Pharyngula

Open thread

People are requesting an open thread to just talk about whatever they want, and I’m willing to oblige. Here you go. Let it all hang out.

However, since I’m a tyrant who must meddle to some degree, I impose one restriction: no libertarianism. It’s a cancer that is taking over way too many threads, and I’m contemplating making it grounds for banning, as it’s the same thing as the godbotting evangelical stuff. I’ll delete anything that goes down that tiresome road in this thread.

And if you mention Ayn Rand, you will be taken out and shot. <Wait, guards, not me! Any mention of she-who-will-not-be-named after this!>

Comments

  1. #1 ph
    February 9, 2009

    Can I have your autograph?

  2. #2 James F
    February 9, 2009

    A Facebook group I can advertise without shame….

    Can we find 200,000 by Feb 12 to wish Darwin a happy 200th birthday?

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=53320310123

    It started January 29. It has over 132,000 members and counting. They’re sharing lots of excellent resources on evolutionary biology with the masses. Phacebook Pharyngulites welcome!

  3. #3 Alex Besogonov
    February 9, 2009

    Obligatory Life of Brian reference: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNeq2Utm0nU

  4. #4 stoat100
    February 9, 2009

    What is it with Ayn Rand? Can’t move a pixel on the internets without tripping over her and her tedious books.

    Aaaargh!! I mentioned the war, but I think I got away with it…

  5. #5 mikeg
    February 9, 2009
  6. #6 Max
    February 9, 2009

    Hear, hear!
    I freakin’ hate Ayn Rand.
    Michael Shermer makes her look so bad in Why People Believe Weird Things.
    Thank you PZ.

  7. #7 FishNChimps
    February 9, 2009

    Did anyone in the UK see that big debate prog on ITV on Sunday morning – something about the Bible and Evolution being reconciled? Nice to see the no-nonsense scientist demolishing the idiot creationist. TV debates are such fun. Scientist (no idea who he was – it certainly wasn’t the good Prof. Dawkins) on being accused of being arrogant said “there’s nothing wrong with being arrogant when you’re right.” Win.

  8. #8 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 9, 2009

    Hurray for Charleston, SC Atheists.

    Unfortunately, the poor poor persecuted Christians only see it as mean and spiteful.

  9. #9 speedwell
    February 9, 2009

    Gosh, you sure didn’t seem to mind when the libs were on the side of individual rights in the abortion debates.

  10. #10 Parker
    February 9, 2009

    Open thread? Tits all in my face.

    I’m sick of the people who come into Starbucks who want a nonfat sugarfree latte but then ask for whip. Or the people who stand in line for 10 minutes dicking around and get to the front and STILL don’t know what they want; much to the disgust of the line behind them. I’m also tired of the people who think it’s so damn trendy or hip or whatever to go to a Starbucks and just sit around talking. I swear, some people act like they’re being filmed with all of their pretentious conversations. I heard a couple talking about ‘world peace’ and about vomited.

    Thanks for the thread PZ, I owe you. Come by the ‘bucks and I’ll get you a drink on the house.

  11. #11 Brian Coughlan
    February 9, 2009

    What about Singularism? Can we talk about that without you opressing us … you … you … beardy Darwinian.

    I beleive the singularity can save everyone, even those who have died, through the miracle of matrix flux quantum crystalline GPS 24/7 nav fix technology. It’s simply really, and it starts with you giving me ?500 ….

    Want to hear more?

  12. #12 speedwell
    February 9, 2009

    That said, I mainly agree. The lame, sophomoric bullshit that passes for libertarianism on the threads here absolutely embarrasses me and would embarrass any other libertarian with a clue and a reading level above the eighth grade.

  13. #13 Blake Stacey
    February 9, 2009

    I don’t know what anyone else is planning for Darwin Day, but I’m thinking of baking my famous fooberry bread. And we’re planning on a marathon screening of The Prisoner this coming weekend in order to celebrate the Day of Half-Price Heart-Shaped Chocolates, 15 February.

  14. #14 LMR
    February 9, 2009

    Anyone know what happened to the Russell’s Teapot (webcomic) site?

    It hasn’t been updated since December 2007.

    The site is still up, just no updates (and the forums are overrun with spambots).

    Didn’t know if anyone knew the author and had news.

  15. #15 Randy
    February 9, 2009

    Since this is an open thread, I will take a moment to be a shameless brown-noser and thank you for all the time you put into this. I am facinated by your choice of topics and you and the folks your blog seems to attract give me hope that the future of our nation is not destined to go all Palinish. I learn a lot here.

  16. #16 mikecbraun
    February 9, 2009

    “That said, I mainly agree. The lame, sophomoric bullshit that passes for libertarianism on the threads here absolutely embarrasses me and would embarrass any other libertarian with a clue and a reading level above the eighth grade.”

    So, it doesn’t embarrass any of you, then? Mwahahaha!

  17. #17 Glen Davidson
    February 9, 2009

    Can we talk about anti-libertarianism? Just kidding, I always hated those discussions, though not entering into them.

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

  18. #18 Holbach
    February 9, 2009

    On the Internet News (Fox)

    There is a drought in Firebaugh(near Fresno), California and in desperation has called in witches to dowse for water. What, the freaking prayers aren’t working? Morons.

  19. #19 Strangest brew
    February 9, 2009

    *8

    ‘So how it is mean or spiteful.’

    ‘Cos it takes our pacifier away…and we is gonna blub …yes we are…we is sad liddle cwhistians…big bad athwists fwighten yes they do so!…they is mean and wewy spiteful…gonna tell de pwastor…he will shoo thems aways!’

  20. #20 blueelm
    February 9, 2009

    I just want to say I read this blog everyday and I *sniff* I LOVE YOU GUYS!!!

    No– but really, I do.

  21. #21 reason be
    February 9, 2009

    My libertarianism is more informed than your libertarianism.

  22. #22 Ouchimoo
    February 9, 2009

    Open thread huh? That’s gosh darn nice of you. Except now I don’t have anything to say :P.
    Oh! I went to a class that the MN atheist group held on Saturday titled “How to Debate”. It was tons of fun! I think they are planning to do more in the future. Yay ^_^

    So to the peoplez: what is your favorite debate?

  23. #23 Bertolt
    February 9, 2009

    Student: “Pity the land that has no heroes!”
    Scientist: “No! Pity the land that has need of heroes.”

  24. #24 PZ Myers
    February 9, 2009

    Stoat100 and Max have been taken out and shot. Sorry.

    And STOP TALKING ABOUT LBRTRNSM!

  25. #25 AJ Milne
    February 9, 2009

    What, the freaking prayers aren’t working? Morons.

    Now, now, there’s no call to be so dismissive. My understanding is the local government has a sophisticated, multi-tier response to this sort of thing, keeping in mind cost/benefit and the severity of the drought…

    It’s arranged as follows:

    Tier 1 response: Prayers to Yahweh.
    Tier 2: Dowsing.
    Tier 3: Toss dead cat into graveyard during full moon.
    Tier 4: Rain dance.
    Tier 5: Virgin/volcano…

  26. #26 Glen Davidson
    February 9, 2009

    Oh yeah, one thing worth mentioning in an open thread is the series “Morphed” on Nat Geo channel. Pretty good, focusing on the explanatory value of evolution, not the “questions” that the IDiots want to focus upon in exclusion to everything else.

    They go for the narrative about evolution, making it interesting (to me, anayhow), but it also appears that they bring in the evidence that demonstrates evolution better than did the short “Evolved” series that the History channel tried to balance its woo out with for a brief period.

    They’re doing something right, and I think they deserve credit and viewers for doing so.

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

  27. #27 reason be
    February 9, 2009

    …oh. I get it. PZ is siphoning off the least relevant comments to his [wonderful] blog and disposing of them in the cybercan. This man is subtle. When does he sleep?

  28. #28 Valis
    February 9, 2009

    Max & stoat100: Bang!

    @Parker et al: I’ve just finished a brilliant book by Ben Elton (of Blackadder & Thin Blue Line fame) called “Blind Faith”. Absolutely brilliant! It takes current trends in society and postulates what will happen if they continue through. One of the trends is the obsession with Starbucks and other fast food (Starbucks coffee is so fast food). Another trend being that of religion and self-entitlement. I don’t recall seeing anyone mention this book, but I highly recommend it.

    Also: Environment Minister denies global warming

  29. #29 PZ Myers
    February 9, 2009

    I watched part of Morphed, and it annoyed the heck out of me. What was with the growly, snarly narrator? It was like, “here’s something cool, and you should be really pissed off about it.”

  30. #30 Nichole
    February 9, 2009

    Libertarianism = communism in that both seem like good ideas but by now we should all know more betterer :P

  31. #31 mikecbraun
    February 9, 2009

    Ayn….’t that a bitch? Liber….ty and justice for all! Haha, you thought I was going to say… Okay, I’m done.

    @Ouchimoo:
    My favorite debate is the one where I win, behead my opponent and eat the brains to absorb his power, and then wear the head around the arena as a warning to other potential challengers. Wait, or was that my favorite Minnesota Wild game I’ve ever been to? Now I’m confused.

  32. #32 Ricky Gremlin
    February 9, 2009

    New Green Day album coming in may entitled “21st Century Breakdown”.
    Word is that they are attacking religion on this album.

  33. #33 Cassidy
    February 9, 2009

    @10 (Parker)

    Hey, I totally do that. It’s not that I don’t realize that whip contains lots of fat, but whip on a skim latte is LESS fat than whip on a regular latte. See how that works?

  34. #34 mikecbraun
    February 9, 2009

    Ah yes, Green Day, Pearl Jam, Bad Religion. These bands are great examples of how musicians can be like fine wine and get better with age. Thanks for the tip, Ricky Gremlin.

  35. #35 Alex Ess
    February 9, 2009

    Does anyone know what “thumb top” is a euphemism for? I was listening to a Slick Idiot song the other day that had the lyric “Gimme the thumb top” And neither I nor any of my friends know what the freak this lyric means.

    I’m also confused by that Fergie lyric that goes “How come every time you come around my London Bridge wanna go down.” Is London Bridge a euphemism for her pants? WHAT THE HELL DOES IT MEAN?

  36. #36 Somite
    February 9, 2009

    Ok..for those who have really read Ayn Rand…. What I remember from Atlas shrugged is that engineers, scientists and people concerned with the truth got fed up with politicians and middle-managers and left society to make their own.

    I never saw this as an attack on big government or endorsement of libertarianism but of rational thinking. I think libertarians and conservatives (as usual) have it bass ackwards and Ayn Rand was actually criticizing them!

    It reminds me of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy where scientists and engineers tell managers and politicians that a space goat will eat their planet and they must board a ship and leave…they’ll be right behind them.

  37. #37 mayhempix
    February 9, 2009

    Can I be part of the execution squad when it’s to put (insert “those that cannot be mentioned” here) out of our misery?

  38. #38 Ranson
    February 9, 2009

    You know, for a bunch of slavish, ravening ilk and minions, we have a really hard time following directions from the Supreme Evolver.

  39. #39 Ouchimoo
    February 9, 2009

    When does he sleep?

    He. Doesn’t.

    I’ve seen those posts go up at 1, 3 and 6 in the morning O.o

  40. #40 Robert
    February 9, 2009

    Are we permitted to talk about our opposition to antidisestablishmentarianism? Partly because I’ve always wanted to use that word.

  41. #41 SEF
    February 9, 2009

    You see? You see?! PZ only made an open thread now because I didn’t need one at the moment!

    However, it would be churlish to ignore it now that it’s here; so …

    If PZ were to join Twitter, where would he rank (assuming all his pharynguloid minions) in comparison with Obama and Stephen Fry?

  42. #42 mayhempix
    February 9, 2009

    Sorry for the repeat post but I left out a key word…

    Can I be part of the execution squad when it’s TIME to put (insert “those that cannot be mentioned” here) out of our misery?

  43. #43 Daniel
    February 9, 2009

    Ugh….I hate Firebaugh. Funny, I went and fixed some equipment at their Water Plant. Was kinda hard to fix while trying to get through all the circles and crystals and what not.

    In a side note, I went to Borders and their atheism section was sparse and most of the books seemed overpriced. Plus it seemed like people were leaving books on Narcissism and dreams and other crap. Anyone else run into anything like that?

  44. #44 John C. Randolph
    February 9, 2009

    It was fun for a while, but Pharyngula’s been getting about as hostile to dissent as LGF lately. Enjoy your echo chamber, PZ.

    -jcr

  45. #45 Julie Stahlhut
    February 9, 2009

    Please don’t hit me, Parker, but I’ve been known to order soy mocha with whipped cream on top. I’m lactose-intolerant and don’t always carry lactase tablets with me. Skim milk is absolutely the worst offender, while milkfat alone is pretty innocuous for me, so I can get away unassisted with things like whipped cream and butter.

    Then again, my usual order would be a tall Pike Place with room for soymilk, and maybe an espresso shot in it if I’m feeling in need of a kick start.

  46. #46 Tulse
    February 9, 2009

    Can we talk about libertinianism? I think it is the right of every person, free from all government compulsion or threat of violence, to get it on in whatever way they want, just as Ayam Randy wrote.

  47. #47 PopeCoyote
    February 9, 2009

    I attended a symposium at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas this week on the topic of “Science and Religion – Conflict or Convergence”. It was very interesting and refreshing to hear intelligent folks talking about science and religion. One theme that kept coming up was the disappearance of the so called “engaged” god, except in those who get a lot of press here in the U.S. (one that answers prayers, intercedes in world events, punishes sinners by sending hurricanes at them, etc.). One speaker, David Sloan Wilson, essentially stated that the existence of an “engaged god” has been show to be false, statistically and scientifically, to the distress of some of the audience members. Simon Conway Morris was very entertaining and, although a “christian”, did a good job of showing major evolutionary accomplishments that were repeated (convergence) though he felt they showed a “pattern” though not “design” that could be attributed to an overall “plan”. He felt the ID folks were nutters as well. Mary Evelyn Tucker talked about the convergence of ecology and the desire to preserve it among the religions of the world – particularly the “a-theistic” ones, Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism with others also joining in. There were others but those three were the highlights for me.

    In general, it gave me a feeling that I hadn’t had in a while – as an atheist/taoist science person: that maybe there was some growing intelligence in the human population, that we really were pretty “okay” overall, and maybe we will make it. :::shrugs::: Could be a fluke, but it felt good for change. :)

  48. #48 Naughtius Maximus
    February 9, 2009

    Sorry to pollute the page but the man is such a train wreck; is America now Socialist, Communist or Fascist?
    http://crooksandliars.com/david-neiwert/beck-ingraham-duet-fox-sounds-babbli

  49. #49 dNorrisM
    February 9, 2009

    Since Glen and PZ brought up Morphed, the narrator mad a few comments along the lines of …”the bear’s ancestors saw the meat animals on the plain and knew they would have to evolve to go get them…” and “…Hunger is a good incentive to evolve.”

    Paraphrased, but I think it captured the point.

  50. #50 Me
    February 9, 2009

    First, no talk about religion (unless it’s abusive); now, no talk about freedom. What will our little commissar ban next?

  51. #51 BigZ
    February 9, 2009

    Hey, everyone, check out my short video on Atom films.

    http://www.atom.com/funny_videos/3EFBFFFF019808BD001700A69E17/

    How’s that for off topic?

    Really though, please check it out.

  52. #52 Buckeye70
    February 9, 2009

    Anyone wanna lend a hand to me?? I’m currently on another board beginning to debate the Ben Stein/Vermont graduation speech deal, and I’m about to get pounced on for agreeing with the University’s decision to can the speech. This board is filled with creationists and moonbats…I GUARANTEE YOU’D HAVE A GOOD TIME WITH THEM. It’s an off-topic board associated with Ohio State University sports. h ttp://forums.the-ozone.net/offtopic/index.pl Enjoy!!!

  53. #53 Dan!
    February 9, 2009

    I’m curious, how many other people were inspired to start a blog by the glory that is Pharyngula?

    Shameless plug in 3…2…1…

    http://www.molecularfossils.com

  54. #54 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 9, 2009

    First, no talk about religion (unless it’s abusive); now, no talk about freedom. What will our little commissar ban next?

    First, show where you aren’t allowed to talk about religion unless abusive.

    Second, the libertarian crowd (well some of them) like to turn every single post into one about libertarianism.

  55. #55 sng
    February 9, 2009

    At the risk of getting deleted. :)

    Speedwell,

    Yeah, from your comment I think you and I are, pretty much, the same flavor of libertarian. The asshats using the term piss me off to no end. To the point where I’m considering giving it up. Sadly I don’t know of any other term that embodies the idea that individual rights and freedom should be valued almost above all else and that attempts to get people to change should be through education and consensus. But that doesn’t have the nutbar economic, anti public education, and overly stupid rugged individual overtones that many people using it today gives it. Of course they would argue that I’m no true libertarian. I do hate that the fucktards are giving the idea a bad name by being overly stupid.

  56. #56 Ouchimoo
    February 9, 2009

    In a side note, I went to Borders and their atheism section was sparse and most of the books seemed overpriced. Plus it seemed like people were leaving books on Narcissism and dreams and other crap. Anyone else run into anything like that?

    Um haven’t shopped at Borders in a while. Went to Barn’s & Noble not too long ago. They didn’t seem to know where to put it so it was kind of crammed over to a wall. The amount of books was decent. What annoyed me though was all the anti-atheist books sitting there. I don’t recall seeing too many anti-religion books in the religion section.
    Bought a lot of books though.

    I got some debates from a friend of mine, listened to a couple last night. One of the debates was with Ray Comfort. He brought up the banana is worst nightmare argument and the crowd was just roared with laughter. As was I. I wonder if he gets that a lot and is ever disturbed by that? Or is he so diluted that he thinks they are laughing with him?

  57. #57 KI
    February 9, 2009

    Firstly, I’d like to thank PZ for having this place, and to the commenters who make it so worthwhile to check on (every day).
    Open thread is so wide, though. What to mention? The Dead and the EStreet band touring this spring? Donny Schatz winning two of the first three World of Outlaw races? My cat’s diet? The world is too big, I need Structure, help me jeheebuhuzz.

  58. #58 CatBallou
    February 9, 2009

    Great! Now’s my opportunity to ask very basic questions about genetics and stuff! When I took an intro genetics course way back in college, there was a lot of discussion about “dominance.” Genes for brown eyes are dominant over blue, etc.
    Two questions:
    What is the mechanism of dominance? Is it just that brown is darker than blue, for example?
    How does dominance play out in evolution? Articles that discuss particular inherited traits usually focus on contributions to fitness (“Perhaps unattached earlobes allow better echolocation”), but if a trait is dominant and not harmful, wouldn’t that be a sufficient reason for it to spread in the population?

  59. #59 Ken Cope
    February 9, 2009

    @44: It’s getting to where you can’t tell the difference between pharyngula and LGF anymore. Atheism, it’s just a big ole hateful religion. And don’t forget, you can’t hate philosophy without being guilty of perpetrating philosophy.

    On a related note, the school’s shiny new gym has a shiny new locker room, and in the time it took me to brush my teeth Thursday afternoon, somebody nicked my textbooks, thinking my satchel had the heft of something with a laptop in it. It contained a (lined paper) notebook, a couple of textbooks (including a hardbound Hurley’s A Concise Introduction to Logic), and Hofstadter’s I am a Strange Loop purchased the day before with Pratchett’s latest, Nation, which the spouse was reading first (she describes it as A Hat Full of Sky meets Small Gods. What Nation was doing in the “Hardbound, Junior High School” ghetto of the bookstore both puzzles and annoys me.

  60. #60 Glen Davidson
    February 9, 2009

    With Expelled and Stein making an unwelcome return to creation-evolution news, I just want to repeat the clearest call for suppression I’ve seen outside of naive but relatively honest theocrats:

    If a theory claims to be able to explain some phenomenon but does not generate even an attempt at an explanation, then it should be banished. Despite comparing sequences and mathematical modeling, molecular evolution has never addressed the question of how complex structures came to be. In effect, the theory of Darwinian molecular evolution has not published, and so it should perish. Michael J. Behe, Darwin’s Black Box, p.186

    What a shock that an IDiot would want to get rid of the only real explanation, which makes ID look like the stupidity it really is.

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

  61. #61 reason be
    February 9, 2009

    Clever *echo chamber* comment, #44, but certain areas and amplitudes of dissent reveal other cognitive disconnects best left to private self-medication. WADR, go ahead and start your own blog and try to keep it on track. You won’t be sleeping, either.

  62. #62 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 9, 2009

    I got some debates from a friend of mine, listened to a couple last night. One of the debates was with Ray Comfort. He brought up the banana is worst nightmare argument and the crowd was just roared with laughter. As was I. I wonder if he gets that a lot and is ever disturbed by that? Or is he so diluted that he thinks they are laughing with him?

