Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Shallit amidst the Klingons; Scientific Atheism finds its audience

Atheist crank Dr. Jeff Shallit invites you to his talk at Polaris 2011 in Toronto on July 16:

I'll be speaking at the Canadian science fiction & fantasy convention Polaris in Toronto on Saturday, July 16, and you're invited to attend.
My talk is at 1 PM and is entitled "Misinformation Theory: How Creationists Abuse Mathematics" and is described here. It's part of the skeptical track sponsored by the Centre For Inquiry and its Committee for the Advancement of Scientific Skepticism. Three others, including Larry Moran of Sandwalk, will also speak.

Here's the blurb on Shallit's talk:

Misinformation Theory: How Creationists Abuse MathematicsDescription: Creationist silliness is not restricted just to biology; they also like to abuse mathematics.

Jeffrey Shallitt of the University of Waterloo surveys some of this nonsense, starting from ?The Evolution of Man Scientifically Disproved? (1925) and finishing with the misinformation theory of the modern ?intelligent design? movement.
Area: Skeptic Track
Programming Team Member: David Ennis
Panelists: Jeffrey Shallit (M)
Note: No more Panelists are being accepted for this Panel. 
Equipment: LCD Projector, 6' Screen
Scheduled day/time: Saturday 1:00 PM
Last modified: April 20, 2011 

The delightful mental image of Shallit's talk about "creationist silliness" is that a fair portion of his audience will be dressed as Klingons.

The other talks on the agenda include:

Collecting Star Wars

How To Get a Head in the Klingon Empire

In Defense of Star Trek: Enterprise

Star Wars Costuming

Witchcraft and Wicca in Popular Culture

Harry Potter Reading

Adult Origami

Aliens 25th Anniversary: Retrospective and fandom Q&A

Alternate Alternate Mirror Alternate Universe

Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Series

Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome

Buffy Season 8

Costume Con 32

Costume Troubleshooting

Costuming Ghostbusters Style

Costuming vs. Cosplay

Could the Last Time Lord Become a Time Lady?

D&D Character Creation For Beginners

The Darkening Mood Lighting of Sci-fi

Does the World Need More Blade Runner?

Dungeons and Dragons - The Basics

The Evolution of Superstition: People, PCs and Pigeons

Fairy Tales For Grown-Ups

From Avatar to Zardoz: Politics in SF

Geek-Off: Stargate

Ghostbusters Photo Op

Introduction to Ball Jointed Dolls

Klingon Ceremonies and Rituals

Lego Building Challenge!

Midichlorians Ruined Star Wars

The Nature of the Modern Zombie

Should The Dark Tower Be Adapted?

Spiderman: The Musical? Really?

So A Vampire, A Ghost and a Werewolf Share a House...

When it comes to anime, the penis is mightier than the pen!

Why doesn't SF look like Star Trek anymore?

The Panel For People Who Caught VD Last Year

Now don't get me wrong. I like Sci Fi as much as the next guy, but don't you think that Shallit's little atheist screed just ... fits here?

Atheism is right at home with all sorts of superstition and goofiness. In fact, a study at Baylor showed that the godless are much more likely to believe crazy things than the average person. The most rational people: folks who are traditionally religious. 

It's really funny when some atheist crank with no expertise in natural science at all (Shallit's a mathematician) mocks real scientists (e.g Richard Sternberg, Mike Behe, Paul Nelson, Bill Dembski, Jonathan Wells, Scott Minnich, etc) in a presentation at a Star Trek/Wicca/Buffy-the-Vampire convention.

It's nice that Shallit finally found the proper forum for atheist science.


  1. "Creationists abuse mathematics".

    Last I checked, Darwinists won't go anywhere near mathematics. They shriek like schoolgirls every time anyone starts doing the probability calculations one would think would be necessary when promulgating a theory relying on chance.

    (Cue angry atheists shouting that Natural Selection is the OPPOSITE OF CHANCE!!!--to which I reply: One might as well argue that since a casino is guaranteed by law to pay out when certain conditions are met, there is no gambling going on there).

  2. You need to get out more often, Matteo.

    Joseph Felsenstein, Professor of Genome Sciences and of Biology; Adjunct Professor of Computer Science and of Statistics at the University of Washington.

    Martin Novak, Professor of Biology and of Mathematics; Director of Harvard’s Program for Evolutionary Dynamics at Harvard.

    These are just a couple of examples.

  3. Shallit, by the way, is not a mathematician. He is a computer scientist.

    People Mike compares him to are at best washed-up scientists (Behe, Sternberg, and Minnich). Dembski is not a scientist, either: his degrees are in mathematics, philosophy, and theology and he certainly does not do science. Wells did a postdoc in molecular biology, but he is not a practicing scientist. And Paul Nelson? Come on, Mike!

  4. Sad to see you running out of material that early, Mike.

  5. @Anon:

    [Sad to see you running out of material that early, Mike.]

    I'm in a target rich environment, as long as there are atheists.


  6. Shallit, a.k.a. Clouseau, may try to profess that radioactive decay is a real world example of true randomness, I thought that was the same abuse of mathematics he is supposed to be an expert on. Oh well, he is crank. That's why none of my four atheist friends have never heard of him.

    The mathematical content of his blog is nil, rather it is just a cyclical pissing contest projecting the insecurities of a pompous, egocentric drama queen with a disjoint persona.

    My friends have confidence in thier beliefs without the need for evidence, and its misuse. And I accept that, and respect them for it.

  7. Anon wrote:
    "...My friends have confidence in thier beliefs without the need for evidence..."

    Fair enough. If they realize they are just that: "beliefs" and that such "evidence" is unscientific by nature.
    Being subjective, they should understand that my beliefs are counter to thiers, and should they 'misuse' their own belief in a manner that offends my objective view of morality, I will oppose them with all force necessary and available. Most people will do the same.
    On the other hand, should they decide conduct themselves as decent human beings, for their own selfish reasons, I would be glad to tolerate them; regardless of their limiting world views. I would however, as friend in your position, advise them to carefully study Blaise Pascal's famous argument or 'wager' if they have any sense of wonder left at all.
    Here it is, for your friends, ad reducto:
    "God is, or He is not." But to which side shall we incline? Reason can decide nothing here. Which will you choose then? Let us see. Since you must choose, let us see which interests you least. Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is."

  8. "But, but", will respond the typical atheist genius, "Pascal's Wager has been REFUTED! It doesn't prove God AT ALL!!!"

    As if it were offered as a proof rather than a simple exhortation not to be a close-minded, frivolous dumb-ass about the whole question, given the stakes.

  9. The nut says,
    "Radioactive decay is a random process."
    The genius says,
    "We can model radioactive decay with a random process." Big difference.

    The nut puts stock in a paradigm having a long list of associated anomalies. The genius finds a better paradigm.