Teach geocentrism!

By Phil Plait | June 20, 2008 8:00 am

I wasn’t gonna blog about this, but geez, I’ve gotten like a zillion emails about it (OK, really just four), so anything to shut y’all up. :-)

You can buy some great tongue-in-cheek satirical t-shirts bearing the phrase Teach the Controversy, making fun of creationists:

Now, you might think that would be my favorite, being the heliocentric kind of guy that I am, but I think I favor this one instead:

There are also some great science shirts; the cloning one edges out the others IMO.

They’re designed by Jeremy Kalgreen, and I have to admit, he’s got his finger on something here. I may have to get me one or two…

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Cool stuff, Humor

Comments (68)

  1. Colin J

    Awesome. Gotta get me some of those!

  2. Navneeth

    But I’m afraid that those who might wear this, might be doing so in a crowd (a XXXXL one, at that) of the non-science, non-geek types. It could give a wrong impression, you know. There isn’t even a smiley to let people know that it is a joke. :(

    ;)

  3. Shoeshine Boy

    Clearly fake. The shadows on the moon are all wrong. :)

  4. I like the one with the giant robot and guitars best. Then again, I am kind of a sucker for giant robots and guitars.

  5. ‘and Billy lived forever’ is the best.

  6. madge

    @ Chester M
    Who isn’t?!
    Move over Rover…let Jimi take over
    Klaatu barata nikto
    :)

  7. Brian

    Gotta love DiscWorld.

  8. Jacob1207

    Very funny. I checked out the other designs, but I didn’t get the one with the beetle and the sun. Can someone help me out here?

  9. Eric

    The phrase “Teach The Controversy” has irritated me for the past few years. WHAT controversy, pray tell? There’s Science, and then there’s Imagination, and then, and then… ugh, don’t get me started!!!

  10. TSFrost

    See, this has long been my point against ID. They want to teach “both sides” of the controversy. There are SO many more “sides” than two!

    He should have a shirt with turtles “all the way down”, though.

  11. I didn’t get the one with the beetle and the sun

    That’s a scarab. A reference to that ol’ time Egyptian religion.

  12. Brian Gefrich

    This is quite obviously the work of Satan and it’s damn funny.

  13. Jon

    i went to that site a couple days ago to buy one shirt, but ended up buying three. this stuff is too good!

  14. Welton

    Unfortunately I can’t purchase since I live in Brazil, but they’re very funny indeed!

  15. Dome

    @ Navneeth
    It could give a wrong impression, you know. There isn’t even a smiley to let people know that it is a joke.

    Thats the best part of it.

  16. Alan

    The img tag alt text says it’s about Nixon, but this one made me think “Vote Saxon!” for some reason:

    http://amorphia-apparel.com/design/victory/

  17. «bønez_brigade»

    I ordered 3 different shirts almost immediately after PZ mentioned it (one of them being the geocentric shirt), and I’ll likely order at least 3 more from their different design lines.
    Some are a bit expensive (e.g., $25), but others are reasonable (e.g., $15), depending on the mass of the shirt fibers you choose.

  18. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    Provocative – you can get your own Mohammad picture. But I’m sure someone feels BAd for the squids that LOLl around.

    Hmm. My favorite is the old classic icon, cockroaches partying as mankind self-destruct.

  19. LS

    Love the “teach the controversy” shirts! (But where are the female scientists cloning hot men??)

  20. those are fricking brilliant!

    i’ve got to get a couple.

  21. boomer

    Ordered my geocentrism shirt! Can’t wait to get it!

  22. J Foudy

    “The phrase “Teach The Controversy” has irritated me for the past few years. WHAT controversy, pray tell?”

    Well there is a legal controversy.
    Teach the controversy, the schools should teach that there is presently a controversy being created by certain individuals who are seeking to impose their religious beliefs on everyone else.

  23. zer0

    I bought the heliocentric and the devil hiding the bones “controversy” shirts a couple days ago. I really wanted to pick up the periodic table design too, but my tiny little bank account said no :D

  24. zer0

    Doh… my fingers, they type too fast… geocentric!!!

