I Thought I Saw An Atheist

P-Zed reports that The Atheists Are Coming!

I thought I saw an atheist, once, walking down the street.
I checked for horns, I checked for tail, I checked for cloven feet;
Began to tremble frightfully—my heart was in my throat—
Then sighed in happy recognition, for ‘twas but a goat.

I thought I saw an atheist, down near a swollen stream
With scaly skin, and blood so cold, I couldn’t breathe to scream!
I looked into his bulging eyes, and prayed “God, grant my wish”
Then laughed in my embarrassment—it only was a fish.

I thought I saw an atheist, with fur and pointed claws,
And wicked teeth for chewing up Judeo-Christian laws,
I ran, and tripped, and fell to earth, then hid behind a log—
It caught me, though, and licked my face—of course, it was a dog.

I thought I saw an atheist, though cleverly disguised
Not giant and reptilian, but human, normal sized,
It looked to be engaging in productive, useful labor;
But no, this was no atheist—this person was my neighbor!

I thought I saw an atheist; in fact, I saw a few!
My neighbor, and the grocer, and the cop, and maybe you!
I even found some in the church, right there beneath the steeple;
It turns out, to my great surprise… that atheists are people.

My Enemy’s Enemy…?

As reported on Pharyngula, a common prescientific mythology is making strange bedfellows these days. This time, the Turkish Islamic anti-Darwin movement is aided and abetted by American fundamentalist Christian conservatives. No, really. Yeah, I had to read it twice, too.

Well, it’s not like that’s an area of the world where Christians and Muslims have had any history of strife, at least. *ahem* Yeah. well…

Creationists of every stripe—
The people who can stomach tripe—
Have joined together in defense
Of Faith opposed to evidence.
Islam and Christianity
Throughout the course of history
Have rarely been the best of friends
But now, it seems, their fighting ends.
Has someone finally seen the light,
And seen the reasons that they fight
Are foolish little arguments
That anyone with common sense
Could see are not worth fighting for?
Cos that would be exciting! Or
Has something posed a greater threat
Than anything encountered yet,
Through centuries of outright war?
(Remember, what they’re fighting for
Is their religion—and what’s odd
They share the Abrahamic God!)
Well… sorta. They have joined to fight
The most disgusting in God’s sight;
The ones who stoop so awfully low
And challenge what these theists know—
That’s right, those dreadful scientists
Are now the scourge that tops the lists!
The U.S. Christians on the right
Have joined together in the fight
And arm-in-arm with Muslim Turks
They fight the growing threat that lurks
In science classrooms everywhere!
Why, you can look, if you should care
From elementary school to college,
Anywhere they’re spreading knowledge:
If fact and logic help you choose,
You threaten our religious views!
Holy wars, crusades, jihads,
Are minor things. This threat to God’s
The greatest of the present dangers,
Making allies out of strangers.
So join me, fighting science, brother—
Tomorrow we can kill each other.

With Apologies To Bob Dylan…

Early this mornin’ the snow was fallin’
I’d just crawled outta bed
Wond’rin’ if I could find the coffee
While my eyes were still red.
The newsman said, as he always does
The day was gonna be rough
He never could find any happy news
And my paycheck’s never enough.
And I was sittin’ at the kitchen table
Havin’ some breakfast pie
Looking out on the internet
And I stumbled on this Guy, you know who,
Tangled Up In Blue.

He had posts about water-boarding,
Poverty, Death, and Abuse
Political dancing all over the world
Where the Devil’s gotten loose
Pointed out laws in 43 states
Where shove has come to push
And gays must sit in the back of the bus
While the driver, mister Bush,
Who’s looking out for his legacy
(Which doesn’t stand a chance)
I have to wonder, when he’s with Cheney,
Which one leads when they dance, the pas de deux,
On Tangled Up In Blue

(in other words, the Carnival of the Liberals is up on Tangled Up In Blue Guy. And he included my entry!)

The Ballad of Sally Kern

Via Dispatches From the Culture Wars, a video making the rounds. Oklahoma legislator Sally Kern missed the politician’s lesson about the combination of microphones and internet, and unwisely revealed her true feelings to a small gathering. If you have not seen it yet, it is worth viewing:

Sweet, isn’t she, to be so concerned for us? Anyway, I wrote her a little poem. I must point out, in case she wants to try to sue me later, that the words I have put into her mouth are not hers. At least, not from this particular speech. It is poetic license, hyperbole, and a very low Godwin number.

