Sunday, August 31, 2008

Who is the Mother of Trig Paxon Van Palin?

If it’s Sarah Palin, why is she distinctly not pregnant in a photograph which was apparently taken on Super Tuesday, which is in February, when, as Jazz Shaw points out, Palin would have been about six months along in her pregnancy?

Keep in mind, before we wind up the Friday night activities in Blogistan, that this is still only ten hours after the announcement of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s VP announcement caught so many of us flat-footed. In ten hours, though, the hits keep on coming. Let’s take a quick look at a few more.

The first one, and possibly the most tawdry of the bunch, came via several e-mails which arrived after the announcement here at Jazz Headquarters. Check out this picture of Sarah Palin from Super Tuesday this year.

It’s a nice shot, but according to at least once source it was taken on Super Tuesday. That’s in February. At that point, Palin should have been six months pregnant with her last child. It does make me wonder if the following will turn into a story.

…the oldest girl is rumored to have actually been the one who had the last baby, the one with Down’s Syndrome. She was taken out of school the last 4 or 5 months of her mother’s pregnancy.

On March 5th, 2008 Alaska’s Republican Governor, Sarah Palin, announced to the media that she was 7 months pregnant with her 5th child. She is currently 44.

Palin’s daughter Bristol is 16 and attends an Anchorage high school. Students who have attended class with her report that she has been out of school for months, claiming a prolonged case of mono.

Palin does not appear pregnant in any recent photographs. The announcement came as quite a shock to people who had worked closely with her, and have been quoted as saying that she did not appear pregnant whatsoever during the prior 7 months. While this is debatable, you can judge for yourself here:

(Note: That link has since died since we first looked at it. The pictures were removed today.)

IF there is anything to this story, there are two issues as I see them. First, and most obvious, is the honesty issue. Why would Palin have lied about who the mother was? Which leads to the second issue: If Bristol Palin IS the mother, how does she feel about all this? If the story is true, and Sarah Palin lied to spare her daughter embarrassment or emotional pain, what does that say about how Bristol Palin felt about the pregnancy itself?

The fact that the photographs of Sarah Palin at a time when she would have appeared to be pregnant, if she really was, were taken down and the link killed, is a little odd if there’s nothing to the story.

[Via Comments from Left Field]

Medical-Bill Errors Becoming More Common

WASHINGTON (AP) - Don’t assume that your complicated medical bill is correct.

Errors on bills for doctors, medical tests or hospitals can result in overcharges that run from a few dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.

Husband and wife Ron and Marilyn Hess, from Homer, Alaska, were left facing a bill of about $10,000 from a hospital after Marilyn needed an appendectomy. The hospital bill was about $45,000, of which her insurer agreed to pay $35,000.

After obtaining an itemized bill and with the help of a medical-billing advocate, the couple uncovered procedures billed that weren’t performed.

And on her appendectomy and the second clean-up surgery, Marilyn was charged separately for each item used rather than a set fee for a surgical packet.

“We were outraged when we saw the itemized statement from the hospital,” Ron said.

Nora Johnson, director of education and hospital billing compliance for Medical Billing Advocates of America, who advocated for Marilyn Hess, estimates “eight out of every 10” hospital bills she scrutinizes contain multiple errors. And while bills from doctors’ offices and labs tend to contain fewer mistakes, consumers can still end up paying unnecessarily.

Watching for common errors
Six out of 10 Americans with health insurance said they are paying more out of pocket for medical expenses, according to a recent survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, or EBRI. And the higher costs are hurting their household finances, with one-third reporting difficulty paying for basic necessities.

“These results show the impact of rising health care costs is widespread and growing,” said EBRI President Dallas Salisbury.

Against this backdrop, it is more important than ever to assure you aren’t paying more than you owe for medical services. You can take steps to protect your finances, but you need to be mindful of deadlines.

It helps to watch for common types of errors.

For instance, Johnson says consumers with high-deductible health plans can take a hit if their insurer fails to apply discounted group rates — which insurers negotiate with health-care providers — to charges incurred within the deductible. Deductibles in these plans can run from a thousand dollars to more than $10,000.

Other common blunders include medical-coding errors, mistakes in how annual deductibles are applied and confusion over which providers are in or out of network. Fraudulent activity by some unscrupulous health care providers and medical-identity theft are other bugaboos, experts say.

Deciphering medical bills isn’t always easy. Paula Fryland, manager of the national health care group at PNC Financial Services Group Inc., says one in three Americans reported having trouble understanding the explanation of health benefits in a recent study the company conducted. An explanation of benefits, or EOB, is the statement your insurer sends you after you have received health-care services.

One in four consumers polled by PNC said they believe their insurer had denied a legitimate claim, and, of those, one in five paid the claim out of their own pocket (consumer advocates say the fear of getting their credit damaged motivates many). But persistence pays off: More than half of consumers got their insurer to pay all or part of the claim.

Reviewing your EOB before you get a bill is the best way to track your medical expenses. If your insurer offers you the ability to review your EOBs online, sign up; if you can receive e-mail alerts, even better.

Susan Johnson, a senior consultant at Watson Wyatt Worldwide, advises checking that the name, address, insurance group and identification numbers are correct. If they are inaccurate, it might mean that you have received someone else’s EOB by mistake, or, more worryingly, that someone is using your health benefits without your consent.

Next, check the claim activity to ensure that the name of the health care provider, services rendered and dates tally with your recollection.

“Sometimes you can get billed for tests you didn’t have,” says Johnson.

Often this is due to a clerical error; however, multiple procedures for which you have no memory of receiving and/or surprisingly high charges can signal insurance fraud.

Don't call on Monday
Mark Rucci, a senior vice president at Apex Management Group, a division of Gallagher Benefit Services Inc., says consumers should also track the contributions they have made toward their annual deductible. Alert your insurer if your EOB erroneously says you haven’t met your deductible.

Make sure to get credit for using an in-network health care provider. HMO plans can hit you with the full cost of out-of-network treatment. PPO plans require higher coinsurance payments out of network.

If you notice discrepancies in your EOB, call your insurer’s toll-free customer service line, advises Dr. Charles Cutler, Aetna Inc.’s chief medical director. You will find the numbers on your EOB, your insurance ID card or your insurer’s Web site. Avoid calling on Mondays, as they are notoriously busy.

If all or part of a claim is denied, it is usually because the insurer didn’t receive all the information required or because it believes the procedure isn’t covered or medically necessary.

You can appeal such decisions over the phone, but it is best to do so in writing, supply supporting evidence and keep copies of correspondence. Generally, your insurer has 30 days to reply (within days if it involves urgent care). Most insurers have a multilevel appeals process, and you may also be entitled to an external review. It is important to find out what your plan’s rules — and deadlines — are.

Hire an advocate
You might want to enlist the help of outside experts. Your state insurance department or state health department can offer guidance.

Consider hiring an advocate. For example, unbeknownst to you, your insurer might decide your bypass surgery wasn’t medically necessary because, instead of entering the code for “heart attack,” which is what you had, an administrator mistakenly entered the diagnosis code for “broken leg.” Typically, advocates charge an hourly fee (from $25 to $75) plus a percentage of any savings. You can find listings at

As for the Hess family, it took 18 months of lobbying, but the hospital finally wrote off their bill.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

100 Oldest Domains

Rank Create date Domain name

1. 15-Mar-1985 SYMBOLICS.COM
2. 24-Apr-1985 BBN.COM
3. 24-May-1985 THINK.COM
4. 11-Jul-1985 MCC.COM
5. 30-Sep-1985 DEC.COM
6. 07-Nov-1985 NORTHROP.COM
7. 09-Jan-1986 XEROX.COM
8. 17-Jan-1986 SRI.COM
9. 03-Mar-1986 HP.COM
10. 05-Mar-1986 BELLCORE.COM
11. 19-Mar-1986 IBM.COM
11. 19-Mar-1986 SUN.COM
13. 25-Mar-1986 INTEL.COM
14. 25-Mar-1986 TI.COM
15. 25-Apr-1986 ATT.COM
16. 08-May-1986 GMR.COM
17. 08-May-1986 TEK.COM
18. 10-Jul-1986 FMC.COM
19. 10-Jul-1986 UB.COM
20. 05-Aug-1986 BELL-ATL.COM
21. 05-Aug-1986 GE.COM
22. 05-Aug-1986 GREBYN.COM
23. 05-Aug-1986 ISC.COM
24. 05-Aug-1986 NSC.COM
25. 05-Aug-1986 STARGATE.COM
26. 02-Sep-1986 BOEING.COM
27. 18-Sep-1986 ITCORP.COM
28. 29-Sep-1986 SIEMENS.COM
29. 18-Oct-1986 PYRAMID.COM
30. 27-Oct-1986 ALPHACDC.COM
31. 27-Oct-1986 BDM.COM
32. 27-Oct-1986 FLUKE.COM
33. 27-Oct-1986 INMET.COM
34. 27-Oct-1986 KESMAI.COM
35. 27-Oct-1986 MENTOR.COM
36. 27-Oct-1986 NEC.COM
37. 27-Oct-1986 RAY.COM
38. 27-Oct-1986 ROSEMOUNT.COM
39. 27-Oct-1986 VORTEX.COM
40. 05-Nov-1986 ALCOA.COM
41. 05-Nov-1986 GTE.COM
42. 17-Nov-1986 ADOBE.COM
43. 17-Nov-1986 AMD.COM
44. 17-Nov-1986 DAS.COM
45. 17-Nov-1986 DATA-IO.COM
46. 17-Nov-1986 OCTOPUS.COM
47. 17-Nov-1986 PORTAL.COM
48. 17-Nov-1986 TELTONE.COM
49. 11-Dec-1986 3COM.COM
50. 11-Dec-1986 AMDAHL.COM
51. 11-Dec-1986 CCUR.COM
52. 11-Dec-1986 CI.COM
53. 11-Dec-1986 CONVERGENT.COM
54. 11-Dec-1986 DG.COM
55. 11-Dec-1986 PEREGRINE.COM
56. 11-Dec-1986 QUAD.COM
57. 11-Dec-1986 SQ.COM
58. 11-Dec-1986 TANDY.COM
59. 11-Dec-1986 TTI.COM
60. 11-Dec-1986 UNISYS.COM
61. 19-Jan-1987 CGI.COM
62. 19-Jan-1987 CTS.COM
63. 19-Jan-1987 SPDCC.COM
64. 19-Feb-1987 APPLE.COM
65. 04-Mar-1987 NMA.COM
66. 04-Mar-1987 PRIME.COM
67. 04-Apr-1987 PHILIPS.COM
68. 23-Apr-1987 DATACUBE.COM
69. 23-Apr-1987 KAI.COM
70. 23-Apr-1987 TIC.COM
71. 23-Apr-1987 VINE.COM
72. 30-Apr-1987 NCR.COM
73. 14-May-1987 CISCO.COM
74. 14-May-1987 RDL.COM
75. 20-May-1987 SLB.COM
76. 27-May-1987 PARCPLACE.COM
77. 27-May-1987 UTC.COM
78. 26-Jun-1987 IDE.COM
79. 09-Jul-1987 TRW.COM
80. 13-Jul-1987 UNIPRESS.COM
81. 27-Jul-1987 DUPONT.COM
82. 27-Jul-1987 LOCKHEED.COM
83. 28-Jul-1987 ROSETTA.COM
84. 18-Aug-1987 TOAD.COM
85. 31-Aug-1987 QUICK.COM
86. 03-Sep-1987 ALLIED.COM
87. 03-Sep-1987 DSC.COM
88. 03-Sep-1987 SCO.COM
89. 22-Sep-1987 GENE.COM
90. 22-Sep-1987 KCCS.COM
91. 22-Sep-1987 SPECTRA.COM
92. 22-Sep-1987 WLK.COM
93. 30-Sep-1987 MENTAT.COM
94. 14-Oct-1987 WYSE.COM
95. 02-Nov-1987 CFG.COM
96. 09-Nov-1987 MARBLE.COM
97. 16-Nov-1987 CAYMAN.COM
98. 16-Nov-1987 ENTITY.COM
99. 24-Nov-1987 KSR.COM
100. 30-Nov-1987 NYNEXST.COM

More Decision-Makers Bring Less Efficiency
Eraser Shaped Like Delete Key
Cats Websites Venn Diagram
Apple Computers Venn Diagram  

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The 10 Oddest City Names

10. Peck, USA – Located in Sanilac County, Michigan, Peck is a small village of around 600 people, arguably referred to as peckers. Peck is rather small, having a total surface of 1.0 square miles (2.6 km²). As with other towns or villages included in the list, not many facts are known, apart from the number of inhabitants.

9. Phuket Province, Thailand – Located in the Andaman Sea, Phuket is a southern province of Thailand and also the country’s biggest island. The name is derived from the word bukit, which means mountain or hill. Tourists flock to the myriad beaches - save for in tsunami season - while nightlife enthusiasts and shoppers crowd Patong.

8. Climax Springs, USA – Although the name sounds appealing, it only refers to a small village of around 80 people in Camden County, Missouri. Don’t start packing yet because the city doesn’t actually have springs per se. Small and devoid of attractions, you may want to ignore the allure of the place name - as seductive as it is, and visit nearby St. Louis instead.

7. Condom, France – Also known as Condom-en-Armagnac, Condom is located on the Via Podiensis and home to two castles that date back to the 13th century – the Château de Mothes and the Château de Pouypardin. Other than the castles and odd name, the town is known for the production of Armagnac brandy.

6. Dix Hills, USA – Located in Suffolk County, New York, Dix Hills is often described as one of the nicest communities on Long Island. Most of its allure is derived from the fact that it was home to American jazz musician John Coltrane during the last years of his life. Here, Coltrane wrote several pieces, including one of his greatest: “A Life Supreme”.

5. Owanka, USA – Even though the city is not tracked by the American Census bureau, Owanka has been assigned a zip code. Owanka is an unincorporated community in the Pennington County of South Dakota.

4. Placentia, Canada – Located on the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland and Labrador, the town of Placentia is home to several communities that amount to around 3,900 inhabitants. Sadly, the population is in rapid decline. In fact, only one other town in Canada shrinks at a faster rate that Placentia. Famous Placentians include commentator/journalist Rex Murphy and wrestler Alastair Ralphs.

3. Shag Point, USA – This is a point on the north coast of South Georgia, between Camp Bay and Sunset Fjord in the Bay of Isles. The name was chosen by the wacky British, with first use on a 1931 chart.

2. Pussy, France – The small French village of Pussy is located in the community of La Léchère. The village’s name comes from the Gallo-Roman name Pusiacum - pusus actually means little boy. It lies on the river Isère offering magnificent views of the Mont Bellachat.

1. Fucking, Austria – The number one puzzling town name is in western Upper Austria. Fucking has been around since 1070, named apparently after a legendary 6th century character “Focko”. Translated, the name of the town simply signifies “(place of) Focko’s people.”

[Via Hotel Club]

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Why Neanderthal Man May Not Have Been As Stupid As He Looks

Neanderthals were not as stupid as they have been portrayed, according to a study showing their stone tools were just as good as those made by the early ancestors of modern humans, Homo sapiens.

