Pharyngula

Quick, here’s a distraction!

It’s strange, but over the weekend we’ve had several threads top out over the magical 666 comment mark that I use as a signal to kill threads. There’s the ever-expanding endless thread, of course, but also the Sins of omission thread, which is now being closed, and the These guys are dangerous nuts thread, which bloomed into chaos thanks to the wild and wacky Graeme Bird, who now, temporarily, has his own thread (I anticipate an imminent flameout and permanent eviction).

Is it possible that one thread no longer has the capacity to contain the raging ebullience of Pharyngulistas? You’re worrying me, people!

Comments

  1. #1 Glen Davidson
    March 29, 2010

    Proof of god, of course, cause, you know, only minds deal with numbers.

    Hey, it’s at least as good as Meyer’s “uh, only minds are known to create codes” so god created DNA, when DNA is one hell of a counterexample to an intelligently created code (DNA and its code and gene organization differ functionally from usual codes like C++ precisely in their evolvability).

    But you know, god, because some people can’t think through any other “possibilities.”

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  2. #2 Aquaria
    March 29, 2010

    Come on, PZ–we’re social animals.

    At least we’re quieter than the average party. I had to quit going to those because non-music noise hurts my head. And sometimes the music can, too.

    My hypothesis is that having children triggers an aversion to noise.

  3. #3 cicely
    March 29, 2010

    Bacon.

    And, Walton, *applause* for your brief last-thread summary. (Aspirating mint-water is not recommended.)

  4. #4 Celtic_Evolution
    March 29, 2010

    I anticipate an imminent flameout and permanent eviction

    Oh, sweet cheeses I hope so… the entertainment value was squelched about 200 posts ago and now he’s simply masturbating… I think it’s time…

  5. #5 Sven DiMilo
    March 29, 2010

    Dr. Myers: Please do not consider attempting anything foolhardy like a 3-way anastomosation. Thank you.

    Did the Thread die?

    *chuckles in a condescending and world-weary manner while ruefully* shaking head slowly from side to side*

    My forebearance is a good thing

    Me and Inigo Montoya think that this word does not mean what PZ, Josh, and Bill Dauphin (!) seem to think it means. Who can show us our error?

    did anyone else notice that Not Exactly Rocket Science and Gene Expression moved to Discover?

    Huh. I had not. So that’s what Yong’s been teasing.

    I’ll refrain from commenting on the latter,

    Aw. Puh-leeeeeeze?

    but the former is a loss.

    A loss to whom? The Borg? Who gives a shit? Yong still pops up on my screen when I want him to. I certainly don’t consider the other Borg bloggers to be “on my team” in any way.

  6. #6 Givesgoodemail
    March 29, 2010

    I had an interesting experience in the last 24 hours.

    It’s nice to give a portion of your intellectual a reboot occasionally. Keeps the memory leaks from getting out of hand.

  7. #7 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 29, 2010

    Goody, smaller threads actually load reasonably on my !#$$%^ work computer.

  8. #8 Sastra
    March 29, 2010

    Awwww. Ok, I wondered why my last response wouldn’t post.

    Just because I bothered to write it, I’m going to put it here, and then have done, because I suspect the good Thomist Daniel won’t follow:

    Daniel Smith #794 wrote:

    The fifth way is taken from the governance of the world. We see that things which lack intelligence, such as natural bodies, act for an end, and this is evident from their acting always, or nearly always, in the same way, so as to obtain the best result. Hence it is plain that not fortuitously, but designedly, do they achieve their end.

    I think everyone — especially Paul — has pretty thoroughly addressed this, but I do want to point out that the fifth argument is generally considered the weakest, because it notoriously begs the question, assuming its own conclusion. Do natural bodies act for an end? We look, and we see they do act for an end. Whatever happens, is what was supposed to happen — or else it wouldn’t have happened.

    And, because it was supposed to have happened, then it is the best result. How do we know it was the best result? Because it happened the way it was supposed to. And round and round, in a circle. The phrases “for an end” and “best result” smuggle teleology right into the description of the observations.

    I’m really surprised you (or anyone) would think this the most persuasive of the five arguments. Maybe it’s the best because it achieves its end, which is being the best, so that the end achieved is what we see, which we do.

    This is nothing more than the vacuous pop spirituality mantra of “everything happens for a reason,” clothed in ancient syntax.

    I’ll also ask that you consider how to answer the question posed by Knockgoats and Feynmaniac: how would rocks have to behave, for you to conclude that they were NOT acting with intention? Or, if you’d rather, what would have to happen, for you to draw the conclusion that hey, it looks like everything doesn’t happen “for a reason?”

  9. #9 Sven DiMilo
    March 29, 2010

    oops, forgot the referentially humorous tossed-off footnote:

    *on account of it keeps cats away

    [Anthology Editor of the Future: please append this to comment #5 above. Thank you.]

  10. #10 vanharris
    March 29, 2010

    Aquaria, i guess having kids either sensitizes one to noise or else it has the opposite effect, or even leaves one’s sensitivity just the same as before. Hmmmm.

    But I’m with you on avoiding parties because of the non-music noise. It’s as crazy as religion! But as you say, as a species, we’re social animals.

  11. #11 Sven DiMilo
    March 29, 2010

    Gah!!! He did explicitly anastomosize the SoO thread to this one!

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/03/sins_of_omission.php#comment-2387682

    damn it

  12. #12 Sili
    March 29, 2010

    You’re worrying me, people!

    Pay sucks, but somebody has to do it.

    Props for breaking Sven’s brain again.

  13. #13 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    March 29, 2010

    @Sven:

    Me and Inigo Montoya think that this word does not mean what PZ, Josh, and Bill Dauphin (!) seem to think it means.

    OK Sven, I’m officially confused. Help me out? I know I used the word recently in a comment. . .but I can’t figure out what you mean.

  14. #14 No go(o)d
    March 29, 2010

    My hypothesis is that having children triggers an aversion to noise.

    In my particular case, having children triggers an aversion to simple, plain stupidity. Oh, and also, to nutheads that waste my time! So PZ, do permanently evict this idiot, pleaaaaaase!

  15. #15 SC OM
    March 29, 2010

    Sorry, Sven. You don’t get to claim on the one hand that you’ve ceased arguing on the blog and aren’t to be taken seriously in general and then on the other expect people to put time into writing serious responses to your posts. Or at least to expect me to. I have no patience for it. On a related note, if you’re going to go out of your way to snipe at people’s field of study and justify it on the grounds that you’re an asshole, expect them to believe you.

  16. #16 Sven DiMilo
    March 29, 2010

    Hi Josh; I was just recently taking to you over, uh, here on the krazy train.

    I can’t figure out what you mean.

    Well, it’s the damndest thing, because it looks like the right word, and it functions fine as that word, but something bugged me about it, and then when I looked it up, all I was finding was weird technical meanings in law and finance, and I doubted.

    But, OK, now I looked it up again and there it is meaning what it means.
    My bad.

    No ‘e’ on ‘for’ though; “forbearance”.

    I’ll shut up now.

  17. #17 'Tis Himself, OM
    March 29, 2010

    From dictionary.com:

    forbearance, n. 1. The act of forbearing.

    2. Tolerance and restraint in the face of provocation; patience. See Synonyms at patience.

    3. The quality of being forbearing.

    4. Law The act of a creditor who refrains from enforcing a debt when it falls due.

  18. #18 Sastra
    March 29, 2010

    Oh, by the way, on the now-defunct “Sins of Omission” thread commenter R. David Dawson just pointed out a new article in some magazine called The New American. It specifically calls out PZ, complaining about the arrogant inadequacy of his “Courtier’s Reply” rebuttal to the very devastating theological arguments for the existence of God, posed by such luminaries as St. Thomas of Aquinas.

    http://www.american.com/archive/2010/march/the-new-philistinism

    Well, suppose you confront a New Atheist with the overwhelming evidence that his ?objections? to Aquinas (or whomever) are about as impressive as the fundamentalist?s ?chicken/egg? objection to evolution. What?s he going to do? Tell the truth? ?Fine, so I don?t know the first thing about Aquinas. But I?m not going to let that stop me from criticizing him! Nyah nyah!? Even for a New Atheist, that has its weaknesses from a PR point of view. But now, courtesy of Myers, he?s got a better response: ?Oh dear, oh dear ? not the Courtier?s Reply!? followed by some derisive chuckling.

    The writer misses the point, of course: the fundamentalist preacher is dismissing a scientific theory without taking on the science. Dawkins and other so-called new atheists are not refuting philosophical arguments: they are making a scientific case against the existence of God.

    And they are resisting the attempt to pull the argument back into the area of philosophy. God is not metaphysical principle we reason our way to in our heads; its a failed hypothesis.

  19. #19 blf
    March 29, 2010

    My hypothesis is that having children triggers an aversion to noise.

    Is having children is required? The fecking things being anywhere in the vicinity does it for me rather often… I’ve been known to stick my head in a speaker at concerts, so it’s not volume per se which irks me, but there’s something about the sounds children can make which can be bit irksome, and might be (in my case) more frequent than normal?

    This should not be construed as I don’t like kids. Roasted, they’re fine…  ;-)

  20. #20 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    March 29, 2010

    Sven:

    Hi Josh; I was just recently taking to you over, uh, here on the krazy train.

    Whoops. . missed the krazy train post (it’s busy in here with all teh krazy threads). Oh, and yeah, sorry for taking what you wrote there seriously – sometimes my sarcasm meter gets broken:)

    On forbearance – damn, I hate making spelling errors (but do appreciate being corrected on them)!

  21. #21 PZ Myers
    March 29, 2010

    Sorry, Sven. Threads are complicated, we can’t just have everything linear and straightforward, you know.

    I’m also considering closing the Graeme Bird thread and sending the refugees here. But they’ve held me off for a little while longer, at least.

    At least I’m making the effort of roping them all together. What happens to the stats if the traffic starts busting out into multiple mega-threads all at once, as seems to have been happening the last few days?

  22. #22 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 29, 2010

    You’re worrying me, people!

    :D I’m not social at all in meatspace; on the net, however…paaarty!

    Now, where’s the bacon? We’ve been bacon deficient lately.

  23. #23 PZ Myers
    March 29, 2010

    Oh, and moi? Misspell forbearance? Look again.

    (Sometimes it is good to be the king, with puissant powers of post-editing.)

  24. #24 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 29, 2010

    Oh please, great tentacles in the watery depths, I beg you, don’t let this thread become infested with game bird. Pleeaase.

  25. #25 Sven DiMilo
    March 29, 2010

    What happens to the stats if the traffic starts busting out into multiple mega-threads all at once, as seems to have been happening the last few days?

    Dr. Peter Venkman: This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.

    Mayor: What do you mean, “biblical”?
    Dr Ray Stantz: What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath of God type stuff.
    Dr. Peter Venkman: Exactly.
    Dr Ray Stantz: Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!
    Dr. Egon Spengler: Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes…
    Winston Zeddemore: The dead rising from the grave!
    Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!

    To which I can only add:
    Atonal music!!!!!

  26. #26 PZ Myers
    March 29, 2010

    You are not discouraging me from unleashing chaos on the threads, you know.

  27. #27 Sili
    March 29, 2010

    By all means go ahead and cross the streamsthreads then.

    *muah-hah-hah*

  28. #28 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    March 29, 2010

    Atonal music!!!!!

    Oh my goodness that hurt (runs about the room desperately looking for a diatonic scale).

  29. #29 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Scholar of Shen Zhou
    March 29, 2010

    Nam/G?i Cu?n/summer roll

    4 rice wafers (rice paper, tapioca sheet)
    4-8 prawns and/or cooked pork or chicken meat
    cooked vermicelli (thin rice noodles)
    1 cucumber, sliced into fingers
    4 leaves of lettuce
    2 leaves of Chinese cabbage, halved lengthways
    fresh herbs, to taste (e.g. coriander, basil, mint. I use Houttuynia since it’s growing like an invasive species in my back yard.)
    a bowl of warm water

    Dip a rice wafer into the warm water and remove immediately when it is wet. If you don’t you may end up tearing the wafer.
    Lay the rice wafer on a plate
    Arrange a portion of the ingredients near the edge of the rice wafer in a neat pile, with the fingers of cucumber roughly parallel to the edge of the wafer
    Fold the edge of the wafer over the pile of ingredients, and roll it over once
    Fold the sides of the wafer inwards, to close of the ends of the roll you just made
    Roll the wafer up the rest of the way, to enclose the roll completely
    you can eat it just then or wait.

    You can eat it with a sauce. It can be purchased, or if you are willing you can mix fish sauce with roasted peanuts, sugar, and perhaps som garlic. That’s usaully the one I use, though I never mix it myself.

    Also, sorry if you can’t find some of this stuff, since most of it is imported and specialized as Asian cuisine.

  30. #30 Kel, OM
    March 29, 2010

    But the fifth way establishes (if correct) that mind comes before matter.

    So you will agree to get your brain removed to support this?

  31. #31 negentropyeater
    March 29, 2010

    Chuck Norris writessermons in WorldNutDaily:

    (nothing new, but it’s a super-concentrate of stupidity and ignorance)
    I believe in the resurrection of America

    Our founders had a far better solution than government. And it’s probably a good time, during this peak of citizens’ frustration (and also being Christendom’s Holy Week), to remind Americans that, though our founders initiated our government, they didn’t expect it to usher in any form of utopia. As proud as they were about their republic, their hope was not in government, but in God. For what? Most of the things that people today often look to government for: life, liberty, happiness, salvation, decency, civility, morality, honesty, restraint, equity of power and future hope, to name a few. Tragically, government has usurped God’s role in our republic and Americans’ lives.

    But if our government and even public schools won’t remind Americans of our godly heritage (and hence the way out of this national mess), who will? The answer: we patriots. The least we can do is to remember and recall to others the Creator’s place in our republic, in hope of reawakening just one more American, especially during this Easter week.

    To our founders, God was the source of our human rights, which put limits on government power. Most of all, God was (and should be) the ultimate agent for national renewal. We are dreaming if we think we can correct the ills in ourselves, our government or our society without His aid.

    If America has lost its way, its heart, its moral compass, the answer is to return to the old path, the path followed by our founders who put God first, trusting in Him ? not big government ? to be our salvation. In fact, the most important action you and I can take is to do that in our own lives: to put God first and raise up a new generation of decent, law-abiding, people-loving and God-fearing citizens.

    I wonder if good ol’ Chuck isn’t going to be candidate to the presidency of the Godly States of America.

  32. #33 Sili
    March 29, 2010

    Ah!

    Turns out I had the wrong coördinates in Heavens Above.

    Today I saw a proper Iridium flare – much more impressive.

  33. #34 Bill Dauphin, OM
    March 29, 2010

    PZ:

    Sometimes it is good to be the king, with puissant powers of post-editing.

    I don’t suppose you could use your pissantpuissant powers to correct my version of the same error, could you?

  34. #35 Carlie
    March 29, 2010

    I posted this near the end of the old thread, so if no one minds I’ll ask again in the bright sniny new one – any recommendations on blog hosts that are privacy-conscious? I’m about 90% of the way to convinced to delete my facebook, and was thinking of having my own space.

  35. #36 dNorrisM
    March 29, 2010

    31 says:

    I wonder if good ol’ Chuck isn’t going to be candidate to the presidency of the Godly States of America.

    I hope he’ll settle for the Godly Country of Texas.”

  36. #37 Aquaria
    March 29, 2010

    But I’m with you on avoiding parties because of the non-music noise. It’s as crazy as religion!

    Another reason why I hate parties is because I have an APD which often makes it hard for me to distinguish the words that people are saying, especially in loud environments. I can hear the volume of their voice well enough in most cases, but I cannot distinguish the words themselves sometimes.

    It’s very frustrating.

  37. #38 Walton, Liberal Extremist Dumpling of Awesome
    March 29, 2010

    To our founders, God was the source of our human rights, which put limits on government power… If America has lost its way, its heart, its moral compass, the answer is to return to the old path, the path followed by our founders who put God first, trusting in Him ? not big government ? to be our salvation.

    Chuck Norris doesn’t read the Constitution. He stares at it until he gets the answers he wants.

  38. #39 Kel, OM
    March 29, 2010

    http://www.american.com/archive/2010/march/the-new-philistinism

    They were popular books for popular audiences arguing against a popular version of God. Why are those books being treated as sophisticated philosophical treatises (then being claimed they fail)? The books were never meant to be that in the first place. They weren’t arguing that.

    For sophisticated attacks on the concept of God, there are philosophers out there willing to play the philosophical game for atheism. There’s always Graham Oppy and Michael Martin. Yet Dawkins is not one of them, he’s making a very different case.

    It’s now been almost 4 years since the God Delusion came out. Can’t people recognise it for what it is as opposed to what it isn’t? The notions of God that I keep hearing about aren’t these sophisticated philosophical abstracts. Instead they are an interventionist deity, one that actually does things in the world and has a personal relationship with us. One that is meant to be the reason for order in the universe, and one that is meant to help us transcend reality after our physical bodies expire. It’s the deity of vitalism, the deity of dualism, the deity of souls and prayer healings, the deity of miracles.

    If the “new atheists” are attacking a straw man, then why aren’t the theologians out there correcting the religious believers on their misconceptions of the God character? This is the double-standard that we see. The more likely one is to be a devout believer, the higher chance they are a creationist – yet to attack that creationist version of God is to argue a straw man apparently. Why are the theologians heaping scorn on the atheists for attacking such simplistic notions of God but not the believers who hold them?

  39. #40 boygenius
    March 29, 2010

    Atonal music traveling waves which are oscillations of pressure transmitted through a solid, liquid, or gas, composed of frequencies within the range of hearing and of a level sufficiently strong to be heard!!!!!

    Fixed.

  40. #41 Paul
    March 29, 2010

    any recommendations on blog hosts that are privacy-conscious?

    You’re joking, right? This decade is all about monetizing personal information. No such thing as privacy conscious. At least, not that I’ve been able to find. I do have some web space with a webhost (Dreamhost) that I might turn into a blog, if I ever have anything interesting to say. I think that’s the closest one will get to “privacy-conscious”, unless one opens up a blogger/LJ/whatever account under an assumed name and only accesses it through TOR.

  41. #42 Ol'Greg
    March 29, 2010

    I hope he’ll settle for the Godly Country of Texas.

    Not until I can get my ungodly ass out of it!

  42. #43 Walton, Liberal Extremist Dumpling of Awesome
    March 29, 2010

    For America’s founders, God and government were intricately linked. As Thomas Paine echoed one year earlier, in 1775, “Spiritual freedom is the root of political freedom. ? As the union between spiritual freedom and political liberty seems nearly inseparable, it is our duty to defend both”.

    Yes, Chuck. Of course, for America’s founders, God and government were intricately linked… that’s why they didn’t put a single mention of God in the Constitution. And why the second President of the United States signed a treaty saying “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” And why they didn’t put “In God We Trust” on the currency (it was the McCarthyites in the 1950s who did that). They were so keen on linking God and government that they went to great lengths to make sure that God was kept out of government. Apparently, in Chuck Norris’ mental universe, this all makes sense.

    Just don’t tell him Thomas Paine was a deist and was strongly opposed to orthodox Christianity. This might cause him to roundhouse-kick you in the face.

  43. #44 Aquaria
    March 29, 2010

    Walton: :::snicker::: You have a sense of humor under that serious facade!

    As for Norris’s…well, I suppose, technically, they’re words, the guy has obviously taken one too many kicks to the head. He’s become the Oliver St. John-Mollusc of Right Wing Twits.

  44. #45 Ben in Texas
    March 29, 2010

    A friend of mine (an author) asked the following question on her FB page. I figured it would be a good question to ask Pharyngulites. Any input is welcome. Thanks.

    “Very oddball question: Which philosopher, preferably Greek or Roman, would my character admire? My character is a survivalist, Libertarian living off the grid. Thank you to all my smart friends with better educations than I got. (And/or members of terrorist cells dedicated to the violent overthrow of the government.)”

  45. #46 Ol'Greg
    March 29, 2010

    Ben in Texas, I’m afraid I don’t understand just what the question is?

  46. #47 Ben in Texas
    March 29, 2010

    Yeah, I guess it’s kind of vague.

    Is there a philosopher, preferably Greek or Roman, whose thinking or reasoning would “speak to” a libertarian type who is currently living off the grid as a survivalist?

  47. #48 Paul
    March 29, 2010

    Ben in Texas, I’m afraid I don’t understand just what the question is?

    Rephrasing:

    Which philosopher (Roman or Greek preferred) would a survivalist, Libertarian whackjob admire? I’m writing a character and want him to sound deep by namedropping some 2000 year old dead dude.

    It’s somewhat difficult a question, as to the best of my knowledge there weren’t too many people living outside society during Greek/Roman times. They didn’t have guns or video games, so they required other people to keep them from getting overly bored and committing suicide.

  48. #49 negentropyeater
    March 29, 2010

    He’s become the Oliver St. John-Mollusc of Right Wing Twits.

    Upperclass Twit Of The Year

    Vivian Smith-Smythe-Smith (E.I..) has an O-level in chemo-hygiene. Simon-Zinc-Trumpet-Harris (T.J.) , married to a very attractive table lamp. Nigel Incubator-Jones (J.C.), his best friend is a tree, and in his spare time he’s a stockbroker. Gervaise Brook-Hampster (M.P.) is in the Guards, and his father uses him as a wastepaper basket. And finally Chuck St Chunk Kuk Do Norris (G.C.), Harrow and the Guards, thought by many to be this year’s outstanding twit. Now they’re moving up to the starting line, there’s a jolly good crowd here today. Now they’re under starter’s orders… and they’re off

  49. #50 Ol'Greg
    March 29, 2010

    Oooh… I actually know one. Too bad I can’t ask him right now. I would guess the stoics. Zeno, Ceanthes…

  50. #51 Ben in Texas
    March 29, 2010

    Paul, pretty funny. I don’t know if she wants to make him sound deep, though. Heck, she might want to make him sound shallow.

    Ol’ Greg, thanks. I know very little about philosophy, so those names mean zilch to me, but I’ll pass them along.

  51. #52 Sastra
    March 29, 2010

    Kel, OM #39 wrote:

    The notions of God that I keep hearing about aren’t these sophisticated philosophical abstracts. Instead they are an interventionist deity, one that actually does things in the world and has a personal relationship with us… If the “new atheists” are attacking a straw man, then why aren’t the theologians out there correcting the religious believers on their misconceptions of the God character? This is the double-standard that we see.

    What I get from the more ‘sophisticated’ believers is a defense of doublethink: God is both a father-figure deity which involves itself in human affairs, AND it’s “a symbol of the mystery that lies between the poles of our clearest rational dichotomy.” How can it be both? Well, we just use the anthropomorphic version which sounds like an invisible person to represent the Mysterious Force which can’t be understood by finite minds. And that’s okay. The lesser version of God helps us understand the greater version of God, by putting it in terms we can understand.

    This is really a classic dodge. It allows them to have the simplistic God they really believe in, and pretend to believe in a God that’s too vague to be criticized.

    It seems to me that the infuriating thing that Dawkins does, is treat God like a hypothesis, and approach it from the standpoint of modern science. You’re not supposed to do that. God is not a hypothesis. Nor would we expect it to be consistent with modern science.

    Why not? Because it’s NOT. It just isn’t. It shouldn’t. Ask anyone. Ask the theologians. Ask the guys who wrote the Bible. They all say the same thing: it’s not. GOD says He’s not. So no FAIR treating it like a hypothesis.

    If you do, then you are failing to engage with God, as understood by the people who understand God. You’re making a straw man, and attacking that… The problem isn’t so much the atheist’s definition of God, as the lack of deference in the approach.

  52. #53 KOPD
    March 29, 2010

    Just do what David Barton does. Pick any somebody you like, then make up some quotes to attribute to them.

  53. #54 Ol'Greg
    March 29, 2010

    Oooh… I actually know one. Too bad I can’t ask him right now. I would guess the stoics. Zeno, Ceanthes…

    Cleanthes, sorry… sticky “L” key.

    Oh and that was addressed to Ben in Texas. You’d be surprised how many crazy people are well read in the classics actually. I know a self-educated manifesto-writing type who is batshit insane, but he has read more military philosophy and strategy than nearly anyone I know including people I met in school who studied military history. It’s almost a shame he uses it to bolster his very clearly mentally ill prophecy. Actually it’s just a shame he hasn’t gotten help for his problems.

    Literacy… it’s only the beginning.

  54. #55 Kel, OM
    March 29, 2010

    This is really a classic dodge. It allows them to have the simplistic God they really believe in, and pretend to believe in a God that’s too vague to be criticized.

    Yep, that sums it up for me. They want their magic sky daddy but not the perceived absurdity that comes with that belief. Unfortunately there are enough people who treat the very question as a purely academic exercise with no regard to how it manifests, so they have an intellectual foil to hold those who call it nonsense at bay.

  55. #56 Brownian, OM
    March 29, 2010

    What I get from the more ‘sophisticated’ believers is a defense of doublethink: God is both a father-figure deity which involves itself in human affairs, AND it’s “a symbol of the mystery that lies between the poles of our clearest rational dichotomy.” How can it be both? Well, we just use the anthropomorphic version which sounds like an invisible person to represent the Mysterious Force which can’t be understood by finite minds. And that’s okay. The lesser version of God helps us understand the greater version of God, by putting it in terms we can understand.

    But can God build a set of goal posts so mobile even He can’t score on them?

  56. #57 Physicalist
    March 29, 2010

    Which philosopher (Roman or Greek preferred) would a survivalist, Libertarian whackjob admire?

    Hobbes’ state of nature comes to mind. But then he goes and argues for total loyalty to the monarch . . .

  57. #58 Paul
    March 29, 2010

    @54

    Not surprising to me. The problem when I was trying to think of names (at most I’ve wet my toes, I haven’t gotten deeply into the classics) is that there is a definite bias towards the establishment in most of what I have read. Not much individualism. Stuff like Plato’s “magnificent myth/noble lie” isn’t really the stuff of survivalist libertarians, but those are the avenues of ancient thought I’m most familiar with.

    Perhaps it could be used if the character is discussing how his ideal society would be, but that ignores the big issue of how the current system would be overthrown…

  58. #59 Feynmaniac
    March 29, 2010

    Which philosopher, preferably Greek or Roman, would my character admire?

    Well, I don’t know about your friend, but I think a lot people here would identify with Lucretius. His work De rerum natura, while not perfect, presents a more accurate view of the world than Aquinas, despite being written over a millennium before!

  59. #60 WowbaggerOM
    March 29, 2010

    Sastra, #52 wrote:

    This is really a classic dodge. It allows them to have the simplistic God they really believe in, and pretend to believe in a God that’s too vague to be criticized.

    They’re flat-out duotheists – but in a dishonesst way; the one they’ll admit to believing in depends entirely on who’s asking the question.

    When up against atheists on the debate floor, radio, television or in print it’s the ‘nebulous, outside of science, shaping our lives and who exists in quantums and abstract concepts’ god; when in church with others of the faith it’s the ‘fill us with your love, hear our prayers and take us to be in Heaven with you’ god.

    Basically, Christians want to have their special-pleading god-cake and eat it too.

  60. #61 Ol'Greg
    March 29, 2010

    Zeno’s republic didn’t survive itself but records of it suggest he called for all humans to become free from the state and free from money. Also interestingly enough called for complete breakdown of class distiction… sort of Utopian anarchy.

    Cleanthes didn’t write much. I would think his lifestyle would be more of an inspiration to that type. He lived entirely by his own labor, or so it’s written.

  61. #62 Knockgoats
    March 29, 2010

    Which philosopher (Roman or Greek preferred) would a survivalist, Libertarian whackjob admire? I’m writing a character and want him to sound deep by namedropping some 2000 year old dead dude. – Paul

    For an ancient, I’d say either Diogenes, or Heraclitus. Of course in either case, he’d have to completely ignore most of their thought, and the cultural context, but that’s exactly what you’d expect! If you’d be content with the 19th century, go for Max Stirner: we had a particularly obnoxious looneytarian here called “Africangenesis” (now in the dungeon) who admired Stirner, often referred to as an anarchist, but more accurately as a nihilistic egoist.

  62. #63 Physicalist
    March 29, 2010

    On survivalist philosophers, again:

    The best I can come up with is Aristotle. Warrior virtues and all that — could be seen a precursor to Nietzsche (who I guess would be obvious if you didn’t want someone ancient. Rand is even more obvious, if the character is an idiot . . . ) You could glance and Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue if you wanted one picture of an Aristotelian sort of ethics. (I imagine there are better suggestions out there, but they don’t occur to me at the moment,)

  63. #64 WowbaggerOM
    March 29, 2010

    Oh, and before anyone corrects me, I know the plural of quantum isn’t quantums. I was going for a kind of Pratchett vibe.

  64. #65 Ben in Texas
    March 29, 2010

    I appreciate all the input. I’ll send her a link to this thread. Thanks!

  65. #66 Paul
    March 29, 2010

    Thanks, Feynmaniac! I was trying to think of that name, but I couldn’t quite put my fingers on it. I kept getting confused by Lucretia Sephiroth’s mother (someone from some video game) and Lucian of Samosata….

  66. #67 blf
    March 29, 2010

    But can God build a set of goal posts so mobile even He can’t score on them?

    Magic Sky Faerie has Magic Superglue. For it, it sticks. For others, it don’t.

  67. #68 Ol'Greg
    March 29, 2010

    That’s true Knockgoats, the character doesn’t have to have a truly good understanding of the philosophy and its context. I guess it all depends on the character and how intelligent, complex, admirable, annoying, repulsive, crazy, etc. the author wants it to be.

    I tend to think of the off-the-grid types as either apocalypse waiting or extremely anti-state. A strong position against government will also actually be against the form of capitalism seen as operating within a government too. Most libertarians seem to want the government to let the business sector do it’s thing unhindered, but when you go so far as to live completely without the state to the best of your ability, you’re definitely privileging a different aspect of libertarianism.

    I can’t imagine Ayn freaking Rand grinding down corn she grew on her property.

  68. #69 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 29, 2010

    Carlie:

    I’m about 90% of the way to convinced to delete my facebook

    Good luck with that. You can’t actually delete it, the best you can do is strip every single bit of info, then hit “deactivate”. Your facebook is still kept, and can be accessed again any time you login.

  69. #70 Paul
    March 29, 2010

    Most libertarians seem to want the government to let the business sector do it’s thing unhindered, but when you go so far as to live completely without the state to the best of your ability, you’re definitely privileging a different aspect of libertarianism.

    I can’t imagine Ayn freaking Rand grinding down corn she grew on her property.

    Funny, as when the original challenge was given I got the impression the question was “Which philosopher would John Galt quote?”. I didn’t use that as my paraphrase because I didn’t want to be too flippant :-).

  70. #71 Rey Fox
    March 29, 2010

    Sastra @#52: Exactly. That also displays the pointlessness of agnosticism to me. The only reason people declare that we can’t know if there is a god or not is because they’re using the sophisticated theist’s definition of the god. Of course God is unknowable and undetectable if you define him/her/it as such.

  71. #72 Ben in Texas
    March 29, 2010

    Knockgoats, funny you should mention Africangenesis, because (I’m reluctant to admit this) I sent him over here from another blog, what, maybe two years ago. I was hoping he’d learn something, or at least get smacked down repeatedly. I had to settle for the latter, but that was enjoyable.

  72. #73 Feynmaniac
    March 29, 2010

    My character is a survivalist, Libertarian living off the grid.

    Is the character based on Glenn Beck?

  73. #74 Sven DiMilo
    March 29, 2010

    Is it possible that one thread no longer has the capacity to contain the raging ebullience of Pharyngulistas? You’re worrying me, people!

    For the record, the previous subThread came in at 674 comments in 3.14 d. Neither datum is alarming in light of teh Thread’s recent history. That’s 215 comments/d, no record but not too shabby. Episode XL, for a recent example, had a lower rate (210 c/d).

  74. #75 bPer
    March 29, 2010

    Sili:

    Today I saw a proper Iridium flare – much more impressive.

    Yes, they’re great fun.

    I used to join some local amateur astronomers to put on what we called a ‘sidewalk session’, where we’d set up our telescopes in a public location like a mall parking lot and show passersby whatever showcase objects we could manage in such a light-polluted locale (typically the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn).

    I remember one time I checked beforehand, and there was a really bright Iridium flare scheduled for during the event. At the appropriate time, we stopped what we were doing and instructed everyone to look in the correct direction. There was lots of puzzled muttering of the form “what are we looking for?” but then the flare erupted. Oohs and aahs from everyone! It was as if we had conjured up celestial fireworks. I’m not a magician, but I think I now know what it feels like to be one.

    βPer

  75. #76 Sastra
    March 29, 2010

    Is it possible that one thread no longer has the capacity to contain the raging ebullience of Pharyngulistas? You’re worrying me, people!

    I wouldn’t worry. I think that one of your threads has reacted to the pressure of the Pharyngula environment by evolving into a slow-motion chat room.

  76. #77 John Morales
    March 29, 2010

    Wow, the video on this post is just beautiful.

    From the previous incarnation:
    Ol’Greg,

    FYI, when kicking ass in a chess tournament, no actual ass is kicked

    There’s always chess boxing.

  77. #78 'Tis Himself, OM
    March 29, 2010

    Sastra #18

    The courier’s reply is specifically (and intelligently) designed to answer the argument about atheists’ lack of specific theological knowledge. It doesn’t matter if angels dancing on the heads of pins are waltzing or doing the macarena if the existence of angels is being debated.

  78. #79 Carlie
    March 29, 2010

    Caine – I’ve read two things about it. One is that if you don’t log in within two weeks, the account moves from deactivated to deleted; the other is that Facebook finally added a deletion feature after all the complaints, but it’s tricky to find. And then the nuclear option is to flagrantly violate their terms of service so that they remove your account for you. ;) Of course, none of that addresses the fact that they’ve admitted to having something like 7 copies of everything in servers across the globe that they don’t have to delete if they don’t want to, no matter if you tell them to or not.

  79. #80 Sastra
    March 29, 2010

    Tis Himself, OM #78 wrote:

    The courier’s reply is specifically (and intelligently) designed to answer the argument about atheists’ lack of specific theological knowledge.

    True, but the complaint being made on the link at #18 was that the arguments of Aquinas and other apologists were mischaracterized, and therefore Dawkins addressed the wrong arguments. If the writer is correct, then of course he has a point — for the small section of the book which dealt with refuting the theological arguments, as made by theologians. I’ve heard atheist philosophers agree that this section is a bit weak.

    The problem, though, is that his analogy to someone thinking he’s knocked down the theory of evolution when he doesn’t even understand it doesn’t quite fit. The apologetic works are similar to what Dr. Harriet Hall calls “tooth fairy science.” They assume a phenomenon, and then add in the details and explanations which follow from this assumption, as if they’re establishing it. Dawkins wasn’t interested in disproving philosophy with more philosophy, all of it based on intuitions and common sense. He wanted to come in from the outside, with science — uncommon sense — and deal with it from that perspective.

  80. #81 alexander.m.rueda
    March 29, 2010

    I think we pharyngulites need a forum.

  81. #82 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 29, 2010

    Carlie:

    I’ve read two things about it. One is that if you don’t log in within two weeks, the account moves from deactivated to deleted; the other is that Facebook finally added a deletion feature after all the complaints, but it’s tricky to find.

    Not so, I’m afraid. I left my facebook untouched and didn’t log in for over a year. Still there, still active. (Maybe that’s changed, but I doubt it.) I finally stripped it and deactivated. There is no ‘delete’, what you get is ‘deactivate’. Yes, you used to have to jump through hoops to find it, and it’s easier to locate these days, but there is no delete at all. Even to deactivate, you have to go through two confirms and they demand a reason you’re attempting to leave. I’m seriously sorry I ever got talked into starting one in the first place. You couldn’t pay me to get near facebook these days.

  82. #83 taipanleader
    March 29, 2010

    Eeeeh, I use it as a somewhat remote address book, for when I need a quick handle on someone as I’m terrible at remembering phone numbers, so it’s handy for that. As to the rest of it? No way in hell.

  83. #84 Carlie
    March 29, 2010

    Well, at least I can keep from adding anything more to it. :(

  84. #85 taipanleader
    March 29, 2010

    Heh.

    Facebook, the Hotel California of the iGen.

  85. #86 co
    March 29, 2010

    #506 on that other thread.

    Thanks co. Still doesn’t the warping of space solve Graeme’s query about how the sun and earth instantaneously affect gravitationally?

    Yep, that definitely has a bearing; the sun and earth don’t instantaneously communicate gravitationally; if Sol were to somehow suddenly vanish (which would involve violation of local conservation of mass, momentum, charge, etc.), Earth wouldn’t know it until 8 minutes later; the sun would continue to shine, and we’d continue to orbit the damned thing for that whole interval — we would have absolutely no way of knowing that Sol had done a runner until that 8 minutes was up.

  86. #87 SteveM
    March 29, 2010

    from the Graeme Bird Memorial thread:

    Posted by: Brian English | March 29, 2010 7:47 PM @ 506
    Thanks co. Still doesn’t the warping of space solve Graeme’s query about how the sun and earth instantaneously affect gravitationally?

    No, but then again Birdy is incorrect about the sun and earth instantaneously affecting gravity. It does not matter that the graviton the earth “intercepts” was generated 8 minutes ago, it still “points” back to the sun because the field is not changing. Only if the sun were to suddenly collapse or evaporate would a wave be generated that would have to take 8 minutes to propagate to us.

  87. #88 Rachel Bronwyn
    March 29, 2010

    Can we please just forget about Bird for a while and have some oral sex?

  88. #89 stevieinthecity#9dac9
    March 29, 2010

    Deal.

  89. #90 Katrina
    March 29, 2010

    Great. My mother comes to visit me for a week and I find I’ve missed four sub-threads and a troll-gnawing session entirely.

    Lynna, Mom was absolutely thrilled with the book and impressed that I knew the author well enough to have it autographed. She promised that she will email me any comments she might have about it. I will then forward them to you to use as you see fit.

  90. #91 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 29, 2010

    Just pecked out a recipe for the Redhead.

    Irish Potato Leek Soup

    1 leek, chopped
    1 onion, diced
    3 potatoes, peeled and diced
    1½ cups chopped cabbage
    2 carrots, diced
    ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
    1 teaspoon salt
    ½ teaspoon caraway seed
    ½ teaspoon black pepper
    1 bay leaf
    ½ cup sour cream
    Meat version
    4 cups chicken broth
    1 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
    1 lb. mushrooms (I used ? lb. portabella)
    ? lb. white button mushrooms, quartered
    Veggie version
    4 cups veggie broth
    1 lb. more mushrooms of choice than meat version

    Slow Cooker Directions
    Combine chicken broth, potatoes, cabbage, leek, onion, carrots, and parsley in 5 qt. slow cooker. Add salt, caraway seeds, pepper and bay leaf. Cover, cook on low 8-10 hours, or on high for 4-5 hours. If doing vegetarian version, be sure to cook mushrooms with rest of vegetables. Remove and discard bay leaf. Combine some hot liquid from slow cooker with sour cream in a small bowl, then add this mixture to the soup. Stir in the crumbled bacon and serve.
    6-8 servings.

    Saucepan directions
    I originally made this recipe in the crock-pot, but the texture of the vegetables and mushrooms seemed a little too soft, so I propose heating the broth and seasonings to a boil, adding the potatoes, onions, leeks and carrots. Boil 15-20 minutes. Add cabbage and mushrooms, cook for another 10-15 minutes. Add sour cream as before.

  91. #92 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    March 29, 2010

    Which philosopher (Roman or Greek preferred) would a survivalist, Libertarian whackjob admire?

    Marcus Aurelius, perhaps. Emperor of Rome and general, Stoic.

  92. #93 Brian English
    March 29, 2010

    The Bird has been dungeoned? Nooo!
    Time for this to remember him by….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9czkZiO-38

  93. #94 Brian English
    March 29, 2010

    Which philosopher (Roman or Greek preferred) would a survivalist, Libertarian whackjob admire?

    Plato? He was against democracy because after the Pelopenesian war, old Socrates was condemned to death by the thirty tyrants I think. Plato blamed the Athenian democracy for the war and lionized the Spartan system, as evidenced by his Republic. By the way, next time a troll says evolution influenced the Nazis, get them to read about Sparta

  94. #95 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    March 29, 2010

    Gyeong – summer roll recipe snagged.

    Nerd – potato soup recipe snagged.

    All cooks: Up to 30 recipes so far. Will start organizing them at Ichthyic’s place soon.

  95. #96 Sven DiMilo
    March 29, 2010

    Teh ECO quoth:

    Yeah, I think we’re done here. Graeme Bird has been tossed out, I’m closing this thread, and if you must, move on to the endless thread.

    *grumble*
    The link to teh Thread was unnnecessary. If that thread was dead, as suggested by the plonking of its protagonist, let it stay dead and fucking rot! Why the gratuitous anastomosation?
    poopyhead
    *grumble*

  96. #97 KillJoy
    March 29, 2010

    Huh? Wait, what? Are we doing a Pharyngula cookbook or something? :D

    If so, I should dig something out to contribute.

    KJ

  97. #98 Zetetic
    March 29, 2010

    Bye bye Birdie!

    Gee… and I was so looking forward to watching what passes for his brains smoke as he tried to explain how the site he linked to in anyway proved a connection between the Gamma Ray Burst and the alleged gravity waves that are somehow magically able to trigger an earthquake (but only in one part of the world) while simultaneously escaping detection by gravity wave detectors.

    Not that we would have ever gotten a real attempt at an explanation. It just would have been fun to watch. Too bad Bird, if you actually tried to present real arguments (and evidence) rather than ignoring points and degenerating into racists/homophobic name-calling you might still be around.

    Oh well…back to work again.

  98. #99 iambilly
    March 29, 2010
    My character is a survivalist, Libertarian living off the grid.

    Is the character based on Glenn Beck?

    That rapidly-oxidizing-rectum loves the system — a system of laws that keep him from being shoved up the manure-production end of a cow; a system of laws which allows him to lie with impunity as long as it is ‘opinion’. And I’ll bet dollars to donuts that he is driven to work on public roads patrolled by socialist cops.

    alexander: I hope the never-ending time-sucking energy-absorption device called Teh Thread!!(tm) doesn’t become a forum. First, I wouldn’t be able to access it from work while waiting for my half-computer to process a graphic function and second, it would cease to be a linear function and my poor liberal-arts historian brain would make the same sound created when a paradigm shifts without a clutch.

  99. #100 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    March 29, 2010

    Huh? Wait, what? Are we doing a Pharyngula cookbook or something?

    Yep, that’s the plan. I’m collecting all the recipes in one place, then will transfer them to Ichthyic’s page he set up for them. Some of the artistic Pharyngulites have offered to help illustrate the thing, when we all get our acts together:) The sooner the better, I’m sure, since we’re driving poor Sven de Milo nuts!

  100. #101 iambilly
    March 29, 2010

    Josh:

    If you and Ichthyic actually use one of my recipes (if you don’t, no problem — they’re pretty plain), please credit to my real nom de web — (((Billy))) The Athiest. Thanks.

  101. #102 John Morales
    March 29, 2010

    Sven,

    Why the gratuitous anastomosation?

    Duh.

    What sort of Mad Scientist® would PZ be if he didn’t gratuitously experiment with necroanastomisation?

  102. #103 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    March 29, 2010

    Billy:

    Josh:

    If you and Ichthyic actually use one of my recipes (if you don’t, no problem — they’re pretty plain), please credit to my real nom de web — (((Billy))) The Athiest. Thanks.

    Oh, I’ll use ‘em. I’m not planning to get all “this stays, this goes.” What you posted looks yummy too. There’s everything from home cooking to more complicated stuff, so it’s a nice variety. The only recipes I’m not including are those that someone says came from another source (and that they didn’t alter them to make them their own).

    You will have to remind me later about your name credit – I will forget. BTW. . .where do the multiple parentheses come from in your writing?

  103. #104 KillJoy
    March 29, 2010

    Josh;

    Squee!
    I squealed with delight there, in case you missed that. I shall try to decide what I want to contribute here in a day or so. I have a hard time making these sorts of decisions.

    I’m glad I decided to read comments today, otherwise I would have missed it entirely. :P

    KJ

  104. #105 Katrina
    March 29, 2010

    Josh, OSG, do you already have my limoncello recipe? I remember posting it once, but it was a long time ago.

  105. #106 Epikt
    March 29, 2010

    Sven DiMilo:

    Atonal music!!!!

    Nice.

    Some Jane Ira Bloom. Not atonal. Not frantic. Good for late at night.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TqHyTdDGGY

  106. #107 Feynmaniac
    March 29, 2010

    That rapidly-oxidizing-rectum loves the system — a system of laws that keep him from being shoved up the manure-production end of a cow; a system of laws which allows him to lie with impunity as long as it is ‘opinion’. And I’ll bet dollars to donuts that he is driven to work on public roads patrolled by socialist cops.

    Like most self-described libertarians Beck either fails to realize or ignores how much he benefits from the “socialist” government. Craig T. Nelson said to Beck on his show: “I’ve been on food stamps and welfare, did anybody help me out? No. No.” Beck didn’t point out the ridiculousness of that statement.

    It’s like a freakin’ Monty Python scene: “What has the government ever done for us? Besides providing roads, welfare, education, police, firemen,….” Honestly, when they say that they’re against government spending they really just mean they’re against government spending that doesn’t help them personally.

    Of course gov’t ain’t perfect, but it’s better than what the libertarians advocate.

  107. #108 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    March 29, 2010

    KillJoy:

    Josh, OSG, do you already have my limoncello recipe? I remember posting it once, but it was a long time ago.

    Hmm. .nope, didn’t snag that. You can email it to me at spokesgay at gmail.

  108. #109 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    March 29, 2010

    #105:

    Whoops, sorry Katrina! I knew it was you, but I typed KillJoy’s name.

  109. #110 Ol'Greg
    March 29, 2010

    when they say that they’re against government spending they really just mean they’re against government spending that doesn’t help them personally.

