Readers’ beefs of the week

by Greg Mayer Qapla’!! Philae has landed! The European Space Agency’s Philae lander has successfully landed on Comet P67, …

That’s ok..we feel sorry for you for being a self righteous ignorant pompous ass. Maybe take a religions or philosophy class so you can somewhat seem like you know what you are talking about. Way to paint humanity with one broad stroke. Or maybe you should spend some non judgemental empathetic time with the “others” that you feel such contempt and pity for. The world is made up of a variety of experience..everyone holds unreasonable ideas..even you! I feel sorry for you with such animosity towards other people that are not “like you”. Embrace diversity..you are doing no service to the atheists with views like this. At least many religions believe in compassion and
LOVE. EVEN FOR OTHERS NOT LIKE THEM!!

Except for Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, and so on and so on. . . . .

*******

Reader Ted Christopher of Rochester New York (easily found by Googling) signed a rant-y comment on the post “The New York Times profiles James Randi“. Sadly, he got off on the wrong foot with the second word, and went downhill from there:

Jerry Coyle [COYLE???] and others including the Amazing Randi,

I don’t buy Randi’s skepticism, the larger realm of skepticism, and of course the encompassing scientism. In the library yesterday I noted a book by Rupert Sheldrake on inexplicable behaviors by pets entitled “Dogs That Know When the Owners are Coming Home” and then in the back it had his interaction with Randi. Randi had in some official capacity rebutted some of Sheldrake’s findings (and presumably in mocking fashion) and Sheldrake wanted to know the details. After some pushing Randi acknowledged he had little if any basis for his counter claims. Sheldrake simply characterized this as “lying”.

Getting off on the presumptions of science is easy and of course the intellectually pretentious thing to do.

It is not hard to rock the materialist boat. I plunge in here with a couple of basic points and then return with an ESP example and the superficiality of Randi’s test. A short list of what materialism is facing:

1. In the behavioral realm, prodigal and transgender phenomena contradict the evolved materialist model. If you haven’t you can wade into something like A. Solomon’s (overly-long) “Far From the Tree” and read some parental descriptions of their kids. Having young children declare that they are the opposite sex (and live accordingly) is a big challenge to materialism. Having young children inexplicably hit the pavement running (perhaps sprinting) along some adult intellectual path is another. D. Treffert’s “Islands of Genius” covers a lot of this ‘knowing things [and demonstrating motivations] they never learned’ territory.

2. An apparent answer to mysteries like the above is with genome. I would argue that never made sense – certainly with some of the very unusual innate behaviors – but now that we are several years deep into the Missing Heritability problem you would think that some would be questioning genetic presumptions. Here is the latest on the search for the origins of the variations in our intelligence,
blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/2014/10/14/quest-for-intelligence-genes-churns-out-more-dubious-results/
Note J. Horgan is to be commended for his unusual critique but he still ends up superficial here. It isn’t sloppy genetics work by behavioral geneticist, it is once again that the limited set of individual-differentiating DNA is coming up short. Where are the skeptics (and scientists) on the DNA deficit? And by the way, the transgender phenomena shows up discordant amongst some monozygotic twins.

On paranormal “debunking”, unless the many para-reports involved some remarkable combination of dishonesty and stupidity (as presumed by skeptics) there is something mysterious going on. This arrogant dismissal of basic mysteries contributes to the public’s lack of support for science (although applied science is another matter). Such events appear to be rare enough that one could certainly argue about their significance, but their existence is another matter. The following was found at the beginning of the Chapter 2 in the late P. Mattheissen’s book “Nine-Headed Dragon River”:

>> [i]n mid-November of 1971, [my wife] Deborah and I attended a weekend sesshin [meditational period] at the New York Zendo. For two months Deborah had been suffering from pains that seemed to resist all diagnosis, and she decided to limit herself to the Sunday sittings. On Saturday evening, meeting me at the door of our apartment, she stood there, smiling, in a new brown dress, but it was not the strange, transparent beauty in her face that took my breath away. I had been in zazen [meditation] since daybreak, and my mind was clear, and I saw Death gazing out at me from those wide, dark eyes. There was no mistaking it, and the certainty was so immediate and shocking that I could not greet her. In what she took as observance of sesshin silence, I pushed past quietly into the bathroom, to collect myself in order that I might speak <>

The rest of the chapter follows thru and entails more unusual activity. The context here happens to be Buddhist mediation where traditionally such happenings are viewed as possible but not important. None of such insights apparently happen on command (like a lot of significant things) and thus the irrelevance of Randi’s test.

