Pharyngula

Let me just say: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHRGGGHG. It’s the last week of classes here; I have to finish a big pile of grading, and there’s a hogshead of administrative work hanging over my head. I also chose, freely and of my own irresponsible will, to flit off to New York for a pleasant weekend with a mob of science nerds and English majors (and unholy chimeras of the two), which has put me even further behind. I’m stepping away from my thin metal and glass interface to the universe of the interweebles to get some work done. You’ll just have to chat among yourselves about something or other for a while.

I will be back later. I’ve got a long post in the works about my horrendous evil flight back home that I’ll have to share with you. Well, the flight itself wasn’t so bad, but it had Eagleton and Fish and Samuel L. Jackson in it, so it got ugly for a while. I shall purge myself of those evil thoughts once this pile of earnest, thoughtful student labors is converted into soulless but judgmental rows of numbers in a spreadsheet.

Comments

  1. #1 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 4, 2009

    bacon > all

  2. #2 Richard Harris
    May 4, 2009

    The Eagleton article in the NYT was a stinking pile of crap. I don’t know much about Stanley Fish, (Arts and Sciences Professor of English and Professor of Law at Duke University from 1986 to 1998, etc.). He must be a religious apologist.

    That should get the ball rolling.

  3. #3 Physicalist
    May 4, 2009

    Grading?

    Oh, yeah. Grading.

    Damn!

  4. #4 enlitnd99
    May 4, 2009

    Yuk, did everyone else read Stanley Fish’s latest post on Eagleton’s latest nonsense that PZ is referring to? It was awful! He didn’t quote even one place (or quote Eagleton?s quotation) where any of the atheists Eagleton is attacking profess a belief ?that, a few hiccups apart, we are all steadily en route to a finer world?? Or a place which shows they idolize an idea of progress without regard to ?poverty and famine.? Fish displays amazing intellectual dishonesty, poor scholarship, or both. Also there is plenty of reason and science are just another faith arguments. Vomit. Do they have no sense of irony? If they were just faiths (a ridiculous claim anyway) then why are they criticizing them as not as powerful as faith? There are plenty more fallacies packed into Fish’s postmodernist woo-woo column if you can stomach reading it.

  5. #5 Jennifurret
    May 4, 2009

    For those of you who remember the book review I did of The Professor and the Dominatrix (aka, the worst atheist book ever written) that PZ linked to a couple of weeks ago… well, there was some debate over if the author was a Poe or not. I just got an email from the author, and let me tell you, he is very real and very unhappy. Unhappy enough to respond to my “diatribe” with an email to hundreds of student groups:

    http://blaghag.blogspot.com/2009/05/professor-responds.html

  6. #6 protocol
    May 4, 2009

    Eagleton’s book seems to be full of straw-atheist and “no true Scotsman/Christian/religious person” arguments. End of the story (one can only hope, unrealistically)

  7. #7 Holbach
    May 4, 2009

    Rest assured, we’ll keep the religious retards at bay.

  8. #8 gillt
    May 4, 2009

    Hey, I am an unholy chimera

  9. #9 Screechy Monkey
    May 4, 2009

    I read that Fish piece this morning, too, and was hoping it would come up here. (Link: http://fish.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/03/god-talk/ )

    It’s a classic piece of “murkyism” that praises belief in belief without getting into the specifics of what those beliefs are or why they’re so praiseworthy, other than to insist that it’s not that grubby kind of belief that atheists make fun of. Oh, no, of course not.

    Then there’s this beauty:

    By theological questions, Eagleton means questions like, ?Why is there anything in the first place??, ?Why what we do have is actually intelligible to us?? and ?Where do our notions of explanation, regularity and intelligibility come from??

    The fact that science, liberal rationalism and economic calculation can not ask ? never mind answer ? such questions should not be held against them, for that is not what they do.

    Hmm, odd. It seems to me that those three questions fall sqaurely within the realm of physics, biology and psychology, and biology + psychology again, respectively. I suppose one could make an argument that theology or philosophy can attempt to answer those questions, too, but to suggest that science has nothing to say about those issues is idiotic.

    Add to that the hypocrisy of engaging in petty namecalling (referring to Dawkins and Hitchens collectively as “Ditchkens”) while simultaneously dismissing them as “schoolyard atheists,” and you’ve got a recipe for first-class douchebaggery.

  10. #10 God Retardent
    May 4, 2009

    FYI Jonathan Smith of the Florida Citizens for Science has a nice editorial in the Lake Land Ledger Florida newspaper.
    It’s a worth a read.
    http://www.theledger.com/article/20090502/COLUMNISTS/905025005/1382/EDIT?Title=A-Nation-of-Freedom-Not-Religion

  11. #11 gillt
    May 4, 2009

    Unholy chimeras like us rule.

  12. #12 Hank Fox
    May 4, 2009

    Samuel L. Jackson was on the plane?

    Will the story include snakes??

  13. #13 God Retardent
    May 4, 2009

    FYI Jonathan Smith of the Florida Citizens for Science has a nice editorial in the Lake Land Ledger Florida newspaper.
    It’s a worth a read.
    http://www.theledger.com/article/20090502/COLUMNISTS/905025005/1382/EDIT?Title=A-Nation-of-Freedom-Not-Religion

  14. #14 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 4, 2009

    oh noes, someone brokeded teh intartubes

  15. #15 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 4, 2009

    Whoa, just had a big change in the formatting. Natch, PZ is doing the necessary end of the term stuff for his bucks.

  16. #16 gillt
    May 4, 2009

    Stanley Fish was considered an eminent scholar of Milton, which may explain his religious streak.

    One of my Lit Profs in college said Fish was an egomaniac who dated his students, which confirms it.

  17. #17 Sean Michael
    May 4, 2009

    In addition to the Stanley Fish article, the Times recently ran an insipid op ed called “Defecting To Faith”, essentially a page full of “atheists are so boring and have no meaning in their lives, therefore religion is good!” claptrap.

  18. #18 Glen Davidson
    May 4, 2009

    Why didn’t you just tell the trolls to blast away?

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

  19. #19 Alex Deam
    May 4, 2009

    WHAT’S GOING ON?

  20. #20 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 4, 2009

    no want!

    The blockquoting in this format blows.

  21. #21 PZ Myers
    May 4, 2009

    There may be some strange changes in the formatting — the techs at Seed are updating our templates. Another good reason for me to stay away, until they are done.

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

    The blockquoting in this format blows.

    Previewed OK. TypeKey/Pad appeared broken, but looked normal when previewed.

  23. #23 the other Adam
    May 4, 2009

    Yay! I thought that having a foot in both worlds made me a master of neither (actually I gave up on the English minor because there were more and smarter women in my biology classes, and science papers taught me more about how to write well) but I’m really pleased to find I’m an Unholy Chimera! I’m going to get it printed on my calling cards!

  24. #24 AVSN
    May 4, 2009

    OMG so don’t like the new format. Go back to the old way.

    REV- lay off the bacon bit. It aint funny.

    Shameless plug: read my blog!

    http://www.greatjourneyblog.blogspot.com

    Yeah its a vanity blog for now but I might do something with it someday.

  25. #25 Reginald Selkirk
    May 4, 2009

    Obama Calls for New Curbs on Offshore Tax Havens
    Clearly this is the beginning of a direct assault on the cephalopod industrial complex.

  26. #26 Alex Deam
    May 4, 2009

    They’ve also broked PZ’s display picture and his profile info.

    This is who I am and what I do and what my blog is about and my contact information. (static)

    THERE ARE GREMLINS IN TEH INTARTUBES!

    BURN! BURN THEM ALL!

    ….

    I think I may need to go lie down. Formatting changes are just too much for me.

  27. #27 AVSN
    May 4, 2009

    OMG so don’t like the new format. Go back to the old way.

    REV- lay off the bacon bit. It aint funny.

    Shameless plug: read my blog!

    http://www.greatjourneyblog.blogspot.com

    Yeah its a vanity blog for now but I might do something with it someday.

  28. #28 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 4, 2009

    REV- lay off the bacon bit. It aint funny.

    AVSN – Lay off the blog whoring. It’s lame.

  29. #29 Glen Davidson
    May 4, 2009

    I thought this was kind of interesting. Jerry Bergman whines that idiocy isn’t allowed to take over higher education:

    While Slaughter of the Dissidents explores 17 cases of alleged religious discrimination, it is just the first book in a five-volume series Mr. Bergman has planned. The second book is almost done and the third volume is 80 percent completed. Each book, true to form for academia, has about 1,000 footnotes.

    When he tells people that doubting Darwinism can lead to discrimination in universities, Mr. Bergman said he gets two responses, neither sympathetic to his cause: “First, it’s not happening. Second, yes it’s happening and it should be happening.”

    “It’s unlikely today that an out-of-the-closet Darwin doubter will survive in academia,” he said.

    And there’s much at stake because a PhD requires a huge investment in time and money, averaging nine years of school and $300,000 and $500,000 in costs, he said.

    Rather than risk losing everything over one’s personal beliefs, Mr. Bergman said he advises people to “stay in the closet until things change” and to seek change through legislation.

    In a question-and-answer session after his talk, he said one way to help bring about change is to propose a state constitutional amendment that would allow educators to raise questions about evolution. He predicted it would be overwhelmingly approved because free speech and scholarly debate in academia are being stifled by just a handful of “Darwinian fundamentalists.”

    toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090502/NEWS10/905020333/-1/NEWS

    It is kind of funny that he’s right about the two different responses. Basically he’s right that woo isn’t much allowed in academia, not when it’s out in the open.

    Another thing that’s weird is how these people, ones like Walt Ruloff, like to tell us how they’re “fundamentalist” when it comes to geology and the age of the earth, while they’re scathing toward anyone who is “fundamentalist” with respect to “Darwinism.”

    Of course many of these liars will be pushing for “openness” on the age of the earth and universe the second they have enforced their speech on the rest of us via government. Because, certainly, there’s as much “persecution” of morons who deny radiometric (and the host of other, compatible, dating methods) dating as there is of anti-evolutionists.

    Pathetic as this liar-for-Jebus is, he’s probably more convincing than Expelled ever was–I really don’t doubt that he’s found woo-mongers who have paid the price for telling lies. So I’d consider him to be worth watching as he churns out his screeds against standards in education.

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

  30. #30 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 4, 2009

    Oh and AVSN, try to not past the same lame blog whoring twice.

    The new template they are using has really slowed it down to a crawl as well.

  31. #31 Reginald Selkirk
    May 4, 2009

    What’s this? Are PZ’s academic overlords aware of his commercial activities? Is this the true target of Obama’s offshore tax efforts?

    Squid Ink launches PZ Pilot Pro

  32. #32 BAllanJ
    May 4, 2009

    I read part of the Fish article this morning, but it was way too tedious to read all of. The comments section was lots of fun, though. He was pretty roundly trashed by most of the commenters, and they were far more eloquent than he was, too.

  33. #33 AVSN
    May 4, 2009

    sorry bout the double post. Not quite sure how it happened.

  34. #34 Quiet Desperation
    May 4, 2009

    Well, the flight itself wasn’t so bad, but it had Eagleton and Fish and Samuel L. Jackson in it,

    Add a suspected swine flu case, and you’ve got an epic.

  35. #35 pmbuko
    May 4, 2009

    Don’t you mean “Frog blast the vent core!” ? That’s how Bobs always said it…

  36. #36 Sili
    May 4, 2009

    32 comments already? Guess it is possible to be offtopic in an open thread. Ah well, here goes.

    I have an online friend – significantly younger than me. I think I’ve developed a crush on her.

    She now has a boyfriend – by all accounts quite a catch.

    How do I cope/deal/combobulate? Or rather: how the fuck do I grow up?

    I do not want to become a Nice GuyTM.

    Yaayyyyyy – uncomfortable personal revelations!

  37. #37 Glen Davidson
    May 4, 2009

    JAD (John A. Davison) comes in to the Melanie Phillips blogpost (PZ posted about it a few days ago), throws shit, insults, tells the same dreary lies. Nothing new, in that he’s crapped on nearly every forum he could.

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/3573761/creating-an-insult-to-intelligence.thtml

    What’s ridiculous is that Peter Hoskins, apparently the moderator there, wrote this:

    FOR THE ATTENTION OF ALL COMMENTERS:

    This thread is getting particularly incendiary, and many of the comments are gratuitously offensive and ad hominem in nature. This cannot continue.

    In which case, a number of comments have been taken down. And any further ad hominem attacks will not be published.

    And then he tells JAD that he’s allowed all of his comments. Sure Hoskins, the guy who’s never ceased from ad hominem attacks is the one person you’ve never censored at all. That’s fair.

    No, I’m not going over there to point out what hypocrisy rules. I avoid JADtard as much as possible, and obviously Hoskins is only interested in censoring the people who have been mistreated by JAD. I just thought it worth pointing out somewhere what a cesspool of idiocy Spectator has become (or always was?).

    Glen D

  38. #38 Alex Deam
    May 4, 2009

    REV- lay off the bacon bit. It aint funny.

    Blasphemy!

    Bacon is our lifeblood.

    Slaughter yon pig to our PZ overlord, or forever live in the shame of your heathenish ways! Kneel down and eat that tasty rasher, or feel the wrath of the almighty!

    Confess your sins!

    Eat the bacon!

  39. #39 Stacy
    May 4, 2009

    Happy Stars Wars Day! May the 4th be with you! :-)
    Check out wut u can do wif ur branze!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJbIGJrQK84

  40. #40 BluegrassGeek
    May 4, 2009

    I love the fact you slipped a Marathon reference into the title.

  41. #41 Scaryduck
    May 4, 2009

    Did – at any time during your flight – Samuel L Jackson announce that (and I quote):

    “Had enough of these freakin’ snakes on this Monday-to-Friday plane”?

    Yeah, I’ve seen the cut-for-TV version.

  42. #42 David Marjanovi?, OM
    May 4, 2009

    There may be some strange changes in the formatting — the techs at Seed are updating our templates.

    Yeah, noticed it at several other ScienceBlogs recently. And boy, does it suck. The new Sb default format, which most Sbs have of course left implemented, sucks even worse than the old one ? and, in Safari on a Mac, it sucks worse still!

  43. #43 stompy
    May 4, 2009

    Dear Sili,

    I’d think it’s time to go on the rebound. On teh interwebs, that means pr0n. empornium.com, ahoy!

  44. #44 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 4, 2009

    The whole blog went away for a while, now appears to be back.

  45. #45 NewEnglandBob
    May 4, 2009

    You put your left foot in….

    You take your left foot out…

    You put your left foot in….

    and you shake it all about…

  46. #46 Owlmirror
    May 4, 2009

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Duis neque. Nullam aliquet magna et diam. Fusce sit amet urna. Sed gravida sapien sed leo. Fusce id velit. Quisque vulputate sem. In auctor sapien nec libero. Ut quam. In ultricies, nunc sagittis adipiscing consectetur, arcu mi pharetra nisl, a feugiat quam neque vitae elit. Nulla nisl felis, semper at, vestibulum et, pellentesque in, metus. Sed lobortis scelerisque odio.

  47. #47 Owlmirror 
    May 4, 2009

    Take two:

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Duis neque. Nullam aliquet magna et diam. Fusce sit amet urna. Sed gravida sapien sed leo. Fusce id velit. Quisque vulputate sem. In auctor sapien nec libero. Ut quam. In ultricies, nunc sagittis adipiscing consectetur, arcu mi pharetra nisl, a feugiat quam neque vitae elit. Nulla nisl felis, semper at, vestibulum et, pellentesque in, metus. Sed lobortis scelerisque odio.

    Mauris iaculis aliquet lacus. Vivamus gravida, risus et tincidunt aliquet, ante ligula convallis erat, pretium bibendum tortor urna et elit. Sed eget sem. Cras vitae dui. Sed libero mi, rhoncus at, dictum sit amet, ultricies non, ante. Morbi vel risus ac tortor vehicula suscipit. Nunc vitae quam at purus porttitor varius. Duis pretium ipsum eget risus. Curabitur sagittis eleifend nibh. Nulla suscipit sollicitudin erat. Aliquam pretium. Suspendisse lacus. Nullam sed velit. Pellentesque auctor, orci vitae convallis hendrerit, neque magna euismod quam, ut mattis nisi eros a sapien. Mauris condimentum arcu vel mi. Morbi vitae felis. Integer venenatis sapien ut nunc. Nunc non nunc. Aliquam erat volutpat. In eget lectus a arcu aliquam ornare.

    Donec bibendum ipsum sit amet est. Integer bibendum felis id dui. Curabitur tincidunt malesuada dolor. Aliquam varius tristique velit. Proin euismod, nibh sed dictum porttitor, lorem tortor feugiat dolor, nec adipiscing est diam nec odio. In mattis ornare velit. Duis vel sem eu est semper ultrices. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Duis nec tellus. Donec ipsum erat, auctor sit amet, consequat ac, auctor vel, dolor.

  48. #48 TheNewAtheist
    May 4, 2009

    PZ, your girl Bachmann did it again. Comparing the spending of the Obama administration to an orgy, she claims the gov’t “spent it’s wad” prematurely.

    http://tinyurl.com/c2rmfy

  49. #49 Owlmirror 
    May 4, 2009

    Take 3:

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Duis neque. Nullam aliquet magna et diam. Fusce sit amet urna. Sed gravida sapien sed leo. Fusce id velit. Quisque vulputate sem. In auctor sapien nec libero. Ut quam. In ultricies, nunc sagittis adipiscing consectetur, arcu mi pharetra nisl, a feugiat quam neque vitae elit. Nulla nisl felis, semper at, vestibulum et, pellentesque in, metus. Sed lobortis scelerisque odio.

    Mauris iaculis aliquet lacus. Vivamus gravida, risus et tincidunt aliquet, ante ligula convallis erat, pretium bibendum tortor urna et elit. Sed eget sem. Cras vitae dui. Sed libero mi, rhoncus at, dictum sit amet, ultricies non, ante. Morbi vel risus ac tortor vehicula suscipit. Nunc vitae quam at purus porttitor varius. Duis pretium ipsum eget risus. Curabitur sagittis eleifend nibh. Nulla suscipit sollicitudin erat. Aliquam pretium. Suspendisse lacus. Nullam sed velit. Pellentesque auctor, orci vitae convallis hendrerit, neque magna euismod quam, ut mattis nisi eros a sapien. Mauris condimentum arcu vel mi. Morbi vitae felis. Integer venenatis sapien ut nunc. Nunc non nunc. Aliquam erat volutpat. In eget lectus a arcu aliquam ornare.

    Donec bibendum ipsum sit amet est. Integer bibendum felis id dui. Curabitur tincidunt malesuada dolor. Aliquam varius tristique velit. Proin euismod, nibh sed dictum porttitor, lorem tortor feugiat dolor, nec adipiscing est diam nec odio. In mattis ornare velit. Duis vel sem eu est semper ultrices. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Duis nec tellus. Donec ipsum erat, auctor sit amet, consequat ac, auctor vel, dolor.

  50. #50 Holbach
    May 4, 2009

    RevBigDumbChimp @ 30

    There is a new book out by our mutual friend Mark Twain, as author, and never published before. The book was reviewed in The Washington Post on April 30, 2009.

    WHO IS MARK TWAIN? by Mark Twain

  51. #51 khan
    May 4, 2009

    From the mentioned NYT ignorant screed/book review:

    –One is given by Eagleton, and it is personal. Christianity may or may not be the faith he holds to (he doesn?t tell us), but he speaks, he says, ?partly in defense of my own forbearers, against the charge that the creed to which they dedicated their lives is worthless and void.?–

    Does this mean it all boils down to ancestor worship?

  52. #52 Cliff Hendroval
    May 4, 2009

    There was an interview with Eagleton on Salon last week. Eagleton, to the great delight of the interviewer, was pulling the same old “those new atheists are attacking straw men; no one I know thinks of religion in those terms” schtick. However, when pressed to explain what he believed, basically presented what I call the argumentum ad Brickellium: “Religion is the smile on a dog. Smiling dogs are nice. If you don’t like smiling dogs you’re a poopyhead.” I mean, I didn’t think it was possibly to be so vaporous and still respond to earth’s gravity.

    Isn’t Stanley Fish the guy that Alan Sokol punked back in the day?

  53. #53 bastion of sass
    May 4, 2009

    ATTN: Ken Cope

    This looks like as good a place and time as any to discuss Pratchett’s Nation.

    But I’ve forgotten exactly what your comment was when we discovered we were both reading it a few weeks back. Something about Dawkins, IIRC.

    I’ve been trying to decide whether fundies would want to ban this book or not.

    On the one hand, the hero and heroine are skeptics, and value science over religious beliefs.

    OTOH, the beliefs most subject to scrutiny for evidence and rationality isn’t Christianity (although there’s some dissing of that too.) So, the fundies might think, “Well, of course the Nation’s beliefs in their many gods, their creation myth, their view of life after death etc. is wrong. It’s good to recognize such beliefs are superstitious nonsense.”

    I wonder if PZ knows about the incredibly smart and trainable tree octopuses.

  54. #54 Reginald Selkirk
    May 4, 2009

    David Aaronovitch at TimesOnline

    We atheists always have a problem with appearing bad mannered when we say what we believe. Take the God is Back duo’s deployment of studies purporting to show that ?Christians are healthier and happier than their secular brethren?, citing a Pittsburgh doctor’s belief that going to church added three years to someone’s life and a 1997 study that religiosity reduces blood pressure. To which I can riposte with all those other studies showing even better health outcomes for owning a pet. Which may appear churlish of me.

  55. #55 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 4, 2009

    There is a new book out by our mutual friend Mark Twain, as author, and never published before. The book was reviewed in The Washington Post on April 30, 2009.

    Cool. I’ll have to check it out after I catch up on my reading list. Right now just about to finish Coyne’s recent book and the to Neil Shubins (with about 4000 pages of technical manuals interspersed between and during).

  56. #56 Alex Deam
    May 4, 2009

    IT’S THE ABLOGALYPSE!

  57. #57 cicely
    May 4, 2009

    There’s a blasted frog in the core vent? Maybe that’s why suddenly my Type-thingy went away.

  58. #58 Bill Dauphin
    May 4, 2009

    TheNewAtheist (@48):

    Eric Alterman has a great takedown of Bachmann (and people who take her seriously) at The Daily Beast.

  59. #59 Cannabinaceae
    May 4, 2009

    Remember, in the Imperial system, a hogshead is half a butt.

    So don’t say “six of one, half a dozen of the other,” say “hogshead or half a butt.”

    Well, if you want to be like me. You could also say “shitfuckdamn” a lot, although I realized, once I searched for it on the Googlescope, that it wasn’t actually original to me. I guess lots of people like to cover all the bases (that is, gratuitous reference to excrement, sex, and blasphemy).

  60. #60 bastion of sass
    May 4, 2009

    ATTN: Josh, Windy, Sphere Coupler, ‘Tis Himself, Sven, SC.

    This one’s for you!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8nZRQe2i8Q

  61. #61 Reginald Selkirk
    May 4, 2009

    If God the Father, who impregnated Mary, is the same as God the Son, to whom Mary gave birth, doesn’t that make God literally a mother ****er? Why should I be attracted to a religion that worships a mother ****er like that?

  62. #64 Barry
    May 4, 2009

    Stanley Fish is a postmodernist (and a rather famous one at that). Once you know this, you know how to interpret his article.

  63. #65 semigogue
    May 4, 2009

    #10 & 13–although I am a member of the choir to which
    Jonathon P. Smith is preaching, I found his essay to be
    awkwardly written in spots. However, I liked his new
    term: ‘Judo-Christian faith’. I have known some Xtians
    like that.

  64. #66 Alex Deam
    May 4, 2009

    It would’ve been better had Aaronovitch picked something else rather than “pets” to counter the religious argument. Pets are generally seen by most as a good thing.

  65. #67 Holbach
    May 4, 2009

    RevBigDumbChimp @ 55

    I have YOUR INNER FISH and WHY EVOLUTION IS TRUE, but still have not read them yet. They are on the same shelf with Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, and other like minds, waiting to remind and enthrall me with why science will always defeat the insanity of religion.

