Pharyngula

Where do Satan et al. publish, anyway?

I am sometimes accused of having a sense of humor. This base canard is completely unfounded; I merely have great material sent to me. For example, this is an actual abstract for a paper given at the 2004 Baramin Study Group conference. Just try to read it without laughing out loud.

The Origins of Natural Evil
Gordon Wilson
New St. Andrews College

In a cursory survey of life it is obvious that a vast number of species spanning most kingdoms and phyla have features that are teleologically designed to deal out disease and/or death. Many pathogens, parasites, and predators have sophisticated genetic, morphological, and behavioral arsenals (natural evil) that clearly testify to the God’s eternal power and divine nature (Romans 1: 20), i.e. they are not the result of mutation and natural mutation.

These range from the bacterial type III secretion systems, the cnidarian nematocysts, the toxoglossate radula and apparatus of Conus, the parasitic physiology of Wuchereria bancrofti, the piercing/sucking mouthparts of predaceous insects, and the solenoglyphous skull, pit organs, and venom apparatus of pit vipers. Scripture states that: 1) every green plant was given for food (Genesis 1:30), 2) death and disease are a consequence of sin (Genesis 2:17), and 3) creation was completed on the sixth day (Genesis 2:1). The following six scenarios attempt to explain the presence of natural evil in the biological world from a young earth creationist framework. I will then assess them in light of these aforementioned biblical truths.

At creation creatures that were to become pathogens, parasites, and predators:

  1. had dual gene sets: (such as in holometabola: larva, pupa, and adult) one gene set for benign morphology and behavior (sinless contingency) and one for malignant morphology and behavior (Fall contingency) with only the benign genes sets expressed prior to the Fall.

  2. had malignant morphological gene sets expressed for an imminent preordained (or fore-known) Fall, with no usage prior to the Fall. Malignant behavioral gene sets expressed after the Fall.

  3. had the same malignant morphology before and after the Fall, however benign usage was normative before the Fall. After the Fall micro-evolutionary factors altered benign behavior into malignant behavior.

  4. were morphologically and behaviorally benign and then subsequent to the Fall malignant genes were designed, created, and incorporated into the genome of certain creatures transforming them into pathogens, parasites, and predators.

  5. were subject to random mutation and natural selection after the Fall transforming their benign gene sets into malignant gene sets. The latter were not designed by God.

  6. were completely benign in all respects but at the Fall the enemy (Satan, et. al.) engaged in post-Fall genetic modification and/or bestiality that resulted in creatures with malignant behavior and morphology.

I will argue that the two scenarios that are the most harmonious with both scripture and the scientific data are 1) and 2). Any scenario attributing the presence of these highly complex morphological and behavioral arsenals to random mutation and natural selection is granting creative powers to mindless processes (this is no better than atheistic evolution). Any scenario that attributes these complex arsenals to God’s creative power yet shifts their time of origin to a post-Fall creative act, contradicts the finished creation on day six. Finally, any scenario that attributes these complex arsenals to Satan et. al., attributes too much creative power and intelligence to the powers of darkness.

I’ve been grading too many student papers. Did anyone else feel an urge to fix that citation he keeps making to Satan et al. to something like, Satan et al. (4004 BCE)?

Comments

  1. #1 ApeMachine
    March 13, 2009

    Wow….just wow

  2. #2 Bryan Carstens
    March 13, 2009

    . . . and just who is the senior author on the Satan et al. manuscript, anyway?

  3. #3 Seiber
    March 13, 2009

    I don’t know the first thing about genetics and that makes my brain hurt.

  4. #4 KI
    March 13, 2009

    Lemme get this straight: pathogens were benign but with preprogrammed genes to go evil on us after humans sinned? So germs were nicey-nice until dirtman and ribwoman ate apples? It gets weirder all the time.

  5. #5 Dean Malandris
    March 13, 2009

    Geeez it’s too early in the morning over here for THIS level of stupid….

  6. #6 Ted H.
    March 13, 2009

    Nope, could not make it through without laughing.

    So, who is included in the et al. in this scenario?

  7. #7 Glen Davidson
    March 13, 2009

    What, and people thought Sternberg (a one-time member of one of those groups) was a flake? Will the defamation never stop?

    And of course, everything is teleological if you can invoke enough magic beings of various temperaments.

    The odd fact that non-teleological evolution unifies and explains the “good” and the “bad” that we see in life doesn’t affect them, naturally. No doubt that’s just another effect of SATAN!

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

  8. #8 Matt
    March 13, 2009

    I love how a bronze age mythological text is presented as the basis for evidence.

  9. #9 Queue33
    March 13, 2009

    I wonder what kind of grad student at the university of Dis is working day and night to get published on a paper under Satan?

  10. #10 Fire Ant
    March 13, 2009

    Well, Satan et al. could publish in such journals as “American Midland Unnaturalist,” or “Drawn and Quartered Review of Biology,” or “Journal of Herpetology” (y’know, the snake and all), or “Evilution” or how about “Journal of REALLY Theoretical Biology?”

  11. #11 Daniel
    March 13, 2009

    Hey, what’s wrong with attributing creativity to Satan (and Al)? Wasn’t he responsible for all those rock and roll records? And being able to say stuff backwards, which is pretty creative, because that’s harder than it looks, you know.

  12. #12 Kemist
    March 13, 2009

    . . . and just who is the senior author on the Satan et al. manuscript, anyway?

    Wasn’t Satan doing his PhD in Natural and Supernatural Evil under Cthulhu ? Only his mates used to call him “Stan” at that point.

    Who would have thought he’d get to be chairman of Hell Institute ?

  13. #13 Dutchdoc
    March 13, 2009

    Finally, any scenario that attributes these complex arsenals to Satan et. al., attributes too much creative power and intelligence to the powers of darkness

    What a MARVEL of scientific reasoning! “Nah, I don’t think the Devil is smart enough for that, and if he COULD do that, he is too friggin’ close to God for my comfort, so, nah, it must have been God, and not the Devil who did all that. Q.E.D.”

    MIND boggling!

  14. #14 Desert Son
    March 13, 2009

    Figure by now Satan’s gotta have tenure.

    “Sinless contingency” – oy. Have to do some driving this weekend, gonna be laughing about this the whole time.

    No kings,

    Robert

  15. #15 Gruesome Rob
    March 13, 2009

    1) every green plant was given for food (Genesis 1:30)

    So what about things like the potato that are poisonous when green but fine when not? What tortuous stretch of logic can be used for that?

  16. #16 al
    March 13, 2009

    It was nothing to do with me…

  17. #17 Janine, Insulting Sinner
    March 13, 2009

    I find myself wondering what kind of life tapeworms lived before it was time to move into the digestive tracts of other organisms.

  18. #18 Newfie
    March 13, 2009

    So, let’s hear some geology confined to the belief system of Norse Mythology. Or, chemistry in the box of the Inuit belief system. Teach the controversy.

  19. #19 Africangenesis
    March 13, 2009

    Don’t read it while consuming fluids. What has evolution wrought? Could this be a courtship display?

    http://www.unm.edu/~gfmiller/new_papers2/miller_1996_political.DOC

  20. #20 Badjuggler
    March 13, 2009

    Seriously, admit you were reading this to yourself in Dana Carvey’s Churchlady voice by the end. Unavoidable.

  21. #21 The Scallop
    March 13, 2009

    Human Race: “We’ve Fallen and we can’t get up!

  22. #22 Im curious
    March 13, 2009

    Yeah, it’s real, check it out. You’ll find some extra entertaining there.
    Cheers,

  23. #23 Kate
    March 13, 2009

    So. Very. Stupid.

    I don’t understand how these ‘tards can think they’re doing science. They don’t even seem to have a nodding acquaintance with science or the scientific method.

    “My 500 year old interpretation of a collection of brinze age myths says so, so it’s true” is NOT and never will be science.

    Why don’t they just stick to calling what they do religion, since that’s what it is, and leave the science to those who are not shackled by dogma? Is it jealousy? Is is intellectual dishonesty? Is it plain, old fashioned stupidity?

  24. #24 Pdiff
    March 13, 2009

    Uuugh! Not more Wilsonian garbage. This guy “teaches” Baraminology (i.e. biblical kinds) at Doug Wilsons New St Andrews College, in Moscow, ID. They are devoted to Calvinist revisionism. He used to teach at Liberty, so this is hardly surprising, if not discouraging. You may laugh PZ, but we have to live with these creo’s. But, hey! They’re celebrating Calvin’s 500th! :-P The people in town can’t keep their feet from dancing – not!

    Pdiff

  25. #25 Alex
    March 13, 2009

    Oh my goodness.

  26. #26 RamziD
    March 13, 2009

    I honestly can’t tell if this is a poe or not. For the love of humanity, please, tell me this is a poe…

  27. #27 Not that Louis
    March 13, 2009

    Does the Kree-Skrull War come into this at any point?

  28. #28 Rodney
    March 13, 2009

    I don’t know about you folks, but “…post-Fall genetic modification and/or bestiality” made my day.

  29. #29 Dutchdoc
    March 13, 2009

    #27: “I honestly can’t tell if this is a poe or not

    But that’t the whole point (and definition) of POE!

  30. #30 Chris
    March 13, 2009

    [blockquote]were completely benign in all respects but at the Fall the enemy (Satan, et. al.) engaged in post-Fall genetic modification and/or [b]bestiality[/b] that resulted in creatures with malignant behavior and morphology. [/blockquote]

    Bestiality??? Really??? WTF??

  31. #31 Kemist
    March 13, 2009

    Well, Satan et al. could publish in such journals as “American Midland Unnaturalist,” or “Drawn and Quartered Review of Biology,” or “Journal of Herpetology” (y’know, the snake and all), or “Evilution” or how about “Journal of REALLY Theoretical Biology?”

    Not to mention the highly-cited “Nature Methods in Evil Wrongdoings” where he published with Hitler (with equal authorship) “Holocaust : managing evil on an international scale”

  32. #32 Glenn Branch
    March 13, 2009

    Ed Brayton commented on Satan et al. five years ago — at which time I explained, “Satan usually publishes in a local agronomical periodical: Hades Loam Journal.”

  33. #33 Dutchdoc
    March 13, 2009

    #27 .. And likewise: “tell me this is a poe…“, according to that same deinition of POE, if someone can TELL it’s POE, then, by its very nature, it is no longer POE. The ESSENCE of POE is … that you can’t tell!

  34. #34 clinteas
    March 13, 2009

    As I said in another thread….Amazing what the human brain can do,when its computing power is wasted on woo…..

  35. #35 Pdiff
    March 13, 2009

    Afraid it’s definitely not Poe. See “curious”‘s link above. These people are real, and sincere, if nothing else.

    Quite sad, actually

    Pdiff

  36. #36 gg
    March 13, 2009

    Desert Son wrote: “Figure by now Satan’s gotta have tenure.”

    Finally — a novel argument as to the problem of evil in the world!

    “Well, God wants to get rid of evil, but Satan’s got tenure. The best we can do now is convince him to take an emeritus role.”

  37. #37 Zen Faulkes
    March 13, 2009

    Their use of ?et. al.? is wrong, too. It should be ?et. al.,? because it?s an abbreviation for ?et alii,? ?et alia? which is Latin for ?and others.? Of course, we are dealing with people who have a hard time getting details right.

  38. #38 JBlilie
    March 13, 2009

    Stupid meter meltdown …

  39. #39 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    March 13, 2009

    @Not that Louis #26: Indeed, I was thinking this sounded like a backstory for some comic book plot.

  40. #40 Dutchdoc
    March 13, 2009

    #30: “Bestiality??? Really??? WTF??

    Surprised? You didn’t really expect the author of such stuff to make any sense or having a clue about what (s)he’s talking about, do you?

  41. #41 Lee Picton
    March 13, 2009

    Oh dear, sweet frackin’ cracker! How do minds get like this? I noticed the existence of genes is recognized; does this represent progress? Naaaahhhhh….

    I laughed my ass off, but really, this is not funny, this is tragic.

  42. #42 Malastare
    March 13, 2009

    I heard that Satan et al. is his graduate biology research team. Beelzebub (Studying for a PHd in human temptation) Asmodeus (Master student in the department of Evolution Falsification) and Dr. Mephistopheles (Reader in Dual-Genetic Animal Construction). I wonder if dead creationists teach at Hell University?

  43. #43 Fernando Magyar
    March 13, 2009

    then subsequent to the Fall malignant genes were designed, created, and incorporated, by the all loving benevolent creator of the universe, into the genome of certain creatures transforming them into pathogens, parasites, and predators.

  44. #44 Anon
    March 13, 2009

    So… wait… evil exists because Satan was after tenure, and needed publications?

  45. #45 MarkW
    March 13, 2009

    You know, something like that might work as an explanation of what they call “natural evil” inside an invented world, such as Tolkien’s Arda — swap out God for Illuvatar and Satan for Morgoth and you’re there.

    The real world… not so much.

  46. #46 ShadowWalkyr
    March 13, 2009

    Forget potatoes. What about Toxicodendron radicans and similar urushiol producers?

  47. #47 Nemo
    March 13, 2009

    Very sick stuff.

  48. #48 Dave Wisker
    March 13, 2009

    I’m confused. If these creatures had dual gene sets at the time of creation (1), why would they need malignant genes to be designed, created and inserted into their genomes after the Fall (4)? Weren’t the front-loaded malignant genes present but just not expressed until after the Fall (2)?

  49. #49 AJ Milne
    March 13, 2009

    . . . and just who is the senior author on the Satan et al. manuscript, anyway?

    Well, this much is sure: even tho’ Satan appears as lead, he probably didn’t do a lick of work himself. Grad students, mostly, I’ll bet… And most of ‘em uncredited…

    (‘Cos he is, y’know, evil, after all…)

  50. #50 Dianne
    March 13, 2009

    Just try to read it without laughing out loud

    I thought I could do it since I have no sense of humor. But “Satan et al” was too much for me…Is the full reference “Satan L, Baal NFI, and Cthulu R: On temptation and damnation-a review. J Evil Entities BCE 4004?

  51. #51 Parker
    March 13, 2009

    The ‘sucking parts’ or ‘mouths’ of bacteria are bad because they can do, and do do harm. COuldn’t that be said of anything? Couldn’t you call elbows ‘natural evil’? What about gravity? I fell down one time, scraped my knee. I cursed the pavement and this malevolent force that binds me to the earth.

    What a crock of shit. Bible college is pre-school with grades.

  52. #52 dreikin
    March 13, 2009

    Wow, even by theological standards that’s just wrong. Take a look at that last sentence:
    Finally, any scenario that attributes these complex arsenals to Satan et. al., attributes too much creative power and intelligence to the powers of darkness.
    Because god’s TOP angel, his most perfect angel, who was the heavenly version of a prosecution lawyer, who spent his days travelling the Earth to bear witness to the faults of man, who managed to convince something like a 1/3 of the entire heavenly host to rebel against their own creator, is NOT creative or intelligent…
    Suuuuuurrrreeee….
    (ignoring the fact that OT and NT Satan/Devil appear to be different entities, and Lucifer was a reference to a babylonian(?) king..)

  53. #53 c-law
    March 13, 2009

    Kree-skrull war? Dude, this goes way before that. The Celestials looked down on the continents of Lemuria and Atlantis, were not pleased by the doings of the Deviants so they blasted the Earth, flipped-off Uatu, and kicked one of their buddies down into the mud before running off.
    So sayeth the Marvel Comics, and so it was true.

  54. #54 AJ Milne
    March 13, 2009

    The ‘sucking parts’ or ‘mouths’ of bacteria are bad because they can do, and do do harm…

    Potential topic for paper: did creationists have PowerPoint before the Fall?

  55. #55 Vic
    March 13, 2009

    I think if he had used Nordic mythology as the basis for his paper, instead of Hebrew mythology, he wouldn’t have been taken as seriously. Religious discrimination?

  56. #56 Dianne
    March 13, 2009

    did creationists have PowerPoint before the Fall?

    All microsoft products are post-fall only.

  57. #57 Sigmund
    March 13, 2009

    “. . . and just who is the senior author on the Satan et al. manuscript, anyway?”
    That would be Satan’s boss, God.

  58. #58 Kemist
    March 13, 2009

    Finally, any scenario that attributes these complex arsenals to Satan et. al., attributes too much creative power and intelligence to the powers of darkness.

    Yeah, we wouldn’t want that, would we… “The most harmonious scenario” indeed.

    It’s fascinating to see how wishful thinking can inexorably pull a mind completely off any scrap of sanity.

  59. #59 Caymen Paolo Diceda
    March 13, 2009

    No matter how funny we think this is, the sad part is that it’s all cloaked in “sciencey” sounding jargon, which can unfortunately mislead the large number of illiterate people out there in American culture. Their little self-consistent world allows them to claim peer review/scientific conferences, but many Americans can’t distinguish fact from fiction.

  60. #60 Idahodude
    March 13, 2009

    I have had the opportunity to hear Dr. Wilson on the subject of evolution, youg earth, etc. Yes, this does sound like a true representation of his thoughts on the subject. There must be something in the water here- note this is the hometown of Prof. Minnich of the Discovery Center and Dover, OH trial fame. Nice people, but what a web of BS their thoughts have to be forced through.

  61. #61 Thoughtful Guy
    March 13, 2009

    Yet another example of attempting to combine science with religion. When you try to understand the natural world through the distorted lens of religion, you end up with something that makes no sense at all.

  62. #62 mothra
    March 13, 2009

    Sorry to disappoint, dead creationists are just fodder (or worm food) for that killer graduate course- Soil Ecology 101.

  63. #63 AJ Milne
    March 13, 2009

    All Microsoft products are post-fall only

    I find this plausible. But does it go far enough?

    Additional topic for paper: is PowerPoint a sign we missed the rapture, and are living in the tribulation?

  64. #64 Interrobang
    March 13, 2009

    I feel like the Russian judge at a mental gymnastics competition…

  65. #65 Dave
    March 13, 2009

    If you think that published abstract sounds bad, imagine what it must have looked like in the original submitted manuscript. No doubt the critical scrutiny of the referees helped the author to correct the worst examples of faulty logic, unsubstantiated assertions and so on. Thank God the peer review system still works so well!

  66. #66 Giford
    March 13, 2009

    So… the idea of a God who knew the Fall was coming and designed creatures to be evil after the Fall (presumably with the optional extra of magicking away their benign genes at the moment of the Fall in option 1) is consistent with *what* scientific data and scripture, exactly?

    Gif

  67. #67 William
    March 13, 2009

    Well, now it all makes sense. God forced us to sin to fix another of his mistakes. With everything procreating (which is good) and nothing dying (which is evil), the world would have been over-run with lifeforms in a very short time.

  68. #68 hje
    March 13, 2009

    This is in the league with creationist nonsense about craters on moons and planets being the result of battles between angels and demons.

    Didn’t Augustine say something about Christians spouting this kind of nonsense?

  69. #69 islandchris
    March 13, 2009

    Talk about being “set up for the Fall”!
    So if I understand his demented logic, an alternate genome, designed to activate after the Fall, was put in place on day 6 of creation! God sure did hedge his bets – but then he created the snake after all!

  70. #70 Nightsky
    March 13, 2009

    It’s like looking at someone’s lovingly-collected and meticulously-curated timeline of, I dunno, Doctor Who chronology or something. Except stupider and less useful.

  71. #71 Phyllograptus
    March 13, 2009

    It all makes a weird kind of sense if you start with the assumption that everything was created just for Humanity and their use. If you don’t take that biased and humancentric view its just bizarre.

    Mark Twain actually dealt with this of viewpoint long ago with the following quote.

    “Man has been here 32,000 years. That it took a hundred million years to prepare the world for him is proof that that is what it was done for. I suppose it is, I dunno. If the Eiffel Tower were now representing the world’s age, the skin of paint on the pinnacle-knob at its summit would represent man’s share of that age; and anybody would perceive that the skin was what the tower was built for. I reckon they would, I dunno.”
    quoted by Stephen Jay Gould in Time’s Arrow, Time’s Cycle (1987)

  72. #72 The Biologista
    March 13, 2009

    The lack of a date implies that Satan only has one notable peer-reviewed first-author paper. After 6000 years, that’s an abysmally weak publication record. I too am curious as to who the other authors were (no references list?). Particularly the identity of the last author. Presumably Satan’s PhD. supervisor. I have to assume that would be God.

  73. #73 AJ
    March 13, 2009

    I didn’t laugh, I did the stare-of-disbelief-gum-falling-out-of-my-mouth thing. This is so insanely dumb and retarded I feel like throwing up.

  74. #74 Aaron
    March 13, 2009

    This is going to seem irrelevant at first, but hear me out:

    I used to think it took me 30 minutes to leave my office, go pickup lunch, and come back to my office. (30 minutes starting from the moment I stand up and walk out the door, till the moment I walk back in).

    On Tuesday, I happened to glance at my watch when I left and it read 1:00pm — when I returned, my watch read 1:15pm. This clearly violates my prior belief regarding the length of time lunch takes. This raises two possible approaches to interpret this data:

    1) My belief on the duration of getting takeout was incorrect, and needs adjusting.

    2) My belief is still correct, and so I must have ACTUALLY left for lunch at 12:45pm – I am just remembering incorrectly.

    (Obviously, the way to proceed is to repeat the experiment again, and observe more closely)

    That said — the analogy here is obvious. What if, for the sake of argument, our personnel manual was considered infallible and it read “Employees will always use 30 minutes from the moment they stand up until the moment they return.”

    What now?

    I guess the one way to address the claims in this abstract is to simply *SHOW* the mutational development of those morphological features. They seem to have this notion that proper evolution should involve no organism harming another, and that it’s Satan et al’s fault (original misspelled “et al.” btw — “et” is not an abbreviation; “al” is short for “alia”) for introducing carnivorous / omnivorous tendencies.

    So does that make vegetarian families like mine somehow closer to God? Are Christian meat-and-potatoes families simply thinking they have no choice but to consume animal flesh?

    You’re right, it does make my brain hurt.

  75. #75 James Brown
    March 13, 2009

    Are they frightened of cutting themselves if they attempt to use Occam’s razor?

    (psss – Its all BS)

  76. #76 Becca Stareyes
    March 13, 2009

    Technically, wouldn’t ’6000 years ago, all predators and parasites had the gene expression to be free-living vegetarians’ be a hypothesis Wilson could actually test? It’s a dumb hypothesis, but he could at least attempt to come up with ‘See, I can show how you can get a tapeworm that doesn’t need to live in a mammal’s intestine to survive’, rather than ‘the Bible says it has to be this way, so I’m pulling stuff I remember form Bio 101 out of my ass’. And, who knows, he might learn something useful about tapeworms (or chose your favorite model organism). I mean, seriously, this is their chance to do something besides whining about how those evol evolutionists won’t let them play at the big kids’ table.

    Also, God sounds like a real ass in this — “I’ll program in a world of suffering in many horrible ways for the entire ecosystem, just in case my creations screw up.” I mean, seriously did anyone ask the bunnies or squid or ‘insert favorite animal here’ if they wanted to be plagued by bacteria and parasites and predators just because humanity can’t follow instructions?

  77. #77 me
    March 13, 2009

    So if I understand his demented logic, an alternate genome, designed to activate after the Fall, was put in place on day 6 of creation! God sure did hedge his bets – but then he created the snake after all!

    I guess Calvin was right.

  78. #78 Nic Nicholson
    March 13, 2009

    There’s more to it than that Giford, if he knew the fall was coming (clearly he did, or why would he have done things that way?) then this whole thing is nothing more than a stage play.

    Everything–torturing his kid, war, famine, disease–it’s all his plan from the beginning.

    Not just that, but what about sexual organs? Did he re-design Adam after he created Eve, or did he know in advance that Adam was going to be lonely, and made him just how he was, gonads and all, knowing Adam would ask for Eve?

    Inquiring minds want to know!

  79. #79 SLW13
    March 13, 2009

    I know this guy is banking on Nos. 1 and 2 being more scientifically likely, but I’m a big fan of No. 6:

    “At creation creatures that were to become pathogens, parasites, and predators were completely benign in all respects but at the Fall the enemy (Satan, et. al.) engaged in post-Fall genetic modification and/or bestiality that resulted in creatures with malignant behavior and morphology.”

    Because, really, is there anything that can’t be explained away by post-Fall bestiality?

  80. #80 Sigmund
    March 13, 2009

    I’ve checked Pubmed and Satan has a total of zero peer reviewed papers currently published.
    He’s clearly an ID researcher.

  81. #81 Dianne
    March 13, 2009

    Additional topic for paper: is PowerPoint a sign we missed the rapture, and are living in the tribulation?

    Well, powerpoint is a particularly evil creation. I personally like the idea that the rapture occurred and all the sincere Christians with true faith who acted as good stewards to the earth, did their good deeds in private, harmed none and sincerely prayed and worked for the good of all were taken into heaven. But while their families missed both of them, their absence didn’t really make that large of an impact demographically and so no one noticed.

    (Bonus silly theory about the rapture: it happened on 9/11/01 and everyone worthy of it was directed into one of the relevant planes, the WTC or the Pentagon. Note that the majority of the people in the WTC were NOT Christian, suggesting an ecumenical sort of rapture. Perhaps it was Odin’s doing rather than Yaweh’s.)

  82. #82 Josh
    March 13, 2009

    I suspect we’re not talking about a PhD for Satan. I figure he probably got a Doctor of Further Glorification or something similar, which might be what he was pissed about in the first place.

  83. #83 Eamon Knight
    March 13, 2009

    Well, that answers a question I’ve had for a long time: what do creationists say about all the fancy/irreducibly complex/exquisitely tuned adaptations for doing Very Nasty Things to other organisms? How is that compatible with their belief that God created everything good?

    I’ll give them credit for trying to grapple with the dilemma. The fact that they take the wrong horn….oh, well.

  84. #84 Sarcastro
    March 13, 2009

    Everybody stop dumping on the Norse. Snorri Sturluson’s version of creation is far more compatible with science than any of this Levantine garbage.

