CalvinDude Masthead


Posted: November 16, 2016 (9:58 AM) by CalvinDude
The sermon at the church I attended Sunday was taken from Matthew 16:13-16. I’d like to add in verse 17 here:
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”
The first aspect of this verse deals with the person of Jesus Christ. We see Him first ask, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” Now, I’ve always thought that this question was meaning “Who do people say that I am?” especially given the very next question that Jesus asked. But consider the answer that the disciples gave begins with, “Some say John the Baptist.”

But Jesus and John the Baptist were contemporaries. In fact, they had been seen together at the same time, given John the Baptist baptized Jesus! The answer, “Some say John the Baptist”, seems to imply that the disciples were not adding in the aspect of Jesus = Son of Man to the question, and it was surely the case that those in the area may have thought John the Baptist was the Son of Man precisely because they did not think Jesus Himself was. (Note: this does not mean that the disciples did not know Jesus was the Son of Man, but rather that they were answering His specific question about what other people said.)

In any case, Jesus clearly links Himself to the Son of Man and takes that identifier on by asking, “But who do you say that I am?” as His next question. The “you” in the question is plural, so it was addressed to all the disciples. Peter responds on behalf of everyone by saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Christ and Messiah both mean “Anointed One”, so Peter is starting off by saying “You are the Anointed One.” But even more important than that title is that Peter links Christ to God Himself, in saying “You are the Son of the living God.” This statement would have been considered blasphemy by the Jews at the time.

Jesus’ response is quite telling though. He says Peter is blessed, “For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven [did].” In other words, when Peter says “You are the Son of God” Jesus responds “God revealed this fact to you.”

Now it is perhaps easy for us to glide over the importance of the fact that flesh and blood did not tell Peter this. What is meant by “flesh and blood”? It means it did not come from a physical source, such as Peter reasoning it out or through what he had been taught. God Himself made it known to Peter.

Here’s an interesting question to ask about that though. The fact that Jesus proclaimed that it was God who revealed this to Peter seems to indicate that Peter did not know that he had this knowledge from God. That is, Peter knew something because God had revealed it to him, but he did not know that he knew it because God had revealed it to him. It took Jesus revealing that information for Peter to know that he had actually gained the knowledge supernaturally.

This implies that it is possible for people to sometimes know something without knowing why they know it. And more than that, it is possible for a person to know spiritual truth without knowing that it was God who revealed it to them. That’s a pretty astonishing thing, when you think about it.

Of course, there’s no word here as to how frequently that happens, but we can know for sure that it did happen to Peter at this point.

In any case, Jesus’ words also strike me for another reason. In seeing the words “flesh and blood has not revealed this to you”, I am immediately reminded of John 3:6, where Jesus says, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” This idea is also closely represented in 1 Corinthians 2 and in Romans 8 as well. Let me quote those passages too.

1 Corinthians 2:10-14:
[T]hese things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
Romans 8:5-10:
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
What these passages all have in common is the fact that God must reveal Himself to those who would believe in Him. When Peter answered Jesus, it might be tempting for someone to say, “Sure, the Father revealed it to Peter then, but that doesn’t mean that He must reveal Himself to all people.” But the other passages above run counter to that possibility.

Let us look at this logically for a moment. Here are some of the facts presented by these passages.

1) Spirit is necessary to beget spirit (from John 3).
2) Only the spirit of a person knows the thoughts of a person (from 1 Corinthians 2).
3) Those without the Spirit do not belong to God (from Romans 8).
4) The natural person does not accept the things of God because they are foolishness to him (from 1 Corinthians 2).
5) The natural person is at war with God’s law and cannot submit to it (from Romans 8).

Now, given all these facts, we ask: How did Peter know that Jesus was Christ? First, we can argue the following:

6) I say that “Jesus is Christ” is a spiritual truth.
7) Therefore, the natural person cannot accept that Jesus is Christ (step 4).
8) Therefore, to say that “Jesus is Christ” one must not be a “natural person” (i.e., one must be saved) (deduction from 6 & 7).

Interestingly, the Bible seems to flat out state step 8 too: “[E]very spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God” (1 John 4:3).

But we can continue a bit. Let us restate 6) and continue:

6) (restated): I say that “Jesus is Christ” is a spiritual truth.
9) Therefore, only the Spirit can reveal this (step 1).


10) Therefore, the one who says this might belong to God (step 3).

