Pharyngula

Where a troll comes from

As many of you know, Alan Clarke is a fundamentalist/creationist kook who has been babbling in the comments for a while now. A reader alerted me to how Clarke found his way here: he was posting his silliness on a powerbasic support forum, and was warned that we would “kick his butt” if he came here. He’s just as obtuse there as he is here, so nothing has changed…and yes, his butt has been kicked up and down the threads here.

This is no big deal, and completely unsurprising, but Clarke left one comment there that made me think.

I took your advice and have been hanging out on the Pharyngula site:

Thread 1
Thread 2

Bob Zale would have shut these threads down long ago for the abusive language. I appreciate him even more when his civility is contrasted to that of P.Z. Myers’.

That last paragraph is…enlightening. Mr Clarke seems to think that civility is equivalent to silencing argument, and that I would be more civil if I had shut down the discussion. Interesting. It raises a conundrum that my poor brain cannot resolve; I had thought that it was better that I allow Mr Clarke to continue his ignorant ravings without taking a hand, but apparently Mr Clarke himself thinks that was uncivil.

So, I leave it to the readers. Shall I be civil and boot Clarke’s badly bruised butt from the site entirely, or should I be abusive and allow him to continue to comment here?

If you’re having trouble deciding, too, just follow his comments on these pages…I am actually relieved that commenters don’t have the ability to freely insert cartoons and caricatures here, because Mr Clarke can create quite a circus.

Comments

  1. #1 ARice
    April 12, 2009

    Leave him for now. Banning is so religious.

  2. #2 Shamelessly Atheist
    April 12, 2009

    Boot.

  3. #3 Glen Davidson
    April 12, 2009

    Controlled speech is generally what these people want. That’s why they’re trying to insert creationist teaching into the schools.

    I’m inclined not to give them what they want, in fact. Obviously it’s up to the owner of the site to kick trolls off if he wants, but my vote is to go ahead and keep offending the dolt with the freedom these people claim to want, yet clearly do not.

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

  4. #4 Michelle R
    April 12, 2009

    That’s a tough one. I’d say kick his ass but then again he’d like that.

    Maybe we can just let him blabber on and laugh at it? He sounds like a funny guy.

  5. #5 Aquaria
    April 12, 2009

    PZ, you naughty, naughty blogger. You sprayed bacon scent all over a chew toy and tossed it out to us, knowing how we’d all leap on it, fight over it, and in the end tear it to pieces.

    You’re sick.

    But I like that about you.

  6. #6 Carlie
    April 12, 2009

    I’d give Josh a hugely weighted vote as to whether to ban, since he’s so much heavy lifting with Alan Clarke lately. But then again, I’m biased by my internet crush. :)

  7. #7 Nathan
    April 12, 2009

    I’d say unless he does something on the scale of Mabus let him stay, he can be a glutton for punishment if he wishes.

  8. #8 Jadehawk
    April 12, 2009

    nah, he does no harm to anyone but himself, and he confines himself to a few threads and is only bothering those who suffer from SIWOTI and keep on going back to his threads.

  9. #9 nigelTheBold
    April 12, 2009

    As a mostly-lurker, I’d say keep him. It’s nice to keep the scent of blood in the water.

  10. #10 Carlie
    April 12, 2009

    “done”… oh, there’s my missing verb!

    My personal vote is to ban, since he’s had more than enough chance to address anything that anyone has given him and hasn’t done it, and that he seems to want to be banned.

  11. #11 Aquaria
    April 12, 2009

    And to Alan Dimbulb fucktard Clarke, you’re a waste of oxygen, and a disgusting piece of shit. Unlike shit, however, you have no usefulness.

    The world would be a better place if lightning struck your house and took out your computer. At least then we’d all be spared your withering stupidity.

  12. #12 blf
    April 12, 2009

    Offer him a guest post?

    That’d presumably blow his tiny little mind, and the (presumed) roasting he’d get in the comments would, well, I’m not too sure what it would do? Cause him to crawl away by himself complaining about all those nasty bady-roasting puppy-torturing gay atheist muslim pinko commie squids, I guess.

  13. #13 Victor
    April 12, 2009

    Well, he’s definitely pretty thick, but I think abusive behavior is the best reason for banning anyone. Except for overall anger and tone, he’s not quite there. I don’t think he’ll ever be able to be reasoned with because his M.O. seems to be to confuse himself with faulty logic and bad analogies (comparing criticism of religion with defamation of a spouse?), showing a very confused intellect. So … meh …

  14. #14 pcarini
    April 12, 2009

    PowerBASIC? Ok, there’s coming out of left field, but this is too much. The only connection I can think of between BASIC and belief in jeebus is that they’re both thoroughly antiquated…

  15. #15 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    April 12, 2009

    Can’t say I’ve noticed the guy, so I’ll leave the voting to those who have. Personally, I’d find talking to anyone who can’t figure out the point of the FSM or the IPU pretty dull unless he’s sufficiently bonkers to compensate.

  16. #16 Sgt. Obvious
    April 12, 2009

    Hell, let’s keep him. With the Rookie newly departed, we’re down to Facilis and Silver Fox for trolls (SfO too, but he very rarely posts). That may sound good on paper, but we need them to use as audition dummies for potential Mollies.

  17. #17 Desert Son
    April 12, 2009

    Aside from your own wish to proceed one way or another, I’m not sure there’s any reason to deviate from your protocol since the beginning: allow conversation with the understanding that all participants are subject to dismissal should they violate certain rules clearly presented. Should Clarke, in your estimation, reach the event horizon of godbottery (godbottedness?), boredom, and/or any of the other offenses worthy of the ban-hammer, then the course seems clear.

    What I find somewhat irritating about Clarke’s position is the abdication of personal responsibility: “I, through an act of my own volition, ventured into terra pharyngula digitala* and proceeded to engage with commentators therein. Finding the atmosphere not to my taste, I made swift to express my exasperation with how I was treated, instead of simply retiring, also of my own volition. I chose to make an issue of the surface of discourse, rather than the content.”

    Buck up, Clarke! Having found myself in circumstances (digital and non-digital alike) wherein the environment felt hostile, and in such cases where I was able, I availed myself of the exit with the same wherewithal that brought me to the distressing location in the first place! It can be done!

    No kings,

    Robert

    *faux Latin posturing on my part freely acknowledged.

  18. #18 Mark B.
    April 12, 2009

    PowerBasic? Really? People still write programs in Basic? I guess it’s just enough of a stagnant backwater for someone like Clarke to gain a toehold.

  19. #19 SEF
    April 12, 2009

    Where a troll comes from … a powerbasic support forum

    That does seem to say quite a lot of it right there! ;-)

    I am actually relieved that commenters don’t have the ability to freely insert cartoons and caricatures here

    Oops! On the other hand, some of the potential learners are claiming on that other thread that they don’t have room in their brains to learn anything more and may have “to forget how to tie [their] shoes”. If they forget how to use a computer instead then you’ll be in no danger.

  20. #20 Bhima
    April 12, 2009

    In my mind the decision to ban or not ban depends on the Signal to Noise (or perhaps amusement) Ratio.

    Just looking at his comments listed I would say he does not add much that is useful or funny to discussion.

  21. #21 CR
    April 12, 2009

    I don’t really care as I generally pay little attention to him. Mostly he just repeats the same tired old crap.

