Pharyngula

I hope I didn’t catch something in the Antipodes. There seems to be something awful going around down there: Ken Ham, Ray Comfort, and now…Gary Ablett, Sr. He’s an Australian rules footballer with a few seedy drug-related incidents in his past — he’s also a world-class moron. He’s just written a long and mostly incoherent complaint about atheists for the Herald Sun, a cheesy tabloid in Australia.

Maybe it’s the football — they play without the heavy armor American footballers wear, so maybe he’s got brain damage. After all, Jason Ball wrote a nice rebuttal, and he’s Australian, too, so it’s obviously not a Southern Hemisphere epidemic.

Given that Jason has addressed most of the silly claims of this poor pious twit, I’ll just mention one thing that caught my eye: the recycled fatuity so common to creationists. Ablett makes an old argument against evolution.

Let’s take another example. Evolution teaches that matter plus energy (light or heat) plus time equals biogenesis, the cause of new life.

Yet our entire food industry relies on the fact that the evolutionary formula doesn’t work. For example, if you take a jar of peanut butter (matter), expose it to light and heat (energy) and add time you will never get new life (biogenesis) in that jar. And are we grateful about that! Why is new life impossible in a sealed jar? Because we are missing the most important aspect: information.

The very reason food is sealed is to keep information out, it’s only if and when the seal is broken that a contamination can occur because information has got inside the jar! We need to take this fact very seriously because in the food industry this experiment is conducted over a billion times a year collectively, and has been doing so for more than a hundred years, which proves that the absence of information renders life impossible.

Does that sound familiar? It should. It’s practically verbatim from this quaint exhibition of stupidity by Chuck Missler (also, not from Australia or New Zealand — he’s an Idahoan).

No scientist gives much credibility to the ancient Peanut Butter Earth hypothesis. We suspect that life arose in a chemically active watery environment, not a big brown glop of concentrated fats and proteins in a jar in the Archaean. We’re also not surprised that life doesn’t spontaneously arise everywhere anymore: conditions on Earth are very different from those in the abiotic/early biotic period, and what’s more, any new life that arose now, improbable as that is, would face a world populated by bacteria with 4 billion years of evolutionary refinement behind them. So it’s a very, very stupid argument.

The rest of Ablett’s arguments are just as inane, and are similarly ripped off almost literally from common creationist canards. There’s nothing original and nothing intelligent anywhere in it — it’s just sad how feeble these guys are getting.


Interestingly and entirely unsurprisingly, big chunks of Ablett’s article were plagiarized. It seems like most of their stuff can be traced back to a small population of ur-creationists in the 1960s, and there brains have been locked up solid ever since.

Comments

  1. #1 alex.asolis.net
    March 25, 2010

    I don’t even know how Creationists come up with their bullshit. It’s like they’re trying to look stupid on purpose.

  2. #2 James F
    March 25, 2010

    No scientist gives much credibility to the ancient Peanut Butter Earth hypothesis. We suspect that life arose in a chemically active watery environment, not a big brown glop of concentrated fats and proteins in a jar in the Archaean.

    I thought that hypothesis went out of fashion in the 80s. Or was that the Chocolate and Peanut Butter Earth hypothesis?

  3. #3 Sgt. Obvious
    March 25, 2010

    Vegemite? Hey, hey, hey, LANGUAGE, mister!

  4. #4 sandiseattle
    March 25, 2010

    Somebody should introduce these guys to Deepak Chopra, they seem to speak the same language.

  5. #5 Kamaka
    March 25, 2010

    If it wasn’t for the suit and tie, I might suspect the speaker was bloviating.

  6. #6 tacroy
    March 25, 2010

    Jason has updated his original blog posting with some rather interesting information: apparently, Mr. Ablett not only made no sense, he plagiarized his nonsense from Grace Haven Ministries, as the delightfully named buggery.org explains.

  7. #7 Bride of Shrek OM
    March 25, 2010

    What is it with these creationists and their obsession with food stuffs? First the banana, now peanut butter.

    Well they can’t have crackers- we got to make funny of them first.

    ..and this may be my only chance EVER as a Queenslander to say this but this nutcase isn’t one of ours, he’s a *gasp* southerner.

    ..and Gary, AFL sucks. (said as a true and devoted Rugby girl).

  8. #8 Bride of Shrek OM
    March 25, 2010

    *and ducks and weaves to avoid the drubbing I’m now going to get from AFL fans *

  9. #9 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 25, 2010

    Bride of Shrek OM:

    What is it with these creationists and their obsession with food stuffs? First the banana, now peanut butter.

    Oh at least they’re off the damn banana these days. It took long enough, but Comfort finally displayed some embarrassment over that idiocy.

  10. #10 nonsensemachine
    March 25, 2010

    Wait, life doesn’t spontaneously generate from dead plant matter? Life can only contaminate dead plant matter if it existed somewhere else first and was transported there? Life is a contamination? Life can be created from nothing by magic, but definitely NOT from matter already in existence? I’m going to have to ask Ablett to clarify some things.

  11. #11 Glen Davidson
    March 25, 2010

    So, uh, the moron doesn’t even know about oxygen?

    Contra Voltaire, we didn’t pray that our enemies be ridiculous, they are our enemies because they’re endlessly moronic, regardless of their native intelligence.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  12. #12 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    March 25, 2010

    Still not as impressive as Reggie White’s speech to the Wisconsin Legislature back in 1998. Not only was it homophobic, it was racist.

    “Hispanics were gifted in family structure, and you can see a Hispanic person, and they can put 20, 30 people in one home.”

    “The Japanese and other Asians are inventive and can turn a television into a watch.”

    Our American football players are more deranged than those Australian Rules footballers.

    U!S!A! U!S!A! U!S!A! U!S!A!

  13. #13 WowbaggerOM
    March 25, 2010

    I’m amazed – and horrified – that there’s an editor in this country who felt that giving a clueless dimwit like Gary Ablett a column was a good idea in the first place; that he/she let this cut-and-paste creationist drivel be published is even more astonishing.

  14. #14 Nepenthe
    March 25, 2010

    Finally, proof of why creobots are so stupid: they apparently think that it is information — not microbes — that is the pathogen we must vigilantly keep out of our food supply. And thus they sterilize their brains so that nary a byte of contaminating information might harm them.

  15. #15 Kel, OM
    March 25, 2010

    that there’s an editor in this country who felt that giving a clueless dimwit like Gary Ablett a column was a good idea in the first place

    Australia always has a special place for the sportsperson (usually man) who does something special on the field. Though the least they could do it pick someone from a sport that doesn’t have the constant risk of blows to the head.

  16. #16 chaos-engineer
    March 25, 2010

    Peanut butter jars are made from glass, and information can pass through glass. (You can demonstrate this at home by washing out a peanut butter jar thoroughly and then looking at newspaper through it. You may need to take the label off.) The argument would have been more convincing if it had been a can of soup.

    Do you know what would be really useful? Some kind of semipermeable membrane that allows information to pass through but not matter or energy.

    If you had one of those, you could throw a bunch of information sources at it. (Like maybe a stack of Creationist essays, which often contain information in the form of correctly spelled words.) You could catch the filtered information in a basin, and then when you had enough you could reach in and pull out a great symphony or the blueprints for a cold fusion reactor.

  17. #17 WowbaggerOM
    March 25, 2010

    Australia always has a special place for the sportsperson (usually man) who does something special on the field. Though the least they could do it pick someone from a sport that doesn’t have the constant risk of blows to the head.

    How many ex-sportspeople have this kind of opinion column (i.e. not about sport)? I basically refuse to read any print media so I’m not that up on who they give space to these days.

  18. #18 Mike Wagner
    March 25, 2010

    Would anyone be willing to try applying real science to another religious concept?

    Transubstantiation. http://bit.ly/91M6wN

    The premise of the experiment is to substitute syrup of ipecac for the wine. Since the “nature” of the syrup will become that of Christ’s blood (whatever that means) while still appearing to be the original liquid, it should no longer induce vomiting… at least no more than what drinking blood would cause, right?

    Volunteers?

  19. #19 Rey Fox
    March 25, 2010

    “The very reason food is sealed is to keep information out”

    This might just have to go down in the annals of stupid/crazy quotes along with “The internet is a series of tubes”, and “We’re being attacked by the educated intelligent segment of the population”.

  20. #20 Brownian, OM
    March 25, 2010

    Whenever I hear these boneheads yap about information, I’m reminded of Ben Kingsley in Sneakers.

    “It’s all about the information!”

    (Because I really liked Sneakers, I like to take that as a plus. Hey, I’m trying to find a silver lining in all this.)

  21. #21 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    March 25, 2010

    Mike Wagner, all off topic items should be brought to the undead thread.

