Boo hoo

We have made Ken Ham very sad. Yay, bonus!

"We are disappointed with the zoo's decision and its impact on the families and visitors to the region who would have enjoyed taking advantage of this opportunity to make this a truly memorable Christmas," said Answers in Genesis and Creation Museum founder and president Ken Ham. "Both the Creation Museum and the Cincinnati Zoo have put together spectacular Christmas displays, and we were excited to partner with them to promote these events in a combination package that would have been of great value to the community."

"My family and I have been Cincinnati Zoo members for more than 10 years now, so I am also personally saddened that this organization I esteem so highly would find it necessary to back out of this relationship. At the same time, I have learned that the zoo received hundreds of complaints from what appear to be some very intolerant people, and so I understand the zoo's perspective. Frankly, we are used to this kind of criticism from our opponents, and so being 'expelled' like this is not a huge surprise," Ham continued.

"Our museum will continue to promote this excellent zoo on our website and also in the printed material we pass out inside the museum. We are committed to promoting regional tourism. It's a pity that intolerant people have pushed for our expulsion simply because of our Christian faith. Some of their comments on blogs reveal great intolerance for anything having to do with Christianity," Ham added.

Awww, Ken just wanted to promote regional tourism. It wasn't about trying to get validation from a legitimate research and educational institution, then. Right.

Let's deal with some of his other claims.

  • They were not attacked for their Christian faith — that is one of the most common dodges of liars and con men and other scoundrels, to hide behind the petticoats of generic 'faith', when what they're actually being criticized for is lying and cheating. Ken Ham's Creation 'Museum' is despised because it is a temple to falsehood.

  • He keeps talking about expulsion and being expelled. Were we more successful than I could have imagined? Is the Creation 'Museum' closed? Are people hindered from visiting it? Have we blocked all ticket sales? No, unfortunately: all we've done is prevented a fraud from acquiring an entirely false veneer of authority by association. Save the martyr's lament for a time when you haven't been caught faking your credibility, Ken.

  • I haven't been to the Cincinnati Zoo myself, but I'm willing to accept Ham's claim that it is an excellent organization (I shouldn't, really. Plaudits from Ken Ham is like a good restaurant review from Jeffrey Dahmer.) The zoo's reputation is precisely what Ham was trying to trade on by linking his awful little collection of lies to them. We have successfully defending that good reputation by exposing a tie that would have undermined it.

  • The only intolerance here is an expectation of rigor, good science, and evidence-based reasoning from an educational institution. It's what we'll continue to promote, as long as hucksters like Ken Ham are out there trying to dilute our standards to allow biblical hogwash to stand on an equal footing with legitimate biology.

  • Speaking for this blog, I don't have intolerance for Christianity — I simply lack any respect at all for that grand hodge-podge of delusions. We leave the intolerance to Christians, who are historically expert at practicing it.


There's more! Ken Ham has a long whiny blog post up today, complaining about those intolerant evolutionists, and making the same tired complaints I dealt with above.

I can tell that Ham is bit peeved that we squelched his attempt to ride on the coattails of the zoo.

"While we are saddened"…"These people basically worship Darwin--they worship evolution and cannot tolerate anyone who doesn't agree with them!"…"Sad that someone with an atheistic agenda can cause a business relationship to be dissolved"…"they resort to censorship and underhanded campaigns"…"we are used to such integrity bashing."

But he can't let it slide without trying to pretend it was all alright.

Thank you, P.Z. Myers, for thousands of dollars' worth of media promotion for our Bible-upholding museum! Actually, this will benefit the Creation Museum much more in the long run.

For the right effect, you have to imagine Ken Ham blubbering that out through his tears. Sure, he got media attention — all of it pointing out that he failed, that he'd tried to sneak in a link to a legitimate educational institution, and that a few people with blogs were able to put a stop to him. He looks rather pathetic, don't you think?

More like this

Our efforts in squelching the Cincinnati Zoo/Creation "Museum" connection have yielded extra dividends. Ken Ham is weeping over the after-effects. As a result of all this flak and the ending of the joint promotion after only two days, a prominent national travel group ended its conversations with…
A columnist for the Cincinnati Enquirer is quite irate about the fact that we squelched the zoo/creation museum deal. If you read his article, you'll discover a theme. The live Nativity at the Creation Museum will have an actual, living, cud-chewing camel. Frightening. There will also be goats…
When the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden and the Genesis and Creation Museum announced a combined admission offer November 30, protest erupted in the blogosphere. "I believe the Cincinnati Zoo has betrayed its mission and its trust in a disgraceful way by aligning themselves with a…
Yeah, poor Ken — he's still distressed that his attempt to prop up his credibility with the Cincinnati Zoo's was foiled. He's also complaining about an "atheist (a professor from the University of Minnesota-Morris)" who engineered his defeat. I wonder who that might be? Even more foolishly, though…

Dr. Myers,

We leave the intolerance to Christians, who are historically expert at practicing it.

And also at persecuting others while cultivating a persecution complex of their own.

Dear PZ,

You made a small error in the title of this post. It should be:

"Boo fucking hoo"

Yours sincerely,

BaldySlaphead

By BaldySlaphead (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

are they going to use 'expelled' every time they fail to win at life now?

PZed is mentioned in the news,

Off topic: I know that the letter "Z" is pronounced "zed" in many languages, but it seems strange to write someone's initials that way. Is it common?

Maybe it's better that Ham stays away from the Zoo and all its Lions.

We know how that went last time. That was real persecution. This is nothing of the sort.

Boo hoo for sure.

I have a question.

I've often wondered when I read or hear people like Ken Ham or Ray Comfort, do they really believe the things they say? For example in the above statement, does he really think they people who objected to the cross promotion with the zoo just wanted to spoil family holidays? Does he really think the objections stemmed from a hatred of Christianity?

In short is it all spin or is their view of the world really so skewed?

You got a shout out from K-dog.Well done.

A creationist museum? What could they possibly have to display except conjecture and bullshit?

By Jeff Flowers (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

The Cincinnati Zoo IS nice, if anyone is wondering.

Posted by: Mane | December 2, 2008 10:11 AM

are they going to use 'expelled' every time they fail to win at life now?

Of course! That way they can be the victim! Isnt it too bad we beat up on them intellectually (if they have any)?

By druidbros (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

Cue some sad violin music to accompany Ham's crying.

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

Jason S -

Ken Ham knows he's a huckster. Facts do not matter to him. Sure, he claims that his claims are true, but testing them is not something he would ever do willingly.

By freelunch (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

At the same time, I have learned that the zoo received hundreds of complaints from what appear to be some very intolerant people, and so I understand the zoo's perspective.

Yes, note how Ken Ham skips over the substance of the complaints, and acts as if the zoo was only concerned that people were upset and this makes bad publicity for the zoo. Frankly, I would not be surprised if many, if not most, of the zoo employees were also upset with the implied endorsement of pseudoscience. Zoologists would probably have to have a pretty heavy background in biology and evolution, I'd think.

If the zoo had put together a package to share tickets with a popular local religious attraction like "Bible Land," I don't think most of us would have minded, even though we're atheists. That's tourism. Bible Land is not claiming to be science. And there would be no problem with the Creation Museum aligning themselves with a petting zoo, where children can ride on camels and feed the frenzied pygmy goats.

The Cincinnati Zoo is not a petting zoo. It should not tarnish its image by pretending that is all it is.

Cincinnati Zoo is the second oldest zoo in the country, behind Philly by one year. Had the last passenger pigeon - Martha - and the last Carolina Parakeet. The memorial at the zoo is a great reminder of the devastation we can do to a species of animal as humans - even a heavily populated species of bird - in just two decades. The enclosures for the bears and big cats are on the small side. The cats do the nervous pacing of complete boredom. I prefer the Nashville Zoo, as far as their space for enclosures. As a science facility, though - the Lindner Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (which is run by Cinci Zoo)is pretty kickass. Between 30-40 projects worldwide.

PZ,
I have been to the Cincy Zoo and while it might not compare to the San Diego Zoo or even the Columbus Zoo, I have never seen any disregard for science or evolution. In fact a number of years ago they had a display focused on their new animal births that was evolution-heavy in explanation.

I like the Cincy Zoo and later this month my granddaughter will get to see the baby animals, a cheetah was born recently, and the Christmas Decorations. I'll be watching for anything pushing the Creation Abortion in Northern Kentucky and report back! But I am hoping this is nothing more than a marketing or advertising person who thought Ken's Folly was an actual museum.

Incidentally I was recently at Cincinnati's Museum Center and I saw no mention of little Kenny or his monument to himself at all. If you aren't familiar the Museum Center is a central point for many of the local museums, the zoo, and exhibits around the area.

Ted Herrlich, Dayton OH
tedhohio@gmail.com

It's a pity that intolerant people have pushed for our expulsion simply because of our Christian faith.

Feh. How "tolerant" is it when you try to blame every school shooting on the "Darwinist" bogeyman? How "tolerant" are the Ham-bone and his supporters of gay marriage? These hypocrites only cry "tolerance" when it's in their favour.

If you want to do a combo, go to the Cincy Zoo and the Newport Aquarium. That will let you spend money in Kentucky without giving anything to Ken Ham, Professional Confidence Man.

By freelunch (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

It's a pity that intolerant people have pushed for our expulsion simply because of our Christian faith.

No Ken, it's "simply" because you're a joke, dude.

By reindeer386sx (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

Can't the fraudulent Creation Museum be prosecuted under truth in advertising legislation? The whole thing is a stupid lie. Ken Ham is a lier, &/or a fool.

