For a long time it's baffled me when I bring up evolution and someone says something like "We didn't evolve, we were created!" It's struck me as a very silly false dichotomy. Because basically I'm saying "God's process of creation is evolution" and then they're saying "No, God's process of creation is creation." They act as if they're presenting an alternative theory when in fact they're not even explaining what it is. What is "creation"? Even if, for the sake of argument, the inconsistent creation accounts in Genesis (and the Pearl of Great Price and the endowment ceremony for Latter-day Saints) are taken as entirely accurate factual accounts of literal history, they don't give any appreciable level of detail. "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." Okay, but how? What physical laws and processes did God employ to do this? In place of mutations and natural selection - what?
I may need to reevaluate my position a little, though, since my recent discovery of an apocryphal document that, while still confusing, expands on some aspects of the Genesis narrative and answers some of those questions. It's obviously very old and valuable but someone clearly didn't realize that, because it ended up at the used book warehouse where I work. I translated it during break one day. (If a manager reads this, no, I didn't take it home in violation of company policy. I put it back on the belt.) I don't actually know Hebrew or whatever language it was in, but I do have an English degree, and any translator will tell you that it's more important to be fluent in the target language than the source language. So without further ado I present this fascinating and, I believe, essential contribution to the ongoing debate.
The Pamphlet of Achu-Hesh-Kabaz
Now it came to pass that after God had created this world, he looked it over and noticed that it had no wars, pollution, police brutality, or unnecessary franchise reboots. And he decided to change that because he was bored.
So God passed through an airlock in the dome above the Earth, pausing on the other side to admire the stars embedded in it, and descended to the ground.
And God gathered a lot of dust, and he used static electricity and tree resin to stick the dust together in the approximate shape of himself. And when this was done, he gave the dust doll mouth-to-nose resuscitation, and it transformed into a living man with bones and organs and everything.
But God noticed that the man's anatomy incorporated several flaws and quirks that would have made sense if it had been the product of descent with modification from earlier life forms, but which were quite frankly embarrassing as the direct product of an omnipotent being working from scratch. And God said, "Oops, let me start over."
But it was too late; the man had instantaneously achieved sapience and the abilities to walk, talk, and count on his fingers. And the man asked, "Why isn't my spine built to support a bipedal gait?"
And God said, "None of your business, that's why." And he decided this was good enough for now after all, and he named the man Adam. But Adam wouldn't stop asking questions.
So God planted a garden eastward in Eden, a beautiful perfect paradise where no death or suffering existed, which rendered its existence somewhat superfluous because no death or suffering existed in the entire world. And when God had finished planting, he picked Adam up between his thumb and forefinger and carefully deposited him inside the garden.
And God said, "Run free, Adam, and name the animals and stay out of my way until I'm ready to deal with you. Help yourself to the fruit from any of these trees, except for this one tree that I put here even though I don't want you to eat from it."
And Adam said, "Isn't that entrapment?"
And God said, "Yes, but entrapment isn't actually illegal. Just don't eat it or you'll die."
So Adam ate the fruit of all of the trees except that one. And because he didn't actually need sustenance, he ate only because he was bored. And because death had not yet entered the world, every cell of every piece of fruit somehow remained alive as he chewed, digested and excreted it, which is pretty horrific in a "I have no mouth and I must scream" kind of way.
And Adam made friends with all the animals, and named them. His favorite was a Velociraptor named Tiffany. She was a cunning predator who used her speedy legs, sickle-shaped claws, and serrated jaws to eat grass. He trained her to fetch sticks and told her she was a clever girl.
But it came to pass that Adam grew lonely. Even though he inexplicably had at least 98% of his DNA in common with chimpanzees, transcription errors and all, he still didn't have much in common with them, and his dates with them never ended well.
And Adam said, "God, I'm lonely."
And God said, "Are you talking to me or just moaning to yourself?"
And Adam said, "The first one."
