Classic PZ Myers response to a Christian correspondent…hilarious

I just couldn’t resist lifing the entire blog about PZ Myers’ response to a Christian correspondent on his website Pharyngula. [PZ’s response in red font, of course]:

Time for another stream-of-consciousness response to yet another slimy Christian.

Interesting blog

But I beg for just a few moments of your time. You are obviously an intelligent individual, considering you’re a prof and all [Flattery alert: diverting warp power to shields. I can guess how this will end up], but consider this for one second. Could our few years on this planet be all that there is? [Yes.] You are born, live, then die and that’s it? [That’s what I said. Yes.] All of you loved ones that have died are no more? [What? It’s not enough to have lived and to have loved ones? These guys are always belittling their lives and families.]

There is a lot of evidence of paranormal activity[No, actually, there isn’t] , how is that explained? [Wishful thinking, selective memory, gullibility. Easy.] The vast majority of people believe in a God [So? You don’t get to vote on what reality exists], and many believe Jesus has died for their passage into heaven [And many believe that Mohammed was God’s prophet, and that praying to Ganesh will remove obstacles from their lives. Do you?]. Are all of these people (myself included, and I am a very well educated individual and deep thinker if I do say so myself [I don’t believe you.]) delusional or weak minded or worse because the have faith? [Yes. Or lazy, or guilt-ridden and brain-washed, or fearful] If you look at the world and see how everything fits so perfectly together I don’t understand [Those three words are actually the whole of your argument] how anyone can NOT see that there is “intelligent design” behind the creation of everything [Hey, it’s easy…because there is no evidence for creation, but plenty for evolution]. My background is also in biology and the life sciences. I went to Kent State University [Kent State grads everywhere are groaning at the association], then graduated at The Ohio State University [Ditto Ohio State] with a degree in Allied Medicine. [That’s nice. Are we playing Trump That Degree?] For a few years while I was “becoming smart” [I think you were deceived] I too began to question the existence of a God. I was deceived [like I said] into thinking [I’m pretty sure you weren’t doing that] there really was no need for any supernatural force for everything to be [I peeked ahead. You never bother to tell us anything that requires a supernatural force]. But then I looked how everything just worked. Take the krebs cycle. One of hundres of thousands of different processes that occur in the body. Every step has to happen perfectly. [No it doesn’t. Cellular processes are stochastic, driven by thermodynamics. Did you learn nothing about biochemistry?] Every substrate has to perfectly fit it’s particular enzyme [Wow. So there must be only One True phosphoglycerate mutase out there then. Have you noticed that there is sequence variation in these enzymes in different species?]. That 1 process, you’re trying to tell me, just came about because of chance? [No. That’s a very tired creationist canard. Evolution is about chance modulated by selection, a non-chance process] I really don’t think so. I can go on and on with different examples but that would be pointless because you know exactly what I’m talking about. [Actually, I know exactly that you don’t know what you are talking about.]

Not to get all evangelical [brace yourselves, everyone, he’s going to get evangelical] on you or anything, but this is the conclusion I came to. Science is a wonderful thing. It’s provided us everything from shelter from the elements to cures for dreaded diseases to the exploration of our universe, but science and our ability to think on that level is a tool from God to help us cope on our planet [Data not shown]. Now, this is where I may lose you [No worries, you lost me in the first paragraph], Satan [Oh boy, here it comes] (and he does exist [Just like Spiderman and Santa Claus!]) has taken the tool of science and perverted into HIS tool [Reason: Satan’s tool.] to deceive man into thinking there is no need for a God for all this to be. Satan HATES you [How do you know? Talked to him lately? For all you know, Satan might think I’m a really cool guy] because you are a creation of God [Wait…wouldn’t Satan also be a creation of god?] and he wants nothing more than to torment you in hell for all of eternity [And god, of course, has nothing to say about this. I rather suspect that if they existed, Satan is nothing but a stalking horse for that evil psycho, the Christian god].

