Pharyngula

Tonight, on the History Channel…

It’s the much anticipate first episode of a new series, Evolve – Eyes.

They are one of evolution’s most useful and prevalent inventions. Ninety five percent of living species are equipped with eyes and they exist in many different forms. Learn how the ancestors of jellyfish may have been the first to evolve light-sensitive cells. Discover how dinosaur’s evolved eyes that helped them become successful hunters. Finally, learn how primates evolved unique adaptations to their eyes that allowed them to better exploit their new habitat, and how the ability to see colors helped them find food.

I’ve programmed my computer to record it, and I’ll probably live-blog the show as well. Let’s hope I have reason to do more than get snippy!

Comments

  1. #1 Glen Davidson
    July 29, 2008

    Good. We complain enough about the history channel, but if we support the good shows we might get better programming.

    I kind of wish they hadn’t begun with eyes, though. I can’t help but think they’re going to be speculating a lot, which will let the denialists say, “See, it’s just a bunch of guesses”.

    Evolution of tetrapod locomotion might have been a better send-off, after which they could tackle the questions and gaps involved in eye evolution.

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

  2. #2 Nick
    July 29, 2008

    I know a couple bacteria species that might take issue with “Ninety five percent of living species are equipped with eyes”. Still, good to see explicit statements and case studies of evolution in the popular media.

  3. #3 GirBoBytons
    July 29, 2008

    Lets hope it is done well…I’m waiting for either cheers or complaints from the IDiots. Anyone know what time it comes on specifically?

  4. #4 Copache
    July 29, 2008

    Should I make my Christian family watch this? Perspective helps, you know.

  5. #5 ThirdMonkey
    July 29, 2008

    Cool, it’s on right after Jurassic Fight Club!
    I’d say more but the first rule of Jurassic Fight Club is you don’t talk about Jurassic Fight Club.
    Oops. I think I’ve said to much already…

  6. #6 Thomas Langham
    July 29, 2008

    Sounds like a good program. Though I may be being quite pedantic when I point out that plants are living species as well, and they do not have eyes, so the claim that 95% of living species have them, is technically inaccurate. It should be 95% of animal species, perhaps?

  7. #7 Daniel Gaston
    July 29, 2008

    Nick:


    I know a couple bacteria species that might take issue with “Ninety five percent of living species are equipped with eyes”. Still, good to see explicit statements and case studies of evolution in the popular media.

    Not to mention the vast bulk of Eukaryotic life as well (the protists). Unless we are calling any sort of photosensitive machinery an eye. I think it is very important to show the diversity of eyes and eye-like ogans in all of life, and how different from one another they are because it is an excellent example of convergent evolution but the 95% of living things having eyes statement is just plain wrong. Eyes, as we think of them, have only evolved in a handful of phylogenetic groups such as the insects and tetrapods. That is hardly 95% of life on earth.

  8. #8 Thomas Langham
    July 29, 2008

    Nick, you missed all the plant living species!

  9. #9 Steve D
    July 29, 2008

    The Comcast Cable on-screen TV listing in my area are showing “To Be Announced” for the 10 PM time slot. The History Channel web pages seems to have it right.

  10. #10 Milo Johnson
    July 29, 2008

    After all, the History Channel has a great track record for scientific accuracy – just watch “UFO Hunters” and “MonsterQuest.” They’re like Enzyte: “it’s REAL science!”

  11. #11 MrSquid
    July 29, 2008

    #5, you beat me to it! JFC is the main reason I’m skeptical about Evolve. It’s like were back at Animal Face Off! & Flying Shark vs. Flying Crocodile. Hopefully it’ll be: alright, you had your fun, now let’s look at some real science…

    Hmm, you know, everybody needs a little JFC…

  12. #12 Glen Davidson
    July 29, 2008

    It should be 95% of animal species, perhaps?

    Depends on what you call “animal”, of course. Nematodes make up a lot of the “animal species”, and they lack eyes, as do many other worm species.

    I wouldn’t sweat their ambiguous statement though. Likely they found out that 95% of chordates, or some such thing, has eyes (it seems that it should be more than 95% of chordates, however), and then some copywriter didn’t realize the importance of including the category.

    I expect them to do better in the program than in their little blurbs. May they meet my expectations.

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

  13. #13 mikebok
    July 29, 2008

    They better have stomatopods. But who am I kidding, its gonna be a vertebrate biased wankfest.

    Yeah, I’m a little bitter.

  14. #14 Mark B. from Austin TX
    July 29, 2008

    They better have stomatopods. But who am I kidding, its gonna be a vertebrate biased wankfest.

    Yeah, I’m a little bitter.

    It’s the invertebrates own fault for not sticking up for themselves. They’re spineless!

  15. From what I have read about the evolution of the eye, this should be funny. Try to look at it with a critical eye instead of swallowing it hook, line and sinker.

  16. #16 Greg Peterson
    July 29, 2008

    This is the first time I can recall disagreeing with Glen on something. I think eyes are a great place to start, because they are so iconic, what with the quote mining of Darwin and the sense that eyes are especially complex and evolutionarily improbable…when in fact the evolution of eyes and of sight has a pretty rich theoretical framework. From the computer models to our ability to arrange eyes from extent organisms from the simple eyespots to several kinds of complex eyes, to the genetic evidence related to opsins that Carroll writes about, there is plenty of data to demonstrate eye evolution. I think that once we knock down the “eyes couldn’t have evolved” argument, other macro-structures are a slam dunk to accept as evolved. The IDiots will continue to throw micro stuff up, I’m sure, but for the average person, a plausible case for eye evolution will be a serious blow to their sense that guided design is in any way obvious.

  17. #17 mikebok
    July 29, 2008

    @14 – They do a pretty good job sticking up for themselves. They are angry little monsters. They have one emotion: rage. And they have one response to stimuli: smack.

  18. #18 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 29, 2008

    From what I have read about the evolution of the eye, this should be funny. Try to look at it with a critical eye instead of swallowing it hook, line and sinker.

    And what have you read about it Randy?

  19. #19 nobi yuno
    July 29, 2008

    I know as much about biology as I do pottery, but the claim that 95% of species have eyes strikes me as ridiculous on its face. Setting plants aside, aren’t most animals bacteria and amoebas and whatnot?

  20. #20 Steve_C
    July 29, 2008

    Animals don’t include plants and bacteria.

  21. #21 Aramael
    July 29, 2008

    I’m with Greg — the eye is this sort of poster child for ID (I hate abbreviating things, but I just couldn’t put those two words together in full), and the more people who know that its evolution is well understood, the better.

    There are plenty of (vocal) people who will never accept that, regardless of the evidence. But I hope that there are fence sitters who could be coaxed towards reality by something like this.

  22. #22 Brownian, OM
    July 29, 2008

    Try to look at it with a critical eye instead of swallowing it hook, line and sinker.

    Either produce evidence of design or fuck off. Nobody is interested in your idiotic appeals to whatever the fuck your appealing to, engineer.

  23. #23 Mozglubov
    July 29, 2008

    Wow, my first thought was to point out that their stat was a little bit off, but there are already twenty posts pretty much beating me to it… I don’t understand how people post responses so quickly.

  24. #24 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 29, 2008

    Brownian, that non-sound you didn’t hear was Randy drive-bying with no support for his non-point, only troll scat.

  25. #25 GirBoBytons
    July 29, 2008

    #15-Wow from that little comment you have posted, made me look at the world in a whole knew light, your word is so important! Don’t you IDiots know posting stuff on PZ’s blog does nothing but give us an even better insight on how stupid you all are? And more over do you all not realize we don’t really want to hear what you have to think? Go to one of your IDiot blogs and post your garbage there where people fall for crap “hook, line and sinker”, no one wants to read it here.

  26. #26 Mozglubov
    July 29, 2008

    That, and I am awfully jealous of the quit wit of some of the fast responses… #14 made me chuckle.

  27. #27 Glen Davidson
    July 29, 2008

    Try to look at it with a critical eye instead of swallowing it hook, line and sinker.

    And what, dumbass, makes you think we wouldn’t look at it critically? Your endless prejudices?

    The fact is that on this forum we frequently reveal a critical eye. Sometimes it goes beyond reasonable objections, but that’s to be expected from skeptics at times.

    If you ever come up with any evidence for, say, viruses directing evolution, or eyes being designed, then why don’t you try to come up with some evidence for your attribution (projection, really) of credulity on the part of others?

    Btw, fuckwit, denying reasonable claims without cause is not casting a critical eye. It’s just stupidity, like every post we’ve had from you thus far.

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

  28. #28 Whateverman
    July 29, 2008

    I’m glad you reminded me about this show. I’ve been seeing the ads for the series over the last few weeks, and had wanted to check it out.

  29. #29 Brownian, OM
    July 29, 2008

    Brownian, that non-sound you didn’t hear was Randy drive-bying with no support for his non-point, only troll scat.

    I recall a conversation I had with Dennis the Angry Hippie? (a local non-celebrity ’round these parts) who, in the midst of trying to convince me that archaeologists had discovered Sumerian texts from ~40,000 BP, implored me to remember that ‘the mind is like a parachute; it only works when it’s open.”

