Pharyngula

A quick update

I’m at the big Atheist Alliance conference, and this has been the very busy day, so I thought I’d just mention a few of the fun things going on.

  • Last night at Libros Revolución was a blast, and thanks especially to Keith for driving us around. Lots of familiar people from the threads here were present, as well as many new people. I do have to comment on one fellow (who can volunteer his identity if he wants):

    i-c6233d7abfb17e871bbf5bb08acbacc0-tattoo.jpg

    Awesome tattoo.

  • At lunch, I got to sit next to Jill Sobule. She reads Pharyngula! Everyone say hello to Jill now. Of course, she also ‘fessed up to reading WorldNutDaily for the humor value, so this may not be an entirely flattering revelation.

  • The secret guest at this meeting was supposed to be Ayaan Hirsi Ali; her presence was kept secret because of the threats against her life. To no avail, though: local security freaked out on the Queen Mary and in Long Beach, and she wasn’t allowed to attend. We had to settle for a too-brief video link from an undisclosed location.

  • Got little kids? Here’s a site you must check out, Charlie’s Playhouse. THey are making and marketing simple games and displays about evolution for young kids, a niche that needs to be filled. Their wall hanging belongs in every grade school classroom in the country.

  • My talk is over. I took a different direction than I usually do — I got lots of questions, which is good, but I never can tell how successful these things are. People tend not to go up to the speaker and say, “that sucked”. (You can, you know—I can take the criticism).

  • I’ve done three video interviews so far today, and there were several others stacked up. If you’re looking for me, I’ll be at the happy hour social event at 6, the banquet at 7, and this Religiomania thing, whatever it is, for at least a little while around 10. Busy busy busy.

  • I fly back tomorrow. I may just sleep all the way home.

Have fun in the comments while I play!

Comments

  1. #1 The Blind Watchmaker
    September 27, 2008

    Was that tatoo a fancy Flying Spagetti Monster?

  2. #2 Hideki
    September 27, 2008

    An octopus by the looks of it, quite a nice one at that

  3. #3 Bride of Shrek OM
    September 27, 2008

    I think you’ll find its a squid. Too many leggies for an occie.

  4. #4 Nothing Sacred
    September 27, 2008

    Jill should get Julia Sweeney’s daughter the Giant Evolution timeline.

  5. #5 Nemo
    September 27, 2008

    Hi Jill. Your “I Kissed a Girl” is way better than Katy Perry’s. :)

    I passed by Jill Sobule at the Lilith Fair once. Like, a foot apart. (Sat on the grass about fifteen feet from Joan Osborne, too, at the same show.)

  6. #6 Amplexus
    September 27, 2008

    That “Charlie’s playhouse” is a bit odd. A bit too academic for kids I think. I don’t know… I really don’t think these things are going to reach the kids that need to see them . Although I really do appreciate how they go over extinct ancient organisms other than dinosaurs. Dinosaurs are really only part of the picture. There were giant Amphibians around back then. Although they didn’t look much like frogs because you can’t get a two story high tetrapod to hop around the ground very easy.

    Kent Hovind was a real hit because he was able to integrate the child’s natural love of dinosaurs with childish superstition. That is something that science educators are going to need to combat.

    It’s not just dinosaurs that Genesis needs to explain. It’s also labyrinthodont and Tiktaalik.

  7. #7 druidbros
    September 27, 2008

    Hey PZ I was looking for some laughs so I perused the Conservapedia article for Atheism and they had a section titled….

    Internet Infidels and other Atheist Websites

    And then it lists….

    * Earl Doherty [167]
    * Richard Carrier [168]
    * Dan Barker [169]
    * Stephen Carr [170]
    * Jeffery Jay Lowder [171]
    * Acharya S [172]
    * Kyle Gerkin [173]
    * Farrell Till [174]

    I was quite shocked you were not on the list. Should I correct the obvious error and add your name? Or do you just want to try harder?

  8. #8 Graculus
    September 27, 2008

    That “Charlie’s playhouse” is a bit odd. A bit too academic for kids I think.

    In my limited (to other people’s children) experience, something is only too academic for kids if you tell them it is. They don’t know any different.

  9. #9 druidbros
    September 27, 2008

    And did you know we ‘target’ young people on the web? hahahahaha.

    Targeting of Young People by Atheists on the Internet

    In 2007, WorldNetDaily feature a column by Chuck Norris which stated the following regarding atheism and the Internet:
    ” Atheists are making a concerted effort to win the youth of America and the world. Hundreds of websites and blogs on the Internet seek to convince and convert adolescents, endeavoring to remove any residue of theism from their minds and hearts by packaging atheism as the choice of a new generation. While you think your kids are innocently surfing the Web, secular progressives are intentionally preying on their innocence and naivete.

