Shocked at Any Time for No Reason at All

When the dog arrived at the house where it knows it can be shocked at any time for absolutely no reason at all, it rushed to see Jen, because it likes Jen. But then it decided it had seen Jen enough and went back into the car, atop it’s bed which had been brought along for the stay. I spilled it off the bed with difficulty when I pulled it from the car and it trotted down the driveway past the spot where it would have been shocked had its collar been on, thus indicating either it had learned nothing at all from the dog restraint system or that it was smarter than anybody might have figured, realizing that absent the collar, it is immune. It kept trotting down the road, as though it would trot all 30 miles home, but my sharp voice, made sharper at the approach of a car, made it pause, reconsider, and reluctantly return with tail shyly wagging.

This is not the usual dog restraint system, where you get too close to the buried wire and get zapped. This is one of the newer 'opposite' models, where you stray too far from the central transmitter and get zapped. Everyone feels bad that the dog is so scared of it and wonders how it happened. There is such as thing as properly acclimating a dog to the system, but it is very hard to believe that my friend would make any mistakes in that regard, because she never does. Maybe there is some quirk about the device itself.

At any rate, he acclimates. I am told he gets better and better. Picking up the dog, my wife and I always ask if it was any trouble. Our daughter’s friends invariably blow off the question as almost too stupid to ask. When I take the dog to the dog park, almost to the person people tell me how good natured he is.

 

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Picking up Women at the Dog Park

Given that we are all flabby and that excercise is the best thing for us and that it doesn't have to be hard excercise - walking will do - it is surprising that at the dogpark the only one I see doing laps is me.I do eight, having figured that each is a quarter of a mile. When I actually paced it off, I discovered that I had come pretty close. Eight laps comes to about two and a quarter miles.
 
I pick up turds when I'm walking, too. Why should I not? I don't pick them up with my bare hands, of course, and I think I would draw the line if someone asked me to. But no one does. The dog park provides nice little plastic bags that you can turn inside out, flip over in no time, and get the job done. There is an art to it and one improves with experience. Me - I just like a clean dog park. For whatever reason, quite a few do not pick up after their dogs. I don't make a big deal over this. I just do it myself. Not as though I am on a mission to get each one. No. I just take out more than my mutt brings in.
 
It is said that guys who are interested in women find great success in picking up some of them at the dog park. I have found this to be true, and I usually leave with four or five in my tow. They approach me tremulously, with awakening desire, and ask what interesting things I do. "I pick up turds," I tell them. "It's a great hobby!"
 
It leaves them speechless every time.
 
Dog park
 
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Candidate Cat is Probably Lying Through His Furry Face

I think it is very important for voters to realize that when Candidate Cat advocates food control for dogs, he is being disingenuous at best, and lying through his furry face at worst. Food rights for dogs has long established that optimal results in satisfaction and productivity are achieved at two meals per day per dog, but Candidate Cat uses the data of dogs who binge-eat to skew the overall data. It is important to note that such data must be placed into the category of statistical outlier with no practical application. If fact, recent research points to the likelihood that two meals a day are actually insufficient, and that three or even more meals per day per dog would result in happier returns.

Candidate Cat, on the campaign trail, tends to speak figuratively, in ways that his advisors would no doubt like to reign him in on. He floats an off the cuff remark that one meal per day per dog is the policy he would like to pursue and his advisors quickly reassure the public that he is still committed to a two meal per day per dog policy. In reality, this tactic serves to distract the voter from his true agenda, which is patterned after his true desire – I am assured by insiders who do not wish to be identified - that there be no meals for dogs at all – per day, per dog, or per anything. He purrs a good game, but the public is catching on to him and I predict he will not succeed.

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A Legal Defeat for the Cat

'Cats only get fed once a day,' says Pop. He is recalling the barn cats back when he was a boy. They got unlimited cow's milk, but solid food just once a day. Let them get off their rear ends and catch some mice if they are yet hungry.

This statement thoroughly alarmed the cat, which immediately tried to mitigate the damage. 'Objection, your Honor,' it said. 'I demand that remark be stricken from the record! It is irrelevant, biased, and prejudicial! Cat lives matter!'