  22. #22 RobWriting
    April 12, 2009

    Reminds me of the conversation between the masochist and the sadist:

    Begged the Masochist, “Oh, master, please beat me. Please, oh, please!”

    The Sadist replied, with a wicked gleam in his eye, “No.”

  23. #23 Yellow Dog
    April 12, 2009

    BLF: nasty baby-roasting puppy-torturing gay atheist muslim pinko commie squids,

    You forgot “librul terrist”

  24. #24 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    April 12, 2009

    People still write programs in Basic?

    Yeah. They also still write them in COBOL and C.

  25. #25 SEF
    April 12, 2009

    The “hulk smash” urge must have worn off a bit if PZ is even asking pharyngulites for an opinion. Perhaps we need a green muscular gumby (for internal rages/rants) to go with the red-faced wimpy one of Monty Python origin (for the ravings of IDiots).

    Are there any cephalopods which swell up significantly, as well as changing colour? Or would PZ have to morph into a puffer fish?

  26. #26 Emmet, OM
    April 12, 2009

    Alan Clarke seems like a harmless garden-variety 40-watt, blinkered by religious stupidity. I see no compelling reason to ban him, and there’s always killfile for individuals who are tired of him.

  27. #27 JD
    April 12, 2009

    Build up that wall!

  28. #28 'Tis Himself
    April 12, 2009

    As one of the people involved in discussions with Alan Clarke (and his lovely assistant, RogerS), I’d like to keep him around. Here’s some reasons to do so:

    (1) He keeps those of us with SIWOTI addictions occupied.

    (b) He’s not disruptive. He confines himself to one thread at a time, leaving all the others unpolluted.

    (iii) He’s the source of education from Owlmirror, David Marjanovi?, and especially Josh. I’ve learned a fair bit about geology thanks to Josh and his lovely assistant, Alan B.

    He’s basically harmless, except to himself and his family.

  29. #29 Emmet, OM
    April 12, 2009

    People still write programs in Basic?

    Yeah. They also still write them in COBOL and C.

    The difference being that C isn’t shit.

  30. #30 Aquaria
    April 12, 2009

    AC is the living equivalent of Disney Radio, an evil nexus of smarm, insipidity and a lot of stupid.

  31. #31 'Tis Himself
    April 12, 2009

    In my post #28 I should have written:

    (iii) He’s the cause of education from Owlmirror, David Marjanovi?, and especially Josh.

  32. #32 Mark B.
    April 12, 2009

    The difference being that C isn’t shit.

    It’s still pretty useful for some specialized applications where you need to have a very tight control of memory. Pointers rule. Basic is, and always has been, a really crappy language. About its only defense is that it’s easy to learn the syntax. It doesn’t take that much longer to learn a real language.

  33. #33 skyotter
    April 12, 2009

    who?

  34. #34 Barklikeadog
    April 12, 2009

    Keep him for now. Stoopid gets funny and the Stoopid IS strong in this one.

  35. #35 Amesthe149
    April 12, 2009

    Yeah, boot him. He’s ridiculous.

  36. #36 Susan
    April 12, 2009

    I think you should do whatever entertains and least inconveniences you. If that also happens to be something that pisses him off, so much the better.

  37. #37 Emmet, OM
    April 12, 2009

    Mark B. @#32

    You did read what I wrote, yes? You write as if you’re taking issue with what I said.

  38. #38 D. C. Sessions
    April 12, 2009

    What did the masochist say to the sadist? “Hurt me!”
    What did the sadist reply? “No.”

    Hey, he’s amusing to us. When he gets to being a PITA to you, it’s your blog. Guests can only piss on the fish so many times.

  39. #39 EMUAlgaeGirl
    April 12, 2009

    1. I am for leaving Alan Clarke be for the time being. He hasn’t gotten violent yet, nor has he started posting random, inane shit just for the sake of being annoying. Besides, I love seeing everyone invent new and interesting ways of handing him his ass.

    2. While I am just a lowly, infrequent poster, after reading those 2 threads illustrating Alan Clarke, I would like to nominate Owlmirror for Order of the Molly. I have really enjoyed that person’s (I don’t know if they’re male or female, sorry) comments on both threads and thought that they brought some really good (mis)interpretations of a few contentious spots in the bible (thread 1).

    (p.s. going to be changing the handle to just AlgaeGirl. I got in to Fordham U, and somehow I don’t think FUAlgaeGirl has the same ring to it.)

  40. #40 John Morales
    April 12, 2009

    Meh, I’d like to see Alan Clarke kept on notice to be topical rather than being banned in absentia.

    From PZ’s link: Alan Clarke

    Deciding not to take Eric?s warning too seriously, I visited Pharyngula[linked] and was warmly greeted by Professor PZ Myers ?ejaculating? as his website suggests: ?Evolution, development, and random biological ejaculations from a godless liberal.? Hopefully, Professor Myers may one day overcome his addiction by considering the negative implications:
    1 Corinthians 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind.

    (emphasis in original)
    Very civil of him.

  41. #41 Buzz
    April 12, 2009

    Unless he is spamming or abusing, keep him around.

  42. #42 NewEnglandBob
    April 12, 2009

    If you had a radio that produced a lot of static, would you keep listening to it or would you try to get it fixed or replaced?

    Alan Clarke’s posts are just verbal diarrhea. They are mostly nonsense and the bible quotes are nauseating and not even relevant to the topic discussed.

    Some people get distracted by his posts so more than just his droppings are annoying.

    I would say let’s conserve photons here and boot his butt.

  43. #43 John Morales
    April 12, 2009

    AlgaeGirl, you’re too late to nominate Owlmirror ;)

  44. #44 brandon
    April 12, 2009

    Please, please boot this ignoramus. He doesn’t actually discuss anything, he just copy-and-pastes young earth disinformation and then launches into ad hominems. Most forums would have stuck a fork in him a long time ago.

    While you’re at it, revisit the survivors from the late contest and ban them, too. ;)

  45. #45 D. C. Sessions
    April 12, 2009

    Should Clarke, in your estimation, reach the event horizon of godbottery (godbottedness?)

    Black holiness, or black assholiness? If you’re going for a singular metaphor, might as well go all the way.

  46. #46 AlgaeGirl
    April 12, 2009

    @43, well apparently Owlmirror needs it again to they’ll put the OM at the end of their name. :-) Oh well, all my good intentions for naught…

  47. #47 Mark B.
    April 12, 2009

    You did read what I wrote, yes? You write as if you’re taking issue with what I said.

    I’m agreeing with you Emmett. Apparently, I used the wrong emoticon, or something.

  48. #48 mathyoo
    April 12, 2009

    The problem with banning idiots like that is that it plays right into their delusional fantasies about being persecuted, plus, it lets them claim that their idiotic rantings were too valid for us to counter, so we evil atheists had to resort to banning them. My vote would be to provide us with continuing entertainment by letting him continue to post here so we can mock him. Certain types of trollish behavior warrant banning, to be sure, but I generally prefer to allow people to make a big a fool of themselves as they want, then laugh and point.

  49. #49 Codswallop
    April 12, 2009

    I have read some of this Clarke person’s posts. (I couldn’t read all of them–I’m about to sit down to dinner.) He’s a candidate for BDIU, all right, but that’s why you should keep him around. He’s useful, like a cautionary tale: “Don’t let this happen to you.”

