Pharyngula

I get email

My criticism of Mark Armitage’s “research” published in the ICR “journal” seems to have struck a nerve — he just sent me (and his colleagues at the ICR) an angry letter in which I think he is attempting sarcasm, he just isn’t very good at at it. Poor baby. Here it is:

I am SO THANKFUL and indebted to Paul Myers for the carefully crafted and dispassionate published critique (above) of my work on the complexity of certain trematodes. I especially appreciate the way it was pubished in a peer-reviewed journal such as Parasitology Research or the Journal of Parasitology (oops – I got that wrong didn’t I, a blog is just a rag isn’t it?). Well the ICC is coming up again in August and he is only a 16 hour drive away, so maybe he will mount a critique there…

In addition, I find his comments about the r versus K strategy discussion most illuminating (again oops – he ignored all that didn’t he?). It sure seems logical to me now that evolution would send an organism through three different hosts in order to finally make babies – that being the most expedient method and all….

Finally, I did not know that “Complexity not only fails to be a strike against evolution, it’s an expected outcome of evolution.” This was at once all heartwarming and equally shocking.
Evolution is so plastic – it can explain everything! Such a grand unifying theory! To think that a stochastic, mechanistic random shuffling of genes can work such miracles of complexity – thank you Paul Myers!

Oh well, I will keep my eye on the journals for his work on this, and will look for him in Pittsburgh.

With kind regards to all.
Mark H. Armitage, M.S., Ed.S
Van Andel Creation Research Center
Creation Research Society

Let’s deal with this paragraph by paragraph.

  1. Since Complex life cycles in heterophyid trematodes: structural and developmental design in the ascocotyle complex of species was not worthy to be published in Parasitology Research or the Journal of Parasitology, I hardly think a dismissal of its poor quality requires the prestige of those worthy journals. Oh, how it must rankle that only a single lowly professor self-publishing in an online rag took the time to read and criticize his work. Did you submit it to the legitimate parasitology journals? How loud was the laughter from the editors?

  2. There is one paragraph in the paper on r- and K-strategists. I didn’t pay too much attention to it because it did not break through my consciousness that this was the first paper ever to study the development-reproduction tradeoff in long-term ecological adaptation by studying neither development nor reproduction nor ecology nor evolution, and that analyzed the strategic options of populations with no population data at all. Who would have thought one could study that with a few SEMs of individual trematodes? My hat is off to you, sir. I would have thought it impossible, unrealistic, and irrelevant, but you have convinced yourself that you have done it.

    (Pssst. Evolution isn’t about expediency. You should know that.)

  3. Mr Armitage was shocked? Why? Look at the date on this paper:

    H. J. Muller (1939) Reversibility in Evolution Considered from the Standpoint of Genetics. Biological Reviews 14: 261-80.

    You know, “stochastic, mechanistic random shuffling of genes” certainly will produce amazing amounts of complexity, far more than we see in organisms. Fortunately, we also have this non-random process called “selection” that constrains rampant randomness to a more limited functionality. That was an idea that was figured out in 1859. Maybe Mr Armitage needs to work a little harder on keeping up with the contemporary literature.

  4. I am sorry, but I won’t be joining Armitage and his peers at the International Conference on Creationism in Pittsburgh. I’m also sorry to say that no scientists will be attending that meeting. Look on the bright side, though: there won’t be anybody there to see the obvious deficiencies of the ICR’s pretense at research! Do try to include some of those little things called “results” in your presentation, though.

Comments

  1. #1 Coturnix
    April 2, 2008

    We need to come up with a third strategy to describe what Creationists do. It’s neither r nor K: they make millions of “babies” (crazy ideas) and NONE of them survive to maturity.

  2. #2 David vun Kannon, FCD
    April 2, 2008

    Nice hair, Mark!

  3. #3 zwa
    April 2, 2008

    1859 or 1939?

  4. #4 notthedroids
    April 2, 2008

    So is the shuffling of genes stochastic, or is it mechanistic?

  5. #5 Ted D
    April 2, 2008

    “This was at once all heartwarming and equally shocking. EvolutionGoddidit is so plastic – it can explain everything! Such a grand unifying theory!”

  6. #6 alex
    April 2, 2008

    Armitage seems a bit angry. possibly they don’t teach sarcasm past the age of 10 at Bible college.

  7. #7 Ichthyic
    April 2, 2008

    Oh well, I will keep my eye on the journals for his work on this, and will look for him in Pittsburgh.

    I must have missed where his “paper” is published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal for it to HAVE published criticism, of any type.

    man, these folks are just bugfuck nuts!

  8. #8 H.H.
    April 2, 2008

    Evolution is so plastic – it can explain everything! Such a grand unifying theory! To think that a stochastic, mechanistic random shuffling of genes can work such miracles of complexity – thank you Paul Myers!

    Hear that? Life is a miracle, and only god can work miracles! Would would stupid scientists please stop trying to close the gaps in which Armitage’s god needs to hide? He doesn’t appreciate it!

    Sigh. Evolution truly has the power to create all the diversity and novelty we see in the life around us. Cultists like Armitage must shut their eyes to that reality and pretend that it can’t happen. They do this just so they can continue to believe that their god is necessary. I can understand why Armitage is so angry and frustrated. How taxing it must be to have to ceaselessly advocate for such an impotent, irrelevant deity. My, how he must long for the Day of Judgement when he can set down his burden and reap the reward of the faithful. Yes, then he’ll be proven correct. We’ll see. He god is real. Just wait. It’s gonna happen any day now…

  9. #9 Glen Davidson
    April 2, 2008

    It sure seems logical to me now that evolution would send an organism through three different hosts in order to finally make babies – that being the most expedient method and all….

    Once again, the idiot judges evolution as he would a designer, and fails to judge what he calls “design” by any sort of expected design criteria at all.

    Oh well, he’s just another droning moron. It’s just nice to see him squirm and hear him yell as his inadequacies are exposed.

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

  10. #10 idahogie
    April 2, 2008

    Ted D

    I got the same feeling from this passage:

    “It sure seems logical to me now that evolutionGoddidit would send an organism through three different hosts in order to finally make babies – that being the most expedient method and all….”

  11. #11 Ray S.
    April 2, 2008

    Looking back at his original paper’s references, I didn’t see a single one from the current century and only a handful from the past twenty years. Some are more than fifty years old. The one critical reference he omitted from the list is (sad too, since it is the basis for all his conclusions) is over 2000 years old.

  12. #12 mark
    April 2, 2008

    That was an excellent battle of wits against an unarmed opponent.

    Looking at his resume, the dude doesn’t even have a bachelor’s in biology from a accredited institution. Book learnin’ is hard.

    But I do have to agree, nice hair!

  13. #13 Ted D
    April 2, 2008

    idahogie

    I got the same feeling from this passage

    It just makes you want to take them by the shoulders, shake them vigorously and shout “didn’t you listen to what you just said” into their astonished little faces.

  14. #14 Carlie
    April 2, 2008

    Yet another example of all you have to do is give themselves enough rope to hang themselves with. I can’t wait for his response to your response!

  15. #15 HumanisticJones
    April 2, 2008

    It sure seems logical to me now that evolution would send an organism through three different hosts in order to finally make babies – that being the most expedient method and all….

    In his attempt to sarcastically backhand evolution by stating that the life-cycle of these organisms is in fact not very expedient or logical, isn’t he second handedly insulting the designer for doing such a cocked-up job on the design of the life-cycle for the heterophyid trematodes.

    “Everyone knows that evolution says that everything should be shortest-path-between-two-points expedient and efficient. Obviously this apparently wastefully complicated life-cycle is the sure sign of the divine hand of our half-wit creator!”

