Pharyngula

People keep asking me for books on evolution for their kids, and I have to keep telling them that there is a major gap in the library. We have lots of great books for adults, but most of the books for the younger set reduce evolution to stamp collecting: catalogs of dinosaurs, for instance. I just got a copy of a book that is one small step in filling that gap, titled Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll) by Daniel Loxton. It’s beautifully illustrated, and the organization of the book focuses on concepts (and misconceptions!) of evolution, explaining them in manageable bits of a page or two. The first half covers the basics of evolutionary theory — a little history of Darwin, the evidence for selection and speciation, short summaries of how selection works, that sort of thing. The second half covers common questions, such as how something as complex as an eye could have evolved, or where the transitional fossils are. The book is aimed at 8-13 year olds, and it’s kind of cute to see that most creationists could learn something from a book for 8 year olds.

I recommend it highly, but with one tiny reservation. The author couldn’t resist the common temptation to toss in something about religion at the end, and he gives the wrong answer: it’s the standard pablum, and he claims that “Science as a whole has nothing to say about religion.” Of course it can. We can confidently say that nearly all religions are definitely wrong, if for no other reason than that they contradict each other. We also have a multitude of religions that make claims about the world that are contradicted by the evidence. It’s only two paragraphs, and I sympathize with the sad fact that speaking the truth on this matter — that science says your religion is false — is likely to get the book excluded from school libraries everywhere, but it would have been better to leave it out than to perpetuate this silly myth.

Don’t worry about it, though — take the kids aside and explain to them that that bit of the book is wrong, which is also a good lesson to teach, that you should examine everything critically, even good pro-science books.

Say, did you know that Darwin Day is coming up soon? Maybe you should order a copy fast for the kids in your life!

Comments

  1. #1 IanM
    February 9, 2010

    Science may have nothing to say about religion but scientists do.

  2. #2 martin weiss
    February 9, 2010

    One book for young children is Joanna Cole’s EVOLUTION The Story of How Life Developed on Earth, illustrated by Aliki (Harper Trophy). It is unfortunately out of print. It is in the Let’s Read and Find Out Book Series and is often for sale on the web at anywhere from $00.99 to a few dollars. It is one of the few books, now, that was written for 4-8 year old. There probably is too much detail for the average 4 – 8 year old (but a parent or teacher can help) but the text and illustrations are very good. It is dated as far as the most recent finding of human evolution (written in 1987) but it gets the principles of evolution right. It starts with fossils; to William Smith; and then how the fossil layers tells us about how life developed on Earth and it makes an important point about descent. It points out it is hard to imagine one type evolving into another type of animal. A dog cannot become a cat or a fish a frog but over millions of years a whole new kind of animal or plant can develop from an earlier kind. If only for this this book is worth it.

    Martin

  3. #3 Antiochus Epiphanes
    February 9, 2010

    We can confidently say that nearly all religions are definitely wrong, if for no other reason than that they contradict each other.

    This is a logical refutation, and as such doesn’t require the scientific method.

    We also have a multitude of religions that make claims about the world that are contradicted by the evidence.

    This on the other hand demonstrates a scientific approach.

  4. #4 djleahy
    February 9, 2010

    “Two men say they’re Jesus one of ‘em must be wrong.”

    However, they don’t have to be both wrong. They are, of course, but they don’t have to be.

    So I would say “we know that most religions must be wrong.”

  5. #5 Glen Davidson
    February 9, 2010

    I hope that it makes a point of the fact that the evidence for smaller scale change (“microevolution” with different meanings for different creationists) is of the same kind as that for larger scale changes (ambiguously “macroevolution”), and that there is no apparent line between the two.

    It’s what demonstrates that all creationists have to deny the sort of evidence they sometimes accept, in order to deny the evolution that they dislike.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  6. #6 Glen Davidson
    February 9, 2010

    and that there is no apparent line between the two.

    Although there is a kind of line between scientific macroevolution and microevolution, which, unfortunately for creationists, rarely coincides with the line they’d like to draw.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  7. #7 bfish
    February 9, 2010

    My daughter and I have been enjoying two books by Hannah Bonner: “When Fish Got Feet, Sharks Got Teeth, and Bugs Began to Swarm: A Cartoon Prehistory of Life Long Before Dinosaurs” and “When Bugs Were Big, Plants Were Strange, and Tetrapods Stalked the Earth: A Cartoon Prehistory of Life before Dinosaurs.” Looking forward to seeing the Daniel Loxton book in my local bookstore.

  8. #8 https://me.yahoo.com/a/SaqGVG0xvJEQVwURVamS3DTCdvov0BLhXK1jOsYPPJQ-#b4893
    February 9, 2010

    I don’t really care that religions contradict one another; I expect that. More important to me is that I’ve yet to find a religion that doesn’t contradict itself.

    Internal inconsistency is a huge issue.

    By the way, we were relieved in Sac last week when Fred Phelps and his gang of haters couldn’t get out of Topeka. There was a great article in last week’s Bee about a kid who attends CK McClatchy (CKM) high school and how he raised $900 in two days to organize a tolerance day at CKM. I’m proud to say that I know that kid.

    He’s getting plenty of public support for his actions.

    Phelps got snowed in. So how’s that God thing working out for ya, Fred? Good “teaching moment” for my kids, too. “Why would you want to spend an eternity with a deity who has an infinite capacity to hate?”. “When will this deity decide to turn on the souls He let into Heaven?”.

    MikeM

  9. #9 Carlie
    February 9, 2010

    My child and I will be celebrating Darwin Day by going to the opening night for The Lightning Thief, a movie about how it’s the Greek gods who are the real ones, dumbasses. Not quite topical, but does potentially inspire questions in children regarding comparative religion and whether any of them have any evidence.

  10. #10 JackC
    February 9, 2010

    And while you are explaining that the last bit in the book is wrong, also take the time to tell them that some of the books for Adults can be wrong too – such as a few bits in “The Greatest Show on Earth” which I was rightly taken to task for quoting – and that happen to be quite astoundingly incorrect.

    Don’t Trust Anything!

    JC

  11. #11 https://me.yahoo.com/a/DgiEGD9kscDJEdF9A.79OTdYGt3M006DmA--#6c479
    February 9, 2010

    Thanks so much for this, PZ. My 9-year old is a huge science fan, but has gotten his knowledge sporadically through discovery tv and various Japanese kids science shows. I haven’t seen any good kids science books for his age group, though. And his elementary science teacher is impossible — he’s had to correct her on basic facts several times (not even religiously inspired foolishness, just basic ignorance).

    Incidentally, he did once look at the Bible, while he was bored at a piano recital. He asked what it was, and I opened it up to Genesis and gave it to him without saying a word. After a few minutes reading, he said, “That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.” and put it down.

    I was so proud.

  12. #12 Tulse
    February 9, 2010

    So I would say “we know that most religions must be wrong.”

    PZ said: “We can confidently say that nearly all religions are definitely wrong” — is that formulation substantially different from your?

  13. #13 matt.yarbrough
    February 9, 2010

    I’ve been reading Loxton’s book with my six year old and she gets the overarching concepts quite easily. Granted she’s a very smart kid, but I don’t think parents should steer clear of it just because their kids aren’t 8 yet.

  14. #14 Tony Jolley
    February 9, 2010

    martin weiss: One book for young children is Joanna Cole’s EVOLUTION The Story of How Life Developed on Earth

    I actually bought that book for my 4-year-old son. We’re also buying some of those books for our super-religious next-door-neighbors’ son.

    My wife was stunned when our neighbors’ kid asked something to the effect of “how does God get the groceries to the store?”

  15. #15 professordendy
    February 9, 2010

    You guys are obviously impaired… you only choose to believe what other people tell you… you are like a bunch of sheep… baa, baa, baa!

  16. #16 tsg
    February 9, 2010

    However, they don’t have to be both wrong. They are, of course, but they don’t have to be.

    So I would say “we know that most religions must be wrong.”

    He did say “nearly all”. But I prefer Christopher Hitchen’s approach: they can’t all be right, so the most reasonable conclusion is that they are all wrong.

  17. #17 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2010

    You guys are obviously impaired.

    Sorry Dandy, that is you. Lights on, nobody home.

    you only choose to believe what other people tell you.

    You can change our beliefs with scientific evidence. Unfortunately for you, the scientific evidence says evolution occurred and is still, and will, occurring. But then, you and evidence are not friends. You can’t even show conclusive physical evidence for your imaginary deity. What a loser.

    you are like a bunch of sheep… baa, baa, baa!

    Dandy, you get it backwards as usual. You and your fellow delusional fools who believe in imaginary deities and fictional/mythical holy books without conclusive evidence are the sheep. You baaing is not pleasant.

  18. #18 JBlilie
    February 9, 2010

    I can highly recommend Our Family Tree, An Evolution Story.

    This is a small children’s book about evolution giving an accurate if extremely reduced story of our origins from single-celled life. No mention of religion. Basically accurate. Nice artwork.

    Our little guy loves it and understands what it means. He understands much about evolution through it. We talk to him frequently about biology (he?s extremely interested in marine fauna and birds). He can recognize more birds both by sight and by their call than almost any adult I know. He has ammonite and trilobite fossils. We track animals in the snow near our home. We show him bird nests, etc.

    He’s always asking questions ? We have told him about religion (?stories that people like to tell themselves about magic men in the sky? ?You have to be careful, some people get very angry if you don?t believe in their magic.?) He?s a bit puzzled; but he gets it, I think (he?s only 5). We mostly are trying to stop him from offending people until he’s old enough to understand the signs and consequences himself.

  19. #19 IanM
    February 9, 2010

    To say “Most religions are wrong,” is a far ,ore generous formulation than that of religionists who declare “All religions are wrong, except mine.”

  20. #20 JBlilie
    February 9, 2010

    I should say that Our Family Tree, An Evolution Story does not go into the mechanism of evolution, just the fact of change through time. When he asks questions, I give him accurate answers and ask if that makes sense and explain or simplify as needed.

  21. #21 JBlilie
    February 9, 2010

    You guys are obviously impaired… you only choose to believe what other people tell you… you are like a bunch of sheep… baa, baa, baa!

    Hypocrisy meter pegged and steaming …

  22. #22 JBlilie
    February 9, 2010

    @11:

    Incidentally, he did once look at the Bible, while he was bored at a piano recital. He asked what it was, and I opened it up to Genesis and gave it to him without saying a word. After a few minutes reading, he said, “That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.” and put it down.

    I was so proud.

    Rock on son of [html tag I can't understand]! Rightly proud.

  23. #23 Tulse
    February 9, 2010

    You guys are obviously impaired… you only choose to believe what other people tell you… you are like a bunch of sheep… baa, baa, baa!

    My God, you’re right! How could I have been so blind?! The scales have fallen from my eye due to your use of clever argumentation and irrefutable evidence!

  24. #24 blf
    February 9, 2010

    Hypocrisy meter pegged and steaming …

    Ah, you’re got one of those new-fangled meter gizmos. I’m still using the much older U-tube filled with the plaid-patterned liquid and a dead mouse on a string units… I estimate from the speed at which the mouse took off and the size of the hole it made in my roof that it’s probably passing the moon right heading for deep space.

    Now I need to get a new dead mouse, some more string, clean up the plaid splots, and reassemble the unit. Bummers!

  25. #25 erpease
    February 9, 2010

    Our area had Darwin Day last weekend (year number 15 for local celebrations, it claims to be the longest established Darwin Day celebration in the world). Low key due to the Super Bowl with a series of talks from undergraduates, graduates, professors, one biorap group, and the keynote from John van Whye who is responsible for the Darwin Online project. He spoke on myths about Charles Darwin (and not just the myths held by some religious people). Well worth it.

