Don’t be that guy

There are really bad, dogmatic ways to defend evolution, and every once in a while I run into them. And because I’m a wicked jerk, I criticize the people who do that, even when they announce that they are atheists. So this morning I ran into this nonsense on Twitter:

@DrewJPS ‘Evolved from mokeys’ is theist bollocks. As is ‘Macro/micro evo’. Never been uttered in by scientists. Ever. Ignore.

And with that, mine eyes looked up, and beheld Steven Stanley’s Macroevolution: Pattern and Process on my bookshelf before me, and I did query @DrewJPS.

Damn. So all my books about macro/micro don’t exist?

And I listed a few well known authors who have written books on this topic. Not creationists, but respected scientists and science journalists. And @DrewJPS doubted me.

@DrewJPS .@pzmyers So you’re willing to defend macro/micro evo’? Show me peer-reviewed papers. Not yours.

And therefore did I drop the PubMed bomb upon him. And I waited, expecting retraction and apology, and new learning to dawn in the brain of @DrewJPS. Instead, I got an abrupt change of subject.

@DrewJPS @pzmyers Ok, read it. How, as a a free-thinker, did you get rapped up in this ‘RadFem’ bullshit? Atheismplus is bullshit.

I think I can regard his authoritative contempt for feminism with the same low esteem I hold his opinion on evolution. Bye. Blocked.

Fellow atheists, don’t be that guy. Please. It’s embarrassing.


It just gets funnier. Now his friends are joining in the act.

@Brazen_Thinks
@DrewJPS clearly he’s a creation scientist. No main stream scientist recognises that term. Francis Collins is a theist and rejects that term

@DrewJPS
@Brazen_Thinks Also a witch-hunting twat that will send you to prison with no evidence #AtheismPlus

@DrewJPS
@DFCW It’s an group of ‘RadFem’ that call themselves Altheists. Mental. Not in my name http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Atheism_Plus …

@DFCW
@DrewJPS militant feminists are really annoying.

Clearly, the only possible reason that I would point out their ignorance of a body of thought about evolution is that I’m an annoying militant feminist.

Let’s all celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. with gunshots!

Is Laura Ingraham the worst person in the world, or what? She had a show to dismiss racism as something in the past, and she featured a clip of Rep. John Lewis speaking…which she interrupted with a gun-shot sound effect. What was she thinking? Here’s the clip:

That’s not all. While denying that millions of black people are oppressed by racism, her guest was flagrant racist Patrick Buchanan…and tell me, does this commentary sound at all familiar to you?

While Ingraham’s gunshot interruption was emotionally destructive, the remainder of her show’s segments on the 50th anniversary events was intellectually destructive. Ingraham complained that speakers at the rally discussed the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, but, "No one talked about the black crime rate at the rally."

Ingraham’s guest Buchanan recently appeared on Fox News to distort black-on-white crime rates and imply that African Americans are an inherently violent race. On the radio, the two bemoaned the idea that, in Buchanan’s words, "white males are the only group … against whom it’s legitimate to discriminate against."

Just a hint to JT: I like you, man, and I think you’ve got great promise…but when you make it easy to draw comparisons with Laura Ingraham and Pat Buchanan, you done screwed up.

I’ve just OD’ed on irony

In yet another article about obsessed harassing fuckwit “elevatorgate”, we get an interesting revelation.

In the Google doc briefly viewed by Mother Jones, elevatorgate wrote that he does not use his real name on social media because doing so could make him a target of harassment.

Yeah, we might storify him or photoshop his face into compromising images or send non-stop email notifications to him — you know, the stuff he does to his targets.

How to read a scientific paper

If you’ve been wondering how the pros do it, here’s a guide to dissecting a science paper.

Don’t be intimidated: it’s a description for how to really take every detail of the paper apart, and it’s a rough outline of what I do before talking about a paper on the blog. But it’s also a little bit of overkill for most papers. I read a lot of papers, and I can’t possibly analyze them as thoroughly as that article prescribes, and I take shortcuts — often, the methods are the most boring part, and I’ll just skim over them rather than doing the thorough diagramming recommended. I’ll go back and cover them thoroughly if I find other parts of the paper provocative, though.

