The paper they don’t want you to read!

The climate change denialists are a bit thin-skinned; they’ve also been exposed as a bit on the wacko side. The journal Frontiers in Psychology is about to retract a paper that found that denialists tend to have a cluster of weird beliefs (NASA faked the moon landings, the CIA was in charge of the assassination of political figures in the US, etc.) because the denialists screamed very loudly.

This outrage first arose in response to a paper, NASA faked the moon landing–Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science (pdf) which analyzed voluntary surveys submitted by readers of climate science blogs, in which the respondents freely admitted to having a collection of other beliefs, in addition to climate change denial. That paper found something else interesting, and was the primary correlation observed: a lot of denialists are libertarians. Are you surprised?

Rejection of climate science was strongly associated with endorsement of a laissez-faire view of unregulated free markets. This replicates previous work (e.g., Heath & Gifford, 2006) although the strength of association found here (r ~.80) exceeds that reported in any extant study. At least in part, this may reflect the use of SEM, which enables measurement of the associations between constructs free of measurement error (Fan, 2003).

A second variable that was associated with rejection of climate science as well as other scientific propositions was conspiracist ideation. Notably, this relationship emerged even though conspiracies that related to the queried scientific propositions (AIDS, climate change) did not contribute to the conspiracist construct. By implication, the role of conspiracist ideation in the rejection of science did not simply reflect “convenience” theories that provided specific alternative “explanations” for a scientific consensus. Instead, this finding suggests that a general propensity to endorse any of a number of conspiracy theories predisposes people to reject entirely unrelated scientific facts.

Oh, how they howled. Even libertarians seem to be embarrassed at being affiliated with libertarians, I guess. And conspiracy theorists, too? Why, the accusation itself is clearly evidence that there’s a conspiracy out to get them. They protested that because the respondents to the survey all found it through mainstream science blogs, all the responses were false flag operations put out by Big Climate.

What they didn’t realize was that they were generating more data to support the hypothesis. The authors of the first paper then wrote a second paper, the one that is now being retracted by the cowardly publisher, called Recursive Fury: Conspiracist Ideation in the Blogosphere in Response to Research on Conspiracist Ideation, in which they scanned public posts and comments on the first article, and analyzed the text for evidence of conspiracist tropes (it’s a nefarious scheme, they’re out to get us, it’s an organized movement to defeat us, etc.) and found that yes, conspiracist reasoning was quite common on climate change denial blogs.

They also rebutted some claims. The claim that the authors never bothered to contact the denialist blogs to host their survey was shot down pretty easily: they had the email, and further, they had replies from denialists who later claimed they never received any request to host the survey.

Initial attention of the blogosphere also focused on the method reported by LOG12, which stated: “Links were posted on 8 blogs (with a pro-science science stance but with a diverse audience); a further 5 “skeptic” (or “skeptic”-leaning) blogs were approached but none posted the link.” Speculation immediately focused on the identity of the 5 “skeptic” bloggers. Within short order, 25 “skeptical” bloggers had come publicly forward9 to state that they had not been approached by the researchers. Of those 25 public declarations, 5 were by individuals who were invited to post links to the study by LOG12 in 2010. Two of these bloggers had engaged in correspondence with the research assistant for further clarification.

Those emails were also revealed in a Freedom of Information Act request.

The squawking reached a new crescendo. Steve McIntyre wrote a strongly worded formal letter demanding that the defamatory article be removed, and accusing the authors of malice. Further, they complained that analyzing the content of blog posts and comments, public, openly accessible work, was an ethics violation.

Ludicrous as those claims are, Frontiers in Psychology is apparently about to fold to them. For shame.

You know, my university had a meeting with our institutional lawyers yesterday — I was called in to attend the information session for some reason, like having a reputation as a trouble-maker or something — and I was impressed with their professionalism and their commitment to actually defending the faculty and staff of the university. I guess not every organization is lucky enough to have good lawyers of principle.

