Open thread on episode #788

Russell and Jen hosted today. For those of you not connected to any of us on Facebook and haven’t heard the news, Matt and Beth were burgled the other night (they’re fine), and so Matt decided to take the weekend off.


Post show correction from Russell:

Last night I told the first creationist caller that there are “millions of species of cockroaches.”  I looked this up afterwards and I was a bit off.  Various sources say that there are about 8.7 million known species of all plants and animals on earth, which in itself is a fairly staggering number to try to load onto a boat about the size of a 3-4 story building.  However, the number of species of cockroach is only about 4,500.  Which, if I had stated this accurately, would still have made the same point, but being three orders of magnitude off is a little embarrassing.  🙂

Cockroaches are arthropods, a phylum with contains all the various bugs including insects and spiders, and those numbers are pretty impressive, accounting for at least a few million species: about 80% of living animal species are arthropods.  Diggin’ that ark life, am I right?


  1. uncleadam says

    What is the Facebook group for the show? Is there a show page where stuff like this is shared?

  2. Matt Gerrans says

    Hey Russell,

    What’s your source for the idea that humans have been around about 2 million years? I thought the number was closer to 100-250 thousand years (of course, it would be a very fuzzy line). Naturally, there were proto-humans going farther back, getting more and more proto (or would that be less and less?) with time. Are you considering any variety of homo erectus as human?

  3. Matt Gerrans says

    He nailed ’em on Adam and Eve refutation as well. I loved the stammering about how it was phrased being the problem. Why can’t people just say “uncle” when they get hung out by their own petard in that fashion?

  4. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    Article: Wikipedia – Homo

    In biological sciences, particularly anthropology and palaeontology, the common name for all members of the genus Homo is “human”.

  5. says

    Look in the sidebar and you might find a widget for the show page. In any event, info about the burglary was mainly posted to Matt and Beth’s personal profiles and shared among some of us.

  6. FromHereOn says

    What an amazing job by both Jen and Russell. I want to see Jeff back on soon. We didn’t get any batshit callers when we was on two weeks ago.

    Matt, I hope everything gets covered on your insurance. Keep up the energy guys! This is why you’re the best in Austin.

  7. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    Why can’t people just say “uncle” when they get hung out by their own petard in that fashion?

    I’m not sure that one even understood:
    1) A single argument is a bundle of logic can be fed different facts to argue other things.
    2) And that if doing that yields undesired results, he’s supposed to accept the results anyway, have an explanation why that other thing doesn’t count, or drop that argument.
    Some seem to think an argument is like a magic story that compels people to agree with you just from the experience of hearing it.
    And there are others who think argumentation is solely about projecting more confidence and stubbornness than the opponent, as if it were arm wrestling. And the canned talking points are only there to provide syllables.

  8. says

    Why don’t we look for trolls or a god?

    Because there are so many actual real things to investigate first. Why isn’t that caller investigating whether there’s a blue polka dotted intergalactic dragon who gives you candy if you go stand in a particular spot in the woods? Why doesn’t he?

    Because it’s stupid. It doesn’t even pass the sniff test.

    We need more people investigating recycling technologies and cancer research, etc, not wasting their time on claims that are indistinguishable from pure fantasy.

    In order to even get my attention, there must be some minimal amount of evidence, that adheres to the standards of evidence, presented before you’re going to get me to care.

    I have too much to do to waste what precious little life I have chasing flights of fancy.

    This caller is being arrogant in assuming that his one particular flight of fancy, out of the tens of thousands we encounter, is somehow special enough to warrant investigation without any initial indication of its truth.

  9. says

    Not to rant too much, but when we’re inundated with claims on a daily basis, we have a set of rule-of-thumb to weed out obviously erroneous claims. Often, it’s something as simple as how well it fits into what we already know about reality, and whether it conflicts with known reality.