And God said, "I'll see what I can do."
And God gave Adam knockout gas. And God said, "Kali Ma... Kali Ma..." And God reached right into Adam's torso with his bare hand and pulled out a rib without even leaving a scratch. And God said, "Hocus pocus, flippity flam, arazzamatazz, and alakazam!" And the rib expanded and morphed into a real life honest to goodness living breathing woman.
And the woman asked, "Why isn't my spine built to support a bipedal gait?"
And God said, "Shut up."
And Adam woke up and saw the woman and his eyes got really big. And God said, "Ta-da! I hope you like her, because she's all you're getting."
And Adam said, "Wow, compared to those chimpanees, she's beautiful!"
And God said, "Smooth."
And the woman said to Adam, "Get lost, creep, I wouldn't date you if you were the only man on Earth." And Adam's face fell.
And the woman said, "Psych! It's a joke, get it? It's funny because you literally are the only man on Earth. Try this one: I want you to make me feel like I'm the only girl in the world."
And Adam said, "Haha! It's funny because you literally are the only girl in the world!"
And Tiffany the Velociraptor's face fell. And Adam scratched the feathers behind her earholes, which she had for some reason despite not being in any way related to birds, and said, "I didn't mean it like that, Tiff. Who's a clever girl? Yes you are! Yes you are!"
And the woman continued, "Mister, I feel like I've known you all my life. It's almost as if we were made for each other. Let's make this a world for two."
But God found her "jokes" so lame that he flooded the entire planet in a fit of rage, which created a momentary nuisance for all the immortal plants and animals but left behind no geological evidence. And he apologized, but wouldn't promise never to do it again.
And it came to pass that Adam and the woman sat in the Garden of Eden doing diddly squat. And they loved each other very much, but as the years went by the woman became so bored that she decided certain death didn't sound so bad.
And one day she ate the forbidden fruit, and after she had eaten the forbidden fruit and saw that she was still alive, she cast her eyes to the heavens and cried out, "Will this beautiful perfect nightmare never end?"
Little did the woman know, however, that the moment her teeth pierced the skin of the fruit, it released an oscillating wave of variable-frequency hypertronic alpha radiation particulates into the atmosphere, which immediately altered the subatomic structure of every living thing on Earth, introducing death, sin, pain, disease, and conspiracy theories into the world.
But the fruit tasted exquisite, so she took it to Adam. And he asked why she had eaten it, and she made up a ridiculous story about a talking snake, and he laughed and fell in love with her sense of humor even more.
And God made them put some clothes on, leave the Garden of Eden and get real jobs.
And God said, "Oh, also you can have kids now, which you couldn't do in the Garden of Eden because I want to get the deposit back."
And Adam said, "Well, I guess if we're going to have more humans running around, I should give the woman a name."
And God said, "Wait, what? You never bothered to give her a name?"
And Adam said, "It seemed unnecessary. She always responded to 'Hey, you.'"
And God said, "Oh, for the love of me. Fine, give her a name then."
And Adam said, "Hmmm... how about Steve?"
And God said, with inexplicable discomfort evident in his voice, "Um, I don't think so. Try again."
And Adam said, "Okay, just Eve then?"
And Eve said, "I see myself as more of a Jessica," but no one listened to her.
So Adam procreated with the woman made from his own DNA, and then their children procreated with each other, which actually explains a lot about the state of the human race today.
And Tiffany the Velociraptor had to be put to sleep after she tried to kill their infant son Cain. And Adam cried for days. But at least Cain was all right.
And it came to pass that one day Adam and Eve were going for a nice romantic stroll through the miserable wasteland when they caught God planting bones of Australopithecus, homo erectus, homo habilis, Neanderthals, anatomically modern humans more than six thousand years old, and various other imaginary creatures.
And Adam watched in astonishment and asked, "God, why are you doing this?"
And God said, "To test the faith of future generations."
