Friday, June 30, 2006

The Real Noah's Ark Finally Uncovered!

Following a post by Dispatches From The Culture Wars a while back, Afarensis has reported further of the supposed discovery of Noah's Ark in Iran by members of the BASE Institute. While both Dispatches and Afarensis correctly criticize members of the BASE institute as having no experience whatsoever in archaeology, no reported (let alone recognized) field methodology, no published research reports on the find, and no data that can be objectively verified, my two fellow bloggers are actually wrong about the real reason BASE hasn't an archaeological leg to stand on. BASE has not discovered the real Noah's Ark because the fact of the matter is that unbeknownst to my fellow bloggers and the Ark-seeking community I, Christopher O'Brien, have, in fact found the true Noah's Ark at....Burney Falls in northeastern California. Here, I present complete evidence to the internet world so they can see for themselves the truth of my claims:
The picture here clearly shows a keel-like object protruding from falls area in a direction and location that cannot be explained by natural processes. Moreover, the material here contains fine striations and appears to be very wood-like, again suggesting that the object is not part of the natural environment. My team and I will be sending samples for xrayradiocarbon degeneration testing, which will confirm the object as wood (failing confirmation, the report will never see the light of day...). It will take some time to process and send the samples as one of my team is currently moonlighting as manager of a Dairy Queen and two others are tied up on the rodeo circuit as clowns. Closer inspection of the object however, has led me to believe that this is not actually the keel of a large ship but a bulbous bow. This pecular bow design is similar to many large, modern container ships that haul significant loads of cargo. This would be expected given the overall weight of the paired animals contained on this vessel. The bulbous bow design actually diverts water flow and lessens drag on the ship, making it a much more efficient ocean-going vessel. Clearly, an Intelligent Designer had a hand in this, offering further proof that the bacterial flagellum is indeed, irreducibly complex. This should not be surprising as many Noah's Ark scholars have questioned the traditionally depicted design of the craft as much more box-like. God knew fully well what He was doing when he instructed Noah in design of the boat.

Here is an artist's reconstruction of the position of the bow in relation to the rest of the ship as it rests further behind the falls, buried by no more than 6000 years of deposit. Clearly much of the upper portion of the bow as well as the upper deck have been removed, probably as a result of erosion.
It may be difficult for some to believe that the Ark could have strayed this far from its presumed origin in the Mideast, however, following BASE logic, I personally believe in the strength of "Possibilities and Problems" methodology to explain its existence here in northern California. What are the possibilities presented by biblical narratives? Given the extraordinarily modern design of this vessel and the fact that it was afloat for a minimum of 40 days, it is possible that the craft sailed many thousands of miles away from its place of origin. In fact, one would venture to say that it is highly unlikely that a vessel so intelligently designed would be constrained within the region of the Mideast and is more likely to have ended up outside of the Arabian-Asian region on a completely different continent (such as North America). To suggest otherwise is to give into the fact that Noah had poor instruction from the Almighty and effectively could do no more than "sail in circles" above the flooded Mideast. Further, given the suggestion that the flood was indeed worldwide, we would be remiss to think that it did not in fact go a great distance. There is the fact that the Burney Falls area is not sufficiently high to be the primary ground initially exposed after the Flood. However, the area has experienced what can only be described as significant erosion in the last 6000 years and the peak most likely extended well beyond current surrounding peaks such as Mount Lassen.

We see here further evidence that Noah was likely responsible for the amazing structures documented at Burney Falls. Here we can see the incredibly straight fissure carved into the rocks near the falls. Such right angle blocking cannot be created in nature and must be the result of human manufacture. This is most likely the dock which Noah built after the Ark had landed in order to faciliate debarking animals. DNA extracted from within the "boards" of this structure clearly show a variety of animals from around the world all traversed this area at a single event. This DNA was analyzed by a team of engineers because geneticists are not true scientists and cannot be trusted to provide evidence that does not contradict the biblical narrative.

I can only come to the conclusion that the BASE Team and Ron Wyatt are misleading the public about the authenticity of Noah's Ark. Clearly they are media hounds seeking to hide true biblical truths in favor of publicity. At minimum evidence I found at Burney Falls is no less lacking in credibility that discovered by BASE or Ron Wyatt.

