The tragedy of my sisters death

The real tragedy of Sue's passing is it is hard to conceive of it as a tragedy. She lived as she chose and died the same way. A life of promise and hope ended as what, from where I sit, seems a sad, lonely, miserable, wasted life. But it was her choice. If you are looking for one of those “preach her into heaven, she is an angel” memories, this is not it. If you think there is going to be some heartwarming moment of reconciliation…you will be bitterly disappointed. My interactions with Sue in the last 3 or 4 decades of her life were almost universally awful. When I look at Sue’s life, I see little but disaster. The picture of her with her dogs was cool…it is the first legit smile I remember seeing on her since she was maybe 12. Nearly four decades of misery. It did not start that way of course. There are some home movies from back when we were in Illinois of her riding her trike, me dragging my bum on the ground on the back step. Back in Oregon, there were some great times. One of our favorite things to do growing up was going to Grandma Aldas and going swimming. The easy way to tell it was a 55 and older park was they had a Fanta soda machine. It was a super special treat when Mom, Sue and I would go to Grandmas, usually get pizza, go swimming, visit for a while, learn to play various versions of Rummy… In fact, another favorite family memory was going to the Organ Grinder. Watching the old black and white movies, hearing the Organ. There were a lot of smiles and laughs and love. Of course it didn’t last. School started pretty well. She went to Zatterbergs Kinder College a year ahead of me. Then a couple years at Montavilla Christian , then it became Crossroads. Our years in school give a clue as to how tragic her life became because it could have…and should have…been so different. To brag on her first I have to brag on me for a bit. The ACE system involves Paces. It took 12 paces to equate to a years worth of schooling. For people who exceeded the basic requirements you got a trophy at I think it was 40, 60, 75, 100 and “most in the school” or something along that line. At the end of the school year they had a ceremony where everyone who completed 40 paces got a trophy and there were several. Then those that finished 60 got one. Fewer. 75, maybe 3. 100 or more 2. In every subject I was exceeding 75 paces and most subjects 100. I was doing more than anyone else in the entire school by 25 or more paces. And Sue was doing that many more than me. When I say “everyone in the school” it really should read “everyone in the school except Sue who exceeded me at virtually every turn”. She was smart. She was really smart. Well, in 4th grade, for a variety of reasons the finances did not allow continuation of going to private school in Portland. So we were put into public school. This began the downhill slide. Oh, not right away. She started hanging out with different people. She got sneaky. Just one small example; my friend Carl and her friend Missy lived next door to each other. When it was time to come home, I was to leave Carls’, pick her up at Sue and we would walk home. Lets say curfew was 8. I would leave Carls at 7:50. 4 houses is not far to walk. Well, Sue would be like, “no, they don’t mean be home by 8, they mean leave at 8” and would stretch it out. I knew better but I went along with it. I could lay the blame on her if it came to that. Not a decision I was proud of…I was on my way to being a deceptive, manipulative, potentially dishonest person too. Well, that is minor and no big deal but things like that became a pattern. Like I mentioned she started hanging out with different people. Many of them were older and none of them were better people. She started smoking the occasional found cigarette, hanging out with much older people. When Mom and Dad would go out, she would sometimes have them over. They were old enough to drive…I was 11 or 12 which means she was no older than 13 or 14 at that point. Yep, we are heading that way. Sure enough, at some point Dad found out and forbid her from seeing these guys who were too old. Some of my siblings can tell you the name of the school counselors and teachers that caused the problems to get worse. They got her taken out of the home and placed with the older guy she wanted to sleep with. Things got worse. It became a legal matter with a lot of high powered attorneys involved and it was ugly. At one point they threatened to take me out of the home. Now, this is my reaction but there is no question it terrified me and impacted our relationship for the rest of our lives. I was in a caring loving home and knew it. Here were people threatening to take me away from my mom, dad and sisters because of my older sister who was doing stuff she shouldn’t? The lawyers working with Mom and Dad won and the counselor and those evil teachers were banned from contact. They should have spent decades in jail. The destruction they wreaked has carried on to other generations. I hope they found repentance because they were evil. Evil. Evil. It does not reflect well on me how things got between Sue and I after that. We argued and fought a lot. When I say fought, and it is to my shame…I mean punching, kicking type fights. I have mentioned the penultimate incident before…Sue, Carl, Missy and I were playing in Carls back yard. She incited me and I, being who I was, wrecked everything in my path. She got home first and if I recall correctly, that was the time I broke the front window. I think that was our last physical fight but we were certainly not the close friends we had been when younger. And her pattern of behavior was getting worse. I have long had a vivid memory of the time she had 3 boys in their early 20s over when Mom and Dad were at an appointment with the twins. There was alcohol involved, and boy she had it figured real close when they would be home and those boys taillights were going down LeMont street as Mom and Dad drove up 7th. I was no help to her during these years either. I was bitter, resentful and angry at her for nearly getting us pulled out of home. I despised her for her lies and her running around and her drinking. One day a friend was over for dinner. I don’t remember what started it but she and I must have been silently fighting at the dinner table. She started voicing disapproval and Mom & Dad, oblivious to the undercurrents, asked what was going on. She shouted in years, “he is looking at me”. We had reached a point in our relationship where I could anger her just by looking at her and where I could rejoice that she got in trouble for her reaction. My friend and I laughed about “the look” for a few months. Today I feel shame for it. If I had been a better brother would she have kept down the path she took? Probably. But I did very little to stop it and that lies at my feet. I am not responsible for her behavior…but I very much am for mine. And where it was shameful, like this, I am shamed and repentant. It was wrong and I wish I could change it. Once she got married and moved out I had only brief flashes of interactions with her for the rest of her life. And it did not make me sad. Because every time I did see her things got worse. I wanted to see her less than I did. A few years after she left, about the time she goaded some bad behavior from someone else that has led to their life being more difficult than it needed to be, it came to my attention she had made some horrific accusations against me. The first time I saw her after that we had a loud screaming match about it and by the end she admitted she lied and said it because she was mad. But she made no apology. In fact, she blamed me. For her lie and horrid accusation. I don’t remember seeing her from about the time I was 17 or 18 until Mom was on her death bed in 1995. I would hear dribs and drabs of info about her. None of them were good. I remember how badly Mom was hurt when Sue changed her name. She had been named for Mom…Paralee Suzanne. She changed her name. The story on why seems to have changed. I was there when she told Mom she changed it because she didn’t like it. I have seen the story that will appear at the memorial and it is much nicer. It is also much more recent. It was something that bothered Mom until the day she died, whether right or wrong she took it as a rejection and it hurt deep. Well, as some people know, Mom had a lengthy battle with various cancers. She spent the last few months of her life bedridden as the cancer ravaged her body. Moms friends gathered round. They were super helpful and a comfort. Then along came Hurricane Sue. Suddenly realizing her Mom was dying, she came charging back from California. She worked so hard and so obnoxiously to keep anybody but herself away from Mom that one of Moms two closest friends stopped coming around and left the house the last time in tears because of Sue’s behavior. Again, this is not something that was told to me…I was there. I watched it happen. At one point not too many days before Mom died, Sue and I had a screaming match in which I told her, and this is not a direct quote but it is not far off, “We have been here all along and you have no right to come barging in here and run the people who actually care about Mom off”. I later learned that Mom had heard the whole thing. It was typical of the Sue I had known for 20ish years. Selfish, caring about nobody and nothing except herself. Causing pain, misery and heartache wherever she went. Estranging those she shouldn’t. Someone she had influenced to move away from home had by this time reached the very justified point they would not be in the same room with her. I don’t even remember her at Mom’s memorial. I assume she was there. Next time I saw her was at Greg’s memorial. I was inspired to attempt to make peace. I was a better person at that point than I had been when younger and was willing to forgive her and wanted her to get straight This was in no small part because of Greg’s example of not just forgiving people who had wronged them but trying to help others. Well, Sue elected to stay up in Oregon for a few days. A couple of us went over to talk to her and try to make peace and reconciliation. Not long into it, she started the same accusations against Dad and myself and started making them about others. Things went horribly sideways, my wife (at the time) and I left in anger and tears after me having told her I would never be in the same room as her again. And I meant it. Nor was it undeserved. She remained the same evil, lying, manipulative, self centered individual she had ever been. It was so bad that when Dad and I talked about it he said something I would never have believed. He had given up on her. This is a man who pretty much would have found something good to say about Judas. Even he had enough. He thought she was beyond hope and redemption. He would later revise this, but to even hear it once was something I have never forgotten as it was so surprising. I believe the next time I saw her was at Dad and Arlene’s wedding. I kept my distance from her. I would not sit in the same row or be within any appreciable close proximity to her. But she proved too crafty and figured her way into seeing me walking where there was nobody being within a few feet of me and cornered me. She was crying and apologetic…and begging. She did not