Florida is for wankers


Greg Laden, that romantic evolutionary gastronome has several good posts on the mess in Florida (and, by the way, here’s a map if you’re having trouble keeping track of all those counties). These are documents produced by the activist creationists down there, and they really reveal how inept and uneducated these wankers are.

First is a letter from Bill Foster, the city council member who has mayoral aspirations despite his lack of a brain. It does drone on, but here are a few choice excerpts.

Throw in the case that there is still no fossil record or evidence to support Darwin, and all you have left is a theory. If evolution were true, then there should be countless numbers of transitional forms (e.g., 100% reptile; 75% reptile-25% bird; 50% reptile- 50% bird; 25% reptile – 75% bird; 100% bird and many transitional forms between each of those). Our science labs and museums are loaded with fossils, and yet, none support Mr. Darwin.

We have great stony piles of transitional fossils — what kind of argument is this, that when someone brings up all the evidence, the other just simply denies it away? We shouldn’t take seriously someone so obtusely ignorant. We even have transitional forms for birds. Unfortunately, though, we will never have a complete, generation by generation fossil sequence for events that took place over tens or hundreds of millions of years; but one can’t just reject a theory because the evidence isn’t perfect.

But of course the evidence in our labs and museums supports evolution — that’s why the people who work in labs and museums tend to accept evolution. Again, it’s simply bizarre how Foster simply asserts his denial and ignores the actual state of affairs. Is this the kind of man St Petersburg wants for a chief executive?

None of Darwin’s theories can be replicated or proven in a laboratory, and yet, by blind faith, many still believe in evolution. The Religion of Darwin is the only one accepted in the public school, and the time has come to change that fact. Some people think that I am misguided to believe in the Genesis account of creation. I happen to share a similar view about people who believe that all species evolved or morphed from a single cell. The beautiful thing about this country is that we all have a right to believe in whatever we choose. I may disagree with your science fiction, and you may disagree with my Bible, but we should be free to discuss each others theories, and none should be excluded form the dialogue Such discourse is not a violation of the Constitution, but rather is encouraged by the First Amendment.

Ho hum. Theories aren’t replicated or proven; this is simply a complete lack of comprehension of the language of science. Evolution is not a religion. It’s a description of the world and how it works.

The rest is just paranoia. No one is knocking on Foster’s door and telling him what he is or is not allowed to think; no one is restricting the discussion of crazy religious ideas (look at this blog! I’m a loud and persistent biologist, and we talk about this crap all the time!), and no one is saying what anyone else is allowed to believe. This is an argument about what people can think and talk about at all — it’s about what is appropriate for the classroom, about what works, about what is sufficiently well supported by the evidence that we can reach an objective consensus. What an ignorant yahoo can rant about is not the same as what should be taught in a science class.

Another item that seems to be circulating among the Florida fire-and-brimstone crowd is the Grubbs and Gibbs memorandum. It’s painful to read: it’s a long, overblown document in pretentious legalese that purports to justify the teaching of creationism in the classroom, and it goes through the various Florida science standard benchmarks in agonizing detail, fussing over various words and occasionally tossing out grand pronouncements about biology. It’s hard to take it seriously when the clowns who wrote it persist in using “specie” as the singular of “species”.

The whole thing is a string of descriptions of complex biological concepts by a pair who don’t understand word one of the idea. Your jaws will all drop at this one little jewel of pomposity dropped near the end:

A worldview addresses, not only the field of science, but the philosophical purview of how to identify the four components of reality. The problem here is that Florida’s science standards now force upon students only one of several potential interpretive worldview systems without providing any, philosophical instruction as to how students may evaluate and distinguish between the various worldviews that inform and identify the four components of reality—god, life, matter and time.

There are precisely four components of reality? But their list leaves out energy! And it includes this nonexistent entity they call “god”! And life is actually just a special case of matter — should it be included? I’m so surprised that they left out Jesus and the Holy Ghost, too.

Look, they’re just making stuff up. That isn’t science, it isn’t even philosophy…it’s just two ideologues in a mutual masturbation session.

Comments

  1. says

    “…the four components of reality–god, life, matter and time”

    Not all Christians share that interpretation. The traditional classification is “God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and gays-are-evil”.

  2. says

    Can’t we just start hitting these people? I mean, like really hard?

    I don’t know if it’ll help ’em learn anything, but it would do wonders for my ulcer.

  3. Anne Nonymous says

    This is an argument about what people can think and talk about at all

    I assume you mean this isn’t an argument about what peole can think and talk about…

  4. says

    Just throw Donald Prothero’s latest book at them. If it doesn’t knock some sense into them, it will do some damage. Either way it’s a satisfying feeling.

  5. Richard Harris says

    …four components of reality–god, life, matter and time.

    The fools probably think this is the Xian version of the four heathen elements – earth, air, fire, & water.

  6. says

    PZ and Pharyngula readers might be interested in the newest issue of the journal Mind & Language, which apparently starts off with a paper (written by a philosopher, not a biologist) claiming — get this — that natural selection cannot explain the phenotypic traits seen in populations of organisms. What this has to do with “mind” and “language” I can’t fathom, and I have no idea why this journal chose to publish this, but on the plus side, most of the rest of the journal (particularly the next article) includes rebuttals of this paper.

  7. says

    If there is a Religion of Darwin then I want tax exemption!

    Please, I’m going to start a gay sex cult–The rituals will be a blast, the laying on of hands being the least of them.

    All that and tax exemption. Now, to get some funders so that when one of the local parish churches goes up for sale….

  8. says

    Next time one of these fuckwits bring up the ‘lack of transitional fossils’, insist on seeing the bones of every ancestor of theirs all the way back to Adam and Eve. When they can’t, brain ’em with the second densest object in sight (the first densest will be, of course, their head.)

    Sorry about all the violent imagery, but I watched There Will Be Blood on Saturday, and I’m afraid it’s given me some ideas.

  9. Bobby says

    what kind of argument is this, that when someone brings up all the evidence, the other just simply denies it away?

    Argumentum contra factum

  10. says

    …four components of reality – god, life, matter and time.
    This seems to me to be even more ignorant then the denial of evolution. From their own perspective, God is the source of life and ‘death’ is a separation from God so how can it be a ‘component’. With that in mind it’s an abstraction on either side of the ‘argument’. It’s being with God on one side and it’s a specific set of interactions of matter and energy on the other side.

    So his list of reality comprises of an invisible friend, being in that same invisible friends presence, things that are solid and the past. As you mention where is energy? I also want to know why time is important enough to mention yet the ‘physical’ dimensions are neglected?

  11. gizmo says

    …and identify the four components of reality–god, life, matter and time.

    What, no earth, air, fire, and water?

  12. Dunc says

    the four components of reality–god, life, matter and time.

    Wow. I think we may be approaching a full 1.0 Timecube rating.

  13. mothra says

    Can global warming come soon enough?? Florida biology classes should emphasize the unique aspects of the Floridian endemic flora and fauna- bring the message home that evolution occurs in their very own backyards. When Florida finally sinks beneath the waves we’ll loose one interesting endemic Bess beetle and a lot of creationists. I LIKE the beetle.

    The journal article is amazing in that changes in gene frequencies of populations have been SOP lab exercises in biology classes for more than a generation now.

    You just can’t make this stuff up. [falls over, is covered by sediment, in later uncovered from Florissant, Colorado shale with wings perfectly preserved]. Hell, there’s even transitional fossil butterflies fer god sake.

  14. Mystic Olly says

    For #2;

    Species is a loan-word from the Latin 5th Declension noun species (pl. speciei).

    So even though it looks like a plural it is a singular and in English as a naturalised loan-word (ie we don’t italicise it when we use the word in print) the singular and plural forms are the same.

    Of course, my shaky Latin knowledge from 10 years past may well be flawed and I would appreciate it if a commenter could set me straight if I have erred.

