The Mystery of the Missing Chromosomes, Continued: An Update From Your Preening Blogger

By Carl Zimmer | July 19, 2012 5:21 pm

[Note: This is the second of a four-part series:

Part One: The Mystery of the Missing Chromosome (With A Special Guest Appearance from Facebook Creationists)

Part Three: Four Days of Fusion Chromosome Freak-Out

Part Four: And Finally the Hounding Duck Can Rest]

Wow, what people will do to avoid answering your question.

Last night I started asking the people who run a creationist Facebook page for the evidence to back up a claim of theirs about evolution. I was told to buy their book. When I was asked again, I was told nothing.

I ended up researching the latest on this particular aspect of human evolution–the fusion of two of our chromosomes millions of years ago–and wrote a blog post today.

This afternoon I got an email from the creationists.

Dear Carl,

I edit Discovery Institute’s Evolution News & Views website. We’d be interesting [sic] in hosting an online debate between you and a contributor to Science and Human Origins. There are interesting issues to address and this is, I think, a much better format for that than Facebook. Please let me know if you’re agreeable in principle. If so, we can nail down a specific topic to debate and go over any further parameters. The format would be a simple point-counterpoint-point-counterpoint, with each post limited to 1000 words and focusing strictly on the ideas, not on personalities.

Best wishes,

I’m fairly sure that this is legitimate, because it comes from a address, and because another Discovery Institute employee hinted at the same idea on the Facebook page.

I thought the question I asked was pretty simple. I wasn’t asking to hold a Lincoln-Douglas debate. I just asked what the evidence was for one of the claims made by the creationists.

Now it seems that in order to get that answer, I can either buy a book–which apparently is based on no peer-reviewed research of the authors, but just cherry-picked quotes from a ten-year old paper–or I can donate my time to write several thousands words for free for a creationist web site.

Making this offer even richer is Klinghoffer’s ground rules about focusing “strictly on the ideas, not on the personalities.” Klinghoffer himself has used Evolution News & Views to call people pathetic, a worthless bully, cowards, illiterate, and “a tyranny of the unemployed” (referring to Wikipedia editors). In one piece he wrote for Evolution New and Views, Klinhoffer mocked a post by a science blogger as “preening and self-congratulatory.”

That blogger happened to be me.

I will answer Mr. Klinghoffer publicly: no thanks. I never asked for a debate, and your arbitrary decrees, such as a mysterious thousand-word cutoff (my blog post on the chromosomes alone clocked in at over 2,000 words) make it even less appealing. I am particularly opposed to web sites that do not allow readers to comment. That’s how I ended up on Facebook in the first place–because the Discovery Institute’s web sites do not permit commenting. You, on the other hand, are more than welcome to leave a comment on my blog. My comment policy is very lax: I only throw out commenters who curse uncontrollably, hawk their own wares, or can’t stay on topic after repeated warnings. We have a thriving, fascinating discussion here, one from which I regularly learn new things from my readers. You might too.

Update: Klinghoffer confirms it was indeed he who emailed. He is also very tired of my asking the same question again and again, likening me to a duck. A preening duck, no doubt.


Comments (140)

Links to this Post

  1. Patience: lost. | July 21, 2012
  1. Hey I was preening and self-congratulatory too. Don’t start thinking you’re special!

    [CZ: Listen buster, I can preen circles around you!]

  2. MonkeyBoy

    Another awful thing that would happen if you debated a creationist is that no matter how pathetic their performance they would declare that they had won and then google searches would turn up references to how Zimmer had been thoroughly “refuted” and “vanquished”.

  3. konrad

    K: The Riemann hypothesis is false.

    Z: Really? What do you base that on?

    K: You can read my argument in my book.

    Z: No, I just wanted to know what your claim is based on.

    K: Well, since you _must_ fight with me, I challenge you to a debate on the Riemann hypothesis.

  4. Doc Bill

    Rats, I’m only a pompous ass. I guess I’ll need to work on my grooming.

  5. Graham Nash

    Kindly explain to him that scientific knowledge is not settled in this way. It is done by publishing and reviewing peer-reviewed journals. Perhaps the Discovery Institute should publish some papers in reputable (i.e. not their own or financed by them) journals and it can be reviewed by professional scientists working in the field. He is asking for a debate for two reasons. First is that it will attract visitors and legitimize the Discovery Institute. Two is that knowing that they cannot refute the actual science they prefer a medium in which they can use emotion and rhetoric in place of substance.

  6. Doc Bill

    Well, as we all know the Disco Tute is about propaganda, not science. Recently, though, they’ve violated their Prime Directive of “Never Leave the Echo Chamber” and participated on some public forums like Amazon dot Com’s book threads and FaceBook. Like the Morlocks they are, they can’t take the light and my prediction is that they will scuttle back to the bunker and leave their FB page to rot. Actually, it lasted a day longer than I thought it would!

  7. olegt

    Discovery Institute hacks should have learned their lesson the first time. Oh No! I’ve seen the Impossible! My Eyes! The second round seems no less fun.

  8. Chemfarmer

    If you are interested in honesty here, be careful. Doug Axe of Discovery’s Biologic Institute is a first-rate PhD biochemist. if you took the time, you would find him to be a thoughtful and well-informed scientist. But its easier to call him (or me) names than it is to listen (or read) his arguments, and I expect this post to be followed by all sorts of insults and name-calling. But if you are serious about listening (reading) I recommend this for starters:

    If nothing else, notice the tone of the article: no straw men, no name calling, just a respectful presentation.

    [CZ: Chemfarmer, here are the facts, again. I have described scientific research showing how human chromosome two evolved from a fusion of other chromosomes, and I have asked–repeatedly, with no response–for the evidence that the Biologic Institute claims to have that the chromosome doesn’t appear as it would if this fusion happened six million years ago. You have pointed me to a blog post on a different topic in the book that I didn’t ask about. I did not call Dr. Axe names, nor am I calling you names–despite the fact that I am, in the words of the Evolutionary News and Views editor, preening and self-congratulatory.]

  9. Jared Jammer

    I’ve not seen a member of the Discovery Institute lose a debate yet. Methinks Mr. Zimmer hasn’t, either, which is why he’s — and let’s be blunt here — tucked his tail between his legs and ran away like a frightened puppy.

    Doug Axe and Ann Gauger are each more intelligent than you, and they have the stronger arguments. If you disagree, then accept their challenge and prove me, and everyone else following this exchange, wrong.

    [CZ: What are those arguments? Do you know why they say chromosome two couldn’t have evolved through an ancient fusion? I am not interested in the IQ of Axe and Gauger. I’d just like an answer to this question.]

  10. My thought was that if they do want you to review it, they should at least have the courtesy to offer to you a reviewer’s copy at no charge.

    But, why would they want you to review it if only so they could sell at least one copy; the one that you buy.

  11. Jason F.

    Not only did they demand a debate (rather than simply provide a citation), it seems the debate was to be specifically about their book. From Klinghoffer’s post: “Carl hasn’t read the book and now, having ducked out of a proper debate, he can go on denouncing it without ever having read it.”

    IOW, the debate they were hoping for was really going to be a promotional event. And they were going to make you buy that thing one way or another!

  12. Nick Waters

    What is the point “debating” facts with those who cannot think outside the dogmatic realm in which they ground their reality? The crucial difference between a creationist is that no matter what evidence you may provide, the concept of creationism remains. In a scientific mode facts are presented and they either match the explanatory model or they do not. If it becomes clear the model is not correct, that is, evidence does not support it, then the model is changed. There is no point in wasting time with the former.

  13. Mark M

    An intelligent designer is obviously a very complex thing, and therefore had to be intelligently designed…

  14. Steve Proulx

    Ha, Carl.

    Admit it. You don’t want to give them ammunition. Believe me, they are more than cabable of answering you.

    But you don’t want them to own you on their ENV blog, right?. It would be a windfall for them.

    Troy Britain is with you it seems. He didn’t have the balls to comment directly on the ENV blog. Chose to kibbitz from his ‘safe haven’.

    Oh, the irony.

    Damned if you do. Damned if you dont, huh?

    Hey, you and Troy can start a help group with Richard Dawkins. He is miserable by himself.

    [CZ: I’m still waiting for the answer to my question. If “they” are so capable of answering me, as you say, then it should be very easy for them to do so.]

  15. Booey

    Thanks Carl, I really appreciate the way you are able to convey scientific information, like the fusion of chromosomes in a clear in interesting manner.

    However, I wonder what is to be gained by engaging with these people? You know that creationism is pseudoscience at best and not based on the scientific literature so why ask for evidence that you know does not exist?

    You have managed to highlight that creationism is not evidence-based, but this is of secondary importance to these people anyway. Their primary commitment is to a literal reading of scripture and if science contradicts that then it is science that must be wrong regardless of evidence. Now by rightly refusing to debate they are able to say that you backed down when pushed and will be happy to trumpet that.

    Warfare between religion and science gets us nowhere. Claiming that science requires the renunciation of religious beliefs (as some do) alienates hundreds of millions of Americans from science. Not a win for society. Dogmatic and fundamentalist religion leads to creationism in schools and the denial of evidence. Also not a win for society. You mention Ken Miller in your original post. I believe his the best approach. It seems to me that he seeks to clearly present good scientific evidence to the public and also seeks to demonstrate how literal creation is not a requirement, and is actually a corruption of, his own Christian faith.

  16. Without ad hominem attacks, ID proponents have got nothing.

    Steve Proulx writes:

    “But you don’t want them to own you on their ENV blog, right?. It would be a windfall for them.

    Troy Britain is with you it seems. He didn’t have the balls to comment directly on the ENV blog.”

    Troy Britain demolished Casey Luskin by exposing his dishonest quote mines, the way Luskin selectively leaves out evidence that disproves his thesis with the use of ellipses “…”

    And if you look over at ENV, I was crushing Luskin in two separate threads, on junk DNA and feathered dinosaurs.

    So the folks at ENV issued a few last ad hominem attacks, closed all further comments, and ran away.

    ID proponents always hide behind websites where they can squelch you. I don’t think David Klinghoffer has EVER made a post where he’s permitted comments. He just issues ad hominem attacks, and then blocks comments.

    And as for IDologues winning debates, Ken Miller crushed Berlinski & Phillip Johnson on Firing Line in, I think, 1996.

  17. Jared writes:

    >> Doug Axe and Ann Gauger are each more intelligent than you, and they have the stronger arguments. <<

    Bull. If that were true, then you could copy and paste their arguments. You didn't. You just issue ad hominems and run.

    If they were smarter and had good arguments, they certainly could've answered Zimmer's questions at FaceBook. They're so smart, they can't answer simple questions? Or provide evidence for their claims?

  18. bz

    I suggest all posters chip in and collectively purchase the book and send it to CZ. and then CZ engage the authors in a back and forth discussion posted here and on ENV.

    further … send this discussion to biology teachers in places like Tennessee with open discussions are permitted. If CZ prevails then one more nail in the coffin of ID. if CZ loses then Dover de facto has been overturned.

    My guess is the PT club will not make a move to place the book in front of CZ so until CZ reads the book, however he gets it, the ID folks have to be considered as having won the argument. When or if CZ reads the book and starts making comments based on what he read from it then the score goes back to even Steven no advantage to either side.

    And the back and forth discussion should be posted at the PZ blog and Pandas Thumb as well. quit hiding, let’s get ready to rumble.

    [CZ: BZ, this isn’t a wrestling match. I asked a question: what is the evidence for the Discovery Institute’s claim about human chromosome two? If I asked any scientist, I’d get a straightforward answer, accompanied by references to scientific literature. I have yet to get such an answer.]

