Pharyngula

Another expulsion vindicated

Last December, I mentioned the case of a creationist named Nathaniel Abraham who was fired from his job at Woods Hole — he had the gall to apply for a post-doctoral position in an evolution and development lab, and the PI dismissed him for being incapable of supporting the full range of “evolutionary implications and interpretations” of the work he would have to do. Abraham sued him for a half million dollars in reply.

The judge’s decision has been delivered.

A Massachusetts federal court judge last week (April 22) dismissed the case against a researcher at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution who allegedly fired a postdoc in his lab because of the postdoc’s creationist beliefs.

The postdoc, Nathaniel Abraham, was dismissed from his position in the lab of molecular toxicologist Mark Hahn in November, 2004, after revealing that he believed in the literal truth of the Bible and considered evolution to be not a fact but a theory. Hahn’s lab studies the evolution of molecular mechanisms of chemical signaling and adaptation to chemical exposure.

Abraham filed a discrimination complaint against Hahn, which was rejected by the Massachusetts Commission against Discrimination. He then filed suit against Mark Hahn and the institute last November, arguing, according to court documents, that he had been hired to work in Hahn’s lab because of his expertise in zebrafish developmental biology, toxicology, and programmed cell death, and that “acceptance of evolution as scientific fact rather than theory (in contravention of his sincerely held religious beliefs) was in no way a bona fide occupational qualification of employment.”

The defendants, however, argued that Abraham did not file the lawsuit within the timeframe specified by law. Furthermore, the court documents stated, research in Hahn’s lab “would have involved application of evolutionary principles without qualifications concerning the acceptance of evolution.”

Good work!

Comments

  1. #1 Blake Stacey
    April 30, 2008

    The linked blog post requires the reader to register. WTF??

  2. #2 Eric
    April 30, 2008

    Good news, but the line “considered evolution to be not a fact but a theory” does nothing to help the mistaken belief that a theory is weak. Just my personal pet peeve.

  3. #3 Physicalist
    April 30, 2008

    Awww. And here I was hoping that I might be on the jury for this case. (Been called for jury duty next month . . . )

  4. #4 PZ Myers
    April 30, 2008

    Don’t worry if you don’t feel like registering — I included most of the article here.

  5. #5 Fire Ant
    April 30, 2008

    You know what’s also ironic? The same folks who have always railed against affirmative action on the basis that employees should not be forced to hire applicants who are not really qualified based on other quotas, are the same ones that would have no trouble overlooking the obvious lack of qualifications for these positions based on this “religious discrimination.”

  6. #6 Ted Goas
    April 30, 2008

    I guess it was the will of God that Nathaniel lose his job and have his court case dismissed… that must be it…

  7. #7 kid bitzer
    April 30, 2008

    i woulda liked a more straightforward vindication myself, like “the job requires competence in the field of biology, and no one can be a competent biologist who still doesn’t accept evolution.”

    instead, the case was dismissed primarily because of a technicality (statute of limitations), and the reference to “application of evolutionary principles…without acceptance of evolution” looks to me like a step in the *wrong* direction, if anything.

    it looks like this would allow a plaintiff to say “you can’t fire me for not *accepting* evolution, since all i have to do is to *apply the principles*, even if i don’t accept them. so i can still be a mouth-breathing young earth creo dolt, as long as i toe the line in *applying* the principles.”

    i dunno. maybe that’s good enough. maybe not.

    i’m sure that it would not be good enough for wheaton college (“you can’t fire me for believing that the gospel is a pile of transparent crap; all i have to do is to apply the principles, i don’t actually have to accept this nonsense.”)

    maybe, though, on further thought, science doesn’t really care about your inner convictions, provided that you apply the best practices and most up-to-date findings.

    for a teaching job, i’d want someone who actually *believes* the truth, and doesn’t just go through the motions. but maybe for a tech working on mt. palomar could be a committed flat-earther, provided that they did all of their work for the telescope in accordance with heliocentric principles?

    dunno.

    anyhow–i think the court should have smacked him harder.

  8. #8 IanR
    April 30, 2008

    Wow – the creationist are out in force over there. It’s an annoyingly long registration process, but it would probably help to have a few more “reality based” comments over there…

  9. #9 raven
    April 30, 2008

    Last I heard, Nathanial Abraham was on the faculty of Liberty U..Square pegs in square holes.

    And Guillermo Gonzalez is going to some Xian college in Philadelphia, IIRC Grove.. Presumably he will teach creation astronomy. The earth is flat, the center of the universe, the sun orbits the earth, and the stars are just lights stuck on a dome. A one lecture, 4 credit course.

  10. #10 Dennis N
    April 30, 2008

    The same thing happened to me when I went into an interview at Microsoft and after the hired me, I told them computers were a hoax from “Big Government” to make everyone still think the moon landing was real.

  11. #11 Sam Davies
    April 30, 2008

    Would they let an agnostic or atheist become a priest..?

  12. #12 Andrew Manderson
    April 30, 2008

    Well said, Kid Bitzer.

  13. #13 mikespeir
    April 30, 2008

    On the other hand, there’s an outside chance that actively working in the field might have finally beaten the evidence into his skull.

    Aw, probably not. I mean, if he got all the way to PhD without “getting it”…

  14. #14 Etha Williams
    April 30, 2008

    @#7 kid bitzer –

    i’m sure that it would not be good enough for wheaton college (“you can’t fire me for believing that the gospel is a pile of transparent crap; all i have to do is to apply the principles, i don’t actually have to accept this nonsense.”)

    Yeah, this is something I really don’t understand.

    From the WHOI website:

    WHOI is the world’s largest private, nonprofit ocean research, engineering and education organization.

    (Emphasis mine.)

    Why are private religious institutes (eg, Wheaton) allowed to fire/hire based on the religious views of their job applicants, but when a private secular institute declines to hire someone on the basis that the applicant believes mythologically based nonsense rather than real science (and thus is genuinely unqualified for the position), that person inevitably cries “religious intolerance”?

    It smacks of hypocrisy.

  15. #15 Dennis N
    April 30, 2008

    I don’t get it. If you don’t *believe* in evolution, why would you choose that job, or that area of study? There’s so much else to do in this world. If I don’t *believe* in gravity, I choose to not stick to the Earth. Wait, what was my point?

  16. #16 Glen Davidson
    April 30, 2008

    Well, when I win my lawsuit for being fired from my physics job, all because I disbelieve in that fantasy “momentum”, things will look a lot different.

    Someday we will be free to dissent from science and still keep our jobs. Until then, the physicians who don’t believe in blood, the biologists who don’t believe in chemistry, and the geologists who don’t believe in Noah’s flood will continue to be persecuted by Big Science.

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

  17. #17 JohnnieCanuck, FCD
    April 30, 2008

    I’d still like to know when Abraham knew he would likely end up suing against his being dismissed. The cynic in me suggests it was before he even applied for the job.

