Pharyngula

I get email

I am often chided by morons.

Consistent

Dear Mr. Myers,

To be wrong is always acceptable, because we are human. But, to be consistently wrong, especially when you call yourself a Professor, is going way beyond the bounds of good sense. Anyone who even gives ear to people such as Dawkins and Kitchens is no less than a fool. There is nothing wrong with being a fool, but teaching others to be one is unacceptable and irresponsible, at the very least. Furthermore, to have a degree or degrees in biology and to still believe in Darwinian theory, shows ignorance in the worst degree. Macro evolution is founded on absolutely nothing but blind faith. No evidence has ever been provided for it. Several hokes and false attempts, but no real evidence. A large group of sciences, including biologists, have concluded that the theory is false. Why, other than you can make a living no way else, that a professional biologist would continue on with such a shenanigan, is beyond comprehension. It is a poison to society and you are one who doses it out. As common as a drug dealer. I hope you will come to your senses, as a thinking rational man, before too long. If it is the result of bitterness about something in your past…get over it.

Sincerely,
Michael Aprile

I’ve split half-billion year old stones to expose the shells of trilobites, I’ve seen the bones of Tiktaalik, I’ve held in my hands the skull of Neanderthal. I’ve compared the genes of mice and flies, I’ve studied the embryos of grasshoppers and fish, I’ve read thousands of papers produced by a scientific community that values curiosity over money. I’ve also read dozens of books by creationists, and I can say with complete confidence that they, and you, Mr Michael Aprile, are full of shit.

You write chastising email built out of condescending ignorance, and can’t even be troubled to check the spelling and grammar. You claim there is no evidence for evolution, when you haven’t even looked. All those people with degrees in biology know genetics, molecular biology, anatomy, physiology, and ecology — what do you know, Mr Aprile? The science points ineluctably to evolution as a fact, as the mechanism for biological change over time. The only people who argue otherwise, and that includes those ‘sciences’ [sic] you claim have concluded that the theory is false, are ideologues who have had their brains addled by non-scientific presuppositions, and who have decided that their fallacious traditional myths must supersede observation and evidence.

The professional biologists whose work you do not comprehend are not spreading poison or drugs: they are sharing knowledge. I know you find that anathema, since it directly displaces the ignorance you and your religion thrive on, but I do not concede an iota of respect to your stupidity, and will be spending the rest of my life opposing it.

Comments

  1. #1 Abdul Alhazred
    December 15, 2009

    You like Kitchens? :)

  2. #2 ChrisH
    December 15, 2009

    Well it seems like this idiot at least used spell check. And failed.

    Who’s ‘Kitchens’???

    Bwahahaha!

  3. #3 ice9
    December 15, 2009

    Dude, stop sugarcoating. Tell him what you really think. All this tiptoeing around…you’re just encouraging him. If you let him off the hook, you’ll have to let them all off the hook and next thing we know this foolishness will persuade a majority of Americans and damage our educational system. If Mr. Aprile told you to jump off an intelligently designed bridge, would you?

    You’ll shoot your eye out.

    Ice9

  4. #4 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 15, 2009

    Macro evolution is founded on absolutely nothing but blind faith.

    Projection: The best weapon of the creationist.

  5. #5 Squiddhartha
    December 15, 2009

    “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I’ve watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those … moments will be lost in time, like tears…in rain. Time to die.”

  6. #6 Doug Little
    December 15, 2009

    Who is this Kitchen’s character? Why haven’t I heard of him?

  7. #7 scribe999
    December 15, 2009

    I like Kitchens…it’s where the food’s at

  8. #8 Stefan
    December 15, 2009

    The burning stupid still surprises me…not sure why. Keep fighting the good fight – else our descendants may end up in another Idiocracy (a.k.a. the GWB years.)

  9. #9 Zeno
    December 15, 2009

    It’s really irksome when those who think they know everything insist on lecturing those of us who actually do.

    Hmmph!

  10. #10 Josh
    December 15, 2009

    Furthermore, to have a degree or degrees in biology and to still believe in Darwinian theory, shows ignorance in the worst degree.

    The holiday season is saved! I usually hate it when people put little quotes after their email signatures, but I might have to bend the rule for this little gem.

  11. #11 Free Lunch
    December 15, 2009

    Who is this Kitchen’s character?

    Must be someone from the Food Channel.

    The holy trinity of science deniers is ignorance, foolishness, and dishonesty.

  12. #12 Blind Squirrel FCD
    December 15, 2009

    Test. Dogdamn Typepad.

    BS

  13. #13 aratina cage
    December 15, 2009

    Kitchens: Hitchens’ personality uploaded into a Pontiac Trans Am.

  14. #14 bybelknap
    December 15, 2009

    I think he may have Kitchens confused with Darles Chickens, author of such fine works as Rarnaby Budge and A Sale of Two Titties.

  15. #15 Free Lunch
    December 15, 2009

    Kitchens: Hitchens’ personality uploaded into a Pontiac Trans Am.

    I’d watch that show. No doubt it would be on immediately after “House”.

  16. #16 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    December 15, 2009

    Ah, no evidence for evolution? Never mind the million or so scientific papers over 150+ years. Compare this to the physical evidence that your babble isn’t a book of mythology, or Yahweh isn’t the one and true god. Guess which wins hands down. It isn’t evidenceless religion. Faith is for those weak of mind who cannot accept reality. You evolved from your ancestors, all the way back to single celled organisms, to the more recent mammals/primates/apes to finally human. Show good scientific evidence, not inane and ignorant blather, otherwise.

  17. #17 flounder99
    December 15, 2009

    Just so everyone knows:
    Darkens, Kitchens, Hairless, and Dented are the four horses on the packing slip.

  18. #18 englishbobster
    December 15, 2009

    This is my first comment on an entry in PZ’s blog. Most of you guys seem pretty clever and I really wanted to say something intelligent, but that e-mail, I am gob-smacked! absolutely stunned to silence.

    At least I dont have to worry about writing something stupid (ever again).

  19. #19 Steven Dunlap
    December 15, 2009

    A misconception, wrapped in ignorance, inside a conspiracy theory.

  20. #20 ursulamajor
    December 15, 2009

    Speaking of the Food Channel, did you know that Guy Fieri (the guy with the bleached spikes and sunglasses on the back of his neck) is actually a pop singer from Bulgaria?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5-3BZcv2H0&feature=related

    Enter at your own risk….

  21. #21 Your Name's Not Bruce?
    December 15, 2009

    So the singular of “hokes” must be “hoke”. I didn’t know that. See, these folks can teach us something.

  22. #22 Richard Eis
    December 15, 2009

    Yes, I would be a fool to listen to my kitchen. Because listening to imaginary voices is never a good thing. Want to talk to us about that?

    -There is nothing wrong with being a fool-

    Yes there is. Its foolish.

  23. #23 The Tim Channel
    December 15, 2009

    Just checking the comment system out today to make sure I’m not locked in the Kitchens.

    Enjoy.

  24. #24 Tulse
    December 15, 2009

    I think he may have Kitchens confused with Darles Chickens, author of such fine works as Rarnaby Budge and A Sale of Two Titties.

    You’re confusing him with Edmund Wells.

    (Tulse’s Law: There is absolutely no topic for which a Monty Python reference can’t be found.)

  25. #25 DanielR
    December 15, 2009

    I do not concede an iota of respect to your stupidity, and will be spending the rest of my life opposing it.

    Hear, hear!

  26. #26 Steven Dunlap
    December 15, 2009

    Just so everyone knows:
    Darkens, Kitchens, Hairless, and Dented are the four horses on the packing slip.

    Priceless. Thank you for that. You must have worked in purchasing.

    Anyway, I recognize Dawkins, but could the good people here tell me who the other 3 are in reality? I can not reverse-engineer the other three names. Pardon my ignorance.

  27. #27 Gus Snarp
    December 15, 2009

    Hear, Hear. Well said.

    I just wish these people wouldn’t lie. If they just chose not to believe in evolution, I wouldn’t care, but the need to lie and claim there is no evidence is just, well it’s “a poison to society” and those like the author of this email “who dose(s) it out” are common “drug dealers”.

  28. #28 alistair.coleman
    December 15, 2009

    PZ – that reply is completely full of WIN. The only sad thing is that Mr Aprile won’t change his POV in the slightest.

    *stands on chair, applauds*

  29. #29 Steven Dunlap
    December 15, 2009

    I just had a sudden flashback to a Tonight Show episode back in the 70s or 80s with Johnny Carson and Orson Wells.

    They did a skit in which Wells was the King and Carson the court jester. After the King calls for his fool to come to entertain him, Carson does his goofiest and doofiest schtick ever. Then Wells delivered the timeless line:

    “I asked for a Fool, not an idiot.”

  30. #30 steve
    December 15, 2009

    @ 26

    Kitchens = Christoper Hitchens
    Hairless = Sam Harris
    Dented = Daniel Dennett

  31. #31 Holytape
    December 15, 2009

    Maybe it wasn’t a spelling error. Maybe he just hates University of Texas El Paso’s track and field team’s head coach Bob Kitchens. Or maybe he hates runners in general.

  32. #32 Free Lunch
    December 15, 2009

    Steven Dunlap –

    The ‘Four Horsemen’ are:
    Richard Dawkins
    Christopher Hitchens
    Sam Harris
    Daniel Dennett

  33. #33 ArmandTanzarian
    December 15, 2009

    Man, these people make me absolutely angry, and I’m just a regular person. I can’t imagine how angry it must make you to hear these willfully ignorant idiots attempt to dismantle your life’s work.

  34. #34 AJ Milne
    December 15, 2009

    We are amused.

    The best part: reading that, and getting: they probably even halfway know how lame and hopeless a gambit like that is going to look from their side. But they’re driven to try it, all the same, under the painful circumstances they daily face.

    Reading something like that just tells me all the more clearly: creationists mostly know better than they let on that they’re buying and selling a con, and one mostly only trafficked in by the not terribly bright. So the derision they justly receive does too frequently sting them, and sting them bad

    Oh, and it does, doesn’t it, ‘sincere’ Mr. Aprile? And ah, what to do when you’re so stung?

    Oh, Hey… I know–let’s try for revenge–try ‘n give that derision back to them somehow…

    … Yet probably knowing, even as they strain their limited intellects to compose such amusing missives, it’s just going to make them look sillier still.

    The difference being: they really do have to spend their life avoiding evidence and arguments that will hurt their case. While their opposition can wade in with a meat cleaver, up to their elbows in the totality of it, no fear. When it’s not so much having the evidence on your side as positively swimming in the stuff, well, kiddo, you figure out how this is gonna work out for you…

    I mean, what, our ‘sincere’ dear Mr. Aprile–do you suppose anyone’s going to think ‘well, sure, we got fossils up the wazoo, phylogenetic trees up to the rafters sketching out descendence between extinct and extant lineages, massive and growing databases of sequences ripe for comparison, example after example of interesting atavisms ‘n vestigial features ‘n fragments of deactivated genes from days gone by, descendance trees for genes ‘emselves, fuck, correlated against those of the organisms, so much that I could devote the rest of my life to speed-reading the stuff every waking hour and I’d still probably die before I got through all the material… but…

    ‘… but oh, look, a hilariously condescending, mispelled letter from a putative purveyor of fairy tales what sez that stuff’s wrong… Well, wow… how could I have been so blind…’

    So sure, there’s a certain schadenfreude about the whole thing, absolutely. It gives me this perverse pleasure, picturing him squirming this very moment with discomfort–painfully aware how naked is his dishonesty, all too painfully aware that everyone knows just as well as he does how very full of it he is…

    Does that make me a bad person?

    (/Next question: do I care?)

  35. #35 jennyxyzzy
    December 15, 2009

    Clenched Fist Salute PZ!

    This type of person irks me to an extent that is difficult to believe. If there is anything more annoying than being confronted by a living, breathing demonstration of the Dunning-Kruger effect, I don’t know what it is.

    In some ways it’s like a very condensed Gish Gallop. To rebutt his point of view, you would literally have to spend a year teaching him about all the different bits and pieces of evidence that we have used to determine the truth about evolution. At each step he is going to present objections that have been identified by scientists over a period of literally hundreds of years. Each of those objections has resulted in an experiment to determine the answer. But to communicate all of this information is just such a huge task, and the likelihood that this guy would actually listen just so low, that there is truly no viable way of convincing him.

    Teeth-grindingly annoying….

  36. #36 Matt Penfold
    December 15, 2009

    PZ is often considered a fifth horseman, but brining up the rear on a knackered and rather too small pony.

  37. #37 felixthecat
    December 15, 2009

    I had no idea till now that “hokes” is a real word:

    hoke (hk)
    tr.v. hoked, hok·ing, hokes Slang
    To give an impressive but artificial, false, or deceptive quality to: hoked up some phony allegations. (freedictionary)

  38. #38 co
    December 15, 2009

    http://www.utmostway.com/authors/michael-aprile

    Could it be?

    PZ, that was a beautiful response. *clenches fist to chest, then does wiggly squid arm motion*

  39. #39 Rob
    December 15, 2009

    Macro evolution is founded on absolutely nothing but blind faith.

    Wait a minute, I thought these people thought having blind faith was a virtue!? So which one is it?

  40. #40 scooterKPFT
    December 15, 2009

    I Think this hoke is a Powe

  41. #41 Phodopus
    December 15, 2009

    Hell’s Kitchens, that is…

  42. #42 Gregory Greenwood
    December 15, 2009

    ‘The professional biologists whose work you do not comprehend are not spreading poison or drugs: they are sharing knowledge.’

    The trouble is that to a godbot like Michael Aprile knowledge is poison; it might make people (even children! Won’t somebody think of the children!) question the mindless praisin’ of Jebus that is the centre of his tawdry little life and consequently, in his mind at least, the foundation of all civilisation.

    To him, we atheists are an existential threat. We are baby eating, homosexual manufacturing (teh ghey! Oh the humanity! They are making the children they don’t eat gay!) incarnations of all that is depraved and evil. Our chief weapon is ‘bad’ science. This being distinct from the ‘good’ pseudoscience that he can use to prop up the rapidly crumbling edifice of his irrational religion.

    Such ‘bad’ science is the Whore of Babylon that births knowledge into the world. And the really bad thing about knowledge is that it is so darn difficult to control these days. Especially with the intertubes possessing the capacity to beam it directly into peoples homes where the beady eyes of the faithful cannot see what they watch, listen to or read and so cannot control it. Worse still, people, once exposed to knowledge, have a tendency to amass more of it. Eventually they begin to dimly understand the world around them, and consequently abandon bronze age mythology and fairytales for the benefits of the modern, scientific world.

    To we pharyngulites this is a good thing. To woo-mongers like Aprile it is nothing short of apocalyptic. If people are not ignorant, they cannot be controlled by fear, and where would the Church be then?

  43. #43 RamblinDude
    December 15, 2009

    This email is like being groped by a zombie. ?Give your brains to Jesus!?
    ?Give your brains to Jesus!?

  44. #44 bybelknap
    December 15, 2009

    Tulse, You can’t make it a Law yet. It’s still just a theory.

  45. #45 Free Lunch
    December 15, 2009

    I had no idea till now that “hokes” is a real word

    No surprise. We have its relatives ‘hokey’ and ‘hokum’ still in active use, but some words just disappear.

  46. #46 momentofsciencetx
    December 15, 2009

    I think this Michael Aprile is the Chief Editor and Author, The Utmost Way Magazine.

  47. #47 Mu
    December 15, 2009

    Again PZ, you claim the power of rocks and paper over the unbeatable force of the jumbotron screen hanging over the preacher in your local megachurch. 10,000 souls being enlightened by the Holy Spirit beat 10,000 papers by some long dead people in a heartbeat.
    So Mr. Aprile should turn off the autocorrect option in his spell checker.

  48. #48 Pleco
    December 15, 2009

    At least the writer didn’t use any religious terminology…

  49. #49 Josh
    December 15, 2009

    10,000 souls being enlightened by the Holy Spirit beat 10,000 papers by some long dead people in a heartbeat.

    It’s true–they probably have a Starbucks in that church.

  50. #50 Doug Little
    December 15, 2009

    PZ is often considered a fifth horseman, but brining up the rear on a knackered and rather too small pony.

    Really, I always though he was riding a juvenile Triceratops. But then that wouldn’t technically make him a horseman now would it.

  51. #51 Larry
    December 15, 2009

    You know, it is really, really hard to even imagine putting myself into such a profound state of ignorance and stupidity. What makes one choose to walk through life with ear plugs firmly seated and eyes wide shut? To ignore that vast amounts of information available to educate oneself because you are afraid, terrified even, that opening up your mind might somehow offend that little sky fairy you so firmly believe in is simply mind boggling.

    I’d pity people like this except my supply of it has run dry. Mr. Aprile and those like him are lost causes.

  52. #52 gr8hands
    December 15, 2009

    Squiddhartha, thank you for the Blade Runner quote — one of my favorites.

    Poor Mr. Aprile, he has wasted his entire life with his delusions, and now has to desperately cling to them or be forced to admit that he has wasted his entire life with delusions.

    There’s a terrible sadness I feel when I hear protestations of belief from people who obviously do not believe . . . They want so much to believe, and think that repetition will actually make it so for them.

    What a shame, all the wasted effort, money flushed down the toilet in tithes/offerings, the guilt, the self-loathing, creating false hatred of people with different faiths. People would be rightly angry — not just with themselves, but also with their parents, their pastors, their support system that has been foisting the lies onto them since birth.

    Who would want to have that much anger and grief and betrayal? It only makes sense to live in denial — loud, braying denial — because of the fear of isolation from the religious community. (Which is proof that ‘love’ plays only a tiny part in their religious lies — they spend so much of their energy shunning/rejecting people for such a huge variety of ‘sins’.)

    Mr. Aprile, put down your cross and follow us. Let the burdens of denial fall from your shoulders. We’ll welcome you with open arms. Feel the freedom from the tyranny of your religion.

  53. #53 Goodlookingfatman
    December 15, 2009

    PZ,

    You’ve held in your hands the amazing blobsmack skull of Nippindorf. You’ve compared the code of Halo and The Sims. You’ve read thousands of orthodox papers approved by the clergy. You have never refuted the design inference and I don’t think you ever will; you have no naturalistic explanation for macro evolutionary change or for origins, though you do have faith that your view will figure it out. The twist you put on science is every bit as metaphysical as anything to come out of Genesis!

