Alert Edward Tufte!

How strange: The Economist is running this graph, of people’s acceptance of evolutionary theory by country.


Look familiar? It should. It seems to be some of the same data used in this well known figure (not from New Scientist, by the way, but Science):

Miller JD, Scott EC, Okamoto S (2006) Public acceptance of evolution. Science 313:765-766.


So, The Economist has taken a chart, stripped out half the data, put it into new colors that make my eyes hurt, and put it on a background with chimpanzees having a snack — said chimpanzees occupying almost half the space allotted.

Shock horror! I am offended! The monkey is unhappy! My sensibilities, in particular, recoil. Someone send the illustrators at The Economist some copies of Tufte’s books. I think I’ll stick with Miller et al.’s version.


  1. says

    C’mon, PZ, you know that Japan just had to go. It was distracting people from more significant countries (like Luxembourg). And nobody cares about Portugal, a country with badly mispronounced Spanish.

  2. SquidBrandon says

    At least it wasn’t in made in powerpoint. Tufte might have spontaneously combusted.

  3. Billy says

    The Czech Republic is the most atheistic country in Europe – I wonder why it’s so middle-of-the-pack in accepting evolution? Estonia, too.

  4. Holbach says

    It bugs me that Japan did not make the list. Sure, Shintoism and Buddahism are prevalent in Japan, but so is basic reality when it comes to rejection of nonsense.
    Zeno, your observations are on the mark.

  5. 'Tis Himself says

    The Economist does have “selected countries” as a footnote to their chart.

    Besides, there are people like me who don’t read Science. Too sciency. We’d rather get our data diluted. Economics is homeopathic science, or somthing like that.

    Generally I like The Economist. Their biases aren’t too annoying (unlike certain Wall Street Journal editors and columnists I might mention) and their fact checking is pretty good.

  6. LisaJ says

    That is a ridiculous rip-off. What upsets me most about this though, is that Canada is once again completely left out. It’s as if we don’t even exist. What the hell? Why don’t we matter to the rest of the world? All they had to do was add Canada, and maybe I could have over-looked the copied data and incorrect referencing… no way now, I’m pissed.

  7. says


    Ha! See what happens when a country is run by a bunch of pinko commy liberal atheist children of Satan! Heheheh… I kid of course.

  8. Funnyguts says

    @Verster and Pyrrhonic

    Yes, and the conservative heads of state that were mucking everything up left to be replaced by a far left government lead by an open lesbian. Progress!

  9. Andyo says

    Well the point is that they hacked the chart, making the U.S. look not conspicuously, horribly, retardedly, astoundingly bad, just three of those.

    Also, Holbach, I have to disagree about Japan and nonsense. It runs rampant over there too, just in different forms than usual “western” religion. Titanium and magnet jewelry, those kinds of things, and other superstitions. Alt-meds and other mumbo-jumbo are also big.

  10. Marc Abian says

    Was the question a leading question or what?

    I have never met anyone who doesn’t believe in evolution that I know of, though I did once hear of someone saying they knew someone who didn’t believe it. The story was met with the total bemusement of everyone in the vicinity. I think it would have made their heads explode to hear that in America most people don’t even believe in it at all, so I didn’t have the heart to tell them.

  11. Boletus says

    The really interesting one on the chart is Malta. It’s one of the most Christian countries in the world. And yet, acceptance of evolution is running at 60%. Poland too. I guess we need to consider a strategic alliance with the Jesuits to spread the good word… ;-)

  12. Ramases says

    I notice that we here in Australia are not mentioned in either graph.

    Not important enough to start off with I guess.


  13. Boletus says

    Don’t feel bad. Australia is not alone. They’ve apparently excised *all* of Eastern Europe with the exception of Hungary country by country.

    Makes me wish for the days of Rummy. At least we were “New Europe” then. Now we’re back in the geographical dustbin.

    **sulks too**

  14. Heather says

    LisaJ, that is what I came here to say – and it’s not like the data for Canada doesn’t exist ( for starters). Not that we have that much to be proud of – according to the Angus Reid poll around 59% of Canadians “think human beings evolved from less advanced life forms over millions of years”. Equal to Switzerland, but a long way from Iceland!

