"Teach the Controversy"—Shameless T-Shirt Capitalism Edition

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Forget Darwin vs. Genesis–what about Ptolemy vs. Copernicus, or Egyptian vs. alien pyramid builders? As the folks over at the T-shirt site, Teach the Controversy explain:

'Big Science' is always suppressing The Truth with their blatant pro-evolution anti-wacko agenda: from the fact that UFOs built the pyramids to the reality of creationism and fact the universe is "Turtles All The Way Down". It is time to fight back and urge schools to Teach The Controversy with these intelligently designed t-shirts.

Pick your controversy from the designs below:

http://www.clusterflock.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/teachcotnroversy.jpg

Thanks to shameless capitalism, controversialists of all stripes, flat-earthers included, can now express their grievances against the demythologizing tendencies of science on their chests.

Kudos to D.A. Ridgely for pointing out the site.

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  1. I’m buying that Discworld shirt, and I blame you.

  2. Cool images. I went to clusterflock dot org, but can’t find these images. Are they really available on t-shirts? If so, where?

    Also, to what creation myth does the last image (beetle, sun) refer?

  3. controversialists of all stripes

    Not quite – I see no mention of His Noodliness, The FSM

  4. I’m getting the one with the devil burying dinosaur bones. There’s a woman in my American Gov class that during a debate on Seperation of Church and State stated thus: “The Bible says that the Earth is only six thousand years old. Anything to the contrary is the work of Satan.” Everyone was quiet until I mused, “Really? He must be a busy guy.”

  5. 1) Dude, there’s a link to the site that sells them in the post. Heck, it’s the only link there.

    2) To a myth that the sun is pushed across the sky each day by a (very heavily insulated) dung beetle. African, I think?

  6. Tonio – The Egyptians apparently thought a scarab beetle god moved the sun through the sky like dung. link

  7. There needs to be one that has Bush detonating the WTC with a Looney Tunes-style plunger detonator. Anything less just isn’t offensive enough.

  8. Whats going on with the bug on the sun?

  9. Also, to what creation myth does the last image (beetle, sun) refer?

    From the site:
    Sun Scarab
    Because we know that the sun is moved through the sky via giant beetle

  10. Not quite – I see no mention of His Noodliness, The FSM

    Well, of course not, this is all about falsehoods. Not the one true FSM.

  11. Another wacky Palin thread? Enough already!

    jeeeeeez

  12. I personally like the Periodic Table one. That shit is funny.

  13. awesome. thanks DAR, Ron

  14. “Not quite – I see no mention of His Noodliness, The FSM”

    That is because Pastafarians should be dressed in full pirate regalia.

  15. So the fact that Aliens built the pyramids in Egypt and for the Mayans is a controversey now, eh? You ever been there, those stones are big! I’d like science to explain how a bunch of enslaved, starving people built those monstrosities.

  16. Actually the book “Darwins Black Box” is a pretty awesome critique of flaws in evolutionary theory.

    The author points out that asexual reproducing bacteria did not have enough time to process all the molecular information needed to create complex chemical pathways for synthesis and metabolism and the billions of other chemical jobs cells do.

    The author being a creationist comes to the conclusion that there is no other explanation but a creator. Not the conclusion i would come to.

    That being said a serious flaw in evolution was exposed by a creationist….one cannot deny that the science was progressed.

    Personally i could give a shit on who wins and who loses which this debate has essentially come down to. I would rather simply know how the world works.

  17. I personally like the Periodic Table one. That shit is funny.

    When I was in h.s. chem, one of the school administrators wandered in our class and joked, “Chemistry was a lot easier in my day, there were fewer elements.” My buddy said, “What were they: earth, air, fire and water.” That still makes me laugh.

  18. Check out the SCIENCE! shirts, too. The best one has to be the robot guitar. SCIENCE!

  19. It’d be funny if they had a 9/11 Troofer one.

  20. LT Nixon,

    It’s easy to assume our ancestors were stupid savages. Truth is they were incredibly motivated and had highly skilled engineers. Nothing focuses the mind like the threat of starvation. Also, I read somewhere that they were actually paid laborers not slaves.

