Pharyngula

Aaaaargh

It’s been quiet here today for a good reason: I’m facing a bunch of deadlines, and I told myself I’d stay offline until I’d met them. I haven’t met them quite yet, but I hate leaving the blog dead for a day…so I’m just offering this note of explanation, and setting this up as an open thread.

Now I’m gone again, back to my labors.

Comments

  1. #1 Ray
    February 22, 2009

    WooHoo! open thread! Food Fight… or whatever

    Cheers,
    Ray

  2. #2 Emerson Ross
    February 22, 2009

    Can the information in the genome be reduced to the chemistry and physics of the molecules?

  3. #3 Kel
    February 22, 2009

    Can global warming is a scam actually do some science and submit to peer review instead of wasting his time on here making stupid statements like “What’s the ideal temperaure of the planet? Hint: the answer is numeric.”?

  4. #4 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 22, 2009

    GWIAS, we don’t answer stupid questions. Why don’t you put something out there and defend it like a real scientist would.

  5. #5 Libbie, the Bird Overlord
    February 22, 2009

    Condors smell nice.

  6. #6 2-D Man
    February 22, 2009

    *chucks a hotdog carrying the answer ‘yes’, enough thermal energy to keep it at the ideal temperature of the planet and ketchup*.

  7. #7 AnthonyK
    February 22, 2009

    The ideal temperature of the planet? Oh, about room temperature, I should say.
    Why, is anyone thinking of changing it?

  8. #8 Wowbagger
    February 22, 2009

    Can anyone convince GWIAS it’s in his best interests to tap into the very lucrative world of The Super-Secret Scientific Conspiracy to Hide The Fact That There’s No Such Thing as Global Warming??

    I mean, all you science-types (and me, a hanger-on) here are just rolling in cash because we help cover it up.

  9. #9 Kel
    February 22, 2009

    Hiya Kel! It’s been so long! So tell me, Kel, if peer review is so great, how did that Wakefield “study” linking vaccines and autism pass the process? Just asking!

    Are you under the illusion that peer review stops as soon as a work gets published? Just curious, how did you find out that the study was bogus?

  10. #10 Emerson Ross
    February 22, 2009

    Don’t feed the troll.

    Also, what is the best answer to my question above?

  11. #11 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 22, 2009

    Not room temperature, ambient temperature. (/pedant)

  12. #12 Paul Burnett
    February 22, 2009

    GWIS, #2, “What’s the ideal temperaure of the planet?”

    The ideal temperature is the temperature it is, because the Intelligent Designer designed it that way, just for us: Like Goldilocks’ porridge, it’s not too hot, not too cool, but just right. See Guillermo Gonzalez latest (only?) book.

  13. #13 Epikt
    February 22, 2009

    Global Warming Is A Scam:

    What’s the ideal temperaure of the planet? Hint: the answer is numeric.

    14, in appropriate units.

  14. #14 Kel
    February 22, 2009

    Also, why does it follow that because a system is not perfect that it must be useless? Of course bad stuff is going to get through peer review, people are only human after all. But peer review keeps on and on and on and on and ideas are perpetually tested in order to make sure they are valid.

    The question is, why do you think giving an example of a completely unrelated field in science is adequate enough to dismiss the entire endeavour of peer review and conclude that you’re opinion is of equal merit?

  15. #15 Allen N
    February 22, 2009

    GWAIS..

    If data is faked, it can get by – for a while. Nice thing about science is that sooner or later, the truth emerges. Just answering.

  16. #16 Solveig
    February 22, 2009

    @ #6

    Condors smell well? I suppose a strong sense of smell could be a positive or negative thing when what You are searching for is carrion. Mmm.

  17. #17 Kel
    February 22, 2009

    GWIAS, how can you think this:

    What’s the ideal temperaure of the planet?

    is an intelligent question?

  18. #18 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 22, 2009

    Ross, you have an open ended question probably leading to something. All biological processes are chemical. Chemistry is sometimes considered a subset of physics. Take the answer from that information.

  19. #19 Ray
    February 22, 2009

    I went to John Lynch’s talk about “Was there a Darwinian Revolution” at O.U. in Norman,OK on 2/12. It was a good talk and I got to meet ERV and John after the event (for like 30 seconds). I was only in town until the next day so I missed out on the latest happening with Casey “cottage cheese” Luskin and that John West guy. It would have been fun to attend just to see ERV breath fire during the questions!
    I am also majorly bummed out that I’m going to miss Richard Dawkins when he speaks at O.U. in a few weeks.
    Just a few random thoughts.
    Cheers & Happy Monkey,
    Ray

  20. #20 bob
    February 22, 2009

    GWIAS: About the temperature it was when we built all our coastal cities. You know, so they don’t end up underwater. And, the Wakefield situation was an example of peer-review WORKING. You know, because other studies examined his results and found them to be incorrect. You’re really a putz.

    Anyone watching the Oscars? Domo arigato mister roboto!

  21. #21 Solveig
    February 22, 2009

    Or am I thinking of Turkey Vultures?

  22. #22 Blake Stacey
    February 22, 2009

    Can the information in the genome be reduced to the chemistry and physics of the molecules?

    Mu.

    “Information” is a property of the emergent macrostate: the sequence of nucleotides, the position of histones, the methylation of certain genes, etc. Many physical microstates map to the same macrostate — the same sequence of As, Cs, Ts and Gs can be realized in many ways, some fraction of which are equivalent for all biological purposes, as the molecular chain is free to wiggle and jiggle. If the physical phase space of the system is some stupendous 6N-dimensional manifold, with one degree of freedom for each position and momentum variable for each atom, then whole swaths of that phase space are equivalence classes, which we call genes in various states of activation.

    “Reduce” is such an ill-defined word.

  23. #23 'Tis Himself
    February 22, 2009

    Kel,

    That’s as intelligent as the denialist can get.

  24. #24 Patricia, OM
    February 22, 2009

    No body puts ketchup on a hot dawg.

    Where’s the Chimp?

  25. #25 Blake Stacey
    February 22, 2009

    bob (#23):

    If “Mr. Roboto” is somehow involved with the Oscars, I’m sorry I’m not watching them right now. I’ve worked out my guilt over that song; it’s just a pleasure. This may have something to do with the fact that I wrote new lyrics for it as part of a musical comedy, the new version involving an android which had been posing as a human (à la Asimov’s “Evidence”) and which was being told, in song, “Es quedar chingado, Dr. Roboto!”

    It made sense at the time.

  26. #26 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 22, 2009

    Rev. BDC has been away. I think he dropped in once in the last 24 hours, with his usual pithy observations.

  27. #27 AnthonyK
    February 22, 2009

    I was wondering about a few things:
    1) Is the world heating up, and if so do we know that people are to blame?
    2) Are the rights of governments superior to those of individuals, and is this a problem? and
    3) Is Jesus really the son of god, and if so does this have any impact on man and society?
    Just idle speculation. Don’t suppose anyone here’s much interested.

  28. #28 Kel
    February 22, 2009

    How can you think it isn’t? Oh, that’s right…it’s because you can’t answer it. Carry on.

    The question is misleading, and frankly quite irrelevant. There’s no such thing as an ideal temperature, but that’s not what global warming is about. Either you are deliberately being misleading in order to make some pathetic point, or you truly are ignorant of what the science behind climate change actually entails. So, are you that much of an idiot or are you just trying to make a point through asking a red herring?

  29. #29 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 22, 2009

    No body puts ketchup on a hot dawg.

    nobody, I mean nobody puts ketchup on a hotdog.

  30. #30 PZ Myers
    February 22, 2009

    I thought this would be an opportunity for intelligent comment.

    GWIAS, you’re a troll. Go away. I’m busy, and I have no patience for idiots like you.

  31. #31 DanN
    February 22, 2009

    I’ve been spending all day with thunderf00t and AndromedasWake at http://www.leagueofreason.co.uk

  32. #32 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 22, 2009

    I’ve been off in NC on a little photo excursion.

    I have about 1500 shots I need to process and get ready for “market”.

    Now back to that and the consumption of beer.

    Here’s to beer, the solution to and cause of all life’s problems.

    /homer.

  33. #33 Ray
    February 22, 2009

    Epikt@ 16
    14, in appropriate units.

    I thought sure the answer would be 42!

    Cheers & Happy Monkey,
    Ray

  34. #34 Jim Bob Cooter
    February 22, 2009

    @Emerson: bad question, I have no idea what you’re asking. The information is certainly passed along, transcripted and translated that is, according to the rules of chemistry. Nucleic acids and their replication machinery are molecules after all. Obviously the entire process is based on natural chemical properties.
    And GWIAS, if you knew anything about astrobiology (or astronomy…or biology…or geology) you would realize that you have just asked a truly retarded question.

  35. #35 AnthonyK
    February 22, 2009

    Or am I thinking of Turkey Vultures?

    Well, I remember back when I was little, and my dad unemployed, they used to give us luncheon vultures.

  36. #36 Paul Burnett
    February 22, 2009

    GWIS, #2, “What’s the ideal temperaure of the planet?”

    Trick question! Not the temperature at the surface, or the temperature of the biosphere of the atmosphere and the oceans – but the temperature of the planet as a whole!

    In that case the mass-averaged temperature of the entire planet, from the core out to the surface, is well above that of lava, easily several thousand degrees Kelvin. So my guess is 3,000 K. See http://hypertextbook.com/facts/1999/PhillipChan.shtml

  37. #37 Blake Stacey
    February 22, 2009

    Ray (#38):

    That’s only if you use metric. I think Epikt is just making concessions to an A-Muhrican audience.

    Me, on the other hand — I get the weather reports in Kelvin.

  38. #38 Patricia, OM
    February 22, 2009

    Can’t vouch for the temperature for the rest of you poor pilgrims, but here in Gawdistan, Oregon we had snow this morning, and tonight it’s a chicken soaker outside.

  39. #39 PZ Myers
    February 22, 2009

    GWIAS is now banned. Seriously, when I’m overloaded with work, do not piss me off.

  40. #40 bob
    February 22, 2009

    Blake: Kunio Kato won the animated short Oscar, and gave his acceptance speech haltingly in a very heavy Japanese accent. He wrapped it up by dropping the “domo …” line. It was hysterical.

  41. #41 Hank Fox
    February 22, 2009

    I came across this a few days ago ? a thought experiment for Christians:

    If you could go back in time to the moment when Christ was about to be crucified, would you save him, and thus negate the whole “Christ died for our sins” thing? Or would you selfishly let him die in agony so that you could be guaranteed salvation?

  42. #42 AnthonyK
    February 22, 2009

    Yeah, go away GWIAS! *Shakes fist, standing behind PZ* Da boss is working!
    Has he gone?
    I used to be sychophantic, but PZ really cured that!

  43. #43 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 22, 2009

    Oh, no, without a denialist there goes my AGW check. Bummer, there goes the hybrid.

  44. #44 Epikt
    February 22, 2009

    Ray:

    I thought sure the answer would be 42/

    The sensible choice of units depends on the problem at hand. Since I was dealing with Global Warming is a Crank, I carefully chose the units to provide an obviously-correct answer to a moronic question.

  45. #45 Norman Doering
    February 22, 2009

    How about a guessing game. What is this melody based on:
    http://www.box.net/shared/lsogup05u7

  46. #46 Stacy
    February 22, 2009

    I don’t like the way PZ spells “Aaaaargh”. It should be

    “Aauurrgghh” !!

    That is all.

  47. #47 Susan
    February 22, 2009

    Oooh! Open thread! I’ve been waiting for one to post about a dish scrubber my daughter talked me into. He sits on our sink now, and is very cute.