    Forty minutes of detailed analysis of exactly all the evidence that would have to be discarded for his extraordinary claim to be plausible, and he happily ate those words.

    Stimpy is more of the same, demanding that we accept his ignorance as equal to our knowledge.

  30. #30 Patricia
    July 29, 2008

    If gawds great creation is eyes he sure screwed up. Mine have been getting worse for ten years.
    I won’t be able to watch the program, all I get is local TV. Dang!

  31. #31 someoneintheknow
    July 29, 2008

    Yes, all, it should have said 95 percent of living ‘animal’ species. This is a press release, thankfully. This mistake is not made in the script.

    I hope everyone gives the show and the series a chance.

  32. #32 Dutch Delight
    July 29, 2008

    Randy is the best ID trolls have to offer nowadays. Every time you explain something about science, or reality for that matter, ID’ers will be there to shout “OR, MYGODDIDIT!” and whine about persecution while they get dragged away.

    Then watch all the faux skepticism and concern for scientific integrity melt away as snow for the sun when their ideas are scrutinized.

  33. #33 True Bob
    July 29, 2008

    Well of course the 95% is bogus. After all, 73% of statistics are made up.

    And to stimpy:

    You fat, bloated, EEEEDIOT!

    /Ren

    Brownian, software engineers aren’t True Engineers. Like Imaginary Industrial Engineers.

  34. #34 Patricia
    July 29, 2008

    Rather surprising to see any trolls here today. They should all be over on Rush or Big Bad Bills websites having a prayer rally.

  35. #35 Jose
    July 29, 2008

    Does anyone know if spontaneous generation hated by the church in its heyday?

  36. #36 Patricia
    July 29, 2008

    #35 – WTF?

  37. #37 Jose
    July 29, 2008

    I forgot a “was”.

  38. #38 Etha Williams, OM
    July 29, 2008

    Okay, I know this is silly, but this really bugged me:

    Discover how dinosaur‘s evolved eyes that helped them become successful hunters

    (Emphasis mine.)

    Seriously? I guess it’s an easy mistake to make, but isn’t that what they have copy editors to prevent?

  39. #39 Jose
    July 29, 2008

    Just to clarify, it seems like an organism just growing out of the mud seems more anti-bible than evolution. I’m wondering if the church had issues with the theory.

  40. #40 Jose
    July 29, 2008

    @Etha Williams
    I’m good friends with dinosaur, and I won’t have you disparaging his beautifully evolved hunting eyes.

  41. #41 Dutch Delight
    July 29, 2008

    Did “spontaneous generation” ever have a heyday?

    It’s just a funny example of silly beliefs that people can acquire if they don’t care about testing stuff. If anything it was there to explain why rats and other vermin kept appearing wherever people stored food.

  42. #42 Brownian, OM
    July 29, 2008

    Did “spontaneous generation” ever have a heyday?

    No, but given the propensity of rats and mice to ‘spontaneously appear’ in barns, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a ‘hay-day’.

  43. #43 Patricia
    July 29, 2008

    Etha – That Stephen Fry piece over on your blog is great. Have you seen the one he did on swearing? It’s good too!

  44. #44 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 29, 2008

    No, but given the propensity of rats and mice to ‘spontaneously appear’ in barns, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a ‘hay-day’.

    *crickets

  45. #45 Brownian, OM
    July 29, 2008

    Rev. BDC, I believe you meant to link to something like this.

  46. #46 Ian
    July 29, 2008

    Don’t forget to stay tuned after the show for ” Mega Disasters: Noah’s Great Flood”!

    Oh well, at least the Evolve show is progress.

  47. @ Rev. BigDumbChimp

    I don’t recall everything that I read. I do remember starting at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_the_eye

    By the way, what is your field of technology?

  48. #48 Grumpy
    July 29, 2008

    Thomas Langham #8: “Nick, you missed all the plant living species!”

    What about potatoes? They have eyes, smart guy!

  49. #49 Celtic_Evolution
    July 29, 2008

    I do remember starting at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_the_eye

    Problem the first…

  50. #50 Brownian, OM
    July 29, 2008

    I don’t recall everything that I read.

    Clearly. So anyways, what’s your problem with the evolution of the eye (as if we haven’t heard it all before)?

  51. #51 Jose
    July 29, 2008

    I think Spontaneous generation had at least 2 Heydays. The first one was maybe around 3.8 billion years ago. The second one lasted around 2,000 years, and ended in the 17th century. And people did do tests. They weren’t very good tests by modern standards, but they were tests.

  52. #52 Paul Stilwell
    July 29, 2008

    “Learn how primates evolved unique adaptations to their eyes…” Uh-huh. Only an atheist would lap up such stuff and sincerely believe, out of sheer faith, that something is actually being explained to him.

    And “how” the ability to see colours helped them to find food…that’s a funny one.

    The dinosaurs evolved eyes which helped them to become better hunters? You don’t say.

    The “ancestors” of jellyfish, the first to evolve light-sensitive cells? So what evolved those “ancestors”? And if we’re on the topic of evolution, tell me “how” can there be a “first”?

    One can surely learn a lot these days! Wow! I’ll be sure to watch!

  53. #53 megan
    July 29, 2008

    as great as this show sounds, why the heck is it on the History Channel? Over on Aardvarchaeology the other day Martin was fighting to distinguish archaeology from history. I don’t see how we fit evolution into the history sphere at all if we can only sometimes incude archaeology.

  54. #54 leki
    July 29, 2008

    ” I do remember starting at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_the_eye

    Ah, that explains it…

  55. #55 Dan B.
    July 29, 2008

    @ #38 -
    I’m with you! Not encouraging to see a typo in the show’s description on the main page. That annoyed the crap outta me.

  56. #56 supercrone
    July 29, 2008

    spontaneous generation hated by the church

    How could the church hate the idea of spontaneous generation? How else to explain the virgin birth of baby jebus?

  57. #57 Jose
    July 29, 2008

    I think my “spontaneous generation” question may be the one question Randy is qualified to answer. Is there a prize for that discovery?

  58. #58 Aramael
    July 29, 2008

    @Randy #47: nice page. Is it really easier to believe that some magic sky daddy built the eye — with all its faults — rather than that it evolved? Look, I know that five hundred million years is beyond human comprehension, we’re just not built for it. I like the analogy of language: there was no point, in the last two thousand years, that people living on the Italian peninsula could not understand their children. Yet Latin and Italian are distinct languages — you can see that they’re related, but I speak Latin, and I cannot for the life of me understand Italian. Nobody directed this process, nobody at the time would have noticed it (although we do have some rather amusing rants that have survived, concerning how those kids today are just mucking up proper grammar). But it happened, and the time scale was miniscule, compared to geologic time.

    I know this won’t convince you — the problem is that nothing will convince you, and I know this because the evidence for billions of years of undirected evolution is, by all sane measures, irrefutable.

    Having said that, let it the fuck go. If the bible tells you everything you need to know, refuse modern medicine, refuse petroleum, basically, don’t take advantage of anything that the industrial revolution created, because all of this is based on evolution or a 4.5 billion year old Earth.

    I wish more people would live their beliefs. I’m living mine.

  59. #59 Patricia
    July 29, 2008

    Paul Stilwell – Nice catholic website. Since you seem to like quotes, here’s one you can feel free to use:
    “What profit has not that fable of christ brought us?” Pope Leo X

  60. #60 Hamsterpoop
    July 29, 2008

    Hey, I don’t have the History Channel today *cries*, what’s this I hear about PZ “live-bloging” the show???? I really want to watch it… Specially for the simultaneous commentary by The Squid Master…

  61. #61 Celtic_Evolution
    July 29, 2008

    Stilwell, you genius…

    while I’ll avoid stepping in the rancid pile of dung you just dropped at #52, I’ll just say:

    I’m “not” sure “you” are quite aware “of” the proper use “quotes”… so please “take” a class in “remedial” English before posting here “again”.

  62. #62 Susan
    July 29, 2008

    # 35:

    Did “spontaneous generation” ever have a heyday?

    I believe it did, especially with insects. I just saw a wonderful exhibit at the Getty here in LA of Maria Sibylla Merian’s insect studies and how they advanced entomology.

    This exhibition charts the artistic and scientific explorations of German artist Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717) and her daughters Johanna Helena and Dorothea Maria. Enterprising and adventurous, these women raised the artistic standards of natural history illustration and helped transform the field of entomology, the study of insects.

    Merian depicted moths and butterflies in various stages of metamorphosis, the process by which they transform from egg to caterpillar to adult. Each image was organized around a single plant and was accompanied by a text in which Merian described the colors, forms, and timing of each stage of transformation. By including the caterpillars’ food sources in her natural history illustrations, Merian brought a more ecological approach to the study of metamorphosis.

    Merian’s work helped to disprove the common belief that insects reproduced by spontaneous generation from decaying matter such as old meat or rotten fruit, and her aesthetic sensitivity raised the standards of scientific illustration.

    The Getty’s painting collections are not extensive, but any exhibits they develop having to do with manuscripts are usually excellent, and this one is no exception. I highly recommend it.