    Yeah, much to read, and tough at times to keep abreast with all that interests you. So many books, so little time. A frustration, but a pleasant one.

  66. #68 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 4, 2009

    Yeah wouldn’t be so “bad” if I didn’t have a gigantic stack of Tivoli and Lotus manuals to ingest.

  67. #69 Marita
    May 4, 2009

    Well, while I grumble about manuscript revisions, I can at least appreciate that I don’t have to do any grading. Yeesh.

    FSM speed, PZ.

  68. #70 Marc Abian
    May 4, 2009

    I have an online friend – significantly younger than me. I think I’ve developed a crush on her.

    She now has a boyfriend – by all accounts quite a catch.

    How do I cope/deal/combobulate? Or rather: how the fuck do I grow up?

    Become gay, it’s a choice you know.

  69. #71 insanecarbonbasedlifeform
    May 4, 2009

    Testing out this new typepad account thing. What is up, people of the Pharyng?

  70. #72 Ivory Girl
    May 4, 2009

    God Retardent Thanks,it was a good article,Iloved this statement
    “When scientific research fills any deity-occupied space, fundamentalists are instantly forced into a panicked retreat, searching desperately for another scientifically elusive cubbyhole in which Yahweh can take refuge.”

  71. #73 Dania
    May 4, 2009

    Oh, you’re asking for a fight aren’t you? Taking advantage of the fact that PZ is away… I see.


    Can I play too?

  72. #74 Trolling For You
    May 4, 2009

    Maybe some of you would like to sink your teeth into my latest blog entry which includes a cute little Silverlight application called a Codon Sequence Generator. This is something Kel, Zeno and other computer science and math types might appretiate.

  73. #75 Platypus
    May 4, 2009

    So from your title, are you coming out as a fan of the Marathon games, PZ?

  74. #76 Holbach
    May 4, 2009

    RevBigDumbChimp @ 68

    Your “small” dilemna mirrors a poster I have next to my desk.
    SOME BOOKS ARE TO BE TASTED,
    OTHERS TO BE SWALLOWED,
    AND SOME FEW TO BE CHEWED
    AND DIGESTED.
    Sir Francis Bacon

  75. #77 Dania
    May 4, 2009

    And I forgot to say that my comment at #73 was in response to Bastion at #60…

  76. #78 The Tim Channel
    May 4, 2009

    Shorter Eagleton: blah, blah, blah-blibitty-blah, Ditchkins.

    Enjoy.

  77. #79 Newfie
    May 4, 2009

    Ok, since he’s not around… somebody buy this for PZ.
    Oooohhhh…. Genuine Crystals.

  78. #80 Jadehawk
    May 4, 2009

    I have an online friend – significantly younger than me. I think I’ve developed a crush on her.
    She now has a boyfriend – by all accounts quite a catch.
    How do I cope/deal/combobulate? Or rather: how the fuck do I grow up?

    1)Internet crushes are stoopid*, since even those who don’t do it on purpose end up having a much different personality online than in person. So unless you’ve actually spent some IRL time with this person, no need to freak out; a personal meeting might indeed solve all your problems (either you’ll hate her, or she’ll hate you)
    2)Just how young is “younger”? From my experience, it’s ok to wait until Person-of-Interest dumps current boyfriend when PoI is in their early 20’s, but the older they get, the less frequent and likely dumpings become, and by the time PoI hits 30, attempting to wait until they dump their current partner is pathetic and a waste of time and energy.

    *sez the woman who met the ex in an MSN chatroom, and the current boyfriend on Myspace :-p

  79. #81 Ichthyic
    May 4, 2009

    I have YOUR INNER FISH and WHY EVOLUTION IS TRUE, but still have not read them yet.

    I have the audiobook version (mp3) of Inner Fish if you would like to listen to it instead of reading.

    It’s a bit more convenient, and the pacing and content is such that it works well while traveling or commuting.

    Only thing missing is the diagrams and pictures (not too important for the most part if you’re at all familiar with basic developmental biology).

    It’s a fun story, and Shubin’s writing style lends itself to audio quite well.

  80. #82 Sphere Coupler
    May 4, 2009

    Still throwin rocks eh…well I’ve got time for quickie.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/05/open_thread_frog_vent_the_blas.php

    Now I gotta go…mow.

    *hope to catch up later and Dania of course you can and did*

  81. #83 Jadehawk
    May 4, 2009

    what the bloody fuck is wrong with this format?! me no likey

  82. A PROBABILITY QUESTION

    Coding segments of DNA consist of a sequence of codons (nucleotide-triplets). There are 64 (4 nucleotide types to the third power) possible codon types. Of these codon types there is one start codon and 3 stop codons. All coding segments of DNA begin with a start codon and they end when the first stop codon is encountered. There may be some start codons between the initial start codon and the end codon but they don?t matter. The length of a coding sequence is determined by the distance between the first start codon and the first stop codon. So given that information, what would be the average length of a randomly generated coding sequence? What are the chances that a randomly generated coding sequence would be longer than 400 codons?

  83. #85 Ichthyic
    May 4, 2009

    …oh, and let me add my voice to the choir condemning the new sciblog post styles.

    yeeuckkkkk.

    Is there a possibility this is just a transitional phase on the way to something wonderful?

    like the gooey soup a caterpillar becomes in a chrysalis before the butterfly stage?

  84. #86 Anonymous
    May 4, 2009
  85. #87 Newfie
    May 4, 2009

    I’m reading Your Inner Fish right now as well. I’m enjoying it. Interesting, well written and not too technical for a lay person, such as myself.

  86. #88 wlad
    May 4, 2009

    wow. i didn’t know people still made Marathon references :)

  87. #89 Count von Count
    May 4, 2009

    Drundel must be up to something.

    Besides, Mars Needs Women. Anyway, off to frag some VacBobs.

  88. #90 bastion of sass
    May 4, 2009

    @ 73, Dania asked:

    Can I play too?

    We’re not playin’! We’re battlin’!! And no one asks if they can join in a battle, do they?

    I’m not sure of the current rules of engagement though.

    I thought this was a battle of 80s heavy metal or big hair music.

    But I see most of the shots fired so far have the work “Rock” in them. Josh the rock reprobate, are you responsible for that?

  89. #91 GMacs
    May 4, 2009

    Owlmirror,

    linguam potentem tuam adoro*. uelim Latinam suauiter dicere.

    Latina tua melior est quam Latinam meam. odineus non sum.

    mihi unum rem rogare decet: quid in seculo dixisti?

    *translate as ‘worship’. And stop giggling!

  90. #92 Silver Fox
    May 4, 2009

    This morning I watched a film on Intelligent Design, a fine piece of filming with colorful graphics. Two of the speakers were Demski and Behe. They spent an inordinate amount of time on irreducible complexity and focused on the flagella. They asked how could evolution produce something like that. It spins around and around and can reverse itself in one-quarter turn. Their take was that Natural Selection can only select what is there and before the flagella, what was there to select from. I wonder why they started with a nucleated cell when they could have gone back to the paramecium with cilia. But I guess you’re not supposed to ask those questions.

  91. #93 bastion of sass
    May 4, 2009

    Oh, and Dania…

    Come closer, I wanna show you something….

    No, closer….

    A bit closer….

    How do you like this?!

  92. #94 Anonymous
    May 4, 2009

    I’m not sure of the current rules of engagement though.

    Open thread, whatever floats your boat. The tune/counter tune is the fun part. If you can figure out and hit the topic, all the better.

  93. #95 Ichthyic
    May 4, 2009

    first off, SF, thanks for only trolling this open thread.

    that said, and before I call you a moron, and Dembski and Behe lying scum (they really do know better), you might want to read any of the dozens of articles that actually DO trace the evolution of the bacterial flagellum to see just how badly Dembski and Behe are lying to you.

    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB200_1.html

    and before you say something stupid, as you usually do, about talk origins, I would also note that as per ALL articles on talk origins, the original, primary references are listed right at the bottom.

    But I guess you’re not supposed to ask those questions.

    you just did, and your question is now answered.

    something tells me you won’t be listening to it, though.

  94. #96 Scoupler
    May 4, 2009

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII…love it!!!

    Nice play sassybas

  95. #97 JBlilie
    May 4, 2009

    Shubin’s writing style lends itself to audio quite well.

    I think he developed the book from his lectures, so that follows.

    I have TGD on tape and I enjoy it; but I’ve read the hardback twice as well. Never give up on real books.

  96. #98 Nerd of Redhead
    May 4, 2009

    This morning I watched a film on Intelligent Design.

    SF, if you watch Nova’s Judgement Day, ID on Trial, you would see where there are intermediate structures available to make flagellum, as would be expected from the Theory of Evolution. ID is not scientific, so don’t even think it has any relevance to us. It only has relevance to delusional fools like Demski and Behe, and maybe yourself.

    Post #94 was mine. @@$^&%$ “improvements”.

  97. #99 Dania
    May 4, 2009

    And no one asks if they can join in a battle, do they?

    That’s why I didn’t wait for the answer.

    I’m not sure of the current rules of engagement though.

    Nor am I. Maybe we should set the rules before starting the battle? Where’s Josh?

  98. #100 William McBrine
    May 4, 2009

    Hmm… I logged in with TypeKey, but I still get the Name/Email boxes. Let’s see how this shows up.

    khan, #51:

    Does this mean it all boils down to ancestor worship?

    Yep, and it has for a long time. I know it’s popular to call Christianity a “death cult”, but I always thought “ancestor worship” was closer to the mark. Then again, sometimes I think of it as a fertility cult — you know, with all the anti-homosexual, anti-abortion, anti-birth control stuff.

    In fact, “ancestor worship” is how I’d describe the entire conservative view of life. Which is especially sad, because you know our ancestors would’ve wanted us to do better, to be better, than they were. But the conservative sees us as fallen from the higher standards of some imaginary, golden age of the past. The reality has more often been a hard struggle up from barbarism to increasing civilization.

  99. #101 MAJeff, OM
    May 4, 2009

    Grading?
    Oh, yeah. Grading.
    Damn!

    Anyone else in “just kill me” mode right about now?

  100. #102 Kel
    May 4, 2009

    They asked how could evolution produce something like that.

    Evolution predicted irreducible complexity 90 years ago, only back then it was called Interlocking Complexity. It’s very easy to make an IC system, just two steps:
    1. add a part
    2. make it necessary

    And there you have it an irreducibly complex system. Though Behe’s been refuted time and time again since 1996 too, so we don’t always need to appeal to papers released in 1918 ;)

  101. #103 Scoupler
    May 4, 2009
  102. #104 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 4, 2009

    Anyone else in “just kill me” mode right about now?

    Been there, done that. Now it is the end of the month reports/billing.

  103. #105 Ichthyic
    May 4, 2009

    Where’s Josh?

    It’s an open thread.

    set your own rules, and those interested will engage.

    en garde:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEx7pkmFc6s

  104. #106 Matt
    May 4, 2009

    There is no food that is not made even better by adding bacon to it.

  105. #107 Dania
    May 4, 2009

    How do you like this?!

    *gasp*

    Oh, yeah? You want blood?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUDWLp1yIWw

  106. #108 Holbach
    May 4, 2009

    Ichthyic @ 81

    I have not gone into the audio version of books I would like to read. Prefer the print over audio as more conducive to memory retention and overall benefits of the printed word and the joy of a published book in one’s library. There have been many times when only the printed sentence has and leaves an impression on the mind and constant recall when so desired. The book; minds preserved for ever gratification after the fact.

  107. #109 SC, OM
    May 4, 2009

    Anyone else in “just kill me” mode right about now?

    *raises hand*

  108. #110 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 4, 2009

    Ichthyic, got any pics up on your blog yet?

  109. #111 Kel
    May 4, 2009

    I have YOUR INNER FISH and WHY EVOLUTION IS TRUE, but still have not read them yet

    Both are fantastic reads. Especially liked Your Inner Fish as it didn’t try to make the case fir evolution explicitly, instead it was assumed and thus made for a better read.

  110. #112 Ichthyic
    May 4, 2009

    Ichthyic, got any pics up on your blog yet?

    the ones for Auckland are done, will upload today and write the blog entry.

    check the blog or my flickr page tomorrow morning.

    sorry about the slow speed, quite busy looking for work at the moment; lots of meetings with faculty over pints, etc.

    :)

  111. #113 Brownian, OM
    May 4, 2009

    I always was more New Wave than metal.

  112. #114 Josh
    May 4, 2009

    *pops in to look around from perch at neighborhood watering hole*

    Hmmm…

  113. #115 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 4, 2009

    quite busy looking for work at the moment;

    All is forgiven. First things first.

  114. #116 Screechy Monkey
    May 4, 2009

    “Is there a possibility this is just a transitional phase on the way to something wonderful?”

    Well, it certainly doesn’t look intelligently designed.

  115. Kel, I was wondering if you were going to show up.

  116. #118 Alex Deam
    May 4, 2009

    *gasp*

    Oh, yeah? You want blood?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUDWLp1yIWw

    I raise.

  117. #119 Kel
    May 4, 2009

    Kel, I was wondering if you were going to show up.

    I did, but now I must leave for work. I’ll be back on in 10 hours or so

  118. #120 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 4, 2009

    This morning I watched a film on Intelligent Design, a fine piece of filming with colorful graphics. Two of the speakers were Demski and Behe. They spent an inordinate amount of time on irreducible complexity and focused on the flagella. They asked how could evolution produce something like that. It spins around and around and can reverse itself in one-quarter turn. Their take was that Natural Selection can only select what is there and before the flagella, what was there to select from. I wonder why they started with a nucleated cell when they could have gone back to the paramecium with cilia. But I guess you’re not supposed to ask those questions.

    Have you done your homework Silver Fox?

  119. #121 Sven DiMilo
    May 4, 2009

    Rev, the answer is clearly “no.” Should we tell him? Or should we let him continue to come to a blog run by a professional biologist to type the stupidest, most uninformed possible shit?

  120. #122 Dania
    May 4, 2009

    Ok, just one more…

    Now it’s bedtime for me :(

    I’ll try to catch up tomorrow. Bye

  121. #123 jeff
    May 4, 2009

    Ditchkins > Eaglefish

  122. #124 Alex Deam
    May 4, 2009

    Intelligent designer said (on his blog):

    what would be the average length of a randomly generated coding sequence? It would be 22.333 = 1 + 64/3. The 1 is for the start codon and 64/3 for the stop codons.

    Human DNA contains thousands of coding sequences. The average length of a coding sequence is about 1210bp, or approximately 403 codons.

    What are the chances that a randomly generated coding sequence would be longer than 400 codons? About 1 in (64/61)^400, that is, about one in 219 million.

    Someone is going to argue that natural selection can help us to generate a viable coding sequence. My question is how? Natural selection works on traits that give life forms an advantage in their environment. A minimum a trait would be a by-product of several genes working together to give a life form some advantage. In other words, natural selection can?t begin to work until after viable coding sequences already exist.

    Your argument fails. Assuming for the sake of argument natural selection only works on already viable coding sequences, you’re asking how can humans have codons with 400+ sequences? That number of codons may well be improbable, but as you say, 22 isn’t. And why exactly can’t 22 codons form a “viable coding sequence”? There is more life out there than just humans you know. I’m fairly sure that the first single celled organisms had coding sequences that were a lot less improbable than human ones, no? Then wouldn’t natural selection come into play?

  123. #125 Null Hypothesis
    May 4, 2009

    This morning I watched a film on Intelligent Design, a fine piece of filming with colorful graphics. Two of the speakers were Demski and Behe. They spent an inordinate amount of time on irreducible complexity and focused on the flagella. They asked how could evolution produce something like that. It spins around and around and can reverse itself in one-quarter turn. Their take was that Natural Selection can only select what is there and before the flagella, what was there to select from. I wonder why they started with a nucleated cell when they could have gone back to the paramecium with cilia. But I guess you’re not supposed to ask those questions.

    Intelligent Design is not a valid argument when it comes to biological structures, as the fossil record will show, but when considered at the level of the genetic underpinnings of traits, it raises a valid and thorny issue that has not been successfully countered by Atheist evolutionists. However, the IDers’ conclusion that this is proof of the existence of God is not logical; rather, it only points out the fallacy of the premises to begin with.

  124. #126 'Tis Himself
    May 4, 2009

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxTFNXhb1kY

    Okay, it isn’t 1980s. So sue me.

  125. #127 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 4, 2009

    Randy, you keep making the mistake that the whole sequence arrived out of nowhere in toto, rather than being a modification of previously evolved sequences. With that, your whole argument falls apart.

  126. #128 Alex Deam
    May 4, 2009

    Oh, Intelligent Designer and Trolling For You are both one and the same: Randy Stimpson.

    PZ, I count three charges of “High Crimes and Misdemeanors” by this guy:

    *Stupidity (he likes ID)
    *Morphing
    *Trolling

  127. #129 strange gods before me
    May 4, 2009

    Relevant: http://www.abhishek-tiwari.com/2009/04/four-column-theory-for-origin-of.html

    In a latest Biology Direct paper Paul G Higgs proposed a ‘four-column’ theory for the origin of the genetic code. Theory suggest that subdivision of codon blocks gave rise to an optimized code. Unlike previously proposed coevolution theory where genetic code evolution predicted are usually not favored by selection, in ‘four-column’ theory major driving force during code evolution process is positive selection which maintain increased diversity and functionality of the proteins, minimization of translational error appears to be only a secondary factor although current code is fully optimized with respect to translational error.

    Grammar hiccups aside, it’s illustrative.

  128. #130 Ichthyic
    May 4, 2009

    Randy, you keep making the mistake that the whole sequence arrived out of nowhere in toto, rather than being a modification of previously evolved sequences. With that, your whole argument falls apart.

    LOL

    well, considering that IS the argument of “irreducible complexity”, what else would you expect from Stimpy?

    Keep pitchin’ away, stimpster. Your stale, dried out old shit is easy to hit with a bat.

  129. #131 Null Hypothesis
    May 4, 2009

    Randy, you keep making the mistake that the whole sequence arrived out of nowhere in toto, rather than being a modification of previously evolved sequences.

    I think the issue is that, given the ridiculous improbability that a “random” mutation would result in a positive improvement to adaptability when all the stars align, the problem then is, given that rate of mutation, the rest of your genome is going to be completely destroyed by the time you get one beneficial one. And then add in the fact that you are in a limited population and unless you are a queen bee you won’t have zillions of babies. The math just doesn’t add up.

  130. #132 Alex Deam
    May 4, 2009

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxTFNXhb1kY

    Okay, it isn’t 1980s. So sue me.

    ‘Tis Himself: what was that? Certain music videos have been blocked to the UK due to legal wrangling.

  131. #133 Ichthyic
    May 4, 2009

    but when considered at the level of the genetic underpinnings of traits

    uh, wtf does this mean? are you trying to address selection on genetic structure itself?

    it raises a valid and thorny issue that has not been successfully countered by Atheist evolutionists

    what issue? Also your implication here is that whatever the issue is, it HAS been countered by NON-atheist “evolutionists”, but then go on to say:

    that this is proof of the existence of God is not logical

    suggest you stop drinking, take a nap, and try again.

    You’re not making any sense.

  132. #134 pdferguson
    May 4, 2009

    This morning I watched a film on Intelligent Design, a fine piece of filming with colorful graphics.

    Ooh! It must be good if it has “colorful graphics”!

    Two of the speakers were Demski and Behe. They spent an inordinate amount of time on irreducible complexity and focused on the flagella.

    So, they spend an inordinate amount of time on a long discredited line of argument. Of course, pretty much any amount of time would by definition be “inordinate”.

    But, hey, if they backed it up with “colorful graphics”…

    They asked how could evolution produce something like that. It spins around and around and can reverse itself in one-quarter turn.

    Because it was one-quarter turn, then it’s magic? Is that their claim? If it had taken say, three-quarters turn, would that be enough for them to stop this silliness?

    And of course, I presume they demonstrated this with some more of those “colorful graphics”. Spinning flagellum, now that’s good cinema…

    Their take was that Natural Selection can only select what is there and before the flagella, what was there to select from.

    Wow! Their “take” is exactly the same as what they’re trying to show: Goddidit!

    Honestly, Silver Fog, we’ve all had plenty of laughs over the irreducible complexity argument. It’s really pretty pathetic that creationists continue to flog this dead horse, but then again, Behe and Demski have nothing else I guess. They are clowns, good for an occasional chuckle, but they have no credibility as scientists.

  133. #135 'Tis Himself
    May 4, 2009

    Sorry, Alex. It was The Dream’s Rock That Thang.

    Here’s an interesting one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DbFYsi9iSg

  134. #136 CJO
    May 4, 2009

    the problem then is, given that rate of mutation, the rest of your genome is going to be completely destroyed by the time you get one beneficial one. And then add in the fact that you are in a limited population and unless you are a queen bee you won’t have zillions of babies. The math just doesn’t add up.

    Show your work. And recall, please, that every single organism that ever lived, including you, is “a mutant” at numerous loci. And genomes don’t get destroyed by deletrious mutations, individuals do, and, hence, do not reproduce. That’s the elegant simplicity of nature: the accumulation of beneficial mutations is cumulative, but, like a ratchet, the deletrious just get weeded out.

    The actual problem is that your argument is based on a fuzzy intuition, not rigorous reasoning, a fact you try to disguise with bluster about “the math.”

    By all means, let’s have this math.

  135. #137 windy
    May 4, 2009

    Brownian: Ha ha!

  136. #138 Null Hypothesis
    May 4, 2009

    Honestly, Silver Fog, we’ve all had plenty of laughs over the irreducible complexity argument. It’s really pretty pathetic that creationists continue to flog this dead horse, but then again, Behe and Demski have nothing else I guess.

    You wouldn’t have to resort to mocking creationists if you could instead provide a plausible scientific explanation of how genetic complexity arises from random mutations and natural selection. But wait … you can’t, so continue on … you won’t be winning any more public support that way.

  137. #139 Emmet, OM
    May 4, 2009

    There may be some strange changes in the formatting — the techs at Seed are updating our templates.

    Word to the wise from a former web monkey: developing on a live system is, em, ?not recommended?. Of course, I’m assuming that it’s in a state of flux, rather than the unthinkable alternative: that it’s actually supposed to look this fucking ugly.

  138. #140 Ichthyic
    May 4, 2009

    I think the issue is that, given the ridiculous improbability that a “random” mutation would result in a positive improvement to adaptability when all the stars align

    one, any probabilities you generate are only in your own mind.

    two, is this: “when all the stars align” some sort of fucked up mixed metaphor?

    three: don’t forget the time variable when you “calculate” your imaginary probabilities.

    the rest of your genome is going to be completely destroyed by the time you get one beneficial one

    that might be more interesting if evolution didn’t also select for repair mechanisms and correctional aids during replication.

    you are in a limited population

    meaningless.

    you’re very ill-informed. However, please continue as your drunken rants are amusing.

    eventually, by sheer random chance, you might start to make sense.

  139. #141 Glen Davidson
    May 4, 2009

    I think the issue is that, given the ridiculous improbability that a “random” mutation would result in a positive improvement to adaptability when all the stars align, the problem then is, given that rate of mutation, the rest of your genome is going to be completely destroyed by the time you get one beneficial one.

    And yet the evidence shows that the genome was not destroyed, and beneficial mutations did occur.

    I’d always like you morons to tell us why, for instance, the Y-chromosome happens to have several genetic inversions. I mean, aren’t these supposed to be “fatal errors”?

    I know, fatal mistakes happen, and the Great Designer miraculously fixes them. See, it makes god the designer even greater that he not only produces such complicated mechanisms that we find in life, but he makes them appear as expected “by accident” (randomness plus nat. selection, in the short form). Just more proof of what a fantastically god-like being the designer is, but don’t you defamers of ID ever call this being god.

