Pharyngula

There’s an app for that

If you ever argue with creationists, you know that the Index to Creationist Claims is an incredibly useful site, as is the book version, The Counter Creationism Handbook. Life just got a little sweeter: it is now available as a smartphone app for the blackberry and iPhone (just get into the App Store and search for ‘creationist’). Well, sweeter for us; creationists will find themselves a little more readily refuted now.

Comments

  1. #1 Feynmaniac
    January 14, 2010

    It won’t be long until we get the The Creationist Annihilator 3000, a computer program which picks up common creationists’ “arguments” and posts a stored response. Preliminary calculations show that it does better in the Turing Test than most creationists.

  2. #2 Sigmund
    January 14, 2010

    Perhaps we can suggest a few more of our favorite apps while we are at it.
    I like the app “molecules” as a visualization tool for proteins and nucleic acids, “GeneIndex” and “iProt Human” as sources of information about human genes and proteins and “genomepad” as an entry point to the UCSC genome browser.
    “Anatomylab” is great if you want to take part in a real life autopsy(!) and “3D Brain” allows you to learn all the bits mentioned in that famous ‘Pinky and the Brain’ song and you can catch up with your knowledge of bones with “Bones lite”.

  3. #3 Rorschach
    January 14, 2010

    Life just got a little sweeter: it is now available as a smartphone app for the blackberry and iPhone (just get into the App Store and search for ‘creationist’)

    *Breaks down in a laughing fit of epic proportions*

  4. #4 Tom Wood
    January 14, 2010

    Oh please, can we get an Android OS port?

  5. #5 Phro
    January 14, 2010

    I was, just today, thinking how useful something like that would be….thanks for letting us know it exists!!

    Although…the coincidence….maybe god is trying to tell me something…it’s divine proof! He (it) really, truly doesn’t exist!

  6. #6 Feynmaniac
    January 14, 2010

    Requirements: Compatible with iPhone and iPod touch

    LOL!
    PZ,
    Are you going to put it on your iPod touch?

  7. #7 The Tim Channel
    January 14, 2010

    If it’s free I might check it out. I’ve been wondering how long it would take for something like this to debut. Since the creationist arguments are all cookie cutter responses, a simple flow chart debate program could easily be concocted.

    Enjoy.

  8. #8 CRS
    January 14, 2010

    Have the app. Love it. Definitely worth 99 cents. The entries aren’t groundbreaking, but as The Tim Channel said, most creationist claims are parroted arguments, so it meets the need most of the time. The app is a great conversation piece here in the Babble Belt.

  9. #9 Mike Wagner
    January 14, 2010

    As much as I love my dead tree version of The Counter Creationist Handbook, it’s not really much more than intellectual masturbation.

    It’s full of all kinds of great information, and has lots of surprises in store for those who haven’t seen the kind of BS the creationists will pull… BUT…. like any book that heavily references academia and other sources it uses a bibliography to get the the meat behind each topic.

    So not only do you have to contend with a person who believes the only truth is in the bible, you have to try and convince them to look up the citation, which they will not do. Use wikipedia? They don’t trust it. TalkOrigins? Anti-God propaganda. Religious organizations that support science? Corrupted by the devil. That one I understand though. I get a slimy feeling even considering using religions own arguments against creationism, because it’s like having one of the inmates of a sanitarium help you convince the rest of the patients that everyone is crazy.

    Realistically though, I guess we all know we’re not trying to change the mind of the creationist when we argue with them. We’re just there to make sure the words of reason, logic, and science are there to counter the poison of dogma and faith. Who knows what curious mind we may have saved from the perils of religious stupidity? Certainly not Zombie Jesus and Sky-God Crankypants.

  10. #10 Mike Wagner
    January 14, 2010

    What the heck? GeneIndex comes up with the inappropriate for “Under 17″ warning.

    That’s ridiculous.

  11. #11 MadScientist
    January 14, 2010

    People need crib notes to address creationists? We’re doomed.

  12. #12 Stuart
    January 14, 2010

    On the subject of religion and technology, I saw this on another site. Amazon are selling Communion wafers… but look at what purchasers also bought!