    I will admit he seems to have a taste for nonsense to rival Lewis Carroll. If only Clarke could write.

  50. #50 Josh
    April 12, 2009

    That kind of talk will get you everywhere, Carlie.

    I’m not sure what I think should be done. I don’t think Alan is really hurting anyone or being that disruptive, and there’s been a good deal of banning recently. He’s only active in the one thread right now, and those of us who keep trying* to see if there’s any life in his cranium do so willingly. For me, it’s now become an experiment to see if the man is actually capable of responding to a direct question (all signs currently point to “no”).

    On the other hand, Alan’s specialty is dancing around actual discourse rather than engaging in it, and I swear he has an advanced degree in goalpost shifting. Moreover, as Nerd has already pointed out more times than I care to count, Alan has been repeatedly committing dungeon-level offenses for some time now (I suspect he’s already at the event horizon…). So, I do think there’s cause.

    I’m going to suggest not banning him for now, as much because I’m genuinely curious to see if he will resurface as anything. That’s kind of selfish, though. Maybe the way to go is John’s suggestion in comment #40.

    It might not matter, though. Given the latest set of challenges that we’ve laid at his feet, he might not return anyway (I say this only because it has been a few days since we’ve heard from him).

    *operative word

  51. #51 Michelle R
    April 12, 2009

    Posted by: blf Author Profile Page | April 12, 2009 5:48 PM

    Offer him a guest post?

    That’d presumably blow his tiny little mind, and the (presumed) roasting he’d get in the comments would, well, I’m not too sure what it would do? Cause him to crawl away by himself complaining about all those nasty bady-roasting puppy-torturing gay atheist muslim pinko commie squids, I guess.

    You know what? I think that’s the best idea ever. I vote for that too!

  52. #52 Kel
    April 12, 2009

    I’m waiting for Alan to come back and try to tell me why my views on the philosophy of meaning are wrong. Finally I get him to open up on actual meaning (as opposed to his notion that if the flood is true then all the bible is true) and he buggers off.

  53. #53 Wowbagger, OM
    April 12, 2009

    I’m for keeping him; I enjoy pointing out the errors in his reasoning and watching the science-types poke so many holes in his ark concept that it’d only be of use as a colander.

    The ghastliness of that forum is a good argument for not using inserted pictures in threads, too.

  54. #54 Marion Delgado
    April 12, 2009

    All I can say to the ignorant scoffers piling on poor Alan Clarke is:

    They laughed at Paracelsus, too!

    I have spoken.

  55. #55 DembskiFangirl
    April 12, 2009

    I say we let Alan stay. he seems to be very informed on biology , abiogenesis and paleontology and makes good contributions.

  56. #56 Doug Alder
    April 12, 2009

    Trolls are masochists so show him how altruistic atheists really are and leave him here so he can continue to suffer the pain he so obviously wants. ;)

  57. #57 Truckloadbear
    April 12, 2009

    “Shall I be civil and boot Clarke’s badly bruised butt from the site entirely, or should I be abusive and allow him to continue to comment here?”

    All depends on how hulk smash/stabby you feel.

  58. #58 'Tis Himself
    April 12, 2009

    All I can say to the ignorant scoffers piling on poor Alan Clarke is: They laughed at Paracelsus, too!

    They also laughed at Bozo the Clown.

  59. #59 Quidam
    April 12, 2009

    Banning gives him too much status. He seems reasonably harmless and is posting in is own words, not copying screeds.

  60. #60 KenS
    April 12, 2009

    Ban him simply because he refs harun yahya and bigots and those that support bigots should be shunned.

  61. #61 George
    April 12, 2009

    PZ the answer seems simple. Mr. Clarke can control the situation and turn off the discussion, he simply has to stay away. I certainly do care if he stays or leaves.

  62. #62 Wowbagger, OM
    April 12, 2009

    Maybe he can stay if he actually debates a Catholic about why, according to him, they don’t count as Christians. PZ could set up a thread on the topic and delete any posts he makes on any others.

    That would be quite amusing – we could invite the odious Maggie back to be the token papist*. I did my darndest to get them to get stuck into each other but they were too concerned with fighting the battles they’d already lost on the topics that brought them here.

    *And/or Piltdown. That would be fun, too.

  63. #63 Kel
    April 12, 2009

    I say we let Alan stay. he seems to be very informed on biology , abiogenesis and paleontology and makes good contributions.

    Is DempskiFanGirl a poe?

  64. #64 cyan
    April 12, 2009

    Yes.

  65. #65 reboho
    April 12, 2009

    (iii) He’s the source of (my) education from Owlmirror, David Marjanovi?, and especially Josh. I’ve learned a fair bit about geology thanks to Josh and his lovely assistant, Alan B.

    He’s basically harmless, except to himself and his family.

    I second ‘Tis Himself.

    Alan Thicke(er, Clarke) is irritating but he seemed to run away when everyone began asking him when he was going to reply to Josh. In a perverse way he has actually inspired Josh and I hope he turns it into a book or article someday. I’ll pre-order now.

    Now RogerS, he adds nothing and I vote Hulk smash him!

  66. #66 AdamK
    April 12, 2009

    When the time comes to throw out my little doggie’s used up chew toy, I buy him a replacement first, make sure he’s occupied with it, then dispose of the old one behind his back. That way he forgets about it and is not upset.

  67. #67 Brian
    April 12, 2009

    I say keep him. The most fun we seem to have on this site are the long comment/flame wars about religion, creationism vs. evolution and so on.

    Someone has to spew the bullshit religious crap for that to happen.

    Brian

  68. #68 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    April 12, 2009

    The difference being that C isn’t shit.

    True, if you’re wanting something slightly higher-level than assembly.

    I won’t bash a language just because it’s “cool” to do so. People who bash BASIC without bashing Perl and PHP just as equally are talking out their ass.

    COBOL does suck, though.

  69. #69 Alverant
    April 12, 2009

    If you ban him, it will use it as a badge of honor. Best to let the fool wag his tongue and demonstrate his ignorance. The time he spends here getting his butt kicked is time he is not trying to influence school board members to teach creationism.

  70. #70 Blake Stacey
    April 12, 2009

    PowerBASIC? Isn’t that what I used to compile BASIC code to MS-DOS executables back in the twentieth century?

    Damn. Getting a bad trip off nostalgia.

  71. #71 CalGeorge
    April 12, 2009

    Be abusive. He’s mildly entertaining. I look forward to hearing more nutty stories from his “portfolio of personal experiences.”

    My grandmother diverted somewhat from her early Christian upbringing, but returned later in life when problems arose that were unsolvable using methods outside of God. As a good German, she kept an immaculate house but was frustrated when a paralyzing stroke confined her to a bed. She experienced one particular difficult night in trying to breathe, when my grandfather exhausted himself in assisting her through various means of supporting pillows and blankets. He finally fell asleep in another bed after leaving her room in complete disarray: pillows, blankets, cups, hot water bottles, food tray, etc. In the morning he returned to find her dead, centrally located in the bed with the covers pulled up, her hands folded, and the room immaculately cleaned and ordered. He enquired of the neighbor who sometimes assisted in care-taking, as to whether she had straightened the room that evening. She denied it. Knuth, I realize this story may mean little to you, but it is meaningful to those in need, who value order, sleep, consolation, and harmony with the supernatural events as described in the Bible. I chose to share this experience because of the obvious ?German? connotations. I was not present at my grandmother?s death, but I have my own portfolio of personal experiences that reinforce my knowing God as ?caring? and ?loving?.

    https://www.powerbasic.com/support/pbforums/showpost.php?p=306133&postcount=748

  72. #72 Blake Stacey
    April 12, 2009

    People who bash BASIC without bashing Perl and PHP just as equally are talking out their ass.