  19. Lil

    hey carl – looks like you’re in for some major trolling sent over by ENV. anything from along “hah you loser for chickening out” to “let’s admit you simply can never ever win the debate because you’re not capable enough” and those in between (or to even more extreme?). i, on the other hand, thoroughly enjoy reading the story of chromosome fusion, so thanks for that 😉

    [CZ: Glad you enjoyed it. It’s interesting how many people are ready to talk about how badly I’d lose in a debate and yet won’t answer the simple question that got this all started: what’s the evidence for the claim about human chromosome two?]

  20. The whole truth

    To Chemfarmer, Jared Jammer, Steve Proulx, Klinghoffer, and the rest of the IDiots:

    Who or what is “the designer”?

    When, where, and how did/does “the designer” do the designing?

    Name five things in nature that were/are designed by “the designer” and five things that were/are not.

    Exactly how can a designed thing in nature be differentiated from a non-designed thing?

    Who or what designed “the designer”?

    How old is the Earth?

    How old is the universe?

    How much “CSI” is there in a banana, a frog, a mushroom, a rock, a human, a galaxy, and a lump of coal? Show your calculations/measurements.

    And what makes you think that lying about your theocratic agenda will gain you any respect?

  21. Eleanor

    I see where your coming from. It does seem a bit self aggrandising for someone to say: “you can only see my evidence if you agree by an arbitrary set of rules I lay down and give me a platform to fold forth on my views”. I’m fond of my ideas too, but I’ve realised that if I want them to enter the scientific debate, I have to put them out there to suffer the rough and tumble of other people testing them out and (meanies!) disagreeing or even slateing them. It’s painful not being accorded a right to reply all the time, but that’s the way it is.

    Also, entering a 1 to 1 discussion isn’t eally the way forward; the evidence has to enter the general arena for everyone to test.If you don’t want anyone to discuss your ideas, hide them away in a book (or thesis!)

  22. Mark M

    “I DEMAND you debate this amazing new evidence!”

    “What evidence?”

    “Buy the book and see.”

    “Don’t be ridiculous. Either tell me or go away.”

    “I’ll tell you in the debate.”

    “Then go away.”

    “Scared of debating, huh? I win!”

  23. This is standard operating procedure for Klinghoffer and the other flacks. Last year when I wrote a post discussing science bloggers’ thoughts on the topic of creationist attitudes to Junk DNA in light of Jonathan Wells’ (also self-published) book, The Myth of Junk DNA, Luskin and Klinghoffer attacked me (again, allowing NO comments) for posting “a review” of Wells’ book without having read it.

    But this is what they thrive on. How many hits can they get at their site for drawing a well-known and well-respected science writer like Carl Zimmer into their sandbox to make them look legitimate? Carl was right to say “no thanks”.

  24. John Kwok


    As you and I know quite well, the Dishonesty Institute excels at chicanery. Your “encounter” with Klinghoffer and Luskin bears more than a passing resemblance which biochemist Stephen Matheson had to endure from their fellow IDiots after he opted to “correct” some of Stephen Meyer’s gross misrepresentations as stated in Meyer’s ‘Signature in the Cell”.

  25. John Kwok


    David needs to read your “Tangled Web”, your most recent Loom post, and view again, Ken Miller’s talking points (which I am sure Ken will update soon if he hasn’t already) regarding chromosomal fusion. But I am willing to bet that it will be a cold day in Hell before David veers towards some semblance of intellectual honesty and credibility.

  26. Mike M

    I wish you would debate. There are many folks, like myself, who follow discourses like these and genuinely seek the best arguments from both sides. Truth will stand out, while denials and faulty arguments will become more and more obvious to those like myself. Quit the bickering and the us vs. them and go for honest discourse. If you believe in your position, defend it. Be above ridicule and engage in healthy debate. This goes for both perspectives. Many of us watching from the sidelines will benefit. The ultimate goal is truth, wherever it may lead.

    [CZ: Mike, science moves forward when scientists test hypotheses, gather evidence, synthesize previous findings, challenge the interpretations of others, come up with new hypotheses–and do so in peer-reviewed scientific journals. The people at the Biologic Institute and the Discovery Institute need to enter that arena if they want to make their case. A couple 1000-word pieces on a web site somewhere is not how science progresses. My own action here is simply asking a question: if someone is claiming the human chromosome two bears evidence that it could not have evolved six million years ago through fusion, then what is that evidence? The people who made that claim and repeated it have yet to answer me.]

  27. olegt

    Disco ‘tute and Biologic are comically out of sync.

    Klinghoffer complains at ENV that Carl has been “pestering” his Biologic friends. Klinghoffer links to their Facebook page, which in the meantime has been entirely cleansed of Carl’s comments.

    The phrase “breathtaking inanity” comes to mind.

  28. lpadron

    I purchased a copy of the book for you from Amazon. It’s being sent to Yale’s English dept. in your name. Cherry picking works both ways. If you haven’t read the book how do you know its contents are based solely on a 10 year old paper? And why should “creationists” with degrees in science from CIT, MIT and UW bother answering an english professor? I don’t know but here’s hoping that *everyone* involved behaves like Bradley Monton.

    Either way, I look forward to reading your review of the book.

    [CZ: David Klinghoffer declared in a post published at Evolution News and Views that there was evidence that the human chromosome two could not have fused six million years ago. He described this as coming from Casey Luskin, a co-author of the book you just bought. Luskin, by the way, is a lawyer. Unlike The Loom, Evolution News and Views provides no places for people to comment, so I could not ask for the evidence for this claim–by which I mean scientific evidence about what would happen to the chromosome as a result of a fusion six million years ago.

    The Biologic Institute–where the other two co-authors work–then linked approvingly to Klinghoffer’s post. So I asked there for the evidence. I was told by whoever runs the Biologic Institute to buy the book–as was anyone else who might be interested. This, to say the least, is not how science works, and I can tell you that having written about science for over twenty years.

    Then Klinghoffer invited me to debate, rather than answer the question. Then he offered to send me the book for free, rather than answer the question. Of course, everyone else who’d like to know the answer would, I suppose, have to buy the book. All this from the person who published the claim about the human chromosome–with no support–for free in the first place.

    You accuse me of cherry-picking. Cherry-picking (also known as quote mining) is when someone reads a book or a paper that comes to a conclusion he or she doesn’t agree with, and–knowing this–carefully plucks out a sentence or a phrase that implies, in isolation, the opposite. Cherry-picking often involves replacing words in these sentences with ellipses so as to enhance this illusion. Creationists were cherry-picking for years before they repackaged their work as “intelligent design.” Here’s a far-from-exhaustive set of examples of creationist cherry-picking/quote-mining.

    Having received no answer from either Klinghoffer or anyone at the Biologic Institute, I have read with great interest the reviews and comments from people who have read the book. And based on their reports, it seems that Casey Luskin has quote-mined one paper from ten years ago. Is this true? Well, I’ve asked this question at the Biologic Institute, and have yet to get an answer either from Klinghoffer or the book’s co-authors. All I get are links to Amazon, and complaints that I keep pestering them.]

  29. Ted Jenks

    Mr. Zimmer,
    I have a bone to pick with you. Discover Magazine forwarded one of your tweets to me (I did not at the time know your work). I didn’t understand the context of your tweet, but I followed a link to, thinking that this site was devoted to peer-reviewed research in evolution and explaining the claims of the ID community. The more articles I read, the more confused I became. After reading about “evidence” for Adam and Eve and Noah’s flood, I became suspicious. I then noticed that their subscriptions and links were related to the Discovery Institute and realized that I had been hoodwinked. Yes, I am slow on the uptake, although not so slow that I believe in ID woo-woo. Since the Discovery Institute insists on cloaking its pseudoscience with scientific names, would you please indicate their content in your tweets? I know that writing “this is crap” would consume too many characters. Can you color-code links on Twitter (may I suggest turd-brown for Discovery Institute URLs)? This would safeguard against slow people (like me) wasting valuable time reading about why the earth is 6,000 years old. Incidentally, I am holding a forum on the existence of Leprechauns next week. I invite you to contribute 10,000 words on the subject.

  30. Breathtakingly stupid.

    Carl asked for a scientific reference. A reference, for crying out loud. To ask them to back up their claims with evidence.

    Now they make him out to be a pest who stalks them… by asking them to back up their claims with evidence.

  31. Davis

    I don’t understand this obsession the ID crowd has with debating. The “winner” of a debate is usually the side that’s better at rhetoric, not the side with the most compelling evidence.

    Oh, I think I just answered my own question there.

  32. Doc Bill

    The Disco Tute really has their tail in a crack on this one. Luskin didn’t do any research prior to writing his chapter on human chromosome 2, rather he found an old paper, snatched out a quote and started playing citation pong. He clearly doesn’t understand the science and relies solely on appeals to authority.

    As Carl writes, “if someone is claiming the human chromosome two bears evidence that it could not have evolved six million years ago through fusion, then what is that evidence?” is a fair question but one that Luskin has no hopes of answering truthfully. Truthfully is not Luskin’s strong suit. The truth is that he made up the whole thing. He knows it, we all know it, it’s painfully obvious. He’ll never admit it and is desperately hoping that this will all blow over.

    The Disco Tute’s mistake was signing up on a social media public forum that they couldn’t control. So long as they kept discussions behind their comment-proof firewall they could control the dialogue. Not so on FaceBook unless they turned it into a creationist blog complete with comment moderation, rules of “civility” (which is another joke) and generous use of the Ban Hammer. Which they have done. Full circle.

    However, thank you, Carl! Last night was the most fun I’ve had in a while watching the Tute swing and twist on the yard arm. By the way, I own all of your books and none of Luskin’s.

    Sign me Banned for Uncivility and Proud

  33. Ted Jenks is right.

    We need hash tags on twitter to designate intelligent design. I recommend:




    Which will be explained by this quote from ID theorist Michael Behe:

    Larry Arnhart writes: “A few years ago, I lectured at Hillsdale College as part of a week-long lecture series on the intelligent design debate. After *Michael Behe’s* lecture, some of us pressed him to explain exactly how the intelligent designer created the various “irreducibly complex” mechanisms that cannot–according to Behe–be explained as products of evolution by natural selection. He repeatedly refused to answer. But after a long night of drinking, he finally answered:

    ** “A puff of smoke!” **

    A physicist in the group asked, Do you mean a suspension of the laws of physics? Yes, Behe answered.” –[ Larry Arnhart’s Darwinian Conservatism blog, Thursday, September 07, 2006.

  34. And for creationism, intelligent design, and other kinds of “mysterious force” pseudoscience collectively, I would recommend the Twitter hash tag:


  35. Woodbine


    Don’t go to Uncommon Descent.

    That place is to be pointed and laughed at – nothing more.

  36. Brian R. Warren

    This is a funny story. I have to say these sound like classic creationist tactics. I’d almost be inclined to suspect that the original post was made for the purpose of baiting evolutionary biologists into making such an inquiry. Irrespective of how many times Carl asks a simple and rather pointed question (What evidence do you have to support your claim?), it’s easy enough for the ID creationists to refuse to answer by claiming that all of the evidence is to be found in the secondary literature. By deflecting the question and pushing instead for a debate, the IDCers can claim a victory without the first volley even having been fired. They can use Carl’s genuine scientific interest (and probably, preener that he is, he was also motivated by a certain desire to see whether they would, against most precedent, actually abide by the rules of science and share data) to claim that he is weaseling out of a debate because he is afraid of being made a laughingstock and proven to be wrong. I think in this case it may indeed be accurate to say that absence of evidence is evidence of absence (of evidence).

  37. I notice that Klinghoffer’s own blog-post does not allow comments.

    I call that cowardly.

  38. John Kwok


    I am in full agreement with Carl. And no, cherry-picking doesn’t go both ways. You will tend to find those of us who are scientists, trained as scientists (like yours truly) or science literate (often by self education as Carl Zimmer has demonstrated quite eloquently) tend to be far more intellectually honest than our creationist critics. They refuse consistently to allow for dissenting opinions to be posted on their websites (with substantially few exceptions) or opt to go out of their way with regards to character assassination as David Klinghoffer seems all too willing to do, based on his latest Dishonesty Institute screed against Carl Zimmer. Your money would have been better spent buying one of Carl’s books than yet another pathetic example of Dishonesty Institute propaganda masquerading as credible “scientific research”.

