Pharyngula

For shame, Forbes magazine

Forbes has published a collection of pseudoscientific nonsense, giving free rein to the hacks and frauds of the Discovery Institute, along with a few other crackpots. There is no hint given that these are marginal characters with no connection to modern science, who are following an ideological agenda with the admitted goal of replacing science and secular government with a Christian “spiritual” rule. There are no rebuttals. I’m sure the DI was thrilled to use Forbes as an arm of their propaganda machine.

I can’t possibly go through all of it; practically every sentence these guys write is misdirection, error, or outright lie. I’ll just try to give you a taste — a nasty, bitter taste, vile and rancid, but apparently the flavor Forbes wants to attach to their magazine — and you can decide whether you want to dig deeper into the cesspit.

Jonathan Wells, one of the more contemptible charlatans behind the Intelligent Design movement. Here’s one snippet of his sleight of hand.

Before 1859 science meant (and still means, for most people) testing hypotheses by comparing them with the evidence. For Darwin and his followers, however, “science” is the search for natural explanations. Such explanations should be plausible–that is, they cannot blatantly contradict the facts–but instead of being based on evidence they are based on the assumption that everything can be explained materialistically.

See what he did there? He implies that Darwin was doing something that his peers of that time should not have recognized as science, because science is based on “evidence” and not on “materialism”…and if you read further in his load of tripe, you’ll discover that he claims that “Darwinism” has no evidence, and that ID does, and will therefore win.

In addition to redefining the meaning of science, the intelligent design creationists apparently want to redefine evidence, too. Somehow, the fact that science demands material evidence — evidence that can by measured, repeated, analyzed, and integrated into theory — is a rule that means the kind of evidence that the DI wants to present is invalid. Which is true. We aren’t going to accept immaterial, supernatural claims as evidence, no matter how much Jonathan Wells whines that his Moonie fantasies ought to constitute legitimate support for his anti-science crusade.

Of course, Michael Egnor has to ramble vacuously in there. He’s a neurosurgeon, you know. It’s always the first thing he types. But then he makes the same empty claim as Wells.

But the evidence is unassailable. The most reasonable scientific explanation for functional biological complexity–the genetic code and the intricate nanotechnology inside living cells–is that they were designed by intelligent agency. There is no scientific evidence that unintelligent processes can create substantial new biological structures and function. There is no unintelligent process known to science that can generate codes and machines.

What evidence? All they do is wave their hands at the wonderful complexity that real scientists have discovered — which nobody denies — and repeat their mantra that natural processes can’t generate complexity, therefore God. But we know that natural, unguided processes are remarkably good at building elaborate innovations, and that chance can produce surprising novelties … and that natural selection acts to prune back the exuberance of random variation to a functional diversity. Their syllogism is false. One example: look at the nylonase enzyme, produced by a frameshift error. That’s a natural process, not design, and it produced new functionality.

John West repeats his bogus argument that Darwin was to blame for 20th century racism and mass murder.

Darwin waffled about following these ideas to their logical conclusion, but his followers were not so squeamish. The Darwinian rationale for eugenics was embraced by leading biologists at Harvard, Princeton and Columbia, as well as by leading European scientists, giving the movement the clear backing of the scientific community for decades and providing for justification of the forced sterilization of more than 60,000 people in the United States and the killing of more than 200,000 disabled persons in Nazi Germany.

Darwin did not “waffle”. He understood the sense of what people like Galton were proposing, that by protecting against selection by smallpox, for instance, we are allowing people with susceptibility to the disease to propagate, which would result in populations having a greater weakness to disease. That does not mean that he endorsed shutting down modern medicine, or any of the other institutions which support the poor or infirm. He had his own ideas about better ways to promote the common good.

The more efficient causes of progress seem to consist of a good education during youth whilst the brain is impressible, and of a high standard of excellence, inculcated by the ablest and best men, embodied in the laws, customs, and traditions of the nation, and enforced by public opinion. It should, however, be borne in mind, that the enforcement of public opinion depends on our appreciation of the approbation and disapprobation of others; and this appreciation is founded on our sympathy, which it can hardly be doubted was originally developed through Natural Selection as one of the most important elements on the social instincts.

It is also true that some few in the scientific community did endorse eugenics, and even that some scientists helped the Nazis. But it is a complete lie on the part of West that there was a “clear backing of the scientific community”: there were many vocal dissenters from the eugenics program, and eugenics as a whole was less the product of scientific consensus than a façade for the endemic racism of the population as a whole. Martin Luther was pushing his crude version of eugenics in the 16th century, after all.

Another clown in this show is Michael Flannery, someone I’ve never heard of before, who has apparently written a biography of Alfred Russel Wallace that I don’t think I need to read, if this is the quality of his history.

For one thing, Darwin’s own theory could hardly be called objectively scientific. Early influences on Darwin’s youth established his predisposition to materialism and a dogmatic methodological naturalism long before his voyage on the Beagle. In short, Darwin’s metaphysic compelled his science. Wallace, on the other hand, was a tireless investigator who increasingly discerned design in nature. Unlike Darwin, Wallace’s science compelled his metaphysics.

Say what? Darwin, trained to be a theologian, admirer of Paley, was philosophically predisposed to dogmatic materialism? That is a bit of a stretch, don’t you think?

But I think it’s part of the DI’s general strategy. Relying on real, physical evidence to make a case is to be declared anathema; True Scientists™ build their case on metaphysical imaginary supernatural “evidence”, like the creationist’s rationale for a god.

I think their new motto ought to be “Making Stuff Up for Jesus”. It’s all they’ve got.

Now why Forbes would willingly act as a mouthpiece for these shills is the real mystery — I‘ve written for Forbes before, and they usually seem sensible. But since they are implicitly endorsing the DI’s approach to evidence, I guess I actually don’t need to find out — I can just invent an explanation and it’s as good as any other. Therefore, I think somebody snuck into the editorial staff’s homes late at night and carried out involuntary lobotomies on everyone. And if you try to disagree with me, obviously you are an ideologue with an a priori commitment to the metaphysic of materialism.

Comments

  1. #1 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 6, 2009

    The mental after effects of the readership and employees of Forbes 401ks going collectively in the toilet has softened their skills at reasoning and detecting idiots which opened them to this dumbfuckery.

    It’s a natural progression.

  2. #2 Greg Peterson
    February 6, 2009

    Regarding Darwin being responsible for racism, interesting new book, “Darwin’s Sacred Cause: How a Hatred of Slavery Shaped Darwin’s Views on Human Evolution,” by Adrian Desmond and James Moore. Would it be possible, given that so many religious people used revelation to promote inequality and slavery, and science seems to have been trying to demonstrate the essential unity of the human species, to get people who blame Darwin for racism to STFU?

  3. #3 James F
    February 6, 2009

    So do these Forbes articles count as peer-reviewed intelligent design papers?

  4. #4 MPG
    February 6, 2009

    Urgh. It’s business as usual for the DI zeebs – there’s not a single new point there that hasn’t already been roundly eviscerated by people capable of reading and forming logical arguments. Shame on you, Forbes – you might as well have given an unchallenged platform for faith healers to decry modern medicine.

  5. #5 Loc
    February 6, 2009

    I know a girl who was a researcher for Forbes. I’ll inform her that she should take that position off of her resume.

  6. #6 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 6, 2009

    I don’t see whay a mainstream magazine like Forbes would do something like that. The whole thing has a bad smell. And no competing articles? Unless this was a comedy issue, something is off.

  7. #7 Glen Davidson
    February 6, 2009

    instead of being based on evidence they are based on the assumption that everything can be explained materialistically.

    No, lying dickhead, what you call “materialism” is simply the insistence upon evidence, which in our world has always had a “material” connection.

    So they failed in the theaters, and a magazine catering to business-folk whose livelihoods are dependent upon science, repeats their anti-science drivel.

    Screw you, Steve Forbes.

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

  8. #8 Blake Stacey
    February 6, 2009

    There’s no profit in telling the truth, I guess.

  9. #9 Endorq
    February 6, 2009

    Since this is the same mag that had a columnist describe all the reasons men shouldn’t marry career women (basically, she’ll be to busy to be his mommy) as if this were 1840, it doesn’t surprise me their idea of science would be likewise retro and useless.

  10. #10 Moses
    February 6, 2009

    You know some days I think we’re slouching back to the dark ages.

  11. #11 Reginald Selkirk
    February 6, 2009

    Craptastic! they’ve even got an article by Ken Ham!

  12. #12 RMB
    February 6, 2009

    Hurray, more people arguing for a return to the dark ages. I fail to understand why someone would want to throw up these godblocks (like a road block, only instead of some dude in a yellow construction hat telling you to turn around and go back it’s some god telling you).

    Is the scientific progress of humanity really that huge of a threat to these people?

  13. #13 Glen Davidson
    February 6, 2009

    For one thing, Darwin’s own theory could hardly be called objectively scientific. Early influences on Darwin’s youth established his predisposition to materialism and a dogmatic methodological naturalism long before his voyage on the Beagle.

    Note this:

    Discovery Institute Honors Charles Darwin With Academic Freedom Day

    Robert Crowther

    Discovery Institute today announced the launch of Academic Freedom Day in honor of Charles Darwin?s 200th birthday on February 12, 2009.

    “We?re celebrating Charles Darwin?s birthday by supporting what he supported: academic freedom,? said Robert Crowther, Director of Communications at Discovery Institute. ?Like Darwin, we recognize the importance of having an open and honest debate between evolution and intelligent design.?

    So they’re honoring Darwin because he believed in academic freedom (anyone whose read him knows this doesn’t mean endlessly debating failed bullshit), even as they’re blaming him for being a racist materialist.

    What’s amazing is not that they tell contradictory lies, but that they seem not even able to recognize how these contradictions affect people who are not wholly dishonest as they are.

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

  14. #14 James F
    February 6, 2009

    #11

    Just for Ken Ham:

    “There are people who believe that dinosaurs and men lived together. That they roamed the Earth at the same time. There are museums that children go to, in which they build dioramas to show them this. And what this is, purely and simply, is a clinical psychotic reaction. They are crazy. They are stone…cold…f***…nuts. I can’t be kind about this, because these people are watching The Flintstones as if it were a documentary.”

