October in Florida, Part III

After Part II

October 14-20, 2005

Friday, October 14, 2005 (pre-journal)

This USA Today poll is truly frightening. From my naive perspective I would have guessed that only 5 to 10 percent of those asked if they believed God created humans in the manner laid out in the Bible would have responded with a 'yes'.

I wonder what percent of them believe that the earth is flat; or that the sun revolves around the earth.

How about Jonah and the whale? (*)

And the world wide flood with Noah at the helm?

I suspect that if most of those people who said 'yes' to the question about God creating humans as described in the Bible actually sat down and read the Bible ... well, they just might walk away from this big comic book. To truly appreciate the wisdom of atheism you have to know something about religion. (**)

How much have you thought about the different explanations for how human beings came to exist on Earth (evolution guided by God, evolution without God's involvement or creation as described in the Bible)?

Great deal: 41%
Moderate amount: 35%
Not much: 17%
Not at all: 6%

How much does it matter to you which of these theories is correct?

Great deal: 40%
Moderate amount: 26%
Not much: 19%
Not at all: 14%

Which comes closer to your view about the relationship between science and religion?

Agree with each other: 24%
Conflict with each other: 35%
Not related: 36%

Which statement comes closest to your views?

God created human beings in their present form exactly as described in the Bible

All: 53%
Men: 45%
Women: 60%

18-29: 54%
30-49: 50%
50-64: 50%
65 and older: 60%

By income level
$75K and up: 37%
$50K-$74.9K: 51%
$30K-$49.9K: 56%
Under 20K: 70%

By religion
Catholic: 38%
Protestant: 66%
Non-Christian: 15%
None: 16%

Human beings have evolved over millions of years from other forms of life, and God guided this process.

All: 31%
Men: 34%
Women: 29%

18-29: 27%
30-49: 38%
50-64: 32%
65 and older: 20%

By income level
$75K and up: 41%
$50K-$74.9K: 31%
$30K-$49.9K: 22%
Under 20K: 19%

By religion
Catholic: 50%
Protestant: 25%
Non-Christian: 31%
None: 29%

Human beings have evolved, but God had no part in the process.

All: 12%
Men: 17%
Women: 8%

18-29: 17%
30-49: 10%
50-64: 15%
65 and older: 11%

By income level
$75K and up: 29%
$50K-$74.9K: 12%
$30K-$49.9K: 11%
Under 20K: 4%

By religion
Catholic: 10%
Protestant: 6%
Non-Christian: 47%
None: 48%

Source: USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup telephone survey of 1,005 on Sept. 8-11. Margin of error +/- 3 percentage points.

(*) Check out this wacky site: http://www.angelfire.com/mi/dinosaurs/jonah.html. Yes, the author of this one believes that Jonah spent three days and nights in the belly of a great fish before God allowed it to vomit Jonah on the beach.

(**) This explains why so many people who suffer religious training at an early age become atheists.

Friday, October 14, 2005

She's following me!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Becky's Bed 'n Breakfast was again given a page-one recommendation in the authoritative 'Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report'.

Long time readers will know that THOCBDC has a long history (*) with Chateau de Vault-de-Lugny. You could Google for it in the little box at the bottom of my page ... or, you could be lazy and allow Paul to do all the work for you: July 1997 - October 1997 - May 1998 - July 1998 - September 1998 - August 1999 - August 2000

(*) It's one of the richer veins ... scenic wise ... in the bowels of THOCBDC. (**)

(**) "A poor choice of metaphors, Alf; especially so, when mixed that way." - Reader S. Pallsman from Mound City, Illinois (USA).

PS: Meanwhile back home (*):

Thailand is marking the 32nd anniversary of a crackdown by the Thai army on pro-democracy protesters.

(*) Thanks to Andy.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

There are even books on the market for people who want to know more about corks (*) (**).

(*) Here pictured is a rare 1971 cork from my own collection; shown to scale and enlarged.

(**) Without corks there would be no need for corkscrews ... sort of a symbiotic relationship.


Monday, October 17, 2005

Reader S. B. from Amos Bay (near Marmaris) in Turkey offers this argument: sometimes the earth just might be flat.

Dear Alf,

On Friday, October 14, 2005 you noted:

This USA Today poll is truly frightening. From my naive perspective I would have guessed that only 5 to 10 percent of those asked if they believed God created humans in the manner laid out in the Bible would have responded with a 'yes'.

I wonder what percent of them believe that the earth is flat; or that the sun revolves around the earth?

It's a good question. Clearly you believe it isn't flat, and you're probably usually right.

But without wishing to present any argument for an ineffable 'G', I would like to argue that the question of the earth's flatness depends upon how, and from where you look

From sea level, the world seems flat. Using the instruments of geometry, (as did the ancient Greeks apparently), one can measure its circumference and thus 'prove' that it's round.

Using the 'instrument of a space shuttle' one can perceive it to be round.

One might speculate that using the instrument of the 'United Confederation of Planets Star Ship Enterprise' one might travel far enough from the world for it to appear as a speck of darkness within a swirling galaxy of light. For example, a very respected scientist wrote recently:

"If you look at a hair under a magnifying glass you can see it has thickness, but to the naked eye it appears just like a line with length but no other dimension. Space-time may be similar on human, atomic, or even nuclear physics length scales; it may appear four dimensional and nearly flat. On the other hand if we probe to very short distances using extremely high energy particles we should see that space-time was ten or even eleven-dimensional." (Hawking, 2001).

So, using the instrument of a high energy particle accelerator space-time may be seen to be ten or even eleven dimensional, and therefore neither round, nor flat.

