Readers’ beefs of the week

August 23, 2014 • 9:52 am

Actually, these have accumulated over two weeks, as I’ve been busy.   None have been posted; this is the detritus.

This comment, by reader “Tyler”, was directed to a Caturday felid: White lions post:

what the hell how can a creature so beautiful can be part of evoloution have u seen how complicated these beautiful animals r so how can you think that white lions are from evolution they r made from the lord God Jesus Christ…

Well, white lions aren’t any more complicated than normal lions, or mice, for that matter.  But someone this blinkered is immune to reason.


Not long ago I posted about a diner in North Carolina that gave a discount to customers who prayed before their meals: “Restaurant gives discounts to customers praying in public“. Reader “td” didn’t like my attitude:

Get a restaurant to give discounts to anyone who says “god is not real” or anything blasphemous and mind your own business.

We are minding our own business, unlike those who give discounts to those who pray. People like the owner of Mary’s Diner in Winston-Salem are enforcing their religious sentiments on others. That’s against the law, by the way, “td.” And of course giving discounts to atheists is just as illegal as giving them to those who pray.


Reader “Josephine Richardson,” who apparently runs the website, had her own theory for a biological observation I used in WEIT as evidence for evolution: the development of the vertebrate kidney. Her theory is quite amusing.

The kidneys of mammals like ourselves actually go through three stages during embryogenesis (these three stages are also seen in reptiles and birds). We begin with a pronephric kidney, which takes wastes out of the body cavity (coelom) and excretes them to the outside. In primitive fish like lampreys and hagfish, this is also the first kidney to form in embryos, and then continues on to form the adult kidney. In mammals, this kidney is, however, nonfunctional. So why does it form?

After another two weeks or so, the pronephric kidney is replaced by the embryonic mesonephric kidney, which takes wastes from the blood and excretes them to the outside through a pair of “Wolffian ducts.” This continues on to  form the adult kidney in fish and amphibians, but is replaced in the bird, reptile, and mammalian embryo by yet a third kidney: the metanephric kidney, a revamped organ that also removes wastes from the blood and exxretes them through a pair of ureters.

This known to pre-Darwinian embryologists, but was explainable only by evolution: mammals, reptiles, and birds evolved from earlier animals that had different kinds of kidneys.  Those kidneys still form in utero as vestigial remnants of the creatures’ ancestry (the mesonephros may have some excretory function in mammals, but the pronephros does not). Why would the creator operate this way, giving us three successive kidneys, one of which is of no use at all? The best explanation is simply that the succession of developmental stages reprises, transitorily, the genetic information of our ancestors, and in the temporal order in which that genetic information accumulated. (This is one example of “ontogeny recapitulating phylogeny,” a misunderstood concept that doesn’t always work—some stages simply don’t show up in embryos—but is sometimes seen, as in the development of kidneys.)

Another example I like to use of an embryological feature that is functionless, but serves as a marker of our ancestry, is the lanugo, a coat of hair that develops about 6 months into gestation in the human embryo, and then is shed before birth. There is of course no function for a hairy human fetus, as it’s already floating in warm fluid, and hair is useless in keeping us warm when we’re wet. The lanugo is simply a remnant of the coat of hair that our ancestors had when they were hairier primates. (Remember, we’re the only “naked ape.”) Other apes also develop that coat of hair in utero, but they keep it: young chimps, for example, are born hairy as hell. (Premature infants are sometimes covered with the lanugo, to the horror of their parents, but they quickly lose it.)

Well, this long introduction is by way of explaining Josephine Richardson’s alternative explanation. She sent a comment with her own divine explanation for bizarre features like the development of the vertebrate kidney, and tried to post it, curiously, on a “Readers’ wildlife photos” post.

Regarding your question in one of your posts as to why a creator would in human embryonic development give us three kidneys, the answer could go like this (to make a long story short, it makes more sense than yours): Since man (humans) are the crown of His creation, God mapped out his body plan or how he would function first. He subsequently proceeded to create everything else. This would mean fish, frogs, and all other living things were an after thought (they were created before man, but using the same ideas as the body plan of man). To be more clear, God created man first(by drawing him up like a dress designer or an architect), put him aside, and proceeded to create all other life forms which he presented as gifts for scientists as yourself to muse about (perhaps to keep you from being bored).