Oh, well. All I can say is that, thanks to the denialist ratfuckers, now everyone is going to be far more interested in reading the two papers by Lewandowsky and others. I recommend that you read Motivated rejection of science (pdf) and Recursive fury(pdf) now, or anytime — they’re archived on the web. You might also stash away a copy yourself. You make a denialist cry every time you make a copy, you know.

The first author on the papers, Stephan Lewandowsky, has a few comments.

The strategies employed in those attacks follow a common playbook, regardless of which scientific proposition is being denied and regardless of who the targeted scientists are: There is cyber-bullying and public abuse by “trolling” (which recent research has linked to sadism); there is harassment by vexatious freedom-of-information (FOI) requests; there are the complaints to academic institutions; legal threats; and perhaps most troubling, there is the intimidation of journal editors and publishers who are acting on manuscripts that are considered inconvenient.

Why I am an atheist – Matthew Pocock

It is difficult to explain why I am an atheist without starting at the beginning. I was born in the mid-70s in rural Oxfordshire, England. My parents where Born Again Christians of the ‘burn your Beetles records’ variety, and believed with all the passion and transparency of youth that they where blessed and anointed to do the Lord’s work. They met at a Christian youth event and that has set the tenner for the rest of their lives together. Needless to say, my siblings and I where raised to treat Jesus as the other member of our family, albeit an invisible and all-powerful one. Jesus was firstly the saviour of our family, and only then the saviour of our church, country and the world. It was an intensely personal faith. Our parents believed in strict parenting. Child-rearing and the training of working dogs could be accomplished using essentially the same approach, although children seemed to have longer memories and where better at dissembling than hounds, and while the dog got a newspaper on the nose, we got the cane. It was enough to know that we had done wrong; there was little need to explain why. They loved us dearly (and still do), but I felt we always came a distant third behind Jesus and my parents to each other, in that order.

[Read more…]

More discussion of profiling, pro and con

I have to return to Same Harris’ defense of profiling, because he’s added an addendum, and although it tells us more about why Harris is focused on this issue, it doesn’t actually address my objections, and thinking about it, it does expose some deep differences between me and Harris.

The problem is this assertion:

We should profile Muslims, or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim, and we should be honest about it.

Let me change that around a bit, not just to make a point for me, but also to try and move the debate away from race.

We should profile Republicans, or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Republican, and we should be honest about it.

If you step back and look at the world today, the major source of death and strife and terrorism isn’t Islam, it’s America — the country with hands down the largest arsenal and the will to use it. A few cunning Islamic terrorists did manage to murder several thousand Americans in a stunning attack, it is true; but in retaliation, we killed a hundred thousand or more Iraqis (a nation not involved in that attack!) and have wrecked two countries, Iraq and Afghanistan, and threaten to wreak similar havoc on a third, Iran. We have drones flying over Afghanistan right now, ready to blow up any small group of people seen gathering in public. You cannot call those drones anything but state-sponsored terrorism.

Of all the people lined up behind the security barrier at the airport, it’s those American voters who are currently the most dangerous. The only reasonable objection to my claim that we should profile Republicans is that everyone who voted for the Democrat Obama is also culpable.

I will agree with Harris, though, that frisking little old Republican ladies at the checkpoint is ridiculous, because suicidal terrorism isn’t their game — that’s the desperate tactic of the otherwise powerless, and as he points out, it’s almost entirely perpetrated by Muslims.

Many readers found this blog post stunning for its lack of sensitivity. The article has been called “racist,” “dreadful,” “sickening,” “appalling,” “frighteningly ignorant,” etc. by (former) fans who profess to have loved everything I’ve written until this moment. I find this reaction difficult to understand. Of course, anyone who imagines that there is no link between Islam and suicidal terrorism might object to what I’ve written here, but I say far more offensive things about Islam in The End of Faith and in many of my essays and lectures.

In any case, it is simply a fact that, in the year 2012, suicidal terrorism is overwhelmingly a Muslim phenomenon. If you grant this, it follows that applying equal scrutiny to Mennonites would be a dangerous waste of time.

