Vail Valley Voices: A seat at the table of truth |

Vail Valley Voices: A seat at the table of truth

Bob Branden
Vail, CO, Colorado

The teacher looks weary, thought the student as they sat at their favorite table, the predominantly wooded room conveying a sense of connection with the marvelous creation just outside the window.

Inside, they were connected to the patrons by a famous voice singing, “I watched you suffer a dull, aching pain; now you’ve decided to show me the same.”

The teacher had limits. He wouldn’t always be patient.

Suddenly, a patron asked if he could join the two at the table, placing a hand on an empty chair back.

Before the student could help with the chair, the teacher asked the name of the solicitor.

“Peter Bergh, of Edwards,” came the reply. “I wrote a letter in the Daily about having faith in humankind.” His smile widened.

“I read the letter,” the teacher said, his frown deepening. “You may not sit here.”

Outraged, Peter asked why not.

“Because that seat is reserved for those who seek total truth. The table of delusion is over there.” He pointed across the room where four hearts and brains sat, coarsely mocking those apparently less educated than themselves.

The student’s mouth opened of its own volition. The hearts were completely sclerotic, and the brains were darker than ink. They were wearing nametags: Dawkins, Gore, Hitchens, Epstein.

Bergh asked if the teacher knew them.

“I know them well. I read their books.”

“Then why aren’t you sitting with them?”

The student knew a question was coming. The teacher almost always answered a question with a question. Questions were much more penetrating than statements.

“Is there a universe?”

Bergh was silent, wondering how he had gotten into this seemingly absurd conversation. But others had started to gather, and they eagerly entered into the discussion.

“Of course,” came the united answer.

“Has there always been a


“No,” shouted the chorus.

“Then somebody made it, right? You can’t get something from nothing. That would be called magic. That would be delusional.”

“Right,” the crowd agreed.

The student, next to Bergh, could see scales starting to form over his chest, and his head was darkening. “Homo sapiens are today the top of the food chain, having reached this exalted position over billions of years due to the laws of random selection, a scientific fact,” Bergh stated. This teacher is dangerous. I need to shut tax cheats like him up. Using his anger to propel his arm and hand, he yanked the chair back to sit down. Before he could sit, the chair drew back into the table of its own accord.

“I told you, that chair is only for total truth. If you answer any of the following questions you may pull the chair back and sit down. Ready? You can consult with your friends over there if you want.”

Bergh glared.

The crowd said, “Ready.”

“Why are they finding soft tissue in dinosaur bones? The 70 million-year-old T-rex in Montana five years ago is a prime example.”

“Maybe it’s because it isn’t 70 million years old,” the crowd snickered.

“Why is there a long list of names, over 20 pages, of doctors who dissent from evolution on the PSSI website? I haven’t found a website for those who dissent from the law of gravity or the charge on an electron or other scientific, actual facts.”

“Because evolution is not a fact; it’s a worldview,” the crowd hoisted their glasses.

“Can you recall a mother who was excited over the fact that her embryo had a genetic mutation, thinking it would be more evolved?”

“No,” the crowd roared.

“The DNA molecule, an amino acid code, microscopic but containing more information than the Library of Congress, came about by blind, unthinking, unreasoning chance?”

“Hell no,” the crowd waved their hands in a dismissive gesture.

“Can you tell me one, even one, fact of evolutionary theory supported by research in a peer-reviewed journal? A fact, mind you, not more theory about the theory.”

The crowd was silent. Bergh was silent. The delusional table that had begun to take interest looked on with closed mouths.

The teacher tilted his head toward the hardened hearts and darkened heads in a command of dismissal.

Bergh’s hand lifted from the still tucked-in chair at the table of truth. Approaching his friends, he easily slid out an extra chair and sat down.

“All aboard. Ai, ai, ai, ai!” screamed Ozzy.

“Pass the salt and turn up the light, please,” the teacher asked quietly.

Bob Branden is host of the podcast

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