Pharyngula

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The Institute for Creation Research has a charming little magazine called “Acts & Facts” that prints examples of their “research” — which usually means misreading some scientific paper and distorting it to make a fallacious case for a literal interpretation of the bible. Here’s a classic example: Chimps and People Show ‘Architectural’ Genetic Design, by Brian Thomas, M.S. (Note: this is not the peer-reviewed research paper implied by the logo to the left — that comes later.) The paper is a weird gloss on recent work on CNVs, or copy number variants. Mr Thomas makes a standard creationist inference that I have to hold up for public ridicule.

At one point in their Genome Research report, the investigators referred to the chromosomal arrangement of CNVs as “sequence motifs or architectures.” “Architecture” logically suggests an architect. Although these researchers have encountered architectural (designed) features in DNA, they hold fast to their belief that nature itself is the architect, even though scientists have not discovered a plausible mechanism or observable example.

It would make sense that a Master Architect fashioned these attributes–some unique to chimpanzees, some unique to humans, and others quite similar in both–in genomes so that each group could better survive the different diseases it might encounter. These genetic “architectures” provide evidence for purposeful design and are more consistent with being the products of an all-knowing God as the Bible describes, rather than the products of indiscriminate nature.

Whoa. Scientists use the word “architecture” all the time in describing genes and genomes, and it doesn’t mean anything like what Thomas thinks it means. When you look at a gene, for instance, you can describe it in terms of its structure: the arrangement of introns and exons, for instance, or the location of regulatory regions. Because it is not a random gemisch of noise, but actually exhibits arrangements of regions relevant to its function, it’s fairly common to refer to it as having an architecture. It does not imply an architect; it implies an observed pattern, nothing more.

An architecture does not imply intent or purpose, but they often imply a history. The pattern described — that chimps and humans share some common structural elements in their genomes — is better described as evidence of common ancestry than of well-designed function. An intron, for instance, is a piece of random, usually useless DNA inserted into the middle of the sequence of a gene that must be excised from RNA before it can be used to make a functional protein. It’s a little piece of garbage that must be cleaned up before the gene product can do its job. That a human and chimpanzee gene has identical introns is an example of an architecture, true enough, but it is of a shared error. Some all-knowing god—he seems to be consistently making the same mistake.

This next part is particularly interesting, because Darwin’s insight is staring the author right in the face, and he doesn’t quite get it.

Some specifications of CNV design are that they are regions of DNA that are variably repeated, are often found in zones that are copied and spliced, and contain immune system (and few other) genes. They do not contain core genes, which are essential to basic cell function. If such genes were housed in an area that was more vulnerable to volatility and change, the survival of the cell itself would be at risk.

How does the cell “know” how to protect itself in this manner? According to the evolutionary model, it is the result of non-directed natural selection. According to the creation model, the Creator wisely placed core genes in regions of chromosomes that are much more stable. Conversely, it seems reasonable that the same Creator placed other genes in more volatile regions of chromosomes for the purpose of allowing more variety and survivability in succeeding generations.

The original research he is discussing does point out that there are some areas of the genome that are hotspots for copy number variation, and others that are not. These CNV regions tend not to include certain sensitive genes, genes that are not tolerant of changes in dosage. If those genes are varied, the organism tends to die, as Thomas himself notes. Wouldn’t the surprising thing be to observe lethal variants in living organisms?

But no, he instead leaps right into a common creationist error: assuming that the only way this unsurprising result could happen is if cells “know” something, that they plan to avoid the circumstance. They don’t! They die, so they don’t show up in the populations of living organisms we study!

It’s a shame Thomas is so unaware, too, because CNVs are actually looking very interesting. So forget the garbled creationist gobbledygook for now — let’s explain what a CNV is.

Here’s a typical human karyotype. These are the chromosomes from an ordinary diploid cell, like most of the cells in your body, which is why they come in pairs. You have 23 different kinds of chromosomes, each with a unique complement of genes, numbered from 1 to 22, with one other special case, the X and Y chromosomes that differ by sex. Let’s just focus on chromosome 1 to keep it simple.

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So here’s chromosome 1. Most of your cells have two copies of this chromosome, which means that they have two copies of each gene on that chromosome. For instance, near one end of the short arm of chromosome 1, there is a gene for an amylase — an enzyme that helps you digest sugars. I’ve guessed about where that gene would be located, and have drawn a red bar there to indicate the amylase gene.

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Again, note that this cell has two copies of the amylase gene. If it had only one copy, it would probably produce less amylase; if it had more copies, the cell would be able to pump out more amylase. This is the dosage of the gene. For some genes, dosage is very important. Having too many or too few copies could affect the rate of metabolic or developmental processes, for instance; too few, and maybe the lower levels would choke off growth, too many, and inappropriate processes might run wild at the expense of others.

We know that humans can’t tolerate overdoses of some genes. The best known example is Down Syndrome, caused by having an extra copy of chromosome 21. Chromosome 21 contains several hundred genes, and instead of being in duplicate, each are in triplicate in someone with Down Syndrome. This difference sends development down subtly awry pathways, producing individuals with a suite of problems.

We also cope poorly with reduced numbers of copies for some genes. Cri-du-chat syndrome, for example, is caused by a deletion of part of chromosome 5, so these individuals have only one copy instead of two for all of the genes present in that area, although the key gene may be just one, CTNND2. Not having enough copies of the gene product CTNND2 leads to errors in nerve growth, producing microcephaly and mental retardation.

But let’s return to chromosome 1. What happens if we have an extra copy of the amylase enzyme gene? As it turns out, nothing that we can detect. Maybe these individuals would have saliva that was especially good at breaking down french fries, but no physiological evidence of any difference has been found yet. They’ve just got a spare, or maybe cellular processes regulate enzyme expression so no real difference occurs, or maybe they do make a little extra enzyme, but digestion isn’t significantly effected. Unlike variations in the dosage of a gene like CTNND2 that controls gene growth, variation in the dosage of a digestive enzyme don’t seem to be as critical to the human organism.

This is what CNVs are all about: scientists have examined the genome of different individuals, and found that there is a significant amount of variation in copy number for some regions, and the part of chromosome 1 that codes for an amylase is one of them. What that means is that we can find people who have chromosomes like this:

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He has a duplicated copy of amylase on one of his chromosomes — two identical versions of the same gene, with another copy on the other chromosome, for a total of three amylase genes. And it’s not just amylase: there’s a whole block of DNA in that neighborhood that is duplicated to varying extents in different people, so that this locus varies between 150 kb and 425 kb long in different individuals. There are also individuals who lack one copy of the gene, carrying a deletion on one chromosome, like so:

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None of these differences cause any known, visible phenotype, which is the interesting thing about CNVs. We all have variations in the dosage of some genes scattered throughout our genomes; maybe you have four copies of some gene, your spouse has 2, your best friend has 3. Studies have found on the order of a dozen different regions with variant copy number between any two people — which is almost certainly a gross underestimate.

CNVs are not easy to detect. You can’t just look at the superficial phenotype and spot them, nor can you ask simple yes/no questions about the forms of the genes present, since the extra copies are often identical in sequence. Instead, the typical strategy is to extract small slices of the genome, find copies of the gene of interest, and ask if all the copies have the same neighboring DNA sequences. It’s not trivial and it’s easy to miss duplicates, but it’s easy enough to find lots of examples of variation between individuals in human populations.

That’s what’s particularly interesting about CNVs: they are another potential source of variation. We’re used to the idea of different forms, or alleles, of genes in a population, and how selection can work to remove one form or another. CNVs are subtle variants in gene dosage rather than gene sequence, and who knows? They may be responsible for some useful phenotypes that we have difficulty measuring.

The paper specifically addressed (or misaddressed, or just plain missed) by the creationist journal suggests that there is selection for some differences in dosage. The researchers compared the genomes of 30 humans and 30 chimpanzees, looking for CNVs within and between groups. They found some general observations, such as that CNVs tended to cluster around regions that were prone to large scale duplications. That suggests that some caution in interpreting shared CNVs is necessary — you don’t know whether an arrangement of genes in one area is shared between a chimp and a human is because they inherited those copy numbers from a common ancestor, or because they shared a hotspot for duplication with a common ancestor.

You can look for consistent copy number differences between species and regions of copy number variation within a species, and ask whether there are differences that have been fixed within each lineage, and where and in what kinds of genes those differences lie. There are some patterns. The copy number differences that show evidence of fixation in evolution (which may be a result of selection) are associated with genes involved in inflammation and with cell proliferation. These may be correlates of changes that led to our differences — the genes regulating cell proliferation are especially provocative, since we do have one organ, the brain, that is dramatically different in size and cell number.

However, the interpretation of the evidence must be completely different from what the creationists claim. What we find are patterns of random variation in gene copy number within human populations, which is interesting in itself, but also shows that the ‘architect’ had to have been remarkably nonchalant about the specification of his creations; and also that that variation can be part of the fuel for the evolution of differences between species. Only a creationist could read a paper describing the existence of a reservoir of chance variation and turn it around to claim it means that there was a god who placed the gene numbers with specific intent for specific purposes.