have enough money to get home. Could I please find some way to loan her some money. To me the real danger was her being in Oregon any longer than necessary. I wanted her gone so I gave her more than I could afford at the time just to ensure she would be gone. Literally every penny I had on me at the time. And I used to carry however much cash I could afford to spend for two weeks. Crying in gratitude (allegedly), she said, “I just don’t want you to think I am pathetic.” There were not many better words she could think of for how I considered her at that point in time. Maybe a better word would have been contempt still at that point. Some combination of those two would have been applicable. Please note; I am not saying that was right. It wasn’t a Godly attitude and I have come to repent of that. But if I am not going to gloss over wrong done, that includes mine. I have thought about it and prayed about it countless times in the intervening years. I do remember at one point somewhere in these years when I was going to most likely Great America and she was living in Pleasanton CA at the time. I was asked to drop something off to her. There were very few things in life I would have been less interested in but because of who was asking I did. She could not walk but a couple blocks at the time and yet she lived in a nice apartment. I did not understand it. Where did the money come from? I have heard rumors but that is all they were to me and I shall not repeat them here. But it did mystify me. As the years went by from time to time she would call Dad and he, being ever the optimist, would say, oft with tears in his eyes, “Sue has come home, she figured it out” and would tell how Sue made some oblique reference to a passage, often something along the lines of “doesn’t it say in Proverbs that a good kid will be good again?” by which she meant “train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it”. He was always hopeful, always thinking she was on the right path. Then she would worm her way into visiting his friends with him and steal their medications. Then she would find repentance again allegedly…he was the only person I knew who saw that side of her. Well, in recent years there has been one other. She had lived such a hard, miserable life that although she was just a couple years older than me, she looked 30 years older than me. You could have told me she was in her late 60s when in her 30s and I would have believed you if I didn’t know any better. She hit it off pretty well with Arlene and one of Arlene’s daughters. She became a semi-regular presence at Dad’s place. I made sure to seldom show up. Our encounters were few and rarely pleasant. To her credit, she was starting to show some signs of becoming a better person. The first thing I had seen her do that was not completely selfish since she was like 15 was when Dad and Arlene were away on a trip and she painted a room or two and tried to put some wallpaper up around the top of the kitchen to make it look nicer. It was a genuine attempt to do something nice. And there were certain indications she might still have at least some of her early life brilliance left. I have been told she invented several things. I don’t know what or when so can neither confirm nor deny…but I will say that it would not surprise me. She had been very, very smart. She is one of the very few people I have met in my entire life who were better at school than me. It is a small pool of people. Very small. Arlene’s memorial was one of the last times I saw her. She showed up at the pre-memorial breakfast. Then, in a series of events that mystifies me, she found a way to be part of the dinner that we siblings and our spouses were having. Nobody will admit to having told her about it much less invited her. Because she had expanded who she made false accusations against in one case and an occurrence between her and another sibling it is not my right to divulge, two people absolutely refused to be seated near her nor were children allowed to be seated next to her. She earned every bit of that. Because I was the oldest responsible person, she ended up sitting next to me. And I had to tell her multiple times to stop rubbing my knee. It was repulsive, disgusting, and her refusal to stop ensured she would not be allowed to any other gatherings even if she found out about them. It was bad enough I was paying for all her meals. I didn’t need her of all people creeping on me. Some time in the last couple years she caught…was it pneumonia? Dad wanted to see her so I drove him down to the hospital she was in. I saw her from a distance, laying unconscious in the hospital bed, full of tubes to keep her breathing. It was soon obvious she would not recover consciousness any time soon and there was nothing we could do to communicate with her, although Dad being Dad and the ever-eternal optimist, he may still say she squeezed his hand when he asked her if she had considered her salvation. Maybe. I hope so for her sake. There was really only one good thing we could do. I found one thing where she was growing as a person. Her dog. Later dogs. She really cared about and loved those dogs. In my experience…other people’s experience may vary, I can only speak for myself…those dogs were the first living beings besides herself that she had cared about since she left home. Dad and I spent a fair amount of time trying to get her room secured and the dogs cared for. Because she had separated herself from pretty much everyone nobody could get a hold of anybody who knew anything. We were not successful. Interestingly, even at this late date she was not done causing trouble. After Dad and I got home, the kids were having a family meeting discussing possible routes of getting her cared for. We talked about funding a care home. We talked about hiring a personal care worker. At some point the conversation drifted to if she moved up to Oregon to live at Dads. People who have sacrificed a great deal in order to be able to take care of Dad made it clear if she came they would move. She had sunk so low even recently as to accuse a kid who lived at Dad’s place of improper behavior. She had gone to that well so many times I doubt anyone would believe her…but the risk is too high. Some things you just don’t take chances with. This led to some internal dissension where at least one person was defending her behavior whereas three of us who had been directly victimized by her either in physical attacks or false accusations were pointing out “forgive but still keep yourself safe”. And by her own behavior, repeated, and never apologized for or even admitted fault…she had put herself in a position where I wholeheartedly concurred with the idea that being around her was dangerous. This led to an argument over what actually constituted forgiveness. Fair question. Worth thinking about. I have seen or heard nothing that changes my mind. When someone has for nearly 40 years demonstrated a pattern of false accusation, lies, theft, manipulation, and complete lack of sorrow for their deeds or forgiveness, it behooves one to be careful of their interaction. That was never resolved and we did not happen. We were going to find a way to get her taken care of because regardless of all else, she was still family and still in need. It was a discussion about how to get her cared for, not whether she would be cared for. We also had some pretty extravagant plans in place to make sure that, if they could be found and she was still stuck in the hospital, her dogs would be cared for until she was ready to have them back. I have made no secret of the fact that those were the only things in her sad life that brought her genuine pleasure and that she truly seemed to care about. Regardless, it never came to pass. Despite our asking, it was not told us when she was released from the hospital. Her social worker never returned a single call. Her behavior, rumor has it, had her go through multiple care workers in the last few months of her life top the point I know of nobody who knew who had her in their care. We could not find anyone who knew anything. At some point Dad actually reached a point he just assumed she had died and due to how hard it was to get information we just had not been informed. He came to peace with it. So when we got actual, legitimate news of her passing, it did not have the impact you would think it would. As one person who was closer to her than I ever was said, “She died the way she wanted…alone”. Now, my experience with her is just that. My experience. It is entirely possible others had different interactions. At least one sister has been a staunch supporter of hers for years. People who grew up with her probably see her in a different light. In fact, when I was discussing her with one of the very few people who had any sort of regularity and mentioned how Dad kept having hope for her, she said that yes, there was a change in the way Sue talked, the things she said…that there were signs she may have legitimately been trying to find God. Another person suggested that certain results from the autopsy may suggest other things. Each person has to look at their own interactions with Sue and make their own decision. For me, I have prayed multiple times that God have mercy on her soul. I have looked long and hard at myself and looked at places I need to work on. I have worked on many, I have many more to go. I think it is a common phenomenon when someone dies to look at things and wish to have talked to them more or reacted differently the last time(s) a person saw them, to have regret. I have none of those. I tried, at least for the last 10-20 years, to help her when and where possible without having to have interaction with her. I felt sorry for her on one level but on another level looked at her as someone who consistently, repeatedly made bad choices, had no sorrow over those choices and was living with the results they had earned. When given chances to change the direction of her life she refused intentionally, repeatedly, and often. I did not pull a lot of punches in this. A couple in regards to things told me in confidence or where it might needlessly hurt someone. But towards her and myself? None. I was no angel in our early year relationships. The fighting was inexcusable and wrong, I bear the shame of that behavior and definitely grieve over it. I cannot change it but I can sure repent of it as I have done numerous times and work hard to improve myself so it is never in danger of happening again. I like to think that people who have known me for any length of time have been able to observe changes in my behavior, thought processes, and actions. I made my attempts to make peace with her and when those were rejected I simply kept my distance. But even there I was ready to help her where and when I could, preferably with an intermediary between us. I think Emily was a little surprised, kept waiting for me to have a grief-stricken breakdown. The only people I grieve for are those whom deserved better from her and did not get it. That is their story to tell if they choose, not mine. From where I sit, she made decisions repeatedly that led her to where she ended, did so knowing the outcome, not caring and ending up having lived a sad, lonely, pain-filled life but being unwilling and undesirous of changing anything.

