron and a jackass) that the left suffers from intellectual exhaustion and therefore the best response is character assasination. Can’t you do any better?

    If you’re going to have a conservative come and speak. Get one who can actually think.

    Why, just who would you respect? I have a feeling there are no true conservatives who can actually think that would be welcome. It seems to me that all conservatives are “completely repulsive” to the liberal/progressive ‘intellectual’ elite in this great country.

    It really doesn’t matter what PZ thinks of Dr. Adams, he is entitled. But, it’s beyond pathetic to impugn the students of his own school for daring to think differently than Dr. Myers and invite someone not to his liking. It’s even more pathetic to claim “PZ was fair and respectful of the guy,” when he referred to him prior to his visit as a “generally contemptible far, far right-wing nutcase,” and you categorically declare those who call him on it “Whiney ass titty babies.”

    I’m sorry if that’s over your head.

  123. #123 Steve_C
    November 1, 2006

    Willaim F. Buckley when he’s not loaded. Although he’s always entertaining.

    When you attack their ideas and the pretense of their victimization, it’s not personal.

    PZ pretty clearly stated why Adams is a tool. He attacked his ideas, his very beliefs.
    We all should.

  124. #124 T. Groover
    November 1, 2006

    “…could not be disuaded–that Jerry Garcia had played the entire 2nd set wearing a space helmet. So, yeah, that challenged my “claims to knowledge of what does not exist”…is that the kind of thing you’re talking about?
    Or is the creek important?”

    Good question — and from someone without need for name calling. No the creek is not important, but the sleeping bag is, and the fire is only a sensory reference point for the novice. No doubt — the flood of psychological material into consciousness can generate sensory distortions and synesthasia, especially for the novice or recreational (ab)user. And in my view recreational use is abuse, and a study of the literature supports this. The sleeping bag is for reduced visual input, as is the selection of nightime for the session. This is because just as the emerging material can distort the senses, the senses can distort the interpretation of the material emerging from the unconscious. All this has nothing to do with hallucinations which play no part in proper and respectful use of this tool.

    Is this thread of interest & worth continuing? If so would it be possible to eschew name calling directed toward me by some? Also it is not productive to regurgitate anecdotal or pop culture/ popular press “interpretations” of powerful psychoactive agents to score points. Instead, why not discuss what the researchers themselves have to say? For example, anyone know what elements of Freudian psychology are validated by research in this field? Same question for Jungian psychology? Anyone interested in newer conceptual frameworks such as the Basic Perinatal Matrices? And who (from the non-English speaking world) coined the term “perinatal”?

  125. #125 Steve_C
    November 1, 2006

    What the…

    somebody loves them some psilocyben.

  126. #126 SteveS
    November 2, 2006

    Steve_C,

    I could have guessed William F. Buckley might be the only acceptable conservative.

    You really can’t expect me to believe that PZ’s personal reference to Dr. Adams as a “generally contemptible far, far right-wing nutcase” is attacking his ideas. I may only be “barely a high school graduate” but I can make the distinction between attacking an idea and a personal attack. Can’t you?

  127. #127 Keith Douglas
    November 2, 2006

    Wow, PZ, you’ve hit the big time – you’ve actually attracted a Grofian. (I think many of the people who hold that psychodelic drugs prove subjective idealism are already mind-body dualists, so they can’t get their brain properly around the notion that of course there are easy ways to distort one’s psychological functioning.)

  128. #128 Stanton
    November 2, 2006

    Keith, I don’t think that Mr Groover is aware of the dangers of psychedilic drugs beyond “don’t take more than ten hits at one sitting.”
    That, and the Aztecs had a strict set of guidelines with mushroom visionquests that also included legal prosecution and punishment for any crimes that the vision-seeker saw him or herself commit in the vision.

  129. #129 Steve_C
    November 2, 2006

    Ummm… a personal attack?

    If you hold ideas that are contemptible and stupid, and are criticized for them it’s not personal. It’s appropriate.

  130. #130 Kozinator
    November 2, 2006

    To some here, specifically Mr. Myers, I guess I’m a dimwit for having the audacity to question the absoluteness of his apparent lifelong studies. It should come as no surprise to me that those who believe they are here due to some random chance mutations would have such a callous disregard for anyone but themselves. Hence the quickness with which people here willing to attack a persons character. A person whom they have never even had the chance to look eye to eye and appear to care never to want to.

    Admittedly, I am no intellectual giant. As the youngest of from a family of 13, I was not afforded many educational opportunities. Yet I am firmly ensconced in the middle class working to provide for my children that which I could not receive. While my son attends a private, conservative liberal arts college, I feel betrayed by the higher education establishments that willingly take my tax dollars but holds me and my views in utter contempt. The near unanimous view on todays college campus’ seem to despise the very system and society that allows them exist in the first place.

    But I digress. Being a conservative Christian does not mean that I have checked my brain the door. I have read books that support theories on both sides of the evolution/creation debate. Some are mind numbing to me in the detail with which they explain their views. Often times with words I have to look up to understand. A review of statistical probabilities and the lack of transitional life forms in the fossil record is more than enough evidence for me.

    How many separate mutations must simultaneously occur for the eye to develope AND have the required mutations occur for the proper receptors and connections in the brain for one to have sight? Forgetting the fact that most observed mutations today are degenerative, mutations would have to have been beneficial enough to be useful on their own to be recreated in subsequent generations but they would also have to be permeable enough to allow more beneficial mutations. So, when the eye developed the ability to be sensitive to light and colors, the only way that mutation would have been beneficial is if the brain had the ability to receive and interpret the data it was receiving from the eye. If the brain was not able to react from the data sent by the eye, the mutation could not have been deemed beneficial and would have been discarded, or allowed to be discarded in future generations.

