Sunday, November 20, 2005

Intelligent Design Prevents Therapy

So here we are, 2005, Planet Earth, and the debate over evolution vs. creationism/intelligent design continues to rage. A school board in Kansas pushes for more intelligent design discussion in science classes, while another in Pennsylvania finds its pro-intelligent design members ousted from office. In another surprising twist, a new theory of intelligent design that links our origins back to a flying pasta creature has got some scientists really rethinking old assumptions. So with all these conflicting points of view and all this available information, just how is the average Joe Citizen supposed to come to any sort of satisfying conclusion?

The Holmes understands this frustration. See, I went to Baptist school from kindergarten up until eight grade. It was a pretty good experience in most respects, I can't complain. But I must say, in ninth grade when I transferred out of a religious school where Darwin was equated with Ozzy Osbourne and Hitler in terms of Satanic servitude and the word "evolution" would send up hushed murmurs amongst a crowd, into public school where suddenly the Earth's birthday cake had a lot more candles on it, let's just say that it was a bit of an adjustment for young me. But I managed. As the years went on, the Holmes came to understand that evolution was not an attempt to lure young people into the lake of fire. My humble opinion formed itself around the idea that, while there may be a designer at work in the universe's origins, such beliefs aren't founded in science, and thus belong in a religious studies class, not in science class. Amidst all the hubbub in the news recently, I maintained this belief.

Until that fateful day that will forever be known as, The Other Day.

You see, ever since my kid was born, I've started making this dumb joke that goes something like this: anytime I or the Ash does something like cuss or make some slightly off-color remark in front of the baby, anytime a non-baby song is played or a non-baby thing occurs on TV, basically anytime anything remotely grown-up takes place, I'll say something along the lines of "oh shit, that's a year of therapy right there." A gunshot on TV may be six months of therapy. Dirty jokes are about a year of therapy each. And so on and so forth. At this rate, the little guy better get himself a kick-ass medical insurance plan once he's outta the house because he's gonna be in therapy for the rest of his life.

The whole therapy thing is a joke of course, but it's borne out of a very real realization that hits me every now and then, that every little thing I do or say with this kid could potentially have an affect on the person that he grows into. And not just the stuff I do with him, but the stuff that he observes me do. There's a lot of information available about child development, but there's so damn much that we still don't know, not to mention the number of library shelves you could fill with all we don't know about mental health and why people end up the way they end up. As a friend of mine expressed it, you sometimes feel very much like the butterfly flapping its wings in Tokyo that's affecting the ocean currents off the coast of Florida. Except right now, little Henry's a baby, so there's sort of this free pass to do and say some stuff that we might not when he's older and is actually taking notice. He's not gonna remember that Dad made that lewd comment towards Mom, so screw it, right? As long as you don't wake him from his nap.

And I was thinking about all of this The Other Day when it occurred to me, is the fact that we don't start holding onto memories until we're at least a few years old an accident? Or design! Just imagine if you could remember your entire life back to babyhood. Do you really want to be saddled with memories of feeding at your mama's teet? Do you want to remember being born? Even if you were adjusted enough so that such imagery didn't send you running for the local asylum, you'd live the rest of your life with memories of the good life you lived in the womb, and really, how can any pleasure or comfort in this life really compare? Honestly I don't know, seeing as how I CAN'T REMEMBER! Clearly, some intelligent being was thinking when it realized that we human beings couldn't handle certain memories, and thus decided that our memories shouldn't have the record switch flipped to ON for at least a few years. Pretty scientific deducing there, eh?


Oh, an added note: big thanks to Marsha for emailing the Holmes to help him remember what the hell he meant by his Gother Than Thou/parenting analogy:

"Because the more effort you put into it, the more attentive and loving you are and the more you see to his every need, the more exhausted you are at the end of the day. If you win as a parent you lose as a sleeping human being."

Right you are Marsha. The Holmes and his countless readers offer their thanks!

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