Yeah, that really makes sense! It sure explains why we have a transitory, nonfunctional prophepric kidney, and then another one, that just happens to resemble the kidney of embryonic fish and amphibians that becomes the adult kidney—before we wind up with the final kidney God gave us.  Is her plan, which simply posits an unevidenced God, and then twiddles with Genesis to claim that God designed humans, but then created other stuff first before actuating our species, really parsimonious? And why would other things be designed on the ground plan of man?  It’s just a mess, and it’s a testimony to the mental contortions that religious creationists go through that they see this kind of explanation as superior to that of evolution.

But wait! Ms. Richardson says she’s not a creationist! Not seeing her comment appear, she tried to post another one.

Did you get my comment on the why the Creator made our kidneys the way He did? I am not a creationist. I am a Jehovah’s Witness. Wonderful science articles can be found at Please also read my personal website at

I am currently working on new articles. Also, give me your opinion of my comments via facebook or email.My name is Josephine Richardson.

Not a creationist? Jehovah’s Witnesses are creationists! And if she’s not a creationist, what is all this business about God creating humans and designing other animals on our ground plan. Ms. Richardson is deeply, deeply confused.


Finally, “JERRY HUNDLEY” (yes, all caps) put this comment on Monday’s “Readers’ wildlife photographs” post (since when have these become a repository for craziness?):

If man would start with the truth of the Biblical account of creation they would be many billions of light years ahead so they can really explore the amazing truths of nature in this world!

Yeah, I guess so . .

90 thoughts on “Readers’ beefs of the week

  1. This reminds me of a friend of mine thirty years ago who lived with a Jehovah’s Witness aunt. He depended on her for food and shelter, and she advised him not to go to college (or he would be kicked out and living on the streets) because the end of the world was coming in about a year and college would be a waste of time. He didn’t go to college, and life has been a struggle for him ever since.

    Many years ago I also sat up all night with some Samoans in a traditional Samoan village way out there in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. They were also Jehovah’s Witnesses, and were convinced that the end of the world would come before dawn. It didn’t.

    1. Should have entered into a financial arrangement where you pay them $100 a month for a year, at the end of which time they pay you back $2000 or more. If they really believe the end of the world is coming, they should have no qualms about it. It’s easy profit. If they’re not certain once money comes into play, though…

  2. I’ve always wanted to ask a creationist, “Why would an all knowing, powerful god create dinosaurs before man?”

    If they answered that man and dinosaurs were created at the same time, like most of them do, I would know that it’s a hopeless cause trying to change them.

    Why we even bother with these simpletons is something I am still trying to wrap my mind around.

    1. In their twisted mentality, but entirely based on a literal interpretation of the creation story in Genesis, they’d typically insist that humans were created first, and the dinosaurs came later.

      1. According to the creationists, dinosaurs were created on the same day as the other “beasts of the field.” They are the “dragons,” “behemoths” and “leviathans” mentioned in the Bible.

    2. “If they answered that man and dinosaurs were created at the same time…”

      That reminds me of something a Jehovah’s Witness once said to me. I consider it to be possibly the funniest thing I’ve ever heard anyone say. We were talking about his belief that the Bible covered the whole history of the world and I asked that age-old obvious question, so what about dinosaurs? No word of a lie he said, “This is just my opinion, so I’m not saying it’s definitely true, but I believe God put dinosaurs on earth to flatten it out ready for humans…”

      Oh, that still makes me laugh today. 😀

      1. Lol! They didn’t do too good a job on the Himalay and the Rockies…

        Speaking of JWs…
        Q: What happens when a Jehovah’s Witness becomes a Hell’s Angel?
        A: When they come to the door THEY tell YOU to F-off.

          1. So, the “Flintstones,” which showed dinosaurs being used as construction equipment, was right all along? The Creation Museum should have an exhibit honoring Hannah-Barbera’s contributions to science.