  63. #63 Ian
    July 29, 2008

    Uh-huh. Only an atheist would lap up such stuff and sincerely believe, out of sheer faith, that something is actually being explained to him (emphasis added)

    Are you trying to be ironic?

    And “how” the ability to see colours helped them to find food…that’s a funny one.

    I know little about the subject and haven’t seen the show yet, but even I can imagine how that could obviously be helpful.

    The “ancestors” of jellyfish, the first to evolve light-sensitive cells? So what evolved those “ancestors”? And if we’re on the topic of evolution, tell me “how” can there be a “first”?

    You mean like the first intelligent designer?

  64. #64 Steve_C
    July 29, 2008

    Paul is another kooky catholic that believes in virgin births and zombie saviours but not simple evolution. Funny.

  65. #65 Ian
    July 29, 2008

    Actually, after rereading Paul’s post, I think he’s just a poe.

  66. #66 Dutch Delight
    July 29, 2008

    The first one was maybe around 3.8 billion years ago.

    Tell me more? I never knew chemical processes and spontaneous generation had anything to do with each other.

  67. #67 Steve_C
    July 29, 2008

    Nah. He’s pretty well sumberged into the Catholic mythology. Check out his website. Really? Spikes? Kinda sick.

  68. #68 Uncephalized
    July 29, 2008

    Can anyone record this show as a digital file? I don’t have the History Channel. Or any channel, for that matter. :(

  69. #69 Andrew
    July 29, 2008

    Randy: Exactly what is it in the wikipedia article you cite that you think helps your cause?

  70. #70 Glen Davidson
    July 29, 2008

    It’s a slim connection, but I’ll take advantage of kooky Catholic Stilwell’s presence here as an excuse to put a kooky Catholic response to PZ’s “desecration” here:

    BALTIMORE, Maryland, July 29 /Christian Newswire/ — The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy (a national association of 600 priests & deacons) respond to the sacrilegious and blasphemous desecration of the Holy Eucharist by asking for public reparation. We ask all Catholics of Minnesota and of the entire nation to join in a day of prayer and fasting that such offenses never happen again.

    We find the actions of University of Minnesota (Morris) Professor Paul Myers reprehensible, inexcusable, and unconstitutional. His flagrant display of irreverence by profaning a consecrated Host from a Catholic church goes beyond the limit of academic freedom and free speech.

    The same Bill of Rights which protect freedom of speech also protect freedom of religion. The Founding Fathers did not envision a freedom FROM religion, rather a freedom OF religion. In other words, our nation’s constitution protects the rights of ALL religions, not one and not just a few. Attacking the most sacred elements of a religion is not free speech anymore than would be perjury in a court or libel in a newspaper.

    Lies and hate speech which incite contempt or violence are not protected under the law. Hence, inscribing Swastikas on Jewish synagogues or publicly burning copies of the Christian Bible or the Muslim Koran, especially by a faculty member of a public university, are just as heinous and just as unconstitutional. Individual freedoms are limited by the boundaries created by the inalienable rights of others. The freedom of religion means that no one has the right to attack, malign or grossly offend a faith tradition they personally do not have membership or ascribe allegiance.

    The Chancellor of the University refused to reprimand or censure the teacher, who ironically is a Biology Professor. One fails to see the relevance of the desecration of a Catholic sacrament to the science of Biology. Were Myers a Professor of Theology, there would have been at least a presumption of competency to express religious opinions in a classroom. Yet, for a scientist to ridicule and show utter contempt for the most sacred and precious article of a major world religion, is inappropriate, unprofessional, unconstitutional and disingenuous.

    A biologist has no business ‘dissing’ any religion, rather, they should be busy teaching the scientific discipline they were hired to teach. Tolerating such behavior by university officials is equally repugnant as it lends credibility to the act of religious hatred. We also pray that Professor Myers contritely repent and apologize.

    http://www.earnedmedia.org/ccc0729.htm

    One doesn’t know what “public reparation” they want, nor how they can be so deaf to what “free speech” means.

    I have my own reservations about PZ doing what he did, but they pale in comparison to the intense opposition to free speech and free religion exhibited in that piece.

    To be fair, these are only 600 bozo Catholic priests and deacons, who I hope are not representative of the church. They’d better not be, since they’re a page out of the medieval history of persecution of religious “offenses”.

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

  71. #71 Benjamin Franklin
    July 29, 2008

    Hi Etha WIlliams

    How’s that 12 note thing doing for you?

    Your contributions have been missed.

  72. #72 Jose
    July 29, 2008

    @ Dutch Delight
    Tell me more? I never knew chemical processes and spontaneous generation had anything to do with each other.

    Well, you’re attacking the joke response. Is it good form to defend the joke response? I can try, if you like.

  73. #73 prof weird
    July 29, 2008

    Stilwell at #52 blithers :

    “Learn how primates evolved unique adaptations to their eyes…” Uh-huh. Only an atheist would lap up such stuff and sincerely believe, out of sheer faith, that something is actually being explained to him.

    When one has ACTUAL EVIDENCE, faith is not required.

    The unique adaptation is most likely trichromatic vision.

    Fully explainable as a duplication/modification of an opsin protein.

    And “An unknowable being somehow DIDIT !!!!” qualifies as a ‘better’ answer why ?

    And “how” the ability to see colours helped them to find food…that’s a funny one.

    Only if you’re hebephrenic. The ability to distinguish more colors granted the ability to determine when fruits were ripe, AFAACT.

    The dinosaurs evolved eyes which helped them to become better hunters? You don’t say.

    RiiIIiiIIIIiight – like starving because you can’t see food as well as your competitors is such a GOOD thing !

    The “ancestors” of jellyfish, the first to evolve light-sensitive cells? So what evolved those “ancestors”? And if we’re on the topic of evolution, tell me “how” can there be a “first”?

    Dealing with your IDiocy in order :

    1. As far as anyone can tell, yes, the ancestors of jellyfish developed light sensitive cells. Quite useful for determining which way is up during the day, or WHEN it is day, or if something big swims overhead.

    2. Even worms (the shape of the most likely common ancestor) can use eyes sometimes.

    3. We aren’t the top of evolution; it is gibbering arrogance to presume so. The delusion that humans are the pinnacle is generally seen in those with a pathological need to feel ‘special’ in the world.

    4. Even if we humans were the ‘top’ of evolution, in what rational way would that prevent there from being a first ?

    It is quite possible to go from ‘light sensitive cell’ to ‘patch of light sensitive cells’ to ‘cup eye’ to ‘pinhole’ to ‘lensed eye’. The molluscs show that each proposed step is viable – the Nautilus, for example, has an eye with no cornea or lens, but gets along quite well.

    Octopi have eyes functionally equal to ours – maybe slightly better, since they don’t have a blind spot.

    One can surely learn a lot these days! Wow! I’ll be sure to watch!

    You could learn a LOT more if you’d watch to LEARN something, rather than things to quote mine or willfully misrepresent just to have something to blither about.

  74. #74 Damian with an a
    July 29, 2008

    Paul Stilwell said

    Uh-huh. Only an atheist would lap up such stuff and sincerely believe, out of sheer faith, that something is actually being explained to him.

    Like you know anything about anything.

    Start here:

    The eye as a contingent, diverse, complex product of evolutionary processes.

    The link for the paper that the post is summarizing is contained in the very last comment by Owlmirror. Read it.

    Also, Evolution of vertebrate eyes.

    Come back when you’ve read those and explain any objections. Generally, you need to have read and understood most of what has been written about a subject before claiming that it takes faith to believe in it. But of course, once you have dedicated your life to sloppy thinking, you just can’t help but project that on to others.

  75. #75 Ian
    July 29, 2008

    Nah. He’s pretty well sumberged into the Catholic mythology. Check out his website. Really? Spikes? Kinda sick.

    Poes can link URLs too, you know.

  76. #76 SC
    July 29, 2008

    Glen D, thanks for that glimpse into the authoritarian mindset.

    flagrant display of irreverence

    Yay!

    (I just posted a lengthy treatise on the subject over at Mixing Memory This is all I got left. :))

    The freedom of religion means that no one has the right to attack, malign or grossly offend a faith tradition they personally do not have membership or ascribe allegiance.

    Um, no, no it doesn’t.

  77. #77 hje
    July 29, 2008

    It’s good to remember that photoreceptors are used for more things than imaging. The cryptochromes (in plants and animals) have a variety of non-imaging functions. Most interesting of which to me is the detection of magnetic fields.

  78. #78 Brain Hertz
    July 29, 2008

    Discover how dinosaur’s evolved eyes…

    Aieeee…. don’t these people have proof readers? Uh, I mean, proof reader’s, apparently?

    Oh, and Randy,…

    fuck it. Never mind.

  79. #79 SC
    July 29, 2008

    By the way, Damian, I linked to your comment with the “ethics of belief” chapter over at Mixing Memory, too. No response. Reminded them that they hadn’t responded. Still nothing. I’m not optimistic.

