Evolution of Intelligence

 

Bible

 

 

 

 

 

Is Evolution Proven?

A reader complained that two Provincial politicians have gone out of their way to deny evolution.  These politicians are correct.  The root word for evolution is evolve, and the word evolving means an on-going process.

Taken in that light, are those who believe in evolution not humans, or are they not humans anymore?  When a farmer plants corn seeds in the spring, does evolution – an ongoing process – yield a different crop?

And by the way, did corn, trees, weeds, flowers also originate from the same cell that developed monkeys, humans and animals?  Did stones also originate from that same cell?  Is evolution a proven fact? (1)

The writer also stated that politicians cannot express their Christian beliefs because, “their religion does not belong on Parliament Hill.”  Yet he implies that it is OK to bring his religion to Parliament Hill, because, when I do a Google search for a definition of religion, among the Oxford Dictionary meanings given is, “a pursuit or interest followed with great devotion.”

This man puts his trust in man, and believes that man can save himself, and Christians believe in God, knowing that God is the only one who saves. (2)

Ignorance is not a quality I value in my government, nor should you, yet this letter writer demonstrates that very ignorance.

Faithful Christian

dinosaur

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evolution Not Debatable

I wonder if Faithful Christian’s anti-evolution objections are cynical, straw-man arguments, or merely the ignorant type.

To even suggest that crops would evolve in a single growing season displays a disturbing ignorance of the mechanics and time-line of evolution.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  It usually takes millennia, or eons.  Guided by farmers, knowledgeable in its workings, the corn grown today only vaguely resembles that found by explorers, 500 years ago.

The intelligent humans of today who believe in evolution, evolved from ignorant Neanderthal cavemen.  And yes Faithful, the first living cell, produced by God, obeyed His directives, and split many times, in many ways, to evolve into the almost infinite range of life here on His Earth.

To speak of stones having cells is, at best, hypocritical, but even stone evolves.  Spewed lava eventually evolves into basalt, and plain, loose sand, crushed beneath the weight of miles of seawater, evolves into firm sandstone.

“Evolution” is not a test of faith; it’s a test of intelligence.  God is not lying to us.  Fossils really are millions of years old.

Grumpy Old Archon

 

So, I was forced to miss yet another chance to keep my mouth shut.  Several newspaper readers had been writing about how much salt they had to use to achieve the municipally-mandated ‘bare concrete’ walkways in front of their houses.  Salt kills grass, pollutes waterways, ruins shoes and rusts out cars.

I was going to send in a letter suggesting that people try Urea crystals.  It melts like salt, but is a fertilizer, without salt’s bad side effects.  The biggest problem is finding it, and cheaply.  As a fertilizer, summertime and agricultural Co-ops yield the best results.

When I saw the above letter, I couldn’t resist tweaking the nose of another ‘Good Christian’, especially when he claimed to decry ignorance, and then asked such ignorant questions, and made such ignorant claims.

(1)

I cringed when I read the original subject letter, with its claim that evolution is a ‘fact.’  It appears to have more supporting evidence, but must still be taken on faith, just like religion.

(2)

This passage has absolutely nothing to do with the validity, or lack, of evolution.  The letter writer just throws it in to provide an emotionally-charged, fear-of-Damnation-raising, broad, believable base, for his otherwise baseless objections.

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Horse-Drawn History

I’ve done a few “Remember When” posts about growing up Oh-so-long-ago, and in a small town at the end of the universe.  I’ve written a post about the development of roads, and if I don’t get my numbering mixed up, it will already be published.  What I haven’t put together is the horse and buggy combination.  Anyone want to go for a wagon ride?

I’m still a long way from being a suave, sophisticated, city-dweller, but, as a kid, I was far more urban than rural.  I don’t know if my little town helped make me so, or if I was just of that bent, and lucky to be born where I was.  When I got old enough to visit the next little town down the road, I was quite dismissive.

Our town had all the interesting, up-scale social amenities that they didn’t.  We had a movie theater, a bowling alley, and a pool-room.  They had none of these.  They did have a United Co-op farm supply store, and a Western Tire store, even back here in the east, not even a real Canadian Tire store.

Back when I was knee-high to a grasshopper, it was not unusual to see horses pulling wagons around their town.  Local farmers hauling hay, bringing milk to the dairy, or stopping in to that Co-op store to pick up seed or fertilizer.  My town was not exempt from horse and wagon combos though.

