Pages: 1 3 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 ... 29

02/06/10

  02:37:11 pm, by Nimble   , 1668 words  
Categories: Reviews, Religion, Science

Refuting Evolution by Jonathan Sarfati, Part V

[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?

Full story »

02/05/10

  10:54:01 pm, by Nimble   , 16 words  
Categories: Announcements [A]

Index To Refuting Evolution Review

Review of Jonathan Sarfati's Refuting Evolution:

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

12/20/09

  01:06:26 am, by Nimble   , 530 words  
Categories: Thoughts, Ethics, Spamming

Scammers Using Our Phone Number

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 buysell.com and entered our phone number.

Lo and behold, an ad came up:

Full story »

12/07/09

  12:51:59 pm, by Nimble   , 2761 words  
Categories: Announcements [A]

Our Newest Addition

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 »

11/08/09

  12:45:23 am, by Nimble   , 30 words  
Categories: Announcements [A]

How Not To Solve An Installation Cancelled Issue

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

10/06/09

  11:58:09 pm, by Nimble   , 139 words  
Categories: Distractions, Politics, Religion

Annotated Kitsch

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.

Nice.

10/02/09

  01:28:41 am, by Nimble   , 1430 words  
Categories: Books, Religion, Science

Refuting Evolution by Jonathan Sarfati, Part IV

[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 »

09/23/09

  01:18:05 pm, by Nimble   , 56 words  
Categories: Thoughts, Science

Ari's Got A Blog

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.

08/08/09

  07:49:38 pm, by Nimble   , 1280 words  
Categories: Books, Religion, Science

Refuting Evolution by Jonathan Sarfati, Part III

[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.

Full story »

07/25/09

  01:11:18 am, by Nimble   , 1290 words  
Categories: Religion, Science

Refuting Evolution by Jonathan Sarfati, Part II

[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.

Full story »

06/18/09

  10:25:55 pm, by Nimble   , 1469 words  
Categories: Books, Religion, Science

Refuting Evolution by Jonathan Sarfati, Part I

[Other parts of the review]

I picked up this book at a charity book sale for the SPCA out in Cochrane. It is morbidly fascinating to see books that purport to take down an entire scientific edifice. I took a pencil with me when I first started reading it, because I thought I might have a note or two to make about it.

Well, it's thoroughly annotated now.

Note that this is the 1999 edition. I understand that there is a later edition out there. However, unless it is an otherwise blank page that simply says "I'm sorry", its contribution is unlikely to be better than that of this edition....

Full story »

06/15/09

  12:14:11 pm, by Nimble   , 151 words  
Categories: Programming

Passing By Reference To SQL Server Stored Procedures

This is pretty simple to accomplish, though how exactly to do it can be hard to find.

Quite simply, you add OUTPUT to your parameter lists, on both your procedure definition and your actual call, like so:

Defining:

CREATE PROCEDURE dbo.TestValue
@Value int OUTPUT
AS
SET @Value = @Value + 1
GO

Calling:

DECLARE @Banana int
SET @Banana = 1
PRINT @Banana
EXEC dbo.TestValue @Banana OUTPUT
PRINT @Banana
EXEC dbo.TestValue @Banana OUTPUT
PRINT @Banana
GO

If you run this in SQL Server Management Studio, this will give you the output:

1
2
3

If you miss the OUTPUT on the calling side, your value will simply be unaffected, and will output instead:

1
1
1

If you miss the OUTPUT on the defining side, the OUTPUT on the calling side will generate an error:

Msg 8162, Level 16, State 2, Procedure TestValue, Line 0
The formal parameter "@Value" was not declared as an OUTPUT parameter, but the actual parameter passed in requested output.

05/21/09

  01:53:56 am, by Nimble   , 1489 words  
Categories: Common Sense, Politics, Religion, Science

Bill 44 Passes Second Reading

This bill has been causing some stir in Alberta.

Essentially, the bill modifies the Human Rights, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Act RSA-2000 cH-14 here with modifications that, for the most part, add sexual orientation to these protected categories:

race, religious beliefs, colour, gender, physical disability, mental disability, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, source of income or family status of that person or class of persons or of any other person or class of persons.

So why all the big fuss? Well, a couple of reasons: one, there's an addition to the act that, seemingly out of the blue, protects students from educational exposure or testing of:

subject-matter that deals explicitly with religion, sexuality or sexual orientation

Two: a comment by the premier of the province, Ed Stelmach. From a CBC article:

Although Stelmach has confirmed the bill will give parents the authority to exclude their kids from classes if the topic of evolution comes up, Education Minister Dave Hancock said it won't change anything.

I have my own few thoughts about the act...

Full story »

04/28/09

  12:08:26 am, by Nimble   , 265 words  
Categories: Internet, Spamming

Hack Attack

A hearty thank you to the folks who do my hosting for catching this.

A hacker or script kiddie managed to upload a somewhat nasty-looking package into my cgi-bin directory. I haven't thoroughly investigated the code yet, but from the looks of it, the intention was either that any time the system tried to run an automated backup, it would send atrocious amounts of spam, or if someone typed in the url plus backup.cgi, it would give a direct-mailing interface, which would allow someone to send atrocious amounts of spam.

I'm leaning towards the latter possibility, because there is a "flood" mode in the script.

The script itself self-identifies as being made by "YellSOFT" and perhaps being called "GoldeR". (I can't seem to get the text to show up in Russian to get it translated)

The package also contains text files filled with alternative greetings (e.g. HI, Dear, Sorry if you not us), declarations of you-like-nudism (e.g. The favourite a nudism site of your friend invites you.), lists of unsubscribe messages, spamvertised redirection web sites (often using a /video or /private directory on someone else's web site), and a giant list, in a file called f.txt, of faked From: e-mail addresses.

Thank you oh so very much, you bottom-feeders.

As for my part, off I go to inform each and every one of those sites of the presence of the redirection page. I don't know how much I can hope for, but maybe I can help knock off a few. As I write this, all nine sites have the redirector page.

02/22/09

  01:19:00 am, by Nimble   , 184 words  
Categories: Announcements [A]

DeMille Technical Books Is Still Alive!

UPDATE: DeMille has moved! They are now in the +15 at 639 5 Avenue Southwest in the Standard Life building.


Quite frankly, I thought they were done for when the very cool bookstore that they joined, McNally Robinson, closed its downtown Calgary store. It was sheer happenstance that on my way to pick up a lost book at the transit lost and found (what can I say; being a dad is tiring :) that I encountered the very much alive DeMille bookstore. It hasn't been open long, but it has been reincarnated at 207 6th Avenue. Cindy Chen and her colleague are engineers, and have a good, albeit still growing, collection of engineering books from the myriad disciplines of engineering. Their other sections are not as impressive, in particular the computer section, but they are looking for suggestions of books to carry. Their website is here, though it needs updating at least to tell people that, for starters, the promised store is actually open! Since Coles downtown seems to have backed out of the technical book business somewhat, knowing DeMille is still around is comforting. Go check them out!

1 3 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 ... 29