    -Lewis Black

  15. #15 'Tis Himself
    February 6, 2009

    Some years ago Forbes claimed that Fidel Castro had a net worth of $900 million. Castro’s response was that if he was worth that much then why didn’t he live a lavish life style? Castro also noted that he had no overseas bank accounts.

  16. #16 Ted H.
    February 6, 2009

    “Darwin’s metaphysic compelled his science.”

    My irony meter just broke again.

  17. #17 Lowell
    February 6, 2009

    Ken Ham rapes piglets.

  18. #18 Matt
    February 6, 2009

    While it is definitely pathetic of Forbes to have done such a thing, I can’t make myself feel too angry right now. I’m too damn happy after reading about nylonase enzymes. That’s some cool stuff there! It’s nice how even in posts about the dumbest people, I can learn something.

  19. #19 KI
    February 6, 2009

    As an unrepentant Marxist I find Forbes to be of the same value as the bible.

  20. #20 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 6, 2009

    Craptastic! they’ve even got an article by Ken Ham!

    /jawfloor

    I figure it was something like this in the collective brain of Forbes.

    Administrator:
    And what are your reasons for wanting a Little Brother?
    Homer’s brain:
    Don’t say revenge! Don’t say revenge!
    Homer:
    Uh, revenge?
    Homer’s brain:
    That’s it, I’m gettin’ outta here. [footsteps, and a door slam]

  21. #21 cedgray
    February 6, 2009

    Forbes also recently ran a pseudo-scientific article attempting to make themselves look all modern and Gladwell-y, in which they said that web designers are crap, and they could get a bunch of random people to do a better job. Crowd-sourcing, apparently, is better than years of training.

    http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2009/0216/062.html

    They must have a new Director of Woo or something.

  22. #22 Reginald Selkirk
    February 6, 2009

    More articles are showing up by the likes of Micahel Ruse and Lionel Tiger.

  23. #23 Glen Davidson
    February 6, 2009

    Early influences on Darwin’s youth established his predisposition to materialism and a dogmatic methodological naturalism long before his voyage on the Beagle.

    So why did he suggest that god may have made first life in Origin? Why did he say in the same book this:

    To my mind it accords better with what we know of the laws impressed on matter by the Creator, that the production and extinction of the past and present inhabitants of the world should have been due to secondary causes, like those determining the birth and death of the individual.

    No, it’s just a bald-faced lie from these pathetic bastards, who no longer can even differentiate between the truth and lies.

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

  24. #24 Rey Fox
    February 6, 2009

    You’d think these money-grubbing ultra-capitalists wouldn’t go for such airy-fairy nonsense. But then, I guess they have a flock to fleece.

    “I think their new motto ought to be “Making Stuff Up for Jesus”. It’s all they’ve got.”

    This.

  25. #25 marcus
    February 6, 2009

    A poem
    Optimism, by Jane Hirschfield
    More and more I have come to admire resilience.
    Not the simple resistance of a pillow,
    whose foam returns over and over to the same shape,
    but the sinuoustenacity of a tree:
    finding the light newly blocked on one side,
    it turns in another. A blind intelligence, true.
    But out of such persistence arose turtles, rivers,
    mitochondria, figs–
    all this resinous, unretractable earth.

  26. #26 spondee
    February 6, 2009

    That was a post with some teeth. Awesome.

    Off topic, but funny, my apologies if everyone’s seen this already…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_c6HsiixFS8&feature=PlayList&p=4B79BBAB8069B925&playnext=1&index=32

  27. #27 marcus
    February 6, 2009

    A poem
    Optimism, by Jane Hirschfield
    More and more I have come to admire resilience.
    Not the simple resistance of a pillow,
    whose foam returns over and over to the same shape,
    but the sinuous tenacity of a tree:
    finding the light newly blocked on one side,
    it turns in another. A blind intelligence, true.
    But out of such persistence arose turtles, rivers,
    mitochondria, figs–
    all this resinous, unretractable earth.

  28. #28 marcus
    February 6, 2009

    Sorry. Must’ve double-clicked

  29. #29 God Retardent
    February 6, 2009

    Beware Floridians,just read this at the Florida Citizens for Science blog.

    “That icon of intellectual idiocy Ken Ham will be holding a Answers in Genesis Conference in Winter Haven on February 20Th-22ND. Ken Ham is not only stubborn, but willfully ignorant. Consider that he?s just spent an enormous amount of money building a facility to proclaim his plainly wrong theories to potentially hundreds of thousands of gullible visitors a year, and we may also add ?irresponsible? to the list. This conference is sponsored by the Faith Baptise Church,who must be considered complicit in this attempt to persuade young minds that science and evolution are the enemy.

  30. #30 Jadehawk
    February 6, 2009

    What is it with the increasing intertwining of Big Business and science denial…?

    Can we please make a new law that says if you disparage science, you’re banned from using anything that was derived from science? That’ll shut them up real quick.

    *sigh*

  31. #31 Sastra
    February 6, 2009

    “Wallace, on the other hand, was a tireless investigator who increasingly discerned design in nature. Unlike Darwin, Wallace’s science compelled his metaphysics.”

    Right. And Wallace’s religious belief that man has an immaterial soul did not in any way guide how he studied spiritualism, or influence his ready acceptance of 19th century medium tricks involving trumpets and bells as genuine manifestations.

  32. #32 cactusren
    February 6, 2009

    Damn. This makes me wish I had a subscription to Forbes, just so I could cancel it and write them a letter explaining that they are losing my business because they are idiots.

  33. #33 abb3w
    February 6, 2009

    Conjectures:
    1) Forbes current editors are too dumb/ignorant to recognize crap science, perhaps partly due to how much crap science is passed off in economics.
    2) Forbes is aware their audience leans Republican, and is thus pandering to the Theocon component of the Republicans.
    3) Forbes has decided that it is to the benefit of corporate overlords to dumb down society’s masses to reduce the threat to their privileged place, and thus choose to spread Fundie propaganda, since the component of their readership who are and deserve to remain overlords are smart enough to see the propaganda for what it is.

    Any other suggestions? Anyone have any further data better supporting one over the others?

  34. #34 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 6, 2009

    Any other suggestions? Anyone have any further data better supporting one over the others?

    I’m sticking with the hypothesis they angered their brains, causing their gray matter to flee in disgust.

  35. #35 joeyess
    February 6, 2009

    Speaking of the Discovery Institute, anybody interested in going on a Dinosaur Hunt?

  36. #36 Glen Davidson
    February 6, 2009

    Here’s a bit of idiocy from Forbes that’s free online:

    Why Evolution Doesn’t Matter
    Matt Woolsey, 02.05.09, 06:00 PM EST
    Forget century-old debates. Biology should inspire technology for the future.

    Eiji Nakatsu loves watching birds, especially the way a kingfisher executes a splashless dive. In another lifetime he might have been an ornithologist, but in this one, he’s a bullet train engineer in Japan. One look at the Shinkansen he designed and you understand how these two things go together: The trains have long, flattened beaks at their front that seamlessly cut through the air at speeds up to 360 miles per hour

    It’s one example of biomimicry, the practice of modeling mechanical or technological systems after biological ones. Like architects who use self-cooling, helical termite nests as guides for energy-efficient buildings, or scientists who study the decentralized movements of fish and apply it to swarm-intelligence modeling in robotics, Nakatsu tapped into millions of years of applied research when he stuck a beak that shape on a Shinkansen train.

    Yahoo! BuzzThis emerging field redirects thinking about evolutionary biology toward a technology-driven, applications-based approach–one that emphasizes future function over historical development.

    To be sure, how the kingfisher’s bill reached its current state matters. But if we first concern ourselves with what this perfected adaptation teaches us about other fields, we enhance our understanding of biology as well as engineering, fluid dynamics and energy efficiency–instead of making a self-contained discovery.

    More important, a focus on biomimicry transcends the tired arguments between creationists and evolutionists. If God created the world, then applications-based research draws on his perfect design; if random mutations are to thank, then the engines of natural selection have sanded out inefficiencies over time. In either case, what matters is the innovation and discovery that follow.

    It’s a bit like the pragmatist’s argument on atheism. Mother Teresa’s belief in God compelled her to do good works, and Bertrand Russell’s belief in God’s absence pushed him to do the same. In practice, they have no point of disagreement.

    That’s not to say Charles Darwin is or isn’t right, only that when you examine a discovery made as a result of studying nature, it’s impossible to tell whether it arose as the result of belief in random mutation or intelligent design. In those moments, and for those advancements, the argument over evolution becomes completely unimportant.

    It’s unromantic, American even, to think about the pursuit of truth and science as a purely practical proposition. But to some, taxonomical and metaphysical questions are secondary to the creation of future value that directly affects the world we live in.

    Look at energy emissions, one of the planet’s greatest perils. Companies like Carbozyme are modeling carbon sequestration technology for factories based on the way human lungs remove carbon dioxide from our blood. Engineers at WhalePower, an energy company, study the physics of how whale flippers cut through fast-moving water to generate force and guide direction, knowledge they then apply to build more efficient wind turbines.

    In our endeavors to improve our use of energy and better understand our world, what matters is finding perfected systems from which to model greener, more imaginative technological solutions–not how those species became that way.

    http://www.forbes.com/2009/02/05/biomimicry-adaptation-evolution-opinions-darwin09_0205_matt_woolsey.html

    How utterly stupid. We most certainly can discover whether or not it is the result of “random mutation” (the writer forgot to include “natural selection,” let alone causes of evolution), and have been able to for 150 years.

    And it matters significantly whether or not it was designed or if it evolved. If we were to find a machine made by aliens, we’d have cause to believe that the materials were selected for that use out of a wide variety of materials, and that those materials are quite suited for that purpose. We do not know that with biological structures, for biology has only a limited number of materials to work with, and cannot always “pick and choose” even among those.

    That’s why we have hope of using biomimicry to actually make better materials than the biomaterials we’re copying, as designers are not nearly so limited in basic materials as evolution is.

    Beyond that, of course, we can rationally modify structures without limit, something that evolution can never do.

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

  37. #37 LostMarbles
    February 6, 2009

    I can’t find it in myself to get angry at the usual antics of the DI crowd. They’re irredeemable idiots, liars, or both. The more subtle and insidious stupid of Why Evolution Doesn’t Matter, however, is making me RAGE.