This is true. Republicans would never make the self-sacrifice of smuggling explosives on a plane to kill themselves and the other passengers — it’s not their thing. So if we’re focused on just stopping this one strategy of disrupting our economy and politics, I agree that after the fact we’re likely to discover that the perpetrator was a Muslim. It’s also true that some vocal Muslims are likely to express credible death threats against individuals — like Ayaan Hirsi Ali or Salman Rushdie — using Islam as a justification, and those people certainly have good cause to fear Islam.

But that does not make “Muslim” a useful criterion for preventing terror attacks. The majority of Muslims are just as harmless as the elderly woman featured in Harris’ article (probably more harmless: they aren’t voting Republican). When you single out the 30 year old traveling Pakistani engineer with a family and a career for specially invasive inspection, you are committing just as much of an outrage as when you pull out the 70 year old white grandma.

When I speak of profiling “Muslims, or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim,” I am not narrowly focused on people with dark skin. In fact, I included myself in the description of the type of person I think should be profiled (twice). To say that ethnicity, gender, age, nationality, dress, traveling companions, behavior in the terminal, and other outward appearances offer no indication of a person’s beliefs or terrorist potential is either quite crazy or totally dishonest. It is the charm of political correctness that it blends these sins against reasonableness so seamlessly. We are paying a very high price for this obscurantism—and the price could grow much higher in an instant. We have limited resources, and every moment spent searching a woman like the one pictured above, or the children seen in the linked videos, is a moment in which someone or something else goes unobserved.

This logic simply doesn’t work. It’s not political correctness: it’s basic numeracy. Since terrorists are extremely rare in airports, you could also argue that the whole strategy of randomly frisking individuals is a waste of limited resources: since the probability of any of those people, either Muslim or non-Muslim, being a terrorist is so ridiculously low, each search is a waste of time that could allow the real problem people to go unobserved. The numbers just don’t work. I agree with Harris that special screening for white-haired old ladies is absurd, but it’s also absurd for brown-skinned young men with an accent.

Another reason it’s ridiculous: we keep fighting the last terrorist. They aren’t going to keep doing the same thing, over and over; 9/11 was a one-shot event, airlines have made other changes in their protocols that will prevent that. Yet TSA keeps following one step behind. Some guy smuggles explosives aboard in the soles of his shoes, so now we have to take off our shoes for inspection before boarding; it doesn’t matter that the shoe bomb didn’t work. I thoroughly sympathize with frustration at the mindless, pointless security theater we go through all the time. I don’t think it helps us at all, though, to turn it into an opportunity to selectively punish people who “look Muslim”. That’s theater that adds a fresh new layer of pointless othering and tribalism to the pointless pretense of security.

“Political correctness” is a phrase too often used to justify racism and oppression; you can’t just defuse criticisms of poor policies of discrimination by claiming political correctness. It’s really about recognizing the fact that religious affiliation is not a good indicator of a propensity for violence.

Step into any mosque, church, or synagogue, and what you’ll find is a congregation of people who are typically more concerned with getting along with their neighbors than in blowing stuff up. Sure, you’ll find a scattering of people who want do destroy Great Satan America, or shoot abortion doctors, or overthrow ZOG, but they’re a minority, and they also tend to segregate themselves off to more reactionary cells in more radical religious groups. I think it’s a huge mistake for atheists to repeat this claim that religion makes you fly planes into buildings; it’s simply not true, and the overwhelming majority of religious people who gather on holy days to pray are looking at us like we’re insane and deluded for suggesting it. That isn’t “political correctness”, that’s truth, and that’s what the people of reason should be focused on. Not damning the whole for the crimes of a few. Not equating Muslim with terrorist.

