Archives for category: Life

https://looker-dashboards.ok.gov/embed/dashboards/76

81% of deaths in Oklahoma asserted to involve COVID-19 are over 65. Adding from age 50 pushes the total to 96%. The disease is not dangerous to people less than 50 years old. It isn’t.

Oklahoma reports its first death asserted to involve COVID-19 was 18 March 2020, thus 260 days to 03 December 2020, for an average of 7 deaths per day. The fact that the average death rate has gradually increased throughout the period since would concern me if I had any confidence in the data. First, the case data is only misleading. It offers only obfuscation. Case numbers are demonstrably a linear function of testing numbers. (Check the mathematics for yourself.) Case numbers provide no useful information whatsoever. Death numbers are affected by the case numbers, and death numbers are corrupted by government influence due to politics and due to monetary compensation considerations. Further, panic and fear drive mistakes and bias. Finally, the unimaginable numbers in the quantity of testing and results and the ever-increasing involvement of more and more people results in inevitable honest mistakes that are not caught and corrected for many reasons, not the least of which is simply lack of time for checking and double checking. (Not to mention all the money being made by testers and laboratories.)

https://oklahoma.gov/coronavirus.html

As is obvious from the graphic from Oklahoma, deaths have been growing very slowly and steadily [no jumps, no causes for alarm], with hospitalizations growing only slightly faster, but steady, while cases increase at an ever-increasing pace. Rationality dictates that these data force us to conclude the case numbers are meaningless. Further, nearly all the cases are recovered. Obviously, the virus is not significantly lethal for anyone younger than 65.

Panic is unjustifiable. Fear is the only thing we have to fear. Fear that disables and isolates, causing long-term detriment to us all, especially our young and our poor. The least among us bear the brunt of the burden we impose with coercive restrictions and mandates pretending to protect them.

Toward the end of April when the official case count exceed 3000, the death rate was 6%. By early June, cases exceed 7000 with the death rate at 5%. Nationally, we had a bit of a bump early in the summer as the expected second wave hit. By the first week of August cases exceeded 40000, but the death rate was below 1.5%. Here at the beginning of December, the official case count is over 204-thousand, with the death rate having fallen below 1%. Obviously the case count provides no information, no useful predictive indication. Case numbers only provide confusion and fear. We need to stop it. We need to be testing only people who have the most significant symptoms at significant levels, and we need two tests of differing types so as to eliminate the false positives. Still, it is too late. There is no hope. The virus will have to fade into the background of its own accord, or perhaps because of vaccines, but our nonsensical fear and panic will continue to cause suffering for far longer than we will ever admit; suffering we caused ourselves. Regarding COVID-19, the least harmful action was no action; a possibility politicians refused to consider for fear of being accused of not trying.

“Inherent factors have predetermined the Covid-19 mortality:”


Primary fact found: the higher a grouping’s life expectancy, the higher the death rate due to COVID-19.


It is an extensive paper you won’t bother reading. Perhaps you could read the introductory paragraphs.


My summary is nothing governments did helped. Lockdowns didn’t help. Mandates and other restrictions didn’t help. Call it the luck of the draw, but that isn’t right. What mattered was where people lived and how dependent people were on government. The more the government mattered in the society, the worse things went regarding the virus.


Sadly, of course, what most people will conclude is they need more government involvement in their lives.


Another tidbit one can conclude from this study is that economics really does equal lives. That is, the better off the economy, the more lives are saved (and vice versa). And, frankly, the more decadent people get, the more susceptible they are to stresses, like a new infection. Which, of course, means good economics also tends to make us lazy, which kills us. I suppose, in the end, we all die regardless.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpubh.2020.604339/full

If you recall, Matthew related this incident similarly. John recounted it with significant differences. I like Mark’s account. Some interesting nuances.
Most of Jesus’ listeners would have been aware that Jesus was referencing Deuteronomy 15 in regulations for dealing with the poor and people who had suffered loss.
I think in our day, we need to extend the analogy to the sick, and to those who are feared for potentially being sick.


Mark 14:3 And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. 4 There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that? 5 For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they scolded her. 6 But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. 8 She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. 9 And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”


Would have Jesus accepted the close and intimate offering if he’d known the offeror was infected with COVID-19? Wouldn’t the naysayers have reacted the same if the woman wasn’t wearing a mask?

