Such temerity!

People are telling me that my blog entries are getting sprinkled with creationist ads in the RSS feeds, like this:


Heh. I think it’s great. This is an old and familiar game that has been played for years, where creationists buy up lots and lots of ad placement on searches for topics in evolutionary biology, and I think they should continue to throw their money down that sinkhole. It seems like an entirely ineffective tactic, to try and dun people who are already willing to look at the evidence with appeals to their dogma.

Shall I start taking out ads in the local church bulletins, perhaps?


  1. Screechy Monkey says

    “It seems like an entirely ineffective tactic, to try and dun [b]people who are already willing to look at the evidence[/b] with appeals to their dogma.

    Shall I start taking out ads in the local church bulletins, perhaps?”

    I think the bolded clause in the first sentence answers the question in the second sentence.

  2. says

    It’s like buying ads for Expelled on the Comedy channel, apparently on the “logic” that Stein is funny (not in that movie, anyhow).

    Only the church efforts were very effective.

    This is even more of a lost cause, since few creationists can bear to read the evidence against “design,” so are quite unlikely to subscribe in droves to Pharyngula’s science posts.

    Glen D

  3. Bostonian says

    It’s worth noting, for any creationists visiting this site, that even though it’s great to spend money on mistargeted ad campaigns it’s not nearly as effective as praying (which also works great for influencing politics and school football games). So the next time you’re ready to reach for the credit card to fund such a campaign, consider the benefits of talking to youself instead.

  4. Sili says

    Could you give us fair warning before you start flushing? Personally, I wouldn’t mind mucking around in crap, if it paid well.

    Do you get money if we actually click the adds? Not that I’ve seen them. There are adds in the feeds? Since when?

  5. says

    My understanding of the GoogleAds thing is that people put an ad up that shows up in a million places, but they only pay when someone clicks through. They might have an account with $10 in it at Google and $ only leaves when someone clicks. So…click on the ads…make Google a little money, and deplete their account to the point where they have nothing left in it…then it won’t show up anywhere until they put more money in their account. Then again, they might complain that we are sabotaging their proselytizing if we did that. So, maybe we should just click on the link to learn more about what they have to say and be ‘open minded’… ;-)

  6. BicycleRepairMan says

    “It seems like an entirely ineffective tactic, to try and dun [b]people who are already willing to look at the evidence[/b] with appeals to their dogma.”

    I dont think it works like that. This is Google ads, so the chances are the creationists have no idea where exactly the ads are going up. They pay Google to put them near relevant articles, so if creationism or evolution is mentioned, Google displays a “relevant” ad. Sometimes this backfires horribly:

  7. says

    the reason i subscribe to RSS feeds is to get away from third-party advertisements… maybe it’s because i use linux… 8/

  8. IvanM says

    I didn’t even realize there were ads in the feed. I use Privoxy to block ads and other junk, and it’s available for just about every operating system.

    Why should your browser always be loading crap from,,,, (Don’t bother telling me how I’m supporting all the wonderful bloggers, kthxbye.)

  9. says

    This is Google ads, so the chances are the creationists have no idea where exactly the ads are going up. They pay Google to put them near relevant articles, so if creationism or evolution is mentioned, Google displays a “relevant” ad.

    Yep. For the brief interval when I had Google ads running on my science blog (back when I was still indie), I got heavy doses of woo every time I wrote about quantum mechanics. At least once I got a post out of it.

  10. says

    It won’t happen on my site. It’s not worth it to me. I don’t want ads popping up on ‘how to get rich on the internet’, Creationists, Mormon or Scientology, e.g., so I’ve NEVER enabled, taken, or sought any compensation from my blog work. In the early days I went so far as to pay extra to keep banner ads off my hosted domain.

    To be honest I never noticed the ad, BUT SOME PEOPLE DO (or they wouldn’t use the ad money), so in effect, you are championing (hyperbole) their cause. They are advertising on YOUR FACE and you don’t have any control over that. Does it pay well enough? I’m not as well off as most. Perhaps I’m missing out? In other words, I’m willing to whore myself out as much as the next guy if the price is right. I am a sensible rationalist after all, and my face has enough wear on it already that a little extra dirt probably wouldn’t hurt.

    If things get wobbly over here tonight while the geeks are crawling through the code, I’ve got a new poll over at my website. The first one I did on Why God Abandoned Sarah Palin was extremely well received. I hope you enjoy this little trip back down memory lane as well….

    Flashback to the Sixties


  11. says

    I’m sorry for the OT, but I just learned that Patrick McGoohan has died.

    Raising a glass to his passing. I watched him as a kid in both Secret Agent Man and The Prisoner.

  12. says

    When I am working on the Minnesota Atheists MySpace page, I always get a kick out of the ads when I log in AND log out. They usually ask me if I’m a christian, or if I’m interested in christian singles… No, and absolutely not!!! :)

  13. says

    Sorry, his series was not named Secret Agent Man… something about a catchy song.

    Still, sad at his passing.

