Ostracized by a Thousand Cuts: Cut One

Posted by Atheist in FundyLand     Category: FundyLand Community Chorus, Miscellaneous Blog Entries, Ostracized by a Thousand Cuts, Throne of Thought

Just before the FundyLand Community Chorus™ sang Mendelssohn’s Elijah, one of the soprano soloists got sick. Upon hearing the news, a voice in the chorus rang out, “Let’s have a group prayer!”

Something deep inside me began to sob. If this went down, I would have to “out” myself as an atheist to everyone who didn’t already know. Every single time I’ve “come out” to a Christian, I’ve been rejected on some level. The first and worst time, my friends tried to cast a demon out of me (no, I’m not kidding) then abandoned me. I’ve never fully recovered. Like all old, very deep wounds, this one hurts like hell every time I think about it.

Lately I’ve decided to pick my battles, but this was a battle my conscience would not let me ignore. FundyLand Community Chorus™ is funded by the state. A group prayer would violate both my civil rights and the establishment clause of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

As the familiar burning sensation of remembered rejection seeped from my heart into my thorax and throat, I prepared myself. Oh god, this was going to suck.

My singing buddy (the only black person in the chorus and one of the few black people in FundyLand™) shouted, “Yeah, let’s do it!” She doesn’t know I’m an atheist. What would she say if she found out? What would she do?

I glared at the chorus director. He and I have had our own problems over religion and from my perspective, he owes me a huge-ass apology: an apology I’m likely to receive about the same time Harold Camping accurately predicts the rapture.

My eyes said, “Do it and you’ll be hearing from the ACLU tomorrow.” His eyes met mine for a split second. Was that guilt I saw in them? I hope so.

“OK, chorus,” he said, “I want to look at ‘The Fire Descends’.”

“That’s right, you little Ned Flanders clone,” I thought. “That’s right, you little fundy fucker. Move along. Move along.”

I wasn’t in a very charitable mood. Thinking about it again just now, I’m still not in a very charitable mood.

Chorus members were dropping like flies due to some godawful bug. During the rehearsal, I asked the alto soloist how she was doing.

“OK,” she said. “I’ve had a few issues with my voice, but I had my husband pray for me and anoint me with oil.”

Anoint you with oil????

I envisioned her husband dumping an entire quart of high-viscosity Pennzoil 10W-30 over her head.

“Hey, that’s wasteful!” I imagined telling him. “Just baptize her in the Gulf of Mexico, why don’t you? Hire a helicopter pilot to fly you out to the Deep Horizon plume, tie some weights to her legs so she’ll be certain to make it to the proper depth and give her a little push. While you’re at it, why don’t you take the entire church? You can ask some of the other churches to join you. Turn it into a big ‘Anointing with Oil’ party. Hell, take the whole fucking town! It’ll be just like the rapture!”

Maybe then I could have some peace of mind. Maybe then someone halfway interesting would move into this god-infested town and actually stay for more than six months.

After the final concert, I was sitting in the church’s reception room frantically erasing notes I’d made in my score (it was a rental). My singing buddy, Louise—the one who had seconded the “Hey! Let’s violate the first amendment!” motion—gave me some mammoth ivory and some lovely beads for my web store. It was a very sweet thing to do. I was touched.

But in the back in my mind, Atheist in FundyLand™ was on the warpath: “What do you think would happen if she found out you’re an atheist, hmm? Do you think she’d give you beads then? Would she still want to sit with you in chorus? Would she even want to be in the same room with you?”

Experience tells me she would not.

Louise had brought the beads in a little black shopping bag that said “Sephora” on the side. As cramps began to creep into my hand, a pair of fellow altos started talking about their churches and made plans to visit the church of a pastor who was in the chorus. By that point I was fundied out. I just wanted to erase my score and get the fuck out of there.

Another alto approached me and read the word on the bag. “Sephora…isn’t that the name of the village Jesus helped build?”

