Pharyngula

Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy

That gadfly of the science communication world, Randy Olson, has a new movie out, Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy, and many bloggers all over the place are putting up their reviews today. I tried something a little different. The other day, I invited a group of people from Morris, Minnesota to watch the movie with me, and then we discussed what we thought of it afterwards…while my daughter, Skatje, video taped the whole thing.

Here’s the team: Nancy Carpenter (UMM chemistry), Kristin Kearns (astronomy/physics), Pete Wyckoff (biology), Len Keeler (physics), Kathy Benson (psychology), Athena Kildegaard (poet), Kathleen and Lawrence Owen (retirees), Arne Kildegaard (economics), Nic McPhee (computer science), and me.

We all watched the movie together, and then…our reaction. It got us all going, and we talked for over 45 minutes, which I’ve edited down to 10 minutes here.

You don’t want to watch the whole thing? Well, the overall response was that, alas, the movie is mediocre as both a documentary and as a movie — it’s not really about global warming at all, but is more about how people respond to information. This is one of those awkward media misfits — it doesn’t really fit into any of the conventional niches. It also doesn’t accommodate itself to passive viewing; I think sitting alone and watching it would have been exasperating. As a catalyst for a discussion, though, it was much more rewarding.

So don’t see it alone! Bring along a few people so you can have a good entertaining argument afterwards.

Comments

  1. #1 Heraclides
    July 15, 2008

    Aetiology also has a review on Sizzle: “Sizzle” tries, but fizzles. Posted at the exactly same time (5:00 AM). Spooky :-)

  2. #2 Kobra
    July 15, 2008

    Global warming is a hot topic. Ba dum kssh!

  3. #3 Monado
    July 15, 2008

    Mmmm, so people can have “Watch Sizzle” parties. It sounds depressing. Maybe as part of a course on presenting information?

  4. #4 black wolf
    July 15, 2008

    Waittaminnit!
    PZ, didn’t you say your new pink cephalopod would be in your bed? So what’s it doing there on the couch corner? Or, what have you done to be condemned to sleeping on the couch anyway? Something about snipers aiming at your bed? Cracker crumbs on your sheets?
    Explain yourself!!oneeleven!!1!11!

  5. #5 clinteas
    July 15, 2008

    I was thinking Pharyngula had been hacked or something when I saw the post at 5 am LOL

    And ahem,how did you watch the movie if its world premiere is on July 19 according to the website?

  6. #6 Sili
    July 15, 2008

    Squishy! I thought she was supposed to be in your bed. Did you let her out for the evening?

  7. #7 Rev. BigDumbCHimp
    July 15, 2008

    PZ is your mail server still in the crapper?

    This is OT but did you hear what idiot Rick Reilly said at the Home Run Derby last night?

  8. #8 sailor
    July 15, 2008

    jesusandmo has just gone evn more crackers
    http://www.jesusandmo.net/

  9. #9 Greg Laden
    July 15, 2008

    A lot of very interesting points are being made here. I especially like the point that mainstream white people use black-oriented sycophantism to validate their points. Brilliant, that.

    But otherwise, much of the discussion here is about the conflict between what scientists think of themselves and what Randy thinks of them.

    Mostly, though, we are told again and again what the movie should have contained … many of your guests were only interested in seeing a factual documentary and most of this talk was about how this movie was not that. It did not seem to dawn on people that maybe the movie was not a fact based documentary. That is a little disappointing.

    Great camera work, but I was hoping the camera operater was going to jump in and say “Hey, you’re all full of shit … and here’s why” (don’t tell me that didn’t happen… you just edited out, right?)

  10. #10 DLC
    July 15, 2008

    It’s a serious topic which I am not sure is readily amenable to a funny-documentary treatment.

    Rev BDC @ 7: As someone close to me once said: “listen, you’re just going to have to get over this fascination with Rounders, it’s a girl’s game! ”

  11. #11 Kel
    July 15, 2008

    Damn, I was looking forward to this film. thanks for the heads-up PZ.

  12. #12 Aris
    July 15, 2008

    What I can’t figure out is why anyone takes Randy Olson seriously, or even assumes that he’s one of us. I commented before on Pharyngula over this comment of his at Chris Mooney’s site supporting Mooney’s & Nisbet’s insipid framing ideas:

    “Richard Dawkins is symptomatic of the lack of leadership in the world of science. If there was strong and effective leadership, there would be a strong voice reprimanding him for what he has been doing, and the backlash against him would be as strong and loud as it has been against intelligent design. They are both examples of scientists speaking forcefully, stridently and dogmatically about ideas that are no more than intuition. The NY Times Book Review of Dawkins book said that on a scale of 1 to 7, where 1 is clear proof of God, and 7 is clear proof of no God, Dawkins openly admits he’s only at 6. That means he has no science to offer, only his gut feelings — his intuition. Which is the same deal as intelligent design. The world of science should do a little better housekeeping in making clear that Dawkins writes only as a citizen, not a scientist, when it comes to atheism. Or even better, everyone should watch the South Park episodes that really show the similarities in these two ends of the spectrum.”

