I once got into a public row with Australian creationist Ken Ham

Ken Ham

A long time ago, Australian evolution denier Ken Ham attacked me for an article about a growing whooping cough epidemic in Australia. The epidemic brought out one of the worst anti-vaccine activists in the form of Meryl Dorey, who is the leading mouthpiece for the anti-vaccination lunacy in Australia.

Dorey is no different than any other pseudoscience propagandist, such as the ones found in the anti-evolution crowd (Ken Ham again), climate change denialists,  and sasquatch/alien abduction/Loch Ness Monster/crop circle conspiracists. That’s right, there is no difference between creationism, sasquatch, and homeopathy — no science, and many beliefs based on…nothing.

I guess Ken Ham decided that he had to support Meryl Dorey by attacking me. So, let’s take a look at creationism, anti-vaxxers, Australia, and everything else that brought this story together. It’s fun

Continue reading “I once got into a public row with Australian creationist Ken Ham”

We are humans and apes — other apes are unhappy to be lumped with us

humans apes

I originally wrote this article about how humans are apes over 10 years ago (back in the ancient days of this website), based on a claim from Richard Dawkins he was an African Ape (which I reviewed here). Whether or not you like Richard Dawkins, and there is a lot to like and not like about him, he is entirely accurate about this one thing — we are humans and we are apes.

At the same time that I wrote about Dawkins’ quote, I ran across an article in io9 by Annalee Newitz, “The last time we redefined what it means to be human.” Newitz clarifies the current cladogram, a diagram that shows relationships among organisms, for humans and their closest primate neighbors (from an evolutionary standpoint).

Now, you may be wondering why I’m writing (or writing in the past) about the evolution of humans, but my original interest in starting this blog was to write about evolution and creationism. Seriously, that’s where I got my start. I would help write evolution articles on Wikipedia, I’d follow anti-evolution legislation in state legislatures, and I got into a public feud with the arch-creationist himself, Ken Ham.

But let’s write about something more interesting. Why and how are we both humans and apes.

Continue reading “We are humans and apes — other apes are unhappy to be lumped with us”

Vaxxed bus tour – one man trolling against anti-vaccine lies

Vaxxed bus tour

I haven’t written much about the Vaxxed bus tour, except in the context of how Australia has banned entry of a couple of the anti-vaccine participants from re-entering the country in the future. In case the Vaxxed bus tour isn’t at the top of your daily reading material,  it is a gang of anti-vaccine radicals have been traveling in a bus across America promoting the anti-vaccine fraudumentary, Vaxxed.

The movie, directed by the cunning con-man Andrew Wakefield, promises to feature “revealing and emotional interviews with pharmaceutical insiders, doctors, politicians, parents, and one whistleblower to understand what’s behind the skyrocketing increase of autism diagnoses today.”

This bus tour pushes pseudoscience and vaccine lies to gullible audiences across America. And the Vaxxed bus tour was heading to Australia to promote that unscientific nonsense to the continent down under. But Australia did the aforementioned banning of the participants.

The Vaxxed tour bus has included some of the most unprincipled and shameless anti-vaccine radicals. The fraud, Andrew Wakefield. The loon, Suzanne Humphries. The crackpot, Polly Tommey. All of them making the unscientific claim that vaccines cause autism.

Except, we know that vaccines are not linked to autism. Real science is searching for the real causes of autism, and they still have concluded it’s not vaccinesContinue reading “Vaxxed bus tour – one man trolling against anti-vaccine lies”

Creationism in South Korea–evolution denialism spreads

Kia Soul at the Creation Museum ®Hooniverse, 2012

Creationism sometimes considered a purely American issue resulting from  right wing Christian fundamentalism. Of course, many people understand that fundamentalist Islamic states have a similar point of view towards evolution. Ironic, isn’t it? Antievolution forces do exist in other countries, but they seldom have the ability to push their religious beliefs into the educational system of those countries. Except, that’s not quite true. Continue reading “Creationism in South Korea–evolution denialism spreads”

