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Dear Doctor Rosenrosen,
For a long time now I have believed what my Science teachers always taught me: that life evolved over 4 billion years through natural selection, but now I'm not so sure.
A friend of mine argues that an intelligent being "designed" everything, and that the scientists are "liars and deceivers".
I don't like to be lied to and deceived, so I've been re-thinking my position on the issue.
Do you believe that we could have been designed by some kind of Super Alien, and if so, why would it have made Carrot Top?
--J. W., Wichita KS
Ever since the theory of
Intelligent Design was postulated a few months ago I have been waiting for a forum where I could make public my opinions. A person with my education and background is ideally suited to proffer the definitive and final answer regarding all issues on this subject.
First let us get my qualifications out of the way, I have a MS in Mixology from Michigan State University, a PhD in Industrial Arts from Regent University and a honorary PsyD that I received from the FBI during one of my recent Witness Relocation packages. I also have a black belt in the ancient mystic art of Karate and have read and understood the philosophies of both Søren Aabye Kierkegaard (the father of existentialism) and The Tao of Pooh. I have traveled extensively throughout the State of Pennsylvania and placed 5th in the 2003 Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, NY.
My religious background, which in no way biases my opinion, is a common one. Every day I get down on my knees and praise Brahma, Creator of the Universe, First pillar of the Hindu Trinity, for the world he has bestowed upon us. I also offer thanks to Vishnu, who preserves the universe, and scorn to Shiva who destroys the universe. But that's just me. One simple Orthodox Jew trying to maintain and comprehend his complex Islamic faith.
Before I begin, I would just like to add, that as a former Branch Davidian I must say that I am appalled by the lack of attention that this important debate has received in politics and the media. The question of Intelligent Design versus Evolution must be brought to the public discourse and if I have to be the one responsible for shedding light on the debate then so be it.
Previously, my understanding of Intelligent Design was that we did not evolve over time as theorized by Darwin in the 1859 best selling thriller "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life," but rather we were all created by some sort of sinister disgusting hideous alien overlord who will one day come to harvest us as food and perhaps keep a few of us to work at Walmart. This was, of course, my naive preliminary understanding before I Googled Intelligent Design on the vast scientific knowledgebase and repository of truth - The Internet.
I now understand that some define Intelligent Design as: a "scientific" theory that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.
Included in their definition is a notation that states
"Intelligent design theory does NOT claim that science can determine the identity of the intelligent cause. Nor does it claim that the intelligent cause must be a “divine being” or a “higher power” or an “all-powerful force.”
This definition, which goes so far to distance itself from Creationism (a literal reading of the Genesis account, that usually includes the creation of the earth by the biblical God a few thousand years ago) seems to completely support my initial understanding of Intelligent Design. That being the belief that all life on this planet is just the tasty snack for some malevolent E.T. that is destined to return and feast on our flabby flesh.
So my answer to at least part of your question is yes, if I were to believe in Intelligent Design then I would believe whole heartedly that we were created by space monsters.
But then you mentioned Carrot Top. The hilarious comic mastermind who has brought laughter and joy to tens of hundreds of people worldwide. Could Carrot Top have been the product of anything that was Intelligently Designed? It seems unlikely if not down right stupid to think so. People like Aristotle, Plato, Einstein, Oppenheimer, Carrot Top, Stephen Hawking, and Bill Gates, these men, all geniuses in their fields, could only have been the result of thousands of years of biological evolution.
Why would an intelligent race of diabolical super aliens design men of genius? They wouldn't. Because one day, when they came to harvest us, they would have to cross paths with these
superhuman intellects who would defeat the aliens by using our primitive weapons
against their superior technology. If movies have taught me anything, it's that a computer virus, the common cold,
pollution or even a glass of water, for God's sake, can repel an alien invasion.
And this friends, is where Intelligent Design loses all credibility. If science can defeat the aliens then science wins and science has decided to go with the theory Evolution. So get with the winning team all you Christians and people of faith! Evolution is the only way to win this War Against Space Monster Terrorism. If you're not with us, you're against us! USA! USA! USA!
I'm so depressed since the presidential election. Before the election I watched TV with keen interest: every talking head, every interview, all the shows where the dems and bushies argued vehemently. Now I can hardly stand to turn on the TV. I have considered moving to Canada but then I'd probably be even more depressed without my family to complain to. What do you suggest would help me get through the next four years?
