Reactions on the Palouse

We all had a good time at the Darwin on the Palouse event, but for one thing: Jen got all the batty creationists, and I didn’t. My blood lust was not sated.

It was primarily two people who were especially obnoxious last night. One was a guy in the back of the room who got the microphone, pulled out a notebook, and started reading a long, rambling, incoherent statement, the gist of which was “There are creation scientists, and they really are too scientists, and evolution is not a science”. He was allowed to babble on far too long; Jen and Fred Edwords answered his question, dismissively and honestly, and then he reiterated the same nonsense. The audience was geting exasperated and fidgety, and people were telling him to sit down and give other people a chance to ask questions…flipped to another page in his notebook and started stammering out more longwinded creationist cliches. He was an inconsiderate and arrogant moron who was only parrotting stupid creationist tropes. He finally got his microphone taken away.

And now he has a supporter expressing his dismay on Facebook!

The presentations this evening at the U of I campus were well presented, thought provoking and alarming. Unfortunately, the question and answer period was cantankerous, disrespectful and all together unproductive. Surprisingly this behavior appeared to be initiated and sustained by members of the host organization. If this is how Palouse Coalition of Reason intends to treat their guests, I fear that future attempts to promote ideas centered around critical thinking and scientific understanding will be limited to a narrow group of like minded participants. Or perhaps this is the intent?

Sorry, Mr Warwell: not only was the creationist not expressing ideas, not only was he treated with excessive courtesy when he insisted on presenting an ill-thought out, ignorant manifesto, but he was an asshole, too. Please do not bother to “contribute” to other discussions on this issue: his performance was embarrassing and really deserved far harsher ridicule than he got.

The second creationist started his babble with noise about Mt St Helens and amazing whale fossils in Peru that are supposed to support the claims of the Genesis Flood. I already knew this story: it’s a classic example of a creationist quotemining the scientific literature, and it’s actually something I dealt with in a recent comment, prompted by that inane twit, David Buckna. The Peruvian whale fossils were the result of multiple deposition events, not at all compatible with a single great flood, and were produced in a sheltered harbor where whale carcasses drifted and were swiftly buried by diatom blooms. I got a bit irate and shouted him down; I told him it was not evidence for his myth, and that he was simply cherry-picking the data.

Someone else wrote in complaining about the event.

Actually, I Dislike this page now after seeing the embarrassing performance last night. I believe in evolution certainly, and I also know that since none of us can say for sure what the history of the Earth is, my reality is just that–a belief. I expect campus groups to have respect for everyone, and a respect for differences amongst us, and what went on last night was an outrageous disrespect to anyone with a religious faith, or anyone who questions the conclusions of scientists. This is the way to turn people away from one another and against each other, and an excellent way to turn religious students and community members away from the idea of evolution. You guys did no one any favors last night.

NO. This is po-mo shallow bullshit. We do not have to have respect for discredited, disconfirmed, dishonestly presented nonsense, like those creationists were doing. In a discussion of matters of empirical reality, strong skepticism is essential and useful…a meeting in which we were expected to show deference to liars and frauds and ignoramuses like those two creationists would not be a productive event.

There’s a place for more conciliatory, compromising tactics, but there’s also a place to take the muzzles off the wild dogs and turn them loose on the misleading crackpots of the young earth creationist movement.

Maybe that’s why these guys didn’t appear at my talk: they didn’t want to get shredded.


  1. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    My blood lust was not sated.

    But you got to be rude to Peruvian whale fossil guy. What more could you ask for?

  2. says

    I shut him down with two choice barks. I could have worried the corpse with relish for another half hour.

    This was Jen & Fred’s event. I had to throttle myself a bit.

  3. Sastra says

    I expect campus groups to have respect for everyone, and a respect for differences amongst us, and what went on last night was an outrageous disrespect to anyone with a religious faith, or anyone who questions the conclusions of scientists.

    Ooh, somebody violated the sacred Doctrine of Equivalence. The Doctrine of Equivalence states that all religious and philosophical (and even scientific) beliefs are a matter of personal choice and therefore equivalent. Nothing can be known for certain; therefore nothing can be known with any certainty at all; therefore all conclusions come down to being expressions of one’s identity. Religious beliefs are especially precious: they say so many wonderful things about the believer!

    When they say they want “respect for differences” they mean that the differences themselves should be respected, ie left unchanged. “Well, I don’t agree with your viewpoint — but isn’t it wonderful that you hold it! We don’t want all people to be the same. Diversity is the spice of life!” And so forth and so on.

    It’s the standard drill you get from people who confuse factual claims with self-expression.

  4. says

    Perhaps people should learn that creationists who never bother to read, let alone understand, the numerous responses that their lies have received is in fact not the slightest bit responsible, open-minded, or courteous. Repeating stupid PRATTs is entirely rude.

    Also, unless they can actually make sense (not just say God did it) of biology, like evolution does, there is no compelling reason even to consider their BS.

    Glen Davidson

  5. kevinalexander says

    We’re rude to ‘anyone who questions the conclusions of scientists’?

    Um, isn’t that what scientists do to each other? Question each others conclusions? You just have to do it in a respectful, if not playful way, with evidence.

    The creationists keep bringing shit to a snowball fight and wonder why they’re disrespected.

  6. hapticsimian says

    Interesting where clicking through Mr Warwell’s Facebook page – to his ‘profile’ – leads… Of all things, he is a geneticist with the USDA, studying towards a Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution and Behaviour…

    How… odd.

  7. says

    I could care less what creationists think. They’re going to keep believing their nonsense no matter what, for as long as they cling to fairy tales. The idea that this even would have converted tons of people if only PZ had been more gentle is laughable.

    When people say stupid, factually wrong things, someone should call them on it and that’s what happened. End of story. No one was wronged here.

  8. julietdefarge says

    How about stating loudly at the beginning of the Q & A session that a one minute limit for stating one’s question will be strictly observed? Lots of people don’t seem to know how to phrase a question. Tough luck for them.

  9. Fukuda says

    @8 and @9

    If that’s him…

    “Warwell MV. 2008. Review of ecological adaptation in temperate and boreal forest tree species”

    What? How? Huh?

  10. says

    I agree that before questions from the audience are allowed, that some ground rules are given to the audience.

    Questions must be concise and no more than a given number of words.

    Questions that have been asked so many times that having to respond again would be unproductive, perhaps have for these people a pre-written response to these anticipated questions printed on flyers available at the event and simply refer them to the flyer and move on to the next question.

    Ask for original questions, not rephrasing of some other religious person’s opinions.

    Ask the questioner if they want what they believe to be true. It is difficult to discover what is really true when blinded by a desire for something in particular to be true.

    Just some ideas.

  11. Sastra says

    This is the way to turn people away from one another and against each other, and an excellent way to turn religious students and community members away from the idea of evolution.

    Yes, as a member of the community I find that there’s a simple rule of thumb to follow when trying to decide who to believe — the vast majority of experts in the field or those who are challenging them: how do they treat me?