I’m sure I haven’t convinced you of anything [Nope]. But in quite moment just think about an eternity of torment [Nah, not interested. That’s more your thing. You seem to enjoy dwelling on other people’s suffering]. At the moment of your death when you feel the tug of demons trying to take you down [That won’t be demons. Probably heart failure], at that point it’ll be too late. Google [Our modern prophet] near death experiences [I’ve read about them. None are convincing] and listen or read the horrors of people who have tasted hell [Most of the people I’ve heard who’ve tasted hell have done so in this life, and blame fundie nutcases like you for causing it] and then continue to write your blog and doom other atheists to an eternity of torment [Damn, man, you started off all chipper and cheerful, and this is where you end up, grinning like a maniac while you wag a finger and gloat over everyone else’s dismal fate?]you will have to answer for all the souls you’ve convinced there is no God [Should I ask Satan for a commission?].

I just wanted to share that. Have a great day! [Seriously? You just sent off a rant telling me I’ll burn in hell for all eternity, and, by the way, you think I should have a nice day? Somehow, I don’t think you’re at all sincere. But then, you are a Christian, and that’s what I’ve come to expect.]

NJ C [And you didn’t even bother to leave your name, you brave missionary]

Keep your dogmas chained

Just about a week ago I blogged about NASA’s announcement concerning a scientific study that revealed how a bacterium survives using arsenic instead of phosphorus in developing cell components.

Well, it seems that the announcement and publication of the finding in the peer-reviewed publication Science, has created quite a storm for the following reasons:

  • First and foremost, rival scientist claims that the study was flawed and should not have been published
  • The role of NASA in creating a sea of hype prior to the announcement and supposedly steering speculation about the study in the direction of extraterrestrial life
  • The peripheral question about how a distinguished scientific journal allowed a supposedly flawed study to be published

When I wrote the blog, I took care to steer away from the hype about extraterrestrial life, except only to point out that life as we have become accustomed to it, may in fact be quite different given different environmental conditions. And so the study seemed to confirm, but scientists have been telling us this for years, so it was nothing really new. So while this latest finding may not in fact add another nail to the creationist coffin, it certainly doesn’t have to; that coffin has long been buried and is at a stage of advanced decomposition.

The thing about science is that it is not dogmatic, unlike religious claims. Peer review serves the purpose of pointing out errors in scientific claims and then substantiating any counter-claim. That’s the beauty of the scientific method; scientists abandon their claims when new evidence to the contrary is presented. And in this regard, the author of the Arsenic study released by NASA, Felisa Wolfe-Simon did responded by accepting the criticism of her findings thus:

My research team and I are aware that our peer-reviewed Science article has generated some technical questions and challenges from within the scientific community. Questions raised so far have been consistent with the range of issues outlined by journalist Elizabeth Pennisi in her Science news article, which was published along with our research. For instance, other scientists have asked whether the bacteria had truly incorporated arsenic into their DNA, and whether the microbes had completely stopped consuming phosphorus. Our manuscript was thoroughly reviewed and accepted for publication by Science; we presented our data and results and drew our conclusions based on what we showed. But we welcome lively debate since we recognize that scholarly discourse moves science forward. We’ve been concerned that some conclusions have been drawn based on claims not made in our paper. In response, it’s our understanding that Science is in the process of making our article freely available to the public for the next two weeks to ensure that all researchers have full access to the findings. We invite others to read the paper and submit any responses to Science for review so that we can officially respond. Meanwhile, we are preparing a list of “frequently asked questions” to help promote general understanding of our work.

That’s the way things are done in the real scientific world, not the pseudoscientific one. It’s now up to Felisa’s detractors to prove her wrong, or at least prove that the flaws they refer to are really flaws. And off course she will have the opportunity to respond.

The role of NASA in all of this is reminiscent of how the clergy and their predecessors (shamans etc.) twisted and panel-beated man’s superstitious beliefs into organised religion, to support their political ambitions for dominion. Admittedly, as much as I admire NASA, there seems to be some truth in the claims that they used (abused?) this young female scientist and her research, to promote their own need for funding, and continuation of the space programme.

I can’t really find too much wrong with the last concern raised by this whole saga which concerns the journal Science’s eagerness to publish. Publication is necessary for the spreading of ideas, counter-ideas and information about who is contemplating what scientifically and why. It makes science grow.

However, I cannot wish that the study that was released BY NASA turns out to be true because it would confirm one of my beliefs. Unlike the religious world, science does not permit one to wish something into being because it would make one more comfortable or less fearful.