Posts Tagged ‘Common Sense’

Adam and Eve
ADVANCE WARNING:The following post is lengthy and should not be read by those with weak intellectual capacity or those with grievously short attention spans. Or if you’re easily offended by provocation of thought or saucy language.

It is my firm belief that I try to give everybody a fair shake, anyone who has read this blog for a while should see that. Sure, I push a few buttons once in a while, but I am (most of the time) categorically respectful—with one glaring exception . . . the stupid.

I shall reiterate my criterion: I have no qualm with those who simply don’t know better, whether through lack of experience or education. My acrimony is freely showered upon the willingly stupid, those whom, at any point, can—and should—take the opportunities to better themselves over gulping down dogma of any sort—but don’t.

One of the most contentious and erstwhile of these are the bleating sheep who, lucky for them, don’t drown in the shallow waters of brainless religion—zealots, non-thinkers, habitual conformers without concern for understanding (or functioning brain stems).

Now, just so I can be sure to offend as many people as possible up front, I share the following placard, not merely for shock value but moreso for its gospel truth:


The following is an important foundational principle of this blog post: A myth can be a duplicitous thing—when standing outside it looking in it clearly is a way for the culture of origin to deal with or understand its environs at the time; when standing inside a myth it becomes something else entirely . . . it becomes divine truth. Myths hide the fact they are myths–they offer a reconciling story. It (mythology) is a way of being human with an existential appeal.

As I mention later, these cultural stories can often be what shape and inform entire communities or peoples, give their lives value and direction. More often they help drive home a deeper ethical, psychological, or symbolic truth which is designed to keep one on the proper path. Myth means ‘sacred story’; it is a way of looking at reality which puts us into that story.

Galileo once wrote “All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.” Discovery takes a willingness to continually ask why, and then question the answer until the proof becomes irreducible. At that point one has a truth which was never really hidden to begin with–it only required our pursuit to fully understand it once we found it.

So, let’s begin, shall we?

Last week I was browsing through my news reader and came across a headline something like this: Christian college taking heat for stance on evolution.

I feel no shame in admitting I am not a scientist, but I very much enjoy—even fascinated by—science. I am grateful that God gave me the capacity to apply a modicum of logic and structured thinking about the world around me. This gift is what gives me the ability to almost instantly recognize morons of any stripe, regardless of their feeble cover or colorful costumes (If in doubt, see my post about the one-quarter of short-bus Americans).

We’ll arrive at the Mythology perspective in a few moments, but first back to the article at issue.

Initially I didn’t read the article because, well, I figured it was an idiot-fest in the making. But the headline festered and like any weakness it kept whispering my name, annoying in the same way eyelashes tangling is irritating or in the way the person seated next to you during mass keeps trying to clear their throat quietly, fooling themselves into thinking no one else can hear.

You know, the kind of things that make you—if for just a passing moment—want to beat the living crap out of somebody.

So, yeah, I caved in, opened the article, and started reading.

This is where the fun begins, kids, so please keep all hands and feet inside the cart while the ride is in motion, and please remember—no flash photography.

I really wish I could begin this with “In a galaxy far, far away . . .” because it would allow me to feel some pity for the distant galaxy. Sadly, we have to share the same piece of galactic real estate with people who can’t draw distinctions between fact and fiction. Enter Stephen Livesay, the president of Bryan College in Dayton, Tennesee, a Christian college.

The picture begins to gel a bit, doesn’t it? The following is copied directly from the article:

“Bryan College’s statement of belief, which professors have to sign as part of their employment contracts, include(s) a 41-word section summing up the institution’s conservative views on creation and evolution, including the statement: “The origin of man was by fiat of God.” “

“But in February, college officials decided that professors had to agree to an additional clarification declaring that Adam and Eve “are historical persons created by God in a special formative act, and not from previously existing life-forms.”

This is where the roller coaster reaches that breathtaking apex and lets you peek over the edge, with slow cruelty, before it begins its stomach churning drop. WEEEEEEEE!

The “statement of belief” is, fairly enough, required of all professors, including those in the sciences, like biology or anthropology. Well, maybe they don’t have anthropology departments—would be utterly unsurprising.

The gentleman in me is willing to let this “origin of man” statement go quietly into that good night. But a gentleman can take only so much before he must emphatically call “Bullshit!”

Sigh . . .

“. . .Adam and Eve “are historical persons created by God in a special formative act, and not from previously existing life-forms.”

Please understand that these six words make my skull ache in a way which begs for imminent explosion to relieve the pain: “Adam and Eve “are historical persons . . .” I want to laugh, truly. I can feel it sticking in my chest. But the urge is efficiently stifled by the potent desire to beat the living crap out of somebody—you know, for just a passing moment. I’d feel guilty about it later . . . unless it was one of these bigots of brainlessness. Then I believe society would throw me a huge f*#$!ng parade; mentally timid conservatives and their ilk are not invited.

Note to mom and dad: not enough people read this blog to warrant any concern of bodily harm. I’m confident that my seven readers are mentally agile, competent folks. I’d be hard pressed to believe any lesser person would have read this far once they saw I was setting out to prove them wrong (see placard above).

Now that the premise is bared, let’s take a moment to consider mythology in its academic context.

The ancient Greeks genuinely believed that Zeus and his cohorts ruled over, judged, most every aspect of their daily lives; ancient Mesopotamians held Marduk to be their true god, having slaughtered the goddess Tiamat and used her body to create the cosmos; in the Carabaulo myth of Timor, eastern Indonesians believed that the first peoples to emerge from the earth’s vagina were aristocrats and that later peoples were commoners, all of them lesser beings to the first emergents.

Are we truly to believe the cosmos is comprised of the dismembered corpse of a Mesopotamian goddess? Or that someone else is better than you just because they crawled out of mother Earth’s holiest-of-holies first (no gentle way to express that)?

To any rational person, the answer is obvious. Disturbingly, an “educator” sees fit to impress his own delusional world view upon the paying student body of Bryan College. This creeps into my dreams; my nightmare is not mine alone—I am boldly confident that many share it.

