Recently in Humor Category

Paabo_2014_Neanderthal_Man_cover.jpgPeople have been sending me this, so I might as well blog it. In February 2014, Svante Pääbo, who led the Neanderthal genome project, published a popular book on the sequencing of the Neanderthal genome, and reactions to it.

I haven’t yet read the book, although I’m sure it’s great, based on talks I have seen by Pääbo. However, there is one passage that PT readers may find particularly interesting:

Svante Pääbo (2014). Neanderthal Man: In Search of Lost Genomes. Basic Books; First Edition (February 11, 2014), 288 pages[…]e/B00GJ9XR7O

p. 221:

There were many others who were interested in the Neanderthal genome – perhaps most surprisingly, some fundamentalist Christians in the United States. A few months after our paper appeared, I met Nicholas J. Matzke, a doctoral candidate at the Center for Theoretical Evolutionary Genomics at UC Berkeley. Unbeknownst to me and the other authors, our paper had apparently caused quite a flurry of discussion in the creationist community. Nick explained to me that creationists come in two varieties. First, there are “young-earth creationists,” who believe that the earth, the heavens, and all life were created by direct acts of God sometime between 5,700 and 10,000 years ago. They tend to consider Neanderthals as “fully human,” sometimes saying they were another, now extinct “race” that was scattered after the fall of the Tower of Babel. As a consequence, young-earth creationists had no problem with our finding that Neanderthals and modern humans had mixed. Then there are “old-earth creationists,” who accept that the earth is old but reject evolution by natural, nondivine means. One major old-earth ministry is “Reasons to Believe,” headed by a Hugh Ross. He believes that modern humans were specially created around 50,000 years ago and that Neanderthals weren’t humans, but animals. Ross and other old-earth creationists didn’t like the finding that Neanderthals and modern humans had mixed. Nick sent me a transcript from a radio show in which he [meaning Hugh Ross] commented on our work, saying interbreeding was predictable “because the story of Genesis is early humanity getting into exceptionally wicked behavior practices,” and that God may have had to “forcibly scatter humanity over the face of the Earth” to stop this kind of interbreeding, which he compared to “animal bestiality.”

Clearly our paper was reaching a broader audience than we had ever imagined.


A reader asks weather anyone knows what book this page comes from or not:


I say, wind, shmind, the whether on the moon was stormy that day or not. Anyway, how do they know weather there is wind on the moon – were they there (or not)? Read and understand.…

Submitted by the Whether Underground.

My old friend, the Alert Reader, sent me a cartoon that he claimed had appeared on Ken Ham’s Facebook page. Captioned “Famous sayings of Ken Ham,” the cartoon shows a caricature of Ham and three balloons, including this one:

It’s designed to do what it does do.

What it does do it does do well.

Doesn’t it?

Yes, it does.

I think it does.

Do you? I do.

Hope you do, too. Do you?

I found it hard to believe that the cartoon was not a parody and wondered why it is found on Ham’s own Facebook page. The Alert Reader responded with the following, also reportedly from Ham’s Facebook page:

The egg came first


I have been saying it for years: The transition from dinosaur (figuratively speaking) to chicken was gradual, but at some time we stopped calling it a dinosaur and started calling it a chicken. Or would have if we had been there. The chicken therefore emerged from an egg laid by a dinosaur. Hence, the egg came first. See Robert Krulwich’s article on NPR and the splendid video he links to if you do not believe me.

Acknowledgement. Thanks to Dave Carlson, who asks, “Which came first, the panda or the panda’s thumb?” for the link.

Can William Lane Craig feel pain?


I haven’t the foggiest idea, but I recently saw a video, which you may link to here, in which Mr. Craig, a Christian apologist, argues that (nonhuman) animals cannot feel pain but only responses to stimuli. Or if they can feel pain, then they do not know it is pain. And if they can feel pain but do not know it is pain then it is not pain. Or something.

My unsolicited advice to Mr. Craig: Study today’s (Nov. 16) Non Sequitur cartoon very, very carefully.

Ark falls off edge of earth


According to the cartoonist Wiley, there were two Arks, and the one that carried the dinosaurs accidentally fell off the edge of the earth.

The ducks are gonna get you


Some poor young girl, deeply miseducated and misled, wrote into a newspaper with a letter trying to denounce homosexuality with a bad historical and biological argument. She's only 14, and her brain has already been poisoned by the cranks and liars in her own family…it's very sad. Here's the letter — I will say, it's a very creative argument that would be far more entertaining if it weren't wrong in every particular.

