Pharyngula

I get email

First of all, I have to point out that sometimes, amazingly cool people are incredibly stupid about biology. Case in point: Jack Kirby was an evolutionary ignoramus.

i-e87410adaacdd14c541389352e7d89a0-relatedformoflive.jpg.jpeg

Now that’s just sad. Of course we share this world with related forms of life — we’ve been looking for years, and what would be a disturbing enigma would be if we found a species that was not related to every other species on the planet. So I’m afraid those panels contain three characters, every one of whom is babbling complete drivel. Still, you have to concede that Jack Kirby was a major influence on comic book art, and stylistically, he’s one of those artists whose work is instantly recognizable.

I doubt that Martin Patterson has quite the name recognition, but he is recognizable as a stereotype: the pompous, stupid creationist with a pocketful of fallacies that he thinks trumps the work of nearly every biologist on Earth, and isn’t shy about pontificating on the subject.

First of all, I am somewhat disappointed that the blogs require you to be an atheist or agnostic to post a discussion. There is no point in having a blog if only individuals who share the same views are allowed to join. That only defeats the purpose of hearing other opinions for consideration or research. If I were to start a blog only for people who believe that the earth is flat, what would we learn from each other? That is the blind leading the blind. I hope you will share that with your fellow bloggers so that they might consider opening a real scientific debate on the issues.

Well, you see, I developed this special mind-reading software that can instantly discern the philosophical position of my readers, and block them from commenting if they try to argue with me. The only catch I’ve discovered so far, and that you readers may have noticed as well, is that creationists are still able to freely post — it turns out that mind-reading software is completely stymied by mindless people.

I know. You read that first paragraph, even that first sentence, and you immediately realize that the writer is an utter moron. That impression is not corrected by the second schmear of a paragraph.

I primarily wanted to write to you to make a statement about the debate between “Science” and “Religion”. One thing that must be made clear in the debate between “Evolution” and “Creation”, is that it is not “Science” vs. “Religion”, it is “Religion” vs. “Religion”. They are both religious world views. The basis for that is this: If you look at the evidence that is used to support the evolution theory, that same evidence can be used to support the creation theory. It is all a matter of perspective. Why then do “Scientists” have such a hard time admitting this? All the evidence that is used to support the Evolution theory as a whole is based off of other ideas and theories that cannot be empirically verified (assumptions based on other assumptions). That is not science. Often times, in the “Scientific” community, when evidence arises that brings to question the validity of the evolution theory, that evidence is simply ignored, or actively suppressed by threatening the source with repercussions or raising doubts about its credibility. That is not science either. Science is using factual information as a basis to test and verify or disprove new ideas. It is also un-bias and leaves all options open for investigation. But in reality, the scientific community is extremely bias on issues that bring to question the validity of evolution, which so much of their work is based off of. The “Big Bang” theory is a great example because it can easily be disproved by the Law of Angular Momentum, the second Law of Thermodynamics, and a number of others. All it takes is one, but it always seems to be that “one” that gets left out when they are trying to convince us of something that isn’t true. Yet some still teach it. Why call a theory “science” when it can be scientifically proven to be false? When we look at Evolution, Micro Evolution is scientific because it can be observed, tested, and verified. But that is a far stretch from the fantasy of Macro Evolution, Cosmic Evolution, Molecular Evolution, and others. Yet “scientists” try to bunch them all together using Micro Evolution as their example so they won’t be forced to answer questions about the others. There are a lot of theories out there about the others, but there is no scientific evidence to prove them. Why then are these subjects taught to our children as fact? If the “Scientific” community wants to have any credibility anymore, they are going to be forced to answer questions about the overwhelming evidence that supports Creation and admit that Creation is no more a religious belief than Evolution. There is far more scientific evidence for creation than there is for evolution, so they are going to have a hard time explaining why creation should not be taught in schools. To give validity to what I have said, feel free to contact me with any questions or challenges. I will be more than happy to answer them with verified scientific evidence (that is legitimate, it has just been ignored) including sources. I can be contacted at martinj803@gmail.com. It is not my intention to come across as hostile, so if I sound as if I am on the attack or have offended you in any way, I do apologize. I am simply concerned about the credibility of the scientific community and want to develop an open forum for all views to be discussed in a professional an respectful manner (in the true nature of the scientific method). FYI, I used to be an evolutionist until I did my research. I just want to share what I have learned with other intellectuals so that they can make educated conclusions based off of factual evidence.

What a mish-mash. Evolution is a religion, the mangled micro-macro distinction, disproof by the second law of thermodynamics, creationism has more evidence than evolution…it’s just the usual gallop through the garbage of creationism that accumulates year by year through the repetition of lies, all dressed up in the pompous pretense that this ignoramus is an “intellectual”. I am not going to discuss such stupidity with any creationists, especially not in email. It’s a total waste of time; do I really need to go over the inanity of their second law arguments again? That’s what Mark Isaak’s The Counter-Creationism Handbook(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll) is for — it succinctly rips up those trivial fallacies and gets them out of the way. Creationists, if you want to write to me, and you haven’t done your homework, I am going to rightfully regard you as a thumb-sucking moron and throw your mail in the trash.

Here’s a better strategy. Show me that you really have done your research (Martin Patterson clearly has not), and bring up specific issues from any of these excellent pop-sci books on the subject of evolution. They all bring up various points that are routinely mumbled by creationists, and they dissect them in detail, showing the positive evidence for evolution. Just once I’d like one of these gibbering lackwits to actually question something significant in evolutionary theory, with some modicum of facts to back up their claims, rather than parroting the same old crap they got from the clueless clown in a clerical collar on Sunday morning. Read these!

  • Donald Prothero’s Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll)

  • Carl Zimmer’s At the Water’s Edge: Fish with Fingers, Whales with Legs, and How Life Came Ashore but Then Went Back to Sea (amzn/b&n/abe/pwll)

  • Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution Is True(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll)

  • Neil Shubin’s Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll)

  • Sean Carroll’s The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll)

This is not an onerous demand. These books are not overly technical, they aren’t part of the specialist literature, they are just general introductions to the ideas and evidence of evolution. If the stuff I get in my email is at all representative, it’s obvious that these jokers haven’t even done as much as read one of these kinds of books.

Comments

  1. #1 Zeno
    December 27, 2008

    Stupid and verbose. The ideal combination! I’m sure his intellectual attainments are a gift from God, whom I now realize must really exist and is a right cruel bastard.

  2. #2 Sven DiMilo
    December 27, 2008

    PZ. Those books are bias.
    Mr. Patterson’s sole concern is for the credibility of the scientific community. Please try to be more professional an respectful.

  3. #3 Norman Doering
    December 27, 2008

    I saw Jack Kirby’s comicbook version of evolutionary ignorance infect creationism too:
    http://normdoering.blogspot.com/2008/08/dealing-with-abysmal-ignorance.html

    But it’s not just Kirby, the comicbook version infects most superhero comic books (and movies) and distorts people’s conception of transitional forms:

    The problem seems to be that neither Brian nor Kelly fully grasped how misinformed the three Christians were about what a transitional form was. The three Christians, especially the moderator, seemed to be under the impression that adult animals can mutate, that an individual animal, a full-grown organism, somehow changes from one form into another form. Animals actually do change form, a baby changes into a man, a caterpillar into a butterfly, but that’s not evolution – that’s development.
    One misconception these Christians have derives from comicbooks, not science. They involve scenarios like Spiderman, X-Men and the Fantastic Four, in which something happens to an individual, causing them to change (or “mutate”) into something else. A different misconception ignorant people have is that mutations occur in DNA, and are inherited genetically, but they change everything about the organism rather than affecting just one trait (not the small steps Brian was talking about). Brian aimed his argument at someone with a misconception based on an incomplete understanding of genetics and molecular biology, but he was really dealing with the misconceptions of comicbook evolution and so failed to communicate.

  4. #4 WhenDanSaysJump
    December 27, 2008

    Mr. Patterson registers readings of 0.8 Gish and 0.9 Hovind.

    Well done, Mr. Patterson!

  5. #5 JC
    December 27, 2008

    Science is not valid because…wait… you can use science to disprove science, but to prove science you need…

    ugh. my head hurts.

    I will pray my headache goes away, because the science behind asprin clearly will not work.

  6. #6 Maakuz
    December 27, 2008

    Poor guy. The next part of his zombification is finding TEH CAPS LOCK.

  7. #7 Peter Mc
    December 27, 2008

    thumb-sucking moron

    Not even opposable in his case.

  8. #8 Norman Doering
    December 27, 2008

    I am somewhat disappointed that the blogs require you to be an atheist or agnostic to post a discussion. There is no point in having a blog if only individuals who share the same views are allowed to join.

    Is there any atheist or evolutionary website that censors posts like these guys do:
    http://normdoering.blogspot.com/2008/12/why-they-want-to-silence-us.html

    Yes, it does seem odd that there aren’t many of our blogs where you get creationists and Christians coming on to argue the point — but I know that in my case it’s not censorship, they just don’t bother with me.

    If any creationist or Christian wants to post an alternate view on my blog they’re welcome too. You’ve got my invitation. I won’t censor you.

    I only censor overly huge posts and spam that advertises things like get rich quick schemes or such.

  9. #9 PZ Myers
    December 27, 2008

    But Norm, they’ll see the picture on that post and have to run away screaming to some quiet dark closet and ‘pray’ really, really hard. That’s censorship!

  10. #10 Parker
    December 27, 2008

    I think what I love more than anything is the ‘science is a religion’ comments people make. They never cease to make me smile.

  11. #11 TSC
    December 27, 2008

    I have a tardache after reading that.

  12. #12 waldteufel
    December 27, 2008

    It’s always amazing to me that pompous fuckwits like your pal Martin Patterson are standing tall, armed with their Wholly Babbles and the Truth of Jeebus, and are therefore prepared to reveal to the rest of the world that they can easily overturn all of modern science.

  13. #13 Sven DiMilo
    December 27, 2008

    But Parker, you misunderstand. Not all science is a religion, just the parts that seem to contradict, uh, a religion.

  14. #14 RM
    December 27, 2008

    Ike Harris is no Race Bannon.

  15. #15 Jimminy Christmas
    December 27, 2008

    I’m looking forward to diving into the mountains of empirical evidence and peer-reviewed scientific papers that Mr Patterson obviously must have at his disposal in order to demonstrate the veracity of his creationism theory.

    Wait…what? Oh. He doesn’t have any? None? Zilch? Huh. Seriously? Crap. Well, never mind then. I guess I’ll go back to playing Fallout 3.

  16. #16 lytefoot
    December 27, 2008

    You bring up a good point in this one. The single thing that’s always annoyed me most about dogmatic morons of all kinds is that I can make better arguments for their position than they can. There’s nothing worse than being in an argument with someone and feeling the urge to say, “No, wait a minute, don’t say that, say this, it’s actually a valid counter to my point.”

    I suppose part of the problem with being illogical is that you can’t pose a solid argument, alas.

  17. #17 Zeno
    December 27, 2008

    I am quite fond of the argument that atheism is a religion. You know, in exactly the same way that not collecting stamps is a hobby.

    As for the argument that science is a religion because it has certain basic philosophical assumptions about the knowability of nature and its logical consistency, I’d say this proves that science is a religion in exactly the same way that checkers is a religion. King me!

    (And chess is probably Catholicism.)

  18. #18 E.V.
    December 27, 2008

    I will repost DaveL’s wonderful post for Mr. Patterson’s benefit:

    What philosophers and theologians have you read?I myself was reading Van Till the other day. Those dutch reformed have weird ideas about logic.
    Atheists often find themselves doomed to repeating Monty Python’s Banana Sketch with apologists.
    “Have we done Ontological arguments?”
    “Yes”
    “St. Anselm’s? Kalaam?”
    “Yes”
    “Ha! Plantinga’s!”
    “We’ve done Plantinga’s.”
    “I bet we haven’t dont First Cause, though!”
    “Done it.”
    “Fine Tuning?”
    “Yes…”
    “Argument from Design?”
    “YES!”
    “Right… the Trilemma! We haven’t done the Trilemma!”
    “We did the Trilemma last week.”
    “I see. Well it’s obvious you’re all just too proud and closed minded, and can’t bear the idea of being held morally accountable.”
    “We’ve done that one too.”
    And on and on it goes. I have no need to post an exhaustive list of all the philosopher’s I’ve read to know there isn’t a decent argument out there for exactly the same reason I don’t have to scour the scientific literature for the last 100 years to know we haven’t yet developed faster-than-light space travel, and for the same reason I don’t have to read every newspaper on the planet to know alien spacecraft did not land at the U.N. today. That kind of thing would be kind of important, and could not possibly be allowed by theists to rest in obscurity.

  19. #19 Andrew G
    December 27, 2008

    I would love to know PZ how you manage to remain so polite after receiving such bullshit.

  20. #20 E.V.
    December 27, 2008

    I would love to know PZ how you manage to remain so polite after receiving such bullshit.

    He has been newly sated from a godless feast of babies and kittens.

  21. #21 BobC
    December 27, 2008

    thumb-sucking moron

    A fair description of all creationists.

  22. #22 Buckeye Hamburger
    December 27, 2008

    Fortunately, this guy went on for miles without a paragraph break in sight, so I couldn’t read it, which is just as well.

  23. #23 E.V.
    December 27, 2008

    Lying liars and the lies they tell:

    FYI, I used to be an evolutionist until I did my research. I just want to share what I have learned with other intellectuals so that they can make educated conclusions based off of factual evidence.

    Another creationist bullshit artist trapped by his own self deception.

  24. #24 co
    December 27, 2008

    Sven @ #2:
    It’s no fun when you win the thread, and we haven’t even started to post yet!

  25. #25 Norman Doering
    December 27, 2008

    PZ wrote:

    But Norm, they’ll see the picture on that post and have to run away screaming to some quiet dark closet and ‘pray’ really, really hard. That’s censorship!

