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Go to: Is Richard Dawkins an ape?

BaltimoreOriole's Avatar Jump to comment 27 by BaltimoreOriole

Here are some of the things that Richard Dawkins can do, but neither a gorilla nor Vasko Kohlmayer can do:

  1. Understand the theory of evolution
  2. Write an article on a scientific topic without making a fool of himself
  3. Make important contributions to human knowledge
  4. Identify religious claptrap as religious claptrap

So perhaps Kohlmayer is right after all; there may be some justfication for placing Dawkins in one category, with the gorilla and the Kohlmayer in another.

Sun, 18 Mar 2012 15:04:40 UTC | #928328

Go to: The "So" meme

BaltimoreOriole's Avatar Jump to comment 41 by BaltimoreOriole

In German, people often begin a story with the German word "also", which actually has the same meaning as the English "so", not the English "also". (Also, ein Priester und ein Minister waren in einer Kneipe zusammen...) The intent appears to me to be precisely the same as in English; simply to signal that a story is about to be told. So perhaps the notion of a Yiddish origin to this habit, broached very early in this thread, has some merit.

Sun, 04 Mar 2012 12:09:40 UTC | #924289

Go to: [Update 5 Nov -Q&A added to “The Video”]The video! (Jerry Coyne & John Haught)

BaltimoreOriole's Avatar Jump to comment 51 by BaltimoreOriole

The Q & A was where Haught really revealed himself to be a thoroughly unpleasant person. Coyne forcefully, vigorously disputed the points made by Haught in his initial presentation, but in the Q & A it was Haught who made it personal, with his sneering, condescending put-downs of Coyne.

Fri, 04 Nov 2011 19:22:57 UTC | #887417

Go to: [UPDATE - 24-Oct] - audio of interview with PZ] - Pluggin’

BaltimoreOriole's Avatar Jump to comment 27 by BaltimoreOriole

A thousand pardons, everyone, for giving bad info about Newton. I was sure I'd read that somewhere, but I haven't been able to verify it. As Chanoc said, he sent people to the gallows for counterfeiting, but not for heresy. Apologies for starting a false rumour.

Fri, 21 Oct 2011 19:42:05 UTC | #883000

Go to: [UPDATE - 24-Oct] - audio of interview with PZ] - Pluggin’

BaltimoreOriole's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by BaltimoreOriole

I agree with Steve that we should not have heroes; we can and should separate the good (Newton invented calculus) from the bad (he had heretics tortured and killed). The intention of my comment was to admit my mistake of casually assuming that atheist = completely rational. So to the extent that PZ's weird behaviour curbed my hero-worshipping tendencies, it was salutary. PZ is a good scientist and a gifted, sometimes inspired writer; I won't pretend those traits don't exist because I'm irritated by his irrational behaviour in other contexts.

But Daz, the point isn't whether it was okay for RW to criticize the elevator guy. I was sympathetic to what she had to say about that incident. What upset me as well as upsetting a lot more famous folk (Russell Blackford, Miranda, Abbie, among others) was the vicious way PZ, RW and their cultish followers attacked anyone who dared to disagree with them. Among other things, PZ did in fact ban people just for disagreeing, played dirty rhetorical tricks, condoned bullying and name-calling on the part of RW and his acolytes, and did some pretty ugly name-calling of his own, for example calling Russell Blackford a bald-face liar.

It was really disappointing to a lot of us. I won't emulate the ridiculous RW and call for a boycott of PZ's works - Hell, I'll buy his book myself, if it ever comes out and promises to be interesting - but I can flatly say he's lost a lot of respect.

Fri, 21 Oct 2011 15:45:16 UTC | #882913

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