Unsolicited advice for Greg McGarity


Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity

Dear Mr. McGarity,

I hope you’ll forgive my presumption that you might listen to me — on the other hand, if this message resonates with the Bulldog nation and becomes viral, and you won’t be able to ignore it.

I tried this “unsolicited advice” tactic once before, and things worked out pretty well.

While I can’t claim that my effort led to things working out to UGA’s advantage, what I wrote obviously didn’t hurt the Dawgs. And Roquan Smith sure looks great in red.

Now I know you have a very difficult job, trying to keep the Bulldog fan base happy. Some “fans” have called for you to fire Mark Richt, even though our coach has managed to win nine tough games, including both Auburn and Georgia Tech on the road. This is in spite of the fact Coach Richt currently has the highest rated recruiting class during his entire tenure, with the chance to finish strong and dramatically improve the final ranking.

Georgia could finish with the top ranked recruiting class. If Coach Richt and his staff can persuade blue-chip players like Isaac Nauta, Mecole Hardman, Derrick Brown, E. J. Price, Willie Allen, Demetris Robertson, Shyheim Carter, Tyler Simmons, Brian Burns, or a few similar highly prized recruits to come to Athens to play with Jacob Eason, we could have the necessary talent needed to play for SEC titles and national championships against the likes of Nick Saban, in spite of the advantage in financial support for his program at Alabama.

Most of these kids have expressed strong interest or said they want to come to Georgia, but they want Mark Richt and Jeremy Pruitt to be there to coach them. The uncertainty that has surrounded our program since the Tennessee game may have cost us the commitment of Kyle Davis, once considered a virtual lock to sign with UGA.

Why would Davis want to leave the state for a program like Auburn? Could the $15 million dollars more per year Auburn spends on their football program have something to do with it?

Fran Tarkenton has said that he thinks Jeremy Pruitt needs to be fired, in spite of the fact Pruitt has our defense playing as well as they did under Erk Russell.  Earlier this season, rumors even circulated that Coach Pruitt was about to be fired which fortunately proved to be untrue.

I hope you’ve heard that after the Georgia Tech game today, Coach Pruitt told reporters that he hopes to stay in Athens. If Coach Richt wants Pruitt to stay — and he certainly should want him to coach our defense next year — then please help make sure that happens.

You’ve got the power, Mr. McGarity. You’ve got the authority. Please open your wallet and pay what it takes to make Georgia the beast of the SEC East and a perennial contender for national championships.

All of our current coaches want to stay, and you should want them to stay. Only three short years ago, Coach Richt had us only five yards and one play away from the national championship game.

AP photo

AP photo of Coaches Pruitt (L) and Richt (R)

Jeremy Pruitt was on  the other sideline that game, working for Nick Saban. If Jeremy Pruitt had been coaching our defense instead of Todd Grantham in that game, the results would almost certainly have been different, because Grantham’s defense could not stop the run.

Over the past two years, Jeremy Pruitt’s defenses have shown us flashes of brilliance reminiscent of the glory days, of legendary defensive coordinator Erk Russell and his Junkyard Dawg defense, which often dominated and sometimes even won football games.

I’ve got a confession to make, Mr. McGarity. There is a petition asking President Morehead to fire you and I’ve been thinking about whether or not I should sign it. Even though I don’t like the idea of speculating whether or not someone who doesn’t work for me should keep their job, you need to step up to the plate, if you know what I mean.

Instead of calling for your head, I prefer to politely ask you to rectify this situation and make amends.

Question: why is it that Alabama will spend $51 million dollars this year on their football program, and you’re only spending $26 million? You can’t say that we don’t have the money.

So why are you pinching pennies on the football program. when it brings in well over $80 million per year in annual revenue? Even South Carolina is currently spending more money, though our football program has been ranked as the third most profitable in America.

Why is this true, Mr. McGarity?

Bulldog fans are clamoring to compete for national championships. Some fans do blame Coach Richt, but I wonder if they realize how stingy you’ve been with the revenue the program earns for the school. Why weren’t adequate resources put at Coach Richt’s disposal a long time ago?

It’s time to loosen up the pursestrings.

As I type this message to you, I am listening to Buck Belue in the background, saying that you “didn’t respond” to questions about Coach Richt’s status after the game.

Is Kevin Sumlin really worth a million dollars a year more than Coach Richt, in your opinion? If so, why, when his record isn’t nearly as impressive? It makes no sense to me.

So here’s what I think you should do, at a minimum: make an immediate announcement saying  that you plan to extend Coach Richt’s contract for another year, and then convince him to sign it. But what I really hope you’ll do is to open up your checkbook again to give all of our coaches a raise. It would demonstrate your commitment to support developing the football program to the point where it competes for championships.

A bold move such as that would show players like Rashan Gary that you are fully support these coaches and the team and believe they will succeed at the highest level, given time and adequate resources. Most reasonable people understand that you can’t drive a Porsche 911 when you only have the budget for a Volkswagen Beetle.

Recruiters from other schools will use the uncertainty to undermine the crucial recruiting efforts of Coach Richt and his staff. Please consider taking decisive action that quells the rumors, Mr. McGarity.

Frankly, Coach Richt and Georgia football deserve your full support.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t expect you will pay much attention if I’m the only person who feels this way. However, I don’t think I am, and hopefully those Bulldogs reading this appeal who agree with me will echo my sentiments by either calling, or dropping a brief note to you in the mail in support of our coach, to the following address:

UGA Athletic Director Greg McGarity
P.O. Box 1472
Athens, GA. 30603

For those who prefer to call, the phone number for the athletic department is (706)542-9306.

Bulldog fans — if you support Coach Richt, make your voices heard!  Please share this article with your friends, and ask for their help.

If Mr. McGarity sees that the Bulldog nation overwhelmingly supports Coach Richt, he may actually do what we’d like and stay the course.

Anonymous internet trolls

images-13The worst people on earth right now are surely the radical Islamic terrorists in ISIS. They are evil people who murder children and prefer decapitating their innocent victims or burning them alive over shooting them in the head.

However, in my humble personal opinion, anonymous internet trolls come in a reasonably close second.

In case you don’t already know what an internet troll is, the definition describes a person who viciously attacks another human being with hateful rhetoric solely for the purpose of upsetting the victim and/or starting an argument.

Most of the time, the troll won’t even know the victim personally — he or she will merely dislike the way the victim looks, or disagrees with something the victim said. Simply pick a target, set phasers to incinerate, and start blasting away.

Trolls are so miserable in their own personal life that the only way they can feel better about themselves is by making another person feel bad. They take perverse pleasure from creating misery for another human being while cowardly hiding behind a cloak of anonymity.

Sometimes troll attacks targeting a specific person may go on for years, with the victim unable to use the legal system to intervene because the troll has hidden his or her true identity.

Many internet service providers have refused to reveal the real name and address of the troll to his or her victims until forced to do so by court order.

I have had some personal experience with internet trolls.

A few years ago I published articles under the title of the Atlanta Creationism Examiner after my very first book, titled Divine Evolutionwas published. I saw the position as an opportunity as a chance to get paid to write articles that promoted my book. DivineEvolutionCover_eBook_final

I anticipated that writing about creationism and evolution theory would inspire a certain amount of criticism, but I seriously underestimated the vitriolic and often hateful sentiments behind it. Naturally, some of the most vicious personal insults one can imagine were routinely thrown my way by people using colorful pseudonyms such as “Blackout”, or “Karate Monkey.”

I was called a liar, uneducated, idiot, moron, liar, imbecile, ignorant, ignoramus, dolt, liar, and narcissist by my anonymous critics — and those were some of the nicer things that were said about me. Quickly my skin grew thicker than an elephant’s hide, and I soon learned to let the insults roll off me, like water off a duck’s back.

Then interestingly enough, after the Examiner.com changed their policies on comments so that Facebook accounts traceable to real people were required for comments to be posted, the volume of nasty personal attacks decreased dramatically, and the most egregious were no longer posted. Threatened by the light of exposure, most of the vermin crawled back under the rocks from which they came.

Unfortunately, internet trolls learned to create multiple fake profiles so when one account is blocked by a user or banned by Facebook, the attacks may continue under another name.

Here’s a helpful tip — negative comments on any subject posted by people with no history, pictures or friends associated with their Facebook account should not be trusted. They are highly suspect, most probably troll accounts.

Recently I’ve discovered trolls trying to pass themselves off as Georgia Bulldog football fans by using some variation of the school’s logo or mascot as their profile picture.

Interestingly enough, one of these fake Facebook accounts could be traced to a man living in Alabama. While it is certainly possible, even likely that more than one fan of Georgia football lives in Alabama, but just how plausible is it that this person has never made a single post on his own Facebook page? It appears that this dummy account was created for the sole purpose of demanding that Mark Richt be fired in comments left after virtually every article published at Bulldog fan websites speculating about the future of Georgia’s coach.

Isn’t it more likely that those comments might actually be coming from an Auburn or Alabama fan impersonating a Bulldog?

In my opinion, internet trolls are truly evil people — okay, so maybe not “evil incarnate” in the case of the Richt bashers. However, most internet trolls are wicked people no redeeming qualities.

A good friend of mine endured a constant stream of vicious personal attacks from an anonymous internet troll for years — the relentless barrage of personal attacks and accusations created enough stress in my friend’s life to literally cause a heart attack.


My friend fought back. The primary media outlet the attacker frequented most often refused to reveal the true identity of the troll until forced to cooperate by court order.

It took years of effort and thousands of dollars in legal fees, but the coward has finally been unmasked.

Strangely enough, the attacks were coming from someone who does not even know my friend personally. The troll turned out to be an unpleasant lawyer who happens to live in the same small community. The neighbors all know about this guy, and nobody likes him. Nobody. He has no friends.

That case remains in litigation so I won’t say any more about it, except that no matter what the courts may decide in terms of reparations to compensate for years of unbelievable abuse, no amount of money would be enough to make suffering the sort of abuse my friend endured worthwhile. No amount of money can buy back the lost years during which the enjoyment of life was mitigated and diminished by the unwarranted abuse.

My friend and I are hardly alone with our tales of woe involving anonymous internet trolls, and we are both adults. Our personal tales of woe actually pale in comparison to the worst of the worst examples of abuse by an internet troll.

According to psychologists, internet trolls are psychopaths and sadists.

In one horrible example, trolls terrorized one teenager until she committed suicide and then taunted the child’s grieving family. These are people void of compassion; humans without a soul.

In more than one instance, an adult has been discovered to be impersonating a teenager in order commit a troll attack on another teen or a child. What sort of a human being would do such a thing? Why, psychopaths and sadists, of course.

When Bill Hadley was unjustly accused of being a pedophile by a cowardly troll, he spent $35,000 in legal fees to successfully unmask his accuser, who turned out to be a county attorney that Hadley barely knew.

Internet trolls are extremely unhappy, lonely human beings very likely to die young. But they reap what they sow.

These people are lonely because no one wants to be around such a thoroughly unpleasant excuse for a human being.

Some of my atheist friends get upset when I say that I’m happy to believe that hell exists. They think the idea of eternal punishment is cruel, inhumane, and completely out of character for a loving creator God. Indeed, the problem theodicy (the theological question of why God allows suffering and death; why bad things happen to good people) often leads to atheism.

However, in my opinion, death simply isn’t good enough for some people. Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao — those guys deserve to suffer more than the temporary pain of death to atone for the millions of lives they collectively extinguished.

Personally, I take some comfort in the thought that the butchers of ISIS will face judgment from my God one day, but they won’t be rewarded with 72 virgins. I am even thankful that God has plans to punish truly wicked people, and to think their victims rejoice in paradise, ignorant of their persecutor’s suffering.

And as far as I’m concerned, the worst internet trolls can burn in hell right next to Stalin and Mao.

Should Mark Bradley and Jeff Schultz be fired?

coach Mark Richt

coach Mark Richt

My father used to say that opinions were like anuses — everybody has one, but they shouldn’t be shown in public.

Of course, he didn’t actually say “anus” but used a very similar word that clearly meant the same thing.

Before I start, I must confess to be perfectly honest, it feels…wrong to speculate about another man’s livelihood.

Nevertheless, I am compelled to ask this question: should the Atlanta Journal-Constitution fire sportswriters Mark Bradley or Jeff Schultz for their failures to perform their job with peak efficiency every day?

Before we make any quick decisions, let’s look at some of the evidence: Mark Bradley has been with the same newspaper for twenty-five years.

But exactly what has he accomplished in all that time?

According to his online biography, Mark Bradley freely admits that he “Has won some awards but lost many more.”

Sorry, but doesn’t that make him a loser?  If he’s truly lost more awards than he’s won, his overall record is below .500.

By comparison, Mark Richt’s winning percentage at Georgia is currently .739. His teams are ninety games above .500. Yet curiously enough, it was Mark Bradley who recently suggested it was time for Mark Richt to be fired.

As if to further confirm my belief that it has become time for the AJC to make a move, Bradley put in his own bio that he “Isn’t as smart as you might believe.”

However, Mr. Bradley might be surprised to learn just how smart I don’t believe he is.

And as for Mr. Bradley’s co-defendant to my charge of journalistic malpractice, what should we say about Jeff Schultz?

Comparing Jeff Schultz to Mark Bradley is sort of like comparing the cast of Dumb and Dumber and asking, which one is which?

Really, does it matter?

Consider this little tidbit of information: Mr. Schultz routinely allows his dog to predict the winners of football games. Lilly “chooses” a winner by eating a treat, the results of which Mr. Schultz has chosen to share with the world, as if we need even more useless nonsense than we already get from a daily dose of reality television.

Once upon a time, the dog gimmick might have been funny. Once.

Now, it’s become the really bad joke a talentless comedian repeats over and over, determined to make the audience laugh — by “audience” meaning those remaining few who didn’t walk out a long time ago. As opposed to Mark Bradley, I’m not exactly sure how long Schultz has been with the AJC; perhaps it only seems like forever.

Clearly, it is no wonder that neither of these geniuses have won the “national championship” in sports journalism — the highly coveted Red Smith award. If they haven’t by now, it becomes less likely that they never will. They’ve both had plenty of chances.

Excuses are completely unacceptable. After all, Furman Bisher won the Red Smith award while working for the Atlanta Journal in 1988, so it isn’t impossible — just very difficult. After all, there is only one winner per year.

In fairness, should Bradley or Schultz complain that I have no business speculating about their future when I don’t pay their salaries, I would have to concede that point. It’s by choice. In all honesty, I haven’t subscribed to the AJC in years, mostly because of two clowns posing as sports journalists.

On the other hand, given the fact that both of these incompetent sportswriters have seen fit to call for UGA Coach Mark Richt to lose his job, it would seem that turnabout is fair play.

Had either of these gentlemen been a hungry young sportswriter instead of a tired old hack, he would have recognized the opportunity to distinguish themselves from the national sportswriters. They could have played off each other, offering both perspectives, and explained why it would be foolish to consider a head coaching change at this point in time, especially considering the tremendous momentum that had been building on the recruiting front.

The reason Alabama has won multiple national championships and Georgia has not isn’t terribly difficult to understand — in recent years, Nick Saban’s staff has been able to lure some of the very most talented players in Georgia out of state, to play for Alabama.

Players like Mecole Hardman, Jr., Isaac Nauta, and Kyle Davis have been thought to be leaning heavily toward committing to the “G”, but with the wild speculation in the news causing recent uncertainty, their status has become more questionable.

If this year’s recruiting class falls apart, Mark Bradley and Jeff Schultz will have played a significant role in fomenting the turmoil. They could have helped quell the ugly rumors with only one article that was better (all modesty aside) than either of them seem capable of writing.

Instead, both of these guys threw gasoline on the fire and made a situation that was getting bad considerably worse.

The negative sports opinion “reporting” and especially those in the local media have played a large role in creating this confusion. Rather than differentiating their reports by offering a different take on the subject, Mark Bradley and Jeff Schultz became a mindless echo chamber, offering nothing for an alternate perspective.

The harsh reality is that Georgia would be hard pressed to find a better coach for their football program.

Comparatively speaking, the AJC should have no problem replacing either of their two primary sportswriters with better talent, fresh out of J school. I’d hate for Bradley or Schultz to lose their source of income though…perhaps they could be reassigned.

Perhaps one of them knows something about gardening. Or pet care — basically, they ought to be able to write on any topic about which they might be able to convince the reader they know something.

RIP, Lewis Grizzard. You are sorely missed.



The odds against atheism

1433504030_a6Imagine that you’re playing a game of poker, five card draw.

The dealer issues each player five cards, one at a time. He deals fairly, taking the top card from the shuffled deck and tossing them face down to each player in a counter-clockwise rotation as he goes around the table in order.

You look at your cards and discover that you’ve been dealt a royal straight flush: the ace, king, queen, jack, and ten of hearts.

You don’t even need to discard and draw another card. You struggle to hide your excitement, knowing that the odds of drawing such a lucky hand are roughly 649, 740 to 1. This translates to a probability of success of 0.00000154, a mere fraction of one percent. Naturally, you should expect to win this hand.images-9

Even a royal straight won’t be good enough to beat you. It doesn’t beat the royal straight flush. Nothing does. The best another player could have done would be to draw a second royal straight flush in either diamonds, clubs or spades, splitting the jackpot with you.

But the odds of two events with a probability of 0.00000154 percent occurring in the same hand of cards is considerably worse than the single rare occurrence, because the number of cards and possible winning combinations have been reduced.

Furthermore, if two players in the same game drew a royal straight flush from the same deck of cards in the same hand, somebody somewhere would naturally certainly be accused of cheating. One royal flush is highly improbable; twice in the same hand absurdly so.

The cards would be checked for signs of marking or tampering, and the dealer would have to answer some very pointed questions from every player in the game who didn’t draw a royal straight flush.

Should we say that is it logically impossible that two players could be dealt an unbeatable hand from the same deck of cards in the same game? No, of course not.

Logical impossibilities are things that cannot exist by their definition — one common example of this is the married bachelor.

An honest politician might also be considered a logical impossibility, at least by some people.

On the other hand, it is not logical to assume any reasonable probability of success based on the fact a potential event is not logically impossible.

Are the odds of two consecutive royal straight flushes or two by different players in the same game so grotesquely improbable that any reasonable person would have to wonder if the game was rigged?

Yes, of course.

bridgeA gambler could play draw poker for his or her entire lifetime and never see a single royal straight flush dealt from a well shuffled fair deck of cards, especially without even a discard and draw.

Only a fool would accept the idea of a royal straight flush being drawn twice in the same game for any combination of players without some deception, or manipulation of the deck suspected in order to create an unfair advantage.

You would surely win that hand. You could not lose under any circumstances. The dealer collects the cards and reshuffles the deck while you collect your winnings, and then he deals another hand.

You look at your cards and see your second consecutive royal straight flush. You might think this really could be your lucky day. On the other hand, if you understand statistics and probability, you understand that it’s likely the luck’s too good to be true.

Nobody is this lucky. The guy across the table from you gets so upset as you’re emptying his wallet that he weeps blood. images-13

Now what would be the odds that you would then be dealt a third consecutive royal straight flush by this same dealer, still using a fair deck of cards?

Slim and none, but Slim left town?

By now you must realize that the card game has been fixed in your favor for some unknown reason, even though you had nothing to do with it.

Remember, we aren’t talking about the equivalent of a coin flip, with fifty/fifty odds.

At best we’re quibbling over how “big” the fraction of one percent that would most accurately depict the probability of success ought to be. At worst we’re arguing about how to express this ridiculously small number as a decimal value.

By now you may be wondering: what does my card game illustration have to do with the odds against atheism? That’s a reasonable question.

This serves as an excellent analogy to illustrate the necessity of a supernatural God in order to satisfactorily address our existential questions.

Evolution theory does not compare to creationism, because life cannot evolve until it exists. Before evolution ever becomes possible, either supernatural creation or stupendous, unbelievable good luck has already occurred.

My existential questions are relatively simple. These include: who am I? How did I get here? Does my life serve some purpose?

The answers to the existential questions are not so simple. It requires both a basic awareness of current scientific evidence as well as well knowledge of the science of statistics and probability.

The problem of creation begins with the Big Bang. It does not start with evolution, meaning the change of things that already exist. Evolution theory may become part of the creation story one day, but it cannot compete with the need for creation.

Remember in our analogy, the odds of drawing a royal straight flush are 649,740 to 1.

According to physicist Martin Rees, the origin of our universe was very ordered and fine-tuned to produce a universe “just right” for life. Other physicists have referred to this phenomenon as the Goldilocks enigma.

Sir Roger Penrose calculated that the odds of a fine-tuned universe occurring by chance are something like 1 in 10^123, which he describes as a number so small it cannot be represented as a decimal. In other words, the odds of “lucky” fine-tuning are terrible, even compared to the odds against our first royal straight flush.

It simply wouldn’t be possible to type all the necessary leading zeroes before I died of old age.

Cosmic inflation is equivalent to drawing our second consecutive royal straight flush.

Inflation was allegedly so precise that Stephen Hawking said even the slightest variation of one in a million-million in the rate or duration of expansion would have caused this universe to collapse.

Then for abiogenesis (our third straight royal straight flush, using this analogy) to become possible, the Big Bang and inflation must first occur so the chemical ingredients necessary for life would subsequently exist.

In other words, the later improbabilities for these anomalies depend upon the success of the previous ones, in the procession from absolutely nothing to simple life forms.

And remember — it is logically impossible to believe in a third consecutive royal straight flush if you failed on either of the first two.



Mark Richt: the best man for a difficult job

coach Mark Richt

coach Mark Right

Famous tennis instructor Dennis Van der Meer has often said that a player’s IQ is cut in half as soon as he or she steps onto the court and the games begin.

His quip translates to mean in the spur of the moment during heated competition, people tend to make ill-advised, emotional decisions as opposed to rational and reasonable ones.

Apparently, that would also be an appropriate way to describe many Georgia Bulldog fans, especially during football season.

Fans who are calling for a coaching change have let emotion shape their comments, which often lack logic and intelligent thought. People are called “fans” for a reason.

It’s short for fanatic.

These “fair-weather” fans have unrealistic expectations for the present, and a very myopic vision for the future.

The truth of the matter is that Mark Richt is an excellent football coach.

However, his team has already lost twice this season. Some of our fair-weather fans (apparently those few suffering from temporary insanity) have called for Mark Richt to be fired.

To fire Coach Richt at the end of this season wouldn’t just be dumb, it would be one of the most stupid decisions in school history — and that even includes Jake Scott’s legendary death-defying ride over Stegeman Coliseum on a motorcycle.

Bulldog and NFL star Jake Scott

Bulldog and NFL star Jake Scott

Coach Richt is currently one of the best in the business, and when he finally retires, he will ultimately be considered one of the greatest college football coaches of all time. The fair-weather Georgia fans currently calling for his ouster may be wondering — how can anyone make such an outlandish claim, considering the fact that Richt hasn’t even won an SEC championship in the last ten years? Not only that, he’s failed to win even one national championship during his tenure at the University of Georgia to this point. Well, allow me to retort.

My question in response to the fair-weather fan is this: is a national championship really the best measuring stick of a coach’s ability?

If so, why doesn’t Gene Chizik currently have a head coaching job?

As far as I’m concerned, Georgia could lose every game the rest of this year (they won’t) and I wouldn’t budge — I want Mark Richt to stay, because I see the positive steps and improvements in our program. And I see the incredible talent being assembled in the 2016 recruiting class.

Two years ago, I might have been tempted to agree with people arguing for change. Todd Grantham was Georgia’s defensive coordinator, and Coach Richt stubbornly refused to fire him. Richt’s loyalty to his own coaches appeared to be holding us back. Before Grantham, Richt held on to Willie Martinez longer than fans were willing to tolerate, and reluctantly fired him.

The defense perpetually failed to match the production of the offense, year after year. Georgia won a few big games every year in spite of our defense, yet always underachieved and fell short.

Then, a minor miracle occurred — to my stunned amazement, Grantham left on his own accord to take the same job with Louisville, and Jeremy Pruitt had wanted to work for Mark Richt for a long time.

From that day forward, UGA’s defense has shown dramatic improvement in both talent and execution. Given a third year to put more of the players that can execute his schemes on our roster, Georgia should transition from a very good defense to elite under Jeremy Pruitt and coaches Ekeler, Sherrer, and Rocker.

Now I’m not a psychiatrist or any sort of medical professional, but I think anybody who doesn’t think Pruitt is the best defensive coordinator Georgia has had since Erk Russell might need to have their head examined. Flashes of the old Junkyard Dawgs have already been shown by his defense.

In short, Georgia is continuing to move in the right direction. Richt has already made the necessary changes and adjustments that should allow his program to finally make the step from perennial contenders to champions. The current president and athletic director have finally shown they’ve made a full commitment to having proper resources and facilities.

All Coach Richt needs now is time, patience and continued support from our fan base. Anyone who looked at the UGA roster prior to the start of the season and had dreams of undefeated seasons was more hopeful than realistic, considering the considerable turnover between seasons, with Mike Bobo leaving for Colorado State and Brian Schottenheimer coming to Athens from the NFL.

Firing Coach Richt this season, no matter how many games are lost, would be both short-sighted and stupid, two characteristics that I feel confident do NOT describe AD Greg McGarity.

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh is also an excellent football coach and even has NFL experience, but I’d rather have Mark Richt leading Georgia over Harbaugh, Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, or any other head coach who may currently be perceived as the superior leader.

Nick Saban has a win-at-all-costs mentality that some fans would like to see from UGA, without realizing that Saban couldn’t continue his success at UGA without requiring the school to lower their standards. The Georgia Way calls for winning with integrity. Frankly, that rules out Nick Saban, even before taking his salary demands into consideration.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban

Alabama Coach Nick Saban

Saban’s questionable ethics include cutting players by placing them on permanent medical disability, “gray-shirting” and other practices that allow the habitual over-signing of more recruits than his program can legally accept in a given year, and even admitting to his program a player dismissed from UGA for allegedly beating his girlfriend.

To be brutally honest, if hiring a guy with the scruples of Nick Saban is what it takes for the Bulldogs to win a national championship, I’d prefer UGA kept coming up a little short every year.

However, with just a little more patience, I’m fairly certain that being satisfied with the program failing to reach its full potential isn’t going to be necessary. Many fans believe that the level of talent recruited into UGA’s program has always been on par with Alabama and Florida, but that simply hasn’t been the case.

While I was skeptical that an indoor practice facility was necessary, the fact Georgia hasn’t had one seems to have suggested to recruits in previous years that the Bulldogs weren’t fully committed to competing at the highest level.

Drax the Destroyer

Drax the Destroyer

But if Mark Richt didn’t know how to coach college football, phenomenal high school QB Jacob Eason wouldn’t want to travel 3,000 miles from home to play in Athens next year.

Let’s be honest; when a freaking Guardian of the Galaxy talks about a high school quarterback committed to UGA on his Twitter feed and newspapers report it, the attention of other talented athletes is drawn to Athens to play with him. Just imagine what it would be like to have Drax the Destroyer as one of your inside linebackers.

And by no means is Eason alone. Highly sought blue-chip prospects Mecole Hardman, Kyle Davis, Derrick Brown, Isaac Nauta, Demetris Robinson, Shyheim Carter, Willie Allen, and several others may be joining Eason to fill out the best recruiting class Georgia has ever assembled, if all of them commit to the “G”.

Georgia is considered the favorite to sign most, if not every one of these players, which could become a domino-effect. The 2015 class currently being assembled has the potential to add considerably more talent to the roster in one season than even the touted 2011 “dream team.”

It’s important to note that Jacob Eason has stated for the record that the only reason he might not be at UGA in January would be if Mark Richt isn’t still coaching the Bulldogs. He’s already signed his financial-aid agreement.

Coach Bobo’s move to Colorado State had no impact on Eason’s commitment — he wants to play football for Mark Richt. Period.

Why, you might ask?

Surely Coach Richt’s success coaching Heisman Trophy winners Charlie Ward, Chris Weinke, and first overall NFL draft pick Matthew Stafford has had some influence on his decision.

12112318_758741567582659_2542897415543644732_nBut I also suspect it also has a lot to do with the relationship Mark Richt has cultivated with his players.

Please consider Mark Richt’s reaction to senior placekicker Marshall Morgan’s miss of an “easy” 26-yard field goal attempt in their recent game against Missouri.

Coach Richt immediately comforted his player, who probably felt as if he’d let the whole team down and may have lost the game. Almost every fan in the stadium and probably most of those watching on television may have felt that way, too.

Not Mark Richt.

He told Morgan that he still loved him. That his worth was not determined by a single mistake. Fans may have forgotten by now, but that wasn’t Morgan’s only mistake that game.

Earlier, he left an onside kick attempt short of ten yards, giving Missouri possession of the ball with excellent field position.

Rewarding the loyalty and love of his coach, Morgan was clutch on his last field goal attempt, and Georgia won a hard fought defensive battle, 9-6. In recognition of his efforts, Morgan was named the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week.

Fair-weather fans complained that Richt’s game plan was too conservative, but they also were complaining that the onside kick was too risky. Losing to Alabama and Tennessee was completely unacceptable, but winning by a field goal wasn’t enough to please them, either.

Contrast the exchange between Mark Richt and Marshall Morgan to Jim Harbaugh’s postgame press conference. Coach Harbaugh threw his punter under the bus for bungling the very last play of the game against Michigan State, which cost Michigan the victory.

Coach Harbaugh blamed the referees for his team’s loss, claiming they made several bad calls.

He also blamed the last play on a bad snap. Coach Harbaugh even went so far as to say that his punter only needed to field the ball cleanly and do his job, and the game would have been won. The kid must feel terrible.

In other words, Jim Harbaugh blamed everybody but himself.  He refused to take any responsibility for a very questionable call to punt. Seriously, was he that afraid his defense couldn’t stop a Hail Mary pass that it was worth the risk of a bad snap or a blocked kick?

Please compare Harbaugh’s comments to what Mark Richt had to say after his disastrous call for a squib kick at the end of last year’s game against Georgia Tech.

Coach Richt immediately took full responsibility for his mistake. He offered nothing but effusive praise for the tremendous effort by his players to put the team in position to win.

And that’s exactly what a truly great leader should do.

Why evolution is probably false

Dr_Kenneth_MillerI’ve never wanted nor pretended to be a biologist. I prefer to blame this possible character flaw on the fact I never liked dissecting animals, or the smell of formaldehyde.

My approach to science has always been “need to know” — meaning if I decide that I need to know something, I’ll put a little effort into figuring out how it works.

In the years since graduating from college I have certainly learned how to make children and grandchildren. For the longest time, I felt like that was enough knowledge of biology to satisfy my curiosity; I knew how to do my part to perpetuate of the species, and that was all I thought I needed to know.

When these evangelists for atheism like Richard Dawkins began using their belief in evolution as justification for attacking belief in the existence of a creator God, I decided it was probably time for me to learn a bit more about this theory used to justify their claims of having eliminated the possibility that a supernatural God could exist.

The Business Dictionary provides an excellent definition that I like which describes information as “Data that is (1) accurate and timely, (2) specific and organized for a purpose, (3) presented within a context that gives it meaning and relevance, and (4) can lead to an increase in understanding and decrease in uncertainty.”

As a former professional software developer, that definition seems both useful and apropos. Computers accept raw data as input. Software applications inside the computer process that raw data to convert it into useful information.

The key phrase in the definition was “specific and organized for a purpose.”

DNA is very compacted, specific information– genetic raw data is processed by organic cells and turned into information exponentially more complex than computer machine language.

The best analogy I can think for DNA is that it seems to be a perfectly blended recipe comprised of four nucleotides organized into specific sequences to produce one unique living organism of the same species as the parents — we know from experience that hybrid animals are biological dead ends.

However, advocates of evolution theory typically take a dim view of criticism. They will vociferously object to the idea of intelligent design being offered as an alternative for evolution theory.

Dr. Ken Miller has openly said that he believes people like me who have raised questions about the theory of evolution are motivated by bias toward religion and belief in the supernatural rather than scientific curiosity.

I would respond to that accusation that my stubbornness stems from the inability of experts such as him to answer my questions, which admittedly pose challenges the theory of evolution.

And before I swallow Darwin’s theory hook, line, and sinker, I need to know what mechanisms allow physical transformation that could most easily be described incredible shapeshifting that allegedly takes over many generations — the transformations necessary to evolve from apes to men must be nothing short of spectacular.

Nevertheless, I have frequently been accused by my critics of being too dumb to understand the theory of evolution, which strikes me as a relatively simple concept. Given enough sex, isolation, and time, monkeys can allegedly evolve into men.

I’ve learned to consider the source, and to take into account that that the most obnoxious and personal insults come from less well-educated people and frequently contain numerous grammatical errors and misspelled words. My thirst for knowledge exceeds my ego. I’m willing to swallow my pride and risk the wrath of my critics to make myself clear. It also helps that more intelligent people like Dr. Miller tend to be very courteous and respectful, so risking the potential embarrassment of asking the question often proves to be well worth the effort.

My response to my critics is always the same: my inability to understand how the theory of evolution works in the real and observable world to cause the origin of new species certainly hasn’t been for the lack of trying.

What biological process(es) other than sex, isolation, and time, might exist that allows monkeys to turn into men? It seems we are missing a critical piece to the Big Picture puzzle.

I’ve read a lot of books on evolution theory, including The Greatest Show on Earth: the Evidence for Evolution by Richard Dawkins, and of course Jerry Coyne’s book Why Evolution is True, in my attempts to understand the theory of evolution yet my fundamental “how did it happen?”questions have remained unanswered to my satisfaction.

Evolution theory isn’t a terribly complicated concept, in my opinion. It may be summed up using only three words: descent with modification.

According to this theory, because you don’t appear to be clones of your parents or grandparents, you may safely assume that several million years ago, your ancestors were apes. Not modern apes, of course. Extinct, common ancestor apes that we know weren’t gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans, even though we don’t know what they were.

My problems with this theory of evolution are fairly simple and straightforward: if humans evolved from apes, how did this happen? And if every living organism is related through descent by sex, isolation, and time, then we are cousins to all plants and animals on Earth.

So here we go, one more time: apes have 24 pair of chromosomes (48 total.)

Humans have 23 pair, or 46 total chromosomes. a mismatch in count.

About ape-to-human evolution Dr. Miller has said,

If a whole primate chromosome was lost, that would be lethal. So there’s only two possibilities. And that is, if these guys (chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans, and humans) really share a common ancestor, that ancestor either had 48 chromosomes or 46.

Nevertheless it seems to be quite logical to assume that at some point in time, a living organism with 48 chromosomes must have given birth to an organism with only 46, if we’re going to work from the assumption that humans descended from other primates.

After reading those books and many others on evolution theory, I published open letters written to biologists Jerry Coyne, Francis Collins, and Ken Miller so that I might also learn why design is considered inconceivable and descent believed without question.

Replies from Dr. Miller and a response that came from Dr. Benoit LeBlanc on behalf of biology professors (in lieu of Dr. Coyne) were published in unexpurgated form.


My question remains simple: how did humans really descend from creatures that resembled the one as claimed in the picture to the right?

According to the theory of evolution, the answer is simply sex, isolation, and time.

In this video Dr. Miller said,

What must have happened is that one pair of chromosomes must have gotten fused. We should be able to look at our genome and discover that one of our chromosomes resulted from the fusion of two primate chromosomes. So we should be able to look around our genome and you know what? If we don’t find it, then evolution is wrong, and we don’t share a common ancestor.

When I wrote Dr. Miller to question his use of the word “fusion” to describe the joining of two chromosomes, he assured me that the word was appropriate, though the official biological term for the phenomena was a “Robertsonian translocation.

A little research on Robertsonian translocations taught me the following:

  1. Robertsonian translocations are rare mutations caused by the fusion of two chromosomes in offspring created by sexual reproduction.
  2. Most cases of Robertsonian translocations are either harmful or fatal to offspring (trisomy 13 (Down), trisomy 21 (Patau), and Edwards syndromes.)
  3. In the event of “balanced” Robertsonian translocations, the individual is not harmed because no genetic information has been gained or lost.
  4. Variations in the number of chromosomes caused by fusion does not create a new species. There is a healthy human male allegedly discovered to only have 44 chromosomes, but in reality chromosomes 14 and 15 merely joined together. Nevertheless, the article found at the Stanford Tech Review reported that the man’s “chromosomes are arranged in a stable way that could be passed on if he met a nice girl who had 44 chromosomes too. And this would certainly be possible in the future given his family history.”

But how could this this possible?

If this man can’t produce viable offspring with anyone except a “nice woman” with a matching count of 44 chromosomes (presumably with the same two chromosomes fused), how could we ever have a new species of humans that only have 44 chromosomes?

If these traits are both rare and undetectable within members of a population, how do the “44s” know to pair together in order to produce viable offspring?

Before I can believe evolution is true, I need to know how these things could happen.

This article was titled Why evolution theory is probably false for these reasons:

  1. Robertsonian translocations are rare events, and usually detrimental or fatal.
  2. Genetic information cannot be added or subtracted to an existing genome without causing the offspring serious harm.
  3. Robertsonian translocations do not cause the origin of a new species. Therefore, if translocations have no relationship to the origin of new species, then any examples of an apparent translocation between two species could only be coincidence or illusion.
  4. The primary feature of other genetic abnormalities such as Klinefelter syndrome is sterility.
  5. The title of Jerry Coyne’s book is Why Evolution is True, but I don’t think it is true. I’m allowing for the possibility that I might be wrong, however.

Evolution theory tells us that unguided and unintelligent processes gradually transformed less intelligent animals into more sophisticated creatures, including from apes to human beings simply through sex and isolation, given the vagaries of time.

The “experts” can produce evidence that they claim “proves” species have originated in this way, but they don’t have the foggiest idea how it possibly could have happened. The ape on the right above had to have mated with a male ape that looked like her and matched her genetics. There’s nothing I’ve discovered in biology that might explain why their descendants would ever look significantly different.

Genetic material cannot be accurately described as information until it has been processed according to specific rules by an intelligent application to produce meaningful results.

Otherwise you end up with useless gibberish.

[hat tip to Maurice D. for posting the YouTube video featuring Dr. Ken Miller titled “How to Shut Up Pesky Creationists” that inspired this article.]


Fair-weather fans

imagesI graduated from the University of Georgia in 1983. I am a Bulldog who bleeds red and black.

In contrast, my dad never had any sort of solid connection to any particular school or football program. Rocky didn’t go to college. He was what I refer to as a “fair-weather” fan, meaning that he’d ride the bandwagon when things were going well, but at the first signs of trouble he’d be ready to hang the captain from the main mast and jump ship .

While I was in school, a Bulldog banner usually welcomed me home every Thanksgiving and remained on display until the Christmas decorations went up. But those were the glory days of Herschel Walker, Erk Russell and the Junkyard Dawgs.

Georgia won just about every regular season game during those three years, so Rocky never had time to switch his allegiance to another team before the season was over.

However, once Vince Dooley retired, the football program went through a long period of decline under the leadership of Ray Goff and Jim Donnan. I still remember a small plane circling over Sanford Stadium at every home game, pulling a banner behind it that read, “Fire Ray Goof!” and wondering if Rocky had paid for it.

Being only a fair-weather fan, Rocky loved to aggravate me if UGA was struggling when my family and I visited for the holidays. Sometimes I would even find a Yellow Jacket banner flying over my parking space when we visited for Christmas, if Tech was having a better season than my Dawgs, or managed to beat us that year.

If Rocky hadn’t died in 1997, he probably have called this week to play “Rocky Top” to me over the phone, knowing just how irritated I would get.

The game we lost to Alabama was disappointing, but the loss at Tennessee was an exceptionally bitter pill to swallow, mainly because of the gleeful, celebratory reaction of a few immature and classless Volunteer fans to the injury suffered by star Georgia running back Nick Chubb.

Because Rocky most often repeated what drunk and disgruntled Bulldog fans were saying as they hung out together in one of his favorite bars, our conversation this week probably would have gone something like this:11960191_1627447094203739_8671574475968344016_n

He wouldn’t bother to say hello, knowing I recognized the phone number. He’d jump right into attack mode. “The Bulldogs suck They’re terrible. They’re never going to win another championship, as long as Richt is their coach.”

“Hey, Dad. Thanks for calling. Nice to hear from you. Is it still hot down there? (the question refers to Savannah, not Hell.) I don’t have any idea what you’re talking about. The Bulldogs have already won two SEC championships since Mark Richt became coach.”

“Oh yeah? It’s been ten years,” Rocky would probably say.

“We were five yards away from winning the SEC and playing for the national championship only a couple of years ago, in spite of the fact our defensive coordinator was Todd Grantham.”

“Seriously, son…Georgia can’t win the big game anymore. Alabama crushed them in Athens. This past weekend they blew a three touchdown lead to Tennessee and lost in Knoxville.  They lost their best player. This season’s over. I’m telling you, Mark Richt is the problem. He’s gotten too soft.”

coach Mark Richt

coach Mark Richt

“Are you out of your mind? You didn’t see him throw his headset at the end of the Tennessee game, when we were called for a false start, and he thought the clock would be run off? Good thing you don’t know how to read lips. I know what he said, too. Coach showed plenty of emotion on the sideline just this past Saturday…Okay, for the sake of argument, I’ll play along. Who would you hire to replace him? You can forget about guys like Nick Saban and Urban Meyer — neither of them would take the pay cut. As far as losing Nick Chubb is concerned, I admit that was a terrible and unfortunate injury. The season isn’t over by a long shot though, and the future actually looks bright.”

“What if UGA hired the TCU coach, Gary Patterson?”

My eyebrows would naturally arch in surprise at the suggestion. “What about him? Patterson does win a lot of regular season games, I’ll give you that much. But when he stepped up in competition from the Mountain West to the Big 12, the first two seasons his teams went 7-6 and 4-8.”

“TCU is ranked in the top three this year.”

“True fact. Patterson’s teams have won a lot of games, to be sure. And you want to know exactly how many? His record at TCU is 132-45, a win percentage of .746, good enough for seventh place on the list of active coaches with the highest win percentage. Guess who’s right behind him in eighth place, with a record of 136-48 (four more wins) and a percentage of .739? Georgia head coach Mark Richt. They’ve won the same number of national titles — zero thus far. My point is, Coach Richt has won more total games playing a much tougher schedule in a tougher conference than Gary Patterson. Don’t get me wrong — Patterson is an excellent coach. But he wouldn’t be a significant improvement over Mark Richt. Georgia would regress, if Greg McGarity lost his mind and fired Coach Richt.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Two words: recruiting momentum. You don’t pay attention to what’s coming down the road, and I do. One kid won’t turn a team into national champions by himself, but Jacob Eason can make the difference between getting close and getting there. His talent is attracting other talented players to Georgia — this year’s recruiting class is shaping up to be something special. We’ll find out how special this team can become starting October 23rd, when #5 ranked wide receiver Kyle Davis announces his commitment. Tight end Isaac Nauta, athletes Mecole Hardman and Demetris Robertson, DL Derrick Brown, and several other highly rated prospects have expressed serious interest in committing to the program between now and February. If we fired Richt and his staff this year, there’s a good chance we won’t get most of them, and we would probably lose Eason. He’s coming to UGA from Washington to play for Mark Richt.”

Rocky never gave up easily.He would counter, “What about Kirby Smart?”

“Seriously? What about him?” I would reply. “Two more words for you: Will Muschamp. What does  Muschamp have in common with Kirby Smart? He was the defensive coordinator under Saban before Smart, before he went to Texas to work for Mack Brown. Hiring an unproven defensive coordinator as your next head coach strikes me as a pretty risky move. Besides, are you giving up on Jeremy Pruitt only one full year after giving him the DC job?”

Sooner or later, my resolve to defend Mark Richt against criticism would begin to annoy Rocky. “Well, you can still forget about the rest of this season,” he’d say. “Georgia will finish with a mediocre record and play in a meaningless bowl.”

“If we beat Missouri and Florida loses to LSU in Baton Rouge, which becomes more likely now the Gator quarterback is out for the year, we could give them their second SEC loss in Jacksonville and be tied for the SEC East. We’d own the tiebreaker. A national title is probably now out of reach for this year. We’ll need to run the table and win our remaining games, but Georgia may be able to control their own destiny, at least in the East. And you’ll be right back on the bandwagon. Now let me ask you a question — before the season started, what exactly were your expectations?”

My logic and his inability to persuade me would be grating on Rocky, so he probably wouldn’t answer that question.

Instead, he’d change the subject and say something sort of random, like: “Georgia needs a special teams coach.”

To which I would reply, “That’s sort of random, isn’t it? Are you reduced to nitpicking already? Alabama blocks one punt for a touchdown, and suddenly our coaches don’t know how to coach special teams? I like Lilly, Sherrer and Ekeler. If there was a letup where our blocker eased off instead of missing the assignment, you don’t think maybe the fact that a kid from Southern University named Devon Gales was paralyzed on a special teams play the previous week might have affected our guys? They are human beings, you know. By the way — remember what you taught me: be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.”

“What do you mean by that?” Rocky would naturally ask.

“Do you remember how Georgia came to hire Jim Donnan? It was in desperation. Glen Mason quit a week after accepting the job and decided to stay at Kansas. There’s no guarantee you’re going to find a better coach to replace Richt. It’s far more likely Georgia would get worse, not better, by getting rid of the coach. Stay the course.”

That might keep him quiet for the rest of the week, perhaps even until Georgia loses another game.

Devon Gales and the Bulldog Nation

images-5Life is more important than football.

Most people play sports simply because they love the competition. I certainly do.

For example, if you want to see me run, you basically have two options: either put a gun to my head, or a tennis racquet in my hand.

Even when the outcome of the contest has been determined, true competitors never stop playing hard.

Naturally, I’d prefer that you chose the tennis racquet over the gun. I will run to win a point, or if a very large animal is chasing me, but jogging and pleasure are mutually exclusive ideas, in my opinion.

Of course, everybody knows that Georgia plays Alabama in Sanford Stadium this coming Saturday. But we can talk about that contest later, after the game has been played.

Today we need to talk about what happened last Saturday, the tragic accident that occurred in the game against Southern University.

The halftime show by Southern’s renowned marching band was supposed to be the major highlight of the game. And the band was terrific. They put on an incredible show for the crowd in Sanford stadium.

Heck, they were entertaining people on their way inside the stadium.

And somebody forgot to tell Southern’s football team they weren’t supposed to play hard and make the game competitive.

At the  intermission the score was only 20-6, in favor of Georgia. The previously unstoppable Bulldog running game had only gained thirty-five yards prior to halftime.

To their credit, Southern’s players never stopped trying to execute their game plan, refusing to play the role of a “cupcake” opponent, even late in the third quarter, after Georgia’s lead became comfortable.

Then the tragedy struck unexpectedly, on a routine play.

While blocking on a kickoff return for the Jaguars, a young man named Devon Gales suffered a very serious spinal injury that required major surgery.

Gales currently remains paralyzed. He has transferred from Athens transferring to the Shepherd Spinal Center in Atlanta for specialized medical care.

This young man from Louisiana was just trying to make a clean, solid football play on the field. The player from UGA that he was trying to block didn’t do anything wrong, either.

One could say that it was simply bad timing, due to an awkward angle and a confluence of unfortunate circumstances. There was no malicious intent on the part of either of the players involved.

It just…happened, a freak accident that has very unfortunate consequences. Accidents happen.devon-gales-fund

And talk is cheap. Talk won’t help Devon Gales — we need to put our money where our mouths are. The Bulldog Nation needs to step up to the plate for this young man, in a big way.

Southern University has set up an official fund to which donations can be made to help this young man and his family with their medical expenses, through this link.

This weekend, 92, 746 fans will pack into Sanford Stadium to watch Georgia play Alabama. Many of these people are paying $350-$400 per ticket to see a football game being shown on national television. By my calculations, if you can afford a ticket to the game, you should be able to give $50 to the Devon Gales medical expenses fund.

Even if you blew all your money on tickets, consider this — you could sell those tickets, donate $100 to the Gales fund, take the wife to dinner, and watch the game for free on TV, like I plan to do.

Of course, I don’t actually have tickets to the game, so it’s really easy for me to suggest that you sell yours. I can’t afford to go to the game…but I can afford to give $50 to this very worthy cause.

Don’t be a cheapskate!

If only 30,000 ticket-holders to the game (not counting students or Alabama fans) gave $50 to the Devon Gales fund, we would raise $1.5 million urgently needed dollars to help this young man face the long and difficult road to recovery, still hundreds of miles from home.

In other words, his family needs every penny we can afford to give so please, give generously.

Atheists and miracles

maxresdefault-3Miracles are events that cannot be explained by natural or scientific laws —  suggesting that these inexplicable events may only happen because of divine intervention by a supernatural deity.

Therefore, it never occurred to me that an atheist might believe in miracles.

So when I watched an interview with Oprah Winfrey in which prominent atheist Dan Barker claimed that he had prayed in the name of Jesus Christ and as a result, a man was instantly healed of laryngitis, it frankly caught me by surprise.

Even more interesting was my discovery that former pastor Jerry DeWitt‘s autobiography Hope After Faith contained multiple claims of divine intervention that ranged from the mundane (“magnetically” led to find an allegedly special triangle-shaped rock) to the truly spectacular (the spontaneous healing of a brain aneurysm allegedly caused by his prayers for a miracle in the name of the Christ.) 51NMBhIfa0L._SX336_BO1,204,203,200_

Both Dan and Jerry asserted that remarkable phenomena occurred as a result of their fervent prayers — in fact, they seemed to be bragging about it. Otherwise, why would they even mention that these alleged miracles took place, if these men didn’t want us to believe something truly inexplicable had occurred because of something they had done?

Yet when pressed to provide a rational explanation for such an incredible coincidence, if it was not an act of God, atheists can’t explain what happened.

Atheist scientist Jacalyn Duffin’s involvement in the verification of an alleged miracle healing was just as impressive as Jerry DeWitt’s aneurysm story because of the medical documentation in the case.

The Vatican had rejected the claim that the victim of acute myeloblastic leukemia had been miraculously healed of a relapse after appealing in prayer to Marie-Marguerite d’Youville for intervention on her behalf. d’Youville was under consideration to become the first saint from Canada at that time.

The extreme skepticism expressed by the Vatican about the claim meant that Duffin, the atheist, would have to confirm that the cancer had indeed relapsed and subsequently went into permanent remission after the alleged miracle occurred, if d’Youville was to be canonized.

The Vatican’s position was that the disease had never relapsed, but had been in remission the whole time. However, Duffin confirmed that the cancer had indeed returned, and then mysteriously disappeared after the “miracle” cure.

Muffin confirmed that patient had a very serious form of cancer, received treatment, the cancer went into remission, but then the acute myeloblastic leukemia had come back with a vengeance.

Then a miracle occurred.

photo of J. Duffin by Wieke Eefting

photo of J. Duffin by Wieke Eefting

Duffin frankly admitted, “We speak of the medical possibility of cure in first remission, but not following a relapse.”

As a result of her contribution to the body of evidence that swayed the Vatican’s position to accept the claim as true, Duffin was invited to the ceremony in St. Peter’s Basilica. Strangely enough though, as with Dan Barker and Jerry DeWitt, Jacalyn Duffin remains an atheist in spite of her participation in the verification of the inexplicable, miraculous healing of a woman dying from cancer.

She wrote, “Though still an atheist, I believe in miracles—wondrous things that happen for which we can find no scientific explanation.”

That simply doesn’t make sense to me. How can an atheist witness miracles that have allegedly been performed in the name of Christ and still not believe in God?

Isn’t that kind of like believing in magic without a magician, or creation without a Creator?

Benefit of the doubt

DivineEvolutionCover_eBook_finalI realize that atheists aren’t that much different than me…as documented in my very first book, Divine Evolution, I described how I very nearly became an atheist myself.

In a chapter titled “Personal Experience”,  I talked about the time when I questioned whether the biblical Jesus was any more real than Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.

Therefore, I can understand how many people become atheists — especially after struggling with serious issues such as the problem of suffering and death.

As my friend Frank Boccia wrote in his essay on rationalism in regard to his experiences during the Vietnam War, sometimes good people were killed and bad people survived. Hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis also claim hundreds or even thousands of innocent lives per year.

Bad things happen to everybody, sooner or later.

The harder truth to accept is that everyone’s days are numbered. We might see the sun rise in the morning, but we also might not. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. We’re all going to die, eventually.

And I’m obviously not just saying this in an effort to cheer you up…

Probably the biggest difference between the average atheist and me (aside from belief in God, of course) is that I will freely admit that I believe supernatural miracles have actually occurred, even though it logically seems to be a point beyond dispute.

For example, the creation of this universe from nothing — meaning the Big Bang anomaly — was a supernatural miracle. So was the animation of lifeless matter.

Yet some people infatuated with science think there are “natural” scenarios by which these miracles may have occurred which are perfectly reasonable and rational. By their reasoning, any hypothesis that does not require divine intervention is considered acceptable and more believable than the alternative, which is to say “God did it!”

Now when Dan Barker told Oprah Winfrey that he prayed for a man and that man was healed, my first instinct wasn’t to accuse him of lying. If anything, I found myself wanting to ask Mr. Barker questions to find out more about the incident in question — after all, it isn’t every day that a prominent, outspoken atheist claims to have prayed for and received a miracle performed in the name of Jesus Christ.

Dan’s firsthand account of alleged divine intervention hasn’t been the only one of its kind, either.

In his book Hope After Faith, recently converted preacher-to-atheist Jerry DeWitt claimed to have been the conduit for a miracle far more remarkable than the one described by Dan Barker.

Jerry told the story about the daughter-in-law of someone he referred to as “Brother Page.” She had been hospitalized with a brain aneurysm in Mobile, Alabama.

He claimed that despite the fact he had no idea where he was going, by putting his full faith in God to lead him, Jerry drove forty miles straight to the right hospital by a force like the “sort of invisible pull between magnets.”

Without asking anyone for help or directions, Jerry chose the elevator button for the right floor. Even more incredible, in a city with several hospitals and a population around 200,000 people, without any “misses” or false turns, Jerry DeWitt claimed that he walked straight to the right room, where he found Brother Page visiting his daughter-in-law.

Convinced he had been led there by God, Jerry later wrote,

I prayed for Brother Page’s daughter-in-law but it was not a prayer of supplication. I was so convinced by my connection with God that I made a declaration. “In the name of Jesus Christ,” I thundered by the hospital bed, “be healed.” Though there were no physical signs that Brother Page’s daughter-in-law was healed that day, I strode out of the hospital in complete confidence that she had been healed.

Hmm. A truly remarkable claim — but Jerry wasn’t finished telling his extraordinary tale.

After a long, unrelated anecdote about a church revival where he’d been preaching at the time these events took place, Jerry continued his story by saying,

After the spiritual high of the revival, which concluded with the astounding news that Brother Page’s daughter-in-law had been healed from her aneurysm, I was feeling depressed and enervated. It was mystifying to me that I could move the faithful at a revival and even be guided by the hand of God to heal a sick woman, yet I could not find steady work or even keep food on the table at home. I was beginning to resent my fellow evangelists: they were not demonstrating the signs and wonders that I felt like I was demonstrating, and their messages were extremely shallow. Yet they were all far more successful than me.

Now, in all honesty, I confess that I do not believe that Dan Barker or Jerry DeWitt were directly responsible for these alleged miracles.

However, I must admit that I believe that Dan and Jerry were telling the truth about what they saw. I also believe that both men witnessed phenomena truly inexplicable according to natural law.

As with Dan, I have a few questions I’d like to ask Jerry and the doctors involved, assuming there is no evidence that she underwent surgery for this condition:

  1. Does indisputable evidence of the aneurysm exist in this woman’s medical records?
  2. Can the attending physicians confirm that the aneurysm was healed without surgery?
  3. What is the rational “medical” explanation for the disappearance of this woman’s aneurysm?
  4. In other documented cases of the treatment of an aneurysm, what percentage of them were cured by spontaneous remission?

This is not to challenge the veracity of Jerry’s “anecdote” of an atheist witnessing to a miracle; this is how I would normally attempt to gather additional information — by asking questions.

More importantly, I tend to believe guys like Dan and Jerry far more than I would believe “liars for God” (that’s a joke!) like legendary phonies Robert Tilton, Benny Hinn, or the infamous “Dr.” Mike Murdock when they claim to have witnessed a miracle. I’m willing to give Jerry and Dan the benefit of my doubt because they have no reason to lie.

Just like Jerry DeWitt, I deeply resent the wealth of Joel Ostend, Creflo Dollar, and others that I derisively call “prosperity pimps”, reaping millions of dollars in offerings by preaching a false gospel that claims God will reward those who give more than they can reward with earthly riches.

I’m not the least bit surprised that the supernatural creator of this entire universe would choose to perform a miracle through a future atheist over any of those charlatans who prey on the gullible poor.

Jerry DeWitt’s problem appears to be that he believed he “was guided by God to heal a sick woman.” But it sounds to me like Jerry has given himself glory reserved for God. Jerry didn’t heal anybody.

If his story is true, God performed the miracle of healing.