Archive for February, 2010

February 27, 2010

Happy Birthday to You

Child who is melodic.
Her dress has a pink sash.
All day long  you want soda.
Reb-omi’s sharing  sister.
I hear you say to all  hi.
So glad you are part of us.

Who am I talking about? Can you figure out how old she is turning (that is if I did it correctly – hope so)? Click here for the who? Have to comment your answer to get the age.

February 25, 2010

Can’t Find Time to Exercise? Try this:

Okay, okay – personal opinion, but I actually think that about 90% of health is what you put into your body (food) and 10% is what you put your body through (exercise). All that said, exercise is important, we know it but we struggle getting it done. Not enough energy, not enough time; the task seems overwhelming. Well there is good news for you. Maria Cheng’s AP article “Interval training can cut exercise hours sharply” reaffirms what we all should already know.

Interval training includes times of intense exercise mixed with rest. The general idea is to put your body in an intensely physically stressful situation and at least two things will happen. First, your muscles are shocked in a way that general exercise does not work them so they develop better and quicker. Second, your metabolism and heart rate stay higher longer after the workout continuing to burn those unwanted calories.

Interval training, which she points out was “originally developed for Olympic athletes and thought to be too strenuous for normal people.” Normal, I’m guessing, meaning out of shape. But recent studies have shown that this belief that only an elite athlete can handle it as being false. Cheng references that studies that include older people and people with health problems can handle interval training.

Jan Helgerud, an authority on this topic, was quoted saying, “High-intensity interval training is twice as effective as normal exercise This is like a new pill that works twice as well.” Just think – you can work smarter and faster, saving time and being healthier for it.

Cheng’s article sites running, biking, rowing and swimming. Cheng’s article rightly gets token quotes that both support and disavow interval training.

What is worth grasping from Cheng’s article and the concept of interval training is the idea of intense workout. For most people, I think that the biggest issue with exercise really is not time, but is enjoyment. We don’t like to exercise. I am an avid believer in finding something you enjoy because I think two things will happen from this: 1. You will stay with it longer if it is something that refreshes you not only when you are done, but also during your workout. 2. The key to physical fitness (outside of diet) is intensity. Simply, most of us get winded doing our workout because we don’t push it.

Truth is that it is hard to take your intensity to the gym day in and day out – unless you love it. So, while Cheng’s article highlights the typical interval workout the truth is you have a lot of options that really work. You can box, do martial arts, rock climb, gymnastics, plyometrics, dance, etc.

Since this is my blog, let me tell you my favorite approach to fitness. This approach includes intensity with the result of unimaginable results in your physical fitness. Personal testimony here, so yes, no overstatement that the results are unimaginable. I’m talking about Crossfit. Crossfit’s philosophy is about truly being fit – no just looking fit. Or to put it another way, don’t do Crossfit if you are just trying “to look good.” You would have to toss out your vanity to try any number of exercises. To make my point, Crossfit does a competition every year called The Crossfit Games, where the winners (male/female) are given the title “World’s Fittest Men and Women on Earth.” No, I don’t think it is an exaggeration. Consider:

Saturday
Event 1: 7km Hill Run
Event 2: Deadlift one rep every 30 sec moving from 315lbs to 505lbs in 10lb increments (women went from 185lbs to 375lbs)
Event 3: 170m Hill Sprint with two 35lb sandbags (women used a single sandbag)
Event 4: Row 500m, pound a 4′ stake into the ground, Row 500m (women used a 3′ stake)
Event 5: Couplet, which was 3 Rounds for time of 30 Wallball / 30 75lb Squat Snatch (women used 14lb medicine ball and a 45lb barbell)

Sunday
Event 6: Max load Barbell Snatch
Event 7: Triplet, which was max rounds in 8min of 4 Handstand Pushups / 8 32kg KB Swings / 12 GHD Situps (women used a 24kg KB)
Event 8: Chipper, which was 15 barbells cleans (155/100lbs), 30 toes to bar, 30 box jumps (24/20″), 15/10 muscle-ups, 30 push presses (40/25lbs), 30 double-unders, 15 thrusters (135/95lbs), 30 pull-ups, 30 burpees, 300′ overhead walking lunges (45/25lb plate)

Crossfit combines Olympic lifting, power lifting, plyometrics, and gymnastics for strength and conditioning. It is intense from start to finish with an average workout time of 20 minutes. Some workouts are as short as 6 minutes, other as much as 30 minutes. But when you actually master the different workout and techniques only your 10k should take longer.

