definition: par•a•digm (pār'ə-dīm', -dĭm')

3. A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004.

Statement of Purpose

The purpose of this blog is four-fold:
to recognize that every person functions within a basic paradigm, which affects how all information is processed;
(2) to understand the paradigms of others;
(3) to discuss, in particular, paradigms which are related to science, religion, and philosophy.

(4) to reveal the paradigm shifts in my own life, a process that has completely changed the direction and purpose of my existence.

The purpose of this blog is NOT to convince anyone that their paradigms or beliefs are correct or incorrect. I am hoping for an honest dialog, but the discussions must remain respectful of others, even if there is profound disagreement. If any comments are not respectful, they will be removed.
(Revised 1/13/09)

Friday, February 29, 2008

An Open Question to Atheists and Agnostics

If it were theoretically possible for you to change your mind and be convinced that there is a God who created the universe, what would it take for that to happen? I know how I personally used to feel--that I couldn't see any physical evidence and it couldn't be proved scientifically. I also know what it took to convince me. I do know, however, that there are lots of people who are definitely not convinced and I'm curious to know what it would take to change.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

What about the Bible?

There is a lot of talk about the Bible, but basically there are three primary opinions:

(1) Opinion #1 is that the Bible was inspired by God, so that the human authors wrote exactly what God wanted to be written and the humans who decided on the chapters included exactly what God wanted them to include. Because the Bible was inspired by God, it is therefore inerrant (i.e., without errors) and should be interpreted in light of eternity and not just in light of the culture of the day.

(2) Opinion #2 is that the Bible was written by humans, to the best of their imperfect ability. They may have been inspired by God, but their interpretation of that inspiration could have been inaccurate. In our day, therefore, we must depend upon our own leading by the Holy Spirit to determine the correct meaning of what we read in the Bible.

(3) Opinion #3 is basically the non-Christian view, whether Jewish , atheist, or agnostic. This view looks at the Bible (New Testament, in the case of the Jewish faith), as an interesting piece of literature, with some historical accuracy, but that most of it's content is equivalent to mythology, such as other ancient peoples created to explain unexplainable events.

Comments, anyone?

Friday, February 15, 2008

A Paradigm Problem that Keeps Resurfacing

I have been on both sides of this issue, so I understand both sides. Each approach is a paradigm that hold its subscibers in a tight grip. The resolution is troublesome, simply because I do understand both sides. Here they are:

I. "God gave us a brain and intended us to use it. How could God expect us to believe certain aspects of fundamentalist "faith" when they make no sense, based on all that science, our powers of observation, and our intellect tell us?"

II. "God would not be God if all of His nature was within our understanding. He expects us to trust Him and to trust that He can see and can control things that we cannot possibly understand. The reason we have the Bible and the reason that believing Christians have the Holy Spirit is to guide us in our faith and in our understanding of the ways of God."

Scripture says (of God):
8 “ For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.
9 “ For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts. "
(Isaiah 55:8,9 NKJV)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sometimes One Needs a Little Humor

"Caller ID"

On a Saturday night several weeks ago, this pastor was working late, and decided to call his wife before he left for home. It was about 10:00 PM, but his wife didn't answer the phone.

The pastor let the phone ring many times. He thought it was odd that she didn't answer, but decided to wrap up a few things and try again in a few minutes. When he tried again she answered right away. He asked her why she hadn't answered before, and she said that it hadn't rung at their house. They brushed it off as a fluke and went on their merry ways.

The following Monday, the pastor received a call at the church office, which was the phone that he'd used that Saturday night. The man that he spoke with wanted to know why he'd called on Saturday night.

The pastor couldn't figure out what the man was talking about. Then the man said, "It rang and rang, but I didn't answer." The pastor remembered the mishap and apologized for disturbing him, explaining that he'd intended to call his wife.

The man said, "That's, OK. Let me tell you my story.

You see, I was planning to commit suicide on Saturday night, but before I did, I prayed, 'God if you're there, and you don't want me to do this, give me a sign now.' At that point my phone started to ring. I looked at the caller ID, and it said, 'Almighty God'. I was afraid to answer!"

The reason why it showed on the man's caller ID that the call came from "Almighty God" is because the church that the pastor attends is called Almighty God Tabernacle!!

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Dichotomy??- Supporting the Death Penalty but Not Abortion. Hmmmm....