  54. #54 Strangest brew
    December 15, 2009

    They get so hysterically apoplectic when they know they are a dying breed of stupid!

    Bet the Dino’s could not spell either…at the end!

    Leta to the Editoria!

    Dear sir,

    It haz kom to my attension that yous thinks we is a deaded doomed…

    We is not we is a livin and a herdin’…tis true we is not so many these age…and a few seems to have buggered off and is a playin at beings at as other critters…but youfs does that!

    Yous waits till the next gatherin…we is gonna rule de land so we is!…and turf thems skinny ijiots outta demm trees…
    Mee and me buddies…when Iz finded thems dat iz!.. gonna kiks yous ass bone we is…yous and ya ejukashun…

    Yous sir are an ignorammousses…we is ain’t deaded we is just snoozinn!..for a while… till de ‘miraculous lizzie’ comes fur uz!

    Youz is all a goin lava dippin…yous see if I is right…

    Sincerely

    Michael Triceratops (Mrs)

  55. #55 Ming
    December 15, 2009

    Beautiful PZ. That may be my most favorite smack-down of all time.

  56. #56 Gregory Greenwood
    December 15, 2009

    Sq1uiddhartha @ 5;

    “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I’ve watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those … moments will be lost in time, like tears…in rain. Time to die.”

    I love the Blade Runner quote. Rutger Hauer is surely one of the most underrated Sci-Fi actors of all time.

    If I may add a more obscure quote form the world of computer games;

    ‘I have journeyed through the darkness between the most distant stars. I have beheld the births of negative-suns and borne witness to the entropy of entire realities….’

    Ahh, Zeratul. You are most assuredly my favourite weird-alien-ninja chap.

  57. #57 HappyMonkey
    December 15, 2009

    I didn’t see “kind regards” at the end of that letter. Dang! These creationists evolve fast.

  58. #58 Mike in Ontario, NY
    December 15, 2009

    @ 36: You mean a triceratops, not a pony.

  59. #59 Strangest brew
    December 15, 2009

    They get so hysterically apoplectic when they know they are a dying breed of stupid!

    Bet the Dino’s could not spell either…at the end!

    Leta to the Editoria!

    Dear meyer,

    It haz kom to my attension that yous thinks we is a deaded doomed…

    We is not we is a livin and a herdin’…tis true we is not so many these age…and a few seems to have buggered off and is a playin at beings at as other critters…but youfs does that!

    Yous waits till the next gatherin…we is gonna rule de land so we is!…and turf thems skinny ijiots outta demm trees…
    Mee and me buddies…when Iz finded thems dat iz!.. gonna kiks yous ass bone we is…yous and ya ejukashun…

    Yous sir are an ignorammousses…we is ain’t deaded we is just snoozinn!..for a while… till de ‘miraculous lizzie’ comes fur uz!

    Youz is all a goin lava dippin…yous see if I is right…

    Sincerely

    Michael Triceratops (Mrs)

  60. #60 Peptron
    December 15, 2009

    Somebody will need to help me understand something that I cannot wrap my mind around about their concept of “microevolution” VS “macroevolution”.

    They seem to mean that species can evolve by small increment, but that those small increments will never accumulate to the point that an older variant of the specie will no longer be able to reproduce with a new variant of the specie. I mean… is this really what they mean? To me that makes no sense at all, it’s like saying that you can add numbers all the time, starting at 1, you get 2, then 3, after a few increments you get 50, later 60, but for some reasons, you will run out of numbers when you reach 73. 73+1 would not give 74, it would just keep repeating 73, the last possible number.

    How can somebody possibly believe that there can be some small changes, but that they will NEVER accumulate over time? I simply cannot get my mind around that one. Shouldn’t they just push the idea that there are no changes AT ALL, not even small ones? That would still make no sense, but at least it would be internally consistant.

  61. #61 MGG
    December 15, 2009

    “Furthermore, to have a degree or degrees in biology and to still believe in Darwinian theory, shows ignorance in the worst degree.”

    As a person with a degree in biology, I think I like this part best. Especially as Mr. Aprile, if I have found the correct one, does not.

  62. #62 tsg
    December 15, 2009

    PZ is often considered a fifth horseman, but brining up the rear on a knackered and rather too small pony.

    Nope. It’s a dinosaur with a saddle. He’s most frequently depicted with a tentacle in the air yelling our battle cry “Your Concern Is Noted!”

  63. #63 Janine, She Wolf Of Pharyngula, OM
    December 15, 2009

    Goodlookingfatman, it has been a while. Still a raving loony I see.

  64. #64 Josh
    December 15, 2009

    …you have no naturalistic explanation for macro evolutionary change…

    You know, if you guys would stop just flat-out lying, you might find that we’d take you at least a little seriously.

    …though you do have faith that your view will figure it out.

    You don’t find it the least bit hypocritical to be using the fruits of science to decry the methodology which produced them?

  65. #65 Strangest brew
    December 15, 2009

    # 54 &59

    Oops! apologeticals fur de dubbly bubbly postins!

  66. #66 RSA
    December 15, 2009

    Kitcher + Hitchens = Kitchens.

  67. #67 Becca Stareyes
    December 15, 2009

    No. Just — that’s my reaction to that letter. Strong negative with the ‘not even wrong’ sentiment.

    Just… okay, I’ve gotten used to creationists, but at least some of them realize that the vast majority of biology Ph.D.s* for the past century hold that evolution by natural selection is true, and that it would take monumental evidence** to show them otherwise.

    * Perhaps all of them who do not come into the program with strong existing biases.

    ** Widespread discovery of modern woodland creatures in Precambrian layers level of monumental. Or, finding environments on alien planets that looks exactly like they could be the west coast of the US, complete with inter-fertile populations of animals and plants. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and claiming that macro-evolution couldn’t happen is well into ‘extraordinary’ range.

  68. #68 daemonnoire
    December 15, 2009

    A large group of sciences, including biologists, have concluded that the theory is false.

    This would be news to the entire my entire department. I’m tempted to send this along to our next faculty meeting.

  69. #69 redmonster
    December 15, 2009

    The Dunning-Kruger is strong in that one. The projection is visible from Saturn.

    (Alyson Miers)

  70. #70 Ploon
    December 15, 2009

    No, we never ever see macro-evolution…

    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2009/12/08/0911354106.abstract

    Tried registering with Movable Type twice, never got the confirmation e-mail. Grumble.

  71. #71 Christophe Thill
    December 15, 2009

    Hey, it’s Aprile Fool’s day already?

    As for Kitchens, I guess it’s a very familiar nickname (contraction of Kit Hitchens?). And you’d greet him by asking “What’s cooking?”

    But “hokes”… Ah, I get it. We’re talking biology, so it must mean “hawks”.

    And PZ as a drug dealer? Please. It’s Mr Aprile who’s hooked on the People’s Opium.

  72. #72 Sili
    December 15, 2009

    I think I’d rather like seeing the Hitch do a cooking show.

  73. #73 pjnoir
    December 15, 2009

    “knowledge…. directly displaces the ignorance you and your religion thrive on.”

    Beautiful. I sometimes think Christianity wishes the dark ages came back- they might be actively working on it.

  74. #74 tsg
    December 15, 2009

    #53

    If you keep telling yourself that, you might believe it.

    Me, not so much….

  75. #75 Free Lunch
    December 15, 2009

    It’s Mr Aprile who’s hooked on the People’s Opium.

    Based on the website that others have provided, it looks like Aprile is a dealer. He may not be as big-time as Ken Ham. He may even be a dealer to support his habit. That doesn’t matter. Aprile is dealing.

  76. #76 Susan
    December 15, 2009

    you call yourself a Professor
    I love it. Because that’s how it works in their world: You just call yourself something and you is one. Great rant, PZ!

  77. #77 Mike in Ontario, NY
    December 15, 2009

    How does an English major graduate with honors and still manage to write like a pretentious 5th grader with delusions of compositional competence? It makes me question his purported credentials.

  78. #78 bigmknows
    December 15, 2009

    The science points ineluctably to evolution as a fact, as the mechanism for biological change over time. The only people who argue otherwise…are ideologues who have had their brains addled by non-scientific presuppositions, and who have decided that their fallacious traditional myths must supersede observation and evidence.

    You have a way with words, PZ. Excellent quote.

  79. #79 Richard Eis
    December 15, 2009

    How can somebody possibly believe that there can be some small changes, but that they will NEVER accumulate over time? I simply cannot get my mind around that one. Shouldn’t they just push the idea that there are no changes AT ALL, not even small ones? That would still make no sense, but at least it would be internally consistant.

    They think there is a perfect “animal” encoded in the DNA. The micro changes are therefore only changing “away” from this perfect example of said animal. But they say you can’t create anything “new” in DNA so a dog will always be a dog.

    Obvious stupidity is stupid. Obviously.

  80. #80 Gregory Greenwood
    December 15, 2009

    I read the post from Goodlookingfatman @ 53. Then I read it again. And a third time. It seemed clear that he was trying to criticise PZ’s brilliant eviceration of Mr. Aprile, but the post was so garbled and incoherant that it was hard to discern his argument.

    Do we have translation software for this? Or a Creationist to English dictionary? If he is a Poe, could someone just let me know now? Surely no real creationist has such a flawless mastery of the arcane art of the babble?

  81. #81 SQB
    December 15, 2009

    “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the bones of Tiktaalik”

  82. #82 SEF
    December 15, 2009

    The ‘Four Horsemen’ are: …

    I hadn’t really looked at the names lined up like that before and just noticed how the surnames have paired initials (like the way ABBA was formed from forename initials). However, should it be HDDH or DHHD? And then I started thinking about other acronyms for the same letters, eg the Horrible Death-cult Defying Horsemen.

    Alternatively, they could be the band of horsemen pulling the sleigh of squiddly santa Myers – which zooms around the interwebz, depositing small gifts of reason and evidence where the offspring of fundies might find them, despite the worst efforts of their parents and preachers to keep them safely ignorant.

  83. #83 Hans
    December 15, 2009

    What’s the rationale for putting Tiktaalik in italics, but not Neanderthal? Or is is just a but of sloppiness?

  84. #84 dutchdoc
    December 15, 2009

    To me, that email squarely falls in the category: “Don’t even bother”.

  85. #85 jennyxyzzy
    December 15, 2009

    Ahhh, there you go. Strangest Brew#59 reminds me that there is something more annoying than Dunning-Kruger incarnate – JarJar Binks… Thanks for putting it into perspective, SB!

  86. #86 Peter van Loon
    December 15, 2009

    “What’s the rationale for putting Tiktaalik in italics, but not Neanderthal? Or is is just a but of sloppiness?”

    LOL – I’d think spelling is more important than formatting, numbnuts.

  87. #87 Forbidden Snowflake
    December 15, 2009

    Evidence for Macroevolution

    Several hokes and false attempts, but no real evidence.

    Initial stage: “hoaxes” (notice how it fits the context).
    Mutation #1: singular instead of plural
    Result: “hoax”
    Mutation #2: spelling “by hearing” due to author’s borderline illiteracy
    Result: “hokes”*

    *notice how spelling “by hearing” has returned the word to “plural” status, much like the complex way the mighty marine mammals have returned, profoundly altered by evolution, to the environment of their ancient amphibian ancestors.

    And that, my friends, is how words macroevolve.

  88. #88 PZ Myers
    December 15, 2009

    Neanderthal is not a proper Latin taxonomic name. If I’d written Homo neanderthalensis or Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, then it would be italicized.

  89. #89 Abdul Alhazred
    December 15, 2009

    Microevolution — The amount of evolution that has taken place since the world was created 6000 or so years ago. :)

  90. #90 SEF
    December 15, 2009

    I am often chided by morons.

    I wonder about that sometimes. Presumably you attract more than your fair share. However, despite the fact that most UnSAnians would self-identify as religious, not all of them are going to be quite so hopelessly retarded (even artificially by their religion!) and the less retarded are probably less likely to be sending such ranting emails (eg being more likely to have a significant life of their own to which to attend).

    Has there ever been a credible attempt to quantify just what proportion of the population does sit around sending ignorant rants – to papers, bloggers, TV/radio stations, authors etc?

  91. #91 Gregory Greenwood
    December 15, 2009

    jennyxyzzy @ 85;

    You had to do it didn’t you? You had to speak the name of the Annoying One, the single most infuriating character in the history of science fiction whom George Lucas didn’t even have the good grace to kill off horribly in Episode 3.

    All I asked was that he be blasted to bits or maybe bisected by a lighsabre, but oh no! He had to survive to irritate future generations. Even now George Lucas is probably thinking about digitally editing him into the original trilogy.

    *mutter, mutter little-orange-long-eared-frog-bastard mutter, mutter*

  92. #92 sqlrob
    December 15, 2009

    PZ is often considered a fifth horseman, but brining up the rear on a knackered and rather too small pony.

    PZ delivers milk?

  93. #93 Goodlookingfatman
    December 15, 2009

    Hey Janine!

    I think I faintly remember you. There are so many of you little nest dwellers here feeding on Father PZ’s regurgitation; its difficult to stay personal with you all!

  94. #94 steve
    December 15, 2009

    Gregory @ 80:

    It’s the old “you gotz da faith too” argument. I’m not sure how he tied metaphysics into it though. Maybe he was just throwing around some big words to try to impress us.

  95. #95 tsg
    December 15, 2009

    #93

    Shiny, shiny mirror…

  96. #96 ChrisH
    December 15, 2009

    #53

    OK then, geniarse, if we’re ‘designed’ I demand a fucking refund. Whoever invented human plumbing was either a cretin or a sadist.

    What prick ‘designs’ the eye with the nerves facing the wrong way? Designed our comedy genital plumbing? Our fucked up pelvis?

    Gaah. I’ll tell you what, monkey boy, I’ll admit that we’re designed if you admit that the designer *cough* GOD *cough* is evil or just plain retarded*. Go on.

    *with apologies to those genuinely afflicted.

  97. #97 Janine, She Wolf Of Pharyngula, OM
    December 15, 2009

    Gregory Greenwood. here is an other of the fat man’s screeds. Have fun with it. As well as having the art of babble down, his smugness factor is very high.

  98. #98 Gregory Greenwood
    December 15, 2009

    Goodlookingfatman @ 93;

    “its difficult to stay personal with you all!”

    Although you are, judging by your online handle, a fine specimen of the adipose homosapien male, I would rather not be ‘personal’ with you at all. There is nothing whatsoever wrong with that, of course. All love is beautiful. I just don’t happen to swing that way myself.

    I cannot speak for Janine, but I think it likely that you are not her type either.

    Just so that we are clear, this is an atheist blog, not a dating site.

    Maybe we should put up a notice to that effect. ?;)

  99. #99 barelyEvolved
    December 15, 2009

    Sometimes I think these people are atheists doing a bit of Poe to get a laugh – but then I see this kind of thing written into my local paper…

    http://www.shieldsgazette.com/letters/39Let-creationists-have-say39.5896033.jp

  100. #100 ChrisH
    December 15, 2009

    Regurgitation?

    I wonder what God’s cock tastes like?

    I bet Goodluckfucktard swallows…

  101. #101 Mu
    December 15, 2009

    Microevolution – the stuff they can’t deny since you can repeat the experiments in the lab and get antibiotic resistant bacteria every time.
    Macroevolution – the stuff happening to animals with a reproduction cycle too long to observe mutation in a lifetime. Galapagos doesn’t count, no one was around when the finch arrived!

  102. #102 Abdul Alhazred
    December 15, 2009

    OK then, geniarse, if we’re ‘designed’ I demand a fucking refund. Whoever invented human plumbing was either a cretin or a sadist.

    He’s testing your faith. :)

  103. #103 gr8hands
    December 15, 2009

    Peptron, when the evolution deniers use the word “microevolution” they mean microscopic evolution — only evolution of things like germs and such. Macroevolution is anything you can see with the naked eye. Even they are intelligent enough to understand that great distances can be achieved over long periods of time if you only move the tiniest bit each year. Which is why they deny it happens to anything larger than microscopic.

    Susan #76 wrote: “You just call yourself something and you is one.” You are correct. In many denominations, they have no seminary. You merely claim you are called, you get prayed over by a committee, and suddenly you are ‘ordained’ and are a religious leader. Not every denomination requires college education for ordination. There are even diploma mills giving out ‘credentials’ for a love offering, and these are accepted by some denominations! Sad, but true.

  104. #104 mothra
    December 15, 2009

    Tiktaalik can be put in italics as it is a genus name and Latin. Neanderthal is a ‘common name.’


    Someone has to say it ‘Aprile Fool’.

  105. #105 Janine, She Wolf Of Pharyngula, OM
    December 15, 2009

    Gregory Greenwood @98;

    ‘snicker’

  106. #106 sparky-ca
    December 15, 2009

    Letters like this just remind me of the kids in school that used to put their fingers in their ears and start singing ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ at the top of the voices to drown out anything they didn’t want to hear.

    No matter how much evidence we show you, it will never convince you.

  107. #107 ursulamajor
    December 15, 2009

    At #36, others,

    As the fifth horseman, PZ just carries around his own coconuts, like certain squidlies and the Knights of Ni.

  108. #108 Bryan Elliott
    December 15, 2009

    *gasp*

    How strident! How vicious! How..

    Deserved. Sorry, if you’re going to talk shit to a professor, you should first make sure that your statements are beyond intellectual reproach – else you deserve exactly what you get: reamed.

  109. #109 destlund
    December 15, 2009

    PZ is often considered a fifth horseman, but brining up the rear on a knackered and rather too small pony.

    Nonsense! PZ is far too polite and congenial, even cuddly, to join in that fray. He’s not nearly so strident nor intolerant as those horrible nasty new atheists.

  110. #110 ChrisH
    December 15, 2009

    barely at #99

    South Shields? I’m well aware that there’s a certain creationist influence in education in Gateshead. I wonder if this is the result? Oh dear.

    What I don’t get about the fool who wrote that letter is how you can make the jump from assuming that our world is designed to the designer is the god of the bible. There are a few steps missing in the middle.

    Obviously my lack of faith is disturbing.

  111. #111 DC Bradshaw
    December 15, 2009

    PZ Myers: handing out meds at the pharmacy of Truth.

  112. #112 JimboK
    December 15, 2009

    I think he may have Kitchens confused with Darles Chickens, author of such fine works as Rarnaby Budge and A Sale of Two Titties.

    You’re confusing him with Edmund Wells.

    (Tulse’s Law: There is absolutely no topic for which a Monty Python reference can’t be found.)