    Which picture? The three semi-nude ladies playing poker? The skull bidding readers to join the atheist conspiracy in hell? Or the flames proclaiming “A Blog from Hell”?

  26. #26 Patricia, OM
    December 27, 2008

    Nice point lytefoot.

    PZ never stops the religious from posting. They make such lovely bait.

  27. #27 Ken Cope
    December 27, 2008

    Ike Harris is no Race Bannon.

    That’s a good thing. Race Bannon owes his origins to model sheets traced from J. C. Penney catalogs from the early sixties of male models in Banlon shirts, and Ike Harris is drawn by Jack Kirby.

    Ike Harris owes his origins to Jack Kirby riffing on Von Daniken’s Chariots of the Gods?, and is really Ikaris, one of The Eternals. I just yesterday finished reading Neil Gaiman’s latest adventures in retconning the Marvel Universe, with John Romita Jr. on pencils, so you’ll know to look for chapters entitled “Intelligent Design.”

  28. #28 John Phillips, FCD
    December 27, 2008

    Meh, I got to ‘both are religious world views’ and thought, why waste any more time or brain cells on another moron’s wank-fest. For once, why don’t they at least try to post something interesting and worth reading. In the meantime, I will stick to my hobby of not collecting stamps.

  29. #29 'Tis Himself
    December 27, 2008

    Creationists keep repeating this mantra:

    There is far more scientific evidence for creation than there is for evolution

    but they never seem to muster this evidence. All I ever hear is problems, real or imaginary, with evolution.

    First, the creationists don’t seem to realize that science is not a zero-sum game. If theory A is shown to be false, that does not automatically mean that theory B is true. Theory C may be the new paradigm or theory D or theory L. Disproving evolution does not guarantee that creationism wins.

    Secondly, scientists are forever testing theories. If there were fatal flaws in evolution or convincing evidence to support creationism, these would not stay hidden.

    Lastly, most creationists don’t understand what science actually is. Those few who do have some glimmering idea, like Behe, distort the definition of science so that it covers almost anything. It’s like Lincoln’s parable about dogs’ legs. Saying something is true doesn’t make it true.

  30. #30 Steven Dunlap
    December 27, 2008

    Thank you, PZ, for the book list. I already ordered the Isaak book for my library. We do not have the others you mentioned in your post (yet).

    I usually add to such comments as this one a plug for the late, great Stephen J. Gould. In particular, the assertion that “science is a religion” he disposes of very well with the chapter in Bully for Brontosaurus called “Justice Scalia’s misunderstanding.”

    lytefoot #16

    The single thing that’s always annoyed me most about dogmatic morons of all kinds is that I can make better arguments for their position than they can.

    Please resist the temptation. I found myself typing exactly that when arguing with a pro-censorship whackaloon some years ago. I deleted several helpful paragraphs and decided not to reply at all. The in-DUH-viduals in question need help, but not that kind.

  31. #31 Tony Popple
    December 27, 2008

    These e-mail letters always look the same these days.

    I think we need to start making use of a term from George Orwell’s 1984. The term “duckspeak” seems appropriate.

    From chapter #5, Part #1

    “It was not the man’s brain that was speaking, it was his larynx. The stuff that was coming out of him consisted of words, but it was not speech in the true sense: it was a noise uttered in unconsciousness, like the quacking of a duck.”

  32. #32 John Huey
    December 27, 2008

    Another thing that gets me going is the invocation of the idea of a ‘world view’. This is closely followed by the ‘it all a matter of perspective’ defense. This seems a central point made by Ken Ham at the Creation Museum – ‘it all depends on where start’ or some such. The idea seems to be that although we can compare world views, it is supposedly dogma that you can’t disparage another’s world view or claim that their world view is ‘wrong’.

  33. #33 Cruithne
    December 27, 2008

    I used to be a bible believing Christian, then one day a man came to our church to teach us about the errors of evolution. when he finished he urged us to go and examine the evidence for ourselves. I did do, found the evidence in support of evolution to be overwhelming and incontrovertible and haven’t looked back since.

  34. #34 Sigmund
    December 27, 2008

    Why is it that people think they can pontificate about biology and assume they know what they are talking about? Indeed, they assume they know more than the entire scientific community. Earlier I saw a youtube video of another creationist telling a congregation there were zero fossils of transitional species found in the 150 years since the publication of ‘The Origin of Species’ and that the main proofs of evolution were known hoaxes like ‘Piltdown Man’, ‘Nebraska Man’ and ‘Neanderthal Man’ (!)
    Creationists, of course, are the principal sinners in this regard but they are not the only ones (just listen to any woo supporter).
    Simply pointing out the correct facts is useless as a means of countering this tactic.
    We need to adopt a different approach.
    The problem here is not that they are getting facts wrong.
    The problem is that they are simply lying as a means to an end.

  35. #35 Sven DiMilo
    December 27, 2008

    John (@#28): What a coincidence! I didn’t collect several stamps just this morning!

  36. #36 Feynmaniac
    December 27, 2008

    You can see that about halfway through his second paragraph the quotation marks on his key board were finally worn out.

  37. #37 Noadi
    December 27, 2008

    Now in Jack Kirby’s defense there are worse comic artists out there when it comes to science. Neil Adams by far takes the cake for that with his expanding earth theory that requires just about every law of physics to be wrong in order for him to be right. I won’t dignify Chick Tracks as comic art or that would of course be top of the list.

  38. #38 JoshS
    December 27, 2008

    Hate. Hate. Hate people who write “X is bias.” No. X is biased . Adjective, not noun.

  39. #39 Matt Heath
    December 27, 2008

    I used to be a bible believing Christian, then one day a man came to our church to teach us about the errors of evolution. when he finished he urged us to go and examine the evidence for ourselves. I did do, found the evidence in support of evolution to be overwhelming and incontrovertible and haven’t looked back since.

    Happy monkey! (or do we not do that any more?)

  40. #40 Lee Picton
    December 27, 2008

    I’m too lazy to look it up, but didn’t I see somewhere a list (bulleted, of course), of all the lame creationist drivel they think represents arguments? I know that the list, while moderately long, is finite, as no new revelations have EVER been invented. SOS, endlessly recycled. Martin has gone to the trouble of sending PZ an email; does anyone think he will read the follow-up here? Probably not. Seriously, these morons are so easy to dissect, and yet, they are so teflon coated, it all slides off.

  41. #41 E.V.
    December 27, 2008

    So why isn’t Martin Patterson posting? Surely he is intellectual enough to handle you godless heathens since he can prove science disproves evilution.

    (Heeeeere moron, moron, moron….)

  42. #42 Rheinhard
    December 27, 2008

    OK, I’ve heard the thermodynamic argument many times, but can somebody explain to me what the “Law of Angular Momentum” argument against the Big Bang is?? I can only assume he means “conservation of angular momentum”, but I can’t for the life of me guess why the conservation of angular momentum would prevent the Big Bang.

  43. #43 Lee Picton
    December 27, 2008

    Tony #31:

    I think we need to start making use of a term from George Orwell’s 1984. The term “duckspeak” seems appropriate.
    From chapter #5, Part #1
    “It was not the man’s brain that was speaking, it was his larynx. The stuff that was coming out of him consisted of words, but it was not speech in the true sense: it was a noise uttered in unconsciousness, like the quacking of a duck.”

    Isn’t that just the best description of Sarah Palin ever?

  44. #44 Bjørn Østman
    December 27, 2008

    I can be contacted at martinj803@gmail.com.

    Man, this is just too good to be true.

  45. #45 John Phillips, FCD
    December 27, 2008

    Sven DiMilo, I know, over the years I have not collected millions of stamps. It can be an exhausting hobby, diligently not collecting all those stamps.

    Matt Heath, happy monkey is always ‘in’.

    Happy monkey.

  46. #46 Screechy Monkey
    December 27, 2008

    ‘Tis Himself @29:

    Secondly, scientists are forever testing theories. If there were fatal flaws in evolution or convincing evidence to support creationism, these would not stay hidden.

    That’s the thing that astounds me. I understand how people can be ignorant of science, but how can they be so ignorant of human nature? Challenging the “scientific establishment” — with evidence, mind you, not quackery and speculation — is what gets you tenure, fame, Nobel Prizes, etc.

    John Huey @32:

    Another thing that gets me going is the invocation of the idea of a ‘world view’. This is closely followed by the ‘it all a matter of perspective’ defense. This seems a central point made by Ken Ham at the Creation Museum – ‘it all depends on where start’ or some such. The idea seems to be that although we can compare world views, it is supposedly dogma that you can’t disparage another’s world view or claim that their world view is ‘wrong’.

    What’s funny is that most of the people employing this “defense” are aghast at “moral relativism,” which they see everywhere but especially in atheists. But if their morals are based on God, and God is just a matter of perspective, then this is just moral relativism by another name.

  47. #47 raven
    December 27, 2008

    First of all, I am somewhat disappointed that the blogs require you to be an atheist or agnostic to post a discussion.

    I figured that if the first sentence was wildly wrong, there was no point in going further.

    What he is really afraid of is that if he steps outside of his bubble for a minute, it might disappear and he won’t be able to get back. He will be doomed to spend the rest of his life in full contact with the real world. LOL

    PS: It isn’t hard to accept reality. Billions do it worldwide with few noticeable problems.

  48. #48 speedwell
    December 27, 2008

    JoshS @ 38:

    But spelling “and” as “an” seems to be perfectly fine in your book, eh? Must keep track of these subtle distinctions in linguistic fanaticism.

    Do you really hate Sven, or are you engaging in a particularly obnoxious form of hyperbole?

  49. #49 Feynmaniac
    December 27, 2008

    Maybe you should remove the email, PZ. Either wise, I think someone is gonna a load of the most disgusting porn the web has to offer.

  50. #50 donna
    December 27, 2008

    Creationists can’t read any book other than the Bible. It’s in their contracts with God.

    Guess they can’t post blogs either. Good thing.

  51. #51 co
    December 27, 2008

    speedwell #48:

    You might want to see what Sven was referring to in his post — it’s probably the same thing that JoshS was referring to in his.

  52. #52 Sven DiMilo
    December 27, 2008

    speedwell: JoshS was referring to Mr. Patterson. As, indirectly, was I.

  53. #53 Eric
    December 27, 2008

    Struck by lightning?

  54. #54 co
    December 27, 2008

    I make a religion of not being struck by lightning. I’ve probably not been struck by lightning more than almost anyone I know.

  55. #55 Les Lane
    December 27, 2008

    PZ. Those books are bias.

    What’s on this blog is indeed biased. It’s biased in favor of professional scientists and people who know what they’re talking about.

    If you find bias toward competence troubling there are plenty of sites that show no such bias and even plenty of sites biased toward incompetence.

  56. #56 Scott from Oregon
    December 27, 2008

    “Evolution is a religion”…

    Heee.

    Methinks I’ll put on my sunday best and go worship a primate nailed to a two by four…

    “Oh blessed cousin…”

  57. #57 Sven DiMilo
    December 27, 2008

    What’s on this blog is indeed biased. It’s biased in favor of professional scientists and people who know what they’re talking about.

    Ah. Now I see.

  58. #58 Patricia, OM
    December 27, 2008

    Oh dear, I may be a sinner after all. Some years back a client gave me a triangular shaped stamp from a foreign country. I still have the thing somewhere, tucked in a book.

  59. #59 Scott Hatfield, OM
    December 27, 2008

    OK, HOLD IT. I will put up with a lot of anti-theist crap by you, O Great P Zeta, but when you go after ‘The King’, you’ve gone TOO FAR. Jack Kirby may have been some sort of theist, but he was no creationist as we might understand it.

    In fact, you’ve goofed entirely here. The character of ‘Ike Harris’ is revealed in the series to be IKARIS, a member of an immortal race of great power and knowledge called ‘The Eternals’. Therefore, Ike Harris’s allusion to evolution and common descent comes from one who knows, and the ‘professor’ character who gives him grief for it turns out to an ignorant, pompous twit.

  60. #60 Jadehawk
    December 27, 2008

    I used to be a bible believing Christian, then one day a man came to our church to teach us about the errors of evolution. when he finished he urged us to go and examine the evidence for ourselves. I did do, found the evidence in support of evolution to be overwhelming and incontrovertible and haven’t looked back since.

    I can’t think of any words in the English language that accurately describe this situation. In German, the words “Eigentor” and “Schadenfreude” pretty much sum it all up. ;-)

  61. #61 JoshS
    December 27, 2008

    speedwell, #48, wrote:

    But spelling “and” as “an” seems to be perfectly fine in your book, eh? Must keep track of these subtle distinctions in linguistic fanaticism. Do you really hate Sven, or are you engaging in a particularly obnoxious form of hyperbole?

    Oh, dear. I should have been more clear – I’m here under a flag of peace! I was commenting on Martin Patterson’s original email, the subject of PZ’s posting. I didn’t even notice Sven’s comment, and I certainly wouldn’t have jumped nastily on a regular like Sven. Mea culpa.

    But, I wrote this:

    Hate. Hate. Hate people who write “X is bias.” No. X is biased . Adjective, not noun.

    Speedwell, I’m confused why you’d criticize me for a misspelling of the word “and” – I don’t think I even used it.

    My point isn’t about typos and misspellings. It’s about the vast majority of fundies and extreme righters who don’t even understand the word “biased.” They literally don’t know that “bias” is a noun,” and “biased” is the adjective you apply to things you think are biased. It’s not a typo or a mechanical mistake, it’s fundamental ignorance about a really simple word. Just drives me nuts, that’s all. It’s almost always a dead give away that you’re dealing with a reactionary right winger when you read “that’s so bias!” Not always, but most times.

    /grammatical snark (and no mean-spiritedness intended to anyone but PZ’s correspondent – really!)

