Friday, 12 December 2014

Comments from: Inventing excuses for a Bible story, and getting them published in a science journal?

Inventing excuses for a Bible story, and getting them published in a science journal? was by P Z Myers. Somehow, presumably in the SCienceBlogs migrations, the comment threads got lost. Happily, Carl Drews kept a copy, and now I have them, so I'll post them here.

See-also my Between Migdol and the Sea.

    Comments

    #1
    Posted by: ian.monroe Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 9:36 AM
    "the kind of fantasy world-building that looks goofy even in fiction"
    And PZ goes for another snipe at the fantasy genre. He apparently didn't learn last time. :D
    #2
    Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawn1T__xsktaFw9-rmJNu9AgQA0ixo7kN5k Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 9:37 AM
    We're seeing an increase in these types of publications. Some are overtly pushing a religious perspective as being actual science, such as the Templeton funded study in Africa. I think overall it is part of a general strategy to try to demonstrate that ID/creationism is really science. After all this was the decision in Kitzmiller v. Dover. If they can get anything published in a peer-reviewed science journal then they can claim that it is science. Never mind if it is later retracted; they'll ignore that. Bu it does mean that scientists now have to overtly demand that these papers be retraced.
    #3
    Posted by: Xopher Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 9:40 AM
    But i do like turtles.....
    #4
    Posted by: Tulse Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 9:41 AM
    When I was a young Catholic, I was also into Velikovsky, and thought it was so cool that the manna that nourished the Jews in the desert might have actually been carbohydrates precipitated out of a passing comet's tail.
    I was extremely silly then, and this paper is extremely silly now.
    #5
    Posted by: deno.stelter Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 9:45 AM
    Hard to believe that this was considered actual science. I came across this on CNN.com and then read some of the paper - it was too gushy with Christian crap for me to read more than a few paragraphs. I'm a first-year grad student in astronomy at the University of Florida down here in Gainesville, and did my undergrad at CU-Boulder (also a first time poster, despite having been a reader of Pharyngula for about 3 years). I know a few scientists at NCAR, and I was shocked to see such shit being taken so seriously. I mean, it doesn't take a PhD to see that the lead author is one of those oh-so-humble Christian fucks who somehow hid his devout beliefs in a mouldy old book secret long enough to get through grad school.
    By the way, Terry Jones is considering moving to Tampa - he doesn't feel like he has a lot of support here in G'ville. NO SHIT SHERLOCK. University towns, even in the south, are a bit more forward-thinking than your primitive deity demands.
    #6
    Posted by: co Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 9:47 AM
    That "Author Contributions" section looks remarkably like Drews got all het up about the whole thing, and Weiqing Han is the established researcher who reluctantly let him get away with it.
    I'm just spitballing here, but I've seen it done before (and have been on both sides of that process).
    #7
    Posted by: Prospect151 Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 9:50 AM
    Obviously this doesn't belong in a science journal.
    But more interestingly, as mentioned, this 'research' really only harms the faith position. You're completely removing the supernatural explanation by investigating natural ways of producing the same phenomenon. We have the undermining of religious faith-based mentality on the fringe of scientific journals.
    #8
    Posted by: https://me.yahoo.com/a/UuM5GEszp4YfqkkDCvJonnTZ2dPI#28456 Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 9:53 AM
    Yes, and I can surely demonstrate that your car could have been used as an escape vehicle in a bank robbery that never happened.
    Can I arrest you now? ;o)
    #9
    Posted by: BoredAgain Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 9:56 AM
    Sad to see this woo listed on the front page of cnn.com and taken seriously. But then again, the comments section trashing it and defending it is extensive and entertaining!
    #10
    Posted by: Rubicon Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 9:58 AM
    Isn't this counterproductive? The authors have shown a plausible explanation for the biblical parting of the Red Sea and God didn't need to be there. Isn't he sort of hurting their own cause? I have nothing against that.
    #11
    Posted by: Techskeptic Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:01 AM
    Question:
    there was recently a paper about what would happen when zombies attack. it proposed some mathematical modelling of a zombie situation. It was published to great fanfare. It assumed many unreal things (for example zombies exist).
    http://mysite.science.uottawa.ca/rsmith43/Zombies.pdf
    Why is that paper OK, and this one is not?
    P.S. I am not a creationist, far from it. I'm as strong an atheist as PZ. I just think we should be consistent.
    #12
    Posted by: Aliasalpha Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:02 AM
    Maybe they're getting infected by the balance disease the media has contracted where idiots are given equal time no matter how obvious their lies are.
    Actually now I say that, it reminds me of this Dara O'Briain routine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIaV8swc-fo
    #13
    Posted by: Anubis Bloodsin the third Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:03 AM
    But did they get the result they actually wanted?
    Seems Yahweh was conspicuously absent in this 'miracle' and that seems to have been confirmed by this apparently xian attempt at revisionist fixing of biblical history!
    It would have been a little more weird if they had not discovered this natural phenomenon that occurs when wind direction suits.
    Because a no logical cause found opens the floodgates to... 'twasgodwhatwentandgoneanddidit'
    Foot, shot and own, seems to be the flavour of this one!
    #14
    Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawkqTeNSe-lk7NNw1iq_DKlKvQRg1FB7ySA Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:04 AM
    Cant agree more with this summary, although I must admit, I didn't notice that this was so obviously from a Christian researcher.
    As you allude to PZ, I honestly think I prefer it is people of faith just left it at that, a matter of faith.
    When they start producing bad studies that are an exercise in finding 'appropriate' evidence to fit the texts, particularly in the archaeological record, I get annoyed.
    To me this is no better than suggesting that the Bronze age eruption of Santorini was the end of Atlantis on the basis of similarities to mythologised texts of events that probably never happened.
    Actually, it's even worse, at least the Santorini eruption is an actual recorded event.
    #15
    Posted by: Eamon Knight Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:05 AM
    This story even made the Sci/Enviro section of the BBC website. It's not new, either: I recall hearing this scenario posited nigh on 40 years ago, by a Christian friend in junior high school. Even as apologetics, it's pretty lame: if you're gonna believe in miracles, then go ahead and believe in them -- screw this selective demythologization.
    #16
    Posted by: johnsma11berries Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:05 AM
    I agree with Prospect151 and Rubicon.
    When a creationist comes to the conclusion that a magical sky daddy isn't necessary to explain one of the biggest "miracles" in the Bible, that's a huge win for those who point out that belief in miracles is ridiculous.
    #17
    Posted by: Romeo Vitelli Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:08 AM
    Of course, Exodus also clearly states that Pharaoh and his horde were drowned in the Red Sea which definitely never happened. There is no account of a pharaoh drowning in the entire, very detailed, history of Egypt. Why fixate on one incredible detail when the entire account is provably false?
    #18
    Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawkqTeNSe-lk7NNw1iq_DKlKvQRg1FB7ySA Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:10 AM
    @ comment 11.
    You have a point I guess, in that if the modelling of a certain natural phenomenon are sound enough (no idea in this case) then at least it is decent work in that respect. If I remember rightly, the Zombie paper was at least an attempt to model epidemiology, however useless the outcome is in the end.
    Having said that, lets face it no one is going to use that paper to support their belief in a coming Zombie apocalypse.
    #19
    Posted by: elysebhart Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:11 AM
    Grooooaaaaannn! Why BBC? Why?
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11383620
    #20
    Posted by: mattheath Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:12 AM
    A bad paper has been published in PLoS One
    Well, yeah. The point of PLoS One is that they don't reject papers for not being worth doing.
    #21
    Posted by: SteveF Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:12 AM
    This specific work wasn't funded by NCAR and the Office of Naval Research. Han has grants from these bodies, but not specifically for carrying out this study. For example, Han's grant from the ONR also funded this study:
    "Seasonal surface ocean circulation and dynamics in the Philippine Archipelago region during 2004–2008."
    where the acknowledgements state "Weiqing Han is supported by ONR N00014-07-1-0413"
    #22
    Posted by: https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnXBIsUbYut2403qwPs2i3h_J_Oy_REf8w Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:12 AM
    "although experts are uncertain whether they actually occurred"
    No. Just about every archaeologist expert in the field says it didn't happen. 1.2 million plus people did not devastate Egypt and then leave, drowning the king's army on the way out but without a shred of evidence. They did not wander through the desert without leaving a single trace showing that they passed through. It didn't happen.
    And this isn't a naturalistic explanation. The Israelites would have had to have come to the Red Sea at exactly the time that a super rare event was occurring and that event had to stop at the exact time necessary to off the Egyptian army. That is still a miracle.
    This is a prime example of tooth-fairy science.

    Bullshit.
    #23
    Posted by: colourmegone Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:15 AM
    I'm sure I've heard this theory somewhere before, many years ago. I'm certain it was put forward by a Christian apologist trying to justify the Bible story. I'm sure it's not new but the fact that it got into any scientific journal is cause for concern.
    #24
    Posted by: Sajanas Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:17 AM
    I really get sick of people trying to come up with semi-scientific explanations for biblical miracles, when there is no archaeological evidence for any Jews before about 1200 BC, and then only as small villages in the highlands of Israel.
    So, even if you can come up with a plausible reason for the Nile turning to blood, the Red Sea parting, or the walls of Jerhico falling, it doesn't matter. In the time the Bible sets for the Exodus, the Egyptian empire controlled Canaan! And the Egyptians never wrote about the Jews as slaves. The 1200 BC date actually comes from Egyptian records as a place they conquered in an expedition to Canaan, but surely 400 years of captivity would register in a people that write in freaking stone. Its hilarious to me that people try and prove these Iron age nation building fantasies before they go and read about the actual, verified history of the region.
    A better paper would be why people continue to believe in this nonsense after it is conclusively disproven.
    #25
    Posted by: jimvj Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:17 AM
    TechSkeptic:
    If you read the conclusions of the zombie paper, you'd see this:
    While the scenarios considered are obviously not realistic, it is nevertheless
    instructive to develop mathematical models for an unusual outbreak. This demonstrates
    the flexibility of mathematical modelling and shows how modelling can respond to a wide
    variety of challenges in ‘biology’.
    #26
    Posted by: InfraredEyes Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:18 AM
    I see that the author has had to move the incident from the Red Sea to the Nile Delta to make it work. Plus, as other posters point out, he's effectively excluding God from the story by showing a possible natural mechanism. Damned if I can see how any of this supports the biblical account.
    #27
    Posted by: Techskeptic Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:19 AM
    to those that think this paper help the case against creationists:
    who do you think brought up the wind at exactly the right time, and who prepared the landscape millenia in advance for this to happen?
    this paper does nothing to harm the creationists case. You are forgetting that no science or evidence will harm the veracity of their story
    #28
    Posted by: raven Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:19 AM
    I don't know why they even bother.
    Their god is an omni-everything, universe spanning entity. It can do anything including be a Trinity, whatever that is.
    A being that can do anything can part the Red Sea, kill almost everyone in a flood, raise the dead, turn water into wine, etc..
    What god can't or won't do is have his own Youtube channel, website, or TV show, things most grade school kids could do.
    #29
    Posted by: Celtic_Evolution Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:20 AM
    Rubicon -
    Isn't this counterproductive? The authors have shown a plausible explanation for the biblical parting of the Red Sea and God didn't need to be there. Isn't he sort of hurting their own cause?
    Actually, no... not in the mind of the still-faith-addled scientist. It's this sort of thing that allows the "scientist" to still cling to the "god uses natural processes to present "miracles".
    In other words, with a story like "the parting of the red sea", one who is a believer but has also been educated as a scientist, it's really hard to maintain belief in that which violates all known laws of physics. However, if one can show that the event is physically plausible, even on some smaller scale, then the essence of the story can now be believed, and one only now has to accept some literary exaggeration, which is common even in historically accurate narratives... this is the same rationalization method used by christians who accept evolution but decree that it's god's hand that kicked that process off.
    It's completely ridiculous, straw-grasping post-hoc rationalization, as PZ points out, but is becoming more and more common practice among "believer-scientists".
    PS... ahhhh... it's good to be back...
    #30
    Posted by: te24hours Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:22 AM
    I see nothing wrong with looking at old stories and asking "Could that conceivably happen?" Of course, usually the answer is just 'No'. For the rare occasions when it isn't, why not just publish about the meteorological phenomenon, or whatever, and leave it to the reader to infer whatever they want?
    #31
    Posted by: hyrcan.myopenid.com Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:26 AM
    It's not even an original idea. That excuse has been around a while. I first sat through that when I was in sunday school many moons ago. And again when I argued with my "science" teacher in the crap christian school I went to.
    #32
    Posted by: Ogvorbis, Parenthetical Death Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:28 AM
    Celtic: Welcome back.
    -----------
    And so we see another gap, another hiding place of the legendary god(s) of gaps, fade into the sunset.
    #33
    Posted by: SteveF Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:28 AM
    It's not even an original idea.
    No and the authors freely admit they are building on the work of others, in particular Doron Nof:
    http://www.doronnof.net/red-sea.php
    #34
    Posted by: shockwaveplasma Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:28 AM
    And for their next trick, they will find Mount Doom, from Mordor.
    #35
    Posted by: Tulse Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:29 AM
    It's this sort of thing that allows the "scientist" to still cling to the "god uses natural processes to present "miracles".
    Right, but then Sajanas' point is all the more germane: there is plenty of solid historical evidence undermining the notion that the Jewish people were ever in Egypt, much less that the described event happened. If one is going to be all science-y about explaining the Red Sea parting, one should equally adhere to what the evidence tells us about the Jews not being in Egypt.
    #36
    Posted by: KingUber Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:30 AM
    I bet they would approve those studies on events in other religions, if the motive was to prove they had a natural explanation and thus try to disprove the other religions.
    #37
    Posted by: gussnarp Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:32 AM
    If the zombie paper introduced, expanded on, or demonstrated a new capability of some unique modelling method that can be generalized beyond the zombie example, then it may have significance worthy of publication. I'm not going to spend any time looking into that.
    If not, then it does belong with the red sea paper, although it at least has a sense of humor.
    Frivolous papers getting published is a problem that extends beyond the exceptionally silly case of religion based papers. Professors are expected to publish new research continually, grad students are expected to produce theses and dissertations that provide new and significant contributions to their field, and there are how many professors and how many new masters and PhD grads every year? Yeah, people get really shady things published, and it's a serious problem, but it's the system that has created it. There's still a lot to learn about any number of topics, but we know so much, and there are so many people who need to publish so frequently, that bogus research is a foregone conclusion. I think it's vital that grad students learn how to really do research and what's involved in getting published. In fact, I think high school students should be learning this as it would go a long way to eradicating the wanton ignorance in this country. I also think everyone in college should get the chance to learn from professors who are doing real cutting edge research. But we may have to admit that we shouldn't be producing so many masters and PhD grads, and that some professors should be able to focus on teaching more than research. Revolutionary, I know, but I'm pretty sure something needs to change in academia for it to continue.
    #38
    Posted by: Sigmund Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:34 AM
    If you want a laugh you should have a look at all the stuff he's written on his personal website
    http://www.theistic-evolution.com/
    He believes in all sorts of ridiculous stuff (Adam and Eve, the Fall, Satan, the Flood (just a local one, not covering the entire world), the virgin birth, the resurrection etc). Are we going to get a series of justifications for each of these tales published in PloS One?
    #39
    Posted by: Laffo Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:35 AM
    Not only is the research pointless, but I'm pretty sure he got the idea from a (pseudo)-History Channel show I saw a few years ago. This "parting of the red sea by wind" nonsense is not at all new.
    #40
    Posted by: heddle Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:36 AM
    PZ,
    Bad, overstretched technical justifications for miraculous events are even less persuasive than simply declaring "My omnipotent god did it with magic".
    When you're right, you're right.
    #41
    Posted by: EdinAnn Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:36 AM
    If I were to conduct scientific research into Biblical miracles I'd focus on something worth doing--changing water into wine!
    #42
    Posted by: Celtic_Evolution Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:39 AM
    Tulse #35 -
    Oh, agreed... but compartmentalization is a close friend to post-hoc rationalization in these cases. The study isn't really trying to prove the Exodus story correct, remember? Just trying top present a scenario under which one of the more "miraculous" elements is plausible.
    And that's really the key... the minutiae that most of us here see as critical in evaluating the truth of an historical event is not at all important to the common believer. show that the red sea parting is plausible, and then they can point and say "see, it's physically possible, and the real miracle is that get set these events up to occur exactly when they did for the sake of the Israelites... it's all rationalization.
    #43
    Posted by: te24hours Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:41 AM
    @41: That's easy:
    Add the water to the soil around some very old chardonnay grapes. When ripe, pick the grapes and smash them. Then, heat the resulting juice for a while, and add some yeast (there's probably a particular sort, and the juice has to cool first too...). Let the yeast work for a while, and then drink it*.
    Voila. Water into wine.
    *Note, if you follow those instructions exactly, your wine is going to suck, but it will get you drunk. 
    #44
    Posted by: bcstractor Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:42 AM
    PZ
    I don't understand your complaint at all. It says that "parting of the waters" might be possible under certain conditions.
    Great - yet another "miracle" disemboweled.
    The author, as somebody else said, shot himself in the foot and hasn't noticed yet.
    #45
    Posted by: AJ Milne OM Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:42 AM
    Ah, religion... inducing otherwise apparently halfway bright folk to make 'emselves look stupid since pretty much forever. Prolly about as long as booze, I shouldn't wonder...
    People occasionally ask me what I've got against the stuff (the religion, not the booze, tho' as I just noted, there's some similarities). And honestly, apart from a few other things that come to mind, it's things exactly like this that remind me of one key thing:
    It's that cringe factor. I get so embarrassed for people...
    I ask you, was there no one in this man's life to say: 'Uh... dude... do you really want to do this? I mean, I'm not gonna have to cover my face to keep you from noticing me laughing at you every time we meet from now on... I think...
    'But that's just me. Other folk, I dunno... And it seems to me that might start to get on your nerves...
    'Y'know what you need to do? Pick something also a bit silly, but mebbe a smidge easier to live down. Listen... I've got Hugh Grant's number right here... Mebbe you could call him for pointers on arranging slightly embarrassing paid trysts? I mean, that kinda thing can blow over in a few years if you've a decent PR guy and you just keep smilin'... Huh? Whaddya say?'
    #46
    Posted by: legistech Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:43 AM
    I guess it would serve a purpose if they could ever show that any such parting had actually happened. And then the purpose would be to show how it could happen, and whether a deity was necessary.
    Actually, though, I still don't get how a deity is necessary even if there were legitimately no natural explanation. If you're going to believe in magic, why suddenly make the jump to an all-powerful magical creator? Why not suppose some minor magical entities like sea sprites or something did it?
    #47
    Posted by: Kev Quondam, Kevque Futurum, PKoD Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:48 AM
    Might as well ask it here.
    Some people believe (I used to) that there are certain signs in that region of the Arabian peninsula that may point to some small evidence of the Biblical tale of Moses. (The Jabal Al'Lawz hypothesis)
    Notably:
    - Chariot wheels in the Red Sea
    - Drawings on rocks at the base of a big mountain
    - Said mountain under strict government supervision
    - Drawings of sandals in various areas in the Arabian desert
    - A strange split rock
    I know, I KNOW, this will be brought up in an argument, but don't have enough evidence to refute it.
    #48
    Posted by: Anubis Bloodsin the third Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:48 AM
    #17
    'Why fixate on one incredible detail when the entire account is provably false?'
    Cream on top of the cake... and yet another drip in the bucket and another straw for the camels back!
    The gaps are diminishing, just as the rational always knew they would!
    I find it incredible that there is not one mention in the Roman records of crucifying a trouble maker!
    Cos xian sources tend to consider the whole trial and execution thing as the biggest party to occur in Jerusalem in a while...where were the gutter press I ask?
    You might consider that occupying armies like to demonstrate their grip on the society they have conquered, seems to be Warfare Tactics 101.
    Including the justice they espouse, as a warning at the least!
    True records get destroyed, but some contemporary chronicles have survived, and not a peep do they utter!
    Jewish records do record a criminal that was hanged, but actual documentation is rather absent apart from vague post-jebus assumptions and tales related by Tacitus et al well after the fact or fiction was supposed to have gone down, but even those documents ain't that profligate.
    Maybe this team should attempt that mystery?