  25. I was thinking about one of the nuke-related SCIENCE! shirts… Tigerbomb… and Moon Militia. Never mind that there’s some Atomic Tarantula shirts I want to get…

    *sigh* So many shirts, so few days in the month…

  26. Harold McTestes

    Excellent idea!! I’ve been looking for an efficient way to make fun of creationists.

  27. AtheistAcolyte

    He should make a Moon Hoax “Teach the Controversy” design, with a spacesuit holding up a flag on a lunar set with lots of cameras, production assistants, gaffers etc. in a large sound studio. I think I might bring myself to buy that.

  28. Brian Gefrich

    I picked up three.

    Geocentric, Devil Bones and the Ameoba Cowboy

  29. T.phillips

    hah these are great. I especially like the mushroom cloud shirt.

  30. Nathan Myers

    Educational note: these shirts represent excellent examples of irony, in various nuanced forms. Look and learn.

  31. KC

    Eh.

    Not terribly funny. Nor consistent. The devil burying the fossils is a reference to a put-down by Evolutionists about Creationists and to the best of my knowledge does not reflect an actual idea. I was put off by the ESP cards because they were at least a stab at an scientific examination of the paranormal. The periodic table of air, water, fire, and earth would have been funny if they hadn’t included aether, the latter being an attempt to explain the propagation of electromagnetic waves through a vacuum. The unicorn gag fell flat because this past week this story hit the news:

    http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1814227,00.html

    Of the offerings, only the UFO’s building the pyramids got a chuckle.

    In the science category, I didn’t see any that prompted a chuckle. In my college days I might have worn the one with the scientist replicating the dancing girls. But none really grabbed me.

    Now, I *have* seen a science tee-shirt this week that I liked, and think BA would. Since this is on a commercial site, I’ll send the link to BA for him to decide whether or not it should be posted here.

    It also raises an interesting question: If those tee-shirt sell, perhaps I should dust off a few science T-Shirt ideas I had several years ago.

  32. infidel

    Speaking of the pyramids, I heard something about a new theory that the giant “blocks” were not moved into place as commonly thought but rather poured in situ, like cement.

    But clearly flying-saucers-with-tractor-beams makes more sense than that.

  33. I like the Teach The Controvosy shirts but the Science! ones really rock!

  34. Alan

    KC, I have known people that really believed fossils came pre-installed in a ready-made earth (that is, they were created there in their present form and location, instead of actually being remains of prehistoric creatures). These particular people believed God put them there to test their faith, but I can easily believe there are people that believe Satan did it.

  35. Wildride

    Like Davis from Corner Gas says, “It’s not that Battlestar Galactica really happened, it’s that Battlestar Galactica COULD have happened.”

  36. I’m leaning toward the periodic table shirt and hoping someone over there thinks about making a “blood, phlegm, yellow bile, black bile” version.

  37. Kevin White

    My girlfriend owns a shirt that reads:

    Christianity: The belief that some cosmic Jewish Zombie can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him that you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree. Makes perfect sense.

    My shirt reads:

    Too stupid to understand science? Try religion!

    We live in Texas, and we wear these to lunch at a country restaurant (Cotton Patch) right down the road from a megachurch at about 12:15pm on Sundays. It’s fun.

  38. Kevin White

    By the way, “Teach the Controversy” is a creationist tactic meant to discredit evolution by claiming that there’s internal dissent and doubt within the scientific community as to the veracity of its basic foundational claims. The controversy being referred to, in this case, is not between evolution and creationism, but a supposed controversy among evolutionary scientists.

  39. KC

    Alan:

    Thanks. I’ve never encountered that. The standard Young Earth Creationist explanation for fossils is that they were victims of the flood (and while there’s holes in that explanation, it did account for how the bones were covered in silt). I personally encountered this about 1974 from a woman around eighty. I’ve never met anyone who thought fossils were anything other than the remains of plants and animals.

  40. KC

    Kevin White:

    Actually, there’s a strong point here. I remember a rather involved lesson in High School about the debate between the phylostogen (spelling?) theory and the theory of oxidation. The main point is that science is a process of investigation, not an agreed upon laundry list of facts. The phylostogen / oxidation controversy was particularly instructive in that phylostogen seemed to explain some of the observed phenomena, but oxidation accounted for all of it.