  62. #62 speedwell
    December 27, 2008

    Oh, I’m sorry, Sven (and JoshS), I didn’t realize that. Please accept my apologies.

  63. #63 speedwell
    December 27, 2008

    I sent the following e-mail to Martin Patterson, under the subject line, “Creating an open scientific forum”:

    Hello, Mr. Patterson.

    I am a reader of PZ Myers’s blog, Pharyngula. In the e-mail he posted from you, you invited him to contact you with questions or challenges that you would answer with verified, but ignored, scientific evidence. You wrote, “I am simply concerned about the credibility of the scientific community and want to develop an open forum for all views to be discussed in a professional an respectful manner (in the true nature of the scientific method).”

    Fair enough. I would like to respectfully request that you send me some verified scientific evidence that convincingly supports your claim for Creation. Please give web addresses where the writing is available free on the Internet. Where the information requires a membership or cost to obtain, please arrange to make it freely available to me for examination at no cost. If the writing is part of the Bible or Christian theology or its derivatives, please be aware that I will give that writing equal weight with contradictory claims from other foundational religious writings and their derivatives.

    Thank you for your time and willingness to engage this argument with evidence. That alone puts you head and shoulders above most other claimants. I look forward to reading what you have to send.

    Commenter “Speedwell”

    Think that’s enough rope, there?

  64. #64 Feynmaniac
    December 27, 2008

    But in reality, the scientific community is extremely bias on issues that bring to question the validity of evolution

    Don’t forget, reality also has a well-known liberal bias.

  65. #65 JoshS
    December 27, 2008

    Phew! Thanks Speedwell. It’s so easy for all of us to misunderstand each other here – there’s just shitloads of stupid to shoot at it’s hard to keep the gun aimed right:) Sven, I figured you were commenting on Patterson’s idiocy too – delights me I’m not the only one who obsessed over that.

  66. #66 Jadehawk
    December 27, 2008

    JoshS, I think what speedwell meant when he said you tolerate spelling “and” as “an” is that it’s spelled that way in Sven’s post. So to him, it looked like you were criticizing one mistake in that post, but not another.

  67. #67 speedwell
    December 27, 2008

    Arrgh. The part of the post above that should have been italicized was:

    Hello, Mr. Patterson.

    I am a reader of PZ Myers’s blog, Pharyngula. In the e-mail he posted from you, you invited him to contact you with questions or challenges that you would answer with verified, but ignored, scientific evidence. You wrote, “I am simply concerned about the credibility of the scientific community and want to develop an open forum for all views to be discussed in a professional an respectful manner (in the true nature of the scientific method).”

    Fair enough. I would like to respectfully request that you send me some verified scientific evidence that convincingly supports your claim for Creation. Please give web addresses where the writing is available free on the Internet. Where the information requires a membership or cost to obtain, please arrange to make it freely available to me for examination at no cost. If the writing is part of the Bible or Christian theology or its derivatives, please be aware that I will give that writing equal weight with contradictory claims from other foundational religious writings and their derivatives.

    Thank you for your time and willingness to engage this argument with evidence. That alone puts you head and shoulders above most other claimants. I look forward to reading what you have to send.

    Commenter “Speedwell”

    What preview button?

  68. #68 Dust
    December 27, 2008

    All your bias are belong to us!
    Or is that:
    All your bais are belong to us! Ha Ha Ha

  69. #69 Sven DiMilo
    December 27, 2008

    I certainly wouldn’t have jumped nastily on a regular

    I’d like to encourage nasty jumping onto anybody who deserves it. Sometimes it’s fun even when they don’t!

  70. #70 Ken Cope
    December 27, 2008

    Scott, I alreayd observed that in #27. Of course Ike Harris, er, Ikaris, is correct, since he’s describing the way the world works in the comics. And if the professor asks him, how do you know, were you there? Ikaris can say, “Yes, I was.”

  71. #71 PK
    December 27, 2008

    We need to coin a new phrase of dismissal for tripe like this: intellectual karaoke. Because it basically comes off as a kind of mindless parroting of the same old, same old, same old unoriginal, repetitive lines and phrases (repeated from previous old, tired arguments) that the writer perhaps doesn’t even fully fathom, yet desperately wishes would make their argument sound substantive.

    What someone needs to do is a comedy skit of Creationists at the karaoke bar repeating their same tired fallacies. That could be PZ’s standard “reply” to stuff like this.

  72. #72 Rev. BigDumbChimp,
    December 27, 2008

    Show me that you really have done your research (Martin Patterson clearly has not), and bring up specific issues from any of these excellent pop-sci books on the subject of evolution

    A point I like to try and make. Asking them to address specific research instead of regurgitating the same canards.

  73. #73 Sven DiMilo
    December 27, 2008

    intellectual karaoke

    is perfect.

  74. #74 Patricia, OM
    December 27, 2008

    Jadehawk – Can you say that in olde Entish?

  75. #75 Martin
    December 27, 2008

    Does anyone have a link to that wonderful radio debate PZ had with some creationist fellow (a theologian, even, I think), where he completely ripped him a part (I wonder if he didn’t say something about there being no transitional whale fossils, or something to that effect).

  76. #76 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 27, 2008

    Why call a theory “science” when it can be scientifically proven to be false? When we look at Evolution, Micro Evolution is scientific because it can be observed, tested, and verified. But that is a far stretch from the fantasy of Macro Evolution, Cosmic Evolution, Molecular Evolution, and others. Yet “scientists” try to bunch them all together using Micro Evolution as their example so they won’t be forced to answer questions about the others. There are a lot of theories out there about the others, but there is no scientific evidence to prove them.

    It ain’t cool being no jive turkey so close to Christmas

  77. #77 Jeeves
    December 27, 2008

    @Martin,

    His debate was with a doctor, one Geoffrey Simmons.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/01/was_that_fun_or_what.php

  78. #78 James Brennan
    December 27, 2008

    #42 – The Angular Momentum thing is pure Kent Hovind, who does not understand the difference between the Big Bang and the origin of the solar system some 10 billion years later. He also does not understand conservation of angular momentum, as his evidence for a violation thereof is that not all of the moons and planets spin on the same axis.

  79. #79 Patricia, OM
    December 27, 2008

    Martin – That debate is on YouTube. I’ve listened to it several times, PZ sounds really scary when he gets testy.

  80. #80 Jeeves
    December 27, 2008

    @Martin,

    His debate was with a doctor, one Geoffrey Simmons.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/01/was_that_fun_or_what.php

  81. #81 Jeeves
    December 27, 2008

    Oops. Didn’t mean to double post there. Could you make it five lashes this time? Just a bit stiff today.

  82. #82 SC, OM
    December 27, 2008

    Oh, cut it on the bias, everyone.

    (OK, Project Runway puns have no place on a science blog. But while I’m on the subject, if the thread will allow it, the Law of Angular Momentum refuting the Big Bang was a new one to me.)

  83. #83 john hackworth
    December 27, 2008

    Call me a Marvel comic geek (I have been since age 6) but the evolution aspect didn’t even hit me – it was the furthering of the urban myth that Kirby was the best, or even a competent, comic book artist.

    You can take my copy of Jim Starlin’s Warlock / Magus / Thanos saga out of my cold, gold-colored hands. :)

  84. #84 Patricia, OM
    December 27, 2008

    Chimpy! Just the guy I was waiting for. Is Doug Kershaw ‘Alive & Pickin/The Louisiana Man’ any good? It’s a Yule gift. I’m thinking this might be a guy I saw on the Jimmy Dean Show. Hum…

  85. #85 raven
    December 27, 2008

    the Law of Angular Momentum refuting the Big Bang was a new one to me.)

    You have to remember that most creos don’t know what The Law of Angular Momentum or the Big Bang really is. So they just string sciency sounding words together and assume it proves something.

    It does of course. It proves they are ignorant at best and probably stupid as well and maybe even crazy. I have yet to see a YEC who wasn’t one of the three and/or dishonest.

  86. #86 Psychodigger
    December 27, 2008

    Bah humbug!

  87. #87 Jadehawk
    December 27, 2008

    Jadehawk – Can you say that in olde Entish?

    I really don’t think I have that much spare time :-p

  88. #88 Sherry
    December 27, 2008

    Personally, I don’t debate with creationists. I don’t have the time to waste on the deluded.

  89. #89 PZ Myers
    December 27, 2008

    I certainly wouldn’t argue that Kirby was anywhere near the best. However, stylistically he’s unique, and he was also influential…for bad or good.

  90. #90 Tim Broderick
    December 27, 2008

    Here’s a cartoonist you can enjoy

    http://www.jayhosler.com/cartoonist.html

    He’s combined his love of biology and cartooning – his Darwin book “The Sandwalk Adventures” is excellent.

  91. #91 Matt Heath
    December 27, 2008

    Project Runway puns have no place on a science blog

    Of course they do, as long as you make it work.

  92. #92 Jadehawk
    December 27, 2008

    speaking of comic-book-science and creationists, here’s the quote of the week, brought to you by Rapture Ready via FSTDT: “If global warming and evolution were true, the Polar Bear would evolve to survive.”

    *facepalm*

  93. #93 BobC
    December 27, 2008

    It proves they are ignorant at best and probably stupid as well and maybe even crazy. I have yet to see a YEC who wasn’t one of the three and/or dishonest.

    I think the vast majority of creationists are all 3 of the above, ignorant, stupid, and crazy.

    Some of them are not stupid, but every single one of them is willfully ignorant and at least a little bit insane.

    Not all creationists are liars, but virtually all the professional creationists are compulsive liars. Even the honest creationists are lying, but they’re too uneducated to know they’re spreading lies.

    Also, any creationist parent, who teaches magical creation to their children, is mentally abusing their children, and destroying their lives.

    Also, all creationists are cowards. They’re terrified of the facts of evolutionary biology because evolution threatens their childish insane belief in heaven.

  94. #94 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 27, 2008

    Patricia, I’ll have to admit I’ve never heard it.

    but it looks promising!

  95. #95 llewelly
    December 27, 2008

    … the Law of Angular Momentum refuting the Big Bang was a new one to me.

    It made my head spin.

  96. #96 PopeCoyote
    December 27, 2008

    It is both amusing and irritating that the creationists cry censorship at the science and skeptic blogs and don’t see the irony of what most do in their own blogs or public offerings. I don’t know of any science blog that edits out posts on content or whether they agree or disagree. Some like PZ will weed out of proselytizing or advertising or just dishonest behavior.

    It is really rampant on YouTube where there are a lot of very well done videos by skeptics and atheists explaining why they accept what they accept and the evidence for it. They almost always allow all comments and allow rating. The creationist or religious sites often block rating or comments or only allow comments that are favorable to them. “VenomfangX” is a prime example of this. Just as they do no real research, post no science peer-reviewed studies, don’t bother to learn the sciences they attack – they attack science based on their own misunderstandings or purposeful mis-interpretation of “reality”.

    I really never thought that in the 21st Century, we would still be debating the concept of “reality” and “science” versus “belief” and “superstition”. ::::shakes head::::

  97. #97 varlo
    December 27, 2008

    I suspect that one reason even those naysayers who accept an earth billions of years old (and micro evolution as well) are not disposed to accept macro evolution because they genuinely cannot comprehend how vast that span of time really is, and how many uncountable generations must have passed since our earliest ancestor somehow managed to replicate itself. (I suspect that few if any of us can comprehend it either, but at least we can accept that in comparison with our own brief existence it is approaching infinity.) And as for the young-earth idiots … words fail me. Or is all of this unduly prolix and juvenile coming from a non-scientist?

  98. #98 Autumn
    December 27, 2008

    The creationists that I find the most frustrating are the many who parrot questions that are actually asked by Darwin in the excellent chapter in Origen in which he examines his theory for possible flaws.
    They never even ask the cool part about bees evolving sexless castes and hexagonal honeycomb cells.
    Arguing against a book (yes, we all know that it is not current science, but they don’t seem to) with arguments discussed in the very book one is saying fails to address these arguments is mind-numbing.

  99. #99 DaveL
    December 27, 2008

    I love the Angular Momentum argument. Kent Hovind actually seems to think everything in the universe ought to be spinning the same way. It would be interesting to compile a list of physical laws according to creationists:

    Conservation of angular momentum: Every part of a system will maintain the same angular momentum as the whole, unless acted upon by a force outside the system. The torsional pendulum inside your watch is a Satanic illusion.

    Second Law of Thermodynamics: No system can ever decrease its entropy, except through the intervention of an intelligent agent. Perpetual motion machines are possible, but snowflakes are not.

    Feel free to add your own…

  100. #100 Emmet Caulfield
    December 27, 2008

    intellectual karaoke

    I’m stealing that.

  101. #101 Tim H
    December 27, 2008

    We need to adopt a different approach.
    The problem here is not that they are getting facts wrong.
    The problem is that they are simply lying as a means to an end.

    I’m not sure another approach exists. Lying as a means to an end is a built-in part of their world-view. They call it faith. They’ve been running an ad campaign for 2000 years to convince the world it is a virtue. The problem is:
    1)they believe their own advertising
    2)no agency exists with world-wide power to enforce Truth-in-Advertising laws.

  102. #102 Everbleed
    December 27, 2008

    PZ is right.

    It is a waste of time.

    PZ is right again when he says the morons never read anything that questions their view. They don’t.

    Never have, never will.

    That is the difference, the real difference, between they and us.

    Ignorance vs. Actual curiosity. And fearfulness vs. fearlessness.

    Sheep versus cats… and the sheep are winning.

    Oh shit.

  103. #103 Ryan Cunningham
    December 27, 2008

    My mom has been a creationist for years, teaching at a Christian school. I just found it so disturbing that she not only believes this drivel, she is SPREADING it to another generation of believers.

