’17 A To Z Challenge – Y

Challenge2017 Letter Y

Big Bang

As I bring this year’s A to Z Challenge to a close, I’ve stumbled upon a couple of interesting and new (to me) words. This one is for all the Good Christians, the Creationists, the evolution-deniers, and the Christian Apologetics.  The word is

YLEM  [ahy-luh m]

noun

the original matter from which the basic elements are said to have been formed following the explosion postulated in the big bang theory of cosmology

origin of ylem

1948; adoption, in modern astrophysics, of Middle English ylem (Gower) < Medieval Latin (h)ȳlem, accusative of hȳlē < Greek hȳ́lē matter, wood

For God so loved each and every individual Good Christian, that they rush to prove their special value by disproving The Big Bang, and evolution.  They use such dismissive and demeaning phrases as “particles to people” and “molecules to man,” to show that their existence couldn’t have ‘just happened.’  They ask, “How could everything have come from nothing?”

This word, and the scientific information that it reveals, shows how desperately incorrect they are. Whether God created it, or it ‘just happened’, the singularity point, and the ylem that sprang from it, already contained everything.

It held all the potentials and possibilities of an entire Universe. It contained every possible creative force, in every combination and permutation, controlled by every variation of quantum entanglement.  It produced sub-atomic particles that combined to produce all the atoms, which got married to produce all the possible molecules.

It included the total energy of the entire Universe, in every possible form. If the energy of souls exist, this is where they came from, waiting only for God, or random happenstance, to combine with the molecules which have become Man – the particles which have become people.

The rich primordial stew of YLEM proves creation – the creation of infinite variation, potential, possibility, and evolution.  It just doesn’t prove that any single human being is any more important than they make themself, despite what their faith would have them believe.

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WOW #20

Stunned*

I just knew that, sooner or later, my love of language and my general disdain for organized religion would crash into each other, and cause me grief. In scanning some Atheist/anti-Atheist blog-posts recently, I came upon the Word Of the Week, which is

CATHOLIC

adjective

broad or wide-ranging in tastes, interests, or the like; having sympathies with all;
broad-minded; liberal.
universal in extent; involving all; of interest to all.
pertaining to the whole Christian body or church.

Origin of catholic

1300-1350; Middle English < Latin catholicus < Greek katholikós general, equivalent to kathól(ou) universally (contraction of phrase katà hólou according to the whole; see cata-, holo- ) + -ikos -ic

The word ‘catholic’ is a Janus-word, one of a few in English which have 2 different, contradictory meanings, like ‘cleave’, which can mean to split into pieces – or to make pieces into one solid whole, or the verb ‘table’, which can mean to set aside and not deal with – or to deal with immediately.

Even when the word catholic was first used to describe the Christian church/religion, the existence of Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc., clearly show that it violated definition #2. It was not universal!  It did not involve or was of interest to all!

The longer it has existed, the more it has diverged from definition #1. Instead of being broad-minded, liberal, and sympathetic to all, it has become increasingly more hidebound, narrow-minded and dogmatic.

The Roman Catholic Church even violates the third definition. It does not represent the entire body of the Christian faith, as proved by the existence of 33,000 Protestant denominations.  It split, or was split from, the Greek Orthodox Church, and the Russian Orthodox Church.  Even just linguistically, it cannot claim to be an only child, when it obviously has two brothers.

I hear/read Christian Apologetics try to deny evolution by asking questions like, “If we came from monkeys/apes, why are there still monkeys/apes?” I just want to scream, “Are you really as stupid and narrow-minded as that question makes you appear? Read a book – not just The Good Book.”  If all dogs came from wolves, why are there still wolves?  Or better, if all Christian denominations came from Catholic, why are there still Catholics?  We didn’t ‘come from apes/monkeys.’  Apes, monkeys and humans all came from a common ancestor.  It’s just that some of us are a little more evolved than others.

In arguments/discussions about Christianity/Faith/Bible, Christian Apologetics have answers to explain away every single thing, but not for everything.  If doubt were a building, they have individual arguments to refute bricks, doors, windows, floors and roofs – but not the entire house.  Their arguments against bricks contradict their claims denying the existence of windows, etc., etc., etc.!   😦  😯

Animal, Vegetable, Or Mineral?