    I thought ‘Rarnaby Budge’ was penned by Charles Dickkens, the well-known Dutch author… Or was it ‘Knickerless Knickleby’? Perhaps ‘A Kristmas Karol’??

    Tulse’s Law is the supreme ordering principle of the universe!

  113. #113 Gregory Greenwood
    December 15, 2009

    Janine, She Wolf Of Pharungula, OM @ 97;

    Wow, the smug is strong in the Good looking fat man. Morality and rationality are incompatible (?), therfore god. I can babble to a journeyman degree, but I am in awe to be in the presence of a true master.

    It seemingly has not occurred to the Babble Grandmaster that one could argue that religion (whether ancient or modern) is a really bad guide to morality itself. What with the misogyny and the homophobia and the racism and the common or garden bigotry. Not to mention the murder, the ‘holy’ wars, the apologetics for slavery and the rationalisation of gross personal agrandisement, theft and persecution of anyone defined as a heretic or infidel.

    Cold expendience-driven rationality may not lead directly to morality, especially in extreme situations. However, a rational estimation of social issues afflicting modern societies can certainly cause a person to see the benefit of improving the life chances and standard of living of all to increase community cohesian and augment collective prosperity.

    More to the point, who ever said that one cannot be both rational and compassionate? I fail to see why the two cannot be combined. Rationality does not equal unfettered social Darwinism. Surely only a sociopath would directly equate the two in this day and age?

  114. #114 Goodlookingfatman
    December 15, 2009

    My dear Gregory. I assure you, I thought this was a comedy site. I didn’t mean to arouse any homophobia by my comments.

  115. #115 And-U-Say
    December 15, 2009

    #103

    What? Microevolution is the creationist code word for adaptation. The size of the organism is irrelevant.

  116. #116 Gregory Greenwood
    December 15, 2009

    Janine, She Wolf Of Pharyngula, OM @ 105;

    I have no idea what you are referring to! ;)

    *tries (and fails miserably) to look innocent*

  117. #117 David Marjanovi?
    December 15, 2009

    You know, it is really, really hard to even imagine putting myself into such a profound state of ignorance and stupidity. What makes one choose to walk through life with ear plugs firmly seated and eyes wide shut? To ignore that vast amounts of information available to educate oneself because you are afraid, terrified even, that opening up your mind might somehow offend that little sky fairy you so firmly believe in is simply mind boggling.

    I don’t think they live in such a state.

    I think they have no idea any of that information even exists. They are not curious. They do not open books to see what’s inside. They don’t, of course, buy books, and nobody around them does either, so they don’t see any even from the outside. They don’t ponder the possibility of looking for a library. They don’t get the idea that they could spend a few hours in Google searching for stuff they have never thought about ? and/or they believe they have no time.

    When I was 15, there was a guy in my class who had, he said, only read about five books in his entire life, not counting those read at school. Fortunately, it was this kind of school; but without that kind of education system, he could have stayed as ignorant as a four-year-old or Mr Aprile.

    They seem to mean that species can evolve by small increment, but that those small increments will never accumulate to the point that an older variant of the specie will no longer be able to reproduce with a new variant of the specie. I mean… is this really what they mean?

    They believe in species.

    They believe that species are containers with hard walls that really exist in nature. Hitler called these walls “an iron law of nature” in Mein Kampf, and this they believe.

    They don’t know about variation within species. They don’t know about subspecies, clinal variation, allospecies, or whatnots. They don’t know anything, actually.

    So they believe that any intermediate between two species would be a hideous freak of nature that doesn’t belong anywhere and is probably not even viable, something that has left one species and failed to enter another.

    Incidentally, it’s species in the singular, too. The word belongs to the E declension of Latin, where singular and plural are identical in the nominative case.

  118. #118 Janine, She Wolf Of Pharyngula, OM
    December 15, 2009

    Goodlookingfatman, while most of the regulars here have a great sense of humor, this is hardly The Onion. Right now, you are the object of humor.

  119. #119 destlund
    December 15, 2009

    BTW I think it bugs PZ to be called “polite” or “mild-mannered” because it’s a backhanded compliment. Sort of like calling Barack Obama “well-spoken.” It focuses on a superficial detail while (often deliberatelyl) overlooking the content of his character or the quality of his message: Of course PZ is polite; he’s Minnesotan. That’s how they’re raised. Ever seen Fargo? Yes, I know that’s North Dakota, but it’s the same culture. Of course Obama is well-spoken; he’s very well educated. Focusing on his eloquence either belittles or makes suspect his message.

    /end silly analysis of PZ’s urge to sharpen his teeth

  120. #120 Richard Eis
    December 15, 2009

    My dear Gregory. I assure you, I thought this was a comedy site. I didn’t mean to arouse any homophobia by my comments.

    We are laughing at you GLF, not with you. There is a subtle difference.

    Don’t worry Greg sweety, we know you love us really.

  121. #121 Janine, She Wolf Of Pharyngula, OM
    December 15, 2009

    Destlund, PZ lives in Minnesota. He was born and raise in Oregon. Just giving you a head’s up.

  122. #122 Roger
    December 15, 2009

    @Goodlookingfatfuck: Dumb troll is dumb.

    Ahem. Love PZ’s response to Aprile.

  123. #123 Free Lunch
    December 15, 2009

    Has there ever been a credible attempt to quantify just what proportion of the population does sit around sending ignorant rants – to papers, bloggers, TV/radio stations, authors etc?

    Not that I know of, but I have a friend who has been responsible for selecting letters to the editor for some years in towns that were more progressive than their outlying area. His experience was that he rarely had a shortage of letters to choose from, but finding publishable* letters was notably problematic.

    * The papers wouldn’t publish grammar- and spelling-impaired writings so they would call the author of the letter to get permission to edit for basic writing skills and, sometimes, clarity. I’ve noticed, as a sometime writer of letters to newspapers, that they don’t bother to ask if it’s okay to cut the letter down to make it fit, no matter what it does to the logical argument.

  124. #124 sparky-ca
    December 15, 2009

    Wait, have the regulars found a Troll to play with?

    *runs off to get popcorn*

  125. #125 JBabs073
    December 15, 2009

    Ah, another outstanding post exemplifying why I read this blog. Pure awesomeness. :)

    And props to post #18. More hilarious ingeniousness. :)

  126. #126 David Wiener
    December 15, 2009

    “ineluctably” is my word for the day – and kudos on a great post.

    I’ve been spending some time on Facebook polls debating some really uneducated creationists, and it is tiring. I don’t know where you get the energy.

  127. #127 Gregory Greenwood
    December 15, 2009

    Goodlookingfatman @ 114;

    ‘My dear Gregory. I assure you, I thought this was a comedy site. I didn’t mean to arouse any homophobia by my comments.’

    You wound me, sir! I did not think that any statement I have made in my entire history on this site could even remotely be considered homophobic. Certainly, the various homosexual contributers to Pharyngula have never stated that they felt that my position that (while I have nothing but respect for the rights and status of homosexuals) I am myself heterosexual was in anyway intolerant or homophobic. They all seem to accept my preference for the old XX chromosomes without objection.

    If, however, I have given offence to you, I apologise. Your orientation or preference (whatever it may be) is wholly your own concern. So long as it is legal, and so long as it does not involve yours truly. Especially not in a gimp mask. I have sensitive skin you see and I would not don one even if Jessica Alba herself were to ask me really nicely.

    I must admit that it is refreshing to see a believer standing up for LGBT rights. I hope that your principled stand is soon emulated by your co-religionists and by all persons of faith. I also hope that your principles will not lead to difficulties with the, shall we say, less enlightened believers.

  128. #128 aratina cage
    December 15, 2009

    squiddly santa Myers -SEF

    Instant convert here. If I ever raise human children, squiddly Santa Myers from Minnesota will be the bearer of gifts for their tentacle stockings. Instead of coal, he’ll leave blue and red Gideons for the naughty children (which he never will do in practice). And each night before Squidmas, I’ll remind the kiddies to put out the stale crackers, rusty nails, and a cold, damp cup of coffee grinds for Santa Myers.

  129. #129 Dale Mulder
    December 15, 2009

    That moron Aprile is a registered home-schooling jesus freak getting his jollies by putting his wiener in an open bible and repeatedly slamming it shut.

    And the goodlookinfatphuck d00d is the one kneeling in front of him with his mouth open and a crucifix shoved deep where the sun don’t shine.

  130. #130 barelyEvolved
    December 15, 2009

    ChrisH #110

    I think you may be right, down with Emmanuelle! Not the popular movie series, but the crackpot creationist college that our stoopid government loves.

    The writer makes so many faux-pas in one letter its unbelievable – “regarding evolution.. the big bang is wrong” is my favourite line.

  131. #131 Glen Davidson
    December 15, 2009

    Doing science with evolution, and knowing about it, just doesnt’ compare with some ignorant twat with religion-caused brain-damage.

    Better listen to him, PZ.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  132. #132 Richard Eis
    December 15, 2009

    -I must admit that it is refreshing to see a believer standing up for LGBT rights.-

    Now we all know that LGBTs already have far too many rights as it is. Which is why its necessary that the majority tell them exactly what they are allowed to do regardless of what the constitution says.

  133. #133 destlund
    December 15, 2009

    @Janine: Oh, you’re right. And we all know about those Oregonians. Not a ruder bunch to be found. My speculation has failed.

  134. #134 Gregory Greenwood
    December 15, 2009

    Richard Eis @ 120;

    ‘Don’t worry Greg sweety, we know you love us really.’

    ‘Tis true, ’tis true. I love all my fellow Pharyngulites. Straight or gay, fat (good looking or otherwise) or thin, black or white. It makes no difference to me. What I come here for is the scintillating debate and the semi-regular troll roastings. Just because I do not have sex with any of my fellow Pharyngulites (well, not yet anyway) does not mean that I love them any the less.

    I love you too Richard. :)

  135. #135 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmKNul-jIhUD3mQaMIm7id7VBNI9mZwI3o
    December 15, 2009

    Forbidden Snowflake @87:
    Excellent deciphering. You deserve at least one kudo – well, lots of kudos really.

  136. #136 abb3w
    December 15, 2009

    Peptron: Somebody will need to help me understand something that I cannot wrap my mind around about their concept of “microevolution” VS “macroevolution”.

    Creationists think “macroevolution” means that “you can get different kinds”… but with the idea of “kind” inextricably tied to the kinds that currently exist. Thus, cats giving birth to dogs, crocoducks, and other nonsense. When scientists point to the (repeatably observable) speciation of fruit flies in the lab as an example, they say “but that’s not macroevolution, since they’re both STILL FLIES”, and when scientists point to the skeletal similarities of cats and dogs, they say “but they’re DIFFERENT KINDS, because they can’t interbreed”.

    They fail to grasp that Uniform Common Descent means that when a species barrier arises, the organism never becomes an ENTIRELY new species; rather, it becomes a MORE SPECIFIC species… which can in enough time diversify enough to give rise to an entire Linnaean class of species. So, while cats and dogs are different “kinds” in the sense that felis domesticus is not canis familiaris, both remain within the earlier kind constituted by carnivore-mammalian-chordate-deuterostomial-bilateral-eumetazoan-animal-eukaryote-cellular-life, and thus in another sense are the same “kind” of critter.

    It’s essentially an equivocation on the definition of “kind”.

  137. #137 Goodlookingfatman
    December 15, 2009

    Gregory,

    “Wow, the smug is strong in the Good looking fat man.”

    Are you criticizing people for being smug on Pharyngula?!

    Morality and rationality are incompatible (?), therfore god. I can babble to a journeyman degree, but I am in awe to be in the presence of a true master.

    It seemingly has not occurred to the Babble Grandmaster that one could argue that religion (whether ancient or modern) is a really bad guide to morality itself. What with the misogyny and the homophobia and the racism and the common or garden bigotry. Not to mention the murder, the ‘holy’ wars, the apologetics for slavery and the rationalisation of gross personal agrandisement, theft and persecution of anyone defined as a heretic or infidel.

    Cold expendience-driven rationality may not lead directly to morality, especially in extreme situations. However, a rational estimation of social issues afflicting modern societies can certainly cause a person to see the benefit of improving the life chances and standard of living of all to increase community cohesian and augment collective prosperity.

    More to the point, who ever said that one cannot be both rational and compassionate? I fail to see why the two cannot be combined. Rationality does not equal unfettered social Darwinism. Surely only a sociopath would directly equate the two in this day and age?

  138. #138 ChrisH
    December 15, 2009

    As a note to #136

    The lines are blurred with ring species…

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

    Explicable via evolution (macro/micro/whatever the fuck), not by hard & fast “designed” speciation.

    MichelinMan #137

    Looks like a copy/paste fail there unless you’re trying to make a point badly.

  139. #139 InfuriatedSciTeacher
    December 15, 2009

    I find it a shame that Goodlookingfatman hasn’t had the good fortune to meet Smoggy Batzrubble… I would so look forward to that exhange, although Greg seems to be doing quite well on his own.

  140. #140 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    December 15, 2009

    I assure you, I thought this was a comedy site.

    The only comedy here, outside of puns, is supplied by trolls like you attempting to justify their existence. And failing.

  141. #141 Gregory Greenwood
    December 15, 2009

    ‘Now we all know that LGBTs already have far too many rights as it is. Which is why its necessary that the majority tell them exactly what they are allowed to do regardless of what the constitution says.’

    That is a frighteningly good impersonation of the way many homophobes actually think. It has always struck me as odd that if, as they claim, they are all ‘red blooded’ heterosexuals then why are they so threatened by homosexuals and anyone of an alternate sexuality or gender assignment? Some people are different, so what? It is not as though it is any impediment to their own sex lives.

    They surely cannot be so ignorant and paranoid as to actually believe all that claptrap about homosexuals seeking to ‘convert’ children. Well, some of them probably are that ignorant and paranoid, but surely not all of them? Maybe some of them have an ambiguous attitude to their own sexuality, but are afraid to admit it? Rather than just going with whatever floats their boat, they feel that they have to prove their traditionally constructed male sexuality by being more intolerant, more aggressive and generally more of a jerk than the ordinary straight guys. Its all very repressed and circa 1950, and this is coming from a Brit. We have practically cornered the market on neurotic, stiff-upper-lip sexual repression!

  142. #142 lose_the_woo
    December 15, 2009

    Macro evolution is Deities are founded on absolutely nothing but blind faith. No evidence has ever been provided for it.

    There, fixed it.

    Dear Mr. Apriley,

    Projecshun: ur doin it rite.

  143. #143 daveau
    December 15, 2009

    Aprile has a degree in English? With Honors, no less? It really shows in his writing.

    And I think he means Höek, as in Ren & Stimpy.

  144. #144 Somnolent Aphid
    December 15, 2009

    In spite of himself, he spelled the word “too” correctly. I am disappointed. I’ll have to settle for hokes in the kitchens.

  145. #145 abb3w
    December 15, 2009

    Gregory Greenwood: It seemingly has not occurred to the Babble Grandmaster that one could argue that religion (whether ancient or modern) is a really bad guide to morality itself.

    Much like the earlier complaints about the human reproductive and excretory systems: it’s a product of evolutionary development, which does not require being “good” in any absolute sense, merely being better than absolutely nothing at all.

    Gregory Greenwood: Rationality does not equal unfettered social Darwinism. Surely only a sociopath would directly equate the two in this day and age?

    There’s also the grossly ignorant, who do so as well; and those who lack enough cognitive capability to grasp the rational reasoning needed to achieve a more nuanced view from first principles.

  146. #146 Gregory Greenwood
    December 15, 2009

    InfuriatedSciTeacher @ 139;

    ‘I find it a shame that Goodlookingfatman hasn’t had the good fortune to meet Smoggy Batzrubble… I would so look forward to that exhange, although Greg seems to be doing quite well on his own.’

    Why thank you kind sir or madam. I know that I am no Smoggy, but in the absence of our local missionary and dear Floyd Rubber, I will seek to serve as best I may with my humble offerings.

  147. #147 Tuomoh
    December 15, 2009

    I am actually amused with these kind of persons. First letter is full of ad hominems – only hidden behind politically correct words. The message behind is “you are lying shit, fool, stupid, blind”… and of course the ace “bitter”. Being unbeliever means only that the person is emotionally hurt and sad. That is behind all, a lie and a insult. Strong and false claim, which try to make picture of person which have less brain and more emotional stupidity.

    And after all the writer try to be kind and a nice, “sincere”, “wellmeaning”…

    That is like first hitting someone intentionally and many time with axe and then try to claim that he is not a violent person at all. That this beating is only for your best. And Christianity is the ideology, which they use in building this strange thing.

    That shows that christianity is not good and “in the end thinked” ethical system either. And with its fruit it show everyone that to be christian is to be this kind of person. That being christian = being an insensitive, only from his own ideologyperspective interacting, vile person full of shit.

    I am concerned, but I don’t claim to say that I love peoples who act like that. Finally being moral means to me that you just don’t watch this kind of immoral actions. If religion support this kind of actions, that is really reason to destroy it. (I hope it not. So this “readers letter” is just a rant from a person who is not a good christian either.)

  148. #148 carole
    December 15, 2009

    Paging Mr Aprile.
    Report to the Kitchens.
    Your goat is on fire.

  149. #149 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnTAiIRbRIpbzIZTtwLDKEdcE21mgEUtpI
    December 15, 2009

    Macro evolution is founded on absolutely nothing but blind faith. No evidence has ever been provided for it

    True. But that’s because Macro evolution is a creationist concept. Macro evolution does not need to be proven, because macro evolution is a matter of math. If small changes happen over short time spans, then it logically follows that larger changes happen over larger time spans. This is much in the same way as a person who can walk a certain distance in one hour, can walk a much further distance in six hours. Never mind 4 billion years.

    Saying that macro evolution is impossible, because there’s no proof of it, is like saying that driving from L.A. to New York is impossible, because no car exists that can go at 2777 MPH. The obvious flaw in this kind of logic is of course that it was never a requirement for the trip to only take an hour in the first place, and while driving at a leisurely 55 MPH it’ll take you much longer than an hour to complete the trip, you will arrive eventually, so claiming it’s impossible is clearly foolish, and preaching such foolishness to others is unacceptable and irresponsible, at the very least.

    Evolution is true. Evolution is true regardless of the discrete time slice you chose to observe, be it measured in decades, centuries, millenniums, or even aeons.