Monday, June 26, 2006

More on Science Education

Red State Rabble recently linked to an Op-Ed piece by Mark Drapeau, a neuroscientist and geneticist at New York University who argues that scientists must engage the public more forcefully on evolution. Dr. Drapeau offered a comment on RSR's post and I was struck by one paragraph in particular:

We have to realize what that means with regards to reaching the American people.Science needs an attractive, charismatic, highly intelligent, engaging spokesperson who can get on MSNBC or the Today Show and get people into controversial areas of science without being too much of a nerd about it. The question is, why don't we ever see scientists on mainstream tv?

While I agree that another Carl Sagan (as RSR notes) or some other highly popular, charismatic figure is needed at that level, we should also be targeting the younger audiences far more than we do as scientists. Even if I can't convey to an eighth grader the complexities of optimal foraging theory and how it relates to the evolution of hunter-gatherers in early human evolution, I can get them to ask questions, think about alternative explanations, and understand that the truest answers do not come easily. I can prepare them to be suspicious of FOX "facts".

I just returned from three days of camping at Burney Falls with my wife's Girl Scout troop. This is an older troop (6th to 9th grade) and we decided to avoid the throng of the usual Camporee and give them their own experience in the woods. So, did I advance the cause of science by giving a lecture on allopatric speciation? Of course not...I didn't have to. On the drive up I pointed out some Quaternary cinder cones and discussed out how multiple eruptions over the last 65,000 years led to their current shape. Along a hiking trail, we came across horsetails and talked about them being one of the oldest plant families, originating several hundred million years in the past. At the bathroom the girls noted the numerous spiders that were crawling on the wall and how they were like Daddy Longlegs, but somehow different. On the last day, several girls noted my "Darwin" sticker on the truck and asked me about what it meant. I asked them if they knew about Charles Darwin and to my surprise, one mentioned that he developed the concept of natural selection. Another said that her grandmother would not like the sticker, but that she herself was more open-minded about such things. All agreed that science did not preclude religous faith.

I considered all of this a solid step in the right direction. Next year, the girls want to stay at the Eagle Lake Field Station run by CSU Chico and learn about the natural history of the area (and of course spend time on the beach and swim in the will be kids after all!). Imagine what we'll be learning about then....

Friday, June 23, 2006

Like Freedom of Expression? Then Stop H.R. 2679

While I spend much time on this blog arguing against religious perspectives, I am a staunch supporter of the right to free speech (even if I find that speech personally distasteful). You defeat ignorance and stupidity by spending time (and hard work) countering it with logic and reason in forums that are available for anyone to access. You hope that most people reading (or listening, or watching...) your material are sufficiently thoughtful that they may be pursuaded by the strength of your arguments. The ability for people to provide alternative information in accessible form to most everyone, without fear of government reprisal, is the primary characteristic of this country that has allowed it to exist as long as it has (note, however, that this is not an argument for "equal time"; ID is a non-science that still doesn't belong in a science classroom; nor should I expect equal time to counter a priest's sermons in church - both I and the ID crowd have plenty of other easily accessible forums to offer alternative ideas).

Many of the blogs I read religiously appear to feel the same way. Ed Brayton at Dispatches from the Culture Wars has long been an advocate of free speech, even when he clearly disagrees with its content. The same can be said for Pat Hayes at Red State Rabble, as well as many other blogs who take exception with many religious arguments but simultaneously feel those same arguments should not be stifled in all forums (although again, I am not suggesting equal time in the same forum - some forums are arguably not appropriate for some forms of rebuttal).

I generally have no problem with religious expression in public; but I expect to be able to return the favor with my own views with the same ease. Put a "Jesus" fish on your car...fine, no problem; so I put the "Darwin" fish on mine (two of them, in fact!). Want to discuss why Leviticus condemns the homosexual lifestyle? Fine, but then I'm going to ask you why you don't follow all of the Levitican regulations. The religious right, however, does not like the potential for reasoned rebuttal. They not only want the ability to publicly promote their viewpoints, they also want the ability to restrict responses and alternative viewpoints.

Dispatches just posted on HR 2679, a bill that would "stack the deck" in favor of Christian viewpoints being heard publicly by limiting the potential for counter arguments. I won't discuss it in depth here...Ed has a good discussion about the effects of this bill, including some real life examples. If bills like this get passed, the First Amendment will become an irrelevancy and I will be forced to re-think my willingness to tolerate public expression of religious ideas.