  26. #26 vanharris
    February 9, 2010

    Prof Dandy,

    …you only choose to believe what other people tell you …

    Yeah, it’s so much better to believe what it says in an old book, even if it is the redacted interpretations from one language into others of selected myths of Bronze Age Mesopotamian goat-herding nomads.

  27. #27 JB
    February 9, 2010

    Robert Winston’s Evolution Revolution. Marketed as age 7+. I thought it was completely spot-on. Two strong examples (horse and elephant). Lots of detail on Darwin, his life, way of working etc. Alternative ideas of the origins of species – creation myths and other hypotheses treated with the respect they deserve. I came away thinking it was the best DK science book I had read (never been that impressed before) and possibly the best science book for young children. My daughter kept asking for it for days until it had to go back to the library.

  28. #28 mothra
    February 9, 2010

    Here in Fargo, Eugenia Scott will be speaking at NDSU. The biology department has planned a series of events for both Feb. 11 and 12.

    @professordendy:
    imapired
    obviously impaired
    guys are obviously impaired
    You guys are obviously impaired.
    You are obviously impaired.

    Isn’t evolution grand.

  29. #29 Ted Powell
    February 9, 2010

    There’s an evolving person over at My Sister’s Farmhouse. Most recent article, CDW Writes Better 10 Commandments Than God and It Wasn?t Even Hard.

    There’s a sprinkling of readers who aren’t happy that she’s no longer a true believer; e.g. “I don?t think you fully understand the Bible. You would of[sic] understood the Ten Commandments if you read the Bible with an open, loving, accepting heart.” Several commenters on this and other recent articles have felt the need to state that they won’t be coming there any more. It brings to mind the most recent Jesus and Mo (“block”).

  30. #30 jloxton
    February 9, 2010

    I am Dan’s brother, a PhD paleotology student and part-time lecturer at Dalhousie University. I thought it might be helpful to provide Dan?s text regarding religion. In its entirety, he says:

    ?What about religion?

    This is a question people often ask when wondering about evolution. They want to connect the discoveries of science to their religious understanding.

    Unfortunately, this isn?t something science can help with. Individual scientists may have personal opinions about religious matters, but science as a whole has nothing to say about religion.

    Science is our most reliable method for sorting out how the natural world functions, but it can?t tell us what those discoveries mean in a spiritual sense. Your family, friends and community leaders are the best people to ask about religious questions.?

    As a teacher of evolution, I think this passage is both true and hugely important for a book of this sort. (I respectfully disagree with PZ here.)

    I personally think it is meaningless nonsense to assert that God inserted a soul into a Hominid at some point in our evolution, but science genuinely has nothing to say about this claim. If Catholics choose to maintain this as a way of incorporating evolution into their theology, they?re more than welcome to. So long as they get their paleoanthropology right, I don?t care. I can?t see why any science educator should.

    Two facts inform my approach to education (and, I think, Dan?s): 1) the belief that evolution is fundamentally incompatible with religion is the single greatest reason why people do not accept evolution, but despite this, 2) the majority of people who accept evolution are religious in some sense of the word.

    Clearly if you want to hit the demographic in (1), it makes no sense de-emphasize (2) (or to deride (2) as misguided).

    Science education and secularization are both laudable goals, but they are not the same goal. Science–and education in general–*are* statistically corrosive to religion, but evolution is perfectly compatible with many religious formulations. Heck, it even deepens religious/spiritual conviction in some.

    As an science educator (and atheist) this is all I need to know to uncouple my educational approach.

  31. #31 https://me.yahoo.com/a/DgiEGD9kscDJEdF9A.79OTdYGt3M006DmA--#6c479
    February 9, 2010

    professordendy brayed:

    You guys are obviously impaired… you only choose to believe what other people tell you… you are like a bunch of sheep… baa, baa, baa!

    Well, I did have the option of inventing my own hypothesis on how all animals came to be. I was going with aliens and silly putty for a while.

    Belief, though, is indeed a lot more difficult without evidence.

    So yes, I’m impaired in believing things when the evidence comports so well to something other people have said and not very well to much else. Saying we’re like sheep because we follow the evidence is like criticizing the sheep who go to the grassy fields to eat, and admiring the sheep who stray to the desert for grass.

  32. #32 ungodlyfossil
    February 9, 2010

    Can this book be any good? Ben Stein said, that Evolution does not explain how the Universe came to be or the laws of Thermodynamics. So, the Theory must be faulty. And hey, it’s only a Theory after all, which is not supported by evidence. And Ben Stein made a Movie, so he knows what he’s talking about, right?

    Sorry, could not resist. :)

    In germany, there is a translated version of Douglas Palmers “Evolution: The Story of Life” available, which, in my opinion, is also good for Kids around 12-14 yrs.
    And of course it got a bad rating from one creationists, because there “is no evidence supporting the theory.”

    Creationists…. It seems they never get tired.

  33. #33 Etruscan
    February 9, 2010

    When I was a child, my parents bought me “Giants of Land, Sea & Air: Past and Present” by David Peters when we visited Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado. The book was brilliant! It’s 70+ pages of pictures of diverse (and large) animals from history.

    No, it doesn’t really explain evolution, and if you wanted it to do that then you’ll need to look elsewhere. It does, however, provide some extremely entertaining visuals for young children, and makes them think about the age and diversity of life. I remember returning to the book many times to look at the pictures, which were accompanied by short descriptions.

  34. #34 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 9, 2010

    jloxton are you suggesting we frame the argument better?

  35. #35 Rincewind'smuse
    February 9, 2010

    You guys are obviously impaired… you only choose to believe what other people tell you… you are like a bunch of sheep… baa, baa, baa!

    Thank you for the representative Xtian response;measured, informed,insightful. In fact the only evidence I’ve been able to find that may contradict the idea of evolution via natural selection…might be people exactly like you.(This means I think you’re ignorant to the point of possible self extinction,in case you were wondering).

  36. #36 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 9, 2010

    You guys are obviously impaired… you only choose to believe what other people tell you… you are like a bunch of sheep… baa, baa, baa!

    A religious moron claiming those who rely on empiricism are sheep?

    My irony meter just went thermonuclear. Stand back!

  37. #37 JB
    February 9, 2010

    I think Professordendy’s gone. Don’t worry, I’ll clear up the mess – recycle the electronics responsibly, compost the dead mouse, bottle the apoplexy etc. If he comes back, just tell him there’s a burning goat behind him – that’ll scare him off.

  38. #38 Kel, OM
    February 9, 2010

    If I ever have kids, this book will be one I’ll look to get. Loxton sold me on his appearance on SGU – even if he did get the evolution question on Science Or Fiction? wrong ;)

  39. #39 irenedelse
    February 9, 2010

    The author couldn’t resist the common temptation to toss in something about religion at the end, and he gives the wrong answer: it’s the standard pablum, and he claims that “Science as a whole has nothing to say about religion.”

    My hypothesis: it’s the publisher who wanted a bland, reassuring, statement about how science wasn’t a threat to religion… Because they don’t want to frighten off religionist parents! Not to mention schoolboards and library officials.

  40. #40 cancilla
    February 9, 2010

    Secular Homeschooling magazine had an article a few issues ago that reviewed a bunch of books about Darwin and evolution for kids. She points out when religion gets in the way of science. An excerpt from the article is here:

    http://www.secular-homeschooling.com/007/darwin_books.html

  41. #41 Prince of Dorkness
    February 9, 2010

    “Two men say they’re Jesus one of ‘em must be wrong.”

    However, they don’t have to be both wrong. They are, of course, but they don’t have to be.

    Actually, it should really be:

    “Two men say they’re Jesus – at least one of ‘em must be wrong (and they almost certainly both are).”

  42. #42 professordendy
    February 9, 2010

    Looking for some good books on evolution? Darwin’s Black Box is an excellent choice or What Darwin Didn’t Know or check out these brief articles “We Can Certainly Thank God for Evolution” or “Atheists want evidence.

  43. #43 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2010

    Looking for some good books on evolution?

    We already have some. Your inane duhgestions are propaganda by the illiterate and unscientific godbots. And you know it. Failure by a loser. Where is the conclusive physical evidence for your imaginary deity? Without that deity, your babble is nothing but fiction/myth. And you know it. Loser point two. Dandy, when are you going to wake up and see reality? Never from the looks of it. Take your delusions elsewhere. We aren’t interested in sharing yours.

  44. #44 Prince of Dorkness
    February 9, 2010

    @42: Good books, I’d say, for a camping trip. Especially useful if you run out of fire starters or toilet paper.

  45. #45 colonel cocoa
    February 9, 2010

    The genocidal maniac of the old testament, sometimes referred to as god, is not a very good role model for children or adults. The female birth canal is not a one way street. I for one am quite pleased that virgin births never occured. What fun would tht be?

  46. #46 professordendy
    February 9, 2010

    Oh I left out the most important one… Genes…is!

  47. #47 tsg
    February 9, 2010

    Dendy the blogwhore quoting his own articles as if they aren’t the same, sad, tired and repeatedly debunked creationists claims. How unsurprising….

    Dendy, you’re beyond an idiot. You’re a bore.

  48. #48 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2010

    Oh I left out the most important one… Genes…is!

    No, the important part you left out, just like the loser you are, is the citations to the peer reviewed scientific literature showing that you are right. Come on Dandy, you are supposed to be a scientist. No citations? What a loser. And still no evidence for your imaginary deity. Still a loser.

  49. #49 Prince of Dorkness
    February 9, 2010

    @46: reminds me that the pen…is mightier than the sword

  50. #50 https://me.yahoo.com/a/DgiEGD9kscDJEdF9A.79OTdYGt3M006DmA--#6c479
    February 9, 2010

    Prince of Dorkness,

    I disagree. You can’t wipe crap with crap, nor can I recommend starting a fire with it. Maybe if you’re interested in fertilizer, putting those books/articles in the ground to rot might be worthwhile.

    JBlilie, thank you, and from now on I’ll sign as I appear on the religionclause blog. I’ve read Pharyngula for a long time but was unable to log in previously, and it appears this odd method is the only option that works for me.

    ~~ Lex Aequitas

  51. #51 Prince of Dorkness
    February 9, 2010

    @50: I shit sit stand corrected.

  52. #52 timshel88
    February 9, 2010

    Lots of great books! As a museum educator I am always looking for good books on evolution for the younger set. I do love When Bugs were Big, Plants were Strange and Tetrapods stalked the earth and When Fish got Feet Sharks got Teeth and Bugs began to Swarm by Hannah Bonner. Besides–the second one mentions Tiktaalik!

    One I didn’t see mentioned was Life on Earth The Story of Evolution by Steve Jenkins. He has written a lot of books for the younger elementary set on adaptations and this is his take on the evolution story.

  53. #53 professordendy
    February 9, 2010

    Hey Nerd… I certainly hope you feel much better now… seems your only way of holding yourself up is to try and devalue others. Doesn’t bother me… your blither blather…

  54. #54 David Marjanovi?
    February 9, 2010

    there is a kind of line between scientific macroevolution and microevolution

    What is it?

    “When Bugs Were Big, Plants Were Strange, and Tetrapods Stalked the Earth: A Cartoon Prehistory of Life before Dinosaurs.”

    <wince>

    Tetrapods ? limbed vertebrates ? are still stalking the Earth. Us, for example.

