Category Archives: Science

Landscheidt Part 2

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Why am I sharing this?    Well, it’s past writings prior to Catholic Diatribes.   Really, I was just re-reading and rekindling my interest in the climate change debate, and more importantly what the sun might have to do with all of this.

I don’t find it inconsistent at all to stray into other areas of interest in a Catholic blog.   All creation is made by and designed by God.   The realm of science is embraced by the Church as long as its study is aimed at helping us understand creation, and by extension, a little itty bit of the mind of our Creator.   Where we run afoul is somehow thinking that science helps explain things absent from God.   That is a perversion of science, and unfortunately most science has run afoul of the limits of its own discipline.

In addition to that, when I see injustice suggested in the name of science, especially erroneous science, it is entirely Catholic to look for the truth in that issue and combat injustice.   In our day, what should be good – a focus on good stewardship, proper environmental concerns, taking care of our planet, etc. – is elevated to religion and is not kept in balance with human needs.   People are put out of work because of silly environmental policies, but even worse we have started to accept the premise that human beings are bad for the earth.   This leads to further promotion of contraception, abortion, once child policies, sterilization, etc. as an actual good.   But it is not a good – all those are innately evil.

So, with that, let’s talk about the sun and the solar system.

The sun (more accurately, the Center of the Sun – heretofore known as CS) revolves around the Center of Mass of our Solar System (CMSS) as the CMSS traces an orbit around the galaxy. The sun is a ball of plasma. As the CS goes around the CMSS, which is changing relative to the sun’s position based on the dispersion of the planets in their respective orbits around the sun, it traces a path in a Helix-type pattern, at different orbital curvatures and distances from the CMSS. When things revolve around a fixed point, there is Torque and a change in angular momentum. Plasma being a charged (ionized) gas, the revolution around the CMSS creates a magnetic field with a certain potential (vector potential) that is driven by the changes in angular momentum. This then is a key driver of solar activity.

 

While I refer to the sun’s movement about the CMSS, it is a more accurate representation to refer to the CS’s movement about the CMSS, since CMSS is often within the boundaries (or “limb”) of the sun.   So, from this point on, I will use the more accurate CS in referencing the sun when discussing orbital movement.

As mentioned before, I only do this to try and boil it down so that laypeople can take something away from it, because I feel it is largely a missing piece of the climate change debate.

We are still on the ABSTRACT:

Sentence three: Relatively strong impulses of torque A L occur at mean intervals of 19.86 years.

Landscheidt identifies a period of time within the secular cycle (defined in the previous discussion) of 19.86 years where the torque reaches its maximum. To think of an impulse of torque, imagine swinging something attached to a string. If you swing it in a steady motion, there is a constant torque. Let’s say every now and then you give it an extra “oomph” and whip that sucker around. That is a torque impulse. Landscheidt says that this happens with the sun every 19.86 years, on average, in its path around the CMSS. This coincides with a minimum in distance between the CS and the CMSS.  The reason it happens at minimum will be fully explained later, but can be boiled down to a couple things: CS has a tendency back to an equilibrium distance from CMSS, and we can think of being at minimum from CMSS as that point on a spring where it’s fully stretched and wants to “snap” back.   More technically, at minimum distance from CMSS, CS is still revolving, which means it is in its tightest orbit, driving up angular momentum. All this will be looked at in more detail later, but for now, just note the 20ish year period.

Sentence Four: Four consecutive impulses respectively define a permanent wave with a quasiperiod of 79.46 years which determines the distribution of positive and negative extrema in activity.

Quasiperiod is actually defined functionally, but its use in this case really refers to the fact that the 79.46 period is determined by a goofy shape that doesn’t really wrap around on itself, although it is a repeating pattern. The wave aspect of this tells us that there are peaks and troughs of solar activity, and the 19.86 year period defines the length of this “wave.” There is an average cycle of minimum distance between the sun and the CMSS, on average, every 19.86 years.   Depending on other criteria, these distance minimums either drive increased solar activity or solar inactivity.

 

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Crossing the Moral Rubicon

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Originally posted on http://digitaldiatribes.wordpress.com on May 22, 2008.