I really think the atheist movement ought to be focusing instead on one general truth: almost all of the people in that mosque, church, or synagogue believe in stupid ideas. They aren’t evil, they’re wrong, and their credulous beliefs make them more gullible and susceptible to exploitation. I’m not in the least bit interested in punishing the religious for their beliefs in any way; they’re victims of bad tradition and poor education, and if you want to end religious terrorism the best strategy isn’t to make bodies bounce in the rubble or isolate and suppress, but to educate, educate, educate. Open up economic opportunities, increase the security of people’s lives (not just privileged wealthy white people’s lives, but everyone’s), and teach people how to think and learn.

At the end of his addendum, Harris offers to open up his blog to an expert on airline security to discuss the topic. The good news is that he’s willing to learn: he’s now promising to publish something from Bruce Schneier, which I find very encouraging.

A noble name and a noble cause

Good on Krystal Myers — not only does she spell her name correctly, but she’s a vocal atheist in her high school.

In a recent editorial that Myers, 18, intended for the Lenoir City High School newspaper entitled "No Rights: The Life of an Atheist," she questioned her treatment by the majority.

"Why does atheism have such a bad reputation? Why do we not have the same rights as Christians?" she wrote.

Myers’ editorial also accused school administrators, teachers and coaches of violating the constitution by promoting "pro-Christian" beliefs during school-sponsored events.

Excellent! She’s 18 and already roaring. But then…

Lenoir City school authorities have denied Myers permission to publish her editorial in the Panther Press, the staff supervised student newspaper.

They also say their policies do not violate the constitutional rights of any students.

Schools Director Wayne Miller said it was the decision of the school authorities not to allow publication of Myers’ editorial because of the potential for disruption in the school.

I agree that it doesn’t violate constitutional rights to not publish a pro-atheist opinion piece, but what about that accusation of promoting Christianity in the schools? That is unconstitutional, and maybe they should look into that.

And while it may not be illegal, it’s a little bit unethical to discourage expression of a particular point of view with the vague, blanket accusation of “disruption”. I’d like to know if they look the other way at pro-Christian editorials…or is it OK if it’s only atheists who are “disrupted”?

And finally, it’s really, really stupid. A student opinion piece in a school newspaper? It won’t even get noticed in the insular world of a school. But now that they’ve censored it, Krystal Myers is going to be much more widely known.

If anyone knows her or how to contact her, tell her to send the piece to me, and I’ll publish it here. It’ll get a far wider reading than ever it would in her school. People could also send me pro-Christian editorials, and I’ll toss them in the trash: it’s also not unconstitutional for me to treat those views as total rubbish.

The Digital Cuttlefish had the piece, so here it is in its entirety. I’d like to know what was disruptive about it, other than that it points out where the administration is breaking the law.

No Rights: The Life of an Atheist
By Krystal Myers

The point of view expressed in this article does not necessarily reflect the point of view of the Panther Press, its staff, adviser, or school.

As a current student in Government, I have realized that I feel that my rights as an Atheist are severely limited and unjust when compared to other students who are Christians. Not only are there multiple clubs featuring the Christian faith, but youth ministers are also allowed to come onto school campus and hand candy and other food out to Christians and their friends. However, I feel like if an Atheist did that, people would not be happy about it. This may not be true, but due to pervasive negative feelings towards Atheists in the school, I feel that it would be the case. My question is, “Why? Why does Atheism have such a bad reputation?” And an even better question, “Why do Christians have special rights not allowed to non-believers?”

Before I even begin, I just want to clear up some misconceptions about Atheism. No, we do not worship the “devil.” We do not believe in God, so we also do not believe in Satan. And we may be “godless” but that does not mean that we are without morals. I know, personally, I strive to be the best person I can be, even without religion. In fact, I have been a better person since I have rejected religion. And perhaps the most important misconception is that we want to convert everyone into Atheists and that we hate Christians. For the most part, we just want to be respected for who we are and not be judged.

Now you should know exactly what an Atheist is. says that an Atheist is, “a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.” However, this does not mean that Atheists do not believe in higher causes; we just do not believe in a higher being.