      2. Hm, that could be a good story idea. Humans are just here to prepare the earth for something else. Maybe beetles are the Lord’s favorite, and Mars is their promised land, and humans are just here to get them there…

  3. Here is an interesting column from today’s NY Times. I recommend it.

    The Opinion Pages | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

    Saudis Must Stop Exporting Extremism
    ISIS Atrocities Started With Saudi Support for Salafi Hate
    By ED HUSAIN AUG. 22, 2014 NY Times

    ALONG with a billion Muslims across the globe, I turn to Mecca in Saudi Arabia every day to say my prayers. But when I visit the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, the resting place of the Prophet Muhammad, I am forced to leave overwhelmed with anguish at the power of extremism running amok in Islam’s birthplace. Non-Muslims are forbidden to enter this part of the kingdom, so there is no international scrutiny of the ideas and practices that affect the 13 million Muslims who visit each year.

    Last week, Saudi Arabia donated $100 million to the United Nations to fund a counterterrorism agency. This was a welcome contribution, but last year, Saudi Arabia rejected a rotating seat on the United Nations Security Council. This half-in, half-out posture of the Saudi kingdom is a reflection of its inner paralysis in dealing with Sunni Islamist radicalism: It wants to stop violence, but will not address the Salafism that helps justify it.

    Let’s be clear: Al Qaeda, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Boko Haram, the Shabab and others are all violent Sunni Salafi groupings. For five decades, Saudi Arabia has been the official sponsor of Sunni Salafism across the globe.

    Most Sunni Muslims around the world, approximately 90 percent of the Muslim population, are not Salafis. Salafism is seen as too rigid, too literalist, too detached from mainstream Islam. While Shiite and other denominations account for 10 percent of the total, Salafi adherents and other fundamentalists represent 3 percent of the world’s Muslims.

    Unlike a majority of Sunnis, Salafis are evangelicals who wish to convert Muslims and others to their “purer” form of Islam — unpolluted, as they see it, by modernity. In this effort, they have been lavishly supported by the Saudi government, which has appointed emissaries to its embassies in Muslim countries who proselytize for Salafism. The kingdom also grants compliant imams V.I.P. access for the annual hajj, and bankrolls ultraconservative Islamic organizations like the Muslim World League and World Assembly of Muslim Youth.

    After 9/11, under American pressure, much of this global financial support dried up, but the bastion of Salafism remains strong in the kingdom, enforcing the hard-line application of outdated Shariah punishments long abandoned by a majority of Muslims. Just since Aug. 4, 19 people have been beheaded in Saudi Arabia, nearly half for nonviolent crimes.

    We are rightly outraged at the beheading of James Foley by Islamist militants, and by ISIS’ other atrocities, but we overlook the public executions by beheading permitted by Saudi Arabia. By licensing such barbarity, the kingdom normalizes and indirectly encourages such punishments elsewhere. When the country that does so is the birthplace of Islam, that message resonates.

    I lived in Saudi Arabia’s most liberal city, Jidda, in 2005. That year, in an effort to open closed Saudi Salafi minds, King Abdullah supported dialogue with people of other religions. In my mosque, the cleric used his Friday Prayer sermon to prohibit such dialogue on grounds that it put Islam on a par with “false religions.” It was a slippery slope to freedom, democracy and gender equality, he argued — corrupt practices of the infidel West.

    Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main story
    This tension between the king and Salafi clerics is at the heart of Saudi Arabia’s inability to reform. The king is a modernizer, but he and his advisers do not wish to disturb the 270-year-old tribal pact between the House of Saud and the founder of Wahhabism (an austere form of Islam close to Salafism). That 1744 desert treaty must now be nullified.

    The influence that clerics wield is unrivaled. Even Saudis’ Twitter heroes are religious figures: An extremist cleric like Muhammad al-Arifi, who was banned last year from the European Union for advocating wife-beating and hatred of Jews, commands a following of 9. 4 million. The kingdom is also patrolled by a religious police force that enforces the veil for women, prohibits young lovers from meeting and ensures that shops do not display “indecent” magazine covers. In the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, the religious police beat women with sticks if they stray into male-only areas, or if their dress is considered immodest by Salafi standards. This is not an Islam that the Prophet Muhammad would recognize.