  41. legion

    give it up, baby give it up

    and the sunshine band!

  42. KC

    Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    I still have my favorite tee-shirt. It has a cartoon figure of a rather disreputable looking cowboy and the words “Trust me: Would I lie to you?”

  43. Darth Robo

    >>>”It could give a wrong impression, you know. There isn’t even a smiley to let people know that it is a joke.”

    That’s THEIR problem.

    :)

  44. Reverend J

    Wow, I need to pester you more often, it gets results :)

  45. I have a self made T-shirt with the H-R dagram in full colour. With the words “Stars Evolve” underneath it.

    Not only does it look super-cool, but it stirs up a great conversation with creationists when they question it, as has happened on several occasions when I’ve deliberately worn it in order to take the fight towards them.

    Thins about the significance of something that is derived from basic mathematics that they are utterly unable to deny.

    Add to that:

    just like Evolution:

    1: we don’t see all of the transitional forms, but increasingly, we are
    closing the gaps

    2: The timeframes are enormously long

    3: The evidence is there for anyone to verify.

    4: Young Earth (and by extension Young Universe)creationists, have yet
    to come up with a better interpretation, and nor could they derive the
    H-R diagram without a basic understanding of the maths.

  46. KC

    Since stars don’t go through a survival of the fittest, evolve isn’t the best word. I think of it more as a step process. First you have hydrogen only stars. They fuse up to iron and go boom. The remains condense into new stars seasoned with metals. They go boom. Unless they’re tiny, where they hang around like the Eveready Bunny ™.

    Of course, that’s a broad simplification and doesn’t cover all the various forms. But the general pattern starts with hydrogen and goes down through the periodic table as that hydrogen’s fused into helium and so on.

    The point is you don’t have a lot of pure hydrogen stars until one develops some sort of stellar genetic code that allows it to fuse helium. A hydrogen star that’s heavy enough will fuse helium. No survival of the species required.

  47. Kevin White

    KC:

    But at any point in that debate did one side or the other begin to doubt that evolution occurred at all?

    This is what a creationist would seize upon under the “Teach the Controversy” doctrine. There’s debate about the exact chemical mechanisms, the precise morphologies, the taxonomic trees, the timeframes — but a creationist takes those uncertainties and, to a generally scientifically feeble public, falsely represents them as doubts within the scientific community that evolution is a viable theory AT ALL.

  48. KC

    Kevin White:

    Since the phylostogen (spelling?) / oxidation debate dealt with chemistry, that’s not exactly a debate about evolution, is it? And it raises the question: Why *shouldn’t* evolution and ID be handled the same way?

    The important thing is that *science is a method of investigation.* That point must be emphasized. If it is not, then we are right back to where we were when Galan was the text in anatomy, and instructors demanded their student pay more attention to their books than the corpse they were dissecting.

    It’s my opinion that it’s far more important for people to understand the scientific method than a laundry list of facts. Have it out, hammer and tong. If we really love science, then we should engage people’s minds by demonstrating the scientific method.

  49. Mike Gleen

    What a letdown! “Teach geocentrism” – I thought, maybe some cool Ptolemaic epicycles. But – nah – just more ID bashing. Not that they don’t deserve it, mind you, but hey, sometimes geeks just wanna have fun.

  50. Tom Huffman

    Love ‘em! The Turtle Cosmology one will go down great with fans of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series.

  51. My roommate just bought me one of those! It’s a brown geocentrism.

  52. KC. You are right, There’s no “survival of the fittest” for stellar evolution.

    Remember, I’m not aiming at actually comparing the evolution of stars with evolution of species.

    It allows me an entry, as you point out, “to understand the scientific method”

  53. quasidog

    WOW .. way to one up those damn creationists hey, by wearing a sarcastic t-shirt that nobody cares about.

  54. Well quasidog. It works, time and again.

    and you cared enough about to comment, so pull your head out.

  55. quasidog

    Works ? Sarcasm never works .. it only appears to work…. by giving you a warm fuzzy feeling inside.