    Muspell was the singularity beyond which was only Niflheim, the absence of reality. The expansion of Muspell into Niflheim created Ginnungagap, space, out of which came Ymir, matter, and Audhumla, energy. Audhumla fed Ymir out of which sprang Buri, simple life, who begat Bor and Bestla, sexual evolution, which resulted in the kingdoms of Metazoa, Odin, Plantae, Villi, and fungi, Ve. They then changed the world, through oxygen fixing, into the habitable planet we now enjoy that is not overrun by anaerobes (frost giants).

    It could work…

  85. #85 AnthonyK
    March 13, 2009

    A Heartfelt Apology:
    I now understand that the presence of evil, natural and unnatural, in the world is all my fault
    Why oh why did I ever have that first wank?
    I am so sorry.
    I swear, I thought it was harmless.

  86. #86 tsig
    March 13, 2009

    PZ is just pissed that he didn’t get co-author recognition.

    Tough on the old ego to be just an “et. al.”

    Guess you got EXPELLED. LOL

  87. #87 Philippe
    March 13, 2009

    oh, boy, it’s serious…

    i thought it was a clever poe…

  88. #88 T. Bruce McNeely
    March 13, 2009

    I can think of only one appropriate response to this:

    Haloperidol 10 mg. IM STAT!

  89. #89 Dianne
    March 13, 2009

    The lack of a date implies that Satan only has one notable peer-reviewed first-author paper. After 6000 years, that’s an abysmally weak publication record

    Well, that would explain why he failed to obtain habilitation and ended up as god’s research assistant for all eternity…

  90. #90 IST
    March 13, 2009

    T Bruce> mmmm vitamin H

  91. #91 Lewis Thomason
    March 13, 2009

    Considering that his only research material was probably the Bible and that he has always been surrounded by fellow scientist from Liberty university he has done fairly well. Of course being batshit crazy might have helped.

  92. #92 Zorpheous
    March 13, 2009

    Yes, yes, yes,… This is all fine and dandy, but where the fuck do the elves fit into all this? How can we take this seriously if the person can’t even explain how elves came into being.

  93. #93 catgirl
    March 13, 2009

    This abstract doesn’t seem to describe any experiment at all. How is it a scientific paper with no experiment and no data? Without that, it’s just poetry.

  94. #94 SteveM
    March 13, 2009

    Re. Dave Wisker @48:

    I’m confused. If these creatures had dual gene sets at the time of creation (1), why would they need malignant genes to be designed, created and inserted into their genomes after the Fall (4)? Weren’t the front-loaded malignant genes present but just not expressed until after the Fall (2)?

    No, the numbering is a list of possible scenarios, not the sequence of events.

  95. #95 Eamon Knight
    March 13, 2009

    I mean, seriously did anyone ask the bunnies or squid or ‘insert favorite animal here’…

    Oh dear. I initially read that last item in entirely the wrong sense….

    Must be that Satanic bestiality.

  96. #96 Larry
    March 13, 2009

    It’s always so cute when kids dress up and pretend to be adults. I bet these guys put on white lab coats, a pair of thick black glasses, and carried around a clipboard.

    Simply adorable.

  97. #97 Fergie
    March 13, 2009

    My head hurt already from an insane post for one of my classes and now this. I think you owe me a beer tonight instead of the other way around! Is it 6:00 yet?

  98. #98 Xenu the Magnificent
    March 13, 2009

    HERESY! HERESY I SAY!

  99. #99 Psychodigger
    March 13, 2009

    Aaaargh!

    Come on! This has to be a joke! Nobody can really be THAT stupid!

    And besides, apparently, the devil et.al. were present before the Fall (presumably sometime in the Summer, sorry, lame joke), so God designed them as well. How does the dimwit explain that? That´s nowhere to be found in the book of genesis.

  100. #100 Dorothy
    March 13, 2009

    Pathogens, Parasites, and Predators.
    Oh, my!

  101. #101 Lowell
    March 13, 2009

    Has anyone ever seen a creationist explanation for why on Earth God would give humans scent glands? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scent_glands

    I don’t ever remember seeing one, and I think it has potential for some serious laughs.

  102. #102 Felix
    March 13, 2009

    The peer review process definitely needs an addition: the slap squad.
    Someone submitting something this stupid shall be visited promptly and slapped over the head a few times, hard and in numerical proportion with the level of dumbth.
    Continue until the stupidity has been recognized and audibly affirmed by the author. Leave notification that upon further waste of time of colleagues by submission of future, equally inane scribblings, the amount of slap will double for each instance, relative to teh previous one.

    Could help.

  103. #103 Holydust
    March 13, 2009

    -snickers at “Fall contingency”…-

    It’s like Timecube, but easier to read.

  104. #104 J-Dog
    March 13, 2009

    This is just one more dishonest religious creationist that failed to cite the source of his paper – Monty Python

    All things dull and ugly,
    all creatures short and squat.
    All things rude and nasty,
    the Lord God made the lot.

    Each little snake that poisons,
    each little wasp that stings.
    He made their brutish venum,
    he made their horrid wings.

    All things sick and cancerous
    All evil great and small.
    All things foul and dangerous,
    the Lord God made them all.

    Each nasty little hornet,
    each beastly little squid,
    Who made the spiny urchin?
    Who made the sharks? He did!!

    All things scabbed and ulcerous,
    all pox both great and small.
    Putrid foul and gangrenous,
    the Lord God made them all.

    Ramen

  105. #105 brandon
    March 13, 2009

    Why does NSA hate giants?

    “Answer. Unlike so many formerly or nominally Reformed and Presbyterian colleges today, New Saint Andrews refuses to bow the knee before the idols of our age: feminism, multiculturalism, liberalism, statism, giantism, and postmodernism.

    http://www.nsa.edu/admissions/faq.html

  106. #106 Voltaire Kinison
    March 13, 2009

    “Scripture states that: 1) every green plant was given for food (Genesis 1:30)”

    Could we make a nice Poison Ivy salad, and send it to Mr, Wilson?

  107. #107 Jeff Purser
    March 13, 2009

    Poor Satan – No peer reviews are possible since no peers exist.

  108. #108 Invigilator
    March 13, 2009

    Saint Augustine (A.D. 354-430) in his work The Literal Meaning of Genesis (De Genesi ad litteram libri duodecim) provided excellent advice for all Christians who are faced with the task of interpreting Scripture in the light of scientific knowledge. This translation is by J. H. Taylor in Ancient Christian Writers, Newman Press, 1982, volume 41.

    Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion. [1 Timothy 1.7]

  109. #109 And-U-Say
    March 13, 2009

    If this is a paper presented at a conference, then where is it? It should be readily available. Indeed, it should be liked at this bozo’s cv page at his “Univerity”. Why is it not available? Why can’t we find it?

  110. #110 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    March 13, 2009

    at the Fall the enemy (Satan, et. al.) engaged in post-Fall genetic modification and/or bestiality that resulted in creatures with malignant behavior and morphology

    I think he’s talking about furries here.

  111. #111 AmericanGodless
    March 13, 2009

    I only made it as far as the second sentence:

    “..sophisticated genetic, morphological, and behavioral arsenals (natural evil) [HA!] ..they are not the result of mutation and natural mutation [Gasping with laughter].

    So evil is natural but mutation is not. Or maybe half-not, since it is “not mutation and natural mutation”?

    Maybe mutation and unnatural mutation? Yeah, after reading on a bit, that seems to be it — switch on the evil genes (the Elfish Genes?) in response to apple-activation.

    Sounds like a whole new field for PZ to break into — call it evil-devo.

  112. #112 Anonymous
    March 13, 2009

    As a credentialed, senior ID scientist, I can confirm that I and many others have collaborated with SATAN on numerous papers. As a crypo-paleoogist myself I have co-authored papers on Consistent Synchronous Fossil Placement in Jurassic Strata and Time Compression and Wish Fulfillment in the Cambrian as well as many others. As a member of the influential “Water Invention” committee ot Deluge University, I have also supervised many gifted students such as Mr Todd and Dr Hovind through their studies
    The evidence for the flood is all around us – yay, even in the puddle at a lamp-post. And if you fools are permanently unprepared to consider the world of the entirely non sensencial for you information, then the truth and implications of our research will forever elude you.

  113. #113 Whateverman
    March 13, 2009

    Oh God, I just can’t take this level of stupidity today.

  114. #114 Hank Bones
    March 13, 2009

    Hehe. I can’t get it out of my head… Satan sodomizing a bacterium! Maybe thats why he’s been so successful: he can impregnate any of the creepy-crawlies, but Yahweh can only impregnate human virgins.

  115. #115 Scooty Puff, Jr.
    March 13, 2009

    Creotard wrote:

    were completely benign in all respects but at the Fall the enemy (Satan, et. al.) engaged in post-Fall genetic modification and/or bestiality that resulted in creatures with malignant behavior and morphology.

    He appears to be actually arguing that Satan (et. al.! Priceless!) had sex with animals for the express purpose of making them evil. Wow. You can’t make this shit up. Except that they have. Every word of it.

  116. #116 Idahodude
    March 13, 2009

    Aargh…. Just saw this at the New St. Andrew’s site”
    :

    “In recognition of the 150th anniversary of the publishing of Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species,? New Saint Andrews College is offering a one-day science camp titled “Dissecting Darwinism.?

    The camp, geared for students 15 to 18 years old from throughout the Pacific Northwest, will be held Friday, March 13, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the downtown Christian college located at 405 S. Main Street in Moscow, Idaho.

    The day camp, presented by the College’s Senior Fellow of Natural History, Dr. Gordon Wilson, is intended to assist parents and high school educators in preparing their students to understand and refute the theory of evolution from an honest scientific perspective grounded thoroughly in a Christian worldview.

    In addition to the one-day camp, parents and school administrators have the option of enrolling their student(s) in an additional correspondence unit study. The camp fee is $80 and the optional correspondence unit study is $40. Discounts are available for early registrants and groups. The camp and unit study will not result in college credit.

    Dr. Wilson teaches Natural History (Biology) at New Saint Andrews. He earned his M.S. in Entomology from the University of Idaho and a Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Public Policy from George Mason University. Dr. Wilson also served on the biology faculty of Liberty University for nearly 12 years. He was recently featured in Creation Magazine and is a new contributor to Answers Magazine. He is a frequent speaker on the subject of Intelligent Design and Creation Biology.

    For more information about the camp and to register, call or e-mail xxxxxxx”

    This stuff is starting to get me angry.

  117. #117 abb3w
    March 13, 2009

    Since it’s bound to be mentioned at some point: United States ex rel. Gerald Mayo v. Satan and His Staff

  118. #118 Doc Ness
    March 13, 2009

    Did someone put in a call for my powers?

  119. #119 AnthonyK
    March 13, 2009

    Satan sodomizing a bacterium

    Satan claimed that this at least proved he wasn’t gay like God, and God said that maybe it didn’t, but it did show that Satan had a tiny dick.

  120. #120 Glen Davidson
    March 13, 2009

    He appears to be actually arguing that Satan (et. al.! Priceless!) had sex with animals for the express purpose of making them evil.

    To be fair, who doesn’t?

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

  121. #121 Satan
    March 13, 2009

    Silly creationists. I have yet to publish any works.

    I am working on a detective series about a down-on-his-luck dick named Lucifer B. Zelbub. He’s quick with a gun, and quicker with the dames.

    If anyone knows a publisher, I would certainly like to get into talks. I definitely see this having crossover appeal to a movie.

  122. #122 Logical problem of evil
    March 13, 2009

    The New St. Sndrews College has on it’s web-site and I quote “Not Higher education as usual”. I think that says everything there.

  123. #123 Lowell
    March 13, 2009

    Abb3w:

    United States ex rel. Gerald Mayo v. Satan and His Staff

    That’s fucking hilarious. Never seen it before. Thanks.

    The deadpan tone of the opinion is priceless:

    there is an unofficial account of a trial in New Hampshire where this defendant filed an action of mortgage foreclosure as plaintiff. The defendant in that action was represented by the preeminent advocate of that day, and raised the defense that the plaintiff was a foreign prince with no standing to sue in an American Court. This defense was overcome by overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Whether or not this would raise an estoppel in the present case we are unable to determine at this time.

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

  124. #124 sethv
    March 13, 2009

    In my field of computer programming, we’ve got a name for people who blindly use techniques without understanding why: they’re called cargo cult programmers.

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cargo_Cult

    Try picturing these creation “biologists” sitting in a bamboo control tower talking into a coconut. It’s not hard.

  125. #125 Tulse
    March 13, 2009

    Why does NSA hate giants?

    That’s a darned good question — they mention “giantism” twice on their Admissions FAQ page, and cursory Googling doesn’t turn up a plausible version of the term in this sort of context. They don’t like big schools? Big churches?

  126. #126 Invigilator
    March 13, 2009

    A quibble: referring to these stories as being from the bronze-age plays into the hands of the fundies, a bit, and their assertion that the Torah (Pentateuch) was written by Moses ca. 1500 BC, toward the end of the Bronze Age in the Levant. First bits of Torah are thought by real scholars to have been written down ca. 950 BCE by the Yahwist (or J) source (by most estimates already in the Iron Age), while the Torah was not compiled and written down until about 400 BCE.

    No doubt some of the tales that fed into the Genesis creation myths go back to the Bronze Age and even the Neolithic, but the Scriptures are one case where the Creos’ contentions actually overestimate the antiquity of something.

    Those years from 4004 to 1500 BC must have been awfully busy!

  127. #127 Barklikeadog
    March 13, 2009

    He appears to be actually arguing that Satan (et. al.! Priceless!) had sex with animals for the express purpose of making them evil.

    And so why aren’t there sheep out there trying to tear our throats out? Answer that one smarty pants!

  128. #128 Chris
    March 13, 2009

    Perhaps these dual gene sets explain Werewolves.

  129. #129 AVSN
    March 13, 2009

    Dean @ 5

    I suggest not reading this blog until at least 3pm. By that time of the day it is easier to understand PZs brand of comedy.

  130. #130 Caymen Paolo Diceda
    March 13, 2009

    I highly recommend “The Age of American Unreason” Susan Jacoby, 2008: Chapter 8 The New Old-Time Religion.

    She makes the case that the “second wave” of fundamentalist resurgence in the sixties/seventies created many of these bible colleges specifically to provide a pre-school to graduate school educational insulation from mainstream thought. It goes along with christian primary/secondary schools and the home-schooling movement. Keep ‘em away from the corrupting influences of reality until their world view is formed. Scary!

  131. #131 BigZ
    March 13, 2009

    This makes my brain cry.

  132. #132 Not that Louis
    March 13, 2009

    If Satan et Al, my question for Satan is how did he taste? How did you prepare him? Fava beans with the liver?

  133. #133 randomfactor
    March 13, 2009

    Satan omnivorous!

  134. #134 Ragnarok
    March 13, 2009

    Is any biologist researching the genome to find these now dormant holy genes? PZ could really make a name for himself by taking on this project.

  135. #135 Godfrey
    March 13, 2009

    Nope…didn’t make it through without laughing.

    I’m curious if there were a way to simply say “St Augustine” to the YECs or any other twit that comes in with apologetics or some other excusions for the buy-bull, and they realize their twitterage isn’t going to be accepted in a graceful manner? Hmm…maybe some code that picks up certain words and then sends them straight to a site that won’t let the computer go, with that quote flashing red and blue ad infinitum…

  136. #136 RobNYNY1957
    March 13, 2009

    We’re missing a subtlety of his argument here. Basically, he’s trying to get God off the hook for inventing evil. His two pet theories (1 and 2) posit that God put the genes for evil in place before the Fall, and then the Fall somehow triggered the evil, which exonerates God. However, he notes that the Fall may have been preordained or fore-known (presumably by God). Then God would have the same relationship to evil as a person who puts a bomb in a car: The bomber installed the bomb, but the driver turned the ignition. Wilson would have to argue that the driver was at fault, since he turned the key, and that the bomber was innocent of wrongdoing.

  137. #137 BigZ
    March 13, 2009

    Well, we all know Satan (et al) are assholes.

    Once, he stole my wallet.

  138. #138 Moggie
    March 13, 2009

    #125:

    That’s a darned good question — they mention “giantism” twice on their Admissions FAQ page, and cursory Googling doesn’t turn up a plausible version of the term in this sort of context. They don’t like big schools? Big churches?

    I think it’s positive discrimination in favour of PYGMIES+DWARFS.

  139. #139 Norman Doering
    March 13, 2009

    Where do Satan et al. publish, anyway? Why, on a blog from hell no doubt.

    Keep ‘em away from the corrupting influences of reality until their world view is formed. Scary!

    The Zeitgeist, it’s darker than you think.

  140. #140 Ryan F Stello
    March 13, 2009

    Idahodude (#116) brought up,

    The camp fee is $80 and the optional correspondence unit study is $40.

    Holy Christ.
    No wonder many religious people confuse poverty with moral strength, they’ve already been fleeced by their fellow followers.

  141. #141 Doug
    March 13, 2009

    This is similar to a Simpsons halloween episode. A maniacal Krusty the Klown doll goes on a rampage with a steak knife, until a Charles Bronson-voiced company rep takes a look. A light-switch on the doll’s back, marked “good” and “evil” is set to “evil.” So there’s your problem- these bacteria are just set to evil! Where’s that switch?

  142. #142 humbert dinglepencker
    March 13, 2009

    Satan, L., Cthulhu, G., Zebub, B.L., Baal, L., and Asmodeus, A. (6500 BCE). A preliminary study of preparations for The Fall Of Mankind: critters that bite, sting, scratch and kill. J. Hell, Demonology, and Torments Review. 161(5): 5693-6426.

  143. #143 Barklikeadog
    March 13, 2009

    The Giants??? They are in Idaho right? Or is that San Fransico?. NSAC=Alma Mater of Palinism right? Isn’t that where Bigfoot lives? Maybe it ate their pig. I hear they really like pigs.

  144. #144 Eric
    March 13, 2009

    Here’s a piece of revisionism for you: Yahweh and Satan were, at one time, equals. Maybe even Satan was the good guy. They then got in a major row and Yahweh won. As the winner, Yahweh got to write the tale and, of course, he makes Satan out to be the bad guy. This would certainly explain how religion has really made a mess of things.

  145. #145 jj
    March 13, 2009

    He [Dr. Wilson] holds a Master of Science degree in Entomology and a Bachelor’s degree in Education (Secondary Education-Biology) from the University of Idaho.

    He has an M.Sc. in entomology and he wrote that crap? He’s a liar. I feel sorry for his supervisor and the committee members who wasted time and resources on a fraud like that. Not to mention other students who may have been turned down for grad school while his supervisor was devoting time to him.

  146. #146 Anne Hedonia
    March 13, 2009

    laughter is merely a modified primate fear response, humour like all emotion prevents humanity from evolving further.

  147. #147 Greg Peterson
    March 13, 2009

    This idea of genetically frontloading evil or whatever reminds of when I was at a creationist meeting a couple of months back, and someone asked about the (obvious, substantial) differences in the creation stories between Genesis 1 and 2. A self-styled expert piped up and took the response away from the featured speaker and “explained” that the plants referred to in the first story were the wild plants, but the second reference was to organized planting of “crops like corn” in the Garden of Eden. Really? Corn? And I just started laughing. I wasn’t trying to be mean or derisive–I was a guest in their meeting, after all. But I just wondered if this woman had even heard of, much less seen, teosinte, the weed that humans made into corn over centuries of artificial selection. She actually thought that her god had planted corn for Adam. Her god didn’t even make corn. We did.

  148. #148 Janine, Insulting Sinner
    March 13, 2009

    Does anyone else finds Anne Hedonia to be very tedious?

  149. #149 Monado, FCD
    March 13, 2009

    Whew. Science done as theology and apologetics. Proof by assertion. Nice.

    Reminds me of a BC cartoon by Johnny Hart:

    BC to Wiley: How can you be so funny? I try and try but nothing comes.

    Wiley: Straight men.

  150. #150 Tiina Järvi
    March 13, 2009

    I was sure this was an elaborate joke to mock creationists. Then I checked and realised this college actually exists as does Gordon Wilson. Who funds this kind of “schools”? The Hell Institute? Wilson et al. would be laughed out of any real university with this type of logic (and moreover, to actually publish this kind of logic in what’s supposed to be an academic paper).

  151. #151 IST
    March 13, 2009

    Posted by: Anne Hedonia | March 13, 2009 1:52 PM

    laughter is merely a modified primate fear response, humour like all emotion prevents humanity from evolving further

    wow… there’s a chain of logic with some missing links…
    So acting in a manner the conforms to our evolutionary history prevents us from further evolving? Do tell… That surely must apply to all other organisms as well, yes? Please give examples and cite literature, unless you’ve just seen how ridiculous you sound.

  152. #152 Laughter is the Best Rx
    March 13, 2009

    Anne said “laughter is merely a modified primate fear response, humour like all emotion prevents humanity from evolving further.

    Anne, Then you must be the most evolved uv us all? Do you scream when u come to Jesus?

  153. #153 Ryk
    March 13, 2009

    OW!! that was painful and I stopped at AP biology. Are there any biologists who have died from reading this. Stupid of this magnitude can be fatal and I imagine a biologist would have only limited resistance when it is applied to his area of expertise.

  154. #154 Caymen Paolo
    March 13, 2009

    see Jacoby’s book cited in #130 above for their strategy and funding.

  155. #155 Paper Hand
    March 13, 2009

    I have to say. #1 is, at least, a testable hypothesis, in principle. If every creature had dual gene sets, then there must be genes for herbivory, simply unexpressed, in “evil” organisms. So, just sequence a tapeworm’s genome and see if you can find any genes for, e.g., digesting plant material …

  156. #156 Paper Hand
    March 13, 2009

    Anne:

    What is “more evolved”? What standards are there for determining what’s more or less evolved? You’ve stated that you’re an atheist, so there can’t be any external criteria ((G/g)od(s)).

    What would be the point of being “more evolved” if we lacked emotions to enjoy being more evolved?

  157. #157 Monado, FCD
    March 13, 2009

    Zorpheus [92], that’s it! The perfect counter to “but what about the Big Bang” {it was very nice, thank you!) or “that doesn’t explain the origin of life” or “but how did water molecules evolve, ay?). Now we can all respond, “But what about the Elves?!”

  158. #158 Sintesi
    March 13, 2009

    I love that second paragraph. Posing as the serious scholar and casually name dropping all that Latin nomenclature – as if the half-wits that actually read his papers have facility with such terminology. Sure, after the “Baramin Study Group” has determined how many angels can dance on the head of a pin you can bet the very next issue on their minds is finding an answer to that vexing toxoglossate radula problem. I buy that.

  159. #159 Josh
    March 13, 2009

    Posted by: Anne Hedonia | March 13, 2009 1:52 PM laughter is merely a modified primate fear response, humour like all emotion prevents humanity from evolving further

    Wow. Do I smell an Ayn Rand complex developing?

  160. #160 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 13, 2009

    Posted by: Anne Hedonia | March 13, 2009 1:52 PM

    laughter is merely a modified primate fear response, humour like all emotion prevents humanity from evolving further.

    Whatever you say Spock.

  161. #161 Inky
    March 13, 2009

    Further correction:

    It’s “et al.,”, not “et. al.” or “et. al.,”.

    Btw, his Ph.D. is for Environmental Science and Public Policy, George Mason University.
    M.S. Entomology and “Bachelor’s degree in Education (Secondary Education-Biology)”, University of Idaho.

    Frankly, I think this is just a major case of cognitive dissonance trying to resolve itself. Had some science and some God but the twain shall not meet? Come up with a jumbled rationale that might force these together. Too bad not enough of the science stuck.

    P.S. I love “evil-devo”! Awesome.

  162. #162 Geds
    March 13, 2009

    From Idahodude #116: He earned his M.S. in Entomology from the University of Idaho and a Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Public Policy from George Mason University.

    Is it possible for the University of Idaho or George Mason to revoke this guy’s degrees? Seems like he’d be something of an institutional embarrassment…

  163. #163 Barklikeadog
    March 13, 2009

    Qumquate ma parents r in the nxt rm…

  164. #164 Greta Christina
    March 13, 2009

    You know, you try to make mean- spirited, mocking fun of these people… and then they beat you to the punch, by making bigger asses of themselves, all by themselves, than you possibly ever could.

    Maybe irony really is on its last legs.

  165. #165 AJ Milne
    March 13, 2009

    Humour like all emotion prevents humanity from evolving further…

    Standard great chain of being misconception tentatively detected. We will evolve quite regardless of our intentions and behaviour. And ‘further’ is both a redundant and nonsensical qualifier, as that is both the only direction, and barely counts as a direction, exactly… Keep in mind our surviving descendants in a few billion years, if there are any, are about as likely to look like intestinal fluke as anything else specifically, among currently extant forms…

    Whether you view this as an improvement, against our current condition, is a bit subjective, seems to me.

    Anyway, as to laughter, laughter takes many roles. It can prop up power or subvert it. But power finds its unusually threatening, in that latter role. It has a certain accessibility, flexibility. It is easily used by the powerless, and strikes particularly hard at the false sense of dignity certain power-mongering types do like to attempt to create around themselves as a shield against criticism. Authoritarian systems in general–and religions in particular–tend to fear it, and with good reason.

    Twain, in The Mysterious Stranger, on its power to blow colossal humbugs to rags and atoms at a blast, comes particularly to mind, obviously.

  166. #166 geezer
    March 13, 2009

    I sense Baraminimum research here.

  167. #167 raven
    March 13, 2009

    Just for the horror thrill of it, I checked on prices for New St. Andrews College. It wasn’t as all that expensive.

    Tuition is $9,200/year. No dorms. I could estimate living expenses at $4,000/year. Total $13,200/year.

    If the biology department is any indication, it is a waste of $50,000 for a degree. Might as well send $100 to a diploma mill and be done with it.

    Seems to be a Christian Reformed oriented school. Oddly enough, the CRs don’t have much of a problem with evolution. After persecuting van Nil(sp?) for 4 years at Calvin, they finally decided that burning biologists at the stake wasn’t worth the effort. While you do get get rid of the biologist, it is also bad PR and the neighbors complain about the smoke and the secular authorities get all bent out of shape.

