Happy 4th Birthday, Mac!

I love you very much, son.

Mac's first day

Mac’s “birthday”

Mac's 4th Birthday

Mac’s 4th Birthday

I’m a MAN! I’m FORTY!

Doing my best Mike Gundy impersonation on my 40th birthday.

Doing my best Mike Gundy impression on my 40th birthday.

Skip to the 2:24 mark for the line:

I'm a man. I'm 40.

Thanx to mom and dad for the last 40 years of raising me, educating me, and teaching me to think for myself. Thanx to Tali for 13 years of sharing love that knows no bounds. Thanx to Ros for being a true partner and making my most recent years get better every day. And thanx to MacLaren for making me feel young again.

Discovered on my U Iowa office door this morning, the day before my 40th birthday

I arrived at my University of Iowa Jefferson Building (JB) office this morning (the day before my 40th birthday), and discovered this taped to my door.

It is supposedly the text of “1JB40Car (the Tye-Dye Scroll)”, a newly-discovered Dead Sea Scroll.  It purports to be a list of things I’ve said during various classes at Iowa (with the most incriminating words conveniently lost to lacunae :).

Much of it appears to be corroborated by a textual congruency with a particular Twitter site, which I’m guessing was authored by the same students.

Anyways, I can neither confirm nor deny the accuracy of the statements below.

But I CAN say that I love teaching, I love my students, I love the University of Iowa!

Thanks guys!

(And NO, I shan’t be supplying the missing words…)

The text of 1JB40Car (the Tye-Dye Scroll), discovered posted on my University of Iowa Jefferson Building (JB) office door the day before my 40th birthday. It is a list of things I've apparently said during class (with the most incriminating words conveniently lost to lacunae :)

The text of 1JB40Car (the Tye-Dye Scroll), discovered posted on my University of Iowa Jefferson Building (JB) office door the day before my 40th birthday. It is a list of things I’ve apparently said during class (with the most incriminating words conveniently lost to lacunae :)

The text of 1JB40Car (the Tye-Dye Scroll), discovered posted on my University of Iowa Jefferson Building (JB) office door the day before my 40th birthday. It is a list of things I've apparently said during class (with the most incriminating words conveniently lost to lacunae :)

The text of 1JB40Car (the Tye-Dye Scroll), discovered posted on my University of Iowa Jefferson Building (JB) office door the day before my 40th birthday. It is a list of things I’ve apparently said during class (with the most incriminating words conveniently lost to lacunae :)

The top half of 1JB40Car (the Tye-Dye Scroll), discovered posted on my U Iowa Jefferson Building (JB) office door the day before my 40th birthday. It is a list of things I've apparently said during class (with the most incriminating words conveniently lost to lacunae :)

The top half of 1JB40Car (the Tye-Dye Scroll).

The top half of 1JB40Car (the Tye-Dye Scroll), discovered posted on my U Iowa Jefferson Building (JB) office door the day before my 40th birthday. It is a list of things I've apparently said during class (with the most incriminating words conveniently lost to lacunae :)

The bottom half of 1JB40Car (the Tye-Dye Scroll).

Iowa City Darwin Day Celebrations begin Feb 7, 2013

Iowa City Darwin Day

Iowa City Darwin Day celebrations are Feb 7-9, 2013.

Darwin Day 2013 is officially is Feb. 12 (Charles Darwin’s birthday). And to help celebrate, the 2013 Iowa City Darwin Day celebrations will be held February 7th – 9th.

As in previous years, 2013 will welcome a slate of world-renowned scientists who will share their research in a series of professional seminars and public talks. This year the theme is: “The Origins of Life on Earth”.

Click here for a schedule of events.

This year’s celebration is brought to you by the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the University of Iowa Department of Biology, the University of Iowa Pentacrest Museums (Museum of Natural History and Old Capitol Museum), and the Perry A. and Helen Judy Bond Fund for Interdisciplinary Interaction.

And if you can’t make it to Iowa City for our Darwin Day celebration, check out the international Darwin Day website for a schedule of events to find one near you.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TALI!

Talitha is a teenager today. Happy birthday T. I am so proud of you!!!

Tali and Mac

Tali and Mac

Tali in Chicago

Tali in Chicago

Tali in Chicago

Tali in Chicago

Happy 1st Birthday MacLaren

MacLaren at One

MacLaren at One

Mac,

One year ago you changed our lives, and I, mommy, and your sister (as well as Tiggens, and your grandparents and uncles and aunts and friends) have loved you more every day.

