Introducing … The Introducing Series!

A few years ago when I was in grad school, I was talking with friends at the Christian Student Center about some now long forgotten philosopher, and a studious friend remarked that I should read an “Introducing” book about the person.  He explained that they were a series of well written short introductions (something like the “For Dummies” series) that were illustrated.  Yes, a comic book of a sort.  So, my curiosity was piqued and I decided to check one out.  I have recently been diving into these books again, and felt it was worth a detailed post. 

I have found my friend’s advice to be right on target.  For the most part (there are a few lemons out there), these books are an indispensable guide to get an appreciation of many subjects.  In particular the religious guides, philosopher biographies and the mathematics and science books are very good.  (more…)

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Published in: on May 7, 2008 at 2:08 am  Leave a Comment  

Using the Telescope

Isaac (and sometimes Bailey and Livy) and I have been getting acquainted with the various constellations.  We have read that there are 88 that can be seen (with the naked eye only — these things have a LONG history when there were no telescopes!).  It has been great to do this!  I always wanted to know the constellations as a kid, and I was somewhat interested — but not enough to put any effort into studying books and going out and learning!!  Anyhow, with Isaac getting homeschooled, I saw a great opportunity to study them with him.

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Published in: on August 22, 2007 at 2:40 am  Leave a Comment  

Finishing Up the Strange Interest … For Now

I think that I finally just had enough of the creation-evolution debate; this is my reason for looking into it even more!  I like to browse the books on Amazon.com a lot.  This debate has been an interest of mine for sometime, so I look at several books related to this subject.  What gets very wearisome is looking through the comments on the books.  It is generally pretty easy to find excellent reviews by which you can “size up” a book: I appreciate thoughtful readers and their comments a lot.  What is majorly annoying is the condescending and arrogant ones — sadly, usually on both sides.  So, I decided to investigate “the other side” for myself. (more…)

Published in: on August 7, 2007 at 2:03 am  Leave a Comment  

Talk About a Strange Interest for me … Evolution

My posting is at an all time low at the moment … almost 3 weeks since I posted on July 10!  Anyhow, a strange leftover from our vacation to TN involves my determination to understand both sides of a debate that I have already chosen sides on:  Biological Evolution.  With that said, I have some background info. first: (more…)

Published in: on July 30, 2007 at 2:31 am  Leave a Comment  

And We Can’t Even Predict Next Week’s Weather!

We just got back from the beach on Monday after a 4 day trip.  It was a very nice trip with friends and kids to Orange Beach, AL.  Along with the friends we went with, we were joined by a former college roommate of mine.  It sure was good to have Rob come too!  The kids really enjoyed the beach, ocean, and indoor pool(!). Rob is also terrific with the kids as well.  Although it was tiring at times, we will look back and cherish those memories someday. 

So today I had begun surfing and saw a gloom and doom headline about the U.S. beaches eventually disappearing due to rising oceans (from “Global Warming”).  In this same article on AOL’s homepage (Kim and I have it as our homepage – convenient to check the headlines of the day),  I saw the following captions on an 11 frame picture gallery decrying “In April, scientists laid out a troubling timeline of the planet’s future.”  (My comments are in italics.)

Near Term:

1. 2007: The world population surpasses 6.6 billion as the majority of people now live in cities than in rural areas, changing patterns of land use. 

2. 2008: Global oil production peaks between 2008 and 2018, triggering a global recession, food shortages and conflicts between nations over dwindling supplies.  (MSJ Comment: Hasn’t the end of the oil supply been predicted numerous wrong times before?)

Intermediate to Far Future 

3. 2020: Flash floods increase across Europe. Less rainfall reduces agriculture yields by up to 50 percent in some areas. Population reaches 7.6 billion.

 4. 2030: Up to 18 percent of the world’s coral reefs are lost as a result of the changing climate and other environmental stresses.

 5. 2040: The Arctic Sea is ice-free in the summer, and winter ice depth shrinks drastically. Some say this won’t happen until 2060 to 2105.  (MSJ Comment: Whew! I’m glad that some say it won’t happen until within a 55-year window, 20 years later!)

 6. 2050: Large glaciers shrink by 30 to 70 percent as a quarter of the world’s plant and vertebrate animal species face extinction.

 7. 2070: As warmer, drier conditions lead to more frequent and longer droughts, electricity production for the world’s existing hydropower stations decreases.  (MSJ Comment: Now this MUST be about 0.25% – 1% of the world’s total electric output!  Do you think that about 10 more nuclear power stations can be built before then (sweating / wringing hands currently).)

 8. 2080: Between 1.1 and 3.2 billion people experience water shortages and up to 600 million go hungry.  (MSJ Comment: Sadly, how many currently experience water shortages and starvation?  This is surely a distortion scare tactic, as there are too many who already face these problems — and NOT from global warming).

9. 2085: The risk of dengue fever from climate change increases to 3.5 billion people.  (MSJ Comment: How many face this threat now?)

 

Far Future:

10. 2100: A quarter of all species of plants and land animals — more than a million total — are driven to extinction.  (MSJ Comment:  Wow!!)