    As for transubstantiation, that cracker did not bleed when PZ drove a nail through it. Neither did he mention moans of agony.

  22. #22 RickR
    March 25, 2010

    What is it with these creationists and their obsession with food stuffs? First the banana, now peanut butter.

    Isn’t it obvious?
    Elvis is the creator!!!!!111!

  23. #23 Krubozumo Nyankoye
    March 25, 2010

    Vegemite? Posh, what about Marmite?

    Nepenthe – exactly on point. How can people be so incurious as to assume that one of the greatest of all mysteries is answered by a bed-time story?

    WowbaggerOM – ex pitcher Bunning is a legislator, ex karate karyoke star Norris is a pundit, there are probably lots of others. You don’t have to have any particular qualifications for anything these days. “We make our own reality” after all…

  24. #24 Glen Davidson
    March 25, 2010

    I wonder why life doesn’t poof into existence in a jar of peanut butter?

    You know, like the creation myth claims is possible, at least in the vicinity of their God.

    Seems that “God is dead” shines through in all of their claims, because they love to “debunk” exactly the scenarios that they claim happened in the distant past.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  25. #25 Mike Wagner
    March 25, 2010

    The picture of Ablett shows a very typical religious stance:

    Holding it up to show how pious they are, but not actually reading or understanding the contents.

  26. #26 Fil
    March 25, 2010

    I always knew Ablett was a moron, but now he’s even succeeded in outdoing that other Aussie football Neanderthal, Sam Newman…and that’s some achievement.

    Trashy newspapers like the Herald Sun can be the scum of the earth when it comes to putting out bullshit, especially anything remotely connected to science or medicine.

    But Christ on a stick, being lectured about evolution by a monobrow footballer like Gary Ablett? What next, an ice hockey goon preaching Zen and the art of dislocation? (Meh, at least that could be funny).

  27. #27 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 25, 2010

    Krubozumo Nyankoye:

    ex karate karyoke star Norris is a pundit

    Norris is allowed rant space at World Nut Daily, hardly a news source of any type.

  28. #28 WowbaggerOM
    March 25, 2010

    Krubozumo Nyankoye wrote:

    WowbaggerOM – ex pitcher Bunning is a legislator, ex karate karyoke star Norris is a pundit, there are probably lots of others.

    Well, I imagine Bunning had to obtain some kind of college qualification to do what he does so that counts him out; Norris, on the other hand, is a good example of this problem.

    Does Norris write for a newspaper, though, or is it his own website publishing his nonsense?

  29. #29 JonD
    March 25, 2010

    Hilariously, that jar is a gloppy nasty gooey soup of information – zillions of liberated DNA fragments waiting vainly to be read.

  30. #30 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    March 25, 2010

    Krubozumo Nyankoye, how could I forget Chucky Baby. He has exclusive commentary at the WND along with the incomparable Pat Boone.

    As for Jim Bunning:

    Republican Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., foiled Democratic attempts to enact a short-term extension of unemployment benefits and COBRA subsidies for a million Americans.

    In the process, he may restrict access to network television for his rural constituents. When Bunning objected to the last-minute vote he complained that he was forced to miss the University of Kentucky college basketball game, which was broadcast on ESPN2.

    Bunning doesn’t like Democrats’ version of a bill to temporarily extend unemployment benefits, subsidies of COBRA insurance and many other things because he wants to pay for it with unused stimulus funds. More than a million Americans long out of work will exhaust their benefits starting Sunday.

  31. #31 JonD
    March 25, 2010

    Its contents, rather.

  32. #32 JohnnieCanuck
    March 25, 2010

    Mike you haven’t been exposed to the more nuanced apologists for the Eucharist. Seems there are not one, but two, two miracles involved when the magician waves his hands over the gluten and grape juice and speaks in dead languages.

    One. They become literally the body and blood, etc.
    Two. They take on the precise form of what they were before. No test can detect the difference before and after the spell has been cast.

    Miraculous, ain’t it?

  33. #33 Glenn G
    March 25, 2010

    Another scientifically ignorant creationist with another ignorant and utterly moronic statement. No surprise here.

    But was I the only one who wanted to slap that woman at the beginning for her arrogance?

  34. #34 WowbaggerOM
    March 25, 2010

    Oh, when you say legislator I thought you meant like a prosecutor, i.e. a lawyer. That he’s an elected official wouldn’t require any kind of qualitification, no.

    Still, we’ve got the former lead singer of Midnight Oil in our government…

  35. #35 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 25, 2010

    WowbaggerOM:

    Does Norris write for a newspaper, though, or is it his own website publishing his nonsense?

    As I mentioned earlier, he writes for World Nut Daily.

  36. #36 afadedbillboard
    March 25, 2010

    Oh dear. Poor old Gaz has clearly let the fact that his nickname was ‘God’ go to his head a bit. (At the time, Geelong also fielded a player nicknamed ‘Buddha’ and one with the surname of Lord. A born-again footy mad cousin of mine used to insist, in all seriousness, that perhaps God was upset at such presumption, and that was why we lost four grand finals.)

    Ablett is a classic example of someone truly gifted in one very limited area of life who has barely reached shoe-tying capability in the rest of it. I really wouldn’t be surprised if there was some level of brain damage, not from footy, but from the well documented post-career alcohol and drug issues.

  37. #37 thedarwinfinches
    March 25, 2010

    We made fun of that video about a year ago on our cartoon, The Darwin Finches.

  38. #38 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 25, 2010

    Oh hell, borked link: World Nut Daily.

  39. #39 neon-elf.myopenid.com
    March 25, 2010

    It’s kind of appropriate given that Ablett’s nickname when he was playing was ‘God’.

    Great footballer; idiotic human being.

    But he’ll never be as bad as Sam Newman, who is a total pig.

  40. #40 Phasic
    March 26, 2010

    When I read that I felt so very, very tired.

    Is it an unfortunate consequence of the public profile of people like PZ and Dawkins that more idiots feel the need to publicly take an extreme side? That people feeling the need to bolster their faith will go hunting for “information” that supports their views?

    I just wonder, of the various people who will read that in the paper, how many will think:
    A) Those arguments are crap, I’m going to rethink this whole bible/religion thing.
    B) I’ve never heard those arguments before, and they sound all sciencey, there must be something in it. My faith is reinforced, and I’m less likely to believe anything scientists say now.
    C) Those arguments are crap, the man is an idiot, I can’t believe this is in the paper, the situation is more dire than I thought, I need to speak up as a biologist, atheist, secularist, whatever.

    I just wonder if that article changes attitudes, and what attitudes it might change, and what do they change too?

  41. #41 Stephen, Lord of the flies
    March 26, 2010

    The very reason food is sealed is to keep information out

    Wow. And there I was thinking it was to keep bacteria and fungus out. How silly of me.

  42. #42 JohnnieCanuck
    March 26, 2010

    Now, how on earth could it have slipped your attention, Stephen, LoF; that food is also sealed to keep out your minions?

  43. #43 TheCalmOne
    March 26, 2010

    Ablett wasn’t just great, he was supremely, sublimely gifted, the Bjorn Borg of Australian Rules, he played on a different level from everyone else. His son, also called Gary Ablett, is probably the best player running around in AFL at the moment, which is a testament to the Ablett sporting DNA.

    As a person, a failure. A recluse, a mysogynistic social misfit, his brain addled by drugs and religion.

    But as a player… oh man…

    The Calm One
    (lifetime Essendon supporter. We never had an Ablett, although James Hird came close, in his own way.)

  44. #44 Janet Holmes
    March 26, 2010

    Sam Newman is an arsehole but he’s not a moron on the same scale as Gary Ablett. Ablett was born with one skill which old age has robbed him of, unfortunately having been treated like some kind of superman his whole life he now imagines we’re interested in his opinion on life the universe and everything. He is wrong.
    It never ceases to amaze me how sports-people, actors and others talented at entertainment are accepted as pundits in areas they know absolutely nothing about! If Gary Ablett wants to tip the winner of next week’s footy match then I might listen (if I were interested which I’m not), but on no other topic is he worth a pinch of shit.

  45. #45 neurosink
    March 26, 2010

    Funny, AFL isn’t the worst of the codes over here for brain damage, but they do land on their heads every so often.

    I do wish people would stop listening to sports people, being in Australia it’s a constant barrage on my sanity and I know it goes on elsewhere in the world. They are obviously athletic/physically capable enough to succeed in their chosen sport, but other then that they usually have absolutely no qualifications for commenting on anything other then the game they play. And drinking. And often sexual assault trials. They are in the position to be seen as role models by kids (which should be stopped), so they should not be complete dicks in public, but that’s the end, we don’t need them lecturing kids about stuff or teaching other people things they have no knowledge about. Play your bloody sport and stop talking!