I think we all understand Jesus wouldn’t have drawn back. The example took place in the house of a leper. Jesus never refused the sick. He never will. Of course, those who took offense would have been just as offended as those who, today, take offense at maskless passerbys.


If the virus runs unhindered, we humans will pull through stronger than ever. If fear and isolation continue to hold sway, well, I don’t think future generations will remember the alarmists as favorably as we remember this supplicant.

A thoughtful fellow commented on how someone could argue for mandating a moral good. He pointed out how nearly everyone agrees religion is a moral good, but we all insist on freedom of religion. Of course. (Wise man, isn’t he?)

I add that available evidence shows clearly that individual religious observance is beneficial for the individuals and their groups. On the other hand, available evidence shows masks have no benefit with regard to viruses, and they result in grave harm to individuals and groups in psychological factors. Masks and distancing interfere with what makes us human; we are communal, and masks break the communion.

I here provide a link, https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/5/19-0994_article, to a definitive study from authoritative sources that establishes mechanistic measures do not impede virus transmission. Masks do not slow the spread of viruses.

The study was completed before politics entered disease research. If you look, you can find several older studies concluding the same, though most aren’t as thorough and definitive. I’m not offering any supporting evidence regarding religious practice, but you all know that, and you can look for yourself if you want evidence. When religions are abused for evil, it is by authoritarianism. Authoritarianism is always bad regardless of the level of application or the means. Authoritarianism can be inflicted by science and experts as easily as by religious officials. It can be wielded by bosses or politicians or police or menial bureaucrats. The result is the same, coercion. Coercion is evil.

Masks don’t help. Please don’t mandate masks. If you call for the imposition of masks and other socially harmful measures, understand I define your actions as evil; you are causing unnecessary, unjustifiable suffering. Perhaps you don’t care about my opinion, but if it is evil, are you willing to live with that? Are you intentionally inflicting evil on society and your fellows? I say so.

I ask why? Why are you willing to coerce your neighbor when coercion is certainly evil? Are you afraid? Then I say grow up.

Thoughtful with good information and reason. In short, we are probably alone in our galaxy, but we are nowhere near being sure about that. We have reasonable evidence we are alone. The calculations discussed in the video are useful, and they imply there are many reasons to seem alone if we aren’t quite alone.

Fundamentally to me, the purpose of the universe is to use enthalpy to do work and use it up, increasing the entropy with every moment. The purpose of the universe is to make entropy.

If you think of entropy as chaos, you won’t understand. Entropy isn’t chaos, it is used-up energy. It cannot be used again, but it is still energy. Order and disorder are poor analogies. It is not correct to say order doesn’t arise from disorder. The statement is simply false. Order arises from disorder all the time in various ways depending on enthalpy and work.

Because living systems use enthalpy much more effectively, I expect living systems everywhere they can be. Further, I expect living systems to expand and maximize as much as possible. 99.9% of all predecessor examples we have accomplished that and passed on. The only example we have exactly like us (we ourselves) seems to be ever-expanding and increasing capacity. It may be that other “like-us” examples exist intent on minimalization, but that is counter to the ever more effective use of enthalpy that seems to be the sole purpose of the universe as a whole.

Beyond our galaxy, we have no data. It is too big with too many possibilities to support any conjecture. Within our galaxy, so far, the only reasonable assumption is that we are alone. We can hold out hope, but the universe doesn’t seem concerned with wasting space. It does seem concerned with using up enthalpy and increasing entropy as fast as it can figure out ways to do it, and ways emerge, figuring out how to do it. Emergent self-organizing systems arise from unbalanced systems. That is physics, not psyche. Supposing consciousness is some sort of emergent physical self-organizing system is contra factual. Consciousness is much, much more than a self-organizing physical system. We know less about our minds inside than we do about all that is outside. Consciousness may be the key. Consciousness may be so exceptional that it arising even once in a galaxy is long odds. No consciousness, no engineering. No engineering, no world-building and expanding into otherwise deadly environments. No world-building, no new worlds. That could be the great filter.

