Saturday, September 29, 2007

Creationism is like gremlins bowling in your attic.

This is one of the best Qs of the Q&A. I was REALLY proud of this young lady-- Not only was she well spoken, but she got Dembski to say some funny stuff :)

Young lady-- How is positing a supernatural cause or a designing intelligence reducing, rather than widening, escalating levels of improbability?

Dembski-- Weh, whe, well, when you say 'escalating levels of improbability', youre using word magic there. A designer is inherently improbable...?

Young lady-- Youre leaving the laws of natural science behind and positing an intelligent designer. To me that seems a lot more highly improbable...

Dembski-- Youre using improbability as some sort of subjective belief.

Young lady-- In relation to what youre saying, it seems just as improbable that there is some supernatural being directing evolution than to say maybe we dont understand everything just yet, but perhaps there are biological causes.

Dembski-- Well, I mean, your throwing these probabilities around. *rabble rabble*

Young lady-- So how do you even up with a probability of an intelligent designer? Dont you have to weigh the two probabilities?

Dembski-- Why does that probability even come in?

*audience laughs in disbelief*

Young lady, also in disbelief-- You have to know the probability of a designer if youre going to weigh the two probabilities!!

Dembski-- Whe whe whe we can do a Bayesian analysis! Ahhh, your and my probabilities of a designer are very different. So it would be better to have a methodology that didnt require probabilities for a designer.

*audience laughs again*

Dembski-- Weh we can do a Bayesian sort of thing, given to me it is infinitesimally small I mean, you know, I mean... Here is a standard example.. weeh ehhh beyhh... we need to do this for the sake of the audience. Eeeh you hear some sound up in the attic, you know? Sounds like gremlins, ehh, bowling. Bowling. Gremlins bowling. Thats ahh, would be ahhh, you know, that would explain it. Eh eh, highly unlikely that you know. If there are gremlins up there, bowling, then that would explain the sound. But whats the prior likelihood of there being gremlins? Its highly improbable. So even though if there were gremlins it would explain that, the high improbability that there are gremlins means dont give that explanation a second thought. I think thats how the design hypothesis works for you. For others it doesnt work that way. Okay? So in a sense, if were going to decide this issue, its not going to be on the basis of assigning some sort of prior probability of design. You have to look at the actual improbabilities of this evolutionary system. The thing is, nobody that I see has been trying to do that sort of move. I mean, Richard Dawkins does not try to look at the prior improbability of god, hes trying to say "Look, its highly probable you get these systems because when you do the analysis, Darwinism is a strategy that can climb Mount Improbable", thats his whole point!
-----------------------

Awesome!
I think some of you more familiar with Dembskis 'math' will have fun with this exchange. But Im not, so Im going to let you all play with that aspect of this Q.
  1. What I liked about this exchange is that it once again demonstrates that IDC is a negative argument. THEY dont have to provide probabilities of a designer. They just have to declare an evolutionary system impossible and declare victory.
  2. Dembski compared the probability of his designer to the probability a noise in your attic is caused by gremlins bowling. I dont think I could have said it better myself.
  3. Richard Dawkins does indeed address the improbability of a designer. Page 113, 'The God Delusion.' He addresses the very retardation Dembski "eeehed" and "wehed" and "beyed" about the misuse of 'improbabilities' by Creationists.
  4. ID Creationists are not eloquent. That last schpeal by Dembski was one of the dumbest things Ive heard escape the lips of a 'professional.' "Bayesian sort of thing", ugh.

Friday, September 28, 2007

LEEROOOOY JENKINS!

So the next question is one of the reasons I recorded Dembskis presentation. It is physically impossible for a Creationist to speak for more than one hour without pulling a Leeroy Jenkins**. Dembski did not disappoint. Now, I cant convey this in words, but Dembski was being a dick to this young lady. After getting burned by the first question, he made the decision to act like a brat to the next questioner:

Young lady: "I wanted to ask you about your use of Darwins purported atheism as support for your argument..."

Dembski: "No, I never said that Darwin was an atheist. He was not. Darwin made it possible to be an atheist."

*rabble rabble*

Dembski: "Its no small point. DAWKINS has coopted Darwin to support his atheism, but Darwin himself was not an atheist."

Young lady: "Well I was interested since you could have ulterior motives..."

LEEROY: "I have plenty of ulterior motives. Ive got plenty of religious motives. I am Christian, I am motivated and want this to succeed in part because of my Christianity. Im not ashamed of that. But I mean motivations, if you want motivations, Stephen J. Gould was motivated by his atheistic and communistic world view. I mean Richard Dawkins writes 'The God Delusion' and justifies his atheism in terms of his science. Eh eeeh So eeeh we all have motivations, but science needs to stand on its own merits!"

Person in the audience: "In the future would you let people ask their questions?"

Dembski: "Well Im not sure there is going to be a future." (girl had left the auditorium by this point)

Creationists in the audience laugh, cause bullying students is what makes Dembski great.
---------------------

So what just happened? This was a weird exchange.
  1. While we will never know what this young ladys question was, she was not wrong about what Dembski implied in his presentation. During his speech, Dembski clearly said that Darwins goal was to support 'materialism'. Darwins religious beliefs (or lack thereof) are frequently used to support Creationism, so this young lady was right to ask for clarification. Zero reason for Dembski to be a dick.
  2. "Darwin made it possible to be an atheist." Dembski was also insistent that "Everyone needs a Creation story." These phrases highlight a very important Creationist theme-- Their inability to say "I dont know", and a willingness to make up answers to questions they cannot answer.
    • I would still be an atheist if Darwin decided to be a hairdresser, and the concept of 'evolution' never occurred to anyone else. I am an atheist because I see no evidence to support anyones personal choice of deity. One might declare CREATION is proof of their deity, but I am not particularly impressed with magics track record as an 'explanation' for mundane things, much less the creation of universes. If I were living in an alternate, Darwin-Hairdresser universe, if I were questioned about CREATION I would shrug my shoulders and say "I dont know. Lets try to figure it out." I dont 'need' evolution. I dont 'need' a Creation story. I can just say "I dont know." Its okay not to know things.
    • I dont suppose any of us need examples of how creationists make up things and insist their imagination correctly describes reality, but here are a couple just in case: One Two
    • This unwillingness to say 'I dont know', this inability to see the limits of ones own knowledge, baffles me. How can you ever learn anything with that world view?
  3. Dembski and Secret Agent Man both firmly stated that everyones religion effects their science. "Its not just Creationists! Gould was a COMMUNIST!"
    • Dembski knows his Creationism could not, and cannot function outside of radical theistic circles, therefore Evilution shouldnt be able to survive outside of atheistic circles.
    • Dembski supports Creationism because of his Christianity, therefore Dawkins supports Evilution because of his atheism.
    • Someone who defends science because they feel the need to defend SCIENCE is a foreign concept in Dembskis world. Dembski cannot 'defend' science for sciences sake. He can only function in a manner that he thinks is consistent with the desires of his current choice of deity.

ID Creationism has absolutely nothing to do with 'defending' science. It is to 'defend' the supposed will of a god, nothing else. You werent supposed to say that in public, Leeroy.





