Marriage Week: No Disrespect…

In honor of the SCOTUS taking up the issue of same-sex marriage, I am posting some of my previous verses–some in celebration, others to highlight why change is needed. Oh, and it’s “Marriage Week”, not “Same-Sex Marriage Week”, because I looked at my Cuttlefish University benefits package, and throughout it, benefits are offered to “spouse or same-sex spouse”… and I thought, this is either redundant or separate-but-equal (thus, unequal). It’s just “marriage”. I’m sure the guests will figure out from context whether it’s same-sex or not, but the process is the same, and the vocabulary does not need an additional adjective.

First up, from 2011…

Our daughter’s getting married!
What a joyous, joyous day!
But we’re going to skip the wedding,
Cos you see, our daughter’s gay.

We love her more than life itself
And love her wife-to-be;
We’d never be judgmental, but
We simply can’t agree!

I mean no disrespect, of course,
I love her to the core—
It’s just that, when it comes to this,
I love religion more.

comments, after the jump:
[Read more…]

Running Out Of Time! (Get Your Cuttlefish Valentines Here!)

Dammit. I intended to space these out, but life got in the way.

I did get to post the Evolutionary Biology Valentine (and its additional verses), but that was it.

Now, all I can do (since it’s already Valentines Day in parts of the world) is a data dump. I suspect, though, that you will detect a pattern. (spoiler: the pattern says I am not a reductionist!)

Science of Love (a Valentine)

A Scientific Valentine

Sonnet 116.1 (a Shakespeare parody, opposing reductionism)

A Reproductive Message (a song, based on an evolutionary psychology paper. Context at the link.)

What do women want? (A valentine) Despite the title, this is far less valentine and far more a comment on a particular article. Again, context at the link.)

Heart In A Jar. Remember when they made a heart (in a jar) out of stem cells and the cellular equivalent of duct tape? I do. These verses took that achievement and used it as a springboard. I don’t recommend these as real valentines, but if you have a special someone these really work for… consider yourself incredibly fortunate.

There may be a few more here and there, but those are all I can recall.

Happy Valentines Day to you and yours!

There It Is! Oxytocin!

Just in time for Valentines Day, Scientific American has an article on oxytocin and long-lasting love.

If cupid had studied neuroscience, he’d know to aim his arrows at the brain rather than the heart. Recent research suggests that for love to last, it’s best he dip those arrows in oxytocin.

This article is better than most; oxytocin isn’t seen as the cause, but the mechanism, of one facet–an important facet, but just one of many–of love.
Back in ’09, it was the BBC reporting on other research, but it was oxytocin again.

In animals, scientists have observed that a chemical called oxytocin is involved in developing a bond between a mother and her young.
Professor Young believes it is very likely that a similar process is going on in humans.
“It’s just that when we experience these emotions they are so rich we can’t imagine that they are just a series of chemical events,” he said.
But even if that is true of maternal love, is romantic love simply down to a squirt of oxytocin and a few other love chemicals at a timely moment?
Professor Young thinks it might be.

I responded at the time, but since nobody pays any attention to invertebrates, I suppose it’s once more into the breach. These verses are an addendum to the Evolutionary Biology Valentine (most recently posted just a few days ago). They’d go between verses 2 and 3 of that poem.

The latest suspect, oxytocin,
Floods the brain when we draw close (in
Some perfumes they’ll add a dose, in
Hopes of that reaction)
The chemical increases trust,
So hopes are that it may, or must
Produce a love that’s more than lust
Or “animal attraction”

But oxytocin, too, controls
The bonding seen in prairie voles
Which act as if they pledge their souls
To one and only one;
Their cousins, though, the rats and mice
Behave as if they don’t think twice
And if some nearby rodent’s nice
They’ll surely have some fun

The differences twixt vole and mouse—
Why one’s a catch and one’s a louse—
If chemistry you would espouse
As why, I disagree—
The chemistry’s not why, but how
One rodent keeps its marriage vow
And one seeks out new fields to plow
Not why at all, you see.

You Have About A Week To Make The Card

That’s right, it’s February, which means I start getting a lot of hits for some version of “science valentine” or “biology valentine” or some such. So I’m going to post some of them, before the storm hits (2 feet of snow predicted here). If you do end up using one, I’d love to see a pic of the card you eventually come up with.

First, my favorite, which I actually had the chance to recite to someone yesterday–someone who has no idea I have a secret identity as a cephalopod. She had an evolutionary psychology textbook on her shelf, so the recitation was just part of the flow of conversation. I kinda forgot that in the real world (as opposed to my own little corner of the blogosphere), people don’t usually just break into extended recitations of love poems. But hey, I can tell you, it’s worth the trouble of memorizing this one. And it’s fun.


In sociobiology,
Why I love you and you love me—
Which anyone can plainly see—
Is mostly in our genes.
No, not the ones you buy in stores,
But what a scientist explores–
I like the way you look in yours,
And you know what that means.

