Friday, August 31, 2007

AAH argument.

Just a letter transcript. To Kuliukas...

>>I was surprised that YouTube allows someone to delete someone else's comment, aren't you?

Nah, creationists delete my comments all the time.

>>It took over 30 years for enough people to begin to doubt the authority of those who'd just given a knee-jerk thumbs up to it when it was discovered.

They were very much expecting to find a fossil just like Piltdown man. There was a fairly good movement against it as soon as we found more fossils, they just didn't seem to mesh. And finally the scientific field rejected it. With AAH we don't have any evidence, just a rather silly claim. It's a lot like claiming to be Galileo. For every real Galileo oppressed by the powers that be, there are a thousand crackpots with really silly ideas. Rather than making claims like "Oh they use to think Tectonic Plates was hogwash too..." -- It's better to have actual evidence (the guy who proved tectonic plates did and Galileo).

>>You're completely wrong if you think recent evidence is increasingly making it look more odd than it used to.

Human evolution is looking more and more par for the course. Larger brain benefits outstrip the costs of running this monster brain. In fact, after humans were bipedal for a million years or so, we still weren't that different than chimps. Lucy would look like a chimp, hairy, small, biped chimp... pretty much no real major advantage.

>>Quite the contrary. Before 1997 there were no observed instances of ape bipedalism in water. Today it's accepted that apes are at their most bipedal in water.

I suggest you watch Monkey Life. You could get a copy off some torrent sites. It's about an ape rescue center. Most of the chimps run around on two legs for pretty much any reason at all. There's nothing about water that makes full time bipedalism worthwhile. And bipedalism takes no time to evolve, apes are already partially bipedal. Shallow water would be one reason among hundreds why apes walk on two feet. It wouldn't evolve them onto two legs, just give them yet another reason to use their bipedalism.

>>Before 1974 the prevailing view was that early hominids had evolved in open habitats. Increasingly we now know that they were wooded and very wet if not swampy.

More trees, yeah... the previous idea was that they evolved bipedalism slowly rather than just started to use it full time. Though, since 1974 we've learned a lot about human evolution.

>>In 1960 Hardy was the only AAH proponent and his view was very much that the idea might fill a gap in the fossil record between 10 and 4 million years ago.

So why aren't chimps hairless and running around on two legs? They split off after that time period. Hell, Gorillas split off about 8 million years back. Ideas aren't evidence.

>>Since then several bits of evidence have shown this to be unlikey but other proponents have published similar ideas suggesting that coastal phases happenned much more recently.

Yes, AAH folks love switching the time periods involved. It's one of the reasons it ain't science.

>>I, for example, think we were at our most aquatic (and even then not much) at around the time of the Homo sapiens speciation event.

There's no such thing. It's all just a progression. Draw a line anywhere you want. We draw the line at 20k or 100k or whatever else we'd like. We're the same species as our parents as far as we go back.

>>Before the 1990s little was known about the biochemical basis of brain nutrition but recently it has become increasingly clear that the marine food chain supplies most of the key nutrients needed for encephalisation.

People get along fine without seafood. And people hunt seafood just fine without going into the water. Is the theory getting more wishy-washy again... now it's down to "we eat fish." Soon it will be that "we like water" then "humans evolved head hair for babies to grab on".

>>Who has not heard of the importance of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet and their abundance in oily fish? I could list more examples showing that the AAH is stronger today than it has ever been.

By eating antelope and other animals, we'd have plenty of omega-3. If they feed on grass, they end up with omega-3. We tend to eat animals fed large amounts of grain (not grass) and thusly lacking in omega-3. Taking our diet today and suggesting that it needs more Omega-3 and "hey fish have omega-3" is silly. You might as well argue that since humans like salt and kissing is said to be a way to remove salt from other people's lips that kissing is evidence for an aquatic origin.

>>I'm pinning my hopes to evidence-based reasoning and rationality eventually overriding peer pressure and cow towing to authority.

Kowtowing! Cow towing? Tow that cow! "Hey Jimmy, I've been towing this damned cow to the administrator." - "Stop Cow Towing to authority!" Lol.

I think you should pin your hopes on a brutal dictatorship and being installed by force as science like Lysenko, because frankly you don't have any evidence. One bit of evidence is worth a million half-baked arguments. The evidence isn't there. Human ancestors may have fished and may have grabbed some food here and there. However, the litany of things attributed to AAH is just absurd. We're opportunists, give me a fish and I'll eat it.

However, from there you're not going to get bipedalism and nakedness... this or that or the other. There's no more aquatic influence in human evolution in the past than today.

>>It's people who do the opposite who are being religious.

As an atheist, I love that "religious" has become an insult. However, those who oppose AAH aren't pinning their hopes on evidenced-based reasonings. They are pinning their beliefs on the evidence itself. If AAH were where the evidence leads us... sure, but it's not, nowhere close.

>>The essential difference between science and religion is that we are allowed to - no, that's wrong - we are *expected to* criticise orthodoxy. It's odd that you don't seem to like this.

I think you misunderstand science. Science isn't about criticizing orthodoxy, it's about disproving incorrect theories and proposing theories to get shot down. The idea that early hominids were killer apes with tools and meat, hunting and being all around awesome, is certainly a theory one could draw from the evidence. It isn't orthodoxy, it's just a theory. Then it gets crushed by the evidence. Well done on both parts. Theory proposed, theory demolished... that's science.

The teeth marks show that it was the prey, the animal that killed the little guy was tracked down, the evidence was against the "killer ape" theory, and so the theory was disregarded. Nobody in the science thinks that the proposal of the theory was wrong, just the theory was wrong. Science is about subjecting ideas to repeated scrutiny. Putting up a definite idea of exactly how and why something is the way it is, then subjecting it to the full brunt of scientific attack. If it survives... fantastic.

