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Why we're having a drought

August 31, 1999

One side believes it is divine fiat, the other side believes it can be resolved by pure science.

One side says the results can be explained only through the existence of some supreme intelligence, a grand design logically and deliberately set in place, as if by a giant, unseen watchmaker. The other side believes the explanation is more random, with cause-and-effect equations building to an ultimate conclusion.

One side has little more than theory and faith on its side, while the other depends on scientific, but occasionally contradictory, evidence.

I am speaking, of course, about the cause of the drought.

These are the summations of two theories I've seen outlined in letters to the editor in two regional newspapers over the past couple of weeks.

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The first line of thought is pretty straightforward: God is punishing us for electing Bill Clinton as president of the United States.

I would like to believe this theory, but there's a problem: The Midwest (and much of the rest of the country, including many states that voted for Clinton) is getting plenty of rain and he's president out there, too. And Western Maryland went for Dole. Unless God learned his geography in the Louisiana public school system, this theory doesn't add up on its face.

The second, though, is more intriguing and it involves the science of, you guessed it, cloud seeding. But cloud seeding with a new and tantalizing twist.

Now we all know that the developers are paying to seed the clouds, so that they will have more good, rain-free building weather. That much is solid.

But if you think about it, there's a more insidious motive for the developers. Because if it's dry it will force more farmers out of business - meaning, ipso facto, the farmers will be forced to do what? That's right, sell their land.

And to whom will their land be sold? To the developers, obviously. And because so much land is on the market, the glut will drive down the price developers will have to pay.

What's more controversial, and I did not know this until I read the letter, is that the medical community is in on it, too.

It's documented that Maryland has the highest cancer rates in the nation. This high cancer rate has never been heretofore explained. But if you think about it, all those silver dioxide crystals that small planes shoot into the clouds have to eventually waft back to earth, and straight into the bloodstreams of Maryland residents!

At first blush, I admit to being confused, because it would seem the health community would be against cloud seeding for this reason. But the letter straightened me out. It said that Johns Hopkins actually benefits from additional cancer patients because it gives them that many more subjects for their world-class research.

So there you go.

Now if the Kansas Board of Education were only privy to such perfectly balanced reasoning, it would see the folly of its ways and agree that it's science, not biblically inspired stories, that has such a petrified foundation in fact.

Although...

I noticed on Tuesday that a group of eight Clear Spring churches announced they were planning a coordinated prayer for rain. The next day it poured. The day after that it poured. The day after that, Baltimore got 4.77 inches of rain and as of this writing there are three hurricanes in the Atlantic that are all headed our way. Talk about connected.

I don't know about you, but I ain't doing nothing to torque off the Clear Spring clergy. By my count, scientific evidence aside, the score stands God 4, Cloud Seeders 0. And as much as it "adds up" that developers are causing cancer by driving down the price of farmland, I am a person who always sides with results.




Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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