Friday, November 30, 2007

Thousands protest Teacher's 15-day sentence

But perhaps not for the reasons you might suspect.

The continuing saga of Gillian Gibbons
(I predict, in a day, they’ll have magnetic ribbons
To “show your support for the naming of bears”)
Has reached a new peak—don’t be caught unawares.
When the teacher was sentenced to prison this week
Some protesters gathered in Khartoum to speak;
Thought I, “they must see that this sentence is wrong,
And they’re all coming out, in a mass, thousands strong,
To rail at an outcome they see as too strict,
And move that the Judge, right away, interdict!
But no. I was wrong. All the protesting masses
Had gathered together to prove themselves asses;
A fifteen day sentence? Why, that isn’t squat—
These protesters demand that Ms. Gibbons be shot!
They demand execution by firing squad;
It’s the right thing to do, and the True Will Of God.


Islam is, they say, a religion of peace;
Our attacks on their honor are wrong, and should cease.
To probe this mob’s sanity surely is slander,
We all must admit, if we’re speaking with candor.
To call them extremists, or radical nuts,
Is simply insulting—no ifs, ands, or buts.
It seems when these rioters look in the mirror
They only see goodness—it couldn’t be clearer.
To call for the death of this teacher is brave;
It’s the way that the Prophet, himself, would behave.
So you see, this is peaceful, they calmly explain.
And it makes perfect sense.*

*if you’re bat-shit insane.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Losing the Name Game

I mentioned the name game in a previous post. The bad news, of course, is that Gillian Gibbons played the Name Game... and lost. She has been sentenced to 15 days in jail. And this is considered lenient--she could have received 40 lashes. Yes, 40 lashes. Yes, in 2007.

Now, I'm not the sort that bashes
a religion "just because".
But the sentence "Forty Lashes"
Gives the average person pause.

When a teacher names a Teddy
Bear "Muhammad", and is jailed,
Then the Cuttlefish stands ready
To declare "Your system's failed."

If the naming of a Teddy Bear
Means this (or any) length
Of prison term, just be aware:
I doubt Muhammad's strength.

If Allah's Greatest Prophet
Finds this teacher in the wrong,
We're justified to scoff at
Him--in poetry or song.

Muhammad's weakness is a flaw--
Sudan cannot be trusted--
I don't feel worship, trust, or awe,
I simply feel disgusted.

They had the chance to do it right
To let this teacher go;
From where I sit, Sudan tonight
Is lowest of the low.

My little voice will not be heard
They'll stick with what they're doing;
The rules have changed, though--mark my word--
The whole world, now, is viewing.

A song for the season

Said the Little Boy to the Working Mom
Do you see what I see?
Cable channel three-seventeen—
Do you see what I see?
A toy! A toy! A laser-action gun
It will bring me hours of fun
It will bring me hours of fun!

Said the Working Mom to the Absent Dad
Do you hear what I hear?
Listen to your son, Absent Dad
Do you hear what I hear?
Your kid! Your kid! Is driving me insane
And your check is late once again
And your check is late once again!

Said the Absent Dad to the Learned Judge
Do you know what I know?
Sitting on your bench, Learned Judge
Do you know what I know?
My job! My job! Was outsourced to Bhopal
Now I have no money at all
Now I have no money at all!

Said the Learned Judge to the President
Do you see what I see?
On your Crawford ranch, President—
Do you see what I see?
The time, the time, for posturing is past
We must all do something, and fast
We must all do something, and fast!

Said the Prez, to the People Everywhere
Listen to what I say!
Go and shop, People Everywhere!
Listen to what I say!
Just swipe your card, and don’t forget your PIN
You must shop like thrift is a sin!
If you don’t, the Terrorists win!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Name Game

Ok, maybe you want to be a bit more careful when you are naming your stuffed animals. I'm sure you have heard by this point about Gillian Gibbons, the British teacher who was arrested after her class voted to name their teddy bear Muhammad.

BBC News is discussing the rules about what can and cannot be named after whom.
The issue has been a vexed one for Muslims through the ages. Some believe that the name can only be given to boys - to give it to an object is idolatry. Others say that pets and toys can bear the name.