    It’s not unlike employers who discard job applications from people who don’t bother to send in references, cover letters, or have incredibly bad grammar in their cover letters… so that they can more quickly whittle down the stack of 1000 applications they received for a job opening.

    If this caller is going to believe his religion is correct, and the other 19 major religions were wrong, he has to acknowledged that humanity has a 95% making-up-religions rate.

    If this caller is going to believe his god is correct and the other million are incorrect, then he must acknowledge that humanity has a 99.9999% making-up-gods rate.

    At this point it’s more of a “boy who cried wolf” scenario. Why should we believe that this one god, out of a million is the correct one, especially when the caller is using the same arguments to support his that all the others used to support theirs?

    This isn’t just setting off my bullshit meter. The entire planet the bullshit meter was on just exploded.

  10. says

    It wasn’t me who called on the show to tell she has a nice smile.
    Anyway I didn’t meant to be creepy on my comment. I was just in a good mood, after laughing so much when the guy was telling seriously that he found a troll, a human without a face and arms, and the cockroaches guy. What is the most funny is to see Russell stay serious and arguing as if those guys where sane or serious. I really don’t know how Russell (and Jen) can stay serious. I would be like laughing with tears in my eyes for too much laughing. I guess it is why they are on the show and me in my room. 😉

  11. says

    Wow, great text! Love it!

    About the creationist guy: he doesn’t seem to know his own bible:
    Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee seven and seven, the male and his female; and of the beasts that are not clean two, the male and his female (Genesis 7:2).

    So it seems it is 14 (or is it 7?)of each clean animals and 2 of unclean. Why people mentioned all the time 2 by 2? That it could sound more “plausible”?

  12. senor says

    That first caller may have been the dumbest I’ve heard on the show in a while. The second was a doozy also, but could at least process information and respond to questions in a coherent manner.

  13. terrycollins says

    The bible does support atheism if one is allowed to weed out the rest.

    Genesis 3:19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

    And there’s really not much conception of souls before the NT.

  14. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    Why people mentioned all the time 2 by 2?

    List: SAB – How many of each clean animal did Noah take?
    From Wikipedia – Genesis flood narrative:

    According to most exegetes, the Genesis narrative is composed of two different stories (the Jahwist (YHWH) source and the Priestly (Elohim) source) that were interwoven into the final canonical form of Genesis 6-9. […] Notable difficulties are: the two different reasons for bringing a destructive flood, Noah being given different instructions about what animals and birds to take on board the ark, the two different time frames for how long the flood lasts, the source of the flood waters, the circumstances by which Noah and the animals leave the ark, and the use of two different names in reference to God.

  15. says

    Another great book to recommend to the caller who had asked for book recommendations (I don’t know if he’s reading here), would be “The Magic of Reality” by Dawkins. It’s a great one geared toward kids. In it, Dawkins takes a variety of questions (how was the world created, why are there so many different kinds of species, etc), and compares mythological “answers” with well explained science.

    I’m reading it with my young son, but it probably wouldn’t be below the caller’s 13 year old.

  16. says

    thanks for the link skeptic annoted bible.

    ya, I was aware of those Yahwistes and Elohistes sources and double stories of creation with different orders, 2 different versions of the creation of Adam and Eve, 2 10 commandments,etc.
    but I wonder why the “accepted” version of Noah is the one with 2 pairs. Maybe easier to remember. lol

    will check your site more deeply, sounds interesting stuff there on contradictions, the coran, the book of mormon. cool!

  17. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    The christians I’ve met hadn’t even heard of “Yahweh”.

    The only important bits of the bible are “Jesus” and his red letters in the amalgamated gospel… and eden, and the ark, and the rapture… All the stories about the bible they’d been spoonfed. Nevermind what’s actually in the book(s).

  18. Kazim says

    Thanks for the recommendation. I haven’t read it, but I’ll think about picking it up for my son.

  19. says

    Well, to be fair, theism doesn’t require nor imply the existence of a soul. Granted, most theists think it does, but I think we should hold ourselves to a less simple-minded standard.