With that being said, I can move on to the real issue. Before I begin, I want you to think about your rights and how your perceived “rights” might be affecting the rights of others.

There are several instances where my rights as a non-believer, and the rights of anyone other than a Christian, have been violated. These instances inspired me to investigate the laws concerning the separation of church and state, and I learned some interesting things. However, first, I would like you to know specifically what my grievances are against the school. First and foremost is the sectarian prayer that occurs at graduation every year. Fortunately, I am not the first one to have thought that this was a problem. In the Supreme Court case, Lee v. Weisman, it was decided that allowing prayer at graduation is a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment that says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Special speakers can pray, but the school cannot endorse the prayer or plan for it to happen.

Public prayer also occurs at all of the home football games using the public address system. This has, again, been covered by the Supreme Court case Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe. The Court ruled that school-sponsored prayer is an unconstitutional violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. If a speaker prays, it is fine. However, as soon as the school provides sponsorship, it becomes illegal. Sponsorship can be almost anything, even something as simple as saying that the speaker can pray or choosing a speaker with a known propensity to pray or share his or her religious views.

However, it is not just the speakers who we have to fear at Lenoir City High School. We also have to fear some of the teachers and what they might say about their own religious beliefs. On at least two separate occasions, teachers have made their religious preferences known to basically the whole school.

One teacher has made her religious preferences known by wearing t-shirt depicting the crucifix while performing her duties as a public employee. Also, Kristi Brackett, a senior at Lenoir City High School, has said that the teacher, “strongly encouraged us to join [a religious club] and be on the group’s leadership team.” Yet again, this violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. When asked if this was true, the teacher replied, “As a teacher I would never use my power of influence to force my beliefs or the beliefs of [a religious club] on any student in the school.” Regardless, the religious t-shirts are still inappropriate in the school setting. Teachers are prohibited from making their religious preferences known; the Constitution requires them to be neutral when acting in their capacity as a public school teacher.

Not only are religious preferences shown through shirts, but also through a “Quote of the Day” that some teachers write on the boards in their classrooms. One teacher has Bible verses occasionally as the teacher’s “Quote of the Day” for students. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment has been violated, yet again with no regard for non-believers.

But perhaps I would have more hope in our school and the possibility of change on the horizon if our own school board did not open their meetings with prayer. A person who wished to remain anonymous that has been present at school board meetings says, “They do have prayers. They pray to ‘Our Heavenly Father’ and end with ‘In Jesus’ Name We Pray.’” Not only is this a violation of Supreme Court law, but also a violation of the board’s own policy that prohibits prayer at school-sponsored events. The whole foundation of how our school is conducted is established by obvious Christians. Somehow, this is unsurprising. If our School Board chooses to ignore the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and the Supreme Court, then it is no surprise that teachers choose to do the same.

I know that I will keep trying to gain my rights as an Atheist and as an American citizen, but I also need your help in educating other people to realize the injustice done to all minority groups. The Christian faith cannot rule the United States. It is unconstitutional. Religion and government are supposed to be separate. If we let this slide, what other amendments to the Constitution will be ignored? I leave you to decide what you will or will not do, but just remember that non-believers are not what you originally thought we were; we are human beings just like you.

Worst poll ever

After the scandal of an atheist pointing out the illegality of forced public prayer, the Bastrop Open Enterprise has put up a poll. And what a poll! I had to stare at it for a while to try and figure out what they’re asking, and I think they’re actually polling on the logical and grammatical skills of journalists at their newspaper, because it makes no sense.

How do you feel about a student at Bastrop High School stating they were an atheist and pledging to contact the American Civil Liberties Union if a Christian prayer were offered at the school’s graduation on May 19?

I agree. Nothing should be done to offend anyone regardless of their beliefs. 57%
I disagree. The student should respect the desires of their fellow students. 36%
No opinion. 5%

The choices of answers don’t fit the question. The “agree” and “don’t agree” choices each go on to affirm the same thing: that the student ought to shut up. Nominally, I’d say the right answer is that I agree with the student going to the ACLU, but it’s not because we shouldn’t offend; they’re turning this into an issue about protecting all religions from criticism.

