The Current Tsunamis

3 05 2008

I was thinking the other day about what we occupy our thinking energy with. Most of it is very futile stuff. Stuff that will not matter even in a decade. Quite naturally and very quickly, what we occupy our thinking with becomes what we occupy our physical energy and time with.
Can I earn more money? Are humans ruining the planet? Should we arrange a national lottery? Should I have kids? Where can I get a safe abortion? Which party should I vote for? Can I look younger? Am I pregnant? Can I get thinner? How can I make my staff more productive? How do I get an advantage over my competitors? How do I get to have more sex, safely if possible? Does this make me look fat? Do I have BO? Are we there yet? I wonder what they think about me? …
These are the kinds of questions we have been trained to ask. And we ask them all day long, and most of the night too… But they are the least important questions. The really important questions we do not ask, but why? Could it be that we unconsciously avoid the real questions? I think so, and, as I have said, we have been trained to ask the frivolous questions, and to ask them only.

We humans have always been open to abuse by religion, science, popular culture, peer pressure, the media, and a myriad of other things. It did not matter so much 100 years ago because ideologies were relatively isolated. Ideas would ripple slowly across the planet, doing an equal amount of good and evil. Today they travel with the force, speed and impetus of a tsunami; an ethos tsunami. Or rather an unending series of ever shorter wavelength ethos tsunamis.
Drip feeding new ideas at the rate of generational growth can be wonderfully stimulating, but to be smashed with wave after wave of ideas is devastating. We must force ourselves awake, to think; to look up from the little questions which threaten to drown us. I’m not suggesting that little questions are invalid; little questions are equally valid, they are just secondary. And as CS Lewis pointed out “you cannot get second things by putting them first. You can only get second things by putting first things first.

The word ‘tsunami’ is a good example. I remember about 10 years ago Leonard Sweet produced a book called ‘Soul Tsunami’. When I heard the title I had to look up the word, today very few people, who can read, need to look up the word ‘tsunami’, it has swept over the continents carried on the susceptible and fluid oceans of the world media.
Another example, with much more impact, is our liberal South African Constitution. Influenced and applauded by current ‘democratic’ super-powers. Yet lacking even the simple redemptive processes that would make it a truly democratic constitution (I wrote a post about it, if you don’t know what I mean: Cry the Beleaguered Country)

So, what are the really big questions?
Someone I asked recently said “Why me? More specifically, why am I so special? Why am I alive? What is the REASON for ME as a person to be here on this planet?
I would regard this as the fundamental question of all questions.
Steven Hawking in “A Brief History of Time” said about this question: “If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we would know the mind of God.
Hawking’s problem here is that the knowledge he is speaking of is intellectual, categoric knowledge. But scientific ‘knowing’, as we have already established, is not the only way of knowing; and answering the question “what is the reason for me?” is hopelessly outside the self-confessed reaches of the scientific method.
If you have even the slightest inkling of an answer to the question “why me?”, the other questions would just about answer themselves.

Here’s another fundamental question: “What’s the point?”
I would rate this question as number 2 on the list of important questions to answer before you die. Let me give you a reason why.
At some point someone asked “Are humans ruining the planet?” Some scientists said, “we might be,” and activists and politicians said “that’s good enough for us and here’s a bunch of rules and guidelines to stop it from happening.” And the Bureaucrats and popular TV talk shows adjusted their song sheets to the key of the new tune.
Now if, instead of getting into a frenzy of activity, someone asked, “what’s the point?” we would have a very different set of behavioural responses.
The planet is doomed anyway, what is the difference if it is now or in a million years? Someone may answer that this may be be the only planet with life. To which the answer is again, “so what?… What’s the point?
It is not a long walk to the most depressing fatalism once we start asking this question. The Stoics and the Epicureans concluded that suicide was a legitimate means of exit… their answer to the question.
Augustine argued the case against suicide using the example of Lucretia the much lauded lady of Roman fable who took her own life after being raped “There is no way out of the dilemma.” Says Augustine. “If she is an adulteress, why all the praise? If chaste, why did she kill herself?” Fatalism is not an acceptable answer to the question. “There is no point” equally cannot be the answer.
Philosophy,” said Dr Michael Eaton recently, “is just an ever increasing scepticism… Post modernism simply means that we are sure that we don’t really know anything… The more you know the more you wish you knew nothing.
The grand conclusion of philosophy is that there is no point to be found in time and space. Possessing intelligence and consciousness is not an end in itself. But this asks more questions than it answers. Why then do we feel such a desperate need to be the object of some purpose larger than ourselves? Why is in not ‘OK’ to simply say “So what, let’s use up the planet ourselves, why restrain ourselves for the sake of some future generation who we don’t even know. The whole planet may be taken out by a meteor anyway and it is going to be destroyed eventually despite our best efforts“?
It’s all in Ecclesiastes if you want to read it, thought through by Solomon 4000 years ago. “There is nothing new, nothing to be gained, no advantage, under the sun.” (“under the sun” is Solomon’s way of saying “here on earth”) and he’s quite right there is no point here on earth, absolutely none. I challenge you to find one that cannot be refuted by logic alone.
Now here’s the clincher: If there is no point at all why do we behave as if there were? As if somehow our reputation will actually matter in a million years.
What’s the Point?” I want to tell you that more people ask this question that you imagine. Now you may be thinking, “didn’t you say that people don’t ask these questions, and this is number 2 on the list.
Yes I did say that, but most people only ask, “what’s the point?” from inside the dilemma of the other questions, they have been trained not to think outside of it. “What’s the point if I can’t earn any more money?” “What’s the point if I can’t have more sex?” “What’s the point if I am fat?” “What’s the point if they think I’m an idiot?” “What’s the point of saving the planet?
People seldom ask “What’s the point of me, us, everything?” We don’t take the question far enough.

