Pharyngulan facts

I found the juxtaposition of this comment at Pharyngula with other ones from the same thread to be entertaining.

“This is a science blog. We deal in facts not in long-disproven and corrosive fantasies.”

Apparently these are the science facts concerning advertising that would improve an ad where a man pushes an elevator button and unleashes the sexy possibilities inherent in the elevator’s other occupant.

“You push the ‘stop’ button and… The woman is Emma Peel. She immediately incapacitates you with several painfully well-placed karate chops. You crumple to the floor with a whimper. When the elevator door opens, Steed looks in, pokes you in the kidney with his umbrella then tells you, “Let that be a lesson to you, old chap.”

Emma Peel is a fictional character from 1960s English television.

“And then she just gives him a “WTF?” look, and he gets kinda uncomfortable and embarrassed, pushes the button to start the elevator again and wishes for the ground to swallow him up while he apologizes. Oh yeah, I’d like to see that. I could then imagine assholes really backing off even if I can’t kick their ass, and then the next step being not pushing that button at all. Like, the next scene of the commercial being the same guy imagining how he’d like to get stuck in the elevator with her, maybe glancing at the button for a second, and then just standing there until his floor. Boring, I know.”

Science: it’s what a woman can imagine.

“Of course there could also be the sci fi option of the woman morphing into some sort of predatory alien, werewolf, vampire who the idiot has just trapped himself in a confined space with. One of my colleagues is a confident, karate black belt who, I could imagine would give a guy who did this such a stare that he would probably wet himself.”

Science: it’s what a woman can imagine. The interesting thing is the psychological projection.  Since she just about wets herself when men stare at her, she assumes that men must do the same.  Because confidence. And karate.

“You push the stop button and suddenly the rest of the elevator continues, while the small square of floor you were standing on stops in mid-air. You’re now 129ft up in the air, with no way down, Asshole.”

That would be a great commercial… if you’re selling female revenge fantasies to women.  I’m not sure it’s suitable for selling anything to men.

But the fact that the Pharyngulans don’t understand the point of advertising isn’t surprising as they are mostly unemployed graduate students who couldn’t figure out that obtaining a science degree in a market oversupplied with them was unlikely to lead to worthwhile employment.  We’re not dealing with a particularly bright lot here.

What is surprising is their insistence that the West possesses a rape culture, when there are genuine rape cultures in a number of the non-Western societies whose inhabitants most of the Pharyngulans favor importing for reasons one can only assume are science-based.

Mailvox: the mind of the science fetishist

The following assertion by Towler is a beautiful example of the way science fetishists think.  They genuinely believe that unless something is stated in a published, peer-reviewed paper written by a real Scientist with a Degree, it not only didn’t happen, it cannot possibly have happened.

There is no reason to believe that a marriage arranged by a father of the bride will lead to more children.

Except, of course, the entire written record of human history, to say nothing of the readily observable fact of the currently extant societies, which exist by virtue of their ability to sustain themselves at replacement level birth rates that are higher than those now seen in the West.  No reason, no reason at all, except for that.

The mode of discourse demonstrated by Towler and others clearly did not escape Catan’s notice:

Note how the naysayers here are arguing their side. They require peer-reviewed scientific papers posted in Nature Magazine for anything opposing their points, but they require absolutely no proof for an assumption of equality between the daughters’ judgment and the father’s judgment. They simply assume that both have equal judgment without any proof whatsoever until proven otherwise.

This is why leftism is intellectually bankrupt. There is absolutely no a priori evidence that life and reality has any basis in equality or fairness, yet they require no proof whatsoever to assume it.

The ironic thing is that there is no shortage of scientific evidence which indicates the probability that the judgment of a reproductively fit, middle-aged male will be superior concerning nearly everything, let alone something as emotionally laden as mate selection, to that of a young female whose fitness is unknown.

They can’t read, they can’t write

Naturally, it’s the perfect time to teach them quasi-scientific myths:

Children as young as five should have lessons in the basic principles of evolution, a leading atheist has said. Professor Richard Dawkins claims Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is so important that every primary school in Britain should have it on their curriculum, he told The Times.

The evolutionary biologist believes youngsters are able to grasp the basic principles of the theory which underpin the study of biology.

Keep this in mind the next time you hear an evolutionist posturing as a critical thinker. This should remove any last vestiges of doubt that Dawkins is no longer even pretending to be a scientist, but is nothing more than a full-fledged pedopropagandist for atheism and scientific materialism. It’s also amusing to see his insistence that children who can’t read can grasp the basic principles of the theory while his acolytes insist that university educated adult Mensans cannot.