However, this is why AAH isn't a theory and isn't even science. There's no definite claim. Nobody says 5 million years ago, bipedalism was evolved in a freshwater aquatic environment in NE Africa. Rather we get a bunch of traits, a bunch of different times, different water sources, different everything and nothing is on the line. When one problem is proposed the theory switches. If you point out that humans can't drink seawater, then they evolved in freshwater. If you note that sweating is worthless in the water they switch and say that sweating was to get rid of the extra salt from the sea.

Science is fantastic, but it isn't criticizing orthodoxy. If you can show that the evidence suggests that some long standing idea is actually wrong... that's huge points in the scientific community. Just saying that you have this theory that vaguely includes humans and water in some mixture and it's hetrodox and thus real good science is the absurd to the highest power.

>>Whenever I read people like yourself, spouting the usual ignorant dogma against this theory, it reminds me more of religious fundamentalists than anything else.

I argue with religious fundamentalists all the time. They say a lot of stuff, one thing they don't tend to say is you have no evidence and in fact, X, Y, and Z studies are pretty sound refutations of your entire position. I hear this same sort of dogma argument spouted by creationists that evolution is just like a religion. Really, without strong evidence I'm not going to your side of an argument, and such things... the strong arguments are with mainstream science.

>>If you need some kind of academic assurance before you are likely to be persuaded (although you shouldn't) I'm doing a PhD on this subject at UWA, Perth, Australia and I passed my masters on the same topic with a distinction from UCL, London.

Good for you. It doesn't make it science. It's a silly idea without any evidence to back it up. And beyond that mainstream anthropology's cup runneth over with evidence, fossils, credible ideas and scientific theories.

WMD found! Suddenly it's all worth it.

Finally after a number of years we've discovered their stockpile. The deaths finally add up. The administration is vindicated! Democrats disgraced!

Well, at least it's a vial of something.


Thursday, August 30, 2007

I don't think they actually do it...

Quite often when I share my views that rats and rabbits are members of the same order or that abortion rates have been shown to statistically be reduced by use of contraception, I get people who say that they will be praying for me. I don't think they actually do it. I think it's a cheap stunt and they just claim to be praying for me and really don't bother. I can never shake the feeling that their words, in this respect, are hollow.

I'll be praying for you. I honestly wonder how many of them actually do it. Also, it isn't I'll pray for you today or pray for you tomorrow. It's "be praying" like it will be a continuing thing. How long will this activity continue?

It just seems that since prayer has no effect at all, I can't verify this claim. And they always make it seem like their prayers will involve that one guy on that one forum that one time who cited a peer-reviewed study to backup a claim forever!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Mormonism is awesome...

At the end when they mention how it sounds really odd and a lot like Battlestar Galactica they aren't whistling dixie... BSG is actually written after Mormonism. To Kolob and godhood within the celestial kingdom... at least you'll be God of the planet rather than intergalactic overlord like fracking Xenu.

Wow, I thought I was kind of joking.

It turns out that there actually is a secret gay tap signal for lewd sex acts. When I first posted my little rant about there being secret codes, I never fully expected it to be real. Sure a general foot tap is one thing but it is actually a secret code.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Science isn't naturalistic...

Science isn't naturalistic by its nature. To the contrary, if for some reason everybody born on a certain day were very similar in very definite ways, science would figure this out. If you could with a few words whether a spell, prayer, or incantation cause a very real consistent and repeatable effect on the natural world, even if these effects were, as far as we could tell causeless, we would still measure and study it. We could quite literally get prayers down to a science.

For example, quantum phenomenon are often uncaused. In reality there is no reason it should do what it does, but we can measure them very exactly. If supernatural things had such an effect on the real world, they would look identical to quantum effects.

Now, why then do we never find such supernatural causes for things? Why don't we prove astrology, religion, prayer, magic?

In science, we test our ideas about reality against the natural world and figure out what sticks. It isn't science that has a vendetta against your favorite pet fantasies, reality doesn't back them up because they are false. Sorry, but science just seems naturalistic because only naturalistic explanations exist as a part of reality.

Repubican Senator caught soliciting gay sex... but what's this I hear.

At first when I heard the Craig was convicted of soliciting an undercover officer for lewd acts in a public bathroom I thought par for the course.

The odd part of the story is this:

“At 1216 hours, Craig tapped his right foot. I recognized this as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct..."

Does the gay community actually have lewd act bathroom stall tapping signals? Is there some secret gay code or something? It's not fascinating as some kind of social observations, I just love secret codes and I'm pissed that I don't know what they are.

Fine, keep your secret tap codes and your ability to put on matching clothing. I'll go learn the Mason's secret handshakes (which coincidentally were exactly borrowed by the Mormons at the Temple until a few years back when they got rid of them for exactly that reason).

Monday, August 27, 2007

Aquatic Ape Hypothesis...

AAH is a nifty bit of non-science. Mostly dead and gone and was never very good. Though, as more and more information came around it just got worse and worse.P.Z. Myers bothered to note the theory. So I might as well steal some thunder.

I did some editing of the Wikipedia page though there is an odd sort of following. Hairlessness in humans has more to do with fire than water. We regulate our heat far better than hair ever could, fire and shelter is more than enough to remove the hair requirement. When it's gone less pests and problems, and we cope quite well, moreso with clothing.

The basic idea is that humans heavily evolved in water, as such explains bipedalism, and sweating, hairlessness and other such little bits of what not. Though, rather than getting better the theory has just gotten more and more vague.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Ben Stein is apparently making a movie about ID.

