But I thought people with degrees couldn’t be anti-science?!

Our old friend Roxeanne de Luca recently had this to say about her anti-science nature:

You tried to say I was anti-science, got smacked down because I have an engineering degree, and haven’t learned?

Got that? Someone who has an engineering degree can’t be anti-science. It just can’t happen. I mean, come on! It’s a science degree! Of course, we have to ignore the fact that she has argued that condom use is ineffective because not everyone uses them in South Africa. And we have to ignore the fact that she has claimed that HIV rates have fallen because of abstinence only education (when, in fact, condom education drives are the primary reason for the decline, not to mention the fact that abstinence only education has been shown to be largely ineffective). And ignore the fact that she has argued that the scientific concept of conception is the same as the philosophical (and subjective) concept of humanity. Ignore it all. She has a degree. It’s sort of like how President Obama has a law degree. I’m sure it will only be a matter of time until far-right, Obama-hating conservative Roxeanne starts arguing that the President can’t hold views that, in her opinion, are against the constitution since he has a J.D.

But, hey. I don’t want to put Roxeanne in a difficult position. I know moving beyond the partisan hackery is difficult for a lot people, so I’ll make this a little easier for her. Republican congressman Paul Broun has come out with a series of statements that I’m sure Roxeanne is most eager to defend:

“God’s word is true,” Broun said, according to a video posted on the church’s website. “I’ve come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell. And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior.”

Broun also said that he believes the Earth is about 9,000 years old and that it was made in six days.

Now, one may argue, so what? How does this relate to the rest of this post? I’m glad you asked. As it turns out, Broun has a notable educational background:

The Republican lawmaker made those comments during a speech Sept. 27 at a sportsman’s banquet at Liberty Baptist Church in Hartwell. Broun, a medical doctor, is running for re-election in November unopposed by Democrats.

He also has a B.S. in chemistry.

I think everything here is pretty clear. Anyone who has a degree in some science cannot possibly be anti-science. Hell, someone who claims otherwise ought to be prepared to get “smacked down” pretty quickly. At least that’s the world according to Roxeanne de Luca.

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Datechguy does not grasp evolutionary theory

I mentioned a little while ago that the Internet became a better place when Roxeanne de Luca ceased her blogging activities. As it turns out, her old website is gone, but she is still blogging at some site called Datechguy. I don’t care to read anything she has to say given how uniformly uninformed she is on all issues (not to mention the fact that she is crazy), but I did poke around her new location. In doing so, I came across this atrocious piece by the owner of the blog, Datechguy himself:

I think people often confuse “natural selection” and survival and the fittest, which is certainly scientifically sound and full blown evolution the creation of one species from another.

The second has several problems the biggest of which for me is the math.

What makes this interesting is that Datechguy spent a good portion his post disowning creationist arguments, including young Earth creationism. In fact, he is a member of the Catholic Church, a group that claims to embrace the theory of evolution. (The reality is that the Church rejects what the theory actually says, but they still claim to embrace it, at least superficially.) So there is no reason one should expect him to go on about “the math” since that’s nothing more than code for common creationist canards. Yet here we are:

Here is what you need for evolution of that nature to work:

  • You need some kind of mutation.
  • Said mutation needs to be a beneficial mutation so it doesn’t increase the likely hood of the creature caught by a predator.
  • You need a mutation that doesn’t prevent breeding with a similar creature
  • The result of that breed must carry said mutation so it has to be dominant trait
  • Continual breeding has to take place so that dominant trait spreads until all members of the species without that dominant trait disappear.

I really should just point to The Blind Watchmaker and call it a day, but I’m a sucker for punching bags, so let’s get started. First Datechguy says mutations are necessary for speciation. This isn’t all that far off from the truth, but it isn’t exactly accurate. Mutations are going to happen – each one of us has about 150 in our DNA right now – but they are not entirely necessary. All that needs to happen for a speciation event is for enough time, space, and natural selection to take place. That is, natural selection is a honing process, so it is theoretically possible for it to promote some alleles while eliminating others in a way which prevents breeding between two populations that once were able to produce offspring.

The second point is myopic in nature. Datechguy appears to be implying that mutations are for the sake of prey. I never realized that predators and organisms without predators were not involved in evolution. But I digress. We see beneficial mutations all the time. For example, humans which began to utilize animal milk once we started to create civilizations had their lactase producing gene left on after childhood, thus enabling the break down of lactose. That legacy continues in many Europeans and those of European descent. Datechguy has not made a significant point here.

