Two creationists and an anti-“scientism” advocate write in

This is just a small selection of some recent comments that didn’t make it below the fold, but are being displayed in prime time here. I can either ban the writers (creationists and science-dissers usually get automatic bans), or can moderate them and let you do battle. Remember, though, that the chances they’ll change their minds is exactly ZERO, and I don’t really like the “chew toy” approach to comments.

All comment are reproduced exactly as submitted.

First, we have a comment from reader “Bill” In reply to jaxkayaker on the post “Evolution denialism by Pence“. I put this one first because the comment about bacteria, bananas, and horses is hilarious (my emphasis):

when you say evolution is true what are talking about? You mean all of what some scientists claim is true without a doubt? Yes, bacteria mutates but it is still bacteria. It is not a horse or a banana. You don’t see it changing all you can do is assume or guess but certainly you cannot fault somebody for questioning it or doubting it. I do understand that the fossils we have show from primitive to more recent depending on how far you dig but I do not see how that proves or even implies common ancestry. So some evolution that we observe is obviously true but going back from the beginning of life is a stretch.

Here we have the usual “we have microevolution but not macroevolution”. The response to that, or to the Ray Comfort claim that we need to see macroevolution happening in real time, is that such a claim is fatuous. First, we do see macroevolution in the fossil record and “Bill” admits it (“I do understand that the fossils we have show from primitive to more recent depending on how far you dig”). This is the slam-dunk refutation of the “microevolution happens but not macroevolution” claim. As for seeing a bacteria evolve into a banana in real time, well, that’s just idiotic.

The claim that we can see change from primitive to more recent forms in the fossil record is true: we have such progressions showing early mammal-like reptiles evolving into reptiles, theropod reptiles evolving into birds, and land-dwelling artiodactyls evolving into whales. (There are many more, as you can see in WEIT.) What Bill doesn’t realize is that this progression does gives evidence for common ancestry, for the earlier versions of these transitional forms resemble more strongly the proposed common ancestor. Early feathered dinosaurs evolved into more-feathered, flying dinosaurs (aka birds), and that gives evidence that modern reptiles and birds share a common ancestry. Early hominins are more like arboreal, small-brained primate ancestors than are later hominins. It’s not rocket science to see that the nature of transitional forms over time gives evidence for common ancestry, but I guess Bill isn’t close to being a rocket scientist.


Reader “John” tried to leave this comment on my post “Reflections on the tenth anniversary of The God Delusion“:

Why do you try so hard to disprove God with this far fetched lunacy. We can not have evolved the odds of winning the lottery every week for you life time are more likely.
If you really were as well educated as some of you think you are, you would question the lodgic of this theory.
You are too amazing to have evolved.
Come up with something better.

“You are too amazing to have evolved” would make a nice creationist tee shirt. I can’t resist adding that although this comment needs no refutation, were the reader educated, he or she would be able to write and spell properly.


Reader “Blackstone” tried to leave this comment on my post “Second most popular TED talk of all time, on power posing, disavowed by senior author“:

Enlightenment methodology applied to human psychology, society and spirituality is farcical and worse than useless — it is a weapon of mass destruction.

The universe revealed by science is a bleak wasteland of atoms in a void that offers humanity no hope, no meaning and no guidance. Scientism applied to human beings is leading to mass depression, drug addiction, obesity, techno-idolatry and other symptoms of the massive spiritual void created by the Enlightenment cult. This cult has terrorized mankind long enough; it’s time to reign [sic] them in and end their reign of terror!

Indeed, “Blackstone” is right in one way: the universe itself, as revealed by science, offers humanity no hope, meaning, or guidance—for that kind of guidance can come only from humans themselves, not from the laws of physics. (I’d add, though, that the Universe offers meaning by revealing the working of physical law and its consistency over time and space.) As for scientism causing mass depression, drug addiction, obesity (really??), techno-idolatry and other horrors of secularism, well, that’s just wrong. Scientism is a canard anyway, as even secular countries like Denmark and Sweden aren’t grossly dysfunctional.