In my previous post, A Discussion on God and Chastisement (A Precursor to “Crossing the Moral Rubicon”), I discussed the general concept of divine chastisement as a response to sin, and how controversial this topic can be.

If I may briefly summarize my own view, I conclude that such chastisements do, in fact, occur and are illustrated in Scripture in not just a past sense, but it is also clear that there are clear foretellings of future chastisements. I also conclude that these chastisements may not always be apparent, particularly to those who will generally dismiss such things. In addition, all this originally stems from the original sin that disordered creation to begin with. Also, as for the difficult concept of how these chastisements affect “good people” too, I don’t have a particular issue with that. As I pointed out, good and moral people suffer too, and we all die sometime. Balancing this with the additional caveats that I do not think that we’re particularly able to get inside the mind of God and explain with definitiveness that one particular sin was the reason for some chastisement on a particular locale, we also need to be careful. At the same time, chastisements can occur as the seeds of our own actions, and while these are allowed by God and occur as part of His creation, they are a result of our own doings (certain diseases, for example).

It is a complicated theological question.

Some have long believed that we crossed a line where God’s Justice would finally extend past His patience and Mercy when abortion became commonplace, socially acceptable, and eventually codified as a basic human right. In some sense, I believe that we have been and are being chastised for that, but this may well fall under the umbrella of the seeds of our own actions. Now, those who believe that people are the problem and that the earth cannot support more people will disagree with me, but I personally do not believe this at all. Our country has essentially exterminated 25% of what would have been its cohort group of 36 year olds and under (don’t believe me? Do the math. 40 million+ abortions in the USA since 1972 would be over 25% of the population of people aged 36 and under today. This doesn’t include chemical abortions that are not recorded). And yet, look at what has happened. Our society has eliminated all that knowledge, which if we were doing things God’s way, I suspect would have gone a long way towards solving whatever problems are perceived. In our wisdom, we have created an unprecedented demographic shift to those who need societal support, on top of the existing infrastructure (roads, bridges, etc.) whose burden will fall to a smaller percentage of people. Forced to rely on immigrants, we have accepted as common practice those who wish to reside in our country not as proud USA citizens, but as a segregated society – both legal and illegal. This is even more of a problem in Europe. Read the rest of this entry

News of the Day, January 24, 2008: Playing God and other stuff

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Originally posted on http://digitaldiatribes.wordpress.com on January 24, 2008.

So, after not keeping up with the blogging thing for the last few months, I got the itch to write an entry. The 1-minute version of our life:

1 – Expecting our 7th child

2 – Nearly 2 weeks into breaking in a new puppy, Tillie, a black lab

3 – Didn’t pass my actuarial exam

4 – Packers had a great year, pretty pumped, but disappointed in the loss to the Giants. And yes, I was there.

And so here we are. I’m sure I could write numerous posts on the minutia of our lives, and if I did so, it would be pretty boring. So, I decided to do something completely different. I decided to just post some quick comments on some of the news of the day. There are no rules to this game. Here goes:

Scientists close to creating life

Since I don’t want to break any laws by posting parts of the articles, please follow the links. Synopsis: Scientists feel they are close to putting together strands of DNA that will create a new life-form.

OK, so I don’t want to be seen as a fanatical doom-and-gloom guy, but I’ve seen both sides of the argument here about why this is or isn’t a good thing. One one side, you’ve got the verse-quoting fire-and-brimstone enthusiasts, and on the other side you have the people who tell me that this is just progress, and people once thought that flying was evil. Or something like that. For good measure, let’s throw Galileo in there too, because whenever anyone questions whether or not a particular scientific advance is ethical or good, people just throw his name without regard to the rationality of it.

Well, I don’t want to go quoting Bible verses. It is true that I can’t find a specific quote anywhere in Scripture that tells me “Thou shalt not create a new DNA strand.” But let’s try to be a tad reasonable about this. I don’t expect an atheist to understand this, so I direct it to people of faith who appreciate scientific advance and find themselves thinking “What’s the big deal?” Well, it is a big deal.