    What’s preposterous is that atheists are now advertising and soliciting on websites particularly created for teens. The London Telegraph noted that, “Groups including Atheists for Human Rights and Atheist Alliance International – ‘Call 1-866-HERETIC’ – are setting up summer camps and an Internet recruiting campaign.”

    YouTube, the most popular video site on the Net for young people, is one of their primary avenues for passing off their secularist propaganda.[175]

    Because Chuck Norris is an expert on internet Atheists. hahahaha. Oh man my sides hurt…..

  10. #10 Eric Atkinson
    September 27, 2008

    I wonder who wrote that Conservapedia article on the Octopus paxarbolis. I’d love to shake his or her hand.

  11. #11 Carlie
    September 27, 2008

    Hi Jill. Your “I Kissed a Girl” is way better than Katy Perry’s. :)

    Oh, not even in the same philosophical realm. Jill kicks Katy’s ass, not just for the better music and singing ability, but also for treating the idea well and loving and cute rather than as a way to impress a bunch of guys at a party. Hi Jill!

  12. #12 druidbros
    September 27, 2008

    UH OH …Eric in da crib.

  13. #13 Paper Hand
    September 27, 2008

    @#9:

    When they make an atheist version of Veggie Tales, and try to get mandatory reading of Dawkins in the school, then they’ll have a point. ;-)

    (An atheist Veggie Tales would be pretty fun, actually)

  14. #14 druidbros
    September 27, 2008

    #13… Thanks for the great short film idea !!!!

  15. #15 Jeremy
    September 27, 2008

    Quote by druidbros@9″

    by packaging atheism as the choice of a new generation

    PepsiCo is going to sue somebody!

    If I had kids who were raised to think critically, I don’t think I’d have to shield them from religious nitwittery. I think they’d have the sense to see it as the bullshit it is. So it’s funny that’s religious people are so uptight about the evil atheists undoing all the programming they so carefully beat into their kids’ heads. It’d be terrible if they learned to think for themselves.

  16. #16 Jeremy
    September 27, 2008

    Complaints about typos and such can be directed to the Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Lynchburg Tennessee. A fine place to visit too, especially if you get a drunk and senile old guy to lead the tour.

  17. #17 druidbros
    September 27, 2008

    “So it’s funny that’s religious people are so uptight about the evil atheists undoing all the programming they so carefully beat into their kids’ heads. It’d be terrible if they learned to think for themselves.”…Jeremy

    Exactly. They fear that reason and truth will influence little Johnny and if the kid has a halfway functioning brain at all it will eventually. I taught all three of mine children to question things and I was always going to the school officer explaining things to the principal. Usually the end came when I had logically exposed all of their sloppy thinking and they either capitulated or just said ‘well its just going to be that way’.

  18. #18 Rey Fox
    September 27, 2008

    Seconded, thirded, fourthed, whatever, about the Jill Sobule song…I’ve only heard bits of either “Kissed A Girl” song, and it’s quite obvious which one is honest and praiseworthy, and which one is cynical chart bait.* Think about if some singer nobody knew tried the exact same kind of song, only it was a guy singing about how he kissed a guy. Everybody would freak out and you’d never hear it outside of certain clubs. Heck, even if it were Clay Aiken, it might be a minor hit, but most of the pop audience would still be too squicked. BS double standard from a sexually dysfunctional society.

    * Although when I first heard it on the radio in a van, I thought it was just a particularly whiny emo guy singing it, and couldn’t see what the fuss was about kissing a girl.

  19. #19 Brine Queen
    September 27, 2008

    Personally, I think the games at Zygote games (http://zygotegames.com/games.html)look far more entertaining, while being very educational. I’m going to get parasites unleashed for myself!

  20. #20 Nerd of Redhead
    September 27, 2008

    UH OH …Eric in da crib.

    I don’t think he will be around for long. Abuse him while you can.

  21. #21 The Cheerful Nihilist
    September 28, 2008

    Since this appears to be another open thread for us to play in . . . .

    More proof that evolution is a myth:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Wroj0FLvzs

    And if anybody wants to tell me the html for embedding this without making people copy it to their browser, feel free. I’m something of Luddite.

  22. #22 Jared
    September 28, 2008

    @21
    Teh stoopididi, teh brnz!

