Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

The birds of the air…

January 19, 2010

Lesser Goldfinch

I’ve added a new page to this blog – The birds of the air…  It’s simply a bit of  dabbling in one of my biggest passions – bird watching.   It’s not remotely related to Orthodoxy, except in the sense that it’s an appreciation of the creatures put on this Earth by a loving God.  I’ve been an active birder since I took some ornithology classes related to my wildlife science major at Texas A & M, but it’s much more than a scientific study for me after 25 years.  And yes, Orthodoxy and science are not enemies.  I just happen to believe in the Orthodox teaching that some stuff is just a mystery.  Science is great, but don’t look for it to explain the unexplainable.

For me birding is the most immediate contact with the natural world and its animals.  Birds are everywhere around us; they are the most visible and accessible creatures, and picking up a pair of binoculars and “hunting” for them satisfies a human desire to understand and be a part of the natural world.  I’d go so far as to say that in some sense it’s also a spiritual experience, but not so far as to say ‘nature is my religion’ or ‘the outdoors is my church’.  Too many people these days substitute a worship of the creation for worship of the Creator.   Anyway, if you’re interested, check back once in a while and I’ll update the list with reports about my backyard feeders or any birding trips I’m taking. 

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.     Matthew 6:26

You hear the one about the zombie who staggered into a bar?

August 18, 2009

948235-zombies_super

I’m relieved to know that university scientists are spending hard-to-come-by research dollars on projects that actually have practical applications

Yes, folks.  Your concerns about the very real threat of badly dressed, brain-eating undead have been heard by science and are answered in a new, ground-breaking study by Canadian scientists at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University. 

And how do we stop a zombie plague?  Do we triage ill zombie patients, provide them with palliative care?  Do we search for a vaccine to reverse the zombie infection.   Nope.  The scientists’ research found only one sure fire course of action:   “…hit them [the undead] hard and hit them often…It’s imperative that zombies are dealt with quickly or else… we are all in a great deal of trouble.”  And that can only mean zombie decapitation.   Says highly degreed professional, Dr. Neil Ferguson, after performing considerable background research, including marathon screenings of  Night of the Living Dead, 28 Days Later, Vengeance of the Zombies, and Chopper Chicks in Zombie Town:  “My understanding of zombie biology is that if you manage to decapitate a zombie, then it’s dead forever.”

All I can say is, I’m so glad this study wasn’t done at Texas A & M University.  You’d never hear the end of  the bad Aggie jokes this would spawn.   “How can you tell the difference between a zombie and an Aggie’s date at the A & M UT football game?……Braaaainsssss, braaaaainssss.”  

zombie2

Technology Is Taking Over

March 25, 2009

The spirit of Botanicalls is not creating a robotic plant. The spirit of Botanicalls is really re-engaging people with nature and getting them to pay attention.

I think I’ve passed over into official old fart status when I see a new gadget or technology and don’t think ‘hey cool’.   What happened to just sticking your finger in the dirt and seeing if the frikkin thing is dry?  $100 dollars saved and I can then go outside in the fresh air and connect with nature for real.   Next thing you know, they’ll be selling Wii nature hikes and Wii birdwatching.

plant

I Will Finally Get To Be A Hot Borg Chick!

October 15, 2008

When I was a kid I used to take a telescope, sit in the front yard and just purposefully freak myself out pondering the infinity of the universe.  I can still remember a peculiar feeling of cosmic split personality – there was the infinite, cold universe and there was the part with God in it.  If I got too hopelessly lost in the impersonal void, the God of heaven was close and put a face on things for me.

I imagine a lot of atheists would say that proves their point that deities are just the security blankets for those poor human animals who just can’t accept their position in the natural order of things -the position of experiential “so what”.  So what that I’m here on this planet; life is random chance.  So what that I act altruistically; that’s gene-expressed survival behavior.  So what that I’m self-critical and repentant when I screw up – there is no right and wrong when you’re a human animal.

Being merely human apparently isn’t good enough anymore.  Welcome to the world of serious scientists and their believers who see our future as moving past humanity (as Transitory Humans i.e. transhumans) into a post-human, immortal state.  This isn’t merely a change in attitudes and beliefs, but an engineered, purposeful physical evolution of the human body and mind through any means necessary: genetic, bio-mechanical, chemical.  Transhumanism is their religion; ultimate-perfection-through-science their creed; posthumanism their heaven.  By the definition of the World Transhumanist Association, a posthuman is one

“whose basic capacities so radically exceed those of present humans as to be no longer human by our current standards … Posthumans could be artificial intelligences, or they could be uploaded consciousnesses, or they could be the result of making many smaller but cumulatively profound augmentations to a biological human. The latter alternative would probably require either the redesign of the human organism using advanced nanotechnology or its radical enhancement using some combination of technologies such as genetic engineering, psychopharmacology, anti-aging therapies, neural interfaces, advanced information management tools, memory enhancing drugs, wearable computers, and cognitive techniques.”

To understand what this means and its implications for humanity, you can’t find a better overview than John Coleman’s current article in Salvo Magazine called “Better Than Human:  The Transhumanist Transition to a Technological Future”

Transhumanism per se has been around since human beings first made wooden legs and falseteeth, or dyed their hair and put on false eyelashes, then began inserting pacemakers, cochlear implants and insulin pumps.  Shamanism, accupuncture, Western medicine are really just forms of transhumanist science – the basic idea of fighting disease, restoring health, prolonging life.  All are attempts to improve on what God gave us, or through our fallen state, was lost.   But where does the boundary of sci-fi and reality exist; the boundary between what is acceptable and what is taking away from the sovereignty of God?   Isn’t the reason I read so much science fiction the possibility that at some level it could be true, and if not now, at least someday?  I freely admit I think some of the techological stuff would be cool, but I don’t necessarily want the whole package and its implications for humanness.  Think too long about the goals of transhumanism and you’ll get the same overwhelming feeling I had when I looked through that telescope.

Some of this technology is already here, and God-willing, if I’m still around in 40 years, I might have custom-grown joints, hair that doesn’t grey and …hmm…wings, yeah I want wings.  We all want to live longer and better, and you can’t go to your doctor, or be exposed to technology of any kind without realizing the world is changing rapidly.  But do any of us stand a chance of stopping the hellbent will of humans to learn, to grow, to live longer but more beautifully?  Gene therapy, neural implants, trans-species cloning are here, it’s just going to be a case of what kinds of moral restraints we can put on technology, and for how long.  It will require, more than ever, a clear witness for the sanctity of life and the Gospel. 

But don’t expect this religiously defined moral restraint to come from transhumanists.   A reading of their literature makes it very clear that most are agnostic at best, feral atheists at worst.  I suppose there is nothing more logical for someone who has no belief in an afterlife to make the present one last a really good long time.  They have chosen to disbelieve the promise of Christ who came to “…deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Hebrews 2:15     Tranhumanists fail to realize that immortality was given to man as a gift through the very process they are so set on avoiding.  Immortality has been achieved and will continue to happen all around us until the final reckoning – the true posthumanity. 

 

 

Tanka No. 14  Bioengineering 1

 

The brochure promised

wing buds in seven weeks

and feathers in six more.

But there was no timeline for

Spring song, dawn chorus, beauty.

                                    TinaG46©