    The physicist Jacques Distler once described PHP programs — MediaWiki, in particular — as looking like “the raccoons had gotten into the trash again”. My on-the-job experience with the languages lead me to apply the same sentiment to Perl as well.

  73. #73 cyan
    April 12, 2009

    Kel @ #63,

    Sorry, I was too quick in judgment, both because of what she said and because she misspelled Dembski in her monicker.

    But now I see that she’s been on the “Don’t threaten the Discovery Institute – ….” thread with the same straight-faced assertions.

  74. #74 Jason A.
    April 12, 2009

    Never noticed him, so I clicked the links.

    His posts are just ego-masturbating pseudo-intellectual fluff with no goddamn substance. Quoting Socrates? Really?

    But they’re easy to skip past, and some of the replies he gets are just lovely.

  75. #75 Nanu Nanu
    April 12, 2009

    SHUT UP! I AM SOMETIMES NOT LEARN GOOD!

  76. #76 John Morales
    April 12, 2009

    Brian,

    Someone has to spew the bullshit religious crap for that to happen.

    What, you’re worried there’s a dearth of wandering monsters?

    Not much fear of that.

  77. #77 Nanu Nanu
    April 12, 2009

    #75 was meant to be addressed to SEF’s shoe tying comment and if a triple post appears I blame demons living in my computer.

  78. #78 Jadehawk
    April 12, 2009

    hah! my interpretation of the story in #71:

    the Germanness won over the paralysis, the old lady cleaned up everything herself, because clearly such mess is no state in which to die with dignity ;-)

  79. #79 reboho
    April 12, 2009

    COBOL does suck, though.

    Hey, it can parse and generate XML on z/OS now, so it just sucks harder! I’ve worked with it for years, but now mostly debugging other people’s code. Throw in DB2, IMS, MQ, and CICS and you have teh sux that pays the bills.

    Anyway, Hulk, smash RogerS.

  80. #80 Kel
    April 12, 2009

    My favourite Alan Clarke moment was after asking him about 10 times to post a coherent definition of evolution, he response was along the lines of “evolution is the notion that God doesn’t exist” then later on thinking that natural selection was caused by volcanoes. Funny funny guy

  81. #81 Sven DiMilo
    April 12, 2009

    See, if some god or other would tidy up my room once in a while I’d feel differently about the whole thing.

    Yes, DembskiFanGirl is a Poe, based on nym alone (it’s Kel who misspelled “Dembski” with a p). For further evidence, “her” appeals to authority are to MySpace pages and the packaging for Expelled!.

  82. #82 Ultima Thule
    April 12, 2009

    I would say keep him.

    Unless he is obliged to read the threads about evolution we can’t prove him the con that religion is.

    Isn’t what the texas board of education wants?

    people must post both opinions. :P

    Unless he reaches a grand level of insults please keep him. His posts are a LOL

  83. #83 Woody
    April 12, 2009

    He poses no threat.

    He’s easily ignored.

    Unless you need the band-width…

  84. #84 Smidgy
    April 12, 2009

    Having read a few of his screeds, where he does such classic things as quote an explanation of how natural selection works (provided by Kel, IIRC) and says there is nothing there that can ‘intelligently select’, and thus completely missing the point that there isn’t meant to be, he is very useful as an object lesson as to what happens if you burble on about how evolution is wrong without understanding anything whatsoever about it.

    So I say don’t ban him.

  85. #85 speedwell
    April 12, 2009

    I also laugh at Paracelsus. He’s funny sometimes. I think he’s on my “top ten “list” of “people from history I’d like to have at a dinner party.”

    I vote for the chance to laugh at Alan Clarke. Guest post! Guest post!

  86. #86 Moody
    April 12, 2009

    Is there not a useful matrix with the qualities of 1) obtuseness, 2) anger, 3) literacy, and 4) honesty, from which a suitable response may be derived? I would suggest that such a matrix would place Alan Clarke in a precarious position (if not directly in the bullseye) and that his future is very much not assured on this blog.

  87. #87 Feynmaniac
    April 12, 2009

    Favourite Alan Clarke moment: when hearing about the Flood in the Epic of Gilgamesh he dismissed it saying that bible has 50 times more information on the flood and questioning whether Epic included dimensions of the ark. It was then pointed out that Genesis 6-8 and the Flood tablet are of about equal length and that the Epic did indeed include dimensions for the ark. He then did a complete 180 and said that these two myths having similar details is proof positive for a Global flood!

    Second favourite Alan Clarke moment: saying he can’t respond to Josh’s geological claims because he is too busy doing his taxes. He then goes on for several paragraphs about how marriages fail because one spouse cares too much about what the other thinks about them….blah, blah, blah. Yeah, really busy.

  88. #88 Feynmaniac
    April 12, 2009

    Oh, and Alan also said:

    Science is good for some things but I don’t see much applicability when I’m visiting a hospital room of a terminally ill person.

  89. #89 tweetbirdie386sx
    April 12, 2009

    Having read a few of his screeds, where he does such classic things as quote an explanation of how natural selection works (provided by Kel, IIRC) and says there is nothing there that can ‘intelligently select’,

    That’s close to the the same thing Rick Warren asked Sam Harris: “Who’s doing the selecting?” Brilliant. I say let him stay.

  90. #90 Moses
    April 12, 2009

    Burn him! Burn him!

  91. #91 TJM
    April 12, 2009

    What is the most obdurate matter? Compared to Alan’s desire to proselytize in comments, such would shatter.

  92. #92 Buffy
    April 12, 2009

    What a twat he is, and he’s laid a typical trap. He decries “abusive language” and lauds the censorship of the RRRW sites. But if you banned him from here the first thing he’d do is go whining to his friends about how PZ Meyers was persecuting him for being a Christian.

  93. #93 Kaessa
    April 12, 2009

    I say keep him for now… one of the things I love about this blog is how much I learn when the regular posters get a new chew-toy.

    They always try to teach it at first.

  94. #94 Jadehawk
    April 12, 2009

    Oh, and Alan also said:
    Science is good for some things but I don’t see much applicability when I’m visiting a hospital room of a terminally ill person.

    that one landed him on FSTDT, actually

  95. #95 firemancarl
    April 12, 2009

    Alan Clarke is a grade A douche. Sweet baby Jebus! His postings made my noggin hurt. It wasn’t bad enough that he couldn’t make a coherent statement when confronted with real evidence, but when he said “a fire burning with 50% less oxygen would burn 10x longer..” Teh wot?!???????

  96. #96 dogmeatib
    April 12, 2009

    Other than the pain inflicted upon a fully functional, logical brain as one tries to sort through his “logic,” he poses no real threat. Plus he can be quite useful if any of us need to recalibrate our bullshit-o-meter.