  39. lpadron

    Mr. Zimmer,
    Thanks for taking the time to reply. They didn’t answer your question and instead referred you to the book. It’s impolite perhaps but certainly doesn’t justify the conclusion that “science doesn’t work that way”. One could just as easily argue that science doesn’t work by way of answering your questions in a forum. Not that I’ve anything against questions being asked in a forum but they’ve such a tendency to attract ugliness that has nothing to do whatever’s being debated.

    Too bad for us all. Such a forum would probably have led to the debate Klinghoffer offered anyway. Either way, I think we can both agree that science DOES work by reading an author’s book THEN critiquing its contents, no? At least then I’d have a chance of accusing you of cherry picking instead of something worse: passing judgement on something
    you’ve not even bothered to read in its entirety. I apologize if that’s harsh. More is expected of you simply because the standard of excellence has been set high by, well, you.

    Luskin is a lawyer. You’ve only a BA in English. I once flunked 2 university level Spanish courses despite being born into a Spanish speaking household. Shameful. Every last bit of it. But what of it? I’ll read what both of you write with great charity knowing a) that I am less than a novice and b) that both of you are far from authorities no matter the books and articles written, courses taught or accolades received from those higher up on the academic food chain on either side.

    Bradley Monton, who’s no intellectual slouch, tends to get replies from your “creationists” rather quickly from what I gather. Why? Because he rightly understands the difference between “creationists” and ID’ers. He makes a stong argument for that distinction in his book, “Seeking God In Science: An Atheist Defends Intelligent Design”. Beyond that he’s simply a polite and kind man. His tack is the right one to take if *any* fruitful communication is to take place between you, Klinghoffer, Luskin, and those awful spanish professors and me. That is to say that slapping the “creationist” term on those who ain’t isn’t helping you get the answers you want. Respect, will. Or should. Eventually. I hope.

    I understand that neither Biologic nor Klinghoffer has answered your question….yet. But He DID offer to answer albeit not in a venue you like. If it’s that critical a question then you should take the opportunity offered instead of claiming that all you’ve received in response to your question are Amazon links and complaints which simply isn’t true.

    Finally, I appreciate that you’ve shown great interest in the reviews of this book. That is not, however, the same as reading the book. I can either appreciate what others say of your blog, your writing or your courses at Yale or or read/attend them and decide for myself. The latter is preferable, no?

    Again, thanks for the time you’ve taken to reply and read this note.

  40. Rev. BigDumbChimp


    It’s impolite perhaps but certainly doesn’t justify the conclusion that “science doesn’t work that way”.

    Uh, yes it does. You seem to have ignored the rest of Carl’s explanation.

  41. Brian R. Warren

    lpadron: What exactly is the difference between a creationist and an intelligent design proponent?

  42. John Kwok


    You’ve fallen for classic Intelligent Design creationist “bait and switch” tactics practiced not only by the Discovery Institute’s propagandists, but also by its “atheist” philosopher supporters like Steve Fuller and Bradley Monton. Intelligent Design IS creationism and if you doubt this, may I refer you to the voluminous writings of biologist Paul R. Gross, philosopher Barbara Forrest (the Kitzmiller vs. Dover plaintiff witness who presented the “legal knock out ” evidence against the then pro-Intelligent Design creationist plaintiff, the Dover, PA school district board; you should read hers and Paul R. Gross’ “Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design”), biologist Ken Miller and philosopher Robert Pennock (who identifies Intelligent Design as the latest, most “evolved”, version of creationism in his definitive “Tower of Babel”), for starters.

  43. We have the answer, the “evidence” was cherry-picked, but they are not willing to admit Luskin was wrong. Offering to debate, instead of acknowledging there is no such evidence, is the original cowardly act here.

  44. bcw

    This is just too Monty Python

    Perhaps Anne Elk should have written a book.

  45. alwayscurious


    You’re right, it doesn’t matter what Zimmer’s education is: it matters that he linked in his blog post to (at least) two peer-reviewed science journal articles containing empirical evidence demonstrating fusion of chromosome 2 in humans:

    Both articles are “new”, written by different teams of scientists, and are supported by their reference to dozens of other, peer-reviewed, empirical evidence containing papers. And THAT IS how science is done.

    Then, and only after repeating that process (generate new empirical evidence; present it to peers for assessment; refine investigation further) many iterations, do you then get to write a book & call it science. Said book would be resting on cited references for several hundred peer-reviewed papers.

    The significance of referencing a book rather than a paper {or Amazon rather than Pubmed} is that a solid science book comprises the sum knowledge of a large number of papers already published–any paper would link to many more. So if the Discovery Institute provided just 1 or 2 counter-examples, they would unlock a cascade of data about the non-fusion of chromosome 2 {without hurting their bottom line at all}. Having not done so, they have failed to demonstrate that there is any conceivable basis for their book. The genre of baseless books has a name: fiction.

  46. John Kwok


    As someone trying to make a career out of writing speculative fiction, I do resent your concluding sentence. What the Discovery Institute is trying to do is not merely bad science fiction, but worse; absurd, most pathetic, science fantasy. I would not even dream of claiming that their “literature” is worth mentioning as an example of a genre practiced by such distinguished writers like Octavia Butler, John Crowley (who teaches speculative fiction at Yale BTW), Samuel Delany, William Gibson, Ursula K. Le Guin, China Mieville, Neal Stephenson, and Michael Swanwick, to name but a few of the most noteworthy contemporary writers of speculative fiction; many of whom would recognize immediately that the Discovery Institute is merely trying to disseminate its preposterous religiously-inspired pseudoscientific propaganda by cloaking it as “science”.

  47. In other words, they still can’t answer the question.

    I can see no other reason than they don’t know the answer and they don’t want to display their ignorance.

  48. alwayscurious

    I’m sorry John, I didn’t intend to smear all of fiction writing by associating it with their drivel. I was thinking elementary-school black/white: fiction/non-fiction. I recognize the fiction writers you name and they put more time & effort into their research than all of the Discovery Institute put together. Poorly written fantasy is more accurate to describe DI’s books.

  49. derwood

    lpadron seems to enjoy the fallacy of arguing from authority. I do have to wonder if he possesses the requisite knowledge to even understand what Axe, Gauger, Luskin and Klinghoffer write.

  50. bz

    conclusions in favor of naturalism appear to follow from a priori assumptions. every time kwok repeats the word dishonesty he shows he is uncertain of his own position.

    as an agnostic on natural causes or an intelligent agent causing life I have no agenda but CZ really needs to read the book and engage in a discussion. Behe and Ussery have engaged from time to time and Ussery published the first peer reviewed article I know of on ID … disputing it. journal of theoretical biology.

    I suggest all the stalling and name calling should cease and CZ engage all three authors. I don’t have knowledge or evidence I or you are a product of design or otherwise figure who the designer is/was. and I also don’t who who designed my iPad but I do know for sure it is a product of design, bias for everything apple makes over msft. msft is evidence of natural selection and who a million chimps would develop products.

  51. bz

    and Shapiro kicks kwok’s butt every time kwok posts on Shapiro’s Huffington blog.

  52. steve

    I volunteer to be the judge of the debate. Call me.

  53. bz

    Shapiro to kwok:

    “Anyone truly devoted to the progress of science should encourage a diversity of opinions because that’s the way we make progress. Is there any particular reason why my having my own views troubles you so much?”

    this after kwok demands at the Huffington blog that Shapiro jump through his (kwok’s) hoops and perform like our very own CZ.
    strong correlation between being a control freak and being a Darwinist zombie.

  54. The whole truth

    Hey bz, if you know more about science or so-called “intelligent design” than “Darwinist zombie[s]” maybe you could answer Carl’s question. The question that is being ignored by klinghoffer and the rest of the IDiots. Here’s his question again in case you’ve forgotten it:

    What is the evidence for the Discovery Institute’s claim about human chromosome two?

    Maybe you can get shapiro to come here and answer it too?

  55. The whole truth

    Ipadron said:

    “Bradley Monton, who’s no intellectual slouch, tends to get replies from your “creationists” rather quickly from what I gather. Why? Because he rightly understands the difference between “creationists” and ID’ers. He makes a stong argument for that distinction in his book, “Seeking God In Science: An Atheist Defends Intelligent Design”. Beyond that he’s simply a polite and kind man. His tack is the right one to take if *any* fruitful communication is to take place between you, Klinghoffer, Luskin, and those awful spanish professors and me. That is to say that slapping the “creationist” term on those who ain’t isn’t helping you get the answers you want. Respect, will. Or should. Eventually. I hope.”

    Respect is EARNED. So can be disrespect, and the IDiots (who are all creationists) have certainly earned ALL the disrespect they get, and then some. They constantly lie, quote mine, distort what people say, ignore facts and questions, attack and insult scientists and anyone else who won’t bow down to them, hide in their echo chamber websites, block and delete comments, ban people who ask questions or disagree with them, claim victory when they have won absolutely nothing, and use every other dirty trick in the ‘creationists with a dominionist agenda’ handbook, and there’s nothing polite and kind about that behavior, so why should anyone else show them the slightest respect?

    Most, if not all religious people think that their beliefs should automatically get a special exemption from critical analysis but whether any godbot likes it or not there’s nothing wrong with questioning, challenging, or bashing religious fairy tales, and all religious beliefs are fairy tales. The creobots at UD, the so-called “Biologic Institute”, ENV, AIG, ICR, DI, and other religious authoritarians are trying to destroy and replace every part of science that they don’t like with their religious dogma, and they have, and will, use any ruse to do it. You’ve seen the “wedge document”, haven’t you?

    Calling themselves the “Biologic Institute” and other sciency sounding names is a deliberate con game. They’re not the slightest bit interested in science except to find ways to wreck it and replace it. The lot of them are charlatans, selling mind-numbing snake oil, and the only people buying it are suckers.

  56. John Kwok


    Shapiro hasn’t succeeded in kicking my butt. If nothing else, he is merely confirming what Jerry Coyne and Larry Moran, among others, are concerned with his sanctimonious distortion of current evolutionary biology, rendering it as “acceptable” scientific nonsense suitable only for his devout creationist fans.

  57. John Kwok

    The whole truth,

    I couldn’t have said this better myself:

    “Respect is EARNED. So can be disrespect, and the IDiots (who are all creationists) have certainly earned ALL the disrespect they get, and then some. They constantly lie, quote mine, distort what people say, ignore facts and questions, attack and insult scientists and anyone else who won’t bow down to them, hide in their echo chamber websites, block and delete comments, ban people who ask questions or disagree with them, claim victory when they have won absolutely nothing, and use every other dirty trick in the ‘creationists with a dominionist agenda’ handbook, and there’s nothing polite and kind about that behavior, so why should anyone else show them the slightest respect?”

    Am in full agreement. Thanks!

  58. John Kwok


    Carl doesn’t need to read that book to understand that it is pseudoscientific nonsense. Nor do I or many of the others posting here. Instead of reading that risible piece of “scientific literature”, I would recommend instead, any of the superb books written by Sean B. Carroll, Carl Zimmer, and other eminent biologists and science journalists. (Needless to say, I wouldn’t include James Shapiro’s book on my to be read list either, since my time is limited and I wish to read only those books which are of interest to me, which, in this case, are those written by respectable scientists and science journalists, not someone like Shapiro who thinks he has found a “paradigm shift” worthy of note to others in biology.)

  59. abb3w

    While “A couple 1000-word pieces on a web site somewhere is not how science progresses”, it may be how science communication progresses.