Scientists who spent years learning how to make replicas of the stone instruments used by Neanderthals and Homo sapiens have found the Neanderthal tools were just as efficient as anything made by Stone Age man.

And researchers believe that the demise of the Neanderthals – which has often been explained by the supposed inferiority of their technology – could not have come about solely as a result of their stone tools being worse than those of their rivals.

"Our research disputes a major pillar holding up the long-held assumption that Homo sapiens were more advanced than Neanderthals. It is time for archaeologists to start searching for other reasons why Neanderthals became extinct," said Metin Eren, a graduate student at Exeter University.

"Technologically speaking, there is no clear advantage of one tool over the other. When we think of Neanderthals, we need to stop thinking in terms of 'stupid' or 'less advanced' but more in terms of 'different'."

Neanderthal man lived in Europe for about 300,000 years, surviving a number of ice ages before disappearing completely about 25,000 years ago, about 10,000 years after the arrival of modern humans in Europe.

Why the Neanderthals disappeared has been an enduring mystery but studies on DNA extracted from ancient bones suggest they died out without interbreeding with the new arrivals to Europe. It is likely that the two species of humans competed against each other for limited resources in the same habitat, with Homo sapiens being the victor.

However, the study on the stone tools used by both species suggests that the competition was not as one-sided as some anthropologists had believed. The Neanderthal flint tools were broader and thicker than the somewhat smaller and finer-bladed tools of Homo sapiens but they have turned out to be no less efficient, Mr Eren said.

The scientists, from Exeter University, the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas State University and the Think Computer Corporation, analysed museum specimens of stone tools and learnt how to make exact replicas by knocking flakes off flint stone.

"After many years of learning how to do it, we did a number of analyses of efficiency and found that Neanderthal tools are no less efficient, and indeed in some respects were more efficient than the tools of Homo sapiens," Mr Eren said. "It was only by spending three years in the lab learning how to make these tools that we were able to finally replicate them accurately enough to come up with our findings."

The study, published in the Journal of Human Evolution, measured how long it took to make the tool by the process of flint knapping, how much waste was produced in making it, the sharpness of its cutting edge and for how long it lasted.

One problem still remains – why did Homo sapiens switch from the type of tool technology used by the Neanderthals to something that was different but no more efficient?

Mr Eren said that the switch to a more streamlined technology during the time that Homo sapiens began colonising Europe may have played a role of social cohesion by giving the tool makers a shared identity.

"Colonising a continent isn't easy. Colonising a continent during the Ice Age is even harder. So, for early Homo sapiens colonising Ice Age Europe, a new shared and flashy-looking technology might serve as one form of social glue by which larger social networks were bonded," Mr Eren explained.

"Thus, during hard times these larger social networks might act like a type of life insurance, ensuring exchange and trade among members of the same team," he said.

[Via Independent]

Monday, August 25, 2008

Science and Beer

Ever since there have been scientists, there have been those who are wildly successful, publishing one well-received paper after another, and those who are not. And since nearly the same time, there have been scholars arguing over what makes the difference.

What is it that turns one scientist into more of a Darwin and another into more of a dud?

After years of argument over the roles of factors like genius, sex and dumb luck, a new study shows that something entirely unexpected and considerably sudsier may be at play in determining the success or failure of scientists — beer.

According to the study, published in February in Oikos, a highly respected scientific journal, the more beer a scientist drinks, the less likely the scientist is to publish a paper or to have a paper cited by another researcher, a measure of a paper’s quality and importance.

The results were not, however, a matter of a few scientists having had too many brews to be able to stumble back to the lab. Publication did not simply drop off among the heaviest drinkers. Instead, scientific performance steadily declined with increasing beer consumption across the board, from scientists who primly sip at two or three beers over a year to the sort who average knocking back more than two a day.

“I was really surprised,” said Dr. Tomas Grim, the author of the study and an ornithologist at Palacky University in the Czech Republic, who normally studies the behavior of birds, not scientists. “And I am happy to see that the relationship I found seems to be very well supported by my new observations in pubs, bars and restaurants.”

Dr. Grim, carried out the research by surveying his fellow Czech ornithologists about their beer drinking habits first in 2002 and then in 2006. He obtained the same results each time.

The paper has quickly been making the rounds among biologists, provoking reactions like surprise, nervous titters and irritation — often accompanied by the name of a scientist whose drinking is as impressive as his or her list of publications.

Matthew Symonds, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Melbourne who has also studied factors affecting scientific productivity, called the results remarkable.

“It’s rather devastating to be told we should drink less beer in order to increase our scientific performance,” Dr. Symonds said.

Though the public may tend to think of scientists as exceedingly sober, scientific schmoozing is often beer-tinged, famous for producing spectacular breakthroughs and productive collaborations, countless papers having begun as scrawls on cocktail napkins.

Yet the new study shows no indication that some level of moderate social beer drinking increases scientific productivity. Some scientists suggest that biologists in the Czech Republic could prove to be an anomaly, given that the country has a special relationship to beer, boasting the highest rate of beer consumption on earth.

More important, as Dr. Grim pointed out, the study documents a correlation between beer drinking and scientific performance without explaining why they are correlated. That leaves open the possibility that it is not beer drinking that causes poor scientific performance, but just the opposite.

Or, as Dr. Mike Webster, an ornithologist and a beer enthusiast at Washington State University in Pullman, said, maybe “those with poor publication records are drowning their sorrows.”

In spite of his study, Dr. Grim, who said he would on occasion enjoy more than 12 beers in a night, is not on a campaign to decrease beer drinking among scientists. Why not? His answer: “I like it.”

[Via NY Times]

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Dumbing Down of Voters

The thought occurs to almost everybody that politics today is conducted at a lower level than it used to be. Not many voted against William Howard Taft because he was fat or Abraham Lincoln because he was thin. One can't imagine Franklin Roosevelt being judged by how badly he bowled or how convincingly he knocked back a tumble of scotch. Indeed, studies show that the speeches presidents gave a half-century ago were pitched at the 12th-grade level - five grades above the level of speeches given by presidents over the last generation.

Which brings up a paradox. Decade by decade Americans are getting smarter and smarter, and decade by decade our politics is getting dumber and dumber. How can we explain it?

In 1940 six in 10 Americans hadn't gone past the eighth grade. Today, most Americans have attended college. Partly as a result of their added schooling, Americans today are more tolerant of dissent and less racist. But surveys show that increased schooling doesn't correspond to a higher aptitude for civics. To put this bluntly: Americans today are no better informed about politics than their grade-school educated grandparents. With respect to some subjects they are less well-informed.

Like Americans in the 1940s, Americans today barely understand basic facts about our government. Only two in 10 know we have 100 US senators. Only four in 10 know we have three branches of government and can name them. Only a third know that Congress has the power to declare war.

They are no better informed about the identity of the people running the government. Only four in 10 could identify William Rehnquist, the long-serving chief justice of the US Supreme Court, more than two decades into his term. Only two in 10 can name the current secretary of defense, Robert Gates. A Harvard study by Thomas Patterson found that Americans today are less able to articulate the differences between the two major parties than voters in the 1950s.

With respect to complicated issues Americans are at sea. In the 1990s, Michael X. Delli Carpini and Scott Keeter undertook a comprehensive review of surveys measuring Americans' knowledge of politics. The results were shocking. They found that only 14 percent could correctly answer three-fourths of basic questions about foreign policy, barely a passing grade. And foreign policy oddly was one of their best subjects. Only 11 percent could pass a test involving questions about domestic policy, and only 5 percent an economics test. (Americans' best subject was history, though there aren't many history teachers who would find this easy to believe.)

Many political scientists have tried to explain away such results ever since surveys in the 1940s began turning up evidence of Americans' gross ignorance about politics. These apologists argue that Americans use shortcuts to compensate for their lack of knowledge. A voter, for example, who does not follow the daily news may nonetheless decide that he should vote for Candidate X because his local newspaper endorsed X and he generally agrees with the positions the paper takes.

Unfortunately, what the polls show is that Americans cannot make up for their lack of basic knowledge even if they shrewdly employ shortcuts. The harsh truth is that ignorant voters are sitting ducks for wily politicians. This is why millions were so easily misled when the Bush administration dropped hints that Saddam Hussein played a role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. One study by the University of Maryland found that nearly 60 percent of Americans were convinced that Hussein was helping Al Qaeda when we undertook our invasion. A majority based their support for the war on this flagrant misunderstanding.

Why hasn't education helped voters become smarter about politics? Television is a big part of the explanation. Once television replaced newspapers as the chief source of news, this happened around 1965, shallowness was inescapable as Americans began judging politicians by how they looked and acted. Another factor was the collapse of the traditional two-party system and unions. Once voters stopped taking their cues from party and labor bosses, they were largely on their own as they sorted through the complicated choices they face.

If politicians were angels, we wouldn't need smart voters. But they aren't. One of the most pressing issues of our times, though few talk about it, is therefore the acknowledgement of the limits of contemporary voters and strategies to make them smarter.

[Via The Boston Globe]

One-third of All Mail Delivered in the World is U.S. Junk Mail

One-third of all mail delivered in the world is U.S. junk mail. This comes to an annual 100 billion pieces total. You’re not the only one going postal—national polls show that between 80 and 90 percent of all respondents dislike junk mail and would take some action to reduce it if they could.

Considering that each household in the United States receives 18 pieces of junk mail for every one piece of personal mail each week, the waste has a significant impact on the environment. Junk mail creates some 51,548,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases every year, the equivalent of the emissions of more than 9 million average passenger cars or 11 coal-fired power plants. In fact, the junk mail carbon footprint equals that of Mississippi, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Idaho combined.

In addition, the total volume of American junk mail yearly requires the destruction of 100 million trees. Some 44 percent of this mail goes to landfills unopened. The majority of household waste consists of junk mail. Moving from household waste to societal waste, 40 percent of the solid mass that makes up landfills is paper and paperboard.

Recycling is a good first step, but it is not sufficient. About 100 million Americans—34 percent of the country—do not have access to curbside recycling. Instead, the ultimate answer could be a national Do Not Mail registry, much like the Do Not Call registry created by the enormously popular 2003 consumer rights bill that changed the entire nature of telemarketing.

While the campaign to make this a reality is ongoing, there are steps to take right now. You can contact some of the biggest offenders and direct mailing companies here in order to opt out of their junk mail. It is also free to register online for a Mail Preference Service at the Direct Marketing Association, which will allow you to receive more of the mail you want and less of the mail you don’t.

Visit Privacy Rights Clearinghouse for a more comprehensive list of the types of junk mail and solutions for each one. These vary from opt-out options for pre-approved letters of credit to instructions on how to remove your name from nationwide sweepstakes mailers. While these steps won’t guarantee a lifetime free of junk mail, they will help reduce both household and environmental waste.

Be sure to tell companies or charities that have your address, “Don’t rent or use my name.” If you want to be extra cautious, give slight variations of your name to different companies. This way, if you receive junk mail addressed to Jane P. Smith, you will know which company shared your information.

Companies get your name and address from a variety of sources. Mass-data collections will usually contain names that can be sold to willing buyers. Your name is worth anywhere from 3 to 20 cents each time it is sold. Direct marketers use telephone books or the Internet, but they want more than public sources so they can find out if buying by mail is a viable option for you. This information can come from warranty registration cards, survey responses, product inquiries, and credit card purchases.

The truth is, junk mail does not work. The response rate to direct mail solicitations averages less than 3 percent, and a rate of 0.25 percent is considered acceptable for the 500 million credit card solicitations sent monthly. To keep the junk out of your mailbox and the landfill take a creative approach to handling junk mail, or sign up for opt-out lists and the petition for a nationwide Do Not Mail registry. Taking steps to reduce junk mail will give your mailbox some breathing space, provide some peace of mind, and even clear the air a little.

[Via Net News Publisher]

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Prison Rape in the United States

Prison rape commonly refers to the rape of inmates in prison by other inmates or prison staff.

According to the study conducted by the United States Department of Justice for the year 2006, there were 2,205 allegations of inmate-on-inmate nonconsensual sexual acts reported, total, in the U.S. prison system. 262 of the allegations were substantiated.

According to Human Rights Watch, at least 140,000 inmates are raped each year, and there is a significant variation in the rates of prison rape by race. Stop Prisoner Rape, Inc. statistics indicate that there are more men raped in U.S. prisons than non-incarcerated women similarly assaulted. They estimate that young men are five times more likely to be attacked; and that the prison rape victims are ten times more likely to contract a deadly disease.

Prison rape has become a staple of comedy or drama in films and television. Films such as Office Space, Half Baked, and Let's Go to Prison have used it as a darkly humorous topic, while prison drama Oz contained multiple scenes of rape.

Ramifications and statistics

Research has shown that juveniles incarcerated with adults are five times more likely to report being victims of sexual assault than youth in juvenile facilities, and the suicide rate of juveniles in adult jails is 7.7 times higher than that of juvenile detention centers. As states try growing numbers of juveniles as adults, the risk of sexual abuse increases.

In the United States, public awareness of the phenomenon of prison rape is a relatively recent development and estimates to its prevalence have varied widely for decades. In 1974 Carl Weiss and David James Friar wrote that 46 million Americans would one day be incarcerated; of that number, they claimed, 10 million would be raped. A 1992 estimate from the Federal Bureau of Prisons conjectured that between 9 and 20 percent of inmates had been sexually assaulted. Studies in 1982 and 1996 both concluded that the rate was somewhere between 12 and 14 percent; the 1996 study, by Cindy Struckman-Johnson, concluded that 18 percent of assaults were carried out by prison staff. A 1986 study by Daniel Lockwood put the number at around 23 percent for maximum security prisons in New York. In contrast, Christine Saum's 1994 survey of 101 inmates showed 5 had been sexually assaulted. One in ten male inmates is raped in prison, mostly by fellow prisoners. Among women the number is one in forty and the offenders are more likely to be prison staff members.

Prison rape cases have drastically risen in recent years, mostly attributed to an increase in counseling and reports. The threat of AIDS, which affects many of those raped in prison, has also resulted in the increase of reported cases for the benefit of medical assistance.

Racial dimensions of prison rape

According to a detailed study of prison rape in U.S. prisons by Human Rights Watch, white people are disproportionately targeted. The report stated:

Past studies have documented the prevalence of black on white sexual aggression in prison. These findings are further confirmed by Human Rights Watch's own research. Overall, our correspondence and interviews with white, black, and Hispanic inmates convince us that white inmates are disproportionately targeted for abuse. Although many whites reported being raped by white inmates, black on white abuse appears to be more common.

Prison rape and sexuality

In prison rape, the perpetrator and victim are almost always the same sex (due to the gender-segregated nature of prison confinement). As such, a host of issues regarding sexual orientation and gender roles are associated with the topic.

In U.S. male prisons, rapists generally identify themselves as heterosexual and confine themselves to non-receptive sexual acts. Victims, commonly referred to as "punks" or "bitches," may or may not be seen as homosexual. "Punks" is a term for those who are generally confined to performing receptive sexual acts. Moreover, though "punks" are coerced into a sexual arrangement with an aggressor in exchange for protection, these men generally consider themselves heterosexual.