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0805470859

  13. #13 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 14, 2010

    nice

  14. #14 MetzO'Magic
    January 14, 2010

    Stuart @ 12

    Amazon are selling Communion wafers… but look at what purchasers also bought!

    Astroglide Personal Lubricant?! Ha ha ha ha ha. That is just *too* good! Now we know where the pedophile priests get their communion wafers ;-)

  15. #15 Lars
    January 14, 2010

    Communion wafers, lube and the FSM Bible?

    Oh, the pictures in my head …

  16. #16 Mike Wagner
    January 14, 2010

    “Astroglide, helping Catholics swallow the lie for 25 years.”

    The peril of Transubstantiation:
    Sheep#1: “This communion wafer tastes like shit!”
    Sheep#2: “Turn it over.”
    Sheep#3: “Now it tastes like Father O’Malley!”

  17. #17 Sigmund
    January 14, 2010

    “What the heck? GeneIndex comes up with the inappropriate for “Under 17″ warning.
    That’s ridiculous.”
    Any app that links to a web browser has that “Under 17″ warning.

  18. #18 aharleygyrl
    January 14, 2010

    i don’t do cell phones, but thanks for the links.
    _______

    stuart, hahaha astroglide hahaha

  19. #19 David Marjanovi?
    January 14, 2010

    <evil, gleeful cackling>

  20. #20 DALwrites
    January 14, 2010

    Downloaded it last week after a search for “Atheism”.

    Pretty comprehensive as a quicj reference, and well worth the $1.99.

  21. #21 DALwrites
    January 14, 2010

    I meant 99 cents. Apparently I can’t spell either. Maybe I should stop posting until caffeine has entered my bloodstream…

  22. #22 martin.benson
    January 14, 2010

    “People need crib notes to address creationists? We’re doomed.” [#11]

    Well, speaking for myself, if I were arguing with a creationist, I would need the crib notes. I know a lot of the answers, but I don’t know ALL of them. And creationists only need to know the questions – that’s a lot easier to do.

    That’s why people like Duane Gish are so convincing – because their books and presentations SOUND convincing to most people.

    And yes – I’d like an Android version. Who do I contact?

  23. #23 MetzO'Magic
    January 14, 2010

    The more I think about it, that Amazon page *has* to be a hoax by one of their employees (or should I say, soon to be ex-employees).

    The ramifications of that page being real are too horrible to contemplate… aren’t they?

  24. #24 Derek
    January 14, 2010

    Well, I am an Android developer. It wouldn’t be hard to do a port, but the content is copyrighted. I’ll shoot an email to the owner of the page and see what I can find out.

  25. #25 Celtic_Evolution
    January 14, 2010

    The more I think about it, that Amazon page *has* to be a hoax by one of their employees (or should I say, soon to be ex-employees).

    The ramifications of that page being real are too horrible to contemplate… aren’t they?

    Well… I suppose it could be a holdover from “crackergate”, when all us baby-eating hethens were providing yah-wafers to PZ for desecration, then obviously greasing up for teh buttsecks.

    Makes sense…

  26. #26 Techskeptic
    January 14, 2010

    I almost made this exact app, but I was unsure of the copyright status of the talk origins data. Bravo!

  27. #27 Glen Davidson
    January 14, 2010

    Ah ha, if such an app had to be created, so did life.

    Can’t refute that, can you smarty atheist pants?

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  28. #28 seventoes
    January 14, 2010

    Hey there! I’m seventoes, author of the Creationist Claims Index for iPhone! What a surprise for me to wake up and read my RSS feeds only to see the one and only P.Z. Myers suggesting my app!

    If anyone has any comments, suggestions, complaints, etc, please please pleeaasseee email me at matt@insomniaaddict.com and I’ll get on it!

    I parsed down the web version of the index using some scripts so there’s bound to be errors and missing stuff from some of the entries. I checked out a couple of them but it’s too much info to check by hand, so if anyone sees any problems, email me!