Expelled. Wow, what rebels these Christians are, undermining science is so fighting against the man. I oddly first heard about this on Pharyngula though without a link to the movie. He had a clip.

I have another great story he should cover. I was teaching English and rather than teach I started yelling and flinging feces at them. But, those vile administrators said "No" and was pretty well driven away. Why? Why do they hate the truth?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Chimp-Gorillia split conflated to be something amazing.

So, there I am surfing my forums and such and I see that human-chimp split is pushed back to 10 million years as a thread title. Now this just doesn't work. First, humans aren't that different from chimps. I mean very little evolution and 10 million years is just too big. So I check out the article which actually says ape-human split, based on some 10 million year old fossil find of teeth that look vaguely gorilla.

So, in the end, no. First off, humans never split from the ape group, that's a lie we tell people because, telling them they are a type of ape kind of pisses them off. The last thing we apes like is having poo tossed at us, so we tend to cut humans out of the entire animal kingdom.

'Apes' is a pretty big category. Because it includes gorillas, chimps and orangutans means it obviously includes humans, if it's not specifically excluding them for no reason at all. This part of the family tree is called chimps (two out of the three have chimp in the name), calling it human-ape is just confusing on both sides. First it's the chimp side and second it's still all within the ape group.

The traditional date is 8 million years for the gorilla-chimp split. This fossil suggests, with extremely weak evidence, that we should say it's 10. These are obvious ape teeth from something that had a gorilla like diet, beyond that who knows.

\ \
\ -- Bonobos

(not to geologic scale, excluding lots of critters)

The Magical Powers of Mermaids...

Certain mythological figures tend to have special magical powers. For example unicorn horns can grant wishes or perhaps gore the crap out of you (as is the case with a few man-made unicorns with horn transplants). Leprechauns have large quantities of gold that somehow we are entitled to steal from them for some reason, when I know a lot of banks with gold that you aren't permitted to steal. It just seems odd as if lack of security entitles one to somebody else's goods. Mermaids have the power to switch between water and land. While on land being indistinguishable from humans. Which raises an interesting evolutionary question, why wouldn't mermaids drive humans extinct if they had the same abilities and then some... it just seems like one hell of a profound advantage. Secondly, they have the magical ability to have their long hair cover their breasts as if by magic (unless something else is covering them). This might actually be an evolutionary reason we aren't all mermaids, specifically that merbabies can't breast feed without getting a mouth full of hair. Just seems like a really odd magical power. For the life of me, I could see no evolutionary advantage for it. If anything it would make breastfeeding harder and negate the roll of breasts as a fertility signal.

Are any mythological figures very evolutionarily sound? Although, the aforementioned real unicorn had a pretty distinct advantage. He quickly realized that with just one big fat horn he could gore the crap out of other animals.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Dislike for congress.

I also think it's classic that many news networks are tossing around the idea that the low opinion of congress somehow vindicates Bush. See, they hate everybody in the government! The truth is they hate Bush because he's the worst president ever and they hate congress because they don't step up, impeach Bush and Cheney, have President Byrd (president pro tempore of the senate, although with the senate that close perhaps Pelosi should do it, though she was the one who wanted impeachment off the table) withdraw the troops, have the senate go nuclear remove the filibuster and ram through a reversal of the last six years perhaps before the next hurricane destroys a city and nobody is around to pick up the pieces.

In short, they hate Bush so much that anybody who isn't fighting with every shred of their being is a traitor.

History views him kindly...

Has anybody considered the irony that historians will have to fight when they write about the worst president in history whose only plea is that perhaps history will view him kindly. That his only Hail Mary is that perhaps historians will be completely stupid and not realize that staying in a worthless intractable war with bizarre delusions about future historians liking him was something noteworthy and respectable?

Secondly, what about the Rapture? Certainly since the crazy nutjob rapture-loving loony Christians are the only ones who are still brainwashed enough to believe Bush (yes I'm talking about Bush 43 if "worst president in history" was clear enough) is anything more than a complete disaster. And if they are yanked into the sky, who will still be around to write a favorable review of Bush in any history book?

Also, it might help if the same powerful lobby that manages to get any evolution tidbit downplayed in text books would also require that history books cater to these delusions.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Ah, news... I hardly knew yea...

I watched a bit of CNN and learned two lessons. Apparently the heat waves in the south, floods in the north and category 5 hurricane hitting Mexico are just day to day things, with no relation to global warming. Though, all of them are pretty obviously from an increase in heat. But, that's just because they were reporting and nowadays if you had to give global warming credit for all the batshit crazy weather we have it would pretty well cut into the weather report time which seems to be more and more.

Secondly, Communist China is selling us lead painted toys that we buy from Communist China. It used to be that we were fine importing so many goods from Communist China but now it seems Communist China has fallen out of our good graces. A bit of this lead toys story was simply because groups did the testing of the stuff they imported from Communist China to make sure their Communist China goods were safe... oh and did I note that each and every time CNN talked about Communist China they made damn sure to say "Communist". -- I don't even know what that means!

Redheads going extinct says confused bit of nonsense attributed to scientists...

Apparently gingers will be extinct within 100 years. Why would this fairly moot trait be driven extinct? What is the selection force behind it? What is driving sexy redheads to never breed or die in large numbers...

Global intermingling, which broadens the availability of possible partners, has reduced the chances of redheads meeting and producing little redheads of their own.

It takes only one red-haired parent to produce ginger-headed babies, but two redheads obviously create a much stronger possibility.