  18. #18 Glen Davfidson
    April 30, 2008

    and the geologists who don’t believe in Noah’s flood will continue to be persecuted by Big Science.

    er, that’s, “the geologists who believe in Noah’s flood, will continue to be persecuted by Big Science.”

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

  19. #19 hyperdeath
    April 30, 2008

    Furthermore, the court documents stated, research in Hahn’s lab “would have involved application of evolutionary principles without qualifications concerning the acceptance of evolution.”

    This bit makes me uneasy. No-one should ever be required to “accept” a scientific a theory. (They should, however, be required to fully understand the theories they reject. Naturally, this rules out 99.9% of creationists.)

    For example, a creationist might adopt a “Sunday Logic” view to evolution and build a firewall in his mind between a proper understanding of the theory, and religious fundamentalism (most likely by abusing the word “microevolution”). Such a belief should be no bar (in itself) to holding an academic position.

  20. #20 Quiet Desperation
    April 30, 2008

    It was further reported that Nathaniel Abraham is, in fact, bigger than a bread box, but far smaller than a Buick.

  21. #21 Quiet Desperation
    April 30, 2008

    Well, when I win my lawsuit for being fired from my physics job, all because I disbelieve in that fantasy “momentum”, things will look a lot different.

    Hmmm. This is fun. Can I play, too?

    I design satellite communication links, so I guess I could start professing a belief in the Flat Earth Theory. :-)

  22. #22 MikeM
    April 30, 2008

    I’m sure Ben Stein is sympathetic to this poor man’s plight.

    I can hear him droning now: “Here’s another example of supression.”

  23. #23 Donnie B.
    April 30, 2008

    I’d still like to know when Abraham knew he would likely end up suing against his being dismissed. The cynic in me suggests it was before he even applied for the job.

    Probably not, unless he’s a total idiot. If he had it planned all along, he would surely have gotten the lawsuit filed before the deadline.

  24. #24 Quiet Desperation
    April 30, 2008

    The same thing happened to me when I went into an interview at Microsoft and after the hired me, I told them computers were a hoax from “Big Government” to make everyone still think the moon landing was real.

    I dunno… I still think the Windows Registry is a vast hoax perpetrated on us all.

  25. #25 DaveX
    April 30, 2008

    I wanna play too– I’ve hosted an experimental radio broadcast for years; but secretly I know that all TRUE music was composed from 1750 to 1830 by white European men!

    LOL

  26. #26 Glen Davidson
    April 30, 2008

    It was further reported that Nathaniel Abraham is, in fact, bigger than a bread box, but far smaller than a Buick.

    Well, he’s approximately two ten-billionths of a Wales in area standing up, though rather more lying down. Either way, he’s obviously not of much consequence.

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

  27. #27 Kurt
    April 30, 2008

    Correcting an errorous comment by another.

    Gonzalez is headed for Grove City. Western side of Pennsylvania, north of Pittsburgh. Nowhere near Philadelphia.

    - Kurt

  28. #28 caynazzo
    April 30, 2008

    Sources tell me there’s unrest at NHGRI over a new post-bach Francis Collins hired for a 1-2 year internship at his lab. Turns out they met through a church retreat and apparently the new recruit does not have a degree in biology or related field.

  29. #29 leeleeone
    April 30, 2008

    Call a spade by any other name, i.e.:

    “would have involved application of evolutionary principles without qualifications concerning the acceptance of evolution.”

    It’s still a spade.

    Does anyone understand?!

    It’s still a spade!

  30. #30 Mike O'Risal
    April 30, 2008

    Boy, Abraham’s attorney David Gibbs has a winning track record, doesn’t he? First he loses the Terri Schiavo case and now he fails to file the necessary paperwork for a client’s lawsuit, resulting in the suit being tossed out.

    David Gibbs: He represents Fundamentalist Christians for free, and he’s worth every penny!

  31. #31 Dennis N
    April 30, 2008

    Sources tell me there’s unrest at NHGRI over a new post-bach Francis Collins hired for a 1-2 year internship at his lab. Turns out they met through a church retreat and apparently the new recruit does not have a degree in biology or related field.

    I’m pretty sure everyone is losing respect for Francis Collins more and more these days, so that doesn’t surprise me.

  32. #32 Glen Davidson
    April 30, 2008

    The defendants, however, argued that Abraham did not file the lawsuit within the timeframe specified by law.

    Maybe it is a bad thing that this apparently wasn’t decided on the merits of the case. But why would he have to sue for anything, when he’s found employment with equal slackjaws at Liberty University? Furthermore, if you’re now working for a plainly religious university which requires that you sign a statement believing in the Bible, how is that supposed to bolster your science credentials, or even your claim to want to do science?

    I hope that more of the details of this case will come out, at least if no appeals are filed. Because there were claims that he wouldn’t participate in any situation in which his work would be used for a “macroevolutionary” interpretation. If that’s true, he was way over the line.

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

  33. #33 Greg Laden
    April 30, 2008

    If academic freedom is a road, this event is a curb stone.

  34. #34 Dennis N
    April 30, 2008

    Because there were claims that he wouldn’t participate in any situation in which his work would be used for a “macroevolutionary” interpretation.

    Well I study computer science, and I don’t want my research into microchips being used in blue colored computers.

  35. #35 Tulse
    April 30, 2008

    Another example of Big Law suppressing ID.

    Will Ben Stein do a sequel called Dismissed!: No Torts Allowed?

    And I’m so glad to see the conservatives fighting so hard against judicial activism…

  36. #36 Etha Williams
    April 30, 2008

    I’ll join in the game –

    As a neuroscience student who doesn’t believe in the so-called “neuron doctrine”, I am positively *shocked* at some of the closed-minded ridicule my reticular views get from my intolerant Cajalist professors!

    This is fun…

    ((As a side note, though, we scientists really need to clean up some of our terminology…”central dogma of molecular biology”…”neuron doctrine”…come on guys, how are we going to efficiently combat IDiocy when some of our own language suggests their claims are right?))

  37. #37 shiftlessbum
    April 30, 2008

    #14
    Why are private religious institutes (eg, Wheaton) allowed to fire/hire based on the religious views of their job applicants, but when a private secular institute declines to hire someone on the basis that the applicant believes mythologically based nonsense rather than real science (and thus is genuinely unqualified for the position), that person inevitably cries “religious intolerance”?

    I think that it’s because they accept federal (and state?) monies for their research that they must comply with federal (and state) hiring laws.

  38. #38 Mu
    April 30, 2008

    Reminds me of my favorite joke from the old country (where religion was taught in school):
    The regional school inspector visits the final oral exams, and sits in on an exam in religion. The pupil answers all questions brilliantly, but the teacher seems uneasy.
    During the grading, the teacher proposes a D. The inspector is visibly upset:”But he knew everything you asked him”.
    To which the teacher replies: “Oh sure, he knows everything, he just doesn’t believe it”.