  48. #48 Wowbagger
    February 22, 2009

    GWIAS banned? Oh, but I was having so much fun thinking up stupid things to spend my ill-gotten Global Warming Conspiracy hush-money dollars on. I’d only gotten as far as a solid gold crapper and a Maserati.

  49. #49 charley
    February 22, 2009

    @45

    The Look of Love

    So what was that anyway?

  50. #50 AnthonyK
    February 22, 2009

    I think the optimal temperature of the planet is 3.1 degreesC. No, 812. Errr -4?
    Oh I give up, what’s the answer?
    Hey wait a minute – aren’t you…..

  51. #51 Bckcntry
    February 22, 2009

    I tried googling “evolution of giraffes” tonight and got a bunch of ID sites.

    So what’s the word on giraffes? Can somebody point me in the right direction?

  52. #52 Klokwurk
    February 22, 2009

    AGW Is A Scam

    Really? Could have fooled me!

    You make that sound like an accomplishment.

  53. #53 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 22, 2009

    Banning + morphing = deletion. Bye-bye.

  54. #54 Sastra
    February 22, 2009

    Hank Fox #41 wrote:

    “If you could go back in time to the moment when Christ was about to be crucified, would you save him, and thus negate the whole “Christ died for our sins” thing? Or would you selfishly let him die in agony so that you could be guaranteed salvation?”

    Interesting question. If I were a Christian, I would smartly answer back “I’d ask Jesus what he wanted me to do — and then do it.” I would be able to trust that Christ would not lead me astray, and tell me the right answer.

    Of course, being sharp and equally quick, you’d snap back “He’s already unconscious.”

    In which case, I’d say “well, I’m not a doctor. Sounds like he’s already too far gone now to save anyway.”

    I’d be a wily kind of Christian.

  55. #55 Bckcntry
    February 22, 2009

    “Really? Could have fooled me!”

    Oh ho. Touche, douchebag.

  56. #56 Wowbagger
    February 22, 2009

    Ah, there’s nothing I like more than knowing there’s an idiot troll who has to furiously re-type (and often create new) email addresses in order to post comments that will just be deleted anyway. Boy, he’s sure showing us.

    Wave bye-bye to the nice troll, everyone!

  57. #57 Nanu Nanu
    February 22, 2009

    I hate morphers

    :[

    They make me cry

  58. #58 bob
    February 22, 2009

    Wait, I thought “global warming is a scam,” but now it’s “anthropogenic global warming is a scam?” Odd discrepancy, especially coming from someone demanding precision. I note again: you’re a putz.

  59. #59 AnthonyK
    February 22, 2009

    Ooh, Mr AGW, you need to be bit careful, ‘cos PZs around and I don’t think he’s had his breakfast baby this morning.
    Just go easy, OK, and don’t behave like the other gentleman with a similar name, because he turned out to be a cock-sucking fuckwit. And that’s not the sort of chap we like to have here.

  60. #60 kamaka
    February 22, 2009

    Proof that vultures have a sense of smell (which I thought not so).

    People looking for leaks in natural-gas pipelines know they’ve found one if a bunch of vultures are hanging around.

    PS BIRD OVERLORD indeed. Haruuumph.

    I challenge you to a bird-fight. Except I have to go to bed now.

    Fight-start: What’s a Buzzard?? How far can an owl really turn it’s head? Do parrots know what they’re saying or is it’s blah blah??

    Do birds dream?

  61. #61 Ray
    February 22, 2009

    AGW is a scam @ 49
    Oooh looky, a morphing troll!

    I still think the answer is 42, that is the ultimate answer to life the universe and everything isn’t it?

    Cheers & Happy Monkey,
    Ray

  62. #62 Zeno
    February 22, 2009

    I’m on deadline, too, and I’m not enjoying it. And I’m trapped in the house by rain when I need to go out for a walk to clear my head. Ugh. Of course, it would be uncool to complain too much, given how desperate California is for precipitation in the third year of a drought.

    Maybe I’ll get a few more pages of my project done. Or perhaps I’ll bang out a quick blog post about lying creationists. So many tempting options!

  63. #63 Kryth
    February 22, 2009

    Purple Monkey Dishwasher

  64. #64 Owlmirror
    February 22, 2009

    Of course, being sharp and equally quick, you’d snap back “He’s already unconscious.”

    In which case, I’d say “well, I’m not a doctor. Sounds like he’s already too far gone now to save anyway.”

    Well, if one were a doctor, one might well begin resuscitation.

    If he doesn’t revive, then clearly it was not Meant To Be.

    If he revives, and then says it was the wrong thing to do because he was in fact supposed to die more permanently (?) so as to do the whole salvation thing, one might point out that a young man in his thirties has plenty of opportunities to annoy the Roman and Judean authorities to the point of receiving a death penalty again (and if not them, then some other authorities).

    And one might also be tempted to ask “So, why can’t you just die of old age for our sins?”

    I’d be a wily kind of Christian.

    I approve!

  65. #65 GodIsLove
    February 22, 2009

    Well since this is an open thred: You EVIL Atheists are going to BURN in HELL for turning your back on the LORD, the ONE TRUE GOD.

    Psalm 14:1- The FOOL hath said is his heart, ther is not God. They are CORRUPT, they have done ABOMINABLE works, there is NONE that doeth good.

    REPENT now, get on you’re knees and repent; save you’re souls, or you WILL regret it wehn you are BURNING IN HELL.

    Remember: God does not love you, but if you repent you WILL be SAVED.

  66. #66 bob
    February 22, 2009

    If god is love, why doesn’t he love me? I’m confused.

    But, then again, so are you. :P

  67. #67 AnthonyK
    February 22, 2009

    Surely you could only be a Christian after Christ died?

  68. #68 God
    February 22, 2009

    You EVIL Atheists are going to BURN in HELL for turning your back on the LORD, the ONE TRUE GOD.

    WRONG.

    I, GOD, SAY THAT I WILL SAVE WHOM I WILL SAVE.

  69. #69 Ken Cope
    February 22, 2009

    Mars is too cold and while Venus is not in the Goldilocks zone, it obscures my view of Mercury, so we all know what Rorschach sez, don’t we.

  70. #70 AnthonyK
    February 22, 2009

    I’d seriously like to repent, but I haven’t pented for the first time yet. What should I do?

  71. #71 Global Warming Is A Scam
    February 22, 2009

    Posted by: Nerd of Redhead, Backward Moron, Pretend Scientist | February 22, 2009 9:30 PM

    Banning + morphing = deletion. Bye-bye.

    You were saying?

  72. #72 Jesus
    February 22, 2009

    God, 69

    Dad, c’mon, leave them humans alone.

  73. #73 Satan
    February 22, 2009

    You EVIL Atheists are going to BURN in HELL for turning your back on the LORD, the ONE TRUE GOD.

    Well, I have to say that so far, God has given Me almost no budget whatsoever for heating.

    Hell is actually rather tepid.

  74. #74 bob
    February 22, 2009

    I, for one, am glad that PZ’s taking the time to deal with important academic things rather than effectively dealing with a douchebag like you. You’re not worth anyone’s effort.

  75. #75 Sastra
    February 22, 2009

    Owlmirror #65 wrote:

    And one might also be tempted to ask “So, why can’t you just die of old age for our sins?”

    I like this solution. If nothing else, it means that Mel Gibson would not have been able to make that ghastly snuff fill. Instead, Jesus’ Last Days would be something heartwarming made by HBO, starring some beloved elderly actor who looks good reminiscing as tears streak down his wrinkled face.

  76. #76 Ray
    February 22, 2009

    G.I.L @ 66 Who is “ther” and why would anyone think he/she/it is god?
    Your handle is godislove, but you say god doesn’t love me? I’m confused. (granted that’s a natural state for me)
    I guess I’m convinced by your logic though, so, off to the nearest church for me!

    Cheers,
    Ray

    p.s. I need to start posting in random caps, it’s just so cool!

  77. #77 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 22, 2009

    You were saying?

    GWIAS is now banned. Seriously, when I’m overloaded with work, do not piss me off.
    It will happen. I’m patient.

  78. #78 Random Chimp
    February 22, 2009

    @ Global Warming is a Scam

    Comment by Global Warming Is A Scam blocked. [unkill][show comment]

    I love my killfile

  79. #79 Norman Doering
    February 22, 2009

    charley got it fast.

    It is indeed “The Look of Love.”

    Now what was what anyway? The instrument? The reason I linked it?

    Well, I changed a note and did a minor change to the beat in order to make it more spooky and disturbing. I wasn’t entirely sure if it would still be recognized.

    The instrument is just a stack of MIDI instruments, a couple violins, a distortion guitar, tremolo strings…

    Anymore questions?

    I’ve got more here:
    http://www.box.net/shared/16vmbxot2g

  80. #80 doG
    February 22, 2009

    #66
    I am knees and souls??

  81. #81 God
    February 22, 2009

    God, 69

    I beg your pardon?

    Dad, c’mon, leave them humans alone.

    Read for comprehension, kid. Save whom I will save. Not damn, save.

  82. #82 Screechy Monkey
    February 22, 2009

    “Psalm 14:1- The FOOL hath said is his heart, ther is not God.”

    Oh yeah? Well, my invisible friend says you smell funny.

    (Seriously, why do Christians think that’s a persuasive argument?)

  83. #83 Crudely Wrott
    February 22, 2009

    The ideal temperature of the earth, average, median or otherwise, is precisely the temperature we find most accommodating. It is also the temperature that some pray for. In any case, it is not the long term, average temperature. Silly humans. Learn to cope.

  84. #84 Jesus
    February 22, 2009

    Sorry Dad… *walks away, head down in shame*

  85. #85 Nemo
    February 22, 2009

    AnthonyK @27:

    1) Is the world heating up, and if so do we know that people are to blame?

    Yes, the world is heating up.

    Yes, we can be reasonably sure that humans are to blame. But why would that matter, anyway? If we admit that Earth is warming, then we ought to do something about it, whether or not it’s our fault. So if you ask this question, I take it that either you presume that humans are incapable of altering the climate, or else you just think that everything “natural” is good, and we shouldn’t interfere.

    2) Are the rights of governments superior to those of individuals, and is this a problem?

    Faulty premises. Governments have no rights. If they’re doing their jobs, they’re protecting the collective interests of their people. The people, in turn, are individuals, with rights. And it’s those rights, in sum, that form the collective interest.

    3) Is Jesus really the son of god, and if so does this have any impact on man and society?

    No, Jesus is not the son of god. There is no god.

    Wow, those were easy. Next!

  86. #86 AnthonyK
    February 22, 2009

    Are there any sins I should make sure I do? I mean if I don’t do much wrong, my humble repentance won’t mean much. If I can overcome my strong atheist morality and commit some really bad ‘uns, how far do I have to go?
    No but really. I’m so confused. Sometimes it seems like I am only experiencing a brief period of consciousness surrounded by two eternities of nothingness.
    Oh, if only we humans had evolved a belief system which would assuage my existential angst!
    So, what do I have to do again?

  87. #87 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 22, 2009

    Silly humans. Learn to cope.

    That sounds like an evolutionary idea. :-)

  88. #88 Owlmirror
    February 22, 2009

    Instead, Jesus’ Last Days would be something heartwarming made by HBO, starring some beloved elderly actor who looks good reminiscing as tears streak down his wrinkled face.

    Morgan Freeman, maybe? I like it!

  89. #89 Sonic Screwdriver
    February 22, 2009

    Just found this blog searching for, of all things, “glass octopus” and I’m becoming hugely fond of you folks. You tell them baby-wasting god fearing christian hordes where they can stick it! And if this ‘God’ denies you it’s love, you can have mine, which gives way better hugs.