I nearly wanted to scream. While Church Chat was going on in one ear, I was being “Jesused” to death by a third fundy in the other. This was the same fundy who once told me scientists had learned the carbon in potassium decayed at a much faster rate than previously thought. (If you don’t immediately know why this is batshit crazy, take a look at the periodic table of elements.)

Sephora? I’ve never heard of such a thing. It’s certainly not in the bible and it’s not in any history I’ve ever read. What I wanted to say is there isn’t a whole lot of evidence Jesus even existed, but you can guess how that would have been received. Personally, I believe there was some crazy-ass sonofabitch running around Israel circa 30 AD and the religitards of that time attached their own mythology to him (See The Life of Brian). But it hardly matters. Jesus, if he existed, was not the son of god. He didn’t walk on water. He didn’t turn water into wine. He wasn’t born of a virgin. And he most certainly did not rise from the dead.

As the nosy fundy prodded, I became VERY engrossed in erasing my score.

When she finally walked away, I took an objective look at the chorus. Every single person—except for a couple of college students—is older than I am. Most have gray hair.

I peeked into the auditorium and took an objective look at the lingering audience: White, gray and blue hair dominated. Nearly everyone was caucasian.

I’ve come to the conclusion that this town is dying. Maybe religion will die with it, but in the meantime I’m trapped here.

As always, this is Atheist in FundyLand™ saying, “Won’t you please, PLEASE, PLEASE send help?”

The Creationist Fossil and Rock Store Owner

Posted by Atheist in FundyLand     Category: Evolution, Humor, Miscellaneous Blog Entries, Throne of Thought

If I can manage to read Gary the Wonder Fundy’s book, I’m going to write notes in the margins and send it to my friend. I wish Gary would read a book of my choosing, but that ain’t gonna happen. In fact, I tried that with a fundy today. It’s why I’m up at 4 a.m. writing instead of lying snugly in bed. I can’t get the conversation out of my head.

After the craft fair I decided the bead snob was right about one thing: I need higher quality metal beads. So I decided to take a trip to a rock and fossil shop downtown and ask the lady there what kind of beads would be best for my necklaces. We have had pleasant conversations in the past. I bought most of my Otodus obliquus teeth from her. Her husband runs Open MIC Night where I’ve regaled reluctant patrons with classical music.

While I was there I decided I’d vent about the craft fair, which was educational, fun, exasperating, humiliating and frustrating all in one fell swoop. You know…kind of like life. Because she ran a rock and fossil shop, I thought I was on safe ground. She certainly couldn’t be a fundy…could she?

“I take it since you run a rock and fossil shop you’re not a young earth creationist.”

A really uncomfortable expression took over her features. “You mean a Christian? Yes, I’m a Christian.” I guess she hasn’t heard the news that acceptance of evolution and Christianity are not mutually exclusive.

That little voice came back: “Oh shit! This can’t go well. Maybe you should just gloss this over and leave before you earn an even worse reputation in this stupid town.”

Nearly every night I dream about having it out with my family over religious and political ideas. I dream about it because I can’t do it in real life. It’s simply not worth the amount of stress and bad feelings that follow. I’ve managed to train my family not to bring up religion and politics, but every night I’m yelling and screaming at them in my dreams, telling them how batshit crazy they are and how lonely I am because there is no one with whom I can share my passions—paleontology and evolution—and my hard-won world view.

So, I ignored that little voice. How in the hell, I thought, can this woman own a rock and fossil shop and not believe in evolution? “Belief” is such a weak word, especially when it comes to evolution. Evolution is a fact.

I was appalled to discover she was so ill-educated and so narrow-minded. What must she tell customers who buy 55-million-year-old Otodus fossils and Madagascan ammonites from the Cretaceous?

She brought up that ancient creationist argument about flawed carbon dating and a picture came to my mind: that of Captain Picard facepalming and saying, “Oh no, not this shit again!”

