Refuting Evolution by Jonathan Sarfati, Part V

02/06/10 | by Nimble | Categories: Reviews, Religion, Science

[Other parts of the review]

No book by a creationist would be complete without an obligatory reference to Michael Denton's infamous book, Evolution, a Theory in Crisis:

Michael Denton points out that 97.7 percent of living orders of land vertebrates are represented as fossils and 79.1 percent of living families of land vertebrates - 87.8 percent if birds are excluded, as they are less likely to become fossilized.

This is meant to imply that the fossil record is "pretty much complete", and thus any ideas of transitional fossils would be laughable.

It relies on the reader not knowing a great deal about fossils and taxonomy, though, and that is sneaky and disingenuous.

For example, you can find transitional whale fossils classified in the order Cetacea. Modern whales are also classified under this order, so *bing*, their order is represented in the fossil record.

What about [taxonomic] families, then? Well, transitional whale fossils have a whole set of their own families. Ambulocetus natans is under the family Ambulocetidae. If there were living members of Ambulocetidae, they would be actually be counted towards Denton's percentage. There are not, so they do not count either for or against.

The only things that could detract from Denton's family percentage are really new or hard-to-fossilize families. Is it unreasonable for 12-20% of all families to be classified this way?

Isn't that sneaky?

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Index To Refuting Evolution Review

02/05/10 | by Nimble | Categories: Announcements [A]

Review of Jonathan Sarfati's Refuting Evolution:

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V


Where'd the blogging go?

01/11/10 | by Adam | Categories: Technology

As any (by now) periodic reader has noticed, blogging's gone way down on my side of the Nimblebrain site. The reason is relatively simple. I was finding that most of the stuff I was commenting on was really "Oh, this is interesting" which required very little further analysis or discussion. Fun to share but not really in need of a full-blown article. I've therefore moved pretty much all of what I have to say over to Twitter which with the abbreviated URLs and 140 character limit allows -- nay, requires -- me to be succinct and pithy. I'll still post longer items here but truly there's not been much recently that's motivated me to write them. Sure, I'm no fan of proroguing Parliament but better writers than I have already tackled that one.

Anyway, as part of my attempting to not leave trivially easy-to-follow trails on the internet, I'm not referencing my Twitter username here; if you know who I am anyway, it'll be easy enough to find my Twitter feed. See you there!


Scammers Using Our Phone Number

12/20/09 | by Nimble | Categories: Thoughts, Ethics, Spamming

We got a call from a person wanting to buy a Jeep from us a couple of days back. That seemed pretty odd, but hey, wrong numbers happen.

Then it kept happening.

No huge influx, but 3-4 calls per day.

I was home for one today, and decided to ask them where they found the ad, because someone has obviously screwed up.

They said it was in the Bargain Finder, and though they seemed a bit confused about my questions, they gave me enough to go on. I went to the root of and entered our phone number.

Lo and behold, an ad came up:

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Our Newest Addition

12/07/09 | by Nimble | Categories: Announcements [A]

Our second son has joined us on the outside and been with us now for about three weeks. It has been a little bit of an adventure so far!

He was supposed to be born on November 15. Why so sure? Well, we had a scheduled Cesarean section booked. We went into the Rockyview General Hospital early that Sunday as one of the only two scheduled C-sections that day. Sundays are pretty sedate there, and the parking is good. There are, however, very few doctors on site on Sundays and this was to play an important role in how the rest of the day went.

In advance of any surgery, they do not want you eating or drinking anything 8+ hours beforehand, due to the possibility of general anaesthesia, under which you cannot prevent vomitus from entering your lungs. If you only have to make due for 8 hours or a bit more, that's just fine.

The gal next to us was scheduled for 9:00 am, us for 11:00 am. I had a bit of a fun double-take, as it looked like she just got up, got dressed and walked out for a while - it turned out that she had an identical twin sister as one of her support people.

The day started wearing on. We knew that our roommate was scheduled to go first, so we keep watching for people coming to talk to her.

There were emergencies that day. That's fair - if we were ever in an emergency position, we would be pretty grateful that we would pre-empt any regular patients that day. We weren't getting many updates, though, and the hours were ticking away.

When we finally managed to get some information, it sounded like both doctors were actually performing surgery on one lady... and it was taking hours. There must have been some profound complications, because the updates kept on being of the 'they're still not done' variety. Meanwhile, Dena is starving, the bed is applying bad pressure, and everyone in the room is getting anxious.

Finally, at around 9:00 PM, they came to us and said that the anaesthetologist, due to the amount of time the staff had been in surgery, was vetoing doing our C-section that late. On the plus side, that meant a sleep at home, food (Dena said that was some of the best spaghetti she ever tasted that night!) and a fresh start. We were assured that we wouldn't lose our place.

We actually got sent home before our 'roomie', since she still had the possibility of getting a C-section done that night. We saw some deer by the road on our way home, to make a frustrating day a little more special.

Full story »


How Not To Solve An Installation Cancelled Issue

11/08/09 | by Nimble | Categories: Announcements [A]

HP needed to do an update of my printing software. Apparently, they have an issue with spurious "installation cancelled" errors cropping up.

I don't think they handled this quite right:

Installation Cancelled


10 day countdown - it's another boy!

11/05/09 | by dena | Categories: Announcements

It took longer to figure out for absolute sure this time, but we found out at the start of September that we "are having a boy, 100%!" Such statements from ultrasound technicians are not generally the norm - they usually state gender predictions in terms of less-than-100 percentage amounts of confidence, as you just can't necessarily see things with perfect clarity.  All sorts of things can get in the way - little hands and feet, legs can be quite closed, an umbilical can be floating in front, or even sections of placenta.