    And here’s the link version to the app:
    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/creationist-claims-index/id340531927?mt=8

    Thanks for the feature P.Z., completely unexpected. Right now I’m averaging about 6-7 sales per day, I can’t wait to see what that number is tomorrow, you might have just bought a couple of my college books for me :D

    As for an Android port, I don’t have an android phone, and to be honest I’m not a big fan of Java, but I’ve been asked that more than one time… If I get enough people emailing me requesting an Android port I’ll look into it.

  29. #29 stptrck75
    January 14, 2010

    Annoying that it is not free.

  30. #30 metoo
    January 14, 2010

    “Annoying that it is not free.”

    It’s annoying that people think all software should be free. How is a developer supposed to make money if they give everything away for free?

    Maybe he should get his college for free, his housing, his food, etc., then he could give away all his software.

    Sorry about this rant, but everyone else doesn’t give away all their professional services for free.

  31. #31 aratina cage
    January 14, 2010

    Oh my Spam, Stuart! Too funny! Two-pack Astroglide personal lubricant crammed in between communion bread and annotated KJV reference Bible purchases. As if the image of sheeple eating dry stale crackers wasn’t detestable enough, now we have reason to wonder where the priest’s fingers have been before they are used to slip each cracker into the mouths of the unsuspecting flock.

  32. #32 Eamon Knight
    January 14, 2010

    It was only a matter of time. I recall back in the early 90’s, a few people on talk.origins kicking around the idea of a ‘bot (to be called the “Talk-O Parrot”) that would parse creationist posts for key phrases and post a standard followup from the FAQs. It was mostly in jest, meant as a comment on the shear repetitive predictability of creationist claims.

  33. #33 Sigmund
    January 14, 2010

    If this book came from Talkorigins how come there is still Talkorigins?
    Checkmate!

  34. #34 JBabs073
    January 14, 2010

    I was told BlackBerry!
    *shakes fist*
    I don’t see it in AppWorld…

  35. #35 Louis
    January 14, 2010

    Astroglide, the hardback Index to Creationist Claims, communion wafers? That was my basket…almost. They missed a couple of {ahem} items.

    I swear they were nothing to do with lesbians or bacon. Well, they may have had something to do with lesbians. Purely educational material you understand.

    And Sigmund #33 wins the thread.

    Louis

    P.S. I have the iPhone app. Laugh, I certainly did. It was highly amusing. I hope it turns out to be useful one day rather than simply taking up a (small) part of my phone’s memory.

  36. #36 Alverant
    January 14, 2010

    metoo who said anything about ALL software being free? Apple REQUIRES all apps be sold for money so the author couldn’t give it away for free if he or she chose to do so. Suppose the author felt this app is a public service and felt it should be free to everyone? Who is Apple to say otherwise?

  37. #37 pentheus.rex
    January 14, 2010

    I LOVE the index! I didn’t know there was a hardbound version. Maybe I’ll have to get that, since I am not getting any kind of handheld device any time soon. Engaging the off-topic line here, Yeah software should be paid for, but some types of software are priced in the insano range. I’m thinking certain famous graphics suites with prices that assume you’re a multi-million-dollar company, when most people that need it are freelance.

  38. #38 cag
    January 14, 2010

    While some of you were amused by the lubricant, to me the funniest part was the availability of used wafers! Yum, predigested for your convenience.

  39. #39 sudomabinusri
    January 14, 2010

    Apple REQUIRES all apps be sold for money …

    Where on earth did you get that idea? There are quite a number of free apps in the app store, I guess you’ve never actually been there.

  40. #40 withheld
    January 14, 2010

    Hmmm…

    *Make a bot with content from talkorigins.
    *Make a bot with content from creationwiki.
    *Turn them both loose on the never-ending thread.
    *See how long it takes for anyone to notice.

    If I had any time, it would be an interesting project. I wonder how long it would take for it to go circular.

  41. #41 triskelethecat
    January 14, 2010

    @Derek: as a Droid owner, I would love to have this app available and I’d be happy to pay the apparently small amount requested for it.
    @Seventoes: can’t email from work, or you’d get one from me. It will have to wait till I get home (yes, I can email from the droid, but reception in our building is wonky and I’ve had bits of textes lost too ealily).

