Pharyngula

That’s some memory hole

For those of you looking for audio of that debate with Simmons, you can download an MP3 now. I’m actually a little bit impressed that the radio station has enough integrity to retain the file and make it available to their listeners.

I can’t say as much about Uncommon Descent. They briefly put up a thread to discuss the debate as it was happening, the comments accumulated, and many conceded the debate to me (while, of course, disagreeing with me). It wasn’t a troll thread, no vituperation was going on, it was just a fairly ordinary set of comments with nothing objectionable, I though…but then, poof, today it is gone. It is preserved at After the Bar Closes.

I don’t like to do this; even when discussing the work of the anti-scientists in the creationist movement, we should link to their work. But I’m not going to link to Uncommon Descent ever again. It’s not that they’re wrong or that I disagree with them, but that the site is profoundly dishonest and unreliable, and can’t be trusted. I’m not going to link to a site which will freely shift and modify their content to polish their image, since who knows where any link will end up.

Comments

  1. #1 Zeno
    February 1, 2008

    If Uncommon Descent ever goes out of business, the people who operate it can always get a job working with Winston Smith in the Ministry of Truth. They have the skill set.

  2. #2 Raynfala
    February 1, 2008

    Um… I was listening to the audio, and there was a hiccup (possibly some sloppy editing?) at 6:04 into the MP3 file. Did anybody else notice that? Was it something important?

  3. #3 me
    February 1, 2008

    fucking ironic how the only missing links are those on uncommon descent

  4. #4 Glen Davidson
    February 1, 2008

    Just how much of what we write, and what even they write, will have been Expelled? before the whole sorry lot of them is forgotten, anyway?

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  5. #5 ifeelfine72
    February 1, 2008

    #3 – that is too funny!

  6. #6 Plognark
    February 1, 2008

    Wow, what a bunch of sore losers! Quite funny though!

  7. #7 Ric
    February 1, 2008

    Yes, the crooks and liars at Uncommon Descent need to be called out. Let me do so:

    William Dembski: You are a dishonest embarrassment to Christians.

    Denyse O’Leary: You are a blatant liar and propagandist.

    Dave Scot: You are a lying embarrassment to the human race.

    The funny thing is they complain incessantly that their ideas are being censored. They, of course, are the biggest proponents of censorship around.

  8. #8 me
    February 1, 2008

    thanks to the not-missing audio link, I’m listening to the opening statements for the 1st time–I couldn’t get to the live show yesterday until quarter past.

    1)This Simmons character is absolutely incoherent. He doesn’t make any sense at all, is just sort of rambling.

    2)This confirms my suspicions that the only primary scientific literature these people have ever read is from the mid to late 19th century. They’ve probably not read a scientific paper since.

  9. #9 Norm
    February 1, 2008

    I kept expecting Bill Dembski or DaveScot to appear on the UD thread, wagging their fingers at the commenters and writing that “so-and-so is no longer with us”. Nope, too many dissenters I guess; much easier to yank the whole thread.

  10. #10 Inoculated Mind
    February 1, 2008

    Good job on the debate, you creamed him. I’ve been telling people I know about it and they were laughing. Durrr, I read Scientific American so I know what Scientists know… Hehe.
    For those who are interested, I finally posted that show of mine with PZ and Ken Miller debating religion and nonreligion over the acceptance of evolution.
    http://www.inoculatedmind.com/?p=311

    It’s PZ debate fever.

  11. #11 MissPrism
    February 1, 2008

    I’m listening now. Ha! You’re handing him his arse on a side-plate, with a pat of butter.

    ..and he brings up human birth as evidence for design? Surely a designed solution would be a lot less messy, painful and inefficient. Perhaps a zip-fastening across the abdomen?

  12. #12 MorseCode
    February 1, 2008

    I love how they try to make it sound like creationism is the dominant theory and PZ is just a “Darwinist proponent”. As if they entire scientific community doesn’t recognize the reality of evolution.

    It simultaneously makes me laugh, feel sad and feel frightened.

  13. #13 astromcnaught
    February 1, 2008

    I’m listening too.
    Best entertainment of the week.
    Thank you PZ.

  14. #14 Stuart Ritchie
    February 1, 2008

    Did you hear the host at the start? ‘Before we start the destruc… ah, I mean discussion…’

    Freudian slip or prophecy?

  15. #15 Tom Morris
    February 1, 2008

    PZ, on the matter of linking you can use a few HTML techniques to mark for non-human readers that you are not endorsing the linked material. There are two of these – rel-nofollow is the Google way of doing it, which basically says to the Google bot “You should not follow this link and not use this page’s worth when calculating the worth of the targeted resource”. To do this you add rel=”nofollow” to the link.

    There is also an unofficial, community effort called Vote Links put together by the microformats.org community. To do this you add rev=”vote-for” rev=”vote-abstain” or rev=”vote-against” to the link to indicate whether you vote for, against or abstain on the resource.

    One of the documents about Vote Links by a friend of mine use Dawkins and creationism as an example of how to use Vote Links.

    I’ve been using vote-for/vote-against when pointing to anti-creationist and creationist resources respectively.

    Good performance on tearing Simmons a new rear entrance.

  16. #16 Dave Briggs
    February 1, 2008

    I love how they try to make it sound like creationism is the dominant theory and PZ is just a “Darwinist proponent”. As if they entire scientific community doesn’t recognize the reality of evolution.

    It simultaneously makes me laugh, feel sad and feel frightened.

    Posted by: MorseCode | February 1, 2008 11:44 AM

    Of those 3 emotions the one that gets me most is sad! I am a Christian who believes in both creationism and evolution! I know that may sound contradictory, but I also know of others who feel the same way.
    I guess it is inevitable that this controversy would happen, but what saddens me most is that I know so many brilliant, dedicated people on both sides and if there could only be a way to get them to be able to work cooperatively instead of being caught up in this squabble, the world could be made a better place by their combined efforts!
    Dave Briggs :~)

  17. #17 AJ Milne
    February 1, 2008

    Re ‘Fucking ironic how the only missing links are those on Uncommon Descent’

    … simply beautiful.

  18. #18 Adam Cuerden
    February 1, 2008

    What really impressed me is how many utter lies about Darwin and the Victorian period Simian got into his final 3-minute summary. He assigns mediaeval/early rnnaisance beliefs about frogs and such spontaneously generating to a society that at most were uncertain about the generation microorganisms – which Pasteur would disprove circa 1863. He then spends several minutes libelling Darwin for racism and sexism (when anyone who actually knew Darwin’s writings would know that he was far ahead of his time), and…

    You know, he said very little that was true throughout the interview, but in his last three minutes, he moved beyond plausible stupidity into outright slander.

  19. #19 jimmiraybob
    February 1, 2008

    As one of the commenters at UD said (now scrubbed since my visit last night), “let’s just close our eyes and pretend the debate didn’t happen (paraphrased).”

    Apparently they are.

    It really was an embarrassing episode from their point of view and from the point of view of someone expecting an informed and intelligent argument from the “anti-Darwin” side. I, however, had no such expectation and even that expectation was thoroughly dashed by the rambling unintelligible dribble from the good doctor of Gapology.

    I did pick up one thing though that I didn’t know before, Darwin didn’t know his monkeys. Don’t look at me, I’m not gonna make the joke.

  20. #20 Raynfala
    February 1, 2008

    He then spends several minutes libelling Darwin for racism and sexism (when anyone who actually knew Darwin’s writings would know that he was far ahead of his time)

    Yeah. Even if Simmons were accurate about Darwin’s views — and I have no basis or interest to conclude one way or the other — it really goes beyond the pale to bring that up in a debate such as this one.

    I mean, William Shockley was the co-inventor of the transistor, which is one of the more important inventions (if not The Invention) of the 20th century. But Shockley was also an advocate of eugenics, and was, by most accounts, quite the prick. But nobody uses that as the metric when evaluating his contribution to society.

  21. #21 ShotgunTex
    February 1, 2008

    I think I know the real reason why the thread went down.

    From one commenter:
    “ID needs a BIG EVENT. It needs something that will get everybody (laymen and experts alike) to stand up and take notice, something that will quickly and decisively nullify the enemy’s defences.”

    They don’t want us to know about the upcoming attack. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m staying away from shopping malls and sports stadiums for the next week.

  22. #22 Epistaxis
    February 1, 2008

    #3: You win.

  23. #23 Kseniya
    February 1, 2008

    The enemy? Rationality is the enemy? Of course it is!

  24. #24 Rob Adams
    February 1, 2008

    I just love how the title of his book is a parody of his argument. He wallows in his ignorance.

  25. #25 Dahan
    February 1, 2008

    #3, you actually did make me lol. Nice.

  26. #26 Brownian, OM
    February 1, 2008

    I guess it is inevitable that this controversy would happen, but what saddens me most is that I know so many brilliant, dedicated people on both sides and if there could only be a way to get them to be able to work cooperatively instead of being caught up in this squabble, the world could be made a better place by their combined efforts!

    Well, any time the creationists want to start actually doing science rather than actively campaigning against it, we’ll be waiting with open arms (although I don’t think many of them will remain creationists through the process.)

  27. #27 Anon
    February 1, 2008

    I call shenanigans! NO ONE is that specifically ignorant–It could not have happened by chance that this big fat pitch right in the strike zone showed up to “debate” you. This was not hardball–this was T-ball. The dude was intelligently designed to serve as the perfect example of how *not* to debate. EVERY statement he made was teeing up the ball. This was not “shooting fish in a barrel”; this was sticking a shotgun down the gaping maw of a carp and blasting away, loaded for bear. Simmons was the metaphorical equivalent of the spaceship that crashed on Krikkit–the easy, debate-for-dummies, this-is-what-ignorance-looks-like-in-concentrated-form version of a cdesign proponentist.

    Who was it really? Did you get your buddy The Bad Astronomer to do his impression of a Discover Institute Fellow? (I was going to say “a knuckle dragging, drooling troglodyte”, but that would be too much credit.)

  28. #28 me
    February 1, 2008

    but what saddens me most is that I know so many brilliant, dedicated people on both sides

    If you don’t conclude that the only thing brilliant about this Geof Simmons chap is his ignorance, then you weren’t paying attention.

  29. #29 Larry Ayers
    February 1, 2008

    Aw, PZ, you just can’t resist tilting against ignorant windmills, can you! I enjoyed the debate, and I think you did a good job defending your position.

  30. #30 MikeM
    February 1, 2008

    There’s a difference between being wrong and lying, isn’t there. That’s really the key here. Taking that thread down is a lie.

    That is the culture I don’t want a thing to do with.

