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Humorous stories and illustrations with a message!  Good for speech sparklers or campfire tales, these stories also make a point. 

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Frogs Without Legs
A Chinese scientist placed a frog on his lab table one day to perform an experiment. First, he carefully measured its height, length, and weight.  He trained it to respond to the word “Jump!” with an immediate leap.  Carefully plotting a number of trials, he determined that the average leap in response to the stimulus was 14 centimeters.  The scientist proceeded to amputate one of the frog’s legs.  On cue, with the shout “Jump!” the frog jumped 11 centimeters.  The scientist carefully recorded the data in his lab book.  Next he amputated another leg, shouted “Jump!” and the frog jumped 6 centimeters.  Upon amputating the next leg, and giving the command to jump, the frog jumped only 1 centimeter.  All these data points were dutifully recorded and plotted.  Finally, the scientist amputated the fourth leg and shouted “Jump!” but nothing happened.  He shouted again.  He raised the decibel level and shouted “Jump!” again; still no response.  Subsequent shouts at higher decibel levels failed to stimulate the frog to jump.  The scientist concluded his experiment, therefore, entered his final data points, and wrote up his results.  His conclusion?  “Frogs without legs are deaf.”
Moral:  Raw data must be interpreted.

All Sheep in Scotland Are Black
A psychologist, a biologist, a mathematician, and a physicist were riding a train through the Scottish countryside.  Looking out the window, they all noticed a lone black sheep on a hill.  The psychologist intoned, “Well, what do you know.  I didn’t realize the sheep in Scotland were black.”  The biologist corrected him, saying, “You don’t know that all the sheep in Scotland are black – just some of them.”  Piping in, the mathematician retorted, “Tut, tut, tut, to be correct you must say, ‘At least one’ sheep in Scotland is black.”  The physicist had the last word, though, stating, “Gentlemen, all we know with certainty based on our observations is that at least one sheep in Scotland is black on at least one side, at least part of the time.”
Moral:  There are hard and soft sciences, and extrapolation is not always justified.
Application: microevolution vs. macroevolution

Infinite Series
In Evolution From Space (Simon and Schuster, 1981, pp. 148-149) Sir Fred Hoyle* related the following joke (attributed to Thomas Gold) to make the point that you can’t logically pass your scientific explanation to an infinite series in the dim past:

    A male lecturer had spoken about the nature of the Earth and
planets.  Afterwards, an old lady came up to him from the audience,
claiming she had a theory superior to the one he had described.  ‘We don’t
live on a ball revolving around the Sun,’ she said, ‘we live on a crust of
earth on the back of a giant turtle.’
    Wishing to humor the old lady the lecturer asked, ‘And what does
this turtle stand on?’
    ‘On the back of a second, still larger turtle’, was the confident
answer.
    ‘But what holds up the second turtle?’ the lecturer persisted, now in a
slightly exasperated tone.
    ‘It’s no use, mister,’ the old woman replied, ’it’s turtles all the way
down.’
Moral: Appealing to an infinity of causes is a dodge, not an explanation.  A theory needs something to stand on.
Application: Panspermia, steady-state theory, chaotic inflation, infinite universes, many-worlds hypothesis of quantum mechanics.
*Hoyle comments that this story epitomizes the conundrum of life: “So long as living cells come from pre-existing cells we are calling on support from another turtle.  The issue is where do the turtles stop?  The conventional answer is that the turtle pile floats on a sea of organic soup, an answer as scientifically improbable as Tommy Gold’s story makes it sound.”  Yet he admitted that his steady-state cosmology risks the same accusation: “Since we regard the universe as evolving, but on a time-scale much longer than 10 billion years, we are still left with the problem of what ultimately supported the old lady’s pile of turtles” (p. 149).  The ‘spectre” he proposes (p. 149) is an infinite series of intelligences (ch. 9) – guilty of the same fallacy, as he concludes: “We simply exchange a pile of turtles for a pile of elephants.  The last part of chapter 9, which we shall not repeat here, gave our attempt to grapple with this transposition, and with the problem of infinity, the ultimate compass of the universe.”  But if you read chapter 9, his asymptotic limit of intelligences, represented by the sequence:
    ... -> ????? -> ???? -> ??? -> ?? -> ? -> man -> ...
is just a pile of turtles.  Thus he recognized the problem but did not solve it.