We realize that is the case, most of us having had a scientific education, or read up on evolution & related sciences. But many people are less knowledgeable, & capablle of being fooled by smooth operators like Ham.

By Richard Harris (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

It's a pity that intolerant people have pushed for our expulsion simply because of our Christian faith.

What "expulsion" is he talking about? What a scammer.

By reindeer386sx (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

How long before we hear:

From Canada

By Janine ID AKA … (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

Ken Miller will be at the Cincinnati Museum Center on Thursday. I hope he mentions this ordeal.
I am curious whether the zoo will be willing to make a statement with regards to this fiasco that will point out what the real issues are rather than a persecution of christians. There have to be scientists at the zoo that are upset about this, i would hope.

Poor Ken Hambone. He can cry and criticize on the ridicule and publicity his demented museum has been getting, but in no way will his imaginary god come to his rescue. I wonder why? Maybe his god is out bronco busting a new T Rex. And no, I do not have tolerance for insane ideas, and this includes the minds that perpetuate them. Whenever these minds that hold such irrational ideas are subject to much ridicule, they should exercise their religion by calling on their god to help them in their tribulations and smite those rational upstarts down with a good dose of heavenly power. Alas, it will never be done because their imaginary god does not exist and all their pleas are useless. Good grief, wake up!

This is very short-sighted of the zoo. Once Ham captures a pterodactyl, he won't share it with them. (Actually I think it was the Landover Baptists that were sponsoring a hunt for said pterodactyl, but still...)

And in other news, Man says God ordered him to ram vehicle at 100 mph.

Jason,

I think I can answer that with a "yes" based on this experience:

About 2 weeks ago I was at Starbucks and I eavesdropped on 6 twentysomethings having a Bible study group (I'm 46). At closing time I engaged the young ladies in the group (were I 25 again, I would have gladly pretended to believe heh heh heh) about their position on teaching ID in public schools.

I'm happy to say these ladies were charming and polite and more importantly that I have evolved to the point that I managed to be polite too as they bathed me in their ignorance over the next 20 minutes outside on the sidewalk. Among their talking points:

We were created in the image of the Lord. How could we possibly be evolved from Apes?

All variation occurs within species but does not cause one species to change into another.

At this point, let me say that I asked them how they could reconcile these views with the preponderence of evidence from the fossil record and modern genomics. They evaded the questions liked greased eels. "The fossil record is imperfect" etc. I don't think they ever directly addressed the genetic question. Also:

The universe was created to look like it was billions of years old.

You're asking us to be open to your viewpoints, why don't you keep and open mind to the possibilities we espouse. Since I like to be fair, they really nailed me with that one.

The flood happened. So-and-so proved it in his paper in that journal we read.

I suggested to them that their faith about these points in biology was similar to suggesting that cars ran not be internal combustion but by Magic Mojo. One of them assured me that her car was such a wreck that it truly was a miracle, for which she regularly thanked the Lord, that she got places safely. She seemed to be the most awestruck (by God, clearly not by me) of the 3.

Then the leader gave me 2 tracts, one with a quasiscientific analysis of the procedural flaws in carbon dating, and the other assuring us that the Earth really is 6000 years old, both produced by the scholars at AIG.

I thanked them for the discussion and left.

These people will use any means necessary to cling to their beliefs.

So I get an F for defending rationality. Seriously, I need to be programmed to deal with people like these.

I do find it strange that some of the big names in Christian fundamentalism have such cuddly sounding names... Ham, Comfort... then there's Haggart, which sounds like haggard. That's not cuddly sounding at all.

How the fuck can anybody actually seriously believe any of that shit?

I mean, the whole "creation museum" has just got to be a hoax.

Hasn't it?

Pissing off Ken Ham.

Is it my imagination or does the air taste sweeter and the sun shine a little brighter?

;)

By Richard Healy (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

"How the fuck can anybody actually seriously believe any of that shit?"

They have to or they don't get a shot at Heaven. It's all about the afterlife, baby!

Quoth Ken Ham,

My family and I have been Cincinnati Zoo members for more than 10 years now....

When you think about it, that's not that far off from them being members of the NCSE or AU. Alert the press! AiG president admits to being a member of a pro-science evolutionist Darwinist organization!!!

Are they still pushing the "Expelled!" meme? Right, that's it. I am now convinced that the best thing we could possibly do would be to infiltrate the Discovery Institute and get them to produce a film with a really silly name.

Think about it - if we could persuade them to make a film called, say, Fucked Hard Up The Nose, their parrot instinct would prove so hard to resist that they'd dutifully repeat it every time someone waved a microphone in their faces. You'd have Ham and Egnor and Stein all going "I thought the constitution guaranteed me the right to stamp on the throat of nonbelievers. Little did I know that I was about to get... fucked hard up the nose!" It would be beautiful.

By Der Bruno Stroszek (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

>>The Cincinnati Zoo IS nice, if anyone is wondering.

Generally, I'm a fairly conservative person, but I have to admit, zoos kind of squick me. I'm not sure why, exactly. I used to LOVE visiting the zoo as a child... seeing all the creatures, and learning things about them.

But as I've grown older, I find zoos to be sad places. I'm not sure why. Yes, the educational stuff is still there, and the animals are still cute/weird/interesting/whatever, but there's a strange feeling that I get now. It's like visiting a prison, I guess. That feeling detracts from the experience.

I used to keep numerous aquariums, and eventually had this same issue. It occurred to me that (at least for my marine aquarium) I was taking animals out of the wild to keep them in my house essentially as entertainment or decoration. Sure, I was learning about fish and marine biology, but there was an icky kind of feeling that I couldn't shake. Eventually I got rid of my marine aquarium.

It was less of an issue with my fresh water aquariums because the fish had never been in the wild in the first place. In time I got rid of all of them too.

I guess that keeping animals captive essentially for show bothers me. Consequently, I'm not a patron of zoos any more. I don't have a problem with animal research in general, or even keeping animals for research purposes.

Is that all really weird to everyone? Is it just me who feels this way?

These people basically worship Darwin--they worship evolution and cannot tolerate anyone who doesn't agree with them!"

Only an idiot would make comments like that!

Ham complains about intolerance while refusing to let people who don't believe like he does into his little fantasy world called a creationist museum.

*the sound of the Irony Meter exploding from overload*

A great victory for rational minds, a great loss to insane freakos.

Weep my little bible buddy! ENTERTAIN ME!

Ken Ham,

My family and I have been Cincinnati Zoo members for more than 10 years now

The Cincinnati Zoo has a 'Creationists Who Like a Lovechild of Abraham Lincoln and Frankenstein' exhibit?

By Feynmaniac (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

I'm a Cincinnati native. I've been a huge fan of the Cincinnati Zoo because of their conservation efforts. They work very hard to breed and care for endangered animals. It is a fantastic organization. Don't doubt that for a second.

I can see where a naive PR person could look at this "alliance" with the Creation Museum and think, "Oh. Two family oriented tourist attractions. This seems so nice." They just didn't know what they were stepping in. I'm sure they caught flak from inside and outside the zoo.

I sent them a very strongly worded e-mail. I'm glad to see they changed their mind.

By Ryan Cunningham (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

I simply lack any respect at all for that grand hodge-podge of delusions.

Please leave the hodge and the podge of the Sacred Chao out of it - you tarnish the Discordians by associating them with this Ken Ham snake oil peddler. ;)

Is that all really weird to everyone? Is it just me who feels this way?

Not weird at all, Squid; I know zoo employees who feel the way you describe.

It's always been a trade-off--the best for the animals is protected reserves in their native habitats, but it's hard to get money for animals who people never get to see at all. So zoos try to walk a fine line between education, entertainment, and conservation, without falling over into exploitation. Sometimes some zoos fail miserably at that, unfortunately.

And there are industry pressures--"Disneyification"--which are not in the best interests of the animals, but which reflect zoos' response to economic and cultural influences.

I know lots of people in and out of the business who are quite ambivalent about the whole enterprise; they stay with it trusting that the imperfect solution that is zoos is better, in their calculus, than giving up entirely on it. But that's not the same calculus nor the same decision that everyone comes to about it.

@evolving squid

I still love zoos - but only those involved in conservation efforts for native habitats for the species they exhibit. I also love zoos that are involved in education and research, or provide habitats for animals rescued from nutters who thought that having a 'pet' tiger was awesome until it took a swipe at their toddler. I love zoos that rescue animals from wolf puppy mills and the like - and I feel that my cash keeps other animals out of cages by the money funneled from the zoo to research and protection of the species' habitat. Keeping animals to protect them from extinction - and using that money to conserve their habitats - completely different from tossing them in a cage to dance for the humans.

Bad zoos are like prisons. I hate seeing bored or mistreated animals. I much prefer zoos that give animals tons of places to hide in their habitats, provide one-way glass, so they don't have to see the humans - San Diego, Nashville, do a good job.

Pathetic indeed. That pretty much sums the whole thing up.

The lying scum Ken Ham mentally abuses children while their brain-dead parents watch approvingly. Ken Ham should be deported. If it was up to me, well I better not say what would happen to Ken Ham if it was up to me.

There's a fun discussion going on at Cincinnati's main newspaper's site. And as would be expected in the vicinity of the museum brought to you by Ken "Ham it Up", there's a good share of nutjobs who are proclaiming their belief in Creationism. Come over and join the fun!

http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20081202/NEWS01/812020317

By Jeffrey Mark (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

Merry Christmas, Ken, you sad sack 'o shit!

By forksmuggler (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

Crocodile tears. Or in Ray Comfort parlance, crocoduck tears.