** Leeroy Jenkins: Doing something stupid and hurting all of your friends.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

SMUG ALERT!

Im going to have a series of posts on the Q&A from The Dembski Affair. No, Im not posting audio/video. Just wait, and just trust me. Again, all quotes are paraphrased-- audio is super quiet at some times, hidden behind audience applause/laughter in others.

The first comment of the evening came from the fellow who placed the full page ad in the school newspaper against ID. You see, Dembski spent the first 5-10 minutes of his talk trying to show everyone that ID Creationists DO publish (the ad said that they do not), and this fellow wanted a moment to clarify.

Dembski did not want him to do that.

You see, the papers Dembski listed? They dont *technically* support ID. They admitted that under oath at Dover. But the audience heckled Dembski over his whines of "Its question tiiiiime!" (as opposed to snack time? nap time? heh.) so the fellow got his comments in.

Dembski lucked out. "Those publications do not support ID Creationism" was not the path this fellow chose to take. Instead, he apologized for stating IDCs hadnt published, and reworded this into a question:

"Why do IDC publish 'direct to consumer' books, as opposed to pushing their ideas in the scientific world?"
But give Dembski an inch, he takes a mile. With a sense of smug satisfaction, having dodged a bullet on stage, Dembski declared "Well you can send me an apology and Ill post it on my blog."

Alas, he never answered that question.

But the fellow at the mic took a moment to get a zinger in. "You listed 8 peer reviewed articles. How many people in this audience have published more than 8 articles? (several people raise their hands) So... there are at least half a dozen people in this audience, who by themselves, have published more than the entire ID community in the past decade. Ill get you that apology tomorrow."


Dembski: "I would say thats not all of it! We're a minority! When you consider what happened to Stephen Meyer... (fellow interrupts, rightly so) WAIT A SECOND IM TALKING! IM TALKING! There are lots of papers that talk about design! But they have to add disclaimers that 'this paper has nothing to do with Intelligent Design'. The climate of hostility is very great on us. My colleague Robert Marks has 300! We're starting a program now on evolutionary informatics. We face tremendous hostility! Many of us have lost jobs over this! So dont be so smug about this! A lot of this we have to fly under the radar, we cant be upfront about our views of intelligent design. Its not quite how you make it up. We have people who have published an awful lot. Some of us have to be careful to keep our livelihoods. Ehhhh eh."
--------------------------------------

So a few points on Q1:
  1. The papers Dembski listed do not support ID. They admit that.
  2. Dembski did not answer why they publish 'direct-to-consumer' rather than in peer reviewed papers. I have two hypotheses. One-- theyre full of shit. They can only publish said shit to feed to their 'fellow' flock. Its a wonder they dont all have MadCow. Two-- You dont get royalties off Science sales.
  3. Meyer and Sternberg refused to play by the rules every other scientist on this planet has to play by, and used Sternbergs position to usher a sub-par Meyer article into a non-relevant journal. Special treatment for Creationists. Sorry, science isnt the Baptist church. You dont get special treatment. And you get in trouble for screwing around like that. I know I know-- no special treatment AND you have to take responsibility for your actions. Creationists nightmare.
  4. Dembski should not bring up Robert Marks and Baylor.
  5. One who does nothing to benefit humanity should not bitch about 'maintaining their livelihoods.' If you were a plumber that couldnt plumb, you would be fired. If you were a nurse that couldnt nurse, you would be fired. Yet again, though, Dembski wants special treatment for Creationists. They are 'scientists' that wont do any science and 'mathematicians' that wont do math, and they 'fear for their jobs'! GASP! You mean, one day, Dembski might have to publish a theorem or write a peer reviewed paper to keep his job??? YOU MONSTERS! MARTYR!!! MAAAAARTYR!!!

Hardcore moderators at UD: "Antisemitism is A-OKAY!"

Youve really got to wonder what the hell Billy D is thinking keeping his name on Uncommon Descent.

If UD didnt make you want to puke before-- now Dembski is supporting Antisemites who post on his blog.

God he is such a joke. A worthless, not funny joke*.





* Except for the sweater. THAT is funny.

If youre reading this, its too late...

YOURE UNDER MY SIRENS SPELL NOW BWAHAHAHAHA!

Oh you thought my superpowers consisted of mundane things, like my superhuman ability to attract stray dogs, or my uncanny ability to predict the movements of Creationists and Deniers. But I have a REALLY impressive superpower: brainwashing students to follow the code of the Skeptics Circle.

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Radical Theists and Irony

A Catholic Archbishop is trying to scare people with his radical theism + woo.

Archbishop Chimoio told our reporter that abstention, not condoms, was the best way to fight HIV/Aids.

"Condoms are not sure because I know that there are two countries in Europe, they are making condoms with the virus on purpose," he alleged, refusing to name the countries.

Gee, women with no physical, psychological, emotional, financial, etc etc etc power-- if you would just stop being such a whore, you wouldnt get The AIDS. But since you ARE a whore, and you ARE going to get The AIDS and pregnant, let me scare you away from antiretrovirals.
Maputo Archbishop Francisco Chimoio claimed some anti-retroviral drugs were also infected "in order to finish quickly the African people".
Yeah, nothing like a lentivirus to 'finish quickly' a group of people. *rolleyes* Arent Catholics supposed to know Latin?


Alas, this isnt news. Loving Missionaries and radical theist opportunists of all stripes have been telling people that condoms dont stop HIV for a long time.


But this is what I LOVE about this particular incident:
"They want to finish with the African people. This is the programme. They want to colonise until up to now. If we are not careful we will finish in one century's time."
This was spoken by a native African who rolled over like a dog and accepted his masters god. Who were your ancestors gods 'Archbishop'? Do you even know their names? The 'colonizers' have already taken your soul, what do you care about land??

I suppose every soul has a price:
Archbishop Francisco Chimoio of Maputo told the local publication Magazine Independiente this week that the archdiocese has launched a tithing campaign to “overcome the financial crisis and allow the archdiocese to achieve economic autonomy.”

Banners hanging in the Cathedral and in parishes around the archdiocese remind the faithful: “Giving a donation as a show of faith is the opportunity God gives us to become better persons.”

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

So Deniers CANT learn!

My buddy, Dentist Lenny Horowitz, is still kickin. He just posted IRREFUTABLE PROOF that his conspiracy theories are TRUE!



Dr. Dentist** is participating in the comments if you want to go to YouTube and play :)

Now, Im still not exactly sure what Dr. Dentists conspiracy theories *are*. Like Schrodingers cat, he waivers between 'HIV WAS MADE ON PURPOSE!' and 'HIV WAS MAN MADE, BUT NOT ON PURPOSE!', and you never know which Dentist youre going to get until you open the box. Today it is the latter.

Lennys story today is that HIV was introduced into the human population through vaccines because scientists are stupid (Lenny would have known better!). He makes sure to add to his little video up there that "OMFG TEHRE R FORMALDEHYDE AND MONKEY VIRUSES IN VACCINES OMGOMGOMG!" Well, Ive found that rather than arguing with anti-vaxers and HIV Deniers about science (like how we know HIV-1 came from chimpanzees, not African Green Monkeys), its easier to grant their premise, and show why that premise would not lead to the outcome they predict.