  38. #38 Glen Davidson
    February 6, 2009

    Beyond that, of course, we can rationally modify structures without limit

    There are, of course, limits to what we can do, but, by comparison, our designs are far more varied than life’s “designs” are.

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

  39. #39 PaulW
    February 6, 2009

    I’d love to see an article spelling out our side in next month’s issue. :)

  40. #40 brain
    February 6, 2009

    I like how focused they are on Darwin. As if all they have to do is discredit Darwin and over a century of study will disappear.

  41. #41 Alex
    February 6, 2009

    The DI’s repeated hijacking of the holocaust to discredit evolution is sickening. I think we need better history education as well as science. The holocaust is such an emotionally powerful thing that mass ignorance on the issue is dangerous – it’s a crank’s dream.

  42. #42 Nemo
    February 6, 2009

    It seems Forbes is joining the Republican party in trying to promote the idea that capitalism = christianity = creationism = jingoism. I must admit, I find it convenient to have all my intellectual enemies wrapped up in one package.

  43. #43 bobxxxx
    February 6, 2009

    Forbes has published a collection of pseudoscientific nonsense, giving free rein to the hacks and frauds of the Discovery Institute, along with a few other crackpots.

    What Forbes magazine did makes perfect sense. They know most of their customers are Republicans. They know most Republicans are god-soaked idiots. And they know god-soaked idiots would be interested in any pseudoscience that supports their magic fairy.

    Just like the cigarette companies who don’t care how many millions of people they kill, Forbes is only interested in making money. So if bullshit sells magazines, they will publish bullshit.

  44. #44 hje
    February 6, 2009

    If Forbes is publishing this crap, is there any wonder the economy is in the crapper?

    Forbes and the IDists do have one thing in common–the love of money. Creationism, the gayz, abortion are cash cows for the ev-fundies. This nonsense will never go away for the reason is that there will always being rubes willing to pay these charlatans for their pablum. Kind of like indulgences for the 21st century–buy Christian brand stuff and keep your soul out of hell.

  45. #45 trimtab
    February 6, 2009

    For those looking for a readable online version of the Wedge Document, look for an HTML version here:

    http://ncseweb.org/creationism/general/wedge-document

    and a high-resolution PDF scan of the original document here:

    http://ncseweb.org/webfm_send/747

  46. #46 Jadehawk
    February 6, 2009

    from the quote in #36:

    Look at energy emissions, one of the planet’s greatest perils.
    hmmm… and how do we know it’s it’s one of the planet’s greatest perils? Because there’s people out there who do science just for science’s sake. Applied science can only be applied to “known knowns” or even “known unknowns”, but science for the sake of science is needed to figure out the “unknown unknowns”*

    in a world of applied-science only, progress would stop sooner or later. probably sooner…

    *thanks to Rumsfeld for inventing these useful phrases. :-p

  47. #47 Jadehawk
    February 6, 2009

    well, that was an iteresting blockquote fail :-p

    from the quote in #36:

    Look at energy emissions, one of the planet’s greatest perils.

    hmmm… and how do we know it’s it’s one of the planet’s greatest perils? Because there’s people out there who do science just for science’s sake. Applied science can only be applied to “known knowns” or even “known unknowns”, but science for the sake of science is needed to figure out the “unknown unknowns”*

    in a world of applied-science only, progress would stop sooner or later. probably sooner…

    *thanks to Rumsfeld for inventing these useful phrases. :-p

  48. #48 JBlilie
    February 6, 2009

    There are plenty of fine rebuttal comments up now.

    What a large-sized earthenware vessel odiferous and water-vapor-generating fecal matter!

  49. #49 Lowell
    February 6, 2009

    Glen #36

    Thanks for that maddening bit of idiocy. I guess it’s good I learned that “energy emissions” are one of the planet’s greatest perils.

    “Energy emissions”? Really?

  50. #50 Dutchdoc
    February 6, 2009

    What do you expect from a magazine whose editor-in-chief supports prayer in public schools?

  51. #51 David Marjanovi?, OM
    February 6, 2009

    While it is definitely pathetic of Forbes to have done such a thing, I can’t make myself feel too angry right now. I’m too damn happy after reading about nylonase enzymes. That’s some cool stuff there! It’s nice how even in posts about the dumbest people, I can learn something.

    Let me just repeat that. A single-nucleotide insertion in a repetitive sequence producing nylonase is just too cool.

    Speaking of the Discovery Institute, anybody interested in going on a Dinosaur Hunt?

    Objective Ministries is a parody site. And pterosaurs are not dinosaurs.

  52. #52 bobxxxx
    February 6, 2009

    trimtab, Thanks for the link to the Discovery Institute’s Wedge Document: Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.

    I suggest the Discovery Institute should always be called the Christian Discovery Institute, because that’s what it is, a Christian organization with the exact same beliefs as Ken Ham’s Answers In Genesis.

  53. #53 James F
    February 6, 2009

    Here’s a little good news to lift your spirits a bit. The Mississippi textbook disclaimer sticker bill has died in committee.

  54. #54 marcus
    February 6, 2009

    Re: joeyess @#35 Speaking of the Discovery Institute, anybody interested in going on a Dinosaur Hunt? I wanna go!
    Wait, I have to hang out with a bunch of fanatic Xians?! Nevermind.
    Honestly how could anybody this day and age be that ignorant. I am astounded by the rank stupidity.

  55. #55 Colugo
    February 6, 2009

    I don’t care about West nor Egnor. But we should crucify our ancestors a little bit even as we celebrate them.

    PZ Myers: “eugenics as a whole was less the product of scientific consensus than a fašade for the endemic racism of the population as a whole.”

    But isn’t it also the case that beneficial and vindicated scientific ideas also partly arise from the cultural milieu in which scientists operate? Should just the good science that stands the test of time be designated real science, while crap and malign ideas are fobbed off on society as a whole? It’s all real science, since science is a human activity within a particular historical sociocultural context.

    Eugenics and scientists: Even the statement that during its heyday eugenics (broadly defined) enjoyed a plurality in the relevant scientific disciplines (genetics, medicine, developmental biology, bioanthropology) underestimates its popularity. (Even more so in the case of scientific racism.) Yes, there was a growing chorus against eugenics in the years leading up to WWII on theoretical grounds as biology, especially genetics, became more sophisticated. But at the time eugenics was regarded as normal science; simply applied human genetics.

    “even that some scientists helped the Nazis”

    If by “helped” we mean developed the framework of Nazi eugenic ideology, sure. For example, See Bauer, Lenz, and Fischer. By the way, these guys were highly respected in the international scientific community, including by colleagues at Wood’s Hole. B, L & F’s Human Heredity was translated into English and was a standard textbook.

    Despite the great accomplishments, the Victorian era to WWII is, sociologically speaking, also a shamefully ugly period for biology, in particular genetics and biological anthropology. (Thankfully we can be proud of Franz Boas in this regard.) Darwin’s own ideological foibles smell like a rose compared to many of his contemporaries and disciples. And for the most part the Christians of the time look just as rotten if not worse.

  56. #56 SteveL
    February 6, 2009

    Steve Forbes getting some street cred with the Palin crowd. He’s likely plotting a 2012/2016 primary campaign.

  57. #57 clinteas
    February 6, 2009

    There is all sorts of ID woo in this Forbes edition.
    Left a comment on the Ham article.

    All the commenters are pointing out what kooks the ID folks are,so there is some hope.Interesting to have such a congregation of ID bullshit in the one issue.Wonder whats going on there.

  58. #58 RamblinDude
    February 6, 2009

    I always have this sinking feeling that it?s going to get worse?quite a bit worse?before it gets better.

    At one time, biblical literalists dominated the landscape even more than now, but mainly they were just a lot of grumpy people muttering about how silly evolution was. Now, however, they are being unified by professional liars for jesus who have successfully convinced them that biologists (real scientists) are lying to them. Now they live ensconced in a world of endlessly circulating e-mails and websites and books and church seminars?and magazines?that endlessly repeat the same unbelievably stupid crap that these con artists spew (and much worse even), and this very large and gullible segment of the population doesn?t have even the bare modicum of science education or critical thinking skills to know how blatantly they are being deceived. (I know far too many people who have been lobotomized by religion to doubt this for a second.)

    As they become stupider with misinformation?and steep themselves in the violence of the bible?they are becoming increasingly angry and hostile toward science. And we already know what they think of atheists. They are being prepared for a holy war, and their banner is TRUTH and JESUS, which means whatever they want it to mean.

    I tend to be optimistic, but these are volatile times, and we must not underestimate the coordinated attack on science and rationality that these religious fanatics are capable of.

  59. #59 Newfie
    February 6, 2009

    It would be really nice for a biologist to infiltrate the Discovery Institute and document their agenda, methods, and financiers.

  60. #60 jpf
    February 6, 2009

    Objective Ministries is a parody site. And pterosaurs are not dinosaurs.

    Yeah, everyone knows that pterosaurs and dinosaurs were created by God as separate kinds.

    Anyway… Republicans, who make up the bulk of Forbes readers, have a hard time understanding just how laughable these creationists are, being largely informed of science through a filter of political correctness. Perhaps someone should point out to them that running these editorials would be like Liberal Monthly having a special issue on the economic crisis that featured only articles by Marxists and hippy commune dwellers. I mean, could you be more of an embarrassing stereotype?

  61. #61 daveau
    February 6, 2009

    Because of my job title, I got a free subscription to Forbes for a couple of years. I browsed 1 or 2 issues, but found that most of the articles leaned way to the right. Stuff like screw the environment, screw the workers, global warming hasn’t been proven; it was enough to make me sick, figuratively. I wound up giving it to a conservative coworker every month without reading.

    I’m not here to diss Forbes, but I never saw anything neutral or balanced from them. Everything in the magazine was geared toward making the case for big business and free market, etc. Can anyone reasonably argue that a pro-ID article does not fit in with their readership? After all, the primary goal of a publisher is to deliver a target market to advertisers. Or am I too cynical? Or both?

  62. #62 Lowell
    February 6, 2009

    Newfie,

    The DI seems to keep a pretty tight lid on things like its “agenda, methods, and financiers.”