DNA

OR; What I Got For Christmas 2015

I got knowledge, or at least, the chance to obtain knowledge. I just hope I get proof that I belong on this planet, although I may not be happy with some of my relatives.  “Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!”  Not if the Christians have anything to do with it.

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Since I don’t need anything, and anything I’d want would be too expensive, the family got together and bought me a DNA kit.  Companies like 23andMe (because of the 23 pairs of chromosomes in each human cell), and Ancestry dot Com/Ca sell kits which they send to you.  You provide a DNA sample, and they provide information.

23andMe stresses that their results include warnings about genetic diseases, like Tay-Sachs Syndrome, and Sickle Cell Anemia. We got our kit from Ancestry dot Ca.  Their advertising doesn’t mention these, although I may yet be pleasantly surprised.  They don’t seem terribly worried that you may die of some horrible disease, only who you’re related to when it happens.

I wondered how I was to provide the DNA sample. Did I prick my finger like diabetics?  Would I have to go to the nearby clinic to have them draw a small vial of blood?  The son reassured me that it was just like you see on CSI.  You swab the inside of your mouth, and send them the sealed swab.

We were all surprised to unpack a small plastic tube with a spit-cup on the top. You fill it with saliva, break an ampule of stabilizer and mix it, and send it away.  Despite using the Canadian website, the package came from the Mormons in Utah.  What I have yet to discover is, why it gets sent to Dublin, Ireland for processing.

The results break the world down into 23 subsections, and tell you what percentages of your genes come from each area. After the assumptions I made in my ‘Who Am I’ post, it will be interesting to see how right (or wrong) I was.

As bad as the Lowells and Cabots of Boston, Mormons are fixated on who you are related to. Included in the fee is a limited family tree, going back a hundred years. “You may find cousins you didn’t even know you had.” Or I may find cousins that I didn’t want to know existed – and don’t want to know that I exist…highwaymen, scam artists, pirates, Ted Cruz, people who voted for the Green Party.  “Hey cuz, could you spare $3500 for bail? I promise to pay you back as soon as I get a job.”

I’ll post the DNA and kinship results when they come back. Some of you may prefer to admit that you are descended from monkeys, rather than admit that I dangle from your family tree.  I think some of my ancestors were hanged from mine.  Of all my relations – I like sex the best. They say that knowledge is free, but I think somebody’s going to pay. 😛

Book Review #10

Refuting Evolution  Refuting Evolution 2

I bought the above two books for a variety of reasons. First, I got them for $1.50/each.  That’s almost free reading.  Second, added to some books the wife was ordering, the invoice totalled over $25, so the shipping was free.  A third reason was to ‘know thy enemy.’ Last but not least, was the fact that the author is a scientist, and a PhD, and might actually have some valid information that I was not aware of.

The first book is titled Refuting Evolution.  The second, in case you didn’t ‘get it’ the first time, is Refuting Evolution 2, which isn’t really what he does in either book.  I’ve had operators’ manuals for a toaster oven that were longer than the 132-page first book.  Oh well, it only cost a buck and a half.

What he does, or tries to do and fails, is refute well-known evolutionists. He puts words in their mouths, then tries to argue against.  ‘Christopher Hitchens said this about that – but he’s wrong, and I’m right.’  No he didn’t!  And No you’re not!  ‘Richard Dawkins said that, but he means this – to agree with me.’  No he doesn’t.

For an author with a PhD, the cognitive dissonance is thick. He believes in mutations, and natural selection – but not evolution.  A God who created the universe in six days, 7000 years ago is okay – but a God who created the same universe 14 Billion years ago and is guiding its development, isn’t.

While not very good at actually refuting anything, he is quite adept at slinging dismissive language. Friends and scientists who agree with his views, are ‘renowned’, and ‘esteemed’, while Richard Dawkins is merely ‘well-known’.  Am I being finicky if I read that as equivalent to ‘known to police’?  Evolutionary scientists are referred to as ‘the Communist Atheist, Mr. X’ and ‘the Marxist Atheist, Mr. Y.’