  16. #16 saladyears
    April 2, 2008

    Evolution is plastic?

    Friend, the Bible is the everchanging plastic panacea:

    Genocide is great! Except when it’s not. Slavery is okay! But not any more. Monogamy is the only way to go! Except for polygamy. God is jealous and angry! God is loving and kind!

    Apparent contradictions? No problem: invent dispensationalism!

    As a former young-earth evangelical who found the light in the Geology department of Wheaton College (well, most of the light… atheism was a years-later byproduct) of all places, my head still reels…

  17. #17 Cheezits
    April 2, 2008

    Finally, I did not know that “Complexity not only fails to be a strike against evolution, it’s an expected outcome of evolution.”

    Hell, even I knew that.

  18. #18 Sastra
    April 2, 2008

    I can’t wait for his response to your response!

    Oh, thanks, Carlie. Now if he sees that he’ll never respond, just to teach us all a lesson. Shhhh.

    Oh, I hope he doesn’t hurt PZ again! I’m starting to doubt evolution! Really.

  19. #19 Sili
    April 2, 2008

    That was fast.

    Isn’t it heartwarming to see such a grande researcher take time out of his busy schedule to reply to a “lowly professor self-publishing in an online rag”?

    Isn’t Science a wonderful leveller? One is tempted to call it almost Christian socialist.

  20. #20 Chayanov
    April 2, 2008

    HumanisticJones, that just goes to show what little respect the creationists have for their supposedly omnipotent designer god.

  21. #21 Desnes Diev
    April 2, 2008

    Am I mistaken or the figures 3 and 4 show illustrations on the back of main figure, indicating that they’re probably photocopies from Stein (1968) and not redraw “after Stein”. Notwihstanding the copyrigths questions, it would talk a lot about the professional “design” of this (wannabe) “scientific” Journal.

    Desnes

  22. #22 Cuttlefish, OM
    April 2, 2008

    Behold! The proof that tells me of
    A True Creator’s touch.
    The evidence is all around
    In trematodes and such.
    Three hosts for reproduction
    That could clearly not evolve:
    God left it as a puzzle, for a
    Scientist to solve.

  23. #23 Ichthyic
    April 2, 2008

    Am I mistaken or the figures 3 and 4 show illustrations on the back of main figure, indicating that they’re probably photocopies from Stein (1968) and not redraw “after Stein”.

    boy, that Ben Stein sure gets around…

    who knew he was a scientist before he was a speechwriter for Nixon?

    :p

  24. #24 Chris
    April 2, 2008

    PZ wrote:
    > I’m also sorry to say that no scientists will be attending that meeting.

    Actually, I’m beginning to think we should. You know, gatecrashing can be fun.

    Just imagine a couple of scientists enter the building and those IDiots start running around like headless chicken…

  25. #25 Alex
    April 2, 2008

    They mobilize against the ideas of biological evolution because they don’t want them to be true, not because they can show those ideas are false. All they will ever be able to do are fancy dances and elaborate hand-waving. What they fail to appreciate is that the mindless sheep that accept their every word do not need such elaborate efforts of convincing. The only people that will properly investigate the substance of these kinds of “research” attempts are those who actually know the science and will call these charlatans out on their feeble, idiotic, attempt to earn scientific credibility for their nonsensical ideas.

  26. #26 Greg Peterson
    April 2, 2008

    It’s funny how often creationists use teleological language when talking about evolution, as if evolution should have “known better” than to do things the way it did. Even when talking about a clearly non-intelligent process, they can’t resist the temptation to co-opt the patina of intelligent design. Does it not occur to them that things that look to crazy to have evolved are orders of magnitude more crazy to have been DESIGNED? I’ve mentioned it before, but something like the right recurrent laryngeal nerve makes no sense as a design, but their MO would seem to be that anything that seems suboptimal, inefficient, and jury-rigged is evidence for a designer, when any rational person can infer just the opposite.

  27. #27 Ichthyic
    April 2, 2008

    You know, gatecrashing can be fun.

    that’s just what they want!

    then they can claim we came “uninvited”…

    poster boy Armitage’s invitation notwithstanding, of course.

    :p

  28. #28 Alex
    April 2, 2008

    “Finally, I did not know that “Complexity not only fails to be a strike against evolution, it’s an expected outcome of evolution.””

    Clearly.

  29. #29 Justin H.
    April 2, 2008

    I don’t get it–why bother doing all this ::ahem:: “creation research” when they can just ask the creator? Let me know what you guys think of this abstract I’m working on for the ICR journal:

    Primary regulation of cholesterol metabolism in cells is achieved by a cascade of specified complex reactions, each depending on irreducibly complex and nonrandom protein structures. Through conference with the author of these reactions (Jesus Christ), a detailed description of each is provided. This will be the final word on cholesterol metabolism, and no experiments are needed to verify the truth of God’s word.

  30. #30 raven
    April 2, 2008

    Missing the most important point.

    Did he have enough bible verses in the text and references?

    They have to be careful or they could get hauled up in front of an Inquistion. Or even, gasp horrors, excommunicated.

  31. #31 Ichthyic
    April 2, 2008

    It’s funny how often creationists use teleological language when talking about evolution, as if evolution should have “known better” than to do things the way it did.

    actually, it’s quite expected, given that everything they do is based on projection.

    their idea of god acting in the world is nothing BUT teleology.

  32. #32 Greg Peterson
    April 2, 2008

    Oh for…LEFT recurrent, not right. Sorry. I hope they don’t find out about that at the ICR Journal or they’ll never publish my paper on “fresh coprolites” as evidence of design.

  33. #33 SC
    April 2, 2008

    “How Loud Was the Laughter: The Rise and Fall of Creation ‘Science’ in the US, 1987-2008″

  34. #34 Jordan Schliem
    April 2, 2008

    What’s up with this guy?

    His credentials
    http://www.icr.org/research/index/research_biosci_armitage/

    show that he’s so proud of his alma mater Liberty University (A fundy Baptist school) that he lists his 164 hours of undergrad at UF? He’s got a masters from his fake institution, and he’s getting his PHd from Liberty. PZ shouldn’t even bother replying to this guy. He’s not even a pretend scientist. I don’t want to be poisoning wells, but come on.

  35. #35 Alex
    April 2, 2008

    I think if they allow it, a qualified group should go and sit in at Pittsburgh. Only if it amounts to documenting the travesty occurring in the name of “science”. They will be hard-pressed to deal with it at any level, let alone an actual debate, which would be interesting. Pretty much all of their debate “techniques” (i.e. Gish gallop, the gap game, hide the missing-link, etc.) are understood and can be called out as soon as they resort to them. At the very least, even without confrontation, the effort will disrupt their entire agenda.

  36. #36 Alex
    April 2, 2008

    Speaking of party-crashing… Roadtrip to Pittsburgh, anyone?

  37. #37 Stuart Ritchie
    April 2, 2008

    #34 – ‘poisoning wells’

    Isn’t he another creationist idiot? I know these guys are nuts, but murder seems a bit extreme…

  38. #38 TheOtherOne135
    April 2, 2008

    So it’s published, in full (not just an abstract) on the web, but it’s inappropriate to respond via the web? There’s something wrong with saying “hey, this is messed up” unless that statement is peer-reviewed and officially published? By that standard, isn’t it also wrong for him to respond to you directly?

  39. #39 Alex R
    April 2, 2008

    Wait a second…

    “164 undergrad hours in Biology, University of Florida, 1973-78″

    Does this mean that after FIVE years and 164 hours in Biology at the University of Florida, he was never awarded an actual degree?!?

