Da roolz

Just a few notes to refresh people about policies at this website:

  1. If you’re a first-time poster, I have to approve your initial comment. This won’t necessarily be immediate, as it depends on my checking email.  After that, posting is automatic.
  2. If you have your own website, by all means give it in your comment, but not if it’s anonymous. (By this I mean don’t link to it through your name. It’s okay to link to anonymous websites in your text if they have something interesting to say.)  I don’t approve of people running “blogs” anonymously, so if you do so, please don’t link to your site.
  3. If you are religious, and profess that strongly in your post, it’s often my habit to ask you for evidence for what you believe.  (After all, I wrote a book on the evidence for evolution.)  Do not be offended at this; simply give a short list of the reasons why you’re so certain there’s a god.  And be prepared for others to dispute the evidence.
  4. Please do not tell me how to run the site.  That is, comments about “too many cats,” “too many boots,” “not enough biology,” “too much religion,” etc., are not welcome.  If you don’t like the mix of posts, simply go elsewhere.  By all means take issue with what I say, but don’t diss the mix.
  5. Please try to refrain from insulting other posters, no matter how misguided you think they are.  I don’t like name-calling, as it reduces whatever class this site has.  And while I don’t always catch it, I often send private emails to people asking them to refrain from personal insults, or reprove them on the site.
  6. If you find something that you think would interest readers, by all means send it to me.  My email is easily available via elementary Googling.  I can’t, of course, promise to use everything, but I do look at what people send me.
  7. Sometimes I miss posts, particularly ones that contain links, since those are held by WordPress.  I don’t always read every email that accompanies a post, so posts sometimes slip through the cracks.  Please don’t assume that your post was trashed, as I rarely do that (except from those sent by religious loonies or well known trolls). You might send me an email if you’re concerned.
  8. Be judicious about posting videos and very long comments.  I like good discussion, but essays are not on, particularly if you have your own website where you can post it.  Embedded videos are okay, but please think before posting: do they add to the discussion?
  9. UPDATE:  It’s a website, not a “blog”!
  10. UPDATE 2:  Due to a popular uprising, I’ve rescinded Rule 2.  For the record, though, I usually don’t approve of pseudonymous or anonymous blogging, as I think it reduces accountability for one’s views.

Finally, thanks for reading and contributing!

130 Comments

  1. Posted April 22, 2011 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Point 4: TOO MANY CATS! But I won’t tell you what to do, as you might also tell me what to do so I just complain under my breath and delete my email notification.

    Point 6: I searched for your email quite extensively and was only able to find the email of your publisher, to whom I wrote and asked to forward my message. I have no idea if you ever got it or not (Harun Yahya’s UK tour – Evolution, fact or fiction?)

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted April 22, 2011 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      Just Google my name and University of Chicago.

      And kindly keep your sentiments about cat abundance to yourself . . .

      • Posted April 22, 2011 at 7:41 am | Permalink

        No need to even include the University in the Google search.

        I tend to see it as a something of an intelligence test. If somebody’s looking to get a hold of you and can’t find your email address in the first three Google hits for your name…well….

        Cheers,

        b&

        • Posted April 22, 2011 at 7:47 am | Permalink

          I think it’s quite insulting to assume that someone not finding something is a sign of a lack of intelligence.

          The first 4 hits on my google do not contain pages with this email address. In addition to this the 4th link (University of Chicago) does have a contact link but only for media enquiries, giving the impression that Jerry does not want to give out his email address.

          • Posted April 22, 2011 at 8:23 am | Permalink

            <sigh />

            Search for “Jerry Coyne,” with or without the quotes, and the third link is for “Jerry Coyne, Ph.D. – University of Chicago.” The Google summary includes his phone number. Click on the link, and his email address immediately follows his Fax number.

            I mean, really?

            b&

            • daveau
              Posted April 22, 2011 at 9:37 am | Permalink

              I would also add that most Universities have a faculty directory on their websites.

              • Posted April 22, 2011 at 10:02 am | Permalink

                Hi Dave

                I’ve never been to university, so this would not be something I am aware of. Obviously this is not an indication of a lack of intelligence as I hope you will agree 🙂

              • daveau
                Posted April 22, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

                That’s fine. When I went to college, there were no such things as websites. 😉

            • Posted April 22, 2011 at 10:00 am | Permalink

              You see, you assume I am stupid and ignorant when in fact it is your own ignorance that is the problem. This may be the third link for you, but Google doesn’t give everyone the same list in the same order. The results Google gives are different for people based on factors such as which country they are in – so what might be obvious for you is not necessarily obvious for me.

