Standard creationist tactics, as expected

Two days ago I was asked to participate in a radio debate with a Discovery Institute fellow. I asked about the topic and the format, and they said, “the evidence of Evolution vs. evidence of Intelligent Design” and “each would get a 5 minute opening statement and then we would debate the issues brought out in the opening statements.” OK, sure, I said, while rolling my eyes at the ridiculous expectations.

I’m supposed to call in in an hour and a half. I just got this email.

I just received an e-mail from Dr. Simmons requesting the title of the debate to change to “Are Darwin’s Theories Fact or Faith Issues?” When you agreed to the debate I proposed the title and format to you but did not consult with Dr. Simmons. I was corresponding with you while I was in the middle of a show that day and didn’t think to pass that specific information to Dr. Simmons. When he learned of the original title he requested this change but sent it to our Producer last night and I just learned of it now.

Well, isn’t this just so incredibly typical of frauds? Bait and switch, juggle the terms, move the goalposts, play games.

The show will go on. I had absolutely no respect for my opponent’s intellectual honesty in the first place, so I can’t argue that this has diminished it.


  1. says

    Indeed I think the first thing you should say when you get on the air is to ream them over this typically dishonest bullshit.

  2. Mena says

    Will the switch in topics be mentioned in the debate section? I’m wondering if this happened at this late time because they thought that it would throw you off your script, that’s what would happen to one of them after all. Evolution isn’t sound bites and memorization/recitation of debunked arguments but unfortunately that’s all the US public responds to nowadays.

  3. schmeer says

    You should just insist that he stick with the original topic. The host didn’t get his request in time. That is either the fault of the host or his own. Don’t let him squirm out of the corner he’s put himself in.

    Besides, my mouth is watering thinking of hearing someone try to provide the evidence in support of ID in the presence of a professor of biology. >:)

  4. Doug says

    Good luck on the radio “debate.” All that reasoning and those mountains of evidence won’t do you a bit of good, you know.

  5. James says

    Pffft. Same sheisse, different title. You’ve heard the “arguments” before. Do they think we’re going to pray to Charles Darwin on your behalf? *sigh* Go get ’em, PZ!

  6. says

    Not surprising at all.

    I do hope you use the first few seconds of your time to expose the bait-and-switch, though.

    You’d even be within your rights to just tell them off and leave, but then they’d declare victory.

    So at least make it be known that the discussion going on is not the one you agreed to. Then clean his clock.

  7. Sebastian says

    I think you should refuse. Tell them you’d be happy to take part in a fair debate where both sides have to present evidence, but freeing up one side of the debate from any burden of proof is not acceptable.

  8. Henwli says

    Best wishes to PZ from Finland. I forfeited my bedtime to listen to this one live.

    As we finns say: “show them the jay’s balls”.

    Oddly, that’s roughly the equivalent of “break a leg”.

    Whichever suits you better.

    – Henri

  9. schmeer says

    I just looked for a streaming audio option on the website for that radio show and found something interesting. They have put up the title for the debate and it looks like the request by “Dr.” Simmons has been honored. Goalposts moved.

    It’s also interesting to note that they provide a warning that listeners may be offended by the profanity on this dangerous site.


  10. MartinM says

    Well, I think this actually works in your favour. Now you can make your first point the fact that your opponent has so little confidence in his own side’s ‘theory’ he isn’t willing to discuss it.

  11. Eric says

    Yeah, I giggled to myself when I saw the warning about this site…

    ***Warning: This website contains profanity and may be offensive to some listeners.

    Oh noes! Not profanity! Protect yourselves, protect yourselves!

    Also, is it standard to list someone as “M.D.” if they are one? Maybe it’s not, it just seems like they’re trying to conceal the fact that the “Dr.” in front of his name has almost nothing to do with the topic he’s supposed to be debating.

  12. Traffic Demon says

    If you’re calling in, don’t fail to mention the change of topic, no matter how many times it’s been mentioned before you’re on the air.

  13. dannyness says

    I LURVE how they had a warning after the link to Pharyngula saying that the site “contains profanity and may be offensive to some listeners.” By “profanity” they must mean the blasphemy definition instead of the naughty language definition.

  14. James says

    OK, I’m turned into 980 KKMS and it’s Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort discussing A Few Good Men. Wha….? Is it not on for another hour of something?

  15. dNorrisM says

    Just a little title change- what’s the problem? It’s not as if there will be a format change or they would have told you about it.


  16. David Denning says

    Ask for a clarification statement from Geoffrey Simmons as to why he wants to switch topics from biology to — ? philosophy ? Isn’t Simmons supposed to be a “trained biologist (from the DI site – Geoffrey Simmons (BS in biology, coursework completed for MS in microbiology, University of Illinois; M.D., University of Illinois Medical School; Internship and Residency in Internal Medicine, LAC-USC Medical Center; Boarded in Internal Medicine since 1974)). We’d all like to hear is reasoning for sliming out of the real issue.

  17. _Arthur says

    And if one of the guests, say the creationist, disreguards the topic or the format, then what happen ? The talk show host will let it slide.

  18. flynn says

    Any chance of getting Simmons to explain Darwin’s theories first? That might get some laughs.

  19. Jeb, FCD says

    I am assuming it’s central time also. I am listening now, and it’s both hilarious and sad.

  20. Ryan F Stello says

    Careful there, PZ.

    He’s going to try the old “if I cain’t see it happen, then I must have faith that it done happen.” argument.

    He’ll take a selective definition of faith (“something that is believed especially with strong conviction” or “complete trust”) at which point you can roundhouse kick him by discussing either:
    1) the justifications (subjective vs. objective)
    2) that ‘trust’ doesn’t factor in so much as the evidence does (religious vs. scientific thinking)

    …But look at me. Lecturing you of all people. You’ll do fine.

  21. AllanW says

    Typical shyster tactics. Tell ’em to shove it PZ. If they want to mark the deck so far in this assholes favour (by not having to offer any evidence in favour of ID) then refuse to debate; it’s either as level a playing-field as possible or no debate.
    Remember, this will look good on his c.v. not so much on yours.

  22. James says

    Thanks, Ryan – I misread PZ’s post and thought it began in half an hour.

    Frank, that’s what podcasts are for!

    “I don’t hate America first…I have a cup of coffee, I burn a flag, perform a few abortions…then I hate America.” – Bill Maher

  23. says

    Good fucking God, you’re supposed to “debate” whether or not evolution is a religion, in essence? What assholes, what lying stupid manipulative fuckers!

    As if a biologist is supposed to be discussing faith in the first place. OK, I’m sure PZ can give them enough trouble over “faith,” but they know damn well it’s not his area of expertise, whereas the evidence for evolution is (no one’s an expert on evidence for the Crass Imitator).

    Well, I wouldn’t do it, though I don’t think I’d do it anyway, unless there were strict safeguards against manipulations that they usually effect. They like debates because it circumvents the care and attention to detail that occurs in the literature.

    Assuming you’re going on with it, if the bastards complain about science being limited to “naturalism,” just ask the idiots what “non-natural evidence” they want to present in favor of ID.

    Ask them, too, where they think that evolutionary theory could come from except for fact. How the hell would anyone even suppose that one could come up with criteria for checking whether or not a gene has been under selective pressure using faith?

    Anyway, it’s a stupid question whether or not evolution is a matter of faith, which is why they want to switch to that question. It’s barely even worth “asking” if ID is a matter of faith, since it so obviously is, but at least there you could provide mountains of evidence and argumentation to demonstrate that it is religious in nature.