  42. #42 The MetaSkeptic
    January 14, 2010

    Wow, this is…kind of offensive, actually. The skeptic’s movement should be promoting critical thinking and independent research. We need to teach people how to think and argue, not what to think and argue. If any clown can scroll to the appropriate claim and read off a stock answer, that’s missing the whole point. That’s not skepticism. That’s mindlessly rehearsing someone else’s argument–exactly what the creationists themselves do. If you can’t rebut a creationist argument, get your ass on a computer and read all the source material (for both sides) for yourself. Thorougly. And while you’re reading, don’t just look for convincing bits of information to throw back at your opponent: criticize and pick through it until you’ve found the most defensible position you possibly can–even if it’s not the one you want. Remember: true skepticism admits no dogma.

  43. #43 stevieinthecity
    January 14, 2010

    What??? Are you kidding? It’s not dogma. It’s tearing down creationist bullshit with science. It’s not dogma.

    Get a grip.

  44. #44 Celtic_Evolution
    January 14, 2010

    MetaSkeptic:

    You’re freakin kidding me, right?

    The skeptic’s movement should be promoting critical thinking and independent research.

    Thanks for speaking for the skeptic movement… the rest of us are damned appreciative. Now.. this app fails to do just that how, exactly?

    We need to teach people how to think and argue, not what to think and argue.

    Facts are facts, dude… and the facts here are many, just like the false arguments… are you going to fault everyone for not committing every argument and every fact that refutes it to memory? That’s a little harsh.

    Look… I was gonna go through the rest of that ridiculously inane post but here’s the point: this is a reference guide. I have a full mastery of the English language but I still have a dictionary and a thesaurus on my desk within arm’s reach. Is it dogmatic to just accept the dictionary’s definition of a word I can’t recall off the top of my head?

    Give me a break.

  45. #45 haroldoftwfame
    January 14, 2010

    Did he get permission for this app from the authors?

  46. #46 sexycelticlady
    January 14, 2010

    Purchased the app, thanks for the recommendation. I had occassion to use the index the other day when debating a creationist argument.

    Metaskeptic – I don’t see a reference guide as harming critical thinking. I am a scientist but I still use a reference manager database for all my references as I cannot remember every single one off the top of my head. Doesn’t mean I do not know my stuff or lose the ability to think. Additonally, not everyone has been debating these topics for years and it is a good place to get some information you may not have come across before. It is a tool. The function of the hand is not impaired by wielding a hammer to do the job thoroughly.

  47. #47 Benjamin Geiger
    January 14, 2010

    … what Celtic_Evolution said.

  48. #48 Jadehawk, OM
    January 14, 2010

    huh, this is probably the first good argument for finally getting a phone.

    or maybe not. I don’t actually get into meatspace arguments with creationists a lot. Maybe that’s because I don’t get out into meatspace a lot, hehe.

    Maybe he should get his college for free

    In a civilized country, he would (or at least nearly for free)

  49. #49 Stogoe
    January 14, 2010

    Right, that’s going on my list of must-have apps for when I scounge up enough money for an iPod Touch (this spring, I hope). So that makes…two apps, this one and Koi Pond.

  50. #50 Stogoe
    January 14, 2010

    And yes, I did totally mean to say “scounge”. Yep. Mmhmm. It’s a perfectly cromulent word, you know.

  51. #51 The MetaSkeptic
    January 14, 2010

    @Steveinthecity

    It’s telling how you say “it’s not dogma” twice in your very short response. If you repeat it enough, it might be true!

    @Celtic_Evolution

    Actually, I wish you would have gone on to refute the rest of my post, as I don’t think you’ve responded to my main concern.

    You argue that this is a reference guide, like a dictionary or thesaurus. Even at first glance, this is obviously not true. Unlike a dictionary, this guide has an obvious slant in favor of science and skepticism. It is not simply an unbiased report of the debates. That is NOT to say that such a guide can’t be useful: the author has done a good job of citing his sources and linking to appropriate websites for follow-up research. My concern is that the majority of people will use this tool in exactly the easiest way possible: click the appropriate link, rehearse the canned response, and be satisfied that they have put to rest yet another Stupid Creationist Argument.