Letter to the Editor

I sent the following to our local Christian apologist paper, the Lassen County Times, in response to last week's editorial bovine fodder suggesting we can all quit learning about plate tectonics and use Gay Pride Day attendance to start predicting earthquakes:

Dear Editor,

Bill Ashmore’s piece (Times 21 June 2006 - Signs of the Times, Judgment of America) suggests that America is a doomed nation in the 21st century. According to Ashmore the apparent increase of earthquakes and hurricanes is best explained by a God who has his knickers in a twist over Gay Pride Day. I suspect Ashmore is giving us better insight on the thought processes of 12th century clerics than offering a predictive model of volcanism, so I did what anyone with a modicum of intellectual acuity would do: I checked the data. Ashmore claims major earthquakes are on the rise since Roe v Wade and the exercise of First Amendment rights by the gay community. Turns out the correlation between years since 1970 and earthquakes of magnitude 6.0 or greater is almost zero (and by the way, we experience an average of seven major quakes per year). If God is indeed causing earthquakes He is doing so, contrary to Einstein’s dictum, on the basis of dice rolls. While God did hit home with an earthquake on Gay Pride Day in 1992 as Ashmore suggests, He has been AWOL delivering a major rumbler every last Sunday in June since (or any before). You would also think that if God wanted to make a point about abortion, He'd at least try to strike on the anniversary of Roe V Wade every once in a while. However, since 1973 no quake stronger than magnitude 5.0 has ever occurred on that day in the United States (however, God did apparently strike Mexico on that particular anniversary in 1978; so I guess He tried, but...missed?). When you limit your sample to only those data that fit your idea, it’s pretty easy to demonstrate “correlation”.

A number of people have suggested to me that Ashmore’s piece has no place in the Lassen County Times. I would disagree. It’s much better to slay ignorance out in the open for all to see. It is, however, unlikely that the Times would allow a decent rebuttal of the same inordinate length as the Ashmore opinion. Fortunately, the “blogosphere” is filling the gap. I would suggest readers look at, or my personal favorite, Northstate Science. Blogs offer an opportunity to bypass the editorial controls of local papers like the Times and provide a chance for coherent rebuttal.

I don't know if they'll publish it, but I'll keep you posted.

World Backlash Against Efforts to Conceal the Facts of Evolution to Students

This has been blogged several times in the last couple of days, but I wanted to do my part to spread the word:

The world's top science academies have called on parents and teachers to provide facts about evolution.
Wednesday's declaration was signed by 67 national academies of science, including the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Britain's Royal Society and the Royal Society of Canada.

"In various parts of the world,within science courses taught in certain public systems of education, scientific evidence, data and testable theories about the origins and evolution of life on Earth are being concealed, denied or confused with theories not testable by science," the declaration said.

Let me give you that last sentence again, and please read it very carefully: "...scientific evidence, data and testable theories about the origins and evolution of life on Earth are being concealed, denied or confused with theories not testable by science"....Sounds like the first goals of Intelligent Design and Creationism to me. Keep the students from understanding the facts of evolution and then you can slip something else in the back door.

Here's the full statement and list of signing organizations.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Ok, Come On Guys...Give Me A Break and Donate...

Ok, I know those guys over at Scienceblogs are pulling in all the big bucks for public school projects (which is a good thing!) but there has to be some reader of this blog who will contribute something to my challenge...anything! 5$, 10$, 15$ doesn't matter...just somebody please contribute...
Sorry, I don't grovel very well...

Click it today...time is running out!

End of the Spear

Some time ago, one of my favorite websites, The Revealer, posted an essay by New York University doctoral candidate in anthropology, Lucas Bessire entitled "The Real Point of the Spear". Bessire reviews the evangelical missionary movie End of the Spear, which depicts the saga of several missionaries killed at the hands of Huaorani indians in South America, relatives of whom eventually returned to South American to be reconciled with the villagers. Bessire introduces the story:

What some believers refer to as "the greatest missionary story of the 20th Century" began when five young American missionaries, led by Nate Saint, were speared during their attempts to contact the Huaorani in 1956. Despite this bloody start, the wives and sister of these "martyrs" returned to contact and convert the same Huaorani to evangelical Christianity. Immortalized in a 1956 Life magazine report, and brought to nation-wide television audiences in the 1960s, this narrative is credited with inspiring thousands of young Americans to become "warriors for Christ" in foreign mission fields, and over the years this triumphant tale has taken on shades of Gospel truth.

