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Let’s ask the idiots about science

I’m beginning to wonder if maybe, just maybe, the tide is starting to turn when it comes to the public zeitgeist regarding the anti-vaccine movement. Not only have there been a lot of stories lately that eschew the false “balance” that used to be so common in news stories about vaccines, but even comedy magazines are dumping on the anti-vaccine movement. For instance, Cracked.com has an article entitled 5 Things The Media Loves Pretending Are News. What’s #5?

Let’s ask the idiots about science:

When it comes to matters of opinion or personal beliefs, it is absolutely the duty of the news media to report both sides (and any extra sides there may be, on those rare odd occasions when there are somehow more than two). It doesn’t matter which one they agree with, they need to acknowledge the fact that some people think gay marriage is a right and others think the gays are forming a unicorn army that will kill us all.

When it comes to matters of fact, however, they absolutely do not have that duty. Particularly when it comes to technical or scientific matters where it takes somebody with training to speak knowledgably on the subject.

If we’re talking about if, say, vaccines cause autism, we need to hear from scientists. That’s a scientific issue. We do not need to hear from Jenny McCarthy or Jim fucking Carrey, in the name of giving “both sides.” Jim and Jenny don’t get a side. They have no background in the subject, and it’s one that requires fucking background.

Sure, they can talk about poisonous vaccines to Oprah or whoever is sitting next to them at the Lakers game all they want. They have freedom of speech. That freedom does not guarantee them a seat on a panel of experts.

Exactly. Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey are not experts. Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey are so incredibly ignorant of science and medicine that one can safely discount virtually anything they have to say about the topics. Fortunately, the mainstream media and comedians are starting to notice.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

106 replies on “Let’s ask the idiots about science”

“Exactly. Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey are not experts. Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey are so incredibly ignorant of science and medicine that one can safely discount virtually anything they have to say about the topics”

Just think. This statement about “science” comes from a person who still thinks we all came from monkeys through a process called evolution. Now, that is truly a funny story.

Just think all this matter was floating around somewhere, it exploded, life accidentally started when water molecules collided with other molecules and then something alive came from it. it kept on changing until one day …. POOOF a monkey gives brith to a humanoid who continues to develop more sophistication with each passing genration.

If you read this analysis with common sense rather than ‘scientific” endeavor, then you realize not only is it physically and mathematically improbable and impossible, but is hilarious. It sounds like a new Marvel superhero being created . GALACTIC GOO MAN – The man who evolved from nothing with brain powers that rival a chimpanzee here to save the earth from his own farts (global warming).

Conservatives do not take you libs seriously becuase you ask the impossible. Global warming is a hoax. Evolution is a hoax and a damned satanic lie at best. Vaccines are okay if used properly and within context of their purpose, but some are not properly tested and are dangerous. Get over it already.

Seriously. Evolution? HAAAAAA HAA HAAAAAAAA HAAAA!

So Chris explain to the audience how something came from nothing all by sheer accident and something living came from something non-living all by accident. Go ahead. I’m waiting for your “scientific” expertise to inform us all.

Can you create life in a laboratory? I doubt it. You can probably take something and copy it, but that is not creation.

Johnson B. Long is just too big to fail.

When you get right down to it, it’s probably far more important that the comedians get it than the mainstream media. The MM are going to be resistant to leaving their beloved “tell both sides” paradigm anyway. Comedians, however, need not be “fair and balanced” and do not need to act as though idiots deserve the same credibility as experts.

Who exactly are “you libs”? I didn’t realize this was a political blog. Science and reason do not fall only on some particular range along a political spectrum”

——————

“science” and “reason” according to your definition does indeed fall under a liberal poltical spectrum.

Science like the liberal concept of man made global warming falls under socialism or social justice /population control prorams. Global warming is a hoax. it makes you alot of money to spead around while it tortures and hurts businesses.

Science like evolution is another example. Evolution is not 100 % infallibale fact. It is a theory of how life on earth changes. The definition of evolution as change over time is accurate. Living things adapt, or change over time. However, a horse is a horse. A lizard is a lizard. A bird is a bird. A fish is a fish. Time will never turn a fish into a reptile or a reptile into a mammal or likewise. That is your evolution model. One cold blooded reptile (dinosaur)gradually shrinks down several thousand sizes and becomes a warm blooded bird. That is impossible. It is not scienc, it is science fiction. Of course animals do change. That is adaptation, not evolution. It remains the same animal, not changes into something entirely different.

Reason? What reason? I call it common sense. You should lend some of that reason to the white house and get us out of this mess we are in. Don;t blame Bush either. He may have had a part in it, but prez Obama the magnificant has had over a year to make a difference and he has – it’s worse and will continue to get worse until he learns economics and puts aside his childish social justice ideals that is killing this economy and the nation. Now, that’s reason.