Ted Christopher
Rochester, NY

I’ve found that any comment that heaps approbation on Sheldrake is likely to be fraught with lunacy. This is no exception. It makes the ludicrous statement that transgendered humans disprove “materialism,” that problems in pinning down “intelligence genes” supports something called the “missing heritability problem” (one of Christopher’s pet theories if you choose to dig into his internet presence), and, finally, that Mattheissen’s numinous experience with the “death eyes” of his wife says something about the reality of non-material phenomena. You can’t get more garbled than this. Oh, what sad diversity our species contains!

*******

Finally, Gary Austin had a comment on “Jesuit college teaches atheism,” which he mistakenly tried to post on the picture page.

Oh, an atheist, a proud spaghetti monster bumper sticker man. Do you have the guts to answer this? Were your school teachers atheist? I’m confused; explain to me how the reproductive system evolved so I can be a proud atheist. Oh, and don’t say A-Sexual reproduction because first of all: that would have to evolve as well. And then it only works with one cell, once you get to two cells it no longer works. Also, like Darwin himself asked, how do you evolve an eyeball? No fossil record for that. Think about it. Blind organism wouldn’t even know what sight is, so why would they try to evolve it? ????? I have many more questions, once you successfully answer those. You PROUD ANT-SPAGHETTI MONSTER ATHEIST you. Questions such as heart valves, how do you evolve something that you never could have lived without in the FIRST PLACE????
Also the FLOWER. It never could have existed without the BEE, so did the FLOWER evolve the BEE??? Oh, maybe the BEE evolved the FLOWER? WELL??? I’m waiting for the EDUCATED M.I.T. Atheist to explain. I think you Atheist boys are just spoiled children that took it to heart when your communist elementary school teacher said: “The conscience is just something that the Christian man dreamed up to keep the Atheist man down.” Hence the SOLE Atheist commandment: “Thou shall not get CAUGHT.” Good way to raise children folks. Yes, raise them like animals. You folks remind me of trashy spoiled children, having trashy spoiled children. Even if there was no God and you could explain one of the questions I posed, why is teaching a child: “Thou shall not kill, thou shall not steal, turn the other cheek” so bad?

 There is no answering someone as mixed up as this. You don’t need guts to answer the comment, you need lots of time and the ability to somehow think that such a person is open to reason. It reminds me of the Insane Clown Posse: “Fucking heart valves—how do they evolve?

In fact, this rant is one of the funniest comments ever attempted on this website. The person who wrote it is so willfully ignorant that there is nothing to do but giggle. What else can you do when you’re accused, as an atheist, of having problems with the idea of teaching your kids not to kill or steal?

85 Comments

  1. Posted November 16, 2014 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    “In fact, this rant is one of the funniest comments ever attempted on this website. ”

    One thing that seems to get people more riled up than dissing religion is dissing paranormal experiences. By an order of magnitude.

  2. Posted November 16, 2014 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Also, like Darwin himself asked, how do you evolve an eyeball?

    Written like somebody who’s never actually read the passage in question.

    (For those who haven’t, Darwin actually does explain the evolution of the eye, and Richard Dawkins had a superlative Christmas Lecture a few decades ago in which he used simple devices to demonstrate the process.)

    b&

    • Alex Shuffell
      Posted November 16, 2014 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      Dawkins also explains it in The Blind Watchmaker and you can watch the documentary version on Youtube. This one also has the benefit of a 1987 Dawkins doing some fancy dance moves in some very short denim shorts as he explains some supposed footprints. Also it’s a great documentary and better book.

