About The Author
D. R. Prescott has written a novel, a collection of short stories, a nonfiction book, a collection of essays, planetarium show/display scripts, two family histories, technical articles and business plans as well as written for and edited several newsletters.
 
Awards and published work include Writers' Journal, Long Story Short, Taj Mahal Review literary journal, The Orange County Register, Writer's Digest, and Writing.com and four books among other challenges.
 
As a former aerospace executive and planetarium program director, Prescott currently writes and explores life in Orange, California.
 
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"Sentience can be annoying."-DRP Abt. 1990
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Since 2008, Prescott has been a regular contributor of
essays and short stories to
The Taj Mahal Review Literary Journal
Get your copies now at: http://tajmahalreview.com/
 
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O R D E R   T O D A Y !
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Math Helps
MATH HELPS

by

D. R. Prescott




         As the boot flew across the room, Russell Templeton ducked. Charlene’s fury was prompted by Russ’s vicious condemnation of her position against adding creation and Intelligent Design to the Hopperville School System science curriculum. She was so angry that breathing was labored within her trim, 120 pound frame.

         Russ raged on, “We’re doing God’s work. This is ridiculous Henry! This soulless, godless heathen and her cronies are standing between us and doing the right thing!”

         “Doing what’s right? No bible-thumping, self-righteous hypocrite is going to tell us what’s right! You can take your 6,000 year old fairy tale and stick it.” Her face felt afire. Russ’s insistence that the 6,000 year creation scenario be taught was the last straw.

         “Charlene! Russ! Calm down or I’ll dismiss you both and bear in mind, we will still have a quorum of five… and…” Chairman Henry Stiller bellowed, his raspy baritone voice slicing through the tension in the room. “Russ, that was uncalled for, keep a civil tongue in your head; you hear! We agreed to hear Charlene out.”

         “Who made you God?” An agitated Russ got to his feet. “I want a vote right now! We’ve hassled this for weeks. Good, God-fearing people in this town are through being pushed around by the likes of her, an ex-science teacher cramming our children’s heads with atheist lies.” He cast a dreadful stare toward Charlene and said nastily, “Yes, Mrs. Mason, the Earth is only 6,000 years old! That’s been proven!”

         “Russ, sit down or I will sit you down.” Henry challenged, pointing his gavel at Russ. “And, Charlene, one more outburst like that will be your last. Do you understand me?” He shifted his steely-eyed gaze to Charlene.

         "Yes, I understand but I do think that he owes me an apology.” She said defiantly. Then, realizing that anger loses more fights than it wins, she softened. “Russ, I apologize for throwing the boot. That was childish and stupid.”

         Russ, now sitting, mumbled acknowledgement.

         “Thank you. And you?” Henry asked Russ.

         “Okay, let’s get this over with, I apologize.” Russ muttered unconvincingly, avoiding eye contact. Charlene took little consolation in a few eye-rolls around the table. Sometimes, certain things are even too extreme even for extremists.

         “Thank you. Before we have to give someone else the boot…” Henry paused for reaction. None, so much for humor relieving tension, Charlene thought. Henry cleared his throat and said evenly, “Well, Charlene continue.”

         The four other board members, Sarah Milliken, Janet John, Marcy Tate and Morey Rubenstein, looked expectantly at Charlene. Sarah, a housewife, had voted mostly with Charlene as had Morey, whose sterling reputation in the community was beyond reproach. Janet and Marcy were diehard bible literalists and would probably walk lockstep with Russ into the fires of Hell. Janet had that annoying, I-am-better-than-you sneer on her chubby face. Charlene had disliked her since grade school. Marcy, on the other hand, seemed occasionally reasonable in spite of her extreme beliefs.

         Charlene took a deep breath. She needed Henry to vote her way to put down this attack on the school’s curriculum. Fending off the 6,000 year premise was difficult when you are up against premeditated ignorance. Straw votes that Henry conducted as they worked their way through the issues were deadlocked or several times tilted toward the fundamentalists with Henry abstaining every time. Charlene worried about how normally conservative Henry would break the stalemate?

         “I’d like to share something that I ran across. It is a good argument for why the Earth is more than 6,000 years old than any other. No science, just a little elementary arithmetic.” Charlene engaged cautiously. “It comes literally straight from the Bible in 2 Peter 3:8.”

         Russ sat back and groaned. Pulling a pocket-version Bible from his coat pocket, he thumbed toward the end of the book.

         “Would you like to read us that verse, Russ?” Charlene could not resist needling him.

         “What’s the point?” Russ growled.

         “It will become clear in a minute.”

         “My God, Russ, just read it!” Henry demanded, obviously irritated.

         Russ coughed and began reading, “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”

         “Thank you.” Charlene got up, went to the whiteboard and picked up a red marker. She wrote 1 equals 1,000 at the top of the board, “Okay, if ‘one day with the Lord is as a thousand years’ would that mean that God’s time is different than human time? Would it not?” She got a few nods around the table, surprisingly even Marcy.