A legislator, Sally Kern,
Was simply voicing her concern,
But Sally Kern was unaware,
Or if she knew, she did not care,
That someone had a microphone
So Sally Kern was not alone.
“Oh, I’m not anti-gay” said Sally,
To the fifty-person rally;
“But there are things you have to learn”
And who will teach us? Sally Kern.
Sally Kern, she knows the answer—
Knows how gays are like a cancer,
Knows they’re worse than terrorists
If Sally Kern can keep the lists.
So Sally Kern must raise her voice
Against unhealthy lifestyle choice;
The cost of life against God’s Word
Is clear, the people gathered heard:
Disease and death, and then you burn
In Hell, or so says Sally Kern.
Then Sally Kern, in pure effrontery,
Tells us gays will harm our country:
If we embrace these sinful ways,
Says Sally Kern, allowing gays
To join the City Council ranks
Or work in schools, or stores, or banks,
Our country would be tempting fate,
And all too soon would be too late.
Now, such a stance may seem too stern
But heed the words of Sally Kern;
If we let gays live right among us,
Soon, like mold, or creeping fungus,
Even straights will be infected—
Sally Kern wants us protected.
The path to safety is God’s Grace:
We must protect the human race.
Sally Kern just wants us purer…
Right. Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuhrer.

A Book Review

I had completely forgotten about this little verse, a comment on PZed’s review of Ken Ham’s book on Darwin’s alleged racism. But over at Quintessence of Dust, where I am quite flattered and honored to be mentioned in this week’s Weekly Sampler, I find to my surprise that people actually read and remember the stuff I forget. So I am overjoyed to repost it here, just in case Pharyngula ever burns down, or gets popular enough that comments get lost among hundreds of others (yeah, right, like that could happen).

The rhyme scheme on this one was a lot of fun, now that I think back on it a bit. So thanks, Q of D, for the jab in the ribs.

Although to verse I’m not averse
(Oh, no, perverse is what I am)
With phrases terse, I could do worse
Than share the curse of tainted Ham.

In rhyme or prose, well, goodness knows,
I could compose this tale of mine;
And thus expose the growing nose
And lying pose of Kenneth Swine.

We’re all aware he does not care
If truth is rare in what he’s writ;
He says a prayer for public glare–
He’s happy there, as pigs in shit.

Although he’ll write that Black and White,
If Darwin’s right, are different species
He takes delight, producing quite
(To be polite) a load of feces.

He knows he’s wrong, but bobs along
Among the throngs of simple minds
There must be strong stuff in his bong
That makes him long for deep-fried rinds

It’s no surprise his book of lies
Sees truth’s demise in every word
If facts arise, they’re in disguise–
Complete with flies, this one’s a turd.

Love, Love, Love…

An interesting little post, over on Pharyngula; apparently some artist (not gonna link–he likes it when you link) has claimed that atheists, as far as he can tell, do not believe in love. News to me, of course, and I am certain it would surprise anyone who knew me. I would have thought that love was rather independent of a belief in any spiritual entity. Actually… if I stopped to think about it, an all-loving, all-powerful, all-knowing god, a god that is more important than your piddling little life here on earth (hey, look at the “rapture ready” crowd if you doubt there are people who view it that way), would make the Greatest Love Story On Earth a nothing in comparison.

Think about it. An omnipotent God could create the Grand Canyon with an infinitesimal part of His Effort–no need for millions of years of erosion, hell, it could have been on an off day, and a second best effort at that. No need to feel awe at the canyon; sure, it is greater than anything humankind could do, but it is nothing for God–you should see His work on the horsehead nebula!!

So, love. Human love. That amazing thing that makes your heart, your stomach, your head run around in circles and get happily dizzy just thinking about him/her… sorry, it is only the merest shadow of a shadow of God’s Real Love For You ™. Given the least opportunity, you really ought to leave your true love to join your True Love, and never regret.

Bullshit. I’ll have none of it.

“An atheist cannot believe in love”
This statement puts me at a loss for words—
I’d really like to see him try to prove
His thesis; clearly it’s absurd.
Imagine, for a moment, God existed—
Omnipotent, Omniscient, Everywhere—
And just as preachers always have insisted,
God indeed was loving, and did care.
This love from God would dwarf our mortal hearts;
Your spouse’s love is nothing next to His.
The whole of human love, the smallest part
Of God’s, for His is all there really is.
I love. That is a fact, not mere façade;
Yes, love exists, which can’t be said of God.