But his Honor was fed up with his own cat, which harasses him 24/7 for more food from the moment he walks in the door. He takes off his robe, hollers 'Honey, I'm home!' takes a step forward and falls headlong over his cat, which has positioned itself to call attention to its own hungry plight.

'Objection overruled!' he roared. 'Let the record stand as is! In fact, underline those words!' Image

 

Tom Irregardless and Me               No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

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Police Dog Needed to Catch Old Crooks and Crooks Who Walk Funny

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 Whoa! I get a cool undercover police car!

 

 

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Here comes my new partner.

 

 


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Meet Officer Bittem 

 

 

 

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  Suspect identified. He's a nasty looking one!

 

 

 

 

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I've got him trapped, Officer Bittem! I'll cover the escape route. You go down there and cuff him!

 

Tom Irregardless and Me    No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash 

 

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A Joyous Pig Bucket Brigade

From the book: No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

They had a barn fire in Russia in the dead of winter – isn’t it always winter over there? – and firefighters saved 150 pigs.  Find it online. Watch the firefighers joyously tossing piglets to each other in a bucket pig brigade. See? They rescue piglets over there just like we would rescue them here. Focus on the people, not the governments.

All the government wants is to maintain public order, and there are different ideas about how to do that. While they’re at it they preserve their own interest.  But people do that everywhere. The Bible used the metaphor of the heavens to represent ancient governments. The heavens would drench you with rain, scorch you will sun, freeze you will sleet, and there wasn’t a thing you could do about. It is not so different today.

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Sam Suong, Do You Want to go for... AN EXCURSION?!

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e - x - c - u - r -

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YEAH! Let's go!

Tom Irregardless and Me.       No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash 

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San Diego

Just north of San Diego, they built a children's beach. It was for the children. The kids needed a beach, don't you see. They didn't get one, though. They were evicted. By sea lions!

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Now, I can think of scores of examples where animals are displaced by people, but how often is it the other way around? It's sort of refreshing, isn't it? The children and seals competed for a time, but the cove's protected nature....rocky cliffs on one side of the beach, manmade seawall on the other....well, word just spread among sea lions...you know how they are....and they came in such numbers so as to drive the children away.  When they started to mate and give birth on the beach, practicing unprotected seal sex, it was time to clear the children out 2011 3 27 san diego 066 once and for all! There must have been 120 seals lounging about the day we visited.  See how happy this guy is?

Odd birds keep gliding by as you're strolling the sea wall. Line after line of pelicans on patrol, single file, more or less, each line   undulating up and down with the waves. Graceful from a distance, but as they pass close by, you're struck with their appearance. Heads eerily too big for their body, no neck, extended beak....flying gnomes, seeming to eye you closely, though not turning their heads, as if relaying your position to headquarters.

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Now, you mustn't feel too sorry for the displaced children, here. Or, at least, if you do, don't feel it from the standpoint of physical well-being. This is LaJolla (Spanish for “the Jewel), California. It's among the wealthiest locales in the US. It's beautifully hilly terrain. It's picture perfect weather. Relaxed, seemingly stress-free people. The PGA just finished up the Farmers Insurance Open at the community's Torrey Pines golf course, and Bubba Watson walked off with a million dollar check. Witnessing is a challenge here, I'm told, since folks have their own bit of paradise right here and now, living in their multi-million dollar homes clinging to the hillsides.  I was glad I was visiting with my wife, Mrs Sheepandgoats, and not Tom Pearlsandswine, who would doubtless glower over the scene, just like he did at the Ithaca Earth Museum dinosaur exhibit, grumbling about the “wiles of Satan.”  Here, his brow would darken...I've seen it before....he'd mutter to himself awhile, and finally blurt out something like: “I don't know how it happened! The have pigs escaped from the barn, and they're in the farmer's house!”2011 3 27 san diego 042 
 

Trouble is, I'm not sure I don't agree with him, except for perhaps that unkind remark about 'pigs.' Is it really appropriate to dwell in untouchable luxury when much of the world lives in unspeakable squalor? Isn't one at risk of losing touch that way, not only with less luminary humans, but even with God? From the freewheeling Message translation:

Give me enough food to live on, neither too much nor too little.
If I'm too full, I might get independent, saying, 'God? Who needs him?'  (Prov 30:7-9)

Ah well, that's kind of heady and philosophical, isn't it? It's just too warm and pleasant here to care much. Maybe if I had the dough, I'd be right here with them. Besides, one can always dash off a check for how-many thousands to whatever charitable cause strikes one's fancy.