    Might be a CR schismatic group. Most of these denominations have split so many times, it is hard to keep track of who hates who.

  168. #168 God comic
    March 13, 2009

    This is very scary stupid.

  169. #169 Tally
    March 13, 2009

    Fundamentalists’ capacity for derangement and hilarity have been proven, once again, to be inexhaustible. Wonderful.

  170. #170 Trent
    March 13, 2009

    So when God looked at all of creation and declared it “good”, what He really meant was “good with a built in genetic potential to be evil in case of the fall.” Makes sense to me.

  171. #171 Ricardo Silvestre
    March 13, 2009

    This is the part that is more worrying:

    “Dr. Wilson and wife Meredith have four children”

    Poor children

  172. #172 Ninguino
    March 13, 2009

    Oh what a tangled web we weave,
    When first we practise to deceive!

    Sir Walter Scott, Marmion, Canto vi. Stanza 17.

  173. #173 raven
    March 13, 2009

    “Answer. Unlike so many formerly or nominally Reformed and Presbyterian colleges today, New Saint Andrews refuses to bow the knee before the idols of our age: feminism, multiculturalism, liberalism, statism, giantism, and postmodernism.

    Aha!!! It does appear that St. Andrews is part of a schismatic cult. Death Cultists.

    In times past, they would have settled points of dogma with the Fake Xian(tm) CRs or Presbyterians such as evolution, multiculturalism, feminism, or democracy on the field of battle. Nowadays, they just post stupid crap on websites.

    I was guessing that a 4 year degree at New St. Andrews Christofacist U. was a waste of $50K. No doubt about it now.

  174. #174 Ray Ladbury
    March 13, 2009

    Methinks Anne Hedonia is punking you. In any case, my modified primate brain is laughing it’s figurative ass off.

    Now as to Dr. Wilson’s Ouvre–that has to be the most frightening thing ever produced by the mind of man. My eyes have 3rd degree stupidity burns from reading. My ears are ringing from the cognitive dissonance. I’m so speechless I’m running out of metaphors to mix.

  175. #175 Paul (A.)
    March 13, 2009

    Followup research is reported by Todd C. Wood by examining bacterial genomic data (P4) and a research proposal by the eminent Dr. Wilson himself involving prey defense mechanisms (I like his plan for measuring a cat’s heart rate when faced with a rattlesnake) (C16) here (pdf).

  176. #176 MikeyM
    March 13, 2009

    I can’t even imagine how primitive things must be at the OLD St.Andrews College.

  177. #177 --E
    March 13, 2009

    That’s the most awesome Poe I have ever seen. Usually they’re so tedious and stupid, but this one has such a high hilarity quotient!

    I hope the story on his degrees is that he earned them before he suffered whatever accident caused his thought process to derail. Or perhaps he just snapped under the pressure of grad school? “Surely only Satan himself could create this environment! Probably by fornicating with bacteria! Or giants!”

  178. #178 Hank Fox
    March 13, 2009

    I’ll bet the work that led to the Satan citation was all done by grad students. Professor Satan only took credit for it.

  179. #179 Flea
    March 13, 2009

    This is no Poe! The guy actually exists: http://www.nsa.edu/community/faculty/wilsonG.html

  180. #180 Menyambal
    March 13, 2009

    Erm, how about an even simpler possibility? All critters were created benign, reproducing normally. After the Fall, God simply re-arranged the genetic material of the next generation, right around fertilization (to reduce workload), and benign critters gave birth to their evil descendants. Nothing had to be created, just manipulated.

    “dirtman and ribwoman” Great, KI! Thanks.

    “vast ignorance in a Christian” Great, Saint Augustine! Thanks, Invigilator.

  181. #181 extatyzoma
    March 13, 2009

    i would love to hear a paper on the biblical nature of the various male penis’s (plural?) its so obvious that those impressive ones on donkeys are the work of the divine creator.

    what a dumbfuck.

    I like the way these people use the longest most tongue twisting words in biology just so it makes them sound like they are smart.

  182. #182 The Backpacker
    March 13, 2009

    Check out my new anti stupid suit. It is good up to 20,000 degrees of stupid.

    So what are you guys talking abo…. THE STUPID IT BURNS!!!! SOMEBODY HELP ME!!!!

  183. #183 varlo
    March 13, 2009

    I kept waiting for the punch line, or some sort of denouement … and waiting … and waiting.

  184. #184 Barklikeadog
    March 13, 2009

    Matt said; “I can’t even imagine how primitive things must be at the OLD St.Andrews College.”

    IIRC The Real St.Andrews College is in Scotland;Or was that just a Golf Course? but there are many more including Canada & N.Z.

  185. #185 IST
    March 13, 2009

    I’m wondering, after viewing his bio, why a guy with an entomology degree and a degree more in the politics of env. Sci. is doing research on box turtles… that and how much he paid JMU and George Mason to lecture there on “Evolution, fact, fiction, or faith”.

  186. #186 AnthonyK
    March 13, 2009

    You know, you try to make mean- spirited, mocking fun of these people… and then they beat you to the punch, by making bigger asses of themselves, all by themselves, than you possibly ever could.

    Maybe irony really is on its last legs.

    How true! All we can do here is mock and swear.
    Sigh.
    Now fuck off you sanctimonious moron, and don’t forget your arse-dentures.

  187. #187 Tulse
    March 13, 2009

    I’ll bet the work that led to the Satan citation was all done by grad students. Professor Satan only took credit for it.

    It may be worse than that, as there’s a nasty rumour that the research was actually falsified…

  188. #188 Craig Messerman
    March 13, 2009

    Satan, L., Cthulhu, G., Zebub, B.L., Baal, L., and Asmodeus, A. (6500 BCE). A preliminary study of preparations for The Fall Of Mankind: critters that bite, sting, scratch and kill. J. Hell, Demonology, and Torments Review. 161(5): 5693-6426.

    Excellent reference, but the JHDTR only has one volume: no.666.

  189. #189 Michael Edmondson
    March 13, 2009

    Venomous snakes are venomous… possibly because Satan had sex with their pure, vegetarian, happy snake great-grandparents ? I’m sold. Where is the kool-aid at?

  190. #190 Akiko
    March 13, 2009

    It frightens me that there are so many ignorant people out there that spend so much time and energy on their fantasies. This is no different than trying to prove the existence of leprechans or fairies. Think of all the thousands of people who believe this stuff. Wow. It is heartbreaking really.

  191. #191 stoat100
    March 13, 2009

    This kind of thing always reminds me of Gulliver’s Travels:

    ‘He has been eight years upon a project for extracting sunbeams out of cucumbers, which were to be put in phials hermetically sealed, and let out to warm the air in raw inclement summers.’

    Exactly as useful…

  192. #192 Roberto Keller
    March 13, 2009

    I think the complete reference is:

    Satan, Lucifer, & Beelzebub. (4004 BCE) On the great evils of Creation, with special reference to minor demons. Occasional Letters on Natural Evils 1(1):1?666.

  193. #193 FTFKDad
    March 13, 2009

    They failed to provide any mention of the Vermicious Knid in their list of evil creatures. An obvious omission.

  194. #194 David
    March 13, 2009

    that’s a lot of research Satan et al. had to conduct. Gene insertion, expression regulation, and so forth. He/She had to determine how to modify genes for behavior, for tooth shape, for GI tract function, and many other aspects of function, for numerous organisms.

    Where did Satan et al. get the funding to support that work? An RO1? which NIH study section? who gave them a priority rating score? how would you like to be Satan’s budget manager?

  195. #195 Charles
    March 13, 2009

    1-4 says the same thing essentially, and then 5 and 6 contradicts them. Most unintelligent thing I have seen in a while but then again that’s what we come to expect from people such as this…

    I tried searching the Journal of Demonology for that Satan et al. paper but I can’t seem to find it…anyone else had any luck?

  196. #196 AnthonyK
    March 13, 2009

    Where did Satan et al. get the funding to support that work?

    “Satan” is entirely funded by the Evil Continuation Committee of the
    “Al” is merely a pseudonym for the shadowy entity known as Op Cit.

  197. #197 CatBallou
    March 13, 2009

    I’m with Ragnarok:

    Is any biologist researching the genome to find these now dormant holy genes?

    Could this possibly be the first testable hypothesis to come out of “creation science”?

  198. #198 AmericanGodless
    March 13, 2009

    Ninguino #172:

    Oh what a tangled web we weave,
    When first we practise to deceive!
    Sir Walter Scott, Marmion, Canto vi. Stanza 17.

    My wife likes to modify it to “..When first we practice to believe!”

  199. #199 amphiox
    March 13, 2009

    This is cargo cult science at its finest (ie most entertaining).

    And I’m with #174. Anne Hedonia = anhedonia = the inability to experience pleasure from normally pleasurable events, methinks.

  200. #200 mikmik
    March 13, 2009

    I slipped and fell yesterday. Am I going to mutate great bubbling pits of nastiotopal flatuflagmeres in my pores now?

  201. #201 AnthonyK
    March 13, 2009

    Ooops. I meant:
    “Satan” is entirely funded by the Evil Continuation Committee of the Abrahamic Religion Dissimulation Panel
    “Al” is merely a pseudonym for the shadowy entity known as Op Cit.

  202. #202 BW022
    March 13, 2009

    Wow.

    Bacteria can now sin? Bad bacteria! Don’t absorb that protein or you aren’t going to heaven!

  203. #203 Kimbo Jones
    March 13, 2009

    I hate when people get the “Name et al.” punctuation wrong.

  204. #204 Jim Lund
    March 13, 2009

    A PubMed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?db=pubmed) search of biological publications finds no papers published by Satan but twenty-three with God as an author. You may draw your own conclusions from this…

  205. #205 Health Physicist
    March 13, 2009

    ****Here is YouTube video(s) of Todd Wood et al*****

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4Z_yyHSH1A

  206. #206 NewEnglandBob
    March 13, 2009

    Obviously, Gordon Wilson has a defective brain.

    This lunacy made me laugh and cry and wonder how far backward this guy bent over to come up with this stuff.

    How can colleges like his achieve accreditation?

    Do these agencies actually mean anything?
    http://www.distance-learning-college-guide.com/college-accreditation.html

  207. #207 Yodood
    March 13, 2009

    I thought this was a science blog. Why do so many of you intelligent people keep asking the same ignorant question of such an obvious answer. It seems no mystery how people can write such stupid screeds ? they start with the conclusion that a literal interpretation of the Bible is a goal to be achieved by returning safely from as creative a flight of fancy as is left to their stifled curiosity. It’s a contest in which they believe that by getting science to throw over evolution for intelligent design, along with dinosaurs’ being a test of faith, they will ejaculate the second coming.

    You have to admit, this dildo misused a lot more polysyllabic words than your average “whole ecos” denier.

  208. #208 MartyM
    March 13, 2009

    Who are “et al”? I mean we know of Satan and his ultimate cosmic powers, but who are the rest with ultimate cosmic powers?

  209. #209 Badger3k
    March 13, 2009

    Haven’t read all the comments yet, but considering Satan’s publication record – he can’t write any more since he was Expelled!

    Teach the controversy!

    (writing that down, that phrase sounds like the “baba booey” from Howard Stern, meant to be shouted)

    As for the rest, if these writers are Calvinists, then they spout a particularly venomous and disgusting brand of Christianity, so I’m not surprised by anything in this document.

  210. #210 Nightsky
    March 13, 2009

    AnthonyK@196: I knew it! Forget Teh Jooz, it’s this shady “Op Cit” outfit that REALLY controls the press. Between them and their sister evil organiation “Ibid”, they’ve got everything published. Now THAT’S power.

  211. #211 RayB
    March 13, 2009

    sethv @ 124: reminds me of something I recently posted:

    They call it “Creation Science”.

    We see over the last 20 years or so an attack not just on evolution, but all science, including geology, astronomy, and biochemistry (even denying our understanding of the genetic code) because these disciplines conflict with their inflexible ideas about their rather weak and unimaginative god. But they can’t deny the enormous advances made by science and the benefits of the technology it has spawned. So they imitate science by creating institutions and universities to pursue “christian science”. They have become a sort of scientific cargo cult – building labs, wearing white coats, publishing in journals, etc – in the hope that their god will one day restore them as the true arbiters of knowledge. Like other cargo cultists, they haven’t a clue why acting out these rituals is not enough, and it irks them that real scientists don’t respect them.

    I call it Cargo Cult Science.

  212. #212 the pro from dover
    March 13, 2009

    Please don’t confuse New St. Andrews University with St. Andrew UMC in Highlands Ranch Co. (shameless plug here.) Now I know I’ve been gently criticized in the past here for supporting Christianity, but you’ve got to admit that this is pretty funny. Where is this level of athiest humor?? And where did they get a logo that looks like it was lifted from the 4th Led Zeppelin album? Didn’t Sarah Palin go to the University of Idaho?,those potatoes up there must contain an awful lot of ergotamine derivatives. Robert Hazen is a professor at George Mason University, I wonder what he would say about this alumnus and his proposed scholarship. I agree that St. Augustine must be turning over in his grave, in fact recently he must be doing so much spinning that he’s likely to drill himself right out of his tomb. Then he can go to Brazil and pay someone a visit.

  213. #213 Mobius
    March 13, 2009

    It astounds me that someone could say that with a straight face, let alone in all seriousness. These guys are loons.

  214. #214 RayB
    March 13, 2009

    This kind of publication just cries out for the same treatment physicist Alan Sokal gave to Postmodern Constructivism (PMC)some years back: he wrote a paper, as a physicist, critising physics using PMC language and buzz words. He deliberately included multiple errors in the physics. The PMCers where so excited to get a paper from a physicist that appeared to validate their viewpoint that they published it in one of their peer reviewed journals. None of the reviewers discovered the errors (even a freshman physics student would have seen them). Sokal then came forward and revealed that the paper was meaningless and full of errors, thus showing what a crock PMC is. It was the ultimate Poe.

    We need a prominent biologist to write a paper in this mode using erroneous biological “facts” to validate their viewpoint and submit it for publication. Bonus points if the author gets them to agree that if the biological “facts” were otherwise in would invalidate their beliefs. If they publish it it would destroy their credibility completely, even among other “christian scientists”.

  215. #215 Rodney
    March 13, 2009

    It seems that Gordon Wilson is real:

    http://www.nsa.edu/community/faculty/wilsonG.html

  216. #216 AnthonyK
    March 13, 2009

    I agree that there is a sinister convergence of interests between op cit and ibid. Apparently they both come from the same place.
    Please submit other footnote jokes to the address specified in the subscript.

  217. #217 Sven DiMilo
    March 13, 2009

    He has an M.Sc. in entomology and he wrote that crap?

    A lot of Entomology departments at land-grant ag schools have little use for the evolution of insects. In fact, they have little use for most insects period. All they care about are the specific agricultural pests of economic importance in their state, and how best to kill them. Insect ecologists call ‘em “nozzleheads.”

  218. #218 howard hershey
    March 13, 2009

    “every green plant was given for food (Genesis 1:30)”

    Anyone who takes that literally should be fed oleander leaf salad, use poison ivy leaves for toilet paper, and be fed a (final) dessert of castor bean pudding.

  219. #219 Leon
    March 13, 2009

    Wow, did you catch that?

    Certain creatures have particular “arsenals (natural evil) that clearly testify to the God’s eternal power and divine nature”

    In his very first paragraph he’s saying that evil exists because of God! That would be consistent with the Bible:

    • 2 Kings 6:33 “Behold, this evil is of the LORD”
    • Isaiah 45 “I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.”
    • Amos 3:6 “shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?”
  220. #220 Rodney
    March 13, 2009

    Oh, and he’s also the author of “Designed for Defense: Reptiles and Amphibians Thwarting Predators in a Fallen World”

  221. #221 Didac
    March 13, 2009

    Satan et al.? Mmm. It means that Satan performed the bench work. Who was the director of the experiment? And the title: “A single apple temptation could trigger a World Fall event”.

  222. #222 MS
    March 13, 2009

    And today this guy is giving a “Dissecting Darwin” camp to high school kids:

    http://www.nsa.edu/news/newsupdates.html#Anchor-Januar-35071

  223. #223 'Tis Himself
    March 13, 2009

    Oh what a tangled web we weave,
    When first we practice macrame!

    BTW, who is this Al character everyone’s talking about?

  224. #224 brokenSoldier, OM
    March 13, 2009

    were morphologically and behaviorally benign and then subsequent to the Fall malignant genes were designed, created, and incorporated…

    BINGO!! He has just inadvertantly shown why ID and creationism are one in the same, and no amount of equivocation can pry them apart.

    If ID posits an intelligent designer, then they are saying that life was designed. What they are actively not saying is how that design came to be implemented in the natural world. Since they deny the natural mechanisms of evolution, the only logical conclusion that can follow is that the designer then subsequently created that which he designed, thus negating their claims to separation from creationism.

  225. #225 Pdiff
    March 13, 2009

    From the NSA “… New Saint Andrews refuses to bow the knee before the idols of our age: feminism, multiculturalism, liberalism, statism, giantism, and postmodernism. “

    It gets better. With this shit on their WEB page, the Grand Pooba of NSA, Doug Wilson, then turns around and refers to locals who oppose him as intolerant. Of course we proudly took up the moniker. We are now known as “Wilsonian Intoleristas”. And check it out! We have Roy Zimmerman coming to town, too! Woo Hoo!

    http://www.moscowcares.com/Wingding

    We’re not sure if Gordon will make it, but y’all are welcome to drop by …

    Pdiff

  226. #226 Idahodude
    March 13, 2009

    Gordon Wilson is a real individual. His brother is Douglas Wilson who recently completed a debate tour with Christopher Hitchens!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=colcpU4ZxO8

  227. #227 MS
    March 13, 2009

    Something I just noticed: New St. Andrews College is extremely Calvinist, but this guy went there from Liberty University. I thought Baptists were generally Arminian (i.e. not believing in predestination). Did he have a change of heart, theologically? Very strange.

  228. #228 AJ Milne
    March 13, 2009

    Gordon Wilson is a real individual…

    That’s one of them thar’ euphemisms I’ve heard about, right?

  229. #229 DaveL
    March 13, 2009

    From the NSA “… New Saint Andrews refuses to bow the knee before the idols of our age: feminism, multiculturalism, liberalism, statism, giantism, and postmodernism. “

    Excuse me? Giantism?

  230. #230 Intelligent Designer
    March 13, 2009

    My latest blog entry features youtube video staring some atheist apologist. I am wondering if that person frequents Pharyngula and if he would care to respond.

  231. #231 Sven DiMilo
    March 13, 2009

    Gordon Wilson speaks!…and speaks…and speaks…and speakszzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  232. #232 Cannabinaceae
    March 13, 2009

    @218:

    “Leaves of three, good TP!”

    Don’t make the mistake of trying to teach that rhyme to young people, like I did, or you might alienate your wife*, like I did. Still, I think she’s finally relieved that we (i.e. I) never had kids.

    *Spousal unit, whatever.

  233. #233 scooter
    March 13, 2009

    Haysus Christo on a Tortilla, the fucking guy is actually Handling
    a Snake
    on his University webpage !!!
    _______________________
    The Jesus, Food, Zombie, Grilled Cheese Sandwich Connection

  234. #234 Matt
    March 13, 2009

    Satan et al. 2002 refers to the too little cited paper in the Journal of The Fall (JoTF).

    Satan, W., J. J. Abyzou, F. P. Gader’el and W. N. Naamah
    2002 Cadere and Credit: How Satanic Powers Can Be Shown to Be Responsible for Sin and The Fall. Journal of The Fall 568(3):117-153.

    See also:

    Christ, J. H. and B. Elohim
    2003 Reply to Satan et al.: No, I did It, and So Help Me, I’ll Do It Again. Journal of The Fall 569(1):73-74.

    If you doubt this is possible, how is it there are PYGMIES + DWARFS??

  235. #235 brokenSoldier, OM
    March 13, 2009

    (Not-so) Intelligent Designer:

    I am wondering if that person frequents Pharyngula and if he would care to respond.

    A) I don’t know.

    B) Considering the utter bullshit written beneath that video, I doubt it’d be worth it.

  236. #236 Zarquon
    March 13, 2009

    Satan publishes in The New Journal of Malology

    The Journal of Malology became The New Journal of Malology when the editorial staff was devoured by plague-bearing zombies, which then became the new editors.

  237. #237 Ryan Cunningham
    March 13, 2009

    Satan was the lead author, but we all know God was his advisor.

  238. #238 Tom
    March 13, 2009

    The only questions I have are who exactly is the “et. al.” in “Satan, et. al.”, and is Satan taking job applications? And does he have a decent medical plan?

  239. #239 JBlilie
    March 13, 2009

    There is a species of ape in South America. These apes display very strange behavior. They gather in certain places and perform an odd repetitive coughing or barking call. It seems to give pleasure and provide for group cohesion …

    (And they live elsewhere than South America.)

  240. #240 Steve
    March 13, 2009

    Somebody should tell them about vCJD. No genetic code.

  241. #241 Steve
    March 13, 2009

    Satan published a peer-reviewed paper? I have GOT to read that one.

  242. #242 Wes
    March 13, 2009

    If you look at the “Occasional Papers from the Baraminology Study group” (*snort!*) publications from which this ridiculous abstract was obtained, you’ll notice, mixed in there with all the idiotic Young Earth Creationist nonsense about Noah’s flood and such, papers by none other than Paul Nelson of the Discovery institute, and good old persecution-victim Richard Sternberg.

    Not that Intelligent Design has anything to do with creationism or anything.

    See the document here:

    http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:eBbvQz8xq0cJ:documents.clubexpress.com/documents.ashx%3Fkey%3DBiQ8jmi1eERm13DEVNiANPYDZZPDqT5GFA1j2fGAYbE%253D+%22The+Origins+of+Natural+Evil%22+Wilson&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a

  243. #243 Sastra
    March 13, 2009

    Ray B #214 wrote:

    We need a prominent biologist to write a paper in this mode using erroneous biological “facts” to validate their viewpoint and submit it for publication… If they publish it it would destroy their credibility completely, even among other “christian scientists”.

    I’m going to make a guess that this guy and his group are probably not terribly respected among the “mainstream” creationist communities at Answers In Genesis and The Discovery Institute. He’s making the same mistakes the New Agers make, and that most modern creationists have learned to avoid:

    He’s being specific.

    Once you start trying to get into clear details on how God arranged the genome or how psychic powers work, you start sounding like someone writing gibberish for a bad science fiction story, and it’s too easy for people who actually know and understand the field to call you out on word salad like “morphological malignant genes” or “quantum energy vibratory resonance.”

    The savvy creationists have learned how to distance themselves from people who aren’t vague enough.

    ?It is impossible to devise a scientific experiment to describe the creation process, or even to ascertain whether such a process can take place,? Henry Morris, Scientific Creationism

  244. #244 scooter
    March 13, 2009

    I always wondererd what the St. like in St. Andrews stood for. I thought it was ‘street’ for a long time.

    Now I’m thinking ‘Sanctimonious turd’, anybody know anything about this?

  245. #245 Stever
    March 13, 2009

    Apparently, since evil was pre-programed at creation, we’re all a bunch of suckers taken in by a creator who knew all along we’d have to switch over to that alternate DNA. Bernie Madoff had hatched a kinder scheme.

    Bah! What a sap we is.

  246. #246 marcus
    March 13, 2009

    No! No! Teh Stupid. My brain! It burns! It buuurrrrrnnns!!!!!

  247. #247 Josh
    March 13, 2009

    Young Earth Creationist

    You know what? These people are enemies of education, reason, and, well, essentially all people who think. I don’t think they deserve capital letters. I might put it in a different font or something, but I don’t think I’m going to make yec a title anymore, at least not one that I’m gonna capitalize. They haven’t earned it.

  248. #248 CJ Klok
    March 13, 2009

    “2. had malignant morphological gene sets expressed for an imminent preordained (or fore-known) Fall…”

    The qualifiers “preordained” and “fore-known” thus imply that the ‘creator’ not only knew, but actually planned for it all to go pear-shaped. Then when it did, threw a hissy fit and damned all creation.
    Something is seriously wrong with a supposed perfect supreme being who deliberately rigs the game and then whines when his/hers/its (self-sabotaged) rules are transgressed.

    In reality the ‘supreme’ being’s only flaw is his/her/its non-existence.

  249. #249 Wes
    March 13, 2009

    There are plenty of other idiotic abstracts in there, too. Check this one out:

    P12. What Happened to the Dinosaurs?

    A.V. Chadwick

    Southwestern Adventist University

    The demise of the dinosaurs is a topic of continuing discussion and debate, as well as widespread interest. The various theories for the fate of the dinosaurs make interesting reading. How much is fiction, how much is fact? The answers are of great interest to those of us seeking to understand the past history of the earth.
    We have had the privilege of being involved in excavation and study of one of the largest dinosaur bone beds in the world from the Upper Cretaceous Lance Formation in eastern Wyoming. These bones represent the remains of as many as 10,000 dinosaurs and other animals. The fauna we have recognized up until now includes mammal genera represented by teeth: Cimolodon, Cimolestes, Multituberculata sp. indet., Gypsonictops, Mesodma; dinosaur genera represented by bones or teeth: Edmontosaurus, Tricertops, Nanotyrannus, Tyrannosaurus, Pachycephalosaurus, Saurornitholestes, Troodon, Ricardoestesia, Thescelosaurus, Aublysodon, Nodosaurus?; other reptiles: Leptochamops, Brachychampsa, Leidysuchus, various species of turtles; fish genera represented by teeth: Placodon, Kindleya, Lepisosteus, Myledaphus, Lissodus, Squatirhina, Ischyrhiza, Lissodus, as well as several genera of bivalves and gastropods and many plant families.