  20. codemonkey says

    Russell, in the future, use “beetles”. 1 million plus number of species is an impressive number. It’s my favorite anecdote in this line of argument.

    Coleoptera (play /koʊliːˈɒptərə/) is an order of insects commonly called beetles.

    The order Coleoptera includes more species than any other order, constituting almost 25% of all known life-forms.[2] About 40% of all described insect species are beetles (about 400,000 species[3]), and new species are discovered frequently. Some estimates put the total number of species, described and undescribed, at as high as 100 million, but a figure of 1 million is more widely accepted.[4]

    Also, my other favorite argument for the “only 2 (or 7) of each kind” people is to give the ark completely, then show them that the rate of known mutation is completely and utterly too slow to account for the present diversity of life in only ~4000 or ~6000 or however many years since “The Flood”. It’s obscene if you consider it. Only ~4000 years to go from a beetle species to 1 million beetle species with all of their genetic diversity? Yea, right.

    Kudos for the human chromosome number 2. I felt it would have been more impactful if you explained it though. “Evolution is a predictive science. All science is predictive. We have known that the great apes have 24 pairs of chromosomes, and humans have 23 pairs. You can’t lose a mammalian chromosome – the animal would die if it happened. If evolution were true, thus in the human specific lineage two chromosomes merged, or in the great ape lineages a chromosome split, one per lineage. The most likely is the single event not the multiple, thus the split in the human specific lineage. Thus evolution predicts that one of human chromosomes should contain the merge of two great ape chromosomes. This prediction was made before we sequenced the human and great ape chromosomes. Later, when we sequenced them, we indeed saw that one human chromosome corresponds to a merge of two great ape chromosomes. It’s human chromosome number 2. We can even tell you the merge site to some obscenely high precision.”

  21. says

    my problem about Noah’s Ark is not if they were 4 millions of different moskitos or such but

    1.they are not enough place for all the animals there if the measure of the boat are “true”.

    2.and the most of all: what the animals were eating? they were all fasting all that time? what happen if a salamander eat an insect? reprooved by god and sended to hell? a snake eat a mouse and god has to create a new mouse?

    I can’t believe people still believe those stuff in 2012 and when they are over 4 years old…

  22. codemonkey says

    All very good points, but I have one more. 2 (or 7) individuals is not enough to continue a single species. It’s not. There’s a “reason” incest is “bad”. The ark cannot explain the present genetic diversity of even humans, let alone beetles. So, what was the point? Why did god command Noah to build a big boat? Not to preserve life on the planet, because it wouldn’t work. So, god came in with an undocumented miracle 100 years later to spruce up the genetic diversity? Great. Why the hell make Noah build a boat then? The entire Aesop of the story is beyond retarded, plausible only to ignorant goatherders and modern day people who are completely ignorant of population genetics.

  23. Psychopomp Gecko says

    Along those lines, I’d like to see it asked what Noah fed nylon-eating bacteria and how he provided just the perfect environment for the London Underground Mosquito, and also why neither of those two things appeared again in history until the 1900s.

    But then again, maybe God doesn’t have to account for bacteria because they weren’t created during Genesis. And it can’t be alive now if it wasn’t created back then, so bacteria clearly don’t exist. There are only plants, animals of the sea, land, and air, and humans. Fungi don’t exist either, which is in clear contradiction to the book of Revelations, authored as it was by a divinely time-traveling Charlie Sheen high on shrooms and a few other hallucinogens.

  24. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    they were all fasting all that time?

    Magic stasis/starvationless-sedation is a common excuse… the kind that wouldn’t work if the inert critters were left in the ocean to wake up afterward on their own, so you still need a boat.