  15. SEF says

    I wonder what the correlation is between the UK evolution vs creationists and the MMR anti-vax autism squad. The numbers are similar, ie for vaccinators being those who accept evolution and reality-denying creationists plus variable amounts of the don’t knows in each region being the refusers, but there might be some considerable overlap between the groups instead.

  16. LisaJ says

    Thanks for the info. on where Canada stands Heather! Hmmm, ony 59% of us believe in evolution, eh? That is disturbing, and I actually kind of thought that it might be at least a bit higher than that. I guess I’m really not that surprised though, especially considering the huge ruckus that things such as the atheist bus signs on the TTC caused, and the fact that many of my high school classmates appear to now be more devout than ever.

  17. Chayanov says

    I just think it’s funny they have to keep including Turkey in the list so that the United States won’t be stuck on the very bottom.

  18. ggab says

    If anyone is interested, this National Geographic special airing tonight looks pretty serious.
    They’ve got an online forum and a question and answer section on their website. They’ll have scientists and theologians. Could be fun.
    The question and answer section starts up at 7:00pm, an hour before the show airs. The forum is already going with the usual creationist drivel.
    The show is called Morphed.

  19. Africangenesis says

    Don’t the polls get over interpreted and misued? Consider the question mentioned in the Economist article: “In 2008 14% of people polled by Gallup agreed that “man evolved over millions of years”, up from 9% in 1982.” I can be argued that “man” has only been evolving for a couple hundred thousand years, before that it was something else. Personally, I think neanderthalis and home erectus were “man” also, but that still might not add up to “millions” of years.

    Similarly for the chart cited above. There seems to be an assumption that the US looked “bad” in some way. Just because evolution might be an evidence based belief for those familiar with the evidence, doesn’t mean that those who “accept” evolution without being familiar with the evidence are any more “informed” or “educated” than those who don’t accept evolution. Their culture may just have different predominate beliefs that they don’t question.

  20. Mr Twiddle says

    Look on the bright side – the U.S. is still ahead of Turkey. What’s up with Turkey?

  21. Janine, Ignorant Slut says

    My! It seems that PZ is trying to cause a schism and force the Aussies out through the power of ridicule.

    I call for a council to settle the matter.

  22. says

    Do you think creationists look at that chart and go ‘Yay! We’re number two! Almost done! But they’ve printed it upside down.’?

  23. says

    The print version of The Economist has no chimps, and a color scheme that is more tasteful than the one that Science used. Does this mean that the magazine’s editors think the readers of print are Tufte-aware, while the websters are Tufte-clueless?

  24. Ramases says

    Well, the truth is that here in Australia we all evolved from convicts.

    And we’re proud of it!

    Try and put that into a belief system graph.

  25. Wowbagger says

    That’s it, I’m tired of all the Australian-bashing that goes on here. I know I’ve got a good example of a letter to use as a template…

    Dear Sir/Madam

    G’day. I wish to complain about offensive sexual language directed towards me Australians on one of your blogs. I haven’t included the full quote below and or a link to the offensive comment because I’m far too lazy. I would appreciate your attention on this matter as I consider this deeply offensive.

    Thank you
    Brenda von Ahsen Wowbagger

  26. Sven DiMilo says

    1. If the Earth is round, then somebody is upside-down.
    2. The Earth is round.
    3. Australians are upside-down.
    This is Logic 101, people.

  27. Knockgoats says

    There seems to be an assumption that the US looked “bad” in some way.– africangenesis

    And that would never do. Quick, think up some excuse!

    In light of the vast amounts of information and expertise human cultures have amassed, it is inevitable that any individual will take much of what they believe from others. Among relevant questions then are:
    1) Are there general methods for deciding when to accept and when to question what “experts” or “authorities” say?
    2) If so, which cultures or subcultures encourage, and which discourage people to use these methods?

    We don’t by any means have complete answers to (1), but an important aspect of them is simply expressed: trust scientific experts/authorities in preference to religious or political ones (because science, more than politics and in sharp contradiction to religion, has developed systematic ways of detecting and correcting error). Partial answers to (2) follow: the less religious a culture or subculture, the better from this point of view – but among religious cultures, pluralistic ones are preferable, since individuals are likely to notice the disagreements between religious authorities, and hence may trust all of them less. Similarly, politically pluralistic cultures are better from this point of view.

