Beats Thinking For Yourself…

Sorry, Perky–if the last video made you happy, this one will probably make you sad.

I got out of bed this morning, and asked Jesus what to wear
Then I asked if I should brush my teeth, and how to fix my hair
I asked my Lord and Savior if he’d rather ask of me
To have sugar in my coffee, or to skip it and drink tea

When I walk along, I ask the Lord which foot should step out first
Cos I know that Jesus doesn’t want my feet to be reversed
There’s no end to all the messages I hear my Jesus say
So I never have to think at all, so long as I can pray

While I try to love my neighbor, as the Bible says I must
I’m not sure about that black one, as the Lord and I discussed
Sure, he’s married, he’s got children, he’s a member of the church
But I’ve found he’s really Muslim, cos the Good Lord helped me search

Though it’s not in any papers–there’s no data you could chart–
I have all I need for evidence, right here inside my heart
It’s the Holy Word of Jesus, so I know it must be true
Not my fault that Jesus talks to me, but never talks to you

So the most important reason I am voting for McCain
Is he’s not a godless Muslim with the middle name Hussein
Now we’ve had a nice discussion, and I’ve really had some fun
But the interview is over now, cos Jesus says we’re done

Cuttlecap tip to PZ, once more…

A Reminder…

Research on social-cognitive heuristics tells us that we are overly influenced by vivid examples, even if they are examples of rare phenomena (thus we are more likely to be afraid of flying than of driving, despite the safety records, because airplane crashes make national news while more common car crashes may not even make the front page of the local paper). Recent videos on YouTube have shown political “supporters” making outrageous statements, and it is all too human for us to see that as the rule rather than the exception. But… it is the exception. The majority of supporters on both sides are good, decent, thoughtful people like you.

Of course there are Christians, of course there are Muslims,
And Atheists, Pagans, and Jews
Supporting McCain or supporting Obama—
Supporting a spectrum of views—
Of course there are numbskulls, and ignorant pinheads
Whose views are incredibly dense,
And of course they reside on both sides, red and blue
Of the nation’s political fence
It gets to the point where we almost expect it—
Perhaps it’s what humans just do—
We forget these are merely the vocal extremists
Whose numbers, in truth, are quite few.
These salient images seen in the media
Show us ourselves at our worst
But just look around, and you’ll see something different,
And not what it looked like at first:
The people who back both McCain and Obama
Are people like you and like me
And most are intelligent, thoughtful and kind,
And like us, they don’t like what they see.
This silent majority, not in the news,
When confronted with ignorant hate
May decide to combat it, or maybe ignore it,
Or challenge them to a debate
And sometimes you’ll find that these ignorant cowards
Back down when you call out their bluff
So… if you’re like me, and you’re sick of the lying,
Decide that enough is enough!
And remember, the ignorant liars can shout
Until all of their faces are blue;
When you get in that booth, and you pull shut the curtain…
The one with the power is you.

Cuttlecap tip to Orac, and to Coturnix

The Digital Pack-Rat, volume 4

A comment about a website urging readers to pray for John McCain… cos we know that makes a difference.

We pray for peace, we pray for rain
And now we pray for John McCain
We pray with everything we’ve got
And once again… it won’t do squat.


On a very very cool fossil find from a Cambrian site; chains of shrimplike arthropods, locked head-to-tail in a conga line. It being a fossil, and not a film, one cannot tell for certain what was happening with the little critters. I offered a few thoughts.

A playful cuttlefish, he locks
The headless shrimp like LEGO blocks
In chains from tiny to colossal,
Just to make a funny fossil.
Creationists, of course, believe
That Adam made, to give to Eve,
A necklace out of arthropods
(The real design, of course, was God’s)
A strange behavior this complex?
It almost has to mean it’s sex:
The overwhelming urge in life–
Unless, of course, you are my wife.


In response to Bill Donohue’s calls for YouTube censorship:

Could we maybe slap a sticker on that book they call The Bible
To protect the younger readers from the trauma it might cause?
There has got to be a reason–for protection, or for libel–
If The Children are in danger, why, we must enforce the laws!


One I missed earlier, on the Cracker kerfuffle:

With spikes through hands and spikes through feet
The Son of God went home to Dad;
A sacrifice which made complete
The reason God had made the lad;
Thus death was triumph, not defeat,
A reason we should all be glad–

This time, not flesh but merely wheat
(And flavorless, I think I’ll add)
Which P.Z. did not choose to eat
But skewer with a nail he had…
The controversy? Pure conceit–
Or else the world’s gone barking mad.

Time Machine

Inspired by PZ and XKCD

I really have a time machine–I really truly do
A time machine I’d like to share with no one else but you.
We’ll travel through the future–no one knows just what we’ll see,
If you would just agree to share my time machine with me!

My time machine–Our time machine–will move through time and space;
And lead to–who can tell?– the future is a big, big place!
Our time machine goes forward–sometimes slowly, sometimes fast–
But always to the future, Love, and never to the past.

If you will share my time machine, the world is at our feet,
The past is what it always was; the future will be sweet.
The march of time is constant, and it will not be denied,
But time itself can fuck itself, if you are by my side.

God Save Us All…

In a cogent and thoughtful essay bizarre set of free associations and finger pointing, Melanie Phillips looks over from across the sea–you know, where people point at the US at amazement for how we kowtow to the religious right–and helpfully suggests that she has found the root of the problem. I have taken the liberty of organizing her remarks just the slightest bit…

God save us from the Atheists–
They’re even worse than Gays;
God save us from depravity and wicked, wicked ways.