    So I bought her a copy of “Your Inner Fish” for Christmas. She read three chapters of it in the two days after Christmas and already had a conversation with me about trying to reconcile scripture with evolution. That book is a VERY good suggestion, Dr. Myers!

  104. #104 Rick R
    December 27, 2008

    In the middle of that long ramble (supposedly) on the importance of scientific veracity and truthtelling, your pal Martin buried the lead-

    “There are a lot of theories out there about the others, but there is no scientific evidence to prove them. Why then are these subjects taught to our children as fact?”

    It ain’t truth this moron is interested in, it’s indoctrination. It ALWAYS is with these fools.

  105. #105 'Tis Himself
    December 27, 2008

    Has anyone sent Martin Patterson an email inviting him to give his “evidence” for creationism? If so, what was his response (obviously he hasn’t posted here).

  106. #106 druidbros
    December 27, 2008

    Thank you for the list of books PZ. As I have noted previously I am not a science nerd (yet) and I come into personal contact (both familial and otherwise) with IDbots. I love reading good books to blast them out of the water. They wont talk ‘religion’ with me anymore because I have already shown their arguments for what illogical drivel they are but they continue by trying to talk ‘science’ with me.

  107. #107 Richard Eis
    December 27, 2008

    -intellectual karaoke-

    I’d prefer “debate karaoke”…Intellectual is giving them waaay too much credit.

  108. #108 BobC
    December 27, 2008

    Ryan Cunningham wrote in #103 about his creationist mother who is reading a book by Shubin, and she is apparently starting to accept the facts of evolution. That is so rare for a creationist she deserves a standing ovation.

  109. #109 Zeno
    December 27, 2008

    Mr. Patterson has company over in Miss Manners’ column: a global-warming denialist who prides himself on his “scientific background.” [Link]

  110. #110 bluescat48
    December 27, 2008

    From what I can see, the amount of talk or writing that a creo spews out is inversely proportional to the knowledge of said subject

  111. #111 Rey Fox
    December 27, 2008

    Anyone playing Creationist Bingo?

    “All the evidence that is used to support the Evolution theory as a whole is based off of other ideas and theories that cannot be empirically verified (assumptions based on other assumptions).”

    Projection.

    “It is also un-bias and leaves all options open for investigation. ”

    I find that a good rule of thumb is to ignore anyone who uses “bias” as an adjective. It’s the sign of a weak mind.

    “There is far more scientific evidence for creation than there is for evolution”

    The sad thing is that for all their supposedly clever debunking of religion, when you ask them to turn around and give their evidence for creation, they give you the flowers-and-puppies argument. “Look AROUND you, brother!” It’s really pointless to argue with someone like that.

    Merry Marvel Marcher:
    “Therefore, Ike Harris’s allusion to evolution and common descent comes from one who knows, and the ‘professor’ character who gives him grief for it turns out to an ignorant, pompous twit.”

    Yeah, let’s not bash Kirby for this. Neal Adams is the crackpot.

  112. #112 druidbros
    December 27, 2008

    Oh man has anyone else seen this one?

    http://www.jesusandmo.net/2008/12/23/ploy/

  113. #113 Muffin
    December 27, 2008

    “Still, you have to concede that Jack Kirby was a major influence on comic book art, and stylistically, he’s one of those artists whose work is instantly recognizable.”

    Fortunately, he only was an influence on US-American (or maybe North American) comic book art. He may be recognisable, but so’s Britney Spears.

  114. #114 MickyW
    December 27, 2008

    Why is it that every wingnut out there suddenly has this big thing for the concept of a “worldview”? It’s all babble babble babble worldview babble babble. Perhaps it’s a way of legitimising their nonsense; by setting the arguments up as coming from differing “worldviews”, they are somehow put on the same level. “My argument is just as good as (or better) than yours, I just have a different starting point (worldview).” And of course by referring to atheism as a religion, it drags it down to a level they can come closer to understanding. Yanno, why worship Darwin when Jesus was so much nicer?
    I for one won’t stand for this anymore; I don’t consider that I should have to fit somewhere into some idiot’s list of worldviews. I can only tell him what my worldview is not:
    My starting point is not that the universe was breathed into existence by a magic fairy, who wrote a book of fables by which we are all supposed to live, and who couldn’t be arsed to communicate with us for the last 2000 years.

  115. #115 Cruithne
    December 27, 2008

    Pshaww, I’ll see your Jack Kirby and your Neal Adams and raise you a Steve Ditko, now that guy is nuts.
    Alan Moore may be a comic book genius but I wouldn’t ask his advice on more practical matters either.

  116. #116 Jeff
    December 27, 2008

    With respect, I think you all are being way too hard on this guy. He’s not stupid, nor is his email nasty or dismissive. He knows enough to guess–rightly–that somebody in this debate must be monkeying with the facts and suppressing evidence. He’s just sorely miseducated. If he continues to engage in open dialogue with the other side, he may come around. (I did.) The last part of PZ’s response was the right way to go–offer some reading material that details what the evidence really looks like, as opposed to the silly straw-man version of science Creationists are taught. If they are sincere, they will give it a chance.

  117. #117 PZ Myers
    December 27, 2008

    I’ll raise your Steve Ditko by one Dave Sim.

  118. #118 The Great Spirit
    December 27, 2008

    All alone, or in two’s,
    The ones who really love you
    Walk up and down outside the wall.
    Some hand in hand
    And some gathered together in bands.
    The bleeding hearts and artists
    Make their stand.

    And when they’ve given you their all
    Some stagger and fall, after all it’s not easy
    Banging your heart against some mad bugger’s wall.

    “Isn’t this where….”

  119. #119 raven
    December 27, 2008

    Why is it that every wingnut out there suddenly has this big thing for the concept of a “worldview”

    Worldview is a fundie code word for delusional nonsense.

    They start with a fantasy conclusion called worldview. They then:

    1. Fold, spindle, and mutilate the facts to fit the conclusion.

    2. Any facts that survive step 1 are buried, ignored, or burned in a lime kiln.

    FWIW, no fact has ever survived both steps.

    This is how to pretend a 13.7 billion year old universe is 6,000 years old, the earth is flat, and the sun orbit it.

    Also FWIW, the insane asylums and homeless shelters are full of people with very unique worldviews.

  120. #120 Crudely Wrott
    December 27, 2008

    @ Ray #103

    Lots of ears are twitching for your mother’s sake.

    I’m certain that many, like me, are eager to hear the tale play out . . .

    Please do let us know. Thanks, and all the best to you and yours.

  121. #121 Allen N
    December 27, 2008

    Jeff @116

    I don’t think he is interested in open dialogue. You cannae forget that he has the far easier “truth” in his story book. You assume, I feel incorrectly, that he might actually bother to read and actually think about any of those books. It is far less threatening to knock down the straw man than it is to change your “world view”> Gah – now I’ve gone and used it!!

  122. #122 anon
    December 27, 2008

    Regarding claims to have read the Bible n times, I suggest it only fair to insist on some meaningful differentiation between ‘read’ and ‘piously recite’. While ‘read’ presumes some degree of comprehension and sceptical interpretation, ‘piously recite’ can be accomplished with simple rules of pronunciation and no practical knowledge of the subject language (e.g., English-speaking children taught to uncomprehendingly mouth Latin hymns; or, rather facetiously, any TV ‘talking head’ mouthing the daily news). Imagine reading a faulty transportation schedule with the devotional piety of Bible readers — no telling where or when one might arrive after uncritically following such a schedule.

  123. #123 eigenvector
    December 27, 2008

    PZ, Your “problem” is easily solved: let me send you $5 seed money to fund the purchase a BMF (Babbling Moron Filter) for your blog-site!

  124. #124 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 27, 2008

    I’ll raise your Steve Ditko by one Dave Sim.

    Man I loved Cerebus until Sim turned into, or at least started displaying his religious and misogynistic insanity. And even then it was entertaining….. for a while.

  125. #125 Scott Hatfield, OM
    December 27, 2008

    I’ll raise your Steve Ditko by one Dave Sim.

    The comic industry is filled with unusual characters. Barry Windsor-Smith, known for his work with Roy Thomas on Conan, told a supposedly autobiographical tale of alien abduction in a collection called Streetwise: Autobiographical Stories, which also has an essay by my brother (Charles Hatfield) in it. Highly recommended.

    Now, in an interview available on his web site, Smith talks about ‘transdimensional beings’ called ‘THE LIGHT PEOPLE’ and other spiritual realities. Who knows? This may just be an incredibly clever and slow-paced bit of marketing hokum, but having read the alien story, I kind of doubt it.

    Anyway, there are all kinds of crazy. There’s a good documentary called “In Search of Steve Ditko” that portrays him as a highly-functional, soft-spoken but firm ideologue. That’s actually a little less disturbing than the highly-detailed ‘alternative science’ screeds of a Neil Adams, in that there has been a great deal of private investment of creative thought on the part of Adams to construct his private universe.

    Anyway, again, in case you missed it, Jack Kirby is not a creationist in the sense implied at the top of this post. Sorry, PZ, but gotta set the record straight.

  126. #126 Cruithne
    December 27, 2008

    Yeah, I love it when they talk about reading the bible cover to cover. I’ve read the bible, been to Baptist bible college and done courses in bible study.
    That’s why I can say with confidence that it’s all a load of bollocks.

  127. #127 Matt Heath
    December 27, 2008

    Worldview is a fundie code word for delusional nonsense.

    They start with a fantasy conclusion called worldview.Actually, I think that’s not quite it. Not all delusional religious nonsense gets called “worldview”. The details of theology certainly wouldn’t be; those are things to be discussed within a Christian worldview.

    The “worldview” idea is mostly used as a tool for not listening to outsider’s points. The idea is that someone of a different worldview sees the world in such a different way that you don’t have enough common ground to discuss things usefully, and so it isn’t worth listening. “Oh I’m sure that the world doesn’t seem designed in YOUR worldview”. It’s a slightly more subtle variant on “you believe that because the devil has control of your mind”.

    Of course, this is usually accompanied with a belief that it is possible to move people to the Christian worldview by apologetic arguments so it doesn’t seem to be the most consistent concept. Maybe it just seems in consistent to me because of my materialist worldview (evangelicals with the “worldview” line always lump together atheism, naturalism, science and materialism; whether this is stupidity I dishonesty I don’t know)

  128. #128 Matt Heath
    December 27, 2008

    Me@#127: UGH blockquote fail! The following should have been blockquoted

    Worldview is a fundie code word for delusional nonsense.

    They start with a fantasy conclusion called worldview

  129. #129 AndrewC
    December 27, 2008

    Never names the assumptions or the evidence he has, and does my favorite retarded theist thing (redundantlawl, I kid) of going EVOLUTION IS A RELIGION. Well…seriously, is a religious person stating that something being a religion is a negative thing. DARWIN OR ARISTOTLE IS YOUR MESSIAH…from a person who actually has a messiah.

  130. #130 strangest brew
    December 27, 2008

    *29

    ‘Disproving evolution does not guarantee that creationism wins.

    Quite agree…but Creationists being two dimensional bunnies they have only the one game plan…destroy Evolutionary Theory.

    That is the only science discipline…they think(sic)…that can blow their delusion to outta the water and into disparate smithereens completely.

    So that is the one they are gunning for and that is the one that gives them the wet dreams of destroying maybe because deep down they know it IS the greatest and most urgent threat to their nonsense they face.

    There is no other alternative, they seem pragmatic enough to reckon on the one the true and the only hell they cannot pray themselves out of being Evolutionary Theory.
    If another emerges it cannot be as bad as Evolutionary theory surely?

    The game plan at the moment is to restrict and if possible stop all education authorities from teaching it…They are far to late the genie is well out of the bottle…it has them by the throat!

    It is their nemesis… the ‘auld enemy… the doom of their deity…and they are sore afraid…they are starting to tremble and make mistakes because they are losing the campaign.
    The emergency repairs are failing ….God of Gaps and ID in particular…and their Ark of ignorance is flundering on the reefs of rationality.
    So now it is gonna get real ugly for a while, cos frightened folks go rather hysterical!
    Especially the hard of reasoning!

  131. #131 'Tis Himself
    December 27, 2008

    I’ll raise your Steve Ditko by one Dave Sim.

    I prefer Jeff Smith of Bone.

  132. #132 Cruithne
    December 27, 2008

    I like Jeff Smith as well but unless you can argue that he is a bit of a nutter, he’s worthless in this particular game of crazy comic book luminaries poker.

  133. #133 Insightful Ape
    December 27, 2008

    So the same evidence that says someone broke into your home can also be used to conclude you imagined the break-in?
    I’d like to know what Mr Patterson is smoking, it is obviously strong.
    Is Mr Patterson or his pastor going to invite us to their church to discuss the “alternative theory” that god doesn’t exist and Jesus was a myth? I am only concerned about their credibility, you know. As long as they surround themselves with like minded people they are not going to “learn” anything.
    Bonus for cosmology denialism, to top off biology denialism.
    PS: “I used to be…” be on your guard when you see that, as Dawkins says.
    PS#2: I hope you’ve got over your injury, Professor.

  134. #134 GS
    December 27, 2008

    OT but funny:
    PZ signing a cracker:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=av8CCueUbXo

  135. #135 Larry
    December 27, 2008

    >>Patricia “Chimpy! Just the guy I was waiting for. Is Doug Kershaw ‘Alive & Pickin/The Louisiana Man’ any good”<<
    I just watched and listened to “Louisiana Man” on Youtube.
    Great Cajun music.

  136. #136 Jeff
    December 27, 2008

    Allen N @ 121

    I don’t think he is interested in open dialogue. You cannae forget that he has the far easier “truth” in his story book. You assume, I feel incorrectly, that he might actually bother to read and actually think about any of those books. It is far less threatening to knock down the straw man than it is to change your “world view”> Gah – now I’ve gone and used it!!

