I think I’ll spend the rest of the week at home

Too much traveling lately. Today Skatje and I hit the big city for a couple of events.

  • We attended the Minnesota Atheists fundraiser in the morning. Somehow, I ended up volunteering to give a talk to the Minnesota Atheists sometime this summer, and I also volunteered to speak at Lee Salisbury’s Critical Thinking Club. Then I talked to some of the leaders of CASH, and volunteered to be their faculty advisor. I’ve heard that there is this word called “no” in the English language — could someone define it for me please? (Nah, these will all be fun, so it’s OK.)

  • Skatje forced me to take her to the Mall of America. I tried to explain that as a Communist Anarchist, stepping through the doors of that citadel of capitalism might make me burst into flame and shrivel into a smoking heap of bones, but she just thought that would be funny.

  • There was a meeting of the board of the Minnesota Citizens for Science Education, and I volunteered for a committee putting together an event for summer of 2008.

Now I’m very, very tired, and I think I lined up more work for myself for the coming few months. That’s another reason to hide out at home for a while.

George Gilder, Lord of the Adguacyth

I’m off to the Twin Cities again (third time this week!) for a couple of events. Since I’m a cruel, heartless predator who likes to return to the scene of a kill to gloat, though, I thought I’d repost the vicious savagings I gave George Gilder, in The sanctimonious bombast of George Gilder and Gilder: still wailing over his spanking. Gilder, by the way, was a co-founder of the Discovery Institute, and a professional “techno guru” who led many an investor down the path to bankruptcy when the tech bubble collapsed in the 90s. I think he’s well on his way to historical oblivion at this point.

There were a couple of notable things about those posts. They spawned 50-100 comments, which in those days was simply astonishing (now I know that if I write a blank post I can get that many comments). They first sucked in George Gilder’s daughter to protest my brutality, and then George Gilder himself, who just sunk himself deeper in the morass of his own BS. Gilder is the fellow who pompously announced that he had renamed the object of molecular biologists’ study the “Adguacyth”, apparently for “adenine guanine cytosine thymine”. Try googling for that term, or looking in the technical literature; I guess it didn’t take off, since it’s apparently unique to his comments there. Perhaps people who admit to never even taking a single biology course ought to avoid trying to rename major concepts in the field.

Another thing you may notice is that Gilder babbles a bit about Shannon information theory—as a “techno guru”, that sure sounds sophisticated, even though his comments reveal that he doesn’t understand what he’s talking about. What makes it particularly ironic, though, is that nowadays one of the most embarrassingly ignorant mouthpieces for the Discovery Institute is Michael Egnor, who denies the relevance of Shannon information theory. I guess that was another bubble that popped on poor George.

Gilder: still wailing over his spanking


Oh, come on, Boston Globe. They tip-toed around, avoiding naming me or the weblog, but I think everyone here can figure out what they’re talking about.

Yet even Gilder, seemingly a lightning rod for the socioeconomic controversy of the moment, was blistered by the comments posted on a University of Minnesota biologist’s weblog last fall, language so heated Gilder’s daughter felt obliged to rush to his defense.

Awww. Poor baby. They could have at least mentioned the site url! Here’s the article that made George Gilder cry: The Sanctimonious Bombast of George Gilder. It’s too bad they didn’t give that link in the fluff job they wrote for Gilder, because he repeats the same nonsense again, and adds a new set of lies to the mix.

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The sanctimonious bombast of George Gilder


Yesterday, I was reading a good article in the October 2004 issue of Wired: “The crusade against evolution”, by Evan Ratliff. It gives far more column space to the voices of the Discovery Institute than they deserve, but the article consistently comes to the right conclusions, that the Discovery Institute is “using scientific rhetoric to bypass scientific scrutiny.” Along the way, the author catches Stephen Meyer red-handed in misrepresenting Carl Woese (by the clever journalistic strategem of calling Carl Woese), and shows how the DI’s favorite slogans (“Teach the controversy” and “academic freedom”) are rhetorical abuses of the spirit of the ideas behind them. It’s darned good stuff. I should probably say more about the good article, but I’m still picking magma out of my ears after reading a one page insert in the article — a ghastly, ignorant broadside by George Gilder that prompted a personal eruption. I’ve calmed down now, so I can tear it apart more delicately than I might have yesterday.

I’m still a bit peeved at the fool, so I’m going to remonstrate against him first—but maybe later I’ll say more about the Ratliff article.

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So … the Dutch have their crazy Bible nuts, too


What else can you say to this story of a Dutch creationist building a model of Noah’s ark? The story is titled “New Noah’s Ark ready to sail”, but I rather doubt that this goofball project in deranged carpentry is capable of going to sea at all, even though it is only one fifth the size of the silly boat described in the Bible; it’s actually evidence against the accuracy of the old fable, since it should demonstrate the lack of seaworthiness of the ark.

Also, they’re going to fill it with models of animals. No word if they’re also going to stock it with massive quantities of manure that need to be shoveled overboard every day.

More bigotry masquerading as religion

Read Ophelia’s take on the Israeli ‘modesty buses’. Would you believe certain buses in Jerusalem are set aside to make special accommodation for orthodox Jews?

Women are compelled to sit in the back of the bus.

In the back of the bus. I think they need a Jewish Rosa Parks.

The most disingenuous argument in favor of this discriminatory policy is the excuse that not all the buses are ‘modesty buses’ — that all you have to do is wait a little longer at the bus stop and take a different bus that doesn’t enforce the idea that women must be segregated. As a former commuter on an overcrowded bus and subway system, I know how ridiculous that suggestion is. “Separate but equal” is a policy that always emphasizes “separate”, not equality.

That 5 May debate …

Brian Flemming reveals that the godless debaters who will engage the two idiots on 5 May are Brian Sapient and Kelly of the Rational Response Squad. He also mentions that Ray Comfort is planning to bring a banana to the debate. Oh, man, I hope so.

If the debate rolls around to atheist morality (which it probably will) there’s one comment they could make that would discombobulate me, so I hope they stick to the banana. The troubling revelation would be the fact that Karl Rove may be an unbeliever.


I rather doubt that Comfort/Cameron will damn atheists with the litany of “Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and Rove”, but if they do, you know the Bush administration is toast. I was initially taken aback by this revelation from Hitchens, until I read a little further.

I know something which is known to few but is not a secret. Karl Rove is not a believer, and he doesn’t shout it from the rooftops, but when asked, he answers quite honestly. I think the way he puts it is, “I’m not fortunate enough to be a person of faith.”

Oh, so he’s one of those appeaser atheists. That’s all right then, and has nothing to do with me.