We drive along Torrey Pines Rd, gawking at the sights, just as out-of-towners do, water on seemingly all sides,  towering hills to the left, mounted by a huge gleaming white cross, and continue to......wait...a huge gleaming white cross? Here in LaJolla? Here?! Where you substitute shopping for church, and Consumer Reports for the Bible? Rio de Janeiro, okay, you'd expect to find a cross there....but La Jolla? How come the atheists haven't pulled it down? Better go up and check. So we turn up one of the side roads, snaking up the mountain, half-expecting to be ordered off by million dollar residents. Not that they're not nice and all. But like all outsiders on unfamiliar winding roads full of splendid vistas, we creep along slowly. You don't want to run over anyone's child. The guidebook says “some of the most expensive real estate in the world”....yeah, it sort of looked that way. Residents familiar with every turn and hairpin twist keep roaring up behind us in Mercedes or Lexus automobiles, obliging us to pull over and let them pass. But we finally reach our destination.

 

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Aha! It's a war memorial. Try as you might, you can't mess with a cross at a war memorial. 2400 black granite plaques surround the cross, each with photos and stories of American servicemen and women. And my Lord! What a view of the surrounding area.

Plus, here's the sign from those frustrated atheists that I figured had to be here. They did try to take that cross down, I 2011 3 27 san diego 159mean, they must have, knowing them and knowing the times we live in, but the task looks impossible for now, so they had to content themselves with a disclaimer. It only remains to put up some stupid counter display of their own, like they did at that Illinois nativity scene.  

Back to real people the next day. We breakfasted in downtown San Diego, on Fifth Street. Cafe 21, a restaurant you must visit should you find yourself in the area. Normally, an omelet is an omelet.2011 3 27 san diego 307  Any orangutang can make one, and it makes no different where you have yours. But here, breakfast had personality. Everything's unique. The owners hail from Azerbaijan, a map thereof appears on the menu, and the husband stopped by to chat. The waitress stewed over some scheme of the local politician's to extend parking rates into the evenings, plus weekends. What's a working person to do? Already, she parks afar and scateboards the distance to work. She was just that right combination of friendliness, wit, and loopiness. Surely, a native San Diegan! Nope, she says, she comes from Ohio. Ohio! Right next door! We could be cousins. She and everyone else. I can't tell you how many people we met who've transplanted themselves from the northeast.

What am I doing in freezing my rear end off in upstate New York? Taking solace when March 1rst comes, imagining on that day that one can almost begin to perhaps see the foreglimmerings of the light at the end of the weather tunnel? When we returned on March 26, it was colder than when we left!

I know, I know, it's my theocratic assignment. That's how we come to think of it when we're stuck in some armpit of a location.  It will continue to be my assignment until I jump ship and go somewhere else. “Don't worry, Jehovah will provide. Besides, I'm outta here,” I'll say as I roar off. But I probably won't leave. Family is here, extended family, and friends, so that we're all locked here in a conspiracy of inertia. Not to mention that.....it's my assignment.

 
 There were other things we did in San Diego. Other beaches we visited, for example, like in Ocean City, where rows of pelicans cruised by to update our2011 3 27 san diego 093  position, oblivious to the changed socio-economic surroundings, And the zoo, which would take several days, I think, to take it all in. Now, I'm used to zoos in which the animals bunch up as far away from the visitors as possible, and just sit there like sullen union members, not doing squat. But San Diego is a Paul Simon type of  zoo...and the animals will love it if ya do, now.....these creatures interact. They're not shy at all.

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It was a nice vacation. We don't travel much, nor do we usually go far. I'd never been west of the Mississippi. A short stay in the Poconos is more our speed. But the kids are out of the house, now. Some bills are paid off. Maybe we'll do it again someday. Starting with this post, I believe I'll start a “Travelogue” category.