    #49
    Posted by: Janine, The Little Top Of Venom, OM Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:51 AM
    I have not and will not read the paper. But I do have a question? In order to have a wind that can part a body of water and yet not blow the people into the water, the water cannot be too deep. So how could an entire army drown in shallow water?
    #50
    Posted by: gussnarp Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:55 AM
    @Janine - Brilliant. Premise entirely destroyed by a simple question.
    #51
    Posted by: MDL Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:55 AM
    There is actually some potential value to his work, but it's not in science. A folklorist could learn a great deal from knowing if there was a meteorological event that could cause something that resembled the parting of a large-ish body of water.
    Think of it this way: if the weather of that age saw enough of those events on small bodies of water, it would be something people in that area knew about and had a point of reference for (and for which probably assigned a supernatural explanation). Using it in an exaggerated way asserts the comparative power of the entity responsible it.
    In other words, it could merely be a pop culture reference!
    It's the same way, in superhero comics, super-powered folks always seem to be lifting and hurling cars. We all know what cars are, we know how heavy they are, and how lifting them requires something beyond what an individual human (or even several humans) can do themselves. A super could be drawn lifting anything, but the car gives us a point of reference that we can manage in our heads.
    #52
    Posted by: mrmonist Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:58 AM
    In the original Hebrew it wasn't the Red Sea that was parted anyway! It was just a dodgy translation...
    An extra layer of bullshit on top of the original pile of bullshit...
    #53
    Posted by: Cliff Hendroval Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:59 AM
    I'll start believing in the whole Passover/Ten Commandments story as soon as someone shows me the hieroglyphic inscription that reads "Where did all these fucking frogs come from?"
    #54
    Posted by: burnz314 Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 11:00 AM
    Some Christian pseudo science stooges do all they can to find natural events that could cause a miracle. Then they claim God used the forces of nature at the right place and the right time, with a little extra flair.
    I read a book as a kid, where the authors tried to find a scientific explanation for various miracles - including Joshua crossing a dried up river that must have been caused by an earthquake upstream. The earthquake was supposed to send a bunch of large boulders into the river and cause a dam.
    #55
    Posted by: Glen Davidson Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 11:00 AM
    I suppose I most of all wonder why anyone would fund such tripe.
    However, once funded it doesn't seem like something that necessarily shouldn't be published. Of course it's reaching, and likely to be turned to bad apologetics, still it's not the worst question to ask whether or not it might have happened, and possibly been part of the basis of the Exodus myth.
    Undoubtedly it would be miraculous for that particular phenomenon to occur just when Moses et al. reached the body of water, so I don't think that's really worth considering. What's just barely worth thinking about is whether the phenomenon was observed and then incorporated into the Hebrew collection of myth and legend (probably not, they likely just made things up to fit the tale--like most myths and legends).
    It's pretty useless nonsense all around, but the question addressed is just possible as a natural phenomenon, hence I can't say that it really shouldn't have been published, after someone foolishly decided to fund it.
    Glen Davidson
    #56
    Posted by: anthony gebhard Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 11:01 AM
    This story sounds very similar to my encounter with a creation-scientist named Mike Snavely from Lebanon, Pa (my hometown). This young-earth snake oil salesman came to my undergrad institution (LVC) when I was still a student there and tried to convince everyone that evolution was false and that the biblical events were all literally true. He explained that the reason people do not live to be 900 yrs. anymore was because the result of the great flood and that the only human survivors were those on Noah's Ark. He continues to state that this somehow created a genetic bottleneck effect which through mutations led to a decreased lifespan. The best part of his argument was that he claimed that it was possible to fit every possible animal on the Ark, along with enough food. He clarified this by saying that there would not have to be every "species" of bird, but only a parental group. He used the same logic for all animals. So, according to Snavely you could have speciation, but not evolution. I pressed him on this and he assured me that they were distinctly different, when in reality they are the same thing. What a fool!!!
    TG
    #57
    Posted by: tacroy Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 11:01 AM
    It's funny because pretty much all of Exodus never really happened. Not just the plagues part or the sticks to snakes thing, but the part where there were Jews in Egypt at all.
    One of the best questions to ask theists who claim the Bible is a good source of historical information is "Who was Moses's Pharaoh?"
    #58
    Posted by: raven Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 11:02 AM
    Notably: - Chariot wheels in the Red Sea - Drawings on rocks at the base of a big mountain - Said mountain under strict government supervision - Drawings of sandals in various areas in the Arabian desert - A strange split rockI know, I KNOW, this will be brought up in an argument, but don't have enough evidence to refute it.
    The chariot wheels found in the Red Sea is just a lie. IIRC it appeared in the National Inquirer.
    For the rest, don't know one way or the other. Some xians treat lying as a necessary sacrament and they are always making stuff up and passing it on.
    There are large numbers of stories about people today raising up dead people back to the living. They usually take place in remote third world countries and there is never any documentation.
    If you are a superstitious moron, proof is easy. One just makes it up.
    #59
    Posted by: Steven Dunlap Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 11:02 AM
    This is an example of what I call the Ever After syndrome. You can reverse-engineer from a myth a narrative of something that might actually have happened, but that bit of reverse engineering remains every bit as much a work of fiction as the old myth.

    Like a game of "rumor" we played in elementary school, a story of some Jewish slaves taking advantage of an opportunity to escape could snowball into an expansive story about how everyone escaped, the places and details change with every embellishment as the story/rumor passes from person to person. But it's all conjecture, the sort of discussion that you may find fun during a college bull session. What's up next for PLoS One, who would win a fight to the death: astronauts or cavemen?

    Also, isn't the bible, especially the old testament, very anachronistic? Writing about ancient events but using more contemporary place names? (I think in a comment in Pharyngula in another thread someone gave the example of telling a story about the people of pre-columbian Arizona using Flagstaff, Tempe and Phoenix as place names).

    It's a myth. And one that features a sadistic, psychopathic god as a main character. Reverse-engineering some sort of "plausible" story will not change the sick, twisted personality of this main character. There's really no sugar-coating that turd.
    #60
    Posted by: https://me.yahoo.com/a/DhjBEuJ8pt63x6eBKuPx0Jv9_QE-#7c327 Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 11:02 AM
    Every December nearly every TV network gets some astronomer to "explain" the Star of Bethlehem.
    And every spring, some crackpot explains how the Shroud of Turin couldn't have been faked.
    Jebus I hate that crap.
    #61
    Posted by: MDL Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 11:03 AM
    To add what I just wrote:
    I seem to remember that the first written version of the Exodus story was made when the Hebrew tribes were enslaved by a neighboring nation (the Babylonians, I think?) several hundred years later. It's not surprising to find that the Hebrew narratives during that time include liberation themes and "my god is stronger than your god" just-so stories.
    It would be interesting (to a student of folklore or comparative literature or history) compare the feats of the Babylonian god(s) to the feats ascribed to the god of the Torah.
    #62
    Posted by: Snake Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 11:08 AM
    The whole point of PLoS one is that it publishes anything that is scientifically valid (however pointless), and then lets the scientific community as a whole judge its worth through citations, rating of the paper and comments. So, why all the comments here? Head on over to PLoS and let them know what you think directly: link.
    Note that commenting and rating is not anonymous.
    #63
    Posted by: raven Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 11:11 AM
    Also, isn't the bible, especially the old testament, very anachronistic? Writing about ancient events but using more contemporary place names?
    Yes, the OT is full of anachronisms.
    The Patriarchs run into camels long before they were actually introduced into the ME. Moses hangs out with the Philistines long before they arrived on the Mediterranean coast. Somewhere, there is a list.
    #64
    Posted by: nejishiki Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 11:11 AM
    My first instinct was that the wind speed required to open a pathway across the sea would make walking across it difficult. Indeed, it requires Class I hurricane winds. The paper says, in its conclusion:
    "The crossing remains open for 7.4 hours under 33 m/s winds, but these stronger winds may render walking too difficult for a mixed group of people."
    *flush*
    #65
    Posted by: Sajanas Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 11:12 AM
    @47
    Some people believe (I used to) that there are certain signs in that region of the Arabian peninsula that may point to some small evidence of the Biblical tale of Moses. (The Jabal Al'Lawz hypothesis)
    I'm about midway through reading The Bible Unearthed, which reviews the (in 2001) current archaeology of the development of Israel, and I would highly recommend it, from what I've read so far. Essentially, much of what is presented in the Bible as far as the cities, landmarks and politics of the Patriarchs, Exodus, Judges, and United Monarchy more closely resemble that of 7th century Israel under Josiah, and mirror the problems he had trying to reconquer Northern Israel from the Assyrian Empire. Most of the archaeology in the area was interpreted in light of the Bible, and it took a long time to change that viewpoint.
    #66
    Posted by: Bill Gascoyne Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 11:23 AM
    but only if you're an atheist who is very gullible and willing to except other elaborate prior premises.
    P.Z., Shouldn't that be "accept"?
    #67
    Posted by: marcus Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 11:27 AM
    Silly aThorists. The day will come when the God of Thunder lights your collective asses on fire with a lightning bolt. Then you'll repent your foolish ways! When you are feeding the worms in Yggdrasil's roots, then you'll repent! Bwahahahaahahaha!
    #68
    Posted by: Anubis Bloodsin the third Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 11:32 AM
    #60
    And every spring, some crackpot explains how the Shroud of Turin couldn't have been faked.
    Not wishing to derail the thread but I came across this today.
    I would have thought if there is any reality to this nonsense that it would be all over the media but this is the first I have heard of it...although not definitive by any means...methinks considering it is apparently from last year that summat has struck as not quite kosher in her assessment otherwise the Vatican would be boring us all to tears with it.!
    #69
    Posted by: Ibis3 Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 11:40 AM
    The problem is that this is an offence to the pursuit of truth and knowledge which is the raison d'être of academia. As others have pointed out, we know by means of historical and archaeological evidence that the event did not occur. Publishing in a science journal a way in which it could have occurred,* in an attempt to bolster the unjustified beliefs of those who don't accept reality, is an act of blatant disregard for the foundational principle of scientific rigour. PLoS One should be ashamed.
    *Not that I give any credence to the model presented in the paper. Seems like not too far a stretch to imagine that he pulled the whole thing out of his ass.
    P.S. Using zombies, fairies, or Olympian gods as model fodder in a light-hearted wink to the reader isn't even in the same ballpark.
    #70
    Posted by: Tulse Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 11:41 AM
    What's up next for PLoS One, who would win a fight to the death: astronauts or cavemen?
    Questions like that are already covered by a different scientific endeavour.
    #71
    Posted by: Girl Noir Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 11:48 AM
    Sajanas:
    Most of the archaeology in the area was interpreted in light of the Bible, and it took a long time to change that viewpoint.

    Biblical archaeology is a much more reasonable field than it used to be, which is why it makes me cringe horribly to hear about studies like this. It's just bad archaeology - all it does is come off as desperate and highlight the author's biases. The field has absolutely, as you say, moved away from the Bible as a starting point, but I hate that some folks keep trying to drag us back there.
    #72
    Posted by: seanpboyd Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 11:49 AM
    Even allowing for the very precise circumstances under which such a parting could take place, at some point Xtians need to invoke the big guy if they want this to seem plausible. Isn't their essential point, after all, that it was a miracle? Why would they need a scientific explanation? Proving that natural happenstance could in principle cause such an event to occur (which would ignore all of the rather salient objections already raised above) seems to take their big guy out of the picture. How does it strengthen the Xtian case to reduce one of the central miracles of their mythology to a confluence of natural events? If anything, this paper makes a good case for the Red Sea crossing being essentially impossible short of divine intervention. In other words, essentially impossible.
    #73
    Posted by: frog, Inc. Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 11:52 AM
    techskeptic: I just think we should be consistent.
    "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines."
    Application of "consistency" regardless of agenda, intent, context, and so on only makes one look more foolish than an old-earth creationist.
    #74
    Posted by: jbowen42 Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 11:55 AM
    I’m picturing a whole lot of people getting blown by insane winds- rolling, tumbling and sliding across a muddy sea floor.
    #75
    Posted by: Naked Bunny with a Whip Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 12:00 PM
    They have devised a naturalistic explanation for a Bible story. Therefore, God exists.
    #76
    Posted by: daveandfiona@live.co.uk Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 12:10 PM
    Is it not possible that an event of this kind was witnessed somewhere, somewhen and woven into the exodus myth?
    #77
    Posted by: skeptical_hippo Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 12:11 PM
    I think it was Hector Avalos who calculated the Jewish population at the relevant time, along with the pace of a mass exodus involving children and the elderly, and concluded that the sea would have needed to remain parted for something like a week to get everyone through.
    #78
    Posted by: James F Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 12:11 PM
    #62
    What Snake said. Have at it in the comments!
    *sigh* First Doug Axe's Stylus paper, now this. I'm embarrassed to admit I've published a paper in PLoS ONE. But it was a good one, honest! :/
    #79
    Posted by: ckerstann Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 12:13 PM
    the actual Hebrew text says that Moses parted "the sea of reeds" which as taken to mean the swamp at the northern end of the Red Sea. Later translations made the story read that he parted the Red Sea. Any preacher that took classes in divinity should know that, but it makes a better story as a miracle. Plus christians don't mind lying when it suits their purpose.
    #80
    Posted by: God Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 12:17 PM
    @raven:
    What god can't or won't do is have his own Youtube channel, website, or TV show, things most grade school kids could do.
    I could but I won't. I refuse to use any electronic devices, ever.
    Getting the timing of the wind just right was a hell of a lot of work. The IT department just kept asking Me to create more powerful computers to run the simulation.
    #81
    Posted by: frog, Inc. Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 12:20 PM
    Sajanas: Some people believe (I used to) that there are certain signs in that region of the Arabian peninsula that may point to some small evidence of the Biblical tale of Moses.
    The problem with these concepts is that obviously at some point something that in someway was similar must have happened -- people tell stories based on what they can imagine, and act based on that same imagination. So there must have been a thousand times that some group of Egyptians decided to head out from the center of the empire to the edges; there must have been thousands of prophets over the long history of Egypt calling for a separation and a return to a bedouin type lifestyle.
    There must have been 100s of Moses -- just like there were 10s of Jesi in first century Judea.
    And so if all you mean by "Moses" or "Jesus" is the trivial fact that the stories are amalgamations of memes, phrases and stories which came out of real behaviors of multiple people, then sure "it really happened".
    But that's such a trivial "really happened" -- by that standard, Odin really hung from the tree of wisdom, Krishna was real, ...
    #82
    Posted by: Frankosaurus, Cupcake of Death Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 12:26 PM
    as hard as it may sound, I think one may be able to mount a defence for such scientifically flawed writing as valuable.
    Consider, for instance, about the joy PZ maintains, (and others on this blog too), about pointing out the stupidity of the reasoning involved. Obviously, I would agree that stretching the bounds of scientific reasoning to fit a mythical story isn't at all appropriate, and ultimately begins with the faulty premise that religious truth is commensurate with truth in all its varieties of establishment, including empirical justification (and it is this defensiveness of motive that is, as PZ says, remarkably easy to "see through", or at least diminish an impetus to put further pressure on its claims, as convention would have it).
    However, I think there is a kernal of truth from the old lit crit departments who study language, meaning, and identity to say that the circulation of scientific knowledge is not self-sufficient, but does engage in a requisite process of repetition in order to attain some stable social currency. Translation - the process of being attuned to faulty reasoning is, rather than the stuff of things to be banished at the outset, nonetheless important to afffirm, confirm, the goals, methods, and mindset of the discursive exercise known as science.
    Now if there is one thing we all know, it is that scientific precision of thought is a fragile enterprise to say the least, and practicing it also involves an expansive awareness of what is isn't (the element of repetition I alluded to being more an observance of the fact that the "awareness" in this regard isn't at all new, but has a function of affirming a certain status of thought). Yet it is through this lens that we can ultimately question PZ's final proclamation to creationists: "stop trying to be scientists." From a purely objective stance, whatever PZ has established science to be has been through refuting what it isn't. Thus it makes no sense to say "stop trying to be scientists" because the attempt to be one has resulted in the flourishing insights provided.
    One may object and say that PZ is saying this more with an understandable frustration than a dictatorial hammer, but I think it at least brings light on the fact that "reason" concommitantly subsumes "unreason" (or as the deconstructionists would say, bears the "trace" of its opposite), and thus acts to undermine assertions of correctness, no matter how loudly they are trumpetted.
    In practice, however, this does not condone the thinking that "bad science" should thus be given equal or at all "any" space within the scientific journals, but rather that in upholding the supposition that any meaningful, intrinsic, or otherwise privileged distance between science and non-science is an approximation conditioned by, ironically, myth that can be evaluated by the dramatic (or lack thereof) response that can be elicited. And in fact, this is what we actually observe:
    "Woo hoo, I say, unenthusiastically. This is an utterly trivial result, and the paper doesn't seem to have anything of general use to say."
    So, to conclude, no beefs with PZ's analysis about the flaws abounding in the moses science, but just general observations about science generally as it circulates within and is undermined by its contextual placement. Or, perhaps more succinctly put, is creationism and the like as good for science as it is bad for it?
    #83
    Posted by: Gregory Greenwood Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 12:30 PM
    It doesn't even make sense from the perspective of a believer. So one of the great miracles of the Bible is being reduced to a meteorological fluke with an entirely natural explanation?
    Ah, but remember that to a True Believer(TM) none of this was a "fluke". It may seem like a highly unlikely combination of topography and meterological conditions, but it occurred because goddidit, naturally...
    There is a whole sub-class of theists who are always trying to point to supposedly naturalistic explanations for alleged biblical 'miracles', just so that they can then say that the sky fairy used existing, known physical forces to affect the miraculous end. The supposed awe comes from the idea that the sky daddy has such ultimate power over the natural world that it can cause all the necessary environmental factors to coincide to cause a particular seemingly miraculous event without actually overtly fracturing any laws of physics. For some reason, this kind of blather is considered more "sophisticated" then the approach that simply states that god got his magic mojo on and poofed the "miracle" into being.
    It seems like a really round about way of going about things for an omnipotent being, but from the theist perspective it has the advantage of reducing their putative god's 'supernatural footprint'. If god used known physical forces to acheive its ends, then there is not going to be any evidence that anything supernatural happened, and so the absence of this evidence is not seen as a telling blow against the idea of god by theists. It is the version of an evidential 'gotcha' used by idiots. "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence", and any number of variations on the theme that theists use to try to demand that rationalists prove a negative about a concept of deity that is created to be as unfalsifiable as possible.
    The really sad part? They actually think that they have the scientific world stumped. They believe that this moronic piece of pseudo-logic is the height of dazzling genius. Dunning-Kruger strikes again!
    #84
    Posted by: Rev. BigDumbChimp Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 12:31 PM
    Or, perhaps more succinctly put, is creationism and the like as good for science as it is bad for it?
    In some ways I'm sure it is but in other ways it undermines science in the public eye.
    I'm not sure if the damage that Creationists, anti-vaxxers, and general wooists do to the trust that science has built with the public is outweighed by the exercises that science has to go through to refute the poor critical thinking and irrationality of those groups.