    The Wikipedia entry has the most information on funding I’ve been able to find. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discovery_institute#Funding

    As you would expect, the funding seems to come largely from sources with an anti-evolution agenda. The Gates Foundation grant really pisses me off.

  63. #63 nuclear.kelly
    February 6, 2009

    Wow… Forbes published this nonsense? And I thought Fox News was bad.
    In response to Forbes, John West and anyone involved in the “Expelled” movie: http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/2005/2005-11.html . Why are the same arguments consistently used, when they are just as wrong now as they were a hundred years ago?

  64. #64 Newfie
    February 6, 2009

    As you would expect, the funding seems to come largely from sources with an anti-evolution agenda. The Gates Foundation grant really pisses me off.

    Damn, now I feel dirty for using Windows.

  65. #65 SteveL
    February 6, 2009

    #64:
    The Gates foundation grant seems to be tied to a project on regional transportation in the Pacific Northwest.

  66. #66 (No) Free Lunch
    February 6, 2009

    daveau -

    One thing that most of subscribers to the business press want is a reliable report about what they can expect. Fluff and nonsense may be entertainment (and Forbes seems to have been going after the People Magazine niche in the business press) but it doesn’t help make decisions. That is part of the reason that, for example, the Wall Street Journal ends up with fairly good reporting, even if they have complete idiots telling us silly things on the opinion pages.

    Forbes has been variable over the years. I used to read it completely, but appear to have let my subscription lapse because I didn’t bother looking at it any more. The articles didn’t matter. They don’t give us any news.

  67. #67 Sebastian
    February 6, 2009

    At first after reading PZ’s post I felt a bit outraged; Forbes should know better. But then I looked closer.

    PZ, in your post you failed to mention that these articles you bring to our attention are part of a Forbes “Special Report” on Darwin.

    See index of all Darwin-themed articles here:

    http://www.forbes.com/2009/02/05/darwin-evolution-debate-opinions-darwin09_0205_hana_alberts_land.html

    All of these articles seem to be in the “Opinion” section of Forbes, each article having its own guest author taking his/her perspective on a Darwin-related theme.

    All the articles you take issue with are in a group of articles titled “Struggles”, and the first article in the group is titled “The Debate Over Intelligent Design”.

    I have not looked at the other articles that are not in the “Struggles” section, but I would assume that they are fact-based and accurate.

    It seems as if Forbes is here simply “Teaching the Controversy”, giving evolutionary critics a chance to voice their concerns, within this wider collection of Darwin-themed articles.

    Taking all the above into account, what Forbes has done here does not seem so outrageous anymore. Yes, it is bad to spread disinformation with a twist of a distorted world view. But these are presented as opinion pieces, with each article standing on its’ own merits.

    From reading PZ’s post I first understood that Forbes promoted _only_ the creationist articles, which fortunately was not true.

  68. #68 Tom
    February 6, 2009

    Someone should tell Hitler to get with the ID program:

    Like a creationist, Hitler affirms that humans existed “from the very beginning”, and could not have evolved from apes:

    “From where do we get the right to believe, that from the very beginning Man was not what he is today? Looking at Nature tells us, that in the realm of plants and animals changes and developments happen. But nowhere inside a kind shows such a development as the breadth of the jump , as Man must supposedly have made, if he has developed from an ape-like state to what he is today.” – Adolf Hitler, Hitler’s Tabletalk (Tischgesprache im Fuhrerhauptquartier

  69. #69 (No) Free Lunch
    February 6, 2009

    Sebastian -

    Could you point to the columns that address the controversy, specifically the lies of the intelligent design creationists? Where was someone given the task of showing how completely dishonest and evidence-free the claims of the Discovery Institute, ICR, CRS and Answers in Genesis are?

    Finally, when did Forbes give Castro a column to critique capitalism?

  70. #70 Jadehawk
    February 6, 2009

    sebastian, “teach the controversy” IS the problem. for one, there isn’t one. two, this is a country where opinion is taken more seriously than fact (when Bill O’ says that Swedes have astronomical suicide rates because they’re godless, then he must be right! and screw statistics that say otherwise…), so opinion pieces are a sneaky way to include politically motivated pieces of bullshit without being responsible for them.

  71. #71 Lowell
    February 6, 2009

    SteveL #65,

    Yeah, I know the Gates Foundation grant is supposed to be used for the regional transportation project, but (1) at least part of it goes to pay Bruce Chapman’s salary and (2) these people are completely untrustworthy.

  72. #72 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 6, 2009

    It seems as if Forbes is here simply “Teaching the Controversy”, giving evolutionary critics a chance to voice their concerns, within this wider collection of Darwin-themed articles.

    Wrong, it is promoting the manufactroversy.

  73. #73 'Tis Himself
    February 6, 2009

    Finally, when did Forbes give Castro a column to critique capitalism?

    There are other news outlets besides Forbes. Perhaps Castro availed himself of one of those.

  74. #74 SplendidMonkey
    February 6, 2009

    Sebastian might mean this one (for example) – http://www.forbes.com/2009/02/05/intelligent-design-evolution-creation-opinions-darwin09_0205_kathryn_tabb.html

    So far, however, intelligent design has maintained a purely negative agenda, seeking to disprove science’s ability to answer questions instead of offering new approaches within the naturalist framework.

  75. #75 Flip van Tiel
    February 6, 2009

    The most plausible explanation I can come up with is that DI made a rescue package available to Forbes. In other words: What if Forbes were paid a half a million bucks (or any other negotiable amount that would pay for the required number of pages) by DI for the revelations of their VIPS. Wouldn’t that make this issue a timely Darwin-year advertisement for the ID cult? One that beautifully fits the Wedge strategy and financially supports Forbes in these difficult times. A remarkably Intelligent Design, methinks.

  76. #76 strangest brew
    February 6, 2009

    *17

    ‘Ken Ham rapes piglets.’

    Or more likely the progeny of a raped piglet!

    *53

    “the bill’s sponsor, Gary Chism (R-District 37), was candid about his motivations, explaining, “Either you believe in the Genesis story, or you believe that a fish walked on the ground,”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mudskipper

  77. #77 MIKE
    February 6, 2009

    Who was it who said if you can’t explain something simply you don’t really understand it? It was Twain, right?

    Just a quick potshot at Michael Flannery before work.

  78. #78 Lowell
    February 6, 2009

    “Either you believe in the Genesis story, or you believe that a fish walked on the ground,”

    Epic Lemon Test Fail. Thank god stupidity is usually coextensive with a creationst agenda.

  79. #79 thermobryan
    February 6, 2009

    What a joke!

    Check out my blog! religious crime of the day!

    http://relcotd.blogspot.com/

  80. #80 (No) Free Lunch
    February 6, 2009

    What if Forbes were paid a half a million bucks (or any other negotiable amount that would pay for the required number of pages) by DI for the revelations of their VIPS. Wouldn’t that make this issue a timely Darwin-year advertisement for the ID cult?

    Then we could be sure that we cannot rely on anything that Forbes writes in the future about business.

  81. #81 Patricia, OM
    February 6, 2009

    thermobryan – I tried to leave a comment on your new blog to congratulate you. Unfortunately I failed the ‘Complete Idiot’s Class on Filling Out Comment Boxes’, so congrats here!

  82. #82 Marcus Ranum
    February 6, 2009

    They’re irredeemable idiots, liars, or both.

    Irreducibly Stupid?

  83. #83 Lowell
    February 6, 2009

    Or are they Irresistibly Stupid?

  84. #84 cpsmith
    February 6, 2009

    As a student of both biochemistry and philosophy I must say that I find these posts so distressing. Not only are the cdesign preponentists butchering the science, but they can’t seem to help themselves from taking a stab at moral philosophy and mangling that as well! What have I ever done to you people?! Why must you sully all that I love?! Whyyyy?!!!! *shakes fist in the general direction of the Discovery Institute*

  85. #85 Pyrrhonic
    February 6, 2009

    re: Jonathan Wells, neurosurgeon

    Here’s a general question: can Wells reasonably be called a scientist? Does a neurosurgeon do scientific work?

    I ask, because it strikes me as mendacious for any normal physician, most medical doctors, to call themselves scientists. Sure, they took scientific courses in college and medical school, and they may have done some research in their life, but they do not do properly scientific work.

    In German, there is a separate word for “medical doctor” Arzt, and in order to be “Doktor” one must complete a dissertation. Of course, even after the dissertation, many of these “medical doctors” do not continue to do research.

    Isn’t it, then, misleading for someone like Wells to draw attention to his/her credentials as a “medical doctor” when, in fact, those credentials are not scientific?

    What would a neurosurgeon know about evolution anyway? Clearly not enough.

  86. #86 Glen Davidson
    February 6, 2009

    Pyrrhonic, Egnor is the neurosurgeon, and, quite right, he knows virtually nothing about evolution.

    Wells got a Ph.D in biology, studying evolution. Unfortunately, he only did so to please Father Moon, so he writes painfully stupid creationist canards despite once showing that he’s intelligent enough to know better. But Moon can’t tell all the lies, so Wells is paid to tell some of them.

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

  87. #87 Lowell
    February 6, 2009

    Pyrrhonic,

    Just to clarify, I think you meant to refer to Michael Egnor. He’s the neurosurgeon/buttwipe.

    Wells isn’t a medical doctor, to the best of my knowledge.

  88. #88 Pierce R. Butler
    February 6, 2009

    I dunno where our host found that Darwin quote, but shouldn’t it conclude

    … one of the most important elements of the social instincts.

    ?

  89. #89 bobxxxx
    February 6, 2009

    The Christian Discovery Institute loves Forbes Magazine.

  90. #90 CoachO
    February 6, 2009

    Please explain if Darwin was not a racist,why he never publicly denounced his close friend Huxley (see quote below). May it be known that it was the work of Christians John Newton and William Wilberforce that worked and succeeded in ending slavery in England. Darwin though maybe was against slavery, he never testified anywhere or worked to get it done that I am aware of– are you?