              On my results page I have
              1: https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/
              (No email)

              2: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_Coyne
              (No email)

              3: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2011/apr/06/prize-mug-martin-rees-templeton
              (No email)

              4: http://jerrycoyne.uchicago.edu/about.html
              (No email)

              If Jerry wants people to have his email address I would expect it to be available either on his personal page (this blog) or his work address.

              The 4th link is a page hosted by Chicago University and does indeed contain a “Contact” link but it is for media purposes only, implying that Jerry indeed does not wish for his email address to be known.

              I did not proceed to look at other pages on the University of Chicago because I found the “About Jerry Coyne” page previously and the information I wanted was not there, and it is pretty standard practise to put contact information on “About” pages.

              From there I searched for Jerry’s publisher instead and asked for an email to be forwarded.

              Perhaps in future you should be more careful before accusing people of being deficient of intelligence, just in case you are mistaken?

            • Posted April 22, 2011 at 10:55 am | Permalink

              No, you are incorrect. The results you see depend on factors such as which country you are in.

              • Posted April 22, 2011 at 11:39 am | Permalink

                I’m sorry that I’ve ascribed incompetence to you that instead seems is Google’s. I was completely unaware that they play those sorts of games.

                I could understand queries such as “local pizza delivery” and “today’s weather” being modified based upon guesses about where the inquirer is located. But that they so clearly identified the right Jerry and then failed to turn up his UoC personal page? Inexcusable, bordering on inconceivable.

                Cheers,

                b&

              • daveau
                Posted April 22, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

                Google is completely crazy these days. It takes your entire search history into account to decide what you really mean. So, if you and the guy next to you have different search histories, you’re going to see different results for the same search. Plus, google is always trying to sell you something. You’d think “Jerry Coyne” would be straightforward, but it’s not. I hate when someone else (or a stupid machine) thinks it knows what I want better than I do.

              • Hempenstein
                Posted April 22, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

                Not needing his email, & only outta curiosity back in the early days of Google I once entered Jerry Coyne and I recall distinctly that 49 of the first 50 hits were to the one we all know. The outlier was a plumber somewhere in central PA (Really? A Jewish plumber? But then someone pointed out that there are Irish Coynes too.)

              • Posted April 23, 2011 at 4:59 am | Permalink

                Thank you for your apology.

                I don’t know how far Google has taken this “personal search results” idea, but if they implement the ideas I read they were considering (or already have) then it would mean that a creationist sees very different information from a “Darwinist” when searching for terms such as “Evolution” – giving an entirely false impression that “everyone seems to think it is false.”

  2. Posted April 22, 2011 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Not enough cats!

    Erm…sorry…I’ll come in again….

    b&

    • Posted April 22, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

      “b&”
      Is that pronounced “band” or “bampersand”?

      • Marta
        Posted April 23, 2011 at 8:41 am | Permalink

        🙂

      • Posted April 23, 2011 at 9:14 am | Permalink

        Actually, it’s my initials.

        The “b” should be obvious.

        The ampersand glyph is the same shape as a treble clef. The treble clef is also called the “G clef” because it designates the line for the G above middle C by circling it.

        Cheers,

        b&

      • Sven DiMilo
        Posted April 23, 2011 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        It’s always spelt “look at me!” afaict

      • Diane G.
        Posted April 23, 2011 at 11:15 am | Permalink

        Thank you for asking that! One of life’s greatest mysteries cleared up!

  3. marcel
    Posted April 22, 2011 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    More cowbell!

  4. CDubya
    Posted April 22, 2011 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    So if I complain that there are too many atheists does that equate to too many cats?

    • Posted April 22, 2011 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      Actually, cats aren’t atheists. They’re gods. You can’t be an atheist if you really are a god, you see. Unless, of course, you’re a nihilist, and cats are hedonists, not nihilists.

      Trust me. It makes as much sense as anything else in theology….

      Cheers,

      b&

      • whyevolutionistrue
        Posted April 22, 2011 at 8:32 am | Permalink

        I think cats are apathic agnostics: they just don’t give a damn and can’t be bothered to think about anything beyond their next nap and noms.

        • daveau
          Posted April 22, 2011 at 8:38 am | Permalink

          They’re just egocentric. Keeshu often reminds us: “I don’t care about anything that’s not about me.”

        • Posted April 22, 2011 at 8:56 am | Permalink

          And belly rubs! All cats thing about are naps, noms, and belly rubs.

          And chasing that feather on the end of the string.