  97. #97 Desert Son
    April 12, 2009

    Feynmaniac at #88,

    Ok, that right there is comedy gold (24 karat). It’s a little hard not to read it as Poe, but regardless, it’s damn funny.

    Had another thought about the Definitely-Not-Arthur-C.-Clarke comedy stylings of subject Alan Clarke: what if you could set up a sort of null web-page, one that he could post to regularly, continue to check in, but it would be a sort of digital dead end, i.e. no one would actually be reading it besides himself. Sort of an inverse Turing test kind of thing (I’m not explaining this well, I realize. I apologize. I’m not well-versed in computers or the Intartubes, and I’m also two beers into the evening and enjoying the absolutely spectacular spring weather after a lovely dinner, so please forgive me if I’m a bit . . . off point)?

    In the end, would he even notice the difference?

    Ah, well, it’s not really well-thought-out. No matter.

    PZ, just like Alcoa presents, “You Make the Call!”

    No kings,

    Robert

  98. #98 Kel
    April 12, 2009

    My girlfriend was looking through FSTDT the other day and came across that facilis quote. He’s internet-famous

  99. #99 Steve
    April 12, 2009

    PZ,
    1. It’s your blog. What do you want?
    2. This is a science forum, albeit an informal one. Does he have anything to add to the debate?

    I don’t believe it is practicing “groupthink” to ban posters who come to pick meaningless fights. If he has a reasonable argument, he had his chance to make it.

    Steve

  100. #100 David Payne
    April 12, 2009

    Be civil by all means and give him the boot (kinda like punishing a masochist).

  101. #101 Robert
    April 12, 2009

    CalGeorge@71 – it sounds like Alan Clarke’s grandfather found his wife dead, and then in a state of shock tidied up the scene (because he knew his wife hated mess), then staggered back to bed. In the morning, his conscious mind had suppressed the memory.

    This sort of selective memory editing is well documented, and a far more credible explanation than “angels cleaned up the room”.

  102. #102 Patricia, OM
    April 12, 2009

    Damn, I missed this glitter rolled turd. I’ll turn in one of my bible quoten’ medals.
    Bad Patricia.

  103. #103 Brachychiton
    April 12, 2009

    and a far more credible explanation than “angels cleaned up the room”

    The most likely explanation is that someone’s telling porkies.

  104. #104 SILVER FOX
    April 12, 2009

    Remove Alan from this site? Heaven forbid (excuse the heaven part).

    Just look at this thread. Removing Alan would be like pulling the oxygen masks off a bunch of Mesothelioma patients.

  105. #105 Kaessa
    April 12, 2009

    Now Silver Fox, on the other hand… he could go.

  106. #106 clinteas
    April 12, 2009

    I reckon we’ve banned enough people for now.

    Clarke for example,has given us Josh,and 2 huge threads to learn about geology from.
    The rationality-challenged often make Pharyngula more interesting,and ignite great debates and opportunities to sharpen our tools and learn stuff about stuff.

  107. #107 DJ
    April 12, 2009

    After going back and looking at those threads, I say keep him around. Some of those conversations led to some insightful information about the mind of a semi-coherent bible supporter. And the refutations by the usual commenters helped me to learn too.

    I like the conversations if nothing else. Until/unless his arguments become tiresome/rude/rehashed I say let him stay.

  108. #108 Newfie
    April 12, 2009

    got to have a few mongs around to keep the place interesting, dog knows, I try.

  109. #109 Britomart
    April 12, 2009

    Keep Clarke, at least for now. That is assuming he does come back to answer all the unanswered questions he has left.

    He is an amazing example of the twisted logical dance fundies have to do and the repsonses to him have been very educational.

    Thank you kindly

  110. #110 Phaedron
    April 12, 2009

    As long as he’s not spamming, leave him be.

    The lions here aren’t going to complain if a few christians throw themselves into the arena.

  111. #111 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 12, 2009

    Sheesh, go across the lake to help celebrate one of the Redhead’s aunts’ 70th birthday, and all craziness breaks loose.
    Cuttlefish gone (sniff back tears), Pete Rooke gone (clap using one hand so as to not show real excitement), registration back in (meh). And talk of banning Alan Clarke. I’ve been involved with his discussions since his first posts, and I put him into the same class as Rooke. He comes here to teach us something, and there is no need to learn anything since his belief in his imaginary god will protect him from knowledge. I would say give him a chance to show his scientific (versus biblical) flud evidence. If he fails to do so, ban him. And don’t forget his ignorant friend RogerS.

  112. #112 dwarf zebu
    April 12, 2009

    Posted by: Bhima | April 12, 2009 6:02 PM

    In my mind the decision to ban or not ban depends on the Signal to Noise (or perhaps amusement) Ratio.

    Shouldn’t that be Amusement to Annoyance ratio?

  113. #113 may
    April 12, 2009

    this is the 2nd time i’ve posted this joke……apologies but it fits the picture.

    masochist—” beat me ,whip me, please please.”

    sadist——”no”.

  114. #114 RamblinDude
    April 12, 2009

    I tempted to say keep him – and use him!

    Get him to sputter nonsense about other topics than the flood, (no more, please) and with every new jaw-dropping attempt to rewrite reality for jesus, the vast horde of well-educated commenters here can trounce him and educate the rest of us! It can be an experiment!

  115. #115 Justin
    April 12, 2009

    I say leave him, he’ll get tired on his own accord and flounce off denouncing us for our lack of “civility” and feeling proud of himself for “surviving” the gauntlet.

  116. #116 Dez
    April 12, 2009

    @ 40
    As an intermittent reader of the posts here, I had to say that quote made me snort my chamomile tea through my nose it was so funny. I vote not to ban AC?he is quite amusing as are the ripostes to all troll-speak here. At least AC didn?t recommend some Soul Woo to PZ.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dpqi56EWnQ8

  117. #117 John Atkeson
    April 12, 2009

    Did anybody click through to Mr. Clarke’s link on why avian 1-way lungs could not have evolved from standard vertebrate 2-way lungs?

    If so, does anybody know what intermediate species have been found between the two types of lungs? I can easily imagine intermediaries, but I’d like some real examples in case I ever have to make the case myself to a creationist.

    Thanks…

  118. #118 Ken_Cope
    April 12, 2009

    heddle claims that atheists will only ever drive theists away from science and evolution, and that only theists like heddle have the standing to convince theists that science and evolution are worthwhile, and that science-denial is bad.

    Hey, heddle, put up or shut up. Convince Alan Clarke that only fools reject science, or admit you’re no better a troll here than Alan Clarke is.

  119. #119 Rick Schauer
    April 12, 2009

    I say, if Clarke minds his manners, keep him around a bit longer, PZ… I’ve come to like your blog dripping red with his visceral blood as he’s repeatedly skewered. Really, the added color helps offset the boring white, blue and pale green stylesheet used by SEED.

    Additionally, he and the other trools remind me of xtians at the Coliseum only these throw themselves to the lions willingly…what’s better than that for entertainment?

  120. #120 Wowbagger, OM
    April 12, 2009

    Came across a delightful site (okay, I found it when I googled myself; I admit it) that mentions Pharyngula (and the -ites) in a not very positive light.

    http://calvinists4conservatism.wordpress.com/2008/11/24/richard-dawkins-takes-another-life/

    It’s actually pretty funny; A lot of the posts are this clown, Bob Evans aka Metsguy, whining about what PZ posts about and bleating about how mean we are to Christians.

