Pharyngula

Reader wombat found a fascinating site in response to the creationist debate in Kentucky, led by Dr. Ben Scripture. It’s an utterly bizarre page about a petrified human brain, and it is typical creationist tripe. They have gathered a collection of “authorities”, where they make much of their pedigrees (don’t blame me, the “Dr. X, Ph.D.” is the redundant formula they use on the site.)

  • Dr. Suzanne Vincent, Ph.D., a neuroanatomist(!) at Oral Roberts University
  • Dr. Ross Anderson, Ph.D. of The Masters College
  • Dr. Bedros Daghlian, M.D., a retired doctor
  • Dr. Ben Scripture, Ph.D. in biology
  • Dr. Travis Shipley, Ph.D. in theology (snort!)
  • Dr. Frederick Trexler, Ph.D. in geology and Physics

The photos show these people and others gushing over this lump of rock, with testimonials like:

  • “It is scientifically impossible for this to not be a brain”
  • “Clearly, this is the brain stem and spinal cord, see it wrapped around there? Everything right where it is supposed to be.”
  • “Dr. Daghlian checked microscopically, and confirmed residue to appear cellular.”
  • “…I spent several years in medicine before obtaining my Doctorate in Theology. When I reviewed the x-rays of the rock and different brains, I chose incorrectly which was which!”

After all that, you’d expect to find some remarkable degree of similarity, wouldn’t you? It convinced a neuroanatomist, after all, and surely all those people with their fancy degrees couldn’t be fooled. But then they show us a close-up photo of this “brain”.

i-2f90ec1de3c8dc5a40606cf32adb8777-rock.jpg

They’ve got to be kidding. That’s a lumpy rock. It’s no brain; I’ve seen a lot of brains in my time, from fish to frogs to lizards to birds to all kinds of mammals, and that looks nothing like any of them. Here, in case you haven’t seen one, is a photo of a human brain:

i-4e6f102486f62016c6635c3833d18540-brain.jpg

This is the Ed Conrad effect. Hand some ignorant people a random lump of rock, tell them it’s a fossil, and their imaginations will do the rest. There is no excuse for these “experts”, though — the author of the page claims that “It has been examined and determined to be a petrified human brain by many people with high degrees in several different fields of study and occupation.” That just goes to show that even the most qualified people in creation ‘science’ have to be flaming idiots.

Comments

  1. #1 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    October 20, 2008

    Not only is the content of the site some of the worst you can find, the formatting and code is browser crashingly bad.

  2. #2 Matt7895
    October 20, 2008

    Those two ‘universities’ are both conservative, evangelical Christian colleges of the Pat Robertson/Jerry Falwell variety.

  3. #3 Longtime Lurker
    October 20, 2008

    It’s most certainly a petrified human brain- bite marks in it clearly matched John McCain’s dental records!

  4. #4 ChemBob
    October 20, 2008

    Paradolia for the classically stupid.

  5. #5 ChrisGose
    October 20, 2008

    Is one of those doctors’ last name really “Scripture”?

  6. #6 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    October 20, 2008

    “are”

  7. #7 Glen Davidson
    October 20, 2008

    But intellectual standards are so restricting!

    And it looks kinda, you know, fleshy. OK, not the color of a brain, but like something, so come on.

    My God, apparently the “brain” wasn’t even found in a skull, or they’d have said so. Apparently it’s “just a brain,” which survived when bones did not.

    It’s like, a miracle.

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

  8. #8 MikeM
    October 20, 2008

    I’d be convinced if it had a fishing reel embedded in it.

  9. #9 Russell
    October 20, 2008

    Gimme a chisle and hammer, I’ll settle it right now. Or just crack it open over the Theologians head.

  10. #10 Jason, Cincinnati
    October 20, 2008

    However, the guy pictured on the top right of that website has convinced me of the existence of aliens. Those eyebrows can’t be human.

  11. #11 Matt
    October 20, 2008

    Certainly Poe’s Law here, right?

    They cannot be serious.

  12. #12 trj
    October 20, 2008

    Looks more like petrified broccoli. Possibly petrified steamed broccoli.

  13. #13 Nelson Muntz
    October 20, 2008

    They have found petrified brains of ancient creationists. They’re called coprolites.

  14. #14 Celtic_Evolution
    October 20, 2008

    I’m always wary of claims like the ones made here… has anyone contacted these people directly to confirm that they were quoted correctly and in the proper context?

    I remember having a debate with a particularly rancid fellow named Micheal Horn concerning his blatant mis-representation of the statements of a Cornell University astronomy professor. While getting the quote correct, he completely mis-represented its meaning to support his claim (concerning the accuracy of predictions of well-known con-artist and “alien visitation” whackaloon Billy Meier), when in fact the statement was intended to mock and refute the claim.

    Methinks some deeper investigation into the merits of these quotes and the persons giving them would be prudent… no intelligent, well respected professional in any of these fields is that patently stupid… I’m willing to bet some of these “testimonials” are either mis-representations or flat out fabrications.

  15. #15 DCN
    October 20, 2008

    Maybe it’s the brain of a Hallettestoneion Seazoria Dragon?

  16. #16 Mike V
    October 20, 2008

    Looks like a cranberry muffin to me…

  17. #17 Glen Davidson
    October 20, 2008

    Ooooh, stigmata:

    Dr. Scripture took this image while at the Chattanooga Choo Choo. This area is still unexplained. It gives the appearance of bleeding when rehydrated with just water. Better closeup images on the “Blood Supply” page.

    It has been looked at many times and everytime, it appears bloody when wet. It is proven to not magnify, but actually swell, and stay that way for a couple of days, yet is very hard, like cryptocrystalline silica

    Well you know, it looks like silica (from the photos it does indeed), but it bleeds! That proves it, fossils do bleed after all.

    I don’t know why I’m on this side. Clearly I could sell them a whole lot of fossilized brains, spleens, and testes (OK, maybe they wouldn’t buy anything sexual), that those horrible atheists deny are the true thing. I even have a few body parts of the saints from various stages of life that I could sell to them.

    I think I’ve seen the light of creationism, and it appears a little, oh, greenish.

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

  18. #18 Patricia
    October 20, 2008

    Yeah, and I’m a doctor of bullshitery too.
    Could that be a coprolite? Anyone here into scatology?
    Hee-haw! I just cracked myself up.

  19. #19 PZ Myers
    October 20, 2008

    This is a confirmation of Poe’s law. These people are actually serious about this being a brain.

    And the page is a mess. One nice thing: if you want a 3Kx2K pixel image of that brain, it’s right there — they’re just scaling the photos in html. If you find it slow to load, that’s why.

  20. #20 RM
    October 20, 2008

    That site reminded me of the two guys in Georgia who claimed to have a bigfoot in the freezer.

  21. #21 Celtic_Evolution
    October 20, 2008

    no intelligent, well respected professional in any of these fields is that patently stupid…

    I just re-read that… did I actually say that? Ugh… Have I learned nothing?

  22. #22 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    October 20, 2008

    If you look closely you can see the petrified burnt sienna crayon jammed in the frontal lobe.

  23. #23 Geral
    October 20, 2008

    Well maybe it’s a petrified creationist brain..

  24. #24 Umilik
    October 20, 2008

    This is a satire, right ? Come on, guys, these people (Dr Scripture ?) can’t be real. Besides they all look as if they’ve been sniffing glue. And they’re looking for “latent cell activity ?”
    Not buying it.

  25. #25 The Petey
    October 20, 2008

    It IS a human brain.
    Its an ID scientist’s brain.
    It also proves they all have rocks in their heads.

  26. #26 Celtic_Evolution
    October 20, 2008

    My favorite quote from the page:

    This area is still unexplained. It gives the appearance of bleeding when rehydrated with just water. Better closeup images on the “Blood Supply” page.

    Wow. All this time I’ve totally misunderstood how fossilization works… oh the wasted years! Quick… somebody get to the Smithsonian and tell the damn idjut scientists to start rehydrating those dinosaur fossils, STAT!

  27. #27 Janine ID AKA The Lone Drinker
    October 20, 2008

    Speaking as a complete dumbass, I have two questions.

    How would blood petrify and how would stone turn back into blood when water is added?

    How would a petrified brain prove creationism?

  28. #28 Alex
    October 20, 2008

    Well maybe it’s a petrified creationist brain..”

    I don’t think so. It’s too large.