    Ray is ALL about publicity. The more people know about him, the more books and Way of the Master DVDs he’ll sell. His ardent followers eat that shit up, including the banana bit.

  63. #63 reason be
    February 9, 2009

    Clever *echo chamber* comment, #44, but certain areas and amplitudes of dissent reveal other cognitive disconnects best left to private self-medication. WADR, go ahead and start your own blog and try to keep it on track. You won’t be sleeping, either.

  64. #64 AJ Milne
    February 9, 2009

    First, show where you aren’t allowed to talk about religion unless abusive.

    No, first, make him show he’s not JAD. I hate having to respond to a guy who’s just gonna get deleted…

    (Makes me look like I’m talking to myself. I hate that. Also, being filmed at Starbucks when I’m talking about global peace. And being filmed at the strip club whether or not I’m talking about global peace…

    Also breadfruit. Who eats that stuff, anyway?)

    Hey… mathematical question: if we can get JAD to talk about libertarianism, does he get unbanned? Or Ultra-Banned?

  65. #65 CJO
    February 9, 2009

    Saw an ad on a bus this weekend for the Watchmen movie. Got me all fired up. Looked just like the first page, with Rorshach standing on a rainy street filled with ‘heroin and child pornography.’ Anybody else that can’t wait, or are we taking the collective “hold your nose, it’s another Alan Moore movie”?

    I really, really hope it doesn’t suck.

  66. #66 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 9, 2009

    I’m looking forward to it CJO. I never read the Graphic Novel but the trailers look amazing.

  67. #67 Holbach
    February 9, 2009

    AJMilne @ 25

    Wow, is it relly that bad out there?
    Daniel @ 43 described a hellhole of crop circles and crystals. Not telling what other insane trappings are used by those residents to appease the moron gods to bring them all kinds of crap.

  68. #68 Glen Davidson
    February 9, 2009

    Since Glen and PZ brought up Morphed, the narrator mad a few comments along the lines of …”the bear’s ancestors saw the meat animals on the plain and knew they would have to evolve to go get them…” and “…Hunger is a good incentive to evolve.”

    Paraphrased, but I think it captured the point.

    I’ve only seen the one on the evolution of birds from dinosaurs, and a little of the whale evolution episode, so far. While not perfect, I thought they did a good job on bird evolution.

    I don’t think I’ve seen what PZ referred to, and certainly not the part about bear evolution.

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

  69. #69 Miguelito
    February 9, 2009

    Please don’t shoot me but The Fountainhead written by that lady really impressed me. As a poet, I was enthralled by the concept of a man/woman being true to their ideals no matter what and I felt I was surrounded by people who were trying to make me conform including the woman I love. That being said, Ms.R*nd was a crazy bitch who made no sense most of the time. Objectivism; wtf is that all about? *cringing, waiting for the bullets*

  70. #70 Blake Stacey
    February 9, 2009

    Dan!:

    I’m curious, how many other people were inspired to start a blog by the glory that is Pharyngula?

    Well, my blog got started as something else — it was originally a website for coordinating a journal club, and I used it more than everybody else — but Pharyngula definitely helped it get noticed.

  71. #71 DS
    February 9, 2009

    Did anyone see the Sullenberger interview on 60 Minutes last night? The guy was as cool as they come, and his best answer was when Couric asked him whether he prayed at all. To paraphrase, “No, you idiot, I was gliding a plane into a river. Let that fat ass in 15C take care of the futile incantations.”

  72. #72 AJ Milne
    February 9, 2009

    Wow, is it really that bad out there?

    Let me put it this way: there’s good news and bad news. And the good news is they couldn’t find a virgin anyway.

  73. #73 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 9, 2009

    To paraphrase, “No, you idiot, I was gliding a plane into a river. Let that fat ass in 15C take care of the futile incantations.”

    Really? Nice.

    I wonder if it is on You Tube or CBS’s website yet?

  74. #74 jsmizzle
    February 9, 2009

    I think you pretty much guaranteed libertarianism as the topic of this thread when you told people not to talk about it.

  75. #75 Isherwood
    February 9, 2009

    Ok, how the heck do you quote someone in the comments? I realize it’s not a full-on forum, but some of you pull it off. Bbcode? HTML? Voodoo?

  76. #76 designsoda
    February 9, 2009

    Hehe, maybe you shouldn’t have mentioned libertarianism at all, PZ. Quick… DON’T think about an elephant! :)

    For the record, I am a libertarian myself. No joke.

    Anyways, how about ARod testing positive for steroids in 2003? Anyone surprised?

  77. #77 BigZ
    February 9, 2009

    I’m hoping for a good watchmen movie. The comic book movies are a great thing for movies in my opinion. I’m glad a less mainstream one like watchtmen is being made.

    http://www.atom.com/funny_videos/3EFBFFFF019808BD001700A69E17/

  78. #78 Blake Stacey
    February 9, 2009

    Isherwood (#75):

    HTML. Surround the text you wish to quotate with <blockquote> and </blockquote> tags. Use HTML entities for symbols (the “preview” function tends to mess these up, unfortunately).

  79. #79 Ken Cope
    February 9, 2009

    @65, As long as they only abridge and don’t distort, I don’t see how an adaptation of Watchmen can do any harm to the original material. Film and comics seem like they should both be such similar flavors of sequential art, but this film seems like it’s going to be as successful as a team of collaborative artists’ reaction to their reading Watchmen, with a huge budget and a soundtrack, can possibly be. Somewhere there’s a great interview with Alan Moore about how you can’t watch a film like you can read a comic. A couple of weeks from now, I’ll be able to meet David Gibbons at the Cartoon Art Museum’s exhibit of work from Watchmen, but I’ll want to catch their Coraline exhibit before it goes.

  80. #80 LisaJ
    February 9, 2009

    DS (#71). I saw the interview last night, and I was very impressed. He was extremely poised, and rational. I was really impressed that he humbly took credit for his own actions and their extremely positive consequences instead of thanking god for some miracle. I don’t think I heard him mention anything god related, not once.

  81. #81 gypsytag
    February 9, 2009

    who are we going to point and laugh at if you ban them?

    who are we going to pounce on and unmercilessly mock?

    who is going to satisfy our group need for feeding frenzies?

    who i ask? who?

    maybe we’ll just turn on ourselves…

  82. #82 John3:16
    February 9, 2009

    anyone here read Richard Fortey? i’m reading trilobite now.

    check this work in progress: http://atheistbiblegroup.blogspot.com/

  83. #83 Michael
    February 9, 2009

    The world will change when you are ready to pronounce this oath: I swear by my Life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for the sake of mine. I AM JOHN GA…(sounds of Myers’ guards wildly swinging clubs)

  84. #84 Lotharloo
    February 9, 2009

    Another sickening topic is economics. I freaking hate it when clueless people talk about socialism, capitalism, communism, tax cuts or how the market works. And by clueless people I mean pretty much everyone who uses internet.

  85. #85 Eduardo Padoan
    February 9, 2009

    CJO, I cant imagine how anyone can read the novel and think that Holywood may come with anything other them shinny FX and a shitty adaptation. Must of the fun (for me) is on the way it plays and makes fun of the comics world. It would incredible wonderful it they managed to transfer this to the cinema, but I really doubt it.

  86. #86 knob goblin
    February 9, 2009

    PRAYS CRIES.

    John C. Randolph has finally left the building.

  87. #87 Holbach
    February 9, 2009

    Anyone see the movie “Mission To Mars”? There is a great scene toward the end when the astronauts encounter a Martian who visually shows them how their planet was rendered unlivable and they left Mars and perhaps seeded Earth. The sequence where life is shown emerging from the sea and evolving into present life forms is well done. The last astronaut boards a spaceship and heads toward a distant galaxy, and when the two others return to the ship to return to earth, the first one inquires where is so and so, and they tell him that “he got another ride”. Good stuff! I’ll watch any movie with astronomy in it.

  88. #88 GS
    February 9, 2009

    Are you Bruce McGill?
    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0569226/

  89. #89 Coyote
    February 9, 2009

    So there’s a buncha fliers hanging around my campus (Georgia Tech, in case you were curious) advertising something called “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist.”

    Anyone have any information on who or what is behind this shindig? I can’t seem to dig up the sponsors.

  90. #90 BdN
    February 9, 2009

    How come the Science News from the New York Times haven’t changed in quite a while ? Broken roll or they just don’t publish science news anymore ?

  91. #91 ThirtyFiveUp
    February 9, 2009

    This looks interesting:

    Darwin’s Sacred Cause: How a Hatred of Slavery Shaped Darwin’s Views on Human Evolution
    by Adrian Desmond (Author), James Moore (Author)
    Hardcover: 448 pages
    Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (January 28, 2009)

  92. #92 Janine, Ignorant Slut
    February 9, 2009

    I found this site useful. For those who like to learn how to quote and to link.

  93. #93 knob goblin
    February 9, 2009

    sng

    The asshats using the term piss me off to no end. To the point where I’m considering giving it up. Sadly I don’t know of any other term that embodies the idea that individual rights and freedom should be valued almost above all else and that attempts to get people to change should be through education and consensus. But that doesn’t have the nutbar economic, anti public education, and overly stupid rugged individual overtones that many people using it today gives it.

    mayhaps you are looking for http://anarchistfaq.org/

  94. #94 Colin M
    February 9, 2009

    In this thread, I do not post any comments about Ayn Rand.

  95. #95 Jay
    February 9, 2009

    Open thread? Hmm. Ok:

    This weekend while moving in with my girlfriend, I fell down the stairs and sprained my ankle. Why is it that anytime one hurts oneself, everybody around them turns into a doctor and barks orders? Keep off of it, walk it off, ice it, elevate, don’t ice too long though, don’t move it, stretch it.

    Just give me a bottle of stem cell oil or inject me with nanoprobes already.

    The good news is that I do stand up comedy and can’t wait to write a bit about this.

  96. #96 Virgil
    February 9, 2009

    Dunno if it was covered here, but apparently some sky fairy types are planning a comeback at the whole atheist bus campaign…
    http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1877658,00.html

    @#71 & #80, yes the Sullenberger pilot interview was excellent. Couric lost a lot of credibility asking about prayers. What I really liked was her question about “what did you think about the passengers immediately after you landed”. His answer… I didn’t, I had too much else to do!

    Religion has no place in a busy world. Or put another way “God finds work for idle hands”.

  97. #97 knob goblin
    February 9, 2009

    who i ask? who?

    maybe we’ll just turn on ourselves…

    That would be refreshing and far more interesting.

  98. #98 Ken Cope
    February 9, 2009

    I remember cleaning up pixels frame by frame from original scans of Mickey Mouse in Plane Crazy for some late 1980′s promotion of Disney World’s MGM Studios Tour, where each guest would be blue-screened into the plane that Mickey would fly touring the new attractions. We had a hugely expensive Hi Def monitor provided by Sony’s Advanced Technology Group, and we were the only ones in West Hollywood to have one–when execs from Universal wanted to see what Back to the Future looked like transferred to high-def, I had to put my stylus away, while the head of Sony’s ATG introduced himself to the visiting suits. He said, “Hi, I’m John Galt,” and they said, “Yeah right. Who are you really?” but you could tell he was resigned to just smiling and going with it by then.

  99. #99 xebecs
    February 9, 2009

    With nothing to say, I will instead link.

  100. #100 Ryan
    February 9, 2009

    I’ve been reading this blog for years now, this is one of the few posts that actually made me laugh out loud. The ones who we cannot mention are a rot around the fringes of our society with the potential to do more damage than some of the worst religious nuts. It’s good to see someone that pulls a little weight calling them out on what they are.

  101. #101 Blake Stacey
    February 9, 2009

    BdN (#89):

    How come the Science News from the New York Times haven’t changed in quite a while ? Broken roll or they just don’t publish science news anymore ?

    It seems to work on the ScienceBlogs homepage but not on individual blogs.

  102. #102 bigjohn756
    February 9, 2009

    This is really a semi-open thread not an open thread.

    How did you choose to exclude libertarians from your discussions? Pretty arbitrary if you ask me. I assume, however, that you will continue your usual ultra-liberal ranting and vicious dissing of anything centrist or conservative.

  103. #103 kryptonic
    February 9, 2009

    Got a kick out of reading this today.

    (via Jesus’ General) See also his post on The Great Atheist Purge.

  104. #104 Porco Dio
    February 9, 2009

    post count = post count + 1

    who is Ayn Rand?

    between the eyes, please.

  105. #105 Holbach
    February 9, 2009

    Bdn @ 89

    I noticed this also, as I always check the Times on Tuesday for that feature. Where is Olivia? Maybe a religious moron is in that department now. Horrors! Articles on angels, dowsing and all manner of nonsense crap!

  106. #106 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 9, 2009

    Just give me a bottle of stem cell oil

    I suggest Bourbon.

  107. #107 JWC
    February 9, 2009

    It’s likely out of PZ’s control, but I wish the comments section allowed replies to comments, a la huffpost.

  108. #108 BigZ
    February 9, 2009

    I am hoping the Watchmen movie will be good. On a more obscure note, I wonder how the Japanese “Death Note” movie is. There are two already.

    Ahem….

    http://www.atom.com/funny_videos/3EFBFFFF019808BD001700A69E17/

  109. #109 Ranson
    February 9, 2009

    RE: The Watchmen movie.

    One thing I have learned following the press is that they changed the ending. I dunno how that’s going to work. Of course, I’m not sure how the movie can be less than sixteen hours long, either. Whether or not they actually get to release the movie through all the legal wrangling is another question.

  110. #110 'Tis Himself
    February 9, 2009

    The Fountainhead was a remarkably silly book.

    An architect blows up a building because the builders had the gall to modify his design. It doesn’t matter that investors’ millions have gone up in smoke and that hundreds of people have lost their homes. Egotism über alles! Then the guy makes an astonishing courtroom diatribe defending his right to stick to his principles, damn the cost to anyone else. And the jury lets him walk free. In real life, even if he managed to escape a criminal conviction, he’d spend the rest of his life facing civil cases seeking every dollar he’d even look at, let alone own.

  111. #111 sng
    February 9, 2009

    knob goblin,

    I’m dubious. But I’ll read since that could just be ignorance on my part. Should be interesting in any case.

  112. #112 Ted Herrlich
    February 9, 2009

    At least you let us mention Ann Coulter. I’m not sure I could post anyplace that didn’t let me say what I thought about the bombastic and factually-challenged AC.

  113. #113 Bob Vogel
    February 9, 2009

    Does anybody know anything about the 650 scientists who have apparently challenged the IPCC report on global warming? The denialists are having a heyday with this, calling it proof the entire phenomenon is a ‘liberal scam’. Who are these scientists, what is the background behind it, and is there any weight to what they are saying? I can’t seem to find anything on the net refuting them. They claim that the IPCC report is based on flawed science with poor peer-review. They’re even saying info on the Woods Hole website is flawed. Perhaps this is old news but most of this seems to have come out only last month.

    http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/money/650-scientists-debunk-un-global-warming-report-352301/

    Although I am one of the many lurkers, I appreciate this blog a great deal and it always shares my morning coffee.

  114. #114 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 9, 2009

    Does anybody know anything about the 650 scientists who have apparently challenged the IPCC report on global warming?

    Are any of them named Steve….

  115. #115 Ken Cope
    February 9, 2009

    Movies adaptations can never “do justice” to their source material. They’re completely different experiences. Except when they do it right, nobody ever visualizes like I do…

    Oh, any discussion of Rorschach and Steve Ditko will have to wait for another thread where certain topics aren’t explicitly prohibited.

  116. #116 mikecbraun
    February 9, 2009

    First, Tulse @ #46: Post of the decade for me, I think. That was funny and clever and shit.
    Second, pertaining to Barnes and Noble, which I saw mentioned earlier: I saw a sign at B&N that denoted a “Religious Fiction” section, and I laughed so hard, my balls nearly came off. I love redundancy love redundancy. I’m having Spam, Spam, Spam and Spam.

  117. #117 JWC
    February 9, 2009

    One big question I’ve always had about evolution is DNA. Where did it come from? It seems like an incredibly complex system. What are its precursors? Were there any false starts? How could a protein start making copies of itself? Do any other proteins make copies? Are there any animals that use things-not-RNA to carry genetic code?

    Some good links would be appreciated. I’m no biologist, so I’m trusting you guys to vet it for me.

  118. #118 jokermage
    February 9, 2009

    The only thing I can contribute to this thread is http://www.brokenpicturetelephone.com/

  119. #119 Daniel
    February 9, 2009

    @#67

    The Central Valley of California is not a friendly place for atheist, gays, any political party that is not Republican, etc. Tulare Co. voted 75% for Prop 8.

    Take my last boss for example. Kept trying to get my wife and I to go to his church and said I needed NEEDED to see Fireproof. I just nodded and mostly ignored him. Any suggests on how I should approach this in my future workplace encounters of the preaching kind?

  120. #120 Mike in Ontario, NY
    February 9, 2009

    I loved “Fountainhead”. Howard Roark is my favorite fictional character. I hope this doesn’t get me banned for life.
    I used to be a lefty-libertarian, until I realized that I prefer infrastructure maintenance to the alternative.

    Anyone want to swap stories of adult friends or family that got Jesus crazy, and became LESS ethical because of it? Before finding Jayzuz, my mom was a wonderful and loving person who didn’t care WHO you slept with, what your politics are, or where you were born. Now she’s become, over the span of 7 years, a homophobic, ultraconservative, close minded anti-immigrant godbot. I blame her second husband, 70 IQ and all. The man of one book, indeed. He thinks Jimmy Carter is the great satan.

  121. #121 davem
    February 9, 2009

    Alex @ 35: From urbandictionary,com:

    London Bridge was downed by fire. When someone makes your “London Bridge fall down”, they are making you very hot. (sexual)

    In the song by Fergie of the same name the music starts with fire sirens.
    “How come everytime you come around my London Bridge wanna go down?” equates “How come everytime I see you I wanna get off?”

  122. #122 pdferguson
    February 9, 2009

    In a side note, I went to Borders and their atheism section was sparse and most of the books seemed overpriced. Plus it seemed like people were leaving books on Narcissism and dreams and other crap. Anyone else run into anything like that?

    Yes, and this raises a question I’ve been pondering. What happened to the momentum of publishing books about atheism? After the rather unexpected success of Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and others, there’s been a dearth of new mainstream titles since then. Clearly there was reader demand on the subject, but it seems no one is writing or publishing anything new. These books were instrumental in changing the conversation about atheism among people who might not otherwise be exposed to these ideas. It would be a real shame to see that effort just fade away because there’s still much more to be done.

    Do you agree with this? Has the publishing industry just moved on to other things? Has the subject been beaten to death, with nothing new to say? Or have you found any recent books that are as compelling or thought provoking?

  123. #123 E.V.
    February 9, 2009

    This is like an opera in an echo chamber.

  124. #124 tacitus
    February 9, 2009

    Would anyone dare to show a scene like this (from the fantastic British comedy show, Outnumbered) on primetime American TV:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQak6ng0RXQ

  125. #125 RedGreenInBlue
    February 9, 2009

    Another sickening topic is economics. I freaking hate it when clueless people talk about socialism, capitalism, communism, tax cuts or how the market works. And by clueless people I mean pretty much everyone who uses internet.

    Hmm… I find economics sickening mainly because on the whole it seems not to have taken into account that our planet is finite.

  126. #126 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    February 9, 2009

    Open thread? Is that like an open relationship? I hope so, because otherwise I’ve been cheating on you with Phil Plait and Wonkette.

  127. #127 designsoda
    February 9, 2009

    There’s a lot of hostility towards libertarianism here, wow. I’m assuming it’s just hostility towards the fiscal side of libertarianism, right? Presumably the liberals here would be for the social side of it.

    A cancer? More damage than religious nuts?

    I guess being against warrantless wiretaps and being anti-torture is pretty horrible.

    It’s odd being in a position where I’m assumed irrational by default. As if libertarianism were so obviously wrong that it should reside alongside religious nutjobbery, astrology, and alchemy.

    For what it’s worth I recommend the following website:
    http://www.theartofthepossible.net/about/

    “Reasonable people can have intellectually honest disagreements regarding some issues; for example, to what extent and when should the government regulate the economy? There are other issues, however, where all reasonable people stand on one side; for instance, should the government torture people?

    The Bush administration has been extreme enough in its authoritarianism, flagrant law breaking, and flouting of basic human rights norms to cause fractures in the old GOP coalition. There is now the possibility of new political alliances forming. Speaking broadly, it may be that many of the factions in the Democratic Party, and some of the factions that call themselves ?libertarian,? collectively represent a kind of loose anti-authoritarian coalition, or rather, the possibility of one. This site aims to facilitate conversation among those factions.”