Now, 10) really should say that the one who says this absolutely does belong to God, but the logic of what we presented so far doesn’t allow that conclusion. After all, I could say, “Pencils that are not in my desk are not owned by me” but this wouldn’t mean that I would own your pencil if you put it in my desk. Similarly, just because those without the Spirit do not belong to God doesn’t, by itself, guarantee that those with the Spirit always do belong to God. So to fix that, let me just point out: “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 1:13).

Now what can we conclude from this? We know logically that Peter believed because it was given to him by the Father, even though it does not appear that Peter even knew that it had been revealed by the Father. But the other passages clarify that it is not just Peter who knows spiritual truths in this manner, but all of us do. Anyone who is able to recognize that Jesus is the Son of the living God can only do so because it is revealed to us. We must have the Spirit and we cannot be the natural man at this point, because the natural man cannot understand spiritual truths at all.

Just as Peter was blessed because the information he had about Christ was given to him by the Father, so too all who know Christ are blessed because the information is given to us by God. There is no one who is saved who was not given this spiritual truth.

And what is really amazing is something you might not have caught yet. Did you notice that sometimes I write about the information being revealed by the Father, and sometimes by the Spirit, and sometimes by the Spirit of Christ? That’s because each of those is true. The passages I’ve mentioned above are, together, Trinitarian in orientation.

Salvation is not, as some would have it, merely the Son and Spirit obeying the will of the Father. The entire Godhead is in agreement on salvation, and works together to accomplish it. The Father, the Spirit of Christ, and the Holy Spirit each work to reveal His truth to believers in the passages I’ve quoted above. They all work together to illuminate the truth in us. That’s pretty amazing, when you stop and think about it.

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Public/Private Key Pairs

Posted: November 14, 2016 (12:20 PM) by CalvinDude
This weekend, I worked on a little project. It's designed to help people communicate via e-mail without eavesdroppers gaining information. Why is this useful? Well, I've had my boss text message me a link to a fridge from a local store, and the next time I logged onto Facebook all the ads were for that exact model of fridge. The same thing happens with e-mail. Your providers are reading all of them (actually, they're using a computer algorithm to pick out certain words, but the principal is the same).

So supposing you wanted to avoid that, a great way to do so would be through encryption. But there are several different types of encryption available. What is the best?

That depends largely on what you want to do and how you want to communicate. The absolute best method of encryption involves the use of a one-time pad. As the name suggests, it's something that's used only one time. The problem is that both the sender and receiver have to have access to the same one-time pad. This means that you have to get that pad to the recipient without it being compromised (i.e., you can't exactly just e-mail the pad or the e-mail client will be able to use it, should the programmers so desire to extract that information).

One of the best methods remaining actually involves giving out information far and wide in the form of a public key. Mathematically, you can create a key pair such that you can use one part of the pair (the public key) to encrypt data that only the other part of the key pair (the private key) can decrypt. Thus, you can send the public key to everyone and anyone can use it to encrypt a message to you that only you can decipher, because you are the only person with the private key.

But how does such a concept work? It works because in math you can have some operations that are really easy to do in one direction and extremely difficult to do in the other direction. For most people, that can easily be demonstrated just by pointing out that it's usually far easier to multiply two numbers than it is to divide two numbers. For example, it's very easy to multiply, say, 57 x 49. It might take you some time and paper, but nearly everyone who reads this blog will be able to do it pretty quickly by hand and show that 57 x 49 = 2793.

But consider this instead. What is 2664 divided by 37? That one is a lot trickier to solve by hand! (The answer, which you can check with a calculator, is 72 in case you were wondering.)

Now, both multiplication and division are pretty easy for us to do these days because we have calculators. But there are mathematical functions that are easy to do in one way and nearly impossible to do in reverse, even using calculators and computers. This includes factorization techniques (involving multiplying two extremely large prime numbers together), the use of elliptic curves, or using discrete logarithms.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter which method is used as long as it is difficult for someone to be able to figure out the private key even when they know what the public key is. And because that difficulty exists, the public key can be shared and you can still be confident your messages are secure (you can never be 100% positive, of course, but that's true of even making it safely across the street when you're crossing).

So if you want to share messages using this system, the person who wants to send you the file needs your public key. They then use that to encrypt the file and send it to you. It's important to note that at this point, even the original person can no longer decrypt the file (of course, they can read the original unencrypted file just fine) because it can only be decrypted using the private key. The file is then sent to you and you use your private key to decrypt it.