    I may be wrong of course, but I see a glimmer of hope with this one. It’s not his thought process that’s wrong so much as the set of “facts” he is working with. I am embarrassed to say I was writing similar screeds and even presenting them in class right up through my college years. If everyone who knew better had just called me a moron and made fun of my one or two grammatical gaffes in an otherwise well-written piece such as this, I might still be a fundie to this day. Fortunately there were a handful people who were both knowledgeable and EXTRAORDINARILY patient with me.

    Changing your “worldview” is painful, but it does happen.

  137. #137 Rick R
    December 27, 2008

    #129- “and their Ark of ignorance is floundering on the reefs of rationality.”

    Damn. That’s good.

  138. #138 Dan L.
    December 27, 2008

    OK, I’ve heard the thermodynamic argument many times, but can somebody explain to me what the “Law of Angular Momentum” argument against the Big Bang is?? I can only assume he means “conservation of angular momentum”, but I can’t for the life of me guess why the conservation of angular momentum would prevent the Big Bang.

    If one could demonstrate that the universe as a whole has a non-zero angular momentum, it would be an argument against the big bang (but not a conclusive one). Don’t worry, I have already emailed a request to this gentleman that he provide evidence that the universe has a non-zero angular momentum. I eagerly await his reply. If it’s good, he just might be eligible for a Nobel. (snicker)

  139. #139 Larry
    December 27, 2008

    I’m not sure, but I may have sinned. I quit reading comic books about the same time as I found out about Santa at ten years old. Don’t tell me I have missed something. I still read the Sunday “funny Pages”, tho.

  140. #140 BobC
    December 27, 2008

    strangest brew (#129):

    The game plan at the moment is to restrict and if possible stop all education authorities from teaching it…They are far too late the genie is well out of the bottle…it has them by the throat!

    Here’s one standing ovation for the comments in #129.

    This is what the Christian war against science education is all about. The Christian extremists know the facts of evolutionary biology, if true, will eventually cause the almost complete eradication of their death cult. Evolution threatens not just magical creation, but also heaven, hell, and Jeebus. Most Christians are terrified of evolution, especially if they can’t invoke their fairy to guide it, and I plan to never stop reminding them how cowardly they are.

  141. #141 Rick R
    December 27, 2008

    I’m not into comics myself, But I do know that Alan Moore had his name taken off the movie version of “V for Vendetta”. I thought it was an excellent movie. Is this something he does a lot? Is he a loon?

  142. #142 Kel
    December 27, 2008

    My rule of thumb is that anyone who brings up the 2nd law of thermodynamics has no clue what they are talking about. They misrepresent both evolutionary biology and thermodynamics by trying to apply one to the other. Just another ignoramus who has bought into creationist rhetoric and can contribute nothing of substance to the discussion.

  143. #143 tigerhawkvok
    December 27, 2008

    I sent a rather long email to the guy — I was feeling rather patient. Enter tinyfontage!


    Just a few points.

    1) Evolution is not a religion, it is a fact (at least, as much as anything can be “fact”). There is no distinction between macro and micro evolution, as macro is accumulated microevolutionary events. See, for example, the novel evolution of the ability for E. coli to metabolize citrate ( http://www.pnas.org/content/105/23/7899.abstract ), or the evolutionary development of snake fangs ( http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature07178 )

    2) I have a degree in astrophysics, and I have studied hyperinflationary theory (what is loosely termed the “big bang”, though that is not quite accurate). I would love to see how it is disproved by conservation of momentum or by thermodynamics. When you compose your proof, I would strongly suggest that you remember to include complete systems in both cases; IE, the Earth is not a system unto itself because it has external energy input by our star, and conservation laws only hold with no external forces.

    3) Despite the fact that there is no difference between macro and microevolution, I will bite. First, I will assume that you are not actually disputing evolution (you state that you accept some forms of it); I will assume you are disputing evolution by means of natural and sexual selection. You already acknowledge that evolution has been observed, and I have further linked you to some more examples of the evolution of traits. For an overview of Natural Selection, I would suggest you read On the Origin of Species by Darwin, chapters 1-6 (while bearing in mind that Mendel had not yet done his experiments on genetics during writing, and further, that DNA was not to be discovered for nearly a century). NS is plainly observed in the case of large deviations from the mean, though even its more subtle forms are easily observed via domesticated breeds (ocassionally “races” by Darwin). There, breeders occupy the place of nature, providing a selection pressure that gives way to differential reproduction and extinction. By this, it is meant that different indivduals, by way of the breeder choosing mates with desirable traits, have different levels of reproductive success. Other individuals may never breed, leading their entire lineage to go extinct, due to unfavorable or undesirable traits. The *only* difference in nature is that instead of a breeder, nature occupies the role of providing the pressures for these differentials. We know that this can produce exceedingly different forms. Look, for example, at Great Danes vs. chihuahas. They are incapable of unassisted reproduction (functionally, if not genetically, different species), and stem from a common parent — in fact, in the case of some dog breeds have complete lineal descent documented. If both were found in the wild today, we would call them seperate species (in many ways, a wholly arbitrary term). Given that you acknowledged acceptance of one premise, and I have attempted to explain and source a second premise, I do not see how you can deny natural selection, the second premise.

    4) Cosmic and molecular evolution borrow the term from biology, but are wholly unrelated. They involve simple physical processes that are well-defined. May I suggest “The Physics of Stars”, by Phillips, “Introduction to Cosmology” (Ryden), “Gravity” (Hartle), “Modern Cosmology” (Dodelson), or “Spacetime and Geometry” (Caroll) for some of the basics.

    Truly, the problem with biological evolution (particularly the modern synthesis of Darwin’s theory, which slightly redfines his usage of natural selection) is that is is simple enough to get the basics that people insufficiently educated in the science get parts of what it is trying to say, while missing all the subtlties. Good examples of this are how evolutionary theory predicts paucity of the fossil record and few, if any, extant transitional forms (Origin, chapter 6). There is a complex array of reasoning behind it — it is why Darwin’s “abstract” was 400 pages long! And there is a reason that evolutionary theory is a full semester of upper-division college courses for majors in the biological sciences, and a full other semester is dedicated to examining vertebrate paleontolgy. It is a complex field, and in some ways you can be forgiven for your unintended ignorance; but, what cannot be forgiven is unwillingness to accept or recognize said ignorance. If you wish to educate yourself in evolutionary biology, a good stepping stone would be to study cladistics and cladogenesis. Other relativley easy texts include “Vertebrate Paleontology” (Benton), or for a nice collection of familial relationships, “Herpetology” (Pough). PZ Meyers also cites some work at http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/12/i_get_email_25.php , but as I happened to feel unusually patient today I thought I’d write a longer response in hopes of providing you and yours helpful information. Perhaps the clearest example is the Special Theory of Relativity — it is important to realize that your intuition has no bearing on the truth of the matter, and short time frames, low speeds, etc merely decieve.

    Then I got bored and sent that.

  144. #144 Nick Gotts, OM
    December 27, 2008

    Kent Hovind actually seems to think everything in the universe ought to be spinning the same way. – DaveL

    The depths of stupid that can be reached by cdesign proponentsists can still amaze me. That’s surely at a level of 3 to 4 Hm!

  145. #145 Kel
    December 27, 2008

    How does the Ham scale work? I’m guessing 1 Ham is being equal in stupidity to Ken Ham, is it on a logarithmic scale or a linear gradient?

  146. #146 Guy Incognito
    December 27, 2008

    The post linked at #77 is comic gold:

    This is a man who thinks the fact that he isn’t drooling and feces aren’t dribbling down his leg is a miracle from god. After reading his book, I kind of agree.

    Hilarious, sir, hilarious!

  147. #147 pedlar
    December 27, 2008

    Varlo at 97:

    they genuinely cannot comprehend … how many uncountable generations must have passed since our earliest ancestor somehow managed to replicate itself.

    While I totally agree with your broad point – the non-comprehension if creationists – the maths is actually pretty simple. [Disclaimer: IANAM; if you are, please feel free to pile in.] Let’s say 3 billion years of evolution; then average out generations at one per year (somewhere in between a human generation of ~20 years and a simple organism that procreates daily); that’s ~3 billion generations. 3 x 109. Plus or minus a factor of 10, and we get an answer of 3 x 108 – 3 x1010 generations. Big, but not uncountable.

  148. #148 Longtime Lurker
    December 27, 2008

    But that is a far stretch from the fantasy of Macro Evolution, Cosmic Evolution, Molecular Evolution, Hella Evolution, Scottish Rite Evolution, LOL Cats Evolution, Evolution on a Stick, Poached Evolution in a White Wine Sauce, and others.

    This clown’s writing style makes the label on the chopsticks wrapper look eloquent.

    My favorite comic artist is Mark Schultz (who, to my dismay, shares his name with a Christian Pop Star). He is currently collaborating with Gary Gianni on “Prince Valiant”. If I don’t get to read “Prince Valiant” every Sunday, I am in a pissy mood all week.

  149. #149 HidariMak
    December 27, 2008

    For the book list, I’m surprised there has been no mention of Richard Dawkins’ book ‘The Ancestor’s Tale’. It doesn’t tackle very many of the commonly lobbed fallacies of Creationalists, but it does a great job of showing how much science they are arguing against.

  150. #150 Lurkbot
    December 27, 2008

    @ Patricia & the Rev, above:

    Doug Kershaw is a freakin’ phenomenon. Undoubtedly you did see him on The Jimmy Dean Show. He’s the only fiddle player I’ve ever seen who has to have a girl follow him around with an umbrella stand full of bows because he wears one out in about 30 seconds–and that’s playing behind his back half the time. His playing has to be heard to be believed!

  151. #151 Candiru
    December 27, 2008

    From #5:

    Science is not valid because…wait… you can use science to disprove science, but to prove science you need…

    Norman…coordinate!

  152. #152 Phil
    December 27, 2008

    Now wait a minute.
    In the world of Kirby, what the character is clearly referring to is related species of Homo, which do exist in the world of comic books. In the Marvel world, the mutants are often referred to as Homo superior. Likewise in Kirby’s fourth world there are species of Homo who are far more advanced than sapiens.
    In addition, trying to make sense of Kirby’s prose is like reading Beowulf in olde English. You know it’s english but it’s unintelligible!

  153. #153 Cruithne
    December 27, 2008

    I’m not into comics myself, But I do know that Alan Moore had his name taken off the movie version of “V for Vendetta”. I thought it was an excellent movie. Is this something he does a lot? Is he a loon?

    Think of Alan Moore as the Van Morrison of comics, an enormous talent but a grumpy old sod nevertheless. If there’s one other thing Moore does as well as write comics, then that’s finding reasons to fall out with people. In his defence, most adaptations of his work are utter shite, so it’s not surpiring he takes his name off them.
    As far as his beliefs go, I think he fancies himself something of a Magick practitioner.

    (sorry for this off topic thread that’s running through the thread)

  154. #154 AllanW
    December 27, 2008

    I can’t see whether someone has already mentioned the mainstreams best illustrator Barry Smith. His Conan work blew my mind.

  155. #155 Patricia, OM
    December 27, 2008

    #94 – Rev. BigDumbChimp – Well gooolly for someone that loves grits as much as you do I was sure you’d have heard this guy.

    Once Lurkbot said the guy plays the fiddle behind his back half the time, then I remembered. It’s that Cajun hooting that gets me wound up.

  156. #156 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 27, 2008

    #94 – Rev. BigDumbChimp – Well gooolly for someone that loves grits as much as you do I was sure you’d have heard this guy.

    Once Lurkbot said the guy plays the fiddle behind his back half the time, then I remembered. It’s that Cajun hooting that gets me wound up.

    Honestly my tastes run more Miles Davis and Maceo Parker than Earl Scruggs or Buckwheat Zydeco, but I appreciate blue grass and zydeco. Matter of fact I’ve been to many a blue grass festival and I LOVE various branches of the Cajun / Louisiana culture. At one point in my life I even tried to learn the banjo.

    I failed miserably. I have no talent for instruments. I consider myself a master appreciator.

  157. #157 Allen N
    December 27, 2008

    Jeff @135

    If there is to be even a glimmer of hope, then he should come back here and focus on one, and only one point – second law, macro vs. micro evolution, or whatever. I’ve about lost all patience with those who try to support their ideas by using the shotgun approach with claims that the science is wrong without any foundation.

    I’ve had similar truck with some local global warming deniers, every time we get a major storm in Colorado. When asked for one specific point of disagreement about the science, I got a list of unsupported references, which were easily shown to be simply wrong. The problem is that there does not seem to be any interest in actually examining the observations and conclusions of scientific work. You can show where they have gone astray, but my experience has been that the fall back position is that the science is wrong. When asked specifically how, you get…”It’s all a conspiracy!”

    If Mr. Patterson wishes to be more than a troll, he should come back and actually support his claims.

  158. #158 Patricia, OM
    December 27, 2008

    Thank You Lurkbot for bringing back a fond memory. My little brothers & I used to dance and hoot in front of a 12 inch black & white TV while watching Kershaw play.

  159. #159 Rev. BigDUmbChimp
    December 27, 2008

    Not to be confusing. @ post 155

    I don’t think bluegrass and Zydeco are anything alike.

    It’s the fiddling I was referencing.

  160. #160 Allen N
    December 27, 2008

    OT – Do any of you have the proper title or ISBN for a book that I believe had “Magikal Year” in the title. It went into the pagan roots of xian holidays and traditions. I cannae find my copy and I’d like to get at least one for a friend and another for myself.

  161. #161 Jadehawk
    December 27, 2008

    and on a completely unrelated but funny note, Japan finds two new ways to promote abstinence: feed your kids breakfast, and stop annyoing them: http://www.reuters.com/article/lifestyleMolt/idUSTRE4BP18P20081226

    p.s. how do you make a link show up as a title rather than showing the actual URL?