    Stupid Australian sports/alcohol culture…My other pet peeve outside of religion.

  46. #46 Kel, OM
    March 26, 2010

    C) Those arguments are crap, the man is an idiot, I can’t believe this is in the paper, the situation is more dire than I thought, I need to speak up as a biologist, atheist, secularist, whatever.

    It was that kind of nonsense that got me to speak up. When I was younger I didn’t care too much, beliefs were beliefs and each person was entitled to their own. If I thought it wrong, that’s just a difference of opinion. Either way the science is the science, and the science should be no more contentious than a historical truth such as world war 1.

    But then about 5 years ago I started posting on a forum where there were a lot of people who not only didn’t know the science (not everyone has to be scientifically informed) but those who would vehemently reject and argue against those scientific facts as a matter of defence for their particular religious beliefs. Don’t get me wrong, creationism wasn’t a new concept to me. I guess I felt it a fringe belief that could be remedied with simple education in science and literature.

    It was really a great shock, so many not only had proudly displayed their ignorance but had amassed an amount of sciency-sounding apologetics designed to show the invalidity of any contradicting science. It wasn’t a matter of jsut arguing for good science, it meant that I had to argue out bad science. And that meant learning enough to be able to do that.

    Luckily I had a housemate who was also interested in the matter. And among other things, he gave me a link to a Ken Miller lecture. Combine that with a reading of The God Delusion and well, here I am now.

  47. #47 Joshua Zelinsky
    March 26, 2010

    Hmm, they may be censoring comments on the entry so that remarks about the plagiarism can’t get through. I haven’t seen it mentioned there. I’ve added a comment and we’ll see if it gets past moderation.

  48. #48 hznfrst
    March 26, 2010

    These twats keep going on about the origin of life as a way to attack evolution, when evolution says *nothing* about the origin of life!

    I suspect the higher-ups in this bowel-like movement know this, but they certainly don’t want their unwashed hordes to. All’s fair in defending religion, after all, and if you disagree you’re just as dogmatic and strident as them.

  49. #49 watchingthedeniers
    March 26, 2010

    I’m a long time reader of this Blog and I live in Melbourne, the city where the Herald Sun is published. This is my first post here. I missed the convention, as much as I wanted to go. I have a 21 month old girl which makes it hard :)

    I have to say when I picked up the paper and saw the article I was *shocked*. It’s hard to convey the impact of the article to those who have not seen it in hard copy: it takes up two full pages with no advertisements. Think of how much revenue the paper had to forgo to allow that? It has pictures of Ablett playing footy, sitting on a rock with a waterfall behind hime and another of him surrounded by adoring kids.

    The Herald Sun is also home to Andrew Bolt, one of the most vocal climate change denialists in Australia. His blog attracts >1m hits a day, and is the major clearing house for denialist propaganda in the Australian media. Bolt is given a prominent link on Anthony Watts – of WUWT fame – blog.

    The Herald Sun – or The HUN as we call it – has a daily circulation of >1m.

    This is a major coup for the tiny, but very vocal creationist lobby in Australia. Ablett’s nickname during his days of playing was “God”. It was a jab at his religious beliefs, but also paid tribute to his considerable football skills. Ablett is as high profile as it gets, and is a hero to a great many.

    You have to understand our states *religious* dedication Australian rules football to understand how much of an impact this will have.

    The HUN has declared war on science. Not just climate science or the science of evolution, but *science*.

    I’m concerned, as typically Australia has not had a huge issue with creationists and other wing nuts. But the climate deniers campaign to discredit science is becoming infectious. “Well, if the scientists are lying here, what else are they lying about?”.

    Read the article carefully and you will see the import of it’s meaning: evolution is a lie being sold to you be evil scientists.

    We’re going backwards here, and the HUN has showed it’s true colours in throwing its weight behind not one, but two anti-science movements.

  50. #50 NeilW
    March 26, 2010

    Is this the same Gary Ablett who was involved in providing heroin to a 19 year old girl who subsequently died of an overdose? Certainly not someone who should be preaching moral values!

  51. #51 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 26, 2010

    watchingthedeniers:

    It has pictures of Ablett playing footy, sitting on a rock with a waterfall behind him

    Hmm. I wonder, was it a super godly triple waterfall, evidence of god, a la Francis Collins? ;D

    The Herald Sun is also home to Andrew Bolt

    Urgh. Bolt was one of those that went extra frothy over the GAC.

  52. #52 NeilW
    March 26, 2010

    Is this the same Gary Ablett who was involved in providing heroin to a 19 year old girl who subsequently died of an overdose? Certainly not someone who should be preaching moral values!

  53. #53 Rider1
    March 26, 2010

    I am Australian. I apologise. I hang my head in shame for the first time since John Howard was Prime Minister – sorry.

  54. #54 Charlie Foxtrot
    March 26, 2010

    Hang on – God can’t open peanut butter jars?
    Was that in the bible along with his vunerability to iron chariots?
    “Avoid ye the Sanitarumites, for they have the paste of legumes stored in impenetrable jars.”

    and that’s +1 spanking to BoSOM for bagging AFL

  55. #55 watchingthedeniers
    March 26, 2010

    @ Neil@ post 52

    It is indeed the same Ablett. The irony of a man who caused the death of a 20 year old women who idolised him and NOW talks about morality is almost too much. When she died he refused to talk to the police for days. Where was he? At his church…

  56. #56 neon-elf.myopenid.com
    March 26, 2010

    NeilW – yes, it is the same man.

    watchingthedeniers – when I lived in Melbourne, we called it the Herald-Scum.
    And as for Andrew Bolt…feh…don’t get me started! He’s come close to making me throw mt bowl of cereal at the telly with the climate chnage denialist bullshit he spews when the let him appear on Insiders on Sunday mornings.

  57. #57 Gordon Campbell
    March 26, 2010

    Taxonomy of football in Australi: Just have to point out that Australian Rules (Ablett’s game)is more of a running and kicking game than a brain-crunching game (it’s quite similar to the Gaelic football played in Ireland). Not excluding it as his source of brain-damage, mind you.

    Rugby is a bit more like American style (and without the armour). It comes in two varieties: League (more working class)& Union (more posh).

    And then there’s soccer. Soccer players say that ‘football’ refers to their game and their game only, but no-one listens to them.

  58. #58 neon-elf.myopenid.com
    March 26, 2010

    Argh – the idea of Andrew Bolt mad me so crazed I couldn’t type!

  59. #59 jcmartz.myopenid.com
    March 26, 2010

    Well, I hope that people’s head does not explode while reading such stupidities.

  60. #60 Cowcakes
    March 26, 2010

    Bride of Shrek OM in a fearless outburst said:

    ..and Gary, AFL sucks. (said as a true and devoted Rugby girl).

    Stand proud and rejoice in this evidence that AFL rots the brain.

    …………. joins the Bride in ducking and weaving to avoid the drubbing from AFL fans.

    They can be a touchy mob

  61. #61 Fil
    March 26, 2010

    @ watchingthedeniers #49

    Excellent first post. Thanks for that and the information you provide (I’m in Hobart but spent my teen years in Melbourne).

    Man, what you describe is so wrong. Why are we stuck with such crap newspapers in this country? The Mercury down here is the total pits. Oh well, at least you have the Age, although a lot of their stuff is pretty down market these days too.

    Then we have Murdoch’s right wing Australian and it’s cabal of Catholic apologists (though at least the standard of writing is mostly OK).

    Thank meatballs for the intertubes and sites such as this.

    This whole anti-science meme that has grown from the likes of US climate deniers and especially creationists (including our moronic Ken Ham of course) is very worrying.

  62. #62 Kliwon
    March 26, 2010

    I would seriously have to suspect that Ablett’s column has a ghost writer. I doubt that he could spell his own name without assistance.
    PJ, you showing a pretty good understanding of things here in Australia after such a short visit. YOur comments about Ablett and the Herals-Sun rag are spot on.

  63. #63 Timaahy
    March 26, 2010

    What an idiot… checking jars of peanut butter for signs of life. He should have been looking in cans of Pepsi.

  64. #64 James Bresnahan
    March 26, 2010

    It was Darwin, the author of the theory of evolution himself, that confessed in a letter to Ossy Gray on September 5, 1857 that “one’s imagination must fill up the very blanks”.

    Changing names to avoid accusations of plagarism = classic comedy

  65. #65 Rorschach
    March 26, 2010

    I’m actually glad the HS has published this rubbish.

    First, we get to know their true intentions without a sliver of doubt, they seem to be fine with printing screeds from uneducated morons like Ablett that essentially promulgate creationist nonsense from the 60s.
    And secondly, there can be no doubt now that with posts like the one from Bolt and this today, they are cool with religious nutters taking Australia back to the dark ages.
    The commenter @ 49 is spot on, footballers are revered over here, and some people would have read this and taken it as an argument from some sort of authority, but I don’t think that too many did.
    I think most australians have a decent common sense and don’t talk about evolution because it’s obvious to them that it’s a fact.

