Cats vs. dogs vs. babies poll: we have a winner (and cats still rule)!

April 15, 2012 • 9:16 am

In a hubristically misguided attempt to exercise his power and squash all competitors, P. Z. Myers tried to pharyngulate the cats-vs.-dogs-vs.-babies poll at Pajiba, and so far has failed miserably.  I urged readers to vote their conscience (i.e., for cats), and they came through.  P. Z.. noting the absence of squids, just told his sycophantic minions to vote for “none of the above”.  For a while that category was swelling alarmingly, but ailurophiles have come back in spades.

The current standings are shown below:

I didn’t realize that the contest runs until May 10, so, despite the huge lead, we mustn’t be complacent.  Vote for the cats.

In the meantime, as promised, I have randomly selected a cat-voter to receive an autographed copy of WEIT.  Taking all voters in consideration on two threads, the winner is . . .

glenister_m, which links to Michael Glenister, a magician from British Columbia who admits that he’s “married to a dog person”.

Michael, email me with your contact information and collect your autographed copy of WEIT, which will contain a hand-drawn kitteh as a free bonus.

And the rest of you, well, we’ll have more contests, but keep your eye on that poll!

52 thoughts on “Cats vs. dogs vs. babies poll: we have a winner (and cats still rule)!

  1. According to yesterday’s NPR show “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me!” the adorable kitten racket has been with us for a long time. Apparently it was popular in Victorian times (might have time period incorrect) but instead of photos paintings were used. Are we hard wired for kitten adorableness?

    1. I like pharyngulating polls also, but I do have one concern. Let’s say FoxNews has a poll on whether gays should be allowed to marry. We show up and “Yes” wins by 98%. That’s all good and it pisses off Fox and most of its readers, but some might get the idea that Fox viewers are intelligent and open-minded by looking at those results, which certainly isn’t true. I sometimes think that it might be better to allow them to show their narrow-minded bigotry for the whole world to see (although I suppose that fact is known to most people already and that’s why I go ahead and pharyngulate the poll).

    1. I don’t know what Teresi’s book has to do with this topic, and I wouldn’t want to speak for Professor Coyne, but this book is terrible. If one is to look at organ recovery (not organ harvesting), they should do it with a rational scientific and medical view, not with myth, opinion, scare tactics and out right BS. Hopefully, no one misses out on a needed organ due to this misleading book. I hope that helps.

  2. PZ sent his minions, but many of those are cat lovers and FREEthinkers. It backfired, although for a while there it looked like he was making some headway. One thing that I don’t like about Pharyngula is its group think mentality. I noticed that many here voted for dogs and that must be respected (even though they are fairly disgusting organisms, mine rolls in poop, yuck).

    BTW, reptiles rule, dogs drool! And I really mean they drool…yuck again.

    1. Maybe the group think isn’t so bad, if some voted for cats?

      Reptiles may rule, but loose cats are a threat to them and dogs are among their defenders. Since we got our first dog some years ago, lizard populations in my yard have grown. The dogs won’t tolerate cats in their yard, and seem to lack the skills to catch lizards. Though our current one makes an occasional half-hearted effort.

      Final point: our dog does not drool at all nor does she roll in stinky things (at least not so far — we rescued her c. a year ago), but she does shed hair all over the house. Oh, well.

  3. I’m glad I found your website, Jerry. I followed PZ Myers for several years but gradually came to realize that he’s a complete jackass, and I no longer visit Pharyngula. Another commenter above mentioned “fairly disgusting organisms”, which I consider to be an accurate description of the Pharyngula crowd. I also intentionally “un-pharygulate” all the polls that I hear about Myers mentioning, hence my vote for kittens above (though I would have voted for kittens anyway). Good day.

    1. I think you are missing out, PZ posts some very good stuff. Just stay away from the comments and you’ll be fine. The mob mentality over there can be depressing, but you don’t have to read the comments. I think I’ve commented there once or twice over several years, but I do read PZ’s posts every day. That being said, I do understand your preference for this website, it’s a great one with great comments.

        1. The good thing about this website is the ease with which you can have a proper dialogue and back-and-forth with ideas; once you get the hang of it, you can place your reply to another person next to their post and continue the debate with them, if you wish. It’s Socratic.

          The problem with Richard Dawkins’ site and, as I recall, PZ’s, is that you get a long chronologically placed list of opinion pieces; and therefore it looks like people simply mouthing off into the ether. Form sometimes does affect content.

