Happy Halloween!


I know, it’s not very scary, but here’s something that might strike terror into a few hearts: October 2007 has been Pharyngula’s first million visit month. I remember the first month I broke 300 visitors (Woo hoo! Ten readers per day!) so I find it a little frightening.


  1. Shirley Knott says

    Quite regrettably, this is not a Happy Halloween.
    I really don’t want to hijack the thread or replies, but I have not seen this mentioned elsewhere here. And for some reason, I suspect there are those here who might be interested.
    IIDB (Internet Infidels Discussion Board) is in the process of melting down, rather badly.
    This is incredibly depressing and entirely unhappy making. And scary, too.
    If you’re an IIDB “participant”, and haven’t checked in lately, please do and consider a reasonable response.
    In mourning for past glories,
    Shirley Knott

  2. cm says

    Shirley Knott: I’ll bite. What does “melting down” mean here? And why is it “incredibly depressing and entirely unhappy” and “scary”?

  3. says

    Quick summary from my POV: IIDB now = Atheist UD.

    Im not contributing anymore until the situation is corrected.

  4. Shirley Knott says

    ERV has it in a nutshell.
    Visit the “Elsewhere” section and review.
    And/or visit rantsnraves.org, where most of the ‘dispensed with’ have resurfaced.

    Slightly longer version, many mods and admins have resigned due to some egregious blunders that turned into egregious excessive stalinism on the part of the BoD.
    I wish to make no positive assertion of who is in the right and who is in the wrong here, as it is a complex case on which everyone should make their own judgement.
    But I’ve made mine.

    And it is deeply saddening because IIDB, especially the E&C section, were highlights on the web. Too many valuable contributors have self-banned as a result of the ‘blunders gone wild’ episodes.

    Shirley Knott

  5. Dustin says

    I went down to Hobby Lobby to find an adorable wicker basket and some incredibly tasteful faux autumn vines and leaves to make a centerpiece for the dining room table that also holds squash and gourds.

    What I saw at Hobby Lobby was repulsive — there wasn’t a “Happy Halloween” to be seen. Just generic sayings like “Harvest Blessings” and “Happy Harvest” and “Harvest Greetings”. The Christianists must be stopped in their war on Halloween! I think the first thing we’d ought to do is send “Happy Halloween” cards to Focus on the Family.

  6. says

    I’m not surprised. I used to be a mod at IIDB myself, and resigned long before it was fashionable over the high-handed approach the admins were taking. It was quite clear that the board of directors had no idea what was cooking in the forums, yet they still felt quite comfortable with making surprisingly dictatorial demands with how it should be run.

  7. says

    No TRUE pagan celebrates on October 31.
    Our night is June 23 (or 24]…Midsummer’s eve
    (or April 30…Walpurgisnacht if you prefer)

    by Hermann Sudermann
    (George’s Monologue)

    No, no, dear uncle, not altogether. There I must defend you against yourself. A devout and pious man like yourself, t’was not entire wantonness, your desire to hear something other than religion, and since the Pastor has so eloquently declined, I will give you a toast. For, you see, my dear Pastor, something of the old pagan, a spark of heathenism, is still glowing somewhere within us all. It has outlived century after century, from the time of the old Teutons. Once every year that spark is fanned into flame — it flames up high, and then it is called “The Fires of St. John.” Once every year we have “free night.” Then the witches ride upon their brooms — the same brooms with which their witchcraft was once driven out of them — with scornful laughter the wild hordes sweep across the tree-tops, up, up, high upon the Blocksberg! Then it is, when in our hearts awake those wild desires which our fates could not fulfill — and, understand me well, dared not fulfill — then, no matter what may be the name of the law that governs the world on that day, in order that that one single wish may become a reality, by whose grace we prolong our miserable existence, a thousand others must miserably perish. Part because they were never attainable; but the others, yes, the others, because we allowed them to escape us like wild birds, which, though already in our hands, but too listless to profit by opportunity, we failed to grasp at the right moment. But no matter. Once every year we have “free night.” And yonder tongues of fire shooting up towards the heavens — do you know what they are? They are the spirits of our dead and perished wishes! That is the red plumage of our birds of paradise we might have petted and nursed through our entire lives, but have escaped us! That is the old chaos, the heathenism within us; and though we be happy in sunshine and according to law, tonight is St. John’s night. To its ancient pagan fires I empty this glass. Tonight they shall burn and flame up high — high — and again high —! [Pause.] Will no one drink to my toast?

  8. Dahan says

    Congratz PZ. 1 million. Unbelievable. With that said, what’s this pic supposed to say to me? That pumpkins are related to monkeys or something? Well I’m no pumkin’s uncle twice removed…or whatever…

  9. Patrick says

    Whenever I read stuff about “true paganism” like the preceding comment, I reflect on how the Christians exterminated most pagan religions, and I think that maybe the Jesus freaks actually had the right idea for once.

