Thursday, 11 September 2014

So in the last couple of days some Christian fundamentalists have decided to question my academic qualifications and experience. What have they based this on? You'll love this - because I said that I didn't agree that a cell is literally full of computers. Yes, you read it correctly, LITERALLY full of computers. This was during a discussion with a presuppositional fundamentalist when I tried to explain some of the biochemistry within a cell. He actually believes that an analogy is supposed to be taken literally. He has concluded from this that I am lying about having a PhD in Biological Sciences. He has also concluded that I'm lying when I say that cells are not literally full of computers.

Now that idiocy is bad enough, but when confronted with a photograph of me clutching my thesis, he tries to deny ever saying that I don't have a PhD, then he calls me a fraud. He just can't seem to make up his mind which lie he wants to stick with so he's just trying a scatter gun approach, spewing his lies and lies about lies as far and wide as he can. Still, someone made a video absolutely busting him on his continuing lies and I thought that would be the end of the matter, aside from the inevitable butt-hurt whimpering from him as he ran off into the distance with his arse on fire.

You can imagine how I reacted when I came in today from spreading horse poop on my field to find that another toad had crawled out of the woodpile. He'd been spreading bullshit as I was spreading horse shit. This idiot goes by the name of Jason Burns and he is a home-grown lunatic from Manchester. He's pretty infamous on You Tube for pulling stunts such as covering himself in ketchup then making a video claiming he'd been attacked by "militant atheists" and another video where he claimed he had killed himself.

His videos today are an absolute gem of stupidity. He says he can find no academic publications by me and he failed to find my thesis. Two hours of googling and he had turned up nothing, nada, zero, zilch. Others, however, managed to find multiple hits to my thesis in under a minute. This should tell us two things. I have a PhD and Jason Burns couldn't run a google search if his life depended on it. Heck, he's probably not savvy enough to run a bath! He also failed to find a list of my peer-reviewed publications. In his video he demands that I provide the evidence which he is so sure doesn't exist and he makes the prediction, nay the prophecy, that I will be "exposed" as someone who knows a little about biology and who has read a few biology books. Sadly for this clown, there is a Google Scholar page which lists my publications thus destroying his prophecy and exposing him for the lying scum bag that he is.

Now, you would think it was game over at this point, but oh no, Jason can't be seen to have spent almost 30 minutes being a slanderous git. When I posted the link to my Google Scholar page in the comments section of his You Tube video, he removed it within a minute or two. He then "muted" me on his channel so that none of my comments will show for anyone else. In other words, Jason is prepared to hide the evidence that he demanded because it shows just how wrong he is.

He has apparently decided to leave You Tube and so made a goodbye video, then another...then another...then another. In all he produced 11 goodbye videos whining about all sorts of fictional nonsense. After that, he decided to become active in video comments sections, having first disabled the ability of anyone to reply to his comments. That's not really surprising since dear Jaybu regularly disables comments under his own videos. This is the first video in his 11 part goodbye series. You'll find the other 10 parts on his channel

Imagine my surprise to discover last night that he has made another four videos. The first three seem to be mainly directed at me and he is still convinced that I don't have a PhD. He says I can't be an academic because this little blog of mine right here isn't academic. In fact in his first series of videos he claims that this blog demonstrates I don't have the intellectual capacity to have a PhD at all. Here's part 1 and parts 2, 3 and 4 are on his channel.

Jason considers himself to be an academic with, and I kid you not, "immense scholarship". He demands that everyone have "formal, scholarly, academic debates with him", but then runs away if anyone accepts the challenge. He calls everyone a coward for not debating him then refuses those who do offer to debate him. And then calls them a coward. Oh and he challenges people to debates by name in videos on You Tube and if they don't show, he declares he has "won" them. That they might not have seen his challenge doesn't seem to enter his tiny mind. This "academic" with "immense scholarship" seriously believes that you can judge someone's academic achievements based on their blog posts. It truly amazes me that he is ignorant of the fact that people can blog about whatever they want to blog about. I could have posts on here about the best way to construct a good muck heap or the annual worming schedule for horses or how fast my cats can climb the curtains. You see, most people don't define themselves by their academic achievements. They are more rounded, they have other interests, they have hobbies, they have families, they do things unrelated to their profession. I can only assume that this doesn't apply to Jaybu and so he drones on and on and on about his "immense scholarship" and the fact that he considers himself to be in the top 5 of the world's intellectual theologians - all this from the sanctuary of his auntie's box room.

Here is a fine example of his "immense scholarship" in action

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Fundamentally flawed...

We had a report in the press today about a bit of a ruckus in East Kilbride, the town I grew up in. It seems that a bunch of evangelicals have "infiltrated" Kirktonholme Primary School in West Mains and have been volunteering as teaching assistants. Not only that, but they have been handing out books which claim evolution is false and how you can know that God exists. They're real young earthers.

They're from the Church of Christ and think they are missionaries bringing Jesus to the Scottish heathens. They seem to think that in a population of 5.1 million people there are only 700 practicing Christians in Scotland. Yes, 700. Not 7000 or 70,000 or 700,000, but seven hundred. That's it.