    However, it seems the sort of thing that might better be delegated to a graduate student, undergraduate research assistant, intern, or other grade of minion, advised by an actual scientist. That might help insure someone learns something in the process.

    Actually debating these folks just seems to signal more respectability than their ideas are worth.

  60. bz


    Ussery is a top scientist and he addresses issues raised byShapiro and Behe in exactly the polite and respectful manner that Shapiro says advances science. CZ should engage the three authors since he is the one who decided to discuss issues they raised. follow through. not reading their book and then criticizing it is is arguing from ignorance … exactly the zombie Darwinist argument against then ID folks.

    whitie … I will answer your challenge right after you explain the origin of random molecules acquiring thermodynamic reversal and acquiring information … or however you define what life is.

    and kwok … Shapiro really does kick you butt every time you post on his blog. perhaps you should offer a test of your belief there … have a poll of his readers and see who thinks your butt is being kicked and who thinks you actually make a valid point that Shapiro can’t or didn’t handle. I fear you are a legend only in your own mind. since popularity opinion polls are why everyone is supposed to have faith in Darwinism a poll of readers at Shapiro’s blog will offer objective proof whether or not your butt has been kicked. then we can dissect exactly all your errors and you keep getting all that attention you demand of others. not meant as a personal attack …just an observation … I don’t think you feel your mother and father gave you enough attention and Shapiro is your substitute father. he seems patient and willing to be your teacher … that should be good enough for you.

  61. John Kwok


    Shapiro’s “readers” are Intelligent Design creationists, other creationists, and others who seem to have an intense dislike for “Darwinism”. I’ve handled myself very well there, but unfortunately, some of my best comments have not been posted due to some ridiculous moderation courtesy of Shapiro’s HuffPo fans. As for Shapiro, he was once a credible molecular biologist. I think he’s been hurting his reputation via his HuffPo gig and his most peculiar book in which he explains how he has found the “third way” between Intelligent Design creationism and “Darwinism”. I have had to correct Shapiro more than once in concluding erroneously that Darwin did not conceive of “Natural Selection”, but instead, had somehow “borrowed” it from Wallace, when the record shows that by 1842, Darwin had worked out all of the important details with regards to Natural Selection, which Wallace would discover independently on his own, in the period from 1855 to 1858.

    An important sign of Shapiro’s substantial lack of credibility is his belief that his “natural genetic engineering” hypothesis does predict the existence of irreducibly complex biological structures and functions, which is a central tenet of so-called Intelligent Design “theory”. Quite a few credible scientists, starting with Shapiro’s University of Chicago colleague Jerry Coyne, have demolished the scientific veracity of “irreducible complexity”, and yet Shapiro still clings to it as stubbornly as his Discovery Institute fans like William Dembski and David Klinghoffer.

  62. Analog_Kid

    Steve Proulx said: “Believe me, they are more than cabable of answering you.”

    Then why can’t they simply answer Carl’s question, Steve? For that matter, why can’t you?

  63. John Kwok


    Carl is wise enough not to do this for the very reason you state:

    “Actually debating these folks just seems to signal more respectability than their ideas are worth.”

    Klinghoffer was craving more “respectability” and it seems as though he thinks he got it when he crowed about this:

    Only someone as sanctimoniously ignorant as bz would conclude that Zimmer should have debated Klinghoffer. (And bz thinks that Klinghoffer really wanted the “respectable discourse” that James Shapiro emphasizes at his blog? Even Shapiro woke up finally to Klinghoffer’s chicanery.)

  64. Renee Marie Jones

    Carl, I always love your posts.

    Creationist: I have proof evolution is false.
    Carl: Cool, I would like to see it.
    Creationist: you have to buy my book.
    Carl: Can’t you just summarise your evidence?
    Creationist: I’m not giving you anything for free.
    Carl: How about giving me the reference to peer-reviewed research?
    Carl: Hello, is anyone there?
    Carl: Hello?
    Creationist: How about we have a debate on my website under my rules?
    Carl: All I want is to know what the evidence was that you said you had.
    Creationist: Geez, you just keep asking the same question over and over, don’t you. Go away.

    That probably just about sums up 90% of the “discussions” a real scientist has with creationists.

  65. John Kwok

    Before he joined the Discovery Institute, David Klinghoffer was employed as an editor and as a writer at The National Review, and was mentored by none other than National Review founder and publisher William F. Buckley. For Klinghoffer to complain in his Evolution News & Views propaganda about Carl’s use of the term (sic) in Klinghoffer’s e-mail should alert others that Klinghoffer was never really interested in having a rational debate with Carl, but instead, in scoring rhetorical points (e. g. dubbing Carl as a “Darwinist Critic”). No one who is genuinely familiar with the Discovery Institute’s nearly two decades worth of sordid history against its scientific critics – including respectable science journalists like Carl Zimmer – should conclude otherwise.

  66. John Kwok

    I have to credit Jack Scanlan, an Australian undergraduate majoring in biology, for finally losing his patience with Klinghoffer and his fellow Discovery Institute propagandists as noted here:

    This observation of Jack’s is one which the relative few who have been commenting here in support of Klinghoffer and his “colleagues” need to recognize:

    “……the intelligent design movement needs to put its supposedly substantial money where its over-talkative mouth is. Stop churning out books and publish some goddamn papers, guys. And not in your little circle-of-friends journal – in the big ones. Science. Nature. If you have what you think is some revolutionary information, put it out there. Overturn the status quo. Pull no punches. Upset the mainstream. Stop preaching to the choir and yelling at the popular kids from across the road. It’s not working.”

    “Science is not afraid of change. It’s not afraid of being mistaken. But it doesn’t just roll over for anything – it needs evidence, hypotheses and a well-thought out position. So far, it seems to me, you’re lacking all three – but I’m happy to be proven wrong. All scientists are. Write a paper outlining the best evidence for intelligent design, and submit it to every major biology journal in the world. If you survive the critiques, well… congratulations, you’ll have changed the world of biology forever.”

    “Are you coming to the table? We’re waiting.”

    Unfortunately, we – that is, the scientific community and the science literate public – have been waiting for more than twenty years for the Intelligent Design “movement” – to use Dembski’s term – to put up or shut up. Instead of opting to play by the well-established rules of science – which an Australian undergraduate biology major has insisted upon – the Discovery Institute relies instead on ample examples of mendacity, of grossly distorting published scientific research contrary to its beliefs, harsh attacks on its critics – whether noted scientists like Jerry Coyne, Ken Miller and Kevin Padian, for example, or distinghished science journalists like Carl – and, in the case of William Dembski, several notable instances of both perjury and larceny in support of Intelligent Design. With an extremely tarnished record like the one I have summarized, Intelligent Design supporters need to start questioning the motives of Discovery Institute “scholars” like Klinghoffer.

  67. bz


    Ussery made the same claim that you make for Coyne, that the irreducibly complex products have a natural explanation. take away guessing and it hasn’t happened . guessing is not evidence. neither Wallace OR drawin could publish a peer reviewed article today with their world view of science. the huffpo readers are largely very far leftists … people who vote for Obama and financially support the ACLU etc. So the claim he is pandering to creationists there is totally bogus.

    You guys should welcome CZ engaging guys like luskin. fear seems to be the best explanation why Carl won’t engage.

    and Renee … the authors did not pick out Carl … he picked them out for criticism without reading their book. big fault to the objective onlooker. I don’t subscribe to Carl’s explanation or their’s so I don’t have a dog in the fight. but on the face to go out of your way to pick a fight and not know the case the other person is saying is really dumb and now Carl looks afraid to back his arguments.

    and kwok,

    Shapiro does kick your butt every time you try to contradict him on his blog. again … I suggest a poll there of people who say you prevailed or you had your butt kicked.

  68. Jaime A. Headden


    Carl Zimmer did what most real journalists and what all actual scientists do: He asked a question. Moreover, he asked for the data supporting the proposed argument.

    Klinghoffer and the authors of the book in question are willing to make the broad claim publically, and deride those like McBride who read the book for making this and such claims about it, but when asked on the specifics, they did what no scientist worth his/her salt does: Hid it behind a paywall.

    Rather than provide the data which supports their argument, they told Zimmer to buy the book, then claim away. This way, you see, the folks publishing the book get money. Rather than offer the data up, like scientists do with papers (who hand these out for free if they can! otherwise sharing the data through un-mined quoting), they said he’d have to go preen through a book for it. They obscured this, because it allows them what can be termed an “out”:

    They can claim now that Zimmer “won’t” read the book, and try to score a point against him, and that McBride “misrepresented them,” trying for another point, rather than engage on the substance of their claims.

    This isn’t what scientists do, and they are not scientists. Which, in case you may have forgotten from elementary school, a scientist is one who DOES science.

  69. Damn! “Preening Blogger” … pretty darn good! The most Klingadingaling ever called me was “obscure blogger”!

    Oh, well … something to aspire to …

    Off to practice my preening!

  70. John Kwok


    Not only Jerry Coyne, but Ian Musgrave and Ken Miller, among others, have demolished the notion of irreducibly complex biological structures and functions. (For example, for years, Ken Miller has worn a “mouse trap” tie just to illustrate how wrong Michael Behe’s concept of an irreducibly complex mouse trap is.) So, in this instance, David Ussery is wrong in his support of irreducible complexity.

    Carl Zimmer doesn’t need to ‘engage” with people like Klinghoffer or Luskin, nor should he. If you honestly believe that, then Australian ungraduate biology major Jack Scanlan has demonstrated far more common sense than you’ll ever possess, bz, in whether one should engage at all with the Discovery – more aptly named Dishonesty – Institute.

    As for HuffPo, I have news for you. It’s infested with creationists, not all of whom are radical Right ideologues, but even many who claim to be Progressives too. (In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve identified myself there as a science literate registered Republican more than once.) If you doubt this, then you should read the absurd commentary by creationists posting at the blogs of Clergy Letter Project founder Michael Zimmerman and National Center for Science Education employee Steven Newton, for example. Speaking of James Shapiro, one of his biggest fans, Perry Marshall, has identified himself as an ardent supporter of Intelligent Design and he is not the only one expressing such support. If Shapiro really does “kick [my] butt”, he has refused to acknowledge how wrong he has been in dismissing the importance of population thinking towards our understanding of biological evolution, how wrong he’s been in misinterpreting Darwin’s discovery of Natural Selection by asserting that Darwin didn’t understand it until he read Wallace’s 1858 manuscript, and how wrong he’s been in allowing himself to being used by the Dishonesty Institute.

    My most recent HuffPo commentary addressed to him was posted yesterday:

    “Carl has demonstrated far better judgement in dealing with Discovery Institute ‘scientists’ than you have demonstrated. Again, no other biologist of your reputation would even DARE to post anything on their websites, recognizing that their very words might suggest to others that the Discovery Institute was having a reasonable scientific discourse and seeking to have a ‘level playing field’ with its scientific critics. There are some people and organizations who don’t deserve such recognition; the Discovery Institute is among them.”

    Not just Carl Zimmer, but eminent scientists like Jerry Coyne, Ken Miller, Kevin Padian, among others, and Jack Scanlan, an Australian undergraduate biology major, have refused to engage with them online at their websites. It’s sound judgement which James Shapiro hasn’t demonstrated at all at his HuffPo blog or at the Discovery Institute’s Evolution News & Views blog; it’s sound judgement that he is still incapable of recognizing. (And bz, if he did successfully ‘kick my butt” again, then why has he chosen silence instead of replying to my most recent observation?) Instead, Shapiro insists on presenting his uniquely distorted perspective of modern evolutionary biology and claiming that it is at the “forefront” of biological research and one worthy of a “paradigm shift” that will replace “Neo-Darwinian Theory” resulting in ample adoration and adulation from both his science illiterate Progressive and Creationist (including IDiot) fans. No wonder why Jerry Coyne and Larry Moran, among others (including yours truly), have been critical of his contemptible efforts at “science education” and have condemned him for presenting a portrait of modern evolutionary biology that is greatly at odds with current scientific understanding and Huffington Post for granting him an online platform for presenting his ongoing “scientific” nonsense.