    You guys are obviously impaired… you only choose to believe what other people tell you…

    No, I am one of those people who tell others. I’m a PhD student in paleobiology; and because I’ve also studied some molecular biology (equivalent of Bachelor), I’ve seen evolution happen with my own eyes, overnight, in a petri dish.

    There are plenty of professional scientists who comment on this blog, o Professor. Stop making a fool of yourself by building arguments on ridiculous assumptions.

    Darwin’s Black Box and all that nonsense has been discussed here at length. In the top left corner of this page, there’s a search engine. Have fun. You might learn something.

  55. #55 Prince of Dorkness
    February 9, 2010

    @50 redux… Also I don’t really advocate the burning of books, no matter how dumb. They may prove to be educational – to historians, when they look back at us, and books like that will show them just how f*cked up a so-called advanced society once was.

  56. #56 aratina cage of the OM
    February 9, 2010

    A troll feels devalued? Waaaahhh!! Somebody call the whambulance! We better all go and read his silly little posts to calm Dendypoo’s hurt feewings.

  57. #57 Prince of Dorkness
    February 9, 2010

    Hey Nerd… I certainly hope you feel much better now… seems your only way of holding yourself up is to try and devalue others. Doesn’t bother me… your blither blather…

    Having read just a small portion of the rabid spew on your blog… pot, kettle, black?

  58. #58 amphiox
    February 9, 2010

    Tetrapods ? limbed vertebrates ? are still stalking the Earth. Us, for example.

    I think he must be referring to the Tribulation, when hexapods (angels, demons, and dragons) take over.

    Or something.

  59. #59 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2010

    your blither blather…

    I love your self analysis perfesser. Still no evidence for your imaginary deity. And you claim to be in an evidence based profession. What does ell-oh-ess-ee-are spell?

  60. #60 tsg
    February 9, 2010

    seems your only way of holding yourself up is to try and devalue others.

    That would require the “other” in question to have value in the first place. Simply pointing out the “other”, in fact, doesn’t, isn’t the same thing.

  61. #61 JB
    February 9, 2010

    #56
    Don’t bother – a summary:

    Calling all liberals, athiests, abortionists, Darwinists – you’re all wrong and I’m right cos I say so.
    .
    .
    Hello…
    .
    .
    HELLO…
    .
    .
    Is there anyone listening?

  62. #62 professordendy
    February 9, 2010

    Twit Aratina… I didn’t say I was devalued… See you guys are all the same! I said it didn’t bother me… so you interpret that as I didn’t say what I meant… just like all of you and your misinterpretations and psuedo-evidence.

  63. #63 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2010

    Dandy, you can get me off you back by either presenting the equivalent of the eternally burning bush to science, so it can be determined conclusively that your imaginary deity isn’t imaginary. Or, you could use that body of knowledge and evidence called the peer reviewed scientific literature to back up your points. See, I’m easy. Just show me the conclusive evidence, not blather…

  64. #64 aratina cage of the OM
    February 9, 2010

    Whoo boy! Dendy, you are grumpy today. Need your diapers changed no doubt. According to JB, you have nothing but crap (as usual). *sigh*

  65. #65 co
    February 9, 2010

    Good, Dendy. Give me

    1) your evidence;
    2) your interpretations.

    Also, who are “you guys”?

  66. #66 WowbaggerOM
    February 9, 2010

    I’ve killfiled dendy to avoid his inane, poorly written drivel – he has a serious mental disorder, by the way – but for those expecting him to present an argument, don’t bother; he doesn’t have anything to say.

  67. #67 Berny G
    February 9, 2010

    I wrote the following on Dendy’s blog pages but he’ll probably delete it, intellectual coward that he is, so I thought I would repost it here. It was an answer to his rant on atheists wanting evidence of god.
    Sorry to disagree but the Bible has no evidence and the gospels are not eyewitness accounts. Every Biblical scholar worth his salt says they were written from 60 to 100 years following the death of Jesus, and not by the authors claimed. At best they are hearsay. What they have to say wouldn?t be admissible in any court of law in the land, why should I give them any credibility? Check out the four different versions of the resurrection just for a start.
    As to the matter of your god?s name, the last time I read the Bible it was YHWH/Yahweh/Jehovah. Lord and god are titles, not names.
    Your main objection to evolution isn?t the science, you are woefully ignorant of it, it is that it differs from the account of creation in Genesis. My problem with the account of Genesis is that it is bullshit piled high and deep.

  68. #68 professordendy
    February 9, 2010

    Nerd… you aren’t on my back… if you were I think, I would feel it… on second thought maybe you are, because nothing on my back would be just that… nothing!

    I am afraid what you have to say Nerd, in your mysterious little cave, where no one sees your face or knows not who you are or what you are or what you do or where you live carries NO weight with me!

    You are probably just some poor mommy affection deprived kid who is confused about his gender so he is wearing his mommy’s panties and trying to play grownup hiding behind a computer… and says the same thing over and over… “mommy, why don’t you love me… I am just different.”

  69. #69 Peter H
    February 9, 2010

    Pseudo-science and pseudo-evidence, so long as they’re recognized for what they are (and what they are not), is at least a tiny step above dendy’s fits of distemper.

  70. #70 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2010

    but for those expecting him to present an argument, don’t bother; he doesn’t have anything to say.

    Right, but sometimes at Pharyngula you have to play to the new readers six months from now. They will have conclusive evidence of Dandy’s incompetence and cowardice. Now, if he just barely hard enough smarts to go and stay away…

  71. #71 professordendy
    February 9, 2010

    Oh that does work Nerd… I feel so much better having devalued you!

    Not quite!

    Who is the delusional one!

  72. #72 strange gods before me, OM
    February 9, 2010

    Creation
    White Christian nation
    Freedom isn’t free

  73. #73 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2010

    Ah Dandy, still the idjit troll without evidence. Whereas the evidence of your incompetence is present upthread. Your failure to provide evidence. What a loser. Still no evidence for your imaginary deity, which makes your babble a work of myth/fiction. Welcome to science Dandy.

  74. #74 mookiemu
    February 9, 2010

    Sadly, if the book is geared toward 8-13 year olds, it’s probably too advanced to give to the average creationist :(

    On the other hand, I’ll be getting one for my 4 year old daughter.

  75. #75 Jadehawk, OM
    February 9, 2010

    and here we have dendy-troll performing an excellent example of an ad hominem, because he’s utterly incapable of actually providing a counterargument to Nerd’s demands for evidence. Or, you know, actually providing some.

  76. #76 Thebear
    February 9, 2010

    I’d like som new trolls please. The troll de jour is starting to smell a wee bit stale…

  77. #77 IanM
    February 9, 2010

    And what pray tell dear Dendy is wrong with evidence from a Christian perspective? When Thomas expressed doubt at Jesus’ resurrection did Jesus smite him? Did Jesus rebuke him? Was Thomas cast out of the company of Jesus’ apostles? NO. Jesus showed him the wounds from his crucifixion, the moral of the story being that evidence is not anathema to Christianity.

  78. #78 WowbaggerOM
    February 9, 2010

    I see ‘professor’ dendy has posted a few more times – has he managed to come up with any arguments yet or is he just repeating the same unfunny insults?

  79. #79 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2010

    has he managed to come up with any arguments yet or is he just repeating the same unfunny insults?

    The latter. Wowbagger, if you are still reading Heddle, let me know if he ever analyzes his religion with his scientific mind. The religious mind spewing religious thought–ugh…Killfile.

  80. #80 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 9, 2010

    Old fuckface, does Nerd play Internet Tough Guy? Yes, he does. But he has demonstrated that in his field, he knows what he is talking about. Nerd,like the mant scientists that are on this blog, knows how the process of science works. While some of his post do get repetitive, they are not meant for the regulars. They are for the specific person that he is addressing.

    And guess what, you shit stain on the panties of life. You have not provided any reason why anyone should heed your words. You have came to this blog tossing lies left and right.(None that you accounted for when confronted with the facts.) You have shown no knowledge in what is supposed to be your field. All you do is engage in name calling and then crow about the uptick in hits at your blog when you play your game of shit throwing.

    I wish I could show surprise that you made up that crap about Nerd but I cannot not. You have made up a worse story about Chimpy and me.

    Old fuckface, if you have proof that evolution is not true, get it peer reviewed and get it published in a science journal. You will be a hero for a certain segment of the population, have the grudging respect of biologists everywhere and become wealthy. Name calling on a blog is not the route.

    Or do you have nothing and know it? You you feel lost and alone if no one comments about you?

  81. #81 PZ Myers
    February 9, 2010

    I wish I could use a killfile.

    I do wonder why Professor Dendy couldn’t be bothered to crush me with his logic and wisdom when I gave several talks in the Sacramento area.

  82. #82 tractrix
    February 9, 2010

    I got a nice book by Kristan Lawson for my kids called Darwin and Evolution for Kids: His Life and Ideas.

  83. #83 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2010

    I do wonder why Professor Dendy couldn’t be bothered to crush me with his logic and wisdom when I gave several talks in the Sacramento area.

    I have an idea, but it involves the Pullet Patrol? acting as bodyguards on your tour…

  84. #84 Castellan
    February 9, 2010

    It seems that from his blog bio that Professor Dendy suffers from Wilson Disease:

    http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000785.htm.

    Symptoms include neurotic behaviour and psychosis.

    The poor chap can’t help it.

  85. #85 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 9, 2010

    I do wonder why Professor Dendy couldn’t be bothered to crush me with his logic and wisdom when I gave several talks in the Sacramento area.

    Because he knows he has nothing. The only reason why old fuckface posts here is to try to get enough irate readers to follow into his tarpit. He admitted to that last week.

  86. #86 WowbaggerOM
    February 9, 2010

    PZ wrote:

    I wish I could use a killfile

    Well, you’ve got (what I hope is) a button marked ‘smite’ – what’s keeping you from using it on dendy? Inspidity, wanking, blogwhoring – he’s guilty of all three.

    I don’t think you’ll find anyone who’ll object to his absence.

  87. #87 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 9, 2010

    I don’t think you’ll find anyone who’ll object to his absence.

    Fuckosaurus is around to stand up for the rights of people like old fuckface. They are the ones who raises the best people.

    ‘Gags on her own sarcasm and bile.’

  88. #88 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2010

    I don’t think you’ll find anyone who’ll object to his absence.

    Actually, I find Frankosaurus much more obnoxious than poor old idjit Dandy. Not to say Dandy isn’t on my Survivor Pharyngula list…

  89. #89 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 9, 2010

    Nerd, I am not sure what it says that we both thought of the same troll in response to that statement.

  90. #90 Antiochus Epiphanes
    February 9, 2010

    In light of #84, it may be kind to dungeon poor old Dendy. A mercy of sorts. This guy might be horribly embarrassed by these deranged outbursts when he comes full-fledged to his senses.

    I say that having come to the defense of previous dungeon inhabitants such as the Lion IRC.

  91. #91 WowbaggerOM
    February 9, 2010

    At least frankosaurus engages; those who wish to bother with him have something to work with – logical fallacies and so forth. Dendy, on the other hand, brings nothing whatsoever to the table. It’s the whole ‘playing chess with a pigeon’ situation.

    The difference is significant.

  92. #92 professordendy
    February 9, 2010

    Well PZ… I was in the hospital at U.C. Davis during the time you were in the Sacramento area… and as for my silence here and on my blogs over the past few days, I have been preaching God’s Word up in Oregon…

  93. #93 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 9, 2010

    Wowbagger, I was just commenting and snarking on your statement that no will object. Strangely enough, I do have more respect for Fuckosaurus then for old fuckface. While both are liars, the lizard does try to address why he lies, even if he is incompetent about it. Old fuckface is just fishing for site hits.