Now, if you want to respond to them in an encrypted manner, you need their public key. You encrypt the message and send it to them and only they can decrypt it. Ultimately, what this means is that if you want to exchange encrypted messages, the sender needs to know the recipient's public key. The encryption is then tailored specifically for that person's private key such that no one else will be able to read it.

How secure can we be in this method of communication? As secure as we can be about any other method. After all, if you're wanting to have secure channels of communication for other reasons than just to block advertisers, you should bear in mind that the gummit (or whoever) is far more likely to just bug your house conventionally and spy on you with other means, including implanting malware on your devices, than it would be to try to decrypt your messages. In fact, as far as I can tell, the only reason a police force would even try to decrypt your messages is after the fact--as in, they weren't suspecting you before but now you got arrested and they want to know what your encrypted e-mails are. But at that point, they'll probably already have access to your private key since they'll have your actual computer too.

So, for all intents and purposes, if you're just working at securing your online presence and want to make it difficult for corporations to eavesdrop, then encryption is great technique to do so. If you're paranoid and seeking to hide all your traces, you will have thousands of more holes to patch before you'll need to worry about the strength of your ciphers.

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Enjoy Your "Victory"

Posted: November 9, 2016 (7:46 AM) by CalvinDude
So it appears we have the victory of the “lesser” evil. I’m still trying to see some silver linings in this mess. What analogy could be used to describe this election?

Think of America as a little boy who is playing out in sub-zero temperatures wearing nothing but his boxers. He’s fast developing frost bite. The situation looks quite grim, so we are told “If we do not amputate his limbs, he will die of gangrene.”

Hillary Clinton is, of course, the gangrene in this scenario. Trump is the amputation of the limbs.

But even this analogy doesn’t quite get at the reality of the situation, because running desperately toward the shivering little boy is the mother screaming at the top of her lungs, “JUST GO INSIDE AND GET YOUR COAT!” That was the voice of conservatives who rightly point out that literally any of the seven million other Republican candidates this year would have been better than Trump—even Jeb! would have been an improvement. Instead, America opted to ignore that advice and pick amputation.

Is it really the lesser of two evils when the lesser evil could have been avoided altogether?

The bottom line is, like in the analogy above where the little boy will have to live on now without his limbs, America will now have to live on without a Conservative candidate ever being nominated as president again. I’ve explained the logic before, but I’ll state it again. The RNC wants to win elections more than they care about principals. Conservatives have just told them that they will vote for a candidate as liberal as Trump is, because the Democrat is worse than Trump. (And believe me, the Democrat is always worse than the Republican, otherwise he or she would have had an R after his/her name instead of the D.) The RNC knows that it will be able to pick off more votes from the middle if they run Liberal Republicans, whereas they will already have just as many Conservative votes either way. Therefore, simple math dictates that they must move leftward on the spectrum.

I will never see a Conservative nominated in my lifetime. Trump’s victory assures that.

But I mentioned I’m looking for some silver linings.


1) Hillary might go to jail. Except no one really expect Obama not to pardon her. So…

1) Liberals might see how “reasonable” Conservatives are in voting for someone who is not a religious fuddy-duddy. Except, as one of my atheist friends on Facebook said, “Those of you who voted for Trump -- especially those of you who are Christian -- never again are allowed to say the moral character and integrity of the president is a priority to you.” So…

1) Trump might not be as bad as Hillary would have been.

Well. There is that.

I sure hope you got some great soup out of selling your birthright, Conservatives. It’s not like the Bible ever says things will go wrong if you give up your principals for political convenience or anything.

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Kent McDonald Rating: 0
I agree with your sentiments wholeheartedly. To me, America is the Titanic, having already struck the iceberg, the Captain and crew (the leaders) debate over whether the string quartet should play "Thus Spake Zarathustra" or "American Pie". While the passengers debate whether this ship will sink headfirst or stern first. Some debate whether it is "fair" that first class passengers were able to have eggs benedict while the lower classes had to make do with a hard-boiled egg. Still others are sure that the good ship Titanic will limp along and make harbor safely, all evidence to the contrary, notwithstanding. The crew below decks debates whether to inform everyone they are out of coal to stoke the fires of the engine and they are dead in the water. Although the voices may be raised many decibels trying to convince their neighbor of the righteousness of their "cause", they overlook the obvious...we are all on the same boat and it is going down. The answer? "even so, Lord Jesus, COME QUICKLY!"
CalvinDude Rating: 0
Your last sentence is spot on. In fact, I agree with you agreeing with me for the rest too! :-D

It is possible that Trump really did have a conversion and will govern righteously despite how he ran his campaign. It's also possible that aliens live on the far side of the moon, for that matter.