Even if it is 100 percent true, evolution isn’t important at all. Even if every single transition from amoeba to homo sapiens sapiens could be mapped out precisely, this will have literally zero material impact on anyone, except for a very small number of professionals working in the field. But it is somewhat amusing to think of what the graduates of schools in which 12 years of what passes for education are dedicated to recycling, gay indigenous women’s studies, and evolution in lieu of reading, writing and math would look like. Only one thing is certain. A more sanctimonious and less useful collection of little bastards would be hard to find.

Anyhow, neither evolution nor science, except a single course on general science, should be taught in high schools. Teaching science is a complete waste of time at that level, much less doing so any earlier, and it is quite obvious, from talking to any high school graduate, that practically none of the students who are presently forced to sit through science instruction retain any as much as a genuinely interested ten year old.

Let me explain how this works

The Pharyngulan Reynold managed to post six (6) eleven (11) comments without actually answering any of the four questions I posed him:

It’s only been a few hours Vox..I do have to do other things than just post comments on your blog. You can’t start badgering me because I’ve not answered all of your questions after just a few bloody hours! I’ll get to them eventually.

I’m sure you have many other things to do. Just as I’m sure everyone will be interested in reading those answers when you find the time to answer them. But if one has time to post six comments, one surely has time to answer four questions. Just to make things perfectly clear, priority should be given to the four specific questions I have posed. I’m not badgering him, that’s simply how things work around here; see The Rules on the left sidebar for details if necessary. Now, it must be recognized that Reynold did make unsuccessful attempts to evade two of the questions by calling them into question, but since the points he made were respectively incorrect and irrelevant, all four questions still remain to be answered. They are as follows:

1. Would you seriously consider it meaningful, or even remotely relevant, if JD were to debate me on Paul Zachary’s behalf, so long as he felt he has a good understanding of Paul Zachary’s words?

2. If science produces technology, and not the other way around, why was technological advancement almost completely frozen in the Soviet Union for fifty years when they devoted a larger percentage of their GDP to science research than the United States did? (His attempt to argue that Soviet technology was essentially equal to US technology on the basis of the stolen atomic bomb and the space program is verifiably false. I am also willing to accept an answer which substitutes why the technological level of the Soviet Union “fell significantly behind that of the United States” in lieu of its technological advancement being “almost completely frozen”.)

3. Is science unnecessary for technological development or am I, in fact, a master of science? (This is in response to his contradictory assertions that science drives technological advancement and my supposed ignorance of science. As he questioned my technological credentials, which are well-known in the game industry, I referred him to Engadget, which described one of my various technology designs as “the most advanced they had ever seen.”)

4. Now that I have answered all his questions and proved that “marital rape” can be reasonably defended under the principle of Common Law, is he willing to admit that by his own metric, the adjectives “inane” and “unworthy” no longer apply to me as a potential debate opponent for Paul Zachary Myers?

Now, for all that Pharyngulans tend to believe that Vox Popoli is the polar opposite of the echo chamber that is Pharyngula, that really is not the case. Here, one is expected to respond directly to the questions posed; any rationalizations or justifications are to be offered AFTER providing an answer to the question, not in lieu of it. As I have answered all of his questions, as well as those of his fellow Pharyngulan Mhich, it is perfectly reasonable to expect that they will show me the same courtesy.

UPDATE – Reynold writes this and then proceeds to spend the rest of the comment, and four subsequent comments, still failing to answer ANY of the four questions. He points his toes nicely as he dances, though. Dance, little Pharyngulan, dance!

So, less than one full day and you go and make a post about how I have not answered any of your questions? Not only is that impatient as hell, but that’s dishonest. I have answered several of your questions. You just find some excuse to disregard them (see your post above) and then claim that I’ve never answered them. I was warned that you were a dishonest pr1ck, looks like they were right.

That makes eleven (11) comments and still not a single answer. First, one cannot be considered to have answered a yes/no question without providing a yes or no. Nor can one be considered to have answered an either/or question without selecting one of the two options. Neither can one legitimately answer a question by arguing about the basis for the question. I haven’t needed any excuse to disregard his answers because he hasn’t actually answered any of the four questions. Unlike his fellow Pharyngulan, Mhich, who appears to grasp the basic concept of first answering the question and only then proceeding to justify his answer, Reynold has produced nothing but incorrect, unsubstantiated, and invalid excuses for why he shouldn’t have to answer the questions. Is he being evasive because he fears being pinned down or is he simply that stupid? At this point, it’s a tough call. In any event, he will not be commenting here anymore unless and until he provides unequivocal, straightforward answers to the four questions, as per the publicly posted Rules of the Blog.

