Saturday, March 19, 2005

Ross et al.

Pharyngula: Evolution of the X chromosome

For an outstanding paper, our PhaWRONGulan thanks goes to:

Ross and Grafham, Coffey, Scherer, Muzny, Platzer, Bird, McLay,
and Burrows, Frankish, Howell, Lovell, Ashurst, Howe and Hodgson A,
and Wen and Scott and Ramser, Deadman, Havlak, Andrews, Hurles and Cree,
and Fulton, Sudbrak, Carter, Jones, and Whittaker, and Gunaratne,
Ansari-Lari, Metzker, Richards, Steffen, Barrett, Errington,
Aradhya, Wheeler, Worley, Ainscough, Barker, Barlow, Hamilton,
Bagguley, Ashwell, Babbage, Beasleys (H and O), and Banerjee;
These folk and more are learned in the letters A, G, C and T.

These folk and more are learned in the letters A, G, C and T.

Continuing with Bethel, Blechschmidt, Gilbert, Glockner, Ambrose K,
Ballabio, and Brady, Burford, Burgess, Ramsey, Ridler, Wray,
Bray-Allen, Burrill, Burton, Bonnin, Matthews, Cobley, Mistry, Clee;
They've helped us see a million years of evolution's history.

Bray-Allen, Burrill, Burton, Bonnin, Matthews, Cobley, Mistry, Clee;
They've helped us see a million years of evolution's history.

There's more that helped, there's Bridgeman, Bruford, Buhay, Steward, Skuce, and Shen,
Clerc-Blankenburg, Chinault, and Carder, Carrel, Chako, Storey, Sodergren,
Ciccodicola, Clifford, Chapman, Chavez, Conquer, Sehra, Swann,
Delgado, and Deshazo, Corby, Connor, Clark, and Clarke, and Khan,
Hernandez, Hennig, Hinzmann, Davies, Davis J, and Davis C,
And Laird, and Lloyd (DM and C), and Williams L, and Williams G,
Nyakatura, Nguyen, Nordsiek, Gribble, Griffiths, Gregory,
All worked to bring us stories of genetic archaeology.

All worked to bring us stories of genetic archaeology.

Let's not forget Trevanion, Tromans, Willard, Wilson, Gill, and Gu,
And Sheridan, and Sotheran, Lozado, Lewis, Lovell, Lu,
Zorilla, Zoghbi, Schueler, Shownkeen, Searle, Shaw-Smith, and Smith, and Zhou,
With Sulston, Scott, and Schlessinger, and Langford, Loveland, Lawlor, Liu,
Hume, Heitmann, Howden, Huckle, Hoffs, and Wilming, Willey, Williamson,
(There's two of them, an A and H), plus Whitehead, Whiteley, Wilkinson,
O'dell, de Jong, and Dunn, and Clegg, the Hunts (AR, PJ, SE);
Smart people who appreciate this life's delightful mystery.

Smart people who appreciate this life's delightful mystery.

There's Emery-Cohen, Evans, Faulkner, Francis, Draper, David R,
Kioschis, Klages, Kelly, Kershaw, Maheshwari, Milne, and Ma,
Steingruber, Palmer, Pandian, and Swarbreck, Pearce, and Dhami P,
All add to X's stable tale (compared with Y's degen'racy).

Steingruber, Palmer, Pandian, and Swarbreck, Pearce, and Dhami P,
All add to X's stable tale (compared with Y's degen'racy).

The list goes on with Waterston, and Dugan-Rocha, Dunham, Dinh,
Loulseged, Ellwood, Fraser, Jones, and Timms, and Thorpe, and West, and Lyne,
And Durbin, Hubbard, Rogers, Bentley, Reinhardt, Poustka, Yen, and Ding,
Patel, and Coulson, Frankland, Vaudin, Taudien, and Mullikin,
Beck, Beck, and Buck, and Beare, the Browns (AJ, MJ), and Wei, and Wang,
McDowall, Dodsworth, d'Urso, Durbin, Dutta, Burch, and Teague, and Zhang,
McMurray, Meidl, Miner, Morgan, Gwilliam, and Galgoczy P,
Have seen some hundred million years of edits in the gene debris.

Have seen some hundred million years of edits in the gene debris.

McLaren, Morris, Parker, Parrish, Pearson, Tracey, Taylor T,
Woodmansey, Rosenthal, and Cole, and Nelson, Weinstock, Johnson D;
They tell us how we regulate for male and female parity
And why our X codes proteins that have manly specificity.