  40. #40 Sastra
    April 2, 2008

    Greg Peterson #26 wrote:

    Does it not occur to them that things that look too crazy to have evolved are orders of magnitude more crazy to have been DESIGNED?

    Evidently not — no more than it occurs to them that things that are well adapted to live in their environment are not evidence for a miracle. Show us fish, birds, or other organisms that live and reproduce in an environment in which they are not in any way equipped to survive in — and then maybe we’ll start talking about a need to invoke supernatural forces. A complicated reproductive cycle does not impress on the same level as reproduction without any possible way they could be reproducing and yet they are … ooooo!

  41. #41 Ichthyic
    April 2, 2008

    By that standard, isn’t it also wrong for him to respond to you directly?

    c’mon, you really expect consistency?

    NUTS

    remember?

  42. #42 Carlie
    April 2, 2008

    Oh, yeah, Sastra, you’re right.

    WOW, that was such a LAME response by PZ! I sure hope someone will SET HIM STRAIGHT!

  43. #43 geolub
    April 2, 2008

    I’d like to know how Mark H. Armitage, “M.S.” reacted to this:

    http://www.csun.edu/~vcgeo005/mark.htm

    I’m surprised he has the guts to “publish” anything after that evisceration.

  44. #44 JohnW
    April 2, 2008

    I am SO THANKFUL and indebted to Paul Myers for the carefully crafted and dispassionate published critique (above) of my work on the complexity of certain trematodes. I especially appreciate the way it was pubished in a peer-reviewed journal such as Parasitology Research or the Journal of Parasitology (oops – I got that wrong didn’t I, a blog is just a rag isn’t it?). Well the ICC is coming up again in August and he is only a 16 hour drive away, so maybe he will mount a critique there…

    Given the quality and extent of his “research”, this is like complaining that the disproof of his claim that 2+2=7 was not published in the International Journal of Number Theory.

  45. #45 Pineyman
    April 2, 2008

    Waitaminnit…164 hours in biology? Just biology? Cripes, that’s more hours than you need for a degree all rolled up into one subject. Unless he’s talking about how many actual clock hours he spent in class…

  46. #46 amphiox
    April 2, 2008

    If they’d just come out and say that their designer deliberately and perfectly (he’s omnipotent, after all) mimics natural mechanisms in all his design projects in order to create an illusion of non-design, then they’d instantaneously be able to claim all the evidence in support of evolution as supporting their theory too.

    Granted they’d have to ignore a twenty ton machete hanging over their heads known as Occam’s Razor, but ignoring the obvious is one of things they do best.

  47. #47 Ichthyic
    April 2, 2008

    If they’d just come out and say that their designer deliberately and perfectly (he’s omnipotent, after all) mimics natural mechanisms in all his design projects in order to create an illusion of non-design, then they’d instantaneously be able to claim all the evidence in support of evolution as supporting their theory too.

    who says that they haven’t tried that already?

    both Dembski and Behe claim common descent as not inconsistent with “ID” already.

  48. #48 Ichthyic
    April 2, 2008

    Unless he’s talking about how many actual clock hours he spent in class…

    *bing*

    could be the amount of time he spent doing homework for quizzes and tests, too.

  49. #49 Pineyman
    April 2, 2008

    Geolub –

    That’s cuz with all those biology hours, he missed out on the geology ones.

  50. #50 Damian
    April 2, 2008

    These are the dates of the references:

    1899, 1930, 1955, 1958, 1960, 1963, 1963, 1968, 1956, 1974, 1965, 1950, 1956, 1984, 1964, 1976, 1992, 1993, 1924, 1968, 1959, 1970, 1997, 1970, 1989, 1975, 1975, 1993, 1960, 1971, 1971, 1984, 1996.

    Average age = 1967

    Could someone who has experience with real peer-reviewed research comment on the difference between these references and the average scientific paper?

    Does this guy think that he’s a historian?

  51. #51 DanioPhD
    April 2, 2008

    Geolub @#43–I don’t know who Kurt Hollocher is, but I might have to lay a big wet kiss on him if I ever meet him in person.

    Sadly, though, the fact that Armitage is still out there publishing his odious lies is illustrative of the mulishness that plagues all of the Creation Scientists we’ve ever come across. They are undaunted by the pesky plethora of contrary facts that would compel a more rational person to rethink his or her position.

  52. #52 Bunk
    April 2, 2008

    For Cthulhu’s sake, PZ, you’re not supposed to be publishing any of that stuff. What if it gets out? Don’t you remember the c-o-n-s-p-i-r-a-c-y? I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes when the BS (Big Science) hits the fan.

  53. #53 Greg Peterson
    April 2, 2008

    Holy crap, geolub, that Kurt Hollocher guy took Armitage to SCHOOL, didn’t he?

  54. #54 Dr. Matt
    April 2, 2008

    This little exchange is pretty much a microcosm of the broader evolution-creationism conflict. The creationist side is so busy fiddling with their spitballs and dog poo on sticks, they don’t even look up when the thermonuclear warhead comes whistling in from the stratosphere…

  55. #55 Shawn Wilkinson
    April 2, 2008

    Alex (#39)

    That seems to be the case. I wonder how many of those hours were actual biology classes and not courses that went toward a biology degree (like the Englishes and Social Sciences)

  56. #56 Ichthyic
    April 2, 2008

    Could someone who has experience with real peer-reviewed research comment on the difference between these references and the average scientific paper?

    meh, it’s not always relevant (sometimes there really aren’t more recent relevant articles for a particular topic), but typically that would be considered an unusually old set of literature to rely on.

    Yes, it would raise an immediate red flag.

  57. #57 bassmanpete
    April 2, 2008

    The name Van Andel rang a bell. A little googling showed that, sure enough, this ‘Research Center’ was set up by the late Jay Van Andel, co-founder of Amway. So if you buy Amway products you’re helping to fund this bulldust!

  58. #58 woody, tokin librul
    April 2, 2008

    Sastra wrote: Show us fish, birds, or other organisms that live and reproduce in an environment in which they are not in any way equipped to survive in — and then maybe we’ll start talking about a need to invoke supernatural forces.

    If things progress/proceed as the climatologists now seem inclined to believe, we should have plenty of experimental evidence in something approaching 75-100 years. But the invocation mayn’t be very hosannah-ish; mebbe more int the tradition of “God-fucking DA–blub, blub, blu…

  59. #59 Lisa
    April 2, 2008

    About two weeks ago I went to a departmental seminar at Sheffield University by Geoff Parker on ‘The evolution of complex life cycles in helminth parasites’. Armitage would have done better to spend his money on a flight to England for that rather than whatever money he spent on this ‘research’, since that basically answered all of his questions in the discussion. A lot of the modelling went over my head, but from what I understood a lot of the time parasite life cycles become more complex because if their host gets eaten and they can survive within the new host they do better than ones that die.

  60. #60 Ichthyic
    April 2, 2008

    mebbe more int the tradition of “God-fucking DA–blub, blub, blu…

    Dagon hopes you will take this bit of prescience as an indicator of which god to turn to when the time comes.

    I mean, you DO want to be eaten first, right?
    ;)

  61. #61 Ichthyic
    April 2, 2008

    The name Van Andel rang a bell. A little googling showed that, sure enough, this ‘Research Center’ was set up by the late Jay Van Andel, co-founder of Amway. So if you buy Amway products you’re helping to fund this bulldust!

    that’s ID:

    one big fucking pyramid scheme.

