Pharyngula

Uncommon hypocrisy

I thought that silly Intelligent Design blog, Uncommon Descent, was going to have a new and enlightened comment policy, in which people would be allowed to criticize ID without risk of deletion. That’s what they said, at least. You knew it couldn’t be true: they’re already sharpening the knives to get rid of a persistent critic.

Someone by the name of skeech is cluttering up UD with impervious sophistry and wasting a lot of our time.

His/her latest thesis is that “according to biologists…” there is a “credible possibility that small incremental changes could have developed massive increases in biological information in a short time — followed by stasis.”

So, skeech assures us that “biologists” are universally agreed upon this proposition?

How about this and this?

Yes, biologists are universally agreed upon that. Skeech was being very conservative in his description — it’s more than a ‘credible possibility’, both relatively rapid changes and patterns of stasis have been demonstrated. The “this and this” mentioned were links I won’t repeat to the absurd Phil Skell and some ID guy at an evangelical Christian college. I guess those are the “biologists” he’s talking about (Skell, by the way, is a chemist). I’ll have to remember to waggle my fingers in the universal air-quotes gesture whenever I’m talking about the “biologists” on the side of creationism.

Then the real foolishness begins.

Darwinian evolutionary theory is a boiling, ever-changing, amorphous cloud that is impenetrable and completely immune to critical analytical scrutiny. It was designed that way, for obvious reasons.

That’s an amazing glimpse into the creationist mindset — apparently, they see design everywhere. Evolutionary theory was not designed. It evolved. There are a great many contributors to it, all pushing the boundaries in different directions, which is why grasping the depth of the idea is beyond these guys — it takes a lot of work to keep up with the literature, and the details can be bewildering (just try keeping up with all the comparative molecular biology work on developmental genes, for instance; it’s a deluge of papers right now). However, the core principles are straightforward and can be grasped by most people with a little effort.

Now watch: the angry kook emerges. How often has poor Albert Einstein’s corpse been dragged out and made to dance in defense of every new loony idea?

It should be noted that the “scientific” consensus in the early 20th century was the steady-state universe theory (that is, the universe is eternal, and has no beginning and no end). Those subscribing to the consensus were wrong (including Albert Einstein), and they put up a big fight until the end, when the evidence became overwhelming.

Continental drift theory was also ridiculed.

Wegener was the first to use the phrase “continental drift” (1912, 1915)… During Wegener’s lifetime, his theory of continental drift was severely attacked by leading geologists, who viewed him as an outsider meddling in their field.

Where’s Galileo? He forgot Galileo! We need to be able to use the “They laughed at Galileo, but they also laughed at Bozo the Clown” line! I need closure.

Oh, well. The operative phrase up there is “the evidence became overwhelming”. The evidence for Intelligent Design creationism is less than overwhelming; it’s definitely not at the level of “impressive”. It hasn’t even reached “thought-provoking” or even “hmmm…maybe”. It seems to be stuck at “non-existent”. They can invoke Einstein and Wegener as patron saints when they actually have something persuasive other than their religious certainty that there must be a designer.

The criticism we always hear from Darwinists is: Outsiders are not permitted to question the dogma, because they don’t understand the subtleties and the “science.”

You’re allowed to question it, of course. It’s just that when your criticisms reveal a dazzling degree of ignorance of basic biology, we’re going to laugh and dismiss your arguments out of hand. And of course, evolution is science — it’s not the ersatz “science” beloved of creationists.

The essence of Darwinian philosophy, presented as “science,” takes about 15 minutes to learn and understand: Random variation and natural selection explain everything — never mind the details, we’ll make up stories later to explain away the anomalies, contradictions, and improbabilities.

In the meantime, just have faith, and don’t ask any annoying questions.

This is not science, it’s religious indoctrination.

Wait, what happened to the “amorphous cloud”? Suddenly evolution is something you can grasp in 15 minutes. Yes, it’s true, though: random variation and selection are the basic principles that explain everything. But no, the details are important — we’ve got a century and a half worth of details, evidence, that we can go over. It’ll take a lot more than 15 minutes. We don’t need to make up stories (even though some do, admittedly), we can leave that to the defenders of myth.

I am amused that that little UD rant was prompted by a guy asking annoying questions, getting the administrators of UD to complain falsely that real science doesn’t let you ask annoying questions, while they do their best to suppress critics who ask annoying questions. The growing hypocrisy is just one more reason their blog is increasingly irrelevant…that and their vacuity.

Isn’t it nice of me to give them a link that will vastly increase their traffic? I should probably stop doing that.

Comments

  1. #1 Alex
    March 30, 2009

    The level of projection there is staggering. Absolutely amazing.

  2. #2 CatBallou
    March 30, 2009

    What’s the imagined motive of all you “Darwinists”?

  3. #3 damnedyankee
    March 30, 2009

    My favorite variant on the “Bozo the Clown” line comes from Michael Shermer: “Yes, well, they also laughed at the Marx Brothers.” But that’s just because I’m an unrepentant Marxist (“You can’t fool me, there ain’t no sanity clause!”).

  4. #4 Pharyngulette
    March 30, 2009

    In the meantime, just have faith, and don’t ask any annoying questions.

    This is not science, it’s religious indoctrination.

    Wait… Something in this comment doesn’t sit right with me. Oh yeah; aren’t we supposed to be the ones pointing out that “religious indoctrination” isn’t a smart thing if you want genuine answers? When religion-y types put down science by accusing it of being too much like religion, am I allowed to laugh?

  5. #5 Jon Erickson
    March 30, 2009

    I eat trail mix with coconut. Next to my chair is a small blue plastic box with a small hole in it. The box is filled with round tooth picks. When I get a piece of coconut stuck in my teeth, I shake the box and a toothpick slides out for immediate use.