  94. #94 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2010

    Nerd, I am not sure what it says that we both thought of the same troll in response to that statement.

    I would think all it says, when it comes to distaste of trolls, our preferences for the banhammer might coincide on occasion.

  95. #95 professordendy
    February 9, 2010

    This is dedicated to you Janine… “Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” Romans 5:20

  96. #96 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2010

    Poor Dandy, quoting his mythical babble like it means anything. After all, no evidence has been forthcoming that the babble is anything other than myth/fiction, just like Dandy’s deity. What a loser…

  97. #97 kmwork
    February 9, 2010

    PZ, you’re making me crazy! How can you talk about children’s books on evolution without mentioning the Charlie’s Playhouse library!? There *are* great kids’ books about evolution, and we list and review about 90 of them, for all ages. Downloadable bibliography available here, Pharyngula readers:

    http://www.charliesplayhouse.com/childrens-books.php

    While I disagree that there is a “major gap in the library,” I do think we need more of these sorts of books — hooray for Loxton! — and they should be easier to access. If parents and librarians know about them, we’ll generate more demand. From Kate at Charlie’s Playhouse, feeling petulant.

  98. #98 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 9, 2010

    Old fuckface is tossing scripture at me. Sir, I am mortally wounded! I draw breath no more!

    Do you have any other bits of debris to toss my way. It also says a lot that you respond to what I said at #80 with that non sequitur. You never respond to what is said to you. And given your track record of lying, there is no reason to believe what you said in #92.

  99. #99 Tigger_the_Wing
    February 9, 2010

    I am so proud of my youngest son. He was handed a creationist leaflet a little while ago. He told me that, when he got to the part about ‘no transitional fossils’ he nearly rolled on the ground laughing. “Mum,” he told me, “There are MILLIONS of transitional fossils – they are ALL transitional! Are they being deliberately stupid?”

    Oh, and Dandy – you did NOT ‘devalue’ Nerd; you did, however, give us an unwanted peek into the sicker recesses of your mind. I’m glad I don’t have such fantasies about other people on the internet?

  100. #100 Joffan
    February 9, 2010

    why professordendy couldn’t be bothered to crush me with his logic

    … for the same reason trees rarely enter sprint races.

  101. #101 WowbaggerOM
    February 9, 2010

    Strangely enough, I do have more respect for Fuckosaurus then for old fuckface. While both are liars, the lizard does try to address why he lies, even if he is incompetent about it. Old fuckface is just fishing for site hits.

    Exactly. Hence the latter needing a hit with the banhammer.

  102. #102 creating trons
    February 9, 2010

    I don’t believe he was in the hospital. Well, maybe an insane asylum…

    I wish I had a way to confirm his lie.

  103. #103 martha
    February 9, 2010

    What is a good book on evolution for adults who are not educated in the sciences? Law school did not prepare me to argue the case evolution vs. creationism.

  104. #104 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 9, 2010

    Martha, the three books that people point at are The Greatest Show On Earth, Your Inner Fish and Why Evolution Is True. All three are meant for a general audience and are very readable.

  105. #105 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2010

    Martha, with Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution is True, or Richard Dawkins’ Greatest Show on Earth.

  106. #106 Jim Lippard
    February 9, 2010

    #30: If science has nothing to say about religion, that means science can’t study religion. That’s clearly false.

  107. #107 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2010

    Dang, Janine mentioned Your Inner Fish. *Raises libation in tribute.*

  108. #108 creating trons
    February 9, 2010

    Martha, I’m almost done with The Greatest Show On Earth. I re-read the paragraphs as I go, not because I don’t understand but because what Dawkins exposes is so interesting and surprising. I’m sure you’ll like it.

  109. #109 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 9, 2010

    Nerd, that was my favorite of the three.

  110. #110 scooterKPFT
    February 9, 2010

    Oh yeah, evolution and stuff, has anyone posted this yet?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alSY62eKPCo&feature=channel

    I love the ‘end school zone’ gag

  111. #111 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2010

    Double Dang, link to Shubin’s Inner Fish.

  112. #112 scooterKPFT
    February 9, 2010

    you only choose to believe what other people tell you… you are like a bunch of sheep… baa, baa, baa!

    My sheep go moo

  113. #113 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2010

    Janine, the Redhead is using our copy of Shubin for reading material for her opera train trips into the city at the moment. Needless to say, she finds him very interesting (with Arte Johnson in his Laugh In accent) And I envy PZ since he got to see the actual fossil…

  114. #114 Azzimmov
    February 9, 2010

    I do believe that I read an Interview with Richard Dawkins or maybe it was a television interview where he stated that he was working on a children’s book on evolution. I can’t recall any details tho. This was some time ago, tho after the release of the greatest show on earth.

  115. #115 stevieinthecity
    February 9, 2010

    Dendy thinks Ann Coulter should be president. What kind of asshat claims to be a Marine Biologist and is a creationist?

    As Rahm says…

    http://www.hulu.com/watch/126490/saturday-night-live-rahm-emanuel

  116. #116 Suck Poppet
    February 9, 2010

    Prof Deludey:

    Well PZ…
    I was in the hospital at U.C. Davis during the time you were in the Sacramento area…
    and as for my silence here and on my blogs over the past few days, I have been preaching God’s Word up in Oregon…

    Oh ffs, the quality of the trolls has really deteriorated in here lately.

    …. oh, and what did Oregon do to deserve this horrible fate ?

  117. #117 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Lao Daung Duen
    February 9, 2010

    Did the guy who takes God as his shepherd really call us sheeps?

  118. #118 mothra
    February 9, 2010

    Dendry:
    ” I was in the hospital at U.C. Davis during the time you were in the Sacramento area. . .”

    Such a hypocrite, why did you not just PRAY instead of using the science you so despise. I know, when the chips are down, you were scared and ran from your beliefs. Looks like another win for science.

  119. #119 Insightful Ape
    February 9, 2010

    This is dedicated to you, professor troll:
    “And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.” – Judges 1:19

  120. #120 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2010

    because they had chariots of ironscientific evidence.” – Judges 1:19

    Maybe your will understand that Dandy…

  121. #121 IanM
    February 9, 2010

    preaching God’s Word up in Oregon…
    Funny thing is I can quite easily imagine him on a street corner in Eugene as he harangues passersby who in their steer a wide berth round the guy with a megaphone and tinfoil hat, blaring out such pearls of wisdom as, “You guys are obviously impaired… you only choose to believe what other people tell you… you are like a bunch of sheep… baa, baa, baa!

  122. #122 IanM
    February 9, 2010

    Sorry. I got distracted by Alex Trebek while writing that.

  123. #123 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 9, 2010

    Well PZ… I was in the hospital at U.C. Davis during the time you were in the Sacramento area… and as for my silence here and on my blogs over the past few days, I have been preaching God’s Word up in Oregon having a massive attack of public diarrhea of the mouth.

    Fixed. You incredible moron with the most over inflated sense of self worth I’ve come across recently.

  124. #124 professordendy
    February 9, 2010

    Mothra… why do you call me a hypocrite… you have NO idea who I am or what I did when I was in the hospital. I did pray and I did seek my doctors’ advice (Oh, Mothra doctors’ is plural possessive) That means the advice of two or more doctors!
    BTW, of the three cardiac specialists that I saw, all three were believers, we had some great dialogue about the Good Book and Yahweh… you see, they are plenty of doctors/scientists that believe in my “delusional deity” as gnat refers to Him!

    Imagine that… UC Davis folks believing a God… wow, I bet that’s tough for you guys to swallow!

  125. #125 professordendy
    February 9, 2010

    I am worth plenty BDC… don’t you feel better now that you said all those nasty things about me…

  126. #126 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2010

    Yawn, Dandy, you never addressed the evidence. Still no evidence for your imaginary deity or babble. Still the evidenceless loser. Why you bother even posting is beyond the ken of any sane man…

  127. #127 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2010

    Dandy, no intellect, no evidence, not authority. Nothing. Zip. Nada. Zilch. Blather blither city….

  128. #128 professordendy
    February 9, 2010

    You guys are almost as fun to play as a fiddle! You certainly are easier to play than a fiddle… much, much easier!

    My guess is none of you even know that there is a distinct difference between a fiddle and a violin!

    {quick Pharyngulites… google it, so you can think you’re smart!}

  129. #129 Insightful Ape
    February 9, 2010

    Troll, your ilk always show a great zeal for argument from authority. But I should caution you, it turn sour on you real fast.

    “The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses”.

    http://www.slate.com/id/2193557/pagenum/all/#page_start

    There, one for your anecdote.

  130. #130 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2010

    My guess is none of you even know that there is a distinct difference between a fiddle and a violin!

    Of course we do. In the hands of a concert violinist, it is a violin. In the hands of a backwoods idjit delusional fool like you it is a fiddle. Still no evidence for your imaginary deity Dandy. That makes you a real delusional fool and loser. Keep up the good work. You keep proving me right every time you post.

  131. #131 professordendy
    February 9, 2010

    You are quite wrong gnat! The difference is in the shape of the bridge… but you can believe what you want, whether it’s true or not…

  132. #132 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2010

    Don’t worry Dandy, you are an evidenceless fool, who can’t prove his deity exists and his babble isn’t a work of fiction. Keep trying. As I said, every post without proving your deity and babble shows you are a delusional fool. Maybe in fifty years or so you might be able to even spell Yahweh…

  133. #133 stevieinthecity
    February 9, 2010

    He’s

    Not

    Even

    Entertaining

  134. #134 Insightful Ape
    February 9, 2010

    So what say you troll? Can you imagine an EINSTEIN not believing in your god?
    Wow!

  135. #135 professordendy
    February 9, 2010

    I have given all the evidence I need that God exists… that Jesus was crucified and seen by many after he was resurrected… Those are recorded accounts that you can deny and claim are only “stories”… and you will never convince me that my God is not with me!

    I pity those that do not recognize Him!

  136. #136 IanM
    February 9, 2010

    I took the Dendy challenge and googled “difference between a violin and a fiddle.” because I had always assumed that the difference was in the style of music played on the instrument in question rather than in the instrument itself. Perhaps Dendy had some great and clever insight which I had missed. Alas, the troll has trampled all over me in getting me to google his nonsense. In light of which I feel compelled to channel more of his Sermon from the Streetcorners of Eugene: “The Lord is MY shepherd. You sheep, get your own fucking shepherd!“

  137. #137 Nick
    February 9, 2010

    ‘I pity those that do not recognize Him!’

    I think I saw him the other day, though the false nose and glasses made it a bit tricky.

  138. #138 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2010

    I have given all the evidence I need that God exists..

    There is no evidence that you imaginary deity exists, and you certainly haven’t presented it here. Like the loser you are.

    that Jesus was crucified and seen by many after he was resurrected.

    The historical record says Jebus was a myth. And all evidence for the resurrection was written more than forty years after the fact. Anther lie by the loser.

    and you will never convince me that my God is not with me!

    I’m not trying to get you to deny your imaginary deity, just to stop you for pestering us with your lack of evidence and pretensions that you are right without said evidence. What a loser.

    I pity those that do not recognize Him!

    We pity those who believe in imaginary deities, as they are evidenceless losers.

    Want to play some more loser?

  139. #139 WowbaggerOM
    February 9, 2010

    Any evidence from ‘professor’ dendy yet? Or just baseless assertions and (failed) attempts at humour?

