Old 09-20-2007, 03:44 PM   #1
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Chat with PZ Myers HERE!

Raving atheists: This will be the official thread for the chat with Dr. PZ Myers scheduled for tonight at 8:00 PM EST. This thread will be for moderators to pose your questions, and Dr. Myers to answer them ONLY. For discussion of the chat please keep it in another thread. Many of us will be hanging out in the chat room as well, where additional questions can be presented.

Dr. Myers:

Thank you so much for joining us this evening. Many, if not most of us are huge fans of your blog. I know I'm starting this thread more than an hour early, so just jump in when you're here and ready to go, but no hurry. Our first question is going to be from myself, since I dragged you here:

In your opinion, can a reasonable person who has not been brainwashed by Christianity since birth and who suffers from no psychological issues accept Christianity, or does accepting Christianity disqualify non-brainwashed adults from being referred to as 'reasonable?'

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Old 09-20-2007, 04:51 PM   #2
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In your opinion, can a reasonable person who has not been brainwashed by Christianity since birth and who suffers from no psychological issues accept Christianity, or does accepting Christianity disqualify non-brainwashed adults from being referred to as 'reasonable?'
It's not as if "reasonable" is an all-or-nothing property. I can be entirely reasonable in a discussion about science with someone, but if someone walks up to me and snatches my cookie out of my hand, I will become unreasonably angry.

Most christians are going to be entirely reasonable about most matters, but by definition they're going to have a blind spot when it comes to christianity. After all, if they believe in Jesus, they've agreed to accept an absurdity.
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Old 09-20-2007, 04:53 PM   #3
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Sweet, thanks!

Moving on, a question from user Ubs:

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What Presidential Candidate, if any, do you favor for the 2008 election?

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Old 09-20-2007, 05:00 PM   #4
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What Presidential Candidate, if any, do you favor for the 2008 election?
Which one is the godless scientist candidate, again?

At this point, none of them. None of them reflect my values very well (although the Democrats are closer then the Republicans -- the Republicans are a combination of evil, insane, and stupid.)

I dislike Hillary -- she's too conservative.

Obama, I fear, is going to campaign on Jesus' back and completely turn me off. I also haven't seen much effective work from the guy.

Edwards is OK, but I have zero confidence in his ability to hold up against the Republican smear machine.

Howard Dean was my favorite in the last big campaign. If someone stands up and says what they think and tells the wingnuts and religiots to go sit on their thumbs and spin, they'll get my vote.
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Old 09-20-2007, 05:04 PM   #5
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Sorry for the delay, my computer froze for a sec.

Next question comes from Philboid Studge:

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Dear Prof Meyers (sic),

If the recent discovery of DNA transfer between parasites and insects really "challenges the prevailing view of animal evolution, in which genetic information is passed exclusively from parents to offspring", then do the Creationists win?

Also: calamari or baby octopus?

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Old 09-20-2007, 05:09 PM   #6
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Dear Prof Meyers (sic),

If the recent discovery of DNA transfer between parasites and insects really "challenges the prevailing view of animal evolution, in which genetic information is passed exclusively from parents to offspring", then do the Creationists win?

Also: calamari or baby octopus?
Premise fails. Horizontal transfer has been known for years -- and the human genome project has revealed a significant percentage of your DNA is viral in origin. All that is is another mechanism for introducing genetic novelties and variation, and is perfectly compatible with traditional evolutionary theory.

The creationists win nothing. It's not as if they announced that a prediction of their theory, which is theirs, was that their magic man was squirtin' genes from one animal to another. Horizontal transfer is an observation from real science.


Why not both calamari and baby octopus?
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Old 09-20-2007, 05:10 PM   #7
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From user Kamikaze: When someone says that religion should be respected, what is the gist of your response to them?

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Old 09-20-2007, 05:14 PM   #8
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When someone says that religion should be respected, what is the gist of your response to them?
Am I allowed to use profanity here?

OK, simply put, NO! You don't get to declare that an idea is to be respected by default, especially not when that idea is patent bullshit.
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Old 09-20-2007, 05:16 PM   #9
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Use as much god damned profanity as you fucking want. None of these cunts will mind.

Speaking of cunts, we had a creationist actually pose a question for you. Amuse us with an answer, if you don't mind. We'll get a kick out of it.

Quote:
Happywarrior wrote
Can you address the probability problem of the formation of the building blocks for cells. Because of the complexity of cell structure I have heard the it would be 1:125 million, million million million etc. that chance could bring the right sequences of amino acids together to create the 25 protiens needed we have today. Is this just chance or how do you account for the existance of such complex structures?

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Old 09-20-2007, 05:17 PM   #10
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Old 09-20-2007, 05:18 PM   #11
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Oh, and hold nothing back.

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Old 09-20-2007, 05:25 PM   #12
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Can you address the probability problem of the formation of the building blocks for cells. Because of the complexity of cell structure I have heard the it would be 1:125 million, million million million etc. that chance could bring the right sequences of amino acids together to create the 25 protiens needed we have today. Is this just chance or how do you account for the existance of such complex structures?
You probably expect me to take such garbage seriously, don't you?

OK, that's a collection of errors. One is that it presumes that the probability of a complex outcome is the product of a series of dependent probabilities. It is not. Every poker hand dealt has had exactly the same probability, whether it's a royal flush or a garbage hand.

Another problem is the belief that there is only one possible outcome, and that we have to calculate the possibility of a single specific instance. There are lots of sequences, for instance, that function as an ATPase; we can see that by looking at a variety of different organisms and cataloging the variety present. We don't even know how many possible sequences will work for any particular function.

And finally, evolution doesn't demand the perfect sequence that carries out an absolutely optimal function. All that is required for selection to function is a relatively better sequence. Especially at the beginning of the appearance of life on earth, before the competition got fierce, the constraints would have been quite lax.
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Old 09-20-2007, 05:27 PM   #13
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Shit. I forgot to mention beforehand not to take that garbage seriously. My bad.

Next question from Choobus:

Do you worry that your percieved anti-religious views could harm your career, or has this already happened?

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Old 09-20-2007, 05:32 PM   #14
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Do you worry that your percieved anti-religious views could harm your career, or has this already happened?
No.

Well, actually, of course you've got to worry about that. It shouldn't matter, but it does, and most people do have to be circumspect.

I seem to have carved out a position of some notoriety as the village anti-theist, though, so in a sense it helps set me apart. If I were aspiring to move on to a position at Harvard, I'd be nuts to be doing this...but I'm not. I like where I'm at.
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Old 09-20-2007, 05:34 PM   #15
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Next question comes from Philboid Studge

Prof Meyers (sic),

How do you respond to Jeebus Thumpers who try to convert you? The door-to-door Jehova Witness types, handing out religious tracts in public places, that sort of thing. I imagine a tremendous blast of soul-crushing logic that leaves a quivering mass of broken Xian in the fetal (post-pharyngula) position. Please tell me I'm not wrong.

In a related matter, how come when I enter the search term "demented fuckwit" into Pharyngula I get about a zillion hits?

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