    While Darwin may have maintained an outward concern for social justice, Thomas Henry Huxley, a close personal friend of Darwin?s and an indefatigable champion of evolution (who frequently referred to himself as ?Darwin?s Bulldog?) observed:

    No rational man, cognizant of the facts, believes that the average Negro is the equal, still less the superior, of the white man. And if this be true, it is simply incredible that, when all his disabilities are removed, and our prognathus relative has a fair field and no favour, as well as no oppressor, he will be able to compete successfully with his bigger-brained and smaller jawed rival, in a contest which is to be carried out on by thoughts and not by bites (1871, p. 20).

    The point is obvious: if man evolved, then so did the various races. But more than that, Darwin and Huxley argued further that the ?caucasian? race was farther along in the evolutionary process, and thus superior to all the other races.

  91. #91 Mu
    February 6, 2009

    Forbes is just playing to the part of the crowd who is still actually reading paper news. And that’s where the money (still) is for them, I doubt they get $2 for every person who looks at their website.

  92. #92 Janine, Ignorant Slut
    February 6, 2009

    A friend of Darwin was a racist, therefore evolution is both bad and false.

    CoachO, no one is saying that Darwin was not racist. They are saying he was more enlightened than were the standards of his times.

  93. #93 Matt
    February 6, 2009

    CoachO

    No one is claiming Darwin was some kind of amazing activist. We do know from his writing, however, that he did not hold many of the despicable racial ideologies of his contemporaries. Was he outspoken or brave about it? No.

    But then again, this is the same person who waited for twenty years to publish the most earth shattering conclusion science had yet provided about humans. Are you really that surprised that he wasn’t outspoken and brash? No one is claiming he was. We are merely claiming he was mostly correct, and wasn’t quite as obnoxious as the general populace in his day.

    Oh, and even if he were, his theory would still be correct.

  94. #94 bobxxxx
    February 6, 2009

    Please explain if Darwin was not a racist,why he never publicly denounced his close friend Huxley (see quote below).

    Most definitely Darwin was strongly against slavery at the same time American Christians were using the Bible to justify slavery. But even if Darwin was an axe murderer who ate babies for breakfast, that wouldn’t make his Natural Selection idea any less brilliant and correct.

  95. #95 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 6, 2009

    CoachO, are you CoachOlsen?

  96. #96 Michael Goff
    February 6, 2009

    I’m just simply glad this bit of pseudo scientific offal has been exposed yet again.

    While it infiltrates our schools, and our intelligence, there are people like P.Z. who pay close enough attention to catch them and SMASH THEIR CRACKERS!

    It could be your kid next who reads Forbes and believes that tripe.

  97. #97 CJO
    February 6, 2009

    What’s your point, Coach? Here’s The Great Emancipator, in a 1858 speech:

    I am not now, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social or political equality of the white and black races. I am not now nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor of intermarriages with white people. There is a physical difference between the white and the black races which will forever forbid the two races living together on social or political equality. There must be a position of superior and inferior, and I am in favor of assigning the superior position to the white man.

    19th century attitudes toward race were pretty messed up, I think we can all agree. Darwin and Huxley’s teleological image of evolution as a progressive process was equally off-base. But one of the strengths of science is that we need not be beholden to the backwards and discredited beliefs of our forebears, unlike some, let’s say, less secular traditions one might name.

  98. #98 Libbie
    February 6, 2009

    Listen. I know I’m preaching to the choir here, and undoubtedly somebody has already mentioned this in these comments. But if something as complex as DNA absolutely HAD to have been designed by “an intelligent agency,” then the intelligent agency is surely more complex. What designed it?

    I know; infinite regress, blah blah. All of us here at Pharyngula understand why DI is crackpotism. But I just had to get that out of my system. I HATE that stupid, stupid argument. It’s so lame. Even when I was religious I never used it because I knew how shallow and stupid it was, and how quickly one reached the regress.

    And now I must shower. I have turkey vulture vomit on my arm.

  99. #99 Michael Goff
    February 6, 2009

    I just have to add this as an argument against ID.

    I have personally watched a mother cat EAT the weakest kitten.

    DONE

  100. #100 Paliban Mom
    February 6, 2009

    Darwin was trained as a theologist, and was swayed away from the Bible by depraved sailors on the Beagle. Who knows what revolting means they used to turn his head from God!

    The fact that he didn’t “speak up against slavery” means that he accepted what the Bible says . . . which does in fact condone slavery (Old and New Testaments, so don’t try that “but that’s just the Old Testament!” nonsense).

    He also appears to have been an “average man of his times” in his views on race relations. By today’s standards, he’d be a bigot; by the times, not so much.

    Context, people!

  101. #101 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 6, 2009

    Context, people!

    Oh yeah, the scientific community puts things in context. The religidiots, on the other hand…

  102. #102 Alec
    February 6, 2009

    As an antidote to Egnorance, take a look at the recent special issue of Evolutionary Applications, devoted to evolutionary medicine and with open access until the end of 2009:
    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/119423602/home

  103. #103 Lynna
    February 6, 2009

    To Ramblin’ Dude at #58
    You said it very well. I agree. It’s not fear-mongering to state the facts. I live in the heart of Mormon Country and they can be very coercive indeed. They’re organized like a military organization and highly effective when they decide to take on a political issue. They are actively anti-intellectual, anti-science (though they would say anti-materialistic), and funded in part by our having given them a tax-free status. If you live where I live, you can feel the power.

  104. #104 extatyzoma
    February 6, 2009

    “Early influences on Darwin’s youth established his predisposition to materialism and a dogmatic methodological naturalism long before his voyage on the Beagle”

    i suppose the ID’ers say things like this as the long words confuse creosheep and make them (creosheep) think that the ID’ers know what they are talking about.

    the fact that the ‘ID speak’ is so obviously contrived that they simply have to know they are being dishonest ie lying for jeezus.

  105. #105 extatyzoma
    February 6, 2009

    it must be funny listening to the DI during meetings, theres no science of course, its all about figuring out the next strategy to uproot science, at the moment is something about mentioning ‘methodological naturalism’ as a ‘dogma’, oh and all those ‘assumptions’ i wonder if they will ever bring in the word ‘juxtaposition’?

  106. #106 SteveL
    February 6, 2009

    #99:
    Ugh. It was probably just the placenta.

  107. #107 Matt L
    February 6, 2009

    Can’t these idiots read? You don’t have to read much of Darwin’s work to see he was opposed to any type of slavery and racism. Once again people show their ignorance by thinking “survival of the fittest” was coined by Darwin and that ” On Origin of the Species” hasn’t a mention of the human species.

    I hope for free, logical minded thinking and the ability to actually read material before you criticize it.

  108. #108 Kaleberg
    February 6, 2009

    Have you looked at the economics coverage in Forbes? They have the same attitude towards evidence. I’m not the least bit surprised.

  109. #109 psychman
    February 6, 2009

    To Lowell (#17)

    I never, ever thought I would find a way to use this quote in general conversation, but you have provided me with an opportunity. Many thanks!

    “Dude, you can’t say pigfucker in front of Jesus” – Original South Park pilot

  110. #110 Richard Simons
    February 6, 2009

    Darwin did speak up against slavery. When he disagreed about it with FitzRoy, for example, he was thrown out of the cabin they shared. BTW, in the list of anti-slavery campaigners, CoachO forgot to mention Darwin’s uncle, Josiah Wedgwood.

    Regardless, it has nothing to do with whether the theory of evolution is the best explanation we have (which it clearly is).

  111. #111 natural cynic
    February 6, 2009

    Is Steve’s daddy, Malcolm, spinning in his grave? Malcolm was often an iconoclastic, intellectual and kind of a fun-guy for a capitalist pig. Steve is just a pig.

  112. #112 JOlo
    February 6, 2009

    As a Canadian and from a country that currently teaches evolution still, I hope you are all practising the phrase “I, for one, welcome our new Canadian Overlords.”

  113. #113 Lowell
    February 7, 2009

    Psychman #109,

    I’m glad I could set you up–and I will go find the original pilot now, ’cause that’s pretty fucking funny–but the piglet-raping thing was P.Z.’s (if I recall correctly): http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/02/ken_hams_new_book.php

  114. #114 SteveL
    February 7, 2009

    Chuckle-worthy quote from Sensuous Curmudgeon:

    The inclusion of even one creationist author in a report on Charles Darwin and Evolution is like including an article by Jeffrey Dahmer in a collection of nutrition articles.

  115. #115 Walton
    February 7, 2009

    Nemo: It seems Forbes is joining the Republican party in trying to promote the idea that capitalism = christianity = creationism = jingoism. I must admit, I find it convenient to have all my intellectual enemies wrapped up in one package.

    See, this – on both sides – is exactly the kind of bullshit I hate.

    Over time, I’ve become a non-religious deist; I reject Christian fundamentalism, creationism and superstition; and I think jingoism can be highly destructive. Yet I also understand that socialism and “social democracy” don’t work and are fundamentally destructive of freedom, and I believe in small, limited government and a free market.

    I’m fed up with this simplistic left-right “culture war” dichotomy, where you have “secular liberal progressives” on the one hand and “Christian conservatives” on the other. It’s bullshit. Some of us are secular, liberal (in the real, classical sense, not the modern socialistic sense) and believe in REAL progress, i.e. the fantastic innovation, wealth creation and standard of living generated by consumer capitalism.

    Unfortunately, libertarianism isn’t an attractive philosophy to the vast majority of the population who don’t understand economics. And since there are so many special vested interests, of left and right alike, who want the coercive power of government to be used for their benefit, a truly libertarian political movement will never gain power in practice. This is why we have to make alliance with the “traditional” (wingnut) conservatives. But that doesn’t mean we like them, or that we share their reactiomnary views.

  116. #116 Nec_V20
    February 7, 2009

    PZ you got the slant on Eugenics as suggested by Galton somewhat wrong.

    Basically what Galton was basically suggesting was applying animal husbandry to humans.

    As a for instance, if you wanted to breed for longevity, then you would try to have humans who are say 20 years old and still have all of their parents grand-parents AND great-grandparents alive to breed together. Of course such a thing would take generations or rather thousands of years to perhaps show any results with regard to the increased life-span of the selected human population.

    Now when Eugenics started in the US they took Galton’s idea and turned it on its head. So instead of identifying a trait and trying to breed that trait into future generations; American Eugenicists decided that they wanted to eliminate identified traits perceived as negative in the existing population and eliminate the bearers of those traits SO THAT THEY COULD NOT BREED.

