Monday, February 23, 2015

Big-Time Damage Control at Uncommon Descent

When Islamic terror group ISIS came out against the teaching of evolution the good folks at our favorite creationist blog, Uncommon Descent, started getting very nervous. Why?

Because they did the same thing recently.

Now it's time for damage control. You can practically see the sweat dripping down Denyse "Sneery" O'Leary's face as she struggles to explain why intelligent design creationists have nothing, nothing at all in common with the totalitarian murdererers of ISIS. But her "explanation" consists of nothing but mangled bafflegab.

Since Denyse has a long history of making invidious comparisons, it's a pleasure to see her hoist by her own petard.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Local Measles Talk: Only Anti-Vaxers Welcome!

This is pretty funny. According to some photos posted on twitter, local chiropractor Jeff Winchester posted an announcement of a measles talk to be held on March 3 on the portable sign outside his Waterloo office. It says

Measles Talk
Tues Mar 3
Anti Vaxxers
Only Please

But apparently he got some pushback because the sign later was changed to

Measles Talk
Cancled [sic]

Of course anti-vaxers have to control their audience, because they're afraid of the truth. In this respect, they're very much like creationists.

Hat tip: Terry Polevoy.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

They Have to Lie -- It's Not Just Creationists

It's not just creationists who have to lie because the evidence is so much against them; it's also a wide swath of the Christian Right. Not only do they lie, they lie shamelessly.

Here's an example: here we have "journalist and author" Robert Knight at 1:41 of the excerpt from the anti-gay documentary "Light Wins" claiming, about allowing gays to join the Boy Scouts, that

"It won't just change them, it'll destroy them. It's destroyed the Boy Scouts in Canada. They're down from maybe half a million boys to 70,000 after ten years of this. 'Cause what parent in their right mind would say, `Yeah, go camping with a homosexual leader...'"

This is all complete and utter nonsense, of course. There have never ever been "half a million boys" in the Boy Scouts in Canada. The largest enrollment was 50 years ago, in 1965, when there were 288,000 boys enrolled. Since then, enrollment has dropped steeply to about 67,000. The decline in membership has been fairly constant since 1965, and there is no evidence that allowing gay scouts or scoutmasters has anything to do with it at all. Membership decline was already a concern in 2002, before the "ten years of this" that Knight claims, and is almost certainly due to a wide variety of factors, including increased urbanization.

They have to lie, because they have nothing else.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

High Quality Journalism Continues at Creationist Blog

You remember Thomas Nagel, the aging overrated philosopher who published a silly anti-evolution book in 2012 that was widely panned. Unhinged defenders of Nagel then resorted to overheated rhetoric, likening Nagel's critics to "punks, bullies, and hangers-on of the philosophical underworld" and a "lynch mob" and a "mass attack of killer hyenas".

That was a while ago.

In keeping with the persecution fantasy so common to creationists (they criticized us! They're exactly like Nazis!), the World's Worst Journalist™ -- aka Denyse O'Leary -- is apparently under the delusion that scientists want Nagel to "recant". (Not true, Denyse, those few scientists who know who he is mostly just laughed.) But -- she informs us proudly -- this has not happened! And she cites as evidence an article that Nagel published in 2008, four years before his book appeared.

I've read the article in question ("Public Education and Intelligent Design"), and I read it when it came out 7 years ago. It's not very good. Nagel has a lot of misunderstandings about Kitzmiller v. Dover, about the intelligent design movement, about evolutionary biology, and about the nature of science in general, and these are all abundantly on display in his work. As usual for Nagel, he appeals to "common sense" and pretends this is an argument.

Denyse O'Leary also mutters darkly about how expensive it is to get a copy of Nagel's article. She writes, It’s hard to believe someone has the guts to say this stuff in a world of well-funded Darwin rubbish – but note how much one must pay to see a rebuttal – whereas we must all fund the rubbish through tax dollars at schools. Our moral and intellectual superiors have so ruled.

Poor Denyse seems to have no understanding about how academic publishing works. Publishers like Wiley often charge for copies of academic articles; it's how they make money. She also seems to have no understanding that one can easily get a copy of an article like this through interlibrary loan -- usually for free. She also seems to have no understanding that it is routine to write to the author of the article and ask for a copy. Authors are usually glad to provide this service.

But, you know, all that would be actual work, the stuff that real journalists do. Too hard for Denyse, I guess.