    I guess this is why I’m sort of curious about the “character” from the above conversation. There’s something different about the sort of people who actually try to practice their ideology and live without government, or try to reduce the hypocrisy of it.

    Now, please do not think this means I agree. But it suggests a different kind of personality at least, one that values actions that are logically consistent with one’s ideals.

    I have met people who are willing to die this way, and you really can’t argue with that unless maybe they are bringing children into it. When some one who calls themselves a libertarian digs a well, lives in a shack with no electricity, eats what they grow or kill, and is willing to die without a doctor’s help they may be insane but they are not hypocritical.

  110. #111 Katrina
    March 29, 2010

    @Josh, OSG: will do.

    (Not Killjoy)

  111. #112 Feynmaniac
    March 29, 2010

    Well, this is interesting:

    Half of Americans say they would support an openly gay president, while slightly more would be in favor of a gay Supreme Court judge or secretary of state, according to a new poll.

    Just under a third of Americans questioned in the poll said they support the so-called Tea Party movement, a grass roots right wing activist movement that has held a series of protests around the nation to voice their dissatisfaction with the government.

  112. #113 Jessa
    March 29, 2010

    Tangent time!

    So, how is the Pharyngula Bracket Challenge going?

    I’ve had to just skim threads to keep up, so apologies if it’s been mentioned earlier.

    Mr. Jessa is super excited that Michigan State (his alma mater) is still in. My alma mater is still in, too (Duke). Luckily I treat March Madness as a curiosity, or there would be much preening and strife in the Jessa household.

  113. #114 Sven DiMilo
    March 29, 2010

    Some Jane Ira Bloom.

    Thanks; nice late-night music indeed. As it happens I was listening to Bill Evans just this afternoon–the amazing duos with Tony Bennett. Hey! I wonder…
    Ha!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsb8mYrYycE
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pA9G9GkQEEE

  114. #115 Benjamin Geiger
    March 29, 2010

    Forgive me for being behind on my astronomy reading (and my other-thread reading, for that matter), but have there actually been experiments that show that gravity travels at c, rather than instantaneously?

  115. #116 Mr T
    March 30, 2010

    Greetings heathens. I’ve been too busy the last several weeks to read a lot, much less comment, but I finally had to give myself a break.

    As for Philosophers for Dummies Libertarians, I nominate Parmenides, for his belief that all change is illusory. What we call the past exists now because we can refer to it now — that seems to sum up conservatism pretty well. I’ve also noticed a lot of economic conservatives identify with Marcus Aurelius, but it’s awfully strange they would like a Roman emperor of all people.

    Some late-night music:

    Coltrane & Ellington – In a Sentimental Mood

    I love jazz and such, but now here’s some legit stuff:

    Debussy – Nuages

    Dvo?ák – Silent Woods

  116. #117 Sven DiMilo
    March 30, 2010

    Coltrane & Ellington

    Add Armstrong and Parker and you’ve succinctly summarized jazz history from 1920-1969.

    And I’ve always loved the term “legit”.

  117. #118 Mr T
    March 30, 2010

    Sven DiMilo:
    I’ll try to find such a recording, but (contrary to Parmenides) I do not think it exists outside of my imagination. It would probably be a psychedelic hard-bop version of Honeysuckle Rose.

    My all-star jazz lineup would also include Dizzy, Miles, Clifford Brown, Ray Brown, Mingus, Monk, Roach, Herbie, and a few dozen more.

    Hmm… with Evans and Ellington that makes four pianists. I didn’t even mention Peterson, Tatum, Corea, and let’s not forget Billy Strayhorn….

  118. #119 Jessa
    March 30, 2010

    Ah, Dvo?ák. He has a wonderfully distinctive sound. I have always love his 9th since I learned to play it.

  119. #120 Kel, OM
    March 30, 2010

    The problem, though, is that his analogy to someone thinking he’s knocked down the theory of evolution when he doesn’t even understand it doesn’t quite fit. The apologetic works are similar to what Dr. Harriet Hall calls “tooth fairy science.” They assume a phenomenon, and then add in the details and explanations which follow from this assumption, as if they’re establishing it.

    Again, great point.

    Just to elaborate on this a little, a good analogy I feel is astrology. Now I’m sure I’m like everyone else here in that I’m a non-astrologer, and I would bet that like most people who are non-astrologers they wouldn’t know much about astrology beyond the superficial. Yet we all reject it without so much as even a consideration for the position of Mars, and I feel that’s justified.

    Now someone who is into astrology might plead that we haven’t considered the nuances of celestial predestination. Have any of us bothered to take into account the possibility that the stars might be a cosmic mystery that unlocks the unfolding events on this planet? No, while we mock the astrology columns as a waste of time, the lucky number for today really might be 11 and if I just give it a chance there might be a new romantic interest around the corner…

    But generally speaking, I’m betting that even the apologists who deride atheists for not taking seriously the claims of the theist do exactly the same as we do with astrology. It’s not because they don’t know what their rejecting, but because the line of inquiry has not shown itself as legitimate. There may have been times in history where people believed astrology to be a legitimate means of inquiry, and there may still be those who take it as one now.

    So what of astrology? Personally I think the best refutations of the very concept come from astronomy, from physics, from psychology, and from magicians. Astrology has no foundational basis not because of how the treat the celestial position of Mars, but because it fails to establish that there’s a connection between Mars and events on earth.

    The theist here is trying to sing out their field of inquiry as legitimate, and why wouldn’t they? The “new atheist” movement is around showing that the entire enterprise isn’t legitimate to begin with. So they have to cry outrage they aren’t being taken seriously, there’s little else they can actually do… other than show that their area is a legitimate enterprise of course.

  120. #121 co
    March 30, 2010

    Benjamin, #115:

    The experiments so far have all been indirect, usually involving massive astronomical objects (due to the extreme weakness of G compared to other fundamental coupling constants). So far as I know, the binary pulsar decay rate has given the best constraint on the speed of gravity being exactly “c”, or at least within 1% of it.

    Another indirect measurement has been done (http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/astro-ph/0311063) of the bending of light near Jupiter, measured in 6 mo. intervals via a “very long baseline” measurement (when Earth is on opposite points in its orbit, and Jupiter transits the source’s image).

    From more theoretical standpoints, the fact that gravity is an inverse-square force (like electromagnetism) means that it must travel at exactly ‘c’, though of course this is a somewhat indirect argument.

  121. #122 WowbaggerOM
    March 30, 2010

    Kel wrote:

    But generally speaking, I’m betting that even the apologists who deride atheists for not taking seriously the claims of the theist do exactly the same as we do with astrology.

    Which is why we have the fallacy of special pleading to (figuratively, if there are any pissant Intersection whiners lurking here in the hopes of gathering ‘evidence’ with which to please their rictus-afflicted master and mistress) beat them around the head with.

    Because without it they have to admit that their preferred form of made-up shit is no more (or less) ridiculous than anyone else’s.

  122. #123 boygenius
    March 30, 2010

    rictus-afflicted master and mistress

    ::giggle::

    Thanks Wowbagger :-)

  123. #124 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 30, 2010

    Carlie @ 84:

    Well, at least I can keep from adding anything more to it. :(

    I decided to do some digging around, and came across this: https://ssl.facebook.com/help/contact.php?show_form=delete_account from http://www.wikihow.com/Permanently-Delete-a-Facebook-Account

    I did it, and received this message after the two confirmations:

    Your account has been deactivated from the site and will be permanently deleted within 14 days. If you log into your account within the next 14 days, your account will be reactivated and you will have the option to cancel your request.

    We’ll see if it actually works; I’ll check back in a couple of weeks. :)

  124. #125 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 30, 2010

    Josh:

    Oh, I’ll use ‘em. I’m not planning to get all “this stays, this goes.” What you posted looks yummy too. There’s everything from home cooking to more complicated stuff, so it’s a nice variety. The only recipes I’m not including are those that someone says came from another source (and that they didn’t alter them to make them their own).

    I always end up altering recipes to suit my taste, however, I don’t post recipes which are my own. There’s a reason for that, here’s an example of one of my very own:

    Coat beef in flour (salt, pepper, paprika). Brown well. In pan, beef broth & wine, handful of basil, salt, pepper. 1 cup water, tomato paste, 2 bouillon cubes, handful crushed caraway. Saute onion, garlic, and shallot. Into the pot. Handful Coleman mustard. More paprika.
    Generous dollop balsamic vinegar. Don’t forget the fucking sour cream. Duh.

    See? They aren’t done to make sense to anyone else, just reminders to myself. And my paprika beef, (which I’ve been making since I was young, it was handed down from a great-gran) has never been made exactly the same way twice. :D

  125. #126 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 30, 2010

    Alexander @ 81:

    I think we pharyngulites need a forum.

    I don’t think so. All forums face the same set of problems, and no matter what the ideals are when a forum is set up, said problems arise. It would be very difficult to keep a forum alive and active in the same spirit of the thread. It gives us a place to talk about anything and blow off steam. The Thread is good, and all we really need. Just my .02 cents.

  126. #127 Kel, OM
    March 30, 2010

    Because without it they have to admit that their preferred form of made-up shit is no more (or less) ridiculous than anyone else’s.

    Or they can just create their own epistemology where their framework can justify God while rejecting astrology. Maybe they can justify ontologically the intrinsic qualities that God must have which follow that other such ideas like astrology contradict (say free will means the notion of cosmic predestination is absurd). In our framework, their ideas might seem bunk. But their framework accounts for more than our framework… Checkmate, atheists!

  127. #128 Menyambal
    March 30, 2010

    A recipe I posted here once:

    _Green_Beans_with_Bacon_

    Fry bacon in a skillet until crispy.

    Remove bacon, crumble up.

    Fry green beans in some of the bacon grease, cover skillet with lid for quicker cooking/steaming, until desired doneness.

    Toss crumbled bacon back in with green beans.

    Enjoy.

    Serves one.

    (I came up with this after trying to eat my mom’s version, which involved one lonely slice of bacon steamed in with the beans, resulting in the world’s worst slice of bacon lurking in boring beans.)

  128. #129 Feynmaniac
    March 30, 2010

    If anyone cares Bird Brain has a thread continuing the discussion that was going on here. Apparently, PZ is part of “the science maffia”.

  129. #130 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 30, 2010

    Feynmaniac @ 112:

    Half of Americans say they would support an openly gay president, while slightly more would be in favor of a gay Supreme Court judge or secretary of state, according to a new poll.

    I would really like to believe that, but I don’t. In a poll, yeah, I can believe half said that; in a real life situation, subject to a vote, I don’t. Look at how people are reacting to having a black president. I think there are a lot of Americans who like to think they are open-minded, but when push comes to shove, they go traditional because actual change frightens them.

    From the article you linked to:

    The support for a gay Miss America was the same as for a gay secretary of state, at 56 percent.

    That says a whole lot about American mentality, which happens to scare me just a little more each day.

  130. #131 The Laughing Man
    March 30, 2010

    Oh please god. Kill the stupid, for the love of Flying Spaghetti Monster!

    /uncontrolled weeping

    http://suddenlyatheist.wordpress.com/2009/08/22/what-if-satan-wrote-the-bible/#comment-1259

  131. #132 Owlmirror
    March 30, 2010

    Gah. More anasmatosis.

    Responding to Daniel Smith on “Sins of Omission”. Because SIWOTI.

    #794:

    I see that Daniel has conceded all of the Cause arguments

    Not even one.

    Because you’re being unreasonable, of course.

    In fact the discussion about the mind of God brings us to, what I consider the most intuitive of the five ways

    The most fallacious and unreasonable, you mean.

    (and my personal favorite)

    Like calls to like, and unreason calls to the unreasonable.

    The fifth way is taken from the governance of the world. We see that things which lack intelligence, such as natural bodies, act for an end, and this is evident from their acting always, or nearly always, in the same way, so as to obtain the best result.

    This is a fallacious and therefore unreasonable argument that assumes its own conclusion.

    Aquinas implicitly contradicts his own argument, if he seriously means that things “always”, or even “nearly always”, act to obtain the “best” result. If they always act the same way, then “best result” has no meaning as a comparative. He certainly gives no explanation of what “best result” means, or how to distinguish between results that are or are not “best”.

    Hence it is plain that not fortuitously, but designedly, do they achieve their end.

    It is plain that he continues to implicitly contradicts his own argument here: If everything acts “designedly”, then nothing is “fortuitous”, and he therefore has no way to distinguish between something acting “fortuitously” and something acting “designedly”.

    Now whatever lacks intelligence cannot move towards an end, unless it be directed by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence; as the arrow is shot to its mark by the archer. Therefore some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end

    Did you know that if you start off with a contradiction, you can “logically” derive anything at all? So Aquinas contradicts himself in his premises, divides by zero, and triumphantly emerges with your mom’s phone number. Or rather, with the presupposition that he started out with.

    I left off the ending (“and this being we call God”) because it throws owlmirror off

    Your failure to acknowledge your inability to reason or recognize logic is noted.

    and is not a necessary part of the argument.

    Leaving off a concluding fallacy does not make an argument founded on fallacy reasonable.

    ========

    #801:

    No, rocks don’t want to go downhill, enzymes don’t intend to convert a substrate to a product, planets don’t know to orbit the Sun. Matter has no goals, no intentions, no knowledge.

    BUT, these things act as if they do have desires: Rocks act as if they want to go downhill, enzymes act as if they intend to convert a substrate to a product, planets act as if they know to orbit the Sun.

    An illusion looks like reality, and therefore is reality?

    It is because things that cannot possibly be intelligent act as if they are that Aquinas argues that “some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end”.

    Right. He fallaciously argues from a question-begging implicit contradiction to his presupposition.

    KABOOM.

  132. #133 Owlmirror
    March 30, 2010

    #807 on “Sins of Omission”:

    As such, on Daniel’s world view, it cannot be wrong. Citing evidence that contradicts his archaic A-T non-sense is ineffective.

    Meh. We’ve argued with YECs for months. A presuppostionalist Catholic isn’t that different, and in some ways is a lot less painful.

  133. #134 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 30, 2010

    The Laughing Man, from your link:

    Again, the Bible and the Christian worldview has a perfectly fine answer for that. God had a purpose for it and ordained it for the glory in revealing His justice and grace. Also, the pain in the world is a few seconds compared to eternal perfection which Christ will bring about soon. You?re compaint shows you don?t study and is unfounded. And in the atheists worldview, remember, you?re only outraged at star dust, NOT God. I?ll be more consistent for you.

    I found that amusing. I hadn’t heard that I’m outraged at star dust before. :D I wonder what it is I’m supposed to have against it…

  134. #135 Feynmaniac
    March 30, 2010

    I would really like to believe that, but I don’t. In a poll, yeah, I can believe half said that; in a real life situation, subject to a vote, I don’t. Look at how people are reacting to having a black president.

    I agree. The results can’t be interpreted naïvely. In the case of a black candidates, there’s actually a name given for the fact that black candidates receive less votes than opinion polls would indicate: the Bradley effect. I don’t know if there is a gay equivalent, but I’d imagine there might be a similar effect.

    However, I do think it’s a sign of progress that half would tell a pollster they would support an openly gay president. Could you imagine that 20 years ago? Sure it’s probably in reality lower, and progress isn’t going as fast it should, but I think it’s moving the right direction (I must be in one of my rare optimistic moods :).

    Secondly, I also linked it because I find it funny that it’s also more than the about 1/3 of people who support the Tea Party Movement. It’s time for America to ignore these teabaggers and support the rights of the other teabaggers.

  135. #136 AJ Milne
    March 30, 2010

    I hadn’t heard that I’m outraged at star dust before. :D I wonder what it is I’m supposed to have against it…

    Well, I do kinda dislike dusting, at least, I guess.

    (Muttering under breath…) Fucking stardust. All over everything. Again. (Flicks duster around sullenly…) Man, if it weren’t for stellar nucleosynthesis, this ‘d all be so much easier…

    (/Lousy stars. We had a pretty tidy universe, none of these heavier elements gunking everything up, and then they hadda come along…)

  136. #137 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 30, 2010

    Feynmaniac:

    However, I do think it’s a sign of progress that half would tell a pollster they would support an openly gay president. Could you imagine that 20 years ago?

    No, not at all. That wouldn’t have been so much as a dream 20 years ago. I agree, it’s progress. It’s just not near as much progress as I’d like. What I see from day to day is how individual people are treated, and there is one fuck of a long way to go on that front.

  137. #138 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 30, 2010

    AJ:

    Well, I do kinda dislike dusting, at least, I guess.

    Well, when it comes to dust, I’d like to know what the fuck our so-called creator was thinking when it came to our skin. Stuff sheds like crazy. You’d think an all powerful entity could handle a little thing like that.

  138. #139 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 30, 2010

    Feynmaniac:

    Secondly, I also linked it because I find it funny that it’s also more than the about 1/3 of people who support the Tea Party Movement. It’s time for America to ignore these teabaggers and support the rights of the other teabaggers.

    True. I wish I could trust the numbers though. I sincerely wish we could ignore the birther/teabagger crowd, but it’s never wise to ignore a grass roots movement. I think they’re chronic malcontents, for the most part. Even so, they pose a distinct threat to basic reason on just about every level. If they can’t have someone they like, such as GWB in office, they happily work at a lower level, like what’s happened with Texas and educational standards.

    And the lunatic religious views held by these folks is of the scariest kind; even while they attempt to scream persecution! every 5 seconds, they would happily actually persecute anyone who disagreed with them. They’re easy to laugh at, given their views, but there are a whole lot of disgruntled people in the U.S., and that, to me, prevents them from being a complete laughing matter.

  139. #140 Kel, OM
    March 30, 2010

    Mabus is spamming my blog every day now with his nonsense. This is starting to get annoying, I’m having to delete comments every day now.

  140. #141 The Laughing Man
    March 30, 2010

    I was really hoping for some of the pharanguloid horde to mosey on over to this post and help with the incredible stupid that is Cameron.

    Yay I now understand hypertext :3 What I don’t fathom yet is the algorithm of increasing stupidity- i.e. faith

  141. #142 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 30, 2010

    A Voice of the Martyrs exec has shown up on the Poll of the Martyrs thread.

  142. #143 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 30, 2010

    The Laughing Man, thanks, but no. I got the link the first time, and got a laugh out of “atheists are outraged at star dust” Cameron. He’s definitely stupid, but I don’t feel like going outside for chew toys, we’ve had enough of them here recently. ;D

  143. #144 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 30, 2010

    Kel, yeah, he’s more than a pain in the ass. I had to shut down my guestbook on my photography gallery because of him. I count myself seriously lucky he didn’t follow me to my moblog.

  144. #145 WowbaggerOM
    March 30, 2010

    I was reading Russell Blackford’s blog today and saw a Mabus dropping there – obviously, he’s got a long list of drop-sites.

    In other news, Northern Lights author Philip Pullman has a new book coming out – The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ; one imagines that it’s going to draw more than a little attention.

    The blurb: ‘By challenging the events of the gospels, Pullman puts forward his own compelling and plausible version of the life of Jesus, and in so doing, does what all great books do: makes the reader ask questions.

  145. #146 Kel, OM
    March 30, 2010

    Meh. We’ve argued with YECs for months. A presuppostionalist Catholic isn’t that different, and in some ways is a lot less painful.

    In some ways, though I’ve got to say I find presuppositionists really painful because even if you do a successful reductio ad absurdum, they don’t recognise it. Remember facilis and his 2+2=260.534 if God says so? Took that one right in his stride, regardless of the fact that it destroyed his position.

    And Daniel Smith has successfully done similar here, his dualism / not dualism where mind is an emergent property of the brain when pressed but mind comes before matter when not – the only way he can save this now is to get an amount of his brain removed proportional to his disbelief in physicialism.

  146. #147 Kel, OM
    March 30, 2010

    Kel, yeah, he’s more than a pain in the ass.

    I’m not really sure what to do. If I add comment moderation to my blog, he wins. If I don’t, then I face the annoyance of either just leaving his rantings there or having to go through and purge my blog any time I get a chance to. And I really don’t want to throw comment moderation on the blog, I get few enough comments already.

  147. #148 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 30, 2010

    Kel, I’d just delete as you can, he seems to be going through a list of some sort; chances are good he’ll lose interest eventually.

  148. #149 John Morales
    March 30, 2010

    Kel, I’ve never used a blog, but surely the process of finding and deleting posts from a particular commenter could be automated.

  149. #150 AJ Milne
    March 30, 2010

    Kel, I’ve never used a blog, but surely the process of finding and deleting posts from a particular commenter could be automated.

    It certainly can be. But part of the trouble is: Blogspot’s interface is pretty limited, if I recall correctly.

    You could write a bot in Perl, tho’, that filtered on various criteria, killed stuff matching a pattern through the web interface, if it came to that. Wonder if anyone already has? Went looking around a bit, didn’t see one. But didn’t look that hard, honestly.

    (/It’s a lot easier for me–hosted, use Nucleus, can do whatever I want, really, since messing with the PHP directly is well within my capabilities.)

  150. #151 Kel, OM
    March 30, 2010

    Kel, I’ve never used a blog, but surely the process of finding and deleting posts from a particular commenter could be automated.

    Not on Blogger, the best I can do is shove moderation on there.

  151. #152 John Morales
    March 30, 2010

    Owlmirror, I wonder if Daniel Smith will find and respond to your #132.

    He’s a weak-sauce version of Matthew Segall, for mine.

  152. #153 llewelly
    March 30, 2010

    Paul | March 29, 2010 5:20 PM:

    Which philosopher (Roman or Greek preferred) would a survivalist, Libertarian whackjob admire?

    Why has no-one suggested Azathoth?

  153. #154 Matt Penfold
    March 30, 2010

    With regards Facebook, a computer magazine I subsribe to had an article last month about how to commit Facebook suicide.

    It can be found here.

    Might be useful to some of you.

  154. #155 JeffreyD
    March 30, 2010

    “Which philosopher (Roman or Greek preferred) would a survivalist, Libertarian whackjob admire?”

    Mickey Mouse? Goofy? Foghorn Leghorn? Bob the guy I met at the bar who seemed to know ALL the Answers? Blind Io? Sappho? Biggus Dickus (famous Roman philospher http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FByERYetqI)?

  155. #156 negentropyeater
    March 30, 2010

    Kel,

    And I really don’t want to throw comment moderation on the blog, I get few enough comments already.

    Just left you a comment.

    btw, maybe shorter and less perfectly argumented posts would generate more comments. It’s hard to find something to add to your posts, they seem so well thought of already :-)

  156. #157 Becca
    March 30, 2010

    Here’s my fruit crisp topping recipe. It makes about 9 – 10 cups (depending on how much nuts you add): I keep it in a tightly closed bin in the freezer, and pull it out when I need it. You can make as much fruit crisp or as little as you want, and just put how much topping on it you need. I’ve made 1-apple crisps and 12 apple crisps. Works nicely with pears, too. Haven’t tried it with peaches or nectarines, but I imagine it would be good with them too.

    -becca

    topping:

    2 cups brown sugar
    2 cups flour
    1-1/2 cups oatmeal (doesn’t have to be quick, can be any kind)
    2 tsp (or more) cinnamon
    1 cup cold butter, cut in chunks
    1 to 1-1/2 cups pecans or walnuts (we prefer pecans)

    zap the flour, cinnamon and butter in a food processor til smooth. Add sugar, zap til smooth. Put in bowl, set aside. Zap oatmeal and nuts only a little, to keep a nixe chunky texture (or zap til smooth if you prefer a smooth topping – we like ours chunky) – mix in with the rest of it.

    put fruit in buttered dish. Put small tabs of butter on fruit if it’s a not terribly juicy fruit (apples need it, pears not so much). Sprinkle more cinnamon or spicing of your choice depending on what kind of fruit it is. Cover generously with topping. I tend to put a piece of waxed paper over it then and press down firmly, but you can skip that step if you like a looser crumble topping.

    bake 45 minutes to an hour, til fruit is tender. Lovely with whipped cream.

  157. #158 iambilly
    March 30, 2010

    Josh:

    where do the multiple parentheses come from in your writing?

    The keyboard — [shift-9] and [shift-0].

    Seriously, though. When I write formally (papers, presentations, site bulletins, a government website) I don’t use parentheses unless absolutely necessary. When blogging (or commenting on a blog (such as this (duh))) I tend to type the way that I talk which is rather eliptical.

    My first comments on a blog some years back were under ‘Billy’. Then (during a discussion of the efficacy of military operations within ‘hearts and minds’ operations) I was accused of being a liberal weenie who wouldn’t know the Army if it bit him (I do and it did) so I switched to Billy (A Liberal Disabled Veteran) which got cumbersome so it became Billy (ALDV). Meanwhile, as I commented on another blog (may have been the now-defunct No More Hornets (but it was a long time age and my (age-dehanced) memory is not what it was), in honour of my writing style, I was referred to as (((Billy))). So when I started my own blog, it was, of course, (((Billy))) The Atheist. And you thought that question would have a simple answer, didn’t you?

    Kel and Negentropyeater: I have found with my blog that that is true. Some of my busiest ones for comments have been some throwaways (including this one which has (so far) garnered 115 comments, most of which are only related to the post through multiple tangential comments.

  158. #159 Kagato
    March 30, 2010

    What the hell is it with these people and this whole “inanimate objects have wants and desires” schtick?

    Rocks want to roll downhill? Planets want to orbit stars?

    That kind of implies they have a choice in the matter, doesn’t it?

    So why don’t you ever see a rebel rock rolling uphill, or a planet just getting sick of it all and stopping in its tracks?

    Gravity is not optional. Therefore it’s not intentional.

    And while we’re on the subject of repeating themes, why is “how do you account for the laws of logic” so damn popular lately? Do they even know what these laws are?

    Do they really think the ‘law of identity’ needs a creator to make it so? Really?

  159. #160 negentropyeater
    March 30, 2010

    iambilly,

    I think if you leave a few hooks for concern trolls to hang to, that will generally drive up the comments. If your post is too water tight, they’ll find it more difficult to express their concerns. But if you leave too many concern hooks, that’s not good either as it becomes obvious. It’s all about finding the right dosage.

    But I don’t have a blog, and you should always be careful with a recipie recommended by someone who only tastes and never cooks….

  160. #161 Walton, Liberal Extremist Dumpling of Awesome
    March 30, 2010

    Argh. My preparation for exams is going very badly. I just wish I were a bit more intelligent and self-disciplined and had a better memory.

    Anyone know of any jobs available for failed law students? Maybe I can pretend to be a wingnut and get a job writing for the WorldNutDaily, as this doesn’t seem to require any qualifications, expertise or knowledge whatsoever. :-)

  161. #162 Antiochus Epiphanes
    March 30, 2010

    Did someone say rebel rock?

  162. #163 iambilly
    March 30, 2010

    Negentropyeater: The one I linked to was a throw away — I saw the graphic, added the frame and text, and tossed it up. The ones I actually put some thought into are the ones which (often) garner far less comments — though more readers. Hmmm.

  163. #164 Kevin
    March 30, 2010

    Good morning endless thread!

    I just spent an awesome weekend at PAX East (a convention for the nerds among us.) While flying back home from Boston, I came across the ‘Skymall’ catalog in the back pocket of the chair in front of me, and holy heck is there a crapload of woo in there.

    I wish I had the catalog with me now, but it’s hilariously woo-ful. Anyone else see these things?

  164. #165 Antiochus Epiphanes
    March 30, 2010

    Here’s a recipe that has always served me well. I call it “One pan dinner”

    Preheat oven to like, very hot.
    Take a handful of tatertots and put them on a cookie sheet. If you didn’t eat lunch, maybe two handfuls. If it is after 2 in the morning, definitely two handfuls.
    Stick that in the oven.
    Open one beer, set it down and forget until after you have already opened a different beer that both beers even exist.
    Go outside and smoke one cigarette. Contemplate the universe.
    Go back in and put two hot dogs on the cookie sheet. Smile a little because you like how they hiss.
    Open a second beer, and poke through whatever literature is on the counter (newspapers, mail, fliers).
    Precisely when you are tired of waiting, take the cookie sheet out of the oven, and for god sake just use an oven mit or a towel or something…you’ve done that spatula thing before and always wither dropped the pan and/or burned the shit out of yourself.
    Serve tots and dogs with whatever condiment you are actually jonesing for over the sink. I currently am eating dijon mustard with damned near everything.
    Rediscover your first beer.

    I learned that one from the erstwhile sous-chef of Wolfgang Puck while in my third year of culinary school.

    It’s actually a lot easier than it ounds.

  165. #166 Kevin
    March 30, 2010

    @Antiochus Epiphanes (165)

    Can I skip the cigarette part? They tend to make me die.

  166. #167 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 30, 2010

    Walton, sleep is required for memory making. Make sure you are getting enough sleep. Also, get a little exercise each day, even if it is just a 20-30 minute walk.

  167. #168 Sili
    March 30, 2010

    Apropos of nothing, I gather someone called Ricky Martin has just ‘come out’, too.

    Apparently he’s a bit of a has-been, but given that he’s more mainstream famous and, I assume, part of Hollywood, his coming out does seem a bit ‘braver’ than Randi’s.

    Though, of course, he’s receiving plenty of flack of waiting to long as well.

    –o–

    Speaking of Slog, I was very pleased to see how fast and thorough the woo was shot down by the commenters here.

  168. #169 AJ Milne
    March 30, 2010

    I wish I had the catalog with me now, but it’s hilariously woo-ful. Anyone else see these things?

    Yep. Y’know… When you’ve burned through the books you brought to read, and you’re landing or in turbulence so the laptop is out, I’ve read the things…

    And I do seem to recall some stuff for sale in there I’d generally characterize as woo-infested. Magnetic bracelets, anyone? Sheesh.

  169. #170 Antiochus Epiphanes
    March 30, 2010

    Kevin…Yeah. Cigarette is optional. I started skipping them a few years ago…this kind of messed with lots of my recipes at first, because the cigarette was serving as a timer (and coffin-nail, I guess)–don’t skip the contemplation of the universe part, though.

    I didn’t know that Ricky Martin hadn’t already come out.

  170. #171 Kevin
    March 30, 2010

    @AJ Milne (169)

    Exactly. We had a remarkably long take-off, so I read through it. There were things about ‘accupoints’ and magnetic therapy and it just made me chuckle throughout.

    It’s not a terrible catalog. Some of the things seemed useful but kitchy, and I remember sometime last year they had some replica movie props from Harry Potter and LotR, but those are gone now. I wouldn’t ever buy anything from it, so, yeah.

  171. #172 Kevin
    March 30, 2010

    @Antiochus Epiphanes (170)

    Ah, so contemplating the universe is not optional, got it.

  172. #173 Carlie
    March 30, 2010

    Oh good, Caine, you saw that – I was going to ask if you had tried that one yet. I’m thinking of closing the account with all the flotsam and open a new blank one to still be able to keep tabs on people, but I’m afraid I’d just get sucked back in again.

  173. #174 Fred The Hun
    March 30, 2010

    Forget biology and religion for a bit.

    Go here: http://webcast.cern.ch/lhcfirstphysics/

  174. #175 Bride of Shrek OM
    March 30, 2010

    Kel OM

    Mabus is spamming my blog every day now with his nonsense< ,blockquote>

    ..this I believe is your true test as a blogger my son. You have survived the test that is “Mabus” and have come out the other side. Obi Wan and myself are impressed and have now designated you as a Lord of the Dark Shite. You can hereby now ban minor seth lords and arsehole trolls as you see fit.

    .. enjoy your new power but use it wisely. It is a power that few can posess.

  175. #176 AJ Milne
    March 30, 2010

    Some of the things seemed useful but kitschy…

    Yeah. I remember thinking occasionally: ‘Hrm… Actually, there’s an idea that might have some merit’, or just ‘there’s a toy that sounds maybe kinda fun’, but honestly, I’m only reading it to give something to hands, eyes, and brain to do to kill a bit of time…

    And it’s funny, but it seems to me that maybe woo by association generally drives me away from almost any company. Not so much a conscious thing as a general sense these guys are a bit icky, so no thanks. Like some subconscious bit of your brain is thinking: ‘Well, they flog bullshit like this… So as if I can count on ‘em to keep the lead out of their paint and install motors won’t melt down after like twenty minutes of service…’

    (/And then, there’s also probably far less rational considerations, more driven by aesthetics. There, the subconscious is more thinking: ‘They also sell Elvis commemorative plates… If I order this, might I catch the tacky somehow? What if it is transmissible, after all…’)

  176. #177 negentropyeater
    March 30, 2010

    Apparently he’s a bit of a has-been, but given that he’s more mainstream famous and, I assume, part of Hollywood, his coming out does seem a bit ‘braver’ than Randi’s.

    Why on earth would you think that this makes Ricky Martin “a bit braver” for coming out?

    The question is why hadn’t he done it before, why did he need to perpetuate this obvious lie for so many years? Is it because he, his agent and his producer thought they wouldn’t have made as much money?

    Brave? Give me a break.

  177. #178 Rorschach
    March 30, 2010

    Caine @ 126,

    The Thread is good, and all we really need. Just my .02 cents.

    *Agrees with clenched tentacle salute*

    Lolly for the day :

    Sam Harris on science and morality

  178. #179 Sven DiMilo
    March 30, 2010

    AE, I used to have recipes very much like that one. I was too poor a cook to pull them off consistently, unfortunately. My problem was always substituting a ‘cigarette’ for the cigarette, contemplating the universe for far too long, getting distracted by a particularly interesting detail of said universe, often trying to express my feelings about this detail on the guitar, musing maybe this one would sound better on the 12-string, searching for the 12-string, simultaneously rediscovering and remembering the broken G” on the 12-string, changing out the broken string, tuning for about 20 minutes while alternately contemplating the universe and/or one or more of its many fascinating details and wondering what happened to my beer, sort-of recalling two different beers, finally wandering into the kitchen to find beer(s) and then noticing all the black smoke? and realizing that my food was charcoal again.

    This is a mistake that is, importantly, almost impossible to make with frozen shit from Trader Joe’s in the microwave.

    sometime last year they had some replica movie props from Harry Potter

    My kid collects the wands. They are really quite nicely designed and made. Once in awhile I’ll flick & swish one.

    re: Ellington w/ other jazz greats
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ci7Q8d66_oI

  179. #180 Walton, Liberal Extremist Dumpling of Awesome
    March 30, 2010

    I just don’t see how anyone ever has the right to criticise anyone else for “not coming out soon enough.” Sexuality is a deeply personal matter, and it should be, IMO, entirely up to each person how open he or she wants to be about his or her sexual orientation. The public never has a “right” to know about a person’s sexuality, when that person wants to keep it private. It’s simply none of anyone else’s business.

  180. #181 Sven DiMilo
    March 30, 2010
  181. #182 Rorschach
    March 30, 2010

    I just don’t see how anyone ever has the right to criticise anyone else for “not coming out soon enough.

    Soooo staying out of this one this time around.
    (btw I agree with you Walton…)

  182. #183 Sven DiMilo
    March 30, 2010
  183. #184 Ol'Greg
    March 30, 2010

    Argh. My preparation for exams is going very badly. I just wish I were a bit more intelligent and self-disciplined and had a better memory.

    Keep slogging through it Walton. When working on something particularly challenging it’s good to take little creative or physical breaks. For me, it helps keep my mind from going to sleep inside itself in the wake of too much information. Go draw a picture and do some interpretive dance :D

    See if you can get yourself near manic and then read the same thing you were reading.

    Then again this is from a person who hyperfocuses so meh….

  184. #185 Sven DiMilo
    March 30, 2010

    I hadn’t heard that I’m outraged at star dust before. :D I wonder what it is I’m supposed to have against it…

    that it hasn’t got itself back to the garden?

    [ref: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBqodL2OJ1A first 0:48]

  185. #186 Kobra
    March 30, 2010

    Okay, I’ve got a great (I hope) prank planned for April Fool’s Day and need some input from the godless crowd.

    IM me (AIM: cr4kobra, Yahoo: voodookobra108, MSN: kobrasrealm@gmail.com) if you’re interested in judging it.

  186. #187 Ol'Greg
    March 30, 2010

    Meh… as far as Ricky Martin it seems no matter what you do, how, or when you do it, it’s just not going to be good enough for some people.

    People always wanna complain.

  187. #188 Bride of Shrek OM
    March 30, 2010

    Walton

    As I have said before I have more than a few contacts in Britain for the type of work I do ( NGO, generalist community legal service etc. ).I’m now a criminal lawyer in the area of disability law (but still do a ridiculous amount of civil and family law)but if you’re keen to have a career in any such areas please email me and I’ll put you in touch with some like minded punters.

    Having said that if you want some private practice experience too I can probably assist you. I worked as a commercial( primarily bankruptcy but also commercial litigation law) lawyer too and as my(now ex-Shrek) husband is a pom I have worked in England in that field also.

    If you want to contact me please give me an email on laingshort at hotmail dot com.

  188. #189 Kevin
    March 30, 2010

    @AJ Milne (176)

    I think my decision stems from the latter. I don’t want to catch ‘the tacky.’

    @Sven DeMilo (179)

    That happens to me a lot. Although it usually ends up being more along the lines of ‘why is my microwave beeping?’ I once forgot laundry in the dryer for about a week before I had to do another load. It was towels and stuff, so no big deal, but still.

    As per movie replicas, I have a reverse-blade katana (ala Samurai X / Rurouni Kenshin) and it’s fairly well put together. No wobbly bits or anything of that sort, although the stand had a bubble of paint that I had to file down.

  189. #190 Walton, Liberal Extremist Dumpling of Awesome
    March 30, 2010

    BoS: Thanks for the offer. Will email you later today.

  190. #191 negentropyeater
    March 30, 2010

    Walton,

    Geebus, I was in Buenos Aires 2 years ago and he made no mystery of his sexuality to me and many others when he was there with his boyfriend. Why did he continue to lie to the media? Just tell me why? Because it’s a “deeply personal matter”? That’s the only reason you can think of why he perpetuated this lie?

    And in any case, I reacted to him being “brave” for having come out. Just tell me where is the bravery? This is ridiculous.

  191. #192 Ol'Greg
    March 30, 2010

    Negentropyeater, I have some thoughts on it:

    Maybe he didn’t want his sexual identity become his primary concern.

    A lot of fame is setting up an image, and surprise surprise, that image is often false.

    Hell, I had the squeaky clean American girl look thing going all through my teens. It was bullshit. Was I supposed to march into an agents office and tell them that I need to have an image that looks more like I feel inside? Hell, no one wants to look at that.

    So yeah, it does take a special kind of courage to stand up to one’s own media image and say you’re going to be yourself.

  192. #193 Rorschach
    March 30, 2010

    Uhm, there goes the cherished concept of morality and soul and all that shit :

    Magnets and morality

  193. #194 Bride of Shrek OM
    March 30, 2010

    Waltom

    Please do. Always keen to see young lawyers go the to the light side of the the force.!

  194. #195 Walton, Liberal Extremist Dumpling of Awesome
    March 30, 2010

    And in any case, I reacted to him being “brave” for having come out. Just tell me where is the bravery? This is ridiculous.

    I didn’t say he was “brave”. I’ve never heard of him, have no idea who he is and couldn’t care less, and don’t know why he chose not to come out.

    I was making a more general point. It is never, IMO, fair to criticise someone for not being open about their sexuality. It’s just none of the media’s or the public’s business.

    Obviously, it does matter whether people support or oppose LGBT rights; the statements that people, especially public figures, make about these issues make a difference to other people’s rights. But if someone supports LGBT rights and is an ally of the LGBT community politically, I don’t care whether that person is personally straight, gay or bi, nor whether he or she chooses to talk about it. It’s simply none of my business – nor any of yours, or the public’s generally.

  195. #196 Ol'Greg
    March 30, 2010

    Of course the flip side of that coin is that he’s trying to breath some life into his sagging career.

    Walton, Ricky Martin makes terrible latin pop music from the 90’s I think. But I think he also went on to become sort of a social activist for women in India?

    Or am I confusing him?

  196. #197 Walton, Liberal Extremist Dumpling of Awesome
    March 30, 2010

    Please do. Always keen to see young lawyers go the to the light side of the the force.!

    Of course, this plan relies on the assumption that I actually pass my finals. So I should really stop posting and get back to work…

  197. #198 Kevin
    March 30, 2010

    @Ol’Greg (196)

    Ricky Martin Foundatin

    Plus on the main Ricky Martin Wiki page it talks alot about his humanitarian work. Here

  198. #199 Lynna, OM
    March 30, 2010

    Rorschach @193: I saw that study. Great stuff. And even the coverage was better-than-usual, with NPR noting on-air that it’s hard to argue for the existence of a soul when such a simple experiment can affect decisions judged to be “moral” or “immoral” — not to mention the nice side story about children’s brains having to go through a developmental stage before they can distinguish between harm being done intentionally and harm being done accidentally, and before they can assess the quantity of harm done as being inadequate for forming a judgement about intent.

  199. #200 negentropyeater
    March 30, 2010

    Ol’Greg,

    Maybe he didn’t want his sexual identity become his primary concern.

    Because you really think that by perpetuating this lie it helped him to alleviate this? On the contrary, it made it his primary concern.

    Read his comming out:
    http://rickymartinmusic.com/portal/news/news.asp?item=114532

    From the moment I wrote the first phrase I was sure the book was the tool that was going to help me free myself from things I was carrying within me for a long time. Things that were too heavy for me to keep inside.

    Many people told me: “Ricky it’s not important”, “it’s not worth it”, “all the years you’ve worked and everything you’ve built will collapse”, “many people in the world are not ready to accept your truth, your reality, your nature”. Because all this advice came from people who I love dearly, I decided to move on with my life not sharing with the world my entire truth. Allowing myself to be seduced by fear and insecurity became a self-fulfilling prophecy of sabotage.

    I know how it feels. I lied for ten years. One of the reasons why I came out is that continuing to lie about my sexual identity had become my primary concern. Coming wasn’t an act of bravery, but an act to restore my personal sanity.

  200. #201 Bride of Shrek OM
    March 30, 2010

    Walton

    Obviously, it does matter whether people support or oppose LGBT rights; the statements that people, especially public figures, make about these issues make a difference to other people’s rights. But if someone supports LGBT rights and is an ally of the LGBT community politically, I don’t care whether that person is personally straight, gay or bi

    I worked pro bono for quite a while for the GLBTQ organisation in my state which is what led in me into NGO work(which I got into as I have an L sister who led me to the fact there was little legal support for the community). It was almost ironic that as the leader of the legal aspects for this org I was continuously accused of being a “lesbo” by some of the right wing arsenuts I had to fight.

    It proved to me that not only did they have no fucking clue about people, they also didn’t WANT to really having a fucking clue about people.

    In a “real” situation they might have alluded to me as lawyer a bitch or somesuch but in my role as a LGBTQ lawyer their insult was “lesbo”.

    Very very telling.

  201. #202 Sven DiMilo
    March 30, 2010

    it’s gonna take a metric fuckton of humanitarian work to make up for ‘She Bangs’

  202. #203 Kevin
    March 30, 2010

    @Sven DiMilo (202)

    He’s doing pretty well so far, helping children is the greatest humanitarian aid I think one can do.

  203. #204 negentropyeater
    March 30, 2010

    Walton,

    I was making a more general point. It is never, IMO, fair to criticise someone for not being open about their sexuality. It’s just none of the media’s or the public’s business.

    Get out of your bubble. We don’t live in an ideal world where all types of sexuality are perfectly accepted and where your absolutist moral principles hold true. And we certainly won’t get there by assuming that we are there already.

  204. #205 Feynmaniac
    March 30, 2010

    Apropos of nothing, I gather someone called Ricky Martin has just ‘come out’, too.

    I am shocked I tell…..SHOCKED! I haven’t been this surprised since Lance Bass came out of the closet.

  205. #206 Ol'Greg
    March 30, 2010

    Because you really think that by perpetuating this lie it helped him to alleviate this?

    Not at all. But I do think some times it’s hard to admit what problems are holding you back and do something about them.

  206. #207 Bride of Shrek OM
    March 30, 2010

    A deluded but much loved Sven @ #202

    .. you have obviously never heard the wonderment that is “Shake Your Bon Bon” . Otherwise such statements would never utter from your mouth.

  207. #208 Lynna, OM
    March 30, 2010

    Sam Harris talks about “Moral confusion in the name of science…” http://www.richarddawkins.net/articles/5343
    video and text at the link

  208. #209 Bride of Shrek OM
    March 30, 2010

    To enlighten my darling Sven ( and all those that have never engulfed the pleasure that is the RICKY)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhRBkS24BKE

    If you all band toegther you could buy you eyeball/ear bleach in discount rates.

  209. #210 aratina cage
    March 30, 2010

    Cynical people might say it is a publicity stunt to promote his memoirs. I look at it as a consequence of parenthood and the desire to be honest with one’s children, similar to what happened with Clay Aiken. I’m glad for every person who comes out to the public, including Ricky Martin. Society has long treated gayness as a dirty little secret, so the more people who burst out of the closet, the better IMO.

  210. #211 Ol'Greg
    March 30, 2010

    Coming wasn’t an act of bravery, but an act to restore my personal sanity.

    See, I guess this is where we differ. I do think that acting to restore your personal sanity takes bravery some times, even though it is self-preservation.

    Maybe this is because in my past I’ve found it far too easy to cling to behaviors that are ultimately self destructive out of fear.

  211. #212 Rorschach
    March 30, 2010

    Lynna @ 208,

    didn’t I just post this @ 178? LOL

    and all those that have never engulfed the pleasure pain that is the RICKY)

    *fixed*

    On a level with Britney and Enrique Eglesias, that one, just painful.(although, to let you in on one of my very few dirty secrets, I have been known to listen to BS’s “Lucky” at unhealthy volumes while dangerously intoxicated, but if asked I will deny it)

  212. #213 Feynmaniac
    March 30, 2010

    Evolution fail:

    The human eye occupies about 1 – 4000th the area of the human body. What is the likely hood of the eye evolving on the body? Answer 4000 to 1.

    What are the odds of two eyes *simultaneously* evolving on the human body? Answer, since there would be 2 the odds would be 16,000,000 to 1!