“You do realize,” I said, “that there are many other forms of radiometric dating. One of the most reliable—potassium-argon dating—has a very long half life and is well-suited to dating the age of the earth. It works by analyzing volcanic eruptions. Dates of fossils are posited by their positions above and below the volcanic eruptions.” (I was too nervous to say it this well, but it’s what I meant and I hope I managed to finally blurt it out.)

I don’t think she had any clue what I was talking about. “All these stones and fossils you see in my shop were carbon-dated.”

“There’s NO WAY that’s true,” I said. “Carbon dating only works for young material. There’s no way those ammonites from the Cretaceous were carbon-dated. Pick anything from this shop…anything! I’ll go home, research it, come back and tell you how it was dated.”

She didn’t want to go for that.

She started in about science being wrong about things and I said, “Yes! That’s the beauty of science! We get closer and closer to the truth by weighing the evidence and changing our minds when the evidence mounts up. You, on the other hand, start with an unchanging book written by goat herders in the bronze age. There is no change. You’re locked into a way of thinking and you cannot change. Quite frankly, that scares the hell out of me.”

“There doesn’t need to be change because I know the truth.”

It felt like my heart was burning a hole through my thorax. “That scares me,” I said. “The fact that you would ignore new evidence and base your entire life on an outdated book full of fairy tales is…well, it scares me.”

I nearly said it was “fookuh doop.”

“OK, here’s a proposition,” I said, “I’ll read any book you like if you read a book of my choosing.”

“No, I don’t want to do that.”

“Why not?”

“I’m 54 years old and I know the truth.”

“So what? I’m 43 and I’m still learning. I reserve the right to change my mind as new evidence comes in.” I tried a different tack: “Do you know what peer review is?”

She didn’t.

I explained that part of the scientific method and she, quite predictably, wasn’t impressed.

I really pushed her, probably too far. I think I’ve been holding it in for so long that I just couldn’t stand one more fundy getting in my face about evolution and fossils, telling me it takes more faith to “believe” in evolution than it does to believe in god.

The problem is I need her to like me. She’s part of the jewelry-making network and is heavily involved with Open MIC Night. I should probably apologize, but I’m just too pissed right now.

I had this conversation with my friend concerning “ways to apologize”:

(“Galadriel” is not my other user name. I’m withholding my real user name to protect my anonymity.)

Galadriel: I’m sorry you are uneducated and refuse to open your mind?
X’s Laptop: Word it a bit more nicely and yeah ahahahaha
Galadriel: I’m sorry you’re so bamboozled that you completely dismiss any evidence of being bamboozled?
Galadriel: I’m sorry you aren’t teaching your customers anything?
Galadriel: I’m sorry you are lying to them and yourself?
X’s Laptop: LOL
Galadriel: I’m sorry you’re so fucking afraid of the truth you won’t even have a look?
Galadriel: I’m sorry you think 54 is old enough to know everything?
Galadriel: I’m sorry you have no thirst for knowledge?
Galadriel: I’m sorry that you just accept things on blind faith and then accuse those who rely on science of doing the same thing?
Galadriel: I’m sorry you are so afraid of learning something new because then you will be an outcast like me?
X’s Laptop: You know, I didn’t think much about that being a reason
X’s Laptop: But it makes so much sense
X’s Laptop: Geez that must be scary
Galadriel: I’m sure it is a reason
Galadriel: I’m too mad to be sorry just now.
X’s Laptop: I can understand that
X’s Laptop: Its not your fault people are morons
X’s Laptop: And its hard to deal with
Galadriel: I’m sorry it’s not my fault you’re a moron…
Galadriel: OK
X’s Laptop: AHAHA
X’s Laptop: Thats the perfect apology
Galadriel: :)
X’s Laptop: Oh man
Galadriel: I’m sorry you’ve polluted your head with Fox News?
Galadriel: I’m sorry you can’t hold an opinion unless someone tells you what it is first.
Galadriel: LOL
X’s Laptop: I love the “Well the bible says so” as the end-all be-all when you ask them why they believe it
Galadriel: “I’ve studied it.”
Galadriel: I’m sorry you’re so afraid you’re wrong.
Galadriel: :D
X’s Laptop: haha
Galadriel: OK, seriously
Galadriel: I’m sorry I assumed you were intelligent.
Galadriel: This is not getting me anywhere
Galadriel: OK, break it down.
Galadriel: I’m sorry I’m the only atheist in the county
Galadriel: It’s not your fault I’m the only person in this conversation who cares about the truth?
Galadriel: Dear Exceedingly Uneducated Owner of a Fossil and Geology Store…
Galadriel: Does that sound just a little harsh, maybe?
X’s Laptop: Pft, no way.
X’s Laptop: Fitting
X’s Laptop: ;)
Galadriel: haha
Galadriel: Dear XXXX,
Galadriel: I asked about your position on young earth creationism because I assumed someone as intelligent and knowledgeable as you appear to be….
Galadriel: No, that won’t work either. I apologize for asking about your stance on young earth creationism. There is a difference between Christianity and Young Earth Creationism
Galadriel: Not all Christians are batshit insane like you are.
Galadriel: Um…no
Galadriel: Even the Roman Catholic Church accepts evolution. The USA is far behind in matters of science.
Galadriel: That’s a fact.
Galadriel: But is it an apology?
Galadriel: It amounts to: “It’s not entirely your fault you’re stupid.” Sigh.