  128. #128 Mrs Tilton
    February 9, 2009

    Reading for comprehension isn’t your strong suit, eh bigjohn? Libertarians are as welcome to comment in this thread as anybody else. Libertarians, and everybody else, have been asked to refrain from the discussions of libert*rianism that have been spreading like cancers through completely unrelated threads lately.

    But enough of that, let’s focus on what’s truly important. You Green Day fans upthread? Do you remember the scene in High Fidelity where the sweetnatured dweebish record-store clerk tells a Green Day fan that she should really try listening to Stiff Little Fingers? That was excellent advice.

    I expect Denker and Africangenesis will be along any moment now to tell us how the lyrics of “Suspect Device” prove that global warming is a monstrous fraud and conspiracy.

  129. #129 Muffin
    February 9, 2009

    What! Where am I supposed to speculate wildly on what the lovechild of Ron Paul and Ayn Rand would look like now? :)

    …just kidding. ;)

  130. #130 Mike in Ontario, NY
    February 9, 2009

    I loved “Fountainhead”. Howard Roark is my favorite fictional character. I hope this doesn’t get me banned for life.
    I used to be a lefty-libertarian, until I realized that I prefer infrastructure maintenance to the alternative.

    Anyone want to swap stories of adult friends or family that got Jesus crazy, and became LESS ethical because of it? Before finding Jayzuz, my mom was a wonderful and loving person who didn’t care WHO you slept with, what your politics are, or where you were born. Now she’s become, over the span of 7 years, a homophobic, ultraconservative, close minded anti-immigrant godbot. I blame her second husband, 70 IQ and all. The man of one book, indeed. He thinks Jimmy Carter is the great satan.

  131. #131 Holbach
    February 9, 2009

    John3:16 @ 82

    Good man Richard Fortey. Have his “Earth: An Intimate History”, and “Life: A Natural History Of the First Four Billion Years Of Life On Earth.” And Trilobite.
    Check out the first two titles; good stuff there.

  132. #132 BigZ
    February 9, 2009

    “Has the subject been beaten to death, with nothing new to say?”

    I kinda think so, at least in the direction those books took it to.

    Now we know about Athiesm, and that it is ok to be so. The next bunch of books should be, ‘So, now what do we do with this?’

    Local to me (Michigan), the churches are still outperforming us on community building, and charity work.

  133. #133 JWC
    February 9, 2009

    #113: it seems that some people are looking at the supposedly linear relationship between CO2 and global mean temperature and finding it lacking; myself included. I just don’t see how they can look at the data and come up with a simple relationship. But that’s what you hear all the time: more CO2 = higher temperatures. I’ve never heard a comprehensive theory for a complex relationship between CO2 and temp.

    Retired senior NASA atmospheric scientist, Dr. John S. Theon: “I appreciate the opportunity to add my name to those who disagree that global warming is man made … I was, in effect, Hansen?s supervisor because I had to justify his funding, allocate his resources, and evaluate his results”

    http://joannenova.com.au/2009/01/28/the-turning-point%E2%80%94its-becoming-chic-to-be-a-skeptic/

  134. #134 'Tis Himself
    February 9, 2009

    Movies adaptations can never “do justice” to their source material. They’re completely different experiences. Except when they do it right, nobody ever visualizes like I do…

    I disagree. The Maltese Falcon with Bogart, Greenstreet and Lorre did justice to Dashiell Hammet’s short novel. Also the David Jason/Michelle Dockery Hogfather did justice to Pratchett’s book.

  135. #135 mikecbraun
    February 9, 2009

    @ pdferguson, #122:
    There is the book, “Society without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment,” by Phil Zuckerman. PZ mentioned this one not too long ago, so I asked at Barnes & Noble if they had it. They did not, and I didn’t feel like ordering it at that moment. What I thought was cool was that a B&N worker, not the one who had looked up the book for me, came over to the computer and started reading about the book, obviously interested. I took that as a good sign of public desire for more of these books. However, it was a bit disheartening that they didn’t have it in stock in mass quantities. I suppose when you’ve got limited shelf space in a horrible economy, you need to stuff as many copies of “The Secret” or whatever piece of shit is flying off the shelves into your store.

  136. #136 SEF
    February 9, 2009

    anyone here read Richard Fortey? i’m reading trilobite now

    I’ve read it. It’s rubbish. Full of dull literary references and anecdotes, with very little science or enough detail about all the species of trilobites. A great disappointment for someone who likes reference books and despises biographies and soap operas. However, if instead you’re a human who likes humans, it’s probably just your sort of thing.

  137. #137 BigZ
    February 9, 2009

    Lets not forget the Lord of the Rings movies.

  138. #138 Dark Matter
    February 9, 2009

    PZ, you are the man. If libertarians want to rant incoherently, there’s all of 4chan for them to play in.

    All I can contribute to the thread is the same question I asked in another: I’m attending a talk hosted by the university nontheists’ group this week, where a couple of bio professors and a bio anthro professor will discuss myths and misconceptions associated with evolution. There’s going to be a long Q&A afterwards, and I’m pretty excited about it, but I’m not sure where to start. What are some good questions to ask qualified academic types about evolution?

  139. #139 Ricky Gremlin
    February 9, 2009

    SUSPECT DEVICE! Great song. Great band. Still around too!

    I am excited for Green Day’s “21st Century Breakdown” because its rare anymore to have a “big” band attack religion. Bille Joe Armstrong, the lead singer, has said that they will probably lose fans over the content of this record. Hells yeah.

  140. #140 Holbach
    February 9, 2009

    xebecs @ 99

    Thanks for the link. Good stuff in there!

  141. #141 PZ Myers
    February 9, 2009

    Somite, Miguelito, Porco Dio, and Mike in Ontario have been lined up against the wall and taken care of. It’s looking like an abbatoir out there!

    Libertarians would normally be as free to talk about their obsession as anyone else, but lately, they’ve been abusing the public service of the comment threads I provide. They are free-riders and parasites upon the system, and I’ve got to start taking active steps to protect MY (and it is all about me, me, me) individual liberty by asserting my ownership of the site. So there.

  142. #142 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    February 9, 2009

    as hostile to dissent

    I didn’t realize that you were a creationist, JCR.

  143. #143 designsoda
    February 9, 2009

    ” I’ve got to start taking active steps to protect MY (and it is all about me, me, me) individual liberty by asserting my ownership of the site. So there.”

    That is your right as the owner of the site.

  144. #144 (No) Free Lunch
    February 9, 2009

    JWC

    Great questions. You should become a scientist to work on them along with others who are doing it already. There is some evidence about this series of questions, but not enough to answer in any definitive manner — the biggest problem is that life covered its tracks after it took over the world.

  145. #145 Endor
    February 9, 2009

    “How did you choose to exclude libertarians from your discussions? Pretty arbitrary if you ask me. I assume, however, that you will continue your usual ultra-liberal ranting and vicious dissing of anything centrist or conservative.”

    FFS, PZ asked that this one thread not get turned into an “I’m more goth than you”* libertarian thread because that’s been happening too often lately (which wouldn’t seem so “arbitrary” had you READ THE POST) and y’all start acting like he’s lobbying the Fed. Gov’t to transport you to Gitmo.

    But, I’m sure hyperbole and whining is totally going to chance his mind.

    * – I saw Libertarianism defined once as “being goth for adults”.

  146. #146 ???
    February 9, 2009

    I’ve got to start taking active steps to protect MY (and it is all about me, me, me) individual liberty by asserting my ownership of the site.

    You own Seed Media?

  147. #147 Hitchhiker
    February 9, 2009

    “It reminds me of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy where scientists and engineers tell managers and politicians that a space goat will eat their planet and they must board a ship and leave…they’ll be right behind them.”

    Yeah, and remember what happened to that society? I think there’s a caution there that identifying all the useless people is a little tricky.

  148. #148 Ken Cope
    February 9, 2009

    @134, you missed my disclaimer at the end of what you quoted, the point of which was to observe that judgments about the success of an adaptation is pretty subjective–adaptations always do it wrong unless they make it look like I imagined it would. The story on The Maltese Falcon I heard was that on Friday John Warner demanded a shooting script by Monday, and John Huston had nothing of the sort, so he had his secretary transcribe all the dialogue in the book verbatim and clean it up in standard shooting script format. Warner approved it, and that’s what they shot.

  149. #149 Mrs Tilton
    February 9, 2009

    RGIB @125,

    economics … seems not to have taken into account that our planet is finite

    ???

    There are a lot of objections one can level at economists, but the discipline is pretty much defined by the idea that our planet is finite. Economists often describe their field as “the study of human choices in a world of scarcity”, and whatever I might think about the ideas of some of those economists, that description strikes me as dead right.

    Now, you might think that the choices many or even most economists argue are optimal in such a world are dead wrong; but in a world full of cornucopia machines, economists would be the first ones to tell you that economics had no further meaning.

  150. #150 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    February 9, 2009

    I’m assuming it’s just hostility towards the fiscal side of libertarianism, right?

    Right.

  151. #151 KI
    February 9, 2009

    re:Watchmen movie
    While I would guess that 90% of adaptations suck, one can always hope for art. “The Wizard of Oz” was a pretty good movie adaptation (even though the symbolism of the silver slippers was lost) and “Lord of the Rings” was pretty close, but took nine hours to do it! That, I think, is the problem: a movie just isn’t long enough to get as deep as literature, so I guess we just have to suck it up and fill in the blanks in our own heads.

  152. #152 RedGreenInBlue
    February 9, 2009

    Rather tenuous link, but since we were told not to mention l************m, I’d be interested to know what any l*********ns here think of the Transition Towns movement? (One sentence summary: communities tackle the so-called “twin crises” of peak oil and climate change by democratically devising their own path to local self-reliance, and therefore independence from future oil price shocks and consequent disruptions to global supply chains, independent of local or national government involvement.)

    It started in the UK but apparently there’s quite a following now in the USA.

    Does this project sound like a path to Utopia or communism by stealth, in your opinion?

  153. #153 Kobra
    February 9, 2009

    *Glosses over the entire comment thread.*

    Libertarians are trolling your blog? Lame. They’re essentially anarchists without any sense of realism.

    And Ayn Rand? Snore.

  154. #154 Peter Ashby
    February 9, 2009

    @Valis
    Seconded on Blind Faith I reckon some large inadequately trousered person did back into Ben Elton in an eatery to photograph some other gathering. That piece had too much verisimilitude not to be true. One for the Twitter generation to read and think about I think, a cautionary tale on where too much narcissism will get you.

  155. #155 SEF
    February 9, 2009

    Genes for brown eyes are dominant over blue, etc.

    It’s more complicated than that – though it certainly matters how much pigment (and of what types) one makes. NB On a non-controversial topic, it’s usually worth starting by checking whether wikipedia seems to have something sensible:

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

    not least because these days it tends to be quite good at linking to external “sources” and further info.

  156. #156 blf
    February 9, 2009

    Does anybody know anything about the 650 scientists who have apparently challenged the IPCC report on global warming?

    Is that Senator ?Turd? Inhole’s list? If so, just head over to Deltoid here on SciBlogs, and you’ll find lots of rebuttal material. (To start with, it isn’t 650, more like c.601 (there are double-counts), some of the people on the list have asked Inhole to remove them and he’s refused, and most of the people on the list are not climatologists.) Also check out denialism blog (also here on SciBlogs).

  157. #157 Matt
    February 9, 2009

    PZ, curious, is this a new rule for all Phrangyula threads from now on?

    By all means, you have the right.

  158. #158 Bob Vogel
    February 9, 2009

    @133 – Thanks for that link.

  159. #159 mikecbraun
    February 9, 2009

    Ha! PZ just turned the liber..*mumble**mumble*..ans’ bullshit on its own head. “It’s all about individual freedom, man!” But then they whine if someone else tries to exercise their individual freedom in a way that the liber…*mumble*..an disagrees with. It’s fascism-lite. Large government bodies or bloggers don’t have the right to say what you can and can’t do with or on their propery, only liber…*mumble* can do that. Only the individual matters, as long as that individual is a… *mumble*. I think I avoided certain execution there.

  160. #160 MikeM
    February 9, 2009

    Well, I’ve been waiting for this moment. I’ve already emailed PZ about this, and if he read it, great, if not, no big deal.

    I’m no longer going to post here. This is my last. My problem is that I have failed to engage. I make a post, then go away for 6 hours, only to find that people have responded… But I have no time to engage.

    This is a great blog. I agree with at least 90% of what PZ says; sometimes even his social commentary is too much for me. The science part, fine. The econ part, well, sometimes fine. I’m glad Obama won, I’m glad science is winning, I wish PZ could see that higher taxes are only sometimes a good solution.

    So, that’s it for me. I’m proud to have rubbed elbows for about 3 years now. This is my favorite science blog, for sure. I love rational thought. But since I have not done a good job of engaging, I’ve decided to become part of the woodwork.

    See you later.

    PZ, if people really, really, really want to contact me, well, you have my email address.

  161. #161 Holbach
    February 9, 2009

    SEF @ 136

    Not liking “Trilobite”, have you read Fortey’s two other books I mentioned at # 131 ?

  162. #162 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 9, 2009

    You own Seed Media?

    No he doesn’t (as far as I know) but I’m curious how you think that is some sort of clever point?

  163. #163 SC, OM
    February 9, 2009

    I’ve been meaning to mention this for a bit now. In January, AAAS launched the Science and Human Rights Coalition. Here are two articles about it:

    “Scientists Come Out for Human Rights”:

    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090209/shah

    “Making Human Rights More Scientific”:

    http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/01/19/rights

    maybe we’ll just turn on ourselves…

    I fear I’ve already driven negentropyeater away. :( And that was with them around. Sorry, neg – hope to see your comments again soon.

  164. #164 Joshua BA
    February 9, 2009

    #125:

    Hmm… I find economics sickening mainly because on the whole it seems not to have taken into account that our planet is finite.

    That always got to me too. It always seems that economists?both professional and armchair?are incapable, while considering economic issues, of being pragmatic or, all too often, compassionate.

  165. #165 Watchman
    February 9, 2009

    Did somebody say “Ben Elton”? Stark fan here.

  166. #166 Valis
    February 9, 2009

    I reckon some large inadequately trousered person did back into Ben Elton in an eatery to photograph some other gathering.

    Happens to me all the time ;-)

  167. #167 knob goblin
    February 9, 2009

    I guess being against warrantless wiretaps and being anti-torture is pretty horrible.

    Also did you know that only multinational corporations support puppies and rainbows? It’s true!

  168. #168 Jim
    February 9, 2009

    I’m sorry to hear no libertarianism, and I would obviously strenuously disagree with equating it to religious fundamentalism/evangelicalism. Please ban people who abuse the comment system, and not just a blanket ban on a political perspective.

  169. #169 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2009

    I think I avoided certain execution there.

    That’s what the pillory is for, cases like this.;-)

  170. #170 ???
    February 9, 2009

    No he doesn’t (as far as I know) but I’m curious how you think that is some sort of clever point?

    Seed Media owns ScienceBlogs, and by extension, Pharyngula.

    Therefore, in order to “own this site”, one would also have to own Seed Media.

  171. #171 Ken Cope
    February 9, 2009

    @151, You might be able to tell I’m an Oz fan, but more of the books (which I own a few of in first editions) the film. The movie is an integral part of our culture, just like the book had been for nearly forty years, but the notion that the book had anything to do with populism (SILVER slippers and a yellow GOLD brick road) is mere constellation * by an academic named Henry Littlefield from the 80s. Baum was never even close to being a populist. Oh, and some books just scream for editors and editing, which movies can provide. I just don’t really miss the excision of Tom Bomabdil and Goldberry, but then, I’m a heretic.

    * (an excerpt from the Brian Moriarty presentation I linked to above):

    Contellation. It’s usually used as a noun, referring to pictures in the the sky created by stars.

    But I use it as a verb to describe one of the basic functions of human intelligence.

    Constellation is pattern recognition.

    To constellate is to apply order to chaos.

    When faced with any kind of new experience, be it images or sounds or even just a strange idea, we marshall our personal knowledge and experience and project it into the novelty to imbue it with meaning and significance.

    And what kinds of meaning and significance are we most likely to project?

    The meanings we expect to recognize.

    The significance we want to see.

    Constellation is, in fact, a form of self-recognition.

    So what kinds of experiences are most likely to invoke the principle of constellation?

    The ones with the most novelty.

    Rich experiences. Complex experiences.

    Experiences that encourage you to discover relationships, to synthesize juxtapositions.

  172. #172 Ian
    February 9, 2009

    Libert…ine!

    Ha! Fooled you. I didn’t say it.

    librarianism

    Ha! Got you again. You can’t touch me.

    Libert…y Bell!

    Ha! Got you again.

    Oh I’m bored with this. Let’s try something completely different.

    Ayn Stein!

    Ha ha! Never said it.

    Kruger Rand.

    Ha! Still didn’t say it.

    This is no good. Why doesn’t someone start an open thread so we can say whatever we want?!

  173. #173 JJR
    February 9, 2009

    “…Anyone want to swap stories of adult friends or family that got Jesus crazy, and became LESS ethical because of it?”

    I don’t know about less ethical but I certainly know of a case where the person ended up trashing their formerly gifted intellect. This person was the former spouse of a High School friend (and graduate of the same school, a couple of classes ahead of ours). She graduated with honors from the local state university, in Russian Studies, had even studied abroad in Moscow. She married, had 2 kids, “found God”, her husband fooled around on her, got divorced. She now has completely forgotten Russian, I don’t even know if she can read Cyrillic anymore. She used to be very bright and sharp, but her brains have turned to mush since she found Jebus….she’s simple minded, almost childlike–just like her good book says she should be. *groan* She told me in a letter that she was teaching her 4 year old daughter how Jesus died for her sins, too. That was stomach churning.

    I eventually broke off contact with this person because it was just too sad to read news from her. She’s such a shadow of her former self. It’s sad to see such a promising intellect extinguished by the dumbing-down effect of religion.

    Her Ex-husband, who ran around on her, has remarried and is just as Jesus-y as ever. But at least they seem mostly harmless.

  174. #174 designsoda
    February 9, 2009

    Also did you know that only multinational corporations support puppies and rainbows? It’s true!

    Did you know all libertarians think giant corporations are the result of lack of government intervention AND are great for society?

    Oh, wait. They don’t.

  175. #175 AnthonyK
    February 9, 2009

    I’d really like to talk about something I have very strong opinions on, but zero knowledge.
    It’ll be something that really annoys everyone, completely derails the thread, pisses PZ off, makes people swear, and gets someone like me to come in with smartass, snarky comments.
    And in the end it should leave everyone a lot crosser but no wiser. What’ll it be?
    Decisions, decisions.

  176. #176 knob goblin
    February 9, 2009

    Seed Media owns ScienceBlogs, and by extension, Pharyngula.

    Therefore, in order to “own this site”, one would also have to own Seed Media.

    Seed owns the Scienceblogs server. PZ owns Pharyngula. It’s the difference between physical property and copyright.

  177. #177 Bob Vogel
    February 9, 2009

    Posted by: blf | February 9, 2009 2:11 PM

    Does anybody know anything about the 650 scientists who have apparently challenged the IPCC report on global warming?

    “Is that Senator ?Turd? Inhole’s list? If so, just head over to Deltoid here on SciBlogs, and you’ll find lots of rebuttal material. (To start with, it isn’t 650, more like c.601 (there are double-counts), some of the people on the list have asked Inhole to remove them and he’s refused, and most of the people on the list are not climatologists.) Also check out denialism blog (also here on SciBlogs).”…………thanks for this!

  178. #178 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2009

    ???, PZ is responsible for this site and gets paid to operate it. What is your problem? He makes his policies.

  179. #179 designsoda
    February 9, 2009

    completely derails the thread

    Open threads can be derailed?

  180. #180 ???
    February 9, 2009

    PZ is responsible for this site and gets paid to operate it.

    Then he can’t own it can he?

  181. #181 gypsytag
    February 9, 2009

    #141 Mike from Ontario – PZ you forgot to add NY.
    I was wondering how a canadian could actually be a libertarian. you know with health care and all. i was thinking that perhaps mike had never been sick or in a car accident. that usually resolves any questions regarding whether or not health care is a good thing.
    But alas he’s from NY. And i suspect he’s never been sick or in a car accident. Its always me me me when you believe you’re immortal.

  182. #182 AnthonyK
    February 9, 2009

    I know!
    I had God’s mum and she was shite.
    Amyone else here fucked a deitity’s mother and been less than overwhelmed by the experience?
    Do share.

