For the last several days one of my friends, Jeannie, has been opining on the coming winter. She's convinced that it will be "especially bad" because the oaks are dropping such a large number of acorns this fall, and she is now on the lookout for wooly bear caterpillars to see if the little buggers confirm the acorns' prediction, based on the width of the caterpillars' black bands, because the bigger the black, the worse the winter.
The majority of her other friends have agreed eagerly with her that this winter will be a bad one based on the predictive power of acorns.
One friend says she was still on the fence because, although the acorns were abundant this fall, the only wooly bear she's seen so far was mostly light in color. (I hate when weather forecasters disagree too, don't you? How will I know whether to buy taller boots for the winter or not?)
I'm relieved to say that a few, besides me, have told Jeannie that neither oaks nor caterpillars can predict future weather, and that there's no scientific evidence to support the folklore.
Of course, Jeannie, won't even hear what the rational people have to say. She dismisses science based on nothing more than her own observations over the years, the value she places on folklore, and, of course, God. "It only makes sense that God would provide more acorns for the animals when He knows the coming winter will be bad!"
And God makes wooly bear coats darker when the coming winter will be worse to...what, exactly? Absorb more sunlight in the fall so they'll somehow be warmer in the winter? Make them easier for predators to see so at least the predators enter the winter better fed?
No sense asking why God wouldn't just make winters less harsh if He were so concerned about the welfare of the animals. Jeannie would just lecture me, again, on God's mysterious plan. A pretty screwed-up plan, if you ask me. Why didn't God just create an environment on this most-blessed-of-all-planets that would be best suited to all the life on it? Are you telling me God couldn't do that?
And now, I'm going to predict something: Jeannie's answer to those questions: "God's plan is mysterious. We can't understand why He does what He does. But know that whatever happens or doesn't happen, everything He does is because He loves us and the rest of His creation."