Here it is a couple of days later and I still don’t know how to apologize without lying through my teeth. Sigh. Maybe it’s time to start thinking about leaving FundyLand. I’ve tried before, but my health problems and economic status are blocking me.

Once again, this is Atheist in FundyLand saying, “Get me the fuck out of here!”

The Bead Snob and Gary the Wonder Fundy

Posted by Atheist in FundyLand     Category: Evolution, Humor, Miscellaneous Blog Entries, Throne of Thought

This is part of my third letter to The Thinking Atheist. By now he must think I’m stalking him. ;)

______________

Is there such a holiday as Facepalm Sunday? I think I just celebrated it, but instead of lasting one day, it has lasted most the week, kind of like Hanukkah but without the festive candles and presents.

For the first time I got a booth at a craft fair. I only took in enough money to cover the cost of the booth—most of which was negated by trips to food vendors—so that didn’t go well. I also got stuck between two people who made my faith in humanity go down a few notches.

The first was a lady who looked down her nose at my necklaces. She was tactless enough to inform me that my only real customer (so far) was coming to her to get his necklace re-beaded. Just thinking about it makes me wish I had two heads like Zaphod Beeblebrox so I could knock them together a few times. For what it’s worth, I think she did a terrible job re-beading the necklace. I always try to match the color of the fossil shark tooth. She simply re-beaded it using green and white beads that didn’t match at all. She told me I had used cheap beads that would wear and tarnish easily. That is a fair criticism, but it would have been nice had she gone about it a different way. Besides the “cheap” beads, I had also used some expensive bone beads that matched the colors of the fossil tooth. I thought it looked pretty good, so I felt disheartened, discouraged and insulted when my customer went to the bead snob to have his necklace re-done.

The guy on the other side of my booth was selling copies of a book he had written about baseball. Whenever someone asked how he was, he would say, “I’m blessed. How are you?”

My ears perked up.

I tune into such little things because knowing who is and who is not batshit crazy for Jesus can be important when you are the only atheist in town. “Verily, verily I say unto you, ‘Engage thy fundy-dar, for the fundies, they are many and the atheists, they are few. Or one. Or something.’” I Hitchens 4:22

About that time my atheist friend from San Jose showed up. I was so happy I could have kissed her. “Watch out for Gary the Wonder Fundy over there,” I said, glancing in his direction. “He’s a really nice guy, but he doesn’t have all his bats in the same belfry, if you get my drift.”

For awhile we tried to whisper and use code words, but during the course of two long days, we ditched the code words and just became ourselves.