First of all, as many rightfully point out, the scientists are not “creating” anything. They are manipulating very tiny elements of creation. So, no matter what the outcome, nobody can and will convince me that even the step of “creating” a new life form diminishes the idea of God. That is not the issue. In fact, it is this very fact that many will use to defend it. “What’s the difference in forming a new life form, just like we form cars and airplanes and everything else using what God has given us to work with?”

Well, regardless of potential benefits, the problem with it is really quite simple. It is completely against the natural order of things. Other things we’ve done are as well. The fact that we’ve gone there doesn’t mean it’s right, nor is it a license to continue pushing the envelope. It also opens up potential risks. How are we to know what this new life form is capable of? Are we certain we can contain it? Will it mutate? Scary stuff.

On a general note, I just feel like we continue closer to some sort of “tipping point.” Don’t ask me what it means, but let’s just think about God’s reaction to all this. I believe he affords us scientific opportunities that have great promise in its benefits, but at the same time can be used for evil intent. Perhaps it is a test of sorts – which way will we go? At some point – which only God knows – He will conclude that our opportunities are done. We will have “chosen poorly,” as I am reminded of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Cloning… Chimeras… mixing human DNA with animal DNA… synthetically creating a new life form, not intended to be part of our universe… At what point does God determine that we have crossed a line in which we have just doomed ourselves unless He intervenes? And when He does, I am pretty certain that our idea of His intervention is not a happy one. The more complacent we are, the quicker we welcome His intervention. Review some of His previous interventions when Israel fell away from Him, and let me know how much you’re looking forward to it.

It’s freakin’ cold here.

Comment: It’s freakin’ cold here. But I’ve been watching Siberia, and it’s been hitting 76 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. I guess it could be worse.

My mom apparently took a stroll on Mars

Follow the link, read the story, and watch the video – it’s just a minute. Good stuff. While I know many will really want to believe it’s somebody playing in the sand, I’m pretty sure it’s a rock. But let’s play a game: what do you see? At first I see a woman in a burqa. But it could also be my mom, who always wears a head scarf when she’s taking a walk if it’s windy outside. Or cold. Or too hot. Or cloudy. In fact, I think unless it’s exactly 77 degrees and sunny with no wind, she wears a scarf. But I digress.

But if you think it’s a martian, let me just remind you of “Mars Attacks.” Do not treat this creatures lightly!

Suicide bomber trips down stairs and blows himself up

All death is a tragedy, and it is sad that some people would resort to violence that not only takes their lives, but intentionally takes the lives of others – particularly citizens, women and children. But can we at least take a small break to make fun of this clumsy killer, who thankfully ended up only killing himself because he can’t navigate a staircase? It’s funny in a tragic way. I suppose the fact that I find any levity in that exposes one of my many faults.

Well, I’d do more, but I must turn in. I kind of enjoyed that. Maybe I’ll try it again soon. Or, alternatively, maybe not…

The Jesus Fish, The Darwin Salamander, and a Truth Something-or-Another

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Originally posted on http://digitaldiatribes.wordpress.com on June 16, 2007.

As I pulled into work the other day, I maneuvered my vehicle into a parking spot immediately behind a vehicle exhibiting the Darwin salamander.  Or at least I think it’s a salamander.  It’s like a fish with legs, except that fish don’t have legs.  I heard of some prehistoric fish that they think may have had legs and is the argument for how animals went from sea to land, so maybe it’s supposed to be that thing.  Anyway, what it is supposed to actually portray is irrelevant, but it’s the kind of random stuff that keeps me up at night.

But as I looked at this little $3 item that someone chose to slap on their car, I started contemplating this whole competition we’ve engaged in.  There is an unsettling aspect to it that I don’t think really struck me before.