    I have noticed that when I shake the box all of the tooth picks lineup perfectly in the box. They are in even rows and columns. I have thought about this on several occasions.

    This phenominum is absolute proff that God exists and aligns the tooth picks in my blue box. No one else comes into my house and touches the little blue box. Only an all knowing and all powerful God, an intellegent designer, could put all those tooth picks in such perfect order.

    What other explaination could there be??

    Jon

  6. #6 kampar
    March 30, 2009

    AtBC has a tremendous running commentary on the most recent goings-on over there … for those who aren’t tuned in to the soap opera that is UD stop by AtBC to catch up on last week’s events in full (and, like at Pharyngula, continue learning some real science/maths in doing so).

    Thanks for continuing to mine the tard, guys. Remember, they go there so you don’t have to …

    ps. Gordon Mullings

  7. #7 Wildflower
    March 30, 2009

    This is slightly off-topic but since it also deals with censorship and an effort of the, I dare say, criminally insane religious to make rational people shut up I guess you might be interested to find out that YouTube banned the account of James Randi “JamesRandiFoundation” not long ago. I do not know on what grounds, but I guess it’s a fairly safe bet that it was either of the “usual” attacks: flagging bots or false DMCA claims.

  8. #8 Ric
    March 30, 2009

    I am a serious glutton for punishment: I still read UD occassionally, for a laugh. They long ago gave up the pretense of having evidence for ID, and 99% of their posts are directed at criticizing evolution. About 6 people post their on a regular basis– in the comments I mean. The site is totally and fully irrelevant.

  9. #9 Screechy Monkey
    March 30, 2009

    The creos get very angry when anyone interferes with their straw man. They so much enjoy thrashing “evilution” as being religious dogma* set forth by the unholy prophet Charles Darwin, that the “Darwinists” cling to despite subsequent evidence. When anyone points out that evolutionary theory has responded to and incorporated new evidence, suddenly it’s dirty pool to change one’s opinion in response to new evidence. Damn it, Darwinists, get back in the corn field scaring crows, where you belong!

    *– Remember, “religious dogma” is an insult only when directed at scientists. Otherwise, it’s a wonderful thing that provides morality and meaning to life and society.

  10. #10 Glen Davidson
    March 30, 2009

    That’s an amazing glimpse into the creationist mindset ? apparently, they see design everywhere. Evolutionary theory was not designed. It evolved.

    Or perhaps, they see revelation everywhere. They can’t imagine that evolutionary theory came from the evidence, it must be dogma. That is to say, their dogmatic frame of mind insists that we accept dogma.

    At some point, of course, they have to kick out the “dogmatists,” or they’ll be shown to be the mangy bigots that they actually are. Thus, they cannot abide any truly open discussion, eventually purging themselves of dissenters.

    They might even have better intentions. But they cannot accept the falsification of their worldview.

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

  11. #11 Free Lunch
    March 30, 2009

    This phenominum is absolute proff that God exists and aligns the tooth picks in my blue box.

    Indeed. Mine is red, but the same mysterious force does this with my round toothpicks, but that force gets all confused about the cheap square ones and can’t do a decent job lining them up. What’s up with that? Are square toothpicks like iron chariots?

  12. #12 JB
    March 30, 2009

    Followed the link to UD – sorry – and spent a few minutes gently toasting my neurons. Came away depressed.

    Which is why Pharyngula is so good. It makes me angry and think and laugh and learn about tentacled things. (And _want_ to comment.)

    Dipping into the slime of UD just makes me wonder how this can possibly make sense to anyone. I certainly don’t want to get involved with them.

  13. #13 Chad
    March 30, 2009

    You can teach the basics of evolutionary theory in 15 minutes? I’ve been working on my parents for nearly a decade at this point and they still don’t really understand the basics. But, then again, IDiots do live in a fantasy world, so I guess we shouldn’t be surprised.

  14. #14 JB
    March 30, 2009

    This phenominum is absolute proff that God exists and aligns the tooth picks in my blue box.

    God puts my toothpicks into the back of a green plastic hedgehog. But not when my wife is away from home. Should I be worried?

  15. #15 QrazyQat
    March 30, 2009

    Poor Wegener gets hauled out by every pseudo and fringe science type sooner or latter too.

  16. #16 Jon Erickson
    March 30, 2009

    Free Lunch:

    Obviously you believe in the God of the Red Box. The proof of God is that God only works in blue boxes. (Please research and insert the proper Bible verse here.) You are obviously a heritic.

    I”m sorry. My tooth picks are proof of God. You are misreading the evidence and have some other God in mind, not the real intellegent designer.

    Jon

  17. #17 Quidam
    March 30, 2009

    I suspect that the majority of readers at UD are skeptics enjoying the rich vein of tard. Beware trying to post. A few token critics are permitted periodically but morle likely your account will be ‘moderated’ i.e. posts are held up for hours (if they are suitably neutral) or forever if they are critical. If you persist your password changes with no way of you changing it back. Every now and again they have a public dismissal – sometimes even sacrificing one of their own who asks embarrassing questions – Dave, yes I’m talking about you.

  18. #18 PZ Myers
    March 30, 2009

    Wait: red and green toothpick boxes, and green hedgehogs? Must there be heresy and jihad in every little thing?

  19. #19 Qwerty
    March 30, 2009

    PZ, you don’t have to wave your fingers ala quote marks in the air. You can use one of conservative christians favorite words: So-called. As in “so-called scientists” at UD.

    I often go there when I want to read something I know will be mind-numbingly dumb and boring.

  20. #20 Steverino
    March 30, 2009

    I tried to post there once….ONCE!

    (tribute to Johnny Dangerously)

  21. #21 JB
    March 30, 2009

    Heresy, jihad and ▄berspannungsschutzeinrichtungen.