    Actually, I'm pretty sure it doesn't.
    #85
    Posted by: Finch Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 12:48 PM
    You can't think of a reason why the office of naval research wouldn't want to find a way to part a sea?
    Come on, you could turn that into a really cool weapon. Sink a boat without damaging it. Trap a submarine trying to sneak into an area it's not supposed to be without using a major sonar net. Heck that much water displacement, you could be on the way to building a tsunami machine, which would be a devastating WMD.
    That being said, I really doubt we'll be at that tech level during our lifetimes. And it would probably take more power than it would be worth.
    #86
    Posted by: Gregory Greenwood Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 12:50 PM
    frankosaurus @ 82;
    Or, perhaps more succinctly put, is creationism and the like as good for science as it is bad for it?
    The trouble with creationist 'arguments' and all other forms of woo, is that they are like something out of Night of the Living Dead. No matter how conclusively they are debunked, they always seem to pop up again like nothing happened. These kinds of anti-intellectual movements are not interested in finding out the facts of what actually happened.
    They are fundamentally hostile to any rational attempt to discover the objective truth. Instead, they propogate a nonsense explanation in the place of the reality of the world in pursuit of either the gratification of the adherents of that brand of woo that don't want to deal with reality or, worse, the power of the leadership caste of the woo movement. This is problematic because some of these forms of woo now have influence enough to try to curtail scientific endeavour or to seek to corrupt sceintific authority into a rank melange of pseudo-science in service to giving a thin veneer of credibility to their delusions.
    I do not think that its hyperbole to say that, in some areas, we are now seeing a concerted attempt to roll back the Enlightenment itself. Science, and indeed reason itself, is now in a knife fight with the various types of wooist. Make no mistake, the proponents of woo would like nothing better than to be able to sell their snake oil without scientifically determined facts raining on their parade. The very future of rigorous science may be at stake. There is nothing that is 'good' for science about this current dire state of affairs.
    #87
    Posted by: rlrrlrll Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 1:06 PM
    Why would the Red Sea even need to be crossed when going from Egypt to the Sinai?
    #88
    Posted by: frog, Inc. Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 1:08 PM
    Gregory: The very future of rigorous science may be at stake.
    Imagine second century Rome -- centuries of attempts to put knowledge into a rational structure, of awareness of the contingency of human existence and our part in creating knowledge.
    Then BLAM. The economy goes into a millenium long slide, the wooists go from being traditional ways of self-flogging into full on Christianism -- and it'll take another 1100 years before Bruno is willing to sacrifice himself on a pyre to say, fuck it, I'm making this shit up.
    #89
    Posted by: Abdul Alhazred Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 1:13 PM
    @#38
    ... the Flood (just a local one, not covering the entire world) ...

    An infidel in spite of all the godbottery then?
    How local? It's old "higher criticism" that the flood story was a real flood that got bigger with each re-telling.
    I like the version in Ovid's metamorphoses better.
    #90
    Posted by: rlrrlrll Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 1:15 PM
    Who was Moses's Pharaoh?
    Yul Brynner
    #91
    Posted by: Celtic_Evolution Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 1:15 PM
    rlrrlrll -
    Why would the Red Sea even need to be crossed when going from Egypt to the Sinai?
    My former priest explained that very question to me some 25 years ago by implying that they wouldn't, under normal circumstances... they would have made their way in a north-eastward heading and gone around the Red Sea's northern edge into the Sinai, but Moses intentionally led them the quickest route directly eastward to the red sea, knowing god would help him and his people cross, and destroy the pursuing army.
    That's supposed to be part of the "miracle".
    I know... I didn't buy it either.
    #92
    Posted by: Crystal Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 1:16 PM
    Maybe some worth can be found in is work looking at wind and water once it has been stripped of biblical connotations. Even if his interest was in the bible I am surprised he didn’t just write a paper on wind and water and then make the connections in his church bulletin.
    #93
    Posted by: Abdul Alhazred Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 1:20 PM
    BTW,
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reed_Sea
    #94
    Posted by: Abdul Alhazred Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 1:24 PM
    So if "exaggeration" is a pious enough explanation, a few guys crossed some mud flats and some soldiers pursuing them got stuck.
    Not saying even that really happened but ...
    #95
    Posted by: Antagonizer Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 1:39 PM
    I just talked to Drew via email, and he claims he performed this research ON HIS OWN TIME. I intend to write to NCAR and request and audit of his time there to verify that he used no government funded resources, and also to inquire why NCAR's name was attached to this research in any way shape or form.
    I suggest you all do the same.
    #96
    Posted by: jen Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 1:47 PM
    And so if all you mean by "Moses" or "Jesus" is the trivial fact that the stories are amalgamations of memes, phrases and stories which came out of real behaviors of multiple people, then sure "it really happened".But that's such a trivial "really happened" -- by that standard, Odin really hung from the tree of wisdom, Krishna was real, ...

    Arthur really did send out his men to search for the Holy Grail, and along the way they really did encounter the Knights Who Say Ni?
    #97
    Posted by: Tim Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 1:52 PM
    Kev ... @47
    "- Chariot wheels in the Red Sea"
    There was a fellow posting to Talk.Origins in the late '90s who promoted this idea. (PZ might remember him.) I will not reveal his name, and even to this day he is referred to as McNameless, which is short for "The one whose name shall never be uttered ever again", IIRC.
    If any of you happens to remember him, please don't break the spell and reveal his name.
    :)
    #98
    Posted by: Rashbam Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 1:54 PM
    Can the computer model explain why there are only 7 plagues in the JE strand?
    #99
    Posted by: wilsim Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 2:08 PM
    Haven't read all the comments yet.
    Just wanted to say that while i was reading the post i remembered a show on the history channel a few years ago. Science of the bible or something.
    Same exact premise, a strong steady wind blowing from a consistent direction can move water, as if that was any mystery.
    The rest of the show was apologists. If i remember right, the story was REALLY supposed to be moses parting the REED Sea, not the RED Sea, the bible just reads as RED Sea because of an early mistype... LOL.
    Anyway, it doesn't surprise me a bit something like this article could get published in a scientific journal. Was bound to happen eventually, and it'll probably happen again.
    Keep exposing them and tearing them to pieces PZ.
    #100
    Posted by: Franklin Percival Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 2:13 PM
    Never mind god! What about mammon? For so long as we are prepared to suffer a global system of fiduciary currencies which require faith and high priests who are quite capable of telling tall stories even unto one another, only to be rewarded therefor with silver and much fine gold, why should we object to dogs that require ‘market confidence’ and bwankers rewarded on an equally magnificent basis?
    I have no disagreement with most of what is posted in this thread. I merely question what appears to me to be an instance of tunnel vision.
    #101
    Posted by: willvv.myopenid.com Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 2:49 PM
    This is funny.
    I actually saw a TV show on Discovery Channel Latin America a few months ago with this exact topic.
    I can't believe the stupidities Discovery is presenting...
    #102
    Posted by: glenister_m Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 2:54 PM
    I was disappointed to see an article on this very story in my morning "paper" (free one given on transit in Vancouver). I thought it was kind of pointless at the time, and was reminded of Penn & Teller's discussion on the same topic in Bullsh*t.
    ('Reed Sea' instead of 'Red Sea', and if it was just freak weather, where is the miracle?)
    #103
    Posted by: masksoferis Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 3:09 PM
    Mmm. Isn't this the second kind of Biblical criticism, the slightly desperate "well obviously there were stepping stones just under the water surface" kind? The kind that was fashionable between the monster raving loony "it's all true, the giants and dragons too!" kind and the increasingly vague "true lies / this is a tale that grew in the telling" kind?
    People do strange things trying to cross-eyedly find a comfortable spot between "it's all made up!" and "just read between the absolutely true lines!", indeed.
    As for fantasy worldbuilding, ehh, something that random is poor fantasy. (Then again, so is an omnipotent all-benevolent god; good luck working up excitement with that in the wings!) If by some weird mistake I was to write it, there would be a goat sacrifice and foamy shapes of horses and millstones too in the waters. And the pharaoh would be invisible and have an iron crown and eyes of fire and the Egyptian soldiers would be ghosts ---
    And, come to think of it, the Ark of the Covenant should rather be a golden ring. Dammit.
    #104
    Posted by: Tulse Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 3:13 PM
    And, come to think of it, the Ark of the Covenant should rather be a golden ring.
    But then what would Indiana Jones find? Just a note from Frodo?
    #105
    Posted by: Antagonizer Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 3:16 PM
    I just had to blob this because its such a blatant corrupt misuse of federal funds.
    #106
    Posted by: masksoferis Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 3:30 PM
    @ Tulse in #104: (from "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ring")
    Colonel Musgrove: Where the Ring of the Covenant was kept, right?
    Indiana: That's exactly what the Nazis are looking for.
    Major Eaton: Now what does this Ring look like? A small, roundish thing, I assume?
    Indiana: Uh... there's a picture of it right here.
    [opens a book on the table]
    Indiana: That's it.
    [they all look at an illustration of Moses Isildoreldur devastating his enemies with the Ring]
    Major Eaton: Good God!
    Brody: Yes, that's just what the Hebrews thought.
    Colonel Musgrove: [pointing to a beam of light] Uh, now what's that supposed to be coming out of there?
    Indiana: Lightning. Fire. Elvish magic. The flame of Udun, the fire of Anor, the power of God or something.
    Major Eaton: I'm beginning to understand Hitler's interest in this.
    Brody: Oh, yes. The Bible speaks of the Ring covering all the lands in a second darkness, and controlling the nine rings of the Phoenicians, the seven rings of the Hittites, and even the three rings of the Neo-Assyrians. An army which carries the Ring before it... is invincible.
    Indiana: Against Phoenicians, Hittites and Neo-Assyrians at least.
    #107
    Posted by: https://me.yahoo.com/a/UkLEKJR13fxwAauaRHCtLpTx18JLLD4pCJh0pM4-#7bcff Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 3:33 PM
    Their god is an omni-everything, universe spanning entity. It can do anything including be a Trinity, whatever that is.
    This is interesting, because I was actually thinking of compiling a list of things god apparently can't do.
    1. Author a book of describing the universe and his idea of morality that any human can understand. Why don't we all just receive a personalized copy of this book at birth. It would be written in a language we would understand, and the content personalized in a way that each human would understand fully the meaning.
    Who's up for #2?
    #108
    Posted by: Tulse Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 3:41 PM
    from "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ring"
    OMG. A thousand times yes. Do you think WETA can shrink Harrison Ford down to hobbit-sized?
    #109
    Posted by: masksoferis Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 3:51 PM
    Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ring --- "Hobbits. Why'd it have to be hobbits?"
    #110
    Posted by: raven Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 4:01 PM
    1. Author a book of describing the universe and his idea of morality that any human can understand. Why don't we all just receive a personalized copy of this book at birth. It would be written in a language we would understand, and the content personalized in a way that each human would understand fully the meaning.Who's up for #2?
    These days the book would be readable on a cell phone or ereader.
    Make animals in his own image that don't constantly screw up so he has to keep genociding them.
    Doesn't do well against Iron Chariots.
    Is afraid of mortals who build crude towers on flat plains.
    Is so tenuous his followers keep veering off to follow the other gods.
    Can't keep the fallen angels in line much less the demons.

    #111
    Posted by: 'Tis Himself, Designated Economist Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 4:26 PM
    nejishiki #64
    "The crossing remains open for 7.4 hours under 33 m/s winds, but these stronger winds may render walking too difficult for a mixed group of people."
    For those not used to thinking of winds in meters per second, 33 m/s is 118 km/h, 73 mph, 64 knots, and Beaufort Force 12 (Hurricane).
    #112
    Posted by: David Marjanović Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 4:52 PM
    A better paper would be why people continue to believe in this nonsense after it is conclusively disproven.
    Because nobody tells them it's disproven.
    Never mind god! What about mammon? For so long as we are prepared to suffer a global system of fiduciary currencies which require faith
    Are you seriously advocating a return to the gold standard???
    You haven't got the foggiest idea what a horrible deflation would follow. Money is worth what we're willing to pay for money, and gold is worth what we're willing to pay for gold; gold has uses other than as coins, so it can't be worth the same as money, and when people pretend otherwise, deflation occurs again and again and again.
    There are lots and lots of examples from history where a silver coin was nominally worth 30 copper coins but in reality could only be bought for 31.
    #113
    Posted by: 'Tis Himself, Designated Economist Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 5:01 PM
    Franklin Percival #100
    For so long as we are prepared to suffer a global system of fiduciary currencies which require faith and high priests who are quite capable of telling tall stories even unto one another, only to be rewarded therefor with silver and much fine gold, why should we object to dogs that require ‘market confidence’ and bwankers rewarded on an equally magnificent basis?
    Do you really want me to explain how fiat currency works and why going back to the gold standard would be an absolutely terrible idea? Just say the word.
    #114
    Posted by: 'Tis Himself, Designated Economist Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 5:17 PM
    David Marjanović #112
    There are lots and lots of examples from history where a silver coin was nominally worth 30 copper coins but in reality could only be bought for 31.
    This is known as Gresham's Law. It's one of the oldest economic theories ever enunciated.
    As for Gresham himself, he observed "that good and bad coin cannot circulate together" in a letter written to Queen Elizabeth on the occasion of her accession in 1558. The statement was part of Gresham's explanation for the "unexampled state of badness" England's coinage had been left in following the "Great Debasements" of Henry VIII and Edward VI, which reduced the metallic value of English silver coins to a small fraction of what that value had been at the time of Henry VII. It was owing to these debasements, Gresham observed to the Queen, that "all your ffine goold was convayd ought of this your realm."
    #115
    Posted by: thomas.paul Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 5:28 PM
    Why did this research need to be done now? It has been known for more than 100 years that occasionally winds dry up the sea near the Gulf of Suez. From Wikipedia:
    Major-General Sir Alexander Bruce Tulloch witnessed a wind setdown event on Lake Manzala in 1882. While he was surveying along the Suez Canal, a gale from the east blew in and continued overnight. In the morning he reported that Lake Manzala had receded 7 miles to the northwest, driven there by the force of the wind. The lake-bed was now mud, and the local fishermen were walking about among their grounded boats. Tulloch immediately made a connection to "the passage of the so-called Red Sea by the Israelites." He eventually concluded that crossing took place in "the broad shallows at the then head of the Red Sea, viz., the north end of the Bitter Lake"
    #116
    Posted by: MadScientist Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 7:29 PM
    Goddamn, I thought people have given up on the "science supports the bible stories" bullshit 200 years ago.
    #117
    Posted by: Norway Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 7:33 PM
    This came up on the View this morning (I just had it on as background noise, I swear--well, and I love Joy). Sherri was having none of it: God did it. Elizabeth was all, "yes, but who was behind the wind..." Joy said something like,"I don't understand how you can believe so completely in God."
    #118
    Posted by: Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 7:46 PM
    And PZ goes for another snipe at the fantasy genre. He apparently didn't learn last time. :D
    I read that as a snipe at trying to over-science fantasy. Even I rolled my eyes a little when Star Ocean provided a 'reason' that dragons could breathe fire, for instance.
    #119
    Posted by: Rheb-El Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 7:49 PM
    This BS was on the ABC news at 6 tonight, with Diane Sawyer touting the work of this "scientist"...I pledge to switch to getting my nightly news elsewhere.
    #120
    Posted by: Andyjunction Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 9:05 PM
    How can something that takes the need for a god out of the equation be bad? The whole point here seems to be that no supernatural explanation is needed for something purported to be miraculous. Sounds like a win for reason to me.
    #121
    Posted by: dannystevens.myopenid.com Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 9:21 PM
    Unbelievable. This BS was in this mornings local rag here on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Oz. It had a colour drawing of moze baby parting the red sea.
    We have Sunshine airing a 'debate' between two proponents of chaplains in public schools yesterday. We have had pope Nazi throwing around BS for days. The republicans block the bill to repeal DADT. I smell a campaign a'brewing on all fronts!
    #123
    Posted by: mikeyB Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 10:47 PM
    It occurs to me that you could create ad hoc rationalizations for any Bible story
    Its been done lots of times - recently
    Black Sea Deluge Theory
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Sea_deluge_theory
    Ryan Pittman sensationalist book
    Star of Bethlehem as astronomical object
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_of_bethlehem#Astronomical_object
    He still needs to explain Exodus 12:37-39 in which 600,000 Hebrews fled Egypt. With women and children it may have been 2 1/2 million.
    If they marched ten abrest, the line may have been 150 miles long, imagine the logistics of distributing Manna, setting up tents, not to mention midwives.
    What sort of natural occurance can we concoct to explain that.
    #124
    Posted by: lenoxuss Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 11:19 PM
    I'm surprised there's been no mention of the most common form of this, although it's not a "pure" example. The creationists' "vapor canopy" is partly meant to serve as an answer to "Where did all the water in The Flood come from?"
    When I first heard of that, I thought, Huh? Why would creationists build a naturalistic explanation for the origin of the water? How does that even make sense — God makes an enormous cloud exactly such that it will precipitate when humans start getting too sinful? You have to bring God's causation into it at some point anyway, so why wouldn't he just Goddify the water into existence?
    Older and wiser, I now get that the reason for the canopy is that the Bible repeatedly references the "waters above the Earth" (discussing them as something more than your everyday clouds) and explicitly says that these waters were the source of the flood.
    Of course, what the original writers had in mind was a bunch of water that surrounds the firmament, a solid dome which includes all the stars. This fits right in with Canaanite and other ancient Near Eastern cosmology.
    As Genesis informs us, everything was originally chaotic water "without form", and God had to divide this water to get anything done. 1:6-7 says "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it.
    Even the wildest creationists are unwilling to take their literalism all the way here, as it strongly implies a flat Earth, among other things. (Or do any of them insist the Earth's core is water, not molten rock?)
    #125
    Posted by: jschmeau Author Profile Page | September 22, 2010 11:41 PM
    I have a hard time breathing if I hang my head out the window of a moving car. I can't imagine breathing normally in, much less walking through, a biblical god-wind of the velocities needed to separate a shallow body of water. But then, I guess that's probably part of the "miracle".
    #126
    Posted by: j-brisby Author Profile Page | September 23, 2010 2:36 AM
    #127
    Posted by: Cosmic Teapot Author Profile Page | September 23, 2010 6:01 AM
    If they marched ten abrest, the line may have been 150 miles long, imagine the logistics of distributing Manna, setting up tents, not to mention midwives.
    Indeed. We have remains of neolithic camps where bands of about 100 people camped (thousands of years before the world was allegedly created), yet not one sign of the exodus.
    #128
    Posted by: Usagichan Author Profile Page | September 23, 2010 8:00 AM
    I thought that at the time of Exodus, the kingdom of Egypt stretched Northwards almost as far as modern Syria, certainly to the Northern part of Lebanon. But the later writers of the divine claim staking parts of the Babble didn't know their history and anyway wouldn't have let such a Godless thing as the truth get in the way of their land grab.
    #129
    Posted by: Markita Lynda: Healthcare is a damn right Author Profile Page | September 23, 2010 9:19 AM
    Tulse, did you like how Velikovsky casually switched the comet's hydrocarbons into carbohydrates as it went by?
    #130
    Posted by: Steven Dunlap Author Profile Page | September 23, 2010 9:58 AM
    @ lenoxuss #124
    Even the wildest creationists are unwilling to take their literalism all the way here, as it strongly implies a flat Earth, among other things. (Or do any of them insist the Earth's core is water, not molten rock?)