Hm? Apparently they don't understand basic genetics. Red hair is primarily caused by one gene, red/not-red where red is recessive. So a parent with rr will have red hair and a parent with Rr or RR will have not-red hair. However, if parents are simply carriers for the gene, Rr and Rr then a solid 1/4th of their children will have red hair. It actually takes zero red-haired parents to produce a red headed child. Secondly, ginger is blond+red whereas auburn is brown+red controlled (pretty much) by the two genes. And blond is recessive. So frankly, if the genes get mixed up into the population then you can still produce a ginger from two dark haired individuals. In fact, have the same number of genes would exist simply mixed up into populations that don't express the genes. It would not make the genes less frequent.

Genes are a pretty simplistic idea of what's actually going on to express those traits, but really... this one fits the model really well. And even then they don't seem to get the model. That or are using "extinct" to mean a decrease in typical phenotype expression.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I was cured by homeopathy...

I was exceedingly thirsty and I drank 2 liters of 100x concentrated snake venom and now I'm cured!

Camels and Eyes' of Needle

There's a fun little note the Biblical note that you should give away all your stuff and spread the word. Stupid advice then, just as stupid now. However there is also another interesting line:

Matthew 19:24 - I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

Well, as there are many rich people within the religious right, and a good deal of preachers driving fancy cars, so this needs to be defined away. The argument (because it wouldn't be apologetics if there weren't arguments for everything) is that the "eye of a needle" refers to a specific gate in Jerusalem that was just really hard to get one's camels' through. Though not impossible. First, who builds a gate like that? Or narrow pass in the hills, nobody would do that! Also, how do you get around the fact that it's a common place idiom?

They do not show a man a palm tree of gold, nor an elephant going through the eye of a needle. -- Hm?

Why not just redefine the Camel to mean, ant. Camel... that's what they called ants back then. They could do it, it was just pretty rough.

Enemies of Reason, Part 2

Ah, Internet Video.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Followup Church Shooting.

Last week I made a few predictions about a very recent church shooting, upon admittedly no data. How well did I do?

I suspect this fellow was still a theist.

Well, he reportedly shouted "Liars! Liars!" and shot the pastor. Okay, actually he was apparently referring to some secondary altercation that lead to the police investigating him for child molestation of a 14-year old girl. There's nothing to suggest even remotely that he lost his faith.

I would take bets to that effect.

I think I would have won.

Sadly, I'd even go far as assume religion played a roll.

Still no evidence here. Seemed to be a family matter in a small community where he had issues with the family of another church family. That doesn't sound like actual religious cause to me. The Police aren't helping to provide evidence for my speculation.

Also at some point he reported grabbed somebody, asked if anybody else would like to be killed in his stead, and then as nobody stepped forward shot the man. Somehow this seems pretty much an obvious result, perhaps he should have offered a leg shot vs. a headshot or something people could have said 'yes' to.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Jamaica Hit by Hurricane Dean...

Hurricane Dean pummeled Jamaica and I know why.

It's not very widely known, but Jamaica is one of the most homophobic places on Earth, and this Hurricane is wrath for their anti-gay positions!

... you never hear this kind of stuff. I wonder why.

Two and Two equals Four? Since when?

Faith apparently unshaken in Peru as everything else was. An 8.0 Quake hit Peru, bringing the roof down on a large group of church goers. As tragic as that is, the response is rather odd.

The priest said the church was more than 300 years old. He still couldn't understand how the entire roof collapsed on hundreds of worshippers who were attending a funeral Mass when Wednesday's 8.0-magnitude quake struck.

He doesn't understand how an 8.0 quake can do that? Why, superman should have stopped it? There's nothing to understand.

Praise Bob!

Rev. Magdalen (Rachel Bevilacqua) got her son back. For those of you not familiar with the case, Rev. Magdalen is part of the Slack the Church of the Subgenius a sort of parody religion, with more humor than direct parody. In any event, during the custody hearing, her involvement with the group was brought up, to which the judge noted that it was "obviously so not true from anybody who's looking at it from any normal perspective" and she was "mentally ill" and a "pervert." -- Referring to her X-Day activities.

This would be akin to losing your child because you attended Ren Faires, meaning you are a vile Luddite, a drunken debauchery-seeking hooligan and having all your parental rights stripped.

Sadly though, she wasn't given her child back because the judge (Judge Punch) was a flaming idiot who never should have made such idiotic claims and taken her child away, in principle for atheism and mocking religion in a fun and interesting way. No! She got her son back because the upstanding citizen who the judge gave her child to, got drunk and ran into a wall and now faces 11 years in jail.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Christian Science Monitor

Oddly enough when I first heard the name Christian Science Monitor, I took it with a grain of salt. After looking a bit more, it became quickly apparent that they were real news. Seems a bit odd for something that Monitors Science by 'Christians', usually the only time Christians distinguish themselves from science is to undermine it as, *gasp*, unchristian. Although there were some science articles, it seemed by and large just run of the mill news.

Later, I actually learned a bit about it. I had it all wrong! It wasn't the Christian "Science Monitor" -- it was the "Christian Science" Monitor. Oddly enough it's founded by that "prayer rather than medicine" group. And later distinguished itself as a real news place and didn't change the name.

Weird. The group so odd Mark Twain wrote an entire book about it, runs (or at the least founded) a good news organization. Likewise he dedicated a chapter to Mormonism and now they own Utah.

Three bucks a gallon is letting us down easy...

For years people have known that there would be a point when the supply would be unable to meet the demand for oil products and it would be be long before we run completely out of the stuff. Though, the run away prices would be a little hard to deal with. A couple years back after Oil first hit $45 dollars a barrel I predicted that it would never fall back below $35 dollars again. I daresay that claim seems a little tame now.

Thankfully the dire predictions of peak oil seem to fizzle a bit and Canada is letting us down easily. The tar sands give us plenty of oil, though it's dirtier and more expensive. Peak Oil isn't the end of oil, rather the end of cheap oil. And the more we get from the tar sands, the more that become apparent.