Dilwar Hussain, of the Islamic Foundation, has no problem with a teddy bear called Muhammad. For some years, the Islamic Society sold a soft toy made for British Muslim children named Adam the Prayer Bear. "Adam is also the name of a Prophet."

They named their bear Muhammad,
And their teacher was arrested;
Religious views around the world
Are sorely being tested.

It's cool to name a pit-bull
After Odin, Zeus, or Thor;
A fuzzy little kitten
Aphrodite--and what's more,

If you search the pets in lands
From Argentina to Moldova
I suspect you'll find a turtle
That's called Yahweh or Jehovah.

An octopus named Kali?
I'm sure someone's been enticed;
And the lizard called the Basilisk
Is nicknamed Jesus Christ.

There is one that's so ubiquitous
It's overlooked--how odd.
Imaginary friends, across
The planet, are called "God".

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Squidmas Carol

Now... I am not, technically, a fan of Squidmas; I have always preferred the more inclusive Cephalopodmas, myself. But some shiftless bum who goes by the name "shiftlessbum" asked nicely, on Pharyngula, if I could "pen a Squidmas carol". So here is the first.

First thing--it is not a poem, it is a song; if you expect the meter to be precise, you will be disappointed. I assure you, though, that it is quite singable (and would work with either a guitar or a banjo accompaniment, or perhaps a jug band). I had listened to Roy Zimmerman's Christmas album "Peacenick" earlier today (don't wait--click the link, go listen to the samples and buy some of his music!), so there may be a bit of that influence there... but the song that really came to mind as a model was Alex Bevan's "Have another laugh on Cleveland blues" (from the days when Dennis Kucinich was known as the young Mayor of Cleveland). So this is not a terribly traditional Squidmas song, but more of a rollicking fun bit of honkytonk. Oh... and in case you didn't know, a "radula" is the rasp-like tongue-equivalent that most mollusks use to kinda sorta grind their food to pieces. Just... don't tell Freud. Anyway, although it is tongue-like, you could not (or rather, a cephalopod could not--I rather doubt that you are a cephalopod) use it to sing "fa-la-la".

Edit: Ok, not honkytonk. The tune has been brainworming me all day, and it is most decidedly a New Orleans Jazz arrangement... think Preservation Hall Jazz Band. The lineup with the tuba, not the string bass. And a bit slower than I had first envisioned it. But damn, it is good! If any jazz bands happen to read this blog, have your people call my people.

A Squidmas Carol

It was late December, down in the bathysphere,
And the holiday spirit was anywhere but here.
Half a mile down it’s as black as ink
No room to move, but there’s time to think
How I miss, how I miss that topside squidmas cheer!

You can’t “Fa-la-la” with a rad-u-la, my darling
You can’t “Fa-la-la” with a rad-u-la, my dear.
And that star so bright—
It made you flip your lid?
It’s the photophoric action of the firefly squid
It’s the way we know that squidmastime is here!

Every night down here is a silent, silent night
And I’m glad the doors and windows are closed real tight
There’s a noise on the roof, but I know the truth is
It’s the long, long arms of the architeuthis
No sled, no reindeer, no reason for delight…

You can’t “Fa-la-la” with a rad-u-la, my darling
You can’t “Fa-la-la” with a rad-u-la, my dear.
And that star so bright—
It made you flip your lid?
It’s the photophoric action of the firefly squid
It’s the way we know that squidmastime is here!

But then, out the window, a shape catches my eye
It’s jeweled squid—histioteuthis—swimming by
And I think to my self “well, ain’t this grand,
It’ll never ever ever be seen on land.”
And I know for a fact, I’m a lucky, lucky guy!

You can’t “Fa-la-la” with a rad-u-la, my darling
You can’t “Fa-la-la” with a rad-u-la, my dear.
And that star so bright—
It made you flip your lid?
It’s the photophoric action of the firefly squid
It’s the way we know that squidmastime is here!

As I gaze out through three inches of fused quartz glass
At the strange and beautiful creatures as they pass
I know, half a mile down in the deep blue sea
Is the only place in the world for me
And that fat old bearded elf can kiss my ass!

You can’t “Fa-la-la” with a rad-u-la, my darling
You can’t “Fa-la-la” with a rad-u-la, my dear.
And that star so bright—
It made you flip your lid?
It’s the photophoric action of the firefly squid
It’s the way we know that squidmastime is here!