Freeman JL, Perry GH, Feuk L et al. (2008) Copy number variation: New insights in genome diversity. Genome Res 16: 949-961.

Perry GH, Yang F, Marques-Bonet T et al. (2008) Copy number variation and evolution in humans and chimpanzees. Genome Res 18: 1698-1710.

Comments

  1. #1 woody
    December 10, 2008

    WAY O/t:
    The Xian wackloons are up in arms about a display at the Washington State Capital building which rebuts the message of the Manger. Plus there’s a poll but you gotta sign up to play, or even to see the results…So I din’t…
    We return you to your regularly scheduled science, already in progress…

  2. #2 James F
    December 10, 2008

    My initial reaction was to ask if there is any other profession where scholarship is constantly, publicly, and deliberately misrepresented by a bunch of cranks, but I suppose climate scientists have it pretty bad too….

  3. #3 Nerd of Redhead
    December 10, 2008

    Very intesting papers. The ICR paper is obviously trying to fit facts to a given hypothesis, namely that there is a creator. So the interpretation of the facts has to be distorted to fit the false premise. The second paper explains the facts in total context with no distortion.
    I know which one I prefer.

  4. #4 Blake Stacey
    December 10, 2008

    These may be correlates of changes that led to our differences — the genes regulating cell proliferation are especially provocative, since we do have one organ, the brain, that is dramatically different in size and cell number.

    But alas, often not in use. :-/

  5. #5 JohnW
    December 10, 2008

    “Scientists use the word “architecture” all the time in describing genes and genomes, and it doesn’t mean anything like what Thomas thinks it means.”
    Creationists pull this stunt all the time – take a word which is being used in one sense, interpret it as being used in another sense, and scream “Gotcha!” The “only a theory” argument is the most obvious example.

  6. #6 bob
    December 10, 2008

    I’m no biblical scholar, but I don’t recall reading anything about DNA “sequence motifs or architectures” in the bible. Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure the bible doesn’t even mention DNA. How do these chuckle-heads know that their god is this Master Architect, and not Odin or Zeus?

    Just another drop in the creationist Sea of Fail, I know, but good to point out regardless. Nice post, PZ.

  7. #7 veganerd
    December 10, 2008

    Why would his god provide a mechanism for organisms to deal with diseases they may encounter? Wasn’t creation perfect? According to the story there wanst any sickness to deal with when god made animals.

  8. #8 LisaJ
    December 10, 2008

    the genes regulating cell proliferation are especially provocative, since we do have one organ, the brain, that is dramatically different in size and cell number.

    pRb/E2F all the way! My babies do everything :)

  9. #9 Christophe Thill
    December 10, 2008

    It seems that we have here a Thomas who has yet to master the art of doubt.

  10. #10 A Mac
    December 10, 2008

    The misunderstanding and misuse of the word architecture reminds me of their same treatment of another word that comes up very often…

    theory

  11. #11 Inoculated Mind
    December 10, 2008

    That “Architecture implies Architect” thing is so stupid.

    Hey look the wind is blowing outside… blowing implies that there’s a blow-ER. Therefore, some intelligent being must be blowing the wind outside.

    Creationists employ equivocation. Film at 11.

  12. #12 Glen Davidson
    December 10, 2008

    The only way to keep them from equivocal misuse of words is to cease writing about these matters.

    It’s always circular with them. They believe in an architect, so “architecture” must imply “architect.” Unfortunately for their pretensions to science, we only invoke “architect” in order to explain something, not to credit their god. Since “architect” explains none of the features, “architecture” obviously refers to the result of a process not involving an architect, especially random changes plus NS.

    What’s interesting, however, is that Paley said that he was referring to an “architect” or “artificer” (he specifically mentioned both) when he spoke of a “designer,” which is why his “hypothesis” can be treated like a hypothesis–that is, that the same sorts of rational planning would exist in life. Darwin took him up on his word, and showed that architects or artificers do not explain life.

    The “hypothesis” has remained falsified ever since, and the IDiots only play word games because they can’t address Darwin’s falsification of their belief.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  13. #13 TSC
    December 10, 2008

    CNV regions = CNV maker.

  14. #14 Jim
    December 10, 2008

    The next article focuses on how “MythBuster Mistakes Evolution for Science” by parsing some quote from one the hosts about what science is. This is a serious journal. I am going to write in a critique of CSI for it.

  15. #15 Sili
    December 10, 2008

    1) Architechture implies an Architect. What are these guys? Freemasons?

    2) Chromosome 21 looks to be one of the smallest. Might this have something to do with the prevalence of Down’s? Getting an extra of one of the bigger chromos simply introduces too big a boost?

    3)

    He has a duplicated copy of amylase on one of his chromosomes

    Why does “he” have two X-chromes?

  16. #16 MikeP
    December 10, 2008

    We should find a pseudogene and name it “BIBLE”

  17. #17 Stephen
    December 10, 2008

    > He has a duplicated copy of amylase on one of his chromosomes…

    I may be being overly pedantic here but since the karyotype shows two X chromosomes, shouldn’t PZ be referring to “her” rather than “him” in his examples?

  18. #18 Brodie
    December 10, 2008

    In the war on science… Language as a weapon.

    @#16 I just assumed he was transgendered.

  19. #19 BlueIndependent
    December 10, 2008

    Here’s a question for Mr. Thomas:

    If your god was ever loving and faithful to his creations, why would he make diseases for non-sinning creatures to contract and die from, and possibly mutate into human-killing epidemics?

    This guy walks right through a major hole in his own argument and asks, “is there a draft in here?”

  20. #20 LisaJ
    December 10, 2008

    @#16 I just assumed he was transgendered.

    It appears that PZ’s identified the ‘transgendered gene’: extra copies of amylase. And he says there’s no visible phenotype.

  21. #21 Calilasseia
    December 10, 2008

    Motivated once again by PZ’s sterling prose to track down the papers in question, I fired up Google Scholar, and what do I find?

    Although I’ve yet to alight upon the papers cited above, the first page returned by Google Scholar alone provides me with direct links to no less than SEVEN peer reviewed papers on copy number variation. That’s my bedtime reading sorted for quite some time!

    Yet another reason why, when I can find time to visit Pharyngula, I usually emerge from the experience with a nice satisfying warm glow of having been educated. PZ, I hope your students appreciate the largesse you bestow upon them. :)

  22. #22 tim Rowledge
    December 10, 2008

    Similarly dumb misuses of the accidental spelling of words:
    HIStory – the study of the past is sexist.
    theRAPIST – guess

    Wait for some creotard to claim that theory is derived from theos.

  23. #23 Prof MTh
    December 10, 2008

    James F | December 10, 2008 2:22 PM
    My initial reaction was to ask if there is any other profession where scholarship is constantly, publicly, and deliberately misrepresented by a bunch of cranks…

    Creotards are starting to attack neuroscience.

    Creotards are also now attacking physics.

  24. #24 kingjoebob
    December 10, 2008

    Since Proteins have architecture that must mean the the architect is directly responsible for the chemical reactions that cause the protein to fold the way it does, and when the proteins misfold he is punishing that person for his sins…

    OR

    All of this stuff is dictated by physics and chemistry.

    Why do these people always try and force supernatural in/on to things that are easily and readily explained through basic physics and chemistry?

  25. #25 SteveM
    December 10, 2008

    theRAPIST – guess

    the basis for a classic SNL skit? (involving alex trebek, sean connery and a jeopardy board)

    The category is “S” words…

    Sean Connery: “I’ll take swords for 100, Alex”

  26. #26 CrypticLife
    December 10, 2008

    Well, God created man in his own image, which means God must have had a mirror, and created humankind inside the reflection, so the universe is really just a big mirror of God’s surroundings.

    Just figured I’d try out creationist “research” thinking. It feels vaguely like being stoned, but without any of the pleasantness.

  27. #27 Jon D. Moulton
    December 10, 2008

    I write to defend the intron.

    I was surprised by your characterization of introns:
    “An intron, for instance, is a piece of random, usually useless DNA inserted into the middle of the sequence of a gene that must be excised from RNA before it can be used to make a functional protein. It’s a little piece of garbage that must be cleaned up before the gene product can do its job. That a human and chimpanzee gene has identical introns is an example of an architecture, true enough, but it is of a shared error. ”

    It is the presence of introns that allow alternative splicing and produce the observed diversity of proteins from a lesser number of genes. Introns can house miRNA sequences which are transcriptionally regulated along with their exonic hosts. Introns are a scratchpad for evolution, regions where sequences can be generated under decreased selective pressure and then, as a result of a mutation, can be inserted into mature mRNAs through the generation of a new splice site or the loss of an existing splice site, ultimately leading to new amino acid sequences within preexisting proteins. Introns evolved, the function of the splicing system has optimized though selective pressure, and we would be very different organisms without them. Introns are the scratchpads where local sequence optima can be exited to explore sequence space for a better global optimum — this is a benefit offered by carrying these “errors”. They are far from “garbage” sequence!