  23. #23 Jared
    September 28, 2008

    The Cheerful Nihilist, I hope you don’t mind I’ve taken the liberty of posting that on my blog…

  24. #24 RBH
    September 28, 2008

    Her “[Busy Gettin’ Ready for] The Rapture” is the rotation on her site. Great lyrics!

  25. #25 Quiet Desperation
    September 28, 2008

    That was the commie bookstore, right? Were there any commies? What were they like? They all had big beards, right? Big old commie beards. Even the women. Nah. Not if James Bond films can be trusted. Commie women are hot, an they are ALL double or triple agents. Cool!

    I tease. :-) Sorry. I’m in one of my weird moods.

    Obamaman is still up 286 to 252.

    http://www.electoral-vote.com/

  26. #26 Tanath
    September 28, 2008

    Looks like Cthulhu.

  27. #27 Pharynguphile
    September 28, 2008

    I’ll be more than happy to come up at one of your speeches and tell you that you sucked.

  28. #28 davew
    September 28, 2008

    Well, I guess the guy with the tat will be Eaten First.

  29. #29 The Cheerful Nihilist
    September 28, 2008

    @ Quiet Desperation #25

    What happened to your middle name? The “underscore” (_) is missing. Is this negligence in the form of a typo, or is it a sign of the transformative new you?

    Who would I be if I dropped my middle name? How would we differentiate between John Randolph and John C. Randolph? How about discerning the distinctions between George H. Bush from George W. Bush?* Would we want to bother with a blog run by P Myers rather than PZ Myers?

    Your incoherent ranting is disturbing enough, but for you to drop that all important _ is too much! (I have, I’ll admit, commented with a misspelled name on at least one occasion, but only because I was drunk.)

    *The guy with the “H” in his name probably wishes that the other one had been aborted or been killed in a car crash when he was a teenager.

  30. #30 Luger Otter Robinson
    September 28, 2008

    That video, the Cheerful Nihilist, doesn’t disprove evolution. Who says that evolution always progresses towards increasing sophistication? Natural selection only ever selects for traits which are of survival value. In redneck society, congenital stupidity is probably such a trait.
    I had a look at Charlie’s playhouse. I hope it does well. I don’t think that we should underestimate the intelligence of children. I was amazed to read that there was a 9 year old girl on the Beagle. I must try and read Darwin’s Voyage of the Beagle. It turns out there was. Four children had been taken to England on the 1st voyage of the Beagle from Tierra del Fuego, and 3 were returned on the 2nd voyage, one of whom was a 9 year old girl, Fuegia Basket (the crew’s name for her, her real name was yok’cushly). The 4th died of smallpox in England.

  31. #31 djlactin
    September 28, 2008

    Dang, Eric (@10), you woke up the cleaning crew: The Octopus paxarbolis article has been removed from C-pedia. Somebody grokked the satire, apparently.

  32. #32 Chris Davis
    September 28, 2008

    Tell me that’s an arm and not a thigh.

  33. #33 Doug
    September 28, 2008

    Surely Ayaan Hirsi Ali couldn’t have been in danger from members of the “religion of peace”. It’s not like she’s a cartoon. Or did some Catholics mistake her for a wafer?

  34. #34 Evan
    September 28, 2008

    Jill Sobule is my hero.

    “lookin’ like young Marlon Brando…not like old fat Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now…”

    I heart her.

  35. #35 Dawn
    September 28, 2008

    I thought the stuff at Charlie’s Playhouse looked really cute. My kids are way beyond the ages targeted, but if I was in the market for kids that age, I’d buy it. Kids DO love dinosaurs, but, at least in my experience, they are fascinated by how things changed over the years. I know my 2 kids would have loved this stuff. (But now…I’m not too sure about as a 21st birthday present for a bio major…comments, anyone?)

  36. #36 firemancarl
    September 28, 2008

    Yeah, Jills is much better. I remember when her song came out. My girlfriend at the time thought it was kick ass song. Of course, how can you go wrong with a song that uses the phrase “dumb as a box of hammers”?

  37. #37 David Marjanovi?, OM
    September 28, 2008

    There were giant Amphibians around back then.

    Whether they were amphibians is still not clear…

    Although they didn’t look much like frogs because you can’t get a two story high tetrapod to hop around the ground very easy.

    That’s not why. The reason is they simply weren’t frogs and therefore had no jumping ancestors. Hey, neither do salamanders or caecilians.

    Tell me that’s an arm and not a thigh.

    What? Of course it’s an arm. The shape is obvious.

  38. #38 Kel
    September 28, 2008

    More proof that evolution is a myth:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Wroj0FLvzs

    Nar, it’s just proof that the human race has lost selective pressure.