  29. #29 Glen Davidson
    October 20, 2008

    What’s so great about this is that they will turn around and complain about Piltdown Man for the 40,000th time (totally missing the personal reasons Dawson had for doing it–not, of course, to “prove” evolution at all).

    Besides facts like the one that Piltdown looked tolerably like a real fossil, we might like to just count up the dozens (at least) of frauds and pareidolia for which the creationists have fallen, not to mention the bizarre claims that life “looks designed” when it has far more often appeared to be mysterious and/or miraculous in nature (but not today with the proper knowledge).

    You know, creidiots, Piltdown actually was made from actual primate bones. This thing is–take a look at it–a rock, and was never anything else.

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

  30. #30 ThirdMonkey
    October 20, 2008

    Well… as a software engineer who has been building websites for 12 years I have to say, from a usability standpoint, that site was designed and built by someone who is clearly mentally ill. Possibly schizophrenic.
    Then aside from the layout of the content, the content itself seems to have been created by a young child who has yet to master the art of the complete sentence.

    My favorite quote:
    “Another huge concern…where are the others?
    If this is real, there should be others.
    There probably are.
    Just look at the huge amount of information on these pages.”

    Lovely.

  31. #31 Charlie
    October 20, 2008

    They said that the odor came back when coprolites were dampened and that geologists didn’t know how fossils were formed. What a load of bulls***. Is this for real?

  32. #32 Moggie
    October 20, 2008

    Abby Normal?

  33. #33 Tulse
    October 20, 2008

    Just for my own clarification, the reason this is allegedly a big deal for them is that it shows rapid fossilization, and thus accounts for fossils in a Young Earth?

    And how do they know it is a human brain, and not the brain of some extinct animal? In other words, how do they know it must have fossilized rapidly? Or am I worrying far too much about the “intellectual” content of the site?

  34. #34 Jello
    October 20, 2008

    I think I found Dr. Scripture, looks like a Behe wannabe. It so sad how some people can go to college for eight years and not learna damn thing.

    http://www.scriptureoncreation.org/soc-final_002.php

  35. #35 Shane Killian
    October 20, 2008

    What they don’t tell you is how many scientists they went to with it who told them, “It’s a rock, you idiot!”

  36. #36 turkey
    October 20, 2008

    This is mostly OT, but I wanted to share a link with you PZ. You mentioned playing WoW to relax before, so you may or may not have read Dark Legacy Comics before. Well, it looks like the author is starting a new comic site with a scientific/atheistic bent: The Stonemaker Argument. It’s pretty cool, after all, with 10 million WoW players, at least a few are going to be clicking over and exposing their minds to some new ideas.

  37. #37 Glen Davidson
    October 20, 2008

    Research is currently ongoing to determine the degree of latent cellular activity.

    I can hardly wait for the science journals to report on the degree of latent cellular activity in that chunk of silica.

    Oh, I know, we’re having too much fun laughing at the absurdity of a cartoon “science”. It’s why ID is actually more interesting, because at least they are more fundamentally wrong than these people are.

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

  38. #38 Epinephrine
    October 20, 2008

    Well, it’s lumpy, and a rock…

    Doesn’t look enough like a brain to jump out as one to me, and I’ve sectioned hundreds of little brains. I mean, it’s possible that some sulci/gyri are not well preserved, but then what’s convincing them that it’s a brain?

    The x-rays are pretty bad – I’d like to see more than a single slice, it’d have to have similar 3D features, not just one particular plane corresponding to one particular shot of a human brain. Plus, I’d like to see the evidence of all these features they mention – blood vessels, axons, connected ventricles, etc.

  39. #39 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    October 20, 2008

    from the main site

    Before we start:
    You want to know how? Well, I guess petrified dookey,
    ( doo doo ), pretty well explains it. What I find strange is that so
    many ” big brains” question how this can be, but never flinch
    about all the fossilized excrement laying around.

    you can smell the science.

    Fact is, nobody knows for sure how any natural fossil was created.
    Nobody knows for sure how long it takes.
    Nobody has ever witnessed it.
    We can only confirm or deny on sheer speculation.

  40. #40 Spidergrackle
    October 20, 2008

    What’s with the white cotton gloves? Is that supposed to make them look more sciencey?

  41. #41 Rich Orman
    October 20, 2008

    Not to be a nitpicker (okay, that’s not true–I am intentionally being a nitpicker), but PZ’s jibe about the redundancy of “Dr. X, Ph.D” is a tad ridiculous, in that many people using the title Dr. are M.D.s (which might actually have been apropos to an analysis of whether something was a human brain), or even Psy.D, or J.D. (lawyers think that they are experts on everything, don’t they?), etc.

  42. #42 JohnnieCanuck, FCD
    October 20, 2008

    People without a clue, pretending to be sciencey. One of the hallmarks of competence in a field is knowing when a subject is outside your field.

    I’ve heard of police wannabes, but palaeontologist wannabes?

  43. #43 marsha
    October 20, 2008

    Reality aside… I also don’t understand how a petrified brain would prove creationism or the existence of some god.

    Maybe my brain is a little petrified.

  44. #44 Celtic_Evolution
    October 20, 2008

    Maybe it’s because I spend way too much time with my 7 year old daughter… but all I can think of while looking at that site is Spongebob:

    “It’s not just a bolder… it’s a rock! Oh, the pioneers used to ride these babies around for miles… and it’s in great shape!”

  45. #45 Buffybot
    October 20, 2008

    Wait – they say it has fingerprints on it?? Hope those have been run through AFIS to try and identify the killer who put both a spear wound and bullet hole in that thing. Must have been the biggest laugh the FBI have had for years.

    I can picture a solitary raving fruitloop entering into the fossilised brain fantasy, but six or seven individuals believing the crazy? That’s mindboggling.

  46. #46 James F
    October 20, 2008

    In the immortal words of Charlie Brown, “I got a rock.”

  47. #47 Glen Davidson
    October 20, 2008

    They have x-rays and the like, here:

    http://www.petrifiedhumanbrain.com/home.html

    Be sure to click on the tabs at the top.

    They orient the “brain” so that x-ray picture looks a bit like a brain x-ray, though it’s clearly a matter of lining up random bits to look “right.” Since it is just a rock, it has all kinds of random markings, two of which they turn into a “knife wound” and a “bullet entry.”

    There’s this gem:

    They tell you that blood can’t petrify.

    They say it dries up.

    this blood dried hard and crusty, then petrified onto this specimen .

    Impossible?

    Yeah, I know.

    A lot of “impossibles” happened here.

    This, without a doubt, is the boldest fossil in the world, breaking literally all the fossilization “rules” known to man.

    Oh yes, it’s a fossil with a lot of “impossibles”. What do we pseudoscientists learn from that? It’s simply one of the greatest fossil finds ever.

    Glen D

  48. #48 DavidCT
    October 20, 2008

    If a person can convince themselves that the bible is a scientific text, than its not much of a jump from extra lumpy rock to a brain or maybe a cauliflower. Of course I’ve never seen a creationist’s brain so who knows. Isn’t group delusion wonderful?

  49. #49 Nerd of Redhead
    October 20, 2008

    Ah, so that’s what happens to all the troll brains after they post here. Our ripostes fossilizes them. :-)

  50. #50 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    October 20, 2008

    Oh yes, it’s a fossil with a lot of “impossibles”. What do we pseudoscientists learn from that? It’s simply one of the greatest fossil finds ever.

    Similar to the “This was a miracle that broke all “rules” of modern medical science”.

  51. #51 Cuttlefish, OM
    October 20, 2008

    The experts say, in their reports,
    The frontal lobe is made of quartz.

    The temporal–they checked it twice–
    Is made of something else: that’s gneiss.

    What’s more, it’s clear that your parietal
    Is chert–a sort of flint varietal.

    I’m not sure what makes up your occipital,
    Whatever it is, it doesn’t chip-at-all.

  52. #52 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    October 20, 2008

    Cuttlefish win.

  53. #53 Janine ID AKA The Lone Drinker
    October 20, 2008
  54. #54 Bunk
    October 20, 2008

    “I’ve seen a lot of brains in my time, from fish to frogs to lizards to birds to all kinds of mammals, and that looks nothing like any of them.”

    Conversely, I’ve seen lots of rocks in my time. In fact, I still have the habit of picking them up to throw at my neighbor’s dog who leaves unpetrified dookey in my yard for me to trod upon. I’d say the object in question would be just a little too heavy for throwing at a trespasser, but just about the right size for bludgeoning* a creation scientist. After the arrest, I could just claim the blood was reconstituted fossil blood from Noah.