The third point is plainly weird. This guy is saying that for a speciation event to happen, a mutation cannot cause a breeding split within a population. That is false. As we see with human chromosome 2, one very plausible way that it spread throughout the population was that it separated our ancestors with 48 chromosomes from those with 46 chromosomes. That is, a small number of individuals had a mutation which prevented breeding with other members of their population. (It is worth noting, however, that many speciation events are merely a matter of time and the breeding is continuous. That is, a population may be considered one species at Point X, it continues to breed in a way which causes no distinct split (e.g., no division that is present in a single generation), then after, say, 100,000 years, it is considered a different species.)

The fourth point is another weird one. A mutation needs not be dominant to be carried throughout a population. If it did, Mendel never would have had green or wrinkly peas.

The final point – that “continual breeding has to take place so that dominant trait spreads until all members of the species without that dominant trait disappear” – is my favorite. Datechguy is arguing that fixation is necessary for speciation to occur. As we saw with the 2010 Burke paper, evolution still very much occurs with or without complete fixation. In fact, allelic fixation varies between sexually and asexually reproducing populations, so it is improper to speak of it in blanket terms.

The rest of Datechguy’s post is a mix of the Boeing 747 creationist canard and the creationist intelligent design irreducible complexity argument. For instance:

It doesn’t mean it can’t have happened. In theory I can roll snake eyes 50000 times straight

Or to put it another way, if you saw me roll snake eyes 10 times in a row, what would be the first logical thought? Luck or fixed dice? How about 100 times? How about 1000?

(That comes from the comment section on the post.)

It’s a common mistake to believe that any given trait or characteristic needs to evolve in either one giant leap or through a series of perfectly coordinated mutations. Fortunately, that isn’t how evolution works. Natural selection operates via incredibly tiny steps, one by one. When looked at over the course of hundreds of thousands of years or more, we have a huge number of mutations and allelic changes that appear impressive, but the reality is that virtually all of those changes were individually likely. And, just as importantly, each one of those changes is individually useful. (I’m ignoring historical contingency for the sake of brevity.) For instance, an eyespot won’t enable any creature to see danger or prey from miles away, but it is useful for detecting light and dark and, eventually, color, shape, and size.

I imagine Roxeanne and Datechguy will be very happy together at a site that, as with her last one, entirely lacks all scientific value.

The Internet just became a slightly better place

I don’t know if she is blogging elsewhere (I didn’t find anything), but it appears that Roxeanne de Luca has ceased her blogging. While I hope it isn’t for any reasons of personal tragedy or whathaveyou, I am glad she is no longer clogging up the Internet with crazy falsehoods and anti-science rhetoric.

Liars. Liars everywhere.

To my count, I have come across four major liars in my blogging career. First up is Jack Hudson. He has the be the worst, but he also may be the dumbest. I’m not sure which part of his personality I dislike more. The next is Christopher Maloney. His lies were in the details of his writings and, to his credit, I suspect some of them were just a result of his lack of understanding of how the Internet works. Then we have Michael Hartwell. He’s a recent addition and generally isn’t guilty of being dishonest, but that doesn’t mean he’s really any better. And finally, we have braggart Roxeanne. She has mostly confined herself to misunderstanding and misrepresenting science, (did you know that because condom usage needs to improve even more in order to better combat infection rates, that means condoms are ineffective and we should advocate abstinence-only programs? Crazy, I know), but now she has ventured into plainly liar territory:

There is a reason why children are nine times as likely to be abused by their mother’s boyfriends or new husbands than by their own fathers, and why biological fathers are an impediment to abuse of children. Predators seek out the vulnerable.

Yet California, land of moonbats, decided to make it easier for non-biological “fathers” to access children. The Golden State is considering letting more than two adults have “parent” rights to a child. Now, any normal person knows that this is going to result in a lot of litigation and some serious trauma for the kid (at best) and sexual abuse (at worst), but the Left is more concerned with eliminating traditional family structures than with advancing the well-being of children. What this state has just told paedophiles is that it’s open season on little kids, and if the mother gets creeped out, said paedophile can sue to have visitation with her child. After all, the former boyfriend/ex-stepdad had a “bond” with that lovely young teen, and such a “bond” should be respected by our legal system.

Well. Isn’t that interesting. It’s like she isn’t even trying to spin her lies in a way that is even remotely plausible. Here is the actual purpose of the law:

[Representative Mark] Leno told ABCNews.com that he recognized a “problem” in the legal system in 2011 when an appellate court placed a girl in foster care when her legally married parents — two lesbians — could not care for her.

The child was taken into state custody when one of her mothers was jailed and the nonbiological mother was hospitalized.

The court did not have the authority to appoint the girl’s biological father, with whom she had a relationship, as a legal parent. That third parent could have “benefitted the well-being of the child,” said Leno.

In other words, two people can have a child, marry separate people at some point, and all four individuals can be given custodial rights. And unlike Roxeanne suggests/lies, all the parents would have to agree before anything could move forward. There is no way some ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend couldn’t sue for custody as a result of this law.