    With the whole WMD “Oops” in Iraq, I think these people have had good teachers. And it’s all part of the same culture. Completely consistent, which is why I have no qualms about staying away from them.

    I’m sorry if that connection seems like a stretch to some, but to me, the connection is now 100% complete.

  31. #31 Deathweasel
    February 1, 2008

    Wow, that was a total waste of your time. Good job not losing your cool; I might have hung up in disgust after the whole “no transistional whale fossils” debacle.

    Hopefully your next debate will feature someone with a clue.

  32. #32 October Mermaid
    February 1, 2008

    I believe an “Oh, snap!” is in order.

    I can just imagine Dembski sitting at his desk in the center of his volcano headquarters and raising both fists to the sky, screaming “PZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” as the camera rises dramatically above him in an expensive crane shot.

  33. #33 RT
    February 1, 2008

    I spent the whole time he was talking about the “lack” of whale fossils staring at pictures of them on numerous websites.

    He simply can’t be that ignorant, or arrogant enough to presume he can write a book in the subject. Can he? Even for a creationist.

    Lying I can understand: they do that all the time, but surely no-one can be that incoherant and muddled for real.

  34. #34 Hairhead
    February 1, 2008

    I do object to the moderator chastising PZ for describing his opponent as “ignorant”. This is NOT a pejorative; it is merely descriptive and simply means “lacking the information.” And the man had PROVEN that he LACKED THE INFORMATION. Now, “willfully ignorant”, that’s a pejorative.

    PZ is ignorant of many, many things, AND HE KNOWS IT. That’s what makes him a scientist. He is determined to relieve his ignorance in certain areas as much as possible in his lifetime.

    Simmons, on the other hand, is ignorant, and by all the evidence, wishes to remain to so.

  35. #35 Adam
    February 1, 2008

    A commenter on the other thread said PZ should have been more polite because rudeness drives people away. In general he has a point, but it doesn’t apply here.

    First, when a guy flat out lies you have to flat out call him a liar in a believable way. If you don’t, listeners won’t know. You can’t be a Milquetoast. Second, any additional level of moderation the commenter thought PZ should have exhibited would have had to be so nuanced as to be practically impossible in such a sprint-like debate.

    Had there been more time, I’d have like to have pinned Simmons to specifics on his “Darwinian Inquisition” claim, and then shredded him.

  36. #36 Mrs. Peach
    February 1, 2008

    jimmiraybob@#18, I was thinking the exact same thing. It was bFast who said:
    “In my opinion, we should just close our eyes and pretend that this debate never happened.”

    Maybe they closed their eyes really, really hard, and POOF!, it was all erased from their selective memories.

  37. #37 akshay
    February 1, 2008

    Dave, just to know, how would you know a designed universe from an undesigned one? So far the creationist mantra has been “only an intelligent being could have created our complex universe”. But how is that any different from saying that “only tiny invisible refridgerators up in the sky could create hail stones” or “only giant invisible moles(mole hills ya see) could have created mountains”. If we didn’t have an understanding of these phenomenon already, my above mentiones claims would have been at par with the ID theories of present.

    You say that the IDers are dedicated researchers. I’m unimpressed with their ID work so far. So I find your notion/hope of IDers and ‘Evil’utionists working hand-in-hand as naively optimistic. The fact is IDers have made it tougher for christians like you with a scientific bent to compartmentalise your beliefs the way you used to do.

    Dragging God into scientific matters must now seem like a bad move.

  38. #38 extatyzoma
    February 1, 2008

    remember at school when a bunch of kids is telling each other how tall their dad is and the short kid is obviously getting laughed at somewhat, the short kid gets really frustrated and confused and shouts really loudly, ‘well my dads 9 foot 4′ and then suddenly realises hes really and irreversibly messed up and bursts into tears. SIMMONS. just what is it with the actual blatent lies???? I dont understand that bit, is their really a subsection of any given human population that has these odd qualities??

  39. #39 Brownian, OM
    February 1, 2008

    I can just imagine Dembski sitting at his desk in the center of his volcano headquarters and raising both fists to the sky, screaming “PZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” as the camera rises dramatically above him in an expensive crane shot.

    Oh, snap!

    And me’s comment #3 deserves to be preserved in some vault somewhere.

  40. #40 Scrofulum
    February 1, 2008

    I can’t believe that a medical doctor is so ignorant about evolutionary theory. It’s not even the more complex aspects he gets wrong, but simple stuff.

    I hope his patients see the light and leave his practice in droves.

  41. #41 JasonE
    February 1, 2008

    My favorite part was when PZ said “Your ignorance of the fossil record” at which point he was interupted with a desire to keep things civil and not call each other ignorant.

    As if it is uncivil to refer to someone’s lack of knowledge on a subject as ignorance. It is one thing to refer to a person in general as ignorant and quite another to point out a demonstrated gap in knowledge.

    As in his obvious ignorance of the word ‘ignorance’.

  42. #42 Marcus Ranum
    February 1, 2008

    “ID needs a BIG EVENT. It needs something that will get everybody (laymen and experts alike) to stand up and take notice, something that will quickly and decisively nullify the enemy’s defences.”

    That’s true. If YHWH shows up on his steaming chariot and does some kick-ass magic tricks that even food Randi (YHWH could use the $1mil to give to Ted Haggard, right?) I think we’d all take notice.

    Speaking as just an amateur physicist, my defenses would be nullified if YHWH did just a few simple tricks – like, maybe, turning Jupiter into a diamond, or making a monkey out of Denyse O’Leary.. Oh… wait. With witnesses present.

  43. #43 Jason Failes
    February 1, 2008

    My comment on UC:

    “PZ Myers, who runs the caustic pro-Darwinism blog”

    What’s Darwinism?

    I’ve looked all over the place, but outside of creationist literature, there seems to be no special regard held for Darwin in the Evolutionary sciences, except, of course, as the originator of the concept of natural selection.

    I cannot find anyone in these fields who ignores or denigrates other mechanisms of evolution, such as endosymbiosis and genetic drift, to exclusively rely upon Darwin’s proposed mechanism, nor can I find anyone who espouses Darwin’s original concept of natural selection over more modern understandings.

    Although he is caustic, it may be better to call him pro-science, or pro-cephlopod for that matter.

  44. #44 Michael Spear
    February 1, 2008

    “The enemy is fighting a political war, not a scientific one. They will lie as often as they have to. They are well equipped for it. Myers is a skilled and consummate liar, in my opinion.”

    Haha…kudos to the saved thread from UD.

  45. #45 extatyzoma
    February 1, 2008

    it is hard to believe hes an MD.

    that final summary of his where started rambling on very quickly about not letting preconception, religion and politcal correctness (if i remember it all corrctly) affect science results was truly manic, it was almost unsettling, it reminded me of when you are in a sales room and the rep suddenly realises that you ARENT interested in the item and he (ive only had guys do this) suddenly gets really agitated and smiles madly but theres pain in his eyes and spit building up on the edges of his lips and you fear he actually wants to jump on you and strangle you. now of course this observation says little about evolution or lack of it but it says a lot about ID proponents when they have nothing valuable to say, nothing atall.

  46. #46 BlockStacker
    February 1, 2008

    I liked how the hosts thought PZ calling the guy “ignorant” was an uncalled-for insult.

  47. #47 Jay Hovah
    February 1, 2008

    Best comment:

    “In my opinion we should just close our eyes and pretend that this debate never happened.”

    Classic…

  48. #48 Kseniya
    February 1, 2008

    “The enemy is fighting a political war, not a scientific one. They will lie as often as they have to. They are well equipped for it. Myers is a skilled and consummate liar, in my opinion.”

    You can’t be serious. Someone posted that without a trace of irony or self-awareness? Can we clip that and put it into every Psych 101 text as, well, as a textbook example of projection?

    I’m stunned. That’s over the top, even for UhDuh. What incredibly self-deluded fools. Flat-earthers. Ostriches. Flat-earth-believing ostriches. Without feathers. Butt-naked flat-earth-believing ostriches! Every one of them! :-D

  49. #49 Cephus
    February 1, 2008

    I thought the funniest part was that Simmons wrote an entire book on missing links, but admitted almost immediately that he had no knowledge of the subject matter, that all he knew about whale fossils is what he read in a Scientific American article a year ago.

    Someone needs to send a transcript of this debate to his publisher.

  50. #50 BlueIndependent
    February 1, 2008

    Just listened to the whole thing. Simmons is blatantly dishonest, especially on the question for the show. He didn’t know the title of the segment before coming on? What did he think he was being called on to talk about? What transparent BS.

    And he never answered the challenge: Defend ID or whatever is better than evolution. He didn’t do it because he can’t, and is not prepared to argue on that playing field. All we get out of this tool is giraffes and whales popped into existence because he didn’t do his research, and chimps are 100% different than humans…oh, and Darwin sucks. But he can’t explain why beyond his revisionist historical moralizing (an obviously play to the station’s audience). Can you believe the race card was pulled in the presence of all-white people?

  51. #51 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    February 1, 2008

    fucking ironic how the only missing links are those on uncommon descent

    Posted by: me | February 1, 2008 11:10 AM

    I like me.

    Not that I’m especially narcissist or anything.

  52. #52 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    February 1, 2008

    fucking ironic how the only missing links are those on uncommon descent

    Posted by: me | February 1, 2008 11:10 AM

    I like me.

    Not that I’m especially narcissist or anything.

  53. #53 Jim S.
    February 1, 2008

    I can just imagine Dembski sitting at his desk in the center of his volcano headquarters and raising both fists to the sky, screaming “PZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” as the camera rises dramatically above him in an expensive crane shot.

    OK, that was an “ASNR” (Acute Spontaneous Nasal Reflux). Good thing I’ve learned to not eat or drink when reading these.

    Would that expensive crane shot really be a (Dennett) skyhook?

  54. #54 MachiavelliDiscourse
    February 1, 2008

    The 1984 allusion is disturbingly accurate. Creationists and ID proponents must employ doublethink when confronted by irrefutable evidence, and now they feel compelled to erase inconvenient events from their collective history. These are the sort of actions undertaken by totalitarian regimes when they are denying aspects of reality that do not conform to their preferred ideology.

  55. #55 Michael X
    February 1, 2008

    I think the “brain fossils” UD quote is the winner for teh stupid.

    As for Dembski’s lair, I wonder what kinda of evil henchmen he has? Surely not flying monkeys. The monkeys have unionized, and will not work for a monkey hater.

  56. #56 PZ Myers
    February 1, 2008

    Yeah, that last volley from Simmons was another typical dirty creationist debating tactic. If you’re getting called on your little lies, wait until the last minute to throw out a whole bunch of Big Lies — even though I had the last word, I’m not quick enough to assemble a complete argument against all that nonsense he spewed about Darwin in a few seconds.