    So, anyway, with all my trained expertness at rock picking-up, I’ve come to the scientific conclusion that it’s a rock.

    *I’m just kidding.

  55. #55 DrB
    October 20, 2008

    Hum. Pursuing the coprolitic analogy they use on the main page, I’d guess what they’ve really got there is a $#!thead.

  56. #56 Glen Davidson
    October 20, 2008

    Clearly it’s a silicate rock that has been rounded by erosion, with enough cracks to break the rock to give the vague appearance of a brain.

    Likely that’s why we’re not told from whence the rock came. They don’t want us to know that it was shaped by being in a stream, or some such thing.

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

  57. #57 The Chemist
    October 20, 2008

    Oh where have all the good brains gone!

    Petrified brains! Seriously? Seriously?

    THAT’S NOT HOW FOSSILS WORK!

    Has anyone heard of such a case of complete soft tissue petrification like this before?

    Oh I’m sorry, is this just a miracle?

  58. #58 NickG
    October 20, 2008

    Rick Orman @ 41 “…but PZ’s jibe about the redundancy of ‘Dr. X, Ph.D’ is a tad ridiculous, in that many people using the title Dr. are M.D.s (which might actually have been apropos to an analysis of whether something was a human brain)”

    Uh, I think I skipped that class in med school. The one about telling whether a lump of brown turd-looking rock was once a human brain.

    But that aside, I think PZ does have a point that this particular motif Dr X, PhD or Dr X, MD, or Dr X, D-whatever etc is used far more frequently by witch doctors and crackpots than by non-kooks.

    As an example, I rarely see allopathic or osteopathic physicians who style themselves Dr X, MD or Dr X, DO. Shit, the only reason I introduce myself at work as Dr is because I could give Neil Patrick Harris a decent run for his money as Dougie Howser (and people hate think their ER doctor is just out of high school.) However, I rarely see Chiroquackters or Naturopaths who don’t style themselves Dr X, ND or Dr X, DC. Generally in ginormous gold leaf signs.

  59. #59 WRMartin
    October 20, 2008

    Posted by: Spidergrackle | October 20, 2008 2:21 PM

    What’s with the white cotton gloves? Is that supposed to make them look more sciencey?

    Maybe so they don’t get any brains on themselves? Afraid they might catch some IQ by osmosis (or something equally scary).

  60. #60 kryptonic
    October 20, 2008

    Now, let’s go to the possible list.

    It is thought to be:

    The first human fossil found with petrified blood.
    The first fossil found with a bullet inside.
    The first certified soft tissue fossil certified by individuals in the established scientific community.

    Very disturbing.

  61. #61 Kimbits
    October 20, 2008

    Looks more like Dwarf bread to me. Even looks like someone made the mistake of trying to eat it rather than sit on it.

  62. #62 Glen Davidson
    October 20, 2008

    Here’s an article that tells a little about it:

    Larry Skelf, owner of Stuff It upholstery shop on Dayton Pike, is also the owner of a pink bubbly rock he says is an ancient petrified human brain.

    “I always called it the brain rock,” he said.

    His wife found the rock as a teenager with her mother at her uncle’s house near Winchester, Tenn. “She just happened to see the rock and thought it was really cool,” says Mr. Skelf. It stayed around for more than 40 years until 2007 when Mr. Skelf said he began to seriously consider that it might be a petrified brain.

    After taking the brain rock to hundreds of medical doctors, examiners and geologists, Mr. Skelf discovered that the rock is a combination of crystallized silica and a little bit of quartz, which Mr. Skelf said are perfect fossilization materials. He said his petrified brain has all four lobes, certain veins and nerves, and the gyri and sulchi, which are numbered bumps and valleys that all human brains have.

    “That dad-burned thing would meet every challenge,” he said. “The shape is just virtually exact.”

    Mr. Skelf said his discovery has been met with incredulity and some disbelief, partly because his fossil seems to be permineralized soft tissue. Permineralization is a petrification process that replaces tissue down to sub-cellular levels with minerals that even match in color, which explains the rosy pink of his brain rock. This is unheard of in soft tissue like skin or brain tissue because it decomposes so quickly, unlike bone.

    “This is the softest of the soft and the most unique,” said Mr. Skelf. “(Paleoneurologists) are some of the most bored people in the world because they have nothing to study but endocasts. This is the first real thing.” Endocasts are rock outlines of what was once encased but broke down and disappeared over time.

    Mr. Skelf makes his case with copralites, petrified dinosaur droppings sold in museums and on eBay for good causes. He says copralites are proof that organic matter that normally decays and is gone within a few days can, in the right conditions, be isolated from oxygen and the break down process and be turned into rock over thousands of years.

    “No one has disproved it. No one has even given one reason why it can’t be what I think it is. It’s no more far-fetched than fossilization is anyway,” said Mr. Skelf

    Mr. Skelf said that Dr. Travis Shipley, the youth minister at South Seminole Baptist Church in East Ridge, told him that the brain rock is “the most significant archeological find of our lives.”

    “And that’s a mild quotation,” Mr. Skelf added. Dr. Shipley said “It is so anatomically correct you could actually study brain anatomy and injuries from it.”

    Mr. Skelf has taken his brain rock through geologists at UTC, free scans at Chattanooga Imaging, the University of Texas and an array of medical doctors. “I’ve got over 100 medical people that say it is (a fossilized human brain),” said Mr. Skelf. One such doctor is Bedros D. Daghlian, a recently retired Erlanger anesthesiologist who has devoted hours of effort to solve the rock’s mysteries. Dr. Daghlian said dust particles drilled from the rock do appear to have cellular components, including nuclei, meaning minerals did replace live organic cells.

    “He just became absolutely fascinated with that rock,” said Mr. Skelf.

    The Life of a Petrified Brain

    There is evidence that the brain rock, while still a brain, did decay for two or three days before becoming sealed with mud or silt to halt the destruction. Mr. Skelf said medical minds have matched the changes in shape with two or three days of standard brain decay. Microscope studies show sand and silt inside the brain rock, and Mr. Skelf said worm trails and petrified worms themselves can be seen inside the rock.

    Some may wonder what became of the body’s bones. The answer seems to be a gruesome one. Mr. Skelf said sharp tool marks under the rock point to decapitation. Then, he believes, the brain was taken from the skull and has the finger imprints to back it up.

    What’s Next?

    Dr. Steve Austin of the Institute for Creation Research in Santee, Calif., told Mr. Skelf his next step should be to zero in on the rock’s pedigree: where in the world the rock came from, down to the square foot. Mr. Skelf said his first problem is that the land where his wife found the rock long ago may be under water. Mr. Skelf believes TVA bought and flooded that area soon after the rock was found, but Mrs. Skelf was almost a child when she got the rock and her family has passed away without leaving the exact address of her aunt and uncle’s home.

    “Medical CTs don’t come close to where you want to go on rocks,” said Mr. Skelf. Geologists tell him to cut a “thin slice,” a chunk to study more closely. Next Mr. Skelf plans to carbon-date and the brain rock and then use mitochondrial DNA to find a more accurate date. He said he’s just waiting for money and knowledge.

    As for impact, Mr. Skelf said, “I want the scientific world snapped to attention.” He said he has a piece of reality to stand up to theories of science. “If it can be disqualified for a reason then I want to know. It’s sort of a battle between geology and biology,” he said.

    He compared his find to the discovery of the oldest human remains, named Lucy. “These guys wait for years to get a chance to study Lucy, and I think that’s where this is going,” he said. “I feel like humanity can gain from it.”

    Mr. Skelf may be reached at his shop at 877-1616.

    community2.timesfreepress.com/news/2008/jan/29/Feature-Skelfs-science-on-the-side-is-petrifying/?print

    They say, make the most of what you have. Looks like Skelf took that to heart.

    So, his wife just thought it was cool, and Larry the upholsterer decided it must be a brain. Found people gullible enough to believe it just by looking for the word “creation” in their organizations’s names.

    I still would like to know what the red is in it. Garnet?

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

  63. #63 Die Anyway
    October 20, 2008

    I couldn’t find anything that said why they thought this was great for creationism. I’m thinking it takes more than 6,000 years for something to fossilize so if it were a human brain it would mean the Earth and humans are older than the Bible says. Not good for their side. But then I find this claim; “The first fossil found with a bullet inside.” But firearms were only invented about 900 years ago so this “brain” would have fossilized in something less than that. What the hell are they getting at? I can only guess that Tulse #33 has hit on the reasoning. If brains can fossilize in less than a thousand years, then all of those dinosaur bones could have been contemporary with Adam & Eve. The Stupid… it burns. aaahhhhhhh.