Get Your Own Dirt
One day a group of scientists got together and decided that man had come a long way and no longer needed God.  So they picked one scientist to go and tell Him that they were done with Him.  The scientist walked up to God and said, “God, we've decided that we no longer need you.  We’re to the point that we can clone people and do many miraculous things, so why don’t you just go on and mind your own business?”
God listened very patiently and kindly to the man.  After the scientist was done talking, God said, “Very well, how about this?  Let’s say we have a man-making contest.”  To which the scientist replied, “Okay, we can handle that!”
“But,” God added, “we’re going to do this just like I did back in the old days with Adam.”
The scientist said, “Sure, no problem” and bent down and grabbed himself a handful of dirt.
God looked at him and said, “No, no, no.  You go get your own dirt.”
Moral:  It isn’t enough just to be able to explain the origin of life, if you cannot explain the raw materials and fine-tuned parameters of chemistry and physics.  As Carl Sagan said in Cosmos, “To really make an apple pie from scratch, you must begin by inventing the universe.”

The Banana
Two construction workers, Moe and Joe, were riding on a train, eating their lunches.  Moe peeled his banana and took a bite.  At that very instant, the train entered a dark tunnel.  “Joe!” he shouted to his friend.  “Yeah, what?”  Joe answered, unconcerned.  “Did you eat your banana yet?”  “No,” he replied.  “Well, don’t!” Moe exclaimed.  “I just bit into mine and went blind!”
Moral:  Beware the fallacy “post hoc, ergo propter hoc” (after the fact, therefore because of the fact).
Variation: “Drinking coffee on an airline causes turbulence.”
Application: origin of life, evolution.

Never Mind, God
A boy fell off a cliff and cried out, “Lord, save me!”  Before he finished the sentence his shirt caught on a branch.  “Never mind, God,” he said, relieved; “This branch here caught me.”
Moral:  We sometimes fail to see the hand of God in our lives.

I’m OK; God Will Save Me
   Floods were being forecast after a period of heavy rain, and the townspeople were being ordered to evacuate as a nearby river began to overflow its banks.  A man escaping in his car noticed his neighbor sitting calmly on his front porch.  He called out, “Bill, do you need a ride?”  “No, I’ll be all right; God will save me,” he replied.  After about an hour, the waters were rising in the street.  Another evacuee was rowing by in a boat and saw Bill, still sitting on his front porch.  “Say, mister,” he called out, “would you like a lift?”  “No, I’m OK,” Bill replied, “God will save me.”  Several hours later, Bill was sitting on top of his roof.  A helicopter flew over and the pilot shouted down with his bullhorn, “Sir, grab this line and I’ll pull you to safety.”  “That’s OK, don’t worry about it,” he answered.  “God will save me.”
   Well, old Bill drowned and found himself at the gate of heaven, surprised and stunned.  He asked a nearby angel, “What happened?  How did I get here?  I was trusting that God was going to save me.”  “Thou fool,” the angel responded, “The Master sent you a car and a boat and a helicopter; what more did you want?”
Moral:  God also works through natural means, and we need to get involved – or – God’s sovereignty is no excuse for irresponsibility.
Quote: “His eye is on the sparrow, but God doesn’t put the worm in the nest.”

Adam and Eve Jokes
1. “Adam, do you love me?”  “Who else?”
2. Madam, I’m Adam. (a palindrome)
3. The Help Mate
Adam was enjoying his first day in the garden, naming the animals and swinging through the trees, but after awhile was feeling a little lonely.  The Lord said, “Adam, I’ve got just the thing for you.  It will be a beautiful creature, like you but different, who will be a delight for your eyes.  She will be a perfect companion and friend, play with you, give you wonderful feelings, caress you and care about your innermost desires.  She will talk and laugh with you, never argue or complain, smile at you and blow you kisses and wink and make you feel like a real man.  Not only that, she will cook and clean for you, pick up your things, make your lunches, cut your hair, make your bed and be up in the morning before you to make your breakfast, and . . . ”  “Whoa, that sounds great,” Adam interrupted, “but what will it cost?”  “Well, that’s the hard part,” God answered; “It’s going to cost you an arm and a leg.”  Adam thought for a moment, turned his head and sighed.  After a long pause, he turned back to the Lord and bargained, “How much can I get for a rib?”
4. [Touchè for the women in the audience] – God made woman second because practice makes perfect.