When did this “fair and balanced” BS start? Could you imagine Woodward and Bernstein getting the “other side of the story”–“Well, Dick’s been under a lot of pressure, you know, what with Checkers refusing to be house-broken and then there was that incident in Meeting one Sabbath….”? Lauri Lebo really hit on this in her book, “The Devil in Dover”. Her editor wanted her to come up with something in favor of the school board in order to be “fair and balanced”. She refused stating that there wasn’t anything she could say in their favor. Too bad more journalists don’t follow her example.

MESSAGE BEGINS

That does it! Who spilled the beans about the Gay Unicorn Army?

Anyone?

I didn’t think so.

Looks like it’s time for some purges up here at Orbital HQ.

Cindy, get me my Thranzor . . .

MESSAGE ENDS

Lord Draconis Zeneca, VC, iH7L
PharmaCOM Orbital HQ
0010101101001

You should check gimpy and the quackometer today – much joy at the House of Commons select report on homeopathy.

Of course, gay marriage is an issue where the MSM could do a little better job of debunking some of the lies on one of the sides, too… It is not “balanced” to act like there is any chance whatsoever of, say, clergy being forced to perform marriages they disapprove of!

Yeah, the House of Commons Report was very hard on woomeisters.

The one-line takeaway: “Don’t sell sugar pills as medicine.”

“Also, how do you know dinosaurs were cold blooded? Have you met one? ”

Well the dinosaurs that were reptiles were cold blooded. have you ever seen a warm blooded reptile? Triceratops does not exactly fit the category of dinosaur as we may think. Look at its hoofs. It has hoofs – its feet is more like an elephant or rhino than an actual lizard. Personally jusdjing from it’s appearance it probably was warm blooded and was more related to a rhino. I suppose we could summons marco polo since he witnessed one in China.

Velociraptor is a joke. Of course they might have been fierce little things but Jurrasic Park just Hollwoodized them. I am quite sure they were smart and effective hunters, but apparently not smart enough to avoid the human spear and tribesmen of that day. The ones that were left after the flood were eventually hunted into extiction except for a few whcih still remain today – allgators, komodo dragons, crocs, etc.

Before the flood animals did not fear humans as they do today. it was a totally different world. Humans and dinos could have easily cohabitated. Why not. We tame Lions, tigers, and bears. Oh my! We tame rhinos, hippos, and other dangerous game. Why not raptors, triceratops, and mastadon?

PZ Myers riding a triceratops does not count as taming one though. I am quite sure a living dino would still be more tame than that poll fornicator ever will be.

But Jenny McCarthy is a mom, an Autism Warrior Mom at that. That makes her far more qualified than any scientist who hasn’t had to deal with the agony of bringing up a child with no soul.

” bet you think High Fructose Corn Syrup is good for you, too.”

Yeah it’s good for you. Just like:

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
Sodium Flouride
Yellow #6
Aspartame
Aluminum
Mercury
Hydrogenated oil …

and the list goes on.

I’m pretty sure her kid is soulless because the vacuum created by Jenny’s own lack of soul sucked it out of him in utero.

Looks like Chris may have been eating food cooked in hydrogenated oil from an aluminum pan and afterwards ingested too much sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium flouride, and topped it off with a mercury laced vaccine. In others words, you are a retard. Not naturally, but as a byproduct of FDA approved food products. You can thank me, the taxpayer, now.

If it were up to me I would ban Sodium flouride, sodim lauryl sulfate, aluminum, and yellow # 6 from all products made in or imported into the USA. Of course we could just put the sodium flouride into the water of liberals and maybe eventually coax them into being our willing subjects for scientific experiments – like sending monkeys to Mars.

No I don’t like soap. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I stay away from ingesting sodium lauryl sulfate and especially sodium flouride. Maybe we should just get our own well and forget city water.

Oh so the scientists are the only ones that can say anything legitimate??? Like the scientists that first said smoking doesn’t cause cancer, HRT is okay, thalidomide etc. I bet you think High Fructose Corn Syrup is good for you, too.

Oh and we should listen to the companies that have a captive market every time they come up with a new jab, can make billions of dollars, and have the protection of vaccine court. I’d love to have a product everyone HAD to have to attend school and the laws to protect me from being sued if it goes awry, woohoo!! Yeah I’d really protect that money making machine!

Yeah, those mommies don’t know anything, just coincidence – or a ‘anecdotal’ evidence, if their child perfect one day becomes autistic after a shot. Yeah if you’re not a scientist you just have no right to talk about it!

@peedoff

The following is predicated on the assumption that you are not a troll, which is somewhat doubtful when you consider the number of tired, debunked arguments (and straw men) you crammed into 3 paragraphs.

First, you are confusing “science” and “scientists”. Scientists are subject to the same flaws, biases, and mistakes that any other human person is. I personally know a bunch of scientists, and most of them are about as infallible as the “pulling out” method of birth control. When a scientist says something, it’s appropriate to assume that they could be wrong.

SCIENCE, however, is simply the objective description of facts. It is the observation and reporting of what happens in the world. When science says something is a certain way, it means that it has been observed to be so, with all other plausible explanations accounted for. Science allows large margins of error before drawing a conclusion. Science is dependent on the idea that a number of different people can make the same observations in the same way and find similar outcomes.