    Who is nicer? More tactful and sensitive? Which group seems to respect and empower people, and which side appeals to values I can understand, like love and hope and knowing that you have to search deep inside yourself to discover a world view that works. Science is hard. Make it easy. It’s dull. Make it sing to me, and about me.

    Evolution or creationism, chemistry or homeopathy, physics or free energy, global warming or hoax, vaccinations or “safe vaccines,” archaeology or Ancient Astronaut Theory? If people can’t smile and be polite, then they’re obviously aware that their views are wrong. Look for a soothing voice, a grand explanation, a story that makes sense to the deeply felt truths you already know. A little empathy and understanding for people indicates a reliable grasp of the basics in any area.

    What does each group promise? Which promise sounds more like the sort of promise you hope will be kept?

    And cookies. Chocolate, if possible. Snacks: which group provides more tasty or nourishing treats? Is the group happy and accepting with a nonjudgmental spirit and a safe haven for everyone’s opinions? Or do they just seem to want to get into a lot of arguments about who’s right and who’s wrong? An idea that’s true will be recognized by the positive way it makes you feel. We know more than we think we know.

    If you don’t want to turn people away from your ideas, then you damn well better treat us well. Relate on our level. It’s just basic strategy, if you’re going to appeal to religious people and other members of the community. Don’t say you have not been warned.

  12. KG says

    Palouse is pronounced pah-loose. – Lynna, OM

    As in: “Three hours after she tied him up, Ma let Pa loose”?

  13. KG says

    “Warwell MV. 2008. Review of ecological adaptation in temperate and boreal forest tree species”

    What? How? Huh? – Fukuda

    That could be phenotypic adaptation: trees will grow quite differently depending on their surroundings, like how crowded they are, how deep the soil is, the prevailing wind, etc.

  14. Rip Steakface says

    Susanrobinson, Sastra is a bit like Modusoperandi on Dispatches From the Culture Wars – a satirist, making fun of the other side by impersonating it. Of course, Poe’s Law holds steady as is obvious right now.

  15. says

    I expect campus groups to have respect for everyone, and a respect for differences amongst us

    Sorry, Up With People is no longer available to perform at events like this.
    But this sort of “every idea is equal” crap is what happens when you allow a set of beliefs to become your identity. Any challenge to those beliefs becomes a threat to selfhood, and suddenly no one is allowed to tell you you’re wrong about anything. Celebrating diversity becomes another version of treating faith as a virtue–it disables the reality check that keeps your beliefs from spiraling into dangerous nonsense.
    I am curious, though, as to how exactly Mt. St. Helens fits into the global flood myth.
    Killed By Fish

  16. Sastra says

    I am not joking about the cookies, though. For me, scientific questions will always be decided not by peer review — but by pastry. I hope that future attempts to promote ideas centered around critical thinking and scientific understanding will include a dessert buffet.

    You have to appeal to the masses.

  17. janine says

    Susanrobinson, Sastra is a bit like Modusoperandi on Dispatches From the Culture Wars – a satirist, making fun of the other side by impersonating it. Of course, Poe’s Law holds steady as is obvious right now.

    You are mistaken here. Sastra knows her new age speak because she came out of that area, much like the former fundies who know what scripture to quote. Sastra is not doing a Poe, she knows how these people think and speaks the language.

  18. kyrissbp says

    I attended your talk last Thursday at WSU and thoroughly enjoyed listening to your ideas and those of Dr. Dennett. I am always glad when I hear those who do not neuter their messages of rational thought to keep from offending those who believe in supernatural fantasy. Like Christopher Hitchens always said, there is a time where rudeness is necessary. Christian apologists believe that it is alright to disrespect athiests, but the general population seems to hold religion above criticism. Keep up the good work!

  19. says

    Those are your two best arguments, “why are there still monkeys?” and “paintings have painters”?

    Christ, but you people are morons.

  20. chigau (違う) says

    Pathetic attempt shieldofchrist777. It’s like you aren’t even trying.
    And Jesus doesn’t need you.

  21. says

    you don’t need to be a scientist to understand and refute evolution

    And right here, you show everyone that you don’t understand the theory:

    We have never ever seen a monkey give birth to a human (homo sapien) according to the theory

    Dumbass, if you understood the theory, you would understand why it doesn’t work like this. You’ve refuted nothing, only babbled the same tired, made up crap that we’ve grown so weary of.
    Criminy, it’s like playing whack-a-mole, only the mole just pops up in the same place every time.

  22. Fukuda says


    That could be phenotypic adaptation: trees will grow quite differently depending on their surroundings, like how crowded they are, how deep the soil is, the prevailing wind, etc.

    Hmmm, we ecologists call that “acclimation” as opposed to adaptation. Acclimation is a change suffered by an individual, adaptation is an evolutionary response by a population.

    The abstract talks about “intraspecific ecological adaptation” which in our lingo usually means an evolutionary process.

    This work was presented during a symposium so finding a copy seems a bit harder than expected…

  23. says

    you go to the Sahara desert and you see a computer.. you don’t say that the computer created itself because that’s absolute nonsense, you know that because of it’s remarkable complexity there has to be a designer who created it..

    You mean, there had to be a god who created it? Or, if not, why not?

    Do we see a clay pot and say that the supernatural created it? Of course we don’t, it’s just stupid to say that a demon did it, rather than a known cause.

    so imagine life.. much more complex than a computer or a painting..

    Consider that complexity, and how it is arranged–just as if it happened via descent with modification. And there’s the platypus tooth, basically functionless (there may be a developmental function, as is often the case with evolution) before it falls out of the gums of the juvenile platypus. How does that comport with “design,” rather than known reproduction with mutation and natural selection?

    Why is that complexity composed as if it had evolved, is the question. If you dunces could answer that, you would. Because you don’t and can’t, we know that you have nothing.

    how can you say that life isn’t designed, that’s nonsense.

    Look at the complexity of an ecosystem. How come that isn’t designed? How come weather systems, which we could very well consider to be functional to us and to the rest of life, aren’t considered to be designed? It’s because complexity isn’t the mark of design in the slightest. We look for signs of rationality in computers, so conclude design. We don’t find such rationality behind it.

    Look, I know you’re an obvious Poe, I’m just answering the only “argument” that the IDiots happen to have–and it may very well be that creationist lurkers are more common now, for the obvious reason.

    Glen Davidson

  24. janine says

    Funny. I was telling Rip Steakface that Sastra is not a Poe. And behold, a poorly done Poe shows up.

  25. chigau (違う) says

    And for Pascal’s sake, PZ, you should forbid shield and his gang of sinners praying for you. With “friends” like that…

  26. says

    And behold, a poorly done Poe shows up.

    Well, someone wanting to be obvious about it.

    Trouble is, it’s easy to miss the marks (I did at first) because one doesn’t read the whole mess of delusional tripe, having seen it so often previously.

    Glen Davidson

  27. Fukuda says

    Just because you don’t accept the logical conclusion of those arguments doesn’t mean that they are not true, PZ. You are very close minded indeed..