    Sadly yes, and thunderf00t has engaged one on YouTube. Although the creationist has taken his videos down, you can watch God to redefine physics in 5 days? to catch the flavor of the crazy. And look at Nephilimfree's eyes too: they pretty much convince me that this guy has gone off his meds. He's the sort of person who starts talking on the bus to no one in particular then everyone studiously avoids making eye-contact with him. And don't ask about the headphones - nobody knows why he wears them.
    #131
    Posted by: Ing: Od Wet Rust Author Profile Page | September 23, 2010 10:17 AM
    He needs to wear the headphones. They're the only thing that provides a modicum of relief from the CONSTANT DRUMMING! CAN YOU HEAR THE DRUMS!? TELL ME YOU HEAR THE DRUMS, THUNDERFOOT!
    #132
    Posted by: William M. Connolley Author Profile Page | September 23, 2010 5:43 PM
    PZ: you know (professionally) nothing about hydrodynamics. If this paper passed your desk for review, your only correct response would be to decline on the grounds of lack of competence.
    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2010/09/strange_stuff_from_pharyngula.php
    Some of the comments on this thread are appalling. In particular I intend to write to NCAR and request and audit of his time there to verify that... looks very much like the kind of harassment that cliamte scientists have been subjected to by the septics.
    This is a harmless little paper. It may well not be great science, but if anything it deserves gentle mockery not vitriol.
    #133
    Posted by: Antagonizer Author Profile Page | September 23, 2010 6:21 PM
    William, he used his federal employment grant and federally funded supercomputers to pursue an idiotic project that has no bearing on federal science issues. He should be fired for that alone.
    This isn't about science, it's about the bible. The fact that you liken that to embarrassment of climate scientists doing research that is vital to the security of the United States of America make you look like a complete idiot. Are you American?
    If not, shut the fuck up, and let US handle it.
    #134
    Posted by: irenedelse Author Profile Page | September 23, 2010 6:50 PM
    @ William M. Connolley: I wonder, did you defend also the author of that paper in the SJM about the identification of flu as one of the diseases cured by Jesus, some time ago? IIRC, the journal retracted it after the outcry it garnered them. Another story of bad science being published because of the journals need for publicity, obviously.
    #135
    Posted by: Birger Johansson Author Profile Page | September 23, 2010 7:04 PM
    -What´s the big deal?
    It is perfectly possible that mud flats were once exposed in the manner described, and the locals would later have used the event as a kernel around which they built a myth about someone "parting the sea" with an enemy in pursuit drowning as the water poured back in (dangerous currents around the Messina strait might likewise have inspired the story about Scylla and Charybdis).
    The proto-jews then incorporated the story into their mythology, just as they incorporated the Mesopotamian flood myth during the Babylonian exile.
    Stealing good stories is extremely common among religions, amd a seemingly miraculous parting of the sea is a good story.
    I might likewise write a paper about some natural event inspiring parts of the Norse mythology, but it would not mean I was trying to recruit followers for Thor or Odin!!!
    #136
    Posted by: Nerd of Redhead, OM Author Profile Page | September 23, 2010 7:17 PM
    This is a harmless little paper. It may well not be great science, but if anything it deserves gentle mockery not vitriol.
    If it in any way promotes the creationist agenda, it deserves more than any vitriol we give it here. If it is that earthbreaking of paper, why not Science or Nature.
    Since creationists can't stand the rigor the true peer reviewed literature, they try to sidestep it. We skeptics know that. The gullible don't.
    #137
    Posted by: Markita Lynda: Healthcare is a damn right Author Profile Page | September 23, 2010 8:34 PM
    It seems to me that the paper about zombies was published on some student's personal page; it was not published by a journal of any kind. So it's not a valid comparison.
    #138
    Posted by: Markita Lynda: Healthcare is a damn right Author Profile Page | September 23, 2010 8:51 PM
    I was WRONG! It was published and it explores examples of various mathematical models. Under the right conditions, real diseases could be plugged into these models.
    #139
    Posted by: thingsbreak Author Profile Page | September 23, 2010 9:33 PM
    I second @132. This seems entirely wrong-headed.
    The idea of PZ reviewing this is absurd, the threat of demanding an audit of the author's time is eerily reminiscent of the crap the denialists pull, and the proposition that because something is alleged to occur in the Bible it shouldn't be investigated by modern science is precisely the opposite of what I would assume rational skeptics would propose.
    There have been a legion of attempts to test the plausibility of physical phenomena that appear in religious texts/oral traditions. They can be a valuable source of scientific investigation. The tone of many of these comments smacks of the same tribalism and groupthink that the same commentors claim to abhor.
    Krajick, K. (2005): Tracking myth to geological reality. Science, 310, 762–764, doi:10.1126/science.310.5749.762.
    #140
    Posted by: Forbidden Snowflake Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 2:58 AM
    and the proposition that because something is alleged to occur in the Bible it shouldn't be investigated by modern science is precisely the opposite of what I would assume rational skeptics would propose.
    How would you feel about research that analyzes the possibility of a pumpkin turning into a coach?
    #141
    Posted by: Chris Ho-Stuart Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 5:17 AM
    Forbidden Snowflake; I think the point is that you don't simply judge the research on the topic in the way you suggest.
    So what if it proposes or debunks a particular idea for how a myth could arise from a historical event? I can't imagine anything comparable for the pumpkin, but I strongly object to ruling all scientific consideration of how a myth might develop merely because myths are off limits!
    Are we proposing that examination of such things are off limits to science? Surely not! Or are we predeclaring the only permissible conclusions without looking at the paper on its own merits? That's even worse -- completely counter to the proper scientific/skeptical/rational approach.
    I don't see on the face of it any reason this paper should be rejected merely because of the topic. Myths are not off limits to consideration by interested scientists.
    By the way, as PZ quotes, the paper explicitly says "The present study treats the Exodus 14 narrative as an interesting and ancient story of uncertain origin." That's exactly how see it.
    I think it unlikely that there is any historical seed which grew into the story, myself; but by no means can I rule it out. There is an interest in plausible or otherwise notions of how a myth may have originated in a historical event, and the paper makes reference to earlier similar physically based proposals, as well as to non-myth related more general implications.
    It's an odd paper; sure. But I don't see that it makes anyone look particularly bad. I've seen heaps worse papers published.
    #142
    Posted by: Antagonizer Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 8:34 AM
    The idea of PZ reviewing this is absurd, the threat of demanding an audit of the author's time is eerily reminiscent of the crap the denialists pull, and the proposition that because something is alleged to occur in the Bible it shouldn't be investigated by modern science is precisely the opposite of what I would assume rational skeptics would propose.
    I'm not proposing that he shouldn't investigate the bible you fucking twit, I'm saying the US government shouldn't be FUNDING him to investigate bible stories, asshole. He lied to me about his funding. I'm a US citizen. I have a right to complain about it. So with all due respect, go fuck yourself. Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is approaching 400 ppm, that's well on its way to disruptive, even catastrophic climate change, and this fuckwad is using government funded payroll and facilities to INVESTIGATE BIBLE STORIES. That sir, is a crime.
    #143
    Posted by: Antagonizer Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 8:38 AM
    But I don't see that it makes anyone look particularly bad.
    Actually, it makes YOU look bad when you apologize for some asshole using United States government funding at a federally funded scientific institution to investigate bible stories, when the United States is facing severely disruptive climate change. I can think of far more important and valuable use of federal funds, just offhand.
    Again, YOU LOOK LIKE THE ASSHOLE THAT YOU ARE.
    #144
    Posted by: Rhinanthus Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 9:03 AM
    Consider this hypothetical case: In the Harry Potter books the "Death Eaters" (evil wizards) make a huge skull appear in the clouds by saying some magic words. Do you think that a scientific journal would publish a paper in which the author shows how the Death Eaters accomplish this feat by their magic words manipulating known atmospheric dynamics? Might not the fact that the book is just a children's story and and that there are no skulls appearing in the clouds affect the justification for publishing the mathematical model in a science (as opposed to a mathematics) journal?
    Well, outside of the Bible there is no evidence for Moses, for the flight of the Isrealites and certainly no evidence for the Red (or Reed) Sea parting. There is lots of empirical evidence that it didn't happen.
    Demonstrating a theoretical explanation for a non-existant phenomenon is not science (with appologies to string theorists...).
    #145
    Posted by: Chris Ho-Stuart Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 9:49 AM
    Hi Antagnoizer (#143). Appropriate name, by the way, but I'm not biting. I don't antagonize easily, and I think the asshole epithet probably fits better the person who is being explicitly insulting in all capitals. Let's try and leave that aside, hey?
    You mention global warming. I agree that this is a vital issue. I'm involved in that subject as well, and earlier this year was co-author on a paper published to refute a bit of denialist nonsense that somehow got into "International Journal of Modern Physics". See This link for our paper.
    The main motivation for denial of the basic science behind global warming appears to be, as far as I can tell, political. The root of most objection to the science of climate appears to be a deep philosophical need to object to anything which might lead to government regulation of industry, in any way. This motivates many of the authors of denialist material, and the general public is often really confused on who to trust.
    I have a great interest in helping to deal with that. I really REALLY appreciate the excellent work PZ does here when he directs his snark onto this topic of climate science denial; there's a rich vein of lunacy there as good as the creationist and ID nonsense that we all used to tackle at talk.origins.
    Of course, I don't expect PZ to make this the only topic he deals with! Neither do I think there is anything wrong with defending the academic freedom of individuals working on topics other than global warming.
    The great irony here, which others have noted, is that this same "federal funding" nonsense is often used by climate science deniers to harass scientists who are doing work on climate!
    It's well worth, in my opinion, standing firmly for the principle of academic freedom. Someone committed to the progress of science is -- I suggest -- not really understanding how science works when they try to direct every last scientist into work that they personally approve of. Similarly, it is a bad misunderstanding of the implications of federal funding to say that this gives you a way to constrain the activities of science to fit some religion or non-religious agenda.
    Science doesn't work at ALL well by herding everyone into the subject we deem most important, or denigrating scientists who look at other topics.
    Similarly, the erosion of religion and superstition by science (which I expect to continue) is best enabled by standing back and NOT declaring in advance how scientists must approach the issue. There's NOTHING wrong with scientists looking at possible physical naturalistic events that may be the seed for stories in the bible -- either to debunk or to propose some actual credible physical event.
    I don't think this paper is actually going to do anything to help religion on its own terms, but whether it does or not -- let scientists have at the subject however they like. That's going to work MUCH better (IMO) than regulating what scientists are allowed to study under federal funding.
    I'm an atheist, myself. I've been called an "accommodationalist" or words to that effect; but in fact I am no less "accommodating" of strident atheism than of christians at work as scientists.
    Let the science stand or fall on its own intrinsic merits. Science showing a possible naturalistic event that might be a historical seed to a biblical or other myth is not any less science because of that association; and letting science do its own thing will certainly erode other aspects of the story (such as the impossibly large numbers of people in the Exodus).
    Cheers -- Chris
    #146
    Posted by: Ing: Od Wet Rust Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 9:55 AM
    @Chris
    Spending money on an issue that is opposed politically but has empirical evidence =/= spending money on an issue that is demonstrably false.
    In fact it's the inverse. The only reason the Moses Science (Exodology) is published and not say a study looking into the scientific explanation for Kali The Destroyer, despite evidence is BECAUSE of strong political support for the view. For the same reason that stopping GW funding is bad science, promoting this is bad science.
    #147
    Posted by: thingsbreak Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 9:58 AM
    I'm not proposing that he shouldn't investigate the bible you fucking twit, I'm saying the US government shouldn't be FUNDING him to investigate bible stories, asshole. He lied to me about his funding. I'm a US citizen. I have a right to complain about it. So with all due respect, go fuck yourself.
    The swearing might feel like righteous venting to you, bud, but to me it makes you look like an hysterical teen that can't justify his arguments rationally and substitutes invective.
    If someone wants to use an event from myth as the peg for a hydrodynamic modeling study, so what? In what way does that make it a "waste" of funding? You can't just blubber, "But...but...but teh Bibels!!1!" as if that's an argument. I don't know that I would go so far as to call geophysical studies addressing mythic events routine, but they are sure as hell not unprecedented.
    If someone wanted to use precloumbian myths to investigate TC or ENSO dynamics, I somehow doubt you'd be reduced to this frothing, spittle-flecked ranting.
    #148
    Posted by: Ing: Od Wet Rust Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 10:02 AM
    @147
    I don't like your tone, I think your strident rudeness, ageism, classism and puritanism just shows you have no argument.
    #149
    Posted by: Antagonizer Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 10:19 AM
    It's well worth, in my opinion, standing firmly for the principle of academic freedom.
    So am I, however, perhaps you didn't notice that the national debt is approaching 14 TRILLION dollars. We need to make some hard decisions, but one of the easier ones I can make is not to fund bible science at our federally funded research institutions. In fact, I would get rid of ANY researcher who wastes federal funding on that kind of nonsense. I know, it's peanuts, but you have to start somewhere.
    And to all those Minnesota and Wisconsin residents effected by severe flooding the last few days, I really feel for you, but the National Science Foundation and the National Center for Atmospheric Research has far more important issues for their researcher few research dollars, and bible science trumps global warming in the new tea bagging republican conservative America.
    #150
    Posted by: Chris Ho-Stuart Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 10:20 AM
    I'm not "promoting" the paper at all. I'm saying that the attacks on the paper are a bit over the top, and the attempt to regulate what science must or must not do is counter productive.
    I don't think this paper would attract any great attention, or would *merit* any great attention, if it were not for a somewhat hysterical set of objections.
    People speaking of "promoting" and "stopping" certain ideas in science miss the point.
    Leave it be. Academic freedom means people -- even with federal funding -- may look into questions for which you may have some philosophical/religious/political commitments. Me also.
    MY point is that objections based on the religion of the author, or other irrelevancies, are a bad precedent. I don't think it is sensible to identify some interference into the academic freedom of scientists as "good" and others as "bad". Global warming -- AND the naturalist response to religious nonsense -- is BOTH best served by allowing that scientists are free to look at the questions they find of interest and to put up for publication and hence for evaluation anything they like with the expectation that it will be considered on its own merits and not on how it aligns with some religious/nonreligious/political/environmental/whatever agenda.
    In my view, academic freedom is a good way to ensure that we deal with climate on its real empirical physical foundation, and ALSO that magical/mythological religious world view will continue to erode.
    #151
    Posted by: Antagonizer Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 10:23 AM
    If someone wants to use an event from myth as the peg for a hydrodynamic modeling study, so what?
    Again, you comprehension challenged retard, I reiterate, Idon't have a problem with that.
    What I do have a problem with is the mention of NSF, NCAR, UCAR and ONR funding in his paper, and I am completely justified in those concerns, just as you feel that bad language is just a horrible injustice to science and the environment, and an insult to the atmosphere itself. I know how important your priorities are to you.
    #152
    Posted by: Antagonizer Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 10:26 AM
    I don't like your tone, I think your strident rudeness, ageism, classism and puritanism just shows you have no argument.
    Awe, did I hurt your widdle feeeeewings wit my bad words? You're right, how can I argue with the first class science exemplified by Mr. Drews breakthrough atmospheric science. What an amazing result. Earth shattering. I can't wait until Jesus reappears to rapture your ass into the heavens.
    #153
    Posted by: Ing: Od Wet Rust Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 10:30 AM
    @152
    Antagonizer you idiot! I wasn't addressing you! You fail reading comprehension. I was on your side you twit.
    #154
    Posted by: thingsbreak Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 10:32 AM
    Again, you comprehension challenged retard, I reiterate, Idon't have a problem with that.What I do have a problem with is the mention of NSF, NCAR, UCAR and ONR funding in his paper
    You conveniently skipped over the part where I addressed that:
    "If someone wants to use an event from myth as the peg for a hydrodynamic modeling study, so what? In what way does that make it a "waste" of funding? You can't just blubber, "But...but...but teh Bibels!!1!" as if that's an argument."
    Demonstrate in what way the science is a waste of funding on the merits of its hydrodynamic modeling. If you have none, then your objection is purely over the peg and irrelevant to the scientific merit of the paper.
    you feel that bad language is just a horrible injustice to science and the environment, and an insult to the atmosphere itself
    Uh... ? That's quite the imagination you've got there. I think profanity is wonderful. Don't confuse my noting your substitution of it for actual argument with a more general disapproval.
    #155
    Posted by: Antagonizer Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 10:40 AM
    Oops, sorry, my apologies. I thought I was the only person who swore around here. I'm outta here.
    I only rant on a subject that interests me for a day or so before I lose interest. I'm rapidly losing interest in attempting to generate enthusiasm among progressives, democrats and independents to get out and vote for a party that is only slightly less corrupt than the opposition.
    #156
    Posted by: Nerd of Redhead, OM Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 10:54 AM
    I'm saying that the attacks on the paper are a bit over the top, and the attempt to regulate what science must or must not do is counter productive.
    And we are saying your cricism of our critism is over the top. Science as an endevour does not have a centralized heirachy. But, it does have a lack of funds, and a limit to number of pages that can be published. Those of us who criticize the paper do so because, 1) the research monies could have been spent on more important tasks, and 2) there is no need for such research. I think it duplicates something from years ago. Yes, winds can clear out shallow areas. But a reality of check of those winds shows that a batch of humans should not be out walking in hurricane/tornado force winds either. Essentially a worthless paper all around.
    #157
    Posted by: Chris Ho-Stuart Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 12:33 PM
    Nerd says: "And we are saying your cricism of our critism is over the top."
    In all seriousness... which criticism of mine do you mean? Let's be specific. I've tried to be specific. I don't mind at all if you have a more specific objection to my remarks, and I am happy to defend them, without animosity. Can we actually engage here?
    No paper is above criticism, but neither is all criticism equally sensible. To be specific: what I consider over the top are:
    * Demands for inquiry into funding agencies.
    * Apparent insistence that any research which might relate to the bible in some way is worthless.
    * An insistence that all research needs to address immediate economic needs given current economic woes... this standard is not at all applied consistently!
    The most plausible legitimate criticism of the paper I have seen is that it doesn't do anything original or significant in hydrodynamics. (In fact, this is the ONLY possible criticism of the paper I have seen that I think is actually worthy of people committed to normal scientific rationalism.)
    But I am not yet persuaded that this is really substantiated.
    To say that the paper only shows winds can expose a mud flat is not correct. It is more than this; at the very least it is a quantified case study for a computer model that can give much more detail related to specific winds and local geography. It looks to me to be giving a case study for a numerically based formal model in specific geographic contexts that can give quantified results for given physical circumstances.
    This is (I think) a significant advance on previously published work on this hypothesis. The idea itself is not new, but the numeric detail is new. I don't think the work is at all earth shattering, but neither is it obviously unworthy of publication as far as I can see. Pretty run of the mill, as science; but it looks publishable to me -- granted I am not well up in hydrodynamics for this to mean much.
    But all the other peripheral criticisms of the paper appear to me to be way off base and strongly antithetical to the normal principles of academic freedom in which science thrives best.
    My major concern is simply prejudging the merits of a paper on matters other than its actual scientific merit. And I most definitely do NOT think that the scientific merit of a paper is determined by whether it happens to look at a possible historical seed for a story out of the bible.
    Nerd, I see only one other comment from you in this thread, at #136. You say:
    If it in any way promotes the creationist agenda, it deserves more than any vitriol we give it here. If it is that earthbreaking of paper, why not Science or Nature.