  10. says

    Congratulations on the numbers, PZ. That’s over 30,000 visitors a day.

    I’m on one per cent of that, but climbing. The psychological change, I found, came when a friend apologised for not reading for a few months, and I realised I wasn’t that bothered, because people I actually physically knew were less than ten per cent of the people reading.

    But your results are something else. It just goes to show, people are hungry for intelligent science, well presented.

    Another big plus is that half your new readership will then wander off and explore the other Science blogs.

  11. bernarda says

    A feather in the cap of Minnesota. Here is a factoid.

    “The observance of Halloween, which dates back to Celtic rituals thousands of years ago, has long been associated with images of witches, ghosts, devils and hobgoblins. In the United States, the first official citywide Halloween celebration occurred in Anoka, Minn., in 1921. Over the years, Halloween customs and rituals have changed dramatically. Today, many of the young and “young-at-heart” take a more light-spirited approach. They don scary disguises or ones that may bring on smiles when they go door-to-door for treats or attend or host a Halloween party.”


  12. Dustin says

    I’ve never read anything at IIDB, but a quick look has revealed:

    1) Drama.
    2) This moronic thread, which does at least offer some insight regarding the origins of those wikipedia entries that make my head bleed.

  13. says

    A Million! That’s incredible. I can imagine your email must be prodigious too. How do you maintain any semblance of a day job? C’mon, fess up. You have PZ helpers write the blog, or teach the classes, right? Little elves? Morris is really the North Pole?

    As for IIDB, as best I can tell, it seems to have started with a banning of EverLastingGodStopper (a/k/a Janice Rael, who I met once when she testified before the state subcommittee on education in Harrisburg). She was a good mod. I can’t figure out what she did to get banned, however. Anyone want to give it to us in a nutshell, so I don’t have to read through hundreds of posts?

  14. raven says

    Not seeing much of anything about the fundie war on Halloween this year. Guess they must have given up and are finding some other way to try and oppress everyone else.

    Maybe one of them will read the Old Testament and launch a war on clams and lobsters or something. There is always something for the wackos to rally around.

  15. says

    I think biologists should dress up as Michael Behe for Halloween, or if they want to be REALLY scary, maybe as Kent Hovind.

    I try to post comments on Uncommon Descent when I have something I just can’t bear not saying. The idiocy of comparing a game of cards to genetics just baffles me. I have done what I could there as a religion professor, but I bet some biologists could really give them a scary Halloween! :)

  16. dogmeatIB says

    Obviously PZ has gotten cocky and complacent. Look at the paltry fair for us to read and discuss today… tsk, tsk.

    Also, the Monkey + pumpkin are proof positive that evolution is false. If not, you’d have a Pumpkey, half monkey, half Pumpkin, also, if it were possible, why are there still monkeys and pumpkins? huh? huh? See, the presence of both is proof!!!

  17. Dustin says

    It is the solemn duty of atheists everywhere to KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MONKEY AND AN APE.

    That is all.

  18. says

    Congrats on the million visits in a month milestone, PZ! I was gonna get all jealous, but then I saw the part about the humble beginnings, and am being inspired instead.

  19. CortxVortx says


    Oh! For a moment, I thought that was John Wilkins.

    Not silver enough, let along the different species thing.

    — CV

  20. mathyoo says

    It is the solemn duty of atheists everywhere to KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MONKEY AND AN APE.

    yeah, but “monkey” is a much funnier word than “ape”.

  21. says

    Congratulations, PZ!

    You know, though, you sure know how to depress a guy, though. Here I was, getting ready to pat myself heartily on the back in a few days over (1) topping 120,000 visits in October (only the second time I’ve ever achieved that) and (2) being on the verge of reaching my 2,000,000 visit a little more than 9 months after hitting my first million mark (which, by the way, took 2 years, 1 month, an 11 days to reach).

    Ah, well, so it goes. I guess I’ll just keep quiet from here on out…

  22. Suze says

    Dustin — Atheists don’t let atheists shop at Hobby Lobby. They close during my prime shopping time (Sunday, preferably AM) to allow their staff to worship. Says so right on the hours sign. I don’t go to Chik-Fil-A for the same reason. If I can’t get what I need while the Baptists are all out of my way, then they can keep whatever they’re selling.

  23. says

    Having been involved with Internet Infidels in one capacity or another for nearly 6 years now (a couple years moderating BCH, followed by the last several years serving on the editorial committee for the secweb kiosk) I can say I spend very little time at the boards anymore. That being said there have been various controversies over the years and yet II and IIDB always manage to survive. Every so often there is a mass exodus of some segment of users who object to this or that action by management which results in a splinter forum or some such. IIDB will survive this and II in general will continue to serve a valuable purpose on the web IMHO. Given my nearly nonexistant participation on the boards for some time I have no idea what the quality of discussions has been of late but it looks to be roughly what it has always been…some worthwhile; some not. For those who like the boards fear not this too shall pass. My own discussion forum has had similar controversies over the years and has likewise survived for more than 10 years now. It is perhaps worth noting that with a user base the size of IIDB’s it is impossible to satisfy everyone so the group of entirely volunteer staff does their best.

