When you get right down to it, everything that happens happens because of everything else. Sure, I took the kettle off this morning because it was whistling, but I also did it because Dowager Empress Cixi’s resistance to reform slowed the pace of industrial development in China, leading to a 21st-century state where it’s still profitable for kids to make housewares. Of course, I wouldn’t have bought that kettle at Montana Target had I not gotten into grad school many years ago, caused in part by a story I wrote about a person born with his heart on the outside of his body. So thank you, Kids In the Hall, for this morning’s coffee. It’s not so much that correlation is not causation as everything is causation, and correlation is therefore not that special. Today is Friday, for some reason, and our link roundup is full of startling forces that may or may not determine the course of our future. It’s all in how you look at it. Plus some of it is in immutable truths that could easily kills us no matter what we believe, but those will only be discernible in retrospect. Won’t you look back with me?
Before we get into this, I should say that I do not like Bill Maher. He is an outspoken atheist and a vaguely mean-spirited liberal, which means he inspires in me that vague discomfort that comes from watching a person you do not like say what you would say. Those of us who believe that sarcasm is not a form of argument do not enjoy watching Maher snicker his way through our deeply-held positions, which made his discussion of evolution with Representative Jack Kingston (R–GA, net worth $2.8 million, 2009 reported income $507 somehow) a real opportunity to see both sides of a coin of suck. Video after the jump.
In addition to being every woman I told myself I should just go over and talk to, SE Cupp is also a mystery. She’s a professed atheist who has written a book called Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media’s Attack on Christianity. She’s just completed a master’s degree in religious studies at Columbia, and also just asserted her nonbelief on Bill Maher fifty times. [Warning: Maher at his most irritating.] She did the same thing with Sean Hannity, who insisted that she was actually an agnostic.* In an interview with the Daily Beast, she told Benyamin Cohen that ““I knew at a very young age that I didn’t really buy the whole God gamut.” She also told him that as a child she wanted to be a nun. Her columns for the NY Daily News—in which she argues that President Obama has not effectively wielded the power of fear and that we shouldn’t clean up the BP oil spill—suggest that she might simply be a contrarian. Yet she has built her career on aggressively upholding traditional beliefs. Let us not forget, when she argues that the news media naturally attack Christianity because “liberalism and secularism are the standards and anything that crops up against that are the exceptions,” that she is talking about a religion professed by nearly 80% of Americans.
Phew. I have new respect for the New York Post. Not every headline writer can generate jewels like “Headless body found in topless bar”—nor, for that matter, can every town. The sleepy little burg of Sedalia, Missouri, for example, has to make its own fun. Fortunately, the local Smith-Cotton High School Marching band will soon present their Brass Evolutions 2009 show, which explores how brass instruments have changed from 1960 to today. Unfortunately, they won’t be allowed to wear the shirts they printed up for the event, which depict the Darwinian stages of human evolution from the popular “Ascent of Man” illustration above, each holding a trumpet. Those t-shirts have been repossessed by the school’s assistant superintendent, after parents complained that they endorsed evolution. Props to Smick for the link.