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Aug 07 2011

I get email

Mr. Lambertsen wishes to reopen a prior conversation.

Dear Mr. Myers:

Inasmuch as…

1. The theoretical analyses of Kaila and Annila (Proceedings of the Royal Society A, vol. 464, 3055-3070, 2008) and Karnani, Pääkkönen, and Annila (Proceedings of the Royal Society A, vol. 465:2155-2175, 2009); and

2. The empirical findings of Goldbogen, Calambokidis, Oleson, Potvin, Pyenson, Schorr and Shadwick (Journal of Experimental Biology, vol. 214, 131-146, 2011)

all corroborate my 2007 theory that, in its most general form, natural selection works diametrically in opposition to the argument codied by the Principle of Least Action,

would you be so kind as to publish a retraction, if not an apology, for your [offensive and self-serving] blog titled “Word Salad — with Math?”

Without delay?

The favor of a prompt reply is requested.

Kindest regards,

R. H. Lambertsen, Ph.D., V.M.D.

Dear Mr. Lambertsen:

I took the trouble of looking up the papers you recommended, Natural selection for least action, The physical character of information, and Mechanics, hydrodynamics and energetics of blue whale lunge feeding: efficiency dependence on krill density, and alas, while I can see how they are relevant to fragments of formulae in your thesis, they don’t in any way support the whole. In particular, they don’t explain how the evolution of the craniomandibular articulation in baleen whales was the enabling mutation that permitted the occurrence of free will, what this has to do with Einstein’s special theory of relativity, the significance of the death of the largest blue whale known on 20 March 1947, and how you tie all these disparate observations into the conclusion that humanity is about to undergo a speciation event. I looked in particular in the paper on lunge feeding for evidence that George W. Bush stole your driver’s license, as you claimed in your paper, to no avail.

Given these deficiencies in your sources, I feel no need to retract my original blog post, Word salad, with math, let alone apologize for it.

I must also point out that your paper lacked a legend, or even a reference in the text, for this climactic figure, which I’m sure must explain everything. Your recent paper recommendations do nothing to enlighten me, either. It’s rather symptomatic; perhaps if you stepped back from your work and looked at it with a more critical eye, you might notice that it looks like an incoherent splatter of manic non sequiturs and random regurgitations of mathematical formulae, all spruced up with colorful charts that don’t actually contribute to the substance.

I would like to do you the courtesy of suggesting a reference for you, in that esteemed source, Wikipedia: it’s called the Streisand Effect.

With swift reply and the greatest concern for your health,

P.Z. Myers, Ph.D.

80 comments

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  1. 1
    Brian

    … This is a put-on, right?

  2. 2
    MadScientist

    Well, at least it isn’t the balloon animal theory of evolution. What happened to the balloon nut?

  3. 3
    Glen Davidson

    it looks like an incoherent splatter of manic non sequiturs and random regurgitations of mathematical formulae, all spruced up with colorful charts that don’t actually contribute to the substance.

    If that isn’t how science is done, then how is science even possible?

    Or anyway, how is ID, and Lambertsen’s science otherwise possible?

    <a href="http://tinyurl

  4. 4
    Inaji

    George W. Bush stole your driver’s license, as you claimed in your paper, to no avail.

    You shouldn’t let a religious doofus with delusions of power so close to you. They are known for stealing driver’s licenses!

    It looks like Mr. Lambertsen had some quality time with a Spirograph. Be well, Sir.

  5. 5
    feralboy12

    the conclusion that humanity is about to undergo a speciation event

    Will I be required to mutate? I need to know so I can buy new clothes.

  6. 6
    Cosmic Snark

    Hahahaha.

    They all say P.Z. doesn’t matter, but they always come seeking his approval.

    That ridiculous chart looks like the offspring of Jackson Pollock and my old Spirograph.

  7. 7
    Jim Cliborn

    I love complex PowerPoint slides! I think the drawing exhibited above is sheer genius and certainly (probably) points to a much higher level of understanding. But, Jebus man, what the hell is it all about!? Would it hurt for him to provide a clue, a hint here and there? Does this follow EInstein’s requirement that everything should be as simple as possible, but not simpler? Thanks for a good Sunday morning laugh PZ!!! Regards, Jim

  8. 8
    Torugu

    I don’t think I understand. Admittedly I didn’t have time to read his paper (Don’t judge me, I have a cell biology exam coming up on Monday), but is he seriously implying that evolution is directed? As in moving in a certain direction rather than adopting to the circumstances through random, natural selection?