    We have developed new techniques for preserving the information from our excavations using digital photographs, high-resolution GPS, and GIS software. This enables us to recreate in the computer, precise virtual photographic maps of the distribution of all bones, bone fragments, teeth and ossified tendons found in the quarry. We have used the same technology to determine accurate maps of the bone distribution in outcrop and the extent of the bed.
    The study is on-going and we are in the midst of our fifth season of excavation. While our results at this point are still tentative, we have established some points to conclusion. The bones are preserved in a bed less than one meter thick in a poorly cemented mudstone. Most of the bones are preserved in pristine condition, and do not appear to have been exposed to weathering subsequent to death. Most bones are also disarticulated and skeletal elements are dispersed in a random fashion. However the bones occur in a clearly defined normally graded bed within the mudstone interval. There is also a consistent sorting by bone type within the graded interval such that certain bone types appear, independent of size, at well-defined positions within the bed. At this time it is clear that the dinosaurs did not die where the bones now lie, but they must have died in close proximity elsewhere, and subsequently been remobilized within the mudstone and catastrophically transported as a unit to their present location. Apparently there was some scavenging of the remains prior to transport, as the teeth of carnivores are associated with the transported remains. Some bones bear tooth marks that could relate to cause of death or to subsequent scavenging.

    A conceivable scenario for the bone bed is the following: A huge number of dinosaurs, perhaps as many as 100,000 Edmontosaurus and other forms, drown during a megacatastrophic flood. Some dinosaurs are still alive, perhaps mostly carnivorous forms. The dead dinosaurs are washed out across an extensive flood plain or transported across open water to a leeward shore where they accumulate as a gigantic lag on an oversteepened delta front. There, the rotting carcasses are scavenged by carnivores. During the process of decomposition and scavenging, the bones become disarticulated and separated. With continued accumulations of sediment, the delta front becomes unstable, and finally, perhaps triggered by seismic activity, the delta front gives way, remobilizing the now disarticulated dinosaur remains along with the suspending muddy matrix. As the mass continues moving downslope, the bones are sorted during transport into a normally graded bed. The flow slows, losing energy until it finally comes to rest in what is now an eroded landscape in eastern Wyoming where the bones are once again coming to life.

    And this one just had me rolling on the floor with laughter:

    P11. Discovering the Creator?and What He Teaches Us About Teaching

    Sheila Richardson

    Independent Scholar

    In the exciting world of scientific research, the subject of education often slips quietly to the background. All too often the educator is regarded as one who ?can?t do, so he teaches.? The prevalent attitudes are reflected in salaries, in prestige, in priorities. In contrast, God?s Word makes it clear that teaching is clearly a priority of the Creator (Deut. 4:1, 6:6-7; Job 12:7-9; Matt. 4:23; John 14:26; Rom. 1:20, 12:6-7; Col. 3:16; I Tim. 5:17). Since education is rarely considered at science conferences, it is imperative for us as Christians to focus on the issue of education as we ?discover the Creator.?

    While origins education should begin with the very young (as soon as a child is able to touch, taste, smell, hear, and see created things), the target age for more intense instruction should be the early teens. The emotional and physical development of this group provides challenges to the educator. Once the educator meets these challenges, however, he will discover that the principles and strategies utilized are equally successful in reaching older teens and adults.

    Educational principles for all ages can be identified as we ?discover the Creator.? God as the Supreme Communicator illustrates the need for clarity, for simplicity, for defining terms in alternate ways, and for repetition. His love of variety is evidenced by the varied learning styles of His creatures, suggesting different requirements for auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learners. Jesus? teaching illustrates how teachers can use simple analogies to explain complex concepts. For example, the structure of DNA can be taught using marshmallows, gumdrops and toothpicks. Continuity, discontinuity, and baraminology can be clarified through the use of clip art cut outs, and mediated design can be explained through Mr. Potato Head.

  250. #250 Ditch
    March 13, 2009

    wibble.

  251. #251 BlueIndependent
    March 13, 2009

    Yeah, I’d love to see how they resolve “evil” genes being in living things that all are supposed to have been created by their god. Question: why would your god design in possible evil, only to have it play out that way? As usual they can’t escape everything bad ultimately returning to their god at some point.

    Ultimately “he’s” responsible for everything “he” hates, and then expects us to clean it up, while giving “him” praise.

  252. #252 scooter
    March 13, 2009

    Wes @ 249

    Shouldn’t that be Dr. Potatohead ?

  253. #254 viggen
    March 13, 2009

    Just… wow. People believe that stuff???

    Some combination of these require either that god had pre-meditated the Fall and is therefore malicious or that god is neither omnipotent nor omniscient. Whatever way you look at it, this creationist is somehow contradicting some precept of his own religion since god must either be the source of evil, or he must be fallible.

  254. #255 Greg Peterson
    March 13, 2009

    CJ, my girlfriend and I have taken to calling that the “fireman/arsonist” syndrome. God sets the human race on fire. Sends his only begotten fireman. And then expects us to be grateful for putting it out. That’s not a divine plan; that’s a mental disease.

  255. #256 Barklikeadog
    March 13, 2009

    Dr. Wilson says “He can only violently hose the students down”…

    That’s from his Bio on the college?s web-site. Of course it’s entirely out of context and blatantly dishonest to portray him in such a light but…..

  256. #257 Facilis
    March 13, 2009

    This is hilarious. I can’t believe people study this.
    “Baramin Study group” lol.

  257. #258 Alex
    March 13, 2009

    Whatever way you look at it, this creationist is somehow contradicting some precept of his own religion since god must either be the source of evil, or he must be fallible.

    Not unless it works in mysterious ways, which we all know, it does. Wooo.

  258. #259 CJO
    March 13, 2009

    You’ve heard of Hox genes, yes?

    Wait ’til you get a load of Hex genes.

    *Satanic laughter*

  259. #260 Leanstrum
    March 13, 2009

    …Wow.

    Satan et al.? This will stay with me till the end of my days.

  260. #261 Hank Fox
    March 13, 2009

    Originally, being submersed in water for long periods of time, falling from cliffs, and being struck by lightning were benignly amusing events for the person involved. It was only after the Fall that they became deadly.

    But because I don’t have a degree from New St. Andrews College, darned if I can figure out the mechanism.

  261. #262 Alex
    March 13, 2009

    …that’s a mental disease.

    I think it’s described as self-loathing triggered by acute egotism and the inability to reconcile an impersonal Universe with one’s need to feel special.

  262. #263 Somnolent Aphid
    March 13, 2009

    I’m kinda glad he and his ilk busy writing and defending these kinds of ideas. Get’s him off the streets where he would be standing on the corner preaching. Plus it must cost his like minded crones money to publish this dreck. Anything that spends the enemy’s money fruitlessly is OK with me.

  263. #264 Hank Fox
    March 13, 2009

    Heh. I wasn’t familiar with the word “baraminology.”

    Wikipedia says: “Baraminology is a creationist system for classifying life into groups not related by common ancestry, called ‘baramins’. Its methodology is founded on a literal creationist reading of ‘kinds’ in Genesis, especially a distinction between humans and other animals. Other criteria include the ability of animals to interbreed and the similarity of their observable traits. Baraminology is a subfield of creation science, and like all of creation science is pseudoscience and is not related to science.”

  264. #265 Gruesome Rob
    March 13, 2009

    Wait ’til you get a load of Hex genes.

    +++ Divide By Cucumber Error. Please Reinstall Universe And Reboot +++

  265. #266 Josh
    March 13, 2009

    @249-there is a sad history behind that bonebed.

    But I love this. They use our methodologies (it’s not like they figured out what the fucking Lance Formation was or any of those taxonomic assignments for the fossils) and our collection protocols, but then insist (without having done any work to disprove them, mind you) that our age assignments are completely wrong and that our paleoenvironmental interpretations (the Lance is a class meandering river deposit, which of course they wanna call a flud deposit) are also wrong (again with nothing but vigorous assertion behind them). They use the science when it works for them; ignore it or say we’re wrong when it doesn’t. In neither case do they evaluate.

    Hypocritical fucking assholes. The lot of them.

  266. #267 eddie
    March 13, 2009

    “Don’t y’know there ain’t no satan, there’s just god when he’s drunk”.

    This evening we’re having flat-earth pizza with a starter of wende-strategy potatoes; they’re covered in cheezes.

  267. #268 Monado, FCD
    March 13, 2009

    The term “Cargo Cult Science” was popularized by Richard Feynman–I don’t know if he invented it. It is all over the net as his 1974 commencement address at Caltech (PDF file with pictures here). Apparently it’s also in his book Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!

    Wikipedia has an article on Cargo Cult Science, not just Cargo Cults.

    I think the “timeline of Dr. Who’s career” example is a very good analogy for this kind of thinking. And hey, you can get a degree in elvology so why not fallology?

  268. #269 AnthonyK
    March 13, 2009

    Josh, I think you should go in there and tell ‘em how to set up a proper nonsense taxonomy. I’m sure their present one is riddled with bugs – probably because they’re misclassifying them.

  269. #270 Barklikeadog
    March 13, 2009

    They pretend to do real science Or they just hose the students down.

  270. #271 eddie
    March 13, 2009

    …wedge-strategy…

  271. #272 Logical problem of evil
    March 13, 2009

    Logical problem of evil
    1. God exists. (premise)
    2. God is omnipotent and omniscient. (premise ? or true by definition of the word “God”)
    3. God is all-benevolent. (premise ? or true by definition)
    4. All-benevolent beings are opposed to all evil. (premise ? or true by definition)
    5. All-benevolent beings who can eliminate evil will do so immediately when they become aware of it. (premise)
    6. God is opposed to all evil. (conclusion from 3 and 4)
    7. God can eliminate evil completely and immediately. (conclusion from 2)
    1. Whatever the end result of suffering is, God can bring it about by ways that do not include suffering. (conclusion from 2)
    2. God has no reason not to eliminate evil. (conclusion from 7.1)
    3. God has no reason not to act immediately. (conclusion from 5)
    8. God will eliminate evil completely and immediately. (conclusion from 6, 7.2 and 7.3)
    9. Evil exists, has existed, and probably will always exist. (premise)
    10. Items 8 and 9 are contradictory; therefore, one or more of the premises is false: either God does not exist, evil does not exist, God is not simultaneously omnipotent, omniscient and all-benevolent, or all-benevolent beings who can eliminate evil will not necessarily do so immediately when they become aware of it.

    Translation…God’s an A-hole

  272. #273 Lynna
    March 13, 2009

    Did you know that if you point your browser to http://christopherhitchens.com/ you will get a christian book store?

  273. #274 Mangorick
    March 13, 2009

    Gordon Wilson: “Just because you’re a Creationist doesn’t necessarily make you a great scientist”, at 5:47 in the vid.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDAupDYmFhs&feature=related

  274. #275 Elwood Herring
    March 13, 2009

    Here’s a short extract from an epic poem I wrote years ago. Click that link for the rest of it.

    Here’s the bit where Satan speaks…

    “The things I have witnessed, events I have seen,
    There’s no place in the Multiverse I haven’t been.
    I’ve seen restless alchemists stirring their vats,
    Eleven-foot spiders and six-headed cats.

    “I’ve sailed on the sunlight, and slept in the sea
    I’ve worshipped, with druids, the trunk of a tree.
    I’ve met Santa Claus and the Wandering Jew,
    And several Cyclopeans who stirred up a stew.

    “Near Alpha Centauri, four light years away,
    Observe a cathedral on mountains of clay.
    A million years old and a thousand miles high,
    I knew who had built it, the question was: why?

    “I?ve surveyed the galaxies whirling in flocks,
    I?ve lived through all seasons, aeons and epochs.
    I watched the Big Bang from a seat in the Void ?
    And I don?t mind explaining ? that got me annoyed!”

    Elwood

  275. #276 Elwood Herring
    March 13, 2009

    Damn, that should have all been in italics. Oh well, you get the idea.

  276. #277 eddie
    March 13, 2009

    Re Glenn Branch @32;

    “Ed Brayton commented on Satan et al. five years ago –”

    Maybe, but he only got 10 comments.

  277. #278 Gene
    March 13, 2009

    I find myself wondering what kind of life tapeworms lived before it was time to move into the digestive tracts of other organisms

    Isn’t it obvious? They practiced the mambo with slugs and lived on god’s love…

  278. #279 eddie
    March 13, 2009

    …And one of those was from PZed.

  279. #280 Vladmir Hussein Obama
    March 13, 2009

    1. U.S. acceptance of coexistence as the only alternative to atomic war.

    2. U.S. willingness to capitulate in preference to engaging in atomic war.

    3. Develop the illusion that total disarmament [by] the United States would be a demonstration of moral strength.

    4. Permit free trade between all nations regardless of Communist affiliation and regardless of whether or not items could be used for war.

    5. Extension of long-term loans to Russia and Soviet satellites.

    6. Provide American aid to all nations regardless of Communist domination.

    7. Grant recognition of Red China. Admission of Red China to the U.N.

    8. Set up East and West Germany as separate states in spite of Khrushchev’s promise in 1955 to settle the German question by free elections under supervision of the U.N.

    9. Prolong the conferences to ban atomic tests because the United States has agreed to suspend tests as long as negotiations are in progress.

    10. Allow all Soviet satellites individual representation in the U.N.

    11. Promote the U.N. as the only hope for mankind. If its charter is rewritten, demand that it be set up as a one-world government with its own independent armed forces. (Some Communist leaders believe the world can be taken over as easily by the U.N. as by Moscow. Sometimes these two centers compete with each other as they are now doing in the Congo.)

    12. Resist any attempt to outlaw the Communist Party.

    13. Do away with all loyalty oaths.

    14. Continue giving Russia access to the U.S. Patent Office.

    15. Capture one or both of the political parties in the United States.

    16. Use technical decisions of the courts to weaken basic American institutions by claiming their activities violate civil rights.

    17. Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers’ associations. Put the party line in textbooks.

    18. Gain control of all student newspapers.

    19. Use student riots to foment public protests against programs or organizations which are under Communist attack.

    20. Infiltrate the press. Get control of book-review assignments, editorial writing, policymaking positions.

    21. Gain control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures.

    22. Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. An American Communist cell was told to “eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms.”

    23. Control art critics and directors of art museums. “Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaningless art.”

    24. Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them “censorship” and a violation of free speech and free press.

    25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.

    26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as “normal, natural, healthy.”

    27. Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with “social” religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity which does not need a “religious crutch.”

    28. Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of “separation of church and state.”

    29. Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern needs, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis.

    30. Discredit the American Founding Fathers. Present them as selfish aristocrats who had no concern for the “common man.”

    31. Belittle all forms of American culture and discourage the teaching of American history on the ground that it was only a minor part of the “big picture.” Give more emphasis to Russian history since the Communists took over.

    32. Support any socialist movement to give centralized control over any part of the culture–education, social agencies, welfare programs, mental health clinics, etc.

    33. Eliminate all laws or procedures which interfere with the operation of the Communist apparatus.

    34. Eliminate the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

    35. Discredit and eventually dismantle the FBI.

    36. Infiltrate and gain control of more unions.

    37. Infiltrate and gain control of big business.

    38. Transfer some of the powers of arrest from the police to social agencies. Treat all behavioral problems as psychiatric disorders which no one but psychiatrists can understand [or treat].

    39. Dominate the psychiatric profession and use mental health laws as a means of gaining coercive control over those who oppose Communist goals.

    40. Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.

    41. Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.

    42. Create the impression that violence and insurrection are legitimate aspects of the American tradition; that students and special-interest groups should rise up and use ["]united force["] to solve economic, political or social problems.

    43. Overthrow all colonial governments before native populations are ready for self-government.

    44. Internationalize the Panama Canal.

    45. Repeal the Connally reservation so the United States cannot prevent the World Court from seizing jurisdiction [over domestic problems. Give the World Court jurisdiction] over nations and individuals alike.

  280. #281 Sven DiMilo
    March 13, 2009

    Let me be the first to ask the musical question:
    WTF?

  281. #282 Matt
    March 13, 2009

    God sets the human race on fire. Sends his only begotten fireman. And then expects us to be grateful for putting it out. That’s not a divine plan; that’s a mental disease.

    God is Crassus? Actually, that would explain a lot. I mean, streets of gold, forbidding other wealthy people from entering his kingdom(he doesn’t want competition). Jesus only came down, what, 60 years after Crassus died? Maybe he had so much money that he bought a title in heaven.

  282. #283 Martin
    March 13, 2009

    Vlad, exactly what was that compendium of off-topic paranoiac blather in aid of?

  283. #284 Alex
    March 13, 2009

    Vlad must have a nice collection of shiny hats.

  284. #285 Matt
    March 13, 2009

    Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.

    HAHAHAHA! You’re joking, right? As if these things aren’t rampant in completely Capitalist societies. In any case, much of your odd, frightened list looked like a paradise to me. International harmony? That can only be bad in a crazy person’s world.

    Oh, and when you write something like this: ‘U.S. willingness to capitulate in preference to engaging in atomic war’ as a bad thing, I think you should outline how an atomic war would be preferable.

  285. #286 Pdiff
    March 13, 2009

    ” … the structure of DNA can be taught using marshmallows, gumdrops and toothpicks. Continuity, discontinuity, and baraminology can be clarified through the use of clip art cut outs, and mediated design can be explained through Mr. Potato Head.”

    I bet PZ don’t use no Mr. Potato Head. Here in Idaho, it’s obligatory … and this, class, is how you select for a handlebar mustache …. Whoops! Mutation to big red lips…. Remember, those are evil, and were put there by God so they could be activated when Satan did the nasty to Mr. Proto PH…

  286. #287 raven
    March 13, 2009

    Vlad, exactly what was that compendium of off-topic paranoiac blather in aid of?

    Why bother even asking? Old Vlad Hussein Obama skipped his medication today and most likely, for the last month.

  287. #288 Enkidu
    March 13, 2009

    The College is small by design so that students may enjoy the close personal attention of the senior scholars and experience Christian community in tangible ways. The College limits each entering class to about 50 new full-time students.

    Let’s see . . . fifty students per class, four classes . . . that makes a student population of around 200. I personally teach math to 180 middle school students. So just how large is the staff of “senior scholars”? Do thay have a library, or is each student expected to bring his own Bible?

  288. #289 AnthonyK
    March 13, 2009

    Who left the moron flap open?

  289. #290 debaser
    March 13, 2009

    How many majors does New Saint Andrews College offer?

    Answer.

    Actually, none. New Saint Andrews follows the classical Christian tradition on this important worldview point and refuses to dilute its liberal arts program by either bowing to the vocational-technical idols of pragmatism or confusing vocational specialization with education or wisdom.

    eheheheheheheh. Go to college, major in god-belief, without that confusing of education and wisdom with a “vocation”. Don’t think it’ll be a problem!

  290. #291 peter
    March 13, 2009

    But that’t the whole point (and definition) of POE!

    Uh, what is? What is a “POE”?

  291. #292 AnthonyK
    March 13, 2009

    A “Poe” is someone making obscenely stupid religous posts which are meant to parody the real ones. I don’t think there are any Poes here now. The ones posting here at the moment are genuine religious fucktards.

  292. #293 RBH
    March 13, 2009

    NewEnglandBob asked

    How can colleges like his achieve accreditation?

    New St. Andrews is accredited by TRACS, which was founded some years ago by Henry Morris, founder of the Institute for Creation Research, to accredit his own ICR educational programs. So it’s creationists accrediting creationists.

    Sven DiMilo wrote

    A lot of Entomology departments at land-grant ag schools have little use for the evolution of insects.

    In fact, one of the graduate faculty members who tried to slide a creationist (Bryan Leonard) through to a Ph.D. at Ohio State is a tenured full professor, an entomologist (he studies tick spit), and a creationist.

  293. #294 debaser
    March 13, 2009

    I wish I could help you peter, but I’d need access to a source of information like that internet, and then I’d only be able to tell you that information I got from the first response from a google of that question (http://rationalwiki.com/wiki/Poe's_Law) if you ALSO had the internet. I’m so sorry you are unable to search for answers to questions the way I can, but then again, you don’t have the internet, so it’s ok.

  294. #295 Jeff Purser
    March 13, 2009

    OT – For a fun read with a cargo cult connection, “Island of the Sequined Love Nun” by Christopher Moore.

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

  295. #296 Ichthyic
    March 13, 2009

    And so why aren’t there sheep out there trying to tear our throats out?

    there ARE, and they live here in New Zealand:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHiNLx-CKeY&feature=related

    run away!

  296. #297 Vestrati
    March 13, 2009

    I weep for humanity and welcome the culling of Cthulhu. Please save us from this idiocy o’ tentacled one!

  297. #298 Last Hussar
    March 13, 2009

    In response to the original post: “If the only tool you have is a hammer…”

  298. #299 Diego
    March 13, 2009

    I only recently discovered baraminology. Wow, it is the pseudoscience that most directly apes my beloved systematics. I can just imagine Bizarro World Hennig coming up with baramins! “Me want only mono-kind-letic groups. Me call them ‘baramins’.”

    P.S. PZ, I saw your spitting image at a Civil War re-enactment in Florida last weekend. It was kind of eerie. You don’t have a twin who likes to dress up and play soldier, do you? Anyway, if it helps, he fought for the North.

  299. #300 wistah
    March 13, 2009

    The species is doomed. And what the hell is the New St. Andrews College anyway? Fucking appalling.

  300. #301 peter
    March 13, 2009

    I love how that guy includes stuff like the phrases “clearly testify to the God’s eternal power and divine nature” and “contradicts the finished creation on day six”, with big sciency words like “toxoglossate” and ” solenoglyphous”. The big words lend the document so much more credibility and weight.

    If you enjoyed that one, you might also like “Rumors of Angels: Using ID to Detect Malevolent Spiritual Agents”

    http://www.ibri.org/RRs/RR056/56angels.html

  301. #302 Harry Frenulum
    March 13, 2009

    Won’t the Christers say Satan publishes here?

  302. #303 Intelligent Designer
    March 13, 2009

    Hey brokenSoldier @ 235,

    Can you explain why you think my blog entry is bullshit?

  303. #304 Christopher Pollock
    March 13, 2009

    Is it possible that this is just a hoax or a parody?

    If someone had shown it to me without telling me what it was, I would have assumed that it was a parody of creationist ideas, written by someone with at least some education in biology. If you read it as a parody, it’s actually quite clever and imaginative.

    The use of biological terminology seems to be correct (I’m not an expert, so I may be wrong), and a lot of the ideas (dual gene sets, etc.) make sense in a way. This combination of knowledge and intelligence with ignorance and stupidity makes for a great spoof.

    If this had come from The Onion, I’m sure we’d all be writing about how good it was.

  304. #305 Rey Fox
    March 13, 2009

    Inevitable Dash of Pretension: Using the word “normative” in place of “normal”.

  305. #306 Stanton
    March 13, 2009

    Hey brokenSoldier @ 235,

    Can you explain why you think my blog entry is bullshit?

    Because it was riddled with so many logical fallacies so as to be unreadable.

  306. #307 Ichthyic
    March 13, 2009

    …because everything you write is bullshit?

    but just for you, here’s why:

    The probability that this paragraph could be generated randomly is 1 in 55 to the 151st power.

    and yet there it sits on your blog.

    all you’ve done is restate the probabilities of getting a specific card hand, without realizing that people get any specific card hand every fucking day.

    this is why your argument is crap.

    in fact, it’s why all your arguments are crap:

    you simply are entirely ignorant of the fact they are not only stupid, but unoriginal.

    here’s the refutation of your unoriginal argument:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4B1g_DObYIc

  307. #308 LeeLeeOne
    March 13, 2009

    The average sophomore/junior psych paper is better than this!

    The stupid, it burns!

  308. #309 debaser
    March 13, 2009

    Cargo cults are an interesting phenomenon, and an enjoyable counter to the very tired apologetics that the “scholars” who come out of places like New St Andrews bring up about early christianity. It must have been true, cause the apostles were around keeping rumors down and scripture correct, no exaggeration would have been allowed etc etc

    From pg 206 of *gasp* the god Delusion…

    In particular, they suggest four lesssons about the origin of religions generally, and I’ll set them out briefly here. First is the amazing speed with which a cult can spring up. Second is the speed with which the origination process covers its tracks. John Frum (the cargo cult Dawkins brings up), if he existed at all, did within living memory. Yet, even for so recent a possibility, it is not certain whether he lived at all. The third lesson springs from the independent emergence of similar cults on different islands. The systematic study of these similarities can tell us about the human psychology and its susceptibility to religion. Fourth, the cargo cults are similar, not just to each other but to other religions. Christianity and other ancient religions that have spread worldwide presumably began as local cults like that of John Frum.

    But, you know, like over 90% of New testament scholars think otherwise, lol

  309. #310 eddie
    March 13, 2009

    Re #280

    forty-five ways to love your liver!

  310. #311 Intelligent Designer
    March 13, 2009

    Hey Ichthyic,

    Apparently you can’t read. My blog entry explains why Ken Miller’s argument is wrong. Thanks for the reference. I’ll add it to my blog entry.

  311. #312 Ichthyic
    March 13, 2009

    My blog entry explains why Ken Miller’s argument is wrong.

    by rehashing the exact same probability argument.

    LOL

    you’re a bigger idiot than I thought.

  312. #313 Norman Doering
    March 13, 2009

    Excuse an off topic post, but what kind of music do people here listen too? Drop me a comment on my blog:

    http://normdoering.blogspot.com/2009/03/turn-me-on-to-your-music.html

  313. #314 Sioux Laris
    March 13, 2009

    My word (today it is “homology”)!!!!

    No wonder these people believe the Bible is literally true: NO ONE would ever CHOOSE to believe in a god who created the universe they describe as true.

    What sad, sad, lonely, HUNGRY people! Starving for joy, companionship, and truth but entirely unaware of the fact.

  314. #315 brokenSoldier, OM
    March 13, 2009

    Posted by: Intelligent Designer | March 13, 2009 7:44 PM

    Hey brokenSoldier @ 235,
    Can you explain why you think my blog entry is bullshit?

    from your blog entry:

    What properties must a DNA sequence have to make sense? There are many, however, you could summerize then by saying that a DNA sequence only makes sense if it specifies a viable life form.

