Pharyngula

Michael Egnor pounds his shoe

“WE WILL BURY YOU!” seems to be his message in his latest complaint. He is very upset that The Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology is boycotting Louisiana, and he informs us all in a long argumentum ad populum that the ignorant outnumber us, addressed to the president and members of SICB.

Most Americans are creationists, in the sense that they believe that God played an important role in creating human beings and they don’t accept a strictly Darwinian explanation for life. And they think that they ought to be able to ask questions about evolution in their own public schools. They don’t share your passion for ideological purity in science classes. They have a quaint notion that science depends on the freedom to ask questions, and their insistence on academic freedom is catching on. They don’t want religion taught in the science classroom, but they know that students are not learning about all of the science surrounding evolution. Seventy-eight percent of Americans support academic freedom in the teaching of evolution in schools, and that number is rising fast — it’s up 9% in the past 3 years. People clearly resent your demand for censorship. After all, it’s their children in their schools, and they aren’t happy with a bunch of supercilious Darwinists telling them that they can’t even question Darwinism in their own classrooms. So if you’re going to boycott all the creationists who despise you, you’ll eventually have to hold all of your conventions in Madison or Ann Arbor. Keep up the arrogance and eventually you won’t have to boycott people at all. People will boycott you.

Whoa. I’m impressed.

Note the open admission that the Discovery Institute’s audience are the god-fearin’ creationists, and that the people they regard as “on their side” are plain-and-simple, unmodified creationists, not just the usual Intelligent Design creationists. That’s useful to see.

There’s also the usual distortions. People ought to be able to ask questions about evolution in the public schools — that’s what science is all about, and I would encourage kids to raise their hands and speak out in class. However, none of this argument is about squelching inquiry: it’s about whether weak and discredited ideas, like ID, ought to be given special privilege and elevated to the standard curriculum. They shouldn’t.

We’re also seeing the usual deprecation of expertise. SICB is an organization of thousands of scientists who have invested years of their life in the study of biology. They are experts. Against that, we have millions of people in Louisiana who, while competent in their own areas of work, have very little knowledge of biology. According to Michael Egnor, the people we should listen to on this relatively rarefied subject are the majority who know nothing about it. Would he be quite so sanguine if we dismissed his specialization, neurosurgery, and suggested that he needed to follow the suggestions of a roofer from Baton Rouge? Is it “censorship” that he doesn’t allow his patients’ families into the operating room to give him a hand?

Madison and Ann Arbor are both lovely places to have conventions, and I certainly wouldn’t complain if SICB held their meetings there — it’s much closer to home, for one thing. But Egnor left out a few cities. How about Berkeley and Eugene, Seattle and Tucson, New York and Philadelphia, Austin and Cleveland, Champaign-Urbana and Chapel Hill…and I could go on. These cities and university towns are all part of America, too, and they are places where we find majorities who do not accept the ideology of creationism…because their populations are better educated and less shackled to religious dogma. These are good things.

I’m also confident that the people of Louisiana are a mix of the uninformed and the scientifically competent, and that many are good people who deserve better than the falsehoods institutions like the Discovery Institute will ladle out. It would be great to have more scientific conventions in New Orleans (if nothing else, because the cuisine is fabulous). However, when the government of the state promotes policies that are damaging to science, scientists have no choice but to reject them in any way they can.

If you’re not careful, “creationists” (80% of Americans) might notice this irony: you boycott their states, but you forgot to boycott their money. If one percent of the people you’ve censored and boycotted wrote letters to their congressmen demanding a defunding of evolutionary research — a boycott of you — the grant money currently allocated to advancing Darwinist ideology (it’s ideologues, not scientists, who censor) would be re-allocated to genuine non-ideological science.

There’s a word for this: demagoguery. What Egnor proposes here is nothing less than a naked threat to use the ignorance of the mob to attack science. And you haven’t heard anything yet. Look at this attitude:

Your arrogance and disrespect for academic freedom demeans the scientific profession, and your boycott of people who don’t capitulate to your censorship is risible. You’re actually debasing Darwinism, which, after eugenics and a century and a half of third-rate science, is no mean accomplishment. Most people don’t see your refusal to visit their state as a “threat.” Honestly, they’d rather you made your boycott all-inclusive, so you’d miss all of their legislative sessions and federal court hearings as well. So back off the “boycott” stuff. Just say you misspoke, or pretend you never said it at all. You Darwinists are good at covering your tracks (remember “junk DNA”?). Keep in mind that you’re living off the people you’re censoring and boycotting. Your livelihood is dependent on their largesse, and, in “comparative biology” vernacular, it’s unwise for parasites to boycott their hosts.

My advice: just keep suckling at the public teat and pretend the boycott never happened.

Now we see exposed the Discovery Institute’s opinion of scientists: they are parasites, suckling at the public teat, and that a scientific organization’s boycott of a state is just fine…and that we should be divorced from civic responsibilities altogether.

We also see his ignorance of biology on display. Evolutionary biology is a third rate science. Why is “comparative biology” in quotes? When did parasitism become the provenance of comparative biology? It’s a concept in common use, you know. And of course we remember junk DNA — we know that most of the human genome is junk. There is no covering of any tracks there, so I have no idea what he’s talking about. It’s probably yet another delusion of the creationist mind, like a schizophrenic babbling about his satellite-based mind control rays.

What we really have to remember henceforth is exactly what the Discovery Institute’s agenda actually is, and there it is in Egnor’s freely expressed opinion: the incitement of an intentionally misinformed public to silence scientific inquiry, all in the guise of ending an imaginary censorship.

But let’s leave laughing. There’s a convention in much of the kook email I receive that they howl at length at me, and then sign off with a conventional and inappropriately friendly signature that is entirely at odds with everything they wrote. Egnor fits right in.

Cordially,

Mike Egnor, M.D.

Comments

  1. #1 tony
    March 4, 2009

    What kind of cordial would Egnor be? None that I’d like to drink, that’s for sure.

    What a fucking rant.

    I’d also like to know (again) when I became a Darwinist? I always thought I was a consultant? (Or maybe a Scotsman, or maybe an ex-pat, or an omnivore, or a dad, or …)

    I actually have more common ground with Maxwell & Farady & c… (always been an electronics / physics geek).

    Maybe I should call myself a Maxwellian? (oh! cool – sounds really sinister!)

    Or a Faradysian! (I like that – sounds exotic!)

    Or maybe just call em a reasonably intelligent and informed human being, and fuck all the trite, single issue labeling.

  2. #2 Andrew Ryan
    March 4, 2009

    Don’t worry PZ, when I complete construction of my underwater city you and all the other scientists can come and live there. Then we can laugh at the other nations as they implode under the weight of unconstrained ignorance.

  3. #3 Rorschach
    March 4, 2009

    Is there some sort of toilet that Dr. Egnor’s head could be pushed into? Just until he calms down a little and stops frothing at the mouth?

    What amazing arrogance. I’m agog.

  4. #4 tony
    March 4, 2009

    oops – infested by RBDC typitis. Or maybe I’m channeling the Grauniad ;)

    that should of course have read just call emme a reasonably intelligent and informed human being

  5. #5 Josh
    March 4, 2009

    Ahhh…yes. Another fucking MD that ignored the whole learning part of medical school. Color me shocked.

  6. #6 Matt Heath
    March 4, 2009

    tony@1: Blackcurrant served with brandy (guaranteed up-chuck, I’m told)

  7. #7 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 4, 2009

    They don’t want religion taught in the science classroom, but they know that students are not learning about all of the science surrounding evolution.

    Um yes they do want religion taught in the class room and that is exactly the reason that “all of the science surrounding evolution” is not taught. Teachers are either afraid to teach evolution or are just tired of all the threats from pants wetting types such as yourself Dr. Egnor, so they often leave it out.

  8. #8 Crystal D.
    March 4, 2009

    It’s mind-numbing, and really makes me scared sometimes. I don’t like thinking that my neighbors are more than likely this backward. And people wonder why the two atheists in town lock their door at night. :)

  9. #9 Sigmund
    March 4, 2009

    Isn’t this the argument from Egnor rants?

  10. #10 Glen Davidson
    March 4, 2009

    The Egnorant bastard forgot to ask why “evolution” was part of a very small set of subjects for which “questioning” is “protected” in Louisiana. Why is that, moron? Shouldn’t questions be asked in physics?

    Above all, he’s equating a choice not to hold a convention in a backwater that has deliberately waved its middle finger at science, with outright censorship and defunding of science. That takes colossal idiocy, extreme hypocrisy, two talents which Egnorant has in abundance.

    Talk about ExpelledTM, the ugly bigot wants to deny funds to well-supported science.

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

  11. #11 rimpal
    March 4, 2009

    The Ignorant IDiot aka Michael Egnor should try peddling his wares in NOLA itself, where the fine university, Tulane, a Catholic institution no less, is located. Or maybe Egnor knows better than that and wouldn’t like to laughed off the Tulane campus in disgrace.

  12. #12 tony
    March 4, 2009

    Re: just keep suckling at the public teat

    Isn’t that what Churches do every day by virtue of their tax-free status? They don’t contribute financially to my community, but expect to significantly influence and be represented in what happens in my community. They are the parasite in our midst, sucking the life-blood from the body politic.

    Didn’t they get the memo? No taxation without representation has a corollary: Don’t expect representation if you don’t pay taxes.

  13. #13 Larynx
    March 4, 2009

    Sometimes I?m scared. It?s an Orwellian 2+2=5 scenario. You believe what I want you to believe, no matter what ?science? has to say about it. His threat that Creationists would attempt to halt scientific research and funding because they don?t like what?s being discovered is terrifying.

  14. #14 Tim
    March 4, 2009

    If the godbotherers could live with being contradicted, they’d be no problem. So it’s not religion, but megalomania. Some day, medication may be available.

  15. #15 Jay
    March 4, 2009

    They have a quaint notion that science depends on the freedom to ask questions…

    Scientists aren’t afraid of being asked questions. They are simply tired of answering the same stupid questions over and over.

  16. #16 Glen Davidson
    March 4, 2009

    It’s a repeat, but just to show (to anyone who doesn’t know) that there’s nothing new in Egnor’s desire to banish evolutionary theory:

    If a theory claims to be able to explain some phenomenon but does not generate even an attempt at an explanation, then it should be banished. Michael J. Behe, Darwin’s Black Box p.186

    The context makes clear that it’s “Darwinism” that he thinks should be banished, despite the utter lack of explanatory mechanism in his version of IDiocy. “Poof” is all the explanation that ID supplies, and they demand that science change its standards to allow it as “science”.

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

  17. #17 ErikJ
    March 4, 2009

    We secretly replaced a Discovery Institute member with a rabid creationist, let’s see if anyone notices.

    I don’t even think I can contemplate what must be going on in this man’s head.

  18. #18 Dan
    March 4, 2009

    Just because much of the human genome seems like junk DNA right now, I suspect we will eventually uncover its importance. Clearly sections which were once thought to be ‘junk’ codes for siRNA (and other variants) that play important gene regulatory roles. Some of it may certainly end up being vestigial, but it’s hard to imagine so much of the DNA will end up being junk considering how new the science of molecular biology really is.

  19. #19 Dennis
    March 4, 2009

    Hmmmm- looked him up on the interwebs- he’s a neuro surgeon (if it were actually him who wrote that rant):

    http://www.stonybrookphysicians.com/doctor/EGNOR_MD_MICHAEL_966.asp

  20. #20 thatguy
    March 4, 2009

    Vote for Champaign Urbana.

  21. #21 The Science Pundit
    March 4, 2009

    I admire your intestinal fortitude PZ, I could never make it all the way through one of Egnor’s rants.

  22. #22 cactusren
    March 4, 2009

    They have a quaint notion that science depends on the freedom to ask questions

    Yes, and with the freedom to ask questions comes the freedom to learn the answers. Maybe you should try that sometime, Egnor.

  23. #23 Paul Browne
    March 4, 2009

    Michael Egnor is clearly a bit of a DIck.

    I’m just surprised that he held back from the “more and more scientists…” line so beloved of cranks.

    Looking on the bright side, Egnor’s rant shows that the Creotards are worried by the outbreak of solidarity among scientists.

    Good job SICB!

  24. #24 Anon
    March 4, 2009

    Actually, there’s something to be said for political self-determination and representation in one’s local schools. I think Egnor may have a point.

    I sort of wonder whether just handing the fundies the South, Texas, and a few of the fly-over states might not be a good idea. Give ‘em the Confederate flag, jebus, the GOP, and their own national government and set them adrift in the world economy. The Texas oil money should last ‘em for a while (of course, all the skilled jobs would go to those evil Darwinist geologists from the North, but nevermind that). After that money ran out, the Christian States of America could sell corn or bibles or whatever. Or just starve.

    I’m not sure I’d cry about it. We could sell them medicine and technology at a premium. They’d come ’round after a few hundred years or famine and disease. And, in the meantime, the rest of the country would be a better place for it.

  25. #25 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 4, 2009

    Dennis. FYI, Egnor has a long history of this stuff.

    Do a search on this site and you’ll find plenty of info on him.

  26. #26 Bob
    March 4, 2009

    …pretend the boycott never happened.

    “Hey, yo, Tony. Mikey says we should just lay low for some days.”

    “But whaddabout dat ding?”
    “Nah, fuhgeddabottit.”

    [*sigh*]

  27. #27 Alec
    March 4, 2009

    I guess Egnor’s right about one thing

    students are not learning about all of the science surrounding evolution

    We can be sure that they’re not – there’s just so much of it to learn. Thousands of research papers and scores of books every year. Who could possibly keep up with that in a lifetime, never mind in a high-school biology course? Learning all the science surrounding intelligent design, on the other hand, would be much easier. They should be able to fit that into a minute or two at the end of class some wet Friday afternoon.

  28. #28 Atlas
    March 4, 2009

    Andrew Ryan wrote:

    Don’t worry PZ, when I complete construction of my underwater city you and all the other scientists can come and live there. Then we can laugh at the other nations as they implode under the weight of unconstrained ignorance.

    “Would you kindly…”

  29. #29 386sx
    March 4, 2009

    .Why is “comparative biology” in quotes?

    Yeah really, he must be a seriously hard core creationist or something. (Bid surprise.)

  30. #30 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 4, 2009

    I sort of wonder whether just handing the fundies the South, Texas, and a few of the fly-over states might not be a good idea. Give ‘em the Confederate flag, jebus, the GOP, and their own national government and set them adrift in the world economy. The Texas oil money should last ‘em for a while (of course, all the skilled jobs would go to those evil Darwinist geologists from the North, but nevermind that). After that money ran out, the Christian States of America could sell corn or bibles or whatever. Or just starve.

    I’m not sure I’d cry about it. We could sell them medicine and technology at a premium. They’d come ’round after a few hundred years or famine and disease. And, in the meantime, the rest of the country would be a better place for it.

    You’re an idiot.

  31. #31 MH
    March 4, 2009

    Wow, Egnor really has gone wrong in his mind-tank. Oh, the irony.

    @Dennis #19,

    Egnor is well known around these parts.

  32. #32 Dan J
    March 4, 2009

    Vote for Champaign Urbana.

    Yes, I second that. We’re friendly people here, and sort of an island of reason surrounded by fields of corn and soybeans.

  33. #33 Patricia, OM
    March 4, 2009

    What an ass that guy is. I’m pretty sure we know the ignorant outnumber us.

  34. I wonder how Egnor feels about “alternative” medical explanations, “science” and practice. Or about the average miracle surgeon with a rusty knife.

    Maybe Orac knows.

  35. #35 Anon
    March 4, 2009

    RBDC@30: care of offer some reasons? Or is a guttural grunt the best you can offer?

    My reasons: we clearly have two national cultures here. Reconciliation is unlikely. National self-determination is a sensible policy and as old as the hills. So let’s get to it.

    It also happens to be the case that the folks I like would benefit from the idiots going their own way. So I see no reason to get in the way of the obvious next step.

    Where is the idiocy?

  36. #36 Ouchimoo
    March 4, 2009

    First of all:

    They don’t want religion taught in the science classroom, but they know that students are not learning about all of the science surrounding evolution.

    Good so far. . .

    Seventy-eight percent of Americans support academic freedom in the teaching of evolution in schools, and that number is rising fast — it’s up 9% in the past 3 years.

    Really? That’s great!

    People clearly resent your demand for censorship. After all, it’s their children in their schools, and they aren’t happy with a bunch of supercilious Darwinists telling them that they can’t even question Darwinism in their own classrooms.

    Yea… wait WHAT? *classic record halt noise*
    Hm. Well I have an idea. Let us go into your church Sunday schools and question religion in their own classrooms. Then we’ll talk.

    Wow he’s so pissy that science is boycotting them and taking all dem der’s money for no good reason. HAH. I’d like to see how long he boasts that when we refuse to stop new medical science or energy or any other new technology from entering that state. *sigh but that would be to low for us to do that.* People like that make me so angry. I wish we could send them off to live in area’s equivalent to the dark ages. Maybe if they could see how the rest of the world advances and leave them in the dirt they’d wise up. Unfortunately, we all know this won’t be the case either. What a hopeless fucking case.

  37. #37 nigelTheBold
    March 4, 2009

    Let’s see. Evolution is responsible for eugenics: check. Academic freedom: check. Darwinists as pseudo-religious zealots: check. Creationists are ever-so tolerant of opposing ideas: check. Darwinists are not: double-check. Evolution is only a theory: check. Evolution is only a failed theory: checkeroo. Darwinists as social parasites: oh, yeah, one hell of a check.

    Seems like he hit all of the talking points. At least he did so cordially. Aren’t creationists terribly polite?

    Oh, and where’s all the obscenity I keep hearing about? All I saw was a beetle dick that looked like devil’s club.

  38. #38 AlexS
    March 4, 2009

    Yet again, a crackpot has lowered the bar for what is “censorship.”

    To be honest, I think Michael Egnor is evolving into a moderately good polemicist. All the details of this article seem to aim at enraging a friendly audience while regurgitating ID talking points.

  39. #39 Sigmund
    March 4, 2009

    The whole of the concentration of creationism on the biological sciences is simply a sign of the complete disregard these individuals have for the subject. They clearly think they know as much if not more about the subject than professionals who have studied it for decades – in contrast to ‘hard’ subjects like chemistry and physics.
    I don’t know a single biologist who is even slightly worried about the idea of questioning aspects of evolutionary theory – that’s basically our entire job!
    What we do not accept is incompetent educators teaching inaccurate science – and this applies to both pro-evolution and anti-evolution teachers (although, lets face it, you are much more likely to get the breathtaking inanity from the latter).
    Teachers of biology don’t like the idea of uneducated religious fundamentalists taking control of their subject any more than instructors of flying airplanes would. We’ve recently seen the results of a well trained pilot when he took a plane into New York. We’ve also seen the results when religious fundamentalists tried it.
    Lets not allow them do the same with education.

  40. #40 E.V.
    March 4, 2009

    All I saw was a beetle dick that looked like devil’s club.

    I thought it was an extra in the Cantina scene of Star Wars episode 4.

  41. #41 Ouchimoo
    March 4, 2009

    when we refuse to stop new medical science or energy or any other new technolog. . .

    Gah!

    when we refuse new medical science or energy or any other new technolog. . .

    Anyone else have problems thinking straight when their hungry?

  42. #42 SteveM
    March 4, 2009

    I hate to mention the “Ayn” word, but articles like this make me think she did have a really good idea in Atlas Shrugged. What if all the rational people just left, or went “on strike”, and left all these religiotards to their own devices? Maybe it is time to just “take our ball and go home”. These people really need a wake-up call, you can’t enjoy the benefits of science and technology and deride the scientists and technologists who create them forever. <mad scientist>There will be a reckoning</mad scientist>

  43. #43 Nangleator
    March 4, 2009

    Anon, once we had the god botherers in one place, they’d immediately start arming themselves to intrude on us in all manner of violent and/or annoying ways. It’s what they do.

    Plus, you wouldn’t want diseases to spring up in that country and spread outward to civilization.

    Instead, I’d like to come up with an ID curriculum that teaches that the intelligent designer is inherently evil and best opposed with indifference. An intrinsic part of the course would be proper sex education, with condoms distributed daily.

  44. #44 Natalie
    March 4, 2009

    Shorter Egnor: “Sure is a mighty nice conference you have here. It’d be a shame if anything… happened to it.”

  45. #45 Dennis
    March 4, 2009

    Whoa- after looking at the past posts, the more I read the more it spiraled into madness.

    #42- There will be a reckoning shouldn’t that be and ? Oh the geek humor….

  46. #46 AnthonyK
    March 4, 2009

    PZ, and everyone else. We all know that there is an academic conspiracy to persecute free thinkers like Dr Egnor, and that, really, Ben Stein was right.
    So now that it’s all out in the open, why can’t we just persecute Dr Egnor and have him thrown out, or even denied tenure, in his alma mater. He’d never work in science or medicine (a distinction I’m sure he draws) again.
    Look, we’ve been rumbled. Let’s get the ignorant twat thrown out – because we can.
    *Insert emoticon indicating deeply sarcastic post*

  47. #47 Endor
    March 4, 2009

    “Where is the idiocy?”

    Out of curiosity, where in your plan do residence of southern/midwestern states who *aren’t* creationists, etc. fit? Or the children of such people? Or the children of the creationists who would suffer, at least according to you, because of who their parents are?

  48. #48 Tom
    March 4, 2009

    I wish to add my voice in support of more academic freedom. I have noticed that the inheritance of acquired traits is not taught in our schools and I demand that this be changed immediately. I don’t care if the evidence isn’t there to support this belief because this isn’t about evidence, it’s about academic freedom and freedom of thought (no matter how wrong those thoughts might be).

  49. #49 Sastra
    March 4, 2009

    “Might Makes Right; The Majority, Rules”

    (Official motto of The Discovery Institute, reflecting the new, friendly way to do science)

  50. #50 Qwerty
    March 4, 2009

    Yea, PZ points out the kook’s friendly sign off at the end of his rant. Engnor could have easily written:

    Darwinists and believers in evolution,

    FUCK YOU!

    Cordially, Mike Engnor

  51. #51 Andrew @ EC
    March 4, 2009

    I enjoy the fact that Egnor apparently experiences no cognitive dissonance at simultaneously claiming on the DI boards that “creationists” are in the vast majority and control the funding for scientists… and at the same time asserting in “Expelled” that he was the victim of a vast, world-spanning conspiracy designed to suppress true science and make fun of him on the Internet.

    Perhaps as a Cartesian dualist, Egnor doesn’t believe in cognitive dissonance?

  52. #52 Endor
    March 4, 2009

    “Let’s get the ignorant twat thrown out”

    The worst thing possible is to be likened to icky girlie bits. He deserves it! He’s so [insert insult here] just like icky girlie bits!

  53. #53 ERV
    March 4, 2009

    @#18–

    Youre right. The 34,000 non-functional retroviral genes in your genome arent really junk. They code for a fantastic blueberry pancake recipe.

    ;P

  54. #54 SEF
    March 4, 2009

    Michael Egnor: quite, quite mad. If anything he seems to be getting worse. Does no-one monitor the sanity of surgeons in the US? Pilots have to have regular physical check-ups. Although a surgeon might conceivably drop dead during an operation, some sort of psychopathy quotient might be a more relevant measurement for medical staff (ie how likely they are to kill their patients deliberately or through arrogant ignorance).

  55. #55 uncle frogy
    March 4, 2009

    when I think of Louisiana and politics and reason I remember David Duke, Hughie Long and Charles Roemer, II

  56. #56 Sven DiMilo
    March 4, 2009

    it’s hard to imagine so much of the DNA will end up being junk

    No, it’s not. It’s actually quite certain that much to most of human DNA is, in fact, functionless “junk.”

    Oh, and “Anon” (if that is your real name), the good Rev. is a proud southerner and does not abide geographical elitism.

  57. #57 Lindsay
    March 4, 2009

    To: Michael Egnor
    From: A SICB Member
    Re: Open Letter

    Go to hell.

  58. #58 Guy G
    March 4, 2009

    Someone needs to come up with a scientifically credible complete alternative to evolution, so that it can be taught in the classroom alongside evolution, still keeping out the religious crap. They wouldn’t have a leg to stand on then. An almost perfect plan with only three drawbacks:

    No-one would search for such a theory, because there’s no need to

    If there was such a theory, it would have probably been found already

    Creationists don’t seem to think they need a leg to stand on. They remind me of that knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

  59. #59 Pareidolius
    March 4, 2009

    I helped my neighbors out by taking their three year-old Jeremy to daycare so they could handle some business this morning. Jeremy is a bright, precocious boy. Too bright we often say, so that sometimes we forget he’s only just three. He’s still figuring out how to navigate the world and his emotions often overwhelm him and his native intellect, like this morning when the thrill of hurling a gob of müesli at my Akita (much to her delight) overwhelmed his better judgement. A tantrum ensued and after a few minutes of useless flailing and shrieking, he gave up, reason was reestablished and we were off to daycare in a good mood.
    That’s what I read in Egnor’s tantrum. He’s probably a smart guy, who’s emotions about Jeebus and Gawd run high for whatever reason and he knows we’re right. He throws tantrums and loses (or perverts) his reasoning faculties to the end of making magic become reality. I have learned more about critical thinking from reading your dissections of these loopy screeds than I did University. Thanks again for making just a tiny bit smarter today, oh, and cracking me up in the process.