So when one scientist, or one mommy, or one former actress say something and provide no evidence of its truth, you are absolutely right to question. However, when a number of different people make the same observations, AND CONTROL FOR OTHER EXPLANATIONS (where the anti-vaccine movement falls short), then it’s not a belief statement or a maxim – it’s a fact.

Case in point – your own examples of smoking, HRT, thalidomide. It wasn’t mommies who announced those things weren’t safe. It wasn’t HRT patients who blamed their cancer on hormones, or smokers who blamed cigarettes for their COPD. It was science. The independent observations of a number of observers found the truth and turned around the present understanding of these issues. You seem to be comfortable with that process until it comes to something you don’t agree with. When a number of independent observers find, over several years in many different countries, no support for the conjecture that vaccines cause autism, you balk and make wild, unproven (and fundamentally unprovable) statements of collusion and protectionism.

Your argument that scientists are the only ones who can speak intelligently about issues is unfounded. It is simply a coincidence that when scientists speak they use science to support their statements. Jenny McCarthy could be right too if she simply used science. She chooses not to, which makes her opinion essentially worthless.

This next comment is predicated on the fact that you ARE, in fact, a forum troll: please die in a fire.

peeoff, you are probably right about mommies. It might have been a mommy who kept insisting that the company trying to market thalidomide in the USA actually provide data. Though I don’t know if Dr. Kelsey had any children by then, though she did get a presidential award for preventing the tragedies that occurred elsewhere from happening in the USA.

Oh, wait… didn’t you know that some mommies are also doctors and scientists?

No wonder we have problems with science given the patent ignorance of people like peedoff.

Firstly, there is no such thing as ‘anecdotal evidence’. There are ‘anecdotes’, which are stories based on nothing other than hearsay and gossip. Then there is ‘evidence’, which has data and facts to support it.

Secondly, just because you think your child is perfect one day and then you think they are autistic the day after a ‘shot’ does not mean the ‘shot’ caused it. There is such a thing as causality, and you need to be able to demonstrate it if you are to make claims on issues such as this. Are these people so stupid that they think that if one thing follows another, then the first event must have caused the second? In any case, there is no evidence to show that the autism suddenly arose after the vaccination, with no preceding signs or symptoms at all. Where the children tested before and after the shot? Of course not.

But of course, what would scientists know about such matters? All they do is conduct trials, examine evidence, exclude outside factors and biases, and analyse the results. Jenny McCarthy is obviously much more qualified to comment because she has appeared naked on the internet and had children.

To forestall an argument over a hole in my analogy in #11:

Yes I realize that HRT and thalidomide (and sure, let’s say smoking too) was researched because of patient concerns and advocacy, and that women had to push hard for their concerns to be heard. However, even in these cases, while scientists may have been wrong, the SCIENCE ultimately stood behind the truth.

The autism/vaccine has been subjected to this exact same process. If you think companies didn’t make big money off of thalidomide, smoking and hormone replacement, you’re nuts. And yet, despite the apparently ubiquitous and impenetrable conspiracy by Big Pharma, the science still came through for these medicines. However, the science has resoundingly found that vaccines aren’t responsible for anything close to the precipitous rise in the number of reported cases. Even the rosiest picture one could paint is that there’s a vanishingly small number of kids (well below the oft-quoted 1/150) who are predisposed to have some kind of neurological reaction to some kinds of vaccines. Hardly the smoking gun.

Galileo was right and smoking causes cancer and surgeons should was their hands ergo vaccines cause autism because it hasn’t been proven.

Lord Draconis Zeneca, VC, iH7L
PharmaCOM Orbital HQ
0010101101001

It was not I lord. I was with Cindy at the orgasm station from 2002 A.D. thru 2009 A.D. earth time.

Bell Crank Blasphrom, VA, iH5L
PharmCOM Orbital substation

I believe Holiday Inn addressed this issue in a few national commercials.
Did you do any university research in graduate school, go to Med school, take biology or microbiology or even go to college?

No, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn last night…

one minor point: Cracked.com isn’t really mainstream media. They consistently show a sceptical and scientific bent to their humour – this is not really news.

Johnson B. Long (one very wishful ‘nym!):

Just think. This statement about “science” comes from a person who still thinks we all came from monkeys through a process called evolution. Now, that is truly a funny story.

Not even wrong. And the idiocy gets worse in the following paragraphs.

Seriously, dude, you should stop when you are ahead. Unless that was a Poe.

Johnny B. Long is absolutely right! There’s a bunch of scientific nonsense that doesn’t stand up to common sense. Oh yeah I’m soooo sure that the world is made up to really really little tiny particles that just somehow magically stick together and make up all of matter. Suuuuure!

Or the Big Newton conspiracy about so-called “gravity”. The Earth pulls me down to the ground because it’s flat and I’m heavy, not because of some irresistible “force” pulling all objects in the universe toward each other. Baloney!

