Carnival of Evolution 47 »« “First class problems”

God moves in malicious ways

Cholera is an ugly little beast loaded with all kinds of nasty optimizations to kill human beings. Read this post for a nice summary of all the gory details, and then after explaining all the specific elements of the cholera toxin, asks this plangent question:

How would a Creationist or I.D. advocate explain all of this? They don’t believe that bacteria can develop significant new adaptations, so they’d have to attribute all these changes to recent surreptitious tinkering by an Intelligent Designer (who is presumably still tinkering with cholera bacteria to make it look like they’re evolving, of course). For the sake of argument, let’s assume for a minute that this unlikely explanation is true. If so, we could deduce at least three things about the Intelligent Designer (possibly more):

1) The Intelligent Designer does not like humans. (Why else would s/he/it design lethal pathogens?)

2) The Intelligent Designer is tricking us by surreptitiously intervening in a way that makes it look like bacteria are evolving in order to fool us.

3) The Intelligent Designer is not very smart. If you were an all-powerful Intelligent Designer that wanted to make bacteria that would kill lots of humans, you could do a much better job, because cholera bacteria don’t survive very well in highly acidic conditions. The vast majority of the cholera bacteria you ingest when you drink contaminated water will perish in your stomach acid. From an evolutionary perspective this makes perfect sense, because we know that cholera became a killer through a blind process of evolution by natural selection. From a Creationist or I.D. perspective, however, it makes no sense at all. Indeed, the only way a Creationist or I.D. advocate can explain cholera is to shrug and say that “God moves in mysterious ways”, which is just dodging the question altogether.

Some recognize the problem. I’ll recommend (!) Michael Behe’s book, The Edge of Evolution, which isn’t very good science but at least he comes right up to this problem of the parasites and nasty-man killing nature of Nature, and comes right out and says it: his Intelligent Designer had to have gone in to specifically engineer every brutal feature of every hostile microbe and protist. Further, his Designer is pursuing an ongoing project, and is intentionally introducing almost every significant set of mutations to make pathogens more lethal right now.

I’ve been amused to see the stunned and embarrassed silence of the creationist community to that book. They laud Behe still for Darwin’s Black Box, but The Edge of Evolution? Nah, let’s pretend that one didn’t happen.

Comments

  1. says

    it’s not a dodge exactly, i think it’s what they actually believe. there’s nothing novel about it, it’s just the problem of evil. they genuinely believe that “evil” things exist in the universe for some purpose that they don’t understand but which their infinitely more wise and farsighted creator does. seems pretty straightforward to me. of course that doesn’t make it any less idiotic.

  2. Kaintukee Bob says

    Obviously Yahweh just wants to have a weapon on hand to smite the unbelievers, so he’s used Satan’s tool (evilution) to craft a weapon against the heathens.

    And when an evangelical preacher succumbs? Well, he must have strayed from the path, and God set him right again, or called him home (collect call?) or something.

  3. StevoR says

    How would a Creationist or I.D. advocate explain all of this?

    “Er, um, yeah, but look abortionists beneath the bed! And look over there that gay couple are kissing! Verboten! verboten!School prayers now!”

    I’m guessing, maybe? Then again, I’m probably wrong. I dobt they know that much Deutsche.

  4. StevoR says

    Sigh. That’s ‘doubt’ not “dobt” plus I’ve probably just mis-spelt German in German too.

  5. ikesolem says

    If Kansas politicians and the biodefense complex get their way, you’ll likely have more local demonstrations of the evolution and spread of infectious disease. That’s in reference to the proposed National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kansas:

    https://nonbaf.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/nbaf-in-manhattan-based-on-faulty-scientific-logic/

    The scientific logic underlying both the KSU-NBAF and the pipeline projects is that the risk of a single release of H&M virus or of a large oil spill is very, very low. The flaw in that logic, however, is the lack of consideration given to the already predictable, instant, long-term consequences of either such incident, accidental or willfully purposeful. Yes, it would only take one malicious person in the NBAF, or standing next to that pipeline, to perform one bad action and the future of the Mid-west would be changed in a heartbeat.