  21. Do I believe in aliens? Of course! I refuse to believe that in all the vastness of the universe, we’re as good as it gets…

  22. Kudos, more appropriately, to Timothy, who (at a site known only, well, mostly to a chosen few secret decoder ring libertarianish types) brought the site to my attention earlier today.

  23. The Nixon with a gas mask on is probably the best one.

  24. D.A.,

    Grylliade.org? No secret my friend.

  25. My vote for funniest shirt is the Devil burying the fossils. I like how they captured that look like he’s up to something shady. And the UFO-Pyramid one is funny too, since it illustrates the satirical point the best.

    I’ve always wondered what creationists would say to a holocaust denier or 9/11 conspiracy theorist that wanted to “teach the controversy”.

  26. I bought the one with the Unicorn and wore it to work. A person quite a few rungs above the corperate ladder, asked me about it. I said it was a shirt about ID. The blank look on her face was priceless. Nothing like having to explain Intelligent Design to upper management.

  27. So the fact that Aliens built the pyramids in Egypt and for the Mayans is a controversey now, eh? You ever been there, those stones are big! I’d like science to explain how a bunch of enslaved, starving people built those monstrosities.

    Well, the fact that, at least in Egypt, they weren’t enslaved, they were hired labor, and weren’t starving was part of it. Not to mention you can use more than one person to pull a brick is another.

    joshua,

    Behe’s book has been pretty thoroughly debunked. Panda’s Thumb is a pretty good blog that eviscerates a lot of his arguments. As for Behe advancing science, 4 out of 5 peer reviews rejected his claims.

  28. joshua corning – The conclusions of Darwin’s Black Box have been heavily disputed. I like having Darwinian mechanisms questioned, it makes the science both more interesting and better. But in this particular case, the “irreducible complexity” arguments made in that book are really weak and only kind of scientific. There are lots of unresolved issues with Darwinism, but I don’t think there are really any that point to a Creator as an alternative.

  29. Also, I read somewhere that they were actually paid laborers not slaves.

    I read some were and some were not. But yeah the slave part has been over stated. You do not get that good of work only from slaves.

    There is a reason why the North out produced the South.

    And why the US out produced the Soviet Union.

  30. That is because 80% of scientists are communist freedom-haters who want to blot out the truth. Don’t you know how this works?

  31. I have the SCIENCE! shirt with the cowboy scientist riding the amoeba.

    The best t-shirt I’ve seen in a while is this one on the two-party system.

  32. Not only that,the South remained extremely poor until the middle of the last Century because of slavery’s legacy.

  33. I read some were and some were not. But yeah the slave part has been over stated. You do not get that good of work only from slaves.

    The evidence that they were not is that they found tombs of some laborers. The size, decorations and contents of the tombs indicated that the laborers were rewarded for their work. It was “an honor” to build the tombs for the supposed future gods that was considered far too good to be left to slaves.

  34. joshua corning – The conclusions of Darwin’s Black Box have been heavily disputed. I like having Darwinian mechanisms questioned, it makes the science both more interesting and better. But in this particular case, the “irreducible complexity” arguments made in that book are really weak and only kind of scientific. There are lots of unresolved issues with Darwinism, but I don’t think there are really any that point to a Creator as an alternative.

    Yeah you have seriously conflated his conclusions with the problem he proposed. The arguments are strong and it is a tragedy that science has been abandoned simply because of some whacked out political agenda.

    “Oh no he is a creationist! Quick lets abandon the scientific method and make t-shirts”

    Fucking pathetic.

  35. That is because 80% of scientists are communist freedom-haters who want to blot out the truth. Don’t you know how this works?

    I would not say that but I would say that in many issues it has become agenda driven.

  36. I love how the “evolution/creationism” issue has been leveraged by the left to insure that government funded union controlled schools are the norm.

    But yeah lets make t-shirts.