    ____________________________________________

  13. #13 Muffin
    July 15, 2008

    Is Skatje’s blog down?

  14. #14 TSC
    July 15, 2008

    Any refreshments? Maybe some, oh I don’t know, crackers?

  15. #15 Virgil Samms
    July 15, 2008

    If you want to see a good movie about global warming, I recommend The Arrival, starring Charlie Sheen.

  16. #16 scooter
    July 15, 2008

    What strikes me about the impressions of the speakers in this night vision video, is the shortcomings of the video/film process.

    Everything is edited to death, images are required, whether necessary or not, and it takes a year to get the thing out, at least.

    Film or video is propagandistic by nature.

    Radio and audio, OTOH, is either live or recorded that week, and is much more spontaneous, less distracting and inevitably contains more information per minute and is up to date.

    The hijacking of the radio medium by right wing kooks has been their greatest weapon, and our most grievous loss.

    But I’m a radio person, so I’m prejudiced.
    -s
    ——-
    You Tube Eucharist Challenge

  17. #17 clinteas
    July 15, 2008

    Shamelessly OT,

    In other news,

    Cardinal Pell has held a mass for WYD in Sydney asking people to overcome their fat egos…

    http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=597829

    Guess the worldwide obesity wave is leaving robed pedophiles less than impressed with these days’ altarboys LOL

  18. #18 Adrian
    July 15, 2008

    Randy Olson is a Real Filmmaker ™, how dare you criticize him! He’s out making movies which are accessible by all audiences, etc etc.

    Puts his harsh critiques of PZ and other anti-Creationists in a new light. Guess we see what he thinks a documentary should contain. Light on the documentary, heavy on the schlock.

  19. #19 MH
    July 15, 2008

    #18 “Guess we see what he thinks a documentary should contain. Light on the documentary, heavy on the schlock.”

    Wha? Are we talking about Expelled? ;-)

    #12 “…this comment of his at Chris Mooney’s site supporting Mooney’s & Nisbet’s insipid framing ideas:”

    Got a link to that? I’m not doubting you, I’d just like to have it bookmarked. It just such a breathtakingly stupid thing to say.

  20. #20 clinteas
    July 15, 2008

    So,

    PZ,Greg Laden and ERV all got up early to post this at 5 am,all at exactly the same time?

    Right.
    Hm.

  21. #21 caynazzo
    July 15, 2008

    And where was the obligatory opposing view from the framing advocates? This was nothing more than a shamelessly pro-science film of a review of a documentary. I’m sure there are framers somewhere in MN. Perhaps they got as far as PZ’s driveway before he turned them away with threats of police and pepper spray.

    Kidding, kidding.

    Thanks for the work you put into editing this.

  22. #22 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 15, 2008

    So,

    PZ,Greg Laden and ERV all got up early to post this at 5 am,all at exactly the same time?

    Right.
    Hm.

    You do know that you can schedule posts to actually appear on the blog in the future… right? As in write a bunch of posts and then schedule them to appear through out the day at different times?

  23. #23 clinteas
    July 15, 2008

    Rev BDC,

    I figured it would be something like that…
    They just all scheduled it for 5am,got me thinking !

    X-Files fan,you will excuse…..

  24. #24 John Yates
    July 15, 2008

    Wow! How many beers did that Physics dude end up drinking?! We see him at the start as he’s slurping down a cold one whilst munching on an economy bag of crisps, and then at the end he seems to be slumped on the floor, with a mulititude of various empty wine and beer bottles spread out in front of him, and he’s STILL drinkin’! It couldn’t have been that bad, could it?!

  25. #25 Nemo
    July 15, 2008

    Flock of Dodos was mediocre as well… maybe even bad.

  26. #26 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 15, 2008

    Rev BDC,

    I figured it would be something like that…
    They just all scheduled it for 5am,got me thinking !

    X-Files fan,you will excuse…..

    hehe. No worries. I just wasn’t sure where you were going with it.

  27. #27 John Yates
    July 15, 2008

    Oh, and Scooter- that’s hysterical. :)

  28. #28 Lilly de Lure
    July 15, 2008

    Nemo said:

    Flock of Dodos was mediocre as well… maybe even bad.

    Hmmm – I thought that the one saving grace of framers was that however irritating they might be to real scientists they were at least supposed to be good at well . . . communicating science?