    The Countess is hung up on “Khaaaaaaaaan”‘s passing. Can’t believe I married a Trekker! :)

  14. DLC says

    I read some skeptical blogs, and often see ads for psychics, tarot, and other nonsense in the sidebars on those pages.
    It was irksome at first, and I even wrote one of the bloggers about it, but then I realized he has little to no control over what googleAds puts there.

  15. says

    The Count has the song “Secret Agent Man” playing from his computer now, so I’ll have to put up with having that song stuck in my head since I’m sure he intends to play the !@#$% thing all night long. :)

    And Khaaaaaaannnn!!!’s scar kept moving across his chest. I guess even Kirk couldn’t contain it.

    De plane! De plane!!!

    And PZ, just make fun of the Creationist crap showing up. You should spam them with evolutionary tidbits. :)

  16. E.V. says

    Kirk’s nemesis Khan died as well. No more “rich corinthian leather” from Ricardo Montelban.

  17. Nes says


    I think that whoever sent that picture to PZ is using google’s web based Reader, which is why they are seeing ads. I use a stand alone program and don’t see any ads at all.

  18. says

    Use Firefox and Adblock Plus, problem solved. Though I do like the suggestion above that we should all click them. Make them actually pay money…

  19. charfles says

    I think that whoever sent that picture to PZ is using google’s web based Reader, which is why they are seeing ads. I use a stand alone program and don’t see any ads at all.

    I use google’s reader too but the ads only show up on Seed blogs and they just started this week. All my other subscriptions are ad-free.

    Not a big deal though. They gota pay the bills.

  20. says

    I use LiveJournal for convenience’s sake for most of my blog reading, so without adblock they’ll show up. At some point I’ll get round to actually using a feed reader.

  21. says

    I usually have a mental block for ads at the bottom of feed items and just skip over them. Since you mentioned it I looked at the end of the feed item and sure enough there’s an ad that says “Unlocking the Mystery of Life – Indicates Strong Evidence of Design As seen in EXpelled the Movie”.

  22. NewEnglandBob says

    hehe….I love that they waste their money.

    I doubt I have ever looked at any advertisement in my browser window in fifteen(?) years!

  23. Insightful Ape says

    Some years ago, for first time, I saw creationist ads on I have since been ignoring all “ads by google”.

  24. David Brown says

    Austin Cline’s blog seems to be mostly littered with ads for the Mormon Church. It’s kind of weird seeing lots of pictures of an iconic Jesus around an article about atheism.

  25. says

    Ummm, they would only “waste” money if we click on the ads. I doubt any of us do, so their ads serve only to annoy us.

  26. mayhempix says

    if God is perfect and omnipresent, why do they have to sell him?
    Couldn’t he just turn the whole internet into one big God Blog?

  27. Kyle says

    I didn’t even know Pharyngula even had ads..
    Firefox + AdBlock Plus + Filterset.G = I haven’t seen ads for years

  28. ccpetersen says

    I’d like to remind creationist frauds who like to waste money on ads touting utter nonsense that your dollars would go a LOT further if you used them to help feed hungry people or supply antiobiotics and health care to poor folks and stuff like that. You know, the kind of thing your Christ guy wanted you to do in his name?

    I know that sounds liberal and all, but it is, after all, the “christian” thing to do.

  29. Steve Ulven says

    I use Google Reader and the ad it showed for this when I read it was for The God Who Wasn’t There DVD, so some good advertising is coming up as well.

  30. paradoxbomb says

    I deal with Google ads a lot in my regular job. If you click on the ad, a few things will happen:

    1. Google will get paid a small amount (probably 3 cents or so)
    2. PZ or Scienceblogs will get paid a small amount (maybe 2 cents)
    3. The ad’s click through rate (CTR) will increase

    When CTR increases, Google may place the ad more prominently, causing the advertiser’s budget to run out faster. It may also get flagged as getting a lot of click fraud, in which case Google may stop running it. In either case, if the advertiser is smart (*chortle*), they will stop running the ad due to low conversion.

    So the end result if we all clicked on the ads each time we saw them would be either/both of:

    1. PZ/ScienceBlogs gets paid
    2. The ads go away

    Sounds like a win-win for us :)

  31. DrNathaniel says

    I was reading Atrios the other day, and just below a post about “where did the $350 billion go”? There was one of those ads trumpeting “free government money”. Priceless.

  32. Karatex says

    @ #40

    I click on them, then close the resulting window. Hopefully I’m earning PZ a dime or two, and making the creationists waste their money on someone who could give a damn.

  33. Tony says

    Well, I just clicked on that same Google ad in my RSS reader so I suppose that’s 10 fewer pennies the fundagelicals have to corrupt America.

    C’mon, people! Exercise your clickin’ fingers and let’s all do our part to make PZ rich!

  34. Nomad says

    If you want to deplete the creationist’s money, you should click through and request the free booklet. Make ’em pay for shipping and printing costs as well.

    Not that I’d ever give them my address, but it’s a thought.

    I found it particularly funny when I checked out the RSS feed and found the image of the page with the ad, and then another copy of the same ad displayed beneath this article.

