Archive for May, 2005

Who Knew?
31 May, 2005

Who knew that Andre would soothe sick kinders?

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No Surprises Here
30 May, 2005

Pirate Monkey's Harry Potter Personality Quiz
Harry Potter Personality Quiz
by Pirate Monkeys Inc.

Intelligent Design without Intelligent Proponents?
26 May, 2005

In The Evolutionary Origin of Complex Features Lenski, et al, discuss how they used digital organisms to demonstrate how a complex feature arises in a population through evolution and natural selection. The experiment started with organisms that could do nothing but reproduce, with a mutation rate found in nature. The organisms got resources for performing logic functions; the more complex logic functions resulted in exponentially greater resources. The most complex logic function evolved in about half the populations. Half. I find that fascinatingly unexpected.

Although the article was published two years ago I find its content especially apropos given the current troubles from the Intelligent Design crowd.

I find the Intelligent Design argument ludicrous. As this article cogently states, "To deny that God has the power to create living things using natural selection is to assert something unknowable. It is also inconsistent with the belief in an omnipotent Creator." Evolution is entirely separate from, independent of, and orthogonal to one's belief (or lack thereof) in God. Darwin himself believed in God. Who are we to decide whether or not God could use evolution and natural selection?

Apparently there are some clowns whose God is so narrowly defined as to need the non-evolutionary, non-naturally-selected creation of mankind as validation. (I will allow that I have no idea how many there are, although I suspect the comments to this entry may give me an idea.) As if the entire universe was not enough. As enamored as I am of myself, I do realize that I am a remarkably tiny part of universe. While the very definition of deity allows for instantaneous creation of an entire universe, it does not require such. (Cf. that whole unknowable part)

The Intelligent Design argument is based on the notion that our current state is so improbable as to be functionally impossible without divine intervention. But they have it backward. The results in The Evolutionary Origin of Complex Features show that, while any given genome sequence is improbable (approximately one in ten to the seventieth in their experiment), there will evolve at least one genome sequence with the feature is quite probable. It is not a religious statement, just math.

By extension, while it is ridiculously improbably that this exact gene sequence for mankind would evolve, perhaps it looks to be quite probable that a gene sequence for something functionally equivalent to mankind would evolve. Rather than taking it as attack on one's narrow (and obviously weak) definition of one's God, the aforementioned clowns ought to be awed by the remarkable cleverness of how we got here.

It Needs a Patron Saint?
26 May, 2005

According to Wikipedia, “On February 17, 1958, Pope Pius XII designated [Clare of Assisi] as the patron saint of television [emphasis added], on the basis that, when she was too ill to attend a Mass, she had been miraculously able to see and hear it on the wall of her room.”

Where was she when The Brotherhood of Poland, New Hampshire needed her?

Mwa-ha-ha-ha
24 May, 2005

Take that, Billzebub!

He who Smelt it Dealt it?
24 May, 2005

Gay sex scandal rocks Spokane

I am too jaded to be surprised.

Urban Legend?
23 May, 2005

I am blessed with varied friends with myriad of skills and talents. I hope that some of you can answer a question for me.

A woman with whom my mother-in-law works claims that her child was conceived through insemination with a turkey baster. Is this an urban legend?

Puh-lease
20 May, 2005

This morning a woman preceded me into Starbucks. From the short-shorts during a fifty-degree thunderstorm, the gaudy fingernails, the orange tan, and the dark-rooted hair bleached into brittleness, I knew that she wanted to be looked at.

I have no problem with someone wanting to be looked at. Nor do I have a problem with doing the looking. Physical attraction is part of being alive. A little visual appreciation can be flattering and everyone can use a little flattery now and then.

But I do have a problem with being expected to look. I could tell from her body language and the increasing frequency of her looks my way that she was put out that I was not looking. At first it was just because she did not interest me. I saw others who were quite interested, just not me.

But then I refused to look out of contrariness. I find it sad that it matters to her that much that everyone in eyesight watch her. Is her self-esteem that low? Nevertheless I reserve the right to choose where I look.

Grocery Store Wars
18 May, 2005

Totally worth the bandwidth.

And We have Dogs Why?
18 May, 2005

We are enjoying our London broil when the biggest of our dogs scratches at the back door. I ask our eldest to let the dog in the house. A few seconds later we hear the unmistakable sound of cutlery sliding around the island in the kitchen. My spouse runs into the kitchen and starts screaming for help.

Our dog had climbed his front paws onto the island and swiped the remainder of the London broil.

As I jump into my defensive position at the other doorway to the kitchen, he comes running up, lips stretched over his loot. After a little bit of wrestling and a couple of strongly-worded “Release” commands, we got the meat back and banished him to the back yard.

And we have dogs why?