          Sorry again. I’ll come in again again…..

          b&

          • Helen Wise
            Posted April 22, 2011 at 9:08 am | Permalink

            Have you met my cat, Evil? Because if you try to rub his belly, you’d better count your fingers when you’re done.

            • MikeAgain
              Posted April 22, 2011 at 9:31 am | Permalink

              I’ve got one of those too. She doesn’t want to give my hand back to me if it ever touches her tummy. But she does know my exact threshold of pain and skin breakage.

              • Helen Wise
                Posted April 22, 2011 at 9:33 am | Permalink

                Well, you’ve got that going for you.

                My cat will just leave you with a stump.

            • Posted April 22, 2011 at 10:08 am | Permalink

              I’m afraid I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting your Evil. It’d be an interesting experiment to try….

              I’m also compelled to mention that I’m rubbing Baihu’s belly as I type…he’s got his legs wrapped around my wrist and is using my forearm as a pillow….

              b&

      • CDubya
        Posted April 22, 2011 at 8:40 am | Permalink

        I just got Ben Goren to admit he believes in gods. You all saw that, right?

        • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
          Posted April 22, 2011 at 8:56 am | Permalink

          I don’t see a belief there. Cats _are_, they do behave like gods, et cetera.

          Now I don’t agree with Ben Goren’s claim, as I’m told a cat runs out of lives – eventually.

          • Posted April 22, 2011 at 9:02 am | Permalink

            Sadly, as I’m afraid I can attest all-too-well, divinity is unfortunately not synonymous with immortality. Were it so, my beloved Tamar would be in my lap, and Joanie would be stretched out in a splash of sunshine through the window, and even Spreckles would be here….

            b&

        • Posted April 22, 2011 at 8:59 am | Permalink

          Oh, there’re plenty of gods I don’t not believe in.

          There’s Baihu, who just woke up from his nap in the chair across the room to give me a sleepy googly-eyed look.

          There’s the Invisible Pink Unicorn (MHHHNBS) Whose existence is trivially proven by the fact that even atheists believe in Her.

          There’s Bud Herseth, the now-retired long-standing principal trumpeter of the Chicago Symphony. And the rest of the brass section during Reiner’s tenure.

          And there’s the Sun! How could anybody forget the Sun?

          And there’s….

          Cheers,

          b&

          • CDubya
            Posted April 22, 2011 at 9:45 am | Permalink

            Do your gods have supernatural powers?

            • daveau
              Posted April 22, 2011 at 9:57 am | Permalink

              Helen’s can make half your arm disappear…

            • Posted April 22, 2011 at 10:15 am | Permalink

              Well, Baihu is a Cheshire cat; he can turn invisible at will — with said will coinciding with the approach of an invader, of course.

              The IPU is both Invisible and pink. Duh.

              Bud…well, just listen to any of the Chicago / Reiner recordings, and there’s your answer.

              And the Sun? It’s the source of all our power, the very engine that runs all life on this world. What more could you ask for?

              So, yeah. They’ve all got lots of supernatural powers. Certainly waaaay more than either Jesus or Mohammed, that’s fore sure.

              Cheers,

              b&

            • Hempenstein
              Posted April 22, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

              Dogs are gods – they just have trouble spelling.

              I come home, Oscar-the-dog-next-door barks, I go over and he goes nuts, he’s so happy to see me. He rolls on his back, I rub his belly, and he gets contented. Periodically I clandestinely (so he doesn’t associate me with food) take offerings of ham bones over to his people for his collection plate. It’s a very fulfilling religion.

  5. Posted April 22, 2011 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Regarding Point #2:

    “Our advice to teachers is to keep ethical standards — care, trust, respect and integrity — in line of sight,” says College Chair Liz Papadopoulos, OCT. “As teachers and educators, we model professionalism and responsibility for our students in both the real world and the virtual world.” (Advisory from the Ontario College of Teachers)

    With more than a third of ‘public’ education in the hands of the Catholic school boards, what impact would running a blog highly critical of theology – particularly on the real world effects of catholic theology – have on one’s professional career?

    Sometimes anonymity is the only way to raise one’s voice in the public domain over public issues without incurring private penalties.

    • Posted April 22, 2011 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      Yes, I appreciate that, but people are anonymous for many different reasons, and I don’t know how to discriminate among them. Many times it’s just sheer intellectual cowardice, or unwillingness to stand behind what you say. I think anonymity, while it has its uses, has been inimical to good discussion on the internet, so I don’t want to contribute to this. By all means post, just don’t link to your own anonymous website.