UPDATE II – Where is Renee anyway? This sort of rape talk would normally have her all hot and bothered.

Can one dodge a dodger?

One wonders how anyone could conclude JD is running and hiding from PZ Myers, when the Fowl Atheist is already fully occupied with running and hiding from me? I attempt to explain the situation to a pair of rather dim-witted Pharyngulans who are having a hard time understanding why those who are not Ann Coulter feel no responsibility to debate PZ concerning what Ann Coulter wrote in one of her books.

Mhich: “I’ve been looking into Vox Day’s blog and he indeed knows nothing about science. Even a fifth grader knows more about science than Vox Day’s. And another thing: the only person I see that is dodging the challenge is you. If you know so much about evolution and consider Coulter’s book to be accurate, accept the Myer’s challenge. What do you have to lose?”

Reynold: “Myers mopped the floor with one of you people who supposedly knew something about science, and I posted a link to where Myers shows that Vox is ignorant as hell about science. Now, how about taking Myers up on his challenge? this is my THIRD ATTEMPT to get you to do that. Or are you still going to dodge?”

Messrs. Reynold and Mhich, why should JD, or anyone else for that matter, answer Myers’s challenge for someone other than Ann Coulter to defend Ann Coulter’s opinion, especially considering that the individual he is accused of “dodging” is known for doing some dodging of his own? Only Ann Coulter has the responsibility to answer for her own words, the same responsibility that PZ Myers has to answer for his. JD can no more argue with PZ on her behalf than he can argue with me on PZ’s. Would you seriously consider it meaningful, or even remotely relevant, if JD were to debate me on PZ’s behalf, even if he relied entirely upon PZ’s written words?

The claim that JD is “dodging” this nonsensical “challenge” is more than a little ironic considering that PZ Myers is a confirmed coward who has twice dodged public challenges to debate me. The first time, he ran from the Northern Alliance’s invitation to debate me after complaining that he had never been presented any intelligent arguments for the existence of gods. Perhaps if he stopped running away to avoid them, he might find one. He followed that up by running and hiding from an invitation to engage in a written debate concerning the scientific evidence for evolution which specifically addressed his justifications for evading the previous challenge.

As for your claim that Myers showed I am “ignorant as hell about science”, my response to the error-filled post you cited suffices to demonstrate that he did nothing of the kind.

What you clearly do not understand is that, by his own admission, PZ relies heavily upon emotional arguments rather than logical ones when he cannot simply appeal to an established scientific consensus. “I’ll also cop to the obvious fact that, knowing that reason will not get through their skills, I’m happy to use emotional arguments as well. Passion is persuasive.” His tendency to rely upon emotional rhetoric and passion rather than reason is precisely why he is afraid to debate people who rely primarily upon logic, because his ability to present reason-based arguments is relatively low. His ability to utilize reason is simply not equal to the skill of others who make use of it more effectively. PZ is without question an effective preacher to the godless choir of science fetishists, but he is remarkably unskilled at presenting convincing arguments, let alone conclusive ones, to those who do not already agree with him. Unlike you, he knows he is not an effective evangelist.

With regards to the applicability of economics, as Michael Shermer has pointed out in The Mind of the Market, there are far more similarities between economics and evolution than most people realize, dating back to the singular influence of Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand on Darwin’s subsequent articulation of his theory of natural selection. Moreover, erroneous theories tend to have much in common, especially when they have become mainstream dogma. As one who has played a small role in demonstrating the critical flaws in Neo-Keynesian/Neo-Classical economic models, I am actually rather well-equipped to identify similar flaws in the Neo-Darwinian conceptual model. For example, I correctly identified that the natural selection component of the mechanism was a philosophical one, not a scientific one, and therefore potentially scientifically flawed, long before most believers in the Cult of Darwin became aware of the lack of genuine scientific evidence for it and the need to present various epicyclesalternative mechanisms.

I don’t pretend to know anywhere nearly as much about biology as PZ, but it is always a mistake to assume that an individual with a smaller set of facts at his disposal must therefore be less correct regarding the subject. Aristotelian dialectic may not always be a reliable substitute for science, but it is reliably more effective, more accurate, and more convincing to rational and unbiased observers than science-flavored, emotion-based rhetorical arguments.