Two other of his oft-repeated denial phrases are, ‘particles to people’, and ‘molecules to man.’ His own published fact that 95% of biologists believe in evolution is not a case of the people closest to the situation knowing the most about it; it must be an Atheist Conspiracy.

He claims The Church wasn’t wrong when they declared that the Earth was flat, and the center of creation, and that all orbits were perfect circles.  They had all the facts, but they merely interpreted them incorrectly.  Galileo wasn’t threatened with torture by the Catholic Church…well, he was, but that was because of a bunch of secular politicians who hated him.  (Wait!  Did he just admit that the Pope and the entire Church were led around by the nose by a bunch of bureaucrats?  I find that harder to believe than Creationism.)

He says that the Ptolemaic, flat-Earth, geocentric stuff in the Bible comes from Psalms – but that’s not really ‘the Bible’, that’s just Hebrew poetry, and – it’s been misinterpreted.  Really?  Who could have seen that coming?

He’s pretty good at ‘interpreting’ things too. If an Evolutionist says, ‘be careful how this information is released’, knowing that there are nuts like him out there who will react badly, he’s all over it, claiming that it must be a lie. If a Paleontologist admits that a fossil of an expected transitional form has not yet been found, he claims that it’s because one does not exist.

If scientists don’t have the answer to every question yet, you shouldn’t believe anything they say.  Trust in him, because he has the same answer to every question, drawn from faith in only one book of the Bible, Genesis, which he is constantly interpreting.

Putting words in people’s mouths again, he says that Evolutionists claim that we came from simple aquatic beings like jellyfish – yet no-one has ever found a jellyfish fossil. No, and no-one has ever found the grape Jell-O my kid spilled on the sidewalk last week, just before it rained.  He says we killed millions of buffalo (bison) on the plains last century, but no-one has ever found a buffalo fossil.  I guess if you categorically deny that something happened, you don’t bother to find out how.

The same day that I read his claim that turtles were created in their present form by GOD, because there were no fossils of any transitional form, I read that they had found a transitional-form turtle fossil in the mountains of Germany.  He denies that any fossils were created by sand turning into sandstone through sedimentation, because a few have been found giving birth, or eating.  “They’d have just moved out of the way.” as if they could just sidestep an opening sinkhole, or a flash flood, or a collapsing riverbank, and were later buried in silt.

Like the bumblebee which can’t fly, he mathematically ‘proves’ that the number of mutational occurrences necessary to arrive at Man, would have taken 85 Billion years, not the 4.5 Billion Evolutionists claim.

My Statistics professor stated that, “Figures lie, and liars figure.” The above might be true, if they happened one at a time. On any given day, it is estimated that there are 86,000 lightning strikes, about half of them over the ocean.  It was probably more than twice that, when the atmosphere and seas were still thick with chemicals.  Possibilities for that energy to fuse some of them into a primitive type of protein occurred simultaneously, dozens of times every second.

The other thing Mr. Scientist got wrong, is that statistics say that there may be 85 billion chances, but it doesn’t have to go all the way to the last one to happen. Life may have arisen on the hundredth, or the tenth, or even the first time.

It wasn’t long before I was reading just for entertainment and amusement. He got a rant about atomic deterioration wrong on a scale of 10/7th power, a minor mistake which would have blasted the Earth to dust.  The second book is a bit longer than the first, but he offers no new arguments, just the same old ones, only SHOUTED LOUDER, and repeated more often.

These books are printed and distributed from six places in the world, Australia, New Zealand, England, Kansas/USA, Japan (?), and five miles away, in our sister city, Waterloo, Ontario. I’m a bit worried.  Are Mennonites involved?   😕

Evolution of Intelligence

 

Bible

 

 

 

 

 

Is Evolution Proven?

A reader complained that two Provincial politicians have gone out of their way to deny evolution.  These politicians are correct.  The root word for evolution is evolve, and the word evolving means an on-going process.

Taken in that light, are those who believe in evolution not humans, or are they not humans anymore?  When a farmer plants corn seeds in the spring, does evolution – an ongoing process – yield a different crop?