When I was a kid, we still got milk delivered to the house by horse and wagon.  I don’t remember seeing milk taken to the little dairy in my town by horse; it was picked up by truck from farmers who set it by the side of the road in five-gallon pails.  It sat out in the winter cold and summer heat until it got back to the dairy.  Thank God for Pasteurization.

This was all back when every little town had its own little dairy, before the economies of volume caused all the milk in North America to be controlled by a dairy-products company in Italy named Parmalat.

The milk guy delivered right to the door.  If it sat on the porch in the winter, it froze, and expanded.   Milk wasn’t homogenized, so an inch or two of cream would raise the cardboard cap out of the glass bottle.  The frozen cream would have to be cut off and saved, or it would melt and run off.

Later, the delivery schedule changed, and the wagon didn’t arrive till just after lunch.  Sometimes I would ask my Mom for a nickel to get a half-pint of chocolate milk.  The deposit on the glass bottle was another nickel.  We could have paid it once, and just kept exchanging bottles, but it was far more fun to climb into the delivery wagon and ride a couple of blocks while I sipped it finished.  Then I’d walk back home.

Townie boy learned a little about driving horses.  “Gee” meant turn right, “”haw” meant turn left.  I’ll leave “giddy up” and “whoa” to your imagination.  “Gee” was a crossword puzzle solution to the clue, “right to a horse,” last week.

We didn’t have an electric refrigerator for a number of years.  We had an icebox, which sat in a shed, attached to the back of the house.  Every couple of days in the summer we put a twenty-five pound block of ice in a top compartment.  The ice would melt, so there was a hole bored in the floor, where the melt water ran out.

Each winter, a businessman and his assistants would go to a small cove of Lake Huron, and cut blocks of ice out by hand, using large human-powered saws.  When the cove refroze, they would come back for another harvest, and another, until they filled a barn-like warehouse.  The ice was covered by a thick layer of fine sawdust, which reduced thawing during the summer.

The ice was delivered to most homes in town by horse and wagon.  Their blocks were about fifty pounds, and had to be hacked in half with a trowel-like hand-tool with a toothed edge.  I would often run out and grab a large sliver of ice, and suck on it like a no-cost Popsicle.  Occasionally I got to ride along for a couple of blocks, as I did with the milkman.  It takes a village to raise a child.  Since I was almost the only child in my neighborhood, these village men protected, entertained and educated me before I went to school.

The third horse and wagon for many years was the garbage-man’s.  The town’s work-crew was small and, immediately after WW II, trucks, and the money to buy them was scarce.  The garbage-man seemed ancient to a small child, but he was probably in his fifties.  He and his patient horse would make the rounds, and he would dump loose garbage from metal cans into the wagon.

When the wagon was full, he would take it to the south edge of town, about a half-mile from the lakeshore.  He would have the horse back the wagon into an open area, and then pry up the loose boards which formed the bottom of the wagon, and stand them on edge, dumping the garbage.

About the time the old man, and his horse, retired, and town employees using a truck took over, a real estate developer wanted space to build more cottages for the burgeoning tourist trade.  Suddenly all the garbage was compacted with a bulldozer and covered with clean fill, and the site was sold.  I wonder how many of the cottage-owners know what’s under their summer palaces.

Horses and wagons….as Benzeknees’ quiz proved a while ago, I am older than dirt.  At least this tale of long ago and far away didn’t contain any dinosaurs or woolly mammoths.  Be careful as you walk away from the wagon.  Don’t step in that stuff!

 

I Don’t Want To Hurt Your Feelings

There is tact, and then there is over-the-top, bureaucratic-nonsense, political-correctness.  The New York City Board of Education clearly demonstrated the latter recently.  They put out tenders for the printing of new standardized student tests.  In an attempt to ensure that none of their students get their little feelings hurt, there was a list of 50 words/thoughts that could not be included, lest someone be offended.

Here is the complete list of words that they believe should be banned.

  • Abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological)
  • Alcohol (beer and liquor), tobacco, or drugs
  • Birthday celebrations (and birthdays)
  • Bodily functions
  • Cancer (and other diseases)
  • Catastrophes/disasters  (tsunamis and hurricanes)
  • Celebrities
  • Children dealing with serious issues
  • Cigarettes (and other smoking paraphernalia)
  • Computers in the home (acceptable in a school or library setting)
  • Crime
  • Death and disease
  • Divorce
  • Evolution
  • Expensive gifts, vacations, and prizes
  • Gambling involving money
  • Halloween
  • Homelessness
  • Homes with swimming pools
  • Hunting
  • Junk food
  • In-depth discussions of sports that require prior knowledge
  • Loss of employment
  • Nuclear weapons
  • Occult topics (i.e. fortune-telling)
  • Parapsychology
  • Politics
  • Pornography
  • Poverty
  • Rap Music
  • Religion
  • Religious holidays and festivals (including but not limited to Christmas, Yom Kippur, and      Ramadan)
  • Rock-and-Roll music
  • Running away
  • Sex
  • Slavery
  • Terrorism
  • Television and video games (excessive use)
  • Traumatic material  (including material that may be particularly upsetting such as animal shelters)
  • Vermin (rats and roaches)
  • Violence
  • War and bloodshed
  • Weapons (guns, knives, etc.)
  • Witchcraft, sorcery, etc.

Incidentally, I notice that one of the words on the list is pornography. The chancellor has offered no explanation for how schools will avoid including this term on standardized tests considering it is part of the middle school curriculum.

The tests can’t refer to the number of birthday or Christmas presents Mary got, because Jews and Muslims don’t celebrate Christmas and Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t celebrate birthdays.  I see they didn’t include weather.  Presumably we can still discuss that.  Dinosaurs can’t be mentioned, because that assumes evolution.  Expensive presents and homes with pools would depress the financially downtrodden.  References to homelessness, job loss and poverty would just rub their noses in it.

I’m all for not offending the next guy, but this just seems to take it to the level of absurd.  This is George Orwell’s 1984.  If there isn’t a word to describe it, the concept doesn’t exist.  If either the potential offender, or the possibly offended actually knew what they were talking about, I might accept the concept, but neither does.

I worked with a young Jehovah’s Witness.  Shortly before Mother’s Day the inspector on the line asked him what he was doing for his mother.  “We don’t celebrate mothers.  We celebrate Jesus.  We do what the Bible tells us to do.”  One of the important passages in the Bible, perhaps THE most important, The Ten Commandments, orders us to, Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother!  Surely this applies to Jehovah’s Witnesses, as much as to the rest of us.

We can’t make it a nice world, just by wishing it so.  It would be nice if bad guys didn’t have, and use, guns.  Canada is still busy taking guns away from responsible owners.  A .22 calibre varmint rifle has been declared a dangerous weapon, and all of these guns sold in the last twenty years must be turned in to police, with no compensation.  The reason is, that they were designed to look like an AK47, and AK47s, by Government definition, are evil.

Seventeen states passed legislation allowing concealed carry for handguns.  Canadian pundits almost had a bird.  The words Hell, and hand basket, were bandied freely.  Two years later, gun-related crimes in those states are down an average of thirty-seven percent.  When the bad guys don’t know whether or not a potential victim might lethally fight back, they’re not so likely to commit a crime.

I don’t feel that the school system is doing students any favors when they pass them on to the next grade, even though they didn’t achieve the required marks.  They don’t want to make the students feel like failures.  Check the definition.  They are failures!  Better to find out now, than when the boss asks, Do you have that report finished? and you reply, Well, I’ve got some of it done.  Do you want fries with that?  Damn it Hopkins, the customer ordered onion rings.

If an inner-city black youth is not told about the existence of a $17,000,000 mansion, he is still stuck in poverty, and maybe, he thinks there’s nothing better.  If he finds out that other people live better, he has something to aspire to.  These words and ideas will exist whether kids are told about them or not.  I feel that there should be short-term pain for long-term resistance and health.  Like germs, continual, light exposure can produce immunity.  Remember, the ostrich with his head stuck in the sand, can still get it stuck up his….Ask me if I still feel this way in five years.

Think Ahead, or Behind, or at All, But Think!

My son occasionally goes to a site called The Darwin Awards.  It’s an ongoing collection of stories about geniouses (usually male and under 25), who remove themselves from the gene pool by doing….I was going to say SPECTACULARLY stupid things, but sometimes it’s as simple as, Look Both Ways Before You Cross The Street.  It doesn’t include trying to dive into the family pool from the roof of the bungalow, and missing by just enough to break both legs, just below the knee, on the edge of the pool, because, your buddies will pull you out before you drown.  Then you just get to spend the rest of a great summer in a pair of twin casts.

The son points out that stupidity carries the death penalty.  We both agree that it is not invoked nearly often enough.  If it were, shows like Jackass wouldn’t exist.  I’ve said previously that I don’t really have a problem with stupidity, but with people who have shown that they can think, but simply don’t and won’t.  I’d like to introduce you to the smartest dumb guy, or the dumbest smart guy, that I’ve met in my entire life.  He happens to be American, but I’m sure some of his white trash relatives live in Canada.

