Monkey Business

April 26th, 2012

As you might imagine, last week’s column brought a lot of response – both passionate and profane, both good and bad – so I'm sharing my response to a bit of it this week. I'm sparing you some of the more colorful language, some used in description of me but in large measure used to describe our legislators, bless their little monkey hearts.

By the way, I answer everybody who affords me the respect I afford them by writing under my name. For instance, if you email me as locknload1 and expect me to pay attention, you’re firing blanks.

As published in The Daily News, April 27, 2012, and in The Memphis News, April 28-May 4, 2012

Hear No Speak No See No


The anachronistic Tennessee Legislature has awarded creationism equal scientific weight to evolution and declared that the prevailing religious belief of that body be offered as viable explanation to our school children for the order, formation and timing of the universe. Scientific method, empirical data, the conflicting doctrines of other world religions past and present, the accumulated understanding of thousands of years, and simple reason are notwithstanding. Who knows? The burning of books, and witches, might be making a comeback in this part of our flat Earth.

When I made fun of all that sad monkey business in last week’s column, it seemed to rattle my fellow primates a bit.

“When these flurries, or – in our case – storms occurred, my dad would say, ‘I can’t understand why these so called religious folks are so afraid of knowledge.’  Ironically, he was named for Williams Jennings Bryan. Keep ‘em coming. Would love to ghost write if you get constipated.” Jay

As many of my readers would probably agree, this column is often the very opposite of constipation.

“Thanks, Dan. You added some humor to one of those laugh or cry moments.” Katy

Thanks, Katy. And I might suggest that you lend your fine organization’s positioning statement ... “Promoting optimal brain development from conception to age 3” ... to the state legislature.

“When did science become just another alternative way to look at the universe?” Myron

For most of the civilized world, that was several centuries ago. For Tennessee, it was just the other day.

“You can’t make this stuff up.” Karen

Unfortunately, you can. They’re doing it every day in Nashville.

“Leave the science in the science class and the philosophy in the philosophy class. Mixing them will just dilute them both.” Steve

You’re right, and this kind of mixing is obviously diluting the state’s legislative pool as well.

“I’m not saying that some things have not evolved over time but the theory of evolution is just that...a theory.” Guy

Perhaps the legislature itself is the best argument against evolution.

“Why are you so frightened by the Word of God?” Curt

Because people who claim to hear it often do really scary things in God’s name.

“When I went to basic training I became best friends with a guy from Jersey. He, after finding out I was from Tennessee, inquired if we still had monkey trials. I have spent the better part of 40 years trying to live down the Scopes trial, but now we seem to have gone full circle. Lord help me through these trying times.” Radford

Amen, Radford, amen.

“This needs to be published across Tennessee—after all, this is much more important than adequately funding education, transportation, health care, etc.” Bert

They’d much rather monkey around with moralistic posturing like this than face real issues.

“How embarrassing...will the Governor veto this?” Richard

No. What the legislature did was embarrassing and irresponsible. What he failed to do was gutless.

I’m a Memphian, and, beyond simply embarrassed, we should be outraged.


guy miller: First of all I love debate. I found out a long time ago that I am not always right so I enjoy listening to other peoples thoughts. I appreciate that you have the guts to write about what you believe! But I think it is wrong to judge others as "flat earthers" simply because we have a real struggle accepting that the world and everything in it just happened. Most scientists believe that our planet is 3.2 billion years old. I find it very hard to believe that the following living organisms could evolve in that SHORT period time: Tigers, Redwoods, penquins, my dog and my VERY good friend Dan Conaway. No one will ever convince me that all of the above were not created by God.

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