    The irrational assumptions of your arguments are what we don’t accept, not your conclusions. You can’t have serious conclusions with delusional assumptions.

  28. janine says

    The idiot Poe is implying that blind people are mentally defective. You are truly a great person.

    If you are serious about this, here is the first thing you must do; find out how a scientist defines a theory. Here is a clue, it is not a hunch.

  29. says

    I’m traveling right now, which limits what I can do, but I really don’t need a lying godbotting Poe cluttering the place. After I get home, this ‘shieldofchrist’ idiot will be banned and his comments deleted. And if he adds more inanities after this declaration, he’ll be ip-banned as well.

  30. says

    I am so very tired of the whole Poe thing. If someone does it well then you get to argue over nothing, and when it is done poorly, it is simply obvious and boring. Bring on the real creationists.

  31. Fukuda says

    It obviously lacks scientific rigor because science is based on reproducible observation.

    What exactly isn’t reproducible, may I ask? We have done artificial selection for years and quantified natural selection in the wild.

    We have done speciation experiments with several animals and observed the rise of reproductive isolation barriers (Jerry Coyne at why evolution is true is a specialist in this topic if you’re interested).

    We have observed the appearance of new plant species by allopolyploidization, we have observed the traces of natural selection in DNA variation, etc….

    And this is only about natural selection…

    What part of it isn’t reproducible?

  32. says

    It obviously lacks scientific rigor because science is based on reproducible observation.

    So, uh, people don’t see the same things when they look at Archaeopteryx or determine differences between phyla?

    IDiot creationists don’t count, btw, since stupidity isn’t sufficient for doing science.

    No, the observations are abundantly reproducible, and reproduced. Fuckhead pastors like winthrop know nothing about science, and don’t mind telling egregious lies about it.

    Glen Davidson

  33. RickR says

    Yawn. Boring trolls are boring.

    Where are the True Believers™ on fire with Jebus ready to do spiritual warfare with the godless hordes?

    These two got no game.

  34. cactusren says

    shieldofchrist: The argument from design was never a good one. Snowflakes are complex and look designed, but they aren’t. They arise from simple geometrical relationships between ice crystals.

    As for the “monkeys don’t give birth to humans” argument: have you ever seen anyone who looks exactly like either of their parents? No? Hey, look at that…each generation in a lineage is a little different than the one before it. That is the scale on which evolution works–on an entire population (not individuals) over many generations. The theory doesn’t suggest that one species changes into another in a single generation. The fact that you use this argument shows that you either don’t understand the theory of evolution, or that if you do, you’re simply arguing against a strawman.

  35. says

    It obviously lacks scientific rigor because science is based on reproducible observation.

    Science is based on testing hypotheses to see if they make accurate predictions regarding what one is going to observe.
    Evolution is tested every time a fossil is dug up. And it keeps passing the test. How many million times does it need to do this to convince you?
    What predictions does creationism make? If a supernatural, all-powerful being existed, why wouldn’t there be crocoducks? Literally anything would be possible, including monkeys giving birth to people, sofas materializing on the football field, etc. etc.
    If you think evolution is open to wild speculation and interpretation, what can you say about a belief in an omnipotent creator not bound by any physical laws?
    The A/V lab called. They want their projector back.

  36. says

    It obviously lacks scientific rigor because science is based on reproducible observation.

    It always amuses me to see them take this track. Cause ok, fine we’ll grant that and say that we have an irrational standard of evidence for science. So…what else do you think we’ll have to throw out?

  37. chigau (違う) says

    Every time you delete a bunch comments, we, the commentariat, look a little demented.
    Is that really what you want?
    Do you want Them™ to think your Hoarde® are is crazed?

  38. McCthulhu's new upbeat 2012 nym. says

    Has ShieldOfCretin been fully outed as a Poe yet? There is no way (unless Ignor-Allen Poe is 8 years old) that anyone could have such a hysterically inept grasp of animal kingdom biology to make the suggestions (they) made and then say that the logic is airtight.

    The second argument is broken down by knowledge of chemistry and bonding and the research is looking very close at explaining how something not alive becomes alive. The recent paper about proteins in ice was quite compelling as it ties in nicely with the idea of cometary bombardment.

    And just for pure pedantry, Walmart has one ‘L’. If you honestly worked there, how the ‘L’ could you not know how to spell the name of your own workplace?

  39. McCthulhu's new upbeat 2012 nym. says

    Oh yeah, I almost forgot, keep checking in periodically and see how well that prayer thing is working out for you with regards to conversions to Christ.

  40. chigau (違う) says

    Is “ip-banned” worse than “banned”?
    If the goading continues, will jesus’slittlehelper return and ensure bamnation?
    Will the pastor, too, be bamned?
    Stay tuned.

  41. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    From the abstract of:
    Richardson, BA, MV Warwell, M-S Kim, NB Klopfenstein, G I. McDonald. 2008. Integration of population genetic structure and plant response to climate change: sustaining genetic resources through evaluation of projected threats. In: Proceedings of advances in threat assessment and their application to forest and rangeland management. July18-20, 2006 Boulder CO., p. 35-65.

    Forest trees exist within distinct geographic populations created by climatic shifts, evolutionary processes, the availability of suitable habitats, and other environmental factors. These processes have occurred over millennia and continue to shape the biogeography and genetic structure of these species.

    Emphasis mine.

    Maybe this Warwell is one of those micro vs. macroevolution guys. However, with what he must know about genetics, it is odd that he would make this distinction.


  42. says

    Has ShieldOfCretin been fully outed as a Poe yet? There is no way (unless Ignor-Allen Poe is 8 years old) that anyone could have such a hysterically inept grasp of animal kingdom biology to make the suggestions (they) made and then say that the logic is airtight.

    There are evidently adults in this world who think that the “argument from bananas” is logically airtight. Yes, people really can be that ignorant.
    As for Shield O’ Christ, he/she hasn’t come back with the “neener neener, made you think I was stupid” bit that always makes me want to crash heads in, so Poe or not I don’t know. I don’t even particularly care if it’s a Poe, because I suspect there are people dumb enough to come here, read that crap, take it seriously, and think we don’t have answers if we don’t do a bit of dismantling.
    And we’ve been encountering pastorwhinethrop on other threads. He hasn’t broken character yet, so I’m starting to think he really believes what he’s saying.
    And there’s just something about people who believe in a magical being that can do anything lecturing me about scientific rigour…

  43. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    When you get ip-banned the Suidly OL reveals all your most ticklish places. On the internet.

  44. says

    I like a good Poe. The kind that contains a message cleverly concealed in its sarcastic insides. Sastra does good and clever Poe. It doesn’t even need to be terribly clever – just enough to make the mockery obvious.

    ShieldofChrist, though, that is some BAD Poe. It’s boring; it has no extra clever little kick to be found. It’s not witty to just copy the morons, there has to be a twist to make it actually worth reading. Unless you’re very sure of your wit, it would help to use LOLspeak or /sarcasm or /poe tags.