I assert we will burn everything that will burn until we have a better source of energy. Hydro is good but past maximized, and environmentalists want to tear down the dams we have. Solar is a wimp. It has its place, but not on the grid, and anyone telling you otherwise doesn’t understand the engineering and physics of it. Wind is simply a scam, snake oil. Wind-based power generation drives up costs in the grid and in transmission and in maintenance. It cannot be made better. It is disruptive to our power usage and needs. Turbines kill insects by the millions, bats by the thousands (maybe by the millions), and rare and endangered birds by the hundreds. Wind has no net benefits, only pain. Wind turbines do violence against our neighbors with flashing lights, flashing shadows, vertigo-inducing rotation, incessant noise, fire and throw hazard, and property devaluation.

Thus, we burn.

It is immoral to burn edible food while people starve. Biofuels do more harm than good.

There is no alternative to petroleum for a few applications, but we can convert most of our power needs to electricity, which we can renewably generate with nuclear fission for millennia.

We will convert to nuclear electricity generation. It is our only possibility. If we allow fear to continue to drive us, we will increase suffering caused by other power generation methods until we wise up. It will be painful. The longer we wait to convert to essentially 100% nuclear, the greater the pain and suffering we impose on ourselves and our posterity.

As an aside, persuasion is an illusion. Manipulation is a thing, but not persuasion. Compulsion is real enough (and evil), but it is not persuasion. The only true persuader is pain. The fellow who is convinced he can walk through walls may never admit he is delusional, but after a broken nose or two, when he claims he can walk through walls, he will take the doorway, explain that it is much easier. When our pain from wind power generation is too high, we will quit. (Who will clean up the mess?) Likewise, the large solar installations. Inevitably, we will power our lives with nuclear generated electricity.

Coal is a finite resource, and it is environmentally burdensome, even with modern technology. We will wean ourselves off it, even China and India, long before we run out of it. though. The net benefits from coal are too low to justify using it when we have better alternatives like natural gas and nuclear fission.

Natural gas may be finite. (Well, it is eventually, but odds are we will be extracting it from the earth even a few centuries from now.) Natural gas has substantive net benefit, but it is still somewhat burdensome on the environment, and nuclear fission is far better. We will be using natural gas for many generations to come, but we will see it specialized into small niches. It will become inconsequential to our earthly environment.

Petroleum, well, we are probably going to use it for as long as we have machines. We are probably going to have machines for hundreds, maybe thousands, of generations. Of course, we could have paradigm-shifting technological advances that make it easier to make what hydrocarbons we use more inexpensively with nuclear-generated electricity than by continued mining (drilling, fracking, and other modern extraction techniques, which I think of as mining). {“If it can’t be grown, it must be mined,” is a truth-statement today.} Also, it doesn’t actually seem likely petroleum is a finite resource. That is, for practical purposes, it may be as plentiful as rock. It is reasonable to suppose we will never run out of oil in the earth’s crust. We are not sure, but there are theories that we can’t test significantly yet. Regardless, the extractable oil is more than enough to remain useful for generations to come. We are just as far from peak-oil as we’ve ever been, and every time prognosticators start doomcasting we blow right past their deadlines.

For generating large amounts of stable electrical energy, coal is the most sensible from the engineering standpoint, but the other burdens of its extraction, use, and disposal are too significant. Natural gas is only sensible because we can get so much of it so inexpensively. That situation will not hold indefinitely, but I suspect it will hold for the rest of my generation (let’s assume 40 years). Natural gas is relatively clean, and direct use of it is exceptionally beneficial in terms of benefits to our lives versus the burdens of extraction and use. It takes three times more natural gas to boil your tea kettle with an electric stove top (assuming natural-gas turbine generated electricity) than it does with a direct natural gas stove top. It is quite counterproductive from any standpoint to restrict or ban the use of natural gas in residential or commercial or even industrial use. Natural gas is first choice for direct fuel applications. One could argue for liquid fuels, but it is much harder to deal with liquid fuels in open-flame applications.

Petroleum is not a good fuel for large electrical power generation, which is why we use it for only a small fraction of a percent of our total electrical generation. It is good for small applications, and quick-start applications, but not much otherwise.