    Glen D

  24. Ryan F Stello says

    No prob James.

    BTW: Is anybody planning on recording this?
    It could be fun to pick apart later.

  25. says

    I have to ask, why did you not simply turn them down flat after this so obvious dishonesty. This skews the whole debate from something fair and honest (not balanced, of course, since if that were the case the IDiot would get no time at all…) to a skewed one that puts you on the defensive from the get go. You agreed to the original title and have no obligation to continue after a fundamental change like your opponent made. Oh, it doesn’t matter, I guess. You’ll clobber him anyway.

  26. says

    OK, I’m turned into 980 KKMS and it’s Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort discussing A Few Good Men.

    Quite appropriate, really, since apparently neither one of them can handle the truth.

  27. Greg Peterson says

    Not that I’m any sort of expert, but I did try to “answer” this “question” for Jeff (of “Jeff and Lee”) during a private email exchange recently:

    Jeff: Doesn’t it require a certain element of faith to believe in Evolution? It hasn’t been proven scientifically has it?

    Me: [The] answer to both of these questions is “yes and no.” ALL KNOWLEDGE requires a “certain element of faith,” if by that we mean we must make assumptions. We have to assume that our senses don’t constantly fool us and that logic can basically work, for example. The trick is to make as few assumptions as possible, and then add to those assumptions only on the basis of merit. If basic initial assumptions lead to additional logical assumptions on the strength of solid evidence, then we consider those additional assumptions justified.

    This is different from starting with a great many initial assumptions which can not then be challenged on the basis of evidence, which is what Creationism must do. Starting only with the assumption that our senses work pretty well and logic is essentially sound, evolution is a justified further assumption, and creationism is not.

    Nothing in science is ever “proven.” It is only demonstrated. The fact that every time I drop a ball it falls does not “prove” gravity, it only provides evidence for it. The evidence for some things is so strong that it attains the high status of “theory” (which in science is much more exalted than a mere “fact”–I know we use “theory” on the street to mean something like “hunch,” but when scientists use it, they mean that every time they’ve dropped the ball, it falls–thus the “theory of gravity”). The evidence for evolution is overwhelming and comes from a variety of disciplines–paleontology, genetics, developmental biology, and so forth–and so it is as established as any other theory in science.

  28. Alric says

    Look at their description for pharyngula:

    Darwin’s Theories Fact or Faith Issues?” <> Dr. John MacArthur <> “The Minnesota Caucus”
    3:00 Hour – “Are Darwin’s Theories Fact or Faith Issues?”
    Dr. Geoffrey Simmons, Senior Fellow of the Discovery Institute and Dr. PZ Myers, Biologist and Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota-Morris will debate Darwin’s theory of evolution. ***Warning: This website contains profanity and may be offensive to some listeners.

  29. schmeer says

    you fucking forgot to fucking say fuck. We don’t want to let them down when they come here to see what kind of profanity godless heathens use. fuck.

  30. Sven DiMilo says

    Are Darwin’s Theories Fact or Faith Issues?

    wait, lemme check…
    *consults Darwin, 1859 (yes, that’s EIGHTEEN fifty-nine)*
    yep. Fact.

    Next “debate”?

  31. Mena says

    Oh dear, I was just listening to this because I couldn’t get it to work with Opera or Seamonkey and finally broke down and used IE. They just convinced some idiot named Trey that he is a worthless human being because he didn’t follow the Ten Commandments and that he was going to go to hell. Way of the Mental Masturbation!

  32. amph says

    Well, isn’t this just so incredibly typical of frauds? Bait and switch, juggle the terms, move the goalposts, play games.

    Note that down in your copybook.

  33. Scooty Puff, Jr. says

    The first thing you say is that they’ve changed the title, and therefore the terms, of the debate at the last minute to deliberately put you on the defensive. This is a standard creationist tactic (hey, that would make a good title for this blog post). This forms the basis of your argument.

    Creationists have no evidence to present. Science doesn’t recognize their “anti-evidence” arguments (i.e. arguments about gaps in the fossil record and Bible quotes) for all the usual reasons. Therefore, they resort to trickery and deception in order to attempt to discredit their opponents. Expelled is a good example of this.

    Or, simply refuse to go on the air. The debate they’re going to air is not the debate you agreed to do. And you will not be baited into defending the whole of biology against a credulous nitwit. You won’t get invited back, but something tells me you wouldn’t lose any sleep over that. Actually, that’s exactly what I’d do.

    But if you do go on, give ’em hell, PZ, because that’s certainly where they think you’re going, you cunning evilutionist, you.

  34. Owlmirror says

    Regarding “profanity” — they are, I think actually technically correct on that account:

    profane (v.)

    1382, from L. profanare “to desecrate,” from profanus “unholy, not consecrated,” from pro fano “not admitted into the temple (with the initiates),” lit. “out in front of the temple,” from pro- “before” + fano, abl. of fanum “temple.” The adj. is attested from 1483; originally “un-ecclesiastical, secular;” sense of “unholy, polluted” is recorded from c.1500. Profanity is 1607, from L.L. profanitas, from L. profanus. Extended sense of “foul language” is from Old Testament commandment against “profaning” the name of the Lord.

    I mean, PZ has often cheerfully profaned the name of the Lord. Heck, he does so just a few posts earlier in quoting Dawkins. Let’s just paste that in here:

    The God of the bible is “a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully,” as Dawkins says.

    There we go. Profanity.

  35. says

    It is pretty clear that Evolution has no issues with any facts. Actually all facts are welcome. In fact, that is all that Evolution is based on, facts.

    Do faiths have issues with Darwin’s theory? That is not a question that it is appropriate for PZ to answer, not being a person of faith.

  36. John Yates says

    Did anyone else just hear the nut-job Australian bloke who accosted the poor redneck sucker, and made him admit that he’s destined for an eternity roasting in hell? It was utterly hysterical, and I think I might listen to this radio station more often for sheer comedy value. We don’t get this sruff here in Britain. Unbelievable.

  37. Lledowyn says

    Hey PZ, I have full *faith* in you being able to turn “Dr.” Simmons into a crying, gibbering, baby by the time you’re done! ;-)

  38. BMatthews says

    I’m really really pissed I have to leave work (not really its only 4 and I GET to leave). I’ll have to wait till tomorrow.

    “Biology is.”

    enjoyable quote

  39. Don says

    Agree with AllanW et al.

    He gets to claim he debated with PZ and will then go on to interminably claim all kinds of vacuous points scored.

    You, well …

    The Dawkins/Gould concensus comes to mind.

  40. says

    Listening to the program now. BRAVO TO P.Z. calling them on the carpet for the last minute changing the topic.

  41. Ryan F Stello says

    The ‘general population’ considers evolution to be Darwinism. And fact vs. theory. More problems of education vs. actualities.

  42. James says

    Lie count:

    Evidence is accumulating against evolution.

    Darwin said we were descended from monkeys.

    The fossil record is now even more incomplete.

    Dammit, I lost count a long time ago.

  43. Henwli says

    Holy cow. Simmons is clueless. 11 minutes in and I’m hurling pillows off the sofa.

    Does he start making sense at some point? My brain is in pain.

