1minion invites god in – humming your praise and joy

(see the tag Inviting God In for more entries regarding this book.)

My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. Luke 1:46-47

From page 37 of Joyce Rupp’s book. Does it feel like God’s in here yet? Not overly.

If Mass at Catholic school, singing in the choir, and having religious friends into my first year of university weren’t enough to cement it, it ain’t happening.

This page was in the bit of the book regarding Christmas —

…so much emphasis is placed on material treasures, let us also look at our spiritual treasures and choose a few lines of a favorite song or create a few lines of praise and thanksgiving to God.

Up above I’ve shared some kind of meow hymn. Now is a piece I recall singing in Choir in grade seven:

Walking and leaping… years later I can still sing the chorus without needing the karaoke version.

I’m still recovering from my broken wrist; I have a “9 weeks later” print-out of exercises to put myself through while I wait for my next check-up in February.

Overnight we got 10 cm of snow, roughly, and I had to sweep the car off and shovel the driveway/walk before I left for work. Before I even got that started, I slipped on ice with my proper boots on (original slip was in slippers) but at least this time I just wound up awkwardly on my knees in freshly fallen snow. Don’t think for a minute that this atheist wasn’t grateful nothing worse happened. Holy crap, was I the lucky one. The Young One also slipped and fell on the way to the bus today, says the Hubs, but he was more concerned about not dropping his book in the snow — the dweeb.

It is time to check the size of our heart-door and see if it needs some expanding to let the God of glory enter in.

Nope. My heart is terrific.

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It’s a new year, so there’s a new end of the world prediction

Mark your calendars for June 24th 2018. And then on June 25th, guess when the updated world ending prediction will drop. I’m gonna guess October 27. As good a date as any. This is old news from the start of January, but I’m just getting around to laughing at it now.

From the Daily Star:

Conspiracy theorist Mathieu Jean-Marc Joseph Rodrigue has highlighted a passage in the Book of Revelations as a sign that 2018 could be the Earth’s last year.

It reads: “He was given authority to act for 42 months.”

Mr Joseph Rodrigue reckons the passage from Revelations when added to the crop harvest and price indicates a shocking truth.

The shocking truth being that Rodrigue passed rudimentary math and then took it nine steps sideways into the idiocy that is numerology.

He wrote: “I heard a voice in the middle of the four living beings.

“This is wisdom. He who has intelligence can interpret the figure of the beast.

“It represents the name of a man. His figure is 666.”

To find the date of the apocalypse, he takes the 666 figure and adds it to his earlier calculations, with the 42 months from the bible.

Except his math is wrong, much like the Young One’s math was wrong the other day. Poor kid struggles with carrying when he multiplies. “Where did you get that 4 from? 8 x 7 is 56…” Grade 4 is so hard.

The Devil’s number is not 666.

back in 2005, the number was revised, or should have been, to 616 because of a discovery made in an ancient Egyptian dump just outside of Oxyrhynchus. A large collection of really old papers, most of them unreadable, were discovered. Among them was a piece of a third-century manuscript that just happened to be from the Book of Revelation. In this piece, as well, was the new number, 616, given as the number of the Beast.

This isn’t just some random number either. According to Professor David Parker, numbers were often used in ancient days to disguise the name of an enemy. In this case, 616 probably refers to Emperor Caligula of the Roman Empire, the non-Christian ruling power in the world at the time.

I’ve read that elsewhere, too, that Revelations is more documenting from a particular political/historical angle in the form of analogy and less predicting a future 2000 years beyond what the author could have possibly intended. That never stops guys like Rodrigue. Last quote from the original article:

When all added together, he claims this indicates the world will end on June 24, 2018.

Despite his bold theory, Mr Joseph Rodrigue has not detailed how the world will come to destruction.

So, if anyone reads this between today and the 24th, comment your own thoughts on how the end will happen. Given the number of earthquakes (see current map of those there) and volcanoes (see current map of those there) going off lately, I’m predicting major kablam of the massive magma pool under Yellowstone. Very much hoping to be wrong.

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There are not enough exorcists

is not a statement I agree with.

A Catholic priest is warning the world of imminent demonic activity, apparently. Going by this Newsweek article:

An Irish priest has put out an urgent call for backup to help with the growing demand for exorcisms in the country, according to reports.

“It’s only in recent years that the demand [for exorcisms] has risen exponentially,” Father Pat Collins said, adding that anyone who doesn’t see the need for more exorcists is “out of touch with reality.” Collins wrote an open letter to Irish bishops asking them to begin training more priests to deal with exorcisms, and he cited the International Association of Exorcists’ belief that demonic activity has increased substantially in recent years.

What a load of backward thinking and absurdity. Instead of pushing for the Catholic Church to use its power as a force for actual positive change in the world, he’s thinking a few rounds of “Get the behind me, demon” will solve the world’s problems.

Each Catholic diocese in Ireland is required to have a trained exorcist who can identify whether a person is suffering from mental illness or has been possessed.

