Galloping Girdie—Built in Flaws

The historic Tacoma Narrows bridge, about an hour away from my old home has a storied, but short history. Lasting only five months after it’s completion in 1940, it collapsed in a 40 MPH wind. The bridge became a case study in frequency vibrations (aeroelastic flutter) that changed bridge engineering forever. It wasn’t necessarily the force of the wind, but the wind at its matching vibration to the bridges natural frequency. WWII interrupted reconstruction, and ten years later the bridge was completed a second time with design flaws corrected.

Correcting the design flaws of religion is taking a bit more time. Monumental collapses in reasoning are shrugged off and reconfigured using the same plans—at will, ignoring religiolastic flutter with the skill only developed by experted faith. Tuning out frequencies and ignoring bends and wobbles, religious professionals deflect contradictory high winds and resonance with a hand-wave. The main reason it survives is the onslaught of new customers, born susceptible and willing to tolerate the wobble only because others have chosen for them to do so.

We can all agree religion is man-made. Like a bridge it claims to safely escort us from here to there, to greener pastures and eternal life in pure bliss—or pure hell. I think I’ll just take the long way home.

2000 years of searching, dead-and-gone promised relief, and still no answers. 1000 year near-monopoly and what has changed for the better? Secular advances in fairness, equality, and laws limiting religious intervention in government.

Now there are two

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs breaking the faith trap.

39 thoughts on “Galloping Girdie—Built in Flaws”

  1. Reminds me of Cake’s “Comfort Eagle”

    We are building a religion
    We are building it bigger
    We are widening the corridors
    And adding more lanes

    We are building a religion
    A limited edition
    We are now accepting callers
    For these pendant key chains

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “The main reason it survives is the onslaught of new customers, born susceptible and willing to tolerate the wobble only because others have chosen for them to do so.”

    You nailed it, Jim. Everyone wants to reinvent the wheel.

    Cheers!
    Eric

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  3. You think I might imply stoopid? Yeah…you’re right 🙂

    I have seen the ability of steel to bend, I’ve brought home many a long piece of steel tubing/rod/flat bar for welding projects and it is surprisingly flexible in lengths. What gets my noggin confuzzled is how did the concrete not start flying like shrapnel as that bridge was twisting so violently? That’s what amazed me. It didn’t appear to crack anywhere until it all fell down.

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    1. They actually were able to use them the second time around. They added weight to the anchors, but as I mentioned a little earlier, those supports are massive and deep in 150 feet of water. Skyscrapers setting in there , really. Had the rest of the bridge been built to match, we’d still be using the old one.

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  4. I have seen the video of that bridge flopping in the wind several times. Scary.

    Religion is constructed far more poorly than that bridge. But the hand wave masters, do tend to keep the dolts in line.

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    1. But the word dolts would imply stupid. I see your point! That is a good video. Hard to believe steel can bend that easily with a wind vibration.

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  5. The collapse of the bridge is interesting in itself. The story stands as an example and metaphor for so many things. No 40mph wind should take down any bridge. Interesting choice of words, “religiolastic flutter with the skill only developed by experted faith.” Deep.

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      1. Been on the bridge. I lived in Issaquah, about an 45mins to an hour away from Tacoma for 3 years. Moved here (TX) about a year ago. Crossing the bridge was on my WA to do list.

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            1. Fall City is still a bit of a hidden gem. My brothers and I used to swim at the base of the falls and catch steelhead out of there. Snoqualmie falls at flood stage was an awesome sight too

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            2. Yes. It is a lovely place. I did the back way drive to Snoqualmie every Friday. The guy who had the TV show building tree houses lived in Fall City.

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    1. Don’t sugarcoat it! Tell me how you really feel. Really though, I’m half tempted to just write everyday about the quirks and foibles of human psychology and how easily people are deceived—at every level…except religion, of course.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Good metaphor for religion as a bridge! Re-design… also re-education. There is an interesting programing China. The program, to put it bluntly, is to tell the Muslims there is but one “GOD” in China and that is the Chinese government! I love it! GROG

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        1. Resurrection, blood celebration…My wife teaches a supplemental home school program with the district. During dissection class my wife told this kid to wash up (a six year old) and he shouted “I’ve been washed in the blood of Jesus!” That’s friggin young for that type of brainwashing. I think the Chinese might just whip those parents with a knotted plow line.

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  7. Agreed – excellent analogy. You’d think if there were a god he/she/it would have come up with a better ‘design.’ I love that you said you’d rather just take the long way home. It’s a lot simpler and just a tad more logical, isn’t it?!

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      1. “And the view is quite nice from the backroads of unbelief.” That’s a great statement. There are no views left on the highways of beliefs, the sides a wall-to-wall billboards spouting insanity. One on the way home today: “Forgive as Jesus does.” Oh, yes, let me see: narrow is the way that leads to life and few find it but broad is the way that leads to death (hell, that is) and many enter therein. There are many, oh so many more of such Jesus statements of forgiveness. “He who does not believe in me is condemned already…” Sadly I think much of this world tends to forgive exactly as Jesus does. We could do with a lot less of such forgiveness.

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        1. Or, love thy neighbor as thyself is a telling statement of what self deprecating faith of an overbearing god has done to people. That commandment only works if you have self worth, not dependent on an abusive parent for happiness.

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    1. Thanks Mak. It’s also an interesting tidal area. All the water from the south sound funnels through this point—it’s like a river in or out four times a day. The water at the pilings is 150 feet deep, with the bridge deck 190 feet off the water. The tide swings are 15 feet +- daily. Pretty remarkable piece of work.

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            1. Lol. I know. I remember when you were there we decided I wouldn’t make it out alive. I let you choose for me. I don’t do touristy stuff usually. I like to see how real people live.

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            2. I don’t travel either but my neighbour and her sister are off to Egypt next week, then Namibia… I think? I asked her how she felt the other day with that tourist bus blown up… she laughed and said now the odds are in their favour theirs won’t get blown up. I would have cancelled but what the hell, maybe dodging bombs in Africa is the new extreme sport for white kids!

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