  80. #80 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 29, 2008

    @ Rev. BigDumbChimp

    I don’t recall everything that I read. I do remember starting at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_the_eye

    As many have been said before. Ahhhh

    By the way, what is your field of technology?

    I’m an IT director. But the difference is, I don’t put that out as a reason I’m better suited to know something about a field almost wholly unrelated.

  81. #81 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 29, 2008

    Rev. BDC, I believe you meant to link to something like this.

    Well I wanted the mixture of the two..

    hehe

  82. #82 Patricia
    July 29, 2008

    Rev. BDC – I’m a hillbilly, what is an IT director?

  83. #83 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 29, 2008

    IT = Information Technology

    I’m in charge of all network and computer systems and anything related to that for the company I work for. I set IT policy, budget, help with hiring etc.. as well as get my hands dirty with the technical stuff because we are a small staff for a $200 million a year multi-state company. I wear a lot of hats but mostly I’m Head Nerd.

  84. Patricia, IT = Information Technology

    Rev BDC, what is your educational background?

  85. #85 Dutch Delight
    July 29, 2008

    Is it good form to defend the joke response?

    I’d say yes, but only if you can make it really funny. In the end I don’t know, it’s all so hard to tell without a god to whisper the answer into my ears.

  86. #86 Jose
    July 29, 2008

    Rev. BDC – I’m a hillbilly, what is an IT director?

    It means he’s the next hot thing in directing. A young Cecil B. DeMille, if you will.

  87. #87 Elliot
    July 29, 2008

    I don’t have access to the history channel. I don’t suppose this is going to be available anywhere else, such as on the web?

  88. #88 Jose
    July 29, 2008

    it’s all so hard to tell without a god to whisper the answer into my ears.

    I’m sending god over to your place right away. He may be dressed as a UPS driver.

  89. #89 Leon
    July 29, 2008

    That’s great!

    It’s unfortunate though to see them make an apostrophe error with “dinosaur’s”.

  90. #90 raven
    July 29, 2008

    Paul is another kooky catholic that believes in virgin births and zombie saviours but not simple evolution. Funny.

    Also believes the last 4 Infallible Popes were wrong. They didn’t and don’t have a problem with evolution including the present one. Death Cults, it’s not just for fundie morons any more.

  91. #91 Hap
    July 29, 2008

    Mr. Stimpson, you could try using evidence instead of ad hominems. It might work better than acting annoying and slightly vindictive.

    How do you tell designed objects from non-designed ones? Why is the eye one of the former and not the latter?

  92. #92 Rev. bigDumbChimp
    July 29, 2008

    Rev BDC, what is your educational background?

    Why Randy, it seems I touched a nerve. Where oh where might this leading set of questions take us….. Humm whare ever could it be?

    I have a BS In Natural Resources Ecosystems Assessment from NCSU and then a number of Technical Certifications more akin to my current field.

    As well as a good heaping helping of the school of life. None of which I claim to be any better suited to explaining the intricacies of modern biology than the people who actually currently are practicing biologists in the field or related fields.

    Now lead on Mr. question and no answer man.

    Or would you mind answering what in that page you pointed to above supports your implied assertion that the evolution of the eye is “funny”?

  93. #93 Greg Peterson
    July 29, 2008

    I see the three-disc series will be available for sale starting November 20th. I’ll no doubt buy the dang thing, flaws and all. I hate supporting mediocrity (and for all I know these will actually be excellent, but I’m often disappointed with TV science shows), but I have noticed that in looking for errors and correcting them in my own mind, I’m able to retain a lot of information that might have slipped past me otherwise. The very act of being a critical bastard makes me a more learned elitist bastard. So it’s win-win.

  94. #94 Ryan F Stello
    July 29, 2008

    Since Randy is pressing for details to cover up his own inadequacies, I have one:

    Rev BDC, what is you annual salary?

  95. #95 Jose
    July 29, 2008

    @Dutch Delight
    it’s all so hard to tell without a god to whisper the answer into my ears.

    If someone in a bunny suit shows up, DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR!

  96. #96 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 29, 2008

    Rev BDC, what is you annual salary?

    I’m from the south, don’t you know they pay us in pulled pork and bourbon down here?

  97. #97 craig
    July 29, 2008

    Good grief that Catholic press release is so loaded with bullshit it actually astonished me. And I’m used to hearing stupid shit from religious types.

    It’s scary enough when people are so divorced from reality on scientific matters and general logic… but to see people so incredibly wrong about the basics of a free society is downright scary.

  98. #98 Ryan F Stello
    July 29, 2008

    don’t you know they pay us in pulled pork and bourbon down here?

    hehe, no.
    I’m from the midwest so all I get is fried fish and cheap beer.

  99. #99 Benjamin Franklin
    July 29, 2008

    Constitution 101-

    Just as “Freedom of Speech” must necessarily include the freedom from being forced to speak a particular thing, so too, must “Freedom of Religion” include the freedom from being forced to participate in a particular, or any, religion. So, yes, we are guaranteed freedom from religion.

  100. #100 John Phillips, FCD
    July 29, 2008

    I love how the catholitards in that press release equate freedom of religion as freedom from criticism of religion. Says it all about where we would be today if they still had the power to act as they still want to deep down, and perhaps not that deep down, toward the godless and heretics.

  101. #101 Brain Hertz
    July 29, 2008

    Patricia, IT = Information Technology

    Rev BDC, what is your educational background?

    Posted by: Randy Stimpson aka Intelligent Designer | July 29, 2008 5:12 PM

    Strange question. Why? What’s yours, Randy?

  102. #102 SC
    July 29, 2008

    Says it all about where we would be today if they still had the power to act as they still want to deep down, and perhaps not that deep down, toward the godless and heretics.

    Exactly.

  103. #103 Jose
    July 29, 2008

    “Strange question. Why? What’s yours, Randy?”

    Ooh, a guessing game. Let me play.

    Randy and the Redwoods?
    Stan’s dad?
    Or by “Randy”, do you just mean aroused?

  104. #104 HRMN of Earth
    July 29, 2008

    Meanwhile, back at the Coliseum…Lions 10 Christians 0

  105. #105 leki
    July 29, 2008

    This questioning of Rev. BDC by Stimpy reminds me of the time some asshole stood up in class and announced that a produce manager doesn’t have the capacity for critical thought, but a professor absolutely does. He equated education with intelligence.

    I have a feeling this Stimpy character is going to attempt to equate education with intelligence, too.

  106. #106 Eljay
    July 29, 2008

    REV DBC: In Memphis us IT guys get pulled pork AND a few ribs with our bottles of Jack. Good times.

  107. #107 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 29, 2008

    REV DBC: In Memphis us IT guys get pulled pork AND a few ribs with our bottles of Jack. Good times.

    At least we’re not in Texas. They pay in Beef BBQ there. Weird.

    /ducks and runs

  108. #108 Jimmy
    July 29, 2008

    Hey PZ you asshole, if human kind came from monkeys how come there are still monkeys?

  109. #109 Hap
    July 29, 2008

    Freedom of religion was supposed to protect not only people who don’t practice a particular religion from those who do, but those who do from others who do – because after they get done taking care of the heretics and atheists, people just redefine the terms to mean “the people like me” and “the people not like me”. History has shown that that doesn’t work out real well for the existence of any society, much less a civil one. Of course, there’s probably also the (mistaken) belief that the people currently in charge will always have the whip hand – history isn’t turning out well for that theory, either, and recent history (Bosnia/Serbia/Croatia) indicates that at least a subset of aggrieved people are likely to have very long memories. (noted above by Raven, as well)

    Regardless of that, there is also the problem that freedom of speech is inconsistent with the right not to be offended. Living as well is inconsistent with the right not to be offended – but in the past others have decided that if your right to speak and live is inconsistent with their right not to be offended, then your rights are an appropriate sacrifice for the revolution. Revolutions, of course, like their namesakes, turn around and around, and are not required to terminate when their initiators wish them to. History has taught Donohoe and his ilk poorly, I guess.

  110. #110 Joshua Bowers
    July 29, 2008

    Brownian, software engineers aren’t True Engineers. Like Imaginary Industrial Engineers.

    Hey! I resemble that remark!

    Seriously: not all of us are like Vox Day; some of us tend towards rationality and free-thought.

  111. #111 Greg Peterson
    July 29, 2008

    Hey, Jimmy, you asshole, if there are humans why do you still fuck monkeys?

  112. #112 Glen Davidson
    July 29, 2008

    I have a feeling this Stimpy character is going to attempt to equate education with intelligence, too.

    To be fair, it’s the only retort that slack-jawed cretins have available after they’ve been shown to lack even rudimentary arguments for their uncritically-accepted prejudices.

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

  113. #113 Dr. J
    July 29, 2008

    Hey PZ you asshole, if human kind came from monkeys how come there are still monkeys?

    Oh, this is going to be good…

    Has to be a put on, nobody is stupid enough to really ask that question.

  114. #114 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 29, 2008

    Hey PZ you asshole, if human kind came from monkeys how come there are still monkeys?

    Yeah PZ, good question. And why the fuck are their still PYGMIES + DWARFS??