  25. says

    good comments guys, but don’t forget that book is as serious as the three little pigs and stuff. we don’t have to go that deep to catch the message (if there is any for our modern society). sad they are people who believes in that book as accurate history…

  26. says

    and beware, they are fake pastors and priests who doesn’t believe in god but they could be as well fake atheists…trust yourself in
    the “spriritual” area and not anyone else.

  27. terrycollins says

    Yes, of course. There was not much point to my last comment, other than to show that non belief could not condemn an immortal soul they didn’t have a concept of. I’m not a biblical scholar, but while the OT as a whole obviously does not advocate atheism, as long as I wasn’t worshiping another god or something else, I don’t think the OT God would have a beef with me for being an atheist. It’s the NT that makes being an atheist a problem because now I have eternity to worry about.

  28. says

    But Luke has a point, the Jews are Theists but the main stream don’t bother of an after life and such. Some thinks about a ressurection, others reincarnation but most just live their life here and their theology is not based on a paradise of some sorts and the soul they have no really a main stream about it as a certainty in christianity.

  29. joe shmoe says

    Great episode.

    Those early humans millions of years ago should have become literate and written books, where’s your proof with no books?


    Obvious proof we are still basically apes.

  30. rrpostal says

    But the ark was 550 feet! That was the funniest line in a show filled with funny lines. But this is a [big number], so it’s totally possible! Very often evolution deniers seem to suffer from an inability to assess scale. Every time scale above their life time is just a really long time. 550 to this person may as well have been 500,000 or 5.5 billion. In general, this is something we don’t do well. But some of us are a bit better than others.

  31. says

    Thanks for the link about telling a woman to smile. I came to this thread to maybe post something about that. I much appreciate that you took care of it already. Russel, you are the best.

  32. says

    Right, that episode was something! long time I haven’t laugh so much and so often in an hour. It was like a youtube best moment of AE but in one real episode of an hour.

  33. says

    Oh ya, the tears or bread fellow. that guy was funny at first but then it turned out to be really sad. I am pretty sure he suffers from a severe mental illness. but ya, I wish I have news from him on the show!

    And what happen to Mark from (I think) Austin? Is he banned from the show or he just moved on? I wonder.

  34. pete says

    the simple answer is that Noah & co took one breeding pair of proto animals on the ark. Then when it was all over, they got down to some serious “jiggyness” and all those other critters were born. This solves the space problem, they probably overengineered the ark somewhat, perhaps this is so they could play *football to while away those extra long wet weekends.

    *not that silly “amerkin football”

  35. kenconviews says

    I made the comment. Sorry to take so long to respond. Been busy but, in my defense I had noticed that Jen does not smile a lot. No big deal. After trying to call in with a busy signal for about 35 minutes. In the meantime I had my headset on halfway listening to the show.. suddenly the phone rings.. had to be a mistake but sure enough, a person picks up and I take my headset off all the way. They take my info and next thing I know I am on the show not knowing that their was big delay between phone and what I am seeing. So, Jens smile was most likely from the last caller comment or something but at the same time I have also noticed that most people acknowledge the host but not the co host. So, I was just being polite. I noticed this was posted a couple times of my “creepiness” so I will just copy and paste. And it turns out I just can’t copy and paste so I guess I have to add a little bit.

  36. kenconviews says

    yes, that was me (the creepy smile guy as I have been labeled now) but yes, I am reading that while in the lazy boy. I have The God Delusion on standbye and Hitchens on audio which I need to buy the book because he makes a lot of good points and I like to high light certain parts of my books when it comes to certain things that are said. Hitchen really talks over my head and is quick speaker so i have to constantly move the time scale back to hear what he said again… but thanks!!

  37. kenconviews says

    Well, watched the show over and the after show and apparently I was creepy since the techs, Russell and Jen were talking about it… sorry Jen.

