We gave Deutsch too much credit

This political hack who was dictating the interpretation of science to scientists was a college dropout.

His sole qualification for his job was his enthusiasm for George W. Bush—where have we heard that before?


The story has been confirmed in the most emphatic way: Deutsch has resigned. It’s not quite over, though, and it’s clear that James Hansen is going to keep pushing.

Yesterday, Dr. Hansen said that the questions about Mr. Deutsch’s credentials were important, but were a distraction from the broader issue of political control of scientific information.

“He’s only a bit player,” Dr. Hansen said of Mr. Deutsch. ” The problem is much broader and much deeper and it goes across agencies. That’s what I’m really concerned about.”

“On climate, the public has been misinformed and not informed,” he said. “The foundation of a democracy is an informed public, which obviously means an honestly informed public. That’s the big issue here.”

Me, humorous? I was deadly serious!

Whee! Another Koufax nomination for Most Humorous Post. I’ve moved the copy over here to the new site, in the post below this one.

This was an interesting post, though—it prompted something close to the record volume of hate mail for a single article, ever (I don’t keep count, though, so I can’t be sure—but man, were some people ever furious about it.) Joke about peeing on a bible, and people react like you’d expect them to if you threatened to imprison and torture and kill foreign civilians.

It’ll be an experience if it makes it into the final nominations. More hate mail, oh boy!

Link to me, or the Bible gets it!

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Alright, people, I’m gonna get tough. You know what I want, and you’d better give it to me.

I’ve got a bible here, and a 44oz. Diet Coke…lots of liquid containing a diuretic, to boot. In about an hour, I figure my bladder is going to be pretty full. You know what could happen.

I don’t need information from you, and I sure don’t want your money. This is a weblog, and the currency here in these parts is the link, the trackback, the comment. Fork ’em over, or I’m taking this Bible down the hall. You know I’d do it. I’m a godless atheist—I don’t think your Bible means doodley-squat.

Intimidated yet?

I’ve also got some razor blades here. I don’t have to do it all at once—I could slice out bits piecemeal and prolong the agony. I don’t care for Genesis in particular, and Revelation is just crazy. Maybe I’ll start with those.

But hey, maybe it’ll hurt you more if I soak Psalms or the Sermon on the Mount with my heretical urine. Decisions, decisions. Shall I surprise you?

Come to think of it, I feel the need to go right now. Maybe I’ll take this book with me to the bathroom to read. Yeah, that’s it. I sure hope I don’t have an “accident” in there!

I’m going to check back in an hour. There better be some good linkage goin’ on here, or I might just let a drop fall on “Jesus wept.” You heard me. Get going. Type.


Update: I don’t think you people care enough. A few comments, a few trackbacks, and I don’t think most of the people doing it are particularly devout. I’m going to hold off a little longer, but I’m going to stash the Bible in the bathroom in case the whim strikes me in the middle of the night.

And I had another thought…if my sacrilegious urine is not scary enough, there’s a cat box downstairs. Here, kitty, kitty, kitty.


It’s Day 2 of the Bible Hostage Watch. It’s the Sabbath, and I’ve just put a big pot of coffee on.

I want you all to know I’ve got the Bible sandwiched between a copy of Jacoby’s Freethinkers and Darwin’s Origin. I’m waiting for the Stockholm Effect to kick in.


Before there James Frey made the news, there was me. The article above was posted on June 4, and by June 7 I was a broken man, my charade exposed. My confession is duplicated below.


I have a terrible confession to make. I lied. This whole thing was just a desperate plea for attention. Here’s the truth:

  • It was a 16oz bottle of diet Cherry Coke.
  • I made no effort to build up a good volume of urine; when I felt the urge, I’d just walk down the hall to the bathroom and go.
  • While I have no particular reverence for the Bible, I’m an academic—I love books. I get the heebie-jeebies at the thought of defacing any book.
  • I don’t respect the Bible, the Koran, Dianetics, the Torah, or the Book of Mormon as holy texts, but I’d get pee-shy about destroying any of them just because they are books. Even if they are worthless piles of pulp.
  • The really big lie: there was no Bible. I don’t own one. I was getting worried there when commenters started pressing me for details on what edition I had, because I didn’t have a clue what to say.

I know what this confession puts me at risk for: I expect I’m going to have to fight off all the movie deals, and those Big City Newspapers are going to be pestering me with job offers. The hassle will be worth it, though, if only it will get rid of those Army recruiters. They keep pounding on my door, telling me I’ve got the complete lack of scruples they need for some jobs in exotic foreign lands, and they promise I’d never have to confront anyone who might fight back—just frightened men and women and kids and old people in chains. They’re making me so nauseous that I’m willing to admit to being a big fat lying liar who lies in order to get them to go away.


By the way, since I made that post two people have sent me Bibles, so now I do have copies to deface…if I could.

Why should Catholicism be a prerequisite for speaking science?

I just received my copy of the latest Seed, and although I feel a bit reluctant to say it because it may be interpreted as sucking up to the corporate masters who provide my bandwidth, it really is a very good science magazine—I’d be subscribing even if they weren’t sending it to me for free. Take a browse through it sometime, there’s a lot of the content available online.

Anyway, of course the first thing I turn to in the magazine is Chris Mooney’s article on Learning to speak science. It’s good and has some productive suggestions, and I agree with Mooney on 90% of what he says in it, but…

[Read more…]

David Barton was a piker compared to Gonzales

I couldn’t believe it myself when Gonzales said Washington and Lincoln had authorized electronic surveillance, but now we have a corroborative account that shows that Washington did authorize grand electrical schemes. Remember, he had the assistance of Franklin, so it isn’t that implausible, is it?

Washington got his warrantless electic surveilance. And though the resulting confligration left 233 people dead, and the Barbary pirates avoided detection, a vital precedent was set. Nobody could tell the President to do diddly squat. He was the President, after all. This would come in handly four score and seven years later, when Lincoln was using electricity to shock the genitals of Southern prisoners—a new kind of electric surveilance, to be sure, but another great chapter in the history of freedom.

Now I understand how Bush can be President

He’s a miracle worker and a creative genius. How else can you explain his proposal to add or train 70,000 new math and science teachers while cutting the proposed education budget by 20%?

I’d like to be able to explain to my wife how we can buy a brand new MacBook Pro while saving money, but either I’m not as smart as George W. Bush or she is much, much cleverer and less credulous than Republicans.


Also note that our pro-science president wants to freeze the NIH budget. Isn’t it amazing how he does that?

Local lunacy

Where do you think this peculiar practice is going down?

OK, let me get this straight. A bunch of muttonheads are burying idols in their yards thinking it will magically get someone to buy their house, the Strib runs it as a straight story, yet the right wing somehow claims that the mainstream media is hostile to religion? Unbelievable.

Yeah, nice middle-class neighborhoods in suburban Minnesota.

Then there was the guy at the booth behind me at the coffeeshop bragging about how his “system” at the slots in his weekly trips to the casino was paying off, and he was investing all of his winnings in gold and silver. It was very distracting: I had to grit my teeth and restrain myself from turning around and giving the poor old fool a lecture in probability.