And Eve said, "By lying to them?"
And God said, "It's not lying! It's... um... it's... look, don't question my ways, okay? My ways are not your ways. End of discussion."
And it was.
Not too long ago, when I heard reports of police brutality, unjustified killings etc. as a conservative, my impulse was to be dismissive. I can't speak for all conservatives but I think most of them would fall in the same proverbial boat I did: the government is completely untrustworthy, but this country itself is above criticism. Any claims that racism is still widespread and/or that police systematically abuse their power must be rejected or explained away at all costs. If the police incarcerate or murder a disproportionate number of black people, it's not because of racism, it's because black people are raised in bad environments. Police rarely do anything wrong and if they do, it's just a few of them and shouldn't be blown out of proportion, and anyway, who are you to judge them when you don't know how hard and stressful it is to be a police officer? Government authority is bad but police authority is good. Even though the police are actually useless which is why you need to own a gun.
I figured out a while ago that I was wrong to think that way, and if I've never made that clear before I am now. Probably the biggest turning point was a class discussion about police brutality a couple years ago which can be summed up with one exchange. The most obviously and consistently conservative guy in the class was like, "Maybe they just had a hard day..." and he almost seemed convincing until someone else was like, "If I have a hard day at work and I'm rude to a customer, I'll get fired!" Yeah, good point. The teacher capped off that exchange with something like, "Can we agree that some people just shouldn't be cops?" Yeah, that seems reasonable. I know I shouldn't.
Alas, by now I'm hopelessly biased in the opposite direction because of my own experience with Officers Hansen and Nelson of the Logan City Police, which traumatized the hell out of me and irreversibly destroyed most of my respect for law enforcement. I now see most police officers as narcissistic asshats who think they're gods because someone gave them a badge and a gun. That probably isn't a fair, charitable or accurate view and I probably shouldn't talk about this subject. Nonetheless, some do fit that description and because the consequences they face for their abuse of power range from laughable to nonexistent, crap keeps happening. I'm not sure if it's a mostly American phenomenon like mass shootings - I mean, the frequent racial aspect obviously is, since no other country has had such an impossible time getting over its leg-humping obsession with skin color, but I don't know what cops in general are like elsewhere. It's possible that the Australian police are even worse and it just doesn't make the news here. But I doubt it.
Until the recent national outrage, one police department in Georgia declined to take any action whatsoever against Ahmaud Arbery's murderers because one of them is a former member of it. Elsewhere, a group of officers in Kentucky murdered Breonna Taylor while executing a "no-knock" search warrant (which shouldn't be a thing) at the wrong apartment in the middle of the night. She was black, but I don't think the police were necessarily racist this time because it sounds like they just barged in and shot at anything that moved. Here in Utah, Officer Miguel Deras is in trouble because the public found out that he downloaded and shared explicit photograpraphs submitted as evidence by Lauren McCluskey - days before she was murdered because the police did nothing when she begged them for help, but that part is old news. I'm really pissed off and yet at the same time I feel a selfish schadenfreude every time the reputation of American law enforcement justifiably suffers. Lord forgive me. In fairness, I should note that by now even my conservative friends are pissed off. That's how bad it's gotten.
I am somewhat familiar with the police's side of things from reading a compilation of newspaper columns that Robert Kirby wrote as a cop in the early nineties (under the pseudonym John "Blitz" Krieg). He mostly wrote about what a crappy job it is and how stupid most citizens are. No argument here. He once wrote something to the effect of "Excessive compassion is why we have rapists and serial killers getting fat on macaroni and cheese and daytime TV instead of hanging from lampposts where they obviously belong." I completely agree in theory but there is the small matter of all the wrongful convictions that don't get overturned for decades. He wrote about the Rodney King riots and suggested that maybe the police beat the crap out of him not because of his skin color, but because he was low-life criminal trash. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I'm curious if and how any of his opinions have changed, as he's long since left police work and now writes humorous pieces about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for the Salt Lake Tribune, and generally seems more liberal nowadays.