  38. terrycollins says

    > But Luke has a point,

    Which I conceded to in my reply. I just find it easier to strip away the dogmatic aspect of the OT god, and view him as the then unknown, creation forces that led to our existence. Like Matt has said, if your definition of god is the universe, then fine, I’m a theist, only we already have a perfectly good word for universe. The ancient scribes just gave such forces the label of “god” for lack of a better word for it at the time (or any clue as to what was actually happening), and personified it for storytelling purposes.

    Not all Jews are theists, btw. There are atheist Jews who may ascribe to the history and laws written in the bible, but view the supernatural parts as myth and legend.

  39. says

    I should have answer to your initial comment instead of placing it where I placed it. I didn’t want to mean you didn’t agree with Luke. I have wanted to write that stuff about judaism when I saw your comment but I was interrupted and occupied at something else.

    Ya, you are right. they are atheist jews, christian jews, jews practicing judaism. I wasn’t talking about the ethny but about the religion (judaism). I was surprised when I read about judaism that the mainstream of that religion, doesn’t speek or focus on an afterlife, heaven or hell, etc. Some schools talk about ressurection or reincarnation but it seems it is not a doctrine or not an important one. It is more an existentialist religion, focussing on the here and now and trying to make the best of this life here and not waiting for another dimension. So it could sound as atheist in a sense. Reading the book of Ecclesiastes we are far to have the impression of reading a religious book. 🙂

  40. ralph m says

    Jen, re:cockroaches, I remember an old interview with a renowned biologist whose name I can’t recall, toss off the quip that ‘if there is a creator of this world, he must be a beetle, since there are over 350,000 species of beetles on earth’…paraphrasing of course! I think he was trying to hammer home the point that the greatest diversity of life is among those animals that have been living on earth the longest, and have had the greatest amount of time for divergence into new and separate species.

    One other point — I discovered firsthand on Sunday that there still are people who believe the Earth is 6000 years old and all of the animals fit on Noah’s Ark 4000 years ago while I was out walking my dog. Somehow a discussion of dog breeds descended into a debate about how many animals there are, and how they could all fit on the Ark, and The Flood, and the Creation etc. etc etc. So, even up here in Canada, there are still real, live young-earth creationists!

    If there is one difference up here with Texas, it’s that the vast majority of people do not want to engage in this kind of debate…especially when they are out walking their dogs! While my creationist friend (whom I suspect is a Jehovah’s Witness from some other tidbits offered up) was getting agitated about how false evolution was and how the Bible is the perfect record of history, I couldn’t help notice that other dog-walkers coming along the path would pick up the pace as soon as they got wind of our discussion…some even turning around and going back the other way, just in case they got stuck there.

    Even my dog was tired of his dog by that time and tugging at the end of his leash, trying to get me to stop talking or responding, so that we could move on. Oh well, I haven’t seen too many JW’s of late in my neighbourhood…so I guess I needed the practice just in case someone else tries to sell me the True Religion!

  41. Kazim says

    Hi Ken,

    Don’t beat yourself up, I wasn’t trying to dump on you that much. Everybody makes an unwitting faux pas at some time. You made exactly the right response when corrected: recognized the mistake, apologized, and moved on. You wouldn’t believe how many people get hostile and demand something like “Who the fuck are you to tell me what to do.” You’re not a bad person.

  42. Jerry Martin says

    You’re missing the point of bible believers. It doesn’t matter how many species exist today. They can either deny that today’s species are really differentiated, or they could point out that the bible doesn’t say how large animals were at that time. How do you know they weren’t all small enough to fit back then, and only got larger afterwards? I just hope that arguing logic can crack a few sceptics like yourselves, but true believers can never be cracked – they’ve got their whole identities tied up with their beliefs and are lost.
    p.s. does being an atheist Jew send me to double hell?

  43. joe shmoe says

    “p.s. does being an atheist Jew send me to double hell?”

    Only if you live in Israel and the muslims get their way.

    There’s nothing quite so reassuring for us all than to know we are evolved apes sitting on nuclear weapons, believing in imaginary friends that gave us land to steal from our neighbors, and that god is always on “our side”.

