Sunday, April 29, 2007

New Hobby (God help me)

Well, on Friday I purchased a new computer case with the intent of building it into a fully operational computer using nothing but a few tools and my phalanges. This son-of-a-gun has 11 drive bays, dual chamber structure, 7 expansion slots, three layer side-panels for noise dampening, 5 fans...I could go on forever. What I'm trying to say is that I'm in way over my head. With my rotten luck I will manage to cause a catastrophic power surge and black-out the entire western United States (lol). Wish me luck. I'm going to purchase the CPU and the motherboard sometime in the next couple of weeks. I'm finalizing my research on what brains I want running this over sized hunk of junk before making the expensive selection.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Meaning Wanes...

Perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of scientific inquiry and knowledge progression is the possible diminishment of meaning we feel of both ourselves and of the world around us. The sense that nature does not show any special preferences to human beings leaves many of us feeling like we are the product of random and purposeless cosmic forces. Take, for example, the Copernican declaration that the Earth is not at the center of the universe. Although, historically speaking, Galileo's imprisonment was NOT based solely on some heretical proposition that infuriated Church authorities but rather on competing egos and power gloating, some of his contemporaries must have been crestfallen by the implications of his progressive ideas. The same is true today. We know that Earth is but an atom in the cosmos, and that life evolved biologically over the coarse of millions and millions of years. We have neuroscience attempting to explain how our brain apparatus behaves during mystic experiences, and how God might be nothing more than a necessary fabrication of our own minds. With M-theory, multi-verse hypotheses, and the possibility of alien life elsewhere, our standing within this universe might not be as exclusive as once perceived. Amid this challenging reality, where do we find God? For the unbeliever the question is laughable. For the believer the search for the answer is both daunting and exasperating.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Consider This...

Could Teilhard de Chardin, Thomas Merton, Bede Griffiths, C.S. Lewis, and Meister Eckhart been completely wrong? Were these men the product of some benevolent (or perhaps malevolent) form of self-deception? Were they believers because the delusion that Richard Dawkins writes about was somehow more commanding in their minds than in the "normal" minds of people like Mr. Dawkins? Keep in mind that were are talking about some of the most potent mystics and well read authors that date back to the 14th century (in the case of Eckhart). These men LIVED the faith they professed through some of the most excruciating times of their lives, and maintained fidelity to their maker until the moment they drew their last breath. Does this prove conclusively that God exists, or that he is not the by-product of the electrical impulses that permeate our brains? No, it does not. But they sure do give you something to think about.

"Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire."
-Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Monday, April 9, 2007

Maybe You Know (God and Neurology)

For the longest time I've been wrestling with a question that I can find no adequate answer to. It deals with science and religion, and no mater how hard I've looked (perhaps insufficiently in the wrong places) the explanation that some believers already posses continues to elude me. A few years ago a Canadian neuropsychologist named Michael Persinger, trying to understand the nature of religious experiences, stimulated certain regions in the brain of a test subject. This stimulation - which was done non-surgically (I believe it's called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) - induced a mystical experience in the test subject, with characteristics that were described as "mystical" and Divine. Plainly put, the subject felt that he had encountered God. Now comes the next question: does this not imply that God is the product of neurological impulses in the human brain, and exists nowhere but there? It has been hypothesized by Carl Jung (and by others) that human beings, as they evolved, needed this Creator as a way of keeping things psychologically balanced in the mind (I don't think Jung meant this pejoratively). I, however, was always led to believe that yes, God does live inside you (Holy Spirit), but he is also a separate entity outside of you. He was, is, and will be even if there is no human being to detect His presence. In spite of this conditioning, the untraceable soul continues to elude me and the scientists who study hominal neuro-activity. Is Richard Dawkins right? Is God, the soul, and continuation after death nothing more than a delusion?

Andy Newberg and Eugene D'Aquili published a book called Why God Won't Go Away. I read through some of it, but my questions weren't directly answered there. Perhaps I should give it a second look. Anyway, I have to go. I just bought Stevie Wonder's Innervisions CD and I've got an iPod that I'm going to feed it to.

If you have anything to say, I'm all yours.


First Light

In astronomy the term "first light" is used to describe the first light to shine through a telescope. I think an event like that might be analogous to my "first blog", which I'm posting here for the first time. I'm not sure where I'm going to go with this or whether I even have the time to commit myself (as many of you dedicated bloggers have) to updating my thoughts and chatter on a daily or weekly basis. But I will give it an honest try. Hopefully some of you will have your own wisdom to impart, and make sense of my non-sense.

Anyway, in my profile I stated that I loved music and that it was a vital component of my day-to-day life. Indeed it is, and now I have plenty of it to take with me where ever I go. This past Friday I bought an 80 Gig video iPod that should last me a while. This is my second iPod. The first iPod I purchased back in 2003 and it's somewhat anachronistic, when you consider what this fifth-generation iPod can do. My older iPod had a generic display with no video capability whatsoever. This new toy has a display that is crisp, full of color, and cosiderably more dynamic than that old contraption I used to carry. By the time I left the Apple store I had spent over $400 (cha-ching!) in iPod and peripherals. My friends were suprised it took me this long to do it.

I know. I'm either stupid for doing it or a dinasour for waiting so long. Criticism accepted.