But let’s check one claim: that atheistic countries (I take “scientism” as being correlated with “atheism”) tend to be countries with more obese inhabitants. Here are maps from a 2014 survey by the World Health Organization showing the degree of obesity in different countries (first men and then women. The lighter yellow countries are those with few obese people, and obesity increases as one goes from yellow to orange to red:



Not much data here to show a correlation between scientism and obesity, except insofar as sub-Saharan countries are religious, as we know, and also less obese. But that’s because they don’t have enough food! And look at atheistic China—inhabitants skinny as rails. In contrast, look at the U.S.—the most religious of First World countries—compared to Northern Europe—far more atheistic. Except for the UK (too many chips and beer!), the U.S. and Canada (too much poutine!) are fatter than the inhabitants of nearly every European country! Mexicans, religious as they are, should surely be skinnier than Americans and Canadians, but the women aren’t. And the biggest exception is the Middle East and North Africa. especially for women: deeply religious Muslims and yet still prone to obesity. I had no idea that Saudi, Iraqui, Egyptian, Tunisian, Algerian, Iranian, and Turkish women were that overweight. Remember, too, that women tend to be more religious than men in the same country, and so should be skinnier.

Now I haven’t plotted a correlation between obesity and unbelief among countries, but if one exists, and I doubt it, then it would surely be mediated through poverty: poor countries tend to be more religious, and poor countries tend to have fewer obese people. It’s not the secularism that causes obesity, it’s the higher well-being, which, by and large, is correlated with nonbelief.  The U.S. would be a glaring exception to the “secularism causes obesity rule”, for we’re religious and overweight.

But let’s leave aside the stupid claims about the perfidies of scientism. The US, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Russia, and the Middle East need to slim down. 25% of the population being obese is surely a serious public health problem; but it’s one that “scientism” can help solve!


  1. BobTerrace
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Now wait, Bill might be on to something…

    I left a banana out in the sun on a log in a field and came back weeks later and all I could find was bacteria. Yes, I know, that is the other way, but doesn’t science say the laws of nature are reversible???

    So, just like that raincoat, just turn things inside-out! Can I Haz pHD now?

    • Posted October 10, 2016 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      You can title it, “Banana to bacteria: A case study in reductive evolution”.

      • Bill
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

        yes, of course your arrogance shows through in the way you answered the question. This is one reason the majority of people do not buy evolution, except those who are on this board. Btw, I never mentioned creationism or anything like that, you did because of your hatred for such ideas you cannot focus on what is actually being said without making assumptions. The banana, bacteria example was not to be taken literally. So if early feathered dinosaurs evolved into flying dinosaurs it is still a dinosaur right? There is not a complete fossil record so how far could you go back to conclude that we all come from the same common ancestor?So, initially there was a single organism somewhere that came from somewhere, somehow. It somehow evolved over millions or billions of years into something else that could multiply and eventually form something completely different. Then somehow these multicellular organisms became plants, then different plants so that we could get oxygen and other necessary gases. The right amount of minerals somehow just came into being in just the right amount. The environment was perfect for plants and animals to thrive. Animals eat plants and this becomes an ordered universe. I could shake an empty bag all I want to for years and when I open that bag, it will still be empty. I can put amino acids, lipids, all the chemicals that we are made of in the bag and continue to shake it and life will still not be there. The idea of an ordered universe coming from randomness makes no sense to me. There had to be a beginning at some point so if you cannot have any reasonable explanation for that either, then how can you be so confident in your theory of common ancestry.

        • Posted October 11, 2016 at 4:33 am | Permalink

          Bill, you are abysmally ignorant. A bird is very different from a theropod dinosaur, but we have the evidence of common ancestry. And the idea that we have a Universal Common Ancestor (UCA) comes not from the fossil record but from genetic evidence as well as certain biochemical similarities between organisms. And the idea that order can come from disorder by natural selection (not “randomness” as in your shaking the paper bag example) shows that you have no understanding of how evolution works. All you’re doing is blathering what you’re heard from creationist websites.

          You really need to read about this topic, but given your ignorance and accusations of arrogance for those know do know the literature, I doubt you’ll ever learn. THe fact is that YOU, in the ignorance you refuse to remedy, are the arrogant one!