  213. #214 Kobra
    March 30, 2010

    @213: The odds of a particular atom (1 in 10^80) being in a specific place (1 in (size of universe)/(size of an atom)) is incomprehensibly improbably. Therefore, atoms do not exist.

  214. #215 Bride of Shrek OM
    March 30, 2010

    Ol’Greg

    I’m not being confrontational at all here but trying to understand. I’m not sure what you meant with that statement in terms of a GLBT person cominfg out. Could you be kind enough to elaborate a little so I understand ( admittedly a little dim through 3 glasses of very nice chardonnay!)

  215. #216 Rorschach
    March 30, 2010

    Evolution 5th grade math fail:

    *fixed*

    And yes, in my 212, it ‘s meant to say ‘Iglesias”…

  216. #217 Bride of Shrek OM
    March 30, 2010

    Ol’Greg

    We’re probably going to cross post here but I think I’ve re read your post and now get it. Being a bit dim, sorry.

  217. #218 Lynna, OM
    March 30, 2010

    Lynna @ 208,
    didn’t I just post this @ 178? LOL

    Oh, fer fuck’s sake. Yes, you did. Sorry. I’m just going to have to bow out of the endless thread for now. Too much work to do, so I can’t keep up ? and this scattered attention, this dip-in-and-then-depart approach to the Thread is not working.

  218. #219 Bride of Shrek OM
    March 30, 2010

    Lynna # 218

    this dip-in-and-then-depart approach to the Thread is not working

    ..if you think of it more of “take a dump and leave” you might find it way more satisfying.

    .. whaa??? Who ever said here I was a lady ?

  219. #220 JeffreyD
    March 30, 2010

    Bride of Shrek OM at #188 – “I’m now a criminal lawyer” – Nice to see a lawyer owning up to that upfront. Brava BoS!

    (smiling and ducking)

    For no reason whatsoever

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OycU8c40HM

  220. #221 SteveM
    March 30, 2010

    re 159:

    So why don’t you ever see a rebel rock rolling uphill, …

    Well, not quite rolling uphill, but there are these rocks in the desert with obvious tracks behind them as if they were being dragged, but there are no marks in front of them so they appear to be “self-powered”.

  221. #222 Ol'Greg
    March 30, 2010

    Oh yeah, BoS. The “problem” I’m referring to would be the denial not the homosexuality. The pressure to keep up an appearance out of fear, etc. It doesn’t have to be coming from other people anymore to keep being present in one’s own mind.

  222. #223 Bride of Shrek OM
    March 30, 2010

    Jeffrey D @ #220

    Yeah, you better smile and duck sunshine. The reason Court is always held in the morning is so we can go swinging golf clubs in the afternoon at the bozos who make lawyer jokes.

    .. of course for those of those that don’t play golf we just hire assassins to do the work ( also known as pro bono clients)

  223. #224 Paul W., OM
    March 30, 2010

    I’ll intentionally third Rorschach and Lynna’s posting of the link to Harris on science and morality:

    http://www.project-reason.org/newsfeed/item/moral_confusion_in_the_name_of_science3/

    It’s an important topic, and I think Harris is roughly right. IMHO it’s the most under-discussed topic in the “New Atheist” literature.

    I hope PZ will post a top-level posting about it, though, because it’s a big loaded topic that would likely overload an Episode of the Endless Thread.

  224. #225 BarbieWanKenobi
    March 30, 2010

    Hmmm, as an aside to the Ricky Martin thing, can I beg the indulgence of an opinion or two on something?
    I’m a mature undergraduate student and an 18 year old friend of mine on the course recently came out to a group of us in the pub. We know that he comes from a devout Church of England family and he was talking to us about having come out to his friends in his home city but not yet to his parents- although he believes his Mum suspects. As it’s the Easter holidays and he’s going home for a week he has been thinking about coming out to his parents but has said that his Dad will probably go ape, his Mum will be incredibly upset and he has no idea how his siblings will react.
    My initial thought when he said this was that maybe he should wait until he has finished his studies and moved out permanently before telling them. Primarily because if they react badly then he will have a home to go to at the end of the day with no fear of losing that home or it being an uncomfortable place for him to live and he will have time to deal with whatever reaction he gets. It would also mean that his parents have enough space and time to come to terms with it in their own way as they choose.
    A bisexual friend of mine agreed with what I’d said at the time however he seems to care a lot less about what his parents think and he has said he doesn’t feel that they would be bothered anyway if he did speak to them about his sexuality.
    I just wondered what the resident Pharyngulans think? It’s not a situation I’ve ever had to consider from a personal point of view and I’m not convinced I gave good advice :o(

  225. #226 JeffreyD
    March 30, 2010

    Bos – Assassin is not a bad job – paid for college after pimping my sister feel through…or is that too much information? Oddly enough, lawyer seemed like a step down after those jobs.

    As always, your obedient servant and with tongue firmly planted in cheek. ;)

  226. #227 Paul W., OM
    March 30, 2010

    Re Ricky Martin:

    In general I agree with negentropy eater that coming out in 2010 isn’t nearly as much about bravery as it was in 2000 or especially 1990 or before.

    In Ricky Martin’s case, it’s been an open secret for a long time that he’s gay. AFAIK few people who were paying attention believed him anymore when he lied about it. (In that position, it’s not terribly brave to decide to be an out and proud faggot rather than a known faggot who’s too craven to come out.) I could be wrong about that, and there might be a signficant contingent of his female fans for whom knowing he was gay might make it harder to idolize him in the same way, even if his heterosexuality was already suspect.

    One factor I have to wonder about is that he’s from Puerto Rico and is an international star, largely in Spanish-speaking countries. My impression has been that Latin cultures have been more sexist and macho-ly homophobic, and it might be a much bigger deal coming out in some of those places, where he’d be more widely regarded as a pathetic excuse for a man if he’s a known faggot.

    (But maybe that macho stereotype thing is a bit of an exaggerated stereotype, or there’s been more progress for gays in hispanic cultures than I know. I hope so.)

  227. #228 cicely
    March 30, 2010

    I think we pharyngulites need a forum.

    But it would lack the stream-of-multiple-consciousness charm of The Thread.

  228. #229 Feynmaniac
    March 30, 2010

    BarbieWanKenobi,

    That’s a horrible situation. I don’t feel qualified to give advise because I’ve never had to go through that. I do however think it’s awful that someone has to choose between keeping silent or coming out and facing possible homelessness/financial hardship.

  229. #230 Sastra
    March 30, 2010

    I think we pharyngulites need a forum.

    Uh, I think The Thread is the forum.

  230. #231 Lynna, OM
    March 30, 2010

    BoS @219: Thank you from the bottom of my… hmmm, may have to rethink my intro to this post… anyway, thank you for your advice re taking a dump and then leaving. Highly satisfying, as you noted.

    Hormonal convert joins mormons, but at his wedding non-mormon relatives are excluded from the service An Arizona newspaper journalist works very hard to turn this into a feel-good story by the end, but it comes off a little forced. And in some of the comments, the truth will out.

  231. #232 Daniel Smith
    March 30, 2010

    Continued from the “Sins of Omission” thread:

    Uh, no Daniel. Rocks and all other masses follow geodesics in the curved space-time caused by other masses. And enzymes behave accoding to electrochemical potentials. Laws of physics, Daniel. We don’t have to assume that everything follows the whim of a “creator” whose motives we cannot comprehend.

    Instead, we can predict how matter will behave–even matter at 4 trillion degrees–a temperature that hasn’t been seen since microseconds after the Big Bang. Those gaps are getting awfully tiny for your deity.

    There are no gaps. You don’t get it. The fact that we can predict matter’s behavior is confirmation of Aquinas’ fifth way. It is the fact that matter behaves as if driven along certain pathways (predictable pathways – as you rightly note), plus the fact that matter has no goals or intentions of its own, plus the fact that goals and intentions are only known to be the product of intellect, that shows that matter taking the forms that it does and doing the things that it does must be the product of intellect.

    Anyway, I have no intention of pursuing this through another thread. I came here to test these ideas and, although I didn’t even try to answer every objection due to a lack of time, I did read and analyse every post to see if I could see the strengths, weaknesses and fallacies of your arguments. I was able (fairly easily actually) to formulate answers in my head that refuted the arguments presented here. I apologize that I was unable to share all of those answers with you.

    I remain convinced of the validity of Aquinas’ five ways.

    Thanks for a rockin’ good time!

  232. #233 BarbieWanKenobi
    March 30, 2010

    Feynmaniac,

    I don’t think homelessness as such would actually come into it but I do think he may end up in a situation where going home from Uni is incredibly uncomfortable for him. I think I’m probably a coward but were it me then I would not want to open up an inevitable can of worms until I had set myself up to be as shielded from it as possible. Then again, I’ve never had to deal with anything like that and I really have no idea how it feels to have to hide part of yourself away from your family.
    On the plus side he’s got a lot of good friend that couldn’t give a monkey’s what he does in the bedroom so he won’t be short of people to support him if he needs it.

  233. #234 cicely
    March 30, 2010
    …you?re only outraged at star dust…

    Actually, I thought Stardust was a pretty good movie.

  234. #235 aratina cage
    March 30, 2010

    plus the fact that matter has no goals or intentions of its own

    Except when it is organized into a brain.

  235. #236 Epikt
    March 30, 2010

    Bride of Shrek OM :

    To enlighten my darling Sven ( and all those that have never engulfed the pleasure that is the RICKY)

    (URL deleted as a public service)

    If you all band toegther you could buy you eyeball/ear bleach in discount rates.

    Not enough. I need some Drano in my synaptic gaps.

  236. #237 Feynmaniac
    March 30, 2010

    I don’t think homelessness as such would actually come into it but I do think he may end up in a situation where going home from Uni is incredibly uncomfortable for him.

    It’s good he doesn’t have to worry about homelessness. Unfortunately, some gay teens do. However, even being shunned or disapproved by one’s family is too harsh. It’s nice to know that he has some good friends.
    _ _ _

    It is the fact that matter behaves as if driven along certain pathways (predictable pathways – as you rightly note), plus the fact that matter has no goals or intentions of its own, plus the fact that goals and intentions are only known to be the product of intellect, that shows that matter taking the forms that it does and doing the things that it does must be the product of intellect.

    That’s extremely weak.

    I was able (fairly easily actually) to formulate answers in my head that refuted the arguments presented here.

    It must be nice that your rationalizations come fairly easy.

    I remain convinced of the validity of Aquinas’ five ways.

    What a surprise…..

  237. #238 SteveM
    March 30, 2010

    I was able (fairly easily actually) to formulate answers in my head that refuted the arguments presented here.

    …but unfortunately the margin of this book is too small to write it down.

    How totally fucking lame, “I refuted all your arguments in my head”. Loser.

  238. #239 Paul W., OM
    March 30, 2010

    Daniel Smith:

    I remain convinced of the validity of Aquinas’ five ways.

    I’m curious what you think it means for an argument to be valid. A lot of people think they do, but actually don’t.

    It doesn’t mean that the other side hasn’t disproved the conclusion—as you seem sometimes to think when you resort to arguing that we can’t prove your question-begging assertions false.

    If you actually still think that any of Aquinas’s Five Ways are actually valid arguments, much less all of them, well…

    I pity you.

    Please do go away. It’s too depressing to watch you be such a complete dufus.

  239. #240 Celtic_Evolution
    March 30, 2010

    I was able (fairly easily actually) to formulate answers in my head that refuted the arguments presented here.

    Yet another moron who seems to think that debate is the best way to answer scientific questions.

  240. #241 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 30, 2010

    I was able (fairly easily actually) to formulate answers in my head that refuted the arguments presented here.

    And you verified this answers how?

  241. #242 Lynna, OM
    March 30, 2010

    It’s difficult to take excerpts from Sam Harris’s latest essay without doing a disservice to his argument, but having said that, here are two paragraphs that are interesting, even though they do not stand alone all that well ? a good enticement perhaps to read more. (And, yes, this is the fourth presentation of the link on this thread. Once I’ve made the mistake of repetition, it’s good fun to compound the error.):

    Moral relativism is clearly an attempt to pay intellectual reparations for the crimes of western colonialism, ethnocentrism, and racism. This is, I think, the only charitable thing to be said about it. Needless to say, it was not my purpose at TED to defend the idiosyncrasies of the West as any more enlightened, in principle, than those of any other culture. Rather, I was arguing that the most basic facts about human flourishing must transcend culture, just as most other facts do. And if there are facts which are truly a matter of cultural construction?if, for instance, learning a specific language or tattooing your face fundamentally alters the possibilities of human experience?well, then these facts also arise from (neurophysiological) processes that transcend culture.
         I must say, the vehemence and condescension with which the is/ought objection has been thrown in my face astounds me. And it confirms my sense that this bit of bad philosophy has done tremendous harm to the thinking of smart (and not so smart) people. The categorical distinction between facts and values helped open a sinkhole beneath liberalism long ago?leading to moral relativism and to masochistic depths of political correctness. Think of the champions of ?tolerance? who reflexively blamed Salman Rushdie for his fatwa, or Ayaan Hirsi Ali for her ongoing security concerns, or the Danish cartoonists for their ?controversy,? and you will understand what happens when educated liberals think there is no universal foundation for human values. Among conservatives in the West, the same skepticism about the power of reason leads, more often than not, directly to the feet of Jesus Christ, Savior of the Universe. Indeed, the most common defense one now hears for religious faith is not that there is compelling evidence for God?s existence, but that a belief in Him is the only basis for a universal conception of human values. And it is decidedly unhelpful that the moral relativism of liberals so often seems to prove the conservative case.

  242. #243 Owlmirror
    March 30, 2010

    The fact that we can predict matter’s behavior is confirmation of Aquinas’ fifth way.

    You mean, it’s a confirmation of Aquinas’ unreasonableness.

    It is the fact that matter behaves as if driven along certain pathways (predictable pathways – as you rightly note), plus the fact that matter has no goals or intentions of its own, plus the fact that goals and intentions are only known to be the product of intellect, that shows that matter taking the forms that it does and doing the things that it does must be the product of intellect.

    You mean, you (and Aquinas) concluding this means that you are both absolutely unreasonable.

    By the way, when this came up before, you claimed “I never said “everything in the universe is the result of intentionality, purpose, goal-directedness, or willpower”, nor do I believe that.” (Comment #256 on “Sins of Omission”)

    This is Aquinas’ (and your) contradiction made explicit. You want it both ways — everything “must be the product of intellect” (above), and not everything is the product of intellect.

    Arguing from a contradiction is an unreasonable logical fallacy, just in case that hasn’t sunk in from the last zillion times I’ve pointed this out.

    Anyway, I have no intention of pursuing this through another thread.

    Meh. You’re not intelligent or honest enough to be worth arguing with anyway. Feel free to go away and be wrong somewhere else as much as you like.

    I came here to test these ideas and, although I didn’t even try to answer every objection due to a lack of time, I did read and analyse every post to see if I could see the strengths, weaknesses and fallacies of your arguments.

    I doubt this.

    I was able (fairly easily actually) to formulate answers in my head that refuted the arguments presented here.

    And you were too lazy to just type these wonderful refutations out? Or were you actually aware that your “refutations” were in themselves unreasonable and fallacious, and disingenuously refuse to expose them to criticism of their obvious unreasonable logical fallacy?

    I apologize that I was unable to share all of those answers with you.

    Aw. Our poor little hearts will break.

    I remain convinced of the validity of Aquinas’ five ways.

    You remain more unreasonable than an atheist, in other words.

  243. #244 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 30, 2010

    THESE ANSWERS

    damn it

  244. #245 Becca
    March 30, 2010

    I was able (fairly easily actually) to formulate answers in my head that refuted the arguments presented here.

    The lurkers support me in email?

  245. #246 Sastra
    March 30, 2010

    Daniel Smith #232 wrote:

    It is the fact that matter behaves as if driven along certain pathways (predictable pathways – as you rightly note), plus the fact that matter has no goals or intentions of its own, plus the fact that goals and intentions are only known to be the product of intellect, that shows that matter taking the forms that it does and doing the things that it does must be the product of intellect.

    You’re missing the critical step: Because matter has no goals or intentions of its own, the logical explanation for the fact that matter seems to behave “as if” it is being driven to an end, is that this apparent teleology is an artifact of the human mind which is doing the interpreting. This is the simplest solution to the disconnnect. The goals and intentions are being read into a situation. What you are seeing at work is not the Mind of God — it’s the mind of man. Your own mind. Both you, and Aquinas, are anthropomorphizing nature, and have mistaken yourselves, for God.

    I came here to test these ideas and, although I didn’t even try to answer every objection due to a lack of time, I did read and analyse every post to see if I could see the strengths, weaknesses and fallacies of your arguments. I was able (fairly easily actually) to formulate answers in my head that refuted the arguments presented here. I apologize that I was unable to share all of those answers with you.
    I remain convinced of the validity of Aquinas’ five ways.

    I do hope you save (or bookmark) some of the posts you did not answer, so that you may study them later to consider how we might answer the answers you formed in your head. I’m pretty sure they would not have stumped us, and suspect you suspect the same thing.

    Thanks for coming in. Feel free to come back some time. I don’t think you dealt adequately with my own objections. Or, maybe, you just didn’t get to them.

  246. #247 Lynna, OM
    March 30, 2010

    Paul W., did you read comment 101 below Sam Harris’s essay? If so, I’d like to hear your take on it.

  247. #248 negentropyeater
    March 30, 2010

    BarbieWanKenobi,

    well I’ve been in that same situation and lied to my parents for more than ten years from the moment I was conscious about my homosexuality. My dad was the main hurdle as he had never left me any doubts about his homophobia. I knew I didn’t risk homelessness or financial repercusions but I was fearful about the emotional repercussions. However I didn’t find it difficult to perpetuate the lie as I was very much focussed on my studies and didn’t really care that much about sex. My hand remained my only boyfriend and it was easy to conform to my father’s preferred image of the young heterosexual male motivated by his academic results. So I didn’t really feel the need to come out before I was far away from home. Nobody knew about my homosexuality, not even my closest friends.

    But I think if your friend already feels the need to come out now, he shouldn’t wait any longer, however difficult that may be. It won’t be easy to perpetuate the lie to his parents for much longer if he needs to assume openly his sexuality now and his circle of friends all know about it.

    From what you describe, it doesn’t look as if he can afford to wait. In that situation, perpetuating the lie is just going to make it harder for him and his family.

  248. #249 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 30, 2010

    I remain convinced of the validity of Aquinas’ five ways.

    And we remain utterly and totally convinced, without presupposition like you, that the five ways have been throroughly refuted several times over by advances in science and philosophy.

  249. #250 Sastra
    March 30, 2010

    I started Harris’ essay, and haven’t finished it yet, but from what I can tell he’s pretty much making the same case that Richard Carrier made in Sense and Goodness Without God. This is good, old-fashioned Enlightenment argument. Secular humanists have been whining about the flabby pop-pomo liberal moral relativism for years; it’s the same bogus “we all have our own truths” and “there are many different ways of knowing” that has been used to justify religion, and pseudoscience.

    I do hope PZ gives the essay its own post. I can’t really fault Daniel for running from The Thread, either. It’s fine as a free-wheeling forum, but it’s not conducive to serious discussion.

  250. #251 Sili
    March 30, 2010

    I have to thank PeeZed ::genuflects:: for the latest anastomisation (or wevs). It has given The Thread ::genuflects:: a very pleasant infusion of Sastra.

    Ah, so mr Martin is Latino. I suspected so, but was too lazy <boo goes here> to check.

    And I never said he was ‘brave’ as such, just that he to a hitherto uneducated outsider like myself came across as ‘braver‘ than Randi, simply because his background and social circle would seem to make it more likely that he’d receive a backlash.

    But, yes, still not as ‘brave’ as an A-list celeb or more importantly a politico.

  251. #252 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    March 30, 2010

    Thanks for a rockin’ goodfunky time!

    Call me up when you wanna grind!

    Just because…

  252. #253 Sili
    March 30, 2010

    I think we pharyngulites need a forum.

    I can’t really fault Daniel for running from The Thread, either. It’s fine as a free-wheeling forum, but it’s not conducive to serious discussion.

    Why do you hate The Thread? Has The Thread not been good to you? Do you not owe The Thread everything?

  253. #254 Lynna, OM
    March 30, 2010

    Janine @252: Ah, yes. :-) Many thanks for a dose of our favorite Jehovah’s Witness. Thank you for a funky time?call me whenever you want to grind.

  254. #255 Sili
    March 30, 2010

    Hark! An octopus.

  255. #256 Lynna, OM
    March 30, 2010

    A secular, and quite successful charity, is helping the Lost Boys who leave (or are kicked out of) fundamentalist religious sects. Excerpt from the article:

    Working with the Lost Boys
         The young men who reach the transitional home operated by Smiles for Diversity all come from a common restrictive religious background. Sometimes additional medical or physical help is needed by one of the residents of the transitional house. Price and her organization help secure these for the people who come to her group for help.
         The directors set up mental and phyiscal health arrangements when needed and teach life skills that the Lost Boys lack because of being raised in the sheltered and restrictive environment of the FLDS church. Most of the Lost Boys come to the transitional home knowing no history beyond the signing of the constitution, and their science education is lacking. Many of the boys are unaware of the intelligent design versus evolution debate. [emphasis added]
         The goal of Smiles for Diversity is to give the Lost Boys the skills and the education they need to live in a world that is radically different from the way the Lost Boys’ religious upbringing tells them to expect. The group’s website gives information on the activities, projects, and ways to help the young men the group serves.

  256. #257 Ol'Greg
    March 30, 2010

    I agree with Negentropyeater, Barbiewankanobe.

    It all has to be dependent on how he feels and what he thinks he needs to do. Ultimately he’s the one who matters in that decision. He’s not going to be able to stay truly close to his parents if he has to keep his life secret. So it may be better for him just to tell them now so that they have more time to deal with it.

  257. #258 Stephen Wells
    March 30, 2010

    I think Daniel’s signoff is the most craven piece of intellectual cowardice we’ve ever seen on Pharyngula. Rather than actually fight his corner, or admit that he was wrong, he flees to the interior of his own head, where he is right and always wins. Frightened little man; pitiful.

  258. #259 Walton, Liberal Extremist Dumpling of Awesome
    March 30, 2010

    In relation to the discussion earlier: I, for one, am a massive fan of the endless thread. Before the endless thread was instituted, everyone else complained that I used to derail discussions all the time to talk about whatever was on my mind at the time. Now I can blither away to my heart’s content, and leave other threads for their intended topics. :-)

    I also think the fact that we can chat about a range of things on the endless thread, not being restricted to religion or politics, is part of what makes Pharyngula a community, rather than just a bunch of randomers who comment on a blog. Personally, I find it easier to interact socially, and am more comfortable being candid about myself and my issues, on the internet than in real life: and I know for a fact I’m not the only person here who feels that way. The endless thread is somewhere I can talk freely about what I want to talk about, without feeling like I’m hijacking an important discussion about something else.

  259. #260 SteveV
    March 30, 2010

    I’m with Negentropyeater, Barbiewankanobe.
    Another point – if his friends know about his sexuality, there is a real possibility that his parents will find out from a third party. I would hope that my son would do me the courtesy of telling me himself rather than learning from a stranger.

  260. #261 Celtic_Evolution
    March 30, 2010

    Rather than actually fight his corner, or admit that he was wrong, he flees to the interior of his own head, where he is right and always wins.

    And where a little green alien tells him reason, logic and evidence are over-rated… oh, and calls him “dum-dum”…

  261. #262 Stephen Wells
    March 30, 2010

    @259: well, you would say that, the Thread may be getting you a job :)

  262. #263 SteveV
    March 30, 2010

    As we enter the final few weeks before the General Election, perhaps a few songs?
    Try this for relevance
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCI7d2GUFW4

  263. #264 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 30, 2010

    Stephen Wells:

    I think Daniel’s signoff is the most craven piece of intellectual cowardice we’ve ever seen on Pharyngula.

    Eh. I think he would have stuck around if Sins of Omission were still open; I’d really rather not have him in The Thread.

  264. #265 KOPD 83.7 FM
    March 30, 2010

    I’d really rather not have him in The Thread.

    I agree, though I’d take him over the birdbrain.

  265. #266 BarbieWanKenobi
    March 30, 2010

    Cheers Negentropyeater, Ol’Greg and SteveV.

    Been talking to him this evening and he’s going to talk to them about it over the holiday.

    Thanks for balancing out my cowardlyness ;o)

  266. #267 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 30, 2010

    KOPD:

    I agree, though I’d take him over the birdbrain.

    *Nods* Game Bird’s delusions were seriously out there in comparison.

  267. #268 blf
    March 30, 2010

    Game Bird’s delusions were seriously out there in comparison.

    Less-Brains-Than-a-Stuff-Turkey has a new post up at its blog, Continuation Of The Now Blocked PZ MYERS Thread. I won’t quote from it (we’ll all had enough of its loopiness), but it’s still going on about how Special Relatively can’t possibly be true and only it knows the truth. The comments are an amazing mish-mash; again, it seems to be editing them heavily, so it’s virtually impossible to figure out what was said by the original commenter.

  268. #269 negentropyeater
    March 30, 2010

    I agree, though I’d take him over the birdbrain.

    I think Graeme Bird was one of the most extreme examples of poster child for anti science delusional conservative loonytarian who believes all he says is the only truth. He had everything going for him, I had never met a real live birther/truther on Pharyngula before. Neither someone who refuses to call Obama by his name.
    Geebus, what a loon.

    btw, I can’t remember if anybody ever had been that quick to be dungeonified? It only took him 2 days and spreading his droppings on only 2 threads including getting his own memorial of the hyperloon thread. Is this a record?

  269. #270 Kyorosuke
    March 30, 2010

    Hey guys, I need some advice. A casual acquaintance of mine said recently that they weren’t “100%” of evolution. Now, they’re not religious or into any woo so far as I can tell, and they seem to get the basic idea, but when I asked ‘em about it, they said:

    Well why should I? There’s never been any definitive proof or anything like that. And if evolution took place over thousands of millions of years like scientists say that it did then why don’t we have more fossilized evidence of it?

    I’m being a brat here, it’s very likely it’s true, but it is only a theory and I don’t like writing anything in stone unless I’m 100% sure of it.

    AHHHHH. I’m not sure what to say, if anything. I mean, this person is not on the wrong track or going to become a creationist or anything, but…

    So my question is, should I just figure “close enough” and let it go, or should I press it and try to make them a True Believer®?

  270. #271 Kel, OM
    March 30, 2010

    I was able (fairly easily actually) to formulate answers in my head that refuted the arguments presented here. I apologize that I was unable to share all of those answers with you.

    If they were as confused and ignorant of science as the answers you gave before, then perhaps it’s best you saved us all the trouble.

    Of course, the reductio ad absurdum you self-inflicted could be removed with the admission that mind is an emergent property of matter, or get your brain removed to demonstrate otherwise.

    I remain convinced of the validity of Aquinas’ five ways.

    Of course you do, you wouldn’t even concede a simple point such as the principle of stability. So when the 5 ways were thoroughly taken apart and you showed how muddled your position was by the whole dualist / non-dualist hole you fell into, you could just ignore it and declare that the only rational belief to have is one involving God impregnating a virgin to give birth to himself only to die for the possibility of vicarious atonement. All your talk of infinities, all your talk of perfection – really when it comes down to it you believe that God in man-form wandered the middle east 2000 years ago, performed some miracles, then died so that you could have an eternal party if you just believed the right thing.

  271. #272 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 30, 2010

    Kyorosuke, you might at least want to try to explain theory to your friend. A lot of people do not understand the word, and not a lot can be accomplished until that much is clear.

    A little help is here and here.

  272. #273 KOPD 83.7 FM
    March 30, 2010

    @268

    Hmm. I wonder if I go read the closed thread or this blog post of his if there be an explanation for how GPS works if special relativity is wrong. The engineers that built the GPS satellites slowed down their atomic clocks before launching to account for time dilation from both special and general relativity, otherwise they would have stopped being accurate at all after the first day.

    (I’m pretty sure I got that link from a comment on this site several months ago. Whoever posted it, thank you. I really enjoyed reading it.)

  273. #274 KOPD 83.7 FM
    March 30, 2010
  274. #275 Paul
    March 30, 2010

    (I’m pretty sure I got that link from a comment on this site several months ago. Whoever posted it, thank you. I really enjoyed reading it.)

    I’ve posted it at least once here! It really is interesting stuff.

  275. #276 blf
    March 30, 2010

    It only took [Graeme Bird] 2 days [to be dungeonified]…

    It’s first post was at (blog time) March 27, 2010 1:53 PM.
    It’s last post was at March 29, 2010 7:43 PM, and Pee Zed announced it had been chucked into the dungeon at March 29, 2010 7:48 PM.

    So, pedantically, it lasted c.2d5h.

    I’m not interested enough to count how many times it commented, how many insults it made, how many loony ideas it espoused, or if it ever said anything a rational person might agree with. Someone industrious and immune to bullshite could probably make a career out of Less-Brains-Than-a-Stuffed-Turkey.

  276. #277 PZ Myers
    March 30, 2010

    Bird made 172 comments in that period.

  277. #278 cicely
    March 30, 2010

    Kyorosuke, someone (possibly on this very thread) referenced the Discovering Religion videos on YouTube; I’m on episode 10 right now (except when catching up on The Thread, that is), and I’m finding them very useful for just such circumstances as you mention. They start here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfLGb1uOSHQ, and offer a click-to-the-next-episode button at the end of each episode.

  278. #279 KOPD 83.7 FM
    March 30, 2010

    Paul:

    Thank you! I wish I had read that before the conversation I had about a year ago with somebody who refused to accept relativity. It was argument from incredulity and I tried to explain the experiment involving atomic clocks on planes, but he refused to accept evidence from clocks or any other kind of device to measure time – because they are imprecise. It got really frustrating. Anyway, the fact that GPS works is very strong support for relativity and the article was a very fascinating read and it always springs to mind when relativity comes up.

  279. #280 Kel, OM
    March 30, 2010

    Well why should I? There’s never been any definitive proof or anything like that. And if evolution took place over thousands of millions of years like scientists say that it did then why don’t we have more fossilized evidence of it?

    Get him to read the book: Evolution: What the Fossils Say And Why It Matters, there’s plenty of fossilised evidence. And the impressive thing about the book is not what evidence is put in (and there is plenty) but all the fossils he had to leave out due to space.

    I’m being a brat here, it’s very likely it’s true, but it is only a theory and I don’t like writing anything in stone unless I’m 100% sure of it.

    Gravity – just a theory.

    Your friend doesn’t realise the difference between scientific theory and the colloquial use of the word? Ask him if he believes in atomic theory.

  280. #281 Celtic_Evolution
    March 30, 2010

    Kyorosuke –

    You may also want to point him to this TalkOrigins page in why Evolution is both theory and fact. I find it most helpful in dealing with people with the same mental block…

  281. #282 negentropyeater
    March 30, 2010

    And if evolution took place over thousands of millions of years like scientists say that it did then why don’t we have more fossilized evidence of it?

    Ask him if he expects million year old fossils to be an easy catch? Does he think they grow on trees and one only needs to look and pick them like fruits?

    I’m being a brat here, it’s very likely it’s true, but it is only a theory and I don’t like writing anything in stone unless I’m 100% sure of it.

    Ask him if he thinks science can provide 100% certainty of anything? Only religions provide that illusion. And ask him what alternative he can think of. Without evolution, nothing else makes sense.

  282. #283 Walton, Liberal Extremist Dumpling of Awesome
    March 30, 2010

    Bird made 172 comments in that period.

    Wow… I noticed he seemed to be posting a lot. It seems like he didn’t sleep in two days. He must have spent the entire two-day period hunched over his computer, typing furious tirades against the “stupid” and “economically illiterate” denizens of Pharyngula.

    Let’s say, at a conservative estimate, that an average blog comment is about 70 words long. That means Bird posted over 12,000 words during his two-week sojourn on this site – enough for several essays. I don’t know where he got the energy. :-\

  283. #284 Sven DiMilo
    March 30, 2010

    Doing oddjobs at the kid’s house today I noted that CNN appears to be going after Scientology in a big way this week. Big investigative series.
    Also, tonight on Larry King, Catholic child abuse.

  284. #285 blf
    March 30, 2010

    It seems like he didn’t sleep in two days.

    Seems like, yes, but not really. There were at least three distinct breaks, two short ones (meal-length?), and a possibly much longer one (sleep-length?). Possibly others as well, but three that I noticed at the time.

    OTOH, as I commented in the previous endless thread’s subthread, I myself was laughing so hard at Less-Brains-… I was up for c.24h!

  285. #286 Sven DiMilo
    March 30, 2010

    Here it is; biggest pain-in-the-ass update yet.

  286. #287 Sven DiMilo
    March 30, 2010

    37765

  287. #288 Kel, OM
    March 30, 2010

    I wonder what Truth Machine thought of the arguments presented in the Sins Of Omission thread.

  288. #289 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 30, 2010

    Kyorosuke

    Have your friend come here and make those claims…

  289. #290 MrFire
    March 30, 2010

    Broboxley OT on the Christian Militia Thread is being very cute.

    @188, he stated:

    I would much rather we live where any law abiding citizen can own whatever he wants.

    To which Celtic_Evolution @191 replied (I presume sarcastically):

    So you’d be OK with the ability for any private citizen to own a small, rocket launch-able nuclear weapon were it available, just cause they want it?

    Broboxley’s reply @196:

    as long as one has the training, the ability to secure it properly and all of the required epa permits why not?

    I chimed in @246 with:

    You think it’s okay for private citizens to own nuclear weapons.

    How is a private citizen supposed to discharge one?

    To which Broboxley, quite mind-bendingly, said @251:

    well first you need a high explosive shaped charge to slam the sphere of uranium evenly into the plutonium plug hard and fast enough to get a reaction going. How else are you going to do it?

    Am I talking with a very deapan Poe, or a very obtuse fool?

  290. #291 Feynmaniac
    March 30, 2010

    btw, I can’t remember if anybody ever had been that quick to be dungeonified? It only took him 2 days and spreading his droppings on only 2 threads including getting his own memorial of the hyperloon thread. Is this a record?

    Well, I think David Mathews beat him in speed of banning, number of posts, posts/hour, and (amazingly) craziness:

    On 24 November 2009, David Mathews graced this blog for a mere 12 hours, during which he left 255 sneering, whining, pretentious comments. It was a tour de farce. How could I not reward him with a cell of his very own in the dungeon?

    That’s an average of about a post every 3 minutes for 12 hours straight. And few of them made sense. He talked about follwing a “post-primate religion”.

    There are also others who I’m pretty sure got banned in a single day. Their crimes ranged from posting the same comment 15 times in a row, copy-and-pasting a whole chapter from a book, exploiting a tradegy to sneer at atheists, misogynistic, racist, homophobic comments, etc.

    The Bird is in good company.

  291. #292 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 30, 2010

    or a very obtuse fool?

    Go back to the recent thread on the Constitution and you’ll get your answer.

  292. #293 The Laughing Man
    March 30, 2010

    Aww thanks so much Wowbagger. you have earned your molly twicefold for supporting the larger athiest blogosphere. :)

    I sure hope this isn’t considered to be spamming. We still crashing threads around here? There has to be some out there yet…

    Oooh if i time it right and get lucky i can be the owner of the 40,000th comment :D

  293. #294 Menyambal
    March 30, 2010

    Hully cheese! Fossils are NOT needed to prove evolution. If nobody ever looked at the ground, evolution would still be an obvious fact. The fossil record SUPPORTS evolution, but it isn’t the only evidence for evolution.

    Besides, fossil-finding is a rare, weird sequence of events. First, an animal has to die in such a way that the body is not rotted or eaten or scattered, but is naturally preserved. Then the preserved bits need to sink down to be replaced with soluble rock, which must harden, then the rock needs to come back up to the surface of the earth. Then the surrounding rock needs to erode away, exposing the fossil, without destroying the fossil. Then somebody needs to find it, recognize it, dig it out, ship it, classify it, catalogue it, publicize it and defend it.

    It is a god’s wonder that there are any fossils at all. But there are a damned lot of them, and they all do support evolution. And, on occasion, someone finds a live animal that had only been seen as a fossil, and sees that fossil reconstruction is accurate–so much so that fossils, alone, pretty much prove evolution, already, yes.

    But there are many instances of observed evolution, evidence of common ancestry, and frankly, the concept of evolution just makes sense out of everything, as evolution itself makes sense.

    Fossils aren’t important, really. It’s just that the creationists have adopted the argument that fossils are not sufficient evidence, and a lot of non-scientists believe them. Sufficient fossils to support evolution are available, thanks, and more important, no fossils that disprove evolution have ever been found.

    But fossils aren’t all the evidence for and of evolution. You, you sexual-reproducing-ape-monkey-primate-mammal, with your hair and your fingernails and your little canine teeth, are really all anybody needs.

  294. #295 MrFire
    March 30, 2010

    deadpan

    I’ve noticed Rev. BDC in the vicinity in both cases. Just sayin’, Rev.

  295. #296 The Laughing Man
    March 30, 2010

    226 more posts ’till the big 40k mark! It’s mine bitches! XD

  296. #297 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 30, 2010

    I’ve noticed Rev. BDC in the vicinity in both cases. Just sayin’, Rev.

    nah, I don’t sockpuppet

  297. #298 triskelethecat
    March 30, 2010

    OK. I get to brag: My oldest child just texted me that she go into Phi Beta Kappa. Go Her!!!

    @Josh Official Spokesgay: I have a recipe I would like to email you but I forget what your email is. Can you email me at triskelethecat at g mail dot come?

  298. #299 MrFire
    March 30, 2010

    nah, I don’t sockpuppet

    No, but you do have a highly infectious typing disease.

  299. #300 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 30, 2010

    No, but you do have a highly infectious typing disease.

    Ahh, yes. This I do.

  300. #301 Suck Poppet
    March 30, 2010

    Hmmm – was checking out our favourite bird’s continuing hissy spit against PZ and left a comment or two.
    Seems he edits comments to make them pro-Bird.

    And when I say edit, I mean the edited comment bears no relation to the original comment, but turns out to be a parrot of bird?s deluded drivel.

    What a contemptible loser. His dishonesty knows no bounds.

  301. #302 Ol'Greg
    March 30, 2010

    Suck Poppet…

    I’d like to nominate you for best username EVAR!

  302. #303 Owlmirror
    March 30, 2010

    btw, I can’t remember if anybody ever had been that quick to be dungeonified? It only took him 2 days and spreading his droppings on only 2 threads including getting his own memorial of the hyperloon thread. Is this a record?

    David Mathews (see Dungeon/plonk) “graced this blog for a mere 12 hours, during which he left 255 sneering, whining, pretentious comments.”

    I was there for the David Mathews meltdown, and I wonder a bit if I helped to trigger it by asking the wrong sort of analytical question(s).

    I haven’t read the Bird threads, and I’m not sure that I’m going to. Too much crazy, too little time.

  303. #304 cicely
    March 30, 2010

    Ricky Martin announces he is proud to be performer of ?Shake Your Bon-Bon?

    It had long been assumed within the music industry that Martin hid behind a veil of secrecy surrounding his true feelings of revulsion towards the material he had foisted upon the world.

    The rest is here: http://newsarse.com/2010/03/30/ricky-martin-announces-he-is-proud-to-be-performer-of-shake-your-bon-bon/

  304. #305 cicely
    March 30, 2010

    Another bit from the same site:

    Vatican warns media to stop basing reports on things that definitely happened

    A Vatican newspaper editorial said the media claims barely even referred to ?faith?, choosing instead to base the attack on the Pope around things that had ?definitely happened?.

    http://newsarse.com/2010/03/26/vatican-warns-media-to-stop-basing-reports-on-things-that-definitely-happened/

  305. #306 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 30, 2010

    Too much crazy, too little time.

    I hear yeh. And BirdBrain was some world class crazy.

  306. #307 Ol'Greg
    March 30, 2010

    How are you supposed to pronounce “Graeme” anyway? Sorry for being dull.

    Graeme Bird sounds like a cool band name. Maybe Golden Eggs from the Graeme Bird. Sounds indie.

  307. #308 Ol'Greg
    March 30, 2010

    I’m sorry for being so vapid.

    *sighs*

    I should go practice.

    I do love the endless thread for it’s ability to take the inane things I say and make them sorta blend in.

    Ltr folks :D:D:D

  308. #309 WowbaggerOM
    March 30, 2010

    Ol’Greg,

    Graeme is just another way of spelling Graham – but, since you’re from the US (IIRC), you don’t pronounce like we (or the UKers) do; for us it’s Gray-um, not Gra’am.

  309. #310 Owlmirror
    March 30, 2010

    Bah. Missed seeing #291.

    @ Kyorosuke —

    If someone hasn’t already posted it, there’s also this:

    http://chem.tufts.edu/AnswersInScience/RelativityofWrong.htm

    Basically, the point is that science corrects itself with more evidence and/or logic.

    Evolution, as we understand it, is the current scientific theory to explain life based on the evidence seen when examining living things at all levels — biochemical, genetic, cellular, anatomical, reproductive, familial, population, cross-population, and so on to higher taxonomic groups.

    Fossils are very helpful in bolstering the theory and providing more evidence in support of it, but are not necessary to make it the best theory that we have.

    Could you get your friend to explain what, exactly, is supposed to have happened instead of evolution? Or, I suppose, in addition to evolution?

    Oh, and once again, here’s Jay Hosler’s breakdown of evolution. Which of these does your friend think is false? What, if anything, is missing?

    ================

    ?? 1. As a result of mutation creating new alleles, and segregation and independent assortment shuffling alleles into new combinations, individuals within a population are variable for nearly all traits.
    ?? 2. Individuals pass their alleles on to their offspring intact.
    ?? 3. In most generations, more offspring are produced than can survive.
    ?? 4. The individuals that survive and go on to reproduce, or who reproduce the most, are those with alleles and allele combinations that best adapt them to their environment.

    ================

    Actually, looking at them more closely, it’s “missing” the finer details of reproduction of asexual organisms, and horizontal gene transfer, and similar tweaks based on more recent understanding of biology. But these are details that “falsify” the theory in the same way that the more accurate measurements of the Earth “falsify” the shape based on less accurate measurements: They add context and fine detail, but don’t make the entire theory entirely wrong.

  310. #311 Menyambal
    March 30, 2010

    I knew a person in Seattle with the last name of Graeme. She pronounced it Greem.

  311. #312 Bastion Of Sass
    March 30, 2010

    Attn: Baltimore Blaspheming Bastards

    Just a reminder that the April get-together of the Baltimore Pharyngula Fans group will be Saturday, April 3. Complete information is on the group site.

    Come hang out with smart, funny, and rational people.

  312. #313 Kyorosuke
    March 30, 2010

    Thanks for all the advice, guys. I’m trying to tread the line carefully here because I think they’re almost there, and I’m not particularly good at these sort of careful situations… but I’ll give it my best shot.

    Owlmirror @ 310:

    To be honest, I’m not sure… If I had to guess I’d say they haven’t really thought it through that much. Which I suppose is the problem. But I’ll see what I can do to get through to them.

  313. #314 claire-chan
    March 30, 2010

    The Pharyngulista cannot be halted. Simple as that.

  314. #315 Sven DiMilo
    March 30, 2010
  315. #316 iambilly
    March 30, 2010

    How about we just call him Graeme Cracker.

    Because he is crackers.

    And not in the (sometimes wonderful) Southern way (the wonderful Southern refers to buttermilk fried chicken, scrapple, bladder sausage, grits, hoppin’ john, and other delectible comestibles).

    And I reiterate my earlier vote for the retention of th thread without forumizing it. The multithread formation creates serendipitous oddity as two, three or even four different conversations converge at an intersection called Pharyngula.

    And now, I submit.

  316. #317 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    March 30, 2010

    And in other news: A UK Parliamentary subcommittee has just cleared Phil Jones of any wrongdoing in the case of the hacked emails at the Climate Research Unit. This is not unexpected. Look for it on Page 8 or The Guardian, and look for George Monbiot to say something smug.

    Two more inquiries are ongoing.

  317. #318 'Tis Himself, OM
    March 30, 2010

    And I reiterate my earlier vote for the retention of th thread without forumizing it.

    I agree. We have the endless thread for talking about whatever catches our fancy. We don’t knew no stinkin’ formum.

  318. #319 'Tis Himself, OM
    March 30, 2010

    Here in Southern New England we’re in the midst of a rainstorm that’s lasted about 48 hours (supposed to finally finish tomorrow). We’ve had over 6½ inches (16.5 cm) of rain on top of already saturated soil.

    I’ve got a couple of inches of water in my basement. I’ve had to turn off the electric hot water heater to keep it from short circuiting. Cold water shower tomorrow morning, what fun.

  319. #320 Sven DiMilo
    March 30, 2010

    And this?
    This is ALSO FZ:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBqqKNl8ito
    disturbing visuals

  320. #321 Usagichan
    March 30, 2010

    cicely @ 305

    Vatican warns media to stop basing reports on things that definitely happened

    It was a hilarious (and probably true to the spirit of the Vatican’s position), but in case anyone thinks the Vatican has been refreshingly honest about their true position, note the tagline UK spoof news and satire at the top of the story. The Vatican would not be so transparent about their desire to keep the lies coming!

  321. #322 cicely
    March 30, 2010

    Yep, definitely Onionesque. :D

  322. #323 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    March 30, 2010

    @triskelethecat,

    My email is spokesgay at gmail, if you don’t want to post the recipe in Teh Thread.

  323. #324 Owlmirror
    March 30, 2010

    @#193, #199:

    Uhm, there goes the cherished concept of morality and soul and all that shit :

    Magnets and morality

    I read the Neurophilosophy take on this, “Magnetic manipulation of the sense of morality”, which has a link to the site of one of the primary authors. There are additional PDFs (not yet the one for this current publication) on similar topics available for download, there:

    http://www.mit.edu/~lyoung/Site/Publications.html

  324. #325 Kyorosuke
    March 30, 2010

    Okay, I think I may have basically convinced my friend! If I ever get a chance I’ll direct her to Your Inner Fish et al. One thing that bugs me, though, is that she talks about how we haven’t “seen it happen”. Does anyone have a good, easy-to-understand-for-the-amateur summary of the Lenski e. coli experiment? Will the Wikipedia article suffice, ya think?