    Salafi intolerance has led to the destruction of Islamic heritage in Mecca and Medina. If ISIS is detonating shrines, it learned to do so from the precedent set in 1925 by the House of Saud with the Wahhabi-inspired demolition of 1,400-year-old tombs in the Jannat Al Baqi cemetery in Medina. In the last two years, violent Salafis have carried out similar sectarian vandalism, blowing up shrines from Libya to Pakistan, from Mali to Iraq. Fighters from Hezbollah have even entered Syria to protect holy sites.

    Textbooks in Saudi Arabia’s schools and universities teach this brand of Islam. The University of Medina recruits students from around the world, trains them in the bigotry of Salafism and sends them to Muslim communities in places like the Balkans, Africa, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Egypt, where these Saudi-trained hard-liners work to eradicate the local, harmonious forms of Islam.

    What is religious extremism but this aim to apply Shariah as state law? This is exactly what ISIS (Islamic State) is attempting do with its caliphate. Unless we challenge this un-Islamic, impractical and flawed concept of trying to govern by a rigid interpretation of Shariah, no amount of work by a United Nations agency can unravel Islamist terrorism.

    Saudi Arabia created the monster that is Salafi terrorism. It cannot now outsource the slaying of this beast to the United Nations. It must address the theological and ideological roots of extremism at home, starting in Mecca and Medina. Reforming the home of Islam would be a giant step toward winning against extremism in this global battle of ideas.

    Ed Husain is an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a senior adviser to the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.

    A version of this op-ed appears in print on August 23, 2014, on page A23 of the New York edition with the headline: Saudis Must Stop Exporting Extremism. Order Reprints|Today’s Paper|Subscribe

    1. “Saudi Arabia created the monster that is Salafi terrorism. It cannot now outsource the slaying of this beast to the United Nations.”

      Uh, what? If the UN (or some international organization or alliance) were ever to ‘slay’ Salafi terrorism, it wouldn’t be on behalf of the House of Saud. Or even on behalf of the 90% of muslims who are sitting on their fucking hands and mostly seem to think Salafis are better than they are.

      1. Always good to hear a completely asinine opinion that makes no sense. Reminds me that we are not that far from our ape ancestors and cousins.

        The USA needs to pull the plug on Saudi Arabia!

        FDR’s 1945 pledge of support to the Saudis needs to be re-examined.

        Maybe we should back off from empire.

        Foul language is an impediment to clear thought.



        1. Re. “asinine”, please stick it up your jumper. Do you have reading difficulties brought on by exposure to emphatic language?

          Re. “The USA needs to pull the plug on Saudi Arabia!”, that was implicit in what I actually said, without presuming to tell one foreign state what to do about another.

        2. Mr. Fitzgerald, you will apologize for calling another reader’s opinion “asinine,” which is a Roolz violation. Plus you posted a long column, which is also not on here.

          If you don’t apologize, you will never post here again. We value civility on this site.

            1. But can you explain what you thought you read that was objectionable?
              I actually thought the article you posted was interesting and informative (but could have read it just as easily at the linked site), and quoted the bit I did because it struck me as incongruous.

              1. I thought the main value of the piece was that it exposed the role of Saudi Arabia in funding extreme versions of Islam. This funding of such groups as the Wahabists is a direct result of the USA promise made by FDR in 1945 to protect the royal house of Saud in exchange for oil. This deal may have made sense at the time but it does not make much sense today. It is resulting in irresponsible funding of extreme Islam fanatics. The indirect beneficiary of all this chaos is the reactionary monarchy in Saudi Arabia. The number one partner of the USA in the Middle East is Saudi Arabia. We make some gestures toward Israel, but it is secondary to Saudi Arabia. To my mind, the beginning of a new policy is to break with Saudi Arabia and work with new allies in the region. Iran is such a potential candidate. There are powerful forces in the USA that do not want to adopt a new policy, but they seem limited in their vision and wedded to an oil/energy policy that is hazardous to the environment and a direct cause of the madness in the region. We need to develop a movement for a new Middle East policy. Working with the United Nations might be worthwhile, but the real area for work is right here in the USA. I thought the piece was valuable for explaining to a wide readership, via the NY Times, the realities behind the fanatics. As Malcolm X said, the chickens have come home to roost. It is time to start doing something about the root cause of the problem and that is the 1945 policy on oil and Saudi American relations. Thank you for your interest.