  45. chigau (違う) says

    I’ve just had a eureka-moment.
    The bible-thumping wack-jobs use “evolutionist” and “Darwinist” to be rude.
    I don’t think he (do you doubt it?) is a real “pastor”.
    Who makes a 12-year-old into a pastor?

  46. says

    Fossils are not evidence of evolution.

    No, the transitional fossils showing up at the right time are evidence of evolution. You’re just fucking stupid.

    Speciation is a silly term because evolutionists cannot agree upon what a species actually is!

    Shithead, the problem is that speciation blurs the boundaries. Christ, you’re a dullard.

    Most of the claims that natural selection can generate eyes, wings and teeth is based on no actual observations whatsoever.

    Bullshit, lying fuckwit. The shared developmental genes of fruit flies, humans, and other metazoa is powerful evidence of common ancestry of said developmental machinery. Lying hound.

    Evolutionists speculate and conjecture all the time.

    Like science does, while moronic theists blither on, whining about science while explaining not a damned thing about life.

    Speculation is how new ideas arise. Liars hate the truth being tested and discovered.

    Evolutionists lack a mechanism to explain significant morphological change.

    Asshat, in the first place we have reproduction and mutation, a hell of a lot more than frauds selling magic formulas have.

    And then we have evo-devo, among other programs of discovery that give us a deeper understanding.

    The heart develops out of a tube, much as evolutionary comparisons would suggest happened. We develop three kidneys, one of which is never used, another which is used a short time and then is discarded/develops further, and then the last one.

    Evolution explains these facts quite nicely, stupid shits like you only attack science, rather than explaining anything. Total intellectual dishonesty.

    Glen Davidson

  47. says

    How do evolutionists explain the alleged evolution of whales from terrestrial quadrupeds?

    One of the lesser issues, actually. Look at both fossils and development to show how whales developed (young baleen whales have the vestigial teeth to show that baleen whales evolved from whales with teeth).

    It’s not like we don’t even have seals which took a somewhat different route, and remain more terrestrial.

    I don’t especially care if winthrop is a good Poe or not, the real point of the Poe is that either the fakes or the moron creationists would vomit up the same old shit every time, as winthrop regularly does.

    Glen Davidson

  48. Therrin says

    I call upon Dr. Myers to immediately release all prisoners of conscience from the cyber-dungeon he has established and to comply with human rights protocols.


  49. John Morales says



    I stand ready to be banned in the pursuit of freedom and truth.

    So, if PZ bans you, the pursuit of freedom and truth will prosper?

    (Your admission is noted)

  50. Therrin says

    If only being banned from this blog actually stopped idiots from ranting anywhere else. Still laughing.

  51. janine says

    “Pastor”, you are about the most stupid pile of shit to get dropped here. Being banned from commenting here will not prevent you from pursuing freedom and truth, you are doing it all yourself.

    No one is being locked up, no one’s rights have been violated. Shit, if this is you trying to be funny, you failed.

    Just fuck off, you said nothing that a thousand other mynah birds have already squawked.

  52. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I stand ready to be banned in the pursuit of freedom and truth.

    This from somebody who either tells lies deliberaterly (Poe), or through ignorance (real). You wouldn’t recognized the truth if it kicked you the nuts while saying “god is great”. Poor, poor non-thinker.

    I call upon Dr. Myers to immediately release all prisoners of conscience from the cyber-dungeon he has established and to comply with human rights protoc

    There are no prisoners of conscience in the dungeon. They are all stupid fuckwits without concscience. Because, if they had a conscience and were intelligent, they would either realize a joke can be taken too far (you if a Poe), or are too stoopid to acknowledge they deserve to be segregated from intelligent folks.

  53. Therrin says

    By the way paster*, since you failed to acknowledge it in the other thread, have you stopped raping children yet? That would be a good reason for being tossed into a non-cyber-dungeon.

    *Hm, I kind of like that tpyo.

  54. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Oh, and there is a reason Johnny Carson talked about the three joke rule. Same holds true for Poes.

  55. sisu says

    I call upon Dr. Myers to immediately release all prisoners of conscience from the cyber-dungeon he has established and to comply with human rights protocols.

    This? Gave me a REALLY good laugh at the end of a kind of crappy day.

  56. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Get some rest, Nerd.

    I swear I’ll be asleep by 10:30pm Janine. I don’t guarantee when I’ll finally get up though.

  57. chigau (違う) says

    re: the pustor
    What is the difference between a Poe and a troll?
    (not a riddle, I’m asking)

  58. says

    Ok, so I’m a moron compared to the rest of you. I did not what Sastra was doing. Because the cookie thing is so valid you know. How was I supposed to know the rest of it was not also as valid??

  59. Antiochus Epiphanes says


    I preface this by saying that all of the explanations that you seek are easily found. I suspect your problem is the disinterest in availing yourself of these explanations.

    But whatevs:

    Perhaps you would care to elaborate on how speciation can be said to have been observed when the definition of a species has not been fully established. Put it this way: if a bonobo and a chimpanzee can successfully interbreed, are they not one of the same species?

    The process of speciation is well understood, minimally involving reproductive isolation among segments of a population and subsequent divergence of these populations. Ultimately, if divergence is significant, segments will not be capable of reproducing if brought back into contact, and if we are lucky, they will also evolve recognizable morphological differences. The reason that species concepts are so diverse is that they incorporate these elements (reproductive isolation, lineage divergence, and recognizable difference) in different degrees. A species is in fact easy to define (a metapopulation lineage) but the criteria for recognizing incipient species evolve simultaneously and at different tempos.

    Even so, this is no evidence for how natural selection can build an eye or a kidney.

    The literature is replete with such evidences. Darwin himself explained what evidence would suffice to explain the evolution of an eye. Again, you need only avail yourself. Incidentally, this thing you call an eye likely evolved several times.

    I notice how you failed to explain how whales purportedly evolved through random changes in the DNA of their ancestors. Whales exhibit an anatomy that is both extraordinary and unique.

    Again, it is only unique if you ignore the wealth of fossil evidence recovered and described by Gingrich, Thewissen, and the like. I’m not a paleontologist/anatomist, but the flukes on a whale are no more unique than any other modification of a tail.

  60. Cyranothe2nd says

    @9, others,

    Yes, to our shame, that Creationist crank is actually a Phd student in biology at WSU. This is the first time he’s “outed” himself, and in public no less. I hope his colleagues give him all the derision he so richly deserves come Monday.

  61. says

    I notice how you failed to explain how whales purportedly evolved through random changes in the DNA of their ancestors.

    I note with amusement the increasing desperation of the creationists. They used to just say “you can’t prove whales evolved” – now with the fossil trail so nicely outlined they’ve resorted to throwing in “through random changes”, as if that wasn’t already a dead goose.

  62. says

    I notice how you failed to explain how whales purportedly evolved through random changes in the DNA of their ancestors.

    Whales have hips.