  162. #162 John Phillips, FCD
    December 27, 2008
  163. #163 Pikemann Urge
    December 27, 2008

    Matt Heath #39, no, that’s old now. I’d be surprised if people here weren’t sick of it already.

    Tony #31: Duckspeaking includes endless, mindless praise of something or someone, not just ranting (IIRC).

    Lee Picton #43, damn, Sarah Palin is a duckspeaker indeed. More or less.

    Scott Hatfield #59, nice catch (‘cos I wouldn’t know any better). It’s like how the Christians quote Dostoyevsky for the point that “if there’s no God, then anything is permissible.” Apparently it’s the stupidest character in that book who says it.

    bluescat48 #110, “He who knows doesn’t say; he who says doesn’t know.”

    Jeff #135, good point. I’m with you.

    Tigerhawkvok #142, hey, you can write big paragraphs just like the Creationists can!

    Oh, and Alan Moore FTW!!! But he’s more a writer, not an illustrator.

  164. #164 John Phillips, FCD
    December 27, 2008

    Pikeman Urge, re Happy monkey, speak for yourself.

    Oh and happy monkey.

  165. #165 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 27, 2008

    Jadehawk

    <a href=”http://www.cnn.com”>This is CNN</a>

    Shows like this

    This is CNN

  166. #166 Jadehawk
    December 27, 2008

    thanks :-)

  167. #167 Patricia, OM
    December 27, 2008

    Allen N @159 – A really well done book, with a crappy title is: The Witches’ Sabbats by Mike Nichols, Acorn Press – $14.00. He tells the pagan roots, and then what the christians did to each of the eight holy days.

    Another one that I consult a lot is: ‘The Dark Side of Christian History by Helen Ellerbe, Morningstar and Lark – $12.95. This little book will leave you both stunned and appalled if you don’t know the real history of the church.

    I have a stack of pagan books the size of a Hummer, but those two I consider must haves.

  168. #168 Allen N
    December 27, 2008

    John Phillips..

    That’s it, thanks much.

  169. #169 ggab
    December 27, 2008

    Okay fellow geeks.
    I’ll see your Jim Starlin, your Dave Sim (really PZ?) and your Steve Ditko and raise you Michael Golden!

    All these guys were great.
    Most influential has to be given to Kirby though.

  170. #170 ShadowWalkyr
    December 27, 2008

    On the other hand, neither Jack Kirby nor I nor any other comic book fan is trying to get comic books into a science class.

    Literature class, maybe. Science, no.

  171. #171 ggab
    December 27, 2008

    ShadowWalkyr
    Back to Mr. Moore.
    Watchmen is in many literature classes.
    It’s also due to hit movie theaters in a few months.
    Allen had his name removed from the credits of course.

    Who watches the Watchmen?
    I will for one.

  172. #172 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 27, 2008

    ggab

    Okay fellow geeks.
    I’ll see your Jim Starlin, your Dave Sim (really PZ?) and your Steve Ditko and raise you Michael Golden!

    All these guys were great.
    Most influential has to be given to Kirby though.

    The point is not just good comic book artists, but crazy ass lopped up in the head ones.

    Dave Sim is perfect for that.

  173. #173 Roger
    December 27, 2008

    Ooh, crazy comic book luminaries poker!

    I’ll see Starlin, Sim, Ditko and Golden and raise you John Byrne…and Frank Miller.

  174. #174 SC, OM
    December 27, 2008

    While I totally agree with your broad point – the non-comprehension if creationists – the maths is actually pretty simple…

    Here’s how Carl Sagan puts it in The Varieties of Scientific Experience (65):

    A great deal of the attention has been devoted to the evolutionary process, where…the key impediment to its being intuitively obvious is time. The period of time available for the origin and evolution of life is so much vaster than an individual human lifetime that processes that proceed at paces too small to see during an individual lifetime might nevertheless be dominant over 4,000 million years.

    One way to think about this, by the way, is the following: Suppose your father or mother – let’s say father for the sake of definitiveness – walked into this room at the ordinary human pace of walking. And suppose just behind him was his father. And just behind him was his father. How long would we have to wait before the ancestor who enters the now-open door is a creature who normally walked on all fours? The answer is a week. The parade of ancestors moving at the ordinary pace of walking would take only a week before you got to a quadruped. And our quadruped ancestors are, after all, only a few tens of millions of years ago, and that’s 1 percent of geological time. So there are many different ways of calibrating this immense vista of time that was necessary to evolve the complexity and beauty of the natural world, and this is one.

  175. #175 Talen Lee
    December 27, 2008

    Notice how no matter how nuanced or complicated or difficult to grasp the theories they’re mentioning in the context of disproving something else are, they always append the word ‘easily.’

    You can ‘easily’ disprove the big bang with angular momentum. You can ‘easily’ disprove evolution with thermodynamics. You can ‘easily’ disprove quantum uncertainty with a picture of a puppy dog. It hearkens back to the original maxim my father taught me, when conveying sermons: Weak point, pound the pulpit. You have to make it seem like disagreement is somehow wedded to stupidity. If you can’t see how angular momentum disproves the big bang, given how easy it is, you must be functionally retarded! Just like all those other people who haven’t noticed that the foundation of modern science is a lie and we should stick to the book which talks about rabbit cud.

    Also, Alan Moore is in my opinion probably one of the greatest authors of comic book narrative ever. Therefore, I feel I have little ground to criticize his personal behaviour, because the man is clearly either mad or a genius or both. Who am I to tell him what makes sense?

  176. #176 ggab
    December 27, 2008

    Rev
    “The point is not just good comic book artists, but crazy ass lopped up in the head ones.”

    You got me there.
    Someone already threw out Neil and his expanding Earth silliness. I think that raised the bar too high.

    Harvey Pekar had some crazy ideas.
    Still…expanding Earth…

  177. #177 Bubba Sixpack
    December 27, 2008

    Just wait until the snake oil salesman Rick Warren gives the invocation at the inaugural. Then arrogantly ignorant people like this will celebrate hitting a home-run in public PR.

    It will practically broadcast to the rest of the world: “we Americans are know-nothings and damn proud of it!”

  178. #178 Rey Fox
    December 27, 2008

    …and raise you Grant Morrison. Show your cards, everybody!

  179. #179 Wayne Robinson
    December 27, 2008

    Of course the question is about “world view”. The creationists want one that isn’t intellectually challenging, and “goddidit” is just so simple. They also don’t want anyone else to have a different “world view,” which is intellectually more challenging, but ultimately more satisfying.

  180. #180 Susannah
    December 27, 2008

    BobC #93:

    “I think the vast majority of creationists are all 3 of the above, ignorant, stupid, and crazy.
    Some of them are not stupid, but every single one of them is willfully ignorant and at least a little bit insane.
    Not all creationists are liars, but virtually all the professional creationists are compulsive liars. Even the honest creationists are lying, but they’re too uneducated to know they’re spreading lies.
    Also, any creationist parent, who teaches magical creation to their children, is mentally abusing their children, and destroying their lives.
    Also, all creationists are cowards. They’re terrified of the facts of evolutionary biology because evolution threatens their childish insane belief in heaven.”

    I beg to differ. I would like you to re-consider your words, which are not true of all creationists, and can have the effect of slamming the door in the face of those honest creationists who would appreciate learning the truth.

    (One effect, I read recently, of a fundamentalist upbringing can be a high valuation of truth and honesty; for us, the facts are priceless.)

    You said, “I think the vast majority of creationists are all 3 of the above, ignorant, stupid, and crazy.
    Some of them are not stupid, but every single one of them is willfully ignorant and at least a little bit insane.”

    OK. I wouldn’t know about the vast majority of creationists; I haven’t polled them. But I doubt that they are all ignorant, stupid, and crazy. Any one of the three, yes.

    I was a creationist. I am not stupid. I am sane. But I was ignorant, purposefully kept ignorant by my parents and teachers, purposefully inoculated against discovery by warnings of the danger of reading books by unbelievers. I was willfully ignorant, only so far as I heeded those warnings.

    My mother was a creationist. She was not stupid. Nor was she insane. But, like me, she was kept ignorant. Unlike me, she never realized it.

    “Not all creationists are liars, but virtually all the professional creationists are compulsive liars.”

    I don’t know about the “compulsive” bit, but yes, I agree that most of the professionals know that at least some of what they teach is not true. (Well, Jesus lied, for a godly reason, so it must not be sin. It’s just following the footsteps of the Master. So I have heard expounded.)

    “Even the honest creationists are lying, but they’re too uneducated to know they’re spreading lies.”

    If you say an untruth, believing it is true, are you lying? If so, you have lied.

    “Also, any creationist parent, who teaches magical creation to their children, is mentally abusing their children, and destroying their lives.”

    Abuse, yes. Possibly, or probably, unwitting. But “destroying their lives”? You go too far. My life was not destroyed; some passages of it were made more difficult than they needed to be. The same goes for any of the many creationists I know, and probably most of those I don’t, both the ex-creationists and the current crop.

    “Also, all creationists are cowards. They’re terrified of the facts of evolutionary biology because evolution threatens their childish insane belief in heaven.”

    Please! Drop these universals! Many creationists are courageous enough to dig out the facts, face them, and then take the consequences of “coming out” as another of those evil “evilutionists”.

    Here’s another universal for you: All absolute statements are fallacious. ;)

  181. #181 Cruithne
    December 27, 2008

    Dammit, I was just about to play the Grant Morrison card. I saw him speak at some event and he was obviously out of his tree on some kind of recreational pharmacaeuticals and babbling on about the Illumanati.

    Ok, I think we’ve exhausted most of the crazy ones, what about the plain old wankers?
    I start the bidding with Garth Ennis.

  182. #182 Marc Abian
    December 27, 2008

    If you look at the evidence that is used to support the evolution theory, that same evidence can be used to support the creation theory

    There is far more scientific evidence for creation than there is for evolution

  183. #183 Rey Fox
    December 27, 2008

    HEY. Ennis may be a dirty oul’ sod, but e’s not a wanker, yeh bollocks.

  184. #184 Ted Powell
    December 27, 2008

    druidbros #112

    Oh man has anyone else seen this one?
    http://www.jesusandmo.net/2008/12/23/ploy/

    It has a couple of predecessors:
    http://www.jesusandmo.net/2008/12/02/irony/
    http://www.jesusandmo.net/2008/12/05/meter/

  185. #185 Lurkbot
    December 27, 2008

    I’ve got to say, the angular momentum argument was a new one on me. It just sounds so sciency, it must be true!

    As James Brennan said above, if you analyze any of their arguments, you will find that the origin of the universe, the origin of the solar system, the origin of the earth, the origin of life, and the origin of man, which in the real world are spread out over 13.7 billion years, are all the same thing.

    It appears now to be an observed fact that the universe as a whole has no net angular momentum, and perhaps that’s a good thing. Kurt Gödel used General Relativity to prove 55 years ago that if it did, “closed timelike paths,” that is, time travel, would be possible. So perhaps any universe that had net angular momentum would be so tied up in knots by temporal paradoxes that it couldn’t exist, leaving room only for one without spin?

    I see now that Gödel’s proof has been questioned, so who knows?

  186. #186 Eric
    December 27, 2008

    @ #142 tigerhawkvok
    You wrote “(while bearing in mind that Mendel had not yet done his experiments on genetics during writing, and further, that DNA was not to be discovered for nearly a century)” which is not true. Watson and Crick figured out the three dimensional structure of DNA, but it was discovered in 1868 by Meischer.

  187. #187 Cruithne
    December 27, 2008

    HEY. Ennis may be a dirty oul’ sod, but e’s not a wanker, yeh bollocks.

    Well he was a wanker when I bumped into him, and he was a wanker according others I know who know him. Oh, and his comics are puerile shite.
    :-p

  188. #188 The MadPanda
    December 27, 2008

    Pikeman Urge (#162)

    IIRC, duckspeak had two meanings. Applied to a loyal Party member, it was praise for their enthusiastic praise and orthodox opinions. Applied to, say, Emmanuel Goldstein, it was derogatory, indicating that the person so disparaged spouted off talking points without thinking about them. Proper application of duckspeak requires doublethink and careful use of the blackwhite principle.

    (It has been many moons since I cracked my copy of 1984, so the ‘if’ in IIRC is a big one.)

    As for Comrade Patterson, here is a bit of newspeak to keep him guessing:

    Doubleplusungood–unbellyfeeling ingsoc verging crimethink. Fullwrite upsub antefiling.

    The MadPanda, FCD

  189. #189 PK
    December 27, 2008

    I have yet another term, and this is in regards to the phenomenom of genius comic creators (Dave Sim et al), writers, philosophers, etc. who have taken an insightful idea off onto a tangent and beyond the realm of batfoolery:

    “Ouroborass”. Think a combination of the metaphorical snake eating its tail and this famous picture:

    http://thegazz.com/gblogs/beerstoyou/files/2007/09/76-head_up_ass.jpg

    Fundies are famous for plumbing its deepest depths, but unfortunately, I’ve even seen Richard Dawkins descend into Ouroborassness. No one is immune to this… I think it demonstrates the limits of human comprehension and the mind’s tendency to want to organize and simplify information vs. the messiness and vastness of reality.

  190. #190 John Morales
    December 27, 2008

    PK,

    [1] Fundies are famous for plumbing its ["have taken an insightful idea off onto a tangent and beyond the realm of batfoolery"] deepest depths, but unfortunately, I’ve even seen Richard Dawkins descend into Ouroborassness. [2] No one is immune to this…

    1. Example, please?
    2. Not being immune need not imply one has succumbed. Are you trying to imply everyone has been guilty of your neologism?

  191. #191 BobC
    December 27, 2008

    Susannah (#179), you made some good points, but a lot of it I would call nitpicking.

    Religious indoctrination does ruin lives if the gullible child never recovers from the brainwashing, and I noticed the vast majority of them never escape it.