And don’t even get me STARTED on all the so-called “science” that makes it possible for me to have a computer and the internet so that I can write about my half-baked assertions about what constitutes good science! That’s all a bunch of BS too!

Who exactly are “you libs”? I didn’t realize this was a political blog. Science and reason do not fall only on some particular range along a political spectrum. I imagine there are clear thinkers, who recognize the primacy of logic and thought over pure gut instinct and whose knowledge of human history leads them to the correct conclusion that “common sense” is often wrong, of all political stripes here.

What type of “conservative” are you? Something tells me anyone who picks the handle “Johnson B. Long” while claiming social conservative status is probably dealing with a number of internal contradictions and hypocrisies.

Maybe Chris is right: Poe?

Hmmm… you actually posted something from Apologetics Press as evidence.

News flash: religion != science. Plus the first sentence in that article is also “not even wrong.” Abiogenesis != evolution. Just so you know.

(note: != means does not equal)

yeah, people like Julie fucking Gerberding and Paul fucking prOffit should BE the panel because they are sooooo unbiased.$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

MESSAGE BEGINS

I have had enough of this insubordination! First the Unicorn leak (and yes, you’re off the hook Blasphrom), but now it appears that the techs in the lab have clearly been nipping at the vat froth. Really, Johnson B. Long? What, Biggus Dickus wasn’t available? The idiots didn’t think you’d catch on instantly? And using the prideful stupidity program? Really, my minions need subtlety and at least a semblance of intelligence in their Countermeasure drones.

Heads will continue to roll. Looks like this Galactic Pharma Despot picked the wrong week to stop slithing Xha’atarthneq. Do I have to do everything around here . . .

MESSAGE ENDS

Lord Draconis Zeneca, VC, iH7L
PharmaCOM Orbital HQ
0010101101001

To the contrary, I think awareness about vaccines and associated risks is on the rise. Bill Mayer, Robert Kennedy and a lot of others are out there informing the public. Also you have new outlets, like Huffington Post which is working to spread awareness. The grip of the one sided media is faltering.

My vote is Poe.

When challenged in life I often fall back upon the greatest teacher of life lessons I have yet to encounter: Tabletop RPGs, especially Dungeons and Dragons.

So an infestation of trolls, eh? Only two things kill trolls – fire OR acid! But these are flaming trolls, fire trolls, one of the rare and dangerous subtypes of these ubiquitous menaces.

Acid is the only way to make certain that they stay dead.

Cracked dot com dishes out the acid, this is true. One of my old-time favorites was “shit you wouldn’t believe is an actual lame conspiracy.”

But you trolls are of a particularly weak stock. “evolution is a… satanic lie AT BEST!” What’s worse, really?

Confusing evolution with abiogenesis and the big bang – classic Ray Comfort level bulshytt there. (Apologies to Neil Stephenson) it’s amazing that someone like johnson B long (not too big to fail) still gets out ye olde arguments about “oh a fish can never be a mammal!”

Well no shit. Masterful job debating a point only you yourself made. Self debate. Creationists are great at it. Masters. Of self-debate.

Perhaps a bit of reading would help?

You guys GOT NOTHIN’ – “oh it’s a conspiracy, the proof is that there is no evidence!” “Oh it’s a plot by the debil!” “OMG I saw a thing it has to be a chupacabra!”

Congratulations for shouting at yourself, telling yourself you are correct. Keep it up, this shit is comedy gold for people like cracked. Comedy. Gold.

You can tell that people don’t quite get the whole “let’s not ask the idiots” idea: Of course it’s only evolution is true vs. not true. AGW or NOT. Vaccines (right up there with anesthesia and sterile operating theaters) vs. PLAGUE. No room for nuance, no room for discerning, detailed viewpoints. Yes or no. Idiots or not. Makes for a great 12 second TV spot. Fails at information.

That shit is comedy in a can. Keep up the good work.

Bruce:

Bill Mayer, Robert Kennedy and a lot of others are out there informing the public.

Fail. Or sarcasm. But I vote for fail, since he did he misspelled “Maher.”

Are we really supposed to get science from a comic?

And if you need medical information do you actually go to a lawyer?

#10 Peedoff wrote:

Oh so the scientists are the only ones that can say anything legitimate??? Like the scientists that first said smoking doesn’t cause cancer, HRT is okay, thalidomide etc. I bet you think High Fructose Corn Syrup is good for you, too.

#16 Ian wrote:

Yes I realize that HRT and thalidomide (and sure, let’s say smoking too) was researched because of patient concerns and advocacy, and that women had to push hard for their concerns to be heard.

Actually, NONE of the above were researched due to patient concerns and advocacy. The correlation between smoking and cancer was discovered by clinicians when the general public had no idea it was harmful (excluding the wowsers who jumped at any chance to get rid of smoking, but they didn’t identify cancer as a risk). Going from the correlation to robust proof of the link was complicated (and engendered several of our modern approaches to statistics, as correlation does not equal causation), but the research showed that smoking caused (a proportion) of cancers, especially lung cancer. The tobacco companies fought back, trying to obscure the link but the main point is that research on tobacco smoking and cancer was started by clinical researchers and carried on by other scientists, rather than patient advocates lobbying in the teeth of scientific resistance.