  39. #39 Britomart
    April 30, 2008

    So, he not only was incompetent at his job (studying the evolution of tigerfish by the way)

    He was incompetent at meeting legal deadlines!

    One more blow against ignorance!

  40. #40 Glen Davidson
    April 30, 2008

    To people like Stein this is just proof that their conspiracy theory that everyone is out to get them is true. They said that science, the judiciary, education, and the media were all out to get them.

    And the simple fact that these institutions just happen to favor science over pseudoscience in every other case doesn’t at all indicate to them (they can’t decide on the evidence, so they ought to at least try to figure things out relationally–often a useful rule of thumb) that these institutions are just favoring science over pseudoscience this time as well.

    The difference between the decisions against UFO nuts and other cranks, and themselves? Well, this time it’s them, and they have the truth, not like all of those evil lying swine. The courts, media, education, and gov’t are all scientifically and properly keeping black magic out of the science classes, naturally, which is why it’s so egregious that they are so anti-science by keeping ID out of the schools.

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

  41. #41 Eamon Knight
    April 30, 2008

    Gee, how did Ben Stein manage to miss interviewing this guy? Unlike the cases cited in the movie, this guy did actually lose a job AND for reasons directly related to his anti-evolution views.

    I expect it’ll get played up in The Usual Circles as another example of Darwinist Persecution. I’d like to see more details, though: specifically something that showing that his beliefs would materially get in the way of actually doing the job — none of this Marcus Ross-style “competent in the evolutionary paradigm even though he doesn’t believe it” ambiguity.

  42. #42 Kseniya
    April 30, 2008

    It appears that Big Justice is in bed with Big Science. Hey – this is Massachusetts.

  43. #43 Dennis N
    April 30, 2008

    I’m so sick of “respecting” other people’s religion. Whenever you don’t give them special privilege and tip-toe around them, they cry like little babies, saying you’re “intolerant”. You really do need to have child-like faith to be religious, complete with the tears and the whines. Yes, I’m intolerant of ignorance.

  44. #44 SteveM
    April 30, 2008

    should JPL be tolerant of Ptolemians? I reject your Copernican theory but still want to calculate deep space probe trajectories. wtf?

  45. #45 Leigh Shryock
    April 30, 2008

    Well, I’m of this opinion – believe what you want. I don’t care if you believe that life started because little green men did it, or goddidit, or allahdidit.

    Believe what you want, just don’t let it interfere with your work… which it sounds like he did, from the earlier article “would not agree to include a full discussion of the evolutionary implications and interpretations of our research in any co-authored publications resulting from this work”

    He would have let his personal beliefs interfere with his work, which I do NOT agree with.

  46. #46 fardels bear
    April 30, 2008

    Thesr things always remind me of the ONION headline;

    “Christian Scientist Pharmacist Refuses to Dispense Any Drugs Whatsoever”

  47. #47 Nimravid
    April 30, 2008

    This bit makes me uneasy. No-one should ever be required to “accept” a scientific a theory.

    Some here seem to disagree, but I agree. In this case this isn’t even an issue because he said before he was initially fired that he would do the research and collect the data, but would refuse to analyze it to determine evolutionary relationships. That’s the *whole point* of his job. If all he’s going to do is collect data, well, a college grad in bio could do that.

  48. #48 True Bob
    April 30, 2008

    What is it with evolutionists and zebra fish? PZ, Danio, I’m looking at you.

    And to join the game:

    I work for the FAA, buying air to ground “communication radios”. So therefore I don’t believe that airplanes can fly, and I want to see some of this Ether/Aether the radio waves move in. Oh yeah, I might as well get some phlogiston if I’m out shopping.

  49. #49 DocWazoo
    April 30, 2008

    I got one – I’m an OB/GYN resident. In Genesis, god said to Eve (and forgive me for not quoting from the King James B): “In sadness shall you bear sons”.
    I refuse to give epidural anesthesia to any parturient women giving birth to sons!
    Do you think I’ll win my lawsuit?

  50. #50 sachatur
    April 30, 2008

    kid bitzer@#7:
    Beware the floating ellipsis in your quote:
    “application of evolutionary principles…without acceptance of evolution”
    The ellipsis needs to be between without and acceptance.
    And that changes the meaning completely.
    As I read it, what the defendants meant was that the job required unqualified acceptance of evolution.

  51. #51 Ichthyic
    April 30, 2008

    Gee, how did Ben Stein manage to miss interviewing this guy? Unlike the cases cited in the movie, this guy did actually lose a job AND for reasons directly related to his anti-evolution views.

    actually, this isn’t the case at all.

    think of a pharmacist losing their jobs because they refuse to fill a prescription.

    while their motivations for not filling the scrip might vary, in fact the only relevant issue is that they refused to fulfill the contractual obligations of their job. IOW, the motivations of the employers themselves don’t vary a jot, and have nothing to do with any religious beliefs professed by either employer or employee.

    It’s the same thing here. This person was hired to do specific work for a specific contract, and simply refused to do the work. It hardly matters WHY. They signed a contract, and the granting agency had well defined expectations which were not being met by this particular employee.

    It’s as simple as that.

    As to this specific outcome, I’m happy at the initial result, but sorry that the underlying issue was not resolved.

    That said, I do think the judge acted entirely appropriately. Procedural issues are no less important in a courtroom than anywhere else.

  52. #52 Shirley Knott
    April 30, 2008

    Ichy, I agree completely, but there’s a current court case in WI from a pharmacist who is insisting he has the right to override his employer’s wishes and neither dispense the morning-after pill nor direct the customer to a pharmacy that will fill the prescription.
    Total unadulterated nonsense.
    And he’ll win.

    no hugs for thugs,
    Shirley Knott

  53. #53 Pete M.
    April 30, 2008

    I have a just a small quibble with the author of this piece. I haven’t registered to view the whole article, but in the bit PZ cites above, the author of the article lets the old “evolution is just a theory, not a fact” line go unchallenged. It even gets repeated twice. I know this appears in “The Scientist,” which presumably has a mostly savvy readership, but still I’d like see it pointed out in the piece that this whole line is a bunch of crap.

  54. #54 Larry
    April 30, 2008

    #43:

    should JPL be tolerant of Ptolemians? I reject your Copernican theory but still want to calculate deep space probe trajectories. wtf?

    Of course they should. They’re obviously suppressing the Angel Propulsion Theory which posits satellites and deep space probes are actually being carried on the wings of angels. Its just one more example of Newtonianists forcing their secular Theory of Gravity onto the minds of our children.