  37. Naga,

    I recommend L. Sprague De Camp’s Ancient Engineers, which discusses the tremendous engineering capabilities of various ancient cultures.

  38. Since when is evolution “leftist”?

    You’re like the Communists who said Lysenkoism was real biology, while everything else was “western biology”.

  39. corning – I don’t believe I was conflating anything. It’s been a while since I’ve read the book. Perhaps I’ll go back and take a look at it and flesh out my thinking a little more. But the arguments certainly aren’t strong. I hate to just cite Wikipedia on this, but I thought this summarized my thoughts fairly well: “within [the book] systems were labeled “irreducibly complex” if Behe was not able to envision a simpler system that still worked.”

    I don’t have an agenda about evolution, if someone somehow demonstrated that ID was supported with persuasive evidence, I’d think it was neat.

  40. also, more insight from Wikipedia:

    “Though influential within the intelligent design movement for several years, the book has lost some of its currency as more and more examples given by Behe as evidence of irreducible complexity have been shown to be explicable by known evolutionary mechanisms, something Behe conceded under cross examination while testifying as an expert witness on behalf of the defendants in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.”

  41. NOW LET’S MAKE SOME TEESHIRTS!!!!!

  42. Since when is evolution “leftist”?

    No one said that.

    Who the do you think you are talking to?

  43. joshua,

    Uh, science has been advancing Darwin’s theories for a long time and hasn’t just “stopped”. Evolutionary theory has moved forward as people make new discoveries and new contradictions. Heck, Behe’s theories were tested*, like his statement about irreducible complexity of blood clotting was disproven looking at jawless fish.

    You should try knowing about what you talk about before you open your yap.

    * You know, that other part of the scientific method, testing out claims, rather than just making them, throwing up your hands and saying, “It must have been done by Xenu!”

  44. Pro Lib,

    I own the book. I had to look up the authors take on Nero just to make sure he wasn’t throwing in a joke.

  45. But the arguments certainly aren’t strong.

    The process by which cells emerged from nothing is not very well explained by evolution. If explained at all. How can an examination of that process be weak?

    Seriously you are throwing the baby out with the bath water.

    I don’t have an agenda about evolution, if someone somehow demonstrated that ID was supported with persuasive evidence, I’d think it was neat.

    Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.

    You really cannot see how fucked up you are can you?

  46. like his statement about irreducible complexity of blood clotting was disproven looking at jawless fish.

    Actually “irreducible complexity” is not what I am talking about. Although it would appear to be loosely related.

    Perhaps you should go back and read what I wrote before opening your yap.

  47. This is just the sort of calm, balanced, civil discourse those t-shirts were designed to encourage. Bravo!

  48. rather than just making them, throwing up your hands and saying, “It must have been done by Xenu!”

    Who the fuck are you talking to?

    Serioulsy who the fuck does that sort of shit.

    “Oh so you say blatantly and repeatedly say that you do not accept a lack of an explanation as proof of the existence of a creator. Oh i know i will accuse you of saying the opposite”

    What the fuck is wrong with you?

  49. Ignoring the controversies does not help kids. They should be presented with a good Rogerian Argument: explain this is what creationists or whoever are saying, this is what the scientific community is saying, and this is why the scientists are more credible and probably closer to the truth.

    If a kid learns evolution and their parents tells him or her it’s all lies, the kid isn’t going to be able to come to a rational decision.

    The worst thing educators can do is tell people their ideas are just stupid. The strange theories will never go away, and just denying them only fuels their beliefs.

  50. I like the Discworld reference, but the shirt depicts a land turtle; Great A’Tuin is a sea turtle. Heresy!

    (Incidentally, if you look up ‘heresy’ on Dictionary.com, the sponsored links bring up Hershey’s Chocolate.)

  51. Josh! Relax, man! Take some Xanax, and have a beer.

  52. Naga,

    Really? I love that book, but it seems like no one ever has heard of it. I also own his Great Cities of the Ancient World, which covers some similar areas (esp. architecture), though the book is broader in scope, covering more cultural material.

