Friday, February 6, 2015

"First Stars" 100 Million Years Younger Than Thought

File this one under "Scientific Precision" ....or Pretension.

"The first stars are 100 MILLION years younger than we thought, Planck satellite reveals," declares the Daily Mail headline. 

Astrophysicists expect this earth -- pardon....cosmos-shattering discovery to shed light on the "dark components of the universe."

The 'dark components' consist of invisible dark matter and dark energy, both of which are still unsolved mysteries whose natures are unknown. 

Isn't speculation regarding invisible forces possessing mysterious, unsolved natures a bit closer to theology than science?

Stay tuned for further developments on the vacillating age of the stars and the Cosmic Microwave Background.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Brief Response to Bill Nye

This week, National Geographic published an interview with the lauded Science Guy titled "Why Bill Nye Calls Evolution 'Undeniable' and Creationism 'Inane'." A predictably incendiary repartee has ensued.

Here's my two cents.

Mr. Nye (The Science Guy) has drawn much well-deserved positive press as a science advocate for many years. Still, the realm of science is the scientific method alone, so when he speaks of evolution filling him "with reverence for our place within the cosmos," he is in no way speaking scientifically; he has abandoned the observable for the unobservable -- the physical for the metaphysical.

His underlying assumption about origins is that we're the product of some primordial tryst of stardust and gravity, according to the article's closing section. But where did the stardust come from? Or gravity?

Has the law of gravity eternally existed? "In the beginning was gravity" sounds awfully religious for so rational and scientific man as The Science Guy.

Mr. Nye is free to analyze scientific evidence as he pleases and even dabble in metaphysics on the side if it floats his boat, but in the end he unwittingly exercises faith (believing in what one cannot empirically prove) to the exact same extent as any Muslim, Christian, or Hindu, etc., etc.

To the extent that he builds an entire paradigm upon what he assumes has existed eternally, he should more accurately wear the moniker: Bill Nye, the Religious Guy.

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Brief Response to "Human Facial Expressions..."

The French Tribune just posted a piece linking the development of human facial expressions to "environmental stimuli." You can find the article at

Citing Adam Anderson, a Cornell human ecology professor, the article states:

The current theory supports the Charles Darwin's 19th century theories on the evolution of emotion. "These opposing functions of eye widening and narrowing, which mirror that of pupil dilation and constriction, might be the primitive origins for the expressive capacity of the face," said Anderson.

The question of Darwinian evolution accounting for the development of emotion and even facial expression as a conveyor of emotion is a red herring.

The real question should be whether or not Darwin's system can explain the development of the cellular machines that control and regulate the tissues of the face and the muscles necessary for said expressions. 

Furthermore, can Darwin account for the genetic coding of the systems related to facial expressions, or any genetic information whatsoever?

The obvious answer is no.

Darwinian evolution quite nicely explains variations within an already existing species, but it is powerless in accounting for the origins of any micro or macro biological system.

By focusing on superficially plausible though unobserved macro-scenarios, Darwin's Disciples distract attention from their Achilles' heel: the highly observed, intricate cellular machines that bear all the earmarks of precision design.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Why I Am Not Going to Buy a Kindle

To whom it may concern:

This is in response to your recently advertised 30-day trial for Kindles.

I am a teacher and have used Kindles in class in conjunction with book studies. They have not been at all conducive to the classroom. Students cannot take them home (since purchased at such high cost), so I cannot assign reading at home and must therefore rely on class time for students to complete all reading. It has tripled the normal time it would take my classes to read a book.

Inconvenience aside (ironic, considering the device's touted convenience), I also will not purchase or promote Kindle, or any other reading/ book application, regardless of platform because the popularity of such technology could very well lead to the elimination of physical books in the near future, which a corporation's demand for limitless growth must necessitate.

Physical books possess the innate capacity to survive decades without a reliable power source. If the electricity goes out, physical books retain all usefulness. Kindles (and the like), on the other hand, would quickly consign themselves to no more than expensive plastic paperweights in such an event.

What will a paperless world do in the event of an EMP attack or solar storm sufficient to collapse "The Grid"? H.G. Wells imagines such a scenario in The Time Machine, in which mankind's malignant addiction to technology leads to its utter collapse (I would offer to let you borrow my copy of the book, but sharing has become nearly as outdated as paper-based text. So, for the sake of modernity and progress, I'll #KeepItForMyself).

