Pharyngula

Come on down

I’ll be spending my day at this symposium, “Understanding evolution: the legacy of Darwin”, most of today. It’s about to start, so I’m not going to say much before I focus on the lectures, but it is open to the public, so if you’re in the Penn neighborhood, come on down to Claudia Cohen hall, room G17 (which we have since learned is the famous old surgical demonstration auditorium), and listen in. I’ll report later on the contents of the talks.

Comments

  1. #1 Holbach
    November 21, 2008

    If you get the time, go visit the Archaeology and Anthropology Museum. Great stuff there that laughs in the face of the religionists!

  2. #2 Touch of Grey
    November 21, 2008

    “…Borrowing a couple of genes…. challenges the notion that higher organisms must rely on their own genes to evolve. These comments follow an investigation asking how a hybrid of the British common groundsel weed came to have its large yellow petals. The international team determined that the change was initiated when the groundsel’s ancestor acquired a cluster of regulatory genes from a Sicilian species introduced some 300 years ago. The transfer likely resulted from cross-pollirnation. The biologists write, Our results …show how gene transfers between species may play an important part in the evolution of key ecological and morphological traits.

    These biologists believe that this example is noteworthy because the identity of the transferred genes and their source are unusually well established. This establishment was easier because the events were relatively recent. And that the transferred genes are regulatory ones is well worth knowing. But documented examples of horizontal gene transfers (HGT) — of all sorts, by a variety of means, conferring new traits among eukaryotes — are not rare. These examples sustain a fundamental prediction of cosmic ancestry. The analysis of British groundsel flower petals only adds to this growing body of evidence. -Brig Klyce (panspermia.org)

    Minsung Kim et al., “Regulatory Genes Control a Key Morphological and Ecological Trait Transferred Between Species” [abstract], doi:10.1126/science.1164371, p 1116-1119 v 322, Science, 14 Nov 2008.

  3. #3 llewelly
    November 21, 2008

    Damnitall PZ, my teleporter is on the fritz again. Can’t get to Penn today.

  4. #4 MikeM
    November 21, 2008

    Hey! They took down the “Imagine No Religion” billboard in Rancho Cucamonga!

    http://www.insidesocal.com/news247/2008/11/controversial-imagine-no-relig.html

    And the City was responsible for it!

    “It’s pretty clear that if the city didn’t pick up the phone, the image would still be there,” Scheer said.

  5. #5 Qwerty
    November 21, 2008

    Off topic but some guy just blamed the death of his Christian son on Richard Dawkins in an article in the WorldNetDaily (or WorldNutDaily as some call it.) Anyhow, he goes on to blame public education and the assignment or suggested reading by a biology professor of “The God Delusion” as factors that led to his son’s suicide.

    There is nothing in the story to explain exactly why the son did this as he didn’t leave a note or anything. If he did commit suicide because of this book, then his faith was weak. Anyhow, the father admits he is angry at the loss and it looks like he is scapegoating Dawkins. Pathetic.

    Link to story: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=81459

  6. #6 Holbach
    November 21, 2008

    Good old religious pressure, bearing down on rational advertising to silence the forces of reason. They couldn’t get their imaginary god to bring down it down so they had mere mortals do it. How about a skywriting stint? By the time they see it and get ready to act, the smoke will have dissipated. Where?, I don’t see any message up there! Maybe your god is playing tricks with your senses and you are seeing things that are not there. Like your god.

  7. #7 Curious Chloride
    November 21, 2008

    Long time lurker here. Apologies for the off-topic question, but does anyone remember a video on abiogensis, or origin of life or something similar posted here? I’m pretty sure it was this blog, anyway. It was in response to something stupid the creationists said, and it was a very good explanation of how life could come about from the inorganic elements. It was the first explanation that I saw that went into the how and why lipid membranes were formed. Does anyone know which video one I mean?

  8. #8 woody
    November 21, 2008

    posted by: Qwerty | November 21, 2008 12:18 PM

    Off topic but some guy just blamed the death of his Christian son on Richard Dawkins in an article in the WorldNetDaily (or WorldNutDaily as some call it.) Anyhow, he goes on to blame public education and the assignment or suggested reading by a biology professor of “The God Delusion” as factors that led to his son’s suicide.

