Ham and Chocolate

FeatureMy wife doesn’t like chocolate. Crazy, right?

She doesn’t like any kind of chocolate: dark, milk, coating an espresso bean, melted over a strawberry. None of it.

Willy Wonka is just misinformed, despite being a master chocolatier who built a billion-dollar empire on the back of midget slaves and a fistful of cocoa beans.

My wife does like white chocolate, which, lacking cocoa liquor, is in no way really chocolate. “White chocolate” is a lie. Even the cocoa butter that is found inside of white chocolate has been deodorized to remove any hint of chocolaty goodness; that is, if you’re buying really good white chocolate. Most of the crap you pick up at a gas station is made from hydrogenated vegetable fats.

But my wife stills calls it chocolate. In fact, there are entire industries built around the lie of “white chocolate” despite mountains of evidence to the contrary.

The Great White Lie.
The Great White Lie.

My wife and I stand on opposite sides of the great chocolate debate. There is a clear winner here. Chocolate, by definition, contains cocoa liquor (the dark cocoa solids containing all the amazing things that make chocolate magic). White chocolate does not contain cocoa liquor, thus it is not chocolate.

“Then why do they call it “˜white chocolate’?”

Because no one would buy a bar of hydrogenated vegetable fats with almonds in it. Once upon a time in 1930s Switzerland, some idiot messed up a recipe while working at Nestle, and they went with it instead of wasting a bunch of money by throwing out obvious garbage. It was dubbed “white chocolate” and people everywhere were fooled.

The point being, because my wife grew up not liking chocolate but liking something called “chocolate,” she could fit in with all the normal people enjoying the orgasm bar that is real chocolate.

“You don’t like chocolate?” they would ask.

“No, but I do like white chocolate,” she would reply.

See! Right there, she has to qualify it. I don’t like “chocolate” but I do like “white chocolate.” These are two separate things.

Despite how overwhelmingly correct I am, I know I will never convince my wife otherwise. She has a lifetime of beliefs that I can’t chip away with a mountain of facts, a book on the history of chocolate, and the Easter bunny. She would say Willy Wonka is just misinformed, despite being a master chocolatier who built a billion-dollar empire on the back of midget slaves and a fistful of cocoa beans. My facts cannot compete with what she knows to be true in her heart.

We do not argue about this anymore. When we go to The Melting Pot, we get the Yin & Yang dessert that is half dark chocolate and half lies. I also get a Bushmills neat so I have something to keep my mouth occupied when she says, “This chocolate is delicious!” I nod and finish my drink.

My facts cannot compete with what she knows to be true in her heart.

We’ve been together 10 years. A big part of that is learning that there are arguments that are winnable and those that are not.

  • The proper way to fold a fitted sheet: winnable (she worked at a hotel and proved me wrong).
  • Ballet is an effective means of storytelling: not winnable (she just likes looking at codpieces).

I’ve learned when it’s best to keep my mouth closed so we can sit in bed and watch Top Gear while holding hands before going to sleep. I can’t be “right” all the time and be happy.

Ken Ham and Bill Nye will hold a joint exercise in intellectual masturbation on February 4.
Ken Ham and Bill Nye will hold a joint exercise in intellectual masturbation on February 4.

On February 4, 2014, Bill Nye “The Science Guy” will debate Ken Ham, the CEO of Answers in Genesis, about the origins of humanity. Right now you know (in varying degrees) what both men are bringing to the table, what their arguments will be, and that neither of them will walk away with their minds changed.

Bill Nye started as a mechanical engineer with a degree from Cornell, and while working at Boeing, he invented a part of the 747 (a hydraulic pressure resonance suppressor) that is still used today. He has dedicated his life to teaching children and adults how amazing the world is through science. He’s really into science.

Ken Ham graduated from the Queensland University of Technology in Australia, which is ranked in the top 3% of schools worldwide, with a degree in applied science. In 1979, he co-founded the Christian Science Foundation, and he is a proponent of Young Earth creationism, or the idea that the book of Genesis is literal fact. He is really into the Bible.

Both of these men are within two years of 60 and have held on to their current viewpoints for at least the past four decades. Their original seeds of understanding have sprouted into towering oaks of knowledge in their respective fields.

My hope is that my voice sounds to you like Morgan Freeman narrating March of the Penguins. However, it may sound like Bill Maher, which is not my fault.