We even visited friends who had one of those GPS devices. And to think I've been pulling over in traffic like an old fogey, unwrinkling gigantic maps, painstakingly finding my place, plotting a course, and then driving a half mile and doing it all over again! Just like Pop. He's even older than I am! My first run-in, years ago, with a GPS device made me suspicious of them, but no more. Maybe Mrs. Sheepandgoats will buy me one as a present, and since we don't do Christmas, maybe I won't have to wait nine months.

They do make you an idiot, however. Like the person we met at the hotel swimming pool who told us of some sight to see in San Diego. Wow, we said, how do you get there? No idea, she said breezily. You know....GPS. It's sort of like the calculator wars playing out all over again. Thus, I once knew a CPA who would not use a calculator, and generally not even an adding machine. He was strictly pencil and paper! What a nutjob! Face it, we're all destined to become stupider and stupider for the duration of this system of things. Resistance is futile.

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Tom Irregardless and Me     No Fake News But Plenty of Hogwash

 

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Bullfights, Bearfights, and Elisha the Prophet

The other day in Madrid, a bull leapt from the ring into the stands. It gored a few, trampled a few, fell on a few. Altogether, 40 were hurt, only a few seriously. Sure scared the wits out of them all, though. Now....you know the way American TV is: they ran the scene as a loop so that you saw it, not once, but several times.  And then the evening news did the same, and the commentaries, and the talk shows, and probably the morning news next day, in case anyone had missed it. In short...if Americans were anywhere that day, they saw the charging bull and the fleeing people.
 
And......let's be honest. It was hard not to root for the bull. Not to imply that we're happy about the injured people. No. You know me better than that. I didn't say anyone rooted against the people. It's just that they rooted for the bull. These folks had come to see the bull taunted, tormented, tortured, and killed. But the tables were turned! It didn't turn out that way. Well, actually it did...the bull was put to death....but not before he had claimed a few for himself.
 
Watching the TV loop, wasn't it a bit like those revenge shows people love to watch, where the hero is pushed, shoved, framed, bullied, run over, his family molested, attacked, stomped upon....how can anyone endure such atrocities? but then finally, his nasty tormentor gets what's coming to him, in a blood-pumping mother-of-all fights during which he absorbs blow after blow, knifethrust after knifethrust, javelin piercings, bazookas blasts, gunshot after gunshot (whereas anyone else promptly falls with a single shot fired in their general direction) till he....YES!! staggers and crashes to the ground. Whew!! Our hero's exhausted! He turns his back....why would he not?.. ...and consoles the remains of his long-suffering family, and begins to......OMIGOSH!!!!.....the bad guy's getting up again!!! How is that possible??!! He's creeping up on tiptoe with a crowbar!!!! Our hero suspects nothing! He's not even looking! Turn around, you idiot!! His foe cocks for the final blow!!!  I can't watch!! (well...maybe a little)  but then KA-BLAMO!!!!....YES!! The cowering woman summons all her unsuspected strength and fires one last fatal shot through his head, splattering brains everywhere; he staggers backward and topples over the balcony, falling 40 floors and landing in a packed pool of piranhas, who devour him alive, turning the water bright red, all to the sounds of his agonized screams! YEAH!!!! THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!!!!
 
But, back to the.....huh?....what do'ya mean 'lover of violence?' The bad guy got what was coming to him, didn't he?
 
As I say, back to the bullfight.
 
As a general rule, a rampaging bull at a social gathering would be cause for concern. You'd hope no one got hurt. It takes only one crucial fact....in this case, that the purpose of this gathering was to see the bull tormented and slaughtered .... to turn all our normal sensibilities upon their head. And a thousand years from now, when bullfights are ancient and forgotten history, so that no one could ever imagine such an cruel purpose to any gathering, one might, missing that key fact, find it absolutely barbaric that anyone could root for the murderous bull. Everything turns on one key fact, which may or may not be evident.
 
All of which is introduction to the account where Elisha calls down evil upon taunting children, whereupon bears come out of the woods and devour them.
 