Inmates who are transgender face further difficulties, and Stop Prisoner Rape asserts that such inmates are almost certain to be sexually assaulted in prison. Some prisons separate known homosexuals, bisexuals, and transgender people from the general prison population to prevent rape and violence against them. Not surprisingly, many heterosexuals identify themselves to authorities as homosexuals so that they will be sent to the 'gay tank' where they will be protected from homosexual rape. There are, however, other methods to get oneself segregated from population, such as rule infractions or feigned suicide attempts. Other inmates have resorted to killing their rapist (or probable future rapist), particularly those who already have long sentences and are thus virtually immune from further legal consequences.

Shame regarding perceived homosexuality may contribute to the under-reporting of prison rape by victims. Prison rape statistics are much higher than reported, as many victims are afraid to report, being threatened with physical violence by rapists if reported, as well as staff indifference.

Federal Law Public Law 108-79 was passed in the United States in 2003. According to Stop Prisoner Rape, inc.,

“The bill calls for the gathering of national statistics about the problem; the development of guidelines for states about how to address prisoner rape; the creation of a review panel to hold annual hearings; and the provision of grants to states to combat the problem. "Unfortunately, in many facilities throughout the country sexual abuse continues virtually unchecked," said Stemple. "Too often, corrections officers turn a blind eye, or in the case of women inmates, actually perpetrate the abuse. We hope federal legislation will not only create incentives for states to take this problem seriously, but also give facilities the tools and information they need to prevent it."


Many human rights groups, such as the Human Rights Watch and Stop Prisoner Rape, have cited documented incidents showing that prison staff tolerate rape as a means of controlling the prison population in general.

The topic of prison rape is relatively common in American humor. Jokes such as "don't drop the soap" seem to suggest that prison rape is an acceptable consequence of being sent to prison. This phenomenon is exemplified by the 2006 U.S. feature film Let's Go to Prison or the board game Don't Drop the Soap being marketed by John Sebelius, the son of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius. Songs have also been composed about the topic, e.g. the song "Prison Bitch". By contrast, prison rape is not a stock topic of jokes in most other Western cultures.

U.S. Federal law, under the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003, calls for the compilation of national prison rape statistics, annual hearings by a review panel, and the provision of grants to the states to address prison rape. A first, highly-controversial and disputed study, funded under the PREA by Mark Fleisher, concludes prison rape is rare: "Prison rape worldview doesn't interpret sexual pressure as coercion," he wrote. "Rather, sexual pressure ushers, guides or shepherds the process of sexual awakening."

[Via Wikipedia]

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Dumbest Injuries in Sports

Kellen Winslow Jr., Ron Gant, Jay Williams: All three of these guys had a type of motorcycle/dirt bike accident. Getting a multimillion dollar contract, and blowing it by riding a bike. Seems logical.

Ken Griffey Jr.: Ken once missed a game after his protective cup slipped, and pinched one of his testicles. He also once strained his back lifting boxes once but hey you gotta lift with your knees, not your back.

Jeff Kent: Some say he missed the beginning of the 2002 season when falling off his pickup truck while attempting to wash it. Many believed he actually fell off a motorcycle, which would violate his contract.

Moises Alou: Moises once injured his knee by falling off a treadmill in 1999. After recovering and planning to play in 2000, Alou then re-injured his knee after running over his son.

Glenallen Hill: This is one of my favourites. There are many people afraid of spiders and I am kind of one of them. But I have never had a nightmare about them, fallen out of bed and through a glass table, and never woken up from any of this? Hill did it and missed several games with cuts all over his body.

Clint Barmes: At one point winning the race for the NL batting title, Barmes’ rookie season came to a screeching halt when he broke his collarbone after falling down the stairs. Barmes was carrying a frozen load of deer meat, given to him by former NL batting champion Todd Helton.

Sammy Sosa: Sammy Sosa made headlines after missing time in 2004 with a strained ligament in his back. How did he get it? A violent sneeze. Sosa reportedly sneezed so hard that his back jerked forward causing the injury.

Marty Cordova: This guy missed part of a season because he got sunburned. The best part of the story, however, is that it was not a sunburn that occurred during a hot day in Arizona or Miami. Cordova actually burned himself while in a tanning salon in May 2002.

Gus Frerotte: In 1997, Frerotte decided to bang his head into the wall behind the end zone after his TD rush, and missed the rest of a key game with neck pains.

Bill Gramatica: Not only the dumbest sports injury, but probably one of the stupidest things you’ll ever witness, period. After nailing a 42-yard field goal to put the Arizona Cardinals up 3-0 in the first half of a regular season game, kicker Bill Gramatica jumped up in wild celebration, came down, and tore his ACL. Gramatica missed the rest of the season.

Alex Stepney: One of soccer’s jaw dropping moments came from Manchester United’s Alex Stepney. On one occasion Alex Stepney had an unusual sports injury when he broke his jaw during a game. Was it because of a collision at the goal? Was it because Stepney used his face to block a shot? No, it was because Alex Stepney yelled so hard he broke his jaw.

Chris Hanson: When Chris Hanson was a kicker for the Jacksonville Jaguars his coach was Jack Del Rio. After the Jacksonville Jaguars had lost three games in a row Jack Del Rio brought in an axe and a piece of wood and told his team to “keep chopping wood.” Everyday players would take a chop at the piece of wood. One day Chris Hanson was done working out and went to take his chop of the day but his swing was way off and he ended up cutting his own leg instead.

Milton Bradley: Bradley suffered a torn ACL while being restrained from going after an umpire during the Padres’ 2007 season.

Vince Coleman: During the 1985 NLCS, Coleman was injured when the inattentive crew at old Busch Stadium hit the speedster with the metal tarp cylinder as they were covering the field.

Tony Allen: I remember seeing this one and it made me scream. The guard went up for an unnecessary monster dunk after the whistle and came down with a season-ending knee injury.

Alfonso Soriano: In April of 2007 Soriano and his .175 batting average were placed on the Cubs’ 15-day disabled list after straining his right calf. The injury happened right after Soriano landed from the “bunny hop” he habitually performs while catching fly balls.

Brandon Inge: Inge was trying to prop a pillow behind his son’s head and repopped a strained muscle. He had to sit out for 15 days because of the injury.

Joel Zumaya: The pitcher strained his arm playing “Guitar Hero” on the PS2 and had to sit out three games.

Jimmie Johnson: Johnson, winner of the Nextel Cup, was “horsing around” on top of a moving golf cart when he fell off of it and broke his left wrist. The injury kept him from driving for about four weeks.

Adam Eaton: When he played for the San Diego Padres, Eaton accidentally stabbed himself in the stomach with a paring knife while trying to remove the packaging of a DVD.

Kevin Mitchell: Mitchell, who once strained a muscle while vomiting, allegedly chipped his tooth while biting into a previously frozen doughnut that hardened after he left in the microwave.

Santiago Canizares: The goalkeeper sat out the World Cup in Korea and Japan due to clumsiness. He dropped a bottle of cologne on his foot, severing a tendon: (but at least his foot smelled good).

Glenn Healy: This former hockey player needed stitches because of a brawl with some bagpipes. He needed 40 stitches to close up his hand after he cut it while changing the bag on a vintage set of bagpipes.

John Smoltz: The Atlanta pitcher reportedly scalded himself while ironing a shirt he was wearing.

Wade Boggs: He hurt his back when he lost his balance while trying to put on cowboy boots.

George Brett: Brett hit his foot on a chair and broke his toe while running from the kitchen to the TV to see Bill Buckner hit. I really find this one hard to believe!

Nolan Ryan: Apparently Ryan was bitten by a coyote.

[Via Cuzoogle]

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Girls' Most Dangerous Sport: Cheerleading

For high school girls and college women, cheerleading is far more dangerous than any other sport, according to a new report that adds several previously unreported cases of serious injuries to a growing list.

High school cheerleading accounted for 65.1 percent of all catastrophic sports injuries among high school females over the past 25 years, according to an annual report released by the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research.

The new estimate is up from 55 percent in last year's study. The researches say the true number of cheerleading injuries appears to be higher than they had previously thought. And these are not ankle sprains. The report counts fatal, disabling and serious injuries.

The statistics are equally grim in college, where cheerleading accounted for 66.7 percent of all female sports catastrophic injuries, compared to the past estimate of 59.4 percent.

The revised picture results from a new partnership between the sports injury center and the National Cheer Safety Foundation, a California-based not-for-profit body created to promote safety in cheerleading and collect data on injuries. The foundation provided the center with previously unreported data. The new data added 30injury records from high schoolers and college students to the 112 in last year's report.

Catastrophic injuries to female athletes have increased over the years, since the first report was published in 1982.

"A major factor in this increase has been the change in cheerleading activity, which now involves gymnastic-type stunts," said Dr. Frederick O. Mueller, lead researcher on the new report and a professor of exercise and sports science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "If these cheerleading activities are not taught by a competent coach and keep increasing in difficulty, catastrophic injuries will continue to be a part of cheerleading."

Less than catastrophic injuries are vastly more common and they occur at much younger ages, too. Children ages 5 to 18 admitted to hospitals for cheerleading injuries in the United States jumped from 10,900 in 1990 to 22,900 in 2002, according to research published in the journal Pediatrics in 2006. The breakdown:

Strains/sprains: 52.4 percent
Soft tissue injuries: 18.4 percent
Fractures/dislocations: 16.4 percent
Lacerations/avulsions: 3.8 percent
Concussions/closed head injuries: 3.5 percent
Other: 5.5 percent

The new report released Monday found that between 1982 and 2007, there were 103 fatal, disabling or serious injuries recorded among female high school athletes, with the vast majority (67) occurring in cheerleading. The next most dangerous sports: gymnastics (nine such injuries) and track (seven).

Among college athletes, there have been 39 of these severe injuries: 26 in cheerleading, followed by three in field hockey and two each in lacrosse and gymnastics. The report also notes that according to the NCAA Insurance program, 25 percent of money spent on student athlete injuries in 2005 resulted from cheerleading.

In 2007, however, two catastrophic injuries to female high school cheerleaders were reported, down from 10 in the previous season and the lowest number since 2001. Yet there were three catastrophic injuries to college-level participants, up from one in 2006.

According to the report, almost 95,200 female students take part in high school cheerleading annually, along with about 2,150 males. College participation numbers are hard to find since cheerleading is not an NCAA sport.

[Via Live Science]

Monday, August 18, 2008

If This Is One of The Sexiest Things You've Ever Seen, You May Be a Narcissist

A quick primer on the new Narcissism.

A narcissist isn't necessarily an egotist, someone who thinks they are the best. A quick screen is an inability to appreciate that other people exist, and have thoughts, feelings, and actions unrelated to the narcissist. These thoughts don't have to be good ones, but they have to be linked to the narcissist. ("I'm going to get some gas - because that jerk never fills the car.")

The narcissist believes he is the main character in his own movie. Everyone else has a supporting role - everyone around him becomes a "type." You know how in every romantic comedy, there's always the funny friend who helpes the main character figure out her relationship? In the movie, her whole existence is to be there fore the main character. But in real life, that funny friend has her own life; she might even be the main character in her own movie, right? Well the narcissist wouldn't be able to grasp that. Her friends are always supporting characters, that can be called at any hour of the night, that will always be interested in what she is wearing, or what she did. That funny friend isn't just being kind, she doesn't just want to help - she's personally interested in the narcissist's life. Of course she is.

A comedian I can't remember made a joke about actors in LA, but it's applicable to narcissists: when two narcissists go out, they just wait for the other person's mouth to stop moving so they can talk about themselves.

So on the one hand, the narcissist reduces everyone else to a type, as it relates to himself; on the other hand, the narcissist, as the main character in his movie, has an identity that he wants (i.e. he made it up) and requires all others to supplement that identity.

A narcissist looks the same every day; he has a "look" with a defining characteristic: a certain haircut; a mustache; a type of clothing, a tatoo. He used these to create an identity in his mind that he will spend a lot of energy keeping up.

Consider the narcissist who wants his wife to wear only white, high heeled pumps. The narcissist wants this not because he himself likes white high heel pumps-- which he might-- but because the type of person he thinks he is would only be with the type of woman who wears white high heeled pumps. Or, in other terms, other people would expect someone like himself to be with a woman who wears those shoes. What he likes isn't the relevant factor, and certainly what she likes is irrelevant. What matters is that she (and her shoes) are accessories to him.

Never mind that the woman is obese, or 65, or the shoes out of style, or impractical-- the shoes represent something to him, and he is trying to reinforce his identity through that object.

Narcissists typically focus on specific things as proxies for their identity. As in the example above, that the woman might be obese or a paraplegic could be ignored if the footwear was the proxy for identity. These proxies are also easy to describe but loaded with implication: "I'm married to a blonde." Saying "blonde" implies something - e.g. she's hot - that might not be true. But the narcissist has so fetishized "blondeness" that it is disconnected from reality. The connotations, not the reality, are what matters (especially if other people can't check.)

This explains why narcissists feel personally sleighted when the fetishized object disappears. "My wife stopped dying her hair blonde; but when she used to date her other boyfriends, she was in the salon every month. Bitch." He doesn't see the obvious passage of time, what he sees is part of his identity being taken from him, on purpose. Here's the final insult: "she obviously doesn't care about me as much as her old boyfriends."

As a paradigm, the narcissist is the first born (or only) child, aged 2-3. Everything is about him, and everything is binary. His, or not his. Satisfied, or not satisfied. Hungry, or not hungry. Mom and Dad are talking to each other and not me? "Hello! Focus on me!" Youngest children don't typicaly become narcissists because from the moment of their birth, they know there are other characters in the movie. (Youngest more easily becomes borderline.) Control, of course, is important to a narcissist. If you can imagine a 40 year old man with the ego of a 2 year old, you've got a narcissist.

Obviously, not all first borns go on to be narcissists. Part of their development comes from not learning that there is a right and wrong that exists outside them. This may come from inconsistent parenting:

Dad says, "you stupid kid, don't watch TV, TV is bad, it'll make you stupid!" Ok. Lesson learned. But then one day Dad has to do some work: "stop making so much noise! Here, sit down and watch TV." What's the learned message? It isn't that TV is sometimes good and sometimes bad. It's that good and bad are decided by the person with the most power.

So the goal in development is to become the one with the most power. Hence, narcissists can be dogmatic ("adultery is immoral!")and hypocrites ("well, she came on to me, and you were ignoring me at home") at the same time. There is no right and wrong - only right and wrong for them. He's an exaggerated example: if they have to kill someone to get what they want, then so be it. But when they murder, they don't actually think what they're doing is wrong--they're saying, "I know it's illegal, but if you understood the whole situation, you'd understand..."

Narcissists never feel guilt. Only shame.

[Via The Last Psychiatrist]

The 25 Sexiest Things Ever Said by Women

Is Sex Necessary?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Company Names - Do You Know This?


The word was invented by Jonathan Swift and used in his book Gulliver's Travels. It represents a person who is repulsive in appearance and action and is barely human. Yahoo! founders Jerry Yang and David Filo selected the name because they considered themselves yahoos.

The name Yahoo! is an acronym for "Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle," but Filo and Yang insist they selected the name because they liked the general definition of a yahoo: "rude, unsophisticated, uncouth."


The Greek root "xer" means dry. The inventor, Chestor Carlson, named his product Xerox as it was dry copying, markedly different from the then prevailing wet copying.