    So I ask, what are the statistical probabilities of organs mutating independantly in such fantastic order? How did our bodies, with all its organs and senses, mutate into the intricate being we are today? And if not all mutations were beneficial and natural selection weeded them out, where are they in the fossil record? It would seem to me that even 4.5 billion years wouldn’t be enough time for primordial soup to randomly evolve to what is present in the world today.

    Okay Mr. Myers, show us your colossal brain and demean me again if you like. I just don’t think you have all the difinitive answers you like to think you do.I’m guessing that’s the reason for such pointed and personal attacks on those who believe differently than you. I’ll try to check back in a day or so as time permits for another public flogging. Peace to you and yours.

  131. #131 Steve_C
    November 2, 2006

    Can I have that 5 minutes of my life back now. Why did I read that again?

    Evolution couldn’t of done it but the great invisible sky god is the obvious explanation.

    Uhg.

  132. #132 SteveS
    November 2, 2006

    Ummm… a personal attack?

    If you hold ideas that are contemptible and stupid, and are criticized for them it’s not personal. It’s appropriate.

    Now I get it Steve, but does it work both ways? And who is the arbiter of which ideas are contemptible and stupid and which are not? I noticed PZ refers to himself as “a godless liberal,” does that indicate ideas from God-fearing conservatives are contemptible and stupid? Just what is this basis for determining what is contemptible and stupid and therefore worthy of criticism? Is there a reference book I can use, some Robert’s Rules of the Ridiculous or such?

    I happen to find PZ’s criticism of UMM students for daring to invite Dr. Adams contemptible and stupid, so would it appropriate if I referred to PZ as a “generally contemptible far, far left-wing nutcase,” or do I lack the intellectual and moral superiority to make that judgement?

    Call me crazy (or moron, jackass, internet troll, etc.), but I seem to remember when appropriate criticism for one’s ideas consisted of reasoning and evidence, not personal insults.

  133. #133 Steve_C
    November 2, 2006

    Listen. You can make a judgement, a personal judgement about someone because of the ideas that they endorse.

    PZ laid out those ideas. Linked to things Adams believes and has espoused. And then labeled the tool appropriately. You just don’t agree with him.

    A bigot is a bigot and misogynist is a mysoginst not because of the label they’ve given themselves “conservative”, which could mean many things, but because of what they have said. Alot of wingers say stupid shit and get called on it and then they whine about the left being “intolerant”. That makes them whiney ass titty babies.

    You don’t hear Buckley complaining about the left not liking his views.

  134. #134 Kseniya
    November 2, 2006

    Wow, ideological relativism from a Conservative. Make a note of today’s date.

    SteveS, I think Adams’ chronic pseudo-victim whine and his documented views on women, race, higher education, science etc. speak for themselves as being contemptible and stupid to anybody who’d use “reasoning” to evaluate those views as “evidence.”

    Don’t you?

    Or is this just an exercise in partisanship for you?

    “Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to hange around a thread all day to read and respond to posts. Someone has to work to pay the taxes that support our universities and subsidize your educations.”

    Good Lord, if I had a dollar for every time I’d read that stupid cop-out on a blog, I *could* pay for my education out-of-pocket. You’d think that 50% of the country was on unemployment, and that they were all Democrats.

    Conservatives are SO predictable, especially when they try to claim some sort of moral high ground. Especially the ones who constantly use the term “intellectual elite” pejoratively and who are defensively proud of their hard-earned GED. (No irony intended; you have a right to be proud. I don’t have a college degree, either. Yet. But, hey, a pattern is a pattern.)

    Speaking of patterns…

    Some people are polite – some aren’t. Some moderate their comments before posting – some don’t. Some are hard workers. Some aren’t. I defy anyone to correlate any of these traits or behaviors with either a) degree of religiousity or b) political leaning.

    So, SteveS, when you say things like “typical liberal blah blah blah” it reveals one thing only: the shallowness of your thinking. Sorry.

    Your initial point had some validity. Tolerance and intolerance are slippery subjects – if we don’t tolerate intolerance, are we intolerant? Etc. But honestly, you came off like one of those candy-assed liberals who think everyone should be nice to each other instead of speaking their mind. (Irony intended.) Next topic: Appeasment.

    Sloppy post, sorry. I’m in a hurry.

  135. #135 SteveS
    November 2, 2006

    You can make a judgement, a personal judgement about someone because of the ideas that they endorse.

    Again, who or what is the arbiter of what ideas are worthy of contempt? Am I just a “whiney ass titty baby” for failing to see the appropriateness, much less the value, of insulting the person instead of leaving things at a carefully reasoned and objective criticism of the idea or the behavior? If your thirteen-year-old says something contemptible and stupid are you going to call him a “whiney ass titty baby?”

    Yes, “a bigot is a bigot,” no matter which side of the spectrum they’re on.

    Kseniya, I never claimed to be a deep thinker…

    With that, I bid you all adieu for now.