  55. #55 kid bitzer
    April 30, 2008

    #49 sachatur–

    i’m happy to re-punctuate as you suggest, or even just print the whole damn thing without ellipsis:

    “application of evolutionary principles without qualifications concerning the acceptance of evolution.”

    but i don’t share your confidence that the meaning is reversed by the change of punctuation.

    and that’s largely because i no longer feel confident that i know what the clause at issue means *at all*.

    what, just as one example of my incomprehension, are the “qualifications” referred to? do they mean job-qualifications, i.e. what makes the candidate qualified for the job? so does it say that acceptance of evolution was not among the qualifications that a candidate for the job needed?

    or do they mean qualifications, i.e. modifications or reservations, in one’s acceptance of a view? “i will agree to the plan, but only with qualifications”, means “i do not unqualifiedly agree to the plan”. in which case they might mean: to perform this job, you have to accept evolution unqualifiedly, i.e. without any fingers crossed behind your back.

    when i wrote #7, i thought it was the first. now i don’t feel much confidence either way. and since i’m not sure what the unelided sentence means, i don’t know whether you are right about the effect of my misplaced ellipses.

    i think i will need to look at the actual “court documents” (and which party wrote them?) before i will feel any confidence that i understand the quoted line.

  56. #56 Moses
    April 30, 2008

    This bit makes me uneasy. No-one should ever be required to “accept” a scientific a theory. (They should, however, be required to fully understand the theories they reject. Naturally, this rules out 99.9% of creationists.)

    For example, a creationist might adopt a “Sunday Logic” view to evolution and build a firewall in his mind between a proper understanding of the theory, and religious fundamentalism (most likely by abusing the word “microevolution”). Such a belief should be no bar (in itself) to holding an academic position.

    Posted by: hyperdeath | April 30, 2008 4:00 PM

    Nonsense. If I hire a staff accountant he damn well better “believe in” GAAP, GAAS, Income Tax Law, Double-Entry Accounting and Professional Ethics. Otherwise he’s going to be short for my firm and short for accounting.

    Unless he wants to work for Enron. I here they don’t believe in Balance Sheet Accounting, GAAP and Ethics… Oh, wait, I believe they’re bankrupt… Never mind…

  57. #57 Ichthyic
    April 30, 2008

    And he’ll win.

    what do you base that on?

    I haven’t looked at specifically how similar court cases have resolved, but my admittedly fuzzy recollection is that similar previous cases were not resolved in that manner.

  58. #58 Mrs Tilton
    April 30, 2008

    The defendants, however, argued that Abraham did not file the lawsuit within the timeframe specified by law. Furthermore, the court documents stated, research in Hahn’s lab “would have involved application of evolutionary principles without qualifications concerning the acceptance of evolution.”

    Haven’t read the decision and can’t be arsed to register on the linked site, so I’m just scratching my belly here. But: the defendants argued the suit was time-barred; “court documents” (filed by the defendants?) claimed that the plaintiff’s research would have required knowledge and acceptance of evolution. In both cases, very possibly true (indeed, in the latter case, obviously and incontrovertibly true). But on what basis did the court toss this jackass out on his ear?

    BTW, Ichthyic is completely correct, esp. in the last two paras @50. I hope you won’t take this as an insult, Ic (and coming from me it really isn’t); but you have the makings of a fine lawyer.

  59. #59 Ichthyic
    April 30, 2008

    They’re obviously suppressing the Angel Propulsion Theory which posits satellites and deep space probes are actually being carried on the wings of angels.

    ah!

    that’s what REALLY happened to the mars probe that crashed on the surface, right? Someone failed to utilize the angel-wings theory!

    …phht, and they tried to tell us it was just a metric/sae conversion error.

    now the truth comes out!
    :P

  60. #60 Mrs Tilton
    April 30, 2008

    Moses @55,

    So far as I know, Enron’s accounts were, technically, in accordance with US GAAP. They wouldn’t have accorded with IFRS but then, that fact might be part of the explanation of why the SEC has done a major rethink on the relative virtues of the two sets of standards.

  61. #61 MF
    April 30, 2008

    I’d consider him unfit for the position based purely on the fact that he doesn’t know what a scientific theory is.

  62. #62 Nick Gotts
    April 30, 2008

    Would they let an agnostic or atheist become a priest..?
    - Sam Davies

    Well, they do in the Church of England!

  63. #63 Ichthyic
    April 30, 2008

    I hope you won’t take this as an insult, Ic (and coming from me it really isn’t); but you have the makings of a fine lawyer.

    certainly not (especially coming from you ;) ). A lawyer employs many of the same skill-sets (e.g., logic, diagnostics, evidence based analysis, etc.) as scientists and md’s do.

    sorry to get a bit OT, but it seems to be a recurring theme of some of the threads around here of late…

    Although I always appreciate a good lawyer joke, I’m always quick to point out the value of lawyers in the very history of modern society. One could easily argue that modern society itself would simply not exist without them.

    professor, lawyer, politician, priest…. none of these things inherently promote “corruption” as professions isolated from the people who pursue them.

  64. #64 Ichthyic
    April 30, 2008

    btw, @Mrs. Tilton-

    I’m relatively sure there have been several cases revolving around the religion/pharmacist issue.

    Are you familiar with the outcomes and arguments of any of those cases?

  65. #65 raven
    April 30, 2008

    Ichy, I agree completely, but there’s a current court case in WI from a pharmacist who is insisting he has the right to override his employer’s wishes and neither dispense the morning-after pill nor direct the customer to a pharmacy that will fill the prescription.
    Total unadulterated nonsense.
    And he’ll win.

    Maybe not. In other states, these wingnut pharmacists have been losing big time. This is practicing medicine without a license and not practicing pharmacy with a license. It is wrong, wrong, wrong.

  66. #66 Hap
    April 30, 2008

    Lawyers are like scalpels – really effective tools when used well and really damaging weapons when used to hurt, with the outcome dependent on the will of those using them, though that might be true of many people and things.

    Morris Dees and John Yow (sic?) might be examplars of the uses of lawyers.

  67. #67 Kseniya
    April 30, 2008

    kid bitzer:

    The point about the shifting meaning of the elided phrase was correct. The meaning was totally changed.

    Your second definition of “qualification” applies. Application of evolutionary principles, without any modifications or reservations with respect to acceptance of evolution. No ifs, ands, or buts.

    No butts, either, apparently.

  68. #68 freelunch
    April 30, 2008

    The most serious problem we have with lawyers today is that too many students treat the law as a good way to get a professional education without having to master any math or science to speak of. The LSAT needs to add a math/science section that challenges the student.

  69. #69 Ichthyic
    April 30, 2008

    In other states, these wingnut pharmacists have been losing big time.

    I can haz linkys for my collection, plz?

  70. #70 Ichthyic
    April 30, 2008

    The LSAT needs to add a math/science section that challenges the student.

    ooh, on that line, I would REALLY like to see law students forced to take a year of statistics and probability.

