Friday, December 12, 2008

Snow Day

I woke up a little after 8:00 Thursday morning to an amazing sight. It was snowing! Literally snowing. Actual flakes instead of the occasional hard pellets of ice that we do get. I’ve lived in southern Louisiana since 1986, and in that time I’ve seen it “snow” twice, which means I saw a few flakes mixed with sleet. But this was an actual snow that continued for hours and ended up laying about three inches of the white fluff on our entire neighborhood. (Some forty miles north of us it snowed eight inches!) I quickly went out and had a walkabout.

Later, I completed my grading and got my final grades turned in. I still have a few student letters of recommendation to do, but otherwise I’m officially finished until January. I have a deadline on an article but I’m hoping to have time for some fiction as well. Maybe I can also get some stuff submitted.

In reading, after taking a well-earned break from doing anything, I finished my night off with Darwin’s God by Cornelius G. Hunter. It was a complete waste of time, and I wish I had those hours back. Hunter bases his “entire” book on the fact that Darwin commented several times in On the Origin of the Species about how God would not have deliberately engineered a world with so much savagery in it and with so many poorly designed structures. Hunter points out, rightly, that this presupposes a view of God as essentially a benevolent, merciful, and competent creator.

After this single point, however, Hunter states the same thing over and over throughout 175 boring pages. His primary addition to this argument is that the very fact that Darwin mentioned God in his book means that evolution is really “entirely” an argument against the positive view of God rather than for evolution. Of course, Darwin made such comments in his book. Any new theory is going to point out how it is different from the prevailing theory.

When he’s not reemphasizing the above point, Hunter is claiming that the evidence for evolution is simply not evidence. He makes this claim over and over…, with no justification whatsoever. He has to know he’s engaging in “baffling with bullshit.”

Finally, though, the worst part of this book is its cowardice. I wondered if Hunter would have the guts to say what lies at the heart of his argument. He didn’t. I wasn’t surprised, since it would have horribly insulted many Christians who probably make up the book’s primary audience. If we follow Hunter’s arguments to their logical conclusion it would mean that God, according to Hunter, is capricious, vicious, and hateful. Hunter’s God is a trickster and a liar, and Hunter should have had the cojones to say so.

And oh, wow, the snow is still here this morning, although it's melting fast. This is unheard of.

Forgive me for not getting around to everyone's blog the past couple of days. I'm off to visit now, although I doubt I'll be able to catch up on all the posts I missed.



Chris Benjamin said...

i think this cynical view of god is surprisingly common among the faithful, who seem to think god either cruel or incompetent. i guess that helps them explain the state of the world without taking responsibility for it.

have you seen ben stein's movie about intelligent design? i forget what it's called. i think it might offer some unintentional comedy.

Greg said...

pretty cool that you got snow. we were supposed to get some here in Maryland, but haven't seen any yet.

thanks for the comments about "Darwin's God." i'll be sure to steer clear of that book. it sucks that you had to waste your time reading it.

Charles Gramlich said...

That view is pretty strange to me but I think you may be right. It seems maybe their view isn't often thought out very well. I haven't seen Stein's movie. I probably will watch it at some time though I expect it will irritate me.

Charles Gramlich said...

Greg, definitely not worth the reading. How weird that we got snow and you guys didn't.

First comment is for Benjibopper, of course. I'm still mentally fragile from all the grading. LOL.

Heff said...

That's a COLD lookin' tree !!!

We had the threat of snow, but it only happened in the Northern area of the state. Whatta Pisser.

j said...

Interesting book. It is intriguing what conclusion people will come to about God. It has always been a matter of the heart for me.

We live in sandwich states (Mississippi being the peanut butter and jelly between) and I am JEALOUS! It certainly got cold enough in our slice of bread for snow, but it didn't snow HERE. I am 30 minutes north of the Alabama Beaches and I don't think we will ever see white stuff falling from the sky.

Your photos are beautiful. As much as I would love to have winter weather my sypmathy is with the folks without power today due to the winter storm. Brrr!

chris said...

Talking with a younger friend of mine from ElPaso Tx the other day. I lived there from 72ish to 77.
I told her it had snowed one Christmas day, if memory servers me correctly about a foot of snow in all.
Her reply was, it snowed in ElPaso it ? She was born and raised there.