    As a corollary to the requirement to place more trust in scientific than religious or political authority, distrust any self-proclaimed expert or autodictat who declares that a scientific consensus is the result of dishonesty or gross incompetence.

  28. deang says

    Hmmmm … Iceland is the country where a greater percentage of the population than anywhere else believes in evolution, and their government just fell because their economy crashed. Coincidence? I think not.

  29. ggab says

    Does anyone think that our constant trips to Turkey searching for Noah’s ark have helped their little problem along?
    Maybe we helped screw them up too.

  30. 'Tis Himself says

    I’m tired of all the Australian-bashing that goes on here.

    Don’t the Aussies sound cute when they’re miffed? They’re almost like New Zealanders.

  31. Wowbagger says

    ‘Tis Himself wrote:

    Don’t the Aussies sound cute when they’re miffed? They’re almost like New Zealanders.

    <Exaggerated Australian Accent>That’s a bloody outrage!<Exaggerated Australian Accent>

  32. Janine, Ignorant Slut says

    We must look past this short sighted nationalist view. This petty bickering about Aussieness will just tear us apart.

  33. Charlie Foxtrot says

    Any info on where Australia stands?

    We don’t stand, we kinda slouch against the fencepost with a tinny in one hand.

  34. Fernando says

    Im quite happy with the results in this survey.

    Friends, imagine what would be the results in 1909!

    In about 100 years in the future i think the number of people realize the truth of evolution (and the utter fairy-tale of ID and creationism) will be much higher.

    Be more positive!

    Science is doing more by mankind in the last 200 years, than religion in the last 5000 years.

    As a side-not to Zeno (February 8, 2009 4:40) portuguese isnt spanish. For that what matters Portugal is almost 400 years older than Spain…

  35. Wowbagger says

    We don’t stand, we kinda slouch against the fencepost with a tinny in one hand.

    Blechh. Not if we can get stubbies we don’t – well I wouldn’t, anyway; I couldn’t tell you the last time I drank a tinny. Oh, and – in case anyone asks – the only reason we don’t have one in each hand is ’cause we need one hand free to shoo the blowies away.

  36. Africangenesis says


    Speaking of dishonest, there was another poll reported in Eos Vol 90 No. 3. The two questions were:

    1. When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or
    remained relatively constant?

    2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?

    “While respondents’ names are kept private, the authors noted that the survey included participants with well-
    documented dissenting opinions on global warming theory.”

    Well, it turns out that the highest percentage (97%) of those answering yes to #2, were those “who listed climate science as their area of expertise and who also have published more than 50% of their recent peer-reviewed papers on the subject of climate change.”

    And here is their conclusion:

    “It seems that the debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long-term climate processes. The challenge, rather, appears to be how to effectively communicate this fact to policy makers and to a public that
    continues to mistakenly perceive debate among scientists.”

    Knockgoats, you know that I and those mentioned with well documented dissents to the IPCC conclusions, would still answered “yes” to question #2, yet this study is obviously being deceitfully pushed as indicating that there is a consensus, much like the Orieskes study was. The implication was that the dissenters were a minority in the 3%, when many were in the 97%.

  37. Citizen Z says

    Just because evolution might be an evidence based belief for those familiar with the evidence, doesn’t mean that those who “accept” evolution without being familiar with the evidence are any more “informed” or “educated” than those who don’t accept evolution. Their culture may just have different predominate beliefs that they don’t question.

    Well, it shows they are not “misinformed” or “uneducated”.

  38. Patricia, OM says

    On the vernal equinox all the Australorp eggs stand up on the pointy end…*innocent look*

  39. anthropicOne says

    It’s a horrible graphic. In addition, 10% of the male population will not be able to differentiate the red from the green due to color blindness. In addition, the color saturation is quite shrill and set against the dark background is visually intolerable. The use of the chimps is simply moronic as a metaphor. Talk about sensationalism.

  40. eddie says

    To know when the Vernal equinox is, you need to know the exact location of all guys named Vern.

  41. kleomenes says

    That Angus-Reid poll is depressing. Sure, 59% of Canadians agreed with evolution, but only 37% disagreed that humans co-existed with dinosaurs. Did they do this entire poll in Alberta? On the plus side, we still beat our neighbours!