    He writes:

    That said, it remains the fact that, indifference in the face of evil is something which is unacceptable to me. My burning, Spirit inspired desire is to teach objective and open-minded people the True interpretation of Christian faith tenets. They may only have a few opportunities in an entire lifetime to be exposed to that Truth. It is gratifying to me that I am in a position, together with many others, to help in the mission of attempting to impart that knowledge to them.

    Gold!

  121. #121 Discombobulated
    April 12, 2009

    Aww, we’re still waiting for him to finish his taxes, and come back to the “I have no idea what this thread is about anymore” thread and give his presentation on how the evidence for the flood is so obvious.

    Alan, 144 hours and counting… Surely, if the “surface of our ENTIRE Earth is completely ridden with nothing but post-deluge features”, it shouldn’t take that long to answer Josh’s questions.

    While we’re waiting, here’s more Alan Clarke goodness: Arbitrarily-assigned numerology, therefore God exists.

  122. #122 catta
    April 12, 2009

    masochist—” beat me ,whip me, please please.”

    sadist——”no”.

    masochist: “More!”

  123. #123 Brian
    April 12, 2009

    “What, you’re worried there’s a dearth of wandering monsters?
    Not much fear of that.”

    Dearth no, but there needs to be ( religious nut jobs) > 0 for most of the long threads I’ve noticed around here to exist.

    As many others have said, he’s really not hurting anyone.

  124. #124 Jadehawk
    April 12, 2009

    lol, i never find such awesome things when googling myself…

  125. #125 Sgt. Obvious
    April 12, 2009

    Wowbagger(#120), I’m pretty sure common consensus on FSTDT has that as a Poe site. It certainly seems too perfect to be real.

  126. #126 Janine Of The Fixed Identity
    April 12, 2009

    One of the things I hate most is his smug civility, that he has better manners than we unruly mobs. Damn but that man is a misogynistic prick.

    When he first come here, even though I was clear about what I thought of his “evidence” of the flud, he spoke to me as if I was a dimwitted child and he was the wise teacher.

    He later talked about me as if I was easily lead about by Owlmirror. This is no insult to Owlmirror but that is insulting. I am assuming that Owlmirror is a young man in his early to mid twenties, in his thirties at the latest. I was an atheist before he was born.

    There is no need to go into Alan’s owning a woman “joke” that many people called him he and he backed away from, a rare acknowledgment of other people’s disgust.

    His quote mining is so clumsy, I can find them and point out how he is distorting other people’s works to fit his presuppositions.

    Alan Clarke is a creep and a liar. He likes to think his “good manners” overrides those qualities. But those bad qualities speaks louder than his civility.

    The only thing that is in his defense is a quality that is not his doing. It is the great replies by Josh, David, Owlmirror, Alan B, Carlie and the many others who replies to his inanities. Alan Clarke is the sand irritant in the oyster.

  127. #127 catta
    April 12, 2009

    Now that the joke’s out of the way… I’d say let him stay unless he gets really out of hand.

    I’m almost sorry he can’t post the kind of pictures he posted in the PB thread. Some of those literally made me laugh out loud. Unfailingly, the ones that were meant to be convincing were the funniest.

    I wonder — does he sit up all night making those things, or does he get them from somewhere else? I particularly liked the one trying to compare the dinosaur soft tissue images to King Tut’s mummified remains. That was priceless. Shame the awesome powers of Clarke can’t be harnessed to mine more of this comedy gold, since the thread is now closed.

  128. #128 RamblinDude
    April 12, 2009

    Alan Clarke is the sand irritant in the oyster.

    Very nice!

  129. #129 John Morales
    April 12, 2009
  130. #130 Menyambal
    April 12, 2009

    I say keep him around a bit. I learn so much from everyone trying to explain things to him. I just read his claim that the Colorado River delta is too small to account for all the erosion from the Grand Canyon, and I went looking. Of course, the delta is huge. I’d not looked at it from Google Earth before–the filled-in area is enormous, the present outflow is off in one corner. Sadly, the entire delta used to be a vast wetland ecosystem, until humans dammed-up the river and dried out the place. Remember that, folks, we lost two canyonlands and a delta ecosystem because some people have no clue how the world works.

    We do need some folks here who disagree with the majority. Without a few lunatics, we would settle down into being just Prof Myer’s personal claque, and I cannot afford to buy a squid suit.

  131. #131 John Phillips, FCD
    April 12, 2009

    #55Posted by: DumbskiFangirl | April 12, 2009 6:53 PM

    I say we let Alan stay. he seems to be very informed on biology , abiogenesis and paleontology and makes good contributions.

    Then that simply shows, again, how little you actually know about anything. Of course, one could expect little else from someone with an username of DumbskiFangirl. On the other hand, if you bother read the replies by Josh, WoWbagger, David Marjanovi? on the thread where Clarke spews his crap you might actually learn something. However, it won’t be from Clarke, but only a side effect of Clarke’s own mountainous ignorance.

    I concur with some of the others here. I.e. as long as he sticks to the odd post, like the Watchmaker and follow up posts, then I say keep him. For there he, as well as many others of us, are being schooled expertly by Josh et al. Of course, the difference is that unlike Clarke, we are devouring the knowledge presented with real pleasure. By the time Josh et al finish I feel I will have almost a degree level knowledge of geology and related subjects :). Of course, if he starts spewing his crap willy nilly across the blog, then do as you will for we have enough of the stupid left and no doubt more will inevitably arrive in the future.

  132. #132 Kevin (NYC)
    April 12, 2009

    I used to code in “Editor” on a Nixdorf computer…It was a great language. freeform english with periods to end statements.

    Get Addresses using Acct else goto !NOTHTHERE.

    sample
    ———————-

    Get first TRADE else goto !err1.
    Get last History else goto !err2.

    !start

    Insert TRADE into HISTORY using @1@ else goto !err3.

    Get next TRADE else goto!next.

    goto !start.

    !next

    dddff,,,,

    They didn’t sell enough to keep it alive.

  133. #133 Jeff S
    April 13, 2009

    First, I must address the uncalled for abuse of Basic. It never claimed to be more than it is. Please, think of the children.

    If you ask wether or not to ban, I would venture to guess he has not done anything truly ban worthy. Banning should not be a question. Banning is a pretty severe sentence. Unless someone is being disruptive, I see no point in banning. I have not noticed him so much, so he could not have been all that disruptive (I could be wrong.)

  134. #134 John Morales
    April 13, 2009

    Menyambal,

    Without a few lunatics, we would settle down into being just Prof Myer’s personal claque

    You think so? I don’t – I’ve seen interesting (and I’ve seen acrimonious) uninfested threads before. Commenters here tend to be pretty disputatious.

  135. #135 Rey Fox
    April 13, 2009

    Keep him. He’s pretty easy to ignore, confining himself to a handful of threads. He provides lots of learning opportunities as the knowledgable regulars deconstruct his arguments. Really not at the nuisance level of Facilis and Rooke.

  136. #136 Wowbagger, OM
    April 13, 2009

    John Morales wrote:

    Commenters here tend to be pretty disputatious.

    Who are you calling ‘disputatious’? Them’s fightin’ words!