  60. #60 Nicole
    March 4, 2009

    This letter and the threats in it aren’t originally directed at you and the science-literate community. (I use the phrase science-literate because then I get to be part of it.) The ideas developed here are repetitions of the crap these fools are selling to the public.

    He’s showing you his hand because he thinks he’s got a royal flush and he’s expecting you to fold. These jokers are trying to use you to refine their points and pick up the sophistication and scienciness (clearly, not a word) of your tone. They are hoping that the average American can’t decipher between psedo and science. They are hoping the average American is going to rally around the threats that make them feel powerful and ignore the fault lines in their logic. They are hoping the average American really is an ignoramus and a fool.

    They are revealing their hand though (Jackass high? That’s it?) and it’s helpful to our side. Keep making the best arguments! Keep betting that people can be more than these fools want them to be. You kick ass.

  61. #61 LionDancer
    March 4, 2009

    PZ
    I can’t believe the audacity of your remarks–Ann Arbor has great food too!(sorry guess that should be !!!!). There’s the Quarter Bistro with its great New Orleans cuisine, but I bet New Orleans ain’t got Zingermans Roadhouse or Arbor Brewing or Real Seafood huh, huh, huh. And now we’ve another claim to fame…
    Ann Arbor…where you never have to worry about running into dickhead Medical Doctor Micheal Egnor.

  62. #62 speedwell
    March 4, 2009

    Obviously if we want to demonstrate junk DNA, we can point to Egnor’s entire genome.

    But pleasantries aside…

    If they held a convention in Lafayette, Louisiana, I’d go. I never pass up a business trip there. Our folks out there are friendly and nice and even intelligent, I tell you true!

  63. #63 Glen Davidson
    March 4, 2009

    Michael Egnor pounds his shoe

    “WE WILL BURY YOU!” seems to be his message in his latest complaint.

    I should add that the difference between Krushchev’s boast and Egnor’s evil-minded hatred is that Krushchev’s context indicates that he meant that he’d outcompete us. Egnor means to destroy science so that superstition can take over. Even he doesn’t hope to compete in a free marketplace of ideas, any more than Yeltsin believed that communism could outcompete free markets in 1992 (or whatever the exact date is).

    Egnor wants to bury us so that he can succeeed. Krushchev, for all of his rants and bizarre plans, really thought communism would succeed. The latter had faith in his worldview, the former does not, and seethes in anger over his and his cohorts’ incompetence in competition with honest science.

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

  64. #64 SLC
    March 4, 2009

    OT but what’s this we hear about Prof. Myers going on Ed Braytons’ radio show in a couple of weeks. Is the great feud over?

  65. #65 Sigmund
    March 4, 2009

    Egnor has been making ridiculous arguments for years before he took up the creationist cause. He wrote a famous letter to the NY Times criticising the claim that Terry Schiavo was blind. This claim, made by those that opposed her being kept on life support, contended that those who claimed she still had brain activity and could follow object movements with her eyes were mistaken. The autopsy showed that she was indeed brain dead and thus could not possibly have followed movements with her eyes (these were obviously just muscle spasms). Egnor made the ridiculous claim that the autopsy showed that those who claimed she was blind were in fact wrong! His argument was that since you need a functioning brain in order to be blind therefore her brain dead condition meant she was not blind!
    He even went on to suggest that those who wanted her life support system switched off supported euthanasia for the blind!

  66. #66 AnthonyK
    March 4, 2009

    It is so telling that no one can comment on his loggorheaic screed at the Discoverish Institute’s site.
    Can’t take the criiticism, eh Doc?
    But then, he’s not a LEADING EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGIST like PZ, so perhaps he thinks his views will pass on the nod. Well, that’s the modesty defence, and I gently submit it for your consideration.

  67. #67 Jason A.
    March 4, 2009

    I like how he spent the first half a paragraph talking about how Louisiana doesn’t want the evil darwinists around and they’re better off without, then spent the second half pleading for the evil darwinists to drop the boycott.

  68. #68 JimNorth
    March 4, 2009

    Why do I keep thinking of Asimov’s “Nightfall” (the book, not the horrible movie) when I read DI blather?

    When will that underwater city of refuge be finished? I know what, let’s build it inside the Superdome…

  69. #69 rob
    March 4, 2009

    apologies to Carlin:

    “think of how stupid the average egnor argument is, and then realize, by definition, half of them are stupider than that.”

  70. #70 Matt
    March 4, 2009

    Shorter Mike Egnor:

    WHARRGARRBL!

  71. #71 LtStorm
    March 4, 2009

    I’m just glad in my field of study I don’t have people clamoring to demand I acknowledge phlogiston as a valid alternative theory of oxidation.

  72. #72 lobsterlady
    March 4, 2009

    Seems like the Society for Neuroscience (and maybe a few others) boycotted New Orleans for a few years in the early 90′s for that state’s stance on abortion…

  73. #73 speedwell
    March 4, 2009

    tony @ 13 said: “Didn’t they get the memo? No taxation without representation has a corollary: Don’t expect representation if you don’t pay taxes.”

    Uh, OK. So the non-taxpaying–poor, young, old, etc.–are not entitled to representation? Did you really mean that? Better backtrack.

  74. #74 normalityrelief
    March 4, 2009

    Now THAT’S a rant!! I do so enjoy a good rant, even the ones that are based entirely on a fantasy.

    And PZ, you couldn’t be more right about the cuisine in New Orleans. I may have grown up in SoDak, but I’m originally from NOLA, and hot damn that food is beyond compare!

  75. #75 T. Bruce McNeely
    March 4, 2009

    Theoretically, an occupational risk of neurosurgery is contracting a prion-based disease like CJD, kuru or Mad Cow Disease.

    Just sayin’…

  76. #76 pz=irrational ideologue
    March 4, 2009

    What pz and the crazed, pseudo-skeptical fanatics that blindly follow him don’t realize is that most intellectuals outside the “new atheist” cult are open to the expansion of evolutionary theory, even if it means considering theistic or deistic scenarios. PZ hates this. He hates the fact that people are willing to use the rigors of science to find newer, more complete explanations. In Orwellian fashion, PZ labels anything that doesn’t fit with his version of strict Darwinism “creationist nonsense”. Well, that will only work for so long, PZ. People are more intelligent than you think; they won’t fall for such rhetoric. Science is open and skeptical, and it will remain so, despite your dogmatic insistence that it keep in line with your narrow ideology. That you dare to invoke Darwin’s name is itself utmost hypocrisy, as Darwin would have never stood for the kinds of things you do. That you target the most irrational adherents of theism you can possibly muster and post them for criticism on your blog, that you act as if doing so constitutes criticism of theism or religion per se, only hurts your cause, as (again) most people are too intelligent to fall for such fallacies. Leo Tolstoy, Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Hugo Chavez, and even our own president, stand as instant refutations to your pathetic mischaracterizations of religion as “irrational” or “crazy”. You cannot stop free inquiry. You cannot stop free minds from questioning. If the evidence indicates that there is a higher spiritual aspect to reality, then we follow the evidence. Period. That’s because evidence and reason have the final say-so, not charlatans like you, PZ. And no matter how hard you try, no matter how many gullible pseudo-skeptics defend you on your secluded little blog, you will never match up to the power of ingenuity, creativity, and evidence-based scientific inquiry — it roams where it pleases and if you don’t like its destination, YOU are in the minority along with other fundamentalists, religious or otherwise.

  77. #77 speedwell
    March 4, 2009

    #76: tl;dr

  78. #78 tim Rowledge
    March 4, 2009

    So can we demand the academic freedom to question religion in their own dens? If they want to blurt their religiously biased view of science in science classes then obviously the same right must be extended reciprocally. Oh, I forgot; we mustn’t upset the TrooBeleeeeevahs(tm) in {insert deity identity token of choice} because that would be insensitive.

  79. #79 pz=irrational idealogue
    March 4, 2009

    #77: non-answer.

  80. #80 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 4, 2009

    What pz and the crazed, pseudo-skeptical fanatics that blindly follow him don’t realize is that most intellectuals outside the “new atheist” cult are open to the expansion of evolutionary theory, even if it means considering theistic or deistic scenarios.PZ hates this. He hates the fact that people are willing to use the rigors of science to find newer, more complete explanations.

    Oh really. Please show us how the rigors of science are being used to find newer more complete explanations that include theistic or deistic explanations.

    Go ahead.

  81. #81 Glen Davidson
    March 4, 2009

    Uh, irrational ideologue, perhaps you could tell us how one can use the rigors of science to find poof. Or, you know, STFU.

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

  82. #82 minimalist
    March 4, 2009

    @ #76:

    Dr. Egnor? Is that you? It’s certainly your style!

  83. #83 tony
    March 4, 2009

    pz=irrational ideologue

    I sense a protuberance… no an outcropping… no, projection

    troll.

  84. #84 Lowell
    March 4, 2009

    If the evidence indicates that there is a higher spiritual aspect to reality, then we follow the evidence.

    Please point us to this “evidence” of which you speak. Not anecdote. Not your personal incredulity. Data.

  85. #85 AnthonyK
    March 4, 2009

    PZ for pity’s sake, don’t read @76. It’s so well argued, so reasonable, so mean…
    Aw, fuck let’s just ignore the moron. Probably his sole post. Anyway, he won’t be able to type for a little while now his keyboard’s all sticky.

  86. #86 pz=irrational idealogue
    March 4, 2009

    79: don’t take my word for it, email any of the thousands of theistic scientists or philosophers.

    (we know, we know, you’re not really interested.)

  87. #87 AnthonyK
    March 4, 2009

    Curse these wipe-clean peripherals!

  88. #88 speedwell
    March 4, 2009

    #80: Paragraphing structure is normally used to organize your thoughts coherently and help the reader understand you. Since you used none, I can only conclude that you have no coherent thoughts and don’t wish the reader to understand you. I’m sure the content of your rant, were I to bother to try to decipher it, would bear out my conclusion.

  89. #89 tony
    March 4, 2009

    irrational ideologue: see cognitive dissonance.

  90. #90 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 4, 2009

    79: don’t take my word for it, email any of the thousands of theistic scientists or philosophers.

    Nice dodge. You made the claim. Now show how it is being used. I bet you can’t.

  91. #91 Sven DiMilo
    March 4, 2009

    I think you’ll find that PZ and the “new atheists” are wide open to rigorous consideration of any evidence you’d like to put forward.
    Caveat: “sure looks designed to me!” is not evidence.

  92. #92 pz=irrational idealogue
    March 4, 2009

    Wow. Someone criticizes pz, so he must be an intelligent design “theorist” or Egnor himself or “projecting” or a troll or [x, y, z]. Great logic there!

  93. #93 Glen Davidson
    March 4, 2009

    79: don’t take my word for it, email any of the thousands of theistic scientists or philosophers.

    I love it, the perfect buck-passing from an ignorant buffoon.

    You don’t have a clue, do you?

    You don’t argue any worse than the mindless ranting of Egnor, however.

    By the way, I’ve spent more time than I should on an addled liar, so my parting words to you are “Fuck off, troll.”

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

  94. #94 Sigmund
    March 4, 2009

    Come on pz=irrational idealogue, we’re all ears.
    Show us the evidence.

  95. #95 Lowell
    March 4, 2009

    You fool. It’s not the fact that you criticized PZ. It’s that your criticism was baseless.

    Show your evidence for intelligent design. You do have some, right? You don’t just parrot what other people tell you, do you?

  96. #96 AnthonyK
    March 4, 2009

    For god’s sake don’t encourage it. I think I hear barking dogs and the sound of sirens…

  97. #97 E.V.
    March 4, 2009

    Wow. Someone criticizes pz, so he must be an intelligent design “theorist” or Egnor himself or “projecting” or a troll or [x, y, z]. Great logic there!

    No, I just looked at your nym and deduced you were a petulant troll who morphs to avoid the dungeon.

  98. #98 ErikJ
    March 4, 2009

    No, I just looked at your nym and deduced you were a petulant troll who morphs to avoid the dungeon.

    Oh, oh, can we start a pool and see if we can guess which one it is? Or maybe take bets on how many of the recent trolls have the same IP address?

  99. #99 AnthonyK
    March 4, 2009

    a petulant troll

    I’m not so sure, EV. Your jusdgement is usually sound, but in this case….
    All I’ll say is that a fucked brain is for life, not just for Christmas.

  100. #100 llewelly
    March 4, 2009

    pz=irrational idealogue | March 4, 2009 1:56 PM


    79: don’t take my word for it, email any of the thousands of theistic scientists or philosophers.

    (we know, we know, you’re not really interested.)

    Email Steve.

  101. #101 Kevpod
    March 4, 2009

    What I get out of this, PZ, is that you have them on the run and they’re flailing angrily.

  102. #102 Captain Kendrick
    March 4, 2009

    whoohoo…so they’re going to play the statistics game, eh? 80% are creationists? 90% believe in god? How about these real-honest-to-goodness numbers?:

    A recent poll found that nearly three-quarters of those asked could name each of the Three Stooges ? Larry, Curly and Moe ? but only 42 percent were able to name the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government.

    That’s according to a new Zogby poll in which 77 percent of Americans could name two of the seven dwarfs, while just 24 percent knew two of the nine Supreme Court justices.

    And while 57 percent of Americans could name fictional boy wizard Harry Potter, less than half could name Great Britain’s real prime minister, Tony Blair.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2006/aug/15/20060815-125249-6626r/

    Great company them creationists am in. How ya’ like ‘dem apples?

  103. #103 catgirl
    March 4, 2009

    Most Americans are creationists, in the sense that they believe that God played an important role in creating human beings and they don’t accept a strictly Darwinian explanation for life.

    This is a false dichotomy. I’m not a creationist, but like most scientist, I also don’t believe in a strictly Darwinian explanation for speciation, because the nature of science means that ideas get improved over time.

    Also, many Americans believe that God played a role in evolution, but they still don’t want that taught in science classes; instead they save it for church.

    This guy is a complete hypocrite. Apparently he thinks we are censoring questioning of evolution by natural selection, but he certainly doesn’t want creationism/ID to be questioned at all. If creationism were questioned in the science classroom, it wouldn’t last very long. Of course, I guess any question could be answered “God made it that way and we don’t know why but we mustn’t question him”, but that’s not really science, now is it?

  104. #104 Insightful Ape
    March 4, 2009

    Hey #76, you really shouldn’t miss your lithium, mom will slap your wrists.
    PS: You need a basic course in English grammar.

  105. #105 E.V.
    March 4, 2009

    AnthonyK;
    This is some fratboy looking for PZ to spank him. He’s thinks he’s oh so intellectually precocious, and yearns for a Daddy to show him love when he acts out. He just hasn’t figured out there are other forums for that on the net. He’ll get there – better latent than never.

  106. #106 speedwell
    March 4, 2009

    Insightful Ape @104: Interestingly, except for the failure to close up around the em dash, there wasn’t much if anything wrong with the fool’s grammar.

  107. #107 catgirl
    March 4, 2009

    I guess none of you noticed the sign:

    Please Do Not Feed The Troll

  108. #108 Captain Kendrick
    March 4, 2009

    #76 sez:

    What pz and the crazed, pseudo-skeptical fanatics that blindly follow him don’t realize is that most intellectuals outside the “new atheist” cult are open to the expansion of evolutionary theory, even if it means considering theistic or deistic scenarios. PZ hates this. He hates the fact that people are willing to use the rigors of science to find newer, more complete explanations.

    I like that. So adorable.

    “rigors of science”.

    Can you point us to these wonderful “rigors of science” that the the Discovery Institute (or any other creationist for that matter) has tucked away in their toolbox?

    Or did you mean “riggers of science”? It seemed as if you got a little tripped up there a bit on making your point. Maybe that’s what you meant.

  109. #109 tony
    March 4, 2009

    AnthonyK:

    a fucked brain is for life, not just for Christmas

    May I say, sir, that despite using the non-diminutive form of my name (I shudder at the memories) your commentary seldom fails to bring a titter at the very least. If there were an anti-killfile tool (bold-file?) your posts would be elevated (with a tag of read for snark)

    Others post for elucidation. You, sir, post for evisceration – and I loves it!

  110. #110 Bob L
    March 4, 2009

    pz=irrational idealogue,

    I think you have an excellent point. Only the God of The Bible, could have possibly created such biological horrors as parasitic wasps, vaginae rending beetle penises, malaria and the like. Only a mind like our’s could be that sadistic and depraved. Theistic evolution must be right because blind dumb luck couldn’t be as utterly evil as your Jehovah.

  111. #111 E.V.
    March 4, 2009

    At LAST! Somebody “gets” me!

  112. #112 Ryan
    March 4, 2009

    Up 9 percent in three years isn’t true is it? :(

  113. #114 AnthonyK
    March 4, 2009

    Why thank you Tony, oh mini-me.

  114. #115 Insightful Ape
    March 4, 2009

    Incidentally, our dearest troll, when are you going to open your heart to the expansion of the Relativity Theory, even if that does not fit your theistic biases? How dare you bring up the word “fundamentalist”, I’m sure the nice guys who made the Five Fundamentals are turning in their graves at the abuse. If you are looking for an affirmation of religion being crazy and irrational, just open your bible and read the life stories of those wonderful heroes like Lot, Moses, or Joshua. If there is no evidence for a higher spiritual aspect to reality, no worries, you’ll just make it up.

  115. #116 NewEnglandBob
    March 4, 2009

    Mike Egnor, M.D. – the hateful, ignorant, mean-spirited obfuscationist and outright liar.

    (yes, I know ‘obfuscationist’ is not a word, but I am coining it here)

  116. #117 Budbear
    March 4, 2009

    In my experience, whenever someone with a childish level of personal development is losing badly, whether it be in some athletic contest, an argumentative confrontation or some such interaction they generally resort to some form of punitive threat or intimidation. It figuratively screams, “I’m a loser and I can’t take it”. Think of the end of a hockey game when one team is getting their asses handed to them. That’s when most of the fights break out. Low self esteem and self-loathing lead them to lash out with irrational behavior. So it is with Michael Egnor and his sock puppets trolls. As Paraedolius said above. Sad little children, not getting their way and too impotent to do anything about it except to thrash about ineffectively. A part of me pities him. However, another part of me wants to paraphrase Snoop Dogg. “Fuck Michael Egnor”.

  117. #118 Pdiff
    March 4, 2009

    79: “don’t take my word for it, email any of the thousands of theistic scientists or philosophers.”

    uhhhhh….Don’t take your word for it? But that’s all the IDiots ever expect us to do. You guys weren’t listening to teacher: Don’t just give the “answers”, Show Your Work!
    1000′s?? :-) Perhaps you mean people like Behe, Miller or Francis Collins (a short example of your more prominent Xtian science types), all who accept the basic premises of Evilution despite their other lunacies.

    “Irrational”, you truly are bizarre. Please clean up your spittle and go home now.

  118. #119 Strangebrew
    March 4, 2009

    Simple atheist retort to retard…’Go away in short sharp jerky jumps! …and take ya delusion with ya!’

  119. #120 pz=irrational idealogue
    March 4, 2009

    Hey Glen, relax.

    Now as for the issue of evidence, I would bring up (predictably) phenomena such as the initial cosmological constants, the apparent fine-tuning of our universe (or the multiverse, if there is one), and likely a range of philosophical justifications for the rationality of theism. By no means would I view this as decisive, but there are scientists and philosophers for whom these phenomena raise questions about the adequacy of naturalism (e.g., Paul Davies, Barrow and Tipler, among others). And (just as predictably) most everybody here will scoff at this or label it “ID creationist nonsense”, in keeping with the standard reliance on sophistry and mockery rather than sober logical argumentation. I expect such a reaction, and it’s why I’m not particularly interested in arguing for theism (I tend toward naturalistic pantheism anyway) in blog comments with a crowd such as this.

    The point is — and this was made explicit in my main comment — that theism in particular and religion in general are not as obviously “irrational” and “crazy” as PZ wishes them to be. That men and womyn with more training than him raise questions outside of his ideology, drives him mad. That modern synthesis, for example, goes beyond the strict confines of Darwinism, stirs his wrath.

    Atheism, I should add, is certainly not as irrational as ID “theorists” and religious apologists make it out to be. Again, a key point: there are plausible considerations and well-respected scientists and philosophers on both sides. Those who cast either view aside as “crazy” or “inherently irrational” are squarely in the minority — THEY are modern fundamentalists.

    Yes, PZ Myers is to those who are not caught up with the spectacle of his blog a common fundamentalist and an ideologue.

    As I said, and to which there has been a curious lack of response as of the time I write this, thinkers like Tolstoy and Malcolm X (for example) stand as instant refutations to PZ’s inane dogma that religion is “irrational”. Leaving aside the question of whether atheism or theism is true, it stands to reason that both views can be rationally justified, and there can be evidence for both depending on which angle you take.

    That the principle I am about to describe needs repeating is frankly sad, but I feel I must remind many of the pseudo-skeptics and brave critics here: you’re likely to encounter nutcases among *any* group or sect, but it’s a fallacy to blame the group or sect for the wrongdoings of its adherents (religious or otherwise). That some people viciously killed in the name of “correct Marxism” (e.g., Mao) does not imply that Marxism is “inherently irrational”. That some scientists developed atomic bombs with the express purpose of killing the maximal amount of human persons and contributing to American imperialism does not imply that science is “inherently irrational”. The point is parallel with respect to religion and those who perform immorality in its name.

    To resist establishment-based scientific orthodoxy in pursuit alternative evidence-based explanations is not irrational and does not make one a “creationist” — this is conceptually independent from the issue of which scientific hypothesis in particular turns out to be true at the end of the day (whether it’s Darwinism or an expansion thereof matters not). Your conflation of the two, as well as your pigheaded dismissal and pompous mockery of anything foreign to your worldview, your subservient cheerleading for Lord Myers, is why I indict most of you as gullible pseudo-skeptics.

  120. #121 Tom
    March 4, 2009

    Here’s the rub for the ID crowd… if a scientist really found proof that god existed, proof that ID was true, that scientist would win the Nobel Prize, be invited on every talk show from Oprah, to Conan O’Brien, to 60 Minutes, and would become the most beloved person on the planet to all those who believe in god. No one is interested in hiding evidence of ID because if evidence of ID was found, that would make that scientist incredibly wealthy and world famous.

  121. #122 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 4, 2009

    To resist establishment-based scientific orthodoxy in pursuit alternative evidence-based explanations

    If they are evidence based, fine. If they are woo based, like anything involving a god, spirits, ghosts, goblins, and other non-physical objects, then it is not OK. The non-physical objects must first be proven to exist. Until that happens, no dice. And god has not been proven to exist. Until then, god cannot be used as a means for change.

  122. #123 Helfrick
    March 4, 2009

    the apparent fine-tuning of our universe

    mockery rather than sober logical argumentation

    hahahahahahahahhahahaha!

    What’s this womyn you speak of? Sounds interesting.

  123. #124 Strangebrew
    March 4, 2009

    *76

    WTF!

    Why do xian idiots always resort to projection?

  124. #125 Knockgoats
    March 4, 2009

    If the evidence indicates that there is a higher spiritual aspect to reality, then we follow the evidence. – irrational ideologue@76

    Nice to see an appropriate nym. Yes, if the evidence did indicate that, we should and would follow it. But it doesn’t. Science has stopped invoking God not because of some methodological proscription, but because centuries of experience has shown that this never leads anywhere useful. This does not of course prove that there isn’t a god – but if there is, it seems he’s playing dead.

  125. #126 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 4, 2009

    Now as for the issue of evidence, I would bring up (predictably) phenomena such as the initial cosmological constants, the apparent fine-tuning of our universe (or the multiverse, if there is one), and likely a range of philosophical justifications for the rationality of theism. By no means would I view this as decisive, but there are scientists and philosophers for whom these phenomena raise questions about the adequacy of naturalism (e.g., Paul Davies, Barrow and Tipler, among others). And (just as predictably) most everybody here will scoff at this or label it “ID creationist nonsense”, in keeping with the standard reliance on sophistry and mockery rather than sober logical argumentation. I expect such a reaction, and it’s why I’m not particularly interested in arguing for theism (I tend toward naturalistic pantheism anyway) in blog comments with a crowd such as this.

    That’s all fine and dandy that it raises questions but that doesn’t mean anything if these questions don’t lead to good science. Where is the science?