  150. #150 SteveM
    December 15, 2009

    Re 99:

    Sometimes I think these people are atheists doing a bit of Poe to get a laugh – but then I see this kind of thing written into my local paper…

    http://www.shieldsgazette.com/letters/39Let-creationists-have-say39.5896033.jp

    from that letter to the Shields Gazette

    Why is our planet the only known one that is inhabited? The universe is enormous and yet our little planet is the only known one sustaining life ? why?
    The earth is like a grain of sand on the beach and yet, to our knowledge, this tiny planet alone is inhabited.

    WJW. He even puts the answer right in his ignorant question and does not see it, “our little planet is the only known one…” What an arrogant piece of stupid, he doesn’t know of any other life on other planets so it must not exist. Never mind he has no way of actually knowing that life doesn’t exist elsewhere, it just must be true.

  151. #151 Ewan R
    December 15, 2009

    @110 & 130

    I particularly enjoy that “Had the ocean been a few feet deeper, carbon dioxide and oxygen would have been absolved, and therefore, no vegetable life could exist.”

    None of the plant physiologists I work with were aware that vegetable life requires sinful oxygen and carbon dioxide. I’m kinda left wondering what sins oxygen and carbon dioxide must have comitted to be eternally bound to a hellish existance with the constant threat of being involved in respiration or photosynthesis.

  152. #152 SEF
    December 15, 2009

    @ aratina cage #128:

    gifts for their tentacle stockings

    There used to be (nearly a couple of years back now!) a tentacle arm on sale; but all the remaining blog references seem to point at the same place which no longer stocks it. A shame. At least one bod improvised their own version this year though – and its as good a craft project as the typical school make-a-snowman-card.

  153. #153 MasterDarksol
    December 15, 2009

    I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I’ve watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.

    @#5: Man, that had me rolling. Well done, Sir.

  154. #154 CJB
    December 15, 2009

    Janine @121

    Destlund, PZ lives in Minnesota. He was born and raise in Oregon. Just giving you a head’s up.

    Nope. He was born and raised in Kent, Washington and went to Univ. Washington. However, he did get his Ph.D. at Univ. of Oregon.

  155. #155 Sven DiMilo
    December 15, 2009

    Hokes and a shenanigan are the raisin date of sciences.

  156. #156 Janine, She Wolf Of Pharyngula, OM
    December 15, 2009

    CJB, sorry about that. I guess I am just not on top of my PZ worship.

    (CJB, I am not mocking you. I just get tired of trolls calling us drones.)

  157. #157 GoldLions
    December 15, 2009

    All evolution is genetic change/s between breeding populations which has been observed. What fellow Christians fail to realise is that the Bible is a series of books for what’s spiritual Most of it was written metaphorically for a richer spiritual meaning/s.
    Personally I feel God & science can go hand without getting rediculous. Hope this helps.

  158. #158 CTC
    December 15, 2009

    If this is the same guy that # 38 & # 46 mentioned, then these people are absolutely deplorable. It’s insidious of them to take their own children out of the public school systems but turn round and raise any kind of stink at all about whether or not someone else teaches evolution in a science class or states that the evidence supports the theory.

    I’d really like to see some polling/statistical figures regarding home-schooled families and religious fundamentalism. I’d bet dollars to donuts the two correlate rather highly.

  159. #159 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawntDHl8YCS5exhZOAlQ2yoPEqqAyXNywpg
    December 15, 2009

    Stupidity is strong in him

  160. #160 InfuriatedSciTeacher
    December 15, 2009

    All evolution is genetic change/s between breeding populations which has been observed. What fellow Christians fail to realise is that the Bible is a series of books for what’s spiritual Most of it was written metaphorically for a richer spiritual meaning/s.
    Personally I feel God & science can go hand without getting rediculous. Hope this helps.

    You interpret teh Babble metaphorically; 40% of the U.S. population does so literally. Your personal feelings don’t help me, the rest of the commenters here, or anyone else, one iota. Personally, IDGAF if you can accept evolution, a god, and a flat Earth all at the same time, since two of the three are patently false. We’re all perfectly capable of believing conflicting ideas if we don’t happen to understand one of them well enough, or if we compartmentalise and never the two shall meet. That doesn’t make beliefs that are unsupported by evidence valid.
    Ridiculous take an ‘i’ in place of that ‘e’.

  161. #161 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawntDHl8YCS5exhZOAlQ2yoPEqqAyXNywpg
    December 15, 2009

    something is wrong with the google login :)

  162. #162 David Marjanovi?
    December 15, 2009

    Still laughing at comment 128! Day saved. :-)

    homosapien

    <wince>

    Homo sapiens. Two words, the first with a capital letter, the whole thing in italics, and it already is the singular. There is no plural, because there is only one species called Homo sapiens.

    MichelinMan

    :-D

  163. #163 MikeM
    December 15, 2009

    Well, I guess now I understand better your argument for moderating comments.

    I doubt the attractive obese one would have commented if regisration was required. On the other hand, he has provided us with more fodder — as if the email from Aprile wasn’t enough.

    I’m torn.

    #18, that is awesome. Four horses on the packing slip. I did not know that. I’m leaving it at 4 — sorry, PZ — because of the obvious reference. Turning it up to 5 ruins it. That’s just how it is.

  164. #164 badgersdaughter
    December 15, 2009

    Gregory Greenwood @146: I know that I am no Smoggy…

    Hmmmmmm…..

    (cocks an eyebrow)

  165. #165 sqlrob
    December 15, 2009

    Personally I feel God & science can go hand without getting rediculous. Hope this helps.

    Science is completely consistent with there being no god(s). Why go and add one when it’s not necessary?

  166. #166 Gyeong Hwa Pak, the Pikachu of Anthropology
    December 15, 2009

    The author of the email seems to be making the assumption that mainstream science has abandon evolution. What a bunch of lousy creationist lies.

    I gonna lie to you forever
    And this is all I’m asking of you
    Try not to be so clever
    Is that so much for you to do?
    Cause from the moment that I saw Jesus’ face
    Insipid crackpots are who I embraced
    I swear to you.
    I’m gonna lie to you forever

    (okay I admit that was a bad parody, but it was playing on my iPod.)

  167. #167 Goodlookingfatman
    December 15, 2009

    Sorry I screwed that last one right up.

    Yes, we are all quite smug here.

    It has occured to me that any wrong worldview can lead to great evil. Atheism is only one of those views. About the homophobic thing: I was just messing with you. I guess that was a fumbled attempt at Newspeak.

    @ Gregory – “More to the point, who ever said that one cannot be both rational and compassionate? I fail to see why the two cannot be combined. Rationality does not equal unfettered social Darwinism.”

    Of course, we can see how it is advantageous for everybody in society to be moral. Rationality certainly concurs with morality in many ways. But in a world with no God, your rational/social talk becomes mumbo jumbo every time one of those “extreme situations” arise. You know, morality is all about the extreme situations, and extreme situations is a subjective term anyway!

    Come to think of it, I think your plan is really the status quo plan. It amounts to: ‘Let’s just keep things mostly moral, trusting rationality in most situations and our evolutionarily implanted morality in others to keep us on track,’ then chalk it up to statistics when confronted with the occassional murder, rape, war. Your stance means nothing for somebody seeking a personal standard of morality that really is moral. It says nothing about right or wrong in the way we really think about right or wrong.

  168. #168 Sven DiMilo
    December 15, 2009

    then chalk it up to statistics when confronted with the occassional murder, rape, war

    hint: this is the stupid and dishonest part

  169. #169 Goodlookingfatman
    December 15, 2009

    Sven DiMilo,

    Your comment is stupid yet honest.

  170. #170 lose_the_woo
    December 15, 2009

    And that, my friends, is how words macroevolve.

    Oh. I thought it was just unintelligently designed.

  171. #171 pdferguson
    December 15, 2009

    So this idiot Aprile ends his bizarre letter with “Sincerely”? Say what? Not “I’ll pray for you”, not “Your friend in Jesus”, not even a simple “God bless you”? What kind of fuckin’ fundamentalist nutjob is he anyways?

  172. #172 Aaron P
    December 15, 2009

    In case anyone wants to school this ignoramus..

    I believe this is him from the email.

    http://www.utmostway.com/authors/michael-aprile

  173. #173 R. Schauer
    December 15, 2009

    Beautiful reply, PZ…polite yet firm.

  174. #174 BruceJ
    December 15, 2009

    PZ Says:

    The professional biologists whose work you do not comprehend are not spreading poison or drugs: they are sharing knowledge.

    You need look no further than Genesis to find that, to them, knowledge IS a dangerous drug. Tt’s not for naught that the ‘Tree of Knowledge’ held the fruit their socipathic sky fairy forbid them to eat…They knw, the have always known that the most fertile ground for superstition to grow in is ignorance.

  175. #175 InfuriatedSciTeacher
    December 15, 2009

    I believe this is him from the email

    That site has a whole tab for “prophecy”. Bug. Fuck. Crazy.

  176. #176 lose_the_woo
    December 15, 2009

    Wait a minute…

    To be wrong is always acceptable…

    Ummm, no. No it’s not always acceptable. Indeed if it was acceptable to have such low standards of performance, we’d all still be living in a time when totalitarian religious ignorance brutally ruled humanity – it was call the Dark Ages.

    And that’s the first sentence of his moronic screed.

  177. #177 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    December 15, 2009

    Atheism is only one of those views.

    Let the lies begin.

    Rationality certainly concurs with morality in many ways. But in a world with no God, your rational/social talk becomes mumbo jumbo every time one of those “extreme situations” arise.

    And the lies continue. Here’s the thing o’ delusional one. Your imaginary deity was invented by man 2,500 years ago. Until then, he didn’t exist. Before that, hominids had developed morality, and defined morality on their own. Without the need for imaginary deities. So, delusional fool. Either show conclusive physical evidence for your imaginary deity, or you are just another Liar for JebusTM, to be ridiculed and corrected.

    Your stance means nothing for somebody seeking a personal standard of morality that really is moral. It says nothing about right or wrong in the way we really think about right or wrong.

    And the lies continue. Morality equals the golden rule in practice, and since your deity doesn’t exist, the alledged morals of the babble are fiction. Show otherwise.

  178. #178 Janine, She Wolf Of Pharyngula, OM
    December 15, 2009

    Sorry, fatman, but what you are purposing is arbitrary in the extreme. Some is right and moral because the big sky daddy sez so, not because of the circumstances that people find themselves in. We need more then your say so about what is empathy.

    I know that this is extremely subjective but I do not find my life to be dark and dreary simply because I do not have a meaning imposed on it from an inhuman source. Explain to me how I am wrong or mistaken, fatman.

  179. #179 daveau
    December 15, 2009

    @167

    Of course, we can see how it is advantageous for everybody in society to be moral. Rationality certainly concurs with morality in many ways. But in a world with no God, your rational/social talk becomes mumbo jumbo every time one of those “extreme situations” arise. You know, morality is all about the extreme situations, and extreme situations is a subjective term anyway!

    How does believing in God help this situation any? Are you expecting some sort of authority figure to actively intervene in this case? That is not morality, then. And I presume that you don’t mean to suggest actual divine intervention, as you would have to show that it is possible.

  180. #180 Josh
    December 15, 2009

    Since I’m feeling like a pain-in-the-ass:

    I’ve split half-billion year old stonesrocks to expose the shells of trilobites…

    Nature doesn’t make stones.
    People make them; from rocks.

  181. #181 CJO
    December 15, 2009

    Your stance means nothing for somebody seeking a personal standard of morality that really is moral. It says nothing about right or wrong in the way we really think about right or wrong.

    You’re seeking something that cannot exist then. If the standard itself already “really is moral” then you’ve just moved that consideration (why is it?) back a step. We still would have to decide. The best place to stop an infinite regress is at step one.

    And your apparent belief that you actually know “the way we really think about right or wrong” is a flawed intuition. Your (all of our) judgements about human social behavior are based primarily on snap judgements not obviously available to introspection that are rationalized after the fact by appeal to prevailing societal norms. Social creatures seem to have innate responses to behavior on the part of conspecifics that is unfair in terms of resource allocation or wantonly violent, responses that partake of some of the same cognitive hijack that happens when you are confronted with rot or excrement: things our ancestors have been disgusted by and so have avoided, since long before we were human and self-aware. Notice sometime the words people use to describe behavior they find immoral: repulsive, disgusting, repellent, should be ashamed, etc.

    You can no more explain why you find shit disgusting by introspection than you can explain why a shady con-man preying on the elderly or a sexual predator is just obviously immoral. And they’re closely related sets of responses. Looking for an objective property of the universe to codify morality beyond our evolutionary heritage as a social species of animal is doomed to circularity. It’s nice to pretend otherwise, and religions do a good business at it, but the universe, she just don’t care.

  182. #182 lose_the_woo
    December 15, 2009

    But in a world with no God, your rational/social talk becomes mumbo jumbo every time one of those “extreme situations” arise.

    Are you implying that you really think deities are real? Why? What can you produce that would cause a reasonable person to agree with your view that deities exist?

    Also, what makes you want to closely couple morality with a deity? It was wrong to murder long before the 10 commandments.

    “Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” -Steven Weinberg

  183. #183 Flea
    December 15, 2009

    Before dismissing this gentleman as a charlatan perhaps we should purchase from his website his “Bible Mathematics CD+Booklet” in witch we will learn that:

    This unique instructional booklet on CD has been put together by Life in the Bible Institute to show how the Bible can easily be used to teach all the basics of Mathematics. It demonstrates how the foundation of all the basics of Mathematics came from the Bible and the author of Creation. You will be astounded that the mathematic principles are all in there. With this guide, you will be able to launch out and express Mathematics from the Scriptures. You will benefit from the Wisdom of the Bible on each page. This is a great teaching tool!

  184. #184 Goodlookingfatman
    December 15, 2009

    Nerd of Redhead,

    The Chinese worshiped the creator of all things, who they called (and still call today) Heavenly Emperor ??, offering animal sacrifices to him since prehistoric times.

    You can’t answer my post. I didn’t try to argue the existence of God. I argued that the atheist worldview doesn’t have much to offer in the way of objective morality. Do you take exception to that? If so, you should try to explain your unwillingness to admit this little reality that other honest atheists are willing to admit.

    But, since you started it, the first cause, cosmological arguments, the argument from design (no way to explain the emergence of a fully functional first cell -the gaps are getting larger not smaller). Look them up yourself, since I wasn’t posting about the existence of God.

  185. #185 Vashti
    December 15, 2009

    I think they have no idea any of that information even exists. They are not curious. They do not open books to see what’s inside. They don’t, of course, buy books, and nobody around them does either, so they don’t see any even from the outside.

    Quite true in many cases. My father used to boast that he only read the Sunday comics, Popular Mechanics (rarely), and the bible (but only the words of Jesus conveniently written in red – for the rest, he relied on your friendly neighborhood fundie preacher). He was by no means stupid (though I make no such claim for the likes of Michael Aprile), just woefully ignorant and content to remain that way as he knew nothing better. It certainly helped that he got caught up in christian fundamentalism when he was young and uneducated. Once inside, much of the outside world just disappears. When you only frequent christian-owned businesses, only befriend fellow christians, only drink milk from christian cows, etc., it is easy to remain blissfully unaware of the vast amount of information that contradicts your beliefs.

    If not for a shameful, secret childhood addiction to books, I might have easily remained in such a state myself (this idea causes recurring nightmares). Even with my sneaky book habit, I never had access to even the most basic scientific information and neither did anyone else I knew. But those damn books gave me information about ideas and subjects previously unimagined which led me to a secular university, and once exposed to so much information(overwhelming at first), there was no going back.

    I still didn’t encounter actual science until near the end of my time at the “Path to Hell”* (as my parents refer to the college I attended). Which is probably just as well, as it might have been lost on me in the midst of the initial culture shock (oh, the books, the music, the clothes, the tv). But I do remember that one of my first thoughts upon learning what evolution and natural selection were all about was “if my father only knew this”…

    *The “Path to Heaven” is apparently Liberty University which my sister attended. I must say, I am glad I chose the “Path to Hell”.

  186. #186 Janine, She Wolf Of Pharyngula, OM
    December 15, 2009

    Disconnect much. No argument for the existence of god but one for the arbitrary pronouncement of morality from above. How Platonic, the philosopher-kings should lie to the regular citizens about the existence of gods. Silly little fatman.

  187. #187 rRootagea351
    December 15, 2009

    There’s something to be said about putting up a stupid filter before it starts to affect your emotional subconscious. Hey wait! I just thought of a great programming idea.

  188. #188 Strangest brew
    December 15, 2009

    #183

    “This unique instructional booklet on CD has been put together by Life in the Bible Institute to show how the Bible can easily be used to teach all the basics of Mathematics.”

    Methinks ‘Bish Ussher’ was sick that day sir!

  189. #189 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 15, 2009

    You can’t answer my post. I didn’t try to argue the existence of God. I argued that the atheist worldview doesn’t have much to offer in the way of objective morality.

    And what does any religion have to offer as far as objective morality?

  190. #190 InfuriatedSciTeacher
    December 15, 2009

    Why is it that every time trolls produce a tired old canard they act as if it’s the coup de grace for their argument?
    Fatman: Do you think we’ve not seen or considered any of those arguments before?

    First cause: Infinite regress stopped by a bullshit claim… well done. If you can’t have an uncaused cause, then your God can’t exist. If you can, then the existence of your God is logically untenable and unparsimonious because you’re adding a step; The Universe itself can be the uncaused cause, if one is necessary.

    Cosmological arguments: Vague enough for you to move the goalposts, but here’s a hack at those: there’s nothing special about cosmological constants. They’re not fine tuned to life, they’re fine tuned to one another, and while varying one enough makes life as we know it impossible, that difficulty vanishes if we vary them all. This also falls back into the previous claim: some things just are, there’s no need to add a clause and act like you’ve explained something.

    Argument from design: So the work on proto-cells and the additional amino-acids found in the Urey-Miller flask, not to mention self replicating proteins in other experiments, have actually widened the gap? Starting with something that replicates and adds to itself, making imperfect copies, add natural selection by a chemical environment (availability of precursors, temp. for reactions, etc) and ratchet up little by little. But even if we can do this in a lab, you’ll attribute it to design, won’t you?

    Have a valid counter, or simply some weasel words and goalpost moving? Remember, you’re the one making the claim here.

    Secondly, although in response to your first point: You didn’t claim a God, you assumed one by stating that morality not based on a deity isn’t objective. Thus the challenge to prove that assumption.

