Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Opinion

November 27, 2013

LION AND THE LAMB: Three planetary riddles

CROSSVILLE — This past week anthropologists reported on DNA tests they had made on the 24,000-year-old body of a four-year-old boy found in eastern Siberia. The DNA matches that of Western Europeans who migrated from Europe during the last Ice Age and also the DNA of 25 percent of living Native Americans. The body had been found under a stone slab wearing an ivory diadem, a bead necklace, and a bird-shaped pendant.

It’s too bad that we can’t find out more about the circumstances of that little fellow’s death: how devastated the parents must have been, and how they coped with the loss. Did they believe in a deity or in an afterlife? Did they have other children? The facts and circumstances will remain a riddle across the years of time.

A second riddle appeared this month. On November 5 astronomers reported on a new analysis of data from NASA’s Kepler spacecraft: there could be as many as 40 billion Earth-size planets in our galaxy. This finding is based on the discovery that one of every five sun-like stars in the galaxy has a planet the size of Earth circling it in the “Goldilocks” zone (not too hot, not too cold) where surface temperatures should be compatible with liquid water, and life could develop. 

Astronomers have discovered two promising planets 1,200 light-years from Earth. Dr. Lisa Kaltenegger of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics envisioned the pair as a “Darwinian test tube” and wondered if life might evolve “the same way or would there be very different life?”

It’s too bad that we won’t find out any answers to this during our own lifetime. The prospect of such life in other places in the universe will remain a riddle across the miles of space for many years. It will push us, however, to move beyond the traditional three-level cosmology of heaven, earth, and hell that has bound us in the past. For example, a church sign in our county recently proclaimed “God lives in heaven and in a thankful heart.”

The first two riddles deal with situations we can’t do anything about. The third, however, deals with a problem that calls for a human solution. It has to do with the future of our own nation and empire. The prospects at this moment are not good. Dr. Henry A. Giroux, Global Television Network Chair of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University in Canada, has written the following analysis:

“At the heart of neoliberal narratives are ideologies, modes of governance, and policies that embrace a pathological individualism, a distorted notion of freedom, and a willingness both to employ state violence to suppress dissent and abandon those suffering from a collection of social problems ranging from dire poverty and joblessness to homelessness.

“In the end, these are stories about disposability in which growing numbers of groups are considered disposable and a drain on the body politic, the economy, and the sensibilities of the rich and powerful. Rather than work for a more dignified life, most Americans now work simply to survive in a survival-of-the-fittest society in which getting ahead and accumulating capital, especially for the ruling elite, is the only game in town.”

Planetary riddles are not easily solved, but we have an obligation to come to grips with the third one.  

• • •

This column by local writers is dedicated to the theme that the lion and the lamb can and must learn to live together and grow in their relationship toward one another to ensure a better world of peace and justice.  Opinions expressed in “Lion and Lamb” columns are not necessarily those of the Crossville Chronicle publisher, editor or staff.  For more information, contact Ted Braun, editor, at 277-5135.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Lion and the Lamb: A promised land?

    Back in biblical times there was a group of people who believed that God had promised them a segment of land on this planet that would be theirs forever. Who could have known back then that this ancient promise and territorial justification would be used by their descendants today to claim the same segment of land?

    July 29, 2014

  • We the People: Bring back the American dream

    Our economy continues to expand. The stock market is at record levels, yet many ask why so many of us are struggling?  Barely half of us believe the American dream is attainable.

    July 29, 2014

  • Tidbits: Taking a low-tech break

    Feeling increasingly strangled by my electronic leash, with phone, text messages, email, social media and a variety of other forms of communication always at my side, I took the weekend off.

    July 28, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Governing before and after mass corruption

    Laws in America were originally written simply. Every citizen could read them quickly and understand their meaning. The founders wrote the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Northwest Ordinance and the Constitution of the United States, none of which was longer than 4,500 words.

    July 28, 2014

  • We the People: The last dance

    Charlie Hayden’s last recording session with his early partner, Keith Jarrett, was in 2007.  The songs they played were mostly melancholy.  The second album coming from that session includes Weil’s “My Ship” and Porter’s “Every Time We Say Goodbye.” The dark ballad “Goodbye,” by Gordon Jenkins, was the final track.

    July 22, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Living in a pressure cooker

    The Gaza Strip, a small Palestinian territory about the size of Washington, D.C., has been in the news almost every day.  Its key location at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea has attracted a number of occupying powers over the years, and it has  been at the center of much Middle East history.

    July 22, 2014

  • Tidbits: The excitement of election day

    On March 12, 1996, there were 427,183 votes cast in the presidential primary election. Among those votes was mine, the first vote I cast in an election, just two days after my 18th birthday.

    July 21, 2014

  • Raising the minimum wage

    My first job from which FICA was withheld was a minimum wage job, seventy-five cents an hour. And yes, even then no one could live on that little money. However, I was a high schooler living at home where my father provided room and board. The job gave me pocket money to buy gasoline, to take my girlfriend out for movies and burgers, and to buy tickets for baseball games.

    July 21, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Children on the move

    The news this past week has focused on the humanitarian crisis developing on our southern border. Thousands of unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras seeking to escape from the violence, human trafficking and extreme poverty in their countries have been entering the United States.

    July 15, 2014

  • We the People: Memo to gun rights groups

    The recent incident in California helps us understand why we cannot rely on mental health services alone to solve the problem of gun violence.

    July 15, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice
Graduation 2014