    We have all of the evidence that we could expect to show that natural selection and the other known mechanisms gave us life as it is, yet IDiots insist that it couldn’t have happened that way, that it takes a god to make life appear “accidental.” It’s one of the most convoluted pieces of rationalizations ever concocted. And, of course, it requires a focus on the one level of details which are not yet known about evolution, while IDiots have to ignore another level of detail which evolution does explain very well, and which ID explains not at all (like everything else).

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

  140. #142 Ichthyic
    May 4, 2009

    a plausible scientific explanation of how genetic complexity arises from random mutations and natural selection.

    whatever plausible means in your case.

    and “genetic complexity”.

    other than that, if you were looking for how science has explained the evolution of the genome, have you tried reading Francis Collins’ book (Language of God)?

    he’s a raving christard (especially when it comes to human “morals”), but he knows genetics (he was, after all, the head of the human genome project).

    btw, can you please not sock puppet here on Pharyngula?

    oh, why bother asking a demented fuckwit not to be who they are.

    nevermind.

  141. #143 MAJeff, OM
    May 4, 2009

    Here’s an interesting one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DbFYsi9iSg

    Tis Himself—that shit was fun!

  142. #144 Sphere Coupler
    May 4, 2009

    Dania,If your still up…here’s a lullaby for you.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJ-izsLkwvE

  143. #145 Alex Deam
    May 4, 2009

    Not your fault ‘Tis.

    Anyway, I can see “Rock El Casbah” though. ROFL!

    The original Clash version is one of those songs where I always mishear the lyrics. Singing it in French? doesn’t help lol.

    Anyway have some of this, y’all:

    http://www.last.fm/music/Godspeed+You!+Black+Emperor/_/East+Hastings

    Couldn’t find the full length version on youtube. Don’t be put off by the length, or the weird beginning. It gets better.

  144. I’m fairly sure that the first single celled organisms had coding sequences that were a lot less improbable than human ones, no?

    What evidence do you have to support this claim?

  145. #147 Null Hypothesis
    May 4, 2009

    Show your work.

    The actual problem is that your argument is based on a fuzzy intuition, not rigorous reasoning, a fact you try to disguise with bluster about “the math.”

    By all means, let’s have this math.It’s not up to me to provide any rigorous math, since I’m not claiming to have all the answers. It’s up to the New Atheist theorists to do this, since they’re the ones going around spouting off that they have it all figured out, when even the most crude assessment I can make in my head shows how ridiculous what they’re saying is.

    It’s one thing to not understand how something works; that’s what motivates legitimate scientists to ask questions and try to figure things out. But when someone is so smug that they think they have it all figured out when even a cursory analysis of the scientific evidence exposes gigantic flaws in their supposed tight theories, that just reeks of narrow mindedness along the lines of any blind religious doctrine. I guess our genes (or memes?) haven’t really changed much since the dark Ages.

  146. #148 strange gods before me
    May 4, 2009

    provide a plausible scientific explanation of how genetic complexity arises from random mutations and natural selection. But wait … you can’t

    Is this person serious?

    How does one even ask a question like that? It’s like “sure, you can walk one meter, and you can even walk another meter after that, but you’ll never walk across the room!”

    How could random mutations and natural selection not result in genetic complexity?

    Really, does anyone understand what is going on inside that thick skull? I’ve never heard of a creationist quite like this one.

  147. #149 Null Hypothesis
    May 4, 2009

    oops,. I forgot the blockquotes in my above post.

  148. #150 'Tis Himself
    May 4, 2009

    But wait … you can’t, so continue on … you won’t be winning any more public support that way.

    Is this another one of those “evilution is just hanging on by a thread, in ten minutes this ‘theory’ will be overwhelmed by The Lord the Intelligent Designer” prophesies? It’s amazing how the cdesign proponentsists have been making this claim for the past 150 years and it still hasn’t happened.

  149. #151 Ichthyic
    May 4, 2009

    even the most crude assessment I can make in my head shows how ridiculous what they’re saying is

    you really don’t get that what you’re doing is irrelevant, do you?

    That making up uninformed nonsense in your head doesn’t in any way provide for a reasoned argument?

    here:

    “Those who invalidate reason ought seriously to consider whether they argue against reason with or without reason; if with reason, then they establish the principles that they are laboring to dethrone: but if they argue without reason (which, in order to be consistent with themselves they must do), they are out of reach of rational conviction, nor do they deserve a rational argument.”

    -Ethan Allen

    when even a cursory analysis of the scientific evidence exposes gigantic flaws in their supposed tight theories

    *sigh*

    I know I’m gonna regret this, but since it’s an open thread:

    Of what evidence do you speak, oh wizard of woo?

  150. #152 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 4, 2009

    You wouldn’t have to resort to mocking creationists if you could instead provide a plausible scientific explanation of how genetic complexity arises from random mutations and natural selection. But wait … you can’t, so continue on … you won’t be winning any more public support that way.

    Gee, sounds like somebody hasn’t paid any attention to the number of species and bacteria that have had their genome sequenced. The amount of overlap of the genes with just minor modifications is staggering. Unless, that is, one refuses to look at the facts. Which all creationists/ID people do.

  151. The actual problem is that your argument is based on a fuzzy intuition, not rigorous reasoning, a fact you try to disguise with bluster about “the math.”

    The point that random mutation would detroy a genome before accidental beneficial mutations could happen is not based on fuzzy intuition. That math behind the argument is actually quite simple.

  152. #154 Ichthyic
    May 4, 2009

    I’ve never heard of a creationist quite like this one.

    I’m pretty sure you have, earlier in this very thread.

    initials SF.

    This is his sockpuppet.

  153. #155 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 4, 2009

    Blockquote failure by me in #152. And Randy, why do you argue here instead of in paper for Science or Nature? Oh, yeah, an expert would see through your math to the bunch of sophistry it is.

  154. #156 Null Hypothesis
    May 4, 2009

    How could random mutations and natural selection not result in genetic complexity?

    If the chances of a random mutation creating something that’s beneficial are so low, that by the time you got a good one you’ve already destroyed your genome, as I said before. It’s about the ratio of good to bad mutations, which any analysis would show is very small. Now, Ichthyic above takes issue with my assertion that bad mutations would make their way to the phenotype just as good ones would by saying,

    that might be more interesting if evolution didn’t also select for repair mechanisms and correctional aids during replication.

    . So what Mr. Fish is suggesting is that these repair mechanisms and correctional aids can somehow differentiate between good and bad mutations and not let the bad ones through. Yet it is supposedly natural selection on the phenotye that is doing the selection!!!! Ironic, eh?

    You’d need to have enough babies with the bad genes to make up for the one good gene, so that natural selection can weed it out. Well, you’d be having a lot of babies, and that’s only for one of your genes. What about the 10,000 other ones? And what if you are a human and have only 1 child?

  155. #157 bastion of sass
    May 4, 2009

    OK. Seems there are no rules.

    But I fear not…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s16hSlULxZI

    And, hey, did Josh slink away without even trying to take a shot. Tsk. Tsk.

    Hard afternoon at the bar or not, Josh, you need to be better prepared!

  156. We have all of the evidence that we could expect to show that natural selection and the other known mechanisms gave us life as it is.

    I think we can both look at the evidence and say “yes it is a fact”. However, when you take the facts and construct a theory from them, the theory should make sense from a mathematical perspective. If they theory is mathematically impossible it should be rejected or at least revised until it makes sense.

  157. #159 Patricia, OM
    May 4, 2009

    Rev.BigDumbChimp – I’ve been waiting for an open thread to share this one with you – Bacon Explosion Pork Bomb .
    Get this – basket weave bacon!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1IiUAtoNBk

  158. #160 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 4, 2009

    If the chances of a random mutation creating something that’s beneficial are so low, that by the time you got a good one you’ve already destroyed your genome, as I said before.

    Care to back up your assertion with a citation from the peer reviewed primary scientific literature? One that doesn’t contain the name of someone from the DI, who has been declared by a US court to be a religious institute?

  159. #161 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 4, 2009

    the theory should make sense from a mathematical perspective.

    Only if the math and its presuppositions are correct. Yours aren’t, and we both know that.

  160. #162 Null Hypothesis
    May 4, 2009

    For the record, I am not an ID’er. I am essentially a scientist (not a publishing one) and I generally prefer to not look away from empirical evidence simply because it contradicts my world view. I like challenging my ways of thinking and gaining wider knowledge as a result; this is something New Atheists could try.

  161. #163 'Tis Himself
    May 4, 2009

    OK. Seems there are no rules.
    But I fear not…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s16hSlULxZI

    In that genre I prefer this group:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKn-9Q3TalA

  162. #164 QT
    May 4, 2009

    Oh no! PZ has clearly been replaced by a simulacrum! We have no choice but to destroy him!

  163. #165 Benjamin Geiger
    May 4, 2009

    PORK BOMB!

    char * pork() { for (;;) pork(); return “PORK!”; }

  164. #166 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 4, 2009

    I like challenging my ways of thinking and gaining wider knowledge as a result; this is something New Atheists could try.

    As a real working scientist I challenge my thinking all the time. But at the end of the day, no empirical evidence equals nothing. Just like as is seen with all proofs for god, all evidence for ID/creationism. No empirical evidence equals nothing.

    If you have real physical evidence, present it. Otherwise, fade into the bandwidth.

  165. #167 'Tis Himself
    May 4, 2009

    I like challenging my ways of thinking and gaining wider knowledge as a result; this is something New Atheists could try.

    Are you always this pompous and condescending?

  166. #168 Benjamin Geiger
    May 4, 2009

    This is my favorite song and video in the history of ever. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOw6fAAu4xw

  167. Nerd of Redhead said:

    Oh, yeah, an expert would see through your math to the bunch of sophistry it is.

    The math involved isn’t complicated. Anyone who has been through the first two weeks of an introductory probability class can verify that the math is correct and I am sure there are plenty of those people hanging around here.

    I am also happy to provide the source code of the application program I used to illustrate my argument. I am sure there are plenty of software types here that could verify the correctness of this very simple program — right Kel?

    You did try my Codon Sequence Generator out I hope.

  168. #170 Null Hypothesis
    May 4, 2009

    If they theory is mathematically impossible it should be rejected or at least revised until it makes sense.

    Agreed. The militant New Atheists are so afraid of their theories coming crashing to the ground that they simply won’t admit that there are serious problems with them. But this not at all an attack on evolution at the population or organismal scale; there is overwhelming evidence supporting it. But it requires a paradigm shift to accept the possibility that there might be more complex stuff going on than New Atheists want everyone to believe, and that their world views might not actually be very all-encompassing after all.

  169. #171 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 4, 2009

    Randy, If your alleged proof is so simple, why haven’t you written it up for publication. Until you can show in press with a refereed primary scientific journal, you have nothing, and we both know that. Quit lying to yourself. Then you can quit lying to us.

  170. #172 Josh
    May 4, 2009

    *eye roll*
    Hard two hours maybe. I’m still watching.

  171. #173 Alex Deam
    May 4, 2009

    It’s not up to me to provide any rigorous math, since I’m not claiming to have all the answers. It’s up to the New Atheist theorists to do this, since they’re the ones going around spouting off that they have it all figured out, when even the most crude assessment I can make in my head shows how ridiculous what they’re saying is.

    It’s one thing to not understand how something works; that’s what motivates legitimate scientists to ask questions and try to figure things out. But when someone is so smug that they think they have it all figured out when even a cursory analysis of the scientific evidence exposes gigantic flaws in their supposed tight theories

    You’re the best example of irony I think I’ve ever seen.

    We shouldn’t be smug to claim that we have it all figured out, and yet you claim that just a “cursory analysis” and a “crude assessment” shows evolution to be “ridiculous” and have “gigantic flaws”?

    If that’s not the definition of smugness and arrogance (as well as stupidity) I don’t know what is.

    Come on: you’re the one who made the claim that “The math just doesn’t add up.” Let’s see this “math”. It shouldn’t take you that long, if it only requires a “cursory analysis” and a “crude assessment”.

  172. #174 Holbach
    May 4, 2009

    Null Hypothesis @ 138

    You want a plausible scientific explanation of how genetic complexity arose, and since you can’t get a satisfacory answer you dismiss the science behind it and hint that your imaginary god is the motivating factor, and yet you can not offer the proof you so adamantly hide behind and show us your imaginary god. No amount of scientific proof will dissuade you from this nonsense, and no amount of imbecilic belief will bring forth your imaginary god either. I am not going to banter with you on the science or lack of, but on the proof incumbent on you to show that your imaginary god is the impetus. Let’s see your god, you religious idiot.

  173. #175 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 4, 2009

    Null hypothesis, either cite the primary peer reviewed scientific literature to back your conjecture, or be exposed as a lying cretin.

  174. #176 Glen Davidson
    May 4, 2009

    That math behind the argument is actually quite simple.

    Well, simplistic.

    The real point is that calculations are done to test how adequate models are. It’s the old bumblebee example, where the then-current aerodynamics said that it couldn’t fly.

    So of course the physicists gave up on aerodynamics, deciding that good gremlins are what keep up both planes and bumblebees.

    Oh, no, that’s not right, since that isn’t how science works. Loose ends may exist, but you don’t decide it was all due to woo.

    Plus, I have no reason to think that you’re not simply talking out of your ass about these things. “Haldane’s dilemma,” or some other tired old canard. Since you people lie constantly, there’s no reason to care about what you say.

    Here’s an important issue: Eukaryotes have all been sexual at some stage of evolution. Sexual reproduction facilitates evolution, which has been shown particularly with respect to defenses against parasites. IOW, we have sexual reproduction in order to deal with, say, malaria, while unfortunately for us, P. falciparum also sexually reproduces.

    If magic man is directing evolution, why do eukaryotes utilize sexual reproduction? Is it a matter of wanting a certain amount of “autopilot” for humans and malarial parasites, while the designer will step in occasionally to even up the odds if one or the other get too good at the game?

    That is to say, where’s the math for ID? Oh, that’s right, there is none, for there are no causes (which is not the case for known intelligent designers–humans–another reason why ID analogies are BS) for the effects, no discernable purposes (other than to exist–gee, somehow it’s the evolutionary “purpose,” although in evolution it’s not actually a purpose), and no facts whatsoever.

    It’s that old-time religion, then, all magic “causes” and inscrutable effects. Nothing at all.

    Needless to say, this is not for the IDiots who come in here with nothing but empty claims. It’s for those who might be bamboozled by the usual clatterings of ignorance posing as knowledge.

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

  175. #177 Ken Cope
    May 4, 2009

    Bastion of Sass, re: Pratchett’s Nation.

    You raise good points. I’d put it up next to Small Gods, but more wet and equally ambivalent. Enough athe for the atheists and enough the for the theists to each claim it as supporting their side. There’s a long cave with a skeleton occupying a certain location WRT a mirror, which I expected to find out was the sweet spot for the optics, turning the place into a telescope, but Pratchett is a much better writer than I ever will dream of being…

    “Does not happen,” is becoming a new favorite phrase.

    I’m off to watch part two of Joan Crawford’s Mildred Pierce for a cinema class; enjoying the noir lighting and Eve Arden’s snark. Young students are learning how to do presentations about their favorite director or actor, and the teacher allowed one of them to spend fifteen minutes naming every single movie in which Yun-Fat Chow ever appeared since the 70’s, telling us no more about him or any of the movies than the title, and that about every third one was “very good, you should see it.”

  176. #178 pdferguson
    May 4, 2009

    You wouldn’t have to resort to mocking creationists if you could instead provide a plausible scientific explanation of how genetic complexity arises from random mutations and natural selection. But wait … you can’t, so continue on … you won’t be winning any more public support that way.

    Sorry, Silver Fool, or whatever the fuck your name is (could you please stick to one per thread?) Your ignorance about basic science doesn’t constitute an argument, much less make you a public spokesman for things you know nothing about. For that, you need to be ordained…

  177. #179 Brownian, OM
    May 4, 2009

    I agree windy. Sports writing is terrible. Or were you laughing at something else?

    If the chances of a random mutation creating something that’s beneficial are so low, that by the time you got a good one you’ve already destroyed your genome, as I said before. It’s about the ratio of good to bad mutations, which any analysis would show is very small.

    Except that we’ve observed this happening in real-time. Creationists like to call it ‘microevolution’, and only the most willfully obtuse and or comatose of them deny it, since it’s tantamount to denying gravity (here’s an example, since you’re obviously incapable of researching anything on your own). If you’re gonna be a fucking moron, at least take a tip from the fucking morons who’ve gone before you and learn to blather bullshit about micro- and macroevolution and the magical Designer-created species barrier which coincidentally proves the designer hates teh gays, invented marriage, and died for our sins, or whatever fucking leap of reasoning you pricks tend to make from ‘Gee, the world is so beyond my comprehension there just must be some great intelligence behind it all’ to tossing a twenty into the collection plate of The Church of the Big Toenail of Jesus Christ the Redeeming Pedicurist, Reformation of 1877, or whatever fucked-up cult you personally ascribe to.

  178. #180 Owlmirror
    May 4, 2009

    However, when you take the facts and construct a theory from them, the theory should make sense from a mathematical perspective. If they theory is mathematically impossible it should be rejected or at least revised until it makes sense.

    And if it has never been proven to be mathematically impossible, it should not be rejected.

    You don’t have any such proof. If you did, you could publish it in a biostatistics or information theory journal, or even in Nature or Science, and revolutionize everything.

    But you don’t. You never have, and I am fairly confident, given your track record thus far, that you won’t.

  179. #181 Null Hypothesis
    May 4, 2009

    If you have real physical evidence, present it. Otherwise, fade into the bandwidth.

    OK, here it is. Go to Wikipedia. Look up the different kinds of random mutations you get for DNA, and their rates. Then come up with a typical protein. Make an estimate for how much of it must be correct to remain functional. Then, correlate the above DNA mutations with, statistically, how they would alter that protein. Compare this with another similar protein that could be derived from or derive your protein, in other words, simulating what must be done in order to make a new working mutation. Then come up with how many mutations you must go through to get that positive one. Then apply all the other bad mutations to the protein that statistically must have occurred to get the good one (this calculation ends the exercise right now but you can go on…). Use this to figure out how many offspring you must have in order to have one good copy of a new or improved protein in the population. Then figure out how the other 9,999 of your genes are going to be doing the same thing and going through the same mutation rates at the same time. I’m not going to do the math, even though I have my TI-83 in front of me. Do I really need to?

    I’m not arguing that evolution does not happen; I’m not even arguing that at the population scale the evolutionists have it wrong (actually, they have it right, as all science shows); rather, I am arguing that at the genetic level it is not random, that’s it.

  180. #182 'Tis Himself
    May 4, 2009

    The militant New Atheists are so afraid of their theories coming crashing to the ground that they simply won’t admit that there are serious problems with them.

    The cdesign proponentsists always forget the second half of their theory’s problem. They not only have to show fatal flaws in evilution but they have to show that cdesign proponentsism doesn’t have these flaws. Since they can’t offer any evidence for cdesign proponentsism* they’ve got a long way to go to get their theory accepted by rational people.

    *Genesis is The Word of God and God doesn’t lie is not evidence.

  181. #183 Ichthyic
    May 4, 2009

    this is something New Atheists could try.

    please define what a “new atheist” is, so I can laugh at you some more.

    Fish is suggesting is that these repair mechanisms and correctional aids can somehow differentiate between good and bad mutations and not let the bad ones through.

    no, I’m saying that self-correction filters out most of the mistakes (especially the big ones, and especially during replication), and the ones that are left SELECTION filters out.

    eventually, of course, what you are left with are mutations that selection has not removed from the population, and that, moreover, grant a fitness advantage to those that posess them.

    why is this so complicated for you to understand? Did you need me to google up the relevant articles on gene repair and how basic selection works?

    here:

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

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

    I generally prefer to not look away from empirical evidence simply because it contradicts my world view

    still waiting for that “empirical evidence” you’ve mentioned several times now.

    btw, while you’re attempting to encompass the ToE in your ramblings, don’t forget there are more mechanisms involved than just NS.

    but before we get to that, AGAIN, please do show us this wonderful empirical evidence that destroys the ToE?

    WATERLOOOOO!!!!

    oh, sorry. Just a habit when I see fucktards like yourself claiming evolution is a dying theory.

  182. #184 Mark A. I.
    May 4, 2009

    “Meaning, value and truth are not ‘reducible to the facts themselves, in the sense of being ineluctably motivated by a bare account of them.’ Which is to say that there is no such thing as a bare account of them. (Here, as many have noted, is where religion and postmodernism meet).”

    This confirms my suspicion that where religion and postmodernism meet is their denial of the existence of philosophy.

  183. Sexual reproduction facilitates evolution

    Sexual reproduction facilitates adaptation. It is also and example of semi-random modification rather than random modification.

  184. #186 Null Hypothesis
    May 4, 2009

    You don’t have any such proof. If you did, you could publish it in a biostatistics or information theory journal, or even in Nature or Science, and revolutionize everything.

    I think the problem is that anyone who would like to show the mathematical problems is stygmatized as an ID’er or religious. I doubt many legitimate scientists with a desire for career development would take that risk, or even be considered by such magazines because those editors are locked into the narrow minded blindness of the Atheists as well.

  185. #187 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 4, 2009

    Null Hypothesis, you showed no peer reviewed primary scientific literature as I would expect. That makes you a liar and bullshitter. Now, either you have scientific argument, in which case you can cite the scientific literature, or you have another type of argument, in which case you can’t. Your post #181 makes it clear you are not being scientific. Therefore, you have nothing to say to us.

  186. #188 Glen Davidson
    May 4, 2009

    It’s not up to me to provide any rigorous math, since I’m not claiming to have all the answers.

    And neither are we, lying dickhead. You know that, too, which is one reason I don’t hold back on the language, as you reveal your stupidity and your dishonesty every time you come in here.

    Behe condemns you and himself, here:

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

    You claim to explain, but you don’t even generate an attempt at explanation. Bizarrely enough, Behe is aiming at evolutionary theory in this passage, showing what a clueless dweeb he is, however it certainly strikes home at the useless nonsense of ID.

    What we know (and even Behe knows, although he’s too dumb or dishonest to recognize that this is because of known evolutionary mechanisms) is that evolution explains much, and that any attempt to explain further has to take into account the fact that evolution explains the constraints evident during the course of evolution.

    ID cannot explain why Archaeopteryx goes through its period of “poor design” as an only partially adapted flying dinosaur, since any god who can take care of the fantastically complicated matters of heredity would surely have enough intelligence to take care of the relatively simple matters of weight and flight mechanisms. Yet that is exactly the sort of stage predicted by non-telic evolutionary theory.

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

  187. #189 Paul G. Brown
    May 4, 2009

    A sad little story for those who, like me, have been known to shrug and yield to quackery (homeopathy in this case) because “Hell – it can’t do any actual harm.”

    http://www.smh.com.au/national/dead-babys-parents-ignored-advice-qc-20090504-asmt.html

  188. #190 Kel
    May 4, 2009

    The point that random mutation would detroy a genome before accidental beneficial mutations could happen is not based on fuzzy intuition. That math behind the argument is actually quite simple.

    Do you have any evidence for this? Mathematics is fine as long as it is in line with what is observed. If you don’t map your mathematics to evidence, then you don’t have an argument against science. Why is that so hard to understand Stimpy? We have experiments done with thousands of generations where a different environment led to adaptation through mutation. We’ve seen the emergence of novel traits and adaptative traits. Does your mathematics explain these results? If not, then why do you think your mathematics has any validity in describing the real world?

  189. #191 Ichthyic
    May 4, 2009

    Anyone who has been through the first two weeks of an introductory probability class can verify that the math is correct and I am sure there are plenty of those people hanging around here.

    by incorrect, I’m sure most here mean, ill-informed and misapplied, more than the idea that you didn’t add 2+2 correctly.

    Not that I would put it past you, but it’s really irrelevant. BTW, even though Dembski actually DID make errors when he first made up his ideas of probability wrt to evolution, and in constructing his “explanatory filter”, again, it wasn’t the errors in computation that were at issue, but his poorly conceived application of imagined probabilities to the issue at hand, and the conclusions drawn. However, that’s what happens when you start off with an erroneous preconception, and then try to force reality into it.