They tell us how we regulate for male and female parity
And why our X codes proteins that have manly specificity.

No, please don't stop; we're nearly done. There's just a few more names to go,
Like Waldron, Warren, Warry, Meindl, Minx, and Eades, and Bates, and Ho,
Then Kosiura, Keenan, Knights, and Meitinger, and Pasternak,
And Isherwood, and Grocock, Jacob, Joseph, Thomas, and Lehrach,
Verduzco, Villasana, Muller, Pelan, Perez, Kovar-Smith,
And Okwuonu (though it's not a name that I'm familiar with)
As well as Leversha, and Bye, and Wall, and Heath, and Hillier,
This "et al." better finish soon before it gets much sillier.

So, (take a deep breath)

We're thanking Porter, Reichwald, Tabor, Hart and Rhodes, and Rice, and Hawes,
Our gratitude extends to all who worked upon this noble cause,
Including all the E and G and R and Y and Z - Chens
Who gave us this X-tended tale of chromosomal sequ-ence.

The Tangled Bank Awaits

Pharyngula: Get Your Links In for the Next Tangled Bank!

Diggers all, it's time to search
Amidst the black and fragrant earth
For twisted roots and mossy stones,
Forgotten dogs' forgotten bones;
For moles in molehills, dwelling deep,
A nest of dormice, fast asleep;
For hidden tubers, crisp and sweet,
For footprints left by ancient feet;
For dried-up rodents' dried-up tails,
and sneaking snakes with shining scales.
Diggers all, let's congregate,
for the Tangled Bank awaits!

Haiku for a Brain that is Dead

Pharyngula: Schiavo Reconsidered

A rotting brain sings
a doleful winter ballad;
a song with one note--

the song of hollows,
of birdless, untrodden paths,
a deep, fungal song.

What's Next, The Restrooms?

Pharyngula: No, That's Not a Science Museum

What's with the museum today?
The fossils have all gone away.
The space show is closed;
the Egypt Room's hosed,
And still, they expect us to pay?

PhaWRONGula's Living Will

Pharyngula: Schiavo

Hearken, ye: when I am gone,
You might carve my name in stone,
Seed my grave with cheerful flowers,
Or gossip with my ghost for hours.

Cast my ashes out to sea;
Carve my liver up for tea;
Or sell me off to Billy Black,
The local necrophiliac.

Have me stuffed and mounted like
Uncle Mort's enormous pike,
Or let the jackals pick me bare;
Being dead, I will not care.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Floating and Sliming and Breeding Everywhere

Pharyngula: Subversion

These blogrolls? I won't be conceding
that they're only for sliming and breeding.
Let your readers beware;
in my metaphor they're
an excretion of what you've been reading.

PhaWRONGulans seek not ubiquity
with our tribute so framed in obliquity.
We court quality links
to our quirks and our kinks
(and occasional bursts of iniquity).

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Pharyngula: The Musical (Contents)

Act One

Act Two

Act Three

Pharyngula: The Musical (Part Eight of Several)

[Contents] [<<] [<] [>]

ACT TWO, SCENE FOUR

SCENE: A Courtroom, characterized by Ludicrous Rococo Stylings, and an Excessive Number of Crosses. The Jury sits to the Right, with Spectators to the Left, various Students among them. His Holiness, having installed himself as Judge, is seated on High. PZ is led onstage, in Chains, by a Grim Contingent of Churchgoers. Enter the Narrator, now covered in red As from Head to Toe.

POMPOUS NARRATOR: The trial of Mr. P.Z. Myers, for his heinous and EGREGIOUS crimes against Sturch and Chate. Stach and Churte. Ah, confound it! What's the difference, anyway? For his heinous and egregious crimes against...God.

Exit Narrator, stage left. PZ is led to the Dock. The Churchgoers parade Grandly about the Stage, praying for God's Justice.

CHURCHGOERS: Holy Father, hear our plea.
Let your sacred justice be
Meted out on Earth today;
Thus we wish, and thus we pray.

HIS HOLINESS: Thy will be done.

CHURCHGOERS: Guide the scales of justice, Lord;
Thus we pray; thus we implore.
Raise the righteous to your side;
Crush the sinner's shameful pride.

HIS HOLINESS: Thy will be done.

CHURCHGOERS: Separate us, wheat from chaff;
Guide us with your clement staff.
Show us mercy; show us truth;
Shield us from the mob uncouth.

HIS HOLINESS: Thy will be done.

