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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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