Collins has been speaking out about the activities of what he has called “the evil one” for years. He is widely considered Ireland’s most prominent exorcist, and he has also advocated for the church to take a more active role in demon hunting.

I wonder if this man also thinks Supernatural is reality TV.

I also wonder how many people with treatable mental illnesses are getting “misdiagnosed” by these supposedly well-meaning exorcists and put through literal hell to “save” them from a figurative one.

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Sounds of Sunday – Incredible String Band

What’s incredible is that I never heard of these guys before the Hubs. I was appalled by their sound at the time, I think, but they’ve really grown on me. We often find ourselves singing pieces of various “hits” by the group.

This one starts with what sounds like an old folk song about the death of a girl:

Lay down my dear sister
Won’t you lay and take your rest
Won’t you lay your head upon your saviours breast
And I love you but Jesus loves you the best
And I bid you goodnight, goodnight, goodnight,
And I bid you goodnight, goodnight, goodnight.

But then goes in a completely different direction:

Amoebas are very small

Oh ah ee oo there’s absolutely no strife
living the timeless life
I don’t need a wife
living the timeless life
If I need a friend I just give a wriggle
Split right down the middle
And when I look there’s two of me
Both as handsome as can be
Oh here we go slithering, here we go slithering and squelching on
Oh here we go slithering, here we go slithering and squelching on
Oh ah ee oo there’s absolutely no strife living the timeless life

From the BBC:

The Incredible String Band were one of the most influential bands of the Sixties but their roots lie in the folk clubs of Edinburgh.

Their incredible journey took them from experimenting in Scotland’s all-night venues to an infamous appearance at Woodstock, the biggest counter-cultural event of the decade.

Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were all said to have been influenced by the psychedelic folk rock of the band, who played “world music” a decade before the term was coined.

So there you go. If you like any of those dudes, try these dudes.

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The Wonders of God’s Creation – chapter 1 part 2

Last post dealt with the universe and solar system. To continue the breakdown of Chapter One of this faith=science book I’ll focus on these three bits:

What is an Atom?
What is a Molecule?
Bacteria Invisible but Important

Atoms first:

These days scientists have a better sense of how an atom hangs onto its bits:

there are basically two things that hold it together. Two forces, that is. The first of these has to do with electric charge, something I mentioned on the previous page. Electric charge comes in two varieties: positive and negative. The main carriers of positive charge are protons, while the main carriers of negative charge are electrons. (Within protons and neutrons, the quarks themselves carry charge, but this is only important to us in that the net charge of a proton or neutron is equal to the sum of the charges of all its quarks: zero for a neutron, and a small positive amount for a proton.) Every proton carries exactly the same amount of positive charge, and every electron carries a negative charge exactly opposite that of a proton. There are other particles with electric charge, but they tend to live only a very short time before they decay, and so they’re mostly unimportant for atoms.

So protons and electrons attract each other and the effect strengthens based on how close those are to each other, same as two protons will repel or two electron will repel. There’s the magnet similarity.

since the electric force is constantly trying to drive the protons apart, the force that holds them all in must be stronger than the electric force. And keep in mind, the electric force gets stronger as charged particles get closer together, and the protons in a nucleus are very close together. As a result, the force that holds protons and neutrons together must be very strong. Well, in a brilliant stroke of imagination, physicists have named this force “the strong force.”

Onto molecules:

“…honest scientist must admit…”?!?

Evolution is wrong? That’s wrong. Lots of evidence of molecular evolution listed at Science Direct. A few even available via Answers in Genesis and the Institute for Creation Research, but you’ll note I don’t link to either of those sites on account of them being religious like this book is, rather than focused on science for scientific evidence.

Lastly, bacteria.

If you needed verification, yes, this book cherry picks from the King James Bible for their evidence of “truth” but nobody was writing this verse to reference bacteria at the time.

20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

That’s from the New International Version. Clears things up a little.

This book likens bad bacteria to Satan “who does great harm to us when we are careless about our manner of life.” In other words, brush your teeth or Satan is going to dance in your cavities that are as black as his heart. The rest of the bacteria belongs to God, though, if it’s the good stuff like the stuff aiding digestion. “Isn’t it wonderful how God has created such a tiny form of life to do such a big job?”

This leads me oddly to hip hop bacteria from November 2017.

David Kong and his team are making music. But instead of sampling beats, they’re sampling bacteria.

“Music is one of the great universal languages of our human society. We thought this would be a really, really wonderful way to engage the broader public and get them excited about science through music,” said Kong, director of a new community biotechnology initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and founder of EMW Bookstore, a community space Cambridge, Mass.

Their project is called Biota Beats, an artistic endeavor in which they translate bacterial data into hip-hop melodies.

The video on the site explains better, so go listen to/watch that. Different parts of the music were created by using bacteria from different parts of bodies. “Could you hear disease? .. these could be interesting research questions…” Their project didn’t win the competition, but it’s still cool.

