Writing the threads of my reality

Creationism: Was the world built in a day?

Christianity is a very prevalent religion in the western world, to a greater or lesser extent. In Ireland, as we are predominantly Roman Catholic, it is more of a background thing; it's there, but not really obtrusive.

Creationism is... a section, I suppose, of Christianity, born out of the need to hold the Bible to be the true and absolute Word of God. It holds that every story, every detail in the Bible is literal, including the passages dealing with the creation of the world and the origin of life on earth - hence the name. This puts it at odds with the scientific understanding, that states that the earth is old and life evolved.

Ah, the theory of evolution. I doubt any theory has attracted as much attention from an organised religion, and as much misunderstanding. At heart it is an explanation, based on evidence gathered over years of study, of how life came to be the way it is now. Scientists consider it to be a very good explanation - Darwin proposed the basis of it in 1859 in On the Origin of Species, and new genetic evidence discovered in more recent years confirmed it, when it could have easily disproved it completely.

That, of course, is the true test of a theory - whether it makes firm predictions about future evidence, and whether those predictions are shown to be right. And a theory, in science, is in fact the complete opposite of a 'theory' as used in general speech - it is something so well supported that in earlier times it would have been called a Law, like Newton's Laws of Motion.

Why would creationists deny it? Evolution directly contradicts the story of Genesis, that states that all the species on earth were created by God. By their reasoning, it cannot be true.

I find this interesting because science does not hold theories to be 'true' in the way that religions would regard their holy texts to be true. Nothing is proven beyond all doubt in science; everything is tentative, meaning that if evidence were discovered that showed that evolution could not have happened, evolution would be discarded. So it is well supported, by multiple lines of evidence, but also very fragile - if a human skeleton was found in the same rock as a dinosaur, evolution would immediately fail. The almost amusing situation here is that creationists hold that evolution is not true - but in a way, science doesn't either!

There is a level of antagonism here on the part of creationists that seems misplaced. Evolution as it stands is only an explanation, after all - it is useful, predictive, and unifying, but that's all it is. (Scientists, of course, will laugh at me for that - 'all it is', is something quite powerful, but let's leave that aside for a moment!) Creationists may state firmly that evolution cannot be true, but that ignores how useful it is as an explanation. In order to supplant it, creationists must develop a new explanation that is just as useful, predictive, and unifying - not an easy thing to do, but the one to do it will probably become famous overnight. In science, disproving a theory is very exciting.

I may write more on creationism. I find it fascinating as a concept.

One Small Step for Man

On this day, in 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon.

I'm celebrating the occasion by watching a film called The Dish. It remains one of my favourite movies of all time. It was pitched as a comedy, though, and it never received the real recognition it deserved for the story it told.

It's one of the greatest stories in the world, landing man on the moon. It's about striving, and reaching out to capture the dream of something fantastical. It's something that should be impossible, but through our blood and sweat, we make it possible. It is the naked spirit of humanity, burning at our brightest and best.

I never saw the moon landing, but when I watch The Dish, it shows me a shadow of what it was like. And it is wonderful; it is an inspiration. It is - it was - a dream made real. And people can lament that we've done little since, but they can never take the dream away from those who still look up to the stars and believe that humanity can become better than we are.

The Apollo 11 mission went to the moon because it was hard, because it could have been impossible. They showed us something beautiful and brilliant; our first venture out into the universe. And everyone who saw it became a part of it, and dreamed it with them.

One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. For all mankind.


Writers write for different reasons.

We are inspired, initially, of course. The first idea, the seed of a story must begin somewhere. But in the course of things, we do not write because of it. It is the first point of the journey.

We write out of desperation. A deadline looms, and it drives us to meet it. A story burns in our minds, and drives us to write it. The world begins to hurt too much, and it drives us to hide from it.

I feel it today more than ever. An incident occurs, and it just... taints me, and I am driven away to hide behind my keyboard.

And there are still too many distractions! I need silence and loneliness. Or, I should say, I want silence and loneliness, but I'm hoping that a large dose of music to block out everything around me will make a good substitute.

I'm still struggling with elements of the Novel, but even the worst of the time I spend writing is good for the soul. It's another small step towards my holding a copy of the finished book, whole and pure, that I can hand to another person and say, "I wrote this. It's one of my stories."

Oh, to live the writer's dream, and make stories my living as well as my passion.

On the Subject of Cars

I recently got my own car. This was somewhat of a revelation, to be honest - I came to motoring a little later than most, and I never expected that I would love it so much. There's simply something powerful about traveling around in a machine that moves so much faster than you can, and whose motions are being directed by you alone.

It's something that people across the world understand. There's something about cars that just... attracts us, men and women alike - although it seems that women are not quite so prone to being petrolheads - and it's certainly caught me. I've even started to learn about engines and cars, so that I can eventually fix the very battered Toyota I acquired last week.