  57. #57 Jackstraw
    February 1, 2008

    I can just imagine Dembski sitting at his desk in the center of his volcano headquarters and raising both fists to the sky, screaming “PZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” as the camera rises dramatically above him in an expensive crane shot.

    With DaveScot as “Mini-Ski”?

  58. #58 Don
    February 1, 2008

    Just listened to the whole thing.

    Only a theory…beyond my comprehension…you’re mean…I read a magazine…Darwin was a racist…

    Bloody hell, they put you up against a street-sweeper.

    However, you do have an evil laugh. That soft mocking chuckle will have the poor stooge waking up in a muck-sweat for years to come.

  59. #59 Candy
    February 1, 2008

    I thought the funniest part was that Simmons wrote an entire book on missing links, but admitted almost immediately that he had no knowledge of the subject matter, that all he knew about whale fossils is what he read in a Scientific American article a year ago.

    I could scarcely believe my ears when he said right off the bat that he wasn’t there “to defend ID . . . or to show you proof that intelligent design is a real science.” Nah, I guess he was just there to debate poor old Darwin. Hell, he might even have won a debate with Darwin, Darwin having been dead quite a while. I wouldn’t have bet money on it, though.

    PZ, you actually engaged in a battle of wits with an unarmed man, as the saying goes.

  60. #60 cm
    February 1, 2008

    Regarding their calling you PZ and him Dr. Simmons…Did you tell the hosts prior to air time, “Please, call me PZ”?

  61. #61 Ipecac
    February 1, 2008

    On the discussion thread, one of them said:

    The ID movement is wasting its time and resources, in my opinion. This ID vs. evolution fight will never be won with either debates, arguments, brochures, web sites or what have you. The opposition has a propaganda machine that is impervious to this strategy. If public debates and discussions are the best that we can do, I’m afraid we have lost the war before it has even started.

    ID needs a BIG EVENT. It needs something that will get everybody (laymen and experts alike) to stand up and take notice, something that will quickly and decisively nullify the enemy’s defences. I don’t see these endless debates and arguments making a dent in their armor. They’re stronger than ever.

    Education and arguments are nice but they will only be effective after we’re on top, not before. Sorry to sound so negative but that’s the way I see it at the moment.

    Here’s my suggestion for your “BIG EVENT”: GET SOME EVIDENCE!! Geez, this is science. You play by bringing the evidence, not by looking for some magic Hail Mary pass to somehow make those with the evidence disappear in favor of your nonsense.

  62. #62 extatyzoma
    February 1, 2008

    listening again i was almost crying with laghter at content and style.

    simmons:

    9:40 says hes not there to show ID is science or give evidence or defend it. (because thats impossible as far as we can tell).

    10:42 brings up ‘its only a theory’ (big mess up)

    10:56 ‘its a theory that science is disproving’ (LIE)

    11:23 suggests darwin wouldnt be published today because back then he didnt know genetics, cells?, immunity, viruses. (eh??????)

    11.55 ‘im not christian..or a firm believer in the bible’ (so a bit christian maybe if you believe in the bible a bit less firmly than others?)

    12:10 says that natural selection, survival of fittest, mutation, genetic variation are all laws? like boiling water and so are not the issue, like botany and geology (eh) are not at issue its evolution theory thats the issue’ (hes really fucking it up here, only a hillbilly fathered by his own brother could not see how dreadful this is becoming)

    12:38 ‘fossil record becoming more incomplete’ (well i suppose if worldwide fossil destruction exceeds that of current fossilisation maybe, but thats NOT what he meant, he didnt mean anything atall but to try and tell lies that some idiot might believe.

    12:47 (for pure comic fun) ‘pro evolutionists, new or old or somewhere inbetween’ is he describing a bell curve here??

    13:00 so his issue with evo being like jumping from NY to LA via a few steps is actually more impossible than doing it in a single leap (creation). this man is tripping.

    13;20 the business of birth, often fatal prior to medical intervention yes? he mentions ‘trial and error individuals or species’ this guy is a doctor??????????? he sounds more like a 13 year old kid at bible school getting it all very wrong……

  63. #63 Ipecac
    February 1, 2008

    Okay, that didn’t format correctly. Here’s what the guy in the thread said. The rest of the post, above, is my comment.

    “The ID movement is wasting its time and resources, in my opinion. This ID vs. evolution fight will never be won with either debates, arguments, brochures, web sites or what have you. The opposition has a propaganda machine that is impervious to this strategy. If public debates and discussions are the best that we can do, I’m afraid we have lost the war before it has even started.

    ID needs a BIG EVENT. It needs something that will get everybody (laymen and experts alike) to stand up and take notice, something that will quickly and decisively nullify the enemy’s defences. I don’t see these endless debates and arguments making a dent in their armor. They’re stronger than ever.

    Education and arguments are nice but they will only be effective after we’re on top, not before. Sorry to sound so negative but that’s the way I see it at the moment.”

  64. #64 Don
    February 1, 2008

    ‘fossil record becoming more incomplete’

    I assumed he meant, ‘You identify one transitional fossil, I see two more gaps.’

  65. #65 Paholaisen Asianajaja
    February 1, 2008

    I swear I can hear PZ sigh heavily at 03:44, when Simmons protests the word “infantile”.

    Classic.

  66. #66 me
    February 1, 2008

    #5, 17, 22, 25, 39, 51
    y’all are too kind

    but I digress

    isn’t there some sort of commenter award thingy around here?

    Vote for me!!!!

  67. #67 Brownian, OM
    February 1, 2008

    The reaction on UhDuh (Kseniya, did you coin this one? How I love it so!) alone made that debate worthwhile.

    They now know, more than ever, that we see through their parlour tricks and snake-oil salesmanship, and know how to counter them. Their lies won’t work. Their Gish Galloping won’t work.

    They can’t win debates. They refuse to do real science and have it published. They can’t smarm their way into universities by crying discrimination. They can’t silently pad schoolboards anymore.

    They’re afraid (which to anyone with a brain demonstrates how little in God they really trust), because every failure like this merely exposes their con a little more.

    No time to rest, but results like this almost encourage me to have faith.

  68. #68 extatyzoma
    February 1, 2008

    “The ID movement is wasting its time and resources, in my opinion. This ID vs. evolution fight will never be won with either debates, arguments, brochures, web sites or what have you. The opposition has a propaganda machine that is impervious to this strategy. If public debates and discussions are the best that we can do, I’m afraid we have lost the war before it has even started.

    ID needs a BIG EVENT. It needs something that will get everybody (laymen and experts alike) to stand up and take notice, something that will quickly and decisively nullify the enemy’s defences. I don’t see these endless debates and arguments making a dent in their armor. They’re stronger than ever.

    Education and arguments are nice but they will only be effective after we’re on top, not before. Sorry to sound so negative but that’s the way I see it at the moment.”

    what a sad, scary little product of evolution, at the very least when the big event happens he will take himself out too. Another big event happened in iraq this morning, like on many mornings and still nobody listens. evolution I suppose can predict that minds like bodies are going to have their foibles, now what about ID, shouldnt every mind be perfect??? seems not.

  69. #69 Paholaisen Asianajaja
    February 1, 2008

    I swear I can hear PZ sigh heavily at 03:44, when Simmons protests the word “infantile”.

    Classic.

  70. #70 Moses
    February 1, 2008

    Too much direct conflict for me. Got stressed with “fight or flight” issues. Damn, being neurotic sucks. Did enjoy what I heard though.

  71. #71 CalGeorge
    February 1, 2008

    From his book:

    Professor William Dembski, nationally acclaimed author of
    The Design Inference, defines Intelligent Design as natural systems that cannot be explained in terms of undirected natural forces, yet exhibit features which, in any other circumstance, we would attribute to intelligence. He points to the carved faces of four United States presidents–Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt–at Mount Rushmore. Given the natural forces of erosion, wind, and rain plus a rare push from a tectonic plate, it remains highly improbable, if not impossible, that Nature could have carved such likenesses.
    One should apply similar logic to everything we see in Nature. This book will help explain why.

    All you scientists! Go forth and apply logic! Forget the evidence, forget testing! Forget all the bazillions of hours of field work of your colleagues! Logic is KING!

    What a maroon.

  72. #72 Ric
    February 1, 2008

    Calgeorge, don’t knock logic. Logic is king. Bad logic is what they want you to use.

  73. #73 Valhar2000
    February 1, 2008

    I just heard PZ’s introduction, and I think that the only way to express my feelings about it is to borrow words form the creators of “Team America: World Police”:

    PZ Myers! Fuck Yeah!

  74. #74 Mark (Monty) Montague
    February 1, 2008

    I think I should have stuck with the cliff notes instead of listening for 45 minutes, but I may have had an insight for PZ or anyone else in a similar situation:

    what I wanted to hear from PZ when things got into “calling me ignorant is name-calling” was something along the lines of:

    Saying that the transitional whale fossils shows your ignorance is just refusing to cache things in politeness: questioning the foundations of the entire academic field of biology is far more insulting, and implying ignorance of a huge number of professionals. The suggestion that biologists are deluded, fabricating false evidence, refusing to question, and so forth is an unfounded attack on the integrity of the vast majority of professionals who have worked very hard to learn extremely difficult and complex material and find theoretical frameworks and experimental tests for them. To blindly assert that this is incorrect beyond merely calling the entire academic field of biology ignorant in general, it is saying that their entire lives’ work is a sham. The presumption and pretense of suggesting that all modern biologists are delusional is far more of a vicious attack than suggesting that a layperson, like Dr. Simmons, is ignorant of an obscure topic like the whale fossil record, although one might extend that to say that he is presumptuous and arrogant to be writing books making claims on the topic without doing due diligence on educating himself on the topic.

    It’s perhaps also strategic to say that Simmons’ ignorance is more of an insult to PZ than the other way around: the implication that both were on the same intellectual level and caliber is rather dubious to begin with, given the study level required to be a faculty member at a University in this particular field, but when what’s presented as a “debate among equals” degrades to a non-professional asserting facts that are corrected by the educated professional, at some point it becomes insulting that the non-professional is dismissing the professional’s expertise.

    In all fairness, though, I think that sometimes the anti-creationist reflexes raise so much emotional frustration in academics that there are some knee-jerk reflexive accusations… I suspect that the title of “The God Delusion” seems the same way to professional theologians, and while one might argue that professional scientists are worthy of more respect, I can understand how the theologians feel similarly that their life’s work is being dismissed by some sort of snotty outsider. The emotional reaction to being told that your life’s work is founded on delusions, lies, or misrepresentation will always make it difficult to have an intelligent conversation, and I think it’s desirable to call that out rather than to try to work around it or pretend that one is rational/righteous and above that sort of thing. Particularly since Simmons didn’t really have tools to do anything more than save face when his facts were questioned, in some ways, pointing out that the “stop name-calling me ignorant” was hypocrisy of a sort might have been a way out of the “beating a dead horse” aspect.