The nice thing is that every day’s workout is posted online for free. Just take a look. You don’t know what is coming so you can’t get bored, you will be challenged, your muscles will keep guessing and you’ll be healthier for it.

Final note: Please seek professional advice on lifting techniques before trying these exercises. Most areas have Crossfit gyms you can join if you want. The advantage of joining a gym is accountability and technique. Crossfit is more interested in your technique than your weight.

Now that you have extra time due to more productive workouts you can visit my blog more often!

February 24, 2010

Videos Pulled

The videos in relation to the persecution of Christians in India have been pulled. They are currently being verified as actually depicting what they claim to depict – that is Christians being beaten and killed in India. If it turns out the videos are not true then they will be deleted from my website. I’ll post an update when I find something out.

Still, we know that persecution, beatings and murders occur to Christians throughout much of the world today. Prayer is still needed.

February 23, 2010

Speechless

Comfortable Christian in America? Then you owe it to yourself to watch these videos. A couple of warnings: 1. These are graphic videos. 2. Don’t watch them if you have any other responsibilities in the next 30 minutes. All together they will run for about eleven minutes, but I pray the impact leaves you planted and rooted in prayer for the rest of that half hour. I’ll be shocked if it doesn’t.

One other word before you watch these videos. Counting the Cost has been a theme for me lately. Luke 14:26-35 being the text that has led this charge. I find this text popping up everywhere. Multiple sermons by different pastors, using it as a theme in our evangelism time on Wednesdays this semester, coming across it in books, but most importantly the Holy Spirit has laid the necessity of its truth in everyday life upon me in an almost incarnational way.   Jesus speaks

If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters– yes, and even his own life– he cannot be My disciple.  Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.  “For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?  Otherwise, after he has laid the foundation and cannot finish it, all the onlookers will begin to make fun of him,  saying, ‘This man started to build and wasn’t able to finish.’  “Or what king, going to war against another king, will not first sit down and decide if he is able with 10,000 to oppose the one who comes against him with 20,000?   If not, while the other is still far off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.  In the same way, therefore, every one of you who does not say good-bye to all his possessions cannot be My disciple.  “Now, salt is good, but if salt should lose its taste, how will it be made salty?  It isn’t fit for the soil or for the manure pile; they throw it out. Anyone who has ears to hear should listen!

Count the cost.

Vodpod videos no longer available. Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Persecution in India: Unedited Footag…“, posted with vodpod

February 23, 2010

A Review of John Calvin: His Life & Influence

Robert L Reymond’s John Calvin: His Life and Influence is a keeper. There I said it. This admission does not come with some hesitation.

Why would you want this book? I think the answer lies with how desperate you are to know the story of JC (John Calvin not Jesus Christ – keep up). The value of this work is how Reymond deals with the smaller details in Calvin’s life and provides insight and a knowledge of all the resources in order to bring about a richer discussion concerning who John Calvin was and what the passion was that drove him in his life. Because of Reymond’s aptitude to gather information and integrate this information into the bigger picture the entire work has resources and lists that you will not come across in any other work on Calvin. This is the richness of this work. The footnotes are as important as the text. You cannot afford to pass up any  fine point – all of them deserving of consideration. This aspect of the book becomes more and more prominent as you work deeper and deeper into its pages.

An Example:

John Calvin’s conversion experience is itself shrouded in mystery. Still, it is possible than Calvin left a cryptic description of his conversion in a letter to Jacopo Sadoleto who was a Cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church. His letter is a response to a letter that Cardinal Sadoleto sent to Geneva calling for their repentance.  Calvin took up the call to write a response to the Cardinal.

Calvin’s response is too long to reprint here for our purposes, but Reymond’s siting of both letters and his footnotes interacting with this time make it difficult to find cause not to agree with Reymond’s hypothesis that John Calvin had his conversion in view when responding to Cardinal Sadoleto.

But this is just the type of interaction that makes this book so compelling and profitable. General consensus acknowledges that Calvin never provides an autobiographical sketch of how he became a Protestant (and regenerated) believer. Because of this acceptance, events such as Calvin’s letter to the Cardinal are typically glazed over if not ignored. But Reymond understands our betterment for considering the possibility.