L.A. Mitchell said...

What a Charlie Brown tree. The snow is beautiful. Hope you find that recharge time to work on your writing.

ivan said...

Excellent post.

Really getting to like your writing.



Darwin writes this crappy novel and all he world believes it.

Maybe both Darwin and Dr. Suzuki should go back to goosing fruit flies-- like good little scientists and biologists should. Keep them out of literature, which by its basic nature is anti-science!

Crushed said...

It amazes me so many people still think holes can be picked in evolution.

Most of these creationists and IDers use thoroughly disingenuous arguments.

Lisa said...

The snow looks just gorgeous! We've had snow for days and days because it hasn't warmed up since it snowed and that's a little unusual in December. I hope you made some hot chocolate and curled up with a book -- the best way to enjoy the snow that I know :)

Anonymous said...

I hope it was a huge treat for everyone!

BernardL said...

It is rather humorous when mankind becomes obsessed with explaining the unexplainable.

As to your snowfall, Charles, it’s all global warming. Whether it’s 20 below zero or a 120 in the shade, it’s all global warming. I have a funny anecdote from a few years ago. A customer stopped in to have his car fixed, and he was paying the bill, while giving me a sermon on global warming. It was August, and he said he had just been down to Atlanta, Georgia for a friend’s wedding. He looks at me real serious and says, ‘do you know it never dropped below ninety degrees there even at night time, and the humidity was over eighty percent. We have to do something!’ Unable to control all sarcastic impulses, I replied, ‘imagine that, it’s never hot or humid in August in Atlanta, Georgia. That’s really weird’. He nods, and goes, ‘yea’. :)

Sphinx Ink said...

As I commented on Lana's blog: Snow. In New Orleans area. On December 11. Can the Apocalypse be far behind???

On the other hand, Charles, some of your potential non-fans, the creationists, might say the snow happened because you and the other evolutionists are p*ssing off the Big Guy (or Big Gal, if we must assign a gender).

Not me. I think we're p*ssing off the planet. Gaia will get back at us!

laughingwolf said...

and lana came south to escape the snow ;) lol

too bad you wasted your time on the hunter trash

have a rest, then get back to your REAL job... fiction :O

Gabby said...

LOL at the Christmas Tree!

Chris Eldin said...

Those are beautiful pictures!!!

I can't tolerate reading books on religion anymore. Maybe at some point in the future...but it feels like a one-sided exercise.

Cloudia said...

Louisiana SNOW!
Magical pictures, Charles.
Enjoy your winter-break freedom.
While I appreciate your thoughtful comments on my blog, yours is always worth a look on it's own merits . . . .
What amazes me about life on Earth is that we simulateously have happy people and right beside them folks who are living in hell. Capricous or capacious? Do we really create our experience?!

G. B. Miller said...

People, snow is absolutely nothing to be jealous of.

As one who perpetually lives in snow from November through February, it is no fun to be in.

That being said, Charles those pictures are very nice. Reminds of quiet times looking across the street at the mountain. Very relaxing and peaceful.

Donnetta said...

We had a little snow this last week. Tomorrow is supposed to be very nice but really bad next week-ice. Oh, my. I wonder if school will be closed! If so, they will take the days away from our winter break. Hey, love the tree. Gotta love it! D

Lucas Pederson said...

Lol! I bet it'a magical thing when it really snows there, huh? Here, it's not so bad. I love snow...when I'm not driving in it. We have five inches of the stuff already, with ice underneathe and crusting the top. It's craziness, but I still like snow.

Sidney said...

Wow, we got a few flakes Thursday night. Had no idea that had been going on.

Aine said...

I hope you sang Winter Wonderland while you walked... gotta get into the spirit!

Charles Gramlich said...

Heff, It actually wasn’t super cold here during the snowing, although it got a lot colder later. I’d debated sleeping on the deck but when night fell and the wind loaded up with knives I gave that idea up.

Jennifer, yes, quite a few folks lost power not far from us but we didn’t have any trouble. The snow was very heavy and wet and that will bring down power lines.

