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Random Thoughts

This Blog focuses on faith and reason, tying rational thought with faith.

Location: Virginia, United States

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Victims of rape and incest

I heard Cain waffled on abortion in the case of rape our incest.  This is an emotionally  charged question, which deserves an emotionally charged answer.  I think a good response is "Do you mean: should we punish the victim?"

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Einstein, Heisenberg, and Tipler

Einstein, Heisenberg, and Tipler

This was a cute, if a little irreverent, article. The concept that creation was via information, not matter, is an interesting idea. Of course, the idea of a bug in creation is a little heretical.

It's also interesting how I came upon the article. I had read about the Planck Power in the latest Proceeding of the IEEE, and as I hadn't heard of it before looked it up. That landed me on the Plank Energy Wikipedia entry, which referenced the ultra-high-energy cosmic rays article, which led to John Walker's lively analysis of the 1991 event. This had links to several other of John Walker's pages.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

...As It Is In Heaven

Reading Mark Musa's translation of Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy, in which Dante uses imagery of the perfection of the planetary motions as images of Heaven, it occurred to me that heavenly perfection was what Jesus meant when teaching his disciples to pray. This is what the understanding would have been, and indeed th.e heavens were considered perfect until fairly recently. So the prayer is that "May Your will be done on Earth, as it is in Heaven", really means "May we be perfect, as the heavens are perfect".

We may now, in our hubris, rejoice in the now known imperfections of space, what with meteors, gamma ray bursts, rogue comets, the chaos of the Sun's surface, etc., and think that we don't need to be so damn perfect. A closer examination, though, will short circuit that thought. The ancients observed perfect gravitational reactions -- they didn't know gravity was what it was, but that's what they observed. All the other stuff that we now know is in outer space is still perfect though, just more complex than the ancients thought. Each particle of dust reacts to gravity perfectly.

Of course, one can say that quantum mechanics and the uncertainty principle may give us the randomness that will excuse our imperfections. But even quantum reactions are perfect. Of course, scientists depend on that perfection, and new theories hang on minute deviations from the expected reactions.

So no more excuses: pray to be perfect.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Scientist as a particular type of Athiest?

I heard this the other day, probably on a Christian radio station (WAVA 105.1 in Washington DC area). The term scientist is really that you believe in science. Of course, that's a bit of a logical puzzle, as science is about obtaining evidence with know error margins. Belief shouldn't enter in to it, but I think the science community does, at least in public, believe very strongly in science.

As a Christian, I've always maintained that my faith started with facts (see McDowell's Evidence That Demands a Verdict) and wasn't so much a matter of belief, and science is by definition fact based. So I think the two mix very well. The faith comes in after digesting the facts, because the facts point one to faith in things to come. And this is OK for Christianity, but not so much for science. The statement that everything must have a scientific explanation is a statement of faith, because it can never be subject to experimentation.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sacred Science: Using Faith to Explain Anomalies in Physics: Scientific American

Sacred Science: Using Faith to Explain Anomalies in Physics: Scientific American

Like most such articles, the author takes a most unscientific view of God -- that is, he assumes God does not exist, and explains everything in these terms. Now, explaining anything using the existence of God from the outset is foolishness. Even the Catholic Church, whose very trade is in miracles, takes a very sober view of them - saints aren't declared haphazardly. But either God exists or He doesn't, and a scientific attitude would leave the question open.

Rather, science can examine miracles. We would have to record enough preconditions to the miraculous event to declare that the event could not have happened without a miracle. And then the result would not be repeatable. Not repeatable? Of course - that's why it's a miracle.

I don't expect to see such evidence presented anytime soon though. It would take a truly remarkable scientist and man of faith to record the details of miracle with such evidence that skeptics would be moved. The religious scientist would likely be too moved himself (herself) to be objective. And a non-believer (or should I say, a believer in no God) would most likely bury the evidence.

Friday, April 18, 2008

American Scientist Online - Tip-of-the-Tongue States Yield Language Insights

American Scientist Online - Tip-of-the-Tongue States Yield Language Insights

This article creates a strong case for language as fundamental to thought processes. This may explain why people who know more than one language (a club I am not a member of) often seem smarter. It may also explain why culture seems so strongly tied to language.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Affairs of the Lips: Why We Kiss: Scientific American

Affairs of the Lips: Why We Kiss: Scientific American

First of all, it's funny when scientists try to give us straight talk about such emotional issues. Second, how can science be objective about subjectivity?

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