It felt like the wee hours of the morning, but more likely it was the wee hours of Tuesday afternoon - the eternal twilight of the emergency room. Northwestern Memorial, just off Chicago's Magnificent Mile is the real world setting for the TV show "ER," but the staff we met there were much more "Gray's Anatomy." That's right, my "surgical team" consisted of a rouguishly attractive thirtysomething male doctor accompanied by a gaggle of bleary-eyed hot chicks, including the obligatory token Asian.
I hate hospitals, because of the whole sickness and death thing. And every time I've NMH, I've always been too preoccupied by something or other (I think it's called abject terror) to notice, but afterwards I think about it and realize it must be an interesting place to work. It obviously runs on chaos, adrenaline, hormones and caffeine - and the people who work there, their sleep deprived weariness clashing with their perfect hair and breezy, casual attitudes, seem genuinely more interesting than what little I've seen of their TV counterparts. For one thing, doctors are just more interesting people than actors - if you want people to love you, saving their lives seems a much more compelling approach than trying to be beautiful and fabulous. For another thing, the gallows humor and coping mechanisms that characterize any kind of crisis-oriented workplace just don't make for family-friendly entertainment.
But as cool as the place might be to work - it just sucks to visit. It was loud and overcrowded. The place was slammed with crazy people, a bleeding cop being rushed by on a stretcher, armed officers accompanying a wounded criminal, a frightened woman in need of a Chinese translator. They ran out of emergency cubicles and had me stashed on a wheeled bed in a hallway for hours, surrounded by noisy, swarming anarchy, a migraine steadily growing to epic proportions and eventually surpassing the piercing pain in my gut that had brought me to the hospital in the first place.
When a slightly less rouguish but still handsome thirtysomething doctor finally tracked me down in the hallway just as the latest round of narcotics were wearing off, I wasn't really up for rakish banter. "Do you have a surgeon?" he asked. Yeah, I keep one on retainer, my witty TV counterpart replied. "Huh?" I said. "You're going to need one," said Dr. Chipper. "Shit" was all I could come up with without professional writing team.
So, the appendix. Fortunately, my wife knew what one was even if I, in my drug and migraine addled state, did not. "It's a little sac attached to your colon, which doesn't really do much until a little piece of food gets stuck in there. Then it gets infected, swells up and explodes and kills you." How much do I love this woman?
Intelligent Design, according to Wikipedia, is is the concept that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection."
Proponents of intelligent design look for evidence of what they term "signs of intelligence" — physical properties of an object that they assert necessitate design. The most commonly cited signs include irreducible complexity, information mechanisms, and specified complexity. Design proponents argue that living systems show one or more of these, from which they infer that some aspects of life have been designed. This stands in opposition to mainstream biological science, which relies on experiment and collection of uncontested data to explain the natural world exclusively through observed impersonal physical processes such as mutations and natural selection. Intelligent design proponents say that while evidence pointing to the nature of an "intelligent cause or agent" may not be directly observable, its effects on nature can be detected. Dembski, in Signs of Intelligence, states: "Proponents of intelligent design regard it as a scientific research program that investigates the effects of intelligent causes. Note that intelligent design studies the effects of intelligent causes and not intelligent causes per se." In his view, one cannot test for the identity of influences exterior to a closed system from within, so questions concerning the identity of a designer fall outside the realm of the concept.In my experience, the way the human digestive system works does not count as a "sign of intelligence," nor do birth defects, miscarriages, Hodgkin's disease, or that weird thing where cats can't taste sugar because their genes were transposed wrong at one point (thanks to Creek Running North for the link). Creationists (whatever they're calling themselves) always come back to the same basic argument - the world is too intricately, perfectly put together to have happened "by accident." But that's not true at all. Life is extremely complicated, I'll grant you that. But "perfect?" There are just too many flaws in everything. Life doesn't maximize its potential, it "satisfices" - it's just good enough to solve its immediate problems, but no better. Old age, sickness and death might be deep and meaningful to many of you out there, but to me they are mistakes, poor design or more accurately, lack of design.
Speaking of transposition, there's another definition for appendix: A collection of supplementary material, usually at the end of a book. . . generally when I've seen them they are tables, references, or anecdotes that couldn't be fit smoothly into the body of the text. So if mine's been removed I guess I've finally been edited, which some picky and grammar obsessed readers could've told you was something I desperately needed anyway.