Tag Archives: God

The Eclipse

The eclipse approaching totality

Just arrived at Glacier, where the internet access is bad, and there is no cell service. Thus, this might be my last post for the week. I will try to post in the evening, but this is a vacation, so it will not be my first priority. If I could do it in my room that would okay, but I have to go down to the lobby of the Lake McDonald Lodge.

Anyway the image to the right was taken by me by holding my hand filter out at arm’s length, blocking the sun, and snapping a picture with my camera. It came out far better than I expected, as you can actually see the sun in the filter, partly blocked.

Totality was amazing. I was amazed by two things. First, how quiet it became. There were about hundred people scattered about the hotel lawn, with dogs and kids playing around. The hotel manager’s husband set up speakers for music and to make announcements, but when totality arrived he played nothing. People stopped talking. A hush fell over everything. Moreover, I think we somehow imagine a subconscious roar from the full sun. Covered as it was, with its soft corona gleaming gently around it, it suddenly seemed still.

Secondly, the amazing unlikeliness of the Moon being at just the right distance and size to periodically cause this event seemed almost miraculous. Watching it happen drove this point home to me. And since eclipses themselves have been a critical event in the intellectual development of humanity, helping to drive learning and our understanding of the universe, it truly makes me wonder at the majesty of it. I do not believe in any particular religion or their rituals (though I consider the Bible, the Old Testament especially, to be a very good manual for creating a good life and society), but I do not deny the existence of a higher power. Something made this place, and set it up in this wonderous way. Today’s eclipse only served to demonstrate this fact to me again.

Posting will be light for the rest of the week. If I get a chance I will add some more pictures to this post tomorrow.
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A North Carolina elementary school removed the word “God” from a poem written by one its students because one student’s parents complained.

Goodbye freedom: A North Carolina elementary school removed the word “God” from a poem written by one its students because another student’s parents complained.

After fully examining the issue during the BOE meeting, President and Chief Executive Officer Ken Paulson stated the school did in fact have the right to remove the word “God” from the child’s poem. “Courts have consistently held up the rights for students to express themselves unless their speech is disruptive to the school,” stated Patulson according to McDowell News. “When the little girl wrote the poem and included a reference to God she had every right to do that. The First Amendment protects all Americans. She had every right to mention God, (but) that dynamic changed when they asked her to read it at an assembly.” Paulson said that because the students were a captive audience – they were at a mandatory assembly with no place else to go if they didn’t want to attend – administrators had the right to remove the word “God.”

Hey, I thought being “edgy” and offensive was the way to go for truly creative people? Or does being “edgy” and offensive only apply when offending Christians and Jews?

Seriously, if the logic of this school official was taken to its natural limit, it would mean that you could silence any speech you disagreed with by merely complaining that you didn’t want to hear it. Under that logic, there is no such thing as freedom of speech.

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How the Higgs boson explains the universe.

How the Higgs boson explains the universe.

And what it can’t explain:

The discovery [by the existence of the Higgs boson] that nature is beautifully symmetric means we have very little choice in how the elementary particles do their dance – the rules simply “come for free”. Why the universe should be built in such an elegant fashion is not understood yet, but it leaves us with a sense of awe and wonder that we should be privileged to live in such a place.

Science discovers how the universe operates. Philosophy and religion try to explain why. Thus, it is perfectly reasonable in a rational world to consider the existence of God, and why musings about the possibility of intelligent design do not contradict pure science.

And I speak not as a religious person, but as a secular humanist.

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