      • Helen Wise
        Posted April 22, 2011 at 9:30 am | Permalink

        For a decade or more, I’ve posted under the nym “pasadena beggar”. I’ve tended to use that nym everywhere I’ve posted on the ‘net. Many women choose to post under gender-neutral names, for reasons which should be obvious.

        I no longer remember why I chose to out myself as a woman when I started posting here.

        It was not a decision I made casually.

        • Grania
          Posted April 22, 2011 at 11:26 am | Permalink

          Same here, at least, I didn’t think my regular pseudonym was gender neutral (it was in fact just an older variant of my own name) but once I decided to give up on trying to be anonymous – it wasn’t possible given my involvement with Atheist Ireland – I started to get messages from people saying that they always thought I was a man, or an old man (!) LOL whut?

          Since I “went real” I have discovered an appreciation of those who have the guts to use their own identities; although I do understand that there are those who just can’t bring themselves to do it.

          I recently went through the job-seeking process myself in Ireland that is 1) very Catholic and 2) recession ridden. I did wonder briefly if it would do me any harm that googling my name leaves one with no illusions at all as to what I do after hours. As it turns out, it was a non-issue.

          • Marta
            Posted April 22, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

            I greatly admire people who use their real names to post, especially when they are taking non-trivial risks to do so.

            So note that I have posted this under my real name.

            • Posted April 23, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

              I’ve always use my real name online — I’m Ant or AntAllan everywhere (um… deviAntAllan on dA).

              The problem is, no-one outside the UK thinks that “Ant” is a real name…

              I’m always conscious that my employer — or our clients — might take offence at something I post online, but that’s not yet been an issue…

              • Diane G.
                Posted April 23, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

                And up till now I’ve thought you were a myrmecologist!

              • Posted April 24, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

                Ha! That’s a pretty reasonable inference in the context of a biology bl… um, website.

                Actually, I work in IT.

        • Diane G.
          Posted April 23, 2011 at 11:22 am | Permalink

          It was not a decision I made casually.

          +1 For many good reasons. I can think of several othere reasons for hiding one’s identity as well.

    • Posted April 22, 2011 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      So there is no separation between Church and State in Canada? Do tax payers pay for Catholic faith schools?

      • tildeb
        Posted April 22, 2011 at 9:49 am | Permalink

        Not officially (and its complicated). And yes, tax payers directly fund catholic faith schools but they must operate under provincial curriculum… although the recent outright ban on gay/straight student alliances by catholic school boards shows that when education legislation comes up against tenets of the ‘faith’, the argument is made that students have the choice to attend the ‘other’ public school system! Bizarre, I know.

        In the meantime everybody is ‘looking into’ this refusal as if some kind of compromise is hidden away in the details that will be found in, oh say, several hundred years.

        The good news is that when a political leader ahead in the polls during a recent election introduced a plank for more public money for other faith-based schools a la the Blair model, his party was severely spanked by the voting public and, if the term applies, the leader lost the election in a ‘landslide’. That means that great big swaths of religious people voted against the idea and that’s why it is good news.

        • Patrick
          Posted April 22, 2011 at 10:00 am | Permalink

          Might this just mean that Catholics don’t want the competition? The religious voting against other religions would be par for the course and not entirely encouraging.

          • tildeb
            Posted April 22, 2011 at 10:13 am | Permalink

            Quite possibly in many ridings but there are fairly religiously coherent ridings (meaning a significant portion of the population self-identifies as a particular religious supporter – sikh, hindu, jew, etc.) and this party suffered convincing defeats even there.

        • Posted April 22, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

          Also, the Catholic schools in Ontario are permitted to explicitly discriminate against admitting non-Catholic students in grades K-9, and against hiring non-Catholic teachers everywhere. (Because of how the funding works, it is more difficult for the schools to avoid admitting non-Catholics in grades 10-12, but that doesn’t stop them from trying.)

          As for anonymity, I posted under my own name on usenet many years ago, but these days I use a (consistent) pseudonym. I am about to be cast into a competitive job market, and would rather not have to worry about a potential employer of the religious persuasion googling me and discovering that I am Gnuish.

    • Posted April 22, 2011 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      I stopped worrying about “incurring private penalties,” when I turned sixty. The sense of freedom is so liberating.

      • tildeb
        Posted April 22, 2011 at 10:04 am | Permalink

        Yes, I can imagine.

