Wednesday, October 24, 2007

DI speak with forked tongue...

So, PZ reports that the Discovery Institute people are shocked--shocked, I tell you--that Ben Stein and Bill O'Reilly think that Intelligent Design requires the intervention of a deity. Could it be that they want it both ways? "If you believe in God, then goddiddit. If you don't, the theory makes no claims at all about the 'intelligence' involved."


The Disco folks, with gaiety
Deny that there’s a Deity
That sparks the spontaneity
Of origin of life.

They swear it’s based on evidence—
Objectively it all makes sense;
The problem is that this pretense
Is quite a two-edged knife.

In truth, behind the smiles
And the vehement denials
(Though they won’t hold up in trials
They’re the only thing they’ve got)

Is the fact that certain tribal
Myths, collected as “the Bible”
Are (on punishment of libel)
The foundation of their plot.

And whenever they talk science,
How they’re fully in compliance,
They are risking their alliance
With their fundamental base

To retain the congregation
They use double-conversation
One that’s broadcast to the nation—
Quite another, face-to-face.

Now, this double-speak position
Is a recent acquisition
But it placates opposition
So no worries—problem solved.

By this gradual correction,
It appears, upon reflection,
That through natural selection
Their two faces have evolved

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Just like it says in Genesis

Stranger Fruit reports that 60% of adult Americans report that they believe the biblical story of Genesis to be literally true.

Note--I say that they report this, not that they believe this. I am firmly of the conviction that the vast majority of those who report that they believe the Bible to be literally true have never actually read it. I am fully aware that there are people--good people--who have read the entire thing many times and still believe it to be true....but in a random sample of only 1000 adults over the age of 18, the odds are against those good, well-read people skewing this poll.

No, the people polled are very likely those who "know the Bible" the same way grade-schoolers know the opposite sex: from what they hear from equally ignorant peers. And the sort of information they get?

I believe that God wants “Adams and Eves”,
But never “Adams and Dennises”
And when people get married, then nobody leaves—
Just like it says in Genesis.

I believe that dragons once roamed the Earth
True fire-breathing menaces;
And a fetus has rights, right up until birth—
Just like it says in Genesis.

I believe that global warming is wrong
Just look what a beauty Venice is;
And Bill O’Reilly is handsome and strong—
Just like it says in Genesis.

I admit that I haven’t quite read the whole thing;
It’s as boring as amateur tennis is.
But Bush is my President, Jesus my King—
Just like it says in Genesis.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Talk to the tentacle...

Pharyngula shows cephalopods some love...
...but maybe sometimes we crave a little respect and...yes...fear.

Oh, the cephalopods have their Octopus Gods,
With tentacles stronger than steel,
Who have taken down ships with their powerful grips
And made many a sailor a meal.

They win wrestling matches with submarine hatches
Like popping a tin of sardines
Then it’s horrible cries, and tears in the eyes
Of the witnessing Merchant Marines.

Survivers are few, but they swear it is true—
“The monster, it started to throttle us!”
You can vividly note, from the scar on his throat
He survived the attack on the Nautilus.

These powerful deities loves spontaneity,
Thus, are well-loved by their followers
Who all serve as one, having octopus fun
Whether tiny, or submarine-swallowers

When I tell you (no lie) that the octopus eye
Is superior even to Man’s
It’s clear that this creature’s the centerpiece feature
In a sinister deity’s plans

They’ll take down a shark, like a walk in the park—
You’ve seen it on YouTube, I know
And to get to their goal they can squeeze through a hole,
Up the drain, in your tub, to your toe!

So guzzle your Folger’s—these octopus soldiers
Are coming for you while you sleep!
These eight-legged beauties will all do their duties;
Invisible devils, they creep.

So the next time you think, “could one hide in my sink?
Or my bathtub, or even my toilet?”
As a Cuttlefish, I would be seen as a spy
If I told you (besides, that would spoil it).

If you find an appeal in an octopus meal—
Say, for sushi you’ve got a real itch—
The cephalopods have their Octopus Gods
And I’m telling you, payback’s a bitch.


Sunday, October 21, 2007

cellular excerpt

In every cell, the means of replication,
Monomers (they’re termed “nucleotides”)
A sugar and a base in combination
Link in helix, forming side by side;
Guanine will attach to cytosine
Always “G to C” or “C to G”
And thymine will as well, to adenine
With “T to A” or maybe “A to T”
The polymer called DNA is made
By adding monomers onto the end.
In living cells, a template strand will aid
The synthesis—the two strands now will bend
In double helix form, as we have seen.
The information carried in this strand
Will be transcribed by RNA; it’s been
Discovered that this process has a hand
In synthesizing proteins—but that’s still
To come—for now, we take a closer look
And see thymine replaced by uracil;
A slightly different way to write our book.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The one-eyed...nevermind...