I don't Believe in Fairy Tales

If you frequent scientific blogs, news articles, and research sites, it will not be long before you come across some sort of the following in the comment section.

"God did thus and such".

Instantly there will be numerous responses which are some form of (if not the exact words) "I don't believe in fairy tales. Keep your superstition off science sites."

It is an interesting claim. Most often these threads are on astronomy, biology, chemistry, environmental discussion, or something to do with evolution. The inference is that science has proven whatever point and God is a made up thing from a book of made up stories (dismissed as  myth most often), that the claim being made for science is iron clad and backed up by facts whereas any and all claims about God are of course made up and devoid of evidentiary backing.

Is that true? A lot of it comes down to one question; is evolution true or is creation true? At this point it is important to define both terms.

Creation is defined as
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Genesis 1:1, NASB

A couple of things to note. In the definition of evolution, I went with Merriam Webster dictionary. I had to choose one of the hundreds of choices out there. They reference Stephen Jay Gould but could have referenced numerous others, there are competing ideas of what evolution is, how it was accomplished, and they are often mutually exclusive. We will look at that more as we go along.

In the definition of creation, this is not all the Bible claims on behalf of God. Hebrews 11:3 discusses a key creation principle, several Scriptures discuss Him stretching out the Heavens, Proverbs 8:28 discusses the springs of the deep which the submarine Alvin discovered in 1977...several thousand years after the Bible writers claimed they were there. But that is getting ahead of the story.

Lets take a look at some evidence and see if we can figure out who believes in fairy tales.

The Truth Claim

1) How things came into being

God claims to have created the Heavens and the earth.

It is hard to source this as chasing this claim to its source is impossible. Again and again you find statements along the lines of "most scientists believe" or "reputable scientists know" or something along that line. The claim is approximately 13.8 billion years ago nothing exploded into something via the Big Ban and everything in existence came from that event.

Most of these scientist hold to Naturalism; only observable, reproducible events that can be tested and falsified are genuinely scientific.

2) The means of things coming into being

This one is a tricksy Hobbit.
God claims to have neither beginning nor end. He is self-existent, outside time, space and matter. This is untestable and unknowable. Seemingly the only way of gauging this claim is to take the provable claims we see and verify their truth or falsehood. Knowing His accuracy on knowable claims can offer insight into the credibility or lack thereof of claims we cannot examine.

Science claims nothing created something. Nothing existed (or alternatively, everything that exists was compressed into the space of, depending on who you believe, the size of a pin or a peach are the two I come across most commonly; in both cases you have the same problem; where did the something come from? we can grant the same self-existent to it I would think except there is no way for it to claim that for itself) and then suddenly exploded outward in the Big Bang.

3) The means of development

God claims things were created as they are.
Gen 1:11 Then God said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them...vs 12 bearing fruit with seed in them after their kind...
The whole of Genesis 1 is a claim for how things developed. God created them in finished form. The sun and moon, the stars governing day, night, signs for seasons, days and years. This is also a claim for God inventing time.
Verses 20-21 are animals being created to reproduce after their kind. Vs 24 is more of the same. Vs 26-28 say man and woman were created as humans.

Evolution claims as the universe cooled stuff started sticking together and became planets and stars.
As the universe developed planets, on earth a primordial soup came into being, there is still debate of where, chemicals interacted and somehow started life. Random events caused that life to become carrots and dinosaurs and man and bacteria and lettuce and everything we see and everything that has gone extinct. These happened by random chance with no guiding force other than the oft made claim of natural selection wherein the things most fit to survive did so.

4) The source of the claim

Moses is the claimed author of the first 5 books of the Bible. This is important to note; he was not an eyewitness. To believe Moses wrote is the believe the Biblical flood occurred. There is one obscure claim that the Book of Jashur predates the flood and was claimed to be on the ark and Moses somehow to have used it for reference. I bring this up because this is almost assuredly a fraudulent claim made by someone so desperate to prove God true they had to invent something.

Moses lived approximately 2260 years after the claimed date of creation. In his writings, it is repeatedly claimed he spoke with God face to face. Exodus relates this repeatedly. It would seem fair to claim that God guided his writing. If God created, He would have the power to do so and it would seem He would want to guide His people in truth and did so by relating to and/or guiding Moses in his writing of how creation happened. However, this claim is, to the best of my knowledge,, nowhere made in Scripture and is something arrived at by logic.

Evolution has a much older source than you might think. Ancient philosophers in Egypt, Greece, and Phoenicia to name three, discussed forms of it as potential sources for the meaning of life. To be fair, they also had the world on the back of a turtle, or Atlas or similar devices.

More recently it was highly popularized and became part of scientific inquiry following the 1859 publication of Darwin's Origin of the Species. This claim would come 13.8 billion years into the claimed development, a hair longer than the 2260ish years between origin and claim of Scripture.

5 The credibility Question
Pierre -Simon Laplace, a French polymath who had a huge impact on the development of science, famously said, "The weight of evidence for an extraordinary claim must be proportioned to its strangeness." You have heard a modern version of this. Carl Sagan popularized it as "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."

For example, if I tell you that this morning for breakfast I consumed 4 pieces of French toast, 2 scrambled eggs, a glass of orange juice and 2 pieces of bacon, you might nod and say "There is a reason your stomach exceeds your hips."

