1. Stephen Wells says

    Hyperwords reverts it to “The tribute of respect to those, greater no.” I guess it stumbles over the last part; “…who are no more” would be better.

  2. CosmicTeapot says

    I read this as something about respecting those who are not big! But my Russian is not so good.

  3. Graculus says

    Because that’s what I get.

    Time to clean your computer then, because there is nothing wrong with the link.

  4. James says

    “Give respect to those who are not here any more”

    The article talks about how the Bible cannot capture the entirety of human wisdom and experience going back millions of years to the Australopithecus. The reason is the shear amount of time involved and how human existence is filled with numerous tragedies and lessons not really captured anywhere.

  5. Eric says

    The article talks about how the Bible cannot capture the entirety of human wisdom and experience going back millions of years to the Australopithecus. The reason is the shear amount of time involved and how human existence is filled with numerous tragedies and lessons not really captured anywhere.

    Well, yeah. I know zero Russian, and I figured that out. I’m assuming it’s a translation of the article in English that it links to.

  6. Brian Tani says

    I don’t know if you guys noticed, but the articles seems to be a translation of one of PZ’s blogposts. The little gray box in the right area of the article with his name and an link was the giveaway. :)

    And I don’t even know Russian. ;)

  7. James says

    Ooops, i didn’t see the link (or read the post before).

    In that case I am not sure the original title in English makes to me. Should it be “The proper reverence due TO those who have gone before”? If so, then I think the Russian translation should be – “Уваждение для тех кто прошли до нас”

    Litelarly – “Respect for those came before us” or “Respect for those who passed before us”

  8. Mystyk says

    PZ’s gone international!

    The original blog post, of which this was a translation, was from long before I started regularly reading these posts. It is the most elegant summary of just how much we’re missing that I’ve ever read, and a good highlight of how one segment of society would shamefully like to keep those millions of long-gone voices dead from our collective memory.

  9. Karen says

    That needs to be linked more often around here. I somehow hadn’t read it. Aside from the (yes, slightly) morbid bone reverence, you write what I feel. I somehow feel a little less alone. Mandatory pharyngulite reading, I’d say.

  10. Patricia says

    Looks like a bunch of furriners from Mars have landed. I’m cleaning my shotgun.

  11. Pierce R. Butler says

    … if that title survives translation here.

    Take a look at it on the “Last 24 hours” page (gah!).

  12. sphex says

    I’m happy to see this post is making its way around the globe. It has been one of my ‘top 10 PZ posts’ ever since I first read it, and when I’m telling people why they should read this blog, it’s the one I send them. I find it so moving, that just seeing the title (the one in English in the gray box) made me feel a bit of awe.

  13. Corgihound says

    PZ’s original article was posted 31 January, 2006. The Russian acticle indicates a date of “10 April, 2005.” Therefore, using scientific deductive methods I learned from The Discovery Institute, and knowing that it’s okay to “lie” IF it serves God’s purpose, I can categorically state that Dr. Myers must have PLAGIARIZED this article from the original Russian source!

    There – that was easy to prove! Now, I can go back to my original task of petitioning the Petersburg, Kentucky zoning commission to allow even more parking spaces for the Creation Museum. Gotta accomodate those growing fleets of school buses this fall, to make sure our kids learn true science to help them compete in this changing world….!

    (HHHMMMMM! “Petersburg” – sounds kinda “Russian,” doesn’t it…?)

  14. Igor says

    This is a pretty good translation. It is very true to the original but, still, reads well in Russian.

    The box on the top names the translator and the source. It looks like the date attributed to the original is wrong (most likely an innocent mistake). This web page states very explicitly that it is a translation of PZ’s blog article, so there is no claim to primacy.