I was just at the Cincinnati Zoo this weekend, and found it delightfully heavy on the science/evolution/interrelatedness of species. Since I was out of town, I didn't catch the Pharyngula post until yesterday - had I known, I would have raised some hell while I was there.

Another Cincinnati native here, echoing similar sentiments of others - the Zoo here is of very high quality.

Presumably, Ham was simply talking about his love of the Zoo because of his Museum's proximity to the Tri-State area. I don't know anyone in the area who dislikes the zoo, and thus pointing out that he didn't like the zoo because it's an evolutionary bonanza would simply cause a local backlash that would certainly harm his ticket sales.

The official statement from the Zoo is that they were being distracted from their mission because of the (negative) publicity generated. Their focus is on conservation and education, and getting into a highly publicized debate over evolution would cause more harm to that mission than simply giving a boring but nonthreatening reason for the removal.

"Crocodile tears. Or in Ray Comfort parlance, crocoduck tears.

Are you saying crocoducks aren't real? I have a vewy gweat fwiend in Wome who happens to be a cwokoduck.

Off topic but it's about zoos: A few years ago at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo I was standing next to a huge gorilla who was sitting down. We were only two feet apart but separated by thick glass. He patiently waited for me to look the other way, then he stood up and threw his entire weight at me. When I saw his massive body flying towards me I forgot about the glass and was terrified. Then he smashed into the glass. The best part is he started laughing at me. I couldn't hear the laugh but he definitely looked like he was laughing. That day I learned how intelligent gorillas are. He was able to plan a practical joke and execute it perfectly, and then laugh at my terror.

On topic: Speaking for this blog, I don't have intolerance for Christianity -- I simply lack any respect at all for that grand hodge-podge of delusions.

Speaking for myself, I'm looking forward to the complete eradication of Christianity, which is infested with lying child abusing scum like Ken Ham. Better science education and relentless ridicule of anyone who believes in Jebus is the best way to stamp out this religion in my opinion. Anyone who believes Jebus was a god is insane, I don't care how moderate they think they are.

This is outstanding. Bravo.

I want to echo the sentiment that there should be some legal questions answered for Ham's fantasy museum. To me it seems like outright fraud - i.e. representing non-scientific assertions as scientific fact. Even if it is just a recreational distraction, the information inside should be properly described as such, and not science. What he has is a religiously inspired theme park without rides, not a museum. Selling the experience any other way is willfully deceptive.

Jason S, #7

Do they really believe this nonsense? No. They're making stuff up. Why? Because it's fun misbehaving, as any spoiled little brat knows. They make up stories and insist they are true, just for the joy of watching their victims squirm at the monumental stupidity, and then wrestle with the illogic and fictions in hopes of helping achieve understanding. Some half-wit can spin a loony story as bait to be taken by someone who's studied long and hard for decades to understand science, and then gleefully giggle as the well-meaning full-wit patiently tries to help educate the prankster who's duping him.

It's all a game to them. It takes very little effort, and obviously no skill, to create something that will cause a collective face-palm to people who have dedicated their lives, from childhood on, to learning the hard stuff.

When they argue, it is never in good faith, only in bad faith.

Think of a semi-literate little brat asking stupid questions of scientists, just for the amusement of watching them try explaining things to him. The brat isn't listening, not really. He's just looking for more things to misconstrue and get a new thread started. He'll ask questions like he wants them answered, but he's just messing with these people.

So, what to do? Call them on their lies, and never play along. You cannot shame them, so forget that idea. You can, however, ridicule them. They hate being laughed at, insulted, and teased -- which puts the shoe on the other foot, so to speak, and to them turnabout is not fair play.

How the fuck can anybody actually seriously believe any of that shit?

Short answer: it's probably mostly tribal. Longer answer: probably approximately 90% because they learned it at their daddy's knee, 10% for larger reasons of social pressure happening to exclude that one, dominance of those ideas in the community with which they feel the greatest idenity. The latter number will include converts who may give specific dramatic reasons for embracing something of this nature for which they have exactly zero evidence--or even evidence that runs counter. Religions are complex, evolved structures in their own right with an array of features that tend to attract and retain believers, and among the many is an essential assault on empricism and reason themselves, which tends to devalue and distort both so far as is necessary to continue the survival of said ideology. The sense of belonging and loyalty to the tribe and its ideals trumps all fossils for many; the fear of expulsion and shunning should they cross that line will lurk behind it.

You may protest that this is not truly believing something in the sense that we believe something for which the evidence is overwhelming and immediate, and it probably isn't. In what sense these people are constantly actively lying to themselves even as they lie to others is an interesting question, and more than one of semantics, in my humble view. But like all cons, they do lie to themselves first, and the degree to which they have convinced themselves is difficult to know and possibly less important than those social pressures.

There's also the very delicate and malleable structure of memory itself and ideological inertia, the embarrassment of admitting error even as the evidence mounts that it is one. In summary, however, the committment of a man like Ham to his life's work is probably monumental, now, for these and other reasons; the pressures to ignore all that tells him he is simply wrong are immense. Human minds are peculiar in their ability to adapt to such patterns of thought, as any number of practitioners of persuasion directed at others will tell you; what seems generally less well-understood is the degree to which we can do this even to ourselves. Suffice to say: people really can believe anything, if sufficient pressure builds to compel them to do so, and social pressures and other dynamics will absolutely trump the evidence, for many.

The zoo had no business being associated with Ken Ham, strongly rumored to be a piglet rapist, anyway.

Jeff Mark - I've met Biggus Dickus too.

Hey Cinci area people - want to do a secular inebriation night around the solstice? Getting shit-faced and going to the Creation Museum sounds like fun - especially if there is photographic evidence of the event.

What is a little more disturbing ...apart from the opportunist Creationist attempt to appear more 'scientific'...is the fact that someone at the zoo thought it a jolly 'good idea' to pursue...

Given the fact that Creationism is a minority sport but makes up for that by claiming it is not.....and deliberately twisting and lying about evolutionary theory...I am surprised that any institution that uses evolutionary principles...breeding program etc etc...should entertain a crank rabidly opposed to their view of life for marketing reasons...

Apparently it was several months in the planning was this ticket merger...several months and no one at the zoo saw the utter bogus position of this museum...and thought that actually promoting non-science twaddle was a 'good idea'...that really beggers belief...that they would sell themselves and their good name so cheap...
I despair of some marketing folk...talk about selling your soul...

I am pleased that they saw sense in the end...apparently no duel tickets were sold in 2 1/2 days might also feature in the withdrawal...although a short time...kindda belies the point that the creation museum is a popular visitor site...

Ham must be cursing fit to burst...may his god have mercy on his soul...or lack of... !

By strangest brew (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

Frankly, we are used to this kind of criticism from our opponents, and so being 'expelled' like this is not a huge surprise," Ham continued.

Free clue, Ken: when people constantly raise the same criticisms of your position, you might want to look into why.

"These people basically worship Darwin--they worship evolution and cannot tolerate anyone who doesn't agree with them!"

Projection. Luckily I turned off my irony meter before I started reading this. The new model comes with a warning light if it senses a creationist.

"Sad that someone with an atheistic agenda can cause a business relationship to be dissolved"

I like how he makes it sound like the zoo was simply caving in to pressure and not backing out because it was a monumentally bad idea.

..."they resort to censorship and underhanded campaigns"...

You mean like producing a movie blaming Hitler on evolution?

"we are used to such integrity bashing."

We're not bashing your integrity. You don't have any. Go get some and we'll bash it.

"Our museum will continue to promote this excellent zoo on our website and also in the printed material we pass out inside the museum."
Otherwise known as: "We paid for all of the flyers and can't afford/don't want to pay for new ones.

@evolving squid
It's quite a common thing here. Many of the other grads in my program/related programs work on trying to improve conditions, form new ways of measuring conditions in zoos, or evaluating the cost-to-benefit ratio in their conservation and education programs. The ideal is that there shouldn't have to be zoos, and those that do exist should be superbly enriching for the animals and primarily education-orientated. (Though, I've met people who seriously think its heaven for animals to be in zoos, and that they should all be there). It's a huge huge huge issue really.

Janine ID AKA The Lone Drinker wrote:
"How long before we hear: From Canada"

I'm not sure what you mean, Janine - aren't a number of the comments coming in from Canadians?
If a remember right, there is some kind of Creationist museum out in western Canada but I'd never heard of it here in Ontario until I saw it mentioned online. It seems that nonsense crosses the border as easily as cheap cigarettes.
Southern Ontario is pretty secular and the Toronto Zoo is well worth a visit. The Royal Ontario Museum, also in Toronto, recently featured a terrific Darwin exhibit.
I'm not aware of any ID versus evolutionary theory debates in our school boards - maybe I should look into it.

By A Different Steven (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

I tend to agree with BobC #53 and 6EQUJ5 #55, ridicule is the handiest tactic. But it should directed at all efforts of organized nonsense. Of course events like Dover and the school board oustings are highly valuable as well. They need to be vigorously confronted at every level, and be forced to stare directly at the evidence of why we think they're insane.

BobC at #53: I love that story about the gorilla.

On topic:

I don't understand why Hambone would even want to be associated with a zoo; one visit to the apes (or even other "lower" primates) and it's just blindingly obvious how close the relationship is between humans and those animals.

I'm not sure what you mean, Janine - aren't a number of the comments coming in from Canadians?

There is regular commentor here who generally begins his incoherent rants with "from Canada"

From someones link to ncseweb.org:

No refunds will be necessary, since no packages of tickets had been sold.

