A gift from the wacko rabbi

March 25, 2012 • 2:54 am

Rabbi Alan Lurie, with whom I’ve crossed swords, has sent me an email containing only the following photo.  The header was “interesting article FYI”.  I don’t post private emails from anyone without permission, but this surely merits an exception.

It demonstrates an observation that, I believe, was made by Christopher Hitchens: “I always think it’s a sign of victory when they move on to the ad hominem

And silly rabbi: I am a monkey! And so are you.

88 thoughts on “A gift from the wacko rabbi

    1. I’m not even that impressed with the photoshop skills. Note that the photo behind the title of the magazine is a completely different one, and that the transition between the head and the body is strictly amateurish, and that the title work at the bottom is on a solid colour patch, whereas SciAm usually lays it right over the photo. Etc.

  1. Apparently this is the Atheism issue of Scientific American because it also includes an article by Stephen Hawking.

  2. Apparently this is the Atheism issue of Scientific American because it also includes an article by Stephen Hawking. Will the good rabbi take him on as well?

  3. What a crappy effort at shooping! Any of my kids could do a better job than that. Nonetheless a huge achievement for you Jerry!;-)

  4. I am reminded of a comment by Dawkins that he never debates creationists. It gives them too much of a forum.

    From what I have read here of Lurie’s attacks, they seem to be garden variety creationism, hardly worthy of notice.

    On the other hand, to write a book like Why Evolution Is True has the merit of answering these arguments in a general way, and providing a very large audience with reasons to adopt a rational view of the origin of species, including our own.

  5. I need to point out one small mistake, humans are apes (great apes), not monkeys, our common ancestor with monkeys occurs around 26 million mya. Other great apes which are our closest relatives include Chimpanzees, Gorillas, Bonobos and Orangutans. I recommend ‘An Ancestors Tale’ by Richard Dawkins for more detailed information on this.

    1. The great ape clade is wholly within the “monkeys”, with Old World monkeys as a sister clade but New World monkeys as an out group. Phylogenetically, apes *are* monkeys although taxonomically “monkey” is a polyphyletic term that traditionally is not used for the great ape subset. In other words, biologically speaking, we *are* monkeys just as we are primates, mammals, vertebrates etc. even if we don’t typically use the “monkey” label. Labels are not reality. (That’s my opinion, anyway.)

  6. It’s bit of fair play. Jerry DID post a cartoon involving Alan Lurie first. But Alan’s just wasn’t funny. It’s like he actually thought that Jerry was just insulting him and didn’t get the joke in Sigmund’s cartoon and just wanted to flip Jerry off back. Sigmund was witty. He stuck mostly to mocking the ideas. He said nothing about Alan’s intelligence or character. Alan just rather childishly called Jerry stupid. With a very low quality cartoon might at add. As if only to say he too can insult people via cartoon. How… juvenile.

  7. The man is a disgrace and it would be perfectly understandable if you chose not to engage with him any further. You have absolutely nothing to prove and he does not deserve to enhance his public image by adding you as a “debating” opponent to his CV.

  8. Lurie is apparently upset that Jerry isn’t listening to him. So he attempts a variation on the “hear no evil” monkey. The unintended parallel seems fairly accurate 🙂

  9. That’s fun.

    Hang that photo on your office as a trophy. You are winning; we are winning.

    Thanks for sharing.

  10. Lurie really puts the “chop” into “Photochop”. I’m sure Jerry inherited an evolved shin.

    This means of course that wacko must join crackpot as a scientific characterization.

    Looking back on the posts describing Lurie’s exudations, I think wacko can be defined as the non-lucid strawman of claiming that scientists refuse to consider possible alternatives to the currently accepted facts and theories. Ahistorically that they ever did so (here specifically creationism), and apsychologically that cognitive dissonance would prohibit them from doing so _and_ be a sign of mental problems.

    As an aside I note that Lurie is also potentially crazy* in that he raises the silly>** suggestion that mental problems can be observably treated on a platform of religiously believed ideas on the other hand. (Aka psychoanalysis.)

    Wacko, crazy, silly, creationist HuffPo monkey … that is Lurie and/or his arguments.

    Would we have it any other way? After all, the monkeying around of creationists butting in on science do make for weekend fun!

    * Well defined in medicine. You need to be a specialist and meet the patient to be able to diagnose though.

    ** Which is an earlier accepted scientific term, despite having no measurable definition I am aware of. I have always interpreted it to mean “nonsensical”. =D

    1. I may have to redefine “silly, because I just demonstrated another use. Silly me, HTML fail.

  11. I always think it’s a sign of victory when they move on to the ad hominem

    Or, in this case, ad hominin.

    1. Yes, I believe it was in Punch. It puts Darwin’s head on a chimp body and was well drawn. I use it in class as an amusing aside and an example of some of the contemporaneous flak that Darwin received. Truly good company here.

      1. It was actually the Hornet magazine of 1871. (recycled from #43). And the “missing link” reference implies that Lurie is even more ignorant of evolution than anyone might have previously believed.