  28. #28 SteveM
    December 10, 2008

    How does the cell “know” how to protect itself in this manner? According to the evolutionary model, it is the result of non-directed natural selection. According to the creation model, the Creator wisely placed core genes in regions of chromosomes that are much more stable. [emphasis added]

    So he does see that natural selection would kill the cells with the genes in the less stable areas. So he has two choices; natural selection or wise God. So which does he choose the least complicated or the one that requires magic? <facepalm>

  29. #29 MLE
    December 10, 2008

    The fallacy of the ICR argument here reminded me of this classic example (from Wikipedia), which neatly illustrates how the counter-intuitive answer is sometimes the right one:

    In another piece of work, Blackett’s team analysed a report of a survey carried out by RAF Bomber Command.[citation needed] For the survey, Bomber Command inspected all bombers returning from bombing raids over Germany over a particular period. All damage inflicted by German air defenses was noted and the recommendation was given that armour be added in the most heavily damaged areas. Their suggestion to remove some of the crew so that an aircraft loss would result in fewer personnel loss was rejected by RAF command. Blackett’s team instead made the surprising and counter-intuitive recommendation that the armour be placed in the areas which were completely untouched by damage in the bombers which returned. They reasoned that the survey was biased, since it only included aircraft that returned to Britain. The untouched areas of returning aircraft were probably vital areas, which, if hit, would result in the loss of the aircraft.

  30. #30 Jason A.
    December 10, 2008

    Ugh. Following a comment in this thread, I clicked the ‘next article’ link about Mythbusters. At the bottom of the page they have a bunch of links to a ‘men of science, men of god’ series with articles on Newton, Maxwell, Faraday, Pasteur, and others.

  31. #31 LisaJ
    December 10, 2008

    I’m with you Jon @#27, and I also meant to comment on PZ’s unfortunate assault of the poor forgotten intron. A recent experiment of mine has shown me that cell cycle proteins bind some potentially very important developmental target genes within intronic sequences to regulate their transcriptional expression. There are definitely other examples of intronic sequences acting as important regulatory sequences for that gene.

    Of course, I do not take this information to mean that some designer other than ‘nature’ itself has brought about and maintained these sequences. Really, it seems to me that there could be a much simpler way for gene structure to be arranged, and no intelligent designer would create such an unnecessarily complex situation.

  32. #32 dave
    December 10, 2008

    the only *evidence of design* i’ll buy is a stamp that says “designed by god in heaven, assembled in china”

  33. #33 Jason Dick
    December 10, 2008

    Quick question:

    I know that introns were only introduced as a by-line, but I’m curious: might they not be co-opted by our genes to make it easier to make more proteins out of the same chunk of DNA? I believe I remember reading somewhere that many proteins can be made from overlapping regions of DNA…

  34. #34 David Lee
    December 10, 2008

    A nice explanation, PZ. I’ll probably forget most of it but they say repetition is helpful. I feel educated. Thanks.

  35. #35 Greta Christina
    December 10, 2008

    At one point in their Genome Research report, the investigators referred to the chromosomal arrangement of CNVs as “sequence motifs or architectures.” “Architecture” logically suggests an architect.

    That is quite possibly one of the ten stupidest creationist arguments I’ve seen. And that’s saying something. “Biologists have referred to this as an architecture, therefore there has to be an architect.” What is that — the Argument from Semantics?

    So what’s next? “Biologists have referred to the Citrus medica var. sarcodactylus as the Buddha’s Hand — therefore it must have come to this earth to bring enlightenment to mankind and show us the Four Noble Truths and the Middle Path.” WTF?

  36. #36 breadmaker
    December 10, 2008

    hey look…
    more from the “I promise my bag of Cheetos didn’t contaminate the sample, so there must be a designer”-Department.
    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/arj/v1/n1/radiocarbon-ages-for-ammonites-wood

  37. #37 LisaJ
    December 10, 2008

    Jason Dick,

    Yes, this does seem to be the case in some situations. I can’t speak for every gene, but at least for the group that I’m used to thinking about every day there are a couple of cases where an intron in one gene constitutes part of the coding region for another gene, and these make two distinct proteins. Also, as Jon alluded to at #27, there are examples where non-coding regions of a gene are important in creating non-protein molecules, such as microRNAs for examples, that have important functions in regulating which mRNA transcripts are actually translated into protein.

  38. #38 Skeptico
    December 10, 2008

    It would make sense that a Master Architect fashioned these attributes–some unique to chimpanzees, some unique to humans, and others quite similar in both–in genomes so that each group could better survive the different diseases it might encounter

    So the designer designed and manufactured diseases, and then had to design the genome to resist these diseases. Wouldn’t an intelligent designer just not have designed the disease in the first place?

  39. #39 Michael Hawkins
    December 10, 2008

    It’s funny just how often creationists make really fucking stupid statements.

    More ridicule is needed, methinks.

  40. #40 BAllanJ
    December 10, 2008

    “the only *evidence of design* i’ll buy is a stamp that says “designed by god in heaven, assembled in china”"

    well, that would be evidence that there was someone in china that believed in god, I guess.

  41. #41 Uncephalized
    December 10, 2008

    I do enjoy the usual exposure of idiots that we get daily here, but this stuff is why I really started reading your blog, PZ–you seem like you’re probably a very good teacher, if your style is at all like your writing. I’m always interested to read your “peer-reviewed research” pieces. Keep it up!

  42. #43 Holbach
    December 10, 2008

    So “Architecture implies Architect”, is analogous to “Mad” magazine implies madness?
    Edgar Allen, get in here and straighten this mess out!

  43. #44 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 10, 2008

    “Architecture” logically suggests an architect

    I love the warmed over watchmaker argument.

  44. #45 Ann
    December 10, 2008

    You don’t have to know anything about evolutionary theory to spot the flaw in this argument:

    Designed objects (watches, buildings, etc.) are not natural.
    Therefore, natural objects are designed.

    Or is there something I’m overlooking?

  45. #46 Ian Gibson
    December 10, 2008

    Excellent post.

    Just a minor correction: the first diagram is a karyogram (an image of chromosomes arranged pairwise by size), not a karyotype (which in this case would be 46,XX).

  46. #47 'Tis Himself
    December 10, 2008

    Architecture implies Architect

    “Nucleus” means completely different things to a biologist, a physicist, and an astronomer. A galactic nucleus does not imply DNA or the weak force.

  47. #48 Kassul
    December 10, 2008

    OT:

    For woody @ #1 it’s fairly evenly split. I have a throwaway gmail account I use for this sort of thing so I voted. They can spam that account all they want.
    ——————
    Should the atheist display be pulled from the Washington State Capitol?

    Yes 53.16% 850 votes
    No 44.72% 715 votes
    Unsure 2.13% 34 votes
    ——————

    I’ll understand if the Pharyngula masses don’t want to go through the rigamarole of signing up account(s) for this, but that very fact makes there be a low number of voters. We could swing the poll fairly well I’d think if we voted en-masse.

    And now, back to the topic at hand… :P

    Looks like some good commentary on the article PZ, thanks very much =) Always nice to see someone point out all the flawed bits in such things.

  48. #49 forksmuggler
    December 10, 2008

    Thanks for taking the time to deliver a detailed and scholarly response to this religious-based lunacy, but I doubt anyone on that side of the fence will be swayed by frivolties like facts and evidence.

  49. #50 Michael Hawkins
    December 10, 2008

    One part of this which I think deserves a little more attention is that of shared errors. They provide good evidence for our common ancestory with the other apes.

  50. #51 Shaggy Maniac
    December 10, 2008

    One thing this “architecture” business does illustrate is the risk one takes in using metaphors in scientific descriptions. In a literal sense, architecture does imply an architect. In the same way referring to cellular motors implies an engineer. Metaphors are indeed useful in description and may lead to insight and discovery, but there is a risk entailed in invoking them. Of course I think the argument under discussion is absurd, but it is worthwhile, I think, to be mindful of and careful about the use of metaphor in science.

  51. #52 ngong
    December 10, 2008

    The infants at Dembski’s UD were cooing over a paper called, “Design Principles of Photosystem II and Hydrogenases” a few months ago (it has the word “design” in it). The writer of the original post then goes on to tell us he can only read the abstract since he doesn’t have the passwords that any academic would.

  52. #53 Olorin
    December 10, 2008

    Probably the most widespread creationism equivocation involves the word “for.” When we say that the kidney is “for” filtering urine, your creationist interjects, “Aha! The kidney has a purpose, and thus implies an intelligence, because only intelligent beings can have purposes.”

    This equivocation arises, I think, because creationists absolutely cannot rid themselves of their teleological assumptions. Everything must have a goal, else why would it have been brought into being? The teleological assumption seems to be a major, and perhaps the predominant, driver of their misinterpretations of evidence for evolution.