    Of course, the giant hog factories are also nothing but breeding vats for human-avian-swine influenza virus hybrids, along with the poultry farms – both also being notable for the generation of antibiotic-resistance plasmids that rapidly spread to human pathogens, from toxic E. coli strains to salmonella and staph – and yes, also to Vibrio cholerae (2011)

    Numerous multidrug-resistant strains of V. cholerae have been isolated from both clinical and environmental settings, indicating that antibiotic use has to be restricted and alternative methods for treating cholera have to be implemented.

    I wonder how many of the people overseeing these giant state/corporate biodefense and agribusiness outfits are also creationists who deny the reality of evolutionary principles? It wouldn’t be at all surprising, since only idiots like that would support such operations.

  6. says

    I’m pretty sure my kneejerk reaction when I was a fundie would have been to blame the devil for this. And put down the devil’s only partial effectiveness to protective hedge created by praying Christians. The devil is given the opportunity by the sins of everyone else…

    I find logical arguments like this persuasive myself, but useless on Creationists. When you’re dealing with a God “who can do anything” and a malevolent, supernatural being, almost anything can be explained away, because the laws of logic become moot.

  7. says

    Some of them do seem willing to accept “micro-evolution,” that there can be changes within species, or types, or whatever terms they use. But “macro-evolution,” monkeys becoming people, oh no, that can’t happen, Goddidit!

  8. says

    hey genuinely believe that “evil” things exist in the universe for some purpose that they don’t understand but which their infinitely more wise and farsighted creator does.

    Or even more importantly, say that God is ultimately responsible makes things “meaningful” that would be meaningless misery without “God.”

    Most shy away from Behe’s attempt to make God directly responsible for malaria, etc., however. That really isn’t so mysterious, it’s God deliberately, maliciously causing misery and suffering. Behe’s Edge of Evolution is oddly treated by most creationists, neither disavowed nor mentioned much at all.

    They want their ignorance plus the “knowledge” that God will make everything all right in the end. Facing up to what the “Intelligent Designer” must have done isn’t part of the scenario (and most aren’t IDists like Behe, but people who have a role for Satan, whom many will blame), because such a God isn’t so much mysterious as evil.

    Glen Davidson

  9. Trebuchet says

    Clearly BigG is just using Cholera as a way of ridding the world of pesky brown non-Christians — it’s pretty rare in Europe and North America, isn’t it?

  10. Esteleth, Who is Totally Not a Dog or Ferret says

    I’ve always been fond of citing the rabbit hindgut. It is appallingly designed.

  11. says

    Some of them do seem willing to accept “micro-evolution,” that there can be changes within species, or types, or whatever terms they use.

    The Creation Museum’s dodge, IIRC. They suggest that all micro-organisms were originally benign or even beneficial, but became bad at the fall, or some such thing.

    Satan, microevolution, whatever, the fact that Plasmodium falciparum shows evidence of long ago having been an autotroph (its apicoplast appears to have evolved from a chloroplast) won’t save them, as it’s clearly a thorough and obligate parasite now, highly adapted to infected humans.

    I’m happy if they allow that P. falciparum can evolve from something benign, since the evolution of humans “from apes” is minor by comparison. Most won’t ever know this, though, because they really only hate evolution for disturbing their imaginary world, and care not at all that evolutionary theory is just telling it like it is.

    Glen Davidson

  12. Abdul Alhazred says

    God is very creative in coming up with ways to call the righteous home. :)

  13. Esteleth, Who is Totally Not a Dog or Ferret says

    Glen, in my Christian days I spent a lot of time debating theodicy (the theological discussion of why there is bad stuff in a world created and controlled by a just god). The accepted answer (within religion) boils down to “Satan did it.”

    Of course, it is a weak as hell answer.

    Then there’s the rhetoric of “blessings in disguise.”

    Also, don’t underestimate the power of depersonalizing the victim of the bad stuff, thus lessening the power of the bad. Or, for that matter, the power of the image of “God sent this [bad thing] to INSPIRE ME.”