  64. #64 GDad
    October 20, 2008

    I looked at the picture before I read the post, and I, like Mike V. @16, thought it was a kind of muffin. I wasn’t thinking cranberry, though.

    I’m not a doctor of theology, though, so WTH do I know?

  65. #65 Glen Davidson
    October 20, 2008

    Next Mr. Skelf plans to carbon-date and the brain rock and then use mitochondrial DNA to find a more accurate date. He said he’s just waiting for money and knowledge.

    You mean, like the knowledge of the fact that you need carbon for carbon-dating?

    The creo-tards just give and give, don’t they?

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

  66. #66 Norm
    October 20, 2008

    “It’s a brain when I say it’s a brain…come here, I’ll show you one more time why it’s a brain!”

    Now that is a convincing argument!

  67. #67 John Harris
    October 20, 2008

    Maybe, just maybe, this is evidence for the fact that we will master time travel in the future. I mean, if it’s scientifically impossible for the rock NOT to be a brain, then we must explain it somehow. Exciting times. I think I’ll go dinosaur watching in the Jurassic….

  68. #68 Wooster
    October 20, 2008

    Rick Gorman @ 41 and NickG @ 58:

    NickG, I think this is what you were saying, but I wanted to reiterate to be a bit clearer – generally it’s considered incorrect to use BOTH “Dr.” and postnomials at the same time. It’s an either/or type of thing. A persons might be “John Smith, MD,” or “John Smith, PhD” on their business card, but be referred to as Dr. Smith in speech.

  69. #69 Greg Laden
    October 20, 2008

    Cool. I have a piece of almost identical iron-rich quartzite from the waythefuckbackozoic somewhere. I’m going to get some red liquid to put in the cracks and some latex gloves and carry it around for Halloween.

  70. #70 pradeep
    October 20, 2008

    The classic logical fallacy of an appeal to authority.

  71. #71 Cuttlefish, OM
    October 20, 2008

    It’s not so much brain as bran, as in muffin;
    These doctor types, they don’t know nuffin’.
    It ought to be clear, to any fool,
    It is proof of the Giant, Finn M’Coul

    (…just testing your knowledge of Irish folk tales…)

  72. #72 Hank Fox
    October 20, 2008

    It’s funny how most of the people handling it are wearing white gloves. As if to prevent contamination, either of themselves or of this petrified human brain.

    And what’s up with the final paragraph, which says the thing is “The first fossil found with a bullet inside”? None of the images inside look anything remotely like a bullet.

    Damn, I just find it hard to credit how much WORK went into this silly shit. It’s … extreme obsessive-compulsiveness.

    Anybody who does CSS web pages, click through to the page source code. The coding is just a sea of ” div style=position: absolute;” It’s like this guy learned one way to do things, the wrong way, and just kept obsessively repeating it. Even the people who’d be likely to read this and believe it will probably find it too hard or too annoying to access. What a mess!

  73. #73 Sman
    October 20, 2008

    Hmmm, it looks remarkably similar to the geodes found along the Ky. River in the central part of the state.

  74. #74 Epinephrine
    October 20, 2008

    Imagine if they found a brain coral… we’d never hear the end of it.

    Cuttlefish – don’t you mean Fionn Mhac Cumhail? ;)

  75. #75 xebecs
    October 20, 2008

    The Mollies were just the beginning.

    I vote for Cuttlefish as the next Poet Laureate.

  76. #76 wombat
    October 20, 2008

    It’s amazing what creationist artifacts google will dig up. What’s even more amazing is that a University would sponsor someone who is so dubious as a part of a debate. The only reason for a serious University to do so would be to explore the psychological and sociological sources behind such bizarre superstitions. While we are pattern seeking monkeys, it is baffling that any reasonable mind could see this as a petrified brain. This guy now has a forum he does not deserve and is being provided some authority as an “expert” by a state institution of higher learning. That is really troubling. I would expect such low standard from ORU or Liberty but not a state institution, even one in Kentucky.

  77. #77 Evinfuilt
    October 20, 2008

    To these making the Coprolite jokes… tsk tsk. That was my favourite thing to study back in college.

    And looking at those people, its an insult to all the fossilized poo in the world to compare them to it.

    Oh, the rock you say? Well, looks kinda like a rock to me. But if it expands when wet, I’d say its lacquered wood. It really looks like a piece of wood, polished, stained and lacquered.

  78. #78 blueelm
    October 20, 2008

    Gah! Who can wade through this site?

    Maybe their website design strategy was to make the site so disorganized and impossible to read that no one would be able to linger long enough to question them.

  79. #79 Thorn
    October 20, 2008

    When can we purchase Cuttlefish’s collected works?

  80. #80 Don
    October 20, 2008

    Gotta love this

    Coming soon, photo of Professor Kleiner,

    Former Oak Ridge physicist, currently Physics Professor University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Escatological Professor, (End Times).

    Especially loves studies of search for Noah’s Ark.

    ” I absolutely do believe this is a human petrified brain. I believe it is here by Divine Providence from God for a reason. I think it has a wonderful story to tell and there is a lot of great research especially for Creationism to be done here.

  81. #81 JonathanL
    October 20, 2008

    Speaking as a complete dumbass, I have two questions.

    How would blood petrify and how would stone turn back into blood when water is added?

    How would a petrified brain prove creationism?

    I smell a miracle! Wait…or is that something on the bottom of my shoe?

    Maybe it’s Jesus’ brain and they have to assemble him before he can ‘return’.

  82. #82 Tulse
    October 20, 2008

    If I’m not mistaken, many academic organizations say that in a single reference, you can refer to your title or degree, but not both. So I could be “Dr. X. Q. Tulse”, or “X. Q. Tulse, PhD”, but not “Dr. X. Q. Tulse, PhD”, since that is redundant. The use of the form “Dr. Smith, PhD” seems to be intended to give an air of intellectualism, but it really serves to undercut that air.

    I don’t know if the same is true for the medical profession. (All I know is that Marcus Welby MD didn’t need to tell you he was also a doctor. And that reference ages me horribly…)

  83. #83 SAMIZDAT
    October 20, 2008

    ” It is scientifically impossible for this to not be a brain”

    I call Poe’s law…

  84. #84 Dirty Hairy
    October 20, 2008

    Oddly enough, my own brain feels petrified after seeing that website…

  85. #85 FlameDuck
    October 20, 2008

    Wait. Isn’t the human brain chiefly made of fat tissue? If so, how would it even fossilize? Is this even possible, never mind plausible? And with a bullet in it? Why hasn’t that, I assume time-traveling bullet, oxidized away? And how do they know it’s a bullet and not just some random chunk of metal? I mean if you put a bullet through someones skull, and it doesn’t have enough kinetic energy to punch through the other side it’s going to ricochet around quite a bit in there, causing all sorts of destruction, and splintering into quite a few fragments. It certainly wouldn’t be recognizable as a bullet.

    I think I need someone to explain all this to me, and that web-site? Yeah, not so good, but then again discovering it had meta keywords like “answers in Genesis” and “Institute for Creation Research” made my eyes kinda glaze over…

  86. #86 Everbleed
    October 20, 2008

    “utterly bizarre” barely suffices to describe what is on the link.

    It probably is a petrified brain. It looks just like theirs must.

    Great laugh. Too bad they vote.

  87. #87 Former PZ Student
    October 20, 2008

    Does anyone have a book recommendation for fighting creationism? I know there were threads about specific books in the past, but I cannot remember the book titles nor the date of the threads.

  88. #89 Jonathan Cahill
    October 20, 2008

    And we all thought that Mike Hallett (the famed Utah dirt-digger and “discoverer” of 600 million year old Hallestoneion Zoria Sea Dragons) was CRAZY!!!!

    A rock is a rock is a rock….!

  89. #90 Lago
    October 20, 2008

    W have pieces of weathered granite that look just like a that all over South Eastern Mass. I may go out and look for one just to post it.

    Next, Ed Conrad. I wrote him a long time ago, and yes, he is a weeee bit bat shit crazy, but, he is actually kind of funny! This is from an actual response from Ed:

    “No! No! No! Elvis actually ate FRIED peanut butter and banana
    sandwiches. He was eating one when he fell off the camode but
    that part wass never was shown in the movie.