“Hey, did you see the new episode of Mr. Deity?” I asked.

“No.”

“Oh my god, it’s ‘sofa king’ funny. He’s trying to read a text message from Lucy and complains he doesn’t know some of the words, like ‘fookuh doop’ and ‘as-sholey.’ I about busted a gut.”

Awhile later, Gary the Wonder Fundy came over to talk. “You know, when I was doing a book-signing in Barnes and Nobles there was this book full of obscenities…right out where any kid could pick it up and just read it!”

He had actually taken a photo of the book’s cover with his cell phone. “It’s full of profanity!” exclaimed Gary, waving the cell phone in our faces.

Looking at my atheist friend, I said, “Dude, that’s fookuh doop.”

She said, “Yeah, really fookuh doop.”

______________

WARNING! Parenthetical Material from YouTube Follows:

• AtheistinFundyLand
5 days ago

I think your mispronunciation of “fucked up” should become a meme. I would like to contribute the proper spelling, if I may.

Ahem: fookuh doop.

That is all.

• misterdeity
4 days ago

@AtheistinFundyLand Yes, by all means. I love the thought of it going viral. I love the phrase because it takes a bit of the offense of it away, but completely conveys the meaning. Meme it, baby! Meme it!
______________

I’m not entirely sure Gary knew what we were saying. He looked kind of confused and shuffled back to his table.

Previously I had expressed my misgivings about selling fossils that were marked as being millions of years old. I love the fact that some of my fossil shark teeth date back to the Cretaceous, but in my passion, I’ve been chastised by young earth creationists who don’t “agree” with my dates. “If that happens,” I told my friend, “please defuse the situation for me. I’m there as a vendor, not to defend the fact of evolution. Just grab their attention, say something about this not being the time or place for a debate and refer them to a book. Let’s see…they hate Dawkins, so we’d better not go there…um, uh, tell them to read Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne. I don’t want to deal with fundy shit this weekend. Hell, I never want to deal with it. I get so excited by fossils. Then some lame-ass creationist rains on my parade. I really, really hate it.”

We were selling little bags of fossil material from Morocco for $2 apiece. Most of the fossils were sand-tiger shark teeth, but there were ray crusher plates, shark vertebrae and some sea snake vertebrae in the mix as well. The fossils were 55 to 70 million years old. As we were hawking the bags of Moroccan fossil material and entering people to win a lovely 4-million-year-old megalodon-tooth necklace, Gary the Wonder Fundy came and stood right in front of the table.

“Would you like to hear about the fossil history of the giant shark called megalodon and how we can trace it straight back to Otodus obliquus via transitional forms?” I asked, pointing first to the meg-tooth necklace and then to an Otodus-tooth necklace.

“No,” said Gary. “Would you like to hear the history of Jesus and the true history of the Earth? It dates back 4,354 years.” (It took me until tonight to figure out he was talking about the date of Noah’s Flood.)

I would very much like for my friend to describe the look on my face. I bet it was interesting as hell.

“And now we switch over to you, Jessica,” I said in an announcer’s voice. “Jessica, what do you have to say to Gary?” I’m sure she didn’t remember what we’d talked about. I don’t think she’s even read the book by Jerry Coyne, but I’d gone ahead and dumped the entire awkward situation right in her lap.

I have no idea what she said to Gary because the little voice—is that you Galadriel?—that tries to keep me sane had my total attention: “Don’t say anything. It’s not worth it. You don’t have the energy for this shit. Just keep your stupid mouth shut.”

“This is sofa king fookuh doop,” I told the little voice.

“Shut the fuck up and do as I say,” said the little voice.

“Atheist in FundyLand, is that you?”

“Shut up.”

For the most part, we got along just fine with Gary, watching his booth for him when he was away, laughing with him about certain things, but there was always this tension. I gave him a little bag of fossils from Morocco. At the end of the craft fair, he pulled me aside and said, “If I give you one of my books, will you read it?” I told him I would. I hope I can stomach the darn thing. I hate baseball and hate Christianity even more. He signed the book for me and said, “I’m also gonna give you a scripture.”