  9. 9
    Cosmic Snark

    It looks like Mr. Lambertsen had some quality time with a Spirograph.

    Goddammit. You people are always too quick for me.

  10. 10
    Contented Reader

    I do not understand that chart.

    If I understood more math and science, would that chart make more sense to me?

    Or am I looking for understanding in the wrong place?

    If I took LSD and looked again, would that chart make more sense to me?

  11. 11
    blorf

    Has anybody tried printing out the chart and folding it different ways? Maybe it’s like a mad magazine fold up giving away his deep poe status?

  12. 12
    David Gerard

    Where’s the Comic Sans?!

  13. 13
    Insufficient Cringe
    Dear Mr. Myers

    P.Z. Myers, Ph.D.

    Sometimes people use honorifics for others as respect, and sometimes for themselves as intimidation.

    This article has examples of neither.

    Dr Myers. Where do you get the patience?

    Bravo.

  14. 14
    Form&Function

    MadScientist says:

    Well, at least it isn’t the balloon animal theory of evolution. What happened to the balloon nut?

    Actually, I think the balloon animal dude made MORE sense than this. I keep staring at that chart as if it might somehow resolve itself in my brain and become even a little coherent. But it does not, and I fear I’m killing neurons by trying.

  15. 15
    Nathan

    I love that chart.

  16. 16
    Occam's Blunt Instrument

    Primal Paradigm might be a good name for a punk band.

  17. 17
    Inaji

    David Gerard:

    Where’s the Comic Sans?!

    We don’t have workable comic sans at the moment. I’m sure we’ll get there, eventually.

  18. 18
    myeck waters

    Dammit, where did I put my anaglyph glasses? I’m pretty sure that if you look at that chart with the proper 3D glasses it EXPLAINS EVERYTHING.

  19. 19
    Jessa

    Caine @17:

    Add the following lines to your css file (credit goes to Owlmirror):

    .entry blockquote.creationist {min-height: 64px; margin-left: 5px !important; padding: 0px 10px 0px 50px !important; background:#fff url(http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/files/2011/08/tiny_gumby_trans.gif) 0 0 no-repeat; font-family: Comic Sans MS, MarkerFelt, MarkerFelt-Wide !important; }

    .creationist {font-family: Comic Sans MS, MarkerFelt, MarkerFelt-Wide !important;}

    .entry blockquote.creationist p {font-family: Comic Sans MS, MarkerFelt, MarkerFelt-Wide !important; }

    .comment blockquote.creationist {min-height: 64px; margin-left: 5px !important; padding: 0px 10px 0px 50px !important; background:#fff url(http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/files/2011/08/tiny_gumby_trans.gif) 0 0 no-repeat; font-family: Comic Sans MS, MarkerFelt, MarkerFelt-Wide; }

  20. 20
    gillycq

    I love the ‘base 10′ below the last graph. Just in case you weren’t sure… though the use of digits 0-9 and nothing else kinda gives it away. Still, extra marks for at least attempting clarity there.

  21. 21
    myeck waters

    What’s the code for tagging a quote as creationist again? And could someone please use it so we can test our mad css gene-splicing skillz?

  22. 22
    Sili

    Poor sod. I’d completely forgotten about him. At least I think it’s him – or perhaps I’m thinking of another guy who went off the rails halfway through a poster.

    Ah. Nope, this is the guy. I remember him popping up feebly in the comments.

    Does anyone know whatever happened to poor Vincent Fleury of the vortices? He dropped by to comment intermittently for a while.

  23. 23
    Sili

    I love the ‘base 10′ below the last graph. Just in case you weren’t sure… though the use of digits 0-9 and nothing else kinda gives it away. Still, extra marks for at least attempting clarity there.

    Really?

    Would you automatically assume that “12″ is base three and “67″ is an octal?

  24. 24
    horrabin

    I noticed, Mr. Myers, that you did not address the differential between the red black signal and the black black signal in your ill-advised post. Good day sir.

    Horrabin AA QED

  25. 25
    Le Havre en Chêne

    Yay, Sans works!

  26. 26
    Owlmirror

    Yes, you can see the text in Comic Sans — it uses ‘class="creationist"‘, even though the creationist class is defined only in local CSS, and not yet on the site itself.

    Or in other words, it works for me.

    =====

    One of the articles in today’s New York Times looks to be sadly appropriate.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/07/health/07lives.html

  27. 27
    co

    Jessa, you referenced Caine’s post at position #17. What browser or code do I need to use to see post numbers? I’m using FF beta 6.0 and see no indication of post numbers on the new FTB site.