To give a feel how much public opinion on smoking has changed, in one of the debates over eugenics, it was claimed that it would be a bad idea to give government the ability to regulate the number of children one had, otherwise the government could start telling you not to smoke!

Thalidomide toxicity to foetuses was also found by clinicians, not by patient advocates. Thalidomide toxicity only occurred if it was taken during a limited time in pregnancy (which is why it wasn’t picked up in routine toxicity tests, where it was very safe), and it only picked up by acute clinical observers. Thalidomide was withdrawn almost immediately the study results were published (patient advocates were important in getting compensation though).

HRT is more complicated because there are a number of different protocols called “HRT” and the involvement of advocacy groups multifaceted.

HRT in its various forms was in fact supported by many feminists and female physicians, although another group objected to the medicalization of menopause. The surprising finding that long term HRT increased, rather than decreased cardiovascular risk led to wide spread abandonment of HRT, but again, the research on HRT and cardiovascular events was not initiated by patient advocates claiming that HRT increased heart attacks.

Oh yes, high fructose corn syrup is no more dangerous than any other sugar.

Sodium lauryl sulfate? You don’t like soap? Boy, I’m glad this is an online, rather than in-person, conversation.

Go away. Adults are talking.

Thanks to Johnson B. Long for demonstrating so vividly why it’s pointless to ask idiots about science.

Johnny B. Wrong, sodium fluoride occurs naturally in much of the western USA ground water (“A 2008 U.S. Geological Survey study found that 4% of sampled wells had natural fluoride levels above the EPA Secondary Maximum Contaminant Level (SMCL) of 2 mg/L.”). Some cities actually remove some of it to get it down to levels that do not cause Colorado Brown Stain.

You seem to lack lots of basic knowledge. You obviously never graduated from high school. Perhaps you should consider taking some Adult Basic Education classes at your local community college. Those are the ones that are suggested for those who cannot pass the community college placement tests.

Johnson B Long @ 37:

Well the dinosaurs that were reptiles were cold blooded. have you ever seen a warm blooded reptile?

Loggerhead sea turtles, which are actually from a much more ancient line than lizards, dinosaurs, crocodiles and birds, produce a significant amount of internal heat, which facilitates their deep sea pelagic lifestyle.

Triceratops does not exactly fit the category of dinosaur as we may think. Look at its hoofs. It has hoofs – its feet is more like an elephant or rhino than an actual lizard.

Triceratops did not have hooves. For that matter, neither do elephants. (Rhinos do, though, like most ungulates.)

Velociraptor is a joke. Of course they might have been fierce little things but Jurrasic Park just Hollwoodized them.

You can say that again! Jurassic Park was ridiculous. It made Velociraptor huge (bigger than even Deinonychus, a larger dromaeosaurid) and Dilophosaurus tiny (they were actually quite large apex predators, not dinky little venom spitters).

I am quite sure they were smart and effective hunters, but apparently not smart enough to avoid the human spear and tribesmen of that day. The ones that were left after the flood were eventually hunted into extiction except for a few whcih still remain today – allgators, komodo dragons, crocs, etc.

Uh . . . no. Humans never hunted Velociraptor; Velociraptor was long gone by the time of Noah. (Or Utnapishtim. Take your pick.) Even most crocodilians were gone by the time of Man. (You wouldn’t believe how diverse the crocodilians once were!) Alligators and crocodiles are not descended from dinosaurs; they evolved on a parallel branch, another line of archosaurs, emerging from the crurotarsans in the late Cretaceous. Komodo dragons, however, come from an older line — squamates (lizards and snakes), which emerged in the Triassic.

I do note that you have entirely disregarded the most ancient surviving reptile family of all: the chelonians. They are the only surviving anapsid reptiles, and they are the turtles and the tortoises.

Before the flood animals did not fear humans as they do today. it was a totally different world. Humans and dinos could have easily cohabitated. Why not. We tame Lions, tigers, and bears. Oh my! We tame rhinos, hippos, and other dangerous game. Why not raptors, triceratops, and mastadon?

Really? Humans and animals lived in harmony before the Flood? Forget science — where’s your Scriptural basis for that? You may be confusing the story of the explusion from Eden. Maybe your attention span is so short that you lose track between chapters 3 and 6. In chapter 5, Noah’s father talks about how great this boy will be because he’ll give them joy while working the land that God has cursed. Harmony? Nah. And then there’s this in chatper 6: 11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence.

I really don’t think that humans would be killing each other and also living in perfect harmony with Nature. Also, God is apparently okay with people killing animals for food and clothing, as He gave Adam and Eve clothes made of animal skins.