OMG LENNY! FORMALIN KILLS HIV!
The proteins on the outside of HIV-1 that mediate entry into your cells are delicate babies. You cant do anything to them without denaturing, ie totally and irreversibly screwing up, HIV. So even if we pretended like the HIV-1 pandemic was alllll Merks fault for using HIV infected 'monkeys' for vaccines, and formaldehyde is in vaccines, HIV still wouldnt survive.

Though I hope 'certain people' will stop by to clarify this even more for the readers :)




** For those of you keeping score in the audience, please note the similarities between Lenny and Creationists-- metamagical thinking about viruses, admitting error is a weakness, 'rebel' fighting 'The Man', etc etc etc.

Of course, Lenny IS a Creationist, so that might explain that...

HIV Vaccine Trials-- Ouch.

Im sure you all have read on Google News Heath that a couple of HIV vaccine trials have been stopped because it didnt look like the vaccines were offering any protection. I was interested in their operational definition of 'not working', as even a slight decrease in HIV infection rates in the vaccinated group vs placebo could mean there is something in the mix that is on the right track.

But this vaccine didnt work. It really didnt work.

Vaccine-- 24 infections out of 741
Placebo-- 21 infections in 762

Vaccine + boosters-- 19 infections in 672
Placebo + 'boosters'-- 11 infections in 691
Nothing.

Not even close to being on the right track.

Ugh.

Monday, September 24, 2007

So Creationists CAN learn!

After Dembskis presentation on flagella and 'The Cell as an Automated City' and all the decade old tripe Creationists keep pretending is a way cool new paradigm, I was firmly convinced that ID-ers were like Bart Simpson reaching for an electric cupcake-- getting burned over and over, and never learning their lesson.

But today, Behe demonstrated that he has learned something in the past two months:

Dont mention HIV in interviews ever again!!

LOL!

He has even changed his tune a bit!

But you can’t build new molecular machinery by breaking genes.
Ohhhhhh! Now we mean 'breaking genes'! You know I really dont remember 'breaking genes' being a theme in 'Edge', but I guess thats what Behe means now.

Whatever the hell 'breaking genes' means. You know, why is it that I can talk to people from China, from France, from Argentina, from alllll over the world in the language of 'science'-- but the second a Creationist opens their mouths speaking their own special little 'scientific' language, no one else knows what the hell Creationists talking about?


I think this comment is really fun too:
As you might expect for such a controversial topic, some scientists have stumbled over each other to challenge my argument. I’ve examined their writings closely and think none of them touch the heart of my argument.
Ohhhhhh! Didnt touch 'the heart'? Didnt touch 'the heart' of your argument? You mean 'the heart' that was all about how gene duplications dont happen and protein-protein interactions dont evolve and such? You know, the entire point of 'Edge'? I didnt touch 'the heart' of that argument?

I think I got a fake copy of 'Edge', then, if I missed 'the heart' of Behes argument.


Alas, though Behe appears to have learned his lesson with HIV, thats just about it:
I think irreducible complexity is a swell concept...
Golly, it SURE IS!

PARADIGM!

I paid for my college education through a leadership scholarship. This scholarship had a few requirements, like keeping a certain GPA, doing research on campus, and taking two semesters worth of a 'leadership seminar', which consisted of watching videos of Stephen Coveys ' Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.'

After two semesters of that, everyone in class had learned an important lesson: Anyone who uses the phrase "Paradigm Shift" is full of horse crap.

Thanks to Secret Agent Man, this horse crap was brought to my attention again.

Coincidently, Mike has explained why SAM was so excited about Kuhn:
One thing I've noticed about some of the 'legit' questioners is that there's often an air of breathless excitement because they have 'discovered' a 'new theory' that challenges 'existing dogma', or some such thing. I blame some of this on Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.
Ooooooh I get it now. Ive encountered this before with an Islamic Creationist. I had no idea what this argument was called, but I called it "The Magic Maybe Machine" defense. It goes like this:
100 years ago, 'viruses' were impossible! But now that we have microscopes and all this new technology not available 100 years ago, we know viruses are real!
100 years ago, planets around other starts was impossible! But now we have telescopes and all this new technology not available 100 years ago, we know these other planets exist!
How do YOU know in 100 years we wont invent some technology that can detect a designer! Creationists have good ideas, theyre just waiting for the right paradigm!
BLECH! Yes, one day we might invent a Magic Maybe Machine that can detect a 'Designer.' But that has absolutely no impact on the validity of Creationists claims today, and the fact Creationist Claims contradict todays 'paradigm.' You dont get to shift paradigms without evidence. You dont get to throw on the cloak of Galileo (EVERYONE THOUGHT HE WAS WROOOOONG!) unless you have the evidence. If you require a Magic Maybe Machine to collect this evidence, I think youre jumping the gun just a *little* bit.

How Mean People do Diets

By taking dessert away from elderly people.
Their justification:

...he notes that older people have high rates of heart disease and high blood pressure and says senior citizen centers, nursing homes and assisted-living centers should not be worsening the health problems of seniors.
The rebuttal:
C. Michael Sibilia said, "I'm 86, not 8."
*blink*

SHES 86! GIVE HER SOME GODDAMN DONUTS!

Look, Im neurotic about keeping in shape, but so help me god, my future caregivers will learn the meaning of pain if they try to take away my dessert when Im 86. My grandmother lived well into her 90s, and would routinely eat Russel Stovers Chocolate for dinner. We'd just give her boxes and boxes of those things as gifts. Thats all she wanted to eat, and you know what, SHE WAS 94! SHE CAN EAT WHATEVER THE HELL SHE WANTS!

Life isnt worth living without dessert.

Give those folks their pie back.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

'Irreducible Complexity' Reflects Human Ignorance

The Masked Man speaks!

One of the highlights of The Dembski Affair was Dembskis very public depantsing on the evolution of the bacterial flagellum. During the Q&A, a gentleman started out by asking "If I explained to you, right now, how the flagellum evolved, will you reject ID?" (This was a big part of Dembskis presentation "If someone would just show me how X evolved, I would be an evilutionist!) After much pestering from the audience, Dembski allowed him to explain the evolution of the bacterial flagellum, and even corrected Dembskis slides.

A student at the other mic chimed in, and they got Dembski to admit that no amount of detail would ever convince him of evolution. No matter how much evidence you had, he wanted 'evidence + 1'. I shit you not, Dembski retreated to the YEC fossil defense-- For every fossil you find, you create two more gaps. Dembski modified this to for every step in the evolutionary process science discovers, it creates two more half-steps to explain. He even pulled a classic-quack move, and made a plea to quantum mechanics.

The Masked Man had gotten the answer to his question-- Would Dembski ever accept evolution? No.

Ugh.

Well it was finally revealed that the Masked Man was a Dr. Phillip Klebba from OUs chem/biochem department-- and he has just written an OP-ed in the OU student newspaper!

'Irreducible Complexity' Reflects Human Ignorance'

Money shot:

As a researcher who understands the biochemistry that was the main subject of the lecture, I was surprised to find the discussion much less substantive than I anticipated.

It was a bit more like the naive questions of a teenager than the keen insights of an erudite philosopher.