I need to take a second here to clarify something. As I write this, it is my intention to present only facts in regard to the two men involved. If I sound condescending, it is only due to the way you are reading this in your head right now. My hope is that my voice sounds to you like Morgan Freeman narrating March of the Penguins. However, it may sound like Bill Maher, which is not my fault. What’s important to me is proving this exercise is useless, not my opinion of who’s right or wrong. I might as well bring up abortion, the death penalty, and rape jokes with the idea that I can change your mind on any of them (no, I’m not giving you my opinion on those things, either).

But here are some basic facts:

Bill Nye wanted to be an astronaut and pursued science to that end. After appearing in live spots during Back to the Future: The Animated Series where he performed science experiments with Christopher Lloyd, he got his own show, and he has used that successfully to make a career as a respected science educator and promoter.

The Creation Museum also has a zip line.
The Creation Museum also has a zip line.

Ken Ham believes Genesis to be the literal word of God and to be entirely factual. He founded a ministry in 1979 to promote his belief and has led that charge for the past 30 years. In 2007, he opened the Answers in Genesis Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY, at a cost of $27 million. The museum is dedicated to his understanding that the universe was created 6,000 years ago, the biblical flood took place in 2348 B.C., and dinosaurs walked the Earth with humans.

This schoolyard scuffle is the result of a YouTube video that Bill Nye was featured in where he argued against teaching creationism in science classes. As you can imagine, Ken Ham disagreed. Their little snipes back and forth have resulted in the broadcasted kerfuffle that will occur on the 4th.

All of this is inconsequential. At the heart of it, we have two 60-year-old men, each of whom “knows” he is correct. Nothing will dissuade them at this point, nor will anything be said that will change the mind of any of either man’s supporters who make the trek to the museum in Petersburg where the debate is to be held. This is a tremendous waste of time.

It’s the equivalent of a statistician debating a Bama fan, the conductor of the New York Philharmonic debating a Belieber, and a nutritionist debating Paula Deen.

It is an argument as pointless as which sports team is the best, what religion is most correct, which country is the greatest, who the greatest living musician is, and what makes a good breakfast. In this case, it’s the equivalent of a statistician debating a Bama fan, a theologian debating a Shinto priest, an anthropologist debating a Chinese nationalist, the conductor of the New York Philharmonic debating a Belieber, and a nutritionist debating Paula Deen.

It is the argument of knowledge gained with time and study against knowledge acquired based on the circumstances of one’s birth and reinforced through time, focused study, and the assurances of one’s cultural peers.

As the son of a medical doctor who encouraged me to be curious about the world and someone who grew up in a pretty conservative Christian church with beliefs not too far from Mr. Ham’s, I can testify to the power of both of these backgrounds. Like being the fan of the home team, science and religion offer reassurance that you and the company you keep are right in your focus. Your life has meaning. You are not insignificant.

I know there is a fluffy cloud of purpose surrounding each man’s core belief. Nye sees creationists destroying the future by clouding children’s scientific minds with religious belief presented as fact in the classroom. Ham sees Nye as insulting something he has spent the majority of his life devoted to. Creationism, especially Young Earth creationism, requires a very thick carapace, built up over decades via self-reassurance against the rising tide of scientific knowledge, to hold on to in the modern world.

The home school explosion of the past decade is evidence of the force with which science is increasingly becoming part of everyday life. If you don’t want your children exposed to facts that could cause them to question the ideas that a man once lived to be 969 without antibiotics, that we have different languages because one time everybody tried to build a giant tower and this pissed God off so he made people talk differently to keep them from ever working together again, or that Lebanon once grew grapes the size of bowling balls, then the only valid response is to shelter them from outside interactions.

Both men will be (and have been) getting considerable attention for this debate. Ken Ham will be seeing a pop in attendance at his Creation Museum, and Bill Nye will gain even more respect from his fans for standing up to yet another “right-wing nutjob” who believes science is a lie, and all of this despite the obvious truth that there is a clear winner in all this.

That being, since white chocolate contains 0% cocoa solids and, as such, is devoid of both theobromine and caffeine, it is a worthless hunk of sugar and curds that is an insult to any child who braves the cold night air to trick-or-treat at your home.RedShtick-Top-ColumnStop

About Knick Moore

Knick Moore hasn't been a smoker since 2007. However, this picture is just too stylish to replace.

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