A lot was made concerning that recent finds in the Gulf of Mexico, usually along the lines of see there's still oil to be found. Though the supporters of Peak Oil are right to point out that that isn't cheap oil. It's quite telling that the oil companies are going back to the old spots they gave up on, and drilling them again.

Don't get cozy with three dollars a gallon, it will continue upwards. Though, slower than it would otherwise, and rather fast after Hurricane Dean messes up the Gulf.

I don't like this song.

Perhaps I'll get back to serious nonsense to post crap about sometime. *sigh*...

Pwned? -- Turns out for a stupid idea...

There are a number of copies of Jabberwocky recited online.

Sadly, for as weird as it is, that's pretty good.

Hard to beat.


Friday, August 17, 2007


He's my recitation of Jabberwocky, because I got a new webcam and am kinda bored. Though it does actually look pretty good.

Gotta fix the sound, a bit of the video quality, oh and that face... ack.

Three Mine Rescue Workers Dead...

Fucking hell. I understand you need to work with the presumption that the other miners are still alive. But, those other miners have been dead for a week and to lose three lives in an attempt to rescue corpses sucks so hard. Arg.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Shorter William Lobdell

Shorter William Lobdell,

Covering religion is a lot like selling porn.

True Porn Clerk Stories

Some of the most fascinating looks at human behavior ever to make you want to look away. co Pandagon.

True Porn Clerk Stories.

Wanting to sound really retarded?

So reading up on how antibiotic soap is not only ineffective but also bad, by causing the strains to become immune. I was rather astounded to hear about how they made this happen.

Because of the way the main active ingredient---triclosan---in many antibacterial soaps reacts in the cells, it may cause some bacteria to become resistant to commonly used drugs such as amoxicillin,

Because of the way it reacts in the cell wall... by breaking down the cell walls? That doesn't directly make them resistant but fair enough.

Triclosan works by targeting a biochemical pathway in the bacteria that allows the bacteria to keep its cell wall intact. Because of the way triclosan kills the bacteria, mutations can happen at the targeted site. Aiello says a mutation could mean that the triclosan can no longer get to the target site to kill the bacteria because the bacteria and the pathway have changed form.

What? Sure, the stuff breaks apart the bacteria. However, the "mutations can happen at the targeted site" the target site is in the cell wall. There's NO FUCKING DNA IN THE CELL WALL! And they happen because "of the way triclosan kills the bacteria" -- DEAD BACTERIA DON'T FUCKING HAVE USEFUL MUTATIONS THEY HAVE "I'M DEAD AND NOT REPRODUCING ANY MORE MUTATIONS" MUTAITONS!

In case any of you missed it, the article is saying what we've known and predicted for years. Antibiotic soaps are not useful, and even when they kill 99.9% of bacteria, that .1% doesn't die next time you use the soap, because if anything in their genetics or in their pathways help prevent this from happening, they start to develop an immunity to the antibiotic. This in turn makes the real powerful stuff we use later on, much harder to use effectively.

My gripe? They don't say evolution. They say all kinds of crazy nonsense other than evolution. You would read the article and have to believe that the triclosan reacts in the cell wall and induces a mutation in the DNA which corresponds to that code for the cell wall. Then, in turn lives through having it's cell wall torn apart, and passes this information on. Excuse me? Am I really to understand that the actual science should be skirted just to ignore very basic evolution and not raise a fuss? Worse yet, the evidence at that level is so good most Creationists say it happens and draw an arbitrary line in the sand between macro and micro evolution to somehow imply that they have different mechanisms. "Sure you can use a "step" to go a few feet, but never a mile!"

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

You don't know Dick!

Beyond the typical bits, of information about Mr. Cheney that seem mindblowingly odd. Take this clip from 1994. It's as scary as that video of Bush talking reasonably on different affairs.

Kudos to

Enemies of Reason

Ah, the wonders of internet video.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Stupid Newspapers, stop bitching at princesses.

So that nice Princess who claimed to be able to talk to angels. Well, a major news source has now suggested she should lose her title.

She should be given an extra title... princess of angels!

Kill All White People...

There was an interesting hubbub about Kamau Kambon's statement that the government was keeping blacks down in order to stop that one man from having that one idea. That idea: killing all white people.

Rather than freak out because somebody wants to kill me, I actually sat down and thought for a while if there was a good way to do this.

If you made some sort of virus specialized at finding and infecting only those genes which code for white skin, well, that would certainly do something in that direction, however it doesn't help much. We have located one gene which codes for white skin and it's a single point mutation. So that matching virus would only need a single point mutation to match all people, unless it builds off the proteins created by the process. Also, there are a number of these genes within the black community. In fact, there is a mix of all genes in all communities. You can't match a single gene or group of genes to a 'race' because humans are roughly identical from a genetic standpoint, and thusly the risk is far too high. Secondly, this is just one gene and skin color is due to a collection of genes. It would cause a selective pressure against this gene by not all such genes. It would certainly darken everybody until the virus died out but would break again and quickly return to normal levels. Also, whitey has a lot at his disposal to prevent disease. So, this doesn't seem plausible. Direct conflict would also fail for fairly obvious reasons.

Well, several months have passed and I finally figured it out. In nature, as in a number of things the selection pressure of different genes differ from area to area. Sickle-cell anemia is a pretty bad disease but conveys a slight improvement in malaria resistance. As such, in areas with high malaria rates we find higher frequencies of the sickle-cell gene.

I bring up malaria for two reasons, first several months back an exceedingly impressive solution was offered. Genetically engineer the mosquitoes to be immune to the disease. Malaria not only negatively affects the humans exposed but also negatively impacts the mosquitos transmitting the disease. By genetically creating a gene for immunity, one could apply a selective pressure and push the gene into near totality, not only saving vast swaths of humans in the process, but also making creationists look like morons by using evolution to save millions of people a year.