PZ MYERS: (Talk about mobs uncouth!)

PZ is Clobbered about the Head by a nearby Official of the Court.

CHURCHGOERS: Spare the rod and spoil the child.
Punishment will not be mild
For the man who takes the name
Of our blessed Lord in vain.

HIS HOLINESS: Thy will be done.

PZ MYERS: Will this anthem never cease?
Can't a convict have some peace?
Me, I think I'd rather fry
Than listen to this horrid rhy--

The Violent Official of the Court closes PZ's mouth with an Enormous Padlock.

--mm-mm-mm mm; mm-mm-mm mm.

CHURCHGOERS: Holy Father, hear our hymn;
Shine your light in corners dim!
Raise the faithful to the sky;
Strike the heathen from on high!

HIS HOLINESS: On earth as it is in Heaven--Thy will be done.

PZ MYERS: mm-mm-mm mm; mm-mm-mm mm.

The Terrible Rhyme comes to a stop, at Last.

RANDOM CHURCH OFFICIAL: The charges will now be read.

HIS HOLINESS (clearing his Throat): The Prisoner stands accused, et cetera, et cetera--

RANDOM CHURCHGOER A: --of instruction felonious--

RANDOM CHURCHGOER B: --affairs disharmonious--

RANDOM CHURCH OFFICIAL: --an occasional penchant for booze!

R.C.A.: --of teachings incredible--

R.C.B.: --and excesses edible--

R.C.O.: --and magazines meant to amuse.

R.C.A.: He treats every Sunday
as if it were Monday,
and treads on the carpet in shoes!

R.C.B.: He cries evolution,
and suchlike pollution,
and perpetrates many a ruse.

R.C.O.: He lectures with levity;
but quite without brevity,
and relegates God to the pews!

R.C.A.: ...an occasional penchant for booze!

R.C.B.: ...magazines meant to amuse!

ALL THREE: ...treads on the carpet in shoes!

HIS HOLINESS: Very well. The Prisoner is charged with myriad forms of heresy, and with treason against both the Church of Divine Creation, and our great country, itself.

PZ MYERS: Mm!? Mmmmmmm! Mmmmmmm!

VARIOUS STUDENTS: What?

HIS HOLINESS: Order in the court!

Enter the Narrator, pursued by a Throng of Churchgoers, who Chase him Several Times about the Courtroom as he Speaks.

POMPOUS NARRATOR: And so, we find our (gasp! wheeze!) brave P.Z. Myers accused of treason and heresy, and, furthermore, reduced to incoherency with an adroitly-placed padlock! What a predicament! What a pickle! How on earth will he get out of this one?

The Narrator runs off into the Wings, Churchies in Hot Pursuit.
Part 9

Would You Prefer Roast Turkey?

Pharyngula: Perfection (Billmon skewers Horowitz)

Okay sir, that's one beef with dill, served with Mao on wry.

That Whining Noise, Augmented

Pharyngula: Token Acknowledgement of a New Conservative Weblog

Here's a report from the Right;
plus reason, minus God's light.
Wait, no, there's Beckwith,
and Feser--I'll check with
PZ, instead, for tonight.

The New American Heritage Dictionary

Pharyngula: Dangerous Satire

Satire: a sort of
aromatic hellebore,
found in the forest.

Compromise: the art
of having it one's own way,
without seeming to.

Intelligent:

The Tennessee Whatwalk?

Pharyngula: Genuine Controversies and the Distracting Nonsense of Creationism

(With sincere apologies to Jack Blanchard.)

Take away the soda, and the whiskey disappears;
Take away the earmuffs, and you won't have any ears.
Lose the Captain Morgan, and the Coke goes west as well;
Do away with skunk-butts, and you'll lose your sense of smell!
Take away selection, and evolution goes;
Take tissues off the market, it's curtains for your nose!
Crush the rocks to gravel, and there won't be any rolls;
Squish up all the weevils, and there won't be any bowls.

Oh, remember me, my darling, when nothing's in the air;
the snails took all the houses; the apple took the pear!
When there's no-one, nothing, nowhere, neither here nor there--
Creationist Logic!

Snerts and Birdbrains

Pharyngula: Skeptics' Circle #4
Skeptics' Circle @ The Two Percent Company

Say, what's on the menu for tea?
Five apples, washed down by the sea.
There's spicy red herring,
and duck soup, unerring
In treating the gull-brained disease!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Nursery Rhymes for the Stargazer

Pharyngula: Berlinski babbles some more

Twinkle twinkle little fact!
Where were you when clues I lacked?
In the reference that I cite,
Making farce of all I write.
Twinkle twinkle little fact!
Where were you when clues I lacked?