Chris, must have been a cold day in hell. Uhm, I mean in El Paso. Lol.

L.A. Mitchell, I couldn’t believe it even clung throughout today in patches.

Ivan, Darwin was a pretty good writer but he didn’t use any narrative techniques. And the characterization wasn’t much.

Crushed, disingenous verging on active lying. It’s very troubling.

Lisa, I had egg nog with rum in it and two good books. ;)

Jason Evans, I was out today and saw the remnants of snow men in just about every yard so I think they did.

Bernardl, lol. I’ve gotta laugh at the guy who’d come from Atlanta. Sounds like all August nights down here.

Sphinx Ink, pissing off the planet might be right. What I’m truly amazed at is that it ‘lingered’ even into today.

Laughingwolf, oh you should have heard Lana’s horrified exclamations when she saw it.

Gabby, it’s a cute little tree. Just across the road.

Chris Eldin, I’m working on a piece about the issue so that’s why I’m reading them. This one didn’t accomplish much for me, though.

Cloudia, Lana actually got a “snow day” off. I was already off work but it was still magical.

Georgie B, I don’t mind snow under two conditions. 1) I don’t have to drive in it. 2) it goes away pretty quickly.

Donnetta Lee, we were worried mainly about it melting and then freezing in slush on the road. That didn’t happen much but our front steps were slick and icy.

Lucas Pederson, it’s certainly pretty, and much more magical in the woods than if you’re in a town. At least to me.

Sidney, I was flabbergasted when I woke up. Just tooooooooo much.

Lana Gramlich said...

Ew, snow! Ew, ew ewwwwwwwww! Make it stop!

ivan said...


And that book by that Bell guy.
No plot either.
I found four Schmucks and and an entire family of Finks.

...Ah. Yellow journalisms, I say

Barbara Martin said...

Cornelius Hunter has not learned evolution can co-habitate with the principles of God. Humans are provided with the necessary environment to live. Through their choices, whether they are benevolent or savage, belongs to them and not God. Who is to say whether or not humans, as they evolved, developed an inner and deeper awareness of God principles into their daily lives. Or do we have ancestors who came from another star system?

the walking man said...

I have my own thoughts on God...they are pretty much out there for anyone who wants to see them, but they have been forming for near forty years on an unconventional path. I think the question is how can anyone without intimate personal experience with God ever define God's personality?

Can you define, accurately any being you have had no long term concourse with? And if one has no experience with another won't their opinions be usually either delusion or retreads of other opinions.

I can throw words at what an alligator is but if I have never actually lived with them all of the learning I have of them is parroting the thoughts of another.

*shrug* God is as God knows h(er)imself to be.

If you really love the snow Charles I'd be willing to trade houses with you for the next three months...your commute would be a little longer but you'd have snow.

Anndi said...

Your snow is my kind of snow... a few inches, it says hello and doesn't overstay it's welcome. ;)

Did you have hot chocolate with your marshmallows?

cs harris said...

My favorite is still the snow we got on Christmas the year before Katrina. Not nearly as much, of course, but the timing was magical.

Rick said...

You're just now seeing snow??? I gotta move your way!

As for Hunter's book, he may have needed the extra money. I'm amazed after the Scopes Monkey Trial anyone else bothers writing about the subject. What's next, a definitive update on the Salem Witch Trials? Wait, maybe you and I can write that book. Don't tell anyone I brought it up.

Charles Gramlich said...

Aine, I sang something a little more rocking but the spirit was there. ;)

Lana, shhh, shhh, it's only temporary. See, it's all gone today.

Ivan, you'd think they would take a writing course or two eh?

Barbara Martin, I think the Intelligent Design folks are more about power and cultural influence than they are about science. I really don't like it when I see Christians behaving in such underhanded ways.

Mark, I liked the snow, primarily because it was only here for a day. I agree with your comments about God. I think people are too impatient to believe they "Know" everything about him NOW.

Anndi, yes, that snow was like the kind of relatives you like. They have a nice visit and don't linger. I didn't have any hot chocolate in the house I'm afraid.

Candy, that was definitely interesting. Lana and I were on the road that day, though. It was interesting to say we had a semi-white Christmas.

