The Pearl: 2 May 2015

images-5Biggest thing I learned my first year in the NFL is nobody gives a crap about what you did last week. The league is about what have you done for me now. That’s the NFL. It’s also our culture. So you keep working hard because that’s the biggest truth about football. — Andrew Luck

Once upon a time, while arguing about a call with the referee during a game, coach Jerry Glanville famously claimed that the initials of the NFL really meant “Not For Long” rather than “National Football League” because a bad call could cost someone his job.

And it’s obviously true.

The NFL Player’s Association has estimated that the average length of a player’s career is 3.5 years.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell replied:

There is a little bit of a misrepresentation or a misunderstanding on that. Frequently, it is said that the average career is about 3.5 years. In fact, if a player makes an opening day roster, his career is very close to six years…If you are a first-round draft choice, the average career is close to nine years. That 3.5-year average is really a misrepresentation. What it adds is a lot of players who don’t make an NFL roster and it brings down the average.

Only the best of the best football players make it into the NFL, and then mostly because of their God-given, natural athletic talent.

However, the right to stay there must be earned every day, by preparation and hard work.

 

 

To whom would an atheist pray?

51VqubTGmyL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_I can understand how a person can become an atheist — after all, in my book Divine Evolution, I described how I came to believe in God, after at least a decade of materialistic, apathetic agnosticism created by my advanced education.

Like many atheists have done, I came to believe that much of what I learned in school conflicted with the “Young Earth Creationism” worldview to which I was indoctrinated at an early age, and so I discarded my previously held religious beliefs in favor of nothing.

Strangely enough however, at any point during this period I now call my apathetic agnosticism, if you’d asked me if I believed in ghosts, my answer would have quickly been something along the lines of, “Absolutely. My friend’s family owns a house that I’m sure is haunted, and I’ve been there many times. I have personally experienced ghosts.”

Personal experience can have a very powerful impact on someone’s worldview, I can attest.

At the same time, I would have equivocated on the same question asked about God and given a much different answer because of my lack of personal experience with God at that time.

In retrospect, it now occurs to me that my acceptance of the “reality” of a supernatural ghost and simultaneous rejection of a supernatural God seems a bit silly. To be brutally honest though, I really wasn’t putting a whole lot of thought into existential questions at that point in my life. Quite frankly, furthering my professional career and raising a family were much higher priorities for me.

Rarely if ever did I go to church during that extended period of my life when I leaned toward atheism. I only prayed when I wanted something, but because I didn’t really believe in God, I was never very surprised when my prayers went unanswered. I was surprised the night I prayed for something completely different than a material wish, and immediately realized that my prayer had been answered.

I’m not absolutely certain of very many things, but I’m quite sure about this — if I hadn’t had a personal experience with God and had become an atheist, I sure as hell wouldn’t have any reason to pray or ever go to church. I really can’t fathom this relatively new atheist phenomenon known as the “Sunday assembly” — think of it as going to a church with people doesn’t worship any God.

Perhaps more accurately, think of it as a short concert with lectures by guest speakers. However you want to describe it, why on earth would anyone want to go to a church without God?

Since I’m being honest, I don’t go to church nearly as often as I should. I admit that I prefer watching a good sermon in my pajamas. I don’t have to rush to shower and get dressed up for a sixty minute service. Therefore, I fail to grasp the appeal of the atheist’s version of Sunday worship services. But I also don’t understand the point of the oxymoronic concept known as an atheist minister.

Yes, they really do exist.

In fact, several months ago I wrote to a rather well-known atheist minister named Gretta Vosper after listening to one of her “sermons” online. I wanted to ask her one simple question: to whom does an atheist pray?

She recently responded to my query, saying that I should borrow her book titled Amen: What Prayer Means in a World Beyond Belief, from our local library. Then she kindly offered to answer any questions I might have after I’ve read it. southernprose_cover_CAFG

I hope to take her up on that offer after I’ve had a chance to read her book. Unfortunately, even the Kindle version of her book is rather expensive (almost twelve dollars) so I will be looking to borrow the library copy as she suggested. The print copy of my book is only $12.83 on Amazon. I’d have to sell about a half dozen copies of my books to earn enough money to buy one of her e-books.

Of course I’m always happy to give her (or any other atheist with even a shred of interest) a free electronic copy upon request. Until I’ve had the opportunity to read Ms. Vosper’s book, I’m pretty sure that in the meantime, I can logically deduce to whom an atheist might pray, if not a supernatural God.