Lest we allow an appalling diaspora of unibrowed, drooling sock puppets with the mental capacity of concrete to infiltrate our social and communal institutions, misconceptions such as these must be challenged and brought to bear upon an enlightened country teetering frighteningly close to the brink intellectual collapse. Understandably, the argument could be made that we have already crossed that bridge.


For those familiar only with the Genesis account as mother church regurgitates it for the masses, let’s take a slightly closer look at the tool all self-righteous, indignant people like to lean on, the Bible.

The Adam and Eve creation myth (yes, it is a myth—and yes, I’m Catholic) has two accounts—the first from 1:1 to 2:3 and the second from 2:4 to the end of chapter three.The second telling is the more familiar one, recounting the story of Adam and Eve’s betrayal (the Fall) at the Tree of Knowledge and their eventual expulsion from the Garden of Eden. In this account God is immanent, meaning he is manifested, physically present, in the material world—in this case, the Garden of Eden with Adam. In this version Adam is created first from dust and given life through God’s breath—Eve comes later from Adam’s rib.

In the first account God is transcendent, removed/separate from the physical environment and existing far away from the world he created. This is the version where he stirs a vast sea to begin creation (“and the Spirit of God moved upon the waters”), then speaks things into existence (“Then God said “Let there be light”; and there was light”). Here, humans—Adam and Eve—are created at the same time.

The number of similar creation myths worldwide, from various cultures, is stunning. This does not merely suggest but flat out states there is no single, overarching correct perspective of creation, of how we got here. Unless of course you have a single, lengthy eyebrow and breath through your mouth; in such cases your stupidity requires that you desperately clasp onto something that you can’t comprehend but sounds good.

Relevant to this issue are the several types of creation myths or cosmogonies—the word cosmogony itself is a combination of two Greek words meaning “order” and “beginning”:
Ex nihilo — quite literally, from nothing. A deity may simply speak, think, or dream creation into being.
・Earth Diver — a creature, usually a turtle or bird is sent to the depths of a primordial sea to bring up a piece of mud from which the earth is formed.
・Breaking of Primal Unity — generally parental entities, such as Mother Earth and Father Sky are forcibly separated so that creation may continue; or, a bifurcation of a singular asexual entity which then takes the guise of male and female so as to begin forming the cosmos.
・Dismemberment — usually (although not always) the result of a great battle between deities after which the victor uses the corpse of the conquered to create the cosmos.
・Emergence — creation happens gradually here as human-like creatures typically must traverse several other ‘worlds’ before being truly ready to enter this one.

These are worldwide cosmological mythologies. But creationists, such as Brian Thomas (you’ll meet him in a moment) or Stephen Livesay choose to shut out the rest of the world’s peoples and beliefs in favor of their own misguided convictions. How mind-blowingly ironic that these kind of people comfortably address themselves as “creationists.”

The only sound, most widely accepted version of creation comes to us via hundreds of years of scientific observation. Many of these scientific minds were known to be devoutly religious; rare was the mind which attempted to disprove God. Science was—and is—a process of objective observation and testing. Science gives us proofs which further our understanding of ourselves and our world.

Those matters which we cannot prove—yet still place belief in—are matters of faith . . . not to be construed with actual knowledge.

Both Genesis accounts—along with all manner of other creation myths, and myths in general—give us an apparatus for understanding certain concepts or ideas which otherwise would be complete mysteries to us. In many instances they are etiological, meaning they give us the origins of specific circumstances: the legless serpent we associate with evil, the pain of childbirth (as punishment—along with death—for Eve’s eating of the forbidden fruit), the need for manual labor, to commune with the land for our sustenance (as opposed to pre-betrayal when God tended the garden and Adam luxuriated in its bounty).

Many gods for many cultures have, as part of their own mythologies, created we humans via “special formative acts.” In the Mayan’s Popol Vuh the gods tried creating humans three times and failed, eventually achieving the results they wanted the fourth time around. Were these “historical persons” too?

Greek mythology relates the story of Zeus, so completely fed up with men (and Prometheus) that he sent a catastrophic flood to wipe out men and start over again. The god Prometheus warned his mortal son Deucalion of the flood, and he and his wife, Pyrrha floated in a chest for nine days and nights. When the waters receded enough for the pair to once again walk on firm ground they asked an oracle how to go about repopulating Earth. The oracle told them to “scatter the bones of your mother”–to the Greeks, as with many cultures, Earth is our Mother, and earth is made of stones. So as they walked they picked up stones and tossed them over their shoulder—those which Deucalion tossed became males and those tossed by Pyrrha became females.

Are we to discount the Greek flood account as well because it’s not Christian (or Semitic) in its origin? How about Deucalion and Pyrrha—the Greek analogs for Adam and Eve—are they, too, historical persons?

If you were to pull my finger would I also create a historical person via “special formative act”? Absurd, of course . . . which is entirely my point.

For a moment let’s step across the line (or, if you prefer, step inside this myth) and consider it as if we accepted this ‘divine truth’ that Adam and Eve are “historical persons.”

Historical figures are noted by scholars and students for their part in actual events which surrounded them—they are literally a part of history. So, if the Genesis couple are, in fact, historical figures, then we must also accept that all events—and the subsequent results of those events—are factual as well. One of those events was the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden for having sinned against God.

The Tree of Life (or Tree of Knowledge) was the only tree in the garden which God forbade Adam to eat of; per Genesis God’s initial intent was for Adam (man) to live forever. Along comes Eve and convinces Adam to partake of the fruit of said tree, resulting in banishment from Eden, along with pain of childbirth for Eve, eventual death for all humans, and the need to toil with the very ground they walked upon for their sustenance.

All these things were brought about by Eve—the Bible doesn’t say Adam suggested she check the fruit out, Eve did it of her own volition.

PandoraNow, for a brief moment, let’s visit a similar myth of Greek persuasion, one which I covered in a blog post some years ago . . .