    Speaking of wrong facts, didn’t he say there were 35 trillion cells in the brain? I had to convert to scientific notation, but I thought there were around 10^11, not 3.5×10^13, although I could imagine that as within the error bars for number of synapses (although 350 seems like a pretty large average number of synapses.)

  75. #75 Siamang
    February 1, 2008

    “ID needs a BIG EVENT. It needs something that will get everybody (laymen and experts alike) to stand up and take notice, something that will quickly and decisively nullify the enemy’s defences. ”

    Yeah, something BIG like a nationally covered COURT CASE in Federal Court, where both sides could present their evidence! THAT would get everybody to stand up and take notice, and quickly and decisively nullify the enemy’s defenses!

  76. #76 Disciple of "Bob"
    February 1, 2008

    I hadn’t really paid much attention, and I assumed that Dr. Simmons would be a Doctor of Theology or similar. I guess it shouldn’t be, but the idea of a Creationist MEDICAL DOCTOR — who apparently denies evolution — is somewhat disturbing to me.

  77. #77 Foggg
    February 1, 2008

    Simmons coauthored this book with Dembski.
    http://www.amazon.com/What-Darwin-Didnt-Know-Evolution/dp/0736913130/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1201896200&sr=8-1
    Birds of [incompetent] feather flock together…

  78. #78 AlanWCan
    February 1, 2008

    What is it with the cdesignproponentsists that they think they’re being all subtle in the use of titles? You can always tell when there’s one in a conversation as soon as they start referring to Dr. Ken Ham, Dr. Simmons, Dr. Fucktard etc. then Mr. Dawkins, Mr. PZ Myers. Is it the whole father figure/blind allegiance to figures of authority thing? I suspect it has to do with level of education.

  79. #79 noncarborundum
    February 1, 2008

    What’s Darwinism?

    I’ve looked all over the place, but outside of creationist literature, there seems to be no special regard held for Darwin in the Evolutionary sciences, except, of course, as the originator of the concept of natural selection.

    A quibble: creationist literature isn’t in the “Evolutionary sciences”. What you’ve written is akin to saying “outside of the interior of the Sun, there seems to be no naturally occurring nuclear fusion anywhere on Earth.”

    I was disheartened to see that the New York Times crossword puzzle (not, one would have thought, a bastion of creationist thought) contained the following a couple of weeks ago:

    Clue: “suffix with ‘Darwin’”
    Answer: “ist”

    I almost wrote an angry letter to the puzzle editor. I don’t think this would have happened on Maleski’s watch.

  80. #80 Pablo
    February 1, 2008

    It’s perhaps also strategic to say that Simmons’ ignorance is more of an insult to PZ than the other way around: the implication that both were on the same intellectual level and caliber is rather dubious to begin with

    It brings to mind this exchange:

    “Captain Kirk. It is my impression that you are not taking this project seriously.”
    “On the contrary, I take the project very seriously. It is YOU I don’t take seriously.”

    Trouble eith Tribbles

  81. #81 Kseniya
    February 1, 2008

    The reaction on UhDuh (Kseniya, did you coin this one? How I love it so!) …

    I believe did! I’m glad you like it. It’s so you!

  82. #82 noncarborundum
    February 1, 2008

    the idea of a Creationist MEDICAL DOCTOR — who apparently denies evolution — is somewhat disturbing to me.

    They you should be really disturbed by this. He’s a brain surgeon. (You can find his bio page at Stony Brook U. by googling “Michael Egnor” and clicking the first result. I’d add a link but I want to avoid moderation Purgatory.)

  83. #83 Justin H.
    February 1, 2008

    I have to admit, even after subjecting myself to creationist propaganda and tactics for the last 1/3 or so of my life, I’m still absolutely scandalized by this example of censorship.

    I mean, I’m proud to be part of a scientific tradition that has shone a light where there used to only be the darkness of faith, and I like being right about scientific issues as much as the next guy, but I also like a bit of a challenge. I sincerely wish that there was a valid scientific alternative to the modern synthesis, because if there were then we could learn a lot from it and improve our theory.

    In a bizarre sort of way, I actually feel personally let down by the ID creationists, because they can’t seem to offer us anything worthwhile. And it’s impossible to even hope that they could, because they seem so averse to open discussion (even among themselves!) about the issues. I was following that thread yesterday, and someone suggested that they should assemble counter-evidence to PZ’s claims, and then POOF! the thread disappears. How am I supposed to have any respect for a movement like that? How can I even hope to learn anything new from a group for whom even the most casual intellectual honesty is anathema?

    I know that you guys are going to think I was foolish to ever think that they might actually have something new to say, or any desire to actually improve our scientific understanding, and I guess you would be right. Well, the good news is that the last tiny shred of my optimism in that regard is gone now.

  84. #84 James
    February 1, 2008

    Zeno wrote:

    If Uncommon Descent ever goes out of business, the people who operate it can always get a job working with Winston Smith in the Ministry of Truth. They have the skill set.

    “We’ve always been at war with Eastasia….”

    cm wrote:

    Regarding their calling you PZ and him Dr. Simmons…Did you tell the hosts prior to air time, “Please, call me PZ”?

    If PZ requested it, fine, but if not, he should have been addressed as “Professor,” a title far, far harder to achieve than “Doctor.”

  85. #85 mothra
    February 1, 2008

    @79. Very good reference. A bit closer to the original text is:

    “Captain Kirk. It is my impression that you are taking this whole project far too lightly.”
    “On the contrary, I take this project very seriously. It is YOU I take lightly.”

  86. #86 BobC
    February 1, 2008

    I just want to congratulate PZ, the obvious winner of this radio debate which I just listened to. From PZ I learned a lot. Especially interesting to me was the similarity of chimp and human brains. From the flat-earther I learned nothing but I was surprised the Disco idiots are even more dishonest and more stupid than I thought possible.

  87. #87 Ebo Tebo
    February 1, 2008

    If the good Dr. can’t stand the heat, why was he in the kitchen?? Using the word ignorent is not like using the word stupid, but with his showing in this debate, it may leave some folks wondering.
    Years ago, when I first moved to the midwest, I was looking for a Doctor and got an appointment with one(a Resident) who was going to hang up his shingle in Iowa shortly. Anyway, the first question out of his mouth after his introduction was wondering if I’d gone to church this last weekend. Somewhat at a loss for words for a moment or two, I retorted that I was a born again heathen and it was none of his business what I did or did not do as far as spirituality was concerned. He stammered something about being sorry, then on we went to the problem at hand.
    It does not surprise me one bit that we have another medical professional opening his mouth only to stick his foot in it!!

    Cheers,

  88. #88 Ebo Tebo
    February 1, 2008

    Excuse me!!! I was referring to Dr. Simmons at the beginning, not my hero PZ!!

    Cheers,

  89. #89 Mike O'Risal
    February 1, 2008

    “ID needs a big event.”

    I have a suggestion! How’s this for a headline:

    Discovery Institute Shuts Down
    Fellows admit to ignorance, duplicity

    …According to senior fellow William Dembski, “The whole thing turned out to be the product of eating moldy rye bread. Ergotamine makes people behave very oddly.”

    Discovery Institute assets, consisting of a tattered Bible, a web site and several soiled trousers will be auctioned off on eBay later this month to raise money for vocational training in hopes of getting Jonathan Wells a real job…

    Now THAT’S a big event!

  90. #90 Marcus Ranum
    February 1, 2008

    @#73 – sincere applause.

  91. #91 Dunc
    February 1, 2008

    Mike O’Risal wins the internet!

    Dr Simmons is painful to listen to. The man is clearly an idiot. Or mentally ill.

  92. #92 RT
    February 1, 2008

    The thing is, I simply can’t understand or start to empathise with the mind-set of people like this. It feels fundamentally at odds to me to either really believe anything this strongly when so many times every point has been rebutted, or to pervert the truth and lie to the public in an attempt to gain some sort of political popularity victory.

    As such, I really can’t tell whether these people actually believe any of this stuff, or are just deliberately lying over and over again. Either choice seems as alien to me.

  93. #93 JVC
    February 1, 2008

    Great destruction.

    The Uncommon Descent thread starts off okay, then rapidly descends into hilarious ignorance… “Does anyone know of any brain fossils?”

    Prize for the best comment on this post goes to #3.

  94. #94 Brownian, OM
    February 1, 2008

    vesf

    01/31/2008

    9:07 pm
    I agree with FtK – the Discovery Institute should put out a transcript of the debate with notes rebutting the lies of the atheist PZ Meyers.

    But, but, I thought ID wasn’t religious–I mean, if it was, it certainly shouldn’t be taught in schools in violation of the separation of church and state. But if ID is non-religious, why would PZ’s atheism be an issue?

    Oh, silly me, I forgot: IT’S BECAUSE THEY’RE ALL A BUNCH OF LYING FUCKS!

  95. #95 me
    February 1, 2008

    #91 I’m convinced they really believe it. There may be a few profiteers among them–Behe and Dembski come to mind– but for the most part, I’m quite certain the bulk of them truly believe what they are saying.

    Although its fun and snarky to say the sort of percentages we’re dealing with suggest that delusion is normal…the explanation for why they think like this is quite a bit more complex.

    Overall, it is rooted in the basic characteristics of fundamentalism.

    Martin Marty has led fantastic scholarship studying fundamentalism. He’s sort of qualified the nature of fundamentalism, ascribing to it the following features.

    All of this below should sound very familiar to anybody who pays attention to this particular culture war:

    1. religious idealism is basis for personal and communal identity;
    2. fundamentalists understand truth to be revealed and unified;
    3. it is intentionally scandalous (outsiders cannot understand it and will always be outsiders);
    4. fundamentalists envision themselves as part of a cosmic struggle;
    5. they seize on historical moments and reinterpret them in light of this cosmic struggle;
    6. they demonize their opposition and are reactionary;
    7. fundamentalists are selective in what parts of their tradition and heritage they stress;
    8. they are led by males;
    9. they envy modernist cultural hegemony and try to overturn the distribution of power.

  96. #96 Brownian, OM
    February 1, 2008

    Seriously, I’d like an IDiot to answer this:

    If God designed my brain and populated the Earth with creationist fuckwits, then how come he designed it so that the presence of the fuckwits would cause my intelligently-designed brain to hinge on aneurysm?