They reek of impropriety
And decadence and sin
Their morals do not come from God, but rather from within!

Their Bedrock Moral Values
Are discarded in the dust;
No fear of Hell prevents them from succumbing to their lust!

Why, only our profound belief
In God’s Most Holy Joys
Prevents us from–well, most of us–molesting altar boys!

As Jesus said, “forgive them”
In His final mortal breath–
We’d never bother cracker-thieves, nor threaten them with death.

Our Faith provides humility–
We know that we are flawed.
And sometimes our appeals for tithes are bordering on fraud

And looking through our history
Of meeting other cultures
It seems sometimes we’re not quite doves so much as we are vultures

But through it all, we’re moral
Cos we’re acting in God’s Name;
And when our culture goes to Hell… there’s Atheists to blame.

Hat tip to PZ, of course.

Friday Limericks–a slight change…

After a bit of thinking about the Friday Limericks topic this week, I came to a realization. One of my versical heroes, the late great Felicia Lamport, used to have a column in the Boston Globe, “The Muse of the Week in Review”, which set the week’s current events to her inimitable style. It seems to me that this should be the purpose of the Friday Limerick post–besides, that way commenters can prepare in advance without having to read my mind (any who have done so successfully, get out!).

So, the new topic depends on what you have seen each week–have at it!

In the sights of an eloquent foe
John McCain (and a plumber named Joe)
Were compelled to talk straight.
(I don’t mean the debate;
But to Dave, on the Letterman Show!)

You may think that some research is dumb
And too often the findings are glum
So when this lab proposes
A way to clear noses
You’re liable to protest “Come, come!”

As the pollsters begin their revue
And the candidates start to pursue
I’m just sick to the death–
Won’t they just hold their breath!?
(‘Till two-thirds of the nation turns blue…)

Please, tell me… there has to be something better than this in the news where you are reading/watching it…

A few thoughts on the debate

Well, at least I wasn’t bored.

When confronted with specifics, like the cries of “he’s a terrorist”
And asked if he’ll decry them, so to calm the rabid throng,
It is telling that McCain, instead, decried his opposition
He is proud of his supporters, but Obama’s thugs are wrong!
I can’t wait to see the Daily Show comparing his reaction
To the videos on youtube John McCain seems to have missed;
You can pander to Neanderthals, but when the day is over
There will come the recognition–that’s the Devil you just kissed.

When you’re losing in the middle ground and know you can’t recover,
The temptation’s irresistible to pander to your base;
Once you’ve written off the liberals, you’re free to use your rhetoric
On Bible-issue voters—take abortion as one case.
Disagreements are expected on a topic like abortion
When a right to life is weighed against a woman’s right to choose—
But to sneer with condescension at the “Mother’s health” exceptions?
First, the voters; now your dignity—what else ya got to lose?

Adding Insult To Injury (or, adding abuse to grief)

(Every word of this is true.)

A friend of mine, some thirty years ago,
The eldest son, a farming family’s pride,
Was gone from school, about a month or so
Before we heard the truth—the boy had died.

He’d fallen from a tractor in a field,
Though whether he was dead first, we don’t know;
The coroner’s exam? Too late to yield
An answer; there was nothing it could show.

His parents tried to cure the boy with prayer–
They brought him home, and put their son to bed.
Devout and faithful, hope turned to despair;
It broke their hearts, admitting he was dead.

Their church—to whom they turn when times are rough—
Blamed them, and said they had not prayed enough.

(This is one of the reasons I care.)

The 2008 IgNobels are awarded!

My hopes for an IgNobel in literature are dashed by David Sims, of Cass Business School, for his article in Organizational Studies (vol.26, no. 11, 2005, pp.1625-40). That bastard.

But the IgNobel prizes are always reason to celebrate. I hope this is merely the first of several verses inspired by this year’s prizes–a bit combining The Economics prize (lap dancers earn higher tips when ovulating) and the Physics prize (mathematical proof that string tangles into knots). The two findings just seem to go together… or maybe it’s just me. (The form is inspired by a song by Tim Minchin)

Are the twistings and gyrations of a dancer in a g-string
A sufficient agitation to reduce aforesaid panties
To a knot?

Are the naughty knotting knickers the spontaneous expression
Of the underlying physics of materials, or is it
Merely hot?

Do the pheromones emitted hint at multiple causation
When covariant regression says the dancers may be thinking
Of their eggs?

And the most perplexing question from a scientist’s perspective–
How the devil did they justify expenditures to stare at
Women’s legs?

In utterly unrelated news… apparently I was reddited; yesterday and today are my two highest hit counts, nearly five times my last maximum. I hope, some day, to be pharyngulated, to empirically compare the two effects…

Not today, though. Please.

Ignorance Ain’t Bliss For Me

“I’d take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day”
–Douglas Adams

Think of the things a flagellum would tell ‘em
If only they knew how to open their eyes
The stuff they could see through their glasses surpasses
Their presuppositions, distortions and lies
If all they believe is the bible, they’re liable
To miss a real world that is there to be seen
But gladly the biblical thinkers wear blinkers
And try to decipher the code of the gene

It’s hard to imagine a finer designer
Than blind evolution and millions of years
But this explanation’s (quite oddly) ungodly
And quickly rejected for fanning their fears
They cannot accept evolution’s solutions
And make up a God who’s the cause of it all
Myself, I can’t use that religion, one smidgen
It’s selfish and petty; I can’t think that small