  183. #183 Jason
    February 9, 2009

    RedGreenIsBlue; I hate to break it to you, but Peak Oil has been a left wing movement long before liber——s started to figure it out. They have only hopped aboard and tried to hijack it in wake of the coming economic collapse; something that the (left wing/environmentalist) peak oil movement has been aware of long before liber——s learned who Peter Schiff was (who is still nowhere near as correct as Michael Hudson on the issue – who defines, accurately, what we are likely to see beyond ‘dollar crash and hyperinflation,’ but international non dollar denominated bartering agreements and a 90′s Russian style rentier kleptocracy).
    That said, transition towns could be a great idea (especially as few people will be able to afford a car or the commute to/from suburbia following oil shocks and/or a dollar crash), but would likely take a full scale political movement to get it to work (which seems unlikely).
    Also, with respect to the pharynguloids, one really has to take concern that extremist right wing religious movements are going to try and exploit the collapse of the US (dollar, but will trigger a larger collapse, obviously); and move right on to scapegoating gays and atheists and intellectuals and minorities. I see this as the biggest problem in the near future.
    http://www.opednews.com/articles/It-s-Not-Going-to-Be-OK-by-Chris-Hedges-090204-967.html

  184. #184 Happyrabo
    February 9, 2009

    I must confess, that for two years I was a card-carrying, dues-paying member of the Libertarian Party. Then I grew up.

  185. #185 AnthonyK
    February 9, 2009

    To be specific it was actually Mohammed’s mom and she was shi-ite.
    Sorry

  186. #186 Johnny Walker Purple
    February 9, 2009

    Just when I was beginning to wonder if our relationship had lost it’s spark you go and write something as touching and heartwarming as this. It reminds me why I subscribed to you in the first place.
    ;)

  187. #187 SEF
    February 9, 2009

    @ #161

    have you read Fortey’s two other books I mentioned at # 131

    You hadn’t posted your #131 when I was replying (to an older version of the thread). I wouldn’t be inclined to bother with anything else by Fortey after the dire waste of my time which was Trilobite (he could hardly have had a better chance of making a good impression with a favourite subject only to blow it utterly). I’d have to be stuck somewhere with nothing better to do and someone else’s copy of a book in order to even consider trying anything else by him.

  188. #188 knob goblin
    February 9, 2009

    We defend the right of individuals to form corporations, cooperatives and other types of companies based on voluntary association. We seek to divest government of all functions that can be provided by non-governmental organizations or private individuals. We oppose government subsidies to business, labor, or any other special interest. Industries should be governed by free markets.

  189. #189 Matthew Pickard
    February 9, 2009

    I love death metal, punk rock. Laughing at the religious. And lifting weights. Wish my knees could still skate or snowboard. Sucks to be in your late 30′s.

  190. #190 blf
    February 9, 2009

    Hansen never reported to Theon who retired from Nasa c.15 years ago. It’s not clear if Theon has kept up with the changes and advances which have been made in modelling in general, or climatic modelling in particular, since retiring.

    Also see So who is John S Theon?

  191. #191 AnthonyK
    February 9, 2009

    Hey why can’t we discuss librarians?

  192. #192 AJ Milne
    February 9, 2009

    To be specific it was actually Mohammed’s mom and she was shi-ite.

    Booooo…

    So God’s talking to St. Peter about where he should go on vacation. SP suggests Earth. God makes a face, sez no way.

    “What’s wrong with Earth?” asks SP.

    “Buncha busybodies,” says God. “Can’t mind their own business. Last time I was there was 2,000 years ago. I fooled around with this Jewish woman… And they’re still talking about it.”

    (/Yes, it’s really old. But deserved.)

  193. #193 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 9, 2009

    Seed Media owns ScienceBlogs, and by extension, Pharyngula.

    Therefore, in order to “own this site”, one would also have to own Seed Media.

    Demonstrate that seed media “owns” Pharyngula.

  194. #194 AnthonyK
    February 9, 2009

    I’ll tell you what makes my blood boil – crematoriums

  195. #195 Walton
    February 9, 2009

    I find it ironic that since this thread was specifically declared a “no libertarianism” zone, most of the discussion has been about libertarianism. However, I, for once, am not going to talk about it. I don’t feel like getting banned.

    Rather, I want to apologise to Professor Myers and others for my role in the unnecessary politicisation of threads. I dodn’t intend to; but I’m very passionate about politics, and sometimes I derail discussions when I shouldn’t. I’m sorry for that.

    In my defence, I am someone who has serious difficulty with social and interpersonal skills, both online and in real life. I’ve made no secret of this (indeed I’ve perhaps been too open here about my personal characteristics, but it doesn’t really matter). But I offer it by way of explanation for the fact that I piss people off sometimes without meaning to, and make controversial political statements when it isn’t really appropriate.

    I honestly don’t really know why I keep coming here. But I do, and I’ll try to keep the political rants within reasonable limits in future.

  196. #196 speedwell
    February 9, 2009

    Anyone want to swap stories of adult friends or family that got Jesus crazy, and became LESS ethical because of it?

    Oh, boy. My dad used to be agnostic, if that. he used to joke, in the hearing of children and other ignoramuses, that he believed in “Spinoza’s God.” He would take us to church on Sunday for our social and moral good (sic), and somewhere along the way he made himself popular enough to be elected an elder of the church. Out of what I can only call a misplaced sense of loyalty and honor, he started to take the crap seriously, and by the time he died, the church was basically his whole social circle and he was starting to get into books by those God-fucking-damned child-bothering charismatic evangelist liars. He got insufferably judgmental, hypercritical, and intolerant, and could not be soothed in the hospital unless some moron was praying over him. My brother, who actually goes to John Hagee’s Cornerstone gigachurch, obliged with a grimace; Bro actually does not like Lord High Pastor Hagee and quit the church soon after Dad died. Mom went charismatic before she died and refused treatment for her breast cancer. Bro’s mother-in-law is drowning in her overly-beloved Virgen de Guadalupe as she gets older. He is starting to get sick and tired of seeing religion devour old people. There may be hope for him yet. :)

  197. #197 designsoda
    February 9, 2009

    We defend the right of individuals to form corporations, cooperatives and other types of companies based on voluntary association. We seek to divest government of all functions that can be provided by non-governmental organizations or private individuals. We oppose government subsidies to business, labor, or any other special interest. Industries should be governed by free markets.

    I agree with this whole-heartedly. I just don’t think corporations of the size we see today would survive without government help (see cronyism, bailouts, subsidies, tariffs, and regulations that prevent competition).

    http://www.cato-unbound.org/2008/11/10/roderick-long/corporations-versus-the-market-or-whip-conflation-now/

    Keep conflating libertarianism with crony capitalism and corporatism though. Your little jabs are top notch.

  198. #198 Holbach
    February 9, 2009

    DS @ 71

    Yeah, I watched the Couric interview and fumed at that remark of hers. I wish he had said, “Pray”? Why didn’t this imaginary god of yous prevent the birds from being sucked into the engines, or instead of having to land on the Hudson, why couldn’t it put the plane down gently on the Sheep Meadow in Central Park”? “Back off with that insane crap; I’m a real pilot with his reason intact and don’t believe in your demented drivel. You want to interview retards, then go to St Patricks cathedral, and you and the retards can gush on crap till you puke. Fuck off and take your god with you”.
    That felt good.

  199. #199 AJ Milne
    February 9, 2009

    So these two Pharyngula posters walked into a bar…

    You’d think one of them would have seen it.

  200. #200 gypsytag
    February 9, 2009

    you know what we really need to have a thread on is the new age religion conspiracy theorists.

    you know the Zeitgeist people with the 9/11, illuminati and federal reserve thingy. damn that stuff is good!!!

    one of the prophets puts that sutff on youtube under the name aodscarecrow.

  201. #201 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 9, 2009

    I’ll tell you what makes my blood boil – crematoriums

    Not if you’ve got a good mortician

  202. #202 llewelly
    February 9, 2009

    I impose one restriction: no libertarianism. It’s a cancer that is taking over way too many threads, and I’m contemplating making it grounds for banning, as it’s the same thing as the godbotting evangelical stuff. I’ll delete anything that goes down that tiresome road in this thread.

    Did you want to spend the next 36 hours moderating this one thread?

    Expect protestations of censorship and claim that you threatened innocent libertarians with violence.

  203. #203 RickD
    February 9, 2009

    @36,147

    IIRC, the story was that there were going to be three ships, one for the middle class, one for the upper class, and one for the working class. The middle class was sent out first, and then the people left on the planet snickered joyously and prospered in their absence.

    What happened to the middle class? Well they landed on this planet populated by Neanderthals who, in spite of Arthur Dent’s travails, just didn’t want to learn how to use tools. So the middle class from this other planet crowded out the native humanoids, and ended up being the ancestors of the human race.

    It’s one of my favorite creation myths by far.

  204. #204 ???
    February 9, 2009

    Demonstrate that seed media “owns” Pharyngula.

    It’s on ScienceBlogs, isn’t it?

  205. #205 speedwell
    February 9, 2009

    Keep conflating libertarianism with crony capitalism and corporatism though. Your little jabs are top notch.

    FFS, there is such a thing as “ruining it for everyone,” you know. When PZ is writing about his and other people’s misconceptions about what the big-and/or-little L is, he’s NOT writing about science or atheism. Just stop, OK? Let’s start a nice, informed, rational, grown-up blog worthy of respect, and maybe PZ will link to it.

    Well, you know, it’s February, and a Norwegian colleague tells me that it’s a good time of year for Hell to freeze over… so why not.

  206. #206 Matt Heath
    February 9, 2009

    * – I saw [censored] defined once as “being goth for adults”.

    No way! I never a met a committed goth (as opposed to kids do it for a couple of months and moving on to the next thing) who did have a sense of humour about the whole thing.

  207. #207 Patricia, OM
    February 9, 2009

    Ken – Perhaps you aren’t aware of the punishment for Tolkien blasphemies? Repeat offenders are roughly booted into the Vogon Poetry Room by Bill the Galactic Hero.

  208. #208 designsoda
    February 9, 2009

    FFS, there is such a thing as “ruining it for everyone,” you know. When PZ is writing about his and other people’s misconceptions about what the big-and/or-little L is, he’s NOT writing about science or atheism. Just stop, OK? Let’s start a nice, informed, rational, grown-up blog worthy of respect, and maybe PZ will link to it.

    You’re right. My mistake.

  209. #209 fd to Walton
    February 9, 2009

    Rather, I want to apologise to Professor Myers and others for my role in the unnecessary politicisation of threads. I dodn’t intend to; but I’m very passionate about politics, and sometimes I derail discussions when I shouldn’t. I’m sorry for that.

    A fine intention for the future, but it doesn’t get you out of the rumbles you’re already embroiled in.

    Come back this way and let’s talk about your problem with Loving v. Virginia.

  210. #210 Matt
    February 9, 2009

    Jason @183, why you figger the dollar is going to collapse?

  211. #211 Mrs Tilton
    February 9, 2009

    ??? @204,

    do you have any books in your house? You do? Good. Go get one from the shelf — My Pet Goat will do.

    Now, here’s how you can make a lot of money. Have copies of the book printed up, and sell them for half what the publisher demands.

    You can totally do that, because you own the book!

  212. #212 Deepsix
    February 9, 2009

    From my local paper:
    “Clergy seek reason in creation vs. evolution fight”
    http://www.tennessean.com/article/20090207/NEWS06/902070329/1023

    From the comments:
    “To say that Darwin, who incidentally never graduated from colledge, is correct is to say the Bible and GOD is a liar, and if 161 licensed ministers in Tennessee agrees with this they should turn in their licene.”

    I’m going to go kill myself now. (no, not really)

  213. #213 Ken Cope
    February 9, 2009

    Patricia, my survival instinct quite likes Vogon Poetry, actually…

    Do you prefer your Balrogs winged or wingless?

  214. #214 Brownian
    February 9, 2009

    I honestly don’t really know why I keep coming here. But I do, and I’ll try to keep the political rants within reasonable limits in future.

    Simple. You like it here. And we like you, even if we give you the gears from time to ti–more often than no–almost all the time.

    And there’s nothing wrong with political discussions here, it’s just that when they devolve into 600+ threads full of vapid and unsupported assertions about human nature that they tend to boring and stupid.

    To those of you picking on JCR’s comment #44:
    I like that 600+ comment threads equal a silencing of dissent in JCR’s mind. It merely shows that he’s a consistent thinker (er, more specifically, that quality of this line of reasoning is completely consistent with almost every other idea he’s aired here.)

  215. #215 Watchman
    February 9, 2009

    Rick, it wasn’t the middle class, it was a group of “middle-men” – all the mid-level managers, petty bureaucrats, and others whose roles provided no real value to the society.

    I’m sure Adams could explain it better, if he were here. *sigh* That’s the best I can do off the top of my head.

  216. #216 AnthonyK
    February 9, 2009

    I used to be indecisive, but now I’m not sure…

  217. #217 Holbach
    February 9, 2009

    SEF @ 187

    Wow. So on that evaluation and conclusion, if Mark Twain’s first book, or any valued author’s, was not good, it follows that any successive book is also crap? Wow.

  218. #218 Ouchimoo
    February 9, 2009

    Coyote @ 90

    So there’s a buncha fliers hanging around my campus (Georgia Tech, in case you were curious) advertising something called “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist.”

    That’s a book. http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Have-Enough-Faith-Atheist/dp/1581345615/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1234209027&sr=8-1 One of the guys who wrote it debated Hitchen’s and a biologist that I can’t remember who he was, did a bang up job though. I saw them on Youtube I think.

    I then read the preface on Google books. The preface was pretty much “I learned so much in secular college and my professor was telling me all this stuff that was wrong with religion and stuff, but then on my last day of class I went up and asked him “Is there really no god” and my professor was all like “I’onno” so I took everything I learned and threw it out the window because it wasn’t the black and white answer I was looking for.”

    It tries using pseudo physics to explain god’s existence.

    As for the flyers . . . I’onno.

  219. #219 Nate the Great
    February 9, 2009

    Re:Watchmen movie.

    I’ve never thought the book would make a very good movie. There is very little action, and the plot is driven by flashbacks and exposition–something that doesn’t work too well in a movie. The movie adaption will have to address the lack of suspense in the book to make it work too, and the ending would not be very good with a movie, but a major let-down.

  220. #220 ???
    February 9, 2009

    do you have any books in your house? You do? Good. Go get one from the shelf — My Pet Goat will do.

    Now, here’s how you can make a lot of money. Have copies of the book printed up, and sell them for half what the publisher demands.

    You can totally do that, because you own the book!

    Nonsequitur. No one is talking about redistributing a blog. Got reading comprehension?

  221. #221 SC, OM
    February 9, 2009

    By the way, this interview on Thursday was rather interesting, especially the part when Stewart asks him when, after a black president, we’d be likely to see “woman, hispanic, gay, Jew, atheist,” and Balmer answers, “Probably in that order.”

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=217695&title=randall-balmer

  222. #222 Cloudwork
    February 9, 2009

    I recommend a book to everyone called “Land of the Headless” by Robert Adams

    Land of the Headless is set in a far future where mankind has taken his religious dogma and the divsions that result from it out into space.On a planet where society is shaped by a strict adherance to the word of God as laid out in the Old Testament and Quran a poet is accused of the rape of a woman.

    Found guilty he must face the punishment laid down in the Good Book: beheading. Beheaded, he is fitted with a neck valve, ordinator and basic sensory equipment and sent out into the world. But he bears a terrible and very visible stigma. The only way he can make a living is to join the army and serve in the war against the neighbouring planet. And plan his revenge against the man he believes is really guilty…

    “the Land of the Headless is a darkly satirical tale that extrapolates an absurd idea into something weirdly plausible. This is not escapist adventure but a dystopian vision in the tradition of Swift, Orwell and Atwood against the cruelest extremes of human stupidity.”

    “This grotesque satire of religious fundamentalism. THouroughly engrossing…deeply affecting…impressively visceral…nightmarishly gripping…fiercely intelligent. While Richard Dawkin’s THE GOD DELUSION only annoyed the faithful, this novel aims to fry their brains”

    Just started reading it, but the blurb makes it seem… Interesting.

    Anyway, the god is called “All’God” ad the book they use is called the “Bibliqu’ran”

  223. #223 Mrs Tilton
    February 9, 2009

    ??? @220,

    No one is talking about redistributing a blog. Got reading comprehension?

    Yes, dolt. Got a mind capable of grasping that there are many diferent kinds of ownership interest? Because I haven’t seen any evidence for that yet.

  224. #224 blf
    February 9, 2009

    Hey why can’t we discuss librarians?

    Ook! Ook. Ook ook, ookity ook. Ook. Eeeek! Ook ook ook, ook, ook ook. Ook.

  225. #225 knob goblin
    February 9, 2009

    (see cronyism, bailouts, subsidies, tariffs, and regulations that prevent competition).

    None of which are necessary for a monopoly to form. None of which are necessary for the rich to starve the poor.

    Keep conflating libertarianism with crony capitalism and corporatism though. Your little jabs are top notch.

    No true Scotsman supports the World Trade Organization, etc., etc. Also did you know not all Christians believe in the forgiveness of sins through Jesus’s death on the cross? Why, it’s practically a minority position.

  226. #226 Jim
    February 9, 2009

    Re: Who “owns” Pharyngula.

    Whether PZ “owns” Pharyngula or not in the way being discussed so far isn’t particularly relevant. What is relevant, and supported by libertarianism by the way, is that PZ has entered into one or more contractual relationships by which he has the right to control the content of both his works that appear on this site and also the comments left by users. Some of this is related to ownership and some of it related to rights in contract. Since I haven’t seen the contracts he’s entered into, I can’t say by what mechanism he has been granted rights by contract, but either way ??? is either trying to make an extremely limited (and irrelevant, and possibly wrong) legal point relating to PZ’s statement on ownership, or is simply uneducated as to contract law.

  227. #227 ???
    February 9, 2009

    Because I haven’t seen any evidence for that yet.

    That’s because you haven’t been looking. Got a clue?

  228. #228 Patricia, OM
    February 9, 2009

    Walton – I’ll tell you why you keep coming here.

    You enjoy a large audience for your self flagellation.

  229. #229 Kristjan Wager
    February 9, 2009

    The Catholic Church has started giving out indulgences again. Are they regressing?

  230. #230 Sven DiMilo
    February 9, 2009

    Please, let’s all stop the pointless blathering and focus on the one subject that all Pharyngula threads should discuss and explore: Walton.

  231. #231 llewelly
    February 9, 2009
    I freakin’ hate Ayn Rand.
    Michael Shermer makes her look so bad in Why People Believe Weird Things.

    What makes Ayn Rand look bad is the puerile insanity on display in books such as Atlas Shrugged . Shermer, on the other hand, wastes nearly half of the text he expends on Ayn Rand in a lame argument by adultery and jealousy. It’s true that Rand’s economic and moral philosophy was dangerous, impractical, and inconsistent (and nonobjective), but the soap opera of her personal life has nothing do with that. It’s like arguing that Clinton was a bad president because he had an affair with an intern. Furthermore, Rand’s mediocre total of two sex partners is not reasonably comparable to the numerous cult leaders who have had dozens of sex partners. Shermer makes a few good points about cult-like behavior of Rand’s followers, but when he focuses on her sex life, he just looks like a journalist for than National Enquirer .

    (Other than the bit on Ayn Rand, Why People Believe Weird Things is an excellent book. And no, PZ, I can’t follow “don’t think of an elephant” style moderation rules.)

  232. #232 ???
    February 9, 2009

    PZ has entered into one or more contractual relationships by which he has the right to control the content of both his works that appear on this site and also the comments left by users…Since I haven’t seen the contracts he’s entered into

    You know about these contractual relationships because you haven’t seen the contracts? How does that work?

  233. #233 Valis
    February 9, 2009

    …especially the part when Stewart asks him when, after a black president, we’d be likely to see “woman, hispanic, gay, Jew, atheist,” and Balmer answers, “Probably in that order.

    I am totally speechless…

  234. #234 BAllanJ
    February 9, 2009

    How very authoritarian of PZ

  235. #235 PZ Myers
    February 9, 2009

    Aaaargh. Maybe I need to start deleting stupid comments.

    I can start with anything by “???”.

  236. #236 ???
    February 9, 2009

    Maybe I need to start deleting stupid comments.

    You mean, like the one you just posted?