I just wanted to point that out because I loled.

I'm really glad that people like you spoke out against this. I guess the power of the people really can do something. Oh and as for Ham: NAh NAH NA NAHH NAH!

What a ham.

No refunds will be necessary, since no packages of tickets had been sold.

KID: Daddy, I want to see the monkeys!!
FATHER: Just a minute, I have to buy the tickets. [to cashier] One adult and one child.
CASHIER: We have a special today. You can get tickets to the Zoo and the Creationist Museum for only $19.95.
FATHER: How much is it without the Creationist Museum?
CASHIER: $21.95
FATHER: Here's $22.

Baaaaaawwwww waaaaah uh waaaaaaaaaaah!!!!!

Ok, now that we've got that out of the way, I'm going to have to remember to visit the Cincinnati Zoo next time I'm in the area.

By Jimminy Christmas (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

If I ran the local science museum, I'd run a promo letting anyone in free who had a ticket stub from the creation museum.

Free antidote.

I noticed in the linked Ken Ham screed that the Newport Aquarium and the Cincinnati Reds ALSO have joint marketing agreements with the Creation Museum. I wonder if they would be receptive to a thousand or so emails inquiring why they are promoting self-deception, self-delusion, scientific ignorance, ordinary ignorance, lies, hypocrisy and toxic, drooling stupidity.

Sad that someone with an atheistic agenda can cause a business relationship to be dissolved

Uh huh.... Yet you'll champion the fundies' efforts to remove human rights from us queers.

Dick.

@EvolvingSquid

I used to keep numerous aquariums, and eventually had this same issue. It occurred to me that (at least for my marine aquarium) I was taking animals out of the wild to keep them in my house essentially as entertainment or decoration. Sure, I was learning about fish and marine biology, but there was an icky kind of feeling that I couldn't shake. Eventually I got rid of my marine aquarium.

I know what you mean, it is why I have never got into marine aquaria. I still do tropical freshwater but my rule is no wild caught fish, only aquarium or farm bred (they have big outside ponds in Malaysia where many species are bred). The shops around here (Scotland) are very good at labelling that sort of stuff or being honest about it.

Mind you I also wouldn't keep many fish that grow large simply because you cannot accommodate them in a tank. I'm thinking particularly of some of the large plecostomus sp. We have an Ancistrus cat instead, much smaller and appropriate for an aquarium. Quiet slow movers appropriately sized is the way to go.

By Peter Ashby (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

DaveG said:

You're asking us to be open to your viewpoints, why don't you keep an open mind to the possibilities we espouse. Since I like to be fair, they really nailed me with that one.

That's a specious argument on their part, and you should arm yourself against it in the future. Two responses which come quickly to mind:

"Being open minded doesn't mean blindly accepting ideas; it means being willing to look at the case for each side and following it where it leads. Thus being open minded includes being open to the possibility that an idea is complete rubbish. And if you look at the evidence, it points to an old earth and evolution."

or

"Of course, let's be open minded. I'm happy to be open minded for you two ladies and you young gentleman. What? You're saying he's female? How can you be so closed minded towards my assertion that he's a he? It is because all the evidence says otherwise? How come you pay attention to the evidence in this case, but not in the case of evolution?"

An alternate tack when discussing open mindedness is to get them, in the spirit of open mindedness, to promise to read The Blind Watchmaker or some similarly appropriate book with an open mind.

Good luck in future debates.

In response to Evolved Squid, I'd certainly feel bad keeping wild-caught animals in my house as entertainment. That's why I don't buy wild-caught animals, only captive-bred ones. No one who cares about conservation should buy wild-caught aquarium animals. As for zoos, some are depressing, but the good ones aren't, and are actually doing some good.

By Sengkelat (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

@17

How "tolerant" is it when you try to blame every school shooting on the "Darwinist" bogeyman? How "tolerant" are the Ham-bone and his supporters of gay marriage? These hypocrites only cry "tolerance" when it's in their favour.

You don't have to be tolerant if your religion is right all the time.

By natural cynic (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

I'd be willing to bet that the particular use of the "expelled" meme is a dog-whistle to the fundamentalists, who'd relate it to the expulsion from Eden.

So, of course, the creationists are, by extension, trying to eliminate the taint of sin and restore us to a bygone idyllic paradise.

And those nasty secularists are kicking them out of paradise. Even though by their own lights the Expulsion had God's fingerprints all over it, they lay the ultimate blame on Satan.

So guess who the secular humanists are in that story?

By Malacandra (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

If you understand what he's talking about, don't let us know.

How Lovecraftian.

Don't Canadians have at least one higher-profile creationist nut than that? I mean, Australia gave the world Ken Ham, New Zealand Ray Comfort, and we have homegrown loons like East Peoria's own Kent Hovind (graduated from the same high school as World Church of the Creator founder Matthew Hale). Who's the Canadian delegate to the Organization of Places Exporting Creationists?

By chancelikely (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

How did he pronounce the quotes around "expelled"? I imagine him waggling his eyebrows, but probably he just used air quotes. Sigh.

Evolving Squid wrote: But as I've grown older, I find zoos to be sad places.

I feel exactly the same way and can't go to them anymore. I feel the same way about circuses. That being said, zoos are generally much more humane than they were when I was growing up and animals were just kept in small cages.

@ 54 To me it seems like outright fraud - i.e. representing non-scientific assertions as scientific fact.

Unfortunately, that's not against the law.

You're asking us to be open to your viewpoints, why don't you keep and open mind to the possibilities we espouse. Since I like to be fair, they really nailed me with that one.

This is, of course, a cheap trick. As a fellow nice guy I have been too easily lead astray by this tactic in the past. However, I have become comfortable with the fact that introduction to reality is a nice thing to do; a far nicer and fairer thing than allowing someone to proceed with imaginary knowledge while knowing the consequences for the real world that we inhabit (How not to evaluate real matters: Oh Lord, we beseach thee, should we really spend time preserving the environment and learning how to get along with each other if we're saved and the rapture is right around the corner?).

Next time you could ask them if their open minds give equal weight to astrology or joojoo or Mithra or the Flying Spaghetti Monster*? Remember, you are allowed to discriminate against bull shit. Especially, bullshit artists that see fairness as only accepting their doctrine. You, as a practitioner of naturalism, deal in a far superior system than superstition and make believe. Feel free to flaunt it.

*this last one is a trick since we all know that the FSM is real...and benevolent...and saucy.

By jimmiraybob (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

"These people basically worship Darwin--they worship evolution and cannot tolerate anyone who doesn't agree with them!"

You know, there's something amusing about how they use blind faith as an insult.

I have been an annual visitor to the Cinci zoo for decades. It is an excellent Zoo. I was one of the many who wrote expressing concern for their alliance with the Creation Museum and got a polite note back within the hour informing me they had discontinued that program. All in all the Zoo does an excellent job and deserves praise for their quick response.

@BobC #53

Re the gorilla story:
when gorilla's bare their teeth, they ain't laughing, they're threatening you.

What you should do when a gorilla 'laughs' at you is look away, acknowledging he's the boss. But usually, people start laughing back because they think the gorilla is being friendly. This causes the gorilla a lot of stress. Which is why I am not in favor of having gorillas in zoos that close to humans.

Squid at #33 and others:
(slightly off topic)
If you don't mind my asking,why are you troubled by zoos and think of them as generally bad? I like zoos that spend resources to make habitat-like environments for the animals. The MN zoo has about 2 acres of run room and a swimming pool etc for the tigers. And the other animals had environment enough to keep them from being bored. I know there are zoos that are horrible and I am against any business/organization that keeps animals holed up in tiny pens and are psychologically stressed from absolute boredom (which includes livestock). But when we hear that humans living in certain parts of the world die at an average age of 35 because of dire hardships we think that's just horrible, but if it's an animal who's lifespan is completely halved, people think it's where they belong and act like its some sort of picnic for them. *No I am not suggesting that we should pack up all the animals in the world and hole them up into zoos either. I'm a big proponent of reduced procreation so we cut back on the destruction of the animals natural habitat. I grew up out in the absolute middle of nowhere and interacted with wildlife fairly often so it has influenced my position. I am just interested on hearing yours.

@DuckPhup #73

The Aquarium possibly, but I doubt anyone is going to think the Reds' association with them is giving them any credence.

Chancelikely,

How Lovecraftian.

I think more Poeian ;-)

And Byers IIRC isn't Canadian. American, but moved north.

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

Re: "open mindedness":

That's a specious argument on their part, and you should arm yourself against it in the future.

My usual response is "I know what would convince me I'm wrong. What would it take to convince you you're wrong?"

Shorter but sweeter: "My mind is open, just not so much that my brains fall out."

The open-mindedness of an individual is inversely proportional to how often he suggests others be open-minded.

To hell with Ham and what he thinks.

The Zoo listened. The world 'out there' is starting to hear us. I want to cry.

---

BobC @53 - I'm partial to gorillas. I speak several primate languages (husbandry is a wonderful thing - you clean poop and learn to speak simian). I was usually able to ask one of the gorillas in Bush Gardens Fla to come over and sit with me.

One time a female came over and placed her hand on the glass, right over my heart. It was so anthropromorphic that everyone around me swooned. But I can't say I didn't feel a bit shiny afterwards.

I guess that keeping animals captive essentially for show bothers me.

Squid, would you please drop my cat an e-mail? He's been keeping me -- he thinks -- essentially for show for about the last decade or so, and it's starting to get on my nerves.