  53. The world on some turtles scenario isn’t just from Discworld. That’s like a Hindu myth or something. Bertrand Russell cited it pretty frequently.

    corning – I don’t have a political agenda about evolution, but that doesn’t stop me from noticing that your genius author had to retract much of the evidence from your genius book when giving sworn testimony in a court case. You need to calm down… and then suck my cock.

  54. Nothing like having to explain Intelligent Design to upper management.

    This would tend to make move their company’s stock into the ‘buy’ column, actually.

  55. They should be presented with a good Rogerian Argument:

    I thought presenting a good ‘rogering’ meant something completely different.

  56. Kolohe,

    Oh I am glad they didnt believe in it or take offense. The fact that they were oblivious that such a concept exists is another matter entirely.

  57. Since when is evolution “leftist”?

    And since when is Intelligent Design religious?

    No one here but us politically-neutral scientific inquirers.

  58. I don’t have a political agenda about evolution, but that doesn’t stop me from noticing that your genius author had to retract much of the evidence from your genius book when giving sworn testimony in a court case.

    That is laughable….so i point out a flaw in evolution then you point some other proposed flaw and how it was wrong and there for i must be wrong cuz this other thing…and now you are not on an agenda.

    what the fuck?

    here we go for the record i wrote:

    The author points out that asexual reproducing bacteria did not have enough time to process all the molecular information needed to create complex chemical pathways for synthesis and metabolism and the billions of other chemical jobs cells do.

    and then you brought up “irreducibly complex” which is not the same thing.

    Why would you do that? Why bring up a different thing and attach it to the thing i was talking about if not to confuse intentionally?

  59. *dips toe in the crazy*

    *silently walks away*

  60. Since when is evolution “leftist”?

    And since when is Intelligent Design religious?

    and so joe tries to incorporate “Evolution” into the left’s lexicon of ownership.

    Pretty.

  61. I do not understand this strange aversion to skeptical analysis in regards to evolution.

    No one argues that Steve McIntyre has not progressed the science of climate change (well accept for a few political operators who have “moved on”) and no one argues that Thomas Gold’s Stagnant Universe hypothesis did not progress the science.

    Hell almost any interview of Stephen Hawkins has him discussing hypothesis that he got wrong but no one would argue that their disproof did not progress the science.

  62. Pro Liberate,

    I own or have read a ton of classical literature and/or books about the ancient era. When I first started playing Rome:Total War I was kicking the shit out of everyone that took me on just because I understood the notion of classical warfare. Pin them down with a line of infantry, swing the cavalry around on their flanks. Works everytime.

  63. I do not understand this strange aversion to skeptical analysis in regards to evolution.

    Are you talking about this thread, or the scientific community in general?

  64. Naga,

    Nothing like knowledge of classical warfare to intimidate the young.

  65. One of my brothers and several of my friends insist I cheated. Sorry buddy. Pick your battles, terrain, and tactics. Also, don’t be afraid to pull a Thermopolyae or Horatius at the bridge. I assume I am talking to someone who also reveres the classics? Plutarch, Livy, Thucydides and, of course, Herodutus?

  66. Own them all. Along with Suetonius, Dio Cassius, et al.

  67. joshua is a bad persistant troll. ignore him.

  68. We used to have more classicists around here–me, with my Latin cognomen, gaius marius, and others. We’re dying off, I guess. Or being hunted down and killed.

    Oh, smacky knows Latin and Greek. I think she learned those for time travel purposes. Wish I could read the classics in the original.

  69. rich,

    Isn’t “bad persistant troll” redundant? Maybe it’s just me, but I figure the term “troll” already conveys both “bad” and “persistant”. If someone was either good, or brief, would we still call them a troll?

  70. Now that is impressive. Also, Dio Cassius? That is hard to get your hands on. I had to wait roughly 5 weeks just to get my hands on my Frontinius. Strategamata would be my favorite if I had a favorite. Plus for a while I was learning a little Latin as the translation was on one page and the original on the other. Xenophon was a bit rough but he made it interesting at least. Nothing like reading how the Ten Thousand made it to the Black Sea.