  237. #238 Stef_Focus
    February 9, 2009

    #109: Re: The Watchmen movie

    The movie will be coming out shortly, the legal troubles have been settled sometime in January. I do know the Black Freighter stuff will not be in the movie, so the could shorten it a bit. 3 hours is still to short I think and I didn’t hear yet that they changed the ending. (“The end, Adrian? Nothing ever ends”). We will have to watch and learn, some comic adaption work rather well for me (the new Batman movies), some less (The first Hulk? Of the recent versions I mean, not the old ones with Daredevil and Thor, they were awful too)

    As this is an anything goes thread, I just started reading Origins by C. Darwin. I’m a little overdue for that and started reading it because of a link on Pharyngula about a biology professor (?) that was an Origins virgin. Anybody else also found that a nice invitation to start?

  238. #239 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 9, 2009

    You mean, like the one you just posted?

    I know you are but what am I?

    seriously?

  239. #240 Deepsix
    February 9, 2009

    “Aaaargh. Maybe I need to start deleting stupid comments.”

    Then who are we supposed to point and laugh at? Geez, PZ, just ruin all of our fun.

  240. #241 ???
    February 9, 2009

    I know you are but what am I?

    seriously?

    The truth hurts, doesn’t it?

  241. #242 Patricia, OM
    February 9, 2009

    You like Vogon poetry?

    *backs away slowly*

  242. #243 Matt Heath
    February 9, 2009

    Maybe I need to start deleting stupid comments.
    You mean, like the one you just posted?

    ahh the “I know you are, but what am I” gambit.

  243. #244 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 9, 2009

    What a child.

  244. #245 ???
    February 9, 2009

    What a child.

    I know you are but what am I? Seriously?

  245. #246 Sven DiMilo
    February 9, 2009

    I’m rubber; you’re glue.
    Checkmate!

  246. #247 Ken Cope
    February 9, 2009

    You like Vogon poetry?

    *backs away slowly*

    Only in the sense that Ford Prefect did, when faced with the choice of claiming that he quite liked it, or exploring the airlock from its exterior.

    Speaking of airlocks, howzabout those latest eps of Battlestar Galactica?

  247. #248 Ricky Gremlin
    February 9, 2009

    I would like to know more about the evolutionary development of Walton.

  248. #249 CJO
    February 9, 2009

    Ahem. The formal name is the rubber/glue gambit. A favorite of 7-year olds and inarticulate internet trolls worldwide.

  249. #250 ???
    February 9, 2009

    I’m rubber; you’re glue.
    Checkmate!

    What a child.

  250. #251 Corey S.
    February 9, 2009

    God-forbid (not literally, of course) individual liberty, peace, and free markets. The horror. I just lost a lot of respect for you, PZ. You’re clearly as much of an ideologue as the religious bigots you despise if you consider libertarianism to be a ‘cancer.’ You obviously lack any sort of knowledge of what libertarianism is.

    The richest countries in the world are the most free market oriented (check out the Economic Freedom Report of the World).

    If you take an objectively look at the track record of capitalist societies vs. socialist ‘worker’ societies, it’s clear that one type of society brings prosperity for all, and the other brings poverty, slavery, starvation, and death. China, the Ukraine, the USSR, Cambodia, North Korea are legitimate examples of what happens under socialist regimes.

    Facts are not debatable.

  251. #252 Joshua BA
    February 9, 2009

    I often hear people talking about ideas and their expression as if they were tangible objects to be owned. This has always confounded me. Can anyone who believes that you should be able to own ideas and their expression explain to me why they believe that and why anyone else should (as well as, if possible, why it is a greater social good than allowing the free dissemination of ideas is a social good)?

    I have asked around and the answers all seem to come down to a very unsatisfying and unconvincing variant of “I am greedy” (eg. “why should other people get to use MY idea” or “If my idea is useful I should be able to control it’s use and be compensated”). What good does it serve to limit the use of ideas? I understand that a lot of material is produced because of artificial, government backed, threat of force based monopolies on the expression of ideas, but quite frankly, the loss of those works would not largely impact society at large and for the works who’s loss would provide an impact, the commissioning needed works could be practiced.

  252. #253 spurge
    February 9, 2009

    @ Stef_Focus #238

    They are putting out an Animated “The Black Freighter” direct to DVD.

    http://www.cinematical.com/2008/05/26/tales-of-the-black-freighter-getting-dvd-release/

  253. #254 Facilllis
    February 9, 2009

    …but how do you KNOW he owns the blog?

  254. #255 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 9, 2009

    …but how do you KNOW he owns the blog?

    nice

  255. #256 Ken Cope
    February 9, 2009

    They are putting out an Animated “The Black Freighter” direct to DVD.

    Those darned kids today will be sitting in the theater for Watchmen with the headphones on, watching their digital download of The Black Freighter on their PSPs and I-Phones.

  256. #257 John Landon
    February 9, 2009

    The hype over the Darwin bicentennial is getting to be too much. It is a distraction designed to make Darwin groupies feel better about their delusion that Darwinism is not pseudo-science.
    http://darwiniana.com

  257. #258 Feynmaniac
    February 9, 2009

    Sigh….how did I know that the L*bertarians would turn the Open Thread (except for L*bertatiansm) into a discussion about L*bertarianism?
    _ _ _

    As for the Watchmen movie I could see it going either way. The visuals, from what I’ve seen, look amazing but as everyone who’s seen the Stars Wars prequels knows good visuals doesn’t necessarily mean a good story. Of course they are going have to dumb it down a bit. However, you can dumb down a comic book which quotes both Nietzsche and Einstein by a lot and still be left with a smart movie. Hopefully the idea of Watchmen, a bunch of superheros with serious character flaws behaving more like vigilantes than protectors of the people, is strong enough to survive the process.

    I can’t think of too many movies which are better than their book. 2001 comes to mind, but maybe that’s only because you can really enjoy the movie high. I’ve seen The Da Vinici but haven’t read the book. Considering that Dan Brown’s writing has been compared to “complete loose stool-water” I’d say this is probably another example.

    I don’t want to take abuse this invitation to rant about whatever (except L*bertarianism) so I’ll stop right here.

  258. #259 Mike in Ontario, NY
    February 9, 2009

    Gypsytag, you either misread or misunderstood me. I said I USED to be a libertarian, but that was in the 80′s and I was a single-issue libertarian at best (the absurdity of having “consensual crime” laws in a free society: you know, drugs, gambling, prostitution, sexual freedom).

    I couldn’t be MORE in favor of single-payer universal health care, and if my paying income taxes at the rate of 40% would make it happen, I’m totally willing to go there.

    So: government in my living room? I’m still a libertarian. Government taxing me for universal healthcare? I’m a socialist. How about universal access to higher education? I’d pony up for that, too. And the only welfare I’m against is corporate welfare.

    Car accidents? I keep trying to run cars with Quebec tags off the road, but I can’t even catch up to them :)

  259. #260 Kate
    February 9, 2009

    Open thread, eh?

    Well, I have something to get off my chest… Not that it will be seen by the very people who OUGHT to see it, but I’ll feel better for getting it out:

    I am a Senior Administrator. Not: A Secretary. Not: A Receptionist. Not: “The Office Girl”.

    My job is NOT easy. It is hard, requires long hours, dedication, a vast pool of knowledge of not only my particular industry but accounting, record keeping, all the applicable laws (Payroll, industry standards, health and safety regs, labour laws, contract law, etc.) as well as juggling the needs and “demands” of clients, suppliers, employees and my boss while keeping each and every aspect of the business on schedule and under budget.

    …and if one more person alludes to the fact that I have it “easy” because I’m in the office all day I’m going to brain them with a cod-fish.

  260. #261 Angel Kaida
    February 9, 2009

    I saw a sign on a door today at my university that said “Libaridian.” It took me like four reads to figure out it wasn’t a bizarre misspelling of [censored] but was in fact someone’s name. That’s what too long on Pharyngula’ll do to you, I guess…
    I’m actually a [censored] who loves [censored], but who doesn’t generally feel the need to broadcast/argue about my political viewpoints in unrelated threads on this site (I consider this thread quite related). A lot of the time I feel like some of you are [censored]-baiting, though, and it’s really obnoxious. Maybe it’s just because I scroll over the more annoying arguments and hence haven’t been able to grasp the level of [censored] trolling/saturation in unrelated threads, though.
    PZ, by all means, ban the trolls who can’t keep their mouths shut about their politics to the point of constantly derailing threads, but don’t ban us all! :( I’d miss this site so much. What would I do without your fearsome cephalopods? Without Cuttlefish? Without frackin’ crackers? (Homework, perhaps…)

  261. #262 Patricia, OM
    February 9, 2009

    That you- know- what bullshit must be a drug or a religion. Even under threat of banning they cannot stop themselves from proselytizing.

    Fascinating. *Spock eyebrow*

  262. #263 'Tis Himself
    February 9, 2009
    Hmm… I find economics sickening mainly because on the whole it seems not to have taken into account that our planet is finite.

    That always got to me too. It always seems that economists?both professional and armchair?are incapable, while considering economic issues, of being pragmatic or, all too often, compassionate.

    Most economists do realize that Earth and its resources are finite. We even understand the point that the Earth has a carrying capacity which is close to being overshot. One of my major complaints about the Austrian School economists is their disdainful neglect of carrying capacity. Even the Chicago Boys admit that “we can’t go on doing what we’re doing for too much longer.” If you’re interested in discussing carrying capacity, I’ll be happy to oblige.

    As for compassion, yes, you’ve got us dead to rights. We’re as compassionate as physicists or historians. The point is that economists deal with large numbers. Individuals people get lost when we’re looking at what a corporation or an industry or a nation was doing ten or fifty years ago compared to what it’s doing now or years from now. If you want to know how an economy’s doing, talk to an economist. If you want compassion, talk to your mother.

    However, I reject the charge that economists aren’t pragmatic. One of my other objections to the Austrian School is their lack of pragmatism. I won’t bandy terms like synthetic a priori or praxeology around, because few things turn people off more than jargon. Austrian economists reject observation, saying that human actors are too complex to be reduced to their component parts and too self-conscious not to have their behavior affected by the very act of observation. Observation of human action, or extrapolation from historical data, would thus always be contaminated by overlooked factors in the way that the natural sciences would not be. Mainstream economists argue the Austrian School methods rely on post-hoc analysis and do not generate testable implications. Thus their approach fails the test of falsifiability.

    Mainstream economists try to build models from real life observation of what people are doing. Sometimes our models are poor. But many of us are getting closer and closer to the real world. I believe that shows pragmatism.

    One of the problems in economics is that, too often, what’s taught in schools isn’t what’s used in real life. When the Chicago Boys were allowed to run rampant in Chile, they showed that academic, theoretical economics don’t exactly mesh with the real world. What’s more, people get crushed in the ensuing maelstrom.

  263. #264 Jim
    February 9, 2009

    ??? wrote: “You know about these contractual relationships because you haven’t seen the contracts? How does that work?”

    I haven’t, but I can make reasonable assumptions and inferences based on my experiences on Pharyngula and other blogs, and also based on contracts I have seen for similar contractual relationships.

    I’ve gone back up to your original post on this topic and I’m curious as to what point you are trying to make. PZ said he wanted to start exerting his ownership rights in the blog and you challenged his assertion of ownership. To what end? Are you saying he doesn’t have the right to moderate or delete comments on Pharyngula?

    If that is what you are asserting, that somehow he is violating a contractual relationship he has with Seed, or Scienceblogs LLC, there is an easy way to test that–notify Scienceblogs LLC of his behavior, and wait to hear a response, or see something happen on this blog in response to your request/demand.

    So I go back to my question, what point are you trying to make about PZ’s assertion of ownership, or are you just trolling?

  264. #265 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2009

    I think ??? is one of those permanently entrenched in the Dungeon. Probably trying to make a point that PZ overstepped his authority in plonking him/her.

  265. #266 CrypticLife
    February 9, 2009


    Oh Freddled Gruntbuggly! Thy micturations are to me;
    As plurdled gabbleblotchits on a lurgid bee;
    Groop I implore thee, my foonting turlingdromes;
    And hooptiously drangle me with crinkly bindlewurdles;
    Or I will rend thee in the gobberwarts with my blurglecruncheon, see if I don’t!”

    From memory. Seriously. :)

  266. #267 Angel Kaida
    February 9, 2009

    Oh, also, can someone tell me about the Big Bang theory, and the first few seconds of the universe-as-we-know-it? I have every intention of looking it up and studying it at length, but I was hoping someone here could give me kind of a pithy explanation. I’m frustrated because I learned that one of my beloved friends doesn’t accept either the theory of evolution or the Big Bang theory, and while the problem with her ToE acceptance is partly religion-induced insanity and partly bits and pieces of misinformation, her problem with the Big Bang theory is somewhat more infuriating – she doesn’t believe in it because she doesn’t understand how evidence can possibly exist for the first few seconds of reality, or something similarly along the lines of the “no one was there” argument.

  267. #268 Quiet_Desperation
    February 9, 2009

    Um… Ayn Rand wasn’t a libertarian. Just sayin’. In fact, she didn’t like them very much. Objectivists consider Libertairianism to be a mockery of Objectivism. Whether or not that is a good thing is left as an exercise for the reader.

    Personally, I find all followers of a rigid ideology (anyone who self labels as a “proud fill-in-the-blank”) to be of suspect intellect with ossified neural processes. There are good ideas to be has all around. I read DailyKos. I read Cato. I read things in between. The real solutions to the problems in the world lie in a balanced approach.

    Never going to happen, though. Too many people cling to their fixed ideologies like Gollum to his precious.

  268. #269 Timothy
    February 9, 2009

    “I do hate that the fucktards are giving the idea a bad name by being overly stupid.”

    So sng, you’re admitting that your ideas are stupid but that there’s a level of stupidity you find acceptable and a level of stupidity that you think is going too far?

  269. #270 Matt Heath
    February 9, 2009

    Hahaha Corey S. @251, because succesful, capitalist nations have always run their economies as libertarians would recommend and the only alternative would be Stalinism.

    You’re right; there’s no arguing with those “facts”.

  270. #271 ggab
    February 9, 2009

    The ending to the Watchmen movie was not changed.
    I don’t know much else about it, but that was just a rumour that floated around.

  271. #272 Owlmirror
    February 9, 2009

    Clearly a Libidarian is like a Libertinarian, only more so. And a Librarian is orthogonal to that particular axis. Still, there’s no reason there couldn’t be a Libidarian Librarian.

    A Lipidarian might be an organic chemist who specializes in fats, or possibly a chef who specializes in deep-fry.

    A LISPitarian would be someone who is really into parentheses and AI, and is often mistaken for someone who fights for the rights of those with various speech defects.

    Hm.

  272. #273 Ranson
    February 9, 2009

    Reading comprehension, folks.

    PZ has never said that the censored term is a cancer. Discussion of it across unrelated threads, repeatedly throwing them far afield of original topic; this is what he is complaining about. The subject is “metastatizing” across too many unrelated discussions.

    Geez people. I skim for keywords too, but I read the surrounding ones, as well.

  273. #274 Greg F.
    February 9, 2009

    Any Rand and the Objectivitsts are not libertarians. They’re just plain selfish, greedy, holier than thou and like to make up arguments for why it’s a good thing for them to stay that way. Libertarians just think that people should be allowed to make their own choices in life as long as they don’t infringe on the rights of others or hurt someone else. Just like any ideology it can be taken too far.

  274. #275 SEF
    February 9, 2009

    @ #217

    So on that evaluation and conclusion, if Mark Twain’s first book, or any valued author’s, was not good, it follows that any successive book is also crap?

    Dishonest strawman argument from you. Plus it’s irrelevant to me in which order things were written. I didn’t have that knowledge and some authors get worse with time not better anyway!

    What it really means is that the author now has a negative reputation with me from which he’d somehow have to recover before he could get back into the priority system above unknown (approx. zero-rated), let alone positively rated, authors. I’m usually reading several reference books on the go – from various science and related subjects interspersed with occasional works of fiction. So my prioritisation is necessarily severe.

  275. #277 Patricia, OM
    February 9, 2009

    CrypticLife is a Vogon.

    Don’t panic.

    I’ll get the manure fork!

  276. #278 blf
    February 9, 2009

    From memory. Seriously.

    Methinks yer left brain has just attacked yer right brain, with the hippocampus treating up the Treaty of Non-Insanity and nuking both sides.

  277. #279 Angel Kaida
    February 9, 2009

    Fuck off, Greg F.
    That’s all I really wanted to say. No personal insults or anything. In fact, I’m sure you’re otherwise a perfectly lovely person. But fuck off. :)

  278. #280 Cloudwork
    February 9, 2009

    arrghh! Vogon poetry!

    Cryptic Life – if that seriously is from memory then you like to memorise some crazy shit. i just looked it up in my Hitchhikers guide copy and it is exact.

    anyway, i have a theory about where he got the no. 42 from count the no. of letters in “Douglas Adams the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy” and when an author is writing a book it is easy to believe that the book becomes their life, universe and everything.

  279. #281 Joshua BA
    February 9, 2009

    @#263

    Forgive me for painting all economists with the same brush, that was very stupid of me. Maybe I should say, instead, that the economists that they allow on TV seem to be non-pragmatic when it comes to opinions on what our course of action should be. It is entirely likely that “the free market will fix everything” types I see are just the ones that are good for ratings and wont bore people with things like evidentiary support (I just now remembered a talk I heard from an economist where examples and explanations were provided, I found it interesting but it mad for bad TV).

    I understand that the study of economics has nothing to do with compassion (like math, science, geography, etc). It was the suggested application of things learned that I found the lack of compassion troubling. Again though, this is only from my limited observations, I am fully willing to accept that there are economists who are compassionate in the application of lessons learned.

    Again, sorry for the generalization. I will endeavor to remember that “(almost) all generalizations are false” in the future.

  280. #282 Quiet_Desperation
    February 9, 2009

    They are putting out an Animated “The Black Freighter” direct to DVD.

    Wow. So someone is going for the title of “Most Depressing Animated Film” for 2009? Seriously, why? It worked in the context of the Watchmen story, but independently?

  281. #283 CJO
    February 9, 2009

    she doesn’t believe in [the Big Bang] because she doesn’t understand how evidence can possibly exist for the first few seconds of reality

    Tell her to look up the cosmic microwave background radiation. She can pick up evidence for the first few seconds of reality with a rabbit-ears TV antenna.

  282. #284 Matt Heath
    February 9, 2009

    Quiet Desperation @
    “The real solutions to the problems in the world lie in a balanced approach.”
    Er no, not really. The real solutions lie in trying to work out what is true in an unbiased way as possible. That doesn’t mean that one side of argument won’t turn out to be right. The Golden Mean fallacy is a fallacy.

  283. #285 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 9, 2009

    Tell her to look up the cosmic microwave background radiation. She can pick up evidence for the first few seconds of reality with a rabbit-ears TV antenna.

    Then tell her to look at this.

  284. #286 Watchman
    February 9, 2009

    You’re clearly as much of an ideologue as the religious bigots you despise if you consider libertarianism to be a ‘cancer.’ You obviously lack any sort of knowledge of what libertarianism is.

    Corey, you misunderstood PZ’s complaint. “It’s a cancer that is taking over way too many threads.” Meaning, proponents of L-ism have been regularly hijacking threads recently, with the result being that the discussion of L-ism has spread, like a cancer, through many (too many) threads.

    By the way, if you want to not-debate facts, you could at least not-include a list of successful socialist/socialized societies. Oh wait: That’s just what you did! Never mind.

  285. #287 Sven DiMilo
    February 9, 2009

    The hype over the Darwin bicentennial is getting to be too much. It is a distraction designed to make Darwin groupies feel better about their delusion that Darwinism is not pseudo-science.

    Damn! Are we groupies really that transparent? Well then YES! YES! *sob* You’re right! It’s all a big distraction! How else are we supposed to keep our vast conspiracy of pseudoscience afloat? It’s not like we ever, you know, publish actual science in, like, journals or anything.

    And now our ruse is exposed and are our faces red! How embarrassing!

    now what do we do…?

  286. #288 Angel Kaida
    February 9, 2009

    Thanks, CJO. It’ll probably actually work better to learn it well myself and then try to drop it in conversation with her, if it comes up again (which it surely will).

  287. #289 knob goblin
    February 9, 2009

    There are good ideas to be has all around. I read DailyKos. I read Cato. I read things in between. The real solutions to the problems in the world lie in a balanced approach.

    This is a stupid comment, or a clever ploy.

    American liberalism or progressivism (as represented here by DailyKos), is already a compromise between social democracy and conservatism. The Overton window has been shifted so far to the right in America that conservatism is the only acceptable topic of discussion in the mainstream media.