  71. #71 kid bitzer
    April 30, 2008

    #67

    and your confidence in your pronouncement is based on what exactly?

    a full reading of the court documents?

    i mean–your reading certainly could be right. that’s why i raised the issue.

    but myself i’d want to do more looking into it before i declared. given only the snippet of prose we have from the article, it looks quite opaque and open to construal, i.e. lawyerly.

    mrs tilton? if you’re one of the lawyering horde, would you like to weigh in on interpretation? or get us some more of the court documents?

  72. #72 kid bitzer
    April 30, 2008

    sorry–

    my #70 should have been addressed to #66, not #67.

  73. #73 raven
    April 30, 2008

    A lot of case law on google. Here is one such. Word has gotten around that pharmacists who don’t want to actually do the work of pharmacists should find another way to annoy people.

    Catholic Pharmacist Case Dismissed – K-Mart in the Right to Fire over Refusal to Dispense Abortifacient Pills

    By Hilary White

    MADISON, June 6, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Christian pharmacist fired by K-Mart for refusing to dispense abortifacient drugs has had his lawsuit dismissed by a Wisconsin judge. U.S. District Judge John Shabaz ruled that K-Mart was right to fire Neil Noesen who brought a suit of religious discrimination against his former employer and against Medical Staffing Network, which had placed him temporarily with K-Mart.

  74. #74 Marcus Ranum
    April 30, 2008

    DennisN writes:
    I’m so sick of “respecting” other people’s religion.

    So? Start pointing and giggling and calling them “f@%^@!ING RETARDS” and it’ll all be over in a couple decades.

    Religion withers like a man’s erection in the icy blasts of sincere mockery.

  75. #75 Kseniya
    April 30, 2008

    Kid – ok, I see your point. It does seem ambiguous, even now…

  76. #76 Kseniya
    April 30, 2008

    The Sincere Mockeries: Band Name!

  77. #77 Ichthyic
    April 30, 2008

    Religion withers like a man’s erection in the icy blasts of sincere mockery.

    so is the same comeback applicable?

    “It’s not the size, it’s what you do with it”

    :p

  78. #78 BlueIndependent
    April 30, 2008

    Well the sciences seem to be doing some good work keeping the incompetent out of the profession. Now if only Pharmacology could keep the anti-choice freaks out of the CVSs, Targets, and Walgreens…oops, looks like I’m late to that party.

    Kick the winguts out and let them sue like the litigious fools they are.

  79. #79 Spaulding
    April 30, 2008

    It’s tiresome to keep reading the theory vs. hypothesis misdirection.

    As a result, I’ve been trying to avoid using the word “theory” even in casual, non-science-related contexts when “hypothesis” can substitute.

    Unfortunately, I hypothesize that this will not solve the problem.

  80. #80 Martin Hutton
    April 30, 2008

    #40:

    Gee, how did Ben Stein manage to miss interviewing this guy?

    Because Abraham is an Olde Timey Creationist. And if you’re pushing ID to the public you can’t talk about “God doin’ it”.

  81. #81 plum grenville
    April 30, 2008

    We should definitely be careful about what principle we rely on to justify firing this fellow. I don’t think we can honestly make the claim that belief in a particular theory is necessary in order to carry out research on the theory or arising from it. (The optics of the claim are terrible too.) We defend the scientific method on the grounds that it eliminates (or at least reduces as far as is humanly possible) the effect of bias.

    Not only should it not matter who carries out an experiment – the results shouldd be the same regardless – but it also shouldn’t matter who designs an experiment – whether it’s a supporter or an opponent of the hypothesis/theory being tested. Possibly more often than not, scientists have an agenda when they conduct an experiment – the desire to prove that their idea is correct and that somebody else’s idea is wrong.

    Opposing a particular theory doesn’t preclude being able to develop predictions from it and being able to design experiments which test the predictions. Scientists do it all the time. Who better than an opponent of a theory to devise rigorous tests of it?

    So what’s the problem with employing the anti-evolutionist at Woods Hole? Not his disbelief in evolution per se, but the fact that his disbelief is relgiously based. Scientists are presumed to have the intellectual integrity to value truth over proving themselves correct. A scientist will be able to change her mind when the evidence requires it.

    This guy, however, presumably believes that no possible experiment could disprove creationism. He would state upfront that he cannot conceive of any evidence which would cause him to change his mind. This position calls his intellectual integrity into question. Someone who believes that any evidence which apears to favour evolution is a priori wrong and must be disregarded, no matter how convincing it is, has a completely different definition of truth than scientists (and other rational people) do.

    To him, truth is what the bible says. To scientists, truth is is the set of theories which have thus far withstood testing by the scientific method. You can only be honest with respect to your own definition of truth. For a creationist, accepting and publishing experimental results which supported evolution would be dishonest – it would violate (biblical) “truth”, which always trumps scientific truth. (This alternative understanding of truth and honesty might explain creationists’ frequent lies. In their eyes, you’re not lying if you’re upholding the truth.)

    A non-believer in evolution could still do honest (and potentially valuable) science so long as she is committed to the scientific method as a (or the) means of discovering truth. But if your standard of truth is anything else – like the bible – you may be going through the motions but you are not doing science.

    That’s why this guy should be fired: he is incapable of intellectual honesty with respect to the definition of truth which defines science.

  82. #82 Jud
    April 30, 2008

    Marcus Ranum wrote: So? Start pointing and giggling and calling them “f@%^@!ING RETARDS” and it’ll all be over in a couple decades.

    ‘Spose it’s political keereckness or somethin’ (or maybe just a thought that we ought not to kick folks when they’re down), but I’d love to see comments creative enough not to use “retards” or derivations thereof in the process of delivering ridicule.

  83. #83 Ichthyic
    April 30, 2008

    Not only should it not matter who carries out an experiment – the results shouldd be the same regardless

    regardless of what?

    whether they knew enough to actually construct proper methods to begin with?

    ’cause that’s at part what is at issue here too. Not just his refusal to do the work (which is the basis of the defense, and rightly so), but whether or not he even COULD have.

    and it is entirely relevant.

  84. #84 Etha Williams
    April 30, 2008

    @#69 Ichthyic –

    ooh, on that line, I would REALLY like to see law students forced to take a year of statistics and probability

    Actually, I think that at least a semester of s & p should be required of someone getting a liberal arts education.

    When I took stats, a lot of the basics about interpreting data seemed like common sense to me, but if there’s anything I learned from my fellow students, it’s that my definition of “common sense” is not so common…

  85. #85 Ichthyic
    April 30, 2008

    Actually, I think that at least a semester of s & p should be required of someone getting a liberal arts education.

    agreed.

    In fact, basic probability should be taught in high school, perhaps at least offered as an AP course, if not incorporated as a unit in either political science/sociology or one of the mathematics courses.

