I retired a number of years ago and no longer work in the area. I lost contact with the two of them, and don't even know if they are still alive. (sad!) Nonetheless, I want to relate here how that friendship impacted each of our lives. I think all three of us learned much from each other and maybe you will too as I tell you more about our conversations.
None of us particularly like the food at McDonalds. It is just a convenient place to meet since Dr. Joe and John live close by, and my office was a short distance away. Dr. Joe had never eaten the food at McDonalds. He even brought in his own coffee or can of caffeine-free Coca Cola to the morning get-togethers. I am sure Joe will probably outlive John and I as a result of his abstinence.
More important than the food, we used these gatherings to talk about the news. The conversations were usually focused on politics or how well our local professional ball teams were doing. But then, occasionally, we talked about life. Sometimes that part of our conversation was philosophical. Sometimes it was just nostalgic and humorous. Other times, we might have talked about some scientific article we read or perhaps a television special on the Discovery Channel or a public television network.
One morning, for example, Dr. Joe brought in a magazine article that explained why my dentist had trouble numbing me for the replacement of an old crown in the lower left side of my mouth. All I can say about that is beware of “the difficulties of applying anesthesia to the buccal cortical plate of the mandible”. Understand? Don’t worry…I don’t either.
On several occasions, the conversation had covered the subject of Creation and the Big Bang theory. I felt a little more comfortable with that subject. John and I were pretty much on the same page with this subject and fully support the Big Bang theory. However, Dr. Joe is a Christian Fundamentalist. As such, he views Creation as it is described in Genesis. He believes it to be an accurate account of how the Cosmos and planet Earth came into being. Even so, Dr. Joe encouraged us to speak our minds. I admire him for that, not to mention my admiration for anyone making it through dental school. The three of us got along very well, despite our often polar views.
I was brought up as a Baptist in a college town. As such, our minister was probably a much more open-minded with his sermons and biblical interpretations than to anything John or Joe was ever exposed. Because so many members of my church were scientists or teachers of scientific subjects, most would accept nothing on blind faith alone. The rigors of formal proof were the code by which they either accepted or rejected what they heard and read. Knowing that, I believe the minister at our church adjusted his sermons so as not to lose church membership. I can recall a lot of those sermons. They were often more like college lectures than the traditional sermons experienced in most other Christian ministries.
On one particular day, the subject of conversation between Joe, John and me sparked another friendly debate where our varying views relative to the Biblical scriptures found us fundamentally apart. We were discussing evolution. I believe John was talking about a TV program on the Discovery Channel entitled “Walking With Cavemen” . John was mentioning Darwin and the belief among anthropologists that we as humans had evolved from apes. John was relating the compelling evidence shown in the TV program. Of course, Dr. Joe was pulling out the details of the Bible’s account of Adam and Eve, along with the scripture that says God created Man in his own image and most certainly not that of a chimpanzee.
Seeing the huge chasm between John’s beliefs and Joe’s, I did not dare take it a step further with my own. Joe and John both would have considered voting me out of the Breakfast Club if I had thrown in my two-cents worth and mentioned the fact that I felt we had actually evolved from the cast-off heavy elements of dying stars.
From my view, the transition from apes was a much later link in the evolutionary chain. I subscribe to those who believe we first had to work our way up through the evolutionary chain from single-cell organisms to fish in the sea. Then the process of life, that God had put into motion, would gradually turn those fins of air-breathing fish into hands of an upright human through a chain of vertebrate creations. This evolution from the fish to man would span nearly 350 million years.
I will probably be tarred and feathered by some readers of this, assuming SOMEONE does read this. Like I said in my first installment to this blog subject. These are only my personal views and conclusions. Joe did not agree with me, and I feel certain John was only willing to reach back to Darwin's ape. I don't want to dwell on this, as I write more, I am sure all readers regardless of religion or lack thereof, will find some blog entries coincidental with their own thoughts. Stay tuned!
I miss those conversations with Joe and John at McDonalds. Feel free to comment and express your own views regarding the subject of evolution. I am open to anyone's thoughts.