Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The contest is over. I Win the Scotch! Kristine the Belly Dancing Librarian wins the Chocolate!

What I had hoped for was like:

Lies, and gross errors of fact:

Transcript from Think Progress, "At the risk of drawing this out, which I hate to do(1), but I do know, as Rep. Dunn has mentioned, that I was taught things in science class in high school which have turned out not to be true.(14) I remember so many of us when we were seniors in high school, we gave up Aqua Net hairspray. You remember why we did that? Because it was causing global warming(2 a,b,c)! That aerosol in those cans(3) was causing global warming(4). Since then, scientists have said(5) maybe we shouldn’t have given up that aerosol can because that aerosol was actually absorbing(6) the earth’s rays(7) and keeping us from global warming(8).

So, so many things we learned in science class(14) have turned out not to be true.

What about eating chocolate? You know, I was told, don’t eat chocolate(9). Good dark chocolate is full of what? Anti-oxidants!(10) Some chocolate is good for you. So many things that we learned in science class.(14, and she flunked English too).

What this bill does is protects a teacher(11) — not mandates what a teacher teaches — it protects a teacher when a child asks a critical thought question about something like global warming or evolution(12). They have the right to ask that question, and the teacher has the right to not make them feel stupid for asking(13)!"

(1) She does not mind drawing things out at all,
(2 a, b, c) a, She was apparently a HS senior in the late 1960s (we are the same age); global warming was not yet considered an issue, the only possible issue was ozone depletion. b, Ozone depletion was not an issue in the late 1960s. c, CFCs used as propellants are weak greenhouse gases and had negligible effect on global warming.
(3) There is no aerosol in the cans, the aerosol is produced in the can’s nozzle.
(4) The hairspray contents, polyurethane, acetone, and CFCs, of the cans didn’t contribute directly to warming.
(5) “Scientists” have not said anything she has mentioned, or is about to mention.
(6) The hairspray aerosol (misted plastic) sprayed on girl’s hair does not absorb global warming “rays.”
(7) The Earth does not have global warming “rays.”
(8) Neither the hair spray components, nor the generated aerosol contribute to cooling. There are aerosols, like clouds, that do. Clouds are not like hairspray.
(9) I doubt this woman was told not to eat chocolate in science class because she seems to have never attended a science class.
(10) “Although a bar of chocolate exhibits strong antioxidant activity, the health benefits are still controversial because of the saturated fats present,” *1
(11) Teachers are already protected, and expected to teach “critical” thinking, and what is a “critical thought problem?” (Two alternating hypothesis left Philadelphia …).
(12) The bill is to teach creationism, and the bitch knows it.
(13) Teachers don’t need to be “protected” from “not making a child feel stupid.” A pattern of making a child “feel stupid” is abuse.
(14) Ms. Butt learned nothing in science class. Nothing a teacher could do would have prevented Ms. Butt form being stupid, regardless of how she feels about it. She does not seem to realize she is stupid, but she isn’t in school anymore (worse the luck).

*1 “Cocoa Has More Phenolic Phytochemicals and a Higher Antioxidant Capacity than Teas and Red Wine.” J. Agric. Food Chem., 2003, 51 (25), pp 7292–7295

Friday, April 15, 2011

Rep. Butt of Tennessee on Global Warming

I want to commend Brad Johnson for collecting this clip, and send him some traffic at Think Progress.

I thought that it would be fun to have a contest on how many errors of fact are in Ms. Butt's load.

The format I thought up is in three parts; a "bidding" phase where we can put up the number, 4, 5, 6, etc... The second phase will be the highest bidder listing the errors they see, and the third will be a "wild card" prize if anyone can add extra errors in addition to the high bidder. The First Place winner gets the traditional bottle of single malt Scotch (I have a brand in mind). The Wild Card prize should be a box of chocolate full of anti-oxidants.

This is SOOOOO STUPIDDDDD that I cannot bring my self to break it down. Maybe after some beers.

Monday, April 11, 2011

An amended "Emergence of New Species"

I added the following bit to my list of Emergecne of new species.

The former “Answers in Genesis” gang claims they have found a problem with using O. gigas as an example of polyploidal speciation. There are so many good examples of new species emerging, both in the wild, and in laboratories, that I would not want to use one that is incorrect.

The notorious creationist website “Creation Ministries,” disputes O. gigias as a valid example of polyplodial speciation. (Feedback, March 31, 2007 “Speciation Observed? Was this Evolution?” As I have found them to be grossly wrong on many occasions, I also checked their citation list. The creationist claim that O. gigas is not an example of speciation has only two supports; an article in 1943, and that they did not find botanical materials named O. gigias in on-line Botanical nomenclature reference collections. Oenothera names are a mess, but not as bad as Asteracea. O. gigias was apparently found to be a synonym, and is disused. This is trivial, and does nothing to change using the spontaneous emergence of the tetraploidal new species.

