Archive for the ‘Literature’ Category

DOES LIFE EXIST BEYOND OUR SOLAR SYSTEM?

October 3, 2014

What is required for life to exist on our planet is extremely complex, intricately balanced and fine-tuned in relation to the size and position of the earth, the sun and other planets, size and position of our moon, our planet’s magnetosphere and various atmospheric layers, the abundance of water, various oceanic and weather patterns and even the temperature, size and properties of the earth’s inner core.  And, this is only a small fraction of the balanced complex reality necessary for our existence.

Because of this, some scientists still insist life may be extremely rare in the universe.  But it appears exo-planets may far outnumber the stars and today, many if not most scientists believe life is probably abundant in the cosmos.  Perhaps few of us stop to consider how truly different, diverse and complex life in the larger universal reality, may in fact be.

Most books and films featuring aliens assume beings more intelligent than ourselves would have superior technology and travel in advanced starships, which isn’t necessarily true.  They are often portrayed as creatures prone to violence and oppression like ourselves, which also isn’t necessarily true.

Human technology arises out of our specific needs for survival. While other forms of life on earth build webs, nests and some even use sticks as tools, what is called “technology” is essentially viewed as being unique to humans. If food was easily and readily available and there was no violence or daily struggle to survive, human technology might not have ever arisen on earth.

Where there is no farming or struggle to eat, there may be no concept of a wheel or plow.  Where there’s no hunting for food and no war, there may be no concept of a knife, spear, bow and arrow or other basic implements at the root of our technology.

Would forms of life more intelligent than ourselves necessarily have any concept of science and education? Would they wear clothing or need to build structures to protect themselves from the elements in a perhaps far less hostile environment?  We can’t even begin to imagine what life would be like without violence and a daily struggle for food, shelter and protection.

At least one scientist has proposed life might exist on giant gas planets, hovering in the atmosphere with no need of a solid surface.  We often assume far too much based on our own tiny window of experience.  The experience of intelligent beings on other worlds may be far different than our own.

We know life on earth is incredibly complex and diverse, even among microbial kingdoms. We can only wonder what it might be like to live on a world far less violent and prone to disease, starvation and death than our own.  Given the abundance and complexity of life on earth and the size and scope of the universe, we can only marvel and remain in awe of the infinite possibilities.

Perhaps a better question is, what might life elsewhere be like?

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CAN CHARLES DARWIN BE TRUSTED?

April 3, 2014

Historical people, like the rest of us, sometimes contradict themselves and often change their minds over time.  It is generally fair to conclude what scientists say in their older age represents their true lifetime professional opinion, rather than what they might have said when they were younger.

Human language definition often changes over historical time and words sometimes develop multiple meanings.  To be fair and accurate, one must consider how words were defined when they were spoken, rather than how those same words might be defined today.  Careful historians apply a discipline called “philology” to help understand human language in historical context.

For example, broad-brushing the American founders as “deists”, a consistent bad habit of modern educators, is a historical lie.  The majority ascribed to some form of Christianity and, the very few who claimed to be deists apparently believed God hears prayers and interacts with human affairs.  There is no evidence any American founder was a deist as the term is normally defined today.

Charles Darwin, in the opening sentences of his final revision of “On The Origin of Species”, is humble enough to credit our Creator for being behind whatever universal processes and reality there may be. This edition was published about five years prior to Darwin’s death and thus, it represents a lifetime conclusion.

Some ‘scholars’ today, pretending they can somehow know Darwin’s intentions, claim that he only mentioned God to make his wife and family happy and to otherwise appease the religious leaders of his day.  Because Darwin throughout his lifetime consistently openly debated with religious leaders and others concerning his ideas, such a claim has no historical merit.  One might fairly ask, if we can’t trust Darwin regarding this most fundamental of human beliefs, how can we trust anything else he said?

