Rednecks Talk Intelligent Design

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Ohg Rea Tone is all or nothing. He is educated and opinionated, more clever than smart, sarcastic and forthright. He writes intuitively - often disregarding rules of composition. Comment on his posts - he will likely respond with characteristic humor or genuine empathy. He is the real-deal.

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Rednecks Talk Intelligent Design

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I stopped in the General Store this morning.  When I walked through the door I was wondering, why does Billy Ray call this store ‘General.’  I know he was from the South and his relatives fought in the war with the North – maybe one of them was a General or something.  Anyway, before I could ask about the name of the store Old Andy hollered, “Dang you Billy Ray!  I am just saying that God is intelligent.  Just look around.”

Billy Ray did not sell much at his store since the new highway went in and took all the business to Maryville.  But he was always there early to make coffee.  No espresso and no latte – just plain old morning coffee.  He kept some sugar and honey and cream around just in case anyone needed help getting acclimated to his coffee.  Billy Ray smiled at Old Andy and said, “I didn’t say he was dumb.  I just said that if I was going to create this place I would have done it different.”

As I poured my coffee I could see that Old Andy was thinking.  Bobby John took a puff on his pipe and asked, “So what would you do different Billy Ray?”

Billy Ray leaned his chair back against the wall and began, “Well, think about them squirrels.  They have their babies in the spring and then they run around all summer picking up nuts.  They bury the nuts just about anywhere.  That way they can eat right through the winter.”

Old Andy jumped in, “See, that’s what I mean.  God was smart enough to help the squirrel through the winter.  What’s wrong with that idea?  You saying that is dumb?”

“No, I ain’t saying that is dumb.  Let me get the whole story out Andy.  It works like this.  The squirrel buries the nuts – but he can’t remember where he put all of them.  That’s a good thing because that is the reason we have forests of trees that makes nuts.  If the squirrel dug all of them up then there wouldn’t be no new trees.”

Old Andy was flustered.  He sat straight up in his chair and said, “See.  I told you it was a smart way to do things.”

“I did not say it was not smart Old Andy.  I just said I would do it different.”  Billy Ray sighed.

Bobby John was getting more curious.  “Well tell us Billy Ray.  What would you do different?”

Billy Ray let his chair down and walked over to the coffee pot.  As he poured he said, “Here is the problem the way I see it.  God wanted the squirrel to bury the nuts for two reasons.  The squirrel would have something to eat in the winter and the forest would get new trees.  That sound like a smart plan.  But here is the problem.  Does the squirrel know that he is planting new trees – or does he just bury nuts so he can have some food in the winter?”

Old Andy practically spit his coffee out, “Are you nuts or something?  You been reading some science magazine again.  That sounds like something some old college fella would say.  You know the kind.  My brother Randy calls them educated idiots.  It’s like they cant just take the truth for what it is.  They got to ask some question that don’t make no difference anyhoo.”

I sat at the table, curious about why Billy Ray would ask such a question.  “Billy Ray,” I said, “How come you ask that question?”

Billy Ray sat down again and kicked his chair back against the wall. “I was digging up some weeds in my spring flower garden the other day and there was a new tree sapling.  Of course I pulled it up.  I don’t want no trees in my flowers.  Anyway, when I pulled it up there was this nut attached to the root.  Right there it was, one of the squirrel’s hiding places.  I was down on my knees in the mud when I wondered if that squirrel left that nut there on purpose.  Does the squirrel know that the nuts create trees and he wants his descendants to have trees to build their nests?  Or does the squirrel bury more nuts than he can eat because he knows he won’t remember where all the nuts are?”

He paused to take a sip of his coffee.  Old Andy jumped at the chance, “Billy Ray, you are nuttier than that squirrel.  The squirrel don’t know how many nuts he planted.  He don’t think about how many nuts he needs for the winter.  He don’t know that some of his nuts will become trees.  He just goes around burying nuts cause that is what squirrels do.  It ain’t complicated.”

Billy Ray smiled, “That’s what I mean.  If I was doing the designing I would give the squirrel some brains.  He could bury nuts for food, then bury a few more to make more trees.  That ain’t complicated neither.  And what about the tree?  Why do you suppose the tree makes so many nuts.  More than the squirrels can bury. The tree makes nuts to grow more trees and feed the squirrels.  I think we all know that.”

Billy Ray stopped a minute to think about what he was saying.  Bobby John had been listening quietly, but then he said, “It seems like nature works pretty good Billy Ray.  There are plenty of trees and plenty of squirrels.  What is wrong with that?  What would you do different?”

Billy Ray seemed perplexed, “I don’t know for sure.  When I dug that nut up in my garden I just thought that if a real intelligent being, Old Andy says God, was creating nut trees and squirrels he could have saved the tree and the squirrel a lot of trouble.  And anyway, I thought, it seems like if God was so smart he would have designed the whole thing so there would not be so much chance of things going wrong.  I mean, he has to make a lot more nuts than the trees or the squirrels need and the squirrels have to bury a lot more nuts than they need.  It just seemed to me like if God was so smart he could have saved a lot of trouble by just making the squirrel a little smarter.  It almost seems mean to make that squirrel do all that work.”

Old Andy hung his head, as if ashamed to be in the same room with Billy Ray.  “Billy Ray,” he said, “What is wrong with you?  If the squirrel knew how many nuts he needed to survive the winter that is all he would bury.  Why would he care about the tree?  Don’t you see how it works?”

Billy Ray sat his coffee cup on the table, “I didn’t say I would make squirrels act like you Old Andy.  I said I would make him smarter than he appears to be.”

Old Andy smiled, “I get it Billy Ray.  You is just saying that nature could use some redneck ingenuity.”

Bobby John said, “Billy Ray has a point.  If the factory where I worked made a bunch of extra stuff hoping someone might buy it we would be out of a job.”

Old Andy had to go home to work on his new motorcycle:

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