  325. #326 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 30, 2010

    Gay Jesus Upsets Texans

    Tarleton President F. Dominic Dottavio released a letter March 11 stating that he would allow the play to be performed because Tarleton “is committed to protecting and preserving the freedoms of thought, speech and expression.” On Wednesday, officials announced that the Corpus Christi performance would be moved from 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. Saturday and restricted to a private audience at the Clyde H. Wells Fine Arts Center. Campus police said they were asking for extra officers from area agencies.

    But, Holtorf said, during the past three days, the threats “ratcheted up to such a high degree, it made me nervous.” It was impossible to tell who was behind the threatening statements or where they were coming from, he said.

    “Campus security was brought in for our discussions about the performance,” Holtorf said. “We were trying to estimate the number of protestors and we could not. “One call was a fairly long rant of incredible expletives,” he said. “It was a scary rant. It was actually frightening.”

    Tarleton State officials declined to comment about the cancellation late Friday. Holtorf said, “The university really feels very strongly about artistic academic freedom.”

    Here, however, is the money quote:

    Carroll Cawyer, a Stephenville resident who criticized the university for allowing the play?s staging, said, “I?m not disappointed that the play did not come off. “I think the whole thing about the security has been blown out of proportion. They certainly cannot believe that the people who oppose the play are a security issue. I doubt very seriously if any Christian who would demonstrate would be prone to violence.”

  326. #327 llewelly
    March 30, 2010

    OH NO! The House of Commons has been co-opted into the conspiracy to enable the environmentalist tools of the Reptoids to take control of the world and initiate Global Marxism!!

  327. #328 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 31, 2010

    Catholic Church Sues over having to tell the truth.

    BALTIMORE, March 30 (UPI) — The Catholic Church has sued to overturn a Baltimore ordinance requiring pregnancy counseling centers to notify women that they do not give advice on abortion.

    The Archdiocese of Baltimore, in a lawsuit filed Monday, said the law, the first of its kind in the country, is unconstitutional because it violates the right to freedom of religion and speech, the Baltimore Sun reported.

    Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien said the requirement hurts “the good people volunteering and giving so much of their resources to come to the help of pregnant women.” But Mark Graber of the University of Maryland School of Law said the ordinance only asks the centers “to tell the truth.”

  328. #329 The Laughing Man
    March 31, 2010

    semiprime filling capacity 97×2

  329. #330 Antiochus Epiphanes
    March 31, 2010

    I think it is important to recognize that evolution (change in allele frequencies over time or change in populations of organisms over time) is a fact. We see it happen, and not just in very rapidly reproducing organisms like E. coli, but in all lineages of the somewhat anastomosing but generally divergant tree of life. Evolutionary theory is a bundle of hypotheses that explain this fact.

    Jay Hosler’s breakdown (#310) is a recapitulation of natural selection, and is only one of the mechanisms offered to explain the fact of evolution (although ostensibly the most interesting one).

    I think the question most often considered when people ask “Evolution?” is this: is evolutionary theory sufficient to explain the diversity of life on the planet. To date, no observation has refuted the theory. Of course, even one falsifying observation would require a modification of that theory, or its replacement by another explanation as yet unarticulated.

    I also want to express my admiration for those of you who are tireless in your address of the nutball contingent on these blogs (like Graeme, Daniel Smith, Professor Dendy, ad infinitum). I don’t know how you muster the patience. The enduring refutation of the mentally hemorrhagic and verbally incontinent is a Herculean task, but you lot ensure that our stables are tidy (damp as they may be). For me it is too much like grading. Nonetheless, I do enjoy the spectacle. Bravely on to my slumber.
    AE

  330. #331 The Laughing Man
    March 31, 2010

    @ Sven DiMilo #287 the factors of 37765 are three semiprime pairs, 35x 1079, 91×415, and 581×65 (the complete factorization is 5,7,13 and 83

    the semiprime 287 is divisible by 7 and 41

  331. #332 The Laughing Man
    March 31, 2010

    Oh dear i have been looking forward to the 38,000 comment mark. patience i must have. By the way 200 more till then

  332. #333 Rorschach
    March 31, 2010

    Owlmirror @ 324,

    thanks for the link to Neurophilosophy, and to something a bit more sciencey about this, I had a boy look last night but couldn’t find anything in a hurry.

    Sven,

    I noted that CNN appears to be going after Scientology in a big way this week. Big investigative series.
    Also, tonight on Larry King, Catholic child abuse.

    With my lower back in a state of painful disarray the last 2 weeks I’ve been watching a fair bit of CNN, and around the clock they have been going on about the RCC child abuse, it was quite refreshing.

  333. #334 Rorschach
    March 31, 2010

    More confused christian aussie politicians/economists babbling nonsense:

    There is a god, says RBA governor…

    Funniest bit : God might not be omnipotent because he didn’t cause the global financial crisis.

    You can’t make this shit up, you just can’t.

  334. #335 Kel, OM
    March 31, 2010

    You can’t make this shit up, you just can’t.

    Be careful with that rhetorical device, you might engage Truth Machine’s logic circuit ;)

  335. #336 Rorschach
    March 31, 2010

    The machine seems busy these days, I like it though how I seem to have made him spell out the observed fallacy in syllogism form in his posts now, since if I don’t get it I will ask him anyway hahaha….

  336. #337 Rorschach
    March 31, 2010

    In case you want to watch someone clever speak :

    AC Grayling interview with Greg Clarke before the GAC

  337. #338 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 31, 2010

    Is that 9…ish whatever creature a dungeon escapee? Or someone from the crossroads? Something seems familiar, but considering all the incoherent people we’ve had the last few days, its hard to tell.

  338. #339 Rorschach
    March 31, 2010

    And if you like to follow how the Hitch is going after Ratzi, here is the newest :

    The Pope is not above the law

  339. #340 Kobra
    March 31, 2010

    My college is being nefariously incompetent. They were supposed to release $1850 in financial aid on January. When asked why they haven’t, the lady at the desk said, “We might be out of funds. Let me go check,” then five minutes later came back with, “We’re waiting on the federal government to approve you.”

    Which would be believable except that this is my last semester, not my first one, and part of the financial aid money has already been released and the excess from that has found its way to my student bank account and therefore I’ve been approved.

    Unless there’s another layer of bureaucracy that I’m not aware of (though it seems more likely that the lady accidentally let the truth slip then came back with a cover story), they’re unlawfully withholding funds.

    http://www.kobrascorner.com/finaid-ss.png – (See blank spaces in second table.)

    Are any other students experiencing similar frustrations with their financial aid or is my college just ran by crooks who hold onto your money for as long as possible then pay it to you when inflation has made it worth less than it should be?

  340. #342 triskelethecat
    March 31, 2010

    @Josh (Spokesgay): thanks for the email again. I wrote it down this time! I’ll post the recipe in the thread when I get home from work today, but thought the email would be good to have too, just in case.

  341. #343 Bill Dauphin, OM
    March 31, 2010

    OK, I confess in advance that this is sophomoric, but it’s not really OT (as if anything could be, here on the Thread), since it deals with numbers:

    Has anybody else noticed that the Republican sex club thread has been stalled at 69 comments for a while now? Shouldn’t PZ lock the thread, to preserve the ability of arrested adolescents like me to have a snicker? Jus’ sayin’….

  342. #344 Sili
    March 31, 2010

    For Fuck’s Sake, Opera!

    Pick a look and stick with it!

  343. #345 Bill Dauphin, OM
    March 31, 2010

    triskelethecat (@342):

    @Josh (Spokesgay): thanks for the email again. I wrote it down this time!

    What is this wrote it down of which you speak? I’ve heard legends of a clever scheme involving tiny rolling metal balls and liquid color, but I don’t know how far to trust these fanciful tales of olden times.

    ;^)

    Just do what I did: Open your mail client, put in the estimable SpokesGay’s estimable e-mail, make the subject line say Just So You’ll Have My E-Mail (n/t), and hit Send. Then not only will he have your address, but his will be in your e-mail contacts list.

  344. #346 iambilly
    March 31, 2010

    Kobra: My son recieved a government student loan (well, the government provided the money and the security but a bank gets the interest (aaargh!)). The school took out the tuition and applied the rest to his bookstore account. Last semester, he was held up in registration because he still owed tuition money. The college took out the wrong amount. Not much (a couple of hundred dollars) but, still! And he just got an email today — come to the finance office. Er, yesterday.

    (((Boy)))’s college is just mildly incompetent (I wonder how well qualified a finance major is from that school?) but, Kobra, I think you are partially correct. I suspect that the withholding of money may be a violation of law, but I would (and I know I am an incredible optimist) tend to doubt any intentional criminality. More likely just two people in financial aid who don’t talk to each other.

  345. #347 iambilly
    March 31, 2010

    Bill Dauphin: Beats me. I use a mechanical device which mounts a thin cylinder of compressed graphite in a mounting agent/binder. Rolling balls with liquid colour? Modernist!!!

  346. #348 MrFire
    March 31, 2010

    Gay Jesus Upsets Texans

    You said it man! Nobody focks with the Jesuus!

    Except other guys.

    /Big Lebowski

  347. #349 SteveV
    March 31, 2010

    I suppose I should have kept this for(A)666 but hell, why wait?

  348. #350 Sven DiMilo
    March 31, 2010

    I have heard that liquid color was also applicable using cone-shaped bits of felt. Also goose-quills, if the stories are to be believed.

  349. #351 Sven DiMilo
    March 31, 2010

    just now noticed SC @ #15; sorry, SC.

    You don’t get to claim on the one hand that you’ve ceased arguing on the blog and aren’t to be taken seriously in general and then on the other expect people to put time into writing serious responses to your posts. Or at least to expect me to. I have no patience for it.

    um, what?

    a) in the absence of a designated Threadcop, I ‘get to” do whatever the hell I feel like doing, and so do you.

    b) That was actually far from a request for you or anyone else to put time into writing a serious response. Just the opposite, actually; bit of irony sensu stricto. See “not taking me seriously.”

    c) My sarcastic comment in this case was a backanded way of asking: What is the point of announcing that you are “refraining from commenting” about something? Either comment or refrain. You obviously have some comments in mind that you’re making it a point to tell us you are refraining from making. Are we all supposed to guess what your comments would have been? Why?

    if you’re going to go out of your way to snipe at people’s field of study and justify it on the grounds that you’re an asshole, expect them to believe you.

    *shrug*
    That seems fair enough.
    As always, you are free to believe whatever you wish to.

    (For the record, I was making contentless snipes at sociology, purely for my own amusement, before you were even around here–ask MAJeff.)

  350. #352 Paul W., OM
    March 31, 2010

    Lynna, OM:

    Paul W., did you read comment 101 below Sam Harris’s essay? If so, I’d like to hear your take on it.

    I agree with the commenter that Harris’s essay is pretty polemical and slurs over the differences between different kinds of objections to his argument.

    I still, perhaps naively, think that Harris is roughly right on the most important counts. I also think that commenter did a shitty job of clarifying anything. It would have been much better for the commenter to say what was right about various things Harris was saying, which I assume many philosophers would agree on, and where exactly the commenter (or most moral philosophers) would say Harris goes off into the weeds.

    (In particular, it’d be nice if they’d slotted Harris’s views into standard philosophical terminology of ethics and metaethics, and named some prominent current philosophers with similar views, and their major detractors.)

    I’ll list some important things that I think are roughly what Harris is getting at, but I don’t know where my interpretation of Harris shades off into what I think…

    Aargh. Careful what you ask for.

    I tried writing this twice, and both times it blew up into my usual treatises, and while I think Harris would mostly agree, it ends up being me blathering on in what I think is a similar vein.

    Here’s the second try. It’s a bit redundant, but I hope the later versions of redundant are a little fuller an clearer. (And I don’t have time to tighten it up.)

    1. Morality is a natural phenomenon. It’s not just a matter of opinion what counts as morality. It’s not just a matter of popular opinion or consensus, either. Scientifically speaking, some things are morality, and other things aren’t, because morality has a scientifically structure and function. (Actually, at least two important functions at different levels.)

    2. Moral preferences are not just arbitrary aesthetic preferences. They play a unique role in human psychology.

    3. Morality is a biologically-based phenomenon, evolved to serve certain biological functions. Some aspects of this biological functioning show up at the psychological level, in our heads, as motives. Others do not, in ways that turn out to be crucial (IMHO if not Harris’s).

    Two important examples:

    (i) our capacity for altruism (and for valuing altruism in others) may have resulted from actual group selection, or from more straightforwardly genetically selfish individual selection, but that doesn’t really matter—what matters is the innate psychological structures that we did in fact evolve, and how they do in fact motivate us, not “what evolution wants.” We can be altruistic for its own sake, even if we explain the evolutionary origin of that drive in terms of propagating our own genes. (Just as we can enjoy sex for itself, in psychological terms, irrespective of that drive’s origin in propagating our genes.)

    (ii) the ability to limit our altruism also evolved—we evolved to tend limit our altruism to in-groups, where it is most likely to pay off in enhancing our own reproductive success—but those limitations are not necessarily psychologically or morally binding. It depends on how they actually work at the psychological level, in terms of the psychology we did in fact evolve. In an important sense, evolution (metaphorically) “wants” us to focus our altruism on likely kin and likely reciprocators, but the evolved mechanisms for focusing our altruism may not work, and we don’t care. (And in fact, they often do not. In evolutionary terms, we may “overgeneralize” our altruism in situations where it doesn’t benefit our genes, in much the same way we often “overgeneralize” our sexuality, and psychologically, that’s okay.)

    4. Morality has a natural valence—it’s not just about cooperation, but pro-cooperation.

    Biologically speaking, if your moral drive has the wrong valence or does not exist—if you want to hurt others rather than help them, or just don’t care, you are a malfunctioning moral unit. You are something like a psychopath or sociopath. That’s a real biological sense in which we can say you’re defective. There’s a certain scientific justification for saying you’re a bad example of the category “moral person.”

    (There may be a larger biological sense in which you are not defective. For example, if the ability to be a psychopath or sociopath evolved as a “facultative behavior,” because it has a positive effect on reproductive success under certain circumstances, then you may be a high-functioning human animal in fitness terms—e.g., a rapist who spreads his genes effectively, and gets away with it—precisely because you’re a defective moral unit. That would not mean that there’s no scientifically real category of “moral person.” It would just mean that nature sometimes favors moral people, and sometimes favors amoral or immoral people.)

    5. Much (but not all) of the diversity in moral opinion between and within moral systems is due to differences of opinion about truth claims, rather than basic values, and that obscures deeper commonalities.

    Cross-culturally, we find certain deep universals that seem to be there for understandable evolved reasons, and differences that are not only comparatively superficial, but are rationalized in terms of the more basic commonalities.

    For example, cross-culturally conservative religious types often justify the promotion and enforcement of conservative moral norms in three revealing ways:

    i) they argue that not upholding some moral norm will lead to the destruction of people’s moral fiber, i.e., it will damage them in some (often ill-defined) way that will make them dysfunctional and personally unhappy

    ii) they argue that lax enforcement of moral norms will be bad for society in the long run, leading to social chaos, and

    iii) they argue that God (or Karma or whatever) will Get You, i.e., that people will suffer if the rules aren’t followed (whether in this life or an afterlife)

    In all three cases, they’re casting concern for conservative moral norms not as an end in itself—as you’d expect if there was a fundamental disagreement—but as a means to an end of promoting personal happiness and/or social flourishing.

    Moral talk is full of metaphors that suggest that Harris is right to think that morality is generally about a concern for happiness and/or flourishing. People may vary in how much they think that happiness per se is important vs. social flourishing being primary, but in general those things are assumed to go hand in hand. Dysfunctional people are assumed to be less happy on average, and to interfere with the social flourishing that promotes others’ well-being, and badly-run societies are assumed to be bad for individuals as well, on average.

    Notice that liberal moral talk is full of similar concerns. In general we want to promote morality as good for individuals, so that they’re not misfits, as well as preventing their dysfunctions from being detrimental to everyone else.

    The big moral arguments are not mostly about ends, but about means, and thus about the underlying truth claims:

    Is there a God who designed you to function in a certain way, such that not getting with the program makes you a misfit in his universe, and thus likely to be unhappy in this world? Is there divine justice, such that if you screw up morally, you’ll suffer the wrath of the righteous in this world, or fail to benefit from the goodwill of the righteoous, or even burn in Hell or be reincarnated as a toad?

    Are women mentally and/or emotionally ill-suited to positions of power and authority? Does giving them control over their lives and their bodies undermine the social order to everyone’s detriment? Is allowing women or gays to express and enjoy their sexuality a problem for other people?

    Does society work best in concrete ways if the godly are in control? Does society work best for everyone, overall, if we view concern for the poor as a matter of something Christian charity—a personal virtue—rather than secular social justice?.

    More generally, does ancient religious “wisdom” give us the guidance we need in figuring out how to organize modern society? Or are religious ideas about morality mostly a bunch of ratioinalizations that obscure the non-religious core and real rational implications of natural human morality?

    6. If we use a scientific approach to morality—which IMHO entails ditching religion entirely, because science and religion do systematically conflict—we have a good chance at rationally coming to greater moral agreement.

    That doesn’t mean we’ll converge to a single moral system that everyone agrees with in every detail, or that absolutely everyone will even agree on the basics, but we should be able to identify the shared core and natural range of human variation in basic moral drives.

    For example, people may naturally differ on what they consider “the good” to be, even after they know all the relevant facts and all the relevant arguments. In particular, they may rank different kinds of happiness or flourishing differently.

    That doesn’t mean that there are no generally agreeable standards, or that they won’t agree on anything, or that they’ll always disagree as much as they do now.
    They may always disagree somewhat, even substantially, on prioritizing goods and what counts as best, but they’ll also generally agree on a lot of things that count as bad, and to be avoided.

    For example, people may always disagree on how basically important “freedom” is, as opposed to happiness. (And what counts as meaningful freedom, or a good kind of happiness.) That doesn’t mean they can’t agree on a lot of important stuff, where freedom and happiness go together, and especially where non-freedom and unhappiness go together.

    (IMHO, even on that particular point, there’s greater potential for rational argument than most people realize. If you probe libertarians who think that freedom is the highest moral value, it turns out that most of them really don’t. When pressed with probing questions and thought experiments, it becomes clear that they largely value freedom in instrumental terms, to promote happiness—on rational reflection their commitment to freedom per se is partly aesthetic but mostly an consequence of their belief that a certain kind of “free” society promotes a kind of flourishing that promotes happiness. A few libertarians would say that they’d rather society was organized on libertarian lines even if it systematically made people less happy, but even most other libertarians regard those people as dysfunctional weirdos.)

    While we may never reach a very high level of moral agreement, based on rational working-out of shared very basic intuitions in light of actual facts, three basic points stand out so far:

    i) Morality doesn’t disappear when you throw out the bogus truth claims of religion. It is not actually based on divine guidance, but on very widely shared, fundamental, biologically-based and robust moral intuitions. Religion doesn’t cause morality—it channels and often limits it with spurious rationalizations.

    ii) The bogus truth claims of religion tend to obscure the real moral and factual issues, and put up roadblocks to the kind of rational inquiry we need, both into the basic nature of morality and into the workings out of particular moral issues in the real world. Successful religions evolve to defend the status quo from insightful fact-based analysis, by throwing up a smokescreen of pseudo-facts and especially by claiming the moral high ground. (E.g., that without religion, you won’t have a basis for morality, and society will fall apart and everyone will suffer.) To get rid of the pseudo-facts, and have sensible moral discourse, we need to puncture religion’s pretensions to holding the moral high ground.

    iii) What’s left is a kind of natural morality, guided by basic moral intuitions and facts. In principle, the ability of natural morality to converge to a rational consensus should be limited only by unresolvable variation in very basic intuitions, not by disagreements on truth claims or rational consequences of those intuitions in light of truth claims. In practice, people will always disagree on some truth claims as well, but recognizing the difference would be a great boon to moral discourse—we’d know what was an unresolvable moral difference, and what was amenable to scientific study, at least in principle. (E.g., does libertarian political philosophy rely on mistaken psychological assumptions.)

    7. Whether you want to call that natural morality objective morality or not, it’s clear that there’s such a thing as objective moral errors of at least three sorts:

    i) if you think that it’s moral to inflict harm or suffering per se for no good reason, you just don’t get what morality is about. You might have an aesthetic or other preference for doing so, but it’s not a moral want, or it’s an immoral one. The basic valence of morality—being pro-happiness and/or pro-flourishing—is not a matter of personal opinion. It’s a matter of the natural function of morality.

    (If you’re a natural sociopath who lacks normal basic normal moral intuitions, you may not care, and no facts and reasoning can make you care—Hume’s is/ought distinction is right in at least that sense—but if you’re rational, you should at least be able to see the difference, like a nonmoral alien anthropologist studying human morality as a natural phenomenon “from the outside.” There’s a scientific sense of what counts as morality, whether you are motivated by it or not.)

    ii) If you have a knee-jerk moral response to something, and simply accept it—e.g., thinking sodomy is dusgusting and homosexuality is evidently morally wrong—you are making a moral mistake. Morality is just not that simple, and it’s part of the normal functioning of morality to analyze examples and try to tease out what are basic moral principles, and what are derived moral principles, and what are thoughtless errors that come from not thinking it through and mistaking one for the other.

    Moral reasoning is mainly reasoning—a rational process—and being irrational leads to mistakes. Something may seem wrong, but by working through examples and refining your moral principles, you may realize that it’s not.

    (This is the sort of thing Harris was getting at with his analogy to naive physics. We’re evolved to start out with a bag of basic intuitions about physical properties of things—roughly Aristotelian physics of impetus and so on—but we can learn that those intuitions aren’t quite right, and lead to contradictory conclusions. We have to amend them in light of real evidence and rational analysis. We end up salvaging some of the basic fundamental intuitions, but in a more refined, consistent, and realistic form. We may be forced to ditch certain intuitions, because they conflict with intutions that we think, on reflection, are just more important. To some extent at least, people tend to converge on which intuitions are primary and don’t go away on rational reflection in light of actual facts. Some moral intuitions survive any amount of reflection and analysis, while others come to seem evidently wrong in light of those, in what philosophers call “reflective eqilibrium”—i.e, a state in which further knowledge and reflection doesn’t change your assessments. It’s an empirical question how much people tend to converge on a “fixed point” in reflective equilibrium, and how much different people’s “fixed points” resemble each other. That’s the kind of thing Harris is saying we need more scientific study of, and I agree—the philosophical method should be continuous with the scientific method; the kind of armchair moral reasoning that philosophers do with compelling thought experiments should be cashed out with larger, controlled experiments in the cognitive psychology of morality.)

    iii) Many differences of moral opinion are due to simple factual errors. For example, if somebody says that homosexuality is wrong because God doesn’t like it and it’s a personal affront to his moral authority that makes him mad and makes the baby Jesus cry, well, they’re just factually mistaken unless those things are in fact true.

    We have scientific reason to doubt such truth claims, even the unfalsifiable ones—we know that in fact many unfalsifiable truth claims of religion are false, if only because they disagree with each other. (Think Mohammed as God’s own prophet vs. Jesus as God.) We may not be able to strictly disprove any particular unfalsifiable claim, but we know for a scientific fact that religion is falsehood-prone, not only in its many falsifiable claims (which are generally false) but in its unfalsfiable ones (which frequently conflict and can’t all be right). That gives us scientific grounds for dismissing unfalsifiable but scientifically implausible religious truth claims as probably wrong (or “not even wrong”), just as we would the unfalsifiable claims of any paranoid conspiracy theory.

    8. There is reason for talking about objective morality, at least in the sense of denying claims that morality is simply subjective. Morality is certain kinds of things and not others, based on certain common evolved-in intuitions and not others, and is a mainly rational phenomenon. People can be factually mistaken about what even counts as a moral issue, or in the valence of a morally-loaded possibility (is suffering good or bad), or in particular reasoning steps (i.e., does something follow or not?)

    That’s as close to objective morality as we need to defuse the criticism of morality as merely subjective.

    This way of talking about morality does not imply that there is a resolution to every moral question, or a total ordering of all possible moral goods, such that we can agree on one concrete moral system and an algorithm for doing what’s right. That’s not plausible.

    That doesn’t mean—as many apologists and accommodationists would have you think—that there aren’t scientific facts about what counts as morally wrong, and religion has more to say about it than science. Just the opposite, if you don’t want to say bullshit.

    Many phenomena in science are messy, and many categories are blurry around the edges. For example, in biology, there’s not even a clear definition of life. You can view viruses or primordial (pre-genes) metabolic goo as “alive” or not, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m clearly alive and a rock clearly isn’t.

    Similarly, there may be lots of ways to be moral, or arguably either moral or immoral in weird cases, but just as there are a whole lot more ways of being dead than of being alive, there are vastly more ways of being amoral or immoral than of being moral. That much, at least, is a scientific fact.

    And that is often enough for practical purposes. So, for example, people may differ unresolvably, somewhat, in their basic moral intuitions (about exactly what counts as the good, their prioritization of utilitiarian vs. deontological moral intuitions, etc.) such that some are basically Kantian, some are fairly straight Utilitarians, others are Rule Utilitarians, etc…. but they will likely still agree usefully on many things, e.g., that it’s wrong and stupid to deny civil rights to gays, or to treat women as chattels, and that how we should organize our society should be informed by issues of what will work to promote the general welfare, and that judgments of what will work should be informed by actual facts of psychology, economics, political science, etc. and not Leviticus vs. the Sermon on the Mount or whatever.

    More optimistically, I think that cognitive science does have some hope of resolving or dissolving certain enduring disagreements about morality in philosophy.

    What I call “philosophical method” of moral argumentation rests on four assumptions being more or less true:

    i) that some moral intuitions are more fundamental than others, and that you can get at those, and distinguish basic vs. derived moral intuitions, with thought experiments that clarify your values, and which ones depend on what other values or facts.

    ii) that the more basic intuitions are stable in “reflective equilibrium,” i.e., that once you’ve learned all the relevant facts and heard all the relevant arguments enough times, you’ll work out the basic and derived issues in a way that won’t change after that—you’ll reach an understanding of the issues at multiple levels, and new examples will fit into that rather than undermine it and make you start over

    iii) that the particular stable moral framework you converge on in that bootstrapping process is unique, and independent of things like the order in which you hear the facts and arguments. If you’re serious and thorough, you won’t get stuck in a rut of seeing things one way, when you could have gotten stuck in a rut of seeing them in a different way, just because you learned one framework first.

    iv) that the unique stable moral frameworks that different people reliably converge to are reliably similar—people have basically the same underlying intuitions, and will resolve things the same way in light of conflicts, given the same relevant facts and all the right arguments.

    Any of these assumptions might not be entirely true, and whether they are is a scientific question, not just a “philosophical” one.

    To whatever extent they’re false, we may come to a scientific realization that there are certain moral disagreements that are just not going to go away. If they’re not too major, that’s not a huge deal—we can still have political compromise, and make things work in ways that may not be ideal from anybody’s point of view, but more or less work to the general benefit, for a variety of conceptions of “benefit.”

    What doesn’t work is throwing in a bunch of extraneous religious falsehoods about moral both basic moral principles (e.g., Divine Command theory) and about specific issues (e.g., gay rights, women’s place, who are God’s favorites, etc.). That makes workable compromise much, much more difficult.

  351. #353 Lynna, OM
    March 31, 2010

    Well done, Paul W. I will save your treatise, and will also pass the text onto a few others who read Sam Harris’s essay and are interested in further discussions. Thanks again.

    The one thing that surprised me about the comments on Sam Harris’s Reason Project was the number of people who basically said, “Fix your own culture before you mess with someone else’s.” As if one could not be concerned about moral and ethical flaws worldwide, including in one’s one culture. And, as if the kinds of flaws that lead to acid being thrown in women’s faces did not affect everyone, everywhere. Fucking provincialists.

  352. #354 Paul W., OM
    March 31, 2010

    A shorter gloss on some of the stuff in that long rant:

    When people think morality and religion go together, and especially that morality depends on religion, moral argument ends up being mostly utterly dumb arguments from a nonexistent authority. (God or whatever spiritual thing informs transcendent spiritual insight.)

    Worse, moral arguments end up being exercises in science denialism—denial of the crucially relevant facts of human psychology and societies, and denial of even the possibility of moral reasoning that’s not informed by spurious divine revelation or inspiration.

    Morality is tremendously important—as important as anything can be—and it’s a real, natural phenomenon that science can and must study.

    Kowtowing to religion with regard to morality is in a sense the biggest scientific mistake we could possibly make. It ensures that the vast majority of people will get the most important issues fundamentally wrong in scientific terms, and that they’ll systematically look in absolutely the wrong places for evidence relevant to the most important decisions they make.

    That’s what compatibilism and accommodationism end up being about, and it sucks hugely.

    As far as the practical importance of science education goes, what normal people really need to know is not that we evolved from fish. It’s that we can’t actually get moral guidance from God, or the people who claim to speak for him. No idea could be more important, or more wrong.

  353. #355 Lynna, OM
    March 31, 2010

    Is allowing women or gays to express and enjoy their sexuality a problem for other people?

    Just to go off on a wild tangent (thank you, Endless Thread, for allowing wild tangents), Craig Ferguson had an interesting take on the Republicans visiting a bondage-themed, lesbian strip club in California recently (and spending campaign funds to do so). Ferguson pointed out that Republicans were willing to spend their political war chest funds to enjoy lesbian strip clubs, where they could watch women to whom they had refused the right to marry simulate sex acts. So, for Republicans, lesbian sex is okay, but only if you’re not married. The episode is not up yet on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson website.

  354. #356 Knockgoats
    March 31, 2010

    I agree with much of what Paul W. says, but I think he is far too optimistic about the extent of basic agreement we can expect, and I suspect intercultural differences are considerably greater than he suggests. To take the second point first, I would think that in most mass-societies from the past few millennia, the idea that morality is “about” cooperation and human flourishing would have seemed bizarre: rather, it would be considered “about” behaving in a way appropriate to your station, as decreed by God/the gods/karma. The idea that cooperation and human flourishing are good in themselves is a relatively rare one in historical terms. For clarity, I should say I don’t in the least take this to justify moral relativism about cultural differences: cooperation and human flourishing are things I value for themselves, and seek to advance across cultures. To take the first point, there are issues such as whether, and if so to what extent, the happiness and flourishing of non-human animals should be considered – facts are relevant here, but not determinative. Similarly with how we should weigh the happiness and flourishing of those who are now alive, with that of those we can expect to live in future. Also, technical and scientific advance are continually creating new moral dilemmas – for example, would it be right to change human biology to increase cooperativity?

  355. #357 Bill Dauphin, OM
    March 31, 2010

    Wow, PaulW (@352 & 354)! Great stuff! Tentacle Clusters for you, my good man!

  356. #358 Feynmaniac
    March 31, 2010

    Arghhh…..

    Obama clears way for oil drilling off US coasts

    The comments are also disturbing. Yahoo News indeed.

  357. #359 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Scholar of Shen Zhou
    March 31, 2010

    The comments are also disturbing. Yahoo News indeed.

    Yahoo related things are disturbing in general. Check out some of the question on Yahoo Answers.

  358. #360 cicely
    March 31, 2010

    Kobra:

    Are any other students experiencing similar frustrations with their financial aid or is my college just ran by crooks who hold onto your money for as long as possible then pay it to you when inflation has made it worth less than it should be?

    More likely they are ‘farming’ it, and hundreds of similar amounts of money, for the interest.

    /conspiracy theory

    (Or…is it???)

  359. #361 Walton, Liberal Extremist Dumpling of Awesome
    March 31, 2010

    I wish I had time to properly engage with the interesting discussion above about the nature of morality; unfortunately, I’m snowed under with studying EU law. :-(

    (I now seem to use the endless thread almost exclusively as a place to complain about how overworked I am…)

    A couple of thoughts, though. Firstly, I don’t think disagreements about morality are primarily reducible to disagreements about truth-claims. For a good example, compare Knockgoats and myself. He and I are both atheists and secular rationalists, and accept the primacy of empiricism as a means of determining the truth or falsehood of claims about reality. We both accept, essentially, the same scientific facts about how the world is. Yet we have very profound disagreements when it comes to moral and ethical philosophy. That’s because our disagreements are primarily normative, not empirical: we disagree not about how the world is, but about how it should be. We have substantially different conceptions of abstract moral concepts like “freedom” and “justice”, and what these mean for people in practice and for how society should be organised. Those disagreements are, ultimately, not reducible to questions of fact or evidence. They’re normative questions, and there’s no absolute “right” or “wrong” answer.

    (Apologies, Knockgoats, for using you as an example like this; but it’s the clearest way to illustrate the point.)

    The other difficulty I have is that some of our most fundamental normative values, on which all systems of human morality are premised, aren’t easily explicable. At the most basic level, all moral philosophies are premised, to some extent, on the idea that other people have legitimate interests that are important, and that we can’t always pursue our own interests and desires at the expense of others. (If this were not the case, we wouldn’t need a concept of morality at all; we could simply act according to our impulses or our prudential self-interest.) This is closely related to the general concept of “justice” or “fairness”; the idea that there is some sort of objectively right or fair method of resolving conflicts between different people’s wishes and interests, and that this method should constrain us from always pursuing our own interests and ignoring those of others. These concepts are fundamental to the whole endeavour of moral theory: yet I, for one, can’t explain them. We all agree that it’s wrong to kill or maim others in order to further our own self-interest, for example: but I couldn’t explain why it’s wrong. It just is. And perhaps, sometimes, our concept of morality has to boil down to instinct and empathy, rather than being entirely explicable on rational grounds: after all, we’ve developed these instincts through many generations of living together in communities. (I think this is the point that Ayn Rand missed in her moral philosophy: in condemning self-sacrifice, and elevating selfishness to the level of a virtue, she perhaps missed the fact that the basic moral principles she was rejecting are part of what allows people to live together in communities.)

    Sorry this isn’t very coherent. Just a few random thoughts.

  360. #362 iambilly
    March 31, 2010

    Paul W.: Excellent.

    One of the more frustrating things I have run across when discussing morality with theists is that their definition of morality, their absolutist definition, is morality. Racism, bigotry, mysogyny, homophobia, and any other (to my mind) amoral and/or immoral positions are not seen as bugs within their belief system. They are seen as features.

  361. #363 blf
    March 31, 2010

    Hmmm – was checking out our favourite bird’s continuing hissy spit against PZ and left a comment or two.

    Seems he edits comments to make them pro-Bird.

    And when I say edit, I mean the edited comment bears no relation to the original comment, but turns out to be a parrot of bird?s deluded drivel.

    Yes, Graeme Bird does that. Amazingly, Less-Brains-Than-a-Stuffed-Turkey didn’t edit my comment (which was a slightly-modified repeat of the posts I was making here, asking it to provide evidence for/against a very simple claim), but it did have a mini-starfart, claiming, for instance, its interest is only ?education?. The mind boggles…

  362. #364 iambilly
    March 31, 2010

    All: I wanted to leave this comment on one of the Birdthreads, but, as they are closed, I guess I’ll drop it here.

    I have heard tell, over the years, of total and complete breakdowns manifested within blogs and/or the associated comment threading. I have never actually seen one (or participated in one (and have (to my knowledge) never instigated one) go down.

    Impressive.

    Reading the Bird droppings for a second time doesn’t help. They make even less sense.

    This was amusing, though. In a Chevy-Chase-movie sort of way. Or Attack of the Killer Tomtatoes. Though AotKT makes more sense. Sober or drunk.

  363. #365 Sili
    March 31, 2010

    Does any of the recipistas have a use for two pints of spoilt milk?

  364. #366 iambilly
    March 31, 2010

    Sili:

    Depends. Cheese and Sour Cream are spoiled milk. As is cottage cheese (which (in my book) isn’t really cheese (so I’m not sure why they call it that (but I list it here, anyway))). If you refer to the ‘here, honey, smell this milk and tell me if it is still good’ type of spoiled milk, my suggestion would be wash it down the kitchen drain with plenty of water and rinse the jug out and put it in the recycle bin.

  365. #367 Paul W., OM
    March 31, 2010

    iambilly:

    If you refer to the ‘here, honey, smell this milk and tell me if it is still good’ type of spoiled milk, my suggestion would be wash it down the kitchen drain with plenty of water and rinse the jug out and put it in the recycle bin.

    Yeah. Maybe somebody with more biology knowledge can correct me, but my impression is that you shouldn’t generally consume randmly spoiled food, because you don’t know which bugs happened to get into it and spoil it, and what toxins are their excrement.

    Maybe milk is fairly reliably spoiled by some fairly safe bugs, but I’d get rid of it.

    On the other hand, I have seen a number of recipes for various things where you just set it aside and let it ferment a bit, without any particular starter culture to get safe bugs.
    (E.g. for Indian dosa batter or Ethiopian injera batter, or Korean kimchee.)

    How hinky should I be about such things?

  366. #368 Lynna, OM
    March 31, 2010

    If you ever want to know what it’s really like to belong to a mormon community, the story of Peter and Mary Danzig will give you the full effect. At this website, the most effective piece is the podcast. Listen to the podcast in which:

    Peter and Mary Danzig discuss Peter?s removal from the Orchestra at Temple Square because of his letter to the editor opposing professor Jeffrey Nielson?s termination from BYU (over Dr. Nielson?s public support of gay marriage). They also discuss his local church leadership?s request for silence, the threats of church discipline, his and Mary?s ultimate decision to resign from the LDS Church, and Craig Jessop?s resignation as Director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

    This is what happens to you if you are heterosexual, but you stand up for gay rights. The church leaders contrive to turn such a stance into social, fiscal, and career suicide. This is how they keep the members in line. This episode also illustrates the hypocrisy and the ultimately uncaring, unloving attitude of the men in the General Authority.

  367. #369 Sili
    March 31, 2010

    Well, it was trying to find a way to save it.

    It’s isn’t ‘stinky, chunky’ spoilt yet, just ‘grainy, unfresh’ spoilt. I was thinking that it might be cooked up or curdled or summat.

  368. #370 Sili
    March 31, 2010

    In less unsavoury news: My body can feed 46 hungry weasels.

  369. #371 iambilly
    March 31, 2010

    Paul W.

    The problem we have today is that we can’t take something of questionable consumability and give it to an old person to test. “Here, try this berry. Still alive? We can all eat it. Here, try this chunky bluish stuff growing on our cheese. Still alive? Voila! Roquefurt! Now all we need is a good wine.”

    Sili:

    Well, it was trying to find a way to save it.

    You could pray over it, sprinkle it with holy water, dip a consecrated wafer in it, wave a bible over it, or ask pay a televangelist to pray for it.

    Or were you thinking of a different kind of saving?

    Having experienced ‘grainy, unfresh’ spoiled milk, and the rather amazing episode of projectile vomiting (Post Fruity Pebbles (I was like, eight years old) spattered across a wall mimics Jackson Pollock in a most delightful way) I really cannot recommend eating it fresh.

    I have used slightly older milk (smells a little off, but . . . ) in bread. I scalded the milk first to kill off whatever was consuming it (this also makes sure it won’t go to war with the yeast (now there’s an odd visual)) and made a nice marbled rye bread. But I think that Paul W. has it right: if you don’t know the beastie, be careful. Verrrrrry, verrrry careful.

  370. #372 iambilly
    March 31, 2010

    Sili: Got you beat. I could feed 82 hungry weasels. When, however, did hungry weasels become the measuring stick?

    And yes, before anyone mentions it, I know that I misspelled Roquefort. Sorry. My bad. Me culpa, mea maxima culpa. I apologize to the gods of fromage bleu.

  371. #373 Paul W., OM
    March 31, 2010

    Walton,

    I don’t think disagreements about morality are primarily reducible to disagreements about truth-claims. For a good example, compare Knockgoats and myself. [...] We both accept, essentially, the same scientific facts about how the world is. Yet we have very profound disagreements when it comes to moral and ethical philosophy. That’s because our disagreements are primarily normative, not empirical: we disagree not about how the world is, but about how it should be.

    Maybe somewhat, but I am skeptical that the differences are as basic and major as you seem to think. I suspect that the differences largely stem from one or both of you not being in reflective equilibrium—either not knowing the relevant facts, or not having worked their implications through and adjusted your concepts accordingly.

    Are you familiar with Rawls’s metaphor of the “veil of ignorance”? I think that gets at a more fundamental feature of morality that allows us to evaluate concepts of freedom and justice in a way that you’d probably recognize as more fundamental, and as largely based on truth claims. (It’s closely related to Kant’s concept of the Categorical Imperative and to a more basic principle underlying the Golden Rule.)

    If you haven’t gone through thought experiments evaluating different concepts of freedom and justice in that kind of terms, I suspect you have not come to grips with your most basic moral intuitions, and are wrongly taking something somewhat higher-level as basic because you haven’t thought about it enough.

    That’s an empirical matter, though, and we could go into it, but…

    YOU SHOULD BE STUDYING INSTEAD!

    Transvaluing all your values (or not) should wait until after your exams. :-)

    They’re normative questions, and there’s no absolute “right” or “wrong” answer.

    Answers to normative questions often hinge in subtle ways on unanalyzed assumptions that amount to unrecognized truth claims, and there are often wrong answers to them. That’s the kind of thing the Veil of Ignorance is meant to tease out.

    (BTW, for anybody who does know Rawls, I’m not actually a Rawlsian. I buy the basic V of E thing, but not the minimax principle. I don’t think most people would be minimaxers in reflective equilibrium; they’re clearly not that risk-averse in their actual lives.)

  372. #374 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 31, 2010

    Sili @ 370:

    In less unsavoury news: My body can feed 46 hungry weasels.

    I think I did this before. Hmm, well it says I can feed 29.

  373. #375 blf
    March 31, 2010

    64 weasels.

  374. #376 Sili
    March 31, 2010

    Fucketi fuck fuck. And Mooneybaum!

    They’ve ever screwed with the search! IT WAS WORKING JUST DAMN FINE, THANK YOU VERY MUCH! WHY DO YOU THINK I WANT A CRAPPY FIREFOX RIPOFF?!!

    ARRGLE RARRGLE BLAARGGLE!!

    /starfart

    I think I did this before. Hmm, well it says I can feed 29.

    Nah, this is new. I think you’re remembering how many tapeworms can make a comfortable residence in your innards.

    –o–

    Bread it is! I’ve done that before, but I wasn’t planning on baking till the weekend (It is risen!), since I wanted to make a sourdough again first. First attempt wasn’t bad, but I shoulda given it a touch of yeast (and less salt).

  375. #377 Bill Dauphin, OM
    March 31, 2010

    Ahoy, ‘Tis Himself!

    Do I recall correctly that you’re located in CT? And that you like maritime music? Do you perhaps listen to Colin McEnroe’s show on WNPR? In case you missed it, here’s a podcast of his “ocean” show, which features segments on sea chanties (which is why I thought of you), the Connecticut River Museum, and scallop fishing, along with a comedy bit about the pirates who live in Unit 8T of a condo complex (and keep a kraken in the swimming pool).

    Check it out.

    </RandomDigression>

  376. #378 Owlmirror
    March 31, 2010

    Fucketi fuck fuck. And Mooneybaum!

    They’ve ever screwed with the search! IT WAS WORKING JUST DAMN FINE, THANK YOU VERY MUCH! WHY DO YOU THINK I WANT A CRAPPY FIREFOX RIPOFF?!!

    http://www.opera.com/browser/download/

    • “Show other versions”
    • Operating system
    • “Please select your preferred version”

    Go nuts.

    (Oh, wait…)

  377. #379 Sili
    March 31, 2010

    But where’s the fun in that?

  378. #380 Bill Dauphin, OM
    March 31, 2010

    PaulW:

    Forgive me for cherrypicking (and somewhat naively/ignorantly, at that) a single idea out of your complex and nuanced analysis, but I’m curious: If, as I personally believe is true, the main fundamental distinction between the ideological right and left is that the former is more individualistic while the latter is more communitarian (i.e., cooperative), would this…

    4. Morality has a natural valence—it’s not just about cooperation, but pro-cooperation.

    …imply that right-wing ideologies are objectively less moral than left-wing ideologies?

  379. #381 blf
    March 31, 2010

    Um, what was that starfart about?

  380. #382 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Scholar of Shen Zhou
    March 31, 2010

    I just learned about missionary dating. I must say that a person who dates another person for the sole reason of converting the latter is a phenomenal douche (and it could backfire with the missionary becoming an apostate). But I do have question: If a person engages in missionary dating, are they obligated to assume the missionary position? lol

  381. #383 AJ Milne
    March 31, 2010

    …And Mooneybaum!

    Hey now! Language!

  382. #384 Squirel52
    March 31, 2010

    Having just read the Graeme Bird thread, did anyone else get the “Stephen Colbert” vibe? I hope, for the sake of humanity on large, that Mr. Bird was intentionally playing the offensive, wild eyed, lunatic parody and (just like the white house press association) we all took him too seriously.

    Some of you may say “oh, but he has a completely batshit blog, which spouts lunacy on a daily basis”. My response would be “but Stephen has his own daily tv show, spouting conservative lunacy on a daily basis”.

    I attest that Graeme Bird is the greatest parody comedian to ever have lived!

  383. #385 Bill Dauphin, OM
    March 31, 2010

    Gyeong Hwa (@382):

    Missionary dating does sound creepy. If it’s a matter of a believer honestly falling for a nonbeliever, and then trying to convert the beloved to resolve a crisis between faith and personal feelings, that’s one thing (creepy, but at least arguably honest); if it’s a matter of specifically targeting nonbelievers and using romance (which is to say, sex, or at least the promise thereof) as a means to unacknowledged persuasion, that’s just horrific… especially if there’s no intent of following through out the relationship after the conversion is accomplished.