  140. #140 Insightful Ape
    February 9, 2010

    Troll, I have given all the evidence I need that the Flying Spaghetti Monster exists. That His Noodliness created us when He was drunk. That vibes with the reality of our poor built that you can deny and claim is only a “spoof”. You will never convince me His Noodliness is not with me!
    I pity those who will spend the eternity with stale beer and diseased strippers!

  141. #141 strange gods before me, OM
    February 9, 2010

    Of the top five sets of people that Dendy hates, I’m guessing that, in descending order, he hates:

    women
    queers
    atheists
    non-whites
    himself

  142. #142 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 9, 2010

    Old fuckface, you have not shown us anything that any of us heard thousands of time already. As for the historical fact of Jesus, try reading some Hector Avalos or other modern biblical scholars. Also love how you think that your little hairball is more important than the lies you have told about yourself. And I ask everybody, do not follow his links to his site. He is only here to lure people to his site. He is not worth it. Let him babble to his big sky daddy by himself.

  143. #143 professordendy
    February 9, 2010

    Left a little dropping for nerd, janine, and of course, the brilliant rev. bdc on Life is grand

  144. #144 aratina cage of the OM
    February 9, 2010

    I have given all the evidence I need that God exists… that Jesus was crucified and seen by many after he was resurrected…

    The more I think about this, the funnier it becomes. Dendypoo’s all-powerful god was actually executed by humans and that is a point of pride. LOL Not much of a god was he? (And that doesn’t count as evidence of Jebus’s existence only as evidence of the story.)

  145. #145 professordendy
    February 9, 2010

    Oh now come on Janine… don’t you know it is just soooo tempting to see what little tidbit I left with you in mind?

  146. #146 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 9, 2010

    Fuck yourself. I am not your little lap dog, eager to run where you point.

  147. #147 professordendy
    February 9, 2010

    why is everybody gettin’ there panties all in a bunch… except for janine… didn’t mean to upset the bull dyke… I guess she is either going commando or wearing boxers… lol

  148. #148 WowbaggerOM
    February 9, 2010

    Is ‘professor’ dendy blogwhoring again? A pity he’s not capable of presenting his arguments here.

  149. #149 professordendy
    February 9, 2010

    their not there

  150. #150 Haley
    February 9, 2010

    This week at least, I really want to be an elementary school teacher. I’m especially interested in the whole Big History movement, a synthesis of all the scientific knowledge we have at this point of history from the Big Bang to today. I’d love to write a series of children’s books about all we have been able to learn about our history from cosmology, geology, biology, anthropology, and recent human history. Its a tragedy that we still have YECs who deny the entirety of our massive body of knowledge. The truth is so much more marvelous than the tiny myth they cling to.

  151. #151 Sven DiMilo
    February 9, 2010

    dendy, I don’t even tolerate that kind of bullshit blog-whoring from friends.

    Fuck off.

  152. #152 eb0137
    February 9, 2010

    Does anyone else think dendy only has one hand on the keyboard right now?

  153. #153 IanM
    February 9, 2010

    Something Dendy’s too ashamed to post here. I’m guessing it falls short of proof, and probably steams.

  154. #154 aratina cage of the OM
    February 9, 2010

    didn’t mean to upset the bull dyke

    We are all aware of your raging homophobia and bigotry. No need to broadcast it any longer with all the rest of your stench, gasbag.

  155. #155 Insightful Ape
    February 9, 2010

    Actually, aratina, that is precisely the point muslims raise in rejection of christianity: a god that could have been harmed by his own creation is no god at all.
    That, and the absurdity of god coming in a 3-in-1 package, of course.

  156. #156 PZ Myers
    February 9, 2010

    Professor Dendy is in the dungeon now.

  157. #157 Insightful Ape
    February 9, 2010

    Thanks PZ! Long overdue.

  158. #158 F
    February 9, 2010

    Dendy, all you leave anywhere are droppings.

  159. #159 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 9, 2010

    Please continue, I want to see the real you in all of your rancid glory. If you are one of god’s favoroite, I have no need or desire for your god.

  160. #160 WowbaggerOM
    February 9, 2010

    PZ wrote:

    Professor Dendy is in the dungeon now.

    Huzzah! That scumbag had no redeeming features beyond informing (or reminding) readers that holding a belief in Christianity does precisely nothing to amend vast amounts of intellectual/personal vacuity.

  161. #161 F
    February 9, 2010

    I, for one, shan’t complain.

    It will make reading comments of actual interest that much easier.

  162. #162 IanM
    February 9, 2010

    The truth is so much more marvelous than the tiny myth they cling to.
    That was the problem St. Augustine had with Genesis. It made God too accessible, not nearly large enough a concept. It cheapened and diminished the idea of a deity that was supposedly omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, and eternal.

  163. #163 eb0137
    February 9, 2010

    Now that dendy is flushed, back to the subject of the thread. I have three children, and they love the cd/dvd “Here Comes Science” by They Might Be Giants. PZ mentioned it a while back and I would recommend it to anyone with kids eight and under.

  164. #164 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 9, 2010

    PZ brought the banhammer down during my last round of composing. Is there anyone who is surprised by the banning. I pointed old fuckface towards the definition of wanking last week. He now has his story of how he bravely stood up to the evil godless horde.

  165. #165 aratina cage of the OM
    February 9, 2010

    Insightful Ape, thanks for the information. I did not know that (or remember that at least) even though I’ve had lengthy (and fun but not too in-depth) discussions about Islam with a friend who was a practicing Muslim. But I wasn’t an atheist then, more of a post-Christian, wavering believer in the supernatural (I identified as an atheist about six years later).

    Also, I’m glad Dendy the brain-addled bigot is down in the dungeon.

  166. #166 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 9, 2010

    Thanks PZ, that was one dumb troll.

  167. #167 IanM
    February 9, 2010

    again my bad. I meant to say “that was the problem St. Augustine had with literal interpretations of Genesis.”

  168. #168 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 9, 2010

    Da perfesser stopped being amusing days ago.

    Comment by professordendy blocked. [unkill]?[show comment]

  169. #169 Desert Son, OM
    February 9, 2010

    Hi, professordendy,

    Imagine that… UC Davis folks believing a God… wow, I bet that’s tough for you guys to swallow!

    No particular need to imagine it, and it’s not particularly tough to swallow.

    My father is a retired surgeon, and he’s a very devoted believer in a god (it may or may not be the god you believe in; with so many divisions in religious belief, it’s hard to know that one person’s god concept is the same as another person’s god concept. Incidentally, as a forewarning, I often mistakenly locate apostrophes in my writing, which tendency I call out ahead of time to save you the trouble should you deem accuracy in possessive punctuation important to the evaluation of my post).

    I’ve met plenty of other physicians, in various branches of medicine who profess beliefs in various gods (the OBGYN who helped deliver me is a practicing Jew; my pediatrician was a believing member of the church my family attended a long time ago; an old and very dear friend of my father’s, now deceased, was both pathologist and believer in a god; an oral and maxillofacial surgeon of my acquaintance gave me a bible as a graduation gift many years past).

    There are physicians who are devout believers in Vishnu, Shiva, Krishna, and a host of other deities too numerous to list with efficient purpose here; there are physicians who follow tenets of various shades of Buddhism (both the philosophical aspects – such as vegetarianism in some systems – and the “spiritual” aspects); there are physicians also affiliated with Zoroastrianism, Confucianism, Shintoism, Wiccan, Ba’hai, Islam, Judaism, to say nothing of the disparate and frequently conflicting systems attributed to faith in the unsubstantiated resurrection of a possible rabbi/craftman’s son allegedly executed in the Roman Imperial Levant: Coptic, Lutheranism (Missouri Synod, Wisconsin Evangelical Synod, Upsala Synod . . . you get the idea), Shakers (don’t meet many of those anymore), Calvinists (paging heddle, paging heddle . . . heddle to the white courtesy phone), Anabaptists (not to be confused with Baptists, Southern or otherwise), Amish, Mormon, Cathars and Albigensians (talk about memberships you don’t meet much anymore!), Catholicism and its twin sibling Orthodoxy (both of those particular affiliations claim title to the One True Apostolic Church, which has apparently been the source of some measure of dispute for a number of years . . . ).

    Once more to the main point: it is not a particular challenge to imagine diversity of belief in those who practice science and the disciplines with which it connects. No more than it is difficult to imagine lack of belief in many representatives who practice science, as well. No more than it is difficult to imagine diversity of support for sports teams among those who consider themselves all residents of a given nation (or even city). All of which is to say that believers among scientists is neither novel, nor remarkable.

    I have given all the evidence I need that God exists… that Jesus was crucified and seen by many after he was resurrected… Those are recorded accounts that you can deny and claim are only “stories”…

    I perceive in your assertion a difference in what constitutes evidence. Anecdote, as you have cited, and as I have cited earlier in this post with the particular catalog of physicians I know who also believe in various deities, is often thought to represent evidence. It’s even true that anecdote can be useful, for example in hopes of generating emotional response in an audience; I do this all the time when I try and recount stories I hope friends and family will find humorous, in hopes of both validating myself psychologically through social approval from loved ones, and also in hopes of sharing with loved ones some account I hope will enhance their own psychological enjoyment.

    Evidence, however, as science understands it, constitutes the accrual of data subject to observation and analysis as well as independent verification and peer review. It’s not enough for me to say I saw an executed rabbi recover from asphyxiation, shock, and fatal blood loss, later rising up into the sky and disappearing. It’s not even enough for eleven to fifteen others to see similar circumstances and report it to a larger group of people organized around social and philosophical principles. If simple numbers of people claiming to see something were enough, the evidence for interplanetary spacecraft bearing alien life would far outstrip that for the divinity of Eshua, son of Josef, purported resident of Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and other locales in the Roman Imperial Levant.

    and you will never convince me that my God is not with me!

    No, indeed! I would go so far as to say not even god can convince you that god is not with you. Convincing is a personal psychological process. All we can do here is provide evidence, citations for peer reviewed science, commentary, logical argumentation, anecdote where a useful supplement, and encouragement to continue to use your brain to engage with and understand your experience; tools, in other words. One of the great things about Pharyngula is that we can do these things in all sorts of ways: variety is the spice of life, as is oft quoted, and any one of us might, at any given time, jeer or cheer with equal enthusiasm. The richness of the experience at this forum is excellent.

    I pity those that do not recognize Him!

    It’s interesting to note that, should you encounter many of the Hindus, Zoroastrians, Muslims, Seikhs, Shintoists, Jews, and any number of other adherents of various faiths I mentioned earlier, you might find similar pity directed at you, for failing to recognize what is so obviously (and evident, don’t you know ;) ) the one to whom recognition is rightfully due. Perhaps that will help you understand a little bit more about why we who do not believe in gods . . . do not believe in gods (though I do admit my own presumption that you do wish to understand that, and it may be that I am very much mistaken).

    didn’t mean to upset the bull dyke

    Ah, and only now have I reached this section of the comments. I’m curious, professordendy, have you met Janine personally? I only ask because my understanding (significantly limited though it is) is that “bull dyke” is a specific term employed to denote certain stereotypical characteristics in lesbian populations. It is also a term that may be used by lesbians (of any number of diverse and dynamic characteristics) themselves as a form of empowering identification, in stark contrast to those who use it derisively. It seems that, juxtaposing as you do the “bull dyke” label with the intentional statement of “didn’t mean to upset,” such structure is readily construed as derisive. If so, may I suggest you also look into production of a perfume, the high-end varities of which I understand to be very expensive and may prove lucrative. You could call yours, “Disingenuous,” by professordendy.

    As usual, I have gone on far too long, and with thanks if any have read all that I have typed. I’m off to prepare some dinner.