The other course I’m teaching this term is an independent writing course, though, in which the students have to produce a well-researched term paper. I’ll have to send them a note telling them to read this article now.

A strange calm descends

It’s very strange. Classes start tomorrow, and I’ve got a tough semester ahead of me with both our core cell biology course and an upper level cancer biology course…and I freakin’ know what I’m doing. Syllabi are all laid out, my lectures are all planned, and I’ve got my first assignments loaded into the blunderbuss, ready to be fired out at the classroom. It’s like I’m organized or something, when usually I’d be bouncing off the walls, panicking at all the stuff I have to get done at the last minute. Is this what it’s like to be an old teacher?

So I’m going in to work this morning. I have to fuss over fish, and I do have one planned meeting with my new advisees, but otherwise, I think I’m going to tidy up a student lab, clean up my office (it looks like a library walked in and exploded right now), and sit back with a cup of tea. Weird.

I might get anxious because I feel too relaxed for the day before classes.

At least I’ve got that interview on Christian talk radio tomorrow, right before my first class, to get me jazzed up and wired. I don’t want to be too mellow when I start lecturing.

We haven’t had much Kwok ’round these parts in a while

But he has sent me a couple of email missives. Here’s one for your entertainment: he hasn’t changed a bit.

Hey Myers -

Speaking of kooks, you and Laden are poor judges especially since you’ve been busy sliming Michael Shermer who is far more respectable than either of you will ever be. No, I haven’t read either of your lame online attack pieces on me. But these confirm why I have advised certain people and organizations never, ever, to have anything to do with either you or Laden at any future events in which either of you may be a key participant.

I do wish Shermer much success in making you answer finally for your shameless, ridiculous attacks on very credible people which have been part of Pharyngula ever since you started it. Nor am I the only one who thinks so. I’ve been in touch with other, more prominent, people in the secular humanist and atheist movements who are looking forward to seeing you earn your just desserts. Contrary to the claims expressed by yourself and your delusional fans, you have not been a good advocate for public understanding of science, period. Your bizarre behavior towards Sheril Kirshenbaum when she condemned you for allowing a delusional fan to post a threat at Pharyngula to rape and to kill her and Chris Mooney as well as your recent allegation against Shermer are two major reasons why you have never been a good advocate.

Respectfully yours,

John Kwok

P. S. If Greg wants to post a picture of Stuyvesant High School, he’s chosen the wrong edifice. That wasn’t the building I went to high school; instead, it was the former location on E. 15th Street which is featured on the dust jacket of Frank McCourt’s “Teacher Man”.

P. P. S. In lieu of a Leica M7 rangefinder camera, I would prefer you donate an equivalent sum to one of Stuyvesant’s alumni organizations so that current and future students who have interests in pursuing careers in the sciences will have some financial support for their student research.

Stay gold, Jonnyboy, stay gold.

The Onion explains it all

The purported managing editor of CNN explains how they picked their top story in a fictitious opinion piece (which still rings very true).

There was nothing, and I mean nothing, about that story that related to the important news of the day, the chronicling of significant human events, or the idea that journalism itself can be a force for positive change in the world. For Christ’s sake, there was an accompanying story with the headline “Miley’s Shocking Moves.” In fact, putting that story front and center was actually doing, if anything, a disservice to the public. And come to think of it, probably a disservice to the hundreds of thousands of people dying in Syria, those suffering from the current unrest in Egypt, or, hell, even people who just wanted to read about the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech.

It’s all about the traffic, I guess, not the news…which any glimpse of CNN, Fox News, or the Huff Po will tell you.

I didn’t say anything about it because I was totally squicked out by the weird things she was doing with her tongue.

What have I gotten myself into?

I’ve been agreeing to interviews right and left lately — go ahead, try me, I am so easy — and I just agreed to appear on a show called Issues, Etc., Wednesday morning at 10:30 Central.

It’s Lutheran Public Radio (I didn’t know there was such a thing!).

The show is subtitled “Christ-Centered Cross-Focused Talk Radio”.

This could be really interesting. You’ll have to tune in; I have no idea what direction the interview could take, and I love the uncertainty.