  90. #90 AnthonyK
    February 22, 2009

    Governments have no rights

    Ooooh, I’m telling!
    And they know where you live…

  91. #91 The Doctor
    February 22, 2009

    @Sonic Screwdriver

    I was wondering where I put you. Come back to the Tardis with me.

  92. #92 Sonic Screwdriver
    February 22, 2009

    Yessir, Doc, as long as we can pick up Rick Warren and zip him back to the Late Cretaceous to feed him to a t-rex.

  93. #93 Fred Phelps
    February 22, 2009

    God HATES YOU!

    All of the problems in the world are the fault of you EVIL Darwin worshippers and the abominable fags.

    Submit to the will of the LORD, or SUFFER, you FAG-enabling, DYKE-enabling, Darwinian SINNERS.

  94. #94 The Doctor
    February 22, 2009

    @ Sonic Screwdriver

    While we’re at it, why don’t we take GWIAS, GiL, and Phelps along with us. A T-rex cannot live on Warren alone.

  95. #95 Crudely Wrott
    February 22, 2009

    If that was really Fred Phelps than I’m a monkey’s cousin. If it wasn’t him then I’m just like ya’ll. Spot the difference. Grin.

  96. #96 AnthonyK
    February 22, 2009

    You fools – that’s why they died out!

  97. #97 Sonic Screwdriver
    February 22, 2009

    I don’t know Doc, Warren is pretty tubby, but I’m sure we could find some other hungry critters for the hairy, sweaty, troll-folk.

  98. #98 Random Chimp
    February 22, 2009

    @ Crudely Wrott

    Spot the difference.

    uhh… Monkeys have tails, we don’t.

  99. #99 The Doctor
    February 22, 2009

    Give a T-rex a troll feed him for a day. Give a T-rex multiple trolls, feed him for several days.

  100. #100 Traffic Demon
    February 22, 2009

    Why no love for George Carlin in the annual dead guy video?

    And now, the wisdom of The Bloodhound Gang.

    “And when they nail my pimpled ass to the cross
    I’ll tell them I found Jesus that should throw them off
    He goes by the name Jesus and steals hubcaps from cars
    Oh Jesus can I borrow your crowbar?
    To pry these God damn nails out they’re beginning to hurt
    Crucified and all I got was this lousy T-shirt
    I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter I’ll sing as I’m flogged
    Yeah that’s what I would do if I were God
    So vote for me for Savior and you’ll go to heaven
    Your lame duck Lord is like Kevin Spacey in “Seven”
    With creepy threats of H-E-Double-Hockey-Stick
    You just can’t teach an old God new tricks
    But would I be a good Messiah with my low self-esteem?
    If I don’t believe in myself would that be blasphemy?
    Just sport some crummy holier than thou facade
    Yeah that’s what I would do if I were God”

    –War Traf

  101. #101 Satan
    February 22, 2009

    God HATES YOU!

    Not really. Or at least, no more than He hates anyone.

    Really, God is usually pretty mellow.

    All of the problems in the world are the fault of you EVIL Darwin worshippers and the abominable fags.

    Nah. All the problems in the world are My fault. God has repeatedly said so, so it must be true.

    Submit to the will of the LORD, or SUFFER, you FAG-enabling, DYKE-enabling, Darwinian SINNERS.

    Will you pay attention? God has given Me no budget for inflicting suffering. None. Zero, zip, nothing.

    The worst the damned are going to suffer from is boredom, unless they figure out how disembodied souls can hurt each other.

    Maybe they’ll insult each other, call each other names (like “fag” and “dyke”), and argue a lot. Yeah, that will keep them real warm. Hell will probably end up run by teenage trolls.

    Hint: Flamewars are not actually physically hot.

  102. #102 GodIsLove
    February 22, 2009

    Laugh while can athiests. God’s WRATH will be upon you if you don’t repent.

    I tell thee, get on your knees and repent, BEG the LORD’s forgiveness; repent and you will be forgiven… REPENT or you WILL SUFFER for all ETERNITY.

  103. #103 Ld Elon
    February 22, 2009

    “Where things grow”

    Elders, can you see what false doctrine has done?

  104. #104 Crudely Wrott
    February 22, 2009

    @Random Chimp

    Ok. Other than the tail.
    Same grin.

  105. #105 Sonic Screwdriver
    February 22, 2009

    @ GodIsLove
    Stop telling me to get on my knees you pervert.

  106. #106 doG
    February 22, 2009

    @ GodIsLove
    I was “repenting” all last night, I’m tired! :-)

  107. #107 llewelly
    February 22, 2009

    Bckcntry | February 22, 2009 10:26 PM:

    I tried googling “evolution of giraffes” tonight and got a bunch of ID sites.

    So what’s the word on giraffes? Can somebody point me in the right direction?

    Since giraffes are tetrapods, you should try asking this question on Tetrapod Zoology . (By the way, Darren Naish has posted some great articles about giraffes there, so search the blog too.)
    Next step is to search google scholar – click the ‘more’ link on google’s page, and you’ll see scholar. Or go directly to scholar.google.com . For example, I searched for ‘evolution giraffes’ and Winning by a Neck: Sexual Selection in the Evolution of Giraffe was the first hit, a fascinating but rather old (1996) paper. Please look further – I’m no scientist and have no idea if that paper is the sort of thing you are looking for.

  108. #108 Traffic Demon
    February 22, 2009

    Anyone else think that Glenn Close and Meryl Streep might be the same woman?

  109. #109 God
    February 22, 2009

    Laugh while can athiests.

    Yes. I approve of laughter.

    God’s WRATH will be upon you if you don’t repent.

    No, Satan actually has it right, for once. My wrath is pretty tepid.

    I tell thee, get on your knees and repent, BEG the LORD’s forgiveness; repent and you will be forgiven… REPENT or you WILL SUFFER for all ETERNITY.

    Since you’re going to Hell yourself, you will find out exactly how much the damned will suffer, and how long eternity is.

    I suppose with you in Hell, the damned will suffer more than they would if you weren’t there. Oh, well. That’s life, or rather, the afterlife.

  110. #110 Hank Bones
    February 22, 2009

    I think GodIsLove needs a hug.

    The makings of a good riddle? How many atheist hugs does it take to placate a fundie? (Hint: the answer is numeric.)

  111. #111 Wowbagger
    February 22, 2009

    What is it about the Judeo-Christian god and putting people on their knees anyway? I mean, oral sex is great – but it’s not everything.

  112. #112 Another God
    February 22, 2009

    That Bible god is pretty weak, I slept with Mary dozens of times and never knocked her up.

  113. #114 Random Chimp
    February 22, 2009

    @ Hank Bones, 110

    How many atheist hugs does it take to placate a fundie?

    Is that a trick question?

  114. #115 Joseph the Carpenter
    February 22, 2009

    That Bible god is pretty weak, I slept with Mary dozens of times and never knocked her up.

    I knew she was cheating on me. That harlot.

  115. #116 Steve_C
    February 22, 2009

    Hehe. Are those Poes or real nutjobs? I mean the caps are well done, maybe not quite extreme enough and misspelling atheist is a nice touch, but really?

  116. #117 woody
    February 22, 2009
    Posted by: Another God | February 22, 2009 11:36 PM

    That Bible god is pretty weak, I slept with Mary dozens of times and never knocked her up.

    The secret’s in the Kingdom Cum…

  117. #118 Mary
    February 22, 2009

    Mmm, Kingdom Cum…

  118. #119 GodIsLove
    February 22, 2009

    REPENT, REPENT you FUKING ATHEISTS!!!!!!!!

  119. #120 woody
    February 22, 2009

    I tell thee, get on your knees and repent, BEG the LORD’s forgiveness; repent and you will be forgiven… REPENT or you WILL SUFFER for all ETERNITY.

    I call Poe. The rhythms and the diction’s all wrong. Vide:
    I tell thee, get on your THY knees and repent, BEG the thy LORD’s forgiveness; repent and you THOU will shalt be forgiven… REPENT or you Thou SHALT SUFFER for all ETERNITY.

    etc

  120. #122 Hank Bones
    February 22, 2009

    @ RC, 114

    Yeah, maybe a trick question. But I like the thought of PZ, Dawkins, Hitchens et al giving Rev Phelps a therapeutic group hug.

    …..come to think of it, I just like the thought of Hitchens giving anyone a hug.

  121. #123 Wowbagger
    February 22, 2009

    REPENT, REPENT you FUKING ATHEISTS!!!!!!!!

    Fuking? I’m not familiar with that one.

  122. #124 bob
    February 22, 2009

    GodIsLove: Uh, no.

  123. #125 Alan Kellogg
    February 22, 2009

    If I could go back in time to Jesus’ crucifixion I’d take a medical team with me. We’d wait until after the man was taken down and entombed. We’d then gain entry to the tomb and make a medical examination. If it turns out he did not die on the cross we’d see about reviving him, getting him stabilized, and then transported to a place where he could be nursed back to health.

    I’d also see that Governor Sulla in Damascus was informed of this incident, and obtain copies of official records concerning the case. It’s entirely possible that Jesus would end up speaking before a Roman tribunal in Rome itself; possibly gaining an Imperial pardon. Though internal exile to a place such as Iberia or Britannia is always possible.

  124. #126 Danio
    February 22, 2009

    Jeez, I guess I’d better see ‘Slumdog Millionaire” as soon as possible. It cleaned up at that statuette thingy.

    Carry on, trolls, bring that Christian Love.

  125. #127 Julian
    February 22, 2009

    The Wakefield study got through precisely because the people who were suppose to be doing the peer review on it didn’t; they gave it a cursory look and mailed it back claiming it was good (or worse, foisted it onto a research assistant). This, by the way, tends to be the same way that most creationist/geocentric/new earth papers that find their way into the record get there. Don’t blame the concept of outside fact-checking for the laziness or momentary self-importance of a few PhD’s who should have known better.

  126. #128 God
    February 22, 2009

    REPENT, REPENT you FUKING ATHEISTS!!!!!!!!

    Really, now. For My sake.

    Do you really think that using a word like “FUKING” is going to convince anyone to treat you or your message with any seriousness at all?

    I mean, they weren’t before, but they’re going to look at that and just smirk and roll their eyes. As well they should.

    For shame, now.

  127. #129 doG
    February 22, 2009

    I call poe on godislove.

  128. #130 Steve_C
    February 23, 2009

    Hell scare anyone here? No? Me either.

  129. #131 Julian
    February 23, 2009

    GodIsLove: You’re doing it wrong.

    Besides, you modern christians don’t even believe in communal punishment like the Puritans/Calvinists/Anabaptists did, so why do you care if someone doesn’t believe?

  130. #132 Sonic Screwdriver
    February 23, 2009

    I call down Poe on GodIsLove.
    BEWARE POETS WITH LUMPY HEADS!

  131. #133 Ragutis
    February 23, 2009

    Fred Phelps? Naaaaah… can’t be.

    STILL, I’d better MAKE some POPCORN and GRAB a beer, just IN case.

  132. #134 Kel
    February 23, 2009

    Hell scare anyone here? No? Me either.

    Hell confuses me more than anything. Mainly because I grew up in a secular household and the only times I heard about hell were from TV shows or the scripture teachers at school. It shocked me as an adult when I encountered people who were so frightened of hell, because I had no idea why.

  133. #135 Steve_C
    February 23, 2009

    I agree. They may get “athiest” wrong, but fuck? Nah. Poe.

  134. #136 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 23, 2009

    Jesus fucking christ.

    Someone SHUT THE FUCKING DOOR.

    FTK, That Global Warming Denying pants wetter and God Is Love in one day.