The least you could do is maybe explain to him about things like "rent" and how there's this magical thing out there called a "paycheque" that can be translated into "cat food," among other things. (The "cat food" part he understands really well, but only when he's directly on the receiving end.) Maybe if he understood the concept of "rent," he'd stop trying to take up 3/4 of the bed when I want to be in it. I keep trying to tell him that once he starts paying half the rent, he can sleep anywhere he wants, but he apparently doesn't listen to me. Maybe he'd listen to you...

By Interrobang (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

thanks PZ and all you others for helping demolish the Hoses of Stupidity brick by crumbling brick

A hose made of bricks? It does not seem to be very mobile nor flexible.

(I know, it is a typo. But I am amused by the image.)

By Janine ID AKA … (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

So this was Ham's plan all along, to get that publicity and make things better for him in the long run? The zoo was just a diversion and his real aim was to have this blog and the commenters get him in the news. He's always two steps ahead of us!

Ken Ham, you magnificent bastard! I read your book! Thanks for including so many crayon pictures, it kept me from getting bored!

By OctoberMermaid (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

You know, there's something amusing about how they use blind faith as an insult.

Yeah, maybe they weren't as great as Cream or Traffic, but their one album was still pretty damn good.

tsg
"The open-mindedness of an individual is inversely proportional to how often he suggests others be open-minded."
You've posted a couple lines that i have no option but to steal. I'll have to look around for the others.
Thanks

At the same time, I have learned that the zoo received hundreds of complaints from what appear to be some very intolerant people,

Uh-Oh. Did PZ leave his cyberpistol lying around again?

Poor old Ken, foiled once again by sense and reality. If only those dumb Catholics didn't generally accept evolution, you know he'd be working on his sainthood acceptance speech right now.

By PurpleTurtle (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

On openmindedness: Perhaps when someone asks you to be open-minded. you could ask them: if someone tells you that you can fly, would you jump off a cliff?

Evolving Squid #33 asked "Is that all really weird to everyone? Is it just me who feels this way?"

I feel the same. If I want to see wildlife, I'd much rather buy a David Attenborough DVD than go to a zoo. I know zoos do a lot of good work, but I just don't like visiting them. They are like the animal equivalent to Amsterdam's Red Light District (well, except for the sex, that is); places of voyeurism and exploitative entertainment. Just my opinion.

@95:

The first time I watched Patton, I about busted a gut at that line.

By Fred Mounts (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

@ tomh #81
ah, but it is against the law if it can be proven to be damaging. in more than a "wow, you're stupider then i thought" kind of way.

By Timothy Wood (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

I once had blind faith sit next to me at a Dead concert.

Ah, a full meal... French Cries, a Whaaahburger and some Whine to wash it all down...

[Cartman voice] Yes, let me taste your tears...

Timothy Wood wrote: ah, but it is against the law if it can be proven to be damaging. in more than a "wow, you're stupider then i thought" kind of way.

True enough. In today's America, though, it would be just about impossible to find any twelve random people who could be convinced that any damage is being done. Making kids stupid doesn't seem to qualify as damage.

s the Creation 'Museum' closed? Are people hindered from visiting it? Have we blocked all ticket sales? No, unfortunately

With that "unfortunately" at the end, it almost comes off as if you would like to be able to close their museum, hinder people from visiting, or block tickets sales... I may not like their museum or message, but I wouldn't ever attempt to inhibit them from opening and running such a place or the right of people to attend, nor even entertain such ideas. It be a kick in the face of the first amendment. I hope everyone else feels the same way, I am going to have a little positive hope and think that and the original statement was poor wording or open to misinterpretation.

@ Mario #8
"Re the gorilla story:
when gorilla's bare their teeth, they ain't laughing, they're threatening you.
What you should do when a gorilla 'laughs' at you is look away, acknowledging he's the boss. But usually, people start laughing back because they think the gorilla is being friendly. This causes the gorilla a lot of stress. Which is why I am not in favor of having gorillas in zoos that close to humans."

Actually, it may have been laughing. Gorillas and chimpanzees have a smile where their top teeth are covered and their bottom teeth are exposed. This is accompany by a breathy pant (laugh) and sometimes head bobbing. Gorillas often don't expose their teeth during threat gestures as well, at least compared to the chimpanzee rate.
Most gorillas, chimpanzees, etc in zoos don't display at or threaten people at all, mostly because after years of doing it nothing ever happens. The sanctuary I work at allows them to display at us and we show subordinate behaviors and it has amazing results, such as one of the lowest captive wounding rates in the country. Then again, that's one of the benefits of a sanctuary setting vs a zoo setting.

@ Trish #91
"BobC @53 - I'm partial to gorillas. I speak several primate languages (husbandry is a wonderful thing - you clean poop and learn to speak simian). I was usually able to ask one of the gorillas in Bush Gardens Fla to come over and sit with me.
One time a female came over and placed her hand on the glass, right over my heart. It was so anthropromorphic that everyone around me swooned. But I can't say I didn't feel a bit shiny afterwards."

Try working with non-human apes who know ASL. Then you can really ask them!

Thank you, P.Z. Myers, for thousands of dollars' worth of media promotion for our Bible-upholding museum! Actually, this will benefit the Creation Museum much more in the long run.

[framer]
See, people, this HELPS Ken Ham! Why, Ken Ham just said so!
[/framer]

By Screechy Monkey (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

Not quite. They're selling lies. Potentially damaging lies. It could be argued that he is in conflict with the modern education system. He has every right to believe that crap, but IMO he should not have the right to represent that place as scientific. He should be required to put disclaimers everywhere, or shut it down.

Whoops.

My #111 is directed at #108

>>If you don't mind my asking,why are you troubled by zoos >>and think of them as generally bad?

"Bad" is maybe too strong a word. Just slightly saddening I guess. The closest way I can describe it would be the feeling like visiting a prison to look at the prisoners for the sake of looking at people you'd not get to see from your condo downtown.

In fact, there might be good reasons to do precisely that (wasn't there a "Scared Straight" program that was based on the idea of taking kids to visit prisons in the hope - eventually shown to be ineffectual - that they would not turn out like the people they saw?) but it would still feel strange to me, I think.

Of course, some zoos rescue animals, etc. so I know that they do some good... but there's still something that nags at me when I visit one.

... and I might add...

seeing trained cetaceans perform really doesn't do it for me, and although it's misanthropic, I secretly root for the orca/dolphin when one goes after a trainer.

Not so much because I WANT to see a person injured or worse (I don't), but it strikes me that there's a message in those attacks that goes way beyond "crazy whale"

non-human apes who know ASL

No such animal. Being able to use a limited set of markers for the purpose of rudimentary communication is not the same as "knowing" a language. Which is not to denigrate the cognitive abilities of these animals, but nothing is gained by overstating them either.

I'm a portuguese biologist and i've got to say that i've allways thought that criationism was only believed and supported by some christian fudamentalists in the US. I live in a country were the majority are catholics and i've never really seen creationists movements over here.. BUT, then when i go to a major bookstore here, and see the book "darwin's black box" by Michael J. Behe i was shocked. it was even worse.. it had a highlighted position in the "scientific divulgation" shelf. I mean... a book like that near books of REAL scientific knowledge its pretty scary. I hope this nonsense doesnt catch on over Europe... And we would think we were going to another age of enlightenment....

Well in another word: keep up the good job PZ. I love your blog

"They cannot beat us with the facts, and they know it."

It's true. I've been trying to beat creationists with the facts for years and they seem to have developed some sort of active ignorance matrix that repels anything remotely accurate or incisive about the physical world. All you get is tired arms after a while; given that there's tonnes of facts and no point in throwing any of them.

Jason @7, 6EQUJ5 - Yes indeed, tens of millions of Americans believe these things. Including half my family. "For example in the above statement, does he really think they people who objected to the cross promotion with the zoo just wanted to spoil family holidays? Does he really think the objections stemmed from a hatred of Christianity?"

Yup. They are congenitally incapable of seeing the world from another person's point of view. And since these folks are taught from toddlerhood to think the worst of themselves, they assume the worst motives for others that they can imagine ("Why would I do this, and ruin Mr. Ham's holidays? Why, only if I *wanted to ruin his holidays!")

Or ("Why would I call myself an atheist? Why, only if I were mad at God for telling me I couldn't have naughty monkey fun with Billy in his dreamy new car!") - that sort of thing.

Obviously, some of them are lying hypocrites, and not simply god-besotted. The top contenders for those spots would be the ones making money off of it - Ham, Pat Robertson, etc. But there's no way to tell from their behavior, really, whether they are sincere or not.

Oh, and Ken - Happy Holidays!

@ Jason #7, 6equ5, and Kermit 120.

The fundie Xian view of science might be characterized as: observations yield facts, you (godless scientists) can interpret facts your way, we (God-fearin' Christians) will interpret the facts our way. Xians truly do not grasp the concept of an evidence based reality that one can learn about by observation and hypothesis testing leading, eventually, to new facts and more hypothesis testing. Xians are programed to see god in all things, so it is all spin in point of fact but, in the Xian view, this is not spin- it is interpretation of facts, a.k.a. reason!! This 'reason' results in arguments that pharangulites would term sophistry.

That being said, Ken Ham does not give the appearance of being an honest Xian. His spin is for personal gain rather than the simple Xian spin to conform to a world view.

Note: I used Xian and perhaps this should be fundie Xian. Though the difference approaches the No True Scotsman ideal.

Denver resident here, and I'm just chiming in to echo the sentiments that the Cincy Zoo is a great place. In fact, it's probably a better Zoo than Denver's, which I consider pretty dang good.