  136. #136 Ichthyic
    November 2, 2006

    SteveS, you asked:

    Steve_C, I ask again, can someone please explain to me the value in personally attacking conservatives as opposed to actually engaging them with an open mind?

    are you saying you consider this waste of human skin to be representative of what it means to be a “conservative”?

    do you really think engaging someone like Adams with “an open mind” would make one whit of difference to how he thinks?

    hardly.

    if you think Adams is representative of a true conservative, you better hope you’re wrong.

    if you think criticizing adams is criticizing conservatives in general, you’re just an idiot.

  137. #137 Ichthyic
    November 2, 2006

    To some here, specifically Mr. Myers, I guess I’m a dimwit for having the audacity to question the absoluteness of his apparent lifelong studies.

    one, it’s not just some here who think you’re a dimwit.

    two, the reason we think so isn’t because you have audacity, it’s that, well, you’re a dimwit, as even you yourself admit in your second paragraph, and make abundantly clear throughout your post.

    anybody who reads your missives could only reach the same conclusion.

    accept it and move on.

  138. #138 Steve_C
    November 2, 2006

    Wow. If I have to explain why it’s ok to call Rush and Adams buffoons…
    then you really are not very bright. It’s almost like you’re some twisted concern troll.

    “why do liberals have to be so mean?”

    If my kid says something contemptible and stupid. I’ll tell him so. And then if he complains about setting him straight, that it wasn’t nice… THEN I’LL TELL HIM TO QUIT WHINING!

  139. #139 Ichthyic
    November 2, 2006

    twisted concern troll.

    BINGO!

  140. #140 Barry Kearns
    November 2, 2006

    (comments from Kozinator in italics, apologies in advance for length)

    Being a conservative Christian does not mean that I have checked my brain the door. I have read books that support theories on both sides of the evolution/creation debate. Some are mind numbing to me in the detail with which they explain their views. Often times with words I have to look up to understand. A review of statistical probabilities and the lack of transitional life forms in the fossil record is more than enough evidence for me.

    Reading a book and finding it mind-numbing in detail does not attest to the accuracy of the book. There are mind-numbingly detailed conspiracy theorist sites out there, and a great number of published books. I’m sure many have words that most people would have to look up. That doesn’t make them accurate. They can be both complex AND delusional.

    The truth is, I know of no reputable scientist who can provide any meaningfully accurate “probability” calculations for something like the origin of life on Earth from non-life (abiogenesis), nor for the probability of a particular series of mutations arising. We lack anything approaching the level of technology required to do so. So if someone is selling you a bill of goods in a book that they know how to properly do such a calculation, and have done so… you should sharply and critically examine their assumptions.

    Common Descent Theory (often called macro-evolution, or just evolution for short) is an entirely separate question from abiogenesis. It’s a common creationist tactic to intermingle the two as if they are the same question, but they are most definitely not.

    If you haven’t seen evidence for transitional fossils, I contend you haven’t looked in the right places. Not seeing something doesn’t mean that no one has ever seen it, nor does it mean that it doesn’t exist.

    If you’re sincere, I can provide you links to good evidence. I won’t bother if you’re not.

    How many separate mutations must simultaneously occur for the eye to develope AND have the required mutations occur for the proper receptors and connections in the brain for one to have sight?

    The mutations don’t have to be simultaneous. That’s a red herring.

    Forgetting the fact that most observed mutations today are degenerative, mutations would have to have been beneficial enough to be useful on their own to be recreated in subsequent generations but they would also have to be permeable enough to allow more beneficial mutations. So, when the eye developed the ability to be sensitive to light and colors, the only way that mutation would have been beneficial is if the brain had the ability to receive and interpret the data it was receiving from the eye. If the brain was not able to react from the data sent by the eye, the mutation could not have been deemed beneficial and would have been discarded, or allowed to be discarded in future generations.

    I suspect that you don’t have a strong understanding of marginal utility, gene duplication, retasking or neutral mutations. The only “requirement” is that a given mutation is not so deleterious that it handicaps the organism enough to prevent it from competing locally well enough to pass the genes on. Neutral mutations will diffuse through a population without being selected against. Positive mutations will fix faster, and a great many changes can all be progressing through different degrees of fixation at the same time in any given population.

    Since multiple different systems of vision all appear to have evolved, it’s apparently not as difficult of a problem as your literature might suggest.

    Conditions change over time, and over several billion years they have certainly changed many, many times (especially on a local basis). Those changing conditions put different pressures for adaptation on organisms, and they tend to develop different hodge-podge rough solutions to those challenges (or die if they cannot adapt well enough)… and some of those solutions are refined and improved substantially later. The original solution certainly not always the final form, so taking a current system and imagining a “first impulse” may be an attempt to map inaccurately between two different point in evolutionary space.

    Retasking is a phenomenally powerful “tool” in the arsenal of evolution. There are a myriad number of different paths from point A to point B, and it’s nearly impossible to say exactly what path was taken… in large part because we don’t have access to the full chemical states of all members of all populations for all time.

    That’s part of what makes evolution in silicon such a rich field of study. Using Genetic Programming, Genetic Algorithms and other computer-driven systems, we are able to harness the power of evolution to solve incredibly difficult problems, without even having to fully state what the problem is!

    The beauty of this approach is that, in this discipline, we CAN see every step along the way, and see every parent and offspring in full genetic detail, and watch the often-startling path that evolution uses to adapt a solution up out of the digital goo.

    Doing so firsthand has given me a much greater appreciation for how powerful evolutionary processes are. Once the light bulb truly “turned on” for me, while watching a GP process solve problems automatically using the power of random change combined with non-random selection… my understanding of the likelihood of common descent skyrocketed. I believed it before, but I understood how it could happen only after I saw it first-hand.