Still In Shock in Michigan (one of the sane states)
Still in Shock,
Like many Democrats it appears that you were too cowardly to take your suicide pill on November 3rd like we all agreed. I suppose that's forgivable, but taking out your frustration on TV is indefensible.
Do not deny TV. TV has never done anything to harm us. TV is our friend. It gives us hours and hours of enjoyment each and every day and asks nothing of us! TV brings us: Infotainment (aka. news programs), game shows like "Who Wants to Marry My Slightly Deformed Twin Brother," great drama like Walker Texas Ranger and Jag, and hilarious comedies like Everybody Loves Raymond and Who's the Boss. So let's not blame TV for the outcome of the election. Don't forget, it was TV that told us about Clinton's victories in 92' and 96'.
BARGAINING (with Canada)
On moving to Canada. This might not be that bad of an idea, eh? You could Take off for the Great White North and live out yer days drunk and playin' hockey, eh?. If you get injured on the ice the free socialized medical programs will fix ya up as good as a new tuque (French Canadian warm knitted, stocking cap,) eh? The only problem is Canada is freezing, eh? Personally, I'd rather live in a nice warm dictatorship. So skate North if ya want hoser, but hiding in an fishing shanty on Lake Winnipeg isn't gonna make The States any less evil, eh?
Now, I hate to even mention this but it will probably be more like 8-12 more years of Republican control in the White House. Not the wishful thinking of 4 years that you mentioned in your letter. That 2008 McCain / Guilliani ticket is gonna be hard to beat and I don't think Hillary's got what it takes (She's a chick). So we need a long term way to deaden our pain.
Illegal street drugs are the quickest route so we should start with those. You know who doesn't care about who won the election? Crack addicts and the good folks at your local opium den. So first thing we need to do is numb ourselves before we can let the healing begin.
Next we need to take a proactive step toward change. You know that guy down the block who had the Bush signs in his yard and the little magnet American flags on the back of his truck? It's time to start a feud with the closest Republican you can find. Start small by tearing up his lawn with your car or adding laxatives to his family's water supply and then move up to something bigger like sneaking over in the middle of the night and turning the flag magnets upside down on his truck.
Finally, you need to realize that the American democratic process is all just a sham anyway. Bush and Kerry were both just puppets of the Capitalist Oligarchy that now controls the United States. One was completely evil and the other guy was only slightly less.
Ultimately it doesn't make any difference who the President is. The real decisions are made by companies like RJR Nabisco and Procter & Gamble who own like 90% of everything in the world.
So calm down, go to McDonalds, get a Happy Meal, catch tonight's episode of JAG and try to forget about that silly old 2004 election.
Dear Dr. Rosenrosen,
I was thinking about buying the special edition DVD of Goodfellas, buying the special edition DVD of Goodfellas. I loved the movie, loved the movie, and own a VHS copy. Here's my question to you, question to you. Is the special edition DVD worth it? My friends Pete the Killer, Freddy No Nose, Frankie the Wop, Billy Bats, Tutti Cicero, and I want to know, want to know.
Jimmy Two Times
Dear Jimmy Two Times,
As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to have the special edition DVD of Goodfellas. To me, owning that special edition DVD was better than being President of the United States. Even before I first wandered into blockbuster for a rental video, I knew I wanted to watch it. To me, watching that film meant being somebody in a neighborhood that was full of nobodies. Those guys in that movie weren't like anybody else. I mean, they did whatever they wanted. They double-parked in front of a hydrant and nobody ever gave them a ticket. In the summer when they played cards all night, nobody ever called the cops.
Then one day I got the DVD and felt like I was the luckiest kid in the world. I could go anywhere. I could do anything. I could watch it as many times as I wanted to...I was part of something. And I belonged. I was treated like a grown-up. Every day, I was learning more lines from the film. Like: "I'm gonna go get the papers, get the papers. " I was living a fantasy.
Then one day I realized my DVD had no extra bonus material and I had to flip it half way through the picture like a frickin LP. Bonus material is one of the best things about DVD. And that's what it's all about. That's what the FBI could never understand. I needed a special edition.
But what was I gonna do? The lessons in the movie were the two greatest things in life...Never rat on your friends and always keep your mouth shut. So what was I gonna do? Complain? Fuggetaboutit.