  66. #66 raven
    March 26, 2010

    Looks like the Australians are catching the American disease. It destroys minds and rips apart societies.

    As the disease progresses, countries start electing extreme right wing idiots as leaders and running huge budget deficits while starting pointless wars. Then the economy derails and crashes and unemployment skyrockets.

    We call it FCC, Fundie Christianity-Creationism. It has its origins in the middle east but has mutated to a much more virulent strain in the south and central USA.

    If you find a cure, let us know ASAP please. The Canadians and Ugandans don’t seem too healthy these days either.

  67. #67 Kathy Orlinsky
    March 26, 2010

    Why is new life impossible in a sealed jar? Because we are missing the most important aspect: information.

    Sounds like Ablet is doing his part to prevent new life from taking hold. No information is seeping in there.

  68. #68 Kel, OM
    March 26, 2010

    I really wish some would stop pretending that Australia (or any other country for that matter) is a beacon for rationality and thus should be embarrassed when blatant falsehoods infest the population. The problem arises when a society begins as a whole to glorify irrationality as opposed to merely tolerating it.

    When faith becomes a virtue and uninformed opinion is valued over knowledge, then there’s a problem. Until then we shouldn’t be hiding our identity because some wacko happens to wave the same flag.

  69. #69 SerenAur
    March 26, 2010

    I’m very concerned about the possibility of life evolving in a jar of V*gemite. Anything that could cope with all that gooey saltiness would be scary.

  70. #70 scooterKPFT
    March 26, 2010

    If you are concerned about life emerging from Vegemite, you need moar godittimore glutimite preservatives , otherwise it’s vent worms and amobaes wall to wall, and we’re doomed

  71. #71 AnthonyK
    March 26, 2010

    The very reason food is sealed is to keep information out

    No, silly, the information is always on the outside – it’s too difficult to read othewise.

    The reason food is sealed is to keep the food in.

    It always seem strange to me that creationists bang on about “information”, but when it’s presented to them, they reject it.

    “So why are there still monkeys?”

  72. #72 Dave
    March 26, 2010

    Clicked the link to find out the details of the alleged plagarisation and nearly shat myself when the URL popped up on screen… NSFW fail…
    Damn you Webmarshal

  73. #73 Kel, OM
    March 26, 2010

    I’m very concerned about the possibility of life evolving in a jar of V*gemite.

    I’ve had mould grow inside a jar of vegemite before. Queensland summer + jar of vegemite != mix.

  74. #74 latsot
    March 26, 2010

    OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE: I’ve got all information in me peanut butter :(

  75. #75 WowbaggerOM
    March 26, 2010

    I’ve had mould grow inside a jar of vegemite before.

    I’ve got a jar on my desk at work with a ‘Use By’ date of September 2007. It’s my own personal experiment…

  76. #76 Rorschach
    March 26, 2010

    I’ve had mould grow inside a jar of vegemite before.

    Isn’t vegemite canned mould to start with ?? I thought that was the whole idea..:-)

  77. #77 https://me.yahoo.com/a/t6aFHtwFz4YnlTFlhhjxJ_bsddc6R46rmg--#d1fa5
    March 26, 2010

    I particularly enjoy the claim that buying and opening a jar of peanut butter constitutes an “experiment”, as if everyone sends samples of their food to laboratories to examine for signs of hitherto undiscovered life. Well, I know I do!

  78. #78 Ichneumonid
    March 26, 2010

    Sam Newman may well be a lowlife idiot, but at least he doesn’t seem to have been recruited by the HUN as a science commentator (yet).

    The fact that this appeared as a 2 page, ad free article appals me. Still Andrew Bolt does write for the same journal…

  79. #79 Kel, OM
    March 26, 2010

    Isn’t vegemite canned mould to start with ?

    Pretty sure it is.

    What I never got about the Peanut Butter argument is that peanut butter is made from life to begin with. Life comes from that, and well, you have life. Nevermind the unrealistic expectation of spontaneous generation (let alone spontaneous generation of a macroscopic object).

    And the real irony of it all is that form of spontaneous generation they say should happen is what they actually believe. All they are doing is taking out God and expecting evolution to work how they thought God did. No wonder they call evolution magic, they think it’s magic without a magician!

  80. #80 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnmfT6aBFwl3MgiYcsQJa_mnknTQi96v7s
    March 26, 2010

    Wouldn’t it have been great if when he opened the peanut butter jar the Alien jumped out and stuck to his face and put him into the incubation phase?

  81. #81 watchingthedeniers
    March 26, 2010

    Ablett is fast becoming a laughing stock – people should read the comments for the story. Sure there are a few brave creationists trying to fly the flag, but he is being ripped to shreds.

    I’m sure the editors of The HUN are kicking themselves… say, did we just make a laughing stock of ourselves on a global stage?

  82. #82 Arancaytar
    March 26, 2010

    Peanut Butter Abiogenesis must be the most hilarious creation myth I’ve ever heard (aside from Douglas Adams’ “Big-Sneeze” story).

    I’m itching to start a cult around it, or maybe suggest that the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster accept it into their canon. I suppose, however, they would prefer it being a jar of tomato sauce.

  83. #83 Snoof
    March 26, 2010

    Isn’t vegemite canned mould to start with ?? I thought that was the whole idea…

    It’s yeast, damnit! YEAST!

  84. #84 Rorschach
    March 26, 2010

    people should read the comments for the story

    I have, and am slightly disconcerted to see that the ratio of “Ablett my hero this had to be said” to “what nonsense go get some education you hypocrite fool” are roughly 50/50.I hope this is some Herald Sun sample bias.

  85. #85 spunmunkey
    March 26, 2010

    *facepalm* after reading Ablett’s drivel…

    When I was spending a lot of time in Melbourne, one of the most cherished things to see were bumper stickers declaring “Is it the truth or did you read it in the Herald Sun?” – (even Stephen Mayne remembers!) Then again – in Sydney, it was “Is it the truth or did you read it in the Telegraph?” (the NSW version of rampant jingoism)

    Agreed with the other Aussies – this country has an embarrassing heritage of letting faded sports stars clear rein to talk about anything, and treated like near mythical creatures while they do it.

    The fawning of Matthew Johns is another leading current example. The man is a despicable piece of shit – but he’s some ‘legend’ for being the procurer of his footy team…

    I sometimes entertain thoughts of leaving the country – but decided to stay, stick it out, and hope that through own actions (and with others) we can get rid of these arseholes and truly live in paradise.

  86. #87 negentropyeater
    March 26, 2010

    Kel #68,

    I think you’ll find glorified irrationality and uninformed opinion valued over knowledge everywhere. Here in France we have our fair share of this in our newspapers and the media in general, with discussions about the benefits of homeopathy, the glorification of astrology or other superstitious woo.

    Still I don’t think a major French newspaper would ever be interested in publishing a 2 page article about a footballer voicing a directly anti-science anti-atheist diatribe. We have a few odd evolution deniers but they don’t have much voice in the media, the tabloid press is almost inexistent, and footballers generally avoid to talk about much other things than football and certainly don’t comment on scientific or religious matters. It just doesn’t fit here.

  87. #88 Cerberus
    March 26, 2010

    Gordon @57

    Blow raspberry.

    I don’t care what you say, this is still the only real men’s pro-level Australian football league.

    Also this is the real American football league. The NFL is rugby with pads.

    Join Bride of Shrek in the running.

  88. #89 negentropyeater
    March 26, 2010

    Peanut Butter Abiogenesis must be the most hilarious creation myth I’ve ever heard

    I think Ablett and all these other nutcases will certainly agree with that. The funny thing is that they don’t understand that their own creation myths are no less ridiculous.

    If God could create life out of nothing, why couldn’t he create a moronic footballer out of Peanut Butter ?

  89. #90 John Morales
    March 26, 2010

    Cerberus, what are you on about?

    Ablett was a football God, and Aussie Rules.

  90. #91 John Morales
    March 26, 2010
  91. #92 MultiTool
    March 26, 2010

    Even if life could abiogenate in pure peanut butter, the argument is way off scale.

    To equal what Earth had done, you’d need a whole planet made of peanut butter, left on the shelf for a half billion years.

    I want to visit that planet.

    Can you imagine aliens made of peanut butter? Our own cells are filled with cytoplasm, making us the jelly people; they could be our soul mates.

  92. #93 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    March 26, 2010

    Okay, but if you open up the jar and stick a firm chocolate bar into the soft, yielding peanut butter, you will eventually get a bunch of little halfbreed cups.