  44. codemonkey says

    I agree with Matt that it’s really about one core problem. I want my beliefs to be true and justified, and I “decide” what to believe and what to profess to be believed according to methods and standards that reliably arrive at true claims and not false claims. I have seen so many people call in and just flatly disagree with that, and I’m with Matt that the conversation is just over if they cannot even agree to have a discussion where we agree to only argue for justified true things and not argue for unjustified or false things.

    One of my closest friends is like that. In a conversation, it came up, and when I pressured him into why he is a catholic, he evaded for a good long while, until he arrived at “because it gives me community”. There’s nothing there. I cannot have a conversation with that. It’s willful delusion and dishonesty, by definition.

  45. Jerry Martin says

    Joe Schmoe – please don’t lump all muslims together, or all Palestinians or all Arabs, as anti-Semites or anti-Zionists. That is simply irrational and untrue.

    The Israeli/Palestinian/Arab conflict is political, not religious.

  46. kosk11348 says

    I remember an old interview with a renowned biologist whose name I can’t recall, toss off the quip that ‘if there is a creator of this world, he must be a beetle, since there are over 350,000 species of beetles on earth’…paraphrasing of course!

    When famed naturalist J. B. S. Haldane was asked by a reporter what all his years of studying the natural world had revealed about the Creator, he is said to have replied “an inordinate fondness for beetles.”

  47. joe shmoe says

    Since they whole reason the jews are supposedly entitled to steal that land from the palestinians, I think it’s really unfair to put the blame only on politics. Politics uses religion, but politics alone would not have the entire world on edge with one side trying to keep sand in the hands of brutal invaders.

  48. changerofbits says

    Yes, the conflict in the “holy land” is due to the political divide between those that think tummies are superior eating surfaces and those barbarians that insist on using that ridiculous dinnerware. There are no irrational religious beliefs underlying the rights to land and the particular locations of certain special “domes and walls” that are motivating the political situation.

  49. codemonkey says

    I’ve tried a couple times, and he won’t have any of it. He thinks that the charity done by the church is great, and the child molestation and the AIDS condoms Africa thing is small. Sadly I’m none-too-versed on the overall effects of the whole Catholic Church. I just have by basic substantiated belief that people behave better on average when they don’t have demonstrably false beliefs nor unjustified beliefs. I think the wholesale destruction of basic critical reasoning skills is the biggest evil of the Catholic Church, and all religion and faith in general.

  50. Jerry Martin says

    Yes, religious conflicts often end up political, but the reverse is not true. The Israeli/Palestine conflict is primarily about land, not religion. Some Israeli settlers claim a religious motivation, but the problem is not their religion, it’s the taking of land. That makes it just political.

  51. says

    Good on them. I’m glad that god changed his mind on this one. One might ask why it took so damn long to make such an obvious decision or whether they intend to apologize to the many people who have died as a result of their previous policy, but let’s not poop the party.

    Also, I can’t help but notice that Benny just can’t help but try to frame this in the light of furthering catholic doctrine. See, it’s not actually about saving people. It’s about taking “a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality.”

    But yes, we should give them credit for getting it right this once. One insane, genocidal doctrine down, how many more to go?

  52. Rob says

    If every species was on the ark, then how did Noah prevent the species that feed on wood from causing havoc?

  53. says

    Clearly, there were two arks and the one with the dinosaurs on it was eaten by termites and beavers. Then the beavers swam back to the other ark, carrying the termites on their backs, while the dinosaurs were left to drown.

    See? All perfectly reasonable.

  54. ralph m says

    JBS Haldane, that’s the one! Thanks for that. I knew I was reaching, but I thought his quote made mention of the numbers too, so I guess I added a number I heard elsewhere afterwards.

    If my recollections of the exact quote are sketchy, I hope I am right about the point he seemed to be trying to make by bringing up beetles and the divine creator: man, or humankind now, is not as significant a creature on this planet as we would like to believe we are. If life on Earth was planned by a creator, why would we assume to be created in his image?

