What Fresh Hell Is This?

January 2, 2011

Jack Kelly Sunday

It saddens me to write this, but after reading this week's column, I have no choice but to I think that Jack Kelly has completely lost his mind.

I am being serious about this. Usually on a Sunday morning (though recently it's settled onto just a couple times a month) I can find something blog worthy in his column. The column is usually wingnut crazie (though sometimes it isn't) and it's usually liberally peppered with all sorts of right wing misinformation that's easily fact-checked (though, again, sometimes it isn't). Each, however, is still situated in a reality not that far removed from our own.

This week's column is different. It's just creepy. Creepy on so many levels that one has to wonder about the mechanics of Jack's internal logic.

He starts empirical enough:
Archeologists digging in a cave in central Israel said Monday they've found teeth 400,000 years old they think belonged to a Homo sapiens.

If they're right, then modern man is roughly twice as old as previously thought and didn't originate in Africa, as contemporary scientific theory postulates. The oldest Homo sapiens remains found in Africa are about 200,000 years old.

Teeth are often unreliable indicators of origin, Sir Paul Mellars of Cambridge University told the Associated Press. He thinks these belong to a Neanderthal. Both Homo sapiens and Neanderthals are thought to have descended from a common ancestor in Africa about 700,000 years ago.
This part is, in fact, an accurate telling of what's reported by the AP. But then Jack swerves into someplace very very odd:
If man did originate in what is now Israel, could that be one reason the God of the Torah made the Jews his chosen people?
Whah? So many unsupported metaphysical assertions in such a small space! The opening three paragraphs of the column is more or less empirically grounded. The next? Completely non-empirical. And the next:
We know tooth guy wasn't Jewish. Abraham, the father of the Jewish race, didn't come to the region from Ur in what is now Iraq until about 4,000 years ago.
So think of what Jack just asserted. Because there were homo sapiens there 400,000 years ago, God waited 396,000 years for Abraham to arrive in what is now Israel order for Him to make "the Jews his chosen people." You'd think that Omnipotence would have a more efficient (or at least less time consuming) plan. Think of what that says about what Jack thinks about God.

Then there's the odd geographical ideas:
God didn't choose the Jews because they were powerful or numerous. Ancient Israel was to the great powers of its time what Costa Rica is to the United States or China today.

Nor did he choose this "stubborn, stiff-necked" people because they were virtuous, or obedient. So why?

Most theologians think God chose the Jews to honor Abraham, apparently the world's first (post-flood) monotheist.

I don't doubt that. But I don't think it escaped God's notice that Israel was smack dab in the center of the ancient world. You couldn't get to Assyria or Babylon or Persia from Egypt without going through Israel. If God wanted to tell his story through history, what better way to do it than through a small nation in the middle of the action?

If Israel were also where human beings began, it would be all the more fitting. Geography must have been a consideration because God told Abraham to go there.
Again, given Omnipotence, I would doubt that God would need such a convenient geographic boost in order to "tell his story through history." But that's just me.

Beyond all that, I can't seem to put my finger on what the column is about, really. Is it a defense of Israel's claim to the land? Could be. Is it Jack's defense for some unheard by us charge of anti-semitism? Could be that as well.

Whatever it is, it's just creepy crazie.


Heir to the Throne said...

as contemporary scientific theory postulates.
Don't you mean the scientific consensus?
Dayvoe should have called Jack Kelly a denier.
Just a Bunch of Man-Originated-In-Africa Deniers
The scientific consensus is always right.

Chris Potter said...

The REAL problem with this column is that it asserts the earth could be hundreds of thousands of years old, at least. When as everyone knows, it only took a week for God to create the universe.

You start denying the literal truth of the Creation story, and you end up accepting evolution and global climate change.

Jack Kelly = godless secularist.

EdHeath said...

HTTT, I have no dog in this hunt, but I expect the discovery will go through a scientific ringer, which has probably just begun. So in a few years we may hear something definite, if we are paying attention.

Chris, you really hit the nail on its head. It's one thing to believe in an indistinct higher power, it is another to get "Him" a personality and tie "Him" to some but not all tenets of a particular organized religion. Not that Jack cares (maybe he thought he was winning over some liberals).