Insightful, with some good comments from readers.
My takeaway is to try to change the world by starting with small improvements in myself and my actions toward others.
Insightful, with some good comments from readers.
My takeaway is to try to change the world by starting with small improvements in myself and my actions toward others.
Not worth much in the way of information, but:
calculate that a pair of quantum entangled black holes would be a worm hole and equivalent to any pair of quantum entangled subatomic particles. (Apparently they use multidimensional string theory maths to show.)
Here’s the key point: if two people were inside the two black holes, they be in the “same” place, no matter how far apart, but, of course, what goes in, never comes out. Accordingly, no travel or communication through the wormhole.
I have always maintained that those who held flat-earth views in antiquity were the same sort of folk who read (and believe) the tabloids and believe things like alien-abduction.
Still, it was apparently common, though not universal, for the early church fathers to claim the earth was flat, well, shaped like the Temple, or tabernacle. They also rejected antipodes and antipodeans. It seems to me that young earth proponents need also to hold to these literalist biblical views, including the stationarity of earth.
BioLogos has this excellent article series:
Pablo de Felipe obtained a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain). He worked as a Research Fellow at the University of St Andrews (Scotland) before joining the Spanish Medicines Agency. He is in charge of the Centre for Science & Faith, part of SEUT Faculty of Theology (Madrid, Spain).
Robert Keay earned the PhD in New Testament at the University of St Andrews (Scotland), where he also served as a Teaching Fellow in New Testament. He then moved to Northern Ireland where he taught for several years as a Lecturer in New Testament and Hellenistic Greek at Queen’s University, Belfast (N. Ireland). He has recently entered the ministry as Pastor of First Baptist Church, Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.
I’ll close by quoting from the end of their articles:
“The Ancient and Medieval debates over cosmology may seem irrelevant and at times bizarre to us now. However, this superficial response fails to recognize that they have much to teach us about the significant role of biblical hermeneutics in these matters, how Christians have approached specific scientific topics deemed to be important in the history of science, and how Christians sought to relate the Bible with these topics. Much more work is needed in the primary sources for understanding the relations between science and faith in the Ancient and Medieval Church, and it is encouraging to see more publications of scholarly works focusing on the Eastern contribution to these questions. We now offer a provisional categorization that reveals four main strands of thinking. But it should be understood that these categories are more theoretical than actual, for authors can be found in more than one category.
These theoretical categories, along with their exemplars, can provide models and lessons for understanding the later debates surrounding the movement of the earth, the age of the earth, the origin and diversity of species through Darwinian evolution, and the ‘Big Bang’ theory. To focus on first millennium discussions might help diffuse some of the heat and emotion surrounding the contemporary debates and also clarify the proper role of the Bible in such discussions, while also revealing strengths and exposing weaknesses of particular approaches to scientific questions. Throughout our discussion, we would do well to follow the advice of Philoponus:
Here is a seed to a sound idea:
There is never a reason to compel. I see persuasion as an illusion, but it is all we have if we won’t force, and I won’t cotton force in any regard. (Well, I’m assuming peaceable pursuits. There is no civil response to violence other than violence. Yes, on the personal level, the Lord commands us to turn the other cheek, but society cannot afford to do so. Otherwise, the bullies would rule.)
So, if I like the idea, what is my proposition?
I suggest we restrict the vote, ownership of real property, and running for office to those who have served. I like the idea of having no restrictions, nor exemptions for service. Serve two years in Federal service, or forgo being able to ever own real property. Let’s include any federal employment. Serve two years in the military, or don’t bother applying for a job with Uncle Sam.
Serve four years or forgo voting. And let’s put a six-year requirement as fundamental to being able to run for any public office. Further, I’ll suggest eight years minimum for the office of President. States should probably enact similar prerequisites.
There should be no restrictions or exemptions.