  44. Captain Science says

    It’s so awesome that someone as obviously BRILLIANT as you spends his time as an associate professor at a rural ag university. I mean, with your brain the size of a planet — and 100% of the facts on your side to boot — what’s to stop you from making as much money, or holding as prestigious a position as you want? That’s right, nothing. It is sheer magnanimity that holds you to Cowtown U (it sure isn’t Morris’ dreadful sports teams), bringing your enlightenment to the huddled masses of the northern prairie.

    Bravo, I say. Bravo.

  45. Traffic Demon says

    Gosh, of course trial and error doesn’t make sense if you start out thinking that species exist in a vacuum. ::headdesk::

  46. Ryan F Stello says

    Don’t let them always put you first, it’s a slimy tactic to make sure the defense doesn’t answer what they are supposedly defending.

  47. Hank says

    Wow. I didn’t expect much from an IDist, but the guy is intellectually dishonest to a ridiculous degree.

  48. Chayanov says

    “I know it’s not about Darwin, but let’s go ahead and make it about Darwin so I can set up my strawman.”

  49. James says

    Anyone believe Simmons is “not a Christian” and formerly “believed in evolution”? I’d love to see some past written statements.

  50. Mena says

    He can argue for evolution as well as anyone else but still used the “it’s only a theory” argument and then goes on and on about being an MD? Right…
    Now he’s doing the thing about a trait developing. Sad. I would think that someone who went through medical school to be at least smart, let alone curious about how things work and not rely on canned memorized answers. Oh, Kaopectate stops diarrhea fast. What an appropriate ad.

  51. Lledowyn says

    All, thanks for all the updates. Keep them coming for us folks that can’t listen to this at work. :)

  52. JD says

    Wow, talk about nailing the stereotype, this guy laid out the same refuted ad nauseum crap that was in creo vogue a decade ago. “Just a theory”, “no whale transitions”, more and more gaps!? Wow. Just wow. How can anyone be so incredibly stupid as to take a yahoo like this seriously? And of course he’s not there to present evidence for ID… OY!

  53. HPLC_Sean says

    It would seem to me that if you took a single step per year for 4 billion years you’d easily get to LA from NY. If you bothered to scrawl your name on the wall of a restroom in each town, your signature in St-Louis might survive 4 billion years but might not survive in the other towns.

  54. celdd says

    He claims he’s not a Christian. As a physician he looks at fact and doesn’t see natural selection, (lists several items) as anissue or botony or geology, just the theory of evolution is the .problem

    Fossil record – Darwin said it was incomplete – now it is more incomplete (!!)

    Take human birth. First breath — valve the shifts blood to lungs – couldn’t have been trial and error.

  55. Dan says

    For those who cannot listen, this show is supposed to be available for download tomorrow. Stay tuned for details.

    No evidence of giraffes evolving longer neck vertebrae? What about everything the IS evidence for? Oh … sorry … I keep expecting logic.

    Now back to our program …

  56. James says

    “A theory is a good thing. A theory is an idea, a conceptual framework, that integrates a large body of evidence… This is a powerful tool that we use in our work.”

    I wish I could type faster. Well put.

    Yes! He’s now calling him on the “more incomplete” fossil record. Hit him with genetics, PZ!!!!

  57. Escuerd says

    So far Simmons has unsurprisingly dragged out several of the classical creationist canards:

    1. Evolution’s a theory.

    Yes, yes it is.

    2. There aren’t any transitional fossils, and “the fossil record is even more incomplete than it was 200 years ago”.

    This was a poorly formed sentence intended to express a thought that’s just plain false. I gather that he means that there’s less evidence for evolution in it.

    3. X doesn’t tolerate variation and so must have been designed in place.

    Of course, because it’s a basic principle of evolution that every aspect of life can only become less specialized with time.

  58. says

    PZ Meyers…..Dr. Simmons

    Exactly. Notice that it’s always Dr. Simmons and it’s always PZ whenever the DJ’s mention their names?

    And Simmons is playing it perfectly — spray the airwaves with lies and/or errors and force PZ to try to correct them. Exactly what he wanted, I’m sure…

    And um, hello, Basilosaurus???

  59. MartinM says

    So, Simmons has made his strategy very clear now. Lie big, lie often.

    Didn’t see that one coming.

  60. Ryan F Stello says

    Wow, simmons is getting really angry

    “Yeah there are whale bones, and they’re like deer fossils, but no blowholes”

    Only a quarter-million fossils against the vast that are missing. – BS

  61. JD says

    After PZ explains the wealth of fossils, dumbass creo: No there aren’t any giraffe or whale fossils!

    When explaining theory I like using:

    Theory in science is the highest form of scientific truth. Yes, evolution is one of these just like the germ theory of disease and the theory of gravity.

  62. Chayanov says

    All his information on whale fossils is from Scientific American. And now he’s back on Darwin, again. What a moron.

  63. zer0 says

    “I’d prefer if you don’t use that tone with me”
    Wha Wha, don’t call me on my ignorance.

  64. Ryan F Stello says

    PZ, “Your ignorance of the fossil record is not support for the position…”

    And it’s funny, Simmons tried to call that “ignorant terms”. Sounds like someone wanted to play “I know you are…”

  65. Chayanov says

    Awwww. The atheist is being mean to the good Dr. You can practically hear the tears in his voice.

  66. MartinM says

    Ah, of course. Lying through one’s teeth – civil. Identifying ignorance by name – uncivil.

  67. James says

    “They do not have anything with a blowhole on top of it!”

    “Your ignorance about the state of the fossil record” does not prove holes in the theory.

    Yeah, guess what web sites Jeff and Lee will post on their web site.

  68. lone pilgrim says

    “Ignorance” is not a pejorative term in context here, the fucking guy admitted his own ignorance! Now he’s asking for citations for papers. Jeez what a doofus.

  69. Henwli says

    This guy is not worth anyone’s time.

    “Well I read SciAm 6 months ago and know exactly what scientists think…”

    I am compelled to take on the Pharyngula blasphemy challenge.


  70. Dan says

    PZ (discussing the whale fossil record): “Your ignorance is not evidence of holes in the evolutionary theory.”

    I love it!

  71. Mike says

    Hey, He’s not being nice to me!

    HAHAHA Simmons knows everything about whale transitional fossils, unless it’s a whale transitional fossil.

  72. JD says

    Cries about being called ignorant since he admits to not knowing anything about the whale lineage (except what he read in sciam of course), hosts back him up. Ignorance is ignorance you idiots, its not an insult, its a fact.

  73. Rich says

    This fella wrote a friggin book based on his Scientific American subscription?

    Is he DaveScott’s twin?

  74. Lledowyn says

    AHA! I *knew* he would become a crying, gibbering baby! I am psychic! I should write to Randi and ask for my million!

  75. tonyx# says

    what a retard… he’s just making things up… but hey he is VERY informed, he read’s scientific american! LOL XD

  76. chris says

    “Let’s try to remain civil”?!?!? hahaha

    Gotta love Simmons asking for “citations” for the dorsal evolution of nostril location in whales. How ironic.

  77. Dutch Delight says

    Stating demonstrated ignorance is not uncivil. When people make stuff up in a debate it’s perfectly legit to point it out. Especially if that is the major premise of your opponent.

  78. me says

    Commerical break:

    Heartland Tours and Travel Alaska tripz!!! Hope to see whales with blowholez!!

    Negro girlz on Ectasyz can be fixed with teh chizet!!