    Incidentally, I was shopping at Giant Supermarket — Do you have one
    where you live? — Tuesday a week ago when I swear I saw Elvis
    and his twin Enos pushing a shppingcart with seven-eight jars of Jiffy
    and a case of Mountain Due.

    I told the cashier at the register biut she said it’s no surpirse because they
    shop there often but usually on a Thursday.

    As for Haversian canals, I was told they were teeny-weeny (or weenie)
    holes, a lot smaller than normally seen in a petrified brain. Not quite
    as large as the holes in a bowling ball, however.”

    Ed is actually kiddin’ most of the time above, but, I never wrote him as to why one should not find Haversian canals in brain tissue..

  90. #91 Anonymous
    October 20, 2008

    I have two coprolite specimens that beat the shit out of this “brain”.

    The third biggest factor which these imbeciles considered in identifying this as a brain (besides its size and general shape) is it’s COLOR.

    The line of “reasoning” employed by these bright folks would be something like this: “Whoa! It looks kinda like a shriveled brain, don’t it!”

    Yeah, it must be.

  91. #92 HP
    October 20, 2008

    I think that’s a Cuttlefish impersonator at #71.

    – There are two rhymed couplets, AABB, jammed up against each other, each of which has a different meter, and are otherwise formally unrelated. An ABAB quatrain with consistent meter and and some unifying elements would be more Cuttlefish’s style.

    – The scansion is off throughout.

    – Crazy commas!

    – “M’Coul”? Really?

    – The real Cuttlefish would never gloss his literary references.

  92. #93 Britomart
    October 20, 2008

    I want a Phd.

    I have a very good masters.

    Can I get me one of those easy ones so I can make profound pronouncements too ?

    I promise to use it only in aid of our side!

    thank you kindly

  93. #94 Badjuggler
    October 20, 2008

    Hey! What’s with the one guy who did not get issued the traditional White Brain Handling Gloves? Where is the protocol?

  94. #95 William
    October 20, 2008

    It’s just a big ass rock! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVEyYthhmf4

  95. #96 Colonel Molerat
    October 20, 2008

    When they witter on about ‘coprolites fossilize, why can’t a brain?’ – would it be possible for a brain to fossilise (assuming it was millions of years old) and how do coprolites fossilise without decaying?
    Is the brain ridiculous because it couldn’t possibly form (even if it was very very old) as well as all the other reasons? Or is it ‘simply’ ridiculous because of all the other reasons?
    Which, may I add, are plentiful enough.
    Oh – and I thought fossils were planted by Satan to trick us? Or has Jesus been plagiarising Hell’s PR department?

  96. #97 Jonathon
    October 20, 2008

    Um, I have heard of “dinosaur mummies” and all, but isn’t it almost next to impossible for soft tissue (i.e., a brain) to fossilize? Especially outside of a skull?

    A serious review of creationist literature proves that their audience isn’t the serious scientist, their audience is the confused non-scientist who doesn’t understand anything about how science works.

  97. #98 extatyzoma
    October 20, 2008

    so why do they want it to be a human brain? was it found in the ‘gizzard’ area of a sauropod or something??

  98. #99 damitall
    October 20, 2008

    I CANNOT believe that website.

    Either Amerka is further gone than I’d feared, or those people are caricaturising gullible creos everywhere.

    Just LOOK at the expressions on their faces!

    You’ve been gulled, people. No-one could possibly give any credence whatsoever to any of it.

    (Wanders off, muttering and shaking head sadly)

  99. #100 Sandra H
    October 20, 2008

    Apophenia all the way. If it’s not Mary in grilled cheese (or an overpass, cloud, ad nauseum) then it’s storm signs and portents. But even the otherwise rational can get caught seeing what’s not there.

    Great article on imagining shapes and patterns where none exist:

    http://www.dbskeptic.com/2007/11/04/apophenia-definition-and-analysis

  100. #101 James Haight
    October 20, 2008

    Oh, come on. That site is a Poe, all the way.

  101. #102 Suzanne
    October 20, 2008

    After giggling through the pages, it occurred to me that this proves the adage (applied to creationists) — “he must have rocks in his head”.

    The scientific vigor and objectivity on that site led me to say aloud, “Ouch! This is making my rock hurt!”.

  102. #103 Nurse Ingrid
    October 20, 2008

    Scripture is definitely a real last name. I knew someone once who had that name, and it was extra funny because he was in fact a preacher’s son.

  103. #104 Glen Davidson
    October 20, 2008

    When they witter on about ‘coprolites fossilize, why can’t a brain?’ – would it be possible for a brain to fossilise (assuming it was millions of years old) and how do coprolites fossilise without decaying?

    Is the brain ridiculous because it couldn’t possibly form (even if it was very very old) as well as all the other reasons? Or is it ‘simply’ ridiculous because of all the other reasons?

    With a very quick burial of the right kind, a brain should be able to fossilize. It’s quite unlikely, because brains are very high in moisture content, and decay rapidly.

    One reason coprolites fossilize is that they very often are not eaten (they’re often made up largely of less-easily rotted plant and animal parts, as well). Brains are eaten, or if the skull isn’t broken open, they rot quickly.

    Brains are not going to exist intact in the environment without being encased in skulls, because they’re eaten, because they rot easily, and because when they are taken out of the skulls, they almost invariably are badly damaged (an animal does not remove brains intact because it has no reason to do so).

    Even if an “ante-diluvian surgeon” extracted the brain, for it to be buried so well as not to be decayed would mean that it would be squashed by the sediments.

    Above all, it’s not a fossilized brain because it is lacking in any diagnostic features of a brain of any kind. It is extremely unlikely that a brain would be preserved outside of a skull, but one could not rule it out absolutely (maybe under very rare conditions it would not be squashed). One rules this rock out for being “brain” primarily because it, you know, is not a brain, and only scarcely resembles one.

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

  104. #105 dan
    October 20, 2008

    AAuuugh!
    I was resisting, but eventually the comments (which have been very entertaining) piqued my curiosity.
    Do not go there!
    These people are obvious retards, let out for a drive to the creationists convention, and left alone long enough to start rolling around in their own poop.
    I have seen porn sites that left me a little disgusted, but this just feels icky. (washes eyes)

  105. #106 SASnSA
    October 20, 2008

    Hank Fox,
    He’s using Homestead Sitebuilder. This actually says less about his ability in that he couldn’t get better quality than that using a program that did all the hard work for him! It also doesn’t say much for the software that it relies so much on javascript and inline css. If you have to rely on absolute positioning for everything, then ur doin it rong! That’s the reason I don’t touch those sitebuilders, I can get much better results with just a simple text editor.

  106. #107 Maggie
    October 20, 2008

    Heh, I saw this post in my feed and was wondering why you were talking about baked goods (I have several recipe communities on my feed, so it wouldn’t be uncommon). The top of that rock looks much more like a nice browned berry muffin/cake than a brain.

  107. #108 SiMPel MYnd
    October 20, 2008

    Fortunately, my company is blocking the web site in an apparent effort to keep the rest of our brains from petrifying.

    I have to agree with the muffin voters out there. Looks like someone took a muffin and sprayed it with shellac.

  108. #109 Culmastadm
    October 20, 2008

    It took me a while to realize why they cared if it was a brain or not. It wasn’t obvious to me that they were arguing against the length of time for fossilization.

  109. #110 WhenDanSaysJump
    October 20, 2008

    On a crazy scale of 0 to 1, this registers 0.85 Timecube.

  110. #111 The Chemist
    October 20, 2008

    Damnit! Epinephrine at #74 beat me to it!

  111. #112 Nerull
    October 20, 2008

    Looks like a common geode to me. I’ve got several I’ve found with a similar lumpy appearance. They are all plain quartz around here, so not pretty enough to bother cutting open.

  112. #113 Quiet_Desperation
    October 20, 2008

    Aaaaaaaaaah!

    http://www.qwiggle.com/qwigglegelmolds_files/brain.jpg

    Quiz: which brain was on LSD when the user expired?

  113. #114 VegeBrain
    October 20, 2008

    As looney as the creationists are, I have a hard time believing this web page isn’t a hoax. It’s just so way over the top. PZ, are you sure you aren’t practicing for April First?

  114. #115 dan
    October 20, 2008

    From the site header:

    The following pages are intended for scientific research and evaluation of a soft tissue fossil, which is a human petrified brain. Research is currently ongoing to determine the degree of latent cellular activity.