The second reason is the solution of the first part is the solution to the second part. The trade off between traits given areas are such that in the more northern areas less skin pigment is better. The need for vitamin D is such that skin lightened to allow for more sunlight and an increase production. Whereas in other areas the darker skin prevents harm due to sunlight. I have healthy bones, but left in the sun I would turn into a lobster. For example, the Inuit people tend to have a diet consisting of good sources of vitamin D, and as a consequence their skin is darker than most people that far north, because there is less need for this evolutionary trade off.

A gene for more Vitamin D would certainly be advantageous and would destroy the advantages of lighter skin. So after the introduction of such a gene, white people would only have about 30-50 thousand years before going extinct.

The introduced gene would increase in frequency, and the lighter skin genes would then no longer serve any advantage, and would be disadvantagous (due to the decreased protection) and decrease in frequency.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Offending God With Your Refrigerator.

So there is a Jewish prohibition of turning on or off lights on Shabbos or Yom Tov, this does include opening your refrigerators. You see, there is a light in your refrigerator which turns on and off when you open and close the appliance. However, one is prevented from doing such a thing on certain days. Thusly, the best thing to do is unscrew the light prior to day so that the refrigerator doesn't do that. However, if one mistakenly does open it, they are to keep the refrigerator open as, a mistake is acceptable, but it is best not to compound your error by saving your goods.

Most refrigerators have a light that goes on when the door is opened. Turning on a light is classified as a havarah. Even though one does not intend to turn on the light when opening the door,1 this is prohibited2 since there is a direct reaction which will definitely take place. The easiest way to avoid this problem is to unscrew the lightbulb before Shabbos or Yom Tov. If one accidentally opens the refrigerator door (without unscrewing the lightbulb) and turns on the light, they may not close the door as this would be turning off the light.

Religion brings peace to your life and sours your milk.

Church shooting...

This is what happens when you leave Under God in the pledge!

I suspect this fellow was still a theist. When he shot several people in church. I would take bets to that effect. Sadly, I'd even go far as assume religion played a roll. And that's a lot of conclusions to jump to when I have no information on the issue.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Lego Me...

Lego Me...

Zelda Dance...

Because it looks like activity to post interesting stuff that really has very little to do with me.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Sathya Sai Baba, Magical Guru.

Sathya Sai Baba is a spiritual leader in India. He has several million followers, literally millions (~5 million). His last birthday they threw a party for him and a million people showed up. In any event, he performs miracles which can be attested to by thousands of people. We aren't talking about in a book that you get several generations later, we are talking about direct attributions of miracles similar to those attributed to Jesus, walking on water, healing the sick, raising the dead.

Now, a lot is made of the claims that if the Bible was a perfect representation of what was original written, that the work was not fiction, that there were contemporary figures to corroborate the existence of the figure, and that perhaps there were ways to verify these claims that then we would be correct to believe. I don't think that holds. For example, there is video of Sai Baba's miracles...

How can you be underwhelmed? What do you mean you saw him palm it the whole time? This is absolute proof, the kind many skeptics requested for the likes of Jesus. Why can you never be happy!


Neoteny: And cuteness.

There's a theory that humans are primarily a neoteny, the result evolution making humans into a juvenile-like chimp throughout their life. Explaining the very long period of development in humans (14 years or so) as well as in part the massive learning that happens in humans much like children but prolonged. One of the given bits of evidence is the similarity between adult humans and young apes.

In other news...


Richard Dawkins' New Show...

The Enemies of Reason due out Monday 13th and Monday 20th and Channel 4. Should be worth watching.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Nobody has all the answers, so screw those answers you do have!

As if anybody needs all the answers, and as if having actual answers isn't something I should care about. Nothing's perfect so any degrees of correctness should be whitewashed. Sure, I have very valid and well evidenced reasons for believing what I believe, but since I don't know everything, I might as well be chucked into the same basket as people who think the universe was created a couple thousand years after the Egyptians were first brewing beer and that they can telepathically communicate with a first century wishgranting Jewish zombie.


God's Checklist... I could do that...

Quakers, the heroes of our species, apparently have more to recommend them...

Quakers whose anti-slavery stance during (and after and today) the debate over ratification of the constitution gave the Godly Christians shivers reserved today for the likes of the most vile of cults. A widely published article in 1788 told of the terrors we might face if the secular constitution were ratified with this "no religious test clause" intact. With many state governments specifically having these tests, it's certainly a nice that the founding fathers specifically restricted them in the federal government (Christian Nation indeed).

In any event, the article in question listed all of the vile people who could get elected (as quoted Isaac Kramnick and R. Laurence Moore, The Godless Constitution),

1st. Quakers, who will make the blacks saucy, and at the same time deprive us of the means of defence - 2dly. Mahometans, who ridicule the Trinity - 3dly. Deists, abominable wretches - 4thly. Negroes, the seed of Cain - 5thly. Beggars, who when set on horseback will ride to the devil - 6thly. Jews etc. etc.

My goodness... those vile Quakers they will make the blacks saucy!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Rash of Rationality. On Faith:

Youtube should ban these almost snuff films...

This one is so disturbing it made me throw up a little in my mouth... Nothing surprising happens it's like that all the way through.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Hey, I need to offload this guillotine fast! They're on to me!

Other than Robespierre being a man of God. Richard Dawkins not saying that people who indoctrinate their children should be arrested. The flimsy comparison between people who use words being the same as other people who use words (even if the original words were in a different language). Oh, and the image of the Nazi dagger in the Bible is actually made in the US. The Nazis were mostly Christians, and the image was to rile people up in here the states and perhaps buy war bonds.