  42. Patricia, OM says

    I’d better quit with the slurs against the pride of Australian chookdom. When Bride of Shrek sees that she’ll toss me in a billabong, and drop my slut rating back to spittoon polisher. ;o)

  43. Wowbagger says


    Bride of Shrek was on last night and told us she was on holidays in Indonesia; I don’t know how often she’ll be checking – but you’re right to be careful, since it doesn’t pay to mess with Queenslanders*.

    We’re an unhappy nation at the moment, though. We’ve lost over a hundred people and more than one small town to dozens of bushfires at one end (the deep south, clinteas country) while much of the far north (former home of myself and Bride of Shrek) is underwater with the prospect of more rain to come.

    *Except Ken Ham, of course. Do your darndest to ruin that goat-faced cretin’s day as often as you possibly can.

  44. Nerd of Redhead, OM says

    Wowbagger, that sounds like California in the southern hemisphere. The natural disasters vary with what part of the state (continent) you are in, even at the same time. Hang in there.

  45. Patricia, OM says

    The fires have been shown here on TV. I wondered how everyone was. It looks like California did earlier, awful! My sympathies for the air quality it must be trashing. We have a pool of coal plant pollution over our area right now that is making us sick.

    The TV reports all say there is a heat wave too. Nice of gawd to send that all for you, mysterious ways and all.

  46. Jon D says

    Wonder what on earth the criteria was for taking countries out of the graph? UK’s gone missing from the Economist one

  47. Ultima Thule says

    Zeno: “nobody cares about Portugal, a country with badly mispronounced Spanish.”…. i am a bit ofended by that! Spain is younger than Portugal as a country…and language.

    btw the chart is no surprise with all the news and talks we all been having about the subject. I just hope the chart becomes different in a couple of years, with all what we doing against the creationists.

  48. Sherry says

    Most of the branches on my famiy tree come from Scotland.

    The Young branch spent a generation in Australia, one son and his wife made their way to Virginia, USA

    I could be related to any/all Young Australians.

  49. Charlie Foxtrot says

    Yeah, Saturday’s sky was brown over my place, that was the day it was 46.4 degrees C (hotter in some places). The cool change that has come through has cleared the skies over Melbourne, but there’s still a couple of big fires to the North and East of the city. Fatalities stand at 108 and they’re saying that number will rise over the next few days, as more discoveries are made.
    Hey, Wowbagger – can’t you guys build a big pipe and shunt all that water down our way?

  50. Wowbagger says

    Charlie Foxtrot,

    Actually, I’m an ex-Queenslander – I’m in Adelaide now and have been for over ten years. But we’ve been trying to work out why there’s no way of getting all that excess water down to us parched southeners – both SA and Vic. Apparently the energy required to pump the water makes it impractical – though, eventually, it may be the only option.

    I’d forgotten just how much it rains up there until I saw an article on the Burdekin dam and how there was enough water going over the top of it to fill Sydney Harbour every five hours.

  51. says

    Likewise, Wowbagger – hang in there. What I find completely gobsmacking about those fires is the cretins who seem to be lighting some of them – if our (NZ) news reports are to be believed, even re-lighting fires that the fire crews have already extinguished. If Dante’s hell was real, those total idiots should be in the deepest circle of all.

  52. Patricia, OM says

    If any of you remember the lead up shots of the pollution in China prior to the Olympics, thats what I looks like here. It smells like a metal foundry outside, and in my house. Not the image you have in your mind of Oregon is it?

    No one here is dead yet. :) Poor Australia, 108 is dreadful. :(

  53. 'Tis Himself says

    What I find completely gobsmacking about those fires is the cretins who seem to be lighting some of them – if our (NZ) news reports are to be believed, even re-lighting fires that the fire crews have already extinguished.

    Just when you think you know how stupid people can be, someone comes along proving they’re even more stupid.

  54. says

    Ultima Thule: Spain is younger than Portugal as a country…and language.

    If you’re talking about the language, Ultima: well, maybe. Are you counting Galician as proto-Portuguese and saying that it’s older than Castilian?

