Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Happiness or truth?

Vox interviews atheist Jonathan Haidt, author of The Happiness Hypothesis.

I think conservatives are right, there are certain things that are better off veiled. There are certain things better off not being exposed to the light. Now, to the scientist, that's a terrible thing to say and I'm not saying that science should necessarily stop. But I think if we respect and even revere our founders, if we have things that bind us together and make us proud of who we are and what our nation is, we're much better off than if we do all the careful historical research and then advertise the fact that our Founding Fathers all have warts and moral lapses.

If he believes this it is way scary! Now I don't necessarily place my pearls before swine, but he is essentially justifying "the end justifies the means" which he later condemns. Better to believe a lie for the sake of community? How far is that from better to lie to the community for its benefit that reveal the truth to its detriment? Historical revisionism and politics determining truth and all that evil.

Give me truth any day. I'd have warts over a unity of lies!

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Green religion

While this does not prove whether global warming is true or false, it is a sober warning about the diabolical nature of the environmental movement.
Because when Toni terminated her pregnancy, she did so in the firm belief she was helping to save the planet.

Incredibly, so determined was she that the terrible "mistake" of pregnancy should never happen again, that she begged the doctor who performed the abortion to sterilise her at the same time.

He refused, but Toni - who works for an environmental charity - "relentlessly hunted down a doctor who would perform the irreversible surgery. Finally, eight years ago, Toni got her way.

..."Having children is selfish. It's all about maintaining your genetic line at the expense of the planet," says Toni, 35.

...And a woman like me, who is not having children in order to save the planet, is considered barking mad. "What I consider mad are those women who ferry their children short distances in gas-guzzling cars."

She is not alone.

"I realised then that a baby would pollute the planet - and that never having a child was the most environmentally friendly thing I could do."

..."I didn't want to have an 'accident' if contraception didn't work - we would be faced with the dilemma of whether to keep the baby."

...Mark adds: "Sarah and I live as green a life a possible. We don't have a car, cycle everywhere instead, and we never fly.

"We recycle, use low-energy light bulbs and eat only organic, locally produced food. "In short, we do everything we can to reduce our carbon footprint. But all this would be undone if we had a child.

"That's why I had a vasectomy. It would be morally wrong for me to add to climate change and the destruction of Earth.
The first person has an abortion so as not to badly impact the planet. She is then sterilised so that she will never get pregnant again.

The second couple get sterilised because pregnancy would pose a dilemma, keep the child and damage the planet or have an abortion.

It is not for me to forbid these women sterilisation. I would also add that them not raising children is possibly a good thing (though raising children can challenge beliefs).

What is certain is that the conclusions of these people are a gross error. The error is obvious in that their conclusions contradict Scripture.
And God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and
subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds
of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth." (Genesis 1)
Logically this means that their reasoning is errant or their premises are false. I am not certain what global false religion will develop—it will likely be one that contradicts Christianity as much Satan can convince men of—but I have wondered for a time whether the environmental movement will be a component of it. There is a suggestion of this in Romans:
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. (Romans 1)
The devotion these people have towards the environment is such that they are idolising the earth. Their worship or devotion is not toward God but the creation. It may appear a little more sophisticated than ancient nature religions, though it is just as wrong, and in reality possibly not a lot different for some of these people.

Stewardship of the earth is a command to man. But we are to use the resources to aid man while not causing detrimental pollution, we are not to worship nature for its own sake.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Time and eternity

While I have thought that eternity is outside time for sometime now, recently I was pondering the thought that time itself may be a subset of eternity. In fact it seems to me that this must be the case.

God always has been. There are several scriptures that mention this. And he always will be.
For thus says the One who is high and lifted up,
who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: (Isaiah 57)

Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting! (Psalm 41)

Your throne is established from of old;
you are from everlasting. (Psalm 93)

Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba and called there on the name of the LORD, the Everlasting God. (Genesis 21)

The eternal God is your dwelling place,
and underneath are the everlasting arms. (Deuteronomy 33)

For to us a child is born,to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder,and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9)

The sun shall be no more your light by day,nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the LORD will be your everlasting light,and your God will be your glory. (Isaiah 60)

But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God and the everlasting King. (Jeremiah 10)

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. (2 Peter 3)
The Bible uses words that have a temporal component, this is reasonable given that we dwell in time and conceiving anything outside time may well be impossible. Nonetheless, this does not necessarily imply just that time is and God has been forever. The first words of the Bible are:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
This presupposes there was a beginning. A time when time itself was created. Yet God was already there.

We can call this eternity. Not just forever past to forever future but beyond time.

Whether eternity is a time dimension is unknown, but whatever qualities it has (if it is any more that just the existence of God) time is surely a subset of it. In the same way that past present and future are all subsets of all time, time itself must be a subset of eternity, as eternity does not cease when time was created and therefore time exists in it.

An analogy to space can help. 1 dimension is a subset of 2 dimensions. 2 dimensions has a infinite number of single dimensions, but no 1 dimension is a preferential reference frame. Now one can define (read create) a primary reference frame for a line but the 2 dimensions do not cease to exist. Time as it now exists may have meant little or nothing in eternity until it was defined/ created.

