left biblioblography: Dissing Theism – A Short Look At “What The Fuck?!?!?”

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Dissing Theism – A Short Look At “What The Fuck?!?!?”

Cross posted @ God Is 4 Suckers!guineaworm

(Hat tip to Talk Reason)

"If there is a God, he is a malign thug."  - Mark Twain

It’s no secret: one of my minor hobbies is dystheism (found under the topic misotheism) which stipulates that it is:

A related concept is dystheism (Greek δύσθεος "ungodly"), the belief that a god is not wholly good, and is possibly evil. Trickster gods found in polytheistic belief systems often have a dystheistic nature. One example is Eshu, a trickster god from Yoruba mythology who deliberately fostered violence between groups of people for his own amusement, saying that "causing strife is my greatest joy."

And I have ranted before on this topic - how some loving omniscient omnipresent deity loves us all enough to festoon the planet with nothing short of living biological anti-personnel mines. I have heard various weird rationalizations for this: I’ve had one fellow tell me these were ‘design trade-offs’, albeit this was never demonstrated. The same fellow told me that the reason for these creatures was to ensure that Man never thinks of himself as, or elevates himself to, God’s position. I was assured that this was ‘sound theology’ (a more blaring oxymoron I have yet to encounter).

And really, some of the examples to be trotted out would be amusing, if they weren’t so obviously brutal.

For instance,

Babirusa hog (Babyrousa babyrussa). This odd-looking Indonesian pig, while not dangerous to humans, is another excellent example of God's sense of humor. The males have brittle tusks that develop from their canine teeth and curve back inwards on their heads; they continue growing throughout and, if not broken off in the course of life, eventually pierce their skull between the eyes.

The bizarre appearance of this creature (endemic to Sulawesi Island) has spawned many legends and superstitions among the populace, such as inspiring the creation of shamanistic masks.

Lends new nuance to the phrase, “in a pig’s eye!”

Sacculina Carcini. This barnacle, possibly the crowning glory of earth's biota, can castrate and quite literally zombify the Green River crab. The female floats in the water, finds a crab, drills a hole in its leg, and injects a small amount of her innards. These cells wander around inside the crustacean and eventually lodge in its belly. Possession tendrils begin to infest the entire creature, forcing it to stop growing. If male, the crab is feminized; the parasitic barnacle's egg sac replaces the original reproductive system.
But the process isn't over yet. The female Sacculina punches numerous holes in the neutered crab's body so that male barnacles can get in and fertilize its eggs. Once that's accomplished, the tendrils take over the crab's nervous system, making it autonomously guard, care for and clean the parasitic egg sac as if it were its own. And once they hatch, a repeat performance is in order.

Wow…innuendo overload on that one.

Mycobacterium leprae. This bacterium, which causes leprosy, has several complex systems designed to defeat the protection offered by the (also designed) immune system. This includes lipid disguises, the ability to hijack a discarded immune system protein to mask itself from white blood cells, suppressing the immune response itself, and other mechanisms.

Aided by these God-given abilities, the germ invades the body and causes permanently disfiguring lesions, sensory loss in the affected areas, and other symptoms. In the latter stages, gangrene can set in, resulting in the death of entire body parts.

And strangely, the bible offers a cure for this – but hasn’t been adopted by modern medicine. Hmmm…wonder why.

And this lovely ‘fisher of men’

Candiru catfish (Vandellia cirrhosa). This is a tiny catfish, often less than one inch long, that lives in the Amazon and Oranoco rivers of South America. Voraciously bloodthirsty, they often crawl up the anus or urethra of unsuspecting human bathers. They deploy specially built spines, located around their head, to draw blood and anchor themselves. Unfortunately, they then tend to swell and get stuck inside. The spines are designed so well that only surgery (usually amputation of the genital area) can get rid of them!

The interplay of systems required for this little fish is similarly amazing. In particular, the spines are a miraculously crafted example of divine ingenuity.

And if you get kissed by this critter, well, it’s definitely not French style:

Kissing Bugs (Triatoma protracta and others). These insects, many of which can be readily identified by a distinctive "X" on their back, have such a fine biting mouthpart that the sleeping victim never even feels it piercing their lip, eyelids or ears to feed! Of course, as Dr. William Dembski has shown, there are "no free lunches"; the pain comes later, and some experience deadly anaphylactic shock from the insect's saliva.

A finely-designed parasite which causes Chagas' disease, an incurable form of African sleeping sickness, is also sometimes transmitted by the bug. If you live in a Central or Southern American country, where some estimates place 25% of the population at risk, you may want to pray that God protects you from His creations.

And of course, the one animal that revolted Darwin himself:

Cicada Killer Wasps (Sphecius speciosus). These critters have an utterly fascinating life cycle. After mating, the female digs a burrow. She excavates several oval chambers at the deep end. She then goes hunting for cicadas, stings them with a powerful paralyzing agent, and drags them back home. She lays eggs next to the cicadas and seals them up in the chamber. Incredibly, the venom only paralyzes, not kills; it preserves the cicadas, keeping them free from decomposition for several days while the larvae feast on their innards. The vital organs are eaten first, and the brain last.

This IG organism requires an impressive mosaic of interdependent designs. Without the incapacitating preservative agent, the cicadas would begin decomposing well before the wasp's larvae hatch; without a sting to inject it with, the agent would be useless; without an instinct to dig the burrow, or drag the frozen cicada back home for that matter, the wasp would have gone extinct long ago; and so on.

I could go on at length: there are hundreds upon thousands of examples. I can dredge up 5 of the most horrific bugs of all time – all inimical to our species. No? My point is sufficiently made?

So in synopsis: I prefer very much that the universe doesn’t care about me. Because I’d rather not have the attention of something that could construct these horrifying nightmarish critters – the only word that sums it up properly, is fiendish.

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