Our view of science is the key here. Our view of science will either keep us asking the little questions or force us to ask the big ones (legitimate as the little questions are).
Science claims to deal only with what is provable, or falsifiable, which is a noble pursuit. And so scientists claim to say nothing about what is not provable, or falsifiable. But science does, all the time. There is always a lot of necessary assumption in the science world because of the issues that science is dealing with. Current science has metaphysical implications and requires metaphysical assumptions; and these assumptions rub off, through the current bombardment of idea tsunamis, on absolutely everyone.
Intelligent Design may not be what is defined as ‘science’ but neither is science within it’s own definition anymore. We don’t want intelligent design in the science classroom but are happy to give science as much metaphysical jurisdiction as it wants.
Science can not show how it is that life started nor how it is that reason evolved. How then can it show when a life ends? Yet it is necessarily assumed in science that biology is the same thing as life. Science cannot show how the universe came into being nor it’s purpose. So its beginning is necessarily assumed and it is assumed to be purposeless (I’ve always wondered why having a beginning to the universe is more important than having a purpose to it). We are trained to think in terms of assumptions, to accept them without requiring evidence.

Here are some other fundamental questions:
When I die (not if, when) is that the end of me?
Will anything I do matter in a million years?
Why is there something rather than nothing?
Why are there many, not just one?
Is there a God?
Richard Dawkins attempts an answer to this last question, he says that God is “not very likely“. It is a singularly unhelpful and small minded attempt. Dawkins attempts to answer a big question as if it were a little one. He tries to use science in the form of statistics to answer something with is neither provable nor falsifiable, and for that he wins approval?!?
Every conception is also very unlikely, life itself is highly improbable, universal order is also extremely unlikely; yet here they all are, observable and measurable. The unlikelyness of God is utterly irrelevant to the question, it does not serve as an answer and the sooner we recognise that the better.

So you think that I am trying to convince you to believe what I believe. I am not. I am asking you to ask the questions we have been trained to believe there is no answer to; and to ask them sincerely. I am also asking you to ignore the noise and the distraction of the current idea tsunamis, to lift your head out of the chicken feed and imagine again, beyond your wildest dreams.

Dr RT Kendall said recently, “God offends the mind to reach the heart.
Here is a little question: “How can a just God let people suffer?” Now if God exists only a fool would deny that He does let people suffer, even ‘good’ people; maybe especially ‘good’ people. The Greeks attempted to answer that question by humanising the gods. They imagined their gods having all these powers but subject to their own character weaknesses, these weaknesses translate to the random doses of suffering and blessing we observe.
Dr Kendall’s statement is an excellent, experiential and relational answer to the question; and, like it or not, Kendall’s right.

In Paul’s letter to the Romans (chapter eight) he quoted the Ecclesiastes theme that the whole world, indeed the universe, is subject to meaningless vanity… If you discount God.
Someone once said” “God has the key of all unknown but He will not give it to you, So you had better trust him to open all the doors.
If we leave out God – we are just animals. When we take away from the human the image of God all you have left is animal.