Rick, why do you think Lana is down here from Canada? Did you think it was my wonderful personality? LOL>

pattinase (abbott) said...

Somehow snow looks a lot nicer in LA than in MI. Enjoy.

Steve Malley said...

The oldest book of the Bible (and one of the first stories ever written down anywhere, at all) is the Book of Job.

I've never been able to reconcile the idea of a just and merciful deity with the one portrayed in that story. ..

Erik Donald France said...

First, congrats on ending up the semester's grading!

Second, wow! So cool to see snow there -- I saw images of snow in New Orleans yesterday.

Third, good review of the book -- cuts to the chase.

Merisi said...

It seems so funny that you should have snow while we sit outdoors having coffee (dressed in warm clothes). The the west and the south of us snow has been falling in frightening abundance, at one point even the railway connection to Italy was interrupted, but Vienna is still waiting. And waiting. Maybe for Christmas Eve.

It is amazing that a book like the one you write found a publisher. They must have been counting on the fact that the mention of Darwin and God would sell. Darn!

Merisi said...

Oh, pleeease forgive me,
I wanted to write "the book you write about".

Travis Erwin said...

I think it's cool that y'all got some snow.

Travis Cody said...

I'm still waiting for the snow that has been forecast for this weekend. It's nearly cold enough now, but the clouds don't look all that heavy.

It's gotten very still after the tremendous wind from Friday afternoon and evening.

Shauna Roberts said...

Beautiful snow! It's always so magical right after it falls. The one time it snowed in New Orleans while I lived there, I was out of town.

steve on the slow train said...

I remember seeing a program on Darwin which focused on the illness and death of his beloved daughter Annie. I suspect that personal tragedy had more to do with his loss of faith than any scientific research.

Your pictures are amazing. Up here in the frozen prairies, snow is too common to be really apprciated. But of course, it can be just as beautiful here.

JR's Thumbprints said...

My friends in Houston had snow as well. Enjoy your time away from the classroom, and try to pick a better book to read.

MarmiteToasty said...

The photos are beautiful..... we are going out to Southwick Estate in about 10 minutes to go cut our tree....


Charles Gramlich said...

Pattinase, lol. Well, it was all gone after 2 days, which is not a bad kind of snow.

Steve Malley, oh man, Job had it rough eh? I was aghast myself the first time I read that book. You almost gotta believe someone made that one up eh?

Erik, yeah, I think I covered the major points, or lack thereof. lol.

Merisi, it actually was published by a smaller press, probably one affiliated with the Intelligent Design movement.

Travis Erwin, I enjoyed it, although Lana whined a lot. lol.

Travis, we had a pretty good wind with our snow. It's probably a sign of a front moving through.

Shauna, I'm sorry you missed this one. It was pretty neat. Gone totally by now, of course.

Steve, I think you may be absolutely right. I think his daughter's death is way underconsidered as playing a role.

JR, I've already settled on some better books, my friend.

Marmite Toasty, hope you get a good one.

Virginia Lady said...

It's great that you guys got some real snow! And of course, it's all gone very quickly, so it only slows things down for a bit. My area of VA is often like that, but we actually get a lot of subfreezing temps. Just not a lot of snow.

Thanks for the heads up on the book. Pity he couldn't give a better supported argument, but I think you're right, he would have alienated his core audience.

Danette Haworth said...

I love the tree! Is that the same tree you posed in front of earlier this year (the tree that looked like Cousin It?)

Cora Zane said...

I'm so jealous of your snow day! I live upstate and we got nothing, not a single snowflake. We saw the awesome snow footage on the news though, though. Wow. Maybe we'll get some wintery mix north of Alexandria come January. :)

Charles Gramlich said...

Virginia lady, do you folks get a lot of rain there? I remember in Arkansas we had to worry in the winter a lot about freezing rain.

Danette, it's a cousin of that same tree. Lol. This one is right across the street from us.

Cora Zane, I was kind of happy with the snow. It's been so long since I've really seen it. I enjoyed a long walk through it. Thanks for visiting.

Josephine Damian said...

Glad to hear you have the semester over and done with.

Snow in LA? How bizarre, yet refreshing for those in the steamy south.