    Isn’t that exactly what the creationists do? They hear an argument that sounds convincing, and they parrot it back to you during a debate–clearly without examining the whole context of the argument. That’s exactly the sort of non-thought that skepticism condemns! We should make every effort to avoid making the same mistake.

    Are you going to fault everyone for not committing every argument and every fact that refutes it to memory?

    My point is that you shouldn’t have to commit arguments to memory. You don’t have to memorize a response to a stupid claim like, “You’re fat, therefore you’re wrong.” If you haven’t given a matter sufficient thought, and you can’t offer a response in debate, back down. There’s nothing wrong with not knowing, as long as you make an effort to find out. It’s okay to tell a creationist, “I don’t know about that, let me read up on it.” That shows far more maturity and intelligence than quickly scanning your iPhone for an easy out.

    I believe this guide would be far more useful if it simply reported the debate, and provided relevant sources for independent research. That would show the true spirit of skepticism.

  52. #52 gr8hands
    January 14, 2010

    Celtic_Evolution, I am surprised that there are any words you don’t know in the English Language. I’ve always been impressed with your posts considered in toto.

    That being said, perhaps MetaSkeptic is trying to use preventive medicine to keep from having this reference guide morph into a perceived holy writ. That would be a failure.

    Not having looked at it, I would hope that it allows for updates to be made based on new/improved information.

    Stogoe, as Blackadder said, I’m anaspeptic, phrasmotic, even compunctious to have
    caused you such pericombobulation.

  53. #53 gr8hands
    January 14, 2010

    Sorry, The MetaSkeptic, but an “unbiased” report on the creationist points will always come down agreeing with the side of science and skepticism.

    Of course, if you have any evidence to offer to the contrary, we’d be willing to read it — just supply it.

  54. #54 Jadehawk, OM
    January 14, 2010

    “I don’t know about that, let me read up on it.” That shows far more maturity and intelligence than quickly scanning your iPhone for an easy out.

    and reading it up on your iPhone doesn’t count? that’s just stupid.

    Point being, NO ONE can research all relevant scientific topics that might come up in a Gish Gallop (especially when the gallop features the double-threat of Evolution Denial (which in itself spans virtually all of modern science, not just biology), and AGW denial); to believe a single person can make oneself truly informed on ALL those topics sounds like a special case of Dunning-Kruger. No one other than an expert in the relevant field would be able to answer the many questions/accusations of a creationist from a POV of actually really knowing the relevant science.

    So having a reference guide with answers that were researched by others is the only way to show a creationist that answers to their questions/accusations already exist. saying “i don’t know, and I don’t even know anyone who knows” is giving the creationist the impression that they’ve hit on something big that no one has an answer to.

  55. #55 Celtic_Evolution
    January 14, 2010

    Unlike a dictionary, this guide has an obvious slant in favor of science and skepticism.

    How does this not make it a reference guide? It’s a guide… to facts… about evolution… for reference… parsed in such a way as to allow for quick refutation to common creationist arguments. So what are you on about?

    It is not simply an unbiased report of the debates.

    It’s not a report of the debates at all, unbiased or otherwise… why are you presenting it this way? It’s a reference of scientific facts regarding evolution.

    My concern is that the majority of people will use this tool in exactly the easiest way possible: click the appropriate link, rehearse the canned response, and be satisfied that they have put to rest yet another Stupid Creationist Argument.

    Why is this your concern? Is it because you fear the people doing this might not have actually done ALL the research they would EVER need to do in order to have arrived at this information themselves? Look, unless you are a professional scientist in a field relevant to evolution, (a very small percentage of the population), you are not going to have that opportunity. So instead you can rely on source material for your information, as long as that source material is cited and referenced properly. Which as it happens, this is. I’m sorry but I am really having a hard time understanding what you could possibly find wrong in using this guide.

    Isn’t that exactly what the creationists do?

    No… not exactly. Look, if the creationists were parroting info from a reference guide that actually had cited and referenced data from peer-reviewed scientific research, wouldn’t have any problem with it whatsoever.

    You’re confusing the issue here… the problem isn’t that they might simply just be parroting talking points they got from some reference website or nook… it’s that the reference information itself is clearly unreliable. And anyone with any reasoning skills and knowledge of the scientific process can easily see that.