I’m sorry, Johnson B Long, but your views do not even make sense within the framework of Christianity. Truthfully, I can accept a person choosing to believe that the Bible is literally true, as long as they show they’ve actually read the thing. Me? I think God gave us brains for a reason. Look at the first three chapters of Genesis. Where did we go wrong? When we ate the fruit of knowledge of good and evil — that’s a metaphor for our dogged belief that we *know* things absolutely. We make judgments. “This is true. This is not.” We get in serious trouble then, because that’s when we deceive ourselves. That’s when Satan is at work. Only God has the perspective to truly know these things. When we start thinking we can do it ourselves, that is when we start to do evil. The ultimate sin is not murder. It’s pride. Everything else comes from that, including murder. (Which is why Jesus said you could boil the whole of the Law down to two things: love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. Do those two things, really do them, and you have set aside your pride.)

That’s where science comes in. Science isn’t about refuting God or other nonsense. It’s about asking questions and not trusting ourselves with the answers. When done right, it is the best defense we have against our own pride. When our pride takes over, that is when we are most likely to forget God, and ironically, that is also when we fear science the most.

I’m a Christian. I believe passionately in Christ. That’s why I get so sad when I see someone advocating willful ignorance in His name.

Actually, JBL, I like a little bit of sodium with my flour, especially in a good pie crust, but I never thought of calling it sodium flour-ide?!?!

As I recall from my brief research on fluoridation a month or so ago, the level of fluoride in the soil and, presumably, the ground water as well is higher in California and most of the southwest. So, as someone who thinks deeply about these things, do you get your ground water from the “liberal northeast”? Or do you just drink distilled water to preserve the purity of your bodily fluids?

Anyway, please forgive me for amusing myself by throwing in a little personal anecdote, but it does sort of go along with the general tone of this comment thread.

Many years ago I worked during the summer to earn money to help pay for college by working in an oil refinery doing cleanup/maintenance on various processing units in the refinery. One unit used fluorine gas for some reaction as part of the process and occasionally it would release extra pressure and vent some of the fluorine into the atmosphere. (I would be surprised if the EPA lets them get away with that now, but this was a while ago.) Occasionally, we would detect a whiff of the gas. I still remember the smell. It was a little bit like chlorine, but even more acrid. Anyway…

“I love the smell of fluorine in the morning. It smells like… It smells like… Earning money to go to college!”

Johnny

Not sure if you are still around, but if so could you help me out with a couple of things about the flood.

Firstly, I was wondering what Noah built all the fish tanks out of so the fish didn’t die in the flood.

Secondly, as I am Australian, I have always wanted to know how the koalas managed to get back to Australia after they got off the ark.

Could you help?

Thanks for the link, Chris.

I am pretty sure there is a map hiding somewhere in the references on the CDC website, but I couldn’t find it earlier and my browser is being uncooperative tonight.

Calli,

I sometimes forget that one can be a believer AND accept the uncomfortable truths science brings to light. Perhaps it is because in this day and age truth and loudness seem inversely related and that loud sells better. Thank you for your posts.

TGM

I found a map some where else, but it was kind of spotty. I think there is some fluoride info at the EPA. But there are definitely high levels throughout the west, usually in the dryer parts.

One link I found was about high levels in the interior of British Columbia, with some other areas of high content on Vancouver Island.

Well water often has funky stuff in it. Many, many, many years ago we visited the Napa Valley in California. We stayed in Calistoga, which is famous for its hot springs. The swimming pool and jacuzzi used the naturally hot water from those springs. Only one problem, they smelled of sulfur!

Well, okay. It was natural spring water, we could always wash it off in the shower. Until we found out that all the water came from the same source, and the shower spraying small droplets made the smell even more intense!

Also, I think with amusement at the libertarian outcry against fluoride which is very common in Colorado water. I remember that in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged the heroes’ self contained place to get away from the lower functioning folk was Colorado. (I read it over twenty-five years ago, and I mostly remember lots of silly stuff like the female protagonist becoming enamored with the guy who rapes her in the first chapter. Gag! I doubt Johnny B. Wrong has read anything that long, nor even anything that did not have more pictures than words.)

I think God gave us brains for a reason. Look at the first three chapters of Genesis. Where did we go wrong? When we ate the fruit of knowledge of good and evil — that’s a metaphor for our dogged belief that we *know* things absolutely

So since it’s a metaphor there is no original sin- awesome.

Me? I think God gave us brains for a reason.

Then you say the following:

1. He gave Adam and Eve clothes made of animal skins.(In the metaphor)

2. We make judgments. “This is true. This is not.” We get in serious trouble then, because that’s when we deceive ourselves. That’s when Satan is at work.

3.It’s about asking questions and not trusting ourselves with the answers.

Bullshit- science is about finding answers to real problems in the real world. Not make believe. It is done by people who find real answers. For someone who says God gave you a brain you are not using it much.

JBL makes me laugh and baby Jesus cry.

Troll or Poe? I’m betting on Poe. He’s smacktarded, for sure, but too facking funny to be the real deal. Also he employs decent grammar & spelling and hasn’t yet unleashed the fury of CAPS LOCK.