    Olly

  15. Anon says

    Just as the ancients needed a fifth element–quintessence–to bridge the gap between mere matter and living things, this new component analysis is missing a key element, required in order to make the other four make sense of it all.

    I call it ignorance.

  16. Bill Dauphin says

    If there is a Religion of Darwin then I want tax exemption!
    Please, I’m going to start a gay sex cult–The rituals will be a blast, the laying on of hands being the least of them.

    I was thinking something similar recently: I was listening to Susie Bright’s audible.com podcast In Bed, and she was talking about a private swingers’ party in (you guessed it) Texas that had been shut down by local bluenoses on the grounds that it was a sexually oriented business (because the hosts collected donations to cover the cost of food and drink). It occurred to me that if they called themselves a church (and really, how is swinging any more bizarre as a spiritual ritual than symbolic cannibalism?), they could not only skirt the law that shut them down, but also get a whopping tax exemption. The hosts’ house would become both church and rectory, and would therefore be exempt from all property tax!

    Seriously, I wonder if one way to attack religious tax preference might not be reductio ad absurdum: Claim then on behalf of… shall we say “nontradtitional”… churches, and do it so aggressively that folks are forced to recognize how unfair the tax exemptions are. Does anyone know if local Pastafarian groups have formed real-world churches and pressed tax claims?

    There need be nothing dishonest or disingenuous here: Rev. Freelove of the First Church of Abundant Sexual Life need not claim to believe in any god, nor to falsely support the idea of tax preference. He need only tell the inevitable reporters, “We’re just a group of people who come together to celebrate our shared beliefs, just like any other group of worshippers. Frankly, I think it’s ridiculous that any such group should get special status, but those are the rules and we’re happy to live by the rules.”

  17. Shawn Smith says

    It’s been a while since I’ve seen the movie, but I thought the fifth element was played by Milla Jovovich.

  18. mothra says

    @19. I was expecting ‘putrescence’ but ignorance truly does make their world go-round. No, wait, the SUN goes around their world- which is flat anyway. [Hopelessly signs off and heads home to continue reading ‘Endless Forms most Beautiful’].

  19. says

    Bill,
    only if i get to be the god. I’m a skinny, mediocre-looking, intellectual gay man who refuses to go to the gym. I want to be the god for once.

  20. June says

    1. Carbon Dioxide cannot be a pollutant because we exhale it. Do you think God created polluters?

    2. It was a cold day in New York today. So much for Global Warming, folks.

    Two gems from (Floridian) Rush Limbaugh’s radio show. That’s the kind of logic Florida is headed for!

  21. giscindy says

    I just sent an email letting Greg know he needs to update the map to include Madison county. Our local paper carried the resolution to teach ID on the front page last Wednesday and depressingly I’m sure it will pass.

  22. Bill Dauphin says

    I’m a skinny, mediocre-looking, intellectual gay man who refuses to go to the gym.

    And your name begins with J!

    I want to be the god for once.

    You’re hired! We’ll have biscuits as our ritual meal.

    Just one thing: Is there room in Your Kingdom for those of us who prefer straight sex? Or must we have schism before we’re even truly founded? ;^)

  23. Paul Schofield says

    Four components? Translating his into physics speak;

    Space-time, energy/matter… life and mythology? Nah.

    I see two basic components, one emergent property of the two and a second emergent property of the third.

  24. says

    Just one thing: Is there room in Your Kingdom for those of us who prefer straight sex? Or must we have schism before we’re even truly founded? ;^)

    As long as you recognize the pleasure in it and don’t demote it to mere reproduction (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

  25. says

    As long as you recognize the pleasure in it and don’t demote it to mere reproduction (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

    Oof, I’ve had a few experiences in the sack that I wouldn’t like to reproduce.

  26. croor says

    i was surprised to read (in the last comment) that the authorities stopped people from doing something in private. i used to think america was a place where atleast people’s privacy was respected.

  27. natural cynic says

    With those four components of reality, I wonder where they would put satan? Surely they are not denying his reality.

  28. Michael says

    “The problem here is that Florida’s science standards now force upon students only one of several potential interpretive worldview systems”
    I can’t help but wonder which “worldview system” they would like taught. I’m assuming they just want to legitimize teaching Xian creationism, but what about the other 4999 creation myths? Most schools already cover a fair amount on Greek stories, and I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing more taught on the Norse creation myths. Why should they be left out? I mean if we’re going to dedicate class time to teaching different “worldviews.” Now there is going to be a lot of information to cover now, and I’m not entirely sure that the current course title will be fitting. That said, if we’re going to make all of these changes to the course we should change the name of the class as well, so as to reflect the lessons more clearly. Perhaps we could go with something along the lines of World Philosophy. Now with these changes, we’re not going to have enough time to properly discuss the Darwinian “worldview.” Not a problem though, we’ll simply rectify this by making a separate course to cover that information. Now, this new class will also need a simple and descriptive name, so people know what they’re getting into. Hmm… maybe something like, introductory Biology? Yeah, I like that — it has a nice ring to it. Anyway, I think this simple little suggestion should solve this debate once and for all. This way, people get to learn about the different ideals and religions of the world, without taking away from science education. It wouldn’t even bother me if they wanted to make a religion or philosophy class required. I think the topics can be very interesting, and if nothing else, may give students some exposure to different cultures.
    -Michael B

  29. Martha says

    It’s hard to take it seriously when the clowns who wrote it persist in using “specie” as the singular of “species”.

    Ooooooh, that’s the problem! You’re talking about biology and they’re talking about coins. All this time they were arguing that money was designed by an intelligent creator. I can see why they though it was a god that did it, some idiot put “In God We Trust” on them.

  30. Bill Dauphin says

    i used to think america was a place where atleast people’s privacy was respected.

    America is; any particular town or neighborhood in America, not so much.

    “America” is an abstraction that tends, in some people’s minds, to fade when faced with the fact that “those perverts” are parking their cars all up and down the street. I’m not sure NIMBY is uniquely American, but it sure is prevalent here.

    Lord Jeff:

    As long as you recognize the pleasure in [straight sex] and don’t demote it to mere reproduction

    Hey, the less connected to reproduction, the better, IMHO! Sexual hedonists, unite!!

  31. says

    Olly says:

    Species is a loan-word from the Latin 5th Declension noun species (pl. speciei).

    So even though it looks like a plural it is a singular and in English as a naturalised loan-word (ie we don’t italicise it when we use the word in print) the singular and plural forms are the same.

    My shaky Latin knowledge is older than yours (and I haven’t looked it up), but as I understand it:

    1. 5th declension nouns’ (res, dies, species) nominative plural looks the same as the singular (so the plural is species, not speciei, which looks like a genitive singular form to me). Same in English: one species, many species.

    2. Other naturalized loan-words have singular and plural forms: crepe, crepes; taco, tacos; etc. Again, the reason “species” is the plural of “species” is that that’s how it is in Latin. That or because no-one wants to say “specieses”.

  32. Bill Dauphin says

    A swinger’s club that has a rectory?

    There’s nothing worse than a missed opportunity for double-entendre, eh? Thanks for (you should pardon the expression) plugging the hole. ;^)

  33. Rachel I. says

    What was it Orson Scott Card said in his Secular Humanist Revival Meeting? “What they want is for every creature that’s ever lived to lay down on top of his daddy to die — and even then they’d say they was only cousins!”

    Unholy sieve-brains, these guys… Did they sleep through Archaeopteryx, or have they heard about it but are just THAT deep in denial and lies to ignore it?

  34. says

    Hey, the less connected to reproduction, the better, IMHO! Sexual hedonists, unite!!

    Just remember, sexual pleasure is not just a benefit, it’s a responsibility. Don’t just take…give.