  62. #62 extatyzoma
    April 2, 2008

    quote” It sure seems logical to me now that evolution would send an organism through three different hosts in order to finally make babies – that being the most expedient method and all….”

    errm…..I think hes got this the wrong way round yes????

    evolution could send it through 50 different hosts or a different one every time (like alien!) as long as it survived the meander it really wouldnt matter. im sure theres a nice line of variation in numbers of host from those with 1 (the minimum and the most common?) to those with more and more, the ones with more hosts perhaps are less numerous as species????? but oh my god, THREE!!!!

    the question he should be asking is why would a very clever god send it squirming and burrowing through three different hosts, why not 2, why not 4???? see how simplistic the creationist mind is: ‘to make babies’ just which part is the baby part with these cool critters????

  63. #63 waldteufel
    April 2, 2008

    This paper by the “creation scientist Mark H. Armitage, M.S., Ed.S is childish beyond words (even sciency ones).

    These cute little “creation scientists” just love to play dress up, put on a lab coat, and churn out some pointless drivel.

    Then, when they get called on it, the cute little “creation scientists” morph into whiney little bitches.

  64. #64 raven
    April 2, 2008

    what I understood a lot of the time parasite life cycles become more complex because if their host gets eaten and they can survive within the new host they do better than ones that die.

    Makes sense. I don’t know about trematodes but a lot of parasites have two modes of reproduction, asexual cloning at various stages and sexual recombination at the end.

  65. #65 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 2, 2008

    something like the right recurrent laryngeal nerve makes no sense as a design

    Stupid design.

    Oh for…LEFT recurrent, not right. Sorry.

    No, no — both:

    “It is referred to as ‘recurrent’ because the branches of the nerve innervate the laryngeal muscles in the neck through a rather circuitous route: they descend down into the thorax before rising up between the trachea and esophagus to reach the neck.

    The left branch loops under and around the arch of the aorta (ligamentum arteriosum) before ascending, whereas the right branch loops around the right subclavian artery.

    The nerve splits into anterior and posterior rami before supplying muscles in the voice box — it supplies all laryngeal muscles except for the cricothyroid, which is innervated by the external branch of the superior laryngeal nerve.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recurrent_laryngeal_nerve

    Could someone who has experience with real peer-reviewed research comment on the difference between these references and the average scientific paper?

    If it were a real scientific paper in this kind of field in biology, the vast majority of the references would be no more than 20 years old, and over half would probably be no more than 5 years old. If you like, I can send you my first paper (with all appendices — they have their own references) so you can do statistics.

    The number of references is also rather small, but given the fact that it’s just a review paper — no results — that restricts itself to reviewing old research and adds “Goddidit”, this is not unexpected…

    I’d like to know how Mark H. Armitage, “M.S.” reacted to this:

    http://www.csun.edu/~vcgeo005/mark.htm

    Wow. That’s fun to read. :-D

  66. #66 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 2, 2008

    something like the right recurrent laryngeal nerve makes no sense as a design

    Stupid design.

    Oh for…LEFT recurrent, not right. Sorry.

    No, no — both:

    “It is referred to as ‘recurrent’ because the branches of the nerve innervate the laryngeal muscles in the neck through a rather circuitous route: they descend down into the thorax before rising up between the trachea and esophagus to reach the neck.

    The left branch loops under and around the arch of the aorta (ligamentum arteriosum) before ascending, whereas the right branch loops around the right subclavian artery.

    The nerve splits into anterior and posterior rami before supplying muscles in the voice box — it supplies all laryngeal muscles except for the cricothyroid, which is innervated by the external branch of the superior laryngeal nerve.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recurrent_laryngeal_nerve

    Could someone who has experience with real peer-reviewed research comment on the difference between these references and the average scientific paper?

    If it were a real scientific paper in this kind of field in biology, the vast majority of the references would be no more than 20 years old, and over half would probably be no more than 5 years old. If you like, I can send you my first paper (with all appendices — they have their own references) so you can do statistics.

    The number of references is also rather small, but given the fact that it’s just a review paper — no results — that restricts itself to reviewing old research and adds “Goddidit”, this is not unexpected…

    I’d like to know how Mark H. Armitage, “M.S.” reacted to this:

    http://www.csun.edu/~vcgeo005/mark.htm

    Wow. That’s fun to read. :-D

  67. #67 idahogie
    April 2, 2008

    …and sexual recombination at the end.

    I bet Mark Armitage disaproves of this, too.

  68. #68 Carlie
    April 2, 2008

    God-fucking DA–blub, blub, blu

    When I first read that, it took me a minute to parse it out – for some reason I read it as a triumphant variant of “Ta-dah!” changed to give all credit to God, rather than the first half of a longer expletive. Now whenever I read a creationist ‘argument’, I’ll be visualizing them saying “God-dah!” with jazz hands.

  69. #69 Lisa
    April 2, 2008

    Re 64: and reading his article more carefully he does say in the introduction:

    ‘It is at this point in the life cycle, that predation upon the infected fish by herons, egrets, or raccoons and other mammals, must occur in order that the definitive host can become infected and the worm can sexually mature.’

    I don’t know enough about parasite evolution to say anything why the second intermediate host gets infected by the first since that is through faeces, but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone had a theory as to why that occurs since this guy clearly hasn’t read any of the literature. My guess, but it is just a guess, is that perhaps faeces was used as a transmission from snail->snail, but occasionally a fish would get infected from this and again it pays to be able to survive in the fish. The trematode might then get adapted to the fish, and so eventually it would pay it to seek out the fish rather than just to wait (depending on a trade off between using up your energy seeking and risking not finding anything etc.). Even if that theory is totally wrong and someone else has done research to show differently, either this Armitage guy should explore this kind of theory or alternate theories rather than just going straight for ‘goddidit’

  70. #70 raven
    April 2, 2008

    …and sexual recombination at the end.

    I bet Mark Armitage disaproves of this, too.

    Oops, your right. He could go to hell for that. That should be bi-parential reductive gametogeneis fusion recombinatorial multiplying. But only if they are married.

  71. #71 SC
    April 2, 2008

    I have something of an oddball question (I was not in the US during the Dover trial, so perhaps this has been addressed before):

    What’s the deal with Pennsylvania?

    I grew up in New England, and we always considered it something of a kindred state, culturally speaking. Were we wrong? Has the decline of its industrial base in the years since led to an increase in the hopeless conditions (described well by Hedges in American Fascists, despite the book’s and Hedges’ other failings) in which people tend to fall prey to this nonsense? Or, am I just more attuned to events in PA, like this upcoming conference, because of my earlier impressions of the state, thus overestimating the hold of irrationalism there?

  72. #72 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 2, 2008

    sometimes there really aren’t more recent relevant articles for a particular topic

    Yes — but articles with such reference lists typically contain lots of new results that finally revive a field that has laid dormant since 1935. Not zero new results like this one.

    just which part is the baby part with these cool critters????

    A question worth pondering.

  73. #73 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 2, 2008

    sometimes there really aren’t more recent relevant articles for a particular topic

    Yes — but articles with such reference lists typically contain lots of new results that finally revive a field that has laid dormant since 1935. Not zero new results like this one.

    just which part is the baby part with these cool critters????

    A question worth pondering.

  74. #74 Sastra
    April 2, 2008

    extatyzoma #62 wrote:

    the question he should be asking is why would a very clever god send it squirming and burrowing through three different hosts, why not 2, why not 4????

    “On a beautiful fall day, as I was wading through the wetlands looking for parasites … the majesty and beauty of God’s creation overwhelmed my resistance. As I dug down and scooped up the trematodes, I saw a beautiful and unexpected reproductive cycle squirming and burrowing through three different hosts — clearly signifying the Trinity. I knew the search was over. The next morning, I knelt in the swampy muck and sunk slowly down as the sun rose and I surrendered to Jesus Christ.”

