Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Where Did We Come From?


For most of my life (as a believing Mormon), I was under the impression that humans had spirits, and that those spirits came from some sort of sexual union between Heavenly Father and one of his innumerable polygamous wives, up where they lived, near a star called "Kolob".

How Kolobian reproduction exactly occurred was never really specified by Mormon leaders; the process was especially mysterious since Mormon doctrine states that God and his wives have "bodies of flesh and bone" - so one question always was, how do perfected human beings, with bodies of flesh and bone, sire children who don't have flesh and bone, and who are only some sort of barely material spirit? Hm...

Anyway, to make a long story short, I no longer find KSRT (Kolobian Spirit Reproduction Theory) plausible. I don't really find any religious answer to this question plausible. So the question is, where does human life - or life in general - really come from?

The answer is, no one has a clue. No one has ever come even remotely close to showing, let alone plausibly arguing, how life can emerge from non-life. The once-vaunted Stanley Miller experiments have long been recognized as pretty much useless...there are hazy suggestions about lightning striking a pond, or oceanic vents, or volcanoes, and even life showing up here on a comet from another planet (known as the "panspermia" theory). But no one can explain how the vital equivalent of a bunch of rocks could somehow become alive; and not just alive, but in that moment, posessing some kind of will to keep on living, and some desire to reproduce, and some ability to reproduce. And in fact, the very idea seems at least as absurd as the one I began this entry mentioning.

I don't like this. I'd like to know where we - where I - came from. Where, how, did it all begin?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Nanny 911


If you haven't seen it yet, "Nanny 911" is a reality show featuring British nannies who spend a week with a family with unruly children, trying to bring order to things.

It is absolutely amazing to me how clueless the parents are in this show. In some cases, the dad is the clueless one; in others, the mom. Often it is both. Peering in to these homes is like watching hell on earth: kids shrieking, smashing things, biting, kicking, and parents acting, in many cases, far less intelligently than their own toddlers.

What's funny is my kids will sit and watch this show for hours. They've never seen kids like that. We even ended up making up our own "Nanny 911" game, where I roll up a newspaper (so it's sort of floppy), and then I start snarling and drawling with a Bible Belt twang like the clueless parents on the show, and the kids start running around screaming, and I run after them trying to swat them with the rolled up newspaper. The cool thing is that because it's loosely rolled, it doesn't hurt at all, but it does make a giant "thwack!" sound. And the more I run after them, the more they scream and run around laughing and pretending to be the outrageous brats on the actual TV show.

I am not, and never have been, really capable of understanding why any adult would allow a three year old to bite them, kick them, and in effect, completely dominate them. Why have kids if you're going to have a miserable time with them? Why become a slave to anyone, let alone a three year old? The whole point of having children is to have a great time with them, establish and enjoy those intimate bonds of love and connection with them, and prepare them for responsible adulthood. That preparation means having fair, sensible expectations, articulating them effectively, and then holding children accountable for their decisions. My previous two sentences are really the whole key to parenting, I think.

Anyway, maybe I shouldn't judge the parents on "Nanny 911". No doubt they are doing the best they can...still, I just don't...get it.