  14. Brownian says

    They suggest that all micro-organisms were originally benign or even beneficial, but became bad at the fall, or some such thing.

    I understand V. cholerae only ate coconuts before liberals made it illegal to pray in school.

  15. Esteleth, Who is Totally Not a Dog or Ferret says

    The “inspiring” thing, IIRC, is the justification that Teresa of Calcutta used.
    Many times, she didn’t actually help the patients in her hospitals, she just watched them suffer and die as a way of inspiring her faith.

  16. Esteleth, Who is Totally Not a Dog or Ferret says

    Ah, Brownian, cholera only affected the lower classes and non-whites until upper-class whites lost their faith.

    Trufax.

  17. Matt Penfold says

    The “inspiring” thing, IIRC, is the justification that Teresa of Calcutta used.
    Many times, she didn’t actually help the patients in her hospitals, she just watched them suffer and die as a way of inspiring her faith.

    Except when she got cancer, and then it was off to be treated by the best in their field with the benefit of the best pain relief medicine has to offer.

    That alone is enough to despise the woman.

  18. Esteleth, Who is Totally Not a Dog or Ferret says

    Oh, but Matt, you don’t get it.

    Teresa was special. She needed good medicine, and she deserved it.

    Also, she wasn’t brown.

  19. says

    I don’t know, I personally find the problem of evil to be entirely uninteresting. I was so horrified when I was told about the book of Job when I was in sunday school that ever since nothing has been able to surprise me. Perhaps my church was just one of the more wrathful kinds, they didn’t shy away from God not being full of hugs and rainbows.

  20. slatham says

    I envision the cholera bacteria who escape death by HCl in the stomach, kneeling(?) like knights in thanks to the heavens for choosing them that they should have the honour to fulfill god’s wishes. But probably they just undergo binary fission — not the sentimental reward of the beautiful virgin princess’s hand in marriage. Oh well.

  21. marcus says

    I have one thing to say to Michael fucking Behe and all the dumbass creationists. Prostate! Now suck it you silly assholes.

  22. Brownian says

    Ah, Brownian, cholera only affected the lower classes and non-whites until upper-class whites lost their faith.

    So, non-people—the extras God uses to illustrate life lessons to the ones who count.

    Got it.

    You know, even as a moderate Catholic in my childhood, it was pretty easy to see that God was such an asshole that worshipping him could only be an act of sycophantic cowardice.

  23. Amphiox says

    It’s the benevolent deity’s tough love, of course!

    What doesn’t kill (some) of us, only makes us stronger.

    It is also undeniably certain that the benevolent creator, in it’s far-sighted wisdom, wants us humans to learn and understand the processes of evolution. That is why it has designed the universe and life the way it has, so that we will be able to learn what it wants us to learn. Precisely why is currently beyond human ken, but it is surely for our own good. We’re probably being groomed as successors, to replace the designer one day, humans having just the right mix of petty vindictiveness, violence, and genocidal impulses to be perfect for the job.

    Either that, or it is a shortcut into heaven.

  24. Esteleth, Who is Totally Not a Dog or Ferret says

    Neogeshel, my church taught the story of Dinah in the middle-school Sunday school class.

    But then, I was raised Calvinist.

  25. Brownian says

    I have one thing to say to Michael fucking Behe and all the dumbass creationists. Prostate! Now suck it you silly assholes.

    The prostate only became a problematic organ after the fall. Before that, it worked perfectly fine, producing seminal fluid that smelled like lilacs and semen that didn’t pill in the shower.

  26. Anri says

    God’s mind is so far advanced, we have no hope of even beginning to grasp its complexity.

    That’s how we know he loves us and doesn’t want us to do it up the pooper.

  27. Matt Penfold says

    God’s mind is so far advanced, we have no hope of even beginning to grasp its complexity.

    That’s how we know he loves us and doesn’t want us to do it up the pooper.

    I confess I have never understood how Christians can claim god works in mysterious ways but then be so certain as to how he wants us to behave. I think I might have been expecting the explanation to be a rational one, which would be a mistake of course.

