Hang on, people, don’t look below the fold if you are easily offended. I’m including a horrific photo that was shown on a magazine cover, one that elicited the following reactions from readers:


“I was offended and it made my husband very uncomfortable when I left the magazine on the coffee table”

“Gross, I am sick”

“I had to rip off the cover since I didn’t want it laying around the house”

Are you ready for this?

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Weird items I’ve forgotten to put on my CV

This Neonbubble site is strange and baffling, and now they’ve gone and blown my cover with this biography of a former student.

Her high intelligence and keen insight caught the eye of her Biology professor, PZ Myers, who informed the U.S. Military as the terms of his continued freedom dictated. Gia was abducted and experimented upon for a number of years in an attempt to delve into the secrets within her mind.

I suppose I could be turning over my promising students to top secret government agencies, but I don’t remember this Gia Milinovich. They must be erasing my memories! The bastards!

I must be some kind of purist

Lots of sources are telling me about Pat Robertson’s sudden acceptance of the fact of global warming. I’m sorry, but it’s no cause for rejoicing. He accepts it for the wrong reasons.

This week the heat index, the perceived temperature based on both air temperatures and humidity, reached 115 Fahrenheit in some regions of the U.S. East Coast. The 76-year-old Robertson told viewers that was “the most convincing evidence I’ve seen on global warming in a long time.”

If there’s one broad, overall message I wish everyone would get from this blog and from my teaching, it’s that science isn’t about getting the right answers—it’s about how you arrive at your answers, by verifiable, testable, repeatable methods and logic and good evidence. Deciding that global warming occurs because you’re having a hot, sticky, uncomfortable summer: bad and unscientific. Deciding that global warming occurs because the climate research community has evaluated multiple lines of evidence and documented an anomalous pattern: smart.

I’m sorry, Jake, but while getting the religious right on the side of conservation is a good thing, doing so on the say-so of an incompetent authority like Pat Robertson who uses an anecdote about the weather to justify it is a bad thing. What are we going to do if Colorado has a blizzard in January, and James Dobson uses that to argue that an Ice Age is on the way? Or if Jerry Falwell has a bout of incontinence, so he prophesies great floods?

Cartoon Mormon theology

Jim Lippard has dug up a bizarre animated summary of Mormon theology that was put together by some other religious group to debunk them. I know that at least some bits and pieces of the cartoon are accurate, but I can’t judge the whole thing—I can tell you that religion looks pretty ridiculous when you explain its basic tenets with cheesy animation. Can we get a whole set of these made for Catholicism, Islam, Lutheranism, the Baptists, etc.?

I don’t think it would cost much. From the look of the Mormon story, maybe $9.99 each.

Here’s a picture of Mormon heaven.


Looks just like Utah.

There’s gall, there’s flaming dishonesty, and then there’s the Discovery Institute

Wow. As reported at the Panda’s Thumb, the DI is puffing up and getting pissy about a misattribution of a quote to one of their own. How dare we ‘Darwinists’ promote such blatant falsehoods!

Today there is another urban myth building up a head of steam, and being helped along by Darwinists, about Discovery Fellow Paul Nelson. Gaurdian reporter Karen Armstrong reports: ‘Great shakings and darkness are descending on Planet Earth,’ says the ID philosopher Paul Nelson, ‘but they will be overshadowed by even more amazing displays of God’s power and light.’ And yet this is pure rubbish because Nelson never said anything like this, and it turns out that Armstrong never even interviewed him. Nelson points this out in his letter to the Guardian demanding a correction.

Unfortunately for their sense of false outrage, the fact of the matter is that that wicked ‘Darwinist’, Nick Matzke, is the one who actually caught and reported the bogus quote, and called for its retraction. Matzke noted that it didn’t sound like anything Nelson would say out loud, and traced the quote back to a source that doesn’t seem to have any connection to Nelson.

Ooops. That’s what they call ‘helping along an urban myth’ over at the DI?

Note to self: if Rob Crowther is found bleeding in the street, just walk away. He seems to be one of those guys who’ll sue you if you try to give him first aid.

Open minds, rather than sealing them

There’s some new movie out about religious indoctrination, reviewed by David Byrne.

Saw a screening of a documentary called Jesus Camp. It focuses on a woman preacher (Becky Fischer) who indoctrinates children in a summer camp in North Dakota. Right wing political agendas and slogans are mixed with born again rituals that end with most of the kids in tears. Tears of release and joy, they would claim — the children are not physically abused. The kids are around 9 or 10 years old, recruited from various churches, and are pliant willing receptacles. They are instructed that evolution is being forced upon us by evil Godless secular humanists, that abortion must be stopped at all costs, that we must form an “army” to defeat the Godless influences, that we must band together to insure that the right judges and politicians get into the courts and office and that global warming is a lie. (This last one is a puzzle — how did accepting the evidence for climate change and global warming become anti-Jesus? Did someone simply conflate all corporate agendas with Jesus and God and these folks accept that? Would Jesus drive an SUV? Is every conclusion responsible scientists make now suspect?)

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