Bioluminescence and cello music

2024 Jul 7

Melanie was talking with a friend about the bioluminescent microbes that are in the waters of the Puget Sound. On a whim, she checked our favorite kayak tour guides. They had a nighttime tour for Sunday from Bowman Bay at Deception Pass State Park! New moon was only the day before, so it would get quite dark and the viewing would be good.

I booked for two people not knowing if the time would work for Melanie’s friend. It did. But then when I went back to see if I could add myself, there were no more empty spots.

Melanie and friend ready to go paddling

With our long summer days, it would be a late start and a late return home. Driving so late would be difficult for Melanie, so I offered to take them. I brought along things to keep me busy while they were out: books, a bike and my cello.

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Cello Recital - Anthem

2024 Jun 1

I am always on the lookout for cello music that is intriguing and includes a challenge. Through a YouTube video I found this very interesting cello quartet by Andrea Casarrubios.

Four cellists at start of performance

She wrote about the piece:

"Anthem (2022) was commissioned by the University of Iowa and Anthony Arnone for the 20th Anniversary of Cello Dayz. It is an introspective work conceived as a personal anthem. This music evokes the process and, ultimately, the acceptance of letting go of what is not in my control. I was inspired by the idea of an anthem as a way to provide solace and guidance, and it is my hope that those playing or listening can use this music as a release."

The music is slow. However, this does not make it as easy as it might seem to be. The slow tempo was actually part of the playing challenge and part of the enjoyment for listening. It has very close harmonies that require careful intonation. And it uses the full range of the instrument.

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Making Worlds

2024 May 15

What does it take to create a world? In thinking about this question, we could look at worlds made by writers of fiction and those made in video games.

Literature worlds

In the literature genres of fantasy and science fiction there are writers that make complete worlds. When this is done well, it is very impressive because it is not simple and not easy. The author must think deeply about how everything works, and how it works together. They design the world and all its contexts so that everything is functional and follows the rules of the world. This work makes the world believable to the reader.

By the power of their words, they create matter, energy and places and the beings that live there. As they work, they can modify things, going to what had already been written and change it. They might write different weather, or remove characters. They might bring new characters to life.

Essentially the writer functions as the god of the world. Their words create, and bring both life and death.

Imagine that a book character is written as becoming aware of their author. How foolish would it be for such a character to disbelieve that they were authored? But of course we know this because characters in a book are directly dependent on the author.

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Kayak Camping: Shaw, Lopez, James Islands

2024 Apr 21

My general plan was to do a circumnavigation of Shaw Island. I had three days for camping, but Shaw would not take that long so I included a spur out to Lopez Island. I walked onto the early ferry from Anacortes to Orcas Island, pulling my wheeled boat.

The first day’s route ended at Shaw Island County Park:

track around Shaw Island

The view of the Olympic Mountains from the campground.

mountains in sunset through island gap

It was unusually warm weather for April. The parks reservation system doesn’t open until May however, and kids are still in school, so even with the good weather very few people were out camping. This first night I was the only one at the campground (and subsequent nights I saw hardly anybody in the evening either).

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Quotes: Short and Interesting

Persistence of being - 2024 April

[Prompt: The Darwinian evolutionist's view is that we arrived at our current identity by an purposeless, unguided process which is just fitness to survive.]

We could say instead that the pattern of reality is persistence of being. If I say that, you are in the religious world again. The idea that survival is something - the idea that beings want to continue to exist, this idea is a religious idea! You have to go into the religious realm to understand the idea that being has a tendency to persist and to perpetuate itself. - Jonathan Pageau


Wandering - 2024 Feb

If you don't know where you're going, you'll wind up somewhere else. Not all those who wander are lost. - J.R.R. Tolkien


Reverse Engineering

Some see biology as a science no different from chemistry or astronomy or geology. [However], biology is reverse engineering a technology far more advanced than ours. - Brian Miller


(Quote context and citations are in the notes.)


Scientific Explanations

The great deception of modernism is that the laws of nature explain the world to us. The laws of nature describe the universe, they describe the regularities. But they explain nothing. - Ludwig Wittgenstein


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Where does math come from?

2024 Mar 9

Where do abstract things such as math come from? Since they aren’t material things, you can’t go to the store to buy them. You can’t get math by growing it or by digging it out of the earth. And are they real and/or true?

Although the ideas for abstractions might start from things in the material world, abstractions are mental products and exist only in the mind. We see the similar color of trees and emeralds and think of greenness. We observe similar shapes in the outline of an egg and the ripples from something dropped in water and think of roundness. We hear a gentle speaking voice or feel plush fur and we could think of softness.

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Everybody Believes in the Supernatural

2023 Sep 7

Our universe happens to exist. Most people subscribe to the Big Bang's explanation of its cosmological origin. In this, our universe began in the finite past, bursting into existence from a single point and expanding out to size.

All things naturally physical (including energy and matter), all physical laws of our universe, all space and even time itself did not exist without this singularity. Absent this singular event, nature itself did not exist. Therefore since the event was not of nature, it was by definition super-natural. In the Big Bang model the origin of the universe was supernatural.

Others believe the universe had an infinite past, always existing with its characteristic features. This view would seem to make the issue of origin disappear, but it does not.

In our physical world real infinities are never actual because they are unable to exist. There cannot be an infinite quantity of things because there are a finite number of particles available in the universe. There cannot be an infinite number of events because then there would never be an event to start the event sequence. Infinity is only a concept we play with in our minds because infinity itself is supernatural.

However, we exist. Since an infinite past in our natural world is impossible, an infinitely old universe would be supernatural.

Therefore, the existence of the universe through either the Big Bang or an infinite past is supernatural. Of these two ideas most scientific lines of evidence point to the first, making it the preferred view. So then because of our universe, everyone believes in at least one great miracle.

Mechanistic Causes

Since everything that begins to exist has a cause, the next great question is what was the cause of the Big Bang? We already know it was not natural (of our universe), however, it might still be a mechanistic cause. A huge issue that this cause must also explain is why our universe is constructed with hyper precision to support life.

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Why I am Still a Christian

2022 Sep 14

I was born into a Christian family. However, today my view on Christianity is not the same as it was when I was a child.

Often a person remains in the religious belief system they grew up in. If they do leave their belief system it may be for reasons that involve experience, rationales or evidence. I however am still a Christian, and it is because of evidence, reason and experience.

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Good News: Read all about it!

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This is an approach based on what Jesus taught and is pragmatically useful both for those that follow Jesus or for those that just admire him.

About the Groves

Larry and Melanie

I'm Larry Grove, and my wife is Melanie. We have three adult sons and our family has continued to grow.

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