I dont think he should have been *that* surprised. Dembski and certain kinds of teenagers have a lot in common.

The Woo of ERV

From time to time I get email from people wondering why I have my Zodiac signs on my Blogger profile*. There is an easy answer to this: Blogger sucks. Ever since I put my birth date in my profile, the Zodiac just popped up, and I cant figure out how to turn it off.

While I think Zodiac signs are fun (the Chinese post docs I have worked with thought it was hysterical Im a boar-- Im always the one demanding cookies/brownies/etc at journal clubs and lab meetings), no, I do not follow this form of woo.

Thats not to say I am woo free.

Since Jenny McCarthy is currently in the news for her autism-->indigo/crystal child nonsense, I think now is the appropriate time to admit something to you all.

I am an April Child**.

According to the Greek writer Ioannis Fourakis, a man deep in woology himself (Anti-Jew, Pro-Alien), children born in April 1983 have 'special abilities.' We are like Indigo children:

The following characteristics are said to identify Indigo children:

  1. They come into the world with a feeling of entitlement, which is often reflected by their behavior.
  2. Self esteem is a big issue; they often decide to stop talking all together when upset or stressed.
  3. They have a connection with authority and understand things that many people never could.
  4. Many times they will feel the need to add creativity to their life. (Many are musical)
  5. They often see better ways of doing things, and tend to be non-conforming.
  6. They seem antisocial unless they are with their own kind or people they can heavily trust.
  7. They are typically shy and normally always quiet unless something is brought up they disagree on.
Also:
Indigos have a warrior spirit, because their collective purpose is to mash down old systems that no longer serve us. They are here to quash government, educational, and legal systems that lack integrity. To accomplish this end, they need tempers and fiery determination.
Wow! That describes me to a T! I hate people that lack integrity!

But there is a really big difference between Indigo children and April children. April children are evil geniuses that will take over the world. And, unlike Indigo/Crystal children that got their abilities by being vaccinated, April Children are born with their superpowers. We can be identified by our creepy birthmarks. I have several birthmarks. Finding them all can be a fun game sometimes...

But I digress. What I find strange about people like Jenny, is that they are convinced their children are 'different' because they got vaccinated.
Then Oprah read a response she had received from the CDC (at least she took a stab at social responsibility by contacting the agency) that talked about the lack of scientific support for the idea that thimerosal triggers autism.

McCarthy scoffed and said, speaking of her son: "He is my science."

Jenny has said she would not vaccinate any other children she might have. So... She has this child with superpowers... But she would deny future children superpowers?

I LOVE my superpowers! I collect all the vaccinations I can get! I think they make my abilities stronger.

Btw, Jenny--
After doing some of my own research on the word Indigo, I realized not only was I an early Indigo but my son was in fact a Crystal child.
'Early' Indigo? You arent an Indigo. Youre too old. Pff wannabe.








* I get ~5 emails a week about me not using apostrophes. :P
** As Dembski would say, P-A-R-O-D-Y, lol!

Note to self-- Dont wear 'biohazard' shirt to the airport

Did you all hear the news today about a woman being arrested for wearing a bomb to the airport? Turns out shes an MIT student, and it was a shirt she made for a presentation.

She had sewn a circuit board to her shirt that said 'Socket to me!' (Get it, socket--> sock it? Get it? Nevermind.) Even lit up to look like (to me) a star. What do these security people think are in those stupid light-up sweaters 2nd grade teachers wear with 'Christmas lights'?

Huh. I just think this is weird (she didnt try to get on a plane...), and I might be upset at MIT for not backing her up (I havent decided yet), but I was a biology major in college. Our department T-shirts had 'BIOHAZARD' on them, so I have several 'BIOHAZARD' T-shirts. Note to self-- Dont wear them to the airport. Airport security might think Im really biohazardous. *rolleyes*

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Creationists and Deniers-- Ebony and Ivory

So anytime I bring up Creationists in a comment about Deniers, or Deniers in a post about Creationists, the opposite party always gets PISSED. At the Dembski Affair on Monday, Secret Agent Man was highly offended that I compared the tactics of ID Creationists to Deniers. When a Denier was drawn to a post I made on Creationism, he/she didnt understand why I treat Creationists/Deniers as the same group of people.

The connection is obvious to everyone... except Creationists and Deniers.

For instance, in the Sep/Oct issue of Skeptical Inquirer, the cover story is HIV Denialism (they mention Tara and Chris Noble and Brian Foley!). How many of these statements could be said for Creationists?

Go straight to politics-- the science will support you later
Go straight to the public-- theyll buy your crap
Dont support your own claims-- just point out the flaws in the prevailing scientific consensus, make up flaws as you see fit
Fr*me yourself as a 'rebel' and a 'dissident'-- You are brave to take on The Man
Dont understand the science you are against
Dont have a degree in the field you are against
Scientists are dumb
Scientists are in it for the money
When scientists finally address you, use THAT as evidence you are RIGHT
Dont ever change you mind. Ever.
For examples, look at all this crap Horowitz pulled in our 'debate', and compare it to Dembskis hiding places. Though I would add magical thinking (viruses, chemistry, everything is magic).

Skeptical Inquirer quotes a physician that finally got fed up with the Denier he was 'debating':
What is taking place on this forum is a farce, not a debate... Good scientists are meant to accept new evidence and incorporate this into their hypotheses.The denialist approach is to ignore new evidence that is contradictory to their predetermined stance. After comprehensive rebuttal of any point of view, the denialist tactic is to quickly switch to a different topic. Then later, when no-one is looking, they can switch back to the original theme, hoping no-one will realise that these points were completely discredited on an earlier occasion.
HMMMM! WHO does that sound like? It sounds SO familiar...

Boobie Day on the Blagosphere

Today was boobie day on the blagosphere. Girls showing their boobies. Boys showing their boobies. Women mad at the lack of boobies. Men thinking their smart and insightful for saying there is a shortage of boobies.

Booby 1-- My mother is very, very, very pro-breast-feeding. She is a breast-feeding evangelist. If anyone within a 50 mile radius of our home is pregnant, you can guarantee my mother will knocking on their door with breast-feeding 'literature' (hey, at least she doesnt do it at 8 am on a Sunday...). That anyone would be anti-breast feeding while still being pro-boobie (just as long as there is a wet T-shirt over them) is something I cannot comprehend.

Booby 2--
Hitchens has already upped that bet. Your move, PZ :P

Booby 3-- As Zuka knows, I live in a bubble world. Never had any problems with professors, bosses, mentors, discriminating against me because of my gender. I know some of my colleagues have gone through bullshit just because they have boobies, but Im a lucky bastard, and 'gender' is not something I have to think about on a normal day. I carry that bubble with me onto the internet. Maybe this is a side-effect of hanging out on David Bowie fan forums for too long, but with screen names and artistic avatars-- who the hell knows who is what gender on the internet. 'The Internet' is a genderless world to me. For all we know, 'Orac' is really a woman. And I bet a strong majority of you would think I was a dude if I never posted a pic!
I really dont think Carl Zimmer consciously left women out of his three, nor do I think I was PZs token chick. I hope their decisions were genderless, and based on their favorites.