    Think about it

  63. What a Maroon says

    Dear Creotards,

    One of the characteristics of any good scientific theory is that it contains the seeds of its own destruction; that is, it specifies its own potential falsifications. An unfalsifiable theory is not a theory; a falsifiable theory that has withstood decades of challenges is about as close to the truth as is humanly possible. So, if you want to destroy the theory of evolution, you have two challenges at hand:

    1. Falsify evolution. Plenty of ideas on how to do that here; for example, “In the absence of the theory of common descent, it is quite possible that every species could have a very different genetic code, specific to it only, since there are 1.4 x 1070 informationally equivalent genetic codes, all of which use the same codons and amino acids as the standard genetic code (Yockey 1992). This possibility could be extremely useful for organisms, as it would preclude interspecific viral infections. However, this has not been observed, and the theory of common descent effectively prohibits such an observation.” Get cracking.

    2. Once you’ve managed to falsify evolution, tell us how we could falsify whatever theory you choose to replace it with. If you want to say that god done did it just like the bible said, what evidence would contradict that claim?

  64. says

    There is no way that anyone could have such a hysterically inept grasp of animal kingdom biology to make the suggestions (they) made and then say that the logic is airtight.

    Actually, it’s quite common. I suspect it’s because these people have a rather unique definition of logic: Anything that makes sense to me.

    I think this must be their definition, since it perfectly fits their behavior. They must be going on the core assumption that they’re logical and therefore, anything they believe must be logical also. Conversely, anything they don’t agree with is illogical, regardless of what arguments or evidence is given in its favor.

  65. SallyStrange: bottom-feeding, work-shy peasant says

    Whales have hips.

    Think about it

    This would make a good t-shirt or billboard.


    Whales have hips.”

  66. Chris Booth says

    What a Maroon in #95:

    These liars pretend that their claim that evolution is falsified by their stupid lies. Lets skip the tedium of more lying and stupid blither.

    They claim to have real science [of course they are lying] and to be dedicated to the scientific method [an even grosser lie because of its extra added taint of hypocrisy]; lets just go straight to their answer to the second question.

    So, Creotards: Answer question #2 in comment # 95. Put up or shut up.

  67. SallyStrange: bottom-feeding, work-shy peasant says

    The real question is why they give science so much reverence. Surely the knowledge contained in the Bible is sufficient, and needs no bolstering of its credibility with confirmation from observation of this fallen, sinful world?

  68. says

    PZ: The guy who wrote the first comment is NOT the creationist from the back of the room. This is a different guy – he was the one I was talking to after the talk about atheism vs. agnosticism. He’s an agnostic, not a YEC.

  69. says

    @desoto: I disagree; a Poe is not always a troll. Some Poes are indeed trolls, they do it for effect only. Other Poes are writers of satire, and they can be very entertaining. The trouble is when the satire is unclear – and the line there is hard to draw because a) Poe’s law – you can’t do a parody that is at some point not actually credible to someone; and b) many people aren’t as funny and clever as they think they are. I like to err on the side of caution and include winky smileys or say ‘like totally’ or ‘elebentyz!’ as a hint.

  70. raven says

    I notice how you failed to explain how whales purportedly evolved through random changes in the DNA of their ancestors.

    Darwin explained this 150 years ago in the Origins of Natural Species. E=RM + NS.

    The troll’s scientific understanding of biology is 150 years out of date.

    BTW, whales sometimes are found with atavistic…legs.

  71. maratkhramov says

    Warwell needs to be insulted for being an accomodationist to nonsense. But not for being an asshole or creotard wanker.

    Please correct this as soon as possible.

    Warwell’s issue seems to be this: “I fail to see how they could possibly bridge understanding and/or educate.”

    However, I fail to see how he thinks entertaining and allowing creatonists to hijack Q&A sessions and spew nonsense freely WITHOUT the consequence of ridicule allows understanding and education to happen.

  72. maratkhramov says

    pastorwinthrop is an obvious Poe, “evoking” Darwin like that.

    Please, stop wasting your time responding to him.

  73. Snoof says


    …the whale’s unique anatomy…

    What exactly is “unique” about whale anatomy? There’s at least fifty species of extant cetaceans, and they all differ, in physiology, behaviour and genetics. It can’t be that they’re ocean-going mammals – we’ve got otters, pinnipeds and sirenians, after all. It can’t be the sonar thing – plenty of chiropterans use it too. So what exactly is unique about them, and why are _they_ a problem for evolution as opposed to, say, mouth-breeding frogs or lungfish or sundews or nylonase-using bacteria or giraffes or whatever?

  74. John Morales says



    I don’t believe there is a clear genetic basis for the whale’s anatomy.


  75. KG says

    I seriously doubt we will find the answers to the whale’s unique anatomy based solely on its genome.- pastorwinthrop

    Why should anyone care what you “seriously doubt”? If you were an honest enquirer after truth, you would have presented us with your alternative explanation for how whales came into existence – I get the impression you think you have one – along with the evidence for it, and against the theory that this occurred by mutation in the genome and natural selection, starting from land-living mammals. But since you are a dishonest intellectual and moral coward, you merely make unsupported statements of personal incredulity.

  76. McCthulhu's new upbeat 2012 nym. says

    I have to question the honesty of someone that states they are on a quest for truth and then fights that search by disseminating the most anachronistic and ignorant fabrications regarding the point they are arguing.

    A large number of people frequenting this blog have been on the other side of the argument and are very knowledgeable about their past religious belief. Their integrity in seeking after truth and reality allowed them to cast aside the false promises of their pastors and priests and learn the falsifiable methods to determine fact from fiction. There are far too few people arguing creation who have given both sides of the argument that same opportunity to be weighed critically and with the insight of scientific education and method to back it up.

    If someone came in here and started arguing the fine points of even just one of the many fields that pertain to proving evolution, such as biology, genomics, paleontology, etc. and used KNOWLEDGE and FACT as the basis of their argument, I could give them credit for being honest in their statement for seeking truth.

    However, Winthrop comes in here and says the same garbage that is on web blogs and creationist sites and offers backwards arguments with no basis in factual research and we are supposed to be swayed that a magical being is responsible for everything and we should all fall over ourselves in prayers of thanks (this being completely ASIDE from the horrible inconsistencies, contradictions, grotesque suggestions of violence, etc. that the book for the basis for his beliefs are based on).

    I mean be honest, if you were really looking for the foundations of reality you wouldn’t be arguing about what Darwin did or did not do. Darwin was the originator of a new branch of science. Expecting his early volumes to refute every argument and fine point would make him, wow, some sort of deity! What has happened SINCE Darwin is where you should be basing your arguments. Since you can’t identify on your own why this is important and integral to your talking points I can only assume you are utterly disingenuous about your intentions of finding truth and are doing what every other science-class dropout does upon arrival here. Proselytize, proselytize, proselytize.

  77. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Darwin didn’t explain how the eye evolved from a single photoreceptor.