    Anyway, like John Pieret, I’m “off to practice my preening” with regards to a pathetic Intelligent Design useful IDiot like James Shapiro.

  71. John Kwok

    John Pieret,

    David “Son of Bill Buckley” Klinghoffer once referred to me, in third person, as an “obsessed Darwinist”. He seems to have a knack for bestowing pathetic sobriquets, don’t you think?

    Now I am finally “off to practice my preening” with regards to delusional IDiots like David Klinghoffer and useful IDiots like James Shapiro.

  72. bz


    intelligent people develop a knowledge base before asking questions, else they are in a blind search mode and waste time. CZ is now showing he is not able to engage even luskin on a level playing. Darwinist like the pot shot approach and seek to denigrate people they disagree with rather than engage. David Ussery is an exception, as well as being a top biologist in bioinformatics where he is a key note speaker in that field, Lenski has had David address his students and publish the first paper on ID in a peer reviewed journal … David has engaged both Shapiro AND Behe in a civil scientific discussion. kwok’s referring to Shapiro as a “useful IDiot” is third grade playground behavior which shows a lack of character by kwok … both Shapiro AND Ussery and real scientists who know real science where kwok is a faker and name caller. he shows he’s lost the argument (and perhaps his mind) in every post. like the childish demand Shapiro should perform like CZ … run off and hide.

  73. bz


    claiming irreducible complexity has been demolished is far different than actually proving it. lining up names who have not proved anything is appeal via app pulsar opinion poll. since that is your metric to prove something that is why I suggested a popular opinion poll of leftist readers of huffpo to see if they thought you gave Shapiro a lesson or he kicked your butt.

    the vast majority of people who post on Shapiro’s blog engage on the ideas he raises and I could not tell you if they will vote for Romney or Obama.

    if CZ was afraid to engage the authors in an extended discussion he should not started after the authors in the first place and now failing to engage. by dealing in hit and run tactics using selected sections of text, perhaps out of context it looks a lot like quote mining that Darwinists always accuse the ID camp of doing.

    David Ussery, top scientist, has in the past had numerous public discussions with Michael Behe. counter example to your claim that real scientists do not engage in discussions, Shapiro schooled you on this too. so the next anticipated step from you is for you to call Dave a
    “useful IDiot”, I think Lenin coined that term and Lenin engaged in propaganda warfare … your approach too. on the science, everyone says Shapiro kicks your butt.

  74. Liath

    Carl, If you will enroll at the University of Oregon you can be a duck. Go Ducks!

    [CZ: Ducks are amazing.]

  75. John Kwok


    All Carl did was to ask a question, and if both the Biologic Institute and the Dishonesty Institute were honest, they would have answered it, instead of evading it.

    You are intellectually obtuse. Here’s Ken Miller’s effective takedown of irreducible complexity for starters:

    Here’s a step-by-step “deconstruction” of Behe’s mousetrap model of irreducible complexity:

    As for Shapiro’s fans, if you’ve opted to look at some of their comments posted elsewhere on HuffPo, you’ll realize that they are either science illiterate Progressives, or more likely, Fundamentalist Christian “Conservatives”.

    And bz, Shapiro isn’t my “daddy”. Here’s a picture of my “Dad”:

    (The photograph was taken some years before I was a student in his English and creative writing class.)

    If he was still alive, he’d agree with me that James Shapiro has become a “useful” IDiot on behalf of the Discovery Institute. Moreover, Shapiro displays all too often, the same annoying Discovery Institue trait of posting something he believes will rebut my observation(s), but runs away when I offer additional, often compelling, arguments against his breathtaking inanity. In that regard, he’s no different than David Klinghoffer IMHO.

    Just one more thing, bz. You’ve demonstrated that young Jack Scanlan has demonstrated far more common sense than you’ve been exhibiting here. I’ll leave it to others to decide whether it is a sign of your own emotional and intellectual immaturity, which certainly pales in comparison with Jack’s, since he’s demonstrating far more emotional and intellectual maturity than you seem capable of.

  76. bz

    miller’s supposed take down is not take down at all. if he synthesized an actual flagella in vitro from parts … that would be a take down. what you credit to ken miller is a guess. inquiring minds want to know if his guess actually work.

    macdonald refence is a dead link … similar to how you approach science.

    if that is a picture of your dad he was on the left. all we hear from all your words is that Stalin had it right and everyone who isn’t a leftist politically is your enemy. communism killed over a hundred million people in the last century and is very evil. try to pay attention to evidence and Shapiro … whoo wonders why physical evidence is creating so much hear and nasty comments on his science blog.

    learn how to behave in public in science discussions from Dave …

    David Ussery engages Shapiro’s ideas as well as those of Behe in a very civil and respectful manner:

    and Shapiro kicks your butt every time you post on his blog, everyone says so.

    and CZ is hiding from Casey Luskin of all people.

  77. thisishe

    Zimmer, UD and ENV are probably the premier ID blogs on the internet. It seems like it would be an outstanding vehicle to set the IDers and followers straight. Why not use the invite to amplify on the question. It might even expand into a broader discussion that may result in much relevant information being discussed on the broader topic. If nothing else, you would probably gain more of a following by attracting new readers to this blog.
    Who knows what it might lead to.

  78. thisishe

    “Not only Jerry Coyne, but Ian Musgrave and Ken Miller, among others, have demolished the notion of irreducibly complex biological structures and functions. (For example, for years, Ken Miller has worn a “mouse trap” tie just to illustrate how wrong Michael Behe’s concept of an irreducibly complex mouse trap is.) So, in this instance, David Ussery is wrong in his support of irreducible complexity.”

    Have you read Behe’s response to the criticisms of Coyne, Miller etc?
    You can easily find his responses on the internet if you want to. Seems to me he quite effectively responds, and the concept of “irreducible complexity” remains a valid observation.

  79. bz

    this …

    my sentiments exactly. interesting one way or the other. I have seen somewhere that if you only know one side of the issue that you don’t know much, including your own side. some who thought that they had the better of Behe did so because they could describe a working mouse trap with three parts. fact is that a three part mousetrap is irreducibly complex. won’t spontaneously generate from parts … and I don’t subscribe to ID … just see the criticism of it is flawed.

  80. John Kwok

    thisishe Says,

    I’ve read a lot of Behe’s mendacious propaganda and I have had the misfortune of hearing it presented publicly, live, in person, by him. (Most spectacularly, at the American Museum of Natural History Intelligent Design debate held twelve years ago, which pitted him and Bill Dembski against Ken Miller and philosopher Robert Pennock.) He’s utterly clueless with regards to evolutionary ecology, adaptive landscapes in population genetics and other fundamental aspects of evolutionary biology in his “The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits to Darwinism”. (My Amazon review of it was entitled appropriately enough, “The Abyss of Reason: The Limits to Michael Behe’s Scientific Thinking”, in which I pointed out his profound ignorance of evolutionary biology, by citing those examples as well as others. I also condemned his American publisher – who also publishes the bestselling memoirs written by my “Dad” – for publishing his risible pseudoscientific nonsense.)

    Claiming Behe as a credible scientist should be viewed with ample skepticism especially after he was forced to admit, under oath, during the 2005 Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District trial, that under his definition of science, astrology could be viewed as a “science” with the same amount of credibility as molecular biology or astophysics. And then there is that now famous episode from the Kitzmiller vs. Dover Trial of him refusing to acknowledge the substantial research on the evolution of the human immune system, even after lead plaintiff attorney Eric Rothschild had piled on, for great dramatic effect, more than a few books and bound volumes containing the very scientific research which Behe was denying. Of course, I don’t view as credible, his “rebuttals” to the criticisms aimed at him by Coyne, McDonald, Miller, Musgrave, and others. If anything, based on his behavior during the Dover trial, and, to a lesser extent, his rejection of my observation that most of the audience at the American Museum of Natural History debate was laughing at him and Dembski – this was in reply to an e-mail I had sent him – I have to regard him as somewhat delusional in his behavior.

    Since Behe is really an absymally bad writer of speculative fiction pretending to be a scientist, he should heed Ken Miller’s advice and write the definitive textbook on Klingon biochemistry. (Which makes perfect sense when his American publisher also publishes anything pertaining to Klingons and their place in the “Star Trek” universe.)

  81. John Kwok

    thisishe Says,

    Neither ENV or UD are credible websites period. They are as credible as those websites claiming that 9/11 was an inside job, that alien corpses from the Roswell, NM “crash site” are being stored now at Area 51, and that Nessie, a living pleisosaur, does live somewhere in the dark, cold waters of Loch Ness. There’s no need for Carl Zimmer to debate Klinghoffer or any of his Dishonesty Institute colleagues at either of those websites, given their penchant for engaging constantly in intellectual chicanery and character assassination of their critics.

  82. John Kwok

    thisishe Says,

    That American Museum of Natural History debate was ten years ago, during the Spring of 2002, not what I said earlier (#81). Eugenie Scott, Executive Director, National Center for Science Education (NCSE) was a fair moderator, allowing both sides to argue the PRO and CON with regards to Intelligent Design. NCSE has posted the entire debate at its YouTube channel. I don’t have the link, but if you opt to GOOGLE it, then you should find it.

    P. S. The correct link to McDonald’s rebuttal of Behe’s mousetrap model of irreducible complexity can be found here:

  83. I’ve started deleted some of the comments here, because they’ve drifted off into massive digressions where people are bickering about what each of them said, rather than discussing the topic of this post. If you don’t see your comment go up, or if it disappears, that’s why.

  84. bz

    currently running at ENV. … they have called out CZ and CZ is still in hiding … they are calling out CZ by name.

    kwok, you need to stand in if PZ or CZ keep ducking out from an open polite discussion. ->

    Meanwhile, science writer Carl Zimmer has been hounding our Biologic Institute colleagues on their Facebook page about a particular pet subject that he thinks he knows something about — chromosomal fusion at human chromosome two — and whether or not Casey Luskin gave a satisfactory interpretation of a paper in Genome Research cited in endnote 47, page 103.

    How about debating Casey, then? Oh no, not that! Zimmer turned down my offer to debate us here at ENV, on that or any subject, and, needless to say, hasn’t read the book. When I offered him a free copy, in the thread at the Facebook page, he ignored the offer.

    Luskin, Axe and Gauger make an argument, not reducible to a single endnote, that Darwinian accounts fail to explain the origin of human beings. That is a question that I, as a reader, would love to see debated.

  85. bz

    CZ says
    “I thought the question I asked was pretty simple. I wasn’t asking to hold a Lincoln-Douglas debate. I just asked what the evidence was for one of the claims made by the creationists.”

    ENV replies requires that the answer requires more than a comment on an end note. CZ has now taken out messages that show he does not want an answer in full context. CZ does allow all of kwok’s comments that have strayed off topic to remain.

    where is jack Nicholson? CZ seems unable to handle the truth.

    [CZ: Actually, David Klinghoffer just showed that you’re wrong. He just printed several paragraphs from the Discovery Institute book on ENV and says that’s what he based his claim on. As for deleting comments–I’ve been warning folks not to drift off to obscure arguments over Huffington Post blogs or get into one-on-one name-calling. When people go too far, I start deleting comments. Including some of Kwok’s. I don’t delete comments retroactively, though.]

  86. Acleron

    bz says ‘Darwinist like the pot shot approach and seek to denigrate people they disagree with rather than engage.’

    Can anybody recommend a super-strength irony meter?

    bz, scientists engage by asking questions, either of nature or each other. Carl asked the question, the creationist/IDers couldn’t answer. You don’t need a debate to discover this, you have all the data from this blog and the DI.