Still, despite these claims I need to get rid of this guillotine fast, have I mentioned it's a weight loss aid. You can lose ten ugly pounds in a second or two.

Understanding Christianity.

Perhaps one of the most clear and concise videos I've come across.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

If they sky was a firmament would that be evidence for the Bible?

It seems like an odd question, and I'm kind of torn. Though, asking nobody is certainly not helpful. But, here goes. The authors of the Bible refer to the sky as a firmament or a "Vault of Heaven". Basically they ascribed to Greek astronomy and thought that the stars were embedded in the seventh domed layer, the earth fixed and unmoving and everything in different layers around it.

God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it separate between water and water..."

The firmament kept the water from the sky (rain) from meeting the waters of the earth. And that when it rains, that is God opening up the vault of the sky. The stars were believed to be like little bits of light on the firmament (in revelations they were depicted as falling down to Earth). Rather than a sky like our modern understanding, the world would be much more akin to a snow-globe.

Now back to my question, if that bit of cosmology was right, would it be evidence for the Bible?

There would certainly be arguments in favor of this,

Psalm 19:1, “The heavens [shamayim] tell out the glory of God, the vault of heaven [raqiya] reveals his handiwork.”

The complexity of the firmament certainly suggests a deity right? Well, not really. The reality is more complex and reality doesn't suggest such a thing and though there are no laws of physics which allow for a firmament as such, we would have to have hypothetically different laws of physics to account for this cosmology. Though, maybe with our actual laws of physics and this weird outcome might provide some evidence.

But, they predicted it right and there's no way they could have predicted that the whole world was under this dome sky-like thing, right? Well, that's not true either. First, looking at the sky might give one that impression (plane tangent to sky does seem to be a dome) and secondly the Greeks had that cosmology first. For example, in the Bible is says that the Earth is hung upon nothing. -- a comment to which many creationists pat themselves on the back over and over again. While at the same time ignoring everywhere it says (often right next to it) that the earth was fixed and unmoving.

A while back in a podcast, the Non-Prophets mentioned that it would be evidence for the Bible if there actually was a firmament, but I don't think it would count for the Bible at all. The fact that the idea that the sky is a firmament is dead wrong is an obvious mark against the Bible, but being correct isn't a mark for it either. Which oddly seems to veer off towards Hempel's paradox, noting that exceptions to rules disprove the rule, but that non-exceptions don't make the rule any more or less valid. Though, there's shades of gray concerning the idea of being wrong.

Even if we knew of nothing that discredited the cosmology, history, or understanding of the Bible it would provide absolutely no evidence in favor of the accuracy of the book. And really, that's the essence of science. You try to disprove something until you finally give up and use it for anything you need the idea for. If the rule holds for more things than the previous rule, well then use that rule instead.

The only thing the Bible could hope for would be accuracy and frankly it missed that boat. I think the accuracy of the Bible must have drowned in Noah's flood.

Donating Blood

I donated blood the other day, and one of the questions struck me as odd.

Have you ever had sex with a hemophiliac?

I know, during the 1970s a lot of hemophiliacs got HIV, and they are certainly a high risk group. But, since gay sex had been ruled out a few questions before this, this implies I would need to have slept with a female hemophiliac.

Female hemophiliacs are 1 in 100,000,000 and usually die at the onset of puberty. So not only would I have to scour the planet to find one, I would need to have sex with a prepubescent girl. Which by the way, would mean she was born in the late 1990s long after they fixed the blood supply that gave hemophiliacs HIV!

To answer yes to that question, would require pedophilia, crap loads of luck, and even then wouldn't imply any difference in safety.

Of less entertaining value they started calling Mad Cow Disease, "Mad Cow Disease." -- Apparently nobody knows what Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is.

Quote: Mr. Behemoth

"It is true that, in many Latin American cultures, being handed a severed human arm is considered bad luck."

Monday, August 6, 2007

Pascal's Wager and the Heaven Lottery.

Pascal's Wager is a common argument, basically its that, from a game theory stance, you should believe in God because if there isn't a God neither belief or non-belief makes a difference, but if there is then belief in that God earns you an eternity in Heaven and non-belief earns you an eternity in Hell. Therefore, you should believe in God.

So first all you need to do is pick the right religion. So you have about one in a million shot (assuming the right religion has been invented yet) and if you manage to choose correctly (though you'll just choose your parents religion / how divine!), all you need to do then is trick God by paying apt enough lipservice.

If you hit the Heaven Lottery and pick the one in a million shot by guessing correct deity to feign belief in, you get to avoid hell! Though, any deity to whom this argument applies is evil. The concept of damning a person solely because of belief is the most abhorrent thing imaginable. Regardless of any good done by Gandhi, he's burning in hell. Norman Borlaug's Nobel Prize for saving the lives of about a billion people won't save him from hellfire and brimstone because he failed to stab true, while blind and in the dark, and feign enough interest to avoid the flames.

You might as well not bother. If there is an evil god who rewards and punishes on beliefs alone. Taking a stab in the dark is sure to fail. However, if there is a good God who rewards good actions, good intentions, goodness in people... then what does it matter what they believe? Furthermore, if there is no God, then you still get rewards as doing good is its own reward. On top of that a good God who rewards people for goodness might take offense to just guessing and feigning belief in whatever random choice you come across.

The only downside of doing good acts is that there might be some evil God ready to damn you for failing to choose it without evidence, among thousands of similar deities, and not also following through with some feigned belief upon threat of eternal punishment. -- In which case, it isn't a downside to your choice it's just a downside to everything.

Site restricted to Archaeologists when only Palentologists would care...