Then, few weeks ago, they go and release the special edition DVD like I always wanted! And that's the hardest part. Today, everything is different. There's no action with my old DVD. I have to get that special edition and I would recommend you do the same. Watching the VHS is nothing like DVD (you might as well blow yer brains out like they done to Tommy.) And watching the non-special edition DVD is like being in witness protection. Don't be like me. I'm an average nobody. Until I get that special edition DVD , I get to live the rest of my life like a schnook.
Dear Dr. Rosenrosen,
My cat has a problem--he can't pee! I called our local world renowned university veterinary clinic, and they said that he probably has a blocked urethra, and we should take him in immediately to have it unblocked through the insertion of a catheter, lest his bladder burst. Problem is, they want fifty bucks to do it! It's Christmas time, and I am going to see "Elf" next Friday, so funds are low. You're a doctor; is there any way to safely do this procedure at home using common household items? If you could get back to me in the next, say, hour, I'd appreciate it. So would my cat.
Gotta go in Michigan
Although "urine" need of immediate assistance I must inform you that this is not an "urgent care" advise column. "If you could get back to me in the next, say, hour, I'd appreciate it." I was able to make an exception this time because I happen to have been on the computer renewing my therapist's license at Ms. Struthers Prestigious Advanced Degree Learning Academy.
I would have to say that your biggest problem at the moment seems to be your poor taste in films. I recommend you read this review of the film Elf before you decide that viewing it is more important than the life of your cat. Sometimes the health and well being of a family member can be justifiably ignored to go see a film but I assure you, Elf, is not such a film.
It appears that you budget only a small parcel of your time and resources to film watching, which to me speaks volumes as to your inability to prioritize. Let me do you the service of suggesting a few titles that are more worthy of the sacrifice you are apparently more than willing to make regarding the continued lifespan of your cat. I have recently seen the film The Last Samurai. I enjoyed it immensely. I would also recommend the films Mystic River, Master and Commander, and if it is still showing in your area, Kill Bill. The final installment of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Return of the King, opens in a week as well so perhaps you should save your tuppence for what will undoubtedly be the cinematic event of the year.
Regarding the cat: Since the feline is not a regular patient of mine I can only offer an indiscriminate method for extracting the blockage that you report. First, you should inspect the household to determine that the cat has not simply chosen a more preferred location to expel it's waste. Perhaps the baby's crib or the drawer that contains your wife's delicate and enchanting unmentionables? If you are certain that there is no evidence of clandestine urine locales, then I would try extracting the obstruction with one of the many syringes that, no doubt, litter the floor of your living room.
If this method proves unsuccessful, then I suggest you take the cat to the clinic and have their procedure administered. $50 dollars may seem like a lot of money but in actuality it's not.
Dear Dr. Rosenrosen,
I loved the Lord of the Rings movie and want to buy it on DVD; however, soon there will be three versions to choose from. I don't want to spend a lot of money, but still want a version with some good stuff on it. What do you suggest? When do the different version come out? How much does each one cost?
PS - When is Star Wars Episode 3 coming to theatres? Do you know what the title will be?
Dear Mr. Babar (That's with 2 B's right?),
The choice of which version of The Lord of the Rings DVD to buy is a selection that will affect your future happiness more than any other decision you will make in your lifetime. The question to ask yourself is "what would Elrond do?"
If you want to go the cheap route, and rob yourself and your future children of any joy what so ever, then by all means buy the used 2 Disc set. For 10 dollars you really get a lot of bonus material and you'll still have money left over to treat yourself to a breakfast at McDonalds.
If you have any love for the film at all you will buy the Platinum Series Extended Edition. You get twice as much stuff and most importantly you get 30 minutes more, edited back into the film, that the ratings board deemed violent enough to earn an R rating. If you don't buy this version then you can't really say that you've "seen the film" and I will forever be ashamed of you.
If you have money to burn then definitely buy the Platinum Series Extended Edition Collector's Gift Set. If you don't open it you can sell it on E-Bay one day and make 1000's of dollars. And of course, no respectable collector of Sideshow Weta sculptures can say that their collection is "complete" without the bookends that adorn this version of the film.
Star Wars Episode 3 will be released May 25th, 2005 (the 28th anniversary of the original release of Star Wars) . Expect the first previews around Thanksgiving 2004. Production is scheduled to start in January, 2003. In keeping with history, George Lucas will probably not unveil the title until right before the previews begin. After such thoughtful and inspired titles as The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones I'm guessing that the third film will be called Star Wars Episode 3: "Dark Shadow of Evil". It should be called something like "All is Lost" since the next film in the series is called "A New Hope" but I'm sure my first guess will unfortunately be closer to the actual title.
