It’s bad, so bad

Tomorrow morning at 10am Central, I’ll attempt to do a Bad Science Sunday video live. I’ve got an awful creationist book — it’s by an engineer — and we’ll have some fun tearing into it.

I won’t try to do the whole thing, but will focus on his arguments about evolution. You’ll see how bad this book is, even though he tries his best to pretend he’s all about logic and reason and not at all about creationism, but he’s not very good at hiding it.

Done! Unfortunately, it took an hour and a half to just skim through a few fragmentary excerpts fro this very bad book. Creationists have a real advantage.


  1. hemidactylus says

    Cool…another cut your own hair vs grow it out debate thread. Those and mask-refusing covidiot bashing threads are what I live for. If a year ago someone told me I would be giving myself haircuts and wearing masks to work I would have thought they were batshit crazy. I miss restaurants.

  2. bcwebb says

    I thought for a bit BSME was part of his name, like Jr or something. It appears EVERYWHERE.
    Shall we all put letters after our names from undergraduate and equivalent achievements?
    For me that would be B.A., C.O.W.D.II, VL, C.D.H. – a Bachelor of Arts, Certificate of open water diving II, Varsity Letter, and courtesy of my mad brother, a Certificate in Defensive Handgun taught by Kent Turnipseed {motto:”if you have a name like Turnipseed you learn how to defend yourself.”]

    I’ve got a few other letters after my name but nobody uses those things except when trying to get hired somewhere….

  3. Rob Grigjanis says

    Just read part of a chapter in Cekal’s book (on google books) about space travel, including stuff about relativity. He doesn’t have a fucking clue about anything. It’s embarrassingly bad.

  4. blf says

    Yesh! I just skimmed part of the Intro and first chapter (on Evolution) at Amazon — where it has no reviews at all — and the cretinism is glaringly obvious… as is the anti-sciencism… as is a total failure to grasp even simple mathematical or modelling ideas, all whilst reeking of presupposition. No evidence at all (nor any citations) was spotted in my admittedly very brief skim.

  5. leerudolph says

    So I read his short bio at Amazon.

    I am a retired engineer and first-time author. My qualifications to write a technical scientific book with credibility consist of a BSME degree from a fully accredited major university and over 30 years of application and design engineering experience with additional university studies in meteorology and electronics. A Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering is a discipline that applies the principles of engineering, physics, and material science that requires significant study of science and the scientific method. It requires an understanding of core concepts that include mechanics, kinematics, thermodynamics, material science, structural analysis, chemistry, electronics and mathematics. A mechanical engineer uses applied science with the objective toward practical utility as opposed to theoretical scientists that are usually concerned with scientific hypotheses and abstract mathematics and spend considerable time in the laboratory attempting to understand scientific principles and refine existing theories.

    TL;DR: He has no particular qualifications to write about biology in general or evolutionary biology in particular, and makes it quite clear that not only doesn’t that bother him, he doesn’t even believe that people who might have such qualifications might have well-founded reasons to think that his ideas are just plain wrong.

  6. charley says

    PZ, you have the patience of a saint. Wait, why are saints considered patient?

    As somebody with undergrad degrees in both biology and mechanical engineering I can confirm that a BSME is irrelevant to the topics in this book. For undergrad engineers, science provides established knowledge for use in fulfilling human desires. Research, the nature of science and the scientific method are not strongly emphasized. In fact, we engineers tend to avoid “science projects” as good ways to derail a project. Some insecure engineers even belittle scientists as impractical scatterbrains.

    I don’t know why engineers are prone to the kind of ignorant arrogance in this book. Maybe it’s because engineers routinely succeed at what they set out to do. 1. Mission: Design a bridge. 2. Work hard, design and build the bridge. 3. Yay, done! Look at my awesome bridge! People will enjoy it for decades! What’s next?

    Meanwhile a first-rate scientist may labor for years at a failed hypotheses in a specialized field which furthers knowledge but don’t do much to boost the ego. Again, I’m just guessing here :)

  7. blf says

    charley@8, “[W]e engineers tend to avoid ‘science projects’ as good ways to derail a project.”

    Speak for yourself. Better would be something like “Some — perhaps most, but certainly not all — tend to…”.

  8. Akira MacKenzie says

    I don’t think Mr. BSME’s hatred of graduate-level scientists and academics has anything to do with being degree-shamed. My guess is that it’s informed by his fundamentalist Christian beliefs that usually vilify scientists as diabolical agents of godlessness.

    The same goes for his animus toward theoretical science. Those godless scientists with their silly formulas and hypotheses are just try to claim Gawd doesn’t exist with their made up “theories.” It’s not like engineering which is easily demonstrable, works every times it is used, and doesn’t fly in the face of the Bible.

  9. chris says

    Sorry, William Cekal, but my BSAA beats your BSME. Mine is a glorified BSME with lots more applied mathematics. Except I know my limitations, and would never make scientific claims outside my education and experience.

    Mr. Cekal, you are making engineers look bad. Unfortunately you are not the only engineer making a fool of yourself by thinking you know more than others. There is Brian Hooker whose bad statistics with the MMR vaccine an poor black boys but only proved it is better to get the vaccine on time. In reality it is difficult for poor people to get medical care in Georgia, but some kids do get diagnosed and become eligible for special ed in public school, and that requires vaccination to enter. Gary Taubes has an aerospace engineering plus a physics degree but writes books demonizing sugar. Andrew Cutler promoted chelation for both heart issues and autism but died of heart decease in his early 60s. Plus there is the bad vaccine research by Gary Goldman with his may or may not be a real degree in computer science. Another computer scientist, Amy L. Lansky, promotes homeopathy, claiming it cured her son’s autism.

    That is just a few of them. Physicists are even worse:

    Apparently there are several more who visit the Science Based Medicine blog to tell medical/biology scientists and bio-statisticians how to do their jobs. Most recently trying to tell us that HCQ should be used for Covid-19, even though the papers they cite all say it does not work. The latest was telling us that the authors of those papers were wrong. I am not joking.

  10. bcwebb says

    As a non-biologist scientist, the one thing I have truly come to understand about evolutionary biology is that it is really hard and requires an understanding of both a huge amount of very specific information and a very good understanding of the underlying chemistry and physics too.

  11. Chaos Engineer says


    My qualifications to write a technical scientific book with credibility consist of a BSME degree from a fully accredited major university

    Thanks for finding that. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a non-anonymous writer talk about his degree without mentioning which school it was from..

    Maybe it’s a really prestigious school and he’s too modest to name it? I see that it’s not just accredited but fully accredited.

  12. nomdeplume says

    Sorry PZ, couldn’t stomach more than a few minutes of this. You are right, pure young earth creationism. Also reminds me of the geologists who are climate change deniers. Sadly, handing someone a degree, even from a “prestigious” university, doesn’t involve imparting wisdom to them.

  13. whheydt says

    Re: leerudolh @ #7…
    His recitation of what ME covers is–from my own time at a university–a typical lower division engineering cirriculum. A survey across every major engineering discipline, plus a lot of physics and chemistry.

    And, as a general FYI…there is a traditional “pecking order” among the branches of engineering. ME is not at the top.

  14. redwood says

    And here I thought BSME stood for Butt Sex in Medieval England–that would be an interesting degree–and probably just as useful for what he was writing about.

  15. says

    Just listened to this, some days late but all the way through. Very cogent and biting, and yes, in addition to being a wonderful biologist you have the patience of a saint. Particularly liked the bit right near the end where your remarks will be helpful to me in improving my communication skills. May try to actually listen in real time and join the online commenting some time soon … if I can get up that early.