  97. #97 Barklikeadog
    February 1, 2008

    I read the thread at UD. I now realize why I can’t stay and read their crap. My tolerance for their stupidity is zero. Jumpin Jehosaphat they are a-holes. They have the nerve to call us liers. I now understand why ERV and others like her have no patience or willingness to be civil. They are complete FuckTards.

    BTW, the link to the debate still won’t open for me. Any clues?

  98. #98 Owlmirror
    February 1, 2008

    While correct, “ignorant” perhaps has additional pejorative connotations.

    It would take longer to say “lacking {important|scientific|basic} knowledge”, but I suppose more tactful, while saying pretty much the same thing.

    Creationist: If man evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?

    Sane person trying to be polite: That question demonstrates an incredible ignorance lack of basic scientific knowledge on your part. &c.

  99. #99 me
    February 1, 2008

    So if you look at the 3rd characteristic of fundamentalism noted above (#94) “outsiders will always be outsiders” I think this is really key from our perspective.

    What you can conclude is that scientists and especially biologists are crucial to the fundamentalist faith.

    They need us to serve as their enemy, their foil, no less importantly than they need their scripture. Without an antagonist, the culture of their faith is diminished. Fundamentalism feeds off just such conflict, which is a source of its energy.

    Lately I’ve been thinking that what this suggests is that what we could do that would be most effective is to completely and absolutely ignore them. How can they wage a war if the enemy never shows up?

    Of course, we can’t do that in a true democracy. There is no way we could marginalize them to the degree necessary, especially considering they’ve chosen secondary schools as a battle ground.

  100. #100 jeh
    February 1, 2008

    Re: I think I know the real reason why the thread went down. From one commenter:
    “ID needs a BIG EVENT.

    I had the same feeling. You gotta wonder what this person had in mind when then have ruled out education (indoctrination) and argument (sophistry) as avenues for the advancement of their ideas.

  101. #101 Kseniya
    February 1, 2008

    I got yer BIG EVENT right here!

  102. #102 raven
    February 1, 2008

    “ID needs a BIG EVENT.

    I had the same feeling. You gotta wonder what this person had in mind when then have ruled out education (indoctrination) and argument (sophistry) as avenues for the advancement of their ideas.

    The “BIG EVENT” call does sound sort of ominous. Maybe he wants to hijack a jet, kill the pilots, and then fly it into a skyscraper full of people. Naw, couldn’t be. Religious fanatics wouldn’t do something like this, would they?

    Probably he just means someone should go to a mall with a bunch of guns and ammo and start shooting people at random. Yeah, that will convince Jodi Foster that ID has something going for it.

  103. #103 Owlmirror
    February 1, 2008

    They need us to serve as their enemy, their foil, no less importantly than they need their scripture. Without an antagonist, the culture of their faith is diminished. Fundamentalism feeds off just such conflict, which is a source of its energy.

    The history of religious conflict suggests that this is probably not the case. That is, they don’t need science/scientists as an enemy; they will gladly manufacture one from those who do not believe exactly as they do, or by coming up with a new interpretation.

    See also “Schism”, &c.

  104. #104 Barklikeadog
    February 1, 2008

    If they didn’t have us as enemies they would have what? A society like pre 9/11 Afganistan? It is because of the likes of us that there isn’t an American Taliban & why life has improved in America. It is because of the likes of us that their BS isn’t taught in public schools. It is due to us that we no longer have an apartheid, that women can vote, that medcicine cures their ills and that they have the right to express their stupid opinions. It is preciscly due to people like us that demand truth and fairness. I won’t deny them their opinions or their right to express them but I do deny them the right to keep others from it. You never see people like PZ blowing up abortion clinics or trying to force their ideas down someones throat. They would do it, though, if it wasn’t for the likes of us.

  105. #105 Kseniya
    February 1, 2008

    Ominous? Seriously? Nah. They’re just wishing and hoping for a Big Breakthrough that will Prove that CdesignProponentism == 1 and darwinISM == 0.

  106. #106 Kimbits
    February 1, 2008

    “…and spit building up on the edges of his lips and you fear he actually wants to jump on you and strangle you. now of course this observation says little about evolution or lack of it…”

    Oh, I’d say it says a wee bit about evolution. :)

  107. #107 Talen Lee
    February 1, 2008

    My god, PZ.

    That was brutal. An utter shellacking. Some things I noticed;

    One, he wasn’t very confident. Shelly seemed to stammer about his points early on. As it got on, though, he didn’t get less confident, even when you smacked him about the ear with the whales example.

    Two, the insistance the radio host had on restating that the stuff-up was his. I would happily call it an honest mistake, but he benefitted Dr Shelly over yourself in the eventual decision; rather than say to Shelly, ‘Well, sorry, we’re kinda stuck now’, he gave him the nod over you. I can’t see why he would do that, aside from it being a blatantly spiritual radio station and Shelly being a proponent of ID. Quelle surprise.

    Three, these debates are fundamentally unhelpful; you can trot in with all the preparation and knowledge in the world, and they will refuse, not refute, all your points. Consider that you can boil this down:

    Shelly: There are no transitional fossils!
    PZ: There’s this one, and that one, and that one.
    Shelly: I’ve never heard of those, so, there are no transitional fossils.
    PZ: There’s also this one, and that, and this…
    Shelly: Nope, no transitional fossils at all.

    How can you possibly hold a serious discussion in this fashion? You can’t grab him by the ear and thump him in the forehead with one of these fossils: You can’t force him to accept your points, and you are dealing with a group of people who revel in ignorance.

    Ah well. You’re a stronger, more civilized man than I. I was really impressed with the way you managed to restrain yourself when dealing with canards like ‘he calls it a theory.’ My own native acerbicism would have broken through and I’d probably have called them an ignorant prat at some point. But then, I don’t have the raw information leverage you do about the issue, so I’d not get called upon to argue it. Thank mercy.

    Anyway. A very enjoyable listen, even if it was the linguistic equivalent of the first twenty minutes of a heartwarming Disney sports film where the mean, sensible, aware person winds up stamping all over the plucky underdog’s dream of eventually appearing at the States Debating Champs and winning the cup – and the love of the little redheaded girl.

  108. #108 Olorin
    February 1, 2008

    Looking at the UD comments in “After the Bar,” I was singularly (un)im[pressed by one commenter’s inability to let go of his teleological mindset:

    “Heck, evolution cannot explain why animals need two hemispheres in the first place let alone why they are organized in such a weird manner. After all, roboticists do not design double neural networks in the brains of their robots.”

    Can someone explain to this troglodyte that evolution is not always logical, that we leave logic to “designers”?

  109. #109 Rob
    February 1, 2008

    I’m just over 10 minutes in (and most of that was taken up by the announcer and PZ!) and we’ve already had ‘just a theory’, ‘descended from monkeys’ and and another creationist classic, the last minute change of rules as to what the debate will be about.

    It is tragic that these clowns earn good money and get a lot public awareness for peddling this crap.

  110. #110 Steve LaBonne
    February 1, 2008

    Finally got a chance to lsiten. That is some MAJOR pwnage there- truly a model of how to “debate” these cretins, if one must. My hat is off to PZ.

  111. #111 Nadia
    February 1, 2008

    “It’s perhaps also strategic to say that Simmons’ ignorance is more of an insult to PZ than the other way around: the implication that both were on the same intellectual level and caliber is rather dubious to begin with… at some point it becomes insulting that the non-professional is dismissing the professional’s expertise.”

    Yes. I find it hard to believe that such a debate can actually take place. Which is odd because I’ve been reading about American creationists and their nonsense both here and elsewhere for a while now. I shouldn’t have been surprised. But I guess I’ve been treating it like a big joke really, and somewhere must have thought, nah, that can’t be real. This was truly disturbing. How unaware/illiterate/uninformed do you have to be to actually take anything these people say seriously? Are there really that many such people in the US? So many that actual scientists have to engage with them at that pathetic level? Does anyone honestly think that that constitutes serious debate? PZ knocked him into next Tuesday alright – and with far more patience than that sub-rational idiot deserved – but it amazes me totally that there were in the audience people who honestly thought/think that the show featured two equal but opposing sides.

  112. #112 October Mermaid
    February 1, 2008

    “This was truly disturbing. How unaware/illiterate/uninformed do you have to be to actually take anything these people say seriously? Are there really that many such people in the US?”

    As much as I hate to say so, yes, there really are LOTS of people like this here. I live in an area surrounded by such people. It is very frustrating.

  113. #113 YSTH
    February 1, 2008

    Uh oh… after listening to this, I’m starting to believe in the theory of de-evolution. That’s the only theory I can come up with that would explain the existence of Dr. Simmons and Creationists in general.

  114. #114 me
    February 1, 2008

    @102

    Yes. You are certainly correct. It’s really only an historical accident that evolution/science wandered into their cross hairs.

    I think much of the blame for that is owed to Haeckel.

  115. #115 James
    February 1, 2008

    Here is a visual aid for how PZ demolished Simmons:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WHptG35EWU

    CRY SOME MORE!!!!!!

  116. #116 Norm
    February 1, 2008

    #70, interesting quote given that Simmons sort of distanced himself from the ID movement during the interview. On the other hand, that would fall in line with their standard tactic of never allowing themselves to get pinned down regarding their own beliefs. He also stated that he was not a Christian – I don’t buy it – his preoccupation with Darwin’s character smacks of the cult of personality.

  117. #117 Chris
    February 1, 2008

    Well, PZ, it looks like you came away from that one with a pair of damp sneakers, a barrel made useless by bullet holes, and a bunch of dead piscines. As my kid might say (or type): U PWN3D HIM.

    No lutefisk now!

  118. #118 Duke York
    February 1, 2008

    I hate to jump on the bandwagon here, but I wanted to actually listen to the debate before I judged it, and, oh my god…

    Thank you, PZ!

    That is how we’re supposed to debate those loons. You prepared, so you know what line of bullshit he was going to fling, you got up there, and you called him on it! Awesome! You had him on the ropes right from the start, with protesting the change in the topic of the debate. I kept wishing you’d ask the hosts if they were OK with someone bearing false witness on their show, but that’s just me.

    Please, please, please keep it up.

  119. #119 NE1
    February 1, 2008

    I didn’t like how you described the evolution of the brain, PZ [I know speaking live is incredibly difficult, but thought it should be said]. He’s right, knowing how the brain works is not “evidence for evolution” or “evidence against design”. Knowing mistakes were made along the way… knowing how it has specialized in different species… maybe. I think talking about the inexactness of a “tree of life” is very powerful–species pop up and disappear on a whim, and many share a common ancestor who may not be around anymore.