  87. John Kwok


    That irony meter is probably working at Warp Factor Nine. (Maybe bz can ask the USS Enterprise to send him one.). On a more serious note, as I tried explaining to bz last night, all Carl did was to ask a question, and it was well within his right for him to get an answer, even if it was negative. Instead, ENV – or rather I should say, Klinghoffer – has been more interested in scoring rhetorical points and in banning people they’ve found disagreeable over at their Biologic Institute FB page. Doc Bill, myself (as of last night), and several others here have been banned from posting over at the Biologic Institute FB page. (In my case, it was because I had the temerity to remind David Klinghoffer, that, as a former editor and writer at the National Review, he should have realized that Carl was well within his right to use [sic] when he opted to post Klinghoffer’s e-mail here. I also urged Klinghoffer to start acting as a responsible, credible journalist for once, emulating the likes of his fellow undergraduate alma mater alumni Susan Gilman, Alec Klein and David Lipsky who are responsible and quite credible. (In Klein’s case, he wrote the Washington Post articles that chronicled the AOL – Time Warner merger that were the source of his nonfiction bestseller published some years ago. He now teaches journalism at a noted graduate program. I believe both Gilman and Lipsky knew Klinghoffer at our undergraduate alma mater; in the interest of full disclosure, both of them, along with Klein, are fellow alumni of my high school and did study English and creative writing from a certain well known memoirist years before he wrote his bestselling memoirs.)

  88. bz


    so why won’t CZ allow a full explanation to his question right here on his own blog? it is only fair to allow the answer come in a manner that permits a full explanation. I think the authors anticipated CZ would not agree so in advance they agreed allow CZ to answer their explanation and then amplify their answer based on what CZ might say. this would be instructive and give all of us an idea of whether or not their original point in the book was valid or not.

    PZ, kwok and the pandas crowd are all saying CZ should run away and not allow a full answer in a fair forum – including anticipation of additional questions. the guy named Paul struck the right note for exchanging ideas and if anyone is actually interested in science that is how to express disagreement … disagree but don’t be disagreeable when you do it in style … personal attack. kwok is always attacking personality rather than the argument so the point of bring up huffpo (CZ) was to show him how he comes across … object lesson. Darwinists do all the things that they accuse ID advocates of doing. … do you want examples? irony indeed

    David Ussery is also an example to follow in style of disagreement. I posted his account of Shapiro’s story and it was totally ignored by folks who only try to score points.

  89. John Kwok


    I’m not suggesting that Carl “should run away”, but instead, not to debate them since the DI, BI and their allies are not worthy of being put alongside a “level playing field”. (As an aside, I recognized this when I heard about the AMNH ID debate ten years ago, and strongly objecting to it, claiming that AMNH was giving the DI a “level playing field” by virtue of conferring legitimacy on them. While I am pleased that the debate resulted in ample ridicule from the audience of Behe and Dembski, I still think that AMNH was not the best venue for such a debate.

    As for bz’s breathtakingly inane assertion that a DI (or allied) website is a “fair forum” is utter nonsense. Routinely they ban critics like Doc Bill and myself from posting. Those websites are as “impartial” as those of Holocaust deniers and “9/11 was an inside job not caused by Al Qaeda.”

  90. bz


    why not read again where I suggested this very forum is the appropriate forum for the three authors to explain their answer to CZ? if this isn’t a fair forum for the discussion then suggest one. light a candle instead of cursing the darkness. right now CZ appears to be in hiding so how can he hide in his own forum? complain? the side comments from people like you and me can be in a parallel forum until the authors and CZ say the exchange – if any – went far enough. A fully explained answer together with any additional questions is all that is at issue.

  91. John Kwok

    @ bz –

    Klinghoffer and his colleagues are quite contemptible. See Carl’s final posting – that he posted earlier today – in which he puts down Klinghoffer’s woeful ignorance of biology. So why should Carl consider inviting them to this forum?

  92. John Kwok

    @ bz –

    This is how Carl concludes his latest – and last – post on this risible episode:

    “After five days of stonewalling and name-calling, Klinghoffer points us to a passage from a book published by his employer, the Discovery Institute, written by someone else at the Discovery Institute. The passage he points us to cherry-picks another book and a 2002 paper. Reading the original sources quickly reveals that Luskin’s interpretation of those quotes is wrong. Luskin also nods to another Discovery Institute fellow, who makes a comment that is clearly contradicted by peer-reviewed research. Luskin has nothing to say about any of the research that has come out in the past ten years. Klinghoffer has nothing to say, either.”

    “For Klinghoffer to say that you have to read the entire book to appreciate the weight of the evidence about human chromosome two is absurd. Klinghoffer himself made a specific claim, and the evidence he offers actually shows that he’s wrong. Unless the rest of the book provides better evidence concerning human chromosome two, it’s irrelevant to my question.”

    “And if the rest of the book is as wrong as this passage, then I hardly see why it’s worth reading.”

    “And that is why I ask for evidence.”

    So there’s no need for Carl to invite them over here or to think even of reading that book.

    Here’s the rest of Carl’s remarks:

  93. bz


    it is not at all clear that CZ knows enough biology to know whether or not the authors are right or wrong. you claim to be right but Shapiro seems vastly superior to you so to an objective onlooker the only way to see if CZ is correct in his judgement is to allow the authors to express their opinion in full and in context. I prefer seeing what they have to say rather than having CZ guess ahead of time, I really dislike prejudice and bias as a way to decide issues. when they pick juries it is people like you who get bounced off immediately because there is no attempt to listen and such as yourself already have your mind made up before listening to all the facts presented in context.

    apparently CZ really doesn’t want an answer to the question he asked or he would allow Ann or the other two hear to give a full background. I think Ann’a academic background includes u of wash, Harvard and MIT. that alone says she is credible and way ahead of both you and CZ.

    if CZ won’t engagee now and permit them on his own turf then it speaks to his initial question as not very honest. he never was interested in an answer because he knew ahead of time that he could not understand what they would say. so it was hit and run away, that is what the evidence shows right now. all CZ has to do is invite them hear and then he can ignore their explanation … which would tell us what his initial motivation was for asking the question in the first place. we can only guess why CZ tried to stir thing up and then runaway and riht now that makes him look pretty bad … very unlike a McBride or an Ussery … who show themselves to be interested in science and evidence rather than polemics.

  94. John Kwok

    @ bz,

    If Carl doesn’t know enough biology, then why did he write “Evolution”, the companion volume to the PBS NOVA miniseries of the same name? Or his other books on biology and medicine, like “At The Water’s Edge” or “Microcosm” or “A Planet of Viruses”? Or write his general audience “textbook” on evolution “The Tangled Bank”?

    As I noted last night, “Klinghoffer and his colleagues are quite contemptible.” No other further explanation is really necessary to explain why Carl was right not to accept their debate “invitation” or offer them a “forum” here.

    Maybe you should pay Klinghoffer and company an online visit and ask them why Doc Bill, Nick Matzke, Richard B. Hoppe, myself and others critical of them had our posts removed from their Biologic Institute FB page. If you are going to be consistent, bz, then demand from Klinghoffer and company that they should give us the very right to debate them on their own turf that they are demanding from Carl.

  95. Shrunk

    bz writes:

    “if CZ won’t engage now and permit them on his own turf then it speaks to his initial question as not very honest.”

    Carl has confirmed in the comment section of a later post that he is not preventing anyone from the DI from commenting on his blog. So will you either withdraw or substantiate your accusation that he is not permitting them to post here?

  96. The whole truth

    After seeing the following two statements from bz I stopped reading his swill:

    “currently running at ENV. … they have called out CZ and CZ is still in hiding … they are calling out CZ by name.

    kwok, you need to stand in if PZ or CZ keep ducking out from an open polite discussion.”


    “if CZ was afraid to engage the authors in an extended discussion he should not started after the authors in the first place and now failing to engage. by dealing in hit and run tactics using selected sections of text, perhaps out of context it looks a lot like quote mining that Darwinists always accuse the ID camp of doing.”

    bz, you haven’t got a clue. Carl isn’t ducking and he obviously isn’t afraid. The afraid IDiots have been ducking reality and open/honest discussion (whether “polite” or not) for decades, and I’m certain that they will continue to do so. Carl isn’t the one doing the quote mining or hit and run. Quote mining/cherry picking, and hit and run (especially run), is a specialty of the IDiots. And when it comes to “hiding”, the IDiots are unsurpassed.

    You keep saying that some guy named David Ussery is a top scientist (an appeal to authority). I’ve never heard of him and don’t care who or what he is. Since you apparently like popularity polls, maybe you should do one at your local mall and see how many people have ever heard of him.

    You make a lot of noise but don’t say anything of value.

    IDiots make a lot of noise but don’t say anything of value.

    Just two more things:

    Grow up. Learn how to use the shift key on your keyboard.

  97. The Pale Scot

    “top scientist” isn’t he already examining the Ark of the Covenant?

  98. Karla Vogt

    98 replies,most of which are namecalling. Either Those from the Discovery Institute can go read the websites that CZ posted, or they should quit wasting everyones’ time.

  99. bz

    whole truth,

    sorry but Carl took a poke, got schooled and went into hiding.

  100. Toos

    Of course #101 cz had to be bz. Sorry for the typo!!! Glad to notice #102 that my comment was clear nevertheless.
    Yes bz, nor Karla Vogt #99 nor John Kwok #102 are saying too much. So again from me: please!, go for a good treatment as soon as possible!

  101. bz

    toos, not just kwok, even Carl has gone into hiding oon his own blog … looks like Casey has silenced the Darwin camp.

  102. bz


    1. odds on finding life of Mars?
    2. claims of possible precursors to life found on the new mission?
    3. who believes secularist faith caused this much money to be spent?

  103. Toos

    bz, as I said on the other thread: you again abuse my comments. I’m not talking about whatever you wish to make of it, but about your behaviour. Such as why it is impossible to communicate with you.
    So this is my very last try for that too.

  104. John Kwok

    @ bz –

    Goodbye and good riddance. You’re not worth mine or anyone else’s time for further commentary. Instead, you are in dire need of mental health treatment, as evidenced by posting the lyrics of an Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice song as your “response” to “Darwinists” over at another recent blog of Carl’s pertaining to the Dishonesty Institute.

  105. bz


    your behavior is what we see when cherished beliefs are contradicted by evidence.

  106. bz


    “any dream will do” is an apt description of your team, top to bottom. when Lenski’s evidence show a lack of chage and evidence against evolution your team can’t process it meaning nothing falsifies your faith. Shapiro ties to educate you and you refuse to learn. thus it is with most Darwinists … Ussery and Shapiro are notable exceptions. at least these two are open to new evidence. Carl and guys like you act like agents of propaganda rather than having a desire to adhere to what is real or true.

  107. John Kwok

    @ bz –

    Your reply to toos (@ 107) demonstrates how delusional you are. Farewell bz, and don’t come back until you have obtained sufficient medical attention to your mental health.

    As for your observation about that Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice song (@ 108), you are definitely out of touch with reality. Citing the lyrics to that song is not a credible response, bz. Carl Zimmer is the perfect example of a writer who started out with no background in science, just a BA in English from Yale, and educated himself on what is – and isn’t – sound science. If he could do that, bz, so can you. Unfortunately you are too delusional to make such an effort.

    You are so out of touch with reality that you can’t fathom your own mental health issues or understand what is truly valid mainstream science.

  108. bz

    who is going to tell casey that his reply has beaten Carl?

  109. bz


    what matters is thigs like the lack of evolution in the lenski experiment which show the EDGE OF EVOLUTION and your beliefs can not explain life. … rather than personal attacks that reveal your own personal insecurity.

  110. John Kwok

    bz –

    What matters is that you insist on still posting more of your delusional breathtaking inanity here at the Loom. I understand “The Edge of Evolution” all too well and tore it shreds over at Amazon. So too does David E. Levin (Reports of the NCSE), Kenneth R. Miller (Nature), and Richard Dawkins (New York Times Book Review). Again if I didn’t understand Behe, do you think David E. Levin would have volunteered that information, bz?