  191. #191 lose_the_woo
    December 15, 2009

    I argued that the atheist worldview doesn’t have much to offer in the way of objective morality.

    Here are some resources that support the notion that what you’ve asserted above is baseless.

    If I understand your premise, you’re asserting that atheism lends itself to immoral unethical behavior – which is a tired, ignorant, assertion.

  192. #192 Celtic_Evolution
    December 15, 2009

    I argued that the atheist worldview doesn’t have much to offer in the way of objective morality.

    Even if that were true, that’s not the point of arguing in favor of atheism from a morality perspective. The point is that atheism LACKS the completely arbitrary (open to whatever interpretation suits your current needs) and subjective approach to morality that religion requires. Lacking that element by itself makes atheism a far better platform to derive one’s morality from.

  193. #193 Goodlookingfatman
    December 15, 2009

    Janine,

    I am not saying your life is dark and dreary. I am saying that atheism provides no stage to preach from. I think I started my winding rant so long ago because PZ was on his morality soapbox, saying that our natural sources of morality are fine and dandy and -‘good enough’ was my impression- so on. This erked me, as no… materialism has no shining beacon to guide us, not even a pretend one.

    because your life isn’t dark and dreary, or because you can even estimate such a value as darkness or dreary should suggest to you that there may be something more than cold, hard, atoms making things tick, or us tick, or whatever.

  194. #194 Strangest brew
    December 15, 2009

    #184

    “I argued that the atheist worldview doesn’t have much to offer in the way of objective morality.”

    But not very well and with very little conviction, maybe because you have little to no evidence, and extraordinary claims do require it, tis a bitch but what ya gonna do.

    Except ignore the point…presumably cos that is what jebus would do!

  195. #195 Celtic_Evolution
    December 15, 2009

    no way to explain the emergence of a fully functional first cell -the gaps are getting larger not smaller

    From the well-known research paper entitled “shit I just made up”…

    Citation, please…

  196. #196 Owlmirror
    December 15, 2009

    The Chinese worshiped the creator of all things, who they called (and still call today) Heavenly Emperor ??, offering animal sacrifices to him since prehistoric times.

    [Citation needed]

    I didn’t try to argue the existence of God. I argued that the atheist worldview doesn’t have much to offer in the way of objective morality.

    The problem with this is that the theist worldview has nothing whatsoever to offer in the way of objective morality.

  197. #197 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    December 15, 2009

    I didn’t try to argue the existence of God. I argued that the atheist worldview doesn’t have much to offer in the way of objective morality.

    Your implication, o’ delusional one, is that a deity and/or holy book is needed for morality. I showed you that there never was a need for a deity and/or holy book for morality, since evolution took care of morality during the development of man. So, either show your imaginary deity exists, or show your holy book is required for morality, or shut the fuck up. Until then, morality derived from evolution of hominids is the default. Welcome to science.

  198. #198 ~Pharyngulette~
    December 15, 2009

    Nature doesn’t make stones.
    People make them; from rocks.

    See? This is why I love lurking around here. I learn stuff! [guffaws in a most unfeminine way] Thankies, Josh, seriously. I would have made the same error at some point, I’m sure, if you hadn’t made that distinction.

  199. #199 Janine, She Wolf Of Pharyngula, OM
    December 15, 2009

    Fatman, atheism, in and of itself, is not a basis of morality. That is why most turn to ethics to try to work out how we should conduct ourselves. Humans, being a social animal, have to have a sense of empathy in order to get along in society. But each individual is capable of determining how far the empathy goes, be it to just their family, clan, tribe, race, nation, gender or apply it to all humans.

    Your arguing for a non material morality without some kind of deity is foolish.

  200. #200 Dorkman
    December 15, 2009

    These folks all seem to be writing from a parallel universe where Christians are a relatively non-influential minority and research scientists and college professors are among the highest-paid professions in the world. One religious delusion I actually wish were true!

  201. #201 Gyeong Hwa Pak, the Pikachu of Anthropology
    December 15, 2009

    The Chinese worshiped the creator of all things, who they called (and still call today) Heavenly Emperor ??, offering animal sacrifices to him since prehistoric times.

    Uh, I find no sources on that. It seems like you are referring to the Taoist deity- the Jade Emperor. But he’s not the creator of all thing, Fuxi and Nuwa are. The other closes things to the heavenly king are the Four Heavenly Kings but they act as guards of the four directions according to Buddhist Cosmology. I think you are referring to a pantheist concept of heaven in Chinese, which was never organized and never seen as some single entity.

  202. #202 lose_the_woo
    December 15, 2009

    …materialism has no shining beacon to guide us, not even a pretend one.

    What? Really? Wow.

    You need to do some reading. Go read about empathy and maintaining social cooperatives. Helpful behavior and ethics is ingrained in us. It was selected by nature. Here’s an example. But don’t stop there. I’m sure you could keep yourself busy in college for a couple years doing some deep learning about all the knowledge humanity has realized regarding the subject matter.

  203. #203 Celtic_Evolution
    December 15, 2009

    I think I started my winding rant so long ago because PZ was on his morality soapbox, saying that our natural sources of morality are fine and dandy and -‘good enough’ was my impression- so on.

    Except that, IIRC, it was explained to you then that you were badly mis-representing PZ’s point, yet stubbornly refused to move off of that position. Your inability to comprehend PZ’s actual point is your problem.

  204. #204 daveau
    December 15, 2009

    @193

    …should suggest to you that there may be something more than cold, hard, atoms making things tick, or us tick,…

    However, “only cold hard atoms” is most likely the case, so get over it.

  205. #205 Janine, She Wolf Of Pharyngula, OM
    December 15, 2009

    Dorkman, it is even sillier then that. Many of these trolls seem to think that we are lead around by the likes of Myers, Dawkins and Hitchens. In my case, I has been an atheist for a quarter century before I came across PZ’s blog. And it was the lingering effects of my old religious beliefs that screwed up my reading of Richard Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene when I was in college. Many of these troll have no idea what they are arguing against. It is sure as shit not real people.

  206. #206 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    December 15, 2009

    I started my winding rant so long ago because PZ was on his morality soapbox, saying that our natural sources of morality are fine and dandy and -‘good enough’ was my impression- so on.

    They are. Period, end of story. If you think otherwise, put up the right information from sources outside of yourself, or shut the fuck up. Until then, evolution helped hominids define morality and fair play. What part of you needing to support your inane allegations don’t you understand?

  207. #207 Richard Eis
    December 15, 2009

    Soooo…when do we get proof that goodlookingfatman is in fact good looking and fat. This is Pharyngula after all. Several commentors (not Janine bless her and her rudeness) have already believed him.

    I fear possiblyGoodlookingFatman is under the impression that we must worship and obey something (because obviously thats all humans are for really) and therefore we must derive everything from our big magical atheism.

    My ethics didn’t come from no god. They came from society. As they have always done through the generations, god or no god. As was admitted by that important looking christian dude on the Stephen Fry debate on whether christianity was good or not)

  208. #208 wiley
    December 15, 2009

    ‘I do not concede an iota of respect to your [religion], and will be spending the rest of my life opposing it.’

    I don’t know about that. I’ve heard of Atheists concerting to Christianity on their death-beds (but never the other way round, funnily enough).

  209. #209 Celtic_Evolution
    December 15, 2009

    I started my winding rant so long ago because PZ was on his morality soapbox, saying that our natural sources of morality are fine and dandy and -‘good enough’ was my impression- so on.

    They are. Period, end of story.

    I think in the post that fatman is referring to, however, the point was a bit more nuanced than that… can’t remember the thread, exactly…

    Could be wrong about the whole damn thing, though… damn memory is worthless anymore, so I find i have to write everything down.

  210. #210 lose_the_woo
    December 15, 2009

    because your life isn’t dark and dreary…should suggest to you that there may be something more than cold, hard, atoms…

    It should? How so? Are you implying that it suggests that deities are real?

    Look, just because something is unexplained doesn’t mean resorting to emotionally comforting conjecture is justified. Back up your claims and show your work.

    There’s quite a body of understanding that supports the idea that magical thinking is not a good way to understand reality, and furthermore, it’s not necessary for a healthy, happy, human existence.

  211. #211 Richard Eis
    December 15, 2009

    -I don’t know about that. I’ve heard of Atheists concerting to Christianity on their death-beds (but never the other way round, funnily enough).-

    Hedging your bets does not a christian make. Oh and obviously we want proof of this. And somehow I can’t see PZ having a deathbed conversion. Unless its to cthuluism or involves pirates and spaghetti.

  212. #212 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 15, 2009

    I don’t know about that. I’ve heard of Atheists concerting to Christianity on their death-beds (but never the other way round, funnily enough).

    You never fail to make an entry for dumbest comment of the thread wiley.

  213. #213 Celtic_Evolution
    December 15, 2009

    I don’t know about that. I’ve heard of Atheists concerting to Christianity on their death-beds (but never the other way round, funnily enough).

    You may have heard of it, but that doesn’t mean it’s actually happened.

    IOW, citation needed.

  214. #214 Richard Eis
    December 15, 2009

    because your life isn’t dark and dreary…should suggest to you that there may be something more than cold, hard, atoms…

    Don’t atoms make you happy?

    They make stuff, they go boom…whats not to be happy about. I’d rather have the certainty of atoms under physics than the uncertainty of a capricious god any day.

    Lets hear it for atoms!!!!

  215. #215 william e emba
    December 15, 2009

    I first thought “Kitchens” was a bungled reference to Philip Kitcher, philosopher of science who has written several popular books, including one on pseudoscience.

  216. #216 Strangest brew
    December 15, 2009

    #205

    “Many of these troll have no idea what they are arguing against.”

    Many of these troll only regurgitate cretinist droppings found on AiG or the disco tute web nests anyway.
    The rest like ‘fatmannohope’ probably Sunday school!

    But they cannot formulate an original thought in any case, they require the righteousness of theist rhetoric…thing is they only assimilate the very worst long debunked examples and come running to an atheist blog to show off their newly acquired ‘thought’ to destroy that nasty atheism with the sword of their intellectuality!!

    Impressive….not!

    But it is the main reason they never stick around for the banter, after breathlessly ejaculating the standard effluent then their analytical faculty…or what they think they have of it… goes flaccid.
    In other words they start floundering around making fools out of themselves.

    Then it gets all scary cos it does not work and they run back to hide behind the skirts of mummy AiG or Disco central!

    Their deity must be so proud of them…fighting the inane fight like they do!

  217. #217 Josh
    December 15, 2009

    I’ve heard of Atheists concerting to Christianity on their death-beds

    Such as?

    And I bet you don’t think there are any atheists in foxholes*, right?

    ______________
    *Taking foxholes here to be synonymous with “in combat,” as real foxholes aren’t as common on the modern battlefield as they were in, say, Vietnam.

  218. #218 Celtic_Evolution
    December 15, 2009

    I don’t know about that. I’ve heard of Atheists concerting to Christianity on their death-beds (but never the other way round, funnily enough).

    And only a moron wouldn’t be able to figure out that if you’ve been stupid enough to believe in a magic sky fairy with absolutely no evidence your whole life, the last place you’re going to toss out that belief is on your death-bed!

    Cripes, wiley are you really that dumb?

  219. #219 Hypatia's Daughter
    December 15, 2009

    #64 Josh

    You don’t find it the least bit hypocritical to be using the fruits of science to decry the methodology which produced them?

    Yess! Yess! Ohh, Yeesss! I would froth for paragraphs of impotent rage to express what Josh said in one sentence. I HATE these guys who try to make Science their whore.

  220. #220 Richard Eis
    December 15, 2009

    I was hoping a little time around pharyngulites might have mellowed Wiley a little. Or at least got him to think before typing. Unfortunately when it comes to cracking, he is the coconut of nuts.

  221. #221 Killer of Peaceful Dreams
    December 15, 2009

    I’ve heard of Atheists concerting to Christianity on their death-beds

    This makes me picture an Dawkins singing “Everything’s Alright” from Jesus Christ Superstar, sitting on a hospital bed.

    KOPD

  222. #222 Strangest brew
    December 15, 2009

    #208

    “I’ve heard of Atheists concerting to Christianity on their death-beds”

    Last time Wiley…Darwin did not recant on his death bed…it was a lie made up by theist wannabees!

    I rather prefer the story of Voltaire on his death bed…

    When asked by the priest…”do you renounce the devil and all his works”

    Voltaire replied….”Methinks now is not the time to be making new enemies”!

  223. #223 Kel, OM
    December 15, 2009

    I am saying that atheism provides no stage to preach from. I think I started my winding rant so long ago because PZ was on his morality soapbox, saying that our natural sources of morality are fine and dandy and -‘good enough’ was my impression- so on. This erked me, as no… materialism has no shining beacon to guide us, not even a pretend one.

    So what’s your proposed solution to materialism being “aimless”? Is it not enough that natural selection has shaped our genes to the capacity to think, feel, predict the future, forward plan, connect with others, love, laugh, be happy, be empathetic, etc.? Is your objection here that the philosophy of materialism, however true, doesn’t reflect the perceived reality of humanity?

    because your life isn’t dark and dreary, or because you can even estimate such a value as darkness or dreary should suggest to you that there may be something more than cold, hard, atoms making things tick, or us tick, or whatever.

    So you’re saying here that if there isn’t some vitalist force to us, then we should put as much significance in anything as the atoms that make up this keyboard? got greedy reductionism? Of course I see theists make this gambit all the time, and I really don’t get it. Atoms are what we are composed of, not what makes us. We are a particular arrangement, 3.5 billion years of descent with modification (and some HGT thrown in there). To think of life, and more specifically us, as atoms misses the point.

  224. #224 aratina cage
    December 15, 2009

    GLFM #184,

    The Chinese worshiped the creator of all things, who they called (and still call today) Heavenly Emperor ?? [Shangdi], offering animal sacrifices to him since prehistoric times.

    Brash Generalization + Lie rolled into one, eh? There are only about 394,000,000 people who practice Chinese folk religion according to Wikipedia (and who doesn’t trust Wikipedia?) and not all of them believe that Shangdi created everything; some folk religion practitioners believe in a greater awareness they call Heaven that has influence over human fate, but more of a formless ruler than a anthropomorphic creator. And when is the last time a Chinese Communist set a goat on fire for Heaven’s sake?

    I argued that the atheist worldview doesn’t have much to offer in the way of objective morality. Do you take exception to that?

    “Objective” does not equal “Absolute”. Atheist worldview says don’t look to gods, look to objective reality. Funnily enough, theists who proclaim that a god is the source of morality have no objective basis for that claim.

  225. #225 GoodlookingFatman
    December 15, 2009

    infuriated science teacher,

    Yeah, you know, you’re brilliant! I thought you guys actually might have considered these arguments for God’s existence, how did you know?! And so I didn’t bring them up in the first place, and only briefly when pressed, you see, because I actually wasn’t talking about this at all. I usually like to talk about the subject of whatever it is we are talking about, rather than annoyingly completely switching subjects?

    this all started when Janine brought up my rant from a months old Pharyngula post where PZ was teaching his flock that morality comes from within. I was telling the preacher to sit down. And that’s what I’m doing here. The Nerd of Red hair or whatever avoided the morality question, like you are doing now, and made the lamest post I’ve ever seen that said, “daaauuuh, well show me where dehr is a God first, and den we can talk about hypothefetical stuff dat is not related but dat makes me uncomfortable.” But, I can hardly stand it, infuriated science teacher. So now, here is why your truly pathetic arguments are wrong:

    So, here we go:
    Ahem:
    First Cause? Why can God be uncaused but the world not? Because it’s not materialist science, Batman. The entire universe came from not a little dot, a blob, a pickle, a revolving universe, or any other material thing, but the universe came from (what’s that?) nothing! So since in our universe nothing comes from nothing (not even quantum physics is claiming that particles originate from nothing and without any possible reason whatsoever), it might be reasonable to conclude that something not bound by our universe put our bird cage into motion. And since an infinite regress of events can’t exist then a truly uncaused, eternal being or something outside of time and space must have set us into motion. It’s our situation in time and space that demands an uncreated creator. As a temporal universe with a beginning we actually have more explaining to do than the infinite being that is not temporal. “Well then who created God?”….. dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Are you in fifth grade?

    Let’s go through that again. The laws of our universe don’t allow it to crap itself into existence, to all appearances it started from nothing, so something outside the universe must have given it a push. That thing that gave it a push is truly infinite, not in a time way because then it wouldn’t be infinite, but in an infinite non-time way, yay. Because infinite in a time way isn’t possible, right guys? Cause that’s an infinite regress which can’t happen. Got it, Mr. Infuriated? The Fatman thinks you guys get it but that you just don’t really like it.

    You know what, I don’t have any more time tonight to answer these pathetic arguments. I have to go to bed. I’m living in the lovely materialist nation exactly on the other side of the world from PZ, so it’s late right now. Now, as I crawl into my unheated bedroom, with five hours of sleep to look forward to, I’ll be sickened by your pathetic arguments, still floating in my head while I sleep. But not PZ’s arguments; he’s just too funny. Bahahahahah!

  226. #226 MetzO'Magic
    December 15, 2009

    @Armand #33

    I can’t imagine how angry it must make you to hear these willfully ignorant idiots attempt to dismantle your life’s work.

    Not half as angry as it makes them when PZ pops their collective little bubble. At least PZ has reality to fall back on.

    @From the bio of Michael Aprile that ‘co’ linked to in #38:

    Michael Dante Aprile received a Bachelors in English (with honors) from the University of Louisville in Kentucky. He is married to Kathy Aprile and has six children, all of which were/are home schooled.

    What a relief. I feel sorry for those kids, but at least their science teachers won’t have to put up with 6 annoying retards ‘just asking questions’.

    @NotBadLooking4AFatLyingBastard #167

    ‘Let’s just keep things mostly moral, trusting rationality in most situations and our evolutionarily implanted morality in others to keep us on track,’ then chalk it up to statistics when confronted with the occassional murder, rape, war.

    Oh yes! Because the deeply religious never, *ever* murder, rape, or start wars. Riiight. There’s only two things I don’t like about you: your face.

  227. #227 gr8hands
    December 15, 2009

    Celtic_Evolution wrote:

    And only a moron wouldn’t be able to figure out that if you’ve been stupid enough to believe in a magic sky fairy with absolutely no evidence your whole life, the last place you’re going to toss out that belief is on your death-bed!