They have given pupils two books, one containing a drawing of children with a stegosaurus. They are insistent that man and dinosaurs co-existed

Is it a coincidence that the Church of Christ has 700 members in Scotland? I think not. It seems that only the members of this particular sect are considered practicing Christians by them. This is rather ironic when one considers the defenders of this sect have been making loud noises on my personal Facebook page, not realising that the sect they defend also considers them to be non-Christian. The people I have in mind are young earth creationists, biblical literalists and inerrantists; one is Seventh Day Adventist. The penny hasn't dropped that this cult would have been telling their children that mommy and daddy aren't "real" Christians and are in danger of hellfire. Would they still defend an extremist sect which did this in their child's school? You bet they wouldn't.

What this has demonstrated is that extremists will go to any lengths, including usurping parental authority, when it comes to pushing their beliefs on unsuspecting children. I have no problem with religion, in fact I'm a Christian myself, but I would never push my beliefs onto somebody else's children with or without parental consent.

This is the crux of the matter. No parental consent was sought for this prosletyzing. The parents were in blissful ignorance until the children brought home the two books they had been given. What's worse is, when confronted with complaints, the headteacher defended the decision to hand out these books! Legally, when a child is at school, the school and particularly the head teacher are in loco parentis and it is their responsibility to protect the children from this sort of indoctrination. That the opposite has happened here is a disgrace.

As you can imagine the parents are up in arms over this and are looking forward to a meeting with the school authorities. The headteacher however, has decided not to attend and will only deal with complaints on a one-to-one basis. That isn't good enough.

Here's a link to the follow-up article

You will also find extensive discussion of this matter at this link

Monday, 2 September 2013

The windmills of some minds...

As I wander around various discussion groups on Facebook, I think I've seen pretty much every nonsensical denial of science possible and then I come across a gem like this.
One poster has declared that the earth does not spin on its axis at all and thus is not only the centre of the solar system, but the centre of the universe and that the entire universe orbits the earth. That means that, with our stationary earth, day and night are due to the sun orbiting the earth in a 24 hour period. That's going to create special problems for distant objects which will have to travel at thousands of times the speed of light to complete a single orbit in a 24 hour period such as the Andromeda galaxy.

Now, I have to wonder where the other planets are in this system. Are they orbiting the earth as well? Do they follow the sun like a chain of baby ducks? Maybe they're orbiting the sun as it orbits the earth. On top of that, how on earth does this "model" account for seasons?

I thought I'd heard it all...then he went and spoiled it by posting his "evidence". Firstly, he says, Polaris doesn't change position in the sky. That completely ignores the fact that just about every other bleedin' object does. Secondly (and this one had me on the floor) he posted a video of earth taken from a geostationary satellite. I kid you not.

Now you're probably wondering why this person is so insistent that the earth doesn't spin on its own axis. In fact he insists that it is the only thing in the universe that doesn't rotate, orbit, wobble or otherwise move in any way. This is based on his reading of Psalms 93:1

The Lord reigneth, he is clothed with majesty: the Lord is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world is also established, that it cannot be moved.

So, there you have it. Astronomers could have saved themselves a lot of time and money by not bothering.

It scares me that in this day and age there are still those who are so hell-bent on denying science in order to interpretthe Bible literally that they will ignorethe evidence of their own eyes. Can you imagine the education their offspring will get if they are home-schooled? That's the really tragic aspect when people think like this poster does - the detrimental effect o their children who deserve better.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

What's it all about, Alfie...?

Have you ever wondered why you bother? How often have you seen science mangled and screamed at your screen? This is my version of screaming at my screen. I've been prompted to start this blog by the latest Intelligent Design debacle involving none other than Jonathan McLatchie and his two execrable articles which deal with the GULOP gene in humans and his musings on the ability of RNA editing to resurrect pseudogene transcripts.

What has appalled me the most is the sheer incompetence and dishonesty demonstrated by his feeble retraction of his original erroneous article. Instead of accepting that he messed up and didn't have a clue what he was writing about, he chose instead to blame the ENSEMBL database, claiming it was inaccurate. That it is in fact accurate is blindingly obvious to anyone with even a basic ability to use it. Still, any port in a storm, as they say.

The really sad thing about this whole fiasco is that the Discovery Institute tweeted his original article as "new evidence". Even a cursory glance by a moderately competent molecular biologist would have exposed the fundamental flaws so why didn't the Discovery Institute notice this? You can supply your own answer as you see fit.

To make matters worse, the Centre for Intelligent Design UK Facebook page has now started removing any comments which draw attention to this false accusation against the ENSEMBL database, while still linking to the feeble retraction containing the accusation. They are also blocking those critical of either the articles or the subsequent cover up attempts. All of this could have been avoided if, in response to criticism of the original article, Mr McLatchie had said "Yup, I got it wrong. I retract the article. Sorry folks." Instead his squirming attempts at face-saving have done him and his ID masters no favours whatsoever.