    Hopefully, you’ll find this not too demeaning.

    If you could be shown firsthand how powerful evolutionary process are, and take that in conjunction with the massive amount of time and mind-numbingly huge populations for the planet… could you come to accept evolution as truth, or have you foreclosed the subject in advance, as the pastor of the church I attend has?

    He has stated flat-out that if anything in science contradicts the Bible, then the science must be wrong. He cannot be convinced, because he will refuse to either see or comprehend something that conflicts with his belief system.

    I contend that he has “checked his brain at the door”.

  141. #141 Steve Watson
    November 2, 2006

    Kozinator: Please, please, before posting any more of your young-earth/anti-evo/whatever arguments, go to talkorigins.org and check whether they are dealt with there. So far, everything you’ve posted on the subject is crap that I first heard 10 or 15 years ago, and was old even then — and was already well-refuted (as in: utterly discredited, shown to be untrue and fallacious, flamed into a grease spot). Some of those are so bad, even other Creationists are embarassed by them.

  142. #142 Randy Starnes
    November 3, 2006

    Mr. Kearns: I find your arguments compelling and articulate. I do not support evolution or intelligent design as I find the facts lacking on both sides; I simply do not know how man got here. You seem more educated on the matter than I. Could you address the issue of why apes and man cannot breed true, and where are the intermediary forms that could (or the fossils of them)? Why have none of the other species of the world developed into tool-users of the nature of man when there is such an advantage to doing so?

  143. #143 GH
    November 3, 2006

    Could you address the issue of why apes and man cannot breed true, and where are the intermediary forms that could (or the fossils of them)?

    Oh my, we are not doing a good job educating our populace in this nation. I am dumbfounded that people really do ask this is seriousness. This is not an insult just really somewhat astounding.

    Randy,

    You have a basic misunderstanding of evolution. A very basic misunderstanding. You can’t breed true because we are seperate species from the other apes seperated by long passages of time necessary for this distinction to occur. I’m not even sure what breed true means but I’m taking a stab at it here for your benefit.

    Now you can mate with another ape just as you can a horsebut don’t go expecting any offspring from your intimacies. The chromosomes simply don’t match.

    But there is of course much more than i can type now on a blogsite. Go back and read the past posts or perhaps other posters will contribute to your education.

  144. #144 Ichthyic
    November 3, 2006

    Now you can mate with another ape just as you can a horsebut

    sorry, I’m not touching that one with the proverbial ten foot pole.

    it really is a new take on the “birds and bees” lecture.

  145. #145 Torbjörn Larsson
    November 3, 2006

    Randy:
    I’m not a biologist, but while we wait for the professionals I can take a stab at it.

    “Could you address the issue of why apes and man cannot breed true”
    Essentially because that is basically what speciation means – populations becomes separated (by geography or other means) and evolves by different selective pressures, until at some point they can no longer breed. Though, the definition of species is fuzzy and the separation too – many species, especially cats and horses are known to interbreed to some extent.

    “and where are the intermediary forms that could (or the fossils of them)?”
    The common ancestors of humans and apes, and the intermediary forms between the ancestor and humans or ancestor and apes are many. (See http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/specimen.html for the human ancestry.) In fact, it is so many forms related to humans that it is more of an evolutionary bush than tree.

    Recent DNA research has revealed that the ancestors of humans and the ancestors of chimpanzees “were interbreeding–to some extent at least–for four million years.” ( http://scienceblogs.com/loom/2006/05/17/grandma_manimal.php )

    “Why have none of the other species of the world developed into tool-users of the nature of man when there is such an advantage to doing so?”

    First, evolution has no plan. Depending on selective pressures species gains traits or looses traits. The right circumstances must be there if for example intelligence is developed.

    Second, tool use is a complex behaviour, not a hereditary trait. It is most often social and depending on specific types of intelligence and body constructions.

    Third, tool use has been seen in many species, from ants to humans. It is hard to say what you mean by “of the nature of man”.

    Fourth, our close relation species (from around homo habilis and forward, though I’m not sure about habilis status as tool user any longer) were indeed tool users with tools very like the one homo sapiens used in the beginning. There is a fascinating development of techniques for stone and bone tools that you can google for.

  146. #146 Torbjörn Larsson
    November 3, 2006

    “they can no longer breed” – they can no longer interbreed. (Otherwise I feel sorry for them.)

  147. #147 Torbjörn Larsson
    November 3, 2006

    Sigh!
    “especially cats and horses” – especially among cats and horses. (It’s not as if cats breed with horses…)

    “tool use is a complex behaviour, not a hereditary trait”
    But in ants it is hereditary. I meant to say that it isn’t a hereditary body part or simple function. And it isn’t necessarily hereditary at all, which was the point here.

  148. #148 Randy Starnes
    November 3, 2006

    Mr Larsson: Thank you for your comments. You are correct I meant interbreed when I said “breed true”. I am sorry I am ignorant on the subject. I guess my point/question is that DNA evidence seems to point towards Neanderthals as being a different species from man (and recent at 30,000 years) and Cro-Magnon is Homo Sapiens back for 150,000 years or so, but the sub-species that could breed with Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon (or Homo Erectus or some such) does not seem to still be around, and fossil evidence is lacking.
    By tool use I meant it seems to be an evolutionary advantage (whether resulting from social environment or not) as man seems to dominate the planet, and thus would have evidenced itself more wide-spread in other species (say a porpoise with a computer).