Thought lite, thought trite,
First thought I think tonight,
Wish it true, hold it tight;
Self delusion is my right.

That's All Very Well, But Do They Bite?

Pharyngula: Torquarator Bullocki

Observe, now, the enteropneust,
collar'd ocean worm,
ensconced in his blue-briny roost,
wobbly and infirm!

Here is his half-sphere'd proboscis,
here, his jellied tail;
rose hues, or bright cyanoses
flush his semblance pale.

See his jellied wings propel him
o'er thalassic dunes;
see the viands that impel him
expulsed in crescent moons.

That's the story of...

Pharyngula: It was twenty-five years ago today…

I sing a song of nascent love,
A suit beyond compare,
A meeting of two matching souls,
A complementary pair.

Yet tension marred their bold romance,
For from the very start
They never could dance cheek to cheek
One man held them apart.

Against their wedlock this foul cad
Had set his stubborn face;
The lovers knew, with two fell strokes
Their lives he could erase.

But, hearts are wild and love knows strength
That nothing can oppose:
Defiantly, they met, they kissed,
Right under PZ's nose!

Alas, my song concludes in tears,
For on one fateful day
Grim PZ raised his razor's edge
And whisked them both away.

Pharyngula: The Musical (Part Seven of Several)

[Contents] [<<] [<] [>]

ACT TWO, SCENE THREE

SCENE: The Same Church as Before (because these Sets are Expensive). Mr. Iscariot is Pacing About in the Nave, clearly labouring under some Mental Distress. Enter the Narrator, with a great red "A" sewn upon his Chest.

POMPOUS NARRATOR: What, this? (Indicating his "A".) No, I have not been unfaithful to my wife! It's A for A-theist, of course. We all have to wear them now, that the righteous might know whether a sheep or a goat stands before them. Maaaaah! (He makes a Truly Disturbing Goatish Noise, of Sonorous Redound and Extraordinary Volume.) And here, we have a curious specimen, neither sheep nor goat--it is Mis-ter Is-ca-ri-ot, lapsed disciple of Science, and traitor to the cause! Three boos for Mr. Iscariot! Hip-hip-habooooooo! Hip-hip--

SPECIALLY PLANTED AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Haboooooo!

POMPOUS NARRATOR: Hip-hip--

S.P.A.M.: Haboooooooo!

Mr. Iscariot hangs his head. The Narrator marches offstage, to the Enthusiastic Booing of the Audience.

MR. ISCARIOT (singing in an Agitated and Excitable Fashion): If I perished, who would mourn me?
If there was a God, he'd scorn me.
Vile and tainted, here I fester,
No-one answers when I pester.
They don't pick up the telephone,
I eat my dinners on my own.
Why, just today, at Evensong,
My zealous singing got the gong!
My pious hymns are reckoned crass
I'm shunned and cast aside, alas!

(He slows down a little, becoming Reflective.)

Things were better in the lab;
the gutted rats upon the slab;
the mating habits of the crab;
why'd I have to go and stab
our teacher in the back?

Maybe I deserved that D;
perhaps it wasn't him, but me,
and higher learning should be free;
why, oh why, could I not see,
that I was out of whack?

NARRATOR (from offstage): Be-CAUSE you are a TWIT!

MR. ISCARIOT: If only I could abjure!
They'll execute Myers for sure!

S. CHURCH OFFICIAL and a CHORUS OF CHURCHGOERS (offstage): (Let these walls resound with praises
Let each echo speak His name.
Blessed is the man who raises
Every fleeting breath the same.)

MR. ISCARIOT (slamming the door to keep out the song): I hate that jingoistic chant!
Is there no way to recant?

CHORUS (still perfectly audible, even through the door): (Hollow vaults, declaim His glory
Magnify our paltry hymn.
Day and night, repeat His story
Praise and homage be to Him.)

MR. ISCARIOT: I never bought into that rot!
'Tis I who ought to be shot.

CHORUS: (Let our hearts' impassioned beating
Set our anthem's fervent pace.
Let our voices' joyous meeting
Dignify this holy place.)

MR. ISCARIOT: I've come to my senses too late!
Ah, what a terrible fate!

CHORUS (Drawing nearer): (Let our praises soar forever,
Borne on wings of fervid praise.
Let our song go on, unsevered,
For a hundred nights and days.)