    You are mentally unhinged bz. Again, please stop posting here and get immediately, the mental health treatment which you need. Carl Zimmer has said already his last word on this ridiculous controversy orchestrated and amplified by David Klinghoffer and Casey Luskin. He has moved on already and you should too.

  111. bz


    when you claim you tore Edge to shreds on Amazon … that is true self-delusion. Levin can’t even defend himself right here against Casey! Carl took a poke at Casey, got schooled and ran away from the supposed controversy he tried to stir up. if Carl could deal with the response he begged to get then he would have.

  112. bz


    Carl took a shot and asked for a reply. Casey gave Carl the requested reply which must satisfy Carl because Carl has been mute since getting the answer he requested.

  113. bz

    interesting refutation of McBride posted here:

    McBride took a deeper look at Casey’s book and seems to have come empty. Carl has yet to read it AFAIK. and PZ seems to not have read the book and is critical of Axe’s contribution.

    from the Huffington post Shapiro blog:
    So keep it VERY simple and forget about “the “John Kwoks” of the world. For every one “John Kwok” there is 100,000 potential average readers who need to learn from you! However, they should not have to be first versed in the Latin and Greek languages and have a science degree in order to grasp your theories!

    Dr. Shapiro, you currently have arguably the most powerful message from science to the general public, but it is worthless if it is not understandable. Your detractors know this…

  114. Toos

    bz, this looks like a perfect demonstration of cherrypicking. Thereabove you direct a message to a person in a way it for almost sure will not reach him.
    Just 2 remarkables in just #115, just showing me you really are unable to proper communication.
    I don’t mind letting you what you wish: the last comment of this thread. Though I would appreciate it being something positive. For instance thanking Carl Zimmer for his amazing hospitality on his blog???

  115. John Kwok

    @ bz –

    Toos is right (@ 116). You should be grateful to Carl Zimmer for allowing you to post your delusional breathtaking inanity over and over again. You wouldn’t have had this privilege at the Panda’s Thumb (, where you would have been banished to its Bathroom Wall a long, long time ago.

    Only a delusional ignorant fool (@ 115) would conclude that I did not tear “The Edge of Evolution” to shreds over at Amazon or that,somehow, McBride was refuted by Luskin over at ENV, especially when Luskin is the DI’s mendacious Minister of Propaganda. As for James A. Shapiro, he is irrelevant and causing harm to the cause of educating the public in what is valid, well accepted science in biology and elsewhere, including, for example, global warming. (Apparently Shapiro is a global warming skeptic.)

    Again you are in dire need of mental health treatment given the bizarre content of many of your posts here at The Loom. Get that treatment soon before coming back here to post.

  116. bz


    kwok got the message. his persona is unwelcome and distructive. people like to feel like the group is on their side so kwok incessantly appeals to authority as if a guy like ken miller is an authority. ken miller was running Haeckels forgeries as fact over 199 years past when they were shown to be every bit as fake as the evolutionists who created the Piltdown Man. if haeckel’s drawings were proof of evolution when considered real then why aren’t they evidence against evolution when revealed to be fake?

    only in remote little places like this is evidence unwelcome. since the tiny minority get money spent selling their fake religion of evolution do I bother bringing evidence here that counters evolution. if you guys didn’t control budgets I would care less about your faith in 19th century hokum.

  117. bz


    you and toos have just demonstarted the classic denial of free speech attitude that drives Darwinism and undergirds fascism as well. Carl took a rough and tumble attitude towards Casey’s book which is 100% fair. So having a similar style in an exchange here is also appropriate.

    it is truly bizarre of you to claim a factless. estate. an devastate anything, including Edge. When I point out how ignorant your supposed experts actually are I back my opinion with facts/evidence. For instance ken miller simply repeats fake evidence rather than knowing it is true or false … Haeckel’ fake drawings appeared in his text book one hundred years after the truth was known.

    others at the Shapiro blog have your number too. as I demonstrated. Carl answering Casey is what is needed now.

  118. John Kwok

    @ bz –

    Your analysis (@ 118) is utterly bizarre. I don’t use as an “authority”, Ken Miller. Nor do I use any scientist as such, period. Instead I have been referring to the collective body of knowledge contributed to and disseminated by biologists for over one hundred fifty years. Unlike you, I am intellectually honest. If I know I don’t know enough to comment effectively, then I won’t comment. Too bad no one at the Dishonesty Institute is capable of showing such honesty.

    Your analysis (@ 119 & 120) is further demonstration with regards to your ongoing severe delusional state of mind. Get the mental health treatment you need bz ASAP please. No one at “the Shapiro blog [has] my number”. If they think so, then they are as delusional as you’ve been demonstrating here at The Loom. Again, good riddance and tend to your mental health issues immediately.

  119. bz


    the people at the Shapiro don’t agree with your assessment of you. you repeatedly have referred to ken miller as an expert you rely on and he was an expert for Darwinism at the Dover trial. a whole lot of mainstream biology textbooks used Haeckel’s drawings to prove evolution was real until just a few years ago even as they were as phoney as a three dollar bill. The Shapiro people know who you are from how you conduct yourself there and let us just say they don’t hold you in the same esteem that you hold yourself.

    you should not be the issue. as I said, the Shapiro blog has your number. the issue is the next move Carl will make now that Casey gave the answer Carl requested. Else Casey goes unchallenged right here on Carl’s own blog.

  120. Toos

    bz, #119, I just finished laughing out very loud: since when is asking fór saying whatever, a denial [or whichever offend] of free speech?
    And please, stop that nonsense against John Kwok. It’s more than clear in the meantime, you just are fond of destructive behaviour. At least to me.

  121. John Kwok

    @ bz –

    You are utterly delusional and hopeless (@ 121). I haven’t referred to Ken Miller in most of my HuffPo posts, only with regards to citing him as both a religious scientist who accepts biological evolution and as the lead witness to the plaintiffs during the 2005 Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District trial. Do you honestly think I care what they say over at the Shapiro blog, especially when most of them are creationists and other kinds of evolution denialists?

    I am surprised Carl Zimmer has been extremely patient with your delusional tirades posted here. Again, if this was the Panda’s Thumb, you would have been banished to its Bathroom Wall a long time ago.

  122. bz


    telling kwok that his hero ken miller used haeckel’s fake drawings well over a century past when they were discovered to be fakes may be destructive to kwok misguided faith in Darwinism but it is faithful to the truth.

  123. bz


    pointing out the expert witness for Darwin at the Dover trial tells lies to biology students negates your frequent use of it. this shows that lies sit at the foundation of Darwinism. Darwin based his thinking on Thomas Malthus and if you watch the Olympics, they have light there at night. for the Darwin faithful, his hero was Malthus who predicted England would go dark when the whales used for lighting oil would all be dead for over fishing.

    you get nailed by facts. Carl seems to have been nailed by Casey’s response but I am totally open to Carl coming back and slamming Casey. I have no dog in the fight and support neither Carl or Casey. the way I see it Carl challenged Casey, Casey responded and the ball is in Carl’s court.

    the idea of banning free speech is repulsive to any American. that is why I support showing faults in evolution in school. and ID should not be taught in school as fact at this stage of its modern life. doubts of both and Shapiro’s ideas should all be talked about. banning speech is what fascists do

  124. John Kwok

    # bz –

    You made that same observation about Ken Miller (@ 124) more than once before at The Loom. Your second observation (@ 125) is more affirmation of just how delusional and out of touch with reality you are. How you can tie an observation of Thomas Malthus with Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace and the ongoing London Olympics is not only risible and ridiculous, but offers more proof of your most bizarre mental state. (Speaking of facts, bz, Shapiro doesn’t understand much of what is really important in evolutionary biology nor understands its history, especially since he has claimed erroneously that Darwin did not understand Natural Selection until he saw Wallace’s 1858 manuscript. That ignores the inconvenient fact that Darwin had worked out Natural Selection by 1842:

    Learn some real science and history of science, for once, bz. And seek treatment for your precarious mental health ASAP please.

  125. Toos

    bz, #124 telling me what I should say another person who is hearing [reading in this case] what you say, is a wellknown technique of maltreat. And you use more of them. Your behaviour really is far below zero.
    Thereabove you are calling facts what is nothing more than fancy associative nonsense.
    Of course you can say whatever you want to: no one is prohibiting you to start your own blog.

    Do you really think by repeating all this over and over, you would gain in credibility?

  126. bz

    Thomas Malthus (1766-1834)

    kwok, mark down history as yet another subject you know nothing about. Carl is getting embarrassed for you now. if a person wants to hang themselves in defense of Darwin I will supply the rope. is it ok to laugh at you too?

    “In October 1838, that is, fifteen months after I had begun my systematic inquiry, I happened to read for amusement Malthus on Population, and being well prepared to appreciate the struggle for existence which everywhere goes on from long- continued observation of the habits of animals and plants, it at once struck me that under these circumstances favourable variations would tend to be preserved, and unfavourable ones to be destroyed. The results of this would be the formation of a new species. Here, then I had at last got a theory by which to work”.
    Charles Darwin, from his autobiography. (1876)

    This often quoted passage reflects the significance Darwin affords Malthus in formulating his theory of Natural Selection. What “struck” Darwin in Essay on the Principle of Population (1798) was Malthus’s observation that in nature plants and animals produce far more offspring than can survive, and that Man too is capable of overproducing if left unchecked. Malthus concluded that unless family size was regulated, man’s misery of famine would become globally epidemic and eventually consume Man. Malthus’ view that poverty and famine were natural outcomes of population growth and food supply was not popular among social reformers who believed that with proper social structures, all ills of man could be eradicated.

    this is all leftist clap trap we hear now in politics even to this very day … like peak oil was so popular and then along came fracking technology and methane hydrate trapped under the ocean represents 10,000 years of clean energy.

    The traditional pessimist model derives from Thomas Malthus’s Essay on the Principle of Population (1798). Malthus observed that population can grow exponentially while the natural resource base (which Malthus implicitly assumed was homogeneous) is fixed, thus it is only a matter of time before the human population outgrows the carrying capacity of the Earth. At that point, humans will be reduced to bare subsistence living. (Malthus cited population figures from America to prove his point, but overlooked the fact that much of the American population increase was due to immigration rather than births.)

    so we can trace the source of Carl’s bogus thinking all the way back to the 18th century. what is amazing is how much you write and how little you know.

    this also backs my point on resource limitation of Malthus in which he predicted England would go dark for lack of whale oil;

    This way of looking at the world is known as “Malthusianism”, so named after a 18th-19th century English scholar and parson named Thomas Malthus. Malthus made the observation that while the population of England was increasing at some exponential rate in the early 19th century, the quantity of food being grown was only increasing at a linear rate. Malthus’s most famous work on this issue was entitled “An Essay on the Principle of Population”, and a decent summary can be found at Wikipedia (I won’t ask you to read the original!)

    It is not difficult to see that Malthus was in error: Britain (and the world) has many times the population it had in 1800, but widespread food shortages and starvation have yet to appear. The clear answer is that food production has more than kept up with population growth, to the extent that today the global population has never been higher, but on an average basis the world is consuming more calories than at any time in human history. Why? The short answer is, technology. We’ll talk more about this in a little while.

    Malthusianism is a strain of what is called “resource pessimism”, the general idea that we are forever close to running out of something important, and dooming humanity to either a wretched existence or a miserable end. It is sometimes referred to as “doom-saying”. This appears to be somewhat of a built-in human trait, and probably has some value as a survival mechanism, although I am  not an expert in psychology and thus will refrain from further comment on that issue. There is, however, an opposite point of view to pessimism and doom-saying, a worldview that is sometimes referred to as “cornucopianism”, from the word “cornucopia”, which refers to the “horn of plenty’, a symbol of abundant food supplies dating back to the ancient Greeks. The most ardent recent advocate of cornucopianism was a University of Maryland economist named Julian Simon. Please read the following article from Wired Magazine, which is a good summary of Simon’s outlook.