    Interestingly, nothing is ever said about the fact that the poor kid had spend a tour in Iraq slaughtering iraqi innocents, bulldozing dogs, and abusing old women…

    wonder if that had anything to do with his depression?

  9. #9 Nick Gotts
    November 21, 2008

    Curious Chloride

    I do remember it, though I can’r be sure of where it was. Try searching for “Shostak” – I think it was associated with his group. If not, that’ll get you to the right threads anyway.

  10. #10 MikeM
    November 21, 2008

    Here’s an image of the “Imagine No Religion” billboard:

    http://yubanet.com/uploads/2/california_billboard.jpg

    Part of me is wondering if they’d simply changed the sign to read, “Imagine Religion”, if it’d still be up. Ironically, removing the “no” doesn’t change the meaning at all.

  11. #11 David Marjanovi?, OM
    November 21, 2008

    Try searching for “Shostak”

    Isn’t going to work, because the guy is spelled the Polish way: Szostak.

  12. #12 Curious Chloride
    November 21, 2008

    Szostak did the trick! Thank you Nick and David.

  13. #13 Nick Gotts
    November 21, 2008

    David Marjanovi?, OM@11,
    Thanks! Sorry Curious Chloride. Honestly though, you’d think these search programs would have gained a bit of intelligence by now ;-)

  14. #14 Somnolent Aphid
    November 21, 2008

    completely off topic but should make readers smile:
    http://comics.com/pearls_before_swine/2008-11-21/

  15. #15 Lazlo's Other
    November 21, 2008

    Woody:

    My son spent a tour in Iraq. He did not shoot or otherwise slaughter any innocents, bulldoze any dogs, or abuse any old women. He did come home with some serious depression issues. Don’t just assume if someone has problems they must be evil. Kind of sounds like the type of garbage I would hear from a fundie.

  16. #16 ThatOtherGuy
    November 21, 2008

    This has nothing to do with anything, but I’ve had that Peter Gabriel song “Down to Earth” from WALL-E stuck in my head for the past few days… “Come on down” is a prominent repeated lyric in the song, as is “Down to Earth,” which Daylight Atheism named one of HIS recent blog entries.

    If I was religious or a conspiracy theorist, you know I’d be ranting about that right now :p

  17. #17 dahduh
    November 21, 2008

    It’s usually obvious, really, that PZ’s really rushed, when he starts, you know, despite a history of impeccable punctuation, writing like this.

  18. #18 Podblack
    November 21, 2008

    When you’re less rushed PZ – do check out Digital Cuttlefish’s new book!!
    http://www.tinyurl.com/digitalcuttlefish

  19. #19 Josh
    November 21, 2008

    Ahh yes. That’s a nice room. Not the best lecture venue on campus, but a nice one.

  20. #20 Touch of Grey
    November 21, 2008

    “…so if you’re in the Penn neighborhood, come on down to Claudia Cohen hall, room G17 (which we have since learned is the famous old surgical demonstration auditorium), and listen in.”

    I think I’ll wait for tomorrow’s symposium “Understanding phlogiston: the legacy of Becher”

    If I can get this damned time machine to start !

  21. #21 DaveH
    November 21, 2008

    “If I can get this damned time machine to start !”

    Maybe your tinfoil hat is blocking the “pray-rays” to the “designer”

  22. #22 Allen N
    November 21, 2008

    Mike M:

    I tried twice to post on the site mentioned. It was rejected because “the text was wrong”. Go figure. Apparently, no dissent allowed by outsiders??

  23. #23 MikeM
    November 21, 2008

    Allen, try this one instead:

    http://www.dailybulletin.com/ci_11037875?source=most_emailed

    Much livelier user-comments anyway.

  24. #24 breadmaker
    November 21, 2008

    Was searching for some entertaining anti-creationists sites.
    You by far have, in my opinion, just the right flavor here like a good dry sharp cheese for snacking.

    Any thoughts on the decrease in the amounts of fun you would have if the english language allow for simple conjugating modifiers to words like “random biological ejaculations” such that without the modifiers this would be a meaningless statement, but with the modifiers the sense of humor would be lost?

  25. #25 MikeM
    November 21, 2008

    The Butt Bandit has been caught red, er, handed!

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2008/11/21/national/a121445S45.DTL&tsp=1

    (Sorry.)

  26. #26 Daniel R
    November 22, 2008
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