From His hand” is the Ecclesiastical contrast to “under the sun“.

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On the Origin of Species by Means of Creative Selection

2 01 2008

I’d like to present an alternative theory to the current theory of evolution

My problems with the current evolution theory are not many, but they are fundamental.

A Tyrannosaurus rex bone is found and ‘proved’ to be 68 million years old. It is collected and examined along with many other similar evidence of extinct species.
Then a remarkable thing takes place, the scientists tell us that the bone informs us that the Tyrannosaur has a lot in common with chickens. I presume that they mean that both species have bones, and not that chickens are much smaller, covered with feathers and are not carnivorous. (The trouble we would have if chickens ever found out that they were related, even by decent, to Tyrannosaurs. We could say good bye forever to cheap white meat!)
Then I read that the Tyrannosaur / Chicken similarity is that the Tyrannosaur amino acids MOST closely match those of the Chicken. If that is want is meant by ‘similarities’ then the Tyrannosaur amino acids had no option but to be closest to some other species.

Have a look with me as to how this ‘scientific’ process takes place:
First it is supposed, through bone structure, that birds evolved from dinosaurs. Then this chicken evidence comes in that seems to support that supposition.
John Asara, director of the mass spectrometry core facility at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical School and HMS instructor in pathology:
“Most people believe that birds evolved from dinosaurs, but that’s all based on the architecture of the bones. This allows you to get the chance to say, ‘Wait, they really are related because their sequences are related.’ We didn’t get enough sequences to definitively say that, but what sequences we got support that idea.”
Then in another study Mary Schweitzer from North Carolina State University found that extracts of T. rex bone reacted with antibodies to chicken collagen, further suggesting the presence of birdlike protein in the dinosaur bones.

So suppositions are build upon each other with no one actually having been there, which is fair enough; until Schweitzer says something like this:
“The mere existence of such exceedingly ancient protein defies a longstanding assumption. When an animal dies, protein immediately begins to degrade and, in the case of fossils, is slowly replaced by mineral. This substitution process was thought to be complete by one million years… For centuries it was believed that the process of fossilization destroyed any original material, consequently no one looked carefully at really old bones,”

Now my logic has to ask, what if the bone was not actually 68 million years old? What if the first supposition was false? What is now called an ‘assumption’ (that proteins become mineral after 1mil years) when it used to be science, is actually the supposition we should be looking at instead of all the others.

Then I discover that radiometric dating is dependent on 3 further suppositions, 1. that no radiogenic atoms are in the rock from another source than from the radioactive atom being measured. 2. That the rock, after hardening, remains in a closed system. 3. That the radioactive decay remains constant.
So in the case of potassium-argon (K-Ar) which is used to date very old rocks and thereby the dinosaur bones found in them. It must be assumed that no radiogenic argon (40Ar) is in the rocks when they are formed, it seems reasonable to assume this because argon is a gas which should escape from the rocks while they are hot and liquid.

Then I read about a radiometric dating failure in New Zealand’s north island.
Mount Ngauruhoe erupted between May 1954 and March 1955 with thick lava flows and no further eruption has occurred since.
The dating was done in a respected lab Geochron in Boston.
The ages of the samples range from between 0.27 to 3.5 million years!
Lab errors were ruled out, the results were real an put down to excess argon from magma deep in the earth. 
Now despite the horror that supposition 1 is so easily refuted for rock we did observe, what bothers me most is that if there is a difference of 3.23 million years on such a young sample what then are the differences being detected in ‘very old’ rocks? What guide is there that stops a palaeontologist from putting the Tyrannosaur’s age at 68 million because 33 million would not fit his theory but both fall in the possible range?

How am I to trust a method that I can’t verify that fails when I can verify it? 
So I have but one conclusion, that instead of objective looking and then coming up with theory, the science community has embraced one theory (amongst others) with the blind passion of a lover. 
If evolutionists ever pray, I suspect that they thank Natural Selection for saving them from having to believe the repulsiveness of theology, yuck.

I have to wonder how much science is being done based on suppositions because the theory is just so nice and exciting, the fun we can have when mom and dad leave the house to us kids.

Then I read of evidence of humans coexisting with dinosaurs, fossilised shoe soles found in Triassic rock and I wonder further if evidence that supports the theory is the only evidence receiving funding?