    As for country: Portugual ceased to exist as a nation in 1580 when it was reduced to the status of Spanish province (although supposedly autonomous) under a unified monarchy. This lasted till 1640, when the Portuguese revolted and re-established an independent monarchy. Spain actually has a longer continuous history of existence than Portugal does.

  55. Yarcofin says

    Where the hell is Canada??? I had to re-check the thing like a dozen times just to make sure I hadn’t gone blind.

    Malta and Latvia make the list but not CANADA????

  56. Wowbagger says

    Alison, #74

    I’m led to believe that they have good reason to suspect that an arsonist is at work. Which, in such circumstances, makes me think very seriously about my opposition to capital punishment.

  57. Charlie Foxtrot says

    Ah – Adelaide. I won’t try to deprive you of any water then. I was there last week and had a glass of water to drink… I know the water there is supposed to be hard, but I was still surprised at how it bent the spoon!

    Yeah, the reports on the radio has quotes from Fire officials saying that there were patterns in the fires that looked like arson. Every fire scene is being treated as a crime scene by the cops at the moment, especially where there were fatalities.

    Really? I thought Oregon was all mountains, lakes and trees? That sounds disgraceful.

  58. anthropicOne says

    It’s so incredibly sad that we are in the 21st century and still debating evolution by natural selection. Imagine how much more we could accomplish, collectively, if we didn’t have to waste precious time and energy battling wingbats and defending science in schools from ignorant fools who have the authority to derail reasoned thought.

    Alas, reality is what it is (deep sigh).

  59. Lurkbot says

    Actually, I’m somewhat surprised (and heartened) to see that the “not true” in the U. S. is only at about the 40% mark. I think in most cases, “not sure” means: “true, but I’ve been told that’s a Bad Thing™ to think.”

    I’m glad a few of our Aussie friends have chimed in to say that they’re all right. How is Rupert Murdoch’s “It’s cold in winter in Canada, therefore Global Cooling is here, and AL GORE IS FAT!!!111!!!” campaign going over today?

  60. Patricia, OM says

    Yes, it’s awful. We have a huge factory dairy farm and a coal fired power plant up river from us. The filth in the air is so bad I can’t see the Klickitat range.

    Normally this is a wind surfing haven, so the crap gets blown away, but not now. Sore throats, burning skin & eyes, and the stink – ugh! I’ll bet everyone reading this in California and Australia are nodding their heads. My advantage is that it is 36 degrees here, so we aren’t suffocating in the heat.

  61. says

    Well, I haven’t been burned to a crisp, despite spending the weekend down the NSW south coast just a 100k or so north of the local fires in Deua National Park.

    Also, I’m pleased to see most pollies sanely calling this obscene, horrific, mass murder etc etc, though one twerp did go for terrorism.

  62. CanadianChick says

    as much as I love The Economist, that graphic horrifies me. It sure as heck doesn’t look like something from the magazine, so I was relieved to find out it was only on the net edition.

    The one major complaint I have about The Economist is that like a lot of publications (and people), it tends to lump Canada in with the US (or occasionally, with the UK). Because we don’t have a big impact on things like manufacturing or money markets, and are economically tightly tied to the US, they often make the mistake of acting as though we’re a satellite of the US.

    It’s been even worse, IMO, since Harper was elected. *shudders*

    I imagine New Zealanders feel the same about Australia. Very different society, but lumped in with the Aussies will-he, nil-he.

  63. tim Rowledge says

    If Americans evolved from Englishmen, why are their still Englishmen.

    Because we were fortunate.

    Sheesh. Next you’ll be trying to convince me that America *won* the illegal usurpation of power. Ridiculous idea.

  64. Patricia, OM says

    CanadianChick – Wanna see some instant bristling? Stand up anywhere in Oregon and say you’re from California.

    We natives are repelled by them like egg off hot Teflon. Tribalism is no where near dead.

  65. says

    Patricia, I live far too far South of Jefferson to be considered even partially Oregonian, although a Bandon beach house is one of our family’s favorite getaways. If you hold that against me, could you hold it just a bit to the left?