    GIL may be poe, as witnessed a few months back, but he/she is way fucking annoying poe or not.

    Seriously folks, who’s turn was it watching the door and checking IDs?

    I go away for one weekend and …

    /grumble grumble

  135. #137 Danio
    February 23, 2009

    Hell scare anyone here?

    It scares me exactly as much as the threat of an eternity spent in detention in Snape’s dungeon.

  136. #138 Tom Foss
    February 23, 2009

    And one might also be tempted to ask “So, why can’t you just die of old age for our sins?”

    Not to be an attention whore or anything, but I discussed this (in the context of Denis Loubet’s question, which Hank Fox mentioned above) on my blog a little while back. I’d really like to hear how actual Christians would answer that question, particularly the part about why Jesus had to die at 33. Sure, okay, he had to suffer in proxy for everyone, fine, but I would venture to guess that there’s more suffering to be had in living to a ripe old age than in dying young, popular, and quickly.

    But then, “died” is such a misleading term anyway. “Had a lousy weekend” is more like it (especially since I’m not sure how you get “three days” out of “died Friday afternoon, came back Sunday morning”). When Prometheus died for my sins, he actually suffered, and he stayed dead.

  137. #139 Owlmirror
    February 23, 2009

    Besides, you modern christians don’t even believe in communal punishment like the Puritans/Calvinists/Anabaptists did, so why do you care if someone doesn’t believe?

    Now, you can’t lump all modern Christians into one category.

    The Westboro Baptist Church is Baptist, which is, when you look at the history of the various churches, Calvinist. Anyway, yes, they most certainly do claim to believe in communal punishment, although they’re just as quick to condemn non-Calvinists, or even those who are not Calvinist enough — Phelps condemned Falwell on his webpage for not having enough hate in his heart, or something like that. What can you say to that sort of thing?

    I don’t know why they might think it worth their time screeching at atheists. I mean, really, we don’t hate homosexuality, so we’re going to the same hell that Falwell went to? What?

    Perhaps they can’t help themselves, because of Calvinist predetermination.

  138. #140 tim Rowledge
    February 23, 2009

    Ray @33 said

    Epikt@ 16
    14, in appropriate units.
    I thought sure the answer would be 42!

    Oh really, do I have to do all the thinking around here? Base 38, man, base 38!

  139. #141 Sven DiMilo
    February 23, 2009

    Apropos of Danio’s mention of Snape’s dungeon (hi again, Danio!) and the good Rev.’s list of today’s troll Parade (hi, BDC):
    Trolis!!! Pozemyje!!!

  140. #142 Aaron Baker
    February 23, 2009

    Not to take valuable attention away from the Jesus-Prometheus matchup, but I’ve been hitting the cabernet again and I thought I’d share another poem. Again it’s not a happy one; that will have to come later. Comments (even hostile) are appreciated.

    NON SUB SPECIE AETERNITATIS

    If it were true that mind shall live forever
    Under the aspect of eternity,
    The knowing, loving mode of all that is,
    But freed from time and time?s imaginings,
    And so forgetting everything that?s past?

    I would not live forever, not forget
    You and your smile when I played dinosaur,
    Roaring to shake the prehistoric park;
    Or how you scolded me and clung to me
    When I?d been lost (the neighbors brought me back);
    Or how pain made a shape I?d never seen
    Of your dear face?and I asked what was wrong–
    And you said you were sick?and then were gone.

    No meeting in Spinoza?s heaven then,
    Freed of what made us dearest to each other;
    For I would not forget you, forty years
    Buried beneath the dirt and grass of Illinois.

  141. #143 Hank Fox
    February 23, 2009

    Bloody hell. I was going to make a joke about PZ naming a future post “Squid Pro Quo,” but then I Googled it and got over 13,000 hits.

    One of these days, I really am going to have an ORIGINAL idea.

  142. #144 Her Reference Ron Sullivan
    February 23, 2009

    Random Chimp @ 98: uhh… Monkeys have tails, we don’t.

    I’m still pissed off about that. Intelligent design my unprehensile ass.

    Also: intelligent design would give us one more sphincter. Never mind the chocolate-flavored spoo.

  143. #145 Wowbagger
    February 23, 2009

    When Prometheus died for my sins, he actually suffered, and he stayed dead.

    The whole idea of being chained to a mountain and having a dirty great bird tear your liver out, only to have to regrow it and go through the unpleasantness all over again, is a pretty nasty one, yeah.

    But why the liver and not anything else? That always puzzled me. You think maybe for the sake of variety it could have gone for one of the others. ‘Oh, hello birdie – hmm, looks like you just took my spleen. Guess it must be Thursday. Damn, that means tomorrow is Friday – prostate day…’

  144. #146 Sonic Screwdriver
    February 23, 2009

    @ Aaron Baker
    Thanks for making me leak mate.

  145. #147 Bckcntry
    February 23, 2009

    Thanks, llewelly. I’ve never seen that Google Scholar. It was just a random thought, about giraffes. I guess it was a Yahoo search, I did before and got a bunch of sites saying there’s no giraffe fossils with short necks, blah blah blah, designer, blah blah.

  146. #148 DLC
    February 23, 2009

    Bob @ 67:
    Cheeses loves you, he’s jut not ready to commit yet.

  147. #149 Kristjan Wager
    February 23, 2009

    Hank, I am not sure there are any original ideas involving squids left. Anything that can be done with squids probably have been done.

  148. #150 Owlmirror
    February 23, 2009

    The whole idea of being chained to a mountain and having a dirty great bird tear your liver out, only to have to regrow it and go through the unpleasantness all over again, is a pretty nasty one, yeah.

    But why the liver and not anything else?

    Actually, the liver is perhaps the only internal organ that will naturally regenerate if damaged.

    I keep wondering how the ancient Greeks might have known that, though. Some potential scenarios are way, way squicky.

    OK, maybe an early battlefield surgeon noticed that injuries to the liver were not as deadly as injuries to other organs.

  149. #151 Kristjan Wager
    February 23, 2009

    I just realized something. I haven’t seen Desert Donkey posting comments here in a loooong time. Have I just missed him, or has he stopped posting comments?

  150. #152 Matt
    February 23, 2009

    I keep wondering how the ancient Greeks might have known that, though. Some potential scenarios are way, way squicky.

    It’s proof that the Greek pantheon exists, of course.

  151. #153 bastion of sass
    February 23, 2009

    Whoppie! I’ve been waiting for an open thread to ask about the revolving cast of animals that appear in the graphics at the top near the blog’s title: the mammoth, gar, bat, snipe, toad, pelican, etc.

    I’ve been wondering if there was any special significance as to why these particular animals were chosen? Is there a common link of some kind?

    I can’t even figure out what two of the animals are:

    1. The critter that to me looks like a Muppets character–there are a bunch of hairy looking projections on either side of what I presume is its head.

    2. The critter that looks like some kind of angry wasp.

    Can someone ID those for me?

  152. #154 Owlmirror
    February 23, 2009

    I just realized something. I haven’t seen Desert Donkey posting comments here in a loooong time. Have I just missed him, or has he stopped posting comments?

    If you want to search for posts for someone, just use [double-quote colon space name you want double-quote] in the search box in the top left.

    eg: “: Desert Donkey”

    You can then modify the site name to append the year, eg: site:http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008

    This will bring up all posts by the person with that name in that year.

    I see that Desert Donkey posted to 9 threads in 2008.

  153. #155 bastion of sass
    February 23, 2009

    Noticed on the web site of UMBC that at noon today Feb. 23, they’re having a discussion on the topic: Does Religion Destroy Intellect? I am intrigued. Anyone from UMBC here who can attend and tell us how the discussion went?

  154. #156 Kagato
    February 23, 2009

    Bastion of Sass:

    I can’t even figure out what two of the animals are:
    1. The critter that to me looks like a Muppets character–there are a bunch of hairy looking projections on either side of what I presume is its head.

    I’ve been wondering the same thing for some time, but never remember to ask when the occasion arises.

    For those not sure which one, it’s header_bug (which doesn’t help much).

    2. The critter that looks like some kind of angry wasp.

    That one’s called header_bee, and sure enough, that’s the head of a honey bee. I would have guessed wasp too, as I’d expect more fuzz on a bee; but maybe it just got lost in the image-cropping process.

  155. #157 Monado
    February 23, 2009

    I have two items. One is a cute series of posts all about pet stick insects or “walking sticks.” The author has taken very nice close-up pictures of baby and adult stick insects, food plants, etc. They’re from a bishop in England: his most recent article is called “Giant prickly virgin births.”

    The other is something quite different. Artist Glendon Mellow, “The Flying Trilobite” (glendonmellow dot blogspot), has a blog-friend. (I just followed the link to see the blogs of people who were commenting.) “The Humble Woodcutter” is a stay-at-home mum who is trying to keep custody of her children. (I got curious as to why she needed a legal defense fund.) No proof except for a whole blog full of detail on her life. If you have some Darwin Day generosity left over, this might be a good place for it.

    I’m going to bed now. I have to be up at 5:30.

  156. #158 blf
    February 23, 2009

    If I could travel in time, I’m not too sure I’d bother with a c.30 year interval c.2000 years ago. However, assuming I’m not allowed choice in when, I’d still consider another where: The Earth is a Big Place, Really Big, so mind-bogglingly big?

    Um, yes, like I was saying? I’m not very up on the history/events of the planet of that time, but I don’t see why I should be focusing on crazies in an obscure corner of the Roman empire. Or for that matter, much of anyplace in the Roman empire. Big, important, and European, but, well, so what? What were the Americas like? The South Pacific? And so on?

    If location was also resticted, I’d probably pack a lunch of roast baby sanchwiches and head for the execution of a well-known kook. Could be fun to watch, as well as perhaps informative. (We don’t actually know too much about how the Romans went about nailing people to trees.) Of course, pretty damn near anyplace would be informative, and presumably interesting and fun albeit also probably rather dangerous (ignores the danger and sighs wishfully)?

    I’d presumably even try to learn to use a camera, except I’m not too sure what I’d do about batteries?

  157. #159 Janine, Ignorant Slut
    February 23, 2009

    Posted by: Sastra | February 22, 2009

    Owlmirror #65 wrote:

    And one might also be tempted to ask “So, why can’t you just die of old age for our sins?”

    I like this solution. If nothing else, it means that Mel Gibson would not have been able to make that ghastly snuff fill. Instead, Jesus’ Last Days would be something heartwarming made by HBO, starring some beloved elderly actor who looks good reminiscing as tears streak down his wrinkled face.

    It would be more mawkish than that, it would be on Lifetime. It would be a movie about how a decent loving Bronze Age carpenter was able to redeem a harlot through the power of his love. Funny thing, his skin is a lot more light than his neighbors.

  158. #160 John Morales
    February 23, 2009

    Another casualty in Victoria’s (Australia) bushfires: Bruno Torfs’ Art & Sculpture Garden.

  159. #161 Intelligent Designer
    February 23, 2009

    I have decided to take Nerd of Redhead’s advice and submit and article for per review on the topic of entropy and why it makes evolution impossible. I have a rough draft on my blog right now. Go ahead and tear me apart.

  160. #162 Pali
    February 23, 2009

    Do yourself a favor, PZ, and remember that blogging is not an obligation or job that you hold. We, your readers, very much appreciate that you do so, but don’t feel bad if your life keeps you away for a while. We understand. Some of us have lives too. ^_~

  161. #163 Janine, Ignorant Slut
    February 23, 2009

    I am feeling kind of scuzzy tonight.

    Dirtbombs

    Detroit Cobras

  162. #164 Janine, Ignorant Slut
    February 23, 2009

    I hope Randy keeps us updated on his progress. Though I would also like to see someone work on a peer review paper that proves that the Sun is too hot to be burning.