  53. #54 bunnycatch3r
    December 10, 2008

    If the sun is said to “set” then there must be a “setter”… “I received my Phd. in Truthology from Christian Tech.”

  54. #55 Nerd of Redhead
    December 10, 2008

    If the sun is said to “set” then there must be a “setter”… “I received my Phd. in Truthology from Christian Tech.”

    After being hom skooled using IgnrncRUsTM teeching materals

  55. #56 David Marjanovi?, OM
    December 10, 2008

    We know that humans can’t tolerate overdoses of some genes. The best known example is Down Syndrome, caused by having an extra copy of chromosome 21. Chromosome 21 contains several hundred genes, and instead of being in duplicate, each are in triplicate in someone with Down Syndrome. This difference sends development down subtly awry pathways, producing individuals with a suite of problems.

    Here it should be pointed out that only two trisomies are survivable at all. All others (including of course full triploidy) lead to a dead embryo or early fetus.

    It happens. A karyogram of a triploid fetus is a textbook illustration I’ve seen.

    Intelligent design? Murphy’s Law.

    Blackett’s team instead made the surprising and counter-intuitive recommendation that the armour be placed in the areas which were completely untouched by damage in the bombers which returned. They reasoned that the survey was biased, since it only included aircraft that returned to Britain. The untouched areas of returning aircraft were probably vital areas, which, if hit, would result in the loss of the aircraft.

    Just like natural selection: you can’t just count the hits misses and ignore the misses hits.

  56. #57 Brownian, OM
    December 10, 2008

    Creationists seizing on literal interpretations of words to support one claim or another? Shocking.

    Of course, that is the basis of religious exegesis. One need merely a cursory examination of history to notice that exegeses, being all but unsupportable outside of semantic games, have lead to a less coherent understanding of the universe among its schismatic enthusiasts.

    For all its bickering and critiquing, science, on the other hand….

  57. #58 intron
    December 10, 2008

    Poor introns. :)

  58. #59 GodIsLove
    December 10, 2008

    PZ please stop wasting peoples time and moeny on trying to disprove God
    we all no that one day when we all die we have to face up to our maker and u will have NO EXCUSE!!!

    i pray for u and ur soul that u might also not mislead people with ur lies
    GOD BLESS AMERICA

  59. #60 PoeIsLove
    December 10, 2008

    Yeah PZ stop wasting my moeny on trying to disprove Poe

  60. #61 Nerd of Redhead
    December 10, 2008

    GodIsLove, PZ gets a minute amount of money for each post. You are helping to pay for a HDTV for his bedroom with your inanity.

  61. #62 Brownian, OM
    December 10, 2008

    So what’s next? “Biologists have referred to the Citrus medica var. sarcodactylus as the Buddha’s Hand–therefore it must have come to this earth to bring enlightenment to mankind and show us the Four Noble Truths and the Middle Path.”

    I’ll buy that. To whom should I send money and/or my pledge to eradicate/save the infidels/non-believers?

    It just occurred to me that my first car was organic. It was a stick shift, see, and ‘stick’ logically implies a piece of a branch, stem, or trunk, and therefore any creationist worth their salt would immediately see that cars must come from trees.

    I’ll bet none of the trolls who’ll show up on this thread are worth their salt.

    I’ll bet even Salt doesn’t see that cars come from trees.

  62. #63 jj
    December 10, 2008

    @#60PoeIsLove
    #59 is as Poe as Poe can get.

  63. #64 Michaeljosephraymond@mac.com
    December 10, 2008

    I feel like a owe you a tuition cheque! Thank you for taking the time to go through that for us, professor. I read your blog all the time. When I went to Christian college back in the day, our science class taught Creationism. I’ve spent the last few decades trying to make up for what I lost to that nonsense by reading proper biology books, articles and blogs.

  64. #65 Gold Dragon 1968
    December 10, 2008

    Reading PZ’s article fills me with awe for how wonderful and amazing world in which we live. For simple chemicals to have formed and evolved into the variety of live which surrounds us and the true beauty of the world is truely amazing.

    When I was younger I believed in the invisible magic sky fairy and his zombie son, thankfully I grew out of it. I now look at the world around me from the point of view of science and reason. I have more of a sense of wonder now that I don’t believe than I ever did when I was a believer.

    Science and reason have vastly improved my love of the world in which we live from the childish belief I had before. It shocks and confuses me that so many people would close themselves off from the true wonders of this world for a comforting lie. My understanding of science hasn’t stopped me finding a rainbow beautiful or being awestruck by the sight of a bird of prey in flight. Why do these people close themselves of from this amazing world in which we live?

    The only reason I’ve ever seen for it is fear and cowardiss. We still know so little about the universe in which we live and it is an atrocity that these small, power hungry individuals wish to destroy this search for understanding for the sake of their own greed.

    Sorry for rambling, just felt like getting that off my chest.

  65. #66 natural cynic
    December 10, 2008

    @11

    Hey look the wind is blowing outside… blowing implies that there’s a blow-ER. Therefore, some intelligent being must be blowing the wind outside.

    Do you mean Boreas, Zephyrus, Eurus & Notus the anemoi[four winds] of Greek Mythology? It just goes to show that if anything happens, some mythological creature could be responsible.

    Old Vietnam War joke: The wind in Vietnam doesn’t blow, it sucks. And anyone unlucky enough to be there is a sucker.

  66. #67 GodIsLove
    December 10, 2008

    WAKE UP SHEEPLE
    your pied piper is leading you down the path to HELL (Matthew 7:13)

    Psalms 14:1

    God loves u its not too late to repent!!

    Our Father, who art in heaven,
    Hallowed be thy Name.
    Thy kingdom COME.
    Thy will be DONE,
    On earth as it is in heaven.
    Give us this day our daily bread.
    And forgive us our trespasses,
    As we forgive those who trespass against us.
    And lead us not into temptation,
    But deliver us from EVIL.
    For thine is the KINGDOM,
    and the POWER, and the GLORY,
    for ever and ever.
    AMEN!

    http://rollinwithnolen.com/FALLEN.aspx

  67. #68 Sven DiMilo
    December 10, 2008

    Old prairie joke:
    Why does the wind blow north to south in Oklahoma?
    Because Kansas blows and Texas sucks.

  68. #69 Brownian, OM
    December 10, 2008

    we all no that one day when we all die we have to face up to our maker and u will have NO EXCUSE!!!

    Poe or not, GodIsLove is the excuse. Given the competition for human souls that god KNOWS exists (presuming, of course, the generalised Abrahamic worldview), a loving God could not justly send someone of GodIsLove’s obvious, erm, qualities as his witness given the severity of the stakes involved.

    “Hi. I’m God. I sent legions of slavering doughheads to convince you that you didn’t evolve from a common ancestor of apes. I even sent you a banana-toting Ray Comfort to illustrate the point (ironic, I know, but you can see the quality-control problem I’m having here). But you chose instead to believe the tonnes of corroborating evidence and verified predictions instead. Well, too bad; off to hell you go!

    I love you.”

    If GodIsLove and the other trolls we get here are doing the work of any ethereal being, it’s surely Satan’s. They should think hard about that if they’re actually interested in ‘saving’ anyone here, rather than (as I suspect) notching their ‘Witness’ belt so they can show God that they sorta half-assed tried.

  69. #70 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 10, 2008

    WAKE UP SHEEPLE

    funny. A religious idiot calling us Sheep.

  70. #71 Gold Dragon 1968
    December 10, 2008

    @#67
    As Douglas Adams said, “Isn’t it enough that a garden is beautiful without there being fairies at the bottom of it?”

  71. #72 Sven DiMilo
    December 10, 2008

    Sheeples wopple but they don’t fall down.

  72. #73 GodIsLove
    December 10, 2008

    JESUS KNEW ALL OF THIS WAS GOING TO HAPPEN

    Matthew 24
    9
    Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.
    10
    At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,
    11
    and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.
    12
    Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,
    13
    but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
    14
    And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

    PZ Meyers: JESUS WAS TALKING ABOUT YOU IN MATTHEW 24:11 BUT I WILL BE THE PERSON IN VERSE 13

  73. #74 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 10, 2008

    PZ Meyers: JESUS WAS TALKING ABOUT YOU IN MATTHEW 24:11 BUT I WILL BE THE PERSON IN VERSE 13

    You hear that PZ? You’re in “the best selling book of all time”.

    Are there some royalties or something coming your way?

  74. #75 Gold Dragon 1968
    December 10, 2008

    @#73
    For a supposed religion of love don’t you ever question the amount of time you and your fellows spend talking about and spewing hatred on those you don’t agree with? What happened to your forgiveness?

  75. #76 Brownian, OM
    December 10, 2008

    WAKE UP SHEEPLE

    Belt notch.

    Apparently GodIsLove’s god counts those purple ‘Participant’ ribbons they gave to us in elementary if we showed up on ‘Track & Field Day’.