      1. I started with Pharyngula and I am still a huge fan of PZ, he was great at the GAC yesterday, but the commenters are of a much less thoughtful stripe than over here. I suspect that he has a lot of his students commenting which is fine but they are young and a bit callow. I used to comment quite frequently but not so often any more. This is my favourite site. Jerry is great and so are all you guys.

        1. I don’t get the impression that Myers’ crowd are younger people – I think the worst of them are in their fifties or sixties. Bitter, surly, nasty people who’ve found a little hive where they can strut around unchallenged with their chests puffed out. If they’re what I’d run into at atheist conventions, I’ll just stay at home. Myers is their ringleader and hence is not blameless.

      2. PZ isn’t a complete jackass; he’s just too taken with his own sudden celebrity and too intent on entertaining his mob of dittoheads {cf the anti-cat crusade.) He does still post a few good science topics but I rarely visit the site any more. The posters here can be too politically correct sometimes but on the whole it’s a much saner choice for atheist science nerds.

        1. The PC horde over there are very quick to pounce on the dissenting voices & a discussion rarely develops. I totally ignore the comments now to preserve my blood pressure. Part of the problem is that I can’t quite fight my way through the feminist & general PC jargon to get at the nub of the argument. I haven’t decided yet how much of this is my fault ~ I go elsewhere now, where ‘sociology speak’ is employed less, to discover what the positions are & to try & identify my own blind spots.

          My impression is that the Freethought grouping of blogs needs to put parentheses around the word Freethought.

          1. I gave up on Pharyngula when I noticed that many of the discussions eventually turned into witch-hunts and cat….. oops, dogfights. Some of his commenters seem to be slightly obsessive, to put it politely.

            The atmosphere here is way more civil, partly I think because CeilingCat keeps a watchful eye on the mob. How he finds the time I don’t know.

  4. Reblogged this on luvsiesous and commented:

    Wow! I never thought cats vs dogs vs babies would give me insight into the whole internet thing.

    But, Jerry Coyne has done just that.

    He showed the power of followership. He told his readers to skew an online poll. And they did.

    He did not use the power of persuasion, rather he used the power of suggestion.

    And the results were huge.

    Personally, I would vote for a baby. Because, if evolution is true, we would have evolved a greater sense of protection towards children than towards puppies, or kittens.

    Don’t you think? The survival of the species would have required a genetic hard-wiring to protect children, don’t you think?

    So, doesn’t the fact that he could skew this poll suggest that evolution might not be true?


    1. If it came to saving a baby or a cat from being hit by a car, I’d save the baby. If the choice was to have a baby on my lap while I read, or a kitten, the kitten wins hands down. Protection, as you said, and finding something cute is two separate issues.

        1. That’s exactly the point Richard Dawkins has frequently made, usually when some religiosos tries to bring up the bogeyman of ‘social Darwinism’. Because we are the product of evolution and ‘survival of the fittest’ does not mean we are obligated to behave that way.

          We have intelligence and can decide for ourselves how to behave. This no more disproves evolution than airplanes disprove gravity.

          1. That is not true.

            Choice no more proves Darwinian Theology than a plane proves gravity.

            Why would a Darwinian choose a Christian based morality over evolutionary morality? Yes, I realize they are trying to evolve morality with the addition of a gay in every child’s life, and a couple of other oddities. But, it is still based upon Christian ideals.

            So, why? Why choose Christian ornaments and then reject its central message?

            1. I know you’re trolling, Wayne, when every sentence you write is full of tendentious question-begging nonsense. There is no such thing as Darwinian ‘theology’ as you very well know. It’s science and science does not rely on blind faith.

              As for Christian ‘morality’, what’s that? Stone adulterers and massacre your enemies (cos the Bible said so)? Almost everyone on this list would prefer a more rational morality than that.

              And I didn’t claim human choice proves evolution – I said that it does not disprove it.

              But then, I must admit I forgot the #1 commandment of all mailing lists – do not feed the troll.

              1. This is one of the things I hate about fake evolutionists.

                They are stupid and cannot discuss what they believe.

                It gets very old. If the best thing you can call intelligent questions is trolling, you need to go back to kindergarten.

              2. Oooh. Personal insults. I think you lose, Wayne.

                ‘fake’ evolutionist? Where did you get that from? Most people here think evolution is true, and that includes me.