  28. 28
    Pteryxx

    @ co: They’re using custom-made CSS entries in Firefox; I’m sure someone quicker than me will link you to the posts.

    However, for a quick-and-dirty fix, use View- Page Style – No Style which will strip the default CSS and make the post numbers visible (though ugly.)

  29. 29
    myeck waters

    Testing, testing…

    Herpaderp second law of thermodynamics yup yup yup random chance neener neener life from nonlife heh heh heh big bang bork bork moral relativity doink doink doink

    Hmmm…not showing in preview…

  30. 30
    myeck waters

    Clearly I fail at this 21st century thing.

  31. 31
    Inaji

    Thanks, Jessa. I already have the creationist class/comic sans stuff in my userContent.css, I don’t know why it’s not working. Will tweak.

  32. 32
    Sigh

    Come on. This man clearly suffers from schizophrenia. That’s a horrible disease. This man should get professional help and should not be exposed and ridiculed. Grow up.

  33. 33
    Owlmirror

    That is to say, the blockquoted text in PZ’s post shows up as gumby + Comic Sans.

    We mere commenters do not (yet) have the ability to post using classes or styles or use [font face="Comic Sans MS"].

  34. 34
    Yoritomo

    Since the right and middle graphs label something as “base 6″, the “base 10″ label seems necessary. I don’t understand why he couldn’t always use base 10, though.

    @Contented Reader: I can assure you that a greater amount of mathematical knowledge will not help in understanding the diagram – at most you will then not understand it more deeply. I have no experience with LSD and cannot tell whether it will produce better results than mathematical understanding.

  35. 35
    Pteryxx

    …Or not.

    @ co: Link to PZ’s Pharyngula CSS: PZ’s CSS

    How to install it: Caine’s #23

  36. 36
    Inaji

    Owlmirror:

    We mere commenters do not (yet) have the ability to post using classes or styles or use [font face="Comic Sans MS"].

    Yes, which I want. Very much.

  37. 37
    feralboy12

    I have no experience with LSD and cannot tell whether it will produce better results than mathematical understanding.

    I have plenty of experience there(but none in nearly 30 years).
    LSD would likely make the chart rotate or melt, but would not add to your understanding. And then you’d have another 10 hours or so of effects to deal with.
    Obviously not worth the trouble.

  38. 38
    Physicalist

    So now we have to hack our own computers to view Pharyngula?

    You’re right; the CSS fixes definitely makes things much better. Thanks, Owlmirror, Jess, Caine, et al.

  39. 39
    Akira MacKenzie

    A simple ‘Fuck off, you loon” would have sufficed.

  40. 40
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    So now we have to hack our own computers to view Pharyngula?

    No, unless you define “Pharyngula” as “Gumby pictures and comment numbers”.

  41. 41
    nemo the derv

    P.S. Perhaps you also noticed that the paper of mine you published as the springboard for your tirade is copyrighted?

    P.P.S.
    Perhaps you migh be familiar with the concept of fair use?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use

    Examples of fair use include commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching,…

  42. 42
    Etienne

    hey don’t explain how the evolution of the craniomandibular articulation in baleen whales was the enabling mutation that permitted the occurrence of free will

    How anyone can keep a straight face with that sentence …

    I think this Lambertsen guy goes even beyond religious nuttery, if that’s possible. He quite likely suffers from some kind of mental illness.

    But his charts are certainly eye-candy for Apopheniacs

  43. 43
    nemo the derv

    Thank you Etienne for making me learn a new word today.
    I’ll be using Apophenia often from this day forward.
    I may have occasionally misused paradolia in the past now that I think about it.

  44. 44
    Inaji

    Naked Bunny:

    No, unless you define “Pharyngula” as “Gumby pictures and comment numbers”.

    You might want to know what you’re talking about. Even PZ has had to set up a personal CSS in his browser, as he doesn’t have the power to change it yet.

    Creating a userContent.css has gone a long way in making this site much more comfortable and easy to use for most people. Comment numbers, alternating colours on comments, line dividers, no italics in quotes, no idiotic text justification and so on.

    There’s no need to dismiss it, or all the people who worked on getting everything straightened out for days on end just because you don’t give a shit.

  45. 45
    Inaji

    Physicalist:

    So now we have to hack our own computers to view Pharyngula?

    Yes, at least until PZ wrests control of the CSS from the tech. It will look very much like it does with the css fix, though. PZ shared his css in TET.