  4. A billion light-years ahead of where humans are today? In just the 6,000 years since the Universe was created?? I had no idea that Bible-believing could result in superluminal progress! Amazing.

    1. If they can build a faster-than-light starship based on Biblical principles, or – even better – plans found in the Bible – I will tentatively concede that they seem to have something that seems to be sort of like evidence.

        1. The mind boggles. I wonder how well a feature film in which Jesus comes down from Heaven in his fancy lots-of-lights-spaceship would sell? There is bound to be a market for a poe-film like this!

    2. If man would start with the truth of the Biblical account of creation they would be many billions of light years ahead

      But creationists do start with the Biblical account. So why are there still creationists? Why aren’t they billions of light years away from us?

  5. Oh *magic*, how I missed the crazies! =D

    That “td” takes today’s prize. We are used to see religious claim that laws don’t apply to them, immoral as religion is. But to suggest that atheists should break the law too!?

    they would be many billions of light years ahead

    Confusing distance (“light years”) with time (years) is “Danger, Will Robinson!” territory.

    Clearly we are seeing how far ahead religion is after several millenniums without empirical constraint, just pointing and saying “magic man did it” and thus ending question:

    Religion is so far ahead that it is meeting its behind.

    1. Yeah, that really bothered me. If someone doesn’t know that light years are a measure of distance, not time, that’s a red flag for me.

      I give more excuse for confusion over the term Parsecs for no other reason than Star Wars. How fast was the Kessel run completed? Yes I know the Star Wars errata excuse.

  6. I had a look at the website of Ms. Richardson. That is indeed one confused lady! I read one article on dinosaurs. She discusses the Ichtyosaurs, which aren’t even dinosaurs. And completely gets lost in the discussion. She actually writes that they are reptiles that “turn into whales and dolphins”…
    Luckily her website only received few visitors.

    1. People make stuff up like that. I had discussions about dinosaurs and plate tectonics with a religious lady and I couldn’t believe the made-up stuff that she said.
      She also told me she was taking a correspondence class in ornithology from Cornell and couldn’t wait for the beginning parts of the class which were on evolution of birds to be over with so she could learn something about birds.
      I hope Cornell made some good money in the bargain because she was hopeless.

  7. A couple of decades ago, I was a American middle school science teacher in a very conservative town who actually taught the evolution chapter in the science text as state curriculum at the time required. (Out of the eight science teachers at my school, three of us were brave or foolish enough to teach those chapters.) As such I was one of the targets of attention by local creationists both Evangelicals and Jehovah Witnesses.

    The JWs were more polite. I was given copies of their blue book on evolution by more than one student. I read the blue book. I found it very readable. The author(s)at Watch Tower did a wonderful job of presenting their particular anti evolution view. They had hundreds of quotes from famous scientists with citations.

    As I was reading I came to a quote in the blue book by David Attenborough that seemed to say he did not think evolution could be true. I realized that the citation for the quote came from an Attenborough book in my library. I found the quote in my copy of Attenborough’s book. Turns out the blue book had only part of sentence it was quoting from.

    The Watchtower authors blue book quote ended at a semi colon where they substituted a period instead making it seem like their partial quote was completed.

    The original quote went something like, ‘If evolution were true then such and such would have to be true; and indeed it is.” Then Attenborough gave an example of whatever the ‘such and such’ was.

    Wow, I thought even the polite JWs do the old angry Evagelical creationist’s trick of quote cutting to reverse meaning. I marked the blue book page. Both the WatchTower evolution blue book and the Attenborough book were put back on my classroom library book.

    Some time later, perhaps the next school year, I was teaching a gifted class for eighth grade science and a particularly bright and articulate male student challenged me several times on evolutionary points. He offered me a blue book so I knew he was a JW. I told him I had one already and had read it. I gave him the one with the marked page and then found the page in the Attenborough book. I asked him if they said the same thing. He read both quietly while I continued to teach. He sat at his desk with his head going back and forth between the two over and over. Then he stopped and just sat there in depressed stunned silence for the rest of the period. He looked like someone whose world had been turned upside down.