Readers, if you are feeling embarrassed about your knowledge of women in science, there is always 'Women in Science' :)

Booby 4--
After almost writing a nice article on a real topic-- how to herd cats (I mean atheists), Berlinerblau's article degenerates into one of the most offensive articles Ive read in weeks:

The number of men who gravitate to atheism and agnosticism, specifically white men, is wont to leave one slack-jawed.
I GET IT FR*MERS. IM A MAN. I GET IT. Holy crap! Do you people think before you write words?? What the hell is the matter with Fr*mers?? Everything they write is offensive, and theyre supposed to be the experts? I mean is this article a joke? His list of 'kinds of atheists':
  1. Big Science Secularists
  2. Refugees
  3. Church-State Lifers
  4. The Philosopher Kings
  5. The Lone Rangers
  6. Gay
  7. The Lunatic Fringe
Please, someone tell me this article is a joke.

Edited 10.00 pm to add--
BOOBIE 5-- According to The Factician, Denyse over at Uncommon Descent is even showing her boobies off today!
Anyone who thinks that the fact that girls are not as good as boys in math means that girls do not rule is obviously not in contact with many girls.
HAHAHA! Its a FACT girls suck at math, but girls RAWK! LOL! Big D is just jealous that Winnie can publish a theorem, and Little D cant.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Your Favorite Life Science Blogs

I saw yesterday that PZ listed me as one of his three favorite life science blogs. I dont know what to say besides PZ and the folks at Pandas Thumb got me to start being pro-active about being pro-science, and, well, you know this means a lot to me.

I stand on the shoulders of giants :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Dembski Affair-- Part 3-- The Undercover Agent has his say

On my way out of the auditorium, I got to talk to some fun people! Vic Hutchison, from OESE, some friends from Oklahoma Atheists, and some internet friends that I had never gotten to meet in person before (Dang you Golfvixen! I missed you!). Im afraid Im getting PZs Cthulhu-esk internet persona, as several people commented "Hey! Youre cute/actually nice/not sicking a pack of pit bulls on me!" ROFL!

So a fellow came up and wanted to talk about my HIV article. YAAAAAAAAAY! Sure it was late, but I will talk about my research ad nauseum, until whomever Im speaking with passes out with boredom. So we talked about HIV evolution... and then the conversation... *changed*.

"Youre blog is good when your talking about science, but not when your bashing Baptists. You dont know anything about theology."

The smile stayed on my face, but a furrow entered my brow "... I dont talk about theology on my blog." I can think of few topics that interest me less than theology. Tapdancing on a castle made of sand. So I shrugged it off, and tried to offer my point of view of Dembskis sermon. "I want you to understand the Baptist 'bashing' from my point of view. What I saw on Sunday, was a bunch of people praying for God to put the 'right' answers in Dembskis head to screw those evilutionists. Now, every morning I wake up, go to work, and try to eliminate AIDS. I try to help cancer patients. No god puts the cure to AIDS in my head. No god puts the cure for cancers in my head. No god put the idea in the head of a New Orleans engineer in, say, 2000-- 'Hey, lets reinforce the levees. Might come in handy.' Do you understand what Im saying? Do you understand why I find these arrogant and empty ceremonies repulsive?"

No, he did not understand me. He changed the subject. I kept the smile on my face, and I kept the furrow in my forehead as we continued our 'conversation.' At one point Ian remarked "I think you two are speaking different languages." He meant in the sense that this was a historian I was talking to, and historians view things differently than the people inside the activity being observed, but he was right in a different way. He would talk about a Kepler I had never heard of (well call it a more 'apologetic' version), while I was speaking of the Kepler I learned about in astronomy and from COSMOS. He was speaking about some philosopher named Koonin (Koons?), while I was talking about Koonin. Im sure it was either frustrating or hysterical to anyone watching.

But we were also speaking a different *language*. Like the out of place narration... something was... off. He used words that scientists dont use. He used words that Creationists use. Im not repeating them here, lest he learn from his mistakes, but my forehead furrow grew deeper. "Maybe its because hes a history student. He doesnt know any better-- be patient." At one point he is talking about how no one listens to ID-ers, to which I replied "I also dont listen to HIV Deniers. Or alien abductees. Or 9/11 conspiracy theorists." "THATS A FALLACY!" he tweaked. "Why? What have the IDers put forward thats worth looking into. Theyre exactly like Deniers." He threw on the cloak of Galileo... proving my point...

Change subject.

At another point, we were talking about Dawkins. "Dawkins hurts the cause," he stated firmly. Me "... What cause?" Him "Evolution! He knows as much about philosophy as a stegosaurus! You cant prove there is no god!"

Me "... Did you read 'The God Delusion'?"

Him "YEAH! It was so bad! He doesnt know anything about philosophy!"

Me "... He addresses your claim, specifically. He says hes only talking about very specific gods. You remember the scale of atheism-->theism... When religions make claims about the natural world...?"

Change subject.

This went on for a while. I was starving, I had to pee, and I was certain Arnie had pooped in the house, so I wanted to go home. He and I parted with potential plans of beer drinking. I think you need to be drunk to talk about something like theology, but I was planning on going.

Turns out this fellow was going 'undercover' for ID. He was the head of OUs (now defunct?) IDEA club. I dont know what his name is, as he gave us one, comments here under two other names, and supposedly his name is something else entirely.

ATTENTION DUDE: I dont care if you are an ID-er. We decided on the ride home that you were more fun than Dembski. But lying to us was kinda pathetic. And you didnt fool me. I mean were you trying to *trick me* into saying something? Im not a Creationist. When I talk about science, I talk about science as best as I know it, and if I dont know something, I say "I DONT KNOW." Dembski made a big deal about how if evilutionists didnt have Evilution, we would be lost. No, we wouldnt. We would say "I DONT KNOW" and go about trying to find the right answer. We dont 'need' any answer. We dont 'need' a Creation myth. We dont 'need' to make things up about science to support our world view.

The world supports itself quite nicely. *shrug*

The Dembski Affair-- Part 2-- Students have their say

1-- THE Q&A
For god knows what reason, Trinity Baptists let people just ask questions. I dont know whether they didnt talk to their colleagues about filtering questions, or they just KNEW Jesus was going to be on their side, but the Q&A was good old fashioned FUN!

It did not start out well. The fellow who took out the ad offered to apologize (he didnt know about the Dover Transcript)-- but he did get a good jab in, pointing out that several people in the audience had published more papers than the entire ID community in 10 years.

The second question was from a poor student that didnt understand how Dembski 'operates'. She let him twist around on her... but she did get an interesting admission out of him (again, paraphrased for now): "I've got plenty of ulterior religious motive, I'd like to see ID succeed because of my Christian background and beliefs."

But Im afraid that Jesus let those poor, poor Trinity Creationists down. God wanted nothing to do with Dembski during the rest of the Q&A... and the students ate him alive. Student after student, grad student, some not looking a day over 18, micro students, and towards the end, and art student, took a bite. I will either get audio up, or write up a transcript while we're working on the audio, to honor each of those students that stood up and made Dembski answer their questions . Not moving from the mic, repeating themselves, until they got an answer, or a final sign that Demski would not answer their question. Logan (Im going to embarass the hell out of you, sorry!), was adorably nervous, but you know what he got Dembski to say? After several minutes of tapdancing, and Logan not budging, rephrasing his question several times, Dembski finally stated that he did not accept that humans evolved from another species.