And by the way, did corn, trees, weeds, flowers also originate from the same cell that developed monkeys, humans and animals?  Did stones also originate from that same cell?  Is evolution a proven fact? (1)

The writer also stated that politicians cannot express their Christian beliefs because, “their religion does not belong on Parliament Hill.”  Yet he implies that it is OK to bring his religion to Parliament Hill, because, when I do a Google search for a definition of religion, among the Oxford Dictionary meanings given is, “a pursuit or interest followed with great devotion.”

This man puts his trust in man, and believes that man can save himself, and Christians believe in God, knowing that God is the only one who saves. (2)

Ignorance is not a quality I value in my government, nor should you, yet this letter writer demonstrates that very ignorance.

Faithful Christian

dinosaur

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evolution Not Debatable

I wonder if Faithful Christian’s anti-evolution objections are cynical, straw-man arguments, or merely the ignorant type.

To even suggest that crops would evolve in a single growing season displays a disturbing ignorance of the mechanics and time-line of evolution.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  It usually takes millennia, or eons.  Guided by farmers, knowledgeable in its workings, the corn grown today only vaguely resembles that found by explorers, 500 years ago.

The intelligent humans of today who believe in evolution, evolved from ignorant Neanderthal cavemen.  And yes Faithful, the first living cell, produced by God, obeyed His directives, and split many times, in many ways, to evolve into the almost infinite range of life here on His Earth.

To speak of stones having cells is, at best, hypocritical, but even stone evolves.  Spewed lava eventually evolves into basalt, and plain, loose sand, crushed beneath the weight of miles of seawater, evolves into firm sandstone.

“Evolution” is not a test of faith; it’s a test of intelligence.  God is not lying to us.  Fossils really are millions of years old.

Grumpy Old Archon

 

So, I was forced to miss yet another chance to keep my mouth shut.  Several newspaper readers had been writing about how much salt they had to use to achieve the municipally-mandated ‘bare concrete’ walkways in front of their houses.  Salt kills grass, pollutes waterways, ruins shoes and rusts out cars.

I was going to send in a letter suggesting that people try Urea crystals.  It melts like salt, but is a fertilizer, without salt’s bad side effects.  The biggest problem is finding it, and cheaply.  As a fertilizer, summertime and agricultural Co-ops yield the best results.

When I saw the above letter, I couldn’t resist tweaking the nose of another ‘Good Christian’, especially when he claimed to decry ignorance, and then asked such ignorant questions, and made such ignorant claims.

(1)

I cringed when I read the original subject letter, with its claim that evolution is a ‘fact.’  It appears to have more supporting evidence, but must still be taken on faith, just like religion.

(2)

This passage has absolutely nothing to do with the validity, or lack, of evolution.  The letter writer just throws it in to provide an emotionally-charged, fear-of-Damnation-raising, broad, believable base, for his otherwise baseless objections.

Stoned

 

I should have mentioned earlier, that I’ve become a new Grandpa, well….adoptive.  Earlier this spring, another of my pet rocks had a baby.

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This is Momma Stone.  We took her in when we found her, pregnant and abandoned.  You can probably tell, from her patient demeanor, how she’s been able to put up with me for years.  She just sits quietly at the corner of the garage, enjoying the warmth of the sun when she can, and reporting to me, the amount of rain and snow we’ve had.

One of her daughters, a nice little egg, has been hanging around out on the back deck with a few other teenage stones.  I convinced them, when they’re not busy tweeting and texting, to hold down a plastic cover on a small table.

This spring, when I wanted to put the cover out again, I gently picked her up, and found that Jack Frost had sneaked into the back yard and slipped a little moisture into her.  She gave birth to an even smaller stone, right in my hand.  Mother and child are doing well.

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SDC10623

 

 

 

 

Inclusions like this happen millions of years ago, when erosion breaks off chunks of the original granite of the Earth.  They roll into stream or oceans, and are tumbled around and abraded till they are smooth and rounded, and finally are covered with fine sand, lots and lots of sand, and then, piles of water.  Over millennia, the pressure of the water compacts and solidifies the sand into sandstone, and these little Easter eggs are often concealed forever.  It was only luck that gave us these two.