    It’s very important, I think, for everyone to have at least a basic understanding of probability and statistics, if for no other reason than to understand what lies behind the poll data so often relied on by the media in this country.

    It’s of course even more valuable (indispensable) for those of us who actually design experiments.

  86. #86 Longtime Lurker
    April 30, 2008

    @freelunch # 68, Ichthic # 69:

    freelunch: The LSAT needs to add a math/science section that challenges the student.

    Ichthyic: ooh, on that line, I would REALLY like to see law students forced to take a year of statistics and probability.

    Apologies for being a bit OT here, but y’all pushed a hot button. The LSAT should definitely include a math and (forensic?) science section *not* consisting entirely of multiple-guess questions. I teach intro stats as an adjunct at my hometown no-name state university. I’ve seen several examples of gross misapplication of probabilistic or statistical reasoning by lawyers. Don’t have details at hand just now, but iirc mostof the guilty parties were prosecuting attorneys. Sadly, I suppose it’s not possible in this country to prevent the statistically ignorant from becoming prosecutors or (even worse) judges.

  87. #87 Etha Williams
    April 30, 2008

    @#84 Ichthyic –

    In fact, basic probability should be taught in high school, perhaps at least offered as an AP course, if not incorporated as a unit in either political science/sociology or one of the mathematics courses.

    Agreed. I would, however, note that there is an AP Statistics course. I didn’t take it so I can’t vouch for its inclusion of basic probability theory (or lack thereof), though.

    It’s very important, I think, for everyone to have at least a basic understanding of probability and statistics, if for no other reason than to understand what lies behind the poll data so often relied on by the media in this country.

    Yeah. Sadly, I think a lot of people wouldn’t see the obvious problem with, for example, comparing the absolute numbers of faith healing deaths (a very small sample size) compared with absolute numbers of medical treatment deaths (large sample size).

  88. #88 Ichthyic
    April 30, 2008

    Agreed. I would, however, note that there is an AP Statistics course.

    ah, not surprising.

    I took 2 of the 3 AP courses offered at my high school, which were being offered for the very first time, btw.

    the three were: english, calculus, chemistry.

    what a difference 20+ years makes.
    ;)

  89. #89 mlw
    April 30, 2008

    Quiet Desperation @#24

    Lies!!! I have seen it with my own eyes! Its existence is not questionable, though how it functions will always remain a mystery. Any computer scientists that doubts this and tries to unravel its divine nature should be stoned for their apostasy. All hail the Registry Hive!

  90. #90 Eamon Knight
    April 30, 2008

    Ichtyic @#50 replies to me:

    Gee, how did Ben Stein manage to miss interviewing this guy? Unlike the cases cited in the movie, this guy did actually lose a job AND for reasons directly related to his anti-evolution views.
    actually, this isn’t the case at all.
    think of a pharmacist losing their jobs because they refuse to fill a prescription.

    At the risk of belaboring a trivial point of semantics: what I was getting at (albeit sacrificing clarity for brevity) was that his actions can be explicitly attributed to his beliefs, as can those of the pharmacists who refuse to dispense morning-after pills. This is in contrast to eg. the Gonzalez case, who screwed his tenure prospects simply by not doing much astronomy — but not through any discernible ideological objection to the field (AFAIK he’s not a flat-earther, geo-centrist or YEC).

    Now that I reflect on it, it occurs to me that some of the other Expelled “victims” do come closer to having an explicit ideologically-motivated incompetence. For example, one reason Crocker was a lousy teacher was her insistence on preaching creationist bullshit to her class.

  91. #91 Ichthyic
    April 30, 2008

    This is in contrast to eg. the Gonzalez case, who screwed his tenure prospects simply by not doing much astronomy — but not through any discernible ideological objection to the field (AFAIK he’s not a flat-earther, geo-centrist or YEC).

    actually, if you think about it, it’s not in contrast at all. In essence, it’s exactly the same.

    regardless of their motivations, the pharmacist, the biologist, and the astronmer, all failed to do the jobs they were hired for.

    that they were all motivated not to do their work by similar levels of cognitive dissonance (based on similar philosophical rationalizations) is hardly relevant to the fact that the reason all three were tossed is because they failed to do the work they were hired to do.

  92. #92 Etha Williams
    April 30, 2008

    @#91 Ichthyic –

    that they were all motivated not to do their work by similar levels of cognitive dissonance (based on similar philosophical rationalizations) is hardly relevant to the fact that the reason all three were tossed is because they failed to do the work they were hired to do.

    I’d add, too, that based on what we know about cognitive dissonance and how it affects human behavior on both conscious and unconscious levels, it is perfectly willing not to hire such people in the first place, even if they claim that they will not let their contradictory views affect their job.

  93. #93 Etha Williams
    April 30, 2008

    gah…sometimes I don’t understand why I make the typos I do (probably some repressed unconscious urge):

    “perfectly willing” should be “perfectly alright”

  94. #94 Ichthyic
    April 30, 2008

    one reason Crocker was a lousy teacher was her insistence on preaching creationist bullshit to her class.

    which means she wasn’t doing the job she was hired to do.

    are we seeing the pattern yet?

    of course, in crocker’s case, she was also breaking the law.

  95. #95 Doug
    May 1, 2008

    Those labs are so elitist with their demands that people working there be qualified and educated. That’s why fundamentalist Christians are for the people, you don’t need an education, much less literacy, in order to be a preacher.

  96. #96 Kenny
    May 1, 2008

    It’s not so much about education, in order to be a scientist, it is more like a boys club. If you don’t accept what we say you are stupid and can’t hold a degree.

    Elitist boys clubs are really what it is about. Education and intelligence isn’t how these people got in there. You do something for me and I will do something for you. Kind of sounds like politics. Well in a lot of ways that is what science has become (the dark side of science).

    I do love science though but this just shows you how bad science can really get. This is the dark side of science and I don’t like it one bit.

  97. #97 Etha Williams
    May 1, 2008

    @#96 Kenny –

    It’s not so much about education, in order to be a scientist, it is more like a boys club. If you don’t accept what we say you are stupid and can’t hold a degree.

    No, but if you don’t accept what we say — which generally has a lot of accumulated evidence and attempts at falsification behind it — you’d better have a damn good argument (complete with real, falsifiable evidence) for why you don’t.

    I do love science though…

    Ever heard the saying, “You must get behind someone before you can stab them in the back”?

  98. #98 Kseniya
    May 1, 2008

    O_o

    (What can one say? Why waste time on an impermeable mind?)

    Kenny, they’ve got you. Stein, and the others. They’re trying to take something that they haven’t earned, by convincing decent people like you that it’s the way things should be. All they’ve done is lie and distort – and you’ve bought it. All of it. Don’t let them do this to you. Fight back!