  79. wildlifer says

    Debate – “Are Darwin’s Theories Fact or Faith Issues?” <> Dr. John MacArthur <> “The Minnesota Caucus”

    3:00 Hour – “Are Darwin’s Theories Fact or Faith Issues?”
    Dr. Geoffrey Simmons, Senior Fellow of the Discovery Institute and Dr. PZ Myers, Biologist and Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota-Morris will debate Darwin’s theory of evolution. ***Warning: This website contains profanity and may be offensive to some listeners.


  80. Steven Carr says

    So somebody was going to give the evidence for Intelligent Design and decided he just couldn’t do it.

    Why is Ben Stein making a film about how the evidence for Intelligent Design has been EXPELLED and ID proponents cannot find a forum to give the evidence for Intelligent Design?

    ‘You are silencing us’, is the cry.

    ‘Go on then, tell us the evidence for Intelligent Design’ is the answer.

    ‘Err, em, err, err, can we change the subject and talk about something else, and meanwhile why are you silencing us?’

  81. celdd says

    Host points out that that shortcomings of evolution are not being taught – Simmons heartily agrees.

    Pz interjects – ~”there are no shortcomings – simmons just makes things up. Simmons claims no fossils showing blowholes etc….
    PZ “Your ignorance about state of fossil record isn’t evidence against evolution.”

    I’m biased, but I think PZ is doing great and pointing out the falsehoods.

  82. Mowgli says

    My suggested reply:

    The key word in the original subject was “evidence,” a subject that I am very familiar with and need very little preparation to discuss. The revised title drops intelligent design from the subject matter, and adds the subject of “faith,” an area that is more one of philosophy and theology than biology. I am not sure that I would be the best person to discuss faith, but if you would still like me, I could manage, but not on the original schedule. I would need x additional days to prepare for the new subject matter.”

    In other words, fine, I’ll still take him on, but I will not put up with a last-minute bait-and-switch. Set whatever subject matter you like, but I want a week’s prior notice. If that screws up your programming schedule, tough cookies; you’re the one who disrupted the plans. “Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.”

  83. Chayanov says

    Expect the cdesign proponentsists to start using lack of blowholes as the end of Darwinism.

  84. JD says

    Thinks his ignorance should not be excluded from school and universities. Not talking about bible thumpers of course, only facts and theories.


  85. Kevin S says

    I like that PZ calling him on his ignorance of the current state of evolutionary theory is insulting. Personally, I think just calling him ignorant is rather mild.

  86. Ryan F Stello says

    Well, if Jeffrey Coin(?) says that evo isn’t very powerful, then it must mean that its a common idea.

    Excellent to hit him agin with whales.

  87. Escuerd says

    The theory IS open to criticism, but once a criticism has been answered effectively it’s not a part of science to keep bringing it back, and this is essentially all Simmons is doing: bringing up poorly formed criticisms.

    I suppose physicists should all listen to silly arguments against Special Relativity too.

  88. Ryan F Stello says

    Excellent to call it absurd that we should present ‘flaws’ to beginning students.

    The idea of positive approach has finally shut up Simmons.

  89. JD says

    Wow, now he’s crying about his no whale evolution argument being called infantile. I’m embarassed for him.

  90. Chayanov says

    Now we’re on to the human brain. It’s beyond his comprehension that it could have evolved. Well, duh!

  91. melatonin says

    PZ on whale issue: ‘infantile and ludicrous’


    Simmons: ‘teh brain is really complex’…therefore design

  92. Kimberly says

    Bah, he wants why can’t students talk about problems in evolution in high schools… it’s because the students do not have the basic knowledge to talk about it. They can’t talk about the problems with gravity, because they don’t know what gravity is. They do not know what evolution is and until they do (and get years of training with in it), they cannot discuss anything about it.

  93. Ryan F Stello says

    BTW: For people who aren’t listening, the debate is about the evidence for evolution.

    Simmons wasn’t even prepared for his own BS setup.

  94. Jefe says

    Question for During the Debate:

    Can either participant comment on real-world applications that are directly derived from study of the theory of evolutionary biology?

    Real-world products of evolutionary science that improve lives every day for real people living lives around the world today?

    I called the station and they told me they weren’t taking any call-in comments to the show. I hope PZ sees this.

  95. AtheistAcolyte says

    “Unless they’re pruned by design!”


    I hope PZ’s brain didn’t explode from that!

  96. James says

    “Don’t you find that a little bit embarrasssing?” – PZ
    “I don’t think we’re going to settle this whale issue.” -S

    “This is absurd….you know nothing about the field.” – PZ
    And goes on to cite Mary Jane West-Everheart’s book.

    And…. Irreducible Complexity!!!



    “I’m a developmental biologist…you’re stepping right into my field with that question.”


  97. maxi says

    Argh! I’ve missed it. Darn, I completely fluffed up my time zone calculations.

    I went to the website to see if I could listen again and it doesn’t seem I can. Is there anywhere else I could hear it? Or read the transcript?

    Fancy a radio station website not having the listen again feature. Tsk tsk tsk…

  98. John Yates says

    Jesus, now the creationist idiot is trying to blind the Christian audience with fancy-sounding pseudo-science. This is utterly ridiculous.

  99. Escuerd says

    Simmons: “It’s beyond my comprehension that this could have evolved by chance.”

    That was aptly phrased.

    “One would have to speculate that this took billions and billions of years for each one of these, and yet it took, what, maybe hundreds of thousands of years.”

    Oh dear. Pulling numbers out of your ass isn’t an argument. Does he not know that you need to actually do some calculations to come up with numbers?

  100. Tosser says

    The difference in suggested topics could itself be the topic:

    Why does the scientist want to draw from all our contemporary knowledge to discuss the respective evidence for two competing ideas, while the creationist wants to avoid defending his views and instead attack a theory in the form in which it was first proposed a century and a half ago?

    Okay, so the host wouldn’t put it so bluntly (and shouldn’t, in fairness), but the basic difference in how the two sides frame the discussion is an excellent starting point for the debate.

  101. zer0 says

    Simmons on chimp human brains: “There a lot of similiarties”
    PZ: “Yes, they’re basically the same, we just have more volume”
    Simmons: “No no, there’s a lot of differences”

    He got scared of the whole man-chimp thing…

  102. Ryan F Stello says

    PZ: Huge number of similariities in ape and human brains

    DS: There’s a lot of similarities.


    DS: Oh wait, I meant there’s a lot of differences. Makes an analogy to music to make his case. No evidence stated.

  103. James says


    And… Creation Museum Tour Ad.

    Where the Flintstones really ARE a page right out of history.

  104. Chayanov says

    He’s just using scattershot for his points now, hoping to throw out so many unconnected points that PZ can’t possibly answer them all. Typical creationist tactic.

  105. dannyness says

    I’m supposed to be studying for a test right now. It’s in philosophy. I would feel guilty listening to this, but this is an excellent study in logical fallacies.

    FIRST he says that the human brain’s makeup and connections are too complicated to have evolved in such a short amount of time. But when that makeup is compared with that of an ape, ALL OF A SUDDEN the makeup no longer matters. It’s the output. WHAT?

  106. JD says

    All you can say is…


    Can’t believe the guy went into PZs field. All he could say is: “you don’t know that neurons aren’t pruned by design, you can’t know”

    There are lots of differences between human & chimpanzee brains, doesn’t give any.

    Tries to use a similar pianos analogy for 98% figure for similarity (jumped right from brain to genes there).

    Even for a creo, this guy seems like an extra super duper dumb@ss. To think this man may have operated and other human beings .

  107. CrypticLife says

    PZ: Do you know anything about the differences between the chimpanzee and human brain?