We need petroleum for mobile fuel. Liquids are easily stored in tanks for direct transportation usage. It is probably indispensable for aircraft, at least medium- and long-distance flights. It is good with ground transport, but there are several advantages to electrically powered transportation, but the limits of batteries are prohibitive, and will be for the near future. Edison advanced battery technology more than anyone before him, and advancements since have been at a snail’s pace with the significant, but small, advancement of lithium batteries. It looks like 15 to 25 years will bet us that much ahead again. That will give us batteries about twice as good as Edison could make. We need batteries that are 50 times better.

We have a variety of reasonable engineering solutions, but none that will be easy or inexpensive, and some would require significant changes in our societies. We shall see.

Another aside: If we can prove out fully automated transportation, we may switch to all electric vehicles, including short-flight aircraft, by switching to an entirely automated transportation system that would incorporate plains, trains, automobiles, and trucks scheduled to maximize battery life and transportation efficiencies. If so, personal ownership of vehicles would probably be relegated to hobbyists, and we’d generally just tap our phone app to have our ride pull up for us in a matter seconds, zipping us without traffic snarls to our destinations (with, perhaps, stops to transfer to a second transport with fresh batteries if our distance requires).

As an engineer with expertise in physics, I have no reservations asserting we will burn all we need to until we have excess electricity generated from nuclear power sources. Windmills will run their course, and our descendants will curse us for the hardships caused by them. Large-scale solar will be the same, but some solar applications may prove out, but solar power generation will never supply a significant fraction of our overall energy usage.

We will switch to nuclear. It is the only reasonable possibility. There may be some genius-level technological breakthrough, but there is no evidence to support such speculation, and it may be centuries from now even if it is possible.

We will use nuclear fission with uranium and thorium for generations, and we will eventually solve the engineering challenges of nuclear fusion and the materials required to build power production facilities. That might be a century or two (or a couple decades, but my money is on 100 years).

There is no existential threat other than the unknown. There is a plant-killing rock out there, but it may not approach for several centuries. (Of course, if we spot it tomorrow and realize it will hit us in 15 years, we’re probably going to join the dinosaurs and the other 99.9% of species how’ve run their course on our planet. I bet a few survive, or some new species will eventually attain what we call sentience, and life will continue to find a way, at least until the next unknown catastrophic event overtakes them.)

We will burn fossil fuels until nuclear power generation makes it impractical. We will not tip earth’s climate into anything catastrophic for humans or the rest of life on this planet.

Do keep in mind that there are three essential ingredients to life on our planet, water, oxygen, and carbon dioxide. The first two are demonstrably the most destructive aspects of our environment. As long as oceans remain, water and oxygen will remain the most significant drivers of maintenance and repair and rebuilding. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. It is an essential ingredient to life. It cannot exist in nature in quantities that are dangerous to us or other life. Even corals have experienced carbon dioxide levels multiples higher than our current levels. CO2 is only dangerous on our planet in its absence. We must have it, or photosynthesis is impossible. If carbon dioxide gets too low, all plants will die and all remaining life will starve, all of it (well, fungus might manage).

So, are you willing to acknowledge that nuclear is best? If not, you will relegate the next generation to undue suffering, and they will.

We will switch to entirely nuclear-power generated electricity. It is only a matter of time and how much suffering it takes to overcome our irrational fears of it.

I’ve paid attention to climate change my whole life. In my youth, it was pollution, soot and sulfur compounds, etc., that were causing, not only dirty, unhealthy living conditions, but coming ice sheets as our current ice age deepened and the glaciers reasserted over most of the northern hemisphere. Later, that fear morphed into global warming, now, just change. Of course, change is the only constant, and we hear most everything blamed on this supposedly alarming change in the undefined and undefinable climate.

Trying to keep things simple, I take advantage of the fact we humans are inherently religious. No matter what we are talking about, we frame it in a religious framework. Currently, the high priests, the bishops, and the popes, like Algore, tell us we are sinning by burning things, especially in our motor vehicles, and by eating (which is still burning). The alarmist religious leaders pretend we can be absolved if we drive unsafe tiny cars (and drive less) and if we eat unhealthy foods (meaning only plants grown in manure).

Of course, there are bigger sins, like coal, but that is a slow-motion effort that mostly hurts people directly involved in coal, and less coal does amount to less pollution to deal with for the rest of us.