At one time or other, each sister and brother
Has pondered the musical question
(The topic’s not easy, just take it from PZ):
How an eyeball is like an erection.

The answers may vary—be skeptically wary—
Like “Both can display your affection.”
Well, so can a rose, but that doesn’t disclose
How an eyeball is like an erection.

Perhaps evolution provides a solution
Both organs arise through selection
But so, then, do fingers; the question still lingers
How an eyeball is like an erection.

We may hope to deduce, if we try to reduce
To a chemical sort of connection
But will “similar stuff” prove an answer enough
How an eyeball is like an erection?

Nitric Oxide (you know, you can call it NO)
Causes GuMP to take up a collection
So that GuMP, for a lark, keeps your dick “in the dark”
Thus an eyeball is like an erection

Reproductive success got us into this mess
So it might get us out, on reflection—
But Viagra, we find, is not blindly designed
We distinguish both eye and erection.

With both vision and hearing, the answers are nearing
(Although we can’t hope for perfection),
And for now it’s just fine as a bad pick-up line:
How an eyeball is like an erection.*

(*answer: “It’s an empirical question—let’s experiment, and find out.)

Pharyngula asks the question...
...based on effectmeasure's post.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Templeton has no purpose

The question of the universe’s purpose, whether posed vocally or in text,
Leaves people vexed.

Although, I would not be averse
To studying the purpose, characteristics, ins and outs of Miss Universe.

So, rather than debating whether or not a black hole is evidence of Where God Went Wrong,
I can see whether Miss Brazil or Miss Argentina looks better in a thong.

So that I can get back to the business of inspecting the finest examples of female form in the human race,
I will suggest that the purpose of the universe is: to take up space.

"No purposes but those we create" on Pharyngula

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sign me up!

Denyse O'Leary is teaching Intelligent Design?

When I start to grow weary of Mrs. O’Leary
I think she takes pity on me.
As a sign of affection, she changes direction—
A brand-new performance to see!

I’ll get myself, pronto, right up to Toronto,
Enroll myself into her class
With God as my buddy, I’ll sit there and study
Whatever she pulls from her ass.

Her guest speaker, Behe (just hear the class tee-hee),
Will make irreducible claims
(If you point out one blunder, it all falls asunder—
Add drinking, and now you’ve got games!)

In the syllabus—wait, is there really debate?—
It says both sides bring science to bear;
But the insider rap says it’s “God of the gaps”
And frankly, I really don’t care.

See, I know in my heart, it’s not science, it’s art
And Denyse does interpretive dance.
And yes, she is lying, but, Lord, she is trying
Her best, by design or by chance.

But wait! Someone said it would not count for credit?
Does UT admit this is shit?
With no compensation, no change of location
For Cuttlefish—sorry, that’s it.

Plot synopsis

Pharyngula reports on the movie "Einstein Wrong"...

Albert Einstein (that poseur) was wrong;
The housewife, of course, has it right.
The film clearly shows that stupidity flows
Just a little bit faster than light.

With the “dark side of physics” exposed
And the world once again seen as flat
The film next unlocks Dr. Schroedinger’s box
And discovers what’s up with his cat.

Joseph Priestly was also a fraud—
There’s no “oxygen”—perish the thought!
And with oxygen pissed on, it’s time that phlogiston
Is once again what kids are taught.

The de Hilsters’ new paradigm shift—
“The new physics”, we call it at work—
Shows a housewife can still, through the sheer force of will,
Kick the ass of a dumb patent clerk.

You may all disagree if you wish;
You may find it a little bit funny
But the most crucial part—from the depths of my heart…
Won’t you please send us lots of your money?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Version 2.7

The "cognitive daily" blog asks: Will humans marry robots in 50 years?


She’s my little bit of heaven, even better than real life,
She’s the version 2.7 motor-actuated wife.
When I come home from the office, she’s a sympathetic ear,
With the faintest scent of silicone I catch as we draw near.
“Here, let me take your papers, Hon, and let me rub your back;
You must have had a stressful day—come on, let’s hit the sack.”
Her lips are warm and supple, with a kiss that shows desire—
A brilliant application of a bit of memory wire.
She trembles gently at my touch, as strain-gauge sensors feel,
And as she starts to moan and gasp, you’d swear that she was real.
But she’s better than a flesh-and-blood—For one thing, she has codes
Allowing me to choose from seventeen vibration modes!
She never has a headache; there’s no in-laws to avoid;
Heck, I’ve never even had the need to change a solenoid!
She’s my little bit of heaven, even better than real life,
She’s the version 2.7 motor-actuated wife.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Rainbows and Rubies...

Once upon a time, the rainbow’s end
Is where a leprechaun would hide his gold
Then Newton showed us how a glass would bend
A beam of light—a rainbow we behold!

This bending light is what allows, today,
A view of distant galaxies and more
The start of time itself is on display
And lifetimes’ worth of treasures to explore.