Perhaps Darwin made no mention of our Creator in his first edition because the overwhelming evidence for creation was agreed to by the vast majority of scholars of his time.  Maybe only after the publishing of his theories had caused considerable controversy, did Darwin then find it necessary to place our Creator where he, like Einstein and Jefferson apparently believed God belongs, far above all human science, reason and understanding.

In a letter published two years before his death, Darwin strongly denies being an atheist, saying his mind was “mainly agnostic but not entirely”.  Because agnostic at that time sometimes referred to distrust in religion and human claims about God, rather than questioning God’s existence, Darwin could attest to our Creator and still remain agnostic but not entirely without contradiction.

Is it fair to pretend one of human history’s greatest scientists can’t be trusted to be honest regarding what he fundamentally believed?  Is it fair to just arbitrarily ignore various words ascribed to Jefferson, Einstein and Darwin because modern liars don’t like what they actually said? Is it fair to speak for historical people, rather than allowing their own words to speak for them?

Can Charles Darwin be trusted?  You decide.

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ARE AMERICANS WELL-EDUCATED?

January 11, 2014

Albert and Agnes attended the same American Elementary School in Anytown, USA. From the first day, they were both taught to study hard and get good grades, so they could receive a scholarship, attend college and earn more money.

They weren’t taught to treat other people like they wanted to be treated, a theory long censored from American classrooms. Nor were they taught education should be focused on learning what is true so we can be free, rather than being focused on money, another theory long forbidden in American schools.

Albert’s wealthy parents had paid for him to attend a private preschool. He now attended public school because his father believed it was good for him to associate with “regular” children. Agnes’ parents were poor and poorly educated and thus, she was already far behind a learning curve Albert easily adapted to without hardly trying.

Though rarely paying much attention, Albert received mostly A’s throughout his American school experience. Several times he was caught dealing drugs and was twice accused of treating Agnes inappropriately. But his wealthy family hired an expensive lawyer, who convinced a friendly judge to keep his record clean.

Agnes tried hard to learn, but her grades remained poor and she fell behind a year after Albert forced an unanticipated pregnancy. Albert was taught from an early age he was smarter and better than most of his peers. Constantly applauded for superior intelligence, he became president of his high school science club and won two state spelling bee championships.

Agnes was ridiculed by other students for being the plainest, poorest and mentally slowest student in class. Her teachers told her parents she meant well while insinuating she wasn’t exactly born to achieve intellectual greatness.

Albert went on to graduate from an expensive American college and an even more expensive graduate school. He was hired by the American government to design advanced weaponry, lived in an expensive American home and drove several expensive American cars. He joined the Mensa Society and helped design an IQ test excluding any notion of intelligence in relation to helping other people.

Agnes went to work in a garment factory, where she helped organize a sweat shop union and consequently, lost her job. She tried to read the Bible but reading wasn’t her best subject and, her strange archaic English translation was difficult to understand and relate to. Nevertheless, soon she moved to one of the poorest slums in India and founded a mission without any money or religious organizational backing.

Agnes remained very poor throughout her life but, by an incredible twist of fate, she eventually became one of the most famous people in the world. Rock stars and presidents waited in line to meet her. Because of her example, missions to help the poor were established all over the globe.

Agnes ultimately helped raise billions of dollars to aid the sick and poor and, will long remain an international inspiration for generations to come. Are Americans well-educated? You decide.

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ARE PEOPLE REALLY SINNERS?

July 17, 2010

Why would someone who doesn’t believe in sin carry an anti-war, anti-pollution or pro-peace sign?  If war and other human oppression is just part of a larger “natural selection” process, why do such people consider themselves more righteous than many other people?  If there is no evil, why is it considered morally “wrong” to harm and morally “right” to help our neighbor? 

Why are Rosa Parks and Albert Schweitzer considered morally superior to Bonnie Parker and Adolf Hitler?  Why would all four arise in the same “advanced” modern species? Why is it called “justice” when people imprison other people?  Who gets to decide and, why? 