  35. says

    What was it Orson Scott Card said in his Secular Humanist Revival Meeting? “What they want is for every creature that’s ever lived to lay down on top of his daddy to die — and even then they’d say they was only cousins!”

    What does that even mean?!

    what an empty world they live in.

  36. says

    Between stuff like this business in Florida and the new House Resolution 888, I’m beginning to think that there is no turning back the tide. This movement will have to burn itself out, and that will take years. Perhaps decades. And the United States will suffer until its over.

    These people are incapable of assimilating new information. They are incapable of learning. They are incapable of recognizing when they are wrong. They have utter confidence that they are right because they know God is on their side. Losing court cases like the one at Dover doesn’t matter to them. They simply adjust tactics and keep pushing.

    The cognitive dissonance is profound. There was a bit on Bill Maher the other day in which one of his staffers visits South Carolina. He reports that many people there have decided that it’s time for change in the White House, and what they need now is a man with solid Christian credentials as president. They fact that they’ve had precisely that for eight years doesn’t seem to register.

    Explaining that the separation of church and state is for their own protection is a complete non-sequitur to them. These people will have to learn their lessons the hard way, and only after many more years of wrecking their own country will they finally understand. They won’t stop otherwise.

    That’s the view from my vantage point from here in Montreal. If a Republican — especially Huckabee — wins the next US election, the push for theocracy in the US will accelerate. If a Democrat wins, the theocrats will simply bide their time.

  37. Tim says

    The current issue of The Atlantic has an interesting article on how education and religion became unhappily fused at the reptile brain. It maintains that America’s educational system is deeply flawed mostly because it isn’t centrally funded or administered, but is left in the hands of innumerable school board members. Further, the article says that this state of affairs came about because in their headlong rush across the continent, Americans tended to carry their religion with them and then open schools that favored those traditions. Americans, therefore, grew up with the idea that schools were not really secular institutions at all, but actually extensions of the parental religious persuasion. If that’s so, then it would explain not only why school boards seem obliged to push their faith on the tots, but also why their constituents don’t complain.

    When we see school boards across the country still playing chicken with the Federal courts and the Constitution, it almost makes me wish the feds would take over the schools. But then I remember what Bush and Cheney would likely push onto the curriculum, and I change my mind. At least now the insanity is fragmented and can be picked off more easily.

  38. Classicsgirl says

    Olly:

    As someone who studies Latin and Greek for a living, DaveM is correct. In Latin the nominative singular and plural of species is the same (along with the accusative plural). Speciei is the genitive and dative singular.

  39. Rick Schauer says

    Would it be nutty to imagine if all atheists and scientist who believe in evolution take a day or two off “monthly” to protest and enlighten those who believe in this xtian/muslem crap.

    Enforce write essays, make tv appearances and march to see these uneducated persons and explain why their 1800 pages of creation, contradiction, ghost worship, hyperboly and drivel just don’t add up.

    Think about shutting down Dow Chemical, Siemens, etc, etc…think about every company and university doing research based on evolution, geology, etc…we could start this Darwin Day!

  40. says

    Okay, for all the scholarly talk about declinations and genitilia, not a-one of us non-classics majors has any clue as to what you’re all getting at.

    So, for the record, one species, two specieses, right?

  41. Tulse says

    The beautiful thing about this country is that we all have a right to believe in whatever we choose. I may disagree with your science fiction, and you may disagree with my Bible, but we should be free to discuss each others theories, and none should be excluded form the dialogue Such discourse is not a violation of the Constitution, but rather is encouraged by the First Amendment.

    Right, so presumably, since this is only about discourse, dialogue, and the First Amendment, he would be OK with schools teaching both about abstinence and birth control/abortion, traditional marriage and homosexuality — it’s all just about teaching the controversy, right? Let the students decide, right?

    It’s funny how quickly the Religious Right drops their newly-acquired taste for relativism and dialogue when they are supporting the status quo, rather than attacking it. Funny, but sad as well…

  42. says

    …he would be OK with schools teaching both about abstinence and birth control/abortion, traditional marriage and homosexuality….

    Compared to what we have now, that would rock!

  43. Tulse says

    (And #50 is what you get when you try to get cute with DIV tags and Comic Sans — important safety tips kids: preview is your friend.)

  44. Bill Dauphin says

    If a Republican — especially Huckabee — wins the next US election, the push for theocracy in the US will accelerate. If a Democrat wins, the theocrats will simply bide their time.

    I disagree. If Huckabee is the nominee and he loses (especially if he loses by large margins), I think it might permanently fracture the alliance between fundies and secular (or at least not so passionately theist) conservatives… and if he wins, secularism is doomed in this country. Either way, I think the question would have been answered for some time to come.

    If one of the non-fundie candidates gets the Republican nod, it may mean that the alliance with fundies is already weakened. It’s possible that a Repub loss in that scenario might generate a right-wing backlash against “insufficiently Christian” candidates, but I don’t see that as certain.

    The only real answer to the possibility that “the theocrats will simply bide their time” is to do what the Patriots did in the 4th quarter yesterday: Don’t let ’em back on the field ’til the game is over.

  45. says

    I’ve seen the theocrats written off as stooges Reagan used, as done when Pat Robertson lost the R nominationin 1988, when Bill Clinton won the Presidency in 1992, when the public just wouldn’t go along with thinking a blow job was impeachment-worthy, when President Bush flew back from vacation to “save Terry Schiavo”….they just won’t go away. Indeed, they have more institutional power today than they did in the Reagan administration.

  46. ckerst says

    I thought the four components of reality were earth, air, fire and water. Or was just earth wind and fire? No, they kinda sucked. Oh well, I need to go bleed myself to release the evil humors.

  47. says

    …the four components of reality–god, life, matter and time.

    Is there a philosopher around here who can explain to me where this classification comes from?

    I don’t really want to know, I just like annoying philosophers.

    Bob

  48. Bill Dauphin says

    ….[the theocrats] just won’t go away. Indeed, they have more institutional power today than they did in the Reagan administration.

    Yah, but you could’ve said the same thing about Republicans generally as recently as 2006. The thing about absolutists — whether they be secular neocons or theocratic dominionists — is that they tend to overplay their hands, eventually. If the Repubs nominate Huckabee, that just might signal the “overplayed our hand” moment for the fundie theocrats.

    Hey, like the song says: “I can dream, can’t I?”

  49. Lago says

    “”And by ‘traditional marriage’, you mean, of course, polygyny.””

    Hahah…

    I feel like Huxley, as it is rather stupid for me not to have thought of that myself…

  50. raven says

    Between stuff like this business in Florida and the new House Resolution 888, I’m beginning to think that there is no turning back the tide.

    Maybe not. The tide might be going out on the Christofascists.

    1. They own Bush and owned the congress until 2006. Bush’s approval ratings are about the lowest in history. And the theocrats got defeated in droves in the election of 2006.

    2. A recent poll by Bama, an evangelical polling company, showed that 49% of the US population is sick and tired of Xian cultists trying to cram their beliefs down everyone elses throats.

    3. The rise of Militant Atheism. You hear a lot about Death Cult Xianity these days. You also hear a lot about atheism.

    There is a backlash right now. As to how strong it is, we will just have to wait and see.

    If they win, they will eventually lose anyway. They are pushing intolerance, lies, ignorance, and conformity to views most Americans have rejected. Their one way ticket back to the Dark Ages isn’t going to be popular.

    Unfortunately by the time they lose, our civilization might be dead. There has never been a civilization that didn’t fall sooner or later. Toynbee says it will be our turn someday.

  51. says

    Whoever is elected, he/she’s
    Got to recognize that species
    Come from God, Life, Time, and Matter
    All mixed up like pancake batter.
    Any talk of evolution
    Does not fit in this solution;
    We voted this depravity…

    Next week, we outlaw gravity.