    The people likely to USE a reference guide like this one very likely already understand the scientific method and how science and reasoned logic work, in general. They would never simply accept a reference guide of unsupported, un-cited assertions and use it as any sort of a tool for arguing science.

    It’s okay to tell a creationist, “I don’t know about that, let me read up on it.”

    At which point I could then quickly pull out my fucking Counter-Creationism Handbook. Oh wait… that doesn’t count? Could you tell me what the proper materials might be and how long I must actually tend to reading said materials in order to be a True SkepticTM?

    That shows far more maturity and intelligence than quickly scanning your iPhone for an easy out.

    OK… I’m starting to understand the crux of your argument… Do you understand what a reference guide is? It’s something that one who already possesses a certain amount of understanding of a subject uses to augment the knowledge they already have.

    Honestly if a person with absolutely NO knowledge of evolution or science were to pick this guide up and start arguing creationists, I’d have a problem with it. But that’s really a stretch to think that’s the target audience here. The people that will use this guide already understand, in general, why evolution is true and why creationism is wrong. But they may need a reference guide to help them better articulate the specific facts, and have an intelligent discussion about it. How can that possibly be a bad thing?

    I believe this guide would be far more useful if it simply reported the debate, and provided relevant sources for independent research. That would show the true spirit of skepticism.

    No… then it would be a completely different guide with an altogether different purpose.

    Who the hell made you arbiter of skepticism?

    Your arguments here are simply… ridiculous.

    Wait… let me look at my thesaurus for a better word… fatuous… that’s better.

    Damn… I suppose I took the easy way out there.

  56. #56 sexycelticlady
    January 14, 2010

    Metaskeptic – Thing is, if you want to refute an argument against certain aspects of science you need to back up your claims with references. When I used it I went and checked each of the abstracts at the very least and read some of the papers, it saved me a lot of time compared to going and doing a pubmed search and having to check through a lot more than I needed to. It is a resource that groups relevent references together.

    The statement made on the first page clearly says what their intentions are.

    “This collection is intended primarily as a guidepost and introduction. The explanations are not in depth (with a few exceptions), but most responses include links, references, and sources for more information. These are not just added for show. Readers are strongly encouraged to pursue additional reliable sources. We hope that readers will put in the effort to gain enough understanding of the subject so that they will not just parrot the information here, but will be able to explain it to others. ”

    Some people may use it as you suggest. Other’s won’t. How do you know that people will use it the way you are guessing they will? Yet, because of a possibility that you have concieved of you find a resource “offensive”. Huh. Ok.

  57. #57 arensb
    January 14, 2010

    Does anyone know whether Mark Isaak sees any part of that $0.99? I didn’t see his name either in the iTunes store or on the developers’ web page.

  58. #58 david.utidjian
    January 14, 2010

    Doesn’t appear to be available for the BlackBerry yet. Bummer!

    -DU-

  59. #59 bswalsh
    January 14, 2010

    I agree with much of the spirit of Metaskeptic’s post though I think he may have been a bit… forceful in his assertion. However, I understand his frustration on a personal level as I have, quite literally, been standing next to him on several occasions at skeptical gatherings when someone has presented a dogmatic point of view that that person can’t actually support. Some skeptics have fallen into the trap of intellectual laziness, repeating arguments from those in authority without taking the time to understand them. Sometimes I think I may need to physically restrain Metaskeptic from figuratively eviscerating the poor guy who made the comment.

    As for the app, I love it. I often don’t have the recall to remember exactly what bit of nonsense the creationist in front of me is spouting. The app serves as an excellent reminder to fuel the rant I will no doubt be developing. There is, I suppose, a danger that some of us may use it as the single weapon in our arsenal instead of doing proper reading, and that would be a failure, but I don’t think the majority of us suffer from that affliction. I do agree that it is important that we don’t get lazy, there are often witnesses to these debates and our impression on the fence sitters needs to be one of solidity and authority. Being forced to admit we can’t support the argument we make due to a personal lack of understanding of the topic would be damaging to us.