    I’m pretty sure this has been explained to you before, and in detail.

    I’d bet searching for your posts here over the last 2 months or so would provide the thread(s) where it was. Or was it even explained to you on your own blog, when you first came up with your imaginary probability measures?

    so, did you completely modify your “analysis” since then?

    no?

    you’re in denial, stimpy. Deal with it.

  190. #192 Ichthyic
    May 4, 2009

    Then come up with a typical protein. Make an estimate for how much of it must be correct to remain functional.

    sigh.

    how is this different from the concept of irreducible complexity?

    how is this “empirical” in even a loose definition of word?

  191. Nerd of Redhead said:

    Randy, If your alleged proof is so simple, why haven’t you written it up for publication. Until you can show in press with a refereed primary scientific journal, you have nothing, and we both know that. blockquote>

    This is apparently your only argument.

  192. #194 Sven DiMilo
    May 4, 2009

    Ew! These comment threads just got really ugly to look at. And what happened to the “last 24 hours” link? And who is ranking the “top posts” in the little widget on the left? And how?
    too…much…change…cannot…grok…

  193. #195 Null Hypothesis
    May 4, 2009

    Hey Mr. Fish, I liked your link to the natural Selection page of Wikipedia … not a single mathematical equation in the whole page.

  194. #196 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 4, 2009

    This is apparently your only argument.

    If you can’t cite the primary peer reviewed scientific literature, you have nothing. So why no citations? Because you lie and bullshit, and we both know that.

  195. #197 Kel
    May 4, 2009

    Sexual reproduction facilitates adaptation. It is also and example of semi-random modification rather than random modification.

    Natural selection is non-random. The environment selects only those who have the ability to pass on genes, because for obvious reasons, a gene that hinders an organism won’t survive. As Dawkins puts it [paraphrase] – “ancestors just don’t die young.” Mutation is random, but if the mutation puts the organism at enough of a disadvantage in its environment, then that mutation will stop the vertical transmission of genes.

    How hard is this to understand stimpy?

  196. #198 Ichthyic
    May 4, 2009

    This is apparently your only argument.

    shorter randy:

    *covers his eyes with his hands*

    “I’m invisible!”

  197. #199 pdferguson
    May 4, 2009

    Null Hypothesis, you showed no peer reviewed primary scientific literature as I would expect. That makes you a liar and bullshitter. Now, either you have scientific argument, in which case you can cite the scientific literature, or you have another type of argument, in which case you can’t. Your post #181 makes it clear you are not being scientific. Therefore, you have nothing to say to us.

    Aw, come on, he has a TI-83 calculator! Don’t that count for somethin’?

  198. #200 Glen Davidson
    May 4, 2009

    I think the problem is that anyone who would like to show the mathematical problems is stygmatized as an ID’er or religious.

    The problem is that you only have lies. PCID existed for “ID science” to be published, and it died for lack of submissions.

    Anyone can publish anything, thanks to the internet. Whatever the problems of a conservative scientific establishment, no capacity to prevent anything from being published exists. What is more, problems regarding evolutionary theory have often been published in mainline scientific journals.

    Nevertheless, peer review is conservative, so I won’t deny that it can cause problems for overthrowing old ideas. What is complete and utter bollocks is what you’re claiming, that somehow the actual problems can’t be published at least somewhere. That you resort to such transparent fakery indicates what a hopeless wanker you really are.

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

  199. #201 Alex Deam
    May 4, 2009

    In that genre I prefer this group:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKn-9Q3TalA

    Prefer this song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-64CaD8GXw&feature=related

    (mainly coz of the film it was in)

    Also feel I’m obligated to link this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-64CaD8GXw&feature=related

    Rev.BigDumbChimp – I’ve been waiting for an open thread to share this one with you – Bacon Explosion Pork Bomb .
    Get this – basket weave bacon!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1IiUAtoNBk

    Dahhhmn! That’s making me feel hungry. Might get a burger in a bit (from a kebab van, it’s past 1am here). But I wish Youtube would let you download food though…

  200. #202 Ichthyic
    May 4, 2009

    It’s not up to me to provide any rigorous math, since I’m not claiming to have all the answers.

    william Dembski:

    “it’s not ID’s task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories.”

    coincidence?

  201. #203 'Tis Himself
    May 4, 2009

    I have taken several courses in probability and statistics. I use them every day in my work as an economist. Since “Anyone who has been through the first two weeks of an introductory probability class can verify that the math is correct” then trot the math out. I’d like to look at your mathematical evidence.

  202. #204 bastion of sass
    May 4, 2009

    Ken Cope @177 wrote:

    You raise good points. I’d put it up next to Small Gods, but more wet and equally ambivalent.

    This is the first Pratchett book I’ve read outside of the Discworld series and Good Omens.

    For the first part of the book, I kept wondering, “Where’s the funny?” This is tragic. I wanted funny, not sad, especially since I was reading it while waiting to be taken into the operating room.

    And even when the humor kicked in, it just didn’t tickle me the way that the Discworld books, and the word play in them, do.

    But I think it’s a great book for skeptical kids.

    BTW, I love old movies. I put my DVR to good use, recording the classics I’ve missed. But I never have enough time to watch them!

    Yeah, Arden could play snarky. She was delightfully snarky in Stage Door.

  203. #205 Brownian, OM
    May 4, 2009

    I generally prefer to not look away from empirical evidence simply because it contradicts my world view

    So then, what explains your lack of a basic understanding of DNA repair mechanisms? If you’re so in love with evidence, then how come you don’t know anything about which you’re arguing?

    You fucking liar.

    I think the problem is that anyone who would like to show the mathematical problems is stygmatized as an ID’er or religious. I doubt many legitimate scientists with a desire for career development would take that risk, or even be considered by such magazines because those editors are locked into the narrow minded blindness of the Atheists as well.

    Oh, you fucking think? Where’s your math? Where’s the evidence? Now you just make up shit to support your worldview?

    Not only are you a liar and an idiot, you’re a fucking world-class hypocrite.

  204. #206 Owlmirror
    May 4, 2009

    I think the problem is that anyone who would like to show the mathematical problems is stygmatized as an ID’er or religious. I doubt many legitimate scientists with a desire for career development would take that risk, or even be considered by such magazines because those editors are locked into the narrow minded blindness of the Atheists as well.

    No. You keep on not getting it. That’s not how science works. There are no editors who would keep a paper that argued from the empirical evidence out of a science journal.

    IF the math actually applied to the way that real-world DNA works, and it really was a demonstrable problem, you, or anyone else who noticed it or figured it out, could publish. The problem for you, of course, is that it doesn’t work. It’s just fancy handwaving. Your math model does not apply to real-world DNA.

    But turn things around: Have you ever considered rejecting your religious ideology given the argument of the problem of evil? No? Then you are in fact the ideologically committed one. And the delusional one, too.

  205. #207 Kel
    May 4, 2009

    I see a lot of similarity between Stimpy’s and Eric’s style of arguing. They both care not for evidence, but rather work on logic itself. Yet that is not how science works, nor is it how reality works. As Orr said in rebuttal to Dembski “nice answer, wrong question.” If you want to use mathematics to disprove a scientific theory, then you need to first demonstrate that the mathematics is predictive in that field – i.e. if your mathematics disproves evolution, then you first need to demonstrate that your mathematics explains observations in the field of genetics. Apply your maths to real world experiments, don’t just say a field of maths disproves an empirically-derived theory without showing that the maths can explain the empirical facts that support the theory first. Seriously Stimpy, how hard is it to understand that science works on evidence?

    “Philosophy without evidence is sophistry” – Nerd of Redhead

  206. #208 Null Hypothesis
    May 4, 2009

    Null Hypothesis, you showed no peer reviewed primary scientific literature as I would expect. That makes you a liar and bullshitter.

    Yeah, sure. “You people” really have stooped to new lows, all I get is insults and abuse and curses, I guess that’s how kids react when they don’t get their way. I have pointed out in sufficient detail the logical steps required to get one of the known random mutations to result in a beneficial change in the population phenotype. It’s not hard to follow that through with some cursory statistical analysis, especially when the results you get are so astronomically ridiculous that a margin of error of + / – 10 to the 6th isn’t going to change the results.

    It’s always fun coming in here, pointing out the obvious, and watching you all squirm away from it, hiding behind your abusive insults. Nothing new learned here, that’s for sure.

    And I’ll say it again, since you all seem to like stereotyping me into what you want to dismiss me as, I am not religious or an ID’er. I don’t agree with Behe beyond his initial assessment of the ridiculousness of the belief that random mutation can result in new beneficial population phenotypes.

  207. #209 Ichthyic
    May 4, 2009

    not a single mathematical equation in the whole page.

    “It’s not up to me to provide any rigorous math.”

    nor do I need to, since your application of math here is “not even wrong”.

    It’s your preconception of how probability works in this instance, and your understanding of evolution itself that is what is actually wrong, and why such basic links as “wiki” is the level you need to address yourself to.

    You make the same general error as Stimpy does, as Dembski does.

    Did you need basic links to the many, many articles explaining in detail why Dembski was as incorrect as you are in applying your “logic”?

    go here:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/information/dembski.html

    maybe you’ll begin to recognize your arguments in Dembski’s?

    or, maybe not. You’re pretty dense, after all.

  208. #210 Kel
    May 4, 2009

    I think the problem is that anyone who would like to show the mathematical problems is stygmatized as an ID’er or religious.

    Have they mapped the mathematics to the empirical evidence yet? If not, they don’t have a case. Too often we see the people who talk about the mathematical problems just happen to be the people who are supporting the “God did it” hypothesis. If people have legitimate concerns about the mathematics supporting evolution, then they would take the genetic sequence results of an experiment like Lenski, and make sure that their maths supports what was seen. Furthermore, they should be able to do their own experiments whereby they are able to use the mathematics to predict what results they will get. If not, they simply do not have a case that maths disproves evolution.

  209. Kel said:

    Mutation is random

    Most mutations are the result of recombination and are therefore are not completely random. There are only partly random do to the fact that genes are formed by selecting from a limited set of pre-existing alleles. This allows for a considerable amount of adaptation — not evolution.

  210. #212 'Tis Himself
    May 4, 2009

    Alex Deam,

    My favorite Dropkick Murphys’ song is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5NiYqp8HoM&feature=related

  211. #213 Null Hypothesis
    May 4, 2009

    The problem for you, of course, is that it doesn’t work. It’s just fancy handwaving. Your math model does not apply to real-world DNA.

    But turn things around: Have you ever considered rejecting your religious ideology given the argument of the problem of evil? No? Then you are in fact the ideologically committed one. And the delusional one, too

    I guess you just aren’t reading my posts. I am not religious and I never suggested any religious ideology.

    The fact that my math model does not apply to real world DNA suggests that there is something more complex actually going on, since all I am doing is putting mathematics to the mechanisms put forth by the very New Atheists themselves as an explanation for the emergence of new traits. In essense, you have summed up my point. Get on it. Come up with a new model that does explain it, otherwise in the public domain you will forever be fodder for religious misleaders, and science will be the worse for it.

  212. #214 Kel
    May 4, 2009

    Most mutations are the result of recombination and are therefore are not completely random. There are only partly random do to the fact that genes are formed by selecting from a limited set of pre-existing alleles. This allows for a considerable amount of adaptation — not evolution.

    Adaptation is evolution.

  213. #215 Brownian, OM
    May 4, 2009

    Yeah, sure. “You people” really have stooped to new lows, all I get is insults and abuse and curses, I guess that’s how kids react when they don’t get their way. I have pointed out in sufficient detail the logical steps required to get one of the known random mutations to result in a beneficial change in the population phenotype. It’s not hard to follow that through with some cursory statistical analysis, especially when the results you get are so astronomically ridiculous that a margin of error of + / – 10 to the 6th isn’t going to change the results.

    Then explain the evolution of nylonase using your math, genius.

    And you’re still a lying fucking moron, whether you agree with Behe and Dembski or not.

  214. #216 pdferguson
    May 4, 2009

    Yeah, sure. “You people” really have stooped to new lows, all I get is insults and abuse and curses, I guess that’s how kids react when they don’t get their way.

    Well, boo fuckin’ hoo… Last time I checked, it was you creationists who weren’t getting their way. You’ve been whining throughout this thread that you’re a victim of–what was it again? Oh, yeah–“editors [who] are locked into the narrow minded blindness of the Atheists.” What a load of horseshit.

    You come here looking for insults because you thrive on attention. It really is that simple.

  215. #217 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 4, 2009

    Randy, no paper means you have nothing. Same for you Null. That is how science works. Either you are scientific or not. If so, cite the literature. If not, you are liar and bullshitters. Welcome to real science.

  216. #218 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 4, 2009

    fuck

    the formatting with this new template blows serious ass

  217. #219 Glen Davidson
    May 4, 2009

    And I’ll say it again, since you all seem to like stereotyping me into what you want to dismiss me as, I am not religious or an ID’er. I don’t agree with Behe beyond his initial assessment of the ridiculousness of the belief that random mutation can result in new beneficial population phenotypes.

    OK, Charlie Wagner, or some other fool who simply complains without coming up with an explanation.

    And anyway, who the hell cares that you’re “not an IDer” when you want some fucking intelligence to direct evolution, without, of course, showing any real intelligence. It’s the Great Mutator of Behe, and I don’t care if you shift away from “Designer” just as the IDiots shifted away from “Creator.”

    It’s all meaningless tripe, and you haven’t backed up any of your lily-livered lies. Including the one where you’re “not an IDer,” when you readily fit beneath that description.

    Above all, of course, you can’t explain why the telic mutations are of the sort that would be expected as beneficial mutations under evolutionary theory. As usual, you’re too dishonest to deal with the fact that you can’t explain what non-telic evolution predicts.

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

  218. #220 Brownian, OM
    May 4, 2009

    Fucking blockquote fail. Oh noes, a deleterious mistake! The whole internet is going to explode because of one transcription error.

  219. #221 Ichthyic
    May 4, 2009

    “You people” really have stooped to new lows, all I get is insults and abuse and curses, I guess that’s how kids react when they don’t get their way.

    *yawn*

    I have pointed out in sufficient irrelevant detail the logical steps required [with my massively incorrect presumptions about how DNA works and how evolution works] to get one of the known random mutations to result in a beneficial change in the population phenotype.

    semi-fixed. I really can’t be bothered to do much more.

    as a parting gift, have you considered that not all (some might even say MOST) mutations are beneficial OR deleterious? you do know what the word “neutral” means, right? I don’t have to link to wiki to explain that I assume.

    Remember: it’s not just pure survival that is at work here, but then we’d have to get into the idea of “fitness”, and I’m sure I don’t want to bother having to explain it to you.

  220. #222 'Tis Himself
    May 4, 2009

    I’m still waiting for the basic math that disproves evolution.

    In the meantime, here’s a simple problem in probability. Let’s see if your mathematical knowledge is good enough to solve it:

    There are 10 balls in a box.
    n of the balls are blue.
    I take one ball at random from the box and do not replace it.
    I take a second ball at random from the box.
    The probability that I take two blue balls is 1/3

    Show that n˛ – n – 30 = 0

  221. #224 bastion of sass
    May 4, 2009

    Josh @172

    *eye roll*
    …I’m still watching.

    Yeah, roll your eyes. Guess that’s the best you can do tonight, eh?

    Is this your new strategy? Go drinkin’, come home, relax, “watching” the rest of us exhaust ourselves and our ammo? [snort]

    If that’s your plan, I’m not impressed.

  222. #225 not a tech wizz
    May 4, 2009

    I don’t see any difference in the formatting….Is it because I’m on a Mac.?

  223. #226 Ichthyic
    May 4, 2009

    Most mutations are the result of recombination and are therefore are not completely random

    this isn’t what Kel meant by “random”.

    random in this sense is not the probability distribution, but the EFFECT of the mutation. This always has been what “random” has meant wrt to mutations, btw, something else you either had forgotten or repressed, since I’m sure it was explained to you before.

    The whole internet is going to explode because of one transcription error.

    You bastard!

    You bast…

    *zzzzttt*

    *pop*

  224. #227 Josh
    May 4, 2009

    And of course I grope for your approval…

    *ducks*

  225. #228 Patricia, OM
    May 4, 2009

    Alex Deam – Along with the Pork Bomb, the same guys have bacon wrapped hot dawgs.

    I’ve made basket weave pie crusts, but I think the BigDumbChimp is the only person I ‘know’ that would be willing to weave bacon. ;)

  226. #229 Patricia, OM
    May 4, 2009

    Josh, OM – If you’re going to grope I grant you 20 extra ducats to your bar tab, and one extra turn at the spanking couch.

    Moderation is for monks. Enjoy your Monday!

  227. #230 Sven DiMilo
    May 4, 2009

    In other news, sources say that the Dead are finally onstage in Chicago and opened with China Cat -> Born Cross-Eyed. Alas, no stream tonight…spoiled already.

  228. #231 Qwerty
    May 4, 2009

    Patricia OM @ 159:
    “Rev.BigDumbChimp – I’ve been waiting for an open thread to share this one with you – Bacon Explosion Pork Bomb .
    Get this – basket weave bacon!”

    I’ve been watching Diners, Dives and Drive Ins on DVD and I don’t think this has ever been served.

    Rev. BDC – Have you watched this? If bacon is the cure-all for a hangover, you could do a lot of drinking while eating the Bacon EPB!

  229. #232 Ichthyic
    May 4, 2009

    *plugs in backup vaccum intartube*

    There are only partly random do to the fact that genes are formed by selecting from a limited set of pre-existing alleles. This allows for a considerable amount of adaptation — not evolution.

    Didn’t realize you were a baraminologist too, randy.

    oh, and since you want to understand how evolution works so bad, you might try looking up “founder effect”.

    I’m sure it will blow your tiny mind.

  230. #233 CJO
    May 4, 2009

    Daisy, Daisyy, I’m haallf crraaazzyyy, aaaaaalllllll fffffoooorrrrrrr th-th-thee… lllllllooovvvvvve ooooooooffffffffff yyyyoooooooooooouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuj

  231. #234 dreikin
    May 4, 2009

    @Null Hypothesis:

    The fact that my math model does not apply to real world DNA suggests that there is something more complex actually going on

    It’s a bit late in my day and I’m preoccupied, so rather than having to search the entire thread, could you post a link to that math?

  232. #235 Glen Davidson
    May 4, 2009

    Unsurprisingly, one of the predictions in evolution is that the ratio of “beneficial” to “harmful” mutations is expected to tend toward zero, at any time when selection pressures are relatively stable.

    This is what these cretins typically forget. During periods of change, otoh, beneficial mutations are rather more common, mainly because the organism is then not as well adapted to the niche its invading.

    So they ignore the actual predictions of evolution (beneficial mutations becoming rare in a well-adapted population), assume that nothing changes during the course of evolution–despite the fact that evolution is about change, and make their little literalistic calculations as if the figures are holy writ (these people are almost always fundamentalists in thought, no matter their religion).

    And again, they don’t bother to explain anything at all that non-telic evolution does. Above all, they don’t tell us how to create even a useful heuristic to replace the useful heuristics of evolutionary theory.

    But their stupid calculations (which should not be called probabilities, since they’re not based on the science) show that swine flu can’t undergo useful mutation and selection, so it doesn’t. For one who (supposedly) doesn’t agree with Behe, we’re eerily back to god (or god-like principle, to use nully’s dodge) designing pathogens.

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

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

  233. #236 Brownian, OM
    May 4, 2009

    Here, Rev: you might want to make a few of these to keep your kitchen table nice and tidy at mealtime.

  234. #237 'Tis Himself
    May 4, 2009

    It’s a bit late in my day and I’m preoccupied, so rather than having to search the entire thread, could you post a link to that math?

    I asked for the math about 45 minutes ago. There isn’t any response (and probably isn’t any math).

  235. #238 Sven DiMilo
    May 4, 2009

    Isn’t that the math up in # 124? (Supplied, I’ll note, by someone other than Stimpson.) It has nothing to do with actual biology. Maybe there’s more…?

  236. #239 dreikin
    May 4, 2009

    Most mutations are the result of recombination and are therefore are not completely random.

    That they are the result of recombination is not important – randomness only requires that an event can not be predicted from prior events. In this case, that a mutation results from recombination rather than, say, a point mutation is not relevant – the events measured are changes in sequence, not the methods by which they occur.

  237. #240 Glen Davidson
    May 4, 2009

    Isn’t that the math up in # 124? (Supplied, I’ll note, by someone other than Stimpson.) It has nothing to do with actual biology.

    A little, in fact.

    But it’s not anything to do with evolution, rather it’s a simplistic calculation involving abiogenesis. Likely Stimpy (or whoever) doesn’t know the difference after being told thousands of times, however. The mixture of stupidity and dishonesty is no doubt responsible, as an honest stupid person would act differently from Stimpy, while a dishonest smart person would at least come up with something more convincing to those of us who understand these matters.

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

  238. #241 Marita
    May 4, 2009

    Most mutations are the result of recombination…

    Are they? Cite please?

  239. #242 bastion of sass
    May 4, 2009

    Josh @227

    And of course I grope for your approval…

    And just who are you groping for my approval?

    BTW, sweetie, a big congrats on the OM! Bravo! You deserved it after your unbelievably patient and persistent work in the Titanoboa and Watchmen threads.

    And, now, back to the sass….

  240. #243 Sphere Coupler
    May 4, 2009

    Maybe Josh is out of rocks, maybe he isn’t really home, maybe he’s got a sat lap top, maybe he can’t get enough of that dead stuff at the museum, maybe the museum is closed…maybe

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

  241. #244 Rey Fox
    May 4, 2009

    Who who the what what?

  242. #245 Sphere Coupler
    May 4, 2009

    Josh acquired his OM, well now, that changes everything. This calls for a celebration May I make the suggestion that we roast him “all night long”

    *kinda like that BBQ role*

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7r90tCxd8l4

    Congrats Josh,OM

  243. #246 'Tis Himself
    May 4, 2009

    sn’t that the math up in # 124? (Supplied, I’ll note, by someone other than Stimpson.) It has nothing to do with actual biology.

    Nope, we were told, very specifically:

    The point that random mutation would detroy a genome before accidental beneficial mutations could happen is not based on fuzzy intuition. That math behind the argument is actually quite simple.

    Repeated requests for “the math” have not produced any equations from either Intelligent Designer or Null Hypothesis. In fact, Ol’ Null proudly stated:

    It’s not up to me to provide any rigorous math, since I’m not claiming to have all the answers.

    In other words, it’s the schoolyard chant “I know something I won’t tell, so there, nyah!”

  244. #247 Gzalzi
    May 4, 2009

    PZ is a Marathon fan?

  245. #248 Sven DiMilo
    May 4, 2009

    Ah, hadn’t seen that. What a doofus.

  246. #249 hje
    May 4, 2009

    Speaking of bacon and bacon-o-philia, I had something like this recipe when I was last in China. Here it’s called chicken-fried bacon–and it lacks the sesame seed (?) coating that was applied in the Chinese recipe.

    http://www.chow.com/recipes/14206

    Served piping hot. And it was so very good. Has to be washed down with lots of room temperature Coke or their very weak beer. Followed by a good dose of statins.

  247. #250 CatBallou
    May 4, 2009

    Thanks, Ichthyic, for your comment at 221. I’m not a scientist, so I’ve just been watching the debate—but even I could see that Null has a simplistic notion about mutations being either good or bad.
    A bad mutation will remove its carrier from the reproducing population, but a neutral mutation will have no effect. Surely neutral mutations can accumulate and produce good effects, just as they can produce bad ones. An individual mutation doesn’t have to be a either/or.

  248. #251 uncle frogy
    May 4, 2009

    I read this here the other day
    ———–
    By theological questions, Eagleton means questions like, ?Why is there anything in the first place??, ?Why what we do have is actually intelligible to us?? and ?Where do our notions of explanation, regularity and intelligibility come from??
    ——–
    I do hate the why question. It is so pointless and circular and ends up with, because, why? because….why? because…Why?
    for ever to only end when the answer is “I said so” or a punch in the nose. Very unuseful. Before I ask that question I find it better to ask, what? how? when? since these questions can have answers. Isn’t that what people like Darwin and Lyell were trying to answer.