    Simmons: Uhhhh. . . there are a lot of similarities…

    Which is the same as saying, “I have no clue, but don’t want to argue you on fact”


    I like how it’s “Dr. Simmons” and “PZ Myers”. What, you don’t have a Ph.D., PZ?

  108. Scooty Puff, Jr. says

    So, is there a reason they keep calling you “PZ Myers” and this other creationist a-hole “Dr. Simmons”? Ugh, these people annoy me.

  109. Mike says

    “If you believe the old earth terms . . .” You gotta be kidding me. Didn’t this guy say he wasn’t a Christian earlier? (It had to be someone else.) PZ’s absolutely destroying this guy. I don’t think Simmons knows any more about biology than I do, and I’ve got a business degree.

  110. Johnny Vector says

    I was all mad that I couldn’t hear it because I don’t got no Explorrer on my ‘pewter.

    But this is much more fun!

  111. Ryan F Stello says


    What a smug asshole, indeed.
    Now, why won’t he stick by his “examples”

  112. Henwli says


    During the break I’ll throw out a question that just popped into my mind (and will get lost amidst Simmons-bashing):

    Just before this show we heard Todd Friel on Way of the Master. Every time the genetic similarities between us and chimpanzees are brought up, he goes on a diatribe about how scientists lie about the “98% similarity”, because it’s only 98% of the “protein-DNA”.

    What is protein-DNA? I’ve googled the term several times to no avail and even my senior veterinary student girlfriend is baffled by it.

  113. Spaulding says

    I’m pretty disappointed – I expected a DI mouthpiece to be better prepared. He totally handed PZ easy ammunition by bringing up the whale fossil record.

    I guess I overestimate the DI? I would have expected them to keep up with some of the research in order to propagandize effectively.

  114. D. Scarlatti says

    Good lord. This rank buffoon is even making the Discovery Institute look bad. Fine work, PZ.

  115. me says

    commershulz!! **drink**

    I can haz teh picupz twuckz!!

    Vinyl sidingz!!

    I canz be a cristion docktur like docktur simmonz!! kthanxbi!!!

  116. the backpacker says

    Every where he goes PZ is standing there with a great big bat. He is scrambleing so much he can’t even stay on topic. Oh and FUCK

  117. Alexandra says

    Simmons: “The structure of the brain couldn’t have evolved so quickly”.
    PZ: “Consider the structure of the chimp brain…”
    Simmons:”It’s not about the structure of the brain.”

    I feel like I’m jabbing needles-of-stupid into my brain listening to this guy.

  118. Carlie says

    98% similarity”, because it’s only 98% of the “protein-DNA”.

    I’m guessing he somehow means coding DNA? If so, that’s even more stupid, because natural selection predicts exactly that, that the genes in use would be more highly conserved than nonfunctional regions, in which mutations could accumulate with no selection acting on them.

  119. zer0 says

    Wow, they gave PZ the oppurtunity for the last word. Let’s see if Simmons can resist interrupting him.

  120. apy says

    Anyone see the link to PZ’s blog on KKMS website?

    “***Warning: This website contains profanity and may be offensive to some listeners.”

    I didn’t see one next to the DI link saying “***Warning: This website contains stupidity and may destroy some listeners neurons.”

  121. Escuerd says

    @ Henwli:

    I imagine that he means DNA that is transcribed into proteins (i.e. the DNA that’s responsible for expressing genetic traits). I don’t know exactly how accurate that figure is, but what point was he trying to make?

  122. James says

    3 minutes to summarize… PZ closes. W00t!

    “A lot of people believe Darwin as it was…he was bigoted…he wouldn’t be published toay.”

    AD HOMINEM!!!!


  123. dannyness says

    Furthermore, if he wants to talk about evolution of a brain’s output, then that would be the development of communication. Obviously communication has changed over the years. Over the months for that matter.

  124. Carlie says

    I have to say, I couldn’t stomach listening to it, but reading the responses has been great fun.

  125. melatonin says

    Simmons: ‘Darwin really old dude, no peer review, bigot, he sucks, but people revere him. Monkey’s give birth differently. Scientists seek out truth blah blah.’

  126. Chayanov says

    “Students should be allowed to question authority. Unless they’re questioning cdesign proponentsists.”

  127. Mike says

    Does anyone else think Simmons sounds like William Atherton, aka Dr. Jerry Hathaway from “Real Genius.”

  128. Spaulding says

    It’s moderated unintrusively, which is kinda nice and professional.

    Except for them getting bent out of shape when PZ describes his opponent’s “ignorance” of the fossil record.

  129. Ryan F Stello says

    3 minute wrapup..

    Simmons: Darwin came from an era where people believed stupid things. No peer review. Bigoted. Sexist. Revered. I asked PZ to explain my impossibilities. Should be open to scrutiny. Never assume. Criticizes science as religious fervor.

    PZ: Why are we not talking fact vs. faith? No facts given. Publicly discuss problems….and we do. Science has solid foundation. Can’t make up facts as you go along. Simmons is very “liberal” on this. Wrong on:
    – Current state of the fossil record
    (Announcer takes umbrage that Simmons doesn’t know anything)
    – Evolution of the brain, know how its wired. No mystery. Difference only in magnitude. Can follow progression without problem.

  130. Greg Peterson says

    I can’t listen, so this is exciting commentary. It’s like listening to the Vikings on the radio, but one step removed. Good job, commentators!

  131. melatonin says

    PZ: ‘Simmons is an eejit and talks from his ass’

    Well done, PZ. Well and truly eviscerated this dude.

  132. zer0 says

    You did an incredible job PZ, and I think even the hosts are kind of in awe of the eloquent ways in which you present the evidence for Evolution. Bravo.

  133. secularskeptic says

    Monkey birth impossible to explain? I just wrote a 23-page paper last semester in which I summarizing the well-known explanation for that phenomenon on my way to tackling a much more difficult problem.

    It’s not even close to impossible to explain. Even a superficial knowledge of the situation leads to a fairly obvious conclusion.

    Dr. Simmons is clueless about PZ’s field, and he’s clueless about my field as well.

  134. Ron says

    Listened to the show. How PZ keeps his cool is beyond me.

    Loved the host interrupting PZ to say “He does know something about fossil whales” when it is clear that he doesn’t know ENOUGH to have an INFORMED opinion about the subject.

  135. Tulse says

    I think credit should be given to the hosts — I was surprised at how “fair and balanced” they were.

  136. Ric says

    Wow, just wow. PZ did well, and Simmons… Simmons just straight up lied. He spouted falsehoods, plain and simple. It’s impossible to debate with a liar.

  137. the Backpacker says

    Nice PZ that wrap up was great. Simmons should have studied the game tape better, if he had he never ever would have touched the brain or any part of the nervous system. I think Simmons thought he was sining up for an argument with some hayseed and did not quite get what he bargend for.

  138. MartinM says

    I just wrote a 23-page paper last semester in which I summarizing the well-known explanation for that phenomenon on my way to tackling a much more difficult problem.

    Call in!

  139. Ryan F Stello says

    The moderators were actually kinda fair as they went along, but it doesn’t seem like they actually keyed into the fact that

    natural selection isn’t ‘Darwinism’.

    So much for enlightening the unenlightened.

  140. says

    Off topic but did anyone notice the current poll on the KKMS site?

