carnivalia, and an open thread

Instead of watching the vote swinging back and forth, why not read these fine carnivals? Or perhaps emit random comments?

The Tangled Bank

The next Tangled Bank will be at Salto Sobrius on Wednesday, 20 December—send your links to Martin Rundkvist,, or me by Tuesday.


  1. Gary Bohn says

    Emit random comments eh? OK.

    A few years ago I told that youngster J. Wilkins that I wanted to be just like him when I grow up. I later modified that, after reading a few of your treatments of anti-evolutionists, to wanting to be just like you when I grow up (I’m sure that revelation tortured Wilkins. He didn’t say a thing when he learned, brave man that he is (I seem to remember him wanting to be just like you when he finally grows up but my memory isn’t what it used to be)).

    Now I’m not so sure. For a short time and after reading your daughter’s blog I thought I might want to be just like her when I grow up but decided my wife might not like that too much.

    It appears that Phil Plait is about to kick your butt so I’ve decided to be just like him when I grow up. Sorry to disappoint you so, but that’s selection for you…

  2. Shawn S. says

    Start praying to St. Isidore, the patron saint of the internet, PZ, and you might win this one…


  3. Steve Watson says

    Start praying to St. Isidore, the patron saint of the internet, PZ, and you might win this one…
    …or maybe St. Jude? ;-)

  4. FishyFred says

    General question: What’s the closest you’ve ever come to having a professor who took advantage of tenure to teach whatever the hell he/she felt like? I just finished an unbearable economics class that wasn’t an economics class.

  5. Grumpy says

    Steve “Carpetblogger” Benen catches Bill O’Reilly inquiring into the nature of the sexes:

    …on Fox News last night, Bill O’Reilly asked “why,” if children suffer no psychosocial deficit from being raised by same-sex parents, “wouldn’t nature then make it that anybody could get pregnant by eating a cupcake?”

    So, Mister Smarty Pants Professor, why not?

  6. Pharyngula fan says

    Well done on your win!! Blog Award winner is Pharyngula! now you don’t have to be in that calendar – that and the stupid competitiveness was the biggest turn off, to be frank. Since you were leading well before all that challenge crap started, only makes sense that you won in the end. So congrats.

  7. impatientpatient says

    Just got my most recent Macleans mag this week and in it was this little gem, “Born to Believe”. My favorite quote so far is this one:

    But the meditating atheist did not exhibit the same, instead achieving his transcendental state by concentrating on breathing. Newberg suspects that his subject, by meditating on an image of God without believing in him, created a cognitive dissonance that prevented his frontal lobes from fully engaging.

    I would so like to know your thoughts on this. I know what mine was- coffee was coming out of my nose and I immediately thought of you all here.

    I wonder why the Pentecostals, who had no increased pre-frontal activity were not suspected of cognitve dissonance as well…..

  8. llewelly says

    .on Fox News last night, Bill O’Reilly asked “why,” if children suffer no psychosocial deficit from being raised by same-sex parents, “wouldn’t nature then make it that anybody could get pregnant by eating a cupcake?

    If children suffered psychosocial deficit from being raised by same-sex parents, wouldn’t nature make it impossible to get pregnant by artificial insemination? Wouldn’t nature terminate pregnancy if the man wasn’t sticking around to raise the child? Strangely, these things don’t happen.

    If nature gave fuck-all about the psychosocial deficit of children – or anyone else – people would reflexively change the channel every time O’Reilly appeared on TV. In addition, the offending broadcaster would be pounded with outraged phone calls.

    It is humans (with noted exceptions like O’Reilly and the perpetrators of Faux News) who care about the well-being of other humans. Nature does not care. Nature did not shed a single tear for the medieval and Renaissance plague outbreaks that sometimes killed up to 1/3 of Europe, it did not mourn the ~190,000 deaths of the Boxing Day Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004, and it did not wince when Katrina drowned New Orleans and pulverized Mississippi. Nature is incapable of caring.

    But O’Reilly’s fundamental error is to assume Design, which there is overwhelming evidence against. Once the question is re-phrased in the context of evolution, it becomes obvious that a mutation enabling oral impregnation is unlikely, and would confer little if any reproductive advantage, while the other way remains open.

  9. bernarda says

    I am not convinced that Bill O’Reilly believes very much what he says on his program. It seems to me that he is playing a role for his audience and has found an easy way to make a living. In other words, he is only in it for the money.

    He attended London University(he seems now embarrassed by that), and he got degrees from Boston University and Harvard. So he is far more educated than the great majority of his viewers.

    ON another subject, here is the case of a “progressive” who lambasts Richard Dawkins while apparently not understanding anything.

    An example of Lakshmi Chaudry’s prose, and it gets worse,

    “As his rabbinical nemesis rightly suspects, Dawkins’ fondness for sweeping generalizations reflects his own deep-seated fundamentalism, a virulent form of atheism that mirrors the polarized worldview of the religious extremists it claims to oppose. “They condemn not just belief in God, but respect for belief in God. Religion is not just wrong; it’s evil,” writes Gary Wolf in his Wired Magazine cover story”

  10. AdamK says

    I feel like I’ve gone through an initiation of sorts – when I came out of the mall today, I found a “Tony Alamo Christian Ministries” newsletter on my windshield. Has anyone else seen this? It was basically about how the world is going to end soon in a series of horrific events, and how much God hates the followers of false religions. (It didn’t say anything about atheists, so I guess I’ll be okay.)

    I don’t often encounter this level of kookdom in real life, so it made for some amusing reading before I tossed it. I especially liked this line: “Young men and women, knowing nothing of truth or reality, will be planning vain careers and college educations, or planning other aspects of their lives in a variety of other empty and unrewarding ways.”

    Methinks someone’s afraid that his bullshit will fall apart if any of his readers do something radical like get educated.