  75. #75 ZorkFox
    April 2, 2008

    So, all those creationists are going to be in one place at the same time. If I were evil, I’d… but no. It’s too terrible to contemplate.

  76. #76 Sven DiMilo
    April 2, 2008

    M.S., Ed.S

    Van Andel Creation Research Center

    Creation Research Society

    That’s one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen.

  77. #77 Ichthyic
    April 2, 2008

    Yes — but articles with such reference lists typically contain lots of new results that finally revive a field that has laid dormant since 1935. Not zero new results like this one.

    but that’s an entirely separate issue, and was the red flag PZ raised in his initial contribution.

    as an example, when i started working on onotogenetic color change in fishes, there simply weren’t any articles on it more recent than Fricke’s work in the 60′s. At best, there were anecdotal evidences and ideas postulated in books like “Reproduction in Reef Fishes” by Thresher.

    nobody had simply bothered (yet) to even go out and test any of the ideas postulated.

    true, that’s an exception, rather than the common case, but it does happen.

    In hindsight, I would also strongly warn prospective grad students about pursuing topics that have so little literature published on them.

    It gets REALLY hard to figure out where to go next if you get stuck!

  78. #78 ice9
    April 2, 2008

    Forgive the naivete, but can someone pause and confirm a basic for me…

    Are not the peer reviewers supposed to be skeptical, at least a bit? Is there some sciency term for starting-out-a-tad-skeptical-no-matter-what? Isn’t the point of science to create a systematic skepticism? In all endeavors it’s clear that if you read your work and revise it with the certainty that it’s right and brilliant, you’ll likely discover it to be right and brilliant. Master Armitage seems miffed at the general notion that someone would strive to find fault with his research. Of course, he might naturally expect PZ to find fault with his work, since PZ is in the employ of Satan, but are they so naive as to believe that faith alone qualifies their work? I think there are few examples of peer-reviewed research that takes a Creationist bent, but are there any examples of Creationist-bent research that Creationist peer-reviewers rejected? That would be interesting. To me.

    Ok–you can go back to talking about intelligent stuff.

    ice

  79. #79 Ichthyic
    April 2, 2008

    Are not the peer reviewers supposed to be skeptical, at least a bit? Is there some sciency term for starting-out-a-tad-skeptical-no-matter-what?

    yes, it’s called “criticism”.

    of course it’s the case that reviewers are supposed to hammer on something to find the weak spots, then send it back to the author to address them. If the problems noted are valid, but fixable, the paper will likely still get published. If they are valid but NOT fixable, it likely won’t.

    doesn’t always work, but that’s the idea, anyway.

  80. #80 QED
    April 2, 2008

    Sounds like this guy couldn’t cut it at UF, so he transferred to Bible School for a degree in godsmack. Pathetic Loser.

  81. #81 Ichthyic
    April 2, 2008

    … btw, sometimes the process can take a LONG time.

    I had a drawn out argument with some statisticians on a small paper I was trying to publish that didn’t resolve itself for about 2 years.

    I won that particular battle after some serious debate and about 12 revisions.

    yay me!

  82. #82 SC
    April 2, 2008

    At least now it’s going through the long-overdue jeer review.

  83. #83 Evolved Rationalist
    April 2, 2008

    Theistards….creationist conference….in Pittsburgh….venue 15 minutes away from where I am….

    I am totally going to be there!

    *evil grin*

  84. #84 Sastra
    April 2, 2008

    ice9 #76 wrote:

    I think there are few examples of peer-reviewed research that takes a Creationist bent, but are there any examples of Creationist-bent research that Creationist peer-reviewers rejected?

    Although this doesn’t really address your question on peer-review research journals, I vaguely remember that many years ago one of the intrepid researchers who had claimed to discover Noah’s ark was first lauded and promoted by the Young Earth Creationist groups — and then quietly and discretely dropped when he went on to claim that he had also discovered the Ark of the Covenant, the Holy Grail, the Lost Tribes of Israel, the baby clothes of Jesus, the magic sword Excalibur, and so on and so forth. Ok, I forget the details on just what he claimed, but I do remember that the narratives got wilder and wilder, like Indiana Jones meets Kent Hovind. He was lowering himself into undiscovered tombs on ropes. The skeptic groups had great fun with it.

    Not so much with the crackpot himself — he was probably at least a little insane — but at the idea that finally, at long last, there was someone so loony that even Young Earth Creationists who expect the immanent discovery of Noah’s Ark think there’s something fishy about his science reports.

  85. #85 raven
    April 2, 2008

    Oh for Cthulhu’s sake. I put trematode in pubmed and got 22434 hits. Trematode reproductive cycle got 71. Schistosomiasis is one such, an important human pathogen.

    And there are asexual and sexual reproductive bi-parental reductive gametogenic fusion recombinatorial multiplication stages.

    There is a fair amount of work done on these pathogens. Anyone wanting to know more, pubmed.gov and read. That leaves the creos out.

    J Evol Biol. 2005 Jul;18(4):1069-75. Links
    How a complex life cycle can improve a parasite’s sex life.Rauch G, Kalbe M, Reusch TB.
    Max-Planck-Institute for Limnology, Department of Evolutionary Ecology, Plön, Germany.

    How complex life cycles of parasites are maintained is still a fascinating and unresolved topic. Complex life cycles using three host species, free-living stages, asexual and sexual reproduction are widespread in parasitic helminths. For such life cycles, we propose here that maintaining a second intermediate host in the life cycle can be advantageous for the individual parasite to increase the intermixture of different clones and therefore decrease the risk of matings between genetically identical individuals in the definitive host. Using microsatellite markers, we show that clone mixing occurs from the first to the second intermediate host in natural populations of the eye-fluke Diplostomum pseudospathaceum. Most individuals released by the first intermediate host belonged to one clone. In contrast, the second intermediate host was infected with a diverse array of mostly unique parasite genotypes. The proposed advantage of increased parasite clone intermixture may be a novel selection pressure favouring the maintenance of complex life cycles.

  86. #86 mothra
    April 2, 2008

    As a quick exercise, I pulled the Annual Review of Entomology for 1997 off my bookshelf, figuring a review article would have a references cited section with a date distribution closest to that of Mark’s ‘work.’ I flipped the volume open and turned to the first group of citations I came to (pp 313-15). Averaging the first 50 (of 189 references)gives the year 1988 with the oldest reference 1969. Interesting that the oldest reference in this review article is only two years younger than the average reference date in Mark’s tear sheet, and a difference of more than 20 years from the average date posted for Mark (see #50) hmmm. . . Cherry trees must have been more abundant in the recent past.

    Why would Mark question a parasite having passage through THREE hosts (father, son, and holy g-host and how is that parasite transmitted)? It is sooo rewarding to examine the dynamic publications of intrepid creation scientists, such polyhistors (polymaths?) as to be capable of publishing highly technical articles in two disparate fields. We know where his head was when examining trematodes and we know which way the microscope was ‘pointing’ when he examined the microrocks.

  87. #87 Trent Eady
    April 2, 2008

    Wanna know a fun fact? Some people are very, very stupid! Now you know!

  88. #88 Pineyman
    April 2, 2008

    QED -

    Please don’t slander a perfectly good metal band like that.

  89. #89 woody, tokin librul
    April 2, 2008

    April @ 67: I’ll be visualizing them saying “God-dah!” with jazz hands.

    Inna God-dah Dah Veeda, baby!!!

  90. #90 Rey Fox
    April 2, 2008

    “In addition, I find his comments about the r versus K strategy discussion most illuminating (again oops – he ignored all that didn’t he?).”