    One thing’s for sure, if beetles were capable of envisioning God, he wouldn’t look like us.

  55. ralph m says

    After my unplanned debate on Sunday with a creationist at the local dog park, I have to conclude one thing about attempting to reason with people who hold these beliefs — there is only so far you can go with logic to prove that their beliefs are wrong.

    When you mention the likely millions of species of animals that would have to be gathered to take on the Ark, they come back with — all the fish and sea creatures stayed in the water….and they make no attempt to reconcile the obvious problem of how saltwater and freshwater species survived in the same pool!

    And, they don’t accept a biological definition of ‘species’ as the method to categorize animals. You’ll hear Kent Hovind say that the Genesis story talks about different ‘kinds’, and neither he, nor the JW’s (who I think were the ones who started this argument) will deal with the issue of how one ‘kind’ of an animal could descend into hundreds and hundreds of thousands of different species afterwards.

    Oh, and if it becomes an issue about how Noah and his family fed the animals and shoveled all the crap…well, the animals didn’t have to eat (or shit), while they were on the Ark. And the next question would be: exactly how long did all of the carnivores have to wait for their first meal after the deluge, while those pairs of prey species were able to reproduce enough to supply food and prevent an immediate extinction.

    I even tried to ask this last one about how all of the marsupials managed to migrate to Australia, or all of the island land species managed to walk to their islands where they live today — like the Galapagos Iguanas….maybe Noah had to built little arks for them too!

    It’s a shame that there are seemingly intelligent people walking around believing fairy tales are true. Unlike many atheists here, I don’t get all bent out of shape by all of the people who have a feeling that our world has a purpose and want to believe in a personal creator who is going to be on their side. It’s just a matter of how far these beliefs are taken in dealing with others, and whether they belong to religions that at least make a few upgrades every now and then to try to keep up to date with new evidence.

  56. Jerry Martin says

    As far as I am concerned, these people are free to believe whatever they want. Debating them is fruitless because without scepticism, beliefs are immutable. My problem is when they try to get elected officials to agree with them or to influence our public educational system to ignore science in favor of falsely rationalized beliefs.
    And forcing equal weight for unsubstantiated interpretations versus peer-reviewed evidence-based science is still insidious denial of science. While it might appeal the creationists/intelligent designers, teaching this ignorance, or determining government funding of public efforts based on ignorance and denial of facts is very dangerous for the future of our country.

  57. Runicmadhamster says

    Just out of interest whats so creepy about liking someones smile? There seems nothing wrong it

  58. says

    It’s all context, how you say it, etc. A person might say a thing in perfect innocence that doesn’t get interpreted how they hoped it would. They might mean to be nice but come off unintentionally weird. Just learning usual social cues in life helps most people get around those problems.

  59. codemonkey says

    When that happened, I remember lots of hedging going on. Anyone got a good link for the synopsis? I recall it might have been only for gay prostitutes or something (no chance of baby there). Or am I just misremembering?

  60. JE Hoyes says

    If god created beetles and other creeping things before humans, then it makes sense for him to experiment with 6 legs, wings, 8 legs, webs and however many eyes it takes to see prey and avoid being eaten. That way he could refine the designs and pare critters down to 2 legs, 2 eyes, no wings, no web, internal skeleton etc. but I like the idea of a god being so rubbish at creating things that he sat around making test beetles for years before he got onto squirrels and zebras.

  61. MAtheist says

    Russell, I don’t know if you have an iPad, but this book is also available as an app which includes interactive examples for some of the topics, and animation and narratives throughout.

  62. says

    Although you probably gathered already, it was just your basic western bias. The ones he listed off egypt, greece, rome, babylonians, and assyrians were just the ones that have traditionally affected most of western academic thought and philosophy and such.