  52. Lassi Hippeläinen says

    #21: “It occurred to me that if they called themselves a church (and really, how is swinging any more bizarre as a spiritual ritual than symbolic cannibalism?)”

    Recommended reading: Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein. It was published 20 years before Reagan. Heinlein also predicted televangelists and megachurches.

    BTW, I haven’t seen a Bible yet. Only copies. Where can I see the original?

  53. Lassi Hippeläinen says

    #21: “It occurred to me that if they called themselves a church (and really, how is swinging any more bizarre as a spiritual ritual than symbolic cannibalism?)”

    Recommended reading: Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein. It was published 20 years before Reagan. Heinlein also predicted televangelists and megachurches.

    BTW, I haven’t seen a Bible yet. Only copies. Where can I see the original?

  54. John T. says

    Hello

    Im new to this blog and Im wondering if anyone here can answer a question. Does anyone on here believe that belief in God and evolution is compatible?

  55. says

    Im new to this blog and Im wondering if anyone here can answer a question. Does anyone on here believe that belief in God and evolution is compatible?

    The number of people who are “believers” and also scientists itself shows that it’s possible.

    However, there are many here who would try to problematize the entire statement by getting into questions of definitions of god (some are quite simply not compatible with evolution) and the fact that the god hypothesis simply isn’t necessary for evolution.

    Now, let the vivisection by others begin :)

  56. Ann says

    “As someone who studies Latin and Greek for a living, DaveM is correct.”
    As someone who edits English for a living, I’d like to point out that Classicsgirl is saying that DaveM studies Latin and Greek for a living. I’m guessing that isn’t what she intended.
    (Ordinarily I wouldn’t stoop, but if we’re going to make fun of people’s errors in Latin…)

  57. says

    John T.

    Scientifically, there is no evidence of God. So there is no reason to believe in God.

    The observations that living things evolve makes evolution a fact. Darwin put together a comprehensive theory that it is this observed evolution which causes differences in species. All physical evidence in the 150 years since Darwin developed his theory has supported the theory (some minor debates). No evidence has contradicted it.

    To throw your question back at you, do you believe that a belief in the tooth fairy and nuclear physics are compatible?

  58. raven says

    Hello

    Im new to this blog and Im wondering if anyone here can answer a question. Does anyone on here believe that belief in God and evolution is compatible?

    The majority of the world’s Xians do. Catholics, the Pope, mainstream protestants, Mormons, and even some evangelicals. The reality deniers are cults from the south central USA mostly.

    Roughly half of all biologists in the USA are believers of one sort of another.

  59. says

    god, life, matter and time.

    Why, this classification schema is completely inadequate. For example, I cite the (theorised) existence of Bushmills Irish Whiskey.

    At first glance, it would appear that Bushmills should be considered matter. However, by translocating sufficient quantities of it from one place (e.g. the bottle) to another (e.g. my stomach), one will notice that time no longer exists. Further translocation will cause one to realise that they are God, and I theorise (based on sound experimentation) that further translocation of the substance will do for life what lesser amounts have done for time and God.

    To me this suggests an inherent hierarchy to these four elements of existence. However, preliminary data gleaned from similar experimentation with Jägermeister and Goldschläger demonstrates that the hierarchy is not absolute.

    Finally, experiments carried out early in my career with varying quantities of marijuana, ‘shrooms, and Big Bear malt liquor have suggested that a hypothesised fifth element exists that overwhelms the known universe in its ubiquity (much like dark matter): vomit.

  60. says

    Finally, experiments carried out early in my career with varying quantities of marijuana, ‘shrooms, and Big Bear malt liquor have suggested that a hypothesised fifth element exists that overwhelms the known universe in its ubiquity (much like dark matter): vomit.

    Rituals. You’re doing them wrong. Never marijuana after lots of alcohol. Never.

  61. June says

    #67.
    If you believe everything has to be created, then you must believe in a MetaGod who created God. But then, who created MetaGod?

  62. says

    John T. –

    HA!

    My point is that they can be compatible or not compatible. Generally speaking, evolution is one of many scientific theories which contradict Biblical teachings.

    You pile that on top of the Biblical contradictions, contradictions with other religious texts, the fact that praying doesn’t work any better than not, etc. and it’s pretty tough to buy into any religion.

    Then pile on top of that, the psychology of “God” and you can be very, very confident that God doesn’t exist.

    But if you want to still believe (and many do), that is your choice.

  63. Bill Dauphin says

    Recommended reading: Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein.

    Hah! No need to teach your grandfather to suck eggs! I read Stranger when I was in junior high school, back in nineteen-seventy-[mumble], and I’ve been a Heinlein fan ever since. My Mrs. Grundy of a school librarian refused to acquire The Moon is a Harsh Mistress on the grounds that it was “full of way-out sex!” Imagine my disappointment when I finally read it, and realized that the most sexually explicit thing in it was a single kiss. (It’s full of descriptions of “way-out” alternative forms of marriage, but no descriptions of what goes on in those alternative bedrooms, alas!)

    The funny thing is, right-wingers often claim Heinlein as their own, completely ignoring that Stranger is practically Holy Scripture to a whole generation of free-love New Age hippies. And don’t even get started on the incest themes in his later work! ;^)

    Anyway… thou art god, Water Brother!

  64. John T. says

    OK

    If I look at a chair, I assume that someone designed it. Now when I look at the human body is it not “rational” to assume a designer is present?

  65. says

    Rituals. You’re doing them wrong. Never marijuana after lots of alcohol. Never.

    Initially I read this as “Ritalins. You’re doing them wrong,” and I thought: Definitely.

    As I alluded, I was young (and in love.)

  66. says

    John T. –

    Very rational…it does look designed. Look out your window, doesn’t it look like the earth is flat, doesn’t it look like the sun revolves around the earth, doesn’t it look like there are no stars in the heavens right now?

    The “designer” concept is very rational, but scientifically it’s just a description of how something looks. Experimentation would give no evidence of a designer. Experimentation has provided evidence of evolution. Over and over and over again.

  67. Andrew says

    All this mess in Florida, Kansas, and now Texas has convinced me that the average Joe American is NOT qualified to run or manage a school board. I can’t believe it has come to this, but I think there needs to be prerequisites before eligibility for a seat. Something like 30 years as an educator or administrator, or a Masters of Education.

    There are just too many fools in boards now. I am from Midland, Texas, and our sister city in Odessa, Texas, allowed a Bible course to be taught in one of their high schools. The course was an elective, but it was not an objective study of the Bible as literature or history just simply a Bible study. Despite the fact that the course was optional, using Federal and State funding for it is unconstitutional. A couple dozen parents called the ACLU, and now the city is on the other end of a law suit that could cost the city millions in fees. And who got them in this situation? A bunch of religious do-gooders who have no experience in the public school system and no understanding of constitutional law. I went to school with one of the daughters of one of the school board members. This woman has no college, worked for a non-profit Christian organization her whole career, and never had her kids in Public School! In fact, they sent their kids to private school in my city! And she’s on the board over there! Unacceptable. That is the fundamental problem here, and I think prerequisites for office are the only way to fix it.

  68. June says

    “If I look at a chair, I assume that someone designed it. Now when I look at the human body is it not “rational” to assume a designer is present?”

    Yes, but then that holds for the Designer, no doubt more complex than the entire universe. Is it not rational to assume the designer was designed? Hence MetaGod.

  69. John T. says

    Hey HP

    What is a “Dead Atheist”

    Someone who is all dressed up with no place to go :P

  70. Lago says

    I am looking forwards to the Florida battle, as I think it is time for us to get totally Medieval on their asses. Let’s make what happened in Dover look like a pleasant experience for them as compared.

  71. Sastra, OM says

    A worldview addresses, not only the field of science, but the philosophical purview of how to identify the four components of reality…. god, life, matter, and time.