  46. 46
    Draken

    Maybe we could use LSD instead of CSS? A Greasemonkey on your back, so to speak.

  47. 47
    drbunsen, le savant fous

    I have no experience with LSD and cannot tell whether it will produce better results than mathematical understanding.

    Try both. Please report your findings.

  48. 48
    nemo the derv

    I tried LSD once and ended up on a bicycle wearing a tie.
    Oh wait, that was LDS.

  49. 49
    Doug McClean

    @Sili,

    I thought it was base 57, and the notation “Base 10″ was itself in base 57.

  50. 50
    triskelethecat

    Testing to leave a comment…

  51. 51
    'Tis Himself

    I love the chart. Did anyone else notice the Violet Signal is at 5/8 at both places on the chart. Is that cool or what?

    I know, it’s “or what”.

  52. 52
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Hmm…Sounds like Mr. Lambertsen would be what Agatha Christie referred to as an eccentric. Somebody with weird ideas, who obviously wasn’t all there, but wasn’t a menace to society, or her victims.

  53. 53
    Inaji

    Draken:

    Maybe we could use LSD instead of CSS? A Greasemonkey on your back, so to speak.

    :snortle:

  54. 54
    gillyc

    Sili (in case you’re still reading) – no I wouldn’t assume that, especially given a number line which made sense in base 10…
    I wasn’t being serious. That’s twice now I’ve said something here that wasn’t meant literally and had it taken the wrong way. I guess my communication skills aren’t as good as I thought they were. :-(

  55. 55
    gillyc

    @ Doug McClean – lol!

  56. 56
    Shplane, Spess Alium

    Did he copy those from a book about Star Trek technology or something?

  57. 57
    'Tis Himself

    I’m reminded of a bit from Monty Python:

    This theory of mine. Well, this is what it is – my theory that I have, that is to say, which is mine, is mine. My theory that belongs to me is as follows. (clears throat at great length) This is how it goes. The next thing I’m going to say is my theory. Ready? My theory by A. Elk. Brackets Miss, brackets. This theory goes as follows and begins now. All brontosauruses are thin at one end, much much thicker in the middle and then thin again at the far end. That is my theory, it is mine, and belongs to me and I own it, and what it is too.

  58. 58
    Jing-Reed

    Downloading, and attempting to make sense of Mr. Lambertsen’s pdf document was an unexpected joy. Never since encountering ‘Alice in Wonderland’ as a child have I had so much fun.

    The Spirograph diagrams were daunting, but enchanting, and the “QUESTIONS FOR PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH, PENDING HOLOTYPE OF HOMO MILITARENSIS” were evidence of a brain suffering new and previously unknown flights of fantasy.

  59. 59
    Markita Lynda, healthcare is a damn right.

    So, will adding creationist class to my user CSS give me comment numbers? That’s almost as weird as the spirograph paper.

  60. 60
    Contented Reader

    And, yes, this also makes me sad. I have a loved one with the same kind of clinical paranoia. It makes it hard to have normal relationships- the person is so uncomfortable to be around, that he ends up sort of cut off and isolated, which only makes things worse.

    It isn’t really that helpful to pretend he is saying reasonable things, and be nice to him, though. There actually are treatments available- the problem is that, as a symptom of the paranoia, the sufferer tends to believe that he is perfectly sane and the doctor is out to get him. The illness actively prevents treatment. That’s sort of the saddest thing of all, and there aren’t many illnesses quite like it.

    The best hope he has is to find a way to believe, through his own madness, that he really is seeing a distorted view of the world, and he really does need help. Making fun of him on the Internet is perhaps not the gentlest way to accomplish that, but it will reinforce what his family is telling him in a kinder way: “Mr. Lambertson, there is something badly wrong with your brain. If you want to be able to have reasonable exchanges of ideas with other people, you need psychiatric help, because right now, your ideas are broken.”

  61. 61
    PoxyHowzes

    Sans Comic Sans
    Sans les nombres
    Sans le bandwidth
    Sans preview

    Freethought Blogs is better — How?

    O, Yah. Sans National Geographic

  62. 62
    Porsupah

    I am positively thrilled that, after so very much searching, we have a worthy successor to the Time Cube.

  63. 63
    Therrin

    #61 PoxyHowzes,

    Preview works better here for me (generates lower on the page instead of a separate pop-in overlay thingy), and see TET for client-side coding that replicates the previous format.

  64. 64
    subbie

    This is my first attempt at this rating system, so please be kind. I’d give him 0.4 Time Cubes.

  65. 65
    chigau (違う)

    PoxyHowzes
    preview is fine.
    look down.
    way down.