          • Posted October 11, 2016 at 10:56 am | Permalink

            Maybe someone could write a book laying out the evidence for Evolution.
            Maybe it would be well written, fun to read and present the evidence clearly and concisely.
            Maybe someone would call this book “Why Evolution is True.”
            Maybe Bill would read it and not be ignorant.

            Maybe one of these statements is not like the others. 🙂

        • Posted October 11, 2016 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

          “Yes, of course your arrogance shows through in the way you answered the question. This is one reason the majority of people do not buy evolution…”

          I was not answering the question, I was joking. As for the majority of people not buying evolution, the majority of people does buy evolution where I live (Europe), because when we are interested in science, we check scientific and teaching literature to see the data, instead of going to the church/mosque to be brainwashed.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      Spontaneous generation redux!

    • jaxkayaker
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

      Therefore, evolution can cause degeneration of organisms because Adam and Eve ate the apple, resulting in the fall and the 2nd law of thermodynamics, but evolution can’t create.

  2. J.Baldwin
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    While it’s true that Blackstone may very well be coming from a believer POV, it’s just as likely that he/she has an atheist/agnostic, “spiritual-but-not-religious,” “at-one-with-the-universe” spiritualism, or subjectivist philosophical POV too. Their are a lot of left-academics in the Humanities who lament the loss of meaning of life once they’re confronted with the fact that “We are here. It is now. All else is moonshine.” -Mencken

    • J.Baldwin
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 9:36 am | Permalink


  3. Stonyground
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    I don’t know how it is in other countries but here in the UK obesity is greatly exaggerated by our fake charities. The BMI score is a very blunt instrument for estimating these things anyway but the sliding scale that is used defines thin people as being overweight and very slightly overweight people as being obese.

    For example, I am very fit and lean, I am planning to do an iron distance triathlon next year. Yet according to my BMI I am borderline overweight. If you saw me you would laugh, I have a 31″ waist.

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      The BMI is ridiculous. I’m six feet tall and weigh 185 lbs. I have a 34 inch waist. The BMI says I’m “overweight”. No one would look at me and think I’m overweight.

      • Kevin
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        I’m 6’2″, 185 and 34 waist and I am in the norm of BMI. I’d have to swim another twenty kilometers a week on top of what I already do if I were to be considered skinny. BMIs are a bit extreme. More important is to be happy and be scientific about diet and exercise.

        • Richard Bond
          Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:31 am | Permalink

          BMI is calculated as mass/height^2. The exponent of 2 was introduced as a crude correction to improve the comparison of the weights of populations that differed in height. And that was a century and a half ago! A better exponent would be ~2.5, which would remove the bias against taller people. BMI applied to individuals is a terrible abuse of statistics.

      • Steve Pollard
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:52 am | Permalink

        There is clearly more than one methodology available! I am 5’11”, 180lb and 34″ waist. According to this calculator my BMI is “optimal for health”:

        • Richard Bond
          Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:01 am | Permalink

          My calculation puts you at 25.3, which is just into the “overweight” category.

          • Steve Pollard
            Posted October 10, 2016 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

            Well, you must be using a different calculator. Which helps to show that they’re all b*locks.

    • Zado
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      The U.S. does have a serious obesity/early-onset diabetes problem but, much like religious belief, some regions are worse off than others. (Cough, the South, cough).

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

        That’s ‘cos of gravity. The heavy ones all settle to the bottom.


    • darrelle
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      Yes, BMI is completely inaccurate. I am typically in the top percentiles of physical fitness for my age averaged across strength and cardio metrics but according to BMI I am overweight. To be fair BMI arguably was not intended to ever be applied to individuals, only to large data sets (populations). But somehow it became the norm to do so.

      Of course, there is no doubt whatsoever that the US has an obesity problem. But it would sure help if we had accurate information about it rather than still using BMI.

      • Stonyground
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

        My problem is less with the BMI itself, although it is rather crude and doesn’t take into account such things as differences in build or the fact that muscle mass is denser than fat. My problem is that the scale that the BMI figures are superimposed onto is completely arbitrary and obviously biased toward giving the impression that a huge proportion of the population are obese. Some people are but the vast majority are not. Although I am very slim, I am at the very top end of the range for normal weight. So if I put on even half a kilo, I move into the overweight range which is patently absurd.