  126. #127 pz=ii
    March 4, 2009

    Nerd of Redhead,

    I note your abuse of the term ‘prove’ — there are many kinds of “proof” or evidence. Mathematical? Epistemological? Logical? Abductive inferences? Inductive inferences? You don’t say. As well, I note your implicit assertion, without argument, that the world is entirely composed of physical objects.

  127. #128 Steve_C
    March 4, 2009

    Someone is unclear on what irrational means.

  128. #129 Sastra
    March 4, 2009

    pz=ii #76 wrote:

    You cannot stop free inquiry. You cannot stop free minds from questioning. If the evidence indicates that there is a higher spiritual aspect to reality, then we follow the evidence. Period. That’s because evidence and reason have the final say-so, not charlatans like you, PZ. And no matter how hard you try, no matter how many gullible pseudo-skeptics defend you on your secluded little blog, you will never match up to the power of ingenuity, creativity, and evidence-based scientific inquiry — it roams where it pleases.

    I got an email very much like this last week. The writer was furious that I had dared to criticize the solid scientific evidence for chi, and her completely non-controversial ability to “fluff out” the energy fields of pets (a skill she charges money for, of course.) Seems that I am ignoring the fact that science is all about the evidence, and being open-minded, and I don’t like that it’s finally recognizing the “higher spiritual aspect to reality.” She’s got the evidence: Fido got better. Deny that!

    The problem for both the pet fluffer and the creationist is the same: those damn picky scientific fundamentalists, and their rules and regulations and control groups and communities of so-called “experts,” who are all failures when it comes to recognizing what ordinary folks can figure out and test for themselves.

  129. #130 pz=ii
    March 4, 2009

    Right. I must be “projecting”. I must be a “Christian ID creationist”. I must not know what I write when I write “womyn”. I must be a mere “troll”. All hail our Lord and Savior PZ; anathema to any that criticize his good name.

    What a logical bunch, you.

  130. #131 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 4, 2009

    pz=ii, Either prove with physical evidence that these imagainary things exist, or shut the fuck up. You can’t just imagine things. If god exists, run the experiment to prove that. An eternally burning bush would be good. A philosophical argument won’t cut it.

  131. #132 skyotter
    March 4, 2009

    pz=ii:

    empirical evidence — quantifiable, measurable, repeatable. it doesn’t even have to be “material” or “physical”, just empirical. good luck, and thanks in advance

  132. #133 MrMarkAZ
    March 4, 2009

    Tucson! Woo hoo! PZ mentions my home town!

    Oh, and on topic: I find it ironic that Michael the Egnorant signs this screed “Cordially.” There’s nothing remotely cordial in what he said. Typical creationist tactic: it’s OK to lie, to smear, and to threaten. Just don’t use any bad language, because, you know, that would be wrong.

  133. #134 speedwell
    March 4, 2009

    Oh, pz=ii… you’re a hoot.

    If you can come up with a single argument for the Intelligent Creator that the crowd here hasn’t heard before and debunked in detail ten times over, I’ll buy you a beer. Hell, just for the worth of the entertainment, I’ll buy you a case.

  134. #135 Sastra
    March 4, 2009

    pz = 11 #120 wrote:

    By no means would I view this as decisive, but there are scientists and philosophers for whom these phenomena raise questions about the adequacy of naturalism

    Speculations on fine tuning are seldom advanced as scientific arguments for God; they are mostly suggested as a possible way that one can reconcile a God which needs faith, with a science which doesn’t need God. “If things were different, then they would have been different.” No doubt.

    Again, a key point: there are plausible considerations and well-respected scientists and philosophers on both sides.

    Yes, there are. But unless the theists are advancing ‘God’ as a scientific hypothesis, and invoking it as an explanation for something very specific, then they’re not going to be counted among the Creationists and pseudoscientists — who are doing precisely that. And losing.

    They’ve walked into a trap.

  135. #136 Sven DiMilo
    March 4, 2009

    Actually, pz=ii is clearly a cut above the usual troll. Use (apparently non-ironic) of the term “womyn” suggests a background in (or at least exposure to) some pretty hard-core feminist thought, and the emphasis on what is “rational,” as well as the general approach, smells like fairly serious philosophy. Also, he/she has been pretty explicit that she/he is not arguing for the existence of any particular deity. Despite the rather bellicose nym and entrance, I don’t think a dogpile is called for. Yet, anyway.

  136. #137 BlueIndependent
    March 4, 2009

    “Right. I must be “projecting”. I must be a “Christian ID creationist”. I must not know what I write when I write “womyn”. I must be a mere “troll”. All hail our Lord and Savior PZ; anathema to any that criticize his good name.

    What a logical bunch, you.”

    Wow, hey, you’re only the 7983rd dumbass who’s come around here with sarcasm and played the PZ-as-human-god card. Why don’t you be the first original creationist poster in the history of this blog and answer the question you anti-intellectualist malcontents have 100% failed to answer: Where is your concrete, testable, verifiable evidence that your god created anything on this earth?

    If you have so much evidence, this answer should be simple. A few words and a URL perhaps. Can we expect you will meet this requirement, or can we expect you’ll continue to make an ass of yourself, learn nothing, and prove what a petulent child and accomplished order-taker you are?

  137. #138 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 4, 2009

    Right. I must be “projecting”. I must be a “Christian ID creationist”. I must not know what I write when I write “womyn”. I must be a mere “troll”. All hail our Lord and Savior PZ; anathema to any that criticize his good name.

    What a logical bunch, you

    Show us where any of us treat PZ as lord and Saviour or anything remotely close.

    Perhaps you should see how the entire scientific community outside a scant few performs. They actually require science to be scientific. I know that is a shock. They require testable theories. They require them to make predictions. They require repeatable tests and observations.

    Can you tell me what the testable falsifiable theory of Intelligent Design is?

  138. #139 Budbear
    March 4, 2009

    Apparently our little sock puppet is a Standup Philosopher!!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tl4VD8uvgec

  139. #140 dean
    March 4, 2009

    @z=irrational idealogue: provide some proof for your assertions – specifically, proof for the supernatural. If you can do that, there will be dialog – if not, but you continue to make empty posts, you’ll not get any respect.

  140. #141 mothra
    March 4, 2009

    @120 “I would bring up (predictably) phenomena such as the initial cosmological constants,”

    I walked to work today and saw a Blue jay in a Colorado blue spruce exactly four blocks from my office. Two ‘blue’ objects under a blue sky. The word Colorado has 8 letters, Blue has 8 letters, 8-4=4! The exact number of blocks between the bird (4 letters) and my work (4 letters) place!! Isn’t it amazing, that after 53 years (5-3)2= 4!), such a fantastical coincidence of events, words and numbers should occur. Damn but you’re an idiot!

  141. #142 Knockgoats
    March 4, 2009

    I would bring up (predictably) phenomena such as the initial cosmological constants, the apparent fine-tuning of our universe (or the multiverse, if there is one), and likely a range of philosophical justifications for the rationality of theism. – pz=irrational ideologue

    Yes, very predictably. They have all been dealt with here, in most cases quite recently. If you like to pick one, and state it in your own terms, there are certainly people here who will argue it with you, rationally. You come here with a handle that is simply a sneer, throw insults around, and berate us for avoiding rational argument? Pfft.

  142. #143 BlogForDarwin
    March 4, 2009

    His statement, “So back off the “boycott” stuff” is a great indication that we shouldn’t.

  143. #144 mothra
    March 4, 2009

    I should note that the ‘physical constants’ have been discovered through years of experimental and theoretical science- the assertion that, taken as a whole, such things are evidence of the supernatural is imbecilic.

  144. #145 jose
    March 4, 2009

    I’ll fucking kill you!!!!!!!!!!

    Cordially,

    Jose, JS.

  145. #146 Sigmund
    March 4, 2009

    We’re still waiting for the evidence that will allow “the expansion of evolutionary theory, even if it means considering theistic or deistic scenarios.”
    A Deistic or Pantheistic scenario is still perfectly compatible with current evolutionary theory which simply deals with the materialistic consequence of the properties produced by the Big Bang.
    How do theistic scenarios fit in?

  146. #147 Brownian
    March 4, 2009

    Hmm, lessee:

    pz=irrational idealogue;

    pz=flaming liberal Nazi;

    pz=the one true God?;

    pz=dissolve powder into 1/2 cup of milk, bring to a slow rolling boil, let cool and serve;

    pz=clorflidian plonglortz

    Nope, none of those comprise evidence for ID whatsoever. But please, do go on about this amazing ‘philosophy’ of yours.

  147. #148 speedwell
    March 4, 2009

    Mothra @144: That makes me wonder… in a universe where the physical constants are different (assuming that such a thing even makes sense as anything but a sci-fi daydream), “God,” as the perfect creator of a perfect cosmos, would have to be different, and thus imperfect. Hmm. Sounds like a great novel plot. Or a great way to distract religious ignoramuses.

  148. #149 T. Bruce McNeely
    March 4, 2009

    “…and get back into touch with themselves”

    I thought that was supposed to be a sin?

  149. #150 Strangebrew
    March 4, 2009

    ‘I would bring up (predictably) phenomena such as the initial cosmological constants’

    And they were?

    ‘the apparent fine-tuning of our universe (or the multiverse, if there is one)’

    So apparent that hydrogen had to be crushed by gravitational collapse then erupt in a torrential gush of plasma and energy to burn for countless millenia which then exploded with such a force that electrons and protons and neutrons were compressed then ripped apart then stitched back together in the aftermath of a billion years of chaotic nebulae expansion to construct a carbon atom…which formed the functioning part of your brain…what a waste of time and energy!

    ‘and likely a range of philosophical justifications for the rationality of theism’

    Theism is rational?…this should be good…prey… ahem!… elaborate please?

  150. #151 Elf Sternberg
    March 4, 2009

    There’s an implicit threat of Egnor’s own at the bottom of the rant where he says we ought to tell these groups, “No controversy? No funding!” and smirks that it ought to fit well on a bumper sticker. No, it’s not implicit, it’s explicit: if the science community isn’t willing to harbor and entertain pseudoscientific gobbledygook, the powers that be will punish science.

    I can only think again that we completely dodged a bullet when we prevented Sarah Palin from being anywhere near the corridors of power.

  151. #152 George
    March 4, 2009

    I still think that the best way to counter these delusional idiots is to insist that if ID is taught in the schools then Evolution should be offered in the churches!

  152. #153 LtStorm
    March 4, 2009

    That some scientists developed atomic bombs with the express purpose of killing the maximal amount of human persons and contributing to American imperialism does not imply that science is “inherently irrational”.

    German imperialism, you mean. The Manhattan Project was born out of the (very valid) fear that Nazi Germany was working on atomic weapons of their own (and they were). At the time the project was started there was no sign of Germany’s imperialism waning. After Germany fell, the project was only a few months from completion, and there was a brief hope that once everyone had developed atomic weapons the world would be locked in a standoff it couldn’t dare fire the first shot in, thus ending all major wars.

    Which was true to a point. The Cold War wasn’t great, but it was better than WWIII.

  153. #154 Kristine
    March 4, 2009

    You know, come to think of it, that’s a real long argumentum ad darwinism that Eg-snore makes (as much as he makes any argument at all).

    Whenever these jokers pull the “We have money money/power/children/deities on our side!” they’re really appealing to that which they claim to oppose.

    Maybe we should point this out more.

  154. #155 Alex
    March 4, 2009

    These threads are so ridiculous, only because the arguments fall on deaf ears, or dense minds, or a little of both.

    To the god wanks:
    Anyone wishing to posit the existence deities is well within their rights to do so. Positive assertions about reality are made all the time by people everywhere. To qualify as science, you need to back up your positive assertions with positive testable evidence. Feelings and opinions don’t count.

    All of the inane pro-god lecturing on these threads has the common theme of opposing evolution because you don’t want it to be true, not because you can show it to be false. Furthermore, finding evidence against evolution does not prove the existence of a deity or deities. Your thinking on these matters is completely upside down. Science starts with questions and follows evidence to the answers. You start with the certitude that deities exist, and then parrot supportive evidence and ignore contrarian evidence. That’s not how reality works, and all you can do is argue about how you know you’re right, yet have nothing to show.

    Time to grow up and graduate from your Magical Thinking stage of development.

  155. #156 woody
    March 4, 2009

    I would be in favor of withholding, say, life-saving medicines from folks who claim to believe in God.

    Make it a litmus test…

    Believe in God? Okay, go away and pray.

    Believe in science? Take two of these and call me in the morning…

  156. #157 BlueIndependent
    March 4, 2009

    “…To resist establishment-based scientific orthodoxy in pursuit alternative evidence-based explanations is not irrational and does not make one a “creationist” — this is conceptually independent from the issue of which scientific hypothesis in particular turns out to be true at the end of the day (whether it’s Darwinism or an expansion thereof matters not)…”

    Well then I think you should send an email or two to the DI and AiG. If their aim truly is about finding another explanation for the origin of existence, why do they try to make explicitly scientific cases? Why do they pick apart the scientific explanation with the reckless abandon of a scoundrel who thinks he’s found political gold with the public, rather than focusing on their own material?

    The answer to that question is the same as it has always been: The second science starts showing how religious beliefs and traditions are baseless, false, or even detrimental, based on observance of the natural world and experimentation, they get all up in arms and cry foul.

    You, pz-ii, are parsing a situation that doesn’t exist. Creationists and IDers speak solely about what they perceive (wrongly) as a scientific attack on their beliefs, when it is merely science that has observed things that happen to show their beliefs to be rather vacuous. You apaprently are under the assumption that it is science that is attacking, not the creationists, when we know throughout human history that religion has always attacked first what it refuses to accept. You then take the further illogical tack of labeling PZ a “fundamentalist” and “ideologue” (btw, you don’t earn any novelty credits for those either) for simply defending his profession, his work, and the work of others. You proceed from a faulty assumption, and continue making illogical deductions based on events that have not and are not happening. Science is under attack; studies of the education level of our children bare this out. Attacking science because it is indirectly “attacking” elements of religion – ANY religion – has been the choice of religion, not science. Read your history over again please. You attack real science at your own peril, and that includes studies in evolutionary biology.

    It is you who are the ideologue, making hand-waving apologies that it is religion under attack, and providing no further insight or evidence for your cause. We already know religion “provides an alternate take on the origin of life”. That’s not the question, as you try to assert. The question is, where the hell is your evidence? Do you seriously think we didn’t know about each religion’s take on things? You are an idiot masquerading as a philosopher by using big words and citing things that are largely immaterial the evidence-based question. Answer with evidence that can be measured and tested, not with rehashed philosophical claptrap (from anyone historically villain OR hero) that has no place in a scientific discussion about evidence.

    If you want to have a philosophical discussion, say so. But don’t play coy as if a philosophical or indeed cosmological debate has any bearing on what evolutionary biology says. The reality is evolutionary theory has provided humanity with much; the cosmological variant of events has provided very little if anything by comparison.

  157. #158 Glen Davidson
    March 4, 2009

    Speculations on fine tuning are seldom advanced as scientific arguments for God;

    I largely agree with your post, but the statement above won’t do. Speculations on fine-tuning are very often advanced as “scientific” arguments for god in certain religious circles.

    More sane folk, like Ken Miller and Francis Collins, do use it far more gingerly, although I believe it’s still done quite illegitimately.

    The fact that they all fail to provide any kind of solid cause/effect relationship, or other solid connection, that could actually point to god, rather using lack of explanation as an excuse to simply stick with prior prejudices, dooms such efforts as science. Hence we do not see such claims in science journals, or at most, very rarely.

    But in fundy churches, and all across the internets, one may find many claims that “fine-tuning” is evidence for god. A mere observation without an explanation (except tentative ones, like the multiverse) becomes an “argument for god” simply by default.

    The mere fact that some scientists will treat such non-science as science is not, of course, any kind of sound argument that it is science.

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

  158. #159 Rick Schauer
    March 4, 2009

    This gentleman is a neurosurgeon? WTF? Does he “pray” he doing the right proceedures, too?

  159. #160 Andrew @ EC
    March 4, 2009

    pz=ii: Barrow and Tipler are nuts. N-V-T-S, nuts. It’s not called the Completely Ridiculous Anthropic Principle for nothing, you know.

  160. #161 Conor H.
    March 4, 2009

    How come these Xtian types always seem to talk about the evidence of a “higher spiritual aspect” but it always boils down to Jesus and not any number of other deities? I at least respect the folks who accept all the woo; all religions, magic, ghosts, crystals, homeopathy. At least they’re being consistent.

    Religious plurality, deal with that. Either all the woo is true, non of it is true or some of it is true and I haven’t seen anything to make me thing the former or latter is the case, despite all the “evidence”.

  161. #162 Pteryxx
    March 4, 2009

    To pz=ii: “…you’re likely to encounter nutcases among *any* group or sect, but it’s a fallacy to blame the group or sect for the wrongdoings of its adherents (religious or otherwise).”

    Religious belief has been demonstrably associated with increased rates of child sexual abuse and domestic abuse, hate crimes against homosexuals, denial of reproductive health care to women (womyn, if you prefer), denial of critical sex education to children and teenagers, and denial of adequate scholastic education. Religious beliefs contribute to legal systems that exacerbate the resultant human suffering. Many of these beliefs are formally codified in the religions’ dictates.

    There is plenty of evidence that religion as currently practiced is broadly dangerous. Technically this may be blamed on humans’ inability to create and follow a truly morally consistent religion, rather than blaming the concept of “religion” itself; but for all practical purposes, it’s much simpler to be moral without attempting to also adhere to some religion or other. We have to actually live together in this world, after all.

  162. #163 pz=ii
    March 4, 2009

    LTStorm,

    No, I said American imperialism and that is what I meant. It clearly wouldn’t have contributed to “German imperialism”; Germany wasn’t even part of the allaince. (?) There was explicit mention in the formal letters that were exchanged during the project that dropping them above surface would ensure maximal body counts. This is not disputed by any historian I know of. Whether the US’s involvement in WWII was part of a larger expansionist project is debatable; I personally think there’s good evidence to suggest it was. In any case, this was just one example of scientists acting ostensibly immorally — were we to infer from this that science is “irrational” and “dangerous”, we’d rightly be called out on it. By parallel reasoning, we should be inferentially careful with (for example) Islam, Marxism, Environmentalism, etc., when their respective adherents perform immorality in their names. I would have thought that this distinction was clear enough from my comment above.

  163. #164 Sigmund
    March 4, 2009

    Stop trying to change the subject pz=ii
    Whats the evidence that allows a theistic expansion of biological evolutionary theory?

  164. #165 pz=ii
    March 4, 2009

    Thanks, Sven.

  165. #166 ME
    March 4, 2009

    Careful there PZ Egnor might call the Internet PoliceTM because you were mean to him.

  166. #167 Ferrous Patella
    March 4, 2009

    Why is Engor fighting so hard to get a third rate, eugenics generating science to stay in LA?

  167. #168 Sean Olsen
    March 4, 2009

    An IDiot accuses us of sophistry? I’m sorry, but ahahaha hahahah hahaha haha! *sniff* *snort*

  168. #169 Kel
    March 4, 2009

    pz=ii, please show the rigorous scientific experiments that these ID advocates have done before publicly and politically advocating their position… oh what’s that? The ID movement is purely a public and political front?

  169. #170 member of the audience
    March 4, 2009

    One of creationists’ biggest lies is facilitated by the lack of rigor in the average poll respondent’s understanding of terms. When evolution and creation are discussed on blogs like this, an agreed-upon standard is set for what creationism means. When a busy housekeeper or stock broker is asked, it’s a given they probably don’t have a good grasp on evolution, but they can be pretty confused about creation as well. Those who believe “theistic evolution” (meaning that they take a non-literal view of the Bible and believe existence of God can be reconciled with evolution by natural selection or indeed that a god is behind the existence of anything at all) might not know the lingo enough to realize that by calling themselves “creationist” they are throwing in their lot with those who think God individually created the diversity of modern lifeforms from scratch. Or it might not be important to them… they don’t have strong emotions on evolution so they emphasize God in their answer.

  170. #171 Angel Kaida
    March 4, 2009

    We should agree on an appropriately godless name for this http://www.nasa.gov/externalflash/name_ISS/index.html and pharyngulize it! Please?!

  171. #172 BCReason
    March 4, 2009

    Don’t forget Toronto for your conventions. Beautiful safe city with friendly people and save 20% on your Dollar.

  172. #173 LtStorm
    March 4, 2009

    LTStorm,

    No, I said American imperialism and that is what I meant. It clearly wouldn’t have contributed to “German imperialism”; Germany wasn’t even part of the allaince. (?)

    Germany getting the atom bomb first would contribute to German imperialism. That’s why America started work on the bomb. Germany was already on the path of imperialism, the atom bomb would’ve been another tool it could have used to great effect for that.

    There was explicit mention in the formal letters that were exchanged during the project that dropping them above surface would ensure maximal body counts. This is not disputed by any historian I know of.

    You seem to forget that airburst explosions also drastically decrease the amount of fallout that a ground level explosion would create. That was the more important reason for using airburst explosions. Yes, it also meant that it would kill more people due to the primary shockwave, but it also meant it would kill a lot less people due to residual radiation from fallout.

    Whether the US’s involvement in WWII was part of a larger expansionist project is debatable; I personally think there’s good evidence to suggest it was.

    Yeah, we took all that land in…uh…where did we expand to after WWII? Our joint holding in West Germany…?

    In any case, this was just one example of scientists acting ostensibly immorally — were we to infer from this that science is “irrational” and “dangerous”, we’d rightly be called out on it.

    But they weren’t acting immorally. They were reacting to the threat of Germany getting the atom bomb first and using it to finish conquering the world. That was further exasperated by the fact Germany already had a great delivery method in the form of the V2 rockets, which were pretty much the very first ancestors of ICBMs.

    By parallel reasoning, we should be inferentially careful with (for example) Islam, Marxism, Environmentalism, etc., when their respective adherents perform immorality in their names. I would have thought that this distinction was clear enough from my comment above.

    What? What parallel reasoning? That all of them are well meaning, but end up doing more harm than good? I guess. I wouldn’t say that makes them immoral.

  173. #174 AnthonyK
    March 4, 2009

    Worse than a Poe. It’s a Libertarian faux-Poe.
    You mark my words.
    Walton, that you?

  174. #175 Elwood Herring
    March 4, 2009

    Reading that Egnor screed I felt as though I was being bombarded by a massive dose of high-energy stupid. But at the same time I couldn’t look away, continuing to read right through to the end even though it felt as if my brain cells were being melted by the sheer pressure of dumbosity. I mean, what a poisonous cocktail of arrogance and idiocy! That was a real record breaker.

    Sounds a bit desperate too, if you ask me. If we really are winning the war against creationism we might expect to get more of these slabs of negatively charged mind-poop thrown at us.

  175. #176 Silver Fox
    March 4, 2009

    “we have millions of people in Louisiana who, while competent in their own areas of work, have very little knowledge of biology.”

    Just a little addendum to the above. The State of Louisiana is led by a Governor who holds an HONORS degree in BIOLOGY from Brown University. He was accepted to HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL and was a RHODES SCHOLAR. He was the one who signed the bill about which the SICB is so bent out of shape.

    “follow the suggestions of a roofer from Baton Rouge”

    Bobby has never fixed a roof in his life but he is in Baton Rouge at least for the next four years; thereafter, he can be reached in DC at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. for the next eight years.

  176. #177 pz=ii
    March 4, 2009

    Sigmund,

    Let me know when you and your friends here are ready to read my comment a bit more carefully rather than attributing claims to me that I never made.

    I am aware that most here don’t think theism or deism have a shred of evidence in their favor. That’s fine. Theists and deists would say that there’s no evidence in favor of naturalism (construed as the existentially positive claim that reality is exhausted by natural objects). As is clear from my comments above, my point was not to triumphantly barge into PZ’s comment section and settle this dispute once and for all. Rather, it was to emphasize that both sides can be rationally justified and that, depending on one’s angle of vision, both seem to have plausible arguments — and that this issue is separate, conceptually, from the question of which view best corresponds to reality. Anybody who declares that either is “inherently irrational” or “dangerous” or “crazy” is either philosophically incompetent or just too caught up in ideology (or in the case of PZ, both).

  177. #178 George
    March 4, 2009

    See this article.

    I lay responsibility for this child’s suffering squarely at the feet of Dr. Egnor. His idiocy is causing this problem. Among many other harms,evolution denialism causes real harm to innocent children!

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/03/02/hm.mrsa.kids/index.html

  178. #179 Sven DiMilo
    March 4, 2009

    thereafter, he can be reached in DC at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. for the next eight years

    he has to get past Limbaugh, Palin, Romney, and then Obama first. Don’t hold your breath.

  179. #180 Matt
    March 4, 2009

    You know – The Evolution meetings (the joint meeting of the Society for the Study of Evolution, American Society of Naturalists, and Society of Systematic Biologists) were held at Stony Brook 3 years ago. You’d think if Egnor were actually intellectually curious he would have walked across the street from the Med School and attended some of the sessions. But of course, why should empirical research mean more than a mythology created thousands of years ago?