Since essentially all of us are unwilling to repent of our sinful ways, the powers that be preach that “god” (Gaia, in this case) is punishing us with weather. All of what we used to call weather (which we admitted everyone talked about, but no one could do anything about) is now hailed as proof that we sinners must repent and stop burning anything and stop eating anything.

Again, we humans are going to continue eating. As we grow wealthier (in the developing nations) we will eat more meat. We will burn more fuel. That is the fact. It isn’t going to change. We will consume more and more energy (food is simply our tasty form of energy). It is inexorable. If you oppose it, you espouse death and slavery. Harsh? Not at all. The internalization of the fact that every individual has independent intrinsic value and the fact of the industrial revolution, specifically the burning of fossil fuels in productive industry, have been the significant factors in the reductions of slavery and death and abject poverty in the world.

I think that worth emphasizing: Understanding the worth of every individual as an independent good and the burning of fossil fuels are why things are better now than they were a century ago. We can step that back by century, still seeing progress for a few, but the same cannot be said of a couple millennia ago. Specifically, at that time, only the powerful were valued. All wealth was merely the effective use of enslavement. Life was dirty, brutish, and short unless you were powerful enough to use slaves. Restricting the use of energy, even fossil fuels, is turning to slavery and impoverishment.

The big picture is that energy is the single most important factor to the flourishing of humanity as a whole. Energy causally correlates to societal wellbeing.

Deficient engineers and bad politicians devised means of producing power without directly burning fossil fuels. These so-called renewables meet our religious need of blood sacrifice. These sacrificial altars kill insects by the millions, bats by the thousands, and rare birds by the hundreds continuously. These sacrificial altars provide us self-flagellation as well, at least for those forced to live within proximity. Eventually, the harm caused by renewables will be so self-evident that the religious leaders of environmentalism will turn the tables, and these will be the new sin. (Over and over for over 3,000 years, we have abandoned windmills. We will this time, too, and someone will have to clean up the mess.)

It cannot be over emphasized that the ready availability of energy as inexpensive, reliable electricity and fuel, is the essential requirement for a flourishing human society. It is globally and locally true. We must have more and more reliable energy availability. The alternative is death and slavery. It is harsh, but those are the cold equations (reference Tom Godwin).

Much of what we humans do is not life or death. Energy is.

Such notions as the “green new deal” deny reality and physics.

Such notions as socialism deny reality and human nature.

To deny reality is to invite death.

Is climate changing? Yes. It always has. It always will.

Is climate changing because of our consumption and burning? Is it because of the new sins of the new environmentalist religion? I can’t see that it matters. Climate has changed far more in the distant past than it can in the near future. I don’t think we can define climate in the near-term. I think climate must be defined over several generations. It isn’t useful to define climate in terms less than several centuries. Too many other factors affect all we are considering when looking at averages of various factors of weather.

I assert we are in no danger societally from any pending climate change. Our sins of burning are not going to kill us, and Gaia simply doesn’t care. Climate and earth will not kill us. (That big rock coming our way might, but we can’t say much about when.)

Teach your children the historical fact that fear and alarmism have never accomplished anything good and usually result in grave harm.

Bottom line: We must have more energy. It must be more readily available to all, and it must be reliable.

There is a clear and proven way to make more energy available in an environmentally responsible way, nuclear.

Nuclear fission power production is our only long-term option.

Repeating the bottom line: We must have more energy, and nuclear is the only realistic way to do it.

Simplistic, but valid: From nothing comes nothing.
Either something exists, or nothing exists.

We can side with the likes of Stephen Hawking and assert eternal existence of gravity and quantum vacuum and, also, assign it practical [and mindless] divinity. Then we can reasonably speculate that myriad minuscule fluctuations in the quantum foam converged to burst forth from the singularity. Inflation, then space-time, which is running down, back down to the nothing.

Or, we can assume transcendence. That is, we can assume an eternal something that is truly beyond nature. Eternal is the key, and transcendence is required, or it is just natural, and we are back to nothing. There are some significant hurdles to deal with in assuming the divine, but an eternal transcendent actor can only be referred to as god. (Peterson says as much, often.)