And old and battered as it is, it is mine; my large, heavy, machine that happens to go much faster than I do. There are many like it, but this one is mine. I intend to drive it faster than I should, and go around corners on two wheels if I can manage it, and maybe replace the radio that can't get any decent local station.

The only down side, as far as I can see, is that when you start talking about engines and power to weight ratios and the like, no one wants to listen except other car enthusiasts. It's like being the only nerd in the room who's into comic books. I know embarrassingly few car owners, and none of them like to talk about cars; they view them as things for getting about quickly, and seem to miss the simple joy of getting behind the wheel. If it wasn't for the Internet, I'd be forced to actually go outside, and possibly meet new people who also like cars more than usual.

I'm sure you're thinking, "but what about the expense? Cars don't grow on trees, you know." Of course, my dears, cars are not cheap and certainly not a suitable arable crop. I haven't listed that here because if you really like cars, expense suddenly becomes distant. You buy whatever you can afford, and your priorities are different. Someone who buys a car may be looking for space, efficiency, and security, if they view them as a convenience; I was concerned with the feel of the car above everything else. All I thought about was how much pleasure could be gained from the act of actually driving, and therefore got a car that has a very dodgy radio.

I will write a story about cars some day. The only challenge will be to make it interesting to the non-vehicle-obsessed public.

A Place to Write

I can't believe that I've locked myself in the bathroom just to find a place to sit and type.

It is something that authors really don't consider, I think; finding that sweet spot where all the optimal conditions come together to produce the place where you can write in blissful peace. For some, it's on the couch while ignoring the TV; others can't even listen to music, because any sound is a distraction.

Personally, I like the toilet.

Ideally, I would have a study where I can go and be alone while I work. Anything else can be tolerated, but in order for me to really become touched by the Muses, I must be on my own. Such a situation is not possible, of course, if you live in an apartment where the only really private space is the bathroom; and so here I sit, or however the saying goes. It's quite delightful, really.

But I can't stay. People will want to use the facilities, as it were, and I will be ousted from this little, precious space. My heart breaks, and I must go and find somewhere else to be alone.

The Oddity of People

I read a lot of news on feminism, and as a side effect of this, I read about gay people.

That doesn't sound right to me. The word 'gay' used as an adjective to describe people who prefer same sex relationships always sounded wrong to my ears, as if its undertones were 'flippant', 'silly', irrelevant' and so on. 'Homosexual' sounds too formal, too clinical. 'Queer' sounds like an insult, as it's often used as such where I come from.

I struggle with words. 'Gay' will have to do for the time being.

I also read about transgender people, because I am interested in human gender and sexuality. It fascinates and astounds me that people can be born 'in between' genders, identifying one way in their head but biologically opposite, or born without gender at all. How marvellous and diverse it is! My own cisgender nature (as I believe it's called) seems so pedestrian in comparison.

But many people don't appreciate this, and it mystifies me on many levels. I wonder at the walls they have built inside their heads, that the very idea of (for example) a woman who is not biologically female repulses them. I struggle to understand how they could feel this way about another human being who never chose for their nature and body to be so opposed.

I posed a question to a friend of mine; a man who I believe to be quite forward-thinking and accepting. On seeing an attractive woman, and feeling attraction towards her, how would you then feel on learning that she is transsexual?

He said he would be repulsed. I then posed a further question: Are you repelled because of her, as a person, or are you repelled by your own previous attraction to her?

Now that was more difficult to discern, and if I recall right, he had no answer. But it made me think a little on why he felt that way, and I may have a reason for it.

He, being a cisgender male, is attracted to females; his attraction is a purely physical thing. He sees an attractive woman and unconsciously 'fills in' what he does not know about her with a convenient fantasy, i.e. that her personality/taste/desires/etc mean that she is available for sex. Learning that she is transgendered shatters this. As the sum of her biological parts is all that matters (all else being imagined), the living, female soul inside her skin is ignored and, for him, she is immediately defined by her incorrect genitalia. His attraction saw only a thing to be either possessed or not possessed; the discovery is akin to picking up an apple, and imagining that it will taste good, only to find out that it is rotten and worm ridden inside. A thing that was imagined to be desirable, suddenly revealed as a thing which one has been taught is vile and disgusting.

I would not condemn anyone for feeling this way. My thoughts on it are that they are a product of their upbringing, cultural influences, and predisposition, just as I am. But it is something that needs to be challenged every day, so that people will learn to look past the meat and see the soul within. Feeling this sense of revulsion about another person because of what they are is wrong, and it throws barriers between people where there should be none. What if my comrade meets someone who could be the love of his life, his soulmate - and he cannot love her because she is transgendered?

I hate the thought of something like this getting in the way of happiness. I suppose I just want people to stop condemning and vilifying each other because of things that are out of their control, and that really don't matter much except to those who are exceptionally irrational and opinionated.

It's a distant dream, I know, but it's something noble and pure that I can believe in.