    I liked when you mentioned Prof Everhart’s book, but wish you had spun it a little differently. It sounded like you were glorifying any scientist willing to drink the evolution kool-aid, when it would’ve sounded better to say something about how they were solving problems of real gaps in our knowledge. The theory of evolution is effective, and a useful framework (which you said once, I think!) and people need to know this.

    All that said, you did pretty well! Congrats!

  120. #120 Kyle
    February 1, 2008

    Check this out. If you skip to the 2 minute mark, you’ll find Simmons’ chess-playing equivalent.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGPtdJFOYFI

  121. #121 Ray
    February 1, 2008

    Posted by: Jackstraw #56
    With DaveScot as “Mini-Ski”?

    Watch out, he’s a biter.

  122. #122 aweb
    February 1, 2008

    Just out of curiousity, I checked out the Scientific American piece on fossils and whales that Simmons referred to. Not surprisingly, he completely missed the point: a new analysis of a fossil makes it look like a small mousedeer might be the closest still living relative to the whales (Hippos are currently thought to be the closest living ‘cousin’), and a long-extinct animal may have branched from a common ancestor with whales. That very article, and it’s only a brief one, contains several scientists expressing doubt about the conclusions, once again showing the “lack of debate” in evolutionary circles.

    I mean, wow. It’s only a quick article, and it doesn’t say anything Simmons said it did. I often forget that these guys aren’t just deluded or ignorant, they are outright, baldfaced liars.

    I was also fairly impressed by the hosts, after the initial screw up of changing the debate (which I realize is way offside for this type of thing, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the religious radio hosts had no idea, and were honestly tricked by Simmons). They gave PZ first and last word, and made the best of a short amount of time by limiting each section to a reasonable length.

  123. #123 Scott Hatfield, OM
    February 1, 2008

    I’ve listened to it, and my goodness, the IDevotee was hapless. And, apparently, clueless at how poorly prepared he sounded. I guess he thinks, like a lot of the MD creationists I’ve encountered, that objections based on personal plausibility carry weight in the scientific community–and of course, what sounds implausible to an MD must be impossible. My apologies in advance to any practitioner of the healing arts who doesn’t want to be lumped with Dr. Simmons, but, really, if we got rid of the engineers and the MD’s, there’d be almost no professional creationists.

    However, my favorite part was reading the (now-missing) comments from UhDuh, especially the one describing PZ as ‘a skilled and consummate liar.’ Ah, they praise you with faint damnnings…:)

  124. #124 MRL
    February 1, 2008

    I haven’t yet listened to all of the show, but about ten minutes in it’s sadly obvious that in that particular battle of the wits, P.Z.’s opponent appears to have forgotten to bring his weapon.

  125. #125 Steve Ulven
    February 1, 2008

    Finally got around to listening. Damn cool. I love your intro. This is really how all intros should be. Pointing out how the creationists work bluntly is the “way of the master” ha! Speaking of which, when is the Kirk Cameron/Ray Comfort (why did I even bother capitalizing their names?) debate? Haha!

  126. #126 RPI
    February 1, 2008

    Repeated tries to open the MP3 link, repeated failures (“Stopped”). Does anybody know of another link? I really want to listen to this. Thanks.

  127. #127 Ryan F Stello
    February 1, 2008

    Scott (#121) said,

    my favorite part was reading the (now-missing) comments from UhDuh, especially the one describing PZ as ‘a skilled and consummate liar.’ Ah, they praise you with faint damnnings…:)

    Makes sense.
    To them, being a consummate liar is the most they can achieve.

  128. #128 QrazyQat
    February 1, 2008

    I am a Christian who believes in both creationism and evolution! I know that may sound contradictory, but I also know of others who feel the same way.

    This is actually a common view among Christianity in the USA; it’s just that the minority are the loudest and most public.

    Maybe they closed their eyes really, really hard, and POOF!, it was all erased from their selective memories.

    Yet more proof of the efficacy of prayer! Hal and Lulu!

    it is hard to believe hes an MD.

    I know of a medical doctor who doesn’t think that normal human body temperatures vary throughout the day.

    I guess it shouldn’t be, but the idea of a Creationist MEDICAL DOCTOR — who apparently denies evolution — is somewhat disturbing to me.

    It should disturb you; the doctor who headed the medical team who did the baboon heart into “Baby Fay” some years back was a creationist and didn’t believe that the degree of relatedness of the species would be a factor (after being asked by a reporter if they maybe should’ve tried a chimp heart as chimps are closer related to us). They’re playing with lives and if they deny sound science — as they must to not accept that evolution is proven — they are dangerous. You or I or anyone here could wind up in their hands after an accident.

  129. #129 Evan Yeung
    February 1, 2008

    Two things I would mention if Dr. Myers ever does this again with someone like Dr. Simmons…

    1) Regarding this whole “teach the controversy” thing with evolution and intelligent design, I find parallels with those who are proponents of Holocaust denial. There are a number of people who propose that the Holocaust never existed and present statistics and evidence to support their view. Should this ‘alternative view’ be presented in schools? Of course, the answer is no… the arguments Holocaust deniers use are inaccurate and misleading to say the least. Spending time on Holocaust denial as a serious subject is a waste of time (unless its being used as a critical thinking exercise) that could be used to teach other things of value. Likewise, devoting time to intelligent design in a science class is a moronic endeavour…

    2) Although I think Dr. Myers could have been a bit more tactful in some of his statements, I wonder if Dr. Simmons would have been able to keep his cool if he was debating someone who denied the premise of ‘germ theory’ and was using grossly inaccurate and misleading data to support his ideas.

    Kudos to Dr. Myers for stepping onto the turf of creationists and defending critical thinking. It’s unfortunate that one can’t actually show the fossil record of whale evolution on the radio(I actually worked on a display cast of Dorudon atrox when I was at Michigan). It’s a lot harder to play the “he’s inaccurate— no HE’S inaccurate” game when the diagrams are in front of you.

  130. #130 Herbert
    February 1, 2008

    I am forwarding this debate to the Oregon Medical Board for administrative review.

  131. #131 Skeptic8
    February 1, 2008

    How do you explain Simmons?
    Did the DI need a “Dr.” to be a front man and Simmons just lost his MD accreditation & needed a job? So the DI writes a coupla books and hangs his shingle on ‘em to give some weight. He obviously knows nothing about what he done writ.
    DI fills the poor wight full of pseudo certainties and sets him out as “bait” for the PZ ‘Sabertooth’ to dismember. Will they cut a paycheck for ‘poor Simmie’ when they gather up the pieces?

  132. #132 Dianne
    February 1, 2008

    He points to the carved faces of four United States presidents–Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt–at Mount Rushmore. Given the natural forces of erosion, wind, and rain plus a rare push from a tectonic plate, it remains highly improbable, if not impossible, that Nature could have carved such likenesses.

    Then how does he explain the old man of the mountain?

  133. #133 paul fcd
    February 1, 2008

    Put me in the camp that evolutionists SHOULD debate cdesignproponentists. That was great.

    Maybe Pz could use his influence with other scientists that it is not that tough to debate these douche bags. Oops, that was infantile….

  134. #134 John Huey
    February 2, 2008

    I think that there is a meta-issue going on with this debate. The Creationists/ID folks are shifting tactics again. When Creationism was declare a religious belief in court they shifted to promoting ID (via a clumsy search and replace). Now it seems that in response to the Dover decision they are shifting from promoting ID as an alternative to evolution to just “let’s look at the problems with evolution”. I’m not sure if the term is in wide use but in one school district this approach was labeled ‘critical analysis’.

    I liked the way PZ handled this by calling the Creationists exactly what they are: ‘Creationists’. His denials that he was promoting ID or Creationism or even any Christian dogma certainly won’t win him many points with his base.

  135. #135 Siamang
    February 2, 2008

    Hey this random quote just came up in the margin for me:

    Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct; nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.
    George Orwell, 1984

  136. #136 Steven Alleyn
    February 2, 2008

    Why would you do this to us, Dr. Myers!? Dr. Simmons hurt my brain!

  137. #137 chriss
    February 2, 2008

    I guess all that’s left for Dr. Simmons now is the buryin’.

  138. #138 Joe
    February 2, 2008

    I listened to this “debate” today and I almost couldn’t listen to it.

    it was so embarassing for that Dr. Simmons guy. and the clincher was that radio host who butted in saying “c’mon Dr.Myers, you can’t say he doesn’t know ANYTHING about whale fossils…”

    it was just painful to listen to.

    Great Job Dr. Myers, the “debate” was so one-sided…

  139. #139 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    February 2, 2008

    I hate that I am a 9 – 5′er and didn’t get a chance to listen to this until just now, so all of my observations will be a bit of old news.

    The time constraints of radio are too short for this kind of discussion, but what I found to be odd was that Simmons wanted to talk about the “faith” of evolution and yet he never even brought it in. He tried to make it look like faith by falsely dissing the fossil record and the evolution of whales, but seemed a bit non-plussed that PZ pointed out that yes, darling , there are transitionals between land-based whales and marine whales.

    But what I find weakest about the argument against whale movement from a land to marine environment is that we can observe mammals that have adapted to both environments; and while pinniped evolution is divergent from whales, we don’t have to look back 50 million years into the shallow seas between India and Pakistan to find mammals that transition very well between land and sea. Semi-aquatics are here. Today. (And considering the taxonomy of caniformia, Darwin was not stupid in proposing a cetacean link to ursa.)

    Next – Creationists like Simmons can’t wrap their heads around the fact that the brain doesn’t have to wait for one adaptation to evolve before the next one comes along. So his claim that the human brain only took 150,000 years to evolve (from what, chimps? I don’t know what he was referring to here and why he is so ignorant of hominid evolution) while dolphins have remained the same for 5 million years is so off the wall and stupid that it is obvious he didn’t study evolution before he rejected it.

    Simmons ran the Gish Gallop again, throwing in giraffe necks and human birthing as if they were somehow miraculous when they are obvious adaptations from prior body forms.

    I still think, even after this show, that “debating” creationists is a mistake because these forums can’t substitute for an education in evolution. And that is something that creationists completely reject, unless it is under the direction of their “Father Moon.”

    I wouldn’t make too much of the ethics of Dembski deleting the post and comments regarding this “event.” When I once considered registering there, I read where Dembski states in the terms that it is his “personal playground.” No one should ever expect any sort of standards from Dembski, and the fact that even he doesn’t value UhDuh should speak volumes about how little integrity its readers should expect there.

  140. #140 trrll
    February 2, 2008

    So we’re supposed to believe that the guy who quite literally wrote the book on “missing links,” who chose whale evolution as his lead-off debating point, did not know about fossils in the whale lineage?