  28. Esteleth, Who is Totally Not a Dog or Ferret says

    Job always bothered me. Right where I would expect him to go “Y’know what, God? Fuck you!” he clings to his faith.
    I mean, this is the story:
    1) There is this dude named Job. He’s a good guy. Happily married, oodles of babies, successful business.
    2) God gets drunk and starts bragging to Satan. Drunken bets and pissing matches ensue.
    3) God kills Job’s kids, ruins his business, makes his wife nasty, and burns his house down.
    4) Job sulks, because trufax, all this sucks.
    5) Mrs. Job tells Job to suck it up. Job yells at her, tells her that God is good.
    6) God gives Job a disfiguring skin condition.
    7) Job gets pissy, asks God why all this shit is happening to him.
    8) God gets pissy back, calls Job a weak little pissant and tells him to have respect for his elders. Who-do-you-think-you-are-weakling, etc.
    9) Job, instead of telling God to go fuck himself, nods sagely and says that God is totes awesome.
    10) God, winning the bet, gives Job lots of new shiny things that are better than the lost shiny things: wife (same wife) is now prettier and more awesome at wife-ing, kids are cuter, business does better, and house is nicer.

    WTF?

  29. Esteleth, Who is Totally Not a Dog or Ferret says

    OMFG, Ing, I totally did not see that angle.

    But you’re right.

  30. rr says

    Sounds like eliminating this Intelligent Designer would be a boon to public health. C’mon Michael Behe, you say you’ve found it, now tell us how to kill it.

  31. Randomfactor says

    I have one thing to say to Michael fucking Behe and all the dumbass creationists. Prostate!

    Which was a perfectly benign organ until them gheys started poking at it. Provocation, that’s what it was.

  32. cag says

    Anri #28

    That’s how we know he loves us and doesn’t want us to do it up the pooper.

    Unless you are Catholic clergy, then it has clearance from the Vatican. The clergy can be “forgiven” because they have never been taught the correct meaning of “Child rearing”.

    Mothers don’t let your children grow up to be altar boys.

    Two thousand years of bullshit and still billions of people haven’t figured it out. Talk about obtuse.

  33. Esteleth, Who is Totally Not a Dog or Ferret says

    I did hear a goddist explain once that the bad stuff in the world is god’s way of teaching us the right way to live.
    Don’t want malaria? Don’t live near swamps!
    Don’t want cholera? Clean drinking water!
    (etc.)

    I actually find this more offensive than the “god does it to brown people to prove a point to white people” argument.

  34. Matt Penfold says

    I actually find this more offensive than the “god does it to brown people to prove a point to white people” argument.

    Well in many cases the two explanations are not mutually exclusive, given the correlation between poverty and skin colour.

  35. gragra says

    Oh dear, another interesting blog to read…

    Prostate! Now suck it you silly assholes.

    Is that even possible?

  36. Menyambal: Making sambal isn't exactly dragon magic. says

    During the post-earthquake cleanup in Haiti, there was a cholera outbreak. It was the first cholera outbreak in Haiti, ever. The Haitians blamed the United Nations. The United Nations pooh-poohed the idea that any of their helpers could be responsible.

    The outbreak was traced upstream to a UN camp.

    The DNA of the cholera was determined to be a strain from Nepal.

    In the UN camp were Ghurkas from Nepal, working as security guards.

    I assume God planned all that.

  37. Amphiox says

    The Book of Job may be one of the earliest clinical descriptions of Stockholm Syndrome.

  38. tbp1 says

    @41: My wife grew up in Alabama, and we lived for a while in SE Texas (between Houston the Louisiana border). As problematic as AC is environmentally, I honestly don’t see how people lived in those places before it. We got out as soon as we could, and the climate was a big part of the reason (along with the horrible air all along the I-10 “Cancer Alley). I miss the cheap seafood, but after the BP spill I’m not sure I would trust it now if we were still there.

  39. Brownian says

    He’s quite the kidder, God is.

    @yhwh: luv all my kids j/k cholera + malaria suckers! LOL no rly, your reward wil b in heaven #trustmeimgod

  40. Randomfactor says

    Which explains cholera, of course. God’s giving the Devil a double-or-nothing replay of the Job bet, and throwing in a whole bunch of other stuff besides the boils.