    You talked about “honest creationists who would appreciate learning the truth.”

    If they were really interested in learning the truth, why are they still creationists?

    When I first heard of evolution, it took me about one second to accept it. Since the only alternative is magic, a person would have to have something seriously wrong with them to doubt the facts of evolution.

    Of course it’s not fair to criticize young children who have been mentally abused. But once a person grows up, and still continues believing in magic, I would have to question that person’s sanity.

  192. #192 Efogoto
    December 27, 2008

    Darwin wrote in the Origin of Species: “The mind cannot possibly grasp the full meaning of the term of a hundred million years; it cannot add up and perceive the full effects of many slight variations, accumulated during an almost infinite number of generations.”

    He also included this example to help visualize a great length of time: “Few of us, however, know what a million really means: Mr. Croll gives the following illustration: Take a narrow strip of paper, 83 feet 4 inches in length, and stretch it along the wall of a large hall; then mark off at one end the tenth of an inch. This tenth of an inch will represent one hundred years, and the entire strip a million years.”

  193. #193 Kel
    December 27, 2008

    What’s wrong with being ignorant? No one person can know everything, we are all ignorant about something. But when someone tries to talk on a matter they simply do not understand (a creationist talking about evolution) that’s where ignorance becomes a problem. I’m no expert on history, but if I got up and say the holocaust couldn’t have happened because there are no ghosts of the dead haunting their death camp captors, I should be mocked and not put on a pedestal.

    The opposite happens with creationists, they say the most absurd and unrepresentative straw-men against evolution and we give them equal time in the media to do so. Most people simply do not understand the nature of science or why evolution is considered one of the strongest theories we have, and through that ignorance propagates. The people who do know are marginalised by having their views put alongside the most batshit crazy ideas propounded by those who claim to know better.

  194. #194 druidbros
    December 27, 2008

    @ 183 Ted Powell.

    Thanks. That was lmao…

  195. #195 MP2K
    December 27, 2008

    First of all, I am somewhat disappointed that the blogs require you to be an atheist or agnostic to post a discussion.

    OH SHIT. I’ve been posting on here all this time and I’m an agnostic that slightly leans towards Deism. Does this mean I’m going to be banned? Or maybe some sort of word filter that blocks out every forth word? I swear I didn’t do it on purpose!

  196. #196 John Phillips, FCD
    December 27, 2008

    MP2K, out, out damn spotMP2K :)

  197. #197 Kel
    December 27, 2008

    I’m really starting to wonder if the person who wrote this email actually read this blog, or just had a copy he’s sent elsewhere on file.

  198. #198 Nobody
    December 27, 2008

    Neil Adams by far takes the cake for that with his expanding earth theory that requires just about every law of physics to be wrong in order for him to be right.

    Neal Adams is hysterically funny in his insanity. If you haven’t heard about this grade-A whackadoo, I suggest checking out his interview on the Skeptics Guide to the Universe.

    SGU #51 : Neal Adams interview. Also be sure to check out the back and forth emails between Dr. Novella and Adams.

  199. #199 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 27, 2008

    OH SHIT. I’ve been posting on here all this time and I’m an agnostic that slightly leans towards Deism. Does this mean I’m going to be banned? Or maybe some sort of word filter that blocks out every forth word? I swear I didn’t do it on purpose!

    BAN HIM!!

  200. #200 Peter
    December 27, 2008

    BAN HIM!!

    Only if he weighs more than a duck.

  201. #201 Feynmaniac
    December 27, 2008

    MP2K,

    OH SHIT. I’ve been posting on here all this time and I’m an agnostic that slightly leans towards Deism

    Alright everyone, go get your pitchforks and torches!

  202. #202 Robin
    December 27, 2008

    I love the works of Jack Kirby. They are often wacky and outre, but they are pretty much internally consistent.

    That’s because he’s actually creating the universe in which his stories are taking place. If he actually believed that Erich von Daniken nonsense–which he assuredly didn’t, according to at least two of his biographers–he’d be a nut. But he used these ideas as springboards, and nothing more.

    If you want a REALLY berserk take on evolution, try reading his DEVIL DINOSAUR or KAMANDI series. They’re nutty. But they’re better than The Bible.

    Kirby actually created universes. Which makes him (or Him) the God of them.

    But unlike the God of our universe, Jack Kirby actually existed.

  203. #203 shonny
    December 27, 2008

    If Martin Patterson was to write an autobiography, the title could no doubt be: Life As Seen From Inside A Goldfish Bowl.

    And it seems like that is the way most religious people whittle away the gift of life, living with the restrictions imposed by being in a finite space. Shit sad!

  204. #204 Alan Kellogg
    December 27, 2008

    PZ,

    Kirby was talking about close relatives, as in members of the same genus. Think pop-science fantasy. It’s proto-urban fantasy, a follow on the weird science of the pulp era, and predecessor to the urban fantasy we have today.

    Clarke’s 2nd Law comes into play here, for the worlds Kirby created, and those he did art for created by others, are largely inhabited by creatures with technology so advanced it is indistinguishable from magic. Which means that there are people (some even human) running around who can and do work on human DNA to produce new life forms. Thus in such settings ID can serve to explain how some life came about, though not as the creationists would prefer it.

  205. #205 Alan Kellogg
    December 28, 2008

    On Neal Adams

    The stupid, it burns.

  206. #206 Pluto Animus
    December 28, 2008

    Many believers apparently regard their well-preserved ignorance as some sort of accomplishment of which they should be quite proud.
    They seem to know intuitively that actual knowledge would harm their precious arrogance by bringing their infantile beliefs into question.
    What a bunch of cowards.

  207. #207 kemibe
    December 28, 2008

    So did that actually arrive in your inbox in the form of one clueless paragraph or two? Something tells me the point at which you jumped in did not represent a formal break in the writer’s train of “thought.”

  208. #208 Winifred
    December 28, 2008

    Long time reader, first time poster….

    I just wanted to comment that “At the Water’s Edge” contains some details about whale evolution that have been updated since its publication. It’s a bit nit-picky, but if you recommend this book to a creationist who is going to look for any excuse to say “nyah nyah you’re wrong” it’s worth pointing out. It’s still an excellent read. I wrote a paper on whale evolution last term and I used “At the Water’s Edge” as launching point.

  209. #209 Aquaria
    December 28, 2008

    I got about as far as “evolution is a religion”, and my eyes started crossing from trying to keep from wandering into alternate lines. Although reading part of line 14 and the end of line 35 then up to the middle of 26 might have made more sense.

    Hm..

    I just went back and looked at that, and it came out: Question the validity to convince us to prove them.

    Eureka! Now it makes some kind of sense!

    Maybe it’s like that ridiculous Bible Code thing, only this could be the Creotard Code.

  210. #210 Mark Pallen
    December 28, 2008

    PZ, don’t forget to add The Rough Guide to Evolution (other retailers) to your recommended reading list. As well as a chapter documenting the evidence for evolution, there is a final chapter on evolution and religion. Like the other books you mention, it isn’t overly technical. And it lists all the books on your list (apart from Coyne’s which isn’t out yet) and around a hundred more! Your copy should be with you shortly, if it has not already arrived.

  211. #211 kemibe
    December 28, 2008

    @Tigerhawkvok (#143):

    “Look, for example, at Great Danes vs. chihuahas.”

    Hey!

  212. #212 Vadjong
    December 28, 2008

    [
    If the stuff I get in my email is at all representative, it's obvious that these jokers haven't even done as much as read one of these kinds of books.
    ]

    Is this not “A Courtier’s Reply” waiting to be thrown back at you?
    (Did I just give creationists a better argument than they could think of themselves? Some thought is required about this, methinks.)

    Note:
    If God had meant us not to collect stamps, he would have given us no saliva.

  213. #213 John Phillips, FCD
    December 28, 2008

    @Vadjong: While I assiduously don’t collect stamps, a close friend does and as a stamp collector he would never dream of using saliva as it would spoil a stamp’s value which is usually decided by its condition. I.e. the better the condition the better the value and an unused ‘virgin’ stamp, possible franking excepted, is usually of higher value than an used one.

  214. #214 Dan Rosenberg
    December 28, 2008

    Jack was all about being creative and telling stories. He was much more interested with Gods and mythology and never bothered to get the science right. Importantly he did recognize all Gods as story book characters and origin myths as stories and used them that way, usually as superheroes. Galactus was created when Stan Lee sent him a memo to have the Fantastic Four “fight God”. (Galactus is a giant Alien that eats planets~nice god huh? Sounds just like the one in the Bible) So if Jack didn’t have the science right about evolution or humans living with dinosaurs, he certainly didn’t take religion as dogma, and was simply comfortable using religion and myth as inspiration for his stories. Jack was a comic book visionary, but it’s silly to hold his work up to scientific truth or as supporting creationism. Besides, I would bet he’d be on the side of scientific truth any day.

  215. #215 Julia
    December 28, 2008

    #141: I’m not a comics fan, but Alan Moore wrote a superb horror/historical novel called “Voice of the Fire”.

    #160: Take anything written from a pagan perspective with a pinch of salt. History isn’t their strong point, not surprisingly since the Paganism practiced by present-day Westerners is a modern invention (as is Wicca and Druidism). However, two books by historian Ronald Hutton are well worth reading – “The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles” and “The Triumph of the Moon”.

  216. #216 Ian Gould
    December 28, 2008

    “Fortunately, he only was an influence on US-American (or maybe North American) comic book art. He may be recognisable, but so’s Britney Spears.”

    I’m pretty sure Jean Giraud (Moebius) cites him as a major influence.

  217. #217 Nightshadequeen
    December 28, 2008

    I emailed Martin Patterson and I got this:

    the earth has not yet reached equilibrium with Carbon 14 in the atmosphere

    I have no clue what this statement even means, but I don’t think silicon, nitrogen, and iron are in equilibrium between the earth and the atmosphere…

  218. #218 Ian Gould
    December 28, 2008

    “I’m not into comics myself, But I do know that Alan Moore had his name taken off the movie version of “V for Vendetta”. I thought it was an excellent movie. Is this something he does a lot? Is he a loon?”

    No he is not a loon nor did he “have his name taken off” V for Vendetta which includes a screen credit to himself and V for Vendetta.

    What he did was refuse to take part in any publicity for the movie and give his share of the royalties to Lloyd.

    He also gave his share of the Constantine royalties to artists Steve Bissette and john Totleben and his share of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen royalties to Kevin O’Neill. His royalties for Watchmen will go to Dave Gibbons.

    As to why he did this – for starters after he told Warner he had no interest in reading the V script they put out a press release claiming he’d read it and praised it.

    He’d also seen some very, very poor adaptations of his work already – such as the From Hell and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

    V for Vendetta is quite an entertaining Hollywood action movie – which totally ignores or undercuts many key points from the graphic novel on which it purports to be based.

  219. #219 Ian Gould
    December 28, 2008

    “No he is not a loon nor did he “have his name taken off” V for Vendetta which includes a screen credit to himself and V for Vendetta.”

    Should read: “…a screen credit to himself and V for Vendetta artist David Lloyd.”

  220. #220 Observer
    December 28, 2008

    Nightshadequeen@217,

    Apparently he was alluding to some standard creationist argument against the validity of radiometric dating. He probably got it from here: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab/does-c14-disprove-the-bible

    I didn’t bother to read it, but a google search showed that the topic of Carbon 14 equilibrium is common among creationist websites. For anybody patient enough, it would be a good idea to guide them to rebuttals of these creationist claims about radiometric dating. Not that they’d listen, but whattya got to lose?

  221. #221 Nightshadequeen
    December 28, 2008

    I did some research about the C-14 thing and apparently the argument is that C-14 levels are not steady.

    The argument forgets the fact that solar radiation changes and C-14 is created with the energy of solar radiation.

    So the “life of the earth”, as estimated by creationists using this method, is about 10,000 years.

    That lines up well with the end of the last ice age, methinks.

    I emailed him a 12 megabyte .pdf file about evolution. It’s not the standard high-school material. I’m awaiting his refutation of it.

  222. #222 Twin-Skies
    December 28, 2008

    Point 1.
    I stopped reading the email the minute I read the first sentence. Contrary to what Patterson says I’ve seen plenty of Christians appear on these pages who were more than willing to open up a discussion.

    The problem is that most of the ones foolhardy enough to open up a discussion on religion are swamped with retort and probing questions, wherein they reply with the persecution card. I’m no expert on debates, but that seems to be hitting below the belt.

    Point 2.
    Not to offend anbody, but I’ve always seen a good portion of the superhero comics in the West to be utter garbage. There are the gems (Moore and Gaiman come to mind), but most of it leaves me wondering if the writers behind the material were stoned or drunk. Probably both.

  223. #223 Sven DiMilo
    December 28, 2008
  224. #224 Zach
    December 28, 2008

    Unfortunately, I read the letter. It in my mind was several pages of mindless gibbirish.

  225. #225 rijkswaanvijand
    December 28, 2008

    hmmmz

  226. #226 Jadehawk
    December 28, 2008

    well…C-14 rates in the atmosphere aren’t really all that stable, but the new radiocarbon dates are all calibrated with dendrochronology (down to 10000BP, I think), so that’s mostly a non-issue. I wonder if creationsists know about dendrochronology? and what kind of whacky misunderstandings they have about THAT? (I predict complete lack of understanding of how master-sequences are built, for example)

  227. #227 Sondra
    December 28, 2008

    Did anyone mention his grammar or writing skills? If he could read the list of books you mentioned, he might have to learn how to read and write in the proper tenses in order to comprehend them.

    Too much remedial work I’m afraid. He’ll just have to continue to cut and paste other peoples’ junk and send it off dressed up as ideas.

    Oh dear.