As is typical of most fundamentalist Christian publicity efforts, what is not presented to the public is far more revealing than those manufactured and cherry-picked tidbits that are woven into the presentation itself. Bessire does a fair job of reviewing the movie on its cinematic merits, even though he comes away less than satisfied:

Can such a poorly designed and executed film be an effective vehicle for the Christian message? Can faith hold it together? Surely not for secular audiences. End of the Spear's Indians are too wicked, the Saints are too good and the emotional climaxes come too fast. By the time we learn that Nate Saint supposedly ascended directly into Heaven, and actually watch the missionary's plane fly away into the sunset, the little anthropologist inside all of us is more amused than enraged.

But then Bessire gets to the heart of the matter, and for me, the real story that lies behind missionary work among indigenous peoples of the world today:

End of the Spear is more fiction than fact, more Judas than Jesus. If there were no stakes to this kind of project -- no real Huaorani, no real missionaries, and no real anthropologists -- then this review could end here. But this film does decidedly serious work in the real world by erasing the actual conditions and consequences of the evangelical missionary work that's still occurring all over lowland South America today, largely financed by the well-meaning constituents of North American churches.

Like all good propagandists, missionaries need to establish a clear dichotomy between themselves and their potential converts. The converts are typically considered "uneducated", "barbaric", "poor", "in need of spiritual fulfillment", "require Western medicine", "violent" or some other adjective that works. Missionaries on the other hand are "decent people", "civilized", "educated", "peaceful", "bringing God's love" or some other glowing rhetoric. In all cases, indigenous culture is ripped from its context and compared to a Euro-American standard.

The approximately 700 Huaorani, called Auca (Savages), that survived into the 20th century were only able to do so by fiercely defending their homeland on the south banks of the Rio Napo against explorers and colonists. In return, they were hunted down like animals, enslaved, and murdered whenever possible. As anthropologist Laura Rival and others have demonstrated, this violence was legitimated by exaggerated reports of their violent, aggressive nature; one suspects End of the Spear would play well for an audience seeking reassurance for such images... The movie replaces the all-too-human fallacies of the missionary heroes with grotesque European imaginings of indigenous savagery. This is a widespread colonial fantasy of indigenous nature that has consistently been used to legitimize violence and savage behavior by "civilized" populations against native peoples.

And what is never discussed about missionaries is the financial connection that typically uses Christian conversion as a cover for the exploitation of natural resources:

The missionizing endeavor among the Huaorani, as for many groups, was possible because of the convergence of corporate and state interests in taking possession of territory and resources that belonged to native people; in this case, rubber and oil. Missionaries were given exclusive state license to "contact," round up and sedentize particularly troublesome groups who were not sufficiently terrorized to surrender. All of this is erased from End of the Spear.

Finally, although depicted as heroes in the film, a look into actual motivations and dealings of the Christian missionaries who converted the Huaorani reveals a darker side that is conspicuously absent from the film:

The film's Christ-like portrayal of Nate Saint is complicated by reports from the anthropologist Lawrence Ziegler-Otero, who conducted fieldwork with the Huaorani in 1995-1996. Contrary to the film's core message (of the missionaries' Jesus-like non-violence), he reports unanimous indigenous claims that missionaries shot and killed a native man in the 1956 encounter. The film's portrayal of Dayumae's relationship with the missionaries is also intentionally misleading. The filmmakers conceal an unsettling characteristic that is typical of early "contact" work in lowland South America. Missionary success depended on linguistic and cultural translation, and they enlisted captive Indians for this purpose. In order to access these individuals, however, missionaries had to become complicit in local systems of slavery.