The myth of Pandora begins with Prometheus and Zeus. The king of the gods had decreed that mankind—as Prometheus had recently created—were forbidden to have knowledge of fire. Long story short, Prometheus tried to pull a fast one and snuck fire to his creations hidden in a hollow reed. Zeus caught on when he saw the stars reflecting the light of fire on earth below in human settlements. He was furious. For starters he chained Prometheus to a mountain and sent an eagle to eat his liver every day. Being immortal, Prometheus’s liver would regenerate overnight, and he would suffer the torment all over again the next day.

But this wasn’t good enough for Zeus. He was really pissed. Clearly, it didn’t take an Olympian god to see that mankind was prepared to make all kinds of trouble now that he had fire. Zeus asked another god, Hephaestus, to create a woman. He wanted something evil to befall humans to balance out the gift of fire . . . the way he saw it a woman was just what the doctor ordered. Until Pandora, all humans were male. Hesiod, in his book Theogony, misogynistically refers to the ancient time of life without women as the “Golden Age.” Things were perfect; men ate what they wanted, did what they wanted, had very little to fret over. Life was good.
Zeus had bigger plans.

Now, remember, the pantheon of Greek gods contained goddesses as well—female deities, and these feminine divinities gave to Pandora many a gift for mankind so as to soften the impact of Zeus’s fury. These gifts were carefully placed in an urn, and were not to be released until they could be properly trained by Pandora to benefit humanity.

But Zeus, per usual, had an ace up his sleeve. He gave Pandora a gift of his own—an abiding sense of curiosity

Hardly had Pandora arrived on the earth, when she opened the lid to see what the urn contained. Immediately the creatures in the container flew out, and being as yet untrained to serve humanity they became instead despair, jealousy and rage, and the myriad diseases and infirmities that inflict humanity, All that remained was hope, which became trapped under the unbreakable rim of the urn, and which mankind was able to train and make a friend, as the other ‘gifts’ in the urn had intended to be, though in ways which we cannot now imagine.
*from The Greek And Roman Myths: A Guide To The Classical Stories by Philip Matyszak

Some similarities here: a god/supreme being is angered and seeks to teach humans a lesson; a woman, placed among men for their good, winds up unleashing a bevy of mortal woes upon all mankind because she does something she is expressly told not to do.

So, if we consent to the “historical persons” construct, and as should logically follow, also concede to all events surrounding said persons, then clearly woman is the root cause for all despair, jealousy, rage, diseases and infirmities which the human species must suffer.

It’s all right there, in the Bible! . . . and other world mythological accounts. If Mr. Livesay says these are historical persons then as formal argument demonstrates this becomes a categorical syllogism—the conclusion follows necessarily from the premise of the argument:
・Adam and Eve were (by Livesay dictate) “historical persons,” actual human beings
・Eve (woman) ignored divine rules resulting in expulsion from paradise and subsequent wretchedness
・Therefore all evil in the world is the fault of woman.
I believe God also mandated that women must be perpetually subservient/subjugated to men.

Here’s another interesting bit which speaks to the subjugation (if not indirectly) of woman to man in biblical context: there is but a single—almost non-referential—mention of Noah’s wife in the bible. She is mentioned in Genesis 7:7, but nowhere is she mentioned by name; Noah’s sons wives names are not mentioned either . . . but all males are definitively introduced.

How does that sit with you, ladies? . . . Yeah, I wouldn’t be too jazzed about it either. But again, if you must adhere to the “historical persons” declaration of belief then you have little choice but to accept all which follows.

No, you simply cannot pick-and-choose which things you want to accept. You can’t say the holocaust never happened but, in the same breath, declare your utter disgust for Hitler—the two are inextricably entwined . . . unless of course you were a deluded leader in a theocracy; I won’t name names. And while I’m at it, I’d like to point out that the holocaust was really caused by women, I mean, if you believe Adam and Eve were historical persons then it all points back squarely at Eve.

Need yet more “proof” that Adam and Eve really existed? I thought you might.

Enter a one Brian Thomas, M.S.(Master of Science), who wrote an article posted on the Institute for Creation Research’s website in support of the historical accuracy of Adam and Eve. You’ll see direct quotes followed by translation which seeks to draw aside the veil of ambiguity which Mr. Thomas so artfully weaves in his article.

His premise is, based on actual (ancient) human DNA, Adam and Eve truly existed as real people—and not just real people, but the first people ever!

“However, the evidence supporting Adam and Eve actually overwhelms secularist’s atheistic interpretations of scientific data.”

Here he’s saying the, um, “evidence” which proves the root of our ancestry is so fantastically good that anyone who declares otherwise is full of shit. He goes on to deride genetic research and the human genome stating “the human DNA sequence now best fits the concept of special creation.” This predicated upon the science community’s reliance upon “junk DNA.”

Junk DNA, are, in a basic sense, segments of DNA which have no apparent genetic function; they don’t code proteins nor regulate or encode genetic material. Coded genes are what determine our eye and hair color, etc.

The argument here being that this apparently unused DNA may have been the catalyst for evolution to occur within chimpanzee DNA—meaning, evolution—Nature itself—eventually found a way to use this “junk DNA” to eventually come up with homo sapiens. Mr. Thomas prefers to disregard science (despite his degree) and states:

In other words, without junk DNA as an explanation we must have had Adam, not apes, in our past.

Essentially, if one ignores this non-encoding DNA in our genome (note, he never says it doesn’t exist), if we act as if it’s not really there, then the only plausible explanation for our existence is Adam, not apes.

See, the problem is, this “junk DNA” does exist.

I humbly apologize for the following quote, but it is necessary, the reason for which I’m not entirely certain, but it seems to be . . .

Even more DNA clues strikingly confirm Genesis history. For example, the three fundamental lineages of mitochondrial DNA, called “M,” “N,” and “R,” likely correspond to Noah’s three sons’ wives. These mitochondrial DNA analyses exactly match Genesis 10:32, which says, “These were the families of the sons of Noah, according to their generations, in their nations; and from these the nations were divided on the earth after the flood.” And why else would all men’s Y chromosome sequences—regardless of tongue or tribe—trace back to a single consensus sequence if it were not that of Noah himself, who inherited it from the very real Adam?

Noah's ark after the floodMan, where do I begin?!

