peristaltor: (Default)
Over at [livejournal.com profile] antitheism, this little story has folks rightfully enraged. It concerns a tee shirt the high school marching band had made for itself:



Cute, eh? As much as I dismay at the strictly hierarchical ascent model, the March of Man has become an icon and thus becomes ripe for humor. This shirt works.

Not, though, according to the local wing nuts:

Assistant band director Brian Kloppenburg said the shirts were designed by him, band director Jordan Summers and Main Street Logo. Kloppenburg said the shirts were intended to portray how brass instruments have evolved in music from the 1960s to modern day. Summers said they chose the evolution of man because it was “recognizable.”

The band debuted the T-shirts when it marched in the Missouri State Fair parade. Summers said he was surprised when he received a direct complaint after the parade.

Although the shirts don’t directly violate the district’s dress code, Assistant Superintendent Brad Pollitt said complaints by parents made him take action.

“I made the decision to have the band members turn the shirts in after several concerned parents brought the shirts to my attention,” Pollitt said.

Pollitt said the district was required by law to remain neutral on religion. . . . (Emphasis mine.)


Wait, huh? How is using a well-known scientific icon taking a position on a religious issue in any way whatsoever? Keep reading.

High School junior Adam Tilley said he understood why the shirts were repossessed.

“I can see where the parents are coming from,” he said. “Evolution has always been controversial.”


Yes, Adam, evolution (in your lifetime) has "always" been controversial. Too true, that. It has also been controversial since it was proposed way back in 1859. But it hasn't been this controversial, Adam, in many, many years. Why? Because, I believe, many people have fallen down on the job quite literally, something Mr. Pollit can demonstrate. For further illustration, let's hear from one of your band mates:

“It’s not like we are saying God is bad,” sophomore band member Denyel Luke said. "We aren’t promoting evolution.”


And within this simple statement, we find the problem.

As long as these children have been alive, they have suffered under an imaginary, oppressive belief that Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection somehow challenges any religious tenet. This belief enshrines the concept of a false duality, a logical fallacy that maintains if position A is right, then position/opinion B is wrong.

Note what I did right there. A is a position, while B is a position/opinion. Why did I do that? Because Darwin's theory is based upon and supported by observation and the scientific method, while the religious tenets of the faithful -- in this case, supposedly Christianity -- are based on centuries of tradition and texts dating back millenia . . . not on observable phenomena parsed into fact.

And here's where the reporter sharing that story through the The Sedalia Democrat fails: He or she failed to note that the comments made by Pollit and Denyel are factually inaccurate. Promoting evolution is not "saying God is bad."

I mean, jumping Jesus on a pogo stick, people, how hard is it to call a local university and get a correcting quote from a professor conversant in Darwin's theory? How hard is it to pull something simple from Stephen Jay Gould's writings? By not correcting that student's statement, the reporter lets the statement stand in the public record unchallenged by fact.

And that unchallenged statement will stand in the eyeballs of every reader as a subtle cue -- "evolution challenges religion," it will whisper. Sometime later, perhaps in a bar, perhaps at a family gathering, someone who read that and many, many other stories like it will pipe up in the discussion, perhaps to mutter, "Yeah, evolution is fine for you to believe; but I believe in God, and evolution challenges that."

Yes, that person will be wrong, wrong, wrong, for more reasons than I can cram into a simple LJ entry like this one. Yes, that person has every right to be wrong, that I acknowledge; but wouldn't it be better if he or she was at least presented the factually accurate position by people paid to present factually accurate positions?!?

Christ on a rubber crutch, I am sick of these battles. They are so very, very avoidable. All we need to do in the public sphere is specify that "facts" are those nagging statements that can be supported time and time again by directed, objective observation. It's that simple.

And, I know, it's also too much to ask.

Sigh.


Addendum, The Next Day: Via Pharyngula comes a new report on how well each state teaches evolution in its schools. Missouri's C grade might explain both the mistaken parental outrage at the shirt attacking any religion, and the fact that those complainers failed to realize how outdated the Progress of Man image really is to the science of evolution today.

Timely!


How does your state rate?
peristaltor: (Default)
I just can't let this teevee thing go, it seems. I'll try to make this my latest last speculative rant on the subject, at least for a while.

To catch you new readers up on the drama, I almost suffered a kidney refill without respite from a television. That got me to correlate that near-trauma with an email a friend sent a fast food joint, which led me to speculate about a possible synergetic commercial/corporate/political conspiracy riding on the laziness of stunted American brains. Confused yet? Well, here I go again. Perhaps I'm not finished. I got to wondering exactly why that idiot box is so damned appealing.