    It is a fascinating soft tissue fossil, and brain anatomy has been instructed using it alone, as the model.”

    -See, it’s a “Human-Petrified” brain. All you fools thought it was a petrified human brain, Ha!

    See, brain anatomy can be instructed with this as the model; This is your brain, and THIS – is your brain after joining our group!”

    Yeah, they vote, and we know which side they’re on.

  115. #116 Quiet_Desperation
    October 20, 2008

    Looks like someone took a muffin and sprayed it with shellac.

    Hush! That’s an ancient Desperation family recipe!

  116. #117 scooter
    October 20, 2008

    That brain looks familiar, isn’t that one of the Rolling Stones?

  117. #118 grinch
    October 20, 2008

    Gotta be a parody.

  118. #119 Brad D
    October 20, 2008

    To me it looks like they lacquered their rock.

    Also, I have to laugh at their description of permineralization as “a petrification process that replaces tissue down to sub-cellular levels with minerals that even match in color.”

    Wow. So for the replacement mineral to be allowed to fill in and harden in any gaps, it also needs to have the same absorption spectrum (in it’s solid state) in the visible light range? And the gaps that are being filled would have to occur sequentially over time, so the decay would have to affect only cell walls, then say mitochondria, then nuclei, etc. Allowing sufficient time for hardening of the previous features mineral replacement before another cell feature decays.

    Specimen be damned, their own words are sufficient evidence to debunk their claims.

  119. #120 Cath the Canberra Cook
    October 20, 2008

    I vote for “not parody”. The website is too bad. Parodists generally give themselves away with their too-high qualities of design, coding, grammar and spelling.

  120. #121 DrFish
    October 20, 2008

    What a horribly designed piece of crap that website is. Do they really think anything there is vaguely scientific? A bunch of pictures of grinning idiots and random images? “If you can’t pick which one is the rock, I’ve made my point!” Umm, its the one that IS NOT A BRAIN!!! I mean, honestly, they don’t even attempt, as far as I can tell, to give any background about where the stupid thing came from. Was it with a skeleton? A piece of skull, at least? How old do their “studies” indicate it to be? I’m having a hard time imagining a scenario in which something as soft and tempting as a brain could be fossilized all by itself in one piece. Finally, where did the spiel about the bullet track come from? Its only on one page and shows up out of nowhere without explanation. I guess when the unifying power of context consistently works against you, you eventually ignore it altogether. This is the worst, most embarrassing kind of stupid.

  121. #122 RockProf
    October 20, 2008

    Check out these images of Kentucky geodes. It’s a hunk of chalcedony. Dumb fucks.

    http://kentuckygeodes.com/index_files/medium.htm

  122. #123 TheBlackAtheist
    October 20, 2008

    Sadly, this is so outlandish it seems as though it could be a hoax.

  123. #124 Rock Zombie
    October 20, 2008

    BRAAAAAAAAIN!!!!!

  124. #125 Valerie
    October 20, 2008

    I can affirm that at least one person in this is for real, and that is Dr. Fred Trexler; he is indeed at Spring Arbor University, and used to be a professor at Houghton College in western NY, my (sigh) alma mater in another life. While he argues that the earth is indeed as old as it appears, I blush to read his concession that he now believes in rapid fossilization due to their “evidence.”

  125. #126 llewelly
    October 20, 2008

    Quick… somebody get to the Smithsonian and tell the damn idjut scientists to start rehydrating those dinosaur fossils, STAT!

    No, no no! Some of the dinosaurs would recover fully, and start walking around and eating stuff all over again. Remember, two T-Rexes is all it takes, and then the coconut crop is toast forever.

  126. #127 Anon
    October 20, 2008

    HP @#92–

    If you would google “Finn M’Coul” (also, sometimes, “Fin M’Coul” with just the one N), you would see the unifying element–M’Coul’s wife baked bread (or muffins) with a rock inside of one,so that the Giant Cucullen would break a tooth when eating one.

    [/derail]

  127. #128 ice9
    October 20, 2008

    Those people are giving us true escatological scholars a bad name.

    I notice that the site is not especially defensive or sharp–they are kind of goofing around. Is it possible that they not only believe that they are correct, but also don’t anticipate any resistance to the conclusion that their rock is special? That’s what’s truly scary.

    ice

  128. #129 BobbyEarle
    October 20, 2008

    Considering the interactive nature of the prez and VP debates, (DRINK!) I am thinking this must be a petrified liver.

    /commencing a quick internal organ inventory.

  129. #130 SplendidMonkey
    October 20, 2008

    My grandpa had a tiny agate that looked exactly like a tiny pink ham shank. We never imagined it could have been real! I imagine these tiny pigs were small and light enough that they could have flown too.

  130. #131 Qwerty
    October 20, 2008

    “That just goes to show that even the most qualified people in creation ‘science’ have to be flaming idiots.”

    And I always thought flaming idiots were gay men who voted Republican!

  131. #132 Larry
    October 20, 2008

    #122

    Check out these images of Kentucky geodes. It’s a hunk of chalcedony.

    Obviously, those rocks have been manipulated by satan in an attempt to fool the godly. These fine folk aren’t taken in by the debil’s handiwork. Us wicked folk surely are.

  132. #133 MPG
    October 20, 2008

    Next Mr. Skelf plans to carbon-date and the brain rock and then use mitochondrial DNA to find a more accurate date. He said he’s just waiting for money and knowledge.

    In the words of Potholer54: “Oi! We can’t carbon date this! There’s no f**king carbon in it!”

    (See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbvMB57evy4)

  133. #134 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT, OM
    October 20, 2008

    I think RockProf nails it.

  134. #135 Quidam
    October 20, 2008

    I would have sworn that this was a Poe – except that a Whois search produced this result:

    Registrant:
    Larry Skelf
    8970 Dayton Pike
    Soddy Daisy, TN 37379
    US

    Domain name: PETRIFIEDHUMANBRAIN.COM

    Administrative Contact:
    Skelf, Larry Upwardboundpublications@comcast.net
    8970 Dayton Pike
    Soddy Daisy, TN 37379
    US
    +1.4238771616

    Larry Skelf also appears on this website: http://martyrsofthecross.com/

    Every Sunday at 12:00 noon Larry Skelf , Evangelist and Author, broadcasts on Radio 1490 AM. Listen to Larry administer God’s Word in this ever-changing world. Larry touches on the topics that affect your life as you live it today! Learn what God has to say about it! Larry will help you understand what God’s Word says and how it applies to your life in these confusing times…

    So it would appear that they are serious in a Palinesque way

  135. #136 Lee
    October 20, 2008

    Doodey?

    they couldn’t come up with a more professional term… like… ‘Scat’ ‘Droppings’…

    that’s all. If I start ranting about the rest, I won’t pay attention to my Biology review.

  136. #137 clevedan
    October 20, 2008

    many of the pictures on that page “need a caption”

  137. #138 KL
    October 20, 2008

    OMG
    My own state
    Chattanooga Choo Choo
    I am so embarrassed….

  138. #139 RockZombie
    October 20, 2008

    hungry….BRAINS

  139. #140 Joe S
    October 20, 2008

    This is your brain on Jebus, maybe?

  140. #141 tonyk
    October 20, 2008

    I’m with the baked goods aficionados (lead by Mike V @ #16).

    The first thing I thought of when I saw the picture was “that looks like a tasty raspberry muffin”.

  141. #142 Paul Burnett
    October 20, 2008

    Check out these images of Kentucky geodes. It’s a hunk of chalcedony. Dumb fucks. http://kentuckygeodes.com/index_files/medium.htm – RockProf, #122

    Yeah, the one in the upper right of the website for $2.99 definitely looks even more like a brain than the specimen they’ve already got.

  142. #143 jj
    October 20, 2008

    #124 Rock Zombie #1

    DAMN, I though I was being so original with my post (#139) then noticed yours….

    Kind of funny we both chose the same name though, I always though rock zombie would be a sweet death metal band, but that probably already exists

  143. #144 Alcari
    October 20, 2008

    There’s possibly only one thing worse then the ideas on the site, and that’s the website itself. Seriously, go view the source, be sure to sit down first.

    Here’s a little snippet:
    http://pastebin.com/m359fdfed

  144. #145 mothra
    October 20, 2008

    Ye olde ‘Doctrine of Signatures’ is ‘alive’ and well in the 21st century (pass the walnuts).

    @89 Now you’ve done it, I’m stuck with the Jurassic Park theme mind worm for the rest of the evening. Tomorrow, my students may not appreciate their yet-to-be-composed entomology test.