  41. Lies Down to Reason says

    @15:

    The accepted answer (within religion) boils down to “Satan did it.”

    I’m surprised they go down that road, seeing as how the next logical step would be, “And God can’t or doesn’t bother to stop it, therefore either he’s weak/incompetent or he just doesn’t give a shit. So, not much of a God, is he? Wait a minute, God created Satan, didn’t he? So Satan works for God, to do what? Cause all the suffering in the world so people will grovel to God? That’s fucked up.”

  42. carlie says

    wife (same wife) is now prettier and more awesome at wife-ing, kids are cuter,

    And the poor wife- her reward was to get pregnant what, seven more times? And have babies and toddlers all over again? Thanks a lot, god.

  43. Menyambal: Making sambal isn't exactly dragon magic. says

    I like the subtext in the book of Job. God totally kills or damages all Job’s children and his wife, and all his other *possessions*, just to fuck with Job.

    The wife rates a little above the cattle, in that she isn’t killed. But that’s only because a macho man finds having an ugly-fied and sick wife around is worse than being free to re-marry someone younger.

    The woman has to bear the next litter once she gets better–her feelings about all the dead ones don’t get a mention.

    There’s a poem about another Bible wife by Kristine Batey, “Lot’s Wife”:

    ====

    While Lot, the conscience of a nation,
    struggles with the Lord,
    she struggles with the housework.
    The City of Sin is where
    she raises the children.
    Ba’al or Adonai–
    Whoever is God–
    the bread must still be made
    and the doorsill swept.
    The Lord may kill the children tomorrow,
    but today they must be bathed and fed.
    Well and good to condemn your neighbors’ religion,
    but weren’t they there
    when the baby was born,
    and when the well collapsed?
    While her husband communes with God,
    she tucks the children into bed.
    In the morning, when he tells her of the judgment,
    she puts down the lamp she is cleaning
    and calmly begins to pack.
    In between bundling up the children
    and deciding what will go,
    she runs for a moment
    to say goodbye to the herd,
    gently patting each soft head
    with tears in her eyes for the animals that will not understand.
    She smiles blindly to the woman
    who held her hand at childbed.
    It is easy for eyes that have always turned to heaven
    not to look back;
    those who have been–by necessity–drawn to earth
    cannot forget that life is lived from day to day.
    Good, to a God, and good in human terms
    are two different things.
    On the breast of the hill, she chooses to be human,
    and turns, in farewell–
    and never regrets
    the sacrifice.

  44. zmidponk says

    How would a Creationist or I.D. advocate explain all of this? They don’t believe that bacteria can develop significant new adaptations, so they’d have to attribute all these changes to recent surreptitious tinkering by an Intelligent Designer (who is presumably still tinkering with cholera bacteria to make it look like they’re evolving, of course).

    Actually, from what I’ve seen, there are some ID/Creation advocates who would accept perfectly fine that all the mechanisms detailed in that article evolved – but claim that this isn’t evidence of ‘macroevolution’, as it’s still basically the same organism, so therefore evolution is still false. To them, evidence of ‘macroevolution’ would be a cholera bacterium suddenly dividing into two small fish, or something along those lines.

  45. Rich Woods says

    Now there’s some felching fetching imagery.

    ?

    Anything but the catheter!

  46. Rich Woods says

    I have no idea where the question mark came from in my last comment. All hail Tpyos!

  47. Esteleth, Who is Totally Not a Dog or Ferret says

    I interpret Mrs. Job’s statement, “Why don’t you curse God and die?” to Job as he sits in the midden scraping his sores as a sort of, “Come mourn with me.” Of course, he rejects that.

    But yeah, her opinion on the second round of baby-ing is not recorded. Of course, in that society, what value would she have if she had no sons?

    Of all the Sunday school lessons I remember, the stories of Dinah and Tamar (the daughter of David) are the ones that I remember the most vividly. I’m not sure what the accepted “official” point of the stories were, but the one that came across was “It SUCKS to be a woman in this society.”

