In the course of this undertaking I have been struck consistently with the ability of people to ignore the issue – you know, kinship is needed for normal fertility.  Were the evidence weak I should not be surprised.  But the evidence is very strong indeed.  I have presented more and better evidence from more varied sources than any scientific theory ever had without being accepted.  The book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, as I have mentioned, explains this.  People see what they expect to see.  Just looking harder and being more careful does not change that.  Professionals effectively sworn to seek the truth cannot, in fact, keep the promise.  They are bound to their “paradigm” beyond the call of sanity.

I find my own attitude is different.  I will do a one eighty if the evidence is presented.  Until recently I took the position that evolution as currently accepted has had a serious flaw ever since Pasteur.  Pasteur showed that life only comes from life, and no exception has ever been shown.  Well maybe you can make a microbe from scratch with modern techniques, but there is no way the same process occurred by the same steps in nature. 

If life comes from life, where did the first life come from?  It was a puzzle.  It was a contradiction.  But then quite serenely but passionately a lecturer at the Charlotte meeting of the American College of Medical Genetics this past spring proposed a mechanism.  I was thunderstruck.  During question session, I asked whether this had been published.  He said vital elements in it had, but nobody had put it together before and that he himself had not published.  So I cannot tell you what it was, much as I would like to.  But the physical chemistry he presented was quite plausible, and I no longer consider the issue a problem.  There is a theory. 

The lecture was in a closed session, although anybody could have signed up for the meeting, and in day of social networking the news should have gone viral.  But it did not.  He faced the same problem I do.  It is not what is expected, so people do not hear. 

But I was quite willing to change what I believed. 

So there is something a bit odd about me.  There are two ways I might have inherited the trait of being willing to believe that the authorities have been wrong.  One possibility is my Scotch Irish forbears.  (Yes, I know people would say “Scots Irish” or “Scottish Irish,” but since I am one I get to call myself what I wish.  Depriving a group of their ancient name is a way of dehumanizing them.) 

The feudal system came rather late to Scotland.  When it was established the rule was that everybody owed allegiance and had rights to land use that were dependant on somebody who had allegiance to somebody higher until it all wound up at the king.  If your property had been farmed by you and your ancestors for thousands of years but they were not in the chain, you were out of luck.  If you thought this unfair and did not recognize the intrusive system then you were by definition an outlaw.  Yet to my thinking, this was the only honorable choice.

At the other end of the food chain is my paternal line.  If you go back son to father you will eventually run into a dead end in a few centuries.  Yet that dead end has a plausible connection with people of the same name in the British Isles.  If you believe that one, then the family is again traceable for centuries to another dead end.  But there is a plausible connection (yes the same names occur) with France, which if true can be followed more centuries until it comes to an end in the Dark Ages.  Yet there is another connection postulated in the book The Da Vinci Code.  (We always called him de Vinci, as is written on his tomb.  I’ve seen it.)  From there the line goes back to Mary Magdalene and thence straight to Adam.  And sure enough there is a patriarch “Eber.” 

So believe the documents and three undocumented legends (yes, each connection story has a venerable history) and you get the longest genealogy there can be. 

Now about the Magdalene connection, it can’t be true if everything else is true.  There are four things that have characterized Herberts through the millennia.  The most obvious are that we are stodgy, respectable and really like women.  There is no way for Jesus to have been a Herbert and to let himself get killed if he was responsible for a pregnant woman.  Well of course, arguably he wasn’t in the line but he had grown up in the tradition and such an outrageous betrayal would have been beyond him.  On the other hand, he had brothers.  One of those might have married Mary whether he had or not.  It would have been highly respectable, in fact expected.  And in that case there would be no question of succession.  His brothers were sons of Joseph. 

For many years Herberts were prosperous farmers in the South.  I’ve seen the ruins of the old mansion, a story in itself.  Eventually that meant owning slaves.  But an ancestor, while slavery was very lucrative and still the law of the land, gave it up to become a minister.  I think he didn’t like slavery and defied what was then the expectation.  Still, later on when there was the Second American War of Independence, at least one Herbert became a distinguished officer of the Confederacy.  That’s two treasons right there. 

Hopping back to England, there is a story of an ancestor who served a king who was faced with a rebellion.  Herbert was asked to use his considerable resources to capture a castle.  He set up a siege and arranged for the surrender of the castle.  The king sent an order that the defender should hang.  Herbert refused.  The king said, “But I’ve sworn he would hang.”  Herbert replied, “The word of a Herbert is as good as the word of a king, and I’ve promised to spare him, so if you like I’ll put him back in his castle and you can have a try at it.”  That line began with a king’s chamberlain, which is a high office, but subsequently we find a Herbert who was a forester, maybe a bit like Aragorn in Lord of the Rings.  You couldn’t hunt in the king’s forest.  That would be inviting an assassination.  (“Darn, I was shooting at a deer.”)  Of course the deer had to be culled and if the forester was good, he knew who was having hard times and probably would drop off a deer from time to time where it would do the most good.  Still, forester is quite a drop from chamberlain.  I suspect there was another treason behind it.

Then skip over to France.  A certain Count of Vermandois got a letter from the king of France, “You don’t do what I tell you to.  But you ought to.  After all I am the king.”  The reply went, “I have the real king in my dungeon.  If you don’t like the way I am handling things, I’ll let him go.  Then what will you do?”  It was treason one way or the other.

Skip back to scripture.  David was a usurper.

So the fourth characteristic is an inclination toward treason.  And not one of those guys was ever executed.  There are advantages to being stodgy and respectable.

So maybe I’m different.  I will question anything. 

So let’s try a little treason, just for fun. 
When I was a wee thing, there was this piece of paper called the Constitution.  It placed certain restrictions on the federal government leaving everything else to the people or the states.  That gave people rights by default.  The Confederate constitution started out with rights, and we all know how that wound up. 

People used to swear to uphold the Constitution. 

One of the most memorable passages said that nobody will be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.  That was ignored by Abraham Lincoln, but he was before my time.  When I was a child, it held good.  Then came the September 11 atrocity followed shortly after by the Patriot Act.  That has since evolved to the point where now the president can order a citizen killed under suspicion of being a terrorist with no judicial review.  He doesn’t even have to tell us that he did it. 

So much for the constitution – it is no longer the law.  Instead we have the whim of the president.  Well I never swore to uphold the president, even though defying him be treason.  Here goes.

When the current president was running for office there were clinics in some states that were giving out marijuana for medical purposes.  This was legal under state law although counter to federal law.  The candidate in question promised that he would not interfere with that.  Instead what we have is a more aggressive attack on them than went on under his predecessor. 

I am no marijuana user.  My impression is that those who are have problems with attention span even when they are not consciously under the effect.  They lose track of what they are saying and contradict themselves without shame.  I have been contradicted on this, but I stick with my own observation. 

So we have a president who has contradicted himself.  When I look at his prose I seem to see the kind of confusion that I see among marijuana users.  The point gets across, but I am left thinking, “But you just said …” 

One of his advantages is that he appeals to young people.  Go figure.

People in responsible positions in the federal system are subject to drug tests.  I shall make no allegation.  I just would like to see the man drug tested. 

That position is unfair to the extent that it ignores a lot of things he has done or has not done that seem to reflect pretty good judgment. 

But I would pay for the test out of my own pocket.

Maybe I’ll get a vacation in Guantanamo, but I doubt it.  Too stodgy.

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