  66. llewelly says

    Fernando | February 8, 2009 6:24 PM, #52:

    As a side-not to Zeno (February 8, 2009 4:40) portuguese isnt spanish. For that what matters Portugal is almost 400 years older than Spain…

    Zeno is of Portuguese heritage as you can see in some of his posts, like this one . Zeno is subtly mocking people who don’t know that Portuguese isn’t Spanish.

  67. Patricia, OM says

    Isn’t it willy nilly?

    OK, against my better judgement… and PZ may ban me for stupidity (yeek) I’ll tell a church lady joke. Ready?

    What do you call a man circumcised with pinking shears?
    A frilly dilly!

    Three gawd fearing wives damn near passed out when I told this pornographic joke at the Ladies Wednesday Night Quilting Bible Study for the Lord. They held a prayer circle for me, because obviously I knew nothing about a woman’s place in the home, and child bearing. Willy nilly!

  68. Nerd of Redhead, OM says

    Patricia, I give you several chuckles for your joke. Definitely not boring, which PZ’s biggest crime.

  69. Wowbagger says

    The late Elliott Smith considered himself (since he wasn’t born there) a product of Portland. That makes Oregon a pretty important place as far as I’m concerned.

  70. yoshi says

    Iceland also bankrupt. So apparently knowledge of economics and science does not go hand in hand. And from PZ’s ignorance of the subject this doesn’t surprise me.

  71. Patricia, OM says

    Ken – While I cannot remember the Bandon gift shop name, that almost 20 years ago my husband bought me two hand carved Myrtlewood tatting shuttles from, I remember Bandon fondly.

    Then I’m thinking Bandon had a pulp mill as a major industry.

  72. Wowbagger says

    Ladies Wednesday Night Quilting Bible Study for the Lord.

    Good grief. That sounds like it ought to be the name of one of the circles (or perhaps a sub-circle, if there were such things) in hell in Dante’s Inferno.

  73. talking snake says

    Perhaps the monkeys sitting at the table represent the intellectual capacity of those dogma swallowing Americans who find no validity to Darwin’s evidence based research. No offense to the real monkeys.

  74. Holbach says

    yoshi @ 95

    Geography plays an important part in the economics and survival of countries located in the arctic zones. And weather, land that is not completely permafrost, isolation from markets, etc. The geography of history.

  75. says

    Good grief. That sounds like it ought to be the name of one of the circles (or perhaps a sub-circle, if there were such things) in hell in Dante’s Inferno.

    I think Dante would have wanted to include the 10th circle of hell – where non-believers spend eternity listening to poorly constructed creationist and theist arguments, but the concept was too horrifying to mention.

  76. Peter McKellar says

    I’m going to ignore PZ’s shallow attempt to boost his overnight hit count by not responding to taunts regarding aussie orientation (sexual or otherwise). I’m responding purely as charity knowing he has offspring that need a good education :)

    I’m also reporting that self and family are unburnt at present but my sister’s farm is close to the area affected (but everyone is on the NSW coast far from danger). Fire danger here (mid-north coast NSW) is “extremely high”.

    Letters to the newspaper show theist vultures claiming that as atheists are being engulfed by flames they suddenly turn to god and pray. Personally I’d be cursing their church getting funded and the fire brigade being short-changed.

    concerning the evolution statistics, I agree with others that the situation is much better than 100 years ago (and accelerating), we still have a long, long way to go.

    I too find I can spend half a day or more debating science, debunking creationist lies and defending atheism. It gets tedious but is necessary. Today it was this slanderous piece – an excerpt from a God Delusion flea:

    it claims amongst other bullshit that atheists and Dawkins specifically “welcome imperialism, genocide, mass deportation, ethnic cleansing, eugenics, euthanasia, forced sterilisations and infanticide. Publicly, he advocates none of them”

    His evidence seems to hinge on NOT advocating any of these beliefs – bizarre in the extreme.

  77. Patricia, OM says

    Wow Wowbagger you great heathen – Wednesday nights are given over to quilting for our Lord. Get a grip.

  78. Nerd of Redhead, OM says

    The name of Patricia’s quilting group reminds me of an Andy Rooney segment on 60 Minutes years ago, where he looked at a small amount of words, and a large number of church names were verbal salad of these words, like Church of the Shepherd Lord our God Savior.

    Kel #100, shudder.