  24. Dustin says

    Sunday mornings are for fornication and gluttony.

    Oh hey, I’m making a Paul Krendler Jack o’ Lantern. If it turns out alright, I’ll put some pictures up when I’m done.

  25. Dustin says

    Some awesome vandalism from that article:

    [Hannibal] kidnaps Krendler, drugs him, and performs a craniotomy upon him. Lecter and a drugged Starling then feast upon the brains of the alive-but-delicious Krendler.

  26. says

    Not to rain on your parade PZ, but I think at least a few of those million were repeat visitors.

    He did write visits and not visitors!

  27. Ross Nixon says

    1 million visits per month! Congratulations.
    Must have received a boost from all the born-again Christians who read this site to have a laugh. ;-)

  28. bernarda says

    Ross Nixon is involuntarily funny. Has anyone ever known any xian, much less a born-again, who has a sense of humor?

    What would Jeebus laugh about?

  29. mothra says

    I just could not tell from the picture which one was our elected president. One has a hollow head, the other cannot speak. One million visitors- spectacular! Of course that’s only .00017 of the worlds population, or, as many Collembola as one would expect from 10 square meters of humus, or… everything in proportion but this is a great achievement. Congrats.

  30. says

    I presume the accompanying photo is Pharyngula’s millionth visitor of the month, but I saw no biographical data. Nice looking fellow, though. (I can confirm it’s not me. Pretty sure, anyway.)

  31. Bechamel says

    I just could not tell from the picture which one was our elected president. One has a hollow head, the other cannot speak.

    Obviously, the POTUS is the Pumpkey mentioned in #27. Ergo, Dubya has just proven evolution.

  32. Geral says

    I have no idea how you keep this blog updated a few times a day while holding down a professor position and doing research.

    Congrats, its a big increase from this time last year.

  33. dogmeatib says

    yeah, but “monkey” is a much funnier word than “ape”.

    Precisely!!! Also Pumpkey is much funnier than Pape … downright boring. Hmmm, we had Grapeape … Papeape? Nah … I guess I’m just loopy after two days of conducting state testing. Bored out of my freakin’ mind, too busy to get any constructive work done, but not enough work to actually keep my mind 1% active. I’m so brain-dead UD and the DI are starting to make a little sense … nahhhh!

    Actually, despite my joke earlier about becoming complacent, which was really a desperate plea for something to do today, congrats PZ!

  34. The Librarian says

    It is the solemn duty of atheists everywhere to KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MONKEY AND AN APE.
    That is all.


  35. Ichthyic says

    Earnings Report for http://www.uncommondescent.com/
    The following report outlines traffic levels received by the submitted URL, overviews sources of potential income, and proposes a resale value of the site based on these factors.

    Your site is valued at: $2,826


    still overvalued.

  36. Coogan says

    Heh. And now I find ALL of scienceblogs.com (not just PZ) is blocked at work, for me. So, take away a couple three visits a day. (Damn!) I needed to get stuff done, anyway.

  37. says

    Jimi– Um, no. Its not just stupid internet drama that will be resolved when people cool off (ie the original Fr*me Fiasco at SciBlogs). Its not a matter of ‘keeping everyone happy.’ ‘The Board’ is running IIDB straight into the ground, and there is nothing those of us who care about the IIDB community can do about it.

    It started out as usual internet drama, with a very strange banning of a popular *user*. Then a certain Admin started acting like DaveScot, and huge numbers of threads/posts were deleted, posters banned for saying ‘Huh?’, and now leaked letters from ‘The Board’ are revealing their true feelings about IIDB, and now we’re probably going to wake up tomorrow and half of IIDB will be gone (oh, and all cleverly timed for after ‘The Board’ asked *users* for $10K).

    Look it up if you give a shit about the IIDB community and what its provided to countless of atheists over the years.

  38. says

    mothra in #44 quoth:

    I just could not tell from the picture which one was our elected president. One has a hollow head, the other cannot speak.

    Is the pumpkin the one that can speak?

  39. says

    Hearty congratulations, Prof Myers! With work and meetings and such, I missed reading this yesterday so you even made the goal without my usual couple of clicks per day.

    It’s a pleasure to write under the same masthead with you – you set a high bar for us all.

    And hell, I’ll shamelessly hijack your little celebration to point out the pharmacological origins of witches riding broomsticks over at my homestead.

    Here’s to another million!