 Conversely, if I claim for breakfast I ate  400 pounds of steak, 6 gallons of milk, 4 dozen might want to see pictures or video of the deed and even then would likely not believe it. If you saw multiple unedited videos of me performing this epic task and heard from 200 hundred people who had gathered in an auditorium and actually watched me do it, then you might believe it.  

So lets check some credibility of both claims. For years people have claimed the Bible is a book of fables and myths. The flood is claimed false, Sodom and Gomorra being destroyed an example of Biblical falsehood, the walls of Jericho falling outward, and many more. To this day people claim Jesus never existed.

Here are some other things the Bible has been accused of getting wrong that we now know it was right about (I held this to the Old Testament and just a few because if I covered them all there would be no room for anything else)

When Abraham has dealings with camels that was a demonstrable error in the Bible as camels were not known in his time. Except...they then discovered camels actually were there prior to Abraham and after him as well. There is a figurine dated to 3000 bc of a man by a kneeling camel and another dated to 2600 bc that was found at Lagash among other evidence.

It was long claimed Moses could not have written the first five books of the Bible as he lived in pre-literate times. Then it was discovered not only had writing existed long before Moses came round but being educated in the court of the Pharaohs he would have been among the best educated people alive. 

It was long claimed  the Hittites did not exist. This would be a major problem as they play a massive role in the Old Testament. Then we found their library in Turkey. Not only did they exist, they were a major power.

It was long claimed David did not exist. David was a key player in the line of Christ, the source of His claim to kingship. No David, all of the New Testament falls apart. In 1994 at Tel Dan they found pottery with inscription referencing the House of David, one of several references since discovered.

We could talk about Jericho, Lions in Ninevah and Babylon, the existence of Belshazzar, Moses writing law code, the paths of the sea, the fountains of the deep, the prophecies of Daniel (including stories of Darius the Mede being shown the prophecy of himself, called by name) but to what point.

The Bible has often been accused of being false but been proven true. This has not caused a reconsideration of its accuracy by those who were wrong. Stunningly, despite the Bible showing true and them being shown in error, they use this as proof they are right about the Bible being wrong elsewhere. "See, our inquiry led us to the truth, it works, therefore we are right". Uh...the Bible was right all along.

Sadly, some people have performed fraud trying to prove the Bible true. Catholicism is a fountain of this. During the Crusades so many slivers of "the true cross" were dispensed you could build a cathedral from them. The Shroud of Turin. Oded Golan and his awfully suspicious looking things like the Joash Tablet and the James Ossuary.

Here is an important distinction. The Bible itself has zero frauds and forgeries in its pages. People looking to profit from people seeking to prove the Bible true have many.

Evolution on the other hand has a massive credibility problem. Consider Ernst Haeckel. Famously known as "Darwins Bulldog on the Continent" (also as "the Huxley of Germany" he was an early and important force in the spread of belief in evolution. His fraudulent recapitulation drawings have been in textbooks as recently as Donald Protheros Bringing Fossils to Life; An Intorduction to Paleobilogy (Columbia University Press, 2013) despite having been known to be frauds almost since their inception. This is not an outlier, this was a major figure.

I emphasize that because when looking at these things, we don't want to look at the people who are of limited knowledge. As an example Ken Ham, a noted Creationist, debated Bill Nye, a noted clown. This debate lessens seriously the credibility of Ham. If you want to engage in a scientific debate, debate a Neil De Grasse Tyson or a Kevin Leland, a Gerd B Muller, someone reputable. To debate a pop culture figure indicates A) he is credible and B) you cannot debate a serious scientist.

Contrast that with someone like astrophysics scientist Jason Lisle who debates astronomer Hugh Ross. Ross believes in evolution guided by God. He is a strong and reputable opponent who acquitted himself well for what he believes. If we are to seek truth, we don't want the softballs, we want the best each side has to offer.

Evolution meanwhile has often been claimed true only to be shown false.
Lamarckism was long thought true until in the 1930s it was shown false by new discoveries. Yeah, I know, seems weird to lead with something 90 years out of date. But you will detect a trend.

Some guy named Darwin and pangenesis. (Gemmules)
Darwins Tree of Life.

Furthermore, in trying to figure out how life began a dizzying array of things have been suggested.

RNA first
DNA first
formed on land
formed near hot springs in the ocean
struck by rock
struck by meteors and/or comets
struck by lightning
various atmospheres

note the sheer number of guesses, assumptions, and other violations of their claim that science is only that which is observed and reproducible.

Most if not all have been discarded or should be due to insurmountable problems. Yet I still see people discussing the RNA first or DNA first paradox.

Perhaps the most famous is the Miller-Urey experiment which purports to have created life. Now, remember a few things; 1, they are trying to recreate what happened by chance by 2, carefully designed and refined experiments they continually adjusted to get the results they wanted.

They decided what they thought was in the atmosphere during the formation of life. It could not be the current atmosphere. The presence of oxygen would prevent the chains of amino acids to hold together. (Also notable is his mix of methane and ammonia are no longer believed...not many think it was a mix of carbon dioxide and other words, they keep guessing what was there and claiming it as fact). However, to survive it would require oxygen...which didn't exist.

Regardless, in an impressive bit of science, they did in fact create amino acids. Amino Acids combine to produce proteins, the so-called building blocks of life.

Ah, but wait; the amino acids this carefully designed experiment produced could not, in fact, produce life. See, amino acids are "handed". They are either right handed or left handed. The original experiment produced almost 50% of each. Yet to form proteins requires only left handed amino acids. So Miller tweaked his tubes and contents and did manage to get to about 60% left handed. Not nearly enough.

Look very long and you will see Miller's experiment referenced as proof of life being able to develop by chance. It is off by orders of magnitude. There are fascinating mathematical models showing the probability of forming even the smallest chain of proteins by chance.

This has led to a hilarious counter. Let me sum up; the smallest known modern life sequence is 400 proteins which leads to the chance of it forming by chance to be a staggering 10 to the 164th power. That would be 10 with 164 zeroes after it. So the reply is to make up "well, there were simpler organisms (that we have zero proof for) that could have needed only 256 or even fewer".

Further, a frequent claim is that "well, that would be sequential but this was happening all over the place with billions of things bumping into each other so the chance is much higher."

Ah, okay. So lets examine that claim briefly. Lets say that, against all odds, of the 20 necessary amino acids needed for life (of the 300 different types), did actually assemble and not only that, assemble in the correct order to create a protein. That protein has to survive and reproduce. Multiple times. Then the corruptions of that have to turn into everything from a carrot to you. All these steps surviving and reproducing.

Really? that does not strain credibility, that a harsh atmosphere (required for a comet or meteor or lightning strike to move some combination of chemicals to beat fantastic odds to form the first protein) is gentle enough for it to survive, reproduce and change?

We then have to have mutations occur. We know overwhelming numbers of mutations are harmful. Yet we are to believe a single cell bacteria, surviving in a primordial soup that could not support life as we know it, reproducing, experiencing primarily negative mutations, somehow have enough beneficial mutations to become fish and fowl, plants and people. Where are the numbers of these amazing survivalists coming from? How, after surviving that, did they manage to die out without leaving some record of their existence? (See the fossil record)

Knowing there is no explanation for the beginning of life, many evolutionists then claim "we don't know how life started, but it doesn't matter because what we know is evolution happened, how it started is not important." This nonsense strains credibility, but we will give a look at that under point 8.

6) Could the claimed methodology have happened?

The God created claim relies on a couple of assumptions and likely numerous others we will not; first, that what we have been told is accurate, and that He has the power He claims. These two are intertwined.