Let me set the scene.  This was long ago, shortly after the Earth cooled and the last of the dinosaurs had died in skateboard accidents.  I got up early on the Saturday morning of Labor Day weekend and walked 4 blocks west and eight blocks south, to my older, married sister’s house, which was located just off the highway where it entered my home town.  She had a couple of little chores she hadn’t nagged managed to get her husband to do.  My mother sent along a couple of items, and my sister had a couple of things she wanted taken back with me.  Everything done except the final delivery, I was walking back home just in time for lunch.  I was walking along the sidewalk beside the highway, and was about a hundred feet from the intersection with the main street, where I would turn east, when a car slowly passed me at just better than my walking speed.  It pulled over tight to the curb, just at the beginning of the right turn lane and the passenger window rolled down.

I’m going to be asked something, I thought,  probably directions, so I eased over towards the car.  I tend to notice things which many other people don’t, often strange or out-of-place things.  That wasn’t difficult with this car.  I remind the reader that this was Labor Day Saturday.  It was a lovely little Ford Mustang, with Mom and Dad in the front, and two tweens, one male, one female and about two hundred pounds of luggage in the tiny little back seat.  These kids didn’t look like they’d been able to move a muscle, even to take a deep breath, since the doors were closed.  The car had a Michigan plate, and, what brought it out of The Twilight Zone, was the fact that it had four sets of skis and poles strapped to the trunk carrier.  Oh, oh!

Sure enough, Mom leans back as far as she can and Deputy Dawg, the driver leans over to the window and smiles and asks, Where’s the snow?  Yeah,  didn’t see that one coming.  I’m in temporary meltdown; what do you answer to that?  I pointed on up the highway and said, You’re heading North.  He nodded and said Yeah?  I said, The highway turns to the east as you leave town, but if you keep heading North for about 1500 miles, I think they have snow up there.  But where are we going to ski?  I don’t know if they want cross-country or downhill.  If they follow the highway to the east about a hundred miles, some nice little hills poke themselves up.  Some of them even have ski runs on them, but they don’t have any more snow than we do here.

Now I’m curious as to just how this circus got to my town, so I asked, where ya from?  Michigan!  No! Really Bob?  And you even have a car with a Michigan plate on it.  Where exactly in Michigan?  Bay City, is the happy answer.  If I walked the remaining 50 feet to the corner, turned left, and pointed west down main street, and across Lake Huron, where tourists are still swimming and boating, I could almost see Bay City.  It might be a bit further south, but not much.  The two communities are on the tips of a large V.

In an attempt to place an understanding of the relative geography into his head I asked, how did you get here?  My birthday was in about three weeks.  I’m still only 14.  I felt that I should go very carefully about teaching a middle-aged man about social responsibility and world situations.  We drove down to Detroit, crossed over to Windsor, and drove up here, he replied.  So, you drove south and then turned around and drove the same distance north, why would you expect snow?  Well, this is Canada, isn’t it?  Ya got me there, Sparky, this definitely is Canada.  How could I have been so silly?

Wait a minute!  You said you drove to Detroit and crossed over?  Yeah, why?  Why didn’t you cross the border at Port Huron, into Sarnia?  Where???  Dear Lord, he can’t read a map either.  Sarnia/Port Huron sit just at the bottom of Lake Huron.  It’s at least another hour and a half to drive all the way to Detroit, and then when you get on the Canadian side, you have to go way out around the belly of Lake St. Clair for a two hour ride to get back to  where you already were.  He’s caused himself four hours of wasted gas and driving time with two kids crammed in the back.

I just had to know what kind of a guy did all this.  What do you do for a living?  I’m a Production Engineer!  And he’s edumacated.  A college man, maybe university.  A real school gave him a real piece of paper to prove it.  Ignoring the strange little kink that would put him on the road on Labor Day, looking for snow, even if he had showed up at New Years, he dragged his wife and kids hundreds of miles with no more firm address in mind than Skiing, Canada.  He didn’t know where to go.  He didn’t call or write ahead to book accomodations.  Some folks are like that; it’s an adventure, we’ll sleep in the car.  MOST of them survive.  At least he didn’t kill the wife or kids.  Fifty-five years later I still shake my head.  I don’t know where/if they stayed for the weekend, or what they did with ski outfits but no swimsuits.  Iz not my problem, man.