    Fuckwitted idjit, what makes you think Darwin was the last word in evolution? Your ignorance and stupidity of course. That is because you believe in an imaginary deity and mythical/fictional holybook as being inerrant, both lies. But there is no change in your outlook. It is all from the fallacious idea of revealed authority. In your case, that authority doesn’t exist, no evidence for it, just presupposition. That is not how science operates.

    Science is a dynamic endeavor. Meaning it is constantly striving to improve itself, and changes as changing evidence becomes available, and is good as its last piece of data described yesterday. Darwin got several things wrong with his initial theory, like a method of heredity. But later workers were able to correct these mistakes while staying within the framework of his overall idea. The present ToE is called Modern Synthesis, and incorporates genetics, DNA, molecular biology, and other area unknown to Darwin. For instance, we know what it takes to make an eye. So, quit lying to yourself about Darwin being the last word in evolution. He was only the first word, and isn’t considered infallible.

    Oh, and fuckwitted idjit, you need more that slogans and empty rhetoric to show science is wrong. You need more science, and that would be found in places like this, not in your book of mythology/fiction. So, start educating yourself at a real institution of higher learning. I suggest UMM, where PZ can get rid of your delusional thinking.

  78. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Nobody really knows why a horse is so different in form and behavior to a pig based on their respective DNA.

    More stupidity from idiocy. Developmental genes, as any fool with a modicum of knowledge would know. What a delusional fool.

    What then are the genetic differences that so distinguish a giraffe from a whale? If we don’t have all the data, what are the predictions?

    Science will get there with further work. As I said, science is constantly improving.

    Lets compare this to your delusion. Where are your predictions and evidence for your imaginary deity? Evidence that will pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers as being of divine, and not natural (scientifically explained), origin. Time to put up or shut the fuck up pastor/fuckwit.

  79. KG says

    Nobody really knows why a horse is so different in form and behavior to a pig based on their respective DNA.

    Let us accept the claim that cetaceans are closest to artiodactyls in terms of their DNA. What then are the genetic differences that so distinguish a giraffe from a whale? If we don’t have all the data, what are the predictions? – pastordishonestintellectualandmoralcoward

    As I predicted, the dishonest intellectual and moral coward fails to put forward any evidence against the theory he doubts, or any alternative theory. Of course all the details of how the developmental differences between mammals come about have not been elucidated: that is the subject of much current work, which will continue for decades if not centuries. But it is already quite clear that mutations in specific genes cause differences in developmental timing that can indeed lead to considerable morphological changes.

  80. Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD says

    So the flawed idea that a god did everything should not be stuck by just because you don’t understand science? Is that what you are saying pastor? Otherwise that would be dishonest.

  81. KG says


    1) Developmental genes are some of the most highly conserved across genomes. The same HOX genes, in terms of function and (almost) in sequence, are present in a mouse as in a human.

    I’m not a biologist, but it is clear that protein transcription factors and miRNAs, which regulate the transcription of DNA into mRNA and are themselves coded for in the genome, and the sites they bind to, are extremely important in regulating development. HOX genes constitute only a small proportion of transcription factors, and as I understand it operate mainly in early development, when all mammals have much the same morphology – hence they would be expected to be highly conserved. Human DNA codes for around 2000 transcription factors in total. Here: Evolution of Transcription Factor Binding Sites in Mammalian Gene Regulatory Regions: Conservation and Turnover is an article on the evolution of such factors and sites. I quote from the abstract:

    In this report, we present an analysis of the evolutionary dynamics of transcription factor binding sites whose function had been experimentally verified in promoters of 51 human genes and compare their sequence to homologous sequences in other primate species and rodents. Our results show that there is extensive divergence within the nucleotide sequence of transcription factor binding sites. Using direct experimental data from functional studies in both human and rodents for 20 of the regulatory regions, we estimate that 32%–40% of the human functional sites are not functional in rodents. This is evidence that there is widespread turnover of transcription factor binding sites.

    Now to your remaining dishonest nonsense:

    2) Mutations in developmental genes create distortions and abnormalities that are almost always injurious. There is a wealth of experimental evidence in support of this over the years.

    Ah, the stale old “there are no favourable mutations” bullshit. Of course major morphological change is “almost always” injurious, but “almost always” is not “always”, and when we are talking in terms of thousands or millions of generations, the difference is crucial.

    3) It is not dishonest to oppose the null hypothesis without offering an alternative hypothesis. If an idea is flawed, we shouldn’t stick by it just because we don’t have any better ideas.

    You clearly don’t know what “null hypothesis” means. Look it up. You have not shown that the theory that developmental differences among mammals are due to differences in the genome is flawed, and it is dishonest to pretend that you have when all you have done is express personal incredulity; and it is also dishonest not to admit immediately (as you now have, belatedly) that you have no alternative theory.

  82. Drolfe says

    That’s awesome news, Winthrop! Now, please, please describe what work creationists are doing on “this problem”.

    (How do creationists do science? How can they when they don’t create falsifiable theories and then test them with observations?)

  83. Gregory Greenwood says

    pastorwinthrop @ 116;

    Evidently, there are few scientists in this forum.

    The Pharyngula commentariat is nothing if not diverse. While there are plenty of non-scientists such as yours truly, there are also several professional scientists in all manner of fields including evolutionary biology. The fact that they do not agree with you does not in itself mean that they lack scientific education. Afterall, even I can tell that you have yet to make your case. A claim as extraordinary as yours requires the most stringent standards of supporting evidence. I await that evidence with interest.

    1) Developmental genes are some of the most highly conserved across genomes. The same HOX genes, in terms of function and (almost) in sequence, are present in a mouse as in a human.

    But a mouse an a human are both mammals – in terms of evolutionary time frames we are not so greatly seperated from one another. In any case, a high degree of conservation is not the same as being unchangeable. The time frames we are talking about here are substantial, afterall.

    2) Mutations in developmental genes create distortions and abnormalities that are almost always injurious. There is a wealth of experimental evidence in support of this over the years.

    ‘Almost always’ is not the same as ‘always’. ‘Unusual’ is not the same as ‘impossible’. Don’t forget the sheer number of iterations we are talking about here. Imagine a one in a million chance of something happening – it’s pretty unlikely to come to pass, right? Now imagine performing a billion iterations; suddenly the odds aren’t so long.

    Also, we are not dealing with a purely random system here. The mutations themselves are random, but the selection pressures from the environment are not. Thus, those random mutations that confer a competative advantage are more likely to be passed on than those that are neutral or acively harmful, and so will come to influence the entire genepool over time.

    Time frame and iterations – these concepts are big and can be hard to conceptualise on such a large scale, but they change your perspective when their import is considered.

    3) It is not dishonest to oppose the null hypothesis without offering an alternative hypothesis. If an idea is flawed, we shouldn’t stick by it just because we don’t have any better ideas.

    Without evidence to the contrary the null hypothesis must hold in any rigorous scientific pursuit. If evidence is cast aside, then all claims are equal, and a person could assert that Cthulhu, the Flying Spaghtetti Monster or the Pink Quantum Unicorns were reponsible for the development of life with as much authority as a person might put it at the feat of Yahweh or Allah (or any other mainstream deity construct) or as the result of a naturalistic process.