  180. #181 nigelTheBold
    March 4, 2009

    pz=irrational idealogue,

    This may seem a bit foreign, but philosophy is not scientific evidence. Also, the fact that some scientists may accept god as a valid explanation for something does *not* make it scientific.

    As for the fine-tuning of the universe: that canard is just plain silly. We don’t know *how* fine-tuned the universe is. It appears that *many* variations of physical constants would produce a viable universe. The original cosmological argument is based on assumptions that just don’t reflect reality.

    Essentially, you are presenting arguments of incredulity. You personally are impressed with how incredible it is that *you* exist; and this is incredible. However, the fact that *life* exists, or the universe exists, is not necessarily incredible.

    This is not science, and should not be presented as such. This is the basic argument against intelligent design: it isn’t science. It makes no testable predictions, and really gives us no helpful knowledge.

    What useful knowledge is gained by the explanation, “God did it?”

  181. #182 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 4, 2009

    pz=ii, if one side is evidence based and the other is not, the evidence based side wins every time. There is a fallacy that there are always two sides to any issue. There many only be one evidence based side. There may be several. In the case of evolution/ID, there is one evidence based side, evolution. ID is a religious idea that cannot negate the science. We don’t care if ID is taught in comparitive religion classes. Since is isn’t science, it has no place in a science class.

  182. #183 pz=ii
    March 4, 2009

    LTStorm,

    Help me understand — are you actually denying that atomic weaponry has contributed to American imperialism? That denial, if anything, would fit squarely with typical libertarian myth-making.

  183. #184 Lowell
    March 4, 2009

    Amazing. Pz=ii just wrote that “both sides can be rationally justified” but that “this issue is separate, conceptually, from the question of which view best corresponds to reality.”

    Got that? The question of whether something is “rationally justified” is “separate, conceptually” from whether it “corresponds to reality.”

    We are evidently working with radically different ideas of what constitutes “rationally justified.” My definition is, more or less, “corresponds to reality.” To pz=ii, one thing has nothing to do with the other.

    Breathtaking inanity, anyone?

  184. #185 Elwood Herring
    March 4, 2009

    Regarding universal fine-tuning (and this has been said many times before here and elsewhere): Google “Adams puddle”.

  185. #186 Sigmund
    March 4, 2009

    pz=ii
    You said the following:
    “most intellectuals outside the “new atheist” cult are open to the expansion of evolutionary theory, even if it means considering theistic or deistic scenarios. PZ hates this. He hates the fact that people are willing to use the rigors of science to find newer, more complete explanations.”
    Tell us how theism expands evolutionary theory and explain how that fits in with the ‘rigors of science’.

  186. #187 LtStorm
    March 4, 2009

    LTStorm,

    Help me understand — are you actually denying that atomic weaponry has contributed to American imperialism? That denial, if anything, would fit squarely with typical libertarian myth-making.

    I’m not denying it so much as I am at a total loss for a single example of American imperialism enabled by the advent of the atomic bomb. Please, enlighten me, what acts of American imperialism have been committed since the invention of the atom bomb?

    And that’s funny, because I’m not too libertarian, and certainly don’t identify as one.

  187. #188 Lotharloo
    March 4, 2009

    Wasn’t there a poll demonstrating a significant percentage of Americans believed Iraq was in Africa or some shit like that? Somebody needs to tell Mr Egnor that Iraq is still at middle east.

  188. #189 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 4, 2009

    Rationally justified equals I can bullshit my way through it. Evidence removes the possibility of bullshit. Which is why science demands good evidence.

  189. #190 Blake Stacey
    March 4, 2009

    Now as for the issue of evidence, I would bring up (predictably) phenomena such as the initial cosmological constants, the apparent fine-tuning of our universe (or the multiverse, if there is one), and likely a range of philosophical justifications for the rationality of theism.

    “Fine-tuning”? Hah.

    Either your extra-Universal intelligence lives in an environment like ours, with the same physical laws as our Universe, or it doesn’t. If the creator’s environment — call it Heaven — has physical laws just like ours, then we have to explain where they came from. If it didn’t, then intelligent life can exist in a Universe not like our own, and the whole argument collapses under its own weight.

    That’s just a philosophical point. Actual physics is more interesting, but random trolls making pot-shots on comment threads have not, in my experience, had either the patience or the requisite background knowledge to discuss it. Why should I bother to discuss the origin of the proton mass or the possible relation between CP-violation and the quark generation hierarchy, if you’re just looking to rile people?

  190. #191 pz=ii
    March 4, 2009

    That many brilliant scientists and philosophers believe a God (or something like a God) exists does not mean theism is “scientific”. That many believe all that exists is material does not mean materialism is “scientific”. I never said otherwise. But the fact that these beliefs are held by these people does imply, pretty straightforwardly, that neither theism nor materialism are “inherently irrational”. Rationality and truth-value shouldn’t be conflated. This is elementary epistemology, and frankly it’s embarrassing that I’m having to defend it here.

  191. #192 Knockgoats
    March 4, 2009

    The State of Louisiana is led by a Governor who holds an HONORS degree in BIOLOGY from Brown University. He was accepted to HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL and was a RHODES SCHOLAR. – Silver Fox

    CAPITAL LETTERS, do not make an ARGUMENT any STRONGER. Nor does a degree (BTW, just about everyone who gets a degree gets an HONORS degree, it’s not special), nor a Rhodes Scholarship prevent Jindal being an irresponsible idiot – as his taking part in an exorcism would demonstrate conclusively even if he hadn’t signed this cretinous anti-science bill.

    Bobby has never fixed a roof in his life but he is in Baton Rouge at least for the next four years; thereafter, he can be reached in DC at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. for the next eight years.

    Bwaw-haw-haw! After that fiasco of a speech – and that’s by the assessment of right-wing commentators – his chances of getting the Rethuglican nomination are near zero. He had his chance, and he blew it.

  192. #193 Steve_C
    March 4, 2009

    HAHAHA.

    Just how deluded are you Silver Fox? Jindal crashed and burned in his rebuttal speech to Obama’s address. The Republican party is running from their new fallen star.

  193. #194 LtStorm
    March 4, 2009

    As an addendum to #187; what I am denying is that America developed the atomic bomb for imperialistic purposes. Whether or not it ended up contributing to its imperialism, I await to hear your explanation.

  194. #195 Sastra
    March 4, 2009

    Glen Davidson #158 wrote:

    Speculations on fine-tuning are very often advanced as “scientific” arguments for god in certain religious circles.

    True; I was mostly thinking about Davies, whom pz=ii had mentioned, but should have put it a different way.

    pz=ii #177 wrote:

    Anybody who declares that either is “inherently irrational” or “dangerous” or “crazy” is either philosophically incompetent or just too caught up in ideology (or in the case of PZ, both).

    Depends on which side you’re talking about. There are many reasonable theists, who need only be mistaken. PZ, though, was referring to creationists in general, and Egnor in particular — an Egnor who had just made a particularly horrible argumentum ad populum.

    Epithets like “dangerous” and “crazy” are usually understood to be at least in part exaggerated, in that creationists are of course not as dangerous or crazy as an ax murderer in your basement. Well, usually.

  195. #196 Glen Davidson
    March 4, 2009

    BTW, isn’t Irrational Idiot likely to be Charlie Wagner?

    To me he just sounds the same, a monotonous drone, blithering on with unfounded charges against PZ and everyone on this forum, promising that “rigorous science” can give us woo, and when challenged, coming up with the same non-rigorous drivel regarding cosmological constants or the supposed impossibilities of evolution (none of the “argumentation” being done with a semblance of rigor).

    Well, if it’s not Charlie, it’s an equivalent idiot-troll.

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

  196. #197 Lowell
    March 4, 2009

    pz=ii @76:

    If the evidence indicates that there is a higher spiritual aspect to reality, then we follow the evidence.

    I am guilty of letting pz=ii change the subject. Back to the point:

    pz=ii, Please show us the “evidence indicat[ing] that there is a higher spiritual aspect to reality.”

    We’ve already heard your arguments from incredulity. Your amazement that you exist is not evidence of a higher spiritual aspect to reality.

    Do you have anything else?

  197. #198 dean
    March 4, 2009

    “it was to emphasize that both sides can be rationally justified and that, depending on one’s angle of vision, both seem to have plausible arguments ”

    No, “explanations” that rely on faith, without evidence, cannot be said to be rationally justified. Put to full use, your statement could be used to “support” the idea that autism is due to vaccinations, that September 11, 2001, was an “inside job”, that Russia was involved in the assassination of President Kennedy, just about any bit of utter stupidity.

    Surely you can’t be serious?

  198. #199 Blake Stacey
    March 4, 2009

    But the fact that these beliefs are held by these people does imply, pretty straightforwardly, that neither theism nor materialism are “inherently irrational”.

    Wrong. It means that people can compartmentalize, that people can be knowledgeable about one corner of science and ignorant about others, that people can be rational during the working day and irrational on Sunday.

  199. #200 pz=ii
    March 4, 2009

    “Please, enlighten me, what acts of American imperialism have been committed since the invention of the atom bomb?”

    -Invasion of Vietnam
    -A host of dirty wars (e.g., Columbia)
    -Illegal appropriation of Granada
    -Illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq

    To name but a few obvious examples. (And this is just in terms of military conquest.)

    Last post for today.

  200. #201 AJ Milne
    March 4, 2009

    …the fact that these beliefs are held by these people does imply, pretty straightforwardly, that neither theism nor materialism are “inherently irrational”…

    Leaving aside your comment with regard to rationality and truth value, this specific deduction has very little value on its own. The observation that persons who are apparently capable of rational thought state they hold a belief does not in itself make that belief rational or irrational.

  201. #202 Rob
    March 4, 2009

    @Silver Fox:
    And has claimed to do an exorcism. He’s lost any sanity he’s had.

  202. #203 Julian
    March 4, 2009

    The silly thing about doctors like this guy is they don’t see the chain of events that will follow a successful attack on biology. If the religious right simply cannot live with schools teaching that all individuals are different, that certain differences give certain individuals a leg-up in life, and that many of these differences are inheritable, how long before they find the physical theory of the mind, a much more complex and difficult to grasp subject, too insulting to stomach? What happens to neurosurgery when colleges in the U.S. are forced to spend as much time teaching about the healing power of prayer, happy thoughts, and divine propitiation as they spend on the physical and chemical structure of the brain?

    I, for one, hope not to live to see the day surgery in the U.S. is spoken of in the same tone as that in the Congo.

  203. #204 Sven DiMilo
    March 4, 2009

    Breathtaking inanity, anyone?

    *shrug* Just philosophy.

  204. #205 Geoffrey
    March 4, 2009

    you boycott their states, but you forgot to boycott their money

    Given how much the red states are subsidised by blue ones, that’s probably not a line of argument he wants to pursue…

  205. #206 hje
    March 4, 2009

    Re: “Bobby has never fixed a roof in his life but he is in Baton Rouge at least for the next four years; thereafter, he can be reached in DC at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. for the next eight years.”

    As if. Then again, maybe in some parallel universe.

  206. #207 AnthonyK
    March 4, 2009

    Worse than a Poe. A Libertarian faux-Poe.
    Ugh.
    Walton, that you?

  207. #208 mandrake
    March 4, 2009

    I completely fail to see how the existence of Tolstoy and Malcolm X proves that religion is not “irrational.” You could make the argument that their existence proves that one can be religious without being irrational in other aspects of their lives, but that says nothing about religion itself.

  208. #209 Ryk
    March 4, 2009

    Ok I admit I’m not a biologist. My formal education on the topic stopped with AP biology in high school. I have tried to keep current but it isn’t my field.

    Anyway getting to the point isn’t questioning evolution exactly what scientists do. Isn’t every serious evolutionary expert trying to prove it wrong. Isn’t every biology class all about asking questions. Mine was, I admit my teacher couldn’t answer all of mine but he had no problem with me asking. I asked a lot.
    Are there any Biologists on this blog who wouldn’t sprout huge wood(male ones anyway) If they could falsify the theory of evolution. I bet not. How about in the world. No.

    The difference that most theists don’t get between science and religion is that a scientist would not care if a scientific principal is refuted. If I woke up tomorrow and read in the paper “EVOLUTION DISPROVEN: BIOLOGISTS REPORT.”
    my worldview wouldn’t collapse. I wouldn’t suddenly lose the basis for my morality or the meaning for my existence. I would think “Holy crap that’s awesome, I have got to read that journal. Biologists would be having parties and discussing the new evidence. Then they would get back to work figuring out how this new information fits in with everything.

    Now what would a christian do if god was conclusively disproven. They would either completely deny the evidence no matter how clear, or their whole world would simply fall to pieces. Science can not be a religion because it doesn’t predicate itself on any specific thing being true. It is based simply on trying to find out what is true.

  209. #210 Knockgoats
    March 4, 2009

    But the fact that these beliefs are held by these people does imply, pretty straightforwardly, that neither theism nor materialism are “inherently irrational”. – pz-ii

    No it doesn’t. This is so elementary that it’s embarrassing to have to correct it: the fact that intelligent people believe something in no way implies that it is rationally defensible to do so. To decide that, we need to consider the grounds for believing it.

  210. #211 Glen Davidson
    March 4, 2009

    But the fact that these beliefs are held by these people does imply, pretty straightforwardly, that neither theism nor materialism are “inherently irrational”.

    No, it doesn’t. What you should be embarrassed about is your utter inability to understand the fallacy of argumentum ad verecundiam. There have been many irrational and/or unsound ideas held by otherwise rational people.

    And it just so happens that irrationalism and lack of soundness often coincide in these areas, for the simple fact that irrational leaps are required to come to unsound conclusions when the same people are using virtually the same facts. Often “irrational” is the epithet thrown out when “unsound” is actually meant, even though at times the unsound position is not truly “irrational”. You’re picking at semantics, because you have been unable to back up your original claims about the possibility of using scientific rigor to arrive at magical conclusions.

    Your appeals to authority indicate that you’re a complete failure at epistemology, since your reliance upon a fallacy to make your “point” violates both rationality and soundness.

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

  211. #212 Tulse
    March 4, 2009

    I find it interesting that when Egnor says:

    Most Americans are creationists, in the sense that they believe that God played an important role in creating human beings and they don’t accept a strictly Darwinian explanation for life.

    by that definition, he and PZ both agree that Ken Miller is indeed essentially a creationist.

    Man, when both sides give you the same label, how can you deny it?

  212. #213 LtStorm
    March 4, 2009

    -Invasion of Vietnam
    -A host of dirty wars (e.g., Columbia)
    -Illegal appropriation of Granada
    -Illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq

    To name but a few obvious examples. (And this is just in terms of military conquest.)

    Last post for today.

    …We could’ve done those without the atom bomb. What the atom bomb did do was stop an American or Russian imperialism that could have been borne out of the end of WWII.

    Besides, other than Iraq (which is debatable), those weren’t acts of imperialism since we didn’t actually capture and hold any land. And wasn’t the invasion of Grenada because of a coup d’etat that held thousands of Americans hostage and plunged the island into martial law?

  213. #214 Sastra
    March 4, 2009

    pz = ii #191 wrote:

    That many believe all that exists is material does not mean materialism is “scientific”.

    Both materialism and naturalism could be falsified and rejected by the scientific community, given strong enough evidence. I think this places supernaturalism (including theism) into an interesting position re science.

  214. #215 Sven DiMilo
    March 4, 2009

    You’re picking at semantics

    *shrug* Just philosophy.

  215. #216 speedwell
    March 4, 2009

    AnthonyK said: “Worse than a Poe. It’s a Libertarian faux-Poe.”

    LtStorm’s screed has little, if anything, in common with L-ism, AnthonyK. I’m not even perfectly sure that’s the poster you’re referring to, because nobody else’s posts have any more or less relevance to L-ism than [his/hers]. I can’t imagine what you think L-ism actually is.

    I’m not trying to defend or define here; I’m just confused because I don’t see anything where you’re pointing.

  216. #217 Kel
    March 4, 2009

    by that definition, he and PZ both agree that Ken Miller is indeed essentially a creationist.

    Does Ken Miller actually believe that God guided evolution? I thought his rationality was that we were an inevitability – intelligence was a niche to be filled.

  217. #218 skyotter
    March 4, 2009

    pz=ii, i understand that you’re the center of attention in this thread right now

    however, you’re only addressing snarky replies or philosophical issues. you have provided not a shred of the evidence that you’ve claimed to be aware of, and for which you’ve been repeatedly asked

    naturally, we’re going to conclude that there still isn’t any. so Happy Monkey, and have a nice day

  218. #219 SC, OM
    March 4, 2009

    That modern synthesis, for example, goes beyond the strict confines of Darwinism, stirs his wrath.

    Huh?

  219. #220 Lotharloo
    March 4, 2009

    Posted by: skyotter | March 4, 2009 3:05 PM

    pz=ii:

    empirical evidence — quantifiable, measurable, repeatable. it doesn’t even have to be “material” or “physical”, just empirical. good luck, and thanks in advance

    That’s the best answer to trolls like PZ=ii.
    It gets one thumbs up from me.

  220. #221 Barry
    March 4, 2009

    General Patton said: ?Years from now, when you?re old and sitting in front of the fire place with your grandson on your knee, and he asks you – ?What did you do in the great Evolution War?? You?ll have to tell him ? ?I shoveled shit in Louisiana.??

  221. #222 Tulse
    March 4, 2009

    Both materialism and naturalism could be falsified and rejected by the scientific community, given strong enough evidence.

    However, once they are rejected, science is over. The whole notion of evidence depends on reproducible, objectively observable results, and if beings exist who can alter the outcomes of experiments at will, one can never trust empirical results.

  222. #223 Dan
    March 4, 2009

    @53 Maybe your DNA codes for blueberry pancakes, but I’m quite sure mine contains a much better recipe for chocolate chip.

    @56 I suppose you were just as certain a decade ago that regions encoding siRNA were junk as well?

    I’m not trying to argue that every last base pair is necessary, or even useful. I’m just pointing out that there is still a lot we don’t know about gene regulation, and it’s likely some of the answers lie in our ‘junk’ DNA. I’m hesitant to write it off as junk, and think that in the coming decades research will show sections of this are actually more important than we are ‘certain’ it is today.

  223. #224 pz=ii
    March 4, 2009

    “Leaving aside your comment with regard to rationality and truth value, this specific deduction has very little value on its own. The observation that persons who are apparently capable of rational thought state they hold a belief does not in itself make that belief rational or irrational.”

    I beg to differ. It does provide pretty good inductive evidence that these viewpoints are neither “inherently irrational” nor “dangerous”. Suppose someone, after careful consideration of the arguments both for and against a proposition, p, and after evaluating all the available evidence for and against p, comes to believe that p. It strikes me as unreasonable to suggest that that person is nevertheless acting “inherently irrationally” in believing that p. And those who make such suggestions, in my view, are getting lost on the propositional content of p itself rather than focusing on the means by which the person came to believe p — it’s the latter that should inform our evaluation of whether p is rational.

    OK, this is my last one.

  224. #225 LtStorm
    March 4, 2009

    AnthonyK said: “Worse than a Poe. It’s a Libertarian faux-Poe.”

    LtStorm’s screed has little, if anything, in common with L-ism, AnthonyK. I’m not even perfectly sure that’s the poster you’re referring to, because nobody else’s posts have any more or less relevance to L-ism than [his/hers]. I can’t imagine what you think L-ism actually is.

    I’m not trying to defend or define here; I’m just confused because I don’t see anything where you’re pointing.

    Yeah, I don’t know where the libertarian comments are aimed at.

  225. #226 Sigmund
    March 4, 2009

    Tulse said
    “The whole notion of evidence depends on reproducible, objectively observable results, and if beings exist who can alter the outcomes of experiments at will, one can never trust empirical results.”
    Perhaps we’d just become theistic scientists – after all this is pretty much exactly what they currently believe. With the appropriate sort of cognitive dissonance its amazing what you can simultaneously accept.

  226. #227 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 4, 2009

    The woo is strong in pz=ii, and their arguments are also woosome, hence stupid. Evidence versus non-evidence. Woo strikes out every time. Welcome to science.

  227. #228 Glen Davidson
    March 4, 2009

    @56 I suppose you were just as certain a decade ago that regions encoding siRNA were junk as well?

    Get real, most people expected at least some non-coding regions could have potential for regulatory functions, etc. The fact that the precise segments encoding siRNA would most often be treated as if they were junk wouldn’t change that fact.

    I’m not trying to argue that every last base pair is necessary, or even useful. I’m just pointing out that there is still a lot we don’t know about gene regulation, and it’s likely some of the answers lie in our ‘junk’ DNA. I’m hesitant to write it off as junk, and think that in the coming decades research will show sections of this are actually more important than we are ‘certain’ it is today.

    A large part of the junk is made up of transposons, retroviral DNA, and tandem repeats. Likely some transposons and retroviral DNA have some uses, but quite a lot are likely to be junk. Tandem repeats are particularly unlikely to have any real use. Note that when I say DNA is likely to be “junk,” I don’t mean that they haven’t evolved any kind of function at all, like causing distance effects, preventing some transcription, or like effects. I mean they don’t have direct function, not that their presence hasn’t been utilized over the course of evolution for some “bulk” purposes.

    And do I know for sure that most tandem repeats have no “non-bulk” use? No, but I have enough cause to accept that hypothesis as being rather likely, which is all that I need. Science isn’t in the business of always being right, it has to be able to take some risks.

    Which is why science has continued to explore possibilities of function in “junk DNA.”

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

  228. #229 Tulse
    March 4, 2009

    Does Ken Miller actually believe that God guided evolution? I thought his rationality was that we were an inevitability – intelligence was a niche to be filled.

    Right, ergo he believes “that God played an important role in creating human beings”, since he argues for what is essentially the Anthropic Principle, and on theological grounds.

  229. #230 Sigmund
    March 4, 2009

    Many scientists are also theists. Unfortunately for pz=ii’s argument these theistic scientists believe individually in many different faiths that directly contradict each other.
    They cannot all be rational.
    Whats the basis for deciding which is the correct and rational theistic belief?

  230. #231 Alex
    March 4, 2009

    The assumption that everything is material is the default. Nothing has been shown to challenge that default, and any assertions of the existence of non-material entities is not only nonsensical, but beyond the scope of empirical study.

    And for the word-parsing apologists, by material, I mean measurable by any material means. And yes, thoughts are material, they can be measured.

    For thousands of years immaterial, magical notions have been offered to understand reality, only to be brushed aside by material explanations.

    “Unless someone can establish the limitations of the universe as a whole, it would be presumptuous to point to the cosmos and declare it incapable of existing without an external cause.” Daniel Kolak and Raymond Martin, Wisdom Without Answers, (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1998), p. 39

    Your notion that you know enough about Nature and the workings of the Universe to declare without evidence but with extreme certitude that magic and deities exist, demonstrates your egotism, immaturity, and hubris.

  231. #232 Sven DiMilo
    March 4, 2009

    I don’t claim to know everything about gene regulation, but the Fugu genome alone shows that we don’t need all this DNA.
    Larry Moran loves to write about this stuff.

  232. #233 Julian
    March 4, 2009

    LtStorm: Where to start? I’m not going to jump down your throat because it may be that you are simply uninformed, and there’s really no reason to shout at someone just because they don’t know some things. A good place to start in answering your question about U.S. imperialism after the bomb would be Legacy of Ashes, a history of the CIA. Some have questioned its methodology, but considering that it is a work based mostly on internal CIA documents, I feel these attacks are about as baseless as those pro-communists throw at historians like Davies and Conquest. Another good book for you to read would be Kissinger’s Diplomacy. It has a much broader focus that U.S. policy after WWII, as well as a generally complimentary tone of that ploicy, but the last few chapters are dedicated to it, and it gives good examples of the dismissive attitude towards “third-worlders” and the sense of self-importance which drives our “super-power” approach to the world. Fiasco, a book about our adventures in Iraq under the former president, is also informative on the subject of U.S. imperialism. Most works about post-war Japanese politics will touch on the issue as well, as will those in regards to the Near East (Said’s Orientalism deals with the intellectual and academic side of this particular issue very well).

    I can only assume that your difficulty on this comes largely from a confusion of colonialism with imperialism. An imperialist government is not necessarily one which conquers and physically dominates other countries; it is one which seeks to impose its interests and oversight upon other nations through economic, political, or military means.

  233. #234 Watchman
    March 4, 2009

    Silver Fox:

    The State of Louisiana is led by a Governor who holds an HONORS degree in BIOLOGY from Brown University. He was accepted to HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL and was a RHODES SCHOLAR. He was the one who signed the bill about which the SICB is so bent out of shape.

    Yes. That should tell you something about the impurity of Gov. Jindal’s motives. It was a political, not scientific, decision. Duh.

  234. #235 uppity cracka
    March 4, 2009

    If everybody’s so important and smart and “sciencey”…how the fuck do you all have the time to blog all day? Shit, I have to get back to work.