    Which candidate would you like to see win the Republican nomination?
    John McCain – 44.0%
    Ron Paul – 38.0%
    Mitt Romney – 12.0%
    Mike Huckabee – 4.0%

    I’m thinking PZ’z audience may have skewed that slightly :-)

  141. JD says

    Beyond the debate, listening to the ads, promos and “news” during the breaks boggles the mind. But that would assume I guess you have to actually possess some semblance of a mind to be boggled by the shear layers of stupidity being broadcast. Hard to imagine there are enough brainless automatons out there to give this station enough of an audience to stay solvent. THE STUPIDITY!!! IT BURNSSSSSSS!!!!

    Still I have to listen in on some of the call ins. I’m such a masochist….

  142. roby_ann says

    “The kids need to ask what? why? how? OR EVEN WHO!”
    (But he’s totally not an Xtian and ID totally isn’t religion)

    The stupid hurts my irreducibly complex non-monkey brains.

    Great job PZ!

  143. Jim S says

    “I’m thinking PZ’z audience may have skewed that slightly :-)”

    Who, me? (he asks, innocently)
    Vote early, vote often.

  144. Chayanov says

    “Oh no! PZ knows too much about whale fossils. If I steer the topic to the brain, I should be safe.”

  145. James says

    I’m predicting…

    “It’s just a theory!”
    “We didn’t come from monkeys!”
    “It’s against God!”
    “PZ is arrrogant!”
    “Darwin was a racist!”
    “In Genesis it states….”

    I’m really hoping there’s some enlightenment in the calls, but I’m afraid in their minds it’s the incorrect God vs. Evolution argument. If you set it up as, “I must disagree because he’s against my religion” they won’t ever denounce their religion, who would?

  146. Bruce says

    Open with:

    the answer to “Are Darwin’s Theories Fact or Faith Issues?” is given by considering “the evidence of Evolution vs. evidence of Intelligent Design”

    and mention the bait-and-switch, then go on as before.

  147. the Backpacker says

    Man I never listen to comercial radio, it is really annoying. It is nothing but adds. Oh and now they are going to “chop it up” this should be good.

  148. lone pilgrim says

    Oh they’re going to “chop up” the broadcast and play portions of it sometime. That’ll be good, hey?

  149. James says


    I say we take the high road. I’m still a good Catholic boy – an enlightened, progressive one, but a good Catholic boy.

  150. maxi says

    “We’re going to chop it up a bit and let our audience interact.”

    Yeah, that will be fair…

  151. Henwli says


    The point Friel is making, is that the 98% figure is massively misleading, and should be regarded as evil scientist propaganda: “because it’s 98% of 1% of the DNA”.

    Protein-DNA = 1% of your DNA, the similarities are 98% in this 1%, so they’re too small to matter. According to him. I really wish someone would call into the show and ask for some clarification…

    What Friel is ultimately trying to convince you about with all this is that: YOU ARE NOT A MONKEY.

  152. James says

    I’m impressed by the first caller so far!

    Please, Christians, restore my faith in humanity!!!

  153. Chayanov says

    First question is taking the hosts to task. They’ll think twice before they allow audience participation again.

  154. me says

    Initially, I thought PZ made a mistake agreeing to this, based on the premise that if you ever get into an argument with an idiot, eventually its hard to tell which one is the idiot. Plus, its on enemy territory by enemy ground rules.

    But this Simmons character was so fricking unprepared, it really astounded me. He is a total hack. OMG!! I hope he’s not still practicing!! I hadn’t seen (heard) one of these things for almost 25 years, when the creationists were much more slick than this, and really cleaned the biology faculty’s clock. Back then, they did a better job appealing to the audience’s intuition and emotion. Obviously, there is no way they should ever get into an argument with us on the basis of fact. They can’t possibly win that and this is a good example of that.

    It wasn’t that so much that PZ was all that good, but more that Simmons was a complete and total hack. He’s written two books on the subject but he stopped and asked PZ for citations/names at least twice!! Maybe if he had a better research library……..

    Finally, the hosts made it seem like Simmons got ambushed by the last minute change in format, rather than PZ. I dunno, I missed the opening statements

  155. JD says

    first caller: Balanced but simmons was not prepared. Hosts take responsibility. Tries to explain to hosts that it should not be about Darwinism, hosts taken aback. Pushes Simmons book saying he is an expert on fossils while PZs discipline is different. Cuts caller off!

  156. Ric says

    Are you guys still listening to this? The stupid DJs are trying to defend Simmons by saying “it’s our fault that he wasn’t prepared for this debate, since we switched the topics.”

  157. James says

    PNWED by the caller from Madison!!!!!

    “Turn him down for a second, Lee…get your own talk show if you want to talk.”

  158. Escuerd says

    His area of discipline is studying the “billions of missing links”? What a thing to put on a résumé!

  159. Scooty Puff, Jr. says

    Oh. Your. God. The one host just said he’s not a “drug guy” meaning that he prefers “holistic” medicine. You did know how crazy these people are, right PZ?

  160. ExitB says

    My first post on this site.
    I caught the whole thing live, PZ, including the part at the end when you got god-blessed. I hope you were able to sneeze it off ok. Don’t know if I can ever open another can of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle.
    Thanks for the great blog!

  161. Escuerd says

    Caller: “What is it about intelligent design that speaks to those similarities?”

    Host: “Well, it’s a designer.”

    Just brilliant.

  162. James says

    “It can be Martians, it can be God, it could be anything….”


    OMG Caller 2 is tearing them apart.

  163. Sparky says

    For those of us not lucky enough to able to catch it the first time around, anyone know where we can lay our hands on a copy of it? If not audio, perhaps a transcript?

  164. Chayanov says

    So now the hosts are just rambling on about how they think ID fits into drug research? And who are they to dismiss bad logic? They just said evolution takes faith.

  165. JD says

    Hosts: takes faith to believe in evolution. Can’t understand why god designed animals the way he did. Claim to respect science.

    caller: if science uses evolution to create and test drugs shouldn’t they warn listeners against using these things?

    hosts: thats bad logic!

    Me thinks some pharyngulans are calling in ;)

    Hosts get pwned also!

  166. Chayanov says

    “Is there any use to theology?”

    No, no, a thousand times no. Theology has no use whatsoever.

  167. James says

    “Do you beleive there’s any use or purpose for theology?”

    “As someone who has my bachelor’s in theology, I hope so”


  168. Escuerd says

    Actually, many creationists have a pat answer for caller number 2’s question about why there are similarities among organisms. They say that the designer re-used things.

    But these guys don’t know that answer, evidently, let alone that it does nothing to explain why these similarities are organized into nested hierarchies. Oh wait, did I just say “organized”. Design!

  169. James says

    “I would want theology in the doctor’s office.”

    Yeah, you don’t want to go to doctor who might not believe in Christ’s divinity *cough*Jew*cough*

    OK…that was a bit offsides of me. But that’s where it leads ya…

  170. CrypticLife says

    You know, PZ, I only came in towards the last 15 minutes (I’ll listen to the whole thing once they post it), and I think you largely did great, but after looking at the stuff he said I think most of your response should have just been outright laughter.

  171. JD says

    Hosts: theology answers most important questions. want a doctor that relies on god’s guidance. Hosts seem really pissed in their holier than thou sort of way as the head off to break. Reeling from not being able to answer the question regarding use of evolution to validate drugs and then trying to trap caller by asking if theology serves any purpose. Caller has a degree in theology! Hosts are floundering! PWNED! Nice job callers! LOL!