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The Wonders of God’s Creation – chapter 1 part 1

So here we are, exploring how a religious book approaches science in a way that attempts to equalize faith and fact, often within the same sentence.

Chapter one deals with telescopes and microscopes, plus some geology, biology and geography thrown in for filler.

While I considered snapping shots of every page, this image gives you a sense of what this book contains – namely art from an era before colour printing was an affordable option interspersed with praises to God for doing such a damn fine job with the universe. Instead, I’ll start by listing the sections covered on each page of this chapter.

The Glory of the Stars
The All-Important Sun
Who Put the Rings Around Saturn?
The Thrill of a Shooting Star
What is an Atom?
What is a Molecule?
Bacteria Invisible but Important
Traveling With the Earth
The Importance of the Oceans
Water and Ice
The Tidelands
The Miracle of Springtime
A Summer Thunderstorm
His Promise in the Sky (if you guessed this was rainbows, give yourself a cookie.)
Trees Came First (except they didn’t)
The Lowly Acorn
The Desert Cactus

And we’re done chapter one. There’s only seven chapters to the book but seventeen rather random topics in the first chapter. Perhaps intended to be an overview of what the rest of the chapters hold…

Onto current(ish) science.

Regarding stars (that are not our sun — named Chad, if you didn’t realize – thank the fellows at Smart Enough to Know Better for that one), I pull from Sky and Telescope, a 2014 article, but probably still pretty accurate when large numbers are involved. The answer depends on how the question is asked – do we mean total in the universe (a figure we can only guestimate) or total visible from Earth (a figure we can only guestimate, but can know for sure it’s a smaller number)?

Astronomers estimate that the observable universe has more than 100 billion galaxies. Our own Milky Way is home to around 300 billion stars, but it’s not representative of galaxies in general. The Milky Way is a titan compared to abundant but faint dwarf galaxies, and it in turn is dwarfed by rare giant elliptical galaxies, which can be 20 times more massive. By measuring the number and luminosity of observable galaxies, astronomers put current estimates of the total stellar population at roughly 70 billion trillion (7 x 1022).

9096 “local” stars, though. Give or take a few thousand depending on light pollution getting in the way of visibility…

In terms of Chad, the book notes that the sun’s light takes 8 minutes to get here (close enough; really 8m 20s, as noted by phys.org. )

You probably know that photons are created by fusion reactions inside the Sun’s core. They start off as gamma radiation and then are emitted and absorbed countless times in the Sun’s radiative zone, wandering around inside the massive star before they finally reach the surface.

What you probably don’t know, is that these photons striking your eyeballs were ACTUALLY created tens of thousands of years ago and it took that long for them to be emitted by the sun.

Once they escaped the surface, it was only a short 8 minutes for those photons to cross the vast distance from the Sun to the Earth.

It also notes the Goldilocks Zone, but not by name. Just the “miracle” that is Earth’s distance from the sun for why life’s possible.

In terms of who put rings around Saturn, the answer is whoever wanted it…not that Saturn is a Single Lady… Current theories suggest the massive gravity of the planet succeeded in breaking up comets and other interlopers in the area, dispersing the pieces in orbit around Saturn until we are where it looks today. Beautiful, frankly.

Last bit for part 1 – Shooting stars and meteorites — just yesterday one went sailing over Michigan and was caught on several cameras. While people claim an earthquake happened with it, Scientific American suggests it was more likely a sonic boom that took audiences by surprise. Seismometers may have still registered the vibration, though.

In this case, the meteor’s boom—its sound waves—were recorded as a magnitude-2.0 event on a nearby seismometer located about 5 miles (8 kilometers) southwest of New Haven, Michigan. But this measurement doesn’t express how much energy the meteor released as it flew overhead, Bellini said.

“There’s no way to translate the actual energy from an air blast into seismometers,” Bellini said. “They’re not designed to measure vibrations coming from the air.”

And from that, I give you this delight – the Hubs has been mesmerized by a piece of music by Space called Magic Fly; I knew of it years earlier but it’s become the newest obsession for household listening. You can watch the original, but here I put in the other version — with cats! In Space!

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Look what I got! A new book!

Rather, a new old one (printed in 1983 – that’s old now, sadly). Someone left it in the staff room at work, likely returned with actual library material and perhaps a faint hope in the heart of the original owner that someone’s life was about to change upon reading it. How right he or she was!

The front reminds me of other books from the era and earlier, typically the story collections that the teacher would hand out to us to read along with and discuss. That’s not what this is, though. This is Bible study masquerading as a science text book, essentially.

So within this they’re promising to explain nature as “God Did It.” (The publishers have a website where more religious themed books and tracts can be searched and purchased, for those who’d want them and a range of age levels.)

And in the preface we learn that evolution is a “wicked campaign” rather than the most likely scenario given the evidence we already have.

I’d argue that it isn’t God being called a liar when it comes to evolution but instead the folks who wrote the Bible were wrong. But, all they could do was credit their deity with everything under the sun and over the moon because there was no better alternative at the time. We know more now and we know better.

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