Catholics in Fresno, California are gathering around a tree just outside their church that they believe to be crying God's tears.
"When you say ‘glory be to God in Jesus name’ the tree starts throwing out more water," says parishioner Maria Ybarra. Ybarra noticed the crying tree last Wednesday, and a group that prays and worships around the miracle tree has grown since then.
Can science explain the miracle tree? Arborist Jon Reelhorn says yes: the miracle tree’s “tears” are actually the waste product of aphides or “tree lice.”
"The aphides will suck the sap, the sap goes through the aphid and then it is a honey dew excrement from the aphid and it gets so heavy in the summertime that it will drip down," Reelhorn says. Reelhorn found another tree across the street that was also crying with tree lice excrement.
Aphides are often herded by ants, who can live off the aphides’ honey dew excrement.
Ybarra is undeterred by the arborist’s explanation:
“I can tell you, looking at it from a scientific standpoint and a spiritual standpoint, it is a miracle of God manifesting here on Earth.”
Rosemarie Navarro, another parishioner at the Catholic Church in Fresno agrees that the miracle tree is a sign from God:
“I said my prayer and asked the Lord to give me a miracle, because I’m really sick,” said Navarro.
There is nothing wrong with seeing a crying tree as a sign from God, as long as that doesn’t also prevent you from seeing the “tears” as aphid excrement. In this case, it doesn’t really matter, but scientific progress has been inhibited in the United States by the belief that evolution and creationism can’t go together, so evolution must be wrong. It’s fine to believe in a divine creator, but the evidence is overwhelming that whatever force created humans, it did so via evolution.