And he proceeded to go up from there to Bethel. As he was going up on the way, there were small boys that came out from the city and began to jeer him and that kept saying to him: “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!” Finally he turned behind him and saw them and called down evil upon them in the name of Jehovah. Then two she-bears came out from the woods and went tearing to pieces forty-two children of their number.   (2 Kings 2:23-24)
 
Let's face it; it's hard to put a happy face on that one. About the best you can do is assign that week's Bible review to a bald brother, who will tap his own shiny dome and pass himself off as one of a protected species, courtesy of 2nd Kings. But might there be some key fact that, just like the missing ingredient in Madrid, might make all the difference if we but knew what it was? It seems a notion worth pursuing.

For this account is from 3000 years ago. And I remember, for example, just 50 years ago, my mother might holler “I'll kill you for that!” if I....oh...say....ate the frosting off her newly baked cake. Americans my age will remember those five words were once a harmless expression you might use on a mischievous child. They might, in some cases, be practically an expression of endearment. The words, in most contexts, were not to be taken literally. Wasn't the accused kid of Twelve Angry Men found “not guilty” when one juror observed just that fact? Today, however, using those words will land you in deep trouble with the child protective people, the hate speech people, and God knows who else. Those oft uttered words of a half century ago are absolutely taboo today (though the deed has become commonplace).
 
If such a cultural shift can happen in a mere 50 years, what might happen in 3000 years? We think of the small boys of 2nd Kings in terms of kids of today and feel Elisha should count himself lucky they didn't attack him with baseball bats, so that to create such a fuss over mere words is just plain unseamly. But might there have been a societal norm of the day that declared certain conduct absolutely off-limits? Some norm known by one and all, drilled into the innermost fiber of everyone's being, so that a knowing violation would be shockingly unspeakable? A norm that equated mocking a prophet of God to mocking God himself, at a time when God was central everyone's being? It's a plausible notion to me. To you?
 
To be sure, such a notion flies in the face of the modern-day concept of “human rights,” but isn't there something a little grandiose about that concept? I admit, I'm naturally suspicious of any point-of-view originating in the modern-day, lest it be a manifestation of Proverbs 30:12: “There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes but that has not been washed from its own excrement,” but even with that said, I distrust the concept. I prefer to speak of the “golden rule,” which embraces all that is noble about “human rights,” while discarding all that is pretentious.
 
For life itself doesn't seem to afford much respect for “human rights.” In his day, Ronald Reagan was arguably the most influential person alive. Ten years later, a victim of Alzheimer’s, he didn't know who he was. If nature itself discards us so easily...if we can so readily and unpredictably fall victim to loathsome disease or frightful accident....well....where is nature's respect for our “rights?”
 
Not to mention that, if you go speaking of “rights,” it almost seems that you ought to be able to do something about it if such rights are violated. While that may sometimes happen, we all know that, as often as not in the worldwide scheme of things, people's rights are violated with impunity. So how are they rights? Better to apply the golden rule: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Matt 7:12) It conveys all the kindness of “rights,” but sidesteps what doesn't fit. It does, however, imply humility, and ours is an age where people like to “stand proud,” so “human rights” is the terminology that sticks.
 
Anyway, I advance my theory in case I myself may someday be assigned a commentary of 2 Kings 2:23-24. I'll have to say something, and I won't be able to play it for laughs, like the bald brothers do; I have a full head of hair. Though.....sigh....it is thinning. Maybe when the time comes, the whole point will be moot.

Tom Irregardless and Me   No Fake News But Plenty of Hogwash

 

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Cabinets of Curiosities, Solomon, and the Bombardier Beetle

If you threw a party back in Bible times, there was one person you just had to invite: Solomon. He was absolutely essential. You only have to read what 1 Kings 4:33 says about him:

And he would speak about the trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that is coming forth on the wall; and he would speak about the beasts and about the flying creatures and about the moving things and about the fishes.

I mean, could this guy liven up things, or what? What more can you ask for at your party than someone who tells you all there is to know about warthogs?

Tempting though it may be to write Solomon off as a insufferable bore, upon inspection it is clear that most generations throughout history would consider his remarks fascinating. It’s only in the last hundred years or so that we’ve come to substitute football, horsepower, entertainment, and babes as talking points. Well, probably “babes” has always been around, but before our modern age of soft porn TV and hard porn internet, even they could hardly have been the obsession they are today. Just like Solomon, the average Joe of the nineteenth century figured you could do no better than rattle on about the trees and beasts and flying creatures and moving things and fishes.

