1. Ken Ham doesn’t understand why real museums don’t get mocked for featuring saddled dinosaur rides for kids – PZ Myers sums out quite concisely how Ham just doesn’t get it:
Yes, other places will display dinosaurs as fun exhibits for the kids, and I have no problem with that. The natural history museum at the University of Utah had a talking dinosaur out front — throw a coin in its mouth, and it would roar and thank you for your donation, and my kids were always pestering me for my spare change. That’s fine; they knew it was for fun, and when you went upstairs, you saw serious displays of real fossils with accurate ages and relationships posted by them, and no one argued that they could talk, or that people coexisted with them, or that they could be saddled and ridden.
2. Jim Carrey blocks Orac on Twitter – It’s truly sad that Jenny McCarthy took a talented guy like Jim Carrey, who only sometimes pretended to talk out of his ass and turned him into a guy who really talks out of his ass. Last week I responded to Jim and Jenny’s insipid and delusional letter defending the indefensible Andrew Wakefield. And Orac had responded on his blog too. He also decided to send his reply to Carrey directly via Twitter a whole bunch of times. Carrey’s reply initially was to throw a few insults back at Orac:
Then eventually, Carrey decided to block Orac. Orac has since declared it “a badge of honor.” And just for fun, I also tweeted Carrey.
3. Facilitated Communication debunked again – I’d blogged about the Rom Houben case before and how this coma patient was being repulsively used by either a scammer or self-deluded individual. Now the truth comes out once and for all. And guess what? No real Facilitated Communication took place. Shocker:
Laureys has now carried out those tests, and his results hold that it wasn’t Houben doing the writing after all. The tests determined that he doesn’t have enough strength and muscle control in his right arm to operate the keyboard. In her effort to help the patient express himself, it would seem that the speech therapist had unwittingly assumed control. This kind of self-deception happens all the time when this method — known as “facilitated communication” — is used. (As a result, the things that Houben was attributed as saying to SPIEGEL for an article printed in November 2009 were also not authentic.)
In the more recent test, Houben was shown or told a series of 15 objects and words, without a speech therapist being present. Afterward, he was supposed to type the correct word — but he didn’t succeed a single time.
Too bad they didn’t conduct this same exact test when us skeptical bloggers explained it to them months ago.
As I wrote on December 2:
And it’s not like this hypothesis would be hard to test. We could blindfold the facilitator or show the motionless body of Houben one image and the facilitator another image without either seeing the other’s image to find out which image is identified. If the image shown only to Houben is identified, congratulations, facilitated communication works. But if, as I suspect, the image seen only by the facilitator is identified, congratulations, facilitated communication is a fraud.
And skeptical bloggers far more popular than me said the same thing.
Dr Hauser added: “The research suggests that intuitive judgments of right and wrong seem to operate independently of explicit religious commitments.