  22. #22 Jon Erickson
    March 30, 2009

    Free Lunch,

    If your box is truly rectangle and not larger than mine, I can accept that you are possibly o.k. but not really as close to God as I am. However, if you would like to gang up on the green hedgehog heritic, he has obviously projected his “southwestern” interpretation into our clear objective evidence so should be attacked.

    I have also had the challenge to my proof of the flat tooth picks. Is there a biblical reference for that??

    Jon

  23. #23 umkomasia
    March 30, 2009

    I guess I have the Discovery Institute’s permission to change my semester long evolutionary biology course to 15 minutes. That’ll save overhead and free my time up for more amorphous, cloudy research on my fossils. It’s a win-win situation! Thanks UD.

  24. #24 khan
    March 30, 2009

    Amateurs should be wary of venturing into UD: the fog of stupid can damage neurons.

  25. #25 Josh
    March 30, 2009

    FFS–continental drift was a hypothesis. It was a not a fucking theory. It had no explanatory power, which is the principal reason why it was goddamn ridiculed. Continental drift was one of several hypotheses (like seafloor spreading) later united together under the theory of plate tectonics. But we couldn’t expect UD to be accurate with their word choices, now could we? No, of course not. If they did that, they might actually take a few timid steps toward talking about…science.

    Add accuracy to the growing list of things that make the baby Jesus cry.

    It was already on the list? Silly me.

  26. #26 jose
    March 30, 2009

    “Continental drift theory was also ridiculed.”

    Why would any ID guy believe in continental drift? It cannot be reproduced in a lab. We have never seen a mountain rising up from the ground. There are no “transitional continents”.

    Italy looks like a boot. Portugal looks like a face. I see design there.

    What?

  27. #27 murf
    March 30, 2009

    PZ wrote: “Evolutionary theory was not designed. It evolved.”

    Would that be by random change and natural selection? LOL, you are a bevy of contradictions PZ! Perhaps you should set your biology studies aside for awhile and study some logic.

  28. #28 tomhuld
    March 30, 2009

    Is it just me or did this creationist just admit that the static universe is wrong and that the Big Bang actually happened? And that the continents are moving (and had a completely different configuration 200M years ago?

    Anyway the thing about the static universe being the dogma in astronomy is a red herring (surprise). Up to the start of the 20th century the prevailing hypothesis was that the universe consisted only of our galaxy, and it was a reasonable assumption that it would be gravitationally bound like the solar system. It was only in 1923 that Hubble demonstrated that the spiral nebulae were actually independent galaxies. And from there it only took 6 years to show that the universe was expanding.

  29. #29 JD
    March 30, 2009

    My computer just crashed due to stupid kernel 32.

  30. #30 'Tis Himself
    March 30, 2009

    Yes, well, they also laughed at the Marx Brothers.” But that’s just because I’m an unrepentant Marxist

    Je suis Marxiste, tendance Groucho. (“I’m a Marxist of the Groucho variety.”)

  31. #31 Geoff
    March 30, 2009

    You eat trail mix with coconut? NOBODY eats trail mix with COCONUT.

  32. #32 skeech
    March 30, 2009

    Here’s the original exchange that apparently got under Gil Dodgen’s skin:

    skeech:

    …Darwinian theory predicts small changes, and is therefore compatible with the evidence. A designer, however, can make changes of any size he likes.
    Conclusion: If common design is true, then the designer specifically chose a method of design that both conforms to a nested hierarchy and limits itself to incremental changes. In other words, out of a huge number of possible design strategies, he chose the only one that makes it appear as if he?s not there at all.
    This is a huge problem for ID, and one that deserves to be better known among ID supporters.

    DLH:

    The ?minor? problem with your statement is that it is diametrically at odds with facts.
    See:
    Intelligent Design: The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories
    By: Stephen C. Meyer, Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington May 18, 2007
    There is no credible possibility that small incremental changes could have developed such massive increases in biological information in such a short time – followed by stasis.

    skeech:

    According to Stephen Meyer and the Discovery Institute, no. According to biologists, yes.

    I was pointing out the absurdity of DLH?s ?Stephen Meyer said it, the BSW published it, I believe it, that settles it? attitude, as if one discredited paper could outweigh the consensus of the biological community. In Gil’s eyes, that apparently makes me a religious Darwinist toeing the party line and squelching dissent from any outsider who dares to question the dogma.

    He does have an active imagination. I’ll give him that.

  33. #33 JB
    March 30, 2009

    I feel a littl begrieved that someone so lazily led astray by the rectangular box god “theory” of toothpick organisation dares to question the obvious holiness of sticking a toothpick into the back of a small animal. I’ll have to excommunicate you both.

  34. #34 Alex
    March 30, 2009

    …NOBODY eats trail mix with COCONUT.

    Except T-Rex.

  35. #35 allegri
    March 30, 2009

    Should it not also be noted that the consensus before the advent of the theory of evolution was effectively creationism? 150 years later, the evidence keeps getting piled on but religion takes a hell of a lot longer than science to accept anything, especially the truth.

  36. #36 Jon
    March 30, 2009

    Geoff,

    If I hadn’t eated the coconut, I wouldn’t have discovered the proof of God’s existance in my toothpick box. God called me to eat coconut so that I could discover truth. It was all part of the master plan.

    Free Lunch, do you eat coconut to discover truth or is it another one of your heritical beliefs?

    Maybe I should align myself with JB after all.

    Jon

  37. #37 Bryan
    March 30, 2009

    The reason Wegener was opposed by the geologic community is that his idea had two key problems:

    1) He lacked a mechanism. Previous workers had already noticed the puzzle fit of the continents, but couldn’t take it beyond the “this is neat” phase. True, he was able to take it farther in some regards, but he couldn’t explain how it was happening. It is similar to faunal succession predating evolution, but faunal succession is not synonymous with evolution. In this way continental drift is NOT synonymous with Plate Tectonics. People should not use them interchangeably, they are different theories.

