published Monday, October 8th, 2012

Robin Smith: We're so smart

By Robin Smith

As a society of individuals that seems to revel in our intellect, our technological advances and our prowess of the cutting edge, we sure have some glaring embarrassments that argue to the contrary.

The humorous website, DarwinAwards.com, lists of some of the more interesting examples of human miscalculation. The site describes its function to "salute the improvement of the human genome by honoring those who accidentally remove themselves from it" and earns its name after evolutionist Charles Darwin. Darwin, supported "natural selection" in which certain genetic traits survive the course of time based on function and survival.

DarwinAwards.com lists a few winners and nominees:

• A 42 year-old visiting the Grand Canyon decided to collect the coins tossed on an outcropping of rocks, forming a dry wishing well. He met his demise in after appreciating the force of gravity and recognizing his inability to fly.

• In Pennsylvania, a 17-year-old attempting to muffle an M-80 at his grandmother's home learned why the explosive device was outlawed in 1966. Losing his "right hand, his right leg and his right to reproduce," the idea to extinguish the M-80 between his legs proved unsuccessful.

• In 2008, a 23-year old with multiple body piercings wondered to his co-workers: "What it would feel like to connect the electronic control tester to my chest piercings?" Efforts to revive the man proved "unsuccessful" after the young man attached two alligator clips to his nipple piercings.

Up the road at my alma mater, the University of Tennessee, the facts of the case may be in dispute, but the lessons remain.

According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, a "20-year-old sophomore was brought to the University of Tennessee Medical Center emergency room in the early morning hours of Sept. 22 unconscious, with a blood-alcohol level of nearly 0.45 percent and a bloody rectum."

After delivering their unconscious fraternity brother to the UT Medical Center, "a fraternity member revealed [the "victim's"] injuries resulted from 'butt-chugging' wine. The process involves using a funnel attached to a rubber hose inserted into the rectum to administer the alcoholic beverage."

The news stories, the medical accounts and the police point to an apparent day of "fun" at a fraternity during an admitted "blackout party" that produced the blood alcohol level five times the legal determination of intoxication at 0.08.

The press reported the cousin of the "victim" served as "the initial source of the alcohol enema account" with a lawsuit now filed, a fraternity closed, a campus carrying a scandal and a young man's name tainted forever.

It's shocking how dumb people can be. Why do we independent creatures of carbon believe that the laws of Nature and Nature's God are applicable for all but the brilliant and superior few?

Our culture is characteristic of an unlimited amount of information, a celebration of the notable and unique, a stated desire to be an individual (but a reality of seeking the approval and embrace of others) and a greater desire to be entertained and to entertain than to work and achieve. But the deceptive belief that there are exemptions to certain realities and dangers didn't just begin in recent years.

For Judeo-Christians, these bad outcomes from the belief "but-nothing-bad-will-happen-to-me" could easily have been avoided by walking away from the temptation to outsmart reality. I wonder if creation's first couple might refuse that forbidden fruit that was supposed to open their eyes and make them "like God" if they had the chance?

We're so smart, but tend to self-destruct.

Robin Smith, a consultant at Rivers Edge Alliance, is a wife and mother living in Hixson. She served as the Tennessee Republican Party chairman from 2007-2009.

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