“Likely correspond”—hmmmm . . . according to other Genesis leaners, I imagine.

This post is long enough so I’ll spare the reader the likely lineage of the biblical flood account, but suffice to say that it is very likely a conflation of a number of far more ancient flood stories as culled from cultural mythologies in the Middle East well before the account of Noah was written. Once again, another great story but not based upon an actual person(s).

Look, after the flood God mandates that Noah, his wife, and his sons and their wives repopulate the earth. He allows Noah to live for something on the order of 600 years. Uh huh. Riiiight. How could someone honestly believe that a flesh-and-blood human being could possibly survive that long without turning into a rather unpleasant puddle of bio-goo?

. . .trace back to a single consensus sequence if it were not that of Noah himself, who inherited it from the very real Adam?

How awesome is that? He follows that up with this juicy morsel:

Surely Christian Colleges’ students would be better served without professors who uncritically align themselves with antiquated secular speculations like junk DNA.

“antiquated secular speculations”—guess we can easily see that Mr. Thomas is clearly better than any of us.

Mr. Thomas goes on to indirectly acknowledge that apes and man share “similar body structures” such as two arms, two hands, and five fingers on each hand and this commonality, according to secular science “clearly illustrates their shared common ancestry.” But it really irks him that something as strikingly similar as appendages gives science a reason to refute the idea of Adam.

Let’s stop here a brief moment . . .

I think science readily accepts the “idea” of Adam, the concept of a primary instance or occurrence of the human species—I certainly do. At some point along the (sorry Mr. Thomas, et al.) timeline of evolution, well before Lucy, there irrefutably was a creature with a brain better than anything around him or her which walked upright and began using simple observation and reasoning to take abstract concepts like sticks or rocks and develop the logic to use them as tools. I believe science would embrace naming such a creature “Adam,” and it would be fitting.

He continues—

“But this logic simply ignores the possibility that a single, smart engineer could have crafted similar design features in different creatures.”

Engineering, at a bare minimum, mandates the application of several fields of science. So, Brian blasts science for it’s supposed flawed approach to man’s evolution but cries out in his desire for us to embrace a “single, smart engineer.”

Then he decries evolutionists who “almost never discuss the insurmountable differences between humans and chimpanzees, like their 900 million DNA differences.”

According to this article in National Geographic (a highly reputable publication), Mr. Thomas’s boat has at least a couple of leaks.

First, while they note there are—as Mr. Thomas states—millions of genetic differences, there are “40 million differences among three billion molecules.” That’s an exponential disparity from our Creation Wizard—a gap of 860 million; exaggeration, be thy name. The article further elaborates . . .

The vast majority of those differences are not biologically significant, but researchers were able to identify a couple thousand differences that are potentially important to the evolution of the human lineage. “The goal is to answer the basic question: What makes us humans?”

Notice, no aspiration to disprove God, nor, likewise, to prove Adam through rose-colored glasses.

Furthermore we learn “2.7 percent of the genetic difference between humans and chimps are duplications . . .” Not a staggering amount, but notable. “Eichler and his colleagues found that the human and chimp sequences differ by only 1.2 percent in terms of single-nucleotide changes to the genetic code.”

This points to a studied, tested, observable process, not a wild, straw-grasping attempt to explicate religion and affix it as doctrinal fact in the social consciousness.

Humans and chimps originate from a common ancestor, and scientists believe they diverged some six million years ago.

Whoa! Seriously? Six million, not six thousand? Who’da thunk it?

Science, Mr. Thomas, via sequencing of the chimpanzee genome, has determined that man and ape are 96 percent alike. You can take the remaining four percent and call it your own but the numbers are clearly not in your (stunted) favor.

Back to Mr. Thomas’s article . . .

Atheistic, and sadly even Christian, secularists have also asserted that we could not have descended from Adam and Eve in only 6,000 years because this is not nearly enough time for mutations to have added the many DNA differences found throughout all peoples. However, this straw-man argument assumes that God did not build a host of variations into Adam’s chromosomes right from the start. Clearly not all DNA differences between people arose through mutation. What if most of them were created for God’s purpose of watching human diversity unfold through the ages as they filled His world?

Sadly, too many idiots believe the Earth has been around for only 6,000 years—some adherents to this empty-headed belief have the gall to call themselves scientists . . . well, at least one of them does. More depressingly, teaching this to impressionable minds is sanctioned in some places.

Once again, science proves, in numerous ways, that our home has been here for billions of years. The Bible doesn’t mention dinosaurs, but we have abundant fossil evidence of their existence—and they came before man . . . or, Adam, if you prefer.

And something else—civilization, as we know it, may have been around—maybe—6,000 years; civilization being defined as the organized and structured use of agriculture, building, forms of rule (typically aristocracy in the early going), and development of written communication. None of these things appeared simultaneously along with man, nor did they happen within a couple hundred years of Adam showing up. Of necessity they evolved—hey, whaddya know! Just like us!

Now we come (sort of) full circle to the reason behind Mr. Thomas’s lame attempt at comedy (although a strained scholarly one, I’ll give him that): his full-throated support for Bryan College’s “clarification” statement . . .

So, there’s no scientific reason to reject Adam and Eve. Perhaps if the dissenting Bryan College professors had more exposure to the recent, high quality science that confirms biblical creation, they would have applauded the trustee’s wording changes.

Jaw-droppingly brilliant . . . and thoroughly entertaining—“no scientific reason to reject Adam and Eve”; “more exposure to the recent, high quality science that confirms biblical creation.”

So, again, the creationists not only see fit but find religious mandate in declaring all other accounts of creation null and void, pointless, erroneous. China’s Pan Ku, the Norse tale surrounding Ysmir, the Navajo’s insect people, Egypt’s Geb (Earth) and Nut (Sky) , ancient Mesopotamia’s Marduk, and countless others. Rather than allowing for these cultural mythologies to serve their intended purpose as vehicles for deeper lessons the creationists—mind you, Christian creationists—hereby declare that their collective shit doesn’t stink . . . but all others do.