        • BobTerrace
          Posted October 10, 2016 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

          I was told years ago to ignore the BMI and use the body fat percentage (BFP) measurement.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      I was just watching an old episode of Mayday / Air Crash Detective about the crash of a Beechcraft 1900D in Charlotte, NC in 2003. It was full and the pilots had used the FAA-recommended ‘average passenger weights’ (175 lbs) and ‘average baggage weights’ in their weight calculations, figures which hadn’t been changed since 1936, which indicated the plane was within limits. Which it actually wasn’t.

      After the crash, the NTSB weighed the luggage and got the pax actual weights from their doctors and found that the average was over 195lbs.

      So ‘Muricans have gained 20 lbs in 70 years. Evolution in action!


  4. Stephen Barnard
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Didn’t you mean to write “mammal-like reptiles evolving into mammals”?

  5. Posted October 10, 2016 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Perhaps we’ve discovered a new branch of taxonomy in which we classify everyhting that is neither a horse nor a banana?

  6. darrelle
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Regarding Blackstone’s comment, it has always been interesting to me that such people are so passionate about disparaging, even vilifying, a “philosophy” that champions the capabilities of human beings while their own “philosophy” regards humans as incapable of dealing with life without help from either a tiny minority of special elites or gods of some sort.

    They argue and seem to feel that being pro human is not only wrong but seriously unethical. I say “stand up and look at things as they really are and let’s figure out how to make our lives the best we can envision.” They say “kneel down, accept your lowness and incompetence, disregard evidence which conflicts with the stories we tell you and just accept the stories, and trust in your authority figures (clergy, gods, etc.) to tell you what to do and provide for you.” And I’m the bad guy.

  7. eric
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    The universe revealed by science is a bleak wasteland of atoms in a void that offers humanity no hope, no meaning and no guidance.

    A religion founded on sola fides – like Protestant Christianity – technically doesn’t do the last two either. If all you have to do to earn salvation is believe, there is no meaning to your mortal actions and no guidance you need to follow (except ‘believe’). Calvinism would be the most futile belief of all, because of its predeterminism. Hypothetically, even atheism offers some hope of eternal life (through, for example, Ray Kurtzweil’s hypothesized singularity), but in predeterministic Calvinism nothing you can do, learn, or believe can change what’s going to happen.

    In any event, I doubt salvation would be as immediately or forcefully meaningful to me as more practical concerns even if I was a believer. I’m pretty sure ‘salvation-driven eric’ would hit the snooze button multiple times; its ‘kindergartener-driven eric’ and ‘paycheck-driven eric’ that does not.

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      ” Existentialism’s….intention is not in the least that of plunging men into despair. And if by despair one means as the Christians do – any attitude of unbelief, the despair of the existentialists is something different……it is only…by confusing their own despair with ours that Christians can describe us as without hope.
      — Jean-Paul Sartre “Existentialism is a Humanism”

    • frednotfaith2
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      Under theology, humans are nothing more than toys for god’s amusement and the only way everyone can get along in Heaven is to essentially be lobotomized or perpetually stoned to such a degree that no one cares about anything and isn’t capable of disagreeing with anyone else. The notion that religion gives meaning to life is absurd.

  8. Flemur
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    My near fetched lunacy –

    I get my hope, meaning and guidance from Huitzilopochtli, the hummingbird-god. I hope I can pronounce His name.

    bacteria … is not a horse or a banana

    Has no one heard of the mighty banorseria? They cuddly bactanarse? They flight of the horsteriana?

    • Flemur
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      “They” = “the”. Sigh.

    • Posted October 10, 2016 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      I hope you are not offering the hummingbird-god human hearts, still beating!

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      “I hope I can pronounce His name.”

      If you pronounce His name right, He will appear.

      Start running!


  9. Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    If I saw a bacterium mutate into a horse in real time I would abandon evolution and reconsider god.

  10. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    There is always this implicit assumption that belief in evolution denigrates the dignity and integrity of man!!

    Such an attitude IMO generally co-exists with a disrespect for animals and a discomfort with human sexuality.

    Back when I was religious in much more than what Dawkins calls the Einsteinian sense of being religious, I never thought this way.
    The eons of time in human ancestry are in their own way as awe-inspiring and beautiful as the eons of space in the stars. John, I am amazing because I have evolved, not in spite of it.