Sun Microsystems

Founded by four Stanford University buddies, Sun is the acronym for Stanford University Network.


From the Latin word 'sonus' meaning sound, and 'sonny' a slang used by Americans to refer to a bright youngster.

Sony "Systems, Applications, Products in Data Processing", formed by four ex-IBM employees who used to work in the 'Systems/Applications/Projects' group of IBM.

Red Hat

Company founder Marc Ewing was given the Cornell lacrosse team cap (with red and white stripes) while at college by his grandfather. He lost it and had to search for it desperately. The manual of the beta version of Red Hat Linux had an appeal to readers to return his Red Hat if found by anyone!


Larry Ellison and Bob Oats were working on a consulting project for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The code name for the project was called Oracle (the CIA saw this as the system to give answers to all questions or something such).


Founder Paul Galvin came up with this name when his company started manufacturing radios for cars. The popular radio company at the time was called Victrola.


It was coined by Bill Gates to represent the company that was devoted to MICROcomputer SOFTware. Originally christened Micro-Soft, the '-' was removed later on.


Mitch Kapor got the name for his company from the lotus position or 'padmasana.' Kapor used to be a teacher of Transcendental Meditation of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.


Bob Noyce and Gordon Moore wanted to name their new company 'Moore Noyce' but that was already trademarked by a hotel chain, so they had to settle for an acronym of INTegrated ELectronics.


Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard tossed a coin to decide whether the company they founded would be called Hewlett-Packard or Packard-Hewlett.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Things Creationists Hate


Even before Darwin, it was geologists who began to establish that the Earth is much older than old Jim Ussher said it was. And modern geology stubbornly refuses to yield up proof of a universal flood, or the recent and coeval existence of all creatures, living and extinct.

Charles Darwin

Well, duhh....

The Whole Silly Flood Story

So many things were accumulating under this heading that I decided to make a separate Whole Silly Flood Story page!


...has all those embarrassing laws, like decay rates of isotopes, the non-decaying speed of light, the refraction of light to produce rainbows, etc., which have to be ignored, twisted, or denied to defend Genesis. And to add insult to injury, physicists can't seem to see the truth that evolution violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics --a "fact" that every good creationist knows, even without a degree in physics!

The Scientific Method

Creationists detest it so much that they've apparently invented their own, improved version, with the following highly logical rules:

Take as a given fact all those parts of the Bible we tell you to.
Use not the null hypothesis; make no attempt to disprove any creationist hypothesis; report not any negative findings.
Quote as authoritative anything a fellow creationist writes, regardless of his qualifications or subsequent discrediting of his methods or results.
Misquote or quote out of context famous "evolutionists" so that they appear to admit evolution isn't real.
Don't waste your time with actual laboratory or field experiments. All the answers are in the Bible.
And Stephen Reese reminds us that creationists can't seem to abide peer review. They must REALLY hate it because no one has ever seen a trace of creationist peer review.

Each Other

Old-Earth creationists think the Young-Earthers are too zealous and dogmatic, even for them. Young-Earthers know the Old-Earthers and Multiple-Catastrophists have given in to "liberal" (if not to say Satanic) influences. Some years there are multiple "Ark-hunting" expeditions to Turkey, each of which thinks the others are obstructing the progress of "Bible science."

The Holy Bible

That old Book persists in saying things that the creationists, who claim to take it as literal truth, have to admit are metaphorical (like the "doors" in the firmament that let the rain through). That means, of course, that they have to arbitrarily decide which parts are literally literal, and which are only metaphorically literal (and can't they twist the English language!). I've never yet read a justification for who gets to make that determination and how, so I'll summarize it thus: Everything is literal except things that even we creationists can't stomach.

Even worse, the "scientifically accurate" Bible reveals not a single fact about nature that wasn't commonly known at the time. If only it had revealed the atomic structure of matter, or the inverse square law, or the existence of bacteria--or even the heliocentric solar system!

Still doubt that creationists hate the Bible? Ask several if they've ever read it--all the way through, cover-to-cover. 97% of the time the answer will be no. They're sure every word is literally true, and the divine message of God, but somehow they've never quite found the time to actually read the thing. Is this irony thick enough yet?


Somehow, quite perversely, they changed from "fowls" to mammals between the time Moses (according to literalists) wrote the Pentateuch and now.

The Human Mind

...just to be ornery, has moved from the heart, where it resided through New Testament times, into the brain.


...somehow have grown a lot bigger and moved much farther away, so that by now it seems foolish to expect a sizable fraction of them to fall to Earth, as predicted in Revelation.

The Earth

...on the other hand, to test Man's faith in the literal veracity of scripture, has shrunk to become much smaller than the sun, and has taken to circling the latter, instead of vice versa, as originally established. Furthermore (confirming its sinful nature), it has floated up off its pillars or foundations, lost its four corners, and become a silly ball, on which there just is no possible mountaintop from which one could see all nations of the Earth.

Plate Tectonics

Since this is such a new development in geophysics, creationists don't seem to have much to say about it yet. (They haven't been told yet that they can't believe in it.) Though they may not have heard it excoriated from the pulpit yet, it surely makes them uneasy, since it just doesn't jibe with young-Earth or Flood geology.
Update: Creationists seem to have missed the boat on the plate tectonics question. Since it was around for a number of years without being denied by creationists, by the time they got around to considering it, it was too late to deny (if it was wrong, why didn't they say so from the start?). So recently I've seen several creationist attempts to somehow work plate tectonics into their fantasy, and even use this ultimate account of an ancient and evolving planet as proof of a recent creation!

Original Thought

Creationism is about believing without question a particular interpretation of scripture. Indeed, in a belief system of that nature, any questioning or original thought about the revealed knowledge is not only incorrect, it is sinful. (In genuine science, on the other hand, questioning and testing of accepted or authoritative beliefs is the method--it's what you're supposed to do. No wonder creationists detest and distrust science, and almost always fail to understand how it works.)


...has inexplicably changed its value from a nice, neat 3 (reflecting the trinity, no doubt) in Solomon's time, to a messy 3.14159... today. Despite some legal attempts in some state legislatures to return it to the divine purity of 3, pi has hardened its heart and refused to conform to the biblically prescribed norm.

Universal Gravitation

Although "just a theory," universal gravitation continues to be, well, universal. It holds true in all places, under all conditions, so it renders the brainless quip about evolution being "just a theory" a bit specious, at best.


Why did they have to show up? They're never mentioned in the Bible at all, so creationists have to do some creative rewriting of Genesis to account for their day of creation, and their presence or absence on the Ark.

Ice Ages

Very inconvenient! They have to have occurred since the Flood, since, according to creationists, the surface of the Earth was reworked by the Flood (to create, for instance, the Grand Canyon practically overnight), which would have messed up all those marks of glaciers on the landscape. That means mile-thick ice sheets had to advance and retreat again and again, across half the Northern Hemisphere, with the speed of freight trains. (As with plate tectonics, some creationists seem to have abandoned complete denial of ice ages [even though they're never mentioned in the Bible {How could the true history of the world miss those?}], and acknowledged a single ice age, which had to have occurred within historical times.)

The Sky

...has evaporated! In Adam's time it was clearly a solid dome, a "firmament," which could separate waters above it from those below on the Earth. By Noah's time it was still solid enough to have windows in it that had to be opened to let the rain through. I think that creationists that try to rationalize (weasel) their way out of this one by calling it "poetic metaphor" have given in to the godless materialists! The Bible really is literal, in the true sense of the word. The sky was a hard firmament with windows in it--but at some time since then it evaporated. Anybody who says different is a mealy-mouthed evolution-sympathizer. [Paul Murray adds the footnote] The word "firmament," according to Strong's Concordance (word 7549) is a translation of the Hebrew "raqiya." "Raqiya" means a canopy, as in "Hast thou with him spread out the sky?," and "that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in."

A Pile of Sand

So the universe comes from randomness, and order only comes as a result of a conscious intent? When sand trickles down into a pile, the pile is conical. Now a cone is an ordered shape. Does God, therefore, organize each collision of one grain against another so as to fulfill his purpose that the pile be conical? Is there some reason why He goes to all that trouble? It's a mystery, no doubt. Or maybe, just maybe, dissipative systems like this can exhibit spontaneous order-forming behavior. Other dissipative systems include crystal growth, snowflake formation and--horrors--organic life itself.

And Burt Ward adds one more in the same vein: Cans of mixed nuts and bags of potato chips. Those awful, inconvenient examples of a steady application of energy promoting order instead of chaos. Big nuts and large chips go to the top, small nuts and crumbs go to the bottom. Don't those silly containers know that the odds of that happening BY CHANCE ALONE is trillions to one against? It's against the second law of thermodynamics !

The Apostle Paul

Dustin Huwe points out that in 1 Timothy 1:4 and Titus 3:9, Paul advises us to ignore "fables and endless genealogies." The genealogies of Gen 10, Chr 1-9, Mt 1, and Lk 3 are one of the key ways creationists have 'proved' the Earth to be about 6,000 years old.
Secondly, in Titus 1:14, Paul tells us to ignore Jewish fables. Wouldn't that mean most of the Old Testament, if not all of Genesis?
2 Corinthians 3:6 "He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant--not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life."


...have always been a thorn in the side of creationism. First of all, extinct creatures shouldn't even exist in a perfect Creation, since their very extinction implies that they were not so perfect. And there are so darn many of them, of so many different kinds. Every excuse they come up with for why there even are fossils of extinct organisms makes creationists look silly. And the very fact that they've come up with so many different, mutually exclusive explanations would seem to indicate that, essentially, they're clueless. I have personally been offered all these sound, creation-scientific explanations of what fossils are and how they got there:

Dinosaurs were too big to go on the Ark, so they got buried in the mud of the Flood. (How about extinct smaller creatures--and what about the "fact" that Noah collected pairs of all animals?)
Extinct creatures were on the Ark. They died out later. (How many seismosaurs, T. rexes, mastodons, and megatheria can you fit on the head of a pin? And why rescue them if their immediate future reads "extinction"?)
Fossils never were animals. They're a hoax by Satan and/or materialistic science.
Fossils never were animals. They're a hoax by God to test your faith. (And I will go to hell for falling for a trick pulled by the Almighty Himself? Doesn't that seem just a bit petty?)

Transitional Fossils

...can't possibly exist, since nothing ever gradually evolved into anything else. Less sophisticated creationists handle the issue by merely spouting the slogan "There are no transitional fossils." They heard that from a good, born-again fundamentalist, so it must be true--no further research necessary. The few who are vaguely aware of the vast range of fossils that have been found, including beautiful examples of transitional series, merely draw lines: everything on that side of the line is ape, and everything on this side is human. If another fossil turns up with features exactly between the two, no problem--just assign it to one side or the other. No matter how fine the gradation, creationists will never admit seeing transition, because they know ahead of time that it can't exist. Amusingly, however, in series such as the hominid line leading to us, different creationist "experts" draw the line between ape and human in different places !


Nasty stuff. It's really a shame that it had to turn up and confirm predictions of relationships made by evolutionary theory perfectly. And what a dirty trick to have human DNA fit right into the distribution, right next door to the chimps'! It's just not fair. It almost looks like Someone arranged the whole thing just to make evolution appear to be true. Worse yet, this ultimate blueprint for building entire human beings turns out to be just plain chemicals, with nothing magical or even particularly unusual that sets humans aside from other living things. And those geneticists can even tinker with the stuff, and build new creatures. They can replace defective genes in people, and even put human genes into pigs. Why wasn't something put into Leviticus to forbid such ungodliness?

Honesty and Moral Behavior

...among evolutionists. It must really irk creationists that the great majority of us "evolutionists" are basically upright, moral folks. We shouldn't be, because belief in evolution "destroys our faith in the Bible," so naturally we have "no moral guide" and "no fear of eternal damnation," and since "we think we came from monkeys," we see ourselves as "animals with no eternal souls." I'll confess it right now: my basically upright, honest, cleanly-lived life is all a sham. I'm part of the One World Government Evolutionist Conspiracy (OWGEC), and my apparent morality is merely a deception to lure unsuspecting young creationists over to the Dark Side! (And yes, I've signed Satan's black book, I have a barcode on my left arm [just like "Dr." Kent Hovind says] with which I pay for groceries, and I am in personal email contact daily with the Antichrist. I admit all that, so accuse me of something original.)


...human ribs, that is, present a real problem. I've been told, on good authority (by creationists, whose scientific authority is the Bible, and what could be more authoritative?), that men have one less rib than women, because one of Adam's ribs was removed to mold into Eve. My creationist informant has generally become confused upon being asked if that means one less pair of ribs, or just one rib missing from one side. Then my instructor in human origins becomes red in the face and defensive, if not to say hostile, when asked if he has ever actually counted ribs on male and female human skeletons, living or deceased. None that I've met have ever actually tried this simplest of scientific experiments, which could go a long way toward proving a testable prediction of creationism. (For members of the Republic of Texas Militia: men have exactly the same number of ribs as women.)

NEWSFLASH: I've just been informed by a rock-solid creationist that the latest discovery of "creation science" is that men used to have fewer ribs than women, but they don't anymore! Perhaps creationists have unearthed a whole bunch of ancient skeletons, with all the males being short a rib. An appeal: PLEASE reveal this evidence to the rest of the world, so that we all can be brought into the Light of True Bible Science! (Dang, I posted this back in '98, and not a single creationist has written me about that archaeological Shocking Proof of the Genesis Story! I so wanted that one tangible piece of evidence that would prove that evolution is a sham.)

LATEST NEWS from Joseph Armstrong in Australia: I don't supposed men (gasp) evolved the extra rib? Is this a classic case of cretinist "micro-evolution"?

Ron Buckallew, a biologist is...
...well aware of DNA, genetic diversity, and how cloning fits into the picture. Now, if Eve were made out of Adam's rib, it would seem that Eve is a clone of Adam. Since these two were the parents of all mankind, and they had the same genetic structure, then there is absolutely no way to account for the wide range of genetic diversity present in the human race. Even if you were to concede that Adam's rib only played a small part in Eve's make up, and she had her own genetic structure, with different DNA, the union of only two individuals to form all of mankind [only 6,000 years ago] would still lead to a very limited genetic diversity (unless of course you allow mutations to play a role to diversify our genetic structure - but then, if you do, you have let in - dare I say it? - evolution).