    I wonder if they have rules, like cops going undercover as drug dealers, about how far they’re permitted to go in counterfeiting a nonbeliever in love? Do they accept sexual behaviors that would otherwise be “sin” if they’re in the service of a missionary goal? Do they target gays? (That would be truly heinous, but I doubt many believers who personally hold homosexuality to be an abomination would be willing or able to successfully play the part, so I guess it’s unlikely.)

    Every day I learn of new wonders previously undreamt of. As this revelation proves, not all “wonders” are particularly wonderful. <sigh>

  384. #386 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 31, 2010

    Squirel52, to do what Stephen Colbert does requires intelligence, coherency and humour. Game Bird lacks all three qualities.

  385. #387 Kel, OM
    March 31, 2010

    I attest that Graeme Bird is the greatest parody comedian to ever have lived!

    Right up there with Glen Beck!

    (in other words, you can’t parody batshit insane)

  386. #388 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Scholar of Shen Zhou
    March 31, 2010

    Do they target gays?

    I can’t find the link right now, but IRC Evan Hurst (or was it Wayne?) published an article on Truth Wins Out about how a Christian woman became close to a gay man in order to drag him away from his partner and marry him into an appropriate Christian relationship.

    If it’s a matter of a believer honestly falling for a nonbeliever, and then trying to convert the beloved to resolve a crisis between faith and personal feelings, that’s one thing (creepy, but at least arguably honest);

    This I have less trouble with because it’s an attempt to work out a relation. (Though I may still look down about coercing others to believe.)

  387. #389 Knockgoats
    March 31, 2010

    For a good example, compare Knockgoats and myself. [...] We both accept, essentially, the same scientific facts about how the world is. – Walton

    I don’t think that’s true. For example, we disagree (or did if you haven’t changed your mind) about the social effects of economic inequality, the degree to which an individual’s attainments and qualities are dependent on prior physical and social infrastructure, and the existence, at any time, of anything approaching the “free market” of glibertarian fantasy. I’m not saying these exhaust our differences, but they certainly contribute.

    Now, I must go to bed, and you, Walton, should either do the same or work!

  388. #390 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    March 31, 2010

    Missionary Dating? Pfff!

    Some of us are old enough to remember Flirty Fishing, also known as, IIRC, “Love Bombing”. Some of the sadder people I knew got all their sex that way.

    .

  389. #391 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    March 31, 2010

    In an act of pointless masochism, I loaded all of Graeme Bird’s ravings into Wordle in order to make The Graeme Bird Memorial Wordle.

    For what it is worth, enjoy.

  390. #392 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 31, 2010

    I find it ironic how big evidence is birdbrains Wordle, and how little he knows about it.

  391. #393 stevieinthecity#9dac9
    March 31, 2010

    Haha. But CO2 and bed wetter didn’t make it into the wordle.

  392. #394 iambilly
    March 31, 2010

    I just got home and made dinner. Here is a quick recipe I used this evening (Honest — quick!)

    Asparagus in Phylo

    4 sheets of phylo
    20 spears of asparagus
    3 tablespoons melted butter
    2 tablespoons cheap grated Romano or Parmesan cheese — the stuff in the plastic shaker cans.

    Trim the asparagus to about the same length. Lay the spears at one corner of a sheet of phylo — the tips should be at the corner, the ends almost at the middle. Fold the bottom up so it is snug with the ends. Fold the tip of the phylo down to expose the tips of the spears. foll the rest of the sheet over the sides and wrap. Repeat three more times.

    Lay on a non-stick baking sheet. Brush the melted butter on the phylo. Sprinkle with the cheap cheese and bake at 400 degrees F for about 13 minutes (the phylo should be light brown in the flat areas fading to darker brown at the edges.

    Enjoy.

    (We had that, chicken rolled in toasted onions, and some biscuits out of a tube (work nights tend to be less creative))

  393. #395 KOPD 42.7 FM
    March 31, 2010

    Phylo? That’s the scientist guy in UHF, right?

  394. #396 David Marjanovi?
    March 31, 2010

    Big catcher-upper, part 1. Turns out I missed an entire troll from appearance to bannination while packing and sitting in the train… I’ve now read up to comment 151 of this subthread.

    Completely forgot to mention that it’s good to have half an onion (with cloves in it) roasting and then boiling in the middle of the rice pan. But I’ve never done that, because I’d have needed to buy a single onion at a time, and I don’t like actually eating onions all that much (…though I’ve discovered that this depends on the preparation). Might not go well with all the spices, or might simply be unnecessary.

    I’m sure this occurs sometimes in vertebrates as well, but often entity A can interbreed with entity B and entity B can interbreed with entity C, but A and C are inter-sterile, and can’t share genes except through a “B” population.

    That happens a lot, giving us “series species” or “ring species” depending on the geography. And sometimes it looks like this…

    --+--A
      `--+--B
         `--+--C
            `--+--D
               `--E

    …where A and E are interfertile, but all other combinations are not. This example is what I remember of a near-textbook example involving lake fish in Panama.

    You get something like a ring species in languages as well where Village A can speak to and understand Village B who can speak to and understand Village C, but C and A cannot understand each other…

    Yep, called a dialect continuum. German & Dutch form one with… probably at least three endpoints; and if northernmost German and Yorkshire English are mutually intelligible, the number of endpoints grows even more.

    BTW, regarding the ice cream I mentioned @477, it’s mostly one of the recipes that came with my ice cream machine (Cuisinart ICE-20), but with a couple tweaks of my own:

    Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

    :-o

    You don’t happen to live in or very close to Pittsburgh, do you?

    The Grauniad commments:

    Its printing errors are contagious, it seems :-)

    the OP was scheduled in May for October; when I mentioned that I wasn’t gonna be in the country by then, I just got a flat reply that I should move my travel plans then. So I went home, whined to mommy, and mommy got the OP moved to mid-June

    Impressive!

    Amusingly, the troll a.human.ape also described me as a “liberal extremist”. :-)

    :-) :-) :-)

    did anyone else notice that Not Exactly Rocket Science and Gene Expression moved to Discover?

    NNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOO…

    But can God build a set of goal posts so mobile even He can’t score on them?

    Into my quote folder.

    Rand is even more obvious, if the character not only is an idiot but is also supposed to look like one . . .

    FIFY :-)

    I think we pharyngulites need a forum.

    No. I like the strict chronological order very much; it means I don’t have to go back again and again and again and look for new comments.

    What sort of Mad Scientist® would PZ be if he didn’t gratuitously experiment with necroanastomisation?

    Win.

    Well, this is interesting:

    Half of Americans say they would support an openly gay president, while slightly more would be in favor of a gay Supreme Court judge or secretary of state, according to a new poll.

    Just under a third of Americans questioned in the poll said they support the so-called Tea Party movement, a grass roots right wing activist movement that has held a series of protests around the nation to voice their dissatisfaction with the government.

    Hope :-)

    (Well, till I read comment 130 anyway. But, as mentioned later, it’s still better than nothing, and better than I had thought.)

  395. #397 David Marjanovi?
    March 31, 2010

    Oh yeah, I almost forgot: Toothy goodness for Jadehawk who has most likely already seen it. Remarkably, it’s toothy and cute at the same time.

  396. #398 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    March 31, 2010

    David
    Wikipedia –

    The nickname The Grauniad for the paper originated with the satirical magazine Private Eye. This played on The Guardian’s reputation for frequent typographical errors, such as misspelling its own name as The Gaurdian. The domain grauniad.co.uk is registered to the paper, and redirects to its website at guardian.co.uk.

  397. #399 Feynmaniac
    March 31, 2010

    I forgot to comment about this…

    I sincerely wish we could ignore the birther/teabagger crowd, but it’s never wise to ignore a grass roots movement.

    They’re not entirely “grass roots”. Much of it is “astroturf”. They’re receive a lot help by Fox News and Freedomworks, which is led by Dick Armey*. I could see why the Republicans would do this. Their reputation has become so bad in recent years that they need an entirely new front altogether. That’s not to say that they don’t have some sort amongst the population, as the poll indicated about 1/3 of Americans support the movement. They do however receive a disproportionate amount of coverage, especially when compared to the LGBT movement. The Daily Show did a good bit comparing the coverage of two almost equally sized protests by the two groups in Washing D.C held a few days apart.
    _______
    * Before they figured out the true meaning of “teabagging” the movement said they wanted to go teabagging all around the country. This led a MSNBC news anchor to comment: “if you are planning simultaneous teabagging all around the country, you’re going to need a Dick Armey.”

  398. #400 'Tis Himself, OM
    March 31, 2010

    Bill Dauphin, OM #377

    Ahoy, ‘Tis Himself!

    Avast ahoying. Belay your ahoys. Batten down all ahoys.

    Do I recall correctly that you’re located in CT? And that you like maritime music? Do you perhaps listen to Colin McEnroe’s show on WNPR?

    Yes. Yes. Yes.

    In case you missed it, here’s a podcast of his “ocean” show, which features segments on sea chanties (which is why I thought of you), the Connecticut River Museum, and scallop fishing, along with a comedy bit about the pirates who live in Unit 8T of a condo complex (and keep a kraken in the swimming pool).

    Thanks. I listened to it. Pretty good, but then McEnroe usually does a good show.

    Bill, don’t you live in Middlestown or somewhere around there? I know we both have Joe Courtney as our congresscritter.

  399. #401 SC OM
    March 31, 2010

    um, what?
    a) in the absence of a designated Threadcop, I ‘get to” do whatever the hell I feel like doing, and so do you.

    Oh, give me a break. You know what I meant – it’s not a reasonable expectation.

    b) That was actually far from a request for you or anyone else to put time into writing a serious response. Just the opposite, actually; bit of irony sensu stricto. See “not taking me seriously.”

    You said:

    A loss to whom? The Borg? Who gives a shit? Yong still pops up on my screen when I want him to. I certainly don’t consider the other Borg bloggers to be “on my team” in any way.

    Sorry if I missed (and continue to miss) your rhetorical intent. Funny – I’ve never had a problem knowing when Rev. BDC and Emmet, who are generally funny, were being serious.

    c) My sarcastic comment in this case was a backanded way of asking: What is the point of announcing that you are “refraining from commenting” about something? Either comment or refrain.

    in the absence of a designated Threadcop,…

    You obviously have some comments in mind that you’re making it a point to tell us you are refraining from making. Are we all supposed to guess what your comments would have been? Why?

    Yes, it should have been obvious that I don’t consider it a loss. I didn’t think anyone cared why particularly, and didn’t want to debate the matter. In my limited experience with it (and with Razib when he showed up here), I found it and him creepy and wingnutty and trying to disguise a political agenda as ‘neutral’ science. Happy?

    (For the record, I was making contentless snipes at sociology, purely for my own amusement, before you were even around here–ask MAJeff.)

    For the record, that’s worse. If you were doing it to get a rise out of me or because you were angry with me that would be one thing. That you find it a general source of amusement is, well…

  400. #402 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    March 31, 2010

    ‘TisHimself
    Idle late night (for me) nautical musing – I understand that you Americans pronounce buoy as boo-ee. Any idea why? You don’t also say boo-ee-ant, or boo-ee-ancy, do you?

  401. #403 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 31, 2010

    Feynmaniac @ 399:

    They’re not entirely “grass roots”. Much of it is “astroturf”. They’re receive a lot help by Fox News and Freedomworks, which is led by Dick Armey

    Oh, I agree with much of what you say. Still, I think it would be a mistake to take them as a complete joke. If stupidity, grudge-holding and fundieism weren’t so endemic in the U.S., I’d be more inclined to ignore the teabaggers altogether.

    I do hope they simply implode, that would be good. Things just aren’t stable enough for me to be sure that will happen. It’s like Palin. She still has way too many supporters for comfort, and while she’s certainly not invested many brain cells in actual learning, she’s good at what she does, which is manipulating the stupid, the grudge-holding and the “god, bible, guns and country!” crowd. It’s discomfiting.

  402. #404 cicely
    March 31, 2010

    But not all Americans pronounce buoy as boo-ee. When I was a kid, my teacher used it as an example of a homophone, for boy.

  403. #405 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 31, 2010

    Ok. Everyone calm down.

    ok

    breath

    ok

    are you ready?


    NERDGASM COLLISION!!!

  404. #406 WowbaggerOM
    March 31, 2010

    cicely wrote:

    But not all Americans pronounce buoy as boo-ee.

    I have vague recollections of a Seinfeld episode where Elaine pronounced it ‘boy’ and was told by someone else it was ‘boo-ee’. Maybe it’s a regional thing.

  405. #407 KOPD 42.7 FM
    March 31, 2010

    Now that I’m conscious of it I’m not sure what I do, but I think I do it in between. Kind of a stretched version of boy.

  406. #408 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 31, 2010

    KOPD:

    Kind of a stretched version of boy.

    Yeah. I say it with a barely pronounced ‘u’, not a long drawn out one.

  407. #409 KOPD 42.7 FM
    March 31, 2010

    @408
    Yeah, that’s it.

    @405
    OMFSM! I especially enjoyed the Metallica songs on there. (Meta: how the hell does my spellcheck not have ‘Metallica’, or ‘spellcheck’?)

  408. #410 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    March 31, 2010

    RBDC That was hideous. Let us never speak of it again.

    Here’s some real music to clean your brain after listening to that.

  409. #411 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 31, 2010

    Oh I know it was hideous.

    I mean come on

    IT’S DARK SIDE OF THE MOON MADE WITH NINTENDO SOUNDS!

  410. #412 Bill Dauphin, OM
    March 31, 2010

    ‘Tis (@400):

    Bill, don’t you live in Middlestown or somewhere around there?

    Vernon, actually, hence my earlier comment about having the ZIP Code of the beast (06066). Just got home from videotaping a Town Council budget hearing for the Community Voice Channel.

    I know we both have Joe Courtney as our congresscritter.

    Of whom I am most especially proud right now… not only because he voted for healthcare reform, but because he obviously worked so hard to truly master the legislation proposed, and to wrestle with aspects of the bill he questioned. He gets my nomination as the Hardest Workin’ Man in Congress™!

    You and I should get together for a glass of grog sometime, no?

  411. #413 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    March 31, 2010

    RBDC It’s gone 4am here and I’m still awake because a mouse has invaded my bedroom. Ten seconds after I turn off the light I can hear it scuttling around the room. I’ve spent three hours switching the light on and off and getting up to chase it around the room. Now I’m too tired to do that, or sleep.
    But, since I played that video the mouse has gone! Thank you so much.

  412. #414 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 31, 2010

    I do what I can for the humans.

  413. #415 Caine, Fleur du mal
    March 31, 2010

    Christian Philosopher Explores Causes of Atheism

    “Human beings were made in God’s image, and the father-child relationship mirrors that of humans as God’s ‘offspring,'” Spiegel states. “We unconsciously (and often consciously, depending on one’s worldview) conceive of God after the pattern of our earthly father. “However, when one’s earthly father is defective, whether because of death, abandonment, or abuse, this necessarily impacts one’s thinking about God.”

    Some of the atheists whose fathers died include David Hume and Friedrich Nietzsche. Those with abusive or weak fathers include Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire and Sigmund Freud. Among the New Atheists, Daniel Dennett’s father died when Dennett was five years old and Christopher Hitchens’ father appears to have been very distant. Hitchens had confessed that he doesn’t remember “a thing about him.”

    As for Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, there is very little information available regarding their relationships with their fathers.

    “It appears that the psychological fallout from a defective father must be combined with rebellion ? a persistent immoral response of some sort, such as resentment, hatred, vanity, unforgiveness, or abject pride. And when that rebellion is deep or protracted enough, atheism results,” Spiegel explains.

  414. #416 Ol'Greg
    April 1, 2010

    Rev. BigDumbChimp! Amazing!!!!

    I love you, sir!

    That made my freaking night…

  415. #417 Menyambal
    April 1, 2010

    Perhaps, Spiegel, a small child’s relationship with a tall, booming father who takes care of the child and gives him attention when he cries is the very archetype of a religious man’s relationship with his imaginary god.

  416. #418 Ol'Greg
    April 1, 2010

    I hate OkCupid’s stupid categories. I don’t want to pick straight, bi, or gay. I want a “undetermined” option.

    I know that’s an immature response but that is so much closer to the truth.

    sorry for the random interjection.

    Oh! I’m apologizing so much.

  417. #419 boygenius
    April 1, 2010

    Caine #415,

    Puke..Blech…Urghle

    I actually read both pages of that drivel.

    Thanks for the link, though. I’m gonna rewrite that article from a first-person perspective and email it to my dad as an April Fool’s Day joke*!

    *My only worry is that my poor father will die laughing in front of the computer. Meh, there are worse ways to go.

  418. #420 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 1, 2010

    Menyambal:

    Perhaps, Spiegel, a small child’s relationship with a tall, booming father who takes care of the child and gives him attention when he cries is the very archetype of a religious man’s relationship with his imaginary god.

    That was one of my first thoughts. It seems to me that someone looking for a father figure/presence would tend to be religious rather than atheist.

    I did note that women didn’t figure into his theory, at least not what was in the article. I won’t be buying his book.

    I get very tired of the whole rebellion scenario. Spiegel also says:

    “Atheism is not the result of objective assessment of evidence, but of stubborn disobedience; it does not arise from the careful application of reason but from willful rebellion. Atheism is the suppression of truth by wickedness, the cognitive consequence of immorality.

    “In short, it is sin that is the mother or unbelief.”

    So as far as he’s concerned, it’s simply not possible to objectively assess evidence, unless that assessment comes down on the side of god. Naturally, he doesn’t provide any evidence for god.

  419. #421 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 1, 2010

    Elroy, it was the most awful glurge wasn’t it? It will make a great April Fool’s prank though!

  420. #422 Ol'Greg
    April 1, 2010

    Oh weird… what a Freudian explanation of God that is!

    And specifically of one image of God, as loving Father.

    I get the “refusing to believe” thing a lot from people, even from people who call themselves agnostic!

    It’s odd. Certainty can be so upsetting for people. I’d say that for me that I simply do not accept almost anyone’s God, and do not subscribe really to any religion. That’s fine. But when you say “atheist” people get upset.

    Atheist = God hater. I think people really do see it as a rebellion against the idea of God.

    Seems like that wouldn’t be “atheist” though, it would be something like misotheism or antitheism.

  421. #423 aratina cage
    April 1, 2010

    RevBDC, the nerdgasm has been a real pleasure. I recognize so many of the sounds but I can’t remember which games they come from (I swear I hear some Crystalis in there, though).   :\   I’ll have to listen some more tomorrow.

  422. #424 Kel, OM
    April 1, 2010

    “Human beings were made in God’s image, and the father-child relationship mirrors that of humans as God’s ‘offspring,'” Spiegel states. “We unconsciously (and often consciously, depending on one’s worldview) conceive of God after the pattern of our earthly father. “However, when one’s earthly father is defective, whether because of death, abandonment, or abuse, this necessarily impacts one’s thinking about God.”

    That sounds like something straight out of Fight Club:


    If you?re male and you?re Christian and living in America, your father is your model for God. And if you never know your father, if your father bails out or dies or is never at home, what do you believe about God?

    What you end up doing, is you spend your life searching for a father and God. What you have to consider is the possibility that God doesn?t like you. Could be, God hates us. This is not the worst thing that could happen.
    Getting God?s attention for being bad was better than getting no attention at all. Maybe because God?s hate is better than His indifference.

  423. #425 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 1, 2010

    Ol’Greg, a lot of people are certain that people are atheists because they are rebelling against god for whatever reasons* or they are angry at god.

    *The list of reasons is usually eerily close to issues a person may have had with their parents/guardians around 14/15 years of age. Those who are convinced of this rarely think of atheists as any other age. That tends to come out here often, when chew toys show up and sooner or later make disparaging comments about all of us being teenage boys. Again, as I noted in #420, girls/women rarely figure into it, I guess females go against the archetype.

  424. #426 boygenius
    April 1, 2010

    Caine,

    Regarding the cat thing:

    I put on my “scientist hat” and looked at the data provided by Sven and A.Noyd. I guess I was ignorant about how much damage cats can do to the native fauna.

    I also put on my “good neighbor mittens” and considered the observations made by yourself and others.

    I’m not happy about it, but I guess I have to concede that my long born, deeply held convictions may be wrong. I shall work it out from here.

    /kittehs

  425. #427 Ol'Greg
    April 1, 2010

    The list of reasons is usually eerily close to issues a person may have had with their parents/guardians around 14/15 years of age.

    I had never thought of it that way, but it makes some sense! Especially with things like the projection Spiegel uses to rationalize why *he* would be an atheist if he was one.

    It’s a strange form of thinking though when a much better way to get a *reason* for people to reject the claim of the existence of gods would be to survey them some how.

  426. #428 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 1, 2010

    Thanks, Elroy. One thing to keep in mind is that the kitteh or kittehs don’t need to completely deprived of outside pleasures. For ours, we used the standard dog kennel panels which can be bought individually and put together. The space can be enlarged at any time. We started with 12′ x 12′, its now twice that size. They get all the joy of dirt, grass, weeds, wood for scratching and a good portion of a tree for climbing. They can also dig holes to do their business outside as well. Ours even have a hammock in their outside space. They have it damn good and aren’t deprived in the least.

    We set up the kennel so they can access it from a kitchen window. They can go in and out as they please, no worries. It takes a little bit of money, and a little bit of work, but everyone ends up happy.

  427. #429 WowbaggerOM
    April 1, 2010

    Ah, the old ‘atheists are rebelling against god’ nonsense. Using that logic we can safely assume that Christians must be rebelling against Zeus.

  428. #430 boygenius
    April 1, 2010

    Speigel has one thing right. In the second sentence of the article he contends;

    Religious skepticism is, at bottom, a moral problem.

    He’s right. Skeptics do see a moral problem at the bottom of religion.

    It’s fun to re-arrange the words in a fundie’s sentence!

  429. #431 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 1, 2010

    Wowbagger, exactly. You know they never see it that way though. I’ve had the fun of taking a christian through that little exercise, and what it always come down to is “but those aren’t real!”. Or in the case of the especially fervent, “those are false gods.”

    It is fun to watch them sputter when you keep asking why they reject this god and that god, what about these gods?

  430. #432 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 1, 2010

    Elroy:

    It’s fun to re-arrange the words in a fundie’s sentence!

    Having fun re-writing that for Dad? :D

  431. #433 Kel, OM
    April 1, 2010

    Ah, the old ‘atheists are rebelling against god’ nonsense. Using that logic we can safely assume that Christians must be rebelling against Zeus.

    Or any other given deity of the day. It really doesn’t matter if they are Greeks who are rejecting the Greek gods or Vikings rejecting the Norse gods, the argument makes a lot more sense as a commentary of human nature and the seeming importance of strong father figures.

    But then again, if one can explain climate change denialists as being ideologically driven, it doesn’t mean that the arguments against climate change are wrong. If someone believes in evolution because they are pressured into it by their friends, it doesn’t mean the arguments supporting evolution are tied into the acceptance thereof.

    There’s nothing wrong in looking for motivations, just as long as they aren’t used in place of arguments for or against the issue at hand.

  432. #434 WowbaggerOM
    April 1, 2010

    Caine, Fleur du mal wrote:

    It is fun to watch them sputter when you keep asking why they reject this god and that god, what about these gods?

    I don’t know if you were around when it happened (last year sometime) but there was a (now-banned) inane Christian nitwit called Silver Fox who declared atheism invalid unless it could disprove the existence of God; I then challenged him to show his disproofs of all the other gods – or else admit that his Christianity was invalid.

    His ‘argument’ (using the term loosely) was to assert that all gods were really his god in disguise and that there could, logically, only be one god.

    Needless to say that didn’t get much traction. From then on I went out of my way to remind him at every opporunty (both here and on other blogs) that his Christianity was – by virtue of his own logic – invalid; he eventually got more than a little annoyed.

    Good times.

  433. #435 Kel, OM
    April 1, 2010

    Religious skepticism is, at bottom, a moral problem.

    I really wonder about this. For me personally, the question didn’t have anything to do with any moral issues. I’m still perplexed that people think there’s some sort of link between religion and morality.

  434. #436 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 1, 2010

    Kel:

    There’s nothing wrong in looking for motivations, just as long as they aren’t used in place of arguments for or against the issue at hand.

    I don’t think Spiegel was looking for motivations at all. He not only used the tired “rebelling against god” argument, he decides what specific people’s fathers meant to them, as in his citing Dennet’s and Hitchens’ relationship to their fathers.

    Also, as I quoted above (#420) Spiegel makes the statement that no atheist arrives at atheism via objective assessment of evidence.

  435. #437 Jadehawk OM, Hardcore Left-Winger
    April 1, 2010

    Oh yeah, I almost forgot: Toothy goodness for Jadehawk who has most likely already seen it. Remarkably, it’s toothy and cute at the same time.

    not that rare a combination, you know… ;-)

  436. #438 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 1, 2010

    Wowbagger:

    I don’t know if you were around when it happened (last year sometime) but there was a (now-banned) inane Christian nitwit called Silver Fox who declared atheism invalid unless it could disprove the existence of God; I then challenged him to show his disproofs of all the other gods – or else admit that his Christianity was invalid.

    Oh yes, I was around. I was truly impressed by those, such as yourself, who managed to keep on arguing with him. I seem to remember one hell of a lot of dodging on his part which was pure blather. I was very glad to see him go.

  437. #439 Jadehawk OM, Hardcore Left-Winger
    April 1, 2010

    His ‘argument’ (using the term loosely) was to assert that all gods were really his god in disguise and that there could, logically, only be one god.

    I remember that. I wrote a logical argument for a dual god (something about negative and positive forces, protons and electrons, up/down quarks, etc.), and he didn’t even acknowledge my brilliant argument for Manichaeism :-p

  438. #440 Owlmirror
    April 1, 2010

    I do what I can for the humans.

    Lemuridae are not humans, Pan…. Hm. Is the Chimp that you are paniscus or troglodytes?

    “In short, it is sin that is the mother or unbelief.”

    Misogyny noted.

    Clearly, Spiegel must have had a dysfunctional family with an earthly mother who was defective because of death, abandonment, or abuse.

    And a defective father who indoctrinated Spiegel to believe exactly as He believed.

    It appears that the psychological fallout from a defective father must be combined with submissive indoctrination, resulting in a persistent immoral response of some sort, such as presuppositionalism. And when that submissive indoctrination is deep or protracted enough, religion results.

  439. #441 Owlmirror
    April 1, 2010

    I wandered over to the site, and pondered starting a theological argument.

    (heddle never takes my bait)

    “Oh, look, another pretentious chucklehead calling himself a philosopher who tries spouting off on both Calvinistic theology and psychology, and getting them both wrong.”

    “Atheists aren’t atheists because they had daddies who didn’t beat them enough. They’re atheists because faith is a gift of grace, and God grants this gift to people completely arbitrarily. Atheists are simply those who God hates (“…and Esau have I hated”) and denies the gift of faith to.”

    “Don’t blame the men who raised them for something that God and God alone is responsible for. By doing so, you blaspheme by rejecting the absolute power of God.”

    (and so on)

    But….

    Meh.

  440. #442 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 1, 2010

    Owlmirror, I would love to see Spiegel’s reaction and response to your assessment. I imagine it would actually make him shut up for a bit.

  441. #443 Kel, OM
    April 1, 2010

    I don’t think Spiegel was looking for motivations at all. He not only used the tired “rebelling against god” argument, he decides what specific people’s fathers meant to them, as in his citing Dennet’s and Hitchens’ relationship to their fathers.

    Agreed, was making that statement in a vacuum as opposed to particularly responding to that article. Just saying that looking at motivations is fine, but to use motivations alone is making a huge error in logic. Spiegel seems to be doing the latter which I agree is terrible.

    Or to put it another way, motivation alone isn’t enough to make a case against a particular idea.

  442. #444 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 1, 2010

    Owlmirror:

    “Atheists aren’t atheists because they had daddies who didn’t beat them enough. They’re atheists because faith is a gift of grace, and God grants this gift to people completely arbitrarily. Atheists are simply those who God hates (“…and Esau have I hated”) and denies the gift of faith to.”

    Really? Huh. I didn’t even look at the comments. Now I’m glad I didn’t.

  443. #445 llewelly
    April 1, 2010

    Ol’Greg | April 1, 2010 12:17 AM:

    I hate OkCupid’s stupid categories. I don’t want to pick straight, bi, or gay. I want a “undetermined” option.
    I know that’s an immature response but that is so much closer to the truth.

    What the heck? What does “undetermined” have to do with (im)maturity?

  444. #447 llewelly
    April 1, 2010

    Lynna, OM | March 31, 2010 12:21 PM:

    So, for Republicans, lesbian sex is okay, but only if you’re not married.

    … and if they get to watch.

  445. #448 Walton, Liberal Extremist Dumpling of Awesome
    April 1, 2010

    Ol’Greg,

    I hate OkCupid’s stupid categories. I don’t want to pick straight, bi, or gay. I want a “undetermined” option.

    I know the feeling. (Not that I’ve ever used OkCupid or any other dating site.)

    Oh! I’m apologizing so much.

    Don’t worry. I still hold the record for most number of apologies in a single thread. :-)

  446. #449 Kel, OM
    April 1, 2010

    I wrote a response to Edward Feser’s critique of The Courtier’s Reply.

    One of these days I’m hoping theists will engage the “new atheist” arguments for what they are instead of shouting ‘missed me’ and then going after their perceived strawman of what was said.

  447. #450 llewelly
    April 1, 2010

    Kel, OM | April 1, 2010 4:00 AM:

    One of these days I’m hoping theists will engage the “new atheist” arguments for what they are instead of shouting ‘missed me’ and then going after their perceived strawman of what was said.

    Some of them have. Most of those are no longer theists.

  448. #451 Kel, OM
    April 1, 2010

    Some of them have. Most of those are no longer theists.

    Okay, I will clarify: professional theologians.

    For example, the Ultimate Boeing 747 Gambit has been dismissed on the grounds that only applies to physical things. God is non-physical so God can’t be harmed by it. Given how much complexity and order it takes for us to even formulate the question of God, how can one simply dismiss the argument without looking at the abstract significance of what’s being said? That is that in order for an entity to be able to produce order (a watchmaker making a watch), it itself needs a particular level of order. That the universe has gone from simple to complex explains that order, meanwhile those who posit God posit that the order just exists.

    Very few actually even taking the argument for what it says, just giving a dodge that it doesn’t apply to God.

  449. #452 monado
    April 1, 2010

    Walton, someone in Australia just got a passport that specified them as neither male nor female. I think the new official pronoun is ze (subject) or zim (object). What would you want as an alternative? “Eh”? “What ya got?” “WHATever”?

  450. #453 Walton, Liberal Extremist Dumpling of Awesome
    April 1, 2010

    Okay, I will clarify: professional theologians.

    Well, as we know, quite a lot of professional theologians aren’t really theists in a proper sense of the term. Especially in liberal denominations, many end up believing in God only to a given value of “God”. Someone who studies theology at a high academic level – which will include substantial studies of history, philosophy, logic, and the Bible in its historical and cultural context – and engages with the really difficult questions of theism, is not going to be able to maintain a simple blind faith.

    Of course, this doesn’t apply to someone who studies “Bible studies” at Podunk Evangelical Bible College with a focus on memorising the KJV and learning about young-earth creationism. Just like any other educational institution, theological colleges are not all created equal. Partly, I think the difference between liberal/mainline and fundie denominations stems partly from the quality of their education for ministry. In the Anglican/Episcopal Church, you can’t become a priest without an academic degree in theology, and most already hold a first degree in another subject (I’ve known some who had science or engineering backgrounds). Contrast this with, say, Ray Comfort, who has no degree in anything and no academic training in theology.

  451. #454 Rorschach
    April 1, 2010
  452. #455 Kel, OM
    April 1, 2010

    Well, as we know, quite a lot of professional theologians aren’t really theists in a proper sense of the term.

    Perhaps, though I think that a lot of them profess this intellectual abstract in public, but in the company of their flock they go the full on miraculous! But maybe I’m too cynical here…

    Though point taken, I’ll further clarify: those professional theologians and theists who don’t lose God in a word salad.

    Contrast this with, say, Ray Comfort, who has no degree in anything and no academic training in theology.

    I was going for the William Lane Craig’s and Alvin Plantinga’s of the word as opposed to the absolute bottom feeders that are fundamentalist preachers.

  453. #456 WowbaggerOM
    April 1, 2010

    Off-topic (in a way) – Kel, on another site I’m dealing with a presupper (he’s claiming atheism can’t explain morality, only Christianity can); you’ve got more experience with this kind of rubbish than I have – any links to good explanations of the refutation?

    I looked through your blog but couldn’t see any post title that addressed the issue.

  454. #457 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 1, 2010

    monado:

    I think the new official pronoun is ze (subject) or zim (object).

    No, it should be shklee or shklim or shkler. So says Yivo.

  455. #458 Kel, OM
    April 1, 2010

    Off-topic (in a way) – Kel, on another site I’m dealing with a presupper (he’s claiming atheism can’t explain morality, only Christianity can); you’ve got more experience with this kind of rubbish than I have – any links to good explanations of the refutation?

    Not sure if I have any links for that explicitly, the best thing I suggest is to check out this article, and in particular The Euthyphro Dilemma. If you remember, that’s the first thing Peter Singer mentioned in his talk at the GAC – and for good reason too. It either means that any standards we do have are either arbitrary, or they are external to any notion of God.

    Of course if they’re a presupper, I don’t expect them to be able to get it. But that’s pretty much the basic logic that refutes the position. Like facilis who would attest that the laws of logic are universal because God made them so. Which gives no grounds that 2+2=4 should be preferred to 2+2=5454.2378 because it makes the system arbitrary. And when it comes to morality, the last thing anyone wants is an arbitrary system – it defeats the entire purpose!

  456. #459 negentropyeater
    April 1, 2010

    Well, as we know, quite a lot of professional theologians aren’t really theists in a proper sense of the term.

    Quite a lot as what, a majority ? I don’t know that. [citation needed please]

    I doubt studying theology at a higher level is that corrosive to faith.

  457. #460 Rorschach
    April 1, 2010

    From my uneducated pedestrian viewpoint morality has just over time been shown to be a function of time in history and social environment a given moral concept was conceived or stated.

    Most people no longer think rape, genocide, snipping parts of genitalia off, cutting people up on altarsor stoning gays and daughters is cool, but the iron age goatherders thought it was the thing to do and wrote it down accordingly.

    And there’s the little detail of the RCC’s track record of course….
    Seriously, anyone arguing morality is god-given these days has a roo lose in the top paddock.

  458. #461 WowbaggerOM
    April 1, 2010

    Kel,

    Thanks, I’ll factor that in if I need it. Peter Singer was too early in the morning (and I too tired, hungover and undercaffeinated) for much of it to have sunk in…

    As it is I’ve managed to get this guy to falter on the whole ‘God sets the absolute standard for morality’ nonsense by pointing out that a) God breaks the standard time and time again in the bible; and b) he allows others to break it when it’s for his benefit.

  459. #462 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 1, 2010

    neg:

    I doubt studying theology at a higher level is that corrosive to faith.

    Actually, it is. Stupid of me, but I can’t cite at the moment. I’ll try to get back to this after I get some sleep. The more people study theology, the more they become aware that it doesn’t make sense. Most of those who do study it at high levels don’t have personal faith, at least not for long. Off the top of my head, Bart Ehrman comes to mind.

    Some of those who lose faith through studying theology come to admit it; others have no personal faith but keep up the lie to congregations.

  460. #463 Kel, OM
    April 1, 2010

    Peter Singer was too early in the morning (and I too tired, hungover and undercaffeinated) for much of it to have sunk in.

    I’m looking forward to the talks on DVD for that very reason. Not so much the hungover bit (I remember Singer’s talk more clearly than most) but definitely the tiredness and the sheer volume of information to process means that I really need to hear most of what was said again.

  461. #464 negentropyeater
    April 1, 2010

    others have no personal faith but keep up the lie to congregations

    How can you tell when someone is lying about what he really believes?

    Also, what about those who have faith based on faith alone, ie the only reason they believe in God is because they want to believe and can’t kill that longing? The few theologians I know seem to fall in that category.

    I don’t doubt that some professional theologians have lost their faith because of their studies, I’d like to see some evidence that supports the claim that this is true for a majority of them.

  462. #465 Feynmaniac
    April 1, 2010

    Hector Avalos is an atheist who studied theology and eventually lost his faith. He has Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School.

    I remember hearing someone who wanted to go into theology (I think it was Ehrman, but I can’t seem to find the quote) was warned by his evangelical friends that doing so would lead to a lost of faith. It turned out they were right.

  463. #466 Kel, OM
    April 1, 2010

    From my uneducated pedestrian viewpoint morality has just over time been shown to be a function of time in history and social environment a given moral concept was conceived or stated.

    It’s always important to remember what the presupper is arguing. It’s not looking for a cogent theory of what morality is and how we behave, but how we ought to behave. To appeal to nature is to make the genetic fallacy, thus (the presupper argues) you need an external and transcendent source to dictate right and wrong.

    The big mistake that the presupper makes is the false dichotomy between universal and subjective. They are arguing for an idealised, yet impossible standard, and any slight deviation from that falls into moral scepticism. Unless you can say that raping a child is wrong universally, it cannot be condemned. At least according to this line of apologetics.

    It’s very bad logic, doesn’t make a lot of sense – but I guess that’s why they are stuck in the circularity that is the presupposition…

  464. #467 WowbaggerOM
    April 1, 2010

    I’m looking forward to the talks on DVD for that very reason.

    Really, if I was to judge the experience on the sole aspect of what I learned from seeing the presentations I’d have to say I didn’t get my money’s worth – I was just so exhausted the whole time and not really in the best state to take anything in.

    Not that I regret going in any way whatsoever; I just wish it’d been on maybe a week or two later than it was and I’d had time to recover from Fringe/Festival and Soundwave to be at my most receptive.

  465. #468 Rorschach
    April 1, 2010

    I’m looking forward to the talks on DVD for that very reason

    On that note, has anyone found a recording of any kind of Dawkins’s remark about the “chop your head off” and “but dont for a moment think I respect you” bit from his talk at the GAC yet? My google foo is failing me…..

  466. #469 Rorschach
    April 1, 2010

    It’s very bad logic, doesn’t make a lot of sense – but I guess that’s why they are stuck in the circularity that is the presupposition…

    And I dream of an evening at the Hilton bar with Prof Grayling on of these comfy couches to talk it through so even I can understand it…:-)

    I just wish it’d been on maybe a week or two later than it was and I’d had time to recover from Fringe/Festival and Soundwave to be at my most receptive.

    Fringe Festival, is that what they call it now…;)

  467. #470 Walton, Liberal Extremist Dumpling of Awesome
    April 1, 2010

    I don’t doubt that some professional theologians have lost their faith because of their studies, I’d like to see some evidence that supports the claim that this is true for a majority of them.

    We can’t know, because it depends what you mean by “lost their faith”. I wasn’t talking primarily about those who expressly abandon their faith and leave the church after studying academic theology, though there are certainly some of those. Rather, I was referring more to people like John Spong: educated academic theologians and priests who are “Christian” in a very liberal sense, but are no longer really theists as the term is usually understood. While Spong is an extreme and obvious example, there are a lot of liberal Christian theologians, priests and ministers, having been educated in theology, who go down this road. They’re still attached to “Christian” ideas, the moral teachings of Jesus and the institution of the church, but tend to depart from orthodox theist ideas.

  468. #471 WowbaggerOM
    April 1, 2010

    Rorschach wrote:

    Fringe Festival, is that what they call it now…;)

    I don’t get it :(

    There’s the Fringe Festival (Fringe for short) and the Festival of the Arts (Festival for short)- in an even-numbered year this they’re both on; the Festival is only every second year.

    So, ‘Fringe/Festival’.

  469. #472 Rorschach
    April 1, 2010

    Wowbagger,

    Uhm, joke fail I guess, I do realise you were worn out from the Fringe Festival…:-) Carry on then…

  470. #473 negentropyeater
    April 1, 2010

    Walton,

    Rather, I was referring more to people like John Spong: educated academic theologians and priests who are “Christian” in a very liberal sense, but are no longer really theists as the term is usually understood.

    What do you mean with “no longer really theists as the term is usually understood”?

    As I have still not yet seen a consistent definition of the term “God” or “theism”, I don’t get what you mean?

    Is Spong an atheist?

  471. #474 SteveV
    April 1, 2010
  472. #475 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    April 1, 2010

    Till Eulenspiegel #440

    Lemuridae are not humans

    Lemurian, not Lemuridae.

    The acceptance of Darwinism led scientists to seek to trace the diffusion of species from their points of evolutionary origin. Prior to the acceptance of continental drift, biologists frequently postulated submerged land masses in order to account for populations of land-based species now separated by barriers of water. Similarly, geologists tried to account for striking resemblances of rock formations on different continents. … Many hypothetical submerged land bridges and continents were proposed during the 19th century, in order to account for the present distribution of species.
    After gaining some acceptance within the scientific community, the concept of Lemuria began to appear in the works of other scholars. Ernst Haeckel, a German Darwinian taxonomist, proposed Lemuria as an explanation for the absence of “missing link” fossil records. According to another source, Haeckel put forward this thesis prior to Sclater (but without using the name ‘Lemuria’). Locating the origins of the human species on this lost continent, he claimed the fossil record could not be found because it had sunk beneath the sea….The Lemuria theory disappeared completely from conventional scientific consideration after the theories of plate tectonics and continental drift were accepted by the larger scientific community.

  473. #476 iambilly
    April 1, 2010

    Re: The asshat who claims that god(s) hates atheists — does that give True Believers ™ the right to kill atheists? And is that a bug? Or a feature?

    Apropos of absolutely nothing:

    Today, my commuter car (an eleven-year-old Mitsubishi Galant with 2 1/2 hubcaps, rust on the hood, a dent in the door, a worn-out drivers seat, a new ($400 ()$)^&$&^#)(#(*#*#&*#!!!!) wheel hub and bearing just hit 136,666 miles as I came into the parking lot at work.

    And I get to spend half the day breathing into miniature dummies (children and infant CPR (a prerequisite for a CPR Instructor course)).

    And it is April 1.

    Something tells me this is gonna be a weird day.

  474. #477 SC OM
    April 1, 2010

    (“…and Esau have I hated”)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEtOALW_VyI

  475. #478 Ol'Greg
    April 1, 2010

    What the heck? What does “undetermined” have to do with (im)maturity?

    I dunno. Projection I guess. At my age… etc.

    (Not that I’ve ever used OkCupid or any other dating site.)

    It is odd. I like OkCupid the best because it’s not so relationship based as others. I’m just kind of addicted to social media.

  476. #479 Kevin
    April 1, 2010

    Good morning, Pharyngulites.

  477. #480 negentropyeater
    April 1, 2010

    Good afternoon, Kevin

  478. #481 Carlie
    April 1, 2010

    Saw Hemant’s talk in Syracuse last night – it was great. At some point I realized it was the first time I’ve ever been in a room with a bunch of people who were all specifically sitting around being all godless. It was pretty cool. Felt a bit odd, but cool nonetheless.
    (oooo – im in ur lecture hall not respecting ur gods)

  479. #482 Sven DiMilo
    April 1, 2010

    Sorry if I missed (and continue to miss) your rhetorical intent

    Ah, no–it was, apparently, me who missed what the hell you were talking about it the first place (the “puh-leeeeze?”, I thought, which was rhetorically intended as explained above). But what you quoted there is not a request for anybody else’s time-requiring, reasoned response, either. It’s just a blurt of opinion. Take it seriously or blow it off, it wasn’t an invitation to dialogue. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    Happy?

    Sure. For the record, I know little to nothing of Razib Khan and don’t care in any way. One of the first times I looked at his blog, years ago, he deleted a couple of my comments (in a thread where he was bragging about his cat killing lizards) and I never went back. The only reason I knew you had something against him was that once when I linked–explicitly for the data shown–to what is apparently another blog of his (but to a post by somebody else), both you and Pygmy Loris made it clear that anything associated with Razib was suspect. I didn’t know why. *shrug*

    And so about the bit you quoted, I honestly don’t get the concept of ScienceBlogs Team Spirit or whatever, in reference to which I blurted the opinion in the first place. Oops metablurt.

    That you find it a general source of amusement is, well…

    It’s, well, what?
    I tried baiting Jeff a couple of times. It was amusing at the time.
    I find amusement in a lot of stuff.
    One thing that’s always amused me is dealing out a rash of shit to my friends.
    It’s just fun. I’ll stop if it’s not seeming that way, and I’m sorry for being a pill.

    (btw, I dish out nothing that I wouldn’t take, and likely have, and worse, in good humor myself. But humor is notoriously subjective. I’ll stop.)

  480. #483 Sven DiMilo
    April 1, 2010

    (“…and Esau have I hated”)

    Ha! Saw that coming…and Ventura 1984? I was right there, man. I think that was the summer I tried my hand at T-shirt vending to afford tix. Original silk-screened design, the American Beauty/Reality rose but with other words around the rim in that funkiest of fonts. It’s weird to think that some of those shirts might still be out there, in somebody’s ragpile or whatever. I don;t have one.

  481. #484 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 1, 2010

    neg (@459):

    I doubt studying theology at a higher level is that corrosive to faith.

    I see Caine (@462) has already made a cogent response, but I would add that I suspect studying anything at a higher level is corrosive to faith, to the extent that said “higher-level studying” truly involves any sort of critical thinking or intellectual discipline.

    Of course, this doesn’t account for the [citation] you wanted to substantiate Walton’s claim, but I think I see what he’s getting at: To the extent one truly takes onboard the habits of mind that academic study — all academic study, not just science — requires, it’s increasingly difficult to truly operate on faith, which explicitly rejects the rational, fact-based approach of the academy.

    So people who have a powerful external need — cultural, familial, or emotional — to maintain belief in some concept of God find diffuse, intellectualized ways to hold on to an idea their education inherently pushes them away from. They may still believe in some sort of god, which means they remain, strictly speaking, theists, but the god they believe in is unlikely to be the sort of blustering tyrant who goes around smiting sinners for what they do with their genitals… you know, the heinous god promoted by the real enemies of reason we typically have in mind when we say “theists.”