Atheists could pray to themselves. Or they could pray to the universe. The most obvious answer, of course, would be “nothing.”

None of those options will ever answer a prayer.

Therefore, an “atheist’s prayer” could perhaps more simply and accurately be called “meditation” with no hope of providing a benefit.

After all, prayer is a form of action in which a person seeks to communicate with a supernatural deity, any concept of which is naturally rejected by atheism.

Undirected prayer is nothing but a waste of time, the babbling of meaningless words without purpose — just as “fasting” without prayer is nothing but an extreme diet.

So these questions remain unanswered: to whom are atheists praying? What could possibly be the point of attending these Sunday assemblies that emulate church in everything except worship?

Have these atheists who attend them subconsciously realized that they are missing out on something vitally important to their happiness and mental wellbeing?

 

The Pearl: 24 April 2015

carrie-fisher-11Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. — Carrie Fisher

The line above is from actress Carrie Fisher’s one-woman play titled Wishful Drinking.

Superstar-famous due to her iconic role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise, Fisher weathered the storm of dealing with personal addiction problems and mental health issues while under the intense media scrutiny typically accorded a Hollywood A-lister.File_Carrie_Fisher_at_WonderCon_2009_4

She is an accomplished author as well as a famous actress — Fisher’s novel Postcards From the Edge was a bestseller, made into a movie.

In Wishful Drinking, Fisher confronts the demons that have caused so much pain in her life with grace and humor, sharing with her audience the pain of her husband leaving her for another man, which led to her brief stay in a mental hospital.

Near the end of her show Fisher said, “I heard someone say recently that many of us only seem to be able to find heaven by backing away from hell. And you know, while the place I’ve arrived at in my life isn’t precisely everyone’s idea of heaven, I could swear that sometimes, if I’m quiet…I can hear the angels sing.”

Fisher paused and then somewhat pragmatically added, “Either that, or I’ve f##ked up my medication.”

Can a Christian believe in ghosts?

southernprose_cover_SHSMy novel Secondhand Sight won the 2013 Reader’s Favorite international book award for Fiction in the Horror category.

However, the novel is not one  that I’d recommend to everybody because the plot involves paranormal activity. Ghosts are treated as real entities in my book, because I believe they really exist.

I do realize that not everyone believes in ghosts. It even seems that some of my Christian friends agree with my non-Christian friends about the subject of ghosts, even though they disagree about practically everything else.

Most atheists reject the idea of ghosts because they don’t believe any supernatural or paranormal phenomena is real. Yet I’ve had Christian friends also say they don’t believe ghosts are really the spirits of dead people. They think ghosts are actually demons pretending to act like a dead human, presuming that we know how disembodied spirit should normally behave. Some of my Christian friends don’t think there is a biblical basis for believing that ghosts are real, but they are mistaken.

In my opinion, Christians should be open to the possibility that ghosts exist because of something that’s in the Bible, words spoken by Jesus himself.

Luke 24: 36-39 describes the first encounter that Jesus had with the disciples, after his crucifixion and resurrection. The New International Version Bible (NIV) reads:

36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be upon you.”

37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they had seen a ghost.

38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?

39 Look at my hands and feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see that I have.”

Please note that Jesus does not say, “Ghosts do not exist.”

Instead, Jesus describes the difference between being brought back from the dead and being a ghost by specifying that ghosts do not have flesh or bones. His disciples were men who had allegedly witnessed more than enough miracles performed by Jesus not to question his authority or divinity.

They would have believed him, had Jesus simply said that ghosts don’t exist, at any point during his ministry. However, Jesus never did that.

Jesus never said that ghosts were nothing but a figment of our imagination — probably because he remembered how the witch of Endor had called forth the ghost of Samuel for King Saul, found in I Samuel 28:3-25. Perhaps Jesus knew that ghosts really exist from personal experience, like me.51VqubTGmyL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

I grew up in Savannah, Georgia, with the reputation for being one of the most haunted cities in America. I believe in ghosts because I’ve had them play silly pranks on me, more than once. I’ve even felt a ghost touch me. So I have very, very little doubt that ghosts are real. My personal ghost stories were recounted in my first book, Divine Evolution.

You don’t have to simply take my word for it, though.