  99. #99 Ichthyic
    May 1, 2008

    I do love science though but this just shows you how bad science can really get. This is the dark side of science and I don’t like it one bit.

    you wouldn’t know science even if you could pull your head out of your ass long enough to see it bite you there.

    run (can one run with their head so firmly implanted in their rectum?) along home, sonny.

  100. #100 Rey Fox
    May 1, 2008

    I think Kenny is just eternally bitter about not being let into the cool kids’ treehouse as a kid.

  101. #101 raven
    May 1, 2008

    Kenny the Death Cult Moron:

    I do love science though but this just shows you how bad science can really get. This is the dark side of science and I don’t like it one bit.

    We know you love scientists. You love to kill them. Speaking of the Dark side of your cult, Rushdooney wants to kill 99% of the US population while setting up his theocracy. Do you think killing 297 million Americans is too many or too few? Sure Rushdooney was just the founder of Xian Dominionism and a psychopathic Darksider.

    So what is the light side of the cults? The Taliban? Al Qaeda? Hitler? The Inquisition? Ben Stein?

    bcseweb.org Rushdooney:
    Our list may not be perfect but it seems to cover those “crimes” against the family that are inferred by Rushdoony’s statement to Moyers. The real frightening side of it is the interpretation of heresy, apostasy and idolatry. Rushdoony’s position seems to suggest that he would have anyone killed who disagreed with his religious opinions. That represents all but a tiny minority of people. Add to that death penalties for what is quite legal, blasphemy, not getting on with parents and working on a Sunday means that it the fantasy ideal world of Rushdoony and his pals, there will be an awful lot of mass murderers and amongst a tiny population.

    We have done figures for the UK which suggest that around 99% of the population would end up dead and the remainder would have each, on average, killed 500 fellow citizens.

    Chalcedon foundation bsceweb.org. Stoning disobedient children to death.Contempt for Parental Authority: Those who consider death as a horrible punishment here must realise that in such a case as
    ….cut for length

  102. #102 Ichthyic
    May 1, 2008

    So what is the light side of the cults?

    I was going to point to an old Larson cartoon about cults, and then say:

    “No, that’s the far side of cults”

    but like a prop-comic with no props, my google fu was not up to the task of locating the far side comic I was thinking of.

    *sniff*

  103. #103 Etha Williams
    May 1, 2008

    @#102 Ichthyic –

    but like a prop-comic with no props, my google fu was not up to the task of locating the far side comic I was thinking of.

    *sniff*

    Aww, don’t be feeling so sad. You can always pull a Kenny and tell us that the comic exists, and to “just google it if you don’t believe me.”

  104. #104 Ichthyic
    May 1, 2008

    You can always pull a Kenny and tell us that the comic exists, and to “just google it if you don’t believe me.”

    what makes you think I didn’t just do that?
    ;)

  105. #105 Richard Kilgore
    May 1, 2008

    Thank you PZ, for drawing our attention to yet *another* qualified biologist who REJECTS neoDarwinian evolution.

    The “Expelled” team has mentioned that they spoke to many scientists who rejected neoDarwinism, but who were too scared to be shown on camera.

    How many more biologists like Nathaniel Abraham are there, who reject Darwinism for its failures, but dare not speak up for fear of the “brass knuckles” treatment Dr. Myers advocates? One can only guess….

  106. #106 Etha Williams
    May 1, 2008

    @#105 Richard Kilgore –

    How many more biologists like Nathaniel Abraham are there, who reject Darwinism for its failures, but dare not speak up for fear of the “brass knuckles” treatment Dr. Myers advocates? One can only guess….

    Let me rephrase this: “How many more biologists are there, who reject Darwinism for its alleged failures, but dare not speak up for fear of the fact that they have no scientific evidence to back up their claims in the face of people like Dr. Myers? One can only guess…”

  107. #107 Russell Blackford
    May 1, 2008

    Oh really, Mr Kilgore? I wonder how many reject evolution based on something other than this underlying reasoning:

    “P1. Evolutionary theory is in conflict with my religious view. (not controversial; it really is in conflict with my particular nutty religious view)
    P2. My religious view is true. (I feel or intuit this, and can’t imagine otherwise; it’s my deepest belief)
    C. Evolutionary theory is false.”

    You know, as long as there are people who have a deeply ingrained belief (from indoctrination or from some kind of moving emotional experience) in nutty religious views of certain kinds, there will be people who oppose evolutionary theory and try to dream up ingenious arguments against it. Some of them will even go and get degrees in biology. Then they’ll pursue their own attempts to rationalise away the evidence.

    That’s just the way it is. Fortunately, it’s a tiny minority of people with any vaguely plausible qualifications. Most people can recognise overwhelming convergent evidence when confronted with it.

  108. #108 Nibien
    May 1, 2008

    Thank you PZ, for drawing our attention to yet *another* qualified biologist who REJECTS neoDarwinian evolution.

    The “Expelled” team has mentioned that they spoke to many scientists who rejected neoDarwinism, but who were too scared to be shown on camera.

    How many more biologists like Nathaniel Abraham are there, who reject Darwinism for its failures, but dare not speak up for fear of the “brass knuckles” treatment Dr. Myers advocates? One can only guess….

    Hehe, silly poes.

  109. #109 Moses
    May 1, 2008

    So far as I know, Enron’s accounts were, technically, in accordance with US GAAP. They wouldn’t have accorded with IFRS but then, that fact might be part of the explanation of why the SEC has done a major rethink on the relative virtues of the two sets of standards.

    Posted by: Mrs Tilton | April 30, 2008 5:43 PM

    Not really. GAAP includes disclosures, footnotes and other communications including going concern issues. In these areas, they lied through the deliberate failure to disclose their wholly-controlled/related-entity SPEs which hid liabilities and sold Enron stock and option transfered and funneled it back as income.

    That’s not GAAP. There’s no GAAP standard that allows you to transfer your stock to a subsidiary, sell it and report the proceeds as income while hiding your liabilities off balance sheet.

    The problem with Enron is that my industry, Public Accounting, is fundamentally flawed at the large firm level. The accountants there have lost their way and don’t know what it means to be accountants anymore. They’re “finance” guys now, “business consultants,” selling their “value added” services in the “global marketplace.”

    It’s like they got Borg’d by one of those idiotic management books written by some guy who got successful running a string of luck and is now passing on the “Tao of Success” for $14.95 at Office Depot or Staples.

  110. #110 Moses
    May 1, 2008

    It’s not so much about education, in order to be a scientist, it is more like a boys club. If you don’t accept what we say you are stupid and can’t hold a degree.

    That doesn’t exist in the real world. In the real world, the one of which you’re blissfully unaware, PhD students take a couple of years of course work (which includes a lot of lab rotations and lab work) but primarily learn through a mentoring process in which they (at least theoretically) advance the field of knowledge through experiments designed to collect information that supports, or disproves (because you can have that happen) their theory in their problem that will be the focus of their dissertation.