I haven’t looked it up, but it’s something in I Corinthians and I bet you dimes to doughnuts—as Mr. Deity would say—I know the verse. I bet I had it memorized at one time.

Would Gary read a book of my choosing? I bet not.

Second Letter to The Thinking Atheist

Posted by Atheist in FundyLand     Category: Miscellaneous Blog Entries, Throne of Thought

Dear Seth,

I’ve been listening to more of your podcasts. Of course, you know you have a great voice for this sort of thing, right? ;)

Out of curiosity, did you visit my sites: http://www.atheistinfundyland.com and (URL deleted for privacy reasons)? If not, it’s cool. You’re a very busy man.

When you mentioned the books that influenced your coming out, I realized you must be a fairly new atheist. I came out back in 2001 when my mother asked me, point blank, whether or not I believed in god. I had just read Dan Barker’s book, Losing Faith in Faith, and was too optimistic about how I would be received. Mr. Barker’s parents both became atheists. I thought my mother would respect me as much as Dan Barker’s parents respected him. I was wrong.

At the time, I was having complications from eye surgery. I was functionally blind, so there was no way to escape the yelling and screaming that ensued. (Yeowch!) (Actually, I think this was a different argument regarding my playing Dan Barker’s music…but whatever. It still sucked.)

Incidentally, Dan Barker became an ordained minister in my home county, which is definitely rural and definitely full of fundies. I once e-mailed him a picture of the church they rebuilt on the spot where his old church was. Get this: It’s called “The Cowboy Church” now. :D

Yee-haw! Rustle me up some cattle fer Jesus-ah! Bring them little dogies to Christ-ah!

I wonder if they have a bull-riding machine in the foyer?

Mr. Barker asked me how “such-and-such” was doing and if I knew “who’s-his-face.” I knew most of the people he mentioned. Small towns suck. ;)

I was out of the closet and vocal for several years, but as I mentioned before, the fallout makes me angry. I’m not in good health, so I have to pick my battles carefully. Also, now that I’ve officially started a business, I’m worried people won’t buy from me if they know I’m an atheist. Of course, in a small town like this, word gets around. I bet most people know I’m one of those horrible, horrible atheists. All I wanted was to be liked for who I was, but with fundies that’s too much to ask, apparently.

I’ll be listening to more of your podcasts and watching your videos. You excel at what you do.

Atheist in FundyLand’s Identity Crisis

Posted by Atheist in FundyLand     Category: Miscellaneous Blog Entries, Throne of Thought

The following post was originally a letter to The Thinking Atheist. It expresses my frustration at not being able to be myself, of having to compartmentalize my life. It sucks SO much.
____________

Dear Thinking Atheist,

I listened to your “Facepalm” podcast on YouTube and nearly every story resonated with me.

I grew up in a fundamentalist Christian home and attended a fundamentalist Christian school and church. I was never allowed to have contact with anyone who believed differently. Disbelieving was not an option. Until I was in college it never occurred to me that there was any other way to live.

Ridding myself of Christian dogma has been a long, painful process. At one point my mother tried to have me committed to a mental institution, insisting I was possessed by a demon. It doesn’t get much weirder than that and yet it actually happened. Sometimes I can hardly believe it myself. I am so full of facepalm moments it’s a bloody wonder I don’t have a permanent hand-shaped depression gouged into my forehead.

I was a so-called “new atheist” before it was cool…wait, is it cool? No, I guess it isn’t. My bad. Anyway, I came out of the closet not long after the 2001 terrorist attacks. This was before the wave of atheist books so I braved the fallout completely alone. And what a fallout it was!

During the past couple of years I’ve grown weary of fighting. I used to have some “controversial” bumper stickers and a Darwin fish on my bumper. Local residents would road rage and tailgate me. I was never sure if it was just crazy people acting crazy or if it was some kind of reaction to the bumper stickers or Darwin fish. Then my car was vandalized twice.