I love you more than I can say, and I miss you. I’ll be home very soon to give you hugs and cuddles (and to teach you stratigraphy and how to read pottery), but for now, please watch this video that my friends and colleagues here at Tel Azekah made for you.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SON! I love you. Kiss mommy and pet Tiggens for me. See you soon.

happy 40th birthday npr and ‘all things considered’

Happy Birthday NPR and All Things ConsideredPlease help me in wishing a very happy 40th birthday to NPR and All Things Considered. Thanx for all you do for me during my 101-405 commute. Thank you Robert Siegel, Michele Norris, Melissa Block, and Guy Raz, and to everyone who makes the production so outstanding.

(HT: JW via FB)

tali turns ten today

Tali at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

Tali at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

ten years ago today, my life changed forever. my ‘little girl,’ talitha joy, was born on september 18, 1999. it is still the proudest moment of my life.

i surprised her with tickets to the miley cyrus concert at the staples center. oh the lengths to which parents will go to sacrifice for their children! ;-)

as i said in the dedication of my book:

Finally, I wish to thank my daughter, Talitha Joy. Tali, you are the girl I’ve always loved and you are the reason I rise in the morning. May I live each day in an effort to show you that life can be lived with adventure, discovery, knowledge, faith, hope, kindness, laughter, love, and peace. I love you Tali. You will always be my little girl.

happy birthday tali. you will always be my little girl.

daddy

on the occasion of charles darwin’s 200th birthday

 

Smithsonian)

Charles Darwin (photo: Smithsonian)

today is charles darwin’s 200th birthday. 200 hundred years. it seems like so long ago. and yet, we’re still so far away.

 many people of faith understand the so-called father of human evolution to be some incarnation of satan, sent to earth to tempt the faithful away from the truth of a biblical creation. others, the atheist fundamentalists on the opposite end of the spectrum, worship darwin as he who rang the death knell for a still believed modern myth. and somewhere in between, there are those of us who see darwin for who he was: a deeply moral man who asked a lot of questions.

darwin used his eyes and his brain. he observed and he thought. and he had the courage to ask questions. and once he did, he set in motion a revolution that was nothing less than an alternative way of understanding the world, or at least its origin. until darwin, many people simply believed what they were told despite what they saw, and feared social alienation or physical harm for failing to do so. but darwin took the next logical step and asked whether or not we had to blindly accept how the church understood the origin of the earth. in a sense, darwin is not unlike martin luther, who dared to question the catholic establishment’s authority over the interpretation of the world. thus, darwin was to the church what luther was, well, to the church. they both dared to ask the question of why we must accept what tradition tells us.

200 years later, people of faith are still wrestling with the question of whence we came. those with a fundamentalist understanding of the bible argue that if even a single part of it is not historical truth, none of it can be. they invoke a slippery slope argument in an effort to hold on to what ‘we’ have always believed, instead of asking questions, searching for truth no matter where it lies, and relying on faith to see them through. as an unfortunate result, much of science has been denied, or worse yet, ignored, in an attempt to cling to how a pre-scientific text explains the earth’s origins. and in its place, a pseudo-scientific amalgam of intelligent design and irrational archaeology has been exalted for the full viewing of the faithful.

so while, on lincoln’s 200th birthday, we can celebrate the fact that an african american has been elected president of a nation that once enslaved his like, we cannot yet celebrate a true reconciliation between science and faith. fundamentalists cling to a literal six day creation today like they clung to biblical teachings of ‘slaves obey your masters’ during the civil war. and like slavery, fundamentalist christianity and its black and white understanding of the bible must be overcome.

i am hopeful that just as we overcame a religious opposition to an equality among races, so too will we of faith one day embrace an interpretation of the bible that allows science to explain the ‘how,’ and frees the bible to provide a word as to ‘why.’ until such a time as this, those of us who have dedicated our lives to scientific inquiry, and who happen to live lives of faith, must continue to speak boldly and offer a hermeneutic for both science and the bible that asks the hard questions, follows the data, and lets the truth fall where it may.

so as we celebrate darwin’s birth, let him not be a lightning rod for controversy, but let him be a reminder that we should commit ourselves to observing and thinking about our world and our faith. for like the human species, our understanding of the bible changes over time, and so too must our faith. for both humans and their faith are endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful, which from so simple a beginning have been, and are being, evolved.

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