    Oh me oh my, as a mired-in-unemployment wildlife biology major, this warmed my heart. “I HAS R N K STRAGEDIEZ! I IS SINETIST!” PZ, how could you stoled his bukket like that?

    “Actually, I’m beginning to think we should. You know, gatecrashing can be fun.”

    Scenario #1: PZ doesn’t go to Pittsburgh, creotards declare that it’s because he’s afraid of teh Truth.
    Scenario #2: PZ goes to Pittsburgh (then goes out for a cup of tea), creotards accuse him of “gatecrashing”.

    “Does this mean that after FIVE years and 164 hours in Biology at the University of Florida, he was never awarded an actual degree?!?”

    Oh come now, isn’t it enough that he laid down in the lion’s den?

    I was going to mention something about the trinity of parasite hosts, but Sastra knocked that one out of the park.

  91. #91 MAJeff, OM
    April 2, 2008

    PZ, how could you stoled his bukket like that?

    ROFLMMFAO!!!!!!!

  92. #92 Owlmirror
    April 2, 2008

    I was going to mention something about the trinity of parasite hosts, but Sastra knocked that one out of the park.

    I, for one, am looking forward for Sastra to be able to sign off as “(OM)²”

  93. #93 Tulse
    April 2, 2008

    Am I mistaken or the figures 3 and 4 show illustrations on the back of main figure, indicating that they’re probably photocopies from Stein (1968) and not redraw “after Stein”.

    Sure looks like it! And the caption notes that the “scale bar = 10 microns”, when I sure as heck don’t see such a bar. I’d bet a large sum of money that the phrase was lifted uncomprehended from the photocopied source.

  94. #94 Epikt
    April 2, 2008

    Alex R:

    Wait a second…
    “164 undergrad hours in Biology, University of Florida, 1973-78″
    Does this mean that after FIVE years and 164 hours in Biology at the University of Florida, he was never awarded an actual degree?!?

    And yet, according to EvoWiki, he graduated summa cum laude from Liberty University. He must be very smart.

    (cue sound of guffawing, morphing to hiccups)

  95. #95 BadMA
    April 2, 2008

    The DI must have a time machine, because how else can all these creation scientists (I know, stop laughing!) miss 150 years of research in evolution. How can they miss multiple, independent lines of evidence? Did they miss all of genetics? They transported these guys from the 1850s into our present time! The DI must be more advanced than we thought!

  96. #96 chuck goecke
    April 2, 2008

    I have found a new cure for when fucktards like this hurt my brain. I go back and replay the youtube video of Dicky Dawkins and Co. I always helps:
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/03/if_you_heard_my_voice_you_know.php#more

  97. #97 CortxVortx
    April 2, 2008

    Re: #43

    I’d like to know how Mark H. Armitage, “M.S.” reacted to this:

    http://www.csun.edu/~vcgeo005/mark.htm

    I’m surprised he has the guts to “publish” anything after that evisceration.

    Holy smeg! I have that edition of American Laboratory! I kept it because of that nutty article. Thanks for the link to the review.

  98. #98 eliza
    April 2, 2008

    If this doesn’t call for a Pittsburgh Pharyngula meetup I don’t know what does. (One of our local breweries is in an old church — tempting, no?)

  99. #99 QED
    April 2, 2008

    Pineyman:

    QED -

    Please don’t slander a perfectly good metal band like that.

    My apologies to the band. No direct relationship of heavy metal to protostome phylogeny was intended. No snails, flatworms, or nematodes were harmed during the creation of this post.

  100. #100 Jim
    April 2, 2008

    I don’t get the “Nice hair Mark”. I did a Google Image search on “Mark H. Armitage”, but I can’t see the hair of the first guy that fit his description.
    http://img130.imageshack.us/img130/6645/hastertshultzxd7.jpg ;o)

  101. #101 Muse142
    April 2, 2008

    Omigawd omigawd. They have a creationism conference where I live?! Pittsburgh shames me.

    Anyhoo, if anyone actually wants to meet up for this, contact me through my blog. I happen to live, um, in Pittsburgh.

    Ugh!

  102. #102 charley
    April 2, 2008

    Van Andel Creation Research Center

    Stand back and watch paradigm-shifting data pour from their astronomical telescope and greenhouse with environmental controls. Don’t pass up the opportunity to clink the links to view the magnificence in color instead of black and white.

  103. #103 wazza
    April 2, 2008

    “Future projects will likely include the influence of carbon dioxide enhancement on plant growth, the genesis of thermoregulation in honey bees, fossils of the Coconino sandstone, biochemistry and taxonomy in pine trees and the genesis of multiple yearly tree rings of bristlecone pine trees.”

    Cool. I wonder if I could get into research there? I’ve nearly got a degree in (political) SCIENCE.

  104. #104 pcarini
    April 2, 2008

    @raven(83):

    There’s a reason he didn’t use that paper in particular.. Exposure to the term ‘eye-fluke’ *shudder* tends to erode any sort of belief in a loving god.

  105. #105 386sx
    April 2, 2008

    It’s funny how often creationists use teleological language when talking about evolution, as if evolution should have “known better” than to do things the way it did.

    A god with the greatest intelligence in the universe, who created a world of people that it has to “save”, and the way it goes about doing it is with a two thousand year old book that most of the people “misinterpret”, while this great intelligent creator god remains in the background invisible and silent, and Mark Armitage complains when a natural process with no intelligence doesn’t use “the most expedient method and all”.

    Okay, sounds pretty convincing to me I guess. Go get em Mark Armitage you’re really smart fella!! Go get em tiger. Rrrarrrrrr….

  106. #106 wazza
    April 2, 2008

    For god so loved the world that he gave his only begotten eye-fluke, that whosoever believe in him, shall get their just desserts

  107. #107 James F
    April 3, 2008

    #88 Rey Fox wrote:

    Scenario #2: PZ goes to Pittsburgh (then goes out for a cup of tea), creotards accuse him of “gatecrashing”.

    High five on the Ramones reference!

  108. #108 Kseniya
    April 3, 2008

    I don’t get the “Nice hair Mark”.

    I’m not sure, but I think it’s an allusion to the many comments left here recently on the subject of Matt Nisbet’s very nice hair. (Chris Mooney isn’t too hard on the eyes, either.)

    Unfortunately, the recent FlameFrameWars have created a bit of a rift between Pharyngulaville and Framingham.

  109. #109 Ichthyic
    April 3, 2008

    Framingham.

    oh, please tell me I’m not the first to call Nisbet:

    The Sheriff of Framingham

  110. #110 wazza
    April 3, 2008

    Very big of Mooney to try to make amends and bring things back to the core issues. Too bad about Nisbet.

  111. #111 Ichthyic
    April 3, 2008

    Too bad about Nisbet.

    he’s just green.

    I expect he’ll age better than might be evident from his initial stance.

    take a look at what Matt is up to say, 5 years from now.

  112. #112 JohnnieCanuck, FCD
    April 3, 2008

    So who exactly was it that carried the two eye flukes onto the Ark?

    Noah and his relatives must have been just loaded with pairs of every homo sap. specific parasite out there. Maybe Yahweh did the humans a favour during the voyage and stashed the multi-host parasites on some other pair of animals. Even so, it was inevitable that those few people were going have to be multiply infected and infested before they had been off the boat very long, in order to assure the survival of all the parasite “kinds”.

    Not exactly a nice thing to do to the only righteous people He could find on the planet.

    Eye flukes. That’s one evil creator.

  113. #113 wazza
    April 3, 2008

    No, they didn’t have to carry insects, they survived on rafts of vegetation (which is also how plants survived).