You can keep your sled and your eight tiny reindeer
It’s squidmastime in my tiny bathysphere
You can envy me in your world above
‘Cos I’m spending squidmas in the place I love
Merry Squidmas, and a wonderful New Year!

You can’t “Fa-la-la” with a rad-u-la, my darling
You can’t “Fa-la-la” with a rad-u-la, my dear.
And that star so bright—
It made you flip your lid?
It’s the photophoric action of the firefly squid
It’s the way we know that squidmastime is here!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Estro-Blaster, Help Me!

Another comment on Pharyngula... Seems the Estro-Blaster people are preying on men's insecurities to sell snake-oil. (Freudian imagery intended.)

There is something in the waters
That can turn my sons to daughters?
I’m so happy that this flyer came to tell me of this fact!
Every smoothie that we’ve blendered
Means they’re halfway to transgendered!
Every second now is precious—it is time for us to act!

Time to panic, and I’m thinking
That the water I’ve been drinking
Is a chemical castration, and a feminazi plan!
I drink water like Niagara
As I wash down my Viagra;
Now I see why it’s not working, and I’m still a little man.

Time to buy some Estro-Blaster
And to hope the mail comes faster—
‘Cos I’m worried that perhaps it may already be too late:
I’m not thinking with my penis,
I’ve abandoned Mars for Venus—
And I find I’m moody, ‘bout a week before I menstruate.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Your thoughts?

Coturnix has asked (here) for me to submit one or more of these verses to the Science Blogging Anthology. If any readers have favorites they would like to lobby for, I would appreciate any feedback at all; I do not consider myself to be a particularly good judge of my verse.

And if you have no comments on that in particular, feel free to say hi anyway! I think you need a blogger account to comment, but they are free and simple, so come on in, the water's fine!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

creationist museums

I took a walk through time and space—
Through several million years—
I found that some things never change,
Or that’s how it appears.
Stupidity’s a constant
(Hey, I call ‘em as I see ‘em);
I noted Man’s is not the sole
Creationist Museum.
Seems everywhere I looked around
In present or in past,
I found museums touting God—
And all of them half-assed.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised
Or find them each defective;
Each species must be Number One
When seen from their perspective.

The early primates said:

God created Lemurs, and
The world was truly blest;
“Descent of Man” is apropos—
He’s clearly second best.
The perfect form’s arboreous,
As anyone can tell
When apes descended from the trees
Things really went to Hell.

The early tetrapods said:

Acanthostaga sits supreme
As God’s most perfect beast;
To get from them to humankind
Just go from best to least.
Look inside our holy books
And find revealed—the Flood;
God’s favorite creatures, thus, must live
In water and in mud.

The early chordates said:

God created Amphioxus,
Perfectly designed.
Mutations and deformities,
And now we have Mankind.
With notochord, pharyngeal slits,
Their form is most divine
Then vertebrates just messed it up
And now they have a spine.

The prokaryotes said:

The truly blest bacterium
God’s chosen form of life
With billions of them in the gut
Of Adam and his wife.
The heaven-blessed prokaryote
Is God’s Most Perfect Form,
And mammals are just one more way
To keep us nice and warm.

An Atheist Gives Thanks

It's late November, time for giving thanks--
But thanks to whom? For me, this question ranks
Among the more important we can ask;
To answer, I've assigned myself the task.
Tradition holds we should give thanks to God.
In fact, your average person finds it odd
That anyone would even think to question
Whom to thank--but still, my bold suggestion:
Thank the ones who really did the stuff
That God gets credit for. There are enough
Deserving people we can thank, without
Inventing gods to steal their praise or pout.
"Thank God for all the bread we have to eat."
Instead, I'll thank the ones who grew the wheat,
And ground the flour, baked and sold the bread;
Why God, when I can thank these folks instead?
(Is God behind it all? I rather doubt;
So many other farmers suffered drought,
And watched their crops disintegrate to dust;
A God like this is not one I would trust.)
"Thank God my sister's cancer's in remission!"
Absolutely not. With no contrition,
Thanks go out to doctors, and to nurses,
To those who opened up their hearts and purses,
Friends who volunteered their time to cook,
Or feed her cats, or bring a favorite book
For her to read. Oh, yes, and thanks
To perfect strangers who gave blood--the banks
Would not be there without your precious gift;
By thanking God, we're giving you short shrift.
I'm thankful to (not for) the ones who taught
Her doctors what they know. I also ought
To thank those who invented the machines--
Like X-rays, MRI's--that gave the means
To find the lump before it was too late.
It's people whom I thank. Not God. Not fate.
"Thank God for soldiers fighting in Iraq,
And keep them safe from enemy attack."