  115. #115 Eljay
    July 29, 2008

    REV BDC.I love Austin, it makes up for the rest of TX. Even Luling.
    Having said that the words BBQ and BEEF should never EVER be in the same sentence. If BBQ was a christian sect, that stuff would be the Antichrist.
    /Ducks and hides

  116. #116 Greg Peterson
    July 29, 2008

    I realize that the toxic absurdity of a tu quoque argument, but seriously, the irony of an institution that fucking KILLED its detractors, and burned their books, and tortured their critics for centuries, now crying about religious freedom is just too fucking delicious. Suck it up, Sinister Rouge.

  117. #117 Steve_C
    July 29, 2008

    haha.. I think Jimmy is a poe.

  118. #118 Patricia
    July 29, 2008

    #111 – Gaaaawd damn! That wild cackling you hear is me. Greg you owe me some fresh elderberry cordial. ;)

  119. @Paul Stillwell,

    I second #74 (Damian with an a)’s comment: read the cited references and come back if you have substantive questions.

    This isn’t rocket science. It’s developmental and evolutionary biology, and thus a heckuva lot HARDER than rocket science. But if you actually want to learn it, you have to try.

    As for the comments about the press releases: sad to say, no, a lot of time networks just don’t seem to use proof readers…

  120. #120 Patricia
    July 29, 2008

    Thanks Chimy, I though IT was International Trade or something.
    Was gonna say I had a BS in BS, but naw, it’s more like a Masters of BS.
    This is my lucky day, my neighbor just gave me a salmon he caught today, and my copy of Hector Avalos’s new book came in. Wheeee! :)

  121. #121 Paul Stilwell
    July 29, 2008

    “”Learn how primates evolved unique adaptations to their eyes…” Uh-huh. Only an atheist would lap up such stuff and sincerely believe, out of sheer faith, that something is actually being explained to him.”

    Point being you cannot really learn “how” chimps evolved “unique adaptations”, even though you use the most elaborate and thorough explication available. An atheist goes on faith that it is all being explained to him, when in fact it doesn’t even come close to exhausting the essence of what is. You are all “about”. How? How? Such programs explain no “how” whatsoever.

    “And “how” the ability to see colours helped them to find food…that’s a funny one.”

    I said it was “a funny one” because it is so blatantly obvious that seeing in colour would help a creature to find food that to be told “how” the ability would help is tantamount to being elaborately and slowly told that you are retarded. Which is apparently what many on this site like being told. Of course in atheistic terms.

    “The dinosaurs evolved eyes which helped them to become better hunters? You don’t say.”

    Again, see above.

    “The “ancestors” of jellyfish, the first to evolve light-sensitive cells? So what evolved those “ancestors”? And if we’re on the topic of evolution, tell me “how” can there be a “first”?”

    Evolution is ever evolving. Where and what is the “first”?

    “One can surely learn a lot these days! Wow! I’ll be sure to watch!”

    This is sarcasm!

  122. #122 Patricia
    July 29, 2008

    Damn, elderflowers stuck on the screen – “Chimpy”.

  123. #123 Mena
    July 29, 2008

    Let’s just hope that there aren’t any glaring and annoying errors like on “How Life Began” where they had the Cambrian Explosion happening 250 mya. Grumph…

  124. #124 Sven DiMilo
    July 29, 2008

    Pluralism, people…pluralism.
    Nothing wrong with beef barbecue. Nice brisket can really hit the spot. Nothing wrong with pulled pork either, of course. Hey, throw a coupla hotlinks on there too!
    By the way, seen the BBQ-shaped flashdrives?

  125. #125 davem
    July 29, 2008

    A heads up for us in the UK: Channel 4, 4th August; ‘The Genius of Charles Darwin”
    http://forums.digiguide.com/topic.asp?id=26296&subject=The+Genius+of+Charles+Darwin+showing+on+Channel+4

  126. #126 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 29, 2008

    This is my lucky day, my neighbor just gave me a salmon he caught today, and my copy of Hector Avalos’s new book came in. Wheeee! :)

    This is my lucky day, my neighbor just gave me a salmon he caught today, and my copy of Hector Avalos’s new book came in. Wheeee! :)

    That reminds me. I gotta figure out hats for dinner.

  127. #127 raven
    July 29, 2008

    Paul the moron:

    Point being you cannot really learn “how” chimps evolved “unique adaptations”, even though you use the most elaborate and thorough explication available. An atheist goes on faith that it is all being explained to him, when in fact it doesn’t even come close to

    Not exactly smart are you? You have confused atheism, a philosophy, with a scientific theory called evolution. They aren’t remotely related.

    One can be religious and 40% of biologists describe themselves as such, mostly xian including Catholics. One can also be a nonscientist believer and accept reality and evolution. The last 4 Catholic Popes and the majority of Catholics do exactly that.

    You need to come back when you finish that remedial grade school course. Before you excommunicate the Pope for being wrong or something equally stupid. Being completely ignorant just shows that you are completely ignorant.

  128. #128 Glen Davidson
    July 29, 2008

    Point being you cannot really learn “how” chimps evolved “unique adaptations”, even though you use the most elaborate and thorough explication available.

    What stupid and deliberately dishonest people like you conveniently ignore is that what is unmistakable is that the “unique adaptations” did evolve, using quite ordinary measures of relatedness and divergence.

    We don’t have to prove how the changes occurred to show that they follow the normal pattern, any more than we have to so in order to demonstrate that language evolved.

    It takes monstrous dishonesty for you IDiots to demand that we explain the specific instances rather than the regularities. Science deals far better with the latter than with the former.

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

  129. #129 Benjamin Franklin
    July 29, 2008

    I am a non-denominational BBQ eater, but personally, I feel that if there aint a pig around, it just somehow aint nachural.

    Ah well, eat & let eat, says I.

  130. #130 Nerd of Redhead
    July 29, 2008

    Yeah, when Jimmy posted, I felt like we needed a FAQ with a topic of “Questions never to ask”, and this would be first question. Jimmy, it would be a good idea to retract the question before the group starts in.

  131. #131 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 29, 2008

    I am a non-denominational BBQ eater, but personally, I feel that if there aint a pig around, it just somehow aint nachural.

    Ah well, eat & let eat, says I.

    Yeah me too, but I like to poke fun. I actually make a pretty mean Brisket. And me being a Carolinas boy too.

    Now where did Mr. Stimpson run off after I was all nice and helped him along by answering his leading questions?

  132. #132 Paul Stilwell
    July 29, 2008

    Haven’t confused the two. I know well enough atheists believe, believe, believe, believe in evolution, thanks.

    And Catholics too. They also believe in more stuff, thanks.

  133. #133 Barklikeadog
    July 29, 2008

    So teach the controversy….Wet or dry rub? Anyone?

  134. #134 ndt
    July 29, 2008

    We don’t have to prove how the changes occurred to show that they follow the normal pattern, any more than we have to so in order to demonstrate that language evolved.

    Posted by: Glen Davidson | July 29, 2008 6:49 PM

    We don’t have to, but in many cases biologists have identified the specific mutations that caused the changes. That would be the “how”.

  135. #135 ColinB
    July 29, 2008

    Anyone know when we might see this in Canada?

  136. #136 Paul Stilwell
    July 29, 2008

    Agree with Glen D.

    Language is about, is derivative. My objection lies with atheists who blind themselves via the language.

  137. #137 Wowbagger
    July 29, 2008

    If recent Australians came from Europeans, how come there are still Europeans?

    Oh, and for Paul Stilwell – perhaps you’d better go here and read about a non-atheist who believes in evolution: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_R._Miller

  138. #138 Patricia
    July 29, 2008

    #132 – Paul Stilwell. So do you believe in Crimen Sollicitationis? How’s that working out for you by the way?

  139. #139 Patricia
    July 29, 2008

    Nerd of a Redhead – Those Jimmy style posts utterly crack me up. It’s like a streaker running through. :)

  140. #140 Nerd of Redhead
    July 29, 2008

    So teach the controversy….Wet or dry rub? Anyone?

    Which ever the Redhead prepares for me to grill/smoke. Both are good.

  141. #141 Patricia
    July 29, 2008

    Half of the salmon is being grilled/baked (?) on a cedar plank. I’ll fix up some fresh white corn on the cob with butter, genovese basil, and lime slices. Grilled by the Grouch. We don’t have a cooker like yours Rev. BigDumbChimp, ours is an outdoor hearth of steel and landscaping blocks set in the ground.

  142. #142 gaypaganunitarianagnostic
    July 29, 2008

    Actually, the Bible supports spontaneous generation – see Judges. Sampson, the lion and the bees.
    I’ve run into the ‘why are there still apes,’ bit; I did the best I could explaining, and think I got thru to the questioner.

  143. #143 Phentari
    July 29, 2008

    Stillwell @121:

    Before you set about arguing evolutionary biology, you might master the use of basic English punctuation first.

    Quotation marks. Learn how to use them. Stop “gratuitously” putting “quotes” around “random” words you want “to” emphasize.