    Still learning,

    Robert

  170. #170 'Tis Himself, OM
    February 9, 2010

    PZ brought the banhammer down during my last round of composing.

    Mine too. I’d read all the posts in the thread but didn’t refresh before I posted #168, so I missed the banination.

  171. #171 Desert Son, OM
    February 9, 2010

    Professor Dendy is in the dungeon now.

    One of the keys to good posting, is timing . . .

    lol

    Still learning,

    Robert

  172. #172 Insightful Ape
    February 9, 2010

    From the “professor”‘s blog:

    “What?s ironic is the writings of Darwin include the word ?Creator? but when that little tidbit is mentioned the atheists/evolutionists suffer from selective hearing or should I say selective ?reading.?”

    I just wonder why creationists have to be so dishonest all the time. Any mention of the word “creator” not being present in the first edition of the Origins, or it also being present in the works of deists like Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine, or Darwin telling us in his own words that he was agnostic?
    Gosh.

  173. #173 WowbaggerOM
    February 9, 2010

    I have given all the evidence I need that God exists… that Jesus was crucified and seen by many after he was resurrected… Those are recorded accounts that you can deny and claim are only “stories”…

    Dendy wrote that? What an idiot. Jesus genuinely performing the miracles as described in the bible and coming back to life after being crucified and interred means one thing and one thing only: that Jesus possessed magic powers.

    It says nothing about whence came the magic. Why do Christians think they get to assume that he was telling the truth about their god?

  174. #174 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    February 9, 2010

    It says nothing about whence came the magic. Why do Christians think they get to assume that he was telling the truth about their god?

    Where else would you get magic?

    Besides from fucking Satan. Or signing a contract with him. Where else do Christians say you get magic from…

  175. #175 Peter H
    February 9, 2010

    @ IamM #77

    The “evidence” offered Thomas was not fully consistent with the known details of a Roman crucifixion.

  176. #176 strange gods before me, OM
    February 9, 2010

    One of the keys to good posting, is timing . . .

    I think there’s a very good chance Dendy still read your comment, Robert. It’s likely that he is reading this thread and looking for his name to come up.

  177. #177 Ben in Texas
    February 9, 2010

    Desert Son, great post.

  178. #178 WowbaggerOM
    February 9, 2010

    Where else would you get magic?

    I’ve got no idea, and that’s kind of the point.

    Christians saying ‘Christ did this; ergo he must have been the son of our god’ is bullshit, because it assumes that, if magic existed, their god could be its only source.

    To respond to ‘I don’t know’ with ‘then it must have been our god’ is just god-of-the-gaps.

  179. #179 Desert Son, OM
    February 9, 2010

    I think there’s a very good chance Dendy still read your comment, Robert.

    Fair enough. Still, my slow typing gives me the occasional chuckle. =D

    Still learning,

    Robert

  180. #180 Rey Fox
    February 9, 2010

    One of the best things about having Janine around is how she always seems to bring out the raving misogynist woman-hating homophobe in all these trolls. They really can’t stand women who live outside their little box.

    “Those are recorded accounts that you can deny and claim are only “stories”

    So they’re true because somebody wrote them down. Gotcha.

    You know, scientists write a LOT of things down.

  181. #181 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    February 9, 2010

    Janine @87 said:

    ‘Gags on her own sarcasm and bile.’

    I know this is late, but dear, if you’re really eager for a gag of some sort…

  182. #182 Smoggy Batzrubble OM4Jesus
    February 9, 2010

    Dear Brother Professor Dendy,

    As a fellow Christian, I just want to praise Jesus’ holy name for allowing you to be sent to the Pharyngulean dungeon for His sake. Verily, I believe you represent the true definition of a brave martyr and prayer warrior for Christ. The way you show up on the comments threads of demonic atheist blogs to taunt and torment the unbelievers will forever stand in my mind as the definitive paradigm of Christian witness. Enough of this namby-pamby, God loves you, He wants you to be with Him in paradise, give your heart to Jesus and your sins will be forgiven, shit, hey Prof? You’re the man who strips away the bombast of saccharine Christianity to give us God’s essential message (i.e. “Fear Me and Grovel or I will Fuck You Up for Eternity!”).

    We don’t need the cheerful, non-threatening obesity of the Gospels, do we Prof? Let’s strip away the lard and bouncy bonhomie of happy-clappy Charismania and get down to the unchanging skeleton of the Biblical message: “I the Lord Your God, created you. And now I see that that creation is utterly munted, and so I’m going to punish you for it.” It’s a Bible of Hate, isn’t it Professor Deadly? And when it comes to Biblical hating you, PTL, are one of its chief exponents.

    Like you, Prophessor, I can’t wait until God deals to the 99% of the world’s population that don’t meet our rigorous standards for salvation. I also can’t wait until they have to suffer fire, brimstone and eternal re-runs of Touched by an Angel. In the meantime, I hope you will find some happiness languishing in the Pharyngulean dungeon with all God’s other prayer warriors and exemplary witnesses. It might cheer you to know that, like you, many of the mighty men of God thus imprisoned are secretly homosexual, and that they too act out their self-loathing and repressions by vilifying those with the courage to be true to themselves. At least you won’t be lonely. Even better, PZ’s dungeon is a dark and labyrinthine place (a physical manifestation of your own tormented soul, I venture to suggest) with lots of steamy alcoves and plenty of soap to drop. The Godly teabagging and ‘speak in tongues up my ass’ parties should see you right at home.

    Yours in Christurbation

    Smoggy

    PS Oh dear, I don’t think your martyrdom is appreciated in the right places. Jesus just spoke to me, asking me to extend his apologies, but he won’t be popping in to visit you in jail. He says that you and your ilk have done more to disprove his message than an entire phalanx of atheist attack dogs, and that if he’d run into you in the temple back in the day he’d have damned you to the inferno for being the moneychangers’ chief bum-boy. He hopes, cordially, that one day you get split up the seams by a demon with a whanger the size of Texas. To which I can only say, AMEN!

  183. #183 strange gods before me, OM
    February 9, 2010

    God’s essential message (i.e. “Fear Me and Grovel or I will Fuck You Up for Eternity!”)

    Rawr! I’ll be remembering that on my deathbed.

  184. #184 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 9, 2010

    The combination of stupidity, a lack of clever comments all the while thinking they were clever and being boring, well worth the dungeon.

  185. #185 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Lao Daung Duen
    February 10, 2010

    Dumb troll got banned? To busy dealing with “pro-lifers” at TWO to have noticed.

  186. #186 tsg
    February 10, 2010

    Bye Dendy. You won’t be missed.

    No doubt you’ll claim victory in your masturbatory exercise of a blog.

  187. #187 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Lao Daung Duen
    February 10, 2010

    No doubt you’ll claim victory in your masturbatory exercise of a blog.

    His own stupidity is a victory to him. Remember, if you criticize him or give him repercussions for being dumb, you’ve oppressed him.

  188. #188 redliterocket4
    February 10, 2010

    jloxton @ 30 writes:

    Two facts inform my approach to education (and, I think, Dan?s): 1) the belief that evolution is fundamentally incompatible with religion is the single greatest reason why people do not accept evolution, but despite this, 2) the majority of people who accept evolution are religious in some sense of the word.
    Clearly if you want to hit the demographic in (1), it makes no sense de-emphasize (2) (or to deride (2) as misguided).
    Science education and secularization are both laudable goals, but they are not the same goal. Science–and education in general–*are* statistically corrosive to religion, but evolution is perfectly compatible with many religious formulations. Heck, it even deepens religious/spiritual conviction in some.
    As an science educator (and atheist) this is all I need to know to uncouple my educational approach.

    This has got to be the most reasonable thing I’ve ever read on Pharyngula.

  189. #189 Hey! Get This . . .
    February 10, 2010

    What a sad example – professordendy trying to score gotcha points with “there is a distinct difference between a fiddle and a violin”.

    That ‘distinct’ difference is what some sources describe as a “very slightly flattened” bridge. That is a similar difference to choices of string (wire, wrapped, etc.), which are also merely matters of degree. For what it’s worth (the experiential fallacy), I am actually a violinist/fiddler.

    professordendy wants to polish his own orb, not reach any understanding of others. He is receiving appropriate treatment here for his voluntary presence.

    Too bad it can’t always be otherwise:[http://heygetthis.wordpress.com/2010/01/29/the-curbstone-critic-2nd-edition]

  190. #190 frankosaurus
    February 10, 2010

    “Science as a whole has nothing to say about religion.”

    And when does Science actually “say” something anyway? Aside from the obvious literalism that science doesn’t physically talk, science is not the thing that itself makes assertions about the world or anything. My understanding is that “science” refers both to a method of verifying hypothesis and to the stock of knowledge that has yet to be unconfirmed by the method set out. Science then never does the talking “about” beliefs that don’t accord with it, but rather the implications, deductions, and inferences from science do (for example, saying that it is impossible for water to change to wine says nothing about religion. It takes logic to state that something can’t be both true and untrue, not science). In which case, the sentence is true.

    alternatively, “religion” refers to organization and practices, as opposed to “doctrine” or “theology” which makes claims about the nature of things. Religion is just a form of social organization. Science is also remarkably silent about the Idaho Tea Society.

    So in both cases, “science” has nothing to say about religion. However, there is hope. To say that science has nothing to say about x is really to say something about x, namely that x is something over which science is silent. So science must have then at least one thing to say about x.

    lawyered

    p.s. What is “Science as a whole” anyway? As opposed to Science as a bit? What’s that?

  191. #191 John Morales
    February 10, 2010

    F:

    And when does Science actually “say” something anyway?

    When “the stock of knowledge that has yet to be unconfirmed by the method set out” (as you put it) is referenced.

    p.s. What is “Science as a whole” anyway? As opposed to Science as a bit? What’s that?

    Anthropology would represent “Science as a bit”; it does have stuff to say about religion.

  192. #192 redliterocket4
    February 10, 2010

    Frankosaurus,

    My understanding is that “science” refers both to a method of verifying hypothesis and to the stock of knowledge that has yet to be unconfirmed by the method set out. Science then never does the talking “about” beliefs that don’t accord with it, but rather the implications, deductions, and inferences from science do…

    Well, I’d hoped you were going to say that the scientists do the talking. The implications of “science” cannot be arrived at by mere calculation; rather, a community of intelligent and imaginative human beings is required to articulate the implications of the data, and to devise further paradigm-relevant experiments. Science isn’t just a method and a body of data, it is an “organization and a practice that makes claims about the nature of things.” The sorts of things spiritual practice leads people to make claims about need not be in conflict with the sorts things scientific practice leads people to make claims about. Sometimes the things religious people say can be demonstrably shown to be wrong by the things scientific people say (and support with data). Sometimes scientific people (like PZ) make non-scientific claims and then pretend to put the authority of “science” behind them.

  193. #193 redliterocket4
    February 10, 2010

    Anthropology of religion is fascinating. Even more so is the anthropology of science.

    From U of Arizona’s Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology:

    A pivotal moment occurred when anthropologists took the tools that had been developed for studying exotic peoples in exotic locations and applied them to communities of science. Today, the anthropology of science is dominated by laboratory studies that produce ethnographies of how scientific “facts” are produced, how scientists are “made”, what scientists actually do, what scientists say, and how scientific practices influence and are influenced by the socioeconomic and political conditions under which they work. New knowledge areas that emerged from the anthropology of science include how science and technology has called into question our previous distinctions of nature and culture, have modified views of human bodies and environments, and how users understand new technologies, their bodies, and modifications of their constructed environments.

    http://bara.arizona.edu/research/pro-science.htm

  194. #194 negentropyeater
    February 10, 2010

    Sometimes scientific people (like PZ) make non-scientific claims and then pretend to put the authority of “science” behind them.