His book, in any case, gave me a sympathy and respect for the police that I'm trying to remember now as a counterbalance to my current hatred. But as far as I'm concerned the actual percentage of police officers abusing their power, or whether these instances are representative, is hardly relevant. Pointing to the majority of good cops and non-incidents to downplay or rationalize away the others is just a way of pretending the problem doesn't exist. The police officers who got into law enforcement to make a positive difference in their communities should keep doing things the way they're doing things, and the police officers who are massive dicks in uniforms they don't deserve should be held accountable and put in their place. That won't happen as long as a substantial number of people want to pretend nothing is wrong with their behavior. It's true, I don't really know what it's like to be in their shoes, but I know the difference between right and wrong, even if it took me a while to figure out.
ADDENDUM: Of course it comes to no surprise to me or anyone that two days after I posted this, yet another black man in the United States was murdered by white police officers. George Floyd was handcuffed and pinned to the ground - in other words, not an active threat by any stretch of the imagination - when a grim-faced fascist in a blue uniform slowly crushed his windpipe as he begged for relief. The part that does come as a surprise is that all four cops involved, the murderer and the accomplices who stood by and did nothing, were fired shortly after instead of the usual "paid leave" bullshit. So maybe this country is making a modicum of progress that makes glaciers look speedy.
Alas, I fell into my old habits and argued with a Cro-Magnon on the internet who insisted that the video didn't show us the whole story and we didn't see whatever George Floyd obviously did to deserve what happened to him. (One guess as to his political leanings.) I struggled to explain to this waste of skin that literally no possible context could justify what the police did to him. Even if he raped a baby, shot his own grandmother and listened to Nickelback, the police had him safely in custody and he was entitled to a fair trial under the laws of this country, not a lynch mob. But if he didn't want to die, said this boil on the anus of humanity, he should have been more cooperative. Good hell. Police officers are not above the law and they do not have a right to kill harmless people for not showing them the respect they think they deserve, full stop. I know Nazi comparisons are passé, but I can't escape the thought that if a similar regime were to arise here, this poor excuse for a sapient being would be one of the guys enthusiastically torturing people to prove his blind worship of authority. I pray that day never comes but it wouldn't come as a surprise.
Mid-May marks the five year anniversary of this incarnation of my website, hosted by Weebly, after I moved it from the terrible company Webs that I had used since late 2010. I recently went back to my Webs account to try to recover something I had uploaded there, and they wanted me to take the exact same survey I already took twenty times when I used their company. I kept telling them how dissatisfied I was and they kept not making any improvements. But I took the survey again just to give them another piece of my mind.
Previously, I wrote blog posts whenever I felt like it. When I moved here I set a goal to write one every week, to be consistent so I could (in theory) build up a following. This forced me to adapt a little since I was now forcing myself whether the muse had hit or I had anything in mind to write about or not. The first two years of posts are juvenile garbage in terms of finding my writing voice and political philosophy, but at least I can track my progression and at least they're still better than most of the posts on my old site that are lost to time and won't be missed. The rest of my posts have ranged from occasional garbage, to mostly average, to the occasional gem that I know would have gone viral if anyone besides me had written it. My page views and search ranking have ebbed and flowed and consistently remained nowhere near where I'd like them to be after the countless hours of work I've put into this site. Has it been worth it? No, but if I quit now all that previous effort will have been wasted. So I'm here to stay unless I get hit by a truck or something.
On my home page I introduce myself as an
Autistic Latter-day Saint Author,
"Guys. Chris's blog is the stuff of legends. If you’re ever looking for a good read, check this out!"
- Amelia Whitlock
"I don't know how well you know Christopher Randall Nicholson, but... he's trolling. You should read his blog. It's delightful."
- David Young
About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender male and a Latter-day Saint, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic, so you can't. Unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.