A Stupid Man’s Report on what a Clever Woman Wrote

The DailyMail’s article on dog play was an excellent example of lousy reporting but being familiar with this paper I blame it on their general laziness and not a malicious attempt to lie to their readers. We can’t say the same about Kevin Behan who has no problem lying to his gullible followers.

In the aptly titled “Punch Anti-Vaxxers in the Face (With Facts)”, Chad MacDonald observes, “[t]heir blatant ignorance and willing dissemination of misinformation has gone on for too long. They need to be stopped now, and brusquely. The ignorant do not respond to niceties.”

I think MacDonald’s observation should be generalized to all wilfully ignorant science-denialists, something that came to mind when I read Kevin Behan’s latest response to the study on roll-overs during play.

With that in mind, let’s punch Kevin Behan in the face (with reason and common sense).

Behan begins with promise and writes, “[t]he latest science on why dogs roll over onto their backs in play is in”, but it’s a ruse; the bait before the switch.  So how does he go about discussing  “the latest science”? By quote-mining Hecht’s article:

“This new study reminds that ‘rolling over,’ like many behaviors, does not have a single, universal meaning. Instead, rolling over during play is often just playful.” – Julie Hecht

After quote-mining Hecht, Behan has the temerity to ask “That’s it?” The answer is “NO THAT’S NOT IT”, there are 1300 more words on top of the 26 words he quote-mined.

If Behan is going to launch another of his ignorant attacks on science then he should be discussing the research paper and not an article of it.

Frankly, even his fans should find this intolerable; it’s like trusting a movie reviewer won’t bother with the movie and bases his review on what he (mis)read on Rotten Tomatoes.

Kevin Behan compounds rank dishonesty with abject ignorance and proceeds to attack evolution with the same tired straw man he keeps dragging around with him – so no, survival of the fittest is not circular logic. It’s a self-recursive loop in which he creates a lie to support another lie and the uses that fallacious conclusion to prop up the original false premise. The repetition of discredited arguments is so prevalent with liars that it has its clever acronym, PRATT, Point Refuted A Thousand Times.

or in this case clever women - Hecht and Norman
or in this case clever women – Hecht and Norman

Behan’s reading comprehension deficit is beyond belief and this is what he thinks the study was about:

The takeaway from this study is another self-recursive loop: Why do dogs play? Because it’s fun. Why is it fun? Because dogs are playful.”

Really??? That’s what he took away? Behan is wrong, that’s not the takeaway.

The takeaway is that Norman identified another ‘meaning’ to the rollover; and Behan would have known this had he read Norman’s study or Hecht’s article with care. But just to reinforce the message, here is what Dr. Stanley Coren wrote:

“This new research should serve as a reminder that rolling over, like many behaviors, does not have a universal meaning. It is much like human language, where the context or setting determines the meaning.”

What Bertrand said.


A Dog Rolling Over During Play Is a Combat Tactic, Not Submission by Julie Hecht

Rollovers Do Not Always Mean a Dog Is Afraid or Submissive by  Stanley Coren Ph.D

Norman K., Pellis, S., Barrett, L., & Henzi, S. P. (2015). Down but not out: Supine postures as facilitators of play in domestic dogs, Behavioural Processes, 110 88-95. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2014.09.001


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