    2) He also argued that the continents themselves were moving through the oceans (rather than moving with them, to be fair, at the time we had no idea there were submarine mountain ranges). Similar to an icebreaker plowing through the Artic ocean. The problem with that is the placement of mountain ranges would be different than what is observed. All the mountain ranges would exist on the coastlines, not way away from the edge of the continental shelf (Appalachians) or in the middle of the continent (Rockies). And places like the Himalayas defy this reasoning effectively.

    Don’t get me wrong, Wegener was brilliant, and he died trying to demonstrate the validity of his ideas. But ultimately, he was wrong.

  38. #38 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 30, 2009

    continental drift [?] had no explanatory power

    What? How do you mean?

  39. #39 Sailaus
    March 30, 2009

    Jesus. Even the comments over there are dull. The whole thing reminded me of why I used to nap during mass.

  40. #40 Laurie
    March 30, 2009

    The UD site is bizarrely progressive for not presuming that Skeech is necessarily a man. Refers to Skeech as his/her.

    Doesn’t make the stupidity any more palatable though.

  41. #41 J-Dog
    March 30, 2009

    Well, “Skeetch” – It is clear to me why Gil hates you… you forgot to comment and congratulate him on his cute frilly shirt!

    Oh. Wait. Never mind – That’s what got ME banninated…
    J-dog – aka Hugh Jass *

    * If you are a regular poster at ATBC, you HAVE to use a puppet, or your posts will NEVER see the light of day at UD.

  42. #42 LivingWithMormons
    March 30, 2009

    “never mind the details, we’ll make up stories later to explain away the anomalies, contradictions, and improbabilities.

    In the meantime, just have faith, and don’t ask any annoying questions.

    This is religious indoctrination.”

    Amen to that.

  43. #43 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 30, 2009

    Uncommon hypocrisy??

    No, in fact, it’s getting rather common.

    This week: Skeech at Uncommon Descent.
    Two weeks ago: Barb, Simon and John Kwok

    Comprehension fail.

  44. #44 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 30, 2009

    Similar to an icebreaker plowing through the Ar[c]tic ocean.

    No, he thought continental crust (“Sial”) lay on top of oceanic crust (“Sima”) instead of next to it. Which, of course, made the search for a mechanism even more difficult.

    The problem with that is the placement of mountain ranges would be different than what is observed. All the mountain ranges would exist on the coastlines, not way away from the edge of the continental shelf (Appalachians) or in the middle of the continent (Rockies). And places like the Himalayas defy this reasoning effectively.

    The Himalayas don’t, they result from the collision of India and Asia. The Appalachians wouldn’t if Wegener hadn’t thought that Pangaea was the original state of the Earth and no drift had ever happened before Pangaea started breaking up (indeed, they are the result of North America, Gondwana, and a few originally Gondwanan fragments crashing together). The Rockies do defy his model, though.

  45. #45 'Tis Himself
    March 30, 2009

    This is not science, it’s religious indoctrination.

    A bunch of people pushing a literal interpretation of the Bible are complaining about religious indoctrination? The hypocrisy, it burns.

  46. #46 'Tis Himself
    March 30, 2009

    This is not science, it’s religious indoctrination.

    A bunch of people pushing a literal interpretation of the Bible are complaining about religious indoctrination? The hypocrisy, it burns.

  47. #47 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 30, 2009

    Silver Fox, over here people aren’t banned for being right.

    They are not even banned for being wrong (you’re a living proof of that).

    Here is the list of High Crimes and Misdemeanors. You should read it.

    (Still laughing at the fact that Uncommonly Dense has banned DaveScot. :-D )

  48. #48 'Tis Himself
    March 30, 2009

    I don’t know how I double posted because I only clicked on “post” once.

  49. #49 www.10ch.org
    March 30, 2009

    “Someone… is cluttering up UD with impervious sophistry and wasting a lot of our time”
    Wow, it is like as if they saw our words and stole it for themselves.

  50. #50 Josh
    March 30, 2009

    What? How do you mean?

    That’s odd. I edited it to say “lacked a mechanism” when I realized that “explanatory power” was retarded wording. At least I think I did. Maybe I never did it.

    See? Jesus does hate accuracy. He miracled me hand onto the post button while making me think I had done the edits.

  51. #51 GMacs
    March 30, 2009

    I notice there is a guy named John A Davison on that discussion board trying to unmask people and get their “credentials”… unless, of course, they agree with him.

    I Google searched him. From what I can discern:
    He is a biology professor at the U of Vermont (really, Vermont?)
    He has not updated his homepage, or anything online, in almost a decade.
    He tried to run for governor.
    He appears to be a professional online ranter for ID

    He also threatens to investigate commenters’ identities and report them to superiors and business/personal relations and such, ie blackmail and harass them.

    So should PZ demand the actual identities and credentials of dissenters here?

  52. #52 Sastra
    March 30, 2009

    Silver Fox #40 wrote:

    Uncommon hypocrisy??
    No, in fact, it’s getting rather common.
    This week: Skeech at Uncommon Descent.
    Two weeks ago: Barb, Simon and John Kwok

    Well, if the folks at UD had banned the last three you mention, nobody would have remarked on it, or considered that a violation of their “new and enlightened comment policy.” Barb proselytized at great length, Simon was grossly obscene, and Mr. Kwok has… personal problems. The problem wasn’t that they disagreed with PZ.

  53. #53 www.10ch.org
    March 30, 2009

    “Those subscribing to the consensus were wrong (including Albert Einstein), and they put up a big fight until the end, when the evidence became overwhelming.”

