The Dunking Tree2022 Dec 27
One of my regular places to go walking is St. Edward State Park. It is a park of mostly hiking trails, and has the last undeveloped waterfront on Lake Washington. My favorite part of the walk is the shaded path down by the water.
Toward the end of the last year that Jessi stayed with us (2008), we spent a warm afternoon at the park. A bunch of the kids went down to the lake and serendipitously I got a video of them getting wetter than they were planning.
I keep coming back to this place on walks. The dunking event was so memorable that I started a tradition of sending Jessi a picture of the spot every time I went by it. I also take others on walks there, so I have a progression of pictures through the years.
God, Man and Jesus2022 Nov 26
Jesus was a man that was born, spent a life on earth and then at one point died.
Christians however say that Jesus also is God. This would mean that Jesus must have been man and God at the same time. I have heard it argued that this idea is a logical fallacy because God is inherently unlimited, but humans are inherently limited; therefore, a being cannot possibly be both God and man.
However, let us look at human limitations. People are usually at their prime in the middle of their life, with greatest mental powers. At the beginning and end of life they are more limited. As an infant people have no conscious cognitive ability because their brain is undeveloped. When aged the brain again loses capability with mental decline. Sometimes this loss can be so great that an individual has no conscious realization of the person they were even though they remain that person.
Let us assume that humans have an immaterial, intelligent and durable spirit, and let us assume the brain is an interface between the body and spirit.
Touring St. Edwards Lodge2022 Nov 24
A decade ago I was able to get a private tour of the St. Edwards Seminary building. In the years ever since then, they were worried that the building would fall into such dis-repair (from water damage) that it would have to be condemned. Finally an arrangement was made for it to be turned into a private hotel. They renovated the building and the work has been completed since the end of last year.
Late this afternoon I was back walking at St. Edwards State Park. I had never gone inside the old seminary building since then, so at the end of my walk I checked it out. Outside the lighting is quite elegant, with gas lanterns along the walkway.
Two Cello Pieces2022 Nov 6
Last night was my cello teacher's studio recital and I played two pieces.
Why I am Still a Christian2022 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.
Christian Theology Details2022 Sep 13
Many Christians spend a substantial part of their Bible study efforts in the writings of Paul. However, Christianity was complete from Jesus immediately after his resurrection.
In fact, the direct teachings of Jesus are not lacking anything for a complete understanding of Christianity. Christianity did not require further elaboration from Paul or any others because the gospels are sufficient. (Do we not call it Christianity and say that we are followers of Jesus?) Christianity started and grew in Jerusalem from Jesus' direct teachings and that of his disciples afterwards.
Considering Atheism2022 Sep 12
The view that there is no god is atheism. The atheist apparently believes their position even though the proposition is unprovable. Atheism therefore is a matter of faith (like all opinions about gods).
Considering Islam2022 Sep 11
Islam is the third of the Abrahamic religions.
Considering Judaism2022 Sep 10
Judaism is the oldest of the Abrahamic religions.
Predicting Economics and Evolution2022 Jul 23
I came across an article which is about a problem in economics. There is a standard model of economics based on rational human behavior, but the model works poorly. To compensate, human cognitive biases are added to the model to better align predictions with reality. However, this does not make a better model; this actually demonstrates that the model is fundamentally wrong.
First the article tells the story of the scientific transition from the geocentric orbital model to the heliocentric model. The first model did not correctly predict movements of planets and other bodies in the sky. Replacing the geocentric model with heliocentrism eliminated this problem.
Currently, the origin of life is suggested to have started with a "simple" self-replicating molecule. Since this proposed molecule was self-replicating, it could make use of evolutionary mechanisms to add information to it. Natural selection is the core part of evolution which implements this process.
Note that natural selection is a sorting mechanism (for survivability), implementing a search for entities with the most fitness.
I have written elsewhere about abiogenesis as a search by the universe for life. (See The Probability of Life.) There I argue that the entire probabilistic resources of the universe are so vastly insufficient to have accomplished a successful search for life that it would be impossible.
Kayak Camping Ross Lake2022 Jul 1
I kayaked-camped at Ross Lake with an interesting group of guys. We had good company and beautiful scenery.
The Ross, Diablo and Gorge lakes are a series of reservoirs that create hydropower for the city of Seattle. Ross is the longest at about 23 miles and at its north end it crosses about a mile into Canada. There is no road access to Ross from the US side. However, you can drive to Diablo and then travel by boat to Ross. We did this by putting in at Colonial Creek Campground.
Kayaking a Marathon2022 Jun 11
I kayaked from Alki in West Seattle to Kenmore at the north end of Lake Washington. It took all day (from 10 AM to 8 PM) and my GPS tracker said it was 26.5 miles. This was a trip in both salt and fresh water, and the experience of transiting the locks in Ballard that separates them is always interesting.
Melanie had a morning errand to do in Renton that day, so taking me to West Seattle was a short addition to the trip. That day Eli was with us so he came along. At Alki while I was getting ready to go, he found crabs in the rocks by the boat ramp. Melanie said he could do what he wanted as long as he didn’t get wet, so, I joked with him as I walked into the Puget Sound in my drysuit, getting wet, but not getting wet. :-)
My unexpected hospital adventure2022 May 10
I have one less gallbladder than before. :-)
Last Tuesday I woke up with the preoccupying ache of a gallbladder attack. Since the episode did not seem to be ending by evening, I went into urgent care, and they were very busy. However, the nurse I talked to had been concerned that I might be experiencing something with my heart, and I think that increased my priority in the queue.
It wasn’t my heart. My gallbladder which in 2016 had some dozen stones in it now looked like a gravel beach. That was the problem, and so I elected to get it out.
What is Leadership?2022 Jan 23
When I went to Trinity Western University they had a motto about all their students becoming leaders. However, I did not understand this because it was unclear to me what they meant by a leader. And it seemed obvious that not everybody can be the leader; followers are needed too.
The clarification that was needed here matters substantially. Initially in my view, there were limited openings for leaders. If they were speaking of "elite" leaders, then most people have no part in leadership.
However, I have learned that leadership actually is something that everyone can have a part in. The key is to understand how and why.
What is God's Primary Motivating Value?2022 Jan 18
Romans 12 tells us that Jesus best represents God to us. The primary value that Jesus represented to us was that of a sacrificial love for others. Because this is the value that motivated Jesus we can know that this value is God’s motivating value (John 3:16, I John 4:8).
However, some might say that God’s primary motivating value is justice. Yes, God is just. However, seeing justice as God’s primary motivator is a mistake.