Remember that they're fighting those who kill
Because they disagree about God's will.
If anything, this God should take the blame
For all the crimes committed in His name.
I do give thanks to soldiers--to, not for--
Their sacrifice--not God's--the cost of war.
"I'm thankful for my friends, both near and far."
I'm thankful to you--you know who you are--
For being there at 2 AM to talk,
For movies, beers, for joining me to walk
Along the beach to watch the rising tide
And setting sun compete--which one would hide
Our footprints first? We stayed to watch the moon
Rise over silver waves--then left, too soon.
I can't thank God for that, when it was you
Who made it such a lovely thing to do.

I could go on, and fill a book or two
With thanks. I won't, 'cos this will do.
One more is all--if you have read this far
Then thanks to you, no matter who you are,
For reading. Let me leave you with a thought:
This Thanksgiving, thank the ones we ought;
Thank your friends and family--those you love,
Before you thank some made-up God above.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Rain in Plains Stays Mainly Away from the Insane

"Dispatches from the culture wars" reports on the success of the pray-for-rain campain in Georgia.

When God said it's a sin to take your Saviour's Name in vain
That applied to silly selfishness like public prayers for rain.
If mortal I can see through this, then God can ascertain
The inherent self-aggrandizing political campaign.
When the pastors, priests, and politicians joined in one refrain
Asking God to drop some water on this bit of his domain
(Having checked the weather channel--they're not totally insane--
To determine if their gamble had a decent chance at gain)
Then the Governor emoted--see his face contort and strain,
Till the casual observer might suspect he'd popped a vein
In a deep, important crevice in some structure in his brain;
And then one by one the ministers would join the daisy-chain,
With their practised voices, sonorous, impeccable sustain,
The sort of voice that speaking from a pulpit can attain,
And spoke until each had his turn, and no one did remain
Then waited for Almightly God their pleas to entertain.

Their aim was true, but God's was not--I really should explain--
A quarter inch in Georgia, but there's flooding up in Maine.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Life's a Bitch (and then you marry one)

From the BBC, a story about a man's marriage to a female dog. (There is a brief video of the ceremony, too.)
An Indian man has "married" a female dog, hoping the move will help atone for stoning two other dogs to death.
P Selvakumar, 33, said he had been cursed since the killings, suffering paralysis and a loss of hearing.

The wedding took place at a Hindu temple in Tamil Nadu state. The "bride" wore an orange sari with a flower garland and was fed a bun to celebrate.

Superstitious people in rural India sometimes organise weddings to animals in the hope of warding off curses.

I offer the happy couple a toast:

Though it's baseless superstition that has led to your position,
I sincerely hope the two of you are happy as can be.
Yes, the way is sometimes stony on the path of matrimony
You consulted an astrologer--how dare I disagree?

No I will not choose to quibble--let your bride wolf down her kibble
With the absolute support of all your family and friends.
And I hope you're feeling better, and that every time you pet her
You'll remember why you did this--you are making your amends.

I wish multitudes of smiles, in both Man and Doggy styles
Let the others wag their tongues--the two of you can wag your tails.
It was beautiful, not kitschy, though the bride was rather bitchy
In a world of mass conformity, it's nice when love prevails.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

That damned prayer for rain.

Church? State? Oh, never mind...

What if God listens to some other voice?
What if God thinks we are jerks?
What if God, given unlimited choice,
Decides to do some other works?

What if the faithful were not gathered here?
What if the faithful were mute?
What if the faithful, though truly sincere,
Have given these bastards the boot?

What if the clouds simply didn't respond?
What if the clouds didn't care?
What if the clouds saw completely beyond
The pretense of a self-serving prayer?

What if there isn't a God there at all?
What if it's all up to us?
What if the truth is, we stand or we fall
By ourselves, and it's always been thus?