5. God created the donkey and told him: you will work tireless from sun up to sun down, carrying heavy bags on your back, you'll eat grass, you will not have intelligence and you will live 50 years.  You will be a DONKEY!
   The donkey answered: I'll be a donkey, but living 50 years is too much, give me only 20 years.  And God gave him 20 years.

God created the dog and told him: You will look after the man, you will be his best friend, you will eat whatever they give you and you will live 25 years.  You will be a DOG!
   The dog answered: God, living 25 years is too much; give me only 10.  God gave him 10 years.

God created the monkey and told him: You will jump from branch to branch, you will do silly things, you will be amusing and you will live 20 years.  You will be a MONKEY!
   The monkey answered: God, living 20 years is too much for that kind of life; give me only 10 years.  And God agreed.

Finally, God created man, and told him: You will be Man, the only rational being on this earth, you will use your intelligence to control other animals, you will dominate the world and you will live for 20 years.
   The man answered: God, I'll be man, but living 20 years is not enough, why don't you give me the 30 years that the donkey refused, the 20 years that the dog did not want and the 10 years that the monkey refused.

That was what God did, and since then, Man lives 20 years like a man, then he enters adulthood and spends 30 years like a donkey, working and carrying the load on his back, then when his children leave home, spends 15 years like a dog, looking after the house and eating whatever is given to him, then he gets into retirement, and spends 10 years like a monkey, jumping from one child’s house to another, doing silly things to amuse the grandchildren.

Everything I Really Need to Know I Learned From Noah's Ark

  1. Plan ahead.  It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark.
  2. Stay fit.  When you're 600 years old, someone might ask you to do something REALLY big.
  3. Don't listen to critics – do what has to be done.
  4. Build on the high ground.
  5. For safety's sake, travel in pairs.
  6. Two heads are better than one.
  7. Speed isn't always an advantage.  The cheetahs were on board, but so were the snails.
  8. If you can't fight or flee – float!
  9. Take care of your animals as if they were the last ones on earth.
  10. Don't forget that we're all in the same boat.
  11. When things gets really deep, don't sit there and complain – shovel!
  12. Stay below deck during the storm.
  13. Remember that the ark was built by amateurs and the Titanic was built by professionals.
  14. If you have to start over, have a friend by your side.
  15. Remember that the woodpeckers INSIDE are often a bigger threat than the storm outside.
  16. Don't miss the boat.
  17. No matter how bleak it looks, there's always a rainbow on the other side.
DHMO: The Invisible Killer
   Dihydrogen monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless substance, and it kills uncounted thousands of people every year.  Most of these deaths are caused by accidental inhalation of DHMO, but the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide do not end there.  Prolonged exposure to its solid form causes severe tissue damage.  Symptoms of DHMO ingestion can include excessive sweating and urination, and possibly a bloated feeling, nausea, vomiting and body electrolyte imbalance.  For those who have become dependent, DHMO withdrawal means certain death.
  Dihydrogen monoxide:    Contamination Is Reaching Epidemic Proportions!  Quantities of dihydrogen monoxide have been found in almost every stream, lake, and reservoir in America today.  But the pollution is global, and the contaminant has even been found in Antarctic ice.  DHMO has caused millions of dollars of property damage in the midwest, and recently California.
   Despite the danger, dihydrogen monoxide is often used:    Companies dump waste DHMO into rivers and the ocean, and nothing can be done to stop them because this practice is still legal.  The impact on wildlife is extreme, and we cannot afford to ignore it any longer!
   The Horror Must Be Stopped!  The American government has refused to ban the production, distribution, or use of this damaging chemical due to its “importance to the economic health of this nation.”  In fact, the navy and other military organizations are conducting experiments with DHMO, and designing multi-billion dollar devices to control and utilize it during warfare situations.  Hundreds of military research facilities receive tons of it through a highly sophisticated underground distribution network.  Many store large quantities for later use.
    It's Not Too Late!  Act NOW to prevent further contamination. Find out more about this dangerous chemical.  What you don't know can hurt you and others throughout the world.  Send email to no_dhmo@circus.com, or write: Coalition to Ban DHMO, 211 Pearl St., Santa Cruz CA, 95060.
Moral:  Think critically.  DHMO is plain ol’ water.