I am purposely staying on neutral ground on this one, but I would like to hear some of the opinions of others. I hear some people who support the death penalty say that they are strongly against abortion, on the grounds that human beings have no right to choose to take another human's life. This might sound contradictory to some. On the flip side, I have heard Pro-Choice proponents say that the courts have no right to take the life of even the most evil, self-professed murderer. This, too, sounds contradictory. Can anyone make some sense of these apparent dichotomies?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

"Beads of Doubt"

Thursday, 18 July, 2002, 11:09 GMT 12:09 UK

By Dr David Whitehouse BBC News Online science editor

One of the most important principles of physics, that disorder, or entropy, always increases, has been shown to be untrue.
ANU team Scientists at the Australian National University (ANU) have carried out an experiment involving lasers and microscopic beads that disobeys the so-called Second Law of Thermodynamics, something many scientists had considered impossible.
The finding has implications for nanotechnology - the design and construction of molecular machines. They may not work as expected.
It may also help scientists better understand DNA and proteins, molecules that form the basis of life and whose behaviour in some circumstances is not fully explained.

No discussion

Flanders and Swann wrote a famous song entitled The First And Second Law about what entropy meant and its implications for the physical world. It has become a mantra for generations of scientists.
The law of entropy, or the Second Law of Thermodynamics, is one of the bedrocks on which modern theoretical physics is based. It is one of a handful of laws about which physicists feel most certain.
So much so that there is a common adage that if anyone has a theory that violates the Second Law then, without any discussion, that theory must certainly be wrong.
The Second Law states that the entropy - or disorder - of a closed system always increases. Put simply, it says that things fall apart, disorder overcomes everything - eventually. But when this principle is applied to small systems such as collections of molecules there is a paradox.

Human scales

This Second Law of Thermodynamics says that the disorder of the Universe can only increase in time, but the equations of classical and quantum mechanics, the laws that govern the behaviour of the very small, are time reversible.
A few years ago, a tentative theoretical solution to this paradox was proposed - the so-called Fluctuation Theorem - stating that the chances of the Second Law being violated increases as the system in question gets smaller.
This means that at human scales, the Second Law dominates and machines only ever run in one direction. However, when working at molecular scales and over extremely short periods of time, things can take place in either direction.
Now, scientists have demonstrated that principle experimentally.

Fraction of a second

Professor Denis Evans and colleagues at the Research School of Chemistry at the Australian National University put 100 tiny beads into a water-filled container. They fired a laser beam at one of the beads, electrically charging the tiny particle and trapping it.
The container holding the beads was then moved from side to side a thousand times a second so that the trapped bead would be dragged first one way and then the other.
The researchers discovered that in such a tiny system, entropy can sometimes decrease rather than increase.
This effect was seen when the researchers looked at the bead's behaviour for a tenth of a second. Any longer and the effect was lost.

Emerging science

The scientists say their finding could be important for the emerging science of nanotechnology. Researchers envisage a time when tiny machines no more than a few billionths of a metre across surge though our bodies to deliver drugs and destroy disease-causing pathogens.
This research means that on the very small scales of space and time such machines may not work the way we expect them to.
Essentially, the smaller a machine is, the greater the chance that it will run backwards. It could be extremely difficult to control.
The researchers said: "This result has profound consequences for any chemical or physical process that occurs over short times and in small regions."
The ANU work is published in Physical Review Letters.
See also:
30 Jan 02 Science/Nature
Throwing the DNA switch
12 Sep 01 Science/Nature
Atomic line-up surprises scientists
09 Aug 01 Science/Nature
Tuning the tubes
Internet links:
Entropy: Flanders and Swann
Entropylaw.comThe BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Exploring Faith vs. Indoctrination

Harold, in an earlier post, you mentioned being concerned about children who are indoctrinated with a certain belief system at a young age. It seems that children start out accepting all the social and religious beliefs of "The Family," without question--the family's "paradigm," if you will. That would be part of being a child. However, at some point, all normal children start to question the paradigm in which they have grown up. It goes both ways. There are plenty of stories of children raised in households with atheist parents, and who grow up to be devout Christians. There are also many stories of children raised by parents with a strong Christian faith, but who walk completely away from Christianity. Think of some of the recent news stories about Americans who converted to the radical-Muslim faith of Al Quaida.

This issue brings up brings up the question of Faith vs. Indoctrination. By definition, indoctrination is "teaching someone to accept doctrines uncritically." [WordNet® 3.0, © 2006 by Princeton University].

Faith, in the context of religion, is defined as "-1-Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing; or -2-Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence." [The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth EditionCopyright © 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Company.Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved].

At face value, these concepts would seem almost synonymous. However, most Christians I know question their faith many times over the course of a life-time, and with every challenge, their faith ends up stronger than it was before. Now, I have personal knowledge of how and why this happens in the life of a Christian. What I don't know is how it happens with other religions, and I am very interested in finding out. I will do a little research on it myself, and I hope that some others reading this blog, who adhere to other faiths, will give us some insight.