         “So what? This is stupid, Stiller? Let’s just vote and get on with. You with us or not?”

         Henry said sternly, “Let her finish, Russ.”

         Charlene smiled, ignoring Russ’s want-to-kill-you look. “How would we show that God’s time might be different than human time? If we take one-thousand years and assume that a God-year has 365 days like a human year, then 365 times 1,000 would equal 365,000 human-days in one God-year. Simple, right?” She wrote the math on the board as she talked. “Incidentally, there is no reason to suppose that God would measure His year by the Earth’s orbit. After all, God deals with everything including time. It might be arrogant to think that a God-year would be based upon how long it takes our little planet to circle our very average star in a very immense universe?”

         “So what? Scientific, atheist nonsense!” Russ, rising, shouted.

         “Russ!” Henry intervened, looking menacingly over the top of his glasses.

         Russ crossed his arms and sat back down.

         “Wait… May I see that.” Marcy said and reached toward Russ. Russ tossed the good book across the table to her. She studied it for a moment. “Okay, but still, James Ussher proved that the Earth is only 6,000 years old. Didn’t he?” She offered the book to Janet who waved it off.

         “Some think so. However, most theologians don’t.” Charlene smiled; Russ grunted; Janet fidgeted. “Okay, let’s use 6,000 years. But, let’s consider them God-years as it suggests in 2 Peter.”
Marcy nodded as Charlene wrote a times sign, 6,000 and an equal sign beside 365,000. “So, if a thousand years are as one day to God, then it’s easy to multiply 365,000 times 6000 and we get 2,190,000,000 human-years which might be 6000 God-years. That’s over 2 billion human-years, a far cry from 6,000. Take that a step further… if a God-year were 2000 Earth days long, not 365 as we arrogantly assumed, then creation could be about 13 billion years ago, which is what science currently estimates.”

         Marcy looked expectantly at Russ. Henry’s demeanor was inscrutable as usual. Janet kept her ever-present scowl. Marcy appeared perplexed. Sarah and Morey were pokerfaced. Russ appeared distressed.

         “I might point out that similar language exists in the Koran, even as specifically as, and I quote, ‘and, behold, in thy Sustainer’s sight a day is like a thousand years of your reckoning.’

         Janet shrieked, “God, give me strength! That’s all we need right now… the Koran! You were right, Russ. She really is a no-good, atheist…”

         “Janet! Don’t go there!” Henry warned.

         Charlene sat down and pressed on, leaving her math on the board. “We should not impose unsubstantiated myths as scientific facts on our children. Teach science as science. Teach religion including Intelligent Design as philosophy or in church if you want. Isn’t it better to give our children tools to think it out themselves?” Pointing to the white board, “Like math?”

         “Are you done, Charlene?” Henry asked, still as unfathomable as ever.

         “Yes.”

         “Anybody else have anything to say?” Henry inquired. “Six weeks of squabbling ends tonight.”

         Morey said, “Charlene, thank you… never thought about it that way before.”

         Sarah nodded her head in agreement.

         “Anyone else… no? Now, the final vote and I won’t be abstaining this time.” Henry sat back in his chair and drummed his fingers on the tabletop for a second then read the resolution’s to language slowly and precisely. Charlene knew that if passed, Hopperville would be inviting trouble not to mention the passing something obviouly flawed off as fact. Finishing, Russ started a voice vote.

         “Morey?”

         “Nay.”

         “Janet?”

         “Yea.”

         “Sarah?”

         “Nay.”

         “Charlene?”

         “Nay.” Charlene wondered how Henry would vote.

         “Russ?”

         “Yea. I…” Russ started to say more but Henry frowned him into silence.

         “Marcy?”

         “Nay.” Marcy said timidly. Russ and Janet appeared apoplectic. Charlene was astonished and pleased.

         “Chairman, says nay. Five to two defeats the resolution. This meeting is adjourned.” Henry announced and lowered the gavel.

         “Atheists!” Russ screeched and stomped out with Janet following closely on his heels.

         Henry rose and retrieved the rain boot from where it had landed in the corner. “Interesting debating technique you have.”

         “Marcy, just what changed your mind? Just curious…” Henry asked.

         “I guess a little math helps.” Marcy smiled.

         “It’s over.” Charlene said.

         “No, it’s not over. I doubt it will ever be over.” Henry smiled and handed Charlene her boot. “You’ll probably need this again.”

TOTAL WORDS: 1510
© Copyright 2013 D. R. Prescott (donprescott at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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' Copyright 2008 D. R. Prescott (UN: donprescott at Writing.Com). All rights reserved. D. R. Prescott has granted Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work. Questions or Comments? E-mail to prescottdc@sbcglobal.net
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