    Of course, given PZ’s reaction, he has just learned of this derivative work and never gave anyone a permission to translate and post this article on another web site (even with full attribution). Well, Russian understanding of the copyright and what it “right and wrong” in its regard is different from the Western notions. The Russian society holds firmly that as long as a full attribution is present, there is nothing wrong with reproducing copyrighted works “for free”. This is especially true about works that are both originally posted and reposted “for free” (with only “incidental” commercial benefits like syndcated ad traffic). Many Russians would even condone full commercial exploitation of derivative works, such as translations, adaptation, compilations, etc, as long a full attribution to the originals is present.

  15. Holbach says

    Whew! I was concerned it was going to end in a treatise on enemas! You never know what those Ruskies are up to!

  16. Peter Ashby says

    I suspect the Russian attitude to copies and copyright goes back to the days of the USSR and samizdat copies of works, both western and Russian by home made copies. People literally typed out the copy they hand and passed it on. Many officially banned works found audiences that way and some by becoming ridiculously popular managed to have their bans removed. IIRC Solzhenitsyn’s Cancer Ward started life this way before seeing official publication.

  17. Aleks says

    It’s a good translation as far as automatic translators go. Bunch of small mistakes that make the text seem a bit weird, like for example instead of saying “I made a wonderful discovery ONE lunch hour: a bone room.” they translated it as “I made a wonderful discovery FOR lunch hour:bone room.” (there is no way this could be a typo)
    Such small things make the text confusing and hard to take seriously.
    Seems that individual knows English well, but lacks small understanding of basic phrases which are not usually included in the text books.
    I an surprised no one saw that.

  18. Martin says

    Translated back to English –

    First paragraph:
    Some people might think that I am quite abnormal people. Very long ago, when I was a student at Washington University, worked in the medical school, I made a remarkable opening for lunch hour: a repository of bones. To hide o in a remote corner of the building room was filled shelves, zastavlennymi cardboard boxes. In each box lying bones of a man, bequeath their remains for scientific research. Bones were completely cleaned and separated from each other, and many raspileny into parts, so you could look in the sinus cavities of bones and, once filled with bone marrow, or vsmatrivatsya in the skull cavity. This room has become my favorite place of solitude and serenity. I could go around without purpose around whose remains something or just consider any piece of bone, like Hamlet, Erike skorbevshemu on the poor.

  19. eddie says

    @21 Igor and 26 Peter;

    Samizdat is right, I think.

    Given the pressure we’re under from fundies and other nutters, we should be making as many copies and distributing them as widely as possible before they’re all gone.

  20. Aleks says

    “Some people might think that I am quite abnormal people.”
    Well as I said using automatic translator won’t give you much, in fact the first sentence is translated perfectly (the first one, not the one mentioned above)

  21. Serena says

    Speaking of bones, my favorite exhibits of any Natural History Museum are always those that feature skeletons. I love seeing animals without their skins! It’s so revealing (sorry, couldn’t help it) of our relatedness. It is very much the reason I prefer a NHM to any old Zoo.
    I saw a hedghog on the side of the road today and I really wanted to pick it up and have it skeletonized. Husband wouldn’t let me :(.
    *shakes fist in direction of couch*

  22. Owlmirror says

    It looks like the date attributed to the original is wrong (most likely an innocent mistake)

    The date attributed to the original is entirely correct. The 2006 posting is a repost, and if you click on the image that says “repost”… Well, you get an error because it looks like the old server is dead.

    But the Internet Archive has the page cached. Note the date, please.

  23. says

    James @13,

    I suspect your proposed translation is over-literal. Different languages differ in the details of how they do things, and just because we say “for those” (для тех) doesn’t mean the Russians cannot in their own language say, as they do, “to those” (тем). Similarly, I think they’d read кто прошли до нас as referring to somebody who literally got up and left the room, rather than somebody “of whom there is no more”, as they put it in their (rather poetic) way.

  24. Will Von Wizzlepig says

    I suppose it’s what I get for taking Russian 101 and Japanese 301 at the same time, but I’m not getting the “кого больше нет” part. (Not that I should, I only took one quarter of Russian 13 years ago), but “large not” seems an odd thing to add to a phrase which doesn’t contain a negative in the first place.