Why? Because if they concede to other creation accounts they would, as a moral imperative, necessarily concede that their own creation story is just that—a story. That just won’t do. As history constantly reminds us, religion has always been, is now, and ever shall be a means for repression and attempts at subjugation . . . based upon beliefs. Think I’m out of line? Consider radical Islam or pogroms against the Jews.

Some of the students at Bryan College were concerned enough about the “belief clarification” that they circulated a petition requesting the amended statement be rescinded and returned to its original form. But Kevin Clauson, Professor of Politics and Justice at Bryan College, wrote a letter to the student newspaper, the Triangle, urging students not to sign the petition. He said the wider culture is waging a battle for the “heart and soul” of evangelical higher education.

“If an Evangelical Christian college wants to remain such, it must of necessity limit ‘academic freedom’ to some extent,” he wrote. “This is more or less done through doctrinal statements that must be subscribed to. If the attitude was “believe whatever you wish–anything”, then there would be no way to guard the institution against error or even heresy.”

A little too late to guard against error, methinks.

Every person should, must, hold precious their own beliefs, many of which give our lives form and value, and many of which help keep our internal moral compass properly directed. Likewise, if you wish to do harm to yourself, or harbor delusory notions, then knock yourself out—but do no harm to those around you.

To forcibly impress fallacious reasoning upon the unwilling is not a truly Christian trait, no matter how one spins it. And it is, I daresay, but a hop, skip, and a jump from criminal to mandate professors subscribe to such fallacious declarations as a requisite for their very jobs. Sure, this is America and they could look for a job elsewhere if they don’t like it . . . that’s what’s called a rationalization.

Mr. Livesay has no love for science and would seem to fervently believe we are still in the Dark Ages (which, I understand, would require a true comprehension of time and history, both of which Mr. Livesay has demonstrably ignored). “Scripture always rises above anything else,” Livesay has said according to an online podcast of the clarification event. “Scripture rises above science. … Science at some point will catch up with the scripture.”

Oh, Mr. Livesay . . . just an FYI: all humans are created via a special formative act. Including you.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…The courage to change the things I can…And wisdom to know the difference…And sedation in the presence of morons.

I cannot change the minds of morons, but I steadfastly refuse to accept their word for the sake of serenity, for how could I peacefully live with myself if I did?

The following scriptural reference is not only apt but puts a nice, vitriolic tourniquet around this post:

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”  Ephesians 6:12


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American IdiotAs I type this we’re (Dad and I) cruising at approximately 29,000 feet above Oregon on our way to Los Angeles, our stopover before Phoenix. It’s a smaller aircraft, 2 seats per row. I’m obviously not aircraft savvy, but at least I possess a rudimentary knowledge of how our solar system functions—according to a recent survey I’m smarter than 1 out of four of you, and I take no great pride or pleasure in saying so, but more on that in a bit.

Simple probability tells me I am surrounded by a cadre of imbeciles.

I’ll begin my story/rant earlier this morning. Dad and I stopped in Redmond, OR to gorge on a delicious apple pancake–this at 6am local time. After placing our order we both scanned through the news headlines on our phones. Seems newspapers are becoming something of a relic, which is sad.

Anyhoo, he states, all of a sudden, that 1 in 4 Americans believes the Sun revolves around the Earth. As much as I can be at 6am, I’m stunned. But it’s early yet. I haven’t had any sustenance. The brain is consuming somewhere around 23% of my entire available energy just keeping the whole shootin’ match up and running while breakfast goodness bakes.

But the news takes root, like a stinkweed, and begins to fester.

Mom and dad would tell me “Let it go.” They’re right, I know. But I’m not fueled enough at this point to either let it go or truly cogitate upon it. This will happen, however.

Rant trigger: We begin the boarding process, and of course the airline makes the announcement that everybody better than you, those-who-shit-don’t-stink, get primary boarding privileges. Suckers! Once on board this tiny craft you become no more important than the rest of us chaff!

But it irritates me nonetheless. One ‘exceptional’ person boards before everyone else. He seemed a little ashamed, if his body language was any indication.

By this time said pancake and hot tea have had plenty of time to begin digesting and fueling greater bandwidth for irrational though.

We board the plane (fairly quickly, I might add . . . nice job, American!) and as I wait for all the pre-flight stuff to be completed the headline—which I subsequently saw in my own news reader—pops to the fore.

So I pull out the flight magazine and go to the puzzle section, trying to find a mental distraction. I don’t read it in any particular order and I alight upon number 5, on page 55; these puzzles are apparently presented by MENSA. The saving grace here is MENSA members are going to understand the true workings of our solar system, so my beef isn’t with them.


Number five reads: “A young childhood rhyme has been put into very fancy language. Can you put it back into everyday English?”

Let’s give this a go . ..

A very young girl with a very common name . . . Okay, I have it already. I’m really not that smart, but it’s a dead giveaway. Perhaps they’re throwing a bone to the one retard who thinks the sun revolves around the Earth.

possessed a rather uncommon pet . . . wow, MENSA has really let themselves go.

with a distinctly pigmented skin covering. This pet followed her on all occasions.

Really? This qualifies as MENSA sanctioned brain exercise? Jesus, I was educated in the Arizona public school system and even I got it! (no offense meant, Arizona, but your system doesn’t exactly rank among the best).

No damn wonder 25% of Americans think the Earth is flat (well, if you think the sun revolves around the Earth, what else am I to think?)

God, or Jesus, or whatever higher power may be reading this as I type, I ask, in advance, for forgiveness for the trespass I am about to commit.

So here’s the ugly but undeniable truth: If you believe the sun revolves around the Earth you are a certified moron. True story.

Look around you (if you’re somewhere other than home). Somebody within your view thinks our solar system is Earth-centric. They wouldn’t admit it of course. But you can probably bet good money they sleep better than you do because emptier heads sleep lighter than useful ones.

I am absurdly hopeful that anyone reading this comprehends words longer than 4 letters, although moron has five letters, I’ll give you that.

If you understood moron, and you believe the Sun revolves around the Earth, then I owe you more credit than I thought. That is impressive, most impressive. But it doesn’t change the fact that you’re a moron.