Viruses hardly fit into the creationist's view of the world at all. In the first place, nothing even remotely like them is even remotely alluded to in either Testament. About the only "biblical" disease that anyone can remember is leprosy (a bacterial disease), and there's no clue that any of the writers that mentioned it knew that it was caused by any sort of micro-organism. Egyptian cattle suffered a "murrain"-- with no apparent cause other than a divine curse. A blight on crops is mentioned in a place or two, which, if it were naturally caused, might be a viral disease, but again only the disease is mentioned, not any organic cause. Then there are the "emerods" (hemorrhoids) with which God afflicted some folks he was miffed at. I have been told both of the following by "creation scientists":

The Devil created viruses.
Viruses are not in the Bible because they are "imperfect."
But the really disturbing thing about viruses is that they occupy the twilight zone between living and dead, a zone that would seem ought not to exist in a creation in which creatures were "given life," or have "the breath of life." Of course, the creationist may arbitrarily assign them to either the "living" or "dead" category, but either assignment is a forced fit. Can they be alive if they don't move, breathe, eat, excrete, or metabolize at all, and can even be crystallized, like other non-living chemicals? Can they be dead if they can self-replicate (reproduce) using the same basic methods as other living things, parasitize other creatures, and are made of nearly the same proteins and nucleic acids as we are? Evolutionary theory doesn't demand that there be a sharp distinction between living systems and nonliving molecules. That's the premise of abiogenesis, which creationists insist on lumping in with evolution, so what the heck... we'll take it. Evolutionary theory can also explain where viruses came from, or why they exist. The fact that there are presently several tentative explanations in no way threatens the structure of evolutionary theory; we're perfectly happy with hypotheses until the preponderance of evidence clearly favors one over all others. In evolutionary theory (with abiogenesis) there should be some hazy area between living and nonliving, and viruses are dwellers of that twilight zone.
The Order of Creation a bottomless can of worms for literal creationists, especially if one takes literally and in their most obvious meanings both Genesis 1 and 2, which don't match in many particulars. But consider just a couple of minor difficulties in the first chapter. For one, the light of day is created before the sun from which it comes. If we assume it was some divine form of light, requiring no material source, then what need of the sun? In the same curious order were plants created before the sun, which is needed for photosynthesis (especially confounding to the day-age folks).


...which have so many generations of nasty babies so often that in just a few years they can change. Those ugly boll weevils, for instance, develop resistance to pesticides; and those filthy peppered moths in England (Darwin's home--coincidence? I don't think so.) change the shade of their camouflage. Evolutionists want to call those piddlin' changes "evolution"--which just shows that they don't even know what the term means. So we creationists have to tell them that "evolution" means apes popping out human babies. You'd think them evil-utionists'd have that straight by now. (For folks who trust Rush Limbaugh to ever get any facts right: the above is sarcasm.)


...especially human ones, which creationist "investigators" keep discovering in the same strata as dinosaur bones or footprints, and paleontologists keep demonstrating are nothing of the sort. It's been my experience that creationist authorities (oxymoron) usually end up admitting that they weren't really human prints after all. But they are somewhat lax in passing that information on to their flocks of True Believers, with the result that your average grassroots creationist is under the impression that the fossil record is replete with human footprints, clear back to the beginning (suggested by Floyd Waddle). (To my knowledge, there are NO "manprints" in mesozoic strata that are claimed as such by the main creationist organizations. It's only a few fringe crackpots that continue to make those claims, and embarrass the "mainstream" creationists, who have to eventually denounce them. Your pot has to be SERIOUSLY cracked to get even your fellow creationists to admit you're over the top.)


Creationists have to hate those pesky asteroid craters which are found all over the planet, throughout all geological strata. The Bible is strangely silent on such devastating impacts as Meteor Crater in Arizona, the Ring Lakes in Quebec, and that biggie that likely dusted off the dinosaurs and created all that beautiful beachfront property on the Yucatan peninsula (suggested and borrowed nearly verbatim from Jason Bowes). (The Tunguska explosion or its aftereffects were noticed worldwide, and it didn't even leave a crater! Why wasn't the Chicxulub event, with a 170 km crater, which had to have caused worldwide devastation, at least noted in passing by some biblical patriarch or another?)


Anybody notice that in the last few years astronomers, using improved techniques and instruments (like Hubble ), have begun to discover other planets around other suns? Have we noticed that several of those solar systems are at several of the stages of planetary-system evolution hypothesized for the evolution of our own system? To further increase the squirm factor for our reality-challenged fellow citizens, perhaps they would be kind enough to locate the passages in the "scientifically accurate" Bible which acknowledge that there are, in fact, other worlds. (Or even that the moon is a world upon which men could someday live, and not just a "lesser light" hung in the sky).

"In our image"

That's how God made man, according to Genesis, and therefore according to creationists. But every moderately bright 8-year-old immediately comes up with two questions which are never satisfactorily answered. If any answers are offered, they are usually cobbled-up rationalizations from outside the Bible. Generally, the kid gets the message that he's better off not asking such things.

The first is whom the One and Only God meant by "our"--but that's really a theological question, not related directly to creationism. The second question, however, is right on target: If man was made "in [God's] image," then Adam must have looked just like God--right? But wait--it gets more confusing. Man is immediately referred to as "them," so maybe it's not just Adam who looks like God. Then to further confound literal-minded youngsters, " the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." If God is male (the assumption of 97.83% of all creationists), then how could a female be made in His image?

Let's grant the general creationist assumptions (correct me if I'm wrong): God is male; men are made "in [His] image" in only a general way (maybe even Adam didn't look exactly like Him); and women were made with necessary differences to enable reproduction. Still a load of embarrassing questions arise. Much has been made of Adam's navel, and why he would have one, having never been attached to a placenta. I want to know if God has one. I want to know if He has a digestive tract. If so, why? Does He eat? If so, what, and why would He need to? Does He excrete? Where? What happens to it? Does He have lungs? Why would He need them? Does He have sweat glands? And naughty stuff: does He have genitals? Why would He need those? (And that nasty Paul Yost wants to know if He is circumcised! I figure He is, since He ordered his chosen people to be, presumably to make them more like their God. So who did it?) Does He even have two legs, and feet, and toes? Why would He need them, unless He's bound by gravity, as we are?

Childish questions? Of course, but only because they arise from a literal (i.e., childish) reading of Genesis. But the point is profound: either God has human-like organs and glands and body parts, or He doesn't. If He does, why, and what does He use them for? If He doesn't, then made "in [His] image" has no literal meaning. (For those creationists tempted to inform me that the human soul was what was made in God's image, let me save you the trouble and thank you ahead of time for backing up my point: the phrase has no literal [physical] meaning. I would point out that a great many generations of Judaeo-Christians have taken the phrase to mean physical resemblance, and that most fundamentalist believers still do. Ever see a painting that showed God with anything but a human form? Let me also direct you to the section of Exodus wherein Moses is covered with God's hand, and then allowed to view His backside. Note also numerous other biblical references to God's hands, face, and other apparently human-like body parts. One of my favorites is Jacob's wrestling match with God, in which Jacob didn't recognize the Lord of All Creation until later, and God couldn't win until He cheated by using magic!)


Albert Chan points out that...
Creationists hate faith. They count on evidence, words, logic, and arguments to uphold their views. All this reflects how weak (or even absent) their faith is. "See, we can prove that evolution is wrong, so that automatically means that the Bible is correct ." This implies a notion that [Genesis] is correct... just because evolution has (in their minds) been "proven" wrong. But then it follows that the Bible can in principle be proven wrong. (Something which can be proven right can in principle be proven wrong.) If [creationists] argue that they do have faith, and that the Bible is right regardless of the validity of evolution, then why on earth would they care about whether evolution is right or wrong?


I have determined, after extensive surveying, tabulation, and data analysis, that the average creationist in the US earns $21,387.29 in family income; owns 1.2 cars, 1.8 TVs, and 2.3 kids; and has, at some point in his life, answered to the name "Bubba." He has less than one year of college. Yet he knows more about paleontology than Bakker or Horner or Currie (or he thinks that what they know is wrong--same thing). He knows more about the definition of evolution than Gould or Dawkins. He knows more about biology than Dobzhansky or Mayr. He knows more about cosmology than Hawking, Smoot, or Witten, and more about human fossils than Johanson or the Leakeys. He knows more "true" geology than geologists, more physics than physicists, more astronomy than astronomers--and more about everything than atheists like Asimov or Sagan.

Humble, they're not.
(Boy, does this one put some creationists' shorts in a twist--especially the "Bubba" part! As Hamlet might say, methinks they protest too much [for members of "Christian Identity" churches, that means I'm hitting uncomfortably close to the truth]. Interestingly, not one of the hostile emails has challenged the substantive point.)

And speaking of lack of humility, M. J. Chapman contributes the following:
Evolution is a lie, correct? It's an idea spawned by Satan to damn our souls. Okay, let's think about that. Satan gets the souls of sinners, correct? If he wants souls, he has to make humans sin. What are the seven sins? There's greed, lust, sloth, envy, gluttony, pride... and I can never remember the last one, but that's okay because the important one here is pride. The Bible goes to great lengths to say that terrible things lie in store for the proud in the great hereafter.
So which is an idea that contributes more to human pride: that we were specially created in the image of God to be the masters of all other creatures upon the Earth? Or that we are one species out of countless billions that has arisen according to simple and probably inevitable rules of chemistry and selection?


Basic, universal human intuition on fundamental mathematical (e.g. probability functions on unrelated events) and physical principles (e.g. heavy and light objects falling at the same rate) is demonstrably wrong, and those demonstrations have often come well after Biblical times.

Now, it makes perfect sense that blind evolution would select for the cheapest implementations of those intuitions that were "good enough" for everyday use. Yet what possible reason would God, who has special insight into those rules, (He created them!) and is making our souls [minds?] "in His image," have to give us such a faulty understanding of how things work?


This isn't about the things creationists are just wrong about, like how old the Earth is, but about things that I suspect a good many know are not true, or gross distortions of the truth. The general one is that there is a great debate among scientists about whether species have evolved. A joyous update is that only a few die-hards still believe in the Big Bang. There are plenty of other amusing examples:

human footprints alongside dinosaurs
human artifacts found among dinosaur bones
a geological column that is almost never in the "proper" order described by geologists
proof from all over the world of a worldwide Flood
the "NASA computer" that revealed the "extra day" when the sun stopped to give the Israelites more time to conquer Jericho
the deep hole geologists drilled and then had to fill in hurriedly when they heard the screams from Hell
Darwin's "deathbed recantation" (the "Lady Hope" story)
Nothing seems too silly or too obviously wrong to pass along. (I've even read things by creationists that justify "lying for Jesus" if it helps save a few more souls!)

Thermodynamics according to Isaiah

The temperature of Heaven can be rather accurately computed. Our authority is the Bible, Isaiah 30:26, describing Heaven: Moreover, the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold as the light of seven days. Thus, Heaven receives from the moon as much radiation as the Earth does from the sun, and in addition seven times seven (forty-nine) times as much as the Earth does from the sun, or 50 times in all. The light we receive from the moon is 1/10,000 of the light we receive from the sun, so we can ignore that. The radiation falling on Heaven will heat it to the point where the heat lost by radiation is just equal to the heat received by radiation, i.e., Heaven loses 50 times as much heat as the Earth by radiation. Using the Stephan-Boltzmann fourth power law for radiation, we have (H/E)4 = 50 where E is the absolute temperature of the Earth, 300 K (27 C). This gives H, the absolute temperature of Heaven, as 798 K (525 C)! (For old-fashioned Americans, that's close to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Your kitchen oven won't get nearly that hot.)

The exact temperature of Hell cannot be computed. However, Revelation 21:8 says: But the fearful and unbelieving... shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone. A lake of molten brimstone (or sulfur) means that its temperature must be at or below the boiling point, 444.6 C (above that point, it would be a vapor, not a lake). We have, then, that Heaven, at 525 C, is hotter than Hell, at less than 445 C.

So who says that the Bible has no accurate and useful scientific data?

Authentic Degrees and Credentials

Isn't education a pain? It seems that creationists are more prone to getting their science degrees from non-accredited (or just plain fake) religious institutions rather than genuine, accredited schools or universities. Sometimes that's too much of a pain, so they go to a degree mill. Fifty bucks and an SASE, and you're a Ph.D., ready and qualified to refute evolution! (For a lovely picture of the "university" where "Dr." Kent Hovind got his "PhD," go here .)

Their Third Cousins

One of the more idiotic quips I've heard (more than once, I'm sad to say) from creationists is, "If humans evolved from apes, then how come there are still apes around?" I can't speak for the creationists' immediate ancestry, but mine runs something like this: one of my great-great-grandfathers was named Ross. Among his offspring, one married a Thompson and produced children who were Thompsons. One of those children had children of her own who were neither Rosses nor Thompsons, but Icenogles. An Icenogle daughter produced me, who am none of the above, but a Riggins.

Thus, Rosses gave rise to descendants who are no longer Rosses. Some have become Rigginses. But some Ross descendants are still Rosses! There are still Rosses around, even though some of their descendants "evolved" into Rigginses, and a lot of other "species."

This isn't biological evolution, of course, but the principle is exactly the same: an ancestor can produce descendants which are very like itself (of the same species), while at the same time having other descendants which have become something else. The existence of descendants which have varied widely doesn't mean the original type has ceased to exist, or that there wasn't, in fact, a common ancestor. That's as true of anthropoids and Homo as it is of your ancestors, you, and those third cousins who retain the ancestral name that your branch of the family no longer uses.


One of the more bizarre creationist notions is that before the "Fall," all creatures lived in perfect harmony, and all ate plants (it seems to have something to do with death not existing until Adam bit the fruit). Thus we have an idyllic Eden, with herbivorous cheetahs, eagles, rattlesnakes, wolves, tarantulas, and presumably tyrannosauri and velociraptors. Indeed, the lion could lie down with the lamb.

But then there's me and my dumb questions: Unless the carnivores evolved really rapidly after the "Fall," they came originally equipped as they are now--with claws, incisors, fangs, web-spinning apparatus, etc. What need would an herbivorous rattlesnake have for venomous fangs? Why would a cheetah need blazing speed, unless to run down impala--and why would the impala need to be fast unless to escape speedy cheetahs? Why would those infamous peppered moths have needed camouflage? Why would a skunk need its stink, or a porcupine its quills? What sort of grass did a tyrannosaurus eat with its steak-knife teeth? No matter how hard I try, I can't imagine without amusement a black widow trapping what--berries?--in her web, then envenoming them until they quit struggling! A bison is "designed" as a herbivore, and has been one for a long, long time. Your housecat is plainly "designed" as a meat-eater, and would clearly have a devil of a time trying to graze for a living.
To which Donny Kay Lonovy adds...
Venus Flytraps and other carnivorous plants don't make Biblical-literalist sense. All the animals were vegetarians when they were created (or so Creationists tell me), so plants wouldn't be carnivorous when God made them, either. So these plants developed their trademark traps within a few thousand years, right? I can see animals starting to feed off other animals, but...flytraps? Creationists must admit that they evolved these bug-eating systems, since God didn't make them that way. So, they admit they COULD evolve, but now they had to have used some sort of super-fast evolution. What makes more sense?

Parasites of Animals

Before the Fall, all creatures lived in harmony, and there were no diseases. Either one of those would rule out parasites of animals. So what did tapeworms do for sustenance? Can anyone even begin to imagine a way in which a tapeworm could parasitize a plant rather than an animal? Most plants (carnivorous plants such as pitcher plants are the only exceptions of which I am aware) do not have digestive systems in which tapeworms could live. Even pitcher plants do not excrete, so that a tapeworm that took up residence in one could not spread its proglottids to other pitcher plants, and thus could not be fruitful and multiply after its kind. Besides, if the tapeworm "kind" that infests animals microevolved from the tapeworm "kind" that supposedly infested plants, why is there no evidence for plant tapeworms? There are other examples; for instance, lice would have had to microevolve from aphids at a startling rate after the Fall.