As with everything, I kept that thought stewing in the back of my head as I went about my daily routines. One of those routines involves podcasts, which I truly feel will supplant radio at least in frequency of listening and listeners in the near future. Why? I can't tune in Stephen Fry on the local Seattle yakkity-yak, now can I? His latest podgram, recorded live at the iTunes Festival in the Camden Roundhouse, touches on the origins of the word "focus," which coincidentally might have something to do with my latest two rant entries. I transcribe below:

Let's cast our mind way back to when our species, Homo sapiens, first emerged from earlier versions -- Homo sapiens naught point one alpha version, or beta versions, if you like, from Homo erectus and neandrathal, the first versions of humanity -- one of the first things we learned to do was to tell each other stories, as it seems, around the fire. Fire is very important, incidentally. I don't know why I mention it. It always interests me . . . the way language is so much wiser than any of us tends to be. The Latin for "hearth" is focus. We've used that word "focus," now, to mean almost anything around which we concentrate ourselves. Indeed, the focus of your cameras that are pointing I'd like to think lovingly at me. And the Old English for "hearth" is hearth, from which we get our word "heart."

So it is very deep inside us to do what you're doing, to be in a round place listening to someone telling a story usually with a fire flickering in the middle. . . . Anyway, that's what we first did when we'd hunted and we'd mashed up grain and we'd fought off dangerous animals and we'd survived yet another difficult day. We sat around the focus, the hearth, and we told each other stories.

(I also emphasize. Peri S.)




So let's parse this.

Here we are, an offshoot of creatures that would become monkeys and apes, newly introduced to hot meals through our mastery of fire, meals that may have led to our divergence from our more monkey-esque cousins. We gather as daily as we can around this chemical-phase miracle, its heat denaturing our proteins and gelatinizing our starches and collagens, its light warning us of danger. It's the perfect place to share wisdom to a huddling crowd. Lessons can be imparted while we all gnaw on our charred roots and fat-dripping meats, lessons perhaps so important that they can impart a survival benefit . . . to those that bother to pay sufficient attention.

Could fire have inadvertently become our species' mental trigger for trance states? Could the flicker of the hearth become our ancestral cue for absorbing information without undo criticism -- the importance of which is reflected in our ancient languages -- simply because those whose brains rejected the fiery siren lights failed to absorb verbal information crucial to survival and thus failed to pass on their always-skeptical genes?

Cop a squat. Spike a dog or a marshmallow. Discuss. If you get bored, switch to ghost stories.
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Forgive me, readers, for I have omitted. When I first started The Deist Miasma, I fully expected to answer that last question asked in Part I, Why do many creationists feel so threatened by the scientific explanations for life's diversity? After all, the "Fundamentally" in the post's title refers to the fundamental, underpinning assumptions Behe, Schlafly and Walker all hold that forces their science attacking actions. I wrapped up the third and last installment, though, and forgot to answer that question. Why? I am a forgetful idiot. That's why.

I've added the following to the original Part I. If you'd like to read the entire thing, be my guest. If you remember the original, continue after the cut to the original entry. Onward. )
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After writing the three parts to this (for me of little stamina) exhausting series, I decided to give it a compendium page.

Part I -- Evidence of Something Fundamentally Different
Part II -- The Tendency to Blame the Stink
Part III -- The Tenacity of Purpose


Also, making this seemingly insignificant entry gives me the opportunity to add something I would have added earlier, had I heard it early enough. I didn't. It's a talk given by the Reverend Thomas Goodhue, author of Curious Bones: Mary Anning and the Birth of Paleontology, part of a three part Darwin Day celebration podcast from Scientific American's Science Talk with Steve Mirsky.* Let me give you a taste:

More than 12,000 clergy . . . have signed a joint declaration that says, "The timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of modern science may comfortably coexist." An yet, for many Americans (about half of the population according to the Gallup Polls) . . . are still opposed to the theory of evolution and oppose it being taught in the public schools. That's always been a mystery to me, since it's, my whole life, practically, been clear to me it is without doubt the most important scientific theory ever presented. . . . It's almost impossible to understand the biological sciences -- or, as we've just heard, half of the other sciences these days -- without understanding the theory of evolution. Yet people are still agin' it.