    I’d like to see more reference guides of this type. One that would be particularly useful to me would be on the subject of conspiracy theories. There are far too many for me to read up on, and I’d like my response to be more useful than my default, “… what in the world are you talking about?”

  60. #60 alysonmiers
    January 14, 2010

    Can the app be programmed to speak out loud? It would save us a lot of energy if, when the creotard starts parroting “THERE ARE NO TRANSITIONAL FOSSILS” like a broken record, we can turn on the app to say “Just go to a museum and look at the fossils” until either the creationist gets tired or the phone’s battery runs out. Which do you think would happen first?

  61. #61 bswalsh
    January 14, 2010

    I agree with much of the spirit of Metaskeptic’s post though I think he may have been a bit… forceful in his assertion. However, I understand his frustration on a personal level as I have, quite literally, been standing next to him on several occasions at skeptical gatherings when someone has presented a dogmatic point of view that that person can’t actually support. Some skeptics have fallen into the trap of intellectual laziness, repeating arguments from those in authority without taking the time to understand them. Sometimes I think I may need to physically restrain Metaskeptic from figuratively eviscerating the poor guy who made the comment.

    As for the app, I love it. I often don’t have the recall to remember exactly what bit of nonsense the creationist in front of me is spouting. The app serves as an excellent reminder to fuel the rant I will no doubt be developing. There is, I suppose, a danger that some of us may use it as the single weapon in our arsenal instead of doing proper reading, and that would be a failure, but I don’t think the majority of us suffer from that affliction. I do agree that it is important that we don’t get lazy, there are often witnesses to these debates and our impression on the fence sitters needs to be one of solidity and authority. Being forced to admit we can’t support the argument we make due to a personal lack of understanding of the topic would be damaging to us.

    I’d like to see more reference guides of this type. One that would be particularly useful to me would be on the subject of conspiracy theories. There are far too many for me to read up on, and I’d like my response to be more useful than my default, “… what in the world are you talking about?”

  62. #62 bswalsh
    January 14, 2010

    Sorry about the double post. My iPhone burped.

  63. #63 Agi Hammerthief
    January 14, 2010

    just got it
    now has a place between Babble Reader and Origin

    why is this not in the Top App section yet?

  64. #64 neurotick9
    January 14, 2010

    Nope, not on the Blackberry, but after checking out the developers site I did not think there would be yet.

    I do not understand. If Apple “…REQUIRES all apps be sold for money…”, then why is my iPod touch filled with fee apps from dozens of developers??? Not that I’m against selling apps, I’m s developer too. We all gotta eat.

  65. #65 MikeTheInfidel
    January 14, 2010

    MetaSkeptic: Concern noted. Thanks for stopping by!

  66. #66 itsn8o
    January 14, 2010

    I’m another user who would love it on Android.
    Since Android actually has multitasking abilities it would be ideal, you could quickly change between it and the stupid-o-meter app when arguing with a creationist.

  67. #67 cp21yos
    January 15, 2010

    @Agi Hammerthief – for an app to reach the top in any list it must be brought more than others and rated higher and reviewed positively.

    If you think it’s a good app you should open the app store and do these things. If everyone who brought it (in this comment stream) did this it would properly rise rapidly and spread in a viral way. I’ve voted, it only takes a few seconds.

    Personally I don’t have time to learn all the facts, that’s why I’ve got it – that and my creationist mother-in-law. I have a life that revolves around my wife, 3 kids and making sure they grow up in an enlightened environment. One where they can make their own decision about the existence (or not) of a god, the toothfairy, Santa Claus and many other mythical entities. Doing this doesn’t leave time to memorise fact or do research just to argue with the nutter that lives in our street or my mother-in-law.

    Cheers

  68. #68 shonny
    January 15, 2010

    Still think my method is easier:
    Just don’t give the dumbfucks the time of the day!
    Too much hassle and too smelly to pull their heads out of their asses.

  69. #69 iambenswife
    January 15, 2010

    Shame it is not free though. I can use the free iPhone browser and get the same information from the website that the data comes from.