Pachelbel is Hard to Spell

Posted: October 29, 2016 (4:45 PM) by CalvinDude
I had to rebuild my OS over the weekend due to some hard drive problems. The hard drive is not repaired yet, but I can get data off the drive now and it will survive for a bit. After reinstalling Windows, I needed to make sure it was still functional, so I spent about three hours to make this:

The hardest part of writing that song was spelling Pachelbel correctly...

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Morphic Language

Posted: October 24, 2016 (9:38 AM) by CalvinDude
Back in April, I wrote a post called Language Speculation. I was tempted to recapitulate it here, but you can just click the link and read it instead :-P

Anyway, as an update to that, I saw this news story today: High school athlete wakes up from coma speaking Spanish after concussion. The key passage is:
When he [Reuben Nsemoh] woke up, he couldn't speak English, but he was able to speak fluent Spanish, a language he couldn't speak before.
Now this does not seem to make any sense unless something like Morphic Resonance is true. It certainly doesn't make sense in a Darwinistic universe.

Consider the Darwinist view here. More specifically, the materialistic Darwinian view (as a theistic evolution view could get around this problem). On that view, the only way for Nsemoh to have learned Spanish was if he had picked it up from people around him. But, his brain had to have done this in secret. That is, his brain learned Spanish on the sly. And not only did it learn it on the sly, it learned it so well that after his coma, Nsemoh was able to speak it fluently.

We can ask a simple question: how does this convey a survivability advantage, such that it would be selected for due to Natural Selection? Obviously, it would be useful to have a secondary language to fall back on if one has brain damage, but that's not what I'm questioning here. I mean specifically this: what advantage is it for the brain to learn a complete language that you do not use unless you have brain damage? Because, under Darwinism and materialistic concepts, that's the only thing that could have happened here. Nsemoh had to have learned Spanish without knowing he had learned it.

But wouldn't there be a greater advantage to learning it while knowing you have learned it? Surely, being conscious of this second language that you've picked up would provide a greater survivability advantage, given that it doesn't rely on you needing brain damage before it kicks in in the first place!

Of course, under the theory of Morphic Resonance, this does make sense. In that view, the human brain is more like a television that is tuned to a signal and displays that information on the screen. The information is not generated by the television; the television just displays it. In the same way, the brain doesn’t store information about language; it just is used to “tune in” to the language field so that a person can speak the correct language. If you smack your TV and the sensors go off in just the right way, you might try to watch ESPN and pull in HBO instead. In the same way, damage the brain in just the right way and it’s possible that the language field you “tune into” is Spanish instead of English.

Obviously, this story isn’t proof that Morphic Resonance is true, but it does seem to be quite damning against materialistic views, and would seem to suggest that something like Morphic Resonance must be going on.

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Kent McDonald Rating: 0
I am fascinated by language as I have mentioned in previous posts. I thoroughly enjoy this discussion, because the more we learn about how the world seems to work the more we can appreciate the astounding creativity of God. The variety in species form gigantic whales to the platypus; the variety of insect life from dust mites to spiders as large as your hand; the facts of science including the interplay between light and darkness and human ability to navigate in both extremes; absolutely everything we perceive around us more astonishing the deeper we delve into details. Morphic Resonance, still another intriguing concept that may well be an indicator of His hand at work. There are several sites on the web investigating a different kind of resonance. For instance: Motionless Electromagnetic Generator US Patent 6362718 B1
google it. A fascinating piece of technology patented and stalled for lack of funding. FREE ELECTRICITY. Based on the discovery that electricity can actually be tapped from the ether. Check out Tom Beardens website: where he and some fellow scientists came upon this phenomenon.
Apparently there are mutiple kinds of morphic resonance which we have heretofore never discovered.

Where I Was...

Posted: October 20, 2016 (10:10 AM) by CalvinDude
So you may have noticed I was missing for a bit. That's because I was at the happiest place on Earth.