    One has to conceive of God in ways that Dawkins would call petty, mean, and small to really think evolution somehow degrades humans.


    I assign a truth quotient of zero to posters one and two. I have a microscopic smidgen of sympathy to poster #3- (I have an issue with techno-idolatry), but see Comment #7 by Eric and my comment on that.

    • eric
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      There is always this implicit assumption that belief in evolution denigrates the dignity and integrity of man!!

      I think this argument comes from people conflating their own self worth with that of the organizations to which they belong. Pretend for the moment you’ve worked at a VHS tape manufacturing factory your whole life. But the world doesn’t need VHS tapes any more. The factory is shutting down. After 30 years on the factory line, you’re out of a job. Is your life worthless? Has it all been for naught? Well, no, but I think we could all see and empathize how someone in that position might feel like much of their life has been meaningless. That sort of organizational ending could have a profound effect on someone’s psychological state. They might feel without a place in the world. Well, atheism certainly does imply that religious organizations offer no legitimate hope, no real meaning, and have no legitimate authority to offer guidance. Atheism implies those organizations serve no real purpose. And so the people in those organizations might feel like the VHS factory worker when he/she sees the inevitable factory closing on the horizon.

      So I think the loss-of-purpose feelings (on the part of the religious, when the consider atheism) can be real, and we should be sympathetic to them. But we can also emphasize that even if the factory shuts its doors, you-the-person still have your family. Your friends. Your charity work and hobbies. The people around you still appreciate what you do in society and find your contributions meaningful. That organization was never the sole thing that defined you, so its loss should not render your life meaningless.

      At least, that’s my philosophical thought for the day…

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        “even if the factory shuts its doors, you-the-person still have your family. ….”

        Doesn’t work like that for some people. There are always a few tragic cases of people (usually middle-class) who have lost their jobs, haven’t told their wives, and who catch the train ‘to work’ every day, mooch around aimlessly or do whatever menial job they’ve been able to get, then catch the train home in the evening.

        And of retired people who mope around not knowing what to do with themselves.

        (I was afraid I might be in the latter category, but as it turns out all the stuff I used to do evenings and weekends just expanded to fill the time available).


  11. Tom
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    The creationist comparison of evolution to winning the lottery is faulty.
    If I played the lottery every second or so over a period of 4.5 billion years the probability of multiple wins is very high indeed.

    • ploubere
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      Good point. What creationists fail at is grasping the huge numbers involved in time and populations.

  12. Roger
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Lodgic is a word but it’s only use appears to be as proper nouns or acronyms. So he should have capitalized it or, better yet for a creationist, all-capsitized it.

    • Roger
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      I mean “its” lol. Oh irony.

      • Roger
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:45 am | Permalink

        Or should that be “O irony”. O irony of ironies.

  13. HaggisForBrains
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:50 am | Permalink


  14. Stephen Oberski
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    The universe revealed by science is a bleak wasteland of atoms in a void that offers humanity no hope, no meaning and no guidance.

    Ah yes, I can only find meaning in my life by pretending to know things that I can’t possibly know anything about.

    This is one of the better arguments put forth by mystical thinkers but it comes with the tacit admission that the nature of reality as revealed by the the scientific method is actually valid but all one has to do is:

    “Then close your eyes and tap your heels together three times. And think to yourself, there’s no place like home.”

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      “a bleak wasteland of atoms in a void that offers humanity no hope, no meaning and no guidance.”

      Don’t forget gravity. Gravity is a bastard. Gravity *will* kill you if it gets a chance. And gravity doesn’t care.

      We’d all be so much better off if Newton hadn’t invented it.


  15. Stephen Oberski
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    You don’t see it changing all you can do is assume or guess but certainly you cannot fault somebody for questioning it or doubting it.

    I’ve never seen the hour hand on my clock move therefore it must be your invisible friend who magically causes it to move each time I go away for an hour or so.

    And who could possible fault me for thinking that.

    Remember, hour hand movement is just a theory.

    I find it passing strange that those that exhibit hyper scepticism with regards to the theory of evolution are never seen hurling them selves out of 10th story windows given that the theory of gravitation is at best a questionable assumption.