This is the kind of conclusion that is drawn by ‘science’:
When human-like track left in sandstone of the Upper Carboniferous Period were found in Kentucky they were investigated by numerous scientists and concluded that they are genuine (even going so far as to count the sand grains under magnification to ensure that the it was compressed at the bottom rather than carved). Then In Scientific American the geologist Albert G. Ingalls wrote, “If man, or even his ape ancestors, or even that ape ancestor’s early mammalian ancestor, existed as far back as the Carboniferous Period in any shape, then the whole science of geology is so completely wrong that all the geologists will resign their jobs and take up truck driving. Hence, for the present at least, science rejects the attractive explanation that man made these mysterious prints in the mud of the Carboniferous with his feet.” Ingalls suggested that they were made by some unidentified amphibian. But a human-sized Carboniferous amphibian is just about as problematic for evolutionary timetables as humans in that era!
Suddenly science is not so fun for the scientist, because it’s not saying what the scientists want it to say, it must be very frustrating. But no matter, he simply choose not to look at it, no one significant will really care because evolution, after all, is The Theory.

So science rejects the facts and has already been reduced to job preservation for the academic community. Global Warming (a theory created and manipulated, this time, by politicians for power) is quickly following the same path. Real evidence is squashed because too many science jobs are at stake.

Lastly when I look at the theory of evolution by natural selection I am left with some unanswered questions that I am told just to accept, that science will eventually answer. Now that would be reasonable except for the fact that they are fundamental questions.
How did it happen without direction so quickly? 4 billion years.
Why is the universe, without direction, so orderly?
Why did gender evolve when other systems are better?
Why do some evolve and others not?
With all the evidence of species way older than humans there must be some evidence of pre-HomoSapien showing how they evolved. Where is it?
How did reason evolve? This question is the most fundamental of them all, and all the others point to it.

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On the other hand I think there is a very good theological theory than retains the person-hood of God so that he is not reduced to a process or simply the sum total of everything (which is the same theory as evolution but given by Buddha instead of a scientist).

Let’s say that what we observe, by our own reason, when we are examining our own reason that our own reason is something vastly different to anything like a natural process. Let’s say that reason seems to give both order and meaning to nature. That nature, left to itself, produces chaos. But reason is nature’s obvious husband (if you’ll excuse the term), reason appreciates and nurtures nature in a way that nature could never do to itself.
Now this seems to be the obvious observation on this planet (except when reason is abandoned for base knowledge and thus it joins the procession towards chaos – this only happens by humans because it seems that only humans have the capacity and the will to abandon reason for knowledge as in the example I gave about the evidence of the Carboniferous human). When reason is adhered to nature comes to order, responds to the firm hand placed on it. It rebels sometimes but never in a counter move, never with either reason nor knowledge, only with basic matter and brute energy, fine things that they are.
Then when we look outward and see that there is something very similar taking place in the universe, that there is order. That the little skirmishes of disaster are kept well apart by vast tracts of space.
It leads me to conclude that there is some Reason who is watching over and guiding the whole show, kept it from entropy. In the same way I keep my pool from natures invasion. Then I begin to feel more like a patron of the grandest theatre ever, that the scale and order is there to engage my reason instead of my reason simply being the end of a long process. Now that is exciting!

Now it seems that most men thought this way from the beginning that they looked all over for this reason, first at the sun (obvious I suppose). It is a long and detailed story, but men were more interested in power and knowledge than in reason and order. So they tried to get their gods to do stuff for them, to protect them even against other’s gods, to bring them rain for their own benefit, etc.

Now, for sake of length, I also suppose a few things:
1. that God is there, not completely hiding but watching. That he is indeed all powerful and absolutely creative and completely reasonable (hence utterly ethical).
2. That death, pain and suffering are not the great evils we’ve made them to be, though they are not trifles and we ought to be involved in alleviating all three in others as well as ourselves.
3. That the universe is really old.
4. That many species that were are no longer, and that the evidence we have of them is like family photographs from 6 generations ago. It is very hard to imaging if the girl in the family really loved her brother or if she at some point stole his bicycle and swopped it for a doll.
5. That there is more evidence suggesting that species were slowly introduced on the planet than there is that they evolved out of pervious ones.
6. That men have become corrupted by an appetite for knowledge that has caused them to abandon reason because knowledge leads to temporal power but rationality leads to temporal subjection to rationality, and hence ultimate freedom.
7. That the purpose of God is to evolve, by direction, a new species out of this planet. Who are unified in a way we don’t currently understand, rational and uncorrupted. And that this rich earth in this rich universe is the tool he is using to do it.
I believe in Evolution by Creative Selection.