        But in this new digital age where Googling one’s name is becoming common practice by employers that yields so much data, I question whether or not anonymity should continue to be considered ‘cowardice’ rather than ‘prudence’. After all, I’m of the opinion that good ideas and sound arguments stand on the quality of their content and not on the context of the reputation of who says what. The recent E.O. Wilson supported study criticizing kind selection based on name association alone and published in what was once a highly reputable journal surely points out the danger of attributing so much merit to name and reputation, so the critical assumptions made about anonymity cuts both ways.

        Still, I can appreciate Jerry’s argument that anonymity is often inimical to good discussions, but I think sometimes it’s the only means to have an honest one.

        • daveau
          Posted April 22, 2011 at 10:11 am | Permalink

          My workplace googles potential new hires. Nuff said. I don’t mind if you guys know who I am.

          • tildeb
            Posted April 22, 2011 at 10:14 am | Permalink

            Exactly.

  6. Stephanie
    Posted April 22, 2011 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Dr. Coyne, there aren’t enough cats! 🙂

    I love your site, keep up the great work!!

  7. daveau
    Posted April 22, 2011 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    “it reduces whatever class this site has.”

    Uh, no comment…

    I love this site the way it is. Although it’s changed a lot since you started it.

  8. steve oberski
    Posted April 22, 2011 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the opportunity and privilege of contributing to your great site.

    I admit with some chagrin that I just recently purchased up your book and am in the final chapter.

    Have you thought about organizing some of your great posts on science, religion and morality into book form ?

  9. Posted April 22, 2011 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Regarding point 4… I was a former cat-hater. But have grown quite fond of them ever since my brother was the first to overcome his ignorance…

    My only problem now is my wife can be very allergic to cats.

    Your Kitteh! posts rule!

  10. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted April 22, 2011 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Too many roolz.

    Now this could be either my lolz, my opinion, my suggestion on the whole list, or a suggestion to insert under #4. We will never know…

    • daveau
      Posted April 22, 2011 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      My whole being just rankles at the mere thought of rules. Even reasonable ones. And even though I follow them.

  11. Posted April 22, 2011 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    We need more kittehs, dammit.

    Seriously, why do people feel entitled to complain about the mix of topics? I’ve had this, too.

    • Posted April 22, 2011 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      Ditto. Lots. “Ur doin it rong.” Thanks for sharing.

  12. Reginald Selkirk
    Posted April 22, 2011 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    2 meny rulz, srsly.

  13. mordacious1
    Posted April 22, 2011 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Not enough kittens wearing boots. My only complaint.

  14. Posted April 22, 2011 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Re: rule 4. Yeah, people who don’t get that always puzzle me. I don’t care for the boot posts, so I don’t read them. How hard is that? It would never cross my mind to be all like, “ur blogging rong”…

    • Josh Slocum
      Posted April 22, 2011 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      I suspect it’s an odd and inappropriate “consumer” mentality. Some people walk around with an enormous sense of entitlement, and treat blog editors as if they were service providers and the readers were customers. It’s really galling. Imperious customers are bad enough, but at least they’re actually paying for something. Blog editors are giving the world a gift (or a curse, depending on your point of view), and it’s contemptibly rude to demand anything.

      It may be linked to the notion we all adopted so recently that information is or ought to be “free,” so we howl in outrage when the New York Times wants to charge for its service. Then that gets misapplied to blog editors.

      • Josh Slocum
        Posted April 22, 2011 at 10:13 am | Permalink

        Blasted have-to-comment-to-subscribe-to-post. Grr.

    • Dave Ricks
      Posted April 22, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      Those people puzzle me too. A post about a pair of boots starts with a big photo of a pair of boots. It’s not like I read halfway through a post and realize, “Oh, FFS, it’s another post about a pair of boots!”

      • Posted April 23, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

        I came for the biology and ended up learning much about jazz.

  15. JBlilie
    Posted April 22, 2011 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Yo dude! Tu minny rulz! LOL ;^)

  16. Posted April 22, 2011 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    From No. 5:

    …whatever class this site has.

    This site has class to spare. That’s why I like it, and if I’m short on time, this is the atheism/evolution site I won’t forego.

    Dr. Coyne – do you mean if we have a blog – er, website – of our own and we post here under a pseudonym, you’d prefer that we not turn our nym into a hyperlink? Or only that you’d prefer us not to link to our site in the body of our comment?

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted April 22, 2011 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      Just don’t turn your nym into a hyperlink. I would, of course, like to be able to link to good content on anonymous pages.

      • Posted April 22, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

        My ‘nym is a hyperlink, but it points to a group blog for CFI Ottawa – is that permitted?