    Can someone explain the translation of the title?

  25. says


    not “large” but “larger”, in the sense of “more”: “of whom [there is] no more”. My own vague recollection of Russian grammar is that Russian puts (as do a number of languages) things that there are none of into the genitive. So not “there is no pie”, but rather (lit.) “there is not of pie”.

  26. says

    I hadn’t seen that original 2006 post before as I only started reading PZ’s blog last year, but I’m glad it’s been brought to my attention now. An excellent thought-provoking article.

    I’ve been thinking for some time now about writing a piece of abstract music based around the geological age of the Earth. I’ve decided that the piece should last approximately 72 minutes or 4300 seconds, which would mean that each second of music would correspond to roughly a million years in the age of the Earth (and of course that would fit nicely onto a CD). Geological and biological events would all be represented in the correct place, sequence and duration (e.g. the extinction of the dinosaurs would occur at the 75 minute mark, and the appearance of Homo Sapiens would be marked by a single orchestral chord in the very last second!)

    However, I want to get this right, so I’ve shelved the entire project while I do some research. I’m not a geologist, I’m a musician, but my music is nearly always inspired by science. So if anyone could give me some pointers, I’d be grateful. Hopefully, the piece would give some perspective on the age of the Earth and all life upon it, past and present. Plus it might just be interesting to listen to!

  27. says

    oops – I meant 71 minute mark for the dinosaurs going bye-bye (65 million years ago – 65 seconds on my musical clock).

    It does put things into perspective doesn’t it?

  28. says

    Will, further to @36, perhaps I might illustrate with this little ode:

    Муха, муха на стене,
    Как вы поживаете?
    У меня есть пистолет;
    Пенг пенг, бу ху: mухи нет!

  29. Jeph says

    I think those who don’t appreciate the sheer beauty of the human skeleton (or other skeletons, for that matter) are really missing out. Let’s face it (heh) — more of your likeness rests in the living skull than the flesh stretched across it. In regards to non-human animals, when I see the skeleton of a fellow terrestrial vertebrate, I can’t help but feel kinship from the many similarities. They may be my 7 millionth (or 70 millionth) cousins, but they’re still cousins.

  30. Martin says

    Jeph #40
    I am not a big fan of the human skeleton. Given my advancing years, I have particular issues with the design of the spine and the knees. What was god doing the day he intelligently designed us? Was he hungover? Or does he think back pain is funny? Maybe just lazy. He might have figured that being his chosen creatures was enough so the spine of a fish was good enough for homo sapiens. So what if we lived on land and walked upright. What could go wrong with giving us the spine of a creature that swam in the sea?

    If we really were created in god’s image, his back must really hurt. He is the oldest entity in existence. His back must really be screwed up.

  31. Andrei says

    As it has been pointed out already, this is a Russian translation of PZ’s post.

    There are some minor problems with the Russian grammar, most likely because an automated translator was used.

    The title translation is ok, though.

    Literally, “A tribute of respect to those who are no longer here” (or “with us”.) It’s a pretty standard Russian expression.

    E.g. if you celebrate a Veteran’s Day, you “pay tribute of respect” to the veterans.

    The web site itself is about atheism (it’s called “Scientific Atheism”) and simply republishes articles on atheism, religion, and science from different media sources, with very little original content. It’s definitely non-commercial.

  32. Peter Ashby says

    Sereana I know what you mean, despite being a bit of an expert on muscle anatomy. Next time take a close look at the tortoises and turtles. Look at where they keep their shoulder blades. Makes perfect sense of course, but still…

  33. Olga says

    The translation is quite accurate, and somewhat better than one can expect from an automated translator. But stylistically it sounds very different from the original – at least in my perception. Wonder what do other Russian speakers here think. Despite being a reader ot this blog for almost two years, I’d never recognize who wrote the original, if the translation would not link to it. All the information is present, but the personality is lost.
    As for the title, as Andrei has pointed, it’s a standard expression. But I would understand it as “Proper respect to those who have died” – would not guess what it is about, though.