****

Speaking of becoming the parent of a small stone….On a recent Friday, I had agreed to take the daughter, LadyRyl, and her friend, and three of the friend’s cats, to a veterinary, fifteen miles away, in the next city.  While daughter and I waited, her cell phone burbled.  Since grandson only works till noon on Fridays, I suspected it was him checking in.  She shook her head and handed the phone to me.

The wife told me not to be any longer than necessary returning home.  The son, Shimoniac, works midnight shifts.  He had gone to bed at 11:00 AM, but had wakened about 1:30 with pain and nausea.  After throwing up food he ate three days ago, and then nothing but brownish bile, it settled into a sharp, grinding pain in the lower right quadrant.

Getting the two gals and three cats back into the car, and home, was like….herding cats.  Finally accomplished, I got back home to find son in the recliner, with an ice pack on his abdomen.  It can’t be his gall bladder; they took that out 20 years ago.  The wife had her appendix rupture when she was a child, and was worried about that possibility.

Get some outdoor clothing on, grab your Ontario Health Card – and off to Emergency we went.  Like every other place, hospitals have gone electronic, and do-it-yourself.  You touch a screen to print your admission form.  You get to sit with a triage nurse, but you swipe your health card to prove that the Government will pay, and to enter basic information.

There was a large flat-screen monitor on one wall, displaying the Emergency Department page from the hospital’s website.  It gave driving and parking directions, paying special attention to the road work that shuts down several local streets, right outside the hospital.  It also showed that they were currently treating 23 patients, with 18 waiting, and an estimated wait time of 3.5 hours.  It’s 4:00 PM.

Pleasantly, surprisingly, they called him at 6:00 o’clock – only a two hour wait, but the hard part is still ahead.  Not knowing if or when I might get supper, I got a hot chocolate and a toasted bagel at the in-house Tim Horton’s.  I read parts of an abandoned newspaper, and filled in the crossword puzzle.  At 7 PM, just as I was going to ask about him, they informed me that I could go in and see him.

He had had his blood pressure taken, had blood drawn for testing and, despite being dehydrated from the vomiting, had managed to provide a urine sample.  They were going to do an ultrasound, but decided that a CAT-scan would provide better information.  They were going to inject him with an organic dye for contrast, but, for what they suspected, didn’t need it, and decided against it.  They were also going to inject a pain-killer – but the CAT-scan was free right now, so off he went.

I went for another walk to combat stiffness, and he got back around 9 PM.  He got his pain shot, and we waited.  Usually stoic like me, he doesn’t often complain about pain.  When the admitting nurse asked him what it was like, on a scale from 1 to 10, he told her that it was a solid ten!  The pain shot soon had it down to a throbbing three.

The son had been treated by a Doogie Howser MD-young Canadian doctor, named Robert Beaver.  He was accompanied by his resident minion, an even younger oriental Doogie Chen, who does all the scut work.  They returned just before 10:00 PM, and told him that he was the proud parent of a 5 MM kidney stone, which was about half-way down the tube to the bladder.  5 MM is the size of lead in a mechanical pencil.  It’s amazing how something so small can cause so much pain and internal upset.

In and out in just six hours, it wasn’t the best day either of us ever had, but, all things considered, not bad.  He should pass the stone on his own, if he drinks lots of liquids.  He was be contacted by a urologist about a week later.  If the problem has gone away, he won’t need an appointment.  If not, we start talking about lithotripsy, to break up this tiny stone with guided sound waves.

Until either of those occurs, he gets to exist with the help of the same high-octane pain pills that I recently received.  Ain’t life fun??!  😕

P.S.  Two Mondays after, the hospital just called to confirm a Tuesday morning ultrasound appointment that the doctor’s office *forgot* to tell him he had.  Wish him luck today.  😯

Book Review #5

Finally, a book I can be proud to admit I read.

The Author – Jonathan Haidt

The Book – The Righteous Mind

Subtitled – Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion

The Review

4-The Righteous MindI might as well start with the book itself.  The dust cover is printed with what looks like a knife slash from corner to corner, with a black gap, showing how “good people” are “divided.”  Despite the subtitle promising to tell why people are divided, nowhere in the book is it explained.  That folks are divided on many topics is emphasised, and the How and Where is demonstrated, but the Why is never given.