  3. Grania Spingies
    Posted November 16, 2014 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Shorter marie: I am in ur internets, missing ur points.

    Is it just me, or have your detractors upped their ante this week on appearing incoherent and dreadfully sheltered?

    PS: anyone know what ant spaghetti is?

    • Posted November 16, 2014 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      🐜🍝

      b&

    • Joseph Stans
      Posted November 16, 2014 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      Whatever it is it must be smaller than cat spaghetti.

    • Jeff Rankin
      Posted November 16, 2014 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      Oh I wish I could laugh. These comments just make me feel sad and tired. Most people hold positions that are only slightly less irrational.

      • Jeff Rankin
        Posted November 16, 2014 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        Sorry, this was meant to be a general reply and not one to the parent above.

    • Posted November 16, 2014 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      I think ant spaghetti is a kind of pasta created by crafty ants. The ants have been bred solely for this purpose at the behest of an insane king who thought that the best way to both enjoy his love of pasta and to lose weight was to eat really tiny portions.

      The tradition was carried on after the added formic acid gave the pasta that extra zing that was much desired among foodies far and wide.

      PET has assured us that the ants are well looked after and are not exploited at all. Indeed, ants as future farmers is a topic of much discussion in the agricultural science industry today since their work produces very little carbon and their output is stupendous. 🐜

      • Posted November 16, 2014 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

        Uh-oh. You’ve just opened the door for people to say Capellini is proof of…
        When Lane Craig starts using that, we’ll all blame you!

        • Posted November 16, 2014 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

          Whoa! Awesome! That’s the best crack imaginable! As they say on KDos: tipped and recced.

      • Posted November 16, 2014 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

        Yes, but the ants are from New Mexico, which presents its own challenges….

        b&

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted November 16, 2014 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

          The spaghetti would be bigger but potentially deadly.

    • Posted November 16, 2014 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      Formicelli.

      /@

      • Sarah
        Posted November 16, 2014 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

        Oh brilliant! LOL!

        • Diane G.
          Posted November 16, 2014 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

          + 1 !

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted November 16, 2014 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

        😝

      • Posted November 17, 2014 at 9:44 am | Permalink

        I knew you’d follow through with a real zinger, and you didn’t disappoint.

        b&

    • Bernie
      Posted November 16, 2014 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

      Google “insect flour”? You could make spaghetti from that I suppose.

    • pali
      Posted November 16, 2014 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

      I suspect it’s one of Zoolander’s inventions.

  4. Woof
    Posted November 16, 2014 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Gary Austin: Not even wrong.

    All that’s missing is “Why are there still monkeys?” With that it would fill up the creationist bingo card all by its lonesome.

    • Kevin
      Posted November 16, 2014 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      Creationist bingo card. That says it all.

  5. Posted November 16, 2014 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    I’m always bewildered and somewhat frightened by the shared paranoid delusion some christians have about the vast hordes of “atheists” they imagine are out in the public sphere working night and day at our tireless nihilistic machinations. It’s quite sad really.

  6. Woof
    Posted November 16, 2014 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    I’m still trying to figure out what Philae has to do with “being a self righteous ignorant pompous ass.”

    • Filippo
      Posted November 16, 2014 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      Right. Exactly what did Mr. Mayer say to provoke such drama queen invective from Ms. Marie? Possibly she was responding to a couple of commenters? (No problem with the comments, BTW. 😉 )

      Re: Insane Clown Posse: the newscast parody was hilarious. Amazing how ignoramuses can so revel in their willful ignorance.

      • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
        Posted November 16, 2014 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

        Could it be that it was a success for science (which irks those of the false choice – ‘could use the money better’)?

        And especially science lauded as important for understanding emergence of life (which irks religious).

    • Kevin
      Posted November 16, 2014 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      Modern day Pyrrhonian skepticism. It is the last vestige of vacuous solace for faith constrained thinkers.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted November 17, 2014 at 12:16 am | Permalink

      Probably commenting on the wrong post.