If we hold to the first, methodological materialism, or naturalism, or atranscendence, then we are stuck with nothing and there simply is no such thing as agency. No choice is any more significant than any event. It takes two things to do anything: Time and Energy. States and systems exhibiting disequilibria will tend to equilibrate, taking time and using energy. Disequilibrated systems do anything that takes time and uses up energy, as long as it lessens the disequilibration. Often, order arises, emergent phenomena. A simple example is a dust devil in a dirt field. The ground heats unevenly under the sun, and the air warms slower, disequilibria. A warm thermal begins to rise, often beginning to spin, and up arises a dancing, self-organizing, dust devil, chasing the warmest spot near it. It is a dissipative system, more efficient at increasing entropy than simple convection. Assuming atranscendence, the dust devil is the same as any choice I make, any idea I conceive, any action I take. It all, only, tends to use up time and energy bringing the universe back to closer to the absolute and eternal nothing of its beginning.

Given my definitions above, the options are god or not-god.

That is, god is that which is eternal and transcendent.

Not-god is that which is yet eternal but nothing, that which momentarily and currently is subject to unwinding the initial winding of the singularity, and the unwinding is simply the using up of time and energy. (It makes no difference in this assumption whether the big bang is a single freak occurrence, or if it is quasicyclical, repeating randomly for all eternity.)

If we accept the god assumption, we are faced with eternity. We exist in time, but we will exist in eternity (and perhaps have always existed in some sense). The questions religion and philosophy address boil down to this: In eternity, with-god or without-god? One choice with two options. We will enter eternity having chosen god or refused god.

In that assertion, I’m assuming the god condition of eternal and transcendent reality. Given that assumption, the choice, the ultimate choice, true agency, is between with-god and without-god.

There either is choice, or there is nothing.

I admit I am defining nothing as meaninglessness.

I’m defining eternal and transcendent as meaning, reason, and rationality. It is my assertion, my premise. It is fundamental within me. (It is fundamental within the universe.)

Choice, agency, is the only thing that matters. If not-god is the reality, then there is no choice, no meaning, no rationality, no reason, nothing. If god is the reality, and there is no choice, no agency, regarding eternity with god or eternity without god, then we are back to nothing, back to no choice, no meaning, no rationality, no reason.

Given any reality approximating that, truth has no meaning in any case where choice, true agency, isn’t foundational and intrinsic. Individual agency must be real or there is not even anything that can be called truth, not in the abstract, not in the concrete, not in the ideal, not even in the notional. If I have no choice in the matter, no agency, nothing matters and nothing is the only true reality. If there is such a thing as reality, choice is real; agency is real.

Obviously, I cannot get away from the notion of truth, and one might argue such persistence makes it deeper, more real, than choice. No. First, we must not conflate Truth with Reality. That which is real is not the same as that which is true, not even in the ideal. It goes to meaning. If the not-god reality is real, then all that we seem to know is simply a random confluence of quantum fluctuations that happen to have congealed into a mass hallucination. If my mind is merely matter and energy and chemical processes running in patterns dictated by quantum fluctuations, I have no mind, and I have nothing on which to base any assumption. I can have no reason to assume any of it will continue. I have no real reason to base any of it on.

In that case, I have no reason. There would really be no reason and no such thing as reason, only matter, only energy, only a persistent, sequential running down and unwinding.

Frankly, I find it unreasonable to assume there is no such thing as reason.

I find it irrational to assume there is no such thing as rationality.

It seems as certain as anything else that there must be an eternal transcendent actor. Being confined to time and nature, we cannot hope to know this super-nature directly. We can only hope to systematically and rationally investigate it and aim at truth, as we do with all of nature. The nature of nature, our reality, seems to include something transcendent that we typically call mind. There isn’t a significant difference between “mind” as we use it, and “spirit” as we use it. There is no quantifiable reason to suppose mind is any less real than matter. Consciousness is really a thing, a thing we do not understand. Our religions may be so far from truth as to be laughable, but so may our sciences.

Again, without choice, there is no truth.

If I am not really a free agent capable of making real choices with meaningful consequences, then there is simply nothing, at least nothing that has any meaning, nothing that matters.

I’ve seen my share of references, so I assume you’ve seen the headlines too.