  235. #236 Blake Stacey
    March 4, 2009

    Suppose someone, after careful consideration of the arguments both for and against a proposition, p, and after evaluating all the available evidence for and against p, comes to believe that p.

    Congratulations. You have just described exactly how theistic scientists don’t come to embrace theism.

  236. #237 Glen Davidson
    March 4, 2009

    It does provide pretty good inductive evidence that these viewpoints are neither “inherently irrational” nor “dangerous”.

    As stupid as usual.

    But more precisely, you implicitly changed the context in which “induction” occurs from the one in which we know how and why people compartmentalize and “rationalize” their religion in spite of their adoption of scientific ones, to one in which we are naive spectators inductively reasoning to conclusions about such a society. Which is ridiculous.

    Because we already understand, say, Ken Miller’s likely impetus to supporting his a priori religious beliefs, we do not inductively suppose that he is thinking “rationally” when he invokes “cosmological ID” to support those beliefs. We are not naive observers, we are educated and rational observers who recognize that virtually no one other than already religious folk, and the occasional scientifically naive non-believer, finds it reasonable to look at an unexplained phenomenon (fine-tuning) and simply suppose that Yahweh or the philosopher’s god is thus responsible. We know how thought channels, and we discount instances where one is obviously doing apologetics for his religion.

    Indeed, this is why ad hominem arguments are not altogether fallacious. One does actually have to consider why it is that Egnor lashes out with obvious prejudice and resentment against scientists who simply chose to hold their convention in a state they deem to be more open to science than Louisiana now appears to be. While I have some reservations on boycotts such as the one in question, there is nothing in them that reasonably or sensibly provokes his desires to censor science in response to it. The fact is that we have to write Egnor off as an unreasonable crank, because he has demonstrated himself to be one.

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

  237. #238 Sigmund
    March 4, 2009

    Larry Moran takes a rather extreme position on the junk DNA debate. He thinks we could remove 90% of human DNA without negatively affecting evolution. The argument against this is that even if the actual sequence of most genomic DNA is unimportant its large size has probably been a factor for hundreds of millions of years allowing for regulatory effects to be incorporated from this issue. For instance a 500 kb gene will be transcribed much slower than a 5 kb gene – thus affecting temporal expression. Changing the current pattern of temporal expression will most likely have very important consequences for an organisms ability to survive.

  238. #239 Aquaria
    March 4, 2009

    #235.

    Are you really that stupid?

    1) Not everyone on this site works 9-5.

    2) Not everyone on this site lives in America.

    If you’d gotten out more, you’d know that.

  239. #240 Alice
    March 4, 2009

    If Evolution is not valid then how do you explain animal breeding? Especially dogs, who in just a few generations can change their appearance and behavior dramatically. I know a few Fundies who breed dogs for profit (with no guilt because animals don’t have “souls”) and this has never occurred to them.

  240. #241 Tulse
    March 4, 2009

    Perhaps we’d just become theistic scientists – after all this is pretty much exactly what they currently believe.

    The problem is that “theistic science” is, at its base, a contradiction. The “theistic scientists” are only able to hold their views by ruling out by fiat supernatural intervention in their specific areas of study. Once one accepts that supernatural beings can literally change the results of experiments undetectably and at will, one can never trust objective empirical methodology. Methodological naturalism isn’t just a rule of thumb for science, it is the only stance that allows one to do science. If it is false (which it may actually be), then science itself is impossible in the broadest since.

  241. #242 Anonym
    March 4, 2009

    #11 – Tulane is not a “catholic institution”; Loyola (next door) is (Jesuit).

  242. #243 Sven DiMilo
    March 4, 2009

    pz=ii hasn’t said anything very woo-ish. S/He is using the word “rational” in a philosophic sense (which I do not pretend to really understand), as here:

    rationality is a much broader term than logic, as it includes “uncertain but sensible” arguments based on probability, expectation, personal experience and the like, whereas logic deals principally with provable facts and demonstrably valid relations between them.

    It is certainly true that various flavors of religious people have indeed justified their beliefs “rationally” in this (weird) sense, and I suspect pz=ii is correct that, to a philosopher, a proposition can be both rational and a load of horseshit.
    Knee-jerk reactions to (mis)perceived trolls are not helpful or interesting, and that’s my concerned OPINOIN.

  243. #244 Glen Davidson
    March 4, 2009

    I meant to write something like:

    But more precisely, you implicitly changed the context in which “induction” occurs from the one in which we know how and why people compartmentalize and “rationalize” their religion in spite of their adoption of scientific methods

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

  244. #245 Ichthyic
    March 4, 2009

    They are hoping the average American is going to rally around the threats that make them feel powerful and ignore the fault lines in their logic. They are hoping the average American really is an ignoramus and a fool.

    oops.

    this is too close to the actual case.

    Hence, why I left dumbfuckistan.

    Egnor wasn’t lying when he said his side is gaining support. It’s always quite easy to foment a mob.

  245. #246 Brownian
    March 4, 2009

    If everybody’s so important and smart and “sciencey”…how the fuck do you all have the time to blog all day? Shit, I have to get back to work.

    Think about it, uppity: many of us here are scientists, and many of us are atheists. We all know atheists are evil, and without any evidence to the contrary we can estimate that at least some of the scientists here are also atheists, and thus, evil scientists.

    Ever known an evil scientist to have a demanding day job?

    I suspect that many of the other posters (and all the Molly Award holders for sure) are at this very moment, like me, sitting between a pair of Tesla coils, wearing a double-breasted custom-fitted lab coat, all the while glowering at a LED-lit global map wondering which nation to make an example of.

  246. #247 Ichthyic
    March 4, 2009

    that most intellectuals outside the “new atheist” cult are open to the expansion of evolutionary theory, even if it means considering theistic or deistic scenarios.

    are you fucktards also considering incorporating astrology into astronomy?

  247. #248 nigelTheBold
    March 4, 2009

    pz=ii,

    You appear to be moving the goalposts. Your original post (and the subsequent defence of it) were not based on epistemology, other than the vague mention of science (the only known effective epistemology). Your claims were that PZ and all of us zealots are upset because people wish to include god in evolution, and are using science to do so.

    This is a strawman, and incorrect as well. I can’t speak for PZ, but I get upset when people use bad science to push a political and social agenda. This has nothing to do with a personal belief in god. It has everything to do with corrupting our only known effective epistemology with old, failed epistemologies.

    The fact that science has proven inordinately effective as an epistemology, and the fact that science is rooted very solidly in physicalism, indicates that physicalism is the correct interpretation of the universe. This isn’t an entirely devastating blow to dualism or theism, but it certainly leaves very little room.

    In any case, your original post mentioned scientific evidence that you failed to produce, or even reference. Attempting to divert the discussion by reverting to failed philosophy is hardly a defence of your original claims.

  248. #249 LtStorm
    March 4, 2009

    @233:

    Ohhhhhh, okay, I see what you mean. Yeah, I was thinking of imperialism as meaning ‘colonialism,’ or, well, empire building through direct means, rather than just through the export of our culture (in a cutthroat manner and non-cutthroat manner).

    Though those were accusations pz=ii started leveling at me denying, and as I said, I couldn’t think of any particular examples, and that wasn’t really what I was saying. That was really getting off the whole point of what I said in the first place.

    The original point I was making was that the atomic bomb wasn’t researched and invented for American imperialism, as that wasn’t the government’s agenda at that time. I didn’t make much in the way of allegations towards what the bomb was used for after WWII. Though as I said, with a bit of a misnomer, the bomb detered some colonialism afterwards. But looking at imperialism from the aspect of it being the export of our culture and such, I can see how the standoff between America and the USSR during the Cold War lead to (and sort of necessitated) imperialism from both sides as they tried to use other countries as their pawns.

    So it was more of a misunderstanding (and pz=ii trying to shift the argument).

  249. #250 uppity cracka
    March 4, 2009

    I see your point, Brownian. Since I am in the presence of such great scientific minds I will capitalize properly and maybe even punctuate sometimes. I am no scientist. I am one of those stuck up art snobs who writes songs and tries really hard to have cool hair. How-fucking-ever, I was raised by a preacher man, so I am interested in this whole “is there a god?” question. The more I read, the more I agree with you “sciencey” bastards. If you need music or hair advice anytime, I can help.

  250. #251 AJ Milne
    March 4, 2009

    It strikes me as unreasonable to suggest that that person is nevertheless acting “inherently irrationally” in believing that p.

    Summarizing: a large number of people believe p, thus you take this as evidence that there’s a rational argument by which they are arriving at it, and, that in fact, they may be arriving at it by this method. In short, you are arguing for a minor variation on argumentum ad populum–and certainly, sure, it’s a variant insofar as: the classic fallacy is to assume something is true on the basis that many believe it; yours is rather to assume they are arriving at it rationally; I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to note that your leap probably has no more support–empirical or otherwise–than the classic one–or more precisely: if argumentum ad populum is a fallacy, your intuition here is unlikely to offer much support for your argument.

    More practically, specifically to the particular beliefs we are discussing, note that religious beliefs in particular have complex cultural and institutional supports with deep historical roots. Given this, there are any number of plausible psychological explanations as to the reasons persons who otherwise demonstrate broad capabity for critiquing, recognizing, and forming rational arguments will not do so in domains they have been conditioned to recognize as ‘spiritual’ or ‘religious’. So, beyond its general weakness, your intuition is especially weak arguing from this particular evidence.

    And just as critically: note that many, many, many critiques of the logical flaws made in arguing for religious belief by the same persons you are positing as evidence for your intuition are regularly offered–some of them on this very site. You are therefore arguing: notwithstanding that the very arguments that are regularly offered as evidence for religious belief are easily demonstrated to be irrational, the fact that a large number of persons hold the belief is still ‘strong’ (your qualifier) evidence a rational argument exists, and they are arriving it by this argument.

    Which leads us to a curious corrollary to your claim: the rational argument exists, but for some reason, the persons using it aren’t making it here…

    (And this, of course, has been noted previously. Repeatedly.)

  251. #252 Tom
    March 4, 2009

    And wasn’t the invasion of Grenada because of a coup d’etat that held thousands of Americans hostage and plunged the island into martial law?

    Actually it was a couple of dozen medical students who were never in any danger.

    But that describes very well what imperialism is. When governments that the US does not like get power, even if they get power through the ballot box, then the US steps in to either invade or support a military coup. We did it in Iran to get the Shah into power. We did it in Chile. We tried to do it in Cuba. We tried it in Vietnam. We tried it in Angola. Imperialism does not mean conquering territory. It means insuring that only friendly governments are around no matter what you have to do to make that happen.

    I have no idea what that has to do with the A-bomb as it was the CIA and the military that we have used for our imperialism. I don’t recall us once dropping an A-bomb on anyone to get control of their country. The A-bomb was actually a lousy weapon to spread US control abroad because we really couldn’t use it anywhere and threatening to use it would just drive the victim of the threat into the hands of the USSR.

  252. #253 Silver Fox
    March 4, 2009

    To find an historical parallel to the current trend in naturalistic monism one would have to go back, possibly to Thales and his water theory. Essentially, we have abandoned that great spiritual dualism traditions of Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, Aquinas, etc. Now, we have come full circle back to Thales and Democritus. What a sad state of affairs. It just about makes one a believer in infinite regression. At this point progress would be to advance to another Berkeley or Hume.

    The great materialistic, naturalistic horde marches on in what has to be the greatest example of “dumbing down” in the history of mankind

  253. #254 Ichthyic
    March 4, 2009

    @124:

    Why do xian idiots always resort to projection?

    pyschological. defense. mechanism.

    often employed with another one:

    denial

    I’ll let you figure out what massive psychological malady must be underlying such ubiquitous employment of psychological defense mechanisms.

    I’m going with it being due to high levels of cognitive dissonance myself.

  254. #255 Tom
    March 4, 2009

    To say that because a lot of people believe something that it must be rational is silly to say the least. A glance through history will show plenty of things that most people believed that turned out to have no basis in rational thought.

  255. #256 Sigmund
    March 4, 2009

    Tulse said
    “The “theistic scientists” are only able to hold their views by ruling out by fiat supernatural intervention in their specific areas of study. Once one accepts that supernatural beings can literally change the results of experiments undetectably and at will, one can never trust objective empirical methodology.”
    Are you sure?
    I’ve always presumed Kenneth Millers area of research, the properties of biological membranes, was chosen so that he could gather the evidence to explain how the trillions of cells in Jesus body that had undergone apoptosis, autophagy and necrosis with the subsequent breakdown of mitochondrial, nuclear and plasma membranes and fragmentation of their genomic DNA, were able to be instantly repaired at the moment of resurrection.

  256. #257 Glen Davidson
    March 4, 2009

    Knee-jerk reactions to (mis)perceived trolls are not helpful or interesting, and that’s my concerned OPINOIN.

    Why you’re defending a complete horse’s ass, who came in with a host of unsupported ad hominem attacks and dismissals of the many sound and rational statements often made on this forum (along with many that are not), I have no idea. Let me refresh your memory:

    What pz and the crazed, pseudo-skeptical fanatics that blindly follow him don’t realize is that most intellectuals outside the “new atheist” cult are open to the expansion of evolutionary theory, even if it means considering theistic or deistic scenarios. PZ hates this. He hates the fact that people are willing to use the rigors of science to find newer, more complete explanations. In Orwellian fashion, PZ labels anything that doesn’t fit with his version of strict Darwinism “creationist nonsense”.

    From post #76.

    He’s been less of an asshole in later posts, but has never supported his initial hateful lies.

    And he’s got plenty of woo going, notably his claims of “rigors of science” being used for “newer…explanations” which include “theistic and deistic scenarios,” or at least could do so. When called to back it up, he made ridiculous appeals to authority, while having the gall to accuse others of ignorance of epistemology.

    Anyone who cares about truth would know that PZ, and, by implication, the rest of us, does not adhere to “strict Darwinism.” That’s a childish and dishonest accusation, the kind expected of a troll.

    Instead of giving us your unsupported “OPINION,” Sven, either deal with the trollish behavior of Irrational Idiot and make an honest case, or quit bothering the people who have actually dealt with his lies, unsupported ad hominem attacks, and generally churlish and vile behavior.

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

  257. #258 Ichthyic
    March 4, 2009

    It just about makes one a believer in infinite regression.

    one would almost have to be a believer, to post like you do, moron; since all of your posts rather resemble just that: an infinite regression.

    The great materialistic, naturalistic horde marches on in what has to be the greatest example of “dumbing down” in the history of mankind

    a perfect example of projection there, SF.

  258. #259 Watchman
    March 4, 2009

    An imperialist government . . . is one which seeks to impose its interests and oversight upon other nations through economic, political, or military means.

    This is the essence of Neoconservatism.

  259. #260 AJ Milne
    March 4, 2009

    Note also, lest you claim I’m putting words in your mouth unjustly: that while I haven’t observed you quite going so far as to claim directly you believe the rational argument exists, given that you do claim you think the popularity of the belief is a good reason we shouldn’t assume the idea is irrational, this strikes me as a reasonable induction about the thrust of your induction. If you’ve got another way of getting there, however, do let us know. Wouldn’t want to be unfair, here.

  260. #261 aratina
    March 4, 2009

    Shorter Mike Egnor:

    WHARRGARRBL!

    Dammit Matt! I almost choked to death on a chocolate chip cookie reading that one. xD

    How could anyone who actually listens to Egnor actually trust him with their brain? Like I said before, I think his sympathies for brain dead people and his antipathy towards soulless atheists suggests a guilty conscience. In other words, projection.

  261. #262 Pteryxx
    March 4, 2009

    To pz=ii in #224:

    Suppose someone, after careful consideration of the arguments both for and against a proposition, p, and after evaluating all the available evidence for and against p, comes to believe that p. It strikes me as unreasonable to suggest that that person is nevertheless acting “inherently irrationally” in believing that p. And those who make such suggestions, in my view, are getting lost on the propositional content of p itself rather than focusing on the means by which the person came to believe p — it’s the latter that should inform our evaluation of whether p is rational.

    If humans had perfectly unbiased minds, an instinct for truth, and both access to and comprehension of *all* the available evidence for any proposition, then your view would be accurate. But we know that humans can easily forget their own experiences, form false memories when cued or even when cuing themselves, misperceive the evidence of their senses, weight evidence inaccurately according to internal and external factors, and rationalize their beliefs to themselves. It would be quite reasonable for any human to believe that the earth is flat and the sun moves across the sky, simply due to the constant and concrete evidence of their senses. All they have to prove otherwise are some diagrams in textbooks, photographs, and the word of scientists.

    The great value of science, and specifically of empirical, testable, repeatable evidence, is that it prevents humans from lying to themselves about reality, however much we may wish to. It doesn’t matter that there was no rational explanation for the double-slit experiment that demonstrated the wave-particle dual nature of photons. Reality is what it is and it’s the responsibility of scientists to come up with an explanation that advances our grasp of it.

    A belief that persists in the absence of supporting evidence, and in spite of the presence of contradictory evidence, is irrational. There has not yet been any evidence for the presence of a deity that cannot be explained entirely by one or more of the flaws inherent in human reasoning. Until there is, then yes, it’s convenient to use the shortcut that “belief in god = inherently irrational”.

    But again, as has been said many times before. If anyone were able to provide such evidence, and that evidence stood up in spite of every test, every probing for weakness, every attempt at replication or falsifying that science can throw at it… then the scientific community would believe it. That’s what science is, because reality can never be disproved.

  262. #263 Wowbagger
    March 4, 2009

    Silver ‘By my own logic, Christianity is invalid because I can’t disprove the gods of other religions’ Fox wrote:

    The great materialistic, naturalistic horde marches on in what has to be the greatest example of “dumbing down” in the history of mankind

    If there were such a ‘dumbing down’ you should be celebrating, Silver Fox – nothing increases the likelihood of Christianity more effectively than ignorance and diminished critical thinking skills.

    My evidence for this? Go look in a mirror.

    By the way, how are those disproofs of all the other gods going? I’ve been keeping an eye out; I don’t believe I’ve seen any yet. Would you like me to pick one at random for you to disprove?

  263. #264 Richard
    March 4, 2009

    pz=ii:
    I am aware that most here don’t think theism or deism have a shred of evidence in their favor. That’s fine. Theists and deists would say that there’s no evidence in favor of naturalism (construed as the existentially positive claim that reality is exhausted by natural objects).

    If someone says “There is no evidence that purple striped unicorns exist in the world”, do you really believe that “Yeah, but there’s no evidence that they *don’t* exist either” means that both positions are equally likely & valid? Really?

    -Richard

  264. #265 Ichthyic
    March 4, 2009

    If you need music or hair advice anytime, I can help.

    Actually, I do have a real question:

    If one has fine hair, is it a good idea to change hair styles once in a while (maybe mousse it up or something), or is it perfectly acceptable to basically have a bowl cut forever?

    I mean pragmatically, I can keep it fairly short and never have to do a thing to it. If that’s considered acceptable, then I’ll probably just leave it at that.

    otherwise, any suggestions are welcome.

    also, I spend a lot of time in salt water, and it does cause some considerable damage. conditioner doesn’t seem to do much to protect it. Any advice there?

    as to the whole deity issue, here’s my suggestion:

    -you’ve never, ever actually needed one; nor has anyone else that has ever existed. Imaginary friends are fun, but hardly necessary, and they have this tendency to not actually be able to contribute anything to save your ass in case of trouble. Best to put the security blankets and imaginary friends away once one becomes an adult.

    -love comes from you, not from an external source.

    done.

  265. #266 Sven DiMilo
    March 4, 2009

    Aw, jeez, Glen D. I wasn’t referring to you!
    I agree that first post (#76) was pretty bad. I also think that several responders went off half-cocked. Why am I “defending” pz=ii? Just feeling iconoclastic, I guess. Please, carry on with the fisking and flaying without me.

  266. #267 mothra
    March 4, 2009

    @ PZ=ii “Whether the US’s involvement in WWII was part of a larger expansionist project is debatable; I personally think there’s good evidence to suggest it was. In any case, this was just one example of scientists acting ostensibly immorally — were we to infer from this that science.”

    You perhaps NEED to sit down and watch Episode 11, Knowledge or Certainty, of Jacob Bronowski’s series ‘The Ascent of Man.’ I find your lack of understanding disturbing.

  267. #268 GAtheist
    March 4, 2009

    Hey, at least ’3rd rate’ science is still science. Better than the crap ID proposes.

  268. #269 Sven DiMilo
    March 4, 2009

    p.s. “that is my OPINOIN” is merely my tried and true Kenny parody. I guess it doesn’t play as well as it used to.

  269. #270 Ichthyic
    March 4, 2009

    How could anyone who actually listens to Egnor actually trust him with their brain?

    ever read “Rapture Ready”?

    He’s the brain surgeon for them, that’s for sure.

    Hell, they probably think he was sent by Jeebus himself.

  270. #271 Wowbagger
    March 4, 2009

    Hey, at least ’3rd rate’ science is still science. Better than the crap ID proposes.

    Indeed. ID barely qualifies as 3rd rate non-science.

  271. #272 Ichthyic
    March 4, 2009

    I guess it doesn’t play as well as it used to.

    I think everyone is trying to forget Kenny, I don’t think it’s a poke at you that nobody responded correctly to it.

  272. #273 Glen Davidson
    March 4, 2009

    Theists and deists would say that there’s no evidence in favor of naturalism (construed as the existentially positive claim that reality is exhausted by natural objects).

    Actually, many theists do say there’s a huge amount of evidence in favor of “naturalism”. That’s not a term I like, btw, as it seems to have been invented largely to “make room” for a “supernatural” which is lacking in evidence (plus I can imagine “supernatural” effects that could be studied by science, at least under many definitions of “supernatural”). Nonetheless, it is a term often used, and many theists claim that naturalism does and must rule in science.

    This is a major claim being made at a Vatican conference at the present time:

    However, Auletta said, this has nothing to do with the claims of intelligent design, which accepts that life has evolved over the eons but that because it is so complex its development has been guided by a supreme being or intelligent agent, which some identify as God.

    Intelligent design “is not a scientific theory even if it tries to pass itself off as one,” he said.

    He said Catholic theologians understand the distinction between God, who is the first cause of the universe, and his autonomous creatures and creation.

    “The way he works, God does not suppress second causes,” that is, the laws of nature and the universe, he said.

    http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0900998.htm

    In terms of “naturalism,” he’s saying that god doesn’t interfere with “natural causes.”

    Now, however that fits in with religion is not of any great concern to me. What is important is that “naturalism” is something that in fact many theists consider to be highly supported by the overall evidence.

    Once again you show yourself to be an ignorant tard, Irrelevant Idiot.

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

  273. #274 Alex
    March 4, 2009

    Ah yeah….Kenny. Poor fella.

  274. #275 Ichthyic
    March 4, 2009

    I suspect that many of the other posters (and all the Molly Award holders for sure) are at this very moment, like me, sitting between a pair of Tesla coils, wearing a double-breasted custom-fitted lab coat, all the while glowering at a LED-lit global map wondering which nation to make an example of.

    actually, I haven’t gotten that far yet.

    I’m still working on creating my army of mutant fish. That reminds me… would you happen to have some spare mutagen for a fellow mad scientist? I gotta play catchup this week.

    thnks.

  275. #276 Glen Davidson
    March 4, 2009

    I guess it doesn’t play as well as it used to.

    Oh, yeah, I guess not.

    I never did tangle much with Kenny, fwiw, and tended to skip over his posts.

    That’s something, at least, we’ve managed to forget Kenny reasonably well.

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

  276. #277 Kel
    March 4, 2009

    You perhaps NEED to sit down and watch Episode 11, Knowledge or Certainty, of Jacob Bronowski’s series ‘The Ascent of Man.’

    Possibly the most profound piece of television ever! Carl Sagan at the computer-generated library of Alexandria comes close.

    Right, ergo he believes “that God played an important role in creating human beings”, since he argues for what is essentially the Anthropic Principle, and on theological grounds.

    I would contend there is a distinction between Miller’s view and the views of those who think God guided evolution. As far as I can tell, Miller doesn’t have God intervening at any stage in the process and that is quite different from those who assert that God played a role (presumably causing mutations) in guiding natural forces to shape humanity. And for that, Miller does not satisfy the “creationist” label in my opinion.

  277. #278 raven
    March 4, 2009

    Egnor’s rant sounds like someone going off the deep end. In all due seriousness, for an MD to sound like that is an indication that a neurological workup is in order.

    I’ve seen academics crack up bad enough to take a year leave of absence before (not that they fully recovered but they reached a new equilibrium). They weren’t as crazed as he is.

    It is also hard to believe he isn’t in trouble with his department at Stoneybrook. The majority of MDs who aren’t living fossils or mentally straitjacketed by growing up in the DFN know he is a babbling idiot by now.

    I wouldn’t refer even a patient like Behe or Skell to this guy for neurosurgery.