On the blurb page, a promise is given to show how to win an argument against someone whose views you do not agree with.  I read it very carefully.  It involves empathizing with your opponent until you Become them, and then slowly and gently lead them away from their position, towards yours.

Sort of like, if I want my neighbor to stop kicking his dog, I bring him over to my place to watch me kick my dog, to show him how much the dog hurts.  I don’t want to lose my morals and empathize till I become the narrow-minded asshole I’ve come to hate.  I’d sooner use the direct approach, and just kick the neighbor till he agrees to stop.

The book itself is a hardcover, each page with twice as much printing as my little paperbacks.  A quick check at the back shows 420 pages, equal to 840 pages of my normal reading.  If I’m not careful I might end up learning something before I’m done.

But wait, it’s been a while since I read a book like this.  The final 110 pages aren’t actually part of the book.  A third of it is a list of people and their research that he stole from, to formulate his theories.  Another third is notes to explain how he twisted their square ideas to fit his round pigeonholes, and the final third is an index to guide you to where you can worship his multifaceted brilliance.

That leaves only 310/620 pages of real reading.  Perhaps I’ll only get a clue when I’m done.

The author is a moral psychologist.  This doesn’t mean that he gives a damn if you’re screwing the neighbor, drinking, drugging, or even dancing.  He’s the guy who explains why and how we make decisions about what we feel is acceptable and non-acceptable behavior, for ourselves and others, even in the face of conflicting opinions, or facts.

The Atheist/philosopher, Richard Dawkins wrote a book called The Selfish Gene, in which he claimed that evolution insists that everything we do, from love, to altruism, to charity, must somehow benefit the individual.

Haidt raises this thought a couple of levels by comparing human society to biological evolution.  Single-cell organisms united to create multi-celled ones, right up to humans and large animals.  Groups of specialized cells and organs allow achievements that single cells could not achieve.

Humans first grouped by family, then by clan, then village, right up to nation.  Things like sports, politics, religion and armed forces create focused groups through synchronized sounds – prayers, hymns, chants, etc., movements – dances, marching, calisthenics – rituals and sacred totems – salutes, uniforms, crosses, even cheeseheads.

Successful groups outperform, and absorb or drive out lesser ones, and can cause actions that are not beneficial to the individual (suicide bombing), but are, to the group (Islam).

To the scientist, for any group, hypocrisy is a good thing.  For the liar, whether group or individual, it gives them a chance to reap their desired ends and feel good about it.  That makes for more confident leadership and an increase in following and obeying.

About the strange, often conflicting beliefs of every religion, including Christianity, the author says:

The memorable nymphs and fairies and goblins and demons that crowd the mythologies of every people, are the imaginative offspring of a hyperactive habit of finding agency wherever anything puzzles or frightens us.  This mindlessly generates a vast overpopulation of agent-ideas, most of which are too stupid to hold our attention for an instant; only a well-designed few make it through the rehearsal tournament, mutating and improving as they go.  The ones that get shared and remembered are the souped-up winners of billions of competitions for rehearsal time in the brains of our ancestors.

Haidt shows that, once we learn something, even if it’s wrong, it takes more mental energy to unlearn it, than to merely absorb the correct information.

The researchers saw similar results when they told participants that pressing a button would reduce the chance of shock by as much as 90%. Those participants who had to make a proactive choice to press the button opted to leave it untouched about half the time, even though it meant they had to withstand shocks they themselves rated as highly undesirable.

It gave me a slight, momentary sympathy for those I’ve viewed as merely too lazy or bull-headed to accept apparently clear proof of their invalid stances.  Then, he went on to state that, having taken a stance, we will expend even more energy to come up with, sometimes very convoluted, justifications for it, all in the name of support from and for, “our group.”

Since there are limits to most people’s ability to reach outside themselves, there are limits to how large the groups may grow.  The book crystallized and explained why I am a non-joining loner, just shy of being a psychopath; yet rail at Quebec for not “joining” Canada, or the Baltic States for each wanting to rule their own little valley.

This was deep and enlightening reading.  My hopes for an informed quick-fix were soon dashed.  Rather, as I wrote in a long-gone post, if we can keep the momentum in the right direction, thousands, millions, billions of tiny steps and nudges may make mankind a better race.