OCTOBER 23, 2005

Its a great day. Planet Earths six thousand and ninth birthday. Great, that is, if youre a Fundamentalist Christian or someone who agrees with the teachings of the Reverend James Ussher, (1581-1656), Anglican Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland, the Christian scientist who, employing the most advanced Biblical calculations of his day, essentially reading Biblical text backwards while reversing the Julian Calendars lunar cycles, conclusively dated the first day of creation as Sunday, October 23, 4004 BC. Not to be outdone, the good Bishop was joined in his seminal scholarship by the venerable Sir John Lightfoot (1602 – 1675), Vice Chancellor of Cambridge University. Sir John deduced the Trinity created man at precisely 9:00 on that fateful October morn, not too early for a hearty Irish breakfast, not too late for requisite Sunday services. The ambitious Bishop subsequently one upped the farsighted Chancellor discovering Adam and Eve were driven from Paradise on the evening of Monday, November 10, 4004 BC. This was only eighteen days after the earths creation, a rather short time to descend from favored children of God to exiled pariah of heaven, from champagne and caviar dreams to a ginger ale and KFC nightmare. Also that the Ark touched down on Mount Ararat at noon on Wednesday, May 5, 2348 BC. Just in time for all aboard to tuck into a sumptuous all you can eat Chinese buffet or visit the closest McDonalds for a tasty supersize of burger and fries, but insufficient for a long leisurely nosh at an elegant eatery featuring white linen, oysters on the half shell and the proverbial groaning dessert wagon. In our highly sceptical age, its easy to chuckle at Bishop Usshers somewhat whimsical dates and times, to scoff at his rather ludicrous Professor Backwards methodology, to mock his rigid unquestioning faith in Biblical scripture. Particularly as there exists such a significant gap between present day astronomers understanding, four and a half billion years, versus the Ussher claim for earths longevity, 4009 years. Similarly, methods like carbon dating and decay of the universes background radiation point to a significant disagreement between contemporary science based on space telescopes and electron microscopes and Bishop Usshers more simple calculations based on a motel bible and a Home Depot pencil. Likewise, the Ussher/Lightbody school ignore such compelling evidence for mans longevity as fossilized wombats, gnats in aspic and furcovered hunters frozen in glacier ice. October 23. Its a good day. A good day for Creationists, Fundamentalists and Christian Conservatives. A good day for Planet Earth. A good day to thank Bishop Ussher. Thank him for making their lives simpler. No need to fight your way through 41/2 billion years of complicated history to understand the world. Just open the Good Book and there it is. Six thousand years of simple straightforward scripture. Kids got a problem with high school biology? Hey. No Problem. Just petition your local school board. Better still. Take them to court. Insist Bishop James Ussher replace Charles Darwin. Much easier for mentally challenged youngsters to grasp how God created the earth in six days and how nothings changed since October 23, 4004 BC, than try to internalize evolutionary biology and comprehend organic chemistry. And what better way to cut costly lab costs and eliminate pricey computers. Just throw out all that expensive scientific equipment. Replace Enlightenment science with the latest version of the King James Bible. Likewise all you flat earthers, flat taxers and flat liners. Cant get to the bottom of geophysics? String theory got you tied up in knots? Chaos theory too hectic? Forget it. Umcomplicate your life. Come back to the Good Book. Replace 41/2 billion years of brain busting complexity with six thousand years of biblical tranquility. And its been there all along. Been there waiting for you. Waiting since Sunday, 9:00 am, October 23, 4004 BC.

Tokyo Sun 10/23/05