Identifying science denialism and pseudoscience

Science denialism, a form of pseudoscience, is everywhere these days. There’s the oft-discussed vaccination denialists who refuse to vaccinate children because they believe that vaccines cause some condition (usually autism), and Big Pharma hides evidence. Or AIDS denialists who believe that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS. Or global warming deniers who think that either global warming isn’t happening or, if it is, it’s not caused by human activities. Or evolution denialists, like Ken Ham, who think that one hundred years of scientific research can be ignored for a book that was written 5000 years ago to help illiterate pastoral farmers understand the natural world. It’s not just science, of course, there are Holocaust deniers, who think that no Jews were killed by the Nazis. There are even 9/11 deniers (usually called truthers) who think that Big Government (probably in league with Big Pharma) is hiding the truth about what really happened on 9/11. Continue reading “Identifying science denialism and pseudoscience”

Evidence for evolution–rapid human evolution

One of the most amusing (amongst so many) from the evolution denialist crowd, lead by Ken Ham and his creationist zombies, is that evolution has never been observed.  According to Answers in Genesis

Macroevolution is a term used by evolutionists to describe the alleged, unobservable change of one kind of organism to another kind by natural selection acting on the accumulation of mutations over vast periods of time.

If you take a genetics course in any reasonable university (not one run by anti-evolutionists), you use fruit flies (Drosophila) to select for or against certain features, evolving a population rather quickly.  Some anti-evolutions say that this is “microevolution,” which to a scientist is no different than “macroevolution.”  The problem with the evolution denialist viewpoint is that fruit flies have a very short lifespan, so generations upon generations can be studied over a few weeks or months.  If humans lived only 2 days, then we could observe evolution in humans. Continue reading “Evidence for evolution–rapid human evolution”

Ken Ham and a horse’s ass

Actually, this article is about Ken Ham, horses, and the height of a horse.  Close enough.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with Kenny, he is an evolution denialist whose anti-scientific ideas could be easily disregarded, as he preaches his silly ideas to ignorant, uneducated Americans.  Actually, it would have been best if he had stayed in Australia with his anti-science pal, Meryl Dorey, the vaccine denier who runs the vaccine-hating Australian Vaccine Network.  So, Kenny runs Answers in Genesis (AIG), a creationist faux-science screed, that was originally written to counter the more scientific, and better written, TalkOrigins website, which was constructed over the years to debunk the stupidity of creationism, which is rather easy.  Admittedly, AIG is a prettier website, but Kenny lacks any evidence whatsoever for his claims, so, as we all know, if you don’t have a message, make it look nice. Continue reading “Ken Ham and a horse’s ass”

Checking for pseudoscience in real science news (updated)

One of the larger problems of the internet (OK, there are a lot) is how science is discussed out in the world.  Google any science topic, and you’ll get thousand or millions of hits on any idea in science or medicine. The information is derived from other websites, news reports, rumors, or, to be cynical, from outright fabrication. In the fields of science and medicine, critical thinking is absolutely necessary to understanding it. Because it’s hard work, pseudoscience and anti-science have become quite prevalent lately.   Continue reading “Checking for pseudoscience in real science news (updated)”

The UK is learning bad habits from the United States

Fabrice Muamba receiving emergency treatment on field.

No, it’s not how the UK is getting our bad reality TV.  We actually stole that from the BBC.  

No, it’s not getting obese from eating too many fast foot restaurants.  To use the old adage, “that ship has sailed.”  

No, it’s not religion becoming a part of the political discourse.  Oh wait, here we go.

First a little background.  During a football match (the British version, what we call soccer, something we haven’t borrowed from them), a player named Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch (field).  Only 23 years old, he had a cardiac arrest, and he was defibrillated 12 times over a 78 minute time period before his heart restarted.  The newspapers in England (not always known for their ability to control sensationalist headlines) touted that he was dead for 78 minutes, and that it was some sort of miracle that he survived. Continue reading “The UK is learning bad habits from the United States”

Australia sees sharp rise in whooping cough cases

According to the Vaccine News Daily, Australian sees sharp rise in whooping cough cases. In 2011, Australia has seen about 38,000 cases of  whooping cough, despite a relatively high level of vaccination. As a comparison, California, which has about 15 million more people than Australia (37 million and 22 million people, respectively) had only 3,000 cases of whooping cough in 2011.  Some of the difference may be related to improved diagnostic procedures, but they have also been implemented in California. Continue reading “Australia sees sharp rise in whooping cough cases”