  145. #146 James F
    October 20, 2008

    RockZombie/jj #139/143:

    No worries. Clearly, great BRAINS think alike!

  146. #147 Matt
    October 20, 2008

    Um…if this has already been said, I apologize, but…a standard x-ray (as opposed to CT) of a mineral such as this “petrified brain” would show up as a big blob of mineral density (white, like a bone on an x-ray) and would reveal no detail other than its shape. An x-ray of a brain still inside a skull would reveal no brain, but only skull (the density of soft tissue would not be observable, because the density of the skull makes it brighter on the radiograph–that’s why we need CT to visualize brains). An x-ray of a brain outside the skull would reveal a blob just like the petrified brain, only less white (soft tissue density is less than mineral density). Since all of the different structures of the brain are soft tissue, the standard x-ray cannot differentiate between the tissues. So the bit about the indistinguishable x-rays is BS.

  147. #148 Shaden Freud
    October 20, 2008

    #145

    Replacement theme. (NSFW)

  148. #149 Lowell
    October 20, 2008

    @66

    “It’s a brain when I say it’s a brain…come here, I’ll show you one more time why it’s a brain!”

    Now that is a convincing argument!

    Yikes! I thought you were just paraphrasing their terrible arguments, but that quote is actually on the site (which I found really creepy, by the way).

  149. #150 LL
    October 20, 2008

    Those facial expressions on the website really demands for a caption contest…

  150. #151 Matt
    October 20, 2008

    BTW…his inability to distinguish a rock from a brain on x-ray is an extremely poor reflection on his medical education. What med school did this idiot go to?

  151. #152 Mikel
    October 20, 2008

    They have a geologist on staff, and they can’t tell a brain from a geode?

  152. #153 Brad D
    October 20, 2008

    Help me out here: does calling Poe’s Law mean you think it’s a parody, or it’s real and hard to distinguish from parody?

  153. #154 Patricia
    October 20, 2008

    Stupid question – I bought a sea turtle coprolite at the Woolly Mammoth rock shop up in Washington, and have made it into a necklace just to tickle people with ‘shitty’ jokes by having them guess what the thing is. How does anyone know that piece of turtle poo really was left by a sea turtle?

  154. #155 Randy Campbell
    October 20, 2008

    By far my my favorite double-negative tumbler:

    — Dr. Shipley, “It is scientifically impossible for this to not be a brain”

  155. #156 --PatF in Madison
    October 20, 2008

    We need someone to send these guys a letter somewhat like this one.

    http://www.snopes.com/humor/letters/smithsonian.asp

  156. #157 Notagod
    October 20, 2008

    I’ve seen this stuff before, its putrefied christian brain. But the cave rock picture is nice along with the brain picture.

  157. #158 Qwerty
    October 20, 2008

    I dunno. The photo of the human brain looks like caramel corn to me.

  158. #159 Dale Husband
    October 20, 2008

    Dr. Ben Scripture, Ph.D. in biology

    What’s this, another example of Poe’s Law in action?!

  159. #160 Luger Otter Robinson
    October 20, 2008

    Nah, it isn’t a fossilised human brain. It’s obviously the head of a statue of our Lord Jesus Christ. Yet another miracle!

  160. #161 Randy Campbell
    October 20, 2008

    By far my my favorite double-negative tumbler:

    Dr. Shipley, “It is scientifically impossible for this to not be a brain”

  161. #162 JStein
    October 20, 2008

    This is bizarre.

    Perhaps when they see a canyon the first thing they think is “that must be the petrified vagina of a giant!”

  162. #163 KillerChihuahua
    October 20, 2008

    Perhaps creationists’ brains are different.

    …just a thought. It would explain a lot.

  163. #164 ThinkingApe
    October 20, 2008

    I’ve done mineral exploration for a couple summers in South-East BC, and I have absolutely seen rocks that look like this.

    This website is kind of bumming me out….Like….what the hell is wrong with these people? I’ve honestly tried hard to look into Intelligent Design (at the request of my brother) and…..it’s just so stupid. And then I see shit like this….sigh…

  164. #165 thalarctos
    October 20, 2008

    Above all, it’s not a fossilized brain because it is lacking in any diagnostic features of a brain of any kind.

    Ahem.

    Dr. Suzanne Vincent was very excited about this find. She was kind enough to answer anatomical questions and pointed many features to the crowd that gathered for this monumental introduction to the neurological field of study.

    Glen, just who are you to argue with:

    Dr. Suzanne Vincent Phd. Associate Professor, Department of Biology, Oral Roberts University, Brain anatomy instructor, Renowned Neuro Scientist, Brain anatomy researcher, Neuro Anatomy, Resident physiologist, Resident comparative physiologist, Student mentor teaching reasearch methodology.

    Get back to me about brain diagnostic features after *you’ve* done “Neuro Anatomy reasearch” at a school the caliber of Oral Roberts University!

    As she is quoted at the site:

    “This is the most incredible fossil I have ever seen! This definitely, absolutely is a petrified human brain, there is absolutely, positively no doubt about it! This is an AMAZING petrified human brain. I have taken out many thousands of human brains and this is absolutely incredible! I didn’t know this could possibly exist!”

    Never before in the history of the world has a human brain researcher identified a real, non cast and non endocast petrified human brain.

    Yeah, speaking as a scientist myself, I know I never speak more confidently and in sweeping absolutes than when publicly pronouncing judgment on a first encounter with a finding no one has ever seen in the history of the world, and that I had no idea could possibly exist.

    What’s your p-value on that finding, Dr. Vincent, 0.0000….?

    (If you will excuse me, I have to go cough up a hairball now.)

  165. #166 Justin Moretti
    October 20, 2008

    Not flaming idiots, PZ – liars.

  166. #167 Bryan
    October 20, 2008

    Looks like a chunk of micro-crystalline quartz (it may be crypto-crystalline). Kinda hard to tell from just a photo, run it through XRD and you should be able to tell the difference.

    But from what I see, it is a chunk of Jasper (which DOESN’T necessitate a fossil to nucleate on). An excellent example of a pseudo-fossil. We’d get people all the time bringing things like this into the Museum I would volunteer at.

  167. #168 Sandra Porter
    October 20, 2008

    I don’t that first image really is a rock. To me, it looks exactly like the top of a cranberry muffin.

  168. #169 Muzz
    October 20, 2008

    This conclusively proves two things
    i) the existence of The Thing and ii) that he’s dead!
    Now the search for the awful beast that could accoplish this feat must surely begin. And so Cryptocomicozoology was born.

  169. #170 AndrewC
    October 20, 2008

    I laughed for about ten minutes.

  170. #171 Jams
    October 20, 2008

    @Brad D
    Poe’s Law

    ie. Clearly this isn’t a petrified brain, but a Golem brain. It’s yet more proof of the infallibility of the bible. Who but God could have predicted that stone brains would be found?

  171. #172 Phoesune
    October 20, 2008

    I have two words that came to mind after seeing the pictures…

    Joe Dirt.

    “I got me a meteorite! err fossilized human brain!”

    “It’ll go great next to my fossils of Jesus and Mary” – St. Dumass Ph.D.

  172. #173 Feynmaniac
    October 20, 2008

    I still think no one will ever be able to beat this .

  173. #174 Feynmaniac
    October 20, 2008

    Damnit….. this.

  174. #175 Jennifer
    October 20, 2008

    Looks like a raspberry bran muffin to me…

  175. #176 Graeme Elliott
    October 20, 2008

    I’d like to just chip in that it is possible in theory to fossilize a brain. It’d be a really fascinating thing to study, but fat tissue can be preserved in the correct environment (normally one high in phosphates). Technically if an animals brain was emersed in an aqueous evironment rich in phosphates with some other factor preventing scavenging it may be possible for that brain to be preserved (in some fashion).

    However what he’s got there seems to be a big lump of quartz stained with haematite. I’m calling Poe, or quote mining for the ‘expert’ assesments.

  176. #177 Corey Schlueter
    October 20, 2008

    WORST..WEB DESIGN…EVER!

  177. #178 amphiox
    October 20, 2008

    I would just like to point out that if one wishes to be sufficiently nit-picky, even if this thing were really an honest-to-goodness 100% certified petrified fossil of a fossilized human brain. . . .

    It would still, also, be a rock.