The “Creation Ministries International” phonies also cited a 1943 plant genetics article, “An amphidiploid in the F1 generation from the cross Oenothera franciscana x Oenothera biennis, and its progeny” (Davis, B.M., Genetics 28(4):275–285, July 1943). It is available on-line in PDF at:

Read it for yourselves, if you like. It has nothing relevant to de Vries, or his O. gigias being used as valid examples of speciation. This is the sort of misrepresentation typical from professional creationists, who expect their followers to lack either the education, or motivation to actually dig through the science.

For a more recent review of the role polyplodial plants play in evolution, read;
"Duplicate genes increase expression diversity in closely related species and allopolyploids" Misook Haa, Eun-Deok Kima and Z. Jeffrey Chen, PNAS February 17, 2009 vol. 106 no. 7 2295-2300

And, here is a broader review on plant evolution and genome doubling that is also a bit easier to read;
"Genetic and epigenetic alterations after hybridization and genome doubling"
Ovidiu Paun, Michael F. Fay, Douglas E. Soltis, and Mark W. Chase, Taxon. 2007 August; 56(3): 649–56.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Responding to creationists in newspaper forums

For a few years now, I have spent part of every day searching for, and replying to creationists in US newspaper editorials, letters to the editor, and newspaper discussion groups. There are others who do the same, including creationists. I recently was replying to a ID creationists named Lee Bowman on a Tennessee news site Metro Pulse;

I am posting the following to Stones and Bones because I had to spend some time searching the Dover trial transcripts for material, and will probably need them again. The two topics are Mike Behe's claim that even though ID "design detection" doesn't work in archaeology, as he had claimed, it would still work in "science fiction." The second part is from his cross-examination where he admits that "astrology is science" under the logical rules he would use to make ID a science.

Lee Bowman claims that, “academic freedom is my passion.” I don’t know whether to laugh, or snarl. Come to think on it, snarl is more appropriate. Mr. Bowman is an advocate for teaching creationism in schools. He is also a sloppy thinker, and reader. (Alternately, he misrepresents other posts on purpose). For example, he dismissed the clear assertions of religious intent from all the major ID creationism leaders, say that they were out dated. For example, he claimed falsely that Phillip Johnson, and Paul Nelson admitted that there is no ID theory in 1996. This was (as I cited) in 2006 by Johnson, and 2004 by Nelson. Were these statements even older, no ID creationists have ever retracted their clear assertions of religious doctrinaire goals, and motivations for ID creationism.

Bowman then lies about Behe’s testimony in the Dover trial, asserting falsely that Behe was attempting humor. Here is the transcript;

Dover, Behe Cross Examination, Afternoon Day 12;

(Rothschild) Q. So if the strength of an inference depends on the similarities, this is a pretty weak inference, isn't it, Dr. Behe?

(Behe) A. No, I disagree completely. Again if something showed strong marks of design, and even if a human designer could not have made it, then we nonetheless would think that something else had made it. Lots of science fiction movies are based on scenarios like that, and again the, I think the similarities between what we find in designed objects in our everyday world and the complex molecular machinery of the cell have actually a lot more in common than do explosions we see on earth such as cannon balls and so forth and the explosion of an entire universe, and that induction seems to have been fairly successful in trying to explain some features of the world. So I think it's not at all uncalled for to make a similar induction in this case.

Q. Science fiction movies are not science, are they, Professor Behe?

A. That's correct, they are not. But they certainly try to base themselves on what their audience would consider plausible within the genre, so they can offer useful illustrations at some points, for some points.

Obviously, Behe is floundering in his self contradictions, and searching for an “out.”

And, regarding astrology, which Behe defended as a “science,” here is a relevant portion of that testimony.

Dover, Behe Cross Examination, Afternoon Day 11;
Q (Rothschild) And using your definition, intelligent design is a
16 scientific theory, correct?
17 A (Behe) Yes.
18 Q Under that same definition astrology is a
19 scientific theory under your definition, correct?
20 A Under my definition, a scientific theory is a
21 proposed explanation which focuses or points to physical,
22 observable data and logical inferences. There are many
23 things throughout the history of science which we now think
24 to be incorrect which nonetheless would fit that -- which
25 would fit that definition. Yes, astrology is in fact one,
1 and so is the ether theory of the propagation of light, and
2 many other -- many other theories as well.

And a moment later,

Q But you are clear, under your definition, the
7 definition that sweeps in intelligent design, astrology is
8 also a scientific theory, correct?
9 A Yes, that’s correct. And let me explain under my
10 definition of the word "theory," it is -- a sense of the
11 word "theory" does not include the theory being true, it
12 means a proposition based on physical evidence to explain
13 some facts by logical inferences. There have been many
14 theories throughout the history of science which looked good
15 at the time which further progress has shown to be
16 incorrect. Nonetheless, we can t go back and say that
17 because they were incorrect they were not theories.