Pope Francis is reported to have said those who refuse God eventually disappear. Official sources clarify that the report is exactly that, a report, not a quote. Given the Pope’s penchant for unorthodox views, I wouldn’t put it past him, but this ancient reporter seems likely to have added his own slant. I’m not sure why the Pope would interview with someone who is known for overt agenda, but oh well.

Apparently, it wasn’t supposed to be an interview at all. “A recent meeting between Pope Francis and Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari, 93, was a “private meeting for the occasion of Easter, however without giving him any interview,”” … “Scalfari, a self-proclaimed atheist…”

I pulled from the Catholic News Agency, CNA news report here.

Regardless of what the Pope may think, Jesus had a few things to say about hell, and folks talk about translation and context, which is certainly needful, but Jesus didn’t pull any punches here: http://biblehub.com/matthew/18-8.htm What might he have meant by fire that endures the ages if not a fairly conventional definition of hell?

There are limitations to the information we have, and there is even more limitation to our potential to understand. Our understanding is truly finite and limited.

What a conundrum we have when we consider time.

If we exist, there is time. It exists as sure as anything.

Time is hardly more than the running down of our universe. Sure, we can complicate, and when we must consider the things that time affects, we must be more precise, but I consider here time of itself, moreover, eternity.

If time exists, eternity must. Time began with the universe. Time is a property of the universe, the space-time continuum, we correctly call it.

Eternity is without time; there is eternity; eternity is.

See? Eternity is not a long time. Eternity has nothing to do with time. Time is what you have when you do not have eternity, or rather, when you are limited and expiring.

Can we accept eternity as a foundational, fundamental, encompassing premise? I assert we must. We know time is finite, at least as it pertains to our existence, our reality. If time is finite, must there not be more, something beyond time, something that has nothing to do with time, something for time to happen in? How can we be reasonable if we reject the notion.

How can we reason at all if we assume that all that exists is finite? Accepting nothing beyond the finite defies meaning as a premise. It reduces all to fundamental happenstance with no intent, no direction, no meaning, no reason. I hold it unreasonable to assert there is no reason. I hold it meaningless to assert there is no meaning. As has been rightly observed, we act as though we believe in reason and meaning. We act as though we mean something when we say it, as though we are reasoning when we suppose something.

Let us agree on eternity as a foundational premise.

Now, is eternity divine?

That is a question that seems certain to have two, and only two, possible answers, yes or no.

A religious view would probably shun the notion of eternity as the divinity, but can it not be fundamentally divine? Yes, it can. It is also possible that it is not. If not, we are looking again at utter happenstance with no possibility of meaning.

Still, blatant finitude, absolute meaninglessness, is a possibility we cannot disprove. Yet, if there is infinity, eternity, and it is divine, we end up assuming some divinity, some ultimate divine, eternally existent, infinite (not finite in any way) being. Well, hold up. Not necessarily a being. Still, something ultimate, infinite, unlimited, unbounded.

Shifting from the external and ultimate, let us look within. We do not, and perhaps cannot, understand consciousness. We have working models—workable, useful tools, but no understanding. We act as though we have a soul, but we explicitly denounce the soul as unknowable, unverifiable. We treat each other as sovereign souls (at least ideally–we know we should), as entities embodying the divine, the image of God, be that defined as it may. We, at least ideally, act as if it is so. If we act as though we have a soul while discounting it, what can we surmise as basis? Can we suppose that there must be something divine, eternal, within? Is there some attribute and capacity of ourselves, our consciousnesses, that is actually and truly eternal? It seems a reasonable assumption, a justifiable premise.

If we accept eternity, and we assume we are, at least in some way, part of it, then ultimately, we will exist long after the universe, long after world’s-end. (There I go assuming time again.) Fundamentally, the worthwhile possibilities for consideration are only two: With the divine in eternal existence, or without the divine in eternal existence. Unbounded existence with God, or without God. Regarding this latter, what more definition of hell might one propose?

I find it an undeniable possibility that there be no heaven, but if there is heaven, there most certainly is hell.

Micah 6:8

 

An unrelated article brought this to mind.

Argue all you want, complicate all you want, but God is, or God is not. If you prefer, there is a divine ultimate, or there is nothing.