    Since creationists can't stand the rigor the true peer reviewed literature, they try to sidestep it. We skeptics know that. The gullible don't.
    If I may take that up on its merits.
    You ask why it was not in other journals (Nature and Science). You pick two of the hardest to get into. I don't think it makes any sense to criticize a paper in PLoS ONE because it was not in Nature or Science. I strongly reject the idea that PLoS ONE is not "true peer reviewed scientific literature". I have an interest in cases where peer review fails, and have documented a couple of instances at various times; but this doesn't seem such a case.
    I also think it is completely invalid to say that "anything which promotes the creationist agenda in any way" is deserving of vitriol. Creationists can latch on to all kinds of legitimate ideas and take them well beyond what is sensible.
    It is, it seems, physically possible to give a quantified numeric model to show what winds can allow a land bridge in various locations the Suez region to open. Must this be suppressed because a creationist might latch onto it? That seems to be what you are suggesting, and if so, I think it is completely counter productive.
    Creationism is best addressed by allowing -- nay, encouraging! -- scientists to look at biblical stories, and NOT demanding in advance what answers they must give. Let's leave that to the creationists! Please!
    I'm not defending the paper particularly. It looks okay to me and not something that would be a problem except for the link with Exodus -- which I insist is not a credible basis for criticism. I'm really defending academic freedom.
    The work certainly be criticized on its merits -- but looking only at the topic or the associations is not looking at the scientific merits.
    Cheers -- Chris
    #158
    Posted by: Antagonizer Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 1:02 PM
    but looking only at the topic or the associations is not looking at the scientific merits.
    We aren't criticizing its scientific merits, we're looking at a 14 trillion dollar federal debt, flooding all over the world, Pakistan, Corpus Christie, the Midwest, we're looking at severe future climate and agricultural disruption, and then we are looking at Bible Research at our federally funded scientific institution. In other words, we are looking at its FUNDING MERITS.
    There are none. ZERO. NADA. Plus it total tripe.
    #159
    Posted by: Chris Ho-Stuart Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 1:27 PM
    How do you define "funding merits"? How does this apply to, say, the Mars Rover program, research into details of paleoclimate 250 million years ago, or any number of other scientific research programs without an immediate economic benefit? Do you think all research should be rejected in the present economic circumstances unless it can be shown to have an economic benefit?
    I concede that you might indeed be applying this principle consistently across the range of scientific research, so this is a serious question. I am unsure whether I am dealing with real reasons consistently applied.
    Also:
    If association with the bible is a basis for rejecting a paper, does this apply also for papers that reach conclusions that some aspect of a bible story is not physically possible?
    A fair amount of archaeology looks at matters that have association with biblical stories. Are you proposing funding considerations that are based on whether they serve to support or debunk any particular theological perspective? Or would you suggest that all federal funding of archaeology be suspended until economic conditions improve?
    In my opinion, the only criticism worthy of a genuine scientific or rational mindset is the "plus it total tripe".... except that the basis for this judgments appears spurious and/or unconnected with a genuine evaluation of the work on its merits.
    #160
    Posted by: «bønez_brigade» Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 1:46 PM
    Methinks Moses' moppy mane must've moved mightily.
    #161
    Posted by: «bønez_brigade» Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 1:51 PM
    And, mebets 'Answers Research Journal' feels a bit slighted by the misdirected submission of this groundbreaking discovery.
    #162
    Posted by: hankroberts Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 1:52 PM
    Gasp! Speaking of using government equipment to affirm people's beliefs -- it's not just computers -- you can add radar systems, and the Internet!!
    http://www.norad.mil/about/Santa.html
    and
    http://www.google.com/search?q=norad+ufo
    #163
    Posted by: Antagonizer Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 2:25 PM
    Gasp. It's Hank Roberts - Nobody, Christian apologist and netcop. Why don't you back to RealClimate and Connolley's blog and continue suggesting that people google the names of those whom with you disagree, rather than ahem, participating in the conversation. But I agree, our government and nation has degenerated into a bunch of children engaging in public fantasy. That's a fitting end for a once great nation.
    Or better yet, give us a link to your scientific hypotheses, publications and positions.
    #164
    Posted by: Antagonizer Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 2:29 PM
    How do you define "funding merits"?
    Given a $14 trillion dollar national debt, a constitution mandating the separation of church and state, and an atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration approaching 400 ppm and rising at 2-3 ppm per year, resulting in now clearly observed real time climate disruption, I'm pretty sure it DOESN'T INCLUDE allowing the funding of Christian bible science studies at our once prestigious federally funded scientific institutions.
    #165
    Posted by: Nerd of Redhead, OM Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 2:54 PM
    which I insist is not a credible basis for criticism. I'm really defending academic freedom.
    Like I consider your opinion worth something, since you don't think mine is worth anything. I don't see this as academic freedom. I'm not saying his paper should be retracted. I do say if he possibly misused government funding, he should be investigated for misuse of funds. I'm just saying it is published in the wrong place, a peer reviewed journal.I've been an academic and am well aware of academic freedom. This isn't a case of academic freedom. Academic freedom, like free speech, is not unlimited. I'm also a scientist and have worked 30+ years in the trenches in both academia and industry. There is a need to keep science scientific, which means any and all religious elements are kept out. Science doesn't do religions or imaginary deities. Since the paper brings in religion, it becomes non-scientific, and doesn't belong in the peer reviewed literature. Eliminate the religious references, and PZ and myself have no problems with it where it is.
    Actually, if the author wishes to bring in the babble, scientific honesty requires it to be published in an appropriate journal, say one on biblical archeology, which isn't a straight scientific one.
    #166
    Posted by: SC OM Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 2:58 PM
    What is going on? The considerations for funding and publishing research in specific disciplines are whether the research/findings contribute information or answers to what have been determined to be significant questions in those specific fields. Does this research do this with regard to atmospheric research? If so, what is the contribution? If not, they should not be funded by agencies whose mandate it is to support research on those questions, and if they use money intended for that purpose for other ends it is misappropriation. Does PLoS One have a section on religious or mythological studies? If so, that's where this belongs (although it doesn't appear to acknowledge the archaeology on the subject, so might well be rejected by those scholars). If not, it has no place in the journal.
    #167
    Posted by: Chris Ho-Stuart Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 3:00 PM
    Antagonizer, it was a serious set of specific examples for you, if you wanted to actually deal with with it, intended to clarify your position wrt to funding. You ignored all of them.
    Here's what you missed. What about studies of climate in the deep past? What about research like Mars rovers? These are specific examples I asked about to clarify whether this is ACTUALLY about funding, or whether you are using that as an excuse. You ignored them.
    At this stage I think your non-answers make this abundantly clear. You don't actually have any kind of consistent scientifically based or rationalist or economic perspective on this.
    Similarly, the separation of church and state -- an excellent principle -- does not prevent scientists from looking at possible physical events that may lie behind a biblical story. If you think otherwise, you understand your own legal and constitutional situation as badly as you understand science and rational thought!
    In my view, using the separation principle to prevent scientists with federal funding from looking at possible associations between biblical stories and unexceptional natural causes; or trying to judge in advance research based on a specific religious perspectives; is precisely the wrong approach.
    Religious topics are not off limits to science, and the great strength of science is that it DOESN'T declare in advance the acceptable conclusions on some religious perspective. This open environment is one in which all kinds of ideas gets mooted... and in which atheism thrives.
    #168
    Posted by: Chris Ho-Stuart Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 3:04 PM
    Antagonizer, it was a serious set of specific examples for you, if you wanted to actually deal with with it, intended to clarify your position wrt to funding. You ignored all of them.
    Here's what you missed. What about studies of climate in the deep past? What about research like Mars rovers? These are specific examples I asked about to clarify whether this is ACTUALLY about funding, or whether you are using that as an excuse. You ignored them.
    At this stage I think your non-answers make this abundantly clear. You don't actually have any kind of consistent scientifically based or rationalist or economic perspective on this.
    Similarly, the separation of church and state -- an excellent principle -- does not prevent scientists from looking at possible physical events that may lie behind a biblical story. If you think otherwise, you understand your own legal and constitutional situation as badly as you understand science and rational thought!
    In my view, using the separation principle to prevent scientists with federal funding from looking at possible associations between biblical stories and unexceptional natural causes; or trying to judge in advance research based on a specific religious perspectives; is precisely the wrong approach.
    Religious topics are not off limits to science, and the great strength of science is that it DOESN'T declare in advance the acceptable conclusions on some religious perspective. This open environment is one in which all kinds of ideas gets mooted... and in which atheism thrives.
    #169
    Posted by: SC OM Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 3:37 PM
    It is more than this; at the very least it is a quantified case study for a computer model that can give much more detail related to specific winds and local geography. It looks to me to be giving a case study for a numerically based formal model in specific geographic contexts that can give quantified results for given physical circumstances.
    I'm not even sure what this means, but if you've read the paper you'll see that it uses the model on a terrain that they've reconstructed by various means based on historical and geological research which, as they note, isn't settled. I don't think that can be called a true case study, and its usefulness - even if case studies of these models are needed - is probably nil. (I could well be wrong, but the authors certainly don't suggest anything novel that it adds to the field).
    This is (I think) a significant advance on previously published work on this hypothesis.
    What hypothesis? About Exodus or something in hydrodynamics?
    The idea itself is not new, but the numeric detail is new. I don't think the work is at all earth shattering, but neither is it obviously unworthy of publication as far as I can see.
    In a religious studies journal, perhaps.
    My major concern is simply prejudging the merits of a paper on matters other than its actual scientific merit. And I most definitely do NOT think that the scientific merit of a paper is determined by whether it happens to look at a possible historical seed for a story out of the bible.
    A paper's scientific merit is determined by the value of its contributions to scientific questions of recognized importance, and these are field-specific.
    #170
    Posted by: Antagonizer Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 3:39 PM
    Here's what you missed. What about studies of climate in the deep past? What about research like Mars rovers?
    What about them? I didn't set any criteria for economic benefit for funding certain scientific investigations, I set them for NOT funding certain scientific investigations. A single meteorological event in the deep past is nearly irrelevant, especially since it's only evidence is the writings of a religious book of dubious origin, and it doesn't represent any kind of threat.
    On the other hand, observations of historic novae have obvious benefits to science, as does deep climate and surface conditions on Mars. Since Mars has a weak carbon dioxide atmosphere, is heavily glaciated and has undergone periodic glaciation and deglaciation for millions if not billions of years, I'd say that's totally relevant to climate on the planet Earth. Nearby planets that are observationally accessible are totally relevant to our situation on this planet.
    Likewise, when shit hits the fan, and it most definitely has with respect to climate and weather and discretionary funding on this planet, and in this nation, a lot of stuff has to go, and get this, being the human space flight advocate that I am, I will be the first to admit that human space flight is one of them. Times are tough. Bible science at our federally funded scientific institutions doesn't even come close to making the cut, particularly because it deals with a one time weak and obscure meteorological event in the distant past, which can be readily observed in real time in the real world right now. It's called storm surge.
    On the other hand, studies of historical storm surges (the real deal, not some pansy bible fantasy) and tsunami sediments can easily be justified, since they fall into the realm of current observationally accessible THREATS as well. I hardly am threatened by a 60 to 75 mph setdown, since I have already weathered several category 3 and 4 storms myself, and have observed numerous storm related setdowns and surges in a wide variety of observational settings. Those are calls that the funding agencies must make, and I'd like to know if the funding agencies and the institutional management offices in Mr. Drews case were allowed preview those merits beforehand.
    I've seen a lot of really shitty science pumped up well beyond its credibility by PR nowadays, but Mr. Drews work is way over the top, especially for institutions with the credibility and stature of NCAR, the NSF and the UC - Boulder.
    #171
    Posted by: SC OM Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 3:43 PM
    Similarly, the separation of church and state -- an excellent principle -- does not prevent scientists from looking at possible physical events that may lie behind a biblical story.
    Nothing (with the exception of ethical and safety-related prohibitions) prevents anyone from looking at anything. But no one is entitled to public funding for or publication of work that does not investigate important scientific questions or add anything of value to the relevant field(s).
    #172
    Posted by: nigelTheBold, Minister of Spankings Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 3:50 PM
    Similarly, the separation of church and state -- an excellent principle -- does not prevent scientists from looking at possible physical events that may lie behind a biblical story.
    QF-fuckin'-T.
    And I wish all you so-called scientists would stop trying to block my original research paper on how Goshanu found a bad peanut (research indicates it had blue fuzz growing on it) and tossed it aside, and it became the earth, and how he got sick on vodka and grape Kool-Aid, and his prodigious vomit became the rest of the universe.
    This is serious science! Stop judging it simply because it's based on factual fictional stories.
    The story of Goshanu teaches us many things vital to living as a human. Most especially, it teaches us that, no matter how desperate we become, grape Kool-Aid is never a good choice for a mixer.
    #173
    Posted by: hankroberts Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 9:32 PM
    > But no one is entitled to public funding
    > for or publication of work that does not
    > investigate important scientific questions
    > or add anything of value
    And you can tell, before deciding what to fund, which work will satisfy these criteria, how?
    I'm bet you would have rejected this guy's strange notion about some mysterious force that could act through solid matter.
    http://bjr.birjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/3/27/99
    #174
    Posted by: Antagonizer Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 10:21 PM
    Hank, you're a fucking Christian fruitcake apologist. The paper was tripe, he lied about his funding, and his a FUCKING JESUS FREAK. Yet you continue to support him. Why is that? Are you a freaking Jesus FREAK yourself? Got the Jesus? Pray to the imaginary sky daddy every night? You should, because nature will very soon serve you the most delicious punishment, and you;ll deserve every fucking bit of it. Old Bearded Man isn't going to save your pathetic ass from the fall of civilization, not even the collapse of the American republic. It's coming, sooner than you think. And I'm going to be laughing at your misery.
    #175
    Posted by: Antagonizer Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 10:27 PM
    I'm bet you would have rejected this guy's strange notion about some mysterious force that could act through solid matter.
    Now Hank Roberts the Jesus Freak is comparing a fundamental discovery in Physics to a Jesus Freak's wet dream paper. Heckava job, Hank, just a heckava job. Carl Drews is the next Einstein, you betcha, darn tootin.
    #176
    Posted by: thingsbreak Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 11:32 PM
    Several of us have identified ourselves as unapologetic atheists. You're avoiding the specific questions about what *aside from referencing 'teh Bibels' and 'teh nashnul debt'* makes this paper a waste of funding, and that's not lost on others reading the thread.
    Geophysical explorations of Oregonian Native American myth resulted in published studies about Pacific EQs and tsunamis. Where was/is your complaint there?
    You sound like you're whinging about Christians because they're Christians, rather than rationally explaining a genuine misuse of federal funding. Try harder.
    Or, I suppose, you can type "fuck", "asshole", etc. some more, and let that stand in for supported claims.
    #177
    Posted by: nigelTheBold, Minister of Spankings Author Profile Page | September 24, 2010 11:45 PM
    You sound like you're whinging about Christians because they're Christians, rather than rationally explaining a genuine misuse of federal funding. Try harder.
    Uhm, the complaints have been listed. You are glossing over them.
    One: The paper presents nothing original.
    Two: The model retcons the geography to make it work with the model, which proves neither the thesis nor the model.
    These two are damning enough. But wait: there's more!
    The paper presents no actual science! Ain't that a laugh riot! There's no hypothesis to be tested, other than, "I bet we can make a model that shows how the Red Sea might part!" That'd be cool and everything, but that's not science. It's a computer model, making assumptions but no predictions that can be tested, and certainly presents no real data.
    So, y'know, if you'd bother to fucking understand the complaints, you might understand that the criticisms leveled against the paper were fucking spot on. If you want to do science, it helps if you actually employ the scientific method.
    The whole parting of the sea for Moses wasn't just a clever and amusing framing for some actual science. It was the point of the paper.
    That's the problem.
    Asshole.
    #178
    Posted by: SC OM Author Profile Page | September 25, 2010 6:46 AM
    And you can tell, before deciding what to fund, which work will satisfy these criteria, how?
    Are you completely ignorant of how this works? Have you ever applied for a government research grant? Proposals are reviewed by people working in the relevant field in terms of the importance of the research question, the design of the research, the knowledge of and relationship to previous research on the subject and the potential to add to the knowledge on the subject, the feasibility of the work, and so on. The criteria are very clearly spelled out, and proposals must explicitly respond to them, making a case for funding the research in terms of how it fulfills them.
    I'm sure this is true of all of the agencies (and their individual grant programs) listed by these authors. If any money granted by them was used for this "research," there are only a few possibilities: 1) the researchers were not forthcoming to the agency and misused the funds, 2) the funds were given to the researchers in a more general way, and used in a way inconsistent with the agency's mandate, 3) the responsible person or people at the relevant agency failed to do their job.
    The amazing thing to me is that the authors don't even attempt, as Chris Ho-Stuart did above, to argue for the paper's scientific or practical value in terms of any relevant criteria. The only area of study to which this could even potentially speak is Biblical history, and the consensus there, on the basis of extensive archaeological evidence, is that the event did not happen and could not have happened. So it's worthless to that as well.
    #179
    Posted by: SC OM Author Profile Page | September 25, 2010 8:43 AM
    There is an interest in plausible or otherwise notions of how a myth may have originated in a historical event,
    "Plausible or otherwise notions"? There may be such an interest among anthropologists and others who study the development of myths, and among Biblical scholars concerned with this particular myth. But these authors have no expertise in these areas, and in fact appear ignorant - willfully or otherwise - of the extensive research into this particular myth.
    Nor is what you suggest their purpose (and your suggestion that it is is disingenuous). They didn't investigate the origins of the myth (nor are they qualified to do so), and even if they had, a 'finding' that the observation of a natural phenomenon may have formed the basis for the myth is completely trivial in this case. They haven't suggested that the myth offers a window to anything novel or illuminating concerning conditions in the region at that time (in fact, they used existing knowledge for their "reconstruction"); and even if they were qualified to address it, which they aren't, there's no archaeological or historical puzzle that this would help to solve.
    Try again.
    #180
    Posted by: lenoxuss Author Profile Page | September 25, 2010 9:29 AM
    Part of the New Testament famously informs us of 500 eyewitnesses to the risen Christ. Wow, 500! I wonder what sort of optical illusion allowed for everyone to think a man had been crucified and killed? Except, of course, the whole thing only counts as one "eyewitness", at best.
    My point is that in the case of the resurrection, the prevalence of belief can be seen to stem from a single source text, not from a prevalence of numerous original texts/witnesses, and it's no different in that respect than the entire Exodus narrative. That's a key point here — the Exodus narrative comes from a Hebrew oral tradition without any complementary traditions among the relevant other societies, namely the Egyptians.
    No, myths are not completely off-limits to scientific explanations. But examining this particular myth is an absurd privileging of one story over myths that have greater prior evidence for being based on something that some humans actually experienced, albeit misinterpreted.
    For example, prompted in part by the prevalence of flood myths (note plural), many experts have looked into the question of whether there was a Mesopotamian local flood some seven thousand years ago. It's not terribly implausible, but at the same time, so far as I know, there's not much terribly impressive evidence either, nothing to give more weight to "genuine, but small, flood" over "people just made up a flood story because of its psychological power." It's a toss-up, but that doesn't mean it wasn't a reasonable chain of inquiry to consider.
    Another fun example: It's not too unlikely that centaurs come from ancient Greece's Bronze-age encounters with the horseriding Lapith tribe of Thessaly, initially taking these strange folks for horse-human hybrids. Some Aztecs had the same impression of the Spanish cavalry, although they never developed a mythology from it. (Didn't have much of a chance to, anyway.)
    Note that in both cases:
    (a) we already know that the myth may not have begun life with a single author
    (b) the proposed origin does not require any unusual departure from already-known history or science
    (c) as is the natural tendency for all human folklore in all times and places, the resulting myth is radically exaggerated from the myth-tellers' initial observation, and
    (d) the hypothesis produces some predictions which can be confirmed or disconfirmed by further examination of the evidence. (For example, if flood myths derive from a real flood, we should be able to find geological evidence of such. Meanwhile, the horseback-hypothesis predicts the possibility of the same thing happening again, and it looks like it probably did.)
    #181
    Posted by: Antagonizer Author Profile Page | September 25, 2010 10:16 AM
    Geophysical explorations of Oregonian Native American myth resulted in published studies about Pacific EQs and tsunamis. Where was/is your complaint there?
    I already explained it to you. Earthquakes and tsunamis regularly kill people, 60 MHP setdowns in salt flats and marshes don't prick. But do keep trying to justify what has to be the shittiest piece of science ever to hit the atmospheric and oceanic American Disney PR science circuit.
    The Disnification of American science is complete.
    #182
    Posted by: Karthik Durvasula Author Profile Page | September 26, 2010 11:32 PM
    I think I will have to defend PLoS One just like some of the others above. If you look at the PLoS One editorial standards, they don't mention that a specific "outlook" on science, or a specific set of framework related assumptions are necessary for publication. This is done so as to make sure that the publication includes frameworks that reviewers/readers don't agree with - to facilitate a maximal exchange of ideas.
    The assumption of the paper is clearly, "we take it for granted that Moses crossed the Red Sea". Given this "fact", how can we account for it naturally occurring phenomena. (But, note, the logic of the model they propose DOES NOT depend on the assumption, so in some sense the assumption is not crucial to the paper, and is more a side-note than anything else, though it is included in the intro). And this is exactly what the PLoS One review guidelines are meant to do - see if there is internal coherence in the argument being made - the one of climatological conditions necessary for Red Sea parting, in this case.
    It is weird that such a paper made it into the ranks (given that I totally disagree with the factual assumption, wrt to Moses...), PLoS One is still to be COMMENDED (not rebuked) for its consistency of editorial review policies.
    This is the very height of the open-mindedness they strive to achieve.
    #183
    Posted by: Antagonizer Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 10:24 AM
    The assumption of the paper is clearly, "we take it for granted that Moses crossed the Red Sea". Given this "fact",
    I don't take it for granted that Carl Drews is a 'Jesus Freak', that was my hypothesis when I ran across the article in google news. And the paper itself and everything else I've read about him on his website and various blogs are evidence in support of my hypothesis. I also now hypothesize that you are a Christian apologist, and an avid supporter of shitty American bible science.
    I also further hypothesize that many other Jesus freaks now inhabit many of our formerly great American scientific institutions, the NSF, UCAR, NCAR and the Office of Naval Research. Feel free to present me with some evidence that isn't true.
    #184
    Posted by: Karthik Durvasula Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 3:36 PM
    @antagonized - it is your kind of close-mindedness that plos one was trying to avoid. This is a big problem in the sciences - one not agreeing with another's assumptions/theoretical backgrounds has been a b ig motivator for paper rejections - which is a horrible consequence, even if they say interesting things.
    I don't know if you are a scientist, but this particular stance of plos one is in fact right, even if it allows creationist garbage to seep in. If you read the paper, the scientific argument they make for the phenomenon is cogent, e ven if you/I don t like what they connect it to.
    Disclaimer: I haven't been religious ever in my whole life, and I have been an atheist/agnostic since the age of 15 (I am 28 now). And I come from a family that is primarily Hindu.
    #185
    Posted by: Nerd of Redhead, OM Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 3:56 PM
    I don't know if you are a scientist, but this particular stance of plos one is in fact right, even if it allows creationist garbage to seep in.
    This goes back to the old saw, you need to keep an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out. In this case, PLoS let their brains fall out. The paper is unscientific. I say this as a 30+ year practicioner of science, and having been on both sides of peer review. With no mention of the babble, is scientific. The religious reference puts it over the edge for a truly scientific publication.Too many folks think science is about ideas. It isn't. It is all about evidence for those ideas. Science is done without reference to imaginary deities or mythical holy books, and unnecessary mention of them makes any paper unscientific. As I said upstream, if it was published in a journal on Biblical archeology, no problem.
    #186
    Posted by: Karthik Durvasula Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 6:39 PM
    @Nerd of Redhead: I don't know if you have read the paper. Nothing in their methodology/modelling/approach is unscietific.
    As far as implications go, different people might wanna connect the dots differently. And these guys claim that their model could possibly account for Moses.... The meat of the matter is, as a reviewer, one has to look at the cogency of the argument provided. "Moses et al" does not figure in the argument/model. If the paper is rejected, then it can only be personal biases.
    You see a gazillion papers which connects dots in weird ways. When we see neuroscience papers, psychology papers, even engineering papers... in the implications, there is in many instances grandiose connections which I bet even the authors seriously doubt or cannot substantiate. Are we now to reject those papers too?
    As long as the logic of the model is sound, one cannot reject a paper.
    To go beyond cliches, this is not a question of "too open-minded", cos we do impose requirements of logic and cogency on the argument, but if the authors want to connect their ideas to others out there in the world, then I don't see how one can block them BECAUSE THAT IS NOT THE MEAT OF THE PAPER.
    And as far as PLoS One is considered, if the reviewers had rejected the paper, they wouldn't have had a case for it, cos it does NOT follow from the reviewer guidelines (which I linked to in my earlier comment).
    #187
    Posted by: Nerd of Redhead, OM Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 6:56 PM
    Nothing in their methodology/modelling/approach is unscietific.
    Irrelevant. That is my point. Any mention of imaginary deities or mythical holy books makes the whole paper unscientific. Either the paper has scientific integrity or not. This one doesn't.
    As long as the logic of the model is sound, one cannot reject a paper
    "Moses et al" does not figure in the argument/model.
    Bull-fucking-shit. Then there is no need to mention Moses, et al., is there? It is a gratuitous addition. Ergo, the paper isn't scientific. End of story.
    To go beyond cliches, this is not a question of "too open-minded"
    Yes it is. Why are you for less integrity in science? You certainly have none of your own, otherwise you would be understanding my argument. Here's a clue. You are pregnant or not. Your paper has scientific integrity or it doesn't. This paper doesn't.
    #188
    Posted by: SC OM Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 6:59 PM
    The assumption of the paper is clearly, "we take it for granted that Moses crossed the Red Sea". Given this "fact", how can we account for it naturally occurring phenomena.
    It isn't a fact. In fact, it is contradicted by extensive historical and archaeological (and I believe scriptural) evidence. Didn't happen, could not have happened. They don't refer to any of this research, which demolishes the rationale for their "study," as any sane reviewer would recognize.
    (But, note, the logic of the model they propose DOES NOT depend on the assumption, so in some sense the assumption is not crucial to the paper, and is more a side-note than anything else, though it is included in the intro).
    It's the whole point of the paper! There is absolutely no reason to perform the simulation outside of the acceptance of this story, which did not happen. The paper contributes nothing to scientific knowledge, and the authors never even try to claim that it does.
    And as far as PLoS One is considered, if the reviewers had rejected the paper, they wouldn't have had a case for it, cos it does NOT follow from the reviewer guidelines (which I linked to in my earlier comment).
    If their standards are such that they accept papers that attempt to "account for" imaginary scenarios with no basis in reality and in contradiction to the evidence that offer nothing to science and aren't claimed to, their reputation deserves a serious blow.
    #189
    Posted by: Karthik Durvasula Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 7:12 PM
    @Nerd of redhead: you can shout as loudly and throw any insults you want, it doesn't change the argument: science is about the methodology - simple.
    No one knows the truth. Yes, it is a gratuitous addition to the paper, but crucially, not to the argument.
    Your definition of "scientific" is not the usually definition, at least in the scientific philosophy literature, where it is defined in terms of methods.
    And before you allege that I am just a stupid scientific philosopher, I might as well reject that, cos I am not. I just know what I am talking about, cos I have read about it.
    You and antagoniser are jumping to conclusions about me with absolutely no evidence (even though there are many more possible/probable hypotheses compatible with the data), and even indulged in ad homninems, and ironically, you are arguing about scientific practices.
    "You certainly have none of your own [integrity], otherwise you would be understanding my argument" This is both ad hominem and terrible logic cos it doesn't follow, as you yourself should be able to see.
    If you want to discuss scietific practices, I suggest you take them seriously, otherwise you do not have a leg to stand on. Don't criticise someone else's practices if you can't live up to it yourself.
    #190
    Posted by: Nerd of Redhead, OM Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 7:24 PM
    science is about the methodology - simple.
    Correct, and the methodology requires no mention of imaginary deities or fictional holy books. Which was the case. Failure 1.
    Your definition of "scientific" is not the usually definition, at least in the scientific philosophy literature, where it is defined in terms of methods.
    Philosophers of science may have a different definition than those of us in the trenches. We win, because science left philosophy years ago. Philosophy is pretending to be relevant. It isn't in this case. Failure 2.
    just know what I am talking about, cos I have read about it.
    I noticed you failed to mention your credentials. Are you a sophist philosopher, or a true scientist? Makes a difference...Failure 3.
    You and antagoniser are jumping to conclusions about me with absolutely no evidence (even though there are many more possible/probable hypotheses compatible with the data), and even indulged in ad homninems, and ironically, you are arguing about scientific practices.
    Sorry nittwit, you are unscientific, and you are an idjit because you don't understand that science requires total honesty and integrity. Which requires solid and unimpeached standards, that require no imaginary deities or holy books be mentioned in papers. What are your credentials. Still not presented. Failure 4.
    If you want to discuss scietific practices, I suggest you take them seriously,
    I do, you don't. End of story. Show your credentials, or shut the fuck up. I have a PhD in science and 30+ years experience....
    #191
    Posted by: Karthik Durvasula Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 7:30 PM
    @SCOM: IMO, you raise the only good point that's been made in regards to this discussion.
    The real troubling issue about the paper is that of motivation. I agree with you on that. If there is one genuine reason to reject the paper, it is that the motivation for the paper is unsubstantiated.
    I have very little knowledge about "extensive historical and archaeological (and I believe scriptural) evidence". But, if it is true, the reviewers should have made them discuss it before letting them publish the study.
    Now, of course, I personally don't know of any evidence that argues against the red sea parting, but as ludicrous as my statement sounds, if there is not such evidence, then they are motivated to the extent that it figures in a book that is ambiguously semi-/pseudo-historical, and the model gives reasons to believe that particular scenario is not impossible, as was surely assumed by all including me before this paper. (note, I am being careful in avoiding the positive, that it is plausible, for obvious reasons).
    As far as you second comment SCOM: the fact that it changes our view of what is impossible (given naturalistic settings) in this scenario, it is a contribution to science. I disagree with you one that.
    Disclaimer2: I personally don't like the fact that paper has been published, given my own biases against such views. But, the point I am trying to make is that when we look at the paper from the perspective of impartial science, there is no acceptable reason to reject it (except perhaps the one that SCOM mentions).
    #192
    Posted by: SC OM Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 7:31 PM
    It also does seem that if public money supported this research it would be a violation of the separation of church and state. The only rationale for performing the simulation is the acceptance of a religious myth that is not supported by empirical evidence.
    #193
    Posted by: Nerd of Redhead, OM Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 7:35 PM
    But, the point I am trying to make is that when we look at the paper from the perspective of impartial science, there is no acceptable reason to reject it
    And the lack of scientific integrity continues. To my utter lack of surprise. Again, what are your credentials to make the judgment....
    #194
    Posted by: Karthik Durvasula Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 7:44 PM
    @Nerd of Redhead: if you want to know more about me, you are welcome to google my name - my details are only a search away.
    The rest of the comment made me laugh. haha.
    This is the funniest thing I have heard in ages:
    "Philosophers of science may have a different definition than those of us in the trenches. We win, because science left philosophy years ago. Philosophy is pretending to be relevant. It isn't in this case. Failure 2."
    If you are a theoretical scientist, I don't know how you could have made the above statement, if you are an experimentalist/applied guy/engineering science guy, then this is an argument theoreticians have been having with the other camp for generations, and I don't believe it is going to get solved by the two of us. Naturally, as a theoretician, I can only laugh at the above statement - to me it shows a profound misunderstanding of both philosophy and science, but I accept, that might be subjective.
    A "PhD in science" was funny too!
    And this was awesomely funny! Nothing in what I said could lead you to believe that, yet you do.

