Posts Tagged ‘Science and Nature

05
May
13

Creation Science Counter-Quiz

You’ve probably seen this picture already: a real quiz from a private school in South Carolina.

A creationist kid's quiz.

I really want to know why 8, 9 and 10 were omitted.

Says the father of the girl who took the test in question:

I didn’t know that this was being taught to her until we heard a radio commercial together about the Discover the Dinosaurs exhibit was coming to the TD Convention Center [in Greenville, South Carolina].

The Commercial starts out, “After 65 million years, the dinosaurs have returned …” She commented immediately that it was only four thousand years ago. When I corrected her, she snapped back, “Were you there?” I have since taught my daughter differently, but I am sure she is confused now and plan to make sure she understands that teachers are people too and
can be factually wrong.

The test showed up [at] home a day later to my disgust.

It’s a great school for Reading, Writing and Math. She is ahead of most of her peers and also is taking Latin there. But I now know to be vigilant for the rest of the year about her science teachings.

She will not be attending the school next year …

You have to wonder just exactly what he expected. It’s a private religious school in South Carolina. They’re not going to compete in the state science fair, that’s for certain.

Still, it’s a shame that his kid, among many others, is being so woefully misinformed by Blue Ridge Christian Academy. Now that this has come to light, perhaps other parents wish to un-brainwash their kids. Perhaps with a Creationism Studies class? Allow me to help that along, with my beta 4th grade Creation Science Studies Quiz!

creation science quiz redux-1 creation science quiz redux-2

Many thanks as always to talk.origins.org, where I spent many a day in my high school years when I should have been going to proms and sports and shit.

You can download a blank PDF here. Happy standardized testing, everybody!

05
May
13

Check Out My Repainted Allosaurus

With Jurassic Park  now released in 3D, some new toys were released as well. Such as this Allosaurus figure, which has a really ugly ass color scheme.

Also, the tail is too short.

Also, the tail is too short.

I decided to make it a pretty, or at least less stupid looking.

I started off with a spraypainted coat of grey primer, and then a cream colored coat of acrylic.

photo(1)

By this time I decided to base the color scheme of a male green iguana in breeding colors. I started building up the green and orange shades with matte medium.

photo(2)photo(3)

And then, Payne’s Gray tail stripes and a blueish tint for the head:

photo(4)IMG_4219

Don’t forget speckles! We need speckles.

IMG_4222

I decided to deviate from the green iguana template, and give the gums and tongue a hyper-blue color.

IMG_4233

Quite a bit of detail work and dark washes later, and here it is:

IMG_4279

IMG_4274

IMG_4276

The tail is still too goddamn short.

25
Nov
12

Joplin Globe Madness- On Our Anniversary, We Just Watched Thor and Ate Sushi

Me and the fella are living in sin (sweet, sweet tasty sin), and have no intention of changing that any time soon. Still, it’s nice to know what not put in a wedding anniversary ad.

For example, you may not want to fill it with a ridiculously long sexist ramble about your ancestors and how much you don’t know about genetics. Like in this ad that ran in today’s (11/25/12) Joplin Globe.

This is an actual anniversary notice that appeared in today’s paper. C/O the Joplin Globe.

Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Strobel, for being an example. And for finding each other, so no poor innocent schmuck got into a relationship with either one of you and your evo-psych bullshit.

Fun Fact: this isn’t the first time the Strobels have ran this anniversary ad- I saw it several years ago (and also this year, which is why the link below goes to the 18th). The only reason I didn’t blog about it then was because the ad was TOO GODDAMN BIG for my scanner. It’s over tabloid size- 11.75″ x 16.5″, by my lady brains- and it fills up over two thirds of a page! Thanks, Joplin Globe E-Edition, for doing the hard work for me!

EDIT: I just remembered my pal Jeremiah Tucker also blogged about this ad during one of its previous runs. Go look!

04
Dec
11

A Dissection of the Southwest Missouri Butterfly Angel

Field sketch of the Butterfly Angel

Field sketch by an eyewitness. Note the prettiness.

