What about the Morris Northstar?

In light of Comma’s ongoing obsession, falsely accusing me of stealing or defacing the obnoxious, racist, far right wing alternative campus paper, the Morris Northstar, I thought you might be interested in the status of that rag. Here’s one of their racks:


Yep, empty. They haven’t published a single issue since last spring, when it finally dribbled off into irrelevant dissolution. I think it’s dead.

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What years of sneers and lies can do to you

I think I may have reached peak cynicism. I found this story of a teacher who got an anonymous note from a student sort of amusingly predictable. Here’s the note the student sent:

just wanted to let you know that I don’t have any respect for you as a teacher, not a professor, I refuse to call you that. And the reason I don’t have any respect for you is because you obviously have no self-respect at all. How am I supposed to respect you if you can’t respect yourself at all. And you know what really kills me about it is that you don’t feel bad about how you look or how you .. put yourself out there. You don’t look good. You need to take better care of yourself. And people do care what you look like. You’re a slob. You’re the size of a car, Kar-a. Now fuckin’ fix it. And I just gotta say that you’re not good as a teacher … you’re not confident. You can’t be confident being fat. Fuckin’ A. I hate you and everything you stand for. Your fuckin’ feminism is autistic. Nobody thinks it’s cool. You’re not special with your fuckin’ feministic beliefs. Go do something original and stop being a trendy whore. Bye-bye.

So, so familiar. I get that kind of thing every week, and at this point, I’d just laugh and laugh. Maybe I’d post it and mock it.

But I shouldn’t. This kid has real problems: he’s become a toxic sludge monster, loaded with terrible opinions and contemptible prejudices. That’s a real loss. The teacher it was sent to, Kara Waite, still has some little bit of hope left in her, and can still feel some pain and sympathy.

I cried for a world in which an intelligent, qualified woman can’t do something as simple as assign a little light feminist theory without being called a fat whore.

I cried because I had no idea which of my male students had left the message; it could have been any of them, and that thought made me terribly sad. I cried because female academics are the target of a truly insane amount of sexist behavior and bias. I cried because there are women in my life and past versions of myself who’d be crushed by a message like that. Women whose days would be wrecked by that hateful, cowardly bullshit. Women who’d think of it and start another crash diet, who’d remember it mornings in the shower, pinching their belly rolls and sobbing.

Me, I’d just write the student off as an irredeemable asshole. Some days, I just can’t muster much concern for the bearers of vicious toxicity.

The MFAP Hypothesis of Human Origins rides again!


A couple of years ago, I wrote a rebuttal to a crackpot claim for the origin of humans, which I called the MFAP Hypothesis. “MFAP” is short for “monkey fucked a pig”, which actually pretty much summarizes the whole idea. Eugene McCarthy (no, not that Eugene McCarthy) assembled a list of superficial similarities between humans and pigs — hairlessness, protruding noses, “snuggling”, that sort of thing — and concluded that a miscellany of appearances overwhelmed the actual genetic relationships and the absence of a feasible genetic mechanism to permit human-porcine hybridization to lead to the inevitable conclusion that, in the distant past, our primate ancestors bred with pigs.

It’s got to be a joke, but McCarthy is very, very serious, and claims that, because he has a Ph.D. in genetics, it must be a reasonable hypothesis.

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The Haeckelization of Paul Davies

Davies is up to his same old nonsense again: he’s in Australia, lecturing people about his theory of the causes of cancer.

Seven years ago, the National Cancer Institute in the US asked Professor Davies to use his insight as a physicist to look at cancer. His conclusion is that most cancer biologists are thinking about the problem the wrong way.

Rather than treat cancer as a disease of cell mutation, he and his colleague Dr Charley Lineweaver at the Australian National University have developed what they say is a new theory of cancer that traces its origins to the dawn of multicellular life more than a billion years ago.

Professor Davies believes cancer cells are a “reversion to an ancestral phenotype”, the physical expression of deep genetic information that springs from the very nature of multicellular life.


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But how will you know?

The president of a fake university, Liberty University, wants students to carry guns so they can “end” Muslims before they even walk in the door.

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. urged students during Friday’s convocation to carry concealed weapons on campus in the wake of Wednesday’s massacre in San Bernardino, California.

Students erupted in applause; however, the remarks did not come without controversy after some felt Falwell unfairly called out an entire religion rather than just extremists.

It just blows my mind when I see that the president of the United States [says] that the answer to circumstances like that is more gun control, Falwell said. … I’ve always thought if more good people had concealed carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in.

I’m trying to figure out how this works. So before they commit any crime, before they draw their guns and charge in blazing, you’re supposed to just shoot Muslims? But how will you know they’re terrorists? Is it just open season on Muslims?

He did clarify, and explain that not all Muslims are evil. Just the ones who shoot people.

I was referring to ‘those Muslims’ that just carried out attacks in Paris and California, he said in the tweet clarifying his comments.

So…we should be armed, so that we can shoot people who are, perhaps, carrying weapons before entering a college classroom, for instance? I don’t think he’s thought this through. He seems to be suggesting that we summarily execute religious fanatics and fundamentalists who are walking around public places with weapons, while telling an institution full of religious fanatics and fundamentalists that they should be carrying weapons in public places.

I’m trying to keep an open mind. I’m not at all a fan of violence, but if the college president wants to turn Liberty University into an apocalyptic wasteland of paranoid gunslingers, who am I to argue?

Why would anyone shoot up a social services building?

I know the gun-fondlers are all cowards hiding behind their weapons, but charging in to kill 12 people at a building that provides assistance to developmentally disabled people? WHY? It’s as if they decided to target the weakest people in society needing the greatest help.

<insert vague and futile expression of hope that this tragic crime will finally motivate government to crack down on the folly, a hope that will never be fulfilled and will only produce more cynicism and despair>

None of them ever have a racist bone in their body

The stories of the suspects in the Black Lives Matter shooting are trickling out now. You won’t be surprised to learn that they’re all saying they aren’t racist at all.

His dad says of one that he’s a poli-sci major, and “these kinds of social-political things really interest him, and he was just there to observe”. Right. Just there to observe, while hanging out on 4chan, wearing a mask, taunting the protestors, and watching as a friend flaunts a pistol and starts shooting. I suppose it’s possible his crime was just having really shitty friends, but in that case, I’m sure he’ll helpfully testify against those other racists he was running around with.

You know, I’m a guy who is really interested in creationists, a group of people I despise, and I also care about observing them and learning more about what they’re doing. But my strategy is to be open about who I am, clearly state my position, and observe politely without interfering — I’ve gone to creationist events with friends and students, and what I always tell them is to be polite and non-disruptive and learn…and also document. I guess I’ve been doing it wrong. Maybe if I were a poli-sci major, I’d know to disguise myself, yell slurs at the audience, and maybe take a few pot shots at them.

Also, one of my kids was a poli-sci major, and if he were involved in something like this, I wouldn’t be making excuses for him. This was a crime, and a stupid crime at that, and the perpetrators were all fully grown men in their twenties. You do not learn responsible adult behavior on 4chan.