  228. #228 Margaret
    December 28, 2008

    I recently graduated from a Christian school (and I’m not in college just yet) that taught Creationism as absolute truth (though I’ve been questioning much of what was taught since junior year and just recently did away with my belief in any sort of god). It kind of pisses me off to learn that what I’d been taught about the ‘evidence’ against evolution was pretty much lies. It also pisses me off how weak my grasp of evolution is because of this.

    I was looking for books on the matter, so I appreciate the list.

  229. #229 raven
    December 28, 2008

    I emailed Martin Patterson and I got this:

    the earth has not yet reached equilibrium with Carbon 14 in the atmosphere

    I have no clue what this statement even means, but I don’t think silicon, nitrogen, and iron are in equilibrium between the earth and the atmosphere…

    That translates from the dialect of Fundie Moron into English as, “I’m a total crackpot”.

    Really, this guy is just another kook wearing a tinfoil hat from Walmart that doesn’t work very well. He undoubtedly spends his nights worrying about such things as the Illuminati, Bigfoot wandering through his garden, and when the UFO aliens are going to abduct him for anal probing…for the 5th time.

    And the earth’s atmosphere is in rough “equilibrium” (actually it is a steady state) with carbon-14.

  230. #230 Rick T
    December 28, 2008

    I would like to point out some contradictions. There are many but these few are too stupid to have been overlooked by an honest mind, they must have been made dishonestly.
    “One thing that must be made clear in the debate between “Evolution” and “Creation”, is that it is not “Science” vs. “Religion”, it is “Religion” vs. “Religion”. They are both religious world views.”
    This claim that science is religion will be conveniently forgotten in a moment.
    “If you look at the evidence that is used to support the evolution theory, that same evidence can be used to support the creation theory. It is all a matter of perspective.”
    Equivocation, but only for the moment.
    “All the evidence that is used to support the Evolution theory as a whole is based off of other ideas and theories that cannot be empirically verified (assumptions based on other assumptions). That is not science.”
    Now he claims that all evidence is assumptions based on assumptions with no evidence for anything. But that means that religion is also assumptions for which there is no evidence.
    “There are a lot of theories out there about the others, but there is no scientific evidence to prove them.”
    Evidently, there are no “assumptions/evidence” to prove all the opposing theories countering Evolution but they should be taught anyway.
    “they are going to be forced to answer questions about the overwhelming evidence that supports Creation and admit that Creation is no more a religious belief than Evolution.”
    Ignoring his earlier claim we learn that what he said before is bunk and indeed there is evidence, not assumptions, that support Creationism and that Creationism is not a religion anymore but a science alongside Evolution. Remember, he had said that both were religions.
    “There is far more scientific evidence for creation than there is for evolution, so they are going to have a hard time explaining why creation should not be taught in schools.”
    Now, after all the previous equivocation, we are told that there is far more evidence that can’t be explained away. What were once religious assumptions have now been elevated to scientific evidence and science has now been degraded to what? They both were the same a few lines ago.

  231. #231 Rey Fox
    December 28, 2008

    “It kind of pisses me off to learn that what I’d been taught about the ‘evidence’ against evolution was pretty much lies.”

    You should tell them that. In a letter, perhaps. They’ll most likely chalk you up as someone “lost to the world” or some garbage like that, but these people and their institutions thrive on lack of challenge by “polite” society, and I just hate seeing that.

  232. #232 JM
    December 28, 2008

    My experience with some lay creationists is that they haven’t sufficiently long attention spans to read many of the books of PZ’s list. Excellent TV documentaries such as the BBC’s ‘Life on Earth’ (presented by Sir David Attenborough) and ‘Earth Story’ (presented by Aubrey Manning) seem to be a little easier for a lay creationist – with a few grumbles about bias along the way. Perhaps what is needed is a frontal attack via TV – a documentary series of equivalent magnitude which explicitly takes creationists’ claims and shows the misunderstanding or counter-evidence as visually as possible? Something more along the lines of a confrontational ‘Earth Story’ rather than in the style of the PBS/WGBH documentary series ‘Evolution’. I accept that it probably wouldn’t sell very well in the ‘States!

  233. #233 EB
    December 28, 2008

    I find it a huge irony when creationists talk about how evolution and Big Bang theories are “biased” (e.g. “when evidence arises that brings to question the validity of the evolution theory, that evidence is simply ignored”). Even if this were true, do the creationists not see that their whole set of explanations for the evidence is based on a huge bias: they have a preconceived notion of what explanation they want the data to fit, i.e. biblical creation.

  234. #234 melior
    December 28, 2008

    The “Big Bang” theory is a great example because it can easily be disproved by the Law of Angular Momentum, the second Law of Thermodynamics, and a number of others.

    Yahweh’s interventions in the universe don’t violate its status as an isolated, closed system and always increase its entropy over time. I saw that in the Bible somewhere.

  235. #235 Nerdcore Steve
    December 28, 2008

    C’mon PZ! You’re jumping to conclusions about a beloved comic book icon. Two comic book panel’s are not enough to show that Kirby was a creationist.

  236. #236 Quiet_Desperation
    December 28, 2008

    You’re dissing the Kirby? Man, PZ, that’s truly a new low. ;-)

    Burt seriously, dude, criticizing comic book “science?” That’s like kicking a puppy.

  237. #237 PZ Myers
    December 28, 2008

    I did not argue that Kirby was a creationist. I said he was an evolutionary ignoramus. There is a difference.

  238. #238 Monado
    December 29, 2008

    Margaret (228), congratulations on looking around for the facts on your own!

    I highly recommend “Evolution” by Carl Zimmer. It covers the basic principles of evolution very clearly–how it works, why it works. I think it was meant as a textbook, but Zimmer is such a good science writer that you can just read it like a novel.

    You can also go to the Talkorigins.org web site and poke around. Many people have compiled explanations of evolution, lists of transitional fossils, etc. If you go to my blog (click on my name) and go down the right-hand column to “Resources,” you’ll find lots of science information online. There’s also a link at the top right for books.

    Good luck!

  239. #239 Owlmirror
    December 29, 2008

    You can also go to the Talkorigins.org web site

    <checks>

    Nope, currently still down.

    Instead, try:
    http://toarchive.org/

  240. #240 Phill
    December 29, 2008

    Late to the party, but I have two things to add:

    1) Mike, comment #240 directly above me, is totally a spammer.

    b) Alan Moore apparently is a worshiper of the “imaginary snake-god” Glycon. Inherently absurd, and that’s the way he likes it.

    *) Neal Adams gets my vote for most crazynuts comics creator. Dave Sim has f’d up ideas about women, Ditko’s a dyed-in-the-wool Objectivist, but Adams believes that THE EARTH IS HOLLOW. He wins.

    q) There are more than two things here.

  241. #241 Ernesto García
    December 29, 2008

    Ian Gould @218:

    “He’d also seen some very, very poor adaptations of his work already – such as the From Hell and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.”

    Well, I haven’t read the original graphic novels but for some reason I happen to enjoy both movies (and “V for Vendetta” too, for that matter) but keep in mind I *AM* a steampunk junkie. Heck, I even find “Wild Wild West” watchable, so go figure… :-D

  242. #242 Phill
    December 29, 2008

    Ernesto@ 242:

    Do yourself a favor and read LoEG. I read it after
    I’d seen the movie, and was astonished. It’s quite good. I can’t comment on the others, other than to say Wild Wild West is better if you remove your brain for the duration. Steam-powered spider-bot is pretty awesome.

  243. #243 Phill
    December 29, 2008

    Hmm. That’s an odd
    place for a line break. I
    wonder what I was
    thinking
    ?

  244. #244 David Marjanovi?, OM
    December 29, 2008

    I can’t think of any words in the English language that accurately describe this situation. In German, the words “Eigentor” and “Schadenfreude” pretty much sum it all up. ;-)

    Well, Eigentor seems to be a literal translation of own goal or perhaps vice versa, and Schadenfreude has been borrowed into English (despite the fact that the word gloat already exists)…

  245. #245 Owlmirror
    December 29, 2008

    Schadenfreude has been borrowed into English (despite the fact that the word gloat already exists)…

    I always figured that “gloat” meant “excessive pleasure in one’s own fortune” rather than “pleasure in another’s misfortune”. But I guess it’s the closest word.

  246. #246 Rey Fox
    December 29, 2008

    Plus, “gloat” is usually used as a noun. “He has schadenfreude over Patriots missing the playoffs, and he is going to gloat about it around his Boston friends.”

  247. #247 anonymouroboros
    December 29, 2008

    #244: “Gloat” is somewhat dissimilar to “schadenfreude.” Perhaps “sadism” and the related derivatives are most similar in meaning (borrowed from the Marquis de Sade), but I cannot recall currently to mind a word for a specific incidence of taking joy from the pain of others in one word, aside from “schadenfreude” (“sadistic” has more a connotation of sexual pleasure in causing pain to others, while the German word is vague about the intention of the pain and the type of joy had in the pain). I could go on endlessly, needless to say, but that was probably why the word was stolen from German.

    #246: I think you meant “verb” rather than “noun.” “To gloat” is the infinitive form of the verb. “Schadenfreude” is a noun (more specifically, a direct object) in the sentence, and has only been a noun every time I have seen it used, though you can turn it into something else by the usual methods in English (schadenfreude-like, etc.).

    A rather pointless tangent, but still interesting to me at the very least.

  248. #248 Ed Darrell
    January 1, 2009

    One thing that must be made clear in the debate between “Evolution” and “Creation”, is that it is not “Science” vs. “Religion”, it is “Religion” vs. “Religion”. They are both religious world views.

    I’d let that one pass, so long as I get to qualify it.

    Yeah, evolution and creationism both have religious overtones, and there is a grounding philosophy in each one that a religionist might easily mistake for religion.

    Here’s the deal: Evolutionists agree that it’s ethical to tell the truth, stick to the facts, and not make stuff up whole cloth and claim it as fact when it’s not. This falls under the general ethical area of “honesty.” Evolutionists hold to that tenet as surely as any person of any faith.

    In that regard, evolutionists are much more like Christians than creationists are. So we shouldn’t be surprised that Christians and evolutionists hang together, and both oppose creationists.

    Is that a fair qualification?

    I like it, of course, because it allows the honest guys to assume the mantle of God if they choose — or deny it if they choose. But it denies the mantle of God to creationists. That seems fair to me, but my philosophy is only about as deeply thought out as the Boy Scout Law. The Boy Scout Law prevents me from calling you a heathen, or suggesting you consort with the devil on coffee breaks and weekends, even though you’re a creationist.

    I sure wish more creationists would be sucked in by either Boy Scouts or Christianity . . .

  249. #249 John Morales
    January 1, 2009

    Ed @248,

    In that regard, evolutionists are much more like Christians than creationists are.

    You mean “more like Christians claim to be”.

    “Christian” is vague in this [honesty is ethical] regard, what with nearly 40,000 denominations of it, and (for example) I’ve, in all seriousness, seen self-proclaimed Christians call Catholics and other major branches “non-Christian” – this was a Southern Baptist, BTW).

    My own (snarky) opinion: non-zealot Christians are hypocrites to a first, second, and third-order approximation.

  250. #250 Kel
    January 1, 2009

    Do I detect a No True Scotsman?

  251. #251 Wowbagger
    January 2, 2009

    Once again, John Morales is first to respond to late-comer posts on older threads. I’m beginning to think you have some sort of bat-signal hooked up…

  252. #252 Nerd of Redhead
    January 2, 2009

    Evolution a religion? God-none. Fail one. Holy book-none. Fail two. Church-none. Fail three. Tithes-none. Fail four. Priests-none. Fail five. Massive fail.

    Yawn, just too easy to refute. The mental gyrations of those trying to shoehorn evolution into a religion are fascinating in the amount of lying that is required. And totally depressing because they believe their lies.

  253. #253 Owlmirror
    January 2, 2009

    Well, it seems clear to me that Ed is trying to say that evolutionists have ethics. We do (or at least I do, and most others I’ve seen here), but… (a) ethics are not limited to religion (b) accepting evolutionary biology isn’t really related to ethics, per se.

    I’ve just been listening to this Jennifer Hecht interview, and Ed reminded me that there were/are life philosophies, not related to belief in God, which could be described as having systems of ethics.

    http://speakingoffaith.publicradio.org/programs/doubt/kristasjournal.shtml

    Perhaps that’s what he was thinking of; conflating “secular humanism” with “evolutionism”. Or something like that.

  254. #254 clinteas
    January 2, 2009

    Ed,
    are you saying that “telling the truth” is religious?

    Evolutionists agree that it’s ethical to tell the truth, stick to the facts, and not make stuff up whole cloth and claim it as fact when it’s not. This falls under the general ethical area of “honesty.” Evolutionists hold to that tenet as surely as any person of any faith.

    The fact that someone is a scientist does not mean they have some sort of inherent truth gene.
    Thsts just bollocks.
    And by the way,whats an “evolutionist”?

  255. #255 Nerd of Redhead
    January 2, 2009

    Ed, science is predicated on scientist telling the truth when they publish. The biggest crime a scientist can commit is to deliberately lie to his/her colleagues. So honesty from scientists who are also evolutionists is not surprising, but required. An imaginary deity is not required for people to be honest.

  256. #256 Rey Fox
    January 2, 2009

    “#246: I think you meant “verb” rather than “noun.””

    I did bloody well mean verb, and in fact I could swear that I changed it at some point. Gah.

  257. #257 SEF
    January 11, 2009

    An imaginary deity is not required for people to be honest.

    Indeed, quite the reverse. Having a religion, ie an imaginary deity (or three etc), pretty much guarantees that the person will have to be dishonest – about reality. The more religious they are (ie the more specifics they claim for their religion and the more time they spend at it), the more dishonest they have to be – to themselves as well as to others. It’s hardly surprising that simply making stuff up without regard for truth is habitual in so many of them.

  258. #258 hery
    January 25, 2010

    their morals are based on God, and God is just a matter of perspective.

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