  278. #279 E.V.
    March 4, 2009

    Ichthyic:
    They found some yellowcake uranium on the shelf in a Houston pawn shop a few years back, (I know a guy who knows a guy) would that help?

  279. #280 Patricia, OM
    March 4, 2009

    Ichthyic – Kenny was a superior troll to these twerps we have now. I think PZ’s buying them at the Dollar store again.

  280. #281 mothra
    March 4, 2009

    @Ichthyic 275. Too late, I have already released hoards of blood-sucking moths throughout SE Asia. :)

  281. #282 Ryk
    March 4, 2009

    Uppity Cracka: vomited out
    “If everybody’s so important and smart and “sciencey”…how the fuck do you all have the time to blog all day? Shit, I have to get back to work.”

    Independently wealthy! Nah just kidding, I have work to do but I can do it sitting at my computer telling other people to go make money for me. All of that “sciencey” brain stuff you mention comes in real handy sometimes.

  282. #283 Ichthyic
    March 4, 2009

    btw, for those confused (and it should have one less “R” in it):

    http://fark.wikia.com/wiki/Wharrgarbl

  283. #284 JFK, hypercharismatic telepathical knight
    March 4, 2009

    Essentially, we have abandoned that great spiritual dualism traditions of Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, Aquinas, etc.

    Be specific. What was so great about them?

  284. #285 bob
    March 4, 2009

    Madison!!! Woot! Best complement a city can receive, sez me.

  285. #286 LtStorm
    March 4, 2009

    If everybody’s so important and smart and “sciencey”…how the fuck do you all have the time to blog all day? Shit, I have to get back to work.

    Walking inbetween my office computer and the UV-Vis spectrophotometer I’m working with today, as it takes about a minute per scan.

  286. #287 Ichthyic
    March 4, 2009

    They found some yellowcake uranium on the shelf in a Houston pawn shop a few years back, (I know a guy who knows a guy) would that help?

    thanks, but no. Raw uranium simply takes too long, and is too uncontrolled. It would set me back months!

    Kenny was a superior troll to these twerps we have now. I think PZ’s buying them at the Dollar store again.

    Frankly I don’t think it’s PZ’s doing; there seems to be a rash of really braindead trolls crashing all the sciblogs over the last week. Saw the same thing over at Panda’s Thumb, Evolutionblog, and several others recently. I wonder if they are experiencing Obamaphobia, and this is just their way of expressing angst?

    Too late, I have already released hoards of blood-sucking moths throughout SE Asia.

    meh, no worries. I was more interested in the Americas anyway. I intend to stop this bugfucknuttery (re: Egnor) once and for all!

    Set fish on kill! (sounds of wet flapping noises, then silence)

    *damn* still not ready yet.

  287. #288 Brownian
    March 4, 2009

    That reminds me… would you happen to have some spare mutagen for a fellow mad scientist?

    Of course! For only if we band together can we ever hope to defeat those sniveling do-gooders the Don’t Panic! Twins, their idiotic sidekick Kelp of Power, the repulsively noble Sir Tofu, that robot with a bleeding heart AlGoreTron, that sentient embodiment of pop culture The Collective Conscious 2.0, and the rest of that nauseating Ultimo Team Yay Force.

    [Whispers] Then, once I’ve used you to clear the path to world domination, I shall betray you, my fishy fiend, and rule the universe myself! Bwah-hah-hah-hah-hah-hah–

    Damn. I guess you all read that. Do you see now why I keep circulating memos about the dangers of the internet? Honestly, what was wrong with old-fashioned thought-control devices? “Too expensive,” you all said. “We’ll just use AOL,” you all said. “We’ll coordinate our plans via IM,” you all said, [grumble]….

  288. #289 Dan
    March 4, 2009

    @228 You are just nit-picking by trying to separate between ‘bulk’ and ‘non-bulk’ purposes. It is either useless, and junk, or it serves some function, and it’s not junk. When all is said and done and we’ve unlocked all the mysteries of DNA regulation some of it will probably still be junk, but most likely less than is considered junk now.

    And I’m not sure why you dismiss siRNA as one of the most recent examples of where DNA we once thought was junk is no longer considered so. If you really think this is the end of the story, and that we’ve discovered all there is to discover about our genome than you are being rather naive.

  289. #290 Oliver
    March 4, 2009

    @pz = ii

    Fuck me you’re a dull little contrarian aren’t you?

    Suppose someone, after careful consideration of the arguments both for and against a proposition, p, and after evaluating all the available evidence for and against p, comes to believe that p. It strikes me as unreasonable to suggest that that person is nevertheless acting “inherently irrationally” in believing that p.

    Ever heard of Richard “After Examining All The Evidence” Williamson?? If you have you’re a cretin for holding that position. If you haven’t you’re an ignorant cretin for holding that position.

  290. #291 Don
    March 4, 2009

    How about we let them keep their Jesus, and we just hang on to our antibiotics and vaccines?

  291. #292 raven
    March 4, 2009

    What pz and the crazed, pseudo-skeptical fanatics that blindly follow him don’t realize is that most intellectuals outside the “new atheist” cult are open to the expansion of evolutionary theory, even if it means considering theistic or deistic scenarios.

    Just another kook lying. Got any names here. The acceptance of evolution among biologists runs around 99% in the USA. It is higher in Europe (source, talkorigins). The few who don’t like Behe freely admit that they don’t purely on religious grounds.

    What ID, the religous version lacks is what science demands lots of. Facts, proof, data and so on. In over 2,000 years, it hasn’t come up with any.

  292. #293 Alex
    March 4, 2009

    …and we just hang on to our antibiotics and vaccines

    …and clean water, sterile food, refrigeration, sewage treatment, internal combustion engines, electricity, synthetic fabrics, toothpaste, radio, tv, computers…

  293. #294 Patricia, OM
    March 4, 2009

    Don – Bad idea. They won’t keep their jezus to themselves. I got blessed twice today delivering eggs. The stoopid never stops.

  294. #295 raven
    March 4, 2009

    Egnor’s threat is a simple and old one. Mobs of crazed, ignorant religious cultists can take over society and destroy it. Well he is right.

    The current victims include Iran, Afghanistan, and Somalia, hells on earth where people are poor and life is short.

    The US Taliban had a lot of influence in the last Bushco regine. They destroyed the US economy which spread to the world economy. People are hurting now and the end isn’t in sight. They aren’t real happy either with 12 trillion USD in aggregate household wealthy destroyed in a short time.

    So OK, the Xian Death Cult Nihilists can potentially destroy our civilization and head on back to the Dark Ages, something they say frequently. Why is this a good thing?

    Something tells me much of the population doesn’t want to sit on a pile of rubble, skinning a rat for dinner, and chanting, “Jesus loves you.” Oh yeah, it was a Gallup poll showing that the majority of the US public, mostly other xians, are sick and tired of the wingnut Liars and Killers for Jesus crowd.

  295. #296 'Tis Himself
    March 4, 2009

    “creationists” (80% of Americans)

    39.16% of all statistics are made up.

  296. #297 Glen Davidson
    March 4, 2009

    @228 You are just nit-picking by trying to separate between ‘bulk’ and ‘non-bulk’ purposes. It is either useless, and junk, or it serves some function, and it’s not junk. When all is said and done and we’ve unlocked all the mysteries of DNA regulation some of it will probably still be junk, but most likely less than is considered junk now.

    That’s how “junk DNA” is typically conceived. Changing the defintion to fit your stupidity only adds dishonesty to your previous failures.

    And I’m not sure why you dismiss siRNA as one of the most recent examples of where DNA we once thought was junk is no longer considered so.

    And I’m not sure why you’re accusing me of dismissing siRNA as being previously considered to be “junk.” I mean, other than that you’re a dishonest tard. Learn to read, learn science, learn biology, and quit spouting the bullshit that you read on creationist sites.

    If you really think this is the end of the story, and that we’ve discovered all there is to discover about our genome than you are being rather naive.

    Just a strawman attack again, compounding your continual drumbeat of stupidity and dishonesty. Well, you’re obviously too moronic and/or ignorant for me to waste much more, if any more, time on.

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

  297. #298 Tulse
    March 4, 2009

    I would contend there is a distinction between Miller’s view and the views of those who think God guided evolution. As far as I can tell, Miller doesn’t have God intervening at any stage in the process

    Except by setting up the universe’s constraints, of course. In this sense, he’s only different from the standard creationists in terms of the timing of the intervention.

  298. #299 Insightful Ape
    March 4, 2009

    To the stupid troll in love with president-for-life Chavez of Venezuela and in attack mode against straw men of “naturalism” and “materialism”: you better cough up some solid evidence for your a-Flying-Spaghetti-Monsterism, or be prepared to be devoured coming judgment day(any time now).
    To my fellow pharyngulites: use of logic against such creationists is a waste of time. Calling them out for what they are works better, in my humble opinion.

  299. #300 Brownian
    March 4, 2009

    To my fellow pharyngulites: use of logic against such creationists is a waste of time. Calling them out for what they are works better, in my humble opinion.

    I’ve been [munch] proposing that an even better recourse is to [urp!] eat them, but no one seems to [crunch] want to (heh) bite. Oh well, [slurp] more for me.

    As for ol’ Kenny, it looks like I found him to be fulfilling after all.

  300. #301 Kel
    March 4, 2009

    Except by setting up the universe’s constraints, of course. In this sense, he’s only different from the standard creationists in terms of the timing of the intervention.

    Perhaps, though I would contend that using the word “creationist” for such a position is inaccurate when the term is being used in the context of biology. It almost seems like we are playing the creationist game by allowing creationism to encompass anything to do with the supernatural, making the battle one between God and materialism. Rather in the context of biology, I would not in any way classify Miller’s view that of a creationist and not even a theistic evolutionist. And that’s where my contention lies with calling Miller one.

  301. #302 Confused
    March 4, 2009

    @289: And you’re being deliberately obtuse in your literal interpretation of the word “junk”. I think it’s fair to say that a stretch of DNA which has ultrastructural functions, but which codes nothing of consequence is “junk” (although “filler” might be a better term).

    Given we still only have rough estimates of how many genes we have in our genome, estimates of how much of the genome is junk is necessarily vague. But we are very sure that some of it, probably large tracts, are meaningless in terms of their sequence.

  302. #303 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 4, 2009

    I’m still working on creating my army of mutant fish.

    Jebus, Ichthyic and his fish, PZ and the cephalopods, and SC and her killer whales. The seas will run red, or we will take over the world.

  303. #304 Ichthyic
    March 4, 2009

    To my fellow pharyngulites: use of logic against such creationists is a waste of time. Calling them out for what they are works better, in my humble opinion.

    I see an opening…

    “Ridicule is the only weapon that can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them.”

    -Thomas Jefferson

    I’m having fun seeing that quote being applicable in any given thread, on a near daily basis. There appears to be a neverending supply of creationists suffering “Galileo syndrome”.

  304. #305 Elwood Herring
    March 4, 2009

    Uppity Cracka: My excuse is that I have acute SIWOTI syndrome.

  305. #306 Ichthyic
    March 4, 2009

    The seas will run red, or we will take over the world.

    wait? we can’t have both?

    oh well, thanks for the wellwishes anyway.

    May you and yours be eaten first.

  306. #307 Qwerty
    March 4, 2009

    Wow, Kenny has come up again in a thread. I remember my initial posts before I knew about the Dungeon. I posted as “Kenny P” (my first name and middle initial). I couldn’t understand all the comments my innocent post received from “Patricia and the Troll Patrol” (my nickname). I did like her comment in this string about PZ getting his newest trolls from the dollar store.

  307. #308 Ichthyic
    March 4, 2009

    making the battle one between God fiction and materialism reality.

    there, fixed.

  308. #309 dogmeatib
    March 4, 2009

    Tucson

    This will likely be lost in a rather quickly growing thread, but don’t set your hopes too high on Tucson. While there are enclaves of science minded people here, those of us in the midwest who were told it was the “Madison of the west” were woefully misinformed. I instantly run into conflict with students over evolution, the Dover trial, etc., whenever we discuss any issue related to Darwin, biology, science, the age of the world or universe, etc. There is a very large conservative and creationist population here. They are very vocal, I’ve known of teachers who had their jobs threatened because they taught “evil-ution,” I’ve had students pulled out of my class because I was “biased” and probably an “atheist.” Just this week I had students arguing that because the courts ruled that coaches can’t participate in a prayer it was advocating atheism because if they weren’t praying, they might be atheist!

  309. #310 Ichthyic
    March 4, 2009

    Then, once I’ve used you to clear the path to world domination, I shall betray you, my fishy fiend, and rule the universe myself! Bwah-hah-hah-hah-hah-hah–

    *askance*

    I’m going to ignore that.

    …for now.

  310. #311 Kel
    March 4, 2009

    making the battle one between God fiction and materialism reality.

    there, fixed.

    Kiitos, but unfortunately for us while most people exist in reality they are convinced they are not.

  311. #312 George
    March 4, 2009

    As god (god of the gaps) is receding into greater and greater irrelevance, the situation is very hard on those still clinging to belief in god.

    The only refuge is to hold even harder to today’s meager gaps.

    When disease was mysterious, the flat earth was the center of the universe, gods rambled across the day and night skies, the various gods had a large role in daily life. As human understanding of the natural world as increased many of these once essential gods have gone by the wayside.

    This process continues and it is a very unsettling process for many.

  312. #313 aratina
    March 4, 2009

    ever read “Rapture Ready”?

    He’s the brain surgeon for them, that’s for sure.

    Hell, they probably think he was sent by Jeebus himself. – Ichthyic

    Heh, funny. No, I haven’t read it, but I can already see him “preparing” the brains of True Believers for the arrival of Jeebus just as fast as his nimble fingers will let him. “They are comatose with rapture,” he would say, “Their souls are in good hands.”

  313. #314 AnthonyK
    March 4, 2009

    I got blessed twice today delivering eggs

    Twins? Congratulations!

  314. #315 Patricia, OM
    March 4, 2009

    Qwerty – My wise crack about PZ buying trolls at the Dollar Store was meant to imply he was being cheap with our entertainment, rather than buying proper trolls from the Troll Market. (Hell Boy, II)

    Looks like our new Kenny is Fascilis, he goes on and on and never learns anything or says anything new. Piltdown Man is only here because he has the hots for Knockgoats. ;)

  315. #316 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 4, 2009

    May you and yours be eaten first.

    Better make some freshwater mutants then.
    Also, if you could develop something to eat zebra mussels the Great Lakes would love you.

  316. #317 Ichthyic
    March 4, 2009

    because if they weren’t praying, they might be atheist!

    *sigh*

    It appears that the bulk of the US has forgotten what the word “logic” means… or else it was always thus and it’s just becoming more and more obvious with the increased communication via the intartubes.

    I’m leaning more towards the latter, given the history of education in the US. They really did commonly teach sunday school lessons in public classrooms around the turn of the century, after all. Evan my dad used to tell me stories about it when he was a kid in the 30′s.

    The US has always been a cesspool of ignorance, just like everywhere else IMO, frankly, it’s just that with a large army, a giant economy, and ever-growing numbers, it becomes more and more perilous over time.

    The reason I moved to NZ is not that there aren’t idiotic creationists here (there are – and I fully intend on having fun making their lives a living hell), but that there are, in absolute numbers, not enough of them to totally fubar this little green corner of the world.

    Moreover, Kiwis tend to have this lackadaisical attitude towards things (both good and bad), which tends to make them overall less interested in the ramblings of insane creobots.

  317. #318 AnthonyK
    March 4, 2009

    Or did you mean….? Oh, sorry.

  318. #319 Patricia, OM
    March 4, 2009

    AnthonyK – Have you been called a wise ass yet today?

  319. #320 Zarquon
    March 4, 2009

    OMG you forgot Kenny! You BASTARDS!

  320. #321 gburnett
    March 4, 2009

    This letter reminds me of the old joke:

    What do you call the medical student that graduates last in his class?

    Doctor.
    :-)

  321. #322 Ichthyic
    March 4, 2009

    while most people exist in reality they are convinced they are not.

    ah yes, how DOES one go about logically convincing a schizophrenic they need help?

  322. #323 Eve
    March 4, 2009

    delurk

    I second Wowbagger in reminding Silver Fox that some of us have not at all forgotten that he still owes us his disproving of all the gods on that list Wow gave him.

    They-are-all-just-names-for-God-Who-is-One doesn’t cut it, as it doesn’t address the individual characteristics and nature of each deity that directly contradict the characteristics and nature of his Yahweh as he conceives of Him.

    If he finds Wow’s list overwhelming, may I suggest that he visit this site, run by Yehecatl Quipoloa, reconstructionist Aztec priest of Tezcatlipoca the Smoking Mirror? The priest describes his god in great detail, down to his hunger for blood and human sacrifice, as well as his belief in pantheism, and SF’s Yahweh-as-the-One just doesn’t synch up with this.

    However, since SF seems to think that his proof for his god is so overwhelming that it can’t be argued against, surely convincing a modern-day Aztec pantheist that his Tezcatlipoca is actually SF’s god under another name would be a piece of cake.

    Unless, as Wow has pointed out, SF has realized what a trap he set for himself with his initial contention that springboarded Wow’s challenge, and is desperately hoping everyone will just let him slide…

    /lurk

  323. #324 AnthonyK
    March 4, 2009

    dogmeatib – interesting. Because I live in Britland, the religious stupid is rarely a problem (so I admit I’m sharing your pain vicariously). But how do you cope? Do you teach, like, science? How do you maintain your good humour? Is there any sign, however small, that the cracks are appearing? Are you making a difference? Are you trying?
    Sorry about all the questions, but I come here to learn (and laugh).

  324. #325 Ichthyic
    March 4, 2009

    for those with some brain cells to kill:

    http://rr-bb.com/showthread.php?t=82436&page=3

    look at post #49.

    teh stupid! It burns!

  325. #326 Patricia, OM
    March 4, 2009

    Patricia and the Troll Patrol, haw! If I ever put together a band of maenads that would be a perfect name. Thanks!

  326. #327 raven
    March 4, 2009

    If everybody’s so important and smart and “sciencey”…how the fuck do you all have the time to blog all day? Shit, I have to get back to work.

    This is stupid. Everyone knows mad scientists only work at night. So do the Igors. The spare parts departments for our monsters are also only open at night. Come on, have you ever seen a cemetary parts department open during the day?

  327. #328 AnthonyK
    March 4, 2009

    maenads

    I gernerally just ignore them. Not really my thing.

  328. #329 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 4, 2009

    Patricia and the Troll Patrol

    That’s good. I’ll toss out Patricia and the Clucks for consideration.

  329. #330 BlueIndependent
    March 4, 2009

    “…When all is said and done and we’ve unlocked all the mysteries of DNA regulation some of it will probably still be junk, but most likely less than is considered junk now…”

    But you do admit that some would still be considered junk, in which case the concept of junk DNA isn’t incorrect at all. Which is exactly what science ad scientists have been saying, counter to the creationists’ assertions that scientists have always said extra DNA was always and forever junk. Science has made no such assertions.

    “…And I’m not sure why you dismiss siRNA as one of the most recent examples of where DNA we once thought was junk is no longer considered so…”

    Where exactly did he do that? And would you even be able to qualify if he was, if he didn’t say exactly that he was, which he wasn’t?

    “…If you really think this is the end of the story, and that we’ve discovered all there is to discover about our genome than you are being rather naive.”

    More assumptions and guesses. When did he say he thought that was the end of the line for DNA? You are making up material to suit your willingness to engage in evasive arguments simply for the sake of feeling like you’re actually contributing anything relevant. You’re not. When will you people ever actually engage on our level and answer the damn questions without playing little games, and then claiming you don’t have time to continue on? If you spent half the time you spend making up things other people didn’t say on making cogent, coherent, incisive, reasoned arguments for your side, you might have actually started a real discussion around here. But you’re not doing that. You’re being a pseudo-intellectual MC Hammer, flashing pants and shoes about, but never adding to anything other than the locals’ repertoire of epithets for stupidity.

  330. #331 raven
    March 4, 2009

    Just this week I had students arguing that because the courts ruled that coaches can’t participate in a prayer it was advocating atheism because if they weren’t praying, they might be atheist!

    So what is wrong with coaches that are atheists?

    Being an atheist is protected by the US constituion, freedom of religion.

    If they are praying, how do you know that they aren’t atheists just faking it. Maybe they are afraid of being burnt at the stake or getting fired by irate American Talibanis.

    Seems like this could be a valuable teaching moment. And if you took advantage of it, you might lose your job too.

  331. #332 Ichthyic
    March 4, 2009

    a pseudo-intellectual MC Hammer

    LOL

    I’d love to see Michael Edmonson do a vid of William Dembski doing the Hammer-time dance.

  332. #333 Elwood Herring
    March 4, 2009

    I’ve already picked the name for my new band: the tumescent necrophiliac milkmen. Thanks PZ!

  333. #334 Patricia, OM
    March 4, 2009

    Oh! So close Nerd. How about Patricia and the Cluckoffs.

    Actually, it’s unfair for me to play chicken speak, we do it all summer at Market. When it gets slow we have plenty of time to buck around…. Don’t let me egg you on.

  334. #335 mothra
    March 4, 2009

    @Ichthyic 325. Reminds me of the introduction to the story ‘Death of a Centaur’ in ‘Prayers to Broken stones.’

    Paraphrasing: A mother and daughter looking at the night sky. “My mother and I looked up and saw some streaks [or something]. My mom said it was the rapture, I wasn’t sure so I said I’d call you [Dan Simmons] that you would know.

    Creos can occasionally be reached by a good teacher.

  335. #336 Farb
    March 4, 2009

    The mighty Egnor(amus) gives yet one more subtle indication that economics at DI aren’t so rosy these days.

    His main theme is money; but why, if he were as faithful as he fantasizes he is, should he worry about money? If he knows anything at all about the religion he flogs, then he knows he is not to worry about money, for such suggests he has no faith in the god he professes.

    Oh.

    So it’s just another incarnation of: “If you need science to prove a god to you, then you never really believed in that god, nor are you ever likely to.”

    Ergo, Egnor is a pathetic hypocrite. Ignore Egnor.

  336. #337 Cowcakes
    March 4, 2009

    I say if they are so confidant that evolution is a load of twaddle then they should stop using ANYTHING that was created due to knowledge based on the fact that evolution is real. then sit back and watch their crops fail after being ravaged by pests and disease. Let them ponder as to why large numbers of them start falling ill and or dying and see increases in avoidable birth defects.

    Fuck these people are so retarded it makes you think that maybe evolution did bypass them and to think that this tool is supposed to be a surgeon. How on earth did such a fucktard graduate from med school.

  337. #338 tomh
    March 4, 2009

    Kel wrote: Rather in the context of biology, I would not in any way classify Miller’s view that of a creationist and not even a theistic evolutionist.

    I don’t understand this view. If someone believes in supernatural creation, why shouldn’t they be described as a creationist? I can understand that politically he would not be a creationist, since the nuance of the word has changed since Darwin first coined it in 1859, (according to the OED), and now it has come to signify someone who fights evolution and promotes religion in science classes, but as a simple description of belief it certainly seems to fit. (As an aside, for anyone interested, Darwin is credited with adding, besides creationist,
    142 new words to the English language.)

  338. #339 @
    March 4, 2009

    If god exists, then how can you explain the fact that he doesn’t?

  339. #340 AnthonyK
    March 4, 2009

    @325 Icythic – thank you for sharing that.
    AAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!
    Ahem.
    Jesus, please, I’m sorry I called you “gay” – it’s not an insult you know – but please take these people now! Please?
    And Icythic – mind your brain, man, you won’t get another.

  340. #341 Dan
    March 4, 2009

    @297 Wow, I think you’ve got it backwards, I haven’t changed my definitions or presented any straw man arguments. You’re the one trying to parse the subtle differences between ‘bulk’ and ‘non-bulk’ functions, and descending into arrogant attacks on your belief of my lack of training in biology, and ridiculous assertion that I am a creationist when I’ve made no such declarations.

    Is it really stupidity or dishonesty to think that we have a lot more to learn about the human genome? Actually the attitude that we have a complete understanding is stupid and intellectually dishonest.

    Rather than stepping back to try to redefine junk DNA into ‘non-bulk’ and completely irrelevant DNA, and start making wild accusations, try admitting that there is possibly a purpose for it. In terms of evolution this would actually make sense. There is no advantage to packing, unpacking, and replicating entirely useless DNA throughout the generations. The very fact that the largest genomic differences between humans and chimps lies in the non-coding DNA seems to suggest a very important role for this ‘junk.’

  341. #342 extatyzoma
    March 4, 2009

    so after ‘IR’ and ‘CSI’ its ‘AF’ and now its this ‘boycott the censors of academic freedom’ thing. This whole thing gets more and more bizzare.

    The DI must have meetings where they basically say ‘how can we undermine evolution without actually providing any evidence against it. They must be constantly banging their heads to come up with the next idiotic idea.