    Sorry nittwit, you are unscientific, and you are an idjit because you don't understand that science requires total honesty and integrity.
    I approve!
    Aren't you acting like another creationist bigot in agnostic/atheist clothing, where arguing for your cause/end goal, is more important than how you get there?
    (note how this is NOT an ad hominem :) ).
    But, thanks for the laughs. they were precious!
    #195
    Posted by: Karthik Durvasula Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 7:51 PM
    @SCOM: it is not a violation of state and church IMO.
    If there were a "cure" for a particular ailment in a religious book, one we have no evidence for either wya, I'd say we should be able to use (public money) to test it out - as long as it is not too expensive (then motivation comes into the picture).
    Cos in the end, we don't know where the solutions to such things are going to come from.
    My understanding of separation between state and church is that it has to do with the church influencing political decisions. If it can be shown that the grant/paper was accepted BECAUSE of the religious message, then that is a violation of state and church, otherwise it is not.
    #196
    Posted by: SC OM Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 7:51 PM
    The real troubling issue about the paper is that of motivation. I agree with you on that. If there is one genuine reason to reject the paper, it is that the motivation for the paper is unsubstantiated.I have very little knowledge about "extensive historical and archaeological (and I believe scriptural) evidence". But, if it is true, the reviewers should have made them discuss it before letting them publish the study.
    Now, of course, I personally don't know of any evidence that argues against the red sea parting, but as ludicrous as my statement sounds, if there is not such evidence, then they are motivated to the extent that it figures in a book that is ambiguously semi-/pseudo-historical, and the model gives reasons to believe that particular scenario is not impossible, as was surely assumed by all including me before this paper. (note, I am being careful in avoiding the positive, that it is plausible, for obvious reasons).
    You should read all of the comments above. Some include links and references. "[A]mbiguously semi-/pseudo-historical"? Ridiculous. The real troubling aspect of the paper is precisely what I decribed several times above. Its rationale is non- and even anti-empirical/scientific and it contributes nothing of significance to science. (If you want to argue that it could, in some scenario, contribute by way of sparking a thought of someone else who will then do real science, that's silly; it's true of anything - wallpaper, poetry, a walk in the woods,... There's no justification for publishing something scientifically useless in a reputable science journal.)
    As far as you second comment SCOM: the fact that it changes our view of what is impossible (given naturalistic settings) in this scenario, it is a contribution to science. I disagree with you one that.
    Who are "we"? Do you mean scientists in the relevant fields? Which of them have made arguments about various conditions and what is or is not possible that this responds to? And you'll note (you should have already noted if you'd read the comments above and the paper itself) that they entered values into the simulation based on historical and topographical data that are not at all settled. It's profoundly dumb. What aspects of wind setdown or hydrology does it contribute to in a novel way, specifically? As PZ said,
    If you read the paper, you'll learn that under certain very specific conditions involving making up a bit of Middle Eastern topography, a strong wind can push shallow bodies of water sufficiently to temporarily exposed the floor. Woo hoo, I say, unenthusiastically. This is an utterly trivial result, and the paper doesn't seem to have anything of general use to say.
    #197
    Posted by: Nerd of Redhead, OM Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 7:59 PM
    My understanding of separation between state and church is that it has to do with the church influencing political decisions.
    Fuckwit, this isn't church versus state, it is church versus science. Science recognizes no imaginary deities and fictional/mythical holy books. And still no credentials from you. One would like you are nothing but liar and bullshitter, like your failure to answer simple questions shows you to be...
    If it can be shown that the grant/paper was accepted BECAUSE of the religious message,
    Still the fuckwitted loser. This isn't church state, but rather science state. Science ignores religious texts, and you haven't shown otherwise. You lose again. Shutting the fuck up might be the best advice for you...
    #198
    Posted by: SC OM Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 8:01 PM
    If there were a "cure" for a particular ailment in a religious book, one we have no evidence for either wya, I'd say we should be able to use (public money) to test it out - as long as it is not too expensive (then motivation comes into the picture).
    It would depend on a number of factors. But for the nth time, there is no evidence for this event, and much against it. The only reason to accept it is holding a particular religious faith.
    Cos in the end, we don't know where the solutions to such things are going to come from.
    What "thing" is in need of a solution here?
    My understanding of separation between state and church is that it has to do with the church influencing political decisions. If it can be shown that the grant/paper was accepted BECAUSE of the religious message, then that is a violation of state and church, otherwise it is not.
    The paper is irrelevant. P One isn't a government agency. Read my post again - I don't think you're understanding what I'm saying. It has to be accepted based on the religious message because it has no empirical basis. There is nothing empirical to be "accounted for."
    #199
    Posted by: Karthik Durvasula Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 8:01 PM
    [A]mbiguously semi-/pseudo-historical - in reference to the Bible, lol.
    By any standard of reference in the sciences, the following is a subjective notion.
    "This is an utterly trivial result, and the paper doesn't seem to have anything of general use to say."
    I noted earlier, I don't like what I see. I don't think it is useful. But, that cannot be an argument against publication in a journal (espcially like Plos One - unconstrained by many of the constaints of traditional print media).
    And the whole idea of "prestige of a journal" is a sociologically one, that should in theory have no place in a proper impartial disseminator of scietific knowledge (aka, a journal). That it usually does, is sad.
    PLoS One is to be commended on this one cos yeah, the guidelines let an unimportant (and perhaps even crazy) paper thru, but this is a good sign that many more important papers will be able to make it thru the system now - which weren't able to make it before - cos of extreme bias.
    This was the original intent of my post before we got sidetracked.
    #200
    Posted by: Nerd of Redhead, OM Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 8:01 PM
    Still the fuckwitted loser. This isn't church state, but rather science state church.
    My bad #197. Corrected it.
    #201
    Posted by: Nerd of Redhead, OM Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 8:04 PM
    I don't think it is useful. But, that cannot be an argument against publication in a journal
    Yes it can. What are your credentials to make the judgment...
    This was the original intent of my post before we got sidetracked.
    No, we are tracking where we need to be. You are a fuckwitted liar and bullshitter, against the judgment of real scientists working in the field...
    #202
    Posted by: Karthik Durvasula Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 8:11 PM
    @ Nerd of Redhead: about church and state - i was clarifying a point someone else (SCOM) raised before me. I was in fact saying (if you read carefully) that this was not about church and state.
    Essentially, your opinion is the same as my opinion on the matter - as should be obvious if you re-read my post on the issue.
    And SCOM - there are plenty of examples where religious ideas have been tested - some with positive results, some with negative results.
    Yoga and some ayurvedic medicines (most are placebo) are intricately intertwined with the hindu religion, yet there is a tonne of recent evidence of their efficacy. This evidence has accrued because someone decided to take the ideas systems/based in religion seriously.
    On the other hand, accupuncture (another traditional system intertwined with religious philosophy) has been shown to be purely placebo.
    So, my point remains, we don't know where the advances in knowledge will come from - as scientists, we have to keep our eyes open.
    #203
    Posted by: Karthik Durvasula Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 8:17 PM
    @ Nerd of RedHead:
    About my credentials, I have already told you that you can look for them online. All you have to do is search for my name.
    ad hominems are boring and childish beyond a point. If you have interesting points, make them otherwise, I guess I will ignore you.
    I disagree with SCOM too on many of the issues, but at least he is making substantive points. And we are able to discuss our differences point by point.
    I acknowledge you have the right to say whatever you want, but ad hominems and unsubstantiated claims take us away from the meat of the matter.
    I hope you will respond with sincerity, but if you don't then I will ignore your comments henceforth.
    #204
    Posted by: SC OM Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 8:19 PM
    By any standard of reference in the sciences, the following is a subjective notion."This is an utterly trivial result, and the paper doesn't seem to have anything of general use to say."
    I noted earlier, I don't like what I see. I don't think it is useful. But, that cannot be an argument against publication in a journal (espcially like Plos One - unconstrained by many of the constaints of traditional print media).
    This is exactly wrong. Read my #166 and #178 and PZ's whole post. Why are you being dense? Show that it's anything other than a trivial result.
    And the whole idea of "prestige of a journal" is a sociologically one, that should in theory have no place in a proper impartial disseminator of scietific knowledge (aka, a journal). That it usually does, is sad.
    It's not sad at all. I said "reputation." A respected scientific journal has a reputation for accepting articles that respond to significant questions of particular or general interest and that fulfill the criteria I noted above. (This can include speculative and highly theoretical work if the journal allows it - that's not what this rubbish is.)
    Look what happened here.
    PLoS One is to be commended on this one cos yeah, the guidelines let an unimportant (and perhaps even crazy) paper thru, but this is a good sign that many more important papers will be able to make it thru the system now - which weren't able to make it before - cos of extreme bias.
    On what possible basis do you make this claim? Extreme bias against crap? Is it a good sign if a restaurant sells bad meat because this shows that much good meat was being held back before?
    This was the original intent of my post before we got sidetracked.
    And it was asinine.
    #205
    Posted by: Nerd of Redhead, OM Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 8:19 PM
    I was in fact saying (if you read carefully) that this was not about church and state.
    Then why even bring it up. Silence is your friend.
    should be obvious if you re-read my post on the issue.
    Not what I am reading. Never mind you are very unclear...
    yet there is a tonne of recent evidence of their efficacy.
    Not according to double blind research by NIH-CAM? If you lie about that, what else will you lie about. Still no integrity.
    we don't know where the advances in knowledge will come from - as scientists, we have to keep our eyes open.
    I can guarantee you, advances in science will not come from non-scientist or non-scientific thinking. Only scientists with honesty, integrity, and no presuppositions...
    What are your credentials??? Still no answer idjit fuckwit...
    #206
    Posted by: SC OM Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 8:30 PM
    I was in fact saying (if you read carefully) that this was not about church and state.
    And you were wrong. I think that is an issue here.
    And SCOM - there are plenty of examples where religious ideas have been tested - some with positive results, some with negative results.Yoga and some ayurvedic medicines (most are placebo) are intricately intertwined with the hindu religion, yet there is a tonne of recent evidence of their efficacy....
    Even if this were true (and it's highly debatable, to put it mildly - which medicines? effective for what? what is the quality of the research?), it's completely irrelevant to this particular paper. I'm not arguing that any research/paper with any relation whatsover to "religious ideas" should be rejected on that basis. I've explained several times the reasons this should neither have been funded by a science agency nor accepted by a science journal, and you've offered nothing substantive in response.
    #207
    Posted by: Karthik Durvasula Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 8:32 PM
    @SCOM - the only legitimate point you keep rehashing in different guises is that of motivation for the paper. And I agree it is super weak, at best.
    However, there are a tonne of papers on PLoS One with really weak motivations. If you make a big hue and cry about each and everyone of them (and so does PZ), then I will believe that you are being intellectually honest (this goes for @Nerd of RedHead, who has forgotten English).