  163. #165 Kim
    February 23, 2009

    awww, Oktapodi was nominated for an Oscar! Didn’t get it though :(

  164. #166 Yair
    February 23, 2009

    Since PZ is not here to post about exciting biological news, I just wanted to share what I think is the-topic-of-the-moment, namely the reconstruction of the evolutionary history of the ribosome:

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v457/n7232/abs/nature07749.html

    I’m not a biologist nor could I replace PZ even if I was, but this seems really cool to me. The writers essentially say that the structure of the ribosome indicates that it was constructed in six stages, with the earliest stages being an RNA-only structure still embedded in the RNA-world (not in protein manufacture).

    A far better explanation, from a real biologist, is here:

    http://blogs.sciencemag.org/origins/2009/02/deconstructing-the-ribosome.html

    I’m hoping that when he has time PZ could share his insights about this work, as it seems a rather strange way to reconstruct evolutionary history. It’s presented as a “hypothesis” in Nature, but still. That’s partly why I chose to post this – in hope he’ll see this and picks the topic up.

  165. #167 Sili
    February 23, 2009

    Traffic Demon,

    Anyone else think that Glenn Close and Meryl Streep might be the same woman?

    Thank GUT! I thought I was the only one who kept mixing them up. (Helen Mirren, too.)

  166. #168 A. Noyd
    February 23, 2009

    Her Reference Ron Sullivan (#144)

    I’m still pissed off about that. Intelligent design my unprehensile ass.
    Also: intelligent design would give us one more sphincter. Never mind the chocolate-flavored spoo.

    It would be fun to come up with ideas on how to better design humans. It’s sort of weird that creationists think this is the best their god could do. (And we’re created in his image?! Must be a particularly cheap knock-off.) I’m sure there are thousands of things an intelligent creator could have done better, even keeping it all within the realm of the biologically probable. (No magic in the finished product, just magic in the development phase, so to speak.)

    And either no one’s really done this or I suck at looking it up on Google.

  167. #169 Your Mighty Overload
    February 23, 2009

    Randy aka Intelligent Designer

    Where is the article on your blog – there is only about a 50 word post called “Entropy sucks” on it, with nothing about evolution so far. Not that I can see anyway.

    I will comment preemptively that the 2nd law of thermodynamics only applies to closed systems, and since the earth is not a closed system (what with the sun hanging in the sky all day long, and all) then to try to say that life should “run down” is both disingenuous and fallacious. All life does is capture a little bit of the energy output of the sun and convert it, temporarily, into complexity.

    If evolution breaks the 2nd law of thermodynamics, then so does tree growth.

    So, have you decided on a journal yet? Any sources cited yet?

  168. #170 clinteas
    February 23, 2009

    OT

    Back listening to the radio and waiting for evacuation notice here in the Dandenongs in Victoria,with kid and animals ready to go….

    Sucks !

  169. #171 Intelligent Designer
    February 23, 2009

    Your Mighty Overload, you need a sense of humor. I was just kidding. And for the record, I have already preempted your preemptive comments in other blog entries.

  170. #172 Your Mighty Overload
    February 23, 2009

    Randy, I have read enough of stupid comments in the past to give anyone the benefit of the doubt on any stupid claim. No matter how stupid a claim is, someone believes it.

  171. #173 Ragutis
    February 23, 2009

    Stay safe, Clinteas!

  172. #174 Intelligent Designer
    February 23, 2009

    Your Mighty Overlord said:

    All life does is capture a little bit of the energy output of the sun and convert it, temporarily, into complexity.

    What about non-life. What can it do?

    I wouldn’t say life uses energy to create complexity. It uses enegry to sustain itself and to copy complexity.

  173. #175 echidna
    February 23, 2009

    Clinteas,
    are you out near Warburton? Hope all goes well for you.

  174. #176 maureen
    February 23, 2009

    Thinking of you, clinteas.

  175. #177 Intelligent Designer
    February 23, 2009

    Your Mighty Overlord said:

    If evolution breaks the 2nd law of thermodynamics, then so does tree growth.

    Energy from the sun powers the execution of the instructions contained in the tree’s DNA. It’s not like the tree is more complex than the seed.

  176. #178 GS
    February 23, 2009

    I asked again in another thread with no response so here I go again:
    Is this PZ’s secret identity or just his dopplegänger:
    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0569226/

  177. #179 Your Mighty Overload
    February 23, 2009

    Yes, Randy, non-life can convert energy (heat, light) into both more complex things (for example, some chemical reactions are endothermic, and require heat to proceed, others require various forms of radiation. For example, the generation of ozone requires UV radiation) and also simpler things. There is nothing magical about life in that regard. The waves of the sea, acting on a beach can illicit great complexity on the make-up of the sea shore. Admittedly there, the majority of the energy comes from the gravitational pull of the moon.

    Chemistry is wonderful science, you should read about it some time.

    And yes, the tree is hugely more complex than the seed. There are a plethora of things happening within vegetative plants which are not happening in seeds, especially dormant ones.

  178. #180 Global Warming Is A Scam
    February 23, 2009

    Can global warming is a scam actually do some science and submit to peer review instead of wasting his time on here making stupid statements like

    “What’s the ideal temperaure of the planet? Hint: the answer is numeric.”

    So what is the planet’s ideal temperature, Kel? Or are you still avoiding the question?

  179. #181 Peter McKellar
    February 23, 2009

    Bugga, an open thread and I was still on the radio reminder thread hassling eric (who was probably asleep) :(

    Good luck clinteas.

  180. #182 Feck
    February 23, 2009

    GWIAS, I would say it’s probably whichever temperature people are used to at the time, especially when the rapid and exponential growth of cities, industries, agriculture, etc. has come to depend on it. Now that temperatures are going up (OH MY GOD NO I’M LYING IT’S ACTUALLY A WORLDWIDE CONSPIRACY BY EVIL COMMUNECOFASCIST HIPPIE BIG BROTHERS!), these are going to be threatened by conditions they’re not optimised for.

    Did you know that without greenhouse gases, the planet would be about thirty degrees cooler? Would you actually dispute that humans have been releasing high proportions of CO2 into the atmosphere? Dare you go against all science and deny the greenhouse effect?

  181. #183 Peter McKellar
    February 23, 2009

    I really like the way HOX is behind segmentation and development.

    Is there something (ie gene complex) that explains the bilateral symmetry of humans and how they are (roughly) mirrored. I read one of the archived posts on phyrangula on symmetry but it didn’t seem to address this (maybe I just didn’t understand it properly). Feel free to tell me to read it again if I was just being dumb.

  182. #184 Gordy
    February 23, 2009

    Intelligent (?) Designer said:

    “It’s not like the tree is more complex than the seed.”

    Really…? Given that trees contain seeds and more (much more!), how do you conclude that they are less complex than seeds?

  183. #185 Peter McKellar
    February 23, 2009

    me @183

    just the name of the gene is enough (save someone responding at length). I can google it from there (or a link if someone has one handy already).

  184. #186 Kel
    February 23, 2009

    So what is the planet’s ideal temperature, Kel? Or are you still avoiding the question?

    Either by asking the question you think I’m an idiot who feels there is an ideal temperature, or you are asking a red herring in order to go “Ha ha! there’s no such thing as an ideal”, thus missing the entire point of what scientists are actually saying when it comes to global warming. To even use the words “ideal temperature” is to misrepresent what global warming is, but surely you would know that in your vast scholarship on the subject…

  185. #187 TrineDK
    February 23, 2009

    Hmmm… Sidetracking all serious discussion on this free thread:
    Does anyone else have problems accessing (sp?) Richarddawkins.net today???
    I can’t get it to open at all!

  186. #188 Peter McKellar
    February 23, 2009

    TrineDK @187

    I was on there 2-3 hours ago and it was OK

  187. #189 GMacs
    February 23, 2009

    Ooh, here’s one! If you haven’t seen this yet you may get a kick out of it.

    Boy Marries Dog to Avoid being Eaten by Tiger

    http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/Boy-Weds-Dog-Over-Tiger-Toddler-Indian-Marriage-To-Hound-To-Avoid-Superstitious-Death/Article/200902315224945?f=rss

  188. #190 puseaus
    February 23, 2009

    Yesterday was fine. About zero degrees, a meter of snow covering the ground, and fresh white stuff sliding, almost dripping from the trees at the slightest movement. I missed the 77, so I walked through the forest from Bear Valley down to Hawktoe. No divine omnipotent stalker to see anywhere. Feeling with all you hard working squids.

  189. #191 clinteas
    February 23, 2009

    Good luck clinteas.

    Fire will pass us by for now by the looks of it.

    Strip club for this one,lol….Ahem,I mean,citizens for liberate clothing social club meeting…..entrance fee and all….of course…anarchists,strictly…

  190. #192 Gordy
    February 23, 2009

    @183 & 185

    Symmetry appears very, very early in development. The cytoplasm of a frog’s egg is reorganised within microseconds of fertilisation. The point of entry of the sperm on the outer surface of the egg determines the axes of symmetry in the eventual adult.

    As I remember (and it’s a long time since I studied this, so forgive me if I’m fuzzy on the details) the chemicals in the frog egg cytoplasm are all just jumbled together prior to fertilisation, i.e. the chemical composition of the cytoplasm is uniform throughout. The moment a sperm enters the egg those chemicals move into different parts of the egg cytoplasm setting up concentration gradients for each, so that the chemical composition varies depending on which part of the cytoplasm you look at. This creates axes of symmetry in the egg.

    Given that symmetry is set up so early in development, I suspect it would be a mistake to look for a symmetry gene as such. It results from a developmental process which begins in a newly fertilised egg (at least, that’s what happens in frogs!). I forget who wrote the original paper, but it’s a developmental biology classic. I’m sure someone else on here will know.

  191. #193 Al
    February 23, 2009

    Here, go boggle your minds with this staggering piece:

    http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/opinion/story/794342.html

  192. #194 IST
    February 23, 2009

    Randy aka Intelligent Designer> Oops.. someone preempted your horseshit non-research with ACTUAL peer-reviewed science. Take a look at the following, read them (try googling the some of the tougher words if you need them.)

    Entropy and evolution. American Journal of Physics, Volume 76, issue 11 (November 2008), p. 1031-1033

  193. #195 Peter McKellar
    February 23, 2009

    Gordy @192

    Many thanks. I will review PZ’s postings and elsewhere on the first stages of an embryo – up to pharyngulation point I guess ;)

    I will also re-read the archive on symmetry in this context (it may make more sense to me now)

    Almost bed time here

  194. #196 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 23, 2009

    Randy, don’t forget to discuss Gibb’s free energy in your paper, and how it can’t over ride entropy.

  195. #197 SC, OM
    February 23, 2009

    Fire will pass us by for now by the looks of it.

    Now that’s what I like – I only had about 15 minutes to worry in between reading your posts. Of course, concern over the first one almost had me emailing you, but now that I know you’re safe… :P

  196. #198 Calvin Spealman
    February 23, 2009

    I have entire aggregations of dozens of bloggers that don’t fill my reader with as many posts as you do. It is ok to take a break!