  342. #343 Insightful Ape
    March 4, 2009

    Dan: non-coding is not the same as junk. Regulatory parts of DNA, though non-coding, still have an important function. Junk DNA applies mostly to “pseudogenes”-parts of DNA that we know are coding material because they are analogous to functional coding DNA in other organisms, but are totally corrupted and cannot possibly encode anything. The point is, once a protein ceases to be of use, its regulatory system falls into disuse. There is no mechanism to remove parts of DNA that are no longer functional, but there is no evolutionary pressure to fix the errors either(individuals with “harmful” mutations are no longer weeded out by natural selection) and so it just sticks around, telling tales the Pharyngula trolls don’t want to hear.

  343. #344 Pontus Reed
    March 4, 2009

    I would be interested in finding out how this guy went through all that schooling and training without really understanding the reality evolution by natural selection. Here is yet another instance in which creationists are unable to keep their supernatural beliefs to themselves, but must instead pound it into the developing minds of as many children as they can.

  344. #345 Bert Chadick
    March 4, 2009

    So now popularity should be the determiner of scientific truth? At some time in America’s past a majority of the citizens believed in witches, jewish conspiracies, the disease vectoring nature of swamp gas, the curative powers of radium, and the curative power of water. Ok, that last one was French, but a majority of the villagers in parts of Africa think that potions made out of body parts of human albinos can give one the power to attract great riches. The very existence of Vegas casinos and State lotteries exist prove that a large number of people believe in the concept of luck.

    If we are going to vote on validity of scientific concepts I’d like the idea of cheeseburgers as the central part of a healthy diet. A lot of people are ignorant or just don’t care.

  345. #346 Ichthyic
    March 4, 2009

    Is it really stupidity or dishonesty to think that we have a lot more to learn about the human genome?

    no, it’s stupid on your part to assume what you were doing was a legitimate argument based on the above statement.

    What’s more, it was made abundantly clear to you exactly WHY your argument was a strawman, and yet you continue on, intentionally oblivious.

    we typically call that denial.

  346. #347 Ichthyic
    March 4, 2009

    @325 Icythic – thank you for sharing that.

    It’s one of those things I can only take in very small doses; can only read a few posts per day.

    I liken it to LSD. a very small hit adds color; too much and your brain tends to unravel a bit.

  347. #348 AnthonyK
    March 4, 2009

    Just wondering. Mr Ape – or anyone else – how do they identify non-functional/non-coding DNA? Is this called, technically or popularly, “Junk” DNA? Is it, in any sense, a mystery?

  348. #349 JDP
    March 4, 2009
    Vote for Champaign Urbana.

    Yes, I second that. We’re friendly people here, and sort of an island of reason surrounded by fields of corn and soybeans.

    Sounds like a bad idea to me. 2000 biologists cannot fit into the Blind Pig all at once.

  349. #350 Insightful Ape
    March 4, 2009

    Tony, just read my post again.

  350. #351 Blake Stacey
    March 4, 2009

    There is no advantage to packing, unpacking, and replicating entirely useless DNA throughout the generations.

    But is there a disadvantage? Enough of one that organisms carrying the extra genomic weight have a significantly higher probability of, you know, dying without reproducing?

    The very fact that the largest genomic differences between humans and chimps lies in the non-coding DNA seems to suggest a very important role for this ‘junk.’

    Or that neutral mutations can accumulate because there’s no selective pressure to weed them out.

  351. #352 Jeanette
    March 4, 2009

    Ha-ha. He’s an Egnoranus.

  352. #353 AnthonyK
    March 4, 2009

    Um yeah, I see. But how do you physically identify it. Staining and electrophoresis? Can you look at, say a colour bar chart and say “Junk……junk….coding…..not sure…junk” – just by looking, or does a computer do all that for you? Do you sometimes find interesting snippets in a sea of dross?

  353. #354 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 4, 2009

    I guess none of you noticed the sign:

    Please Do Not Feed The Troll

    We deliberately ignored it instead. Over here, we feed the trolls till they burst. That’s more fun than ignoring them.

    Like this, for example:

    But the fact that these beliefs are held by these people does imply, pretty straightforwardly, that neither theism nor materialism are “inherently irrational”.

    Hey, look, a philosopher making an argument from authority! Isn’t that cute?

    Concerning fine-tuning, behold the Lithic Principle: pretty much the same values of all those constants that are required to make you are required to make a rock — or, interestingly, as many black holes as possible.

    To find an historical parallel to the current trend in naturalistic monism one would have to go back, possibly to Thales and his water theory. Essentially, we have abandoned that great spiritual dualism traditions of Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, Aquinas, etc. Now, we have come full circle back to Thales and Democritus. What a sad state of affairs.

    Why is that sad?

    Is it sad?

    BTW, C?rv?ka.

    And I’m not sure why you dismiss siRNA as one of the most recent examples of where DNA we once thought was junk is no longer considered so. If you really think this is the end of the story, and that we’ve discovered all there is to discover about our genome than you are being rather naive.

    ERV almost spelled it out for you in comment 53: The genes for siRNA were discovered in DNA with unknown function. However, 53 % of your genome consist of rotting retrovirus corpses in all stages of decay, and most of the rest consists of tandem repeats. What good can possibly come out of that?

    At most about 15 % of the human genome could have a function. That’s a lot more than the about 5 % that are known to have a function — but most of the genome is junk, there’s no way around it.

    ERV mentioned 34,000 defunct retrovirus genes that you carry around in each cell. Your own functional genes number at most 25,000 (and probably closer to 18,500). And IIRC 10 % of the genome consists of our own broken genes (like the gene for that enzyme in the Vitamin C production pathway).

    Oh, wait. One thing. Cell size is correlated to genome size. Smaller cells mean a higher surface-to-volume ratio and thus a faster, more efficient metabolism; and that’s why birds and bats have smaller cells and smaller genomes than other tetrapods. So, junk DNA could be filler material — if you think that this one influence on the speed of our metabolism is that tightly controlled, there you have your function, it just doesn’t depend on the sequence of the junk at all.

  354. #355 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 4, 2009

    50 comments were posted while I read the thread…

    There is no advantage to packing, unpacking, and replicating entirely useless DNA throughout the generations.

    But is there a disadvantage? Enough of one that organisms carrying the extra genomic weight have a significantly higher probability of, you know, dying without reproducing?

    Not really.

    But most importantly, there’s no easy way to get rid of junk! There are no enzymes that recognize it and cut it out. You have to wait for deletions, and deletions usually happen one base pair at a time… we’re talking about billions in our case.

  355. #356 Steven Sullivan
    March 4, 2009

    Sastra @129 wrote
    “The problem for both the pet fluffer and the creationist is the same: those damn picky scientific fundamentalists, and their rules and regulations and control groups and communities of so-called “experts,” who are all failures when it comes to recognizing what ordinary folks can figure out and test for themselves.”

    I’d say a ‘pet fluffer’ has a much more serious problem than THAT:

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

  356. #357 AnthonyK
    March 4, 2009

    Well if you’re so smart – I have one sequence of bases (it’s on chromosome 2, just to help you) which reads CAAGT. So what does that code for, if anything? You don’t know, do you? Ha!
    Put that in your crack-pipe and smoke it Dr M!
    *smug grin of creationist proportions*

  357. #358 tony
    March 4, 2009

    Ichthyic: I looked at the link too — a later comment was even more disturbing

    I’ve grown so weary of this world and all the evil in it. Watching things progress so much more rapidly, since Obama became president, has been astounding!

    my emphasis

    You just know this person does not mean progress in the same way we mean progress.

    Maybe we should just all follow you to NZ, and let the ‘tards have their rapture. We’ll just need to make sure all the folk with technical knowledge (esp. of major armaments) come with us.

  358. #359 Glen Davidson
    March 4, 2009

    I barely skimmed your latest package of tard babbling, Dan. You’re so ready to fling shit that the latter is not worth transcribing it into my brain. And I have little interest in “debating” anything with a fully dishonest fucktard.

    But for the honest and intelligent, I should say that “junk DNA” doesn’t have a hard and fast definition, which is why I chose to define it, albeit in the typical manner. And I decided to find a good hard example of this typical notion of what “junk DNA” is, so I found the abstract for a Nature article. Here’s an example, copied with biographical info:

    Integration of telomere sequences with the draft human genome sequence

    Xiang, Z.; Paul, S.; Morse, E.; Hu, X.-L.; Flint, J.; Chi, H.-C.; Grady, D. L.; Moyzis, R. K.

    Nature, Volume 409, Issue 6822, pp. 948-951 (2001).

    Telomeres are the ends of linear eukaryotic chromosomes. To ensure that no large stretches of uncharacterized DNA remain between the ends of the human working draft sequence and the ends of each chromosome, we would need to connect the sequences of the telomeres to the working draft sequence. But telomeres have an unusual DNA sequence composition and organization that makes them particularly difficult to isolate and analyse.

    Here we use specialized linear yeast artificial chromosome clones, each carrying a large telomere-terminal fragment of human DNA, to integrate most human telomeres with the working draft sequence. Subtelomeric sequence structure appears to vary widely, mainly as a result of large differences in subtelomeric repeat sequence abundance and organization at individual telomeres. Many subtelomeric regions appear to be gene-rich, matching both known and unknown expressed genes. This indicates that human subtelomeric regions are not simply buffers of nonfunctional `junk DNA’ next to the molecular telomere, but are instead functional parts of the expressed genome.

    There is where the “bulk” function of being a buffer did not exclude subtelomeric DNA from being considered “nonfunctional” or “‘junk DNA’” While such actual use of the kind of definition I used, a common one, is not likely to do anything but make an idiot like Dan react and lie some more, it’s an example of how a term like “junk DNA” is commonly understood to mean. Not by lying, stupid, literalistic creationists, of course, but by people who know something.

    This accords with Wikipedia as well:

    In evolutionary biology and molecular biology, junk DNA is a provisional label for the portions of the DNA sequence of a chromosome or a genome for which no function has been identified. The term was introduced in 1972 by Susumu Ohno[1], but is as of 2008 somewhat outdated, being used mainly in popular science and in a colloquial way in scientific publications. For some sequences once classified as junk DNA, functions have been found, and others are subject to ongoing research. About 95% of the human genome has once been designated as “junk”, including most sequences within introns and most intergenic DNA. While much of this sequence may be an evolutionary artifact that serves no present-day purpose, some junk DNA may function in ways that are not currently understood. Moreover, the conservation of some junk DNA over many millions of years of evolution may imply an essential function. Some consider the “junk” label as something of a misnomer, but others consider it appropriate as junk is stored away for possible new uses, rather than thrown out; others prefer the term “noncoding DNA” (although junk DNA often includes transposons that encode proteins with no clear value to their host genome). About 80% of the bases in the human genome may be transcribed,[2] but transcription does not necessarily imply function.

    Pseudogenes – Some chromosomal regions are composed of the now-defunct remains of ancient genes, known as pseudogenes, which were once functional copies of genes but have since lost their protein-coding ability (and, presumably, their biological function). After non-functionalization, pseudogenes are free to acquire genetic noise in the form of random mutations.
    Retrotransposons – 8% of the human genome has been shown to be formed by retrotransposons of Human Endogenous Retroviruses (HERVs)[7], although as much as 25% is recognisably formed of retrotransposons[8]. This is a lower limit on how much of the genome is retrotransposons because older remains might not be recognizable having accumulated too many mutations. New research suggests that genome size variation in at least two kinds of plants is mostly because of retrotransposons.[9]

    [edit] Hypotheses of origin and function
    There are some hypotheses, none conclusively established, for how junk DNA arose and why it persists in the genome:

    Junk DNA might provide a reservoir of sequences from which potentially advantageous new genes can emerge. In this way, it may be an important genetic basis for evolution.[10]
    Some junk DNA could be spacer material that allows enzyme complexes to form around functional elements more easily. In this way, the junk DNA could serve an important function even though the actual sequence of information it contains is irrelevant.
    Some portions of junk DNA could serve presently unknown regulatory functions, controlling the expression of certain genes during the development of an organism from embryo to adult[11], and/or development of certain organs/organelles[12].
    Regulatory layers in some “junk DNA”, such as through non-coding RNAs, may contain important genetic programming.[13]
    According to a comparative study of over 300 prokaryotic and over 30 eukaryotic genomes [14], eukaryotes appear to require a minimum amount of non-coding DNA. This minimum amount can be predicted using a growth model for regulatory genetic networks, implying that it is required for regulatory purposes. In humans the predicted minimum is about 5% of the total genome.

    I included some extra info, since it’s a largely accurate article.

    Of course “junk DNA” can’t mean “altogether non-functional,” certainly not in the evolutionary viewpoint, since it has been considered to be a source of evolutionary information, especially some of the pseudogenes.

    Indeed, lengths and sizes of “junk DNA” have long been thought to be likely “uses” for “junk DNA,” which meant that the fact that sometimes huge amounts of “junk DNA” could be excised from organisms’ chromosomes without evident ill effects did seem surprising to some scientists. It is still possible that what apparently is “junk DNA,” by any reasonable definition, may have more subtle effects than experiments suggested, those experiments do indicate that it is likely that much DNA could be jettisoned at least without causing extinction of those particular organisms.

    It is not clear that there isn’t significant “junk DNA” which has no crucial function at all, then. But because size has always been thought important, while much non-coding DNA was not considered to be important except possibly due to “bulk” effects, the latter have not generally been considered to exclude stretches of DNA from being considered to be “junk.”

    Useless cretinist tools like Dan notwithstanding, of course.

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

  359. #360 Ichthyic
    March 4, 2009

    CAAGT. So what does that code for, if anything?

    a hairball?

    “Caaagt!!”

    I think it’s the sound a feline makes as it coughs one up.

  360. #361 Sam C
    March 4, 2009

    Glen D at #6:

    “Poof” is all the explanation that ID supplies, and they demand that science change its standards to allow it as “science”.

    I like it, new T-shirt slogan, “Proof Not Poof!

    Dennis at #18:

    looked him up on the interwebs- [Egnor is] a neuro surgeon

    Or perhaps a brainologist?

  361. #362 Ichthyic
    March 4, 2009

    a later comment was even more disturbing

    ayup. disturbing is the slightest word for it. Terrifying would be another. Recall there are a not insignificant number of Rapture Ready types hanging about everywhere the Abrahamic religions dominate.

    I rather like to call them:

    lazy fucktards.

    why?

    because they choose self-destruction for all instead of trying to actually contribute anything productive towards making things better.

    I wish they’d all just go ahead and fucking off themselves. Drink the damn kook-aid already!

  362. #363 AnthonyK
    March 4, 2009

    Thankyou for the answer to my questions.
    It strikes me that when you give a proper answer to some daft question by a creationist, their eyes widen, their brains overload, and “I do not understand”, so to say, magically becomes “I saw nothing”.
    So he goes back to asking: “Yes, but Junk DNA proves we didn’t come from monkeys, doesn’t it?”
    “No it doesn’t…well yes it does but…”
    And the case is lost.
    Is it really as simple as human stupidity?

  363. #364 AnthonyK
    March 4, 2009

    Please do not mock the bases of my genetitic code. They are all I have. And some of them were my mum’s.
    *sniff*

  364. #365 Aquaria
    March 4, 2009

    If one has fine hair, is it a good idea to change hair styles once in a while (maybe mousse it up or something), or is it perfectly acceptable to basically have a bowl cut forever?

    Don’t know about a bowl cut. Depends on your needs and face type, I guess. And if a style works for you, fashion is really not that big a deal. These days, it seems like there aren’t any real rules about how you have to do your hair, other than having a good cut, regardless of style. No more trying to make it do what it won’t do.

    also, I spend a lot of time in salt water, and it does cause some considerable damage. conditioner doesn’t seem to do much to protect it. Any advice there?

    I’m not sure what you mean by conditioner not working. Do you mean from just using it in the shower every day? Well, that won’t work. If salt water is drying out your hair a lot, you might try that old standby trick of using additional conditoner right before you get in the water. This actually works rather well. Be sure to rinse your hair with plain water after leaving the water as soon as you can. Silicone conditioners can be very helpful for this. Look for ingredients that say -cone. You’ll need to use a “clarifier” shampoo once a week if you use silicone or other heavy conditioners.

    Now for those who are wondering what the worst type of hair is, it’s fine and curly. Long or short, it never does what you want it to do, no styling product can tame it, and it tangles five seconds after a brushing.

    I’ve considered dread locks.

  365. #366 CalGeorge
    March 4, 2009

    From the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure:

    ?Teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subject.?

    Creationist mumbojumbo has nothing to do with science and it does not belong in the science classroom.

  366. #367 AOlet'sGo
    March 4, 2009

    we have abandoned that great spiritual dualism traditions of Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, Aquinas, etc.

    I really can’t think of any sense in which those five thinkers belong to a single “great tradition.” It pisses me off that fucktards not only get the biology wrong, they also put on airs by spouting nonsense about the humanities.

    Socrates was a wonderful teacher and sceptic. By contrast, the late Plato was a fascist and a self-loathing poet (Laws). Most of what you find in him was said by Parmenides or Pythagoras first (Timaeus). Plato, Augustine and Aquinas are beyond salvaging and are best left to the ‘tards.

    By contrast, the others on the list were, among other things, either distinguished natural scientists or excellent teachers of science in their time.

    Aristotle was an accomplished biologist and embryologist who spent incredible amounts of his time collecting samples and classifying them. He systematized and discussed the views of his predecessors on all scientific topics of the day. There’s a reason why his biology and cosmology stood for nearly two thousand years. Admittedly, he didn’t have much time for Democritus and the atomic theory. But nobody is perfect.

    Descartes was not ‘in the same tradition’ as Plato or Aristotle. Though one might perhaps think of him as having the mettle of the latter. Descartes set out to raze the accrued scholastic nonsense to the ground and build up science (yup, science) on a stable foundation. It was not yet clear how to do this, so he took a good stab: he tried to make the intuitive self-evidence of math his touchstone. Above all, Descartes was a superb mathematician and physicist though. His mechanistic philosophy (read: science) was perhaps the most influential one of the age, until Newton. (Some whisper that his ‘proofs’ for the existence of god were so crap because Descartes was actually a mechanist all the way through: i.e., an atheist. And even if he wasn’t, some of his students certainly were.)

    Kant was nothing like a ‘spiritual dualist.’ He had no time for nonsense. Throughout his career, he taught cosmology and geometry. Toward the end of his life, he took an active interest in the emerging chemistry. And nothing conveys his view of obscurantism better than the fact that, as rector of the university, he refused to enter the local church at the head of the university procession. It was his official duty as rector to lead students to that church and so he did. Once at the door, he’d turn around and go home.

    I’m not sure where you’re finding the spiritualism in Kant. But if you’d bothered to read the Paralogisms in the First Critique you’d know that Kant showed that arguments that use ‘pure reason’ to establish substantive metaphysical conclusions are fallacious. Science and mathematics can provide us with real knowledge. That’s why he was so interested in them. ‘Pure philosophy,’ he realized, is a waste of time. (Hence critique of pure reason.)

    So there we go. Please stop making philosophy look bad by spouting horseshit. Most working philosophers are atheists or agnostics. Some kantians are deists. Many good philosophers also have good graduate-level training either in a science, in mathematics, in political science, or some other field. The history of philosophy is a history of a running battle between us and the theologians. You used to get us fired (Hume, Fichte) or even burned us at the sake (Giordano Bruno). And now, you have the gall to talk about ‘the great tradition.’ Get real.

  367. #368 Wowbagger
    March 4, 2009

    Now for those who are wondering what the worst type of hair is, it’s fine and curly. Long or short, it never does what you want it to do, no styling product can tame it, and it tangles five seconds after a brushing.

    Yeah, even better is where you’ve got this type of hair on parts of your head and other types on other parts. That’s when it gets really interesting, because what might work for a section won’t work on another. I’ve spent much of my life with hair like Gene Wilder.

    I’d buzz-cut it to #1 clipper length, but I don’t have the right shaped head for that either.

  368. #369 Rayven Alandria
    March 4, 2009

    Creationsists do not fund science by choice. They pay taxes and the government decides what to fund. If the IDiots had a choice they would not fund science. Yet this IDiot thinks scientists owe creationists some kind of a “thank you” and appreciation for that money? Ummm yeeeeah….NOT.

    His mindset is bizarre. He apparently thinks that if you’re in a majority you matter more than someone in a minority group. I’m sure those opposed to civil rights felt that way too.

    Well, at least he admitted that IDiots are nothing more than a bunch of creationists trying to repackage creationism so they can push it into the educational system.(like we didn’t know that, but they’ve been trying for years to claim otherwise).

  369. #370 Monado
    March 4, 2009

    CLEARLY it’s time for the freedom to question religion. If academic freedom to question established science is good for our schools…

    Question the axiom slipped into the logic that assumes the conclusion of religious arguments. Question the similarity of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, born Dec. 25 to Mithras, the Good Shepherd, born Dec. 25. Ask how Judas managed to hang himself when he had already tripped over a rock in a field and cut his belly open. Demand to know where Cain and Abel go their wives. Persist in asking why the works of the Apostles were written at least a generation before the biography of Jesus. While you’re at it, demand inclusivity in the Christmas Pageant to sing, “Jesus is coming to town!” to the tune of “Santa is coming to town” and “Who’s got a beard that’s long and white? Yahweh’s got a beard that’s long and white–long and white, special night, must be Yahweh, must be Yahweh, must be Yahweh, Yahweh God!”

    Lobby for a return to stoning for adulterers. Start with several prominent evangelists. Point out that the New Testament prescribes Hell for anyone who neglects the lowly poor. Ask what it would recommend for anyone who suspended public transit services four days before issuing a mandatory evacuation order for thousands of people without cars.

    Demand that churches give equal time to the scriptures of other religions. Make a list of those you think should be included. Ask them to explain why reincarnation and karma aren’t covered in Sunday school.

    Lobby for legislation to include all imaginary voices and convictions of the existence of imaginary persons to be included in the definitions of insanity — no religious exemption.

    Picket churches for not denouncing beef-eating as equivalent to cracker-bashing. Ask why they don’t respect other people’s religions. It’s an idea whose time has come! Let’s call for religious freedom in our churches.

  370. #371 Kel
    March 4, 2009

    Ahhh Dennis Markuze, I see you escaped the padded cell. And on the night the police are out of town too.

  371. #372 DominEditrix
    March 5, 2009

    Re: fine hair: If you go for a layered cut, it will give the appearance of more body. Also, try using a racer’s swim cap over hair you’ve slathered with conditioner made for dry/damaged hair [or mayo, or mashed avocado, whatever's handy] before you go into the water.

    Completely OT: I, for one, welcome the idea of the UN anti-blasphemy law, under which I would demand justice [and financial reparation] for those of us who have accepted the Flying Spaghetti Monster/the Sacred Cat/the Cosmic Muffin/PZ et al. as our Saviour, only to see aspersions cast upon our Deity of choice by adherents to other religions. I would also demand that all creation stories be taught in schools, including that of the Great Green Arkelseizure, He who sneezed the Universe into being. To do otherwise would imply that any one religion was superior to any other, which should fall under the purview of that anti-blasphemy law…

  372. #373 Patricia the Vulgar, OM
    March 5, 2009

    Oh christ, it’s Wodens day, and we are so covered over with stoopid jebus woo.

    Tomorrow is Thor’s day, after that is Freya’s day – let’s go folk. Saturn’s day. The Sun’s day. Hello?!

  373. #374 dogmeatib
    March 5, 2009

    dogmeatib – interesting. Because I live in Britland, the religious stupid is rarely a problem (so I admit I’m sharing your pain vicariously). But how do you cope? Do you teach, like, science? How do you maintain your good humour? Is there any sign, however small, that the cracks are appearing? Are you making a difference? Are you trying?
    Sorry about all the questions, but I come here to learn (and laugh).

    Sorry to be so tardy in my reply, was called away. I will admit from the very beginning it gets frustrating at times. This is especially true when a particularly bright student, who is otherwise logical, interested in learning, etc., completely closes their mind to a concept because of their faith.

    I teach social studies. My educational background was a very diverse one, but my professional choice led me to a career in the social sciences rather than biological, etc. I run into this in both history and political science/civics classes. In the former it is mostly when we deal with 19th century intellectual thought (though there is a definite issue when we discuss Galileo and the idea of scientific discoveries challenging religious belief). They don’t seem to realize that those “silly people” in the 16th century who refused to believe that the earth wasn’t the center of the universe did so for the exact same reasons they refuse to accept the scientific evidence for evolution. I’ve also had students exclaim “that’s silly” when we discuss Hinduism in comparative religions. I then ask them how a system with multiple parts … oh say three, of the same powerful force behind all of the universe is silly. They never seem to get that I am actually describing the Trinity concept rather than Hinduism, usually another student who is less dogmatic or *gasp* a skeptic has to point out the fact that I had shifted from Hindu beliefs to Christianity. Sadly the comment I often get is a vague “that’s different.” Usually I let it go at that because I start to get a vague suspicion that they are piling up kindling behind the school for some sort of fire… ;o)

    In the latter case, poli-sci/civics, I run into the problem mostly when we discuss constitutional protections for non-Christian beliefs or *gasp* non-believers. I rarely have students who advocate mandatory school prayer (though I do have a few here and there), but I do have students who don’t seem to understand that just because they agree with the majority belief system it doesn’t mean that those who don’t agree with it “should just shut up,” or “deal with it,” or “simply don’t say ‘under God.’” It is rather amusing when they insist that such things “don’t really matter” or “aren’t important,” but then when I provide examples where their beliefs are the minority opinion they suddenly get quite upset.

