Carnivalia and an open thread … and the return of Cephalart!

Gee, people seem to have slowed in sending me announcements, or it’s a slow summer week, but I only have two carnivals to report: I and the Bird #53 (it’s their second anniversary!) and Friday Ark #147.

The Tangled Bank

I can also say that next week is time for the Tangled Bank, to be held at The Voltage Gate on 18 July. Send links to me or

Go below the fold to comment on anything you want, or to see the recent collection of cephalart (it’s also been a while since I ran one of those.)















  1. bPer says

    I’ve been waiting for an open thread to ask a question. I haven’t seen any disenvowelled comments lately. Have you given up on that practice? How goes the battle against the trolls?

  2. Ben says

    CNN is having a contest, people voting on youtube videos of questions to ask during the democratic candidates’ debate. “How will you (Candidates) appeal to *non* religious voters?” was submitted. It is currently the leading vote-getter but is losing its lead. If you want to see how the candidates would answer that question, please go to:

    and vote for it.

    Original thread was found at:

    Thanks !

  3. says

    The trolls are temporarily in abeyance. The few who persist are caught by the automatic filters and discarded before you even see them. (John A Davison, for instance, tried to post something just yesterday, and was quickly flushed.)

    I hope they’re all getting nice tans at the beach or something.

  4. Niobe says

    That crafted veltopus is so going in my Chris- eeeh, pagan winter solstice tree.

  5. Kimpatsu says

    Hey, PZ, do you like Doctor Who?

  6. bernarda says

    Here is how a wingnut warmonger wimp Matthew Continetti of the Weekly Standard BS deals with science, in this case Carl Sagan. Yes, Matthew,the one that made himself a fool on Cspan.

    First he tries to drive a wedge between current scientists and commentators and Sagan.

    “The current crop of atheist books — Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion, Daniel C. Dennett’s Breaking the Spell, Sam Harris’s Letter to a Christian Nation — assumes the most radical materialist view of the universe to be true and charges religion with despoiling all things. These nonbelieving authors hardly engage with the deep spiritual and philosophical traditions that inform the world’s great religions. Instead they wear their boorishness as a badge of pride.

    In such an environment, Sagan’s skepticism comes across as a lukewarm leftover from the Summer of Love.”

    WTF, “inform the world’s great religions”? Matthew goes on,

    “”I would like to suggest that superstition is very simple,” Sagan began. “It is merely belief without evidence.” By “evidence” Sagan meant empirical data verified by experiment and reproducible under various conditions. It is a definition that constricts the boundaries of what might be considered “evidence” of a phenomenon. It’s reductionist in that it removes the possibility of magic and spirit from the world at the outset. Thus it places humanity on an insignificant chunk of rock in a backwater of a commonplace spiral galaxy in an undistinguished area of the cosmos. For Sagan, “God” was just one “hypothesis” among a seemingly infinite number of other hypotheses. “I will attempt to use those skeptical strictures to apply more directly to the more conventional God hypothesis,” he said.”

    WTF II, “It’s reductionist in that it removes the possibility of magic and spirit from the world at the outset.” Matthew is a real card and clueless.

    “Sagan’s Gifford Lectures are filled with such statements. Reading through them, however, you are struck by an odd juxtaposition. Sagan spent the lectures heaping criticism on orthodoxy — but he also spent ample time discussing the search for extraterrestrial life. And here his tone seemed altogether unskeptical. Discussing extraterrestrial intelligence, Sagan said, “We have to be extremely careful.” We must “demand the most stringent and rigorous standards of evidence precisely because we have profound emotional investments in the answer.”

    The phrase “profound emotional investments” is a clue to the paradox underlying Sagan’s Gifford Lectures in particular and his worldview in general. That is because, while he never stated so publicly, Sagan believed in the existence of extraterrestrial life.”

    WTF III. “paradox”? Matthew goes on and on.

    “For atheists such as Richard Dawkins or Daniel Dennett, human noncentrality in the universe is evidence of the absence, the nonexistence, of God. For them, it’s the end of the argument. They stop there. But Sagan wants to replace the sense of wonder and awe at the universe that religion provides with the sense of wonder and awe at the universe that he thinks science provides. He’s substituting one teleology, one metaphysics, with another. It’s nothing less than a new religion.”

    This Matthew Continetti is seen as a rising star of wingnutism.

  7. Tegumai Bopsulai, FCD says


    A VIKING ship made from ice-cream sticks set sail across the Netherlands’ IJsselmeer lake yesterday and its stuntman builder hopes to cross the Atlantic later.

    He needs a crew daring enough to repeat the ancient Viking route to North America via Iceland and Greenland.