I spent a number of years in Africa (and am still conducting an archaeological project there) and unfortunately encountered missionaries on a number of occaisions. They were alway rude, disprespectful of local customs, and held the indigenous population largely in contempt until they were sufficiently convinced of the zeal of their subjects' conversions. If they weren't outright contemptuous, they played wonderfully at the role of used-car salesmen, using poverty and sickness as a weapon to convince the locals that life would be better if only they followed Jesus. There may be "good" missionaries: those who seek only to help out as as well as they can and prosyletize by their quiet work (I actually heard of one, a Catholic nun, who was apparently chastised by evangelical missionaries for never talking about God, only working hard alongside the local people - she replied that her actions were a much louder voice for God than all the preaching in the world). However, my experience with reading history, ethnographic accounts, and more imporantly witnessing missionary behavior on a first hand basis has always lead me to largely despise these people. I regularly lied to missionaries about the work I was doing in Africa, particularly when doing ethnoarchaeological work with the Hadza (I would usually spin them a good story about studying impala mating behavior or whatever struck my fancy at the time). Neither was this a position I came to suddenly: even when I was active in the Catholic Church, I never made contributions of any kind to missionary efforts.

Unfortunately, missionary work seems to be on the increase in Africa (and not just Christian missions - Islamic missions are on the rise as well). That is the last thing African nations need within their borders. But the lure of cash largely allows missionaries free reign in many of these countries (seems God's warriors can't get his message out without buying people off in the process). Indigenous people deserve better.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Quaking for God

Well, today our illustrious Christian apologist paper, The Lassen County Times, published an opinion piece by the prison (High Desert State Prison) chaplain, Bill Ashmore. I'll spare you the details (it's not available online), but the title of the article is "Signs of the Times, Judgement of America" - take three guesses as to what this is all about. In a sentence: major earthquakes and environmental disasters (most notably hurricanes) are increasing because of gays and abortion-rights proponents. In effect, earthquakes are God's warnings that America is going to hell in a handbasket until we kill all the gays (I guess - he doesn't really offer a solution) and prevent all women from making any kind of reproductive decision. He cites frequently from John McTernan's book, God's Final Warning to America, and basically quotes bible verses supposedly foretelling coming disasters and points to not only increasing numbers of natural disasters but also the exact or close occurrence of these disasters with major abortion rights or gay pride rallies (apparently God's pissed off at the First Amendment...).

He drones on for quite some length (and it is doubtful that the Times would permit a rebuttal of the same length as the chaplain was granted), but I was specifically curious about the correlation of major gay and abortion rights events and Supreme Court cases with earthquakes. Ashmore quokes the following data (presumably from McTernan's book):
  • April 23, 1992 - Supreme Court hears the abortion case, Planned Parenthood vs. Casey - a 6.3 magnitude earthquake shakes southern California;
  • April 25, 1992 - during a counter protest in Buffalo, NY against Operation Rescue - a 7.1 magnitude earthquake hits California (God has bad aim);
  • June 28, 1992 - during Gay Pride Day the fourth and ninth most powerful earthquakes hit California;
Well, if God is angry with gays and abortion rights activists and He's trying to show it with earthquakes not only is He a bad shot, but He also can't seem to get the magnitude right. I looked up major earthquakes to see what some of the patterns might be. Ashmore seems to point to somewhere around 1960 as to when everything in American started to go to hell. According to this table, 19 of 26 (73%) of the largest magnitude earthquakes in the US occurred prior to that date. Also interesting, I see that Gay Pride Day is held on the last Sunday in June (didn't know that Bill Ashmore, so thanks for prompting me to look it up...) - only one of the top 26 actually occurred in June - the one in 1992 cited above. So apparently God doesn't keep great track of Gay Pride events. He seemed to be targeting abortion rights activists in April of 1992, but that one was pretty minor and not even listed on the top 26 list; only two other major quakes are listed as occurring in April, and both occurred around the turn of the 20th century - one being the famous 1906 San Francisco earthquake (I'm sure that's because God has just never liked San Francisco...of course what had His knickers in a twist on April 3, 1868 in Hawaii I'll never know).

Also, you would think that if God wanted to make a point about abortion, He'd at least try to strike on the anniversary of Roe V Wade (January 22)...but the God that people like Bill Ashmore believe in once again proves to be a complete ignoramous when He tries to send a message. Since 1973 only one earthquake of magnitude 5.0 or better hit on January 22: God missed again and punished the people in Coloma, Mexico with a 7.8 mag quake instead of the U.S. (He came close with one in Livermore, CA in 1980 on January 24, but He could only pull off a 5.8).