  56. Junco

    Has anyone read Intelligent Thought : Science versus the Intelligent Design Movement ? It’s a collection of essays by numerous authors, including Steven Pinker, Richard Dawkins, Marc Hauser, and others. There is an essay by Lee Smolin titled “Darwinism All the Way Down” in which he applies the logic of Darwinian natural selection to cosmology, in specific the idea of the multiverse and how our universe in particular is/was bio-friendly. Really, really interesting. The exchange about the evolution of stars sparked my memory and now I need to go and read it again.

  57. «bønez_brigade»

    Somebody’s wearing a sarcastic shirt (that mocks bugnutty nonsense), and they’re getting a warm fuzzy feeling inside, oh noes! quasidog, if it helps, think of the old adage — if you don’t like them, don’t get one.

    Junco, I’ve read the ‘Intelligent Thought’ book. Good stuff it was. I also found Smolin’s essay to be quite interesting.

  58. Someone forgot to mention Poe’s Law!!!

  59. StevoR

    Great T-shirts – classic. 8)

    A phlogiston (pretty sure that’s the right spelling) one would be great! ;-)

    BTW. What’s with the new enter-a-code after submitting thing & am I in some kinda trouble here?

  60. StevoR

    D’oh! I just tried to post & got this annoying message :

    “Sorry, but your comment has been flagged by the spam filter running on this blog: this might be an error, in which case all apologies. Your comment will be presented to the blog admin who will be able to restore it immediately.
    You may want to contact the blog admin via e-mail to notify him.”

    What the blazes?? :-(

  61. Stars are places

    Great T-shirts – classic. 8)

    A phlogiston (pretty sure that’s the right spelling) one would be great! ;-)

  62. JokeR

    Great T-shirts – classic. 8)

    A phlogiston (pretty sure that’s the right spelling) one would be great! ;-)

  63. SCR

    Tried posting only to keep getting this annoying message :

    “Sorry, but your comment has been flagged by the spam filter running on this blog: this might be an error, in which case all apologies. Your comment will be presented to the blog admin who will be able to restore it immediately.
    You may want to contact the blog admin via e-mail to notify him.”

    & sometimes a code to type in thingummy too … Is something up? Some commenst I tried to post on another thread earlier – non-political ones & all too – were also initially “awaiting moderation” then disappeared .. Am I in trouble here or something? :-(

    Is this going to appear and stay appeared?

    …. Guess I’m about to find out. here’s hopinbg (& cut & pasting)

    If someone out there does know what’s up can you please at least have the courtesy of letting me know & give me achance to clear up any misunderstanding or confusion there may be?

    a.k.a. StevoR

  64. StevoR

    Well that went slowly but seems to have worked. Now I’ll try sending this as a test with my usual tagline & see if that works.

    Folks I know I’ve sometimes posted some strong opinions but I believe I’ve always been polite and rational & I do NOT believe in letting “sacred cows” or any mythical “right” certain folks seem to have that they (or anyone) has some kind of right to see nothing that they may disagree with or be offended by ..

    I think I’ve kept things within the bounds of this blog. If the Bad Astronomer or one of his key moderators disagrees with my asessment of this then please could you let me know and discuss it reasonably with me.

    I do try to do the right thing here.

  65. StevoR

    Kevin White on 20 Jun 2008 at 5:25 pm :


    “My girlfriend owns a shirt that reads:

    Christianity: The belief that some cosmic Jewish Zombie can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him that you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree. Makes perfect sense.

    My shirt reads:

    Too stupid to understand science? Try religion!

    We live in Texas, and we wear these to lunch at a country restaurant (Cotton Patch) right down the road from a megachurch at about 12:15pm on Sundays. It’s fun.”

    Classic! ;-)

    And very gutsy too I may add! ;-)

    Get a good reaction? ;-)

  66. Joker

    Kevin White on 20 Jun 2008 at 5:25 pm :

    My girlfriend owns a shirt that reads:

    Christianity: The belief that some cosmic Jewish Zombie can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him that you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree. Makes perfect sense.

    My shirt reads:

    Too stupid to understand science? Try religion!

    We live in Texas, and we wear these to lunch at a country restaurant (Cotton Patch) right down the road from a megachurch at about 12:15pm on Sundays. It’s fun.

    ROTFL! 8)

    Classic – & may I add very ballsy! Do they give you a good response!?;-)

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