Baby Boy Annand #2, for all his differences in this pregnancy from his big brother, has definitely carried on the tradition of being quite uncooperative with showing various features to the technicians in most every regard, except in terms of gender.  Once again, we have another little man who is very, very proud to be so!

Full story »


Annotated Kitsch

10/06/09 | by Nimble | Categories: Distractions, Politics, Religion

There are people out there who can out-kitsch Thomas Kinkade.

When they do, I dearly hope that they will be as lovingly annotated as this lovely picture of Jesus holding the Constitution, surrounded by a plethora of faces, many familiar.

Mousing over the faces, and in some cases, the buildings and pieces of paper, will familiarize you with many of them, like Benjamin Franklin:

Benjamin Franklin

"Lighthouses are more helpful than churches." A leading Founding Father, statesmen, and lady lover. He has his hand on his heart because he's swearing before a judge that he totally didn't bone those whores. (SPOILER: he did)

...and some of the pieces of paper:

Marbury v. Madison (1803)

This horrible piece of paper allowed activist judges free reign to declare just about anything unconstitutional! Slavery, discrimination, you name it! What fools we were.



Refuting Evolution by Jonathan Sarfati, Part IV

10/02/09 | by Nimble | Categories: Books, Religion, Science

[Other parts of the review]

Sarfati spends quite some time on transitional fossils. It is in fact one of the main rallying cries of creationism that there are no transitional fossils.

It is not difficult to see why this would be a sticking point with creationists. Genesis has the animals paraded before Adam in Genesis 2:19-20 thusly:

Gen 2:19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

Gen 2:20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

(I can't help finding this story particularly odd, since it implies that Adam would have ended up with one of the beasts if he weren't so picky)

The "formed out of the ground" bit is key here. Creatures can't have evolved, certainly not from a common ancestor, if they were formed out of the ground.

Full story »


Ari's Got A Blog

09/23/09 | by Nimble | Categories: Thoughts, Science

My good internet friend, Ari Jokimäki from Finland, now has a blog!

His main focuses on the blog are discordant redshift systems - that is, galaxies, quasars, etc. where the objects do not seem to be at their redshift distance - and the history of cosmology.

There are even pictures, so it's a lot prettier than this place.


The Muppets Cover The Beatles

08/29/09 | by Adam | Categories: YouTube


Lovely collection of Beatles covers by the Muppets, including a superb "Let It Be" rework from Sesame Street.

(Via BoingBoing)


Producing address lists from the OSX Address book

08/24/09 | by Adam | Categories: Macintosh

Recently I was mailed a bunch of contact information to another OSX user -- basically by emailing vCards from within the iPhone. I would have done it from the Mac but that required the extra step of saving the vCard to the filesystem before I could send it. Did you know that the iPhone *includes* the memo field in the contact information when it sends it? You do now so beware...

Anyway, eventually I got the following query back:

How do I print an address book entry? Print just prints the street address in an envelope format with no other choice. So far the only way I could get a printout is to do a screen capture.

This resulted in a bit of headscratching, 'cause I couldn't figure it out either. After a bit of Googling, I found a few similar questions which were answered with "Hey, just change the style from the print requestor". Excellent, except there's no style option actually on the print requestor.

Well, there is. In an uncharacteristic bit of crappy UI design, Apple hid the options needed wanted with a very non-obvious arrow.

So, here's the process of printing a group of addresses from the OSX addressbook app:

- Create a new group with all of the attendees in it (create group, drag each address into it)
- Select the group and choose print
- This brings up the print requestor. To the right of the printer selection is a little down arrow. Press it
- This brings up a much larger option screen. Under "Style" choose "Mailing Labels"
- This will produce a page of addresses. The bonus is that they're formatted appropriately for address labels if you have the right sticky label pages.

Under the "style" dropdown there's also the option to print out selected fields from the address book for a more traditional style address dump.


Refuting Evolution by Jonathan Sarfati, Part III

08/08/09 | by Nimble | Categories: Books, Religion, Science

[Other parts of the review]

We continue on with "Contrasting the Models".

Now, he starts off with a reasonable diagram of the evolutionary picture as a "tree", though he can't help but interject that the common ancestor "itself evolved from non-living chemicals". Not part of the theory of evolution itself, but whatever.

He then proceeds to show the "strawman" that Teaching About Evolution uses, that of the creationist "lawn", where every biblical "kind" starts separately, whereas the "actual" picture is more like an orchard, with mini-trees everywhere.

Are we really dealing with a strawman here? Over the years, it has been really hard to pin down creationists on what a "kind" is. I would use their fancy term "baramin", but then I actually read some creationist literature on the topic, and now I would not know if I was supposed to be referring to monobaramins, apobaramins, holobaramins, or what have you, and whether it's by reproductive compatibility (can they make babies together?) or morphology (form and structure). If you want a really good sense of the kind of arguments that go into this, I would refer you to one of their papers, "A Refined Baramin Concept" by Todd Wood, Kurt Wise et al.

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Refuting Evolution by Jonathan Sarfati, Part II

07/25/09 | by Nimble | Categories: Religion, Science

[Other parts of the review]

"The Basis of Modern Science" aims initially to show that a whole pile of very useful scientists were creationists. The list is a little laughable in that many of the members listed predate even Darwin's birth, but regardless of 'membership in the club', much of this section, including the parts talking about the scientists that are members of Answers in Genesis, etc., misses the point.

The point is that you can do science as long as you do not resort to miracles. I'm sure Russell Humphreys' research on nuclear physics was just fine, but when it comes to origins of the earth and the like, he starts from both ends, where one end is fixed in Genesis, and then invokes a divine cheat. It's like insisting a blue puzzle piece is sky when it is in fact water, and trying to make the puzzle fit anyhow... then using scissors, paper and markers when things are not going according to plan.

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