  48. says

    OMFG, Ing, I totally did not see that angle.

    But you’re right.

    In Job’s defense what else could he do? A literal super-being that controlled the universe basically told him “Because I said so and nothing you can do can change my mind…I own you now either accept it or suffer”.

    It’s basically a Lovecraft story.

  49. Esteleth, Who is Totally Not a Dog or Ferret says

    The OT god is Nyarhotep! It all makes sense now!

  50. says

    The handful of true ID advocates have no issue with evolution, even macroevolution. They just make poor arguments that species could not have evolved to a certain degree of complexity without interference of a designer.

    Creationists actually secretly hate the ID people because they don’t argue that the world is 6000 years old or that the designer is the guy who can’t keep his snake out of his garden. However the creationists do like to claim that ID is scientific and therefore needs to be taught in schools. They just assume that once you’re convinced of ID that you’ll naturally be bowled over by the obvious truths of Genesis.

    Advocates for science often like to use phrases like “Intelligent Design Creationism” to emphasize that the people advocating for ID in schools are actually advocating for religion in schools. They do not believe in ID, nor do they have any plan for teaching it.

    But the small core of folks like Behe who take ID seriously have beliefs quite different from what you find from the likes of Ken Ham.

  51. says

    But the small core of folks like Behe who take ID seriously have beliefs quite different from what you find from the likes of Ken Ham.

    Horseshit.

    The handful of true ID advocates have no issue with evolution, even macroevolution. They just make poor arguments that species could not have evolved to a certain degree of complexity without interference of a designer.

    You seem inherently confused.

  52. 'Tis Himself says

    The part of Job I find annoying is when Yahweh and Job are having a discussion after Job wins the bet for Yahweh. Job asks, “If you are a loving god, then why is there evil?” Yahweh blows him off with a long-winded sneer, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand…” (Job 38:4 NIV and continuing for the rest of the chapter).

    I realize most Biblical scholars consider Job to be fiction, but to me it’s just one more example of how Yahweh is a sadistic bully.

  53. microraptor says

    @-Menyambal: Making sambal isn’t exactly dragon magic.

    Yes, and it was all part of God’s plan to punish Haiti for making a deal with Satan to get rid of Napoleon.

  54. gragra says

    Prostate! Now suck it you silly assholes.

    Is that even possible?

    Try using a straw.

    Fuckin’ OUCH!

  55. David Marjanović says

    I wonder if Behe will suddenly come out as believing in the Gnostic demiurge.

    plus I’ve probably just mis-spelt German in German too.

    Yep. The -e you added is not silent, it’s a grammatical ending that would be wrong here.

    Numerous multidrug-resistant strains of V. cholerae have been isolated from both clinical and environmental settings, indicating that antibiotic use has to be restricted and alternative methods for treating cholera have to be implemented.

    Hooraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.

    You know, even as a moderate Catholic in my childhood, it was pretty easy to see that God was such an asshole that worshipping him could only be an act of sycophantic cowardice.

    That counts as “moderate” in Canada? Dude, the Book of Job wasn’t even in my Children’s Bible. Wasn’t mentioned with any word. Neither was, say, Jephthah’s nameless daughter.

    And who is Dinah again?

    10) God, winning the bet, gives Job lots of new shiny things that are better than the lost shiny things: wife (same wife) is now prettier and more awesome at wife-ing, kids are cuter, business does better, and house is nicer.

    Notably, the kids are new ones. The old ones stay dead.

    I suppose omnipotence hadn’t yet been invented.

    I did hear a goddist explain once that the bad stuff in the world is god’s way of teaching us the right way to live.

    …completely overlooking why it’s the right way to live: because it keeps you from getting cholera.

    So stupid I want to get violent.

    I miss the cheap seafood, but after the BP spill I’m not sure I would trust it now if we were still there.

    Don’t trust it.

    The OT god is Nyar[lat]hotep! It all makes sense now!

    + 1

    But the small core of folks like Behe who take ID seriously have beliefs quite different from what you find from the likes of Ken Ham.