    I felt sad for him because those Watch Tower books are presented as pure truth to JW members. They are as “gospel truth” is to our Evangelical friends.

    He was in my class for many more months yet I do not remember him ever being animated again. I did not want to destroy him or take away his spark. I like JWs as friendly nice people. A great social club to belong to. His entire world family and friends would have been JWs and Watch Tower book would have exclusively informed all of their opinions.

    I still feel a bit guilty for his psychic pain, yet perhaps proud as well. I gave him a chance to see that perhaps he was in an organization that was not entirely honest with its membership.

    Might I add that I could teach evolution and keep my job along with my two other colleagues because we had tenure (and seniority rights). Some of you may know that a small group of American billionaires (Bill Gates, the Walmart Walton clan, Eli Broad, etc.) have been spending millions trying to end tenure for school teachers in our country.

    In places where the billionaires have succeeded (the South and Mid West) no public school science teacher can teach evolution safely. The billionaires call what they are doing “education reform’.

    My having tenure meant that if my school board (which was creationist majority for a time) wanted to fire me and my evolution-teaching colleagues, they had to have a hearing and show cause. It did not and does not mean we had “jobs for life” or could NOT be dismissed for poor performance. I know many tenured teachers who did lose their jobs.

    With the increasing loss of tenure rights for K-12 teachers in the US, there will be a lot less science taught in our classrooms. Accurate info about evolution and global warming are both at increasing risk of vanishing from K-12 curricula.

    1. Seems to me, right wing fanatics and even a few others who aren’t so conservative but are nevertheless deluded or short-sighted, are destroying public education in the U.S., to be replaced by private and predominantly religious (but publicly) funded education, in which case this country will spiral downward into a backward nation with a huge percentage of the population barely eking out a decent living and a meager “middle class” all dominated by the uber-wealthy class. If I was conspiracy-minded, I’d think that the real reason religious fanatics are opposed to sex education, birth control and abortion is that they really want to make the population of people on the planet so unmanageable as to create ever more environmental destruction and greater economic chaos and bring on the “end days”. They’d rather create hell on Earth than admit that they might be wrong.

    2. The JWs are only a ‘great social club’ as long as you carefully toe the party line. There are plenty of heartbreaking stories of ex-JWs on the net.

      I once read an elaborate one from someone who described the whole process from the friendly reception as a newly converted, through the ‘coming of age’ and the dreary, almost impossible stages of “improving” yourself and find a place in the strict hierarchical pecking order; and the on to the nagging doubts (which mean the end of your career and the shunning).

      I can’t find it anymore, I suspect it was on Geocities.

      1. The JWs are only a ‘great social club’ as long as you carefully toe the party line.

        Ditto Mormons. And Baptists (the repository of my ex-friends).

        Probably others, as well.

        1. The folks who would like to change this won’t get away with it. For all the bad reputation Oakland has, sex education is taught in our schools without dissenting murmurs. This is a much more enlightened community than you might think it is. The bad reputation comes from the young kids who have no family guidance and who are shooting each other up.

          1. I didn’t even know that Oakland had a “reputation” ; it’s not in a country I see any reason to return to.

              1. But have you seen the glories of our National Parks and the Rockies,

                I’ve seen some when I visited for a friend’s wedding. I don’t see any particular reason to run the risks of one of the more dangerously violent societies to see more mountains and caves. There are other places in the world just as beautiful in their own way. And, to be honest, the travelling is more of the point to me than the arriving. The beauty of a view is seasoned (for me) by the hours of sweaty toil to get there.
                Snorkelling in the Indian Ocean, for example, was considerably spiced by the race out to the drop-off against the timing of the tide, and the difficulty of getting past the swell, pus the knowledge that the tide is rising again, and the rip currents are savage around the island. All sweetened by the fact that someone was paying me to be there. Lovely. Then some bloody Somali pirates started being active in the area and we decided that the risk-benefit balance had changed adversely.
                If I had my druthers, I rather fancy some fall walking through the Siberian Traps (with the obvious diamond hunting en route ; as one does) ; a return to the Arabian desert does have some real appeal, though it has the even worse problem of being full of Saudi and Emirates plastic twats (though the genuine Bedouin I’ve always found to be lovely people) – maybe I’ll get to go walkabout in Oz instead. I’ve still never dealt with real jungle ; there’s a whole novel series of challenges.
                Without friends or family in the States … why go?