This bill would obviously help in same-sex situations, but I think it would more commonly be applied in cases of heterosexual divorce. That’s just basic statistics. (And even if that wasn’t the case, who cares? Gay couples form families, too.) Furthermore, this would do nothing to benefit pedophiles. That argument is patently absurd and hardly deserves a response. Roxeanne isn’t the shiniest penny in the fountain, but I think she’s just barely smart enough to know she was lying.

This is a good law. Plenty of children are in situations where there are three or four parents involved. At certain times, this can cause undue problems as a result of legal restrictions. That is, a clear authority figure with the child’s interest at heart – a biological parent’s spouse, for example – may be denied from caring for the child, such as we see from the article. That isn’t fair to anyone involved and is more a snafu in the law than anything. The only reason to oppose this is stubborn denial of reality.

Thanks for being wrong

I am finishing up the final portion of a paper concerning HIV and circumcision. Normally this would be a pretty big endeavor since it involves reading a lot of papers, but I have an advantage. Commenters like Ichthyic and Roxeanne have forced me to correct so many stupid things they’ve said on the issue that I’m already fairly familiar with the material. So I would like to thank those two: I really appreciate the utter wrongness with which you have each approached science. Your ideological commitments have really made this project of mine a breeze. Thanks.

More rhetoric losses

I just wrote about the RNC losing the rhetoric battle on women. Now I have a personal example of someone losing the rhetoric battle to me.

Look around at some of my recent posts and Roxeanne de Luca will show up. She’s an angry little person who really wants me to know just how mad she is. For a little while, though, she only wanted me to know that (and, I suppose, FTSOS readers). She hid a few of my comments from her readers due to her pattern of cowardice, but once called out on it, I guess she re-thought things. (At least, she re-thought them a little bit; some of my posts are still missing.) She recently allowed this post of mine:

You probably won’t post this, but I’m sure you’ll see it: Your cowardice is astounding, Roxeanne. Not only have you run away from debates when you were trounced on my blog, but you have the gall to write about people you’re too afraid to let respond.

I know you like to take the “I’m older than you, therefore I’m a smart adult and you should listen to me by default” route, but methinks it’s fair to say you’ve fully lost the right to that (boring) strategy through your childish cowardice.

I didn’t think reverse psychology would work since her blog presumably isn’t a kid’s sitcom from the 90’s, but here we are. She responded:

Learn the difference between having a life/not feeding the trolls and cowardice. You aren’t brave; you’re bored and you’re boring.

This is when I know I’ve beat her. She’s the little kid who dropped her ice cream and everyone laughed at her. Now in order to make herself feel better, she wants to slap the cone out of my hand by reflecting my rhetoric and calling me boring.

It looks like, as usual, Roxeanne’s anger has gotten the best of her. At least she’s giving me a reason to fill up my “Humor” category a little bit more.

Roxeanne de Luca is also a coward

In addition to being an angry little person, science-ignorant Roxeanne de Luca is also a coward. When I made my recent post about her and her difficulty with thinking even moderately deeply, I mentioned this:

Anyway. I’ve run across plenty of angry people on the Internet. I’ve even become angry plenty of times. But what I’ve never seen is a person get this angry this quickly. It isn’t like she isn’t responding to me on her blog. Despite doing that ever-so-annoying bullshit where comments are kept in moderation (thereby forcing me to copy them for future reference in case she makes alterations), she is allowing my posts.

It’s a hallmark of so many conservative and/or Christian blogs to put comments in moderation. These people are petrified of being embarrassed, so they feel the need to monitor every little thing that gets said about them. Given just how many things Roxeanne has gotten wrong in my interactions with her, it’s no surprise that she would just start deleting my new comments on this post. Of course, as I said, it’s predictable cowardice like this that makes me copy my posts. Take a look at Roxeanne’s final comment and then come back here to see my response:

According to you,

1. This couple cannot love their child and favor her abortion under certain conditions.

2. You don’t call people liars, just me.

These are interesting if only due to how glaring they are. This couple is claiming that they love their daughter. That is a statement of fact from their point of view. You say that it is not true. How are you not calling them liars?

Couple: “We love our daughter.”

Roxeanne: “No, you don’t.”

Are you calling them liars? Are you contending that they don’t know what love is? You’ve been muddled on this.

I normally would have made a much longer post, going point-for-point, but in addition to getting that cowardly-feeling from this schmuck of a debater, I could tell Roxeanne isn’t the sort of person who is detail-oriented (hence why philosophical thinking is so foreign to her); anything that wasn’t short and direct would have garnered a slew of garbage rhetoric and evasiveness. Well. Assuming she had the guts to defend her inane beliefs.