Carmen Bostic St Claire and John Grinder refer to this phenomena in Whistling in The Wind note: "Disciplines such as physics, chemistry, physiology . . . represent a systematic exploration of the set of mappings between the world and a special set of mental maps known as theories. . . . Typically such activity begins with observations among the elements in the set defined by the product of the neurological transforms. As the instrumental and measurement operations offer such scientists a second DESCRIPTION of the world." (WITW p 39). (Caps mine in lieu of italics due to the formatting limitations of this e-mail client, not to be taken as Internet impoliteness).

Or, perhaps you will indulge me as I can come at the 'round earth assertion' another way?

"A baby, reaching out to grab a rattle or a mobile hanging above the crib, is being creative. The infant learns from such experiences that there are internal and external worlds that s/he can influence. But what is it that moves? Who reaches out? What is the inspiration that leads to such creative impulses? Might it not be that quite simply life has a desire to witness itself in many forms? And, as agents of life, each of us will thrive if we help with this task.

The case of Captain Grinder:

"I leveraged a transfer to the 10th Special Forces Group in Bad Toeiz Germany - and lived in the beautiful Alpine village of Lenggries, pursuing activities that can best be described as the all-American boy's adventure fantasies." (WITW p. 123)

". . . in the early phases of these experiences I was struggling to master some of the fundamental patterns of these languages. On occasions I even worked hard to present myself as something I demonstrably was not, namely competent in the local language and on occasion as a European" (WITW p. 144)

The question arises: When Captain Grinder was ordered to present 'himself' as 'a European', what was 'it' that was presented, and what happened to Captain Grinder during the period of the presentation?

The Case of the Felled Tree:

In the 19th Century Bishop Berkeley suggested that when a tree falls and no one is around to witness the event, it is perceived in the 'Mind of God'. This has been summed up poetically in the following limerick:

There was a young man who said, "God,
Must think it exceedingly odd
If he finds that this tree
Continues to be
When there's no one about in the Quad."

"Dear Sir: Your astonishment's odd:
I am always about in the Quad.
And that's why the tree
Continues to be,
Since observed by, Yours faithfully, God."

(Internet Source: http://www.mindspring.com/~boba4/TreeFall.htm)

But, using the logic of transformational grammar the cutting down of the tree may be deconstructed to: The man - using the instrument of an axe - cut down the tree.

However, if we start from Berkeley's position might we not simply write:

The tree fell

Which perhaps may be, (note the hesitant sleight of mouth), deconstructed to: The mind of God - using the instrument of man, who in turn used the instrument of an axe - cut down the tree.

This really isn't an argument for God, or the poor Bishop. But rather that the mind of God is rather the same as anyone else's mind. In other words it's all in the Mind, so why not enjoy it?

The Case of Bateson's Buzzer:

In a recent training for aspiring family therapists I set as one option in a series of homework assignments the task of constructing an electric buzzer, and discussing various questions. One question was:

"If you believe that the buzzer has a controlling element, what is it, and give reasons for your answer?"

To which a number of people responded: 'The finger is the controlling element in the buzzer, the buzzer is a mechanical system that is a holon within the human activity system, human/buzzer, which in turn is a subsystem of a larger (supra-system). Or words to that effect. But this is only O.K. as far as it goes, for the finger is, is it not, only doing what the brain appears to will it and from what complexity does the brain get its button pushing urge.

Some no doubt might argue for a supreme being but I think the argument for something like a mind might suffice? And whose mind? The mind that's minded to press the buzzer, or write this nonsense or perform admirably at THOCBDC.

So to sum up the question of whether or not the world is flat seems to be one of instrumentation, and space/time co-ordination, but not fact.

But since human beings live in the REAL WORLD. WE do not, however operate directly or immediately on that world, but rather we operate with a map or series of maps that we use to guide our behaviour. (Caps mine in lieu of italics due to the formatting limitations of my e-mail client, not to be taken as Internet impoliteness).

"We must therefore accept that the real world may not be as concrete as we might wish, in the same way that our identities sometimes change. To all intents and purposes the universe can be relied upon to operate in uniform ways, when standardised formulae are applied to isolated components. At higher levels of complexity the variables become more difficult to isolate and hence accurate prediction becomes less accessible.

And so for practical purposes we may conclude that although the world may be quite a different shape from how we represent it in three dimensions. As I stand upon it today, it is undoubtedly flat

Thank you and goodnight

S. B.'s web site: pebblesfromparadise.com

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Patpong Corkscrew Club member, Mary Volcansek, seems to be drifting further and further apart from academia. As a professor and a Dean at Texas Christian University she shows her students that college life should not be just about books.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The calm before ...

Thursday, October 20, 2005 (pre-journal)

... the storm. (*) (**)

(*) Actually, this photo from our house is just an example of some of the high tides that Florida has been getting ... thanks to our contribution to global warming by driving four cars on two continents1.

(**) The real storm, if it comes won't reach Florida until Saturday. By that time Watcharee and I will be back in Bangkok. Yes, that also means that the next THOCBDC blog entry will be date-stamped Friday night.

1 Maybe God will doubly punish me by sending a typhoon[A] to River Garden.

[A] 'Typhoon' is just a hurricane that lives in the Pacific Ocean.

Thursday, October 20, 2005 (Post-pre-journal)

Keys Evacuate Tourists as Monster Storm Looms

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras (Oct. 19) - Hurricane Wilma swirled into the most intense Atlantic storm ever recorded Wednesday, a Category 5 monster whose powerful winds and heavy rains already have been blamed for killing at least 12 people in the Caribbean as it bore down on Central America.

Hurricane Wilma is expected to make a sharp turn to the northeast and make landfall in southwestern Florida over the weekend.

Next: Back to Bangkok

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