      Or maybe by the time Marie had cooked up that pile of doodoo, she just dumped it on the first article she came to without bothering much about the relevance.

  7. Posted November 16, 2014 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    The Bullshit Asymmetry Principle writ large.

  8. Joseph Stans
    Posted November 16, 2014 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    This is like Uncle Harold at the Thanksgiving table. He is so stupid and so sure and lacks any of the cognitive hardware or software needed to process information you just have to have another scoop of Edna’s Fish head, broccoli and cheese casserole. It allows you to focus on not throwing up instead of the urge to plunge a shrimp fork into uncle Harolds brain.

    • Brygida Berse
      Posted November 16, 2014 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      No offense, but I find more than one reason why I wouldn’t want to have Thanksgiving with your family.

      Fish head and broccoli? Really?

  9. Sastra
    Posted November 16, 2014 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    Whoa — target-rich environment!

    Or maybe you should spend some non judgemental empathetic time with the “others” that you feel such contempt and pity for. The world is made up of a variety of experience..everyone holds unreasonable ideas..even you! I feel sorry for you with such animosity towards other people that are not “like you”. Embrace diversity..

    More evidence (as if we really need it) that people really, really want “religion” taken out of the “Truth Claims” and placed into the “Identity Smorgasbord,” that wonderful burgeoning table of diversity where we bring out who and what we are so that there’s a banquet of plenty to enrich humanity. Race, sex, lifestyle, taste, and personal preferences: no right, no wrong, just different. Our task is not to judge, but to appreciate and learn to tolerate and accept.

    Argue that religion is not true and suddenly you’re a bigot bullying the religious.

    That’s a nice immunizing strategy, right there. It’s effective, a valued cultural trope, and easy to fall in to — especially since you only know things by “faith” when you’re the type of person who can open up your heart.

    In the religious narrative, atheists are the “kind of person” who hates and attacks. This evaluation, keep in mind, is already set before we critique and analyze religious belief. Thus, we’re only confirming what they already know is true.

    It is not hard to rock the materialist boat.

    Yes. Too bad your evidence is of such poor quality.

    But thank you for helping to prove the point that science is perfectly capable of confirming the supernatural — if it were real.

    I think you Atheist boys are just spoiled children that took it to heart when your communist elementary school teacher said: “The conscience is just something that the Christian man dreamed up to keep the Atheist man down.” Hence the SOLE Atheist commandment: “Thou shall not get CAUGHT.”

    Er … it’s our consciences which keep us from being Christian. In part, I think, because Christian morality seems suspiciously focused on the ethical principle of “It ain’t wrong if you don’t get caught.”

    And not all of us are “boys,” by the way. Do your parents know you’re on the internet?

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted November 16, 2014 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      “Argue that religion is not true and suddenly you’re a bigot bullying the religious.”

      It is sad really. Make belief is a large part of children’s play. When did it become so problematic with adults doing the same? Especially if they can distinguish between facts and make belief.

      I worry for theater.

    • Hypatias Daughter
      Posted November 17, 2014 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      “It ain’t wrong if you don’t get caught.”
      Psshaww, Sastra. Xtians don’t believe that.
      They believe that if you’re forgiven, then all the wrong is washed away and it doesn’t count.

  10. Posted November 16, 2014 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    The last rant was funny enough but when he added “communist teachers” that was just icing on the cake. And atheists don’t mind the 10 commandments parts that say don’t steal and kill, it’s the parts that come before that:

    Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

    Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

    Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

    Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

    Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

    All this narcissistic bullshit before we get to don’t kill and don’t steal.

    • Posted November 16, 2014 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      Is that last sentence really in the Bible? I’ll have to read that thing more closely!

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted November 16, 2014 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

        Ha ha! yeah I saw the blockquote fail when I posted.

        • Posted November 16, 2014 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

          God was just phoning it in that day!

    • Posted November 16, 2014 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      I will admit to some irrationality. I have an irrational hatred for the word grave. Oh wait, nevermind, it’s not irrational, it’s the result of the Catholic Church applying that word to every last fucking bullshit dogma and doctrine they come up with that involves possible eternal torture. Now there’s a moral teaching for you. I’d take Communism first.