  197. #199 Gordy
    February 23, 2009

    Peter #195 – I’m pretty sure the species of frog in the study I mentioned was Xenopus – that might help your search :)

  198. #200 AnthonyK
    February 23, 2009

    I think it’s wonderful that the intellectual hotbed and crucible of informed dissent that is Pharyngula has prompted one of our regulars to produce some world-shattering ideas on entropy and evolution.
    Do we have our first Nobel prize?
    Well, intelligent designer, I certainly hope so – noting only the passing difficulty that you are currently involved in none of the scientific disciplines which would invariably ultimately validate this work.
    However, you have certainly undergone the first of the ble travails that maverick thinkers are prone to. You have been repeatedly mocked and ridiculed for your ideas, especially here.
    This part, at least, of the paradigm-reversal process you have submitted to, humbly and repeatedly.
    And yet, your ideas that you are correct has merely strengthened.
    I would read your new ideas but feel that, lacking the expertise to see their novelty and utility for what they really are, I would merely concur with more expert posters here that they are specious bullshit.
    I do not wish to come to this conclusion. Hence I merely salute your continuing efforts to set the world straight on its ignorance, and will watch the progress of your ideas through the inevitable ridicule to earth-shattering upheaval of scientific materialism.
    Remember, I was the first to say you weren’t a nutcase with pretensions of intellectual grandeur.

  199. #201 Global Warming Is A Scam
    February 23, 2009

    Either by asking the question you think I’m an idiot who feels there is an ideal temperature, or you are asking a red herring in order to go “Ha ha! there’s no such thing as an ideal”, thus missing the entire point of what scientists are actually saying when it comes to global warming. To even use the words “ideal temperature” is to misrepresent what global warming is, but surely you would know that in your vast scholarship on the subject…

    So, as I suspected, you’re still avoiding the question. You’ve been well and truly indoctrinated by the Church of Global Warming.

  200. #202 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 23, 2009

    GWIAS, your question is meaningless, and you know it. So shut up.

  201. #203 TrineDk
    February 23, 2009

    Peter McKellar @ 188
    THANKS! My link/favourite thing had gone dead, computer would not accept the url written (correctly :-( ) and when I googled an clicked on link it also went dead.
    Then I found a backdoor through a link to the Randolph Nesse interviews which then let me go though the “front door” RichardDawkins.net – sigh… so much valuable work time lost ;-)

  202. #204 AnthonyK
    February 23, 2009

    Global warming – if that is your real name – don’t you have a penis that needs stimulating?
    It would be nice to think of you releasing those sperm into a hand rather than into a lady person, just to give hard-working evolution a little rest. ;)

  203. #205 Kel
    February 23, 2009

    So, as I suspected, you’re still avoiding the question. No, I’m not you retard. The answer is that there is no optimal temperature, nor should we expect there to be one. And what does that have to do with global warming? Motherfucking nothing at all. The point of global warming is that he temperatures are rising, and by best cause we can see that humans are playing a part in the reasons for that rise. To think that there’s some happy ideal temperature is either being extremely naive about the whole process or trying to catch people out in order to make an asinine point.

    There, now go away you retard troll.

  204. #206 Libbie
    February 23, 2009

    @ #16:

    “@ #6

    Condors smell well? I suppose a strong sense of smell could be a positive or negative thing when what You are searching for is carrion. Mmm. ”

    I’m sure you thought you were being funny (or a grammar nazi) but in fact condors do smell well. They are among the very few species of birds that have a sense of smell at all, and although their smelling powers are not as keen as a turkey vulture’s they can smell much more than humans can: a bit less than a dog can, actually.

    But I was referring to the quality of the condor’s person scent which humans can detect. Condors do indeed smell good. Their odor is hard to describe, but it’s heavenly.

    Next time you’re around a condor, take a good whiff.

  205. #207 Global Warming Is A Scam
    February 23, 2009

    Posted by: Nerd of Redhead, Backward Moron, Pretend Scientist | February 23, 2009 6:48 AM

    GWIAS, your question is meaningless, and you know it. So shut up.

    Projecting again, are we Red? How pathetic. But not unexpected, of course, coming from a Warmista religionist.

  206. #208 GMacs
    February 23, 2009

    GWIAS, it’s not so much that Global Warming is dramatically raising our temperature (although it is raising it somewhat), but that it is homogenizing it. This would end up shutting down the Atlantic Conveyor, which warms Western Europe, and would mess up tundra, and thus bird migration destinations. Also, the CO2 is raising the acidity of the ocean.

    Basically, much of life on earth, as we know it today, gets fucked up.

  207. #209 Joe McCarthy
    February 23, 2009

    @156 @159

    I think the second image is a tapeworm or similar parasite.

  208. #210 AnthonyK
    February 23, 2009

    He’s got you there, Nerd and Kel. You’re no match for his relentless logic. He doesn’t seem a very nice fellow though. Really, what could his fathers have been thinking?

  209. #211 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 23, 2009

    GWIAS, why don’t you put out your conclusions with supporting evidence, instead of asking inane questions? That is what I would do. Instead, AGW denialists just keep asking the same inane questions over and over, and make themselves look like fools, while unnecessarily irritating us. Which doesn’t help your cause at all, unnecessarily alienating people.

  210. #212 IST
    February 23, 2009

    GWAIS> The point you seem to be missing is that the planet doesn’t have an ideal temperature, a fact of which I suspect you’re aware. If you aren’t, you’re a complete ignoramus in terms of climate science, and if you are, then you’re looking to set up some other point of yours… rather than belaboring your BS question, make your point.

  211. #213 AnthonyK
    February 23, 2009

    I was alienated once, and my ass still hurts.
    They say psychotherapists can help but mine turned out to be an escaped murderer.

  212. #214 Cannabinaceae
    February 23, 2009

    For people who need help with definitions, you may not know that if you type something like

    define:dumbass

    At Google, you often get some useful results. For the more esoteric words you often come up blank, but usually you get a thread you can tug on.

  213. #215 Allen N
    February 23, 2009

    Way I figure it, GWAIS must be a Poe. Nobody can be that fucking thick as to not grasp what is wrong with the question in the first place.

    Then again he may be as stupid as the guy on a different blog that kept stating that time was not real, so there could be no time dilation as per relativity and thus Einstein was a fake.

    Stupid knows no limits. Time for coffee.

  214. #216 Ponder
    February 23, 2009

    Awww. Looks like Mr Phelps isn’t coming to the UK after all.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/hampshire/7898972.stm

    Sorry, not today Fred.

    Incidentally, if I had a time machine I’d give the entire staff of the Creation Museum a trip back to the late Cretaceous. What the heck, save Sarah Palin a seat too, then they can show me how all dinosaurs were friendly herbivores.

  215. #217 Stacy
    February 23, 2009

    @James F. – #121

    The “Aaaargh” you share is referring to a NAME! I believe PZ’s Aaargh is meant as an expression – so I still think he spelled it wrong.

    Look at the frame of Charlie Brown falling down after Lucy took the football away …
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Last_peanuts_comic.PNG

    “Aaugh” – ;-)

  216. #218 GBM
    February 23, 2009

    sorry for the random question but does anybody know of any good resources on the historicity/lack thereof of jesus?

  217. #219 AnthonyK
    February 23, 2009

    The Bible is held by many to be a reliable source.

    This is a reasonable discussion
    http://www.atheists.org/Did_Jesus_Exist%3F

  218. #220 IST
    February 23, 2009

    GBM> see post per Anthony, and then look for anyone else that corroborates based on other historical sources of the time. You’ll find there aren’t many, if any that don’t use the Bible as a source.

  219. #221 Drosera
    February 23, 2009

    Creationist offensive in the Netherlands

    Here in the Netherlands a creationist from the picturesque town of Urk, known for its fishermen and Christian fundamentalists (two largely overlapping sets), is demonstrating that he has got too much money. This week he will send an eight-page full-color pamphlet against the Theory of Evolution to every household in the country. The title (translated) is Evolution or Creation. What do you believe? It is the usual creationist trash of misrepresented bits of science mixed with dizzying leaps of faith written in the style of a below-average high school student. Some of the ?arguments? against evolution are hilarious ? in fact they all are, but some more than others. For example, the observation that the deepest (sane people would say oldest) fossil deposits do not contain large mammals and dinosaurs but only smaller organisms is not attributed to the fact that these smaller animals evolved first, but to the happy circumstance that during a really, I mean really, cataclysmic flood the bigger animals were able to scramble higher up on the dry land before they also succumbed to the catastrophe, thus ending on top of the smaller fry. There is even a funny picture included for those who are to dense to imagine this.

    Nobody but an inbred fisherman from Urk could believe such nonsense. Oh, and some folks from the Discover Institute, of course.

    For those who can read Dutch, here is a link to an online copy of the pamphlet:

    http://www.creatie.info/books/bookid/3

  220. #222 AnthonyK
    February 23, 2009

    Don’t you have a widely respected, witty Dutch scientist who could go on the offensive?
    I feel that ridicule is the most effective testimony against these fools – especially since they have no sense of humour to counter wacky rationalism.
    Anyway, it’s your fault that stupidity is on the increase – you’ve cut back on the cannabis supply.
    Oh, nice paintings by the way. Good use of light.

  221. #223 AnthonyK
    February 23, 2009

    some folks from the Discover Institute

    I believe it’s “The Discovery Institute”
    It’s not really a place where one can really discover things, more somewhere with a discovery appearance. Discoverish, if you will.

  222. #224 Drosera
    February 23, 2009

    AnthonyK @ #222 & #223:

    Yes, that should have been ?Discovery Institute?, sorry. I confused the excellent magazine and the execrable institute. Inexcusable.

    I am sure this campaign will have little or no impact. The creationists in the Netherlands draw from the rather limited pool of unenlightened people who not so many years ago opposed anti-polio vaccination, as a result of which this disease took much longer to eradicate from the Netherlands than should have been the case. There is not much sympathy for these religious fundamentalists outside their own circle.

    I am happy seeing them waste their money in this way.

  223. #225 Epikt
    February 23, 2009

    Drosera:

    Creationist offensive in the Netherlands

    This is news? Creationists are offensive pretty much everywhere.

  224. #226 Rik G
    February 23, 2009

    #41, regarding the thought experiment:

    If I could go back in time and see Jesus on the cross, it wouldn’t matter whether I wanted to save him or not; the sight of all those people dying on crosses, and the sight of a Roman soldier or two would probably have it’s intended effect–it would intimidate the crap out of me. Just before I got in my time machine, I’d be the tough guy. “Yea F**K them Romans, pickin’ on people like that! I’m goin’ over there to kick some Roman ass and take ALL them folks off of their crosses!” As soon as I got out of the time machine, though, I’d turn into a sniveling coward, think, “That’s gotta suck!”, and then scamper back into my time machine, set the dials for good ol’ 2009, come back home, and tell my friends how I was just about beat the snot out of every Roman soldier there, when Jesus asked me not to, so I didn’t, but man, you should’a seen me!

    …but that’s just me.

  225. #227 Norman Doering
    February 23, 2009

    This is funny, Ray Comfort is challenging Richard Dawkins to a debate ? and sweetening the offer by offering him $10,000, win, lose or draw:

    http://wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=89453

    I suspect that $10,000 is chicken feed to Dawkins having sold a few million books. Sigh… I’m looking at so many things I can’t afford but want. I wish that were chicken feed to me.

    Do you think Ray could tell the difference between me and Dawkins?

  226. #228 Hank Fox
    February 23, 2009

    Bastion of sass #153 said: I’ve been waiting for an open thread to ask about the revolving cast of animals that appear in the graphics at the top near the blog’s title: the mammoth, gar, bat, snipe, toad, pelican, etc. [...] Can someone ID those for me?