He also argues like, well, every creationist caricature I’ve ever seen which leads me to believe he’s read a few science blogs – which would therefore make him a non-creationist. Creationists don’t actually read science blogs: they certainly hurl comments at science blogs like so much chimpanzee faeces but they only actually *read* posts on Answers In Genesis.

Plus, I mean, come on: he called PZ Myers a “poll fornicator”! ROFL! Any Pharynguloid would know PZ would love being called that.

Well played JBL, you can come out now.

Bullshit- science is about finding answers to real problems in the real world. Not make believe. It is done by people who find real answers. For someone who says God gave you a brain you are not using it much.

JimC, totally uncalled for. Calli is a frequent poster here and makes excellent contributions. It’s too bad your atheist rage precluded you from understanding her point. And I’m an atheist.

I still don’t know if Johnson is a Poe. All this talk of fluoridation, but no overt references to Dr Strangelove yet? I would have dropped a “precious bodily fluids” hours ago. At the very least, he’s a strong-willed Poe.

Also, how have we not coined a term for alt-med Poe-ing? I still maintain that it deserves its own term.

Whatever, Calli is still scary smart. I may have strayed into lapsed Catholic land, but there are still several who believe in both the theology and the science.

In big example is Ken Miller. Perhaps you have heard of him, he gave some very interesting testimony at the Dover trial while wearing a neck tie made from a mouse trap with parts removed. What makes it more important is that he is a faithful Christian.

What Calli Arcale writes is always worth reading. You may not agree with it, but you cannot dismiss it out of hand.

The irony is that I have heard some say that in order to guarantee their children are taught evolution and proper biology they needed to send their children to a Catholic parochial school. That is because they could not be assured of a good biology background in their local public high school (which can depend on the teacher, while my oldest son got a good class from a teacher who used Ken Miller’s book, my younger son opted to take his biology class at the community college because that teacher had left and the remaining teachers were worthless… fortunately that has changed and my daughter has a very good biology teacher).

Thank you for your post,Calli; whether or not I agree with the theological aspects I always find something I wished I said or something worth serious consideration.

“…What Calli Arcale writes is always worth reading. You may not agree with it, but you cannot dismiss it out of hand….”

Yeah I can. Anyone who talks about the possibility of accepting that the bible may be literally true, or that god gave us brains, or ‘satan’s work’, or ‘only god has the perspective to truly know these things’, thoroughly deserves to be dismissed out of hand.

Such comments have no place on a science blog, and are truly, scarily, delusional.

How is the research into the causes of stupidity going? Any possible treatment avenues? Is there hope for idiots like Johnson B. Long and Peedoff?

I’m still a bit of a n00b at these blog thingies.

Can someone please tell me what a “poe” is?

If you think companies didn’t make big money off of thalidomide, smoking and hormone replacement, you’re nuts. And yet, despite the apparently ubiquitous and impenetrable conspiracy by Big Pharma, the science still came through for these medicines.

The tobacco industry execs were incompetents who didn’t know how to successfully run a conspiracy. And Big Pharma let the dangers of thalidomide and hormone replacement come to light, to make it look like they couldn’t cover things up.

@#64 Jarred C

Thanks for that. I did have a quick look around the interweb, but I thought “poe” was an acronym and didn’t get far. Well, that and all the side-tracking into Edgar Allen…

“Not sure if you are still around, but if so could you help me out with a couple of things about the flood.

Firstly, I was wondering what Noah built all the fish tanks out of so the fish didn’t die in the flood.

Secondly, as I am Australian, I have always wanted to know how the koalas managed to get back to Australia after they got off the ark.

Could you help?”

—————-

Absolutely.

1) Why would fish need tanks with the whole world covered in water?

2) After the flood the world climate changed dramatically. There was an ice age that followed. I assume that Koalas got stranded in Austrailia after the ice melted away. Also, at this time All continents would have been closer together since the flood is the cause of them seperating to start with. After the anials exited the ark and went their own way, some got trapped on land masses that became islands and continents after the ice age ended and the continents slowed their drift.

Anything else I can do for you?

“Really? Humans and animals lived in harmony before the Flood? Forget science — where’s your Scriptural basis for that?”

————–

2 The fear and dread of you will fall upon all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon every creature that moves along the ground, and upon all the fish of the sea; they are given into your hands. 3 Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.

Genesis 9:2-3

Animals did not fear man before this and also man did not eat the flesh of animals before. In the beginning before sin entered into the world, all animals were plant eaters. there was no death. Read Genesis 1-9 for a more accurate account. Read it as it is written, not figuratively.

If you had asked any tobacco company executive in 1965 whether smoking really caused cancer they would have laughed at you. He (in 1965 they were all he’s) would have said I’ve smoked for twenty five years, hasn’t done me any harm. Would he or she laugh at you today?