    42!

    religion or faith does not ask real questions that I can understand. Taking for granted what life the universe and everything is and come up with the “meaning and purpose” the why as “faith” it stops the child’s fear and doubt to say I, he, them, the book, god said so?

    42!
    asking questions that have answers lead to more questions and more understanding of what is going on, like is mater made of?
    what is a Species how did it come about. What is the Sun? the questions that science can answer. Questions of what is objective reality anything else would be completely subjective. Such questions (why and meaning of faith) can only be poetic answers that could only truly express the personal experience of living.
    The fundamentalists answers are so pinched and constrained as to completely stifling so absolutist as to be dead and deadening. While the fundamentalists themselves are dangerous, tyrannical lunatics for whom the uses of “The Inquisition” are a rational idea!

  249. #252 Feynmaniac
    May 4, 2009

    Show that n˛ – n – 30 = 0

    Wait, there are negative five blue balls?

    Actually showing this is not hard at all. A high school student with a little knowledge of combinatorics could easily solve it. We have yet to find out if intelligent designer or null hypothesis can.

  250. #253 Patricia, OM
    May 4, 2009

    Might as well egg Josh on to celebrate…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wecBzEbQEjk&feature=related

  251. #254 Alex Deam
    May 4, 2009

    Pharyngula has a spanking couch?!

    And PZ hasn’t told the rest of us about this why?

  252. #255 Kel
    May 4, 2009

    Most mutations are the result of recombination and are therefore are not completely random

    this isn’t what Kel meant by “random”.

    random in this sense is not the probability distribution, but the EFFECT of the mutation. This always has been what “random” has meant wrt to mutations, btw, something else you either had forgotten or repressed, since I’m sure it was explained to you before.

    Thanks for stepping in to clear that up. Got caught up at work so I couldn’t get back to make a response.

    This notion seems central to understanding how natural selection works. Could it be that Stimpy’s rejection of evolution stems from a misunderstanding of how the basic process works? Or his he just another lame godbot who is doing whatever mental gymnastics he needs to justify his belief in a creator? The only other alternative is that he has applied the maths to the empirical observation and found it to be invalid… in which case a nobel prize, global fame and a place in the annals of history awaits… if only he would release a paper on the matter

  253. #256 raven
    May 4, 2009

    PZ Myers:

    There may be some strange changes in the formatting — the techs at Seed are updating our templates. Another good reason for me to stay away, until they are done.

    Well that explains why pharyngula keeps halting on me during loading and crashing my browser. Using explorer and the usual monkeying around with settings didn’t work.

    I finally resurrected a very old dead non microsoft browser which is working well.

    Anyone else having this problem with scienceblogs?

  254. #257 Lynna
    May 4, 2009

    Glen @141: I enjoyed this post. The explanation of why and how that kind of thinking is so convoluted was good. I’ve been trying to figure out how to explain the convolution factor to friends that use that argument for Intelligent Design.

  255. #258 Alex Deam
    May 4, 2009

    Using explorer and the usual monkeying around with settings didn’t work.

    I finally resurrected a very old dead non microsoft browser which is working well.

    Anyone else having this problem with scienceblogs?

    Two words: FIREFOX

  256. #259 bastion of sass
    May 4, 2009

    Josh acquired his OM, well now, that changes everything. This calls for a celebration

    I’m up for a party, but I’m not sure about Josh. He’s mighty subdued tonight.

    And, hey, we can fight and party!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NdAUnnU9Ac

    Maybe Patricia could bring the pies.

  257. #260 Anonymous
    May 4, 2009

    I’ve been checking on this thread off and on all night (with an occasional comment) and have had zero problems….Mac>Safari.

  258. #261 Kel
    May 4, 2009

    The worst thing I find about Stimpy’s argument is that he ignores all the evidence that is for evolution, instead focusing on a smoking gun argument. Pseudogenes? Doesn’t matter, it’s impossible. Similar adaptative morphology? Doesn’t matter, it’s impossible. Biogeographic distribution of life? Doesn’t matter, it’s impossible. An ever-increasing fossil record showing multiple features in various stages? Doesn’t matter, it’s impossible. Virus markers in DNA? Doesn’t matter, it’s impossible. Observed speciation? Doesn’t matter, it’s impossible.

    No matter what the evidence for evolution, it’s being ignored for a smoking gun – and a theoretical smoking gun at that. Information theory should demonstrate what Charles Darwin predicted: that evolution was inevitable because variation in a population would accumulate over time. But no, it has to be impossible because the maths shows it to be… where is the maths linking to experimental support? Why isn’t Stimpy badgering Lenski so you can apply the mathematics to the empirical evidence? Why isn’t Stimpy hammering on the doors of Nature or Science showing that you have a universe-altering revelation? Why isn’t Stimpy there doing the experiments himself?

    Methinks Stimpy just wants to say “God did it” and feel smart for doing so. It’s Dembski minus the public spotlight.

  259. #262 raven
    May 4, 2009

    Null hypothesis the boring xian llying troll:

    You wouldn’t have to resort to mocking creationists if you could instead provide a plausible scientific explanation of how genetic complexity arises from random mutations and natural selection. But wait … you can’t, so continue on … you won’t be winning any more public support that way.

    We have, it is called evolution. We can demonstrate it and use it . An approved drug for preventing blindness, Macugen was evolved in vitro by random mutation and selection. It is merely a parlor trick unless your vision is going downhill from macular degeneration.

    All you have is lies. And speaking of public support, the majority of the US population despises the fundies like you according to polls. Only 21% of the US population identifies themselves as Theothuglicans according to another recent poll. All christofascists can do is destroy. What good have the fundies ever done for humankind.

    And between 1 and 2 million Americans leave xianity every year. It is asshole liars like you that drive them away. Amazingly enough, while these statistics are well known, the fundies seem to be absolutely oblivious to what they are doing, destroying their own religion. .

  260. #263 Anonymous
    May 4, 2009

    “Well, the flight itself wasn’t so bad, but it had Eagleton and Fish and Samuel L. Jackson in it”

    Oh– so it was snakes on a plane, then?

  261. #264 Ichthyic
    May 4, 2009

    I do hate the why question. It is so pointless and circular and ends up with, because, why? because….why? because…Why?

    obviously, it is neither pointless nor circular to ask why something is. What’s pointless is to assume that a limited investigation of why something is will net you a good answer.

    Before I ask that question I find it better to ask, what? how? when? since these questions can have answers.

    Indeed, asking and answering the proximal questions often leads to eliminating potential ultimate explanations, so that’s a productive way to approach it.

    Isn’t that what people like Darwin and Lyell were trying to answer.

    yes, but they were also attempting to answer why questions as well (it’s why Darwin took the trip on the Beagle to begin with)…and evolution IS a great answer to many “why” questions, supported well by Darwin’s hypothesis of selection as a (one of several) “how” mechanism.

    42!

    This implies you understand the answers, but do not understand the questions. Is this the case?

    religion or faith does not ask real questions that I can understand.

    they ask questions alright, they just inherently cannot supply useful answers.

    Taking for granted what life the universe and everything is and come up with the “meaning and purpose” the why as “faith” it stops the child’s fear and doubt to say I, he, them, the book, god said so?

    thus will always end the investigation when one attempts to start with the presupposition of “meaning and purpose”.

    asking questions that have answers lead to more questions and more understanding of what is going on

    yup, that’s what makes science so fucking cool.

  262. #265 Patricia, OM
    May 4, 2009

    Alex – Don’t you think captaining this place is enough for PZ to do?

    He has Ilk, minions, hordes, sluts, brawlers, militant atheists, elitist bastards, strumpets, sharks, naked bunnies with whips and French taunters to take care of the chores.

    Hell, heading up the Vile Bitches corps is damn near a full time job for Janine.

  263. #266 raven
    May 4, 2009

    Null hypothesis the lying xian trollL

    … not a single mathematical equation in the whole page.
    < ./blockquote>

    The mathematical underpinnings of evolution span over a century from Darwin to Mendel, Fisher, Haldane up to the present computer models. To understand it completely would take brains , mathematical ability, and years. None of which you possess.

    Darwin and his contemporaries didn’t need them. We don’t need equations to prove that birds can fly, internal combustion engines can drive planes and cars, or that trees can photosynthesize. We just look out the window.

    Instead of lying, why don’t you provide some equations that prove you exist. Otherwise we have to assume you are merely a badly written troll program emulating a fundie xian. No equations, no proof that you are anything but malware.

    We won’t get anything intelligent from this one, just a crackpot recycling the old, tired fallacies. Trolls R Us must be on their last legs.

  264. #267 Patricia, OM
    May 4, 2009

    Bastion of Sass – If you bring up my pies all you’ll do is get Brownian, OM all excited and he’ll neglect Null’s mom.

  265. #268 Alex Deam
    May 4, 2009

    Can I just ask: what exactly is the difference between an open thread and a regular thread here? We go off topic in every thread anyway.

    The only difference I can see is that (so far) there are no Libertarians in open threads.

    *ducks*

  266. #269 Sphere Coupler
    May 4, 2009

    A geologist is the only person who can can talk to a woman and use the
    words “dike” “thrust” “bed” “orogeny” “cleavage” and “subduction” in the
    same sentence without facing a civil suit.

    *I warn you sassy bastion your*
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhhtRxqSrys

  267. #270 Patricia, OM
    May 4, 2009

    Raven – Alas, I fear Pharyngula has but one Brenda , the gold standard troll. The $1 Store, Trolls R Us and the Troll Market may never see her like again. *sniff*

  268. #271 Crudely Wrott
    May 4, 2009

    I know I’m late to the party and I haven’t read every comment in this thread but could someone help me?

    What is “Frog vent the blast core?”

    I must have slept through that lecture.

    *if it’s a secret code, don’t tell me; it wouldn’t be secret any more*

  269. #272 Alex Deam
    May 4, 2009

    Most people don’t like failing tests, but I think the worst test to fail would be the Turing test.

  270. #273 raven
    May 4, 2009

    It?s scary only until you realize that there?s not much left of the GOP
    these days, and the extremist nuts make up a disproportionate number of
    that GOP ?base.? In Georgia, for instance, 25% of voters identify
    themselves as Republicans (which is higher than the country at large,
    which is now only 22% Republican.

    Instead of rehashing mathematical proofs that bumblebees can’t fly with is ID/Nulls modus operandi, it looks like the GOP has imploded. They are down to 22% and there has been a sharp drop recently.

    What is left is the lunatic fringe. Racists who can’t look a mixed race president in the eye, hardcore xian fundie fascists, seccessionists in the sourth, Texas, Alaska, and other states who openly hate the USA, creationists, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter fans and so on. It is still spooky that the USA has a lunatic fringe that is over 20% of the population, especially since they can be prone to violence. Homeland Security called the right wing kooks our greatest national threat..

    As Hitchens said, religion poisons everything. The christofascists can only lie, hate, and destroy. Everything they did in the last 8 years turned to crap. They destroyed the US and world economies, created a huge mess in Iraq, and now the GOP is in its death throes.

    Oddly enough, the fundies haven’t seemed to notice or even care. They really are that dumb.

  271. #274 mikeg
    May 4, 2009

    anybody… who was the 1st to comment… (+)… and why?

  272. #275 Patricia, OM
    May 4, 2009

    Alex – Bring up the L word and you loose one turn at the spanking couch.

    Do it again and you will be fined 10 ducats.

  273. #276 Kagato
    May 4, 2009

    If the chances of a random mutation creating something that’s beneficial are so low, that by the time you got a good one you’ve already destroyed your genome, as I said before.

    But, see, it doesn’t work like that. (It can’t work like that.)

    Detrimental mutations reduce an organism’s ability to survive and reproduce. Any organism with enough mutations to “destroy” their genome won’t be breeding, and therefore its genes won’t play any part in the future of the species.

    Even if an individual with some negative trait manages to breed and pass that trait on, and its offspring have other detrimental mutations, they have an even slimmer chance of breeding. Wholly negative traits just can’t accumulate for very long.

    You could simulate a population where advantageous mutations never occurred, and as long as you don’t set the negative mutation rate too high, the population would survive indefinitely.

  274. #277 Standard curve
    May 4, 2009

    I didn’t just save a bunch of money on my car insurance… I just figured out how to get my mass spectrometer to twitter a message every few hours or so to prove that it didn’t stop in the middle of a huge sample list, or two minutes after I walked out of the lab to go home. Now I don’t have to drive to work to check and see if it stopped, I will know if it did.

  275. #278 Owlmirror
    May 4, 2009

    The fact that my math model does not apply to real world DNA suggests that there is something more complex actually going on, since all I am doing is putting mathematics to the mechanisms put forth by the very New Atheists themselves as an explanation for the emergence of new traits.

    Wait, what?

    No. No. No.

    First of all, what do the “New Atheists” have to do with it? Either you reference some specific evolutionary biology text (possibly authored by someone who is a New Atheist) — or admit that you’re just making it all up. The philosophical opinions of the author or authors is not relevant. Do we really need to point, yet again, to the theistic evolutionists, who, despite everything they believe about God existing, are adamant that the supposed tampering with DNA they believe happens cannot be demonstrated?

    Secondly, the whole point is that you’re not “putting mathematics to the mechanisms”. You’re putting mathematics to a confused strawman of evolution.

    If you ever do write this up for publication in a journal, you will need to cite your sources. OK, start. Find an evolutionary biology text, cite the paragraphs that you think describes the model you’re using, then show how your math matches the model.

    Show. ALL. Work.

    In essense, you have summed up my point. Get on it. Come up with a new model that does explain it, otherwise in the public domain you will forever be fodder for religious misleaders, and science will be the worse for it.

    Pft. Which is more probable? That you, like those religious misleaders, misunderstand evolutionary biology? Or that the enormous pool of publishing evolutionary biologists have somehow missed something that you have discovered?

  276. #280 Crudely Wrott
    May 4, 2009

    Can you eat Frog vent the blast core?

    @272 — Surely this question passes the Turing test. This notion only occurs to me due to an unexpected conflation of a rhetorical question from childhood and reading your comment after I posed my question.

  277. #281 Crudely Wrott
    May 4, 2009

    I mean, if Frog vent the blast core was anything like bacon, I would eat it. After carefully watching someone else demonstrating the proper technique so that I could consume the treat without giving offense. I aim to please.

    Oh, about the Turing test; I’m no longer certain that my question would pass. I just remembered auto–update. Doh!

    But still . . .

  278. #282 bastion of sass
    May 5, 2009

    The only difference I can see is that (so far) there are no [redacted] in open threads.

    Noooooooooooooo!

    *throw myself on the L word and hope I squish it before it attracts the notice of they-who-will-not-be-mentioned*

  279. #283 Owlmirror
    May 5, 2009

    Take 4:

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Duis neque. Nullam aliquet magna et diam. Fusce sit amet urna. Sed gravida sapien sed leo. Fusce id velit. Quisque vulputate sem. In auctor sapien nec libero. Ut quam. In ultricies, nunc sagittis adipiscing consectetur, arcu mi pharetra nisl, a feugiat quam neque vitae elit. Nulla nisl felis, semper at, vestibulum et, pellentesque in, metus. Sed lobortis scelerisque odio.

    Mauris iaculis aliquet lacus. Vivamus gravida, risus et tincidunt aliquet, ante ligula convallis erat, pretium bibendum tortor urna et elit. Sed eget sem. Cras vitae dui. Sed libero mi, rhoncus at, dictum sit amet, ultricies non, ante. Morbi vel risus ac tortor vehicula suscipit. Nunc vitae quam at purus porttitor varius. Duis pretium ipsum eget risus. Curabitur sagittis eleifend nibh. Nulla suscipit sollicitudin erat. Aliquam pretium. Suspendisse lacus. Nullam sed velit. Pellentesque auctor, orci vitae convallis hendrerit, neque magna euismod quam, ut mattis nisi eros a sapien. Mauris condimentum arcu vel mi. Morbi vitae felis. Integer venenatis sapien ut nunc. Nunc non nunc. Aliquam erat volutpat. In eget lectus a arcu aliquam ornare.

    Donec bibendum ipsum sit amet est. Integer bibendum felis id dui. Curabitur tincidunt malesuada dolor. Aliquam varius tristique velit. Proin euismod, nibh sed dictum porttitor, lorem tortor feugiat dolor, nec adipiscing est diam nec odio. In mattis ornare velit. Duis vel sem eu est semper ultrices. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Duis nec tellus. Donec ipsum erat, auctor sit amet, consequat ac, auctor vel, dolor.

  280. #284 bastion of sass
    May 5, 2009

    Patricia wrote:

    If you bring up my pies all you’ll do is get Brownian, OM all excited and he’ll neglect Null’s mom.

    Oh, gawd. First we have Josh groping someone. Now what’s Brownian doing to Null’s mom?!

    Isn’t Brownian supposed to be excited when he’s [ahem] not neglecting Null’s mom?

  281. @222

    (n/10) * ((n-1)/9) = 1/3

    I hope that helps

  282. #286 Owlmirror
    May 5, 2009

    div#comments p {margin-bottom: 6px; margin-left: 28px;}

    (28px ???)

    Aha.

    PZ, could you whisper a word in the shell-like ears of the Seed overlords, telling them that having the text of regular paragraphs lining up with blockquoted text is confusing to the eye, and to kindly remove that “margin-left: 28px;”? Especially since it appears to not be implemented consistently (sometimes, text is not placed into <p> tags).

    Thanks ever so much.

  283. #287 Patricia, OM
    May 5, 2009

    I am sick and tired of the namby pamby, sucky tit, wabbly weiny christian wannabes.

    Gawd is a number? Gawd is some kind of bacteria? You yellow bellied sissies.

    Genesis 1 In the beginning god created the heaven and the earth. True or not?

    And god said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the fowl of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
    So god created man in his own image, in the image of god created he him; male and female created he them.

    Genesis 1:26

    Is this true or not? Is mankind an image of a number, a bacteria or god?

  284. #288 Patricia, OM
    May 5, 2009

    Bastion – Brownian is always doing someones mom…I’ve got used to the shrieking in the background.

  285. Marita @ 241,

    Let me quote Larry Moran on mutations due to copy errors.

    Thus, each newly formed human zygote has approximately 129 new spontaneous mutations. This value is somewhat less than the number in most textbooks where it’s common to see 300-350 mutations per genome.

    This is obviously less that the difference between you and either of your parents as a result of recombination.

  286. #290 Crudely Wrott
    May 5, 2009

    Mankind is an image of itself. Probably closer to a bacteria than to a number. Much closer to a number than to a god.

    “And one step behind of themselves
    And their slow movin’ dreams.”
    –Willie Nelson, Mammas, Don’t let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys

    I speak with some little authority concerning cowboys. We are a dying breed. But not all will die.

    And a big ol’ western grin to all, but what about Frog vent the blast core? I’m goin’ crazy over here!

  287. #291 Darren Garrison
    May 5, 2009

    Since this thread is dedicated to random subject, I think some might enjoy the photos I’ve been taking the last couple of days of some fossils in my collection. This represents my Irrational Obsession with _Flexicalymene_sp._ period.

    http://s313.photobucket.com/albums/ll394/darrengarrison/fossils/

  288. #292 Patricia, OM
    May 5, 2009

    Crudely Wrott – Christ on a cracker, are you gonna make me go out to the garage and look up the number stamped on my Hamley saddle – which proves we all have asses made in gawds image? *Smirk*

  289. Ichthyic said:

    oh, and since you want to understand how evolution works so bad, you might try looking up “founder effect”.

    I understand the founder effect. So what’s your point?

  290. #294 studying
    May 5, 2009

    Exodus 20:26 (New Living Translation)

    “26 And do not approach my altar by going up steps. If you do, someone might look up under your clothing and see your nakedness.”

    And then God created panties to thwart the Devil that lives in all of us.

  291. #295 Crudely Wrott
    May 5, 2009

    Hell no, Patricia! Your saddle will look nearly identical to the one I used to throw on ol’ Lightning. There can’t be that much difference between the shape or our butts.

    The idea that our butts look like god is funniest! Thanks!

    And thanks for your well considered and carefully worded comments. I look forward to them.

    Giddapp!

  292. #296 bastion of sass
    May 5, 2009

    what about Frog vent the blast core? I’m goin’ crazy over here!

    http://marathon.bungie.org/story/sounds.html

  293. #297 Anonymous
    May 5, 2009

    The fact that my math model does not apply to real world DNA suggests that there is something more complex actually going on

    Gosh, do ya think? “Real world” DNA is more complicated, more complex than your little brain and a TI-83 calculator can handle?

    Perhaps you should just stick to “make believe” DNA instead, it’s much easier. It can be whatever you want, that’s the great thing about the magical world of make believe!

  294. #298 Patricia, OM
    May 5, 2009

    Now let’s be careful: Exodus 20:25 – And if thou wilt make me and altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it.

    Come on! Be careful how thee liftith up thy tool.

  295. #299 Kseniya
    May 5, 2009

    Here’s my heavy-metal offering. :-)

  296. #300 SpankR
    May 5, 2009

    Holy crap! PZ just scored major WIN with that reference.

    True story:

    Me and the fellas cornered Bob at the Marathon 2 release party and made him say “Frog blast the vent core!” It was beautiful.

  297. Did someone just trick me into doing their homework?

  298. #302 Alex Deam
    May 5, 2009

    I didn’t just save a bunch of money on my car insurance… I just figured out how to get my mass spectrometer to twitter a message every few hours or so to prove that it didn’t stop in the middle of a huge sample list, or two minutes after I walked out of the lab to go home. Now I don’t have to drive to work to check and see if it stopped, I will know if it did.

    You see, now all you’ve gone and done is given your mass spectrometer an excuse to spend all day on twitter while only pretending it’s figuring out the composition of a sample.

    Guess it’s better than when my fridge became addicted to 4chan. Didn’t eat for days.

    Alex – Bring up the L word and you loose one turn at the spanking couch.

    Do it again and you will be fined 10 ducats.

    That’s okay – I don’t have any ducats. :^D

    Anyway, between PZ being kidnapped by a mob of science nerds and English majors; Brownian doing FSM-knows-what MILF right now; Lorem ipsum boy over there speaking tongues; Frog vent the blast core (???); and the latest trolls being booorrrring…. we could use a few L’s around here.

  299. #303 Crudely Wrott
    May 5, 2009

    Thank you, bastion of sass, for the link.

    Unfortunately I admit to being un-hip. Haven’t listened to these routines. But if the older ones I have listened to are any guide and if there is some common thread between what was funny back in my day and what was funny in yours, then that’s some funny shit.

    People don’t change that much. They just change words now and again. But funny, if it is truly, penetratingly and embarrassingly funny to most people is, well, that’s funny.

    One of the nice features of this blog is that funny is routinely recognized here.

    Refreshing.

  300. #304 Sonic Screwdriver
    May 5, 2009

    Serious biological arguments aside, does anyone else think it’s silly that people believe a big beardy white dude made everything? Was he bored?
    Evolution v. Creation arguments degenerate into mean personal attacks so quickly cause one side is just kinda being dumb and you can’t fight with a fundamentalist. Trying to argue with intellectual brick walls like the very religious makes them dinkum thinkum folks grumpy.

  301. #305 Brownian, OM
    May 5, 2009

    Brownian doing FSM-knows-what MILF right now

    I’ll have you know I was up to no such shenanigans. My evening was spent getting my laptop back up and running and watching a bad film adaptation of a great noir third-person shooter.

    I’m really mostly a good boy.

    Did someone just trick me into doing their homework?

    Ha-ha! Like there’s a single person here who’d trust you to do their homework. An F is an F, whether it’s due to non-completion or incompetence, and the former doesn’t require your help.