What if humanity finally sees?
What if we finally act?
What if starvation, drought, and disease
Were addressed, instead of attacked?

What if we finally act on our own?
What if we do what we can?
What if, because we now know we're alone,
We achieve the potential of Man?

(yeah, the last line is sexist--sue me; it rhymed.)

Kitzmiller v. Dover

I am writing this while watching, so I apologize for the incompleteness of my verse. It cannot, within the timeframe I would like, adequately address this wonderful program. Full Disclosure: I watched the trial as it progresseed, and read the transcripts as soon as they were made available; my verse here cannot possibly be the product of tonight's show and nothing else.

I am, of course, speaking of today's NOVA program about the Kitzmiller v. Dover "Panda Trial". NOVA's program is very well done. Nobody is belittled, nobody is made fun of...but nobody is let off the hook. Kudos to PBS for this program.

It's not a polished verse, but anyway...

Though the trial is two years over, we once more revisit Dover
Where I.D., no more in clover, gets to hang its head in shame.
They all know about Miranda rights, have read their propaganda,
Largely thanks to them, the “Panda Trial” has since become its name

The attempted execution of the thought of evolution—
Well, good thing the constitution has a First Amendment Clause
No establishing religion as state-sponsored—not a smidgen,
But creationists’ clay pigeon was flung up to test the laws.

Wait—“creationist”? Let’s edit, and forget we ever said it
From now on, no God—we’ll credit some “intelligent design”.
Take the book, and cut and paste, look all innocent and chaste,
If we’re properly two-faced, then everything will turn out fine.

In a science education, by the laws of our great nation
There’s no room to teach creation, so that isn’t what they tried;
I.D. theory’s new position is a fossil in transition—
No God there, by definition (well, there is, but it’s denied).

Evolution’s only theory—wait right there; I know you’re leery,
But although you may grow weary, there’s a point I have to make:
Theory, see, in terms of science, means remarkable compliance
With the evidence; reliance on which isn’t a mistake.

See, Your Honor, see us pledging that we’re telling truth, not hedging,
Doctor Forrest says we’re wedging, but she’s biased, don’t you know?
But the trails of cut-and-pasting are quite clear. Now time’s a-wasting
And that bitterness you’re tasting? That’s the taste of “time to go”.

When Buckingham requested science texts that had been tested
And were legal, one suggested text was “Pandas”, so it seems.
The Thomas More Law Center had decided they would enter
(Both as lawyer and as mentor) to the district of their dreams.

There’s no question that “Kitzmiller versus Dover” was a thriller
When a witness who’s the pillar of the church once took the stand,
Testimony he provided, well, Judge Jones himself decided
Was much more than just one-sided, but a lie that he had planned

The bacterial flagellum—irreducible? Yes! (Well, um,
Close enough that we can tell ‘em that it must have been designed.)
If one protein is subtracted, function surely is impacted
Yes, the battle is protracted, but God’s fate is intertwined!

Many lies had been related, both explicit and unstated;
In his comments, Jones berated the defendants for their acts.
For religion to be winning, if it took a little spinning
Can you really say it’s sinning if you simply change the facts?

…and the fall-out? I suppose, at least it didn’t come to blows,
And the trial did expose a very real and potent threat;
When it suits their own desires, the religious can be liars
When it comes to setting fires, that is one we can’t forget.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Noah's Flood, or God Passes The Buck.

Two children, playing silly games--
One of them is winning.
God decides to kill them both
'Cos having fun is sinning.

Time to quickly learn to swim--
It's not enough to wade,
'Cos God is going to clean up
All the messes that He made.

It's not the children's fault at all
What happens on this day;
But God is great, and God is good,
And someone's got to pay.

From Greg Laden's Blog.

Cuttlefish in Genesis

So I was ego-surfing, and basking in all the wonderful cephalopoddity that comes with being a cuttlefish, when I happened upon a delightful little piece on cuttlefish, written by those helpful and friendly people at Answers in Genesis. Sure, the article was a few years old, but it was the first I had seen it, and it did say some nice things about cuttlefish. I mean, look—“The world’s oceans are filled with amazingly complex creatures, perhaps none more so than the cuttlefish.” I would be hard pressed to disagree.