    But they won because the evidence became overwhelming, not because they put up a big fight.

  54. #54 Bobber
    March 30, 2009

    Not to pick on Josh, whose posts I really do enjoy for their detailed explanations of geology, and not to derail another thread with an argument over our choice of words, but can we please refrain from using “retarded” when we mean “mistaken”, “dumb”, etc.?

  55. #55 Sastra
    March 30, 2009

    GMacs #52:

    John A. Davison is already in PZ’s dungeon, where he is described as “a legend.”

  56. #56 Drosera
    March 30, 2009

    By coincidence I went to that UD site for the first time today. It is a really pitiful operation, of which the only positive effect is that it makes you feel superior.

    I even bothered to post a message there, commenting on a silly argument about some anonymous kook who had tried to create a program that would generate grammatical sentences of ever increasing complexity by – presumably – some kind of random process. The program had failed – it apparently produced mainly swear words [sic] – and according to Dembski this implied that the ?Darwinian mechanism? to produce ?functional complexity in biology? was insufficient. Indeed, the argument was that vapid.

    So far my message has not come up, they may have decided to censure it.

    Still, I had a good laugh. Intelligent Designers trying to create a computer program that generates grammatically correct sentences, and just about all it produced were swear words. Jesus!

  57. #57 Silver Fox
    March 30, 2009

    “Here is the list of High Crimes and Misdemeanors. You should read it.”

    I’ve read it several times. I particularly like the little cutesies like, Wanking, Slagging, and Sockpuppetry.

    Barb, Simon and Kwok were not banned for High Crimes and Misdemeanors. They were banned because they fell into disfavor and were voted off in a democratic process. Find that one in your list of High Crimes and Misdemeanors, Big Dumb.

  58. #58 homostoicus
    March 30, 2009

    This is not science, it’s religious indoctrination.
    No matter how many times I see someone trying to insult science by likening it to religious indoctrination, it always makes me laugh out loud. Oh man, I needed that little Monday morning pick me up. Thanks.

  59. #59 Sven DiMilo
    March 30, 2009

    Wait, UD banned DaveScot and unbanned Davison?
    I’m…
    Wha…

  60. #60 Josh
    March 30, 2009

    …but can we please refrain from using “retarded” when we mean “mistaken”, “dumb”, etc.?

    You can ask, and in this case, receive.

  61. #61 SteveM
    March 30, 2009

    Barb, Simon and Kwok were not banned for High Crimes and Misdemeanors. They were banned because they fell into disfavor and were voted off in a democratic process.

    You really are completely dense. They were all guilty of multiple crime and misdemeanors. That PZ decided to have some fun with the banning process by letting us vote on who to ban first does not make them innocent.

  62. #62 Paper Hand
    March 30, 2009

    Outsider Meddling ? Skeptics Need Not Apply (or, Just Have Faith)

    As Jesus and Mo would say “Spoing!”

    I would’ve thought that title would be used by someone talking about UD

  63. #63 Bobber
    March 30, 2009

    Josh:

    Thanks. You are not only a scholar, but a gentleman. : D

  64. #64 Kel
    March 30, 2009

    Uncommon hypocrisy??

    No, in fact, it’s getting rather common.

    Banning people for persistent trolling != banning someone for a dissenting opinion. Just think of how many inane posts you’ve made here.

  65. #65 defective robot
    March 30, 2009

    What’s an impenetrable cloud? Is that like the cloud I had to walk through to get through the front doors of my high school without getting a contact high?

  66. #66 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 30, 2009

    Silver Fox, I know of sure fire way to prevent you from ever getting banned from here. Limit your posts to one per week. You are now good through mid-April.

  67. #67 Bryan
    March 30, 2009

    @45
    Yes, you are reiterating my point. The Himalayas do not occur along the coastline of India, they occur at the connection between the Asian continent and the Indian sub-continent. Meaning they do not occur along the coastline but within the continent (in a geographic sense). Since these mountain ranges don’t form along the coast lines/edges of the continents (ie at the continental shelf), these features were used to refute Continental Drift.

    I am also aware of the formation of the Appalachians, but since they are in the middle of the modern day N American Continent (ie well behind the continental shelf) they also refute Continental Drift. If the continents were moving over the oceans, and through them as well (in order to provide the compressional regimes necessary to form mountain ranges), we would expect to see the position of the Appalachians at the edge of the continental shelf not behind them, which is where they are.

    The reason we see the Appalachians where they are is the North American plate has subsequently grown along the mid-atlantic ridge. This feature was unknown in Wegener’s time (so while still wrong, it is forgivable. This doesn’t make CD synonymous with PT though). While your description of the formation of the Appalachians is correct (Though Gondwana is the name of the southern land mass AFTER Pangaea), it is a description from a modern Plate Tectonics paradigm, not the Continental Drift paradigm. I fail to see how a modern Plate Tectonics explanation helps support an incorrect Continental Drift explanation.

    The main point of my post is that Continental Drift is NOT the same thing as Plate Tectonics (and how it is incorrect to hold up Wegener as an example of an idea that is later demonstrated to be correct). One theory was shown as unworkable, discarded, and fell to the wayside of science, the other has proven a fruitful explanation for all of Geology.

    Just as Lamark wasn’t vindicated by Darwin, Wegener wasn’t vindicated in 1968 (I can’t list off any single name because it all came together from many disparate lines of evidence in the geological community).

  68. #68 Thomas Lee Elifritz
    March 30, 2009

    Wegener “But ultimately, he was wrong.”

    That’s the dumbest thing I’ve heard short of the creationists ranting. Ultimately, Newton was wrong too. That doesn’t diminish his precedence, and it certainly doesn’t diminish Wegener and Milankovitch’s precedence either. Not only was he right, but he was right first.

