Friday, January 13, 2012

In The Midst

We are in the midst
Of a young adult universe
Galaxies have matured
With spiral dust from supernovae
And stellar nurseries

We are in the midst
Of a middle-aged star system
After the lightning birth of the sun
The violent shuffling of planet material is mostly past
Our star system is relatively in balance

We are in the midst
Of a planet well suited
To plants, animals, and human life
The weather patterns have stabilized
For the moment

We are in the midst
Of a great age of discovery
The ancient myths and superstitions
Are being supplanted with scientific knowledge
We are starting to understand ourselves and our place

We are in the midst
Of our short but amazing lives
Our brief encounters with just a few of our kind
The expanding family of global experience
The wealth of a changing community

I am in the midst
Of a life more wonderful
More precious than could be imagined
I exist between two vast stretches of non-existence
A brief opportunity to shine my light

Monday, January 2, 2012

Bubbles

Today I went to school like always. I met my buddies and we swam around looking for food and generally hanging out together. When you're with your friends you feel safe. In these Alaskan waters it is best that a fish not let himself get singled out. Large beaks have shot into our world from above and taken some of my friends. It frightens us so we scatter momentarily, then regroup.

This morning things were different. There were very few beaks from above but some strange vibrations coming from below. Some bigger creatures live down there but rarely do they bother us. Then I saw some bubbles. My buddy came over to me and said, "Hey, did you see? There are some bubbles over there, like a wall of them. Can I come over here and swim with you?" "Sure.", I said. "There is plenty of room in this area. Well except for way over that way - looks like more bubbles. Maybe if we go over this way there won't be any."

So we swam away from the bubbles that my friend saw, and we swam away from the wall of bubbles on the other side. But soon this way had bubbles, too! Bubbles are bothersome - I don't like them. We turned around and the other fish were sensing it as well. The walls of bubbles were all around us - and they were getting closer!

Soon the other fish were gathering around where we were, asking questions amid the confusion. "Why are there these bubbles?" "They frighten me." "I'm trying to swim away from them, but they seem to be all around us." "What's happening?!" We were all swimming very close now and trying to stay together but away from all those bubbles! We couldn't see anything but the other fish. As far as I could tell, we were all swimming around in circles. The bubbles were squeezing us together even tighter. What could be causing this? I began to get really scared.

Just then the odd noises from below suddenly stopped. I was getting a bad feeling about this. The bubbles were thinning out a bit and I heard and felt a rush of water coming from below. Then I saw dark walls rising up around me, carrying all of us upward, toward the light. We were all packed together so tight we couldn't swim. For a moment I couldn't breathe and it was so bright everywhere. But the walls came together above us blocking out all light.
I was still bumping into fish in all directions as we went down - deeper than I had ever been. The next moment was only pain. I don't remember anything after that.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Creation

The bible claims that God created the heavens and the Earth in six days. In calculating the begats listed in the bible, Christian fundamentalist claim that the Earth and indeed the entire universe is less than ten thousand years old.
But why did it take God six whole days to do it. Being all powerful, couldn't He have accomplished it in six minutes, or six seconds, or six picoseconds? Here's why I think it might have taken all day for God to complete each of the ordered tasks before him.

On the first day he created light, and light created he it. But light in its very fundamental nature has a finite speed to propagate the universe. So even though the universe was created almost instantly, God had to place also the radiant beams of photons outward from their origin precisely to match their distance so that the distant stars would at once be visible from the Earth, which was to be created the next day.

It took all of the second day to separate the sky from what would become the ground. God could have created the Earth instantly, but He wanted to take care in crafting this planet to appear much older than it was. So he placed fossils in the ground and molded the rocks and strata into layers so that silly geologists would later be fooled into thinking that the age of the rocks was much older. This was deliberate and in harmony with God's divine plan.

On the third day, he started shaping the land so that the oceans would have their place and the mountains and dry land would appear. This He accomplish by volcanism, er, His divine will, to create large plates of granite which could be moved around to form continents, mountain ranges, and frightening earthquakes to show His power later on. He carefully fashioned these mountain ranges so that they appeared to have been formed over millions of years; even though they were not. Apparently, this didn't take all day so he added grasses, plants and trees. This was before any living thing appeared in the oceans. That wouldn't occur for another two days.

Curiously enough, God didn't create the stars or the sun and moon until the fourth day and started the earth spinning and revolving around the sun; so we could have calendars and know when it is night time. That took all day!