  149. #149 Steve_C
    November 3, 2006

    Ask yourself why man can’t run as fast as cheetahs or swim as well as dolphins?

  150. #150 SteveS
    November 3, 2006

    Gee, I tried to leave you folks alone but I knew you couldn’t resist the parting shots.

    Ichthyic, are you saying you consider this waste of human skin to be representative of what it means to be a “conservative”?

    Believe it or not I don’t even think PZ is “a waste of human skin.” You’re just reinforcing the notion that liberals are “mean,” you see no value in someone like Adams whereas I see unlimited value and potential in ALL people…something I might expect to hear coming from the mouths of liberals everywhere. That my friend, is what I don’t get. I don’t get that an ideology that allegedly embraces diversity and tolerance – the right to be and think differently – produces so many people that think and act exactly alike in being so intolerant of conservatives and their values.

    do you really think engaging someone like Adams with “an open mind” would make one whit of difference to how he thinks?

    Very revealing, so it’s about changing how Dr. Adams thinks. What about changing how you think? What about Adams the person? Some of my favorite people are liberals, and as much as I may despise some of how they “think” I adore them as friends. Is this how we make the world a better place, by insulting, impugning and alienating everyone that thinks differently?

    if you think Adams is representative of a true conservative, you better hope you’re wrong.

    Why?

    if you think criticizing adams is criticizing conservatives in general, you’re just an idiot.

    Again, I am reminded of PZ’s criticism of UMM students: “I’m very disappointed in our students. We’re far off the beaten track and we don’t get that many speakers passing through our area, and they had to go exhibit the poor taste to invite this sorry sack of rethuglican excreta to our campus. Couldn’t they have at least tried to find an intelligent conservative to bring out here? Why’d they have to scrape the bottom of the barrel for this guy? At least we’re seeing our rather dismal right-wing campus rag’s fading credibility implode with their sponsorship of such a low-wattage guest speaker.

    Let us not forget the link: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/10/mike_s_adams_here.php

    PZ’s contempt for conservatives seems fairly apparent to me.

    Steve_C:

    Wow. If I have to explain why it’s ok to call Rush and Adams buffoons…then you really are not very bright. It’s almost like you’re some twisted concern troll.

    Who said anything about Rush? I guess all us redneck conservatives must be Dittoheads, walking in lockstep with Rush – Rush for president people! No wait, that’s Adams for president. Hey, there are plenty buffoons to go around, but you didn’t asnwer the question, who or what is the arbiter of what ideas are worthy of contempt?

    “why do liberals have to be so mean?”

    Damn good question. Thus far I’ve been called, jackass, moron, internet troll, and now “twisted concern troll.” What’s next?

  151. #151 Steve_C
    November 3, 2006

    Adams is the same kind of buffoon that Rush is. I was comparing the two.
    I didn’t ever say what I think you believe or who you seem to follow.
    There is no authority or arbiter. You have to make up your own mind.
    People who lean liberal, atheist, pro-science and evolution gather here.

    People who are “conservative” gather at Townhall.com. I find most of what I’ve read
    there to be repugnant, narrowminded and foolish. That’s why I don’t go there.

    Are you here to defend Adams or his ideas?

  152. #152 Barry Kearns
    November 3, 2006

    Randy,

    It would be unsurprising that Neandertal and Cro-Magnon wouldn’t interbreed, as the divergence between those branchs appears to have occurred about 500,000 to 600,000 years ago. The two separate branches lived in the same areas, but were different enough that cross-breeding between them was no longer viable.

    http://www.psu.edu/ur/NEWS/news/Neandertal.html

    There are many other examples of speciation where you get two groups of fairly similar populations that live in the same area, yet do not interbreed. The best examples showing how this can happen gradually are known as “ring species”.

    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB910.html

    Another good page on speciation by various mechanisms:

    http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/S/Speciation.html

  153. #153 Barry Kearns
    November 3, 2006

    Randy wrote:

    By tool use I meant it seems to be an evolutionary advantage (whether resulting from social environment or not) as man seems to dominate the planet, and thus would have evidenced itself more wide-spread in other species (say a porpoise with a computer).

    My guess is that one of the significant differences is that the branches leaning to modern humans appears to involve a particular “gamble” from an evolutionary standpoint: a move away from hard-coding of most behavior as instinctual, as compared to a more general-purpose learning system. Offspring require a much higher degree of protection and social training to succeed well, but the system is able to achieve a much higher success rate.

    An intriguing place to look is the human difference in sialic acid expression, particularly Neu5Gc. It appears that a mutation may have suppressed the manufacture of this in proto-human brains, and that may have freed the species from previous barriers to brain growth.

    http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/99/18/11736?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&author1=Varki+%2C+A&fulltext=Neu5Gc&searchid=1064944107560_7412&stored_search=&FIRSTINDEX=0&sortspec=relevance&resourcetype=1

    Likewise, the gene FOXP2 may appear to present a critical genetic link to the development of language and speech, which drastically increase the ability of a society to pass on useful knowledge regarding tool development, rituals and other communication forms. Humans with defects in this gene tend to have immobility of the lips, tongue, and mouth, which makes their speech garbled. They also have difficulty understanding language structure and grammar.

    http://courses.washington.edu/anthr100/WhatMakesUsHuman.doc

  154. #154 Barry Kearns
    November 3, 2006

    Ack! Can someone shorten that URL to:

    http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/99/18/11736

    Thanks! It appears to be honking up the format.

