Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The problem with "life is universal"

"Panspermia" is the name of a hypothesis that living organisms have traveled, and still do,  "between planets and even between star systems." But not so fast
But the problem, and the potential paradox, is that if evolved galactic panspermia is real it’ll be capable of living  just about everywhere. There should be stuff on the Moon, Mars, Europa, Ganymede, Titan, Enceladus, even minor planets and cometary nuclei. Every icy nook and cranny in our solar system should be a veritable paradise for these ultra-tough lifeforms, honed by natural selection to make the most of appalling conditions. So if galactic panspermia exists why haven’t we noticed it yet?
And so the Fermi Paradox still goes unanswered.

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Let’s not be shy about the afterlife - Telegraph

Let’s not be shy about the afterlife - Telegraph:
"Yet if one listens to the lectures and discussions of Dr Peter Fenwick, it becomes apparent that Dr Alexander’s is not an isolated experience. Dr Fenwick is a leading neuropsychiatrist who is an authority on near-death experiences, and has written a book called The Art of Dying which advocates the importance of “a good death”. Studies led him to conclude that near-death experiences occurred in a percentage of patients who had undergone cardiac arrest and had no pulse rate, heart rate or brainstem reflexes prior to their resuscitation. He described the discovery “that people have mental states which are present in the absence of brain function” as of “astonishing” importance to science. It has, he says, opened up a discussion on the nature of consciousness and even “the potential for a continuation of life after death”."
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Sunday, October 14, 2012

A quick guide to Leftism

Paterson’s Field Guide to the Left | John C. Wright's Journal:

This is a brief synopsis of the minds of Leftists everywhere, describing the things that hold Leftists in common. It's a good starting point. I would add two items. First, Leftists are angry people. They tend to be inherently angry and they focus their anger on people who are contented. Second, they are totalist in outlook.
They operate within distinctive parameters of a “theology of Armageddon — a final battle between good and evil” –  in which the stakes are nothing less than universal salvation. As outlined in Eric Hoffer’s classic, The True Believer, such movements have mastered the art of “religiofication,” that is, converting political grievances into messianic aspirations and “practical purposes into holy causes.”
Read the whole thing.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The rise of the religiously disengaged

RealClearReligion - Stirring Up More Nones:

Sometimes the headlines miss the point. For instance: "Losing our religion: One in five Americans are now 'nones'
It's a report on the latest survey by the Pew Research Center. In "Nones on the Rise," Pew says that almost 20 percent of Americans now say they are of no particular religion -- the so-called "nones." Which is an amazing jump of almost five percent in only five years. 
So the headline isn't wrong. But I'd suggest a better headline would be: "Distilling our religion: Americans either doubling down or opting out." Because drilling down, it looks like more of the remaining Americans who say they are religious are very religious. While the folks who were nominally attached to some particular church have decided to give that up.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Afterlife exists says top brain surgeon - Telegraph

Afterlife exists says top brain surgeon - Telegraph:
Afterlife exists says top brain surgeon
A prominent scientist who had previously dismissed the possibility of the afterlife says he has reconsidered his belief after experiencing an out of body experience which has convinced him that heaven exists. ...
"I've spent decades as a neurosurgeon at some of the most prestigous medical institutions in our country. I know that many of my peers hold as I myself did to the theory that the brain, and in particular the cortex, generates consciousness and that we live in a universe devoid of any kind of emotion, much less the unconditional love that I now know God and the universe have toward us. 
"But that belief, that theory, now lies broken at our feet. What happened to me destroyed it."
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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Three ways science contradicts naturalism

Three ways that the progress of science conflicts with naturalistic speculations

Almost every atheists' dream about an entirely naturalistic nature and purely materialist reality of the universe turns out to have very little scientific support. Quite the opposite, in fact.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Leap of faith – Texas church invests big in new service, young pastor - The United Methodist Reporter

Leap of faith – Texas church invests big in new service, young pastor - The United Methodist Reporter:

St. Andrew was venturing into uncharted territory.
The church was taking a risk—but not one that the affluent suburban church urgently needed to take. Founded 26 years ago, St. Andrew had grown rapidly in its first two decades, building a beautiful building with a gleaming steeple on its sprawling, grassy campus. Average weekend attendance now hovers around 1,600, making St. Andrew one of the 100 largest United Methodist churches in the U.S. Financially, it’s healthy.
In the last five years, however, growth leveled off. While there are young families on the membership rolls, many weren’t showing for worship. In fact, the average age of worshippers is 57—same as that of the denomination. ...
After a year and a half of research and planning at St. Andrew, things started happening.
In February, a proposal was put before St. Andrew’s charge conference to add a new contemporary worship. The meeting was unusually well-attended, with 350 people present.
Mr. Nixon spoke to the gathering and shared the story of The Loft. Mr. Rasmussen shared his experiences by way of a video.
“When we launched Cornerstone, we had to make some hard decisions,” Mr. Rasmussen told the St. Andrew members. “One was, how much of your energy and resources are you going to invest upfront to support this? And we just made the decision that we were ‘all in.’ We were going to put our money where our heart and our passion was. And it has certainly borne fruit.”
At St. Andrew, the vote was taken. Not one person voted “no.”

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The scary realities of self-defense

Bayou Renaissance Man: The scary realities of self-defense:

Read and heed. As I used to tell my troops, "You won't need your weapon until you need it real bad."