    You’ve implied that the proper “balance” is between the extreme right and the moderate left. The middle would naturally be far to the right, which you apparently prefer. Considering further that the American moderate left is the moderate right in every other Western nation, there’s no way to use your formula to find any kind of reasonable middle.

    Anyway,

    MORE MOVIETIME

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8149373547373833649

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjALf12PAWc

  288. #290 Matt Heath
    February 9, 2009

    Dear Seed,
    Take your browser-crashing Flash ad and stick it up you collective arsehole

  289. #291 spurge
    February 9, 2009

    @ Quiet_Desperation #282

    I think they want to be as true to the story as they can and since there was no way to have TBF in the movie they made the DVD.

    Or maybe it was just for the money.

    I hear there will be no giant squid. Sad.

  290. #292 Holbach
    February 9, 2009

    SEF @ 275

    Dishonest? Seems to be a word irrelevant of my basic opinion of your flat conclusion to blanket an author’s books in any order if one of them does not measure up to your standards. There are reviews of those two titles of which they are more than favorable. Reference books are great, an occasional fiction also, but non-fiction books are the real educators, and those two titles are far from fiction and definitely worth the read, in spite of the regard for “Trilobite”.

  291. #293 Glen Davidson
    February 9, 2009

    UD has a new “authority” to use to avoid the fact that they have no evidence and no prospect for evidence for their claims. Note the typical pig-ignorant rant from Chesterton, which begins (at least as edited by DLH) with his admission that he doesn’t know the issue, and the conclusion where he whines that ignoramuses like himself are called ignorant:

    . . .I am confronted with a very reasonable retort that I know nothing about the subject. . .it would be equally true if I ventured to throw out the suggestion that the Kaiser has suffered a defeat. If I were to insinuate that the armies of the German Empire were ultimately out-manoeuvered and forced to a surrender, it might be said that I was wholly ignorant of the technical strategy of soldiering, . . .But these cases alone will be sufficient to suggest, to anybody of the smallest commonsense, that there is a fallacy somewhere in the simple argument that only an expert in detail can perceive that there is a difficulty, or declare that there is a defeat.

    Now, I will roughly arrange in order the facts of common knowledge that seem to me to support my conclusions as a matter of common-sense. First of all, there is something that will be very suggestive to anybody with a sense of human nature; I mean the tone of the Darwinians themselves. . . . the critic . . .added the very singular and significant phrase: that the Darwinian hypotheses was still ?that most sound at bottom.? In short, this Darwinian is already on the defensive, . . .

    . . .I will take the instances selected in order to expound the hypothesis, . . .If you were explaining to a child, for instance, you would take things like the horn of the rhinoceros or the hump of the dromedary. In fact, you would give a correct and scientific version of the ?Just-So Stories.? . . . But these horns and humps, these high outstanding features of variation, are exactly the things that are generally not chosen for examples, and not explained by this universal explanation. And the truth is that it is very often precisely these obvious things that the explanation cannot explain. . . .

    But if you will call up the Darwinian vision, of thousands of intermediary creatures with webbed feet that are not yet wings, their survival will seem incredible. A mouse can run, and survive; and a flitter-mouse can fly, and survive. But a creature that cannot yet fly, and can no longer run, ought obviously to have perished, by the very Darwinian doctrine which has to assume that he survived. . . .

    The Darwinians have this mark of fighters for a lost cause, that they are perpetually appealing to sentiment and to authority.. . .God condescended to argue with Job, but the last Darwinian will not condescend to argue with you. He will inform you of your ignorance; he will not enlighten your ignorance.
    . . .when men have a real explanation they explain it, eagerly and copiously and in common speech, as Huxley freely gave it when he thought he had it. When they have no explanation to offer, they give short dignified replies, disdainful of the ignorance of the multitude.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/evolution/doubts-about-darwinism/

    Chesterton had more excuse than the current crop of ignorant fools, since there really were a lot of questions still to be answered in his time. But clearly he operated in the same manner as the IDiots of today, neither addressing the issues nor coming up with any competent alternative scientific idea, merely attacking those who have actually bothered to learn something.

    It’s no wonder that he was generally reviled by more intelligent writers, like Ezra Pound and Wyndham Lewis (neither of whom was exactly liberal, fwiw). He’s just another tedious apologist, with no answers, yet with a great animus against those who have some answers, but not a vacuous claim of a totality of answers to everything.

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

  292. #294 sng
    February 9, 2009

    Timothy,

    No. You are reading far too much into the “overly” there. It was used as emphasis. Nothing more. Nothing less. I thought it was a fairly common turn of phrase but if you really had trouble understanding my meaning I hope that clears it up for you. Remove the “overly” and you still retain my meaning.

    But, sure, there might be some degree of stupid in my ideas. I don’t know of a single intelligent person who isn’t aware that they hold at least some stupid beliefs. After all to think that you don’t hold any stupid beliefs would mean that you think you have and understand all the available evidence about everything. You’ll excuse me if I think that’s rather unlikely for any given person. Refusal to change those stupid ideas when presented with evidence is what makes the difference between an idiot and a thoughtful person.

    Assuming you’re interested in an honest conversation I listed my ideas. Please point out anything I said that you think is stupid or ask me questions about my thoughts on the subject and I’ll be happy to discuss them with you.

  293. #295 Jack Frake
    February 9, 2009

    I am always amazed at how people who claim their ideas are superior are always closed to rational debate. I have determined over the years that this is do to the fact their arguments are based upon feelings not facts.

    Truely collectivist, Kantian cogs preach against freedom and liberty.

  294. #296 Cheyenne
    February 9, 2009

    Why can’t people write a comment about Ayn Rand or Libertarianism? What has Ms. Rand done to deserve the banishment? Or libertarianism? Cute old doty Rand and Libertarianism didn’t do anything to hurt anybody.

    Ayn Rand Libertarianism

  295. #297 Hairhead
    February 9, 2009

    On the subject of BIG BALLS.

    Okay, it’s actually about Sullenberger; not only did he refuse to rise to the “no atheists in foxholes” bait, he calmly demonstrated his enormous balls, to wit:

    After the entire plane had been evacuated, he walked up and the down the sinking plane which could have suddenly gone down into the frigid Hudson with him trapped inside, not once, but TWICE, to make sure no-one had been left behind. Now that is selfless, ethical thinking in action.

    Plus enormous balls.

  296. #298 blf
    February 9, 2009

    Are we groupies really that transparent?

    I’m currently a nice shade of yellow-green, with patches of blue that occansionally flash orange. Transparent is just so last week??

  297. #299 guthrie
    February 9, 2009

    Seeing as Watchmen is a topic on this thread, I have to ask, has anyone else seen the book of photographs of cast and crew members? Its a huge table top sized book, lots of photos of good quality. Why exactly anyone would want to buy a book of photos of the cast and crew I have no idea. Anyone out there want such a book, and why?

  298. #300 llewelly
    February 9, 2009

    JWC | February 9, 2009 1:53 PM, #133

    #113: it seems that some people are looking at the supposedly linear relationship between CO2 and global mean temperature and finding it lacking; myself included.

    Strawman. Nearly all climate scientists agree that the relationship between CO2 and temperature, is, if some simplifications are made, roughly logarithmic. For each doubling of CO2 concentration, the climate will warm by approximately 3C (5.4F). The most important simplifications are (a) Changes in the sizes of glaciers and ice sheets due to warming are ignored. This simplification results in underestimation of the effect of CO2. (b) Carbon cycle feedbacks, which include such things as CO2 and/or methane released by melting permafrost, by wild fires, and by melting clathrates, are also ignored. Again, this probably results in and underestimation of the effects of CO2. (c) Changes in vegetative land cover, which can affect albedo are also ignored. It is not known whether this results in under- or over-estimation of CO2. (d) CO2 concentrations stay between about 100 ppm and 3000 ppm. This notion is known as the Charney sensitivity.

    The climate models used to estimate the Charney sensitivity are chosen based on the accuracy with which they reproduce climate change over the last 150 years or so.

    I just don’t see how they can look at the data and come up with a simple relationship.

    Again, strawman. No responsible climate scientist claims there is a simple relationship. However – not everyone has the time and energy to learn the radiative physics of CO2, the thermodynamics of the global ocean-atmosphere system, the physics of glaciers, the bio- and geochemistry of the carbon cycle, and so forth. Therefor, in order to communicate their findings, climate scientists must develop approximations and simplifications which aid understanding of the public and policy makers. If you want more than the approximations, you need to get yourself a degree climatology (or equivalent knowledge).

    I’ve never heard a comprehensive theory for a complex relationship between CO2 and temp.

    Start with Spencer Weart’s book, The Discovery of Global Warming . It explains the whole of the complex relationship between CO2 and temp, and how the science has developed over the last 150 years or so.

    Retired senior NASA atmospheric scientist, Dr. John S. Theon: “I appreciate the opportunity to add my name to those who disagree that global warming is man made … I was, in effect, Hansen?s supervisor because I had to justify his funding, allocate his resources, and evaluate his results”

    That remark is at best a distortion of Theon’s role at NASA. More importantly, he has made no credible argument, and cited no evidence to support his opinion.

  299. #301 Mike in Ontario, NY
    February 9, 2009

    Quiet Desperation,

    Sorry, but the word “balance” has been pornographized by the Fox network. It is now code for “our batshit insanity should enjoy equal footing with your painstakingly researched science/obvious reality”. “Balance” should be left to sports commentators trying not to show a bias for their favorite teams.
    Whenever anyone tries to talk to me about balance, I ask them to trade me a pound of gold for a pound of manure. It all balances, right?

  300. #302 Patricia, OM
    February 9, 2009

    Cloudwork’s Theory of 42. Very nice!
    You win one extra turn at the spanking couch. :)

  301. #303 genotypical
    February 9, 2009

    Hi CatBallou, love those genetics questions, but you are asking one where the answer (a really common one in biology) is, “it depends”. The most common dominant/recessive situation for a single gene is when the dominant “normal” version (allele) of the gene makes a protein that does something, while the recessive allele fails to produce a functional copy of the protein. The basic brown/blue eye situation is due to a dominant allele that makes a protein required for getting brown pigment into the eye, while the recessive allele fails to make the right protein, so the brown pigment doesn’t show up in the eye and it stays blue/grey. In other cases, a dominant allele makes an incorrect form of the protein that somehow interferes with the proper copies made by the recessive allele. See http://www.kumc.edu/gec/ for more useful info written for the layperson.

  302. #304 speedwell
    February 9, 2009

    Kate @ 260: “…if one more person alludes to the fact that I have it ‘easy’ because I’m in the office all day…”

    Remind them that putting up with their pathetically needy, puffed-up, executive-titled asses is harder than anything they have to do all day.

    OK, you won’t say that. But you will THINK it, like I did when I was a sec… I mean, office manager.

  303. #305 Knockgoats
    February 9, 2009

    @44,
    Yay! Looks like we’re rid of John C. Randolph. Well done, PZ, well done indeed!

  304. #306 Marc Abian
    February 9, 2009

    Just wanted to share this joke I heard at a stand-up show.

    I always got mixed messages when I was a kid. My mom told me to eat up so I would have the strength to fend off paedophiles, but she made me fast for an hour before mass.

  305. #307 SEF
    February 9, 2009

    @ Holbach #291:

    Yes, you’re dishonest – and you continue to be so, as well as adding idiocy to your crimes. I.e:

    Reference books are great, an occasional fiction also, but non-fiction books are the real educators

    Reference books are non-fiction.

    There are reviews …

    I also judge reviewers (and posters) by how much they fail. All the people who liked Trilobite are necessarily people whose opinions are either worthless or of negative import to me when considering whether a book is going to be worth reading – since they obviously like things which I despise or have found faulty in various ways.

  306. #308 Sean Micheal
    February 9, 2009

    Did anyone hear the story on NPR yesterday about Darwin? I appreciated it, mostly because it made clear in no uncertain terms that evolution was real, good science and creationism was worthless tosh (not in so many words…).

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=100379229

  307. #309 gypsytag
    February 9, 2009

    Mike @259.
    To be honest i didn’t read your comment, i just read how PZ had banished you to the abbatoir for a good blood letting.

    my apologies.

    its been my experience that libers tend to think that nothing bad will ever happen to them.

    i happen to think that government needs to provide the following things

    health care
    education
    infrastructure
    security
    justice

    and we don’t need the IRS.

    but i’ve said too much…and fear the wrath of PZ.

  308. #310 Last Hussar
    February 9, 2009

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/February_12

    and my Dad.

    Course, Lincoln wrote this

    “I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in anyway the social and political equality of the white and black races – that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. I say upon this occasion I do not perceive that because the white man is to have the superior position the negro should be denied everything.”

    Best watch who’s bible you swear on, eh?

  309. #311 Blind Squirrel FCD
    February 9, 2009

    Open thread? Great! Now I don’t need to wait for an excuse to post this. Laugh-out-loud funny.
    http://www.killsometime.com/video/video.asp?ID=348

  310. #312 speedwell
    February 9, 2009

    Someone asked what the love child of Ron Paul and Ayn Rand would be? Well, I know the perfect candidate… a 60-year-old-or-so permanent rebel who claims to be a witch and a Communist, and attends atheist meetings at which she declares in all seriousness that the sitting president should be assassinated, and soon. Since any child of Ayn Rand and Ron Paul would inherit a double dose of contrariness, you understand. They don’t call him “Dr. No” for nothing.

    Since my grandmother believes we are related to Rand through mutual Russian cousins, I can attest to exactly how wide the contrary streak in our family is, folks. Run while you can. :)

  311. #313 'Tis Himself
    February 9, 2009

    Yay! Looks like we’re rid of John C. Randolph. Well done, PZ, well done indeed!

    All your base are belong to us!

  312. #314 Patricia, OM
    February 9, 2009

    Simple solution. All of the fruit loops that want to blather about you-know-what can go to Walton’s blog.

  313. #315 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2009

    Simple solution. All of the fruit loops that want to blather about you-know-what can go to Walton’s blog.

    Excellent idea. Now to get AG and WSD over there too. Let them chew over all things stupid away from us.

  314. #316 Her Reference Ron Sullivan
    February 9, 2009

    Movie adaptations? Who Framed Roger Rabbit? was way better than the book Who Censored Roger Rabbit?. I’m one of the blessed few who’d actually read the original first, because I’ve been a Gary K. Wolf fan ever since I picked up a used copy of The Resurrectionist.

    As Jessica Rabbit said: He makes me laugh.

    I’ll admit to finding Bob Hoskins pretty hot, so that might have weighted my judgment a bit.

  315. #317 Danny Boy
    February 9, 2009

    What about the limited brand of libertarianism that I endorse?

    (i.e. not total, simply that the government keeps its nose out of what I do. Limit the government’s role in telling people what to do)

  316. #318 Holbach
    February 9, 2009

    SEF @ 307

    Are you telling me that you cannot read basic English grammar? There is a comma after “Reference books are great”, and in no way have I misrepresented that Reference Books are fiction. I have many reference books in my collection and sure as hell know the difference. I think the gist of this exchange is that you resent being called on your disdain for unread books and have reacted just as haughtily as your character is wont to do. Idiocy, crimes? Hell, I can be just as flippant and regard you as a phony with a false sense of undeserved worth. My initial comment was in no way arrogant, but offered in a manner that expressed surprise at your wanton dismissal of a book you have not read, based on another you found worthless. Stop heaping ridicule on yourself by reading a comment in it’s correct grammartical usage and not interpreting a person’s opinions if they are opposed to yours.

  317. #319 Sherry
    February 9, 2009

    My Darwin’s B-day shirt may be seen here:

    http://shirt.woot.com/Forums/ViewPost.aspx?PostID=2963648

    Click on the red square for a close up!

  318. #320 SEF
    February 9, 2009

    @ #318:

    You’re still being dishonest. Apparently you just can’t stop yourself (lacking ability and/or inclination). That definitively confirms the long-standing (but more nebulous) black mark I had against you.

  319. #321 Shaden Freud
    February 9, 2009

    Hairhead #297

    After the entire plane had been evacuated, he walked up and the down the sinking plane which could have suddenly gone down into the frigid Hudson with him trapped inside, not once, but TWICE, to make sure no-one had been left behind. Now that is selfless, ethical thinking in action.

    Plus enormous balls.

    This one’s for you, Sully!

  320. #322 Mother Batherick
    February 9, 2009

    @#50
    [quote]First, no talk about religion (unless it’s abusive); now, no talk about freedom. What will our little commissar ban next?[/quote]
    Yep. ‘Cause guess what? His property, his rules. Respect his property rights or fuck off. (Damn, I wish I knew HTML!)

  321. #323 SEF
    February 9, 2009

    Looks like we’re rid of John C. Randolph.

    That seems a rather premature judgment / celebration. How many previous times has a creationist or similar troll claimed to be leaving, stormed off in a huff etc etc only to post again within a very short time-frame (sometimes as someone else). Compare that with the instances of them genuinely staying away. Now, what does experience (experimental data) really tell you about the likelihood of the desired outcome …

  322. #324 Richard Hendricks
    February 9, 2009

    What was the final verdict on Evolved at the History Channel?

  323. #325 Knockgoats
    February 9, 2009

    Sigh….how did I know that the L*bertarians would turn the Open Thread (except for L*bertatiansm) into a discussion about L*bertarianism?- Feynmaniac

    I guess because you knew they are a bunch of selfish, immature shitbags whose claimed respect for the individual reaches no further than themselves. Personally, I think this thread was a cunning plan by PZ to get them to demonstrate this.

  324. #326 Steve_C
    February 9, 2009

    Geeze! Be a frickin libertarian! Be a member of the Green Party, vote for Nader… whatever…

    Just stop talking about libertarianism. We don’t bloody care.

  325. #327 ChrisKG
    February 9, 2009

    Obama’s continued support of the Bush Admin’s Faith Based Offices….discuss…

  326. #328 Knockgoats
    February 9, 2009

    There are good ideas to be has all around. I read DailyKos. I read Cato. I read things in between. The real solutions to the problems in the world lie in a balanced approach. – Quiet_Desperation

    Ha! A fanatical moderate!

  327. #329 Holbach
    February 9, 2009

    SEF @ 320

    Yes, I am well aware of your past comments, as I had a running tally of them when I first posted on Pharyngula. It is truly amazing how one can analyze a commenter’s remarks, apply it in reference to their own bloated opinions, and then decide that this person is lacking in several respects as offered by his comments. Funny how your opinion of me in no way detracts from my opinion of myself, which in itself is worth more than your inconsequential rantings. This last one has been duly noted and saved for future reference and a more opportune posting.

  328. #330 Alligator
    February 9, 2009

    Wikileaks has posted 6,780 Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports to Congress. Only about 500 or so have been available previously on the internet.

    Some background:

    CRS reports are highly regarded as non-partisan, in-depth, and timely. The reports top the list of the “10 Most-Wanted Government Documents” compiled by the Washington based Center for Democracy and Technology. The Federation of American Scientists, in pushing for the reports to be made public, stated that the “CRS is Congress’ Brain and it’s useful for the public to be plugged into it.” While Wired magazine called their concealment “The biggest Congressional scandal of the digital age.”

    Members of Congress are free to selectively release CRS reports to the public but are only motivated to do so when they feel the results would assist them politically. Universally embarrassing reports are kept quiet.

    Essentially, you now have access to the reports that members of Congress rely on to choose their positions and a wide array of policies and legislation.

    A few titles:

    Climate Change: Current Issues and Policy Tools, December 4, 2008
    The History and Effect of Abortion Conscience Clause Laws, October 8, 2008
    Churches and Campaign Activity: Analysis Under Tax and Campaign Finance Laws, April 14, 2008
    SPECIAL PROVISIONS FOR RELIGION IN THE TAX CODE, September 1, 1999
    Secret Sessions of the House and Senate, March 27, 2008
    Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Education: Status and Issues, June 27, 2008
    Iraq and Al Qaeda: Assessment and Outside Links, August 15, 2008

    Here’s a link to the reports, organized by date: http://wikileaks.org/wiki/CRS_reports_by_date Have fun!

  329. #331 Patricia, OM
    February 9, 2009

    Sheesh, forgot to say how I like my Balrogs. Smoked. Never eat the scales though. I’ve heard that those will cause one to make biologically indelicate sounds and smells.

  330. #332 Al
    February 9, 2009

    anyone here read Richard Fortey? i’m reading trilobite now.

    check this work in progress: http://atheistbiblegroup.blogspot.com/

    Trilobite is good.