  71. I like the unicorn one the best.

    It would totally pass for a cute girly T-shirt, until you read the fine print. Muahahahah.

    Only it needs a few pink hearts and maybe a rainbow or something.

  72. The turtle moves!

  73. “I do not understand this strange aversion to skeptical analysis in regards to evolution.”

    Don’t confuse aversion to Behe with aversion to skeptical analysis of evolution. Behe has been at this for a while now, and keeps embarrassing himself. Scientists are always debating the various mechanisms of evolution. Like Newton’s laws, evolution may be found in error, but not in any ways likely to satisfy Behe.

    Try reading KR Millers review of Darwin’s Black Box for a start. Miller is religiously inclined, and attempts to give Behe some credit for his effort, but in the end says: “But ultimately, the careful reader will recognize this book for what it truly is – an argument against evolution that concedes nearly all the contested ground to Darwin’s edifice, and then ends up teetering on little more than rhetoric and personal skepticism.”

  74. Behe’s book is full of strawmen and ad hominem arguments. If he had anything useful to say, he would attempt to publish in the peer reviewed literature.

    The author points out that asexual[ly] reproducing bacteria did not have enough time to process all the molecular information needed to create complex chemical pathways for synthesis and metabolism and the billions of other chemical jobs cells do.

    Behe posits that, but what is his evidence? Bacteria have extremely short generation times and higher mutation rates than do multicellular organisms. Mutation rates were probably higher in the past, before full development of the ozone layer and atmosphere providing protection from mutagenic radiation and before natural selection had acted to increase the copying fidelity of DNA polymerases. Carl Woese has hypothesized that early cells and their precursors might have had considerable modularity in genes and genetic mechanisms leading to a high rate of lateral gene transfer among different prokaryotic lineages.

    That being said a serious flaw in evolution was exposed by a creationist….one cannot deny that the science was progressed.

    No, there wasn’t a serious flaw in evolution exposed just because you and Behe say so. The science would have been advanced more if Behe would bother to test his own hypotheses and publish the results in peer reviewed journals instead of making unsupported but superficially plausible claims that happen to comport with his personal beliefs, which real scientists have to debunk.

    The process by which cells emerged from nothing is not very well explained by evolution. If explained at all.

    Evolution doesn’t explain the origin of life at all, nor does it purport to explain the origin of life. Your statement is a strawman.

    You really cannot see how fucked up you are can you?

    Said the pot to the kettle. Darwin was right overall, but was missing an understanding of the mechanism of inheritance. He knew there was a tendency for offspring to resemble their parents from his association with dog and pigeon breeders and his own experience, but Mendel’s work wasn’t known and was lost for many years. Darwin was also unaware of genetic drift. The modern understanding of Darwinism is sometimes referred to as neo-Darwinism or the Modern Synthesis to reflect the marriage of Darwin’s ideas with knowledge garnered from the rediscovery of Mendel’s work and the efforts of Fisher and other population geneticists in the area of mathematical theory of the behavior of genes. Behe is wrong, period.

    EvB: Your suggestion is a legitimate pedagogical tool, but high school biology courses don’t have time to go into that level of detail. Hell, college level introductory biology courses don’t have time to go into that level of detail.

  75. Privatize education and make it non-mandatory. Then this argument is as relevent as ‘How many angels…’
    Oh. That’s logical. Sorry. carry on.

  76. By Odin.

    They’fe left out Yggdrasil!

    Typical Skralings, won’t allow the other side to be presented.

  77. the innominate one:

    THANK YOU for that! Goddamn, I get so tired of the ignorant “but evolution doesn’t explain the origin of life” cries. No, shmucks, it doesn’t. It doesn’t even *try* to. So stop asking for it.

    Also, if you want to worry about bacteria and having “time” to carry out the molecular mechanisms required for reproduction? Um. First, I’ll ask you to learn a little bit about the RNA world. Second, I’ll ask you to take some time to learn about basic biochemistry. Third, if you can handle it, read about some actual bacteriology.