    On a side note, you can’t believe the total shit I am going through with my very simple Younger Dryas Clovis Comet observation. (The result in on my website, just click on my link). Be sure to watch the PBS Nova documentary tomorrow. Modern ‘peer review’ in action.

  69. #69 DJ
    March 30, 2009

    So I went over to that link and read through the comments… 60 was the last one I read. I thought seriously about leaving a comment since the poster was saying that a problem with a Darwinian evolution prediction was proof of ID… I didn’t know that was even possible. Doesn’t ID have to make some hypotheses, predictions, observations and experiments of its own in order to accumulate evidence? F-ing idiots make me mad

    Just not mad enough to sign up so I can log in to leave comments, that’s lame.

  70. #70 Jon
    March 30, 2009

    WAIT! WAIT! I just visited the ID site. Then I thought about the flat tooth picks and the round ones. The measurement of the round ones is exactly one seventh (1/7th) the size of the width of the box. The flat ones do not line up. Every time I shake the box with round ones, they liine up and the flat ones don’t. I used a red box and a blue one and it works both ways!

    Holy Cow (sorry) but I just discovered SCIENCE!!

    Jon

  71. #71 AnthonyK
    March 30, 2009

    Geez, I’m not going there again! Obviously they are envious of Pharyngula for its popularity, and because it is unmoderated, while the comments here are frequently superb. And yet, although we are all hardcore, unrepentant Darwinists* and PZ sycophants somehow…it all works.
    So they want something similar – how hard can it be? I mean there must be a bolthole for all those scientists too oppressed by the Church of Darwin to speak out in academe, and too intimidated by the hateful abuse heaped on even the most moderate skeptics of the prevailing orthodoxy here.

    It’s utterly pathetic, starting with their lack of humour, continuing through their hatred of dissent, and going way way on to the fact that John fucking A fucking Davidson posts there – like he owns the place.
    Well done Skeetch and others – please keep it up. But me, ugh, spit spit, no way. It’s like a shadow version of here, with all the lights turned off.

    *Meh. Personally I’m more of a neo-modern-post-Darwin-synthesist kind of guy.

  72. #72 Abstruse
    March 30, 2009

    Quick question; what is AtBC?

  73. #73 Qwerty
    March 30, 2009

    Perhaps PZ needs to come up with an honorary order of the banned for those banned from UD.

  74. #74 dhogaza
    March 30, 2009

    That’s the dumbest thing I’ve heard short of the creationists ranting. Ultimately, Newton was wrong too.

    No, actually, Newton was approximately right. You can even quantify how close to modern understanding his approximately right mechanics are for objects at any given velocity. That’s not the same as being wrong.

    Wegener’s observation that the continents appear to fit like a jigsaw puzzle was fine, but he wasn’t the first or last to make that observation. He was the first to try to develop a plausible scientific model explaining how continents could rearrange themselves, and it was *wrong*. The plate tectonics model isn’t anything like Wegener’s attempt. It’s a pity he didn’t live long enough to see the development of the correct model.

  75. #75 GMacs
    March 30, 2009

    Just look at UD’s “about” page.

    “Uncommon Descent holds that?
    Materialistic ideology has subverted the study of biological and cosmological origins so that the actual content of these sciences has become corrupted.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t science all about materialistic things, by which I mean those that are tangible or can be measured? Aren’t they saying that the problem with scientists is that they’re being too sciency?

  76. #76 CJO
    March 30, 2009

    AtBC = After the Bar Closes, a discussion forum you can access via Panda’s Thumb by clicking the button at the top labeled Forum, or at Antievolution.org

    There’s two entire threads of 10′s of thousands of posts each dedicated to skewering those wacky creoclowns at UD.

    Mostly snark, but with a side helping of devastating critique and impressive scientific acumen, when called for.

    Also full documentation of all the banninations. It’s become kind of a watchdog organization.

  77. #77 BobbyEarle
    March 30, 2009

    Abstuse @72

    Quick question; what is AtBC?

    After the Bar Closes.

    It is a part of antievolution.org, where closed threads can be continued.

  78. #78 Thomas Lee Elifritz
    March 30, 2009

    The plate tectonics model isn’t anything like Wegener’s attempt

    Of course it wasn’t you freakin idiotic absolutist, the theory has *EVOLVED*. Anyone who claims anything is right or wrong in science is simply *WRONG*. Science doesn’t work that way. Clearly by simple observation the continents move. You need to develop a theory to explain that observation. Clearly rocks fall from the sky. Clearly there is a 25 km cometary astrobleme just to the south-southwest of Lake Nipigon. Let the theorizing begin. May the best theory win a temporary medal for ‘creative design’. What strikes me most clearly is that if the ID people started arguing philosophy from a clear and insightful scientific perspective, you scientific absolutists would literally be fucked. Fortunately for you those people are dumber than nails.

  79. #79 Owlmirror
    March 30, 2009

    No, actually, Newton was approximately right. You can even quantify how close to modern understanding his approximately right mechanics are for objects at any given velocity. That’s not the same as being wrong.

    See also:

    http://chem.tufts.edu/AnswersInScience/RelativityofWrong.htm

    Wegener’s observation that the continents appear to fit like a jigsaw puzzle was fine, but he wasn’t the first or last to make that observation. He was the first to try to develop a plausible scientific model explaining how continents could rearrange themselves, and it was *wrong*. The plate tectonics model isn’t anything like Wegener’s attempt.

    I am not sure if Continental Drift was as “wrong” as a static Earth, or an expanding Earth (or a hollow Earth!). I would suggest that it was less wrong than some theories out there…

  80. #80 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 30, 2009

    Barb, Simon and Kwok were not banned for High Crimes and Misdemeanors. They were banned because they fell into disfavor and were voted off in a democratic process. Find that one in your list of High Crimes and Misdemeanors, Big Dumb.