        • Posted April 22, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

          er, sorry, I should say group *website* for CFI Ottawa

          (my son dislikes the word “blog” so much that he uses it to refer to cats barfing hairballs)

          • Posted April 22, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

            :- D

          • whyevolutionistrue
            Posted April 22, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

            Yeah, that’s fine. I should add that I don’t check posts for this “transgression” all that often.

            • Posted April 22, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

              I’m sorry to keep pestering you about this – last question, I promise: Does that fine apply to personal sites, like mine, that don’t have anything to do w “fighting the good fight” (unless you count trying to clear up musical misunderstandings as “ftgf”)? Also, what if the site is run anonymously, but I begin using my real name here? Would a link in that case be kosher? 😉

              Just want to be in compliance.

    • Posted April 22, 2011 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      Ah. Just read your comment above regarding anonymity. Well…what if our bl…website has nothing to do w a/theism and is perfectly innocuous?

      • daveau
        Posted April 22, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

        And, without the link, I wouldn’t know that Mr Bach here has started a blog.

        • Posted April 22, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

          Mr Bach here

          I don’t think I’ve ever been paid a higher honor. 🙂

          • daveau
            Posted April 23, 2011 at 9:02 am | Permalink

            I have bookmarked your blog. I’m just going with the JS1685 reference. Bach is arguably the greatest composer ever. I really liked your post on Pi. I, too, wondered immediately why it was all diatonic. Too easy.

      • Diane G.
        Posted April 23, 2011 at 11:34 am | Permalink

        I’d like to put in a word in favor of blogs hyperlinked in nyms. I often use them as shortcuts to hop to sites I want to keep up with. I sometimes find interesting sites to add to my already too long list of same. I thought it was the case that WordPress automatically inserted one’s info, so that those who have blogs would have to try to remember to always delete their website address here before posting; heck I can’t even remember to click “notify” half the time! And I find it easy to hover over the nym and read the blog title–often that’s enough to tell me if I’d be interested in it or not…

        Plus, I thought it was just a blog/website custom by now…

        • whyevolutionistrue
          Posted April 23, 2011 at 11:47 am | Permalink

          okay, okay, I rescind that rule! From now on anybody can link to “nyms” in their name if they wish.

          I still, feel, though, that anonymity is on the whole a detrimental aspect of the internet, for it allows people to avoid responsibility for what they say.

          Rule rescinded. Diane, you can be in charge of informing the disaffected.

          • Diane G.
            Posted April 23, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

            Aack–I’ll do my best!

            Thank you.

            (Wow, Ceiling Cat answers petitioners! :- ) )

            I’m grateful that you have rules here (probably one reason why anonymous bloggers who post here tend to be non-problematic).

            But what I should have said first–I love your website! Evolution, kittehs, atheism, boots, music, food–the whole nine yards.

  17. MattnDC
    Posted April 22, 2011 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the reminder on the rulz:

    And thanks for the site as it is:
    Boot Posts: Yay!
    Kitteh/LolCats posts: Yay!
    Serious Science/Gnu/Tone/’Theology’ Posts: Yay!

    These are becoming an indispensible source for me for arguments and counterarguments as they happen, often with the direct participation of the key figures involved.. How amazing is that?

  18. AdamK
    Posted April 22, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    I, for one, like this blog just fine just the way it is. I would prefer more of everything, but apparently Jerry has an actual job.

    • Posted April 22, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      “I would prefer more of everything”

      Morality in a nutshell.

      :- )

  19. CDubya
    Posted April 22, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Not that you’d make it a rule but since some of your rules involve preferences do you prefer to be addressed as Jerry or Dr. Coyne here? Or do you not care either way?

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted April 22, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      “Jerry” is fine, though “Ceiling Cat” will also do. 🙂

      • CDubya
        Posted April 22, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

        Does that make “Why Evolution is True” my holy book if I eventually buy into the notion that cats are gods?

        • Grania
          Posted April 22, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

          Only if you are planning on becoming a Fundamentalist Cattist.

        • Posted April 22, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

          Our Ceiling Cat,
          Who has a blog Web site,
          Jerry be Thy Name.
          Your boots are fine,
          as are the kittehs,
          and I’m sure sure your real-world students are pretty sharp, too.
          Give us this day our daily analysis of the latest biosciences news,
          and an update on the baby eaglets,
          as we also occasionally mention what’s going on in our own lives.
          And lead us not into theology,
          but deliver us from religion:
          for thine is the haven, the respite, and the sanity,
          for at least another few decades I hope!
          RAmen.