There is a weakness with Reymond’s work. It is a laborious read. Originally the book was a four-part lecture and it is easy to see how a lecture can be compelling, while the printed form is tedious.  Initially, I came across this book with the idea that it could serve as an introduction to Calvin. Its length and reviews suggested to me that this would be the case. After reading, I don’t think I could have been farther from the truth. If you want to have a library committed to the reformer than this book should be part of it. If you have never read about Calvin and are looking for a good introductory resource then I would probably encourage you to go elsewhere.

February 20, 2010

Cajun Conjugation

Who Dat: Singular Plural
Past Who Det wuz Who Dem wuz
Present Who Dat Who Dees
Future Who De Be Who Doz Be

Example:

Past: Who Det wuz say dey gonna beat dem saints!
Present: Who dat say dey gonna beat dem saints!
Future: Who de be say dey gonna beat dem saints!

Thus ends your class on Cajun conjugation.

February 19, 2010

What Holds You Together?

Vodpod videos no longer available.
February 19, 2010

Please Rob Me

To the technologically savvy: Perhaps you are too savvy for your own good. Please Rob Me is a website committed to generating awareness among the larger populace that certain websites such as twitter and foursquare leave your home vulnerable for attack. Specifically, you may be telling people when you are not home so they know when to rob you. Thanks to Angela Lu’s article from World Magazine you have been notified.

February 18, 2010

Why Intelligent Design and Evolution Belong in the Same Category

Today’s blog is a continuation of yesterday’s blog on evolution and intelligent design (ID). Roy Speckhardt, who is the executive director for the American Humanist Association, responded to my post which primarily was targeted at a quote he made available through AHA’s website. This entry is primarily a response to the comment left by him. I have chosen to post it as a blog rather than in the comment section for multiple reasons:

  1. The reply is too long  to put neatly in the comments section.
  2. I would like it to be searchable on its own.
  3. This gives me the incentive to do another post on an interesting subject.
  4. We all can benefit from this discussion
  5. Perhaps I will personally be able to build a relationship with Mr. Speckhardt.
  6. As I said yesterday, “Every Intelligent Design proponent on the national level is happy for the discussion Mr. Speckhardt.” And Mr. Speckhardt appears to be amenable to this conversation as his response is itself an indicator of this fact.

A couple of disclaimers from the start in this response. First, I am not recognized as a national proponent of ID; although, I am more than happy to have this discussion. Second, as I do not know Mr. Speckhardt’s personal convictions in many of the areas of the discussion concerning evolution I will be making some sweeping generalizations. I have no desire to misrepresent anyone and will gladly accept correction at any point where I have done a disservice to either Mr. Speckhardt or evolution. My goal is not to address something that looks like evolution, but evolution itself. My descriptions of evolution should then be akin to the self description an evolutionist would provide. So above all I want to be accountable in this discussion.

If I understand Mr. Speckhardt’s response correctly then it is not that he has a problem with dialogue concerning the differences between ID and evolution, but that he has a problem doing it in the setting of a classroom because the science is so overwhelmingly in favor of evolution that it just is an unreasonable request. He posits this as an issue between faith and science. For Mr. Speckhardt the position of evolution is a position of science while the position of ID is a position of faith. And of course this is exactly the problem. My position is that if ID should not be called science then either should evolution.

This distinction drives right at the center of what we mean by science. What exactly is science? Personally, I believe much of the rhetoric that comes from the camp of evolutionists results from playing fast and loose with the term science. There are many reasons for this verbal play. For the most part I don’t think it is intentional, but the result is equivocation on the grandest scale. However, my guess as to why this is the case is because  most people have not considered the multiple answers that are available to the question “What is science.” The problem results in category confusion of Aristotelian proportions.

We can begin a discussion of science by saying simply that is a method of enquiry. It proceeds by means of a hypothesis and stands in need of verification. And there are at least three things a hypothesis should do:

  1. It should incorporate all the available data.
  2. The solution sought should make sense of all the data, not just some of the data at the expense of the rest;
  3. It should be coherent with larger fields of verified study (perhaps this is what is meant by scientific validity by Mr. Speckhardt).