      • Sarah
        Posted November 16, 2014 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

        I have never been a Catholic, but I thought the favorite word was “grievous”.

        • Posted November 17, 2014 at 9:21 am | Permalink

          A search of the Catechism turns up 69 instances of grave and none of grievous.

          A quick Google search of “grave Catholic” also turns up a nice list of guilt-laden web pages. Naturally, inconsequential and healthy behaviors such as masturbation turn up right near the top.

          • Sarah
            Posted November 17, 2014 at 9:31 am | Permalink

            Well, that is interesting. Thank you. I wonder what happened to those “grievous sins” or people “sinning grievously” that I recall. One possibility is that the catechism has been revised.

  11. docbill1351
    Posted November 16, 2014 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Whenever I read a comment that has the word “library” in it, I stop reading at that point.

    “In the library yesterday…” is simply a lie. Library? What’s that? Oh, yeah, that’s what a 75-year old commenter still living in the 50’s, when men were men and blacks weren’t white, thinks in his bat-shit fevered mind where we go to get information in 2016.

    “In the library…”? Nope, that’s totally made up to give the commenter some meagre credential. Of course, the commenter betrays himself with his subsequent word salad of nonsense.

    Library, that’s cute!

    (Disclaimer: I don’t hate libraries and I realize that if I needed to look up an article in the August 1969 issue of Analytical Chemistry, I’d have to walk those creaky, oaken floors in the Purdue Chemistry library once again.)

    • Prof.Pedant
      Posted November 16, 2014 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      Libraries have a lot of stuff that is not available online. And librarians have a lot of practice with searching for information….

    • Timothy Hughbanks
      Posted November 17, 2014 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

      …if I needed to look up an article in the August 1969 issue of Analytical Chemistry, I’d have to walk those creaky, oaken floors in the Purdue Chemistry library once again.

      Really? I did happen to look up a JACS article from 1968 only two days ago and it was right there in the on-line JACS archives…true, it was a low-res pdf file, but still, it was there.

    • Explorer
      Posted November 20, 2014 at 1:00 am | Permalink

      It’s pretty funny to read that idea of what libraries offer in the modern day. I’m lucky enough to have a great library system in my area, and regularly borrow language courses for use in the car, books for reading, and other materials.

      I could understand if someone wanted to argue for teh interwebz being as good a source for reliable information, being as all websites are 100% accurate, but I don’t get how a library is suddenly not a place where I regularly find great books, information, and even the occasional video.

      Sorry if your local system isn’t up to snuff.

  12. stuartcoyle
    Posted November 16, 2014 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    What’s wrong with Coyle? It’s a fine surname.

  13. Roger
    Posted November 16, 2014 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    There is no answering someone as mixed up as this.

    My theory is if they can’t google something easy then fuhgettaboutit. Either they are a troll or they don’t give a crap at all.

    • Roger
      Posted November 16, 2014 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      Or they are hustling people.

    • Michael Michaels
      Posted November 16, 2014 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      My thought was the third comment was a troll too, but the level of antagonism comes across as genuine.
      And as Dr Coyne said, the man is clearly willfully ignorant. Almost all his assertions are easily researched and dismissed, as you said, with a simple Google search.

      It makes me sad that Mr. Gary Austin would rather stay ignorant than actually spend a few seconds challenging his belief.

      But as sad as Mr. Austin’s comment (and the other two) make me, they also remind me of the positive side of Dr. Coyne’s comment policy. It’s nice not to have to wade through comments from people who are willfully ignorant and have no desire to change.

      It’s a pleasant change from Youtube comment hell.

      • Hypatias Daughter
        Posted November 17, 2014 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        The downside of we, the readers, being spared all this BS and bafflegarb, is that Jerry must read it first. It must be very stressful at times.
        Dr Coyne, we salute you for taking one for the team.

  14. Posted November 16, 2014 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Ted Christopher:
    The context here happens to be Buddhist mediation where traditionally such happenings are viewed as possible but not important. None of such insights apparently happen on command (like a lot of significant things) and thus the irrelevance of Randi’s test.