    I’m sorry–I don’t buy it.

    It’s a classic creationist debating trick against scientists–assert that some obscure finding disproves evolution, secure in the knowledge that the debate will be over and you’ll be long gone before the scientist gets a chance to look it up and verify that it isn’t true.

    Unfortunately for Simmons, PZ actually knew about whale evolution and could quote chapter and verse about the fossils. Simmons tried to recover by insisting that the fossils didn’t have blowholes, but PZ knew the truth about that, too.

    So what could he do? He couldn’t very well say “Oops, I didn’t think you’d know about that.” Better to be thought an idiot than a liar. So he had little choice but to fall back on “All I know about it is what I read in a Scientific American article a year ago.”

  141. #141 keiths
    February 2, 2008

    Hey everyone,

    Why so hard on Simmons? After all, he’s just following Dembski’s advice:

    Believe it or not, it really helps that the other side thinks we’re such morons.

  142. #142 Russell
    February 2, 2008

    3 “fucking ironic how the only missing links are those on uncommon descent”

    They do not enjoy a monopoly- Try the Wall Street Journal:

    http://adamant.typepad.com/seitz/2007/12/the-missing-lin.html

  143. #143 Z Claire
    February 2, 2008

    Regarding Simmons’ claim not to be a christian and people here not believing him, couldn’t the simple explanation be that he is of the jewish faith?

  144. #144 Sigmund
    February 2, 2008

    #141 Z Claire said “couldn’t the simple explanation be that he is of the jewish faith?”
    I have a few Discovery Institute podcast interviews with Simmons from last year that I listened to again after this debate. When asked by Casey Luskin about his religious beliefs and the reason he denies evolution Simmons said that his wife became very religious at one point and started to question him about the evidence backing up evolution and he wasn’t able to give her a good answer (now why am I not surprised by that?). He read a couple of books (he specifically mentioned one called ‘The neck of the giraffe’) that called darwinism into question and that led him into the anti-evolution camp. He specifically said that it was the evidence that led him there, not his own personal religious views. He claimed that he was not a formal follower of any particular religion. Now that could mean a lot of things – that he is an atheist, a deist, a theist of the non-denominational christian variety (my money would be on that one since this seems to be where his wifes anti-evolution beliefs come from). Having heard the DI interviews with Simmons a while back I knew this was an impending train wreck. It was obviously a huge laugh to everyone on here and an embarrassment to the DI but I wonder about how the target audience, fundamentalist christians, would have felt. As people have mentioned before, if you believe in creationism there cannot be transitional fossils, by definition. Any claim of one from a ‘darwinist’ is easily defeated by the notion that it is simply another (albeit now extinct) creation of God.
    Has anyone here ever tried to debate a creationist using genomic sequence data? To anyone educated in genetics it is not the smoking gun evidence of evolution, more like the videotaped recording of the murder. Yet to creationists it is simply ‘technobabble’. What is missing in their mindset is not evidence, but critical thinking. The way one debates a creationist on a college campus (where using evidence and logic SHOULD be the aim) should be different to the way one does it on a christian radio station. I thought PZ did OK – particularly at the beginning – although I wouldn’t have complained so loudly about the change in topic – but I wonder if it would have been better if in future it might be useful to concentrate on advancing the notion of critical thinking as an important part of science education rather than blinding them with scientific ‘facts’ (remember, “you can use facts to prove almost anything that is even remotely true”). For instance, what is entailed by teaching “all sides of the issue” in high school (in every subject? – holocaust denialism, KKK style racism etc) How can biology teachers set exam questions if pupils answer it according to religious beliefs – Wouldn’t biology teachers need be experts on every possible religion before they could mark the exams answers? I don’t want to be hard on PZ, l’m sure live radio is not so easy to deal with but I would certainly be interested to hear what the target audience felt about how this ‘debate’ went and whether it affected their thinking on the matter.

  145. #145 Dave Briggs
    February 2, 2008

    I guess it is inevitable that this controversy would happen, but what saddens me most is that I know so many brilliant, dedicated people on both sides and if there could only be a way to get them to be able to work cooperatively instead of being caught up in this squabble, the world could be made a better place by their combined efforts!
    Well, any time the creationists want to start actually doing science rather than actively campaigning against it, we’ll be waiting with open arms (although I don’t think many of them will remain creationists through the process.)

    Posted by: Brownian, OM | February 1, 2008 12:36 PM

    Hi Brownian,
    Thanks for your comment on my comment. I went to your blog. I noticed there are some things we have different points of view on. I am very thankful we live in a country where that is possible!
    I have been a Christian for 30 years come this June and a science lover for much longer than that. That being so I understand them both to a certain extent.
    When you say to someone lets do science then the rules are if you say something is true you are obligated to prove it. Christianity is different. Lots of faith. Believe in what none of your senses can prove. You have to have faith that this God is leading you, cares about you and wants what’s best from His eternal perspective which can immediately throw reasoning out the window since eternity is along, long time! LOL!
    As a Christian one of the most important things to my mind is that we follow the mandate of, love thy neighbor as thyself. That means to respect people. Allow them to have different thoughts and opinions cordially and politely and allow them to maintain their dignity and integrity, etc.
    PZ is scheduled to debate a man named Loyal Rue. He has a post about it. His words about the man’s brand of religion is that it is more nuanced and he said he was tempted to even say fluffy! This seems a sterling example of what I said above.
    There is an old saying, Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven. We believe we are forgiven for our imperfection by a God who is perfect. Sometimes we don’t live up to the high calling of love they neighbor. If we did then there could be a lot more peaceful debates where more could be accomplished for the good of everyone. That is where my heart is. The good and betterment for everyone! That’s one reason I love science so much. Science is what has allowed us to come out of the caves to the modern age.
    Sometimes religion includes what is called apologetics. I don’t think I have done anything that shows less than respect and consideration towards you, but I have no problem apologizing to you if someone who said they were a Christian did. We are all human and make mistakes.
    I guess I better close. Thanks again for your comment and have a super weekend!
    Dave Briggs :~)

  146. #146 Dave Briggs
    February 2, 2008

    but what saddens me most is that I know so many brilliant, dedicated people on both sides

    If you don’t conclude that the only thing brilliant about this Geof Simmons chap is his ignorance, then you weren’t paying attention.

    Posted by: me | February 1, 2008 12:39 PM

    Hi Me,
    I’m sorry for a short answer here but I usually don’t even turn the computer on on weekends cuz I have to rest my eyes. I wrote a long answer to Brownian, it’s number 143.
    I didn’t meat to imply that everyone in the God camp or the Science camp are brilliant. It’s just that I have known some people that astounded me with their intellectual powers and insights in both camps. Sorry if I created any confusion. Have a super weekend!
    Dave Briggs :~)

  147. #147 Dave Briggs
    February 2, 2008

    Dave, just to know, how would you know a designed universe from an undesigned one? So far the creationist mantra has been “only an intelligent being could have created our complex universe”. But how is that any different from saying that “only tiny invisible refridgerators up in the sky could create hail stones” or “only giant invisible moles(mole hills ya see) could have created mountains”. If we didn’t have an understanding of these phenomenon already, my above mentiones claims would have been at par with the ID theories of present.

    You say that the IDers are dedicated researchers. I’m unimpressed with their ID work so far. So I find your notion/hope of IDers and ‘Evil’utionists working hand-in-hand as naively optimistic. The fact is IDers have made it tougher for christians like you with a scientific bent to compartmentalise your beliefs the way you used to do.

    Dragging God into scientific matters must now seem like a bad move.

    Posted by: akshay | February 1, 2008 1:09 PM

    Hi Akshay,
    Thanks for your insightful comment on my comment. As I just old “Me” I am sorry for short answers but I have to rest my eyes on the weekend. I wrote a long answer to Brownian, it’s number 143.
    You logic is flawless of course! Science is like that, Ya it is! LOL! That’s part of the reason I love it so much! You said “Dragging God into scientific matters must now seem like a bad move.” I am not sure how to answer that, but on the face of it it makes perfect sense. The problem is that we are dealing with real people living real lives. Us Christians feel we have a good thing and want to share it, with the motivation that it will improve the lives of the other people. The big problems come when the Christians forget to love thy neighbor as thyself and show less than love and kindness.
    I really appreciated your comment! If you click on my name here it will take you to one of my web pages that has my e-mail addresses and phone number. If you feel led to talk about this more that would be fine. I can pretty much guarantee you that I will never be able to hand you a mathematical equation or test tube that proves God’s existence, but I do like talking with people who love Science and want to cordially discuss God too.
    Thanks again and have a super weekend!
    Dave Briggs :~)

  148. #148 Dave Briggs
    February 2, 2008

    I am a Christian who believes in both creationism and evolution! I know that may sound contradictory, but I also know of others who feel the same way.

    This is actually a common view among Christianity in the USA; it’s just that the minority are the loudest and most public.

    Maybe they closed their eyes really, really hard, and POOF!, it was all erased from their selective memories.

    Yet more proof of the efficacy of prayer! Hal and Lulu!

    Posted by: QrazyQat | February 1, 2008 10:37 PM

    Hi QrazyQat,
    Thanks for your comment on my comment. Actually I do think you are correct. After 30 years of being a Christian and knowing 1,000s of others who are I can’t remember one who ever said it was OK to be disrespectful to anyone just because they thought something different!
    It’s not my job to judge anyone, But if someone says they are a Christian and are speaking disrespectfully to someone else, name calling and trying to us logic and linguistic twists to make points I have to say that I can show them plenty of places in the bible that speak directly against that.
    I am by no means perfect! But I have seen many times in life when people are willing to work synergistically together to accomplish high and noble task for the betterment of many, even when they have philosophical differences and it is a Beautiful thing!
    That’s why the squabbling between the God people and Science people is so grievous to me. So much good that could be happening that is not.
    Thanks again and have a super weekend!
    Dave Briggs :~)

  149. #149 inkadu
    February 2, 2008

    Thanks for wiping the floor with that asshat, PZ.

    Listening to ONE debate shows how dishonest these bastards are — even if you know nothing about evolution or fossiles.

    For instance, Simmons defends the debate being about Darwin by saying that everyone knows who Darwin is, and it’s just a convenient short hand for “evolution.” Ok, that’s one argument — it’s pretty lame and stupid, but ok, let’s say that, for this debate, the word “Darwin” can stand-in for “evolution” and the 150 years of progress since Darwin.

    And almost immediately after saying that, he starts attacking Darwin specifically, personally, and for stuff he wrote, therefore evolution is wrong. Total bunk.

    He comes on to say specifically that he is not going to be defending ID, then spends the rest of the time implicitly promoting creationism.