    In the case stated above it would be like taking everyone who was 20 years old and who had no living parents or grandparents and sterilizing or killing them.

    A very good book on the subject is “War against the Weak” by Edwin Black.

  117. #117 M. Bearden
    February 7, 2009

    Here’s a tiny bit of amateur “socilolinguistic musing” from an outsider stumbling on this blog, and reading this article and its responses, regarding a bit of interesting irony. Here, various posters appear intent on persuading readers of a certain position, which I suggest *might* be undermined by the very means of expression. (Do you have any thoughts on this?)

    Observing the highly emotional pitch of almost every paragraph written on this blog on this topic, I decided to compile below a lexicon of “slime you” words and phrases that permeate the original post about Forbes’ articles, and several of its responses. Doing so highlights a potential irony in the use of such non-subjectivity (if ranting and name-calling can be considered non-subjective) on a topic that is all about what constitutes objective analysis of the world around us. Here, the “we are the objective ones” crowd is demonstrating frequent use of non-objective derogatory speech. Does this undermine any arguments put forward in this blog post or its repsonses?

    I guess this blog is a rather closed community, which tends to ratchet up the volume of the angry shouting (“preaching to the choir” and “outshouting each other” effect)? Or I wonder would the individual writers here feel any shame at “stamping their feet and gnashing their teeth” like this in a public civil forum?”

    The list of terms below is taken from the blog article and responses above, all in reference to the “terrible folk we disagree with” and/or their writings. A few of these terms are used repeatedly.

    pathetic bastards
    vile
    contemptible charlatans
    crackpots
    lying dickhead
    rancid
    dumbfuckery
    f*** nuts
    bitter
    [lobotomized]
    shills
    zeebs
    professional liars
    irredeemable idiots
    nasty
    [raper of pigs]
    wingnut
    bogus
    dumbest people
    [propagandists]
    idiots
    anti-intellectual
    dogmatic
    drivel
    retro
    fluff
    nonsense
    useless

    Any “objective” thoughts on these questions:

    Does this kind of language work against the posters making a persuasive argument?

    Or is the emotion expressed here simply to be expected of any rational reader, so that this analysis of the irony is an unimportant distracting detail? Having nothing to do with the point, one might say?

    Or are the posters not even trying to make persuasive arguments, but simply “high fiving” others who share their own sense of anger or outrage, and who enjoy calling their “common enemies” names?

  118. #118 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 7, 2009

    M. Bearden, yes the tone gets ratcheted up when the discussion moves to Intelligent Design.

    You can not ignore the history of this topic and the demonstratable dishonesty of those people listed in the articles above.

    It is that dishonesty that brings out the emotional responses. Additionally, this has been shown over and over and over again and these very same actors continue to peddle their dishonest pseudo-science as legitimate work.

    At some point it just gets tiring exposing them again and again and we just decide to point and laugh. Or in many cases, point and scream.

    Here’s a question for you.

    Can you show that these responses are unwarranted?

  119. #119 CosmicTeapot
    February 7, 2009

    Joey @35

    From your link is one to the Apatosaur hunt of 2002, here:

    http://objectiveministries.org/creation/dinoexpedition.html

    Scroll to the bottom to see a photograph of a real, live dinasour.

    Who knew the Apatosaur had a trunk!

  120. #120 coachO
    February 7, 2009

    Yes M. Bearden — I think some writers on this blog have have mistaken a blog for the Jerry Springer show. They think by being crude,vulgar and swearing that their arguments are somehow more powerful. In fact, they diminish their arguments and reveal that they could are locked in some computer lab and don’t have much contact with real people. What a fun bunch!

  121. #121 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 7, 2009

    CoachO, are you Coach Olse(o)n who posted here a few months ago?

  122. #122 Tilsim
    February 7, 2009

    ‘professional liar’ and ‘anti-intellectual’ are not invectives. They aren’t even witty. They consist of well known words and are as dryly descriptive as ‘professional athlete’ or ‘anti-freeze’.

  123. #123 Lowell
    February 7, 2009

    M. Bearden #117

    [raper of pigs]

    No, no. It’s piglets that Ken Ham rapes. Not adult pigs. They’re too fast for him.

  124. #124 PZ Myers
    February 7, 2009

    Mr Bearden seems to have neglected a possibility: that the other side of the argument does consist of “pathetic bastards” who are peddling “nonsense”. This is where the Big Lie gets so successful, because we can have people spouting colossal fat stupid lies, and when anyone states the obvious, they can trust on a Bearden to stroll by and say, “Oh, my, goodness gracious! Only bad people would accuse someone of lying!”

  125. #125 Citizen Z
    February 7, 2009

    To be fair, there is some unfortunate means of expressions used by the other side, as well, some of it going many decades back.

    Take for example, this letter from a prominent creationist. I decided to compile below a lexicon of “slime you” words and phrases that permeate the original letter, and several related works.

    for filthy lucre’s sake
    even their mind and conscience is defiled
    unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision
    abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
    Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.
    generation of vipers
    Vengeance belongeth unto me
    friendship of the world is enmity with God
    the whole world lieth in wickedness
    Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

    The list of terms above is taken from the letter and related writings, all in reference to the “terrible folk we disagree with” and/or their writings. A few of these terms are used repeatedly.
    Horrible, frequent use of non-objective derogatory speech. In fact, one of the most prominent members of that group at one point invaded a place of worship, overturning tables and calling legitimate businessmen “theives” and “bandits”. I wonder if he felt any shame.

  126. #126 M. Bearden
    February 7, 2009

    Thanks for the thoughtful responses to earlier post (#117, on bashy-trashy talk). If you found my earlier post annoying, you may want to just skip this follow-up.

    Mea culpa: I can see why my context-free, i.e. uninformed, commentary might annoy you; if so, I thank you for your patience. And I do realize I’m squaring the level of geek here by “analyzing” these posts that aren’t meant by their posters to be taken that seriously.

    Brief responses to responses:

    [from Rev.BigDumbChimp, post #118]
    > Can you show that these responses are unwarranted?

    Nope. They could be, really, from a valid viewpoint that I can’t happen to easily access as someone who isn’t fully engaged in this blog community. (But as you can see, I’m fascinated by what I’ve run across here.) I’ll agree that there are things that justify “moral indignation” (if that’s what you want to call it), and it’s also frustrating to see what you consider bad arguments being sytematically broadcast by someone who won’t shut up. So I’m sympathetic to posters being irritated. But it seems to me unhelpful and undisciplined (uh-oh, I verge on name-calling there?) to spew nast names in forums like this. I say that because because it COULD be just angry name-calling without justification…Or it might be “warranted” name-calling. But how can a non-participant in this PUBLIC blog community judge that? This forum is not a place for in-depth, rigorous debate or argumentation. It looks like mostly light, brief comments–which appear on this evolution topic to consist 75% of trash-talk directed at “them” (even paranoiac…those of THE “Big Lie”?). I guess for those who are regular readers/posters and have more of a context, it might be clear whether this seems justified. But anyone who does the trash-talk risks being taken for “an angry man” or even worse, someone who prefers yelling to arguing.

    (Imagine…what if the forum posters engaged in point-by-point refustation of false claims? And if the claims were so obviously false that they don’t justify refutation, then why even bother to post anything at all?)

    [Tilsim, Post #122]
    > ‘professional liar’ and ‘anti-intellectual’ are not
    > invectives. They aren’t even witty. They consist
    > of well known words and are as dryly descriptive…

    I’ll challenge that. When you can reference a specific statement and say “THAT is a lie (and here’s why so)”, that might be “dryly descriptive”. Moving on to call someone “a liar” when you can reference several such falsehoods could be justified, but it begins to smack of ad hominem. To call someone a liar, or entire groups of people, apart from any reference to specific, careful [even respectful] refutation of particular claims does look like personal invective to me. Now as Rev.BigDumbChimp, suggested, you can maintain that “those people” are so bad they deserve the invective, and everyone ought to join in. But as I said above, if you make such statements in public, a lot of people may hear/read them don’t know enough to join in your judgment, and may justifiably judge you badly as a result.

    [PZ Meyers, Post #124]
    > Mr Bearden seems to have neglected a possibility:
    > that the other side of the argument does consist
    > of “pathetic bastards” who are peddling “nonsense”.

    Mr. Meyers wasn’t interested at all in my thoughts, I can see. ;-) Carry on with the name-calling then!

    Here’s encouragement to civility and lively debate! It IS hard work, unfortunately, to calmly clarify and debate things that involve complex issues of science, philosophy, religion, and all the multivarious attitudes people can hold regarding those fields of study.

  127. #127 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 7, 2009

    M. Berden, thank you for your concern. I will be duly noted and ignored.

  128. #128 M. Bearden
    February 7, 2009

    Oops, I had missed [Citizen Z's] creative response above. I’m sure he didn’t intend to equate the opinions stated on this blog to religious dogma, just to point out that “spirited talk” is quite common? Point made.

  129. #129 Patricia, OM
    February 7, 2009

    Ol’ Bearden’s got a crush on you Chimpy.

  130. #130 Sven DIMilo
    February 7, 2009

    I’ll tell you what I’m concerned about. I’m concerned that the art of concern-trolling has just been kicked up a notch, and that future concern trolls will not be able to resist the challenge of keeping up with the Joneses, where by “Joneses,” I mean “M. Bearden,” and by “keeping up,” I mean “matching or attempting to exceed Bearden’s level of sincerity, bonhomie, grip-strength of pearl-clutching, and logorhea.”

  131. #131 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 7, 2009

    Should Mrs. BigDumbChimp be worried?

    M. bearden. This is a blog for both informative and entertainment purposes. It is not a laboratory or a classroom. Neither is it a peer review group.

    I get a kick out of people letting off steam, as do many of the posters here.

    It is a great place for that. I doubt you’d find many of us voicing the same types of invectives in our professional life.

    If someone who is a creationist comes here and argues in good faith, then they will be treated respectfully (by most, I admit I know of a few who would not). The problem is there are so very few who do come here to discuss or argue in good faith. A combination of outright dishonesty, ignoring evidence presented to them and obfuscation of existing research is by a large margin the norm.