If babies are born moral and pure, why do we need to be taught how to morally behave?  Why is there a concept of “hatred”?  If we change the word “sin” to “social maladjustment” or “seething mass within”, does it lessen the pain and suffering people inflict on other people?  Does changing terminology change the reality of what men and women do? 

Why do we lie to each other?  Why are there laws against murder, theft and false witness?  Why are there university ethics classes?  Why don’t we automatically love our neighbor as ourselves?  Why did we crucify our greatest moral teacher?  Why do human oppression and civil rights movements exist?  Why is there a song entitled “We Shall Overcome”?  What is it we are trying to overcome? 

If people are born morally “blank” with no predisposition towards evil, as Freud assumed, why are we so self-destructive?  Why do we eat and drink what we believe is harmful?  Why do we abuse both ourselves and other people, often in the face of severe social rejection, lengthy incarceration and even execution?  Why is there a “Nobel Peace Prize”?  Why are adults rewarded for behaving like we believe we all should behave? 

Why is it so difficult to teach children to be what our conscience dictates as “good”, while they are what we consider “bad” quite easily on their own, without any parental reward and, often in spite of repeated punishment?  If it’s against human rights to murder, steal and lie, why do we do so?  If this is not against our reproductive survival, why are Jesus and Gandhi considered exceptional people? 

After thousands of years of education to the contrary, why do even our most educated people continue to add to the pile of global mass pollution, bilk the common masses with complicated financial schemes and, continue to create horrific weapons, even after the horrific evidence of the Great Depression and WWII?  Why didn’t an “Age of Enlightenment” result in peace on earth, instead of even worse wars?

According to modern science and the Bible, our underlying motivations are deceptive and often different than we perceive in our own conscious awareness.  Is it true we “all have sinned” and fall short of moral perfection?  Are people really sinners? 

You decide.

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IS THE GOLDEN RULE REALLY THE BEST IDEA?

May 28, 2010

What is today known as the “golden rule”, is found in similar form in at least 37 often non-connected cultures.  Thus, the laws of God are clearly written on the conscience of humanity, as the Bible claims and as Jefferson echoed in the Declaration of Independence.

According to Jesus, “Therefore, whatever you want people to do to you, do also to them, for this is the law and the prophets”.  The added, “for this is the law and the prophets” in the society of Jesus, meant similar to as if today someone said, “this is the foundation of human rights and the sum and purpose of all reason, wisdom, philosophy, science, education, morality and ethics.”  Is this really the best idea for achieving human rights in the modern age?

Upon closer examination, most of the so-called “golden rules” found in other societies, including the one attributed to the Jewish teacher Hillel, are considerably different than that taught by Jesus.  A similar one to Jesus is found in a saying attributed to Mencius.  But unlike Mencius and all of the other known sages of history, only Jesus gives this positive, pro-active version the all-important status of being the foundation for all that matters towards positive human enlightenment and achievement.

So-called “golden rules” found in most societies instruct us not to harm others as we do not wish them to harm us.  But Jesus teaches us to reach out and help other people, even if they do not first help us. Consider how much less effective it is to tell a child not to harm someone, than teaching the same child to pro-actively treat others as they like to be treated.  For example, is a homeless widow better off if someone just doesn’t harm her or, if someone provides her food and shelter?  Isn’t it far more effective to teach us to help each other than just saying we should do no harm?

Some modern intellectuals claim we should instead, treat other people as “they” wish to be treated.  This supposed “improvement” contains at least two significant flaws:  1) It is rather difficult to know how another person wants us to treat them unless we first befriend them as we wish to be treated.  2) If we treat others as they wish to be treated without any measurement against our own well-being, we will soon be extremely tired, penniless and destitute.

Today, the term “empathy” is favored by many, apparently because it is less religious sounding than the idea of loving our neighbor as ourself.  Although it is a good idea to empathize with others, is this idea really an improvement over teaching us to pro-actively love our neighbor as ourselves?

Is the Jesus version of the golden rule the best idea?  Does anybody else have a better idea for curing what ails a race called “human”?  Do we want less than the best for our children?  You decide.

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