Translating from Creationist to English

I’m looking for a linguist who can help me with translation—
For it seems two different languages are used within this nation;
Much more tricky than Bulgarian, more difficult than Greek
Is the twisted form of English that Creationists now speak.
The only rule, thus far, that I have managed to detect
In the reams of legal documents I’ve gathered to inspect,
Is that any word among them that’s significant, has changed
To a wholly different meaning, through some process that’s deranged.
When they say, for instance, “family”, they often mean their church,
And “society” is meaningless without the phrase “John Birch”
This wholesale transformation of the language is quite ruthless;
When they claim that “it’s the truth”, you can be certain that it’s truthless.
When “academic freedom” means that teachers have to lie
And “scientific evidence” comes straight from God on high,
“Intelligent”, “complexity” and most egregious, “theory”
Are transmogrified to such degree it makes my brain grow weary,
I know there must be something I can do to ease my pain
So I’m looking for a linguist, so that I can start to train.
I’ll start out easy: Black is White, and Up is often Down;
And Behe is a scientist of nationwide renown.
Now stretch a bit, with claims that are a little bit more bold:
The fossils say the earth is just a thousand decades old!
And DNA quite clearly shows the fingerprint of God
Evolution is religion, once you see through the façade.
This is getting really easy; now I think I have the knack:
Any doctor saying prayer is ineffective is a quack!
If we show sufficient faith we can turn hurricanes away—
If a city still gets flooded, it’s cos someone there was gay!
Now I’m really having fun; if you think you’d like to try,
There’s a simple, simple shortcut: all you have to do is lie!

(I will take this opportunity, to try it out again,
Wishing happiness, longevity, a sweet life free of pain,
To the Noble, Good Creationists, who fill me with delight!
Now, I need to find that linguist, but I think I said it right!)

There Is No “Away”

Ever wonder what happens when you throw a piece of plastic “away”?

The CNET Green Tech Blog reports on a recent oceanographic expedition that took a long hard look at a shameful situation; the floating islands of our garbage in our oceans.

Plastic contamination in the world’s oceans is worse than previously imagined and no amount of technology can clean it up, according to Charles Moore. The oceanographer returned February 23 from a five-week odyssey in the Pacific Ocean with samples showing 48 parts plastic for every part of plankton.

“We are damned to a future of pollution by plastic,” said Moore, who has spent more than a decade investigating Pacific plastic pollution. “There’s no evidence it will end in a millennium.”

A plastic “graveyard” double the size of Texas swirls in the Pacific Ocean between San Francisco and Hawaii. There, his crew had found in the water six parts of plastic for every part plankton, with a fivefold increase in the amount of plastic between 1997 and 2007.

But their latest voyage found the pollution even thicker in the “highway” of ocean leading to the great Garbage Patch, according to Moore, who founded the Algalita Marine Research Foundation in Long Beach, Calif. Moore said that area comprises 2.5 million square miles.

In the Pacific alone, heavily polluted plastic zones amount to the size of the continent of Africa, Moore estimated.

More at link above.

I want to get mad; I just want to cry;
I want to do something, not sit idly by;
The problem is huge; the problem is drastic;
The oceans are choking with thrown-away plastic:

Plastic bags and sandwich wraps,
Toys and lighters, bottle caps;
One-use razors, plastic combs,
All the junk that fills our homes;
One part plankton, six parts trash—
The ecosystem’s bound to crash.

The plastics are forming new habitats too,
With small crabs and barnacles eating this goo,
And seagulls fly over to feed on crustaceans,
Though toxins are higher in these new locations.

A plastic graveyard, twice the size
Of Texas has been formed, and lies
Off Southern California’s coast.
This, only one among a host
Of garbage masses, giant isles,
Some 2.5 million square miles.

These plastics are coming from us—me and you—
We can’t simply wait; there are things we must do.
As much as we can—though we’re set in our ways—
We must change, and change quickly; no time for delays!
Demand greener packaging; vote with your dollars—
They say money talks; we can make sure ours hollers.
This cuttlefish fears for his relatives’ fate;
We have to get moving… or soon, it’s too late.

Image from Green Tech Blog–Credit: Algalita Marine Research Foundation

The Complexity of Design

Each now and then, it’s fun to ask
“What did The Maker have in Mind
When first He set about the task
And started making humankind?”

We know, of course, that God Above,
Not evolution, deaf and blind,
Created us to show his love
As clear as if The Artist signed.

We know because we’re more complex
Than any watch you have to wind;
The parts all mesh, and during sex
There’s even stuff that’s intertwined!

Ok, the lower back needs work,
At least mine does, I often find;
And, being male, another quirk—
My prostate’s often in a bind

I cannot make ascorbic acid—
Genes for that got left behind;
Spirit willing, flesh too flaccid,
Leaves my sex life undermined

So many problems on my list—
The limbs that ache, the joints that grind
The memories that fade to mist
Forever to the past confined

I guess a life of aches and pains
Is one to which I’m now resigned;
But still one shining fact remains:
It’s crystal clear, that Man’s designed.