    So how come they are apparently so unutterably shite at it?

  29. #29 Steve P.
    July 15, 2008

    Re: Randy Olsen’s comment on Dawkins…

    Did he even watch those South Park episodes? The wars over science only happened because Dawkins hooked up with Mrs. Garrison, who channeled her religious fervor into atheist fervor. Once she is out of his life, Dawkins ends up normal and the scientific world wins peacefully.

  30. #30 ngong
    July 15, 2008

    So how come they are apparently so unutterably shite at it?

    Yecch! Nesbittian framing techniques as the basis for a new aesthetic in film-making. Makes me wistful for some good old Freud-infested flicks from the 50′s and 60′s.

  31. #31 windy
    July 15, 2008

    “Better than Silent Running“?? Blasphemy!!!!!1!

  32. #32 Aris
    July 15, 2008

    #19 Got a link to that? I’m not doubting you, I’d just like to have it bookmarked.

    Sure (and you should doubt me, and everybody else too; I’m not offended).

    Here’s the link to the original post on Mooney’s site. And here’s the link to a discussion of his comment on Pharyngula, with Mooney jumping in to defend him as a Very Important Person who must not be criticized by peons.
    ____________________________________________

  33. #33 MH
    July 15, 2008

    #28 “So how come they are apparently so unutterably shite at it?”

    They remind me of IDists, in that they are the self-proclaimed experts in a ‘dynamic new field’, and yet all they produce is contentless blather. Heck, they even aided the IDists over Expelled.

    My conclusion is that they are just not very bright.

  34. #34 MH
    July 15, 2008

    Thanks Aris.
    :-)

  35. #35 chigurh
    July 15, 2008

    alot of idiots have thrown around the south park example, not realizing that science is not a free speech or opinion based discipline. it seems insightful, but really its not.

  36. #36 Bill C.
    July 15, 2008

    PZ: Here’s what you said about the Danish Cartoon episode:

    There is a genuine social concern here, I think. Muslims represent a poor and oppressed underclass, and those cartoons represent a ruling establishment intentionally taunting them and basically flipping them off. They have cause to be furious!

    I’ve seen the cartoons, and they are crude and uninteresting–they are more about perpetuating stereotypes of Muslims as bomb-throwing terrorists than seriously illuminating a problem. They lack artistic or social or even comedic merit, and are only presented as an insult to inflame a poor minority. I don’t have any sympathy for a newspaper carrying out an exercise in pointless provocation.

    You loser. I had sympathy for you until I realized what a squishy hack you are.

  37. #37 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 15, 2008

    You loser. I had sympathy for you until I realized what a squishy hack you are.

    Wrong thread billy. There are at least 5 others dealing with that subject.

  38. #38 Vinny
    July 15, 2008

    PZ,

    I’m seeing a trend here. Travel around the country and organize parties, video tape them, post the video. Get an assignment to do a review, use it as an excuse to organize a party, post the video. I’m starting to suspect that this whole blog thing is simply an excuse to have parties and build a library of skeptics gone wild videos.

    Come to Long Island – we could use a party. Between Cold Spring Harbor and Massimo at Stony Brook, there has to be a good excuse for a visit.

    -v-

    PS. Leave the camera at home. What happens on LI stays on LI.

  39. #39 wÒÓ†
    July 15, 2008
  40. #40 Sven DiMilo
    July 15, 2008

    Good idea, Vin…count me in for a Lon Gisland Pharyngufest…a few biologists live on the South Shore too!

  41. #41 Nevyn
    July 15, 2008

    “Bring along a few people so you can have a good entertaining argument afterwards.”

    And you didn’t invite anyone from the philosophy department?!? For shame. I might have to mention this faux pas when I’m at the UMM philosophy conference this September.

  42. #42 Jams
    July 15, 2008

    This reminds me of reaction videos on youtube, but with a little more substance. I approve.

  43. #43 Andrés Diplotti
    July 15, 2008

    Did he even watch those South Park episodes? The wars over science only happened because Dawkins hooked up with Mrs. Garrison, who channeled her religious fervor into atheist fervor. Once she is out of his life, Dawkins ends up normal and the scientific world wins peacefully.

    I remember when atheists the world over protested that episode and asked for the cancellation of the series. I mean, that did happen, right? Ater all, militant atheists are just the same as religious fundamentalists. Right?

  44. #44 scooter
    July 15, 2008

    #42 I can’t resist posting my favorite reaction video, since you brought it up. TOTALLY off topic, safe for work.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkuc6HG7h4o
    -s
    ————–
    You Tube Eucharist Challenge

  45. #45 scooter
    July 15, 2008

    Ater all, militant atheists are just the same as religious fundamentalists. Right?