    This is just so bizarre I’m still trying to figure out where they got this. Usually, a world view will involve a basic metaphysics (what is the nature of reality?); epistemology (how do we know it?); and ethics (how should we live?) This “4 components of reality” stuff is a “philosophical purview” — separate from science? Are they splitting epistemology, or metaphysics, or what?

    If a well-established world view has to contain a good, clear understanding of exactly what time is then I don’t think even the most charitable person would call Christianity a world view. I’ve sat and watched some of those debates and they’re getting into pretty rarified areas. And what would be competing theories of time? Cyclical vs. linear? Dimension vs. measurement? And tell us all the different world view approaches towards the existence of matter. Materialistic monism vs. dualism vs. everything is a manifestation of Consciousness?

    Are they really getting into these esoteric areas? Or do they simply want to ask: “Where did life come from?” “Where did matter come from?” “Where did time come from?” Answer: see component #1.

    You know, I think PZ may be on to something. They’re just making stuff up to sound important.

  72. John T. says

    Before I get back to my Science Job, I have one last joke for you.

    Scientists have now discovered how to make man. They decide to appoint one of them to tell God hes not needed. He goes and says, “God, we figured out how to make a man so you are not needed”. God then says “really, tell you what, why dont we have a man making competition. The scientist says “no problem, we figured that out. So god says “seeing as im the god of the old testament lets do it the way I made Adam. So the scientist proceeds to pick up some dirt. God says ” Get your own dirt”.

  73. Owlmirror says

    If I look at a chair, I assume that someone designed it. Now when I look at the human body is it not “rational” to assume a designer is present?

    Very sparsely stated, but full of hidden assumptions.

    How do you know chairs are designed? Because they don’t otherwise occur naturally (leaving aside convenient stumps and stones and whatnot).

    Given that humans, like all other living things in nature, reproduce without aid or interference from the outside, is a designer a necessary explanation? A designer might be a tentative conclusion if there were no better explanation, but that leaves unexplained the origin and nature of the designer.

    Science is that which searches for better explanations of nature based on careful examination of the evidence.

  74. davem says

    This davem (not the Latin and Greek scholar) is just glad to see other loan words like ‘wanker’ cross the Atlantic in the East-West direction, and get used so effectively :0)

  75. Anon says

    I look at animals. I see they reproduce.

    I look at a chair. Is it not rational to assume that they reproduce?

  76. Andrew says

    Rachel I. You said this:

    What was it Orson Scott Card said in his Secular Humanist Revival Meeting?

    I have always understood Card to be a militaristic Mormon. Who are you getting him mixed up with?

  77. says

    John T. –

    HA! If I were the scientist I’d first say, “prove that you are the God of the Old Testament” otherwise, no contest to be had.

    He hasn’t been able to do so for millenium. No worries.

  78. Sastra, OM says

    Was the human body designed by a Designer like a chair was designed by a human designer? First, give an example of something in Nature that was not designed, so we can compare the human body to it.

    You know — something you’re sure God had nothing to do with.

  79. Owlmirror says

    Dude, you’re telling it wrong. And you seem to have problems with grammar and punctuation. Here, I’ll fix it:

    Scientists have now discovered how to make man. They decide to appoint one of them to tell God he is not needed. The scientist goes to God and says, “God, we figured out how to make a man, so you are not needed”. God then says “Really? Tell you what, why don’t we have a man-making competition. The scientist says “No problem, we figured that out”. So God says “Seeing as I am the God of the Old Testament, let’s do it the way I made Adam.”

    So the scientist says “Sure,” and presses some buttons, twiddles some knobs, and pulls a lever, and turns God into dirt.

    Then he changes a few settings and turns the dirt into a man, who looks somewhat annoyed.

    ( The scientist tells the man, “Hey, at least I’m not going to play mind games with you about fruit from some tree.” )

  80. says

    If I look at a chair, I assume that someone designed it. Now when I look at the human body is it not “rational” to assume a designer is present?

    Using that analogy, is there anything to which you wouldn’t assume there is a designer?

    Look closely at the following, and tell me when your analogy doesn’t hold:

    -Sand grains.

    -Lake-, river-, and creekbeds.

    -The charred remains of a fire-ravaged tree.

    -Thalidomide fetuses.

    -Sheared, fractured, twisted, or otherwise deformed metal bolts.

    -Melted candles.

    Now, every one of those things listed above came to look that way because of explainable if not somewhat stochastic processes (some of which we can say definitely had a designer at some point, others which did not). Now, assuming you did not know anything about how each of these came to be, which of them would you assume to look for a designer, and which of these would you not? Explain your choice for each (if not to us, then at least for yourself.)

  81. Mystic Olly says

    Thanks to all who revealed my Latin knowledge to be poor.

    Cheers. I’ll add that to my list of non-existent skills.

    Seriously though, it is nice to be able to contribute to a site that will (usually in good and patient humour) correct my manifold errors.

    Special thanks to Classicsgirl and Dave M.

    Mystic Olly. (Yes, I’m very Mystic)

  82. says

    No, no, you’ve both got the joke wrong:

    Scientists have discovered how to make Man. They decide to appoint one of them to tell God that he’s no longer needed.

    “God, we’ve figured out how to make Man, and so you are no longer needed.” God replies, “Really, tell you what–Why don’t we have a man-making competition?” The scientist says “No problem, we figured that out.” God says “Seeing as I’m the God of the Old Testament, let’s do it the way I made Adam.” The scientist proceeds to pick up some dirt.

    God stops him and says “Get your own dirt.”

    For a moment, the scientist looks puzzled, then sits down at his computer and dashes off a few emails.

    God looks at him and says, “Well?”

    The scientist responds only with a smile. A moment later, the door bursts open and an angry BrahmńĀ bursts in, screaming, “Who is this imposter who claims to have created Man?” and dashes God’s brains out with his scepter.

    A moment later, the door bursts open and an angry Unkulunkulu bursts in, screaming, “Who is this imposter who claims to have created Man?” and runs BrahmńĀ through with a spear.

    A moment later, the door bursts open and an angry Zeus bursts in, screaming, “Who is this imposter who claims to have created Man?” and fries Unkulunkulu with a thunderbolt.

    A moment later, the door bursts open and an angry Gitche Manitou bursts in, screaming, “Who is this imposter who claims to have created Man?” and lops off Zeus’s head with a hatchet.

    A moment later, the door bursts open and an angry Odin (accompanied by his brothers, Ve and Vili) bursts in, screaming, “Who is this imposter who claims to have created Man?” and spears Gitche Manitou head with his javelin.

    A moment later….

    Now, that’s comedy.

  83. Bobby says

    Im new to this blog and Im wondering if anyone here can answer a question. Does anyone on here believe that belief in God and evolution is compatible?

    History shows pretty clearly that belief in God is compatible with anything in the world that you want it to be compatible with.

    But in the USA a lot of sects have made the arbitrary decision that it isn’t compatible with biological evolution.

  84. Carlie says

    Now when I look at the human body is it not “rational” to assume a designer is present?

    Retina malformed re: optic nerve, so there’s a blind spot that has to be compensated for.

    Inadequate natural covering, so that accessory materials are necessary to survive in most climates on earth.

    Susceptible to any number of parasites and diseases.

    Immune system that often goes haywire and causes life-threatening reactions to natural products.

    Spine not very well suited to load-bearing in upright position, hence lots of spinal problems during aging.

    Uterus/vaginal pathway such that babies are born facing backwards, thereby causing the spine of infants to be curved the wrong way during birth, and the mother to not be able to catch said baby on own as in other mammals.

    Birth head size/pelvic girdle ratio so perilously close that getting stuck during delivery happens often.

    Dozens of other anatomical/physiological problems; those are just those that were on the top of my head.

