Thursday, April 30, 2009

An Epidemic of Swine

We're all gonna DIE!!!!!!

At least that's what you'd think if don't think critically, watch 24-hour news channels on cable television, and can't get through a day without keeping up with the latest paralyzing fear being hawked to you much like fast food.

The current virus set to wipe out you, me and everyone we love has contracted the unfortunate (if you're a pig) name of swine flu. The ah...idiots, of whom there are appallingly many, and those with political and religious agendas (e.g. the government of Egypt) have leaped on the name and decided to slaughter every pig in sight or stay away from pork. Ball Park franks' sales down. Hebrew National all-beef hot dogs sales on the rise. There are always winners and losers. Never mind that it's impossible to contract the disease from eating pork, if what frightens us is called swine flu, we should kill something! And besides, there are a lot fewer laws against killing pigs than there are against killing the guy who just sneezed on you at work despite the fact that that jerk at work probably deserves it more.

But we should never, ever let a good, general hysteria go to waste so I have a proposal. Just bear with me a moment while I explain some facts.

It seems that this current, worrisome virus has, due to the peculiar nature of viruses, picked up genetic material from humans, pigs and birds. Viruses are like that. It's sort of like a person who might eat breakfast at Denny's, lunch at Domino's Pizza and have supper at an Asian restaurant we'll call Paisley Thais. The difference is that instead of doing as the human being does and converting the food to sugars and fats before excreting the rest, a virus becomes part Denny's pancakes, part pepperoni pizza and part Pad Thai and all future generations of that virus carry with them pancakes, pizza and Pad Thai. We know that the virus does this because we can look at the genetic material in the virus and actually see the parts that, in the case of our current worry, came from viruses that were originally unique to humans, pigs and birds.

Now here comes the shock to a good part of the populace of America. The swine flu virus evolved and in that process acquired the ability to infect, first birds, then pigs and finally, to the great pleasure of CNN, humans. We would not be facing this particular virus at all if it were not for evolution. Thus the virus that has you shunning family, friends and public places is positive proof that Darwinian evolution takes place.

Some uncritical..ah...people who wouldn't know cognitive dissonance if it came up and bit them on the ass will tell you that, sure, evolution works for viruses and bugs and mice but god created man and he's not a part of the evolution that effects every other living thing on this planet, which, by the way, is only about 6,000 to 10,000 years old.

It is those ah...people whom I now wish to address. The Mike Huckabees, John Hegges, Fred Phelpses and Pat Robertsons. I'm also addressing the graduates of such institutions of ah...learning as Bob Jones, Oral Roberts, Liberty Baptist, Regent and similar universities and Seattle's Discovery Institute as well as fundamentalist preachers across this nation. Please stand up for your principles and the "revealed truth" that you preach and refuse vaccinations, Tamiflu and all other treatments. Invite your students to stay in school, in class, your parishioners to come to church, pass the peace and stay for the coffee social after services. You are sure that evolution is a myth so you need to stand up for your principles, act on them and not be deterred by some foolishness about immanent death. There is no evolution. You know that. Therefore, if there's a virus that's going to wipe out the human race it exists solely by the will of your god and clearly, irrefutably, god wants you dead.

So, my fundamentalist ah...friends, I urge you to look at the swine flu as an opportunity. Think of it as The Rapture by Sneeze. Your god is calling you to witness for your faith and, if you believe the cable news networks, god's calling you home as well. Heed that call. With any luck he'll call Roger Ailes and the rest of Fox News as well leaving me and the rest of us poor sinners to suffer in a much improved world once you've left us all behind. Certainly we'll have fewer swine to deal with.

Bon voyage.


Oops! You got vaccinated for something? You are laying in a supply of Tamiflu? Perhaps you should acknowledge creationism for the utter nonsense it is and send a card to the Charles Darwin Bicentennial Celebration because evolution not only is responsible for the virus that might make you ill; it's also responsible for all the actions that science (yes, that "alternative religion of the secular humanists", science) has taken to keep you and yours alive in the face of any epidemic.

Sort of like the old saw about there being no atheists in foxholes, if you haven't gotten smallpox, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, whooping cough, or tetanus because of a little shot in your arm, you're not as much of a creationist as you pretend to be, are you?

There was some old guy...can't think of his name just now...some crazy, radical ranter...he had a word for people like that. I think he called then "scribes and pharisees". The word was hypocrites.