So, as improbable though it may be, Ken Ham was right - the Cincinnati Zoo is an excellent organization.

mothra @121, very insightful.

By John Morales (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

#109, #115

From wikipedia:

A language is a dynamic set of visual, auditory, or tactile symbols of communication and the elements used to manipulate them. Language can also refer to the use of such systems as a general phenomenon. Strictly speaking, language is considered to be an exclusively human mode of communication. Although other animals make use of quite sophisticated communicative systems, sometimes casually referred to as animal language, none of these are known to make use of all of the properties that linguists use to define language.

I wonder how they expect to ever figure out the origin and development of language, with such a self-restricting definition?

By Riman Butterbur (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

@124 I don't know (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

I wonder how they expect to ever figure out the origin and development of language, with such a self-restricting definition?,/i.

I don't see the definition as given to be any kind of obstacle to that endeavor. The map is not the territory.

And, as an aside, I don't see how the clause about "exclusively human" strengthens the definition, either, if that's what you're getting at. Leave it out of the definition and it's still true that "none of these [animal communication systems, native or human-taught] are known to make use of all of the properties that linguists use to define language."

Like other commentators have said, the Cincinnati Zoo is an excellent facility. Cincinnati has some solid science facilities in general, including the Newport Aquarium where many projects in marine biology and conservation are going on.

By RahneLike (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

Fortunately for me I have been mired in the depths of <?php> for thanksgiving, and I missed all the fuss.

But, I thank you guys for your vehemence, espc. PZ,- In honor,I have decided to name my second son Phinehas Zacharias

In reading Ham's, to the contrary of ya'lls rants, he sounded respectful lacking the weak malice of PZ... I think I'll go see the Creation Museum.

By breadmaker (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

About keeping animals:

Some species would never reach captive bred status if a few determined people out there didn't start off with a few wildcaught individuals first. Like it or not, you have to start somewhere. Also, they're great for the other kind of discussion going on here. My wife and I keep a pair of (captive bred) sugar gliders. For anyone unfamiliar, they're the Australian marsupial equivalent of flying squirrels. A coworker of mine once started in with something along the lines of:

"There are no such thing as transitional animals with half a wing"

"Oh really? Then what exactly do I have sleeping in my front pocket?"

Knocks 'em dead.

Re: Gorilla

It seems as if gorillas can be fooled by a piece of printed cardboard with holes in it. I have not found any scientific examinations regarding the efficacy but you can build one yourself (PDF) and give it a try. It would be heartly appreciated if you or your heirs[1] publish the results in one of the rare peer reviewed journals that don't cost an arm and a leg to read.

CZ

[1] What have you thought were the post-docs for, make coffee?

@ #109/126 & #124

We were just talking about this today in one of my classes that I JUST got out of (I'm a primate behavior graduate student). I'm torn between the need to provide input on a topic I'm actually educated specifically in and the feeling of "dear god, more of this?". So, I'll respond, but forgive me if I'm not "top shelf" quality tonight.

I get exposed to this topic quite frequently given that I work at a sanctuary where Washoe (the first non-human to acquire a human language, as well as the first to teach another non-human a human language) lived, and where her family still resides after her death last year.

First off, I've never seen a stable definition for language. Even the linguistic anthropologists at my university can't decide on a working definition. The best one I've ever seen for language states that "language is a neurobehavioral, multidimensional system that provides for the construction and use of symbols in a manner that enables the conveyance and receipt of information of novel ideas between individuals. The meanings of symbols in this system are basically defined and modulated through social interactions." It is also stated later on that language has to be communication that is intentional and that it belongs to a constructed system with discourse. This last bit is especially important in that it takes our all of that limbic system vocalizations such as food grunts, etc.

As for whether non-humans have acquired language, I certainly think all of the data says so. I will definitely state that project Koko doesn't have as scientific of standards of other ape language projects, but Kanzi, Washoe, Loulis, Tatu, Dar, and Moja are all very rigorous and telling.

The wikipedia quote you have there doesn't actually define any of the qualities that are needed for communication to be considered language. I looked up the article, and there is nothing in their definition that isn't found in any of the projects I've mentioned above. The requirements they list are: a set of commonly accepted arbitrary symbols, a defined set of structural relationships between these symbols (grammar), and syntax.

Every last one of these is found in these projects. Normally the one that people say ape language projects are lacking is syntax. These people obviously have never actually bothered looked at the research. There is a multitude of data showing Washoe producing multi-sign utterances that adhered to rules of syntax, as well as all of the other cross-fostered chimpanzees. Hell, I'm pretty sure there are videos on youtube of Kanzi (a bonobo who had a lexigram communicative method, rather then ASL) doing this with His caretakers. I know at CHCI we have over 40 years of written and remotely video recorded (to avoid cueing) data alone, not to mention that people can come visit the facility and see if for themselves.

Sorry for the pseudo-rant there...=)

@130
Man, I need to get me some of those! Although I work at a chimpanzee sanctuary during the year, I do my feild research with Macaca thibetana during the summer. For anyone unfamiliar with macaques, they are extreamly paraniod, and direct gaze or staring is a threat gesture. The species I work with is the largest macaques species, and since they are just in free-ranging China, I have no protective glass or anything nice like that. It's a little necessary to stare to take behavioral data, so I end up with a lot of ground slaps and eye flashing directed at me, and occasionally more.

The same is not really as true in apes as people thing. (It's certainly a threat gesture in a display context, but if everyone is just hanging around it's no big deal. In most monkeys, any direct stare in any context is a serious threat).

By Sydney S. (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

The Cincinnati Zoo is a great organization. I've been there several times; in particular they have a very good collection of the smaller wild cats (along with a bredding program for these often-neglected beasties) and a couple Sumatran rhinos, another rarity in zoos (and the wild).

Sydney, thanks for the interesing post.

By John Morales (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

Every last one of these is found in these projects. Normally the one that people say ape language projects are lacking is syntax. These people obviously have never actually bothered looked at the research.

How charitable. Take a dogmatic stance on a contentious issue that hinges on a great many separate controversies in a variety of fields, and then state outright that anyone who doesn't agree in every particular with you on the subject simply doesn't know what they're talking about.

people can come visit the facility and see if for themselves.

Invite a native speaker of ASL and see whether they think the animals "are speaking" or "have learned" ASL. Would such a person's verdict be meaningful to you? Why or why not?

There is a multitude of data showing Washoe producing multi-sign utterances that adhered to rules of syntax, as well as all of the other cross-fostered chimpanzees.

And that multitude is embedded within a yet greater multitude of politely elided data that shows a great deal of word salad; the kind of experimenting you would expect an extremely clever animal to engage in when confronted with a highly complex performance-reward system devised by even cleverer (though not as clever as they think) researchers. All of the most impressive seemingly syntactical utterances by chimps that I've seen when presented with the context of the larger 'dialog' shows them to be explainable as the animal happening on the 'winning' combination in the midst of a great deal of quite intelligent and even cognitive work. It just doesn't warrant comparison with human linguistic abilities.

I know how this goes; I've been on this side of this discussion innumerable times, so I'm going to state my thesis as succinctly as possible to beg off all the vituperation that inevitably follows remarks like those above:

I think that chimpanzees employ a native grammar of facial expression, vocalization and gesture far more complex than any of the pseudo-syntactical behavior elicited by ape-language studies, and that, if one was really interested in the evolution of language or of social cognitition, these native abilities would be the place to start. The sign language studies certainly have facilitated a kind of human-animal two-way communication that wouldn't have been possible without them, and they have explored the limits of primate cognition. I wish some of the investigators were more interested in these kinds of broad questions than trumpeting to the world that "apes are just like us" and the like. I should say, also, that I think apes are remarkable animals; I do not think so only because or to the degree that they can be induced to imitate us.

The credulous leap to the belief that we've taught apes language arises from a confusion about the relationship between ASL signs and a complete, functional language. There's a temptation among non-linguists to make it a difference of degree and say, well, sure, the ape can't use language like an adult human, but it's still language. There's invariably an attempt to liken their abilities to those of a child of a given arbitrary age. My point is, ASL signs have been selected because the core of the sign system was devised in a top-down manner not found in the formative process of natural spoken human language, and thus it was easier to bring hastily-trained handlers up to at least ape speed on a few hundred signs. It's the barest veneer of human language, but this skin-deep connection is exploited mercilessly by the more breathless reports of those who must believe that ASL is some kind of atrophied pidgin, suitable for less robust communication than spoken languages. This of course is absolutely not the case.

I guess I've gone off on my own rant, so I'll stop, though there's lots more I could say. I have little interest, though, in hearing all the usual accusations of closed-mindedness and chauvinism and least of all that I haven't looked into the matter.

Sengkelat
jimmiraybob
tsg
Qwerty

Thanks for the advice. I will expel fairy tales wherever I find them.

Perhaps Ken Ham can get ad space on Expelled DVD copies. That would get him a whole lot more publicity...

By Bubba Sixpack (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

fortunately i have been mired in php malbolge still, and have only come to the surface to see what pain the Creation museum causes so many. i think mother Theresa said something like loneliness is the worst disease.

PZ should be given a big hug for bringing so many together, purging loneliness and building camaraderie.

PZ I think I will name my second son after you, at least your initials, maybe Phinehas Zacharias, while on a belated honeymoon to the Creation Museum.

By breadmaker (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

I can refute Ken Ham's assertion very, very simply. The criticism to the Zoo to dissolve and repudiate the association did not come exclusively from God-hating, Darwin-woshipping Atheists.