  137. #137 Numad
    April 13, 2009

    When a troll loves another troll very much…

    Oh.

  138. #138 Sven DiMilo
    April 13, 2009

    does anybody know what intermediate species have been found between the two types of lungs?

    Just crocodiles. They have tidal (2-way flow) lungs like everybody else, but their gas-exchange surfaces are tubular, and they have a “cross-current” exchange system similar to that of birds (learned that from David M. right here at Pharyngula one time when I was WOTI). The posterior portion of the lung is not involved with gas exchange, and may be homologous to the posterior airsacs of birds. But it’s still a tough problem.

  139. #139 Menyambal
    April 13, 2009

    does anybody know what intermediate species have been found between the two types of lungs?

    Birds themselves do some tidal breathing in the back areas, so they could be considered intermediate. I just blundered across a dinosaur article that covered some therapod fossils that were perhaps intermediate.

  140. #140 Sven DiMilo
    April 13, 2009

    Birds themselves do some tidal breathing in the back areas

    ? Not sure what this means. Airflow is tidal in & out of the airsacs, but unidirectional through the lung itself (where all gas exchange occurs).

  141. #141 cyan
    April 13, 2009

    From the site Wowbagger @ #120 posted:

    “I should also mention that Richard Dawkins, as a biologist, is a major benefactor to TAXonomic systems. Scientists, not having particular competence in hiding their belief systems, are using this classification of life in order to mask their agenda for a massive progressive tax system. Like all progressive tax systems, this TAXonomy has inherent flaws; for example, the Holy Bible states that insects have 4 legs, while TAXonomists state that insects have 6 legs. Newsflash: those front two tendrils are NOT legs, Hippie morons.”

    And several commenters seriously want to have R.Dawkins executed.

  142. #142 Sven DiMilo
    April 13, 2009

    uh huh. I don’t think I’d use the word “seriously” for that kind of shit.

  143. #143 Wowbagger, OM
    April 13, 2009

    re: that link I posted

    I spent some time reading through it and I’m of the opinion that some of it is Poe and some is genuine woo-addled religiotard – i.e. it’s some sort of Poe honey-trap; those who are ‘genuine’ don’t realise it’s been set up to lure them there to be mocked.

  144. #144 Pascalle
    April 13, 2009

    ultimately you’re the boss PZ, so if you want to ban him from your blog, ban him.

    As for my opinion.. I don’t really care what he posts.. i do like the responses from the people here. They have taught me how crap like that can be torn a new hole with logic and research.

    I learn quite a lot new things because of that.. and i like it.

  145. #145 cyan
    April 13, 2009

    Calvinists 4 Conservatism a la Baptists 4 Brownback …

    That’s a relief.

  146. #146 Brownian
    April 13, 2009

    I can’t stand the sumbitch. He makes me almost wish the rapture would happen, not because I think he’d be taken up (none of the trolls here are anywhere near honest enough for God not to mash the ‘down’ button when he sees them coming), but because I like to think how helpless and useless he’d be with his double-digit IQ if half the population that actually knows how stuff works were gone. (So, really, it need not be the Rapture but any apocalyptic scenario, I guess. Maybe not the Mad Max universe, though. He’d probably just end up tagging along behind Mel Gibson once they both realised they shared a mutual hatred for women. Man, that would be one shitty buddy movie. But I digress.)

    That being said, every minute the asshole spends repeating himself here is a minute he’s not spending infecting the mind of some poor kid somewhere else. So, think of him as some sort of prion, and Pharyngula the skull of the CJD-infected cow being immolated to stem the epidemic.

    Look at us, offering to take a bullet for the good of humanity. And we don’t even expect everyone else to kiss our asses or suffer forever, afterward. Yahweh/Jesus/Third-Part-of-Trinity-with-Vague-Qualities-and-Duties, take note.

  147. #147 Happy Tentacles
    April 13, 2009

    Keep him as a pet. We can play with him, or try to train him to do something amusing or useful. And if he gets aggressive, annoying or unmanageable, we can send him to the Rescue Centre or have him put down.

  148. #148 John Morales
    April 13, 2009

    Brownian,

    … every minute the asshole spends repeating himself here is a minute he’s not spending infecting the mind of some poor kid somewhere else [...] Look at us, offering to take a bullet for the good of humanity.

    <sniff>
    So true; so true.
    Our nobility o’ercomes me with an effusion of self-admiration. Damn but we’re virtuous!

  149. #149 Kristjan Wager
    April 13, 2009

    I vote for keeping him for now. Been a lot of banning going on recently, and we do need some action on boring days.

  150. #150 Feynmaniac
    April 13, 2009

    I say keep Don Quixote Alan Clarke. He hasn’t done anything terribly bad and, like many have said, the responses he generates are illuminating. It’s also fun to see him charge at windmills modern geology.

    However, I say that in order to stay our brave knight must complete two tasks:

    1) After April 15 (when he can no longer use “too busy doing taxes” as an excuse) he has one week to finish his response to Josh’s geology.

    2) Read and write a short summary of the carbon dating article David has been telling him to read for 2 months + .

    Oh, and as for his squire Sancho Panza RogerS, let him stay.

  151. #151 Faithless
    April 13, 2009

    Interesting that Clarke seems to equate ‘ejaculation’ with ‘self abuse’.

    Perhaps his bible failed to tell him that the word also has an entirely different meaning, especially in reference to social intercourse.

    Oo, maybe I shouldn’t have used that word either — he’s probably confused about that too.

  152. #152 CosmicTeapot
    April 13, 2009

    I agree with BLF, give him a guest post.

    Keep him, the few people responding to him are educating me along with a few others too. Special thanks to Josh and Alan B.

    Yesterday, at dinner with the in laws, I looked at a small, beautiful rock they have on their shelf and wondered what it was and how it was formed. All indirectly due to Alan Clarke.

    Don’t ban him and feed his persecution complex.

  153. #153 John Morales
    April 13, 2009

    Faithless @150, refer to this old post: How literal can a creationist get? And do they all have such dirty minds?, which addresses that.

  154. #154 David Marjanovi?, OM
    April 13, 2009

    I think it’s very simple: Alan Clarke (if he comes back in the first place!) and Roger the Dodger should be forced to do their homework (reading the article on “radiometric dating from a Christian perspective” and the one that lists all the zillions of miracles that would be required for delugionism to work, and then showing they’ve understood them; and answering our questions ? yeees, that would take a long time, but time is obviously something they’ve gots lots of). They put up, or they’re shut up (on the grounds of insipidity and stupidity).

    That may be too complicated to implement, though. The guest post idea has a certain appeal in that case…

    But now I see that she’s been on the “Don’t threaten the Discovery Institute – ….” thread with the same straight-faced assertions.

    Then she’s a troll. Trolling is easier if you don’t actually believe your attention-getting claims.

    Did anybody click through to Mr. Clarke’s link on why avian 1-way lungs could not have evolved from standard vertebrate 2-way lungs?

    :-D :-D :-D

    No, but let me laugh anyway :-D

    If so, does anybody know what intermediate species have been found between the two types of lungs?

    Not everyone has a mammal lung. In fact, only mammals have mammal lungs.

    Most amniotes have a separation between a respiratory and a ventilatory part in the lungs. The trick is that the bird lung is homologous to just the respiratory part, and the air sacs to the ventilatory part.