    If it’s rational to think the human was designed, then it’s also rational to conclude that the designer didn’t have a clue what it was doing.

  85. Bobby says

    If I look at a chair, I assume that someone designed it. Now when I look at the human body is it not “rational” to assume a designer is present?

    Only if you consider appeals to silly analogies to be rational.

    OTOH, since human bodies do in fact tend to design things, maybe you are right to conclude that “a designer is present” when you see one.

    But I don’t think that’s what you meant.

  86. Morfydd says

    “It occurred to me that if they called themselves a church (and really, how is swinging any more bizarre as a spiritual ritual than symbolic cannibalism?), they could not only skirt the law that shut them down, but also get a whopping tax exemption. The hosts’ house would become both church and rectory, and would therefore be exempt from all property tax!”

    It’s been done, near Seattle. The IRS was not amused.

    http://www.searchforchurch.org/Washington/Redmond_98053_churches.php

    It’s a link farm, but #2 is the one I’m talking about. I’m failing to find the history I was told about it, but there’s a limit to what I’m willing to Google at work.

    IIRC their priestesses “accepted donations” for spiritual intercourse. The property is still there, and still a sex-positive community camping retreat, but I don’t know the status of the church itself.

    I also have at least one acquaintance who charges money for his sexual services under the auspices of religious donations. I have no comment on the legality or otherwise of his calling, but I gather there’s quite a community of it.

  87. Muffin says

    Regarding transitional forms, someone once told me that the basic problem with those is the following: suppose you’ve got a (real or perceived) gap in the fossil record that a creationist is point to. Now suppose that you do find a transitional form that neatly fills that gap. The end result is NOT that the creationist will shut up, no; rather, it’s that the creationist will now point to TWO gaps in the fossil record.

  88. says

    Matter is energy, PZ. What are you, a relativity denialist?

    MATTER IS ENERGY
    PARTICLES ARE WAVES
    WAR IS PEACE
    FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
    IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

    er, maybe scratch the last 3, and replace with

    EVOLUTION IS SCIENCE
    ID IS RELIGION
    FLORIDA IS SCREWED

  89. says

    Brownian, OM:

    At first glance, it would appear that Bushmills should be considered matter. However, by translocating sufficient quantities of it from one place (e.g. the bottle) to another (e.g. my stomach), one will notice that time no longer exists. Further translocation will cause one to realise that they are God, and I theorise (based on sound experimentation) that further translocation of the substance will do for life what lesser amounts have done for time and God.

    Who was it who said, “Malt does more than Milton can / To justify God’s ways to Man”?

    ;-)

  90. raven says

    Now when I look at the human body is it not “rational” to assume a designer is present?

    Anyone who thinks the human body is designed well is blind and thoughtless. There are so many kludges it is pathetic. Decades ago I redesigned the body on paper and now we are close to being able to redesign ourselves. We’ve been doing it to domestic animals and plants for millenia.

    1. Reproduction is a mess. It should be no harder to give birth to a baby than a kitten to a cat. Fix it.

    2. What’s this crap about 13 menstrual cycles a year? It isn’t like humans haven’t been able to breed like bunnies. One to four a year would be plenty or we could just make them voluntary.

    3. Humans mature too slowly. Four or 5 years to maturity should be plenty.

    4. Humans also mature physically way before they do emotionally or mentally. It should be the other way around.

    The brain is a mess too. I’m sure anyone can think of improvements. For one we should stop being irrational and killing each other with little provacation.

    Then the immune system, spine, joints, cancer etc..

    If human repair processes could keep up with wear and tear we would live a lot longer and need less medical care. There is no reason why a salamander should be able to regenerate a limb when we can’t even fix our knee without an HMO.

  91. Owlmirror says

    It’s a link farm, but #2 is the one I’m talking about. I’m failing to find the history I was told about it, but there’s a limit to what I’m willing to Google at work.

    Given that it’s a link farm, “#2” is a bit ambiguous – you mean the one called “Venusian Church-Long House”?

  92. Stephen Wells says

    I think we can allow that, if people were made out of wood, we could conclude they were designed.

  93. Carlie says

    I think we can allow that, if people were made out of wood, we could conclude they were designed.

    But then we’d all be witches!

  94. SEF says

    the four components of reality–god, life, matter and time.

    NOBODY expects the Creationist (lack of) inquisitiveness!
    Our four elements of reality — god, life, matter and time.

    You forgot love.

    God is love.

    But god isn’t real.

    Is too!

    And what about Jesus and the Holy Ghost?

    All the same thing, near enough. God-the-trinity. Unless you’re one of those splitters …

    Well, energy then.

    Does it matter?

    Some of it does do matter, yes.

    Then that’s just a name change (splitter!).

    I heard that! It does splitting too.

    Moving right along …

    And life is actually just a special case of matter.

    Ensouled life then.

    And what about space?

    I put in the spaces round the dash already.

    No the other sort – dimensional, like time.

    If it’s like time then it’s already included.

    ‘Tisn’t.

    OK, our four elements of reality — god-the-trinity-who-is-love, [ensouled-]life, matterenergy and [space-]time.

    And charge.

    Is that really one of the others again in disguise?

    No.

    Amongst our reality’s components are such diverse elements as: god-the-trinity-who-is-love, [ensouled-]life, matterenergy, [space-]time and charge.

    And …

    Shut up! Stop confusing me with the facts!

  95. David Marjanovińá, OM says

    (pl. speciei)

    No. One species, two species.

    Hey, this happens. In German, too, we have words where the plural is identical to the singular. (For example Brownian’s beloved J√§germeister and Goldschl√§ger: both get the plural ending -er, which happens to already be there, and there’s a rule against doubling it, so the plurals are J√§germeister and Goldschl√§ger again.) Languages aren’t logical.

    Oops, my bad.

    I forgot this is the 21st century.

    That should have been:
    One species, two species’s.

    I don’t get the joke.

    He hasn’t been able to do so for millenium.

    This, on the other hand, is a Latin word where singular and plural are different: millennium — millennia. (Derived from annus “year”. Anus is something different.)

    (And #50 is what you get when you try to get cute with DIV tags and Comic Sans — important safety tips kids: preview is your friend.)

    It’s not <div>, it’s <a>.

    This is just so bizarre I’m still trying to figure out where they got this.

    Answer: no. This is obvious enough that there’s no need to write a post about this that fills a whole laptop screen. :-)

    Retina malformed re: optic nerve, so there’s a blind spot that has to be compensated for.

    To wit, the whole thing is inside out in vertebrates: the retina is on the outside of the eyeball, and the nerves and blood vessels are on the inside (connected to the outside via the blind spot). All light we see has to pass this layer of nerves and blood vessels first — and it’s not completely transparent –, then pass the retina to be absorbed at the far end of the sensory cells.

    It doesn’t have to be that way. The cephalopod eye is constructed the right way around. That’s because it’s an infolding from the skin, embryologically. In vertebrates, the brain is an infolding from the skin instead, and the eye is an outfolding of the brain.

    Stupid Design.

    Uterus/vaginal pathway such that

    Don’t bother with details! The basic flaw is that the pelvis forms a ring around the reproductive pathway. There are ways to circumvent this; the marsupials have found one. There are even ways to fix it. The birds have found one: their pelvis is so firmly attached to the vertebral column that the ring was able to open about 100 million years ago — we, however, are mammals in general and not armadillos in particular, so our pelvis-column connection is so pathetic we need the ring closure in order to be able to stand and walk.

    Stupid Design.

    There is no reason why a salamander should be able to regenerate a limb when we can’t even fix our knee without an HMO.

    Oh there is one. You mentioned it: cancer. We have a much faster metabolism than a salamander, meaning we mutate a lot more, meaning that if we turn on cell proliferation the risk it gets out of control is much greater.