  127. bz


    I put evidence here to support my points. it is not part of my job description to deal with the emotions of people reading facts. ken miller really did lie to ALL the many students for many years who read his very popular biology textbook about haeckel’s drawings proving evolution when those drawings were faked. he even admits his lie at his web site. and kwok keeps using miller as an expert on Darwinism.

    that is how it works, a shaky theory gets accepted and no one checks out its veracity so guesses stack on top of guesses untilcarl comes along and feels embolden to challenge Casey. then Casey answrsmcarl and Carl might be realizing he has no fuel in his evolution gas tank. Or. I hope this is the cas … Carl is ready for a big slam down on Casey. let’s hope it is the latter.

  128. Rkt

    Good morning.
    Signing in – from Northern England. I should point out that there are no shortages of whale oil hereabouts, and we are all doing fine. In the UK, like most of europe, we don’t experience the tedium of having to handle time-wasters like creationists, and I am so glad of this.

    Though I can see the ‘shooting fish in a barrel’ aspect of such debates can be good sport for guys over there, it must be pretty repetitive.

    I feel I should point out one thing. Relating to discussions of ‘Greatest ever Englishman’, it has been shown that Darwin scores well even with the likes of Dickens, Churchill, Newton, Brunel, Shakespeare, etc. to contend with. It is irritating (to put it mildly) to see his name besmirched. Most peope, whether they work in science or not, see that his insights were so much ahead of his time, they were seriously developed and thought-through, with consideration of the available evidence. allowing for what he knew (150 years ago), he was totally on-target and dragged Biology into some sort of credibilty alongside the other scientific disciplines of Chemistry, Astronomy Physics (something which, for example for Geology, took many more decades to happen).
    Darwin’s work was crucial in persuading humanity if the reality of the Earth’s true age. What a level of ignorance existed before this time. It is staggering to think of it.

    As to the word Darwinism: it may or may not have a clearly agreed meaning or definition, but as currently used this word is a bit of a nuisance because it goes beyond the basic ideas Darwin put forward. To see it used by some as though as a term of abuse, well, it is more than irritating to me.
    I am appalled.
    You Americans (and others) really have my deepest sympathy in the level of debate you live with at the present time. Not just in science!
    Having followed this blog and also the parallel CZ blogs, I have also (reluctantly) had to come to the conclusion that all is not well with bz’s thinking apparatus. SO much text, so little content ……

    Darwin is, quite probably, the greatest Englishman.

  129. John Kwok

    @ bz –

    Since you like to post links, then here’s one for you:

    As I noted elsewhere, it isn’t surprising that both Darwin and Wallace, independently of each other, conceived of Natural Selection after reading Malthus’ “Essay on Population”. As I noted elsewhere, it was inevitable that someone – in this case two people – would stumble upon Natural Selection. What you’ve written is mere intellectual nonsense that has no bearing whatsoever with regards to biology. (As someone who calls himself a Conservative, I understand and appreciate this far better than what I have seen posted here at The Loom courtesy of your intellectually-challenged mind.)

    As toos has noted (@ 127), “Do you really think by repeating all this over and over, you would gain in credibility?”

    The mere fact that you need to repeat yourself again and again, using the very same words each time, should suggest to any objective reader that yours is a delusional mind in dire need of mental health treatment. Bid The Loom farewell and get that treatment immediately please.

  130. bz


    you>How you can tie an observation of Thomas Malthus with Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace and the ongoing London Olympics is not only risible and ridiculous, but offers more proof of your most bizarre mental state. ”

    do you see now? or are you still in the dark? Malthus famously predicted London would be dark for lack of whale oil and he was flat wrong and this idea is the premise behind Darwinism. personal attacks and failure to admit yournlackmof knowledge has been duly noted at the Shapiro blog. when Carl backs your action his is laying down a marker his EDGE of evolution knowledge as well. would be interested to see if Carl ever backed the Darwinist supporter and spreader of false information Ken Miller. expert at the Dover trial.

    and lack of resources explains liberal thought as well in more than one way

  131. John Kwok

    @ bz –

    Stephen Jay Gould grossly misinterpreted the phylogenetic relationships of some of the Burgess Shale Fauna in his book “Wonderful Life” and also erred in his misinterpretation of the measurement of human skulls by a 19th Century Philadelphia-based physician, Samuel George Morton, which he cited in his book “The Mismeasure of Man”. Neither failure should detract from his importance as one of the most provocative – and innovative – thinkers in evolutionary biology during the latter half of the 20th Century. What you have cited regarding Malthus is irrelevant towards explaining how Darwin and Wallace stumbled independently upon Natural Selection. (Nor does the failure of his London “prediction” demolish the important demographic arguments in “Essay” which inspired Darwin and Wallace to conceive of Natural Selection independently of each other.) As for James Shapiro’s blog, I’ve noted there that I don’t have substantial knowledge of molecular biology to comment on some of the more specific aspects of Shapiro’s “natural genetic engineering”. But Shapiro has erred substantially in his understanding of the history of science with regards to Darwin and Wallace and the relevance of population thinking towards evolutionary biology. Nor does he understand the relevance of certain aspects of evolutionary ecology like the Red Queen. Again, Shapiro is merely a once great scientist who has become a pale reflection of his former self.

    Instead of demonstrating to all of us here how good a creationist you are by quote mining, instead learn something genuine about biology by reading the articles posted here:

    and also delve into Berkeley’s magnificient online resource on biological evolution:

    You can do both while you seek the mental health treatment that you are so obviously in dire need of.

  132. bz


    go back and retread my 128 comment. darwin himself says he is getting his guidance from Malthus and the historians at UC Berkeley, who are far more familiar with Darwin and his thinking confirm Darwin’s dependence on Malthus. in other words you just make stuff up when evidence shows Darwin to be a looney buffoon. Wallace’s thinking was similarly conditioned by allowing Malthus to guide his thinking. anyone can do a google search to see you aren’t telling the truth (again) … in this case the impact of Malthus on Darwon (and Wallace).

    which in turn shows what a flimsy house of cards Darwinists rely on … perhaps explains why Carl won’t respond to Casey after he asked for a response.

    and you used the term “ecology”. the father of that term is none other than Haeckel … the guy Ken Miller relied on to propagate lies to tens of thousands of biology students. the idea that we are all going to die if a spotted owl is disturbed in nesting or some rat is upset somewhere comes from Haeckel and his really weird religious faith. hard to say who is more divorced from reality, you or Haeckel. at least on Shapiro’s blog they have your number so the damage you do to science is limited there.
    so what do you think is the likelihood Carl voted for Obama? price of gas is high and Obama tanked the economy.
    quote mining would be using. small set of words out of context. I am not a creationist, claiming I am one shows how vacuous your thinking is and the quote fromDarwin came with a full explanation fromUC Berkeley history folks who actually know Darwin. are they creationists now as well?

    anothern darwin/Malthus influenced leftist is the imbecile Paul ehrlich (population bomb) whose famous predictions all proved false:
    In 1968 Paul Erlich published The Population Bomb, “The battle to feed humanity is over. In the 1970s, the world will undergo famines. Hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. Population control is the only answer.” Demographers called for “Zero Population Growth,” and China established a one-child-per-couple law to control its population growth. Other quotes from Erlich: “We’ve already had too much economic growth in the United States. Economic growth in rich countries like ours is the disease, not the cure.” (1990) “Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.” (1992).

  133. John Kwok

    @ bz –

    Darwin and Wallace were inspired by the demographic arguments made by Malthus in his “Essay on Population” which led them to derive independently of each other, Natural Selection.

    As a Conservative Republican, I don’t see how one can connect the dots between Malthus, Darwin, Wallace and Obama. (Nor would I even try.) Whom Carl Zimmer opts to vote for in the November, 2012 election is his decision to make, not mine. Your argument (@ 133) borders on insanity.

    Check yourself into a clinic soon please to attend to your mental health. Your comments here demonstrate just how out of touch with reality you are.

  134. bz


    go see Carl’s interview of Paul ehrlich. Secularists, communists, materialists, Obama, Darwinists, extreme greens all believe in redistribution of resources. top down fascist control. conservative Republicans believe the pie can expand and favor freedom and free markets. Obama thinks he has a right to your stuff. he believes government has first dibs on your income and you don’t deserve any of your own income, the government is the source of your wealth.

    as opposed to conservative republicanism which believes that we are endowed by our Creator with rights to life, liberty and property ( the party of John Locke).

    since Carl chose on his own to interview ehrlich I would lay odds on his not voting Romney. and I mentioned ehrlich before I saw at the loom where Carl had interviewed dr doom. pattern recognition. and ehrlich made some famous predictions about running out of stuff and prices and was 100% wrong … just like MALTHUS BEFORE HIM. and Malthusian thought forms the basis for Darwinism.

  135. bz, if there ever was a violation of my comment policy, this is it: veering off from a discussion of the fusion of human chromosome 2 to insinuations of me being a communist, a fascist, etc. Your many, many, many previous comments will stay here, of course, but no new ones. Good-bye.

  136. Toos

    By the way, my first name really is Toos. In English you pronounce it like toast without last t. Its the name of the mother of my father he gave to me at birth and I am proud of it. Of course I understand you couldn’t know this. But now you can, you can also find the Shiftkey I hope?

    Should I reply or not??? For sure it wasn’t my intend to have the last word in these threads!!!
    Though I would like to express I did support request 15 too at Comment policy if #137 would have not been earlier. And sure I liked #130. Thanks a lot, Rkt! In both threads!
    So much it recalled to me, #130 I mean. No idea we had for the greatest Dutch, though I remember the greatest from Belgium :) . That, and comments of John Kwok, got again in my mind all kind of remembrances of my youth. Like Linaeus. And therefore a look at Wikipedia . Very nice to see him to be that international! And even at the base of these postings. Many of my schoolremembrances came to life again too. Even . As did – new info added, and by its clarity more than that – the post . Thank you for beside of all the new, bringing me back to my youth, visiting the museum Evoluon – Eindhoven, the Netherlands – where my father showed me the huge example of DNA, very new for that time, and – even just by its size – very impressive too! The drawings in some way look like it :)
    Rkt is right, here in Europe creationism isn’t an item at al. Though you will find this kind of behaviour here in no less % I’m afraid [and the reason I came in]. To my relief being it a comparatively tiny minority nevertheless.
    Concluding I would like to express my valuation of the mentioned post of Carl Zimmer as well as the one of Rkt I especially enjoyed. Of course some other comments and posts no less. But these in particular. Again, thank you very much!

  137. Rkt


    I thought you could be Dutch – your name suggests it – for instance, the artist:
    This would not be
    your Grandmother, by
    any chance … ?
    Are you a Biochemist?

  138. Toos

    Rkt, no, she is born just 4 years before me, so Toos van Holstein can’t be my Grandma :) . There are no van Holsteins in my genealogy either. The surname of my grandmother is Holleman.
    Why do you think I could be a biochemist? No, that isn’t my profession. Though I liked carbonchemistry at school a lot and so I got high notes for it. I’m not working in science, just highly interested in reading about it as long as I remember since being able to read. That’s why I got to be a follower of this blog [among others] when finally internet came into my life. I came here by , the site of Ed Yong, a British ! science journalist you can be proud of. He is publishing there about – among other scientific subjects – genetics too. Almost always a very good read! [as is here the writings of Carl Zimmer]
    Thereabove I got highly interested in behaviour, communication and such, by how my life went [as well as my analytic capabilities], much further than necessary for my profession [teaching primary school kids].
    This clarifies enough to you why and how I commented in these threads?


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.


See More

Collapse bottom bar