I recognize that I represent what is likely an overwhelming minority. The masses, no doubt, perpetually swing from swoon to climax at the release of each successive, highly addictive gadget, contraption, iThis, iThat, and Smartwhatever. Their acutely addictive nature is, no doubt, the reason for such ostensibly benevolent invitations to Free 30-Day Kindle Trials.

The name Kindle itself stands in a blaze of irony. And I wonder if it isn't intentional. What, precisely, do they hope to kindle? A love for reading or, perhaps, the pyres of book burning? If your people intend the former, is it the device that excites interest, or the content of the literature? Has the populace become so dull as to mistake packaging for substance? No doubt your quarterly earnings statement would suffice to answer.

Or is the Kindle popularity due to the increasingly warped and superficial nature of human sexuality in our society? I suppose books are too fat to be loved and cherished, when skinnier, sleeker, sexier (which is to say, more technological) substitutes can be purchased at irresistibly attractive rates.

Yes, I am likely a minority. Give me slow food cooked at home over McAnything, hand-written letters rather than text messages, time with a person not FaceTime.

And yes, give me a library holding a finite number of physical volumes over an electrified contraption loaded with hypermegaterrabytes of compressed files. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Birds in and around Allensville, Kentucky

My grandmother, Grandma Jean we call her, is a lover of creatures. She feeds just about anything with fur or feathers. Above all, she loves birds and maintains a small avian oasis in her backyard. When I would visit as a child, I would shoot straight for her kitchen window, looking for gold finches, cardinals, hummingbirds. Some seasons a robin would nest in the window sill beside her sink. My brothers and I would watch the soft blue eggs, waiting for the little ones to break free.

At home with my parents, who lived on a wooded dead end, I'd often spot larger species -- hawks, osprey, vultures, and the occasional pileated woodpecker, drilling dead trees with its unmistakable Morse code.

The early fascination has grown up with me. Now that I live south-western Kentucky, among fields the row croppers rotate from wheat to soybeans to corn, I see birds I had only known from field guides -- meadowlarks, quail, common night hawks, Mississippi kites, eastern bluebirds, indigo buntings. 

The last one I mentioned -- the indigo bunting -- is one that has just recently begun visiting our place. On Monday morning, two indigos darted in front of me as I drove out the half mile gravel driveway between my house and the road.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Gathering

I woke this morning thinking naught but a confirming text message stood between me and a snow day -- or an ice day, to be more specific. Instead, I scraped thick ice off my borrowed 18 passenger van (usually used to transport seasonal farm hands) before motoring the 4.9 miles between the Adams homestead and my school.

This iciness is a recent change, as last week's warmth and sun followed by wind and torrential rain hinted at April. Between the downpours lay Saturday afternoon and early evening, and my industrious wife took to the yard as I prepared Sunday's sermon. 

After our landlady sent a group of men in late autumn to take out several of trees in the front yard -- trees which served as a sort of privacy fence at the house end of our half-mile gravel drive --  many of their branches still littered the front yard. 

Taking a half broken metal rake, she combed the yard clean of more than one season's debris into several heaps. By the time I finished my studying and outlining, she ready to begin hauling her work about 75 yards away to the edge of the field where a gaping sinkhole frustrates the yield of row-croppers.

She gathered. I carried. 

Soon, work complete, we retired to the house. 


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Gravestone Made of Wheat

A couple years ago I met a girl. Or shall I say re-met a girl. The kind of girl who makes you want to figure out what life is about.
One night at her parents house we watched one called Sweet Land, a little known film from a few years ago. Set in the rural Minnesota shortly after WWI, the film follows the difficulties surrounding the marriage plans of a new German immigrant to a "Keillorian" Norwegian Bachelor Farmer.
Stunned by the film's visual and narrative beauty, I scoured the Web for "A Gravestone Made of Wheat," from which the film was adapted. After reading the story, I came to a startling conclusion. For the first time, I think, in my life I thought a film told a better story than a book. Several plot changes, such as the historically compelling additon of a banker who preys upon "Bigger Better Faster" believing farmers creates a conflict between Man and Biblical Beast that the original narrative lacks.
The young couple evokes Wendell Berry's understanding of ecomony in their relationship and work. In the films penultimate scene, the couple brings in the wheat harvest by hand after being ostracized by the rest of the community.

As Khalil Gibran wrote in The Prophet, "Work is love made visible."