The MSM seems to have a fair share of morons. You could read this article, though I suggest you don't. Everywhere where they say Archaeologists they should say paleontologists. Besides that, the topic sentence is dead wrong: 'Archaeologists' discover 8-million-year-old Forest. -- The article clearly notes that miners found it.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Quotes: Andrea Yates

"It was the seventh deadly sin. My children weren't righteous. They stumbled because I was evil. The way I was raising them they could never be saved. ... Better for someone else to tie a millstone around their neck and cast them in a river than stumble. They were going to perish."

Certainly there's crazy in everybody who kills people, but there's something perversely noble about sacrificing everything you have in this life, for your children's next life. If you believe yourself damned and all you have is to spend the rest of your life before burning forever in Hell. And your kids are going to stray and you can spare them from your fate. You can trade the rest of your life on Earth before you burn forever in hell, in order to send your children straight to Heaven. Ask any contemporary Christian (as non-contemporary ones believe in infant damnation) where Andrea Yates children are and they will say Heaven. -- If you buy into that worldview, didn't Andrea Yates really give up everything she had for the good of her children?

The truth is she was crazy, believed in this religion stuff, suffering from postpartum depression and murdered her children. But, from the Christian worldview she should be a martyr!

Carnival of the Godless #72

Carnival of Godless #72

Shorter: Alister McGrath

Dawkins is wrong to think that science applies to God. Dawkins overlooks that science applies to God..

Chris Smither: Origin of Species

Pretty good song.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Stupid Constitution! I want a princess...

Princesses teach people very interesting things. A Norway Princess teaches people how to talk to angels. That's awesome. But, we can't have princesses because our constitution says no royalty titles are allowed.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Bastard Fairies: We're all going to hell...

Actually stole the link from Eight Hour Lunch, but it's quite worth a listen.

Something can't come from nothing, unless it's God.

Something can't come from nothing, unless it's God!

Wow, that's always the worst pwnage an atheist can endure. I feel so powerless when theists note that since I don't have the answer to a question, any answer, regardless how far fetched, offered by them is instantly correct. And their answer is always so very simple and so very concise that argument is unneeded, Magic Man done it!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Man attempts to choke the demons out of girl...

... police try to shock the stupid out of man.

Police use taser on a man choking his bloodied naked 19 year old granddaughter, in an attempt to perform an exorcism of her demons. The man in question stopped breathing and died.

Religion only serves to give people something to look forward to, it doesn't hurt anybody. Religion can do no wrong. Faith can move mountains (or at the very least destroy skyscrapers).

I wonder if there is somebody somewhere horrified that the demons are still in the girl.

Spotting the Difference.

Who(m)ever you choose is fine with me.

Which is grammatically correct?

Whoever you choose is fine with me.
Whomever you choose is fine with me.

I only ask because it took me half an hour to finally settle it by consulting a PhD via grammar logs to figure it out, an answer said PhD initially got wrong too. Still as I type images of adjective clauses and subject verb object order bounce in my head. Really, it seems exceedingly silly to spend half a sticking houmr to figurme out whether or nmot my sentemnce had an extra "m" in it.

"The only time I wouldn't want to die is after saying "God if you exist, strike me dead!" Which I have done from time to time in religious arguments. I can easily come to terms with death. But whoever I would be arguing with at the time would take that as proof of God. That I wouldn't like. And, being dead, I wouldn't be able to argue that my death was just very coincidental." - Tatarize

Though there's still some debate that this sentence has a complex subject whereas the example in grammar logs doesn't.

So hour four of whether or not some word that could easily be replaced needs to have an "m" in it. RH3 counters by showing that whoever and whomever used as such need to be a subjective clause and thus the adjective clause stance should be disregarded.

Try this, then.

"The man with the bike leered at the waitress."

We can remove the adjectival phrase "with the bike" to get

"The man leered at the waitress."

That's OK. We have the same declarative sentence, but with a little less detail.

Now do the same with

"Whoever I was arguing with would take that as evidence for God."

Removing " I was arguing with" gives us

"Whoever would take that as evidence for God."

And that is not an English declarative sentence. It has the form of a question.

"Whoever would take that as evidence for God.?"

This suggests that "I was arguing with" is not an adjectival phrase.

Also noting,

"George is wrong."


"Whoever is wrong."

Nope. "Whoever" has to be part of a subject clause. It is in all your examples.

UPDATE: Hour 8 of debate over the letter "m" in a sentence from several years ago.

RH3 made a pretty good argument and proper citations in favor of whomever and I'm now inclined to believe them. And I suppose since his university pays him to know such things, he's probably pretty well versed with such things.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Scientists were wrong, the death knell for creationism..


I firmly believe that creationists are going to take a thumping when science rectifies one of its major errors. The idea that dinosaurs are roughly lizards is completely wrong, in fact, they are much closer to primitive birds. And with some of the new fossils coming out of China it seems pretty clear. A lot of dinosaurs probably had feathers and at the very least down.

Now shouldn't creationists latch on to this mistake and declare science inept and thusly wrong and them thusly right? Well, no. Because the truth is dinosaurs were a lot more evolved than we gave them credit for. So making the modern understanding of dinosaurs that of feathered dinosaurs will much more easily be seen as evidence for evolution. "Wow, it went from scales to feathers in generation. It's evolving before my very eyes!"

Something can come from nothing.

0 = 1 + -1

Oh, that's amazing. Everybody freak out. Causeless quantum stuff happens all the time. Oy. I've had enough of people stating that something cannot come from nothing, as evidence for the idea that God (who didn't come from nothing, but never came). As if you can't apply the same argument to the universe.

Any loophole big enough to slip your deity through is big enough to slip the universe through, and to top it off we have evidence for the universe.