    Thank science for trolls and sockpuppets

  46. #46 PoundMyMonkeyHole
    July 15, 2008

    So, aside from the fact he can’t pick up subtext in an episode of South Park, Randy Olsen thinks Richard Dawkins is a symptom of the lack of strong leadership in science (based on really hilarious failure to understand what Dawkins has actually said). Which, he seems to think, is a bad thing.

    Because if someone’s doing it better than Randy and the framers, it’s clear that the system that must be sick.

    Oh my Science…

  47. #47 mk
    July 15, 2008

    Thanks for the summary above.

    Horrible audio. Couldn’t take it.

  48. #48 Rey Fox
    July 15, 2008

    #39: I thought that blue-footed boobies had white eyes, how come this one has black eyes?

  49. #49 Andrés Diplotti
    July 15, 2008
    Ater all, militant atheists are just the same as religious fundamentalists. Right?

    Thank science for trolls and sockpuppets

    Whoa, I’ve been called troll and sockpuppet. Nah, it’s my fault for my refusal to use a winking smiley or some other blatant display of humor. I should know better by know.

    (Sure enough, what I was trying to convey and failed was that that did not happen.)

  50. #50 David Marjanovi?, OM
    July 15, 2008

    Richard Dawkins is symptomatic of the lack of leadership in the world of science. If there was strong and effective leadership,

    it wouldn’t be science anymore.

    Please.

    What have I missed? Is it possible that Olson is really that ignorant?

    Science is not the Catholic Church. It is not an organization with a leadership that can speak for the whole. It is not an organization at fucking all.

    there would be a strong voice reprimanding him for what he has been doing

    There could be lots and lots of individual voices doing that. But science cannot speak with a single voice, however weak, by definition.

    and the backlash against him would be as strong and loud as it has been against intelligent design.

    Show me Dawkins calling for the destruction of science education or doing anything even remotely equivalent. Show me. Go ahead, show me.

    <headdesk>

    The NY Times Book Review of Dawkins book said that on a scale of 1 to 7, where 1 is clear proof of God, and 7 is clear proof of no God, Dawkins openly admits he’s only at 6. That means he has no science to offer, only his gut feelings — his intuition. Which is the same deal as intelligent design.

    This really takes the cake. Science does not offer absolute certainty. Science cannot prove. If Dawkins had put himself at 7*, that would show he was relying on something else than science. But, being a scientist, Dawkins knows he cannot put himself at 7, so he puts himself where the evidence puts him.

    Olson presents a case and argues for its opposite here. How embarrassing. This is egnorance! He deserves a truth machine treatment.

    * Why actually 7 and not 10?

  51. #51 Dustin
    July 15, 2008

    it’s not really about global warming at all, but is more about how people respond to information

    Irrationally, is my guess. And accommodating that irrationality just makes the problem worse — the social expectation is that people should not think critically about things, and by shifting tactics and putting more emphasis on framing and adspeak than cultivating critical thinking skills, we’re just making sure that whoever makes the best commercial wins. By the way: that’s always the people who are arguing for the status quo.

    So here’s what I predict: while the framers are chiding us in their usual sanctimonious fashion, “Sizzle” will be hard at work having no impact on anything whatsoever.

  52. #52 Andrés Diplotti
    July 15, 2008

    * Why actually 7 and not 10?

    Dawkins does not put forward a “scale” but a series of categories or gradations. Quoting from memory:

    1. Absolute certainty that god exists.
    2. Assurance that god exists, but not absolute.
    3. Agnosticism leaning towards theism.
    4. Absolute agnosticism.
    5. Agnosticism leaning towards atheism.
    6. Assurance that god does not exists, but not absolute.
    7. Absolute certainty that god does not exist.

    Dawkins puts himself at 6.

  53. #53 Dustin
    July 15, 2008

    6 is, by the way, the same place I rate my own disbelief in fairies, unicorns, Thor, etc.

    I must be one of those strident New Athorists who isn’t utterly certain about the nonexistence of Thor, and so I’m clearly being totally unscientific when I say he doesn’t exist.

  54. #54 Andrés Diplotti
    July 15, 2008

    I just checked my copy of “The God Delusion” to be sure: the “scale” is not for “clear proof of God” or “clear proof of no God”, but about, quoting literally, “human judgements about the existence of God.” A far cry, methinks.

  55. #55 Patricia
    July 15, 2008

    Rey Fox – Thanks for confirming that’s a boobie. I thought so. My chicken Zena the Warrior Wyandot has that very same expression, it’s hysterical!

  56. #56 MH
    July 15, 2008

    David #50 “Science is not the Catholic Church.”