Whoever wrote this poll was completely clueless about the issues.

I don’t normally tell you how to vote (usually it’s obvious!), but in this case, I’m going to make a recommendation. Vote “No opinion.” Swamp that crap, and make ’em wonder. Maybe they’ll track it back to here and discover that we’re protesting the false dichotomy they’re making.

Ho-hum, another claim that there are no atheists in foxholes

Man, this article is bad.

Perhaps atheism is a luxury of the well-to-do. Put differently, everyone–even the most hardcore atheists, I think–will start believing in God if put under a high amount of stress. Think of the last time you prayed to God, and I will bet that, for many of you (whether you generally classify yourself as an atheist or not), it would have been when you were under stress. For most of us so-called atheists, when things go horribly wrong, we think of God.

PZ raises his hand. Hardcore atheist here. Nope. I’ve experienced stress, even thought I was dying once…no gods came to mind. But I bet that if you repeat that silly claim often enough, if you go up to dying people and tell them they’ll probably think of Bugs Bunny before they die, you’ll find that lots of them will have the words “What’s up, doc” pop into their head when the doctors visit their hospital room.

The last time I prayed was when I was a goddamned child.

Since this is published in Psychology Today, the author just hast to dredge up some weirdly distorted pop-psych to justify his claims. Here’s the story he tells.

Don’t believe me? Consider Philip Zimbardo’s “broken window” theory. In one of his studies, Zimbardo left a car on the streets of Palo Alto for two weeks. During the first week, the car looked like any other car parked on the street: nothing in it was broken. After the first week, Zimbardo deliberately broke one of the car’s windows. Zimbardo was interested in assessing whether, by merely breaking the window, he had enhanced the chances that it would be vandalized. That’s indeed what he had found. This experiment shows that, contrary to conventional wisdom, the world is not made up of two sets of people: vandals and non-vandals. Rather, the world is made up of people who all have a propensity to vandalize, and whether one of us vandalizes or not may depend more on something as subtle as whether we see a broken window or not–and not necessarily on our personality.

Wait, what? How do you derive that conclusion from that study, as described? It’s not as if vandals vandalize every car they see; isn’t it more likely that vandalism-prone individuals are more likely to target an already damaged car?

Well, if you’ve leapt to one entirely unjustified conclusion, nothing is stopping you from leaping even further. You’ve already abandoned all respect for the evidence.

Extrapolated to the topic of God: This means that no one is a complete atheist or, for that matter, a complete believer in God. Each of us has a propensity to be somewhere on that continuum. And even a hardcore atheist may exhibit belief in God if he feels his life is sufficiently broken.

While there is definitely a continuum of belief, how can a psychologist (oh, wait…the author is a professor of marketing) so blithely disregard the impact of culture? We hammer people with lifelong messages telling them they must really believe in the god their society favors, and what do you know, they go along with it. Don’t think of an elephant! Have you noticed that no one is telling you that Odin is all-knowing or that Asclepius will heal you, and the likelihood of people under stress invoking either of those gods is really, really low?

Besides, if we’re really going to extrapolated from the Zimbardo study to religion, the story really ought to be like this: God has been like a beautiful, pristine car parked on the street. When someone punches a hole in one of its windows, though, God’s vulnerability is revealed, and pretty soon the humanists come along and steal the tires, the agnostics key the paint job, and the atheists set it on fire, and before you know it, all you’ve got left is scorched rubble and an eyesore that the city needs to tow away and junk.

I like that extrapolation much better.

Evolution is not enough

Really, it isn’t enough to simply “believe” in evolution: it’s more important to understand it and more deeply, to have an intellectual commitment to reason. There’s a beautiful example of this principle in Iowa right now.

Iowa allowed gay marriage in the state a while back, and good for them…only now there’s a bit of pushback and the offended conservatives are lashing out at the judges responsible. Look at this fallacious reasoning from one opponent of gay marriage.