What subtly-coded stimulus
Takes you and me, and makes us “us
And makes us feel ‘twas ever thus?
The list of suspects narrows.
No longer are we all a-shiver
From some Cupid with a quiver
Out of which he might deliver
Fusillades of Eros.

Nor Dopamine, nor Serotonin
Tell us why our hearts are moanin’
Though they serve to help us hone in
On–not why, but how;
The parasympathetic blush,
Adrenaline to bring a rush,
Are how, not why, I’ve got a crush
On you, my darling, now.

But if old Charles Darwin’s right,
The reason that the merest sight
Of you will always give delight
Is…reproductive fitness.
Throughout our species’ family tree,
Producing proper progeny
Is what determined you and me
And Darwin was the witness.

Is thinking that you’re oh so sweet
And how you’ll make my life complete
Some trick to make our gametes meet?
It seems it may be so.
I feel the way I feel today
Because some bit of DNA
Sees your genetics on display
And wants to say “hello.”

But think of this, for what it’s worth:
Millennia before my birth
That DNA had roamed the earth,
In residents thereof;
The neat thing is, it’s really true,
The feeling that I have for you
Although, of course, it feels brand-new
Is truly ageless love.

A Maine Mystery

The lobster on the license plate
Is brilliant, vivid red—
Which means, to folks who know such things
It’s cooked, and clearly dead.
But recently, some mutant forms
Are showing different hues,
With yellows, whites, and calicos,
And oranges and blues
So maybe, on that license plate
(For those, again, who care)
The lobster there, in vivid red,
Is not well-done… just rare. [Read more…]

Their Version

The EvolveFISH version of my sigil.

Nice. Better than nice–that’s beautiful–gorgeous. I love it. (Yes, as of this writing, the attribution is still wrong–the original is by Mike McRae, modified by me–Kris Ryan had nothing to do with it.) Now, as the cephalopod who holds the copyright, all I want to know is… Do I get a discount?

Hey! When you get yours and put it on your car/bike/computer/office door/refrigerator/pet/congressperson/olympic gold medal/Tour de France Yellow Jersey/post-it-note, send it here, and I’ll (unless you don’t want me to–please let me know) broadcast it to the world!

Love And God, And What Not To Say

A long one today, but it had to be said.

Over at WWJTD, JT fields one of the classic apologetic arguments from incredulity:

there are things that are undeniably real (like love, ambition, sympathy) but do not stand up to scientific rigor. We live in a world appointed with these things (love, ambition, sympathy) and they would be real even if science did not exist to explain them.

Anyone who has not seen that argument thrown around, welcome to the internet, and how have you enjoyed your first few hours here? [Read more…]

The Evils Of Gay Marriage

Larry and Robert are married.
They live in a house on our street.
They’re wonderfully helpful as neighbors,
And as nice as you’re likely to meet.

Their son is a friend of our daughter’s
Their daughter, a friend of our son’s;
If you’re looking for light conversation,
Or for helpful advice, they’re the ones. (continues, after the jump:) [Read more…]

Charlie and Al

No verse on this one (I admit, I tried, but they all sounded stupid), but this story is both beautiful and terrible. Beautiful, in that two people who love each other, who have been committed to one another for some 20 years, are today married. Terrible, in that they had to travel to another state to wed, and in that the very announcement that they planned to do so resulted in a lost job.

Oh, yeah, they are two men. And one taught in a Catholic school.

They’ve been together 20 years. An awful lot of marriages can’t make that claim. And they were openly gay, openly a couple. Their church knew. Their employers knew.

But when the Catholic hierarchy found out, an announcement of marriage was viewed as a “public stand against the tenets of the church”. Same sex marriage is unforgivable. Unlike, say, raping a child, which would result in a job transfer to a new diocese, and a coverup.

What just tears at my heart, though, is that both men choose to stay with the church (perhaps a new location, that’s all). The Roman Catholic Church is a huge part of their identity. It’s not that I don’t understand; I do. It’s not unexpected, and it’s not unusual. This is the dance they know; this is the music they are accustomed to (see metaphor here). I’d call it Stockholm syndrome, but that would be an insult to these men. I don’t know why they still choose to be Catholics. I don’t know why their friends aren’t leaving the church in droves, in support of these good men. I mean, I do know, but not in my gut. I don’t blame them a bit. Not in the slightest. Leaving would mean splitting their world into pieces.

But I do wish they would leave. I want some friend of theirs to stand up in church, proclaim that the hierarchy is wrong, and walk out. And I want that example to be followed by dozens, scores, hundreds of others. Because these men are right, and the church is wrong. And, from the comments, the congregation knows it.

Read the story. Get angry at the church. Again.

But… (and as bright sides go, this is a pretty good one) celebrate their marriage with them! Congratulations, Charlie and Al!