If we acknowledge the divine, then we are eternal, it seems a certain consequence.

I assert free will. “Good heavens, gentlemen, what sort of free will is left when we come to tabulation and arithmetic, when it will all be a case of twice two make four? Twice two makes four without my will. As if free will meant that!” (Fyodor Dostoevsky [c8p2, c8p3])

There is no free will if one may not choose eternity to at least the extent of with-God or without-God.

I assert the good. I assert that choosing to add harm to life is the evil.

We have before us life or death, good or evil. Therefore, choose life.

I aver that Martin Luther King Jr. was a pretty good example of a husband and father, and it seems fitting on the day we honor him to note that for the most part, we’ve solved the problems for women of not having husbands.

That is, in most of our circumstances, we support single mothers. We don’t shun them. We typically work with them in personal and public ways.

For the most part, a single mother’s life is hard, but it is not life-threatening as it used to be.

Thus, we have many single mothers. That is, while there are still problems, the biggest problem, the problem that made women fear being a single mother, has been mitigated. While we have improved the lot of women, we have not improved the overall lot.

Fatherlessness, lack of a husband in the family, is a problem for society. It is a serious problem for children. Fatherlessness of families results in harm.

How do we fix that? I think it is obvious money and government programs cannot fix it.

How do we fix it?

I just watched the movie Correspondence (2016) with my wife.

I doubt most people will like.

I suggest you don’t look it up. Don’t read reviews. Don’t look up the trailer. Go with your gut. Watch, or don’t. It is about a love affair with a star, with the universe, but it is supposed to be about a love affair of a middle-aged astrophysics (Jeremy Irons) and a young PhD candidate (Olga Kurylenko).

If you decide to watch it, forget everything. Don’t think. Just feel. It might do for you what it did for me.

Some say I’m too emotional. At times like these, I’m glad of it.

~

Are you worried about WWIII? You should read this. Do you love history? You should read this. Do you wonder at Russia, especially the enigma of the old USSR? You should read this. Russia is not the USSR. Putin may be cold, but he is rational, and he is a patriot. Russia plays defense. It does not think offense. Even the unimaginable numbers asserted by the Soviet at the height of the Cold War, Russia thought of defense. Her offense was only intended, at least in the Russian heart, to ensure the battle lines were drawn far from Russia’s heartland.

Perhaps the grand communist experiment, the epic failure (which was and always will be inevitable), was able to happen largely due to the mindset of the Russian-related peoples. Perhaps they had lived in danger so long, that stable dread was tolerable. I hope it cannot happen again. Surely enough people know that communism, socialism, in all its forms, fails, moreover, it kills and destroys.

The article is long. Read it anyway. Grab a mug and learn, enjoy it all.

Mr. Hitchens mentions a movie, a documentary of the sorry conditions in the USSR.

In Russian, of course. No English text. So, learn your Russian or guess.

A note of one who was looking for the movie in 2015. https://www.reddit.com/r/russia/comments/2uhv7b/trying_to_find_a_movie/

From the Internet Movie Database: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100738/

 


The misreading of Russia’s geopolitical situation is especially sad because for the first time in . . . .

Source: The Cold War Is Over by Peter Hitchens | Articles | First Things

Jesus said, “You will be hearing of wars and acts of terrorism. Be alarmed? NO! Such things are normal, not the end of the world.”

http://biblehub.com/matthew/24-6.htm

The angel said, “Be not alarmed!  You seek Jesus, the Nazarene, the crucified one. He is risen!”

http://biblehub.com/mark/16-6.htm

Note, Mark wrote that to end in awe. Within a few years, others added. Mark left it at the low point. I think he expected people to find the risen savior and understand the joy of Easter inwardly, rather than in writing.

The ladies entered the tomb, and they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. 6And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” 8And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

They were afraid.

At least a dozen times, Jesus told us not to be afraid. “Fear not! Only believe.”
http://biblehub.com/search/luke/8-50.htm

There are problems to address with immigration into our country. There are big problems with ignoring our own laws.

There are no reasons to fear immigrants!

We need to improve our laws and reopen our country. We need to have faith in our fellowman. No man is an island.
http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/no-man-is-an-island/
No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devotions_upon_Emergent_Occasions

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