A blog post, Tweet, Facebook post, or even a road sign can be effective if you agree with it, or if it makes you laugh. But sometimes the best ones are offensive. They sting a nerve. These can make you think.
For example, here’s a quote from a roadside sign in front of a rural church:
“If evolution is true mothers would have more than two hands.”
At first I was struck by the missing comma. Then I kept thinking.
My mind paused to ponder the possibility that it was a joke–perhaps it was supposed to be funny.
The brain sent molecules equivalent to a snicker of doubt. Nah.
Perhaps the strange sentiment was posted to remind all sons and daughters to hold our mothers in high esteem, to honor them while accidentally revealing Mr. Sign-Guy’s lack of comma skills and misunderstanding of science.
This made more sense but what if the author just didn’t like commas, or Mr. S-G couldn’t find one for the sign, and had never had much of a relationship with his mom? In that case, this sign would be intentionally poking at evolution, a well-supported scientific theory, one that scientists fully acknowledge and believe, and will consider to do so until it is disproven, in a way that has no correlation to choosing to believe in something, like religion, based on faith. Because you’re told to. Because you’re afraid not to. Because the belief is perceived to be stronger, truer, and more sacred when embraced blindly.
Surely we would not have the ability to reason and think and test and reconsider and argue and retest, but be expected to choose to forgo utilizing these tools. Such a system would be poor design, when in fact the brain is incredible.
All scientific theories are bashed like piñatas by scientists. We hack and poke and probe and doubt and search for other options. We think and test and argue and test some more. If a genetic anomaly in females produced an extra hand which was handy for all of the things a mother must carry and fix and cook and wash and push and hold and heal and scratch, and that genetic anomaly became the rule, are we really to believe that single oddity would help the religiously faithful finally comprehend the beauty of evolution? It would seriously take something that blatant to flip the switch to stop the stupid?
Hmm. That church sign really got into my head.
But on the other hand (since I am a mother, I do have many), it was more likely just a sweet tribute to mothers, and supposed to be funny. I just didn’t get it.
(And probably the comma blew off in a storm.)