MR. ISCARIOT: Maybe they'll torture him, first!
My name will forever be cursed.
They're planning to try him tonight;
He'll hang from the spire at first light!

CHORUS: (Let our chant peal forth, unceasing;
Let us praise Him to the skies.
Passion evermore increasing,
Raise a hymn that never dies!)

The Door opens, and the Churchgoers enter in Grand Procession, singing their Terrible Hymn. Mr. Iscariot runs off, screaming, with his hands over his ears. Who can blame him?

MR. ISCARIOT: No! No! No!

CHORUS: Let each man, however lowly,
Join our consecrated choir.
Let him join in descant holy;
Let his ardour never tire.

Part 8

Bridge of Birds

Pharyngula: Unfortunately...

...and a PhaWRONGula-endorsed piece of fiction

Ah, for a swan-boat,
rude ostrich-guards on each side;
an owl at the helm!

Elegant blue-throat,
ferry this man to his bride,
in her frozen realm!

We Should All Be So Fortunate--No, Really, We Should! Where's Mine?

Pharyngula: It Was Twenty-Five Years Ago Today

Five-and-twenty years ago,
a lab-rat wed a queen.
(How he did it, we don't know;
the like, we've never seen.

Did he grow her in a jar,
from stolen DNA?
Did she come from some place far?
Did he have to...pay?)

No, by all that's curious,
their love was fair and true.
The wedding vow was spurious,
but not the "I love you."

Mock I might; I am a wag,
but here's a rebel tear;
PZ's troth is in the bag;
mine lasted just one year.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

A gem from the comments

PZ says:
Of course, we also were in competition with our enemy, the Soviets, and we raced to show that we were more technologically advanced and more scientific than they were. Now the enemy is Islam, and we seem to be in a competition to see who can be more theologically primitive and barbaric.
There once was a time when our war
was with Soviets, keen to explore
the technology race
both on earth and in space,
so our science had funding galore.

Islam is the enemy now
and we seem to be seeking for how
to be more theologically
crude—pathologically
playing "more fundie than thou."

But, Mum, Everyone Else Does It!

Pharyngula: Get Angry!

A debater of dignity finds
a palaver of passionate minds
is hardly the place
for stuffy-shirt grace,
the key's in the kicking of hinds.

We'd Never Heard Of Them Till Now, But We're Still Jealous

Pharyngula: Exploitation!
Re: the Borg's assimilation of another blogger.

Hey, Pandagon, suck us in, too!
It's lonely, out here in the blue.
Absorb this poor station
In your great conurbation--
Oh, can't we be part of your crew?

Extraordinary Popular Delusions, and a Lampoon of Crowds

Pharyngula: Republicans, Shouldn't You Be A Teeny Bit Embarrassed About This?

'Twas God that created that [cancer]!
Better to leave it alone.

That [wart] is the Lord's creation;
that [growth], and that [kidney-stone].

That [horrible rash] is His work,
that [acne], that [oozing cyst].

That [suppurating carbuncle];
that [fibroid] the size of your fist.

Those [skin-tags grotesque] are precious;
that [raging boil on your bum];

Each [parasite]'s blessed by Jesus;
touch that [tapeworm], and you're scum!

(Words in square brackets might be replaced with "fetus", "child", "kid", "embryo", "zygotic mass", and so forth, but then it wouldn't rhyme, and it wouldn't be funny, either.)

He Just Had To Milk That Smegma, Didn't He?

Pharyngula: Grand Rounds XXV
The Grand Rounds via Orac

Observed on the Internet rounds:
wild speculation abounds;
a cassava scandal erupts.

A brain steals some time in the sun;
a madman appears, on the run(1),
and an ill bird takes to the skies.

A faraway country grows stout;
a stubborn light won't go out;
a plaintive duck protests in vain.

A pandemic rages, unchecked;
a scientist shows no respect;
a reader drowns, happy, in words.


(1) And run he will. Congratulations!

The [Rather Optimistic] Anti-Horoscope

Pharyngula: Berlinski Says He Is Not an Astrologer

No need to beware of the nutters;
There's a minus-ten chance of cuckoos.
There won't be a fly in your butter,
And nothing's concealed in your shoes.

It's not a dire day for the dog-track,
And Jupiter's not on the rise.
There's no-one out looking for payback;
You don't need to wear a disguise.