Courtesy of Joplin Expats, I am delighted to reveal a scientific breakthough in Magical Flying People Research. I present, without further ado, the discovery of Lepidopterapithicus joplinia — the Southwest Missouri Butterfly Angel.

After the tornado passed over them, the mother asked her daughter if she was OK.

The little girl said she was and said to her mother,

“Wasn’t it pretty?”

Her mother asked her what she meant.

She replied that she saw a lot of butterfly people.

“Did you see the butterfly people in the sky?  They were carrying people in the sky.”

They were going into the sky with people and there were a lot around the two of them.

Besides the butterfly story about the mother and child taking safety in a ditch, I have heard of two more.

This is not the only report, and if anything has any truck in science, it’s numerous heartwarming anecdotes.

I am forced to retract my  previous hypothesis, when I stated that only bird-winged magical flying white people made sense.

This is now inaccurate. The new updated chart will cost you $250.

Descriptions vary, from just being “big butterflies” to butterfly people proper. We can assume that they have shapeshifting powers. No size range is given, although if they’re carting folk into the sky, they must be of considerable size and strength, far surpassing any known flying creature (with the exception of the roc and Superman, of coursen). The jury is out on what relation Butterfly Angels have, if any, to the fairy folk (Homa fata).

Their behavior doesn’t seem too dissimilar from the traditional Hallmarkian angel: they are prone to selecting certain arbitrary people from the wrath of their vengeful employer. More research is required to explain why some people are selected for salvation while others are given the shaft. Perhaps their antenna can detect gullibility, like how some bloodsucking insects can detect cholesterol levels. They seem to breed in turbulent atmospheric conditions. If they are anything like normal angels, their growth is fueled by ringing bells, shafts of sunlight, the laughter of happy families, and small field rodents.

This is a revolutionary new step in Thaumaturgical Ornithothropology. As soon as I get both an expedition team and my tornado engine put together, more revelations will be forthcoming.

Alas, butterfly angels have nobody to save THEM from neither natural disasters nor underpaid lab assistants.

04
May
11

Might as Well Plug Some Stuff

Please buy this I am so poor

Hey! You interested in some science-oriented purchase-ables and pinko liberal wearables? Visit one of my POD stores!

You want to get some easy scientific street cred? Just wear this shirt! You must be a pretty badass adventurer to inspire such a film franchise.Who can doubt you? It’s printed on your freaking shirt!

All of my swear-wordy shirts can be found here. You know, Everybody Draw Mohammad Day is just around the corner! Also my infamous Skepticon shirt (you know…that one) can be found in several styles and colors!

Don’t delay!

03
May
11

A Trip To the Creation Museum of the Ozarks

The Creation Museum of the Ozarks

You remember how Branson is Las Vegas for Ned Flanders? Well, not yet. It’s missing a crucial component– a multi-million-dollar salmon-colored temple of lies. Enter Rod Butterworth:

This is really God’s vision, not mine. In the summer of 2007 I visited several dinosaur museums in different states (including one in Branson, Missouri) that were totally evolutionary in philosophy. One day in September 2007 I was literally meditating about this while resting and it suddenly came to me like a vision from heaven—Branson needs a creation museum.

And thus, the seed for the Creation Museum of the Ozarks was planted.

Are Christians even supposed to meditate? Anyway, they got incorporated and got concept drawings up, but they only got an actual museum up just recently, in nearby Strafford. Somebody in the Joplin Freethinkers forwarded this news to everybody, and I was like “OMG OMG OMG WE GOTTA GO.”

I called ahead to see if they were open, and while that was the case, it seems Dr. Butterworth wasn’t going to be there that day. His assistants would guide us through. He didn’t ask our group name, so I didn’t mention it.

Saturday came, and a whopping three of us headed to Strafford. We got there about 25 minutes before it opened, so we had a look around. Oh boy. I realized this wouldn’t be as fun as I had thought.