The question of whether what we have been told is vital. Claim after claim in Scripture references the act of Creation as the source of its validity. Spiritual authority, historical accuracy, the meaning of Christianity itself hinge on the truth claim that God created.

Does He have the power? He certainly has demonstrated supernatural knowledge. Things such as man being of one blood, the uncountable stars, the circle of the earth, the earth hanging on nothing, the paths of the sea, the fountains of the deep, the life is in the blood, the hydrologic cycle, the idea of quarantining (check out Leviticus 13:46 and surrounding).

Essentially the question of His power comes down to how we view the evidence in front of us.

Evolution relies on guesses and assumptions for how the universe started, how life began, how it developed far enough to survive and differentiate. Like the creation claim by God, change between species has never been observed even with careful experimentation (check out the fruit fly experiment). Mathematically it is impossible, logically it makes no sense. Its strongest argument is that if evolution did not happen then God created, a thought that cannot be allowed.

The second strongest claim for evolution is something along the lines of "God does not exist, we are here, therefore evolution happened, it is just a matter of figuring out how."

7) The Logic Question
Richard Dawkins wrote the The Blind Watchmaker in 1996.  On the very first page he stated, "Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose."

In fact, we see a lot of evidence that if things were not exactly as it is life on earth could not exist. This ranges from the distance of the earth from the sun to the proportional difference in difference of the earth to the moon in relation of the sun. Gravitational pull.

We also see a lot of evidence that there are actual laws of nature. Mathematics works because it always works. If you have 2 apples and someone gives you 2 more, you will always have 4 apples at that point in time. I saw an argument not long ago that this is not true.

Essentially it went like this: you have a rock in a bag. Someone drops another rock in, it breaks the first into 5 pieces. You now have 6 rocks."

Nice sleight of hand. they changed the unit of measure. one in the bag, a second enters the bag. There are two rocks in the bag. Then, they collide and split. You have now changed the circumstances. Splitting 1 into 5 will always result in having 5. Those five added to the one not split will always be 6.

Why am I pointing this out? If the universe generated by chance...where did rigid, reproducible, incontrovertible laws of math come from? Why does 2+2 not sometimes equal green? Why would  we not believe them subject to change at any moment? There is nothing holding the laws we rely on together and no reason to believe they will continue to exist.

If things arose by chance they should change by chance. If a single celled organism became all that we see today why do we never see change between species today? we see change WITHIN species. In fact, there is some beautiful work being done showing how fast we can get from a Chihuahua to an English Mastiff. But if chance guides, why would we not see two chihuahuas mate and a tanrantula come out?

The common answer is that ironclad laws of nature have guided evolution...but logically, if things arose by chance, then ironclad laws make no sense. They should be chance.

Instead, everything we see shows evidence of a very careful design. Indeed, when the Scripture says in Psalm 139:14 "I am fearfully and wonderfully made" it is on my mind every time I take medicine. I love modern medicine. It can do some great things. I had high blood pressure. They tried various meds until they found one that works. And it does work. It also doesn't work. While it controls my blood pressure, it "breaks" other things. After being on it for a while, it caused some water problems, causing me to take a second pill to fix that. Which it did...but it dropped my potassium levels. So then I had to take potassium pills. The human body is put together in such intricate detail that everything is intricately connected and we are still learning more about things.

Note that I am unequivocally not a believer in intelligent design. That movement tries to straddle the line between evolution and millions of years and believing Gods claims. The aforementioned Hugh Ross is a prime example of this belief system.

But that is an aside. Logically, if we are put together by chance and random happenings mystically selected for advantage, all the body should not be so interdependent.

8_ Upstream or downstream

If God created, we can easily go either direction. God created Adam. We have near continuous records from that moment until now. We know how man was formed. We know how animals were formed. We know how plants were formed. We know how the universe itself was formed.

Conversely, we can work backwards. We can start today and go back to the beginning.

Contract this with evolution. It cannot start at the beginning. Indeed, I may do another of these showing the complete guesswork underpinning belief on how the stars and planets formed. Nor can it start at the present and work backwards, showing evidence each step of the way. The furthest they can go back are Neanderthals...a group that has the same appearance, structure, anatomy, habits, and dna as we other words, humans. It is amazing when you see the claims that humans and Neanderthals co-existed and mated , recent discoveries show they had art, tools... they are indistinguishable from humans right down to skeletal structure falling within norms of humans. They are different because...we are told so.

You can neither work backwards nor forwards to see evolution in action.

This is hardly a comprehensive look at these issues. Indeed, this is a distillation of hundreds of hours of reading books by noted people on both sides of the issues, watching their videos. Thinking on it. Reading more. Finding objections, explanations, counter explanations, counter counter explanations.

I encourage you to look at these things but don't look at just anyone. I will leave you with the story of one video suggested to me by someone as a "powerful argument that Christianity is a hallucination". In it, this person starts by asking what notable doctrine is changed if only Paul and Peter saw Jesus after the resurrection. He posits none. He then goes on to say that if only two people saw Jesus after the resurrection, consider this; Peter "saw" him from a prison cell and Paul saw a great light. The takeaway is that all of Christianity might depend on nothing but two hallucinations.

Now, this grade school level error is pretty easy to pick apart; here are a few ways. One, John also claims to have seen Jesus. Two, Jesus appeared  multiple times to the apostles, and over 500 hundred people in another appearance, to James and the apostles multiple times. So his argument is "if you ignore the claims to document multiple appearances, and the claims of two people who died for their belief, and all the time they spent with Jesus prior to Hs resurrection, and all the other elements of the Bible proven true, then this might be false."

A second would be a guy named Aron Ra who attempts to discredit the Bible with wisdom such as "bats aren't birds". Well played. First off, basic textual research tells us that the Bible never claims they are (Lev 11:13 and 19) where the word used was "owph" which means "owner of a wing". One need not even get into the artificiality of Linnean classification to see the flaw in this.

It is a waste of time to look at people like this; spend your time with the forefront.

A couple of resources I strongly recommend are Spike Psarris, former engineer in the US military space program,  and Jason Lisle, an "astrophysicist with a PH.D in physics and astronomy (with a minor in Mathmatics) from Ohio Wesleyan University and masters and PhD in astrophysics from University of Colorado at Boulder.

You will find a lot of back and forth on things if you know where to look. I just encourage you to look at the best.

When I look at the body of evidence, on the one hand I find a claim that has been backed up with evidence numerous times and never contradicted.

On the other hand I find a patchwork of guesses, assumptions, errors, and constant need for adjustment. It is not a hard call.

Sad Anniversary

Tomorrow, June 19th marks 20 years since the world got a little darker. That was the day Mom officially died. I could say passed on, went to a better place, took the next step in her journey or whatever other polite euphemism people afraid of death use to avoid admitting what happened. That would be to demean who and what she was though.

The last few months of her life were pretty miserable. Bedridden at the end, ravaged by morphine, destroyed by chemotherapy and cancer, she was a shell of her former self.

Before becoming bedridden there was a time when her life consisted of spending the week unable to get out of bed because of the effects of the prior chemo treatment. She would get just strong enough to walk to the car to go get the next one. She hated it. It was hard to watch.

As an aside is no secret how I feel about intentional short hair on a woman or why. But you will seldom if ever hear me comment on it because for all I know the person is suffering from chemo or is shorn in sympathy for someone going through it. It was pretty shattering to Mom when her hair went. It wasn't as if there was anything she could do about it or it made her any less her, but it sure bothered her.

It was just one of many indignities her declining health forced on her. It was an ugly thing. But it was a beautiful thing.

