Happy new year!

So I burnt out. Oops. It’s happened before, it will happen again, but this is certainly the longest so far. But I’m going to try to come back to it now – we’ll see how it goes.

But besides its length, the other unusual part of this hiatus is that for the last five and a half months I’ve been completely out of the loop – neither answering emails, moderating comments, or following the creationist news at all. So if anyone wants to update me on what’s happened since early August, the comments are open.


Clicked on the wrong button. First time that’s happened in a while…

I’ll take this moment to note that I’ve had to take most of the URCall videos down and replace them with youtube versions, as they have pulled their vimeo copies for some reason.

Three Years

I have discovered that the three-year anniversary of this blog was yesterday. Oops.

In past years I’ve written an awful lot more than that, about how I never expected to be at this for more than a week etc etc etc, but considering how much I’ve posted lately I think the above is all I deserve.

Much more interesting though is my (accidental – I haven’t been paying much attention lately at all) discovery of a new ICR project: URCall. Continue reading

Proving Religion, Disproving Catholicism?

Wiccan Triple Moon - clearly the Wiccan's are right.A strange article from Brian Thomas: “Evidence of Eternity in Our Hearts?

People believe what they do for a wide variety of reasons, but it seems that some beliefs – politics and religion being being perhaps the most famous – may be in some way “hardwired.” Studying children from Ecuador, a recent paper (pdf, press release) looked at the belief in a “pre-life” of people from indigenous rural and urban catholic society. Thomas explains:

Natalie Emmons and Deborah Kelemen of Boston University conducted two studies on 283 children from Ecuador. They reasoned that survey participants from the jungle lived closer to life and death events and would have biologically based ideas about pre-conception existence, while the Catholic student participants from the city had more exposure to religious teaching that life begins at conception and therefore would “reject the idea of life before birth.” Surprisingly, both groups of students maintained that a core aspect in each person lives even without the body.

Continue reading

Happy Holidays

A belated Saturnalia to you all.

Eye on the ICR Christmas Card 2013(You may want to make that a little bigger.)

I should probably have mentioned a little earlier that I’m on holiday, up North and away from the internet. But, you may ask, that means this is a scheduled post – why didn’t I just say it when I wrote this? A very good question. You’ll have to ask me in the new year when I get back.

“That’s not what we were looking at”

I should post follow-ups on old posts more often. Minda Berbeco at the NCSE’s new blog, Science League of America, has tracked down the primary author, Morgan Kelly, of a paper that Brian Thomas misinterpreted back in June about adaptation in sea urchins. Kelly answered a few of Berbeco’s questions on her research, including:

Could you explain how the ICR article misrepresented your results?

There were a couple problems with their interpretation of my research. First of all, there is a difference between the potential to adapt and having already done so. It seems that they have misinterpreted our findings to say that urchins have already adapted. That’s not what we were looking at.

There’s more. Of course there’s more. I’ve emailed researchers in the past to notify them of ICR articles, and the typical response notes that the creationist piece does indeed horribly mangle their research and conclusions. Rarer is a detailed explanation of what is really going on – real scientists are busy – but when it happens it’s a treat. Read on!


Spam screenshotI should probably look at my spam folders more often. Here’s what I recently found.

From the contact page spam list: about a year ago David Buckna (yes, that David Buckna) wrote insisting that Neanderthals were humans. Apparently he had posted a comment “3 or 4 times” and wanted to know why they hadn’t appeared. I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that those too landed in spam, but I can’t tell for certain as the comment spam list doesn’t go back nearly so far. Continue reading

What I’ve Been Doing

This trimester – which we’re getting towards the middle of now – seems to be even busier than the last, hence my repeated failure to post regularly (I’ll see what I can do about that tonight). The animal biology paper that I’m taking turned to neurons and the nervous system this week, and in spite of the pressures the outcome was frankly inevitable:

Code screenshot 2013-08-14 Continue reading

Two Years

WordPress tells me that I just passed the second anniversary of this blog. Yay me? Last year I wrote a long post detailing what I’d learnt since starting, timed to go out at the exact moment. This year I clean forgot (not least because I thought, as I originally did last year, that the anniversary date was the 29th) and have no time now to prepare any sage thoughts.

Probably the biggest change between this year and last is that I currently have a bit of a backlog, something which I was fairly well over this time last May. So I think I had better get back to writing an actual post, don’t you?

If you have any comments or suggestions for me – or want to know anything about how these sausages are made – now is as good of a time as any to speak up.

Catch-up Time

The Great 2013 Catch-upIt has indeed been a while – more than a month since I last posted, and much more than that since I was properly up-to-date. It’s time to get back to that, and time to try to get caught up with what I missed.

So, I’m launching a project: my aim is to publish one catch-up post per day, starting tomorrow morning (my time), until I run out. I haven’t actually counted how many ICR articles there are that I need to do something on yet, so we may be here for some time. The posts will be of varying length – I’ve taken so long to get back in the saddle in part because a good-sized amount of the stuff put out by the ICR lately just hasn’t been all that interesting, but there are gems here and there. All catchup posts will be marked with the image to the right (at least until I decide that it looks horrible) and will be in this category. I’ll start by taking the DpSUs in reverse chronological order, and we’ll see how it goes from there.

I haven’t been entirely unproductive in my absence. You may remember that it was around the time that I last posted that Google announced the demise of it’s Reader, and since then I’ve decided that The Old Reader fits the bill as a replacement perfectly. I’ve also followed the lead of patheos blogger James McGrath and started sharing some of the things I read, sometimes with brief commentary: my “TOR” profile is here, and the rss feed can be found here if you don’t use that system but still want to follow. (N.B.: My sharings aren’t quite as cerebral as McGrath’s, with topics ranging from creationism to webcomics – and yes, there’s plenty of overlap there.) Does anyone else do the same thing? I’m very interested in adding to my “following” folder. I may also replace the “YOM tweets” feed down below and to the right with this, but I haven’t decided either way.

The other project I’ve been working on is an attempt, over at RationalWiki, to annotate the transcript of the Kitzmiller trial. It’s a lot of work, and it’s going to take us a very long time, so help would be appreciated. I’ve also been doing schoolwork, but that’s not all that interesting.