  12. I wanted to say “That’s not a monkey, that’s an ape!” but I have learned that such statements are either wrong or right, depending on linguistic and typological considerations exhausted in other threads.

    But wow. Rabbi Lurie seems to be a seven year old locked in the body of an adult. He’s evidently mature enough to use the US Mail, but what goes in the envelope will embarrass him if he ever grows up.

  13. Lurie has been calling people who don’t agree with him mentally ill. This is consistent with his approach.

  14. Do you know anything about a rabbit being given a genetic transplant that made his color fluorescent? Is it a hoax or for real?

    John J. Fitzgerald

    1. Lots of animals have been genetically engineered with green fluorescent protein (GFP – originally isolated from jellyfish) as an aid to visualising organ systems and such for scientific research. Rabbits are a common lab animal, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’d made glowing ones. Google ‘glowing baby monkey’ for some cute pics 🙂

      1. Hello – theshortearedowl

        Thank you. I appreciate your comments.

        Sounds like a hoax, but I guess it could be true. I am a historian, but I like some primary sources, before I claim we have hit evidence.

        Thank you for your response.



        1. At my Uni we have GFP engineered Zeebrafish. You can, as an example, track different types of cells with the help of the GFP tag. It is very neat to be able to see where all of the neuroderm cells end up in the adult animal. Put the animal under a fluorescent lamp and the tagged cells light up in vivid green.

  15. I can’t decide whether this photo means to be godd natured humor meant in fun or whether it is a vicious attach.

  16. It’s so amusing to see such childish act from a rabbi. However, by philosopher A.C. Grayling’s standard–anyone older than 10 should see the false of religion, such act is hardly unexpected.

    Sadly, these are the people we are combating against.

      1. If it were a 10 year child ignorant of the subject, I’d be more than eager to spend time filling her/his intellectual. By “Sadly,” I meant that it’s actually a bunch of full adults equipped with younger-than-10 minds (still by ACG standard), not ignorant but too brainwashed or indoctrinated to be even redressed. Thus time spent has become wasted.

        But I do understand where the “fortunately” comes from.

  17. I must admit I laughed when I read the caption, but in terms of the “intellectual” argument between JAC and Lurie, it’s pretty clear that the latter has conceded defeat!

  18. Seriously, Jerry, how could you even begin to have the intellectual sophistication of a religious wingnut? Huh?! Huh?!

    1. Kind of random here? It’s a common technique used to find where a gene is expressed (basically replacing the gene with the fluorescent protein), where it glows is usually where the gene is expressed.

  19. Following the destruction of ID at Kitzmiller, Dembski put together a little animation that had Judge Jones saying all sorts of silly things and farting. Dembski later boasted that the fart noises were made by him personally and he was quite proud of his artistic achievement. Following general derision Dembski removed the farts.

    Just saying that the Rabbi needs to step up his game.

    It would be cool, therefore, if you could poke the Coyne-panzee in the tummy and make it fart.

  20. Adding this page for that Hitchen’s quote.

    …and yes, that horribly doctored pic is completely childish if not trollish.

    1. Reminds me of watching the campfire scene in ‘Blazing Saddles’ on network TV. It made no sense.

  21. ”I always think it’s a sign of victory when they move on to the ad hominem

    Eerrr, ad Panem, surely? Or some such piece of troglodytic Latin.
    Sorry, I’ll just take my punishing sense of humour away and do something more productive with it. Like shut up.

  22. If we’re using the paraphyletic groupings of monkeys, apes and humans, which creationists surely must use. Then that’s a half ape (chimp or bonobo), half human, there’s no monkey there.

  23. How very sad.

    Imagine what it must be like to be an adult who does this kind of thing; to live a public life, as a self-appointed “spiritual leader,” waking up every morning with the kind of profound cognitive dissonance, self-hatred, fear and rage that produces this kind of infantile, regressive behavior.

    Lurie deserves our pity. He is truly a sad, disturbed little man.

    The folks who deserve our anger, astonishment and scorn are those who consider the likes of Lurie an authority worth listening to.

  24. As Gore Vidal said,
    “It’s not enough to succeed. Others must fail.”

    And boy, does the rabbi fail. Time to find another chew toy, Jerry.

  25. I’ve been corresponding with him because he didn’t like what I (a humanistic rabbi) wrote about his posts and his assertions about God. But he’s not a creationist at all except in the sense that all believers hold onto some kind of theistic evolution. He’s been relatively polite to me, but this was just stoopid. I don’t even understand what his issue is with atheists. It’s not like he’s a fundamentalist or anything. By the way, I don’t know where he studied, but it wasn’t at any mainstream rabbinical school of any movement, Orthodox or non-Orthodox.

  26. Where is this guy from? That’s exactly the sort of things my friends and I in upstate NY would have sent to each other as an expression of friendship — a statement, loosely translated, meaning, “Of course I would never do this to anyone who would actually be offended by it, and I assume you and I are close enough that that is true.” Maybe the rabbi thinks you’re his landsman now?

  27. Charles Darwin himself was caracatured as a head on an ape’s body by the imbeciles of his time so you are in very elevated company.

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