    (Imagine…what if the forum posters engaged in point-by-point refustation of false claims? And if the claims were so obviously false that they don’t justify refutation, then why even bother to post anything at all?)

    You either are new here or you are ignoring the thousands of times that this has been done in the past. The point by point refutation of ID and creationism has been honed to a razors edge on this blog. The problem comes in that the creationist ID folks tend to get into the vicious circle that i listed above. “A combination of outright dishonesty, ignoring evidence presented to them and obfuscation of existing research” rinse and repeat. So the fact that we have been through this over and over with the same people on the same topics brings many of us to the point of just calling a spade a spade.

    To call someone a liar, or entire groups of people, apart from any reference to specific, careful [even respectful] refutation of particular claims does look like personal invective to me.

    Once again, specific refutation has been done ad naseum.

    Now as Rev.BigDumbChimp, suggested, you can maintain that “those people” are so bad they deserve the invective, and everyone ought to join in.

    Now you are conveniently omitting the reason I gave for it. If you show “those people” they are wrong once and they come back with the same info and tactics you can be nice and remind them point by point they are wrong. When they come back hundreds of times it frays the fiber of our patience. It is not I who is being a disrespectful ass it is them continuing to assert the same foolish points that have been destroyed over and over ignoring all the evidence presented to them.

    But as I said above, if you make such statements in public, a lot of people may hear/read them don’t know enough to join in your judgment, and may justifiably judge you badly as a result.

    Frankly, if those people chose not to do the research and to see that the attitude is a response to the actions of the creationists, I’m not sure there’s much I can do nor do I really care.

    The proof is in the pudding. All one has to do is take a bite. Staring at the bowl from afar does no good.

  132. #132 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 7, 2009

    Mr. Meyers wasn’t interested at all in my thoughts, I can see. ;-) Carry on with the name-calling then!

    Who is this Mr. Meyers you speak of?

  133. #133 Janine, Ignorant Slut
    February 7, 2009

    Oh so concerned about decorum yet M. Bearden yet cannot get names right.

    Mr. Meyers wasn’t interested at all in my thoughts, I can see. ;-) Carry on with the name-calling then!

    By the way, M. Bearden does not have a horse in this race until he has anything of substance one way or the other.

  134. #134 'Tis Himself
    February 7, 2009

    M. Bearden,

    PZ’s point seems to have gone completely over your head.

    First, PZ described the creationist/ID group as “pathetic bastards” who are peddling “nonsense.” Of those three words, the only one that could be argued is “bastards.” A charge of bastardy has not been legally proven to my knowledge against any creationist or IDer. However, creationism/ID has been shown, over and over again, to be nonsense. To describe the holders of the creationist/ID nonsense as pathetic isn’t even hyperbolic.

    But it’s more telling that you ignored the rest of PZ’s post.

    This is where the Big Lie gets so successful, because we can have people spouting colossal fat stupid lies, and when anyone states the obvious, they can trust on a Bearden to stroll by and say, “Oh, my, goodness gracious! Only bad people would accuse someone of lying!”

    When a group of people have been shown to constantly lie about their position, calling them liars is not wrong or evil or uncalled for. The creationist/ID crowd consistently lie about their hated bugaboo, evolution. Even after these lies have been exposed time and time again, they still repeat the lies and pretend that they haven’t been refuted.

    Often creationists come to this blog and spout their nonsense. However their nonsense is never new. “Oh, look at this one, he’s using version c of the ‘evolution violates thermodynamics’ argument. No, wait, he’s off on a Gish Gallop now. I’ll deal with the half-truths and lies, you handle with straw men, and we’ll let everyone else answer the general bullshit.”

  135. #135 M. Bearden
    February 7, 2009

    I appreciate the trouble several of you took to respond to my off-topic post (#117). WIth apologies, I feel compelled to offer a final word, then I promise no more.

    You might be interested to know that I now think my comments earlier were not all that appropriate, now that I’ve gone back and taken a closer look at this blogging site. I stumbled across this site, you might be intersted, by following a link from here:

    http://2008.weblogawards.org/polls/best-science-blog/

    Congratulations for getting one of the top science-blog voting scores. I jumped to your site from there and just started reading recent blog posts, thinking blindly of the site as a general science blog. I didn’t pause to look closely at the main blog page, which declares the blog to be [apparently, do I misundestand?] a mainly one-guy operation [the one PZ Myers] on “Evolution, development, and random biological ejaculations from a godless liberal”.

    So this isn’t quite the “public” forum I took it to be. I have now decided it’s a focused site for likeminded activist types, and given that understanding, the “anger” I immediately was taken aback by seems more understandable.

    I respect and support your right to maintain any kind of blog community you choose, and will just leave you with the comment that [especially due to your 2nd place "science blog award"] you might have visitors dropping by here, like me, and having a similar reaction to the [mis?]conception that this is a general public blog dealing with science, in general.

    So if I came across as preachy (and it sures look like I did), I apologize for ruffling feathers. I enjoyed reading the various responses to my post, even the ones calling me names. I got a chuckle out of that, and hope others will too.

    I’ll bookmark this site to re-visit sometime and catch up on the “attitude” from the “godless liberal” science activist corner of the world. I figure if anyone has actually read this last post, then it may have been worth writing it. Closing thought: Don’t get TOO angry! Ciao.

  136. #136 Sven DIMilo
    February 7, 2009

    Cool, M.B., no problem.
    If it’s science you want, check out some of the older posts listed on the left as “A taste of…” You can also click on category tags to get a list of recent Biology posts.
    Of course, the atheism posts generally have the more entertaining comment threads.

  137. #137 Brian T. Johnson
    February 7, 2009

    Interesting post here. But toning down the personal vitriol towards those with whom you disagree might enable you to make your point a little better.

  138. #138 Sven DIMilo
    February 7, 2009

    See, what did I tell you? Here comes the next wave of concern already.

  139. #139 Rey Fox
    February 7, 2009

    Your concern is noted.

  140. #140 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 7, 2009

    Interesting post here. But toning down the personal vitriol towards those with whom you disagree might enable you to make your point a little better.

    We are just doing what our cephalopod loving leaders asks.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/01/open_season_on_fresh_meat.php#more

  141. #141 GeoffR
    February 7, 2009

    from The Australian:
    It’s therefore worth touching on what Darwin wasn’t saying.

    First, he wasn’t advocating survival of the fittest as a one-line formula for success. So-called social Darwinists have since promoted unfettered competition as the best way of improving our society, but the competition Darwin describes in nature is always constrained; a constant struggle to stay in balance with a changing environment, fending off challenges from other species and environmental upheavals. The survivors are rarely the most aggressive or powerful individuals. More often a light footprint is the best survival strategy, adaptability is the best protection and co-operative alliances are the key.

    Second, Darwin never proposed that one sort of being was superior to another. Darwin believed strongly in animal rights on the logical grounds that animals and humans are part of the same non-hierarchical system. He was also a vigorous opponent of racism in any form. A biography by Adrian Desmond and James Moore — Darwin’s Sacred Cause (2009) — shows how Darwin’s later work, including his “big book”, The Descent of Man (1871), was driven by his passionate lifelong belief in the one-ness of the human race.

    Third, he didn’t see evolution as acting solely on man’s physical shape. Everything that seemed to make us separate from the beasts — our intelligence, our language, our insight and even our morals — were merely adaptations, like the intelligence of bees or the sociability of cattle, naturally selected because they conferred a survival advantage to the herd. If our natural tendency was towards moderation and conservation, these feelings should be ignored at our peril. They had kept our species from exterminating itself over tens of thousands of years.

    Finally, he wasn’t saying there’s no such thing as God. Darwin declared himself agnostic rather than an atheist.

  142. #142 John Hartman
    February 7, 2009

    See Steve Forbes finds religion:

    http://dir.salon.com/story/news/feature/1999/10/04/forbes/

    In a well-received speech to the convention on Saturday, Forbes bashed Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura for his comments in this month’s Playboy magazine interview, in which he said that “organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people.”

    “Bullies end up belittling themselves,” Forbes said. “It makes you wonder if organized wrestling should require wrestlers in the future to wear protective helmets.”

    The crowd loved it.

    “It was people of faith who founded this country,” Forbes said. “George Washington said that ‘It is impossible to account for the creation of the universe without a Supreme Being. And it is impossible to govern … without the aide of a Supreme Being.’

    “Take that, Jesse,” he added, much to the crowd’s delight.

    Still wondering why the Discovery Institute and it’s ilk are being supported?

  143. #143 Rey Fox
    February 7, 2009

    “Bullies end up belittling themselves,” Forbes said. “It makes you wonder if organized wrestling should require wrestlers in the future to wear protective helmets.”

    What does that even mean?

    “And it is impossible to govern … without the aide of a Supreme Being.’”

    Crackpot.

  144. #144 'Tis Himself
    February 7, 2009

    Rey Fox,

    Before he became Governor of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura was a professional wrestler.

  145. #145 CoachO
    February 7, 2009

    To: bobxxxx, CJO, Richard Simmons:

    1. The reason Darwin’s grandfather Josiah Wedgewood was an abolitionist was he was a dissenter in the Church of England and had a strong faith. Evolution had nothing to with giving Darwin the idea to be against slavery. He was probably racist but still felt sorry for the slaves that he saw first hand on the Beagle.

    2. My point is that Huxley who was a smart guy and probably knew Darwin better than anyone, connected the dots from Darwin’s work and its implication to race. Just like others have done throughout history. The reason everyone is bringing up slavery now and Darwin’s view is they want to make him more politically correct (due to the big 200th) since Huxley’s take on Darwin is abhorrent and you probably never have heard it before and is not published in Darwin day material.

    3. Yes! Many in the American church were wrong and terribly misguided. But just as in England with Newton and Wilberforce it was the church that led the way to end slavery. How come we don’t hear about atheistic evolutionists being social transformers in this area?