    I, myself, don't make a big deal about the other papers with similar motivational problems - so, think I am consistent with this one too.
    One the other hand, there is so much ruckus about one such poorly motivated paper, and why - cos it features the word "religion". It is no more about scientific practices, it is about bias.
    Either show teh same anger and frustration towards all the other papers (and make a big deal), or keep quiet about all of them. That's all I can say. Those are the only two intellectually honest positions. The rest are biased, obviously.
    #208
    Posted by: Ichthyic Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 8:36 PM
    I, myself, don't make a big deal about the other papers with similar motivational problems - so, think I am consistent with this one too.
    this is a really asinine argument to make.
    consistency more important than accuracy?
    here, try this on for size:
    "I, myself, don't make a big deal about all the various genocides in the world, so I think I'm being consistent in not paying attention to any of them."
    yeah, you're a fuckhead.
    why on earth SHOULDN'T one bother to note bad papers when one happens to run across them?
    your argument for "consistency" is the one that's weak at best.
    #209
    Posted by: Ichthyic Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 8:39 PM
    ad hominems are boring and childish beyond a point.
    *looks to see if NoR was employing one*
    uh, that'd be you, being wrong again.
    and no, that ALSO is not an ad-hom, since it's demonstrably accurate.
    #210
    Posted by: Nerd of Redhead, OM Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 8:43 PM
    with really weak motivations.
    As long as they have scientific integrity, with trumps motivations every day, no problem. Except for liars an bullshitters.
    I will believe that you are being intellectually honest
    You don't understand intellectual honesty. As I have pointed out for at least ten posts. Still lying and bullshitting.
    I, myself, don't make a big deal about the other papers with similar motivational problems
    Acknowledging to us you aren't scientific, as I said posts ago...
    It is no more about scientific practices, it is about bias.
    No fuckwit, it is about science not mentioning imaginary deities or mythical holy books. You can't grasp that concept, showing your lack of perspective and total losership. Still no credentials presented, which means you have none but uninformed opinion. Total and utter loser...
    #211
    Posted by: Karthik Durvasula Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 8:45 PM
    @Ichthyic: you can't use a horrible analogy.
    The consistency I demand was for ALL bad papers (I wasn't mixing contexts).
    Please, if you want a reasoned argument, leave the thetoric and get civilised.
    You all make me laugh. Almost like little kids obsessed about being right. lol!
    #212
    Posted by: Nerd of Redhead, OM Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 8:49 PM
    The consistency I demand
    In your unscientific and inane opinion. Like we care what a nobody who can't present proper credentials has to say. Nothing but a liar and bullshiter until you do present those credentials, without any reasoned arguments since you don't totally understand them. Those require the expertise you lack...
    #213
    Posted by: Karthik Durvasula Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 8:51 PM
    @Nerd of Redhead:
    your credentials are "a PhD in science and 30 years of research".
    I already told you that that made me laugh.

    Unlike your pseudonym, my name is very much searchable. In stead of typing the same crap a million times, if you are desperate to know my credentials, you can do a google search.
    That fact that you would rather type teh same thing so many times, yet not do the obvious is puzzling. Makes me wonder why you are desperate for me to present my credentials, when it is obvious available on the WWW if you spent tow minutes looking for it.
    This is getting too childish. I have made my points. and where I thought people made legitimate arguments, I acknowledged. I don't see any of you do anything like that (and where you are wrong, you seem to get even more aggressive) - like that will change my opinion - it just makes me laugh at the guys doing it.
    lol, grow up! see you later...
    #214
    Posted by: Nerd of Redhead, OM Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 8:52 PM
    You all make me laugh.
    Sorry fuckwit, we laugh AT YOU. Your childish opinions are humorous in your ignorance. What a loser. Learn from real professionals like Ichthyic and myself...
    #215
    Posted by: Ichthyic Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 8:54 PM
    The consistency I demand was for ALL bad papers (I wasn't mixing contexts).
    the consistency i demand is for ALL bad human behavior.
    fuck off, asswipe.
    #216
    Posted by: SC OM Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 8:55 PM
    @SCOM - the only legitimate point you keep rehashing in different guises is that of motivation for the paper. And I agree it is super weak, at best.
    No, it isn't about motivation in different guises, and I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that you're not capable of understanding the arguments being made and there's little point in engaging with you.
    However, there are a tonne of papers on PLoS One with really weak motivations. If you make a big hue and cry about each and everyone of them (and so does PZ), then I will believe that you are being intellectually honest (this goes for @Nerd of RedHead, who has forgotten English).
    Many of us have raised the issue of or commented about bad papers of various sorts being published in otherwise-reputable journals. If it's true that there are many papers as weak as this (again, this is not simply an issue of "motivation") in the journal, as I said, then it doesn't deserve a good reputation and they should be ashamed of themselves.
    One the other hand, there is so much ruckus about one such poorly motivated paper, and why - cos it features the word "religion".
    OK, you've now shown that you haven't read the thread or don't understand the objections.
    It is no more about scientific practices, it is about bias.
    No, it is about science. You have failed to provide a lucid scientific justification for funding or publishing this, or to respond to the substantive criticisms that have been made.
    Either show teh same anger and frustration towards all the other papers (and make a big deal), or keep quiet about all of them.
    As I said, we have commented on many varieties of bad papers and their unfortunate publication in otherwise good journals. But it's scraping the bottom of the barrel to say in effect, "This paper has no redeeming value and shouldn't have been funded or published, but you shouldn't say that unless you've said it about every other similar instance in the world." Nonsense. Even if we focused only on this paper, it would be just as worthless, and we would be just as intellectually honest.
    That's all I can say. Those are the only two intellectually honest positions. The rest are biased, obviously.
    We're biased against crap trying to pass itself off as science and having some success.
    #217
    Posted by: Karthik Durvasula Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 8:55 PM
    @ Nerd of Redhead: HA! HA! classic 3 year old come back (even before I closed the page)...need I say more :p
    #218
    Posted by: Ichthyic Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 8:58 PM
    ...your argument is of the exact same logical fallacy as that of Catholics claiming we can't critique the CC for rampant pedophilia unless we also critique all other organizations that have ever had cases of it become public.
    If you can't see why your argument is exactly the same, and why it is a logical fail, I truly feel sorry for you.
    I'm looking up the name for the logical fallacy you are employing as I write this...
    #219
    Posted by: Ichthyic Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 9:01 PM
    ...It's probably a type of "appeal to common practice" fallacy...
    oh, where's Truth Machine when you need him?
    #220
    Posted by: Rorschach Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 9:03 PM
    Either show teh same anger and frustration towards all the other papers (and make a big deal), or keep quiet about all of them.
    This statement makes no sense at all.The Red Sea paper is the topic of this blog post, hence it is the one we are criticising.The truth value of anybody's remarks about this particular paper are not changed by the fact that there exist other shoddy papers.
    #221
    Posted by: Karthik Durvasula Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 9:04 PM
    Ichthyic: this is not about logical fallacies - cos it has to do with human behaviour - not logic.
    And the catholics are right about it - and the answer to them is the same - OK, let's complain about everyone, or shut up! I don't care who does it, paedophilia is paedophilia - the law doesn't see Catholic. And if you do, then, that is unfortunately biased.
    And yes, I maintain, it is about intellectual honesty. If you cherry-pick one thing out a million to make a point, and actively ignore teh rest, it is definitional bias.
    Intellectual honesty cannot be reduced to logical fallacy - if you try, you are mixing different spheres of rational thought.
    #222
    Posted by: Nerd of Redhead, OM Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 9:05 PM
    classic 3 year old come back (even before I closed the page)...need I say more :p
    Yep, your imaginary credentials loser. Still nothing cogent being said, without the background to say it...
    #223
    Posted by: SC OM Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 9:06 PM
    Form of inconsistency version of tu quoque?
    #224
    Posted by: Ichthyic Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 9:13 PM
    Ichthyic: this is not about logical fallacies - cos it has to do with human behaviour - not logic.
    bullshit. It's about the rhetoric you are employing, and it is indeed a logical fallacy, as directly pointed out.
    And the catholics are right about it
    I see.
    you're fucking delusional.
    And yes, I maintain, it is about intellectual honesty.
    so do I.
    you have none.
    If you cherry-pick one thing out a million to make a point, and actively ignore teh rest, it is definitional bias.
    says the person who says it has nothing to do with logic, then employs, incorrectly, an attempt to claim we are engaging in one: cherry picking.
    here's a good one line definition of cherry picking:
    "...the act of pointing at individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position, while ignoring a significant portion of related cases or data that may contradict that position."
    so, is that really what we are doing here, by attacking this one paper?
    are we saying, based on this one paper, that PloS only publishes religious claptrap?
    no.
    so, you're not only being intellectually dishonest, you haven't a clue how to employ your own false rhetoric.
    again, because there are organizations that also have cases of pedophilia, does not excuse pedophilia in the Catholic Church.
    because there are other examples of poor vetting in a particular journal, does not excuse poor vetting for any specific paper.
    the claims made wrt to the value of any given paper logically must be take wrt to that paper independent of others.
    it's the fucking REVERSE of cherry picking that we are doing here.
    clueless git.
    #225
    Posted by: SC OM Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 9:14 PM
    And the catholics are right about it - and the answer to them is the same - OK, let's complain about everyone, or shut up!
    Seriously? You're going with that?
    By the way, what's in this "tonne of papers on PLoS One with really weak motivations[?]"? Could you provide maybe five or 10 examples?
    #226
    Posted by: Ichthyic Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 9:15 PM
    Form of inconsistency version of tu quoque?
    yeah, that works too.

    #227
    Posted by: Karthik Durvasula Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 9:17 PM
    @SCOM - It cannot be a logical fallacy. I have claimed to have proved or disproved nothing. It is my opinion based on the facts that the guys claiming foul in this aren't being intellectually honest (I have furnished my reasons for believing it).
    These are all opinions. The terminology of logical fallacies cannot (by definition) be used for what's happening here.
    #228
    Posted by: Ichthyic Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 9:17 PM
    Could you provide maybe five or 10 examples?
    yes, I'm suspecting this person actually doesn't even read the journal, they're just trolling.
    ...and making themselves look asinine in the process.
    #229
    Posted by: Nerd of Redhead, OM Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 9:20 PM
    These are all opinions.
    Yes, but your opinions are not from an expert witness. Show your credentials, or shut the fuck up.
    I have furnished my reasons for believing it
    As if we care what an uncredential bullshitter thinks. Show your credentials, or shut the fuck up.
    #230
    Posted by: Ichthyic Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 9:22 PM
    I have claimed to have proved or disproved nothing.
    you neither understand logic, nor honesty.
    It is my opinion based on the facts that the guys claiming foul in this aren't being intellectually honest
    this is a rhetorical claim, and you also claimed we were cherry picking, which is applicable to any number of categories of logical fallacy.
    you simply can't be in academia, let alone science.
    you're not only wrong, you don't even understand what the hell you're talking about.
    #231
    Posted by: Karthik Durvasula Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 9:23 PM
    The last comment
    "@SCOM - It cannot be a logical fallacy. I have claimed to have proved or disproved nothing. It is my opinion based on the facts that the guys claiming foul in this aren't being intellectually honest (I have furnished my reasons for believing it).
    These are all opinions. The terminology of logical fallacies cannot (by definition) be used for what's happening here."