Your star's neither dim nor resplendent;
Your planets are not ill-aligned.
Your fate isn't Venus-dependent;
Indeed, your week should be just fine.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Pharyngula: The Musical (Part Six of Several)

[Contents] [<<] [<] [>]

ACT TWO, SCENE TWO

SCENE: The steps of the Library, at night. The Doors have been sealed shut by a Complex Arrangement of Chains and Bolts, which rattles Ominously in the Wind. The windows have been Boarded Up, with many Religious Slogans written upon them. The Orchestra strikes up a Tense Thrumming as PZ Myers appears on the scene, carrying a Lantern and a Blow-torch. Various Students follow, and, of course, the Narrator.

POMPOUS NARRATOR: Act Two, Scene Two: in which our plucky protagonists ascend the Library steps, bookbags held PROUDLY ALOFT!

A nearby Church Bell strikes Twelve.

POMPOUS NARRATOR: Ah! The hour is at hand!

The Narrator scurries offstage. PZ Myers Mounts the Steps, holding his lantern aloft in Exultation.

PZ MYERS: Only these chains stand between us and paradise! (He rattles the chains on the Library door.) Ah, for this is the true paradise, right here on earth--who wants to wait for some cherub-cluttered afterlife?

Assorted Cheers and Affirmations rise from the Assembled Students

PZ MYERS (singing): I never forgot Star Wars,
that old, optimistic sci-fi;
Darth Vader, lightsabers, the Force,
explosions that lit up the sky.

I always remembered that age;
my very first desktop PC,
those mutated mice in their cage,
the man with the cool robot knee.

Ah, think of the red Speak and Spell,
its comforting mechanoid drone;
newsmen who raced to foretell
a shoebox-sized portable phone.

We were all promised Utopia,
a shining millennial fair.
When did religious myopia
strip these, our boyhood dreams, bare?

PZ switches on his blowtorch, and hacks at the Chains on the Library Door. They begin to fall away under his assault. The orchestra Swells in a Moody Fashion, and a Tense Secondary Theme creeps in underneath. The Stage-Lights dim slightly: the moon has gone behind a Cloud. PZ keeps on singing, but now Various Students have joined in, Expressing their Fears.

PZ MYERS: I seem to remember a craze
for everything shiny and new;
for masers and lasers and rays,
and crystals in boxes, that grew.

NERVOUS STUDENTS: What dread premonition!
I fear for our mission.
What terror, what worry!
Professor, please hurry.
What shufflings, what rustlings!
Did you hear a scuffling?
This darkness spells trouble,
Let's go, on the double!

PZ MYERS (cutting through the remaining Chains): Go straight for the textbooks and slides!
Let's seize back the future we'd planned!
Tonight, we will turn back the tides;
We'll replant our flag in the sand!

PZ kicks the Chains from the Doors without particular Ceremony.

MISS JOHNSON (panicking): Wait! Mr. Myers!

PZ MYERS (jubilant): We've waited long enough! This is our moment. Now, let - there - be...light!

He flings open the great Double-Doors. There is, in fact, light, emanating from the various Torches and Lanterns held aloft by the Churchgoers who were waiting Inside, led by His Holiness. An audible Gasp goes up from the Students.

PZ MYERS: We're betrayed!

MISS JOHNSON: Run!

PZ and his Students attempt to Escape, but are thwarted by more Churchgoers, appearing from the Wings, and surrounding them on every side. A pair of Burly Churchgoers seizes PZ, forcing him to kneel before His Holiness

HIS HOLINESS: Had you taken to your knees in prayer,
Instead of venturing where microbes dare,
You would not find yourself prostrated there.

CHURCHGOERS: (Had he taken to his knees in prayer,
Instead of venturing where microbes dare,
He would not find himself prostrated there.)

PZ MYERS: Had I taken to my knees in prayer?
Had I--

He stops Singing, and Shouts at the Grand Inquisitor

PZ MYERS (spluttering): Prayer? How about Thou shalt not steal? Those books were University property!

There is a brief Hubbub of Student Agreement, quickly suppressed by the Churchgoing Mob

HIS HOLINESS: Had you taken to your knees in prayer,
then you would understand,
That all you see; these books, these walls, this stair,
are property of God.

PZ groans loudly. His Holiness turns his back, proceeding Offstage in a Haughty Manner. PZ is removed after a Rather Less Dignified Fashion, by the above-mentioned Burly Churchgoers. As the principal players leave the Stage, certain Churchgoers set Fire to the Library.
Part 7

Berlinski's Biblical Bellowing

Pharyngula: Berlinski: I Can't Believe I'm Wasting Time On This Guy, and Repeating Myself, Because I Can Hardly Believe It!