Dear Dr. Rosenrosen,
My wife and I have taken the week off from our jobs to work on our house and enjoy the autumn weather. The problem is, we have to return to work next week, and so far our attempts at winning millions by picking lottery numbers and thus never having to return have failed. We really do not want to ever work again, but of course we require a solid income to ensure long-term financial security and the flexibility to do pretty much whatever we want. Do you have any suggestions for helping us attain our goal of a worry-free/work-free future that won't risk landing us in the federal prison system? We love your column, and often heed your advise to your readers. Thanks!
Sick of Working (Michigan)
Dear Working Person,
Before I respond to your question, let me first point out that taking "...the week off from our jobs to work..." is insane. One day you will take the measure of your life and look back at the free time you wasted. Besides, you know plenty of people around the country and in Virginia that would have loved to see you during your "vacation." Readers take note, I never want to be informed that you are taking a vacation to "work" on anything ever again. I'll probably be up all night crying now.
Anyway... Playing the lottery is tricky. It's a very complex system of odds, percentages, chance ratios, and stupid luck. My thesis for Social Stats was entitled, "If This Statistic Stuff Is So Great, How Come I Ain't Won The Lotto Yet?" By way of extensive research, I was able to determine a 99.9999137 probability that your chances of winning directly correspond to your ability to choose correctly, before the drawing, the seemingly random numbers painted on flying ping pong balls. You may use this information free of charge and as you will.
You say that you want a "worry-free/work-free future" and the only caveat is that I keep you out of the "federal prison system." This can easily be arranged. Especially if you got no beef with the State prison systems. But lets leave that idea for another time. There are many legal and almost legal ways that you can realize your dream.
First of all you can find something you like and make it your job. I once knew a boy who really wished he could get paid to just sit at home in his pajamas and play on the computer all day. Now he's livin the dream. It's like my father used to say..."if you put three dollars in a bucket you won't have to cover your head in January."
If you're like most people, you probably have a new baby around the house and she's probably not really pulling her weight. I read an article in Newsweek about a town near Kosovo that was looking for babies with a keen sense of smell to detect landmines. They're offering a full scholarship up front to the parents. Think of the things you could do with that money!
You could start a website like this girl (click here to see) and just sit back and watch the cash roll in. Caution: Some people will not approve (click here to see).
Finally, if long term financial security is your goal there's no better way than the kindness of strangers. The elderly are especially kind and easily intimidated.
Dear Dr. Rosenrosen,
My wife and I are moving at the end of the month and need to rent a truck to move all our stuff. Ryder and U-haul have similar prices. Which one should we rent?
Dear Fred, (can I call you Fred?),
Choosing the right moving van rental company is one of the most important decisions a young couple can make these days. What with our sluggish economy and uncertain generic food options this is not a choice to be taken lightly.
There are really two schools of thought that must be addressed here;
Ryderian philosophy tells us that Ryder’s broad selection of vehicles and equipment, selected and specified for superior performance and cost-efficiency, include a full range of vans and trucks. Their rental fleet is expertly maintained to provide you with the most reliable rental solution. And finally Ryder’s staff is ready to provide you with expert advice in selecting the best vehicle, equipment and rental solution to meet your needs.
U-Haulism, on the other hand, says that U-Haul trucks and trailers can be rented from 15,500 independent dealers and over 1,342 company owned moving centers.
U-Haul is the undisputed leader in the truck and trailer rental industry. Anyone who has spent an afternoon loading and unloading boxes and furniture from a moving van knows that with Low Decks, exclusively available at U-Haul, you will be working a lot less, sweating a lot less and moving in less time than the person who chooses the competition.
Smooth van floor, padded rub rails and tie-downs help protect your goods in transit. The van box interior of every truck is specially designed for maximum usability and safety.
In my opinion, you're best choice is U-Haul. The reason is simple. Ryder does not have One Way Rental available in the UK & US. U-Haul does. So unless you want to drive all your stuff down to Columbus, unload it, drive the truck back to Royal Oak, and drive then back to Columbus, your only real choice is U-haul. Make sure you have a reservation far in advance. You can't just show up on moving day and ask for a truck. Also, they cannot usually specify what time of day your truck will be available. Although they will offer to make a note that you would like it in the morning, most trucks are not returned until the afternoon and must be inspected before they are released again.