    Who knew conservatives secretly viewed those apocryphal ‘librul’ schools where everyone gets the same grade regardless of how hard they try (or don’t).

    Yay for you GodIsLove! You’re doing just as, gosh *super* a job as those Christians who actually read books in hope that they’ll actually make a compelling case to a non-believer! Oooh, hugs and squeezes all around!

    (You know, even Jesus took time to respond to his interlocutors’ questions.)

  76. #77 Nerd of Redhead
    December 10, 2008

    GodIsLove, please discuss the parts of the bible where you smite people, except for the virgin girls, and other items you would rather not have brought up in polite company. Some of us have read the bible cover to cover, and discovered all your secrets. All the hate and smiting that makes a mafia godfather look like the tooth fairy.
    Reading the bible is the first step to becoming an atheist.

  77. #78 GodIsLove
    December 10, 2008

    To Brownian:
    GOD told me that HE LOVES YOU
    Dont blame the messengers we have FREE WILL
    HE WHO SEEKS SHALL FIND (Matthew 7:8)

    If you dont seek you only have YOURSELF to blame

    Have you admitted you are a sinner yet and got down on your knees and prayed for forgiveness?????????

    See that the DEVIL tries to take people away from JESUS by using FALSE PROPHETS and FALSE TEACHERS!

    Read REVELATIONS – its whats to come!!

  78. #79 Nerd of Redhead
    December 10, 2008

    Read REVELATIONS – its whats to come!!

    Read it. Whoever wrote it got into some bad cactus juice.

  79. #80 Gold Dragon 1968
    December 10, 2008

    @#78
    A believer I used to know regularly used to try and tell me that the Devils best trick was making people think he didn’t exist. My reply to this was to point out that surely the Devils best trick would be to make people think he was God. Looking at what the worlds believers have done down the centuries how do you prove that that isn’t the case?

  80. #81 GodIsLove
    December 10, 2008

    Nerd of Redhead:

    GOD LOVES YOU TOO and he wants to get to know you!! Let Him into your HEART!

    GOD is LOVING but GOD is JUST! Those who disobey Him deserve what they get! People today get away with MURDER with NO JUSTICE but they will soon get whats coming to them!!

    i read the bible everyday and I love my GOD even more everyday!

    2 TIMOTHY 3:16

  81. #82 Nerd of Redhead
    December 10, 2008

    God doesn’t exist. No physical evidence whatsoever for a god. Ergo, god only exists between the ears of illogical people. Take your godboting back home.

  82. #83 GodIsLove
    December 10, 2008

    Gold Dragon 1968:

    GOD told me that HE LOVES YOU!!
    GOD is more powerful than the devil

    Do you know the difference between GOD and devil?
    GOD IS LOVE
    DEVIL IS HATE

    JESUS said to LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR
    Would the devil say that???????

  83. #84 Brownian, OM
    December 10, 2008

    See that the DEVIL tries to take people away from JESUS by using FALSE PROPHETS and FALSE TEACHERS!

    Yeah. Since you’re not in the least convincing and thus doing more harm for your God than good, this means YOU.

    Please try to take your own religion as seriously as former Christians like myself once did.

  84. #85 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 10, 2008

    Brownian. God has a man crush on you.

    Don’t bend over in the shower. You know, he is everywhere.

  85. #86 GodIsLove
    December 10, 2008

    Nerd of Redhead:

    PSALMS 14:1
    The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.

  86. #87 mayhempix
    December 10, 2008

    “President-elect Barack Obama is likely to name Steven Chu, a physicist who runs the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, as his energy secretary…”

    http://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/12/10/obama.energy/index.html?eref=rss_topstories

    An actual scientist wll be in Obama’s cabinet.

  87. #88 GodIsLove
    December 10, 2008

    Rev. BigDumbChimp:

    Are you CATHOLIC?? THE WHORE OF BABYLON???

    They are CORRUPT and teach people LIES.

    Please good sir Reverend, why hast thou forsaken God?

  88. #89 Gold Dragon 1968
    December 10, 2008

    @GOD IS LOVE
    Have you actually read the old testement? Exactly how much love is there in that god? Christians claim to love but seldom show anything other than hate. I’ve seen to much of this kind of parsimonious nonsense over the years to believe any of it.

    It was christians who were responisible for some of the worst atrocities in human history, wether we talk about the crusades, the destruction of the south american peoples, the inquisition or the nazi holocaust against the jews, all of which where lead by and purely down to christians.

    So please don’t try and tell me about your gods love.

  89. #90 Wowbagger
    December 10, 2008

    The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.

    The wise man speaks it to the world.

  90. #91 Kassul
    December 10, 2008

    GodIsLove @ 78
    “HE WHO SEEKS SHALL FIND (Matthew 7:8)”

    Do you suppose that Mother Teresa didn’t seek?

    Just CURIOUS if you KNOW HOW she felt near the end of her life about the QUESTION OF if she could hear the word of god.

    HEY, this CAPITALIZING OF WORDS is pretty fun. I see why you do it now.

  91. #92 Brownian, OM
    December 10, 2008

    Don’t bend over in the shower. You know, he is everywhere.

    Hey, If he’s willing to scrub that hard-to-reach part of my back just under the scapulae, I’m willing to talk.

  92. #93 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 10, 2008

    Rev. BigDumbChimp:

    Are you CATHOLIC?? THE WHORE OF BABYLON???

    They are CORRUPT and teach people LIES.

    Please good sir Reverend, why hast thou forsaken God?

    I haven’t forsaken God any more than I’ve forsaken Underdog.

    There is no God.

    You quoting scripture proves nothing more than you can read and type.

  93. #94 Gold Dragon 1968
    December 10, 2008

    @#86,
    Isn’t it far more foolish to believe something without any proof?

  94. #95 GodIsLove
    December 10, 2008

    mayhempix:

    OBAMA is the ANTI-CHRIST!!!
    He wants to KILL BABIES!!!
    ITS IN REVELATIONS!!!

    Why wont people listen??? Too many hardened hearts are heading to HELL but its not too late!!!

    GOD LOVES EVERYONE (NOT GAYS)

  95. #96 Nerd of Redhead
    December 10, 2008

    GodIsLove, quoting the bible just says your are an idiot. Your god doesn’t exist. Jesus was a myth. Get over it.

  96. #97 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 10, 2008

    poe

  97. #98 Gold Dragon 1968
    December 10, 2008

    @#95,
    Now your just taking the P**s.

  98. #99 Kel
    December 10, 2008

    i read the bible everyday and I love my GOD even more everyday!

    I love that bit where he drowns all of humanity. Oh and that bit where he kills the first born child of everyone in Egypt. And that bit where he helps the Jews plunder and loot rival nations. He’s such a loving character that god.

  99. #100 GodIsLove
    December 10, 2008

    Kassul:

    “mother teresa” was a DIRTY catholic WHORE

    GOD loved her everyday until she started worshiping MARY and the POPE (NOT IN THE BIBLE!!!!)

    She will be burning in hell where she belongs!!!
    She had her chance – we all do.

  100. #101 Brownian, OM
    December 10, 2008

    But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother[a]will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.-Matthew 5:22

    A commenter (I forget who) once wrote something about many fundies believing the words of the bible are somehow ‘magic’, as merely reciting the words would cause an unbeliever to immediately fall to his knees in rapturous wonder. I had a roommate who was once like that. He was genuinely puzzled by the fact that I could cite scripture as well or better than he could and was still an atheist. It takes a real selective mind to cherry-pick the bible like that and so blatantly ignore contradictory scripture.

  101. #102 GodIsLove
    December 10, 2008

    Have you actually read the old testement?
    YES

    Exactly how much love is there in that god?
    INFINITY

    Christians claim to love but seldom show anything other than hate.
    TRUE CHRISTIANS LOVE

    I’ve seen to much of this kind of parsimonious nonsense over the years to believe any of it.
    WHAT DOES PARSIMONIOUS MEAN??

    It was christians who were responisible for some of the worst atrocities in human history, wether we talk about the crusades, the destruction of the south american peoples, the inquisition or the nazi holocaust against the jews, all of which where lead by and purely down to christians.
    THEY WERE NOT TRUE CHRISTIANS!!

  102. #103 Nerd of Redhead
    December 10, 2008

    GodIsLove, please show us some physical evidence for your imaginary. Some evidence that can be examined by scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers to confirm divine origin, and not a natural process.

  103. #104 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 10, 2008

    GodIsLove what do you think of Mormons?

    What about Episcopalians?

    Presbyterians?

    baptists?

    2nd day Adventists?

    Jahovah’s witnesses?

  104. #105 Nerd of Redhead
    December 10, 2008

    That is imaginary god in post #103. *headdesk*

  105. #106 John Morales
    December 10, 2008

    Ann @45,

    You don’t have to know anything about evolutionary theory to spot the flaw in this argument:
    Designed objects (watches, buildings, etc.) are not natural.
    Therefore, natural objects are designed.
    Or is there something I’m overlooking?