It is more than a little embarrassing to the Pharyngulan community that the object of their regard doesn’t believe he can successfully win a debate with what they believe to be the equivalent of a fourth-grade elementary school student, especially when he continues to take the occasional potshot in my direction from the safety of his blog. They can manufacture all the excuses and rationalizations for him they like, but the dodging, it is observed.

The myth of the atheist martyr

Although the movie has apparently come and gone without so much as registering a blip with anyone, Armarium Magnum’s detailed demolition of the Hypatia legend is still worth reading.

While Sagan is the best known propagator of the idea that Hypatia was a martyr for science, he was simply following a venerable polemical tradition that has its origin in Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire:

“A rumor was spread among the Christians, that the daughter of Theon was the only obstacle to the reconciliation of the prefect and the archbishop; and that obstacle was speedily removed. On a fatal day, in the holy season of Lent, Hypatia was torn from her chariot, stripped naked, dragged to the church, and inhumanly butchered by the hands of Peter the Reader and a troop of savage and merciless fanatics: her flesh was scraped from her bones with sharp oyster-shells and her quivering limbs were delivered to the flames.”

Like Gibbon, Sagan links the story of the murder of Hypatia with the idea that the Great Library of Alexandria was torched by another Christian mob. In fact, Sagan presents the two events as though they were subsequent, stating “[the Library’s] last remnants were destroyed soon after Hypatia’s death” (p. 366) and that “when the mob came …. to burn the Library down there was nobody to stop them.” (p. 365)

In the hands of Sagan and others both the story of Hypatia’s murder and the Library’s destruction are a cautionary tale of what can happen if we let down our guards and allow mobs of fanatics to destroy the champions and repositories of reason.

This is certainly a powerful parable. Unfortunately, it doesn’t correspond very closely with actual history.

It is interesting how often atheists accuse Christians of believing fairy tales, considering how they are obviously prone to concocting their own. Is it projection or merely an ironic coincidence? And this is also a useful reminder that a lack of belief in God is not necessarily tantamount to believing unquestioningly in science while remaining completely innocent of history.

PZ runned away again

This time, it’s from Scienceblogs and National Geographic. But at least he’ll have that noted scientist, Ed Brayton, to keep him company.

The scienceblogs “science blogs” gotten somewhat better over the years with some silly blockheads leaving, but one of the worst, PZ Meyers, known for tiny little snippets of vitriol of pseudo-progressive populism that panders to the stupid “skeptics” crowd (the self-righteous feel superior about bashing morons with silly non-arguments type), seemed to never want to go away, giving science blogging a very bad reputation.

Now finally, they are at least splitting the vitriol from the science they at times still throw in here and there. As you can read on Facebook: will be THE central gathering place for atheists, humanists, skeptics and freethinkers in the blogosphere.

This is of course ridiculous since the main blogs are more about republican bashing than about anything else and there is very little reasonable skepticism ever on those blogs, but it is nevertheless good news for science blogging generally if those that give science blogging a bad name finally go and blog under a different category. “Freethought” (free of what actually – reason?) sounds as kooky as any crackpottery and is a much better heading than “science”.

Wait a minute, you mean to say that posting about Matt Damon and one’s dislike of libertarians isn’t science? Bloody butterfly collectors, I should have known better than to major in biology at a community college!

What about Ben Affleck? Ben Affleck and Republican-hating is still science, isn’t it? And Pope-bashing and Biblethumper-thrashing and stimulus-defending, how can that possibly be considered anything but science? Science is what scientists do!

Science Reason in action

Telic Thoughts presents an amusing chronicle of PZ Myers and his response to the Arizona shooting:

Upon hearing that a democratic congresswoman had been shot, the scientist PZ Myers immediately discards science to make this rather unscientific hypothesis about a man who’s name he didn’t even know yet.

“I’ll take a wild guess here. The scumbag who committed this crime has been caught; I’ll bet he’ll turn out to be a Teabagger who listens to a lot of AM talk radio.”

PZ’s only evidence comes in the form of a Palin campaign poster featuring a map of targeted campaign races with “targets” over the congressional districts that were targeted. Then facts start to come in. The shooter had exhibited disturbed behavior. The shooter was an atheist. The shooter read Marx, Hitler, and Rand. Rambling nonsensical web screeds?

PZ responds to the evidence with more emotional, partisan non-science:

“What I see are people who are far too quick to dismiss the right-wing hate speech as a causal factor. Yes, this shooter was a lunatic; that doesn’t mean he wasn’t hearing the drumbeats from the right.”