  34. Alex Besogonov says

    As a Russian reader, I find the translation quite good. It’s most definitely NOT an automatic translation (automatic translations from English to Russian tend to be hilarious).

    It’s not very elegant – the translator was sometimes at loss, unable find correct words and phrases (as I am very often, since English is not my native language).

    James @13 and Mrs Tilton@33:

    I like the translated title. The literal word-by-word translation “тем, кто прошёл до нас” is clumsy. This translation, however captures the meaning of phrase “to those who have gone before”.

  35. says

    Kseniya @46,


    or, if one be permitted to corrupt Russian with an anglicism, прохладно!

    (turning that into the equivalent of the young people’s “kewl” goes beyond my abilities, however.)

  36. Alex Besogonov says

    Mrs Tilton@47:

    The word “прохладно” in Russian is used only in its ‘temperature’ meaning.

    One equivalent for “cool!” is “круто!” (literal translation: “steep” :) ).

  37. Helioprogenus says

    It never ceases to surprise me at all the characters that come to these threads. Doesn’t matter how obscure any subject is, there will always be at least 3 people, if not more, who have some kind of expertise or knowledge (not to say Russian’s such an obscure subject, but still) on the subject. Maybe PZ should try reaching out to the !kung readers, and see if any can contribute to the biological significance of the migrating megafauna in the Namib desert. Given the pool of readers, I wouldn’t be surprised if one came out of the dunes to provide us some deep insight.

  38. says

    Gads, first fluoride in the water and now Russkies in Pharyngula. All part of the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

    (… ice cream. Ice cream, Mandrake, children’s ice cream.)

  39. Alex Besogonov says


    Be afraid! I’m a real communist (with an official party registration card)!

    PS: I do not support communist ideology, but Communist Party now is the only real opposition party in Russia which supports strong parliament, separation of the church and state and free elections. Oh the irony…

  40. Holbach says

    JeffreyD @ 51 That has to be one of the funniest scenes from Dr Strangelove. “You know Mandrake, when I make love to a woman I deny them my essence so as not to impurify and sap my precious bodily fluids.” I roar with laughter whenever I hear that! And Keenan Wynn as “Bat Guano”! “What are you, some kind of a prevert?” And Slim Pickens riding the bomb bronco style down to the Russkies! Ha! What a riot!

  41. says

    Alex @48,

    “прохладно” in Russian is used only in its ‘temperature’ meaning

    Oh, I know it’s not something real Russians say, hence the “anglicism” bit. It was a small joke we had back when I was learning a bit of Russian много лет тому назад. But thanks for the tip about круто!

  42. archallaxis says

    А в чем проблема с переводом, ребята? По-моему, неплохо.
    А “прохладно” используется не только в отношении температуры. Например, “я отношусь к нему более чем прохладно” означает “мне он не нравится”. Спасибо.

  43. says

    The translation was made from

    I think that “have gone before” is fixed phrase. So I used Russian fixed phrase witch means literally ;-) “Not exist anymore”. It is standard Russian expression indeed.

    It was difficult to translate “Yorick moment”, “ahistorical”, combination of “felt” and “feelings”, but I always try to give something my best.

    I did not ask PZ a permission to translate because I am lazy. I am terribly sorry.

  44. Terry Small says

    Well Vasiliy, I for one am glad you did it – I’m new to Pharyngula and had never seen that excellent post before. I’m also about to start my third year of learning Russian, and I think I’ll get alot of benefit from studying the tranlsation you made.

    Большое спасибо!

  45. David Marjanović, OM says

    Yes, everything that is negated is put into the genitive in Russian. “Give those respect of whom there is no more” would be a very literal translation.