    Besides, I believe I assigned you some reading not too long ago when you claimed you wanted to understand evolution better. Your comments demonstrate you either didn’t do the assigned reading or failed to grasp the concepts presented.

  302. #306 Rorschach
    May 5, 2009

    Owlmirror,

    what’s with the Lorem ipsum shit LOL.

    I didnt realize it was based on a text by Cicero,so thanks for making me look it up !

    Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit etc….

  303. #307 Alex Deam
    May 5, 2009
  304. #308 raven
    May 5, 2009

    dumb designer:

    Most mutations are the result of recombination…

    Are they? Cite please?

    His Answer
    Marita @ 241,

    Let me quote Larry Moran on mutations due to copy errors.

    Thus, each newly formed human zygote has approximately 129 new spontaneous mutations. This value is somewhat less than the number in most textbooks where it’s common to see 300-350 mutations per genome.
    This is obviously less that the difference between you and either of your parents as a result of recombination.

    This is why people on this blog have nothing but contempt for you. You don’t even have a high school knowledge of what you are babbling on about.

    Recombination due to meiosis just reshuffles the genetic deck. There is likely to be millions of bases difference between someone and one parent or the other because of this. But these differences aren’t mutations, just preexisting variants.

    The number of 129 mutations is the de novo mutation rate from one generation of humans to the other.

    This is simple, basic biology. If you don’t know what a mutation is, why should anyone take you seriously?

    Any two humans can differ by up to 15 million base pairs. A huge amount. So where did this variation come from? These are neutral mutations mostly that accumulated over the ages, hundreds of thousands or millions of years.

    You are just a classic crackpot, like Parsons who can prove that quantum mechanics and relativity are wrong even though the world’s physicists don’t quite see his point.

  305. #309 Ichthyic
    May 5, 2009

    This is obviously less that the difference between you and either of your parents as a result of recombination.

    which kinda explains “why sex”, eh?

    but it of course only makes sense if you look at it as a prediction of the ToE.

    How does ID explain sex, Randy?

    Let me rephrase that:

    What strawman of the actual way sex works does ID put forward to knock down and claim it explained something?

    Storkism?

    We gave you MANY chances, Stimpy, over the last several months.

    You’ve failed.

    all that’s left is ridicule.

  306. #310 Alex Deam
    May 5, 2009

    Incidentally:

    In a stunning result, the winner of the third annual TIME 100 poll and new owner of the title World’s Most Influential Person is moot. The 21-year-old college student and founder of the online community 4chan.org, whose real name is Christopher Poole, received 16,794,368 votes and an average influence rating of 90 (out of a possible 100) to handily beat the likes of Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin and Oprah Winfrey. To put the magnitude of the upset in perspective, it’s worth noting that everyone moot beat out actually has a job.

    Just what in the fuck is going on?!

    http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1894028,00.html

  307. #311 Ichthyic
    May 5, 2009

    id someone just trick me into doing their homework?

    if that’s the way you do “homework”, no wonder you’re such an ignorant ass.

    I’m sure you’ll upset the apple cart of evolution any day now, Stimpy.

  308. #312 Ichthyic
    May 5, 2009

    Just what in the fuck is going on?!

    LOL

    4chan hacked the Time Poll?

    hilarious.

  309. #313 Crudely Wrott
    May 5, 2009

    You bet, Sonic. Why, sometimes I feel the weight of fate on my shoulders and shudder noticeably when recalling the things I did in the name of he who is but is not named but it’s OK now he can be called by one of these names.

    OTOH, having actually entertained the notion that such a beard in fact existed, flowing past the aching years of light and arriving sheveled and with the crystallized air of certainty and purpose focused directly on me, yeah, I can understand the attraction. It’s so easy. One just quits and assumes another takes over.

    I’ve tried this. It works for about a little while; longer if you’re light on your feet when you open you mouth and glib when you walk tippytoes.

    I quit doing this not long after starting. Doesn’t satisfy. It is kind of like telling one little lie that leads to more little lies and then leads to some bigger ones to cover the little ones. The catch is that when you get in the habit of lying you must remember each and every one. That job gets harder fast.

  310. #314 Kel
    May 5, 2009

    What strawman of the actual way sex works does ID put forward to knock down and claim it explained something?

    So this is why there fundies advocate the missionary position… must be that the marital status and sexual position of those “exchanging genes” matters, God help test tube babies…

  311. #315 Ichthyicg
    May 5, 2009

    for thems that asked:

    The New Zealand pics from Auckland are up on flickr; I’ll add the blog entry on Poke It With a Stick tomorrow.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ichthyic/collections/

    cheers

  312. #316 Brownian, OM
    May 5, 2009

    Yep, Alex. It was Max Payne.

    Oh, well. The cinematography was good, even if I did drift off a bit during the climactic shoot out. (Boy, if only I had a nickel for every time that’s happened.)

    I wonder who they’ll cast when they make Pharyngula: the Motion Picture.

  313. #317 Alex Deam
    May 5, 2009

    You are just a classic crackpot, like Parsons who can prove that quantum mechanics and relativity are wrong even though the world’s physicists don’t quite see his point.

    Who is this Parsons? I tried googling, but all I got was Sheldon (not that that’s a bad thing).

  314. #318 Kel
    May 5, 2009

    We gave you MANY chances, Stimpy, over the last several months.

    You’ve failed.

    all that’s left is ridicule.

    That’s it in a nutshell. NoR may come off as crude and contemptuous, but he’s speaking a basic fundamental truth – your ideas are worthless until you put them up for peer review. From one non-scientist to another, it’s best to leave science to the scientists because they know what they are doing. They know that the process of testing an idea is to try to falsify it, to do whatever they can in order to show that their idea is wrong – and then take it to other scientists who will do the same thing.

    Please Randy, stop looking for that smoking gun. It’s not there, and to argue that you’ve found it at the expense of all the evidence to the contrary is being both arrogant and ignorant. But if you truly believe that you have the smoking gun, the scientists here have repeatedly told you what to do with it – write up your findings and shove them at a peer review journal.

  315. #319 Ichthyic
    May 5, 2009

    Yep, Alex. It was Max Payne.

    bullet time!!

    great game.

  316. #320 Kagato
    May 5, 2009

    Just what in the fuck is going on?!

    LOL

    4chan hacked the Time Poll?

    hilarious.

    Oh, they didn’t just hack the winner of the poll.

    They also sorted the results of the top 21 into a specific order. The first letters of each candidate spelled “MARBLECAKE ALSO THE GAME”

    You can see it for yourself viewing the full results.

    Details in this Wired article:
    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/04/how-anonymous-hackers-triumphed-over-time/

  317. #321 Alex Deam
    May 5, 2009

    I wonder who they’ll cast when they make Pharyngula: the Motion Picture.

    Blatantly Vin Diesel should play PZ.

    What about Kwok? Anyone got any ideas?

  318. #322 Jadehawk
    May 5, 2009

    Incidentally:

    In a stunning result, the winner of the third annual TIME 100 poll and new owner of the title World’s Most Influential Person is moot. The 21-year-old college student and founder of the online community 4chan.org, whose real name is Christopher Poole, received 16,794,368 votes and an average influence rating of 90 (out of a possible 100) to handily beat the likes of Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin and Oprah Winfrey. To put the magnitude of the upset in perspective, it’s worth noting that everyone moot beat out actually has a job.
    Just what in the fuck is going on?!
    http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1894028,00.html

    Marblecake, also the Game

  319. #323 Kel
    May 5, 2009

    What about Kwok? Anyone got any ideas?

    You can’t cast anyone to play Kwok. Kwok can only play Kwok. Who else namedrops a high school?!?

  320. #324 Brownian, OM
    May 5, 2009

    Kwok should be played by Mykelti Williamson, the guy who played “Bubba” Blue in Forrest Gump.

    If you listen to Bubba’s litany of shrimp dishes while mentally substituting in the names of various scientists, you’ll find you get every comment Kwok ever wrote.

  321. #325 Rorschach
    May 5, 2009

    I wonder who they’ll cast when they make Pharyngula: the Motion Picture.

    Of course Hugh Jackman as clinteas,Christina Ricci as SC,OM,Paul Hogan as Ichthyic,Bert Newton as John Morales(Aussie insider joke lol),Richard Dreyfuss as PZ and Nicole Kidman as the Trophy Wife.

  322. Raven, isn’t recombination more like shuffling 4 decks?

    And I was using the word “mutation” in a broader sense. That should be obvious.

  323. #327 Alex Deam
    May 5, 2009

    Richard Dreyfuss as PZ and Nicole Kidman as the Trophy Wife

    Wife? As in singular? Are you kidding? PZ is an immoral godless liberal, he’s clearly running a harem.

  324. #328 Feynmaniac
    May 5, 2009

    Blatantly Vin Diesel should play PZ.

    What about Kwok? Anyone got any ideas?

    Ricardo Montalbán. He has played an obsessive villain with a narcissistic personality disorder. KWOOOOOOOOK!

    What, Ricardo Montalbán is dead? Hmmm, have you ever seen Weekend at Bernie’s?….

  325. #329 Ichthyic
    May 5, 2009

    And I was using the word “mutation” in a broader sense. That should be obvious.

    liar.

    assortment is recombination, not “mutation”, so if you wanna backpedal, you’ll have to reinvent the meaning of the word.

    face it stimpy, you ARE Dr. Stupid.

  326. #330 Rorschach
    May 5, 2009

    What about Kwok? Anyone got any ideas?

    James Spader?

  327. #331 Brownian, OM
    May 5, 2009

    And I was using the word “mutation” in a broader sense. That should be obvious.

    Yeah, that’s the excuse D- students use when they’ve flunked a paper.

  328. #332 raven
    May 5, 2009

    You may have seen ads for “Our Undiscovered Universe” in magazines like Smithsonian, Discover, and Popular Science. The ads claim that the author, Terence Witt, has overturned a century’s worth of supposedly-misguided physics and explained why the Universe exists. This might sound exciting—but if you Google for this book, you’ll find only two things: (1) Witt’s own web page, full of glowing claims and positive reviews, and (2) random weblog and online forum posts, all of the form, “What’s this Null Physics ad? Looks like some crackpot.” Well, I asked Witt for a copy of his book; I read it; what follows is the most careful review of Null Physics you’ll find on Earth at the moment. (Update: Ian Fisk has now posted another review.) It’s long, so let me summarize: Witt’s ideas are standard crackpot claptrap:

    Who is this Parsons? I tried googling, but all I got was Sheldon (not that that’s a bad thing).

    There is an endless series of crackpots. No one pays much attention to them and they sink out of sight to the point where google no longer picks them up. That is really low. Here is an example of many such.

  329. #333 John Scanlon FCD
    May 5, 2009

    And in the kind of news item we’ve come to expect from the wacko world of theocracy: Woman loses baby in crash, convicted of manslaughter. In Dubai, this time.

  330. This will be my last post tonight. I hope you all had took the opportunity to play with the Codon Sequence Generator on my last blog entry.

    Also I want to thank PZ for the opportunity of keeping you all occupied while he was grading papers. Email complaints or compliments to PZ. Hopefully I get another opportunity to do this in the future. See you in a few weeks.

  331. #335 Alex Deam
    May 5, 2009

    face it stimpy, you ARE Dr. Stupid.

    What utter fail of an institution would want to give this loser a PhD?

  332. #336 windy
    May 5, 2009

    I agree windy. Sports writing is terrible. Or were you laughing at something else?

    Have you no respect for our sacred institutions?

  333. #337 MisterDomino
    May 5, 2009

    Marathon reference, FTW!

    Frog Blast the Vent Core!

    Have you taken the Oath of the Vidmaster, PZ?

  334. #338 Wowbagger, OM
    May 5, 2009

    Kel wrote:

    Please Randy, stop looking for that smoking gun.

    Or, if you are going to keep looking for it, here’s a hint: you stuck it up your ass a long time ago. It would appear, however, that you’ve lost the map containing the directions to that particular orifice, so it will remain where it is.

    Re: Pharyngula: The Motion Picture; Rupert Grint, who is Ron Weasley in Harry Potter, can play me. He has to learn the right Australian accent though. I bloody well don’t sound anything like Steve Irwin.

  335. #339 DaveH
    May 5, 2009

    This hasn’t been mentioned yet, has it? Competition for resources in autocatalysing RNA reproduction leads to evolution. Well who’d a thunk? So even in a test tube with just two types of self-replicating molecules, mutations lead to adaptation in a competitive environment.

    But…but..all changes are deleterious, aren’t they? Stimpy has the mathematics that PROVE it.

  336. #340 Rorschach
    May 5, 2009

    Rupert Grint, who is Ron Weasley in Harry Potter, can play me

    Good,then Emma Watson can play Jadehawk,and Daniel Radcliffe could be Walton !!
    But who would play Kel??

  337. #341 Feynmaniac
    May 5, 2009

    What child actor can we get to play facilis?

  338. #342 Rorschach
    May 5, 2009

    What child actor can we get to play facilis?

    \

    Humpty Dumpty?

    And I want Kris Kristofferson as Ken Cope !

  339. #343 Rorschach
    May 5, 2009

    What child actor can we get to play facilis?

    Humpty Dumpty?

    And I want Kris Kristofferson as Ken Cope !

  340. #344 Rorschach
    May 5, 2009

    What child actor can we get to play facilis?

    Humpty Dumpty?

    And I suggest Kris Kristofferson as Ken Cope !

  341. #345 Rorschach
    May 5, 2009

    Sorry guys….Bloody SB !

    Well and truly broken….ping. and static.chartbeat.com seem to be the culprit,not loading.

  342. #346 Kel
    May 5, 2009

    What child actor can we get to play facilis?

    Kirk Cameron

  343. #347 windy
    May 5, 2009

    And I suggest Kris Kristofferson as Ken Cope !

    Nah… who could play Saruman, except Christopher Lee or Ken himself?

    Sastra should obviously be played by Susan Sarandon. Cloris Leachman for Patricia?

    And some European big name for David Marjanovi?. Mads Mikkelsen?

  344. #348 Rorschach
    May 5, 2009

    And some European big name for David Marjanovi?

    Stellan Skarsgard ?

    And Patricia ? How about Shirley MacLaine..:-)

  345. #349 Jadehawk
    May 5, 2009

    and on an unrelated note, The New Chick Tract AKA College students are stoopid, shallow and selfish. Includes bonus unintentional honesty

  346. #350 Alex Deam
    May 5, 2009

    The science of bacon (amongst other things):

    http://dcscience.net/?p=1435

  347. #351 Rorschach
    May 5, 2009

    Jadehawk,nice link,thanks !

    The bonus unintentional honesty is awesome,actually,lol….And I learned what this “born again” business is all about,its like the absolution vouchers of old by the looks of it,do this or pay thatmuch,and your sins are erased from gawd’s memory ! Yay,how cool is that !

  348. #352 Knockgoats
    May 5, 2009

    “I am essentially a scientist (not a publishing one)” – Null Hypothesis

    IOW, not a scientist.

    I notice also that this non-publishing “scientist” refers to Nature and Science as “magazines”.

  349. #353 Matt Heath
    May 5, 2009

    Is that Rick Warren that Chick is hating on?

  350. #354 Emmet, OM
    May 5, 2009

    I hope you all had took the opportunity to play with the Codon Sequence Generator on my last blog entry.

    Yes, actually, I even installed Silverlight on my Windows machine to look at it. I suggest that you submit it to Bioinformatics ? reading all the submissions can be tedious, and I’m sure the editors would enjoy a good belly laugh.

     

    What are the chances that a randomly generated coding sequence would be longer than 400 codons?

    This challenges the claim that such a long sequence could have arisen purely by chance ? all you need now is someone to actually make such a claim and you can debunk them!

     

    This is something Kel, Zeno and other computer science and math types might appretiate get a laugh out of.

    There. Fixed.

    Your quixotic attack on a Creationist straw-man and delusions of adequacy would be hilarious if they were not so pathetic. I suggest that you forswear intellectual contest in favour of beard-fighting, something your genes have better equipped you for.

  351. #355 Emmet, OM
    May 5, 2009

    I hope you all had took the opportunity to play with the Codon Sequence Generator on my last blog entry.

    Yes, actually, I even installed Silverlight on my Windows machine to look at it. I suggest that you submit it to Bioinformatics ? reading all the submissions can be tedious, and I’m sure the editors would enjoy a good belly laugh.

     

    What are the chances that a randomly generated coding sequence would be longer than 400 codons?

    This challenges the claim that such a long sequence could have arisen purely by chance ? all you need now is someone to actually make such a claim and you can debunk them!

     

    This is something Kel, Zeno and other computer science and math types might appretiate get a laugh out of.

    There. Fixed.

    Your quixotic attack on a Creationist straw-man and delusions of adequacy would be hilarious if they were not so pathetic. I suggest that you forswear intellectual contest in favour of beard-fighting, something your genes have better equipped you for.

  352. #356 Emmet, OM
    May 5, 2009

    Gnnnnnaaaarrrrr!

    My first double-post. It wasn’t my fault. Honest.

    :)

  353. #357 Knockgoats
    May 5, 2009

    Since this is an open thread, I’ll take the opportunity to recommend a book I recently read, which many here would enjoy: Christopher Brookmyre’s Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks. It’s a novel about “psi” and other woo, dedicated to Richard Dawkins and James Randi.

  354. #358 Josh
    May 5, 2009

    Josh, OM

    Well, that looks a little weird, I must say.

    - If you’re going to grope I grant you 20 extra ducats to your bar tab, and one extra turn at the spanking couch.

    Yay! That’s just outstanding.

  355. #359 Josh
    May 5, 2009

    And just who are you groping for my approval?

    Well y, never mind…
    You’re simply evil, Bastion.

    BTW, sweetie, a big congrats on the OM! Bravo! You deserved it after your unbelievably patient and persistent work in the Titanoboa and Watchmen threads.

    Thanks Bas! Much appreciated.

  356. #360 Kel
    May 5, 2009

    Randy needs to understand selection and gradual accumulation of traits.

  357. #361 MadScientist
    May 5, 2009

    Oh no! What will I do in the odd 5 spare minutes I have in a day?

    Is there anything mindless to be done – like crashing creationist (and other stupid) polls?

  358. #362 shonny
    May 5, 2009
  359. #363 africangenesis
    May 5, 2009

    Findings about anarchism and chomskyism. You may have noted that the anarchists herd together and don’t participate in political discussions in good faith. They only criticise and characterize alternatives negatively. But much can be discerned from their behavior and comments despite their lack of good faith.

    They speak of participatory democracy, but the result is a conscript society, where everyone must perform the task assigned to them or imposed upon them. Individual preferences are taken into account only at the will of the group. Dissent and protest will only be tolerated if the group is OK with it, and most likely will be severely suppressed. There will be total material equality if the democracy wills it, but it is free to will something else. So, superficially there is a difference between a totalitarian dictatorship and an anarchist participatory democracy. However, from the perspective of the individual within it there is no difference.

    They like to pretend that the society will be egalitarian with everyone having an equal vote, but in any human community some will be more persuasive and accumulate more influence. A certain type will rise to the top.

    They like to allege that their society will be more environmentally conscious. But that is a mere cultural trait, not guaranteed to be any more persistent or present than in any other human society.

    Will there be tolerance for alternative life styles in an anarchist participatory democracy. Once again no guarantees or individual rights are intrinsic to an anarchist society. The participatory democracy decides. Will there be reproductive freedom? Forced abortions? Sorry the democracy decides.

    Most of you may be here playing at your games of mocking irreverence. But realize that there are those among us who are not playing, who know what they are doing and perhaps foolishly think they will like the result. They will not participate in good faith. They will not provide practical details on how anything will work. They will profess values that seem attractive, but will be unable to disclose any details for preserving them in the participatory democracy advocate. Why, because any practical details for protecting individual rights or assuring adherence to preset groupwide values, won’t be anarchism, but will instead start to look far more conventional, like they very society they are happy to join you in mocking and denigrating.

    Ask yourself since asking them will probably be unproductive:

    How is conscription like slavery?
    What would a conscript society be like?
    What would a participatory democracy without property or individual rights or checks and balances encoded in a constitution and honored by a culture be like?

    What helped complete the picture for me were these kinds of nondenial denials involving conscription;

    “How is conscription akin to slavery?”
    “How is a raven like a writing desk?”

    Every so often, try, just try, to pin one of these anarchists and chomskyites down, so others can see, they don’t participate in good faith.

  360. #364 Knockgoats
    May 5, 2009

    “Randy needs to understand selection and gradual accumulation of traits.” – Kel

    On the contrary, he desperately needs not to understand these things! After all, if he did come to understand them, he’d probably be unable to live with the realisation of the amount of time he’s wasted making a prize idiot of himself.

  361. #365 Eidolon
    May 5, 2009

    Jadehawk@350:

    Yea – good link indeed. Check out the sidebar information on witnessing. Turns out, if you don’t witness, you could still go to heck.

    The sad thing is, a friend of mine just had her daughter suddenly go batshit nuts and join up with one of these cults. Now she is saved and has no time for her family, just the other godbots.

  362. #366 ??
    May 5, 2009

    ??????

  363. #367 Knockgoats
    May 5, 2009

    africangenesis,
    Your paranoid ravings indicate severe psychopathology. Seek professional help urgently.

  364. #368 Kel
    May 5, 2009

    On the contrary, he desperately needs not to understand these things! After all, if he did come to understand them, he’d probably be unable to live with the realisation of the amount of time he’s wasted making a prize idiot of himself.

    But he knows better than the millions of scientists who have Ph.Ds in biology, after all he’s a maths major. And maths is like super-pure science, so much so that if the maths and reality are in conflict, it must be reality that is wrong… it couldn’t be that Stimpy misunderstands natural selection, because the maths shows him he is right and those damn nylon-eating bacteria or those banana-eating butterflies on the Hawaiian islands be damned.

    I wonder what he thinks of artificial breeding, surely he can see the connection between pigeon breeders and dog breeders selecting traits would be analogous to the environment “choosing” those best suited to living in it.

  365. #369 Eidolon
    May 5, 2009

    AG:

    To quote Tim Allen – “Huuuh??” WTF is your major malfunction, trooper? Where did that screed come from? Have a bad day/night of it?

  366. #370 Kel
    May 5, 2009

    As Dan Dennett puts it, Stimpy seems to be suffering from the fallacy of sunken costs: – “I’ve already invested fifty years of my life in this position, and it would be excruciatingly embarrassing to acknowledge my error. In fairness to myself, I was entrapped in this view when I was too young to know better, and I’ve never been able to find a face-saving exit strategy.”

  367. #371 Tassie Devil
    May 5, 2009

    OOOOOOH!

    Christopher Brookmyre!

    *swoon*

    (actually, I should stop that – he’s married to an anaesthetist ex-colleague of mine.)

    All his books are brilliant – Quite Ugly One Morning is probably the funniest – and I really mean embarrassing-laughter-in-public, coffee-from-the-nose funny.

    AOTURD (an unfortunate acronym) is his first attack on woo, but it’s clear from all his writing that he’s on the side of the good guys (i.e. pharyngulites). Get online and buy the whole lot, if you can spare the cash. He’s one of the best.

    BTW, I only make an occasional, cameo appearance on Pharyngula…I was thinking that Lisa Edelstein might like the role…

    But who will play Cuttle??

  368. #372 africangenesis
    May 5, 2009

    Humans are more closely related to cows and dogs than rodents, despite sharing a more recent common ancester with the latter. If this has already been discussed here I missed it. If so, can anybody provide a link:

    http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2009/423/2

  369. #373 Knockgoats
    May 5, 2009

    Tassie Devil,

    AOTURD is the first Brookmyre I’ve read, but I’ve got The Sacred Art of Stealing lined up when I’ve finished my current fiction read (Life Class by Pat Barker – so far, not up to the standard of her best work – i.e. the Regeneration trilogy).

  370. #374 africangenesis
    May 5, 2009

    Eidelon#370,

    I’ve been analyzing the culture here, and I’ve been exploring anarchism on parallel tracks since I first arrived. Getting any answers out of the anarchists has been frustrating, and it just took me awhile to put it all together. If you are really curious, just look at the bad faith shown in the interaction with Walton and myself on this thread:

    http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2009/423/2

    I’m not saying my summary is directly derivable from that, but it filled in a piece of the puzzle for me.