Heddle and Berlinski know
that incoherent chatter,
and idle words and empty show
and windy, goatish blatter,
always trump a reasoned screed,
vociferated proudly--
no-one pays you any heed
if you don't do it LOUDLY.
At the finish of the day,
it isn't what comes out;
it isn't what you have to say,
IT'S HOW HARD YOU SHOUT!

A Zodiac for the Ziggurat

Pharyngula: Repeating myself because I can hardly believe it

I sought PZ's reading this morning
from a seer well acquainted with dope.
He gave me a clerihew warning
and a cinquain of whimsical hope.



Beware the Berlinski
who sees astrological links key
to science's re-mystification
and auctorial remuneration.


Today
many people
will observe randomness
and attribute it to God's Love-
craftness.

The Carnival of the Godless Is Underway

Pharyngula: Ye Gods, The Heathen Are Just FLAUNTING Their Infidel Ways Again!

A werewolf gives howl;
apes walk in hirsute tandem,
Jesus following.

It's the Carnival,
the godless bacchanalia;
the wellspring of thought.

Darwin rejoices;
meanwhile, in some cloister cold,
David Heddle wilts.

A Most Novel and Queere Controversie

Pharyngula: Grant The Challenger Victory

Hast Hearde of this Newe Controversie
That Peppers the Papers today?
This Darwin gent (Heaven have Mercie)
Hath Cast his Creator away!

Gagging the Self-Blinded

Pharyngula: This One's for David Heddle

Question:
If a hermeneutic Heddle
in a metaphysics muddle
of apologetic piffle
chose to biblically blather
on tendentious texts of Townes or
on his chauvinistic choices
for subordinating spouses,
should a broad forbearing blogger
gag this gonad-godded gimboid
whose presuppositional seepage
cycles tiring tropes of trollage?

Answer:
Yes.

He Lives, And He Needs More Brains

Pharyngula: This One's for David Heddle

He Lives!

There once was a fellow they crucified;
by all accounts, the poor sod died.
They buried the body and sealed the tomb,
but three days later, self-exhumed,
the carcass came back, with an appetite
for human brains; he prowled by night,
emptying heads, with a ravenous drool,
and filling them up with cotton wool.

Nude Professor Juggles, Wins Beauty Pageant

Pharyngula: Maybe We Should Call Them "Gehirnwurms"

1. IF YOU COULD BUILD A SECOND HOUSE ANYWHERE, WHERE WOULD IT BE?
On an isle remote,
with conch-shells and tortoises,
and glass-bottomed boats.

2. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE ARTICLES OF CLOTHING?
Pocket-protector,
shirt, tie, and elbow-patched coat,
and maybe some pants.

3. THE LAST CDs YOU BOUGHT?
Protest as I may,
I cannot do but admit
'twas one of Tori's.

4. WHAT TIME DO YOU WAKE UP IN THE MORNING?
Before the first bird,
or the cricket's first scraping,
or the garbage-men.

5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE KITCHEN APPLIANCE?
Processor of beans,
purveyor of java-juice;
ah, steadfast machine!

6. IF YOU COULD PLAY AN INSTRUMENT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Please insert joke here,
clever, adroitly scripted,
about the flesh flute.

7. FAVORITE COLOR?
Grass-stains on my knees,
or the gleaming of absinthe,
bring me equal joy.

8. WHICH VEHICLE DO YOU PREFER, SPORTS CAR, MOTORCYCLE, OR SUV?
There's no other choice?
I pedal bipedally,
or walk, if there's ice.

9. DO YOU BELIEVE IN THE AFTERLIFE?
After life, I plan
a fragrant return to soil;
a crop of daisies.

10. FAVORITE CHILDREN'S BOOK?
I like Neil Gaiman with a moose;
I like Neil Gaiman with a goose.
I like him fast; I like him loose,
I like him served with Dr. Seuss.

11. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SEASON?
The season of snow,
of frozen birds in the street,
hot cocoa in hand.

12. IF YOU HAVE A TATTOO, WHAT IS IT?
Two Jesus-fishes,
one on each cheek; between them,
here's a Jesus-foul.(1)

13. IF YOU COULD HAVE ONE SUPERPOWER, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
The power of evil;
like an invasive species,
I'd conquer the world.