    Nope.
    It’s really as simple as that.

    And I want to add that, though I’m not particularly interested in biology, posts like these educate me.
    Thanks, PZ!

  106. #107 GodIsLove
    December 10, 2008

    Kel:

    Here is a hint: GOD IS JUST

    Brownian:

    we are all SINNERS its in our NATURE but GOD’s nature is LOVE which is why he gives us a chance to REPENT before its too late. So long as you dont DENY the HOLY SPIRIT you will be OKAY if you admit you are a SINNER.

    Nerd:

    look around you!!! even BLIND people can SEE

  107. #108 Gold Dragon 1968
    December 10, 2008

    @GodIsLove
    Why not buy yourself a dictionary, it might help with your total ignorance.

    As to the not being Christians, that’s not what they or the majority of the rest of the world thought. Who are you to tell anyone else who or what they are?

    You really do need to grow up.

    I wil also pass on a piece of advice I was long ago given.

    “Never trust anyone who only reads one book.”

  108. #109 mayhempix
    December 10, 2008

    GodIsLove is from Poe-dunk Idaho.

  109. #110 Nerd of Redhead
    December 10, 2008

    GIL, still no physical evidence for your imaginary god. TSK. Have you no shame? Put up or go away.

  110. #111 Gold Dragon 1968
    December 10, 2008

    @GodIsLove
    Why not buy yourself a dictionary, it might help with your total ignorance.

    As to the not being Christians, that’s not what they or the majority of the rest of the world thought. Who are you to tell anyone else who or what they are?

    You really do need to grow up.

    I wil also pass on a piece of advice I was long ago given.

    “Never trust anyone who only reads one book.”

  111. #112 GodIsLove
    December 10, 2008

    Reverend: Matthew 7:13

    Gold Dragon: I give all my money to charity because RICH people will BURN IN HELL. GOD is the only one who can JUDGE and I can assure you those who call themselfs Christians and disgrace His name WILL PAY.

    mayhempix: No I am not from Idaho.

  112. #113 Brownian, OM
    December 10, 2008

    GodIsLove is so Poe that it effectively no longer matters whether she’s a Poe or not. To continue the illusion, a Poe-ist so entrenched in this character would be hard-pressed to do anything but toss off time-worn canards. Even the scripture cited so far is nothing but the boring, obvious stuff.

    Even Simon, the electronic memory game from the 80s, varied its patterns each game.

    For those playing at home, the answer to Matthew 5:22 is to respond with “the devil can cite Scripture for his purpose”, which is not the Bible but Shakespeare. Savvy scripture-spewers will be able to support this with Luke 4:9-12, but you have to be absolutely clueless to not realise that it renders the game stale-mated, as either interlocutor can equally claim the other is a false prophet.

  113. #114 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 10, 2008

    I know I’ll regret this as GIL will be revealed in all its gooey poeness but…

    GIL I know all that religion has scrambled what little grey matter you had up there but you quoting scripture to me to answer my question is not an answer.

    I repeat

    GodIsLove what do you think of Mormons?

    What about Episcopalians?

    Presbyterians?

    baptists?

    2nd day Adventists?

    Jahovah’s witnesses?

  114. #115 GodIsLove
    December 10, 2008

    Brownian: Where is your evidence for EVILouTION? I trust GOD! You trust YOU. I know I’m right (GOD told me HIMSELF) you can never be sure outside of your own world.

  115. #116 Gold Dragon 1968
    December 10, 2008

    @godislove,
    you may claim that your god loves, but i have my doubts that you even know what the word truly means. As I’ve already stated, you should go buy yourself a dictionary and do something about your ignorance, then perhaps your life won’t be so filled with the hatred and darkness that is all you have shown here.

  116. #117 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 10, 2008

    yeah

    poe

    hey god is love.

    God may actually love you. Because he sure fucked you.

  117. #118 mayhempix
    December 10, 2008

    PZ should have special dungeon for serial Poesters.
    He should make it eternal and call it Poester Hell.

  118. #119 Kel
    December 10, 2008

    Here is a hint: GOD IS JUST

    When I want to be just, I kill babies too ;)

  119. #120 GodIsLove
    December 10, 2008

    Episcopalians – Never heard of them

    Prebyterians – Never heard of them

    Baptists – Baptism is good!

    2nd day adventists – What happened on the 2nd day?? I thought there were 7 of them…

    Jahovah’s witnesses – Are these the door knockers??? FALSE PROPHETS!! (They wake me up ON THE SABBATH!!)

  120. #121 Gold Dragon 1968
    December 10, 2008

    @godishate
    Wake you on the sabbath?

    Shouldn’t you be in church on your knees praying to the magic sky fairy and his zombie son?

    Where’s your respect for your god?

  121. #122 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 10, 2008

    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand

    poe

  122. #123 GodIsLove
    December 10, 2008

    Gold Dragon: I have here to tell you the GOOD NEWS. You should be filled with LOVE because thats what GOD wants you to know.

    Reverend: Why does a man of faith hate God so much? :(

    mayhempix: PZ is not GOD and is not JUST

    Kel: You do not have PERFECT judgement – so you should never judge – thats GODs job.

  123. #124 Nerd of Redhead
    December 10, 2008

    Still dodging ye ole physical evidence for imaginary objects. You are such a disappointment. I might have finally seen the proof of god required to make me believe. Then you screw the opportunity away by evading the question and showing no physical proof. Killfile.

  124. #125 Wowbagger
    December 10, 2008

    I’d be quite happy for PZ to make poe-trolling a frowned-upon habit. In small doses it can be entertaining but most of the time it’s just irritating – especially if you don’t have the benefit of killfile.

  125. #126 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 10, 2008

    Reverend: Why does a man of faith hate God so much? :(

    I love god. Especially when she comes into my room late at night wearing less than nothing. And she does that little hair flip and that thing with her tongue.

    I LOVE god.

  126. #127 Kel
    December 10, 2008

    Kel: You do not have PERFECT judgement – so you should never judge – thats GODs job.

    If God had perfect judgement, he wouldn’t have put a talking snake in a tree.

    God fails by his own standards on so many accounts, he’s not love – he’s fear. He’s not peace, he’s war. By all human accounts, even the most vile mass murderers in history are nothing compared to the wrath and cruelty of God. You can say God is love, but while he’s taking the most horrendously cruel path at each possible moment, it’s really hard to believe how anyone could call him love.

  127. #128 GodIsLove
    December 10, 2008

    Everyone: What is POE?

    Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American poet, short-story writer, editor and literary critic, and is considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective-fiction genre. He is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction.[1] He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career.[2]

    He was born as Edgar Poe in Boston, Massachusetts, Poe’s parents died when he was young. Poe was taken in by John and Frances Allan, of Richmond, Virginia, but they never formally adopted him. After spending a short period at the University of Virginia and briefly attempting a military career, Poe and the Allans parted ways. Poe’s publishing career began humbly, with an anonymous collection of poems, Tamerlane and Other Poems (1827), credited only to “a Bostonian”.

    Poe switched his focus to prose and spent the next several years working for literary journals and periodicals, becoming known for his own style of literary criticism. His work forced him to move between several cities, including Baltimore, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and New York City. In Baltimore in 1835, he married Virginia Clemm, his 13-year-old cousin. In January 1845, Poe published his poem “The Raven” to instant success. His wife died of tuberculosis two years later. He began planning to produce his own journal, The Penn (later renamed The Stylus), though he died before it could be produced. On October 7, 1849, at age 40, Poe died in Baltimore; the cause of his death is unknown and has been attributed to alcohol, brain congestion, cholera, drugs, heart disease, rabies, suicide, tuberculosis, and other agents.[3]

    Poe and his works influenced literature in the United States and around the world, as well as in specialized fields, such as cosmology and cryptography. Poe and his work appear throughout popular culture in literature, music, films, and television. A number of his homes are dedicated museums today.

  128. #129 Gold Dragon 1968
    December 10, 2008

    @godishate,
    please just grow up.

    I put away most of my hate along time ago. I just can’t be bothered, it wastes way to much energy and I’ve got better things to do with my life than wasting on hating. Maybe if you stopped hating everyone who’s different from you you might have a much bicer and happier life.

    Doesn’t your book of fairy tales say something about turning the other cheek?

  129. #130 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 10, 2008

    I’m pretty sure you know what it is but

    Poe’s Law

  130. #131 GodIsLove
    December 10, 2008

    Gold Dragon: Do you realise what an ETERNITY of HELL means? Do you not care???

    Reverend: I cannot access that site on my internet at church (FORBIDDEN SITE) can you tell me what it says?

  131. #132 Rev. BigDumbChimp,
    December 10, 2008

    oh for fuck’s sake.

    give it up

  132. #133 Snoof
    December 10, 2008

    Worst. Troll. EVAR.

    What happened to the good old days of usenet where even the trolls were guaranteed to have a functioning brain? The internet’s too easy to use these days; even complete morons can get online.