I've transcribed it below. I couldn't help myself, though, and had to, um, annotate it a bit.

Journal of Universal Rejection


It’s here. Not only does this journal have the highest rejection rate of any journal; it has no page charges. You may submit your manuscript with no anxiety, since you know it will be rejected. Unfortunately, as a colleague of mine has pointed out, if the paper is rejected immediately, you may not leave it on your resume for long; it would be better if they held your paper under review forever.

You may buy a T-shirt at their store: they claim that they will not reject your money.

Finally, if you submit a paper to a journal that will never publish it, have you created any information?

Thanks to John Scales of the Colorado School of Mines for the link.

Read alla bout it! Radical Muslim organization Answers in Koran opens theme park in Kentucky. In rare display of ecumenism, governor promises additional theme parks dedicated to Buddhism, Hinduism, Mormonism, and Scientology:

Gov. Beshear [says] that even though he might not agree with the religious message of the park, the economic benefits of Koran Kountry make it worthy of his administration’s support.

“I wasn’t elected to debate religion,” Beshear said. “I was elected to create jobs.”

Thanks again to Dan Phelps for the link.

The coastline of Kentucky


Williamstown, Kentucky, a city that is apparently near the fantasied location of the Ark Park (or is that the location of the fantasied Ark Park?) Is apparently letting that fantasy go to its corporate head, according to this article. The funniest line in the article? I am glad you asked:

The plans are based on the needs of the city and not the needs of the Ark Encounter, said [spokesman for the Kentucky League of Cities Tad] Long.

Inspired (I think) by that article, reader Dan Phelps sent us the following proposal to develop a coastline to spur economic development in Kentucky.


Can Ken Ham be far behind?


…is probably this one.

Waaay OT: For Donald Westlake fans


Barnes & Noble is bringing out a slew of Westlake books for the Nook late this month. Westlake, who died nearly three years ago, was the creator of John Archibald Dortmunder, one of the great comic criminals in the genre, and it looks like a bunch of the Dortmunder books are among those being published for the Nook.

Looks like the cartoonist Wiley Miller has started a series of strips on teaching the “controversy.” He’s got the age of the dinosaurs wrong, and carbon dating does not work that far back anyway, but, hell, the strip is called Non Sequitur. The money quote so far is, “Um, just as an F.Y.I., saying ‘facts’ would be a lot less offensive if you used air-quotes.”

Wanna demonstrate how evolution and scaffolding can produce irreducibly complex structures at your next ivory tower wine and cheese party or evil atheist conspiracy kitten roast? Just repeat the demonstration seen in this clip.

(HT: Nick Matzke.)

Over at Science, Food, Etc. Mohamed offers an intentionally hyperbolic list of faculty stereotypes. He is looking for stereotypes that are missing from his list. So lets help him out. Here are some of his examples.

HALL-TALKER: Prof you never see actually doing work, but seems to be always standing in the hall (or worse, in your office) talking. Seems to even roam the halls trying to find the next person with whom to talk.

ABSENTEE: Prof who is either traveling or works from home so much that most of their colleagues forget that they even work there. Their students may have forgotten them, too. Everyone looks startled when they walk into their laboratory or into a faculty meeting– “Who is that?” someone asks.

Go have fun and read the rest.

I wish I still lived in Minnesota …


… because then I could go to Minicon 46 and attend this bit of programming:

Creation Museum Slideshow - 8:30 PM Saturday
John Scalzi shares photos and stories from his visit to “the very best monument to an enormous load of horseshit that you could possibly ever hope to see.” Hilarity ensues.
John Scalzi, Rob Callahan moderating

Here’s Scalzi’s original report on the visit. One memorable extract:

Here’s how to understand the Creation Museum:

Imagine, if you will, a load of horseshit. And we’re not talking just your average load of horseshit; no, we’re talking colossal load of horsehit. An epic load of horseshit. The kind of load of horseshit that has accreted over decades and has developed its own sort of ecosystem, from the flyblown chunks at the perimeter, down into the heated and decomposing center, generating explosive levels of methane as bacteria feast merrily on vintage, liquified crap. This is a Herculean load of horseshit, friends, the likes of which has not been seen since the days of Augeas.

And this is, in sum, the Creation Museum. $27 million has purchased the very best monument to an enormous load of horseshit that you could possibly ever hope to see.

Just so.

Hat tip to Scalzi his own self

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