Personal observation and experience is the most powerful form of scientific evidence one might consider — empirical evidence.

It isn’t all that difficult to find a haunted house with a well-documented history near where you live, to find out for yourself. As the old expression goes, seeing is believing.

However, you might choose to simply believe the words of the risen Christ.

Assuming you really are a Christian, of course.

 

On the formation of the universe, by C. W. Bobbitt

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Unfortunately, I decided to begin my book Counterargument for God with my criticisms of Darwin and worked backward, instead of beginning with the Big Bang, the beginning of the universe and working forward.

As a result, many atheist readers stopped reading before they reached my observations on the evidence for the Big Bang, because they couldn’t accept the truth when I shed light on what I believe to be the obvious flaws in Darwin’s theory of evolution.

After reading my book and corresponding with me, professor C. W. Bobbitt was kind enough to allow his personal thoughts in regard to the existential questions to be published here on my website.

He offered this excellent suggestion as he wrote, “I think it best to have you read and mull on it for a day or so. I will just mention a couple of things to pique your interest: visualize God commanding “nothing” to split into two universes of matter and anti-matter (some might think of this a right-handed and a left-handed system) with each flying away from the other to its pre-assigned space and each experiencing an initial behavior which we mortals call the Big Bang. Thus our universe comes into being in a way consistent with scientific thinking… after God initiates it.

Without further ado, here are Professor Bobbitt’s thoughts on the Big Bang theory.

ON THE FORMATION OF THE UNIVERSE

by C. W. Bobbitt

We suppose that the universe had a beginning, that it came into being by an act of creation, that the creating agency was (is) God. As mortal men we seek to know how it came into being, how God performed this act. It is doubtful that man will ever know, in this world, the answer to the question, but out of our curiosity and our vanity it is unlikely that we will give up the search. With this in mind, let us consider some possibilities.

We identify the universe as space which contains matter, and because we believe in an infinite and almighty God we can accept that space and matter came into being by God’s spoken word: “Let there be space,” and “let there be matter in the space.” This is our starting point. What we really want to know are answers to these questions: What characteristics and attributes did God impart to space and matter? What laws did He establish for the behavior of matter in space? How did He distribute the matter throughout the space? How did He put energy into the system? How did He provide initial conditions of motion?

Between the beginning and the present time there are any number of ways that God could have distributed matter and given it initial conditions which, subject to the laws of the universe, would produce the present configuration. It seems proper, however, seeing as how men of scientific and philosophic persuasion have put so much effort into it, to go along with the Big Bang Theory. This still leaves us with plenty of things to wonder about. Did God infuse the matter with energy then command it to explode? Or did He simply command it to explode? (There is yet another mechanism which will be mentioned later, but it is to bizarre for the present discussion.) Did the glob of matter explode into countless pieces of various sizes, or were the pieces all infinitesimal, to later combine into atoms, molecules, and so on? Were the seeds of life present immediately after the Big Bang, or did they form at some later time according to God’s formula? Are they still being formed at the present time?

These are the kinds of questions for which we cannot produce proofs, so of the various scenarios which are consistent with present observations, the curious student who insists upon a mechanism should just choose the one he likes best and go with it. We suspect, however, that space and time have other attributes, and are governed by other laws that have not yet been discovered, and it is a proper function of science to diligently seek them out.

With regard to the origin of the universe and of life, we have acknowledged that God created the universe and was the author of life, so it matters little whether the seeds of life came out of the Big Bang or formed in the universe at some later time; the essential point is that God created life, and we further declare that only God can create life.

There are perhaps many things that can be said about the origin of the universe that are best deferred to a later time. The primary purpose here is to establish clearly that God created the universe and the life which ultimately appeared and flourished on planet earth.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Scientific models of the things of the universe include the notion of matter and anti-matter. One concept is no more extraordinary than the other; they are both mass and, as such, have energy equivalence in accordance with Einstein’s laws. They are named as they are to imply that when matter and anti-matter come together, there results a mutual annihilation of equivalent amounts of each, with release of energy, presumably in accordance with the equation e = mc’. (continued on page 2)

It is inevitable that one should wonder how matter and anti -matter came to be, and thus be led to consider the reverse process of mutual annihilation. Since matter and anti-matter join- with an output of energy-to make nothing, it is reasonable to suppose that nothing-with an input of energy–can be separated into two somethings (matter and anti-matter) when a suitable power (God) chooses to effect the separation. Thereafter He might be disposed to create separate spaces for the two components with maybe some fraction of each kind appearing in the other’s space. This of course is pure fancy, but it does present an alternate understanding of God’s creation of matter.