The US armed services have always tried to accommodate the wishes of the service members, but the needs of the service come first. Many an Army officer has applied for duty in a preferred location and received an assignment that isn’t on the preference list, which typically includes three. I think it is fitting to simply extend the missions of the services to include supporting civil service. In that way, each service could meet its mission and its needs, and each person could be placed in an appropriate service role. Regardless, all should participate in basic physical training and weapons and defense basics. There will have to be accommodation for capabilities in this regard. I do believe every person should receive this basic training because, ultimately, no one can defend you but you. (You owe it to yourself more than anything.)
At eighteen years of age, all persons residing in the USA would register and declare eligibility. If they chose to declare ineligible, they would simply move on in life, never being able to vote in national elections, never able to own a house or other real property, never able to run for elective office. Sounds like most people today, so it shouldn’t be a hardship. It would, however, eliminate some of the political wrangling that stirs up the masses to vote against the good of the country.
I also support some additional requirements on voting. We would have to monitor that though. It would get touchy, and political. Various immoral discrimination implementations would have to be guarded against. That has its own problems. Still, I think it is fitting to require something of those who can vote.
I mean, doesn’t it seem right and proper that anyone who is allowed to vote must also pay net taxes? Doesn’t it seem right and proper that anyone who is allowed to vote must demonstrate basic knowledge of civics and social competence and current affairs (other than pop culture)?
Anyway, I think making Federal military service (including civil service for the military) a requirement for some of our most cherished privileges. Perhaps it will help us continue to cherish and not take for granted.
Why did the Royal Society need secret meetings?
Guest essay by Dr. Tim Ball
Recent events underscore problems with understanding climate and how the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) achieved their deception. Comments about my recent article appreciated it was a synopsis. The problems were central in my presentation to the First Heartland Climate Conference in New York relating to climatology as a generalist discipline in a world that glorifies specialization.
Where Ms. Mullarkey points out that art has abandoned all traditional definitions, so it now scratches around to try to justify itself, and in our time, science is the authority, or so it is perceived.
A nice quote:
“You can read artist Andy Thomson’s tractlet on “The Contingency of Gravity” here. Take care to grind through the hash of physics and metaphysics to the final line: “If the facts don’t fit the theory, change them.”
Keep the theory; just flip the facts. At heart, it is a totalitarian formulation that corresponds, with demonic ease, to our present political culture, one that has been metastasizing for decades. The substitution of rhetoric for fact and logic—sound over sense—endangers us far more than uncomely art.
It takes heavy doses of higher education to master a lingo engineered to upend the purpose of language by mystifying rather than illuminating. WeakForce is only a single day’s illustration of the lingua franca transmitted through university art departments to the culture at large. It keeps coming, a relentless reminder of Hobbes’ blunt observation that the universities “have been to this nation as the wooden horse to the Trojans.” “
I would support a plan like this, http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/11/how-the-a-plus-act-can-rein-in-the-governments-education-power-grab, because I believe it will be an improvement. However, it leaves the root of the problem intact. It leaves the federal government involved and funding education. There are necessary strings attached to federal money. We need rid of those strings more than anything else in public education.
We need to amend the constitution such that the first amendment includes the words “or education”.
Like this: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or education, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Of course, the primary change we must make in public education is the elimination of all compulsion laws. Compulsory education is immoral. No good can come of it in the end.
I usually just reblog from Anthony’s site, but this one seemed to need a bit more. So, for my friends with concerns regarding GMO and all things modern with respect to food, here is an article where a poor study was published, then retracted, by a science journal.
Each of Anthony’s articles is read by thousands (or more) and each garners lots of comments, some from quite knowledgeable people. Sadly, it is not possible, nor polite, to weed through and keep only the good comments. Zeke’s comments are among the best on this topic.