Science then is a kind of knowledge. When looking at the criteria for a hypothesis it should be obvious then that science is limited by that which can be observed. Of course, this is not its only limit. Even in this field of observing and testing the material universe, science is driven by the position of the observer: Where he is, who he is, the culture he lives in, the time period he is from, the tools available to him, his limited imagination and unrecognized limitations all come into play on his ability to create a hypothesis. Yes, even add this up to the millions of scientists who have and ever will exist and the problem is still the same. In this sense then there is no such thing as science in the sense of pure and complete knowledge of the given subject. There are just many variables and issues at play. Even on the things we say we know all we are saying is what we know is what we observed before in a specific environment.

This point of the impossibility of knowing “pure science” cannot be overemphasized. You don’t have to be a proponent of ID to get the Anthropic Principle, which is what drives my point here. And of course, both ID and evolution as theories are not just scientific in nature, but they are also historical inquiries. And just as we find that it is impossible to know “pure science” so to is in impossible to have an account of “mere history”. They have an extra barrier beyond the issues of being an observer, but they must also deal with the constraint of a time line as well.

The whole idea then that we can sift through the evidence without our sifting having an effect on the evidence is, in my estimation, intellectually dishonest. The observer has too many limitations to think otherwise. We don’t even have to consider evolution to see the reality of this. Discussions on bogons (the study of bogosity), string theory and what light looks like all are illustrations how how much we can’t observe about that which we already think we know. And please note none of my given illustrations carry the time-honored weight of going back in history in an effort to make sense of the data.

We can say that at least one definition of science is what I would call “pure science” which is the way things actually are in the universe. Additionally, I would say that we cannot know “pure science” and we are deceiving ourselves if we think we can. This is not to say that scientific endeavors are not worthwhile, but that we should recognize their limitations. And with emphasis I say this: This is what most people mean when the use the term science, which means that they are claiming more than they can. I think this is why evolutionists are so dogmatic about their position truly being of science. Well, maybe it is…depending on how you define it.

But building on this initial understanding of “pure science” then is where we begin to see science as it daily corresponds with our lives. This is we do experiments, we create hypotheses, we test them, interact with them, respond to them, seek to verify them then validate them. An example of this is the law of gravity and the test of Newton’s apple. Everyone can go outside today and let go of an apple and it will drop. For our discussion’s sake, let’s call this “known science.” We all then can summarize that gravity will pull the apple to the ground. But in this definition of science the summary ends here.

And then there is the science that most of us do; although we think we are doing “pure science” what we really are doing what I’m going to call “philosophical science.” The reason I’m calling it this is because in this science not only are we doing the study as represented in experimentations, but our summary of the results of the test do not stop where they would at “known science,” which is merely seeking to restate the event as you observed it with repeatable accuracy. Instead we go further and offer our commentary as to why these things are the way they are and by doing so we have left the field of science and entered the field of philosophy. Of course, I’m more comfortable calling it philosophy, but since science is driven by its proponents’ philosophy there is some intermingling of the disciplines, so if you want to define it as a type of science then fine. But what you should not do is act like you are not doing it or that it is not so. With disciplined fields of study such as science how can we trust the oberserver’s findings when the observer fails to recognize where “pure science” has ended and “known science” has begun or where “known science” has ended but “philosophical science” has begun? Well the answer is I don’t trust this scientist or anyone adhering to any ideology who can’t recognize this as any sort of trusted authority.

Of course, the historian faces the same problem with investigating history. They can report the events as they found them to be. That is one definition of history. But typically, just as with science, we typically practice a philosophical type of historical investigation, which is one that offers philosophical summaries to our findings. We don’t just say give an accounting of the events, but we then give our interpretation of why these events transpired.

Now enter into the debate of ID and evolution. Mr. Speckhardt you say that one is of science but one is of faith. You pointed to the Dover court case, as though courts prove anything these days. And you act like there is consensus in the scientific community. I disagree and digress. If ID is not of science then either can evolution be for they both belong in the same category, which is they give an explanation to the origin of life. As I’ve pointed out this is not just a scientific endeavor, but a historical one and a philosophical one.

In your response to me yesterday you wrote, “need more than a wild guess, you need something that a preponderance of scientists can recognize as valid, something replicable.” Well, please give me the information to the experiment that took non-life and made it life. I must have missed that study. Did you use crystals? Was lightning or electricity used? Since science is based on the replicable then replicate life. The point is that evolutionists for all their swagger can’t and this is the crux of the matter. You claim to be of science and say I’m of faith. Fine, I’m of faith. I have no problem with that. But since your foundation is repeatability (“something replicable” as you stated it) and you can’t repeat  the very thing evolution supposedly proves (the origin of life) while you stand on the foundation of science then it is your system that is being dishonest. And how you can’t recognize the faith required to accept the jumping of a bunch of elements into organic life purely because they are resting on a crystal during a thunder storm is interesting.