If I had to guess I’d say such gullibility is due to something Ben Kenobi would appreciate and exploit—a weak mind. You know the type, those who latch onto anything a more powerful mind (or collective body) tells them. I won’t name names, but a certain city-state in the Italian part of Europe comes to mind. Another group would be those who steadfastly believe that ‘teaching to the test’ is the way to a brighter America.

Flat Earth Society, indeed.

I could go on and on and offend more folks, but likely 1 of 4 wouldn’t get it anyway.

Thank God we have the other 3 to properly put planes in the air and make our buildings safe, to create workarounds that save the twenty-five per centers from any truly worthwhile process of thought. Without this demographic the Star and Enquirer would struggle mightily.

But MENSA might have found itself a fresh pool (if shallow) of new members.

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Out! OUT! You demons of stupidity!Every family likes to think (or say) that each and every member of the clan is, in some maner, exceptional. If one considers the Jackson family the overwhelming majority would resoundingly choose Michael as the stand out . . . for obvious reasons.

But there is another — sort of.

One of his sisters is, in my aging-white-guy opinion, exceptional too: LaToya is exceptional in the way in which she manages to remember to breathe every moment of every day. LaToya is truly venerated as a shining example of stupidity.

Spare me your sniffles and cries of “her brother just died!” No he didn’t. He died June 25, 2009. Even someone like me who’s bad at math can do that minor calculation—that was over 2 years ago. Talk about the body being cold.

While scanning the news today I came across this from an article about the verdict of Jackson’s doctor:

“His sister, La Toya, said on Monday that “victory was served” because her brother was, though technically dead, “in that court room.”

Perhaps the most triumphant part of that sentence is “though technically dead”; laugh out loud funny yet sad because it underscore the profound stupidity of LaToya’s declaration that “victory was served.”

As if it were a meal or slave pouring wine.

What a complete moron.

McDonalds serves over 46 million people annually. When you pump gas it is referred to as “self-serve.”

‘Justice’ may be served, dumbass, but victory has never been served, only achieved, and often at the most painful of costs.

Mistake poster

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Ninety percent of what you read below (pre-rant) came from an entry at Dictionary.com entitled Oops! Those aren’t the real words!. I think word etymology can be fun sometimes, even quirky, and this entry is a delightful illustration of that premise. I have made some minor additions, ones which I highly doubt you can’t see. The bit about the graphic at the end is all me.

Did you begin the school day by placing your right hand over your heart and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance? If you were among the many kids who thought “indivisible” was “invisible,” or “liberty” was “liver tea,” you were not alone. We don’t have a definition for liver tea, nor do we believe anyone would drink it, but this common misunderstanding of a phrase is called a mondegreen.

A mondegreen is a misinterpretation of a word or phrase that shares homophony (sounds like) another word or phrase that has been heard.

Not to be confused with a malapropism, which is the unintentional improper use of a single word, mondegreens are often applied to a line in a poem or a lyric from a song – usually with amusing results.

James Gleick, an American author and journalist, believes the mondegreen is a distinctly modern event. “Without improved communication and standardization of language which accompanies it, there would have been no way for this shared experience to have been recognized and discussed.”

Some popular mondegreens include:

• “’Scuse me while I kiss this guy “(‘Scuse me while I kiss the sky from “Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix)
• “Alex the seal” (Our lips are sealed from “Our Lips Are Sealed” by the Go-Go’s) — You have to be a serious idiot to screw that one up! C’mon . . . Alex the Seal?
• “Hold me closer Tony Danza” (Hold me closer tiny dancer from “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John) — This is worse than Alex the Seal!

An example of a reverse mondegreen is Iron Butterfly’s 1968 hit “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” which was originally titled “In the Garden of Eden.”

Now it’s your turn – share some of your favorite mondegreens, below. What did you believe were the words to the Pledge of Allegiance or the Star-Spangled Banner?

Better yet, if you seriously thought those lyics were about Alex the Seal and Tony Danza, don’t tell me what you believe the words to the Pledge and SSB were. I think I would cry.

“Liver tea”? Really? Perhaps I should axe you how much time you have spent at a libary.

Now, one last little note — I’m sure you couldn’t help but notice the graphic. I rather like it. I found it while trying to find a better graphic for the Pledge than Dictionary.com had — but here’s the thing: I found this image after I saw one of the Pledge missing the words “under God.”

If you have read my blog long enough you know of my patriotic and American history bent. So seeing an image of the Pledge without the words “under God” shot up a flag as large as Old Glory herself (she’s the flag housed in the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

That ‘godless’ image was from a site hosted by a group who call themselves RestoreThePledge.org. They claim “under God” is a governmental sanction of religion. From their site: ” . . .the words “under God” are clearly a promotion of a specific religious belief.”


Unsurprisingly, they don’t mention any specific religious sect. Liberals and Progressives are killing this country . . . I swear to God.

Our founders came from a wide range of religious affiliations, a large majority of early America being Protestant. Yet scholarship has repeatedly shown that all these men felt the birth of our country was based soley upon the grace of Providence. Faith, and a belief in moral virtue—and God—were intimately entwined in most everything our founders struggled for.

Here is, apparently, the rationale under which these misguided zealots operate,. again from their site: “These words, added by Congress in 1954, are in violation of the First Amendment – “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”

The Pledge is a law? What the f***? Why haven’t I read about that in my amateur research on American history . . . and while candidly stating my scholarship as “amateur” I am equally convinced that what I know about our history, compared to what they do, could probaly stun a herd of water buffalo.

Saying “under God” in the Pledge breaks no such law. Congress has made no such law. And in case you fece-lfinging simians-cum left wing troglodytes didn’t get the memo I feel it my duty to include the text of the entire First Amendment of the Constitution you so freely use as a desecretory doormat:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Incredibly potent stuff, unlike the grey matter you lemmings call brains.

So, per usual, a lengthy reason for my actions. All that to explain why I chose that picture . . .

Because I believe . . . and because I am an American.

May God Bless the United States of America.

Maybe you drooling simpletons would like to extinguish that from all presidential speeches, too.