The interior

Calling the current location a hole in the wall would be getting your expectations up. Try a dent in a very steep incline. It’s a tiny little office space sandwiched between two other buildings. The windows were littered with Jurassic Park decals and vinyl toy dinosaurs. I secretly praise the indifferent universe that more members didn’t make the trip, for I smelled disappointment on the horizon. Either that, or it was the “Kuntry-Fied Cafe” across the street. Disappointment smells like delicious greasy spoon food; it’s an easy mistake.

To further compound the awkwardness, the two assistants that accepted us were super nice, cheery and gracious. They were completely unlike Dr. Sharp and other professional creationists I’ve met, who usually treat everyone around them like a mark. Our snark glands deflated, and we settled for biting our tongues as we were given the grand tour.

Different, Fake Evidence for a Different View

The mantra of this museum is the same as the big one in Kentucky- “same evidence, different views.” “We all work from the same evidence,” our guide told us, “we just have different ways of interpreting it.” Which is true, somewhat. Scientists go at things from an empirical, naturalistic perspective. Creationists make shit up. I’m not exaggerating; every single piece of evidence on display was either a blatant misinterpretation, an outright hoax, or wishful thinking.

Our guides showed us this evidence that the scientific community supposedly ignored. They wish. We had Ica stones, the London Artifact, polystrate fossils, the chameleon art that Dr. Sharp was hawking, T-Rex “blood cells“, the “living fossils disprove evolution” fallacy, the “monsters like Nessie and the Thunderbird prove that evolution is false even though those animals haven’t been proven to exist and are probably bullcrap anyway but wevs” canard. All items on display, all previously debunked or irrelevant from the start.

There was one I hadn’t seen before that caught my attention. It was a man/dino footprint from the Paluxy River in Texas. If you follow the topic, you already know about Paluxy’s infamous hoaxes, but our guide beat us to the punch. He admitted that most of them were phonies, but this one looks like the real deal! It even says on the printout-“verified by spiral CT scan!” Yet the evolutionists won’t let this information out to the public!

It caught my attention, because this is what the *coughcough* fossil looks like:

It’s not often a dinosaur print resembles a Lucky Charms marshmallow shape. Here’s a graphic for those of you not attuned to the fact that animal tracks aren’t normally flat and cartoony looking.

By "prepared a graphic" I mean "screencapped my Powerpoint." Don't hate.

When I got home I whipped out my google o’ nine tails and found out I wasn’t the first evolutionist to cover-up and ignore this thing. In creationist parlance, “covering up” is jargon for “looked at and dismissed as the obvious fake it was.” So creationists tried to salvage a source of bogus artifacts by presenting an even more bogus artifact. That works, I guess.

Did Not Do the Research

No. No, it is not a lemur.

Along with the humbug and fallacies and strawberry Newtons (yum!) were a lot of mistakes that seem to have been made out of sheer laziness. Fossils were misidentified, names were mispronounced, theories that haven’t seen the light of day since the late 70’s (hello, swamp-dwelling hadrosaurs!) were touted as current mainstream consensus.

“But but but,” you say, “scientists make mistakes all the time! You’re always harping about how that’s your biggest strength!” Ah, but there’s a difference, which was demonstrated to us when we reached the subject of hominids.

In 2009, scientists uncovered  remains of an early hominid called Ardipithicus. There was an ensuing media frenzy, and it turns out that it wasn’t as closely related to us as hyped. It’s still closer to us than chimps, though. Still an ape. Still a hominid. Our guide, however, told us that Ardi was debunked as “just a lemur.” That’s a little beyond laziness. It’s almost as if they’re deliberately lying to make the other side look bad. In science, mistakes are bugs in the system and are weeded out. In creationism, it’s a feature that’s selected for. That’s the difference between the two sides. That, and we have better taste in music.

Perhaps I protest too much though. These people believe in fire-breathing dinosaurs.

The Puzzling Possibility of Parasaurolophus Pyrotechnics

Remember when Dr. Sharp failed to deliver that doozy last time? Well, Dr. Butterworth and company came through, so eat it Sharp! We were escorted to the back to watch the above video, after which our guide elaborated on the remarkable abilities of Parasaurolophus.