14. CAN YOU JUGGLE?
(See question 24, and also the footnote at the bottom of this page.)

15. ONE PERSON/PEOPLE FROM YOUR PAST YOU WISH YOU COULD GO BACK AND TALK TO?
Ur-PZ Myers,
the prototype I sprang from:
"I am your father."

16. WHAT IS UNDER YOUR BED?
An ecosystem,
verdant, green, self-sustaining,
on a piece of bread.

17. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE DAY?
One when I was young,
and so, too, my sweet Doris.
I blinked, and grew old.

18. WHICH DO YOU PREFER, SUSHI OR HAMBURGER?
Carry-out from work:
embryonic zebrafish
flip-flop on my plate.

19. FROM THE PEOPLE WHO NORMALLY READ YOUR BLOG, WHO IS THE MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND FIRST?
Chris Clarke, on the blog;
then, phoning from cyberspace,
some haiku-stalker.

20. ON WHICH BLOG DID YOU FIND THIS MEME?
On a site inspired
by TV and eighties bands,
or so it would seem.

21. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FLOWER?
Speak not of flowers,
but of their organs: of those,
I prefer petals.

23. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEAL?
One in the oven.
I dream of lunch at breakfast,
and dinner, at lunch.

24. DESCRIBE YOUR PJS.
(Just kidding. Phunicular might go there, but not I. Insert your own inappropriate observation on pantslessness and juggling, if you must.)

25. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BREAKFAST?
Like the worker-bee,
I buzz about my business,
dark-roast vigorous.

26. DO YOU LIKE YOUR JOB?
Yes, and yes again;
yes, and yet once more, I do.
It's better than yours.

27. WHAT IS YOUR DREAM JOB?
One with zebrafish,
and words like "pharyngula",
which roll off the tongue.

28. WHAT AGE DO YOU PLAN TO RETIRE?
I'll never leave you,
O Dario rerio,
O midterm exams!

29. WHERE DID YOU MEET YOUR SPOUSE OR SIGNIFICANT OTHER?
In a one-room school,
in the days before lightbulbs;
there, by candlelight!

30. SOMETHING YOU WOULD LIKE TO DO THAT YOU HAVE NEVER DONE BEFORE.
I'd like to travel,
and win a beauty pageant.
[We hate your answer!]


(1) Forgive me. Please forgive me.

Extinction of less-improved forms

Pants humor is an essential part of Pharyngula, as a casual search for pants would show:
With these quotes in mind, I present a slightly panted paraphrase of a famous quote.

Contemplate a tangled bank,
Clothed by ranks of diverse plants;
Songbirds perch while insects fly;
Worms are sliding (in its pants).

Watch the bank, observe and think:
Each distinct constructed form
Diff'ring from each other so,
Flock and row and clew and swarm,

Each dependent, one on one,
Intricate, yet under laws
All these forms have been produced
(Even worms loose in its drawers).


Wisdom framed in humor thrives,
Morphs, survives, in rhyme resolved;
These words too? Dare I propose,
"Look here Charles, your prose evolved"?

But, this mutant, mildly droll,
Lonely soul in culture's dance
Cannot hope to spread or breed--
Fitness? Nah, this screed is pants.


(Don't forget to read Tangled Bank #23)

Confabulatori

Pharyngula: Friday Random Ten: Spring Break edition!

PZ says:
For some reason, iTunes has apparently decided that I need to listen to more Tori Amos.
My auditori choices are random,
Not fixatori symptoms of fandom.
And I'm quick to deny amost scurrilous lie:
Ignore storis that say that I planned 'em.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

The Jigsaw Puzzle: How does Intelligent Design Fit into Science?

Pharyngula: An interesting teaching example

Science has rules and a fine set of tools
To enable its own self-correction.

Every student should learn there is much to discern
When the process comes under inspection.

Putting puzzles together, you're testing out whether
Hypotheses merit selection.

Most times you expect that you'll be incorrect
So it shouldn't result in dejection.

It occasions delight when you find you are right;
Even then you'll fall short of perfection.

But to fail every test means it's time to invest
In some honest and frank introspection.

Should we talk of ID and its vain repartee
To obscure all life's interconnection?

Their creationist goal to find God in the holes
Gains us nothing, so meets with rejection.

We can learn from this hoard if we get them on board,
As opposed to complete circumspection.

Run your class with a grin; take an IDist in
And some jigsaws--you've guessed my direction?

In Biol. 101 it's a barrel of fun
Using jigsaws in class for dissection.