    Also, as far as this junior neurosurgeon can tell, that “brain” has got two left temporal lobes and no occipital lobe. Which means that if it really is a brain, it sure ain’t a human one (or any other mammal, or vertebrate, for that matter.)

    So it’s either alien, or nephilim.

  178. #179 Jeremy
    October 20, 2008

    Off the top of my head, it looks like an orthoclase-rich granite. The cracks are probably less-resistant concentrations of biotite. As others have said, it probably spent quite some time in a stream bed.

    See this image and imagine it affected by stream abrasion:

    http://www.cliffshade.com/colorado/images/pikes_pk_granite.jpg

  179. #180 --patF in Madison
    October 20, 2008

    Direct quote from the site:

    “Dr. Anderson finally finds a Brain!”

    Uhh… So he was walking around without one before?

    Hunh…. I kinda believe that.

  180. #181 Clintsc9
    October 21, 2008

    Check this out – a house made out of brain fossils.
    http://tinyurl.com/brainhouse

  181. #182 Joseph
    October 21, 2008

    Someone better get McCains brain back pronto!

  182. #183 DocWazoo
    October 21, 2008

    As a trained physician, I can certify that the residue on this big iron nail found in an archeological dig site may mean that Jesus had syphillis!

  183. #184 Lynn David
    October 21, 2008

    Wow…. used to go geode hunting when I was a kid over south of Bloomington, Indiana (home of IU). Found a number of them that looked more like a brain than that poor example. I still have one somewhere that was so small that we dubbed it a “cat’s brain.” I knew people who sold them by the ton in Chicago. It’s amazing what lies these people will propogate just in the name of a god. Where is the report on the origin of this supposed fossil? All they give us is:

    GEOLOGICAL SPECIFICS: Research continuing to determine exact location and strata of origination . No data available for purpose of disclosure at this time.

    However, they do say:

    It is not a geode, as crystals in geodes form in an inwardly fashion, and they possess an outside rough , coarse crustation, also, it does not have a limestone exterior ( which is usually a large part of the external, rough composite). Further, it has a smooth exterior. Even the fractures and cleavage are smooth. Geodes have a rough exterior, usually limestone (calcite, carbonate) particulate and sometimes as aggregate.

    Which is a complete falsehood. Geodes can be rough or smooth. I don’t see where they have shown that the thing has a crystalline structure unlike a geode. Cut it open, or bash it open and find out. The “vugs” they talk about in this specimen are simply the convolutions of the enclosing limestone from which the geode grew and are a part of the “roughness” they so needfully explain a geode should have.

    They’re fools or liars, one or the other.

  184. #185 Lynn David
    October 21, 2008

    In the second blockquote of my post #184:

    Which is a complete falsehood. Geodes can be rough or smooth. I don’t see where they have shown that the thing has a crystalline structure unlike a geode. Cut it open, or bash it open and find out. The “vugs” they talk about in this specimen are simply the convolutions of the enclosing limestone from which the geode grew and are a part of the “roughness” they so needfully explain a geode should have.

    That’s my analysis of it.

  185. #186 AndrewG
    October 21, 2008

    I dunno though, it could happen – hundreds of thousands of years ago, a caveman sits down, removes his brain in its entirety, sets it down, then forgets about it and wanders off (well, he has no brain at this point)… Now that I’ve pictured it – I’m amazed we don’t find them all over the place…

    I’ll skip the obvious ‘creationists minds set in stone’ line of humour…

  186. #187 The Alpha Centaurian
    October 21, 2008

    That website was clearly designed by someone with rocks for brains, holy shit.

    *disables all CSS*

    Ah, that’s better! And after a thorough reading, I’m convinced. Because real science is done on shitty websites, not in journals.

  187. #188 Tony Sidaway
    October 21, 2008

    Caption: “This is your brain on creationism”

  188. #189 $
    October 21, 2008

    Dinosaur turd?

  189. #190 Laser Potato
    October 21, 2008

    IT’S A STONE, LUIGI.

  190. #191 Fernando Magyar
    October 21, 2008

    Brain? No way! It’s clearly the fossilized remains of a chunk of fat from a Neanderthal’s ass after liposuctioning by an early creationist plastic surgeon.

  191. #192 Dahan
    October 21, 2008

    Sigh… as always, all I want from these idiots is proof. Really. Is that too much to ask? Until then, nice rock.

  192. #193 ptduff
    October 21, 2008

    Oh for the love of Pete! This took place in my town (not that Chattanooga is a bedrock of rationalist thinking) and my wife works at Erlanger hospital where one of the so-called expects was employed. My apologies to all. Although considering TN is going for McCain at nearly 55% or more right now, I guess I should not be surprised.

  193. #194 Vic333
    October 21, 2008

    Does make you wonder if they actually believe it themselves. Or if they are just completely unscrupulous.

    And, it does look a lot more like a raspberry scone than a brain. It’s making me hungry.

  194. #195 BdN
    October 21, 2008

    I don’t know if it’s already been pointed out but there’s a poll on the Expelled dvd launch page reading :

    “Do you think Darwin’s theories are OUTDATED? Yes, No, Maybe”

    Maybe we should… I don’t know…

    http://www.expelledthemovie.com/

  195. #196 Pattanowski
    October 21, 2008

    I see concretions that look like this all the time. I also see geodes and “wanna-be geodes” from the upper St. Louis limestone that have this appearence. I suppose they are all brains too though. A whole paleo-landscape of human brains rolling around in an evaporite basin. It’s a likely scenario. …….of the future!!!!!

  196. #197 Mad Hussein LOLscientist, FCD
    October 21, 2008

    GAAK. I haven’t seen a web page load that slooooooooooooow since I had AOHell and dialup. You have to work awfully hard to write such freeking horrible HTML. (HTML 0.026 beta, written by the former owner of that “brain”?)

    And that first picture, with the woman pointing excitedly at the “fossil”! That’s the kind of facial expression you see on people who have had a few too many. (Maybe she’s drunk in the Holy Ghost?) Obviously taken with a disposable camera too. That picture alone is enough to make me want to call POE!

    As for that poll, it’s in serious need of setting straight. YES is leading, 50% to 25%.

  197. #198 Lance
    October 21, 2008

    It’s a brain. I just belongs to one Ben Grimm. I’m sure he’d like it back now.

  198. #199 Prairie Kittin
    October 21, 2008

    I can point and laugh at a lot of the unscientific “facts” on that site, including the statement, “Dr. Suzanne Vincent confirmed the possibility of this being petrified blood”.

    One more thing…
    Do these people not have spell check? One of my pet peeves… if
    you are going to have something for the public to read, at least spell
    the damned thing right! Misspelling common words only showcases your
    ignorance.

    Exactly what does “PhD” stand for in this instance? Because it certainly can’t mean the same thing as it does in ‘my’ world!

  199. #200 Sili
    October 22, 2008

    Boo. The Halletstonian seazorias turned up already at #15. Pharyngulistas have too good memories.

    Well, in the Germanic tradition you don’t normally use “Dr” until you have a D.Sc. (or whatever it is they call them at Oxbridge), so I think it’s pretty common to use “Dr X, Ph.D.” on this side of the water to distinguish them from full doctorates.

  200. #201 Fred Ledoux
    October 23, 2008

    The site is a hoax. Either rationalists with a healthy sense of humour are simply making fun of creationists, or some especially smart creationists are setting a trap for rationalists who might think that this site is a genuine creationist site, the point being to make rationalists look like fools for taking this site seriously.

    Well done hoax, whoever is behind it.

  201. #202 Tony
    October 24, 2008

    It looks like a fossilized cranberry muffin to me.

  202. #203 Sven DiMilo
    October 25, 2008

    some especially smart creationists are setting a trap for rationalists who might think that this site is a genuine creationist site, the point being to make rationalists look like fools for taking this site seriously.

    Yes, that’s it!! The old “especially smart creationsists” double-reverse psychology gambit. Damn those especially smart creationists! You gotta get up pret-ty early in the morning to outfox those rascals!
    (ow ow ow…eye-rolling muscles cramping up again)

  203. #204 Brian Trostle
    February 27, 2009

    As the Associate Pastor of South Seminole Baptist Church please be advised that Dr. Travis Shipley and the “petrified brain” owner, Larry Skelf, are no longer associated with our church. We take no position on the “fossil”. That is up to them to prove or disprove. We are focused on supporting the belief that God created this earth and all that inhabits it. He is our creator.

  204. #205 Steve_C
    February 27, 2009

    hahaha… cuz that’s not crazy, at all… right?

    Too funny.

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