  144. #144 Patricia
    July 29, 2008

    #70 – Glen D – Hey thanks for posting this! I’m jealous as hell of PZ.
    How come he gets all the praise and *glory*? Sacrilegious, blasphemous, flagrant, reprehensible, inexcusable, irreverent… and 600 pissed off priests.
    Just try getting that on a t-shirt. ;)

  145. #145 Jose
    July 29, 2008

    My objection lies with atheists who blind themselves via the language.

    My eyes! Oh god, I’ve been blinded by the language! Must….lap…phony…evolution…

  146. #146 Ian
    July 29, 2008

    I said it was “a funny one” because it is so blatantly obvious that seeing in colour would help a creature to find food that to be told “how” the ability would help is tantamount to being elaborately and slowly told that you are retarded. Which is apparently what many on this site like being told. Of course in atheistic terms.

    It’s just a press release. You shouldn’t assume that your overly literal interpretation of it is indicative of the actual style and content of the show.

    Language is about, is derivative. My objection lies with atheists who blind themselves via the language.

    Most of us reading this blog have taken at least basic biology classes, understand how evolution works, and are generally familiar with the evidence. I doubt anybody is actually doing what you accuse us of.

  147. #147 SteveM
    July 29, 2008

    @70:

    We find the actions of University of Minnesota (Morris) Professor Paul Myers reprehensible, inexcusable, and unconstitutional.

    The actions of an individual cannot be unconstitutional. Constitutions define what laws the government can enact. This article goes on to refer to the 1st Amendment and its guarantee of freedom of religion yet totally ignores the wording of the amendment, “Congress shall make no law …” It does not say “No one shall dare to offend someone’s religion”

  148. #148 oriole
    July 29, 2008

    jimmy said “Hey PZ you asshole, if human kind came from monkeys how come there are still monkeys?”

    Are you attempting to parody the IDiots, jimmy? If so, next time put in some spelling errors to complement your missing punctuation; it makes the parody much more believable. Or are you that rare IDiot who can actually spell, although you can’t punctuate? If so, here are a couple of questions for you:

    If frogs come from tadpoles, why are there still tadpoles?
    If you came from a womb, why are there still wombs?

  149. #149 Alverant
    July 29, 2008

    Sorry but given what happened with their “how life began” show what with their inaccurate statements, jumping around, and the “magic curtain so we don’t offend the fundamentalists” I think I’m going to skip it. At least I’ll wait for PZ to review it. History Channel shows a lot of reruns.

  150. #150 gaypaganunitarianagnostic
    July 29, 2008

    When my niece and her family were in the Carolinas, she complained that they could only get pork BBQ. If pork snobs miss out on BBQ beef brisket, you ARE missing out.

  151. #151 amphiox
    July 29, 2008

    Alas, poor, pathetic ID. Arguments crumbled like day-old crackers. Pseudo-logical edifice fallen like a stack of cards. An intellectual carcass twitching on the ground in an oxygen-deprivation induced terminal seizure, drooling out ad hominems into the dust.

    Move along, folks, nothing to see here. Just the feeble implosion of an empty idea. We have better things to spend our neurons on.

  152. #152 Crudely Wrott
    July 29, 2008

    Hole Hog:

    One pig cooked in the ground. Probably all night. Dig it up the next day (a back-hoe is handy). Unwrap the pig and be amazed at how it’s falling off its bones. Bring enough of your own BBQ sauce to share.

    Pig out.

  153. @BDC #131

    My questions weren’t leading any where. I was have just been curious about who you are since I saw your comment on an exchange I had with Dr. Scott Page on his blog. I was just wondering if you had a college education.

    Sorry. I don’t have time answer your other question. I am still at work.

  154. #154 scooter
    July 29, 2008

    I was part of the Spontaneous Generation back in its heyday, and yes, The Church hated us. Mostly because we rode loud motorcycles and stank of primordial ooze and Gin.

    Our bar-b-que stained fingers grasped at anything nailed down, to a cross or nothing.

    We had our way with their women, their crackers and cheese. We left the men crying and their daughters smiling.

    We were the Spontaneous Generation.
    Long before there was even Pepsi
    those were the days.

  155. #155 John Morales
    July 29, 2008

    Glen @27, you know it would add gravitas (at the cost of modesty) if you appended your OM to posts such as those :)

  156. #156 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 29, 2008

    My questions weren’t leading any where. I was have just been curious about who you are since I saw your comment on an exchange I had with Dr. Scott Page on his blog. I was just wondering if you had a college education.

    And I still fail to see your point for asking. What part of my comment there would lead you to think that I am or am not educated? And what part of that comment do you disagree with (minus the typo, for which I readily admit I make frequently)?

    Here it is if you are curious.

    I find it hard to believe that variations on the 2nd law of thermodynamics mis-argument are still be tauted by creationists as a valid critique of evolution. If I’m not mistaken I believe that some Creationist groups have requested people quit using that one.

    I should have known however, given their inability to learn, well anything, from these discussions.

    The arrogance involved with someone in a completely unrelated field who has demonstrated a massive misunderstanding of the science having the balls to tell you that you don’t know what you are talking about is astounding.

    Humm?

  157. #157 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 29, 2008

    Hole Hog:

    One pig cooked in the ground. Probably all night. Dig it up the next day (a back-hoe is handy). Unwrap the pig and be amazed at how it’s falling off its bones. Bring enough of your own BBQ sauce to share.

    Pig out.

    Or some cochon de lait injected and cooked hanging in a three sided shed cooked over wood coals.

    mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm cochon de lait po boys at jazz fest.

    mmmmmmmggggggggggggggggggggg

    /homer

    I love multi-threaded comment strings.

  158. #158 Patricia
    July 29, 2008

    I love the smell of cedar, salmon and basil in the evening. :)
    That other smell, pretty trolly. :(

  159. #159 tsig
    July 29, 2008

    “My objection lies with atheists who blind themselves via the language.

    Posted by: Paul Stilwell | July 29, 2008 7:03 PM ”

    Ouch! I just stuck myself in the eye with a verb.

    Paul I’d be real careful around nouns, when they get in your eyes they can blind you for life.

  160. #160 Wowbagger
    July 29, 2008

    Crudely Wrott, #152

    Sounds similar to a pacific islander earth-oven technique I experienced as a kid. IIRC the meat (and vegetables, like sweet potatoes etc.) is wrapped in banana leaves and buried with heated stones and left for several hours.

    I remember the meat being amazing, unlike anything I’d had before (or since).

  161. #161 Patricia
    July 29, 2008

    Have any of you pit and grill cooks looked into cast iron Dutch Ovens?
    There’s some good eats to come out of cast iron, slow cooked.

  162. @Rev BigDumbChimp,

    Well that discussion on Dr. Page’s blog was about information theory which is a branch of Mathematics. I have a M.S. in Applied Mathematics and my application field was Computer Science. That degree also comes with a healthy dose of Physics. So in that exchange I was the expert not Dr. Page. His field is biology.

    The reason why I was wondering about your education level was because I have never read anything by you that is remotely scientific. Most of it is just ridicule. I have read some of your blog. Which entry is the one you would consider to be the most scientific?

    The question I would really like to know the answer to is too rude to ask. However, I am wondering if you have always been an atheist.

  163. #163 chancelikely
    July 29, 2008

    Trying desperately to ninja-speed-read every post in the next ten minutes before the program comes on.

  164. #164 Ichthyic
    July 29, 2008

    The reason why I was wondering about your education level was because I have never read anything by you that is remotely scientific. Most of it is just ridicule. I have read some of your blog. Which entry is the one you would consider to be the most scientific?

    yak yak yak.

    to paraphrase Jeff.

    trust me when I say that this is a very scientifically derived, statistically analyzed conclusion about what everyone who knows you is thinking:

    go away, you annoying twit.

    your dissembling as a substitute for content is less than amusing.

  165. #165 Sven DiMilo
    July 29, 2008

    Randy Stimpson, Intelligent Designer, meet Greasemonkey McKillfile.

    hee hee! This is fun!

  166. #166 Louis Irving
    July 29, 2008

    “Ninety five percent of living species are equipped with eyes and they exist in many different forms. ”

    As a plant biologist I already have enough reason to get snippy. Probably, microbiologists feel the same way. Sure, there are millions of species of beetle which all have eyes, but sheesh, talk about a sweeping generalization….

  167. #167 Michael X
    July 29, 2008

    Is Mr. Simpson really a cdesignproponentist? I haven’t seen many since Expelled tanked in the box office, failing to overthrow the darwinian conspiracy.

    Just in case I’ll resurrect a few of my favorite questions.

    What is the method by which ID is studied?
    What is the mechanism by which it functions?
    What is the peer reviewed evidence in favor or ID as an explanation?

    I’ve never received an answer to any of these questions. Thus, at present ID is not even wrong. It will remain so until someone gives me a few answers to these ever so simple questions.

  168. #168 John Morales
    July 29, 2008

    Louis @166 and others.. it’s just the blurb, which I doubt is written by a biologist.

  169. #169 Whateverman
    July 29, 2008

    I’m watching this as I type.

