Applied Religion 101A– Agriculture

So it seems that Science and Religion are two separate, different, but equally valid ways of knowing. Or so the claim goes, anyway (oddly enough, it appears the majority making that claim are of the religious camp). Of course, science tends to converge on a consensus about a particular topic, and religion tends to stake claims to different answers, which they will defend at any cost.

But hey, they both have things they can contribute. It is clear that, say, agriculture has been historically associated with religion, and more recently with science. So both must help, no? Of course, we could compare the progress made by each camp in the centuries they have been associated with agriculture… but that would not be fair–evidence is part of the scientific way of knowing, which is only one way. It could be that the smaller yields we used to see were of holier crops…

They told me their religion gave “a different way of knowing”,
In addition to experiments, I also learn through prayer;
The precious love of Jesus is what keeps my garden growing—
It’s the fertilizer used, along with water, sun, and air.

While science speaks of Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorus,
Religion speaks of Angels that can help my plants to grow;
Like Europe meeting Asia at the strait they call the Bosporus,
Both Science and Religion meet where I have weeds to hoe.

Generations of selection give varieties that thrive—
Horticulture, as a science, helps me constantly, I note;
But Religion also helps me! Why, to keep my plants alive,
I make sure, in planting season, that I sacrifice a goat!

There are artificial pesticides, or totally organic,
And the scientific knowledge can support me either way,
And Religion also tells me I have no real need to panic—
There are prayers and incantations that can keep the bugs away!

When the time has come to harvest, then technology and Science
Have combined to help me multiply the bounty of the fields.
And, of course, the Gods and Angels where I’m placing my reliance
Are (I’m certain) doing something to the quantity of yields.

The power of Religion, as I pray for intervention
While the atheistic farmers on their tractors point and smirk,
Is tremendous and insightful, though I think I ought to mention
I’m beginning to discover… that it really doesn’t work.

Lonely Percy

Heh. So, PZ tells us about the Missing Universe Creation Museum, a cute little place that reminds us just how wrong someone can be and still claim to have a clue.

In particular, this site loves to use one particular phrase (in bold, italic, bright red letters): “If you don’t believe God created all living things, male and female, in 6 days…. How many millions of years was it between the first male and the first female?” Just in case you think maybe they meant something else, their “Evolution Test” includes questions “Which evolved first, male or female?” and “How many millions of years elapsed between the first male and first female?”

In the spirit of Tim Minchin’s “Tony The Fish” (click for video, or just keep reading and I’ll imbed the video below), I give you the story of Percy… a very lonely young man.

Percy would wander for years at a time;
He was terribly sad and incredibly lonely—
Percy was looking for love, but too bad;
The world had, so far, evolved male creatures only.

Percy was restless, and anxiously watching,
He knew what he wanted; he wanted a wife.
(Although, since the female had not yet evolved,
He had never seen women in all of his life!)

For long generations, his forefathers sought
For some womanly tenderness, softness, and mercy,
But cold evolution denied them their wish;
Now the burden was borne by poor, motherless Percy.

From Grand-dad to Father, from Father to Son,
Generations would pass, without calling for sex.
I haven’t a clue how they managed to do it;
The method, it seems, is a little complex.

Percy has walked tens of thousands of miles
In search of a hopeful mutation or two.
You see, he has parts that he thinks may be useful,
Which haven’t, as yet, had a damned thing to do.

Far away, on the shores of a vast, distant ocean,
A small population is camped by the water,
Where all by themselves, they just sit there evolving,
Granny to Mother, and Mother to Daughter.

Someday, perhaps, as he wanders and wanders,
Percy could find, with a great deal of luck,
He may stumble upon this remote population,
And finally end up with someone to love.

Oh, and here’s Tony The Fish!

Happy Birthday To Me…

Yeah, well, I was going to wait until midnight to post this, but I’m sleepy. And old, too. So there. Besides, in some parts of the world it has been my birthday for over half the day already! Six July, wherever you are…

I’m not that old, it seems to me;
Not even half a century,
In truth a mere four dozen years—
It’s not as bad as it appears—
To live so long it is my fate;
The Cuttlefish is Forty-Eight.

Each year, I take a look behind,
To see what changes I may find;
The aching knees, the fuzzing eyes,
The clothes that seem a smaller size,
Who knows what other ills await?
The Cuttlefish is Forty-Eight.

The CuttleSpouse is doing well
Although the job-search sure is hell.
The CuttleKids amaze me still,
In truth, I hope they always will—
Who knew that kids could be so great?
The Cuttlefish is Forty-Eight.

This year was not the worst, or best;
I’m not elated, nor depressed.
There’s been some good; there’s been some bad,
As in each year I get to add;
So take a pen and mark the date—
The Cuttlefish is Forty-Eight.