    Is it just me, or did it suddenly get warmer in here?

  93. #94 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 26, 2010

    Every time I eat a peanut butter sandwich I’m eating the evolutionary beginning of another creationist.

  94. #95 aratina cage
    March 26, 2010

    Nepenthe #14,

    I haven’t seen you around here before, but that is a Molly-worthy comment. Thanks!

  95. #96 aratina cage
    March 26, 2010

    All they are doing is taking out God and expecting evolution to work how they thought God did. No wonder they call evolution magic, they think it’s magic without a magician!
    -Kel #80

    Well said, Kel, as usual. It is hard enough to try and figure out how Uri Geller bends spoons (if you haven’t heard it explained by The Amazing Randi), but nobody would believe a spoon can bend itself without a magician acting on it. That’s just ludicrous!

  96. #97 Hurin
    March 26, 2010

    The very reason food is sealed is to keep information out, it’s only if and when the seal is broken that a contamination can occur because information has got inside the jar!

    Oh NOes!!! I left my triscuits open last night and now they are full of INFORMATIONS!!!! I should have crockoducks in my apartment any minute now…

  97. #98 shonny
    March 26, 2010

    Maybe it’s the football ? they play without the heavy armor American footballers wear, so maybe he’s got brain damage.

    Nope, with Aussie footy players there’s no brain to damage. Just watch the moronic game for 5 minutes.
    These players are some of the worst thugs in Oz, both on and off the field.
    Fortunately neither of my boys were ever involved in the primitive brawl where the term ‘sport’ is a gross misnomer.
    Rugby ain’t much better, but at least fun to watch. And then there’s cricket, which is the art of enjoying to watch grass growing (as nothing much else is happening).

  98. #99 https://me.yahoo.com/a/sM_Gcix31tU34ZhN5ibQPE8k9iNp#04998
    March 26, 2010

    Hey! You got your Jesus in my peanut butter! MMMmmm Jesus peanut butter cups…

  99. #100 https://me.yahoo.com/a/lb76jCwX3OIskpBoxh5QSPtoFV00C5RkObM-#7f1ba
    March 26, 2010

    I’ve actually watched “A Question of Origins” and it’s pretty god damn terrible. It actually resulted in an argument with my room mate, where I picked apart the video, and he backlashed by asking such crippling questions as “If we evolved from apes, why are they still here?” Then, he tried to tell me that I was wrong, on the basis that he’s taken more biology classes than I have (he’s a 5th year senior, I’m a freshman.)

    The stuff I deal with in my own living space…

  100. #101 No go(o)d
    March 26, 2010

    Maybe it’s the football ? they play without the heavy armor American footballers wear,

    Er…no, it’s rugby, not american football PZ!

  101. #102 No go(o)d
    March 26, 2010

    Maybe it’s the football ? they play without the heavy armor American footballers wear
    Er…no, of course not, this is Rugby, not american football PZ!

  102. #103 Alverant
    March 26, 2010

    And again we see the tired lame “evolution says life came from X” reasoning from the creationists. It doesn’t. Evolution starts when life began and not before. Where life came from is a separate thing. We can’t stop hammering that point. It shows that creationists don’t really know what they’re talking about. If they can’t get the definition of evolution right, how can their criticisms have any validity?

  103. #104 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 26, 2010

    No go(o)d, Aussie Rules Football (AFL) =/= rugby.

  104. #105 Matt Penfold
    March 26, 2010

    I once had the pleasure of watching Wigan totally stuff Brisbane in the Rugby League World Club Championship game.

  105. #106 Ewan R
    March 26, 2010

    The Herald Sun apparently keeps things balanced though.

    There’s a half page article in the sports pages on Aussie rules football by Richard Dawkins. It equally makes very little sense.

  106. #107 toth
    March 26, 2010

    keep information out

    It all makes sense now.

  107. #108 Carlie
    March 26, 2010

    Then, he tried to tell me that I was wrong, on the basis that he’s taken more biology classes than I have (he’s a 5th year senior, I’m a freshman.)

    As an associate professor of biology, I can attest to the fact that your roommate is full of shit.

  108. #109 Thorne
    March 26, 2010

    @ Bride of Shrek OM #7:

    (said as a true and devoted Rugby girl).

    Gotta love those Rugby girls. They … scrum!

  109. #110 Lynna, OM
    March 26, 2010

    Thanks, PZ. I come back to Pharyngula after a nice hiatus hiking in Utah, only to find one of my fellow Idahoans waxing stupid about peanut butter.

    Our man, Chuck Missler, pinged my “white supremacist” radar, so I looked him up. For just one example, scroll down on this page to the Chuck Missler subheader, and there his white supremacist glory is unfurled.To his peanut-butter brain we can add the Idaho virtues of patriotism run wildly amuck, conspiracy theories copulating, and manic muddy thoughts of dirty socialist government deeds:

    Christian speaker Chuck Missler, founder of Koinonia House, a ministry based in Idaho, is a major bridge between Christianity and the patriot/militia movement. His Personal Update newsletter has carried several articles promoting NWO antigovernment conspiracy theories. The July 1995 issue even strongly suggested the possibility that the government blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City.47 Missler believes America is no longer in a contest between the Democrats and Republicans but between “the Constitutionalists . . . and the global socialists who are pursuing the dream of the New World Order.”
         Personal Update information is allegedly produced through Missler?s “extensive contacts and private sources” so that a “behind-the-scenes perspective of the major issues” can be given. Some of Missler?s “contacts,” however, are tied directly to the white supremacist movement. The November 1995 issue of Personal Update not only quotes from, but expresses thanks to and gives the address of, the “American Patriot Fax Network… and ?The Spotlight'”….
         Missler?s use of information from Spotlight, and his recommendation of it as a news resource, is even more disturbing than his use of the Patriot Fax Network. Besides being factually unreliable, Spotlight is notorious for racist articles and advertisements. A survey of Spotlight articles from January 1994 through June 1995 reveals that the paper?s main purpose is not only to propagate NWO conspiracy theories but also to link them to racist/anti-Semitic views.

    There’s a torrent download of Chuck’s apocalyptic ranting (October, 2009) available here Excerpt:

    Midweek. Antichrist from America has been resurrected from the dead. Armies of America and Western Europe have invaded and now occupy Israel and the Middle East. Antichrist causes sacrifices to cease. Makes temple desolate by saying he is God, Daniel 9:27, 12:11. Antichrist or beast given power over all nations, and persecutes the saints, Revelation 13:7. Jesus comes in 1,260 days…

    And peanut butter jars the world over open to release the new life they have been hording — these evolved lifeforms gather in northern Idaho to feast on the stuff oozing from Chuck W.

  110. #111 fishnguy
    March 26, 2010

    I live in Idaho and can tell you all that, unfortunately the state is crowded with these clowns. I meet them all the time, and thoroughly enjoy discussing their silly beliefs with them. If I had a dolar for everytime I hear the hackneyed Second Law of Thermodynamics argument I could buy a new five weight flyrod. I usually ask them to explain that law to me and the conversation goes down hill for them quickly. I also take the time to tell them they need to think about why and who is diseminating these falsehoods. A sad example for such “godly” folks to set.

  111. #112 raven
    March 26, 2010

    A survey of Spotlight articles from January 1994 through June 1995 reveals that the paper?s main purpose is not only to propagate NWO conspiracy theories but also to link them to racist/anti-Semitic views.

    Idaho is the headquarters for the American nazi groups and the white supremacists, particularly the Christian Identity ones. They’ve been lying low since they got hammered by the cops for some of their activities and a lot of them are real quiet about their membership.

    It is very likely that Chuck Missler is either a member of Christian Identity/US nazis or a sympathizer.

  112. #113 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 26, 2010

    It is very likely that Chuck Missler is either a member of Christian Identity/US nazis or a sympathizer.

    Does he live near Coeur d’ Alene?

  113. #114 AnthonyK
    March 26, 2010

    It’s not peanut butter, it’s ‘nut butter.
    However…from now on, I’m going to keep a couple of jars, one sealed, and “information-free”, and another open, so the information can get in, just to see which one produces life first.
    How long should I wait for, do you think?
    Prooper science, eh?

  114. #115 raven
    March 26, 2010

    google screen:

    Chuck MisslerChuck Missler, with a natural aptitude for all things technical, … So, Chuck and Nancy moved Koinonia House to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho where they are able to …
    http://www.raptureready.com/who/Chuck_Missler.html – Cached – Similar

    RBDC:

    Does he live near Coeur d’ Alene?

    Looks like it. He also seems to be a favorite of the Rapture Ready cultists.