Which I wish he had admitted before my question. See, the major theme of Dembskis talk was 'evilution cant do this' 'evilution hasnt shown that', 'you know, if someone would just SHOW me the evidence, ID be an evilutionist!' The other theme was "POOOOOOOOOOOR MEEEEEEEE! POOR CREATIONISTS! EVERYONE IS OUT TO GET US!! I SUFFER SO MUCH BECAUSE OF MY MESSAGE OF TRUTH! POOOOR MEEEEEEEE!!!"

One of my major research projects is impossible, if Dembski is right. ERVs have nothing to do with common descent. According to Behe, my other research project is impossible. I might as well pack up the lab and go home. But if I could only SHOW them evidence of HIV evolution, THEN they would be an evilutionist, right?

Wrong.

So when Dembski wouldnt take Dr. Philip Klebba's offer to actually hear the evidence for the evolution of the bacterial flagella, I decided to ask a different question than the one I originally intended:
"I do HIV research. A while ago I wrote a critique of Behes 'Edge of Evolution'. You all didnt respond with 'science.' I was invited to UD to discuss HIV evolution, and after 3 posts I was banned. I was then sexually harassed and threatened, and slandered on your blog. ID Creationists talk so much about how theyre martyrs and theyre persecuted-- if youve got so much science on your side, why do you have to go after a grad student like that?"

Dembski replied that he knew I was trying to embarrass him (no, I was pointing out to everyone that youre a liar and youre a bully) but he didnt follow the exchange, other people ran his blog.

To which I replied "Maybe you werent following this discussion because you were busy composing fake letters from the president of Baylor."

Ladies and gentlemen, the look on Dembskis face. The look on Dembskis face was priceless. Jaw on the floor, eyes as big as saucers-- the audience roaring with laughter. After bumbling for a minute, he said that was another topic. He then suggested that I link to the discussion on my blog and people can see how bad we are and how bad you are (my cue to smile and bat my eyes at the audience).

"Oh I already did. My blog is endogenousretrovirus.blogspot.com"

Dembski "Yeah your ERV." WAIT A MINUTE! TIME OUT TAMPA BAY! I thought Dembski didnt follow this chain of events on his blog? ROFL! Magically knew my handle! AAAAAHAHAHA!

Me "Yes, Im ERV. I also study endogenous retroviruses and how they relate to cancer" (another cute smile to the audience). At which point I head back to my seat. But Dembski wont shut up! "Well I was gonna close UD in 2005 cause I didnt have time for it but I kept it open and know I have some hard line people at my blog and you run your blog how you want!"

AAAAAHAHAHA!

Well the pwn train just keeps rolling. Student after student after student-- It turned into a party. The audience heckled Demsbki when he wouldnt answer questions. We were laughing before, during, and after his answers.

Finally, the Creationists had had enough. Somebody had to stand up for Jesus.

"Im just so disappointed in OU students and how closed minded they are!!!"

Dembski made it perfectly clear at that point that the attacks against me were no accidental oversight. Dembski used this Creationist as an opportunity to attack the students that were exposing him as a fool: "Well dont be so hard on them. Theyre just sucking up to their professors."

This comment turned into another awesome joke against Dembski, because another student came up to ask why ID Creationist found it necessary to promote their ideas in school boards and high schools, NOT in the scientific arena. Suddenly, the man who moments earlier had suggested college and graduate students were too dumb to understand Evolution vs Creationism and were just 'trying to impress their professors', was appalled at the idea that high school kids were 'too dumb to understand evolution.' The student kicked ass-- "Its not that theyre dumb. Im not qualified to talk about the Big Bang, but that doesnt make me dumb." Nothing meaningful in Dembskis responses.

But the evening didnt end there. There was a small, unexpected epilogue.

** Edit 9:15 pm, 9/18/07-- I forgot to add, when I mentioned I did HIV research, Dembski jabbed "Youll have a job for a long time." Thats when I went from amused at Dembskis tap-dancing to angry. "I can assure you I would be the happiest unemployed person on the planet."
God hes an asshole.

The Dembski Affair-- Part 1-- Dembski has his say

This turned into a massive post, and Im not even done yet, so I decided to split it up :) First of all, I would like to thank Ian for paying the parking fee for me. I dont carry cash, and didnt even THINK about University parking (I walk everywhere), so without his $8, this review wouldnt have been possible :)

Id also like to thank Arnie Puppy for staying home for 16 hours with only one potty break, and not pooping in the house. After 3 hours of Dembski, it was nice not to come home to poop.

All 'quotes' are paraphrased for now (I might sit through the audio and change them-- will have audio available after I get some logistics worked out)
------------------------------------------------------


The evening started out in a predictable manner. Campus police casually draped along the foyer walls. OU Center for Inquiry students calmly and quietly passing out pro-science fliers in the hallway outside of the auditorium. OU staff saying Pursuit College Ministry had the entire area reserved, so the CfI students had to go outside. Some mindless Creationist student was positively giddy that the event was getting 'negative publicity.' That might have had something to do with the fact that on Sunday, a band of college students got on their knees around Dembski to pray for him. They prayed to the Lord Almighty to channel His words through Dembski. To give Dembski wit. To give Dembski the right answers when those Evilutionists stepped up to the mic Monday night. The Faithful bowed on Sunday, but it would be the Evilutionists on their knees tonight! That Creationist student had every reason to be giddy... as the evening started out.

As we waited for the presentation to begin, there was nothing to look at except the projection screen. Yellow words burnt into a black background, along the lines of "Why dont Intelligent Design advocates publish peer-reviewed papers?"

With the impending release of the Creationist movie 'EXPELLED!', it wasnt difficult to follow where Dembski would be going with this. I turned to Ian, "Oh good! We do get to hear Dembskis 'Martyr Speech!'" And so our adventure began, with 8 lies:

"This is the first time anyone has taken out a full ad in a newspaper against me!" Dembski declared, beaming with pride at his persecution. "Unfortunately one of their comments is wrong. Look at all these peer reviewed papers published by ID RESEARCHERS!"

(listed 8 ID publications on the screen)

Unfortunately Mr. Dembski failed to mention that ID Creationists admitted, under oath, at the Dover Trial that none of their 'publications' supported ID Creationism.

He then went on to discuss the Sternberg Affair... of course, omitting *certain details*, and once again, boasted about his persecution regarding the AMNH debate, where he bravely stood before 700 atheists and defended his 'work'.

The proceeding hour (I disagree with Ian here) was painfully boring. There was *almost* nothing noteworthy at all-- The only thing keeping me awake was the occasional bucket of stupid Dembski poured on the audience-- Microevolution vs Macroevolution, quote mines, eyes cant evolve, bacterial flagella cant evolve, motorcycles are designed, Mt. Rushmore is designed, cells have a UPS system, can you see the cow?, evilutionist need a fully articulated evolutionary path, evilutionists cant explain everything, evilutionists have faith, evilutioinists have no evidence... *YAWN* Nothing that hasnt been said-->refuted over and over and over until we all want to throw up.