  70. #70 Derek
    January 15, 2010

    Re: An Android Port

    I sent an email to the address listed for Mark Isaak on the website…haven’t heard anything yet. If I did one for Android, it would probably be free (possibly with an ad or two thrown in to offset the development time). But I’m not going to do a port without consent from the copyright holders.

    It does seem a little disturbing that there is no attribution given to Isaak or any of the other editors on the iTunes listing for this app. As for whether or not the developers had permission from the copyright holders…I’ll let them field that one.

  71. #71 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnGcZ3_INW1aO_HIEuXUfZazATlPhT_SQw
    January 15, 2010

    “If you can’t rebut a creationist argument…”

    We don’t usually get that far. First, I ask them if they read their holey book* in the original language.

    Second, … oh wait, there is no second.

    * Virtually guaranteed to work with Christians. YMMV with Muslims. Any you might get caught out by Bar Mitzvah-certified Jews.

  72. #72 KOPD42
    January 15, 2010

    I have an iPod Touch. Does this work offline, or do you need a network connection? Not sure I’ll get it now as I lost my job last week, but maybe later if it’s more useful than just browsing to the website.

  73. #73 jmorgan1234533
    January 15, 2010

    The site links to a wiki with lots of entries that contain errors. Should keep Pharyngulites busy for a while.

    http://creationwiki.org/Main_Page

  74. #74 ConcernedJoe
    January 15, 2010

    Just to make sure I am not missing something ..

    I am sure ID/Creationists have not produced any original work that scientifically supports their grand positions let alone any work of that nature that has withstood community review and critique.

    But has any proponent (as a ID/Creationist) ever made a challenge to anything scientific that was actually sound and actually did/does falsify a mainstream hypothesis? I am talking any little thing they added value to the process on in modern times. Any?

  75. #75 Sigmund
    January 16, 2010

    “has any proponent (as a ID/Creationist) ever made a challenge to anything scientific that was actually sound and actually did/does falsify a mainstream hypothesis? I am talking any little thing they added value to the process on in modern times. Any?”

    If you mean the scientific mainstream then the answer is no.
    They do occasionally raise questions that are valid from the point of view of the level of understanding that is common amongst the public but not at the level of those who work with evolutionary biology. An example of this is the probability argument – a fully functioning protein or cell cannot form by chance – there has not been enough time on the Earth for it to happen. These are valid points but not a problem to scientific views of evolution since the current model suggests that evolution began with much simpler precursors than a protein or cell – most likely it was the chemical evolution of a polynucleotide similar to RNA. It was only much later that proteins and cells entered the picture, having evolved from the initial replicators. Of course the creationists completely ignore this model and the evidence that exists to support it.

  76. #76 darkghostfa
    January 16, 2010

    They need to make an android version. I don’t think there are any athiest apps on android =(

  77. #77 John Morales
    January 16, 2010

    darkghostfa, um.

    This is a counter-creationist (not an atheist) app.

  78. #78 darkghostfa
    January 16, 2010

    True indeed John, nonetheless it would be nice to see this app on android.

  79. #79 John Morales
    January 16, 2010

    darkghostfa, see #28. Can’t hurt to ask!

  80. #80 seventoes
    January 17, 2010

    Hey guys,

    At your suggestion, I got into contact with Mark Isaak. He said that he personally has no objection to the app, but all of the content appears in the Counter-Creationist Handbook, and the publishers (ABC-CLIO and University
    of California Press) have the copyright on the content.

    I have to take the app down while he contacts the publishers and sees what I can do. Hope you all got a copy!

    This is a disadvantage of iTunes in that I can’t explain to all the buyers what’s going on, but I hope you all understand.

  81. #81 Derek
    January 17, 2010

    I’ve also contacted Mark Isaak about the possibility of an Android version. As with the publishers of the iPhone version, he has said that he needs to check with the publishers. I’ll post here again when I hear something.

  82. #82 hanche.myopenid.com
    January 18, 2010

    The app seems to have been removed from the US iTunes store ? if it was ever there, which I assume. I guess the creationists must have found it offensive and complained to Apple?

  83. #83 hanche.myopenid.com
    January 18, 2010

    Re #82: I hadn’t noticed #80. Never mind.

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