    I never knew the RSS feed had ads either, I use a handy little reader on my smartphone, it’s called RSS Hub. I don’t know why, but it doesn’t display the ads yet it does display inlined images. I don’t think it’s intentionally blocking the ads, I think it simply doesn’t display all html code.

    Some of the ad content is just hilarious. For instance, for the post that linked to the video that used the metaphor of building a cupboard for religion the ad is for “modern shelving system”.

  35. RandomMan says

    Yes, if you click the ad whomever made the ad gets charged! So it costs them money.

    But, if you don’t go into it with an open-mind (google has ways of knowing, like how much time you spend on the site for the ad you clicked) then whoever hosts the ads (like the blog) could lose it’s ability to display ads that actually are relevant.

  36. says

    These people never run out of money. Remember, they are religious organizations, funded primarily by tithing and additional appeals for money every freakin’ day. And it pours in. Don’t for a minute think that you can break their banks by clicking some google ads.

  37. Janine, Bitter Friend says

    For what ever reason, I get christian dating spam. I wish I knew how I got on that list.

  38. Brain Hertz says

    I’m not a fan of adblock software. Y’all do understand how the economics work here, right?

    Personally, if creationists want to post ads on PZ’s site, the best thing to do is click on them repeatedly, just to see if they’ve got any arguments you haven’t already heard a million times. I mean, you never know, right? It’s what they’d want you to do, after all.

  39. clinteas says


    dont all the lone drinkers get dating spam ? :P
    Christian however,thats a bummer….

  40. Brad D says

    To be fair, PZ should get a crack at a church sign message each time an ad like that shows up.

  41. Quiet_Desperation says

    Some of the early search web sites had really dumb (as in machine automated) ads that would be based on your search terms. I once searched for info on “pancreatic cancer” and there were ads for store sites with lines like “Find great deals on pancreatic cancer!”

    Although that’s still better than the Flash animated abominations we have nowadays.

  42. clinteas says


    you still get those dumb context ads on Google these days with the best deals on “define arachnoidism” or whatever LOL.

    Brian Hertz @57,

    i understand how ads work and all,but I see them as malware,esp the flash variety,and I wont let them use my download bandwidth to clatter my desktop with rubbish.

  43. jo5ef says

    Comment#51 is absolutely correct IMO, don’t click on the ads, you’ll only encourage them and waste your own bandwidth.

  44. Kitty says

    Firefox + AdBlock Plus

    I honestly didn’t know Pharyngula had ads. *blush*

    Me too. There are ads? *Not blushing just choosing not to view the crap.*

  45. Rrr says

    I didn’t know Pharyngula had ads either, but I have no software to blame for that, just banner blindness… Curse my brain’s excessive efficiency in filtering away things that I got used to as bad distracting things a decade or less ago. I blame the annoying animated ads for increasing my banner blindness, too…

  46. dreamstretch says

    There are no creationists! It’s all a ploy by PZ to use Google ads to help fund Big Science’s propagation of the global warming myth. I’m not sure of the exact details but I think it involves reptilians.

  47. mugwump says

    Google targets their ads automatically based on the textual context on the page or in the RSS feed. So this is probably not a creationist “tactic”, just a misguided algorithm at work (it presumably sees “creation”, “evolution”, “intelligent design” etc as relevant for the ads).

  48. says

    Just to re-iterate #45, anytime you see a Religious ad on any Atheist/Science/Skeptic site you should click on it. Each click is only worth a few cents but it adds up overtime.

    If the Christians/Muslims etc. want to help pay the hosting costs of the reality based community we should take advantage.

  49. says

    #67 – This is only partly true. I recently started using AdWords to advertise our local Atheist group and as the advertiser I choose which words to link my ad to.

    If you look at some of the ads that run on sites like Atheist Nexus, the Atheist riddle for example, it seems obvious that these ads are deliberately targeting Atheists and Atheist websites.

  50. andyb says

    I followed one of those links (to make them pay). You get taken to a bad place with much wrongness. I worry about children coming across that kind of misinformation. Education in skepticism is very important.

  51. andyb says

    So, is there a browser, or plugin, with a contextual (right-click) option for “open in new window” (so the advertiser pays) and then close before my intelligence is insulted by the woo?

    I am assuming google is too clever for scripts to _really_ make them pay.

  52. marilove says

    Oh yeah, Adblock and Firefox would be awesome, but not all of us are lucky enough to be able to use either at work. I’m stuck with some old ass version of IE that crashes constantly YAY!

  53. lh says

    I can’t see any problems this kind of ads. Every time you see one, creationists lose money. Every time you click one, creationists lose money. So I keep clicking these every time I see one because that just means that the owner of the site and ad broker get some money from creationists.

  54. timtom says

    Click them, click them all! For every click they have to pay a fee to Google. Make them go broke :D

  55. Sgt Skepper says

    I agree with timtom. Click as many as you can. Then order their free booklet. In fact order some for every sensible person you know. Or just order loads to recycle. Waste as much of their money as you can!