. . . I think there are many reasons for this. One has to do -- and without a doubt, this is the most important reason . . . -- shortly after Darwin presented his theory, it was bastardized into something called "Social Darwinism" that had nothing to do with Darwin's scientific theory. (It) was, if anything, more of a theological or religious belief, (stating) that if you survived you were the fittest. It led to a whole series of incredibly racist theories being developed. The whole eugenics . . . movement in America that said people should be sterilized if they were poor to keep them from reproducing. Jim Crow laws across the land were supported by social Darwinism.

. . . . People sometimes talk today as if the battle was between Darwin and the fundamentalists. It really wasn't for generations. The battle was between progress Christians and the Social Darwinists. As is so often the case, movements move away from their founders and people forget that, in this case, Charles Darwin would have been horrified by things that people were saying in the name of Social Darwinism. (His) theory was inspired more by an opposition to slavery, perhaps, than anything else.

But I think, too, there's opposition to the teaching of evolution still today because far too many secular people, far too many agnostics and atheists, assume that most Christians are going to oppose them on the teaching of evolution. For Catholicism and most main-line Protestants, this really isn't a big issue. (Far) too many people who believe in the theory of evolution dismiss the possibility that people of faith could believe in theistic evolution and still be good scientists.


There's much more, and it's good stuff. Enjoy.


*By the way, of all the science-y podcasts out there, Steve does the best job of making the science interesting and entertaining without sucking the meat-and-potatoes detail out of the synopsis. Only the folks at The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe do it better; but, in all fairness, they're format is a tad different.
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Very recently, researchers led by Richard Lenski announced something momentous: For the first time in recorded scientific history, researchers have been able to observe evolutionary change in progress, confirming and refining Darwin's epochal 1859 theory on the genetic level.


Flasks of evolved E. coli


One would think that this coffin nail would have silenced the Creationist crowd forever. It didn't. If anything, it momentarily energized them. )

Addendum, July 24, 2008: Just for fun, I headed over to Conservapedia and looked up the latest bashing entry for "evolution." I found this sentence:

The theory of evolution posits a process of self-transformation from simple life forms to more complex life forms, which has never been observed or duplicated in a laboratory.


Weird. With such recent communications with the researcher who just observed and duplicated evolution in the lab, one would assume Schlafly would have rushed to his site to make corrections. . . wouldn't one?


*Addendum, April 5, 2009: Forgive me, readers, for I have omitted. When I first started The Deist Miasma, I fully expected to answer that last question, Why the creationists felt so threatened by the scientific explanations of life. After all, the "Fundamentally" in this post's title refers to the fundamental, underpinning assumptions Behe, Schlafly and Walker all hold that forces their science attacking actions. I wrapped up the third and last installment, though, and forgot to answer that question. Why? I am a lazy, forgetful idiot. Let me rectify that omission now, with a supplement to the original entry that runs from the asterisk to the LJ cut.
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This is fascinating. I only wish I had the computing chops to do these kinds of simulations.




From [livejournal.com profile] flamingnerd in [livejournal.com profile] antitheism.
peristaltor: (Default)
From this article:

Ann Coulter is stunned. How is it, she asks, that she could go through 12 years of public school, then college and law school, and still not know that it was Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution that fueled Hitler’s ovens.


(Yes, I just referenced Ann Coulter. I'll give everyone a moment to recover. And to check out the link.)

After reading the first article, those with no familiarity with Darwin's actual theory might hesitate. Was Hitler so motivated? How about the Columbine Killers? Did they also follow Darwin's words? The quick answer (as espoused by the article): Maybe. The real answer: No fucking way. )



PS. Thanks everyone for the umlaut help.

X-posted to [livejournal.com profile] antitheism
peristaltor: (Default)
Someone named Harun Yahya has written what appears to be a beautifully bounded and extensively illustrated book called the Atlas of Creation. He has a nice web site. Very slick. This lucky guy got a copy of the book.



Well, the “Atlas of Creation”
has now landed in the United States.
That's where the photo comes from.



The book has a few errors. The first paragraph serves as a nice example of "a few errors." Sadly for the sake of the author, the first is not the only paragraph. The rest of the book has many errors. One of the most glaring appears in the introduction, in the second paragraph:

According to (Darwin's) evolution scenario, inanimate substances came together by chance to give rise to the first living cell.