The bottom of a bottle.

Okay, not really, but since the Disney corporation claims they're the happiest place on Earth, and that's where I was, then I was at the bottom of a bottle. Logic. Q.E.D.

On the plus side, my weight loss goal has been racing forward. On the down side, what got lighter was just my wallet.

Seriously, $4.25 for a churro?

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The Factor Field

Posted: October 13, 2016 (10:07 AM) by CalvinDude
I decided to gather together most of the various streams of thought I've been having on the Factor Field and have put it all together in one spot. I decided the best course of action here might be to do this as a PDF. So, I present to you: The Factor Field.

Please note that this is a first draft and is therefore subject to updates and change. Feel free to point out any errors you may find by commenting on this post.

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Kent McDonald Rating: 0
Thank you kind sir. You have completely and thoroughly validated my decision of long standing to not enter into the esoteric field of computer programming. Although I have lived with computers every day since 1987 and have even grown fond of them in the same way some men have an abiding affection for muscle cars, I made a decision heretofore unvalidated with real world experience. I somehow "knew" I wasn't cut out to be a computer programmer. One: because my expertise leans more toward the field of whimsical word groupings rather than number crunching. (The irony of which was not lost on me when by the end of my adult working life I was a true number cruncher dealing with projections, forecasts, debits and credits, and hounding debtors to pay up (in a nice Christian way, of course). Two: Most of my work life was writing commercial copy for advertising, writing poetry for private pleasure, song lyrics for musical numbers, and short stories. I am not constructed for thinking through the ideas you presented in your PDF. I will say I am proud to have finished at least through page five with a modicum of understanding, but honestly you lost me at hello if truth be told.

I thank God for men who have your 'peculiar' gift. Without you the forward march of human progress would come to a stumbling halt. I salute you !
CalvinDude Rating: 0
Thanks... I think. :-D

Starting to Get Disappointed...

Posted: October 8, 2016 (8:57 PM) by CalvinDude
Some of you may have seen the blog post I wrote yesterday. Today, it's gone. To add to the joys, I cannot load the database tables now either so I'm not even certain that this post is going to go through.

My web host was good. Now they're starting to become a disappointment....


Worst part, I really don't feel like taking the time to rewrite everything I did yesterday.

Oh well. C'est la vie.

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Kent McDonald Rating: 0
Computers! .....Can't live without 'em and can't live with 'em. No matter how fast your processor gets, it always gets outstripped by the technological advances in support of more "robust" software. I feel for you, brother. I don't know how many times a day I get frustrated with my computer, my internet connection, my ISP, my blog host and politics!

Even so...Come quickly, Lord Jesus. Get me OUTA HERE!

Is the Present the Key to the Past?

Posted: September 29, 2016 (8:42 AM) by CalvinDude
I remember a science course in high school. I'm not sure if it was geology or biology (I went to a small school and therefore only had one one science teacher through my entire scholastic experience, so can't narrow it down that way either). Whichever course it was, the teacher at one point referenced Charles Lyell's famous quote: "The present is the key to the past."

At first glance, this seems reasonable. After all, the idea of it (which is to express uniformitarianism) is that the processes that happen today are the same processes that happened in the past. Therefore, if you want to know what the world was like 30 million years ago, just look outside today.

And pretend you don't see anything man-made.

Okay, there are some obvious problems with this interpretation. However, by and large it seems to be a sound concept. Lyell used it to argue against catastrophism, which said that there were large cataclysmic events through the Earth's history. Indeed, Lyell (who was famous before Darwin and, in fact, influenced Darwin) was atypical of his time in that most scientists of the day saw plenty of evidence of catastrophic events.

But when Darwin coupled natural selection with Lyell's uniformitarianism, scientists quickly left the catastrophic interpretations behind and decided that it was probably the case that the world is uniformitarian. Of course, this didn't change any of the data or reasoning that scientists had used before this theory became chic, but scientists of today just ignore all that evidence and pretend the former scientists were idiots or something.

My point here isn't to get into the uniformitarian vs. catastrophic debate (since I think the science is pretty well settled against uniformitarianism and for catastrophism), but rather to challenge the concept that "the present is key to the past" in the first place, especially in light of what we know about chaos today.