WUWT posts the story pointing out how good science self-corrects. The point of the post is to contrast to climate science articles that get discredited thoroughly, yet they stay published, without retraction. Food and medicine research tend to self correct more than much of science, but there seems to be lots of latitude and variability along the way. Mistakes in food and medicine show up so fast that it cannot help but self-correct. There is also plenty of expertise in these fields, and high-profile. Sadly, these fields are still prone to politicization. It is sad when a disease or an advance in food science becomes politicized because of the delays for good and the protection of the bad. Lots of harm. Politics and science should try hard to stay far apart.
So, my summary of the situation with the GMO food, the peer review process raised lots of questions, but the authors answered. The journal published. (That is how they make their money, after all.) Then there were lots of questions and accusations from the readership. The journal got directly involved, reviewed hard themselves, and realized the reviewers shouldn’t have given up. While the authors still hold to their findings and conclusions, even they admit the results are shaky. Overall, it would appear the study really shows no cause for concern.
An obvious side effect of the publication of results that are at best questionable and inconclusive is that the fear-mongers latched on to it and publicized and raised the alarm bells, heedless of any rather obvious problems in the study.
For me, the subject of GMO is moot and meaningless. Humans have genetically modified everything they could figure out how to, in every way they could figure, for as far back in history as we can discern. For bible scholars, I’ll ask, what do you think Jacob was managing with the cattle betwixt himself and Laban?
We first figured out how to select the varieties that suited us best and promote procreation among those. Our skills improved over the generations. We eventually figured out the science behind it. Then we figured out the genome. At each step we have figured out better, or at least faster, ways to genetically modify organisms, especially those we eat.
It is easy to fear. It is best to simply keep your eyes open and stay alert to new dangers. Making up fears and dangers before they exist is a sure way to live a miserable, low-productivity life.
Quote of the Week: Our freedom to doubt was born out of a struggle against authority in the early days of science. It was a very deep and strong struggle: permit us to question — to doubt — to not be sure. I think that it is important that we do not forget this struggle and thus perhaps lose what we have gained. Richard Feynman, Value of Science
Mostly as a note to myself to try to figure out what might be an appropriate level, The Heritage Foundation provides a chart showing how many people are employed by the states in their departments of education per million residents. Ms. Brittany Corona writes it up here: http://blog.heritage.org/2013/11/24/department-education-mandates-force-bureaucratic-compliance-onto-states/.
“Federal laws and regulations such as No Child Left Behind (NCLB) levy a mighty bureaucratic compliance burden on state departments of education.
A recent report conducted by The Heritage Foundation finds that state departments of education on average have 142 employees per million state residents.”
I note that Oklahoma is well above average at 226 per million, and Texas seems to be on to something. Texas is first (or last, if you wish) with an admirably efficient 30 per million.
I noted Brittany Corona of the Heritage Foundation in my last post. Ms. Corona appears to have many useful articles. At the link for her byline I find this noteworthy article as well. http://blog.heritage.org/2013/11/07/letter-to-catholic-bishops-catholic-schools-should-reject-the-common-core/ These Catholics see Common Core as a threat to all the church stands for, especially in education.
I agree with these Catholic Professors. Quoting from the article:
“We write to you because of what the particular deficiencies of Common Core reveal about the philosophy and the basic aims of the reform. We write to you because we think that this philosophy and these aims will undermine Catholic education and dramatically diminish our children’s horizons.… Common Core was approved too hastily and with inadequate consideration of how it would change the character and curriculum of our nation’s Catholic schools. We believe that implementing Common Core would be a grave disservice to Catholic education in America.
The Common Core national standards’ mission is to impose one set of standards to define what every public school student will learn. The Catholic Church’s mission in education is to provide an excellent education while orienting students to the values engrained in Catholic teachings. The one-size-fits-all approach embodied in Common Core rejects the premise that individuals have different goals of education.
Common Core is a centralizing force over the content taught in public schools throughout the country. But its influence on private schools and homeschoolers—as a result of textbook spillover, some state regulations, and alignment of college entrance exams—is already being felt.