    Actually, that example doesn’t so much argue against Randi’s test, but against becoming so attached to your memories and interpretations of your supposed “experiences” while meditating. (Or, as in this case, TC becoming attached to other people’s memories and interpretations of their supposed experiences.)

    Really, that “death eyes” business could have been left for what it was, and the dude could have let it pass, and maybe been left feeling a bit more loving and appreciative of his wife, instead of blabbing about it to anyone who’ll listen. Try practicing non-attachment and transcendence of egotism instead.

  15. heatherhastie
    Posted November 16, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    These people have entertainment value for us, but you’ve got to wonder at the damage they do in their daily lives with their ignorance and vitriol.

    I wonder what the people around them in the real world are like. Are they looked up to for their opinions, or do they roll their eyes. If the former, it’s quite worrying.

    I’m sure I’m not the only one who in speaking out as an atheist using my real name has many people who contact them wishing they could do the same. To me the people Jerry features are a joke, and I always really enjoy what he writes about them. But their ignorance does actual damage to some, while they insist it’s atheists who are the problem.

  16. Posted November 16, 2014 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Love junkie Christians are for all practical purposes headless. If the Galloping Hessian ever needed to take a break from his important duties, I am sure Marie could fill in. Not a thinking noodle intact, which is sad as she can never join the ranks of pastafarians, a delicious religion if there ever was.

    The emotional palette served up by evolution is quite a wondrous and varied feast that would fulfill any demanding palate if they could just stop gorging on cheap love which I am sure stuffs them to their point that they must retire to their pallet. 🙂

  17. Sarah
    Posted November 16, 2014 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    This kind of supercilious yet pathetic ranting makes me think of someone saying, “If you don’t think the earth is flat, just explain to me why I am walking along this flat road without falling off! How could the earth possibly be round like ball? You must be out of your mind!” Where do you start dismantling such deep-seated ignorance?

  18. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted November 16, 2014 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    The Reason Stick had a cartoon about certain of these commenters: How to Point and Laugh at Irrational Nonsense.

  19. winewithcats
    Posted November 16, 2014 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    “proud spaghetti monster bumper sticker man” would make an excellent slogan for a t-shirt.

  20. Posted November 16, 2014 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    I have eyeballs but last year I suddenly needed glasses. Explain THAT! I’m trying to evolve some better eyes and can’t seem to do it. Oh well, back to teaching my kids to be vandals and wondering why all those praying folks have superb vision. Never saw a religious person with bad eye sight…

  21. Randy Schenck
    Posted November 16, 2014 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    There should be a way to cash in on attracting all of these crazies. Maybe create another site just for mental institutions and post these guys on it. Insist on a referral fee from the institutions of course.

  22. Diane G.
    Posted November 16, 2014 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    “Blind organism wouldn’t even know what sight is, so why would they try to evolve it? ????? ”

    The new, “tide goes in, tide goes out…”

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted November 16, 2014 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

      Teleology, of course!

      • Diane G.
        Posted November 16, 2014 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

        I suggest Gary work on evolving a brain.

        • Posted November 17, 2014 at 2:32 am | Permalink

          Come, come, Diane. You know that evolution doesn’t work at the individual level.

          /@

          Sent from my iPhone. Please excuse all creative spellings.

          >

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted November 17, 2014 at 3:30 am | Permalink

            Teleology does!

            (Sorry to harp on the subject… 🙂

            • Posted November 17, 2014 at 3:54 am | Permalink

              It must be a teleolian harp…

              /@ / LGW

              Sent from my iPhone. Please excuse all creative spellings.

              >

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted November 17, 2014 at 4:18 am | Permalink

                A truly angelic instrument.

                I think I should launch the Church of the Enlightened Self-Improvement.

                Its motto: Evolve!

                🙂

        • Sarah
          Posted November 17, 2014 at 5:09 am | Permalink

          But according to his view of evolution, if he didn’t already have a brain, he couldn’t think of one to evolve.

