Friday, September 03, 2004

Beautiful Frances -- Part 2

Frances churns up the Bahamas with its counterclockwise fury.

The early history of European exploration of the Caribbean is replete with fleets being taken by surprise, scattered, and destroyed by hurricanes that seemed to come out of nowhere. A storm in 1780 killed an estimated 22,000 people on Barbados. St. Vincent, St. Lucia, and Martinique. The winds were generally ascribed to the wrath of God.

Meanwhile, back in Europe, the Enlightenment was underway, and God's wrath was being replaced by the laws of mathematical physics. We now understand the cause of tropical storms and their westward progress, model their evolution on computers, and follow their progress from eyes in space.

No one has reason to be surprised anymore, or wonder the source of divine disfavor.