I wrote personally to the Zoo and exhorted them to cancel the deal. I specifically mentioned that my Christian faith is insulted by the lies and methods of the Creation Museum and expressed my opposition from a Christian viewpoint.

Please don't forget (and it's easy to on this site) that most Christians are more embarrassed by Ken Ham than the rest of you. To even *think* the guy purports to speak for me... .

Quotations are CJO @ 135, rest is me. Sorry PZ for taking up so much space in your comments section. It's off topic, but at least its in the name of science and dialog?

"How charitable. Take a dogmatic stance on a contentious issue that hinges on a great many separate controversies in a variety of fields, and then state outright that anyone who doesn't agree in every particular with you on the subject simply doesn't know what they're talking about."

I'm sorry, I should have been clearer. I was talking specifically about the people who normally engage me in this kind of conversation who tout the syntax argument in much the same manor many creationists blindly through around the 2nd law of thermodynamics. I'm not the clearest of writers when it comes to spur of the moment blog comments, a habit I should probably work on. However, it's well worth noting the tone of your reply is hardly charitable yourself.

"Invite a native speaker of ASL and see whether they think the animals "are speaking" or "have learned" ASL. Would such a person's verdict be meaningful to you? Why or why not?"
It would be meaningful on some level, of course. Native speakers have a generally good sense of when language is being used correctly or incorrectly. However, speaking a certain language does not make you an expert on the underlying mechanics, or at least not an expert on thinking about and assessing these qualities. That being said, plenty of native signers have been to the facility. Researchers have shown that the chimpanzees will sign differentially in quality and quantity between known and unknown individuals, and this difference also varied between signers, native signers, and non-singers, so there are signs of clear modulation based on the language proficiency of their conversation partner.

"And that multitude is embedded within a yet greater multitude of politely elided data that shows a great deal of word salad; the kind of experimenting you would expect an extremely clever animal to engage in when confronted with a highly complex performance-reward system devised by even cleverer (though not as clever as they think) researchers. All of the most impressive seemingly syntactical utterances by chimps that I've seen when presented with the context of the larger 'dialog' shows them to be explainable as the animal happening on the 'winning' combination in the midst of a great deal of quite intelligent and even cognitive work. It just doesn't warrant comparison with human linguistic abilities."

My initial thought is that I fail to see how this differs from language acquisition in human children. Language is a highly conditioned activity, after all. However, upon re-reading this it seemed to imply that there is a sort of "sign, and we give you a treat" system going on, and that's far from the case. We get rewarded socially (through positive attention from our parents mostly in the beginning) for using correct forms of language, and repeat it. If we ask for some linguistically unintelligible item from our parents, we are unlikely to receive it. By being able to properly request items, we increase the chance to get them, and thus are really conditioned to use it again in the proper context. The same applies to non-requesting linguistic interactions.

Perhaps if you quite cite more specific examples instead of the ever vague "I've seen examples that show this generalized concept", this could be an actual two-way conversation.

Though, your response gives me the impression that you have no interest in a civil discussion of ideas. I meant this as a lighthearted discussion, and I apologize if your "ever so witty" word usage and jabs at your perceived conclusion about my attitude or the way I analyze research are in response to my lack of clarification earlier.

"I know how this goes; I've been on this side of this discussion innumerable times, so I'm going to state my thesis as succinctly as possible to beg off all the vituperation that inevitably follows remarks like those above:"

Oh my, what big words! Either your always this terribly precise in your word usage, or your making fun of me of my less then publishable wording. I'll assume you have good intentions, but if you don't, forgive me for not approaching a blog response with the same quality I would handle a research paper in. *eye roll*

"I think that chimpanzees employ a native grammar of facial expression, vocalization and gesture far more complex than any of the pseudo-syntactical behavior elicited by ape-language studies, and that, if one was really interested in the evolution of language or of social cognitition, these native abilities would be the place to start. The sign language studies certainly have facilitated a kind of human-animal two-way communication that wouldn't have been possible without them, and they have explored the limits of primate cognition. I wish some of the investigators were more interested in these kinds of broad questions than trumpeting to the world that "apes are just like us" and the like. I should say, also, that I think apes are remarkable animals; I do not think so only because or to the degree that they can be induced to imitate us."

I would disagree about your usage of the word grammar here. Chimpanzee vocalizations are limbic system responses, so not very controllable, or even really linguistic. They certainly have base communicative values, but they are no more intentionally linguistic then the sounds you make when someone drops something heavy on your foot. I think that there hasn't been enough research done to conclude that even the gestures free-living chimpanzees use in the wild (that have group-to-group variations as far as meanings) have grammar. This probably has to do with the fact that none that have been recorded have multiple actions involved, but who can tell what we'll observe next? Heck, I would also argue that facial expressions have anything to do with grammar. Certainly they are an element of language, especially in a verbal/non-vocal language like ASL, but I wouldn't classify them as elements of grammar.
A good deal of research has been done in chimpanzees regarding inter-group usage of free-living gestural communication, and I highly recommend it to everyone. I also think that the majority of primate researchers would agree with you that chimpanzees and other apes should be studied for their own merit, and not with the intention to close or open the divide between human traits and non-human traits. However, we shouldn't discard good data because someone decides that the motives of such research are to be so. The whole point of project Washoe was initially just to study the extent of the effects of cross fostering in a rich immersive environment. This incidentally included language, and then became the real focus of the study.

"The credulous leap to the belief that we've taught apes language arises from a confusion about the relationship between ASL signs and a complete, functional language. There's a temptation among non-linguists to make it a difference of degree and say, well, sure, the ape can't use language like an adult human, but it's still language. There's invariably an attempt to liken their abilities to those of a child of a given arbitrary age. My point is, ASL signs have been selected because the core of the sign system was devised in a top-down manner not found in the formative process of natural spoken human language, and thus it was easier to bring hastily-trained handlers up to at least ape speed on a few hundred signs. It's the barest veneer of human language, but this skin-deep connection is exploited mercilessly by the more breathless reports of those who must believe that ASL is some kind of atrophied pidgin, suitable for less robust communication than spoken languages. This of course is absolutely not the case."

I've never heard this argument before. I've heard the exact opposite a huge number of times however. ASL was chosen for the project because a vocal language would had proven to be a very poor choice in the past, due to the fact that chimpanzees can't make the types of noises that we do. (I'm sure you already know this, but for others whom don't, they have a similar throat structure to that of a human infant, which allows the ability to drink and breathe at the same time. As we get older, our throat reconfigures so that we can make a wide variety of sounds that give us a nifty ability of spoke language, but gives us that whole choking thing as a downfall.) Obviously ASL has different elements then spoken English, but I've never heard anyone ever accused ASL of being some sort of less complete or less functional language except by opponents of the research who claim that it's not real language, and almost all of them were in the 60's. It's true that you need less signs on average to communicate the same concept in ASL then spoken English, but I fail to see how you reach the conclusions you do. Perhaps I misunderstood, but I'm at the point in the evening where I've stared at the moniter enough to make the words start blurring together.

"I guess I've gone off on my own rant, so I'll stop, though there's lots more I could say. I have little interest, though, in hearing all the usual accusations of closed-mindedness and chauvinism and least of all that I haven't looked into the matter."

It is never my intention to belittle people I talk to. At some point I begin to imply people haven't looked into the matter, which while yes, is not always the best answer, seems more polite the assuming they read it and didn't grasp it. At some point it becomes apparent that people are uneducated on the topic at hand. Obviously you know at least something about this research, but I know based on what is published in texts that normally people are exposed more to the Kanzi and Nim projects then project Washoe. Most people I've talked to haven't even heard of the project Loulis, and even less have heard of Tatu, Dar, Moja, and Pili. This causes BIG information-related disconnect between people because of the different focuses and methods of the projects. For example, the language research with Kanzi has a lot more to do with his comprehension of the language use of others, while projects Washoe, Tatu, Loulis, etc, had more to do with their language acquisition and use with others/by themselves. There's a lot of work done with private signing and intra-chimpanzee signing, for example, where with Kanzi there is a lot of people asking him to go grab stuff in syntax relevant order (I'm not as familiar with that project's data obviously).

By Sydney S. (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

Ew...that has less spaces then it appeared to on preview. I am sorry for the eyesore!

By Sydney S. (not verified) on 02 Dec 2008 #permalink

Thats right! We are only intolerant to those who don't believe in evolution! Because of our own personal research into evolution we are deeply persuaded it is truth. We wouldn't dare believe something was true just because it was in a book. Shew.

Ham v. colloq. (often attrib.) an inexpert or unsubtle actor or piece of acting.

I think the shoe fits very well.

The only bright spot of this recession and plummeting economy is the possibility of the utter collapse and demise of the Creation Museum. I can't imagine they are seeing crowds like they did when they first opened. I bet it takes mega-dough to heat that building, during the winter. There will be lay-offs soon and we'll find out it isn't making any money. Close the doors and sell all the plastic dinosaurs to real museums -- sans Adam and Eve.

--S.

Okay, it is late for me and apparently for you as well, so I will limit myself to a small section, and maybe we can pick it up tomorrow, that is if you don't mind a few big words. I use the ones I think fit what I want to say, and I don't give much thought to people rolling their eyes. I certainly meant no slight.

My initial thought is that I fail to see how this differs from language acquisition in human children.

It differs a great deal, and how and why it differs is crucial to understanding what we're talking about, at least from the perspective of linguistics, which is, admittedly, the only one I bring with any more depth than the average educated layman. Why it differs is inextricably tied up with the fact that the ability to produce and understand language is the product of dedicated neurological structures present in our brains but not in those of any other primates. A syntactical engine comes standard with a human brain. How it differs I'll get into below.