    The spectrum is a rather broad one but, the most radical response is to evolution. This includes any discussions of court cases dealing with creationism, creation-science, ID, etc. Some of these students are also those who advocate mandatory prayer, but most of them do not. Overall, this group is relatively small, usually only 2-5 students in a class of 25-30. The next group is a mixture of conservative ideas. They would be the ones who have the greatest difficulty with the idea that the Constitution protects the rights of everyone, it isn’t just a document designed to protect their own personal interests. This group is larger, depending on the class composition it can actually be a majority or a very vocal minority. For the most part these students are really only conservatives who, because they are teenagers, haven’t really developed a whole lot of empathy for others. They tend to be more rational than the first group, with smaller blind spots. Unfortunately some of those blind spots are rather firmly in place.

    Realistically, in these cases, it would be unethical for me to attempt to influence these students beyond their need to understand what the standards taught cover. Because of this I don’t push against their “sensibilities” more than can be justified by a legitimate effort to enhance their understanding of the concepts. For example a discussion of the Dover ruling isn’t integral to their understanding of the 1st amendment and the state of establishment law, etc. But when they make statements that support the teaching of ID/Creationism, etc., I can and do ask them questions that punch holes in their … “ark” … shall we say? When we are talking about evolution, or the church and Galileo I also can, and do, provide evidence to support natural selection and other basic principles of evolution, or geological evidence for the old earth, or astronomical evidence for the old universe, etc. In these cases it generally hinges on the questions, comments, or arguments that the students make depending on their own individual positions on the topics.

    Hopefully that provides a vicarious stage for you? ;o)

  374. #375 Pareidolius
    March 5, 2009

    Fuck me, I read the whole thread. Every comment. I feel like I’m back on the island. I’ve totally forgotten what the our Great Master? PZ said in the first place. Okay, it was something about a shoe. A shoe and a creatard. A shoe, a creatard and then there was Ellie’s kid throwing müesli at Kansai, then work and then home, the couch and then there was this cretin who actually typed out “womyn” without any irony whatsoever. That’s it, I was going to say something about he/she being very young, smart, but inexperienced and totally in love with his/her own brain and the stuff that comes out of it. That was it. Then there was the mutant fish army and some people were having a fight about junk and then it all fell apart. Horribly, irrevocably apart. Oh, and I think someone said “exasperate” when they clearly meant “exacerbate” and you know how I get about grammar, but that seems like hours ago. Okay, that’s it for now, oh, and FUCK HUGO CHAVEZ!

  375. #376 Danny
    March 5, 2009

    Junk DNA, Junk DNA? What a protein-centric view of the world.

  376. #377 John Morales
    March 5, 2009

    dogmeatib @377, I found your comment uplifting and reassuring. Thanks for that.

  377. #378 Stanton
    March 5, 2009

    So it appears that “pzdummy” is Dave Mabus returned.

  378. #379 Quetzalcoatl
    March 5, 2009

    Looks like Dennis Markuze the Nostradumbass is back.

  379. #380 Patricia the Vulgar, OM
    March 5, 2009

    Good night sweethearts.

  380. #381 Twin-Skies
    March 5, 2009

    @Stanton

    What is this Dave Mabus? I believe I’m too new to remember who he is.

  381. #382 gypsytag
    March 5, 2009

    david mabus is a very disturbed individual in need to psychiatric help. he is known for spamming every and anything atheist he finds with his claims that he
    1. caused the president of the American Atheists to resign
    2. won the james randi paranormal challenge but then they ripped him off.

    its the same record over and over and over. and he’s been banished to every dungeon on the intertubes.

    It would not surprise me in the least if i were to find out one day he’s was involved with high powered rifles and a lot of dead people.

    frightening really.

  382. #383 TheVirginian
    March 5, 2009

    If PZ likes New Orleans’ food, he needs to come here on March 14. That’s the day Zombie Darwinists will gather at the University of New Orleans for their annual brain-feeding plus plotting how to eat the brains of innocent schoolchildren for the next year and replace their natural love of Zeus or Woden or God or whomever with atheistic Darwinist propaganda. In honor of such a distinguished guest, the crew will probably create a few zombies for PZ, which will verify Egnor’s paranoia about how Darwinism really spreads on this planet.
    After the annual Zombie Darwin Day plotting and snacking, the Zombie Darwinists will find a good New Orleans restaurant, because the brains are always tastiest at the best eateries.
    The Zombie Darwinists will conclude the day by visiting the French Quarter to drink brainblasters at local voodoo shops. Yes, I know that even one brainblaster will make you stagger down the road, but who’s going to notice when you’re a lurching zombie.
    If PZ makes it in time that Saturday morning, he can dine on brains for breakfast at the Camellia Grill, brain po-boys at Parasol’s for lunch, and then go to Commander’s Palace on Sunday morning for especially tasty brains, while a jazz band plays in the background.
    If Gov. Bobby Jindal shows up, don’t bother trying to eat his brain. If you can even find it, it won’t be big enough to be worth the trouble of getting to it.

  383. #384 gypsytag
    March 5, 2009

    i think the aliens running Hulu already scooped Bobby’s brain out.
    :-)

  384. #385 John Morales
    March 5, 2009

    No one has yet credited PZ for the allusive Khrushchev reference.

  385. #386 dave mabus
    March 5, 2009

    WE’LL BURY YOU, ATHEISTS!

  386. #387 Owlmirror
    March 5, 2009

    @Twin-Skies: See the dungeon, under INSANITY.

  387. #388 David Mabus
    March 5, 2009

    WE’LL BURY YOU….ATHEISTS!

    HAHA

  388. #389 Pareidolius
    March 5, 2009

    Nostradumbass foretold of the woopocalypse did he not? Or maybe it was the alpacalypse . . .

  389. #390 Twin-Skies
    March 5, 2009

    @Owlmirror

    Thx for the help. Funny how he’s the only guy there saddled with the charge of insanity – I figured most of the other fundies who visit would share that characteristic.

    Then it hit me – they’re just hatefully stupid.

  390. #391 Feynmaniac
    March 5, 2009

    Dungeon description of David Mabus:

    Deeply deranged, disturbed individual who believes James Randi has cheated him out of a million dollars, and who vents by spamming websites and email with his angry tirades. Certifiable. Needs immediate mental health care. His real name is Dennis Markuze, and he lives in Montreal, Canada.

  391. #392 Ichthyic
    March 5, 2009

    Quick! someone get the net!

    the Mabus has broken out of the assylum!

  392. #393 Pareidolius
    March 5, 2009

    It’s kind of creepy around here late at night, like that time I volunteered for the PBS pledge night phone banks and the later it got the more drunks and heavy breathers we got. Ichthyic: Release the fish!

  393. #394 Ichthyic
    March 5, 2009

    the annual Zombie Darwin Day

    awesome!

    …and coming so close on the heels of his birthday, too.

    I think I have a good costume for that, too.

    what date is it again?

  394. #395 Janine, Insulting Sinner
    March 5, 2009

    I go away for a few hours and everything gets more demented.

  395. #396 Ichthyic
    March 5, 2009

    WE’LL BURY YOU, ATHEISTS!

    If you’re trying out your Khrushchev imitation, do recall what happened to the USSR in the decades after he said that.

    WATERLOOOO!!!

    bug. fuck. nuts.

  396. #397 NoHopeInDarwinism
    March 5, 2009

    We will bury you?

    Like liberals accusing conservatives of “drinking the kool aid” when it was the liberal Jim Jones who pushed the kool aid, come no PZ Myers trying to shift communist rhetoric to those who are far less likely to be communists.

  397. #398 Daniel M
    March 5, 2009

    wow @407 is even crazier than the guy mentioned in the article!

    Still, for the insult “a century and a half of third-rate science” (in which time we’ve eradicated many diseases, gone into space, walked on the moon, extended life, solved hunger (yeah, we’ve not quite got that bit world-wide yet), unlocked the secrets of the atom and are teetering on the edge of expanding into the universe (all due to science) – I think that my response to the nut-job would be to walk up to him, glove in hand, slap him across the face with it and challenge him to pistols at dawn.

    Mine honour, it has been impugned!

  398. #399 Daniel M
    March 5, 2009

    wow @407 is even crazier than the guy mentioned in the article!

    Still, for the insult “a century and a half of third-rate science” (in which time we’ve eradicated many diseases, gone into space, walked on the moon, extended life, solved hunger (yeah, we’ve not quite got that bit world-wide yet), unlocked the secrets of the atom and are teetering on the edge of expanding into the universe and more (all due to science)) I think that my response to the nut-job would be to walk up to him, glove in hand, slap him across the face with it and challenge him to pistols at dawn.

    Mine honour, it has been impugned!

  399. #400 Eric Paulsen
    March 5, 2009

    M.D.?

    Mentally defective. Monumentally deranged. Myopically dogmatic. Misanthropic dog-turd.

  400. #401 pzdummy@gmail.com
    March 5, 2009

    the next ones to talk will LOSE THEIR SOULS….

  401. #402 Ichthyic
    March 5, 2009

    Dennis!

    You. Are. Completely. Insane.

    Please get some help before you do yourself or someone else bodily harm.

    Don’t they have any mental health facilities in your hometown?

    go visit one.

    now.

  402. #403 Raiko
    March 5, 2009

    Just say you misspoke, or pretend you never said it at all.

    One thing that comes to mind when reading this creationist babble by Egnor about covering tracks, and the generous suggestion to pretend (in other words lie) about what we did, said and intended is this: Isn’t it a creationist’s job to do that? Aren’t creationists the kings and queens at pretending that this and that never happened – like the exposure of frauds and cheating, the discovery of new fossils, the repeated refutation of their silly arguments, countless explanations on what evolution REALLY is and what it does (NOT) have to do with moral?

    I think it is quite tale-telling that he seems to consider lying an acceptable (or at least effective) way of covering ones mistakes and embarrassments. Even if he pushes the “you evolutionists are good at covering your tracks” at the end, I still find it tale-telling.

    Also, what on earth is this about junk DNA, really? It seems so randomly thrown in without making any sense whatsoever.

  403. #404 nobody special
    March 5, 2009

    Uhoh, is David Mabus back? I saw him on another blog just minutes ago.

  404. #405 Drosera
    March 5, 2009

    Slightly OT: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/feedarticle/8386645

    Nine year old rape victim gets abortion. Catholic Church considers this to be murder.

    You can rely on those religious zombies for despicable drivel.

  405. #406 Twin-Skies
    March 5, 2009

    @nobody special

    It seems to be the case

    *hands extra tinfoil hat and chastity belt*

    BOHICA!

  406. #407 Twin-Skies
    March 5, 2009

    @Angel Kaida
    Thx for the link, only noticed it now…

    I’m going for Serenity – Firefly is one of my favorite shows :)

  407. #408 DaveH
    March 5, 2009

    @No Hoper 2:37AM

    PZ Myers trying to shift communist totalitarian rhetoric to those who are far less likely to be communists desperate for a totalitarian theocracy.

    Fixed

  408. #409 bastion of sass
    March 5, 2009

    dogmeatib @ #377:

    Some of the most valuable lessons–if not the most valuable lessons–taught by my kid’s social studies teacher was his teaching his class critical thinking skills, along with all the social science facts in the curriculum.

    I can’t thank that teacher–and others like him–enough.

    I only rue the fact that I can no longer get away with easy and sloppy arguments as often as I could before my son took the class.

  409. #410 Lotharloo
    March 5, 2009

    Posted by: Ichthyic | March 5, 2009 3:21 AM
    Dennis!

    You. Are. Completely. Insane.

    Please get some help before you do yourself or someone else bodily harm.

    Don’t they have any mental health facilities in your hometown?

    go visit one.

    now.

    Apparently the mental health facility has decided to give internet access to its patients for therapy. So, please, everyone act a long:

    Sure, David, you’re gonna bury us all atheists, Jesus will soon descend from the sky, muslims will covert to Christianity, and all Christians will convert to . So, everything is safe, now stop frothing at the mouth and swallow the pill.

  410. #411 santhosh
    March 5, 2009

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    it is nothing but type the way you speak it seems. learnt that Quillpad can support any language which has got Phonetic Alphabetic Script without the intervention of any human expert.

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  411. #412 GeoffR
    March 5, 2009

    Religion is not science, but he wants it taught as if it is. He knows it’s not acceptable to say it in as many words, so he skirts around the subject, trying to find ways of saying it without actually saying it.
    Egnor is using word games: “they know that students are not learning about all of the science surrounding evolution.”
    What he’s meaning is that creationism is the missing “science”, but it’s not science, and he knows it, so he finds a devious way of saying it.
    He comes across as someone being less than honest.

  412. #413 Penn Student
    March 5, 2009

    Illadelph represent! Saw you when you were here PZ! There was a really good symposium here at Penn a couple weeks ago too with Jerry Coyne among others. My bio profs cancelled classes so we (and they) could attend.

  413. #414 AnthonyK
    March 5, 2009

    Dogmeatib – thank you for that, most interesting. In my extra-pessimistic moods I wonder how the US can function with so much of its mental DNA apparently corrupted; while optimistic (and realistic) I see how clever people like you are doing the work negating the cognitive dissonance of the many.
    I sometimes wish that we atheists did have an effective conspiracy to deal with religious stupidity, you know plots, spies, satan-funded individuals in high places, PZ and Dawkins as evil overlords, and us as their intellectual flying monkeys, but alas and alack, it is not so. Well, perhaps it’s really better this way….
    More wishful thinking, but more reality-based – is there any student body promoting freethinking? I’m sure that you won’t have one on the staff group, but bearing in mind how active and multi-interested young people are, they can do an awful lot with just one idea. Something apparently innocuous like a bus campaign can do wonders for consciousness raising. It only takes one student…
    Ah, dreams, dreams.
    But well done for fighting for rationality!

  414. #415 AnthonyK
    March 5, 2009

    @bastion – I hope they didn’t teach him the counter to the “because-I-said-said-so” argument, or a preemptive strike against “it’s-my-house-when-you-pay-the-bills-you-can” That would be horrible. If I might suggest, and he’s a gittin’ uppity – how about proposing an American values project at home? All it will take is the fuel to burn his computer, and a few switches you have had him cut from a local brier patch….

  415. #416 Stephen Wells
    March 5, 2009

    For the record, the phrase widely translated as “we will bury you” has the implication “_we_ will be the ones attending _your_ funeral”, i.e. “we will outlast you”. It’s not a threat of violence.

  416. #417 Aquaria
    March 5, 2009

    is there any student body promoting freethinking?

    Very doubtful. My guess would be the closest any of them come to it is in a science club. If a school has one. Many don’t. In some places, even those are hopeless infested with woo-addled students, like the Chemistry club at my last high school. We had people quit the club because we sponsored a dance during the student festival (theme, of course: Body Chemistry). The Baptists, you see, are virulently opposed to dancing. There’s a joke that they won’t have sex standing up because it’s too much like dancing.

  417. #418 Aquaria
    March 5, 2009

    Stephen Wells:

    Yeah, like telling nonbelievers how terrible it will be for them in hell isn’t a threat of violence.

    Fuck off.

  418. #419 Louis
    March 5, 2009

    Well, I’ve read the entire thread and I see Mabus has been shat out of the mighty cloaca of kookery again. Cleanup on aisle five please.

    Anyway, Egnor, whacko-fundy-fantasy time. Yeehaw! Despite his nonsensical fascist masturbatory fantasy the tale of history is quite clear: Progress away from the Dark Ages nonsense he favours has happened, is happening and will continue to happen. Sorry, but the Egnorant have already lost. It’s why they make so much fucking noise all the time. I’ll just keep trying to do my tiny part to foster the development of the Enlightenment, and enjoying its fruits.

    Louis

  419. #420 notConvinced
    March 5, 2009

    For the record, the phrase widely translated as “we will bury you” has the implication “_we_ will be the ones attending _your_ funeral”, i.e. “we will outlast you”. It’s not a threat of violence.

    Yah, it wasn’t a threat of violence when the commies said it. But then commies were (largely) a rational lot. Anyone who’s ever attended a clinic defense will tell you that that phrase could well be a thread when blurted out by a fundie frothing at the mouth.

  420. #421 AnthonyK
    March 5, 2009

    Aquaria – yes, well there should be one! I like to flatter myself sometimes (franky, I have to, ever since that fucking magic mirror broke – lifetime guarantee my arse) that “we” are part of an intellectual vanguard which, just by saying “um, you don’t have to believe in god, you know” will bring about a freethought renaissance. Wouldn’t it be great if thinking for yourself became a cool teenage craze?
    I reckon it will happen, but then I believe, on balance, in a good life for me, in a good country, in a good universe. Well, it keeps me going!

  421. #422 Kari
    March 5, 2009

    What I think is scary is the fact that some hundred years ago people based their perceptions on superstitions because they didn’t know science and often didn’t have the opportunity to be informed…nowadays they just base their perceptions on superstitions because they actually reject (even main stream) science and do not want to be informed….

  422. #423 Stephen Wells
    March 5, 2009

    @429: I’m commenting on the way Krushchev’s phrase was (mis) interpreted in the USA, which is the context in which PZ used it here (notice the shoe-banging reference), not making any commentary on religious delusions.

    You hair-triggered wanker.

  423. #424 puseaus
    March 5, 2009

    Krushchev was cool. He replaced Stalin, didn’t he. Progress must come to the bible-waters. Bet he made nice waffles that commie. Like mine, with blueberry-jam.

    Hell is nice for us darvillians…that’s biblical logic. Two states, one good one bad. No gaps in between, like quantum states. This method saves all questions, but is psychologically unsound. Remember the really christian who tried to argue that logic was incompatible with irony. (As sort of couter-argument against logic. He actually started studying philosophy, but gave up…)

    Guess the “science surrounding evolution” has a somewhat specific meaning. Remaining gaps are bad!

  424. #425 AnthonyK
    March 5, 2009

    Errr…pardon?

  425. #426 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 5, 2009

    puseaus

    Perhaps you need to call President Carter?

  426. #427 puseaus
    March 5, 2009

    He is out of office, it seems.

  427. #428 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 5, 2009

    And nothing conveys his [Kant's] view of obscurantism better than the fact that, as rector of the university, he refused to enter the local church at the head of the university procession. It was his official duty as rector to lead students to that church and so he did. Once at the door, he’d turn around and go home.

    Wow. Just… wow. That must have taken some courage!

  428. #429 Blake Stacey
    March 5, 2009

    Hey, I finally got a comment on my blog from Dennis Markuze! In some strange way, I feel that I’ve arrived. Now, I just need Matt Nisbet to write a negative review of my book without having read it.

  429. #430 Gingerbaker
    March 5, 2009

    pz=ii said:

    …spume crescendo leading to:

    “That modern synthesis, for example, goes beyond the strict confines of Darwinism, stirs his [PZ's] wrath.”

    FAIL.

    Obvious proof you don’t even know who this “PZ” of yours might be. Foolish of you.

  430. #431 Stu
    March 5, 2009

    puseas: Please take your meds.

  431. #432 Pteryxx
    March 5, 2009

    To AnthonyK #425:

    More wishful thinking, but more reality-based – is there any student body promoting freethinking?

    Yes. Even in Texas.

    http://www.freethinkersofuta.org/

    We had tables and speakers for Darwin Day, and they got challenged by people yelling “JESUS!” on occasion, but they also tell me quite a few students came up and asked questions, and the talks were well attended.

    Of course they also tell me that holding signs is a bad idea around here because any demonstrations that aren’t pro-life are likely to get attacked.

    The Texas Freedom Network ( link ) encourages students in Texas to form chapters, along with all its other work. In Austin and Houston, folks are a little more open-minded; here in Dallas we’re as much of a safehouse as an organization.

  432. #433 John Norris
    March 5, 2009

    Perhaps Dr Egnor can persuade the Discovery Institute to present their evidence at the SICB convention.

  433. #434 Pareidolius
    March 5, 2009

    Cloaca!
    Thank you Louis, nobody ever uses the word “cloaca” outside of the random herpetologist and tweed-clad birder. Well, maybe a Roman public works architect, but they’re awfully hard to find. I see it was a long and weird night around here. Did the flying monkeys take that Quacking Quebecer to the Dungeon yet?

  434. #435 PZ Myers
    March 5, 2009

    Mr Chuck Windor, aka “pz=irrational ideologue”:

    When you use your pseudonym to insult someone here, it’s a dead giveaway that you are a troll.

    When you use “PZ” as part of your name, you make my life harder, because I scan comments quickly, and one of the things I look for is comments specifically addressed to me. Making my life harder is one of those things, like boring me, that will get you banned. So knock it off. Pick a pseudonym and stick with it.

  435. #436 Louis
    March 5, 2009

    Pareidolius,

    I have been know to herp, but I wouldn’t call myself a herpetologist. ;-)

    Louis

  436. #437 Knockgoats
    March 5, 2009

    see this *scum bag* PZ thinks he is right and the 8 billion people who live on the planet… – Dennis Markuze

    Ah, now we know how many voices torment poor Mr. Markuze – he’s being persecuted by around a billion imaginary people!

  437. #438 cyan
    March 5, 2009

    Pontus reed at 344:

    Ask your auto mechanic to explain all of physics to you.

    It may be that s/he can, but it is not necessary for her/him to be able to do that in order to be an excellent mechanic.

    Egnor is a mechanic: he uses what research scientists have gleaned to apply his craft.

  438. #439 Richard Koeppel M.D.
    March 6, 2009

    It is pointless to try to reason or argue with the likes of Egnor. He needs a complete physical exam, including psychiatric assessment, all of which can be performed by his local proctologist.

  439. #440 maddogdelta
    March 6, 2009

    @PZ
    How about Berkeley and Eugene, Seattle and Tucson, New York and Philadelphia, Austin and Cleveland, Champaign-Urbana and Chapel Hill?and I could go on.

    Buffalo would welcome the convention with open arms. Come and have some wings, see the falls, etc.

  440. #441 Chris Tyrrell
    March 6, 2009

    Oh PZ, you and your crazy atheist metaphysics!

    Did you see that Mr Egnor responded to your reply?

  441. #442 Marion Delgado
    March 6, 2009

    If this was someone you knew talking like Egnor, you’d have to say something like “Jesus, what a cock you are!”

    I dunno how, but the bar has to be raised. The Egnors need to be down there in “no, we will not respond to you. freak.” abyss territory.

  442. #443 Marion Delgado
    March 6, 2009

    Most Americans are not creationists. If you analyze what they say, most would be either theistic evolutionists or believe in a completely unformalized form of Intelligent Design.

    While the ID movement is a subset of the creationist movement, the reason it appealed to people is that their feeling about the issues is that it sounded like a plausible approximation of what they thought about it – that God stirred the soup, to quote Susi Neunmalklug.

    I think ID could have won its way to a few classes if the “movement” had not existed.

    This is also an issue where WHAT you ask is all-important.

    If you ask for positive affirmation of most of creationism, you just won’t get it.

    If you ask for positive affirmation of most of evolutionary biology, you WILL get it.

    But you can rephrase both to make them almost universally flip.

  443. #444 Spiny Norman
    March 6, 2009

    “Some of it [junk DNA] may certainly end up being vestigial, but it’s hard to imagine so much of the DNA will end up being junk considering how new the science of molecular biology really is.”

    That must be why some amphibians have genomes TWENTY FIVE TIMES TIMES AS LARGE as the human genome. It’s there for a Purpose! It’s there for a Reason! It’s there to make idiots believe in God!

  444. #445 Spiny Norman
    March 6, 2009

    “Some of it [junk DNA] may certainly end up being vestigial, but it’s hard to imagine so much of the DNA will end up being junk considering how new the science of molecular biology really is.”

    That must be why some amphibians have genomes TWENTY FIVE TIMES TIMES AS LARGE as the human genome. It’s there for a Purpose! It’s there for a Reason! It’s there to make idiots believe in God!

  445. #446 Monad
    March 7, 2009

    What is really scary is he’s a neurosurgeon and doesn’t understand how much knowledge of human evolution informs our understanding of neurological and brain dysfunction. Really it’s basic to understanding so many problems from stroke to Dementia – particularly from a treatment perspective. Lucky he’s not my doctor.

  446. #447 mark
    March 7, 2009

    The ignorant outnumber us?
    That’s why God created schools–so we can teach evolution.