I am not suggesting that eternity is 2 (or 3) dimensions of time. I am not suggesting that cause and effect are not real. Rather just the idea that while eternity is different to time, it may be different in that it is more than time, that it contains it.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Self opposite

I find it interesting that the same word can have opposite meanings. It just goes to show that it is context that determines meaning. I can think of 2 words in English.

Cleave: join together and separate
Chilli/chilly: hot and cold

Are there others?

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Has the year always been the same duration?

There are some writings that claim that the year was previously shorter than it is now. Some people have suggested the year has been 360 days long in the past. Velikovsky mentions a myth that says 5 days were taken from the moon and given to the sun. That is the previous lunar year was 12 × 30 (= 360) days and the old solar year was 360 days. The current lunar year is now 354 and a bit days, solar year 365 and a bit.

Some suggest that the year may have been even shorter prior to this.

If the year has been of different duration (measured in days) there are 2 options:
Scenario 1. The earth's spin was previously slower and has since speed up. Scenario 2. The earth's orbit was previously closer to the sun.

Of course it could be a combination of the 2.

Scenario 1
If the earth's spin was slightly slower and has speed up (presumably by a factor of ~365/360) then the absolute duration of the year is unchanged but more days pass in a year because the days are now shorter.

Scenario 2
If the day length is unchanged then a shorter year would be absolutely shorter, the duration of the year is related to the distance from the earth to the sun (and eccentricity of the orbit, though the earth's orbit is close to circular)

The month is currently 29.5 days long. Scenario 2 with an altered earth orbit would have a shorter year but the same duration of the month. Scenario 1 would have a longer old day of 24.35 hours (360/365.25×24) which would make the previous month seem shorter at 29 old days rather than the 29.5 days it currently is. Of course the orbit of the moon could have changed at the same time (or at another time). The asymmetrical cratering of the moon suggests catastrophe in the heavens.

An idea that came to me reading a footnote in the book In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood by Walt Brown. I have not actually read the book so this may have been in the book, nevertheless I have not seen it previously: If the atmosphere pre-flood had a lot of water in it to precipitate (eg. vapour canopy theory), it would have some mass. After the flood the mass would now be at sea level, and by conservation of angular momentum, the earth would speed up, the amount depending on the height from which it precipitated. Consequently shortening the day and "lengthening" the year (in number of days).

It would be interesting to look into this in terms of the amount of water and the original height of the water. The mass may be completely insignificant and the change in spin speed inconsequential, but I haven't seen figures.

Of course any change in the earth's year may be unrelated to this and be all to do with the earth's interaction with the moon and other celestial phenomenon. Or the change in year length may have been at a different time than the flood: note Joshua's long day and Hezekiah's sundial. Or perhaps there was more than one episode.

Or course the duration of the day and the month may have been the same as the current figures since creation. It does make one wonder why the ancients had stories to the contrary though.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

That is your interpretation

It seems some people think the refrain, "That is just your interpretation," is legitimate. By implication they are saying that there are a multitude of interpretations and, further, that any particular one is as legitimate as another. While it is true that some statements can have more than one interpretation, there are many they cannot have.

I was contemplating a hymn I enjoy, Be thou my vision. The first 2 lines are:
Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Be all else but naught to me, save that thou art.
Consider the phrase, "Be all else but naught to me." What could it mean? If the word "be" refers to "Lord" of the preceding line the phrase stated unambiguously is
Lord be everything except nothing to me
If the word "be" refers to the "all else" which follows then the meaning would be
Everything be nothing to me
So this phrase can potentially have more than one meaning. Of course the phrase cannot mean
Lord, you mean nothing to me
however you parse it.

In this hymn there is only one meaning, the following clause limitis the options to the second interpretation—"save that thou art" makes sense with one idea but not the other. Despite the fact I like the poetic flavour of the first interpretation, it doesn't quite make sense:
Lord be everything except nothing to me, except you.
Whereas what is intended is:
Everything be nothing to me, except you (Lord)
There are not a multitude of interpretations for every statement, and not all possible interpretations have equal validity.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Friday, 2 November 2007

Commitment succeeds when feelings fail

Many of my readers likely read Vox Popoli more than they read here but in case you missed it this is worth repeating. CJ shares about his parents
My mom stayed with my dad after he left his six-figure job to hang out
with Absolut, Stoli, and Smirnoff around the time I was born. After ten
years of public embarassment, poverty, and one incident of abuse, he
dried himself out and got back to the person he had been before the
alcohol. They are the most sickeningly sweet 60+ year olds you'll ever
meet.

In my late teens, I asked her was it love that kept them together. She
said no, it wasn't love. That for a while she had stopped loving him
and prayed that God would let him die. So I asked why didn't she just
divorce him and her reply, which I'll never forget: "Because I don't
believe in divorce. Marriage isn't about love, it's about commitment.
Till death do you part means just what it says. If you can't handle
that, you shouldn't get married."

And now that my mom is suffering with cancer, with my dad waiting on
her hand and foot, she asked "are you sure you want to stay with me
through this?" His answer? "You stayed during my drinking didn't you?"

That's commitment.

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