  79. says

    I’m just thrilled that someone besides me has read Tufte. Apparently, he’s better known than I realized. I can’t get people in my own profession (marketing research) to take an interest.

  80. Wehaf says

    In Champign, Illinois there is a church called the “Korean Jesus-Love United Methodist Church”. That’s my favorite!

  81. Sven DiMilo says

    WhenI think of Oregon, I think of Ken Kesey, Sometimes a Great Notion, Veneta 8/27/72, and a woman from the Bend area named Andi that I used to know.

  82. Peter McKellar says

    Nerd #105 this sounds like something that could be computer generated like that “If I Sarah Palin named me” app.

    Kel #108 – very scary stuff – and nearly impossible to refute in the preferred 200 words or less the newspaper wants. He hammers out lie after fraud and frames them in a way that makes any contradictory evidence look like evasion or an apology. Slimy bastard.

  83. Patricia, OM says

    Please don’t anyone take my snark regarding chickens as gospel.

    My Australorps (hail Australia) take the three feet of snow in stride and continue to lay eggs every day.

    Chile – Same three feet of snow, Araucana, blue and green eggs. Buff Orpingtons are the English golden chicken – they don’t even blink. Please try to carry on.

  84. Peter McKellar says

    Patricia # 111

    My remaining australorp is a legend – having survived a fox attack amongst other things. It disappears for months at a time and still survives. I’m down to just one araucana and I haven’t seen it for a month (been away for 3 weeks though).

    I need about 300 chooks to clear the jungle from the pen :(

  85. says

    Kel #108 – very scary stuff – and nearly impossible to refute in the preferred 200 words or less the newspaper wants. He hammers out lie after fraud and frames them in a way that makes any contradictory evidence look like evasion or an apology. Slimy bastard.

    Yeah, that’s tricky.

    I would write something along the lines of:
    “While there is a myriad of points wrong with Tom Frame’s objections to “Darwinism”, there’s one point I would like to raise. Evolutionary theory doesn’t say anything beyond how life evolved on this planet, so to complain that evolution can’t show how something came from nothing is like complaining that gravity doesn’t explain how a computer works. If Tom Frame thinks that the rejection of God is solely due to the dichotomy between man being made from clay and life evolving, then there’s no way he can adequately talk about modern atheism. To put God in as an answer to the unanswered is doing nothing more than positing a god-of-the-gaps, finding an inadequacy in an opposing worldview and putting God in there. 150 years ago, that gap was a lot bigger.”

    How do I send it in?

  86. Janine, Ignorant Slut says

    Patricia, your little story about your knitting circle gives me the perfect excuse to post this video. It is a little ditty called “Mood To Burn Bridges” by Neko Case And Her Boyfriends. I do not know if you like this kind of music but I think you will enjoy the attitude. Also, Neko has a great voice. And sometimes, her Boyfriends have female members.

  87. Andyo says

    Posted by: Wowbagger | February 8, 2009 5:59 PM

    That’s it, I’m tired of all the Australian-bashing that goes on here. I know I’ve got a good example of a letter to use as a template…

    They kid because they love. I don’t think I personally have said anything on Australia, since the best I know about it is The Chaser’s War on Everything, and the most annoying, guys with “Crocodile” in their names. Oh, and a million different animals that can kill you in your daily routine.

  88. says

    Oh, and a million different animals that can kill you in your daily routine.

    You’ve always got to keep an eye on the trees for Drop Bears

  89. says

    Aw, Kel, you know drop bears are perfectly harmless if you just remember to smear the back of your neck with vegemite. Some people say urine, but they’re just winding up the tourists.

  90. Peter McKellar says

    Kel @113 – send it to

    Favoured writers get up to 900 words but we plebs are encouraged to keep it to 200. Good luck, mine *may* get published….

    Apologies for my tardy reply, I went over to the Titanoboa! thread for a while, then after that (please note Andyo @116) I had to wrestle 5 foot brown snake away from the dog. I had to kill it unfortunately but the sharp end was a little too venomous for my liking. No lie. Photos available on request (once it stops wriggling).

  91. Peter McKellar says

    Sorry Kel, the email address seems to have been dropped out. It is letters at

    Cath – I find vegemite AND urine is best (run with me on this) ;)

    I just frontlined the dog but it didn’t keep the snake of it (or visa-versa). Maybe the vegemite and urine would be better?