  16. ploubere
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Making a direct correlation between obesity and lack of religion has to ignore all the other factors that cause obesity, such as, as Jerry points out, availability of food. But that’s the kind of argument one has to make to attempt to prove a flawed thesis.

    • J.Baldwin
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      I may not be able to quantify the following claim but I assert it with confidence: The church pot-luck social has done more to exacerbate the obesity problem in the U.S. than any secular social ritual.

      • Mark R.
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

        When I was forced to go to church as a kid, afterwards, crowds of fellow churchgoers flocked to Wendy’s, Burger King and other fast food franchises. I actually looked forward to it back then as almost a reward for having to go to church.

  17. dabertini
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    And yet ben goren seems to offer the theory that obesity is a result of differences in metabolic efficiency. Ouch!!

  18. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    A long time ago I used to wonder why we were not given creationist chew toys, but before long I came around to understanding that in the end it is a good thing.
    Sure, it can be energizing to engage in the usual arguments, but in the end the IDiots never change, as you say, and one sees the result in other web sites where they do appear regularly. Visit Sandwalk or in The Pandas Thumb if you have a taste for it. There, the commentary is generally focused on screaming at the ninnies, and you know, after a while it is not that much fun.

  19. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    None of the comments makes sense.

    The first comment dismiss the inherited metabolic and genetic machinery that *all life share*. That, the universal common ancestry, is the best resolved fact in all of science. And you don’t need to be a Darwin to grok that today.

    The second comment makes no sense, period.

    The third comment is full of fail, and one distasteful joke – calling the Enlightenment era ‘a cult’, which is bad taste since the attempt at humor likely originated out of religion – but essentially tries to claim that humans have “no hope, no meaning and no guidance”. Which would be news to most people. I guess that the idea is that humans, and the natural phenomena they do find hope, meaning and guidance from – including societal events – are somehow not part of the universe or the area of study of science, by way of religious magical thinking.

  20. Merilee
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 2:19 pm | Permalink


  21. Merilee
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 2:20 pm | Permalink


  22. keith cook +/-
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Bill, this will be lost on you, but have a go and maybe you will see why no god is required by those individuals who are the proponents of enlightenment values…

    And you’ll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith;
    indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure,
    that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate,
    verifiable and consistent across space and time.
    You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and
    that they’ll be comforted to know your energy’s still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy,
    not a bit of you is gone; you’re just less orderly. Amen.

    yes Bill this is the true meaning of eternity for us (not quite) but near enough for our purposes,
    and to others here, I do not know who wrote this.

  23. J. Quinton
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Some people are just not satisfied with the merely real.

    • Mark R.
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      Yes, the curse of “there must be more”.

  24. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Apparently South American and Russian men are skinnier than their women. This is very odd.

    (In the case of the Russians, it’s undoubtedly because all the skinny women – such as I have a dozen emails from in my inbox begging me to click on the link to their photos – have fled to randy boyfriends in the West. Maybe I should answer some of them, New Zealand also has an urgent need for skinny women to improve the statistics).

    Actually, there seems to be no country at all where the men are fatter than the women. Curiouser and curiouser…


  25. Damien McLeod
    Posted October 11, 2016 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    “Remember, though, that the chances they’ll change their minds is exactly ZERO, and I don’t really like the “chew toy” approach to comments”

    Dear Dr. Coyne, As usual, reading you can be like a breath of air. Your above statement that I copied is so refreshingly and exquisitely true that it makes me feel twenty years younger and forty pounds lighter. I know that may sound strange, but sometimes I feel very weighted down by age,rotundness, and the ignorance I see around me in some of my fellow atheists. Don’t get me wrong,I only actually agree with maybe 75% and 90% of what you, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Chistopher Hitchens,and many more of what my atheist hero’s have to say, being an old anti-social curmudgeon, when I disagree with one or more of you I have to assume that my own opinion is much better then yours. Be that as it may, I find that particular comment very uplifting. Thank you Sir.

  26. Posted October 11, 2016 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    I know whenever an experiment I was doing in the lab worked, I always thanked Ganesh profusely. I’m sure it helped.

    • Posted October 11, 2016 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      In case no one guessed, that was sarcasm.

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