It seems to me to be a funny thing that when evolutionists are pressed on the crux of their theory – the origin of life – the answer still is “I don’t know.”

ID and its similar theories are not new on the scene nor or they novel. They have been here longer than yours and just like yours they interpret all the evidence available. You may think ID is improbable, but since “pure science” is an improbability then I am frankly dumbfounded at the zealous refusal to accept dialogue in any forum that places both theories as equals. Unlike most of the famous proponents of evolution, who are decidedly philosophical in their rhetoric, most of the ID proponents making news these days are entrenched in the science of the thing. Example compare your man of the year to World’s man of the year. Both invested in the discussion, both scientists, but one famous for his work in science and the other famous for his blog. There is a discrepancy.

Since ID has many proponents who are scholars in scientific, historical and philosophical fields (just as evolutionists do) and it is not a novel theory and it is held by a sizeable portion of our country it stands to reason that you would be amenable to allowing both in the classroom for investigation. If the evidence is so overwhelmingly in your favor and all (or most) the science teachers overseeing the subject are evolutionists then why are you so defensive?

My friend, I hope to be able to call you that, I hope that I have been respectful of your position in this response and I hope this meets you well. Thank you for taking the time earlier to respond to my blog.

February 17, 2010

Darwin Day Coming to a Country Near You

Not surprising, the American Humanist Association (AHA) is among groups petitioning to make “Darwin Day” a national holiday. In an article addressing this subject on their website, Roy Speckhardt the executive director for AHA argues for the importance of Darwin Day. A portion of the article reads:

Speckhardt noted that this year, the American Humanist Association is focusing its Darwin Day efforts on the importance of teaching evolution in public schools. “It’s disgraceful that over 150 years after the publication of ‘On the Origin of Species’ the battle over evolution is still being played out in science classrooms,” Speckhardt said. “Efforts to insinuate ‘Intelligent Design’ or to ‘teach the controversy’ about evolution have been launched by anti-science, far-right ideologues who care more about enforcing a narrow religious agenda than providing our kids with the best possible science education.”

While I grow weary of the rhetoric of such statements it is important for us non-evolutionists to continue to engage in the subject. I’m not aware of one person who calls evolution into question who has a problem with the science. We do not have a problem with the evidence. We have a problem with evolutionary proponents’ interpretation of the evidence and their implicit refusal to acknowledge their interpretation as such. When you act like your summary of the evidence is on par with the evidence then it is you who become the fundamentalist bigot who chases everyone else out of the room. Under the call of reason we see a system of faith that can’t even recognize what it is at its foundational elements. How is this not problematic? A recent article in Newsweek by Lisa Miller about Harvard as a  secular institution helps bring this issue into clarity – the setting up of faith and reason as though they are forever fixed in a cataclysmic and eternal battle.  Al Mohler provides a good summary of Ms. Miller’s article at his blog.

Even when the scientific data is available for current investigations we find that the observer plays an increasingly important role of interpretation. Climategate shows us this if nothing else. While Roy Speckhardt says its disgraceful that a battle is still being played out in our classrooms over evolution, what really is disgraceful is him acting like his position is the only tenable one. His language is a parlor trick to confuse the issue as though it is “Intelligent Design” against science calling “Intelligent Design” an “anti-science, far-right” ideology. I guess you have to be a republican buffoon to believe in it based on his colorful language. Consider his statement that says it is a “religious agenda” against “the best possible science education” and ask yourself who sounds narrow-minded and bigoted. Every Intelligent Design proponent on the national level is happy for the discussion Mr. Speckhardt. When you prance around acting aghast at the idea that your belief is above scrutiny then it is you who is oppossed to the best possible science education – which is allowing all the evidence (and interpretation) to be placed under scrutiny.

I could care less about Darwin Day. It does not bother me that fans of Darwin push for such a day. We all have our heroes, but when our heroes are above scrutiny and our ideas above dialogue then all we have become are mindless ideologues zealous for a cause we can’t defend and so we become militant. To Roy Speckhardt all I’m asking is that in the midst of your position to have charity for the discussion of ideas rather than throwing verbal hand grenades in my direction.