    Several of those critters are works of paleontological illustrator Carl Buell. Being a fan of his (and you can see more of his work at his old website: http://olduvaigeorge.com ), I can tell you:

    The elephant is a Columbian Mammoth from the Pleistocene, that died out 10,000 years ago. The weird critter with three forward-pointing hornlike projections off its snout is Placerias, a reptile from the Permian. The long-nosed crocodile thingie is a gavial, a fish-eating crocodilian from India. The massive hairy thing with long arms is a Shasta ground sloth, from the Pleistocene. The pelican is a brown pelican. The big beastie with two rounded horns projecting upward from its nose is Brontops, a brontotherium from the end of the Eocene, 35 million years ago. The fish is a yellowfin tuna. The toad eating crickets is a toad eating crickets.

    The rest ? the shrew, squid, spider, skull, bee, moonbat, lamprey (?), etc. ? I don?t know about. It looks like there are about 14 images from nature that rotate at random.

  227. #229 David Marjanovi?, OM
    February 23, 2009

    Open thread, and 227 comments? Must be yet another libertarian holy war, I thought. But it isn’t. Looks like I’ll have to read it.

  228. #230 www.10ch.org
    February 23, 2009

    Is PZ Myers turning into a pirate? Lack of pirates, you know, is correlated with climate change.

  229. #231 Steve_C
    February 23, 2009

    Ha. Dawkins should take him up on it. Collect the money then participate in a debate where they can only use two sentences in any response or assertion.

  230. #232 David Marjanovi?, OM
    February 23, 2009

    Placerias, a reptile from the Permian.

    Placerias is Late Triassic in age, probably even from the end of the Triassic, and it’s a dicynodont, which means it’s fairly closely related to us mammals. To call it a reptile is misleading (?but then, to call anything a reptile is misleading anyway?).

    three forward-pointing hornlike projections off its snout

    Nope. It has a more or less parrot-like beak, and two large enamel-less canine teeth (and BTW no other teeth).

    Brontops

    Junior synonym of Megacerops, unfortunately.

  231. #233 CarolynB
    February 23, 2009

    A. Noyd @ 168

    “If Humans Were Built to Last”, S. Jay Olshansky, Bruce A. Carnes and Robert N. Butler. Scientific American, March 2001, Vol 284, No 3, p42.

    Reprinted in a Special Edition, “New Look at Human Evolution”, c.August 2003, Vol 13, No 2, p94. The Special Edition is available online, as a digital download, but I’m afraid you’ll have to pay for it. Unless, like me, you have a pile of old Scientific Americans in the spare bedroom…

    Main changes: shorter limbs and stature, forward tilting upper torso, bigger ears, rewired eyes, curved neck and reversed knee joints!

    (First post here, wandered over from Bad Astronomy some time ago!)

  232. #234 Hank Fox
    February 23, 2009

    David Marjanovi? #232: Thanks for the corrections. Always better with an extra set of eyes on things. :)

  233. #235 Lotharloo
    February 23, 2009

    GWAIS must be a Poe. Nobody can be that fucking thick as to not grasp what is wrong with the question in the first place.

    Nope, they can be that fucking stupid. Sorry if I destroyed all your hope for humanity.

  234. #236 azqaz
    February 23, 2009

    I have recently read “Your Inner Fish” and am in the middle of Ernst Mayr’s “What Evoloution Is”. Anyone have any suggestions for a follow on to these?

  235. #237 AnthonyK
    February 23, 2009

    Yes, azqaz. Don Protheroe’s Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters is very good. Lots of photos and diagrams, and a picture of men with tails!

  236. #238 recovering catholic
    February 23, 2009

    Aaron @142 (though the post numbers get jumbled when someone gets sent to the dungeon)–

    Your poem caught me completely off guard, and I am still weeping. I guess part of it’s because I live in Illinois and my parents are both buried here.

    It’s lovely. I’m going to copy it and save it, attributed to you, of course. Thank you. Obviously cabernet is good for you.

  237. #239 Stephen Wells
    February 23, 2009

    GWIAS, what’s the optimum temperature of your living room? Can’t give a figure? Then you won’t mind if we set it on fire.

    At what point, by the way, is the troll going to give an example of a scientist whose livelihood depends on giving a specific answer about global warming? I’m a scientist and my livelihood depends on doing publishable research in physics. The content, however, is not specified in advance.

  238. #240 Norman Doering
    February 23, 2009

    Stephen Wells wrote:

    I’m a scientist and my livelihood depends on doing publishable research in physics. The content, however, is not specified in advance.

    You obviously didn’t work for the Bush administration.

  239. #241 Kitty'sBitch
    February 23, 2009

    azqaz
    I second Anthony’s suggestion.
    You should also check out On The Waters Edge(I think that’s the title) from Zimmer.
    I haven’t read Coyne’s new one yet, but I’ve heard some good stuff.

  240. #242 RedGreenInBlue
    February 23, 2009

    GWIAS,

    So what is the planet’s ideal temperature, Kel?

    I CAN HAZ GO PLZ?

    First, we need to address your name. Do you accept:

    1. that humans have been adding CO2 to the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels?
    2. that atmospheric [CO2] has risen from 280 ppm to about 385, sorry 386, sorry 387 ppm since the Industrial Revolution?
    3. that both the oceans and the terrestrial biosphere (particularly rainforest) are net carbon sinks?
    4. that therefore the observed increase in [CO2] is anthropogenic?
    5. that CO2 absorbs at many wavelengths in the infrared, thereby trapping heat in the atmosphere?
    6. that adding more CO2 leads to more effective trapping of heat within the atmosphere?

    Oh, I nearly forgot no. 7:

    7. that just because politicians might take advantage of scientists’ message that climate change is an urgent problem to impose new taxes, or advocate pet projects which may not be effective but which are a nice little earner for them and their lobbyist friends (corn-to-ethanol, anyone?), this doesn’t mean either that the scientists are responsible for these taxes or schemes, or that the science is wrong?

    Good. Now we can turn to “ideal temperature.”

    Assuming you mean ideal global annual mean surface temperature, then the answer is that whatever the current temperature, the ideal temperature is generally a very narrow range around it.

    Species generally become adapted to the temperature of the habitat in which they exist (e.g. birds consume particular berries at particular times of year, and those berries appear a certain time after flowering which itself occurs after the last frost). The ongoing, natural variation of global climate is generally very slow, so that, for example, the bird species can adapt in time to changing availability of the berries, or indeed the fruiting time of the berry bush shifts to maintain seed dispersion by the birds.

    Unfortunately, not all species adapt to change equally readily or quickly, and during a rapid change in global mean temperature, links between individual species in ecosystems break down: plants flowering when their insect pollinators are still pupating, germination failing because of insufficient cold spells, birds going hungry because warm, frost-free winters encouraged premature fruiting, etc.

    The current temperature trend is indeed very rapid compared to previous climatic changes, and disruptions of ecosystems such as I have described above are already being widely observed.

    Does that make sense to you?

  241. #243 Rik G
    February 23, 2009

    azqaz #236:

    Richard Dawkins’ “The Ancestor’s Tale” would probably be a good follow-thru. Just started reading Coyne’s “Why Evolution is True” and it’s looking good so far.

  242. #244 Aaron Baker
    February 23, 2009

    Thanks for the kind words, Recovering Catholic.

  243. #245 David Marjanovi?, OM
    February 23, 2009

    They are among the very few species of birds that have a sense of smell at all

    Nonsense. More or less all of them have a pretty good sense of smell. It just used to be overlooked, because birds don’t mark territories with their shit and therefore don’t consider shit to be stinking.

    Don Protheroe

    Prothero.

    4. that therefore the observed increase in [CO2] is anthropogenic?

    That’s not even the only way this can be demonstrated. The 14C content of the atmosphere started shrinking in the middle 19th century and — bomb spike excepted — has kept doing so. How come? Because lots of fossil carbon, which lacks 14C, has been pumped into the atmosphere. Two possible sources: volcanoes, and us. There hasn’t been any insanely drastic increase in volcanic activity (?or any at all, in fact). That leaves? drum roll?

    Also, I don’t think the average ignorant troll knows that brackets are chemist shorthand for “concentration of”. You should have spelled it out.

  244. #246 rijkswaanvijand
    February 23, 2009

    “Can the information in the genome be reduced to the chemistry and physics of the molecules?”

    Try deducing, that might work;)

  245. #247 Rik G
    February 23, 2009

    Hi again azqaz #236,

    Another book you might like is “The Evolutionists: The Struggle For Darwin’s Soul” by Richard Morris. It’s been several years since I read it, and as I recall, the writing style wasn’t exactly gripping, but what I liked about it was that it gave an overview of the different hypotheses being debated among scientists who study evolution. When people say “teach the controversy”, that’s what they should be talking about, not the manufactured ID controversy.

    As a layman, this book helped me get a broad view of what’s going on in the field, and gave me some context for reading other writers, but I’ve never had a chance to talk with anyone who’s read it. I’m curious, if any of you evolutionary scientists out there have read it, what was your impression? Fair and balanced? Inclusive enough? Sloppy and inaccurate? Inquiring memes want to know!

  246. #248 Solveig
    February 23, 2009

    @ # 206

    The wording is fine if that is what you meant..it just seemed a fairly random thing to say.

    Most online sources I came across stated that the California Condor actually doesn’t have a significant sense of smell, but rather locates carcasses by observing the activities of smaller scavengers, while some other varieties of New World Vultures detect Ethanethiol molecules released by the putrification process. Actually, the Cathartidae are very interesting in general.

    I’ll have to take your word on it concerning the actual scent of a Condor. I honestly can’t see myself travelling the Southwest United States at all and the mere sight of such a bird is a rarity, unless you happen to work in their conservation. That would be interesting actually…

  247. #249 Sastra
    February 23, 2009

    azqaz #236 wrote:

    I have recently read “Your Inner Fish” and am in the middle of Ernst Mayr’s “What Evoloution Is”. Anyone have any suggestions for a follow on to these?

    Yes; I suggest you take a mini-break from books on evolution, or they’re going to start merging together in your head and you’ll have trouble remembering which book said what.

    My suggestion is something lighter, but still vaguely on topic: Worlds of their Own by Robert Schadenwald. Its subtitle is “A Brief History of Misguided Ideas: Creationism, Flat-Earthism, Energy Scams, and the Velikovsky Affair.” The writer was not, I think, a scientist, but a curious amateur skeptic who was fascinated with both the mindset — and the people — behind weird, pseudoscientific ideas. He made friends with cranks of every sort, and they’d tell him things they don’t usually tell skeptics. Fun.

    For a ‘back to evolution’ again book, I’d suggest Daniel Dennett’s Darwin’s Dangerous Idea. As a philosopher who also ‘gets’ the science, he approaches evolutionary theory from a very valuable perspective. I think that’s the place he introduced his ‘cranes’ vs. ‘skyhooks’ analogy (or, at least, the book which used it first.)

  248. #250 316
    February 23, 2009

    RedGreenInBlue@242, your seven point list was flawlessly executed. Number 7 addresses an especially disingenuous tactic used by the flat Earthers–sorry, “[anthropogenic] global warming skeptics”. (Climate change might be a more accurate term, but they’ll still spout nonsense like “It snowed last week! Climate change is totally a scam! I’ve never heard of season or weather patterns!”) We don’t dismiss cars, cigarettes, alcohol, etc. as nonexistent simply because we’re taxed on them. And who would have thought it: governments and politicians taking advantage of things for their own gain? I’m astounded.

    Also, “South Park made fun of Al Gore, and he’s clearly the only person who’s ever studied or proposed global warming, therefore by insulting him we win. ManBearPig LOL”

    Epikt@225
    “This is news? Creationists are offensive pretty much everywhere.”

    [sustained applause]

  249. #251 Sili
    February 23, 2009

    In case anyone’s interested, Radio 3 is featuring the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra because they’re in London.

    Doing a one hour history of them right this minute (which I’ll have to miss since I need to go to bed like a good boy …).