    That’s true for few if any people. Do you know the Wedge Document?

    Yes, and it was all part of God’s plan to punish Haiti for making a deal with Satan to get rid of Napoleon.

    <South Park>THIS IS WHAT PAT ROBERTSON ACTUALLY BELIEVES</South Park>

    Was it Robertson or some other moron?

  56. 'Tis Himself says

    Yes, and it was all part of God’s plan to punish Haiti for making a deal with Satan to get rid of Napoleon.

    In 1807. God’s to-do list is extremely long and it takes him a good while to get around to certain things.

  57. Esteleth, Who is Totally Not a Dog or Ferret says

    David:

    And who is Dinah again?

    Dinah was the daughter of Jacob (the one known as Israel and who famously had 12 sons) and his first wife, Leah.
    Her story goes like this:
    1) The family moves to a place called Sechem.
    2) The son of the king sees Dinah and likes her.
    3) The prince approaches Jacob and asks for Dinah.
    4) Jacob agrees to give Dinah to the prince, if the prince and all his family get circumcised.
    5) The prince and his family agree and get circumcised.
    6) Jacob’s sons (i.e. Dinah’s brothers) kill the king, the prince, and several other people, for some reason I never really understood. Dinah disappears from the story at this point.
    7) Jacob’s family is thus forced to flee Sechem due to angry Sechemites. While they are fleeing, Jacob’s beloved second wife, Rachel, dies on the side of the road. More bad stuff happens and eventually the family is forced into grinding poverty and even more bad stuff happens (including one of Jacob’s sons running of with one of his father’s wives).

    Of course, Dinah’s opinion was never asked. AFAIK, there are two competing interpretations of this. The first is that Dinah was unwilling or the prince was unsuitable in some way, so Jacob demanded something he thought impossible. When the prince agreed anyway, Jacob’s hand was forced and he did something drastic out of desperation. The other interpretation says that Jacob was just an arrogant prick. I tend to favor the second interpretation, mostly because Jacob’s prickishness is well established elsewhere in the babble.

  58. microraptor says

    In 1807. God’s to-do list is extremely long and it takes him a good while to get around to certain things.

    Well, there’s that whole day/age time difference thing going on so from his perspective he’s getting it done right away.

  59. says

    There is this elaborate maze, full of interesting passages and walkways, which measures 36 metres by 95 metres on outside. The rats inside are busy running up and down the passages exploring different paths.

    But the problem is there is no exit, and the outer walls are slowly and unrelentingly moving in towards the centre of the maze. The rats do not know it yet, but their space is getting limited and it’s going to hurt, unless they can climb out the maze.

    ID it seems is in such a maze as well, and they do not realise that they need to climb out.

  60. ibyea says

    @Esteleth
    Oh yeah, Jacob was a prick beforehand when he trolled his brother Esau, wasn’t he?

  61. says

    Dinah was the daughter of Jacob (the one known as Israel and who famously had 12 sons) and his first wife, Leah.

    Someone was in the kitchen with Dinah. Someone was in the kitchen, I know – oh, oh, oh – probably Leah!

    Yahweh blows him off with a long-winded sneer, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand…” (Job 38:4

    Shorter yhwh @job: “WERE YOU THERE? LOL.”

  62. Kristof says

    Them saying they accept “microevolution” but not “macroevolution” is like saying you accept that individual cars may be moving but deny there’s such thing as traffic.

  63. microraptor says

    That’s a good one, Kristof. Though I prefer that it’s like saying it’s possible to stack one brick on another, but impossible to build a wall.

  64. julietdefarge says

    Ask anyone involved in sports or dance, and they’ll have unpleasant things to say about our knees and lower back. I guess our original sin was switching to bipedal walking.

    Off topic- The mention of cholera reminds me of the Nepali UN troops who were responsible for the Haitian outbreak. Much of the public has the image of UN peacekeepers as godless Europeans, but if you look up which countries supply the most troops, it’s the most god-ridden, poorest nations, who bring their bad hygiene and bad attitudes toward women with them. Maybe the UN needs a draft for all member states.