More evidence comes in fast. Former acquaintances and friends call him a liberal activist. Radical. An atheist. A 9/11 truther. A pothead.

PZ doubles down.

Now, there is certainly nothing wrong in making guesses about why something happened. And those guesses are bound to reflect our biases in one way or another. But it is interesting to compare the irrational reactions of left-wingers like Myers and Paul Krugman, who have clung to their immediate and biased suppositions rather than abandoning them in the face of the documentary and testimonial evidence, with a more rational albeit equally incorrect reaction.

The left-wing supposition was based, as Telic Thoughts notes, on pure personal prejudice. There simply wasn’t any reasonable justification for the conclusion. There haven’t been any shootings by members of the Tea Party and or many shootings inspired by talk radio; the example that has been cited on various sites is a fictional one from a movie called The Fisher King.

Now, my initial suppositions were also incorrect. My very first thought when I heard about it was that the shooting was probably immigration-related because Arizona has been such a national hotspot on that issue. I didn’t know if it was more likely to be someone who was pro-immigration or anti-immigration because I didn’t know the congresswoman’s position on the matter. I initially assumed the shooter was an anti-immigrationist since Giffords is a Democrat and most Democrats are supporters of unlimited third world immigration. But I looked up her record, discovered the woman was considered to be somewhat of a restrictionist on the issue, and therefore concluded incorrectly that the shooter was likely to be some sort of La Raza fanatic disappointed by the failure of the DREAM act.

“[T]his could be the result of a personal issue, for all we know right now…. I would guess that it’s a Hispanic college student who is an illegal alien and has lived in the USA all his life. I can’t imagine it was anyone even loosely associated with the Tea Party in any way since they tend to be more focused on Washington players. It’s probably not a pro-lifer either, since they would be more interested in targeting abortion doctors than politicians.

When one takes a logical approach to observing and interpreting the world’s events, one is forced to consider all the various possibilities regardless of one’s biases. Hence my consideration of the various possibilities that the shooter might have been an anti-immigrationist, a Tea Partier, or a pro-lifer. (I never considered the gold standard or anti-federalism to be even remote possibilities since the shooter might as reasonably have targeted a Cardinals cheerleader as a congresswoman if one of those issues happened to be his motivation.) And while my conclusions could certainly have been skewed by my own biases, at least there was a coherent and logical basis unrelated to them for reaching it. This also meant I had no vested interest in clinging to my initial surmise. So, once it became obvious that the shooter was not a Hispanic, but a young white male who was not a military veteran, I correctly concluded that the shooter was an atheist with personal problems. “Schizoid atheist” was the term I used. The schizophrenia hasn’t been confirmed yet, but the atheism has. Again, I did not reach that conclusion because of my personal biases, but because it fit the model of numerous recent shootings by other young white men around the world.

Myers, on the other hand, believed as he did only because he very much wanted to believe it. His initial conclusion was based on absolutely zero evidence, and he has continued to stick with it in the face of all the available evidence. As one of his commenters correctly pointed out, there is no indication that the shooter had any knowledge of the Palin “crosshairs” map that has the hysterical Left in full point-and-shriek mode. What passes for Myers’s reasoning in this incident goes a long way towards explaining the central basis of his criticism of religious beliefs; he is quite clearly projecting his own habit of belief for belief’s sake upon those who possess them. Moreover, it is amusing to note how his inability to adjust his thinking on the basis of the evidence is consistent with the inflated importance he ascribes to scientific evidence; because he has to reject the validity of documentary and testimonial evidence in order to justify his belief in the non-existence of God, he cannot permit himself to be swayed by those forms of evidence with regards to matters he considers less important. And so, the truth of what was written nearly 2,000 years ago is made evident.

“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Claiming to be wise, they became fools…”

It is particularly amusing to see the ready willingness of a self-proclaimed skeptic who disdains documentary evidence to fall for a forged document. And this comment by Lou Cypher related to the forgery nicely underlines the aforementioned Pharyngulan predilection for projection.

“It doesn’t matter what the facts are, if the teabaggers repeat a lie frequently enough it evidently magically stops being a lie in the eyes of the public, so once they decide to posthumously change his party affiliation to ‘D’ that’s basically the end of the discussion right there.”

How I love the smell of irony in the morning….

UPDATE: And there goes the remnant of PZ’s “right wing talk radio incitement” meme. “He did not watch TV. He disliked the news. He didn’t listen to political radio.”

Does anyone doubt that this won’t slow any of the brainless Lefties from continuing to argue that even if right-wing discourse didn’t have anything to do with this incident, it might next time.