These treasures, it now seems, include real jewels
When quasar jets spit rubies and sapphires;
From Newton’s prism, oh what wondrous tools
Expose a treasure passing all desires

The rainbow’s gold’s forgotten; this is real:
A myth discarded, treasures may reveal!

Inspired by
This blogpost at Cat Dynamics

Lines on the return of Polio

Link to "insolence"

I wrote this one a while ago, but the above blog entry reminded me of it.

Lines on the return of Polio

A mother, doing what she thinks is right
Believes the lies and chooses now to fight;
She will not vaccinate. She is too young;
How quickly we forgot the iron lung.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Much Ado About...The Brain?

"I love you with so much of my heart that none is left to protest."
Much Ado, IV.i.284-285

A student at Pharyngula asks "why do we still talk about the heart?"

The sound of your voice thrills my temporal lobe,
My occipital swoons at your sight;
When we walk hand in hand, my parietal and
My prefrontal are filled with delight.

My thalamus and hypothalamus know,
Without anyone having to tell ‘em,
That I’m head over heels, and it certainly feels
Like I am to my poor cerebellum.

Hippocampally organized memories tell
Of the way people look and admire us;
It’s like walking with god, but that’s really the odd
Way I feel my right angular gyrus.

My amygdala swells with desire for you,
But with rage and fear? Nope, nada.
My pulse will race, and my breath keep pace,
Thanks, medulla oblongata.

Master Shakespeare, speaking through Beatrice, might
Have nearly said it best:
“I love you with so much of my brain
That none is left to protest.”

Saturday, October 13, 2007


It seems that Illinois has legislated a moment of silence. What could be bad about that?

A moment of silence
Does nobody vi’lence,
And offers nobody offense
To cease from the riot—
Have everyone quiet—
They tell me it only makes sense

It’s “time for reflection”;
What sort of objection
Could anyone possibly make?
You just hit the jackpot;
This Cuttlefish crackpot
Will gladly point out your mistake.

So steady, there—steady,
Illinois, see, already
Has silence-by-choice legislated;
This new legislation
To my great frustration
Has school-wide inaction mandated.

Each morn, for one minute,
Each school and all in it
Must sit and do nothing at all
Of course, no distraction,
But also, no action!
And that’s got my back to the wall.

See, I know of the Great
(Well, it was) Prairie State
And I know that the people are strong
And to make them all sit
And refuse to commit
To an action—I see it as wrong.

I beg you, recall
That a minute is all
That it takes for a lot of good deeds
No need to belabor
But helping an neighbor
One minute might meet all his needs.

Or maybe, combine
All the minutes you find
In a classroom, a school, or a county;
The effort, now summed,
Has never been plumbed,
But would yield an incredible bounty.

Imagine the time
Spent in work (not in rhyme)
If one classroom could pool its resources
And one county—one state—
One could hardly debate
The pro-social effect of such forces

But the wise Prairie State,
With the usual debate,
Has decided they somehow know better;
Overcoming a veto
They think it is neato
To redo the law to the letter.

So now, it is clear,
That each student and peer,
In every last one of their classes,
Will take sixty seconds
As anyone reckons
And legally sit on their asses.

And thus, by the powers
Of congressmen, hours
Are wasted in silence each day;
It seems it is lawful,
If perfectly awful,
So long as the students don’t pray.

The scene that’s resulting
Is really insulting
To Atheist and Christian as well;
And now, every morning,
With copious warning,
The state is just going to hell.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

God's Logic

Inspired by Stranger Fruit's post here:

God's Logic

The orbits of the planets
In their paths around the Earth
Are circular--it must be true
If logic has its worth.

The circle, you must understand
Is God's Most Perfect Shape;
If orbits are elliptical,
Why, Man is but an ape.

If circles are God's favorites,
Why not in logic, too?
Assuming your conclusions
Is the Holy thing to do!

When I assume that God exists
And Logic is his tool,
An atheist who tries to use
God's methods is a fool.

When I assume that Logic is
The tool of the devout,
My argument is clear:
IF garbage in, THEN garbage out.

How do I love Thee?

Pharyngula linked to this site--

It is horrid. Utterly horrid. In the way that traffic accidents are horrid, and fascinating, and you cannot look away. The following poem is inspired by one on that site, entitled (no, seriously) "Jesus and I will be very awesome and beautiful". Really.

Mine is just a little bit ... different.

How do I love Thee?

Jesus, Lord, with all my heart
I love Thee more than life
More deeply, from the very start
Than husband’s love for wife.

More deeply than a child’s love
For parent or for pet;
How deep my love, for You above,
Has not been fathomed yet.