          • Diane G.
            Posted November 17, 2014 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

            Doh! What was I thinking?

            😀

  23. Posted November 16, 2014 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Don't Confuse Me With Facts, My Mind's Made Up! and commented:
    Jerry Coyne’s latest collection of rants from crazies . . . Hilarious!

  24. Cowhead
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 4:38 am | Permalink

    I never realized that asexual reproduction stops working after you have two cells. Wow! I guess because the cell has to cut the DNA in half in order to divide. But there is only one pair of scissors. So the daughter cells cannot BOTH get the scissors, so they fight over them and then they both die. I’m pretty sure that is how it works.

  25. MAUCH
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    You are right to say that there is little more to say about any specific comments in the posts you presented to us other than these are examples of why I did not want to be a part of such delusion.

  26. eric
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    In the library yesterday I noted a book by Rupert Sheldrake on inexplicable behaviors by pets entitled “Dogs That Know When the Owners are Coming Home”

    I have never understood why people think their pets are so incredibly stupid as to not notice cues such as the sun and time since/before feeding or since/before walks, potty breaks, etc.

    These are animals which, in the wild, would likely range over tens of square miles following a semi-regular pattern. They would likely not just track daily cyclical changes, but also weekly and seasonal cyclical changes. Of course they can frakking approximate when you will be home. They evolved to do a lot more time-tracking than just that simple activity.

    • Susan
      Posted November 17, 2014 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      I knew someone whose husband worked odd hours, yet their d*g would go to the front door and sit exactly 4 minutes before he came home, day or night.

      Silly us, we concluded that his truck must make a unique sound that the d*g could hear as he got close to the house. To think we overlooked the obvious answer that the animal had magic powers.

    • Posted November 17, 2014 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      To be fair to the Sheldrake crowd, the way I’ve been told it (which might or might not have anything to do with the way that Sheldrake himself actually described it), owners would come home at different times on different busses from different routes, and it was only the bus that the owner was on that got the dog excited.

      Do I believe it? Not for a minute. But you’ve got to admit that the anecdote, when told that way, is much more compelling.

      b&

      • eric
        Posted November 17, 2014 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

        Oh its a compelling narrative. But it says something about psychology that some people will take that story at face value and immediately wonder how the dog might do that with their senses and memory, while others will take that story at face value and immediately wonder about how the dog is working magic.

        • Posted November 17, 2014 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

          And those same people will often remember the time that their own dog just happened to do the same thing and forget all the other times the dog looked excitedly out the window or didn’t wake up until after the person was already at the door or what-not.

          Confirmation bias can be powerfully difficult to think around.

          b&

    • Sastra
      Posted November 17, 2014 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      Psychologist Richard Wiseman investigated this claim by redoing the test using the same dog and the same conditions — only this time he made a video of the whole thing. He gave a talk about it at one of Randi’s Amazing Meetings. Like all his talks, there are a lot of clips.

      Bottom line, the dog got up to look out the window all day long. He said that when times were measured, the psychic dog was more likely to be at the window than not. Thus, the ‘astonishing coincidence’ that the dog strolls towards the window and looks out at just the right time is severely diminished. Wiseman said it would have actually been more improbable if they dog wasn’t at the window.

      Rupert Sheldrake thus decided to do another study. So he asked schoolchildren to write him and let him know about any psychic experiences they may have observed from their pets.

      Yes, he called this a “study.” That alone ought to tell you what you need to know about how seriously we can take anything out of Rupert Sheldrake.

      • Hypatias Daughter
        Posted November 17, 2014 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

        Call me naive, but I was shocked, shocked, I tell you, when I realized how often the evidence for woo woo claims is just flat out misrepresentations of the truth (otherwise known as lies). Yeah, sometimes people pass on their vague recollections of vague stories and get details wrong, but a lot of it is pure lies.
        Honest people sometimes lie about things, but they know they are lying (and often feel guilty about it). But I think there are people who are unable to distinguish between truth and reality. Truth becomes whatever works for them.


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