Watching her friends and family come together to comfort her, comfort Dad, comfort the kids...that was a beautiful and memorable thing that I can never properly express my gratitude for.

I will never forgot or stop appreciating the conversation she had with Kenneth D. Barton​, maybe 12 or 13 years old at the time, on how he could stand performing an odious but necessary task and hearing his response "It is easy because I love you, Mom." I know how much that meant to her and how much it means to me.

I was blessed to be one of the kids who early on appreciated the wisdom of his parents and thankful I did for she was a true renaissance woman with a vast array of skills.

Oh, I am not one of those people who thinks my Mom was the best cook ever, etc. She did not cook 7 course dinners. But she did cook nutritious, plentiful and varied food on what was often an essentially non-existent budget. She sewed clothes for us for years. She took tole painting with her friends, did calligraphy, had done some medical field stuff, I cannot even put it into words.

Until too many bouts with cancer took their toll she was a very funny, caring and generous woman. I am not blind to some of the changes to her personality after years of torture at the hands of the forefront of medicine. The doctors did the best they could with the knowledge and technology they had but it was still torture and it did change her.

She taught me a lot about life and I miss her still. But I am glad the misery ended for her. The season of pain passed 20 years ago and she went to meet her maker.

Not everything left behind was peaches and cream. It has been a difficult patch of years from time to time. There are cracks in the family that we need to fix. We are working on them. There are life paths altered, sometimes for good and sometimes for ill. In other words, she lived a real life, not an idealized life where she was perfect and her passing taught everyone lessons that healed the world and lived happily ever after.

And I am thankful she did. I am thankful for the joy and thankful for the grief. I am thankful for the lifelong friendships that deepened. I am thankful that daily when I am praying for Doris Allen​ I am not just thinking of her but also of Jerry Allen​, Rocky Allen​, Emily, Daniel, Amanda and everyone who cares about them because, while I am not there and living close to them, I know some things they are going through and know Doris needs prayers and encouragement and so do those who love her as so many of us do so deeply. It helps me understand and have compassion that otherwise I am not capable of.

For good or ill, who Mom was and how she lived and died shaped who I am and how I live. Sometimes I am happy for how I represent her. Other times I am ashamed when I know what I am saying or doing is not what she raised me to do. Sometimes it gets me back on the path I should be on.

Do I wish she was here today? Yes and no. Her death opened other doors for new friendships with Dan Loveless​, Don Loveless and so forth, and a marriage for Dad and Arlene.

I miss her. I miss her guidance. I miss her smile and the joy she took in simple things. Watching her play Mario Brothers was legendary for her incompetence and the wild swings of her hands as she guided Mario to death after death on the first obstacle. And she would laugh and laugh and laugh and have so much fun.  Emily Fethkenher Barton​ can relate from watching me attempt Ninja Dash with pretty limited success.

I hope her day of judgement has her standing in front of a loving, compassionate God who says well done faithful servant enter my rest.

I hope those of us behind who love and miss her take the valuable lessons she had to offer and use them to make ourselves better people. I hope the hurt goes away from those still hurting and leaves them at peace because that definitely is something she would want.

I miss you Mom but thank you for who you were and who you taught me to be. 20 years is too long to miss someone but not too long to be grateful for the years we had and the help you still are. I will love you forever. Thank you for being you.

Something I posted on Facebook and do not want to forget

As many of you know, my Aunt Ann passed away yesterday. I have not and will not say a lot about it or her on here. It is enough to know she was family and I love her as I love all my family, including many who, through the years, have been angry with me or because of me, some of whom have not.
What I will say is this. Because she was a human being with the struggles attendant on that, there will be people at the funeral or thinking about what I am about to say when they should be at the funeral with regrets over the things they said to her or about her or felt about her. Others will be full of regret because she has passed on from this life.
Those regrets, of course, are too late in that case. But they are not too late for those of us still behind. I beg you. If you have things in your past between you and your parents, you and your brothers or sisters, you and your friends, you and your co-workers, you and acquaintances that you will regret when they are no longer here to make peace with, do not wait. Do something about it now while you are both still alive.
It bothers me so much that in my own family there are people with so much hatred toward one another that they cannot both be at family reunions at the same time for fear the other one will be there.
It bothers me I have friends who do not want to be around others of my friends.
And do not think it is not hatred. You might cloak it under the guise of anger at things done or imagined, at bitterness or numerous other emotions but the cold hard truth is you are making a mistake in not getting right with that person or people while there is time. You are wrong to not find a way to be civil for 1-2 hours once or twice a year. You are wrong to have the opportunity to not have regrets when someone you should have loved is gone and you cannot make right what is between you.
I have listened for years as people talked about how stubborn and hateful my Dad and Jim Richardson were. All I know is Dad and Jim both have had open doors, a willingness to talk to anyone, including people who have done them much harm, and there is no place they are afraid to go because someone who said something bad about them or did something wrong to them might be.
They exemplify love as discussed in Scripture far more than those who hate them for how "hateful" they allege them to be.
I grieve for those of us who grieve the passing of Ann, but I grieve far more for those with things they regret. And I do not limit that to this situation.
May Ann rest in peace and may those of us left behind have peace with one another. If you are on my friend list you know I love you.

It is a curiosity

For reasons far too numerous and boring to list, I seldom write on here any longer. Some of the reasons are after over 2200 posts there just were not a lot of new thoughts to least, not that i was desirous of sharing.

Yet I still pop round every once in a while to drop a note about one thing or other. Almost did a couple weeks ago when my ex-wife had the unmitigated gall and blinding stupidity to try to "friend" me on Facebook.

I have to wonder what the thought process is that leads to that request.

"oh, I haven't talked to the man I cheated on repeatedly, kept claiming to get pregnant by other men and then mis-carry, then later said I had never been pregnant or cheated on him, then left him with thousands of dollars in phone and dentist bills incurred after we started divorce proceedings...I think we should be friends on Facebook!"

I mean, seriously, how incredibly idiotic, insensitive and unaware does one have to be to do that?

I started to put a much longer rant about it on here, but then did not. Also, for whatever reason this year Mom's death was hitting me hard a mere 19 years later. No idea why. Not a landmark year like the 20th would be, I am no special "key" age...

did not post that, either.

Been a few other thoughts I considered. Couple friends...former friends, I guess? stopped answering my texts (I have never been good at making or taking calls, I spend too much time on phone at work), been thinking about them lately but I am sure they have their reasons and I shan't trouble them. And in a sense it is a bit of a relief as I am at a different point in my life than they are in theirs now and it was fair to none of us I guess.

At a different point than my oldest friends, too, who have all moved out of state except one who moved to Sun River. I literally...and I mean literally, not figuratively as most people use it...see my friend who moved to Washington, DC more than the one who lives in Oregon.

Maybe it is just old age creeping up on me. It has certainly affected my meandering mind and stream of consciousness post.

Thing is, the other day I was randomly trolling the web and find I am not unusual. I see a lot of blogs that used to have a daily posting then just...stopped. Seome were going to post part 2 or 3 and just never did. Others stop for a month, a year, three years...then may suddenly post again.

Just curious why. What motivated me to post this tonight?

Fathers Day

Tomorrow is Fathers Day and there will be a host of related comments. Already seen a ton reflecting the modern belief that a father is not the guy who contributed the genetic material, etc. It is not something I agree with the way it is presented, and a lot of why I feel that way is because of my beliefs and experiences.

I am exceedingly thankful I was born to parents who believed the Word of God, who worked through differences instead of splitting over them, who in good times...and we had them...and bad times...had those too...provided as good of role models as I could ask for. Had I not had those I would be in prison or the grave right now.