But there was *something* in Dembskis presentation that I think is worth noting. At one point in his talk, he let an animation play for all of us to watch. It was a beautiful animation... but there was something wrong with it. The narrator. What I mean by this, is that the narrator sounded like he didnt know he was being recorded (ummm, ahh, like). He also sounded like Big Gay Al. I was in physical pain trying to stifle my laughter.

But thats not the funny part.

The funny part is, this is the video we were shown:

Except the video we were shown had bits and pieces of that video spliced together, the original narrator was stripped out, and Big Gay Al was overlaid speaking "ISNT A CELL MAGIC-AL!" over MAGIC-AL music.

I wonder if UD got permission to do that.

*shrug* Add it to the list of lies and deception for the night, but thats it. Thats Dembskis schpeel.

What came after the presentation. *evil grin* What came after the presentation, dear readers, was lovely.

Who was that Masked Man??

Im with Ian-- Who was that masked man??

Logan, you are SO in trouble for not asking his name!

Ian wrote up his analysis of the Dembski Affair-- go read!






Note: Im in class now. Were about to learn about the evolution of protein complexes. BAD week for ID. LOL!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Crap-- Dembski wins Round 1, ERV forfeits Round 2

Oh sneaky, sneaky Dembski. He had a secret weapon this morning.

Over, and over, and over, and over: "Blessed be the name of our Lord! Blessed be the name of our Lord! Blessed be the name of our Lord! Blessed be the name of our Lord! Blessed be the name of our Lord! Blessed be the name of our Lord! Blessed be the name of our Lord! Blessed be the name of our Lord!"

Thats bless-ed. Two syllables.

Ive had a migraine ever since, and Dembski didnt even give an entertaining sermon.

Im even angrier I wasted time there, because I found out at this mornings services that Dembski is speaking on campus TONIGHT. 7.30 pm, Oklahoma Memorial Union. Topic:

"Intelligent Design and Academic Suicide: How not to be the Next Casualty"
Translation:
"IM PERSECUTED! POOOOR CREATIONISTS!!! POOOR MEEEEEEEE! IM A MARTYR! LOOK AT MEEEEEEEEEE! MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"
THIS is the presentation I wanted to go to! (though I admit I had a good chuckle when all the college kids got on their knees around Dembski to pray for him). And they (evidently) didnt advertise THIS presentation, so the crowd will be much smaller. But now I have a damn migraine, and I have a test to study for.

Curse you Dembski! Heartless bastard!

Blessed be the name of our Lord! Blessed be the name of our Lord! Blessed be the name of our Lord! Blessed be the name of our Lord! Blessed be the name of our Lord! Blessed be the name of our Lord! Blessed be the name of our Lord! Blessed be the name of our Lord! Blessed be the name of our Lord! Blessed be the name of our Lord! Blessed be the name of our Lord! Blessed be the name of our Lord! Blessed be the name of our Lord! Blessed be the name of our Lord! Blessed be the name of our Lord! Blessed be the name of our Lord!

Trinity Baptist Spawn-- Like DaveScot, but YOUNGER!

Myself, and several OU students were discussing the *questionable* ethics of Creationists with some Trinity Baptist spawn on Facebook.

... closed the comments this morning (group admins, Trinity Spawn).

NEWSFLASH: 'penetrating' people with The Word requires censoring dissent. What a shock.


Edit 5 PM, 9-16-07-- The comments have been reposted. Thank you, admins, but you shouldnt have done that in the first place. Its one thing if commenters are being vulgar/posting porn/spam/etc. But deleting dissenting comments is something I will never respect with anyone, any time, Christian, Kemet, or Atheist.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

How Atheists do Fitness

Well, we know why believers are fat, and how Skeptics do diets, and now we see how Atheists do fitness:


And I found my new desktop background:


I LOVE IT!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Excellent flier on ID Creationism

Theres a flier thats been (reportedly) going around Norman recently, due to Dembskis impending visit. Its really good! I mean, their answers are all Creationist apologetics, complete with the 'list of dissenters', but they got the questions right! I can fix the answers, and I bet you all can help me out too!

1. ID is not true because there are no “real scientists” who support it.

There certainly are a handful trained scientists that support ID Creationism, like Michael Behe. However, there are no scientists that A) use science appropriately to support the claims made by ID Creationism, B) use ID Creationism to make useful statements about the world we live in.

For instance, a common ID tactic is to 'Pub Jack'-- Hijack publications and research performed by other scientists, and proclaim it supports Creationism. The authors of these papers are shocked when they find out their hard work has been used to support a political agenda they do not agree with. Why are ID Creationists not doing their own research? The New York Times reported that the Templeton Foundation (who have previously given awards to Mother Teresa , Billy Gram... and William Dembski) asked Intelligent Design Creationists to submit research proposals for funding.

They did not receive one application.

If trained, tenured scientists are unwilling to publish scientific work to support ID Creationism, why should we believe them?

2. ID is not true because it is not published in peer-reviewed journals.

That is a big part of the problem. In science, whenever you have a new idea, a controversial idea-- you publish your research for other people to read. They can test your ideas either by repeating your experiments, or trying out your ideas on their research. If you really are right, success! A recent example of this would be 'siRNA' and 'epigenetics'-- two really weird ideas that ended up being true!

Unfortunately, its not as easy as it looks. It takes a long time and a lot of hard work to get the scientific community to take your idea seriously, with good reason. If scientists were not challenging and communicating with one another, time and money would be wasted on wild-goose chases, instead of getting real results.

But ID Creationists are not content to play by the same rules as everyone else in science. They think they deserve special treatment.

Because performing research and convincing others of their findings is too hard for Creationists, they have used unethical means to 'publish' their articles. They think its 'fair' to stack reviewers in their favor, sneak publications in the 'back door', or make conclusions that their data does not support. Would that be fair if a pharmaceutical company did that? If science supports ID Creationism, why are these back-door shinanagans necessary?

Publishing in peer-reviewed journals is also not the complete story of 'peer review.' A measure of the quality of your work is how big of an impact you have on the scientific community. Though ID Creationists have had a few papers published, they have had no effect on the scientific world. If ID Creationists are right, why is no one else using their ideas? Why is everyone still using an evolutionary framework to study cancer, infectious diseases, design new drugs, etc, if evolution is wrong?


3. ID is not true because it is a “God-of-the-gaps” argument.

ID is a god-of-the-gaps argument, and worse.

For instance, Michael Behe states in one of his books that a parasite, malaria, became resistant to drugs because his God intervened. Not only did Behe ignore the science and math of his claims, he also ignored the theology. What does this information imply about Behes God? An evil thing that mindlessly and mercilessly kills men, women, and children? Many people do not share Behes vision of an evil, unloving god.

4. ID is not true because it is not fully naturalistic.

No one complains about naturalistic science when its says we should generate electricity to power our computers, not wait for Thors lightning bolts. No one complains about naturalistic science when it says mental illness is not caused by demons, but is a natural biological phenomena and can be treated by medications. No one complains about naturalistic causes when a doctor insists that a miscarriage was not caused by a witches curse.