    That we have so many parasites alive now is really just a fluke.

  114. #114 Ichthyic
    April 3, 2008

    …take a look at what Matt is up to say, 5 years from now.

    I’d like to add that even after all the back and forth over the last year on this issue, the thing that started it all, Nisbet’s Science article, still has never impressed me as being a bellweather in the field of science communication.

    I still for the life of me can’t figure out what is so compelling about it.

    so, why not ask again:

    does ANYBODY who has actually read that paper think it sheds such miraculous wondrous light on the field of science communication?

    seriously, what the hell is the big deal with this? It’s based on naive ideas, that, while previously untested at all (to be sure), aren’t exactly well fleshed out by the experiments documented in the paper either.

    I tried to get Nisbet to further explain where the data in the paper support the direction he wanted to expound in the AAAS meeting, but to no avail whatsoever.

    The whole thing just seems very odd.

    I would highly suggest that anybody who wants to even begin to have some kind of understanding of what is behind the sci-blog wars, actually read Nisbet’s paper for themselves.

    maybe they can tell me what the hell I missed.

  115. #115 melior
    April 3, 2008

    From ICC 2008 call for papers: “Papers dealing with the age of the earth/universe must be from a young-earth perspective. Papers from an old-earth/old-universe perspective will not be considered.”

    It doesn’t say whether a flat-earth perspective is also required — is the young-but-round-earth splinter group allowed to bring their toys over too?

  116. #116 Liz
    April 3, 2008

    Jumping back to the references discussion for a second – I’m only a lowly assistant editor, but it’s standard editorial policy for every journal that I’ve ever worked on to triage out papers with no mention of the current literature. A manuscript where the average reference was older than I am wouldn’t even make it to peer review.

  117. #117 raven
    April 3, 2008

    Really, 5 minutes on pubmed.gov and one will know more about parasitic trematodes, flatworms, than Armitage. Including why they use multiple hosts.

    The eye fluke mentioned in the abstract above infects fish. Other eye flukes infect birds. Humans are apparently rarely infected as incidental hosts. But it does happen. Since humans now make up 1/2 of the large animal biomass of the planet, evolution to fill this large niche may change that. Yeah, god is looking out for us. Hey, eye flukes need to eat too!

    Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2006 May;74(5):848-9. Links
    Conjunctiva philophthalmosis: a case report in Thailand.Waikagul J, Dekumyoy P, Yoonuan T, Praevanit R.
    Department of Helminthology, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Thailand. tmjwk@mahidol.ac.th

    A 31-year-old Thai woman, a resident of Mapthaphut, Rayong Province, eastern Thailand, attended Rayong Provincial Hospital after suffering from consistent irritation of the eye for 5 days. Examination conducted by an ophthalmologist revealed a small worm moving on the conjunctiva of the right eye. The worm was removed and sent for identification. It was 2.9 mm in length, elongated oval, pharynx very large, ceca end close to the excretory pore, genital pore opens in front of the ventral sucker at the cecal bifurcation; it was identified as Philophthalmus sp., a trematode that parasitizes the eyes of birds. This is the first human case of Philophthalmus infection in Thailand.

  118. #118 bcpmoon
    April 3, 2008

    Well, this shows that creationists have not a clue about how science works. They always complain how unfair and mean it is to critizise their work. Welcome to the real world I say.
    What on earth makes them think that they are treated in any way different from others? Science is a competitive world, scientists are a mean bunch – scientifically. There are feuds, battles and wars and woe to him that steps into this nightmare unprepared. Just because they are treated equally, creos complain? Go play somewhere else, sissy.

  119. #119 Logicel
    April 3, 2008

    “Complexity not only fails to be a strike against evolution, it’s an expected outcome of evolution.”
    _______

    Duh. That’s right. That is what scientific theories do, they predict and explain. In contrast, religious belief does neither. So sad.

  120. #120 MarkW
    April 3, 2008

    164 hours in biology?

    Just another four and he’d have made the whole week.

  121. #121 Lilly de Lure
    April 3, 2008

    386sx said:

    A god with the greatest intelligence in the universe, who created a world of people that it has to “save”, and the way it goes about doing it is with a two thousand year old book that most of the people “misinterpret”, while this great intelligent creator god remains in the background invisible and silent, and Mark Armitage complains when a natural process with no intelligence doesn’t use “the most expedient method and all”.

    From which we can determine – the god of creation is clearly a lazy and mendacious incompetent. I’ve heard that people tend to envision their gods as omnipotent versions of themselves but Armitage seems to be taking the idea to seriously impressive extremes.

  122. #122 October Mermaid
    April 3, 2008

    Why does Mr. Armitage seem so surprised to be on a rag? It was apparent to everyone else almost immediately.

  123. #123 extatyzoma
    April 3, 2008

    i notice 2 things with creationists.

    1)they lack imagination.
    2)they lack humour.

    it doesnt take a genius to see that alternating host cycles are not miraculous, as in the post above regarding the thai womans eye with the fluke its obvious that non hosts will come into contact with parasites all the time, swallow a mouthful of pond water and you can bet your gut now has several species that it didnt have prior.

    rarely and by the skin of their suckers they might survive in there and even more rarely get some eggs/next stage out there, anyway thats all obvious.

    I use the analogy of a new video game, give a million people the same video game and time them to see who gets the furthest on the first life. By some skill (those who know what to expect from prior games) and chance (granny never played a game before) somebody is going to get halfway through level 3, most will persih within seconds of starting(well depends on the game), but by the skin of the suckers somebody is going to get further than the rest, lets just hope they had an equally skilled/lucky chance baby on the way to continue into the next level………

  124. #124 Abie
    April 3, 2008

    Waow.
    When to begin…

    How about there :
    Armitage, M. 1994b. Those who live in glass houses stow no thrones. CRS Quarterly 31(3) 167-170. Cover photo in addition to article.
    How can anyone wanting to pose as a scientist admit commiting such a title ?

    Found on the Creation research center website :
    Our research library includes more than 3,000 technical scientific works and 500 reprints, written both from the creationary and evolutionary presuppositions.
    Presupposition. How damning…

    About the 164 hours of biology, I’m a bit confused.
    In France for exemple, you don’t have “minors” as such, so a first year biology student can easily have 20-25h of various biology courses a week, covering Armitage’s timecount in less than a year.

    Am I missing something ?

  125. #125 MorpheusPA
    April 3, 2008

    What’s the deal with Pennsylvania?

    I live here and it’s no more than the deal has always been, I think. The clamor of the creationists and godders is so loud that any intelligent conversation simply isn’t heard.

    It’s a bit like the talking stain commercial, actually. The data is completely lost in the noise.

    The fundamentalist mindset seems to be spreading a tiny bit, although not an extreme amount.

    Our educational system as as gutted as the rest of the country, so it’s no surprise that our high school graduates are unable to think rationally.

    Our economic power isn’t what it once was, encouraging people to believe less in themselves. This, too, is a problem across the United States.

    We seem to be losing some of our confidence in our own abilities. That makes people desperate to restore that, which tends to lead them to irrational thinking that they wouldn’t otherwise countenance.

    It’s sad.

  126. #126 ajay
    April 3, 2008

    I too am confused by the “164 hours of biology” reference. As a biology undergraduate, counting lectures, lab time and tutorials, I think I hit that in the first term of my first year. And we had to write at least one essay a week. By hand.
    And when we’d finished it, our tutors would tear it up in front of our eyes and then dance up and down singing ‘allelujah. But we were ‘appy in those days.

  127. #127 Hrd2Imagin
    April 3, 2008

    WooHoo! Pittsburgh! That’s where I live too. The Creationist Conference website (icc08.org) states that “Anyone interested in the origins debate” is welcome to attend!

