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At 19th holes everywhere, the furious debate continues to rage: Are golfers the product of evolution or intelligent design?
George W. Bush, of course, has already weighed in, saying that it is only fair to discuss alternative theories of human origins -- but not, of course, whenever anyone is putting.
Those who believe that golfers are such complex characters that they could not have possibly evolved through a random Darwinian process point out that many low-handicap golfers are also highly successful CEOs. Surely, they say, anybody who can both run a large multi-national company and also get up and down out of a nasty sand trap must have been designed by something real smart.
In rebuttal, evolutionists point out that many of the finest doctors, after years of taking Wednesday afternoons off, have developed short-iron games every bit as good as their diagnostic skills. Certainly, this shows classic Darwinism, for those doctors who could not keep up at golf have, like birds with the wrong-sized beaks, had to leave the links, developing skills at croquet, woodworking, spelunking or downloading hip-hop music.
Evolutionists also cite the many fossils of early golfers found in the rough of several Scottish links courses. These fossils show that ancient pre-Nicklausian men, though shorter and thinner than modern linksmen, all possessed the same hitch in their backswing that most golfers still do. Clearly, if intelligent design were responsible for the modern golfer, this faulty swing would have been corrected.
The counterargument is that no matter how intelligent intelligent design might be, no human being can be built so as to regularly hit a good one-iron.
The intelligent design proponents also argue that, clearly, the golf cart could not have evolved from the caddy. But evolutionists maintain that the fact that golf clothes get more hideous all the time is further proof that this vale of tears is nothing but a crap shoot.
Those who believe in intelligent design also like to point to Michelle Wie as proof that she couldn't have just come about. Something really clever had to work that up.
Evolutionists, meanwhile, cite John Daly as a good example of the way stuff happens.
One thing both evolutionists and intelligent designists agree on is that as more and more golf courses are built, soon enough there will be no arable land left to grow crops, so the human race will die out anyway.
Next week, I will discuss the various theories of how golfers came to the New World. Did they arrive with Columbus? Did they play through over the Bering Strait when it was a fairway? Or were they just always here, waiting around for tee times?
Frank Deford is the senior contributing writer at Sports Illustrated and a regular commentator at National Public Radio, where this column originally was aired.
01) Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.
02) Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.
03) Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.
04) Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.
05) Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britany Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.
06) Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.
07) Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.
08 Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America.
09) Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.
10) Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.