The essay begins by reminding us of how strange cuttlefish may appear upon casual observation: “With green blood, three hearts, and able to change colour in a flash, it sounds like a ‘weird aliens’ movie creature.” All true, of course—but in case you were thinking that cuttlefish might prove a problem for creationist apologists, they are quick to point out how the adorable, intelligent cephalopods are here to serve mankind: “Actually, the cuttlefish is a seafood delicacy.


You might think that AIG would do their level best to ignore cuttlefish, but no! In this “weird alien”, they find evidence of Intelligent Design! (Oh, wait, this is AIG—I can actually call it “creationism” here.)

The cuttlefish also has eyes which are similar in construction to human eyes, but evolutionists do not believe it has any direct evolutionary relationship to humans (i.e. there is no possible ancestor to both cuttlefish and humans which could have had such an eye). So this similarity is explained away as ‘convergent evolution’: the eyes of the cuttlefish and other cephalopods ‘evolved independently’ to humans. In other words, it is simply an evolutionary coincidence.

However, the similarity in the design of both the cuttlefish and human eye is easily explained—they had the same Designer! The origins of the amazing features of the cuttlefish can be more easily explained if we accept it as just another miraculous example of the work of the Creator.

Pah! Enough prose—my point is….

Similarity shows that a common designer
With similar blueprints and parts
Constructed the human and cuttlefish forms—
I swear by all three of your hearts.

The God who created the heavens and earth
And killed dinosaurs off in The Flood
Used the same old ideas again and again
You can tell by your copper-green blood.

But the clearest, most obvious clue to His Touch
Is the similar form to our eye
(They are really quite different, in various ways,
But if you won’t tell, neither will I).

Color-blind cuttlefish never see red
But they can see polarized light;
This common designer gets different effects
Out of human and cuttlefish sight.

Anatomically, too, these are two different eyes
They have retinas frontward-to-back,
And cuttlefish reshape the whole of their eye
Because shapeable lenses they lack.

The shape of the pupil allows them to see
To the front and the rear all at once
So similar, clearly, to what we can do—
If you dare disagree, you’re a dunce!

When Answers in Genesis says it’s design
And not just a matter of fitness
I know they’re not fibbing—right there, number nine—
Thou shalt not bear false witness.

I only have one little, lingering doubt
Though I really, I promise, am trying—
If it’s perfectly clear they see common design
It’s even more clear that they’re lying.

Friday, November 09, 2007

New and Improved Ancient Technology!

Respectful Insolence reports on an ancient, historic health product--basically, two cylinders, one of copper, one of zinc, that you hold (one in each hand). Yup.

I have improved on the idea.

This ancient pharmacology has long since proved its worth;
It’s the finest panacea in the history of earth.
Two simple metal cylinders can cure all of your ills—
So much better than injections; much more natural than pills!

But I’ve found a better system—I’ve improved upon their wand;
I’ve discovered new technology that lets me go beyond!
It’s a cure for diabetes; it’s a cure for aching feet
It’s a cure for halitosis, and that burning in your seat
It alleviates the symptoms of the flu and common cold
If you follow the instructions, it’s a cure for growing old!
It will tighten up your fanny, smooth the wrinkles on your skin,
And you’ll instantly feel better from the moment you begin!
What’s the closely-guarded secret? Well, you know I cannot say,
But you’re only growing older every moment you delay
There’s no need to spend your life in needless misery, alone,
When a cure is just a call away—so just pick up the phone!

You are now the happy owner of a marvelous device
Read and follow all instructions—you don’t want to do this twice.
The rods the ancient Pharaohs used (of copper and of zinc)
Were truly beneficial, but they also made us think:
If we mix the two together, will the alloy work as well?
We didn’t know, but clearly, an experiment would tell.
Through the miracle of science, our experiment confirms
That the wand that you have purchased will eliminate your germs;
If you use it as directed, we can gladly guarantee
(Or return for price of purchase, less a small restocking fee)
That wherever, on the road of life, your circumstances find you,
Our wand will let you always know, your worries are behind you.
Instructions: take the wand, all seven inches, gleaming brass,
And gently, but completely, shove the whole thing up your ass.

Fight! Fight!

Another of the comments on Pharyngula that I had not planned on posting here.