Wrong, wrong, wrong. Nowhere in The Origin of Species does Darwin even suggest an origin for life itself. The entire book is dedicated to laying out a very robust theory of how various forms of life may have emerged. Had Darwin proposed in his theory a probable creatio ex nihilo, he would have called his book The Origin of Life Itself, now wouldn't he? Bad Harun! No bisquit!

And at this point, where the logical rubber leaves the road of reality and the argument skids to the ditch, I stop reading. The pictures do seem pretty, though.

Not to worry. Despite the glaring inaccuracies -- or perhaps, I suspect, because of them -- Mr. Yahya's book has plenty of readers and fans. In fact, someone liked his book so much that it has been sent to scientists all over the country. Unsolicited. For free. For real. One of the recipients said people who had received copies were “just astounded at its size and production values and equally astonished at what a load of crap it is."

Folks, I want this book. If you are a luck recipient, please consider me. If nothing else, please put your copy on eBay and let me know of the auction. This would go beautifully with my collection of really, really odd reasons to make a book. I mean, think about it: For someone to have spent seemingly millions of dollars distributing a glossy tome filled with lies and deceptions and pretty pictures simply for the hope that one of the recipients abandons their career as a scientist and converts to fundamentalist Islam represents to me a pinnacle, an acme of religious fanaticism that simply puts my paltry collection of Chick Publication religious tracts to a simpering, weeping shame.




UPDATE July 19, 2007: A recheck of eBay found Mr. Yahya sells his works for, as suspected, about a hundred US bucks. I will neither pay that much nor impart a single cent to the author. Again, I want this book, but I want to give money to a lucky scientist recipient, not a weirdo publishing fundamentalist whackjob.

Kinky!

May. 11th, 2007 10:13 pm
peristaltor: (Default)
Roosters may all be half-cocked compared to ducks.



Note the corkscrew shape of the, er, duck cock. I recently read about the oviducts (don't worry, I'm not making all these duck puns on purpose) of the female ducks possessing dead ends with sacs that can trap unwanted deposits from equally unwanted suitors.

Read all about it yourself in The Loom, which has links to the original article.

Huh, huh. Duck cock. Corkscrew duck cock. Huh, huh.
peristaltor: (Default)
Once again, I'm going to tout my new favorite book, Parasite Rex from the author of my new favorite science blog, The Loom. It wasn't the writing that got me (though that was good), or the science (most readable). . . it was the content.

Dear Readers, parasites are far more than mere pests.

They are a part of human life. They may, in fact, be a necessary part of human life.

Meaning, when they are removed from human life, bad things may happen. )
peristaltor: (Default)

Last July, I attempted to take Stephen Colbert to task for some subliminal suggestions in one of his pieces.

He has so far ignored me.

Last month, I stumbled upon a possible and disturbing origin for the caduceus of Asklepius in Carl Zimmer's Parasite Rex:

The quivering strings of flesh . . . now known as guinea worms . . . couldn't be yanked out at one go, since they would snap in two and the remnant inside the body would die and cause a fatal infection. The universal cure for guinea worm was to rest for a week, slowly winding the worm turn by turn onto a stick to keep it alive until it had crawled free. Someone figured out this cure, someone forgotten now for perhaps thousands of years. But it may be that that person's invention was remembered in (today's) symbol of medicine. . . . (Zimmer, Parasite Rex, Touchstone, 2000, p. 2.)




That got me to thinking. The old caduceus, with the twining serpents, was often found in medical books, but referred to the Hermetic arts of medicine. Could there be a parasitic connection?

Intestinal tapeworms, for example, sometimes grow to 60 feet, and rarely dwell alone. Perhaps purveyors of efficacious herbs used two serpents as a symbol to indicate an infestation. Rex cites the right spice in abundance as a convenient way to flush such nuissances from the bowels.

Back to Dracunculus medinensis, that nasty guinea worm: Those easily grossed out probably should avoid seeing guinea worms extracted in color. )


World Health Organization
peristaltor: (Default)
The first distorts the logic of "new life" free peanut butter . . . without ever considering the benefit of pasteurization.



Next, this jackhole ably demonstrates what may be a perfect example of a complex co-evolution, leading to the eventual marriage of hand and banana.



Unlike Martin Luther, let me clarify that "poor reasoning is the devil's whore."

peristaltor: (Default)
That post on lice evolution led me to explore The Loom, Carl Zimmer's Science Blog, which led me to buy his book, Parasite Rex. So far, it's a great introduction to pests.

Something I read today got me chuckling maniacly.

