Vegetarians who wear leather have long been considered a prime example of a certain kind of hypocrisy.Yes, some people have given up meat for health reasons, so they’re excused. But people who swear off meat because it’s spiritually wrong to eat another living creature … those people really shouldn’t wear leather shoes or a leather belt or carry a leather wallet, for that matter.It’s tricky to make a distinction between killing another living creature to wear its skin and killing that creature to eat its flesh.Not that I spend a lot of time wrestling with that karmic problem – I figure I’ll let the vegetarians stew in their own juices on that one – but I do recognize the hypocrisy.Anyway, sometimes I add to that list of poster children for hypocrisy.For example, fundamentalist Muslim Arabs living in Baghdad who were outraged that they didn’t have electricity to run their air conditioners this summer.To begin with, those who reject the tainted fruits of corrupt and degenerate Western culture should refuse to have anything to do with the electrical power grid. That’s a Western invention for sure.As is, of course, air conditioning. (Invented in 1902 by Willis Haviland Carrier, if you must know.)Electricity. Air conditioning. Fruits of the poison tree, folks. (If you don’t like the tree, don’t eat the fruit. Or, in the immortal words of Ringo Starr: “If you don’t want Ringo’s peaches, honey, don’t mess around my tree.”)But, even more to the point, how could a proud desert people complain about the heat? I mean, come on, guys! An Arab complaining about desert heat is like a Texan complaining about the odor from the feedlots. Bad form.And now I have a new addition to the hypocrisy list: people who reject the theory of evolution, but use modern electronic equipment – or pretty much anything invented after the mid-1800s.To begin with, we often hear “evolution rejecters” point out that evolution is a “theory, not a fact.”Those pesky, unreliable “theories.” You might have a “theory” that the moon is made out of green cheese – but if you’re heading there, you’d still pack a lunch, wouldn’t you? Only a fool would base his world view on a mere “theory.” Stick to facts.Well, most modern physics – leading to such trivial items as, for example, the atomic bomb – are based on Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Another darn “theory.”Worse yet, when you add in quantum theory (theory!), you get the science that is the foundation of all our modern electronic devices.So if you use computers – desktop, laptop or the ones that control your car (and your toaster) – you are chowing down on the fruit of that poison tree.Like an Arab relaxing in the cool breeze from his Carrier air conditioner, you’ve put convenience ahead of principle.But it’s not just electronics.If you reject evolution, you’re really rejecting all modern science. You’re saying, “Hang on! This so-called ‘science’ is a road heading straight to hell and we’re getting off. Right now.”That, of course, is your privilege.You can hop off the science train right before Darwin yanked it onto the track to hell … back around 1850.That’s fair.So, let’s see, that means no telephone (1876), no radio (1897), no television (1926) and no electric toaster (1893).Indeed, it might be easier to list things you can use: the sewing machine, the steam locomotive and the hot air balloon. And for communication, you’ve got the always-popular telegraph.You can also have the typewriter … but not the electric typewriter.And you can accept the fact that the Earth revolves around the sun – which, like evolution, was once prime religious heresy, grounds for excommunication, imprisonment and the occasional burning at the stake.But we got over that little problem, didn’t we? Ummm … didn’t we?Andy Stone is former editor of The Aspen Times. His e-mail address is email@example.com
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