    In the respiratory part, crocodiles have cross-current exchange. Birds (their closest living relatives) have countercurrent exchange, IIRC. Mammals got nothing.

    Is it tubular in crocodiles? That’s news to me, though it wouldn’t be all that surprising…

    Birds themselves do some tidal breathing in the back areas

    ? Not sure what this means. Airflow is tidal in & out of the airsacs, but unidirectional through the lung itself (where all gas exchange occurs).

    The lungs still expand and contract a little. “Tidally.”

  155. #155 MouthyNotMousy
    April 13, 2009

    Let him stay. Then make him earn his room & board. If he thinks he can knock you down without being attacked, well, a little edumacation never hurt no one … y’know?

  156. #156 'Tis Himself
    April 13, 2009

    John Morales #147

    Our nobility o’ercomes me with an effusion of self-admiration. Damn but we’re virtuous!

    And about our modesty we say nothing.

  157. #157 Paul Burnett
    April 13, 2009

    David Marjanovi?, #153, wrote: “Not everyone has a mammal lung. In fact, only mammals have mammal lungs.

    Non-mammals (velociraptors, sharks, etc.) who catch mammals “have mammal lungs”…for lunch.

  158. #158 blue
    April 13, 2009

    I’ve enjoyed watching Josh, Owlmirror, and others make a complete fool of him. People say the weird dumb things that Alan does all the time around here, so it’s nice to see some retorts from people who are less likely to shrug and walk away than me.

    Than being said, it doesn’t really matter. It isn’t like more won’t come.

  159. #159 Muffin
    April 13, 2009

    Keep him – tweaking trolls is fun. :)

  160. #160 AJ Milne
    April 13, 2009

    COBOL does suck, though.

    … and, to borrow from Dijkstra, its use cripples the mind*… Which does answer nicely to the commenter who was looking for some parallel with religion above.

    (*Yes, he also went on to observe its teaching might also be considered a criminal offense. But y’know religiobots ‘n their penchant for looking for the gulag archipelago in every syllable of snark. Figured ‘cripples the mind’ is the more critical bit, really, anyway…)

  161. #161 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    April 13, 2009

    Alan Clarke should serve as a cautionary tale for how a single, wrong fixed idea can poison everything one contemplates. Who would have thought that belief in creationism and the FLUD could cause one to reject the geodynamo as the generator of Earth’s magnetic field? This is your brain. This is your brain on woo. Any questions?

  162. #162 Strangest brew
    April 13, 2009

    Off with his head qoth I…or more practically off with his knob so as to find difficulty in inflicting inbred progenitor insanity onto future generations…

    Then again the hordes do need to feed on rancid troll meat every now and then…otherwise dementia sets in…or anti-body J diminishes in potency…what ever!

    On balance it is wise to consider Christian martyrdom is a state all jeebus clones wish to aspire…nail the bugger to a cross or ban his bum…either is good…neither preferential.

    But available troll meat ought to be the guiding principle here…where does the next bit of fricassee brain meat with the striation of green mould as opposed to the grainy grey slurpy meat of the cerebellum come from next…a delicacy in our circle being good atheist ravening bunnies of little moral certitude.

    Sod it ban him…a little period of fasting sharpens the talons and lengthens the toothypegs…got to feel *sorry for the next troll of jeebus infection that strolls by…

    * = Or maybe not!

  163. #163 jsoutofbiblepgs
    April 13, 2009

    Sure, Alan Clarke is a diluted moron. However, I think that he was an asset to Pharyngula, at least for that one entry. He wasn’t like the usual rabid foaming-at-the-mouth creationists….he presented his arguments, backed it with what he thought was supporting evidence, which elicited thoughtful responses from others.

    However it went on forever….the guy needs to get a life and should probably just be ignored in the future, but not banned by any means.

  164. #164 Lowell
    April 13, 2009

    Alan Clarke is a diluted moron.

    I’m pretty sure he’s the full-strength variety.

  165. #165 urdsama
    April 13, 2009

    Bad use of good electrons.

    Boot.

  166. #166 Bix Lee
    April 13, 2009

    Naked Bunny with a Whip said:

    People still write programs in Basic?

    Yeah. They also still write them in COBOL and C.

    C, however, is still the language of OSes, compilers, and everything else that flexibility, portability, and efficiency are important.
     
    Bix

  167. #167 The Swede
    April 16, 2009

    C has the advantage that if you look at a snippet of C, you can figure out what it does. If you look at a snippet of, say, C++, you can’t, because you don’t know what overloads and classes are involved. That’s one of the main reasons why C is superior for certain tasks, and will remain so.

    This is an advantage BASIC shares, but it carries with it other problems that it’s hampered by.

  168. #168 RobertDW
    April 16, 2009

    Um, Swede – I’ve coded in C reasonably extensively (about 5 years), though my Java experience dwarfs it.

    If I look at a snippet of C, I’m going to want to know every #define that went on. Having seen code where, for example, sprintf got changed by a #define, and where the number ’3′ got #defined to 4, I don’t trust C code without seeing the result of the pre-processor. Even then, I would want to know what compiler and platform – for example, does it support short-circuit evaluation of logic statements?

    In C++, it’s no different. I worked on a code base once where < = was overloaded to be an assignment operation (for 'smart' pointers). Confused the heck out of me for several hours.

    In neither language would I be prepared to say for sure what a snippet does without making certain assumptions (like sprintf not being redefined five lines earlier). In C++, those assumptions would include "the + operator does what it should".

    BASIC is simpler still, as these sort of tricks aren't possible, but as you say, it's got a lot more problems.

    Java, now - in Java I would happily analyse a snippet and say what it did (though I might say "well, it calls that function there...").

    Bix:

    C, however, is still the language of OSes, compilers, and everything else that flexibility, portability, and efficiency are important.

    OSX is written in Objective-C. Windows is increasingly done in C++. The Linux kernel is C, but the major parts of a Linux distribution will be written in a hodgepodge of C, C++, Objective-C, Perl, Python, and whatever other tool was convenient for the author. Portability is best achieved with scripting languages or VM-based languages such as Java. As for efficiency, every release of the Java Runtime Library sees more and more of the C code replaced by Java code, because the JVM optimises Java so much better than the handwritten C code.

    C’s biggest domain these days is embedded devices and other low-memory environments (which are comparable to what it was designed for back in the late ’70s). For everything else, it’s increasingly being pushed down the stack, the same way assembly was pushed down by C.

  169. #169 The Swede
    April 17, 2009

    There is, of course, a lot of C code with very strange things going on, and I admittedly glossed over that. However, a reasonably maintained body of C code, where the #defines can be trusted to not be too crazy (like, for example, Linux kernel and drivers where I spent a bit of time) will be locally very clear. A reasonably maintained body of C++ code will *by design* not be locally clear, since the whole point of C++ is classes and overloads. Messily made code will be a mess no matter what, but as you say, some languages do have advantages there.

    Windows is mostly done in C# these days. Except for the over the counter software, which for the most part is crap – but then, most software is crap, sadly.

    Objective C, now, there is a dream language. Sadly not many positions open to work in it, or in my other favorite, Smalltalk. Ah, if only computer scientists called the shots at the big firms, and not quarterbacks who learn about the best software tools from Forbes. ;)

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