It used to be that people put the fish symbol on their car as a testament to their Christianity.  It’s a traditional symbol that was used as kind of a code back in times when there was extreme persecution of Christians.  One way of identifying someone as a Christian was a subtle little fish symbol.  I would be lying if I said I knew the complete history and all the details, but that’s the general idea, as I understand it.   Now, regardless of how accurate the whole story about this is, let’s fast-forward to present times.  The fish symbol once again gained popularity among Christians as a subtle bumper sticker.  It’s pretty harmless.  It’s not an in-your-face bumper sticker or a crucifix or anything overly blatant.  It’s a fish.  To the person in the car, it’s simply a statement of faith and belief.

Now, what struck me is that this little item is used to profess faith in our God, Jesus Christ.  It was not intended as some larger argument about the details of theological thought.  It does not testify, necessarily, to one’s personal views on Creationism, Evolution, or Intelligent Design, or anything of the sort.  It doesn’t even really provide information on Christian denomination.   It merely says “Fish = Christian.”

And so, the unsettling part of the whole Darwin Salamander is not whether it’s a fish with legs or a lizard or a turtle.  It’s that the item on the car is a direct rebuff of the Jesus fish.  Think about it…  the fish professes a faith in God.  The person in the car with the Darwin tag has openly professed a replacement of Jesus with Darwin, or at the very least, evolution (or science).  Jesus is gone.  Jesus is unnecessary.  Christians are worshipping the wrong thing.  Darwin/Evolution/Science is the new god, the new faith.

Now, personally, I can actually reconcile a belief in Evolution with being a Christian, so long as the belief is that Evolution occurs through God’s will and plan – that God chose to institute an immortal soul into man at some point.   That the Creation story, while not literal, is nonetheless completely true in what it teaches regarding God as Creator.  Now, I don’t actually believe that Evolution is true as it is professed by many proponents.  But my reasoning is based on critical observation, reasoning, and my understanding of the science. I see a lot of holes, have questions that are unable to be answered, and add a dose of common sense.  If, however, it were proven without a reasonable doubt that man has an acestor in a paramecium, my faith does not rest on my skepticism of evolutionary theory, and thus would not be shaken by this conclusion.   I am wary, however, of the attitude of many who are proponents of Darwinian thought when they somehow suggest that proof of Evolution disproves God as Creator.  It does nothing of the sort.  Should Evolution be proven, all it tells us is how we got to the point we are, and one can easily argue that God is infinitely imaginitive in the way He manages His creation. 

That explanation is somewhat of an aside, to briefly summarize my own musings on the subject of Evolution and put my other thoughts in a bit of context.   Back to the main point:  Those who stick the Darwin Salamander on their vehicle, whether conscious of it or not, have just put another god before the true God.  It is entirely possible that many just think it’s funny, or some even profess to be a Christian that believes in Evolution.  The problem is, the fish is not actually a statement on Evolution.  It is a statement of faith.  As such, the salamander also displays a deeper meaning, be it purposeful or not.

As if that isn’t bad enough, Christians then forgot the purpose of placing a fish emblem on a vehicle and decided to fire the next shot in the bumper-sticker war. Enter the “Truth” whale or big fish, or something.   I’ll admit that the first time I saw that, I was kind of amused.  But upon further reflection, I’m not a fan of this.  All it does is detract from the original intent of the Jesus fish by getting drawn into a petty back-of-an-auto-stickie-thing debate.  I mean, do we really think we’ll convert anyone by putting that on our car?  Oh, it may make us feel clever, as if we just showed all those atheist folk who’s boss, but in the end it’s hard to believe that this has ever served a positive purpose.  The other thing is that you then get caught up in looking like you’re trying to suppress scientific thought, lending credence to the idea that anyone with a fish on their car is a strict fundamentalist Creationist.  Stick with the normal Jesus fish, if you ask me, and instead of going tit-for-tat with the sticky thingies, just pray for those who may not know what they are actually saying when they trumpet Darwin in the place of Christ.

I don’t actually have a fish.  I have nothing against it.  I’m just not one to plunk things on my car.  I think the only bumper sticker I’ve ever put on my car is a small Packers bumper sticker.  That was on a car I got rid of 11 years ago.  I loved that car.  I had a bumper sticker on another vehicle that came with it and I never took off.  That minivan cost me a lot of money.

Maybe I should have had a Jesus fish…