    Precisely! It really disturbs me when so-called scientists think that there should be an ‘official voice’ of science. Science is a method used by individuals. It’s not hierarchical. The fact that the framers seem to think we should have a ‘clergy’ just shows how little they understand science. It’s no surprise that they think that they should be the clergy in question. What’s their problem?

  57. #57 stogoe
    July 15, 2008

    Because if someone’s doing it better than Randy and the framers, it’s clear that the system that must be sick.

    Protip: Randy and the Framers would not, in fact, be a good name for a band unless:

    1)The Framers were actually people dressed up as the Framers of the United States Constitution;
    2)’Randy’ was so-titled because he wears a gigantic, purple-polka-dotted inflatable phallus when the band performs;
    or 3)The band has a giant inflatable Overton Window that they blow up and place in the mosh pit, so the crowd can go nuts trying to shift it.

  58. #58 BAllanJ
    July 15, 2008

    I seem to remember an interview where Dawkins discusses this “6″ and refines his position to a “6.9″ if non-integer responses are allowed.

    And Andres… I got the humour from your first comment.

  59. #59 Aris
    July 15, 2008

    David #50, excellent analysis. Now, please someone explain why we should bother with Olson, a man who purports to show scientists how to communicate but does not seem to understand what science actually is and how it works.

    Sadly, Chris Mooney’s framing obsession and attempts at defending Olson from criticism has diminished my respect for him also.
    ____________________________________________

  60. #60 Sili
    July 15, 2008

    stogoe,

    I might actually want to listen to that. Right after SCRA.

    The seven-point list looks to be mirroring the Kinsey Scale.

  61. #61 Derek Colanduno
    July 15, 2008

    I felt very luke-warm in the end about this movie. I liked the idea of where it was going, but if it stuck to the quality it had at the VERY end of the movie, it could have had a better impact.

  62. #62 Rey Fox
    July 15, 2008

    You don’t need my confirmation that it’s a booby, the link was posted by woot, therefore, it’s a booby of some sort.

    Also, I find the term “Absolute agnosticism” hilarious.

  63. #63 craig
    July 15, 2008

    “I’m starting to suspect that this whole blog thing is simply an excuse to have parties and build a library of skeptics gone wild videos.”

    I’ve always figured blogging was just grown-up “show and tell.”

  64. #64 John
    July 15, 2008

    “Woot” posts the boobie pictures in every thread. I sort of wondered why they haven’t been banned yet, but I suppose it’s a fairly benign prank. I wonder why they don’t post some tit pictures every once in a while as well.

  65. #65 Steve Marley
    July 15, 2008

    I haven’t seen Olson’s latest film, but I gave him a very tepid review for “Flock of Dodo’s”. That documentary wandered all over the place (remember Muffy Moose) and missed several golden opportunities to shed light on creationist deceptions in order to keep it “lighthearted”.
    From the descriptions offered by PZ Myers guests about his latest offering, it’s quite possible that Mr. Olson simply isn’t a good filmmaker.
    How about Ridley Scott directing a big budget epic about the life of Charles Darwin with
    Russell Crowe in the title role? That would put some zing back into science education.

  66. #66 Steve Marley
    July 15, 2008

    I haven’t seen Olson’s latest film, but I gave him a very tepid review for “Flock of Dodo’s”. That documentary wandered all over the place (remember Muffy Moose) and missed several golden opportunities to shed light on creationist deceptions in order to keep it “lighthearted”.
    From the descriptions offered by PZ Myers guests about his latest offering, it’s quite possible that Mr. Olson simply isn’t a good filmmaker.
    How about Ridley Scott directing a big budget epic about the life of Charles Darwin with
    Russell Crowe in the title role? That would put some zing back into science education.

  67. #67 Steve Marley
    July 15, 2008

    Having Trouble Commenting?
    Occasionally users have problems commenting on our blogs. This usually happens when the system is experiencing a high load (i.e., lots of people trying to comment at once). This would result in a “500″ or “Server Timeout” page being displayed. If you see this — take heart. Your comment has most likely been successfully submitted. If you hit your back button and try to submit it again, more often than not it will result in a duplicate comment being submitted.

    Yep, that’s what happens. Sorry about the double post.

  68. #68 Patricia
    July 15, 2008

    It must be a man thing. Woot always looks like Homer peeking over a fence to me. :)

  69. #69 Frederik Rosenkjær
    July 15, 2008

    Hey, Danish folks in your club – the ones with the last name “Kildegaard” (or possibly “Kildegård” on a Danish keyboard). I live a few hundred meters from “Kildegårds street” in Copenhagen, and I just took delivery of a professional audio product from Minnesota (Great River mic preamp for any fellow audio engineers reading this). Small world.