    That said, birds somehow get much less cancer than mammals, even though their metabolism is on average quite a bit higher. So… Stupid Design again.

    And I haven’t even mentioned the stupidity of using DNA as the carrier of heredity. DNA falls apart when stored in water. We constantly spend a lot of energy for repairing our DNA.

    It follows logically that if there was a Designer, he/she/it/squid can’t have been omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent. Which leaves a lot of options, just not the one the IDologists (and Harun Yahya) want.

  96. David Marjanovińá, OM says

    (pl. speciei)

    No. One species, two species.

    Hey, this happens. In German, too, we have words where the plural is identical to the singular. (For example Brownian’s beloved J√§germeister and Goldschl√§ger: both get the plural ending -er, which happens to already be there, and there’s a rule against doubling it, so the plurals are J√§germeister and Goldschl√§ger again.) Languages aren’t logical.

    Oops, my bad.

    I forgot this is the 21st century.

    That should have been:
    One species, two species’s.

    I don’t get the joke.

    He hasn’t been able to do so for millenium.

    This, on the other hand, is a Latin word where singular and plural are different: millennium — millennia. (Derived from annus “year”. Anus is something different.)

    (And #50 is what you get when you try to get cute with DIV tags and Comic Sans — important safety tips kids: preview is your friend.)

    It’s not <div>, it’s <a>.

    This is just so bizarre I’m still trying to figure out where they got this.

    Answer: no. This is obvious enough that there’s no need to write a post about this that fills a whole laptop screen. :-)

    Retina malformed re: optic nerve, so there’s a blind spot that has to be compensated for.

    To wit, the whole thing is inside out in vertebrates: the retina is on the outside of the eyeball, and the nerves and blood vessels are on the inside (connected to the outside via the blind spot). All light we see has to pass this layer of nerves and blood vessels first — and it’s not completely transparent –, then pass the retina to be absorbed at the far end of the sensory cells.

    It doesn’t have to be that way. The cephalopod eye is constructed the right way around. That’s because it’s an infolding from the skin, embryologically. In vertebrates, the brain is an infolding from the skin instead, and the eye is an outfolding of the brain.

    Stupid Design.

    Uterus/vaginal pathway such that

    Don’t bother with details! The basic flaw is that the pelvis forms a ring around the reproductive pathway. There are ways to circumvent this; the marsupials have found one. There are even ways to fix it. The birds have found one: their pelvis is so firmly attached to the vertebral column that the ring was able to open about 100 million years ago — we, however, are mammals in general and not armadillos in particular, so our pelvis-column connection is so pathetic we need the ring closure in order to be able to stand and walk.

    Stupid Design.

    There is no reason why a salamander should be able to regenerate a limb when we can’t even fix our knee without an HMO.

    Oh there is one. You mentioned it: cancer. We have a much faster metabolism than a salamander, meaning we mutate a lot more, meaning that if we turn on cell proliferation the risk it gets out of control is much greater.

    That said, birds somehow get much less cancer than mammals, even though their metabolism is on average quite a bit higher. So… Stupid Design again.

    And I haven’t even mentioned the stupidity of using DNA as the carrier of heredity. DNA falls apart when stored in water. We constantly spend a lot of energy for repairing our DNA.

    It follows logically that if there was a Designer, he/she/it/squid can’t have been omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent. Which leaves a lot of options, just not the one the IDologists (and Harun Yahya) want.

  97. David Marjanovińá, OM says

    NOBODY expects the Creationist (lack of) inquisitiveness!

    LOL! A few more posts half as good as this and you get a Molly nomination.

  98. David Marjanovińá, OM says

    NOBODY expects the Creationist (lack of) inquisitiveness!

    LOL! A few more posts half as good as this and you get a Molly nomination.

  99. noncarborundum says

    One species, two species’s.

    I don’t get the joke.

    We have some very bad spellers in the U.S., and using ‘s to make a plural (e.g., book’s instead of books) is a common error. Proper use of the apostrophe in possessive plurals (books’) is almost unheard of nowadays.

  100. Bill Dauphin says

    It’s been done, near Seattle. The IRS was not amused.

    ….

    IIRC their priestesses “accepted donations” for spiritual intercourse. The property is still there, and still a sex-positive community camping retreat, but I don’t know the status of the church itself.

    You mean this place? Unfortunately, about half of their website, including the membership requirements, is “Under Construction.” I’ll be curious to stop back by occasionally to see if it’s ever updated.

    In any case, I didn’t have in mind a brothel or escort service thinly disguised as a church; I have in mind a group of like-minded people who share a common belief that sexuality is sacred. I suspect that describes the swingers’ club I described earlier (by all accounts, the only money changing hands was a “free will” offering to cover the hosts’ actual expenses). I’d love to see the gummint try to distinguish that from a “true” church, even if they didn’t claim to believe in a supernatural deity.

  101. Bill Dauphin says

    That should have been:
    One species, two species’s.

    I don’t get the joke.

    I think he was referring to the unfortunate modern tendency to use aphostrophe’s to form plural’s, which is one of the most egregious abuse’s of English usage known to humankind. Perpetrator’s should be hung by their neck’s until dead!

  102. purpleOnion says

    If one is to be serious about creationism one must begin by putting the discussion in proper context. ID is not about theology or philosophy. This is obvious because its proponents just make s**t up. It is not about science, because there are no proofs.

    Sadly, what it truly is about is politics. Superstition is one of the more powerful manipulative tools used by governments to control “the masses”. Religion and nationalism are somewhat voluntary means of bringing about self-control and self-censorship. Both methods have been used for centuries with varying degrees of success.
    Liberalism is a philosophy that has grown from the suffering of human beings. It aspires to awaken that which is best in man, not because it is naive’, but because its thinkers have experienced the alternatives.

    Liberalism not only rejects the harm of the alternative methods of control, but attempts to illuminate a path that reduces harm. The true function of liberalism is grounded in the belief in human dignity, and works toward moving the positive aspects of human interaction forward, while it remains cognizant of the damage done when it is ignored or discounted.

    Must we suffer through eternity by replaying that which is known to not help? This is at the core of conservative aims to handicap or destroy the creative and compassionate, because on that level their ideology collapses inward in a life denying cycle of self-destruction that is obvious to observers

    Unfortunately, it is the conservatives’ negative perception, (we are all sinners,) of themselves and the world that perpetuates the ideology. It is an addiction to the familiar. They derive comfort from pain, because in their understanding it appears to be a force of nature or divine intervention that accepts eternal suffering as the reality. With such a view in tow, one must believe in heaven and hell and their components.

  103. AlanWCan says

    Wow, that’s inane. But, at the risk of sounding callous, I’m so tired of getting upset about these things in your country. I suddenly realised I don’t get particularly upset when some third-world crackpot imam drags their country even further into the dark ages, then I also realised that that’s a fairly accurate description of the USA today. You guys can sort it out…or not. It doesn’t really matter to the rest of us, because the more of this that happens the worse you’ll be prepared for the inevitable changeover when China takes over and relegates the US to the same backwater the Ayatollahs and the Taleban have pushed Iran and Afghanistan. Sorry. It’s been nice knowing you.

  104. raven says

    But, at the risk of sounding callous, I’m so tired of getting upset about these things in your country.

    Don’t blame you. A lot of us are suffering from “moron fatigue” and “social collapse fatigue”.

    My plan is to do whatever I can to prevent it. But swimming against the tide of history never works. If we go down the Afghani Taliban path, I will stockpile wine and snacks and watch the disintegration and occasionally raise a glass to the former USA. In a democracy, if the majority decides to head on back to the dark ages, way it goes.

    It is too soon to count us out. We survived the Vietnam war and Nixon. And Bushes approval ratings are about as low as any in history. People are ticked off at the rulers these days.

