Pharyngula

Archives for July, 2009

Various bits of red tape have been cleared, and the feds are about to seize the bulk of Dino Adventure Land in Pensacola, Florida, so that it can be sold off to cover the Hovind’s pending debts and penalties. You might just be able to pick up some plywood dinosaurs for cheap!

Watts gets swatted

That crank pseudoscience site, Watt’s Up With That, got thoroughly reamed out with the video below (just the fact that the chief crackpot, Anthony Watts, would show up on Glenn Beck’s show is indictment enough, though). Watt was not too happy with his public evisceration, however, and scurried off to get it taken down. Here…

Dosidicus gigas, left, Homo sapiens, right Figure from Cephalopods: A World Guide (amzn/b&n/abe/pwll), by Mark Norman.

The mermaid fatwa

We are often told that religion is a different way of knowing, that it can provide us with a different perspective and different information. I have not believed this at all, because no one has ever been able to give me an example of actual, useful information obtained from a religion, that could not have…

A much-abused study showed that in poor neighborhoods with low academic opportunities, better scholastic performance was correlated with church attendance. This slim thread has been seized upon by religious apologists to justify claims that church attendance improves kids’ grades, and is usually accompanied by anecdotes about good church-going children being studious and diligent. The evidence…

Here is a piece of text from a textbook used by fundamentalist Christians in a biology class. Have you heard of the ‘Loch Ness Monster’ in Scotland? ‘Nessie,’ for short has been recorded on sonar from a small submarine, described by eyewitnesses, and photographed by others. Nessie appears to be a plesiosaur. Could a fish…

The future is roaring your way…

Edge hosted an amazing session that described the looming future of biology — this is for the real futurists. It featured George Church and Craig Venter talking about synthetic genomics — how we’re building new organisms right now and with presentiments for radical prospects in the future. Brace yourself. There are six hours of video…

Cobb County does something right

Cobb County, Georgia is infamous for its efforts a few years ago to slap a warning sticker on biology textbooks, which might have given the impression that it’s full of southern yahoos. However, intelligent people and godless people are everywhere, including Cobb County, and they now have another claim to fame: a local atheist, Edward…

Biological pareidolia

Jesus in a pita, Madonna in bird poop, gods speaking through the arrangement of viscera…we’re used to ridiculous religious pattern seeking. A reader, Mike Barnes, wrote in to tell me about a scientist who has been playing the same game: Francis Collins sees DNA in stained glass windows. Collins showed two images–a stained-glass rose window…

They’re back

When all the site problems were at their worst, one of the things I did to try and lighten the server’s load was to remove the random quotes feature here. It didn’t seem to help, and boy, did I get lots of email complaining about their absence — I didn’t think you guys would even…