  371. #375 Rorschach
    May 5, 2009

    But who will play Cuttle??

    You mean the Cuttlefish.
    Only one person could play the Cuttlefish IMO,and that’s: *drumroll*
    Jerry Seinfeld.

    Good thing,Richie Dawkins could play himself !

    Tassie Devil,
    I am working with the former director of Royal Hobart A&E atm,whereabouts are you?

  372. #376 Tassie Devil
    May 5, 2009

    TSAOT is great – it has the Dadist bank heist, which is just briliant. And a great romance, which he wraps up in his latest book, A Snowball in Hell.

    Be My Enemy has one great belly laugh, and the best closing line ever, but it is categorically not for the squeamish. In fact, none of his books should be read by anyone with a weak stomach.

    Jack Parlabane is his greatest invention, and is the protagonist in around half the books. By reading Rubber Ducks first, you probably didn’t have much response to his initial predicament, but I kept having this WTF!! reaction, even got upset because I couldn’t believe what had happened. It was a brilliant set-up.

    Anyway, much like the reviewer of one of Patrick O’Brien’s books: “I envy those who have never discovered [this author]. A wonderful experience awaits you.”

    BTW, what is Africangenesis on?

  373. #377 aufwuch
    May 5, 2009

    Wrote a email to our buddy Chad of the “my teacher hurt my feelings” fame questioning his reason to take the teacher to court rather than having a dialoge with same and quess what? He responded instantly with…name calling and “you are a coward” hiding behind your pc. The fundies never fail to disappoint. Do they all the same manuel for addressing life…oh yea…nevermind.

  374. #378 Kel
    May 5, 2009

    BTW, what is Africangenesis on?

    He’s high on Rand.

  375. #379 Tassie Devil
    May 5, 2009

    Rorschach:

    I’m director of DEM at the Mersey. Have been for over a year.

    Most people don’t know whather to gasp or sympathise. However, I’m told that the quality of transfers to the RHH has improved (if you leave out the disaster in January – my only defence being that I wasn’t on shift). However I’m about to step down and become director of training instead.

    Great to find a local Pharyngulite!

  376. #380 Rorschach
    May 5, 2009

    if you leave out the disaster in January

    I hadnt heard !
    Im in Melbourne myself,the last disaster here ambos trying to resuscitate the shot tourist and lawyer in the streets for 45 minutes last year,while 5 minutes away 8 theatres and 5 Emergency Physicians were on standby…..

  377. #381 Knockgoats
    May 5, 2009

    africangenesis@375
    “http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2009/423/2

    I’m not saying my summary is directly derivable from that”

    Erm, you’ve really lost it, haven’t you? That link is to an article on the sequencing of the cow genome.

    Offhand, I can only think of three professed anarchists who post here regularly, one of whom, speedwell, is an “anarcho-capitalist”. Your propensity to classify anyone who disagrees with you as a member of a group of evil conspirators sharing a viewpoint you dislike (when in fact, very few of them do), is a classic symptom of paranoia. Seriously, I urge you to seek treatment.

  378. #382 Josh
    May 5, 2009

    Bastion – Brownian is always doing someones mom…I’ve got used to the shrieking in the background.

    Patricia for the win.

  379. #383 Tassie Devil
    May 5, 2009

    Dear FSM…#377 is Dadaist; because a Dadist heist is some sort of paternal robbery, methinks.

    Knockgoats – if you liked Regeneration, have you read Seb Faulk’s Birdsong?

  380. #384 Rorschach
    May 5, 2009

    Offhand, I can only think of three professed anarchists who post here regularly

    Oh,hi Nick,long time no see !!

    Who’s the third??

    I wonder who would play Knockgoats in the movie…..Robert Redford?

  381. #385 Martin
    May 5, 2009

    Oh wow. That brings back memories.

    Frog Blast the Vent Core!!! Boom!!!!

    Marathon FTW.

  382. #386 Josh
    May 5, 2009

    I’m up for a party, but I’m not sure about Josh. He’s mighty subdued tonight.

    Yeah, sorry. Yesterday turned out to be a rather long and trying day.

  383. #387 Tassie Devil
    May 5, 2009

    Rorschach –

    But I was at the NWRH at the time of the Cradle Mountain bus rollover. 45 minutes from the hospital, the first patient reached us 2.5 hours after the first extrication.

    We’d better not derail the thread into a discussion of the flaws of prehospital care, though. There’s enough of that on the trauma.org mailing list. So are you in one of the big DEMs?

  384. #388 JeffS
    May 5, 2009

    I have finally worked out the problems with my time traveling machine. I actually traveled back to today from tomorrow. By the time you read this, there will be a religion called Christianity. I intend to head back about 2000 years and invent it. Its going to be pretty balls to the wall crazy. I doubt it will last long, but check your history books for any mentions of it to see if I was successful.

  385. #389 bobxxxx
    May 5, 2009

    Greatest job ever, I started last night. Lousy income but it pays the bills. Security guard at a small wealthy condominium building by the ocean in South Florida, graveyard shift. Lots of books to read from their beautiful library. Had to say hello to two residents during my 8 hour shift, and deliver a dozen newspapers at 5:30AM. Other than that there’s nothing to do but read books and/or watch TV. I’m going to finish reading Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution Is True.

  386. #390 Rorschach
    May 5, 2009

    We’d better not derail the thread into a discussion of the flaws of prehospital care, though. There’s enough of that on the trauma.org mailing list. So are you in one of the big DEMs?

    Its an open thread,we can derail all we like…:-)

    The only times i go to the Alfred or RMH is in the back of ambulances with sick patients,Im about 50k from the city,biggest growth area in Australia,we see the most paediatric cases outside of the RCH.Has its challenges,but also very rewarding.
    Trauma.org mailing list? Never heard of it,I shall have a look….

  387. #391 Tassie Devil
    May 5, 2009

    Are you in Casey??

  388. #392 Euan
    May 5, 2009

    Play him off, keyboard cat.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyauGeRa5T0

  389. #393 Rorschach
    May 5, 2009

    Are you in Casey??

    LOL.Among other places,yeah.

  390. #394 Tassie Devil
    May 5, 2009

    Well, say hi to Ian from me, next time you see him.

    Ah, well, it’s late downunder. this is one Aussie signing off for the night.

    PS – Can someone slip AG some downers, or, failing that, hit him with a brick?

  391. #395 africangenesis
    May 5, 2009

    Knockgoats#382

    Apologies, this was the intended link:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/04/what_are_you_doing_alberta.php

    It is not just the self identified anarchists, but Chomskyites as well. Unfortuntely Chomsky had a lot of insight into propaganda, and his followers are the ends justify the means types.

  392. #396 Rorschach
    May 5, 2009

    Who am I going to say hi to Ian S from???

  393. #397 Tassie Devil
    May 5, 2009

    He’ll know.

    We did some registrar training together in Edinburgh. He taught me one thing: when putting a chest drain in a trauma patient, there is a reason you should always stand to the side of the tube, not in line with it.

    Unfortunately for him, he demonstrated it rather than instructed it.

  394. #398 Rorschach
    May 5, 2009

    LOL
    I shall mention that episode to him tomorrow then …:-)

  395. #399 Knockgoats
    May 5, 2009

    africangenesis@396,
    WTF is a “Chomskyite”? Chomsky is an anarchist, so to be a “Chomskyite” (in the context of politics rather than linguistics), you’d have to be an anarchist. Assigning all your opponents to a category you’ve invented yourself is an even surer sign of paranoia. Get help.

  396. #400 Alex Deam
    May 5, 2009

    I have finally worked out the problems with my time traveling machine. I actually traveled back to today from tomorrow. By the time you read this, there will be a religion called Christianity. I intend to head back about 2000 years and invent it. Its going to be pretty balls to the wall crazy. I doubt it will last long, but check your history books for any mentions of it to see if I was successful.

    Oh great. You see, the very existence of your comment shows you’ve created a paradox. Fantastic. Just what we need. The whole of existence is being eras….

  397. #401 africangenesis
    May 5, 2009

    Knockgoats,

    “Chomsky is an anarchist”.

    That is a good clue isn’t it? But, Chomsky has a lot of followers that don’t self identify as anarchists, Chavez of Venezuela for instance. But a lot of the wing of the Democratic party that self identify as progressives reference Chomsky a lot. I noticed this back when move-on.org was open enough to have forums. They decided they didn’t want discussion anymore, they just wanted followers. When I was a Kucinich delegate to my caucus, I encountered Chomsky followers among the Kerry supporters, hmmm, this despite the fact that he favored mandatory public service, while Kucinich was srongly anti-conscription. Kerry didn’t de-emphasize his mandatory public service position until the draft became an issue in the election. I think Nadar split the Chomskyites however.

  398. #402 Ken Cope
    May 5, 2009

    @379

    BTW, what is Africangenesis on?

    He’s high on Rand.

    “He’s high all right–but not on false drugs! He’s high on the real thing, powerful gasoline, a clean windshield, and a shoeshine!” –Op. cit. The Firesign Theatre, Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers

  399. #403 Pascalle
    May 5, 2009

    My contribution to the open thread.

    On queensday, a madman in a car plowed through the crowd in an attempt to drive over the royal family.

    http://www.nrc.nl/international/article2228360.ece/Car_plows_into_Queens_Day_parade_-_many_casualties

    In the end there were 6 dead (amongst which the madman) and 13 (seriously) wounded.

    Since this happened in a pretty religous part of the country, there were several special church meetings.
    A lot of them were disturbed by members of a german sekt, that claim that this ordeal happened because god is angry because the christian church is devided.

    http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2009/05/sect_disrupts_apeldoorn_church.php

    No really

  400. #404 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 5, 2009

    The Firesign Theatre, Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers

    Whoa, that brings back memories of the college days. Good quote.

    Now if PZ would just put AG out of his misery…

  401. #405 Wowbagger, OM
    May 5, 2009

    BTW, what is Africangenesis on?

    Whatever it is I’m hoping it wears off soon. Sadly, I don’t think we’re going to be that lucky.

  402. #406 africangenesis
    May 5, 2009

    Add Pink Floyd to Firesign Theator and enjoy the flashbacks to transexual transylvania, like a bat out of hell.

  403. #407 Knockgoats
    May 5, 2009

    “Chomsky has a lot of followers that don’t self identify as anarchists, Chavez of Venezuela for instance. But a lot of the wing of the Democratic party that self identify as progressives reference Chomsky a lot.” – africangenesis

    More ravings. To refer to Chavez as a “follower” of Chomsky is ludicrous – insofar as he is a follower of anyone other than Chavez, it is clearly Bolivar, whom he cites regularly. Of course, since both Chavez and Chomsky are severe critics of US foreign policy, it is unsurprising if the former references the latter. Could it possibly penetrate your deluded mind that referencing someone does not make you a follower of that person? That you can agree with someone about some things, and value the research they have done, yet disagree with them on other matters? Since you regularly repeat neocon claims about the Iraq war, are we to conclude that you are a neocon, despite disagreeing with them on many other issues?

    BTW, WTF were you doing as a delegate for Kucinich? A bit of freelance political sabotage? During the US elections, I took a look at his policy positions, and found, IIRC, nothing at all to disagree with. He’s a strong environmentalist, pro gun-control, pro federally-funded health care, anti privatization, anti “free trade”, anti Iraq War, and pro progressive taxation.

  404. #408 John Scanlon, FCD
    May 5, 2009

    AG (Robert Ardrey fan?) thought he’d read that

    Humans are more closely related to cows and dogs than rodents, despite sharing a more recent common ancester with the latter.

    What the linked article said was (inter alia)

    Although humans share a more recent common ancestor with rodents than they do with cows, it turns out that our genome more closely resembles those of cows and dogs. This is probably because mice and rats evolve so quickly thanks to rapid reproduction, much quicker than other species

    Yes indeed, YMMV. We’ve known that rates vary for some time now, if that’s what’s puzzling you. Correlates to some extent with generation time, so short-lived rodents running fast fits a wider pattern.

    If ‘more closely related’ means anything it refers to recency of common ancestry (that’s how we use it in phylogenetics as well as ordinary speech, like sibling vs. first cousin vs. unrelated stranger), not a phenetic ‘distance’.

  405. #409 Sili
    May 5, 2009

    Thanks, Jadehawk.

    I was hoping for a firmer bollocking, but “stoopid” will have to do. I know. I ‘just’ need convenient OTC chemical castration or summat.

    Or – yanno – grow the fuck up.

    Ah well. So it goes.

  406. #410 Knockgoats
    May 5, 2009

    If ‘more closely related’ means anything it refers to recency of common ancestry – John Scanlon

    Africangenesis doesn’t accept the evil collectivism which decrees that words mean what most people understand them to mean – he’s a follower of Humpty Dumpty.

  407. #411 Lynna
    May 5, 2009

    Lots of commenters reported problems with browsers crashing. I’ll put one more note for no problems using Mac and Safari.

  408. #412 Gruesome Rob
    May 5, 2009

    The math involved isn’t complicated. Anyone who has been through the first two weeks of an introductory probability class can verify that the math is correct and I am sure there are plenty of those people hanging around here.

    Yes, let’s bring up something that should be taught in any introductory probability class. If you get the answer to this right, you should understand some of what is wrong with your argument.

    I have a fair coin. I toss it 100 times. It came up heads 100 times.

    What was the probability it came up heads 100 times?

  409. #413 Watchman
    May 5, 2009

    What about Kwok? Anyone got any ideas?

    Jack Black!

  410. #414 strange gods before me
    May 5, 2009

    Could it possibly penetrate your deluded mind that referencing someone does not make you a follower of that person? That you can agree with someone about some things, and value the research they have done, yet disagree with them on other matters? Since you regularly repeat neocon claims about the Iraq war, are we to conclude that you are a neocon, despite disagreeing with them on many other issues?

    Hold the troll to his own standards. He says that anyone misrepresenting an opponent is an authoritarian, therefore because he misrepresents his opponents he is an authoritarian. He approvingly cites Annie Rand and Freddy Hayek, so he is an authoritarian follower of them both. http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/01/the_woo_is_strong_in_glastonbu.php#comment-1306628 http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/04/arlen_specter_democrat.php#comment-1598925

  411. #415 pdferguson
    May 5, 2009

    What about Kwok? Anyone got any ideas?

    I can’t believe no one has come up with this yet.

    Jon Lovitz as SNL’s Tommy Flanagan: “…with my wife, Morgan Fairchild, whom I’ve seen naked.”

    Yeahhh, that’s the ticket!

  412. #416 Alex Deam
    May 5, 2009

    What was the probability it came up heads 100 times?

    I can see what you’re trying to do to him here. Sadly, you used the wrong tense.

  413. #417 raven
    May 5, 2009

    He responded instantly with…name calling and “you are a coward” hiding behind your pc. The fundies never fail to disappoint. Do they all the same manuel for addressing life…oh yea…nevermind.

    Sounds rather immature even for a teen ager. Some people never grow up, stuck in adolescence and I doubt he will ever make it to real adulthood.

    So you are hiding behind your PC. What does he want you to do, jump through the screen and meet him on the street at high noon, with dueling bibles versus Dawkins?

    Name calling, no big deal. What you use when you run out of ideas or are dealing with people with no functional brain. I’m sure his mind is set in cult concrete and ideas haven’t a chance.

    I wouldn’t bother with those people. “It is almost impossible to turn a crank.”

  414. #418 Gruesome Rob
    May 5, 2009

    I can see what you’re trying to do to him here. Sadly, you used the wrong tense.

    No, I used the right tense, AFAICT.

  415. #419 Alex Deam
    May 5, 2009

    I call Dawkins at ten paces!

  416. #420 Emmet, OM
    May 5, 2009

    Thus spake Gruesome Bob:

    I have a fair coin. I toss it 100 times. It came up heads 100 times? What was the probability it came up heads 100 times?

    I take the point, but it is only secondarily relevant to the main point that nobody ever made such a claim. Shit-for-brains is saying ?Hah! Gotcha! It’s effectively impossible for heads to have come up 100 times! Hah!? when nobody ever suggested that it would, could, or did. It’s the typical Creationist ploy: invent an improbably vapid straw-man, falsely attribute it to science, and then demolish it with callow statistical reasoning. To attack the reasoning is to tacitly admit the premise, which we should not do.

  417. #421 BrightonRocks
    May 5, 2009

    Mention of Eagleton still makes my flesh crawl, I know him from when I was a student at Oxford and he was an English tutor at my college. The guy is a complete sleaze bag who sexually harassed his female students for years. The college didn’t want to lose a prestigous academic so they put up with it until a couple of students in my year weren’t going to be intimidated or fobbed off by the college and he was eventually forced to leave. He shuffled off up the road to Keble and I haven’t seen the odious turd since.

  418. #422 Watchman
    May 5, 2009

    Lots of commenters reported problems with browsers crashing. I’ll put one more note for no problems using Mac and Safari.

    No problems here with Safari on Mac, nor with Firefox on WinXP Pro or Win2K. Haven’t tried IE.

    I wonder who would play Knockgoats in the movie…..Robert Redford?

    No way! It’s got to be a British actor. I don’t know how old Knock is, but Derek Jacoby comes to mind. If he’s too old, how about Clive Owen, or perhaps Jason Isaacs? Not that they’re very similar to Jacoby. Who’s “the young Derek Jacoby” these days?

  419. #423 Emmet, OM
    May 5, 2009

    I wonder who would play Knockgoats in the movie…..Robert Redford?

    No, Patrick Stewart? assuming he can grow a straggly Unix beard ;)

  420. #424 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 5, 2009

    Yesterday I had some trouble with Mac Firefox after the initial change, but then I am testing version 3.5b4 (beta). Today, it hung up once, but not sure which tab (one was Pharyngula) did it, but I suspect the other tab, which was “active”.

  421. #425 Patricia, OM
    May 5, 2009

    Knockgoats = Stephen Fry.
    Holbach = Leon Redbone.

    I’m still trying to think of someone stoopider than George W. Bush to play Walton.

    *carry on*

  422. #426 83.253.250.239
    May 5, 2009

    I guess of all scientists who hang around here, there must be some Wikipedians? (and grammar nerds?)

    Do scientific theories have actual names, or are they just referred to by descriptive phrases? ? How should the names or descriptive phrases of scientific theories be capitalized on Wikipedia?

    The Theory of Evolution, or the theory of evolution?

  423. #427 Watchman
    May 5, 2009

    Patricia wrote: “Holbach = Leon Redbone.”

    LOL

  424. #428 Anonymous
    May 5, 2009

    This hasn’t been mentioned yet, has it? Competition for resources in autocatalysing RNA reproduction leads to evolution. Well who’d a thunk? So even in a test tube with just two types of self-replicating molecules, mutations lead to adaptation in a competitive environment.

    Great link, thanks!

  425. #429 Josh
    May 5, 2009

    I recently did a search through the technical literature in geology to see how plate tectonics was dealt with. I found no real standardization between journals in capitalizing the theory of plate tectonics or not. I didn’t come away from that exercise with a satisfactory answer for geological theories. Haven’t done it for “evolution” though. It might not matter that much which way you go (and keep in mind that this is coming from someone who tends to be an asshole about word choice).

  426. #430 DaveH
    May 5, 2009

    Anonymous @429. No bother, great innit?

    Also the lectures that Dawkins gave for the Open University a few months ago are finally up

  427. #431 FakeBreton
    May 5, 2009

    Null hypothesis wrote @ 162:

    “For the record, I am not an ID’er. I am essentially a scientist (not a publishing one)”

    A “non-publishing scientist”?

    I don’t know what to make of this — i.e., can’t decide whether I should regard “non-publishing scientist” as an oxymoron (after all, publishing is an essential part of doing science, at least in academia), or if I should drop the “oxy-” to refer to the “non-publishing scientist”…

  428. #432 DaveH
    May 5, 2009

    Oh, and Walton’s chum Monckton is also really punctilious about the niceties of the aristocratic rights and privileges.

  429. #433 Epikt
    May 5, 2009

    Patricia, OM

    Knockgoats = Stephen Fry.
    Holbach = Leon Redbone.
    I’m still trying to think of someone stoopider than George W. Bush to play Walton.

    Richard Thomas, of course.

  430. #434 Epikt
    May 5, 2009

    Knockgoats

    BTW, WTF were you doing as a delegate for Kucinich? A bit of freelance political sabotage? During the US elections, I took a look at his policy positions, and found, IIRC, nothing at all to disagree with. He’s a strong environmentalist, pro gun-control, pro federally-funded health care, anti privatization, anti “free trade”, anti Iraq War, and pro progressive taxation.

    Nobody’s perfect. For a long time he was a forced-birther, though I think recently he’s seen the error of his ways.

  431. #435 dreikin
    May 5, 2009

    Sigh – why do they always ignore me, or leave before I get a chance to get back to them? I do so try to present clear, on-point arguments, questions, and critiques. Oh well.
    @IntelligentDesigner:

    This will be my last post tonight. I hope you all had took the opportunity to play with the Codon Sequence Generator on my last blog entry.

    Meh – no real reason to play with it. It’s basically a geometric distribution where P(success) = 3/64. Not much need to use a simulation for that, the mathematics of it are rather well known. You are correct that there is more to evolution and other relevant topics than you appear to be aware of. As such I will present several comments to improve the fidelity of your simulation, and am looking forward to seeing your updates to the generator in response. Do not mistake my comments for being the sum of evolutionary theory though – this is only a starting point.

    I am unsure if your generator is meant to simulate the probability of successful abiogenesis or something more general, so I will separate the two topics.

    Abiogenesis:
    In this case, your simulator is most severely flawed by assuming:

    • That abiogenesis would require sequences equivalent in length to modern day gene sizes, and
    • That abiogenesis uses the same methods and materials (protein/nucleotide/coding-wise) as modern organisms.

    Regarding the first element, you may want to look at (1) this and (2) this. Item (1) demonstrates replicators needing only about 76 nucleotides. Recall that there are 3 nucleotides (generally) in a codon, thus that is around 25.33.. ‘codons’. Of course, they do not function as codons, which is why the second list element is important (see next ¶). Item (2) demonstrates a mechanism by which very small lengths of nucleotides can be beneficial, along with selection for longer strings of nucleotides (recall that the N in even a small body of water over long spans of time can be very, very large – many orders of magnitude above your million repetitions).

    As far as the second list element, the same two papers are also demonstrative. Neither of them requires an external copier such as a ribosome, thus ‘start’ and ‘stop’ elements may be irrelevant. Further, the second paper demonstrates that there can be selection for replicators or copiers before the replicators or copiers exist.

    In general:
    In general, your simulation lacks the following elements:

    • Mutation – your program simulates random generation of sequences, but fails to include sequential mutation. You have demonstrated that you are aware of this as a basic tenent of evolutionary theory, so I assume that was just an oversight.
    • Non-coding sequences – You have noted before, in a flawed understanding of the applicable nature of randomness1, that recombination incurs mutations2. Such non-coding sequences can be relevant to those, and other, mutations.

    Also worth mentioning is a consequence of those two elements: sequences can take random walks in length over generations, and are not limited to the initial length. This is easily demonstrated in the positive direction by considering gene x copied/transposed into the middle of gene y, where length(x) ≥ length(y).

    I had originally not intended to mention selection yet, as that could take considerable effort to implement realistically/usefully in code (most obviously, because of the difficulty of simulating function and folding), but paper (2) shows an easy-to-implement differential survival mechanism. As we are obviously starting with sequences of small length, simply select for those with the longest lengths, as they would make such a micelle more stable, and thus more likely to survive and/or ‘reproduce’.3

    Keep in mind, these comments are only a starting point, and do not cover everything.

    1: As I replied before:

    Most mutations are the result of recombination and are therefore are not completely random.