 

Far, Far (!!) Future:

11. 2200: An Earth day is 0.12 milliseconds shorter, as rising temperatures cause oceans to expand toward the poles, speeding up the planet’s rotation.

Wow!  And I thought that I had a cynical point of view!  I actually laughed to myself about some of this (e.g., 1/4 of the world’s plant and animal species are going / went extinct!  Q: How many go extinct everyday anyway?!) Again I say: we can’t even predict next week’s weather!  [Nevermind that Mars’ temperature has also risen by nearly as much (or more) than the Earth’s temperature rise over the same time frame (approx. 0.5 degF over something like a 50-100 year period.)].  Somehow, I think that forecast MAY change over the next 20-25 years, and, if not, I’ll be the first to admit that I assessed this poorly.

Published in: on June 23, 2007 at 1:21 pm  Comments (1)  

Unlocking The Mystery of Life’s Origin

Time for a short one … David Finch (minister to the Chinese at SBRCC, for those who don’t know) loaned me a DVD called Unlocking the Mystery of Life’s Origin  recently, and I finally got around to watching it.  Boy, was it ever worth it!!  During the movie, there is an animation sequence in which the manufacture (yes, that is the correct word!) of a protein inside a cell is shown.  This is exactly the kind of thing that really evokes worship from me.  I was astounded yet again at the wonder of God’s wisdom.  It is beyond comprehension what the thoughts of God are, that he would put together this kind of machinery (again, a correct word) at such a small scale.  I am simply amazed!

It turns out that IllustraMedia has other videos that they have made that I am planning to acquire (in addition to the above): The Privileged Planet (I saw this one on TV one day and it was fantastic), The Case for the Creator (by Lee Strobel — just bought the book), and Where Does the Evidence Lead? (haven’t heard of this one).  I will probably acquire all four.  What a great investment! 

Published in: on November 7, 2006 at 3:48 am  Leave a Comment  

Evolve This!

I am pretty fired up right now.  I just read an article on The Evangelical Outpost website that was fantastic!  It was a three part post entitled 10 Ways Darwinists Help Intelligent Design.  I was particularly amused by a letter between two hard-core Darwinists that the author provided a link to.  This link was on William Dembski’s (well known Intelligent Design thinker and Darwinist critic) weblog, “Uncommon Descent” — yet another great site to visit.

The letter from Dennett to Ruse that I linked to showed the true face of the Darwinist.  The best thing about it was the honesty of Ruse.  I commend him being so straight up.  No, we don’t agree; but, his demeanor allows for honest debate.  In fact, he and Phillip Johnson are actually friends! 

One other amusing thing from the 3 part post was Joe Carter’s (the author) comments regarding Peter Singer (emphasis mine): ”

On occasion I’ve been known to gently mock those with whom I disagree (except for Dawkins and Peter Singer, who I despise). But to dismiss them entirely, even when, like Mr. Scalzi, they hold anti-rational opinions, would stifle genuine debate.

I laughed out loud at that, because Peter Singer is one of the most destructive forces on the planet when it comes to preserving human dignity.  Richard Dawkins is equally destructive and condescending when it comes to promoting Darwinism and condeming religious belief. 

Oh well, the culture war (in this case, the battle for the right to tell the story of our origins) will go on.  Too bad, that scientific dogma (read: religious faith) is still repressing the truth; however, maybe the truth debit is actually coming due.  What a refreshing thought that is!!

Published in: on August 14, 2006 at 2:45 am  Leave a Comment  

At least the cat is out of the bag …

One of the most frustrating things to me in the evolution / creation debate is the rare admission of ideological and philosophical biases behind the so-called, unbiased scientists.  I read an article from the 2002 June / July issue of the journal First Things that had a couple of quotes that I found refreshing in their honesty.  The article, "The Second Tablet Project" was written by J. Budziszewski (Buda-chef-ski), associate professor of Government and Philosophy at the Univ. of Texas-Austin; in the article he argued that finding a basis for ethics and morals without God is futile and a self-deception.  In other words, living by or justifying behavior by the 2nd tablet of the Ten Commandments is hopeless without God.  In the article, he quotes two non-theists: Richard Lewontin, a Harvard biologist, and Thomas Nagel, a philosopher.  Bear with me, the quotes are a bit long …

The article cites Lewontin from the New York Review of Books from January 9, 1997, as saying, "Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism." … "Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a divine foot in the door." The citation from Nagel is from his book, The Last Word, "I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn't just that I don't believe in God and, naturally, hope that I'm right in my belief. It's that I hope there is no God! I don't want the universe to be like that." … "My guess is that this cosmic authority problem is not a rare condition and that it is responsible for much of the scientism and reductionism of our time …. Darwin enabled modern secular culture to heave a great collective sign of relief, by apparently providing a way to eliminate purpose, meaning, and design as fundamental features of the world."

Budziszewski observes: "If Nagel is right, then those who say that theism is a crutch have got it backwards. For our contemporary intellectual culture, it is atheism that serves as a crutch. It couldn't have been easy to admit that."  Amen … but at least it is refreshingly honest.

Published in: on April 22, 2006 at 3:53 am  Leave a Comment