May 25, 2005

How the Snee Came to Be

A whimsical, Seussian allegory of the Anthropic Principle
In a place far away
Past the bright Milky Way
Set a world known as Idlewildream

It was balmy and warm
Pleasant evenings, the norm
And where details are more than would seem

On there lived a lone race
In a valley apace
Of a mountainous cragulous peak

They were fuzzy and blue
Quite small, but not too
Of one horn and one tail and one streak

I shall call them the "Snee"
Which they're happy to be
In that being's less dreary than not

They're a cleverous bunch
Never stopping to lunch
While there's interesting thinks to be thought

One day a Snee pup
Turned his restless head up
And he spied a new venturous prize

No one'd been on the mount
In Snee years beyond count
So he set his blue feet to the rise

Two Snee join in his quest
(In his own mind, the best)
Thus began the long scramblous climb

After hours they drew
(Maybe three, maybe two)
O're the crest, one tired Snee at a time

And there they beheld
As their proud Snee hearts swelled
A reward worth their energy spent

A wondrous machine
There'd remarkably been
Set long years without blemish or dent

It was tall as ten Snee
Stacked up shoulder to knee
And twice long as was high I would guess

There were levers and dials
And there must have been miles
Of pipe, tube, and electrical dress

The brave Snee shuffled near
More with reverence than fear
And they drank in the beast with their eyes

They saw settings on knobs
As to do different jobs
And the end had a chute 'bout Snee size

Those three began to think
Snee thoughts worthy of ink
As they pondered the curious device

And they gathered to speak
For it's truth that Snee seek
Or at least seek a truth that delights

Said Snee One of the three
"Now I find this to be
A contraption of curious combine

"'Tis orderly and exact
And complexity packed
And is graceful of angle and line"

Then Snee Two spoke his mind
"Why, this thing is divine
And I wonder at finding it here

"For some task it was made
And some purpose it's played
And perhaps its creator is near"

Then Snee Three spoke at length
"Now, your words do have strength
But I think your conclusion's in error

"See, it's made of mere stuff
One might find in the rough
And those knobs are a random affair

"It's the rain keeps it clean
And no owner is seen
So our inquest may come to no end

"Has no use I discern
And there's no way to learn
Only fancy on which to depend"

And thus went the debate
And continued quite late
Three views making a Snee three-way tie

"We should try it!" posed One
"We might coax it to run
Well, at least we might give it a try"

So they surveyed the thing
With some hope of finding
Some secret that would bring it to life

Till they found a gold key
Fit for hands of a Snee
And a slot to slip in like a knife

"Turn it! Turn it!" cried Two
"It is just as I knew
It was made by a key-making mind"

They did just as he said
And what once had seemed dead
Came awake as it shivered and whined

Banks of light came aglow
Sounds proceeded to grow
And Snee patience was put to a test

One new sound picked up strength
And it traveled the length
Then next moment all came to a rest

Six anxious Snee eyes
Watched with open surprise
As their answer spilled out of the chute

'Twas a full-blooded Snee
Looking same as the three
In his fuzzy blue Snee birthday suit

Said One, "Now it appears
That these gauges and gears
Are all set for producing Sneekind

"But we've no cause to say
It was built in such way
That Snee output is all we might find"

Said Two, "It seems plain
To a right-working brain
That this thing has been crafted for Snee

"Someone's taken great care
To plan horn, tail, and hair
And to bring us forth purposefully"

"Now this does seem," said Three
"Most coincidentally
To be tailored for Snee making use

"But I'm willing to bet
It could all be reset
And its purpose, in fact, is quite loose

"Why, with random set dials
It could surely make piles
Of wombat and woozle and wookee

"'Tis one's own selfish mind
To belove his own kind
And presume it the grandest to be"

Said One, "I suggest
That we secondly test
By adjusting this gizmo anew"

So they twisted and poked
Till their Snee brows were soaked
Turned the key carefully and withdrew

All three Snee were impressed
That they hadn't distressed
The device with their meddlesome work

But it ran as before
Although with somewhat more
Of a rattle and groan and a jerk

Soon they got their result
But they feared there was fault
When they saw what their plan had produced

It looked rather obscene
Like an old tangerine
Tossed aside after having been juiced

"This won't do," said Snee One
"We should try a new run
And perhaps we shall have better luck"

So the knobs were reset
They all placed a small bet
And then out came a wingless brass duck

Said Snee Two in distress
"Look, we're making a mess
This machine must be tuned with great care

"These knobs must be set right
And our know-how is light
And we won't pull that out of thin air"

Said Snee Three with a snort
"It's no time to abort
We've just started our thing-making test

"There's a million unset
Combinations left yet
And it's unlikely just one works best"