  155. #155 Randy Starnes
    November 3, 2006

    Barry Kearns: Thank you for the links. I guess my problem is that while I see little in the creationist/ID argument to support their position, I also see little to support the evolutionist argument either. The knowledge gained from DNA/RNA/pseudogenes/errors shows a definitive link between chimps/apes and humans, but does not explain why humans left the habitat of the chimps (the reason we have so little fossil evidence of chimps is their environment), or split away, or whatever may have occurred. It would seem that some interbreeding sub-species would have to exist, and we can postulate that there is no fossil evidence for the same reason there is so little fossil evidence as chimps, but because of that it becomes only speculation that chimps even existed six million years ago (just for the sake of argument, mind you, I am not denying they did, just that evidence for it is only speculative).
    That said, these points are reasons that if I had to say it is one or the other, evolution has much more compelling logic and reasoning, but I still do not see the definite physical evidence that overrides the creationist/ID argument that something could have produced the same results by intervening in the life process. It may be stupid, idiotic, genetically-challenged humans who have the faith gene turned on that convinces themselves that scientific evidence is bunk, and some being produced those same results, but I still have problems refuting their creationist arguments with non-physical specultive arguments. The genetic research shows the definitive links and the “how” of things occurring, but not the “why”, or what specifically occurred when, that would make them look like the ignorant people they are.
    Basically, I guess my thoughts are like this, the chimps are still here, humans are still here, where are the sub-species that can breed between them, or why and when did they go.

  156. #156 Barry Kearns
    November 3, 2006

    Randy wrote:
    I still do not see the definite physical evidence that overrides the creationist/ID argument that something could have produced the same results by intervening in the life process.

    If an argument is structured such that any given process can be alternatively explained as some hyper-powerful being intervening to produce the same results, there can never be (by definition) any evidence could contradict that assertion.

    That is because it is inherently unfalsifiable. The Flying Spaghetti Monster is just as good of an explanation as Yahweh at that point, and there’s no way to distinguish between them scientifically.

    Not having a perfect step-by-step explanation for everything that happened isn’t the same thing as having no argument at all.

    How do creationists refute the hypothesis that Ragnod, the invisible dragon, created the Bible, the story of Yahweh, the entire universe, and every reaction that will ever take place within it? After all, Ragnod told the elect those things himself, and Ragnod is a perfect being that cannot lie, and nothing could ever be more powerful than he is. Ragnod states that Yahweh is a false god he made up, and that the Bible was designed to trick the gullible into believing in it. Who are these mere humans to contradict the all-powerful and immortal Ragnod?

    Ragnod cannot ever be refuted as an explanation for anything that is ever seen by anyone. Everything that happens is the perfect will of Ragnod, after all.

    How, then, should a rational thinking person distinguish between ID/Creationist ideas, the FSM, Ragnod, or any other perfectly unfalsifiable idea?

    The answer is that they can’t, and should therefore categorically reject appeals to any idea that can NEVER be falsified. If an explanation is 100% consistent with any and every hypothetical piece of evidence (including inherently contradictory ones), it is not an idea that belongs in the arena of science or rationality.

    There’s another very useful reason for rejecting perfectly unfalsifiable ideas. They cannot ever make a useful prediction, and therefore no technology can be derived from them. This is inherent in the idea that for any proposed experiment, all outcomes are predicted in advance as being due to the unfalsifiable idea. An idea that predicts everything (and anything) predicts nothing. Likewise, it distinguishes nothing.

    It’s as useful of an explanation as “Because I said so, that’s why!”.

  157. #157 Kozinator
    November 3, 2006

    Hi Barry,
    Thanks for your thoughtful response to my post. I appreciate your tact. But truthfully for me, it can all be summed up in this statement by you:
    “Not seeing something doesn’t mean that no one has ever seen it, nor does it mean that it doesn’t exist.”

    None of us can fully know or personally experience what other’s know and have experienced. Ultimately, we must find someone, some might say some thing, that we trust. Whatever factors we use to choose whom we trust is our decision alone.

    In all sincerity, the best evidence that I have is my life. Oh, I’m sure that will bring out some fun amunition for scorn and condemnation by all the superior intellects here. But, that’s okay. My life used to be one of self absorbed indulgence that was only about me. Now, I live for purpose greater than satisfying my own desires. I don’t have the time or energy to share all of that here. For those who might like to continue this discussion, and at the risk of being flamed, my yahoo address is todfrog13@yahoo.com. Thanks again for dialogue. Blessings to all. TK

  158. #158 Randy Starnes
    November 3, 2006

    Barry Kearns: I am a huge fan of FSM, and agree completely that without the arguments for evolution there would be no scientific research into the origin of man and all that extends from it. Creationists/ID might argue that at some point science and religion may converge (with some creator behind the things I pointed out). An issue with science is that it can become blinded to its love of some idea, and thus cease research into other ideas. Democritus and Aristotle, the belief in an ether throughout the universe (which seems be having a resurgence) and the nuclear atom are all examples of changes that because of their pervasiveness caused science to develop slower than it might have otherwise.

  159. #159 Barry Kearns
    November 3, 2006

    My question is this, then, Kozinator: Given that our experiences and personal decisions on who (or what) to trust are so individualized, do you think that it is right for one set of individuals to use their personal set of beliefs as the basis for legislation inhibiting the rights, privileges and practices of others?

  160. #160 SteveS
    November 3, 2006

    Are you here to defend Adams or his ideas?