    Even if evolutionary theory is as flawed as you claim (which, on the evidence, I honestly find doubtful), it is still the best explanation we have. If you want to replace it with something else, then you need the evidence to back your hypothesis up. You may not recognise the fact, but evolutionary scientists are perfectly prepared to be convinced that the theory is wrong if the evidence to the contrary is strong enough – something like a genuine Precambrian rabbit would be a good start.

    Throwing out a theory that is supported by masses of evidence becase it conflicts with one’s religious beliefs, however, is the very antithesis of science. The scientific method requires that we follow the evidence and interpret it as rationally as possible, even if it leads to conclusions that we may not like. Are you honestly prepared to do that? I have already pointed out that evolutionary scientists are prepared to be convinced by evidence – is there any evidence that would cause you to re-evaluate your position? Or does your faith ultimately trump all evidence in your mind?

  84. Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD says

    No, the science does not point that way. And creationists aren’t working on anything except justifying their world view with absolutely no evidence for it, merely a belief in an old text put together by people a long while ago to attempt to explain things without science being available to them.

  85. KG says


    You’re a liar. Quoting extensively from the abstract, and linking to the whole paper, cannot be descirbed as “quote-mining” by anyone but a liar.

    The activation or inhibition of genes can and does bring about major morphological differences. Differences in binding regions are functional differences – they control whether and when particualr proteins are produced – and it is either dishonest or stupid to claim otherwise.

    We just don’t see any reports in the medical literature about mutations in transcription factors leading to some novel function that benefits the patient.

    As I noted, we would expect mutations to be disadvantaeous far more often than advantageous. But as it happens, we do know of at least one mutation in a regulatory gene that has produced a functional change in humans that is advantageous in particular circumstances: lactose tolerance, enabling adults to digest milk. The mutated form is found almost entirely in populations which have kept cattle or other animals kept for milk, and hence has clearly been seelcted for in those populations.

    We have the genomic data. If morphological information was contained in the genome, which it isn’t, scientists would be able to explain why a cat is so different to an elephant based on the DNA.

    Again, you show that you are either ignorant or dishonest. For a small number of species, we have the sequence of DNA bases in the genome. That does not tell us which parts of the sequence get transcribed, or whether the RNA they are transcribed into is translated into protein (or used as RNA, or discarded), or how the proteins coded for fold, or what they do. At least a large proportion of that knowledge will be needed before scientists can give a full description of development, and that will take, as I said, decades or centuries to complete. Meanwhile, it is simply indicative of either dishonesty or stupidity to claim that knowledge of the sequence of bases should tell you what the organism would look like.

  86. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The fact is that mutations in development genes cause defects.

    Citation needed, or shut the fuck up. All they cause is change. May or may not be bad. After all, a mutation is gene for hair color would cause a different pattern of color. What a fuckwitted loser.

    I understand the science and it all points to the fact that God-did-it.

    No, you don’t understand science. You must prove your imaginary deity exist if you claim it exists. WHERE IS YOUR EVIDENCE???? (citation required to the peer reviewed scientific literature). I don’t see any.

    Oh, and pastor, still no solid and conclusive physical evidence for your imaginary deity. You lose by default if you have no evidence for your imaginary deity after 2500 years, and no work being done on finding any.

  87. Fukuda says

    Your point is invalid. All that transcription factors, including Hox genes, actually do is to to activate or inhibit other genes. They don’t do anything beyond that.

    So what? Segregating different genes to different spatial and temporal compartments (which is what transcription factors do) is what allows different cell types and tissues to signal to each other and cooperate into forming organs.

    This is the vital role of transcription factors, organizing interactions and specifying compartments.

    The paper you quotemined from talks about sequence differences in cis-regulatory binding regions rather than functional differences.

    ? The function of transcription factors is mainly related to when and where they are expressed, not just what genes they activate or inhibit. What directs when and where these transcription factors act is their combination of cis-regulatory factors which are bound by other transcription factors.

    Transcription factors work in cascades activating each other sequentially.

    The fact is that mutations in development genes cause defects.

    Some do, most mutations don’t do anything at all and very few may be positive.. Especially considering how redundant and degenerate are cis-regulatory regions.

    Hox genes are close to the top of the transcription factor cascade, they just specify the main antero-posterior compartments. Most mutations in morphology don’t involve Hox genes, they involve downstream effectors.

    Like the mutation that caused enlarged beaks in the finch natural selection experiment: it only changed BMP4 expression in a compartment, it didn’t change the entire identity of a compartment (which is what a Hox mutation would do).

    You may want to read this article here, btw

    If morphological information was contained in the genome, which it isn’t

    Wow, you really like making spurious claims. We have a pretty good idea of how cells interact with each other to cause morphogenesis and what proteins and ncRNA (genes) they use for this task.

    What we aren’t close to knowing are the specifics for every case you can think about, goalposts guy.

    Or maybe Poe?

  88. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    pastorwinthrop #108

    The most obvious aspect of whale physiology is its respiration. It is a mammal that rises to the surface to draw in oxygen using its blowhole and then store it below just as a diesel-powered submarine does.

    The creotard not only doesn’t understand whale respiration, he doesn’t understand how diesel submarines operate.

    A surfaced submarine uses its diesel engines to propel the ship and to run electrical generators. The generators provide electrical power for various pieces of equipment and to charge the large batteries all submarines have. A submerged submarine running just under the surface (what’s technically known as “periscope depth”, around 60 feet/20 meters) can raise a tube called a snorkel to bring air into the ship to run the diesels. This is called, oddly enough, “snorkelling.”

    If a diesel submarine is below periscope depth, the diesels are turned off and the ship operates on electrical power from the batteries. Electric motors turn the propeller shafts, driving the sub through the water.

    Compressed air is stored in tanks aboard submarines. Certain valves are pneumatically controlled, the crew needs oxygen to breathe, and air is blown into the main ballast tanks to surface the ship. This air is not used to operate the diesels.

    The advantage nuclear submarines (and certain other submarines using air-independent propulsion) have is the ability to operate for long periods without recharging the batteries. Most diesel submarines can operate for about 24 hours without recharging, but sooner or later diesel boats have to surface or snorkel because the batteries are discharged.

    –‘Tis Himself, ex-MM1(SS)

  89. Marc Abian says

    Segregating different genes to different spatial…compartments

    What do you mean by spatial segregation of genes?

  90. Drolfe says



    Learning you were a submariner increases my already high esteem for you! I guess I’ve never come across a mention of it before. :)

  91. coyotenose says

    Guys, seriously, he’s just a Poe trolling and congratulating himself on how he supposedly “got” people as he tries to get it stiff enough to fap. The little turd isn’t worth your time. He’ll be gone soon, since he so clearly outed himself in this thread.

  92. KG says


    Thanks for the info on ecological terminology earlier, and for the much more detailed account of what transcription factors do than I could provide.