To carry this fancy full circle, we might imagine the coming of a time when, for whatever reason, perhaps an act of God, the universes of matter and anti-matter come together and softly and suddenly vanish away, like the Baker who saw the Boojum.

While it may be of interest to readers for our separate views to be contrasted, that is analysis best saved for another day, perhaps even tomorrow.

Following the advice of professor Bobbitt, this afternoon I shall limit this post to publishing his ideas without contrasting them to mine.

Professor Bobbitt also supplemented his thoughts on the origin of the universe with an interesting analogy that readers may find extremely useful as they contemplate the information offered in his papers. It follows below:

NOTES ON THE UNIVERSE, EXISTENCE, AND GOD

Upon contemplating the universe, two things immediately stand out to even the most casual observer: 1) it’s big, and 2) it has got a lot of stuff in it. The vastness of space boggles the mind, and its very dimensions dull our apprehension of the incalculable amount of matter it contains. There is little wonder that many people are content to believe that the universe is all that there is.

There are others, however, who think bigger; whose fertile imaginations envision other universes, perhaps many others, each with its own time and space, and these people go so far as to suggest that universes might actually be connected by some configuration of existence that is yet to be discovered.

One thing is certain: our universe is real and has actual being, both material and spiritual, in space and time, it is included in the totality of being. This much is said to emphasize that all the universe is in the realm of existence, but that all existence is not confined to the universe. Indeed, existence, viewed as a domain, contains everything that has being; every material body, every thought, every emotion, everything that is. It is really not out of place here to make the succinct defining statement, “Existence is.”

There is a certain abstractness about existence that sometimes causes difficulty in communication. It is helpful to devise a concrete analogy which is readily understood by everyone in order to facilitate one’s comprehension of various ideas and notions which are to be examined in relation to existence.

To this end, let us represent existence by a flat plane of indefinite extent which is covered by a uniform layer of sand, and things that have being; that is, things which exist, will be represented by a disruption in the surface of the sand. As an example, suppose someone places his finger in the sand, draws it some distance across the surface, then removes it. There is now a furrow in the sand which did not exist previously, something new has come into being, something has been created. This creation can be of any sort the analogist chooses; in this present argument we are considering the universe, so we will make the analogy that the sand is to existence as the furrow in the sand is to the universe. The actual system here is the existence-universe combination and the analogous system is the sand-furrow pair. Some points of correspondence present themselves clearly: both the furrow and the universe have a beginning, a duration, and an end. Both were created. The agent of creation is obvious in the analogous system, but is presently obscure in the actual system.

We note that the furrow in the sand can be extended indefinitely in either or both directions; the starting and stopping points are arbitrarily chosen to indicate the origin and demise of the universe, the connecting line is its duration.

There is a point of view which holds that the universe did not have a beginning and will not have an end; that it always was and always will be–that it is eternal. The present state of knowledge of astronomy and astrophysics points overwhelmingly against this view, but it is conceivable. In the analogous system this state of the universe would be represented by a line in the sand extending forward and backward, without end, from the present state. This unquestionably would represent eternalness, but the idea must be rejected altogether on the basis of the scientific evidence from astronomy that the universe is temporal; that it had an origin at a reasonably estimated time, and presently is changing with time.

As a point of interest, we note that a temporal universe without beginning or end can easily be imagined as the analog of a closed curve in the sands of existence. One would expect such a system to be non-isentropic and to eventually run down to a state of complete chaos.

Returning to the consideration of existence, it must be evident that existence, by and of itself, takes no note of time and space. Existence is eternal (timeless), and it knows no bounds except itself. On the other hand, physical space can be conceived to be limited; and even if it is not, a particular space such as that which contains the matter of our universe cannot justifiably be taken as the only physical space that exists.

Time and space are the attributes of creation. It is only when something comes into being and progresses from its starting point that time has meaning; thus, for example, when we speak of the universe in terms of the expression “in the beginning,” which is obviously temporal, but we cannot apply the same expression to existence, or anything else that is eternal. The designation of space as an attribute of creation is made to emphasize that each individual created universe (analogously, each line in the sand) has its own space into which other universes do not encroach — as far as is known.