    Not particularly. But consider this:

    Man ousted for grunting at health club

    WAPPINGERS FALLS, N.Y., Nov. 3 (UPI) — Police in upstate New York were summoned to Planet Fitness recently to oust a member who broke the rules by grunting while exercising.

    Among the many regulations posted at the Wappingers Falls club, “No grunting,” is on the list much to the chagrin of corrections officer Al Argibay, WCBS-TV reports.

    It seems Argibay was at a multi-press station getting ready to squat about 500 pounds when he accidentally let out a grunt, resulting in his expulsion from the club.

    Gym manager Carol Palazzolo says she called police after Argibay swore at her when she told him he wasn’t allowed to grunt.

    “I asked him not to (grunt), he got irate and nasty,” says Palazzolo. “And I can’t have him in my facility if he’s gonna do those kind of things.”

    Palazzolo says the club bans grunting in order to create an atmosphere that’s not intimidating.

    The club has a flashing light and siren on the wall, labeled a “lunk alarm,” which sounds if someone grunts or drops weights on the floor.

    http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/view.php?StoryID=20061103-114113-3244r

    Ok, so isn’t this a good example of political correctness run amok? Don’t college campuses all over this country have similar inane policies on harassment, intimidation, tolerance, etc.? Aren’t those liberal principles? Yeah? So why then is it not only ok, but appropriate to intimidate, harass, insult, impugn conservatives such as Dr. Adams?

  161. #161 Ichthyic
    November 3, 2006

    help!

    we’re being invaded by fake concern trolls.

  162. #162 SteveS
    November 3, 2006

    Ichthyic, get a grip. I’m not a troll of any sort, and I damn sure haven’t faked anything. Foolish me, I keep thinking it possible to actually come to some sort of working mutual respect with liberals but you people are impossible.

  163. #163 Ichthyic
    November 3, 2006

    but you people are impossible

    say that a little louder, Steve, I didn’t quite catch that.

  164. #164 Kozinator
    November 4, 2006

    SteveC, it’s not COMPLETELY impossible, just mostly impossible. Some of the retorts remind of the “I know you are but what am I” responses you get from grade schoolers. It is quite nice to find an adult in the room. It makes one appreciate Barry’s responses all the more.

    So, Barry, to respond to your query above, here is what you asked:
    “do you think that it is right for one set of individuals to use their personal set of beliefs as the basis for legislation inhibiting the rights, privileges and practices of others?”

    Whether or not I think it is “right”, as citizens of this country, it is our responsibility, under the auspices of The Constitution, to establish laws under which society shall be governed. First let me dispell what appears to be a widely held myth. The government, however you want to define that word, does not grant you or I a single right. The men who established our system knew, whether they were deists or Christians, that we have inalienable rights endowed to us by our Creator. Governments, designed and operated by human beings, are to be protectors of those inalienable rights.

    Those individual rights extend only so far as to not infringe on anothers rights. I can speak generalities all day but the devil is in the details. The question you pose above is multifaceted and cannot be given a simple yes or no answer. You intermingle “rights” with “priveleges” and “practices”. If we as a society determine that hallucinogens are dangerous and need to be controlled, then the use of peyote in religious rituals could be considered illegal. Is that an infringement? If it is, on which one is it an infringement rights, privileges or practices? From my perspective, it’s a tough call that will be right or wrong depending on who you are talking to.

    If you have a specific instance that you are thinking of, I’d be interested to discuss it. I can think of a lot of things where these are wedge issues for both right and left leaning individuals. Affirmative action, abortion, embryonic stem cell research, parental rights and child custody, wire tapping, the list could go on forever. So rather than me speculate on what you are thinking, please let me know.

    For the record, I’m a Libetarian leaning Christian. I believe that commandments in the scriptures are personal in nature and deal with the heart. They tell ME how I am to live. Any law I could ever pass would not deal with the heart, only behavior. So while I personally attempt to live my faith and share the gospel as opportunities arise, I don’t believe I’m called to get elected and force my beliefs on others.

    I believe that laws passed should not be done in manner that excludes others. For example, I don’t have a problem with gays marrying. I am concerned about where that could lead us if people decided to use the same analogy to allow paligamy(?) or marrying farm animals or whatever. Once you open that Pantera’s Box, there’s little chance of going back (yes I know it’s Pandora’s box but if you’ve seen the movie “Mystery Men” you’ll know to what I am referring). I would be for doing away with many of the drug laws on the books but only in so far as we would make people be responsible for their decisions. If one chose to live a life of doing drugs, fine, but I shouldn’t be coerced through taxation to take care of them. Individual liberty comes with responsibility. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a cold hearted bastard. Everyone deserves a second chance. I love giving the time, talent, and treasure God has blessed me with to help bless others. I give joyfully. I just not a fan of government coerced charity.

    Sorry for the babbling. My mind tends to meander. Anyway let me know what you think. Remember, justice is getting what you deserve while grace is getting what you don’t.

  165. #165 SteveS
    November 4, 2006

    Ichthyic, if the evidence supports the conclusion…isn’t that the stance here?

  166. #166 Torbjörn Larsson
    November 5, 2006

    Randy:
    “but the sub-species that could breed with Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon (or Homo Erectus or some such) does not seem to still be around, and fossil evidence is lacking.”

    We have fossil evidence.

    Neanderthals was an offshoot, and there was probably no attempts at late interbreeding at all due to geographical reasons. Homo sapiens, Cro Magnon, reached Europe when Neanderthals were gone, or nearly so.

