Monday, February 06, 2006


The following two paragraphs make me think of the relationship between Vice-President Cheney and Halliburton and also of the relationship of Cheney's aphid, George Bush, and his aphids, the fundamentalists. It's a whole chain of networking aphids!

"Several groups of ants have independently evolved the habit of keeping domestic 'dairy' animals in the form of aphids. Unlike other symbiotic insects that live inside ants' nests and don't benefit the ants, the aphids are pastured out in the open, sucking sap from plants as they normally do. As with mammalian cattle, aphids have a high throughput of food, taking only a small amount of nutriment from each morsel. The residue that emerges from the rear end of an aphid is sugar-water 'honeydew'—only slightly less nutritious than the plant sap that goes in at the front. Any honeydew not eaten by ants rains down from trees infested with aphids, and is plausibly thought to be the origin of 'manna in the Book of Exodus. It should not be surprising that ants gather it up, for the same reason as the followers of Moses did. But some ants have gone further and corralled aphids, giving them protection in exchange for being allowed to 'milk' the aphids, tickling their rear ends to make them secrete honeydew which the ant eats directly from the aphid's anus.

"At least some aphid species have evolved in response to their domestic existence. They have lost some of the normal aphid defensive responses and, according to one intriguing suggestion, some have modified their rear end to resemble the face of an ant. Ants are in the habit of passing liquid food to one another, mouth to mouth, and the suggestion is that individual aphids that evolved this rear-end face-mimicry facilitated being 'milked' and therefore gained protection by ants from predators." —Again, Richard Dawkins in THE ANCESTOR'S TALE, pp. 396-397.


The following is another letter to the editor I've written but haven't sent off. I have so many of them. It is primarily a failure of imagination that makes fundamentalists so dense and literal. How could they claim that the Bible has all the truth in the world, when it's so obvious, with the use of a little creative imagination, the primitive conditions Bible people lived in? Most couldn't even read or write. If they knew so much, why did we have to wait until 1969 to go to the Moon? Well, you know what I mean. . . .

"Go space shuttle! We should thank our lucky stars that we live in modern times. Imagine what it was like just 2000 years ago in Bible times? Few could read or write. Most lived short, ignorant, superstitious, filthy and brutish lives. Old age was 35 years. Everyone lived in fear of imaginary spirits in the skies, under the earth, in forests and oceans. In Bible-wild imaginations, demons dwelled in the earth and, on the high places, they imagined good spirits. Little was known of medicine and surgery. Famines and plagues constantly swept the earth, and there were no vaccinations for them. People of those times knew nothing of the vastness of space or the depths of human psychology, of awesome physic’s theorems or the truths of evolutionary biology. They could not conceive of quantum mechanics. They dwelt in utter ignorance and were even more warlike than we are. At least we liberal moderns know enough to try and resist our conservative, neocon animal impulses to kill those we disagree with. In those days who could even imagine such a thing as a rocket powered space flight, let alone an earth that circled the sun? Bible times, bah!"

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