But for Catholic schools to willingly hand over their curricula and educational authority to the administrative state is terribly misled. Catholic education necessitates that educational decision-making stay within the Church and at the smallest levels of civil engagement: parents, teachers, schools, and churches. And it has flourished from this principle of subsidiarity.”
Common Core is NOT OK!
Here is a short article from the Heritage Foundation, http://blog.heritage.org/2013/11/22/cracks-core-massachusetts-halts-common-core-implementation/, byline Brittany Corona.
It points out that Massachusetts is having second thoughts about Common Core as currently constituted. This is very significant, given that Massachusetts is supposed to be the model on which Common Core is based. It would seem not.
From the article, and I find the second paragraph quite telling:
“Former Governor Bill Weld signed the Education Reform Act in 1993. At its 10th anniversary, 90 percent of Massachusetts students passed their MCAS exams. SAT scores in the state rose for 13 consecutive years following the passage, and according to the National Assessment for Educational Progress report, Massachusetts students have led the nation in overall achievement for nearly every grade level.
While achievement gains in Massachusetts have leveled off in recent years, the Bay State continues to lead the nation in math and reading proficiency. Massachusetts’s fourth- and eighth-grade students exceed the national average of students reaching proficiency by nearly 10 percentage points for both reading and mathematics.”
Common Core is NOT OK!
While reading an American Thinker article, http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/11/the_presidential_degradation_of_the_medal_of_freedom.html, Ms. DeAngelis quotes Matthew Henry regarding how bad our society must be when acknowledged sinners are renown.
I decided to look it up, and I’m quoting here the entire comment on the first seven verses of Genesis chapter 6 (the beginning of the story of Noah):
“The most remarkable thing concerning the old world, is the destroying of it by the deluge, or flood. We are told of the abounding iniquity of that wicked world: God’s just wrath, and his holy resolution to punish it. In all ages there has been a peculiar curse of God upon marriages between professors of true religion and its avowed enemies. The evil example of the ungodly party corrupts or greatly hurts the other. Family religion is put an end to, and the children are trained up according to the worldly maxims of that parent who is without the fear of God. If we profess to be the sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty, we must not marry without his consent. He will never give his blessing, if we prefer beauty, wit, wealth, or worldly honours, to faith and holiness. The Spirit of God strove with men, by sending Enoch, Noah, and perhaps others, to preach to them; by waiting to be gracious, notwithstanding their rebellions; and by exciting alarm and convictions in their consciences. But the Lord declared that his Spirit should not thus strive with men always; he would leave them to be hardened in sin, and ripened for destruction. This he determined on, because man was flesh: not only frail and feeble, but carnal and depraved; having misused the noble powers of his soul to gratify his corrupt inclinations. God sees all the wickedness that is among the children of men; it cannot be hid from him now; and if it be not repented of, it shall be made known by him shortly. The wickedness of a people is great indeed, when noted sinners are men renowned among them. Very much sin was committed in all places, by all sorts of people. Any one might see that the wickedness of man was great: but God saw that every imagination, or purpose, of the thoughts of man’s heart, was only evil continually. This was the bitter root, the corrupt spring. The heart was deceitful and desperately wicked; the principles were corrupt; the habits and dispositions evil. Their designs and devices were wicked. They did evil deliberately, contriving how to do mischief. There was no good among them. God saw man’s wickedness as one injured and wronged by it. He saw it as a tender father sees the folly and stubbornness of a rebellious and disobedient child, which grieves him, and makes him wish he had been childless. The words here used are remarkable; they are used after the manner of men, and do not mean that God can change, or be unhappy. Does God thus hate our sin? And shall not we be grieved to the heart for it? Oh that we may look on Him whom we have grieved, and mourn! God repented that he had made man; but we never find him repent that he redeemed man. God resolves to destroy man: the original word is very striking, ‘I will wipe off man from the earth,’ as dirt or filth is wiped off from a place which should be clean, and is thrown to the dunghill, the proper place for it. God speaks of man as his own creature, when he resolves upon his punishment. Those forfeit their lives who do not answer the end of their living. God speaks of resolution concerning men, after his Spirit had been long striving with them in vain. None are punished by the justice of God, but those who hate to be reformed by the grace of God.”