The simple fact of the matter is that if we look at the world as a system that is evolving through time (using the word "evolving" in its original sense of change and not in a Darwinistic sense), then there is absolutely no reason to believe that the present is key to the past in anything but a severely restricted general sense. Indeed, we can see many stable systems that began as a chaotic system. For a simple example, you can think of a pendulum made from a rock tied to the end of a string. You can put that on the branch of a tree and set the pendulum in motion. While it is rocking, the wind also jostles both the pendulum directly and the branch upon which it sits, causing chaotic vibrations throughout. The pendulum will still settle down into the familiar back-and-forth motion because the attractor in the system is toward that stable movement. The chaos gets "smoothed out."

The problem is, that back-and-forth motion is identical to the motion one would get if there had never been any wind in the first place. If one is in the midst of a back-and-forth motion, you could not argue that there had never been any wind because the current state of the system matches the state that would be there if there had been no wind.

Likewise, you could enter into a closed gymnasium and look at the swimming pool to see that the surface is smooth and flat. That would not allow you to conclude that there had never been a swim meet held there since you don't see any ripples or waves. Those ripples and waves dissipate over time, since the attractor is toward a smooth surface.

Couple that with the evidence we have for catastrophism throughout history, such as the KT event being an asteroid or comet that struck the earth to kill off the dinosaurs, and it seems to me downright foolhardy to assume that the past was like the present currently is. Or think about the claim that rocks are deposited at a rate of a few centimeters per year today, so they must have always been so, and then think about fossils. How in the world would a fossil become fossilized at such a slow rate? It simply wouldn't. Scavengers would have gotten to the bones. Wind and rain would have scattered them. So it appears that every instance of a fossil testifies to some catastrophic (even if localized) event. And for that matter, if fossils are created by these slow uniform processes, then why can't we see fossils being formed in that manner today? Bottom line: every fossil is evidence of catastrophic events, and there are a heck of a lot of fossils around (just look at Congress).

This is just a small taste of the examples of catastrophic events in history. Rather than being uniform, it appears that historic events are more along the lines of punctuated equilibrium--stretch of uniformity punctuated by catastrophic events, which you may notice just is catastrophism. The present isn't the key to the past except in a very general sense. We simply cannot extrapolate backwards from current positions to a precursor state.

In fact, if anything, all we can really say is that the world tends toward a stable system, which helps to smooth out the chaotic events that are consistent and frequent. The world appears to be stable because of this smoothing effect, not because the processes themselves are uniform. Thus, it is not the present that is key to the past; it is the attractors of the system that are key to the general trend.

That's far less "catchy" and doesn't work as a bumper sticker. But truth rarely does.

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Kent McDonald Rating: 0
I agree completely. Two rather interesting items. My father-in-law (at the time back in the 70's) worked for the Texas Forest Service. He spent a huge amount of his life wandering in the forest. He showed me something he brought home. It was a small log about the length and diameter of your arm. One end was normal. The other half (about 20 inches of it) was in a totally petrified state.

According to Wikipedia: "The petrifaction process occurs underground, when wood becomes buried under sediment or volcanic ash and is initially preserved due to a lack of oxygen which inhibits aerobic decomposition. Mineral-laden water flowing through the covering material deposits minerals in the plant's cells; as the plant's lignin and cellulose decay, a stone mold forms in its place. The organic matter needs to become petrified before it decomposes completely."

The only problem is that he found the log lying in the open air with one end in an "apparently mineral rich stream" and the other end on the bank. No thousands of years involved. No enormous pressure brought to bear. No oxygen deprivation as far as we know. There are many things in this world which defy theoretical explanations.

The other interesting thing: Scientists for as long as I can remember have stated that the speed of light is a constant in the universe. However, within the last 20 years discoveries have been made that show the speed of light is actually slowing. We just didn't have instruments capable of detecting the infinitesimally small slow-down.
CalvinDude Rating: 0
That's pretty cool. I've heard of other examples of it, such as a (still living, for a few hours at least) frog found inside a lump of coal in a mine in France and a fossilized pick axe from the 1800s, not to mention that there's a coal-ized (is that word?) tree that was found upright in the middle of a coal seam. But it's cool that you actually got to see one of those types of artifacts in person :-)

New Certificate

Posted: September 27, 2016 (2:07 PM) by CalvinDude
Regular readers will have already noticed, but the SSL certificate (which makes this site secure) had expired. It took a bit longer than I'd like from my tech support, but it's finally been updated. I hope to be able to resume some more writing in the next few days.

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