    Of course, Walton’s view may be colored by the fact that he lives in England, the home of tea-with-the-vicar, cake-or-death¹ Anglicanism. I’m afraid here in the U.S. there might be a higher percentage of well-trained academic theologians who have managed the amazing intellectual high-wire act of holding on to a truly Godly god.

    ¹ As usual, I’m posting this YouTube link blind, since YT is blocked from work. I hope it is what I think it is.

  482. #485 Sven DiMilo
    April 1, 2010
  483. #486 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 1, 2010

    Sven (@485):

    Skypuss! FTW!

    My question is, is it ethical to keep your winged cat exclusively indoors, or must you provide it some sort of aerie?

  484. #487 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 1, 2010

    Oh, and another thing: Is it just me, or would Pantheropteryx not be the Best.Band.Name.Evarrrrr?

  485. #488 SC OM
    April 1, 2010

    But what you quoted there is not a request for anybody else’s time-requiring, reasoned response, either. It’s just a blurt of opinion. Take it seriously or blow it off, it wasn’t an invitation to dialogue. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    Well, I see a question mark and think “question,” unless I have pretty good reason to think otherwise. I find this reasonable.

    Sure. For the record, I know little to nothing of Razib Khan and don’t care in any way. One of the first times I looked at his blog, years ago, he deleted a couple of my comments (in a thread where he was bragging about his cat killing lizards) and I never went back. The only reason I knew you had something against him was that once when I linked–explicitly for the data shown–to what is apparently another blog of his (but to a post by somebody else), both you and Pygmy Loris made it clear that anything associated with Razib was suspect. I didn’t know why. *shrug*

    He and his blog are suspect. Odd that even though he had deleted your comments you weren’t more critical in your presentation of their arguments.

    And so about the bit you quoted, I honestly don’t get the concept of ScienceBlogs Team Spirit or whatever, in reference to which I blurted the opinion in the first place. Oops metablurt.

    You’re making assumptions about my position which are unwarranted. But you didn’t really ask, so I won’t clarify.

    I tried baiting Jeff a couple of times. It was amusing at the time.
    I find amusement in a lot of stuff.
    One thing that’s always amused me is dealing out a rash of shit to my friends.

    Aw. :)

    It’s just fun. I’ll stop if it’s not seeming that way, and I’m sorry for being a pill.

    Ha! How strange. “Pill” was exactly the word I had in mind. I thought it was a collocalism. (My father used it all the time. Today was his birthday, btw. No, I’m not in the best mood.)

    (btw, I dish out nothing that I wouldn’t take, and likely have, and worse, in good humor myself. But humor is notoriously subjective. I’ll stop.)

    Thanks. It really does upset me. I think we should be unsparing (but kind) in our criticism of the data collection, analyses, and conclusions of studies in any field, but that’s different.

  486. #489 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 1, 2010

    I tried my hand at T-shirt vending to afford tix

    I finally settled on beer and cig sales.

    The mark-up was HUGE in the parking lots.

    Bombers of Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout and Nutbrown Ale were huge sellers.

    I funded a couple of long tours on beer and cigs.

  487. #490 SC OM
    April 1, 2010

    Ramsburger, D., Slice’n’dice, M. & Groovy, E. 2001. Holy shit!! A phylogeny for winged cats reveals amazing stuff, hence this two-page paper. Science 308, 1112-1113.

    :D

    Skypuss!

    Made my day.

  488. #491 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 1, 2010

    Does anybody know if Skypuss! has been released on DVD?

  489. #492 Carlie
    April 1, 2010

    Does anybody know if Skypuss! has been released on DVD?

    I think Skypuss v. Megashark is coming out in June.

  490. #493 A. Noyd
    April 1, 2010

    Feynmaniac (#399)

    This led a MSNBC news anchor to comment: “if you are planning simultaneous teabagging all around the country, you’re going to need a Dick Armey.”

    That is just so awesome.

  491. #494 SC OM
    April 1, 2010

    The journal for David M.:

    Kitchener, B. 1988. What a sodding mess: the status of the type specimen of Pantheropteryx anglicus and why YOU should care. Taxonomy, Taxonomy, sigh, Taxonomy 250, 129-140.

  492. #495 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 1, 2010

    And speaking of DVDs, several have mentioned that the GAC talks are to be released on DVD. Will that be strictly for attendees (i.e., a “proceedings” publication), or might it be available for purchase by those of us who weren’t able to travel halfway around the world?

    Also, in case SteveV’s Good News link (@474) was too cryptic to entice you to click, be of good cheer: It didn’t point to the Gospels, but rather to a BBC report of a favorable ruling in the Simon Singh libel case.

    Finally, SC (@488):

    Ha! How strange. “Pill” was exactly the word I had in mind. I thought it was a collocalism. (My father used it all the time. Today was his birthday, btw. No, I’m not in the best mood.)

    I use pill, too (that makes Sven, you, me, and Alanis Morrissette!). In fact, I used it just last night, in a text-message question to my town councilman friend about whether the notably chippy questioning of one of his colleagues was typical.

    I got it from my mom, who grew up in Maryland and has lived virtually all of her adult life in Texas and Florida, so I don’t think it’s a New England localism.

  493. #496 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    April 1, 2010

    I thought *pill* was merely the short form of pillock. The long form is common in UK English, and I’ve heard the short form used sometimes.

  494. #497 Ol'Greg
    April 1, 2010

    I got it from my mom, who grew up in Maryland and has lived virtually all of her adult life in Texas and Florida, so I don’t think it’s a New England localism.

    My grandmother says it. She’s from Texas and Maryland. Her language influence is weird though since she’s also from a Polish family. So she’d also call you “dupa” if you kept irritating her.

  495. #498 negentropyeater
    April 1, 2010

    Bill,

    I suspect studying anything at a higher level is corrosive to faith, to the extent that said “higher-level studying” truly involves any sort of critical thinking or intellectual discipline.

    I don’t doubt that’s true. Several surveys have shown that religiosity is inversely correlated with education level.
    However, there are great variations depending on the cultural background, the environment where one studies, and the field of study.
    For instance this study by Gross and Simmons finds that the religious beliefs of university professors in the USA vary greatly from biologists being the least susceptible to believe in God (more than 60% are atheists or agnostics) to the other extreme in accounting (more than 60% have no doubt about the existence of God). It doesn’t say anything about theologians though.
    It’s also clear from this study that a litteral interpretation of religious scripture is rare amongst academics, and I don’t doubt that’s also true with theologians.

    Still, I don’t see any evidence that “most professional theologians aren’t theists”.
    I tend to view theology as a fairly useless discipline, as Thomas Paine wrote in the Age of Reason, the study of nothing, and I doubt people who study this discipline are going to develop their critical thinking skills as much as with other more fact based fields of study.

    The study of theology, as it stands in Christian churches, is the study of nothing; it is founded on nothing; it rests on no principles; it proceeds by no authorities; it has no data; it can demonstrate nothing; and it admits of no conclusion. Not anything can be studied as a science, without our being in possession of the principles upon which it is founded; and as this is the case with Christian theology, it is therefore the study of nothing.

  496. #499 Pygmy Loris
    April 1, 2010

    Sven,

    both you and Pygmy Loris made it clear that anything associated with Razib was suspect.

    I don’t recall ever saying Razib was suspect, but I do think he has a piss poor ability to interpret data on human variation. Nearly every time I went to his blog because there was a link at the top of the page I found unwarranted conclusions and generalizations from limited data. Also, he seems to simply accept proposed causal relations wrt IQ that fit his preconceived ideas about race.

    I’ll only be around sporadically for the next few days. Lots of work to do and Pharyngula, like much of the internet, is a giant time sucker. :)

  497. #501 Knockgoats
    April 1, 2010

    I thought *pill* was merely the short form of pillock. The long form is common in UK English, and I’ve heard the short form used sometimes. – Ring Tailed Lemurian

    P.G. Wodehouse uses “pill” in one of the Jeeves and Wooster stories: Bertie Wooster describes Florence Cray as a pill; the context makes clear this means much what Sven meant by it.

  498. #502 Becca
    April 1, 2010

    Pharyngula, like much of the internet, is a giant time sucker. :)

    yeah, but following 5 threads (I’ve closed down a bunch before they seemed to have maxed out) on Pharyngula is about all I’m good for with this wretched cold I’ve got. I’ve got the attention span of a gnat. When I can’t even follow Pharyngula threads, I know it’s time to give up and go to bed. (*cough* *sneeze*)

  499. #503 Kevin
    April 1, 2010

    My productivity at work has diminished with my increased reading of Pharyngula.

  500. #504 Becca
    April 1, 2010

    davem @500 – note the date of the article. (oops, your :o) probably indicates you did note said date.)

    I’m charmed by a WTF gene, though.

  501. #505 Kevin
    April 1, 2010

    @My #503:

    That was in response to the end of Pygmy Loris’s #499

  502. #506 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 1, 2010

    neg (@498):

    …the other extreme in accounting (more than 60% have no doubt about the existence of God).

    Surely there’s a joke in there somewhere, no?

    It’s also clear from this study that a litteral interpretation of religious scripture is rare amongst academics, and I don’t doubt that’s also true with theologians.

    Without meaning to put words in his mouth, I suspect this is what Walton was really getting at: Not that most aren’t theists in the strict sense of having some sort of god-belief (although, as the Ehrman and Avalos examples indicate, not all are even that), but that many who have been trained in the secular (or at least not explicitly religious) academy are not the sort of dogmatic fundmentalists we normally think of around here when we rail against those fucking theists.

    Of course, whether that’s a useful distinction to make is a whole ‘nother kettle of horses of another color, innit?

  503. #507 cicely
    April 1, 2010

    Well, that was diappointing. I’d hoped to see Archaeopantheropteryx at least mentioned; better yet, some really good pics of the fossils themselves.

  504. #508 Jessie
    April 1, 2010

    My eleven year old daughter wants to read a proper version of the bible rather than the versions which are sold for children. I’m considering the King James version as she has an advanced reading age. Does anyone have any other suggestions please?

    I might start with NT before OT.

  505. #510 Kevin
    April 1, 2010

    @Jessie (508)

    New King James is what I read when I was a Christian. It’s got a few changes to translation and removes all the ‘thou’ and ‘thee’ and ‘-est’ language.

  506. #511 llewelly
    April 1, 2010

    Jessie | April 1, 2010 1:01 PM:

    Does anyone have any other suggestions please?

    A good companion book, or books, such as The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man, for the NT, or Asimov’s Guide to the Bible.
    Note – while KJV is far more entertaining to read, it is among the worst of the widely available translations.

  507. #512 David Marjanovi?
    April 1, 2010

    Toothy goodness for Jadehawk!

    Involving kittehs and still funny if you don’t understand the inside jokes;

    involving vampires (from a sidebar ad, interestingly enough).

    Haven’t caught up yet.

  508. #513 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 1, 2010

    davem (@500) and SC (@509):

    My inferior supra-credulous is lighting up like a Nevada brothel on payday! I have to go find a hammer to deactivate WTF1!

  509. #514 David Marjanovi?
    April 1, 2010

    Arrrrrgh. I should have caught up before posting that first link. Sorry.

  510. #515 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 1, 2010

    llewelly (@511):

    Note – while KJV is far more entertaining to read, it is among the worst of the widely available translations.

    Presuming Jessie has no interest in actually promoting Christian theology to her daughter (and if she had any such interest, why on earth would she ask for our guidance?), you’ve identified a Feature, Not a Bug™: Any lack of accuracy is inconsequential when you don’t care about the theology, and it is better poetry. Plus which, AFAIK it’s the KJV that’s the source of most of the biblical allusions and quotations that are sprinkled throughout the literature and culture of the English-speaking world.

  511. #516 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    April 1, 2010

    Knockgoats No need for any interpretation by context with Wodehouse. This is from “Jeeves and The Unbidden Guest”

    They went out, and I howled for Jeeves.
    “Jeeves! What about it?”
    “Sir?”
    “What’s to be done? You heard it all, didn’t you? You were in the dining-room most of the time. That pill is coming to stay here.”
    “Pill, sir?”
    “The excrescence.”

  512. #517 Jadehawk OM, Hardcore Left-Winger
    April 1, 2010

    article link:
    “Sarah Palin is refusing to be tied down by the Republican National Committee, days after the committee was found to have spent donors’ money at an erotic, bondage-themed club.”

  513. #518 David Marjanovi?
    April 1, 2010

    Heh. I’m not surprised the RNC is into bondage.

  514. #519 Menyambal
    April 1, 2010

    “The KJV is the book for me.”

    Most bible-thumpers are thumping on a KJV. So I read it to keep up with them–plus the crazy is stronger in it, so more fun can be had.

    See if you can find a KJV with the letter to King James in the front. And keep in mind that the Puritan Pilgrims who allegedly founded this country and started Thankgiving Day were fleeing King James (their buddies who stayed in England beheaded his son) and hated Christmas. So reading a KJV on Thanksgiving is just warped.

  515. #520 Ol'Greg
    April 1, 2010

    And keep in mind that the Puritan Pilgrims who allegedly founded this country

    Having ancestors from the Jamestown settlement makes this kind of funny. I mean, yeah, they were different because they didn’t oppose the king, but still. I always found the focus on the puritans in US history kind of funny. You’d think we *all* came from them. Then again Thanksgiving is all about the puritans and actually I think it’s one of the dumbest holidays we celebrate in the US.

    Anyway back on subject I read the New Jerusalem version. The KJV is prettier and more fun, although harder to make sense of and I think it’s supposed to have some real faults. I like historic English language though.

  516. #521 Jessie
    April 1, 2010

    I have no interest in promoting theology to my daughter but I don’t want to promote atheism either – she needs to make up her own mind. She is annoyed that she was made to sit through an unquestioning performance of the resurrection at school yesterday (we are in the UK) and wants to read the proper story.

  517. #522 Kevin
    April 1, 2010

    @Ol’Greg (520)

    Hey! Your ancestors and my ancestors were both very close to each other! Although my ancestors kinda tried to kill your ancestors.

  518. #523 aratina cage
    April 1, 2010

    I have no interest in promoting theology to my daughter but I don’t want to promote atheism either – she needs to make up her own mind.

    What? Better not tell your daughter that dragons and other monsters of fantasy aren’t real then. Let her make up her own mind.

  519. #524 Ol'Greg
    April 1, 2010

    Well Kevin, I’m pretty sure my ancestors did more damage in the long run :/

  520. #525 Kevin
    April 1, 2010

    Hmm… true. I mean, your ancestors forced my ancestors onto a plot of land that’s little more than a swamp, killing our agricultural heritage. My ancestors – for fear of being discriminated against – decided to emulate your ancestors, resulting in the near total loss of my ancestral culture (save pottery.)

    However, my ancestors have been sticking it to the American people for centuries. They don’t pay any taxes, their treaty expressly states that we just have to present a deer and some jewelry every year :p

  521. #526 Louise
    April 1, 2010

    Jessie at #508 and #521 take a look at Biblegateway.com you can read from 22 English versions and cross reference them by passages and verses. There are many popular versions NIV and NASV come to mind. Maybe you can decide what version to get by looking around there.

  522. #527 Kevin
    April 1, 2010

    @my 525:

    We also still use old traditional methods of fishing.

    And jewelry = Trinkets, pottery, and such.

  523. #528 Menyambal
    April 1, 2010

    Fair enough, Jessie. Let your daughter read the crucifixion and resurrection for herself. You might point out that there are four versions in the Bible, you know, just helpfully, so she doesn’t miss one. I like to watch for stuff that was just chucked in to fulfill prophesy, and for prophesies that were not fulfilled. My favorite, though, is the exact wording of the sign that was nailed to the top of the cross–there’s a document from the most important event ever, and there are conflicting accounts of what’s on it.

    I only bring this up since I heard this morning of a girl who sneaks off from her atheist parents to pray. God knows if she is doing it right.

  524. #529 Ol'Greg
    April 1, 2010

    They don’t pay any taxes, their treaty expressly states that we just have to present a deer and some jewelry every year :p

    That is interesting. Are there restrictions though? Like can you run a business freely and whatnot without interference from the government?

  525. #530 Jessie
    April 1, 2010

    aratina cage 523

    That’s a good point as I did tell both my children that there were no monsters under the bed. However, I didn’t tell them that the Tooth Fairy/Easter Bunny/Father Christmas were imaginary – they worked that out for themselves. I think the difference is whether the imaginary thing is scary or pleasant. I have already told my daughter that hell does not exist but that was because one of her friends was told by her parents that non-believers were punished there for all eternity. Her friend is really scared.

    Isn’t Richard Dawkins researching and writing a book on the effect of telling myths and fairytales to children?

  526. #531 Carlie
    April 1, 2010

    Jesse – NIV is easily readable. One way to compare before you buy is to go to biblegateway.com – they have the entire text in a whole bunch of translations, so you can compare a single passage across several for readability.

  527. #532 Carlie
    April 1, 2010

    D’oh! Sorry, Louise! [/accidental plagiarism]

    One of these days I WILL learn to read to the end before I post.

  528. #533 Kevin
    April 1, 2010

    @Ol’Greg:

    They don’t pay taxes as long as they’re living on the reservation. And they’re only exempt from state taxes.

  529. #534 Sili
    April 1, 2010

    We interrupt this thread for a moment of aw:

    Awwwwwwwwwww

    We now return you to your regularly scheduled thread.

    –o–

    I was halfway through making guacamole when I discovered I’d taken a serving of soup from the freezer yesterday. Not a bad combination, as it turned out. The broccoli creaminess helped to take a bit of the edge off the chili – I need to learn how to dose that properly …

  530. #535 Kevin
    April 1, 2010

    @Sili:

    Aww, cute :3

    I need to learn how to make guac. I like it a lot, but I’ve never really been a good chef when it comes to making emulsions.

  531. #536 Lynna, OM
    April 1, 2010

    Ah, this is lovely. The ex-mormons are still working on this new website, but what a good idea: http://exmormonscholarstestify.org/
    The ex-mormons are making good fun of the website “MormonThink” and providing an excellent service at the same time. Gotta love the photo of ex-mormons on the home page. It riffs on the usual LDS penchant for providing a racially-diverse image to represent their not-so-racially diverse membership.

    On the official Mormon Think website, their are 80 “scholars” represented and only 3 of them are women. They need to round up more female fake scholars.

  532. #537 Antiochus Epiphanes
    April 1, 2010

    Myths and fairy tales don’t always hurt. Shit– I was raised Catholic…9 years of Catholic school, communionized, confessed, and confirmed. I’m not really sure what in my background led to irreverence and skepticism, but it wasn’t anything my folks did on purpose.

  533. #538 Yunomi
    April 1, 2010

    Oh, yay! A cookbook is being built! Try this:
    Yunomi’s Slaw of Death
    2 cups shredded green cabbage
    1 cup shredded purple cabbage
    1 shredded carrot
    half each sliced red and green bell pepper
    juice of 1 lemmon or lime
    1 tablespoon Louisiana hot sauce (I use Crystal)
    1 tablespoon decent olive oil
    salt and pepper to taste
    Toss and eat immediately. It gets soggy as it sits. You can add any veggies you like, and adjust liquids to taste.

  534. #539 Lynna, OM
    April 1, 2010

    So that you’ll recognize him when he rises from the dead on Easter Sunday: http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/research/1282186.html

    British scientists, assisted by Israeli archeologists, have re-created what they believe is the most accurate image of the most famous face in human history.

    This is old — it’s a 2002 Cover Story from Popular Mechanics, but I hadn’t seen it before. It’s pretty funny when you think of the tall, blonde, muscle-beach dude from California that most Christians in the USA expect.

  535. #540 Antiochus Epiphanes
    April 1, 2010

    I oughta qualify that last one…

    Nota bene: Myths and fairytales don’t always hurt…depends on the kid. Also, you sometimes have to help a kid grow out of these things. My brother thought he was an elf until he was 14…not a positive experience for him.

    I have a three year old, and when she was a tiny baby, I told myself that there would be none of that…everything was going to be analytical and fact-y. That wasn’t any kind of plan. She has a very rich imagination, and I’m not going to stifle it. She loves story-telling and the more fantastic the better…it’s great for her speaking and artistic development. So we just go at it full tilt…talking dinosaurs, time travel, giant fruit, geological formations made entirely of snack food. I have never really had so much fun with fiction.

  536. #541 aratina cage
    April 1, 2010

    Jessie,

    You’re right that the culturally accepted little white lies about the Tooth Fairy et al are probably something that children will come to realize are fake without the truth being promoted by a parent, whether because of peer pressure, personal investigation, or some other means. I guess what I’m getting at is the idea that you can’t promote atheism any more than you can promote what is real, and I’d surmise that it is even more important to educate children on the lack of evidence supporting all known claims about gods since you can’t count on society to help your child eke out the truth as you can with the Tooth Fairy et al, and indeed you can count on many modern societies to actually promote the god delusion.

  537. #542 Ol'Greg
    April 1, 2010

    Awww I loved myths and fairytales as a kid. They’re creative and fun, and you can make up your own. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with fantasy when it’s presented as fantasy.

    I’m afraid I disagree sharply with Dawkins on that one.

    Hell, I made my own fantasy world, and wrote stories within it. Once you spend time making up a religion for some one else it’s pretty hard to accept religions some one else made up for you…

  538. #543 Menyambal
    April 1, 2010

    I agree that you shouldn’t push atheism. If a kid is just told there is no god, it’s not much different that telling him there is (except for sleeping in on Sundays and not getting molested). To me, a big part of atheism is having the skills to figure out that there are no gods.

    A bit of help is not amiss, but watch out for indoctrination.

  539. #544 cicely
    April 1, 2010

    I’d suggest adding a liberal serving of Greek and Norse mythology, maybe, later, widening out to a larger buffet of world mythologies in general.

  540. #545 Menyambal
    April 1, 2010

    In my child-rearing experience, it is a lot quicker and easier to just invoke “God did it” or “God wants you to behave” that it is to get a subtle point across to the little brutes. Which leads to a world much like we see around us.

    So be strong and clever, and thank God that you aren’t a child anymore.

  541. #546 aratina cage
    April 1, 2010

    Pardon me Menyambal, but I have to:

    I agree that you shouldn’t push adragonism. If a kid is just told there is no dragon, it’s not much different that telling him there is (except for no epic battles and not getting seared alive). To me, a big part of adragonism is having the skills to figure out that there are no dragons.

    I don’t see how pointing out the blindingly obvious can be considered indoctrination or promotion. It is not our fault, as atheists, that there is cultural pressure to believe in ludicrous things.

  542. #547 Stephen Wells
    April 1, 2010

    @542: it’s the “presented as fantasy” part that matters; Dawkins is not campaigning against _fiction_. He’s complaining about the systematic presentation of fiction as fact. Kids can handle make-believe from a very early age. There is no point giving them the impression that Santa is really real.

  543. #548 CJO
    April 1, 2010

    Jessie,
    The best translation of the Bible into English is the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV). Get an annotated edition like the New Oxford Annotated Bible (2001 is the latest edition I think) or the Harper Study Bible. All the footnotes and commentary might be a little daunting for your daughter, but it’s one to grow on, and it will impart a sense of the difficulties and subtleties involved in the translation of ancient languages.

    The NIV (New International Version) is atrocious. It’s one of these supposed “living” translations that renders obscure or opaque ancient idioms in modern paraphrases. Much easier to read, but it doesn’t convey the plain sense of what the texts say and it gives no indication as it veers from fairly literal rendering to wildly paraphrastic. Such evenness of tone gives no feeling for the diversity of voices and texts found in the Bible. The KJV and the NKJV are much the same in terms of accuracy (the NRSV and other modern versions are informed by centuries of critical scholarship and later manuscript discoveries), but the English itself sounds much more solemn and “Biblical” than the NIV and the like.

  544. #549 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 1, 2010

    I’d just point her to http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/ she can read whatever she wants. I’d also recommend The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb. Only one book, but it’s beautifully done, and the inconsistencies stand out.

    While the KJV is a bad version of the bible, there’s a lot I would consider important info to be had along with it, rather than just buying a bible. The history of how it was cobbled together is important, along with the background of the different translations. Just handing a kid a bible isn’t giving them the full story.

  545. #550 Menyambal
    April 1, 2010

    Sorry, I once again type too much and say too little. I was actually thinking of some overgrown kids that I know who just scoff at the idea of God, but can’t give a damned reason other than that their daddy told them so.

    Yes, speak up for atheism, but also explain it, and give the kids the reasons they need to justify it, and the skills to evaluate those reasons.

    Otherwise you’ll someday see them on some blog saying, “I used to be an atheist, but . . .”.

    Thank you.

  546. #551 Ol'Greg
    April 1, 2010

    The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb

    I did not know this existed.

  547. #552 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 1, 2010

    Ol’Greg, there was quite the fuss about it from the religious contingent. Crumb didn’t touch the text at all, it’s a straight up illustration job. Classic Crumb, it’s great. I read it in one sitting.

  548. #553 Kel, OM
    April 1, 2010

    Myths and fairy tales don’t always hurt.

    I’m really quite confused by those who say they do. I think it’s a good exercise in scepticism tbh, a means to distinguish between what’s real and what’s not. Nothing says “people make shit up” better than using obviously made up shit to tell a story.

  549. #554 Sili
    April 1, 2010

    I need to learn how to make guac. I like it a lot, but I’ve never really been a good chef when it comes to making emulsions.

    I’m sure I’ve not done it right, then. I guess it more like just avocado mousse (mush …).

  550. #555 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 1, 2010

    Meant to include a link: http://books.wwnorton.com/books/The-Book-of-Genesis-Illustrated-by-R-Crumb/

    *going to get more tea now*

  551. #556 blf
    April 1, 2010

    I need to learn how to make guac.

    First, catch your guac…

  552. #557 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 1, 2010

    Listening to Scott Roeder’s allucution on CNN.

    What a fucking nutjob.

  553. #558 Owlmirror
    April 1, 2010

    The history of how it was cobbled together is important, along with the background of the different translations. Just handing a kid a bible isn’t giving them the full story.

    I would suggest “Who Wrote the Bible?”, which summarizes the Documentary Hypothesis for laypersons.

    I think that it’s more important to teach children basic epistemology and critical thinking.

    Science always leads back to something based on and observed in the real world, and changes with new evidence found in the real world, and/or the application of new logic and math.

    Logic and math are based on logical and mathematical laws and axioms, with new mathematical and logical truths being derived from the applications of those laws and axioms.

    Religions lead back to some claimed personal revelation, often one that happened thousands of years ago, and which often is inconsistent with itself, or with the real world, or with a later revelation.

    Hm.

    The real world can be examined; logic and math can be checked for consistency of their application. Science can be corrected; logic and math can be checked for correctness.

    How do you correct a revelation? How do you check a revelation for correctness? Why would you accept a revelation in the first place if it is internally inconsistent?

    Is it more likely that a revelation is actually true, or that it was the result of some personal bias, reinforced by some psychological quirk in those that hold it?

    And so on.

  554. #559 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 1, 2010

    Allocution that is

  555. #560 JeffreyD
    April 1, 2010

    Josh OSG – recipe alert

    Spousal unit has spent last two days at Isle of Palms beach in SC with my eldest daughter and her two daughters (two of my grandlings). I am sitting and watching the rain pound the UK Midlands. So, in honour of where I want to be:

    Crab Cakes (Low Country Style)
    Measurements are mostly by eye
    About one pound of lump crab meat, fresh is best, but not always available. Check very carefully for shell bits
    One Egg, room temp
    Bread Crumbs, Panko are good, but I use a homemade ones with a touch of Parmesan and oregano
    2-3 garlic cloves squeezed out in a garlic press
    One red pepper or green pepper – dice into very small bits
    4-6 green onion shoots or scallions, sliced very thin
    Crab cake dressing (see below)

    Put crab meat in a bowl, try not to break up the lumps when picking out shell bits. Add the veggie things and gently toss or fold. Use about half a cup of the dressing, you just want to lightly coat the crab and veggie mixture and again gently fold in. Add egg and refold, add bread crumbs sparingly and toss gently. Just enough bread crumbs to coat the mixture – use a light touch.

    Let it set for at least a half hour, closer to an hour if the kitchen is cool – do not put in the fridge. Before making the cakes, preheat oven to 400F/200C. Toss again gently and divide into 4 big or 6 smaller cakes. Work gently, patting the cakes into shape – you do not want to crush the crab lumps. Heat about an ounce of oil in a pan to just below smoke point and brown the cakes. Once the bottom is browned turn them over and put the pan and cakes into the pre heated oven on the middle shelf. It will only take 3-4 minutes to finish browning and heat through. Check after three minutes and again at 3 and 1/2, don?t want them to burn.

    Serve immediately with a nice salad and dressing on the table.

    I prefer the crab cake dressing recipe from Old Village Post House, slightly modified.

    1 cup mayonnaise – home made the same day is best
    Little over 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
    Whole grain mustard and mustard powder – about a teaspoon of each or to taste
    1 and 1/2 to 2 Tablespoons of Old Bay Seasoning – OK, this is probably too much for most people
    Tabasco – couple of dashes
    Worcestershire – several dashes
    Mix well and allow to set for the about 30 minutes, stir again before putting on table

    Best eaten on the screen porch as the sun is setting. Basic martinis are good before and after.

    Basic (Wet) Martini – I have found most people think they want a dry martini, they actually like a non-dry one better.

    Gin and Vermouth should be chilled, all the time. Use good stuff, I prefer Bombay Sapphire and Noilly Pratt
    Glasses should be chilled
    Well crushed ice (like sno-cone ice) in shaker to chill it about 5 min before mixing
    Empty shaker, add 3 and 1/2 jiggers of gin to shaker and 1 jigger of dry vermouth
    Fill shaker with crushed ice and shake firmly, but smoothly
    Strain into two large glasses, best if shaker holes allow some ice crystals to escape into the glass
    Three large olives in each glass – I experiment with different fillings for olives, garlic goes great
    Kick back

  556. #561 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 1, 2010

    I need to learn how to make guac.

    From what I see watching the Redead, chop tomato, onions, cilantro, and remove the fruit from one ripe (feels firm, but when pressed dent remains) avocado. Smush avocado with fork, add the tomato, onions, and cilantro mixing well. Season to taste with chili powder, salt, pepper. A little oil could be added.

  557. #562 Ol'Greg
    April 1, 2010

    I need to learn how to make guac. I like it a lot, but I’ve never really been a good chef when it comes to making emulsions.

    Easy easy easy. You almost can’t mess it up. Just don’t try too hard. I like mine chunky with lots of junk in it.

    Scoop the innards from avacado, add lime juice, salt, little garlic doesn’t hurt but isn’t absolutely needed, chopped up union, maybe some chopped up tomato if you like it. Don’t forget the lime juice! A little chopped up chili pepper is good I think, serrano but jalepeno is ok I guess. I like serrano better because it tastes less… um jalepeno-y. Cilantro chopped up.

    Now put all that together and mush it with a fork or something until it looks good to eat. You can add some black pepper if you want I guess.

    I think the most important things though are the avacado, onion, salt, and LIME JUICE. Did I stress that enough?

    *Some people* add things like mayonnaise. I think *some people* are crazy.

  558. #563 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 1, 2010

    Guac

    Take 4 ripe avocados
    1 lime
    One handfull of cilantro
    A pile of kosher salt
    Black pepper

    peel and smash the avocados with a fork or a “potato smasher”
    Juice 1/2 to a whole lime to taste
    Chop cilantro and add

    now the most important part

    Add a shitload of salt as it really highlights the smokey fatty flavor of the avocados. Don’t over salt but salt to taste and then let it sit for a while. If the flavor just isn’t coming out, add more.

    Mix well

    I never add tomatoes to my Guac, that’s what salsa is for

    I sometimes add Chipotle pepper to add a touch a heat and more smokiness.

  559. #564 aratina cage
    April 1, 2010

    Well, I really can’t argue with #550, Menyambal. So there are really two things I am thinking:

    1. atheist parents should not be afraid to say there is no god or to take a strong position on the matter; after all, they wouldn’t hesitate to say there are no dragons (except maybe to the young children out playing and having fun), and
    2. in a society where theism is the default cultural assumption, atheist parents should teach their children (as Menyambal points out is necessary) about the wealth of evidence against/lack of evidence for gods and all about the whole business of theism rather than chance the indoctrination of their children into some form of theism.
  560. #565 Ol'Greg
    April 1, 2010

    Did I just say a chopped up “union” there!? Was that Freudian? lol

  561. #566 Jadehawk OM, Hardcore Left-Winger
    April 1, 2010

    chopped up union,

    did you learn cooking from Margaret Thatcher? :-p

  562. #567 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 1, 2010

    Oh no, deep rifts over crushed avocados. ;)

  563. #568 MrFire
    April 1, 2010

    **BRIEF REMINDER FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN THE UPCOMING ROY/CHOMSKY LECTURE: “DEMOCRACY’S ENDGAME?”**

    The lecture will be streamed then archived here starting tomorrow (April 2).

  564. #569 Jadehawk OM, Hardcore Left-Winger
    April 1, 2010

    The lecture will be streamed then archived here starting tomorrow (April 2).

    :-)

  565. #570 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Scholar of Shen Zhou
    April 1, 2010

    Who here likes Korean BBQ?

    Bulgugi

    1 lb of beef
    3 green onion
    4 button mushroom
    1/2 onion
    3/4 cup of soy sauce
    1/3 cup of sugar*
    4 tbs of sesame seed oil
    4 tbs of paper
    1-2 tbs of minced garlic

    Slice the meat as thinly as possible
    Slice all the vegatables
    Add the ingredients in a bowl
    Marinate the beef for 30 minutes at the least. Really you should try to marinate it overnight.
    Grill it and serve with rice and kimchee.

    * I hear that you could use Coca-Cola because it’s sweeter.

  566. #571 'Tis Himself, OM
    April 1, 2010

    Ring Tailed Lemurian #402

    I understand that you Americans pronounce buoy as boo-ee. Any idea why? You don’t also say boo-ee-ant, or boo-ee-ancy, do you?

    I heard the word pronounced both boo-ee and boy. Personally I use boo-ee. dictionary.com recognizes both pronunciations.

    As to why the word is pronounced boo-ee, it’s like how Brits pronounce schedule as shed-youl instead of the obviously correct sked-youl.

  567. #572 aratina cage
    April 1, 2010

    Who here likes Korean BBQ?

    Love it! *drool*

  568. #573 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Scholar of Shen Zhou
    April 1, 2010

    4 tbs of paper

    Cut with scissors, and served with rock

    lol. I meant to say pepper.

  569. #574 SteveM
    April 1, 2010

    As to why the word is pronounced boo-ee, it’s like how Brits pronounce schedule as shed-youl instead of the obviously correct sked-youl.

    Two cultures seperated by a common language. There was a discussion elsewhere on the net about the difference between American and British English pronounciation. One explanation given was that British English “enforces” 3 letter syllables.

  570. #575 Sili
    April 1, 2010

    No union, sorry. They’re working pretty hard for me to get some lost holiday pay out of my former ‘employer’.

    I’m afraid I used lemon rather than lime. Just seasoned with salt, green pepper and two dried chilis. Very soft avocados, though. Hence why I couldn’t think of anything else to do with that. I’ve tried a recipe that called for cucumber, tomato and onion once, but that turned out a bit too chunky for me.

  571. #576 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 1, 2010

    Gack, I did forget lemon or lime juice for the Guac.
    *hangs head in shame*

  572. #577 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 1, 2010

    You guys are making me verrrrry hungry!. I’m just beginning a 4-day weekend (we get Good Friday off from work, plus Monday is an unpaid furlough day owing to the current economy), and I’m determined to try several of Pharyngurecipes while I’m off. I think I’ll start with the mushroom risotto posted a while back (was that you, Caine?), for tomorrow’s dinner.

    I’ll report back on results!

  573. #578 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 1, 2010

    Mushroom Risotto wasn’t me, Bill. I haven’t so much as thought about food; I suppose I best scrounge up something. Been a couple of busy days shooting, Robins, Grackles and Mourning Doves have shown up. I love a good Grackle shot, but they are such a pain to shoot, they never stop moving. Now I have a thousand or so shots to go through.

  574. #579 'Tis Himself, OM
    April 1, 2010

    Jessie #530

    I did tell both my children that there were no monsters under the bed.

    So you lied to your children about the monsters. If you come into their bedrooms one morning and the kiddies have disappeared, you’ll know who to blame about not preparing your children to battle the monsters.

  575. #580 Carlie
    April 1, 2010

    So much for the winged cats – in better news, a new baby skeksis was born.

  576. #581 SC OM
    April 1, 2010

    Food Network has a new show – “Mexican Made Easy.” One of the first things she made was guac:

    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/marcela-valladolid/game-winning-guac-with-fresh-baked-tortilla-chips-recipe/index.html

    Some of the early comments were bashing/making fun of it because it’s so basic, but my sister made it and said it was great, and it appears from the rating that others agree.

  577. #582 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 1, 2010

    To all: recipes snagged for cookbook. SpokesGay unit engaged in important meatspace stuff. SpokesGay cranky about that, but resigned to it.

    /end complaint subroutine

  578. #583 David Marjanovi?
    April 1, 2010

    Catcher-upper, part 2:

    Yet another moron who seems to think that debate is the best way to answer scientific questions.

    That’s because he hasn’t even noticed they are scientific questions now.

    Because of the world’s general ignorance at that time, they were philosophical questions when Aquinas lived, but they are not anymore, and haven’t been for a hundred fucking years. “Every effect has a cause” is empirically false, no matter how many philosophers make a headstand, no matter how hard Daniel Smith finds it to imagine, no matter even how often Einstein says he doesn’t want God to play dice. Reality is that which does not go away when you stop believing in it.

    I have to thank PeeZed ::genuflects:: for the latest anastomisation (or wevs). It has given The Thread ::genuflects:: a very pleasant infusion of Sastra.

    I agree, even though Sastra’s 18th-century use of commas means I need to read some of her sentences twice. :-)

    There are also others who I’m pretty sure got banned in a single day. Their crimes ranged from posting the same comment 15 times in a row

    Oh yeah. That was a guy who was too stupid to read the error message that said “do not repost, instead just refresh and look if your comment has gone through” (as it almost invariably had). He wrote nothing but that one repeated comment till he got banned.

    Besides, fossil-finding is a rare, weird sequence of events. First, an animal has to die in such a way that the body is not rotted or eaten or scattered, but is naturally preserved. Then the preserved bits need to sink down to be replaced with soluble rock, which must harden

    Not necessarily. Usually it’s just stuff crystallizing out of solution in the hollow spaces of a bone or wood. The original bone material is usually left (though it can recrystallize, resulting in larger crystals than before), and when you put silicified wood into hydrofluoric acid, so that the silicate turns into water and the gas SiF4, you get the original cell walls consisting of the original cellulose and the original lignin as far as I know.

    On the other hand, it does happen that the remains of a living being are completely dissolved and then replaced by a natural cast.

    Catholic Church Sues over having to tell the truth.

    LOL!!!

    Are any other students experiencing similar frustrations with their financial aid or is my college just ran by crooks who hold onto your money for as long as possible then pay it to you when inflation has made it worth less than it should be?

    In Austria, financial aid for students comes straight from the Republic and does not pass through the universities. I always got it in time till I became too old last summer.

    I’m not the messiah, says food activist ? but his many worshippers do not believe him

    Priceless.

    So, for Republicans, lesbian sex is okay, but only if you’re not married.

    Full of win.

    I attest that Graeme Bird is the greatest parody comedian to ever have lived!

    Poe’s Law.

    The nickname The Grauniad for the paper originated with the satirical magazine Private Eye. This played on The Guardian’s reputation for frequent typographical errors, such as misspelling its own name as The Gaurdian.

    I know, I was alluding to “commments” with triple m.

    The domain grauniad.co.uk is registered to the paper, and redirects to its website at guardian.co.uk.

    ROTFL!

    Here’s some real music to clean your brain after listening to that.

    This video brought to you by the voiced palatal plosive. (BTW, I think most of the examples in that list are wrong, for the reasons mentioned in the text there.)

    not that rare a combination, you know… ;-)

    :-)

    And I dream of an evening at the Hilton bar with Prof Grayling on of these comfy couches to talk it through so even I can understand it…:-)

    He’ll give a talk in Copenhagen, you know.

    Re: The asshat who claims that god(s) hates atheists — does that give True Believers ™ the right to kill atheists?

    Depends on whether the gods in question are supposed to be capable of dealing with them themselves. If yes (as in “mine is revenge, saith the LORD”), it might even be considered blasphemy to try to “help” them.

    It most certainly is in the most liberal societies, though the question of cause and effect is a good one…

    Ramsburger, D., Slice’n’dice, M. & Groovy, E. 2001. Holy shit!! A phylogeny for winged cats reveals amazing stuff, hence this two-page paper. Science 308, 1112-1113.

    :D

    Nature and Science headlines often look a lot like this, except they don’t tend to advertize that they’re extended abstracts (nowadays with 95 pages of online supplementary information). Also, they have 3 pages, not 2. :-)

    The journal for David M.:

    Yes :-)

    So she’d also call you “dupa” if you kept irritating her.

    =8-)

    Is it just me, or would Pantheropteryx not be the Best.Band.Name.Evarrrrr?

    Bah. It’s nothing against the good old “New Atheist Noise Machine”.

    The KJV is prettier and more fun, although harder to make sense of and I think it’s supposed to have some real faults.

    30,000 known translation mistakes as of last time someone tried to count.

    chopped up union,

    did you learn cooking from Margaret Thatcher? :-p

    :-D

    The lecture will be streamed then archived here starting tomorrow (April 2).

    :-)

    Exactly.

    Who here likes Korean BBQ?

    Fond memories of a Korean restaurant in Beijing…

  579. #584 David Marjanovi?
    April 1, 2010

    no matter even how often Einstein says he doesn’t want God to play dice

    Using “be playing” instead of “play” would have been better.

  580. #585 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    April 1, 2010

    ‘TisHimself

    Personally I use boo-ee.

    So how do you pronounce buoyed (up), buoyancy and buoyant? (Boy, that word root looks sillier every time I type it.)

    it’s like how Brits pronounce schedule as shed-youl instead of the obviously correct sked-youl.

    Ah, but Brits are increasingly changing to sked-youl, having seen the error of their ways. What’s your excuse for the continued use of the obviously incorrect boo-ee?* :)

    Actually, I‘ve always pronounced it sked-youl. Which used to annoy my father no end. “Dad, if school is skool, and scheme is skeme, then schedule is skedule”. “OK son, you’re a skmuck*”.
    He also got very annoyed when, sometime in the ’50s, (southern) English people switched from plaah-stick to plastic. They still say plaah-ster though.

    There is a truly awful increasingly widespread inability in the UK to properly pronounce words beginning in str, such as street, straight etc. They now say sh-treet, sh-traight etc. It actually is an inability, not just a preference. I’ve tried to get people to say str, and they just can’t.

    * I once nearly blew up my boat, and half of London, by almost crashing into the wreck of the SS Richard Montgomery (OMG – there’s a photo of the buoy!) in a storm (about 100 ft visibility) because the American lookout started screaming something about a booee (WTF?) and I continued on a collision course for about another minute while we sorted out what the hell he was on about.

  581. #586 'Tis Himself, OM
    April 1, 2010

    I once nearly blew up my boat, and half of London, by almost crashing into the wreck of the SS Richard Montgomery (OMG – there’s a photo of the buoy!) in a storm (about 100 ft visibility) because the American lookout started screaming something about a booee (WTF?) and I continued on a collision course for about another minute while we sorted out what the hell he was on about.

    I see. Because you don’t know how to pronounce buoy you almost blew out every window in Sheerness.

    The pronunciation of buoy is one of those little quirks of language. It’s like the difference between American aluminum and British aluminininininininium. Or how you folks insist on using “orientated” when the word is “oriented.”

  582. #587 Ol'Greg
    April 1, 2010

    I always thought buoy was a homophone for boy.
    You guys have made me more aware.

  583. #588 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    April 1, 2010

    OK, on the subject of cooking: A few months ago, I was making some Peruvian food and we were out of ground cumin. We had some cumin seeds, though, from an Indian cooking set we’d gotten awhile back. So I ground the cumin and some coriander seeds in mortar and pestle. Oh my god. There was so much more flavor! I hardly use powdered spices anymore. Everything gets ground fresh–either in a mortar and pestle or in a blender.

    I don’t even make up Sri Lankan roasted curry powder anymore–everything gets roasted and ground up fresh. It takes maybe 5-10 additional minutes, but the flavor is worth it.

  584. #589 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 1, 2010

    ‘Tis:

    The pronunciation of buoy is one of those little quirks of language.

    As I mentioned somewhere up thread, I say buoy with a barely pronounced ‘u’, not a long drawn out one. It’s inbetween ‘boy’ and ‘booee’. Works just fine with buoyant and buoyancy too.

  585. #590 Owlmirror
    April 1, 2010

    Lemurian, not Lemuridae.

    They aren’t humans either. I mean, if Homo erectus isn’t considered human, why should Homo lemurianus?

    Sporfle, K. et. al. 1976. Oldest H. lemurianus fossil dates to 750 kya. Journal of Amazing Paleoanthropololgical Enquiry. 42. 445-450

  586. #591 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 1, 2010

    So I ground the cumin and some coriander seeds in mortar and pestle.

    Oh yes. I never use powdered cumin, it’s horrible. Fresh ground is the only way to go.

  587. #592 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    April 1, 2010

    I see. Because you don’t know how to pronounce buoy you almost blew out every window in Sheerness.

    Yup :) That was just the start of the scariest 12 hours of my life. I, and everyone else on board, genuinely thought we were going to die at least three times.

    The boat had had half the keel removed when it was used as a houseboat on the Thames, so it almost capsized twice in the storm. On one occassion we heeled over so far that we were at about 85 degrees from vertical. The fire extinguisher fell off the wall, went off and filled the wheelhouse with foam, making visibilty zero feet for a few minutes.

    Then we almost got run down by a container ship.

    As we passed a marker buoy rather closer than we should have it was struck by lightning.