  66. 66
    Skepgineer

    Add:
    0.3 Timecubes
    0.1 Nigerian advance fee scams
    0.1 Ben Steins

    Mix well, sprinkle batshit on top, and age for three years in the freezer.

  67. 67
    Toiletman

    Wow, this is just so…erm…meaningless. I have seen this kind of thinking often in people who suffer from psychotiform diseases like schizophrenia. First of all, there is the word salad, his ideas are non-sequiturs that are not just unlogical but completely absurd to anybody and the connections he draws seem to be quite insane. Also there is the paranoia with George Bush and the completely bizarre accusation that he personally stole his driving license.

    Apparently, this guy did some serious stuff in the past and just recently jumped the shark erm whale. I hope he gets medical attention soon. I’m not sure how hard it is to get somebody committed against his will overthere but looking at the number of lunatic creationists, it might be quite hard. I kind of feel pity for him.

  68. 68
    Dr Marcus Hill Ph.D. (arguing from his own authority)

    I noticed, Mr. Myers, that you did not address the differential between the red black signal and the black black signal in your ill-advised post. Good day sir.

    Horrabin AA QED

    Also, the demand for a key is insulting. Everyone working in this field already knows what a red clack signal and black black signal are, and the rest of the diagram is equally self-explanatory to anyone who would be legitimately reading the article. It’s a clear map of efficiencies, utterly standard in related literature.

    (Just don’t ask for other examples of this completely standard presentation…)

  69. 69
    Moggie

    At first glance, I thought the diagram was a video test signal of some kind.

  70. 70
    Erulóra

    All bases are base 10.

  71. 71
    vincentfleury

    Ironically, the french scientist Maupertuis, author of the principle of least action, was actually also a theoretician of evolution. He proposed in a not very much publicized book (essai sur la formation des corps organisés) that animal forms emerged from transmission of “elements of memory of position” from one generation to the next, and that accumulated errors would be the origin of new forms (that was published in…. 1754 oh Lord, that was 100 years before Darwin??.

    Ironically too, the principle of least action is actually present in Darwin’s book twice, spelled as “the principle of natural economy”

  72. 72
    Sili

    Sorry, gillyc,

    I know you weren’t being serious.

    –o–

    Speak of the Devil!

  73. 73
    Erulóra (formerly KOPD)

    Also I forgot to mention, they are belong to us.

  74. 74
    steve

    Is this the same RH Lambertsen that Wesley Elsberry worked with earlier in their careers? Seems so given the whale work. Shame if that’s the case.

  75. 75
    Sastra

    Someone needs to tell R. H. Lambertsen, Ph.D., V.M.D. to write Casey Luskin at the Discovery Institute and inform him of this work. In fact, it’s vital that the Discovery Institute be made aware of this challenging new wrinkle on our understanding of evolution, ASAP. They could no doubt make much of it.

    Dr. Lambertson, if you are reading this please send all the details of your 2007 theory that natural selection works diametrically in opposition to the argument codied by the Principle of Least Action — and all (I mean all) the recent support for this theory — to Casey Luskin, staff at the Discovery Institute. Be thorough. Be exact. Be persistent. Please.

    Pretty please.

  76. 76
    Sili

    SASTRAAAAAAAA!!

    Y U NO HAVE BLOG?

  77. 77
    keepscienceintexas

    What is a Black Black Signal? Is it blacker than black?

  78. 78
    Sigh

    Good to check back. A lot of useless comments on a useless post. That man is ill. You know that. Grow up or stop pretending you’re something special. You’re absolutely not if you need this to giggle. Go giggle over somebody who can’t walk. Same thing.

  79. 79
    abb3w

    Never mind that blue whale dreck. Lambertsen thinks the paper by Kaila and Annila paper supports the thesis “natural selection works diametrically in opposition to the argument codied by the Principle of Least Action”? THEY FUCKING SHOW HOW TO DERIVE NATURAL SELECTION FROM LEAST ACTION MATHEMATICALLY.

  80. 80
    John Vreeland

    Very sad. I believe Dr. Lambertsen did genetic analysis on whales. You will find him listed as a collaborator on a lot of papers until about the turn of the century when he started acting very strange.

    A Richard H. Lambertsen (of Cocoa, FL) was arrested at Logan airport in 2002 for making strange comments to the aircrew of his plane about how people were going to be dying soon, for which he was just recently sentenced–last may, isn’t justice swift?–to continue his psychiatric treatment. So, yeah, he is being taken care of.

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