  250. #252 blf
    February 23, 2009

    By my calculation, the pubs are still open. So what the feck are you doing listening to the wireless and going to bed? ;-)

  251. #253 tomh
    February 23, 2009

    I know Darwin Day has come and gone and this may be old news to many, but Language Log ran a piece on Darwin’s take on the origin of language, his “musical protolanguage” as outlined in “The Descent of Man”, and its modern relevance. This was followed by a critical commentary of the original, then a rebuttal of the criticism. Very readable stuff, especially for Language Log, which, I’m ashamed to say, often flies above my head.

    They also printed, in honor of the big day,
    a list of 143 words that Darwin introduced into English (according to the OED), including creationist, of all things. Again, if this is old news, I apologize.

  252. #254 RedGreenInBlue
    February 23, 2009

    David Marjanovi?, OM:

    4. that therefore the observed increase in [CO2] is anthropogenic?

    That’s not even the only way this can be demonstrated. The 14C content of the atmosphere started shrinking in the middle 19th century and — bomb spike excepted — has kept doing so. How come? Because lots of fossil carbon, which lacks 14C, has been pumped into the atmosphere. Two possible sources: volcanoes, and us. There hasn’t been any insanely drastic increase in volcanic activity (?or any at all, in fact). That leaves? drum roll?

    Good point. Yes, I did consider adding that to no. 4. I’m afraid I chickened out because many “sceptics” quite happily assert that it is all in fact the fault of volcanoes despite all the evidence, and couldn’t face the concentrated FAIL.

    Also, I don’t think the average ignorant troll knows that brackets are chemist shorthand for “concentration of”. You should have spelled it out.

    Another good point, also taken!

    316:

    RedGreenInBlue@242, your seven point list was flawlessly executed. Number 7 addresses an especially disingenuous tactic used by the flat Earthers–sorry, “[anthropogenic] global warming skeptics”.

    Thank you. <blushes/>

    BTW, it always amazes me how potent this tactic is even on quite intelligent people, despite being transparently illogical. It’s like blaming the train driver when someone pushes someone else off the platform into their train as it raced through the station.

  253. #255 316
    February 23, 2009

    Yep, asinine, vacuous sensationalism? Isn’t that how all crazy conspiracy theorists operate?

  254. #256 A. Noyd
    February 23, 2009

    Norman Doering (#227)

    This is funny, Ray Comfort is challenging Richard Dawkins to a debate ? and sweetening the offer by offering him $10,000, win, lose or draw:…
    Do you think Ray could tell the difference between me and Dawkins?

    I think Dawkins should send a straw-stuffed scarecrow in a suit in his place and when Comfort objects, claim he didn’t realize Comfort would be able to tell the difference.

    ~*~*~*~
    CarolynB (#233)
    Thanks, much. Actually, I’d seen that article somehow, though I’m not sure where or when. The illustrations were particularly memorable. It is available for free as a PDF by Googling “If Humans Were Built to Last.”

  255. #257 GBM
    February 23, 2009

    @ AnthonyK & IST
    Thanks

  256. #258 Qwerty
    February 23, 2009

    Paul Burnett @ 12:

    “See Guillermo Gonzalez latest (only?) book.”

    I’ve been trying to figure out what his book (The Privileged Planet) is about. Then, one day recently, I was checking PZ’s favorite quotes and there is was: The quote of Dr. Pangloss from Voltaire’s Candide. His book is an Panglossian effort to remind us that this “is the best of all possible worlds.”

    So, let’s all “glitter and be gay.”

  257. #259 Allen N
    February 23, 2009

    RGB @254

    I just wanted you to know that I did a cut and paste to the local rag of your well stated 7 points. Every, and I literally mean every time anything is said about global warming or Al Gore, the deniers pop up like toadstools after a wet spell in summer. Of course deniers are opposed to the EVIL EMPIRE OF SCIENTISTS, who are liars, one and all.

  258. #260 Monado
    February 23, 2009

    azquaz [236], I’d recommend “Evolution for Everyone” by David Sloan Wilson and pretty much anything by Carl Zimmer. His “Fish with Fingers, Whales with Legs” explains macroevolution. “Parasite Rex” explains the importance of parasites to ecologies and how it may be a major engine of evolution. And “Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea” is an introduction to evolution that is a joy to read.

    Also, any book of essays by Lewis Thomas on biology or medicine.

  259. #261 Alan Kellogg
    February 23, 2009

    Clinteas,

    Hoping that you have gotten, or will get through, that fire.

    Just to make you fret and worry (:eg:), did you know that in a fire storm it can get so hot your body combusts? though what usually happens is your body sort of sublimates and the gases your corpse releases then ignites.

    If you think that’s gruesome, under the right conditions steel will combust. Think of the Twin Towers at the WTC as giant torches.

  260. #262 Monado
    February 23, 2009

    Blf (#252), someone once said, “It’s amazing how much mature wisdom resembles being too tired.”

  261. #263 Monado
    February 23, 2009

    Allan, now is not the time for that gem of information.

    Stay cool, Clinteas!

    Azquaz, “Fish with Fingers, Whales with Legs” is the subtitle of “At the Water’s Edge.” They are the same book.

    What is this about children’s guns in the U.S.? “Eleven-year-old boy kills pregnant woman with his own shotgun.”

    The 20-gauge shotgun used in the shooting is designed specifically for children, and such weapons do not have to be registered.

    WTF?

  262. #264 bobxxxx
    February 23, 2009

    Hello, anyone here have the same disdain for lying christian pigs that I have?

    If yes, please visit this news website and attack this liar for jeebus who wrote about Darwin: “It is also understood that near the end of his life he had great doubts about this theory.”

    http://www.dailygazette.com/news/2009/feb/23/0223_Online/

  263. #265 Ragutis
    February 24, 2009

    Back @ #160

    Posted by: John Morales | February 23, 2009 2:59 AM

    Another casualty in Victoria’s (Australia) bushfires: Bruno Torfs‘ Art & Sculpture Garden.

    Well, it’s certainly not as tragic as the lives and homes that have been lost, but still quite sad to see. That place looks like it would have been fantastic to wander around high for a several hours. And then come back another day straight. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

    I hope they manage to salvage many, if not most, of the works. Although it’ll be awhile before that fantastic setting grows back.

    Follow that link and take the tour, folks.

  264. #266 windy
    February 24, 2009

    Kagato:

    1. The critter that to me looks like a Muppets character–there are a bunch of hairy looking projections on either side of what I presume is its head.

    For those not sure which one, it’s header_bug (which doesn’t help much).

    No solution to the bug question yet? Is it some sort of filter-feeding worm or larva?

    That one’s called header_bee, and sure enough, that’s the head of a honey bee.

    It has large jaws and kidney-shaped eyes like a wasp. Here’s a honey bee head.

  265. #267 Kagato
    February 25, 2009

    Windy @266:

    It has large jaws and kidney-shaped eyes like a wasp.

    My first guess would have been european wasp, but I figured PZ would at least get the species right.

    Here’s the picture I found; it could be a regional variety of bee I suppose. (I’m pretty sure Australian honey bees are different to their US counterparts, for example.)

  266. #268 windy
    February 25, 2009

    Here’s the picture I found; it could be a regional variety of bee I suppose.

    That might be a mislabeled wasp. This German wasp looks very similar to the header but I can’t tell if it’s the exact same species (the head patterns are pretty close). Maybe it’s a “Minnesota bee” :)

    …hmm, not sure if devoting this much attention to a random blog header is healthy…

  267. #269 Kagato
    February 26, 2009

    That might be a mislabeled wasp. This German wasp looks very similar to the header but I can’t tell if it’s the exact same species (the head patterns are pretty close).

    Ooh, good find. The annotations show that the three dots on the head are an identifying feature, so I think you’re right.

    It does appear to be an example of Vespula germanica.

    Now, if only someone could tell me what the heck the “bug” is…
    (I’m guessing it’s pretty small; the picture looks like it might even be an electron microscope image.)

  268. #270 SEF
    February 27, 2009

    Since it’s an open thread (and the local HTML tag list which I recall existing once upon a time, probably somewhere off preview, is no longer visible), I might as well lodge some HTML tests here:

    a – Rather obviously the a tag (a href=”url”) for making a link works.

    b, i, u and s – for bold, italic, underline and strike-through. NB also em, strong and strike.

    sub and sup – for subscript and superscript are OK; but not small or big.

    pre - for preformatted monospaced text

    but not

    xmp, tt (teletype/monospace), code or kbd (keyboard).

    blockquote – for isolating some quoted text (with not enough gap before it and too much gap afterwards)

    p – for an explicit paragraph and
    br to force a line-break.

  269. #271 SEF
    February 27, 2009

    Whereas font, eg font face=”Comic Sans MS” color=”red”, isn’t allowed; styles, including font specifications, can be applied to legitimate tags.

    One of the locally permitted subset of tags is the handily inline span tag, eg span style=”font-family:Comic Sans MS; color:red”.

    However, since there’s a local bug in blockquote, such that it breaks when more than one block of text is included, it can be quite convenient to use explicit paragraphs (p tags) within it and apply the style attribute to those.

  270. #272 Sven DiMilo
    February 28, 2009

    This is a TEST of the Comic Sans broadcasting network. If this had been a REAL Comic Sans emergency, you would have been INSTRUCTED to Kiss yore ASS goodBYE!

  271. #273 Sven DiMilo
    February 28, 2009

    tee-hee!

  272. #274 SEF
    March 1, 2009

    Well at least you amused yourself.

    I expect most people already know that the img tag isn’t allowed here (although backgrounds to other tags do work). As for the various h tags: hr, h1 to h6 aren’t allowed either. Nor, much more sadly, are tables (table, tr, th, td etc) permitted.

  273. #275 AnthonyK
    March 1, 2009

    SEF – I think it’s quite an advantage that so little formatting-at-the-touch-of-a-button is available here. It gives a clean look to the forums which most sites, especially the ones with large numbers of posts, don’t have.
    It took me months to learn how to do everything I would want to – no shortcuts – so as to make the best of my posts. Other sites are just too busy, filled with avatars, quotes, thread nesting devices and whatever. I only just learned how to provide a one-word link (to my immense pleasure) but I’m not tempted too often. Hopefully, this means that I need only concentrate on the words….
    eroiym r

  274. #276 SEF
    March 1, 2009

    I agree that the cleaner look is better (I’m relatively anti-avatars myself too). Formatting was never available at the touch of a button here. However, it’s slightly odd that the list of permitted HTML tags, which definitely used to exist if you bothered to go looking for it, doesn’t seem to be around any more. That’s why I was curious to see what the situation currently was – and it looks to be much as I recall it being.

    Meanwhile, I find the basic things (such as italics for a species name or other keyword, bold to highlight specific parts of quotes being referenced and underline for spoken emphasis) to be useful and not that intrusive. As a member of the reality/evidence/logic-based community, I naturally use links quite a lot to support my claims and refute other people’s.

    Since threads can get quite messy and grow rapidly, it’s often important to quote or otherwise reference, in some minimal manner, a previous post/point which one is addressing. I disapprove of quoting large quantities of another post (which the inept people do) or putting silly signature quotes at the end of posts though. So, depending on what sort of quote you meant, I possibly disagree strongly with you on that issue.

  275. #277 AnthonyK
    March 1, 2009

    What I meant was the little quotes people feature at the bottom of every post – something from SpongeBobSquaresPants, say, or Abraham Lincoln. Even Dawkins site has these. Obviously, quotes in support of one’s position are fine.
    I like the aesthetic leanness of posts here – it seems somehow democratic, truthy – if not truthish, and appropriate where views, not meritrious geegaws, are important.

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