Archives June 2006

First Anniversary

Today marks the first anniversary of this weblog. Yay!

George III vs. George W.

If you’re like most Americans, you probably haven’t read the
Declaration of Independence
in a while, if ever, so you may have forgotten that it includes a
whole laundry list of complaints about king George III of England. It
might be worth rereading some of them:

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Why Science Matters

At my last job, my commute was about an hour each way, on a typical day. At times I would amuse myself by trying to figure out how much time I could save if I drove at 70, 75, 80, 85 miles per hour. Interestingly (or depressingly) enough, it never amounted to more than ten minutes — and that was assuming that I never slowed down, never got stuck behind someone who was only doing 70. In practice, the only times I ever made those 35 miles in less than 50 minutes was when I was returning home after midnight.

It also meant that if I had a 10 o’clock meeting, I had to be on the road by 9:00 at the very latest. It was very odd, the first time I woke up at 8:45, thought that even in emergency panic mode and with the sort of ruthless optimization that only a life-long geek would concoct, there was no way I could get dressed, cleaned enough to pass for presentable, make a cup of coffee so I wouldn’t crash on the highway, and make it behind the wheel in less than 20 minutes. I realized with a Cold Equations chill that I was already late, even though the meeting wouldn’t begin for more than an hour.

There’s a saying that “what you don’t know won’t hurt you” and it’s obvious nonsense: the cancer eating away at your liver, the distracted driver coming around the blind curve on the road, the mercury in your salmon steak, all can hurt or kill you, whether you know they’re there or not, whether you believe in them or not.

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A Statistical Approach to Deranged Creationist Liars

Over at the Bad Astronomy weblog,
Blake Stacey
wrote the following,
which is reproduced here with permission:

Come on, we’re scientists, right? How about we break out the mathematics. Just for kicks, I’m gonna model Coulter as a Bernoulli process!

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PZ Myers
praises the Episcopalians
for their choice of new presiding bishop.

Congratulations, Dr Jefferts Schori! While I’m not about to join a church, you do exhibit the kind of sensible perspective on the real world I’d like to see much, much more of in religious leaders…

Just for that, I think need to set their
Armageddon clock back a minute.


This weekend, I was listening to the
Way of the Master Radio
podcast. Way of the Master is a fundie scam ministry run by Ray “homoerotic banana” Comfort and Kirk “Growing Pains kid” Cameron. Todd Friel hosts the podcast.

this show,
they spent a lot of time with Rob, a 19-year-old who called in to say that he has a problem with pornography. It wasn’t said explicitly, but I suspect he also masturbates. Later, a woman called in to say that she, too, struggles with pornography, and that it’s not just a problem for men.

So what exactly was Rob’s problem? Was it that he was masturbating instead of having sex with his girlfriend (not just in addition to)? Was it that his girlfriend isn’t as physically perfect as the airbrushed models in Playboy, so he was enjoying sex less? Was it that it’s cutting into hobby and/or work time? No.

As far as these people are concerned, pr0n makes baby Jesus cry:
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Now She’s Just Making Shit Up

Okay, I know she’s been making shit up all along, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite this far out in left field:

In fact, students are actually required to wear “Creationism Is Shameful” T-shirts in Dover, Pa.


Sorry for feeding the troll.

DaveScot Scores an Own Goal

Over at chez Dembski, the craniorectally inverted DaveScott

As I’ve said many times before, there is only one prop still holding up the NDE [Neo-Darwinian Evolution] narrative and that is the establishment clause of the 1st amendment.

So… isn’t this pretty much an admission that ID is religion?

To give him his due, though, he also wrote:

What Wesley and his motley crew just don’t get is that the science argument in ID vs. NDE is over.

This is entirely correct. Just not the way he hopes.

Hypothetical Question for Fundies

Let’s say someone develops a reliable test to see whether an embryo is gay[1]. Would you allow abortion in cases of likely gayness?

Variant: what if it turns out that this test can only give meaningful results in the second or third trimester? How would your answer change?

1: Personally, I doubt that a person’s sexual orientation is determined by anything as simple and binary as a “gay gene”. But it does seem plausible that homo- or heterosexuality should have a significant genetic component to it. It may be a group of alleles, or just the sequence or pattern or intensity with which various “normal” genes are expressed. But for the sake of argument, let’s say that this test can measure the likelihood that once the person reaches adolescence, he or she will be sexually attracted to members of the same sex.

Art of Science

winners of the 2006 Princeton Art of Science competition are online.

Go look! Pretty pictures!