  70. #70 E.V.
    July 15, 2008

    Woot’s rather novel emoticon is sort of a tacet affirmation. II think he has achieved a zen-like aura. But make no mistake, when it gets trolly and hairy around here, woot has proven to have a mean bite and not just killer boobies.

  71. #71 Rey Fox
    July 15, 2008

    w00t, as I understand it, is a seasoned veteran of rational vs. woo fights, and has thus been grandfathered into our good graces. Personally, whenever I’m on some thread with right-wing/religious BS flying around, it’s always a nice break to click on a w00t link and be reminded that there is beauty in the world. More specifically, that there are noble yet silly-walking seabirds in the world.

  72. #72 David Marjanovi?, OM
    July 15, 2008

    Dawkins does not put forward a “scale” but a series of categories or gradations. Quoting from memory:

    Oh. That makes a lot of sense.

  73. #73 Occam
    July 15, 2008

    Thanks for the glimpse of life in PZ’s world, it certainly was educational.

    For instance, I’ve always believed that PZ was just another run of the mill nut job lefty. But now I can see that it is not mere mental deficiency that drives the Myers circus; if that assortment of dried flowers constituted my social circle I’d be tempted to make a public spectacle of myself too.

    It would perhaps be the only thing that would keep me from opening a vein.

  74. #74 E.V.
    July 15, 2008

    Hi Kenny.

  75. #75 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 15, 2008

    Oh how cute.

  76. #76 Jams
    July 15, 2008

    Can we reduce Dawkins’ category 6 and 7 to the following:

    Nothing lacks existence to a greater degree than god.

  77. #77 shane
    July 15, 2008

    It would perhaps be the only thing that would keep me from opening a vein.

    *Hands “Occam” a razor*

  78. #78 shane
    July 15, 2008

    Clinteas, did you also notice the irony in Australia’s top celibate suggesting that the West should populate (copulate?) or perish. Presumably he only wants white babies. He probably hasn’t noticed that the birth rate in Australia is at a 40 year high anyway.

    I’m not prepared to speculate as why the catholic church wants more children.

  79. #79 Ichthyic
    July 15, 2008

    the birth rate in Australia is at a 40 year high anyway.

    really?

    Is there good explanation for the trend?

  80. #80 Max Verret
    July 15, 2008

    Re: Jams

    I think Anselm made that argument in reverse. Something like, “God is that which you can conceive of nothing greater”. Most people would not see that as a good argument and, indeed, it isn’t.

  81. #81 shane
    July 15, 2008

    the birth rate in Australia is at a 40 year high anyway.

    really?

    Is there good explanation for the trend?

    Not sure anybody really knows why but 2006 had the second most number of babies ever born. Last year this article suggested that the treasure Costello was taking credit. No not by shagging 100000 women but by suggesting it was his policies that encouraged baby making. The baby bonus might have helped – a government non-means tested $3000 – 5000 bonus for having a baby. Means tested from next year though.

  82. #82 shane
    July 15, 2008

    Actually my guess as to why there are so many babies is because the average age for a first time mum now is about 30 in Australia. That would make the new mums the children of the baby boomers and there were a lot of them.

  83. #83 John Scanlon, FCD
    July 15, 2008

    Today I learned of the existence of Wordle, and (after updating Java etc.) tried generating wordles from a couple of my favourite blogs. I’m shocked, shocked I tell you, that the one that came up for Pharyngula isn’t dominated by a monumental ‘CRACKER’, and I can’t see the word ‘fucktard’ anywhere. Click my name for link, it mainly relates to the last couple of posts.

  84. #84 anon
    July 15, 2008

    #80:
    “I think Anselm made that argument in reverse. Something like, “God is that which you can conceive of nothing greater”. Most people would not see that as a good argument and, indeed, it isn’t.”

    I don’t think Jams was making an argument, but stating a position. So your comparison is invalid.

  85. #85 Kel
    July 15, 2008

    That baby boom money is such a waste. I like what they do in Finland where they give a pack of essentials to the parents, such as clothing. Giving people a cheque with no consequences as to what they spend it on is going to mean people take the baby bonus and spend it on whatever they want. It’s amounting to bribery, or at the very least incentivising conformity.

  86. #86 echtsam
    July 16, 2008

    pz is my hero

  87. #87 Ames
    July 16, 2008

    Futurama already did it! And with Al Gore! Yet another reason he should’ve won. Awww, I went and made myself depressed.

  88. #88 Ichthyic
    July 16, 2008

    The baby bonus might have helped – a government non-means tested $3000 – 5000 bonus for having a baby. Means tested from next year though.

    interesting.

    something to watch.

  89. #89 Ichthyic
    July 16, 2008

    It’s amounting to bribery, or at the very least incentivising conformity.