My wife and I discuss a lot while driving. Several years ago, probably before our first child, we were discussing Noah, and she was becoming agitated over the details, science, and facts I was interjecting. Things like how impossible so much of it was, and how one should not claim science in trying to explain an overt miracle.
Calmly, but with significant exasperation, she looked at me and asked, “What then am I supposed to teach the children?”
Keep in mind, she has taught young children bible stories since her early teens. I fell for her watching her teach a group of toddlers in the Sunday school. I replied by asking, “What do you teach them?”
She confidently, but brusquely replied, “I teach them God loved Noah, God warned Noah, Noah obeyed God, and God saved the world through Noah because of his obedience.”
That made it so simple. I replied, “Isn’t that the point? What else would you teach them?”
With that, she realized none of the science mattered to the truth in the story. She resolved to avoid the contentions in her teaching and in the curriculum she developed over the years. It is possible to stay true to the truths of our faith while staying honest and committed to the true facts. (Besides, toddlers never questions about where all the water came from or how a wooden boot could be so big, or how floor-space amounting to twice that enclosed by a typical track-and-field lot could hold all the critters in the world and food for a year.)
Speaking of my wife, there is a Matthew Henry quote that I must have heard first near 7 years of age, and have heard many times since. It is referring to the traditional translation of Genesis 2:22, ”the woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved.”
The sentiment has been expressed by others, presumably independently. I certainly see it as the point of the verse.
The article below caught my eye, but while I was thinking of the title, I remembered the two Adam Again reference of my past. An album by the great Michael Omartian, but of course also the group fronted by the late Gene Eugene. Gene worked Swirling Eddies and Lost Dogs with Terry Scott Taylor, who is absolutely one of the greatest musicians of all time.
The Economist printed this article, http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21590475-furiousand-politicaldebate-about-origins-mankind-all-about-adam, under the by line “Lexington.”
The article is worth reading. I highly recommend it for any fundamentalist or evangelical.
A couple of quotes:
“After they hit 18, half of evangelical youngsters lose their faith; entering a public university is especially perilous. As a generation, millennials (those born between the early 1980s and 2000s), are unimpressed by organised anything, let alone organised religion. Many young adults told the Barna Group, an evangelical research outfit, that they felt stifled by elders who demonised secular America.”
“The seeming paradox of a strong faith in crisis is explained by rigidity: that which cannot bend may break instead. The danger is keenly felt in conservative Christian circles, where a debate has broken out over the long-term outlook for the movement.”
“A trickier controversy has been triggered by findings from the genome that modern humans, in their genetic diversity, cannot be descended from a single pair of individuals. Rather, there were at least several thousand “first humans”. That challenges the historical existence of Adam and Eve, and has sparked a crisis of conscience among evangelical Christians persuaded by genetic science.”
Lexington closes with a snide comment about denying science. I don’t approve.
Commit to truth. Hold fast to the truth. Don’t deceive yourself into supposing you cannot be proven wrong.
I accept our first parents by faith. I make sure I don’t read into the first two chapters of Genesis, and I figure that the day before “the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature” there was no visible, testable difference. That is, it seems scriptural and consistent with daily experience to suppose that natural processes were how God formed man of dust, and at some point, God did a miracle that made man godlike. (That’s from the first chapter.) I see that miracle as being spiritual, not natural.
So, was Adam historical? I think so. I don’t think I really understand it. I certainly will not try to build a model of how it all worked out, considering natural and spiritual factors. It would be untestable at best. I understand it well enough to believe God is good. I’ll leave it at that.