    Homo Erectus is our immediate ancestors.

    “By tool use I meant it seems to be an evolutionary advantage”
    Well, diverse animals certainly think tool use is advantegous.

    “say a porpoise with a computer”
    Come back when you have succesfully made integrated circuits under water using flippers and beaks.

    “The knowledge gained from DNA/RNA/pseudogenes/errors shows a definitive link between chimps/apes and humans, but does not explain why humans left the habitat of the chimps (the reason we have so little fossil evidence of chimps is their environment), or split away, or whatever may have occurred.”

    Depending on available specific evidence, we may never know the reason for a specific speciation. But we do know they occur because some have been observed, and we also know mechanisms, so there is no great mystery to explain here.

    “we can postulate that there is no fossil evidence for the same reason there is so little fossil evidence as chimps”

    By luck and of course concentrated efforts we have plenty of fossil evidence of our ancestors, as I have tried to point you to.

    “Many human fossils have been found, but chimpanzee fossils had not been described until 2005. Existing chimpanzee populations in West and Central Africa do not overlap with the major human fossil sites in East Africa. However, chimpanzee fossils have now been reported from Kenya. This would indicate that both humans and members of the Pan clade were present in the East African Rift Valley during the Middle Pleistocene.[13]” ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimps )

    “it becomes only speculation that chimps even existed six million years ago”
    Chimps may or may not be an old species, but we aren’t discussing them, we are discussing our ancestors.

    FWIW, DNA evidence, physionomical and behavioural patterns shows that chimpanzees are our closest now living relatives.

    “Groundbreaking research by Mary-Claire King in 1973 found 99% identical DNA between human beings and chimpanzees,[11] although research since has modified that finding to somewhere between 95 to 99.4[12] percent commonality, with at least some of the difference occurring in ‘junk’ DNA. It has even been proposed that troglodytes and paniscus belong with sapiens in the genus Homo, rather than in Pan.

    One argument for this is that other species have been reclassified to belong to the same genus on the basis of less genetic similarity than that between humans and chimpanzees.

    Indeed cladistic taxonomy, based on both genetic difference and date of likely divergence, is very clear in placing both extant species of Pan in the genus Homo, mainly because the genus Homo takes precedence on account of being coined first.” (Ibid.)

    We are not apes, apes are us.

    “The genetic research shows the definitive links and the “how” of things occurring, but not the “why”, or what specifically occurred when, that would make them look like the ignorant people they are.”

    In that sense of the words “how” and “why”, no science explains “why”, only “how”.

    How specified the observations and models can be (“what”) depends on circumstances. When you drink a glass of water you don’t know the history behind each water molecule either, but you know that it is water and how it is recycled on Earth. Same here, we know the mechanisms and relationships, without observing each specific member of the populations.

  167. #167 Torbjörn Larsson
    November 5, 2006

    “But we do know they occur because some have been observed”

    But the main reason we know this is because fossil and DNA evidence can’t be explained by any other means, and because the theory is forceful enough to be predictive. (Ie, Tiktalik was predicted to have similar features, similar age (layer to find), and similar habitat (geological formation to find). That was how it was found.)

  168. #168 Barry Kearns
    November 6, 2006

    Kozinator wrote:

    If you have a specific instance that you are thinking of, I’d be interested to discuss it.

    and

    For the record, I’m a Libetarian leaning Christian. I believe that commandments in the scriptures are personal in nature and deal with the heart. They tell ME how I am to live. Any law I could ever pass would not deal with the heart, only behavior. So while I personally attempt to live my faith and share the gospel as opportunities arise, I don’t believe I’m called to get elected and force my beliefs on others.

    I believe that laws passed should not be done in manner that excludes others. For example, I don’t have a problem with gays marrying. I am concerned about where that could lead us if people decided to use the same analogy to allow paligamy(?) or marrying farm animals or whatever.

    I was thinking in particular about laws that are derived based off of religious teachings… things like anti-sodomy statutes (in the pre-Lawrence-v-Texas days), current laws and prosecutions based on bans regarding marital aids in Alabama and Texas, stupid “blue laws” like the inability to buy a car or Sunday, or buy hard liquor on a Sunday. Those sorts of things.

    (as an aside, with a few more hard-right Supreme Court judges, Lawrence v Texas could be reversed, and we’d be right back in the arena of criminalizing private homosexual sex)

    How should we handle adherents of a particular religion that seek to criminalize something their religion says is “wrong”, when a secular society that doesn’t prescribe to that particular set of religious beliefs disagrees? If the adherents are in the local majority, shouldn’t we protect the rights of those in the minority?

    I realize that you’re coming at this from a more Libertarian Christian perspective, but I suspect that’s a minority within the overall set of Christendom. While you don’t personally want to push those sorts of things, do you think it’s right to actively stop those who want to enact moralizing busybody legislation simply because their religion says that some kinds of private sexual expression are too icky?

    There are slippery slopes other than gay marriage -> polygamy or beastiality, you know. When the religious dictates of a localized majority are the basis for legislation, the slippery slope that leads towards is the collection of things we see enacted in sharia law.

    From a Libertarian/Conservative Agnostic perspective, I’d prefer that Christians keep their religion out of legislation that affects non-Christians, thanks. If your church wants to set their own standards, fine. If I don’t like it, I won’t go to your church. But when churches seek to inject themselves into the political and legislative arenas, in order to force their worldview onto others against their will, I think they need to be fought tooth and nail.

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