There used to be a permanent exhibit at the Rochester Museum and Science Center, first floor, entitled Cabinets of Curiosities. Alas, it has been replaced with wiz-bang Jurassic Park dinosaurs. I mean, dinosaurs are okay, but who doesn’t have them? Cabinets, though much more modest in scale, offered unique insight. The exhibit was a vast collection of stuffed birds, insects, mammals, shells, minerals, plants, leaves, rocks, and so forth. Explaining it all was a sign:

“Throughout the first half of the nineteenth century, Nature was seen as evidence of God’s work and people believed that studying it would bring them closer to the Creator. Darwin’s evolutionary theory, which replaced God’s role in creating species with natural selection, shook society to it’s foundations.”

So people collected these things….showed them off….studied them. They were part of the Book of Nature; they revealed things about God. Prominent scientists of the age: Newton and Kepler, Faraday and Hertz, thought of their work in much the same light. But people gradually adjusted to Darwinian thinking…..and little by little….natural things lost their appeal. One might as well collect hub caps.

So Solomon’s cherished topics of conversation and those of the nineteenth century are pretty much the same. It is we who can’t imagine what people could possibly find intriguing about “trees and beasts and flying creatures and fishes.“ Our times are the aberration, not those of Solomon.

Lately, though, the Awake! magazine has started talking up trees and beasts and flying creatures and moving things and fishes, highlighting one brief (too brief) example every issue. There’s more to these creatures than most people know.

For example, the bombardier beetle (December 2008) defends itself by spraying boiling, stinking liquid from its rear, sending spiders, birds and frogs running for cover. I mean, the liquid is actually boiling, it’s 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Built-in reactive chambers and release mechanism are potent enough to change speed, direction, and consistency of its toxic spray. Scientists try to learn from it, try to adapt it to various modern gadgets. “Andy McIntosh of the University of Leeds, England, says ‘Nobody had studied the beetle from a physics and engineering perspective as we did - and we didn’t appreciate how much we would learn from it.’”

The article concludes (as they always do) with “What do you think? Did (whatever the subject under consideration) develop by chance? Or was it designed?”

I can picture modern day devotees of reason and logic….the ones who idolize science as even scientists themselves do not….frothing livid at the question. You can‘t just ask that question point blank, they fume, first you must explain the ground rules concerning admissible evidence and the scientific method, otherwise people may come to conclusions you don’t want them to come to. But I see nothing wrong with the question. In fact, it seems foolish not to ask it.

The impetus behind the evolution model today applied to all living things is mutation, an “error” in replicating of this or that gene. The driver of the theory is natural selection. Errors, just like when you screw up something at home or in your workplace, are almost always bad. But every once in a while your bungling improves matters….we all know that can happen. And so it is with gene replication. There’s zillions of bad errors, and because they are bad they die out or get lost in the shuffle. But the one good error gives its recipient a leg up in the “fight for survival.“ Thus, natural selection sees to it that the good error is preserved for succeeding generations, while the bad ones disappear.

Now, nobody here has any problem applying this theory to the things Darwin observed in finches: changes of shape, color, beaks, feet, and so forth. Essentially it is animal husbandry. It’s been around forever. Everyone knows about it. But do you really, really expect us to believe that the same theory is enough to explain the bombardier beetle’s blasting butt? Just how many billions of these happy errors have to accumulate….each one nurtured by natural selection before being built upon….to equip the beetle this way?

The more successive coincidences you need, the more astronomical is the time required. If it takes you so long to flip a penny heads five times in a row, it will not take you twice as long to flip it so ten times in a row. Probability doesn’t work that way. The time required does not increase lineally, it increases geometrically. With enough needed permutations, you exceed the quantity of time supplied by even the boldest of physicists, for even time is not thought to be inexhaustible.

They are short articles, those Awake! snippets, thus frustrating those who confuse wisdom with tonnage. But Solomon would be pleased. You’d book him for after-dinner remarks and he’d regale one and all with tales of beetle flatulence.

Tom Irregardless and Me     No Fake News But Plenty of Hogwash

 

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