          Cheers,

          b&

          • Grania
            Posted April 22, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

            That will be 10 “Hail Jerry”s for using the b__g word.

            • Posted April 22, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

              Awww…do I have to?

              <sigh />

              Hail Jerry, full of poise, Ceiling Cat is with Thee.
              Respected art though amongst evolutionary biologists, and you’d have to be an idiot to not at least grant an interview your students.
              Wise Jerry, servant of Ceiling Cat, educate us laypeople, now and for as long as we’re curious about the way life evolves.
              RAmen.

              Hail Jerry, full of poise….

              b&

              • Hempenstein
                Posted April 22, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

                Then let me propose a new shorthand exclamation: J3 (for Jesus Jerry and Joseph).

      • Posted April 23, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

        How about “JC”?

  20. feralboy12
    Posted April 22, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    There is no way in hell I’m using my real name on the internet.
    In accordance with rule #2, I have removed the hyperlink from this comment.
    I have also removed this blog from my favorites list and will not be back.

    • Marta
      Posted April 22, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      There is no flouncing out of the room on the internets.

      I hope you’re kidding, because I like your stuff.

      • Paul W.
        Posted April 22, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

        I suspect feralboy12 was responding to rule 2 sans the parenthetical comment making clear that you can link to pseudonymous pieces, just not link your name to a whole pseudonymous blog. (Did Jerry edit the post, or did I miss that the first time?)

        My first reading of it was that it was pretty draconian—if you’re pseudonymous, Jerry won’t link to you at all, and you can’t link to your stuff elsewhere in comments here at all. I could see pseudonymous bloggers flouncing off over that (And not linking to him if he won’t link to them—why show approval of somebody who disapproves of you so much?)

        In light of Jerry’s later clarifying comment (replying to JS1685, at 11:21) and what seems like a change to rule 2, Jerry’s policy seems vastly more reasonable. I differ with Jerry about pseudonymity, but the minor constraint about name links is not a big flounceworthy deal.

        • whyevolutionistrue
          Posted April 22, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

          Yes, I edited that rule to explain more clearly what I meant. I don’t mind at all people pointing out posts on pseudonymous websites; I just don’t like people using their own name as a link to their own. Just a quirk of mine, I suppose.

    • Allienne Goddard
      Posted April 23, 2011 at 5:44 am | Permalink

      Well, you could just get off your ass and become a tenured professor, and then you wouldn’t have to worry about it. I have no sympathy for your laziness.

      • JS1685
        Posted April 23, 2011 at 6:48 am | Permalink

        What? Tenured professors are not the only people with insightful things to say. Do you have any idea how much good commentary you’d lose if this “Thou must be a tenured professor” notion of yours was enforced. Also, “tenured professor” is not the only noble job to which one can aspire. Lots of us make noble contributions at other jobs. Also also, what if one is a tenured professor of theology?

        The nym/hyperlink is a nice feature WordPress offers. I don’t really understand Dr. Coyne’s objection to using it. No one is forced to click on a nym. All it does is turn it a different color, FFS!

        • Posted April 23, 2011 at 8:33 am | Permalink

          I think Alienne left off the sarcasm tags.

          As I understand it, Alienne’s point is not that you need to be a tenured professor to have anything interesting/insightful to comment, just that those who are tenured professors don’t have to worry about the possible employment consequences of using their real names.

          • Posted April 23, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

            D’oh!

            (although, in my defense, it’s not super-duper overtly sarcastic)

        • Diane G.
          Posted April 23, 2011 at 11:38 am | Permalink

          The nym/hyperlink is a nice feature WordPress offers. I don’t really understand Dr. Coyne’s objection to using it. No one is forced to click on a nym. All it does is turn it a different color…!

          +1

  21. Posted April 22, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Dear Ceiling Cat,
    I thank you for the blog. I’ve learnt a lot since I read it. Not only from the blog, but from the comments as well.
    #5 so, name-calling is the way to receive a personal email? Ok.

  22. Posted April 22, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    I hope I haven’t broken any rules here. I’m kinda n00b, unfocused and say silly things. Oft which others I suspect others take it as trolling or worse sometimes. I understand that, but it’s not, because I sincerely stand behind them…until proven wrong of coarse.

    I also understand that the site to my name could be another infration. It’s my temporary online porfolio…until I have the focus to get down and do a real one. But it’s not an anonymous blog by any stretch. Either way, I hope this is okay.