    Well, I have an anecdote to share. My partner is a retired minister (we have a strange and wonderful relationship, I leave it to you to decide who is strange and who is wonderful) who does not believe in an afterlife. However, he has been at the beside of many people in the last moments of their lives.

    I asked him how could he honestly respond to any questions they might ask, since he doesn’t believe in an afterlife? He says that he has always told them: “the God you trusted in life should be the God you trust in death.” It seems to satisfy most of them.

    If pressed further (and you know those dying people can sometimes be quite pushy), he would say “I honestly do not know what happens when you die. But I believe in a loving God.”

  228. #228 Gyeong Hwa Pak, the Pikachu of Anthropology
    December 15, 2009

    I’ve heard of Atheists concerting to Christianity on their death-beds

    This argument goes back to the tired old saying of “deep down you know God exist but you just being lead astray by Satan.” Wiley, cite real examples that wasn’t uttered by another fundie loon.

  229. #229 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 15, 2009

    Let’s go through that again. The laws of our universe don’t allow it to crap itself into existence, to all appearances it started from nothing, so something outside the universe must have given it a push. That thing that gave it a push is truly infinite, not in a time way because then it wouldn’t be infinite, but in an infinite non-time way, yay. Because infinite in a time way isn’t possible, right guys? Cause that’s an infinite regress which can’t happen. Got it, Mr. Infuriated? The Fatman thinks you guys get it but that you just don’t really like it.

    Unsupported assertions ? evidence

  230. #230 Richard Eis
    December 15, 2009

    To think of life, and more specifically us, as atoms misses the point.

    We are patterns in the dust.

    Because infinite in a time way isn’t possible, right guys?

    If there is no time in existence, then yes infinite in a time way is possible.

    And how does any of that rant involve a personal diety? A creator does not equal Jesus so spouting off about the beginning of the universe serves no purpose.

  231. #231 Celtic_Evolution
    December 15, 2009

    Are you in fifth grade?

    Based on that entirely, breathtakingly stupid screed you just upchucked at #225, I’d say that was your level of understanding of physics, cosmology and astrology… but then that would be an insult to 5th graders everywhere.

    Yikes… really fatman, I’d think twice before coming to a blog rife with actual real scientists and spew forth scientific ignorance with such arrogance and umm.. spittle.

    It’s likely to not go well, as I’m sure is about to be demonstrated in 3…. 2… 1….

  232. #232 Kamaka
    December 15, 2009

    I argued that the atheist worldview doesn’t have much to offer in the way of objective morality

    Knowing “when you die, you’re dead” naturally leads to an objective morality.

    It’s smart to be nice now, because sooner or later, there won’t be a later and I’d rather die nice than not.

  233. #233 Richard Eis
    December 15, 2009

    Celtic, looks like you shoulda started at -3. Pharyngulites are fast. Must be the extra 6 arms.

  234. #234 lose_the_woo
    December 15, 2009

    Why can God be uncaused but the world not?

    How do you presume the existence of deities in the first place? You have to in order to start describing their properties. Furthermore, you presume to understand everything there is to know about the Universe. What can you show that would cause others to think that the Universe (i.e. known reality) is either self-caused or simply persists?

    You’re operating on a very poorly constructed logical fallacies. It’s a grand display of hubris on your part.

    “Unless someone can establish the limitations of the universe as a whole, it would be presumptuous to point to the cosmos and declare it incapable of existing without an external cause.” Daniel Kolak and Raymond Martin, Wisdom Without Answers (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1998), p. 39

    You are making a positive truth claim about reality – you posit the existence of deities. Is there anything material (i.e. reality-based) that can be produced that would cause others to agree with your assertion? If that’s such a “duh” question, then defeat it using evidence and reasoned (valid) logic, not rhetoric.

    And remember:
    “The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike.” -Delos McKown

  235. #235 Kel, OM
    December 15, 2009

    this all started when Janine brought up my rant from a months old Pharyngula post where PZ was teaching his flock that morality comes from within. I was telling the preacher to sit down. And that’s what I’m doing here.

    Do you honestly think that people here are just clinging to the words of PZ to decide where morality comes from?

    It couldn’t be that there are set problems with positing morality being theistic in nature (see: The Euthyphro dilemma), or that there’s plenty of evidence ranging from studies of animal behaviour to simulations in game theory to show that there’s evolutionary origins to morality, or that morality to a degree is contingent on culture. But no, it must be that PZ sed so so we follow like sheep.

  236. #236 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    December 15, 2009

    Cripes, wiley are you really that dumb?

    He’s even dumber. He can’t stop himself from posting here inspite of being outclassed at every turn.

    First Cause? Why can God be uncaused but the world not?

    That ain’t evidence, just blather.

    “Well then who created God?”….. dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Are you in fifth grade?

    No, that belongs to presuppositional idjits like yourself. The question is valid and must be answered. Your failure to do so is the umpteenth we’ve seen this year.

    The laws of our universe don’t allow it to crap itself into existence,

    They also don’t allow your imaginary deity to crap himself into existence. What part of that don’t you understand?

    The Fatman thinks you guys get it but that you just don’t really like it.

    You don’t get it. First of all, we don’t give a shit what the Fatman thinks. You are just another Liar for JebusTM. Second, your inane morals/god/presup argument died years ago as sophistry. Give it up.

  237. #237 Celtic_Evolution
    December 15, 2009

    Celtic, looks like you shoulda started at -3. Pharyngulites are fast. Must be the extra 6 arms.

    Happens alot… damned real life work anyhow…

    If only I had the free time of a Professor on sabbatical… ;^)

  238. #238 Steve_C
    December 15, 2009

    Only fat men think they’re good looking and clever.

    More pathetic sophistry. Go eat a cupcake,

  239. #239 Ewan R
    December 15, 2009

    Wiley – even if some atheists were to convert to christianity (or whatever their local religion happens to be) does this have any bearing on anything other than irrational things people do when terrified? Unless the arguement is that because god exists, and because he is good, he turns people at the last minute and thus saves them, which would be amazingly great really because then we could forgo the pointless sham that is religion for all but the last few seconds of life and still all be guaranteed an eternity in some sort of ill conceived medieval idea of perfection.

    Pleasingtobeholdobesedude – good morning! Where exactly do the ‘laws of the universe’ not allow it to crap itself into existance? I’m not overly well versed in the physics of the first moments after the big bang (just a little pop-science reading around the area) and was under the impression that we do not yet understand exactly how the laws of the universe operated in the picoseconds (or some equally inconceivable length of time close to planck time) after the big bang itself – therefore if you are qualified to actually comment accurately on how the laws of the universe operated within this timeframe perhaps you should stop wasting time arguing on various internet blogs and get on with writing your acceptance speech for the Nobel prize for physics. It’s how the laws of the universe operated in the first picoseconds that matter, not how they operate now – at least when discussing the plausibility of a self generating universe – and, as all the evidence points to a spontaneously generated universe, one feels that even if we take the current ‘laws’ as universal all the way to the very start, this suggests more that we have the laws wrong, than that there is some all powerful sky fairy behind it all.

    I was also under the impression that quantum physics postulates the constant appearance and disappearance of particles for no particular reason (although this may just be my poor understanding around the spontaneous appearance of sub atomic particles in a vacuum (again an understanding gained through the reading of pop-sciecne), although until someone points out why I’ll go ahead and carry on believing it)

  240. #240 Cuculidae
    December 15, 2009

    Well, this is my first comment on Pharyngula.

    But, while I was trawling through the comments already posted thus far (on the look out for the well known ‘cuttlefish’), I stumbled across an awesome call posted by Nerd of Redhead, OM:

    Faith is for those weak of mind who cannot accept reality.

    Big ups!

    Oh, and Fatman. It sounds as though you are following the same old ‘god of the gaps’ logic. Why should some ‘higher power’ automatically fill a gap in our understanding by default? (like the origins of the universe, man I’ve been hearing this crap a lot recently!). Would it not be better to investigate these questions further rather than jumping to a conclusion for which there is no evidence for?
    I want to learn, not remain ignorant.

  241. #241 Hypatia's Daughter
    December 15, 2009

    #193 Goodlookingfatman

    …that there may be something more than cold, hard, atoms making things tick, or us tick, or whatever.

    And, yet, God spent so much time designing, making & filling His Universe with “cold, hard, atoms”, like He was inordinately fond of them. He gave us only 5 senses to know His Creation and they are unable to detect His Other Realm. Oh, occasionally, He whispers His Will in the ear of a Prophet? Madman? who is then supposed to pass the message onto us. And we must obey, or SUFFER. (Unless, he is a false prophet, in which case, the offer is null & void.)
    Goodlookingfatman, if I told you that an Angel of God appeared to me last night and told me that YOU were to be my slave*, would you come be my servant as Jesus commanded? Or would you think it is B.S.?
    Why would you disbelieve that God would talk to me, yet believe ancient oral traditions that God talked to Abraham, Moses, John the Baptist or Jesus?

    *This is not unprecedented. God has a long history of telling the Israelites that they could massacre people of foreign nations and take the remnants as slaves; that white Christians could enslave Blacks and that Christians could exterminate Jews.

  242. #242 lose_the_woo
    December 15, 2009

    What can you show that would cause others to think that the Universe (i.e. known reality) is either not self-caused or simply persists?

    Fixed.

  243. #243 Celtic_Evolution
    December 15, 2009

    I want to learn, not remain ignorant.

    And for the creationist / theist point of view, all you need to do is quote Willy Wonka:

    “Strike that… reverse it.”

  244. #244 Kel, OM
    December 15, 2009

    The laws of our universe don’t allow it to crap itself into existence

    Lawrence Krauss and Victor Stenger would beg to differ.

  245. #245 sparky-ca
    December 15, 2009

    Now I’m just an engineer, not a astrophysicist or anything, but didn’t they build the LHC to study the Big Bang because no one knows what happened at the beginning of the universe?

    If the Fatman knows what happened at the beginning of time, why isn’t he at CERN leading the research into the so called ‘God Particle’?

  246. #246 Robert H
    December 15, 2009

    I wonder what “exactly” means to Goodlookingfatman: “I’m living in the lovely materialist nation exactly on the other side of the world from PZ”. “Exactly” would place him midway between Australia and Madagascar in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Perhaps his sense of geography is as exact as the rest of his “arguments”…

  247. #247 'Tis Himself, OM
    December 15, 2009

    The laws of our universe don’t allow it to crap itself into existence, to all appearances it started from nothing, so something outside the universe must have given it a push.

    Theists can always be relied upon to do the old “there just gots ta be a creator, otherwise nothing’ll be created.” When asked “who created the creator” they’ll fabble and lie and pull special pleadings out of their asses.

    The uglyfatfuck never learned that special pleading is a logical fallacy. Either that, or like most theists he knows he can’t conjure up a creator that doesn’t require logical fallacies.

  248. #248 Robocop
    December 15, 2009

    Owlmirror — If you still care, I was finally able to respond to you in the Taleb thread. Apologies for the delay.

  249. #249 lose_the_woo
    December 15, 2009

    Godbottingfatman,

    Your arguments really belong to an era long past. It is no longer considered shrewd, clever, smart, sophisticated, or useful to explain a lack of understanding about reality by introducing unexplainable mysteries.

  250. #250 Owlmirror
    December 15, 2009

    First Cause? Why can God be uncaused but the world not? Because it’s not materialist science

    Special pleading noted.

    but the universe came from (what’s that?) nothing!

    Arrogant assertion noted.

    it might be reasonable to conclude that something not bound by our universe put our bird cage into motion.

    And you conclude that that “something” is a personal God because…?

    And since an infinite regress of events can’t exist

    Therefore, a God can’t exist.

    then a truly uncaused, eternal being or something outside of time and space must have set us into motion.

    Sorry, you shot your argument in the foot already. “X cannot exist, therefore, X exists” is an insane and self-defeating contradiction.

    It’s our situation in time and space that demands an uncreated creator. As a temporal universe with a beginning we actually have more explaining to do than the infinite being that is not temporal.

    More incoherent self-defeating foot-shooting.

    “Well then who created God?”….. dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Are you in fifth grade?

    It’s pretty clear that you never got beyond fifth grade.

    The laws of our universe don’t allow it to crap itself into existence

    The laws of our universe are obviously unknown to you.

    to all appearances it started from nothing

    To all appearances — that is, from the evidence, — no-one knows exactly how it started. Certainly not a vain and pompous ignoramus such as yourself.

    so something outside the universe must have given it a push.

    It’s pretty clear that you have a deep personal relationship with a pusher.

    That thing that gave it a push is truly infinite, not in a time way because then it wouldn’t be infinite, but in an infinite non-time way

    Your incoherent blathering is noted.

    Because infinite in a time way isn’t possible,

    Therefore, God is not possible.

    I have to go to bed.

    Good night, good night, don’t let the fallacies bite.

    I’m living in the lovely materialist nation exactly on the other side of the world from PZ

    The other side of the world (Australia), or the other side of the northern hemisphere of the world (China, Russia, Mongolia, or Kazakhstan)?

    Now, as I crawl into my unheated bedroom, with five hours of sleep to look forward to, I’ll be sickened by your pathetic arguments, still floating in my head while I sleep.

    El sueño de la razón produce monstruos.

    /SIWOTI

  251. #251 Kel, OM
    December 15, 2009

    Theists can always be relied upon to do the old “there just gots ta be a creator, otherwise nothing’ll be created.” When asked “who created the creator” they’ll fabble and lie and pull special pleadings out of their asses.

    Yeah, that line of argument is pretty self defeating. Why is there God rather than no God? They grant that God just is, but not the very thing they want to explain without God – despite that we know the universe exists and we cannot know whether God does.

  252. #252 kokoluvsallball
    December 15, 2009

    I am in.

  253. #253 Sven DiMilo
    December 15, 2009

    The laws of our universe don’t allow it to crap itself into existence

    While cosmologists continue to struggle to make sense of the Big Crap, there can be no doubt that it or something like it was the origin of feces.

  254. #254 lose_the_woo
    December 15, 2009

    kokluvsallball,

    Wow. Brings back memories. Poor Allball.

  255. #255 daveau
    December 15, 2009

    …exactly on the other side of the world…

    Oh, yeah? Then how come he doesn’t fall off?

  256. #256 blf
    December 15, 2009

    [T]here can be no doubt that [the Big Crap] or something like it was the origin of feces.

    We, the Disciples of Burning Goats, dispute this! The origin of faeces happens when the goat is undercooked. Shite has nothing to do with Imaginary Dogs. Well, actually, Imaginary Dogs are shite, but that’s a technicality. The goats must be on fire until they are safe to eat!

  257. #257 aratina cage
    December 15, 2009

    The Fatman thinks you guys get it but that you just don’t really like it.

    You know what, I don’t have any more time tonight to answer these pathetic arguments. I have to go to bed. -#225

    Bwahahaha! Run away, goodlookingfatman. Run away with your book of lies. And next time you get the itch to return, bring evidence of this “uncreated creator” with you.

  258. #258 lose_the_woo
    December 15, 2009

    kokluvsallball = kokoluvsallball

  259. #259 SuperSciFi
    December 15, 2009

    Way to go, PZ! You really did the mega dega, willy woppy, mamma jamma, ding dong, sing song, smack down on that guy, man.

  260. #260 DuckPhup
    December 15, 2009

    Dear Buff (big ugly fat fucker) @ 225

    How about if (in place of screed at 225) we were just to postulate that ‘nothingness’ is unstable. In other words, just like ‘nature abhors a vacuum’, nature abhors nothingness, too. OR… perhaps there is no such thing as ‘nothingness’. After all, ‘nothingness’ is just a human concept, right? It’s not like we’ve ever seen or detected ‘nothingness’. (Outer space doesn’t count.) Also… can you actually conceive of ‘nothingness’ existing, without having your head explode?

  261. #261 lose_the_woo
    December 15, 2009

    …bring evidence of this “uncreated creator” with you.

    How childish. He doesn’t have to do that. Clearly the Universe couldn’t “exist” without being “created”. By a “creator”. And not just any creator, a “deity”. The xtian deity. Who had to “come down”, rape his mom so she could give birth to him so he could “die for our sins” so we could all go to “heaven”.

    I mean, come on people! How does that not make sense? Sheesh!

    (psst: godbottingfatman, all the terms in scare-quotes are clues for you. They are nonsensical terms and/or concepts that, in the context of your assertions, actually are not meaningful or are baseless contrivances. I notice you like to use them all quite liberally in your poorly formed arguments. Funny that.)

  262. #262 SteveM
    December 15, 2009

    Blockquote>The laws of our universe don’t allow it to crap itself into existence

    Actually, they do. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle can also be formulated as Energy*time?h so as long as the total energy of the universe is very close to zero, it can spontaneously appear and exist for a very long time.

  263. #263 raven
    December 15, 2009

    The Fatman thinks you guys get it but that you just don’t really like it.

    OH!!! This is the Fallacy of Argument from Imaginary Super Powers.

    This guy is claiming he can read many minds of people he doesn’t know from a distance.

    Pointless to argue with people so delusional.

    Using my Imaginary Clairvoyance Power, fatman is a troll living in a card board box under a bridge somewhere and hasn’t taken his government supplied free medication in weeks. He was an atheist until those voices in his head started up again.

  264. #264 lose_the_woo
    December 15, 2009

    OT:

    Another one of the old guard has passed.

    Oral Roberts is dead.

    “In 1947, he founded the Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association in Tulsa, “and began conducting crusades across America and around the world, attracting crowds of thousands — many who were sick and dying and in search of healing,” the biography said. “Through the years, he conducted more than 300 crusades on six continents” and “laid hands” on an estimated 2 million people, according to association officials.”

    What a legacy.

  265. #265 blueshifter
    December 15, 2009

    @ #180

    Wut? That’s crap – of course stones don’t require people to be stones. What do you call the rounded mineral thingies you find in and around rivers there, buddy? River rocks? Nice, smooth, rounded, river rocks?

  266. #266 Ryan Learn
    December 15, 2009

    “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Primitive Hominid skulls from the Neander Valley. I’ve watched Tiktaalik handled in a lab near the Field Museum of Natural History.

  267. #267 lose_the_woo
    December 15, 2009

    Wut? That’s crap – of course stones don’t require people to be stones.

    I think the term stone is applied to a rock that’s been crafted (by humans) for some specific purpose. However, since humans are a function of Nature, I’d quibble with his other point in that post:

    Nature doesn’t make stones.

    Actually, Nature does make stones, via human agency.