    It’s all quite plausible, reasonable, and thermodynamically sound.

    Until then, you don’t know wtf you’re talking about and all your doing is blowing a bunch of ignorant hot air.

  78. And, being at End of Threadsville, no one will care.

    But I feel better, anyway.

  79. Bronwyn:

    I’ll see your RNA world and raise you a PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) world. 🙂

  80. >>We used to have more classicists around here–me, with my Latin cognomen, gaius marius, and others. We’re dying off, I guess. Or being hunted down and killed.

    I bet it was those IllegalAlien Goths that did it!

  81. the innominate one:

    touche, bro 🙂

  82. er… don’t remember the alt code for the accented e there… yeah. ok.

  83. You really cannot see how fucked up you are can you?

    Said the pot to the kettle.

    Actually as the kettle in this scenario, I object. This is more like “said the pot to the polar bear in a wedding dress snorting cocaine on an igloo.”

  84. First, as others have noted, Evolution doesn’t address the question of the origin of life directly. As presently formulated, the results Evolution describes are independent of how the Last Universal Common cellular Ancestor arose. This area of research is of interest to biologists and biochemists; however, the question of how cells arose from simple chemicals is technically NOT part of the scope of the current theory of Evolution. It is a separate question, usually referred to as “Abiogenesis”, sometimes as the “biogenic transition”.

    For a relatively recent overview of the present state of the art accessible to the lay audience, see “Minimal self-replicating systems”, Robertson et alia (Chem. Soc. Rev., 2000, 29, 141 – 152, DOI: 10.1039/a803602k), which indicates the arising of life may be viewed in part as a form of autocatalytic reaction. For a more recent paper with a mathematical analysis of the biogenic transition process, see “Prevolutionary dynamics and the origin of evolution”, Martin A. Nowak and Hisashi Ohtsuki (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, doi:10.1073/pnas.0806714105). (Abstract only for the latter; subscription or dead-tree journal required for full paper. Sorry.)

  85. Second, “well explained” as science uses it may only refer to how well something is explained relative to some alternative hypothesis (trivially, the alternative being the null hypothesis). Furthermore, the presently accepted explanation in biology the one “best” in a formal sense science uses.

    Science refers to the process of gathering evidence, forming conjectures about the evidence, developing a formal hypothesis which indicates how the current evidence may be described under the conjecture, competitive testing of all candidate hypotheses under a formal criterion for probable correctness, plus the body of hypotheses testing best thereby and which thereafter are referred to as “Theories”.

    In the most formal sense, the criterion used for this is a more exacting expression of Occam’s Razor, which has been proven in the absolute mathematical sense in the paper “Minimum Description Length Induction, Bayesianism and Kolmogorov Complexity”, by Paul M. B. Vitanyi and Ming Li [PostScript file here]. This shows that the most “concise” hypothesis is the one most likely to correctly describe the character of future data. Science thus becomes dependent (due to this paper) on the philosophical assumptions that propositional logic is valid for formal inference, that the Zermelo-Fraenkel Axioms of set theory (which serve as the modern foundation for all mathematics) are self-consistent (though they need not be complete), and that Reality is relatable to Evidence.

    Note that the root of the word “prove” is from the Latin probare, “to test”. Thus, hypotheses that become theories may be said to have been “proven” in the sense that Science uses the word. This is distinct from the mathematical sense, in that the usual use of “proof” in mathematics indicates a rigorous derivation from axioms; however, the sense that science uses is similar to the sense that a person might seek to “prove” that their brain is not a piece of cauliflower.

    Intelligent Design advocates are thus, at best, supporters of a conjecture with roots established in religion, who do not test under the Minimum Description Length Induction criterion, and who do not gather evidence directly from reality. As such, whatever it may be that they are doing, it is not science.

  86. Joshua, science does not have a problem with “skeptical analysis” in regards to evolution. However, the analysis must be done correctly. Science welcomes thinking

  87. (drat it)
    …welcomes thinking outside the box, but insists it also be kept out of cloud-cuckoo-land.

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