So, yeah… Last year, my birthday was the last full day overseas (again, thanks in humongous part to my readers, without whose amazing generosity I would have had to decline my amazing opportunity), which I spent (among other things) climbing Mt. Vitosha, just outside of Sofia, Bulgaria. No way this year could have topped that, I suppose. Currently, I am preparing for another trip (so I wait that long to leave the continent for the first time, and I get to leave again in just over a year?), so this past year is a bit of a stay-at-home sandwich.

Anyway. Now, the important part. Would you have guessed 48? Older? Younger? Does this blog make me look old?

The Digital Pack-Rat, Vol. 19

It has been raining here for roughly forty days and nights; I am partway through several books and several chores; Cuttledaughter is a happy graduate and off having fun; it must be time to collect the detritus, flotsam and jetsam of the past couple of weeks’ worth of comments.

I begin with one that took no thought whatsoever on my part; all I did was take PZ’s post and translate it to cuttlefish:

Like shooting flies with howitzers
Or fighting ants with mines
John Lynch will take his intellect
And decimate Ben Stein’s.

The program claims the topic
Will be “Why Ben Stein Is Wrong”.
Condensed, of course–the unabridged
Is several days too long.

No matter how it’s edited,
I have a nagging hunch,
It’s going to be a long one, so
You’d better pack a lunch.

(Ok, I’ve said what PZ said
And took so little time–
I wonder–how come Myers never
Writes his posts in rhyme?)

Speaking of cuttlefish, Cuttleson just came back from a visit to the semi-local aquarium; he spoke of seeing a 600-pound turtle, of a huge octopus that “looked like he kept turning inside out”… and his favorites, the cuttlefish. And no, he does not know I write this. I’m so proud… I’d give him an award, if I could…

Ok, maybe not a Templeton award:

Stealthily, wealthily,
Billionaire Templeton
Offers his money, with
This little hedge:

Topics appear to be
Variants on the
Creationist wedge.

Those Templetonians… I wish I had the dilemma of choosing between accepting their tons of money or being a good cuttlefish. I could use the money. (I am reminded a bit of Romeo & Juliet–V.i.78-79; see if you can guess the lines before you look them up.) Oh, well. At least others are in a position to question and refuse such generosity:

The goal of that Templeton chap
Was to re-write the scientists’ map;
Though they thought it seemed odd,
He would print “Heere be Godde”
Where cartographers once left a gap.

Some scientists, sensing a trap,
Caused a ruckus, or maybe a flap
When they turned down his money
And said it smell’d funny
As if it were printed with crap!

Some others jumped right in his lap
Took his money in less than a snap
So the folks in the first
Group, expecting the worst,
Advised they be tested for clap.

See, there I am disobeying my rules about limericks, too. Oh, well. Could be worse. At least I was not off hiking the Appalachian Trail:

Nothing could be keener than to be in Argentina in the morning.
No one could be sweeter than my little senorita in the morning
When I say I’m camping
The Appalachian trail
Honestly, I’m tramping
With some Argentina tail
Any politician will be hungry for some fishin’ in the morning
Lordy, she’s appealing, and my rod could have her reeling in the morning
If I had Aladdin’s lamp for only a day
I’d make a wish and here’s what I’d say
Nothing could be keener than to be in Argentina in the morning!

See, I’d never be able to pull off a Sanford; I am not nearly so technologically savvy. I would never be able to lose my entire staff for a whole weekend (oh, wait–no staff); hell, I can’t even figure out having to register to comment at a site:

User registration
Only leads me to frustration–
Though I try to do it properly, I always mess it up.
So I’ll probably just lurk here
While you people go to work here
And while PZ finds some German beer to overflow his cup.
So I guess I’ll read the greetings
Posted from the Lindau Meetings
Though it seems to me my invitation must have gotten lost
I’d report in rhyme and meter
With my German co-host Dieter
But apparently the Germans know… I ain’t no Robert Frost.

Lastly… a comment on an unconventional but biblical approach to overpopulation:

With zero reproduction rate, and population static,
There are no ills of over-use; it’s really quite pragmatic!
A self-sufficient microcosm, Eden was sustainable–
I don’t know why you think this situation’s unexplainable.

But since Eve bit the apple, well, we’ve reproduced like rabbits,
And the world has suffered greatly from our numbers and our habits;
No more a balanced system that could just as well be sealed,
As the writer of your email has so cogently revealed.

A Malthusian catastrophe could surely be prevented
If with zero population growth we’d only been contented;
The population problem is tremendous and complex,
And it’s all because, in Eden, we decided to have sex.