  115. #116 AnthonyK
    March 26, 2010

    And as regards our new friend, the Aussie Rules football player, who gave a 19-year-old girl a fatal overdose of heroin, could I just ask god, on behalf of all us atheists, if he could let criminals find him before they commit their crimes?
    It’s a small ask, but quite an important one.
    Pleeeeeeese?

  116. #117 SteveM
    March 26, 2010

    Re:

    When I was spending a lot of time in Melbourne, one of the most cherished things to see were bumper stickers declaring “Is it the truth or did you read it in the Herald Sun?” – (even Stephen Mayne remembers!) Then again – in Sydney, it was “Is it the truth or did you read it in the Telegraph?” (the NSW version of rampant jingoism)

    Where oh where are the, “Is it the truth or did you hear it on FoxNews?” bumper stickers?

  117. #118 Thorne
    March 26, 2010

    Saw a great bumper sticker this morning.

    “Jesus is Coming! Try to look busy!”

    Works for me.

  118. #119 Crommunist
    March 26, 2010

    Submitted a comment on the Herald website, and got this message:

    “…Feedback will be rejected if it does not add to a debate, or is a purely personal attack, or is offensive, repetitious, illegal or meaningless, or contains clear errors of fact.”

    Comments are apparently held to a higher standard than the articles they publish.

  119. #120 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 26, 2010

    Looks like it. He also seems to be a favorite of the Rapture Ready cultists.

    Seem like a lot of the time I hear about Idaho wackos they are up there in that part of the state.

  120. #121 tsg
    March 26, 2010

    The very reason food is sealed is to keep information out, it’s only if and when the seal is broken that a contamination can occur because information has got inside the jar!

    “Information” is the new “quantum”.

  121. #122 Celtic_Evolution
    March 26, 2010

    Does he live near Coeur d’ Alene?

    Spent some time in Coeur d’Alene many years back while on a trip to Spokane… thought it was quite beautiful… ritzy and snooty, but beautiful.

  122. #123 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 26, 2010

    Spent some time in Coeur d’Alene many years back while on a trip to Spokane… thought it was quite beautiful… ritzy and snooty, but beautiful.

    Oh it is. I love that area.

    Unfortunately so do the racist gubment hatin’ wingnuts.

  123. #124 ckitching
    March 26, 2010

    Even if a completely new lifeform did spontaneously arise in a peanut butter jar, how would you ever know? How would you distinguish it from a contaminated jar? It’s not like a furry little creature is going to pop its head out of the top of the jar when you open it. We’d be talking about microbes. Hell, you might not notice it at all, spread it on your toast, eat it, and destroy all that newly created life.

  124. #125 Bill Dauphin, OM
    March 26, 2010

    Several have already chimed in, but regarding the notion that…

    ex pitcher Bunning is a legislator

    …I’m afraid I have to say that’s in error. Jim Bunning (not merely an “ex pitcher,” BTW, but a Hall of Famer) occupieswastes space in a seat in the U.S. Senate, but in no way does he satisfy any rational definition of legislator.

  125. #126 legistech
    March 26, 2010

    It’s not like a furry little creature is going to pop its head out of the top of the jar when you open it.

    Of course that’s what would happen. Except it would be fat, having subsisted on all that peanut butter. After all, life is created in its current form and you can’t prove that’s NOT what would happen!

    j/k.

    But it would be awesome to see. Especially if the furry little creature had a mean temper and bit Missler on the nose.

    It’s just mind-boggling…still… that the guy suggests that a hermetically sealed jar of peanut butter exposed to light is in any way any kind of a reasonable approximation for the kind of conditions one might get spontaneous generation of life under any theory (except deific, I suppose a deity could create life wherever he wanted).

  126. #127 Lynna, OM
    March 26, 2010

    Speaking of the right-wing doofus types in Coeur d’Alene, there’s an excellent podcast from NPR. When Right-Wing Extremism Moves Mainstream in which Mark Potok covers the subject well. Excerpts:

    Potok points to race as one of the reasons “anti-immigrant vigilante groups [have] soared by nearly 80 percent” in the past year. He also notes a “dramatic resurgence in the Patriot movement and its paramilitary wing” in the past year ? jumping 244 percent in 2009. Potok says that these groups’ messages are increasingly moving into the mainstream.
         ”I think it’s very clear that you see ideas coming out of all kinds of sectors of the radical right, from the immigrant radical right, from the so-called Patriot groups, the militias and so on ? and you see it spreading right across the landscape at some of these Tea Party events,” he says. “I think it’s worth saying that much of this is aided and abetted by ostensibly mainstream politicians and media members.”…
         ”I think a lot of these ideas start on the radical right, but they are also being flogged endlessly by Republican officials,” he says. “Even those who are sort of considered [to be] responsible Republicans have completely abstained from any kind of criticism of this talk. So even way back when, when Sarah Palin was talking about Obama setting up death panels and so on ? what we heard was a deafening silence from the mainstream of the Republican Party.”
         A new poll from Harris interactive finds that 40 percent of American adults think that Obama is a socialist; 25 percent believe that Obama was not born in the United States and is therefore not eligible to be president; 20 percent say Obama is doing many of the things that Hitler did; 14 percent say Obama “may be the Antichrist.”
         …”The idea that people really have swallowed these stories in such enormous numbers is something remarkable. I covered, as a reporter, the militia movement in the 1990s, which really produced an extraordinary amount of criminal violence. And even back then, you did not hear this kind of talk so broadly spread through this society.”

    Potok mentions one of PZ’s favorite objects of scorn, Michelle Bachmann.

  127. #128 JBomb
    March 26, 2010

    I sure hope being a moron isn’t contagious because after watching that guy ramble I feel…stupider.

  128. #129 raven
    March 26, 2010

    It’s just mind-boggling…still… that the guy suggests that a hermetically sealed jar of peanut butter exposed to light is in any way any kind of a reasonable approximation for the kind of conditions one might get spontaneous generation of life under any theory (except deific, I suppose a deity could create life wherever he wanted).

    The Argument from Jars of Peanut Butter actually proves that god doesn’t exist.

    God is all powerful. He can do anything. A deity that can create a universe in 6 days could easily create new lifeforms in a jar of peanut butter in a microsecond. POOF!!! GODDIDIT!!!

    That no one has seen this happen or that any peanut butter derived lifeforms have appeared means that god is nonexistent. At least using fundie xian logic, that is.

  129. #130 JBomb
    March 26, 2010

    Perhaps what the man was really trying to express, was his profound disappointment that are no peanut butter aliens. Better not tell him about the tooth fairy…

  130. #131 ronsullivan
    March 26, 2010

    Coeur d’Alene has better representation here in Berkeley.

    Welcome back, Lynna!

  131. #132 Brownian, OM
    March 26, 2010

    Perhaps what the man was really trying to express, was his profound disappointment that are no peanut butter aliens.

    Oh no?

  132. #133 raven
    March 26, 2010

    …”The idea that people really have swallowed these stories in such enormous numbers is something remarkable. I covered, as a reporter, the militia movement in the 1990s, which really produced an extraordinary amount of criminal violence. And even back then, you did not hear this kind of talk so broadly spread through this society.”

    Chuck Missler, Palin, and the Xian fundie Morons are just a continuation of what happened in the 1990’s.

    The high point was when Timothy McVeigh blew up the federal building in Oklahoma and killed 168 people. Then there was Waco and a lot of white supremacists killing people here and there.

    If the wingnuts follow their usual path, violence, murder, and terrorism are likely to escalate. One guy in Pitsburgh killed 3 cops not so long ago, Roeder the xian terrorist assassinated an MD, and there have been other murders and attacks on their usual targets. Like the guy in Texas who did the Moslem suicide terrorist thing with a plane into the IRS building.

    We will have to wait and see but nothing these idiots do would surprise me.

  133. #134 Lynna, OM
    March 26, 2010

    Welcome back, Lynna!

    Thanks, Ron. :-)

    I’m working on my blog now. I’ll put photos up for your delectation and envy soon. We were alone most of the time. There were a few spring-breakers near Crack Canyon in the San Rafael Swell. No wingnuts, with the exception of a dirt road leading to a polygamist compound near Elephant Butte (south of Zion N.P., and west of Coral Pink Sand Dunes). We left the polygamists in peace and made our muddy/snowy way into the backcountry. Maybe wingnuts are not big on hiking?

  134. #135 Gregory Greenwood
    March 26, 2010

    Verily, the stupid doth burn!

    How can they even present that illogical mess with a straight face? It is sad that any (nominally) functional adult would actually present such a gross misrepresentation of the theory of evolution and call it an argument.

    Is this man stupid, or dishonest? I think this is case of a little from column A, and a little from column B. A hermetically sealed, pasteurised and possibly radiologically sterilised jar of Peanut Butter does not strike me as a particularly good analagy for the environment that was present on earth at the genesis of life 4 odd billion years ago.

