Criticizing from a foundation of skimming

Last week, PZ Myers briefly commented on my earlier posting about the Archaean expansion.  So I edited the original posting to point out that all of his criticisms failed largely because he was lashing out against a straw man.  In fact, the criticisms were so far off base that one can conclude Myers hasn’t even read anything about the hypothesis of front-loading.  This should not be surprising, as there is a very funny twist to his whole post that clearly stems from someone who roots their criticism in superficial skimming.

So why think that Myers skims instead of reads?  Consider what he wrote:

I have another painful example of deviousness of creationists. There’s a paper I’ve been meaning to write up for a little while, a Nature paper by David and Alm that reveals an ancient period of rapid gene expansion in the Archaean, approximately 3 billion years ago. Last night I thought I’d just take a quick look to see if anybody had already written it up, so I googled “Archaean genetic expansion,” and there it was: a couple of references to the paper itself, a news summary, one nice science summary, and…two creationist distortions of the paper, right there on the first page of google results. I told you! This happens all the time: if there’s a paper in one of the big journals that discusses more evidence for evolution, there is a creationist hack somewhere who’ll quickly write it up and lie about it. It’s a heck of a lot easier to summarize a paper if you don’t understand it, you see, so they’ve got an edge on us.

Now, if you click on Myer’s example of “one nice science summary,” it comes from a blog entitled, “Who Lies Sleeping? A blog about the Anthroposaurus sapiens and its kin”

You would think that a scientist like Myers might pause to ask himself, “Just what the heck is Anthroposaurus sapiens?  Well, it turns out that the blog Myers promotes as providing a “nice science summary” advocates that dinosaurs evolved into sentient beings, developed technology, and caused their own extinction through industrial pollution and a nuclear war.  The blog also advocates for the aquatic ape version of human evolution and argues H. P. Lovecraft had a telepathic connection to these intelligent dinosaurs.

PZ Myers.  Keeping the public safe from pseudoscience.


2 responses to “Criticizing from a foundation of skimming

  1. I can’t decide which is funnier. The dinosaurian theory or that PZ approvingly linked to it.

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