    “Prominent among these in England was Parliamentarian William Wilberforce, who wrote in his diary when he was 28 that ?God Almighty has set before me two great objects, the suppression of the Slave Trade and Reformation of Morals.?[21] With others he labored, against much determined opposition, to finally abolish the British slave trade. The famous English preacher Charles Spurgeon had some of his sermons burned in America due to his censure of slavery, calling it “the foulest blot” and which “may have to be washed out in blood.”[22] Methodist founder John Wesley denounced human bondage as “the sum of all villainies,” and detailed it’s abuses.[23] In Georgia, primitive Methodists united with brethren elsewhere in condemning slavery. Many evangelical leaders in the United States such as Presbyterian Charles Finney and Theodore Weld, and women such as Harriet Beecher Stowe (daughter of abolitionist Lyman Beecher) and Sojourner Truth motivated hearers to support abolition. Finney preached that slavery was a moral sin, and so supported it’s elimination. “I had made up my mind on the question of slavery, and was exceedingly anxious to arouse public attention to the subject. In my prayers and preaching, I so often alluded to slavery, and denounced it.[24] Repentance from slavery was required of souls, once enlightened of the subject, while continued support of the system incurred “the greatest guilt” upon them.[25]

    Quakers in particular were early leaders in abolitionism. In 1688 Dutch Quakers in Germantown, Pennsylvania, sent an antislavery petition to the Monthly Meeting of Quakers. By 1727 British Quakers had expressed their official disapproval of the slave trade.[26] Three Quaker abolitionists, Benjamin Lay, John Woolman, and Anthony Benezet, devoted their lives to the abolitionist effort from the 1730s to the 1760s, with Lay founding the Negro School in 1770, which would serve more than 250 pupils.[27] In June of 1783 a petition from the the London Yearly Meeting and signed by over 300 Quakers was presented to Parliament protesting the slave trade.[28] In 1787 the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade was formed, with 9 of the 12 founder members being Quakers.” wikipedia

    4. to Nerd– Yes

    5. To PZ Myers: Why defend Jerry Springer show vocabulary on your blog?

  146. #146 John Hartman
    February 7, 2009

    Forbes said. “George Washington said that “It is impossible to account for the creation of the universe without a Supreme Being.”

    You are a liar Steve Forbes!

    Washington is known to have made some official statements of public piety, but this is not one of them. Though this assertion is very widely reported to have been said in Washington’s Farewell Address (17 September 1796), this is not actually the case, as any search of the document would reveal.

    There is no actual record of such a statement ever having been made by Washington.

  147. #147 Kseniya
    February 7, 2009

    An exercise for all you Concern Trolls to try at home.

    Repeat after me:

    “I DO care that chronic liars are out to poison the minds of our children in pursuit of their anti-rational agenda.”

    “I DO care that chronic liars are out to poison the minds of our children in pursuit of their anti-rational agenda.”

    “I DO care that chronic liars are out to poison the minds of our children in pursuit of their anti-rational agenda.”

  148. #148 Kseniya
    February 7, 2009

    There is no actual record of such a statement ever having been made by Washington.

    Could it have been another of the many “quotes” fabricated by that shameless and contemptible liar, David Barton?

  149. #149 John Hartman
    February 7, 2009

    Just for your education Steve Forbes:

    George Washington did say this:

    “A reasoning being would lose his reason in attempting to account for the great phenomena of nature, had he not a Supreme Being to refer to; and well has it been said, that if there had been no God, mankind would have been obliged to imagine one.”

    And indeed he did. Not exactly what you had in mind.

    Right Steve.

    In the cases of these spurious founder of our country George Washington “quotations” it seems that if statements suitable to people like Steve Forbes and his fellow Conservative Christian Creationist interests do not exist, they feel it is necessary to create them.

  150. #150 Rey Fox
    February 7, 2009

    “Before he became Governor of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura was a professional wrestler.”

    I still don’t get it. What does the helmet have to do with religion or lack thereof?

    “To PZ Myers: Why defend Jerry Springer show vocabulary on your blog?”

    Well, first of all, I don’t recall ever seeing the words “skank” or “baby-daddy” or “Jer-ry! Jer-ry!” on this blog.

    But mostly, because you and your irrelevant attempts at character assassination of a great scientist are fucking tiresome.

  151. #151 Rey Fox
    February 7, 2009

    *several long painful minutes later*

    Ohhhhh. Forbes was accusing Ventura of receiving head trauma in professional wrestling. Ahhhhhh. Poor idiot doesn’t even know that pro wrestling is fake.

  152. #152 Zarquon
    February 7, 2009

    Two out of three ain’t bad, Rey Fox.

  153. #153 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 7, 2009

    Ohhhhh. Forbes was accusing Ventura of receiving head trauma in professional wrestling. Ahhhhhh. Poor idiot doesn’t even know that pro wrestling is fake.

    Ok. I am NOT defending pro wrestling.

    However, people do get hurt. It is an athletic endeavor. One wrestler was even killed during a stunt.

    Now i feel like I must go take a shower.

  154. #154 Patricia, OM
    February 7, 2009

    You aren’t fooling me one bit Rev. BigDumbChimp. Confess, you love eating hot dogs, drinking beer and watching thong matches. ;o)

  155. #155 Rey Fox
    February 7, 2009

    Yeahbut yeahbut yeahbut…surely regular head trauma doesn’t go with the territory of being a professional wrestler like it would for boxers. Scar tissue from “blading” yes, but…

    Okay, between this and the “skank” thing, I guess it’s Stone of Shame time for me.

  156. #156 'Tis Himself
    February 7, 2009

    Evolution had nothing to with giving Darwin the idea to be against slavery. He was probably racist but still felt sorry for the slaves that he saw first hand on the Beagle.

    Your evidence for this forthright statement is what? How do you know that evolution had nothing to do with Darwin’s anti-slavery stance?

    Many in the American church were wrong and terribly misguided. But just as in England with Newton and Wilberforce it was the church that led the way to end slavery. How come we don’t hear about atheistic evolutionists being social transformers in this area?

    At least you had the balls to admit, after your nose was pushed into the evidence that thousands of goddists used religion to justify slavery. As for anti-slavery evolutionary atheists, Darwin is the only one that comes to mind. So you’re right. Out of the tiny minority of 19th Century atheists, there’s only one that was both famous and anti-slavery. Now it’s your turn. How many atheists were pro-slavery? Please give names.

  157. #157 CosmicTeapot
    February 8, 2009

    Tis Himself

    From my reading of Charles Darwin, he was religious most of his life, until his daughter died. Then he declared himself at best agnostic, although whether he was agnostic about the existence of god, or about the nature of god I can find no clue.

    If you have a source for his atheism, please let me know.

  158. #158 johan
    February 8, 2009

    “and eugenics as a whole was less the product of scientific consensus than a fašade for the endemic racism of the population as a whole.”

    Eugenics and racism aren’t quite so connected as you seem to imply. At least here in Sweden we had an Institute of Racial Biology whose boss in the late 30ies and the 40ies was quite clear in his writings that their were no heritable mental differences between the races.

    This did not stop him from happily advocating for the sterilizing of the mentally ill on the ground that it would save large amounts of money for the state. He was quite politically well-connected so I think you can assume his views had substantial follwoing among the elite in the society.

  159. #159 Knockgoats
    February 8, 2009

    Yet I also understand that socialism and “social democracy” don’t work and are fundamentally destructive of freedom, – Walton

    As conclusively shown by the fact that everyone in Scandinavia is starving in slavery. Meanwhile the wonders of the “free market” are demonstrated by the strength and stability of the global economic system after three decades of privatisation, deregulation, removal of capital controls, falling top tax rates…

    and I believe in small, limited government and a free market.

    and don’t we fucking know it.

    I’m fed up with this simplistic left-right “culture war” dichotomy, where you have “secular liberal progressives” on the one hand and “Christian conservatives” on the other. It’s bullshit.

    No, it isn’t. It is quite accurate, particularly with regard to the USA. “Libertarians” are an insignificant minority – but it’s typical of their self-obsession that they think political terminology should revolve around them.

    Unfortunately, libertarianism isn’t an attractive philosophy to the vast majority of the population who don’t understand economics.

    Well since the vast majority of the population would end up enslaved to the rich if your nostrums were ever put into practice, that is quite understandable. Of course “libertarianism” is also regarded as stupid crap by the majority of professional economists.

  160. #160 Leigh Williams
    February 8, 2009

    Unfortunately, libertarianism isn’t an attractive philosophy to the vast majority of the population who don’t understand economics.

    And even less attractive to the large minority which does.

    But, remember, you’re speaking here to a group of people which values EVIDENCE.

    And that evidence demonstrates to us that socialism in stable democracies yields by far the most equitable and enlightened societies.

  161. #161 'Tis Himself
    February 8, 2009

    Unfortunately, libertarianism isn’t an attractive philosophy to the vast majority of the population who don’t understand economics.

    I’ve only met one libertarian qualified to discuss economics. As it happens, I know Peter Schiff. Very pleasant man to talk to. Yes, Schiff saw the pending credit crash and was mocked by Ben Stein and others for his views. What isn’t often mentioned is Schiff was mocked for saying the recession is the problem, it’s the solution.

    Schiff believes the transition from borrowing to saving cannot be accomplished without a severe recession, given the current imbalances of the economy. He also says the government is doing no one a favor by trying to “ease the pain” with stimulus packages, bailouts and such. Schiff believes these actions will only make the situation worse and result in hyperinflation.

    Schiff also denies that deregulation had anything to do with the subprime crisis. He would go back to the good old days of the Robber Barons like Jay Gould, Fisk and Vanderbilt. He and I once discussed Gould’s 1869 attempt to corner the gold market, an action which caused a depression lasting several years. Schiff airily dismissed that ever happening again, saying “We know better now, nobody would try to do that again.” I knew right then that Schiff didn’t live in the same world as the rest of us.

    Schiff made several predictions that haven’t happened. He said precious metals would reach astronomical heights. In the past six months precious metals have have performed significantly better than equity prices. However gold is still under $1K/oz and silver is under $20 per oz. He further predicted that foreign equities would hold better than US equities. Most foreign equity markets have fallen further than the US markets. But his most spectacularly wrong prediction was that the US Dollar would collapse. The US Dollar Index rose from 80 points last July to 83 points in January, with most of the rise after September when the equity crisis got worse.

    Peter Schiff is a competent economist and a libertarian. For several years I’ve made it a point of not putting money in his Euro Pacific brokerage, because I don’t think he’s a particularly good investor.

  162. #162 Stephanurus
    February 13, 2009

    Was this Forbes “issue” a print issue or an on-line only issue?