  63. jonmilne says

    Hey guys, another debate I’m having, but this one’s actually against someone relatively big, albeit only big enough to warrant a passing mention on RationalWiki’s entry on Potholer54. Anyhow, a search for Ian Juby on FTB yielded nothing, so I figured Juby was due a bashing.

    Anyhow, long story short, Juby’s gotten pissed that I called him out on his crap. Specifically, he believed that evolutionary theory not only had zero impact on medical advancements and science, but also had a detrimental effect that was apparently demonstrable (and he actually cited vestigial organs, junk DNA, and the origin of Planets and the Moon as evidence for his claims… Yeah), and he also tried to use Edwards vs Aguillard as proof that Creationism deserved a place in the classroom, only for me to school him in exactly what the ruling and happenings were in that case, and how it relates to the sealed fate of ID/Creationism in Kitzmiller v Dover, and I gleefully pointed out just how badly ID advocates got completely owned on the stand.

    Well surprise surprise, he threw a tantrum, saying that K v D doesn’t prove anything (convenient, that) and he asserted that the Prosecution’s witnesses lied on the stand (with no evidence for this in the way that there’s evidence that Behe and Bonsell definitely lied on the stand).

    He also got angry because when he asserted that “religious people who believed in theology helped build the foundations of modern science”, I pointed out that such people existed at a time when a) they would have had to have been religious to even receive any form of education, and b) anyone openly atheist and contrary to the Creation story belief would have been killed on the spot, and c) he’s still ultimately relying on both Biblical Inerrancy and the word of people who were ignorant about what science would be able to discover.

    After he finished his tantrum accusing me of dishonesty and willfully peddling false information (I wasn’t) he then linked me to his site which he claimed rebutted my beliefs about evolution, specifically pointing me to Section 5: “More Chimp and Human DNA Stuff” as evidence for his claims. The link is here: As someone who isn’t entirely the best in terms of “scientific” stuff, I’d appreciate any help here with what he claims in that section.

    Much thanks,


  64. kenconviews says


    I am not a genetic guy and I don’t think this other guy is either. I noticed that he posted a lot of different video sites and if I was not sick. I would take the time to watch them all and dig a little deeper myself. I notice at one point he does try to use the watchmaker argument while talking about his robot designing or building. I don’t do that either. I think you main point with this guy is he is coming to conclusions on new things that are being discovered but he automatically just to the ideal that the science community is hiding it’s findings because it conflicts with other findings. He has to remember that the studies will be done again and again once papers have been published and other DNAers check out the findings that have been presented. See, that is the great thing about science. From my understanding of a religious person, basically everything in the bible is moral and true 100%. No questions asked. Many times over, ANYONE can go through the bible and find unmoral acts. I am sure you have heard them all. Science can be wrong and based upon that a model or theory can be and will be changed once the original theory or model is proven to be wrong more than once (not really sure how many times or to what amount before a theory or model is concluded to be incorrect). Science will continue to look for answers and theories and as time go by, the amount that we don’t know may grow greater as we make discoveries of the little things that we don’t know now. Just remember, it took some time to prove to people that the world was not the center of the universe, or the solar system. However, we constantly hear how older societies had knowledge of the stars and calendars that far out weight what we knew just 100 years ago and only now are we catching up to them that lived 3000 BCE. They had religions also that claimed to have the answer how people came to be. Now, time or some meds and back to bed for me…must be my punishment for being a unbeliever and not some micro organism according to religion of the old world.

  65. nathanaelnerode says

    If more of us had studied “rhetoric” in school….

    …unfortunately, a large part of argument, when you have an audience, is not *rational* argument, but sheer manipulation of the audience. Rhetoric is the subject which is supposed to teach people about the dishonest tricks.

  66. nathanaelnerode says

    The religion is the reason they’re picking on the Palestinians rather than (for a historically possible instance) the Ugandans. But I don’t think it would be better if they were picking on the Ugandans.