    I really do like this blog, though there needs to be more cats. /wink. 🙂

  23. Screechy Monkey
    Posted April 22, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    What if I want more pictures of boots made from cats?

    • Screechy Monkey
      Posted April 22, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      (runs and hides, begs forgiveness of Ceiling Cat)

    • daveau
      Posted April 23, 2011 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      Teh horrorz, teh horrorz…

  24. Karen
    Posted April 22, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    I’m a relative newcomer to this site, but Ophelia Benson keeps mentioning Jerry Coyne… and I had to find out for myself.

    Now this site is on my morning few list to read! There’s always something interesting. I’m a biology idiot, so this is a learning place. And usually, there’s something lighthearted like a kitty or eaglet post to raise my spirits. Thank you.

    But boot posts make me jealous as hell, because I have duck-shaped feet and can’t tolerate most boots. But I drool anyhow.

  25. dallila
    Posted April 22, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    I appreciate your website so much also…really like the variety. The BookRecommendation posts are always a treat.

  26. Posted April 23, 2011 at 3:34 am | Permalink

    You don’t mind pseudonymity though, right? Not the same as anonymity anyway…

    People in my field (and anyone with my CV) knows my internet persona. I just don’t want to reveal my offline persona to random people on the internet. I don’t think it’s cowardice to desire control over that.

    Anyway, I still link to my blog because 1. it ain’t spam; 2. that IS my identity on the internet, without it I become truly anonymous.

    If that’s a problem, I shall refrain from commenting here any longer then =/

  27. Posted April 23, 2011 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    I fully agree with this sentiment. Rule #2 is ridiculous and antiquarian.

    There are plenty of legit reasons people could choose to blog anonymously. Why it should limit someone’s ability to post here is bewildering.

    I blog anonymously because I don’t have any reason to associate my silly hobby blog with my name. That simple.

    • Marta
      Posted April 23, 2011 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      “I blog anonymously because I don’t have any reason to associate my silly hobby blog with my name. That simple.”

      Yep.

  28. Sili
    Posted April 23, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Ah – I was surprised that what is now Rule 9 was missing.

    Blog, blog, blog, blog, blog …

  29. Posted April 23, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    Please, god, let there never be a rule #34. In the name of all things holy, please. PZs nipple was traumatic enough.

    • Sili
      Posted April 25, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      Rly?

      Haven’t you seen all the boot posts?

  30. Dominic
    Posted April 23, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    I swear by – er – nothing, that I will attempt to abide by da roolz!

  31. Rorschach
    Posted April 24, 2011 at 5:11 am | Permalink

    It’s your blog, and you make the rules. I have been blogging for only about a year now, and have called the local federal police twice already because of internet stalkers/threats. I have a highish profile job here, and there is no way I will expose myself or my family to threats from crazy people on the Internet by blogging under my full name. I can’t quite understand where you’re coming from with that rule, and I might have to just not comment here anymore, cheers.

  32. Dave Ricks
    Posted April 24, 2011 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    I appreciate your need for security, but your objection isn’t clear to me. If you mean Rule 2, it was against making a pseudonym a hyperlink (not against posting under a pseudonym). And Rule 2 was rescinded.

  33. GordonWillis
    Posted April 24, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    I love this site, and I like it just the way it is, and I second the view that you should be allowed to run your own blog any way you want.

    As to anonymity, I ought to choose prudence and conceal my name, but I’ve tried it only once or twice, and have felt so uncomfortable that I’ve stopped, except on one site for no reason but that it seems to be in the spirit of things. I can see that for some people it’s liberating, and for others simply necessary. So it goes.

  34. latsot
    Posted April 26, 2011 at 3:40 am | Permalink

    Anonymity itself doesn’t imply lack of accountability.

    I post and blog under a pseudonym, but it’s the same one I’ve used for decades; I use it everywhere; don’t use any others; and its not especially difficult for anyone to find out stuff about my meatlife if they really want to. I don’t *hide* my identity, I just use a different one on line.

    Or to put it a different way, latsot *is* – and always has been – my online identity. If I make an objectionable comment on a site, I can be identified as the same latsot on any other site, including my own, and can be decried there.

    Switching to my real name would detatch newer posts from my long-established latsot identity and while I might well wish to dissasociate myself from some unfortunate things I’ve written in the past, it seems counter-productive to do so.

    • latsot
      Posted April 26, 2011 at 3:43 am | Permalink

      Perhaps what I’m doing is limiting my accountability, but that seems prudent. Since I never intend to adopt another online identity, I don’t consider my pseudonym to be anonymous.


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