Didn’t thalidomide wake you up? How about Thiomersal? Move on a few years and think about Omniscan! How about DDT? Has anyone explained why it was completely and silently withdrawn from garden stores? Blue asbestos? Would industry volunteer for the guardroom over any of these things? Of course not, the pharmaceutical industry will pull any trick in the book including dud science, phoney statistics, hired hands with MDs after their names and even venerable science publications to protect themselves from multi billion dollars worth of lawsuits.
Tony Bateson, Oxford, UK.

Bob (12:04)

I tried at 11:14, but JBL hasn’t been back. Maybe he lives on the other side of the world and the sun came up.

As for Poe vs troll, he would have to be a really dedicated parodist to keep coming back that much. However, trolls seem to live for that, so that is my guess.

As for religious references, I think it can be useful to try to understand the basis for someone else’s point of view and use that to explain things to them. Unlike P.Z. Myers and others of similar bent, I prefer to concentrate on the science, pro and con, and leave the religious disagreements to Sunday School class and the conscience of the believer. I decided long ago that I didn’t believe that God created the universe as a cosmic lie and until someone can reasonably suggest an experiment to measure how many seconds ago the universe burst into existence looking exactly as if it had been around for 13 or 14 billion years or so, that is the way I choose to bet.

@Tony Bateson

Not a big fan of reading, are we?

All of your faux-knowledge there just goes to further underscore the whole point – that assertions made by individuals are essentially worthless. No, you can’t trust a tobacco executive (and be careful when you’re smoking not to burn down that enormous straw man you’ve put up there), or a scientist or journal with the company in their pocket. That’s what’s known as an appeal to authority, and any skeptic worth his/her salt learns that’s fallacious reasoning on day… I dunno, let’s say 4. That’s why reproducibility is a central plank of science. It’s also why you need to have some basic understanding about what you’re talking about before vomiting out a half-formed opinion if you want people to take you seriously.

What Calli Arcale writes is always worth reading.

Absolutely NOT.

While I appreciate and enjoy Calli’s comments here about science matters, but she has in the past jumped in with completely baseless religious comments that are ascientific. When that has happens, she has been criticized.

No one is sacred.

And your complaint about letting atheism cloud the discussion, when it comes down to it, science right now is absolutely atheistic. While there is room for god/gods in science, there is no basis for them (despite IDist claims). So I find it very funny that you would use “atheist” as a grounds for complaint. That’s science.

I can never understand how people who have absolutely no knowledge of evolution beyond “they said we come from monkeys” thinks they have any basis on which to criticize it. Evolution is beautiful in it’s complexity, but also amazing in the simplicity of the forces that drive it and it can take a lot of brain wrangling to really “get it” (though the basic concepts make perfectly good sense to a lot of people, mostly those not brainwashed from birth to reject it). I have studied creationism in depth and found it wanting. Most of literature is dishonest, ignorant of the basic science which it claims supports it, and dismissive of the mountains of evidence which contradict it while focussing on small inconsistencies (which scientists are also focussed on, only as a source of inquiry instead of dismissal). They also demand impossible testing (show something evolving in the lab) while dismissing the kind of testing they don’t like (if we see structure X in time period 1 and structure Z in time period 3, we should see structure Y in time period 2) and continue to trot out long-debunked ‘evidence’ to support their points. It does not resemble science in the least, and has much more in common with propaganda.

Creationists:

Explain the fossil record. Any part of it. The fantastically ordered fossils that occur in a logical, structural continuum throughout the strata of the earth. How about the fact that it correlates beautifully with radioactive dating, physiological developments, genetic markers, geologic history, etc? To think that WE are the ones being accused of beliving in impossible coincidences and random chance… feh!

Don’t ask us to explain evolution because plenty of more competent people already have, and you’ve chosen to ignore them for an oversimplified view that fits your belief system. Why should we believe that we could penetrate the fog of ignorance that surrounds you?

While I appreciate and enjoy Calli’s comments here about science matters, but she has in the past jumped in with completely baseless religious comments that are ascientific. When that has happens, she has been criticized.

Regardless, this is not one of those times. Calli is criticizing JBL’s pronouncements within a framework he claims to ascribe to – Christianity. Her criticisms of his claims are valid from that standpoint.

Whether or not her religious beliefs are scientifically valid is another subject entirely. There is some value in showing JBL is wrong even within his own belief system, considering he is so much more wrong within realityville.

Tony Bateson: “If you had asked any tobacco company executive in 1965 whether smoking really caused cancer they would have laughed at you.

Probably not, since the first Surgeon General’s warning on smoking came out in 1964. Whatever the tobacco company execs were doing, it certainly wasn’t laughing.

Didn’t thalidomide wake you up?

How exactly? Our FDA refused to license it as a drug. The decision was based on good science – or more precisely, the lack of good studies demonstrating safety.

How about Thiomersal?

What about thimerosal? No health problems as a result of its use as a preservative have been demonstrated.

If your point in parading these strawmen is to show that on any given subject we should avoid science in favor of the caterwauling of idiots, then you’re less than convincing.

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