Adventures in Ethics and Science

Search term hilarity.

I have a couple of substantive posts percolating, but I need to scrape some ice first. (Plus, you know, attend to some grading and administrative tasks.)

In the meantime, I wanted to share a sampling of some of the search queries that have brought people to this blog:

“originally designed with good intention but no longer makes sense”

“do people willingly vaccinate their trees?”


“philosophy paper grading drinking games”

“my work has been tolerated”

“animals that lay perfectly round eggs”

“three toed sloth sex jokes”

“america stop listening to scientists”

Some of these are almost poetic.

Others (especially the fourth and the seventh) seem like they should be added to my to-do list, post haste.


  1. #1 Jared
    December 9, 2009

    #1 describes many things…
    #2 makes me particularly curious since trees have no adaptive immune system.
    #3 leaves me wondering “why?”
    #4 could be interesting
    #5 just sounds very sad
    #6 leaves me wondering what the limits of “perfection” are and how an egg can be round rather than spherical
    #7 might be a little slow
    #8 describes something which has already happened for the most part…

    I’ve had some strange ones, too, but these are pretty good.
    My best ones are as follows:
    “sex on 2012 doomsday” (still puzzles me)
    “asparagus cures cancer” (before I wrote a post debunking this)
    “agkistrodon bilineatus mating” (I understand this, but it’s an odd search considering it was an image search)
    And my favorite:
    “how to whandle poisenous snakes”
    note the misspelled “poisonous” as well as the fact that no snakes are “poisonous,” but venomous)

  2. #2 SteveWH
    December 9, 2009

    I thought the same thing about #4.

    Some ideas:

    Whenever a paper begins with some variant of, “Philosophers throughout history have always wondered about . . .”, you take a drink.

    Whenever the student reverses the views of the two philosophers being compared/contrasted. e.g. “Although innate ideas were fundamental to Locke’s argument for the existence of God, Descarte rejected them.”

    Whenever a student commits an informal fallacy, take a drink.

    Whenever a student tries to pass off an example that was either given in class or discussed in the course readings as her own, take a drink. (I find that responses to William Clifford’s ‘The Ethics of Belief’ often mention that his position rules out the possibility of faith, and yet they never mention James . . .)

    What others?

  3. #3 arvind
    December 9, 2009

    Oooh…ooh…I just made one up for #7:

    A three-toed sloth walks into a bar. The bartender goes “What took you so long to come?”

  4. #4 Kenny Easwaran
    December 9, 2009

    This page is now the first hit for the three-toed sloth sex joke search. Second is pictures of three-toed sloths from National Geographic.

  5. #5 Dan
    December 10, 2009


    I dunno if that quite qualifies as a sex joke, arvind. It’s got the double entendre, sure, but it’s not really about sex.

    Now, if the three-toed sloth were to walk into a brothel

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