On the eve of election 2004, someone stole my Kerry 2004 bumper sticker. I had anticipated this. All my bumper stickers were magnetic and had the words, “Thou shalt not steal” written on the back. Apparently, it was enough to make the bumper sticker thief quit in mid-theft—temporarily guilt-ridden—because only one sticker was missing. :)

Some time later, my car broke down and I had to park it in a church parking lot overnight: bad part of town for my poor atheist car. Of course, around here pretty much everywhere is a “bad part of town” for my poor atheist car. During the night the Darwin fish got up and walked away. Now, I know for a fact natural selection doesn’t work on inanimate objects. That fish undoubtedly had some help, most likely in the form of a religious nut ironically gifted with legs by his tetrapod ancestors.

I gave up and removed the remaining stickers. The tailgating incidents have stopped. Obviously, advertising beliefs via car in this area is a very bad idea. I’m not like Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins. I can’t fight my family and my entire community. I’ve started keeping my beliefs to myself because it has become too exhausting and nerve-wracking to do otherwise.

Like the religious nuts, I now compartmentalize my life. My normal, everyday self is “Galadriel” (not my real alternate screen name). My evil twin is Atheist in FundyLand. (BTW, I’m still not sure I want to be associated with myself, so please don’t expose these two aliases together. Pick one and go with it. :D )

I’ve tried very hard to make Galadriel likeable and non-confrontational. Atheist in FundyLand says what Galadriel would rather not say and sometimes gets into arguments neither Galadriel nor Atheist in FundyLand wants to finish. Atheist in FundyLand started a blog at http://www.atheistinfundyland.com , but Galadriel isn’t sure she wants to deal with religious shit anymore. The blog has sat untended for quite some time now.

Meanwhile, Galadriel goes about her daily business, trying hard not to upset her family and the locals. The only problem is Galadriel loves fossils and natural history. Fundamentalists do not love fossils and natural history. Galadriel likes to make and wear fossilized shark-tooth necklaces. They are so striking—sorry, but they really are—people always ask about them. So, Galadriel, being passionate and full of knowledge, explains that the 2-inch megalodon shark tooth around her neck is approximately 5 million years old.

At this point, the eyes of the person who made the mistake of asking start to glaze over.

Carcharocles megalodon was a giant shark from the Eocene and Pleistocene epochs that actively hunted and ate whales. Instead of learning more about the shark or the necklace (which I made), the questioner insists the Earth is only ten thousand years old. I try to explain the various kinds of radiometric dating, specifically that of the radioactive isotope of potassium, which decays into argon. The half life of radioactive potassium is long enough to accurately date earth’s rich past of volcanic eruptions and the fossils buried above and below these eruptions.

The questioner tells me scientists have learned the carbon in potassium decays at a much faster rate than previously thought. (Facepalm)

The carbon in potassium? Carbon and potassium are elements. I’m no scientist, but I’m pretty sure the atomic weights of each pretty much rule out the possibility of potassium decaying into carbon or vice versa.

(Yes, I borrowed from another blog entry. Sue me.)

These creationists act like I should feel blessed to learn the truth. One went on to explain that gravity is an electromagnetic force and that Earth’s gravity used to be much less than today. That’s why the dinosaurs could walk around without remaining submerged in water. (WTF does Earth’s gravity have to do with evolution????)

Galadriel tries to move on with her life. She really does. She is tired of fighting it out with the creationists and religious nuts. So instead of engaging, Galadriel runs. And she wonders whether, in order to maintain peace in her heart, Atheist in FundyLand must die. Even if Atheist in FundyLand becomes a memory, the fossils Galadriel loves remain. She wears them every day. They’ve become her trademark. There will always be a fossil around her neck and there will always be some hapless creationist who asks about it. What should Galadriel do?

Sincerely,

Galadriel…or Atheist in FundyLand?