Since there are many different kinds of spaces, and, at least, several definitions of physical space made to fit particular situations, we will arbitrarily define the space occupied by a universe to be the region enclosed by a spherical shell whose diameter is the distance of separation of the two most widely separated physical bodies of that universe. Obviously, the shell diameter changes with relative motion of the two bodies. (We note that this discussion applies to universes which contain matter.)

Existence, then, represented as a level surface of sand, can support as many creations, of whatever kinds, that the creating entity chooses. A mortal man, standing over the (analogous) sand of existence can, with his finger–with a wave of his hand–originate disruptions in the sand to his heart’s desire. Does this not suggest that the agency which caused our universe to come into being could do a similar thing in actual existence? Does the analogy hold even through this? Is it too much to suppose that in the eternity of existence there have been innumerable separate and distinct creations, including universes, brought into being by the same instrumentality which occasioned our own universe? Is there truly no limit to this force, this power, this presence, which created our universe and everything within it? The time has come to put a name to it.

Up to this point, the author of this paper has refrained from mentioning God as the author of these creations, so as not to generate bias, one way or another, in the reader’s mind, but now there is no escaping the truth that this awesome, almighty presence is God, and yes, there is no limit to what God can do. Just as man stands over the “sands of existence” and makes his mark, so God hovers over actual existence and makes His creations at will. Just as existence is eternal, so also is God eternal, and not only does God oversee existence, He also permeates it so as to know every detail of eternity at all times. In view of this, one might be tempted to define God as being existence endowed with Godly attributes, but this does not allow for God’s attribute-supporting essence, that part of God which will forever remain a mystery to mortal man.

Who then, what then is this Almighty God to us? What do we know of Him? We know of God what He has revealed to us through His creations and His attributes. We know He is infinite, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and sovereign. Apart from these things is God’s essence, a knowledge of which is forever forbidden to us in this world. “Why?” is a question to which we expect no answer. It is not for man to know the mind of God.

As a closing thought, we note that Adam and Eve, tempted by the serpent, disobeyed God in the hope of acquiring knowledge of His essence, and thereby brought about the fall of man.

By this writing, the author clearly reveals himself to be a theist, seeing God as the Supreme Being; directing, in particular, the course of mankind, and interceding at His will. Any suggestion that the acknowledgement of God must give rise to a “science versus God” struggle for the control of man’s mind is unwarranted and is a disservice to both parties. There will always be theists and there will always be a-theists, and it will always be improper to associate either of these labels with the disciplines of science.

Tomorrow we shall attempt to reconcile the Big Bang argument culled from my Counterargument for God to professor Bobbitt’s approach to the same problem, hoping to see how we reached the same conclusion with different means of getting there.

 

 

The Pearl: 15 April 2015

Mark_TwainWhat is the difference between a taxidermist and a tax collector? The taxidermist only takes your skin. — Mark Twain

Few professions have been the butt of more jokes or inspired more scorn and derision than a tax collector, known in modern times as an IRS employee. Even Jesus the Christ used tax collectors as the stereotype of humans behaving badly, saying: “For if you only love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?”

Ronald Reagan joked that, “Government’s view of the economy can be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

Sadly, there is an element of truth in that joke.

But there is always hope for the future…at least one politician running for President in 2016 understands the true nature of America’s growing tax-and-spending problem.

Senator Marco Rubio said, “We don’t need new taxes. We need new taxpayers, people who are gainfully employed, making money, and paying into the tax system. And then we need a government that has the discipline to take that additional revenue to pay down the debt and never grow it again.”

What we need is a tax system that is designed to fund the government, not a system designed to redistribute wealth under the guise of “fairness.”

In other words, we need the FairTax.

The Pearl: 14 April 2015

BerraAlways go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours. ― Yogi Berra

Baseball season officially started a week ago, and the Atlanta Braves have already exceeded my expectations by winning six of their first seven games. Of course, the season is long, but after management traded away most of the team’s existing stars in the offseason, my expectations were set extremely low.

I never expected the Braves to get above .500 after the first game of the season, to be brutally honest.

So in honor of the start of baseball season, I thought I’d dig up a couple of quotes from the immortal Yogi Berra, notorious for his verbal gaffes and malapropisms, who allegedly also said that, “Ninety percent of the game is half mental” and “I never said most of the things I said.”