    Can you give an example ?

  195. #195 Miki Z
    February 10, 2010

    Sometimes scientific people (like PZ) make non-scientific claims and then pretend to put the authority of “science” behind them.

    Sure, absolutely true. The scientific method, peer review, repetition of experiments, double blinding of studies, statistical measures of fit, etc. all acknowledge this and enable us to correct for it when those statements are of a scientific nature.

    There are even some dishonest scientists who will claim things like the impossibility of life arising without an intervention by a “designer” and argue that because they are a scientist, their opinion is science on non-science subjects.

    Now, if you’re saying that PZ has done this (made a non-scientific claim and then pretended it had the authority of science) specifically, do as negentropyeater asks: give an example.

  196. #196 Bastion Of Sass
    February 10, 2010

    “Two men say they’re Jesus one of ‘em must be wrong.”
    However, they don’t have to be both wrong. They are, of course, but they don’t have to be.
    Actually, it should really be:
    “Two men say they’re Jesus – at least one of ‘em must be wrong (and they almost certainly both are).”

    Wait?! What?! So either Jesus Martinez and/or Jesus Garcia have been lying to me?!

    So, what about Jesus Diaz?!!

  197. #197 redliterocket4
    February 10, 2010

    PZ writes, “We [science as a whole] can confidently say that nearly all religions are definitely wrong.”

    He is making a vague claim here, leaving me curious to know what the ontological status of this collective mind of science might be, as well as what the few remaining religions are that are not “definitely” wrong. But I think it misleading to suggest that taking scientific findings seriously necessarily points to atheistic materialism as the only valid belief system. I know PZ isn’t claiming as much in this particular quote, but I do think he is probably implying it. A proper scientific position on the existence of religious ideas like Freedom, Immortality, and God would be agnosticism, at least unless we are willing to allow certain introspective techniques into the scientific tent. In this case, we may be able to verify, though only individually through our own thinking processes, the reality of these three.

    I do agree, though, that many religious literalists hold to beliefs that are in direct conflict with scientifically established truths about the universe. It is unfortunate that so much literalism has infected both our religious and our scientific culture.

  198. #198 negentropyeater
    February 10, 2010

    redliterocket4,

    Still can’t find an example ? Why did you make that claim then ?

  199. #199 Miki Z
    February 10, 2010

    redliterocket4,

    This is because you take a very narrow view of religion (or so I interpret from your writing).

    Your religion says the earth is a few thousand years old? Science says your religion is wrong.

    Your religion says the stars are set “in the firmament” at some fixed distance from earth? Science says your religion is wrong.

    Your religion says that thunder is the hammer of Thor striking the ground? Science says your religion is wrong.

    Your religion says that all sickness is caused by evil spirits? Science says your religion is wrong.

    Your religion says that there was a global flood which covered the entire earth for 40 days? Science says your religion is wrong.

    When religion makes claims which are demonstrably false and then science shows them false, science has said that that religion is wrong.

    Or were you arguing that No True Religion is demonstrably false? That seems like a vacuous argument.

  200. #200 negentropyeater
    February 10, 2010

    redlittlerocket4,

    I know PZ isn’t claiming as much in this particular quote, but I do think he is probably implying it.

    Why do you think he is implying it ? The two claims are very different. PZ has always made it clear that he is an atheist (see the big scarlet A on top of the page), but he’s not claimed that every good scientist must necessarily be one.

  201. #201 Kel, OM
    February 10, 2010

    Is redlittlerocket4 Matthew Segall?

  202. #202 John Morales
    February 10, 2010

    redliterocket4:

    PZ writes, “We [science as a whole] can confidently say that nearly all religions are definitely wrong.”
    He is making a vague claim here, leaving me curious to know what the ontological status of this collective mind of science might be, as well as what the few remaining religions are that are not “definitely” wrong.

    It only seems vague because you’ve elided the reasons he provides in the rest of the sentence.

    Here is the snippet you quoted, in bold (note the comma which you changed to a full stop) and in context: The author couldn’t resist the common temptation to toss in something about religion at the end, and he gives the wrong answer: it’s the standard pablum, and he claims that “Science as a whole has nothing to say about religion.” Of course it can. We can confidently say that nearly all religions are definitely wrong, if for no other reason than that they contradict each other. We also have a multitude of religions that make claims about the world that are contradicted by the evidence.

  203. #203 Kel, OM
    February 10, 2010

    It only seems vague because you’ve elided the reasons he provides in the rest of the sentence.

    Quotemining, it’s not just for creationists…

  204. #204 Kamaka
    February 10, 2010

    A proper scientific position on the existence of religious ideas like Freedom, Immortality, and God would be agnosticism

    I’ve heard this before. Religion is so obviously a bunch of made-up bullshit, the “proper scientific position” isn’t agnosticism, it’s “put up or shut up”.

    Science has nothing to say about the existence of gawd because there’s nothing to say about nothing.

  205. #205 Kamaka
    February 10, 2010

    Victor Stenger has a bit to say *scientifically* about the non-existence of the scary white-beard smiter.

  206. #206 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmbCAWBdgWEuZ9ThD7iuZPRThQyMEONxLI
    February 10, 2010

    @redliterocket4 #197

    i think you have to look at religion from the point of view of someone outside the system. an atheist looks at a bunch of competing and mutually exclusive claims, well aware that they address questions of dubious validity (for example: why are we here?) and concludes that until someone comes up with any evidence the default position must be that religion is made-up.

    one more thing, science is literal. that’s what science is. and it’s not a bad thing either. this literal approach to examining the world has achieved a lot—when you flip the switch, the light goes on, and that for millions of people who would otherwise be in darkness.

    also, i do not regard Freedom as being a religious idea. well, maybe if you write it large and anthropomorphize it then it’s a relgious concept.

  207. #207 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    February 10, 2010

    Is redlittlerocket4 Matthew Segall?


    Yes

  208. #208 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 10, 2010

    That seems like a vacuous argument.

    Yep, that is all Matthew ever provide. He considers evidence irrelevant, which makes his arguments irrelevant. Philosophy without evidence is sophistry. And Matthew resides with the last word.

  209. #209 Anri
    February 10, 2010

    redliterocket4 sez:

    PZ writes, “We [science as a whole] can confidently say that nearly all religions are definitely wrong.”

    It’s not the best idea to quote-mine on the selfsame blog the quote came from – it’s really quite easy to detect.

    Moving on…

    He is making a vague claim here,

    No, he’s making a very specific one: Postulates A, B, C, D, and E are mutually contradictory. This means that the majority of them must be wrong.

    leaving me curious to know what the ontological status of this collective mind of science might be, as well as what the few remaining religions are that are not “definitely” wrong.

    Presumably, ones that are structured to allow for other deities and pantheons.

    But I think it misleading to suggest that taking scientific findings seriously necessarily points to atheistic materialism as the only valid belief system. I know PZ isn’t claiming as much in this particular quote, but I do think he is probably implying it.

    And what alternate would you suggest? What scientific finding have suggested to you that a diety or a spirit world exists? Please be as specific as possible – citing the peer-reviewed papers is ideal.

    A proper scientific position on the existence of religious ideas like Freedom,

    You believe that science has no opinion on the level of determinism in the universe?

    Immortality,

    You believe that science has no opinion as to wether or not people die?

    and God would be agnosticism,

    Likewise the Tooth Fairy

    at least unless we are willing to allow certain introspective techniques into the scientific tent. In this case, we may be able to verify, though only individually through our own thinking processes, the reality of these three.

    One person, having meditated for 20 years, states definitively that Jesus is the son of god and saviour of mankind. Another, having done the same, says it’s Buddha. Please indicate the scientific tests you would admister to determine which is correct.

    I do agree, though, that many religious literalists hold to beliefs that are in direct conflict with scientifically established truths about the universe. It is unfortunate that so much literalism has infected both our religious and our scientific culture.

    You would approve of medical science that didn’t fix the broken bone in your leg literally, only metaphoricly? Of engineering science that didn’t literally support a bridge’s roadway, but only the soul of the bridge?
    What disciplines would you like to see abandon standards of literal truth?

    I’m having trouble believeing that you have actually thought any of this out to any great extent. Maybe I’m wrong, but you might want to re-read what you wrote.

  210. #210 martin weiss
    February 10, 2010

    #20
    Posted by: JBlilie | February 9, 2010 2:26 PM
    I should say that Our Family Tree, An Evolution Story does not go into the mechanism of evolution, just the fact of change through time.

    One of the problems of educating the public, children and adults, removing the issue of religion, is an understanding of the mechanism(s) of evolution. Just taking natural selection, and discounting time for now, few books for children or exhibits in natural history museums really explain population variation inheritance, selection or adaptation. Time is a problem for without time and the incremental changes over millions of years evolution is incomprehensible. We have found that children as young as 7, 8 years old when introduced to fossils, say Archaeopteryx can understand that modern birds evolved from feathered dinosaurs but cannot really understand how it happens. And that is because the small changes over long, long periods of time lead to big changes.

  211. #211 IanM
    February 10, 2010

    I have found that a person’s notions of the nature of God are generally a useful insight into their character. With regard to religionists, I sit on the fence and say that I am willing to believe in the existence of God, but not the God which they promote. To proponents of Intelligent Design I say that intelligence is a measurable human trait inappropriate to apply to a deity that is supposed to be beyond human comprehension and to proponents of Creationism I say that a belief in the literal interpretation of Genesis causes me to believe in miracles because it is miraculous that someone who believes in something so stupid can remember to breath.

  212. #212 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    February 10, 2010

    Posted by: Rey Fox Author Profile Page | February 9, 2010 11:07 PM

    One of the best things about having Janine around is how she always seems to bring out the raving misogynist woman-hating homophobe in all these trolls.

    Call that some left over residue from my time with the Lesbian Avengers.

    Posted by: Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom| February 9, 2010 11:13 PM

    Janine @87 said:

    ‘Gags on her own sarcasm and bile.’

    I know this is late, but dear, if you’re really eager for a gag of some sort…

    It is never too late for a good gag.

    (I am almost too ashamed to make that joke. Almost.)

  213. #213 loveberry
    February 10, 2010

    There are a ton of books on evolution out there for the 10 and under age group. I’d like to hear recommendations for junior high and high school level readers.

  214. #214 Peter H
    February 10, 2010

    With regard to stringed instruments, Yehudi Menuhin, one of the greatest violinists, often referred to his instrument as “a fiddle.”

  215. #215 stevieinthecity
    February 10, 2010

    I hope he’s in the dungeon for douchebaggery.

  216. #216 scooterKPFT
    February 10, 2010

    So I should check in more often. I was just having some frankosaurus word salad to wash down a little mouth vomit because I got all hot and kinky when somebody said

    (Oh, Mothra doctors’ is plural possessive)

    mmmmmmm
    plural possessive.

    I’m missing all the fun, where did this frankosaurus evolve from, and has he turned into a bird yet?

    I have some catching up to do.

  217. #217 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    February 10, 2010

    One of the best things about having Janine around is how she always seems to bring out the raving misogynist woman-hating homophobe in all these trolls.

    Honestly, it’s something I look up to. I’m really more the trolled then the counter-troll, so to speak.

    It is never too late for a good gag.

    Now that’s silly. It should be applied before the fun for best results..

    I’m missing all the fun, where did this frankosaurus evolve from, and has he turned into a bird yet?