    The thing that amazes me about the theory of evolution is that it doesn’t (in any way) preclude the notion that a higher being might be involved. Certainly, there’s no evidence that evolution is driven by Jesus or Baphomet or whoever – but the reaction to the theory by fundamentalists seems completely out of proportion to the information being given.

    History has illuminated the resistance to science intruding on areas of knowledge previously attributed to “Him”. And despite the notion of the God of the Gaps, fundamentalists seem all too willing to repeat hubristic mistakes of the past.

    Evolution does not preclude God’s existence. It simply reveals a lack of evidence for such an existence.

    Why does this get the collective Religious Undergarment in a state of perpetual bunchedness?

  170. #170 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 29, 2008

    The reason why I was wondering about your education level was because I have never read anything by you that is remotely scientific. Most of it is just ridicule. I have read some of your blog. Which entry is the one you would consider to be the most scientific?

    AAAAND the leading questions come to fruition (Not leading my ass).

    Well that’s because I have never claimed to be a “scientist”. I am at best an appreciator of science who has a base understanding of a number of things and a better understanding of others, but a thirst to learn. I grew up the grandson of a prominent Entomologist who instilled the love of all things in the natural world and how they work.

    I would never claim to better understand the inner workings of one field better than someone who is a current practitioner of said field. I do however enjoy pointing out where people are making baseless claims and distorting evidence when I recognize it. My blog is merely a place for me to vent and I’ve never claimed it to be a science blog. I write about many things (frequently poorly). These include science, food, music, art, photography, culture, religion, family, my dogs, etc. Its a blog. Period. I’m not claiming to be solving the worlds problems nor am I probably making much of an impact on anyone’s life. And frankly, I don’t give a shit. That’s not the point.

    However, your claims about your experience as a software engineer and its great ability understand evolution and refute it are well documented. That very thread you linked to above is an example of that.

    The question I would really like to know the answer to is too rude to ask

    Oh please, the suggestion alone is tantalizing. Please don’t hold back.

    However, I am wondering if you have always been an atheist.

    No, but I don’t see how this has any bearing on anything.

  171. #171 John Morales
    July 29, 2008

    More succintly put, Stimpy is apparently a credentialist.

    hee hee.

  172. #172 Dr. J
    July 29, 2008

    The reason why I was wondering about your education level was because I have never read anything by you that is remotely scientific. Most of it is just ridicule. I have read some of your blog. Which entry is the one you would consider to be the most scientific?

    And Randy, I’ll return that question to you.

    I might remind you that criticizing science is not to be confused with true science(TM).

    What does it matter is someone is an atheist or not? There are many – dare I say most – scientists that understand evolution and are still theists. To view atheism and science as one is ridiculous but then again I think that is what the Disco Institute, AIG, and others would like you to believe.

  173. #173 shane
    July 29, 2008

    Clueless Antipodean here, but what the frack is “pulled pork”?
    I’ve heard of something over there called a “taffy pull” too. What is that? Sounds like something Taffy would like.

    When I was younger my navy friends used to try and pull pork or bonk-a-gronk but I think it probably means something different to your “pulled pork”.

  174. #174 Whateverman
    July 29, 2008

    Do I detect a repost here? The question looks strangely familiar, as if I’d seen it posted here before…

    Pulled Pork

  175. #175 shane
    July 29, 2008

    Thanks Whateverman. Sweet juicy slow cooked pork… droooool.

  176. #176 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 29, 2008

    Pulled pork is Barbeque. Now I’m not going to get into the intricacies of what the word barbeque means, because.. well that is another topic. But Southerners know what the true meaning is.

    Essentially it is a pork shoulder or boston butt and sometimes the whole hog that has been slow smoked over wood coals. I smoke mike 12-18 hours over Hickory, some like Oak or other hardwoods and fruit woods. It gets so tender that you then can pull it apart. Some people then chop it, some slice it, some like to pull it apart at the fiber level.

    It is served differently in different regions. Typically there is some sauce. In North carolina it can be a vinegar and red pepper sauce on chopped whole hog in the east or a slightly tangy vinegar and tomato sauce on pulled shoulder and butt in the west. In South Carolina it can be any of the above or a mustard based BBQ sauce. In Memphis or even farther west it has more tomato and tang. Some deep south areas use mayo in their sauce, not something I’m a huge fan of but I’ll eat it. There are a bunch of variations. I’m particular to the Lexington, NC style because i grew up in the area. That is also how it usually works for others.

    Cole slaw or red BBQ slaw is usually a side as are hush puppies, brunswick stew and various types of bread or rolls. Some regions are as particular about their sides as they are about their sauce.

    My favorite is Lexington style pulled shoulder or butt (which is actually part fo the shoulder as well) on a nice bun with a little sauce and a good cole slaw.

    Now back to your regularly scheduled science blog.

  177. #177 shane
    July 29, 2008

    Rev. BDC, can I ask what qualifications you have regarding the bbq-ing of pulled pork? Well, not literally just pulled pork, but the preparation and cooking of all pig products.
    ;-)

  178. #178 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 29, 2008
  179. #179 shane
    July 29, 2008

    Rev. BDC…

    *shakes fist*
    Bastard. I think I’ve been pwned.

    Anyway WOW… but then I got to the beer fridge post and double WOW.

    Bookmarked. Thanks.

  180. #180 Rev. bigDumbChimp
    July 29, 2008

    hehe

    I haven’t updated too much recently, but I’m planning on getting back on it as soon as I’m not working three weekends a month dealing with the low staffed IT department I head.

    I have a bunch of goodies in mind.

  181. @ Rev. BigDumbChimp

    It doesn’t matter to me if a person is an atheist or not. The person I admire the most is an atheist. What matters to me is that people are treated with respect.

    Furthermore, I don’t think that atheism, intelligent design and evolution are necessarily incompatible. I do think evolution-by-random-mutation-and-natural-selection and entropy are incompatible. Interesting enough I have searched this blog and didn’t find one entry dealing with the topic of entropy.

    You are an IT Director. Wouldn’t it be stupid to hire only testers and let all the development be done by computer automated random mutation or genetic algorithms?

  182. #182 Wowbagger
    July 30, 2008

    Randy,

    Someone’s probably going to do a better job of this than I am – I’m not that well-versed in evoltionary theory – but I’ll have a stab at it anyway.

    You’re assuming there’s a goal. Evolution doesn’t (as I understand it) posit achieving anything other that survival for the genes. ‘Better’ (complex, intelligent, impressed by digital watches etc.) by our standards doesn’t necessarily mean better for survival.

    So your analogy of IT testing falls down because the IT testers have something in mind which they wish to achieve. That isn’t the case with evolution. If the company just paid IT people to dick around and keep the good things that happened then maybe your analogy would fit – but I can’t imagine there are too many companies that work that way.

  183. #183 themadlolscientist, FCD
    July 30, 2008

    @ Rev. BigDumbChimp, #178:

    Damn! I just gained 5 lbs. simply by looking at all that yummy stuff!

    Super photos too. The orchid closeup in particular is A-bloody-mazing. Talk about yummy!

    p.s. I just tagged you as my newest flickr contact. Be afraid. Be very, very afraid. :-)

  184. #184 John Morales
    July 30, 2008

    Stimpy:

    I do think evolution-by-random-mutation-and-natural-selection and entropy are incompatible. Interesting enough I have searched this blog and didn’t find one entry dealing with the topic of entropy.

    1. What sort of post on entropy were you expecting in a biologist’s blog?

    2. Not that it hasn’t come up many a time. Search for entropy+thermodynamics on this blog.

  185. #185 Ichthyic
    July 30, 2008

    Furthermore, I don’t think that atheism, intelligent design and evolution are necessarily incompatible.

    you’re falsely equating two philosophies with a science.

    it’s like saying trees and air are not necessarily incompatible.

    IOW, you’re babbling again.

    evolution-by-random-mutation-and-natural-selection and entropy are incompatible.

    wrong.

    Interesting enough I have searched this blog and didn’t find one entry dealing with the topic of entropy.

    there’s a reason for that, but it’s quite beyond your comprehension, apparently. I’m going to assume by “entropy” you have actually moved beyond the idiotic (and even rejected by AIG) SloT arguments and are more referring to information. If so, try framing your question in the form of “information” like so many of you idiots (Sal Cordova comes to mind) are wont to do of late, and then you can shut up while you read the thousands of articles showing exactly how mutations can add information to the genome.

    like polyploidy for one of many well documented examples:

    http://polyploidy.biosci.utexas.edu/

    yes, even in Texas they know more than you.

    Wouldn’t it be stupid to hire only testers and let all the development be done by computer automated random mutation or genetic algorithms?

    who says there needs be efficiency behind any method?

    what? you think this is some damn engineering project with a CEO?

    moreover, as usual, you conflate A mechanism of generating variability (“random mutation” I will equate with point mutations; there are dozens of identified sources of heritable variability that have little to do with point mutations) with selection itself, which of course is anything BUT random.

    I know for a fact that this has been pointed out to you literally hundreds of times, you lying sack of shit.

    If you want respect, Randy, you fucking have to earn it.

    your constant lying and pathetic misrepresentations are hardly a stimulus to provide you with respect.

    laughter, yes.

    derision, sure.

    respect?

    not hardly.

    go away, Randy, you’re an idiot.