The context: a hissy-fit slapfight amongst competing blogs.  You've probably seen it before--one blogger says something about another, and before you know it, people all over the world are puffing out their chests from the safety of their computer keyboards, calling one another out, extolling the virtues of their own side and enumerating the evils of the other.  Sometimes the exact same behavior seen as a virtue among one's colleagues is a shocking violation of all that is good in humanity when seen in one's opponents.  Our side has intelligent independent thinkers, who happen to agree on this issue because we have been convinced by the data; your side has fawning sycophants, following your leader's whims like some misguided cult.

This particular case study is here.  I had thought I was late to the party; my comment is #183.  As of this writing, though, there are 398 comments posted (update: 400).  There are probably Vegas odds by now as to what the number will be by the time the sun goes supernova.

I have looked six ways from Sunday, and I hope that maybe one day
I'll discover just the evidence to put him in his place;
'Til that marvelous occasion, I'm contented with invasion--
I can comment in the blogosphere and rub it in his face.
I will taunt that bastard PZ, and I think it should be easy;
I've a strategy, dependent on the form of his reply--
He ignores me, he is yellow; he attacks, why then, the fellow
Who invites me to "fuck off" is not a scientific guy.
I will hold him to my standard, and complain that he has pandered
To his suck-ups who, predictably, will praise his every word.
Though my own world-view is vile, if he disagrees? "Denial!"
(Let's conveniently ignore that my position is absurd.)
I don't mean to be so rude, sir, but no matter what, you're screwed, sir--
Our opinions are in concrete, there's no way that they will change;
Once a world-view is cemented, doesn't matter what's presented,
If you disagree with what I think the truth is, you are strange.
If you stick it out, you're bitter; if you leave, then you're a quitter,
If you claim that you are busy, I will simply roll my eyes.
We all have our weak and strong points, good and bad and right and wrong points--
We all play to our advantage: you know science. I know lies.

Flew, away.

I wasn't going to post this one here, because it is really a comment, in a particular context, on pharyngula.  But then I thought... "what if the internets catch fire, and the science blogs burn down?  Shouldn't I archive it somewhere?"  So anyway, here it is.  

The context is, the philosopher Anthony Flew is... well... past his peak, mentally, and some creationists have taken advantage of his incapacity to enlist his support.  Problem is, as this post on pharyngula notes, Flew has some skeletons in his closet that the creationists might not want associated with them.  Well, not so directly, anyway.  Thus, my comment:

Though Flew won over the cuckoo's nest
Well after his mind was at his best,
I think it is worth noting:
Before one offers one's support
It's wise to wait for full report
Of what Flew is promoting.

There seems to be some evidence
That Flew was, in a proper sense,
Supportive of eugenics;
Attempts to take his words, and mold
Some other version to behold
Are verbal calisthenics.

Creationists may want to see
Philosophers in company
(They act as if enchanted!).
But don't complain that life's unfair--
When you make wishes, best beware--
Your wishes may be granted.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Freud would call it Castration Anxiety

It's that old familiar story--cretinist mocks legitimate scientist, not because of her work, but because she's... a she. Here, originally,
then here.

No surprise that “doctor” Behe
(*snorfle* *chuckle* *giggle* *tee-hee*)
Will belittle, mock, misrepresent
The actions of a female

For since the time of Adam
Men could rib each miss or madam
And with Freudian analysis
Conclude they want to be male

Now he tries to bore and tire us
With a rant about a virus
That he clearly doesn’t comprehend
(one wonders if he can)

What I guess I really mean is
He is thinking with his penis
I suppose it’s too important that
He shows that he’s The Man.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Cute, cute, cute...

The cutest of all of the cephalopods
(And thus, of all creatures on Earth)
Is the cuttlefish, cuter by staggering odds
Than a puppy or kitten at birth.
Attempting to list all the cuttlefish charms
Is a noble, though hopeless, endeavor;
From their tails, to their eyes, to their marvelous arms--
And they’re oh-so-endearingly clever!
The shifting displays their chromatophores show
Are delightful to watch, don’t you think?
And like every good poet, wherever they go
They will never forget to bring ink.
The award for “the cutest” is one they will keep;
Let me say it direct, and not subtle--
Beauty, they say, is only skin-deep
But cuteness goes clear to the cuttle.

Posted as a comment on Pharyngula