Quotes like those cause me to wonder if Yogi might have started playing baseball before the catcher’s mask was invented.

After all, his more memorable utterances sound as if they came from someone who had one too many foul tips bounce off his skull.

A pleasant surprise

southernprose_cover_CAFG

Of my six published books, none have inspired more readers to offer negative feedback than my Counterargument for God.

Perhaps this is due to the fact that I routinely offer a free electronic copy to every atheist whom I encounter online — not in an attempt to antagonize them, but with the sincere hope that my book might inspire future conversation. If there is a viable alternative to rather stupendous good luck to possibly explain our existence without invoking a supernatural God, I’d like to know what that alternative might be.

I appreciate fair but constructive criticism and value it as much or more than positive feedback because I believe it is important to learn from my mistakes, so that I won’t be doomed to repeat them.

As an author it’s always nice to know that someone took the time to read what I consider to be a labor of love, even if they agree with me. Naturally, I was quite pleased to receive the email below from C. W. Bobbitt, a retired professor from Mississippi State University:

John,

I read your book Counterargument for God, some parts several times. It’s hard to believe that two people so separated in space and time could have thoughts so nearly coincident on a given subject. No doubt about it, we’re on the same page. I would not presume to tell you why you are wrong because I don’ know that you are wrong (although I call my paper a hypothesis, and I think that name is defensible, I really see it as a scenario—it could have happened this way.)

I need to state up front that my analysis of this subject is based on two propositions which I take to be axiomatlc:

1. God created the universe and all life in it.

2. Science, by definition, does not admit of the supernatural in any way.

If I understand your book correctly, you agree with the first one, but have a different notion about the second one. This represents a major difference in viewpoint but a trivial difference in our common understanding. We both are convinced that God created the universe and the life in it, only our terminology is different: you say stardust, I say protocell; you say iterative creation, I say internal evolution. We’re saying the same thing, just using different words.

In a later communication I will discuss all the points you raised in your review of my paper, but for the present I will confine myself to your question ” What about the origin of the universe itself? Isn’t that relevant?” It most certainly is! I really didn’t realize how important this was until I saw the seriousness with which you took it, then I was led to make a literature review (on the internet, of course) and found to my great suprise that apparently no one has a clue as to how the universe began. The scientists are at a terrible disadvantage since they have cut themselves off from the opportunity of invoking a supernatural cause.

In my review I ran across Hawking’s lecture on the origin of the universe and was much impressed, especially by the way he hedged his bets by suggesting that maybe God was the only answer after all. Clever man.

It slowly dawned on me that it is necessary to have a plausible explanation for how the universe came into being in order to figure out how it subsequently progressed. The explanation doesn’t have to be true (what is that you say repeatedly, “what is truth?”), it just has to satisfy our mortal curiosity enough to move on. I think I have found an acceptable explanation.

Four or five years ago, when my paper was coming together, I wrote a couple of short notes solely for my own pleasure having to do with how the universe might have originated, and other things. At the time I described my idea for the birth of the universe as bizarre, but after much reading I now consider it to be the most plausible scenario, if not the only one.

I will send you these notes tonight or tomorrow. I’ve got to get organized.

Now that professor Bobbitt has organized his thoughts and shared them with me, I have decided (with his permission) to share them with interested readers in the hope that others with similar interest in answering the existential questions might contribute to our discussion at some point, keeping in mind it is not necessary to agree with either of us.

Professor Bobbitt was correct: I agree completely with his first point — the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that a supernatural creator God was involved in the origin of the universe, the origin of life, and even the origin of species. However, it was not a postulate that influenced my analysis of the evidence for the Big Bang, but a conclusion reached based on an evaluation of that evidence.

The only change I would make to his second point would be to make clear that it is “atheists pretending to be scientists” who do not allow for the possibility of the supernatural, and not science itself.

The scientific method is nothing more than an approach to collecting evidence. Science cannot be biased one way or the other.

Next, we shall compare professor Bobbitt’s thoughts on the origin of the universe to my Big Picture analysis of the Big Bang. Please, don’t be shy.

Professor Bobbitt and I will appreciate your feedback via comments.

The Pearl: 13 April 2015

2014-06-11t155415z1813105711gm1ea6b1uc101rtrmadp3usa-politics-clinton222486-jeb-bushA fool and his money are soon elected. — Will Rogers

Hillary Clinton announced her campaign for president in 2016. She is widely expected to “win” the Democrat nomination for president without facing any serious competition within her party.