    The next morning, in Sheerness, we couldn’t raise the anchor. I, (being the best swimmer) spent ages diving down, in the pitch black water, following the anchor chain, to see what we were snagged on. It turned out to be the main electricty cable to North Kent. We hastily uncoupled the chain and threw the whole thing overboard.

    It’s like the difference between American aluminum and British aluminininininininium.

    Hmff! Element names end in *ium*. Calcum? Sodum? Magnesum? I think not.

  588. #593 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Scholar of Shen Zhou
    April 1, 2010

    Happy Birthday ‘Tis!

  589. #594 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    April 1, 2010

    Owlmirror

    They aren’t humans either. I mean, if Homo erectus isn’t considered human, why should Homo lemurianus?

    To my eternal shame, I had no idea such a creature ever existed. I picked my netname because (as well as containing my initials) it has an (unmentionable on a public forum) connection to my Tamil ex (see the Wiki “Lemuria” entry for the Tamil/Lemuria connection), and – purely to see one of the largest banyan trees on earth
    , I hasten to add – I’ve been to Madame Blavastsky’s onetime home (see same Wiki entry for Theosophy and Lemurians).

    And, speaking of netnames, I presume you must have had a very busy April Fool’s day, Herr Till Eulenspiegel.

  590. #595 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 1, 2010

    Happy Birthday ‘Tis, many happy returns!

  591. #596 Bill Dauphin, OM
    April 1, 2010

    Caine:

    Mushroom Risotto wasn’t me, Bill. …

    Turns out it was pixelfish, now that I look at my copy. So many of the recipes that have caught my eye have been yours, though, that it wasn’t a bad guess.

  592. #597 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 1, 2010

    Making sausage this weekend.

    Here’s the recipe.

    Damn those photos suck. Might have to re do it this go around.

  593. #598 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    April 1, 2010

    It’s ‘Tis’s (that was hard to type) birthday? (April 1st or 2nd?)
    Happy Birthday!

  594. #599 Sven DiMilo
    April 1, 2010

    So how do you pronounce buoyed (up), buoyancy and buoyant?

    I’ve given several talks on the subject of buoyancy regulation in freshwater turtles (they’re good at it), and I say ‘buoyancy’ and ‘buoyant’ somewhere in between ‘boy-‘ and ‘boo-ee-‘. Sort of, mmmm, ‘bwoyancy’.

  595. #600 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 1, 2010

    *Drools at Rev. BDC’s sausage*

    Dang, we went from early spring, just above freezing, to summer in 1 day. It’s 10 pm local time, and still 78 ? due to a southerly wind.

  596. #601 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 1, 2010

    *Drools at Rev. BDC’s sausage*

    Are you coming on to me?

  597. #602 Antiochus Epiphanes
    April 1, 2010

    Big deal. I make sausage everyday.

    Well. Metaphorically speaking.

  598. #603 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 1, 2010

    Big deal. I make sausage everyday.

    Well. Metaphorically speaking.

    zing

  599. #604 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 1, 2010

    Are you coming on to me?

    I don’t think so Rev. Your recipe did look interesting though. Sigh. Homemade sausage is one thing the Redhead doesn’t do. Lamb and Ham for easter dinner, with plenty of planovers.

  600. #605 Antiochus Epiphanes
    April 1, 2010

    How many Americans are called on to pronounce the word buoy more than like three times over the course of their lives? Most of the people who need to use this word often are also saying things like “arrrrr” and “There be monsters”.

    I just say “you know, those floaty motherfuckers off-shore and shit”…this is part of my sausage recipe.

  601. #606 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 1, 2010

    I don’t think so Rev.

    just kidding. The drooling over my sausage threw me off.

  602. #607 boygenius
    April 1, 2010

    Easter Bunnies for my Easter dinner, as usual. I think I’ll pull out the pressure cooker this year. The older stewing rabbits are cheaper than the young fryers, and money is tight.

  603. #608 Antiochus Epiphanes
    April 2, 2010

    Another fabulous AE recipe…and this one is seasonal.

    Have one of your friends bring one of those creme brulee torches to your house, under the complete misunderstanding of the kind of party they will be attending.

    1 part bourbon, 1 part beer, multiplied by like a million parts.

    You will need one cookie sheet of the type that can be used to cook tater tots and hot dogs.

    Place the cookie on a semi-fireproof surface. Like the floor. Place one graham cracker on the sheet. Place one Hershey’s Krackel Miniature? on top of this. The king of this delicious mountain is a marshmallow peep (I prefer the pink bunny, but whatever you have laying around will do). Demand information from the pink bunny. Cajole, plead, demand…he will not talk, so make him talk. Light the torch and demonstrate its power in lighting a candle or in making creme brulee (I don’t actually know what that is, but I hear it’s tasty). If the bunny doesn’t talk, you must burn him…unfortunately, the interrogation goes awry and a potential informant will become a small carmelized bonfire. Eat while still smoking hot so you burn the shit out of your mouth.

    Bring in the next dissident & cetera.

  604. #609 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 2, 2010

    Peeps are the creation of the debil

  605. #610 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 2, 2010

    Well I seen your sister naked
    Ain’t nothing I tried to see
    I seen your sister by the pool there
    Nothing I tried to see

    Well I hope it’s not huntin’ day
    Hope it’s not your daddy’s shootin’ day

    Well, ribs and whiskey making my mind feel tight
    Whiskey, making my mind feel hot

    If you won’t be my love
    I’m gonna find me a new place to spend my night

  606. #611 Jadehawk OM, Hardcore Left-Winger
    April 2, 2010

    Peeps are the creation of the debil

    I will refrain from posting the image of Peepus Crucified yet again; instead, I give you the sequel: http://inlinethumb56.webshots.com/46199/2890719080075107219S600x600Q85.jpg

  607. #612 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 2, 2010

    nice

    very nice

    I am so using that to offend a large number of people

  608. #613 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 2, 2010

    Whiskey…

    Whiskey Baked Beans

    3, 15-oz. (425g) cans great northern beans
    1 small onion; diced
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1 tsp. dry mustard (Coleman’s preferably)
    1 tsp. liquid smoke
    1 clove crushed garlic
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 cup whiskey
    8 slices uncooked bacon

    Preheat oven to 300F. Spray 8×12″ baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Combine beans, onion, brown sugar, mustard, liquid smoke, garlic, salt, and whiskey. Pour mixture into the baking pan. Cover with bacon. Bake 4 hours.

    Note: I add one small can of tomato paste, a healthy amount of home-made barbecue sauce along with a healthy amount of molasses. I also increase the garlic and the Coleman’s Mustard. I’m pretty liberal with the amount of Coleman’s, not everyone would like as much as I do, so everything in this should be done to taste.

  609. #614 Antiochus Epiphanes
    April 2, 2010

    Caine–Dinner and music?

    Lovely.

  610. #615 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 2, 2010

    AE, could very well be. ;D

  611. #616 Kel, OM
    April 2, 2010

    Tonight I plan to eat meat, drink red wine and watch Life Of Brian. Easter is awesome!

  612. #617 Antiochus Epiphanes
    April 2, 2010

    I love baked beans. I love whiskey.

    The trick is convincing someone to make this for me.

  613. #618 monado
    April 2, 2010

    Boygenius, offtopic I know, but you said business is down because people aren’t renovating. Can you go after renovations that people are making because they’re not moving?

  614. #619 monado
    April 2, 2010

    If you’re in a hurry, you can fry up the bacon first and cut down the baking time until everything’s hot.

    And if you’re making it as a vegetarian dish, just the liquid smoke makes it an awesome dish. I put in sliced carrots for color.

  615. #620 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 2, 2010

    AE:

    The trick is convincing someone to make this for me.

    Well, in case you aren’t successful in that regard, I’ll just say that putting it together is very quick, and you don’t need to check on it at all once it’s in the oven. Very tasty, easy to make and eminently tweakable to individual tastes. Besides, it has bacon! Now that I think on it, I remember upping the whiskey to 3/4 cup too. :D

  616. #621 Antiochus Epiphanes
    April 2, 2010

    Caine–nice. I’m in.

    Jadehawk– Nobody beats the Riz.

  617. #622 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 2, 2010

    Monado:

    If you’re in a hurry, you can fry up the bacon first and cut down the baking time until everything’s hot.

    Uh, no. That would make it taste very different; it wouldn’t be at all the same. The slow cooked bacon is a crucial part of the taste.

  618. #623 boygenius
    April 2, 2010

    monado,

    I don’t recall saying that. (If I did, I misspoke.) My business has always been new construction. I rarely bid on remodel work in the past because;

    1. I hate doing remodel work. The homeowners are usually still living in the house and getting in the way. Generally, you have to work around other subcontractors that are getting in each others collective way. Many other factors combine to make doing remodels a royal pain.

    2. The bidding process is apples/oranges between new construction/remodel. If you don’t do remodeling day-in and day-out, it’s too easy to loose your ass on the job because you underbid.

    That said, the only work I’ve had for 9 months has been remodel. Yes, many people are choosing to remodel existing homes rather than building new. The problem is that everyone and their brother is competing for remodel crumbs rather than new construction cake.

  619. #624 Pygmy Loris
    April 2, 2010

    In order to wind down from a long day reading exacting descriptions of various statistical methods, I’m posting my chili recipe. The measurements are inexact because I never measure anything for this.

    1 lb. ground beef (85% lean)
    2 or 3 bell peppers, chopped (at least 1 green)
    1 or 2 onions depending on size, chopped (and your tastes)
    5 or 6 carrots, sliced
    3 celery stalks, sliced
    1 can tomato soup
    4 cans beans* (combination of “chili beans” kidney beans, black beans)
    2 cans tomatoes with green chilies
    A squeeze of concentrated tomato paste
    Fiesta chili powder
    Cayenne pepper
    1/4 cup sweet, honey bar-b-que sauce

    Brown ground beef in a heavy bottomed stock pot. Add 1 chopped green pepper and half of chopped onion. Saute until tender crisp. (you should have just enough fat left from the ground beef to do this, if there’s fat left after sauteing the veggies, drain) In another skillet, saute the carrots, celery, and remaining bell pepper and onion until tender crisp**. Add veggies to stock pot. Add tomato soup, beans, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Dust chili powder over the surface of the chili until it’s about one third covered. Add one half teaspoon cayenne pepper. Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes and taste. Add more chili powder as needed. Add more tomato paste if it seems too thin. Simmer for an hour or so. Add the bar-b-que sauce and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve with cheese, sour cream, jalapenos, chopped green onion.

    *You can use an equivalent amount of stored, cooked beans. I keep prepared beans in my freezer.

    ** I use a separate skillet because there’s not enough space at the bottom of my stockpot to cook all the veggies together.

    A note on seasonality: during the summer I add fresh, chopped tomatoes and chilies from the garden. Purple Cherokee are nice

    Freezes well, serves three people at least twice with some for lunch too.

  620. #625 Kel, OM
    April 2, 2010

    My homebrew cider is really fizzy and doesn’t taste like anything. Gah! I’m just going to stick to beer from now on. (and ginger beer too)

  621. #626 monado
    April 2, 2010

    Sorry, I mis-spoke. I meant to say your new home work was down. I completely agree that new-home work is simpler and cleaner. Good luck!

  622. #627 Kel, OM
    April 2, 2010

    lol, bishops in Australia used Easter services to decry atheism. The GAC must have really hit a nerve!

  623. #628 Rorschach
    April 2, 2010

    *Drools at Rev. BDC’s sausage*

    rrrriiiiggghhht….must be that Easter spirit…

    I got sent home from work 2 hours early, at 2 and a half time hourly rate it being good friday and all, very nice…:-)

    Still haven’t heard about cancelling my planned schedule for Europe trip and deviating to Denmark, hope those tickets dont sell out too quickly !

    I might go and watch Suicide Girls- Guide to Living

    (NSFW)

  624. #629 Rorschach
    April 2, 2010

    Kel @ 627,

    lol, bishops in Australia used Easter services to decry atheism.

    Atheists hit back

  625. #630 llewelly
    April 2, 2010

    CJO | April 1, 2010 5:12 PM:

    The KJV and the NKJV are much the same in terms of accuracy …

    Does anyone else think “People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs” when they see NKJV?

  626. #631 Jadehawk OM, Hardcore Left-Winger
    April 2, 2010

    “Atheist or religious person – we all need to be reconciled to God and give him our lives”

    unclear on the concept, I see.

  627. #632 David Marjanovi?
    April 2, 2010

    There is a truly awful increasingly widespread inability in the UK to properly pronounce words beginning in str, such as street, straight etc. They now say sh-treet, sh-traight etc. It actually is an inability, not just a preference. I’ve tried to get people to say str, and they just can’t.

    I noticed that when I briefly was in England in 1999; till then I had thought it was an American phenomenon.

    In (non-northern) German, we stopped saying [st] and [sp] at the beginnings of words ? no matter if there was a [r] behind it ? at least 500 years ago.

    Paleoanthropololgical

    :-)

    The next morning, in Sheerness, we couldn’t raise the anchor. I, (being the best swimmer) spent ages diving down, in the pitch black water, following the anchor chain, to see what we were snagged on. It turned out to be the main electricty cable to North Kent.

    :-S

    <shudder>

    Are you coming on to me?

    Those of chimps are considerably smaller than…

    creme brulee (I don’t actually know what that is, but I hear it’s tasty)

    Crème brulée isn’t just called “burnt”, it also tastes like it. A bit overcaramelized, and with no other taste whatsoever. I occasionally had to eat it when there was no other dessert (or soup) available in the cafeteria… meh.

    I will refrain from posting the image of Peepus Crucified yet again

    Please don’t! I somehow missed it the first time.

    Whiskey Baked Beans

    No, no. Use rum, 80 % Stroh Inländer-Rum. Pour liberal amounts over the baked beans, and then set the whole abomination on fire. Cackle madly while watching it burn. Contemplate what a surprising amount of entertainment can be derived from baked beans even in the absence of expensive chlorine trifluoride!

    Cover with bacon.

    <cry>

    What a waste of baaaaaacooooooon!!!

  628. #633 Jadehawk OM, Hardcore Left-Winger
    April 2, 2010

    Please don’t! I somehow missed it the first time.

    well yes, you did miss it the first time; but you’ve seen it the second time I posted it, and I am now assuming that everybody is sick of me posting it whenever Easter and/or Peeps come up. but here it is again, to refresh your memory: http://inlinethumb36.webshots.com/2915/2585431020075107219S600x600Q85.jpg

  629. #634 SC OM
    April 2, 2010

    So I was arguing with someone last night on another blog, and I wake to an accusation of sockpuppetry from another reader followed by this:

    I thought I was holding my own very well, but when it turns out that my debating opponent needs sycophantic sock puppets to support themselves it’s something of a hollow victory*.

    Yes, victory. Because it makes SC (& alter egos) look like a douchebag.

    Whose sockpuppet am I, you ask?

    truth machine’s.

    Seriously.

  630. #635 Rorschach
    April 2, 2010

    Whose sockpuppet am I, you ask?

    truth machine’s.

    Seriously.

    Link or it didnt happen !!

  631. #636 David Marjanovi?
    April 2, 2010

    Does anyone else think “People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs” when they see NKJV?

    ROTFL!

  632. #637 David Marjanovi?
    April 2, 2010

    but here it is again, to refresh your memory:

    Oh, so that’s what Peeps are. I remember. Thanks!

  633. #638 Jadehawk OM, Hardcore Left-Winger
    April 2, 2010

    Whose sockpuppet am I, you ask?…
    truth machine’s.
    Seriously.

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAAAAHHHAAA!!!!

  634. #639 Kel, OM
    April 2, 2010
    Whose sockpuppet am I, you ask? … truth machine’s. Seriously.

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAAAAHHHAAA!!!!

    What Jadehawk said.

  635. #640 SC OM
    April 2, 2010

    Link or it didnt happen !!

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/03/well_now_we_know_why.php#comment-2397208

    (FTR, I really like the blog and its vibe and the vast majority of the commenters there, including the person who accused me of sockpuppetry. I’m not bashing them at all – just thought this was funny.)

  636. #641 Jadehawk OM, Hardcore Left-Winger
    April 2, 2010

    oh, and David, could you do me a favor and just set up a paypal account for yourself? it would make my life so much easier…

  637. #642 Rorschach
    April 2, 2010

    I see the deltoid folks were not quite ready for the machine LOL, and is that stu the one who has posted here in the past? Hard to believe somewhat…

    A funny exchange, that, ty for the link…:-)

  638. #643 SC OM
    April 2, 2010

    I see the deltoid folks were not quite ready for the machine LOL,

    Is anyone ever, really? ;)

    and is that stu the one who has posted here in the past? Hard to believe somewhat…

    No, it’s a different person. I knew the other Stu should’ve kept his last initial!

  639. #644 David Marjanovi?
    April 2, 2010

    oh, and David, could you do me a favor and just set up a paypal account for yourself? it would make my life so much easier…

    My life, you mean. :-) I’ll try.

  640. #645 Kel, OM
    April 2, 2010

    Is anyone ever, really? ;)

    To be honest, if there’s a discussion that involves logic and / or philosophy I always wait for Truth Machine to turn up and beat everyone into a logical stupor. It’s worth the risk of being torn to shreds just to see it happen to others.

  641. #646 David Marjanovi?
    April 2, 2010

    I’ll try.

    I tried. PayPal tells me to wait up to 2 or 3 days for their deduction of 1,50 ? to appear on my credit card statement. Not having such a thing associated with the bank account in question (it’s basically an ATM card), I hope the four-digit PayPal code will appear on the online list of transactions of my account… I’ll have a look while you’ll be sipping your “morning” tea, I suppose.

  642. #647 iambilly
    April 2, 2010

    I always thought buoy was a homophone for boy.

    I must still be suffering oxygen deprivation from breathing into miniature dummies for four hours yesterday as, when I read this, my first thought was of a priest. Specifically, a Roman Catholic priest.

    RECIPE ALERT!!11!!!!11!

    And as for guacamole (from the Nahuatl guaca (avacado) and mole (concoction) (No reason to include this tidbit, I just love the word “concoction”)), I might as well add mine:

    Guacamole a la (((Billy) The Atheist

    2 ripe to the point of almost begining to be too soft avacados — a gentle finger poke should easily deform the rind without actually penetrating
    1 ripe tomato — garden is best, or a Roma — roasted over a flame, peeled and chopped
    1 clove garlic, toasted on a comal (or a heavy frying pan with no oil, finely diced or pressed.
    1 small onion, diced
    2 tablespoons of lime juice (fresh is best)
    1 to 4 tablespoons of really good olive oil (depending on how dry the avacado is (some (even really ripe ones) can be dry))
    1 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt
    1 – 3 fresh ripe chili pepper (I think serrano peppers are best for this — they have a nice clean almost sharp bite) seeded, deveined and diced (leave in the veins and seeds for more zing)
    a handful of fresh cilantro (leaf coriander)
    2 tablespoons good tequila
    1 shot of tequila

    Put it all in a bowl (wait on the olive oil until you can see how much is needed) and mix together (I use a pastry cutter to mash the whole concoction together). Drink the extra shot of tequila. You earned it.

    Do we now start an argument about which avacado concoction is ‘real’?

  643. #648 Antiochus Epiphanes
    April 2, 2010

    Is anyone else allergic to avocado? To me it tastes like itchy burning, and then the swelling starts. Strangely enough, I have no reaction to any other Lauraceous items with which I have come into contact…I know no one else who suffers this malady.

  644. #649 iambilly
    April 2, 2010

    Antiochus:

    I wouldn’t surprise me that there are many more. Name a food and someone is alergic. Some of (((Wife)))’s family are alergic to corn. In all forms. In even tiny amounts. Not life-threatening, but painful and annoying.

    You are the first I’ve heard tell of who is alergic to avacado.

    Can you at least drink the tequila?

  645. #650 Kevin
    April 2, 2010

    Hmm, lots of recipes. I should add my own.

    *ahem*

    Jambalaya

    1 lb Sausage, cubed or chopped (Andouille is best)
    1 lb Chicken breast, cubed
    1 lb Shrimpy Shrimp, or get larger shrimp and chop them up
    A couple nice Tomatoes
    A can of Tomato Sauce
    A medium onion
    A green pepper
    A couple stalks of celery
    Brown Rice
    Chicken Stock
    Spices (oh yes, spices)

    Brown the sausage and chicken. De-vein and cook the shrimp (if you’re going to save the leftovers, don’t use the shrimp.)
    Chop up all the vegetables, make sure you have equal parts of the onion, pepper, and celery. Put these into a nice heavy pot and cook til the pepper is soft.
    Add the tomato, tomato sauce, spices, and meats to the pot. Cook on high until it starts to bubble a bit. Add a little water or white wine if its too thick.
    Add the rice, and use the amount of chicken stock corresponding to how much water the rice needs to cook. (If it needs a cup of water, add a cup of stock.)
    Cook according to the instructions on the rice.
    When the rice is done, your jambalaya is done. It should be slightly stewish, not too dry, not too moist. The spiciness should pop, not burn.

  646. #651 Ewan R
    April 2, 2010

    On Buoy (boy/Boo-ey) distinction – most of the UK would pronounce it the same as boy, but this isn’t always the case – in Caithness (go north until civilization runs out, keep going and you’ll hit Caithness) I’m pretty sure boo-ey is the pronunciation you’ll hear, they manage to do some pretty messed up things to words there.

  647. #652 Sven DiMilo
    April 2, 2010

    Dude, you posted a jambalaya recipe without the crucial link:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnKOVPXhlnE

  648. #653 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 2, 2010

    Do we now start an argument about which avacado concoction is ‘real’?

    Yes.

    *fists up

    Actually I’m more of an avocado purist when I make guac. I like it to be about the avocado. That’s why I leave out tomato or chiles. However, I also almost 100% of the time make fresh salsa at the same time I make guac so that may be a part of it.

  649. #654 Kevin
    April 2, 2010

    @Sven:

    Ahh, knew I was forgetting something, thanks.

  650. #655 iambilly
    April 2, 2010

    Kevin:

    Are you going to tell us what spices are used for the Jambalaya? Cause I’m thinking ming, cinnamon, fennel and curry.

    Rev. BDC:

    I’ve also come across some really good recipes for ‘avacado salsas’ which are completelky different from guacs.

    I also like to slice avacado, sprinkle on some lime juice and big salt (not a lot of salt, just big crystals) and slide it into a taco with shredded pork, cheese, and salsa.

    I suspect that guac is similar to stew, chili, or spaghetti sauce — there are as many ways to do it as there are cooks (or more (I use four very different chili con carne recipes)).

    I block your *fists up with a *+4 cloak of indifference and counterattack with a *+1 SIWOTI sword of TRUTH!

    Rolls dice.

    Damn. Missed. Fumbled. Cut off my own foot.

  651. #656 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 2, 2010

    I clicked on Sven’s link from work. U-tube told me my browser was no longer supported. Would watching U-tube make the IT department (one person at our site) update our browsers? Not likely…

  652. #657 Sven DiMilo
    April 2, 2010

    Here’s how they play that one in Bakersfield:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRkTseiLcbw

  653. #658 Kevin
    April 2, 2010

    @iambilly:

    I usually use cayenne, pepper, salt, paprika, garlic, parsley, bay leaf, and thyme. There’s a cajun seasoning mix that’s alright, but freshly ground seasonings are better.

  654. #659 Matt Penfold
    April 2, 2010

    For anyone who grinds their own spices, I have a couple of hints.

    1. Try dry roasting them before grinding. Heat a heavy frying pan, and add the spices. Keep the moving around the pan until they start to release their smell. Allow to cool, and then grind. Note, do not try this with dried chilli.

    2. If you grind a lot of spices invest in a coffee grinder. It will make quick work of grinding spices. Do not be tempted to use the same grinder for coffee beans though.

  655. #660 Sven DiMilo
    April 2, 2010

    …and here’s how they play it out in Lodi:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pa2Tl5BeK-U

    …and here’s how they play it in…wtf?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vsc7_rtAPN8

    …and here’s how they play it Heaven:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4o86juvMEE
    (only with more harps)

  656. #661 Sven DiMilo
    April 2, 2010

    one, more, this one with the erotic Tambourine Dance of Passion:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r808dvUkWWk

  657. #662 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 2, 2010

    Woke up to a severe thunderstorm. And no power. *Grumbles*

  658. #663 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 2, 2010

    Correction: severe snowstorm. Not awake yet. Snow. Ugh.

  659. #664 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 2, 2010

    Humm lets see. This will be long.

    This isn’t the flashiest recipe but it’s well worth doing if you ever use chicken stock for anything.

    It’s for those who want to invest a fair amount of time and have some freezer space.

    Chicken Stock.

    3-4 gallon ziplock bags full of chicken bones (thawed)
    1-2 packs of chicken wings fresh
    3 carrots halved and split
    4 ribs of celery cut into 1-2 inch peices
    2 yellow onions quartered with skins left on
    1 handful of black pepercorns
    1/2 bunch of flat leaf parsley
    4-5 springs of fresh thyme
    1 bay leaf

    I do not add salt but you can

    When I buy chicken breasts I buy them on the bone and then clean them for the breast and tenders. I also buy whole chickens and save everything once you’ve broken them down. Necks and backs are especially good for stock. It’s cheaper and you get to save the bones for stock. So once I have three or four gallon sized ziplock bags full of chicken bones I usually take a Saturday or Sunday and make stock.

    So

    Take the chicken bones and use kitchen shears to cut into small pieces. The goal is to extract as much of the collagen from the bones and connective tissue as possible and cutting them into inch-ish sized pieces with help with that. Add to a tall large stock pot (mine is 12 qt. stainless All-clad and I love it).

    I also typically buy a large pack of chicken wings that you would use to make buffalo wings and add them (cut into pieces as well) to the pot as well.

    Cover with cold water to an inch over the bones. If your water tastes funny buy bottled water, it will make a difference.

    Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

    Once you do this you’ll start to see some foam like what you see form on the beach will form on the top of the stock.

    I use a fine wire meshed skimmer to remove this.

    As I’m removing it I dip the skimmer into a bowl of cold water.

    Do this for five mins and you should see the foam stop. If not continue until it does.

    Once the foam stops drop the heat down so that you are on a very slow simmer. SO slow only a few bubbles appear at a time.

    Simmer for 1 hour then add the vegetables, herbs and peppercorns. Press them down into the stock but try to not stir them in or be to aggressive with the stock. It is your baby. Be nice to it.

    Simmer for another 6-8 hours uncovered. Keep an eye on the level of the liquid and replace with clean water to keep the level the same the whole time.

    Once you can reach in with a pair of tongs and crush the chicken bones with little effort you are probably done.

    Not the not fun part.

    You want to strain that big as pot of scalding liquid quickly because it’s just waiting for fun bacteria and nasties to jump in and make a home.

    What i do is use the tongs to carefully remove as much of the veggies and bones (throw them away) until I can easily handle pouring the reaming contents through a cheesecloth lines fine wire mesh strainer.

    You’ll need a big pot to pour it into and a big strainer / colander.

    Once your strained everything into another container you want to cool that down as fast as possible.

    I do two things.

    First I place the pot with the stock into a big sink. Fill the sink and load it (the sink, not he stock) with ice.

    Second, I fill a clean gallon sized ziplock bag with ice and float it in the stock. Keep replacing the ice in the ziplock until the stock is cool enough to handle. Near room temp is good.

    I freeze the stock in quart sized containers (I love my chest freezer).

    Some people like Alton Brown freeze ice cube trays of stock so that they can add small amounts to sauces or whatever. I’ve done that in the past but I usually don’t because I’m usually making soups with the stock and need larger amounts.

    Ta da! Home made chicken stock that will kick the overly salty and collagen lacking ass out of any store bought stock you can find.

    I do not add salt because I like to salt whatever dish I am making at the time and don’t want to worry about the salt content of the stock.

    I’ll post a recipe for the easiest and best Chicken noodle soup you’ve ever had because it will be made with your home made stock.

    Please ignore all typos

  660. #665 Kevin
    April 2, 2010

    @Rev. BDC:

    My mother does exactly that, too. I don’t have a big enough pot or enough mouths to feed to make my own stock. (I’m a single guy.)

  661. #666 Ol'Greg
    April 2, 2010

    I can’t argue about the guac, I make it five or ten different ways depending. Also, I’m not *that* crazy about avacado so I prefer lots of other flavors in there. I usually make it with some salsa, so what I put in the guac depends also on what salsa is going with it, or what dish is going along. It’s a very YMMV dish. I really doubt there’s one true way. Except maybe not to have avacado in it. I’m pretty sure if it lacks avacado it’s no longer guac and just dip.

  662. #667 Sven DiMilo
    April 2, 2010

    Home made chicken stock that will kick the overly salty and collagen lacking ass out of any store bought stock you can find.

    I do something a lot like that (except without the celery, of course)(ew) with the annual turkey carcass. I then get a big kick out of making way too much turkey-noodle soup in May or whenever from my home-made stock.

    Fun fact: the protein collagen is a shared-derived trait of all animals. It’s the most abundant protein in your body (as the extracellular matrix of all connective tissue), and jellyfish and even sponges have the same shit.

  663. #668 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 2, 2010

    Ok so if you suffered through that long ass stock recipe, here is one mode of payoff.

    Chicken Noodle soup

    2 boneless chicken breasts (or boned and save the bones for …STOCK) cut into bite sized pieces

    2 quarts of your homemade Chicken Stock

    8oz of wide egg noodles

    1-2 Tbs. Olive Oil

    2 carrots split and cut on bias into 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick slices

    2 ribs of celery cut into 1/2 inch slices

    1 small onion chooped

    1 garlic clove smashed

    4 fresh thyme sprigs

    1 bay leaf

    1 tsp of fennel seeds

    Juice of 1/2 lemon

    Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

    1/2 bunch chopped flatleaf parsley

    Bring Stock to a boil for in a separate pot 4 mins (always do this when using homemade stock). Reduce to simmer

    In a large 4 qt pot heat the olive oil over med heat and add carrots, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and fennel seeds and saute until veggies just starting to soften. Do not brown.

    Add stock and chicken to the vegetables and and bring to a boil

    After 2 min add noodles and cook until just tender (varies by package but somewhere around 7-8 mins)

    Make sure chicken is cooked through (should be unless you cut it into huge pieces)

    Add lemon juice and chopped parsley

    Season with salt and pepper to taste

    Serve mom style with saltines or with rounds of french bread toasted with melted gruyere or a milder cheese or little gruyere grilled cheese sandwiches.

    If there are soup leftovers you’ll notice that it will gel up when left in the fridge overnight. That’s all that unctuous collagen you spent all day extracting from the chicken bones.

    That’s what you want it to look like.

    now I’m hungry.

  664. #669 Kevin
    April 2, 2010

    Glad it’s lunch break, or I would be hungry for another few hours. Thanks for that recipe, Rev BDC, I’ll have to try it out.

  665. #670 IndieGirl
    April 2, 2010

    MrFIre asked for Bhatura recipe a couple(?) eternal thread avatars ago.

    Bhatura is a soft fluffy fried bread (North India/Pakistani origins) eaten traditionally with chole (The recipe results in one deliciously authentic dish – worth the effort).

    All-purpose flour – 2 cups
    Yogurt – 1/2 cup
    Milk- 1 cup
    Baking powder – 1/4tsp
    Oil – 2 tbsp

    And Oil for frying

    Method:
    1) In a bowl mix flour, yogurt, baking powder and oil. Add milk slowly, knead to get a soft dough.

    2) Cover with a moistened muslin cloth and keep it aside for 2-8 hrs. For the best results, keep for 8 hours, however in a pinch 2 hours yield good bhaturas too. (They just dont puff up as much).

    3) Make small balls of the dough, roll them into thick rounds (size depends on how big your frying pan is).

    4) Deep fry in hot oil until the bhaturas puff up and both sides are golden brown.

    Traditionally served hot with the chole with a garnish of raw sliced onion sprinkled with salt and lemon wedges.

  666. #671 Sven DiMilo
    April 2, 2010

    nice use of the word ‘unctuous’

  667. #672 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 2, 2010

    Thanks

    It ranks up there with Umami

  668. #673 MrFire
    April 2, 2010

    the protein collagen is a shared-derived trait of all animals[...]and jellyfish and even sponges have the same shit.

    Jellyfish n’ sponge stock would be teh AWESOME.

    wait

  669. #674 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 2, 2010

    Jellyfish n’ sponge stock would be teh AWESOME.

    wait

    whew

    I think everyone in the office heard that one

  670. #675 MrFire
    April 2, 2010

    Bhatura recipe

    Oh my goodness. Thank you.

    *munch*

    By the way, is it a regional thing about whether it’s called bhatura vs. puri, and for that matter chole vs. channa?

  671. #676 Menyambal
    April 2, 2010

    Filipinos nailed to the cross for Good Friday, Foreigners are banned from participating for making ?a mockery? of rites. “Bishop Rolando Tirona of the Prelature of Infanta said flagellation and cross nailings are expressions of superstitious beliefs…”

  672. #677 MrFire
    April 2, 2010

    By the way Reverend: I am most impressed by your photography (as a layperson). I am also roughly equally impressed by your handlebar ‘tache (again as a layperson). The product of many careful years etc.?

  673. #678 bullofthewoods
    April 2, 2010

    Another easy and delicious recipe from the big box of recipes I inherited from my mothers kitchen. I apologize in advance for my lack of skill in formatting this post.While I can operate machinery with ease (F.B.M.nuclear subs,eighteen wheelers,D-8 caterpillars etc.)This computer shit just confuses my old ass. Anyway this recipe is a big hit at our house.Broccoli and cheese cornbread. 4 eggs well beaten,one box Jiffy brand corn muffin mix.(other brands will work ok but Jiffy is best.)One stick butter,melted,one medium white onion chopped fine,one cup grated cheese.(I prefer colby-jack but medium cheddar is good too.)One 10oz.box frozen chopped broccoli,thawed(or fresh is better) reserve one half of the cheese and mix remaining ingredients together.(the mixture will be thick)Pour into preheated,lightly oiled pan(I use a very old 10 inch square cast iron skillet)bake @350 deg.F for about 30-35 mins.Then remove from oven and put remaining cheese on top and bake another 5 mins or so until cheese melts. This dish is very rich and has a cake-like texture.Yum.

  674. #679 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 2, 2010

    By the way Reverend: I am most impressed by your photography (as a layperson). I am also roughly equally impressed by your handlebar ‘tache (again as a layperson). The product of many careful years etc.?

    Why thank you.

    Well I had a goatee for a long time and decided to make it a handlebar for Movember.

    The wife liked it, so I kept it.

    Plus people think I’m mean now.

    Which I am, I just look more mean.

    Actually I’m not mean, just grumpy.

  675. #680 Kevin
    April 2, 2010

    @bull:

    I love me some cornbread.

  676. #681 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 2, 2010

    Oh

    hell

    yeah

    International Pillow Fight Day

    I am so there.

  677. #682 Kevin
    April 2, 2010

    @Rev BDC:

    I just look like I’m a teenager trying to look older with a scraggly little mustache and beard…

    But I swear I’m 26!

    (picture is on blog)

  678. #683 Lynna, OM
    April 2, 2010

    Arrgh. Work is keeping me away from Pharyngula more than I’d like. I see there are recipes galore. I missed the part where Josh, Official Spokesgay gave us a website to go to where these are all collected — at least, I think I missed that. Josh, can you post again the link to the collection?

    Remember Rex Rammell, he of White Horse Prophecy infamy. (Link is to PZ’s post on December 22, 2009.) Rex is back in the news. “Idaho GOP Gov Hopeful: ‘I’m OK with militias showing a little force.'” Video and text at the link to the article. Excerpt:

    BC’s Nightline caught up with Rex Rammell at a training session of the North Idaho Lightfoot Militia. Rammell, who last made national headlines in August when he joked about buying tags to hunt President Obama, is seen in the ABC segment firing a large scoped semi-automatic rifle.
         He addresses the role of militias in the context of fears about the new health care legislation.
         ”It’s because of the current administration’s politics — the more they force upon the states, the more noise there is,” he says. “The more concern people have, the less freedom there is. Lots of Idahoans believe the health care bill is very intrusive on our individual rights. … We are not going to allow them to come into the state and make what we believe are unconstitutional mandates. Even if they can get them passed in D.C., we are not going to all that to happen. These guys want to show a little force behind the scene… I don’t have a problem with that.”…

  679. #684 SteveM
    April 2, 2010

    re: “Hmff! Element names end in *ium*. Calcum? Sodum? Magnesum? I think not. “

    so is it Tantalum or Tantalium? Molybdenum or Molybdenium? Lanthanum or Lanthanium?

  680. #685 bullofthewoods
    April 2, 2010

    Kevin, yeah I love me some cornbread.When we make regular cornbread we only use White Lilly brand cornbread mix.It has a taste and texture that is in my opinion better than other national brands.YMMV. But when making the broccoli and cheese cornbread dish it just doesn’t taste like what dear old Mom used to make unless I use Jiffy brand mix.

  681. #686 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 2, 2010

    It’s “Good” Friday, I’m in the south working for very religious people and the rest of South Carolina is off today.

    [belushi]
    But noooooooooooooooooooooooooo.
    [/belushi]

    We’re here. I’m updating servers which is incredibly boring work.

    And my motivation is low.

    So.

    Miles

    http://listen.grooveshark.com/#/s/Miles+Runs+The+Voodoo+Down/spyy8

  682. #687 Kevin
    April 2, 2010

    @bullofthewoods:

    Man… now I want cornbread. I don’t have a baking pan, though. The closest I have is a square Pyrex dish, but it’s not the same.

  683. #688 Lynna, OM
    April 2, 2010

    Cartoon contest winners are announced Loads o’ fun and blasphemous takes on religion. The first prize went to a cartoon blasting Catholics.

  684. #689 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 2, 2010

    Oh man that first one is gold.

  685. #690 KOPD 42.7 FM
    April 2, 2010

    Anybody familiar with “baby sign” and want to share their opinion with me? Thanks.

  686. #691 IndieGirl
    April 2, 2010

    @MrFire (675) – The difference is whether the dough is leavened or not.
    Anything deep fried made out of unleavened dough is a poori. Usually pooris are made of wheat flour (though other flours like chickpea or rice can be mixed in).

    Since bhatura uses a leavened all purpose flour dough – in a crunch, I use Pilsbury thin crust mix (or equivalent) – makes excellent bhaturas :)

  687. #692 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 2, 2010

    baby sign

    As in baby sign language?

  688. #693 Lynna, OM
    April 2, 2010

    Fossil fleas

    A research team has uncovered an ancient water flea-like creature from 425 million years ago ? only the third of its kind ever to be discovered in ancient rocks. The specimen, which was found in rocks in Herefordshire, represents a new species of ostracod, and has been named Nasunaris flata. Like water-fleas and shrimps, ostracods belong to the group of animals called Crustacea. The find is important because the fossil has been found with its soft parts preserved inside the shell.

  689. #694 Katrina
    April 2, 2010

    I first posted this recipe during Survivor! Pharyngula. I noticed there mention of a recipe thread. Here’s my repost:

    Neapolitan Limoncello

    You need:
    2 liters of grain alcohol. The higher the proof, the better. If you can’t get straight grain alcohol, like most places in the U.S., then use the highest proof vodka you can find. Here in Italy, the stuff I use is over 190-proof.

    About 10 -15 medium-large lemons. The thicker skinned, the better.

    2 liters of water

    1.5 kg of sugar

    Scrub the lemons thoroughly with a brush and clear water, then use a vegetable peeler to remove the lemon’s zest, avoiding the white pith. You really, really want to avoid the pith, as it will make your limoncello bitter. Place the peels in a glass container that will hold more than 2 liters. I have a Mason-style jar that holds a gallon which I use for this process.

    Add the alcohol to the peels, cover, and leave on the counter for a while (nice and precise). The length of time will vary depending on the potency of the alcohol. The higher the proof, the less time you need. You need to give the alcohol enough time to thoroughly extract all the lemon oil from the peels. Eventually, you will have a lovely golden liquid and bleached white peels.

    Heat the water in a non-reactive pan (or stock pot) that will hold at least 5 liters. Stir in the sugar until dissolved. There is some debate whether or not to bring to a boil. I do, some purists say it isn’t necessary. What is vital is to be sure that the sugar syrup has cooled to room temperature before going to the next step.

    When the sugar syrup has reached room temperature, pour the lemon extract into the pot. Cover and let sit overnight.

    The next day, strain the contents of your pot into sealable glass containers. Mason jars work well for this. If I’m being particular, I’ll use coffee filters. This takes nearly forever. A wire sieve is good enough.

    Store your jars in the freezer, and serve your elixir very cold. Enjoy!

  690. #695 KOPD 42.7 FM
    April 2, 2010

    Rev: Yep.

  691. #696 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 2, 2010

    I don’t have kids but I know of two friends who use/used it with their kids.

    Seems to really increase their language ability early on. All three of the kids have a pretty developed speaking skill and seem to be above the level that the other kids their age are at.

    Now this is purely anecdotal and you were probably looking for something more than that, but that’s all I got.

  692. #697 Katrina
    April 2, 2010

    Josh, OSG:

    As I was looking for my original limoncello post, I came across a Pharyngula recipe thread:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/03/uh-oh.php#comment-1466136

  693. #698 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    April 2, 2010

    Tantalum or Tantalium? Molybdenum or Molybdenium?

    What do expect from those frigging refractory metals? Stick in the muds. Resistant to change.

    Lanthanum? Blame those damned Swedes. I detest Swedes*.

    Btw (Wiki)

    the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry … has recently prescribed that “aluminium” and “caesium” take the place of the US spellings “aluminum” and “cesium”

    Hah! (Let’s not mention sulphur).

    * And Turnips.

  694. #699 KOPD 42.7 FM
    April 2, 2010

    Anecdotes are appreciated as well. :-)

    Getting ready to have a kid and thinking about maybe doing baby sign language. Not sure if it’s worth the effort, but since I enjoy learning languages anyway it wouldn’t exactly be a chore. My wife is a speech-language pathologist and has also heard anecdotal evidence that it improves a child’s language skills, and it made sense in the context of her education about the development of language skills in children. I’m looking for actual studies now to see if there is evidence about methods and effectiveness.

  695. #700 CJO
    April 2, 2010

    Re: signs for babies

    It’s a good way to enable children to communicate before they can speak. My wife and I made a desultory effort to teach the boy a few signs when he was a baby. The two most used were “more” and “poop”. To this day (he’s eight) he still indicates his intention to, er, spend some time in the bathroom with the ASL sign for “poop”.

    As to whether it enhances facility with actual language acquisition, I don’t know. (The boy was actually slow to start speaking, but he caught up fast and is now considerably advanced in reading ability and vocabulary.) But certainly babies can learn to use quite a few signs and thus communicate more effectively than they would do otherwise.

  696. #701 David Marjanovi?
    April 2, 2010

    Is anyone else allergic to avocado?

    I can’t find out if I am :-)

    1 lb Sausage, cubed or chopped (Andouille is best)

    There is such a thing as good andouille? That I want to see.

    Fossil fleas

    Well, no. As you quote: “Like water-fleas and shrimps, ostracods belong to the group of animals called Crustacea.”

    There are fossil lice, though, and I think fleas, too.

  697. #702 Sven DiMilo
    April 2, 2010

    Like water-fleas and shrimps, ostracods belong to the group of animals called Crustacea.

    And also like ants, regular fleas, and cockroaches!

  698. #703 Sili
    April 2, 2010

    Jesus fuckin’ carbonara!

    DJ Grothe is a transhumanist! Bugger.

    But Jennifer Michael Hecht is quite interesting.

  699. #704 Kevin
    April 2, 2010

    @David Marjanovic:

    Well, compared to the other types of commercial sausage at the grocery store, Andouille is the best kind of sausage to put in. Chorizo is too spicy, the Italian spices don’t really work with Cajun food, Sweet and Hot sausage are not even remotely close to what is needed.

    If you make your own sausage, then you’re probably better equipped to make a decent decision on what is the best sausage.

  700. #705 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 2, 2010
  701. #706 Katrina
    April 2, 2010

    @KOPD 42.7 FM,

    We made up “baby sign” for our twins. Our son, who was rather impatient about mealtimes, caught on quickly – particularly in requests related to food. Our daughter wasn’t particularly interested.

    We found that, for our son, his ability to express his basic desires reduced his frustration-related “episodes” – if you know what I mean.

  702. #707 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 2, 2010

    To cooks:

    Now, does daddy SpokesGay have to do everything for you children? Pay attention, because I’m not going to say this again while I’m hard at work in meatspace to bring home the bacon to you kids. Ichthyic has set up a site for us to deposit recipes if we want.

    Those who are interested in the recipes (I know, Sven, I know:), however, pretty much agreed they’d like to see them first here in Teh Thread. I have been collecting them from Teh Thread, and I will organize and edit them on Ich’s site in due time. So, think of Ich’s site as more of a final version, not a spot to put recipes now (that is, until/unless The Cephalopod Overlord tells us to knock it off and take our culinary perversions elsewhere).

    /back to meatspace

  703. #708 David Marjanovi?
    April 2, 2010

    PayPal tells me to wait up to 2 or 3 days for their deduction of 1,50 ? to appear on my credit card statement. [...] I hope the four-digit PayPal code will appear on the online list of transactions of my account…

    Still not there (and neither are the transactions I conducted yesterday), but check your e-mail soon.

  704. #709 Alan B
    April 2, 2010

    #693 Lynna

    A belated welcome back! I haven’t been able to give up much time recently.

    This is the Herefordshire lagerstätten I talked about many incarnations of the thread ago.

  705. #710 blf
    April 2, 2010
    I did tell both my children that there were no monsters under the bed.

    So you lied to your children about the monsters. If you come into their bedrooms one morning and the kiddies have disappeared, you’ll know who to blame about not preparing your children to battle the monsters.

    Indeed. Everyone knows the best defence against monsters under the bed, in the cellar, behind the door/curtains/mommy, et al., is a poker. And it helps if you can do the voice.

  706. #711 Sven DiMilo
    April 2, 2010

    David knows sausages the way central Europeans know sausages. Not the way us US supermarket shoppers know sausages.