    First, this is the same ridiculous type of argument that assumes at the outset that evolution by natural selection is some sort of haphazard, random occurrence. It is not, and never has been. Second, if you can’t see that the above statement makes absolutely no valid argument against the claim that life has evolved by natural selection, then you obviously don’t understand the very subject that your pseudonym denies. This is the same, tired, invalid argument against the “probability” that we could have evolved, or that our very specialized DNA could have done the same.

    You want to know what the actual probability that DNA could evolve into its current form is?

    1:1 – The fact that you’re sitting at your keyboard typing this insane bullshit is proof that it occurred.

    Past that, no, I would not care to engage you any more.

  315. #316 Ichthyic
    March 13, 2009

    btw, I looked for “Ken Miller” in your post.

    It wasn’t there.

    don’t care whose youtube argument you were attacking, but one:

    it wasn’t Miller (looks like a rehash of Miller’s cardgame).

    and 2:

    the same exact reasoning applies. All you’ve done is regress the probability argument one level further. That you can’t see that is just remarkable, but not actually surprising, given that every supporter of ID/creationism I have ever seen employs tremendous amounts of projection and denial.

    But don’t let my admonitions slow you down. you’re only going to make yourself look even stupider by posting the link to Miller’s very simple explanation of why your argument fails, but hey, that’s what you’re all about, right Stimpy? Proving yourself wrong over and over again?

    LOL

  316. #317 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 13, 2009

    Any scenario that attributes these complex arsenals to God’s creative power yet shifts their time of origin to a post-Fall creative act, contradicts the finished creation on day six.

    And yet, Catholic dogma is creatio continua. Celebrity deathmatch!!eleventyone!!!

    (Reason: all that creating is in the imperfective aspect. Owlmirror can tell you more.)

    Finally, any scenario that attributes these complex arsenals to Satan et. al., attributes too much creative power and intelligence to the powers of darkness.

    Too much” being defined as “more than I want to“. They believe whatever they want to believe — it boggles the mind.

    “Well, God wants to get rid of evil, but Satan’s got tenure. The best we can do now is convince him to take an emeritus role.”

    Thread, meet winner.

    Well, this much is sure: even tho’ Satan appears as lead, he probably didn’t do a lick of work himself. Grad students, mostly, I’ll bet… And most of ‘em uncredited…

    But then, as boss of the lab, Satan would be the last author.

    “al” is short for “alia”

    No, for “alii” — unless the coauthors are all sexless beings, or maybe hermaphrodites or something.

    If they’re all female, it becomes “aliae”.

    Satan, L., Cthulhu, G., Zebub, B.L., Baal, L., and Asmodeus, A. (6500 BCE)

    Cthulhu, Great?

    But anyway, you forgot to cite anything by Evil, Dr., so it’s suspect anyway.

    Wikipedia says: “[...] Baraminology is a subfield of creation science, and like all of creation science is pseudoscience and is not related to science.”

    Wow. And they got that through the NPOV rule? :-) :-) :-)

    <jumping with joy>

  317. #318 SinSeeker
    March 13, 2009

    Barklikeadog (#127), you need to get out more, and see ?Black Sheep? (the 2007 verson).
    Be afraid, be very very afraid.

  318. #319 marc buhler
    March 13, 2009

    Ok…. the main rules were a bit “tl;dr”, and the comments (now over 300) are “vl;rl” (very long – read later!), but to me the question that arises is this:

    I get that there are sets of genes – and one set is for “the fall” – so what about the other seasons?? Are winter-spring-summer compressed into a set? Or are they missing? (Or am I missing the point?)

  319. #320 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 13, 2009

    Who left the moron flap open?

    ROTFL!

    is a tenured full professor, an entomologist (he studies tick spit),

    Then he’s an acarologist, not an entomologist. Ticks are mites, not insects. For starters, count their legs…

  320. #321 Intelligent Designer
    March 13, 2009

    Ichthyic,

    I just finished adding the Kenneth Miller video to my blog. You got there to soon to see it. Now if only I could get PZ on video doing the same thing.

    I wonder where Zeno is?

  321. #322 Ichthyic
    March 13, 2009

    You got there to soon to see it.

    then you were lying when you said the article was about Ken Miller’s argument, since he wasn’t even mentioned until I pointed out you already had failed. It also doesn’t serve you well to ignore the fact that, as both responders to your post noted, all you have done is regress the same lame-ass probability argument shredded by Miller by one level. You haven’t addressed the core of it in the slightest.

    good luck with that massive level of denial there, buddy.

    sure it will serve you well during your extended time of unemployment.

  322. #323 MadScientist
    March 13, 2009

    Ugh. The first paragraph alone makes me want to puke; I can’t bear to read any further. Ignorance is painful; ignoramuses are a non-evolved natural evil.

    While on the subject of Satan, I’ll have to say I’d much rather be in hell than in heaven. Hell would be full of interesting characters including many of the greatest entertainers throughout history. Heaven will be full of ignorant religious zealots and aborted fetuses. I really pity the aborted fetuses – what could they have possibly done to deserve such punishment?

  323. #324 Timelord
    March 13, 2009

    It gives me a headache thinking down to their level.

  324. #325 debaser
    March 13, 2009

    @319 — Come ON. Your lack of knowledge of seasonal thelogical genomics is appalling. Hello ? Spring ahead (summer) Fall behind (winter). That covers both sets and all seasons! The Evil post-fall genes are dominant in the cold seasons (fall like fall from grace, duh) and god’s loving healing loving warmth set of pre-fall genes tries to be active in the spring and summer, were it not for sin. Of course with the discovery of the other hemisphere we uncovered at last why it seems there is so much evil — half the world is using the wrong set of genes all the time. Scripture is pretty inerrant about this.

  325. #326 Intelligent Designer
    March 13, 2009

    Where is Mark Chu-Carroll when you need him? Or Maybe Zeno.

  326. #327 Paul C. Anagnostopoulos
    March 13, 2009

    What is Satan’s Erdös number?

    ~~ Paul

  327. #328 Intelligent Designer
    March 13, 2009

    Ichthyic said:

    then you were lying when you said the article was about Ken Miller’s argument

    Does it comfort you to call me a liar? I certainly did not lie. Kenneth Millers argument is the same as the other dudes argument. The only difference is that Miller uses cards and the other guy uses dice.

  328. #329 AnthonyK
    March 13, 2009

    My blog entry explains why Ken Miller’s argument is wrong.

    It must truly be a thing of wonder, this blog entry. A weapon so devasting must be used wisely, and only for minor falsehoods.
    I would gaze upon this wondrous entity but fear that it would fuse the truth neurons in my brain.
    Hence, I shall abstain.

  329. #330 Patricia, OM
    March 13, 2009

    AnthonyK – Abstain?

    Oh bullshit. Go for it, moderation is for monks.

  330. #331 Ichthyic
    March 13, 2009

    The only difference is that Miller uses cards and the other guy uses dice.

    …and you use sentence structure.

    bravo.

    moron.

  331. #332 excentricat
    March 13, 2009

    OK, I get that this is utter nonsense. What I don’t get is why exactly he wrote a paper trying to prove that god set us up at the beginning for the fall. We’re proving that if god exists, he’s a bastard? When did the creationists start aiming for that proof?

  332. #333 excentricat
    March 13, 2009

    also, even if he dated Satan et al. it would be BC not BCE, he’s a creationist.

  333. #334 'Tis Himself
    March 13, 2009

    …and you use sentence structure idiocy.

    Fixed it for you.

  334. #335 brokenSoldier, OM
    March 13, 2009

    Does it comfort you to call me a liar?

    No, it’s just fun. Accurate and appropriate, but fun nonetheless.

  335. #336 'Tis Himself
    March 13, 2009

    even if he dated Satan

    Dinner and a movie?

  336. #337 12th Monkey
    March 13, 2009

    This really reminds me of things I’ve read in the Journal of Irreproducible Results.They really should submit their paper.

  337. #338 Kel
    March 13, 2009

    What I don’t get about your position Randy is that we can observe mutations, we can observe natural selection in action, we can observe the mechanism of genetic drift – and within all that variation and selection we can see speciation in action. Just what is evolution observationally missing that would satisfy your criticisms on the matter?

  338. #339 AnthonyK
    March 13, 2009

    Patricia – Intelligent Designer is clearly one the internet’s most powerful minds. I mean he has a blog and all, and it’s got fractals – really fucking frilly ones.
    Do you think I can look at it? It would surely be as when the destroyer of worlds showed his face to Vishnu in the Bhavgad Gita – do you wish that?
    That I, a humble mortal man, should even for an instant look at Randy’s vision of Truth…the idea appalls me.
    For Pity’s sake Woman, leave me to my harmless delusions and fairy tales and continue my life in peace…
    So, nah, fuck looking at his blog. Better things to do. These nasal hairs won’t grow themselves, you know.

  339. #340 brokenSoldier, OM
    March 13, 2009

    Posted by: Kel | March 13, 2009 9:17 PM

    Just what is evolution observationally missing that would satisfy your criticisms on the matter?

    God.

  340. #341 AnthonyK
    March 13, 2009

    It’s as if, long ago, someone explained to Randy what an “idea” was and he’s been trying to have one ever since.

  341. #342 Ray Ladbury
    March 13, 2009

    Excentricat says: “OK, I get that this is utter nonsense. What I don’t get is why exactly he wrote a paper trying to prove that god set us up at the beginning for the fall. We’re proving that if god exists, he’s a bastard? When did the creationists start aiming for that proof?”

    If you believe in a designed Universe, the only conclusions are that the designer is a rat bastard or that it was a second grade science project gone horribly awry.

  342. #343 Intelligent Designer
    March 13, 2009

    Hey Kel,

    That’s a thoughtful question and it deserves an answer. This latest blog entry is actually the first in a series three where I will answer that question. The last entry will apply the understanding that I hope some of you will acquire to PZs Still just a lizard blog entry.

    But right now I need to leave to the airport to pick up my wife. I haven’t seen her in a week.

    And brokenSoldier, I know its fun but don’t be calling me a chicken shit for leaving now.

  343. #344 AnthonyK
    March 13, 2009

    ….but without success.

  344. #345 AnthonyK
    March 13, 2009

    This latest blog entry is actually the first in a series three where I will answer that question.

    Oh goody!

  345. #346 brokenSoldier, OM
    March 13, 2009

    And brokenSoldier, I know its fun but don’t be calling me a chicken shit for leaving now.

    Quite the contrary, I was going to thank you for doing so.

    And it’s quite convenient that you choose not to answer Kel’s question here, where is was asked, but rather on your blog. I look forward to never seeing that pile of logical waste.

  346. #347 Kel
    March 13, 2009

    That’s a thoughtful question and it deserves an answer.

    When you have it prepared, bring it. Because right now it feels like you are denying observed evidence for the sake of mathematics – which suggests that the maths rather than the observed evidence is wrong.

  347. #348 Nemo
    March 13, 2009

    46. ???
    47. Profit!

  348. #349 Health Physicist
    March 13, 2009

    The probability that I would post at this date and time relative to Intelligent Designer & Ichthyic is extremely low.

    Therefore, it was designed.

    I speak in support of Icththyic as an atheist.

    Therefore, God designed atheists.

    But if God is loving, would he design atheists and send them to hell?

    Or is Intelligent Designer just an idiot?

    Which is more probable?

  349. #350 Aquaria
    March 13, 2009

    every green plant was given for food

    By this logic, that means it’s perfectly okay to put marijuana in brownies!

    Woo hoo!

  350. #351 debaser
    March 13, 2009

    oh Intelligent Designer, if only you could generate content in your blog near as well as you can draw fire in the comment section of someone else’s….

    then again you’d have to do more than make off topic noise. Your first was #230, then the next one is #303, where you’re asking someone to post in your blog. Is the only way for you to get comments to try and siphon people there by making silly noises here? You whine about being called names when it appears your only reason for posting here in this topic is to get people to post in another topic in your blog. That is sad.

    Speaking of programming, didn’t the term “kludge”, which is a useful word when talking about natural systems, come from a computer programmer?

  351. #352 AnthonyK
    March 13, 2009

    don’t be calling me a chicken shit for leaving now.

    I think if anything he’d rather you did go.

  352. #353 Elwood Herring
    March 13, 2009

    OT but relevant via religion:

    Atheists call for “debaptism” (BBC news story)

  353. #354 AnthonyK
    March 13, 2009

    Self-importance is so often superior to self-knowledge, isn’t it Randy?

  354. #355 Patricia, OM
    March 13, 2009

    AnthonyK, Oh I do beg your pardon!

    See, you hauled out the frilly and I got it all confused with pinking shears and circumcision… and then you said

    fractal

    and it finally dawned on me that you were talking about naughty, boy stuff.

    Intelligent Designer is icky.

  355. #356 Steve Dutch
    March 13, 2009

    SCIENCE SHOULD EMBRACE BARAMINOLOGY! Which, for those of you who didn’t Google it, is the (pseudo)science of classifying organisms into “kinds” by characteristics other than standard taxonomy. Some “kinds” that come to mind include:
    1. The good to eat kind: chickens, cows, pigs, sheep, turkeys, tacos, milkshakes.
    2. The fuzzy kind that make great coats and also cause PETA chicks to pose scantily clad for: mink, rabbits, fox, seal, baby seal, dandelions, the cotton plugs in aspirin bottles, Q-tips.
    3. The sharp, prickly unattractive kind: lizards, snakes, scorpions, wasps, pine cones, thistles, B-list actors with multi-day stubble, Goths.
    4. The irresistibly cuddly kind: kittens, puppies, hamsters, gerbils, ferrets, guinea pigs, Care Bears, Keira Knightley.
    5. The totally imaginary kind that make wackazoid evangelists go completely nuts: Spongebob Squarepants, pink Teletubbies, Harry Potter.

    Just think! We could have a Directorate for Baraminology in the National Science Foundation. Every University could have a Department of Baraminology. There would be lavish funding paid gladly by the fundamentalist nutjobs in Congress and their voters. Those of us who get on the gravy train can spend a day or so a year churning out what passes for scholarship in Baraminology, and the rest of the time doing real research, all well paid for. Every summer we’ll do funded field work looking for Noah’s Ark in Cancun, Monaco, Venice, or Puerto Vallarta. Why should Benny Hinn be the only one to profit from crackpot cults?

  356. #357 eddie
    March 13, 2009

    Don’t call him Stimpy! It makes Ren cry.

  357. #358 Kel
    March 13, 2009

    The important distinction about any scientific hypothesis Randy is the predictive power. If you are going to say something is mathematically impossible – you have to first demonstrate that the mathematics matches current predictions. If you are denying evidence in order to keep a hypothesis going then that hypothesis is dead.

    So it’s all well and good to talk about Shannon Entropy, but unless you can demonstrate that the mathematics you espouse does match evolutionary data – then how can you say that it disproves evolution? You need to show the idea has empirical merit before declaring it an evolution-killer. Remember that for the last 100 years there have been plenty of scientists who have mathematically quantified elements of evolutionary theory, yet none yet have seen a problem with the concept. What do you have that all these other mathematicians don’t? And do you have the ability to demonstrate the soundness of your maths with the harmony of nature in the form of a peer-reviewed article?

  358. #359 debaser
    March 13, 2009

    It’s a shame, with “ID” picking up his wife from the airport we’ll never know about future misunderstandings appearing in his blog. And there was so much to learn about what he didn’t understand here. Not to worry, I’m sure he’ll be back to advertise his stuff again.

  359. #360 Patricia, OM
    March 13, 2009

    Intelligent Designer – If you are going to ask about organic chicken shit, I am the source here.

    It isn’t cheap, and the shipping price alone will probably put the fear of gawd into you.
    *smiles sweetly*

  360. #361 AnthonyK
    March 13, 2009

    It’s no good kel – bow to a superiour mind.
    Hahahaahahahahahahahahaahhhaahahahaahahahaaaaaaaahaaaahahaha!
    Ha!
    Sorry
    I had a wife called Shannon Entropy. Messy girl. Very untogether. We had to be ordered to get married.

  361. #362 Sastra
    March 13, 2009

    Steve Dutch #356 wrote:

    Just think! We could have a Directorate for Baraminology in the National Science Foundation. Every University could have a Department of Baraminology.

    Heck, you’re thinking too small. Looking over your list, seems to me like folks could be doing this at home! Don’t need no fancy degree — though I bet the Directorate for Baraminology could send them out anyway.

    Nice. ;)

  362. #363 Ray Ladbury
    March 13, 2009

    Intelligent Designer in #303 asks why his argument is bullshit.

    IDer, I don’t even have to read your entry to tell you why it is BS. It is because you don’t understand probability. First, there are different conceptions of probability that you confuse. Your argument about the sentence being so astoundingly improbable is crap because you confuse a a priori and post hoc probability. Moreover, the various probabilities of the letters occurring are not independent. The best way to see this is to note that in English a letter q is always followed by a u, so the probability of u following q is 1.
    Likewise, the base pairs in the genome are not independent, so multiplying probabilities as if they were is just flat wrong.
    As a final little koan, consider the following: Throw a dart at a number line (real numbers). The probability of hitting any number is zero–yet the probability that you hit some number is one. Think about that, and you may start to appreciate the subtlety of probability–and the violence you do to that notion when you apply it in so hamnhanded a manner.

  363. #364 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 13, 2009

    4. The irresistibly cuddly kind: kittens, puppies, hamsters, gerbils, ferrets, guinea pigs, Care Bears, Keira Knightley.

    I see no reason to not eat any of those.

  364. #365 spinetingler
    March 13, 2009

    Posted by: geezer
    I sense Baraminimum research here.

    Very nice.

  365. #366 Ray Ladbury
    March 13, 2009

    Intelligent Designer in #303 asks why his argument is bullshit.

    IDer, I don’t even have to read your entry to tell you why it is BS. It is because you don’t understand probability. First, there are different conceptions of probability that you confuse. Your argument about the sentence being so astoundingly improbable is crap because you confuse a a priori and post hoc probability. Moreover, the various probabilities of the letters occurring are not independent. The best way to see this is to note that in English a letter q is always followed by a u, so the probability of u following q is 1.
    Likewise, the base pairs in the genome are not independent, so multiplying probabilities as if they were is just flat wrong.
    As a final little koan, consider the following: Throw a dart at a number line (real numbers). The probability of hitting any number is zero–yet the probability that you hit some number is one. Think about that, and you may start to appreciate the subtlety of probability–and the violence you do to that notion when you apply it in so hamnhanded a manner.

  366. #367 Tom
    March 13, 2009

    its not real.

  367. #368 NFPendleton
    March 13, 2009

    Some one took a real abstract, methinks, and made a stupid Mad Lib out of it. There’s just no other reason for this to exist.

  368. #369 eddie
    March 13, 2009

    Re #326 – “Where’s Mark CC when you need him?”

    Answer; over here with the cool kids.

  369. #370 debaser
    March 13, 2009

    Oh man, Randy has been developing software the entire time that I HAVE BEEN ALIVE and still makes arguments like these. Its as if…..as if…..biology, and software programming…..aren’t the same thing.

    Hmm.

  370. #371 NervousAboutAngels
    March 13, 2009

    The only way I can hope to believe any of this is by looking at the angler fish. Now THAT could be the result of a trout being raped by a demon.

    #176 wanted to know how primitive NSA’s education is- the good news is, according to their faq, they’re striving for the educational quality of Harvard’s B.A. The bad news is, they’ve based all their lesson plans on Harvard’s- from the year 1642! No wonder the scientific method is still so confusing.
    http://www.nsa.edu/admissions/faq.html

  371. #372 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 13, 2009

    Oh bullshit. Go for it, moderation is for monks.

    Been reading Heinlein again, dear lady?

    For those who think Randy’s ideas have problems, may I humbly suggest Gibb’s free energy. After all ?G = ?H – T?S.

  372. #373 Kel
    March 13, 2009

    I’m willing to go so far and give Randy the chance to prove his algorithms work. Let him show the validity of his work by matching it to empirical data and thus give himself a platform in order to stand at a place where conclusions can be drawn from. After all, isn’t science about the evidence?

  373. #374 Patricia, OM
    March 13, 2009

    Wow PZ has left us to ourselves since 11:30 AM on Friday the 13th.

    WAAHHH!

    Where’s all the wacky catholic stuff and fresh trolls?

  374. #375 HalfMooner
    March 13, 2009

    This prompted me to propose “Mooner’s First Law” over at Skeptic Friends Network:

    “When an argument by a supposed Creationist is so hilarious that it seems impossible to tell whether or not it is actually a hoax perpetrated by evolution supporter, remember Ray Comfort using a banana as proof of Creationism. No critical thinker has ever been able to top that gag.”

  375. #376 AnthonyK
    March 13, 2009

    Gibbs free energy

    I’m having that.

  376. #377 tweetbirdiejesus386sx
    March 13, 2009

    Many pathogens, parasites, and predators have sophisticated genetic, morphological, and behavioral arsenals (natural evil) that clearly testify to the God’s eternal power and divine nature (Romans 1: 20), i.e. they are not the result of mutation and natural mutation.

    Makes sense to me. Ask yourself this question: If they are created by God, and they are not the result of mutation and natural mutation, then would they be the result of mutation and natural mutation? The obvious answer is of course, a resounding “No”. Anybody who says “Yes” does not have a grasp of basic logic.

  377. #378 AnthonyK
    March 13, 2009

    fresh trolls?

    You haven’t eaten the ones on your plate yet.

  378. #380 Kel
    March 13, 2009

    The “peanut butter disproves evolution” rivals the banana sketch

  379. #381 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 13, 2009

    Patricia, didn’t he travel from Morris, to Minneapolis/St. Paul, then fly to Champaign/Urbana, give a talk, and is now out socializing? A full day even for PZ. I’ll cut him one post of slack. Fresh trolls? You have a point. Ours are very stale.

  380. #382 Patricia, OM
    March 13, 2009

    Nerd – You’re probably right. Darn it. I just figured he’d have planned ahead some hysterical “holiday” subjects for us.

    AnthonyK – I’ve chewed those stale ol’ picked over troll carcasses more than I usually do.

    Of course I can make “four egg” noodles and we can boil whats left of the trolls and have second hand supper. *weak grin*

  381. #383 timebender13
    March 13, 2009

    Anyone else find his number 5 just a bit hypocritical?

  382. #384 procyon
    March 13, 2009

    Baravitavegamin

  383. #385 clinteas
    March 13, 2009

    @ 366,

    The probability of hitting any number is zero–yet the probability that you hit some number is one. Think about that, and you may start to appreciate the subtlety of probability

    Reminds me of this wonderful book :

    http://www.amazon.com/Drunkards-Walk-Randomness-Rules-Lives/dp/0375424040

  384. #386 Ichthyic
    March 13, 2009

    The “peanut butter disproves evolution” rivals the banana sketch

    It’s peanut butter jelly time!

    there ya go…

  385. #387 Ktesibios
    March 14, 2009

    Just in case anyone is curious, this is where “Vladimir” @ #280 ganked his copypasta:

    http://www.uhuh.com/nwo/communism/comgoals.htm

    Wingnuts who troll blogs are usually severely deficient in originality and writing ability, so when you see a long screed from one that doesn’t rack the English language, you can just assume that it’s stolen from someone.

    A google on a complete sentence will often reveal the source.

  386. #388 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 14, 2009

    Wingnuts who troll blogs are usually severely deficient in originality and writing ability, so when you see a long screed from one that doesn’t rack the English language, you can just assume that it’s stolen from someone.

    A google on a complete sentence will often reveal the source.

    A technique I use frequently. One that was very useful for a recent troll Nat.

  387. #389 Damned at Random
    March 14, 2009

    Wow, finally a testable creationist hypothesis. “Junk DNA” is the pre-Fall genome. All they need to do is suppress the post-Fall malignant genes and activate the benign “junk DNA” and the lion will lay down with the lamb and they will both eat fava beans.

  388. #390 machintelligence
    March 14, 2009

    ERIC @ 144 It has already been done! Try: To Reign in Hell by Steven Brust (1984)

  389. #391 Eamon Knight
    March 14, 2009

    CJ, my girlfriend and I have taken to calling that the “fireman/arsonist” syndrome. God sets the human race on fire. Sends his only begotten fireman. And then expects us to be grateful for putting it out. That’s not a divine plan; that’s a mental disease.

    Love it :-).

    I also like calling it The Cosmic Protection Racket:
    “Nice soul ya’ got dere. Shame if it wuz to, like, catch fire, eh? So look: if’n yooz give da Boss a cut — say, 10%? — an’ come roun’ to his place once a week to grovel a bit, den he’ll make sure nuttin’ baaad happens to it. On de’ udder hand, if’n yooz don’t like dat deal, well….stuff happens, you know what I’m sayin’?”

  390. #392 Sleipnir
    March 14, 2009

    I see that the BSG summer conference will be held at Southern Seminary in Louisville Kentucky July 29-31, 2009.

    Anybody here attending? They’re still accepting abstracts, from the sound of it. Should be a great show. Maybe they’ll webcast it for those who can’t make it to KY.

  391. #393 Liberal Atheist
    March 14, 2009

    Religion is no less insane than Timecubism.

  392. #394 FungiFromYuggoth
    March 14, 2009

    Vlad’s screen is a slightly evolved version of a paranoid Communist Plot ™ that was apparently invented in the 1940s.

    There’s a Snopes entry about it.

  393. #395 FungiFromYuggoth
    March 14, 2009

    screed, not screen. This is not the typo you were looking for; you can go about your business now.

    (It would be cool if Wilson could make vegetarian tigers, though.)

  394. #396 Timothy Wood
    March 14, 2009

    jesus fucking christ. et is not an abbreviation. I can take the inanity. I can take the ignorance. I can take the blind faith. But this!? This just goes to far.

  395. #397 Scrabcake
    March 14, 2009

    So did people like keep tapeworms as pets before the fall? I can just see Adam all like…”no, Eve, it’s YOUR night to dig the latrine, and my night to walk the ascaris…”

  396. #398 Busta Rhymes
    March 14, 2009

    Timothy Wood #396

    “jesus fucking christ. et is not an abbreviation.”

