John Cole, editor of Creation/Evolution, recently wrote of his tendency toward hair-pulling, in the National Centre for Science Education Reports, Vol 12 No 2 (Summer 1992).

Anti-evolutionists continue to contradict optimists who would like to think that we’re about to enter the 21st Century. Unscientific and anti-scientific ideas abound in our society.

The coming Millennium has already inspired Millenarian thinking such as the writings of Hal Lindsay (The Late Great Planet Earth) — i.e., that the “End Times” are approaching with a “promise” of Armageddon (and that’s from the optimists!). The Lubbovitcher Rebbe recently declared that the Messiah is among us, so Jews, he says, should be ready to celebrate the end by 2000 (he hints that he may be the one).

We can expect a lot of craziness in the next few years because of the calendar. As an example of this, an environmental policymaker recently asked me for information about the projected effect of the millennium on the Earth’s magnetic field and climate. I was taken aback, at first, but I then tried to explain that “2000” was an arbitrary number — why not use the Jewish calendar, for example? 2000 is not even an accurate date if you accept it as meaning the number of years since the birth of Jesus — which scholars now treat as 4 to 7 years “B.C.” if they accept it at all. (And for that matter, 2001 C.E. begins the next millennium, not 2000.)

But this guy persisted — interested in my argument about the calendar, certainly, but still concerned. “Could you give me some references on that?” I was asked.

Examples like this show the need to keep trying, I think, rather than the futility of trying. (However, hair-pulling and discreet screaming may well be in order…)

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