Yet ID Creationists insist that in this one specific case-- evolution-- naturalism isnt good enough. What have they offered us in return? What diseases have ID Creationists treated? Have they designed crops using The Designers Principles to feed the world?

No. That is work done by naturalistic scientists.

Many people think there is 'something more' to the Universe, but ID Creationism is not it.

5. ID is not true because it is against naturalism

ID Creationism is fundamentally against science, not just 'naturalism'. This was stated very clearly in a leaked document called 'The Wedge Document.'

Michael Behe admitted under oath in The Dover Trial that the Creationist definition of science would have to include astrology. Do you want your doctor diagnosing your illness with astrology? No? Then why should we exchange a system that has served us so well (naturalism) for one that served us so poorly in the past (supernaturalism)?


6. ID is not true because there are finches on the Galapagos Islands that undergo cyclical variations in beak sizes, moths that are black and can hide from birds on dark colored trees, and insects and bacteria that “evolve” resistance to pesticides and antibiotics. (i.e.: ID isn’t true because “evolution” is FACT!)

Creationists like to pretend there is a magical difference between 'micro' evolution and 'macro' evolution. What prevents 'micro' money (pennies) from adding up to 'macro' money (dollars)? Nothing.

This is a wonderful opportunity to point out that this is a Young Earth Creationist claim. If Intelligent Design isnt 1920's Creationism in a different suit, why do they use 100 year-old claims?


7. ID is not true because I consider myself an intelligent person, and although I haven’t read any ID publications or really studied it very much, intelligent people agree that ID isn’t true. Intelligent people I know (who may or may not have studied ID) laugh at advocates of ID, and I hate being laughed at…

This is not an unreasonable claim. I trust my mechanic to fix my car because I dont know how. I trust my dentist to fill my cavities because I dont know how. I trust scientists to do their jobs well (explore the universe) because I dont know how. Whats important to know is that there are people watching mechanics, dentists, and scientists to make sure they are doing their jobs well.

Additionally, if I dont trust my mechanic, I can learn about cars myself. If I dont trust the findings of a scientist, I can read his/her original research myself. If I dont understand some words he/she uses, I can look them up myself. If I REALLY dont believe a scientist, I can see if I can repeat their experiments myself. Scientists are double checking one another every day.

But it is unreasonable to expect everyone to be an expert in everything. We cannot rediscover the chemical structure of water every day.

Once again we must ask, why cant Creationists convince anyone else theyre right? Why wont they do the science to prove it to everyone? That would stop the laughing real quick.

8. ID is not true because it is religion

9. ID is not true because it is religiously motivated.

10. ID is not true because it has religious implications.

This is the most disingenuous claim of ID Creationists. In front of a general audience, they proclaim that anyone and everyone follows Creationism. "Why, the Designer could be an ALIEN!" Yet behind the doors of radical Christian groups, they laugh at anyone who believes that line. ID Creationism was born in 1987, when a judge ruled Creation Science was religion. The Creationist textbook, 'Of Pandas and People,' changed all 'Creation Science' references to 'Design Proponents.' There is even an infamous mesh of both words, when copy/pasting didnt go as planned-- 'cdesign proponentsists'.

Creationism is a mockery of science and faith.

Excellent hand-out, Creationists!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

THEYRE ON TO US! Act natural!

hehehehe Im a 'Note from the Elders' :P

Hi, Elders! Stick around! Let me tell you a story about Billy Dembski, the con artist you just paid, what $10,000 (??) to come visit Oklahoma! Other readers, please feel free to add your own Billy stories in the comments!

A little over a month ago, I wrote a critique of Michael Behes new book 'Edge of Evolution.' Yes, Im just a student (a very new grad student), and I wrote an essay on why Behes science is irreparably wrong. Behe might be a con artist, but he is not dumb. He knows his best strategy is to ignore me, and thats what he is doing. *shrug*

Unfortunately for Behe, Billy Dembski has a poorly run (and poorly read) blog. Two of Dembskis dear, dear friends, who post under the pseudonames 'Sal Cordova' and 'DaveScot' are not as smart as Behe. They thought they had an easy target-- a young female-- so they made the decision to harass me.

They first invite me to Dembskis blog to discuss the molecular evolution of HIV, my specialty. Though I had to dodge misogynistic comments and outright aggression, I answered their questions politely and scientifically (archived here).

I got to post three times. Three. They were initially 'held in moderation', but Sal/Dave ultimately banned me.

For talking science.

I was invited to post on Billys blog in the hopes I would either slip up and give them a comment to quote mine, or I would be intimidated into silence. When it became clear the former would not happen, Sal Cordova proceeded to harass me on my own blog, and on his blog where I was not allowed to comment or address his slanderous claims....... until I stuck his head on a pike. (Note to the Elders: dont underestimate young female researchers)

Another Intelligent Design PR contributor, Casey Luskin, has abandoned all semblance of 'this is a SCIENTIFIC discussion' and proclaimed that I dont know anything about HIV because Im an atheist and pro-civil rights.

Where was Billy when his blog was being used as a means to harass, intimidate, and slander a young female student? Why, posting fake letters from the 'president of Baylor', slandering other Baptists.

Great way to spend your money, Elders.

Im sure that money couldnt have been used to feed hungry people.

Or, you know, cure AIDS.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Creationists like homo interactions.


I love grad school.

I seriously love it, guys.

I hate being out of the lab 3 hours a day for class, plus seminars, plus lunch with visiting speakers, plus journal clubs, etc etc etc every day-- But I love how every day I am learning about wonderful wonderful things in class :) Wonderful things, like protein-protein interactions. YAAAAAAY!!!!

Recently on my blog, Behe apologists have tried to save Behes soul in some fun ways. For some reason in Creationist World, homo-protein-interactions are 'normal' and hetero-protein-interactions are unnatural enough to require divine intervention. For instance, an HIV-1 protein binding to another HIV-1 protein is less impressive to a Creationist than an HIV-1 protein binding to a non-HIV-1 protein*. Protein A binding to another Protein A is less impressive than Protein A binding to Protein B*. Homo-interactions are blase, while hetero-interactions are perverse and unexplainable.

Ian and Art have been giving wonderful responses to these argumentum ad homos over in 'Another Savage Blow', but this weekend I learned how to defend myself against these claims. For Mondays class we had to read two papers:

  1. Phosphorylation of the MAP kinase ERK2 promotes its homodimerization and nuclear translocation.
  2. Evidence for in vivo phosphorylation of the Grb2 SH2-domain binding site on focal adhesion kinase by Src-family protein-tyrosine kinases.
Paper 1-- Phosphorylation of a protein leads to a homo-protein-protein interaction
Paper 2-- Phosphorylation of a protein leads to a hetero-protein-protein interaction, which leads to another, and another, and another, etc.

So after todays lecture I went to ask my professor what I knew to be a retarded question, just for the Creationists reading this blog. "Prof, is there any difference between these two reactions? Theyre both phosphorylations and use the associated chemistry, but are they different? Is one harder to evolve than another? Is the homodimer easier to evolve than the hetero?"

Prof (very kindly, btw) "No. Its just chemistry."

Hetero-protein-protein interactions are completely natural, Creationists. You should give them the same respect you give homo protein complexes.


* Certified Creationist Claims(TM)