    Walk, school, uphill, both ways, snow, etc.

  133. #134 Gold Dragon 1968
    December 10, 2008

    So godishate, I’m evil for pointing out that you really need to sort out your life? Get stuffed you sad little sack of faecal matter.

  134. #135 GodIsLove
    December 10, 2008

    Why is everyone here so intolerant???

    This is a CHRISTIAN COUNTRY and you GODLESS people should stop trying to turn people away from the ONE TRUE GOD.

  135. #136 Nerd of Redhead
    December 10, 2008

    Why should we believe in your imaginary god if you cannot supply any physical evidence for the creature? PUT UP OR SHUT UP.

  136. #137 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 10, 2008

    I’m normally not a praying man, but if you’re up there, please save me Superman. – HJS

  137. #138 Gold Dragon 1968
    December 10, 2008

    @godishate,
    I assume your talking about the USA, well I advice you to read your constitution, as it quite clearly includes a seperation of church and state and makes it illegal to try and inforce a national religion.

    Though I will point out that i live in what is swiftly becoming a formally christian nation here in the uk. Thankfully the church here is loosing it influence, pretty mych down to it’s own behaviour. It could also be said that Britain only became christian by force.

  138. #139 GodIsLove
    December 10, 2008

    You should treat me with RESPECT!
    I fought for your COUNTRY in VEIT NAM!
    And this is how my country treats me??? By turning away from God and being the godless commies I was fighting.

    You throw me on the street booze me up and tell me the frack off. I found GOD and want to share the love with everyone and all u godless people who sit back in ur comfy chairs sitting on the blood of millions who came before u and ur ungrateful…

    The devil wins

  139. #140 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 10, 2008

    Lisa, if the Bible has taught us nothing else, and it hasn’t, it’s that girls should stick to girls sports, such as hot oil wrestling and foxy boxing and such and such. – HJS

  140. #141 Kel
    December 10, 2008

    You should treat me with RESPECT!

    Why is it those who act like spoilt children are the ones who demand respect?

  141. #142 Nerd of Redhead
    December 10, 2008

    If you want respect, PUT UP OR SHUT UP. There is no other way.

  142. #143 Gold Dragon 1968
    December 10, 2008

    @Kel,
    probably because they never get shown any because of all the whining and the bullying.

  143. #144 GodIsLove
    December 10, 2008

    Reverend: WHere in the bible IS THAT???

    Kel: Have u faught for ur country???

    Nerd: Have u died for ur country???

    Gold Dragon: GOD helps me persvere. Do u ever get nightmares from being shot at? Did u see ur buddies die and come home to be welcomes by godless fags with their gays in your face???

  144. #145 Brachychiton
    December 10, 2008

    I fought for your COUNTRY in VEIT NAM!…all u godless people who sit back in ur comfy chairs sitting on the blood of millions who came before u and ur ungrateful…

    I would have thought that a Viet Nam vet would a) be able to spell the name of the country and b) probably not use SMS abbreviations. And ‘frack’ is a bit of a wimpy term too.

    You’re fooling no one, schoolie troll. You need to get into character more.

  145. #146 John Morales
    December 10, 2008

    Wowbagger @125,

    I’d be quite happy for PZ to make poe-trolling a frowned-upon habit. In small doses it can be entertaining but most of the time it’s just irritating – especially if you don’t have the benefit of killfile.

    Hear hear!

    Really, this troll has fucked up this thread beyond recognition, and it’s not even amusing.
    Some trolls can be bashed, but this thing will just persist so long as it’s fed. It’s a quintessential troll.

    Bah.

  146. #147 qc
    December 10, 2008

    I LOL’d at this:

    WHAT DOES PARSIMONIOUS MEAN??

    … and then ROTFLMAO at this:

    THEY WERE NOT TRUE CHRISTIANS!!!

    Brilliant! Absolutely P(o)erfect!

  147. #148 mayhempix
    December 10, 2008

    ManDogLove
    “…and tell me the frack off.”

    “Frack off” is a term popularied by Battelstar Galactica and only a sci-fi geek would use it in a post.

    Poesters replicate by fracking themselves.The effects of inbreeding occur in a matter of days.

  148. #149 Gold Dragon 1968
    December 10, 2008

    @godishate,
    This really is getting stupid.

    No I don’t believe your vietnam vet claims and obviously no-one else here does. I’m sure a lot of people would find those claims offensive.

    As to Godless fags, that’s just another bunch of people for you to hate.

    If anyone deserves pity it’s you or at least the people who really think in the way that you’re pretending to.

  149. #150 GodIsLove
    December 10, 2008

    Brachychiton: Go get an education moron. The entire world doesnt speak english u know. GOD does not want me to swear.

    You need to go fight in Iraq and get some hair on those balls.

  150. #151 Kel
    December 10, 2008

    Kel: Have u faught for ur country???

    Indeed I have, it was an epic battle too. Me and a couple of mates put our strategic wit against the might of the yanks in a battle of intergalactic dominance. Me as Terran, one mate as Protoss and the other as Zerg dominated and obliterated the opposition.

    I also have stories about the time we sucessfully captured the enemies intelligence and delivered a bomb into their base, but that’s for another time.

  151. #152 Brownian, OM
    December 10, 2008

    Have u died for ur country???

    I really hate to be Captain Obvious here, but….

    Uh, have you?

  152. #153 Nerd of Redhead
    December 10, 2008

    PUT UP PHYSICAL EVIDENCE FOR YOUR IMAGINARY GOD OR SHUT UP!

  153. #154 Gold Dragon 1968
    December 10, 2008

    @godishate,
    I have my doubts that you’re old enough to join up. You definitly don’t act it.

  154. #155 Kel
    December 10, 2008

    You need to go fight in Iraq and get some hair on those balls.

    How could he fight if he doesn’t have perfect judgement? Taking another life, that’s a sin.

  155. #156 Gold Dragon 1968
    December 10, 2008

    @Kel,
    He’s definitly not a Quacker.

  156. #157 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 10, 2008

    Me as Terran, one mate as Protoss and the other as Zerg dominated and obliterated the opposition.

    I too was involved in that war.

  157. #158 GodIsLove
    December 10, 2008

    YOU GODLESS COMMIE FAGS AND RUINING THIS ONCE GREAT COUNTRY. STOP TELLING ME WHAT TO DO AND START PRAYING CAUSE THE TIME IS NEAR AND GOD TOLD ME THIS WOULD HAPPEN. REPENT NOW BEFORE ITS TOO LATE CAUSE GOD STILL LOVES YOU. I LOOK FORWARD TO WATCHING YOU ALL FAGS BURN WHEN I AM IN HEAVEN. I CAME IN HERE TO GET OUT OF THE WET AND TO TEACH YOU SOMETHING ABOUT THIS WORLD BUT YOU JUST POINT AND LAUGH LIKE IT SAYS IN THE BIBLE. GOD HELP YOU ALL CAUSE THE DEVIL HAS YOU GOOD.

  158. #159 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 10, 2008

    easy there big fella.

    don’t get all squirrelly on us mid poe and blow a gasket.

  159. #160 Kel
    December 10, 2008

    Lame troll is lame.

  160. #161 Gold Dragon 1968
    December 10, 2008

    Now he’s shouting at us. Do you think we might have upset him a bit? I think he’s thrown his toys out of the pram.

    Why is it that all the hate filled idiots I’ve come across seem convinced that anyone who answers back to them is homosexual? Do you think that they maybe trying to hide their own insecurities?

  161. #162 GodIsLove
    December 10, 2008

    Reverend: Can you look after this place which I am gone cause the homeless shelter is closing.

    thank you taxpayers for all for your FIVE MINUTES OF FREE INTERET it was really worth getting my FOOT BLOWN OFF for.

  162. #163 Brownian, OM
    December 10, 2008

    thank you taxpayers for all for your FIVE MINUTES OF FREE INTERET it was really worth getting my FOOT BLOWN OFF for.

    Don’t look at me; I’m all for publicly-subsidized internet access for veterans.

  163. #164 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 10, 2008

    sure pal. You limp on off and take care of whatever fake things it is you have to do.

    Wait, the tax payers are paying for your free internet in the church?

  164. #165 Nerd of Redhead
    December 10, 2008

    Boy, it’s time to quit lying. No evidence for your imaginary god, and you come to a site where physical evidence is required. You continually godbot in spite of being refuted. So you come off as a liar. Now we are supposed to take pity on you? Either apologize or go away.

  165. #166 Kel
    December 10, 2008

    thank you taxpayers for all for your FIVE MINUTES OF FREE INTERET it was really worth getting my FOOT BLOWN OFF for.

    Maybe if you prayed to God reeeeaaaaallll hard he’d regrow your foot for you. After all, salamanders can regenerate limbs. Are you saying God is less powerful than a salamander?!?