(Leaf-rolling caterpillars are) pretty ordinary insect larvae with one exception: they fire their droppings like howitzers. As a bit of frass starts to emerge from the caterpillar it pushes a hinged plate back against a ring of blood vessels surrounding the anus. The blood pressure builds up behind the plate, which the caterpillar then releases. The pressure of the blood slams against the droppings so suddenly that it blasts them three feet a second, in a soaring arc that carries them up to two feet away. (Zimmer, Parasite Rex, Touchstone, 2001, p. 180)


"Back off, predator! I've gotta poo!"
peristaltor: (Default)
Ever wonder if one could gain clues to human evolution/dispersion from examining the DNA of crab lice?



From this article:

Like their common name suggests, pubic lice are crab-shaped, with wide-reaching legs that help it to move between widely-spaced hairs. They look very different from our lemon-shaped head lice. In fact, early entomologists put human head lice and human pubic lice in two separate genera, grouping each with lice from other apes. Pubic lice, in fact, look a lot more like lice found on gorillas than they look like human head lice.

The scientists set out to recover the evolutionary tree of pubic lice, just as they had done with head lice. They analyzed DNA from human head lice, human pubic lice, as well as other species from the same genera that live on chimpanzees and gorillas. They also analyzed DNA from lice that live on monkeys and on rodents so that they could get a better sense of how pubic lice had evolved from a common ancestor with other species. The scientists not only drew branches for each species, but also estimated when those branches split over the course of history.


Science fun!


There once was a girl named Louise
Whose pube hairs hung down to her knees
The crabs in that twat
Tied the hairs in a knot
And constructed a flying trapeze!
peristaltor: (Default)
A conservative online encyclopedia? It's true! Check out Conservapedia, "a much-needed alternative to Wikipedia, which is increasingly anti-Christian and anti-American."

Just for fun, I typed in a few entries, like evolution, just to see what would pop into view. I did this this morning, and read, "Evolution has largely been discredited, but is forced on schools by activist judges." That sentence, 8 hours later, has been removed. Obviously word has been traveling fast, prompting the edits!

The revised entry boasts a different opening sentence in the second paragraph: "Creationists and supporters of Intelligent Design the process of natural selection is not an evolutionary process. " Sure, the sentence lacks a verb; but given the original sentence I read this morning and mentioned above, a sentence without actual meaning seems a mark of true progress.

The entry on Charles Darwin contains the opening line:

People who write articles shouldn't misspell "deathbed" and "accept," or "occurred."


The entry also lists Darwin's birth to a "Christian family" without citing sources. I do love the fact that the picture of Mr. Darwin faced his entry with a scowl, just as I positioned it here.

Speaking of paleontology, check out the entry on dinosaurs:

Creationists believe, based on archeological and Biblical evidences, that dinosaurs were created on the 6th day of the Creation Week[1], between 6,000 and 10,000 years ago; that they lived in the Garden of Eden in harmony with other animals, eating only plants[2]; that pairs of various dinosaur baramins were taken onto Noah's Ark during the Great Flood and were preserved from drowning[3]; that fossilized dinosaur bones originated during the mass killing of the Flood[4]; and that some descendants of those dinosaurs taken aboard the Ark still roam the earth today[5].




Of course, citation number 5 comes from a web page with the picture shown above on its header.

The same people also brought you this:



Should we keep reading? You be the judge.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] theweaselking.

Addendum March 10, 2007

I wasn't the only one to find issue with the Conservapedia site. Carl Zimmer, my newly-found hero, had a bit more to say. After all, he was quoted on the site. . . and removed. . . and requoted. . . .

He and I also share the importance of a good title, it seems.
peristaltor: (Default)
I was reading Richard Dawkins' The Blind Watchmaker last night and realized he not only did what I did fairly recently, he also did 20 years ago and in the same chapter what I have been itching to do for years. Instead of making me sad, I realized the LJ could do what he did even better.

And what exactly would that be? )
peristaltor: (Default)
One of the most prevalent criticisms of Darwin's theory of natural selection involves the origins of biological structures that have no intermediate forms.

For example, creationists often mistakenly claim eyes to be miracles that cannot have evolved. Really? In the biological world one can find several examples of "eyes," from the human eyeball, with its retinal array of photosensors gathered within the eyeball behind the focusing lens of the cornea, to the simple light-sensing single photosensor on the outer skins of microscopic creatures, to the bulbous multifaceted arrays sported by common houseflies. Starting with the single photosensitive receptor, one can easily find eyes in existing creatures that gradually increase in complexity, each increase offering an advance in visual acuity that provides a survival advantage.