    Here we call this kind of bribe:

    tax rebates.

  90. #90 Reynold Hall
    July 16, 2008

    It seems that there’s another story of some christians running amock after getting offended…

    Hyderabad(IANS) Christian groups Sunday attacked the offices of Telugu daily ‘Sakshi’, owned by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy’s family, to protest the publication of a blasphemous picture of Jesus Christ. The daily’s Sunday edition carried a picture showing Jesus with a beer mug in one hand and a cigarette in the other. The chief minister’s family, which practices Christianity, has tendered an apology.

    The chief minister’s son and newspaper owner Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy and the chief minister’s wife tendered an apology to the Christian community for the faux pas.

    Protesting the publication of the picture, Christian groups attacked the newspaper offices in Prakasam, Srikakulam, Vijayawada, Nizamabad and other towns. Raising slogans against the newspaper, they barged into the offices and ransacked the furniture.

    This is from India, it seems. It doesn’t happen in just the xian-dominated US it appears.

  91. #91 Jams
    July 16, 2008

    ‘I think Anselm made that argument in reverse. Something like, “God is that which you can conceive of nothing greater”. Most people would not see that as a good argument and, indeed, it isn’t.’ – Max Verret

    Why would you think that? Let’s see… what did I say?

    “Nothing lacks existence to a greater degree than god.” – Me

    Oh yeah. Why exactly do you think my statement is the reverse of Anselm’s? You need to think that through a bit. I await your explanation with a burning curiosity.

    For the record though, imagining what “most people” may or may not think is almost as rotten an argument as simply stating “it isn’t” (colloquially known as “’cause I say so”). You’re clearly off to a disappointing start. You have my deepest sympathies.

  92. #92 Kurt
    July 16, 2008

    I notice that PZ hasn’t posted for an uncharacteristically long time. Was he traveling all day today, or is something else going on?

  93. #93 scooter
    July 16, 2008

    # 78

    I’m not prepared to speculate as why the catholic church wants more children.

    Volume Volume Volume!!!

    ———————-
    You Tube Eucharist Challenge

  94. #94 truth machine
    July 16, 2008

    Flock of Dodos was garbage. It’s message was that scientists are arrogant elitist meanies and fundies are the ones you’d want to have a beer with.

  95. #95 truth machine
    July 16, 2008

    Arrgh … “its message”.

  96. #96 shane
    July 16, 2008

    OT again, but how’s this. A father flew to Sydney today/yesterday(?) to confront Archbishop Pell about compensation, or lack of, in relation to the rape of his primary school aged daughters by a catholic priest 10 years ago.
    Bishop Anthony Fisher, a co-co-ordinator for WYD, had this to say speaking about the big WYD mass shindig last night,“Happily, I think most of Australia was enjoying [and] delighting in the beauty and goodness of these young people and the hope for us doing these sorts of things better in the future, as we saw last night, rather than dwelling crankily, as a few people are doing, on old wounds.”

    Nice eh? Fucktard.

  97. #97 Kel
    July 16, 2008

    Here we call this kind of bribe: tax rebates.

    We have those too. The last government was very happy to keep using them despite the rising costs of everything they decided to rebate.

    “Help, childcare is too expensive”
    “Don’t worry, we’ll rebate it”
    “The cost of childcare is increasing”
    “We’ll up the rebate…”
    And so the cycle goes. The first home buyers grant made the price of housing sky-rocket to the point where middle income people can’t afford to own a home anymore. The last government’s solution of throwing money at a problem just meant that those in power were able to profiteer off our tax dollars all the while supply & demand kept prices from dropping. Throwing money at problems has just made our economy worse and now we are feeling the ramifications in this time of global economic downfall.

    And how is all this related to global warming? Well, ummm… Because the economy is uncertain, it means that governments can’t afford to restrict certain business as it will surely mean our economy will collapse completely and they’ll be voted out!

  98. #98 truth machine, OM
    July 16, 2008

    He deserves a truth machine treatment.

    I think your treatment was quite effective. I’m just glad that people here have opened their eyes to this smug jerk.

  99. #99 H.H.
    July 16, 2008

    And guess who’s tripping over themselves to praise this unprofessional mess? Chris Mooney:

    Wonderful, excellent, hilarious, profound: These are some of the things that I would say about this movie.

    *barf* He’s like those talentless hacks paid by studios to write hyperbolically glowing reviews for their turkeys.

  100. #100 Bride of Shrek OM
    July 16, 2008

    Shane & Ichthyic

    Lads,

    I like to think we have a high birth rate because Aussie chicks bang like a dunny door in a cyclone.

  101. #101 truth machine, OM
    July 16, 2008

    I like to think we have a high birth rate because Aussie chicks bang like a dunny door in a cyclone.