Parasaurolophus. Not depicted: burninatin' the peasants.

Parasaurolophus was a lambeosaur, which is a duckbill dinosaur with a funky-ass head crest. After much theorizing and study, most scientists now think the crest was used to produce sounds. They even reconstructed the sound with computer models.

But some creationists, spearheaded by Duane Gish, like to think it stored hot chemicals in his head and shot it out in self defense, like how the modern day bombardier beetle shoots it out of its butt. Therefore fire-breathing. Therefore dragons. Therefore Jesus.

These guys get facts about the bombardier beetle and their own Biblical monsters wrong all the time– I challenge you to Google them yourselves, since I’m getting hyperlink fatigue– but everyone everywhere is mum on the possibility that Parasaurolophus could do this. Could it? I love dinosaurs, but I’m not an accredited Parasaurolophus expert. So I called someone who is.

I contacted Dr. Thomas Williamson, curator of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. You remember that Parasaurolophus sound reconstruction? He was behind that. I asked him if it was even possible.

“Wow,” he said, “that’s one I haven’t heard before.” Don’t blame me, man. Blame the evolutionist conspiracy.

Dr. Williamson politely disagrees. There’s no living analog of an animal with a bombardier-like ability to shoot hot liquid death out its honker, he told me. The crest was a thin structure and there was no evidence of any chemical-spewing bits. Most damning of all, however, was the fact that this crest was part of the respiratory tract. Inhaling toxic chemical residues doesn’t sound like evidence of good design to me.

But hey, science changes all the time. Perhaps when the CMOTO gets their funding they can use their spiral CT scans and make their own damn Parasaurolophus burnination simulation.

Computer reconstruction of fire-breathing Parasaurolophus. Verified by spiral C-T scan.

Winding Down

After the video was over, we were itching to end the awkwardness of the whole affair. We thanked our hosts, helped ourselves to some free literature, said goodbye to the Madagascar hissing cockroaches and made tracks to the nearby pizza joint. We felt dirty, and a little bit dumber, and I personally felt a little jealous because that rinkydink tourist trap had more Carnegie figures than I do (I collect those). A trip to the Springfield zoo helped us recoup.

Hopefully, if and when they get their big building, we’ll make another trip, and this time we won’t feel like schmucks.

Or better idea– we could just go to a real science institution instead. Like the nearby Dinosaur Walk in Branson!

This Thursday I’ll be presenting an even more laborious Powerpoint presentation at the Joplin Freethinkers meeting! It’ll be at Southwest Missouri Bank, Zora and Rangeline. 6:30 pm! Be there!

EDIT: Sweet bouncing baby Buddha! PZ Myers gave me a plug! Greetings Pharyngula readers!

07
Feb
11

We’re Taking the Dinosaurs Back Now, Kthnx

Hey you! Wanna indoctrinate your kids in evilution?

Evolution display with books, a model iguana and a scale model t-rex skeleton

Featuring Eugenie the Freethinker T-Rex, Blue the Marine Iguana, Booky the Book and friends!

Then come on down to the Joplin Public Library, where the good folk of the Joplin Freethunkoids have erected this unholy shrine *coffcoffspearheadedbymecoff* to empirical knowledge.

Evolution books

You can pummel an ox comatose with all these books!

Don’t worry, concerned guardians; we present both sides of the debate so your children can draw their own conclusions. You guys get a whole corner and a blurb!

Creationist corner
BALANCE

It’ll be up for the entire month of February, so bring your Valentine’s Day sweetheart. Enjoy a romantic dinner under the soft glow of 10 common misconceptions about evolution, printed on multicolored construction paper.

And it’s not even finished yet! Be sure to check out Evolution Display 1.2, which will have real ammonite fossils! And photos! And given the reactions some people have, maybe a pipe bomb or two!

Oh man I wish you could see the people in this picture! Biggest dorks ever!

Come down and see it! It probably covers more of the subject than your kids will encounter in 12 years of public school!




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