    that was not by me. lol! someone's got my password now! ok, jokers I'm off.
    Lol! This was fun. I agree I was yanking your chains for fun to see how pissed off you would all get. And sadly it was only too easy.
    I agree with the people on the points for why it should not have been included.
    If you are gonna be as aggressive as the other side (aka, the bigots) and deal in ugly language, there will be no progress made cos it becomes a battle of egos.
    I hope everyone understands that. Next time there's a debate, maybe you will be more civil, and maybe the other side will actually understand more cos their egos aren't piqued.
    remember, if we think we are right, then it is our responsibility to EDUCATE, NOT RIDICULE - no matter how ridiculous you think they are.
    cheers!
    #232
    Posted by: Ichthyic Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 9:25 PM
    I agree I was yanking your chains for fun to see how pissed off you would all get. And sadly it was only too easy.
    *yawn*
    did you get beat up a lot in elementary school?
    #233
    Posted by: SC OM Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 9:26 PM
    @SCOM - It cannot be a logical fallacy. I have claimed to have proved or disproved nothing. It is my opinion based on the facts that the guys claiming foul in this aren't being intellectually honest (I have furnished my reasons for believing it).
    I am not a guy. So are you admitting that the research/paper has no scientific merit and should not have been funded (if it was) or published in PO? Or are you suggesting that PO sucks so much that no one should be concerned with its publishing a paper this bad? If so, where are the concrete examples you claimed?
    #234
    Posted by: Ichthyic Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 9:28 PM
    remember, if we think we are right, then it is our responsibility to EDUCATE, NOT RIDICULE - no matter how ridiculous you think they are.
    ...your concern is noted, and it is stupid.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaGgpGLxLQw
    #235
    Posted by: Karthik Durvasula Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 9:30 PM
    @ichthyic: only a goon resorts to violence. And no, I was too smart and quick for the others.
    The advantage on my side was clearly, the verbal assault never got to me - I guess I always realised anger clouds judgement.
    This blog despite its really productive message, has too many vile and aggressive posters - some times I wonder what the difference between such people and bigots is. Hence the exercise in frustration.
    Apologies everyone.
    One fact though: My credentials are there for everyone to see. and the whole PLoS camp of journals are a good thing to happen. And I do read them :).
    ok, bye really. time to prepare for class tomorrow!
    cheers, and hope at least some of you understand what I got at thru this exercise.
    #236
    Posted by: Nerd of Redhead, OM Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 9:30 PM
    remember, if we think we are right, then it is our responsibility to EDUCATE, NOT RIDICULE
    Wrong again. You have a history of being wrong. Ridicule is education. In this case, don't fuck with Pharyngula. We will trash you while educating you--and it isn't ad hominem attacks, as we tell you why you are a fuckwit.
    #237
    Posted by: SC OM Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 9:33 PM
    I agree with the people on the points for why it should not have been included.
    Ah. I guess the examples won't be forthcoming, then.
    Lol! This was fun. I agree I was yanking your chains for fun to see how pissed off you would all get.
    Liar. To be honest, I was kind of enjoying blowing out your attempts at reason - that's our leisure activity - and playing "Name That Fallacy." Alas. *pout*
    YAM scale: 8.6
    #238
    Posted by: Karthik Durvasula Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 9:34 PM
    @Nerd of Redhead - I guess the question for you is - are you trying to show how cool you are, or make sure more people understand the rational perspective.
    If it is the latter, then hopefully, you will realise that you might be right, but to make another person listen to you, you can't insult their intellect (even if they are dumb). This is about presentation skills.
    We want a depolarised world as far as possible, not polarised.
    #239
    Posted by: Ichthyic Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 9:35 PM
    And no, I was too smart and quick for the others.
    yup, you got pounded.
    This blog despite its really productive message, has too many vile and aggressive posters
    concern troll sez wut?
    #240
    Posted by: SC OM Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 9:37 PM
    cheers, and hope at least some of you understand what I got at thru this exercise.
    Your sense of your own intellectual inadequacy?
    #241
    Posted by: David Marjanović Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 9:37 PM
    Lol! This was fun. I agree I was yanking your chains for fun to see how pissed off you would all get. And sadly it was only too easy.
    So you admit to trolling?
    Was nice to have seen you. Buh-bye.
    #242
    Posted by: Ichthyic Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 9:37 PM
    I guess the question for you is
    no, the question is...
    why are YOU STILL FUCKING HERE?
    We want a depolarised world as far as possible, not polarised.
    another fallacy.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_to_moderation
    how can you be this ignorant?
    #243
    Posted by: Rorschach Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 9:41 PM
    It is a variant of the "two wrongs make a right" fallacy, by the way.
    #244
    Posted by: Karthik Durvasula Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 9:41 PM
    lol. I guess I was concern trolling. But, the other way around. I wasn't acting as one of you. I was acting as one of the others, to show some you why the discussion will not be productive with someone who is not already convinced by the evidence.
    PZ - I admit guilt! but, it was to help make it a (hopefully) more effective discussion with the other camp (whoever they may be).
    #245
    Posted by: Ichthyic Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 9:46 PM
    It is a variant of the "two wrongs make a right" fallacy, by the way.
    I'm still leaning towards SC being right in it being an example of Tu Quoque:
    http://www.fallacyfiles.org/tuquoque.html
    #246
    Posted by: Karthik Durvasula Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 9:47 PM
    lol. Ichthyic. Now, I will point out I don't see how you could maintain your assertion.
    I didn't ask for a "compromise solution". Don't misquote me. I didn't say the middle ground between the two ideologies is the right one, either.
    I said, there is a better and more effective way to approach educating the people we think are wrong. And insults are not it.
    Bertrand Russell was vehement in his rationalism, yet gentle in his approach. Dunno if he was more effective (difficult to compare across such different times). But, it seems so much more civilised, and at least to my gut and rationality, much more likely to work in educating.
    #247
    Posted by: Ichthyic Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 9:48 PM
    I was acting as one of the others, to show some you why the discussion will not be productive with someone who is not already convinced by the evidence.
    then you failed, miserably, not because your intentions were misguided (they were), but because you really are an ignorant dolt who hasn't a clue how to play devil's advocate.
    seriously, you should stop while you're behind; the more you try to defend yourself, the more like an idiot you are making yourself look.
    I swear, you must be suffering some form of Dunning Kruger!
    #248
    Posted by: Karthik Durvasula Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 9:53 PM
    Ha! Ha! Ichthyic. Maybe, once you have appeased you ego, and convinced yourself that you are better than me, you will think about what I said.
    Ok, planning classes beckons! I will let the seed germinate in your minds now. Hopefully, oneday you will agree with me, and the world will be more peaceful and decent.
    cheerio, for rizzle!
    #249
    Posted by: Nerd of Redhead, OM Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 9:54 PM
    I guess I was concern trolling.
    Yep, and concern trolls are lower than doggie doo around here. Nobody in their right mind does it for fun.
    I said, there is a better and more effective way to approach educating the people we think are wrong. And insults are not it.
    Ah, true concern trolling. Insults are appropriate for those who can't face the truth. Just like you did. Tricking people is always wrong...Ichthyic
    seriously, you should stop while you're behind; the more you try to defend yourself, the more like an idiot you are making yourself look.
    QFT. Time to go away for a while.
    #250
    Posted by: Ichthyic Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 9:55 PM
    I said, there is a better and more effective way to approach educating the people we think are wrong. And insults are not it.
    you actually think you're imparting some wisdom nobody has ever heard, don't you?
    you're a moron.
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/09/ridicule_is_a_good_way_to_hand.php
    #251
    Posted by: SC OM Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 9:55 PM
    I said, there is a better and more effective way to approach educating the people we think are wrong.
    Yeah, trolling.
    Dunno if he was more effective
    Then STFU.
    PZ - I admit guilt! but, it was to help make it a (hopefully) more effective discussion with the other camp (whoever they may be).
    I'm starting to hope for a banhammer in your future. Don't worry - there's a home for you at the Intersocktion.
    #252
    Posted by: Ing: Od Wet Rust Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 10:04 PM
    Is admitting you're a troll a ban worthy offense? Or do we have to continue to put up with the noise he generates long after he admits to having no integrity and just being a douchebag.
    And preemptively: no when you admit to it, pointing it out is not an Ad Homn. There's no reason to use insult to discredit you as you've done that yourself. Anything you say now is just dismissed as "Some idiot trying to stir shit"
    #253
    Posted by: SC OM Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 10:09 PM
    My credentials are there for everyone to see.
    Am I the only one who's somewhat disturbed that this person is an assistant professor, teaching students, and engaging in this behavior publicly using a real name? (Makes one hope it's someone using a fake identity.)
    #254
    Posted by: Ichthyic Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 10:13 PM
    Am I the only one who's somewhat disturbed that this person is an assistant professor
    aside from the fact that there are plenty of morons teaching, who's to say this isn't a borrowed identity?
    intersocktion, anyone?
    #255
    Posted by: Nerd of Redhead, OM Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 10:24 PM
    If it is the latter, then hopefully, you will realise that you might be right, but to make another person listen to you, you can't insult their intellect (even if they are dumb). This is about presentation skills.
    What intellect? You were showing none, just abject stoopidity. If you were showing some intelligence, you would be acknowledging what science is and how it is done. Frankly, I didn't care if I reached you. I was more interested in letting you known you were exposed as a fraud.
    Am I the only one who's somewhat disturbed that this person is an assistant professor, teaching students, and engaging in this behavior publicly using a real name?
    I wonder what his peers/superiors would think. I don't think they would be amused by deliberate toying with other academics, past and present. Honesty is the cornerstone of science. And the trolling was dishonest, to say the least. He wouldn't want SC, Ichthyic, or me on his P&T committee.
    #256
    Posted by: Karthik Durvasula Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 10:48 PM
    Seriously guys? I am to be punished academically for behaving dishonestly on a blog cos it is not an acceptable scientific standard?
    This is your claim? HAHA!
    Some of you guys are screaming insults that would be found in no academic paper, and you say I tarnish the reputation of science?
    Some of you are insulting/ridiculing people in the name of discussion and education. Seriously? this is acceptable in a college or school setting?
    I wonder how many of you are academics here, claiming this is responsible behaviour.
    As far as my "dishonesty" is concerned. I willing outed myself with no pressure form anyone, and I did it cos I wanted to tell you guys about teh motive.
    In stead of alleging all kinds of nonsense, just once, look at the buffoonery you are involved in. Sitting atop a chair of superiority with nothing to back yourselves except an extreme case of ego bloat that forces you to look away from your own actions.
    It's kinda ridiculous that you can stand and judge others' scientific standards, while your own actions would be most inappropriate in a scientific setting.
    @Nerd of Redhead - is this how you did you 30 years of science? With ridicule and foul language in your papers? Tell me who's being dishonest. the sad part is all of you (who indulge in it, which is not most people at this site) are so caught up in it, that you can't even sit back and acknowledge it.
    It would be an absolute shame if you really carry over the same practices to your (the relevant ones) academic settings. A travesty to both education and science.
    All of this makes me laugh. Such bigotry! You are the ones who should get kicked out with such a lack of personal integrity.
    And unlike half you people (read shameless people) blogging under pseudonyms and ironically talking about honesty and integrity, I blog under my own name, cos right/wrong I stand firmly by what I say.
    There is an utter blindness in the people I have discussed stuff with today. And 30 years of reasearch hasn't sorted it out in some people. 
    #257
    Posted by: Ichthyic Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 10:54 PM
    Seriously guys?
    you're still bleating??
    unbelievable.
    you must really take yourself seriously.
    here's some advice for you: you should really stop doing that.
    sooner rather than later.
    like... now, for instance.
    #258
    Posted by: Karthik Durvasula Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 10:56 PM
    I stand by what I said - some of you are such bigots that I just don't see a difference between you and the creationist bigots (who are stuck in their own world of stubbornness)!
    Really sad to see this is part of the "educated" crowd. Logic, my foot! lol!
    All I see is an intense blindness to your own actions in some of you. I truly hope this is not the future of either journal reviews or of education. It would be no different from the dark ages, except the thing misused would be the word "logic".
    #259
    Posted by: Karthik Durvasula Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 10:58 PM
    Ichthyic, you are doing the same thing. lol! but, ou won't notice it will you. loser!
    #260
    Posted by: Ichthyic Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 10:59 PM
    I stand by what I said
    ...and we're laughing at you for doing so, repeatedly.
    some of you are such bigots
    more indications you don't know the meanings of words.
    wait, you're supposed to be in linguistics??
    no fucking way.
    I'm gonna tell the real Karthik you stole his identity to play moron on the intertubes.
    #261
    Posted by: SC OM Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 11:02 PM
    Seriously guys? I am to be punished academically for behaving dishonestly on a blog cos it is not an acceptable scientific standard?
    Another intellectual failure or intentional misrepresentation in your reference to "guys," plural. I'm beginning to suspect you have some experience with this trolling thing.
    But I still think this claim that you've been trolling all along is a pathetic attempt to save face.
    In any event, I recommend the banhammer.
    #262
    Posted by: Ing: Od Wet Rust Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 11:04 PM
    You really are going to blame others for being mad at you acting like an asshole, for the admitted and exclusive purpose of 'acting like an asshole'?
    You better be one fuck of a good linguist cause so far I wouldn't use your tongue to wash my car
    #263
    Posted by: Ichthyic Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 11:08 PM
    Ichthyic, you are doing the same thing.
    I'm trying to rationalize being an ignorant asshole?
    I can't recall having seen someone this week who has been wrong more times than you have in this single thread.
    Lincoln had some appropriate quotes for you, I think.
    see if you can guess which one I'm thinking of right now...
    #264
    Posted by: Karthik Durvasula Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 11:09 PM
    lol! some of you should all buy mirrors - maybe the smugness will disappear.
    Save face. are you suggesting that I couldn't have done that by using a pseudonym like many here? Seriously? HAHA!
    The idiocy makes me laugh. First talk about integrity from a bunch of spineless chaps, followed by idiocy.
    Now, I have stooped to your level of discourse.
    If anything - QED. The style adopted by some of you is not amenable to a reasonable discussion. If not, why don't you guys prove me wrong by changing your styles in you research papers, and classrooms. then we will talk about integrity and other lofty ideals.
    Send me you published papers too - with all the insults and ridicule. Let's see that happen, and then I will accept this is a reasonable way of discourse. Otherwise, acknowledge your own idiocy in the matter.
    #265
    Posted by: Ing: Od Wet Rust Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 11:12 PM
    @264
    You honestly think communication here is the same as in our papers? I very rarely use the term "Twatladite" in my write ups.
    #266
    Posted by: Nerd of Redhead, OM Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 11:15 PM
    Yawn, *Yoda like voice* still stoopid is KD. Silence is his friend. Too dim to that see. */Yoda voice*
    #267
    Posted by: Karthik Durvasula Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 11:16 PM
    Ing you should think about WHY it is not acceptable in papers.
    Anyhow I am not the one who raised the point of using blogging styles to judge academic behaviour/calibre. it was Nerd of Redhead. Why don't you ask him the question? lol.
    This seems to be more of a mob (at least a few of teh people I've talked to have that mentality), that reasoned rational discourse.
    #268
    Posted by: SC OM Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 11:17 PM
    Save face. are you suggesting that I couldn't have done that by using a pseudonym like many here? Seriously? HAHA!
    It was too late by the time you realized how thoroughly you had been trounced. Then you turned to trolling. But you're not helping matters. You don't sound rational. You should probably go away for your own good. The banhammer might be merciful.
    #269
    Posted by: Ichthyic Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 11:19 PM
    lol! some of you should all buy mirrors - maybe the smugness will disappear.
    buddy, the smugness is ALL comin' from you.
    project much?
    First talk about integrity from a bunch of spineless chaps, followed by idiocy.
    spineless, you think using a psuedonym is spineless?
    holy crap, your ignorance is on parade!
    here, let me show you where people might actually listen to your bullshit with a straight face:
    http://oneutah.org/2010/04/22/still-no-sign-of-intelligent-life-at-tea-party-ignorance-on-parade/
    #270
    Posted by: SC OM Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 11:20 PM
    I very rarely use the term "Twatladite" in my write ups.
    You shouldn't use it anywhere.
    #271
    Posted by: Ing: Od Wet Rust Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 11:20 PM
    @267
    No there's a difference between being casual and intentionally being obstructive to discusion.
    I'm going to assume you actually agree with me and are just lying about your view points again, since you've shown precedent for that.
    #272
    Posted by: Karthik Durvasula Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 11:22 PM
    All right! I bid this group adieu for the night.
    My guess - more nasty stuff will follow. lol! I hope you realise your own stupidity some day.
    There is a real message on this blog - and the core of what PZ gets to is both awesome and very important. But, it gets clouded by some of your inanities.
    #273
    Posted by: Ichthyic Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 11:22 PM
    Ing you should think about WHY it is not acceptable in papers.
    you should think about what medium you are currently speaking in.
    no, I'm not buying it. You're simply too ignorant of everything you are discussing here, make too many fundamental errors.
    you're not who you say you are.
    it would be an insult to even an assistant instructor to think otherwise.
    Identity theft is a crime, you know.
    #274
    Posted by: Ichthyic Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 11:25 PM
    All right! I bid this group adieu for the night.
    dishonest hacks are not welcome here.
    don't bother coming back.
    #275
    Posted by: Ing: Od Wet Rust Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 11:26 PM
    My guess - more nasty stuff will follow. lol! I hope you realise your own stupidity some day.There is a real message on this blog - and the core of what PZ gets to is both awesome and very important. But, it gets clouded by some of your inanities.
    #276
    Posted by: Nerd of Redhead, OM Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 11:32 PM
    But, it gets clouded by some of your inanities.
    No, it gets clouded due to idjits like you, who pretend to be funny, but are really dishonest. One of PZ's main points is honesty. Which you totally blew tonight. You can't get much more dishonest than your performance, and idiotic attempts to justify it. There is no justification for that type of trolling. Just inane and futile explanations.
    The only way to redeem yourself is the words "I'm sorry", and repeat them often until we tell you to stop.
    #277
    Posted by: Ichthyic Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 11:32 PM
    classic.
    #278
    Posted by: Sven DiMilo Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 11:33 PM
    That apostrophe is like the Platonic Ideal of irony. Unintentional or genius, one.
    #279
    Posted by: Ichthyic Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 11:43 PM
    so, in summary...
    imposter fails to:
    -even invent an excuse for publishing a bible story in PloS, instead produces a logical fallacy.
    -expects a dishonest postulation to be treated with respect
    -concludes that since we treat dishonesty and ignorance with disrespect, this is counter to good communication
    -utilizes sockpuppetry and concern trolling
    -is falsely concerned about the "future of science communication"
    wait, did we just miss the obvious?
    Is this Chris Mooney sockpuppeting on Pharyngula?

    #280
    Posted by: SC OM Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 11:44 PM
    That apostrophe is like the Platonic Ideal of irony.
    No, that's what the guy's saying, I think. He's calling them that.
    #281
    Posted by: Sven DiMilo Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 11:49 PM
    He's calling them that.
    Ah, hmm, I see...could be.
    #282
    Posted by: Ichthyic Author Profile Page | September 27, 2010 11:54 PM
    No, that's what the guy's saying, I think. He's calling them that.
    yup.
    I agree, he's definitely calling them "stupid minds".

    #283
    Posted by: miketwo Author Profile Page | September 28, 2010 12:44 PM
    Agreed with everything except the last paragraph. I do think he's a scientist, just an emotionally conflicted one.
    I have met these kinds of people before. I like to call them "closeted scientists." They have the rational explain-it-with-facts brain of a scientist, but they were raised in a strongly religious environment, and for deep emotional reasons cannot give it up. It's like a gay person who insists he's straight because it would devastate his religious community to admit otherwise.
    I feel sad for Mr. Drews. The paper is competent, and the story is fanciful but not implausible. It just reduces "parting the seas" to "crossing a shallow lagoon." That's sad... think about it.
    I say to Mr. Drews, if you're going to be a scientist. BE A SCIENTIST! Turn that rational laser toward all your religious beliefs. They won't last long.
    As for PZ -- some people have a rough upbringing, buddy. Let's not throw them out of the science "club" just because they're dealing with the emotional baggage from that. If you can think like a scientist, you are one.

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