    Sure it is. It’s short for “etcetera” ;)

  397. #399 Robbie
    March 14, 2009

    Our Father, Who art in heaven,
    Hallowed be Thy Name.
    Thy Kingdom come.
    Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.
    And forgive us our trespasses,
    as we forgive those who trespass against us.
    And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil. Amen.

  398. #400 foxfire
    March 14, 2009

    What’s really sad in this article PZ shared is the lack of understanding about what science is about.

    Science is about finding out how our Universe works. It, science, has developed a methodogy and a procedure to minimize cheaters that would denigrate a search for understanding into personal profit.

    I’m not smart enough (or lack the discipline) to be a scientist, although I did graduate from college, my major being Physics.

    This person, Gordon Wilson, has reached a conclusion and is trying to structure the facts to support his preconceived conclusion.

    I live in a small town on the central Oregon coast. I volunter at a local youth program. I do what I can to make sure science and reason prevail.

  399. #401 sconnor
    March 14, 2009

    Don’t read it; you might catch its stupid!

    –S.

  400. #402 nerdiah
    March 14, 2009

    Do you reckon their reasoning might also explain why the prostate gland is an erogenous zone?

  401. #403 DTdNav
    March 14, 2009

    @ Intelligent Designer

    Are you arguing against evolution, or abiogenesis?

    Your argument is based entirely upon probability with respect to randomness, and the assumption that there is only one chance for a specific outcome to occur. How is your probability computation affected if there is an infinite number of chances? What happens if a feedback loop with specific rules is added?

    Your analogies are essentially strawmen. Nothing in nature prohibits the number of times that something can be tried, except possibly entropy. (Before you bring entropy into the discussion please remember that the Earth is NOT a closed system). There are also many feedback loops in place in the form of natural physical laws that specifically negate randomness.

    If you believe that a designer was necessary for the current state of our specific situation here on Earth, fine. But any designer sophisticated enough to create the level of complexity you assume requires design would also need a designer. So, I assume, your ultimate designer is probably God. That?s OK too. But before you can convince anyone on a science blog that ?God did it,? we?ll need something more than analogies based on personal assumptions. Just because you can?t understand how it could happen, does not mean that no one can.

    I know, this trail is probably dead. But I had to get this out before going to bed.

  402. #404 Norwonk
    March 14, 2009

    Impressive use of Occam’s razor…

  403. #405 Intelligent Designer
    March 14, 2009

    DTdNav said:

    Nothing in nature prohibits the number of times that something can be tried

    We could limit the number of tries to the number of microseconds thought to have occured since the big bang multiplied by the molecular weight of the earth.

    please remember that the Earth is NOT a closed system

    I am aware of that and I have mentioned that in my blog entires on entropy.

  404. #406 Dancaban
    March 14, 2009

    Laughed my balls off at this – no horse required!

  405. #407 Intelligent Designer
    March 14, 2009

    Kel said:

    When you have it prepared, bring it. Because right now it feels like you are denying observed evidence for the sake of mathematics – which suggests that the maths rather than the observed evidence is wrong.

    There is nothing wrong with the math, except that it was dumbed down to the level of a blog entry. The math isn’t that complicated and let’s not forget that I have a Masters degree in Applied Mathematics from the University of Washington. This is the same school where PZ finished his undergraduate work.

    I don’t plan to deny any observed evidence. I plan to show how we can use math to interprete the observed evidence.

    By the way, PZ requested that I stop by and keep you guys entertained while he was busy. Did I do a good job? Send your complaints and/or complements to PZ.

  406. #408 Kel
    March 14, 2009

    The maths is wrong if the maths doesn’t match empirical observation. I understand you are mathematically qualified, but that doesn’t mean that your maths will match what is observed in nature – that is a fundamental difference. You have to show that your formulas match the patterns of mutation and of survival. That variation and selection are accounted for. That they fit with observed adaptation and speciation. If you don’t have those, what good is your mathematics?

  407. #409 Thomas
    March 14, 2009

    This guy’s onto the same thing as Ron Hubbard was ages ago. If your writing graphically resembles technical/scientific jargon, you can pass yourself as a scientist (and get the money.)

  408. #410 clinteas
    March 14, 2009

    By the way, PZ requested that I stop by and keep you guys entertained while he was busy. Did I do a good job? Send your complaints and/or complements to PZ.

    There was some chick doing “Larry King Live” today,and she sucked.’Nuff said.

  409. #411 nothing's sacred
    March 14, 2009

    Can you explain why you think my blog entry is bullshit?

    It uncomprehendingly attacks a strawman that has nothing to do with the point being made in the videos. No one denies that DNA sequences have to “make sense” — in fact, this greatly reduces the number of possible sequences, making the observed randomized outcomes far more likely — rather than refuting the point made in the videos, it supports it. Remember, it’s RM plus NS — something that IDiots steadfastly ignore. RM provides randomness but NS provides constraints — rather tight ones. NS requires that DNA “makes sense” at every step. And “at every step” is very important here — but another point that IDiots ignore. It’s the difference between generating Linux by randomly selecting bits and generating a Linux patch by randomly selecting bits; the chance of getting a working operating system from the latter is many orders of magnitude higher — high enough that, if every patch has a full battery of testing applied to it (somewhat the equivalent of NS) one will (rarely but) occasionally encounter beneficial patches.

    Each information type has its own set of properties that make it essentially impossible to be generated randomly.

    An IDiotic claim. Anything that can exist can be generated randomly — this is obvious to anyone with a modicum of intelligence and knowledge. I suppose that, by the IDiotic and mathematically illiterate phrase “essentially impossible” you mean “highly improbable”, but the probability that it will be generated can be increased by tightening the constraining filter, and can be increased all the way to certainty — this also is obvious to anyone with a modicum of intelligence and knowledge.

  410. #412 jennyxyzzy
    March 14, 2009

    Rev BDC said:

    I see no reason to not eat any of those.

    Which raises the interesting question: do baraminologic kinds have to be mutually exclusive? Enquiring minds want to know!

  411. #413 J Dub
    March 14, 2009

    In APA format, it would be:

    (Satan et al., 4004).

  412. #414 'Tis Himself
    March 14, 2009

    Jenny,

    The ever reliable wikipedia says:

    The Bible mentions kinds in several passages. Genesis 1:12-25 gives an account of the creation of living things:
    24: And God said: ‘Let the earth bring forth the living creature after its kind , cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after its kind.’ And it was so. 25: And God made the beast of the earth after its kind, and the cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
    Genesis 7:13-16 states that there are distinct kinds of cattle. In Deuteronomy 14:11-18 varieties of owl, raven, and hawk are presented as distinct kinds. Leviticus 19:19 is concerned with kinds of cloth, cattle, and seeds. Apart from what is implied by these passages, the Bible does not specify what a kind is.

    My guess is that kinds are separate from each other. However, the notion is so vague that probably any interpretation could be argued.

  413. #415 Invigilator
    March 14, 2009

    Here is a much more sensible classification system than baraminology:

    animals are divided into (a) those that belong to the Emperor,
    (b) embalmed ones,
    (c) those that are trained,
    (d) suckling pigs,
    (e) mermaids,
    (f) fabulous ones,
    (g) stray dogs,
    (h) those that are included in this classification,
    (i) those that tremble as if they were mad,
    (j) innumerable ones,
    (k) those drawn with a very fine camel’s hair brush,
    (l) others,
    (m) those that have just broken a flower vase,
    (n) those that resemble flies from a distance.

  414. #416 Africangenesis
    March 14, 2009

    Intelligent Designer,

    Perhaps most those calling your blog bullshit are true believers in evolution without understanding it.

    Since evolution is about common descent, life evolving from other life, it is already far from a random process, instead it is more like your nonrandom ability generate meaningful sentences. The probability issues of generating sense from randomness were already resolved long before most multicellular species existed. Presumably there are some processes that constrain and select for more “sense” in the process of abiogenesis once chemicals that can catalyze their own production exist, but this is far more poorly understood. Your probability argument is probably more problematic for abiogenesis for given our current state of knowledge.

    Early life may have not been good at much more than replicating copies of itself. Occasional random errors perhaps allowed some evolution by means of selection, but were probably mostly deleterious. Eventually someplace along the line life dealt with the problems of mutations and replication errors not just by becoming better at replication, but by become more tolerant of mutations. Live evolved a group of properties than can be summarized as contributing to evolvability. Sexual reproduction for instance, doesn’t even try to exact replication and also represents one level of redundancy in the genomes, also have large levels of other redundancy, e.g., families of enzymes with overlapping function that can substitute for each other to varying degrees and with different activity constances. When one version loses its function, its substrate builds up to levels that make another enzyme perform well enough. Many of these properties give the organism “robustness” against mutation.

    ?Robustness? subsumes the concepts of redundancy and overlapping function, homeostasis, developmental homeostasis, canalization and niche reduction. Robustness enables evolvability.

    The robustness mechanism that I think I had not appreciated before was niche reduction. The most exemplary of this is parental care. Think of all the mutations which are developmentally deleterious, yet can be tolerated because of parental care, and are advantageous to the adult. Think of all the mutations that made the human baby this slow, defenseless, sniveling, noisey predator attracting, relatively instinctless, large brained, empty headed little beast. Yet parental care allows that helpless large brain to develop into the most robust adaptation that evolution has yet devised. This was done through niche reduction. Mutations don?t have to be developmentally stable in any niche other than that formed by the womb and parental care.

    Life exists and it has been good at evolving for a few hundred million years. Barring some cataclysm, life in general is going to continue, some life forms will “win” more often that others. If I recall correctly, rather than the roll of the dice, Dawkins used the analogy of a tennis tournament. Due to the complexity of the game and unfortunate matchups, the best tennis player may not always win, but the winner is probably going to be pretty good. The earth is big enough, and the niches numerous enough that there are lots of winners all the time.

    How does information that people consider sensible get generated from the feedstock of random mutation and error? From numerous filters, it has to be compatible with continued survival and reproduction in an admittedly hospitable and robust environment. But even in those evironments, it must be benign enough not to cause aptopsis, spontaneous abortion of embryos, lack of investment by parents, rejection by potential mates, and defeat by competition or evironmental stresses, etc. If it passes these and many other filters, we know something about it, and it may be or incombination with other genes, become beneficial.

    Abiogenesis is the default hypothesis for the origin of life and there is evidence of its plausibility. An alternative hypothesis is an alien origin of life either by biogenesis or possible by intelligent design and distribution (panspermia). Given the amount of time available, those designers might not have to be as intelligent as ourselves. They just might have taken longer than our few thousands of years to accumulate the technology to design new life forms that we will probably have within a century. Of course, the default hypothesis for the origin of that alien species will probably also be abiogenesis.

  415. #417 Kel
    March 14, 2009

    Perhaps most those calling your blog bullshit are true believers in evolution without understanding it.

    Or it could just be that no matter how many times people have explained how evolution works to Randy, he just doesn’t get it. Looking forward to seeing how you fare on the matter, even PZ has had no luck in getting through to ol’ stimpy.

  416. #418 ffrancis
    March 14, 2009

    “There was some chick doing Larry King Live today and she sucked…”

    O Clinteas! Not an image I wanted in my brain.

  417. #419 brokenSoldier, OM
    March 14, 2009

    Posted by: Africangenesis | March 14, 2009 8:25 AM

    Intelligent Designer,
    Perhaps most those calling your blog bullshit are true believers in evolution without understanding it.

    That makes absolutely no sense. We have repeatedly pointed out why that post is bullshit, and aside from that, I seriously doubt you’ll find anyone here – who has called that post bullshit – that cannot debate the merits of evolution to some degree or another. Succinctly put, no one here “believes in” evolution – we have examined its claims, realized that it is supported by mountains of observational data, and thus we agree that it is a valid explanation of how life progresses through time. “True believer” carries a connotation of faith, and faith is not necessary in science.

  418. #420 Ray Ladbury
    March 14, 2009

    Randy, perhaps you missed the missive where I pointed out that you are treating all probabilities as independent–and they are in fact conditional. Even at the atomic level, different elements have different reactivities, and the resulting compounds have different stabilities.
    You may have a degree in “math,” but you really don’t understand probability.

  419. #421 Strangebrew
    March 14, 2009

    Like the bunnies that spout this nonsense never intellectually grew beyond kindergarten…they use the same neural pathways to explain how the ‘wheels on the bus go round and round’ to their audience then as they do aspects of science to their audience now… just less convincingly!

  420. #422 Moggie
    March 14, 2009

    #415, Borges FTW.

  421. #423 Africangenesis
    March 14, 2009

    Ladbury#366,

    “Likewise, the base pairs in the genome are not independent, so multiplying probabilities as if they were is just flat wrong.”

    Are you saying there is a chemical bias in what the next base can be based upon what the previous one or more bases were? I’d be surprised if the probabilities varied by much. Any selection bias probably occurs at higher levels, repair mechanisms or the proteins they code for, etc.

  422. #424 aebrosc
    March 14, 2009

    I don’t know if this has been said yet but if not it needs reiterating. The main flaw in Randy’s argument is even more basic than the fact that the model he is using bares little resemblance to the system he is trying to make an analogy to.
    The main flaw is he is using an upper bound to argue that something is unlikely. This might be ok if he gave, or attempted to calculate, a good lower bound or gave us an idea of how far away a good lower bound was. A good lower bound being one that is within an acceptable margin of error of the actual value, say 1% or better yet a way to get within epsilon, of the real value.
    Because of the we don’t have a good lower bound, the actual value may be 1 out of 1, which is clearly not the case but the point is we have no idea of how close to that the real value is, so we can say nothing about the unlikeliness of a string of 150 characters containing all 7 letter words other than we think its unlikely but we can’t prove it.

    Now the model in your analogy is poor because it is significantly more complex than the system you are comparing it to. In a sentence you said you need the string of letters to spell things, you need grammar, and it needs to make sense. All of which are true. But for a string of DNA there is only 1 word length 3 letters, there are only 4 letters vs the 26+ in the english alphabet, and most importantly all possible combinations of those 4 letters in sets of 3 is a word. Also there is no 3rd factor in coding from DNA all it needs to do is code a useful protein to have a significant amount of information, so either grammar or making sense needs to go. I’ll choose grammar since its my least favorite.
    Now the question of if a string of words makes sense is a very hard one, in DNA or english. But it is doubtful that making sense in english or DNA can be put into an analogy. In english words have meaning and some strings of words never make sense, but how can you say that a protein coded by DNA will never be a useful one? Ignoring everything else that part is shaky. But combining it with everything else your analogy is useless without a significant amount of cleanup and argument on your part.

  423. #425 Africangenesis
    March 14, 2009

    aebrose,

    Your stating that Intelligent Design’s analogy has two layers in order to achieve a meaningful sentence, first he needs sequences of letters that make words, and then those words have to be sequences that make sence. However, in the DNA code EVERY 3 letter codon makes a word. Every codon codes for one of 23 amino acids or a stop or a start. There is the complication of the “non-coding” and control regions, etc. I still think it is higher level mechanisms and the existence of common ancester organisms that already WORK, that address the probability issue. Evolution is about speciation from common descent not the probability of abiogenesis.

  424. #426 Magnifico Giganticus
    March 14, 2009

    I got to “…Gods eternal power…” But I have to admit I don’t even really try anymore.

  425. #427 Jack McCullough
    March 14, 2009

    Maybe if he’s so sure that Satan is responsible for all this bad stuff he should sue Satan.

    Oh wait, that’s been tried already:

    W.D.Pa., 1971
    UNITED STATES v. SATAN AND HIS STAFF
    54 F.R.D. 282

    Gerald Mayo, pro se.

    MEMORANDUM ORDER

    WEBER, District Judge.
    Plaintiff, alleging jurisdiction under 18 U.S.C. § 241, 28 U.S.C. § 1343, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 prays for leave to file a complaint for violation of his civil rights *283 in forma pauperis. He alleges that Satan has on numerous occasions caused plaintiff misery and unwarranted threats, against the will of plaintiff, that Satan has placed deliberate obstacles in his path and has caused plaintiff’s downfall.

    Plaintiff alleges that by reason of these acts Satan has deprived him of his constitutional rights.

    We feel that the application to file and proceed in forma pauperis must be denied. Even if plaintiff’s complaint reveals a prima facie recital of the infringement of the civil rights of a citizen of the United States, the Court has serious doubts that the complaint reveals a cause of action upon which relief can be granted by the court. We question whether plaintiff may obtain personal jurisdiction over the defendant in this judicial district. The complaint contains no allegation of residence in this district. While the official reports disclose no case where this defendant has appeared as defendant there is an unofficial account of a trial in New Hampshire where this defendant filed an action of mortgage foreclosure as plaintiff. The defendant in that action was represented by the preeminent advocate of that day, and raised the defense that the plaintiff was a foreign prince with no standing to sue in an American Court. This defense was overcome by overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Whether or not this would raise an estoppel in the present case we are unable to determine at this time.

    If such action were to be allowed we would also face the question of whether it may be maintained as a class action. It appears to meet the requirements of Fed.R. of Civ.P. 23 that the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable, there are questions of law and fact common to the class, and the claims of the representative party is typical of the claims of the class. We cannot now determine if the representative party will fairly protect the interests of the class.

    We note that the plaintiff has failed to include with his complaint the required form of instructions for the United States Marshal for directions as to service of process.

    For the foregoing reasons we must exercise our discretion to refuse the prayer of plaintiff to proceed in forma pauperis.

    It is ordered that the complaint be given a miscellaneous docket number and leave to proceed in forma pauperis be denied.

    Have a great weekend, everybody.

  426. #428 Prof MTH
    March 14, 2009

    So Yhwh foreknew The Fall. Yhwh set up creation in a particular way, presumably for a reason (otherwise it was simply arbitrary). Yhwh created the two trees with forbidden fruit. Per Yhwh’s foreknowledge, he knew, by definition, in advance that Eve would eat of the tree (after listening to a talking snake). Yhwh could have prevented this event simply by not creating the two trees in the first place.
    Sounds like a frame job to me.

    Let us analyze Wilson’s argument from a game theoretic perspective. Before the act of creation there was a zero amount of evil (supposedly; after all Yahweh is a genocidal, narcissistic, raving lunatic with a fetish for bald men), and presumably, before creation, an infinite amount of goodness (as Yahweh/Jesus is supposedly all-loving). After the act of creation, the amount of evil went from zero to some positive number. Ignoring the fact that Yahweh is the author of creation, if we are to rationally decide which universe, if any, to create, one with a positive amount of evil where before there was none, is not the rational choice to make. That is unless maximizing the goodness requires allowing some amount of evil so that a net ration of goodness/badness is positively maximized. The consequent, is that evil is a necessary feature of the universe. So all evil acts are justified as part of Yahweh’s divine design.
    No wonder Joey, “the Rat” Ratzinger is now Pope.

  427. #429 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 14, 2009

    Abiogenesis is the default hypothesis for the origin of life and there is evidence of its plausibility. An alternative hypothesis is an alien origin of life either by biogenesis or possible by intelligent design and distribution (panspermia).

    Yes — but Ockham’s Razor has something against panspermia (whether directed or not). It was invented because people used to think there wasn’t enough time for abiogenesis between the time the Earth became habitable and the oldest fossil evidence for life. Outsourcing abiogenesis therefore seemed like a good idea — but now there’s good evidence that continents and oceans already existed 4.4 billion years ago on Earth, while the oldest possible evidence for life is 3.85 billion years old, means, 550 million years younger. A lot can happen in 550 million years, don’t you think?

    (Also, all evidence for life down to and including the age of 3.5 billion years is occasionally questioned; I haven’t followed that discussion closely enough, though.)

  428. #430 Kristine
    March 14, 2009

    Ah, some people have coffee and cigarettes in the morning. Others…

    I simply can’t snort this stuff while writing my own paper. But for the rest of you, delve in, but arm yourself.

  429. #431 Africangenesis
    March 14, 2009

    David Marjanovi?, OM,

    “A lot can happen in 550 million years, don’t you think?”

    I certainly agree. I lot happened especially in the last 550 million years. Life was primed for evolution, barring catastrophe, something was going to happen, lots of things were going to happen. I agree there is no need for an explanation other than abiogenesis. There is only the human “need” to know. Still, it is the hard part of the story that is missing.

  430. #432 Terry C
    March 14, 2009

    He lost ME the minute he started in on the “god” crap.

  431. #433 AnthonyK
    March 14, 2009

    Invigilator – thanks so much for the Borges list – I spent an hour or so last night trying to find it! I can’t remember though, if it’s “real” or invented. Last night on the radio I heard someone describing a pre-Linnaen classification system for trees, which was something like “those he had urninated on, those which made him vomit, and all the others.” I’d like a source on that though.
    Oh, and Invigilator, while you’ve been posting here, that blonde girl 3 rows back, she’s been using her phone. Sort it out, could you?

  432. #434 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 14, 2009

    Are you saying there is a chemical bias in what the next base can be based upon what the previous one or more bases were?

    There isn’t a chemical bias… wait. A-T pairs are held together by two hydrogen bridges, G-C pairs by three, so, the more G-C pairs a double strand contains, the more stable it is. At any given temperature, there will therefore be a (broad) optimum: too small GC content (as it’s called), and the double strand falls apart; too high, and replication is slowed down because separating the strands requires too much energy.

    So, while there isn’t a bias on what the next base can be, there’s a bias on what all other bases can be. And, this bias isn’t really part of chemistry — it’s natural selection.

    Every codon codes for one of 23 amino acids or a stop or a start.

    The start isn’t even a separate codon, it’s the codon for the amino acid methionine. (All proteins begin with methionine, unless it’s later cut off.)

    Selenocysteine is coded for by either a cysteine codon or a stop codon (depending on the organism) in the presence of certain other features elsewhere on the mRNA. Coding of pyrrolysine (which only occurs in some methanogenic archaea) also coopts a stop codon in the presence of certain other features elsewhere on the mRNA. What’s the 23rd?

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

  433. #435 AnthonyK
    March 14, 2009

    any given temperature, there will therefore be a (broad) optimum: too small GC content (as it’s called), and the double strand falls apart; too high, and replication is slowed down because separating the strands requires too much energy.

    Wow! But…what about the strength of those H-bonds? I had kind of assumed that A-C and T-G bonds were essentially equally stable…so what about the situation in RNA, any difference there?

  434. #436 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 14, 2009

    I had kind of assumed that A-C and T-G bonds were essentially equally stable…

    Well, no. Each H bond is equally strong. Basic molecular biology. No difference in RNA — except that, for (presumably) some reason, RNA is a bit more stable than DNA of the same sequence, and hybrid double strands have intermediate stability.

  435. #437 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 14, 2009

    But…what about the strength of those H-bonds? I had kind of assumed that A-C and T-G bonds were essentially equally stable…so what about the situation in RNA, any difference there?

    Not a whole lot A-C is the same, but thymine has been replaced with its demethylated analog uracil. Still the same hydrogen bonding in U-G as T-G.

  436. #438 anti-supernaturalist
    March 14, 2009

    ** They are not unnamed . . .

    There are two sources from which to gain a “knowledge” of who also (et alia) contributes to making those disgusting critters designed by Prince of Darkness & Co. Inc.:

    Dante Divine Comedy Inferno Cantos 21-22
    C.S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters (‘Screwtape’ is a demon.)

    anti-supernaturalist

  437. #439 Africangenesis
    March 14, 2009

    David and Nerd,

    My bad. Thanx for the corrections and further explanation. regards

  438. #440 aebrosc
    March 14, 2009

    Africangenesis: I was trying to say the same thing about the fact that every 3 letter combination ends up coding something. I will try and be clearer next time.
    On his blog he says his argument is against a random string of characters containing information specifically DNA, I was trying to pull that analogy apart from a very mathematical point of view, the wrongness there is what got on my nerves, I’m a math grad student.
    But thank you I’ll try and make my points more explicit.

  439. #441 AnthonyK
    March 14, 2009

    Hydrogen bonds can vary in strength from very weak (1-2 kJ mol?1) to extremely strong (>155 kJ mol?1)

    according to a friend who’s part of a huge internet encylodia.
    I may well have got the wrong end of the stick here, but even if this refers to some kind of inter-atomic bond as compared to an inter-molecular one, is it true? I have to be very careful here because my personal bullshit meter is beginning to vibrate, but surely the strength of an H-bond will partly depend on the configuration of the amino-acid it’s attached to?
    Sorry if I’m ignorant, but his is an interesting idea and I’d like to get it straight.

  440. #442 Invigilator
    March 14, 2009

    Anthony at 433 — In Borges’s world, is anything either made up or real?

    It is from a certain Chinese encyclopedia called the Heavenly Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge.

  441. #443 Africangenesis
    March 14, 2009

    David Marjanovi?, OM,

    “so, the more G-C pairs a double strand contains, the more stable it is”

    Has this been shown significant enough to select for a greater proportion of G-C pairs in birds and mammals relative to say cold water fish?

  442. #444 Sven DiMilo
    March 14, 2009

    Isn’t the thing about hydrogen bonds that they are, in one sense, weaker versions of ionic bonds? Weaker because they are attractions between opposite electrical charges which are <1 electron/proton’s worth?
    If that’s accurate, then the strength of hydrogen-bonding would seem to depend on 1) the number of hydrogen bonds, 2) the distance between the charge-centers (or whatever) of the polar molecules involved in each bond, and 3) the strength of the partial chargees of the relevant chunk of each polar molecule involved?
    If that’s not accurate, I’d appreciate disabusal.

  443. #445 AnthonyK
    March 14, 2009

    Heavenly Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge.

    Oh – what a beautiful title for a book! See all of Borges, for its contents presumably! It occurs to me that if Borges wrote in English, and if more people were familiar with his examination of the human condition, he would be quoted here all the time.
    Imagine that…well…maybe I should get to it, reread those wonderful stories, and find a few more to throw in here. In a sense, the discussion of Reality and its perceptions which are the main preoccupations of Pharyngula, would interest Borges greatly…

  444. #446 Sven DiMilo
    March 14, 2009

    Aaaaa!
    total html fail…Always preview…let’s see.