Randy Crawford of Iowa City said he intends to vote for the removal of the justices because he is concerned about the judiciary overstepping its reach and also about the propensity of homosexuals within his community.

“My primary reason for being here is because I believe the Supreme Court should not be legislating from the bench. But I also believe that homosexuality is bad thing,” he said. “It used to be useful when we were cavemen and we needed people to guard the caves full of women and children. If I’m a guy out hunting, I want to leave someone back at the cave tending to my wife and kids, and I don’t want a normal guy having that kind of access to my wife and kids. So, in our evolution, you can see that there use to be a utility for homosexuality, but that was when we were cavemen and we aren’t cavemen anymore. So, homosexuality is obsolete.”

That is an awesome just-so story. It’s also complete nonsense. So, were gay guys incapable of hunting? Were paleolithic women so incapable that they had to have a man, even a gay man, hanging about to take care of them? What exactly were the gay cavemen doing back in the cave with the women? Who’s tending to the modern women, replacing the gay cavemen and making them redundant?

I can invent my own just-so stories, too, and I couldn’t help but imagine life 20,000 years ago with Caveman Randy and Caveman PZ.

Caveman Randy: Ugh. We go kill mammoth with spears.

Caveman PZ: Alas, yes. More strenuous exercise and battling dangerous wild animals. I wish we’d get around to developing universities so I could live a lifestyle more suitable to my delicate frame.

Caveman Randy: You talk funny. Don’t know if me like you behind me. Grab spear, hunt like man. We go now.

Caveman PZ: Of course, because penetrating great beasts with long pointy objects is the epitome of masculinity, and you and I are so much alike, you macho hunk of raging overcompensation.

Caveman Randy: You…like…men? You mock great hunt?

Caveman PZ: I might like men better if they bathed now and then, and could actually carry a conversation more substantial than sporadic grunts. And I can think of much more pleasant ways to spend my time then sweatily plodding over the tundra looking for meat on the hoof.

Caveman Randy: Me get you now, ho ho. You one of those cavemen. <cunning look flits over his face> Me have idea. You stay here. Guard cave. Keep cavewoman out of trouble.

Caveman PZ: You mean that cave over there? The one full of nubile half-naked women who haven’t discovered underwear yet, and who are going to be bored out of their minds while you fellows are off guzzling fermented yak milk and throwing sticks at ugly great beasties for a few days?

Caveman Randy: Yeah. You make hair pretty or something. Me take Cavemen Geraldo instead — him more buff than you, knows how to handle a spear, not stereotypical effete fop like you — you safe with women.

Caveman PZ: I certainly am! You and Caveman Geraldo go have fun thrusting your spears, and I’ll keep the cave cozy and contented.

And the tribe hummed along happily, and its numbers increased, and everyone was happy.

Never trust the anti-woman brigade to be honest

They are as bad as creationists. They often are creationists. Their anti-abortion ideology is so overwhelming that they will make up ‘facts’ and call them science. Here’s a recent example:

“I think it’s important to note with the term fertilized egg, that’s the same thing as using the N word for an African American,” said Mason. “Because it’s a dehumanizing term and it’s not based in science. The term would be a zygote, or an embryo, speaking of a unique individual.” Mason is hoping the passage of the amendment will lead to the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

“It’s a bad law,” said Mason, referring to Roe v. Wade. “It was not based in reason. They ignored the concept of the pre-born child being a person.”

That’s simply insane. You aren’t insulting a fertilized egg by referring to its status, and there is no one there to be insulted by your terminology. This Keith Mason wanker has no qualifications as a scientist — he seems to be little more than a self-appointed minister…which explains his propensity for lying.

We use the term “fertilized egg” all the time — so do farmers and grocers. I could show it to you in developmental biology textbooks.

While we use the term “fertilized egg” routinely, there is another term you won’t find in any of the texts or on the lips of developmental biologists: “pre-born child”. What a crock.