    Still not too sharp on the uptake I see.

    Why do you think they “fell into disfavor” using your phrase?

  81. #81 Kel
    March 30, 2009

    Barb, Simon and Kwok were not banned for High Crimes and Misdemeanors. They were banned because they fell into disfavor and were voted off in a democratic process.

    The reason they were subjected to that process in the first place is because they were committing many of the “crimes” that one can do on here. Just look at the completely vile shit simon said and tell me he’s an innocent victim.

  82. #82 Abstruse
    March 30, 2009

    CJO, BobbyEarle,

    Thanks very much for your answers. I’ll check it out.

  83. #83 Dwatney
    March 30, 2009

    Someone with 300K+ followers on twitter should post the link and see if their site can handle the popularity.

  84. #84 Katkinkate
    March 30, 2009

    Posted by: ‘Tis Himself @ 48 “I don’t know how I double posted because I only clicked on “post” once.”

    The server hiccupped?

  85. #85 David
    March 30, 2009

    The greatest argument against Intelligent Design is the concomitant idea of original sin.

  86. #86 Anton Mates
    March 30, 2009

    They can invoke Einstein and Wegener as patron saints when they actually have something persuasive other than their religious certainty that there must be a designer.

    Actually, here they’re invoking Einstein not as a saint, but as a representative of elitist scientific orthodoxy (due to his support for steady-state.)

  87. #87 deadman_932
    March 30, 2009

    A-HA!! So this is where all you Bathroom Wall denizens escaped to!

    Back! *Cracks whip* Back to the Tard Mines!!

    Sheesh.It’s not as though we don’t feed you plenty of lulz and photoshops. Plus there’s always Arden’s mum…

  88. #88 cmflyer
    March 30, 2009

    I think the wedge strategy has been replaced by the “church” strategy. Let’s pretend science is the church establishment of old (forever, really) and complain of it like outsiders and other institutions complained about the church. We’ll use words like “dogma” and “indoctrination.” Yeah, that’ll get ‘em!

  89. #89 dhogaza
    March 30, 2009

    Of course it wasn’t you freakin idiotic absolutist, the theory has *EVOLVED*.

    Chill. No, the theory didn’t “evolve”. Plate tectonics is totally unrelated to any mechanism dreamed of by Wegener. His proposed mechanisms didn’t even fit the observations and state of science of the day, which is why they were rejected by the scientists of the day (though they were give *much* more serious consideration than the cartoonish rendition of the story by creationists and some others would lead you to believe).

    Newtonian mechanics, on the other hand, can be derived newtonian from relativistic mechanics by plugging in appropriately low velocities.

    No amount of derivation, extrapolation, etc of Wegener’s proposed mechanisms are going to get you anywhere close to plate tectonics. He was flat-out WRONG. As someone else said above, perhaps not as wrong as those who claim the earth is hollow, but wrong enough.

  90. #90 dhogaza
    March 30, 2009

    Anyone who claims anything is right or wrong in science is simply *WRONG*.

    Science doesn’t prove, true, but science can disprove. Science has no problem stating that claims that the earth’s flat are WRONG. Science will not claim that this PROVES that the earth will not be flat tomorrow. Science will simply claim that the evidence strongly suggests it won’t.

    Clearly by simple observation the continents move. You need to develop a theory to explain that observation.

    That “simple observation” wasn’t available to Wegener. He suggested that the fact that continents fit together suggests they do, but he had no direct observational evidence to back it up.

    It was, actually, that “simple observation” observation (or actually, IIRC, sea floor spreading, which is impossible if stuff ain’t movin) that led to plate tectonics, and that observation was made in the 1950s).

  91. #91 Crudely Wrott
    March 30, 2009

    Darwinian evolutionary theory is a boiling, ever-changing, amorphous cloud that is impenetrable and completely immune to critical analytical scrutiny. It was designed that way, for obvious reasons.

    Ayup.

    In exactly the same fashion, the Theory of the Internal Combustion Engine was cleverly conceived by a close knit cabal of hundreds of thousands of engineers, tinkerers, millionaires and Saturday afternoon hobbyists. Over a period of 120 years or more they perfected a plan to make us buy two-ton land yachts that got 16 mpg in the 1950s and thus run the oil companies out of business. The result being that we would all invest in electric cars in the first quarter of the 21st century.

    What the average motorist does not know is that all of these conspirators have been making fiendishly wicked investments in the battery business ever since!

    Aay-yup!

  92. #92 Crudely Wrott
    March 31, 2009

    Sorry, somewhere in the middle of the main paragraph there should be a clause indicating that the cabal had [used the ecological impact of the automobile in order to] run the oil companies out of business.

    I was either distracted or careless. Not sure which.

  93. #93 Nick
    March 31, 2009

    Bloody hell, that John A Davidson is a pompous wind-bag isn’t he? He’s even arguing with the moderator, saying that hurling insults at people only counts if you’re referring to them using their real name.

    What an utter twat.

  94. #94 Drosera
    March 31, 2009

    My comment at UD still hasn’t shown up, so I must assume they have decided to block it.

    Perhaps they didn’t like the following part:

    ‘Demski writes:

    But it points up that just as grammars are not sufficient to generate meaningful texts, so the Darwinian mechanism is not sufficient to generate the functional complexity of biology.

    Of course grammars alone are not sufficient to generate meaningful texts. I could write: ?Jesus Christ, the son of God, died on the cross to take away our sins.?

    While grammatically correct, this is (to me, as an atheist) not all a meaningful text.’

  95. #95 Drosera
    March 31, 2009

    Dembski.