One cannot say the same about wings. While one can still see half as much with half an eye, one cannot fly with half a wing.

St. George Mivart raised this very point in his book On the Genesis of Species (1871), the book's very title a direct poke a Darwin's own On the Origin of Species:

Natural selection utterly fails to account for the conservation and development of the minute and rudimentary beginnings, the slight and infinitesimal commencements of structures, however useful those structures may afterward become. (Mivert, 1871, p. 23)


He later in his book concludes (p. 107): "It is difficult, then, to believe that the Avian limb was developed in any other way than by a comparatively sudden modification of a marked and important kind."

Darwin himself noted Mivert's observations and held them in high esteem, enough to revise later editions of The Origins of Species, discussing in these revisions ". . . organs that perform two functions, one primary, the other subsidiary, then relinquish the main use and elaborate the formerly inconspicuous operation." (Gould, Bully for Brontosaurus, 1992, p. 143) Darwin thought that wings may have originally been organs that served respiration, breathing tubes that grew into wings.

While fascinating, Darwin's breathing tube speculation was later supplanted by the theory that bird wings originally served to regulate the early bird relatives' internal body temperature:

Feathers are modified reptilian scales, and they work very well as insulating devices. Moreover, if birds evolved from dinosaurs (as most paleontologists now believe), they arose from a lineage particularly subject to problems with temperature control. Archaeopteryx is smaller than any dinosaur and probably arose from the tiniest of dinosaur lineages. Small animals, with high ratios of surface area to volume, lose heat rapidly and may require supplementary devises for thermoregulation. (Gould, ibid, p. 145).


With this theory, any planar limb apendage can serve two important functions:
  • Tucked in, the membranes/chiton extensions/stiff scales can provide insulation
  • Spread out, vascular and conductive surfaces increase the surface to volume ratio and shed heat.


  • Furthermore, flapping the surfaces moves air that can drastically increase cooling. Bees appoint workers at the entrances to hives. These workers buzz their wings, moving air into or out of the hive interior. Under this theory, that job would have been possible even before the species was able to fly!




    Which brings me to some correction.

    Some say he was an ardent anti-communist. Some say he held a rosy vision of America that drastically skewed from the reality. Both accusations are true.

    When adapted, his stories deviated from originals with wildly improbable happy endings. His myths offered little instructional value, removing from the stories any lessons the young can use later in life. Some have said this truncation of the lessons has produced a generation or three with few coping skills for the really hard situations. Books have been written about this.

    But in his defense, I'll say this: )
    peristaltor: (Default)
    This installation of my "Language Abuse -- No Biscuit!" tag concerns two opposing schools of thought defaming words to support their personal conceptual biases. What's interesting is not that people are doing this -- people do this all the time, every day, without giving it even a hint of critical thought. No, what's interesting here is how extremely polar these two camps are to each other, how little ground they hold in common -- and on this issue how very wrong I hope to show both camps to be.

    Sure, it's a bit lengthy; but remember the temptation of Dick! )
    peristaltor: (Default)
    As sure as evolution will provoke debate, and as sure as that debate will rage long after the current participants can no longer debate, analogies distilling and dismissing the argumentative fallacies of opponents will be created, and winning analogies will likely become more popular for use in future arguments than others. A few come to mind. One goes, "The chances of life on earth and man evolving are as good as a hurricane striking a junkyard and producing a 747." That one I can dismiss outright, since few junkyards have the working parts, and since there is no way a hurricane, a random, destructive force, do anything more than more completely scatter junk. Also, a 747 is a product, built in a factory; life is very, very different. Life produces itself with itself.

    Another, more fitting analogy, though, posits that biological evolution is as likely, statistically speaking, as a bunch of monkeys chained to typewriters producing the works of Shakespeare. I'll grant you, that is far-fetched. And it presents a nice image, often reproduced for comic effect in cartoons. For years, one thing that struck me about this analogy, though, has long been dismissed: It works. )
    peristaltor: (Default)
    Just reading "The Third Chimpanzee", by Jarod Diamond, and came accross this little dittie:

    While we can agree that the human penis is an organ of display, the display is intended not for women but for fellow men.


    The quote is preceded by mention of a women's mag that featured male nudes, and actually lost readers amongst women when the pee pee was featured -- but gained male readers.

    Dovetails very nicely with another post I made.

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