  268. #268 Janine, She Wolf Of Pharyngula, OM
    December 15, 2009

    this all started when Janine brought up my rant from a months old Pharyngula post where PZ was teaching his flock that morality comes from within. I was telling the preacher to sit down. And that’s what I’m doing here.

    Wrong, fatman. I started nothing. You left a sniny* pile of incoherent words at #53. I remembered you from months ago and Gregory Greenwood commented about the babble. I simply pointed out that babbling was nothing new for you.

    Your argument of there being a prime mover is taken from Aristotle as used by the Roman Catholic Church for centuries. It was used to put a damper on the gathering of knowledge for centuries. And, as it turns out, Aristotle was a piss poor scientist.

    Why must one insist that some outside intelligence willed the universe into existence? Reality, as we know it, is complex enough. Why add even more unsubstantiated complexity on top of that?

    But I am sorry the the idea of atoms and ethics not based on a creator makes you ill. But that is your problem, not ours. It seems that you are not mature enough to accept the idea that you are responsible for your actions, that you need a creator to pat you on the head when you obey it’s arbitrary commands and pretend it is morality.

    And, for the fucking record, PZ is not a fucking preacher and we are not his fucking flock. He just happens to set up a cozy little blog that many of us like to hang out at. Do not dress our existence in your religious drag.

  269. #269 Dahan
    December 15, 2009

    If it is the result of bitterness about something in your past…get over it.

    The number of times that I’ve heard a variation of this comment leads me to believe that there are a LOT of theists out there who are VERY bitter, but are doing a good job of ignoring it.

    I admit, I’d be bitter too if my whole life was based on a pack of lies.

  270. #270 Kel, OM
    December 15, 2009

    The Fatman thinks you guys get it but that you just don’t really like it.

    We get it, no infinite regress = infinite mind creating finite regress. Of course this logic actually doesn’t solve the problem any more than positing dualism solves the problem of free will. You’re just proposing a magic explanation and from there running away with wild assumptions that you can’t possibly know.

    Do we have any reason to suppose that whatever did cause the universe had intentionality? Do we have any reason to suppose that whatever did cause the universe has the capacity to act within the universe? Do we have any reason to suppose that whatever did cause the universe had humanity in mind? Do we have any reason to suppose that whatever did cause the universe has the ability for us to survive after death? Do we have any reason to suppose anything at all about something we truly don’t know?

    Basically as I see it, this is nothing more than Gap Worship – taking the unknown and calling it God. We have nothing to suppose at all that there is such things as deities, or indeed that said deities take the Judeo-Christian contruct. The irony being that this deity is supposedly interventionist. It seems quite a disconnect to posit an interventionist deity that only intervenes at the points where current scientific knowledge is inadequate. And as those gaps get filled…

  271. #271 Joe Fogey
    December 15, 2009

    Kitchens – isn’t he the guy who wrote “Cod is not Great” and “Fritters to a Young Contrarian”?

  272. #272 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 15, 2009

    The Fatman thinks you guys get it but that you just don’t really like it.

    Jerry Garcia thinks that?

    Is he speaking from the grave?

  273. #273 'Tis Himself, OM
    December 15, 2009

    Jerry Garcia thinks that?

    Is he speaking from the grave?

    He’d be qualified if anyone was.

  274. #274 Sven DiMilo
    December 15, 2009

    I speak with Jerry all the time.
    He knows damn well that nobody ever really gets it.

    What?

  275. #275 Deano
    December 15, 2009

    PZ – I do love it when you launch intellectual canon fire from the good ship “Pharyngula”.

  276. #276 JR
    December 15, 2009

    The reader has a point- you gotta watch out for them hokes… one good hoke and we’re all fools!

  277. #277 Cuttlefish, OM
    December 15, 2009

    Re: PZ’s actual post (I read the comments, I really did! I even saw that “Cuculidae” was hoping I’d post!), I wanted to say–thanks, PZ, that was really incredibly beautiful. Fucking poetic, which doesn’t exactly make my life easier, but does inspire. Anyway, it made me re-examine and re-appreciate (ok, that last bit is a lie–I have always appreciated) the stuff I have experienced.

    http://digitalcuttlefish.blogspot.com/2009/12/real-world-vs-bible.html

    Beats the hell outta religion.

  278. #278 William
    December 15, 2009

    I googled MR Aprile and voila!
    A Michael Aprile happens to be the editor of this folksy little believer pit. His name is humbly displayed in the ‘about this page’ box on the right – how bold.
    http://www.utmostway.com/about

  279. #279 William
    December 15, 2009

    If this is your moron it stands to reason he doesn’t understand science and can’t punctuate – he was home-schooled – English and science weren’t offered.

  280. #280 Smoggy Batzrubble OM4Jesus
    December 15, 2009

    You’d think if he was home schooled he’d be able to tell a door from a window.

  281. #281 Gregory Greenwood
    December 15, 2009

    So, the Goodlookingfatman proposes that nothing can exist without being created except, conveniently, his god. Who is, also conveniently, wholly undetectable by any science conceived by man and just, you know, has to be taken on blind faith. Because although we cannot prove his existence scientifically or detect his agency in any way, ‘holy men’ somehow know that he gets really pissed off when people look at the available evidence and conclude that he doesn’t exist. I mean, wouldn’t you take it amiss when people demand proof of your existence? The cost in existential therapy alone would be excessive.

    Apparently we all know this to be true but are in denial. The GLFM must be aware of our innermost thoughts due to those swanky Yoda-esque force mind reading powers that his (undetectable) god furnishes him with (undetectably, of course).

    The fault lies with we nasty atheists. We keep on unreasonably demanding actual proof of the GLFM’s deity before we will praise Jebus. If we just accepted dog like good little brainwashed godbots then he wouldn’t have to waste his precious time arguing to us. I mean, his bedroom is unheated and he only has 5 hours of sleep, and now our nasty atheist arguments are corrupting his dreams! We should all be ashamed of our unconscionable callousness to the GLFM. We are obviously mistreating him by not believing in his evidence free god.

    * * * * * * * * *

    Right, that makes perfect sense. Well, maybe after your fifth double vodka. That is why I am a teetotaler.

  282. #282 Gregory Greenwood
    December 15, 2009

    Welcome Smoggy! We were talking about you earlier upthread (don’t worry, it was all good). There was a very entertaing troll chew toy around that we thought you might enjoy masticating. Unfortunately you missed him. I had to stand in on your behalf for a while, and I fear I was a poor substitute.

    Badgersdaughter @ 164;

    ‘Gregory Greenwood @146: I know that I am no Smoggy…

    Hmmmmmm…..

    (cocks an eyebrow)’

    Cocks an eyebrow? Now that sounds like something Floyd Rubber might enjoy. Wouldn’t you agree Smoggy?

  283. #283 raven
    December 15, 2009

    A free Christian, online-only, Home School Magazine dedicated to helping Christians and Home School families to be informed about everything essential to them. Features articles, a great library, multiple resources, international online homeschool book fair and much much more

    Michael Aprile runs a website about xian homeschooling. Based out of Tennessee, surprise.

    This guy seems to be a routine hard core fundie. Rapture any minute, hate list a mile long, thinks Obama is a Moslem Kenyan terrorist, Pope is the other antichrists and so on. Boring.

    A lunatic fringer but not otherwise worth noting. With millions of robotic morons who all sound the same, it is hard to cut through the clutter. Even the death threat screamers are getting routinely boring.

  284. #284 Smoggy Batzrubble OM4Jesus
    December 15, 2009

    Dear Brother Gregory Greenwood,

    I enjoyed your posts very much. I thought you handled yourself very well and could potentially be a very good Christian. I little more prayer and nobody will be able to touch you.

    It is true that Floyd Rubber enjoys eyebrowing cocks. It’s not my cup of tea, as it takes so long and tickles. But Floyd has large expressive eyebrows and he’s very patient when it comes to rubbing himself against an inflated organ.

    Yours in facial fantasies
    Smoggy

  285. #285 Rey Fox
    December 15, 2009

    “Often chided by morons” ought to be on PZ’s tombstone.

    (when he dies of causes completely unrelated to this blog, of course)

  286. #286 raven
    December 15, 2009

    Well the incoherent dumb fat guy ran away. But his assertion that something can’t come from nothing is flat out wrong.

    It happens a near infinite number of times every second. The vacuum is not a vacuum and it has an energy, vacuum energy. Matter-antimatter particle pairs flicker into existence from nowhere, hang around for a short time, and then annihilate each other.

    We can detect this endless flicker by the Casimir effect. Someone more familiar with the physics could probably explain it better than myself.

  287. #287 WowbaggerOM
    December 15, 2009

    What Fathead didn’t seem to realise is that all he’s doing is arguing for deism, not Christianity.

    Even if we let Fathead have his assertions re: the creation of the universe he’s still got the (rather large) hurdle of explaining why he gets to assume that said creator is Yahweh rather than any of the other gods humans throughout history have believed in – or, for that matter, why it can’t have been a completely different, unknown god, or a deist god who doesn’t give a shit about our world.

  288. #288 tk
    December 15, 2009

    THATS IT PZ IM NEVER READING YOUR BLOG AGAIN HOW DARE YOU REBUKE KITCHENS……LET ALONE HOKES

  289. #289 ConcernedJoe
    December 15, 2009

    Mamma mia PZ … have you no fear? Michael “Mattone” Aprile is part of the Aprile Crew and cousin to the late Richie Aprile.

    PZ – badati

  290. #290 Owlmirror
    December 15, 2009

    What Fathead didn’t seem to realise is that all he’s doing is arguing for deism, not Christianity.

    I’m not sure that he was trying to argue for Christianity. There have been more than a few deists/quasi-deists here over the years.

    Perhaps on his return he will elucidate his personal theology.

    Or perhaps he’ll just crap nonsense and sneer some more.

  291. #291 Rachel Bronwyn
    December 15, 2009

    Tell me why anyone would refer to a website run by someone whose written English is so horrific. If you take pride and believe in your message, aren’t you going to take the time to present it clearly and yourself as something other than unintelligent? Seriously, how on earth is someone lacking basic writing skills going to provide christian homeschoolers with “everything essential to them”? I know their standards are lower than those of others but what idiot would base the curriculum they teach their kids on the work of someone lacking basic writing skills? At least some denialists refer to idiots who use big words and spellcheck.

    Also, where’d fatty go? I’ve got some bacon!

  292. #292 Bob Evans-aka Metsguy
    December 16, 2009

    PZ Myers said: “The science points ineluctably to evolution as a fact, as the mechanism for biological change over time.”

    How many days, or weeks ago, did you come upon the word “ineluctably,” “professor?” You seem to come up with a new “million-dollar” word you’ve recently “tripped” upon in order to lend “gravitas” to each of your new posts.

  293. #293 aratina cage
    December 16, 2009

    Open a dictionary someday, will ya, Bob Evans-aka Metsguy. “Professor”, “tripped”, “million-dollar”, and “gravitas” are all fairly standard words in English. “Ineluctably” itself isn’t that uncommon.

  294. #294 Owlmirror
    December 16, 2009

    How many days, or weeks ago, did you come upon the word “ineluctably,” “professor?”

    Let me dictionary that for you:

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ineluctably

    And it has a date attached to it.

    1615?25; < L in?luct?bilis

    You seem to come up with a new “million-dollar” word you’ve recently “tripped” upon in order to lend “gravitas” to each of your new posts.

    Looks like you’re still using the same abridged dictionary that your mommy got you for your tenth birthday. And I bet she helped you pick out the word “gravitas”, too!

  295. #295 Janine, She Wolf Of Pharyngula, OM
    December 16, 2009

    What’s the matter, Bob Evans? You cannot attack the fact of evolution so you snark on the use of a “big” word. Maybe you better read this in order to get to your preferred reading level.

  296. #296 WowbaggerOM
    December 16, 2009

    Bob Evans-aka Metsguy,

    Why don’t “you” go and “fuck yourself”, you “dipshit pissant”? And, while you’re “at it”, how about you “learn” what “quotation marks” are “for”?

  297. #297 kokoluvsallball
    December 16, 2009
  298. #298 Stuart
    December 16, 2009

    Love it!

    The construction of his sentences, inability to spell, appalling grammar and the depth of his ignorance are truly astounding and speak volumes in and of themselves. The cherry on the top was his talk-show Dr Phil like reference to ‘bitterness in your past’, no doubt gleaned from the intellectual podium of his sofa.

    You could in fact say nothing and let all of these wonderful things paint a telling (and frighting) picture of the shallow end of the evolutionary gene-pool.

  299. #299 Rachel Bronwyn
    December 16, 2009

    And all he’s got to boast is a BA in English. How ironic.

    Why is it people like Aprile consider themselves authorities on matters of biology, moreso than professors of biology? Why aren’t they embarrassed to “school” real biologists on topics they’re entirely unfamiliar with, embarrassing themseves in the process?

  300. #300 Lon
    December 16, 2009

    @wiley

    I don’t know. I, for one, wouldn’t be seen dead at a Christian concert, so I’m hardly going to go to one on my deathbed.

  301. #301 Owlmirror
    December 16, 2009

    I, for one, wouldn’t be seen dead at a Christian concert

    I don’t think the Dead were particularly Christian. They probably wouldn’t be seen there either…

  302. #302 The Calm One
    December 16, 2009

    Thank you for introducing me to Tiktaalik.

  303. #303 Anti-Theist
    December 16, 2009

    As a few people have pointed out it seems Mikey from his home office in TN has enjoyed arguing with non-christians for many years.

    Comment by Michael Aprile on 2006-07-17 at 14:32:34: I like how you are sensible in how you treat what people submit as worthy of thought and consideration for response. I do the same with my online magazine. I noticed that you have replied there is no evidence (for various beliefs about Jesus’ existence and other concepts) outside of the Bible and I find it hard to let that just go by casually. First, I wonder why the “other than in the Bible” comment. It sounds as though you believe the Bible is not true or factual. I have provided a great..
    =====================================
    http://www.utmostway.com/authors/michael-aprile
    http://www.lifeinthebible.com/

    If you believe people such as Mikey would be excellent long term networking partners if you are interested in learning about religion you can ‘link in’ with him here:
    http://www.linkedin.com/pub/michael-aprile/6/8b/611

  304. #304 Anti-theist
    December 16, 2009

    http://www.lifeinthebible.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/litbibleconfcardweb1.png

    Mikey says and I quote:
    “In this day in which we face a world that provides a great deal of information, it is more and more important for people to be prepared to discern that which is true and that which is false””

  305. #305 Citizen of the Cosmos
    December 16, 2009

    It reminds me of when Dawkins was a guest on Alan Colmes’ radio show, and someone called in and tried to tell Dawkins that evolution is false. Why do people who know next to nothing about biology beleive they can and should teach biologists about it? Really, it’s so bizarre.

  306. #306 Strangest brew
    December 16, 2009

    #298

    “The cherry on the top was his talk-show Dr Phil like reference to ‘bitterness in your past’, no doubt gleaned from the intellectual podium of his sofa.”

    Nah!…tis a standard xian closing statement.

    Usually employed when they are out of anything useful to say.
    Seems that the mind set and brain washing removes not only critical faculties but also leaves them clueless as to how to argue their delusion in public.

    They really cannot understand atheism…it is a foreign and scary premise.

    So they always finish off a rant by hurling the least effective homily they have in their arsenal of joke weapons.
    They think it affective because it is not really meant to classify or pin the atheist it is more a dog whistle to their own…

    “see atheism is not self conceived…it is a result of a terrible accident years ago…that is why atheism exists”!

    Because it must be…in their sad excuse for a mind…something that happened in the past to turn the atheist against the ‘bhabi jeebus!’

    Standard droppings really…the other one is “I will pray for you in your confusion!”….

  307. #307 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawm9wSyj98UYQ2Q4Azq1CuAmzGKwkCPTTbg
    December 16, 2009

    Whilst we’re dictionarying things, let’s do this one:

    Stone, n.: 1.a. A piece of rock or hard mineral substance (other than metal) of a small or moderate size. b. A rock, cliff, crag; a mass of rock; rocky ground. c. A meteorite; now esp. one containing a high proportion of silicates or other non-metals. d. A fashion shade of yellowish or brownish grey; stone-colour.

    2.a. The hard compact material of which stones and rocks consist; hard mineral substance other than metal. b. as material for lithography. c. A particular kind of rock or hard mineral matter. (e.g. “Stones differ from earths principally in cohesion and hardness.” or “The material is a white calcareous stone, obtained in the neighbourhood.”)

    Oh, I could keep going on. The sense you seem to be using, Josh, is 5. The only ones prior to that with any connection to human agency are the reference to lithography above and “Philosophers Stone.”

    Next time you’re going to play the pedant, maybe check with a native speaker of the language first?

  308. #308 Strangest brew
    December 16, 2009

    #292

    Just because you are literally(sic) challenged…does not mean everyone is!

    Would suggest you keep a dictionary…(a decent one) next to your keyboard in future…it will help when the language gets tricky!

  309. #309 Owlmirror
    December 16, 2009

    The sense you seem to be using, Josh, is 5. The only ones prior to that with any connection to human agency are the reference to lithography above and “Philosophers Stone.”

    Next time you’re going to play the pedant, maybe check with a native speaker of the language first?

    Ahem.

    Josh is, in point of fact, Josh, OM, the geologist. When you’re referring to anything to do with rocks, you’re trying to speak his native language, about which he cares rather a lot.

    That having been said, he does sometimes have a strange sense of humour. I think you simply failed to get a subtle in-joke.

    If I’m wrong, he’ll probably let me know in great detail.

  310. #310 DocSoftly
    December 16, 2009

    “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.” – Bertrand Russell

  311. #311 echidna
    December 16, 2009

    I, too, fail to get the subtle in-joke, but I’m sure, as Owlmirror says, that there is one.

    I trust Josh not to err about rocks and stones, knowing he is a geologist, but his comment leaves me a little confused as well.

  312. #312 Strangest brew
    December 16, 2009

    “There is nothing wrong with being a fool, but teaching others to be one is unacceptable and irresponsible, at the very least.”

    The projection is indeed strong in this one!

    Again religiotards have no conception of the term ‘ironic’

    Home schooling by a religiotard has got to be child abuse by any other standard, and only xian dumbfucks can get away with it, time and time again.
    Then plead intolerance,discrimination and righteousness when their delusion is exposed for the smelly sticky dollop of insignificant crud it actually is!
    Not content with screwing up their own children’s minds they insist it be actually respected.