  707. #712 Kevin
    April 2, 2010

    @Rev BDC:

    Oh my… those sound good.

    @Sven DiMilo:

    Ohh, so he knows sausage the way they’re supposed to be, not mass-produced, tasteless garbage.

  708. #713 MrFire
    April 2, 2010

    Hmff! Element names end in *ium*. Calcum? Sodum? Magnesum? I think not.

    Technically, neither is correct, but alumin-um was the one first applied out of the two.

    The original name* used by its discoverer Humphrey Davy was apparently alumium. He then changed to alumin-um (and he was British!), before moving to alumin-ium, on the advice of those who thought it sounded better.

    Remember also, metallic element names were often systematically extracted from the names of their oxides, which were typically known of long before the element itself. For example, the name magnesi-um was derived from its oxide, magnesi-a. Some felt that alumin-a (the oxide) should therefore yield alumin-um. To make things more complicated, sod-ium oxide has at times been labeled sod-a (though this also refers to both the carbonate salt and the hydroxide, too :-/).

    However, I am sure this analysis is horribly simplistic to the linguists amongst us, whom I shall not dare to contradict if they feel like taking the issue further.

    *Actually, I confess this is something of a stretch. It appears he had yet to fully characterize the element at the time of writing, and was referring to the hypothetical element.

  709. #714 KOPD 42.7 FM
    April 2, 2010

    @711

    It’s really hard not to say “that’s what she said” when I read that.

    Oops.

  710. #715 Kevin
    April 2, 2010

    @KOPD:

    Hard to not giggle at that statement, thank you.

    In other news, I’m reading Kitzmiller v Dover. Been reading it a few weeks. The defense really sucked in that trial, didn’t they?

  711. #716 Alan B
    April 2, 2010

    #625 Kel, OM

    My homebrew cider is really fizzy and doesn’t taste like anything.

    I hesitate to try to teach anyone to suck eggs but what variety of apple did you use? If you used eating or cooking apples then I would expect it to be bland. Ditto commercial apple juice.

    In England there are many special varieties of cider apples which are generally small, hard, bitter and almost totally inedible (there are exceptions). Crush and press these to get pure juice but you’ll need a large amount of fruit.

    I live close to Herefordshire, one of the great cider-producing counties of England (of the world?). Thinking about it, I have moved from one cider county to another:
    Somerset
    Kent
    Herefordshire.
    This could be my last move – my curve of contentment has overtaken my curve of ambition. Anyway, there’s lots of good rocks here (are there any “bad” rocks?).
    (The Government has just hiked the tax on cider … DRAT!!)

  712. #717 Lynna, OM
    April 2, 2010

    Alan B @709

    693 Lynna
    A belated welcome back! I haven’t been able to give up much time recently.
    This is the Herefordshire lagerstätten I talked about many incarnations of the thread ago.

    Hi, Alan B. [waves] Yes, I thought that was the same site you discussed earlier. I love it that they found the 425 million year old fossil flea there.

    For those that want to relive the geological glory, here’s Alan B’s earlier post on the Herefordshire lagerstatten.

    Alan, here is a link to my blog entry that has photos of Crack Canyon. There’s also a tidbit of geological info (helpfully corrected by David M.)

  713. #718 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 2, 2010

    Interesting.

    Could one of you cider drinkers suggest a good commercial bottled cider worth trying?

    And it will have to be available in the states.

    I’ve never gotten a taste for hard cider mainly because the first few brands available here were horrible.

  714. #719 Lynna, OM
    April 2, 2010

    The mormons have a launched an anti-porn website. Excerpt:

    Experts like Dr. Donald L. Hilton, a Texas neurosurgeon and author of the book “He Restoreth My Soul,” explain how viewing pornography overuses pleasure centers in the thalamus and brain stem, which physically alters the brain.
         Geoff Steurer, a licensed marriage and family counselor who lectures about sexual addictions, outlines ways for individuals to know if they’re addicted. He recently told a packed room at the Utah Coalition Against Pornography Conference that a man’s craving for a pornography isn’t necessarily triggered by sexual stimuli, or a need for it. Instead deeper longings of attachment often activate such behavior.
         He also says many husbands are silently calling out for such attachment ? just not verbally.
          ”(Husbands) will come home early, share in duties around the house, offer to watch the kids and start talking about how they feel,” Steurer said. “Sometimes those aren’t obvious to the partner, but they’re all signs he’s looking for that attachment.”
         Besides research from mental heath clinical experts, the site interweaves videos of Mormon prophets and apostles, who tackle the issue from a spiritual side.

  715. #720 David Marjanovi?
    April 2, 2010

    If you make your own sausage

    For crying out loud, no! :-) Sausage does come from the supermarket here in Austria, and it is mass-produced. It’s still much better than the andouille I had in the cafeteria in Paris ? and that cafeteria is good; it’s in France, after all, and the French simply know how to eat.

    This is the Herefordshire lagerstätten I talked about many incarnations of the thread ago.

    Singular: Lagerstätte, plural: Lagerstätten. This is one of the twelve regular ways to form the plural in German (…OK, some of them aren’t applicable to a word that already has an ä in a strategic position, but still…).

  716. #721 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 2, 2010

    For crying out loud, no! :-) Sausage does come from the supermarket here in Austria, and it is mass-produced.

    Hey don’t knock making your own sausage.


    It was hard to avoid making a knockwurst joke there

  717. #722 Alan B
    April 2, 2010

    Some “elementary” facts …

    Poland has an element named after it – Polonium discovered by the Curies.

    France has 2 elements named after it – Gallium (after Gaul) and Francium. (There was a race between the British and the French to discover Francium – it had been predicted long before. The French won and got to choose the name. IIRC the work was done in a laboratory linked with Madame Curie.)

    More Francium facts:

    Only about 30g of Francium exists at any one time.

    It is the second rarest element in the crust – after Astatine.

    It was the last element (1939) found naturally in the Earth – all those found since have been synthesised.

    The longest-lived isotope has a half life of about 22 minutes.

    With a melting point of 27 deg C it would be liquid in a warm room (assuming you could get enough atoms together …)

  718. #723 Lynna, OM
    April 2, 2010

    David M. @720

    Singular: Lagerstätte, plural: Lagerstätten. This is one of the twelve regular ways to form the plural in German

    Ah, I see. I should have caught that. Thanks for the correction. I don’t speak German, but at one time I had a fairly good reading-German capability. The plural formation makes sense now that you point it out. So, we must ask Alan B if there are multiple Lagerstätten in Herefordshire, or just one Lagerstätte. I don’t remember. Time to go back and read the earlier post.

  719. #724 MrFire
    April 2, 2010

    David M:

    There is such a thing as good andouille? That I want to see.

    Near as I can tell, andouille in the US is much more homogeneous in texture than it is in France, where I remember it being barely-chopped entrails with a little seasoning.

    But I differ with you, and think it tastes great either way.

  720. #725 The Otter God
    April 2, 2010

    Guess what the Catholics are starting to compare the attention on rape scandal to…

    Did you guess? The persecution of the Jews. What kind of person would persecute Jews? Oh, what’s that you say, Catholics?

  721. #726 David Marjanovi?
    April 2, 2010
    a man’s craving for a pornography isn’t necessarily triggered by sexual stimuli, or a need for it. Instead deeper longings of attachment often activate such behavior.

    Hah. If that were the case, I’d probably be testing Rule 34 by means of an exhaustive search right now!

    <shudder>

  722. #727 MrFire
    April 2, 2010

    Only about 30g of Francium exists at any one time.

    Oh, to have all of that in one lump, and a pool of water nearby…

    BOOM BABY

  723. #728 blf
    April 2, 2010

    I’d probably be testing Rule 34 by means of an exhaustive search right now!

    Whilst sausage is like bacon—it’s worth committing genocide to obtain (note to Sectioned readers, no rusty knives involved)—I wouldn’t think it’s that hard to find p0rn involving sausage-like things. Rather the opposite, in fact.

  724. #729 Alan B
    April 2, 2010

    #723 Lynna, OM

    There is one quarry where the rocks are found. So presumably “Lagerstätte” would be correct.

    IIRC, the have looked elsewhere but not found anything else. Could be 2 reasons:

    Other locations do not exist – this was just a special site or

    There are other locations to be found but the right exposures don’t exist (remember the huge difference wrt desert or near desert conditions over much of the western USA). Herefordshire is almost entirely farmland – crops, animals, fruit (including cider apple orchards just waiting for Kel).

    I promised at least another local Lagerstätte. I’ll try and pull something together for after the mad scramble of the next re-incarnation.

  725. #730 Sili
    April 2, 2010

    I have heard tell of the first Radium to arrive in Cambridge. I don’t recall which chemist received it, but Ramsay came into the room and was informed that this was a brand new element discovered by the Curies.

    He then – as one does – proceeded to grab spatula, pick up some of the salt and held it into the flame of a Bunsen burner before anyone could stop him. He and the other few people present are supposedly the only to have seen the flame colour of Radium.

    Of course, they had to seal the room off it could never be used for radioactive research again. I assume they’ve stuck an administrator in it by now.

    Speaking of Ramsay: Does anyone here know the Darmstadts and Dubna groups? I really hope they’ll name Ununoctium Ramson or some such after him. Even if they do have use the -ium suffix – Ramsayium, but Ramson in common parlance, just like Copernicum. Also Ununseptium could well be Scheeline.

  726. #731 Alan B
    April 2, 2010

    #718 Rev BDC

    Hi Rev

    I don’t know what is available in the US. I would guess it is mainly industrial cider. This bears as close a resemblance to real (craft) cider as rubbing alcohol does to a 25 year old single malt (I exagerate – but not by much).

    There must be areas where good cider apples can be grown …

  727. #732 Becca
    April 2, 2010

    Josh, did you see the recipe for fruit topping (crisp topping) I posted? it’s not as exotic as so much else that ‘s been posted here, but it makes a nice desert – not too sweet, like too many crisp toppings are.

  728. #733 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 2, 2010

    Well the craft beer shops here usually carry some cider, I’ll see what they have to offer.

  729. #734 David Marjanovi?
    April 2, 2010

    Hey! Poopyhead! Close this subthread, or I shall taunt you again !!

    Only about 30g of Francium exists at any one time.

    My highschool chemistry teacher once explained how the alkali elements become more reactive with increasing mass: “If you throw lithium on water, it hisses. If you throw sodium on water, it hisses and churns. If you throw potassium on water, it hisses and churns and bangs [...] Francium ? you can’t throw francium on water. The moment you lift it, it’s gone. It’s radioactive.”

    It is the second rarest element in the crust – after Astatine.

    It was the last element (1939) found naturally in the Earth – all those found since have been synthesised.

    Teeny tiny traces of technetium, neptunium, plutonium, and even americium occur naturally in uranium ores, as has been discovered in the last 2 or 3 decades. I forgot if promethium does, but I think so.

    In fact, technetium may have been discovered that way before it was synthesised and officially described. But the discoverer never got enough of it together to make a compelling case.

  730. #735 Alan B
    April 2, 2010

    #731

    I googled craft cider USA and the first link was to this newspaper story:

    http://articles.latimes.com/2005/dec/21/food/fo-cider21

    This suggests craft cider making is well behind craft brewing. I might be wroth you having a google or looking further qith the search term I used. I don’t know where you live (not prying) but do you have a “real food” movement in your area? They might be able to point you.

    It is very much a matter of taste but I strongly prefer dry or medium dry even in the craft ciders. Sweet cider just doesn’t do it for me.

    Even over here it is difficult to get first rate cider without going out to local producers. Which I plan to do this year …

  731. #736 iambilly
    April 2, 2010

    The farmer’s market in Scranton, PA, has a stand with excellent apple cider (as well as multiple types of apples, peaches etc). Usually available in August through October.

    Not that it helps much, but . . . .

  732. #737 David Marjanovi?
    April 2, 2010

    <taunt>

    Oh, to have all of that in one lump, and a pool of water nearby…

    BOOM BABY

    Why not just burn the water (and the rest of the pool) in nice, stable chlorine trifluoride? :-)

    He then – as one does – proceeded to grab spatula, pick up some of the salt and held it into the flame of a Bunsen burner before anyone could stop him. He and the other few people present are supposedly the only to have seen the flame colour of Radium.

    X-D

    <headshake>

    Did any of them tell what the colour is?

  733. #738 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 2, 2010

    I don’t know where you live (not prying) but do you have a “real food” movement in your area? They might be able to point you.

    I’m in Charleston SC and we do have a “real food” and “slow food” and just all around anything food movement.

    I don’t know of any local producers so I’ll have to poke around.

    And I’m betting I’d be a dry cider person myself.

  734. #739 David Marjanovi?
    April 2, 2010

    <taunt>

    There must be areas where good cider apples can be grown …

    The cidre of Brittany and that of Normandy are famous. There are several kinds, like cidre brut, which my uncle likes very much.

    Why not just burn the water (and the rest of the pool) in nice, stable chlorine trifluoride? :-)

    On another note, I’ve seen potassium react with ice (they didn’t dare use liquid water), and glowing magnesium with dry ice. 2 Mg + CO2 ? 2 MgO + C (plenty of soot).

  735. #740 Alan B
    April 2, 2010
  736. #741 David Marjanovi?
    April 2, 2010

    <taunt>

    cidre brut, which

    Oops. The comma is wrong.

  737. #742 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 2, 2010

    ok damn it.

    While I doubt I’ll find any local cider soon, I’m heading to the Craft beer store (who does a fantastic job with their beer selection) as soon as I leave work to see what they might have.

  738. #743 Menyambal
    April 2, 2010

    Cider?

    As an ignorant American from a cider-making area, I was only slightly puzzled the first time I heard of “hard cider” with alcohol in it. It is so old-fashioned here that it is actually making a comeback as a totally new thing. But I was pretty much confused when I got to England and realized that “cider” there was assumed to have alcohol in it, and was pretty strong stuff. Cheap, too, I guess. The “winos” in America drink cheap, strong fortified wine–the “wino” I saw in a Cambridge park, happily sozzled at 8AM was drinking cider. Me, I thought, “Apple juice? What the hell?” Which is when I learned all of the above.

    Dunno if that will help anybody’s comprehension of the “cider” talk above. It has alcohol in it, and may be of various quality.

  739. #744 Alan B
    April 2, 2010

    #739
    Brittany & Normandy

    Totally agree with you, David, but the Rev was interested in the USA and that was where the rhetorical question was aimed.

    Alkali metals and water (note: some of the Youtube stuff is faked – this is from the Open University)

    http://www.open2.net/sciencetechnologynature/worldaroundus/akalimetals.html

  740. #745 Jadehawk OM, Hardcore Left-Winger
    April 2, 2010

    But I was pretty much confused when I got to England and realized that “cider” there was assumed to have alcohol in it, and was pretty strong stuff.

    I had the exactly opposite reaction, when I found out that Starbucks sells “cider”. I still automatically think of it as an alcoholic beverage, and have to remember that American cider is just unfiltered apple juice :-p

  741. #746 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    April 2, 2010

    AlanB
    Do you live anywhere near Richard’s Castle? There is (or used to be, haven’t been that way for a few years) a farm just to the south of it on the B4361 that makes wonderful ciders, and all sorts of fruit and vegetable wines. Forgotten the name.
    You can wander around the barns and get legless just on free tastings. I looked at their order book, and Bob Geldorf was in it. (Not that that is necessarily a recommendation).

  742. #747 David Marjanovi?
    April 2, 2010

    <taunt>

    And also like ants, regular fleas, and cockroaches!

    Hey cool. I had completely missed the paper ? lack of access to Nature (and Science) is very, very annoying.

  743. #748 iambilly
    April 2, 2010

    The stuff with alcohol is not cider — it’s applejack. Let a barrel of cider ferment, then leave it outside during the winter to freeze. Drill a whole from about three inches above the bottom of the barrel (don’t scrape the bottom of the barrel) at a 30-degree up angle into the unfrozen middle. Supposedly, the alcohol concentrates there since it doesn’t freeze.

    Of course, the only guy I know who actually made applejack had a nice copper barrel through garden hose condensor, so . . . .

  744. #749 David Marjanovi?
    April 2, 2010

    Mr Myers! Tear Shut down this wall subthread!!!

    American cider is just unfiltered apple juice :-p

    Oh. I had no idea.

    http://www.open2.net/sciencetechnologynature/worldaroundus/akalimetals.html

    Deliiiiightful. :-)

  745. #750 Alan B
    April 2, 2010

    #743 Menyambal

    Too darn right! Of course it has alcohol in it – we’re not talking about sparkling apple juice!!

    For example, I have in front of me a 500ml bottle of Henry Westons Vintage 2008 cider** which has a strength of 8.2%. This is comparable with many German wines (or at least it was – many of them over here seem to be fortified to some extent.

    5 or 6% alcohol by volume is common.

    (For reference, recommended upper level in the UK is 14 units for women, 21 for men per week. Half a litre of my cider contains 0.5 * 8.2 units 4.1 UK units. 5 bottles would take me up to the recommnded upper level. This is one reason why the Government is cracking down on cider – it’s cheap and people enjoy itcontains too much alcohol.)

    ** Available on Doctor’s prescriptionfrom the local supermarket.

  746. #751 David Marjanovi?
    April 2, 2010

    <taunt>

    Supposedly, the alcohol concentrates there since it doesn’t freeze.

    That’s also how to make beer with 45 and possibly 46 % alcohol. No, these are not typos.

  747. #752 iambilly
    April 2, 2010

    Thought about it a little more. Damn.

    Hard cider. Basically cider beer. I don’t know if anyone actually sells it commercially. Certainly not in Pennsylvania.

    Cider, hard cider, applejack.

    I really need to not post near the end of my office day.

    Sorry.

  748. #753 iambilly
    April 2, 2010

    Damn. Sorry. Cider. Hard cider. Applejack. I really need to do two things — first, think before I post. Second, don’t post at 4pm on a Friday (which is actually my Wednesday).

    Sorry.

    90 proof beer? Damn.

  749. #754 Alan B
    April 2, 2010

    #746 Ring Tailed Lemurian

    Richard’s Castle? I’ll have to look it up but not a million miles away IIRC. It’s going on my list!!

    Only one question … Who is going to drive me home?

  750. #755 David Marjanovi?
    April 2, 2010

    <taunt>

    I finally watched the video at the top of this subthread. Now that is beautiful.

  751. #756 Sven DiMilo
    April 2, 2010

    My brother makes his own sparkling hard cider, starting with the apples. And it’s damn tasty.
    But I prefer his porter.

  752. #757 Alan B
    April 2, 2010

    #750

    The UK recommended alcohol consumption limits are, of course, totally without any scientific foundation … But then you could have guessed that from the choice of weekly numbers that are divisible by 7!

  753. #758 Walton, Liberal Extremist Dumpling of Awesome
    April 2, 2010

    Wow. I did not realise until this subThread that “cider” in America meant apple juice, rather than the alcoholic beverage. Admittedly, it’s not a piece of knowledge that’s ever likely to affect my life, since I hate both cider and apple juice, along with apples themselves and most apple-based products in general.

    Coincidentally, my dislike of products made from apple (the fruit) is matched by my dislike of products made by Apple (the computer company), tying this thread together with a heated current argument on another thread.

    On a related note, I learnt when I first visited the US, a couple of summers back, that “lemonade” has a more restricted meaning in American than British English. In the UK, we would colloquially describe Sprite, 7Up, and similar lemon-flavoured soft drinks as “lemonade”. In the US, the term seems to refer only to products made mostly from actual lemon juice, sugar and water – what we would call “traditional lemonade” or “cloudy lemonade” – whereas many of the drinks that we would call “lemonade” are described instead as “soda”.

  754. #759 SteveM
    April 2, 2010

    re 753:
    90 proof beer? Damn.

    Sam Adams makes a “beer liquor”, I think they call it “Utopia” (or something phonetically similar). They claim to be the only commercial producer, of a beer with alcohol content higher than possible by fermentation without distillation.

  755. #760 Paul
    April 2, 2010

    Man, I hope PZ leaves this thread open for another 100 posts or so. David Marjanovi? trolling/taunting to get the thread closed is quite the spectacle.

  756. #761 Sven DiMilo
    April 2, 2010

    Probably the most widely distributed hard cider in the US is Woodchuck. If you go to that site (and if you’re over 21 of course!) you can find out where to buy ‘em.

  757. #762 KOPD 42.7 FM
    April 2, 2010

    Walton,

    Don’t call it apple juice, you’ll offend somebody. Cider is unsweetened and unfiltered. It’s a bit darker and has a stronger flavor than what we refer to here as apple juice. Why the hell we don’t call the one that practically comes straight from the apple “juice” and call the processed and sweetened thing something else, I have no clue. Instead we have juice, soft cider (not fermented) and hard cider (fermented).

  758. #763 The Laughing Man
    April 2, 2010

    This is frightening, disgusting. PZ Meyers, where is your fucking outcry?!! Why haven’t you been ranting continuously about the Texas Board of Education. I see posts on the motherfucking iPad, but i wanna see this instead:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJjIXOBsGnc

  759. #764 Paul W., OM
    April 2, 2010

    The stuff with alcohol is not cider — it’s applejack.

    No, U.S. “cider” is just apple juice of any of various sorts, hard or not.

    Apple jack is specifically cider that has been jacked to remove some of the water and concentrate the everything else.

    You can jack other things, too. A whole lot even, to get concentrations similar to the ones you get from distillation.

    And some theories of abiogenesis and exobiology epend on that, IIRC.

    (Turns out that jacking primordial stuff in ice gives you a lot of the same effects as zapping it with lightning… amino acids and other organic chem goo. Some people think life likely started in watery places that regularly froze, thawed, refroze, etc… and some think life is likely in considerably colder and darker places than Earth, like big snowballish moons warmed by tidal forces of big planets, not necessarily even anywhere near a star.)

    American cider is just unfiltered apple juice

    I think it’s all cider, if that’s what you want to call it. It can be unfiltered or filtered, raw or pasteurized, etc.

    I suspect that you can’t market hard cider as “apple juice” though.

    It used to be the case in many parts of the US (depending on state law) that you couldn’t sell a traditional bock beer as “beer”—anything over a certain alcohol content (4.75 or 5.00 or thereabouts) is not legally beer but “malt liquor.”

    That led to some absurdities like not being able to call a real (traditional) bock beer a bock beer, but being able to call something that isn’t actually “bock” (i.e. strong) a “bock beer.” (E.g. Shiner Bock in central Texas.)

    I think that’s still true in some places in the US, but apparently not in Texas anymore—now you can buy “bock beer” that’s actually strong, as well as bock beer that isn’t actually strong, and isn’t actually even bock-style.

    And then there’s the “pale bock” thing that started out as a Texas-specific marketing term for Pierre Celis’s Belgian-style ales, to sell it to the rubes who are accustomed to buying “bock beer” that isn’t, but went nationwide when “Celis Pale Bock” went national, and then Shiner started marketing its (non-)Bock nationally as though it was a craft beer rather than cheap, locally mass-brewed bockish lager with caramel coloring…

    (I drink Shiner, and have for decades, but now only in bars where it’s cheaper than real craft brews; no way I’m going to pay craft brew prices for it at the supermarket. :-( It’s a little better than the usual American yellow lager, but not nearly that good.)

    Harrumph. Harrumph, I say. Harrumph.

    /crotchety

  760. #765 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    April 2, 2010

    Walton
    Do you just not like apples (the fruit) or are you slightly allergic to them? Do you ave any other strong dislikes? Celery? Plums?

    Here’s a report about the (European) regional differences in food allergies, and the connections between certain food allergies.

  761. #766 Ol'Greg
    April 2, 2010

    PZ Meyers, where is your fucking outcry?!! Why haven’t you been ranting continuously about the Texas Board of Education.

    He has. Maybe if you read enough posts to notice the spelling of his name you would have seen that.

    Luckily he also knows to add text explanations to video links because he’s aware that some people will be reading his blog from places where youtube and the like can not be viewed.

    It’s great. It’s like he really knows what he’s doing and talking about or something!!!! Can you imagine how that must feel?

    :D:D:D

  762. #767 'Tis Himself, OM
    April 2, 2010

    From somewhere up there:

    How many Americans are called on to pronounce the word buoy more than like three times over the course of their lives? Most of the people who need to use this word often are also saying things like “arrrrr” and “There be monsters”.

    I, for one. Every other sailor I know, for a bunch of others. Just because some Mormon living in the Utah desert doesn’t talk about buoys often doesn’t mean it’s not a topic of conversation amongst other people.

    I just say “you know, those floaty motherfuckers off-shore and shit”

    I love the use of technical terminology.

  763. #768 JeffreyD
    April 2, 2010

    Rev BDC, the only easily available and drinkable hard cider I have found in the Charleston area is Woodchuck. A little sweet for my taste, but they make a dryer version which you can find with a little effort – do not remember the name variation, but it says dry on the bottle. Woodchuck is better when served ice cold. Best is Woodchuck on draft – available at Wild Wing and a few other restaurants/bars in the area. I usually get a draft when I can find it.

    I will be very interested in what you find at the craft beer stores.

  764. #769 KOPD 42.7 FM
    April 2, 2010

    From the “Let Constance Take Her Girlfriend to Prom” Facebook group:

    Tonight is prom night in Fulton, Mississippi! Constance will be attending the prom hosted by community members at the Fulton Country Club. The school district has said everyone is welcome and she can bring her girlfriend and wear a tux, so we?re expecting a great prom for all the students of Itawamba Agricultural High School. Have an amazing night!

    :-D

  765. #770 Ol'Greg
    April 2, 2010

    Walton I share your lack of enthusiasm for Apple products. I have the iPhone, bought it off a friend to try it out. It does good things but I hate Apple’s proprietary bull. I feel no guilt about hacking their phone so I can put what I want on and get what I want off of it. Pfffffft on them.

    I also hate their image. They’re so image based, and their image is so insulting to the user. It appears they think we’re all stupid hipsters or something.

    Well, it doesn’t matter. There was a post on Boingboing that summed up my thoughts pretty well today.

    I’ve not even gone to the IPad thread. I can’t imagine why I would want or need a tablet. I have computers out the rear.

  766. #771 Alan B
    April 2, 2010

    #764

    /crotchety

    /Quavery ? ?

  767. #772 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 2, 2010

    /Sixteenth note-y

  768. #773 Ol'Greg
    April 2, 2010

    Speaking of hard cider I am heading off this eve to look for some. I don’t intend to drink it though. I’m certain I wouldn’t like it anyway. It’s just I am trying my hand at a rye bread recipe that calls for it.

    Surely I can find some in Dallas.

  769. #774 David Marjanovi?
    April 2, 2010

    <taunt>

    Here’s a report about the (European) regional differences in food allergies, and the connections between certain food allergies.

    Just for the record, it fits me ? allergic to birch pollen as well as apples but not pasteurized apple juice.

  770. #775 Sven DiMilo
    April 2, 2010

    I forget: are sixteenth notes semidemiquavers, or semidemihemiquavers?

  771. #776 Alan B
    April 2, 2010

    #768

    Woodchuck is better when served ice cold

    That worries me. What is so bad with the flavour that you have to anaesthetise your taste buds to be able to drink it? Sounds like industrial cider to me.

    There are many (lager type) beers that I could only drink ice cold because they are so dreadful. The typical temperature to serve beer in the UK is “cellar temperature” (between 10?14 °C, 50?57 °F). We do not serve warm or chilled real beer (except in badly run pubs).

  772. #777 Bride of Shrek OM
    April 2, 2010

    Nothing to do with cider but my wish for the Easter Bunny tomorrow

    https://www.vosgeschocolate.com/product/Bacon_and_Eggs/Easter_Eggs

  773. #778 KOPD 42.7 FM
    April 2, 2010

    I can’t talk about cider without thinking of this.

  774. #779 'Tis Himself, OM
    April 2, 2010

    When I was in England I found something I liked even more than cider. Perry is like cider only made from pears.

  775. #780 The Laughing Man
    April 2, 2010

    ‘Ol Greg #770:

    I haven’t seen any posts on that in the past couple of weeks. I find his lack of attention on this matter as dangerous and somewhat irresponsible for someone with the media pull of his calibre.

    Also, *facepalm* for not spelling correctly. I ought to know better. I typed hastily.

    AronRa’s video on the subject only had about 35,000 views. I’m not sure about the TalkAthiesm broadcast which he was a part of but i think the total viewership should be 50-100 million people, if that is at all possible.
    More could be done is entirely the point of my statement. We’re talking about the future of the education of the entire country. Being controlled by TEXAS for Dog’s sake!

  776. #781 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 2, 2010

    I think PZ will close the thread as soon as he can get a secure connection for his laptop. I suspect either after the Zimmerman concert if the TW was there too, and they decide not to drive home, or when he gets home. Meanwhile, shoot for 1000.

  777. #782 Alan B
    April 2, 2010

    #775 Sven DiMilo

    http://library.thinkquest.org/05aug/01262/lessonrythmn.html

    US System English System

    4th or quarter note crochet (just the flagpole)

    8th note quaver (1 flag)

    16th note semiquaver (2 flags)

    32nd note demisemiquaver (3 flags)

    64th note hemidemisemiquaver (4 flags)

    128th note You must be joking! (white flag!!)

  778. #783 The Laughing Man
    April 2, 2010

    Is is really a white flag? that would be cool to see. Let us verify…

  779. #784 KOPD 42.7 FM
    April 2, 2010

    I haven’t seen any posts on that in the past couple of weeks.

    Then you missed something, because this is not two weeks old.

  780. #785 Alan B
    April 2, 2010

    #778 KOPD 42.7 FM

    Interesting marketting ploy – and original (not). Another one that has to be served ice cold or no one would drink it?

    #779 ‘Tis Himself, OM

    Perry … Not to my taste. The only ones I’ve drunk have been overly sweet and rather bland. Again, probably industrial perry like industrial cider. Dry “craft” perry would be interesting.

    Babycham (produced in England at Shepton Mallet) is a [grossly over-rated] sparkling alcoholic drink made from perry pears and is revoltinglyover sweet (IMO).

  781. #786 The Laughing Man
    April 2, 2010

    Too bad he uses the word “joke” instead of “plague.” Not the most impressive exposé

  782. #787 KOPD
    April 2, 2010

    $785
    Weird, huh? Who on earth would want a cold Dickens Cider?

  783. #788 Sili
    April 2, 2010

    All this talk of cider and no music? For shame.

    I found that I rather liked Strongbow while in Bath. ‘Cider’ has become ‘in’ here in Denmark lately, but it’s some kinda horrible, sweet alcoholic stuff (strange in a way, since I gather Sweden has a long “siðer” tradition – of course, anything out of Sweden is baaaaaad …).

  784. #789 Alan B
    April 2, 2010

    #787 KOPD

    “Who on earth would want a cold Dickens Cider?”

    According to the picture you linked to, the makers!

    “Serve ice cold”

  785. #790 KOPD
    April 2, 2010

    Not necessarily. Lots of people make things they don’t want. Besides, I only said it for the lulz.

  786. #791 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 2, 2010

    @Laughing Man:

    I find his lack of attention on this matter as dangerous and somewhat irresponsible for someone with the media pull of his calibre.

    I’m not sure if you’re aware of how you’re coming across, but it’s awfully presumptuous-sounding. If I were a blog author and someone made the comment you did, my first reaction would be to remind you that you are not the boss of me. Seriously, maybe you didn’t intend it, but go back and read what you wrote – it’s uppity as all get out.

  787. #792 JeffreyD
    April 2, 2010

    #776 – Alan B – in the case of Woodchuck, being cold adds to the crispness of the taste. Nothing stays too cold for too long on a hot day in the deep south. Cider here in the UK does not need to be very cold (cannot stand Boddington’s with ice – heresy), different formulas made for different tastes. As in love, we are often surprised what attracts others. :)

  788. #793 Alan B
    April 2, 2010

    #788 Sili

    “Music”? When do the good times start …

    Oh well, better than:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBrwNqRwJ60&feature=PlayList&p=DDDDCFC3225B93DD&playnext_from=PL&index=0&playnext=1

  789. #794 'Tis Himself, OM
    April 2, 2010

    Alan B,

    I’ve had two types of perry. One is pearade with extra sugar and alcohol added. The other is a dry, alcoholic beverage similar to the cider you’ve been talking about only tasting of pears rather than apples. The first type is disgusting, the second is eminently drinkable.

  790. #795 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 2, 2010

    Rev BDC, the only easily available and drinkable hard cider I have found in the Charleston area is Woodchuck. A little sweet for my taste, but they make a dryer version which you can find with a little effort – do not remember the name variation, but it says dry on the bottle. Woodchuck is better when served ice cold. Best is Woodchuck on draft – available at Wild Wing and a few other restaurants/bars in the area. I usually get a draft when I can find it.

    I will be very interested in what you find at the craft beer stores.

    Yeah i’ve had the woodchuck, and it was too sweet for me as well.

    Well the Craft Beer store (The Beer Exchange) which is normally on top of anything I want, wasn’t. They’re only stocking beer which i guess makes sense.

    So i went by whole foods and there were two choices.

    Samuel Smiths cider, which tempted me only because I’ve drank my fair share of their other brews and spent one very long day in London in one of their pubs but I chose one called J.K. Scrumpy Orchard’s Gate Farmhouse Hard Cider.

    We’ll see.

    I consider Orchard Gate Gold as a unique Artisan Michigan Farmhouse Cider, somewhere between English Scrumpy and a Normandy Cidre.

    The bottom line is that it could not be made anyplace else. It is reliant on the soil and the climate. Open a bottle and decide for yourself!

    After the harvest, we press our organic apples and allow them to slowly ferment for up to six months. We then carefully hand-fill and label each bottle and let it age for several weeks to properly condition.

    There are only two ingredients in our Orchard Gate Gold: Juice and Yeast . No artificial flavors or colours and – of course – no sulfite nor preservatives of any kind.

    This is all a very time consuming process, but it is tradition and it?s the right method for us to produce this old world drink for your enjoyment.

    I strive to make the best cider possible using these old methods and the traditional family recipe. There will be slight variations from bottle to bottle and year to year. This is a natural product.

    But I just made some salsa with Serrano chiles and forgot to wash my hands well enough and then took care of some of nature’s business so I’m considering pouring it in my lap at the moment.

  791. #796 Sili
    April 2, 2010

    It was a concious decision to make the link no music.

  792. #797 Kel, OM
    April 2, 2010

    I hesitate to try to teach anyone to suck eggs but what variety of apple did you use? If you used eating or cooking apples then I would expect it to be bland. Ditto commercial apple juice.

    I actually used a cider kit, so I assume that it used cider apples.

  793. #798 Alan B
    April 2, 2010

    23:15 (BST) – need my beauty sleep.

    [Ed. Oh boy, does Alan B need some beauty sleep - or something, anything!]

    See you in the morning. New day, new incarnation of the thread.

    (Hope you make 1000 tonight …)

  794. #799 Sven DiMilo
    April 2, 2010

    TMI, Rev.

    Woodchuck bottles a pear cider, too. I linked it up there someplace.

  795. #800 'Tis Himself, OM
    April 2, 2010

    English Scrumpy

    Sounds reminiscent of scumble. As Nanny Ogg explains “It’s made from apples. Well, mainly apples.”

  796. #801 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 2, 2010

    TMI, Rev.

    Woodchuck bottles a pear cider, too. I linked it up there someplace.

    Sorry, and thanks. I’ll check it out

  797. #802 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 2, 2010

    This is frightening, disgusting. PZ Meyers, where is your fucking outcry?!! Why haven’t you been ranting continuously about the Texas Board of Education. I see posts on the motherfucking iPad, but i wanna see this instead:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJjIXOBsGnc

    Is that your video?

    Are you Youtube whoring?

  798. #803 Sili
    April 2, 2010

    As the dear Samantha told of her new beau, saying he was gonna make a fortune from scrumpy: He was planning to get big in cider.

  799. #804 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 2, 2010

    As the dear Samantha told of her new beau, saying he was gonna make a fortune from scrumpy: He was planning to get big in cider.

    haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayoooooo

    rimshot

  800. #805 JeffreyD
    April 2, 2010

    Rev BDC, thanks for the intel report. Sorry you got the chili revenge thing going – last time I did that I did my eyes, not sure which is worse. :)

    Do try Woodchuck on draft if the find it, better than the bottled, seems less sweet. Goes good with wings and seems to compliment strong garlic flavors and hot sauce. Interested in your review of JK Scrumpy, have tried it before.

    Damn, now I have the taste for Calvados, walnuts and cheese and nothing useful for those cravings is open at 1130 at night.

  801. #806 JeffreyD
    April 2, 2010
  802. #807 Alan B
    April 2, 2010

    If we are going to degnerate then:

    There once was a maiden from Ryde
    Who ate too many apples and died
    The apples fermented
    Inside the lamented
    And made cider inside her insides.

    (with many minor alternatives)

    (Ryde is a seaside town on the Isle of Wight)

  803. #808 'Tis Himself, OM
    April 2, 2010

    Alan B,

    You will be overjoyed to know Nerd of Redhead lives and works near Racine, Wisconsin. I suspect he even knows a limerick which mentions Racine.

  804. #809 Feynmaniac
    April 2, 2010

    I’m not the messiah, says food activist ? but his many worshippers do not believe him

    Yeah, I saw him on The Colbert Report talking about this. It’s funny, because my first thought was that he was living The Life of Brian. From the article:

    The influx was so heavy, in fact, that he put up a statement on his website referencing Monty Python’s Life of Brian and categorically stating that he was not Maitreya.

  805. #810 JeffreyD
    April 2, 2010

    OOOOOH

    Bad Limerick Time?

    (What? What? Oh, ok nurse, I will take my meds now.)

    Nite all

  806. #811 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 2, 2010

    You will be overjoyed to know Nerd of Redhead lives and works near Racine, Wisconsin.

    I’ve been to the art museum in Racine. It was founded by an offshoot of the SC Johnson family. I actually live a bit south of Racine. (OK, north of Chicago, south of Racine, and a mile from the lake. Triangulate from that. ;) )

    I’ve voted for Obama twice, so I’m on the other side (barely, give or take) of the state line.

    No, I don’t recall the Limerick.

  807. #812 Jadehawk OM, Hardcore Left-Winger
    April 2, 2010

    whereas many of the drinks that we would call “lemonade” are described instead as “soda”.

    except in those parts where it’s called “pop” and you’d either get a blank stare or an argument when calling it “soda” :-p

    Here’s a report about the (European) regional differences in food allergies, and the connections between certain food allergies.

    interesting. I’m to my knowledge not allergic to any food. The only things that have caused allergic reactions are mosquito bites (though that’s gotten a lot better since I was a child), and whatever Tide puts in their cold-wash detergent (and did I ever have a fun time figuring that one out :-/ )

    Tonight is prom night in Fulton, Mississippi! Constance will be attending the prom hosted by community members at the Fulton Country Club. The school district has said everyone is welcome and she can bring her girlfriend and wear a tux, so we?re expecting a great prom for all the students of Itawamba Agricultural High School. Have an amazing night!

    yay!

  808. #813 MrFire
    April 2, 2010

    The latest position from the Catholic Church:

    Attacks on Pope over child abuse scandal are ?akin to anti-Semitism?

    Yeah, you read that right.

  809. #814 Ol'Greg
    April 2, 2010

    I’m not allergic to anything much, no foods at all… not even mangoes. I dislike peaches strongly, but that’s not the same. I think they taste terrible.

    The Laughing Man, I do get your rage. Believe me, some of us down here in Texas are trying to change things and it’s a frustrating fight.

  810. #815 'Tis Himself, OM
    April 2, 2010

    No, I don’t recall the Limerick.

    There is still innocence in the world.

  811. #816 MrFire
    April 2, 2010

    Why not just burn the water (and the rest of the pool) in nice, stable chlorine trifluoride? :-)

    You’ve been talking a lot about chlorine trifluoride recently. Should we be concerned? I recall your fascination with FOOF.

    Diethylzinc flame (it only works at the very end, when they use it neat)

    Flaming tert-butyllithium.

  812. #817 Antiochus Epiphanes
    April 2, 2010

    From somewhere up there:

    How many Americans are called on to pronounce the word buoy more than like three times over the course of their lives? Most of the people who need to use this word often are also saying things like “arrrrr” and “There be monsters”.

    I, for one. Every other sailor I know, for a bunch of others. Just because some Mormon living in the Utah desert doesn’t talk about buoys often doesn’t mean it’s not a topic of conversation amongst other people.

    Well, blow me down.

  813. #818 Antiochus Epiphanes
    April 2, 2010

    F’ing A, Nerd. I got people in Kenosha too!

  814. #819 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 2, 2010

    F’ing A, Nerd. I got people in Kenosha too!

    I go to Woodmans out by the highway for the good beer, as IL has some inane laws on importing out-of-state stuff. We’ve also been to Frank’s Diner, as featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. We stopped there with the Redhead’s parents on our way to Milwaukee one time.

  815. #820 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    April 2, 2010

    Rev., I feel for you. I had a similar experience–but it was my first with habaneros. This was long before you could find these evil beasties in the US. I was in the Peace Corps in Africa and went to the market. Now, I’d been to Thailand, so I could handle hot food, right? Right? So I asked the market lady, “Which peppers are hottest?” She pointed to a pile of shriveled, misshapen peppers and I bought something like a pound of them.
    Well, I took them home and sliced them up. Gloves, you say? Who needs gloves?
    So, nature calls, and I go out to heed, and on the way back inside, I notice my hands are burning and shortly after, a lot more than my hands are burning. Great balls o’ fire!

    I love habaneros, but I do wear gloves, now.

  816. #821 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    April 2, 2010

    The mention of limericks gives me the opportunity to pass on one I actually learned from Edward Teller .

    There once was a young man from Trinity;
    Who took the square root of infinity;
    but it gave him the fidgets;
    to count all the digits;
    so he chucked math and took up divinity.

  817. #822 SC OM
    April 2, 2010

    (I know, Sven, I know:)

    I’m sorry, but this is unacceptable.

    ***

    On cider: One of the segments of The Botany of Desire was about apples, and told the story of apples in the US which were almost entirely cider apples until people began to protest alcohol. I thought it was the most interesting part of the program. Anyway, they featured this place:

    http://www.povertylaneorchards.com/

    I’ve been dying to try it. If it’s good, I’ll send you some, Rev. Or you could try to find out if they’ll ship it if you’re interested.

  818. #823 SC OM
    April 2, 2010

    Oh, hey! From a link at their site:

    http://oldtimecider.com/north-american-cider-map-project/

  819. #824 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 2, 2010

    (I know, Sven, I know:)

    I’m sorry, but this is unacceptable.

    Did I miss something, SC?

  820. #825 Antiochus Epiphanes
    April 2, 2010

    a_ray: You met Teller? What was he like?

  821. #826 SC OM
    April 2, 2010

    Did I miss something, SC?

    Clearly! I have learned to live, cringing, with the practice of substituting the smiley for the period. But I will not, not, stand idly by while these perverse hybrids proliferate. The functional dignity of the parenthesis must be respected.

  822. #828 KOPD
    April 2, 2010

    I posted something on my FB wall about that Dickens Cider now I’m having a conversation about it with a friend who apparently doesn’t get that it’s a pun. >;)

  823. #829 MrFire
    April 2, 2010

    On this solemnest of days, I nowadays ponder:

    Did Jesus fake his death just to avoid tax season?

  824. #830 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 2, 2010

    The functional dignity of the parenthesis must be respected.

    Yes, ma’am! But however will I indicate when I’m being friendly, not snarky?

  825. #831 SC OM
    April 2, 2010

    But however will I indicate when I’m being friendly, not snarky?

    :))

    :)

  826. #832 The Laughing Man
    April 2, 2010

    Ol’Greg #814:

    The Laughing Man, I do get your rage. Believe me, some of us down here in Texas are trying to change things and it’s a frustrating fight

    The scary thing is that some others are wildly applauding the fascist brigade of creotards shitting into our education system- since textbooks are bought wholesale from texas by all the other states. I wish you had more support.

    Josh #791

    If I were a blog author and someone made the comment you did, my first reaction would be to remind you that you are not the boss of me.

    The sad thing is that’s just about the worst reaction PZ could have to this outrage is to tell the people who are rightfully pissed the fuck off that they should shut up and mind there own business. I guess you don’t care that our children could be “educated” (read “indoctrinated”) by a fucking creationist right-wing nutjob dentist in Texas. But your concern is noted.

  827. #833 Sven DiMilo
    April 2, 2010

    I feel like I just dodged a bullet, somehow.

    Hey! Go ahead and post recipes! Also rants! Starfarts! Notices of Concern! Vidz! Whatever you got! It’s teh Thread! We can handle it!

  828. #834 Sven DiMilo
    April 2, 2010

    Look, I’m even posting The Monkees!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScXXaBu1Ing

  829. #835 Geoffrey
    April 2, 2010

    @The Laughing Man

    The sad thing is that’s just about the worst reaction PZ could have to this outrage is to tell the people who are rightfully pissed the fuck off that they should shut up and mind there own business.

    What? That he posted about Texas recently as already mentioned earlier and you couldn’t be fucked to go back and read the post and comment there?

    Maybe you need to sit down when you pee instead of pissing all over the floor here. I do only have socks on.

  830. #836 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 2, 2010

    @ Laughing Man:

    I guess you don’t care that our children could be “educated” (read “indoctrinated”) by a fucking creationist right-wing nutjob dentist in Texas. But your concern is noted.

    Cheese and crackers – I surely do care! It was your imperious way of writing that I was just trying to draw to your attention. I get that you’re pissed – most of us are here, too. But there are better ways to persuade a blog author to pay more attention to your topic, that’s all. But I’m not PZ, so it’s just a random observation.

    I’m not your enemy, really. :)

  831. #837 Sven DiMilo
    April 2, 2010

    Here’s a recipe:

    Toasted Strawberry Poptarts (but not the frosted bulshit)

    Get some strawberry Poptarts (but not the frosted bullshit). Blueberry will do in a pinch, but NO FROSTING.

    Toast your Poptarts.

    serves 1

  832. #838 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 2, 2010

    Toast your Poptarts.