    The time frame might be a tad short too, a few months set against several hundred million years should be a distinction obvious to even the meanest of intellects, but not this moron, oh no. If the idea is more sophisticated than ‘goddidit’, it sails clear over his (on current evidence, largely empty) head.

  135. #136 scooterKPFT
    March 26, 2010

    The guy transubstantiated peanut butter to Vegemite, and both go well on crackers

    Irrefutable proof of god, Jeebus CRIKEY!!!11!!

  136. #137 Chimbley Sweep
    March 26, 2010

    The bible teaches that God, the creator of everything, has, at least once, created human life out of dirt. Yet our entire agricultural industry rests on the fact that this can never happen. If we examine crust of the earth, it contains dirt, and is exposed to prayer and the will of God. But we never find new humans in the dirt, unless an existing human contaminates it.

    If the bible is viable, then I should, on occasion, buy subjecting dirt to prayer and God, end up having new humans. Now, if I go down to the church, and if two or more are gathered in his name and praying, maybe not often, but on some occasion, I should see new humans coming out of the front yard. And so, when we go to churches, and look at their yards?no new humans crawling out. And aren’t you glad? You may smile at this, but hopefully you’ll never forget it, because you and I conduct, collectively, over a billion experiments every year, and we’ve done that for virtually 6000 years, and never see new humans made out of dirt. In fact, the entire agricultural industry, of the world, depends on the fact that plowing up dirt is not going to slaughter new humans crawling out of the ground.

  137. #138 Gregory Greenwood
    March 26, 2010

    Chimbley Sweep @ 137;

    You, sir or madam, are a certified genius.

    Enjoy new nature’s bounty, now with added human parts mixed in by the sky fairy himself!

    Will of God not included. Results may vary from those shown.

  138. #139 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawlZhMUnjA9BsWP9zojf401f2aINdplmJP0
    March 26, 2010
  139. #140 alex.fairchild
    March 26, 2010

    …would face a world populated by bacteria with 4 billion years of evolutionary refinement behind them

    This is a truism in abiogenesis discussions that I believe needs further examination. What exactly about there being DNA based life currently, precludes some other system coming into being? that it would get eaten? this makes all sorts of assumptions about this new, non-DNA system being necessarily made up of yummy bacterial foodstuffs. I call bullshit. I believe it’s very significant that we’ve only seen abiogenesis happen once – it speaks to the probability of it occurring, more than anything. This tells us that abiogenesis is not a common event in the universe. Probably. :)

  140. #141 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawlZhMUnjA9BsWP9zojf401f2aINdplmJP0
    March 26, 2010

    Sorry, wrong adress…

    Biogenesis: Ur doin it wrong

  141. #142 Kel, OM
    March 26, 2010

    where I picked apart the video, and he backlashed by asking such crippling questions as “If we evolved from apes, why are they still here?”

    The Dunning Kruger is strong in this one.

  142. #143 Brownian, OM
    March 26, 2010

    @alex.fairchild:

    …would face a world populated by bacteria with 4 billion years of evolutionary refinement behind them

    This is a truism in abiogenesis discussions that I believe needs further examination. What exactly about there being DNA based life currently, precludes some other system coming into being? that it would get eaten? this makes all sorts of assumptions about this new, non-DNA system being necessarily made up of yummy bacterial foodstuffs. I call bullshit. I believe it’s very significant that we’ve only seen abiogenesis happen once – it speaks to the probability of it occurring, more than anything. This tells us that abiogenesis is not a common event in the universe. Probably. :)

    Actually, I don’t believe it’s true to say we’ve only seen abiogenesis once. We know that it happened at least once, but how many separate abiogenetic events occured in the formative millions of years of life on earth is unknown.

    The reason that it’s a good assumption that new abiogenetic events wouldn’t happen is alluded to in your comment. Life on earth, and modern bacteria especially, is very good at exploiting available energy sources. It would be extremely unlikely for newly formed protocells to find unexploited niches and colonise them. Further, they’d likely be quickly consumed by bacteria before they even formed, because things that exist today have gone through the 3.8 by crucible of evolution. They’re good at what they do.

    In short, there are few substances on earth that aren’t yummy bacterial foodstuffs, and those few things aren’t yummy because they aren’t suitable for the complex chemical reactions required by things we’d call life.

    At least, that’s my understanding. I’m no biochemist, however. Anybody with more knowledge than I is free to correct any errors I’ve made.

  143. #144 Rorschach
    March 26, 2010

    @ 137,

    If we examine crust of the earth, it contains dirt, and is exposed to prayer and the will of God. But we never find new humans in the dirt, unless an existing human contaminates it.

    That was a joke, right? Right?

  144. #145 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawlZhMUnjA9BsWP9zojf401f2aINdplmJP0
    March 26, 2010

    That was a joke, right? Right?

    I think he meant humans who are alive and spontaneously emerge.

  145. #146 Brownian, OM
    March 26, 2010

    But we never find new humans in the dirt, unless an existing human contaminates it.

    Ah, so this is the reason for the biblical prohibition against onanism: the fear that parthenogenic humans would arise and outcompete us.

  146. #147 Kirk
    March 26, 2010

    I have a teenage son who’s kind of messy, so any new life in the peanut jar would have to be bigger than, say, a raisin, before I’d notice it.

    So I think new life in peanut jars happens all the time, it’s just that it hasn’t been given enough time to grow to sufficient size for us to notice.

  147. #148 MadScientist
    March 26, 2010

    The last time I checked, evolution had nothing to say about “matter plus energy”. I also wonder just how stupid one has to be to imagine that something so complex can arise spontaneously – that’s religious thinking there. God? Yeah, he just existed. The rest of the world? God poofed that into existence in 6 days. The Empire State building? Yeah, that poofed itself into existence in an hour.

  148. #149 Krubozumo Nyankoye
    March 27, 2010

    The Herald Sun is listed as owned by News Corp. in Wikipedia.

    My reference to Bunning as a legislator was not intended to convey anything more than the formalism that he is a member of such a body.

    My reference to Numb Chuck same thing again really, when ‘reality’ is defined as whatever I happen to think it is then the WND is a newspaper and Chuck is a pundit.

    The thing is in most people’s lives, any entity with the semblance of some stature can have an influence.

    I don’t mean the people who frequent this blog. For everyone here there are thousands who might be swayed just a bit by any oft repeated lie. No matter how absurd. Any symbol of authority can be adopted, simulated, and used to both undermine the authenticity of its purpose and at the same time promote an antithetical POV. This is why for example creationism has made such an effort to rebrand itself as ID.

    I think a colloquial term for it is bait and switch. Does anyone here think it is a coincidence that Palin was published by a Murdoch property and has a soapbox on False News? That Palin makes claims such as climate science is snake oil? Next she will have a column in the WSJ. It will start with the premise that “peak oil” is snake oil.

    Is the French press tangibly more objective? I’d be interested to know, it would be enough justification to learn to speak French.

  149. #150 refrigeratorjesus
    March 27, 2010

    Why do people actually believe this shit?

  150. #151 https://me.yahoo.com/a/TjAlXZcjnN9T.rQmntwSkQFpJZQA80M-#d7c9c
    March 27, 2010

    This is the same guy that Geelong fans (Morons) called god.
    Gary has had a difficult life what with an 18 year old girl being found dead in his motel room. According to the coroner she died of a lethal cocktail of Ecstasy and Heroin.
    Did i mention his alcohol abuse?

  151. #152 'Tis Himself, OM
    March 27, 2010

    Ablett being involved in the death of a woman shouldn’t be used against him unless he’s claiming to be perfectly moral, which he isn’t.

  152. #153 Rorschach
    March 27, 2010

    Ablett being involved in the death of a woman shouldn’t be used against him unless he’s claiming to be perfectly moral, which he isn’t.

    Interesting point.
    I thought about this for a while before responding, my first response was, “rubbish, it tells you all you need to know about someone if they are involved in the death of a person under their care/watch” etc.

    But you are right, his arguments, if they deserve to be called that, should be examined on their merits, not based on his personal history.

  153. #154 ConcernedJoe
    March 27, 2010

    But tell me this all you smarty pants lib-raal hell bound scientists here in the USA: forget about your failed experiment to create life in a new unopened sterilized hermetically sealed jar of Jiffy – I’ll give you a pass on that for now – but how do you justify the government death panels and the government attack on my medicare that is baked into Obamacare?!?! Answer that you arrogant evil anti-christs!

  154. #155 ConcernedJoe
    March 27, 2010

    Point of #154 (because I am not a competent satirist): RWA wired people will do about anything (even cut off their nose to spite their face) and believe anything (even the silly, the illogical, and/or the easily falsified) to defend their beliefs. And anyone against their beliefs (their imprinted mental model of the world and/or their leaders and/or their accepted status quo) is by their definition: evil.