Of course, we all know this is idiocy. Ashmore and McTernan are frightened men who cannot comprehend straightforward things like science (the fact that all of these earthquakes keep occurring along the west coast is apparently lost on them: I doubt either has heard of plate tectonics, volcanism, or the San Andreas Fault). They seem to prefer a base of knowledge closer to the 14th century than the 21st.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Northstate Science DonorsChoose Challenge

Ok, at Afarensis' gentle prodding, I've joined the DonorsChoose Challenge to help raise money to fund school public projects and classrooms around the nation. Here's what DonorsChoose has to say about their mission:

DonorsChoose is a simple way to provide students in need with resources that our public schools often lack. At this not-for-profit web site, teachers submit project proposals for materials or experiences their students need to learn. These ideas become classroom reality when concerned individuals, whom we call Citizen Philanthropists, choose projects to fund.

I think this is a great idea and I would encourage readers to explore the site and discover the many projects in need of funding because our public schools lack resources and money. Of course, I've joined with other science blogs and created a challenge to fund science projects, but there are many others.

So here's the link to my challenge:

I've started small (seeking only $500) but let's see what happens. I've already donated money via some other scienceblog challenges and hopefully can raise some here. (Perhaps my CEO buddy can spread the word around and get the hospital administration to donate!). I'd like to make a special pitch for the "Trail Through Time - California Geology" project. The school is on Mare Island in Vallejo - an area I frequent as our Regional Office is on Mare and I've been by the school a number of times.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

More Bosnian Pyramid...

Through Archaeoblog I found this link to an excellent article summarizing some current knowledge on the Bosnian Pyramid. The article title alone is an indictment of psuedo-scientist efforts to prove Bosnian Pyramids, Noah's Ark, or extraterrestrial help in creating Mayan temples:

"Bosnian Pyramids: Absense of Evidence is not Evidence of Atlantis"

Hall of Ma'at has been following this story all along as well.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Bosnian Pyramid Update

Archaeology has another Bosnian Pyramid update. UNESCO is planning to send a team of archaeology experts to the location to investigate Mr. Osmanagic's claims that it is the site of the world's earliest pyramid. A number of European and American archaeologists (including myself) were signatories to a letter just sent to UNESCO that discusses Mr. Osmanagic's lack of professional credentials, the lack of evidence for any of his claims, the fact that no professionals familiar with the region's archaeology and history have been allowed to investigate the site, and that Mr. Osmanagic may suppressing legitimate archaeological discoveries that do not fit his theories. You can find the letter here.

Over the last several weeks I have been in touch with a number of concerned Bosnian citizens and experts who helped draft the UNESCO letter. There is clearly international concern here, and many Bosnians are fearful that Mr. Osmanagic's team is destroying Bosnian cultural history in an effort to prove a preconceived idea, rather than test the idea against evidence gathered with professional integrity.

I signed the letter largely to protest the fact that Mr. Osmanagic has no professional qualifications and should not be directing scientific excavations. As a professional in historic preservation I also share the concern of my Bosnian and other European colleagues who legitimately fear for the loss of important archaeological data: 1) because Osmanagic is not a professional and probably overlooks far more than he catalogs simply because he lacks professional training and experience in archaeology, and 2) like most amateurs out to prove something, he's undoubtedly destroying evidence that doesn't support his view. (By the way, I have the same concerns about "biblical archaeology" being conducted in the Mideast and being increasingly financed by biblical literalists - but that's a post for another time).

What's Wrong with a Praying Child?

Saw this link to a very scary video on BigDumbChimp. Interestingly, at one point when a little girl was praying hysterically to God to do something about Satan (I could only conclude that she herself was demonically possessed) the video briefly flashes a scene from Braveheart. We are to conclude, I suppose, that the wildly painted, very scary men with swords running toward us somehow exemplify Satan's army in the world. Of course the movie is really about Scottish patriots fighting for freedom from the tyranny of a...Christian...England. Placing a scene from Braveheart in a video of frantically praying children on the verge of mental collapse may be more prophetic than they think. The thought of these uneducated and brainwashed kids someday gaining power over the rest of us makes me want to vomit...and then get the guns out, because in the event of that occurring the only valid response is rebellion.

Ok, I'm Back...

Sorry I've been away - lots of excuses, none of them very good. You know you've been away from blogging too long when one of your own students, in commenting on a post entitled "Does God Like a Provocative Movie or What?", responds by writing, "Yeah...but he also likes posts!"

Glad to see somebody noticed....more to come.