              2. Uh, I wouldn’t call Grand Canyon and Arches NP and the Rocky Mountains (U.S. and Canuck) just more mountains and caves…and as you can tell from the readers here we’re not all violent ignoramuses (or ignoranuses, either).

              3. and as you can tell from the readers here we’re not all violent ignoramuses (or ignoranuses, either)

                Self-selected group ; not a good way of getting an average.
                I work with a crew of about 50 oilfield rednecks (Louisiana, Texas, TTBOMK) ; that’s one datum. The fact that one of my best friends at Uni was an American, and he’s emigrated with his family is another relevant datum.
                Nope, I just don’t see sufficient reason to go back to America. I’m sure you could pay me to go there, but I’ve ignored two internal adverts at work for staff to participate in our invasion of America, in preference taking up working in Africa.

        2. I student-taught at Oakland Tech in the 70s. I had to teach Chaucer to 9th graders ( this was my short-lived French and English teaching career before I got into Math and CS – weird, I know). The kids were so shockable when it came to Chaucer’s rude and sexual language. They had rather ungenteel lives at home and on the streets, but they didn’t wanna hear no rude words from the teacher. They were very sweet kids.

  8. “People like the owner of Mary’s Diner in Winston-Salem are enforcing their religious sentiments on others. That’s against the law, by the way,”

    Why would it be against the law? They’re not “enforcing” their religious beliefs, they’re just giving discounts in return for a prayer.

    1. It violates the religious discrimination clause of the Civil Rights act, and you’d know that if you had read this site, or followed any Constitutional battles in recent years. Giving a discount for prayer is discrimination against the nonreligious, which violates the First Amendment. This is settled law.

      Got it?

      1. I asked, because I suspected that you were thinking of the Constitution’s Bill of
        Rights, which applies to the government, not private businesses.

        Which “law” prohibits the discount?

        1. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, which you can find here. It certainly applies to businesses. If you did just a bit of Googling instead of trying to maintain a false hypothesis, you could have saved me the trouble.

          The relevant portion:


          SEC. 201. (a) All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, and privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.
          (b) Each of the following establishments which serves the public is a place of public accommodation within the meaning of this title if its operations affect commerce, or if discrimination or segregation by it is supported by State action:
          (1) any inn, hotel, motel, or other establishment which provides lodging to transient guests, other than an establishment located within a building which contains not more than five rooms for rent or hire and which is actually occupied by the proprietor of such establishment as his residence;
          (2) any restaurant, cafeteria, lunchroom, lunch counter, soda fountain, or other facility principally engaged in selling food for consumption on the premises, including, but not limited to, any such facility located on the premises of any retail establishment; or any gasoline station;

          (3) any motion picture house, theater, concert hall, sports arena, stadium or other place of exhibition or entertainment; and

          1. In other words, just as you cannot give a discount to someone on the basis of having “white” skin or being of Scandinavian (or Indonesian or Congolese) ancestry, you can’t give a discount to customers based on their following a particular religious practice (such as praying).

              1. Because you have to say the prayer to get the discount. For that to not present a problem US Courts would need to have a long history of referring to prayer as ‘meaningless ritual’.

              2. Actually, no, it’s not so easy to be a religion, and, let me say this again very slowly, if anyone can say a few words and get a discount, there is no discrimination and no compulsion.

              3. I am seeing this all over the tubez currently. I’m kind of surprised (but not really) that religious business owners are down with people dishonestly pretending to be religious to get discounts.

              4. Fine. Anyone can get a 15% discount if they say “I deny Jesus Christ. Jesus was a fraud.”

                Just eight little words. Anyone can say them. Everything’s cool, right?


                It is illegal to discriminate on the basis of religion. Telling a non-religious person they can get a discount if they pretend beliefs they do not hold is immoral. Just as it would be wrong for an atheist restaurant owner to require a denial of faith for a discount.