                And you seriously think calling evolution ‘Darwinian theology’ is an intelligent question on this list? I guess that sums you up.

          2. Which is my reasoning for rejecting Darwinian Theology.

            I would not feel right taking some of the ornaments and then rejecting the core beliefs.

      1. But for an organism to live with me and share my life… dog. No other choice.

        Cats are neighbors. Polite, they’ll visit sometimes, but distant. Dogs are family. They actually give a damn about how you’re feeling.

        But my wife voted for the kittehs.

    2. Hey Wayne, with a teeny bit more work to flesh things out you might have something that can be published.

      I’m sure Jerry will be pleased to have the citation.

      1. Not everyone realizes that. That’s the lot of true heros, they’re seldom recognized. Poor buttr kitteh will hopefully not keep going without break until 10 may, which is when the poll closes…

    3. Someone who thinks he has a pipeline to the christian creators of the universe, instead of getting answers from those Things, requests answers at the website of an atheist biologist.

      Where for aren’t thou Faith?

      Well, sure, I’ll answer. I mean, any answer is better than the dead silence you get from braying at the wall.

      No babies were harmed by a mouse click. Damned christian gods, they can’t even read so they won’t even be able to feign offense as christians characteristically do. Well, when you live a make believe life you are prone to making things up.

  5. I’d like to suggest a special prize for sasqwatch and the cat Butter. See comments under your last post on this topic:

    Posted April 15, 2012 at 12:37 am

    “I’m really worried about Butter. I’ve never seen him enraged like this before. I just cannot tear him away from the computer. I tried more catnip; he just hisses at me, and keeps jumping up and down on the keyboard. What do I do?”

    Butter seems to have quadruple-pawedly fueled much of the most recent surge.


      Adorable Pictures of Babies?
      Adorable Pictures of Puppies?
      Adorable Pictures of Kittens?
      All of the Above
      None of the Above

      Total Votes: 8,840

      1. I was alerted to the fact that my WordPress and Paypal accounts were hacked when I found an extra-large box of cat toys Fedexed to my front porch. Apparently, my script-kitty has been doing things online that I’m not sure I completely understand.

        Butter’s curled up now, fast asleep, and I’ve changed all my passwords, so I’m pretty sure everything’s under control. Please ignore Butter’s impudent request, Dr. Coyne. It won’t happen again.

        Do You Prefer:
        Adorable Pictures of Babies?
        Adorable Pictures of Puppies?
        Adorable Pictures of Kittens?
        All of the Above
        None of the Above

        Total Votes: 9,282

          1. DOH! I snapped on the monitor in the back bedroom, and it was like the machine was being operated by a GHOST or something. I had to pull the plug on it. Butter was just looking at me sweetly this morning, but I know something’s up.

            I’ve suspended his computer privileges for a week, just in case. I’ve only left him the Blackberry, as I couldn’t bring myself to cut him off totally. We should be back to normal now.

            Funny thing I noticed, though. Nobody likes babies. How could that be?

            Do You Prefer:
            Adorable Pictures of Babies?
            Adorable Pictures of Puppies?
            Adorable Pictures of Kittens?
            All of the Above
            None of the Above

            Total Votes: 15,157

            1. “Funny thing I noticed, though. Nobody likes babies. How could that be?”

              What, those ghastly bald hairless screaming dribbling un-house-trained maggots? Even p*ppies or cephalopods have got to be cuter than them.


          TOTAL VOTEZ: 15,297 AN COUNTIN.

          This Message Was Sent From My BlackBerry!

  6. Most satisfying that the baby category has crashed and burned. Secondly, NOTA is gaining. It wouldn’t be so bad if people would EDIT these things they fwd around – pare the heap down to the ones they think are best – but usually they don’t, nor even write a whit of commentary.

    1. NOTA is dropping (now down to 19) while kittens are still surging — up to 62%.

      It’s interesting what a persistent cat can accomplish.

  7. I wonder why Professor Coyne didn’t come to the GAC in Melbourne. It was great. The most cited and quoted (and also absent) person was Steven Pinker though. He should also be there the next time – if there is one.

  8. I wonder why Professor Coyne didn’t come to the GAC in Melbourne. It was great. He should be there the next time, and so should Steven Pinker, who was, by far, the most cited and quoted person (well, besides Hitch).

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