Our Founding Fathers

...because they make creationists appear, shall we say, less than intellectually competent when they toss out a howler like, "George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were creationists!" It makes one want to knock on their heads and call out derisively, "Helllooo! Anybody home in there? In what year did Washington die? When was Origin of Species published?" Old George didn't know about germs, either; and Tom famously stated that he could never believe that stones ever fell from the sky. (Even Charles Darwin accepted the standard creation model of his day--until he learned better.)
Stephen Reese adds: It's not just carbon 14 dates or Jim Ussher's calendar dates that make creationists look silly. They say silly things like "Evolution is the theoretical basis for communism." Oh really? The Communist Manifesto was published in 1848 and The Origin of Species was published 11 years later, in 1859. (Suggested creationist research project: find out who owned the time machine to make this possible, Karl or Charles?)


Oh, yes, there are still some around, and they make young-Earth creationists uncomfortable, because their risible, crackpot notions are based on a literal interpretation of the Bible. In fact, they take the Bible even more literally than most creationists, assuming it means what it says about corners, foundations, and pillars of the Earth, and that mountain from which one could see the whole Earth. When we laugh at flat-Earthers, and can hardly believe such nuts are still around--we're laughing at them for having the same belief system as young-Earthers: take-no-prisoners biblical literalism. A subclass of creationists seriously contend that the Earth inhabits the center of the solar system and is orbited by sun, planets, stars, et al. And "creation science" organizations actually give them a forum from which to promote their 14th Century cosmology!


Chemists, being somewhat familiar with how elements and molecules combine and recombine non-randomly, haven't risen up as a body to declare the chemical origin or subsequent evolution of life to be a flat-out impossibility. Now why do you suppose that is?


That means tree-ring counting. Dendrochronologists, by matching patterns in annual growth rings, can establish a sequence in living, dead, and long-dead trees in certain areas of the world. That can be a very reliable dating technique for, say, a beam used in an ancient shelter. But this archeological specialty must be completely useless and unreliable, since in some areas ring sequences extend back through the supposed date of the Flood, showing no evidence of same, and indeed way past the usual young-Earth creation date. One of the conundrums of creationism is that the Earth was apparently created complete with evidence of a past that never happened, including tree rings, other annual layering phenomena, fossils already in the ground, and light from distant stars already most of the way here--revealing cosmic events that never really happened!


Those are annual layers deposited in lake beds. In some places they are clearly distinguishable because of varying colors and compositions of materials deposited in different seasons. We can see them form, over a few years, so we know exactly what causes them and that they do, in fact, represent one year per layer. The problem, of course, (and darn near everything, it seems, is a problem for creationists) is that there are lakes in the world with many times the 6,000 annual varves that could have been laid down since the Creation.

P.S. Annual ice layers in Greenland and elsewhere are also Satanic deceptions.

The Nobel Prize Committee seemingly blind to the enlightenment brought to the world by "creation scientists." Is that because "creation science" would overturn so many "preconceived notions" of the "scientific establishment," with its "deeply-rooted prejudice against all things Christian"? I don't think so, Tim. I'll wager, conservatively, that at least half of all Nobel prizes go for discoveries that overturn, radically modify, or greatly improve upon older concepts. Science rewards the finding of better answers, not hiding from them.

I would like to know, quite seriously, when the last time was that ANY biblical-literalist-creationist won a Nobel prize in ANY field. Also, has anyone ever won for any work that patently supports a major creationist principle, as opposed to the "evolutionary" view of the nature of the world?
(Another one that my creationist emailers have been strangely silent on.)


Does God have a beetle fixation? Why else would He create so many different kinds? Maybe He loves them more than man. After all, can a beetle sin?
--Noah Riggins
(with apologies to the distinguished British biologist, J.B.S. Haldane. On being asked what one could conclude as to the nature of the Creator from a study of his creation, Haldane is said to have answered, "An inordinate fondness for beetles.")

The Efficacy of Science

Funny how science gets it all RIGHT when you want a computer, medical science to eliminate smallpox or treat your "erectile disfunction," anti-lock brakes to save your life--but all evolutionists--using the scientific method you take advantage of all day long--are wrong.

Libraries and Schools

John has also realized that creationists hate libraries, because they allow curious people like him to find the resources they list, which have been terribly misquoted. That also makes him think they hate schools, that taught him to read and use the library to get information.

The Power and Majesty of God Almighty

...and His subtlety. They will only allow God the minuscule, infant universe described by the writers of Genesis (or Moses, if you prefer). They can't stand it that God has been working on this version of the universe for something like 14 billion years, and His workshop is so inconceivably huge that it seems silly to imagine the Earth and its dominant species to be the center of God's attention. They won't allow Him to work His miracles of life patiently, subtly, using the gradual, majestic power of evolution. My hypothesis is that creationists, having short attention spans themselves, just can't allow God three billion years of patience and attention to Earthly life. Instead, all they'll allow Him is one *POOF* magic, all-in-one creation, barely 6,000 years ago. (This attention-deficit difficulty may have something to do with the fact that hardly any of them have actually read the whole Bible .)

1,000 Pennies

Ten bucks worth of pennies is all it takes to show how fast a little selection can turn randomness into perfect order. (For fans of those tiny Chick Publications comic books: This is an analogy. If you don't know what that is, stop now.)

Randomly scatter the pennies on a table. Apply a little "natural" selection (after all, you're not supernatural): pull out all that come up heads and set them aside (they will "survive"). Flip all the tails again. Save the heads. Repeat until "perfect order" is achieved.

How many "generations" will that take to "evolve" the race of pennies from evenly mixed to pure heads? Nine or ten, with average luck. Make it slightly more realistic by giving the "favored race" (Darwin's term) just a slight survival advantage: save just two or three each time. You can still have all heads in less than an hour. All it takes is "random replicators" (Dawkins's term) and a bit of selection pressure. The point is, a random system can become very organized, very fast, with just a little selection pressure.

Tornadoes, Junkyards, and 747's

It used to be a pocket watch that "proved" evolution can't happen. Now that lame creationist analogy has apparently evolved to demand that it be possible for a tornado to assemble a 747 out of a junkyard before we can admit the possibility of evolution.

What the creationist always conveniently leaves out of the analogy is the power of NON-random selection on repeated events. Allow a little leeway here for differences between mechanical assembly and natural systems (chemistry and life). Have the tornado roar through repeatedly, several times an hour (representing the speed of chemical reactions, or of cells multiplying). Allow selection pressures to "favor" parts or accidental assemblies that could function as part of a 747 (they're allowed to "survive," i.e. are not torn apart). Let the experiment run a few million years and you will have your wide-body jet.

Admittedly, that's still a pretty lame analogy, but it represents evolution way better than the creationists' single windstorm. This would make it even closer to evolution: Don't demand a specific product at the end (like a plane or a human). Instead, "favor" any chance assembly that would be useful for any purpose. Allow assemblies to reproduce with occasional random changes. Select the most useful. Hey, that is evolution. Give it some time and you will have some amazingly "well-adapted" and useful mechanisms. Granted, the chances of one being a 747 are effectively zero (unless it was intentionally selected for), but no biologist I know of ever claimed that evolution "intended" to produce a person.

Their Own Lack of Faith

(Watch 'em deny this one vehemently.) The reason creationists so rabidly deny evolution is that they have so little faith in the value and truth of the Bible that if one tiny detail is shown to be wrong, then the whole rest of it can't be depended on, either. In other words, their faith is so weak that it will fall apart if one tiny brick is knocked out of their feeble structure of faith (I call this the Jenga Principle ). Real faith, like a solid structure, can tolerate a brick or two loosened. Indeed, a real structure and real faith are strengthened by the replacement of a weak or defective brick with a new, stronger one (like replacing the shoddy myth of a 6000-year-old Earth with the grandeur of 4.5 billion years of Earth history).

"Balanced Treatment"

A recent creationist plea is for "balanced treatment" in the classroom: "Let us present creationism along with evolution, so students can make an informed choice. That's only fair isn't it?" (The spirit of fairness doesn't seem to prompt them to invite biologists to present a "balanced treatment" of evolution at revival meetings, though.)

OK, let's go along with it. In 9th grade biology let's do evolution on the first day of the school year--then we'll proceed to "alternative theories of origins" and "intelligent design theories." Tuesday we'll cover the Algonquin creation myth, Wednesday the Shinto, Thursday the Yoruba, Friday--Mayan. Next week it's Pawnee, Inuit, Mogollon, Hindu, and Zoroastrian. We'll get to the Hebrew adaptation of the Babylonian (as recorded in Genesis) the third Thursday in May (if we don't have a fire drill).

One of the Big Lies of creationism is that there are only two alternatives, and that by "defeating evolutionism" (sic), the only possible remaining alternative is the Genesis myth. (Those of us who have Seen the Truth know that the TRUE creation account is that preserved since the Beginning by the !kung bushmen of South Africa.)

From a contributor: I think they should teach creationism in school. Time is equal to evidence. Thus on the first day, the teacher stands up and says, creationism is an alternative to evolution. Creationism has not a single piece of verifiable evidence to support its claims. Now on to evolution.

Who will teach creationism? Since almost all science teachers don't believe creationism is valid [alas, too many do--largely because few are actually scientists {one of the failings of American education}rjr], are we going to require that each school now hire, in addition to the current science teachers, a fundamentalist Christian to teach science classes? Where would these fundamentalists get their education? Bob Jones University? I'm sure the Jim Bakker school of religious economics must have had a science department!

Ambiguous Gender

Dustin Huwe reminds us that although Genesis tells us that God created Man and Woman, there are some unfortunate folks around who are hermaphrodites or have ambiguous genitalia. Hermaphrodites therefore are mass produced by evolutionists to confuse believers.

The Order of Becoming a Creationist

After years of intensive research, I have all but given up hope of finding a biologist, geologist, physicist, astronomer, paleontologist, or whatever, who--through his actual field or laboratory research--came up with such overwhelming evidence that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old, or that new species never evolve--that he came to the inescapable conclusion that it was all created recently. Then he looked around for who knew that all along. Then he became a fundamentalist Protestant.

As I said, I've nearly given up searching for such a rare species. I suspect I'm more likely to find a biblical unicorn. It never happens in that order. A person FIRST becomes a fundamentalist--either raised that way or converted--THEN learns what he is supposed to believe about the history of Earth and life.


My buddy A. Fuchs (and several others) informs me that despite creationist fantasies that only a handful of atheists and die-hard "naturalist" scientists still believe in evolution... fact, there is no term like 'creationist' in our public debate, and I'm not sure if it exists in our language (German). ...On most of our TV news shows they have something like 'joke of the day,' or the most unbelievable event and so on. That's where I first heard that both creationism and evolution has to be taught in some states of the US. It's quite surprising for Europeans (also if they visit the US) that there are so many nearly uneducated people [in the US], but on the other hand, you have the world's best scientists over there.
How come ? I wish to heaven I knew, my friend.

Inconvenient Biblical Laws

Andrew I. Kapust wonders why creationists don't keep kosher, as he proudly does. I accuse them of picking and choosing among Old Testament laws and pronouncements. Anything they like, like the six days of creation, or "Thou shalt not kill" (mainly as applied to fetuses) is the inerrant word of God. However, most of the other 687 laws (like not wearing cotton-polyester blend fabrics, keeping the SABBATH [Saturday] holy, punishing rapists by forcing them to marry their victims, etc.) they have been excused from observing by Jesus. I can't seem to find the list in the New Testament, however, that details exactly which laws can safely be ignored by fundamentalists.

The Lord's Honesty

Don also recalls a verse in the Bible which he paraphrases as:

"God is not man, that He should deceive." Wow! What's with all the confusing fossils and distant light rays? I grew up being taught that they were put there to test my faith! I would expect an omnibenevolent deity to be less of a jerk than that.
-Donald Wilson

The Missing Laws

David from Alaska asks:

Why wasn't "Thou Shalt Wash Your Hands" or some such included in the Big Ten [or even way down the list]? Or maybe "Thou shalt not dirty the open sore." Either would have saved a tremendous amount of suffering over the centuries.


OK, the appearance of life had to be miraculous, since it increases order (decreases entropy), and that violates the second law of thermodynamics (not!). In that case the formation of every single snowflake that has ever existed (imagine how many!) must be a discrete miracle, and not a natural process at all, since a snowflake is much more "orderly" and contains more "information" than the vapor or droplets from which it forms. A more likely answer: neither is miraculous and neither offends the thermodynamic sensibilities of nature. Everything in this world that works, works by temporarily and locally reducing entropy. Maybe the real miracle was performed by God when He designed a universe with natural laws that permit such wonders as snowflakes to form and hummingbirds to evolve, without His constant tinkering.

Convergent Evolution

And once again, from down under:
Convergent evolution. I'm thinking specifically of Thylacinus cynocephalus [AKA the Tasmanian wolf]. Here we have a marsupial with all the outward appearance of a member of the dog family, a placental group. Plus all those cute little marsupial 'mice' running around in the outback. [Why would God invent a whole new "wolf" when He had perfectly good ones already? These sure didn't "microevolve" from two of the dog "kind"!]

Something like the wetas of New Zealand must give them fits, too. Since there were no land mammals until the Maoris introduced rats, these insects related to grasshoppers and katydids grew to outlandish proportions to fill the niche that small mammals take up elsewhere.

Or maybe God was just in a puckish mood and decided to create somethin' reeeeaal ugly!


Edward Oleen passes on this tidbit: All the human insulin available for diabetics today is made by genetically engineered E. coli bacteria (whose native country is your colon--eewww)! What does that have to do with evolution? Real human genes were spliced into bacterial DNA using recombinant techniques, so the nasty germs now churn out authentic human insulin. Kind of sounds like the stuff that makes us human and the stuff that makes germs germy is the same kind of stuff, and is almost as interchangeable as tinkertoys. Maybe it shows that we're closely enough related to our own intestinal bacteria that we can stick a bit of human being into them without their minding terribly.

Big Numbers

Millions, billions...especially as applied to years, light-years, species, etc. They seem determined to limit the universe to a comfortable human scale. Really big stretches of time, especially, seem to scare the pants off them. Strange, when they insist God is eternal.

The Definition of Christian

Every dictionary I can lay my hands on defines Christian (n.) as "one who professes belief in Jesus as the christ" or words to the same effect. Not a one of them defines Christian as "one who believes in the literal truth of Genesis, especially as regards the creation and flood accounts." (Who would have thought that the ranks of lexicographers had been so infiltrated with atheists and satanists?) If you've ever been around fundamentalists for long, you've run into statements like, "I don't believe in evolution, because I'm a Christian." If you've ever said anything like that, here's some unpleasant news: it's NOT because you're a Christian. It's because you're a literalist-fundamentalist, and you're in the minority even among Christians. As a matter of fact, most of the Christians in the world are people whose beliefs you would find abhorrent, and a great many of whom accept evolution. They include many millions of Catholics, not to mention Episcopalians and other mainline Protestants, Mormons, Orthodox, Coptics, and many hundreds of denominations other than Southern Baptist and Pentecostal. (If you want to really reveal your ignorance and prejudices, ask someone if he is a Catholic or a Christian!) creationist does not equal christian!

Luigi Novi points out that...