    That they are the result of recombination is not important – randomness only requires that an event can not be predicted from prior events. In this case, that a mutation results from recombination rather than, say, a point mutation is not relevant – the events measured are changes in sequence, not the methods by which they occur.
    2: I assume you mean more than just chromosomal crossover events, which are hardly the extent of viable mutations.
    3: You may wonder how this could relate to contemporary organisms. Consider that at least some sequences of those lengths are likely to be replicators or polymerases (due to high N, not high p). Also, such replicators and polymerases will likely produce long sequences at a faster rate than the surrounding environment, thus becoming the dominant long-length species.

    cross-posted at IntelligentDesigner’s blog: randystimpson.blogspot.com/2009/05/probabilityof-information-part-2.html
    cross-posted at Pharyngula: scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/05/open_thread_frog_vent_the_blas.php

  432. #436 Jadehawk
    May 5, 2009

    Is that Rick Warren that Chick is hating on?

    yup. don’t you just love it when the crazies cannibalize each other?

  433. #437 Feynmaniac
    May 5, 2009

    africangenesis,
    Your paranoid ravings indicate severe psychopathology. Seek professional help urgently.

    Seconded.

  434. #438 Lee Picton
    May 5, 2009

    OK. I watched the making of the Bacon Explosion Pork Bomb with the basket-weave bacon bark. Dear sweet dog! All I could do was watch in horror as my arteries began to turn to stone through my eyeballs.

  435. #439 bastion of sass
    May 5, 2009

    @303 Crudely Wrott wrote:

    if there is some common thread between what was funny back in my day and what was funny in yours, then that’s some funny shit.

    I’m somewhat afraid to ask, but: when do you think “my day” was?

  436. #440 Kel
    May 5, 2009

    Yes, let’s bring up something that should be taught in any introductory probability class. If you get the answer to this right, you should understand some of what is wrong with your argument.

    Randy has had this explained to him time and time again, he simply has no understanding of how evolution works. Complex structures aren’t created ex nihilo by chance, they are built from simply structures with modification at each step of the way either beneficial or neutral to the organism’s survival success. As such, throwing a coin and getting 100 heads has a 1 in 2100 chance. But if you’ve thrown 5 heads in a row, it’s only a 1 in 2 chance to throw to six heads.

    Of course evolution is all about reproduction, so imagine a program is written that allows for a chain to pass itself down to offspring. If you only allow those that throw a heads to replicate, then you can throw what was a 1 in 2100 chance to happen very quickly. While this sounds obvious, it is what Randy misunderstands about how evolution works. A 400 codon coding sequence is put together of smaller parts, and those smaller parts were put together of even smaller parts. What would seem mathematically impossible is created quickly using an algorithm to sort it – just like the struggle for survival between organisms.

    Where Randy makes an even bigger fool of himself is that he’s made this into a smoking gun – it doesn’t matter about the fossil record, genetic markers we share with other species, the biogeographic distribution of life, the similar adaptive morphology, and observed instances of novel traits, selection, adaptation and speciation – it’s all impossible because the numbers that we deal with 3.5 billion years later cannot come about through chance…

  437. #441 nothing's sacred
    May 5, 2009

    what would be the average length of a randomly generated coding sequence?

    What would be the average length of a randomly generated sentence, airplane trip, or telescope? Who the hell cares, since none are generated randomly. But it’s worth noting that the average length now is greater than when the first sentence, airplane trip, or telescope was produced.

    OTOH, consider the average number of times the simplest points about evolution can be brought to the attention to a creotard before there is any sign of comprehension.

    The point that random mutation would detroy a genome before accidental beneficial mutations could happen is not based on fuzzy intuition. That math behind the argument is actually quite simple.

    It’s based on fuzzy anti-intuition and the math is based on simple errors.

    Beneficial mutations increase the number of offspring that carry them, harmful mutations reduce the number of offspring that carry them. Thus benefits accumulate and harms don’t — this notion is called “natural selection”. All talk of probability of random sequences is IDiotic because it ignores this truly fundamental point.

    On top of that, many mutations are neutral when they occur, and only become beneficial or harmful when the environment changes or when other mutations occur. Since benefits accumulate but harms don’t, neutral mutations can readily become beneficial and increase their rate of propagation, whereas harmful combinations produce reduced rates of propagation and disappear. So not only do single-point beneficial mutations accumulate, but complex multi-point beneficial traits do as well.

    The fact that my math model does not apply to real world DNA suggests that there is something more complex actually going on

    Of course there is something more complex going on: DNA is housed in organisms subject to environmental factors that affect the likelihood that the DNA will be propagated. Math models that ignore the phenotype and the rate of propagation of its DNA are IDiotic.

    since all I am doing is putting mathematics to the mechanisms put forth by the very New Atheists themselves as an explanation for the emergence of new traits.

    It’s not possible that you are applying math or anything else to the mechanisms put forth by evolutionary biologists, since you aren’t even capable of identifying them, let alone their proposed mechanisms.

  438. #442 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 5, 2009

    Complex structures aren’t created ex nihilo by chance, they are built from simply structures with modification at each step of the way either beneficial or neutral to the organism’s survival success.

    Kel’s seen heart of the problem. Reminds me of an old computer game, one of the first true graphical games. At one point, the protagonist had to win some money at the casino, a la James Bond. If one tried to win all the money at once, it was almost impossible to do so. Winning the money was against the odds. However, if one won a jackpot and saved the game (natural selection in action), then a series of winning pulls (slot machine IIRC), could be quickly built up until sufficient money was won to complete the game. Evolution works in a similar fashion. But the evolution deniers like Randy will never admit that.

  439. #443 nothing's sacred
    May 5, 2009

    Nobody’s perfect. For a long time he was a forced-birther, though I think recently he’s seen the error of his ways.

    “I think”? “recently”? Kucinich became pro-choice in 2002, most likely before “the US elections” that Knockgoats mentioned, so your comment is irrelevant.

    Knockgoats didn’t say anything about Kucinich being perfect, just that he didn’t disagree with his policies … and thus it’s surprising that AG would be a delegate. Of course Kucinich has flaws — like being an inept campaigner and perhaps worse as an administrator.

  440. #444 bastion of sass
    May 5, 2009

    @380 Josh wrote:

    You’re simply evil, Bastion.

    I’m an atheist. Kinda goes without saying.

    But I like to think of myself as complexly evil, not simply evil. Maybe I’m just kidding myself.

  441. #445 DaveH
    May 5, 2009

    Dreikin, Kel and Truthy:

    *stands and applauds*

    for what it’s worth. Concise, and with a limpid clarity.

  442. #446 Josh
    May 5, 2009

    But I like to think of myself as complexly evil, not simply evil.

    chaotic versus lawful, eh?

  443. #447 nothing's sacred
    May 5, 2009

    Humans are more closely related to cows and dogs than rodents, despite sharing a more recent common ancester with the latter.

    Yeah, like I’m more closely related to my cousin who looks a lot like me than I am to my brother, despite sharing a more recent common ancestor with the latter.

    Where did you get your graduate degree in stupid, AG?

  444. #448 PZ Myers
    May 5, 2009

    AG is pretty darned stupid. The actual science is that cows and humans and dogs have conservative genomes that have diverged less from the ancestral form, while rodents have diverged more rapidly since the LCA.

    We are not more closely related to cows than to rodents, and the scientists doing the work aren’t claiming so.

  445. #449 pdferguson
    May 5, 2009

    What would be the average length of a randomly generated sentence, airplane trip, or telescope? Who the hell cares, since none are generated randomly. But it’s worth noting that the average length now is greater than when the first sentence, airplane trip, or telescope was produced.

    We’ve all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true. –Robert Wilensky

  446. #450 Emmet, OM
    May 5, 2009
    I’m still trying to think of someone stoopider than George W. Bush to play Walton.

    Richard Thomas, of course.

    I was thinking Rick Moranis.

  447. #451 Kel
    May 5, 2009

    for what it’s worth. Concise, and with a limpid clarity.

    Thanks, though I think creation ex nihilo of a 400 pair codon sequence is far more probable than randy actually understanding what others are telling him. As the bumper sticker goes “we have the fossils, we win”

  448. #452 africangenesis
    May 5, 2009

    PZ,

    “We are not more closely related to cows than to rodents, and the scientists doing the work aren’t claiming so.”

    They were noting that our genetic distance to to cows was less, and that our genomes were more similar. We should keep in mind that it is not just coincidence that these less “related” organisms are sometimes better model organisms than rodents for our studies.

  449. #453 Tassie Devil
    May 5, 2009

    Bloody hell, I’m in The Guardian! (I’m themeerkat over there.)

    That’s a bit of a shock for a wednesday morning…

  450. #454 Tassie Devil
    May 5, 2009

    Oops, forgot link:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/may/05/letters-response-stephen-fry?showallcomments=true

    It’s well worth a read. What would you say to your 16 year old self today? Maybe even worth a complimentary thread here on Pharyngula.

    BTW I misread the big banner ad at the top and had a WTF!! moment.. But fortunately PZ doesn’t have anything against librarians (I hope).

  451. #455 Stanton
    May 5, 2009
    “We are not more closely related to cows than to rodents, and the scientists doing the work aren’t claiming so.”

    They were noting that our genetic distance to to cows was less, and that our genomes were more similar.

    Simply because two or more taxa are “conservative” in comparison to the last common ancestor does not make these conservative taxa any more closely related. The fact that primates and artiodactyls are genetically conservative (hard to believe on account of both orders’ great diversity) while rodents are not does not change the fact that primates are far more closely related to rodent because their common ancestor diverged from artiodactyls 80+ million years ago, while rodents and primates diverged 60 to 50 something million years ago.

    In other words, simply because you and your 7th cousin thrice removed both look like your great, great, great grandfather does not necessarily mean that you two are closely related.

    We should keep in mind that it is not just coincidence that these less “related” organisms are sometimes better model organisms than rodents for our studies.

    So explain to us how a cow can fit into a laboratory, let alone be a better model organism than a Norwegian rat or house mouse, please.

    Or, even, explain how a mousedeer would make for a better model organism than a mouse.

  452. #456 Tassie Devil
    May 5, 2009

    Africangenesis –

    You were burbling when I went to bed last night. I get up, drive to work and it’s nearly lunchtime.

    You are still burbling.

    Enough already.

  453. #457 Rorschach
    May 5, 2009
  454. #458 Crudely Wrott
    May 5, 2009

    bastion of sass asks in #440:

    I’m somewhat afraid to ask, but: when do you think “my day” was?

    I dunno. I would guess that you are younger than I am because I’m pushing sixty, and since so many of the posters here are students. Actually, I haven’t read enough of your comments to form more than rough idea of your sanity and probity. On both counts you score well on my scale and I look forward to more from you.

    Me, I graduated from high school with the class of 1969. Lots of Firesign Theatre, Moody Blues and life on the family farm. Miniskirts and bell bottoms. Sideburns.

    And ask freely, without worry. I’m pretty damned tough to piss off and I get over it right away. I always found that carrying a grudge is too expensive in terms of time and energy.

  455. #459 windy
    May 5, 2009

    They were noting that our genetic distance to to cows was less, and that our genomes were more similar.

    They didn’t say anything about “genetic distance”. I would guess that they mean genome organization. Although, one of the researchers said something strange, if she was quoted correctly here:

    “…now we have convincing evidence that cattle genes are actually more similar to human genes than mice,” said Fiona Brinkman of Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.

    But as others have pointed out, it’s not true that humans are “more closely related” to cows than rodents, so we’ll have to wait until the paper comes out tomorrow to see what exactly they mean by “more similar”.

  456. #460 africangenesis
    May 6, 2009

    Nothing Sacred#448,

    “Yeah, like I’m more closely related to my cousin who looks a lot like me than I am to my brother, despite sharing a more recent common ancestor with the latter. ”

    No, it is more like you share more single nucleotide polymorphisms and chromosome abnormalities with your first cousin than with the 100th generation descendent of your brother and sisters incestuous matings.

    Stanton#456,

    “So explain to us how a cow can fit into a laboratory, let alone be a better model organism than a Norwegian rat or house mouse, please.”

    The rat and mouse will continue to be far more convenient, but dogs and pigs have already proven useful, and there may be times and genetic circumstances where their relatedness outweighs convenience.

  457. #461 bastion of sass
    May 6, 2009

    Crudely Wrott

    Hey, we’re very nearly the same age, and based on your high school graduation year, I may even be a year or two older than you are (hard to tell because I started school early and graduated high school when I was 17.)

    Mini-skirts, bell-bottoms…yeah, my era. I knew I was getting old when my kids first started asking to borrow my “hippie” clothes to wear on Halloween.

    The reason was I was “afraid to ask” you how old you thought I might be was because I was afraid you’d either give a much younger age, which might suggest you think I’m immature; or a much older age, which might suggest you think I’m in my dotage.

    As far as my sanity, in the real world, I do a fairly decent job of passing for normal. Well, almost normal.

    I wish I had more to contribute to this blog, but science is not my field.

  458. #462 Ichthyic
    May 6, 2009

    so we’ll have to wait until the paper comes out tomorrow to see what exactly they mean by “more similar”.

    they mean exactly that: genes for similar proteins are more similar in sequence between cows and humans than they are in rodents and humans.

    It’s also abundantly clear WHY this is, and it has nothing to do with relatedness (if you determine relatedness by via common ancestry, which would of course be standard issue).

    In fact, I rather thought it was explained at least twice earlier on in the thread?

    Don’t answer that, though, if you can answer this instead:

    Can someone point me to a recent paper looking at how molecular clocks are adjusted for differing rates of evolution, when comparing species that have hugely different generational rates?

    I’m sure it’s been done, but I don’t have any references on the subject in my collection.

  459. #463 Ichthyic
    May 6, 2009

    I wish I had more to contribute to this blog, but science is not my field.

    how I wish AG would say the same thing about science, or economic, or politics…

    say, what IS AG’s supposed field of expertise, anyway?

    paranoid delusions?

    wanking?

  460. #464 nothing's sacred
    May 6, 2009

    No, it is more like you share more single nucleotide polymorphisms and chromosome abnormalities with your first cousin than with the 100th generation descendent of your brother and sisters incestuous matings.

    Look, moron, I used your wording — it was an exact parallel. So indeed, “no, it is more like” what you write here, as opposed to what you idiotically wrote previously.

  461. #465 Crudely Wrott
    May 6, 2009

    Hey, we’re very nearly the same age, and based on your high school graduation year, I may even be a year or two older than you are

    Hey! How ’bout that? How the hell are ya, bro?

    I just came back from the Robert Ebert thread where there have been some comments that have given me an unusually enhance good humor, so it’s nice to return here to catch a further bonus, your reply. Thanks.

    I’m not a scientist either. I’m actually more of a tinker, a handyman, the guy you call when the faucet doesn’t work or the front door sticks. Notwithstanding the lack of a sheepskin on the wall I must know a fair degree of science in order to understand how to fix things. I suppose this ability came from a childhood fascination with science in general, to which my mother responded with many wonderful books that to some large degree shaped my life.

    Anyway, it’s nice to meet you. For now, goodnight. Today was a long one and tomorrow is closing in.

  462. #466 Knockgoats
    May 6, 2009

    “Apologies, this was the intended link:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/04/what_are_you_doing_alberta.php” – AG

    OK, I’ve now reviewed that thread, in which you claim “bad faith” was shown to Walton and yourself. You clearly are delusional: the thread shows Walton engaging (and being engaged) in rational and largely polite argument, while you ride all your favourite hobby-horses, make a fool of yourself over a book you have clearly misunderstood, get called nasty names and told to go away, and whine about how all the “Chomskyites” are mistreating you. I’d agree that some of what is said against you is unfair (e.g. on AGW you do reference the literature, although you cherry-pick, distort, and make unfounded accusations of lying against climate scientists), but as several people pointed out on that very thread, the contrast between the way you are treated and the way Walton is treated should tell you something. It won’t, of course.

  463. #467 Knockgoats
    May 6, 2009

    “Apologies, this was the intended link:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/04/what_are_you_doing_alberta.php” – AG

    OK, I’ve now reviewed that thread, in which you claim “bad faith” was shown to Walton and yourself. You clearly are delusional: the thread shows Walton engaging (and being engaged) in rational and largely polite argument, while you ride all your favourite hobby-horses, make a fool of yourself over a book you have clearly misunderstood, get called nasty names and told to go away, and whine about how all the “Chomskyites” are mistreating you. I’d agree that some of what is said against you is unfair (e.g. on AGW you do reference the literature, although you cherry-pick, distort, and make unfounded accusations of lying against climate scientists), but as several people pointed out on that very thread, the contrast between the way you are treated and the way Walton is treated should tell you something. It won’t, of course.

  464. #468 Knockgoats
    May 6, 2009

    Ach! apologies for the triple post. WTF are the SB gods playing at?

    On the fascinating subject of who would play me in the Pharyngula film, I can’t think of any actors who look much like me. (Maybe there’s a reason for that – but if you want an idea what I look like, think Dan Dennett.) Patricia, OM, suggests Stephen Fry, but although he’s about the right age, he’s nothing like me in appearance, and is far too upper-class in accent and mannerisms. A bearded Patrick Stewart (as someone suggested) would be closer, but he’d also need to put on a bit of weight.

  465. #469 windy
    May 6, 2009

    they mean exactly that: genes for similar proteins are more similar in sequence between cows and humans than they are in rodents and humans.
    It’s also abundantly clear WHY this is, and it has nothing to do with relatedness (if you determine relatedness by via common ancestry, which would of course be standard issue).
    In fact, I rather thought it was explained at least twice earlier on in the thread?

    From the wording in AG’s link, it wasn’t clear if they meant actual sequence or synteny. After previous news screw-ups like ‘parts of the platypus genome are more similar to birds and reptiles’, perhaps I am overly skeptical of popular news articles about genomics!

    But if it’s really coding sequence that’s more similar between cows and humans, it’s interesting that previous phylogenetic studies have found the ‘right’ phylogeny even using simple distance methods like neighbor joining. IIRC.

  466. #470 windy
    May 6, 2009

    …and apparently it’s unwise to google “human cow” without adding “genome”. Ewww.

  467. #471 Ichthyic
    May 6, 2009

    From the wording in AG’s link, it wasn’t clear if they meant actual sequence or synteny.

    ah. I actually assumed they meant sequence, as this isn’t the first example of this type I recall seeing.

    it’s interesting that previous phylogenetic studies have found the ‘right’ phylogeny even using simple distance methods like neighbor joining. IIRC.

    maybe not a significant enough difference to throw it off by that much? Do you have a specific example in mind?

  468. #472 Ichthyic
    May 6, 2009

    Ewww.

    LOL

    btw, isn’t the neighbor joining method specifically meant to account for disparities in evolution rate?

    The very thing at issue wrt to cows vs rats?

  469. #473 africangenesis
    May 6, 2009

    Nothing’s Sacred#465,

    “Look, moron, I used your wording — it was an exact parallel. So indeed, “no, it is more like” what you write here, as opposed to what you idiotically wrote previously.”

    Sorry, I’m still happy with my original wording also, I just gave a more appropo analogy than the one you chose. One way of understanding “related”, is shared genes. Given the number of generations and amount of evolution in the rodent line, we actually may share more genes, with our cousins than with our upteenth grand nephews. We are arguably more related even by the colloquial sense of the term, although because of our shared descent with rodents, we may be morphorlogically more similar.

    I actually thought this had probably already been discussed and was looking for a link to it. I am surprised it hadn’t been discussed. I was a little behind in my reading, and with all the eyes here interested in biology, I didn’t think it could have been missed.

  470. #474 Ichthyic
    May 6, 2009

    Sorry, I’m still happy with my original wording

    you mean when you said that cows are more closely related to human than rats?

    IOW, you’re happy being wrong.

    why doesn’t that surprise me?

    you are also incorrect about the issue of “shared genes”. It’s not the number of genes that are shared, but the sequences of those that are.

    we expect higher diveregence within shared gene sequences comparing lineages with faster vs slower evolution rates.

    wait, why am i bothering to explain this to YOU?

    fuck off, moron. I’m fucking tired of you pretending you know what you’re talking about.

  471. #475 the great and powerful oz
    May 6, 2009

    So, Australia inflicted Ken Ham on the world.
    Surely Tim Minchin makes up for it?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFO6ZhUW38w

  472. #476 windy
    May 6, 2009

    Ichthyic:

    btw, isn’t the neighbor joining method specifically meant to account for disparities in evolution rate?

    No, NJ is a clustering method based on distance (quick and dirty…).


    AG:

    One way of understanding “related”, is shared genes. Given the number of generations and amount of evolution in the rodent line, we actually may share more genes, with our cousins than with our upteenth grand nephews.

    OK, that is clearer than your original analogy. But even if relatedness correlates with genetic similarity or shared genes, it’s a bit confusing to say they are the same thing.

    I actually thought this had probably already been discussed and was looking for a link to it. I am surprised it hadn’t been discussed. I was a little behind in my reading, and with all the eyes here interested in biology, I didn’t think it could have been missed.

    I haven’t seen it discussed anywhere, so thanks for pointing it out.

  473. #477 nothing's sacred
    May 6, 2009

    Sorry, I’m still happy with my original wording also

    Yes, no doubt you’re happy being the idiot that you are.

    One way of understanding “related”, is shared genes.

    When comparing shared genes to family trees, only a moron or someone intentionally trying to mislead would say that the organisms with more shared genes are more closely related than the organisms that are more closely related, as the term means without having to put quotes around it — which of course you didn’t do originally.

  474. #478 africangenesis
    May 6, 2009

    nothing’s sacred#479,

    “only a moron or someone intentionally trying to mislead would say …”

    I don’t see why both couldn’t be true, after all, if I were intentionally trying to mislead, it would be moronic to attach the link to the actual article.

  475. #479 Ctenotrish
    May 6, 2009

    Oh, I am sooo late to the game, but better late than never . . . .

    Dania, Bastion, ‘Tis, Sphere, Patricia, Alex, and others I am sure I have missed . . . . I?ve now learned what happens when I keep up with long threads at work, where everything fun is blocked. I miss *all the good stuff*!! I am so glad I stuck with this one by going back through the thread when I got home so that I could enjoy the battle. :) Of course, the math lessons were great too, but those I could get at work. Those were educational, but the battle – now that was great fun!

    Windy, Patricia played by Cloris Leachman? Are you KIDDING me?? Patricia should be played by Catherine Zeta-Jones, or Penelope Cruz, at minimum. You lose ALL of your turns on the spanking couch. And I want them. *pout!*

  476. #480 windy
    May 7, 2009

    Patricia played by Cloris Leachman? Are you KIDDING me??

    What’s wrong with her? Although on second thought, she’s not really the hillbilly type (Patricia is a self-described one). I bet Frances Conroy could do a great ex-“snake kissing fundie” turned spanking couch administrator.

  477. #481 'Tis Himself
    May 7, 2009

    The late Ricardo Montalbán would have been perfect for portraying me. Granted I’m short, balding, overweight, not Hispanic, have a beard, and wear glasses, but other than that it’s a perfect match.

  478. #482 Josh
    May 7, 2009

    The late Ricardo Montalbán would have been perfect for portraying me. Granted I’m short, balding, overweight, not Hispanic, have a beard, and wear glasses, but other than that it’s a perfect match.

    Oh, I am so reading everything you write from now on with his voice in mind.

  479. #483 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 7, 2009

    I think Ed Asner would be good portraying me. And for the Redhead, Amy Adams.

  480. #484 Josh
    May 7, 2009

    Amy Adams is beautiful.

  481. #485 Ctenotrish
    May 7, 2009

    Windy, oookay. I can maybe buy Frances Conroy playing Patricia. But I still picture more of a rich-like-dark-chocolate earth goddess . . . . somehow I missed Patricia’s hillbilly ref. :)

  482. #486 Rorschach
    May 8, 2009

    Windy, Patricia played by Cloris Leachman? Are you KIDDING me?? Patricia should be played by Catherine Zeta-Jones, or Penelope Cruz, at minimum

    Lets calm down here…:-)
    I thought about it,and have decided,Meryl Streep would be a great Patricia !!

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