    His analogy of a guy travelling cross country was especially revealing. Because scientists see a guy in Maine, then in Minnesota, then in California, they assume that he is travelling westward. But in reality its “more complicated than that” which, I assume, means that brilliant creationist types, not enslaved by the ruling cult of evolution, can posit the following, equally valid, hypotheses:
    a) the person may have teleported to those locations magically
    or
    b) been present at all 3 locations at all times.

    I mean, what the hell else is this guy talking about?? It’s like someone read Zeno’s paradox and became convinced that it was impossible for the arrow to ever arrive at the target… completely moronic.

    Whale fossils aside, the guy is obviously a dishonest conniving piece of shit. And ignorant and infantile to boot.

  150. #150 Ian H Spedding FCD
    February 2, 2008

    Scott Hatfield, OM wrote:

    My apologies in advance to any practitioner of the healing arts who doesn’t want to be lumped with Dr. Simmons, but, really, if we got rid of the engineers and the MD’s, there’d be almost no professional creationists.

    …which almost sounds like Major Rufus Cobb, the irascible old newspaper editor form the 1939 movie Jesse James:

    Paragraph: If we are ever to have law and order in the West, the first thing we gotta do is take out all the lawyers and shoot ‘em down like dogs!

  151. #151 ngong
    February 2, 2008

    I’d like to hear some biology prof initiate one of these debates by offering up a multitude of false statements about the bible and its origins. When the creos start getting steamed, you tell them that their frustration proves that they’re denying the essential truth of your arguments. Point out any and all gaps in the transmission of the texts, and invent gaps where there aren’t any. Etc.

    At the appropriate time, you then ask, “how does it feel?”

  152. #152 Ick of the East
    February 2, 2008

    I’m sure most of us here are familiar with all of the beautiful transitionals in the whale line.
    But I’m equally sure that the mainly fundie audience of the show had no idea. Which is why I wished that PZ had a website address at hand that he could have directed the listeners to, instead of simply naming two or three of them.

    The pictures of all of those whales (and not quite whales) say far more than a thousand words could.

  153. #153 trrll
    February 2, 2008

    I thought that Simmons’ concluding attack on Darwin was very revealing (and also that PZ made a wise strategic decision to refuse to take this bait and to use his 3 minutes focus on the scientific issues).

    Attacking Darwin is a dead giveaway that somebody really does not understand the difference between religion and science. You can reasonably attack Christianity by criticizing Jesus, or attack Islam by criticizing Mohammed, but trying to attack evolution by attacking Darwin is more like attacking modern American foreign policy on the grounds that Columbus was a bad guy. Darwin’s importance to science is historical–he is not the foundation upon which modern evolutionary theory rests.

  154. #154 Steve T
    February 2, 2008

    Listened to the “debate” last night from the link on AtBC. Damn, PZ. SMACK DOWN! You not only spanked that ignorant tool so badly that he could barely speak by the closing arguments, you also didn’t let the talk show hosts knock you off balance with their interruptions. You get my vote for absolutely anything you want to run for! Thanks for fighting this fight and showing the rest of us how it can be done.

  155. #155 N.Wells
    February 2, 2008

    I just listened to the radio show. Egads but the ID guy was an ignorant, lying, deceitful, underinformed, arrogant cretin. Words almost fail me. He starts in with misrepresentations and ignorance right at the outset and just never stops piling it on. Scientists do so question evolutionary theory, as PZ nicely explained. No transitional whale fossils? – there’s a whole beautiful BOOK (edited by Hans Thewissen) on early whale fossils. We have numerous fossils showing stages in the migration of the whale nares up onto the forehead (plus you can see the migration during embryological development). We have fossils that show progressive defusion of the sacrum, allowing better up and down kicking. The human brain did not suddenly produce wired-up neurons plus associated complex biochemistry from scratch all in the last 15000 years. He does not get to use “Darwinism” to refer to all of modern biology just because the general populace is woefully uninformed on the topic. And on and on and on and on.

    Great job, Dr. Myers.

  156. #156 Bob Lane
    February 2, 2008

    I don’t know how you were able to “keep your cool” in talking to Dr. Simmons and the two radio hosts! Well done. I only listened once, but I cannot think of a valid point your opponent made. And as a bonus one can enter a contest to spend some time with James Dobson or visit the Creation Museum. Wow.

  157. #157 ndt
    February 2, 2008

    Dave Briggs, I am confused by your comments. In your first one, you said you accepted both creationism and evolution, and said there were a lot of dedicated, brilliant people in both “camps”. From that context, it seemed like you were saying there were dedicated, brilliant people in both the evolution and creationism camps.

    But in your later comments, you said nothing at all about creationism, but said you knew dedicated, brilliant Christians. Do you realize that you are talking about two different things here? There is no conflict between evolution (or any other part of science) and Christianity or any other belief in a god. The conflict is between the scientific findings of evolution and the claims about science by creationists.

    PZ is not a fan of religion, and neither are many of the commenters on this blog. But that’s not what the article or the debate it refers to was about.

    A common tactic of creationists is to claim that attacks on creationism are attacks on Christianity or religion. This claim (like all their other ones) is false. It’s an attempt to get Christians who have no problem with evolution to think they are being attacked and to side with the creationists. You would be doing yourself a grave disservice if you fell for this tactic.

  158. #158 ben
    February 2, 2008

    Thanks for wiping the floor with that asshat, PZ

    I find your characterization of Dr. Simmons an an “asshat” quite unfortunate.

    The man is clearly a fucktard.

  159. #159 guthrie
    February 2, 2008

    Is there a reason Dave Briggs is apparently spamming this thread with posts made elsewhere?

  160. #160 Mark S.
    February 2, 2008

    There are many that advise against ever debating creationists. But hearing this made me want to rethink that strategy.

    PZ, I’m sincerely surprised that you didn’t drop out when they changed the subject of the debate ninety minutes before you were supposed to be on. Good on ya for staying in and calling them on it.

  161. #161 Steven
    February 2, 2008

    Wow PZ, this guy doesn’t even understand how science works. He doesn’t what a theory is in a scientific sense. The fact that you even feel the need to debate this bampot makes me sad. I thank you for doing it though.

  162. #162 brandon
    February 2, 2008

    What a whiney, arrogant, childish man Dr. Simmons is! His voice goes up an half an octave, as he is completely unable to conceal his anger at having his ignorance exposed live and on air.

    He sounds like a Bigfoot enthusiast on Coast to Coast.

    It’s exactly this kind of thing that makes me nervous when I go to the doctor’s office. Their profession seems to harbor the lion’s share of these wackos.

    “Reverse Inquisition?” Is that under the provenance of the reverse vampires?

  163. #163 Bjorn Moren
    February 2, 2008

    PZ, I think you are too polite in debates like this. Your opponent writes books about missing links in evolution, so he should familiar with this subject. After he threw the “but observe that evolution is just a THEORY”, I would just have said “you dont understand the scientific method, study it before we can have a debate, Im not wasting my time with this, good bye”.

    http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/p67.htm

  164. #164 Chris
    February 2, 2008

    That may be one of the most appallingly bad arguments for intelligent design (oh wait, he wasn’t there to support intelligent design, or anything else it would seem) and handed destructions of a creationist I’ve ever heard. In particular his insistence of the incompleteness of the whale fossil record was utterly amazing.

    Well done sir.

  165. #165 Inoculatedcities
    February 3, 2008

    I’m so tired of the “poor, persecuted Christians” crap. A load of uneducated clods who have absolutely no training in biology, a clear religious agenda, and an affinity for intellectual dishonesty. It’s all a priori argument with no respect for facts and evidence! Have these people ever taken even a high school biology class? I don’t know how you have the patience to deal with this brainless garbage, PZ, I really don’t.

  166. #166 Dave Briggs
    February 4, 2008

    Dave Briggs, I am confused by your comments. In your first one, you said you accepted both creationism and evolution, and said there were a lot of dedicated, brilliant people in both “camps”.
    Posted by: ndt | February 2, 2008 1:52 PM

    Hi NDT,
    I am sorry if you thought I was trying to use some tactic. I don’t believe it was. Due to Guthries comment, number 158 I don’t want to write anything but a very short answer here. Then an apology to Guthrie and I plan on writing a letter to PZ to make sure it is OK with him for me to participate in this blog.
    I appreciated your comment and if you want to talk further, off the blog, that would be great. My e-mail addresses and phone number are on the page associated with my name hyperlink below.
    Thank you,
    Dave Briggs :~)

  167. #167 Dave Briggs
    February 4, 2008

    Is there a reason Dave Briggs is apparently spamming this thread with posts made elsewhere?

    Posted by: guthrie | February 2, 2008 4:54 PM

    Hi Guthrie,
    I am sorry if I annoyed you. I only put those 4 comments on the blog in a row cuz when someone comments on my comment I feel obligated to answer. I seems the polite thing to do. I knew I was turning the computer off for the rest of the weekend, but wanted to get the answers to those people.
    My original comment, # 16 was just a response to MorseCode saying he was saddened by this. I took that to mean the controversy and antogonism going on.
    I am going to write PZ to make sure it is OK with him that I participate on his blog. Since he is the owner I, if he doesn’t want me to I will honor his wishes. He doesn’t even have to give me a reason. The other blog owners at Science Blogs that I have talked to have said it is fine for me to participate, even thanked me and one put my blog on her blog roll. But if any blog owner ever asks me to stay off their blog I would stop immediately.
    Once again, I am sorry if you got annoyed! I hope the explanation helps you to understand why it happened.
    Dave Briggs :~)

  168. #168 pv
    February 4, 2008

    Christians persecuted? That’s very funny indeed coming from a church that spent centuries torturing and murdering anyone who wasn’t of the same faith. Does everyone realise just how bestial and barbaric the Christian church’s activities were? It was the main conversion technique. All those African, South American and Far Eastern Christians didn’t just suddenly decide to give up their other gods and idols of worship. Now that’s real creationism – human creationism.
    So, Christians, let’s have no more of these ridiculous persecution complaints.

  169. #169 Kelley
    February 19, 2008

    I was sorely disappointed in this debate. PZ had a chance to reach out to a diverse audience and educate them about evolution. Instead of explaining evolution, he chose to make jabs at his opponent, thus setting a negative tone for the debate and turning listeners off to his point of view. This childish pontificating shows scientists at their worst and only pushes the general public away. I would urge you to use these opportunities judiciously in the future by actually explaining evolution in a manner the general public can grasp, and maintaining a professional and genial manner. Remember the movie, “Flock of Dododos” – it is the inability of the scientific community to communicate effectively with the general public that is costing us so dearly in this fight.