The Future of Cannibal Rights
A satire on the moral decay of modern society, from
Creation-Evolution Headlines 08/28/2003
by David F. Coppedge

First it will be something kinky on Jerry Springer that college students find amusing, then the practitioners will be seen as victims, who cannot help the way they were born.  Some scientific journal will report a potential health benefit, and a psychology journal will conclude that it is harmless, and actually has positive social effects in some populations.  Someone will find a gene for cannibalistic propensities.
    The ACLU will support a test case of cannibalism for medicinal use; defense attorneys will argue that it is no different in principle from using fetal tissues or embryonic stem cells for medical treatment.  Cannibal Rights groups will arise, with marches on Washington; these will be reported compassionately by the media, making people sympathetic for this new class of the oppressed; the “religious right, ” by contrast, will be the bad guys.  A ranting protestor, who will be labeled a fundamentalist Christian, will be shown delivering hate speech to a mild, nicely-dressed cannibal.  Commentators will complain that the members of the religious right always want to shove their values down other people’s throats (but some will try to respond that they want to prevent other material from going down their throats).
    The Discovery Channel will sanitize the history of cannibal societies, portraying them as healthier and better adjusted than stressed-out, obese Americans; after all, it was Christian missionaries, whose exaggerated and biased reports gave cannibals an undeserved negative reputation.  Celebrities, gradually at first, will become more open about their private cannibalism, from I don’t see anything particularly wrong with it, to I tried it once when I was young, to Only a bigot would try to stop someone from doing what he or she feels is best for their own health.  Actors will out each other.  Cable companies will offer the Cannibal News Network, late nights at first, then prime time.  This will be followed by Cannibal History, Cannibal Gourmet and Cannibal Planet.
    Slogans like “Eat the one you love” and “You are what you eat” will be seen on backpacks and locker doors of public school children, who will have attended required presentations by visiting cannibals brought in to describe their lifestyle under the banner of diversity and sensitivity.  Nose bones will become chic on campus.  Pretending to gnaw on another’s arm will be funny at first, then a sign of affection.  Laws will by then have incrementally reduced penalties for cannibalism except in the most violent cases.  Readers of best-sellers will be shocked at first, then amused, at great historical figures that were alleged to have had cannibalistic tendencies.
      Cannibals will take on a new label, “Sweet,” to overcome any lingering prejudice about cannibalism.  Sweet Rock will become the hottest trend in music.  Some over-zealous right-winger who can’t take it any more will bomb a Sweet Barbecue, and this will become a cause celebre for the Sweet Rights movement.  There will be no end of replays on TV of the shocking incident (the cameras will avoid, however, the looters picking up on all the newly-distributed body parts).  In response to this deplorable act, harsh new laws will be enacted against those who protest or obstruct Sweet events.  Conservative politicians will get nowhere unless they express moderation on the Sweet Rights controversy and support cannibal privacy laws.  It will be considered marginally tolerable for a conservative to say, “Well, though I disapprove of the practice myself, I’m not one to judge what someone does in the privacy of their own home.”  Liberal politicians and celebrities, on the other hand, will be grand marshals at the Sweet Pride Parades.
    The U.N., with a strong contingent of representatives from cannibal countries, will have been harshly criticizing America for years on this issue.  Europeans will wag their heads at how intolerant the Americans are, and some will refuse to do business with the U.S. until it grants full civil rights to the Sweet People.  Finally, the Supreme Court will find a right to cannibalism in the Constitution, and it will become a hate crime to speak out against it.
    Supermarkets of the future will be amply stocked with “Sweet” products, attractively packaged, USDA-approved, and microwave-ready.  Public service announcements will encourage partakers not to use black market products, which might contain disease, but only to purchase through legitimate approved sources, including flesh farms where genetically-modified (GM) brainless bodies are grown under sanitary conditions, and clinics where volunteers can submit their bodies for consumption.  The benefits of clean cannibalism will be advertised: recycling, less need for valuable cemetery land, and healthy spare organs for those on waiting lists.  Consumers will feel a little better if they see labels certifying that the contents contain no leftovers from Christian executions in totalitarian countries.  Though everyone thinks bigoted reactionaries are deplorable and deserve condemnation, capital punishment is still taboo among civilized societies.


See our page of humorous evolution songs in the Darwin Hymnbook!