* Technorati claim token NDZETN3EZ2V5

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US Flag waving inside map of the United StatesFlag Update: I drove by the Superstition Springs Post Office on the way home today and saw a new flag flying at full mast — that’s a sight that never gets old.

My thanks to those of you who read the previous two posts and showed support — a surprisingly deep well of support, actually. It was heartening to see that so many people feel so passionate about our flag.

I am encouraged to learn that many people are very aware of the basic rules of flag etiquette. The reaction to seeing her so damaged an still aloft was visceral, and rightly so. I can’t help but be curious as to how many people called about the violation, and even more curious to know what might have been said during those conversations.

I could bore you with a bullet-pointed list of rules, but there’s really only one rule that matters: Don’t underestimate American patriotism.

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At the start, a huge thank you to those who commented and showed your decisive support for our flag. I especially want to thank Mrs. Mandell for her lengthy but very helpful comment. Her comments nourish my hopes that more than sunshine patriots are alive and watching out there.

I stopped by the post office today, and quite honestly, expected to see the flag still flying in its dismal shape. What I didn’t expect to see what this:

Tattered flag at bottom of pole at Mesa post office

Day 2 — perhaps even more disgraceful than the first day

They still have not so much as removed the damaged flag from the pole. Now, if I am missing some element of flag display etiquette then please let me know, but I can’t imagine it calls for leaving the flag near the base of the flag pole.

Call me crazy.

As suggested, I have put in a call to the Mesa chapter of the American Legion and left a message. I have also tried to contact the Red Mountain Patriots.

Per Mrs. Mandell’s initial suggestion, I took the liberty of not dropping by personally, but I did call the main post office for the city of Mesa and spoke to a woman named Alice who knew precisely what I was calling about when I mentioned the Superstition Springs post office.

“Is this about the flag?”

“I’m not the only one, huh?”

“Not at all. I’ve had a few people call already. They are supposed to be on their way to change the flag. I told them it cannot be dragging on the ground.”

“As of when I went by a couple hours ago, it wasn’t touching the ground yet, but somebody lowered the flag and left it there.”

“Well, last I talked to them they said they were on their way.”

She was professional, not rude at all, but clearly took the matter seriously.

We shall see . . .

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The following is, to be fair, in antecedence of anticipated action by a local Post Office station; the post at the center of my attention, my chafed patriotism, is the Superstition Springs Post Office in East Mesa, Arizona. I’d list the address, but I’m not sure that’s completely necessary yet.

July is smack dab in the middle of the Sonoran desert’s monsoon season (did you know the word “monsoon” is Arabic for rain?). Last night we had a pretty solid monsoon storm, replete with strong winds and lots of rain. The winds that gust through during these storms can be surprisingly strong for an area as seemingly desolate as the desert. They have downed power lines and very large trees, even blown tiles and shingles off rooftops — point is, like storm winds most anywhere, they can do damage.

After work I had to drop off a copy of my book for someone who offered to review it for me. As I approached the post office I noticed something wasn’t right with the flag. I parked and climbed out of my vehicle and immediately looked up at it.

US Flag in front of Mesa Post Office Considering what a complete Gordian Knot our country is in (if you don’t know what a Gordian Knot is then substitute the phrase “cluster f—“) the appearance of this flag seemed stoicly metaphorical, a ringing visual indicment of just how badly misshapen our beloved country has become. Yet it is a simple matter to remedy in this situation. If we can’t collectively stand together and eviscerate our “leaders” for being the partisan jackasses they have proven to be, then we can, we should, we must — at a minimum — take pride in the one symbol which most represents us, perhaps most unifies us as brothers and sisters: the American flag.

Torn US Flag in front of Mesa Post Office

This poor specimen most likely took her thrashing last night during the storm. I am apalled that nobody at least took the flag down . . . that’s a mere matter of sheer respect. I showed up just before 1pm and she was still waving in the air, torn, punished by forces stronger than any of us. Just look at her.

If you don’t find yourself moved in some regard then perhaps you should take your Communist Party credentials and go someplace like China or Cuba where you will be welcomed openly.I understand the Middle East hates us too . . . perhaps you would fit in with them. I’ll give you heartless Pinkos one last chance to be a shocked as I was.

There was but one teller inside, and his English wasn’t exactly outstanding, so I didn’t attempt taking the issue up with him. He looked beaten down by his job, he didn’t need Mr. America poking a finger in his chest.

Instead, I called my parents first. I absolutely wanted to write a post about it, but before I went off half-cocked I thought it better to see what the best approach would be for contacting someone about this egregious disregard for American symbolism; they have both worked for the Postal Service for quite a long time — for once, I had an inside track on something!

Turns out my dad used to take care of matters like this when he traveled around the state and did maintenance inspections at various locations — this very thing is one of his deepest pet peeves. He told me he used to make the station managers keep three flags on hand at all times, so should one become soiled (or, helloooooo . . . damaged!) it could be swiftly replaced as befits our flag.

They advised me to call the station manager first, then if that didn’t achieve the desired result go straight to the Phoenix Postmaster.

I tried. I really did.

Seven different attempts to the offending post in Mesa resulted in sot so much as one person answering the phone. I queried Mr. Internet — the Great Oz of our time — to try and locate the contact number for a one Robert J Hurley, the Phoenix Postmaster sworn in in 2010, but unsurprisingly his number seems to be unavailable. How are the public supposed to be served if they can’t reach his office?

So I called ASK USPS and talked with a very nice lady who shared my affrontism about the flag’s condition, but all she could give me was the Teller Window number at the main office in Phoenix; a dead end.

Tried a few more searches, switched up my search terms, but still couldn’t find any contact info for Hurley. Back to ASK USPS and another sympathetic woman. This time I got the number for Consumer Affairs.

Another voice in accord with my own who promised to forward my discontent to the proper powers. “Give them a week to get it corrected” she said.

For me, her statement was unbelievable — for my parents, not so much. I texted them after I got off the phone and told them I thought it was a steaming load — not in those words, of course. I called the help line one last time and gave my contact info to yet another voice in agreement who assured me someone would be taking up my issue soon and would contact me.