    Dry Store Room No. 1 is excellent

  331. #333 Fernando Magyar
    February 9, 2009

    Mike in Ontario,

    Car accidents? I keep trying to run cars with Quebec tags off the road, but I can’t even catch up to them :)

    Heh, I’m in Florida I’ll have to “REMEMBER” that ;-)

  332. #334 Coyote
    February 9, 2009

    @Last Hussar

    Quit quotemining Lincoln. XD

  333. #335 Vestrati
    February 9, 2009

    I currently live in NH, which, though seemingly less religious than the rest of the U.S. seems jam packed with Catholics. Fortunately, we seem mostly exempt from the whackiness in other areas of the country.

    Which was surprising when today at work I received a first-time double whammy of anti-atheist and anti-secular talk. After the anti-secular salvo I fired right back to a dumbstruck stare ; )

  334. #336 Kendo
    February 9, 2009

    Mrs. Tilton, Stiff Little Fingers are OK (mostly).

    Punk’s not dead Green Day or The Offspring.

  335. #337 'Tis Himself
    February 9, 2009

    Nothing wrong with punk. I’m presently listening to Dropkick Murphy’s “Barroom Hero”.

  336. #338 AnthonyK
    February 9, 2009

    Re: Why can’t we talk about librarians< ?/blockquote>
    I too don’t like the idea that any interesting topic should be off topic on Pharyngula (who owns this thing anyway?) but I have some comments on this which should put the issue to bed.

    So, for the uniniatiated, as well as the adept, let me sum up the situtation concisely. Now, there are three main problems and disputes within librarianship, and they are these:
    1) The classification paradox. It is unclear whether one should, or should not classify, and if so, how. Classical Hobbsonian, decimalists to a man, insist on strict sequencation; while the more freeform “aethereal” group propound organic symbolisis. The neo-synthesis appears to me sensible, and doctrinely sound. The question of whether to categorise Religion under Fiction or non-Fiction is perennial, but a decision on this is deferred to our next congress. Until then it shall remain, as it is now, sui generis.
    2)The nature of information. Although it has long been held by Schmidt and associates that information is inherently digitally coded in all things, this view is changing rapidly, and though experts are still out on the matter, I favour the novel Smith-Brown approach which, as you may have heard, is electronic in nature, working as it does by energy levels. We leave it the Giant Hadron Collider experiments to settle the matter.
    3) The role and management of Library in the 21st Century. On this matter opinions are divided once again, but have more to do with arcane office practices such as top-down redistribution of asset sheaths, or even integrated intelligence cooperation theory. I fear however that these matters are really only of interest to the more technically minded of you.

    I trust that this is a competent, brief, summary of current thinking on the matter, and should sort out many of the disputes raised here. As the many librarians on this thread will concede these are indeed weighty matters; however as PZ has requested it it is not right to clog up this thread with what are, essentially esoteric topics.

    I would politely ask that we move on from this topic. I can assure you that my personal opinions on these matters are doctrinally sound, though never unimaginative, and would happily discuss this on another thread.

    I warn you, however, that my expertise in this field is considerable and I hold my own opinion to be ultimate truth, so argument, while diverting, is in fact futile

    Now, can we move on, please?

  337. #339 Marc Abian
    February 9, 2009

    I am always amazed at how people who claim their ideas are superior are always closed to rational debate

    Does anyone ever NOT think that their ideas are superior? If I thought someone else’s idea was superior I’d adopt it.

  338. #340 mgarelick
    February 9, 2009

    WONDERFUL SENTENCE FROM CASEY LUSKIN (from today’s ENV):

    “One big problem with their story: under no uncertain terms did natural process produce this molecule.”

    (If you want to know what he’s talking about, look at ENV yourself. The beauty of this sentence requires no context at all.)

  339. #341 Jackson
    February 9, 2009

    so mises.org put out a great lecture recently…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zw7sPq0ekIM

  340. #342 Rich
    February 9, 2009

    <3 @ PZ for the slap at Randroids!

    Nothing worse than someone who grew up with the benefits of a modern liberal state - and wants to deny them to everyone else because they it makes them feel all independant and capable (and Galt like).

    seriously - its a disease.

  341. #343 Twin-Skies
    February 9, 2009

    @To Any Australians reading this.

    You have my sympathies. I do hope you guys manage to get out of that massive fire okay, if you happen to be in the affected area.

  342. #344 Kendo
    February 9, 2009

    Tis Himself, re. Dropkick Murphy, pretty good. I used to play in The Thought Criminals. Warning! Plays loud obnoxious music on entering the site. (Yeah, I know; shameless self-promotion.)

  343. #345 Kendo
    February 9, 2009

    “Warning! Plays loud obnoxious music on entering the site.” Or it would, had I not mangled the link. http://www.thethoughtcriminals.com.au

  344. #346 Vestrati
    February 9, 2009

    @338 NOFX – Leaving Jesusland

  345. #347 mayhempix
    February 9, 2009

    CNN
    “Liberians Facing Mass Deportation From U.S.”

    Damn! For a second there I thought it read (insert Unspeakable Word here).
    Oh well. One can dream can’t one?

  346. #348 Psi Wavefunction
    February 9, 2009

    Just to clear up some crap from the other thread:

    - I’m not libertarian, but I’m neither right nor left-wing either. I support little bits of each. I guess I’m closer to an anarchist who realises that the way humans are, anarchy would not actually work. But it is the most just system. You need government to protect people from killing each other, but said government must have minimum say in how one lives one’s own life.

    Personally, I find ALL political denominations fairly fucked in the head, due to their tendency to become extremist and dogmatic about whatever they believe. This even includes the centrists…

    - I was rather shocked by the accusations of being anti-science, etc. when I mentioned a bit about the true nature of scientific research. I’m in the field, I see the realities. While I love science, just like anything else out there, there is also the dark side. It is not insulting to scientists to mention the backdoor politics in the review process, publications, grants, etc… because all scientists are aware of it. That’s not anti-science — that’s realism.

    - RE: global warming — As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m undecided. That does not mean I ‘believe [my] opinion is worth more than that of a climatologist’, nor does that make me a ‘narcissist’. There is absolutely nothing arrogant, nor irrational, about being undecided. Neutrality is a perfectly valid position.

    And because I’m NOT a climatologist, yet I am a scientist (and therefore am being trained to be excessively skeptical of everything), I don’t really care enough to participate in that field. Protistology and cell biology, as well as my hobbies in evolutionary linguistics and memetics, are more than enough to keep me busy. That does not, however, imply that I will simply follow the crows in other questions.

    Neutrality is the best option unless the situation demands otherwise. =D

    - Sorry for long posts — I find it necessary to back up my statements as rigorously as possible, which generally results in an increase of length… Also, English is not my first language, so perhaps my wording may often be sub-par…

    I often post views contrary to the popular opinion to get people to think about WHY they believe certain things. Most opinions are perfectly valid, provided they have been attained rationally, as opposed to just following politically favourable statements. I wish more people would question (not violently attack) my more mainstream views so that I remember to think of them.

    Intellectual sparring can yield some wonderful results in the end, and I’m all for it. But sparring is to be done politely, conscientiously and rationally, in order to be efficient. Thus far, I’m getting the impression this community is not really interested.

    Hope that clears things up, and cheers!

    -Psi-

    PS: Back on topic: Protists rule! =P
    And feel free to argue on my blog if you’d like, so we don’t take up space on Pharyngula… <_<

  347. #349 Mother Batherick
    February 9, 2009

    I completely agree with PZ as one of those crazy um…”L word” types. This is his blog. He runs it, so as far as I’m concerned he owns it. If he doesn’t want us talking about a certain subject, then I have no intention of running roughshod over his property rights by whinging on about being censored.
    So ummmm….
    Can we talk about anarcho-capitalism?
    Just kidding. (Don’t hit me!)
    :-p

  348. #350 Lynna
    February 9, 2009

    Hi, PZ,
    I have some square, handmade nails (“wire” nails). They’re a bit rusty from their former life in late-1800s mining debris, but they would serve well for puncturing crackers. The aesthetics would be pleasing. Would you like to have some? I could mail you a few for skewering whatever myths you’d like to skewer in the future.

  349. #351 kamaka
    February 9, 2009

    Daniel @ 120

    Take my last boss for example. Kept trying to get my wife and I to go to his church and said I needed NEEDED to see Fireproof. I just nodded and mostly ignored him. Any suggests on how I should approach this in my future workplace encounters of the preaching kind?

    A strategy I have used to good effect (when Oh, fuck off! won’t do): I’m sorry, but I consider religion and spirituality to be very personal and private matters. I only discuss such things with those closest to me.

    Unless I want to be obnoxious: You want to discuss religion? Have you read the Qu’ran? The Sutras? The Tao Te Ching? The English translations of the Mahabharata? No? I didn’t think so. Get back to me when you’ve done your homework. And while you’re at it, do read Leviticus very carefully.

    Angel Kaida @ 268

    Oh, also, can someone tell me about the Big Bang theory, and the first few seconds of the universe-as-we-know-it?

    The Life of the Cosmos by Lee Smolin

    It’s a slow read (for me) and conjectural, but there’s a lot on the subject to think about in this book.

  350. #352 AnthonyK
    February 9, 2009

    Re: The Last Word On Librarians

    Look, although I understand that the topic of librarians is a contrary one on this blog, I have firm opinions on the matter and feel I can elucidate the main issues in such a way that we can all agree. This brief summary is intended for amateur and adept alike, It should resolve several issues which may seem puzzling.

    There are three main problems and talking points within current librarianship. These are

    1) The Classification Paradox. While followers of Stubbs, who are decimalists almost to a man, maintain that classification is essentially completed and that the current alphanumeric symbols are both necessary and sufficient for current and future demand, the more freeform Aaetherists reject sufficiency and firmly embrace utilitarianism. I am to some extent in favour of the modern synthesis with its embrace of the Random, suddued where it meets the Rational. Most think this is a reasonable. The perennial question of whether to place Religion in Truth or Fiction is , alas, still current, but a decision is expected at our next congress. In the meantime Religion will remain where it is now – sui generis :

    2)The Information Question. Real dispute here. The traditional viewpoint favoured by King-Frathers and Helpmann, involving us it does both Digitization and Noise Theory has recently been modified by Stolch and others. Here I follow to some extent the latter approach, favouring as it does the inter-penetrating energy levels of Quantum Meaningfulness. The matter may soon be settled more clearly following experiment on The Giant Hadron Collider, surely one of the future pinnacles of practical Librarianism.

    3) The Role and Management of Libraries in the 21sr Century. I fear this is a dry area for the novice involving as it does questions of Top-Back Vertical Sheathing, and Conservation Politeness Protocols ? esoteric matters, in which few can be reliably predictive. I am, in general progressive in these matters, but regard the Historical Narrative as generally the most sound.

    I trust that this has served well as a concise account of the struggles currently raging in our Libraries, and can assure the neophyte that those of you of the librarian tendency will in general welcome and agree with my opinions, which I can assure you are doctrinely sound.

    Although I personally welcome discussion on all form of the Librarians art, I understand that such arcania are really only for the true practioner, and not appropriate to an open thread such as this. I warn all who would challenge me on these issues that I am a formidable expert in the field, and while always tolerant and empathic I am difficult to best in an argument, my opinion being so readily correct.

    So, please, let that be an end to these tedious exchanges on the aybeeceedarians problem.

    Can we move on now, please?

  351. #353 Lynna
    February 9, 2009

    Drove through Las Vegas last November and saw this sign done up in pink neon “Girls, Girls, Girls… Gorgeous Librarians!”

    To Anthony K @353 – Anyone you know?

  352. #354 AnthonyK
    February 9, 2009

    Yes. They live between F and H.

  353. #355 Holbach
    February 9, 2009

    AnthonyK @ 353

    Ok, one more reference to libraries and their dedicted librarians, from my good friend Christopher Morley:

    “Be assiduous in the library, because for you it is the place of paradise.”

  354. #356 Lynna
    February 9, 2009

    Thanks, Anthony. Now I know where to find ‘em.

    To Patricia: Why are there so many Mormons in Las Vegas?

  355. #357 'Tis Himself
    February 9, 2009

    The perennial question of whether to place Religion in Truth or Fiction is , alas, still current, but a decision is expected at our next congress. In the meantime Religion will remain where it is now – sui generis

    You’re neglecting the seminal paper of Pickelheimer and Roggow which shows how sui generis should be put with biographies. Like everyone else, I ignore the rantings of Bartlesby-Smith that it should be cataloged with foreign languages. In fact I will have a monograph in the next issue of Proceedings of the Royal Archivist Society which will demolish Barlesby-Smith. As for the question at hand, it is still in committee. So we shall have to see what happens.

  356. #358 Azkyroth
    February 9, 2009

    And if you mention Ayn Rand, you will be taken out and shot.

    PZ, don’t be so Aynal.

    *hides*

  357. #359 AnthonyK
    February 9, 2009

    Pickelheimer and Roggow can suck my dick. Their vacuous ramblings have been puntured on many issues, not least their suppression of the letter K.
    I am, if anything, a postsuigenerists, but we shall have to disagree.
    As for the committee, I understand that the Heretics section has been burned to the ground. I suspect the Buddhists – they have been looking very pleased with themselves latterly.
    Your opinions are inevitably flawed, but surprising, naive, yes, yet sprightly. No doubt on a different thread you might be prepared to learn more.

  358. #360 Libbie
    February 9, 2009

    Condors are so cute!!!

    Today I played tag with turkey vultures!

    My job is better than your job!

  359. #361 AnthonyK
    February 9, 2009

    My job is as a Condor. I believe I win.

  360. #362 Mother Batherick
    February 9, 2009

    The Buddhists? THE BUDDHISTS?! How can you even CONCEIVE of blaming the Buddhists when they’re not even on the committee?!
    Now the Jains, on the other hand, they’re totally suspect. They ARE on the committee, and more to the point, have been repeatedly been caught buying both plenury indulgences from the Catholics AND stolen communion wafers from the Jews!
    Coincidence?
    I DON’T THINK SO!!!

  361. #363 abusedbypenguins
    February 9, 2009

    On the afternoon of 9-3-68 I arrived in Saigon and on the morning of 9-4-68 while on a work detail on the Saigon river when a break was called. I stood up and in a moment of sheer clarity I knew the out come of the “war” (obscenity) was a for gone conclusion and I was on the losing side. It was going to be played out to the bitter end even though those in power knew what was going to happen. It had nothing to do with democracy and freedom but power and wealth and I was supposed to stop a bullet for corporate amerika. It was at that moment that I lost all respect for any and all authority. I still don’t know which is dumber, fighting and dying for economic theory or religion. I wonder how many in Iraq and Afganistan have come to the same conclusion about what they are doing as I did 41 years ago.

  362. #364 Mother Batherick
    February 9, 2009

    You know,
    Some of you really need to stop talking out of your aynus.

    Buncha randy buggers…
    [rimshot]

  363. #365 eleanora.
    February 9, 2009

    I haven’t read all the comments so I don’t know if anyone else has mentioned this, but there are massive bush fires in Victoria (Australia). The death toll is around 170 and still rising. There are burnt areas that emergency services still can’t access and more bodies expected to be found there. More than 5000 have lost their homes, many of them have only the clothes they were wearing. Although the temperatures have dropped from the 40C+ (well over 100F) that they were all last week the wind is still fanning the fires. Several of them are believed to have been deliberately lit. Part of the government’s plan for dealing with a terrorist attack has been activated.

    There are lots of reports here:
    http://www.theage.com.au/
    The Age is one of Melbourne’s major newspapers. There is more info in yesterday’s “Age” (Monday 9th).

  364. #366 SDR
    February 9, 2009

    God-forbid (not literally, of course) individual liberty, peace, and free markets.

    Except your not-to-be-named ideology has NOTHING to do with the first or second, only the third, at least no in the sense of a republican democracy that actual protects minorities from tyranny. By individual liberty it means the liberty to do whatever you want no matter how it affect anyone else. Yep, cancer.

    By peace you mean peace only for those in the majority who are in a position to have peace. Yep, cancer and a disgusting one at that.

    And the free market has fucked up so much it’s laughable. Pseudo-fascist is really the best description I’ve seen here of your ideology. What a disgusting political view to have.

  365. #367 Wowbagger
    February 9, 2009

    Interesting article from the NY Times: Darwinism Must Die So That Evolution May Live.

  366. #368 deang
    February 9, 2009

    I completely agree with SDR’s #367 comment above. Sums it up nicely.

  367. #369 JasonTD
    February 9, 2009

    Psi Wavefunction @349,

    RE: global warming — As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m undecided. That does not mean I ‘believe [my] opinion is worth more than that of a climatologist’, nor does that make me a ‘narcissist’. There is absolutely nothing arrogant, nor irrational, about being undecided. Neutrality is a perfectly valid position.

    It is part of the responsibility of any scientist not just to communicate their work with other scientists, but with the general public as well. If climate scientists aren’t doing a good enough job of summarizing the evidence and their conclusions for you to understand them well enough to make a decision, then that is their failure. If you have understood their results and think that the ‘jury is still out’, then you are correct that it is a perfectly valid position (if that is what you meant by being undecided).

    However, if by ‘neutrality’, you mean that you haven’t delved deeply enough into the issue to come to any conclusion and are being neutral by default, then no, that is not a valid position. The reason for that is because you have abdicated your responsibility as a citizen to make your decisions about what policies to support based on an informed opinion. Now, in practice, that is fine. No one can be expected to have the time to study every issue well enough to come to a firm conclusion. So, it is actually reasonable to vote for your representative government based on other issues, and then hope that the people you vote for will study carefully the issues you didn’t have the time (or the interest) to study carefully. In conclusion, if that is what you mean by neutrality, then yes, it is a perfectly valid position. ;)

  368. #370 Cletus
    February 9, 2009

    This ban seems pretty toothless. Enforcement is the sole of brevity. The tree never falls far from the acorn.

  369. #371 Kel
    February 9, 2009

    Interesting article from the NY Times: Darwinism Must Die So That Evolution May Live.

    He makes an interesting point there.

  370. #372 Stygian Lamprey
    February 10, 2009

    I’m a student at Missouri State University in Springfield MO, where Dr. Myers has agreed to speak this fall. Springfield is a real churchy, conservative place (the world headquarters of the tongue-speaking, biblical literalist Assemblies of God denomination), and skeptical happenings are certain to raise a buzz. We are currently looking for suggestions on raising money to make this event as bitchin’ as possible. Any thoughts, Pharyngulites?

  371. #373 Ciaphas
    February 10, 2009

    On the subject of movies being better than the books they are based on, I would submit LA Confidential. Outstanding movie and much better than the (still quite good) book.

    The DaVinci Code is another one, though coming from the other direction. The book was so incredibly awful that when I finally got off the plane (having picked it up at the airport due to forgetting to bring my own reading material) I placed it on top of a trash can and walked quickly away. The movie, while bad, was much less likly to cause herpes or mild brain death.

  372. #374 Ciaphas
    February 10, 2009

    *Looks over his previous post*

    Gah… Cat-like typing detected. Could everyone just pretend that was readable? Thanks.

  373. #375 Alan Kellogg
    February 10, 2009

    #364

    A moose is not a whitetail.

    #367

    How is being required to lend to certain parties the same as being able to lend to those same parties?

  374. #376 Mother Batherick
    February 10, 2009

    Out of curiosity, does anyone know anything about this anti-vaccination nutjob, Sherri Tenpenny? http://www.myspace.com/deathbymodernmedicine
    I’ve been debating an antivax “advocate” on another forum and he’s brought up her name. All I can find out about her from google is that she’s an osteopath, has written antivax books, and likes to show up on shows like Coast to Coast, and The Power Hour.

  375. #377 windy
    February 10, 2009

    From the NYT article:

    Using phrases like ?Darwinian selection? or ?Darwinian evolution? implies there must be another kind of evolution at work, a process that can be described with another adjective. For instance, ?Newtonian physics? distinguishes the mechanical physics Newton explored from subatomic quantum physics. So ?Darwinian evolution? raises a question: What?s the other evolution?

    “Non-Darwinian evolution” is a fairly common term for nonadaptive processes like genetic drift! The author may be a world famous ecologist but a little googling wouldn’t have hurt.

  376. #378 A. Noyd
    February 10, 2009

    Mother Batherick (#377)

    Out of curiosity, does anyone know anything about this anti-vaccination nutjob, Sherri Tenpenny?

    Don’t know anything about her, but that MySpace makes my eyes bleed. I have been following the whole Jeni Barnett thing, though, and before she went and ripped all the hundreds of comments off her blog, I noticed that most of the anti-vax commenters would appeal to common sense or the “proof” of their own experiences. It seemed to me that they were so damned sure of the infallibility of common sense and personal experience that what they really needed was to be shown why they couldn’t rely on such things rather than merely being repeatedly told they couldn’t (“plural of anecdote…,” etc.).