There is no sacrifice, I know,
For which I am not willing
There is no place I would not go,
Your love is just so thrilling

It breaks my heart to see you there
Nailed up upon the cross
Those soulful eyes, that tousled hair,
Oh, what an awful loss

If I could hold Thee in my arms,
Annoint Thy wounds with balm;
I’d gladly suffer any harms
To make Your life more calm.

I’d softly stroke Your aching head
Massage Your weary back
I’d lay You gently in my bed
If energy You lack.

I’d kiss Your forehead, then Your lips,
And then Your holy chest—
With lips, and tongue, and fingertips,
I’d do what I do best.

Because I love Thee, O my Lord
I show Thee this affection
And thus, I pray, Your strength restored,
You show Your resurrection

Then fill me with Your love—for I
Am just your humble vessel
And, if you want, then we could try,
For fun, a gentle wrestle.

You know, of course, I’d let you win
You’ll always be on top;
If loving You, Lord, is a sin
I still don’t want to stop.

So Halleluiah! Praise Your Name!
I’m singing (sometimes humming)
The world was blessed when first you came,
And with your second coming.

And I, myself, am doubly blessed
That heaven’s my reward
With all my heart, deep in my breast,
You know I love You, Lord.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Kent Hovind--Liar, Lunatic, or...ok, Liar or Lunatic?

Posted on Pharyngula, 10/10

Confined against his will, the liar Kent
Will plead his case online, to one and all;
His mind is, if not broken, clearly bent
(I know; there really wasn't far to fall)

He always claimed to talk to God, but now
He talks with Satan too, about his fate.
If God allowed it, Kent will find out how--
Does prison show God's love, or Satan's hate?

I read his post, and find I wonder why
A man like Hovind, patently unwell,
Is stuck in prison. I think, rather, I
Would have him in a soothing, padded cell.

With anybody else, such rants as his
Would indicate psychosis--no denying--
With Hovind, though, it seems the story is
(Old habits sure die hard) he's simply lying.

Eulogy for Gary Aldridge

Posted on Pharyngula, 10/10/2007

We gather here to eulogize
The Pastor and the Man
Old Gary Aldridge, often wise,
Though not his latest plan.

A member of the Christian nation,
Friend of Jerry Falwell,
His last attempt at masturbation
Didn't go at all well.

For fifteen years, he'd preached the word
A Southern Baptist minister
His death--now, is it just absurd
Or something rather sinister?

How does a person come to wear
Not one wetsuit, but two?
(Although, I know, I should not care
I'm curious--aren't you?)

I tend to think that, years ago,
He spied a rubber glove,
And wondered "Should I--well, you know--
When God and I make love?"

He tried it on, and found a tube,
Half hidden on his shelf,
Of KY--smiled, and murmered "Lube
Thy neighbor as thy self."

And minutes later, hard at work,
He felt a little odd
Was this a sin, or just a quirk?
He talked it out with God.

"Is what I'm doing here a sin?
Or is my pleasure Thine?
Is this as bad as skin on skin?
Lord, please, give me a sign!"

So God produced a pamphlet: "Your
Vacation in Aruba!"
And pointed out--right there, page four--
The wetsuits used for SCUBA

See, God's not really how you think
A deity might be
He's got a wicked bondage kink
(Just ask His son, J. C.)

So Gary died, not steeped in sin
But following God's plan;
So straight to Heaven--come on in!
And bring the wetsuits, man!

A story, sure, but it may yet
Explain what happened then.
The moral is, please don't forget:
Your safeword is "Amen".

Cephalopoetry #2

Also posted Oct 8 on Pharyngula

Architeuthis Double-Dactyl

Haughtily, naughtily
Deep-sea biologists
Claimed "We will never find
Fifty-foot squid!"

Nobody told, though, the
Blissfully ignorant,
That's what he did.

Nautilus Limerick

The nautilus swims back-to front
Which is quite an unusual stunt
But his shell--which is odd
For a cephalopod--
When he bumps into things, bears the brunt!

Cuttlefish Physiology Limerick

Look again, and you might doubt your eyes:
It's the cuttlefish, cloaked in disguise!
As it changes, within
Its remarkable skin
Are chromatophores, changing in size.

Cephalopoetry #1

Posted on Pharyngula, Oct 8

A Cuttlefish Limerick or Three

The cuttlefish: Squid-like, you think?
Just a cephalopod in the drink?
Then you also should know it
Refers to a poet,
Or any who hide in their ink.

For writers who think that they're odd
And ignored, by indifferent God,
Don't allow yourself--perish
The thought, and just cherish
Your label of "Cephalopod"

For today, there will be no rebuttal--
We will celebrate, loud and unsubtle!
Just the same as each squid
And each octopus did,
We'll shake all of our legs, and our cuttle!

A Cuttlefish Double-Dactyl

Inkily, thinkily,
Deepwater cuttlefish
Hide in their ink (to a
Poet, that's odd)

Writing, you see, is not
Part of the life of a