People claiming to be much wiser than Mom and Dad would say Dad did not talk about his love enough. People wiser than those people would recognize the love he showed us every minute of every day in the way he treated Mom...friends...acquaintances...strangers...we children...I would say enemies, but that is part of who he is. There are people who considered him an enemy for speaking the truth but to my knowledge, in my formative years he called nobody enemy.

For decades I have heard him called stubborn, unbending, bull-headed...other things meant not to be complimentary. Thing is, he would always listen to things said by the people calling him those things, consider their arguments, and simply would not compromise. He could listen without agreeing, though when he found areas he could improve he did. Where he did not agree he would try to show them why. Meanwhile, the people calling him those things would seldom reciprocate. As with the words, his displays meant a whole lot more than their words.

Watching him deal with Mom all the years she had cancer...trying to care for her, keep us provided for, fulfill his duties as a preacher, be a comfort and support to her when needing it himself...I learned things I cannot express in words.

I honor and respect those who, in todays broken society of fly by night relationships, "committed relationships" that end for reasons I personally find lacking, faithless parents, I am thankful I grew up with a Father who fought through the challenges to be Father in genetics, responsibility, example, and teaching.

I was no easy child. The stubbornness I had was not offset by the gentleness that is a hallmark of his actions to those who actually take the time to get to know him. We had many battles of will and I am thankful he did not give up.

I hope someday to be half the man he is.I hope to learn to have within me and to show the love he has demonstrated all my born days. I hope to find the patience, the care for others, the willingness to forego my own needs that others might be helped he has always shown.

 There are men out there who have been more financially successful. There are men out there who have become more famous. But there is not one person out there, in the past, present or future, I would rather have for my Father. I love you Dad and thank you for everything you have done. I feel that one not on Sunday, June 14th 2014 but on every day since I was cognizant of what the parent-child relationship was, is, and should be. Thank you for molding me, guiding me, supporting me, loving me and being the man you are.

Well THAT Was a Colossal Waste of time:My Two Weeks as a Juror

For the past two weeks my life has been dominated by my civic duties. I was called as a juror on April 1st, and the date would prove monumentally accurate...that is, it turned into a very poorly done practical joke.

The case I was selected for was a civil case; it was a lawsuit alleging age discrimination, gender discrimination, and unlawful job place harassment. I would say those are serious allegations.

Based on my previous jury experience, I was always going to have a tough time getting deliberately dismissed...I believe people like myself willing and able to set aside personal prejudices in favor of delivering a fair verdict based on presented facts are necessary. So lets take a look at some of the reasons people used to get out of jury duty.

"I don't believe anyone should ever sue anyone for any reason whatsoever."

"I think it is ridiculous to ask for 9 million dollars and I am so prejudiced against the plaintiff I could never be fair." (Two people used this one).

"I am a small business owner and hate all big businesses." (Note: Where do you get the product you supply? The parts and pieces that make it up? Going out on a limb hate big businesses when it is convenient to do so and when you want out of jury duty)

"Defendant is the evil empire."
"They are not suing Defendant Inc, they are suing Defendant HIM, a subsidiary"
"I hate Defendant so much I could never be impartial towards them."

A few others nearly as bad. There were a couple I thought were legitimate and several (such as the ones above) I found so ridiculously transparent as not wanting to be on a jury I wanted to hit them between the eyes with their stupidity.

So the Plaintiff's attorney had his opportunity to ask the potential jurors questions. He had of us...28 in the initial batch...18 in the replacement batch...may have been another group added...what something was we enjoyed doing.

Best/worst answer? Taking care of feral cats. REMEMBER: The question is what they enjoyed doing. Wow. Spoiler alert; she ended up on the jury. She sat at the end of the row in a special chair to accommodate a pillow. It was difficult getting in and out of the row past her. She insisted on being the first one seated. She should have been the last one seated. On a completely unrelated note...I hope to never encounter her again.

He asked zero questions related to the trial at hand. My trouble flag started its first attempt to raise.

The defense attorney asked questions about HR experience, difficulties with bosses, know, stuff related to the topic we would spend two weeks investigating. One side has an early lead...

On the Plaintiff side was jury make-up...including the alternate, 8 women and 5 men, so theoretically sympathetic to a woman being discriminated and harassed.

Regardless, by the end of the day 13 of us were selected...12 jurors and 1 alternate.

Opening Statements
Plaintiff's attorney starts out talking about how the operations manager would wander around the plant with a black bat, waving it around, and it made the plaintiff nervous, she once asked to hold it, later he was given a plastic bat. She had to challenge her employee rating three times, once having it overturned. She was victimized by a "Good Old Boys" club, when she was out on medical leave, they replaced her with a younger male. She was on medical leave after being threatened physically and cursed at heavily.

Wow. Serious stuff. What is the defense thinking?

Defense makes their statements and I have a pretty good idea the trial is already over. They address every point and already I think it is going to come down to a he said/she said credibility check on one specific meeting and whether we believe he yelled, screamed, and cursed at her.

So then the judge points out that in pre-trial, the bat and the psychological issue were ruled inadmissible and will not be part of the trial.

So the first witness is the plant manager. Remember, these are the PLAINTIFF'S witnesses. He praises the plaintiff as a very hard, talented worker who was very effective. The questions are bouncing back from 2005 to 2011 randomly with no discernible pattern and it is very confusing.

Meanwhile, as he would with virtually every witness, the lawyer had this or a similar exchange:
"When you had a conversation with X, and you talked about Y..."
"Objection. Hearsay."
"Ok." Pursed lips, look of disgust, letting us jurors know the judge was being unfair.
"Did you have a conversation with X?"
"In that conversation, was such and such said?"
"Objection, hearsay."
"Did you have a conversation with Z about..."
"Objection. Hearsay."
"Did you have a conversation with Z?"
"In that conversation, was such and such said?"
"Sustained. It's hearsay."

Over. And over. And over. And over. And over. And over. And over.

Finally the plaintiff's attorney presents an email. Aha, some actual evidence.

See, plant manager had a habit of walking the floor and talking to every employee as part of their version of LEAN manufacturing. One day he asked a guy working on a machine a question about it. The plaintiff then sent the branch manager an e-mail telling him if he had questions of people on her team to come to her, not them.

What? Isn't that kind of proving the case AGAINST your client that she wasn't part of their work culture?

Then followed a series of questions: Have you ever used the F-bomb? Have you ever cursed in front of an employee? No, no, etc.

Plaintiff's lawyer tries to  bring up the bat about 4 times, instant objection, instant sustain, instructions to jury to disregard.

Asks the plant manager various questions about employee's ages. he doesn't know. Asks who was paid how much. He doesn't know.

Thing is...the branch manager was showing poorly for knowledge on certain things...but believable. Payroll for hundreds of people, maybe he would or would not know people 2-3 levels down from him...same with age.

Cross examination was mostly how much input he had on the ratings given. Very little, that was the managers job.

Most witnesses saw same questions with virtually same response; no, they had not heard the two guys mostly being assailed ever curse, yell, scream, in fact they universally thought the bosses were great but had major communications issues with the plaintiff, a notorious micro-manager who rejected the corporate culture because she wanted total command and control.

Wait...these are the PLAINTIFF'S witnesses? Because they SOUND like the defense's witnesses...

The manger is interviewed. And the plaintiff's lawyer, in a major "gotchya" moment, shows a picture of him with a beard. "I notice you shaved."

We all look at each other with that, "What?" look.