The fifth day was when sea creatures and birds appeared. It is a bit puzzling that the oldest fossils man has found are of sea creatures. God must have taken great care on the second day to create this illusion so that one day, archaeologists would be taken down such an erroneous path of reasoning that they might just forget this whole curoisity/knowledge thing and stick to the wisdom of the holy scriptures for all the answers any of us would ever need. These beings are commanded to be 'fruitful and multiply'. I always found that phrase to be a bit redundant; like being "frightend and scared". Why did it take a whole day to do that when just the day before, He created all the stars and planets? Thank God it was Friday!

On the final day of God's work of creation, the animals were made. Perhaps as an afterthought, human creatures were added to the mix because they look so much like Him. Everyone is told, like the birds and fishes, to be fruitful and multiply. And God gives Man the mandate to 'fill the earth, and subdue it.' Very good, God.

Ignorance and Apathy

I've learned that: Appearances are more important than deeds. Opinions based on an emotional response carry more weight than statistics. When confronted with a mystery or a burning question, we're more likely to make something up rather than wait for the true answer to be discovered. Our minds are pliable; belief systems are far-reaching and incredibly diverse. We can easily argue for or against something with only a limited amount of factual evidence. Ignorance and apathy are widespread; many people are satisfied with a little knowledge and they just don't care. Regardless of the obvious effects of overpopulation, people will still continue to have more babies than they can afford to raise properly. Future generations will inherit our folly, and regard it as long-standing tradition. More people will die an early death because of these absurdities.

Christian School

I was raised up Christian; sent to a Christian K-12 school where we were taught that everything in the bible was true. The universe, stars, sun, moon, Earth, animals, and finally man were created in only six days. We read the begats and, even though some of those early guys like Adam, Noah, and Methuselah live hundreds of years, we could calculate the generations from Adam (the first man), to Jesus (the lamb of God). So it was figured that the cosmos came into being about six thousand years ago. When someone asked about the Earth's strata showing millions of years of change or fossil records showing animals that lived hundreds of millions of years in the past, we were told that God had made it all to look that old, but that it really wasn't. I was taught that history was really "His story" and that Jesus Christ really offered Thomas (the doubter) the opportunity to put his finger through the holes in Jesus's hands. Thomas politely refused, then fell to the floor and worshiped his Lord. The name Thomas will always be associated with someone who questions heresay and requires the evidence of his eyes and reasoning. After reading an astronomy book about Halley's comet, I asked my dad if the star of Bethlehem could have been a comet as some have suggested. He was sitting with his brother, Gordon, and immediately replied, "No. I believe it was the 'glory of God'". Hmm, I thought.

Deiconomics

Perhaps God is a result of an ever-shrinking budget and runaway downsizing. He was just a normal guy, doing his job while absorbing other people's work after they took an early retirement, were let go, or otherwise just left. God found Himself having to do more and more with less and less. Eventually, He had to do everything using nothing. He was the only one that remained. The others moved to Florida, or spent copious amounts of time in Cancun or Aruba, leaving everything up to God. But that's not the final Word. God found a way to do absolutely nothing with absolutely everything. And now you know the rest of the story.

Crackpot Theorist

People keep talking about gravity as a force; one of the four forces in nature. They try to combine it with the other three forces and cannot... and wonder why it is so weak compared to the electromagnetic force or the strong nuclear force.

The familiar drop of an apple from a tree (the apparent 'force' of gravity) is merely the behavior of two massive objects which are able to move in relation to each other within this structure of space-time. Our human experience observes motion and gravity with the perspective of distance and duration, accelleration and inertia, so we naturally label it a force.

I'm thinking that gravity is not a 'force' at all; not it the cosmological sense. It does have the attributes or behavior of a force when two or more objects having mass move close to each other. But doesn't it make more sense to think of gravity as a dimension of space-time? It is a predictable flexation of the fabric of space-time given the presence of mass.

The dimension of gravity regulates and gives structure to the space-time continuum. It balances matter and energy states. Without space-time, matter-energy has no place to go and nothing to do. Without matter-energy, space-time couldn't exist. The dimension of gravity explains what the universe is and what it does on a large scale. It isn't any 'thing' or 'force' per se, and yet it is the prime ingredient of everything.

But what is it? When trying to explain the propagation of light waves through space, scientists invented a substance called the 'luminiferous ether'. Which turned out didn't exist and wasn't needed. Now scientists have come up with 'dark matter' and 'dark energy' to try and explain the increase in the expansion of the universe. Just a few years ago, no one could guess whether we were living in a closed universe or an open one. Now they are trying to detect sub-atomic particles to explain this mysterious energy and/or matter that can't be seen, only theoretically surmised. They keep waiting for the discovery of the graviton which would mathematically connect the world of the very large with the world of the very small through the theory of quantum gravity.