So there you have it. I’ll post an update soon. This much I am sure of: one week won’t cut it for this American.

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Dear Home Depot,

At the outset, understand this virtual letter is not directed toward the Home Depot corporation as an entity, rather at a specific store, namely the one located on Superstition Springs in Mesa, Arizona.

Understand, too, that this is not a screed about bad customer service, on the contrary each time I have been in any Home Depot the staff have always been courteous and friendly, sometimes to the point of suffocation. Just last week I had been in this particular store four times. There must have been a local training day or it was Take-Your-Teen-To-Work-Day; the place was brimming with orange smocks, all of them wanting to make sure I was finding everything okay.

I like Home Depot, and I have no issues with your competitor, Lowe’s, either. But they do have one distinct advantage over you: they, at the very least, and to the best of my knowledge and patronization, take good care to be sure their in-store marketing and sales efforts are properly spelled. I’m sure you’re confused, and I don’t blame you. I will summarize the essence of my letter in two words (because I know how executives like bullet-pointed, pithy summaries): poster fail.

Fail: to fall short of success or achievement in something expected, attempted, desired, or approved; to be or become deficient or lacking; be insufficient or absent. Okay, I’ll agree that second part was unnecessary—that was me having a bit of fun. But you get the point. Please examine Exhibit A below:

"Water Dispencer" for sale at Home Depot

The first thing that popped in my head was that an employee was trying to have a little tongue-in-cheek fun with the Home Depot mascot name—that was immediately followed by the recollection of the name “Homer,” the Home Depot mascot. The name “Spencer” figures nowhere in the equation. For $119 I’d like to get the name right.

Sadly, it is brutally apparent that whomever made the flawed placard also did not read the actual box they were attempting to sell, for the word “dispenser” is correctly printed on its face.

Please, don’t be too red-faced about this incident. I have seen a major condo development in downtown Phoenix butcher spelling too (and fankly, I think theirs was more egregious given the money spent)—I’ve even seen a furniture store whose beleaguered owner was stupid enough to allow a window painter to entice (or offend) passersby with an offering of “loosing”.

So the little sign mishap, while embarassing, especially in light of the correct spelling on the package, is small potatoes (or potatos if you prefer) compared to other local, more grandiose falures.

As a self-professed stickler, I would like to request that if staff is going to let their seven-year-old child make a sign to elicit commerce, then at least give said urchin access to a dictionary—they can easily find one on the mobile phone they know how to manipulate so well.

In the meantime, if I need to purchase a dispenser of most any kind, perhaps I will find one more fitting to my tastes over at the Lowe’s on Ellsworth, just north of the 202.

J.W. Nicklaus

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This is — much to my stickler elán — the third time I have found blatant, even egregious, spelling atrocities in a public place. Of the three, this one attempts to be far more inconspicuous, but the Eye of Grammatical Truth will always be drawn to such open displays of spelling apathy.

The signage below seems innocuous enough—a layout of the building my son and I were in displaying the floor layout and fire exits. You can probably find these in most any building you walk into. They’re so commonplace that frankly I don’t typically notice them.

I did notice this sign, but it was my son who actually caught the exposed misdeed.

Fire escape layout sign in hospital

This is posted in a hospital . . . a HOSPITAL!

You can kind of see the circled areas on the layout indicating exits and such. Take a nice gander at the ‘information’ at the bottom of this gem:

Fire exits detail

Possessive exits and I'm a what?

Nice, huh? Note the improper use of the apostrophe in both cases:
• Fire Exits — apparently these egresses own something; probably your keester if you can’t locate them. Erase that troublesome little punctuation mark and you erase their power over you . . . they become simple “Fire Exits”.
• Youre Location — A straightforward statement calling you, the reader of this sign, a “location” . . . in case you don’t see the point you’re is a contraction of you are. What you really want here is “Your Location”, or better yet the old standby “You are Here.” Some existentialist might be offended though; best to be socially neutral and remain vague, if not altogether incorrect.

I should have gone to the nurses station and asked for some aspirin . . . and a bottle of White Out.. *sigh*

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Without having set foot inside you know it’s going to be pricey by virtue of its location—smack dab in downtown Phoenix. Big, modern, high-rise of condominiums called The Summit; twenty floors of upwardly mobile luxury.

street level view of The Summit in downtown Phoenix

The Summit at street level

Back in 2004 these babies started at $300,000 for the smallest unit and went up to $1.2 million for the better-than-sex suites.

I don’t follow real estate close enough to have any idea how well this project turned out, but I know there is some kind of pending litigation on the property. But with lots of speculative investment back in 2004-2005 and Wall Street hitting the flush lever on the economy, things likely ain’t so sweet as they thought.

Chase Field from The Summit

Chase Field — you can almost touch it from your balcony!

Nice enough building though, close to two major sports venues—US Airways Center, home to the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, and MLB’s Diamondbacks home Chase Field, restaurants, and downtown (if you happen to work near there). Our downtown isn’t exactly what I would call “vibrant” but it’s not completely derelict either.

Given all the eyeballs that might potentially be upon it you might think the marketing effort would be crisp and persuasive.

Eh . . . not entirely.

As I walked by on the east side of the building I noticed a large sign placed prominently in the window to entice the young and affluent to step inside and look around. Here’s the sign (lots of reflections in the glass so you you have give it a good looking at):

Marketing sign in large window at The Summit in downtown Phoenix

You can have it all — except spellcheck

Did you catch it?

It stands out like a booger on a white shirt. At once repugnant and mesmerizing in its sheer scope of dumbass.

The placard reads “Have it all in Downtown. An Urban lifestyle in the heart of Phoenix.” I’ll let you drink in the last line. It’s hard to see, but here’s a slightly enhanced selection of it:

Detail of sign misspelling

"Were you can have it all"

F’n amazing!

You’d think, somebody in marketing would have proofed these before telling the printer to proceed.Then again, maybe they did.

My conclusion?

It would seem these folks perhaps suffer from few headaches. You know the saying . . . “No brains, no headache.”
drooling Homer Simpson - no brains, no headache

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