    Don’t be too sure that Canada can just watch. Rot can spread and Canada has a long border and most people live near the USA. As I recall, the present lot in power there are the Canadian versions of republicans and not all that popular.

  105. guthrie says

    The four elements were, as a concept, fully integrated into Catholic Christianity. As for the Quintessence, it was sometimes though to be alcohol…

  106. JohnnieCanuck, FCD says

    raven @122

    They are indeed the Canadian version, watered down and likely more polite.* Some of their MPs are even our take on the American Religious Right. Fortunately their stronghold is only rural Alberta, which unfortunately has lots of oil. (I’d love to see someone show how the correlation between petrodollars and religious idiocy came to be.)

    Generally, in most Canadian electoral ridings, proclaiming yourself to be in favour of homophobia, shooting doctors or putting creationism in the public schools is a serious vote loser. Even just confusing voters on your intentions with respect to religion can get you tossed.

    I would say that 99% of Canadians are heavily exposed to American media. As in, most of the cable channels are American stations. Most of the programming distributed on Canadian stations is American. Likewise for magazines. Most of them are directly imported as is. Some are primarily identical to the US parent magazine, but with Canadian ads, to better destroy their local Canadian competition. Movies, DVDs, CDs, books, same thing. That leaves maybe just the newspapers and the TV news and weather as having more Canadian than US content. Mice never sleep well next to elephants, even friendly ones.

    Finally my favourite, the Focus on the Family religiots who set up their Praise 106.5 FM transmitter in tiny little Lynden, WA to proselytise to a population of maybe 20,000 Washingtonians and 2 million British Columbians. I think it is against Canadian regulations for a Canadian transmitter to be set up to do the equivalent. I wouldn’t be so bitter if this weren’t a mixed marriage and thus I have to work hard to avoid listening to the really bad music and preaching.

    *Try getting a Canadian to express herself as to how much more polite she believes we are, compared to Americans. Assuming you are American, she won’t know how to be truthful and not seem rude. Well, in theory, anyway. Much of the Canadian identity is in declaring how we are different from (better than?) Americans. It’s probably not very endearing. Kind of makes us a-yankees, or maybe even eh-yankees.

    And yes, some of my best friends used to be Americans. :)

  107. Silmarillion says

    This is a bit late, but has anyone requested evidence of the bones of Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel etc., ?

    Creationists always like to trumpet the “there are no transitional fossils” canard, but forget that there’s no transitional make-believe people fossils.

  108. DiscoveredJoys says

    I believe that the ID people have deliberately shaped their argument about detecting design to avoid the gaps in their logic – and we have all bought into their misdirection.

    When they talk about design, what they really mean is something made for a ‘Purpose’. By talking about design they (by implication) extend ‘Purpose’ into the natural world with the inference that every thing has a purpose and that only God has the ability to impose purpose on the universe.

    I can understand that they wish to live in their religious social matrix where everything that happens has a purpose and reason behind it. It is far more comfortable and requires less personal effort than living in an indifferent universe where individuals must make their own decisions about morality, meaning, and what happens after death.

    Unfortunately for them modern life (not just science) has exposed the inconsistencies and weakneses of a religious worldview, turning what was once the positive value of a strong faith into a negative value of dogged ignorance. Societies and worldviews change and don’t care whose feelings are hurt.

    I suspect that in certain parts of America the hankering for the certainties of the past is re-inforced by one of the downsides of local democracy… Where people can vote for so many of the local ‘infrastructure’ posts, sheriff, mayor, school board, judge, public prosecutor, pastor (in some sects), dog catcher etc., there will be a tendency for people with similar views to be elected. These people will agree with with popular sentiment and other elected officials to remain popular and so stay elected. A sort of self reinforcing worldview – where if most electors believe in a Christian god of some sort there will be fewer non-believers/Jews/gays/women elected.

    I’m afraid that arguing about the facts of science is not going to change anyones mind. Much better to challenge them outright and ask them what their true purpose is in floating these ideas. Keep on at them until you get to their root motivation. Since very few ‘Christians’ really understand their faith (and will disagree with most other sects on ‘vital’ issues) their motivation can be exposed as the craven desire for false certainty that it truly is.

    “…the four components of reality–god, life, matter and time.” my arse.

  109. Dawn says

    @119 Bill…
    OW!!! You made my brain hurt with all those misplaced apostrophe’s…apostrophes’…apostrophies…those things! (LOL)

  110. Troylus says

    Indeed, Orson Scott Card is a Mormon – and, sadly, also one who doesn’t bending the facts to make his religion seem a bit more plausible.

    Mormonism is traditionally opposed to Evolution. This opposition has softened as the Mormon church has worked very hard at mainstreaming its image.

    Hence, it should be no surprise that Mr. Card has come out as an apologist for ID. Here’s a link to an article we wrote a couple of years ago on the topic:

    http://www.ornery.org/essays/warwatch/2006-01-08-1.html

  111. Troylus says

    Man I should really proofread.

    “doesn’t MIND bending the facts” and “an article HE wrote”. I had nothing to do with OSC’s bit of propaganda.

  112. says

    Indeed I was playing on the modern tendency for grocers’ apostrophes.

    There are no words to describe the pain it caused me to type species’s–I hope you all appreciate the sacrifices I make for your amusement.

    For more fun with apostrophes (and angry flowers), why not check out this poster?

  113. quipster says

    Creationist are wrong. However, I am deeply troubled by all of the violent comments here.

  114. Bill Dauphin says

    I am deeply troubled by all of the violent comments here.

    Violent? Surely you realize that my comment…

    …is a punctuation joke, not an incitement to hanging, right? BTW, the “What’s a dead Christian…” lines are also (say it with me, now) jokes. It’s possible the sex temples MAJeff and I have been prattling on about might involve some violence… but only of the strictly consensual, safe-and-sane sort. ;^)

    Seriously, I’ve seen some pretty aggressive comment threads here, but I search this particular one in vain for anything that merits your comment. You’re not trollishly mistaking critical thinking for “violence,” are you?

  115. Owlmirror says

    BTW, the “What’s a dead Christian…” lines are also (say it with me, now) jokes.

    And, perhaps more to the point, the “dead Christian” joke is a direct retort to the “dead Atheist” joke at #84

  116. Kevin says

    PZ,

    As a native Floridian and long time atheist I would like to cordially encourage you to sit and spin. Nothing I enjoy more than some mook’s bigoted groupthink tirade against bigoted groupthink. The irony is delightful.

  117. says

    Orson Scott Card is indeed a Mormon. This “Secular Humanist Revival Meeting” thingie is a piece of performance art he used to perform at science-fiction conventions (he seems to have stopped doing it a few years ago) which extolled the virues of, yes, Secular Humanism, and also got some good shots in at Creationism. It was pretty funny. Tapes of the SHRM are still available from Card, I am given to understand.

  118. raven says

    Orson Scott Card has been all over the map about his religion.

    Rumor has it (totally unconfirmed) that he got in trouble with the LDS church. They are one of the few that bother to bring people up in church courts and excommunicate them and so forth.

    My natal sect probably has the same but I’ve never heard of them actually doing anything to anybody.

    I think the latest is that OSC is now back in the fold and a mainstream Mormon sort of guy.

    They have 4 afterlifes. IIRC, Outer Darkness, Terrestrial, Telestial, and Celestial. You can only become a god if you make it to the highest afterlife. Stakes are high here, get your own planet and fill it with your progeny.

  119. mothra says

    No christians were harmed in the composition of that joke (#134). If an ideology has been bruised, probably best not to leave it in places where it’ll get bumped. And oh, yes, might want to see an optician to get that log removed.

  120. says

    Bob O’H: It sounds like some schools of classical Indian philosophy, actually, where time is regarded as a stuff.

    Mark (Monty) Montague: No, matter is not energy. Mass and energy, two properties of matter, are interconvertable under certain circumstances.