  172. Chayanov says

    “… I think most of your response should have just been outright laughter.”

    It practically was. You could hear it in PZ’s voice when the guy admitted to getting all of his info on whale fossils from Scientific American.

  173. GKrasle says

    Wow. If I’d known how standard and predictable the silly side was, I would have proposed we here play Bingo with it. Next time. Who wants to set-up the cards?

  174. Nicole TWN says

    freeing up one side of the debate from any burden of proof is not acceptable.

    Wordity Word McWord-Word.

    Hand him his ass, PZ!

  175. Mena says

    The hosts don’t seem to be used to not preaching to the choir if the way the related to PZ and to the callers was any indication. Reality check…

  176. me says

    the wabash college religion major requires students to take course work in judaism, Asian religions and all that.

    that makes him a troll in the mind of a fundie xtian

  177. Don says

    Damn, hope I can hear a recording of that. Either way, ‘Your ignorance is not evidence’ sounds like a T-shirt to me. I’m ordering one as soon as the stores open.

  178. Chayanov says

    “Your ignorance is not evidence” needs to become our new sound bite when dealing with the creationists.

  179. Greg Peterson says

    From Uncommon Decent blog:

    If I had to use this debate to judge the validity of NeoDarwinism, I would be a Darwinist. Simmons is a terrible dissappointment. I shall pass on his books, though they haven’t been on my short list.

    Congratulations, Jeff and Lee! Nicely played!

  180. Ryan F Stello says

    Ric (#272) said,

    “it’s our fault that he wasn’t prepared for this debate, since we switched the topics.”

    They switched the topics, huh?
    Weren’t they saying that this was Simmons’ suggestion?

    Chalk it up to lying for Christ…..and playing the apologetic jerk.

  181. D. Scarlatti says

    Simmons’s publisher, Harvest House Books:

    “Committed to providing high-quality books that affirm Biblical values and proclaim Jesus Christ as the answer to every human need.”

    Didn’t he say he wasn’t a Christian?

  182. Michael LoPrete says

    I was the caller with the question about drugs. I don’t know if I was articulate enough with my comments, but my point was just that evolution gives us easy justification for passing what we learn about drugs when used on animals to predict how they’ll work on people; I wanted to press them on whether we should scrap that belief if we reject evolution (which obviously we should not).

  183. Jim S says

    If you haven’t checked out the running commentary and follow-up over at UD, you really should. Example:

    This ID vs. evolution fight will never be won with either debates, arguments, brochures, web sites or what have you. The opposition has a propaganda machine that is impervious to this strategy. If public debates and discussions are the best that we can do, I’m afraid we have lost the war before it has even started.

    ID needs a BIG EVENT. It needs something that will get everybody (laymen and experts alike) to stand up and take notice, something that will quickly and decisively nullify the enemy’s defences. I don’t see these endless debates and arguments making a dent in their armor. They’re stronger than ever.

    Education and arguments are nice but they will only be effective after we’re on top, not before. Sorry to sound so negative but that’s the way I see it at the moment.

  184. Geoffrey Alexander says

    @Michael: No, they didn’t actually, but they almost seemed to want to. They expected you to answer the “theology” question with “No, it shouldn’t” and then they were ready with the bit about wanting a theist Doctor to treat them (to trap you I suppose) but your “It was my major, I would hope so” answer threw them way off that — then they asked where you studied, as though to see if they could indict you in some way, and when they didn’t know how to respond to ‘Wabash’, they did a half hearted bit with what they had tried to trap you. Fun!

  185. Henwli says

    UncommonDescent is like a foreign dimension where up is down is a doorknob and green equals infinity divided by zero.


  186. Chayanov says

    They may take more calls, but they’re going to screen the callers first to weed out the Pharyngulites.

  187. says

    Well, now that I’ve been assured of a link to the audio for the “debate” (read intellectual ass-handing by Dr. Myers), I’m starting to hope that these great calls that I’m hearing about are linked as well.

  188. Henwli says

    From UC:

    ID wouldn’t necessarily argue that whales didn’t evolve from land-based creatures – only that the coordinated changes needed were not the result of random variation and environmental pruning.

    Lots of talk about pruning today, but, this really doesn’t look anything like creationism anymore! The creationists set the ball rolling, but is it going where they wanted it to?

  189. Owlmirror says

    ID needs a BIG EVENT. It needs something that will get everybody (laymen and experts alike) to stand up and take notice,

    I think “BIG EVENT” means “MIRACLE”, here. Please, God Designer, won’t you help your poor followers and show those naughty evilutionists how it’s done?

  190. Geoffrey Alexander says

    At UD they are starting to show their true colors: “Like I said previously, we are not going to win this war with honest arguments. If arguments could do it, it would have done it already. The enemy is fighting a political war, not a scientific one. They will lie as often as they have to. They are well equipped for it. Myers is a skilled and consummate liar, in my opinion.”

    That’s some awesome case of transference there, guys.

  191. PZ Rocks says

    #295: Hosts: theology answers most important questions. want a doctor that relies on god’s guidance. Hosts seem really pissed in their holier than thou sort of way as the head off to break.

    As bad as Falwell was, he said before he died:

    “And, so, it’s like this. I would rather have an atheist who is a neurosurgeon of excellent talents operating on me if I ever need a brain surgery, than to have the best Sunday school teacher in the world who doesn’t know a thing about it. I would much rather have the atheist, if that is his specialty.”

  192. Carlie says

    ID needs a BIG EVENT. It needs something that will get everybody (laymen and experts alike) to stand up and take notice,

    Like, perhaps, evidence?

  193. Crudely Wrott says

    Doesn’t matter what they change or when. Nor how they dissemble or mumble. The show must go on! Have no fear, PZ, neither for making a forceful presentation (opponents won’t notice) nor for carrying the day (not known until later) nor for even playing fair (no competition there, eh?).

    To steal a line from my old church and to rape it publicly and put it to some good use for a change, “We have the truth on our side! We have a deeply grounded witness that the enemy cannot deny! We are right and they are wrong so there, nyaaah!”

    Two can play at this game. Of course, the smart player is cautious, never raising to the bait floated by the foolish player. The smart player only bites when he has the argument and the fool between his teeth at the same moment. Then he bites through. Failing such auspicious serendipity, he may bite or not, as he pleases.

    I look forward to your report. E Pluribus Unum!

  194. BlueIndependent says

    “It practically was. You could hear it in PZ’s voice when the guy admitted to getting all of his info on whale fossils from Scientific American.”

    This illustrates the thin mental energy expended by creationists in attempting to truly understand science. It also belies their intellectual development. “Hey! I checked the most readily available, mass market sciency reading material and deduced conclusions from it! Why isn’t that good enough?!” One would think these people would have at some point in their academic life been required to go read seminal documents on different subjects, as anyone practicing science is required to do. But these people don’t even read the Bible in its entirety, let alone go back and read about all the different translations and all the hands every inch of it has passed through, in order to understand that relying on the Bible for anything is as intelligent as Scientologists relying on a Sci-Fi writer’s ramblings for their life philosophy.

    I can’t help but think that these guys expect to be able to crack any odd, vaguely scientific pamphlet, and immediately understand hundreds of years of research, development, technology and rigor. They have never been intellectually stimulated or challenged to actually read and discover. They’re used to the druggie’s way of doing things: when feeling the effects of withdrawal, go back to the medicine cabinet for a hit.

  195. Jim S. says

    Yeah, what kind of “Big Event” is that referring to? Like, Bullshitapolooza?