  186. #186 John Morales
    July 30, 2008

    re:#184 – Not to mention this. I thought the name familiar.

  187. #187 Ichthyic
    July 30, 2008

    I thought the name familiar.

    yeah…

    ever since PZ made that post, Stimpy has been drooling inanity on various threads here, just to “punish” us with stupidity, I suppose.

  188. #188 John Morales
    July 30, 2008

    Hm, gotta weigh up the stupidity vs the dishonesty.

    He’s “searched this blog” but apparently didn’t find the post dedicated to his claim and mentioning the “topic of entropy”, a post in which he himself posted.

    Since apparently he figures bare-faced, transparent and documented lies help his cause, I vote for stupidity > dishonesty.

    But it’s a close call.

  189. #189 truth machine, OM
    July 30, 2008

    I do think evolution-by-random-mutation-and-natural-selection and entropy are incompatible.

    By which you identify yourself as not only grossly ignorant about physics and biology, but somewhat feebleminded — the statement is prima facie absurd, and the standard arguments, aside from being based on ignorance, are simply incoherent. Even if this were a closed system with no sun pouring energy into it, and even if the increase in entropy were an ironclad rule rather than a statistical tendency, the entropy argument would go against life, not evolution. It is living processes that produce local order, not evolution, which is simply a change in allele frequency in a population. That this change reflects the environmental conditions that affect survivability is natural selection, which is in no way incompatible with “entropy” (or more coherently the tendency for entropy to increase over time).

  190. #190 Louis Irving
    July 30, 2008

    Truth machine said;
    “if the increase in entropy were an ironclad rule rather than a statistical tendency”

    Well, actually it is an iron-clad rule. However, it refers to isolated systems. So the whole system [i]must[/i] increase in entropy through time, even though individual components within it need not. You are absolutely right in noting that the localised decrease in entropy on earth (life) is fuelled by a much larger [b]increase[/b] in entropy as the sun slowly converts hydrogen into helium and other elements.

  191. #191 Brain Hertz
    July 30, 2008

    Randy wrote:

    I do think evolution-by-random-mutation-and-natural-selection and entropy are incompatible.

    Surely you jest?

    Whatever. Please elaborate on your contention that evolution by random mutation and natural selection and entropy are incompatible, as you put it.

    Also, given your earlier brief reference to information theory (a subject in which I have not insignificant background myself) please clarify which meaning of “entropy” you are referring to.

  192. #192 John Morales
    July 30, 2008

    Louis @190: Have fun with truth machine.

    I linked to the Wikipedia disambiguation page for entropy in #184. Care to clarify in which sense you’re using it, other than to say “in the same sense tm did”?

    Um, I started to write more, but I guess that’s not for me to do.

  193. #193 jim
    July 30, 2008

    Randy:

    Wouldn’t it be stupid to hire only testers and let all the development be done by computer automated random mutation or genetic algorithms?

    Today it would. In 20 years’ time, it may well be the only way any software gets written.

  194. #194 negentropyeater
    July 30, 2008

    John #192

    Care to clarify in which sense you’re using it

    You can get an idea if you read this “beautiful” mish mash of a post on his blog :

    http://randystimpson.blogspot.com/2007/02/entropy-versus-evolution.html

    This was particularly fantastic, for someone who claims to make statements not based on “faith” :

    Entropy predicts that over time inherited genetic disorders will become more prevelent within a species and will eventually cause extinction. This prediction is confirmed by the fossil record and is contrary to the belief that genetic mutations lead to superior genetic organization, that is, evolution.

    Confirmed by the fossil record ? Gee, first this guy uses the term Entropy for some kind of law that he plugs out of thin air, then confirms this law with the fossil record.

    He probably thinks of himself as a new Darwin in the making…

    Hey Randy, why not write a paper and try to get a Nobel prize, or maybe even get your picture on the next 10 dollar bills ?

  195. #195 John Morales
    July 30, 2008

    negentropyeater, Stimpy is a third removed party to my comment, but yeah.

    It is a quaint read.

    The first paragraph alone amuses:

    Probably one of the most annoying laws of science is the fact that entropy tends to increase. I am reminded of this whenever my wireless mouse stops working. When that happens it means that the batteries powering my mouse have reached maximum entropy.

    PS I’ve always liked your monicker.

  196. #196 negentropyeater
    July 30, 2008

    Well, I think Randy would do well starting with a short reading of this article :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy_and_life

    Particularly :

    In a popular 1982 textbook Principles of Biochemistry by noted American biochemist Albert Lehninger, it is argued that the order produced within cells as they grow and divide is more than compensated for by the disorder they create in their surroundings in the course of growth and division. In short, according to Lehninger, “living organisms preserve their internal order by taking from their surroundings free energy, in the form of nutrients or sunlight, and returning to their surroundings an equal amount of energy as heat and entropy.”

    Similarly, according to the chemist John Avery, from his recent 2003 book Information Theory and Evolution, we find a presentation in which the phenomenon of life, including its origin and evolution, as well as human cultural evolution, has its basis in the background of thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, and information theory. The (apparent) paradox between the second law of thermodynamics and the high degree of order and complexity produced by living systems, according to Avery, has its resolution “in the information content of the Gibbs free energy that enters the biosphere from outside sources.”

  197. #197 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 30, 2008

    You are an IT Director. Wouldn’t it be stupid to hire only testers and let all the development be done by computer automated random mutation or genetic algorithms?

    Of course Randy, but you’re equating the evolutionary process directly with software development, which is your repeated problem. They are not the same thing and this is why I have been critical of you the few times I’ve commented on your posts. You assume because your line of expertise is software engineering that it translates to expertise in evolutionary biology, or at least part of evo biology. Sure there are similarities but you’ve taken it past that to making the weak analogy into direct correlation.

    Now where’s that rude questions you wanted to ask?

  198. #198 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    July 30, 2008

    It doesn’t matter to me if a person is an atheist or not. The person I admire the most is an atheist. What matters to me is that people are treated with respect.

    Ok fine, what was the point of asking me if I have always been an atheist?

  199. #199 negentropyeater
    July 30, 2008

    Randy still can’t seem to understand that when there is no IT Director and 3.5 billion years instead, evolutionary processes can come up with pretty formidable and robust designs naturally and guided by nobody, designs that an intelligent human software or hardware designer is for the moment incapable of making. Or at least, when they apply the usual software coding methods and try to make AI micro-systems that try to emulate some basic functions of live systems, those are in general no way as robust and perfect as the naturally designed biological systems.

    It’s really strange how some people can be so closed minded in one way of thinking and never want to try to learn from other fields of research.

  200. #200 Benjamin Franklin
    July 30, 2008

    One desecrated cracker – worthless.

    Six hundred pissed-off priests – priceless!

  201. #201 prn
    July 30, 2008

    PZ, YOU IGGNERENT SLUT! IF LIFE CAMED FRUM NON-LIFE, HOW’S COME THEIRS STILL NON-LIFE.

    /poe

    Paul

  202. #202 Bezoar
    July 30, 2008

    Watched the History Channel last night. What a wonderful validation for evolution. The series centered on the Eye and how it evolved based on survival and need. There was also a not so nice reference to intellegent design. There was constant reference to the age of the planet which was clearly more than 7,000 years old. Genesis got a “poke in the eye’ :-).
    Next week’s episode is “Guts”. The fundamentalists will have to have plenty in order to watch it.

  203. #203 bezoar
    July 30, 2008

    Paul (#201),
    If you intend to make a point here’s what I would do. Don’t type in CAPS; learn how to spell and be sure you aren’t missing the point. It’s not about there “still being non life” but about the “not being still life” ;-). Have a good day flamer.

  204. #204 Brain Hertz
    July 30, 2008

    bezoar (#203)

    Additional friendly tip: look up “Poe” in your favorite online urban dictionary ;-)

  205. #205 l'oca s.
    July 30, 2008

    jose (#35)
    scientists did believe in spontaneous generation – aka bugonia – of maggots, flies, bees etc. Spallanzani didn’t, John Needham did, and both were Catholic priests, so I presume they had no guide-lines from their Church. Pasteur, killed the theory in 1859, see movie with Paul Muni, but Redi, Swammerdam et al. had got there first. Fascinating topic, I wish PZ Myers would make a post.

  206. #206 berlin
    July 31, 2008

    Learn How Eyes Evolved… on their own… by chance … by random selection… by natural selection … by, oh my how funny, never by ID.

    And they said PZ Myers has no faith!! Why, he has more faith than your most zealous Catholic in any pew. He believes it all “just happened.” Oh… and he has proof too, kids.

  207. #207 Dave Godfrey
    July 31, 2008

    Life can be defined (albeit somewhat poorly) as a localised reversal of entropy.

    It should also be noted that your body spends an awful lot of time trying to keep itself in a stable state, continually repairing itself.

  208. #208 HRMN of Earth
    July 31, 2008

    Hey PZ, you silly goose, If the NT evolved from the OT then why is there still the OT mentality?

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