So the Snee forged ahead
In spite of Two's dread
In what seemed a good plan to pursue

But they managed to make
Only error and mistake
And enough freaks to fill up a zoo

They made helium rocks
And numberless clocks
Some dry water and tailless snakes

They made spherical blocks
And fifteen-toed socks
Iron balloons and flavorless cakes

Then a one-legged chair
And Swiss cheese underwear
Some hot ice and a gelatin brick

Then a three-cornered square
And a black polar bear
Toothless combs and a one-ended stick

In time Snee Two spoke
"This is like a bad joke
We're just wasting our precious lives here

"We could try through next week
To adjust and to tweak
But we'll get nothing useful I fear"

Said One, "Perhaps it's best
That we give up this test
There's no effect we can guarantee

"Let us end our failed hack
And put this thing back
To the settings we know can make Snee"

So they started to strain
In their fuzzy Snee brain
For the baseline from which they'd begun

They reset all the dials
And ran multiple trials
But of error-free Snee they made none

Said One, "Seems we're close
But as each of us knows
It's a failure how ever we choose

"These knobs seem well set
But the best we can get
Is a fuzzy blue puddulous ooze"

Snee Two's shoulders were bent
And his patience was spent
And he made his thoughts known to his friends

"Count me out of this game
It is ever the same
All our efforts just lead to dead ends

"There may be something more
This machine can work for
But we don't know quite what that could be

"And with all that we try
We can't even say why
This device undertakes to make Snee

"Now it's not just my mood
But I'm led to conclude
Someone's meant us and made us with care

"I'm inspired to seek out
What you may care to doubt
And perhaps He's left more clues elsewhere"

Snee One nodded his head
Took a deep breath and said
"These are sensible words that you speak

"But there's no need for haste
We've just got a mere taste
Think what more could be learned in a week!"

Said Snee Three, looking bored
"I can barely afford
All the time I've invested this day

"Yes, I'm sure we could find
It makes more than Sneekind
If we just would continue to play

"But I have no desire
And t'would only inspire
Dear Snee Two to see ghosts in machines

"And I will not believe
Though it may make him grieve
In fairies, luck charms, and magic beans

"There's no maker of Snee
Or designer I see
Just one gizmo quite luckily set

"And if someone is there
Who loves fuzzy blue hair
Then how odd it is we've never met

"It may be unlikely
That this thing's set for Snee
But it must be set somehow, you know

"And imagine if there
Are machines everywhere
On high mountains wherever they grow

"And I think furthermore
That the odds we'd ignore
If machines were on worlds round each star

"Then with each set unique
By a force yet to seek
Chance would be in our favor by far"

Thus we leave our three friends
To their own separate ends
And their thoughts on the meaning of Snee

Each unique attitude
Colors what they conclude
As stained glasses through which they each see

Snee One has a mind
That is open but blind
He's at home in the land of half-right

Of raw data and fact
He's precise and exact
But the Truth remains just out of sight

Snee Two's highly aware
It's through hearts that we stare
But a reasonable faith is no crime

He's no fear of belief
Indecision's a thief
That steals purpose and pleasure and time

Snee Three lives in denial
Over what cramps his style
Liberty is more precious than truth

He's an accident who
Tends to live like one too
With no purpose or meaning or rhyme
Copyright © 2005 Paul S. Pruett


At 5/25/2005 1:23 PM, Blogger Paul said...

The idea for this parable came to me while debating the Anthropic Principle on a messageboard at I was reminded of a Dr. Seuss book about Star-Bellied Sneetches while writing it, which influenced the flavor and reading level of the work. I also was determined to keep it light enough that my 8 year old son could enjoy it.

Snee one represents raw science, though, perhaps, with a naturalistic bias. Snee two is a theist who is not afraid to take things at face-value. Snee three is the skeptic who is predisposed not to believe in any kind of personal designer.

At 5/28/2005 11:41 PM, Blogger TK said...

Hi, that was a great poem.

I might end up leading a Bible study for students at the college that I work at. The guy who normally does it may not be able to do it in the 2005/2006 semester.

I'd like to use it if you wouldn't mind. I couldn't find your name on the lifeway website, so this is my best attempt at contacting you.

At 5/29/2005 7:17 PM, Blogger Paul said...

TK, feel free to use it for your class. I used it myself with the High School group I lead. It worked well as a lead-in for a discussion of the Anthropic Principle. You can find my articles on by searching for "Pruett," but you won't find an email address there. I like to keep that tight, though comment posting is available on both blogspot and, and I keep an eye on those. Glad you liked the poem. That's one of those things you finish and then think, there's got to be something this thing can be used for.


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