    This is how it works where my wife is an Assoc. Research Professor: Vanderbilt.

    At no point in time do you have to agree with orthodoxy and sometimes brilliant students have value contributions or even shake up the order of things and lay the ground work for paradigm shifts. Yes, it’s rare, but it does happen. Especially when a field is young, like physics in the 1930′s and 40′s. Schwinger and Feynman made many important contributions that eventually lead to their Quantum Electrodynamics theory which not only revolutionized physics, but got them Nobel prizes.

    Elitist boys clubs are really what it is about. Education and intelligence isn’t how these people got in there. You do something for me and I will do something for you. Kind of sounds like politics. Well in a lot of ways that is what science has become (the dark side of science).

    Once again, absolutely wrong. It’s pure merit, which is why our labs are full of Chinese, Japanese and Korean students — People who are specifically excluded from “Old Boys Clubs” leaving the more egalitarian, and open, science as an avenue for success.

    It doesn’t help that US Students often have crappy educations putting them at a disadvantage. Also, too many of our top students rightly see that science is not respected and the pay sucks. It’s not a good career field unless you love it, because you’ll never leave the middle class if you’re a researcher unless you happen upon a commercial breakthrough during research.

    I do love science though but this just shows you how bad science can really get. This is the dark side of science and I don’t like it one bit.

    Posted by: Kenny | May 1, 2008 1:21 AM

    No. You love what science does for you, but you fear it like it’s some kind of black magic. Because you don’t know what it is.

    Science is what every 5-year-old child does when s/he is learning about the world – figuring things out. That’s it. Just figuring things out.

    There’s no morality. No exclusivity. Nothing. Just the pursuit of knowledge.

    Later, corrupt individuals, like the guys at Climate Audit, or the Discovery Institute or any of the AstroTurf organizations funded by tobacco or oil or other industrial group will poison the well of what your perceptions of science, but they’re not scientists doing science. They are quislings being quislings and deliberately playing on your fears and ignorance to squash real science.

  111. #111 Kseniya
    May 1, 2008

    Moses for Molly.

  112. #112 Notkieran
    May 1, 2008

    To Ichthyic @#77:

    “It’s what you do with it that counts” may explain why Catholic Junior College locally is a lot more ecumenical than St Andrews where I’ve been posted to teach– the Anglicans are the smallest Christian denomination in Singapore

  113. #113 Epikt
    May 1, 2008

    DocWazoo:

    I got one – I’m an OB/GYN resident. In Genesis, god said to Eve (and forgive me for not quoting from the King James B): “In sadness shall you bear sons”.

    I think that’s actually from the Book of Episiotomy

  114. #114 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    May 1, 2008

    but like a prop-comic with no props

    Like a less-competent Carrot Top…

    Okay, I deserve the beating this time.

  115. #115 Epikt
    May 1, 2008

    Kenny:

    I do love science though but this just shows you how bad science can really get. This is the dark side of science and I don’t like it one bit.

    Kenny, until you understand the difference between inference based on observation and experiment, and quoting scripture as “proof” of anything, you really have no basis for making any claims, pro or con, about science.

  116. #116 AC
    May 1, 2008

    I do love science though but this just shows you how bad science can really get. This is the dark side of science and I don’t like it one bit.

    Kenny, people like you and Kilgore are the dark side of civilization.

  117. #117 MarkW
    May 1, 2008

    I’m calling Poe’s Law on Kenny. Sorry, no way can anyone genuinely be this dense.

  118. #118 molecanthro
    May 1, 2008

    if anyone comes along and has yet to read (and comment) the original article at the-scientist, please just quickly join in. It seems split almost 50/50 pro and anti science! I typically see much less of this antiscience crap at that site.

  119. #119 Indy
    May 1, 2008

    So, basically, this was dismissed on a technicality, because I’m sure the court really didn’t want to wade into the fever-swamp of this issue.

  120. #120 Physicalist
    May 1, 2008

    The court doc for this has been posted at http://volokh.com/files/Woods_Hole.pdf.

  121. #121 peter
    May 2, 2008

    Missing the deadline for filing looks like gross incompetence, but is it possibly a Machiavellian tactic:
    they know the have no chance in court on the facts, and would find it embarrassing to have them exposed. Wouldn’t it be better for them to make a complaint which they know won’t be considered because of a technicality? They can then keep the case in their catalogue of “expulsions” without having a devastating judgement against it, but have “registered” it by filing the complaint.

    Peter

  122. #122 Inky
    May 2, 2008

    Skimmed through the comic. And:

    1) The *greatest* event was losing our tails? Seriously? Overlooking the fact that we still *have* tails, just not anything that protrudes from the butt–anyone looking at a human skeleton can observe that the vertebrae simply don’t STOP right at the pelvis, for Zeus’s sake–that was our greatest event? Not getting more complex brains? Or opposable thumbs? I am very fond of my brains and thumbs.

    2) Okay. This whole “Jesus died for my sins, I’m SO happy!” seems, well, rather selfish and irresponsible to me. If it really were the case that some dude was tortured to death on your behalf for the shit you’ve done, it seems to me that this attitude is more along the lines of, “I’m not accountable for things I do, I’m SO happy!”

    I know there’s blah blah gratitude and all that, oooh yes, He suffered *for* me, yadda yadda, but, at the end of the day, YOU are still not responsible, you’ve shifted the consequences of your actions (Hell) to someone else, and now you go about telling other people that they shouldn’t bother thinking about the things they do and just let ole Jeez take care of it.

    Well, actually, he got off light, too–only 3 days of Hell for ALL of humanity? Please. There are pot smokers in jail for longer.

  123. #123 Inky
    May 2, 2008

    Whoops. computer messed up. That was for another post.

  124. #124 BW022
    May 7, 2008

    Hey… I wonder if you can apply for a job as a priest and then claim that you don’t need to believe in God to do your job?

    Maybe you can apply for a job as an ancient history professor at a museum while believing that aliens built the pyramids? Maybe you don’t need to believe in integration to be a math professor? Perhaps you can get a job as a nuclear reactor control technician without believing in atomic theory? Perhaps believing that the universe is 13.7 billion years old isn’t necessary to work as an astronomer? Maybe you shouldn’t be fired from your job as a doctor if you don’t believe in AIDs being caused by HIV?

    Or maybe some knowledge is so basic to any job than no one has to list them out as necessary prior to being hired. They don’t have to ask if you believe that 1+1=2, the Earth is round, moving electrons causes electricity, etc. And of course anyone working in such a field would know perfectly well that evolution is the cornerstone of biology. Same as anyone in physics or chemistry knows that atomic theory is the cornerstone of their fields.

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