  96. #96 Thomas Lee Elifritz
    March 31, 2009

    Science has no problem stating that claims that the earth’s flat are WRONG.

    Well, since at some point the Earth is locally flat, I guess that ‘proves’ your claim ‘wrong’. You’re just too dumb to understand that you are being satirized.

    That “simple observation” wasn’t available to Wegener.

    Sure it was. It’s almost impossible to not notice that the continents fit together rather nicely, therefore they must have moved. No other explanation fits the observation.

    He spent his entire life searching for evidence to back up his theory that the continents moved, and publishing that evidence. That his theory of how they moved was premature and not necessarily ‘correct’ (I’m satirizing absolutists here if you haven’t noticed) in no way detracts from his work. He was clearly several generations ahead of his time.

    Science is mostly about being ‘wrong’. All of those wrongs eventually add up to a ‘right’, contrary to the euphemisms.

    And then eventually that right is demonstrated to be wrong.

    That’s how science works, sorry to disappoint you. Thus, I reiterate, you idiots are LUCKY creationists are so dumb.

    In science, as in nature, anything goes. The best adaptation is naturally selected.

  97. #97 co
    March 31, 2009

    Alex @ 34:

    …NOBODY eats trail mix with COCONUT.

    Except T-Rex.

    You probably owe me a new keyboard (I was drinking tea; now I’m trying to get it out of my sinuses). Thanks a bloody lot.

  98. #98 co
    March 31, 2009

    Blockquote fail in #97. What is UP with this scienceblog parsing?!?

  99. #99 mojoandy
    March 31, 2009

    UD being “increasingly irrelevant” seems to imply there was a shred of relevancy at one point. Am I missing something?

  100. #100 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 31, 2009

    Barb, Simon and Kwok were not banned for High Crimes and Misdemeanors. They were banned because they fell into disfavor and were voted off in a democratic process. Find that one in your list of High Crimes and Misdemeanors, Big Dumb.

    Read the votes for banning them, and read the dungeon entries.

    I hereby accuse you of Stupidity.

    The Himalayas do not occur along the coastline of India, they occur at the connection between the Asian continent and the Indian sub-continent. Meaning they do not occur along the coastline but within the continent (in a geographic sense). Since these mountain ranges don’t form along the coast lines/edges of the continents (ie at the continental shelf), these features were used to refute Continental Drift.

    Really? Even though Wegener himself made very clear he was accounting for the origin of the Himalayas? He got the ancient position of India in Gondwana almost right.

    The reason we see the Appalachians where they are is the North American plate has subsequently grown along the mid-atlantic ridge.

    No, you’ve got that completely wrong. NA east of the Appalachians (and south of the Ozarks) is continental crust, not oceanic crust. It consists of two pieces of Gondwana. The pre-Pangea continent of NA (sometimes called Laurentia) really does end at the Appalachians (and Ozarks), as Wegener would have required; Wegener’s mistake here was to believe that no movements happened before the Triassic.

    Gondwana is the name of the southern land mass AFTER Pangaea

    No, that name is nowadays carried all the way through to a bit before the Cambrian.

    The main point of my post is that Continental Drift is NOT the same thing as Plate Tectonics

    Agreed.

    (and how it is incorrect to hold up Wegener as an example of an idea that is later demonstrated to be correct).

    Partially.

    I’m in Paris here, in a building of the National Natural History Museum, not far from a monument to Lamarck. Lamarck is admired as one of the first to get the basic fact right that species aren’t static ? and so is Buffon, after whom the street between here and that monument is named. :-)

    Blockquote fail in #97. What is UP with this scienceblog parsing?!?

    Could depend on the browser. Or maybe you previewed (if you preview, what gets posted isn’t what you wrote, it’s the preview itself)? Some people can’t get blockquotes to work for more than one paragraph (a problem I’ve never had, neither on IE in Windows nor on Safari on a Mac).

  101. #101 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 31, 2009

    Partially.

    By which I mean? you have to separate Wegener’s ideas from each other. Some have been disproved, others not.

  102. #102 David Johnson
    March 31, 2009

    Let me get this straight: They’re using the “triumph” of “Continental drift theory” to show even the “ridiculed” theories can be proven right…when continental drift shows that the Earth is at least a few hundred million years older than their “ridiculed[ous]” theory allows.

    So, if their ID “theory” is proven right, contiental drift is wrong…which means it can’t be used as evidence that “gee, ridiculed theories can be proven right”…

    …but if it is correct – thus allowing you to use it as evidence ridiculed theories can be proven right – then their ID “theory” – the whole reason they’re trying to show “ridiculed theories” can be proven right – must be wrong

    Ummm…

    How the f*ck do these people even balance their checkbooks?!?!

  103. #103 Josh
    March 31, 2009

    David @102: it’s even worse than that. They’re trying to do that, but on top of everything else, they’re also getting continental drift wrong. They don’t understand things well enough to know that CD and Plate Tectonics aren’t the same thing.

    I think the better question is: how do these people even open their checkbooks?

  104. #104 chgo_liz
    March 31, 2009

    Going to that site clarified for me why I read science sites such as this one which include many posts/comments that are completely over my head: because even though I can’t understand the details in every discussion (thanks to my limited technical knowledge), I can comprehend the basic logic being presented. On that UD site, I knew the definition of each individual word used, but they were strung together so irrationally that there was no way to make sense of what was said.

    It’s hard to fathom that they actually believe what they’re saying. Maybe it’s a form of speaking in tongues?

  105. #105 Ian H Spedding
    April 1, 2009

    But that’s just because I’m an unrepentant Marxist (“You can’t fool me, there ain’t no sanity clause!”).

    “Gentlemen, we’ve got to start looking for a new Treasurer!”

    “You appointed one last week”

    “That’s the one I’m looking for!”

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