    Methinks some re-evaluation of ‘respect’ offered by society…and by default the law… to religion in general might be long past due.
    And scammers of a religious bent should indeed be taxed…otherwise how can they get through the eye of a needle?

  313. #313 Realist
    December 16, 2009

    I never understand what people like this hope to achieve by sending such emails. Even if it was the case that the scientific community was deceiving the public with false ideas, does this guy really think that his email will make them stop and think “we’ve got to change our ways!”

  314. #314 clockkingfl
    December 16, 2009

    He’s a narcissist. You can’t change his mind because he’ll never accept that he could ever be wrong about anything.

  315. #315 Strangest brew
    December 16, 2009

    I agree with #313 & #314

    What this dude is about is some gratuitous mental masturbation…with jeebus as the lusty image of excitement…by denigrating that which he thinks is a threat to his delusion.
    By writing the fallacies and xian canards down down he will give himself the rapture fandango and feel ever so holy, and it is excellent street cred to boast about to his fellow deluded as he holds court to the awed audience of sheeple in his community.

    This guy likes being regarded as a up-standing god fearing ‘pillock’ of society, he gets away with it because xian culture has a free pass under the law.

    Although he is still a dickhead by any other measure, he will be regarded as a hero in his enclave for tilting at the windmills of atheist and scientific oppression, simple like so!

  316. #316 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    December 16, 2009

    I will never understand how there’s such skepticism for evolution.

    I’m not particularly good at biology, but isn’t that effectively why there are still Amerindians left to begin with? Some of the Amerindian and Native American stock just happened to be resistant to European diseases, traits that were bred into their kids by the survivors? This notwithstanding any other case of it.

  317. #317 InfuriatedSciTeacher
    December 16, 2009

    Yeah, you know, you’re brilliant! I thought you guys actually might have considered these arguments for God’s existence, how did you know?! And so I didn’t bring them up in the first place, and only briefly when pressed, you see, because I actually wasn’t talking about this at all. I usually like to talk about the subject of whatever it is we are talking about, rather than annoyingly completely switching subjects?

    annoying troll is annoyed?

    this all started when Janine brought up my rant from a months old Pharyngula post where PZ was teaching his flock that morality comes from within. I was telling the preacher to sit down. And that’s what I’m doing here. The Nerd of Red hair or whatever avoided the morality question, like you are doing now, and made the lamest post I’ve ever seen that said, “daaauuuh, well show me where dehr is a God first, and den we can talk about hypothefetical stuff dat is not related but dat makes me uncomfortable.” But, I can hardly stand it, infuriated science teacher. So now, here is why your truly pathetic arguments are wrong:

    I responded to what you posted. You didn’t like it, certainly not my issue.

    So, here we go:
    Ahem:
    First Cause? Why can God be uncaused but the world not? Because it’s not materialist science, Batman.

    No, it’s elementary logic. The rules apply universally, thanks.

    The entire universe came from not a little dot, a blob, a pickle, a revolving universe, or any other material thing, but the universe came from (what’s that?) nothing! So since in our universe nothing comes from nothing (not even quantum physics is claiming that particles originate from nothing and without any possible reason whatsoever), it might be reasonable to conclude that something not bound by our universe put our bird cage into motion.

    Whoo-eee. I believe someone above recommended Stenger, with a link. Take it, and learn.

    And since an infinite regress of events can’t exist then a truly uncaused, eternal being or something outside of time and space must have set us into motion. It’s our situation in time and space that demands an uncreated creator.

    Special pleading and an argument from ignorance wrapped into one. Fail

    As a temporal universe with a beginning we actually have more explaining to do than the infinite being that is not temporal. “Well then who created God?”….. dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Are you in fifth grade?

    No, and it’s a valid question that you can’t escape by mockery and ad hominems. You’ve not explained anything by moving the answer back a step.

    Let’s go through that again.

    No, let’s not… You fucked it up badly enough the first time, and repeating logical fallacies doesn’t suddenly make them true.

    The Fatman thinks you guys get it but that you just don’t really like it.

    IST thinks you don’t get it. Period.

    You know what, I don’t have any more time tonight to answer these pathetic arguments. I have to go to bed. I’m living in the lovely materialist nation exactly on the other side of the world from PZ, so it’s late right now. Now, as I crawl into my unheated bedroom, with five hours of sleep to look forward to, I’ll be sickened by your pathetic arguments, still floating in my head while I sleep. But not PZ’s arguments; he’s just too funny. Bahahahahah!

    That’s cool, you didn’t do a very good job with the one you addressed, and completely ignored the other two. (Although your second point is basically still your first). Shorter GLFM : I don’t know how it happened, and neither do you, so goddidit. Mental instability requires more exclamation marks, btw… you might want to work on that part of your presentation. Enjoy your unheated bedroom in… wait… opposite side of the world… it’s fucking summer you ridiculous fucktard! Why should you want your bedroom heated?

  318. #318 Dragonslayer
    December 16, 2009

    “So the singular of “hokes” must be “hoke”. I didn’t know that. See, these folks can teach us something.”

    Actually I believe the singular of “hokes”is actually “hok”. It is that thing that is kept in kitchens for stir frying vegetables. The context makes it clear.

  319. #319 Josh
    December 16, 2009

    Wut? That’s crap – of course stones don’t require people to be stones. What do you call the rounded mineral thingies you find in and around rivers there, buddy? River rocks? Nice, smooth, rounded, river rocks?

    Well, what I’m likely to call it depends completely on what it is that you’ve actually found.

    If it’s a lone rounded mineral(1) grain/crystal that you’ve found in your river, then I will refer to it as a rounded mineral. I suppose I might append “thingy” after “mineral” if I’m feeling that way right then, but it’s certainly not necessary (nor is it particularly likely that I’m going to do that).

    On the other hand, if it’s a rock(2) in your river (including those rocks that tend to be comprised of single minerals (e.g., a bed of anthracite(3)), then yes, I’m going to call it a smooth, rounded rock (nice is unnecessary and can be omitted; that a rock is nice is implied…). And because noting that it was found in a river provides additional information that could be useful/important (such as the fairly good probability that we’re dealing with an allochthonous(4) material), then yes, I probably will refer to your object as a smooth, rounded river rock(5).

    In the geosciences, the word stone is pretty archaic if we’re using it to refer to geological materials in the field. There used to be much more fluidity between rock and stone, but stone has largely come to mean only something that has been modified by humans, such as a gem stone, a building material, or an artifact of some sort that has a lithologic basis (e.g., see 6-8). The word has also been retained in some instances for historical reasons (e.g., limestone; pudding stone; stony meteorite(9)). There are exceptions of course(10), but this is the direction in which these two words are evolving.

    Regardless, I would have thought that prefacing my comment with

    Since I’m feeling like a pain-in-the-ass:

    might have suggested to you that I.was.just.ribbing.PZ.

    References and Notes
    1. Essentially a naturally occurring, crystalline solid with a definite chemical composition(11, 12).
    2. Essentially a coherent aggregate of minerals(11, 12).
    3. geology.about.com/od/mineral_resources/a/aa_nutshellcoal.htm
    4. Essentially “not in original position/location.”
    5. Actually, if I’m going for that level of precision, then I’m probably also going to append some sort of lithologic descriptor as well, giving us something like: smooth, rounded, sedimentary river rock.
    6. http://www.igsb.uiowa.edu/Browse/buildngs/buildngs.htm
    7. serc.carleton.edu/introgeo/field_lab/examples/buildst.html
    8. geology.utah.gov/online/pi-60/pi60pg1.htm
    9. But everyone who knows what the hell they’re talking about understands that limestone is a rock.
    10. And of course, people often write geology-related books for lay audiences with titles like “Written in Stone!”
    11. http://www.geo.utexas.edu/courses/303/303_Lab/MineralOverhead.pdf
    12. facstaff.gpc.edu/~pgore/geology/physical_lecture/mineral.html#Definitions

  320. #320 gr8hands
    December 16, 2009

    I, for one, hope Josh explains the in-joke, if there is one, as I do not recall the mention of a difference between rocks and stones in geology class.

    Disclaimer: geology classes were, in fact, 8am classes, and frequently I was quite tired from being up too late the previous night, so it is possible that I simply missed it.

    Unless “stones” is taken as ‘kidney stones’ which people do make. Also it could be an idiom for ‘balls’.

    Anyway, Josh, if there’s a joke, please share. (I didn’t submit a ‘correction’ as Josh has expertise, and I thought a little research might enlighten me. That didn’t happen, so I’m sending this request.)

  321. #321 Citizen Z
    December 16, 2009

    Ok, this is stupid, but aratina cage is partly to blame for putting both well-known atheists and cheesy ’80s TV shows in my brain at the same time. You get this utter ridiculousness.

    I was surprised to find a couple of pictures of Daniel Dennett doing karate or just being a badass.

  322. #322 aratina cage
    December 16, 2009

    Dawkins as Hannibal? LOL! Is that your handiwork, Citizen Z?

  323. #323 Leslie in Canada
    December 16, 2009

    I thought Mr. Aprile might be an idiot but he has apparently founded a ministry that is–ta da!–tax-exempt. Clever! On the other hand, his sole argument for denying climate change is a video of Viscount Monckton pontificating. So, he is an idiot.

  324. #324 2.el makina
    December 16, 2009

    ths s th bst st fr mchns

  325. #325 2.el makina
    December 16, 2009

    ths s th bst st fr mchns

  326. #326 Josh
    December 16, 2009

    Whilst we’re dictionarying things, let’s do this one:

    Okay, let’s…

    Stone, n.: 1.a. A piece of rock or hard mineral substance (other than metal) of a small or moderate size. b. A rock, cliff, crag; a mass of rock; rocky ground.

    A piece of rock? Really? If that’s the case, then why does the very next point include rock itself (not a piece of)? If a rock is a stone, then why do you need to specify that a piece of a rock is a stone? Because a piece of a rock (of small or moderate size) is a stone, and a rock (of apparently any size) is also a stone? Okay, but then it says that you can call a cliff or a patch of rocky ground a stone(1). So a piece of a rock (of small or moderate size) is a stone, and a rock (of apparently any size) is a stone, and a cliff or patch of rocky ground is also a stone? But if that’s the case, then what does small or moderate size mean? Cliffs and patches of ground are outcrop-scale features. If those are also stones, then what reason is there to specify that your piece of rock (which is a stone) is small?

    But okay, let’s go with it. A piece of a rock (which is itself a stone) is a stone. But only if it’s of a small or moderate size (or a cliff). So how big is small or moderate size? How small are we talking about here? I presume that I can refer to a single grain of sand (0.0625-2mm in diameter(2)) as a stone? How about a grain of silt (0.0039-0.0625mm in diameter(2))? Or is silt too small? From this definition it doesn’t look like it. From this definition it seems like I should be fine in calling a cup of silt a cup of stones.

    A hard mineral substance? There are two useless words here: hard and substance. If you’re dealing with a mineral, then call it one. You might successfully make the case that hard provides useful information in this instance, but using substance here is pointless(3). How is a mineral substance different from a mineral?

    And with respect to hard, is the author of this entry telling us that it’s appropriate to use the word stone to refer to hard minerals (e.g., diamond), but not soft minerals (e.g., graphite)? Diamond and graphite are both minerals, and they are both forms of carbon. So what? A diamond is a stone, but a chunk of graphite is…what? A mineral…? Where is the line drawn? At what level on the Mohs scale do I need to use a word that isn’t stone?

    And on the issue of metals… There are certainly minerals that are metals(e.g., 4). I guess those aren’t stones, even when they’re in small pieces that have been worn and polished by a river…? Maybe they’re not hard enough?

    If I have a chunk of a granite in my hand, then according to this dictionary, I can call it a stone. Fine. But what about the chunk of granite that has a thin vein of copper running through it? According to this dictionary, the non-coppery hand sample of granite can be called a stone, but the hand sample of granite (same kind of rock) with a vein of copper in it can’t. Useful.

    c. A meteorite; now esp. one containing a high proportion of silicates or other non-metals.

    Stone as synonymous with meteorite? Really? If I’m holding a stony meteorite in my hand and I send you a text about it, and I know that it’s a meteorite, then why in the everliving hell am I going to refer to it as a stone? If I send you a text saying that I’m holding a stone, will the image that pops into your head be meteorite? Or is it much more likely to be river pebble? If I know it’s a meteorite, and I know that it’s not metallic, then why won’t I call it a STONY METEORITE? I mean, aren’t you probably going to be more interested in the fact that I’ve got a meteorite to show you than whether it’s stony or metallic? Using the word stone here when you want to say meteorite makes no sense. How is this definition useful? Did this dictionary have an editor?

    I don’t know what dictionary you’re using, but the author of that entry needs to stick to things that aren’t geology. It might be proper, according to that dictionary, to use stone in these ways. But the definition is full of shit. It provides very little insight in how to apply the word stone with any precision and it is not aligned with the science. I certainly cannot imagine most of my colleagues supporting using the term in these ways. As such, I consider this dictionary to be about as useful as Wikiblabbia. Indeed, this little exercise has just added to my view that general dictionaries are useless when it comes to the meanings of scientific terms.

    PZ was talking about splitting open hand samples of (presumably) mudrock or limestone to find trilobites. He was talking about geological materials and stone wasn’t really the appropriate word to use in that situation. And whereas you can apparently chastise me based on your little dictionary definition (because you can apparently use stone for every geological feature out there), all you really showed me was that that dictionary was likely not reviewed by anyone who knew what the hell they were talking about.

    I stand by my comment. If you want to convince me that my use of stone versus rock is incorrect, then you’re going to have to do better than that. And of course all of this is ignoring the fact that I was just ribbing him…

    References and Notes
    1. Is a stone only a mass of rocky ground that’s small? And does the soil developed on the patch of rocky ground also get included in stone, or is it just the outcrop? I interpret “rocky ground” to be different than, say, “exposure of bare rock.” Rocky ground suggest to me that there is some soil development and perhaps some vegetation.
    2. Boggs, S., 2006, Principles of Sedimentology and Stratigraphy, Fourth Edition. Pearson/Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, 688p.
    3. A rock is a coherent aggregate of minerals. A piece of that coherent aggregate of minerals is also going to be a coherent aggregate of minerals, until the point where it has been broken down to a single crystal/grain of a mineral, at which point you should be calling it a mineral. Rock and mineral can be used synonymously in only a few situations and the distinction matters. It is simply not appropriate, for example, to call a piece of granite a mineral. It’s not one mineral. It is an aggregate of minerals (i.e., a rock). Calling it a mineral simply isn’t accurate. If your substance contains more than one mineral, calling it a mineral substance isn’t appropriate. If it is one mineral, then substance isn’t needed.
    4. webmineral.com/data/Copper.shtml

  327. #327 Sven DiMilo
    December 16, 2009

    Everybody must get “stone.”

  328. #328 Owlmirror
    December 16, 2009

    Note great detail in #319 and #326.

    *grins*

    Everybody must get “stone.”

    Take off every “ZIG” !!

  329. #329 sudomabinusri
    December 16, 2009

    I have seen reference to Josh’s encyclopeadic posts before, but somehow, I’ve managed to avoid seeing one, until now. I am in awe, sir; well done.

    And WTF hasn’t Josh got an OM yet, eh? Oh wait, he just doesn’t choose to advertise it. OK, nevermind.

  330. #330 Dania
    December 16, 2009

    Josh, you… rock. :)

    It’s a pleasure to read your posts even when you’re in pedant mode.

    Indeed, this little exercise has just added to my view that general dictionaries are useless when it comes to the meanings of scientific terms.

    Indeed they are. Useless to the point of being wrong. Here’s how my Oxford Dictionary defines “genetic code”:

    genetic code, noun: the arrangement of genes that controls how each living thing will develop.

    No. This is the genetic code, a correspondence between codons and amino acids, and it has nothing to do with “the arrangement of genes”.

    I know a lot of people constantly misuse the term, but it’s a scientific term and it has a precise meaning. That definition is scientifically incorrect and really, if they can’t get it right, it would be better not to define it at all.

  331. #331 Josh
    December 16, 2009

    That definition is scientifically incorrect and really, if they can’t get it right, it would be better not to define it at all.

    You know what you did right there? Earn more points!

  332. #332 J.C. Samuelson
    December 16, 2009

    It might’ve already been said, but the really sad part is that the author of the email is probably completely convinced he’s doing the right thing and is well-informed.

    Ignorance is insidious.

  333. #333 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawm9wSyj98UYQ2Q4Azq1CuAmzGKwkCPTTbg
    December 17, 2009

    Chapter 326, in which Josh demonstrates that he has never used a dictionary, has never been taught how to use a dictionary, or even been told what a dictionary (in the current instance, the OED) is for.

    And is shocked, shocked and appalled to discover that words may have more than one, nay even contradictory meanings. Especially words that have been in the language since roughly before it was spoken in England, by people who apparently had no inclination to align their usage of it with a science which would define it, oh, eight or nine hundred years later. And demonstrates that he hasn’t noticed that it is part of the core vocabulary that people learn, as they learn their native tongue, more than a decade before they have the opportunity to take a Geology class.

    And exhibits a basic lack of reading compehension, reading as an accusation that his usage is “incorrect” the statement that there are many more than one extant usages.

    Don’t they have freshman English requirements at all any more?

  334. #334 carl
    December 17, 2009

    “A large group of sciences, including biologists, have concluded that the theory is false.” — Mr. Aprile

    http://tinyurl.com/ye7ajjc

  335. #335 John Morales
    December 17, 2009

    id=AItOawm9wSyj98UYQ2Q4Azq1CuAmzGKwkCPTT,

    […] in which Josh demonstrates that he has never used a dictionary
    […]
    And exhibits a basic lack of reading compehension, reading as an accusation that his usage is “incorrect” the statement that there are many more than one extant usages.

    No, Josh in no way demonstrates that; rather he claims that, for a particular context, precision is required, and furthermore that certain senses of a word may be inappropriate for that context — also, he shows that certain senses are mutually incompatible.
    Natural language is not jargon!

    I agree that dictionaries catalog words and their usage, rather than dictate their meaning, but you seem to try to imply that any sense of a given word is applicable in any circumstance. Not so.

  336. #336 no-genius
    December 17, 2009

    Oops. I read that as “as a common drug dealer…”

  337. #337 Benjamin Geiger
    December 17, 2009

    As a rather dashing man of girth, I resent Goodlookingfatman’s attempt at a false flag attack. Us handsome yet rotund gentlemen are not such idiots.

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