Among the many Christians who accept evolution is….Pope John Paul II. Yep. The Big Guy himself. On October 27, 1996, in an address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in Rome, he declared [the Church's] acceptance of evolution as a scientific fact, and noted that there is no war between religion and science: "Consideration of the method used in diverse orders of knowledge allows for the concordance of two points of view which seem irreconcilable. The science of observation describes with ever greater precision the multiple manifestations of life…while theology extracts the final meaning according to the Creator’s designs."

Creationist Scientific Research Projects

They apparently hate them, because they're seldom, if ever, attempted. There are multiple reasons for that, including the facts that few creationists have a clue about how to design and conduct legitimate scientific research; doing one is probably sacrilegious, since the answer is already in the Bible, and testing it shows a lack of faith; and (I think this is the big one) they are very afraid of that most common of research outcomes: negative results.

In order to help my creationist friends (it's amazing how many have offered to pray for me), I have compiled a brief list of research projects to demonstrate the truth of recent creation as detailed in Genesis. It should be the duty (mission? ministry?) of every dedicated creationist to conduct this research in a sound scientific (that means replicable, peer-reviewed, and published in recognized journals) manner, because we all want the truth, especially if our eternal souls depend upon it. (Although one could argue that creationists don't want the truth--they want the answer they know is right ahead of time.)

AN APPEAL: If you can think of any other research projects that would indisputably prove the recent creation of the Earth or the simultaneous creation of all living and extinct species, or the validity of any other major creationist contention (such as the Flood), please email them to me! Remember, my creationist friends, you can't prove a negative, so don't dream up something to "prove" evolution isn't real. Believe me, they've all been tried--to no avail except to make evolutionary theory all the stronger! Besides, proof that evolution is false would NOT be proof of Genesis-type creation. I'm looking for projects that, with positive results, would prove a major creationist belief that is in direct opposition to the "evolutionary" view of the world.

The Genesis 1 & 2 Resolution

Paul Murray has recognized a solution to some of the Genesis 1 & 2 conflicts--but not one that creationists are likely to welcome:
[In Paul's words] Genesis 1 and 2 do not conflict, provided that you remember that Moses and the patriarchs were polytheistic heathens, just like their heathen neighbors. They believed that the world was inhabited and animated by "spirits," much like most native religions do. They claimed that their particular god was better than all the other gods (much as people today will cheer for their home-town football team), but that does not mean that they were monotheists. The wording of the First Commandment in Ex 20 makes that plain ["thou shalt have no other," not "there is no other"]. Jehovah was to be number one god, but that's all.
As to "the order of creation," many people have noted that the word translated "God" changes from "Elohim" [a PLURAL] to "Jehovah" in Gen 2:4. Some take this as evidence of Gen 2 being a second account. I say: the two tell a single story.
Genesis 1 describes how the spirits created the world and mankind; the spirits (or "Elohim"--plural) made their own people after their own image--that's why races of people look different. The spirit who created the Hebrews made people that looked like himself, the spirit who created the Egyptians made people that looked like himself, etc.
Genesis 2 zooms in to one among the Elohim, named "Jehovah," and his little eugenics experiment in the Garden of Eden.
See? Doesn't it all make perfect sense? The name of God changing from the plural "Elohim" to "Jehovah" in Gen 2:4 is not an artifact, it's actually a meaningful and important distinction. Gen 1 is talking about the gods in general, Gen 2 about one particular one. [In other words, the Bible is right, even where creationists DON'T want it to be. -RJR]
So enough of this "Gen 1 & 2 contradict one another" business! It's total nonsense - there's a perfectly reasonable explanation.

A Deck of Cards

Ever hear impossibly-large numbers quoted as the odds against a cell or a particular DNA molecule having formed "by accident" to create the first living thing? It's an example of the propensity of creationists to entirely miss the point and set up a specious straw man, ripe for destruction. Ronald Stearns suggests the following to help them see where they are missing the point:
One demonstration that has worked well for me in illustrating the difference between a priori and a posteriori calculations just uses a deck of cards. Give someone a deck of cards, ask him to shuffle it, and then read off the first 26 cards. After your subject does that, jump at him and question his veracity. "You don't really expect me to believe that sequence is what you pulled up, is it? The odds against getting exactly that sequence is 2 x 10 41-to-1 against!" Then, of course, explain that what the odds were before the exercise is irrelevant, because what is important is that SOME sequence occurred, and that the idea is to understand what that sequence actually was, not what the chances were of obtaining that sequence. If your subject has kept the stack of cards intact, then you can show that you have the evidence. It also looks a lot like a set of geological strata, and you can show that it remains valid even if you take the stack and slide it around, twist it, and fold it a bit, [to provide an analogy for how] geologists really can still unlock the story of geological history, with a lot of work.

Begin by asking a creationist if he denies his own existence, or the fact that he was produced by the sexual reproduction of his parents. Assuming he says yes (if he says no, creationism is the least of his problems) point out the odds that his parents produced HIM, specifically, are one in 70 trillion (roughly). This is based on the 46 total chromosomes, each a 1 in 2 shot, contributed by his parents. If those odds aren't astronomical enough, go after his grandparents next. (Admittedly the chromosomal probability is a simplification of the entire process...but any further complications would only make an individual LESS likely, so the argument works fairly well.)

The Tower of Babel

Along with Noah's Ark and several other patently silly stories (in the light of modern understanding), that creationists purport to love, I suspect that they wish they didn't have to defend such myths as the Tower of Babel. Werner Guilford asks the following:
The bible story of why humanity speaks thousands of different languages ranks right up there with the story of Santa Claus and the stork bringing the children. A nice bedtime story for the kids, were it not for the tendency to blame a vengeful deity. Somebody has to set the record straight and absolve God from all responsibility in this case. Let's give it a try.
To start with, we have to make the fairly safe assumption that the Babylonians at that time were not the most stupid people on the face of the Earth. The assumption is safe, since they managed to have an empire, albeit a modest one, had a written language, kept books, etc. So, if they were not stupid, then:

Why did they want to build a tower and waste a tremendous amount of resources to peek into the living room of a god they didn't even believe in?
Why would they build a tower in the lowlands when they could get ahead by starting on the top of a mountain a few hundred kilometers north?
Why try building a huge tower in the lowlands [except perhaps for defensive walls] where every brick had to be made from mud, ?
Finally, why would any god not just have a tremendous belly laugh at the futility of his subjects? [And why has God not responded similarly to modern skyscrapers--or are we expected to believe that the pile of mud bricks was way higher? And why would God even care, unless He actually did live just a few hundred feet overhead, and a human who reached His home could seriously challenge His supremacy? RJR]
Well, at least we can answer that question. There is absolutely no humor in the Bible (or any other religious text that I know of). It's tough being a god--you are not allowed to laugh.

Revelation of Their True Allegiance!

To have a bunch of Devil worshipers come out and attack the Bible would be tactically unsound, as that would be what any Christian would expect, and Christians would dismiss their work out of hand. What is really needed is some idiotic dupes used in their place. Enter the Creationists--Satan's unwitting allies. They set about attempting to destroy science and the scientific method, using the Bible as a shield. In defense of science, the scientists themselves set about their own counterattack, and obviously turned their well-educated and powerful minds to the Bible, producing contradictions aplenty. And they've pretty much torn it apart. So Satan's little helpers (the creationists), who believe the Bible is completely accurate, have actually been the authors of its DESTRUCTION. That doesn't at all sound like any Christian religion I've ever heard of. What religion purposefully puts its own literature up to be shredded? Therefore, because it's the Bible in the line of destruction, I believe that the creationists don't actually worship the Trinity. They actually worship the devil, because it would be his dream to see the Bible go up in flames--and isn't it going very well for him?

Well done, Creationists.

Digitized Natural Selection

Computer scientists (and the big corporations that pay them), have started doing what nature has been doing all along. To arrive at some good-enough solutions to some practically intractable problems (the kind that would take a Cray supercomputer the probable life of the universe to solve--like the absolute best design for a new airliner), they teach a computer to try a bunch of random solutions. Most will be worthless or impractical. Some will work a little better than most. The best ones are allowed to produce "offspring" with random modifications. Most of these won't be improvements, and many will be worse than the "parents." A few may be slightly better, however, and they will be allowed to reproduce for another "generation." Continue this for enough generations, and the end product will be a decent solution. It probably won't be the theoretical best (a quality which couldn't be determined without solving the original unsolvable problem), but it will be workable.
This is exactly analogous to natural selection, so of course "it can't possibly work" since "random mutations can only be harmful." Sorry, but it works so well in nature that it has produced hummingbirds and eagles, and so well in the R & D department that it is being used to design aircraft!

The Two Great Lights

Chris Hobson has a few quibbles regarding the "two great lights" created early on in Genesis, which everyone understands to mean the Sun and Moon:
The Moon is in fact not a light at all, but merely reflects the light of the Sun. It was also created in order to "rule the night," but actually spends half of the time in the daytime sky, where it is more often than not invisible. It is not really all that great in astronomical terms, either, being a mere 2,159 miles in diameter. The sun does qualify as a light, but again not a very great one, being a tiny, insignificant little star, just 865,000 miles in diameter. Betelgeuse is 250,000,000 miles in diameter and 15,000 times brighter than the Sun, Rigel is 60,000 times brighter than the Sun. [If the Sun is "great," then what term should be applied to stars like those? RJR] Genesis 1:18 states that one of the purposes of these heavenly bodies is "to separate the light from the darkness" which I thought God had already taken care of in verse 4. So in conclusion, of the two great lights, neither of them is great [compared to objects in the same category] and only one of them is a light. This is not very good going for a book which is claimed to be literally true and scientifically accurate.

The Poor Fossil Record

Once again, creationists' logic arises to bite them in the hindquarters:
Creationists often use the paucity of the fossil record as evidence against evolution, claiming that if the world were millions of years old, and life on Earth had evolved over such a vast period of time, then you should expect to find billions upon billions of fossilized organisms. This, as they are more than happy to point out, is not the case [but it is a typical creationist straw man -RJR]. But lack of preservation is exactly what you would expect under natural conditions, as the chances of a decaying organism hanging around long enough to be preserved are remote.

However, if the fossil record were the result of a global flood, then high rates of preservation would be expected, as all organisms were subjected to the same conditions. Remember that sedimentation rates were mindblowing fast (fast enough to form the Grand Canyon in a year!) Analysis of varves also demonstrates that thousands of acres of sediment would have to have been laid down every second, so organisms would have been buried before they even had the chance to decay. Under these conditions you would expect to find billions of perfectly preserved organisms, but as any creationist will tell you, the fossil record is actually very poor. Doh!

Alternative Creationist Explanations

Every couple of years it seems there's a new crop of creationist "solutions" to the problem of why the Earth and universe appear to be ancient, and why there seems to be a record of evolutionary change. Some appear under the guise of "scientific creationism," while others just seem to pop out of the wacky corner. From Velikovsky's fabulous "comet" to visits by extraterrestrials, nearly everything has been tried to "prove" the veracity of the Genesis story. Again, the fact that almost anything, no matter how silly, will be offered up by creationists should indicate that they are grasping at straws--and that's what they get. Chris, for instance, has heard the following:
The Almighty created this world from the remains of other planets where He had been experimenting. Therefore, all the extinct animals and fossils are fossils from those test planets. I suppose that He was also careful to layer them neatly in the strata, in order, from simplest to most complex, from bottom to top. [This was declared by the same person] who tells us that the Grand Canyon was carved by Satan himself to confuse us. Consequently, my amazement and awe of the Adversary's artistic abilities never cease every time I venture into the Utah and Arizona deserts!
A theological question for creationists: will a person with such wrong beliefs (not the standard creationist teaching) go to hell along with us evolutionists? Or will that person be welcomed into the Presence, because it doesn't matter what nonsense he or she believes, so long as it's not evolution?

The Joshua Business

Mike, along with many others, is disturbed by the case of Josua bar Nun vs. The Sun:
Okay....I will forgive Joshua for describing the Sun standing in the sky...poetic license, but I will not forgive him for saying the Earth stopped rotating on its axis, which would cause entire continents to buckle and tumble over each other and tidal waves the likes of which no Hollywood movie could produce. [Don't get it? Try swinging a bucket of water on a rope in a circle over your head. It'll be going a few miles an hour. Now stop it quickly by, say, hitting a tree. What happens to the water? The Earth is mostly covered with water and the equator rotates at over 1,000 mph. Think about it. RJR] But let's, for the sake of argument, say that God did this. Let's say that God stretched out his hand and slowly stopped the axis (totally negating the laws of inertia and centrifugal force not once but twice [for the restart], in such a way that no local effects were noted by humans). Why? So that one band of men could massacre another band of men, women and children whose land they wanted to steal?

Astronomy general. It's wrong about everything. Starting at least as far back as Ptolemy, astronomers have continued to describe the heavens in terms that increasingly have rendered the Genesis cosmology irrelevant. Things really started to go to hell with Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and their ilk. Nowadays the things astronomers teach are so foreign to the Truth and involve such hard math that they're impossible to understand... oops, I mean they're complete lies. I mean, come on-- the Big Bang, the speed of light, "light years," the sizes of stars, billions of years-- it makes my head hurt. You want to know what's in the sky? Read Genesis! Especially stay away from them "professors" who directly mock biblical Truth about the skies. One even calls himself The Bad Astronomer ! Don't that tell you somethin'?


"Irreducible complexity"? Bite on this from Aaron Cosier:
We hear a lot about "irreducible complexity" from the creationist compound these days. A heavily used example is the complexity of proteins, their ease of inactivation by single mutations, and their low probability of "flying together in the vacuum of space."
many of these "irreducibly complex" proteins catalyse reactions that every biochemistry student has mimicked in undergrad practicals with a simple organic compound, a chelating agent, or a dissolved metal ion. Admittedly, these substitutes are less specific in their behavior, and generally much slower, but the fact remains that in a biochemical system many complex components can have simple substitutes, i.e . the complexity can be reduced.
These harmless subjects of high school chemistry and beyond would hardly seem to be dangerous to anybody's uneducated beliefs, but then, how would they know?


...and its numerous derivatives.
The last fifty years or so has seen an astounding increase in the amount of penicillin produced by any means, and a corresponding increase in resistance displayed by bacteria. A somewhat educated creationist might argue that some bacteria have always been resistant to penicillin, and were the only ones that could live near penicillin-producing molds, hence the present resistant strains are simply the product of a shift in the frequencies of that particular gene (a bit like the moth colors). A more perceptive person might then ask about the various synthetic penicillins . While based on the original penicillin, these are almost uniformly designed (using a rather haphazard, trial-and-error approach, which works) to be resistant to the enzymatic activity that confers penicillin resistance. These chemicals have never before existed on the face of the Earth, and yet after a while bacteria gradually become resistant. Why is it so?
Careful examination of the genes of these bacteria reveals a disturbing fact--that the sequence of the gene for resistance is different! That additional copies are present! It would seem that a basic mechanism of evolution is confirmed by these observations: that new characters can arise and, if favored, can increase in numbers.

