On ID and having my hands full

It has been a strange week at Penn State (more on this later). I had two different, but interesting encounters with folks on campus this week. First off, Thursday was "Take Your Daughters & Sons to Work Day", or, as I like to call it TYDaSTWD. That's a very handy acronym, isn't it?

Anyway... I normally run our site for TYDaSTWD, but I had to teach on Thursday, so two students volunteered to give our visitors a planetarium show and a fly-through of the universe with Partiview on our AstroWall system. I managed to catch the end of the last show of the day. At the very end, I overheard the student say to one of the parents who attended the show, "I'm not sure how to answer that question". I figured I'd try to help, so I said, "Can you repeat the question? Maybe I can come up with an answer?" Well, he repeated it, and I didn't have an answer. He said something like, "What does Intelligent Design have to say about how the universe began?" After realizing I was gaping with my mouth open, I stammered something along the lines of observations and theory tell us the universe is 14 billion years old, but that science doesn't tell us whether or not there is a creator. Then, the parent says something about Earth being 4,000 years old (I thought that the belief was 6,000, anyway?) and before I can say anything, another parent steps in and says that the Earth is much older than 4,000 years, and basically tells the other guy that he is wrong. I wish I had been thinking on my feet enough to say something about the Flying Spaghetti Monster, his noodly appendage, and the correlation between global average temperature and the number of pirates.

Today, as usual, was full of meetings. I left one of my meetings carrying in my left hand a big 3" ring binder, my notebook, and a stack of papers. I had a messenger bag over my shoulder, and two cans of soda (extras from the catering table for my office fridge) in my right hand. To sum up, basically, my hands were full. So, I was walking back to my office with a colleague, and we were chatting. As we walked past the HUB, some random guy was holding up what I assume was a Bible, and he was yelling about something at the top of his lungs. As I tend to do, I just kept up my conversation and kept walking, ignoring whatever he was saying. As we walked past, though, his two goons, err... I mean his two associates who were handing out some treatise or another about why all of us are going to hell held one out for me to take. Apparently, I was supposed to grab it with my mouth.

Hopefully I won't run into any more ID'ers or not very observant goofballs next week.


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