  166. #167 cyan
    December 10, 2008

    DogIsLove,

    The poelice posted an APB a couple of hours ago to pick up anyone barking and limping around the soup-kitchen, so better skedaddle.

    Now you can’t say that an atheist never helped you out.

    Say THANK YOU!

    Good boy!

  167. #168 Milo
    December 10, 2008

    Mr. Thomas M.S. also has a new, and hilarious, article up about how particle physics is compatible with Genesis: http://www.icr.org/article/4296/. I guess that M.S must be one of the ICR-awarded Master of Science degrees – that would explain his mastery of multiple fields of science.

  168. #169 LisaJ
    December 10, 2008

    RBDC (?) at #140… was that directed at me? If so, I am thoroughly confused.

  169. #170 Gold Dragon 1968
    December 10, 2008

    @Milo,
    So how does he get round the speed of light?

    I tried to explain to my creationist brother that if the speed of light had changed like he tried to claim to me theen it would have had to have been an exponential decay and the initial speed of light would have meant that visible light photons would have had so much energy they would have annihilated absolutely everything. Of cause he didn’t listen.

  170. #171 Ktesibios
    December 10, 2008

    One thing I found somewhat interesting about the stuff in Comic Sans with the Gumby in the background:

    Apparently the ICR isn’t even trying to fake it anymore with the “the Intelligent Designer could be anybody” schtick. The quoted screed is straight out of the old “creation science” or “sciency-sounding fundy Christian apologetics” school.

    IIRC, “creation science” got utterly savaged in the courts back when “Bloom County” was still around to satirize it. The ICR must really want another nice big helping of
    FAIL.

  171. #172 Gold Dragon 1968
    December 10, 2008

    Ok, I’ve read it. It doesn’t really say anything about science, just tries to shoehorn the bibel into particle physics. I’m no particle physist, my degrees in chemistry, though i did my research project in quantum electrodynamics, but I can still spot psuedo bullspit when i see it.

    Science is one of the greatest things one can do with ones life, I really don’t get why these people need to try and lie about it. It’s rather pathetic. They must be really scared of the real world.

  172. #173 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 10, 2008

    RBDC (?) at #140… was that directed at me? If so, I am thoroughly confused.

    No no no. Not at all.

    The poe was getting annoying so I thought I’d quote some Homer j Simpson.

  173. #174 LisaJ
    December 10, 2008

    Oh! haha. That makes much more sense :)

  174. #175 Gold Dragon 1968
    December 10, 2008
  175. #176 Alan Kellogg
    December 10, 2008

    Re GiL:

    Edgar Allen was an alcoholic, so it makes sense that some poes would engage in drunken babbling.

    On Common Sense Science

    If these guys are correct it means our universe and everything in it are only copies of the real thing. The CSS guys after all are convinced we are nothing but ringers.

    (I must admit their model of physics wouldn’t sound so bad if it wasn’t designed to support Young Earth Creationism.)

  176. #177 Milo
    December 10, 2008

    Mr. Thomas M.S. also has a new, and hilarious, article up about how particle physics is compatible with Genesis: http://www.icr.org/article/4296/. I guess that M.S must be one of the ICR-awarded Master of Science degrees – that would explain his mastery of multiple fields of science.

  177. #178 Gold Dragon 1968
    December 10, 2008

    @#176
    Are you saying that they’re trying to invoke the Matrix defence?

    Also in reply to a comment made earlier about the author of the book of revelations. You suggested it was written under the influence of cactus juice, not far off, from what I remember from a particularly interesting british documentary from a while back, it was written under the influence of mushroom tea and was written by an unknown survivor of the romans sacking of jerusalem. all the stuff about 666 is suposed to relate to Nero and the coins with his head on.

    Got to wonder how much of the rest of the bibel was written while stoned.

  178. #179 Insightful Ape
    December 10, 2008

    godislove,are you telling us you lost a leg in Vietnam and now you live in a homeless shelter?
    Your screen name says it all. He just has a funny way of showing it.
    Either way, I pray to the Flying Spaghetti Monster for a beer volcano and should you, or else in your afterlife you’ll be stuck with stale beer.

  179. #180 Nerd of Redhead
    December 10, 2008

    GD 1968, I wasn’t sure it was cactus juice, but definitely some type of hallucinogen. But it made my point. Moses and his burning bush? I hear its a classic hallucination for a type of mushroom. I think an African tribe still uses it as part of its manhood initiation ritual.

    I always like the way these godbots say “read the bible”. If you listen to atheistic “coming out” testimony, reading the bible in its entirety is the first step toward atheism. With me, that and reading Isaac Asimov’s popular science books. Illogic versus logic. I decided on rationality.

  180. #181 Insightful Ape
    December 10, 2008

    Oh by the way godislove, is Obama in the Book of Revelations? Gee, none of our trolls had made up that one.

  181. #182 Gold Dragon 1968
    December 10, 2008

    @Nerd of Redhead,
    If you can find it online somewhere it was explained in a documentary made by channel 4 in the uk presented by Tony Robbinson, Baldrick from Black Adder, about end times preaching. It was to say the least a rather disturbing thing to watch, particularly the actions of certain american evangelicals in uganda, which has lead to rather a lot of deaths.

    The section about revelations was explained by a German Luthorite priest. So not just an atheist with a hate for god. Of cause it is all ignored by the evangelical crowd even though it’s been known for centuries that John the Revelator didn’t write the book of revelations.

    PS anyone out there who doesn’t know what Black Adder is, please treat yourself and find out, i don’t know how much of that made it to the states.

  182. #183 Nerd of Redhead
    December 10, 2008

    PS anyone out there who doesn’t know what Black Adder is, please treat yourself and find out, i don’t know how much of that made it to the states.

    I am happy to report it was picked up by various PBS stations. And those of us with cable can watch it on BBCA.

  183. #184 Wowbagger
    December 10, 2008

    godislove,are you telling us you lost a leg in Vietnam and now you live in a homeless shelter?

    Bobby played piano like a kid out in the rain,

    but then he lost his leg in Dallas; he was dancing with the train.

    They were all in love with dying,

    they were drinking from a fountain,

    that was pouring like an avalanche,

    coming down the mountain.

    Butthole Surfers, Pepper

  184. #185 LL
    December 11, 2008

    Following their logic, if architecture implies an architect, then DNA proofreading must imply a proofreader of a higher being…

  185. #186 Spook
    December 11, 2008

    Are we just getting the wacky imitators/Poe’s law exploiters now? Where’s the real hardcore rock-stupid creationists?

    Because really, GodIsLove isn’t even trying. You need more typos. And maybe some more cowbell.

  186. #187 David Marjanovi?, OM
    December 11, 2008

    Comment 120, especially the last sentence in parentheses, clinches it. It’s a parody. (And not a bad one.)

    I also have stories about the time we sucessfully captured the enemies intelligence and delivered a bomb into their base

    You set up them the bomb !?!

    I wasn’t sure it was cactus juice

    Can’t have been. No cacti outside the New World.

  187. #188 Walton
    December 11, 2008

    “GodIsLove” is a very obvious parody. It was convincing at the start, but rapidly became less so. The “GOD LOVES EVERYONE (NOT GAYS)” part was where it became crystal clear.

    I don’t think there’s really any truth to Poe’s Law; I’ve never yet seen a parody on this site which I couldn’t easily identify as such.

  188. #189 David Marjanovi?, OM
    December 11, 2008

    The “GOD LOVES EVERYONE (NOT GAYS)” part was where it became crystal clear.

    Nope, that wasn’t it. Remember: GOD HATES FAGS.

    Ebert’s fallacy strikes again…

  189. #190 Sam
    December 11, 2008

    James (#2) Research to the contrary of mainstream science is NOT the same as creationist nonsense. There are peer-reviewed, published papers that come to different conclusions from the mainstream on global climate change that still represent good science. Creationists have yet to publish a paper that prove their nonsense.

    There have been numerous occasions in history where a few scientists were saying something very different from the mainstream and history proved them right. Gilbert N. Lewis, as an example, suggested that atoms could share electrons in a molecular bond. He was ridiculed at the time, but eventually his theory had won out: he discovered the covalent bond. Albert Einstein challenged the world of physics with radical new ideas, some of which are still being confirmed today (empirically). Obviously Charles Darwin was met with a lot of skepticism – his was the minority opinion, and he also turned out to be right.

    Just because your belief is heavily politicized does not make it any more scientific or correct than alternate views that are backed by good science. Remember that.

  190. #191 Sven DiMilo
    December 11, 2008

    I’d just like the record to show that I metapseudonymously spotted the Poe immediately (and jj agreed).
    Thank you. Thankyouverymuch.

  191. #192 rijkswaanvijand
    December 12, 2008

    “the Creator wisely placed core genes in regions of chromosomes that are much more stable.”
    Now I do have a vague recollection of doing so…

  192. #193 phantomreader42
    December 12, 2008

    GoldDragon1968 @ #175:

    The scottish reaction to creationism.

    Ah, but are they TRUE Scotsmen? :P