  93. KG says


    Even if pastorwinthrop is a Poe, and I’ve seen no evidence whatsoever that he is, his lies and idiocies need answering. In any case, why the fuck do you feel the need to tell other people that they should not answer him?

  94. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Coyotenose, our replies aren’t so much for the idjit pastor as they are for the lurkers. Showing that stating something in a confident manner is not the same as showing evidence for the argument. Besides, it says something to another godbot who may want to try the same or similar spiel; you will be challenged, and you will look like a fool before it is all over.

  95. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Do diesel submarines have hip bones?

    No, silly. The Intelligent Designer didn’t give them any.

  96. raven says

    Having read accounts of many of these events, a few predictable features have appeared.

    1. A few creationists will show up. They are mentally wrecked zombies who will ramble on for it seems forever, repeating every lie the creationists have thought up in the last 150 years.

    The organizers and presiders should plan for this so they aren’t always caught flat footed and improvising on the spot.

    You can always demand that they ask a question rather than reading from Ken Ham’s book of cuckoo reasoning for half an hour, i.e making a statement rather than asking a question.

    2. Sooner or later there will be someone or a group that is more disruptive. Fundie xians can be and are occasionally violent. They have their own xian terrorists. There needs to be a security plan in place. No point in waiting until a suicide bomber or mall type shooter event happens. More likely will be sublethal forms of disruption.

    Don’t roll your eyes. I’m sure Gabbrielle Giffords never thought she and 17 other people would get shot in a Safeway parking lot for being…Democrats.

  97. wolfhound says

    Just so you guys know, “Pastor Winthrop” is actually “Atheistoclast”, aka “Joe Bozo”, who has been trolling third-tier science journals by getting his silliness published. Not sure if he was banned here or not but he is likely over here at PZ’s place because he’s not getting the attention he wants anymore at TalkRational due to a newer, fresher chewtoy showing up.

  98. says

    GRRRR. Fucking asshole.

    Cleanup in progress. All of pastorwinthrop’s comments are about to be deleted.


  99. Fukuda says


    What do you mean by spatial segregation of genes?

    Not the physical genes per se (the DNA molecules), I meant spacially segregated expression of these genes commandeered by transcription factors.

    An example would be cell adhesion molecules during neural tube formation (the hollow tube that will form our spinal chords and brain). There is a family of membrane protein, cadherins, that keep cells together, these proteins have better affinity for their own kind of cadherin than for other kinds of cadherins.

    At the beginning, the cells that will give rise to both epidermis and neural tissue aren’t differentiated and express E-Cadherin which glues them together forming a sheet of cells.

    Shortly after, a diffusible signal from the cells underlying this sheet induces some of the overlying cells to become neural tissue.

    This differential signaling in space causes the activation of different transcription factors in the induced cells that will end up (among other things) activating the expression of another cadherin, N-Cadherin, and the repression of E-cadherin. The cells with N-Cadherin will detach from the ones expressing E-cadherin(they have greater affinity for N-Cadherin) and form a hollow tube that will give rise to the neural tube.

    The differential expression of transcriptional factors in space has led to the spatial segregation of cadherin types which also led to the detachment of neural cells from the epidermis, creating a cascade of responses.

  100. says

    I always thought pastorwinthrop was a Poe. Posing common creationist canards so that someone else in the group could provide real answers. As a way of sharpening the “debating” skills of the group and disseminating accurate information about an area of science interest without actually lecturing on a subject.

    Because the actual science posts generate orders of magnitude fewer comments than ones dismantling creationism.

    Heck, for a little while in an earlier thread, I thought it was PZ in disguise.

    Funny that. Poe’s law really does work.

  101. says

    Dr. Dennett gave us a wonderful concept to work with on Thursday. He advocated ‘taking back’ the word ‘design’ such that it not need a designer. In other words, it is OK to look at the intricacies of the cell and observe “This looks like it was designed.”, just as god-bots might. But we need to grow our definition of ‘design’ to allow that there need not be a designer.

    Dennett gave the excellent example of our current use of the word “atom” from “atmos”, which means ‘indivisible’. We know, of course, that they are divisible, but that doesn’t mean we have to abandon the historical term. So, too, can we have something that is ‘designed’ without a ‘designer’.

  102. says

    I always thought pastorwinthrop was a Poe.

    But, assuming the ID of him as Atheistoclast is correct, he isn’t a Poe. It sounds right, too, since Bozo Joe not only denies evolution, he denies that development is a “materialistic process” as well (although this is contrary to the surviving quotes where he’s whining that mutations in Hox genes cause gross deformities–the guy never could keep his stories straight), so the ID fits very well.

    He’s a creationist troll, however he’s not a Poe. I almost thought he was a Poe when I read his demand that PZ comply with human rights, but again, Bozo Joe indeed writes that stupidly.

    Glen Davidson

  103. says

    I was at this event, sitting two rows behind PZ and whatever claims are being made about inhospitality toward differing beliefs are, frankly, bullshit.

    Q&A sessions are not a dialogue between one creationist and the members of the panel. There were many people in the room who wanted to ask questions. The reason I started shouting the fellow in the back down (I was the loudest of the down-shouters) was because he’d already asked three questions.

    First I said:

    “There are other people who would like to ask questions, please give up the microphone”

    Others joined me in their agreement.

    Then though the moderator walked toward him and reached for the mike, the man held it away from him and flipped the pages in his notebook and began reading another question. I again shouted, “You’ve had your turn, please give up the microphone.”

    He contined to read his question, and I shouted at him (along with others),

    “No one is going to answer your question. Give up the microphone.”

    At which point the noise of the crowd and the persistence of the moderator forced him to give up the microphone.

    His silencing was not due to any desire to suppress his ideas, he was just being very rude and monopolizing the microphone even after he’d been asked repeatedly to give it up.

    (These are my recollection of the event, I may not have remembered everything verbatim…)

  104. carlie says

    There need to be strong moderators at any Q&A, to enforce a one-minute time limit and one question per person.

  105. coyotenose says

    Nerd of Redhead: Thanks, that’s a good answer. I should have been more specific in wondering why he was getting numerous, time-consuming responses instead of the quick, brutal shred after demonstrating his dishonesty, but I reckon you cleared that up also.

    KG: Why are you so angry that you feel the need to misrepresent my comment in order to have something to grind your fucking teeth about?

  106. magg says

    Really hilarious. I was at the first talk on the Palouse and laughed the whole time, but not at the creationists. PZ is an embarrassment. Anyone can stand up and mock an opponent. Most children do that quite nicely. Anyone can use derogatory language and make an audience of 400 people laugh. But like PZ said, most people aren’t educated. So it doesn’t take much to make them laugh. My high school history teacher referred to them as the mass ass and he was right. So we are glad they are on your side. It was an New Saint Andrews student who could read the Darwin fish and the same one who asked the first question. We can easily send our students to an atheist event and yes, they can see though all your false arguments. But yours weren’t hard. There weren’t any. So carry on PZ. You are resembling the men who begot you.