  39. #39 Claudia
    September 28, 2008

    @#9:

    When they make an atheist version of Veggie Tales, and try
    to get mandatory reading of Dawkins in the school, then
    they’ll have a point. ;-)

    (An atheist Veggie Tales would be pretty fun, actually)

    An atheist Veggie Tales would just be inanimate veg lying around, wouldn’t it? Anything else might be considered “woo”. Maybe it’d start to get really exciting when the veggies started decomposing…plus, that’s super science-y! ;)

    *I hope you all saw the twinkle in my eye! Internet sarcasm is HARD.

  40. #40 Eclogite
    September 28, 2008

    That Charlie’s Playhouse stuff is GREAT! I have 3 small boys that are interested in dinosaurs and I’m doing my best to foster their interest in science (I’m known in the neighborhood as “the scientist guy”) and this stuff will really help. Thanks for the link.

  41. #41 Dave
    September 28, 2008

    #34 ditto the love of that line from Karen by Night

  42. #42 Architeuthis
    September 28, 2008

    Yep, that was my tattoo. I’ve had it for a while now (on my leg is a chameleon tattoo.. and I’m currently looking for designs for my next one).

    It’s designed to be very ambiguous. The head is rounded like an octopus, lacking the lateral fins on the head… there are 10 tentacles like a squid, and the eyes are binocular like Cthulhu.

    it really represents my fascination (since I was a little kid) of cephalopods. I couldnt really choose between an octopus or a squid, but I wanted something really geeky like Cthulhu, but with enough plausible deniability to avoid the OMG Cthulhu? comments.

    At the meetup, I had a fantastic time with everyone. Everyone I talked to was passionate, interesting, thoughtful and a distinct pleasure to meet. I do confess a small bit of nervousness upon meeting PZ, it was a little strange meeting someone that I felt that I’ve trusted and known for several years, but after that first nervousness passed…. I just felt comfortable and at home with everyone there.

    Thank you to all the people who appreciated my participation, and I’ll be putting up my conversion story shortly. (former fundie/ repub/ YEC/ homeschooled)

    Without fail, PZ’s talk was inspiring, clear, entertaining and with a well directed and appropriate level venom and vitriol (but without the volume associated to most TV pundits), and full of passion and direction.

    But for me, it was meeting some amazing people that I hope to keep in contact with. Also, thanks to the great people at libros revolucion for hosting the event, they were very gracious and a pleasure to meet.

    Well worth missing the debate for.

  43. #43 LightningRose
    September 28, 2008

    Jill smiled at me and said “Hi!” as she walked by me once.

    *waves and smiles at Jill* :)

  44. #44 LightningRose
    September 28, 2008

    For those who don’t know who Jill Sobule is, this is the song that she’s best known for.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SclQZ4W2VZ0

  45. #45 Alligator
    September 28, 2008

    I also read WorldNetDaily for it’s humor value! Of course, it ceases to be funny when I remember that lots of people take that site seriously.

  46. #46 Hen3ry
    September 28, 2008

    This might also amuse some:

    http://www.collectedcurios.com/spiderandscorpion.html

    I refer you to no. 67, in case it updates…

  47. #47 Ichthyic
    September 28, 2008

    Thank you to all the people who appreciated my participation, and I’ll be putting up my conversion story shortly. (former fundie/ repub/ YEC/ homeschooled)

    good, I think it’s needed (I think I might have mentioned that a few times when we spoke :p ).

    oh, in case you haven’t found it yet…

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/02/how_ricky_gervais_lost_his_fai.php

    That’s one of the big threads with a lot of deconversion stories in it.

    cheers

  48. #48 Ichthyic
    September 28, 2008

    Here are some pics from Friday night in LA. Please forgive me if I’ve forgotten your handle. Just post a note here or there and I’ll correct it.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ichthyic/sets/72157607560511322/

  49. #49 Monado
    September 29, 2008

    It’s too bad you missed Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She came to a bookstore in Toronto in Feb. 2007. I happened to be working on a contract for the Ontario Government just a few blocks away, so I walked up after work. There were a few police officers and security people around but it was very nice and low-key. There was no announcement til the day of.

    I took a few photos.

  50. #50 Longtime Lurker
    September 29, 2008

    Think about if some singer nobody knew tried the exact same kind of song, only it was a guy singing about how he kissed a guy. Everybody would freak out and you’d never hear it outside of certain clubs.

    Funny! Do you think “I Touch Myself” would have been a hit if some d00d sang it?

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