Artificial Selection

Neven Mrgan submits an obvious one that I've never got around to writing up, so I'll let him handle it (this one was a major part of Darwin's case in Origin):
We often hear that "if evolution were true, why aren't species changing now? Why aren't monkeys becoming humans as we speak? Why aren't new species evolving? Huh?"
The easiest answer I can think of is: Have you ever seen various breeds of dogs, horses, etc.? How about kinds of flowers, fruits, shrubbery? Do you think these were around , say, 4000 years ago? Don't you remember some of them being created just last (and even this) century? Humans are merely helping evolution by being a strong factor in selection--and please, don't call purposeful ( i.e. by people) selection "unnatural"--I consider myself perfectly "natural." So if we can create, say, a shih tzu out of a wolf in such a short time, guess how much can happen in millions and millions of years. And don't tell me it's different because "people are doing it on purpose, and nature can't and ergo didn't 'know' what it was doing"--do you think that our ancestors actually KNEW that by keeping the animals they would eventually create a Holstein cow?
You've put your finger on it, Neven. Creationists: why are there no wild poodles?

Their Own Children

Carmen Chaproniere (a former creationist, as are many contributors and correspondents) serves up this gem:
Creationists are always banging on about 'The Missing Link.' "Where's The Missing Link? Evolution can't POSSIBLY be correct without this evidence! If we are related to apes then wouldn't there be half-man, half-ape creatures roaming the planet?" Well, I suggest that their own children aren't related to them or to each other either, since there are no links illustrating the morph in appearance from one child to another! If I had another child, then that child would not look exactly like my first at their corresponding life stages; they may look very similar, but then again they may look totally different (I look entirely different from my own sister!). Their children in turn will be different from each other and so on! Diversification in very few generations and no "missing links" required!

Other Cultures

Like those damn Egyptians that didn't seem to notice a world-wide Flood, though they were around at the time and had a liking for writing everything down (they'd write down what people wore to parties, darn it, why would they fail to note a Flood that covered the entire Earth? AND they were there before and after the time of the Flood, so either they stayed there, high and dry, or one of Noah's sons, who was not Egyptian at all, emigrated to the Nile and reinstituted the dead and damned Egyptian civilization perfectly, including the practices that got them damned in the first place!). Or the Asian Indians, or the Chinese, or any of the other cultures that also possessed written histories, yet failed to note any of the cataclysmic acts of the Judaeo-Christian god. (Satan must have told them to not write it down... yep... that must be it.)


The more extreme creationists claim that the whole universe is around 6000 years old. Now this gives us a problem that they have trouble solving: that of constellations. Since the speed of light can be and has been very accurately measured, it should not be possible to see objects that are farther away than 6000 light years. Obviously we can do so, but let us forget that since it is obviously a satanic scheme anyway. From the days that the oldest cosmologies were recorded, it is perfectly clear that the ancients saw the same constellations that we do today.
However, since those ancient observers were only a thousand or two years from the date of creation, the light from the stars farther away than 1000-2000 light years could not have been seen. Between then and now, the light from the stars 2000 to 6000 light years away would have arrived and altered the patterns of the constellations. History should have records of ever-changing constellations. However, they are exactly the same as when first recorded, meaning that the age of the universe 4000 years ago was insignificantly different from its age today.
I guess that that means that all stars are closer to the Earth than 1000 light years, and that measurement techniques such as stellar parallax are just the devil's lies.
Which reminds me of one I've been contemplating...

Supernova 1987a

This was an important astronomical event that was observed on the Earth in--guess when--1987. The supernova is 169,000 light years away, and lies in the dwarf galaxy called the Large Magellanic Cloud, which can be seen from the southern hemisphere. That means the explosion happened 169,000 years ago. But that can't be possible if the universe is only 6K years old, so pick your favorite creationist "explanation":

the universe is way tinier than astronomers say it is
the speed of light has changed
God created the light of the supernova within 6,000 light years of Earth, so that it falsely "reveals" an "event" that never really happened

Another Genesis Oops

The snake tells the truth--God lies.

2:9 "And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil."

There are two trees, right. We've got that.

2:16-17 "Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."

God says the knowledge tree will kill. Fair enough.

3:4-5 "And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."

But wait, the snake says the knowledge tree will give knowledge! Let's conduct a little scientific

3:6 "She took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat."

And she died, right? That's what God said ...

3:7 "And the eyes of them both were opened"


3:14 "And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:"

And this is the model for modern-day creationists, who get equally tetchy when you use inconvenient facts to prove them wrong. But just to be sure we're absolutely clear about what the tree of knowledge of good and evil does:

3:22 "And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever..."
OK, and for future reference you might choose better code words than "the tree of life" and "the tree of knowledge of good and evil," but we'll leave that. What I really want to know is whom are You talking to in this particular passage?
And Stephen Reese adds yet another Genesis Faux Pas:
The 10th chapter of Genesis recounts what happened to Noah's sons and their descendants after the Flood as they repopulated the Earth. Gen 10:1 through 10:5 recounts Japheth's line and ends with the refrain "divided in their lands; everyone after his tongue, after their families in their nations." Gen 10:6-20 recounts Ham's line and ends with the refrain "after their familles, after their tongues in their countries and in their nations." Gen 10:21-31 recounts Shem's line, ending with the refrain "after their families, after their tongues, in their lands after their nations."
So they went forth multiplying and developing their own languages, cultures and nations, okay, so far, so good. And then at the start of chapter 11 (on the same page in my KJV!) "And the whole earth was one language, and of one speech," - Genesis 11:1.


Satan's Rapid Deployment Force (SRDF)

Revealed At Last! SHOCKING PROOF that Satan is active in the world and working to defeat creationism! Every time that we creationists bring up one of those impossible changes from one created kind to another (macroevolution), the SRDF gets to work and plants in the rocks some fake fossils, carefully "aging" them and putting them in the "proper" strata so that paleontologists can find them in a few years. Then they're shoved in our faces as examples of the major transitions that we know to be impossible.

We said a hyena can't change into a whale. The SRDF gets to work and presto! scientists are digging up Ambulocetus , Pakicetus , Prozeuglodon, and a passle of others.
We knew damn well that no lizard ever sprouted wings and feathers, so the SRDF made up those phony Archaeopteryx jobs that were just TOO perfect! I mean, teeth, bony tail, claws on the fingers, along with perfect flight feathers--come on! Since we absolutely wouldn't accept such an obvious fake, now they're throwing in a bunch of others in various stages of birdness, like Protoavis , Sinornis , Hesperornis, and Ichthyornis .
They claimed we were all fish, then we grew legs and lungs and crawled out on land--what rot! Where are the transitions? Enter the SRDF, and now we've got Eusthenopteron , Panderichtys, Acanthostega, and labyrynthodonts.
And of course the highest priority mission of the SRDF is to "prove" that people are just improved apes (whereas Genesis 2:7 tells us clearly that we are improved dirt). We keep telling them that there are "missing links" between apes and humans, and they keep finding something to fill whatever gap we point out. After all, isn't Lucy (Australopithecus afarensis ) just a little too convenient? Throw in A. ramidus and africanus and then H. habilis and erectus, and it's hard to find much of a gap anymore where a link could be missing.

Those Naughty Vestigial Bits (and Other Bad Engineering)

**So many items were accumulating under this category that they have been given a page of their own , to enable this page to load up more quickly**

The Geologic Strata and "Ecological Zonation"

The strata is most inconveniently laid out in the order of evolution, from simpler to more complex. The creationist explanation for this is ecological zonation - during the Flood, creatures were buried according to the ecological zone they lived in. This, unfortunately, is not borne out by the fossil record, with flying mammals found in the same strata as swimming mammals, though they don't live in the same ecological zone. It is also notable how an animal, once it appears in the fossil strata, will continue to appear in higher strata, no matter what it's ecological zonation, until it disappears altogether. Plants, which appear in every ecological zone, from aquatic to mountainous, appear late in the fossil strata. An alternative to this explanation is the ever-popular "the more advanced animals were able to run to higher ground, with man, as the most advanced, able to run to the tops of mountains." This explanation fails to take into account such things as birds, which theoretically could fly to the top of the strata to avoid the Flood waters. It also leaves the interesting question of when plants (see above) lost their ability to run.


I haven't done the research on this one, but... If, as the Bible so clearly teaches, all of the earth was covered by seawater for 6 months, exactly why is it that we can farm? Salt makes soil infertile. Cover up land with saltwater for half a year and watch what happens to farmland. It becomes useless. Not only are we able to farm in places with no igneous rock today (and thus no real way to cover up any salt-tainted land), but we have records of farming happening pretty soon after the Flood, not the least of which are recorded in Genesis.

That Other Economic System

Creationists tell us evolution is the basis and justification for Marxism. Concepts central to evolution, such as natural selection, the importance of adaptation, "the law of the jungle," etc., don't match up with anything in Marxism, but they are all-important concepts in another economic system: laissez-faire capitalism . Therefore, capitalism is part of an evolution-satanic-one-world plot, and every Christian practicing capitalism has unknowingly embraced the dark side. If the Black Helicopter crowd isn't convinced, I have incontrovertible evidence: the foremost advocate of laissez-faire capitalism of the last century was the Russian born, atheist author Ayn Rand. Russian born? Atheist? Hello!
Why was the teaching of genetics and evolution banned in Stalin-era Russia if evolution was the basis for Marxism in the first place?

The Missing Milk Commissar

One creationist argument cites the 'irreducible complexity' of biological systems. But we can turn this argument around, and in the process reveal a cultural contradiction of conservatism; for its cosmology and its politics do not match up.

Consider a carton of milk. How does it get from the farm to the grocer's shelf? If you investigate this question, you'll find that industrial society has truly elaborate food-distribution mechanisms and that its complexity is irreducible . Without the farmer or the trucker or the dispatcher or the grocer (or even the banker!) then that carton of milk would not arrive.

Milk production and distribution is irreducibly complex; does this imply that there must exist a milk director? Is there a Milk Commissar to micromanage every part of the milk trade? Does that milk carton on the supermarket shelf imply, by an Argument from Design, the existence of a Milk Commissar?

The absurdity of these questions reveals a cultural contradiction of fundamentalist-conservatism; its cosmology is paternalistic, if not authoritarian, but its political economics are libertarian, if not anarchistic. Cultural conservatives wisely question the value of central planning in the human realm, yet foolishly insist that it would work if applied to the entire cosmos!

If there is no Milk Commissar, if such a bureaucrat would indeed be a hindrance to the milk trade, if irreducibly complex social systems can organize themselves by blind market forces alone, then why (by analogy) need there be a central genetic planner?

Given this century's experience with command economies vs. free markets, which is a more credible creator of life's miracles: a DNA Commissar or the Invisible Hand of Natural Selection?

The World-Swap (Also known as 'My God's Bigger Than Your God')

Consider, if you will, a technocrat (evolutionist) and a theocrat (creationist) . I believe that they are living in each other's worlds!

Consider the technocrat; what are his values? Reason, order, efficiency, control. His methods are mechanistic, and his central concern is mankind: a rationalist. Now consider the theocrat. His values are centered on God--a mysterious entity, characterized by infinite power, glory, and subtlety: a mystic.

Now consider the technocrat's world. By his own account, the technocrat lives in a vast, mysterious, powerful, beautiful, terrible and wonderful cosmos that dwarfs all human endeavor. Whereas the theocrat's cosmos is tight, little, well-mapped, and human-centered; just the sort of world that you or I would design, if we were on a budget.

The evolutionist lives in a mystical cosmos, the creationist lives in a rationalist cosmos. It is as if each had designed the world that the other shall inhabit!

The Sabbath Millennium

This one only works on young-earthers. It's amazing that anyone still tries to defend Bishop Ussher's cramped chronology; but such are the hazards of bibliolatry. But literalism has this fatal flaw: you can easily reduce it to absurdity. Just take that one logical step too far.

According to Bishop Ussher and the young-earthers, the universe was created in the year 4004 BCE. Few have chosen to notice that, by this chronology, the universe passed its 6000th year of existence in 1997; and since 'a thousand years is a day in His eyes,' that makes this the beginning of God's Seventh Day; that is, the Sabbath Millenium!

If we take these bits of the Bible literally (selective literalism--a creationist hobby ), then it follows by this reasoning that for the next thousand years, the Lord shall be taking His Day Off. Why then pray? It wouldn't work! But if, on the other hand, He is still at work, then either a day is not as a thousand years to Him, or else this is not the year 6004 (or thereabouts)!

Lactose Intolerance

I haven't heard this one discussed among creationists, but I've been wondering what they think about lactose intolerance. Since most mammals stop feeding on milk once they exit infancy, they develop said condition. It happens in humans too, but a lot of us can handle milk with no problems. The explanation for this is that people that could handle drinking milk after animal domestication was discovered had that much more nutrition available to them, and through the process of natural selection they thrived [and passed on the trait]. This was recently attributed to a genetic mutation found in those that can digest lactose.


How can creationists explain these fossilized lumps of tree resin? This obviously organic substance is often found far underground in millions-year-old sediment layers. How did it get there? If it actually is resin from trees, how did it form into such a hard substance so quickly? And how did it all get buried deep underground? If it isn't resin, then what is it? If it's not millions of years old, then its formation process must be very quick. So where can you see the process that makes it today? Why can't it be duplicated artificially?

But all of this pales next to what is actually found imbedded in the amber. Leaves and twigs, insects, and even small animals like frogs are found inside. And they are definitely real, you can cut the amber open and extract organic tissue, even strands of DNA! What's more, some of these animals plants, and insects are nowhere to be found on Earth today. Did God create an entire menagerie of small creatures specifically for the purpose of being imbedded in a clear, hard substance and buried underground?

Evolved Plagues and Pestilences

These are also known as the germs and the bugs; and it is precisely with such organisms that we have seen evolution at its fastest! Consider AIDS, or DDT-resistant pests, or the common cold, or antibiotic-resistant superbugs: all evolve fast enough for us to see. Indeed, the rapid evolution of these organisms has become an important medical and economic issue. The critters are out-evolving our poisons and drugs; and so we too must adapt, or pay the Darwinian price.
Therefore to ignore evolution is literally to risk plague and pestilence! How Biblical a punishment for creationism!

The Lengths of the Day, the Month, and the Year

According to Gen. 1:14, the lights in the firmament are there "for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years." The lights are certainly not doing a good job. The solar and sidereal years are different. Neither is an integer multiple of the lunar month, and none of those time periods is an integer multiple of the day. The creationists' watch in the desert was obviously not a moonphase perpetual calendar watch. Finally, if the Sabbath is so important that a man was stoned to death for violating it, isn't it important enough that the year and the month should both be integer multiples of the seven-day week?

Isaiah's Shadow

When it comes to disrupting the laws of physics, Joshua was a mere amateur in comparison with Isaiah. Joshua simply commanded the sun to stand still (or the Earth to stop rotating, if you prefer); Isaiah actually caused the Earth to turn backward! Isaiah informed Hezekiah that the shadow cast by the sun on the palace stairway would retreat rather than advance as a sign that Judea would be delivered from Assyria and, sure enough, "the sun went back ten steps on the stairway down which it had gone" (Isaiah 38:7-8) . Just imagine everyone's astonishment when they saw the sun suddenly moving from west to east, to say nothing of the havoc wreaked on wind currents and weather patterns. Curious that no one else on Earth noticed and recorded such an incredible and unique astronomical anomaly and (literally!) world-shattering event.

[Via Skeptic Report]