  92. says

    Thanks for that Peter, I’ve sent off my spiel. It was only ~130 words so it makes the guideline. The blog post was 1550 words so there’s no chance of it being accepted.

  93. wicker says

    It seems that in the international edition we receive in switzerland of the economoist, the graph looks the same as it did in science.
    possible that they produced the monkey graph especially for the USA…

  94. Insomniatheist says

    Posted by: N.Schuster | February 8, 2009 5:31 PM #28

    That is depressing.

    I echo the sentiment of the earlier poster who said that such results are greatly concerning and a major barrier to further progress. We do seem to be being pulled back into the dark.

  95. says

    I’d like to see the graph overlaid with one detailing public understanding of what evolution’s supposed to be. And maybe various other basic scientific literacy questions. And for Australia to be included in this chart.

  96. Ross_S says

    Lewelly @ 89,

    I thought Zeno was reminding us of everyone’s favourite creationist AFdave; who memorably claimed (at ATBC and RD) that the Portuguese language was a mixture of Spanish and French.

    Although I think he did move to “and some other factors” in the face of evidence from other posters.

  97. Fernando says

    Zeno, as a continuous political entity Portugal is older than Spain: the period between 1580-1640 was of a dualist monarchy, with two kingdoms at the Peninsula: Portugal + Spain (Castilla, Leon, Navarra and Aragon).

    When, in the court of Philip III (IV of Spain) people start talking about making Portugal a province (as Aragon, for example), and after some year of bad politics by this king, the lineage of the Habsburgs was destroned and started a new royal lineage of Kings of Portugal.

    Just for curiosity: the privileges of Portugueses in the Dual-Monarchy are greater than his spanish counterparts: the portugueses can go to every corner of the 2 empires, and trade freely in the 2 empires; the spanish cant: it was forbidden to they, trading and sail in the portugueses dominions (outside Europe, ofc).

    PS: sorry all for talking about something that isnt the theme of this thread.

  98. SEF says

    PZ used to do open threads from time to time. However, he somehow managed never(?) to do them on the few occasions when I wanted one, but only(?) when I didn’t. So I was always ending up having to post a long way down and/or back a page where no-one much was likely to look again.

    Eg most recently I posted about the nurse story first (I think!) but on a (vaguely related) thread only a couple of threads back from the active position and got ignored. Being in a different time-zone to the majority of posters obviously doesn’t help.

    Apart from the tenacious arguers in the most controversial threads, it seems that people don’t look very far back – and seldom read the comments which are already there (plus of course some of them don’t even read PZ’s original entry posts reliably!).

  99. ivo says

    Yeah, I’ve seen the Economist’s article last night. I wish they would have left Switzerland out of the list as well… *shock & shame*

    This was somehow compensated by the results of this weekend’s popular vote: we accepted the extension to Rumania and Bulgaria of the ”bilateral accords” with the EU by a resounding 60%, in the face of the populist and xenophobic campaign of the UDC party.
    (My Canton was the worst though, with 70% against. *shame cumulates*)

  100. Peter Ashby says

    UK’s there, just renamed “Britain.”

    So what does The Economist have against the Manx or the residents of the Channel Islands? Quick, tell the Barclays.

  101. Ross_S says

    Peter – confused by your point. Neither the Isle of Man nor the Channel Islands are part of the UK but while only the Isle of Man (or, as I call it, ‘home’) is geographically part of the British Isles it can’t be classed as part of “Britain”

    On big surveys like this, we don’t mind being lumped in with the adjacent island – just as long as it isn’t the northern part of our smaller neighbour as they’re too religious for us.

  102. nil says


    Now don’t go bad-mouthing Alberta, who as the canadian data shows, scored about the national average on the dinosaur question. Some strong regional variations too. On the evolution/creationism question, Québec is in solid western European territory at 71/9, followed by BC at 65/21. Ontario is surprisingly and depressingly North American at 51/26, actually worse than “redneck” Alberta at 58/28.

  103. Pantufla Milagrosa says

    I think the Economist is just trying use “African” colors. Since, you know, that’s where we come from and stuff. Google “flag of Ethiopia.”