              5. What do you think would be the response to someone going to the restaurant and solemnly intoning “I pray to Chthulu and the Unmentionable Gods for a plague of tentacled monstrosities to descend upon all patrons of this establishment and render them into unrecognisable piles of pulped flesh. I’ll have my 15% discount please.” ?
                It’s a prayer. To a god. With a testable outcome. It’s not even discriminatory, since the prayer’s invoker will also become a pile of pulp.
                Likely to get the discount? I think not. Quite likely to get the person praying arrested.

  9. What the hell? How can a creature so beautiful can be part of evolution? Have you seen how complicated these beautiful animals are? So how can you think that white lions are from evolution? They are made from the lord God Allah…


    If you’re reading this, I’ve fixed the thought for you; the spelling and punctuation lessons are thrown in at no extra charge.

    Wise words from Young & Strode’s book Why Evolution Works (and Why Creationism Fails: “We heartily recommend that anyone who criticizes evolutionary biology first learn about it.” Besides the book just mentioned, a good place to start is a book titled Why Evolution is True, by Dr. Jerry Coyne.

  10. If man would start with the truth of the Biblical account of creation they would be many billions of light years ahead so they can really explore the amazing truths of nature in this world!

    Mr. Hundley:

    I’m right with you. In fact, I have a question on which you might be able to shed some light. What genus and species was that talking snake in the third chapter of Genesis?

    I’ve tried to identify it with different modern species of snakes, but none of the ones I’ve looked at have had legs, or the power of speech. Do you suppose that it might have been in a family by itself, within the suborder Serpentes? If so, in honor of your insightful comment, I think a good name for the family might be Exculidae.

  11. I love posts on the comments from the creationists etc. Always good for a laugh. It’s particularly appropriate for those of us in New Zealand, because we’re reading them on Sunday mornings, when most of their writers think we should be in church. 🙂

      1. Can you explain or point me in the right direction? The searches I’ve done so far didn’t provide useful info.

        1. I read what to me was a very lucid explanation but I don’t remember where. I was hoping that someone here could help me too.
          The writer used the example of an amphibian which goes through changing physical forms, all of which are viable in that they can swim about and find food. The body changes slightly every time the cells divide and this process continues throughout life. The point is that your body today is made by modifying the body you had yesterday.
          I know I’m leaving out a lot of important stuff but that’s how I remember it.

    1. You surely mean that an intelligent designer intelligently designed this intelligently designed world, right? No creationism here, just science!

      1. We can quickly disprove “intelligently.” It will be several more paragraphs to disprove “designer.”

  12. Somebody please, please explain to Tyler that white lions do not exist in nature and are a creation of selective breeding by man, much like the domestic banana used as an example of anthrocentric creation by Ray Comfort (to embarrassing effect).

    The only reason that white lions exist is because humans find them attractive, so yeah, they’re pretty attractive to Tyler, a human. So what? Sheeesh.

  13. Don’t the people who claim that the description of creation is perfect ever read their book? Have they truly not noticed that there are TWO versions of creation, and since they are mutually exclusive, either Genesis 1 or Genesis 2 must be wrong.

    Version 1
    dry land
    grass, herbs, fruit trees
    sun and moon
    fish, whales and birds
    land animals, cattle

    Version 2
    Eden, trees
    every beast of the field
    every bird in the air

    Was Adam created before land animals or after land animals.

    1. I think the kindest explanation is that most people don’t actually read the bible — if they read it at all, they probably use guide booklets that have a, usually, brief reading for each day. The readings jump around so much that most people don’t realize the book is filled with contradictions like that. Another obvious example is the xmas story: there are two contradictory versions, and the sermons around xmas time cut and paste from each one. And I doubt many realize that 99.44% of the stories are simply myths.

      1. This also has the advantage that boring, nasty, or unfortunate bits can be skipped over, too.

        Of course, there are also traditions of reading the thing through repeatedly, so I don’t know how they do it …

    2. I met a creationist once who maintained that there were two sequential creations (with two Adams and two Eves), just like it says in the book.

  14. R. Austin Freeman’s character, Dr. Thorndyke, described vellus hair in the 1924 novel The Mystery of Angelina Frood, but called it lanugo. I wonder if Freeman made a mistake, or if the definition of lanugo changed in the past 90 years?

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