    A bird-brain, I guess…

  218. #218 frankosaurus
    February 10, 2010

    redliterocket:

    An example of when PZ has said unscientific things while abusing scientific authority? None come to mind, to his credit. But there have been instances where he hasn’t been overly forthright about distinguishing fact from opinion. Take the Eagleton Review: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/05/the_eagleton_delusion.php

    Throughout this rambling, incoherent collection of pages, we get no clarity, no clean explanation of what exactly religion is; he can chastise Dennett for offering a definition of religion with which he vehemently disagrees, but you will not then find Eagleton carrying through with his definition

    Rambling, incoherent, no clarity? One can imagine a reasonable apprehension of bias regarding a book that I know is fairly comprehensible, though flawed. If people are prone to be misled that the book is unreadable, it will be because of the authority granted to his opinion. SO that’s what comes to mind, and things similar to that. But this is different than alleging that he uses his authority to give a scientific flavour to non-scientific things, which is what I think you were saying.

    regarding bird-brain, the term for that kind of slur would be speciesist, would it not?

  219. #219 John Morales
    February 10, 2010

    F:

    But there have been instances where he [PZ] hasn’t been overly forthright about distinguishing fact from opinion.

    Is this fact, or is this opinion?

  220. #220 frankosaurus
    February 10, 2010

    Tu quoque

  221. #221 John Morales
    February 10, 2010

    F:

    Tu quoque

    Ah, so you admit you don’t qualify what is clearly opinion with an explicit disclaimer to that effect, when accusing another of so doing.

    Hypocrisy. Vapidity.

  222. #222 strange gods before me, OM
    February 10, 2010

    Francosaurus. That’s not a tu quoque, because you haven’t established that PZ is doing what you accuse him of in the first place, and the distinction John Morales asks about is central to first establishing such.

    You suck.

  223. #223 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 10, 2010

    Yawn, the Idjit proves his idjitcy again. Old news. Time for the banhammer for insipidity.

  224. #224 billygutter01
    February 10, 2010

    Reading through this thread was like watching an 80′s movie (Alright,I admit it, I really mean “Revenge Of The Nerds”). The bad guy came in all full of piss and wind but was ultimately clobbered by intelligence and wit.

    At least there’s a suitably dramatic dungeon.

    *eyes fill with mist* (MIST – not tears! There’s a fuckin’ difference!!)

  225. #225 Miki Z
    February 10, 2010

    *eyes fill with mist* (MIST – not tears! There’s a fuckin’ difference!!)

    Go for the tears. Trust me on this. We have some readers whose first language is German.

  226. #226 billygutter01
    February 10, 2010

    Okay, they’re tears!

    What are you, German?!!

    Tri-Lambda rules!

    *eyes fill with tears* (TEARS – not mist! There’s a fuckin’ difference!!)

  227. #227 billygutter01
    February 10, 2010

    And as I sob, the trains are punctual.

  228. #228 frankosaurus
    February 11, 2010

    Ah, so you admit you don’t qualify what is clearly opinion with an explicit disclaimer to that effect, when accusing another of so doing.

    Not true. I call the attempt to undermine my assertion “tu quoque.” In other words, even if I hadn’t made an explicit distinction between fact and opinion with reference to what I criticized, it would be of no consequence anyway.

    So in other words, if John Morales was critical of my comment, the strongest thing that could be said of it, in the spirit of generosity, was that it amounts to a logical fallacy. But as Strange Gods points out, it isn’t even that. Thanks, SG.

    In any case, what I said, to clarify, isn’t opinion. PZ was venting against Eagleton in the specific passage cited. Some people may have taken him seriously. That’s really more an observation.

  229. #229 John Morales
    February 11, 2010

    F:

    Not true.

    Ah, then it wasn’t supposed to be opinion, but since there was (factually) no explicit disclaimer, it must then, by your claimed dichotomy, have been fact.

    I call the attempt to undermine my assertion “tu quoque.”

    It means to “you too”, and refers to a particular fallacy.
    Had PZ done as you claimed he had, then yes, it would’ve been such. He didn’t (unless one is obtuse, one realises a book review is an expression of opinion, not of fact¹), hence it could hardly be a tu quoque.
    Your assertion was merely hypocritical.

    In other words, even if I hadn’t made an explicit distinction between fact and opinion with reference to what I criticized, it would be of no consequence anyway.

    Really. You appear to have failed to note that I referred to the fact that your contention was not being explicitly averred as being opinion rather than fact, not to the opinion that your contention referred to an opinion being claimed as fact (by virtue of a lack of disclaimer and your own contention that such is necessary).

    I was, in fact, being consequential.

    So in other words, if John Morales was critical of my comment, the strongest thing that could be said of it, in the spirit of generosity, was that it amounts to a logical fallacy.

    Nope. The strongest (and truest) thing to say was that your claim didn’t even rise to the level of a logical fallacy. It was a malicious inanity.

    The claim of logical fallacy was made by you, of me. This is fact.

    And, by the way, do you agree that you’ve now implied that you wrote purported fact, and not opinion?

    In any case, what I said, to clarify, isn’t opinion.

    <grin> Ah, you agree.

    PZ was venting against Eagleton in the specific passage cited. Some people may have taken him seriously. That’s really more an observation.

    Got it. An observation, not an opinion.

    Yeah. Right.

    Let’s see… I take it we’re both in agreement that it was PZ’s opinion; now, unless you maintain that an opinion cannot be factual, you have to sustain the claim that there was insufficient context for a typical reader to determine that it was, in fact, opinion, not purported fact.

    I invite you to do so.

    ¹ Other than the fact that it is opinion, in respect to the judgement relating to the book. There is nuance, of course: if said opinion contrasts claims purported to be in the book with facts, these should be present in the book and the facts should be verifiable, etc.

    Please do weigh in, I need the chuckles.

  230. #230 IanM
    February 11, 2010

    I’m confused. Are you saying that book reviews should be fact free? Or that opinions are somehow debased by anything so tawdry as a basis in fact?

  231. #231 frankosaurus
    February 11, 2010

    Ah, then it wasn’t supposed to be opinion, but since there was (factually) no explicit disclaimer, it must then, by your claimed dichotomy, have been fact.

    I don’t understand. What are you getting at. Do you think I’m wrong about PZs review?

    unless one is obtuse, one realises a book review is an expression of opinion, not of fact

    Good thing I’m not obtuse then. And luckily I don’t miss the point in what I write either, that what’s at stake is a question of “authority” that Redliterocket brought up, and an instance of how one may be prone to be misled by it.

    by virtue of a lack of disclaimer and your own contention that such is necessary

    I said it was necessary? Funny, doesn’t show up on my screen. Maybe some ghost assertions slipped through? Can you read them back to me?

    If PZ is or isn’t opinionated in reviewing books really isn’t a huge deal, and yet I get the impression you think I think it is.

    I take it we’re both in agreement that it was PZ’s opinion; now, unless you maintain that an opinion cannot be factual, you have to sustain the claim that there was insufficient context for a typical reader to determine that it was, in fact, opinion, not purported fact.

    I should nominate this for worst sentence of the year. In any case, to sustain my claim, all I have to do is conduct a poll of readers and ask them about the readability of the book after reading the review. If many hold the book to be unreadable, without reading it, then my claim about influential bias will be empirically validated. You’re getting hung up in the wrong places.

  232. #232 John Morales
    February 12, 2010

    F:

    I don’t understand. What are you getting at. Do you think I’m wrong about PZs review?

    It’s not complicated. What I responded to is the manner in which you wrote “there have been instances where he [PZ] hasn’t been overly forthright about distinguishing fact from opinion.”, without being overly forthright about distinguishing fact from opinion.

    You called my response tu quoque, as if I’d made an argument based on it, whereas I was merely pointing out hypocrisy. Granted, such a opinion contains an implicit argument, but it relates to your actions, not to PZ’s.

    And luckily I don’t miss the point in what I write either, that what’s at stake is a question of “authority” that Redliterocket brought up, and an instance of how one may be prone to be misled by it.

    Well, no. Missing the point would imply you were in the ball-park.

    PZ, if he was using any authority, was using the fact that he is PZ (and how could he avoid so doing? :) ).

    He is not even writing about his own scientific discipline, and Rlr was writing about “abusing scientific authority” — quite a different issue to that of personal popularity.

    by virtue of a lack of disclaimer and your own contention that such is necessary

    I said it was necessary? Funny, doesn’t show up on my screen.

    Only in the semantics, not in the words. Tricky, I know.
    Remember what you wrote, and to which I’ve been referring? But there have been instances where he hasn’t been overly forthright about distinguishing fact from opinion.

    By highlighting such, you clearly consider it necessary to do so (i.e. provide a disclaimer) so as to avoid the criticism you make.

    If PZ is or isn’t opinionated in reviewing books really isn’t a huge deal, and yet I get the impression you think I think it is.

    Good thing you’re not obtuse then, and therefore are presumably only joshing me with that — because the “big deal” (such as it is) is that you made a vapid criticism even as you indulged in the same action you criticise in that criticism.

    In any case, to sustain my claim, all I have to do is conduct a poll of readers and ask them about the readability of the book after reading the review.

    Such expertise at experimental design, too!
    Shame that the issue under contention is whether, as per your claim, PZ reviewed it in such a manner that readers would require “forthright[ness] about distinguishing fact from opinion” in the review.

    Perhaps, if you succeed at that, you can then conduct a poll as to whether your own claim merited a similar disclaimer.

    PS

    I should nominate this for worst sentence of the year.

    You have my permission.

    Perhaps if the nomination succeeds, you’ll consider it a fact, not just an opinion. ;)
    (And I shall be (in)famous!)

  233. #233 frankosaurus
    February 12, 2010

    He is not even writing about his own scientific discipline, and Rlr was writing about “abusing scientific authority” ? quite a different issue to that of personal popularity.

    right, and I was saying that Rlr was mostly incorrect. So we’re not disagreeing on the main point, my defence of PZ. Though I don’t think you’d agree that “personal popularity” carries as much weight as “evolutionary scientist” when it comes to an anti-Dawkins book.

    You’re trying to saddle me with fine distinctions. And I wonder where this is going when we are in agreement on the main matter. Which is why I wonder if you actually disagree that PZ was demonstrating unfair bias, or whether you think it’s just more sporting to try to find me a noose in my words (not that I think you have).

  234. #234 John Morales
    February 12, 2010

    F:

    So we’re not disagreeing on the main point, my defence of PZ.

    Please never defend me.

  235. #235 fordiman
    March 2, 2010

    “The author couldn’t resist the common temptation to toss in something about religion at the end, and he gives the wrong answer: it’s the standard pablum, and he claims that ‘Science as a whole has nothing to say about religion.’ Of course it can”

    Yep. Science has absolutely nothing to positively say on religion – you couldn’t rationally form a religion around scientific thought – but science certainly can (and does) crowd out the possibility that any present religious authority is in any way ordained, deserved, or in any other way derived from a “higher power”.

    Which, of course, is the real reason you have asshats denying religion: “How dare you take away our authority!”

  236. #236 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Pikachu para lang sa iyo.
    March 2, 2010

    Which, of course, is the real reason you have asshats denying religion: “How dare you take away our authority!”

    Such idiotic blather. Science disregard religion because religion is not a scientific process. In the real world, scientific evidence trumps all else. But the reason we deny religion is varied. Some of us sees no evidence for dieties.

    So, stop making shit up. You’re making self look like fool.

  237. #237 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Pikachu para lang sa iyo.
    March 2, 2010

    But since you want to challange scientific authority, I suggest you walk off a cliff. Gravity is only a theory.