  155. #156 Graeme Bird
    March 27, 2010

    PZ do you not consider the problems with DNA getting going as not having pretty large implications?

    Since all knowledge is holistic, I would have thought that if we were unable to show clearly how DNA could get started, this would have implications in other areas of science.

    For example if the idea of DNA getting going from scratch is just too hard an ask, then this may imply that the rather baseless theory of the big bang doesn’t have a lot going for it. This may imply that the universe is far older, and that evolution is not a single-planet, single-solar-system affair.

    Your explanation doesn’t really sound altogether satisfying.

  156. #157 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 27, 2010

    Graeme Bird, if you are positing the need for a deity, you need to show conclusive physical evidence for the deity first. Otherwise, all you have is blather.

    Your explanation is meaningless.

  157. #158 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    March 27, 2010

    Nerd: I think Graeme is arguing for an eternal universe and panspermia.

  158. #159 Graeme Bird
    March 27, 2010

    Yes I’m an atheist as well. I don’t know about eternal universe. Although I would suspect it is the case, I wouldn’t think science is in a position to trace matters back that far.

    One reason why the grip of religion is still so strong might be because the “scientists” are doing such a hash job of things. To leave this mystery of how DNA got started, and not to draw great implications from it, would seem to suggest that science now lacks curiosity. Scientists that aren’t curious are about as useful as …. well you can think of the comparisons.

    Science is doing a rotten job. With barely concealed creationism, like the big bang, and really very stupid philosophies, based around the cult of personality, like special relativity, it puts scientists in a very weak position to criticise the religiously minded. Since it shows scientists up to be religiously minded as well.

    A very terrible indictment is this global warming cult. For which no justifiable scientific evidence has been forthcoming. Absolutely no evidence that could justify cost-imposition has been submitted. Yet it still rolls on without much in the way of internal protest from the specialists involved.

    I listened to some of the atheists conference on our ABC. In the snippets I caught none of the speakers blaming their own institutions failure to live up to its own ideals. This is something of an oversight. But then I didn’t attend the conference, and am yet to listen to all the tapes.

  159. #160 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 27, 2010

    To leave this mystery of how DNA got started, and not to draw great implications from it, would seem to suggest that science now lacks curiosity.

    Ever heard of abiogenesis? It is being looked into. Pieces of that puzzle are already in place, and the rest is being slowly investigated. It actually isn’t as hard as you think for the basic building blocks of life to be present, nor for them to start condensing and forming chains.

  160. #161 Graeme Bird
    March 27, 2010

    Go ahead and make that argument if you can.

  161. #162 Cam
    March 27, 2010

    I was proud that the atheist convention was held in Melbourne in fact had I have know beforehand I would have given some thought to attending (Aussie based in UK). The post conference press is mortifying. To the rest of the world, I apologise. Ablett writing anything is like trying some kind of telepathic connection with your own poo. Have I reached nirvana?….. Yes Gary, there’s a good boy…….

  162. #163 Krubozumo Nyankoye
    March 27, 2010

    #159 LOL

    “… based around the cult of personality, like special relativity, …”

    Why did you omit general relativity?

    Ever used a GPS?

  163. #164 djwray
    March 28, 2010

    There is in fact a lot of intelligence in his article. It offers insights into today’s society that supposedly intelligent people are blissfully unaware of. BTW Your website is unintelligent. The Register/Login process populates the user name with an email address.

    D J Wray
    Packaged Evolution: The Intelligent Universe
    http://www.atotalawareness.com/documents/packagedevolution.pps
    “Richard Dawkins, your clockwork view of the universe is matched by your clockwork view of the brain because you don?t understand the influence of language and free will.”

  164. #165 Rorschach
    March 28, 2010

    Lunatic @ 164,

    from your “website” :

    It refers to our universe as a home-grown universe and it draws extraordinary parallels between God, man, woman, earth, the universe, the brain and the Internet.

    Well kwok me sideways with a Leica rangefinder, I can’t wait to see that powerpoint presentation showing the parallels between god, woman, and the internet !!

  165. #166 Kel, OM
    March 28, 2010

    Science is doing a rotten job. With barely concealed creationism, like the big bang, and really very stupid philosophies, based around the cult of personality, like special relativity, it puts scientists in a very weak position to criticise the religiously minded. Since it shows scientists up to be religiously minded as well.

    Just because evidentially science failed you (you have looked at where scientific research has been and came up with that?), it doesn’t mean that science has failed anyway. Do you even understand why the Big Bang model is supported by modern physicists? Do you honestly think that scientists aren’t working on ideas of abiogenesis?

    Evidentially being an atheist doesn’t stop one from being a moron.

  166. #167 Kel, OM
    March 28, 2010

    http://www.atotalawareness.com/documents/packagedevolution.pps

    Wow, just wow.

    As a brief summary, according to this model, a seizure can result from the recurring dilemma of not explaining a problem because it can?t be explained. The situation arises while thinking about explaining the problem¹ to somebody (a ?therapist?) who might be able to help. The poor human brain confuses thinking with speaking and can?t cope.

    Stuff like that just speaks for itself!

  167. #168 Rorschach
    March 28, 2010

    What is this thread, weirdo’s day out ?

    Bird the confused@ 159,

    Yes I’m an atheist as well.

    I have seen no evidence of this in any of your statements so far.You seem more like a person confused about a lot of things and lacking knowledge in basic education.

    With barely concealed creationism, like the big bang

    Say what ? Go read up about creationism then look back at what you wrote and realise why you can’t be taken seriously.

    and really very stupid philosophies, based around the cult of personality, like special relativity

    Gee, where to start? Read up on what a philosophy is, then read up on what a scientific theory is, and realise that they are not the same.

    I listened to some of the atheists conference on our ABC. In the snippets I caught none of the speakers blaming their own institutions failure to live up to its own ideals.

    Which institutions are you referring to, and what are those “ideals” you talk about? Much noise, very weak signal in your posts.

  168. #169 John Morales
    March 28, 2010

    Graeme @156

    Since all knowledge is holistic [blah]

    I call bullshit.

    Care to sustain this claim about all knowledge being holistic?

    What’s your definition of ‘knowledge’ and of ‘holism’, anyway?

  169. #170 Kel, OM
    March 28, 2010

    More wonders from the slides:

    Random mutation cannot explain the emergence of complex, highly structured software. Even after millions of generations the software (computing) would be completely useless. It cannot be developed randomly one line at a time.

    Random mutation would make the software worse almost every time. It would be like trying to get a trained monkey to randomly type out the complete works of Shakespeare (without knowing when to stop). To make matters worse, the software has to be structured. After each attempt, the monkey?s mistakes are released into the universe, ready to ?enjoyed? by intelligent creatures.

    During early pregnancy the reincarnation (installation) begins.

    An attachment is made to the brain, followed by the installation of a package that completes as the brain matures, providing the brain with the functions and apparatus required to think using language and to communicate using language.

    You can’t make this stuff up!

  170. #171 desertfroglet
    March 28, 2010

    Good grief! D J Wray (@164) is another Australian. A New South Welshman, by the look of things. Makes a welcome change from the SE Qld nutbaggery.

  171. #172 truth machine, OM
    March 28, 2010

    Evidentially being an atheist doesn’t stop one from being a moron.

    There was never any reason to expect otherwise. There’s a tendency in these parts to reason by denial of the antecedent: If one is religious, then one is irrational. X is not religious. Therefore (fallacy) X is not irrational.

    Random mutation would make the software worse almost every time.

    Well, yeah … if there were no fitness function. I wonder if the fools who make this sort of claim have ever played gin rummy.

  172. #173 truth machine, OM
    March 28, 2010

    You can’t make this stuff up!

    Well, someone did.

  173. #174 Rorschach
    March 28, 2010

    There’s a tendency in these parts to reason by denial of the antecedent:

    Is there ever. It was also on view at the GAC in the Q&A’s fwiw, quite to my annoyance.

  174. #175 Graeme Bird
    March 29, 2010

    “Care to sustain this claim about all knowledge being holistic?

    Holy shit. The stupid just doesn’t bottom out here.

  175. #176 brett coster
    March 29, 2010

    While I agree wholeheartedly that Gary Ablett’s article was a pile of crap, and that the Hun has descended to levels I’d never thought it would plumb, here’s a reminder to people just why Gary Ablett was known as God (on the footy field).

    GAblett Highlights

    Note: He wears number 35 in the piss and poo colours of Hawthorn initially, and then number 5 in the glorious blue and white hoops of the Mighty Geelong Cats.

    Fortunately his son, Gary Ablett Jr (now rarely referred to as SOG – son of god), is not only an amazing footballer but seems to be a far more balanced person than his seriously flawed father.

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