Conversely, Jeb Bush has opposition for the Republican nomination from Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio, as well as from Governor Scott Walker, the current frontrunner. However, once Jeb declares his candidacy, the conventional wisdom says that he will attract the lion’s share of Republican campaign contributions, from people who want to see another Bush in the White House.

My question is, why? Also, who is funding these candidates?

Between them, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush occupied the White House for 12 years in total. While I think Jeb was a pretty good governor down in Florida, that doesn’t mean he’d make a great president.

I think Jeb’s wrong about immigration and Common Core. Besides, enough is enough.

In between the Bushes, Bill and Hillary Clinton had 8 years in charge. If you think Hillary had no power in Bill’s administration, your memory needs jogging.

Before Obama gave us the “Affordable” Health Care Act, Hillary basically tried to nationalize health care by giving us the Health Security Act all the way back in 1993.

Furthermore, no one in modern times has done more to destroy the moral fabric of American society than Bill Clinton, who had an affair with an intern, lied about it, and was disbarred for committing perjury while in office. Hillary enabled Bill’s clinging to power, famously attacking his accusers as part of a “vast, right-wing conspiracy.”

Hillary led the smear campaign against Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broddrick, Monica Lewinsky, and the other women who were allegedly sexually abused by Bill and then smeared by Hillary. Yes, even Monica was a victim.

Given the obvious flaws with both of these perceived frontrunners, I think we ought to consider better options for our next president.Carson Scholars Fund

Why not someone who thinks and acts like a normal American citizen?

How about putting a man in the White House who isn’t already known to be suffering from a serious deficit of character — someone who knows what it’s like to grow up poor?

A man who overcame adversity to become an accomplished pediatric neurosurgeon? Why don’t we consider electing a man who knows the value of hard work?

Someone who hasn’t made a career out of politics?

 

 

The Pearl: 12 April 2015

Jack Nicklaus 1986 MastersI’d rather be two strokes ahead going into the last day than two strokes behind. Having said that, it’s probably easier to win coming from behind. There is no fear in chasing. There is fear in being chased. – Jack Nicklaus

I have a confession to make — I once hated watching golf on television. I thought golf was boring. It usually put me to sleep.

Then I happened to watch as Jack Nicklaus come from six strokes back over the last nine holes to win the 1986 Masters with the greatest comeback in golf history — perhaps the greatest comeback in sports history, period.

Maybe I never liked golf because I never knew how to play the game. Because I play left-handed, no one seemed to be able to figure out where my swing would go wrong. But it would…

I used to admit that I owned golf clubs, but avoided using them because I couldn’t hit even a half decent shot to save my life. The game frustrated and infuriated me. If by some miracle I did hit a straight tee shot right at the flag with an iron on a par three, I’d somehow manage to blow the sure par by three-putting from less than two feet.

I truly sucked at golf. In epic fashion. So I stuck with playing tennis, until my left arm became so injured I could no longer play.

When I did try to play golf, my driver never left the bag — I didn’t trust anything except my seven wood on longer holes, even the par 5s.

One time I was playing so poorly that my friends deliberately aimed me 45 degrees from the flagstick in the tee box. They said that my slice was so bad, that angle ought to put my ball in the middle of the fairway. Naturally, that was about the only tee shot of the day that blind luck would have it that I hit my best tee shot of the day. The ball flew straight as an arrow right at the clubhouse, thankfully bouncing off the roof instead of breaking a window. I soon quit playing that day, I was so embarrassed by my incompetence at the game, which surprised me a little.

After all, I’d been a pretty decent baseball player in my youth and figured that it ought to be easier to hit a stationary ball than a moving one. It took me a couple of decades before I finally figured out the swings were the same and developed some sense of knowing where the golf ball should theoretically go, assuming I strike it properly. I’ve finally managed to play two consecutive holes under par on a real golf course. I used to only play on par 3 courses, if I played at all.

Many years later, I’ve finally found a way to enjoy playing golf. Unfortunately, I’m still terrible at it, however. I may never shoot a sub par round.

It wasn’t that long ago that I celebrated shooting under 100 for eighteen holes. I’ve yet to break 80. Yet it only takes one birdie over 18 holes to make me want to play another course on another day.

It is a great game to play. Golf is also fun to watch being played well, especially in the drama of the final round at the Masters.