    Isn’t the thing about hydrogen bonds that they are, in one sense, weaker versions of ionic bonds? Weaker because they are attractions between opposite electrical charges which are partial, as in less than 1 electon/protron’s worth. Partial because they are attractions between charged regions of polar molecules rather than between ions.
    If that’s accurate,then the strength of hydrogen-bonding would seem to depend on 1) the number of hydrogen bonds, 2) the distance between the charge-centers (or whatever) of the polar molecules involved in each bond, and 3) the strength of the partial chargees of the relevant chunk of each polar molecule involved?
    If that’s not accurate, I’d appreciate disabusal….

    something like that. Or whatever.

  445. #447 Sven DiMilo
    March 14, 2009

    gaaa! proton!! charges!

  446. #448 Thunderbird5
    March 14, 2009

    Am I the only one who looks at the word ‘baramin’ and sees ‘theremin’ ?

  447. #449 AnthonyK
    March 14, 2009

    I’m grateful to the Barmainologists for teaching me, in less than 3 hours, a whole new branch of Sciencey!

  448. #450 Menyambal
    March 14, 2009

    Intelligent Designer says:

    There is nothing wrong with the math, except that it was dumbed down to the level of a blog entry.

    What’s wrong with the math is that it’s absolutely pointless. The whole blog entry is an answer to people who explain that a certain argument is silly, so restating the argument in a more precise way makes it even sillier.

    The paragraph analogy is flawed from the git-go. A particular ordered, grammatical, correctly-spelled paragraph is highly improbable, yes. But there are number of flaws in the comparison to genetic information, and tap-dancing on the numbers just smokescreens the basic flaws.

    For one thing, the paragraph used in the example could be stated a LARGE number of different ways, and still provide the same information. Poor spelling and grammar wouldn’t be a complete block to understanding. The probability is way off.

    Further, a paragraph such as that example was prepared by an intelligent designer, and is designed only to be understood by another intelligence. It is not self-replicating, it isn’t even dead–it’s in no way comparable to life.

    The paragraph has randomness in it in several layers. At bottom, the peculiar little squiggles used for the shapes of the letter are evolved, the words are evolved, the word order is evolved–with “evolved” in this case meaning “semi-randomness beaten into shape by life”.

    Genetic information, if compared to a paragraph, is not intended to transmit information to a dis-interested third party. It is intended to keep the bearer of the information alive. It says, “Run!”, not “Mr. Pinky, we have five bunnies and you have three bunnies, so together we have eight bunnies.”

    Genetic information is like an army field manual, written by the men in the trenches, passed on to the new guys, who add notes and pass it on. The language may be anything, from Sanskrit to a thump on the head, or little chemical bits. It will not be random noise of no value. It cannot be useless. But there will be randomness in it, in word choices, chapter order and blood spatters.

    We can argue about improbabilities all blog long. But isn’t it weirdly improbable that a squiggle shaped like “F”, a squiggle shaped like “u”, a squiggle shaped like “c”, and a squiggle shaped like “k”, together in that order, convey anything at all?

  449. #451 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 14, 2009

    according to a friend who’s part of a huge internet encylodia. I may well have got the wrong end of the stick here, but even if this refers to some kind of inter-atomic bond as compared to an inter-molecular one, is it true?

    It is true, but it doesn’t matter for nucleic acids, where all hydrogen bonds are very similar, so that only their number matters.

    (And while it is between molecules, it’s between specific atoms of these molecules.)

    surely the strength of an H-bond will partly depend on the configuration of the amino-acid it’s attached to?

    You mean the base? Yes, but see above.

    Has this been shown significant enough to select for a greater proportion of G-C pairs in birds and mammals relative to say cold water fish?

    I bet there’s a measurable difference with respect to icefish. Between ordinary cold-water fish and birds/mammals, I expect one, but I wouldn’t bet real money on it and can’t look it up right now. — Thermophilic bacteria have a drastically elevated GC content; that’s what I know. This effect also becomes very important whenever you need to estimate the “melting point” of a DNA or RNA double strand, for example in planning a PCR (nothing can be as empty as a PCR gel).

    If that’s accurate,then the strength of hydrogen-bonding would seem to depend on 1) the number of hydrogen bonds,

    yep

    2) the distance between the charge-centers (or whatever) of the polar molecules involved in each bond,

    This is more an either-or thing for hydrogen bonds: if the distance (and the angle!) can be made to fit, a bond forms, and if not, it doesn’t. That’s because hydrogen bonds are a quantum-physical phenomenon: the proton tunnels back and forth between two places.

    and 3) the strength of the partial chargees of the relevant chunk of each polar molecule involved?

    Yes — and in the bases of nucleic acids, these differences are all small, AFAIK to the point of being always negligible for biology.

    Between a cystein-containing enzyme (which thus possesses an -SH group, S being much less electronegative than O or N) and its substrate, that could be different.

  450. #452 Prometevsberg
    March 14, 2009

    vic@55I think if he had used Nordic mythology as the basis for his paper, instead of Hebrew mythology, he wouldn’t have been taken as seriously.

    A moot quetion.
    Norse mythology does not have a problem of evil to solve:
    Nature is harsh.
    Lifeforms are hard.
    The forces of evil are bad,
    BUT THE GODS ARE BADDEST OF ALL!

    @227 quote
    Something I just noticed: New St. Andrews College is extremely Calvinist, but this guy went there from Liberty University. I thought Baptists were generally Arminian (i.e. not believing in predestination). Did he have a change of heart, theologically? Very strange.

    Simple! he was predestined to go Liberty University, where he made a free choice to transfer to St.Andrews.

  451. #453 AnthonyK
    March 14, 2009

    Thank you. However, should I feel that despite your explanation and relevant expertise, I disagree with you, I will set up my own crackpot blog and then repeatedly abuse you, or anyone else who agrees with you.
    I thought I’d call myself “Intelligent Designer”. Would this work?

  452. #454 JPS
    March 14, 2009

    Never has Poe’s law been demonstrated so clearly. I could not possibly be that funny if I tried.

  453. #455 Nitpick
    March 14, 2009

    Where it says “mutation and natural mutation” at the end of Wilson’s first paragraph (should be mutation and natural selection, surely?) is that his error or yours?

  454. #456 LtStorm
    March 14, 2009
    Hydrogen bonds can vary in strength from very weak (1-2 kJ mol?1) to extremely strong (>155 kJ mol?1)

    according to a friend who’s part of a huge internet encylodia. I may well have got the wrong end of the stick here, but even if this refers to some kind of inter-atomic bond as compared to an inter-molecular one, is it true? I have to be very careful here because my personal bullshit meter is beginning to vibrate, but surely the strength of an H-bond will partly depend on the configuration of the amino-acid it’s attached to? Sorry if I’m ignorant, but his is an interesting idea and I’d like to get it straight.

    The most common hydrogen bond runs around 10-30kJ/mol. The only bond stronger than that is a F-H — H bond, which is very unusual unless, y?know, you?re working with hydrofluoric acid, as fluoride can?t really accommodate a second bond that?d allow this to be important in larger molecular systems.

    Isn’t the thing about hydrogen bonds that they are, in one sense, weaker versions of ionic bonds? Weaker because they are attractions between opposite electrical charges which are If that’s accurate, then the strength of hydrogen-bonding would seem to depend on 1) the number of hydrogen bonds, 2) the distance between the charge-centers (or whatever) of the polar molecules involved in each bond, and 3) the strength of the partial chargees of the relevant chunk of each polar molecule involved?
    If that’s not accurate, I’d appreciate disabusal.

    Yeah, they?re weaker. An O-H bond is about 20 times stronger than an O-H — O hydrogen bond. The attraction itself is between the dipole created by the unpaired electrons on the oxygen and the dipole created by hydrogen having its own electron ripped off by oxygen due to its high electronegativity.

    Also, remember, the only atoms capable of meaningfully participating in hydrogen bonding are oxygen, nitrogen, and in special cases fluorine and a hydrogen attached to one of those aforementioned atoms (a few others like sulfur can do it, but they tend to favor disulfide bonds and such.)

    So yeah, you had it fairly right.

  455. #457 LtStorm
    March 14, 2009

    Feh, error in my last post. Should be; F-H — F

    I also realized there are some molecules that incorporate F as a hydrogen bond acceptor. While its inability to bond to more than H makes it incapable of being a hydrogen bond donor (i.e. the F-H), it can be used as the acceptor (i.e. the — F).

    So yeah, still not something you see too often compared to the more common hydrogen bonding types, but possible.

  456. #458 Sid
    March 14, 2009

    bestiality to transfer genes to unicellular, asexual pathogens?

    WTF?

  457. #459 Gordon Wilson
    March 14, 2009

    My bad. I realize now that ?et al.? was a poor choice of words since it suggests a citation of a pub in a peer reviewed journal of some sort. I wasn?t trying to intimate that Satan actually publishes articles, at least not in our civilized countries. Sorry for the confusion. I simply meant what the words et al. mean, ?and others?. To keep things clear, I should have said ?Satan and his minions?. Keep in mind that I don?t believe Satan (or his minions) to be responsible for ?natural evil?. I just mentioned it as one of six scenarios and gave my reasons why I don?t believe it to be the case. But of course as far as you guys are concerned, any scenario involving the supernatural would be cause for much chortling and merriment, since you believe such reasonable scientific things like the idea that hydrogen, (a colorless, odorless gas) given 10 billion years, turns into bacteria which over the next 3.5 billion years will evolve into beetles, bats, baleen whales, broccoli, boletes, and bloggers. Geez, they should have started with methane (at least it has carbon in it). Never mind, that wouldn?t work. They would have to give up that nice alliteration of the Big Bang in exchange for the Big Fart, with a corresponding diminution of Scientific Authority. But with all this said, I really don?t think Satan needs to publish in any peer review journal. With so many people like Myers, et al. (oops, there I go again; I mean Myers and his minions) pushing his agenda on blogs like this one, why would Satan ever need to publish?

    Gordon Wilson

    Creationist

  458. #460 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 14, 2009

    why would Satan ever need to publish?

    Why should you show your stupidity by posting? Same difference.

  459. #461 Wolfhound
    March 14, 2009

    Yeah, Gordon, because a magical, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, invisible sky fairy of unknown origin who has an unhealthy interest in my sex life and diet poofing everything into existence, all at once, less than 10k years ago is SO much easier to swallow. If you’re a credulous moron. Oh, wait, you’re a creationist. Same thing, really.

  460. #462 Chris in Moscow
    March 14, 2009

    This caught my eye because I live about a mile away from New St. Andrew’s College.

    Here’s a good article about the folks
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/30/magazine/30Christian-t.html?_r=2&ref=magazine&oref=slogin

    They are CRAZY CRAZY CRAZIES (how’s that for alliteration?) who, recommend capitol punishment for homosexuality:
    http://www.credenda.org/old/issues/vol3/magi3-9.htm

    I’m usually a tolerant and cheerful sort, but when people start writing (joking or not) about stoning my friends to death, I get a tad angry. A dumbass who speaks latin is still a dumbass, and Doug Wilson and his followers are a bunch of pompous, stupid, neoconfederate, calvinist f)cks who are unwelcome in the city I grew up in.

  461. #463 tony
    March 14, 2009

    Gordon

    Why are there Amino acid signatures in almost every stellar cloud that’s been investigated?

    Did God have some left over bits?

    Also: you appear to be a YEC.

    Who painted the images in the Lascaux caves (estimated radiologically to be around 16,000 years old) and how old are they really (according to you)?
    Who created the images on Ayers Rock, and when? Were they on the ark, too? [Archaeological findings to the east and west of Uluru indicate that humans settled in the area more than 10,000 years ago]

    I’d really like to know. This stuff has a lot of credibility – especially regarding the aging of artifacts and materials. What is your position?

  462. #464 Kel
    March 15, 2009

    since you believe such reasonable scientific things like the idea that hydrogen, (a colorless, odorless gas) given 10 billion years, turns into bacteria which over the next 3.5 billion years will evolve into beetles, bats, baleen whales, broccoli, boletes, and bloggers.

    When several hydrogen atoms love each other very much, they inside of a star fuse together and form higher elements. When the sun runs out of hydrogen it explodes and sends the offspring elements into space. These elements too sometimes love each other, and they have offspring – sometimes organic in nature. And when these chemicals love each other through another process, it can create replicating life. But once life starts, all you need is time and errors in copying and you get beetles, bats, baleen whales, broccoli, boletes, and even bloggers. All because hydrogen atoms love each other very much…

  463. #465 Caymen Paolo
    March 15, 2009

    Gordon Wilson:

    Actually welcome.

    There was a great flame war over on Holytaco earlier this week about stem cell research. That evolved into a tug of war over the sacredness of life and science versus religion. Great fun! but even more fun because both sides were represented and some actual debate happened (lot of other crap too).

    I love PZ’s blog, but it rarely attracts literate people from the creationist side. Let’s have at it!

  464. #466 Kemist
    March 15, 2009

    Feh, error in my last post. Should be; F-H — F

    I also realized there are some molecules that incorporate F as a hydrogen bond acceptor. While its inability to bond to more than H makes it incapable of being a hydrogen bond donor (i.e. the F-H), it can be used as the acceptor (i.e. the — F).

    As a modeller (somebody who likes to model molecules with a computer, not somebody who build small plastic cars and planes), I feel the need to add that C-H hydrogens are sometimes, in very specific conditions, considered in (weak) hydrogen bonding. Among those conditions are those on aromatic cycles, or neighboring highly polarized carbons (Those interested should read Mr. Desiraju’s work).

    Actually, a hydrogen bond is a specific permanent dipole electrostatic interaction which is generally directional (meaning, strenght will also depend on angle, optimal H-X-H angle being 180 degrees), contrarily to say, a ionic bond, or van der Waals forces. For us modellers, that means we have to model it separately (and differently) from those other forces.

    Needless to say, no hydrogen bond has a strenght of 155 kJ/mol.

  465. #467 Caymen Paolo
    March 15, 2009

    Gordon

    Tony in #463 has some good questions – Let’s start there?

  466. #468 Kemist
    March 15, 2009

    But of course as far as you guys are concerned, any scenario involving the supernatural would be cause for much chortling and merriment,

    [giggle] well, [snort] yes.

    since you believe such reasonable scientific things like the idea that hydrogen, (a colorless, odorless gas)

    … that can undergo, you know “nucular” fusion and stuff… You know, to form, like, heavier elements… Like it’s been possible to reproduce in the laboratory. Yes, I’m talking about the research your government (and others) have been pouring billions of dollars in, because it would very probably solve any imaginable energy crisis for the next centuries ?

    given 10 billion years, turns into bacteria which over the next 3.5 billion years will evolve into beetles, bats, baleen whales, broccoli, boletes, and bloggers.

    1) There’s a nice discipline you need to get aquainted with: it’s called organic chemistry. It’s not very new. In fact it’s about 200 years old. Newsflash : we’re able to make complicated molecules (very complicated; some groups can make artificial ion channels) and we don’t have to use small robots : they self-assemble. woohoohoohoohooh [/twilight zone theme]

    2) Just because you can’t imagine it doesn’t mean it’s false. Just for fun, calculate how many human lifetimes fit into 15 billion years. You people always talk about eternity. I’m not sure you really know what you’re talking about.

    Geez, they should have started with methane (at least it has carbon in it). Never mind, that wouldn?t work.

    Err… Methane = CH4 ie, carbon plus hydrogen ??? WTF ? Do you perhaps think methane can’t be formed without divine (or intestinal) help ?

  467. #469 Dane Wilson
    March 15, 2009

    Hi to all of you “Dirtmen and Ribwomen”(referring to post #4),

    This is Gordon Wilson’s son. All I’m going to say is: “go dad.” And yes, I am Adam’s son and Satan’s enemy. And if Satan did start a blog, I would expect it to be named: http://www.satanetal.blogspot.com

    Cheers!
    -Dane Wilson

  468. #470 clinteas
    March 15, 2009

    @ 459,Gordon Wilson,

    I wasn?t trying to intimate that Satan actually publishes articles, at least not in our civilized countrie

    Comedy gold,right there.

    This is Gordon Wilson’s son. All I’m going to say is: “go dad.” And yes, I am Adam’s son and Satan’s enemy

    You,son,have been abused.Im very sorry.Dont waste your life on this shit.Get an education,learn about life and nature,and do something useful.There is no god and no satan.

  469. #471 Kel
    March 15, 2009

    I’d be far more worried about God than Satan if I were a believer. It’s God and not Satan who deems you worthy of eternal salvation, and it’s God and not Satan who can condemn you to hell for all eternity. God is the one with power, Satan is merely a tool. We like to blame Satan for the problems in the world much in the same way we want to make Osama Bin Laden the face of evil. It’s a nice target to aim at, but it’s clearly missing the real issue at hand. God is both omnipotent and omniscient – while Satan is neither. It follows logically that it’s God who is your enemy and Satan is the scape goat that allows him to act with impunity.

  470. #472 brokenSoldier, OM
    March 15, 2009

    Kel:

    It follows logically that it’s God who is your enemy and Satan is the scape goat that allows him to act with impunity.

    Nice point – because after all, if there were no Devil, who in the hell would God blame it all on?? I can’t remember exactly where I read this or who wrote it, but I remember reading something from the Enlightenment that posited that God – being omniscient – was necessarily evil, because he would have surely seen Lucifer’s rebellion beforehand, and any temptation thereafter succumbed to by man (including the fall) and summarily blamed on the conspiracies of the devil could be laid directly at God’s feet.

  471. #473 Kel
    March 15, 2009

    You could understand if there was a story of Good vs Evil in Christianity, but in monotheism that can’t work. There’s no hero or villain, no battle for the soul. There’s just one God – an omnipotent, omniscient deity who created the world and everything in it. Anything to do with Satan seems to be tacked on, and quite poorly tacked on at that. But this is what happens when you modify tribal polytheism into monotheism, then try to make that new meshing universal.

    The end product of it all is just so infantile, it’s amazing that anyone could actually buy into that nonsense at all. Satan seems like nothing more than an excuse to explain the absence of God in ones own personal struggle.

  472. #474 brokenSoldier, OM
    March 15, 2009

    The end product of it all is just so infantile, it’s amazing that anyone could actually buy into that nonsense at all.

    Indeed. I really wonder how fast religion would decline if children were allowed to reach the age of reason prior to being taught its doctrines. I couldn’t imagine that it would last more than a few generations, and those who continued to adhere would – it seems to me – decline with each successive generation.

  473. #476 Nick Holloway
    March 15, 2009

    Ad hominem comments and mutual back slapping about the stupidity of Christians, what a boring read… at least there is a small number of people here willing to engage in an intelligent way with what G. Wilson is saying. Thanks to those.

    The first law of Thermodynamics aside what is ultimately at issue here?

    At least Kel got down to the brass tacks here…
    “The end product of it all is just so infantile, it’s amazing that anyone could actually buy into that nonsense at all.” The end product of all this infantile, God vs. Satan, where did evil come from, etc., etc., appeared first as an infant and is the fixer of it all… Jesus.

    Now there’s something fun to debate on the blog of a ‘godless liberal’… the origin of evil and Jesus!

    Flame away.

  474. #477 Kel
    March 15, 2009

    The end product of all this infantile, God vs. Satan, where did evil come from, etc., etc., appeared first as an infant and is the fixer of it all… Jesus.

    Yes, God coming to earth in human form only to partake in some fatal S&M makes it somewhat less infantile…

  475. #478 clinteas
    March 15, 2009

    Flame away

    Is there a point youre making here anywhere?I must have missed it.

    at least there is a small number of people here willing to engage in an intelligent way with what G. Wilson is saying

    Did you actually read what he wrote? A chimpanzee on a typewriter would produce output that makes just as much sense.

  476. #479 Wowbagger, OM
    March 15, 2009

    Indeed. I really wonder how fast religion would decline if children were allowed to reach the age of reason prior to being taught its doctrines. I couldn’t imagine that it would last more than a few generations, and those who continued to adhere would – it seems to me – decline with each successive generation.

    I think what’d kill it off would be have to people have to actually qualify to call themselves Christians; some sort of basic test they’d have to pass. As it is, any idiot can just answer ‘yes’ to the question ‘are you a Christian?’ and yet know absolutely nothing about what it is they’re supporting by doing so.

    Should Christianity have to be understood in order to be adhered to then we’d see exactly how many people really took it seriously. All the current numbers imply is a) how interwoven it is with culture and b) there is a vast number of weak minds falling for Pascal’s Wager.

  477. #480 Dane Wilson
    March 15, 2009

    “You,son,have been abused.Im very sorry.Dont waste your life on this shit.Get an education,learn about life and nature,and do something useful.There is no god and no satan.”

    As to this comment, I say: I love my Father and there is nobody I respect more than him. And yes, I am getting an education(at New Saint Andrews College), and I am learning about life and nature. And yes, I am doing something useful which is: stopping posting on this blog.

    Cheers!
    -Dane Wilson

  478. #481 Wowbagger, OM
    March 15, 2009

    Dane Wilson wrote:

    And yes, I am doing something useful which is: stopping posting on this blog.

    You’ve demonstrated at least modicum of common sense in doing so; why is it you can’t apply such analysis to your superstitions?

  479. #482 Kel
    March 15, 2009

    let’s bring on the origin of evil and Jesus…

    Suppose God made the universe and everything in it. Therefore if there is evil in the world, then God would have to be the creator of evil. Otherwise, evil needs to come from a source external to God, and that would either suggest polytheism or that God is not omnipotent. So to accept that God is the creator of everything is to accept that God is the creator of evil.

    Secondly if God created evil, that would mean that God is evil too. The options seem to be that either God knew evil but is not evil, in which case there needs to be another external source for evil – again destroying monotheism, or that God embodies evil for evil to exist. Thus God is both pure good and pure evil. One argument could be that evil is simply the absence of God, but then what we call evil would be acts that God is incapable of committing. So when God kills the first-born of everyone in Egypt or drowns all of humanity, or rapes a woman – these are normally things that we consider evil acts. The absence of God is very different to what we attribute to be evil. Thus if evil exists in the world God is all evil and all good at the same time.

    Thirdly we get to the fall of man. It’s attributed that evil entering the world is the fault of mankind eating from the tree of knowledge. As before, that God made everything in the universe it follows that God made the tree of knowledge. So God’s omniscience should have concluded that if he put the tree of knowledge there, then man would eventually eat from the tree and thus bring evil into the world. And even more so, man had no knowledge of right and wrong – they got that knowledge from eating from the tree. So either man didn’t have the knowledge to exercise free will properly and thus have no blame from the event, or that God made mankind to eat from the tree. God is punishing all mankind for an event that man had no ability to exercise appropriate judgement.

    Fourthly to redemption. Now God is all powerful so God could in any way lift the curse of original sin if he so chooses. So instead of just lifting the curse for that random event by which those involved didn’t know the consequences, he instead decided to come down to earth in human form in order to martyr himself to take away the sin. An omnipotent being could have just blinked and made original sin go away, but instead had to prove a point through sacrifice. Well it wasn’t really a sacrifice, if that was God in human form, all God did was remove himself from an earthly body and the few days of that wild S&M that went a bit too far was nothing compared to all eternity. The sacrifice was a non-sacrifice in the scope of God’s existence. Now it could be argued that God came down to earth just to feel mankind’s pain, but this would imply that God is not omniscient.

    Fiftly, the question of Satan. As I wrote above, Satan is not the equivalent of God. Satan is not omnipotent or omniscient. God in effect could get rid of Satan or diminish Satan’s influence with the raising of an eyebrow. Instead he does not, which brings us back to the question of free will. If we have free will to either choose between God or not-God, then God surely would prevent Satan from acting in that decision. Rather having Satan’s influence on any individual is a sign that God is neither omnipotent, omniscient, or that we truly have free will. The devil is nothing compared to God, yet it’s built up as if they are equal partners in fighting for our souls. And again, as I raised above ultimately it’s God who decides the fate of our eternal souls. If our free will has been incapacitated by the influence of Satan, then God could take that into account when determining the fate of our eternal souls. Satan is nothing more than the tool of God, and ultimately useless in the battle for our own salvation.

    Ultimately Christianity is a silly concept. The monotheistic perspective does not fit with the fundamentalist interpretation of God, and based on everything we’ve observed in the universe such a being is absurd. We’ve seen galaxies over 13 billion light years away, rocks on the earth that are over 4 billion years old. We see the patterns of evolution and thus since the process works on the population as opposed to the individual – there is no such thing as the first human. Original sin did not happen, and thus there is no need for redemption. And stemming from that, the idea of an afterlife is silly. This is the life we have, and we really should make the most of it. Because the 70-80 most of us will be fortunate enough to live for is our eternity. We have one life to live, one life to love, one life to enjoy and take comfort in our fellow man and ultimately our place in the universe. We are walking masses of energy condensed into atoms that over the course of ~4 billion years have turned from simple replicating protocells into these thinking, loving, caring, complex beings that we are. This is humanity and this is what we have. There can be no greater crime in thought that reverting to an explanation for humanity who thought that gay sex caused volcanic eruptions. This is life, this is the one chance we get. Embrace your mortality and embrace humanity, lest you live your life by bronze age mythology.

  480. #483 'Tis Himself
    March 15, 2009

    To expand on what Kel wrote in #482:

    So when God kills the first-born of everyone in Egypt or drowns all of humanity, or rapes a woman – these are normally things that we consider evil acts.

    According to the propaganda God is all loving but when we read what he actually does he comes across as a real jerk. Having bears maul 42 kids because they were rude to some bald guy is overkill. Cursing a fig tree because it’s not bearing fruit out of season shows all the maturity of a spoiled six year old. Killing the Egyptian first born because some pharaoh isn’t paying attention is something a ruthless megalomaniac does. A deity that does that sort of thing isn’t worthy of worship. I certainly don’t want to worship a bullying despot.