    Surely there is a site or two out there that provides accessible, nonjudgmental explanations of the shortcomings of common sense and personal experience? A site that recognizes their natural appeal and feeling of rightness and tries to raise awareness of their inadequacy in determining truths?

    It would be nice to have something like that to link to in order to gain some common ground when trying to argue with people who really don’t understand why their opinion isn’t as weighty as a scientific fact. Not that it will do any good against the conspiracy nuts, but it could be helpful to tug a few of the folk in between over to the side of reason. Anyone?

  377. #379 Jadehawk
    February 10, 2009

    There was a thaw. There was also a leak in the roof, discovered because of a flooded kitchen counter and a ruined bag of beans in a possibly ruined cupboard. And we’re supposed to go on vacation in a week.

    whee

  378. #380 SEF
    February 10, 2009

    Surely there is a site or two out there that provides accessible, nonjudgmental explanations of the shortcomings of common sense and personal experience? A site that recognizes their natural appeal and feeling of rightness and tries to raise awareness of their inadequacy in determining truths?

    Have you tried skepdic yet? Eg:

    http://skepdic.com/confirmbias.html

    and much, much more. Many of the words may be a bit long and hard for some people though. It’s only going to be of use to those with at least moderate levels of ability and inclination to read and think.

  379. #381 Jadehawk
    February 10, 2009

    Surely there is a site or two out there that provides accessible, nonjudgmental explanations of the shortcomings of common sense and personal experience? A site that recognizes their natural appeal and feeling of rightness and tries to raise awareness of their inadequacy in determining truths?

    there’s also the Dunning-Kruger Effect, i.e. the “common sense vs. those damn experts” explained

  380. #382 Knockgoats
    February 10, 2009

    People might enjoy this footage of migrating narwhals.

  381. #383 Knockgoats
    February 10, 2009

    Anthony k.@353,

    There used to be a UK publication entitled “Radical Librarian”, in one of the university libraries I spent time in. I never opened it, as I did not want to have to drop the pleasing notion that “radical librarians” classified books according to the last letter of the last author’s name, or something equally subversive.

  382. #384 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 10, 2009

    Jadehawk, we just had a flood in our kitchen. All over the wood floors that I personally laid.

    Not fun. We had the water removal people out that same night and they left all kinds of equipment in there running for 4 days ensuring they dried out.

    Still waiting on the bill.

    El suck.

    But we saved the floors and cabinets.

  383. #385 J. D. Mack
    February 10, 2009

    I think prog rock is the greatest music ever!

    (Well, you did say we could talk about anything.)

  384. #386 Trismos
    February 10, 2009

    Big LOL Myers. Don’t you see the irony with your specific rule? It’s the same as how the Atheists have felt forever! Bring up atheism and you’ll be taken out to the dungeons and shot! Atheism is a cancer! But of course this is your little fiefdom. So be it then. If I have to be banned by your pettiness, then ban me. Libertarianism is fine with me and the same values I hold as an atheist / a-superstionist (whatever that word might be but you get the drift),they walk hand in hand with the values of freedom of expression and the concepts core to the rights of man which are the core values of the libertarianism I know. But of course you are going to tell me what libertatarianism is. Maybe equate it with the Nazi movement or something.

  385. #387 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 10, 2009

    Big LOL Myers. Don’t you see the irony with your specific rule? It’s the same as how the Atheists have felt forever! Bring up atheism and you’ll be taken out to the dungeons and shot! Atheism is a cancer! But of course this is your little fiefdom. So be it then. If I have to be banned by your pettiness, then ban me. Libertarianism is fine with me and the same values I hold as an atheist / a-superstionist (whatever that word might be but you get the drift),they walk hand in hand with the values of freedom of expression and the concepts core to the rights of man which are the core values of the libertarianism I know. But of course you are going to tell me what libertatarianism is. Maybe equate it with the Nazi movement or something.

    You idiot. It’s the constant bothering of some of the libertarians here who turn EVERY thread into one about libertarianism that is the fucking problem. Why is that so hard to grasp?

  386. #388 RickU
    February 10, 2009

    @55 – The label certainly isn’t inclusive enough. I don’t know what your actual political stances are but have you considered calling yourself a minarchist?

  387. #389 RickU
    February 10, 2009

    Inclusive was the wrong word…Descriptive would have been better.

  388. #390 JE
    February 10, 2009

    Ironically, PZ, by banning libertarianism he created an entire thread about libertarianism.

    Can we not talk about Watchmen next?

  389. #391 HC
    February 10, 2009
  390. #392 Endor
    February 10, 2009

    “It’s the constant bothering of some of the libertarians here who turn EVERY thread into one about libertarianism that is the fucking problem. Why is that so hard to grasp?”

    Apparently, reading the post is not nearly as fun as whining about imaginary censorship. After all, if PZ doesn’t allow EVERY. SINGLE. THREAD. to be about Libertarianism, clearly, he’s a fascist who hates free speech!!

  391. #393 Isherwood
    February 10, 2009

    Posted by: Blake Stacey February 9, 2009 1:17 PM

    Isherwood (#75):

    HTML. Surround the text you wish to quotate with blockquote tags. Use HTML entities for symbols (the “preview” function tends to mess these up, unfortunately).

    Thanks for that, and that. I needed a chuckle. :-)

  392. #394 Glen Davidson
    February 10, 2009

    The Mississippi evolution disclaimer bill has died in committee. Shamelessly lifted from Brayton’s blog:

    Remember that blissfully idiotic disclaimer that a Mississippi legislator wanted in all biology textbooks? That bill has now died in committee.

    Mississippi’s House Bill 25, which would have mandated the state board of education to require every textbook that discusses evolution to include a disclaimer describing evolution as “a controversial theory,” died in committee on February 3, 2009, according to the state’s legislative website. At present, the only state to require a textbook disclaimer about evolution is Alabama, which is currently using a disclaimer adopted in 2005. The proposed Mississippi disclaimer was evidently a hybrid of two previous versions of the Alabama disclaimer: its first paragraph is modeled on the first paragraph of the second version (adopted in 2001), while much of the remainder is modeled on the first version (adopted in 1995).

    But the sponsor of the bill, like most such people, could not help himself and deviated from the DI-approved script long enough to reveal the clear religious motives behind the disclaimer and the whole “strengths and weaknesses” thing.

    Speaking to the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal (2009 Jan 24), 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,” adding, “All these molecules didn’t come into existence by themselves.” But he was pessimistic about the prospects of the bill, telling the conservative Christian on-line news source OneNewsNow (2009 Jan 26; “I am confident that this bill is … dead on arrival … I don’t think the [committee] chairman will even take the bill up.” Yet he also told OneNewsNow that “he would consider drafting another bill next year supporting the teaching of the strengths and weaknesses of evolutionary theory in public school classrooms.”

    Notice that those quotes were repeated on the NCSE website. That’s not a coincidence. If such a law ever needs to be challenged in court, these kinds of statements become evidence of a clear religious intent, just like in Dover.

    scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2009/02/mississippi_disclaimer_bill_di.php#more

    And, of course, the politicians end up disclosing their religious intent, because they’re pandering to religious voters, not to the professional liars of the DI.

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

  393. #395 knob goblin
    February 10, 2009

    I often post views contrary to the popular opinion to get people to think about WHY they believe certain things.

    A common mark of narcissism, Psi. You think other people never think about their beliefs, and need your instigation to become rational.

  394. #396 Brian F
    February 10, 2009

    Re comment #7
    Is it not rather amazing that the religious so often use the “arrogant” argument? Its the arrogance of the religious which I think most annoys me. “Despite the fact that there is no real evidence to support my belief (and many religious people will happily admit that), the important thing is that I BELIEVE IT. Evidence schmevidence. And by the way your desire to believe only in that which has some form of evidential basis is typically arrogant scientistic behaviour”
    Only the scientific outlook can make us truly humble.

  395. #397 Patricia, OM
    February 10, 2009

    I don’t know why there are so many mormons in Las Vegas. Sorry.

  396. #398 RationalFuture
    February 10, 2009

    http://christwire.org/2009/02/i-am-extremely-terrified-of-chinese-people/

    I couldn’t resist… sorry… I don’t know if it is a joke, my sense of humor was amputated by creationists long ago… :)

  397. #399 John Phillips, FCD
    February 10, 2009

    Seeing this is an open thread, for those who want a nice Darwin Anniversary gift or memento, how about a Darwin £2 coin Brilliant quality in a presentation pack from the Royal Mint. About $11 dollars for USAians, though don’t ask me about delivery cost to the US :)

    http://www.royalmint.com/store/BritishBase/UKCDBU.aspx

    Better hurry though as they are only minting 25000 at Brilliant quality in the presentation packs :) Though a standard quality version will go into general circulation later.

    For those with money to waste they are also doing a more limited edition solid silver (5000 off) and an even more limited edition (1000 off) 22 carat gold version.

  398. #400 Lowell
    February 10, 2009

    Scientific American devoted February’s issue to evolution and Darwin.

    Glenn Branch and Eugenie Scott of NCSE provide a comprehensive overview of efforts to force creationism into public schools from the Scopes Trial through the latest “academic freedom” bills: http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=the-latest-face-of-creationism

  399. #401 Nix
    February 10, 2009

    Cloudwork: When Douglas Adams came up with ’42′ as the Ultimate Answer, he was scripting a radio play, not writing a book.

    Oh, and _Land of the Headless_ is by *Adam Roberts*, not Robert Adams. I suspect some ARR/DNA naming confusion :)

    (Random weirdness: this was Roberts’s first non-parody work with a title more than one word long.)

  400. #402 fatherdaddy
    February 10, 2009

    I’m curious about why you don’t complain about the lefties who insert a bit of statism into comments regarding the topic of whatever thread? Is it because the regulars are all neo-commies? (Like the person far above who referred to someone as a neo-fascist) The only time I’ve ever brought libertarianism to the table is when someone brought their misguided opinions about the economy to the discussion (for example, when some idiot said the sole responsibility for the current mess belongs to capitalists). Of course, that brings the statist hammer down upon me. Does it have something to do with the arrogance of the left? (Another referance to a previous post) I think that you whiney liberals see a mention of a libertarian idea on an occaisional thread, so, all threads are derailed by libertarianism. Tell you what, you keep it to science and I will too. If you talk about politics, I will join in with my opinion. When you can show me my opinion is garbage I will gladly drop it. Until then, ban my freedom loving ass. By the way, most libertarians don’t see this as a truly free market, and, I feel I have to say “Ayn Rand” just to be a dick. To further my apparent goal of forever being shunned by a group I enjoy being a part of, I will say you all need to smoke a joint and relax.

  401. #403 Steve_C
    February 10, 2009

    Oh for fuck’s sake. The reason he doesn’t want “liberrrrrrrt” crap discussed is because the topic has hijacked about 20 threads in the past couple of months.

    No one is being banned for what bullshit they believe. They get banned for being repetitious and boring.

    And once again a Libertarian opens his pie hole and we see why we want the topic dropped.

    You guys tend to be douche bags.

  402. #404 Lowell
    February 10, 2009

    You guys tend to be douche bags.

    Yeah, that about sums it up.

  403. #405 The Nerd
    February 11, 2009

    “Get a leg up on the pile!”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87T6jIK9QZg

  404. #406 marilove
    February 11, 2009

    I knew I should have checked Scienceblogs yesterday…

  405. #407 fatherdaddy
    February 11, 2009

    Oh, shit! 20 threads out of the hundreds of threads over the past couple of months. Don’t I feel like such a fucking douche bag. How has anyone put up with this for so long?

    When do I get banned?

  406. #408 Sven DiMilo
    February 11, 2009

    you whiney liberals see a mention of a libertarian idea on an occaisional thread, so, all threads are derailed by libertarianism.

    Dude, try to realize that it’s not about you. It’s also not about an occasional mention. It’s about 3 or 4–what’s the word I’m looking for here–yes, douchebags who comment multiple times on nearly every thread and only harp on their one pony-trick. You might only spout your ideology in a defensive way, as you claim (actually I don’t recognize your nym at all, so you must not do it very often), but the guys this is about always do, no matter what the context or subject.
    Now, please pass that joint over this way.

  407. #409 Watchman
    February 11, 2009

    Oh, shit! 20 threads out of the hundreds of threads over the past couple of months. Don’t I feel like such a fucking douche bag.

    As well you should. It’s more like 20 threads in the past week. Why else complain about it? Libertarianism has been coming up here for years. It’s the recent high concentration that has been wearing everybody out.

    Got it now? Or are you going to continue to be willfully obtuse in a futile effort to make your so-called point?

  408. #410 Rik G
    February 11, 2009

    Looks like I’m late to the party, and the comments are winding down, but that’s cool–I’m just a lurker who takes heart from a lot of Prof. Myers’ posts, and gets a kick out of the fact that even rationalists and skeptics have their “dittoheads”.

    What’s this about the “Morphed” TV series?!? Sounds really interesting, even if flawed. It WOULD air just after I downgraded my cable to basic! Anyone care to review the series?

    Also, when is the media (other than the blogosphere) going to start covering the story of the teacher in East Texas who was forced out for being too liberal and an atheist, er, for “inappropriate contact” with a student? I’ve been bugging a friend in the media to cover it, and I’m sure a lot of other folks have been contacting the media about it as well. Given that Texas just dodged a bullet by eliminating the “teach the controversy” language from their science teaching standards, this would seem to be topical and newsworthy. PZ–maybe a fresh post giving an update would help this fellow out?

    JWC (#118), I’m no scientist either, but John Maynard Smith and Eors Szathmary (say THAT three times fast!) are, and they have a good book on the subject called “The Origins of Life: From the Birth of Life to the Origin of Language”. Enjoy!

  409. #411 Watchman
    February 11, 2009

    Rik, that “inappropriate contact” rap bugs the shit out of me. My conclusion is that the school administration stopped and thought (!) about the situation for a few minutes, and realized that they stood a reasonable risk of getting clobbered in court if they pushed the liberal/atheist angle, and so changed the charge to something that was less true, yet more damning, and would put the teacher on the defensive. Nasty stuff.

  410. #412 Rik G
    February 11, 2009

    Watchman, it is VERY nasty! The one ray of hope to emerge from this is that a lot of his students are rallying to his defense and showing the rest of the country that they will not be intimidated by the bullying and hypocrisy of some of the “pillars” of their community. It’s easy (or easier) for an adult in a big city or academic community to speak his or her mind, but these kids are showing real courage. They give me hope!

  411. #413 Jadehawk
    February 11, 2009

    Jadehawk, we just had a flood in our kitchen. All over the wood floors that I personally laid.

    Not fun. We had the water removal people out that same night and they left all kinds of equipment in there running for 4 days ensuring they dried out.
    Still waiting on the bill.
    El suck.
    But we saved the floors and cabinets.

    good on you for at least saving the furniture!

    I live in a rental apartment which is

    1)Good, because none of the damage repair will come out of my pocket (except for replacing the blizzard-emergency-food, which is now soaked)

    2)Bad, because no one will bother showing up to fix it while it’s cold and icy. which means I’ll have to pray atheistically hope that the temperatures stay well below freezing for the next month so that I’ll still have a kitchen (Instead of a moldy, rotten pit of meltwater) by the time we’re back from the vacation.

  412. #414 Watchman
    February 11, 2009

    Rik, yes, though let’s not forget that many of John Freshwater‘s students stood up for him, too. I’m not sure what that tells us…

    At least in this latest story, the kids are standing up for a teacher whose leanings, unlike Freshwater’s, are at odds with those of the majority in his community. So, yeah. What you said!

  413. #415 Alan Kellogg
    February 12, 2009

    What’s the difference between libertarians and creationists?

    Creationists are entertaining douche bags.

  414. #416 Alan Kellogg
    February 12, 2009

    Are we really all that certain that placozoans are animals? Yes, they do have four different kinds of cells. Yes, they do start off with their cells all hooked up; unlike slime molds, which start disconnected. But, there is the matter of placozoans reproducing by ripping themselves apart. Then there is the fact they don’t really use two of the cell types they have.

    Now when a placozoan gets to a certain size it pretty much tears itself into two placozoans. Could it be that placozoans have one group of cells that cooperate to decide on direction of travel -guided by chemical clues, with the signals sent to other cells in the organism becoming more and attenuated the more they travel from the originating cells. When the placozoan gets large enough another, competing group arises, and in time the two control centers become strong enough to unzip the original.

    In short, a placozoan does not act with the coordination of a slime mold swarm, much less a slime mold slug. Which would make placozoans more primitive than slime molds. But, aren’t slime molds supposed to be more primitive than animals?

    Are different cell types sufficient to make a multi-protist organism an animal?

  415. #417 fatherdaddy
    February 12, 2009

    To continue flogging the dead horse, I must admit I don’t read every comment on every post. I fail to see the flood of dumbasses who insert the L word into many threads. I don’t think I’ve seen it in a while, so, I guess I’ve missed something. An admittedly quick search of the first 5 pages of posts using “Libertarian”, “Pharyngula”, and “2009″ as the search criteria on the search bar on this page shows 8 people saying they were Libs, 12 posts I wasn’t sure about, and 23 comments complaining about Libertarians. That is not a complete survey, obviously, but there seems to be a lot more liberals bringing it up than Libertarians. If someone of any political bent throws out some uninformed comment that is inappropriate to the conversation they deserve a certain amount of derision. If someone is going to lead off bitching and moaning about Libertarians and a Lib is stupid enough to respond, then who is derailing the thread?

    I am naturally obtuse, no will is involved. If I was against the idea of making futile efforts I wouldn’t have typed a thing, or, joined NORML, or, argued with my creationist brother-in-law (who will pass it after his hit).

  416. #418 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 12, 2009

    FD, this thread is presently being hijacked.
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/02/you_are_not_optimal.php
    You may find discussion. We find disgust. That is why PZ said what he said above, and why I asked all libertarians early in that thread to take their discussions of economics and politics to Walton’s blog. AG, who has been previously warned by PZ for hijacking threads, appears headed for a plonking for doing so again. If you have to discuss politics or economics, please do it elsewhere.

  417. #419 Africangenesis
    February 12, 2009

    Nerd of Redhead’OM,

    You are lying, PZ has not sought to ban economic knowledge, like it or not it is a subject in its own right. It is only the left anarchists that are trying to disrupt it, but that is what they do, isn’t it.

  418. #420 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 12, 2009

    Liberatian lie, and you know it. AG, time to go away. And you know it. Go or be expelled. Your choice.

  419. #421 Steve_C
    February 12, 2009

    hahaha… “the PLAP (people leftist anarchist party) is at work!”

    “I’m in the LAPF (Leftist Anarchist Peoples Front) the PLAP are a bunch of tossers!”

  420. #422 Africangenesis
    February 12, 2009

    Nerd of Redhead,OM,

    You can’t seem to get away from the subject can you? Are you fixated? I had no problem sticking to other subjects. Are you saying that the wealth of economic knowledge just belongs to one group? Maybe your anarchist friends want to dismiss a whole body of knowledge.

  421. #423 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 12, 2009

    AG, I find you tiresome and ignorant, but that I why I don’t normally engage you. Here’s a challenge to you. Can you go one week without discussing economics here? I doubt it, but show us you can. PZ has told you to go twice. You are on borrowed time unless you quit hijacking threads. Do what you will. I’ve had my say.

  422. #424 fatherdaddy
    February 12, 2009

    What I see in that thread is someone making a comment that others don’t like, so, the others try to police the thread with the same finess as a Rodney King arrest. If you don’t like what is said, ignore it and move on. Eventually they will shut up. I think you really like to argue with the Libs. You just egg each other on.

  423. #425 misc
    February 28, 2009

    The following link was found on reddit’s atheism page, enjoy:
    http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/guestessays/religion101.html

  424. #426 misc
    March 7, 2009

    Another one, this time more informatory:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSzQC1zKesU

    Randi’s other videos are highly recommendable as well, though I didn’t know he resp. the JREF had a YouTube channel.

  425. #427 misc
    March 11, 2009

    For those interested: The German bus ad campaign has started a few days ago with its appeal for donations.

    http://www.buskampagne.de/
    http://www.helpedia.de/activities/buskampagne/

  426. #428 misc
    March 11, 2009

    Quick translation of the slogans, tried to keep it as literal as possible:

    A.
    “Godlessly happy.” [or "Profanely prosperous", if one wants to keep the alliteration]
    A fulfilled life needs no faith.
    Virtues a human – It comes down to us. [i.e. 'It is us who matter.']
    Enlightenment means to accept responsibility.

    B.
    “God is an assertion.”
    Human rights are real. It comes down to us.

    C.
    “There exists (with a probability bordering on certainty) no god.”

  427. #429 misc
    March 11, 2009

    dagnabit, that ought to be “Virtues are human”, of course