    And there’s a lot of fine Aussie BoS,OM.

  102. #102 shane
    July 16, 2008

    BoS said, I like to think we have a high birth rate because Aussie chicks bang like a dunny door in a cyclone.

    So you’ve been to Sydney? Hang on, that could be interpreted wrongly… um… how about, yes, that has been my experience. But anecdotal evidence from younger friends suggest that it is “better” now than when I was a lad. Let’s just say the dunny door hinges are better greased now and will bang in a stiff breeze.

    A Pommy friend told me once that if you tapped an English girl on the head her pants will fall down.

  103. #103 clinteas
    July 16, 2008

    *sticks head into thread,looks to right and left*

    dunny door in a cyclone?

    Bride of Shrek,we going on holiday together soon or what? LOL

  104. #104 MH
    July 16, 2008

    BoS #100 “I like to think we have a high birth rate because Aussie chicks bang like a dunny door in a cyclone.”

    {counts money and checks how much a flight to Australia is}

    shane #102 “A Pommy friend told me once that if you tapped an English girl on the head her pants will fall down.”

    Tried it. Doesn’t work (unfortunately).

    H.H #99 “*barf* He’s like those talentless hacks paid by studios to write hyperbolically glowing reviews for their turkeys.”

    Yes, his sycophancy was embarrassing to read, but completely unsurprising. The consensus on ScienceBlogs seemed to be “I wanted to like it, but …” and “the bit where the survivors of New Orleans talk about their experiences was very moving”. Oh, and “fizzle”.

  105. #105 Dustin
    July 16, 2008

    Uh oh. It looks like Dr. Freud has our number.

  106. #106 Sven DiMilo
    July 16, 2008

    Yeah, Dustin, I saw that post too…’cause if somebody thought Chris’s buddy’s movie wasn’t funny, it must be because they subconsciously saw themselves in the character played by the bumbling filmmaker bumbling character played by the filmmaker. Not because, y’know, it wasn’t funny.

  107. #107 Der Bruno Stroszek
    July 16, 2008

    Mooney demonstrates the pitfalls of taking “framing” to its illogical conclusion. His stance seems to be that since the facts of any given matter are less important than how they’re presented, it’s OK to tell people that they’re morons who should shut the fuck up as long as you do it in an eloquent and roundabout way.

  108. #108 Kel
    July 16, 2008

    I like to think we have a high birth rate because Aussie chicks bang like a dunny door in a cyclone.

    lol, where do I find said ladies? Actually, I do know and it’s not worth going there.

  109. #109 windy
    July 16, 2008

    Dustin and Sven, this one’s even better:

    …he has produced a film that sets a kind of trap for too-literal-minded scientists: If they react negatively to it, they’ll just be proving Olson’s point–that they don’t know how to relax, how to “keep it real,” how to communicate.

    I can’t believe it. Hey, if you reacted negatively to Expelled!, that just proves you’re a Nazi.

    Or:

    Olson has (…) provided a little-heard African-American and gay perspective on climate change, and thereby further dramatized the incredibly vast gap between how scientists think about the issue and how ordinary people do.

    ???????

  110. #110 Ichthyic
    July 16, 2008

    Bride of Shrek,we going on holiday together soon or what? LOL

    sheesh, calm yourself, eh?

    no doubt soon you’ll be proffering marriage.

  111. #111 Stingray
    July 16, 2008

    Wow that looked boring – hearing normal people talk about a movie they just saw? Yeesh. Is this perhaps an attempt to introduce all the new readers to the “real” Paul Myers, so they can see the mild-mannered professor behind the at times vitriolic crusader for rationalism?

  112. #112 David Marjanovi?, OM
    July 17, 2008

    a [...] African-American and gay perspective on climate change

    Can I trust my eyes?

    Is Olson a postmodernist?

  113. #113 Sven DiMilo
    July 17, 2008

    Olson has (…) provided a little-heard African-American and gay perspective on climate change, and thereby further dramatized the incredibly vast gap between how scientists think about the issue and how ordinary people do.

    Windy, I see your “???????” and raise you a “?”

    Because I have a stack of exams to grade and am therefore in full procrastination mode, I’d like to slightly unpack the implications of that statement:

    1. Scientists are not ordinary people.

    2. Scientists are neither African-American nor gay.

    3. Conversely, African-American and/or (not clear which) gay people are not scientists.

    4. African-Americans and/or gay people are ordinary.

    5. There is/are (a) unique perspective(s) on climate change that are characteristic of African-American and/or gay peoople.

    Nice example of using fr*ming to communicate clearly, eh?

    One thing I have to say for Mooney, if you’re his friend, he’s got your back.

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