"Yes, I grow a beard every year for hunting season and shave after it."

And yet the lawyer makes a huge deal of this, showing us how intimidating he looks with a beard. Think a kindly grandfather with a snow-white beard and you get the gist. Wow. Strike 27. And we are just 2 or 3 witnesses in so far.

So the plaintiff brings in a third-party recruiter. he points out he does NOTHING with internal hiring, he only comes into play if they cannot find a suitable candidate internally.

Plaintiffs Lawyer: "So did you see my client's resume for job A?"
"No, unless the hiring manager asked me to, I wouldn't."
"Did you interview my client for that position?"
"Did you see my client's resume for position B?"
"Did you interview her for that position?"
"Did you see my client's resume for job 3?"
He introduces an email sent from the recruiter. It is a form rejection letter. "So you didn't see her resume?"
"It is attached to this rejection letter."

Uh-oh...they got him.
Recruiter: "It is a form letter. I never opened the resume because she, being an internal employee, was not someone I would look at unless the hiring manager specifically requested me to do so."
Lawyer: "So even though you had her resume, you never opened it?"
"I had no need to."
"And you never interviewed her for the position?"

Wow, we are just going in circles here.

Finally, the defense interviews him.
"Do you know (branch manager)?"
"Do you know (her manager)?"
"Co-worker 1?"
names every co-worker involved in case, followed by no.
"No further questions".

We jurors are staring at each other. What did this guy have to do with anything? He doesn't work their internal employees, knows NONE of the players...what on earth?

The plaintiff's call her immediate subordinate who had filed a complaint against her. Subordinate is a great witness...for the defense. Backs up EVERY claim the defense had made...plaintiff was micro-manager who had difficult communication style that did not fit the established corporate culture of open communication between everyone. The clients' boss was easy going, great boss. No, never heard either of them curse. No, never heard of an "Old Boys Network" and never experienced it.

And so it went. Witness after witness saying the same things. Yes, the Plaintiff was hard-working, a good employee, sure, had a couple issues like micro-managing and could be difficult to communicate with, no, they had never heard the two primary defendants curse, threaten anyone, shout...

As we turned into week two we were still waiting for the bombshell that would turn all this on its head and tell us what the lawsuit was about.

Age discrimination? Well, one person had been hired younger than the client...but she was saying her advanced age (48 or 49, somewhere in there) was preventing her from advancing.

Gender discrimination? Well...2 of the 3 people in her position were female, in fact over half the plant was female in positions on every level.

Harassment? Everyone was disputing her claims...and they were HER witnesses.

So we start discussing a fateful moment. After she sent her e-mail telling her bosses' boss to go through her to talk to her people, her boss called her into his office to discuss that e-mail. See, from her very first performance review six years ago, on EVERY performance review he had addressed an ongoing problem; she needed to develop a better work/life balance and needed to let other people have input and communication.

This was documented by the items the plaintiff had admitted as evidence.

So he was talking to her about it and said, "You just aren't getting it. I feel like I have to hit you between the eyes with it to get you to understand."

The meeting was supposed to last about an hour. It lasted an indeterminate time (stricken evidence indicated 10 minutes but who knows) she stormed out. She called the HR manager and they talked for 10-15 minutes. She said she felt her e-mail was misunderstood and that was the extent of her complaint.

Worked the rest of the day. Worked the next day. Talked again to the HR manager who asked her what her complaint about how it was received was and asked for a formal complaint which was never filed. Went out on medical leave and never worked another day there.

Turns out she was having relationship problems at the same time (the defense was prevented from bringing this up. The plaintiff's lawyer had her intake form admitted which told us this and under problems with job it said "none". Smoking gun evidence...for the defense. But presented by the plaintiff.)

After 3-4 months her doctor referred her to a psychologist. 2 months later she decided she had been threatened physically when he threatened to hit him between the eyes, that he had stood over her, pounded his hand on the desk, cursed at her and threatened to hit her.

The first time this was ever mentioned was 6 months later.

Oh, one of the Plaintiff's witnesses, whose office was next to the guy accused of this had mentioned if he had ever yelled it would have been heard by them all because the walls were "paper thin". Additionally, every witness the plaintiff called testified under oath they had never seen him yell, curse, threaten or intimidate.

So finally they call the plaintiff herself to testify.

And she pretty much repeats everything everyone else had testified, albeit with a couple breaks for tears. In one of those breaks I saw her peak out to see if the jury was looking at her and, seeing most of us were, take her hand away and turn her face so we could see she was crying. It was so stage-managed I could not believe it.

Anyway, the lawyer goes through this long, complicated deal trying to show how much lower her income is now than it was. Problem: she made, according to her pay statement, 86,000 and change. Her new job paid 91,000 the first year plus paid overtime which this job did not. Interesting math to consider that a pay cut.

So the cumulative evidence presented by the plaintiff when he was done with his witnesses:
She was a hard-working, valuable and valued employee who did a great job on the business side but struggled to communicate with superiors, employees under her and the people in the same position. There had been a poorly worded e-mail sent that they had addressed and put in place a plan for training that was essentially a promotion according to everyone interviewed. In other words, she took something minor and turned it into something that ended her career.

There was zero evidence of age discrimination, quite the contrary.
There was zero evidence of gender discrimination, quite the contrary.
There were about a dozen people who testified there was no history or evidence of profanity, threatening, or voice-raising.

And the plaintiff has rested their case. I am thinking they did a great job of presenting the defense's case and if the defense calls nobody, simply rests, our deliberations will take about this long: "Anyone for the plaintiff? Okay, case dismissed."

We are saved the trouble. The judge dismissed the case as the plaintiff had not provided sufficient evidence to prove their claims.

I had the good fortune to talk to him after it; he concurred with my assessment that most if not all of the witnesses had more or less proved the defense case, that there was no evidence on behalf of the plaintiff. I had to admit curiosity about the bat.

See, in production meetings...which entailed numerous people...the plant manager had a habit of toying with a baseball bat. When a new person came into the company and complained about it, he stopped the habit. Later he was given a plastic bat from someone who knew he was a Cubs fan and had gone to a Chicago Cub game and gave it to him as a gift. He then toyed with that.

Not one person had ever been or felt threatened by it. It took nearly 6 years after the habit had stopped for it to become an issue.

Wow. What a colossal waste of my time. I am a dedicated worker. I habitually stayed up 3-4 hours after I got home working, was getting up at 4 to go in to work and stay caught up, was working through the breaks and lunch while at jury duty. I have been short of sleep for two weeks.

So let me give you the actual timeline devoid of court-speak.

Employee has e-mail exchange with bosses boss. Is called to account for not buying into corporate culture. Works another day. More than likely has argument with significant other. Stressed her so much she starts taking medication. Things get worse. Doctor forwards her to psychologist. Has been off work for months now. Time for yearly pay statement. Has not been at work, received pay statement with low rating, decides all the fault lies in the meaning. Decides the statement "I need to hit you between the eyes with this for you to get it" means he was ACTUALLY, PHYSICALLY going to strike her, decides he was yelling and cursing, that everything that has gone wrong is because there is a good old boys network that results in age and discrimination, finds a lawyer willing to try and twist the evidence to reflect that, starts looking around for other proofs and recalls the bat from now 8 years ago...

Wastes several hours of my life over the course of a week and a half in a ridiculous lawsuit with no foundation, no evidence, and that contradicts all available evidence. Wow.

On the bright side, there were some funny the defense lawyer objecting to a document....that she herself later submitted as evidence. I guess she didn't really object to it...