  481. #484 Kel
    March 15, 2009

    If I were going to have a title for that post, it would be “Monotheism is fucking stupid!” By it’s own standards, Christianity makes no sense, yet they expect us to swallow that nonsense? A bad comic book has a better storyline for the battle of good vs evil than the hacked-together modified tribal-polytheism on which universal monotheism came from. It’s a hack religion, nothing more than putting lipstick on a pig. Yet adults still flock to this obvious absurdity?

  482. #485 nomuse
    March 15, 2009

    Ah, but he stops too soon. He forgot alternate genetic coding for flat teeth and intestinal bacteria to allow the major predators to survive on a diet of grasses and leaves…and worst of all, the alternate coding for fully functional legs on the Snake, before he was forced because of his involvement in The Fall to give them up and take up existence as a belly-crawler.

  483. #486 Caymen Paolo
    March 15, 2009

    It’s too bad that the Wilsons are not going to do intellectual battle with us. Most of the creationists who show up here are not capable of logical thought, so are easy to dismiss. It gets boring sometimes.

    But Wilson has a Ph.D. from a respected school and presumably can debate.

    Maybe we need to meet him on neutral ground? – back over to holytaco!? Except that thread ran out and died.

    I’d really like to quiz him in a friendly way. I’m sure I can respect him as a person. And mostly I can live with whatever beliefs he has, even if I don’t agree with him. The major thing that scares me is that he is involved in a school whose explicit purpose is to bypass the mainstream education system and instill a defective type of thinking in kids. Even that would be ok, except that some of these kids will likely become decision makers in our society. That’s the scary part.

    I’d really like to see if there’s some actual debate material with him and his colleagues — or if it’s really just “the bible is law – game over.”

  484. #487 Nick
    March 15, 2009

    Why are people who don’t believe in God defining what evil is and where it comes from? Doesn’t the definition of evil just become subjective to your own personal p.o.v.?

    According to Kel, I have to believe that God is the origin of evil. Says him. What if the origin of evil is the absence of God? Then we have the reason for redemption and ultimately for Jesus.

    Of course, this idea of redemption will seem foolish to some…

  485. #488 Hank Roberts
    March 15, 2009

    Lou Cipher was the first author on that paper, I believe.

  486. #489 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 15, 2009

    According to Kel, I have to believe that God is the origin of evil. Says him. What if the origin of evil is the absence of God? Then we have the reason for redemption and ultimately for Jesus.

    Ah, another stupid godbot who cannot see the trees for the forest. We discuss such things for two reasons. First, it is fun to do so. Second to mock godbots and religion in the process. We recognize that good, evil, morals, and ethics are all man made constructs. No need for invented gods to be involved. Even less need for the fictional books of a delusional deity to be involved. You may believe your delusions, but we can mock them. If you don’t like it, go elsewhere. Nobody put a gun to your head and forced you to post your inanity.

  487. #490 WTFinterrobang
    March 15, 2009

    @Im curious #22:

    That is one rich link!!!

    Seems the guy watches turtle porn for his research and hosted a Baraminology Study Group where they lernt to classify every “living creature after its kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after its kind.” And so I ask the good wackjob Dr. Wilson, “What am I? creeping thing or beast of the earth because I ain’t no cow!”

  488. #491 Caymen Paolo
    March 15, 2009

    Nick @ 487

    I think they’re just making fun of the concept. Good and evil don’t really mean anything except in cultural terms. You’re free to have your own pov, as you say, but the collective norms of what’s acceptable and what’s not have been worked out by society over thousands of years (likely tens-of-thousands). It doesn’t change very quickly, although it does change over centuries. Witness changed attitudes toward slavery. All the holy books just jumped on this bandwagon and wrote down the norms of their time. Which makes the bible so out of date. Could use a new edition, don’t ya think?

    btw, didn’t I see somewhere that the head of the New Saint Andrews College and Christopher Hitchens were going to have some flashy hollywood-like debate? Did that happen?

  489. #492 'Tis Himself
    March 15, 2009

    Nick #487:

    What if the origin of evil is the absence of God? Then we have the reason for redemption and ultimately for Jesus

    Kel considered that point but only in passing.

    The absence of God is very different to what we attribute to be evil…One argument could be that evil is simply the absence of God, but then what we call evil would be acts that God is incapable of committing.

    First, according to the propaganda, among all of God’s omni attributes is omnipresence. God is everywhere. So the absence of God is a non sequitur, it can’t happen.

    A less trivial answer to God’s absence is omniscience and omnipotence. God knows what we’re going to do before we do it, for that matter, before we’re born. So if he knows we’re damned to Hell and lets us be born regardless, redemption becomes a moot point. This argument is the basis for Calvinistic predestination.

    When I was a goddist I was a Catholic, so predestination wasn’t part of the dogma with which I was indoctrinated. The Council of Trent (1545-1563) called predestination a “hidden mystery.” To quote the Catholic Encyclopedia:

    The unequal standard by which baptismal grace is distributed among infants and efficacious graces among adults is hidden from our view by an impenetrable veil. Could we gain a glimpse at the reasons of this inequality, we should at once hold the key to the solution of the mystery itself. Why is it that this child is baptized, but not the child of the neighbour? Why is it that Peter the Apostle rose again after his fall and persevered till his death, while Judas Iscariot, his fellow-Apostle, hanged himself and thus frustrated his salvation? Though correct, the answer that Judas went to perdition of his own free will, while Peter faithfully co-operated with the grace of conversion offered him, does not clear up the enigma. For the question recurs: Why did not God give to Judas the same efficacious, infallibly successful grace of conversion as to St. Peter, whose blasphemous denial of the Lord was a sin no less grievous than that of the traitor Judas? To all these and similar questions the only reasonable reply is the word of St. Augustine: “Inscrutabilia sunt judicia Dei” (the judgments of God are inscrutable).

    All that tapdancing boils down to “damned if we know, God works in mysterious ways.”

  490. #493 Caymen Paolo
    March 15, 2009

    WTFInterrobang wrote “And so I ask the good wackjob Dr. Wilson,”

    Not sure I’d use the word wackjob.

    I’m just baffled how he can reconcile a Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Public Policy from George Mason with the goals of his college and the pseudoscience in the abstract that started this whole thread. I’d love to understand his thought process.

  491. #494 Owlmirror
    March 15, 2009

    Why are people who don’t believe in God defining what evil is and where it comes from? Doesn’t the definition of evil just become subjective to your own personal p.o.v.?

    But the definition of evil is subjective anyway. For example, the Bible explicitly defines making fires on Saturday as being so evil that it carries the death penalty. Christians don’t care about that, and define making fires on Saturday as being fine and good — and yet claim to follow the Bible anyway.

    No, if “evil” has any real meaning, it is a meaning that, at least in general, works for everyone. That means those things that damage or harm real people. God isn’t necessary to define evil. All that is necessary is for human beings to consider the known and knowable consequences of events and actions. It isn’t necessarily one’s “own personal POV”; it’s something that, again, at least in general, can be understood by everyone, regardless of religion.

    According to Kel, I have to believe that God is the origin of evil. Says him.

    No, it’s not just “Says him”; he argues it from the supposed attributes of God and the supposed stories about God from the Bible. Do you disagree? Which attribute or attributes do you think God doesn’t have? Which story in the Bible is false in how it depicts God? Point out the flaws in the reasoning. Argue back, don’t just ignore the entire argument!

    If you just wave your hand and say:

    What if the origin of evil is the absence of God?

    You’re implicitly agreeing that God, is, indeed, not all-powerful or not all-knowing or not all-good.

    Because how else could God be absent from where it was necessary for him to be so as prevent evil?

    Then we have the reason for redemption and ultimately for Jesus.

    No, you have an even more incoherent theological add-on to an already incoherent theology.

    Of course, this idea of redemption will seem foolish to some…

    Of course. Because it implicitly asserts that God wasn’t competent to get things right the first time around: again, either not all-powerful or not all-knowing or not all-good.

    Why then call him God?

  492. #495 Paul Young
    March 15, 2009

    Entertaining article. Well, someday Gordon Wilson may even manage to identify the ‘good gene’ and the ‘evil gene’. Following an international gene therapy program we could all be ‘scientifically’ free of sin.

    Think of the enormous savings on prisons, policing and health services. We would all live forever and be perfectly nice to each other forever. There might be a bit of a headache for pension funds, housing, food production, sanitation and natural resources for a while, but we would soon opt globally for eternal celibacy and fasting.

    Being sin-free and, therefore, immortal, we would have no need of procreation, working, eating, sleeping or even breathing. The world would become a completely Christian Utopia populated solely by immortal, sexlessly innocent monks and nuns praising the Christian God 24/7 forever (or until ‘the second coming’). Is this Heaven and the “everlasting life” that was promised? Although, it would be ironic if, before things got that far, the hand of God were to smite Gordon Wilson for trying to create another Tower of Babel. ;-)

    BTW, by “et al.” does Gordon Wilson mean the Dark Lord, Sauron and Darth Vader?

  493. #496 Kel
    March 15, 2009

    According to Kel, I have to believe that God is the origin of evil. Says him. What if the origin of evil is the absence of God? Then we have the reason for redemption and ultimately for Jesus.

    I covered that:

    One argument could be that evil is simply the absence of God, but then what we call evil would be acts that God is incapable of committing. So when God kills the first-born of everyone in Egypt or drowns all of humanity, or rapes a woman – these are normally things that we consider evil acts. The absence of God is very different to what we attribute to be evil. Thus if evil exists in the world God is all evil and all good at the same time.

  494. #497 Kel
    March 15, 2009

    No, it’s not just “Says him”; he argues it from the supposed attributes of God and the supposed stories about God from the Bible. Do you disagree? Which attribute or attributes do you think God doesn’t have? Which story in the Bible is false in how it depicts God? Point out the flaws in the reasoning. Argue back, don’t just ignore the entire argument!

    To be honest, I think Nick didn’t get passed the first paragraph before condemning my point. I knew by writing more than 4 lines that I was effecting placing a “tl;dr” in their head.

  495. #498 Caymen Paolo
    March 15, 2009

    Awww …. I sense the energy in this tread running out too. All the creationists have gone away and it’s just us chickens. Where’s all our fun?

  496. #499 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 15, 2009

    why would Satan ever need to publish?

    Why would he even need to exist?

    Why would we need to assume he exists in the first place?

    C-H hydrogens are sometimes, in very specific conditions, considered in (weak) hydrogen bonding. Among those conditions are those on aromatic cycles

    Yep, aromatic rings are quadrupoles: the ring itself has a partial positive charge, and the clouds of ? electrons on its two flat sides form a partial negative charge. There are several enzymes where this is very important.

    But this is what happens when you modify tribal polytheism into monotheism

    …and, in the process, tack on Persian diplotheism (two gods, one good, one evil).

    If God were a superhero

    …then maybe I could stop laughing! :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D

    Why are people who don’t believe in God defining what evil is and where it comes from? Doesn’t the definition of evil just become subjective to your own personal p.o.v.?

    Have you no innate empathy, sir? At last, have you no innate empathy?

    Well, in that case, you can still think of what your long-term self-interest might be.

    I’m just baffled how he can reconcile a Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Public Policy from George Mason with the goals of his college and the pseudoscience in the abstract that started this whole thread. I’d love to understand his thought process.

    Two words:
    Ignorance;
    Dunning-Kruger effect.

    (or until ‘the second coming’)

    Whichever comes first!

  497. #500 Owlmirror
    March 15, 2009
    If God were a superhero

    …then maybe I could stop laughing! :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D

    If you liked that, you might also enjoy the additional adventures of God-Man (by Ruben Bolling, (aka “Tom the Dancing Bug”)):

    http://www.fecundity.com/pmagnus/godman.html

  498. #501 Gordon Wilson
    March 15, 2009

    Gordon Wilson:

    Actually welcome.

    Thanks, Caymen. I didn’t ditch out for good. I was at church today (what a surprise!), drove a friend to the airport, and had a psalm sing this evening.

    It’s nice to meet a friendly adversary. Someone you can actually communicate with, define terms, and generate more light than heat. Many of the above are only interested in taking a phrase out of context and then amuse themselves by heaping abuse through ad hominem in one short post. I have debated an evolutionary biologist several times from Washington State University and his demeanor (like yours) was always civil, respectful, and polite. We strongly disagree but always shake hands afterward. I have also had an evolutionary biologist over for dinner from the University of Idaho (we had a great time). Now for a quick response to the post you asked me to respond to first.

    Who painted the images in the Lascaux caves (estimated radiologically to be around 16,000 years old) and how old are they really (according to you)?
    Who created the images on Ayers Rock, and when? Were they on the ark, too? [Archaeological findings to the east and west of Uluru indicate that humans settled in the area more than 10,000 years ago]

    I would like to respond generally regarding radiometric dating. YEC biologists obviously don’t accept the dates copiously published by evolutionists. We don’t reject the data; we simply have a different set of starting assumptions (presuppositions) when interpreting the data. We don’t buy some or all (depending on the dating method)certain assumptions accepted by uniformitarian scientists. These assumptions include, with regard to radiometric dating:
    1. at time zero, there was only parent and no daughter.
    2. decay rates remain constant.
    3. system has remained closed.
    If these assumptions are correct, then the dates are correct. The problem is, there is no absolute way to know if these assumptions are correct since we can’t observe the initial conditions or the history of a particular sample or formation. We are simply doing some critical thinking. Sure we have a bias but so do evolutionists. Geochronologists often want to know what they are dating (i.e. what are the index fossils?). Why? That gives them a target period (Jurassic, Ordovician, etc.) to shoot for (looks biased to me). Evolutionists interpret data usually using uniformitarianism; we usually use catastrophism. There is no way to objectively figure out the unobserved past with out relying on unprovable assumptions.

    Cheers,
    Gordon

  499. #502 Sven DiMilo
    March 15, 2009

    We can’t know for sure, so we can ignore whatever data we don’t agree with and accept any old story? What about parsimony?

  500. #503 Steve_C
    March 16, 2009

    So glad Gordon came to defend his work with complete bullshit. He not only ignores geology but physics and astronomy. Gordon you start with the supposition that the bible matters or is scientifically relevant. It isn’t. Stick to the choir. Science isn’t your bag.

  501. #504 Kel
    March 16, 2009

    When rocks are tested, it’s not just one technique but several. So when several tests all with different decay rates show approximately the same time frame, does that not add validity to the process of dating? Likewise when relative dating and absolute dating both correspond with consistent results, again does that not give validity to the idea that radiometric dating has validity? And when the oldest rocks date to over 4 billion years – that’s over 700,000 times older than what YECs age the earth at, would the error margins presented in those techniques really preclude an old earth interpretation? And finally, when we see light form galaxies that are over 13 billion light years away, does not the principle of parsimony call for the age of the earth to be relatively consistent with the universe it resides in?

    It feels like all you are doing is pointing out the limitations of the methodology as flaws by which it can all be dismissed.

  502. #505 Owlmirror
    March 16, 2009

    These assumptions include, with regard to radiometric dating:

    There are 40 different dating methods, radiometric and non-radiometric. Your so-called “assumptions”, as well as many other potential problems, are known and accounted for, as described here:

     → Radiometric Dating : A Christian Perspective
     → http://www.asa3.org/ASA/RESOURCES/WIENS.html

    1. at time zero, there was only parent and no daughter.

    Citing from the above paper (Wiens 2002):

     → 10. To date a rock one must know the original amount of the parent element. But there is no way to measure how much parent element was originally there.

     → It is very easy to calculate the original parent abundance, but that information is not needed to date the rock. All of the dating schemes work from knowing the present abundances of the parent and daughter isotopes. The original abundance N0, of the parent is simply N0 = N ekt, where N is the present abundance, t is time, and k is a constant related to the half life.

     → 11. There is little or no way to tell how much of the decay product, that is, the daughter isotope, was originally in the rock, leading to anomalously old ages.

     → A good part of this article is devoted to explaining how one can tell how much of a given element or isotope was originally present. Usually it involves using more than one sample from a given rock. It is done by comparing the ratios of parent and daughter isotopes relative to a stable isotope for samples with different relative amounts of the parent isotope. For example, in the rubidium-strontium method one compares rubidium-87/strontium-86 to strontium-87/strontium-86 for different minerals. From this one can determine how much of the daughter isotope would be present if there had been no parent isotope. This is the same as the initial amount (it would not change if there were no parent isotope to decay). Figures 4 and 5, and the accompanying explanation, tell how this is done most of the time. While this is not absolutely 100% foolproof, comparison of several dating methods will always show whether the given date is reliable.

    2. decay rates remain constant.

    Citing from the above paper (Wiens 2002):

     → 2. No one has measured the decay rates directly; we only know them from inference.

     → Decay rates have been directly measured over the last 40-100 years. In some cases a batch of the pure parent material is weighed and then set aside for a long time and then the resulting daughter material is weighed. In many cases it is easier to detect radioactive decays by the energy burst that each decay gives off. For this a batch of the pure parent material is carefully weighed and then put in front of a Geiger counter or gamma-ray detector. These instruments count the number of decays over a long time.

     → 4. The decay rates are poorly known, so the dates are inaccurate.

     → Most of the decay rates used for dating rocks are known to within two percent. Uncertainties are only slightly higher for rhenium (5%), lutetium (3%), and beryllium (3%), discussed in connection with Table 1. Such small uncertainties are no reason to dismiss radiometric dating. Whether a rock is 100 million years or 102 million years old does not make a great deal of difference.

     → 5. A small error in the half-lives leads to a very large error in the date.

     → Since exponents are used in the dating equations, it is possible for people to think this might be true, but it is not. If a half-life is off by 2%, it will only lead to a 2% error in the date.

     → 6. Decay rates can be affected by the physical surroundings.

     → This is not true in the context of dating rocks. Radioactive atoms used for dating have been subjected to extremes of heat, cold, pressure, vacuum, acceleration, and strong chemical reactions far beyond anything experienced by rocks, without any significant change. The only exceptions, which are not relevant to dating rocks, are discussed under the section, “Doubters Still Try”, above.

     → 8. The decay rates might be slowing down over time, leading to incorrect old dates.

     → There are two ways we know this didn’t happen: a) we have checked them out with “time machines”, and b) it doesn’t make sense mathematically. Both of these points are explained in the section titled, “Can We Really Believe the Dating Systems?”

    3. system has remained closed.

    What does this even mean?

    Evolutionists interpret data usually using uniformitarianism; we usually use catastrophism. There is no way to objectively figure out the unobserved past with out relying on unprovable assumptions.

    False. The age of the Earth is a conclusion based on the evidence. If by “Catastrophism” you mean “Global Flood and other similar massive sudden world-wide Earth changes a few thousand years ago”, then “Catastrophism” has been proven false, many times and in many ways. Catastrophes leave evidence. While there were and are earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and other geological catastrophes in the past and present, geologists know of them and can see the evidence they leave behind. They do not magically happen and then leave no evidence.

    There is no evidence of a global flood ever, or massive sudden world-wide Earth changes a few thousand years ago. None.

    Young Earth Creationism is proven false.

  503. #506 Steven Sullivan
    March 16, 2009

    Africangenesis wrote:
    “Life exists and it has been good at evolving for a few hundred million years. ”

    Based on best estimates today of when life began, you’re off by an order of magnitude: life’s been evolving for ~3.5 billion years.

  504. #507 Steven Sullivan
    March 16, 2009

    oops…OK, not really an order of magnitude, but you get the point.

  505. #508 Rey Fox
    March 16, 2009

    “Just because you can’t imagine it doesn’t mean it’s false.”

    In fact, given the trajectory of scientific discoveries over the last two hundred years or so, I’m beginning to come to the conclusion that if you CAN imagine it, it’s most likely false. No, you have to tax your brain a bit more to actually understand things.

  506. #509 Bitchfinder General
    March 16, 2009

    “These range from the bacterial type III secretion systems…”

    Nice to see creationists acknowledging the existence of the type 3 secretory system, but this begs the question: is it irreducibly complex?

  507. #510 clinteas
    March 16, 2009

    We don’t reject the data; we simply have a different set of starting assumptions (presuppositions) when interpreting the data

    A creationist admiting their presuppositons are influencing their interpretation of the data !
    But,but,shouldnt we go where the evidence leads us??
    LOL

  508. #511 Africangenesis
    March 16, 2009

    Steven Sullivan#506,

    No, my point was that life has been “good” at evolving for only a few hundred million years. It evidently took far longer for the properties I mentioned that enabled that evolvability to take shape.

  509. #512 Slugsie
    March 16, 2009

    Soooo, God designed a bunch of creatures to be non-predatory, non-viscious, friendly little bunnies. However, because he foresaw the ‘FALL’, he also gave them recessive genes that could become dominant at that point. But if he could foresee the ‘FALL’, why didn’t he do something to stop it? Why did he design stuff to work one way, knowing full well that it would HAVE to end up working another way. Sees like very stupid design to me.

  510. #513 Knockgoats
    March 16, 2009

    Hey brokenSoldier @ 235
    Can you explain why you think my blog entry is bullshit?
    Intelligent Designer

    I can answer that: brokenSoldier thinks your blog entry is bulllshit because it is bullshit; and he’s well able to recognise bullshit when presented with it. Any more questions?

  511. #514 Marion DelgadoC.
    March 16, 2009

    C.S. Lewis was EXACTLY this stupid about EXACTLY these topics. And he threw in his own laundry list of reactionary crap bashing anything and everything he considered liberal, too.

    But since he did the Narnia books and they’re not badly written, he gets excused a lot.

  512. #515 CJO
    March 16, 2009

    Geochronologists often want to know what they are dating (i.e. what are the index fossils?). Why? That gives them a target period (Jurassic, Ordovician, etc.) to shoot for (looks biased to me).

    Appreciation for consilience is not evidence of bias. However, special pleading for a favored (unparsimonious) conclusion, against consilient results across fields, is clear evidence of bias. If god made the universe in such a way as to appear to be one way to empirical investigation but is actually some other way, what should scientists do about that? Subscribe to your idiosyncratic interpretation of one particular religious text? It’s absurd.

  513. #516 Paliban Mom
    March 16, 2009

    It may surprise you all, but I too think this paper is ridiculous.

    It rests its foundation upon the idea that God is infinitely “good”, by human standards, when the Bible explains the exact opposite. As it is written:

    Isaiah 45:7
    I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

    Yet these liberal, Bible-ignoring nominal Christians claim that God is only “good”, by their own standard of what is “good”, and claim that Satan, who was created by God, is the “creator” of evil! They take the glory away from God!

    Good is what God decides is good. His opinion is the only one which matters. God made malaria; therefore, it is good. He made tapeworms; therefore, they are good. He made Britney Spears . . . but she allowed herself to be corrupted. (Thought you had me, didn’t you?) Etc.

    This Gordon Wilson’s bizarre logical contortions only show that he is weak in his faith. I have no doubt this is something God does NOT think is good.

  514. #517 Charles Miller
    March 16, 2009

    The D&D nerd in me read the topic as “The Origins of Neutral Evil”.

    Which would have been much more interesting IMHO.

  515. #518 Caymen Paolo
    March 16, 2009

    Gordon,

    You wrote:

    “The problem is, there is no absolute way to know if these assumptions are correct since we can’t observe the initial conditions or the history of a particular sample or formation.”

    But since then others have written back (I had to work in the meantime) and pretty thoroughly laid out the interlocking evidence for radiological dating — even finding the paper by Wiens particularly addressed at christian doubts that tackles each in turn.

    As you contend there’s no absolute way to know these assumptions are correct as there wasn’t an eye witness to watch these rocks over the billions of years, however all the independent dating methods point to pretty much the same ages and the conclusions are based upon many independent methods beyond radiological dating. — The weight of evidence — any contradicting conclusion would have to have evidence as strong. In English absolute does mean absolute, but the evidence comes so close to it that you couldn’t tell the difference. Have you read Jerry Coynes new book? — “Why Evolution is True”

    Of your remaining three assumptions above:

    1) Wiens shows that dating methods are not dependent upon “all father and no daughter.”

    2) Decay rates are known sufficiently accurate to discriminate between a 6000 year rock and a 4 billion year rock. That does not of course preclude a hypothetical god from having arbitrarily changed things half way through, but the simpler explanation is the more likely without any evidence to the contrary, don’t you think?

    3) Wiens specifically addressed the “system remains closed.” Under any conceivable circumstance other than conscious meddling these dating system are dealing with effectively closed systems.

    The simpler answer (parsimony) is that things are as we have observed them and have remained the same. It would seem that your arguments could only work if a god came in and actively changed decay rates or messed with the closed system. Is that how you invoke “catastrophism?”

    In order to persuade us that this complicated answer was reasonable you’d have to produce evidence of a catastrophy that changes the assumptions

    What would that evidence be?

  516. #519 D. Anaya
    March 16, 2009

    to Paliban Mom #516,

    I vote you off the island as PZ suggested in another thread.

    Bible-Babble won’t get you very far here.

  517. #520 Mike Fish
    March 17, 2009

    This article gave me an epiphany of sorts… this nonsense makes L. Ron Hubbard almost readable… but not really.

  518. #521 Some guy
    April 2, 2009

    It’s cute how the eloquent Gordon Wilson suddenly went MIA instead of countering the arguments. I guess he very well could overlook an elephant in a room too…

  519. Sadly, I came by this a few weeks to late to have truly enjoyed the fun! Where do I begin? As a demon journalist I suffer from two potentially fatal cases of bad public relations. Do keep up the good work for Reason and Science young man as they are your only hope on Terra.

    Qu’ul cuda praedex nihil!

    Cavalor Epthith, Esquire, D.S.V.J.
    Summa cum laude
    Universtije di Dis
    Class of 1622
    Editor in Chief
    The Dis Brimstone-Daily Pitchfork

  520. #523 Sven DiMilo
    May 8, 2009

    uh

    what?

    “praedex”?

  521. #524 Daryl Cobranchi
    May 8, 2009

    Cavalor (Cav to his friends) is the Editor in Chief of Hell’s leading daily paper (NSFW!). His tagline is written in the language spoken in Dis. I’ve never been able to translate it.

  522. #525 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 8, 2009

    mommy?

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