    That means us!

    But at $40 per day for admission, I think I’d rather picket outside with snarky signs.

  128. #128 N.C.
    April 3, 2008

    Ajay/Abie:

    By “hours”, I assume he means “credit hours” (1 credit hour = 1 hour/week/semester, so a typical lecture class would be “3 hours”). A typical four-year program comes out to about 120 credit-hours give or take a dozen, so 164 hours over five years for a four-year, ~120 hour program looks extremely suspect.

  129. #129 Les Lane
    April 3, 2008

    Bible verses aside it appears that “164 hours of biology” were not enough to teach him the difference between science and rationalizing. In fact the “study” is a classic example of creationists’ inability to make this distinction.

  130. #130 JP
    April 3, 2008

    At first, I was dismayed by the creationists coming to Pittsburgh. Between Carnegie Mellon University and University of Pittsburgh, there’s plenty of legitimate science happening here.

    But then I realized how crappy the infrastructure is here (just ask anyone here about the potholes) and how much we need cash. So, please, let them come to Pittsburgh and spend their money in our fair city. We’ll use it far better than they.

  131. #131 sublunary
    April 3, 2008

    What’s the deal with Pennsylvania?

    That made me laugh. I’m from NJ and back in high school we always used to refer to PA as “Pennsyl-tucky”. It just has this weird vibe about it that’s completly different from the rest of the north east. Never was the name more deserved than now.

    *No offense meant to those Pharyngulites who live there, or in Kentucky, of course*

  132. #132 Icelander
    April 3, 2008

    No offense meant to those Pharyngulites who live there, or in Kentucky, of course

    None taken, but please realize that there are candles out here in this darkness. After all, the judge who handed down the Dover decision did so in my hometown, a fact I am quite proud of.

    (I’m from Lancaster, by the way. I like to call it a “firebase in the culture wars.”)

  133. #133 Kseniya
    April 3, 2008

    From ICC 2008 call for papers: “Papers dealing with the age of the earth/universe must be from a young-earth perspective. Papers from an old-earth/old-universe perspective will not be considered be Expelled! [jazz hands].”

    There. Fixed.

  134. #134 MAJeff, OM
    April 3, 2008

    Unfortunately, the recent FlameFrameWars have created a bit of a rift between Pharyngulaville and Framingham.

    Yeah, I-95.

  135. #135 ??????
    April 3, 2008

    Pharyngulaville and Framingham

    ????????? ? ???????????

  136. #136 ??????
    April 3, 2008

    Pharyngulaville and Framingham

    ????????? ? ???????????

  137. #137 mnvnjnsn
    April 3, 2008

    Always read, never comment here– but I couldn’t let this pass by:

    “evolution could send it through 50 different hosts or a different one every time (like alien!) as long as it survived the meander it really wouldnt matter. im sure theres a nice line of variation in numbers of host from those with 1 (the minimum and the most common?) to those with more and more, the ones with more hosts perhaps are less numerous as species????? but oh my god, THREE!!!!”

    ‘And the Lord spake, saying, “First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin, then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it.”‘

  138. #138 Sili
    April 3, 2008

    Sastra,

    I want your babies.

  139. #139 John Phillips, FCD
    April 3, 2008

    At least now it’s going through the long-overdue jeer review.

    Posted by: SC | April 2, 2008 7:39 PM

    Being an amoral/immoral (take your pick :) ) atheist I am so stealing that line. Almost worthy of an OM all on its own.

  140. #140 omar ali
    April 4, 2008

    I just got the following comment from an engineer in Pakistan who got offended because I described some photoshopped “giant skeleton” as a well known hoax:

    “if (you) guys are so perturbed by hoaxes then you should be spending sleepless nights over Darwin’s “theory of evolution” itself, particularly the part that that pertains to human evolution … something which is still quite fashionable to ascribe to in pseudo scientific circles. Whereas the fact of the matter is that whatever alleged fossil evidence that was referenced to in the last century or so has now been reclassified or rejected altogether. The verdict is out that human evolution did not happen at all.”

    I kid you not. He is an engineer and probably a good one. One begins to despair…so I am hoping for some useful feedback to cheer me up.

  141. #141 Carlie
    April 4, 2008

    omar ali – try sending him to the website becominghuman.

    It would take a few hours to get through all of the information, but that’s the point. There’s a lot of it. Also a nice little movie that’s about 30 minutes long altogether, and wonderful 360 degree rotations of various species skulls, information on various archaeological sites, the works. It’s a really, really nice place for a lot of information on human evolution.

  142. #142 Drphil
    April 4, 2008

    Intelligent conversation? On this Blog?

    This blog is written by assclowns that have
    no idea what science is all about.

    No, I didn’t write the article.

  143. #143 Cheezits
    April 4, 2008

    What’s the deal with Pennsylvania?

    Urk. I call it the Bible Belt of the Northeast.

    I live close enough to the city (Philly) that creationism isn’t as rampant as it probably is out in the sticks, but I’m not far from Dover either.

  144. #144 Kseniya
    April 4, 2008

    This blog is written by assclowns

    Assclowns? Do they suffer from humorrhoids?

  145. #145 Keith Eaton
    April 4, 2008

    I enjoy watching evos squirm like hot worms in a fire…it’s entertaining.

    I mean when a turdhead like Myers who hasn’t published any research of significance in his entire warped existence and no one outside the frozen tundra of Buttville Minnesota cares if he is eaten my 100,000 Malagua disease infested fleas, can capture the sentiments of a herd of bottom feeders like this group…well science has bottomed out.

    I can’t imagine having a two-bit provocateur as my personal hero, but then being an accomplished intellectual does have its advantages.

    The local theatre has sold out 3 screens in the theatre for special groups for Expelled’s opening weekend and one is a select group of legislators. Ben for President!!!

    Imagine how few biology majors there will be once we start enforcing the laws against animalism in the labs.

  146. #146 Kseniya
    April 4, 2008

    Keith! For god’s sake, it’s lights-out in two minutes! Have you changed into your PJ’s and brushed your teeth?

    And if Nurse R. catches finds out you’re keeping 100,000 Malagua disease infested fleas, you’ll lose TV privileges for a month.

    You’d better get hopping, mister!

  147. #147 Sven DiMIlo
    April 5, 2008

    ow! ow!!!!
    my eye-rolling muscles are cramping up!

  148. #148 Steve_C
    April 5, 2008

    zzzzz.

    another backwards godbot trolling for attention.

    oooo 3 whole screens with bussed in viewers from the local megachurch. not your most intellectual crowd I suspect.

  149. #149 Carlie
    April 5, 2008

    Kseniya ftw.

    Keith, imagine how few biology majors there will be when the creationists water down science education to the point that we’re even more of a laughingstock to the entire world than we are already. Then, of course, it will be people like you complaining that all those other countries are producing the doctors and scientists and good drugs.
    Now be a good boy, grab your teddy bear, and get to bed.

  150. #150 RamblinDude
    April 5, 2008

    Kseniya,

    ROTFL!!

  151. #151 genesgalore
    April 5, 2008

    This was at once all heartwarming and equally shocking. EvolutionGoddidit is so plastic – it can explain everything! Such a grand unifying theory!”

    Posted by: Ted D | April 2, 2008 4:54 PM

    hehehe. from here on out until god sends me a text message,
    it’s: goddiditgoddamnit.

  152. #152 wotthe7734
    April 7, 2008

    For all you non- bargain hunters out there:

    Blackwell’s has a copy listed for sale for £26.85 and another for £28.21 by a third party. Oh bruddah.

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