    The sky opening up and an old dude with a beard looking down upon us and telling us that he did it all, and then turning a mouse in to a unicorn.

  196. Mono Ape says

    As Uncommon Descent were too chicken to allow my post, I’ll put it here for posterity:

    Mapou: “The ID movement is wasting its time … This ID vs. evolution fight will never be won … The opposition has a propaganda machine …”

    Nope, the opposition have facts piled on top of facts, forming a mountain of evidence for their case.

    ID / creationism has wishful thinking, self-denial and delusion – that is why the argument cannot be won against evolution.

    “Myers is lying, of course.”

    Prove it. Or shut up.

    “… there are no missing links with a non-crisscrossed architecture.”

    It’s impossible to know there are no missing links! That’s the whole point – they are *missing*. A wonderful demonstration of your confusion.

    “They’re stronger than ever.”

    Yeah, a couple hundred years of accumulated scientific evidence that all supports the theory* of evolution tends to make that happen.

    Whereas 2000 years of wishful thinking has produced not a single shred of evidence. It’s fascinating to watch creationists frantically trying to reason away evolution when there is no logical basis for that, only irrational, deluded faith in a Sky Fairy.

    * You do know what the scientific definition of ‘theory’ is?

  197. extatyzoma says

    ive yet to listen (cant wait, hopefully it wont be in any way edited) in looking the radio website i forgot how utterly inane the christian outlook can be, seeing links like ‘a better way to pray’ and ‘preparing your kids for marriage’. Oh my god, it is truly nauseating, its just so fucking sad, if their is a god i thank him wholeheartedly for making me unable to be such a sad sod. i dont care that thats ad hominemS but thats waht i feel, they are sad, sad, sad.

  198. Donnie B. says

    “ID needs a BIG EVENT. It needs something that will get everybody (laymen and experts alike) to stand up and take notice…”

    You know, this sent a chill down my spine. I imagined a few fellows in turbans sitting around saying much the same thing — read “Islam” for “ID” — sometime in 2001.

  199. James says


    Well put. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I can’t recall a death threat made by an evolutionist, while you only need to look as far as Kitzmiller v. Dover to find threatening calls and letters made by “Christians.”

  200. Michael X says

    From the next thread:
    The carnage at the UD blog is laughable. FtK is there and assumes she will be ill after listening to the debate. I can only hope so.

    As for the other commenters I hold my head in shame for them. Someones argument against knowledge of brain evolution is “Where are all the brain fossils?”

    Another twit, argues “‘Looks like this and that, therefore is a transitional between this and that’ is a clear logical fallacy. (Undistributed Middle)” and believes it to be a strong counter argument. He apparently has never heard of genetic mutation, or natural selection and yet still argues against it.

    Well, I guess that’s par for the course. Oh the humanity of the UD blog..

  201. me says

    I’ve thought about this carefully and really think the high (low) point of the program is a toss up between:

    the point when Simmons seemed just about ready to blurt out, “…it couldn’t be trial and error, only God could have made all those millions of billions and zillions of nerve connections in each of our (6 billion-not including other species) brains” but was distracted when he thought PZ insulted him


    the commercial during a break about how only Christ could cure the drug addiction of all the nappy headed ho’s in the twin cities.

    I guess what I’m saying it was just too surreal

  202. phantomreader42 says

    #303, I agree. I want a ‘Your ignorance is not evidence’ shirt too. Have to check Cafepress, they may have one already. If not, I wonder if the idea would work for the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

  203. phantomreader42 says

    HAven’t heard the recording yet, but PLEASE tell me you used this phrase:
    “I had absolutely no respect for my opponent’s intellectual honesty in the first place, so I can’t argue that this has diminished it.”

  204. says

    Shit, I missed the fucking profanity-fest!

    I had to comment on papers and then teach a class today, so missed all the fun. Reading the LOLDebaytz was quite entertaining.

  205. says

    Now , in all fairness , it must be difficult for people to believe in evolution , who are not themselves yet fully evolved. As a man of science whose youth is but a distant memory , I’ve had the typical debates with the ‘religious right’. I stopped after realizing I was dealing with folks whose DNA is all the same , are generally from communities wherein there are no dental records , & they have the attention span of a cocker spaniel being shown a card trick.

  206. Calilasseia says

    I’ve just listened to the broadcast.

    Simmons is a charlatan. He is a fraudster. Listening to him masturbating his mouth on that radio show brought me as close as I’d ever come to hurling a brick at the computer. He demonstrated amply why creationists and their assorted speciation offshoots are a verminous and pestilential menace that should be subjected wherever possible to withering critical firepower relentlessly. His evasions, his abuse of discourse, his fraudulent manufacturing of fake evidence and his sleazy, oleaginous pretensions to the holding of the “moral high ground” were nauseating. My only regret, PZ, is that you didn’t trample on him even harder, because the worthless blowhard deserved to be stamped into the dust. He is a typical example of the aetiology of the creationist disease – a wilful liar, a fraud, a cheat, all in all one of the most excremental manifestations of transmissible fundiform encephalopathy I have encountered to date, and given that I’ve seen the output of Behe and Dembski, that’s saying a lot.

    What we are dealing with here is nothing more, nothing less, than committed ideological warriors for a pernicious doctrine who will stop at nothing to push their wet-dream dystopian vision of a theocratic hegemony, and force that warped masturbation fantasy upon millions of unwilling recipients. They are, in a very real sense, a menace to civilisation itself, and as such, should be regarded in the same way as smallpox. Nothing less than head-on confrontation with every weapon in the arsenal of reason, including whatever nuclear options are available, is warranted in dealing with this ideological cancer, because if it is not thoroughly excised, it threatens to propel us back to a new Dark Age. Reason, science and the Enlightenment values that made Western civilisation worth preserving must prevail, because the alternative does not bear thinking about.

  207. James says

    D. Scarlatti wrote:

    Simmons’s publisher, Harvest House Books:
    “Committed to providing high-quality books that affirm Biblical values and proclaim Jesus Christ as the answer to every human need.”
    Didn’t he say he wasn’t a Christian?

    It occurred to me that Simmons committed apostasy for an hour in front of a radio audience. Ouch.

  208. DiGz says

    Thanks for the commentary folks and a BIG thank you to PZ for running rings round Simmons.

    I note all the references to the UD link above but it appears they’ve pulled it. Anybody else still get to it? If they have deleted it, it’s clear acknowledgement that they lost this debate, despite trying so hard to stack the deck in their favour.

    Thanks again, PZ!!!

  209. sacredchao says

    I’m pretty sure that article in Scientific America was actually about how the evolution of whales occured, so that guy is just plain delusional.

  210. phantomreader42 says

    To everyone poking fun at the “this site may contain profanity” disclaimer, I have to say:

    Quit the goddamn swearing, you motherfucking shitheads!

    Seriously, why must you swear so fucking much? :P

    (in case it isn’t obvious, the above is a fucking joke)

  211. 386sx "poof" says

    Way to go dude. You are a force to be reckoned with! And that guy was a DI “fellow” too. Lol. Oh, and I love it when the fancy science people say “poof”! Beautiful, man.

  212. wjv says

    I listened to the recording today. Then dug further into that radio station’s site… found their old podcasts. Discovered they used to have such a thing as the “KKMS Clean Comedy Night”. This sounded… intriguing, so I went to find some clips of some of the, er, comedians who performed at this even. I’ll just post two links without further comment: