Excerpt: BOFAW, Chap. 19, Carnival.


carnival, n: an organized program of entertainment.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Although, for some people, Christmas is a Holy event, for most it includes some aspect of the spirit of “carnival.”

I have a friend who is an avowed atheist. He regards believers as religious nutcases, but that does not interfere with our friendship. Recently we were spiritually sparring and he laughed and said, “Our problem as atheists is that we have no ‘architecture’ that is inspiring.” We both enjoyed a hearty laugh. [“Theology should be fun!” (Robert Capon)] I didn’t think to ask him if atheists also lacked music that inspired them. While I find the tinny Christmas tunes, blaring out at malls and stores often before Thanksgiving, irritating, there is a plethora of beautiful music available. Handel’s “Messiah” might be on one end of the spectrum and “Please Daddy Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas” on the other. The last count I saw showed that over 1400 different Christmas albums, ranging from sacred to secular to silly, are available from a wide range of groups and soloists. Although I suspect that most modern naturalists find shopping malls abhorrent, most would not be above appreciating the “carnival” event staged by the American Festival Chorus.

Thanks to Kristal Leonard Photography for the beautiful photo.

Yosemite chapel








 Although many Christians celebrate “Epiphany” on Jan.6th people can and do experience epiphanies any time of year. They are related to “eureka” and “a-ha” moments of revelation. They can be small and playful or an overwhelming explosion of physical, mental and spiritual synergism. For many mysterious reasons, John Muir and Moses etal knew that they are more common on mountain tops. Henry Thoreau regarded “sauntering” as nothing less than a walk to “The Holy Land,” which is the emotion Jennifer Schooley shared with me.  John Muir stood at that very spot in Yosemite Valley and called it a “cathedral;” it is little wonder Jennifer was “driven to her knees.” However, her revelation is as powerful as her precious photo.  

Thanks Jennifer for the early Epiphany gift. LY

Christmas—Scrooge—Scientists—The Grinch







 Contrary to what some uppity, even proprietary Christians may proclaim, the ritual of giving gifts did not begin 2013 years ago in Bethlehem. The essence, which is steeped in human spirituality, began to emerge out of the darkness of purely instinctive behavior about 100,000 years ago. It is intriguing to wonder who the first “caveman” or “cave woman” was who crafted something out of wood or stone, or perhaps found a rare gemstone, and offered it to a “loved one” as a gift. The practice has improved as human culture and creativity have improved, but the urge to share gifts is as ancient and universal as a motherly love. Paraphrasing John Woolman; “It is deep and inward, confined to no forms of religion, nor excluded from any.”

It is because of the universality of giving that all of humanity can celebrate the essence, if not the religious aspect, of Christmas. I have Jewish, Buddhist and Native American friends who exchange gifts at Christmastime. There are many non-believers and agnostics who experience the joy of giving and receiving gifts.

On the other hand, there are few stories, like the 2,000 mile round-trip that three “astrologers” took to offer their most precious gifts to the Christ-child, that help illuminate spirituality.  Or who could read Charles Dickens’, “A Christmas Carol” and conclude that Ebenezer Scrooge, not Tiny Tim, was the hero of the story. Using his signature tool of irony in, “Gift of the Magi,” O.Henry poignantly tells the story of the deep love that a young married couple shared at Christmas.

In all of stories, the gifts were merely symbols of a deeper human calling.

I strongly suspect that with 10 children, Charles Darwin celebrated the Christmas Holiday, even though his theory had no explanation for the emergence of spirituality. Sharks have been cruising through the oceans for over 450 million years; birds have been flying the skies for over 100 million years; the survival of all of these animals is heavily, if not totally, dependent on instinctive behavior. In other words, they have little need for values, consciousness and free will.

 This is what Loren Eiseley was referring to when he wrote:

“I have been accused of wooly-mindedness for entertaining

even hope for man. I can only respond that

in the dim morning shadows of humanity, the inarticulate

creature who first hesitantly formed the words

for pity and love must have received similar guffaws

around a fire. Yet some men listened, for the words

survive.”     The Immense Journey


There is no scientific theory or utilitarian philosophy that can explain the mystery, magic, wonder and joy that many (especially children) experience at Christmastime. For scientists who have put all of their trust and faith in science, Christmas must be like one of Scrooge’s nightmares. We can only hope that they will have a “Grinchian” epiphany and discover: “Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store, maybe Christmas—perhaps, means a little bit more.” Dr. Seuss

Thanksgiving In Napa Valley






 For many mysterious (and some might claim unjust) reasons, the Thanksgiving Day challenge for an overwhelming number of American families, will not be of starvation or a meager food supply; the challenge will be how to limit the menu while ensuring that each attending guest gets to enjoy his/her favorite dish. For many St. Helenans, wine is an important accent for the dinner table, however, selection can be overwhelming. There are currently 3,754 California wineries, 8,806 wineries in the US and many high-quality imported wines are available from France, Germany, Italy and Australia. There are over 300 varieties of red grapes and 150 varieties of white grapes and it is estimated that there are over 75,000 types of wine being produced worldwide.

The endless possibilities for an hors d’oeuvre array are only limited by the host’s imagination. There are at least 20 varieties of dinner rolls available. The Food Network lists 48 traditional thanksgiving salads. Should the main course be the traditional roast turkey, or beef tri-tip, ham, pork crown-roast or fresh salmon or Dungeness Crab?  Better Homes offers a magazine with over 200 traditional holiday recipes. The Cooking Channel offers a list of 70 traditional Thanksgiving dinner side dishes. There are endless vegetable dishes featuring Brussels sprouts, various mushrooms, green and yellow beans, corn, peas, spinach, cabbage, bok choy, celery, chard, carrots, yams, roasted garlic, several squash varieties, broccoli, beets, and sweet potatoes. There are at least 20 traditional Thanksgiving desserts, but chefs are, of course, free to substitute non-traditional, family favorites. With such an overflowing cornucopia, it is little wonder that Brother David Steindl-Rast wrote his wonderful book, Gratefulness The Heart of Prayer.


Acorns—“Indians” and Wendell Berry






Excerpt: BOFAW, Chap. 29, Wayne.

 Every time I find an arrowhead on our property, I pause to pay

homage to the people who lived here 12,000 years before me. They

lived at peace with nature and left no scars or evidence of their

existence except for a few arrowheads and an occasional mortar

and/or pestle.  

 The pageant of human evolution is a drama on a grand scale. Shakespeare called the world a stage and all of us players. Even though we are theoretically capable of comprehending the past, most of us struggle with internalizing what life must have been like for a typical Native American family living here in the Napa Valley 12,000 years ago.

These people were primarily hunter/gatherers who were intimately connected to the land on a daily basis. They had great knowledge of the native plants and animals and used them for every facet of their culture. Obviously, there were no cars, hardware stores, lumber yards, grocery stores, pharmacies or doctor’s offices. A food “crisis” for most US teens occurs when the “fridge” is empty and mom or dad needs to go grocery shopping.

We are richly blessed to have a home on nearly 2 acres that have many oak trees representing four species: Quercus lobata (valley oak), Quercus douglasii (blue oak), Quercus wislizenii (Interior live oak), and Quercus garryana (White or Oregon oak).

Acorns were an extremely important part of the Indian diet and the quality of the annual crop played an important role in tribal survival. To complicate matters, many oaks typically bear acorns on a biennial basis.

Each fall we watch the acorns drop on the ground and imagine families eagerly gathering them to add to their cache of vitally essential provisions. This year was a bumper crop and we can imagine children with tummies filled with the various acorn concoctions. Other years however, there are practically no acorns and we wonder if children went to bed hungry.

Exact population numbers of California Indians are uncertain, but scholars generally agree that at one time at least 700,000 people were distributed around the state in about 50 tribes. That meant that the population density maxed out at about 4 people per square mile. California’s current population of 38 million people is nearly 60 times greater or 242 people per square mile.

 I recently had the privilege of watching Wendell Berry interviewed on PBS. He is a master story teller who weaves pastoral tapestries of people interrelating with their natural world.  Throughout the interview his eyes sparkled and danced, especially when he arrived at one of many poignant moments. There was, however, something deeply troubling about his message. He opined that the only hope for America is that of people returning to the land and leading more simplistic, economical lives.

 The recent trend of small farms adopting “organic” practices is encouraging, however, their production costs are typically higher resulting in more expensive food. About 100 years ago, 95% of Americans lived on farms or rural areas and 5% lived in urban areas. Those numbers have reversed which means that 95% of Americans are city/town-dwellers with little interest or ability to provide food.

 The tragic reality is that 350 million Americans can not return to agrarian living. There is not enough arable land and costs would be prohibitive. Circa 1995, UC Davis’ college of agriculture estimated that the startup cost for a small family-owned and operated California farm would be a minimum of $1,000,000.

 Environmentalists like Berry deplore many of the practices of the mega-agribusiness, however, they have been highly successful at keeping the cost of food down so millions of Americans can afford to eat.

 Anthropologist Loren Eiseley warned us in, The Immense Journey:

 “… but just as instinct may fail an animal under some shift of

environmental conditions, so man’s cultural beliefs may prove

inadequate to meet a new situation…

 In this case, the “cultural beliefs” that Eiseley was referring to involve “agriculture” and, the harsh reality is that less than 5% of the American people are capable of surviving like the First-Nation people.



Lily Tomlin—Chimpanzees and Darwin







“Great men are those who see that the spiritual is stronger than any material force, that thoughts rule the world.” R.W. Emerson

Excerpt: BOFAW, Chap 1, “Lettie’s Question.”


The students were working out of lab guides and only had occasional questions. As I approached Lettie, a bright, highly motivated girl, she took her hand out of her pig, looked up, and asked, “Mr. Young, is this really important? Memorizing all the parts of a pig is a lot of work, and I was just wondering if it were really important in the big picture.”

In Stephen Hawking’s latest book, The Great Design, he properly opines that science can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God. However, he then contradicts himself by attempting to use his “science” to prove that the concept of God is obsolete. One of his latest theories is that the universe is so complex that it made itself out of “nothing.” This not only contradicts the accepted laws of conservation of matter/energy, ironically it parallels the religious belief that God appeared out of nothing. Neither opinion can be proven so the mystery remains. Furthermore, Hawking has done exactly what Loren Eiseley, The Immense Journey: The Secret of Life, properly accused scientists of doing.

“With the failure of those many efforts (creating life) science was left in the somewhat embarrassing position of having to postulate theories of living organisms which it could not demonstrate. After chiding the theologian for his reliance on myth and miracle, science found itself in the unenviable position of having to create a mythology of its own…”

This is exactly what Hawking is doing and spirit-blind scientists support him whole-heartedly.

Fellow countryman, Richard Dawkins, seems to be obsessed with showing that Darwinism can actually prove that God does not exist. Furthermore, he professes that those who disagree with him must be either ignorant or mentally challenged. The odd thing, in both cases, is that if God does not exist, why bother to try to prove a negative?

Devout Darwinists boldly point out that modern chimpanzees and humans share 97% of their DNA. Somehow, this too is supposed to prove that chance and competition created humans, a claim Darwin found “impossible” to believe. These scientists seem to fail to grasp (or acknowledge) that the 3% variation represents a quantum (and unexplained) leap to modern humans. Imagine a concert pianist playing a Mozart concerto which may last over 1 hour. His/her fingers fly up and down the keyboard, playing perhaps 100,000 notes. Again, imagine Michelangelo brilliantly painting the ceiling of The Sistine Chapel in Rome. Now, imagine a chimpanzee accomplishing either miracle.

Alfred Wallace etal, have properly shown that Darwin’s TOE can not explain how or why some humans are extraordinarily gifted, musically, mathematically or artistically.  There is simply no genetic model that works.

In 1985, Jane Wagner published a best-selling book, The Search For Signs Of Intelligent Life In The Universe. In another display of genius, Lily Tomlin committed the book to memory and took in on Broadway as a one-woman monologue. Her performance was not only brilliant, the message she was bearing was equally so.

“They said, “Trudy, we see now, intelligence is just the tip of the iceberg. The more you know, the less knowing the meaning of things means. So, forget the “meaning of life.”

I didn’t tell them, of course, I had.

See, its not so much what we know, but how we know, and what it is about us that needs to know.

The intriguing part: Of all the things we’ve learned, we still haven’t learned

where did this desire to want to know come from?…

We know a lot about the beginnings of life, Biogenesis.

But so what? What’s more impressive is that from biogenesis evolved life forms intelligent enough to think up a word like “biogenesis.”

So no matter how much we know, there’s more to knowing than we could ever know.

Isaac Newton secretly admitted to some friends: He understood how gravity behaved, but not how it worked.

We’re thinking maybe the secrets about life we don’t understand are the “cosmic carrots” in front of our noses that keep us going.

So maybe we should stop trying to figure out the meaning of life and sit back and enjoy the mystery of life.

The operative word here is what?


Not meaning.

This “need to know” may be traced  all the way back to the “The Garden” and may be why the eminent anthropologist Loren Eiseley wrote; “The story of Eden is a greater allegory than man has ever guessed…Time and darkness, knowledge of good and evil, have walked with him ever since.”

It may also be why our 7-year-old granddaughter, after hearing a children’s version of “The Creation Story,” offered, “I think they should have eaten the apple. It has made life more interesting.”


Sex in Paradise—Darwin—Wallace—Intelligent Design

Aru Islands, Indonesia: Greater Bird of Paradise





Sex in Paradise—Darwin—Wallace—Intelligent Design

 WARNING: One of the scenes in this video is sexually explicit and intended for mature viewers only.

Excerpt BOFAW: Chap. 26, “Soul Medicine.”

 I pointed out that in both lions and humans sexual behavior is driven

by a phenomenon we call instinct. To illustrate the point, I asked,

“How many of you guys had to have your mom or dad teach you how

to have an erection?” The girls giggled nervously; the guys looked

shocked, but quickly broke into laughter. No hands were raised.



Here is something to ponder!  The mammals, that would eventually become humans, began having sex over 150 million years ago. However, with the exception of some additional knowledge gained about the structure/function correlation of the human reproductive process, many of the mental factors and nearly all of the spiritual factors remain mysterious.

An interesting aside is that Alfred Wallace (Darwin’s contemporary) developed his own theory of evolution. After studying Birds of Paradise and other exotic jungle birds, he challenged Darwin’s theory that such beauty and complexity could not be the result of mere chance and competition. He maintained that there must be some hidden spiritual force behind their existence. This was one of the first examples of a scientist suggesting the probability of “Intelligent Design” as a guiding force in evolution.

John Muir stated, “On no subject are our ideas more warped and pitiable than on death.”


A close second to Muir’s aphorism could be that our ideas about human sexuality are often warped and pitiable. It was not directly stated as a goal, however, if the process of “going for a walk” meant “going in,” it necessarily involved students discovering who they were and some of the multitudinous aspects of their emerging sexuality. After the arduous struggle to reach the top of Half Dome, it was not uncommon for girls to describe a deeper affinity to “Mother Nature,” or “Mother Earth” and the guys to experience a surging sense of their masculinity. Psychologists would surely describe this as discovering dimensions of their emerging sexuality.

Toby wrote;

“When we got to the top of Half Dome…there was a slab

of rock about six-feet wide, twelve feet long and about

four-feet deep. I carefully inched my way out. Slowly,

slowly, I decided to focus on the rock and not look down.

When I got to the end, I very carefully stuck one leg

at a time over the edge. After I was settled, I leaned over

and looked down between my legs into 4,800 hundred

feet of free air. At first, I couldn’t breathe, and then

my balls jumped up into my chest. I was about to explode.

My heart was pounding. I thought if an earthquake hits now,

it’s all over. I quickly got back on my knees, carefully pivoted,

and crept back to safety.”

Several classes approached the matter of human copulation from an impersonal, pragmatic perspective and concluded that the process, although biologically imperative, was bizarre, weird, intriguing, scary, beautiful, and a dozen other possibilities. What was not open for discussion was the acknowledgement that their parents had to have sex to procreate them. That was deemed gross, yucky, disgusting and involved too much information.  I usually tried not to laugh.

In truth, the process of humans having sex is quite miraculous, and aside from being necessary for procreation, remains one of the greatest human mysteries.

When the subject of “love” came up, it was usually considered using the Greek triad of eros (carnal or erotic love) philos (brotherly love) and agape (spiritual love). Whether on the trips, or in the classroom, the discussions were strictly platonic (as far as I know) ;o).

Typically, the guys were mostly curious about the“eros” kind of love while the girls intuitively sensed that the act of “love-making,” was just the tip of a proverbial iceberg which included deeper real and or symbolic meanings. The girls were usually able to communicate that they agreed that having sex was an important part of a healthy marriage, however, they regarded it as merely one link in a marital chain that would ultimately involve many other links. The concept of “agape” or spiritual love was mentioned, but properly left undefined. They agreed that if it were truly spiritual it could not be defined. Remembering the “reptilian brain” I had in high school, I was always in awe to hear students discuss issues like this at such a mature level. I was supremely privileged to share in their discussions which sometimes would have shocked many adults, especially their parents. I know this because I was never quite comfortable with such discussions with our own children.


Just as “spirituality” was not directly sought (or taught), each student’s path of seeking his/her personal gender evolution was his/her private business. Whether in the classroom, on the trails, in tents, cabins or motel rooms, the girls learned much from each other about being a girl; guys learned from each other about being a guy; and they all learned much about the opposite gender.

Once, while sitting around a Yosemite campfire, we were discussing the life-cycle and mating behavior of bears. I casually pointed out some differences between bears and humans and mentioned that human males typically reach their sexual peak about 17-18 years of age. One of the 50-year-old male chaperones laughed and said, “Can’t you say plateau rather than peak?” The circle began to chuckle with him.

It was well known among backpackers that Yosemite bears were particularly fond of girl’s cosmetics and make-up. Therefore, before each backpacking hike, the girls were asked to leave their cosmetics back in the bear-proof boxes in the Valley.  Frequently, the guys mentioned that the girls seemed more natural and approachable without their make-up. The girls appreciated the thoughtfulness of the guys and enjoyed not spending the 30 mins-to 1 hour putting the make-up on. As soon as they got home, the make-up went back on.

Darwin and Mendel clearly illustrated that the process of sexual reproduction was necessary to enhance the shuffling and redistribution of genes, however, there are many profound, and often beguiling, mysteries associated with human sexual reproduction. Anyone doubting this should ask a left-brain-dominant scientist to reduce the description of either a male or female orgasm to a formula. And, just to keep the playing field even, he/she should ask a local priest, pastor or rabbi what God had in mind when He/She designed human eroticism.  Little wonder the ancient Sanskrit writers described the human male penis as “The Wand of Light.” 

Happy Halloween!





Trick or Treat?

 Native Americans enjoyed the fact(?) that the raven, crow, coyote and fox all display behavior that suggests that they appreciate a sense of humor. During a wonderful encounter with a fox pup, Loren Eiseley wrote, “Yet here was the thing in the midst of the bones, the wide-eyed innocent fox inviting me to play, with, with the innate courtesy of its two forepaws placed appealingly together, along with a mock shake of the head. The universe was swinging in some fantastic fashion around to show its face, and the face was so small that the universe itself was laughing.” The Innocent Fox: The Star Thrower.

 We have one or more foxes that visit our property on a nightly basis. Unlike our two cats that discretely bury their poop, the foxes proudly(?) deposit their waste as a highly visible “calling card.” There seems to be no end to their creative selection of deposit sites. We have a min-trail for each of 9 grandchildren and the foxes frequently make deposits at the respective trailheads as if they are claiming it as their own. We have many large boulders on the property and they seem to delight(?) in making a deposit on top of the rocks. The image of them balancing on top of a rock to do their business is hilarious. We frequently have “cards” dropped on our deck, along the trails and on the doormat at the entrance to my workshop. Today is Halloween and the fox seemed to be up for the celebration. Christie feeds her cats with tea saucers which she leaves on our back stoop. This morning, when she went for the daily newspaper, she discovered that a fox had left his/her calling card right in the middle of one of the saucers.


 Happy Halloween!



Out for a walk 032





John Muir and Darwin Discuss Evolution (Kinda)

(Bust sculpted by Rob Hampton 1985)

I have read and reread Muir’s writings for over 40 years. And while I don’t recall that he discussed evolution, he often described “gloriously beautiful monuments of nature” (many in Yosemite) as “sparks of the divine soul.”

In the preface of John Muir’s America, T.H. Watkins writes:

“The writer approaches this life story with caution. There is, above all, the problem with infatuation. As Catherine Drinker Bowen has pointed out, the biographer’s relationship to his subject should parallel that of a successful marriage, beginning with some touchstone of passion and moving from that to commitment, shared experience, acceptance, and finally to the quality of understanding which can sometimes be called wisdom.”

After, what surely must have been exhaustive reading and research, Watkins made a bold leap of faith and had either the courage or audacity to write three hypothetical dialogues with himself and a reincarnated John Muir. This can only be attempted when one arrives at a state of knowing his subject, perhaps better than a birth brother.

His conversations occurred at Muir’s home in Martinez, Ca., The South Grove of Calaveras Big trees State Park, Arnold, Ca., and Yosemite Valley, Ca.

Each conversation includes numerous poignant qualities covering a wide range of subjects including natural history, the wilderness ethic, conservation and socio-cultural interactions including politics and religion. Many were useful, however, one of the most timely and powerful moments occurred during a relaxed conversation on the veranda of Muir’s home in Martinez, Ca.

Muir talks about his life and work, building a successful farm to support his wife and family. When asked why he did not take out a patent for over 50 inventions he replied:

            “Weel, the fact of it was that I didn’t care much about money in those days. Or ever, for that matter. ‘Twas  a tool, nothing more, and it seemed to me that there was a guid deal more to life than the getting of it. Still, that was na the deep-down reason for not patenting my machines. I had this belief, you see—and the guid God knows I believed it with all the passion of youth—that man was inevitably on the road to perfection. I believed that machines were a part of that forward movement that would free men to pursue higher things, to learn more of God’s great work in the world and their place in it. If that were the case, then machines had to be acts of God quite as much as creations of man, and therefore all improvements and inventions should be the common property of the human race. No inventor had the right to profit by an invention. It was inspired by God and belonged to all mankind…I realized that inventions were not freeing men, they were enslaving them. Inventions—aye including my own—were appropriated by men with cold eyes and colder hearts.

Watkins, [Men like Thomas Huxley?]

Muir, “Huxley—that bloodless coof! That fool! He and his kind took the work of Darwin and twisted it to fit their vision of the world. And damn, what a cold and heartless world have had it be. They called it ‘survival of the fittest’ but no matter what they might have called it, it was a damnable theory, a dark chilly reasoning that chance and competition accounted for all things. Oh it was a useful theory—that I canna deny. It justified all manner of cruelty, just as my father’s piety excused all manner of cruelty to his children. Should a man be inspired to destroy his best friend in the marketplace, why, he could shrug it off as the natural consequence of living in the great soulless machine of the cosmos. But it was a damnable theory, I tell you. Damnable because it ignored the one real truth of the world, the truth that lives in every rock, flower, leaf, tree and animal—including man: it was all created by a loving God, and His love covers all the earth as the sky covers it, and fills it in every pore.”

It seems as if Muir was aware of what Darwin wrote in his autobiography:

 “Another source of conviction in the existence of God, connected with reason and not feelings, impresses me as having much more weight. This follows from the extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man with his capacity of looking far backwards and far into futurity, as the result of blind chance or necessity. When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and deserve to be called a Theist.”

Watkins wrote, John Muir’s America in 1972.  I appreciate his work more now than the very first time I read it in 1979. Although several readers of BOFAW have said that the book gives them hope, I fear that Loren Eiseley was correct (1946) when he described a great spiritual malaise settling over the United States. In 1972 Watkins predicted our current state of evolutionary awareness. I doubt that less than one high school teacher (or college or university professor) in 1000 shares the above paragraph with his/her students. Biology teachers (at any level) who are not aware of Darwin’s statement on faith are scientifically and intellectually inept. Those who are aware of it and intentionally deceive students by not sharing it are guilty of “twisting” the truth to fit their narrow vision of the world. For the sake of political correctness (and other factors) our schools, colleges and universities are being spiritually “sanitized” which could mean that  people like Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins and other humanists are winning the secular battle. If they do, Loren Eiseley predicted that man will cease to be “human.”  Muir /Watkins described it as a dark, chilly reasoning where chance and competition have become gods and men can kill each other in the marketplace without any sense of remorse. Many of our inner cities are following this destructive path.

Chief Seattle described this as “the end of living and the beginning of survival.”  

The Darwin -Wallace Debate Continues






The Darwin and Wallace Debate Continues

This video fascinates me at many levels. A geophysicist wrote a book about Grand Canyon rock formations and called the process “miraculous.” An ornithologist wrote a book on feathers and called their structure and function miraculous. Gordon Taylor (British anthropologist) suggests that Darwin’s theory of evolution can not explain the emergence of organs of extreme perfection. Alfred Wallace spent several years studying the Birds of Paradise and argued with Darwin that the birds were miraculous and could not be explained by the simple expedient of chance and competition. And finally, the Cornell evolutionary biologist, Ed Scholes, describes the Birds of Paradise as a miracle of evolution which compels him to ponder how and why did this happen?

Paraphrasing the powerful (yet passionate) writing of anthropologist Loren Eiseley; perhaps in the steamy jungles of New Guinea, moved the eternal mystery, the careful finger of God. Eisely also suggested that mysteries, marvels and miracles of nature are always worth contemplating and talking about.