However, upon re-reading this it seemed to imply that there is a sort of "sign, and we give you a treat" system going on, and that's far from the case.

How could it not be the case? How do you get a chimp started signing in the first place? The whole point of the contrast is, this performance-reward set-up is the salient context for the animals. This system induces their behavior, whereas a small child exposed to a normal linguistic environment simply will begin to generate grammatical utterances in his/her native language. And contrary to the popular imagination and the culture of activist parenting in Western societies, that environment doesn't need to include a lot of parental one-on-one, reward-rich interaction. Think of the adage "a child should be seen and not heard" and consider that the "reward" for piping up (grammatically or not) in the general run of human existence has been for many of us a smack in the face as often as it was a sip of juice.

Language is a highly conditioned activity, after all. [...] We get rewarded socially (through positive attention from our parents mostly in the beginning) for using correct forms of language, and repeat it. If we ask for some linguistically unintelligible item from our parents, we are unlikely to receive it. By being able to properly request items, we increase the chance to get them, and thus are really conditioned to use it again in the proper context. The same applies to non-requesting linguistic interactions.

My whole point rests on understanding that language isn't a highly conditioned activity. It's not even mostly a conditioned activity. It's an instinctive ability of homo sapiens (alone, or not; to say absolutely would be to presume the question we're discussing). That's the central thesis of post-Chomsky, modern linguistics, and it's been amply confirmed by a host of experiments and studies. (A good introductory linguistics text or a popular book like Pinker's The Language Instinct gives a survey of the field, and I can get into it at length on the unlikely chance that anyone cares to hear it.)

When you generalize to "non-requesting linguistic interactions," you're basically making the point for me. Simply being understood can't serve as the reward itself, because that's the necessary condition for being judged to have consistently produced grammatical utterances. There's nothing 'extra' there to serve as the reinforcement. You could argue that not being understood is sufficient reinforcement against radically ungrammatical constructions, but, and this is crucial, beginning quite early in childhood, gibberish drops to zero even as syntactic complexity explodes and incidental grammatical errors persist: compare this to Washoe, the great majority of whose utterances, even after years of training, remained either one- and two-word strings or non-syntactical 'babbling.'

thanks for the free publicity for the Creation Museum!!! Thanks to your efforts, many people who didn't know it existed will now visit. Isn't it amazing how GOD can use atheists??!!!

By tom bartels (not verified) on 03 Dec 2008 #permalink

My brainwashed friend Tom Bartels,I pity you.I hope you do not have children.

thanks for the free publicity for the Creation Museum!!! Thanks to your efforts, many people who didn't know it existed will now visit. Isn't it amazing how GOD can use atheists??!!!

riiiiiiiiiiight.

Like the people who would be going to that museum didn't already know about it. Anyone, save a few select wandering psychopaths, who would fall for that tripe are well aware of its existence. Their pastors surely promote the living shit out of it at their daily bible readings.

When is PZ going to take up the challenge to debate a real scientist??????????? I would even challenge him to debate Mr. Ken Ham who would DESTROY PZ in a debate.

Come on you koo laid drinkers wake up and challenge your puppet MASTER . . .. . .

charles,
If you knew anything about science, you would know that a live debate is not a useful way to examine scientific questions at any intellectually serious level. This is, of course, why creobots like you love them.

By Nick Gotts (not verified) on 03 Dec 2008 #permalink

Posted by: charles | December 3, 2008

Come on you koo laid drinkers wake up and challenge your puppet MASTER . . ..

Just what is a "koo"? And why would I want to be laid by it just because I am a drinker? And which "puppet MASTER" are you referencing, Robert Heinlein or Metallica?

By Janine ID AKA … (not verified) on 03 Dec 2008 #permalink

My initial thought is that I fail to see how this differs from language acquisition in human children. Language is a highly conditioned activity, after all.

It's NOTHING like the acquisition in human children. With very little direct effort from parents, children reach a state where they are acquiring an average of hundreds of words per week, learning rules (including exceptions) of grammar even from parents who do not know how to explain those rules and put them together in extremely complex sentences. Children raised casually in mulit-lingual environments often pick up multiple languages simultaneously.

Learning a few hundred signs over many years with intensive training is NOT an innate ability, more like teaching a chimp to ride a bicycle. It can be done, but has no deep significance.

Charles, why doesn't the alleged creationist scientist (an oxymoron if I ever heard one) debate PZ in the scientific literature, where all discussions of science belong. Oh, right, there is no evidence to back creationism.

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 03 Dec 2008 #permalink

One of my favorite challenges to creationists, who seem to confuse attacking evolution as being 'impossible' somehow proves their position.

A space alien visits the earth and has talked to Aborigines, Cherokees, Zulus, Hindus, and others about the origin of human life. Now this alien asks you (the Christian creationist) about your belief. What evidence can you point to to indicate that your creation story is the correct one and the others are myths?

I have never gotten a coherent answer.

Charles,

PZ tries not to debate liars.

Anyone who claims there was an Ark and that there were dinosaurs on it is a liar.

@Diagoras

A Cincinnati native meetup would be fantastic. The irony that we'd all be getting together because of a Ken Ham controversy would make it all the sweeter!

If you want to contact me at my Yahoo e-mail address (or if any other Cincinnati Pharyngulites want to contact me): delphi_ote.

(If you take out the underscore, you can contact me by AIM)

By Ryan Cunningham (not verified) on 03 Dec 2008 #permalink

Puppet master? HELL YEA!

Master of puppets I'm pulling your strings
Twisting your mind and smashing your dreams
Blinded by me, you cant see a thing
Just call my name, 'cause I'll hear you scream,
"Master"
"Master!"

Rock! YES! PZ the Evil Squid Puppet Master kicking it to old school Metallica! This is so sweet!

Wait a minute... that doesn't work it all. These lyrics sound like the Jesus Freaks' Imaginary Sky Daddy, not PZ. Dammit, you creationists can't get anything right! You had me all psyched, too.

By Ryan Cunningham (not verified) on 03 Dec 2008 #permalink

When is PZ going to take up the challenge to debate a real scientist??????????? I would even challenge him to debate Mr. Ken Ham who would DESTROY PZ in a debate.

Come on you koo laid drinkers wake up and challenge your puppet MASTER . . .. . .

Ken Ham doesn't win debates, he defecates on them.

He is a practitioner of the Gish Gallop.

He comes in, takes a series of rapid fire shits and then expects you to clean up his mess in the allotted time.

the Gish Gallop

Named after Duane Gish, the Gish Gallop is a special case of fast talking (the technique famously employed by Snake Oil Salesman that confuses people with fast long strings of words long enough to convince them to buy snake oil). In the classic Gallop, a long string of assertions are thrown out in an argument, most of which have questionable sources if any at all; consequently addressing all of the issues raised with the depth that they deserve is practically impossible: it would simply take too long.

In spoken debate Gish would reel out so many points in a short time, his opponent would be in the impossible position of either trying to quickly refute all the points (and failing because he hasn't enough time) or letting some points slide (which might convince people that the some arguments were left undiscussed because they are irrefutable).

PZ, I have to ask why it is you take such glee at harming others. It's really rather disturbing.

Ken Ham spent months in negotiations with the zoo to do this cross-promotion. The zoo agreed to it, knowing exactly what the Creation Museum is. The zoo then walked away from its contract, apparently believing that they didn't have to live up to their agreement.

Typical amoral behavior of you atheists, of course.

@Tom, 147, good point.

I've also added a link in my blog to an online photo walkthrough of the Creation Museum for those who have not had the opportunity to experience it.

PM, your god is imaginary. How do you like them apples? Don't criticize our actions unless your want yours criticized in return. We took action that made sense if a marketing person did something without the proper approval.
If you want amoral action, really read the bible. It is full of it.

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 03 Dec 2008 #permalink

Posted by: Paliban Mom | December 3, 2008

PZ, I have to ask why it is you take such glee at harming others. It's really rather disturbing.

How were you harmed? Please, explain.

Oh, and Paliban Mom, last year at this blog, there were plenty of links to different peoples trip to the museum. I know what is there and frankly, I am insulted at the stupidity that is proudly on display there.

By Janine ID AKA … (not verified) on 03 Dec 2008 #permalink

I love the lame attempts of you worship Darwin! Do they realize that this criticism only makes sense if the premise (and it is really, an unstated major premise) that to worship is bad. THEY HAVE A DOGMA AND WORSHIP...from idiots who have a dogma and worship.

AndrewC, that criticism is supposed to be a tu quoque. They don't understand it's fallacious.

By John Morales (not verified) on 03 Dec 2008 #permalink

Worship Darwin? I have no idea of what you mean. Scientists admire Darwin since he put together several fields and unified them. But he also got several things wrong, and he had no idea of DNA. Same with Einstein. Good work, but got some things wrong. They were fallible men. So scientists don't have a cult going to worhip either man.
Worship is for religious people. They try to claim scientists do the same because they have no evidence to back up their religious theories like creationism outside of the bible. It is just pathetic. And signifies you as another Liar for JebusTM.

By Nerd of Redhead (not verified) on 03 Dec 2008 #permalink

Did we establish that Paliban was a poe already???

Just to let you know, I was at the Cincy Zoo this weekend and not a sign of anything related to the Creation Abortion of Northern Kentucky. In fact one of the keepers discussed snake evolution briefly, which my granddaughter didn't listen to, she was busy touching a snake for the first time! She had a blast!

They are in the middle of some construction, so we are planning another trip later in the summer.

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