Friday, April 30, 2010

Science, Faith and Reduction

A number of articles seemed to echo one another recently. I'll blog them in reverse order to my reading them, so first or last is Breaking Things Down to Particles Blinds Scientists to Big Picture
Karl Popper, the great philosopher of science, once divided the world into two categories: clocks and clouds. Clocks are neat, orderly systems that can be solved through reduction; clouds are an epistemic mess, “highly irregular, disorderly, and more or less unpredictable.” The mistake of modern science is to pretend that everything is a clock, which is why we get seduced again and again by the false promises of brain scanners and gene sequencers. We want to believe we will understand nature if we find the exact right tool to cut its joints. But that approach is doomed to failure. We live in a universe not of clocks but of clouds.
This resonated with me as I had just read John Stackhouse saying much the same thing about faith. From “All Religions Are the Same…” (except Where They’re Not)
What needs to be argued and not just asserted is that each of the major religions really does reduce down to moralism or mysticism without a loss to its essential character. And, in my view, most religions do not so reduce. Devotional (bhakti) Hinduism (the most popular form of Hinduism) doesn’t; Mahayana Buddhism (the most popular form of Buddhism) doesn’t; Judaism doesn’t; and Christianity and Islam, the most popular religions in the world, certainly don’t. (I recognize that there are moralistic and mystical varieties of each of the Abrahamic religions, but the majority of believers and of those religions’ formal traditions do not, I maintain, reduce their religions to mere moralism or mysticism.)
To get the full character of what he's saying you need to read the full post, it doesn't reduce to a quote particularly well.

Reduction of faith is often called Pluralism, though how you have many when everything is the same is lost on me. Brian J. Walsh touched on the idea of Principled Pluralism in Inclusive, Particular and Being Down and Out in Austin.
We need to acknowledge and affirm the plurality of worldviews in our society and find meaningful and respectful ways for various faith communities to make their contribution to the common good. Now I also happen to think, on anthropological grounds, that we are all members of faith communities, but that requires an expanded notion of faith that breaks through the religion/secular dualism that has been championed by Enlightenment modernity. I think that all people live their lives out of some foundational worldview or narrative that is, at heart, religious in character, even if that religion is self-consciously “secularist” or atheist.


So maybe what we need to talk about is just what do we mean by inclusiveness. If what we mean by inclusiveness is that we need to find ways to bridge the gap between various groups, whether Christian of various stripes, Muslim, Aboriginal, feminist, gay/lesbian, liberal or even neo-conservatives (a stretch likely for both of us!) to fight against poverty and to seek the common good, then of course, count me in.

But count me in as a Christian.

Let the various groups make their contribution – often on their own, but sometimes in coalition where that will be most effective – but let them make their contribution with their worldview clearly in the forefront, not hidden behind some veil of religious neutrality. That imposition of religious neutrality is, in fact, one of the oppressive legacies of the liberalism that I am opposing.
- Peace

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Of Science, Faith and Blogging

Will be in Vancouver next week for two conferences. First up is Wonder and Devotion: Bringing Science and Faith Together for the Church at Regent. As that wraps up on Friday I'll head over for Northern Voice 2010: a two-day, non-profit personal blogging and social media conference. My guess, I'll be the only person at both conferences.

- Peace

Monday, April 26, 2010

500 KM and a broken spoke

500 KM in the Burbs
The good news, I hit the 500 KM mark tonight. Also it was the first day this year I've done the entire trip to and from work, no ctrain. On the downside I have at least one broken spoke on the rear wheel, so the bike will be going into the shop tomorrow. The forecast for the end of the week isn't looking great and I still have 95 KM to go for April.

- Peace

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

400 KM

400 KM Heading West
Hit 400 KM on the way home tonight. To stay on target I need to hit the 500 and 600 KM marks in the next 9 days - fun :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ctrain Angel

At Canyon Meadows
Now posting a shoot I did last week with Jessie F as a C Train Angel. Thanks to Darlene Brink for doing the Makeup, Hair and last minute adjustments to the costume.

- Peace

Thursday, April 15, 2010

At 300 KM for 2010 - 300 KM to go in April

Wheel Chair Parking at 300 KM
Hit the 300 KM mark on the way to the ctrain tonight. I'm still not doing the entire 52 km round trip. Lost a week due to snow, wind and a sleepy Saturday. So I have two weeks to do another 300 KM to keep with the plan.

- Peace

Hope for a Tree Cut Down

Not sure where I found it, but I'm enjoying Hope for a Tree Cut Down a free Album in MP3 format from the folks at Church of the Beloved. BTW I'm not a fan of most "worship" music. This one reminds me of The Choir and friend's excellent At the Foot of the Cross.

- Peace

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

William Gibson on Q, on Wired

William Gibson, one of the authors I try to read deeply was on Q yesterday talking about Darwin's Bastards a new Canadian speculative fiction anthology. In the interview Gibson talks about the relativeness of dystopia and how people have missed that his new writing is set in the present, not the future. You can hear the intervew as part the April 13th Q Podcast. The interview starts at 15:46.

I also spotted a William Gibson story on Wired summarizing a Q & A session Gibson has been running on his blog. Gibson was answering questions on his new novel Zero History due out in Sept.

Two more books for my To Read List.

- Peace

Ironman vs Bruce Lee

Cool animation by Patrick Boivin of Montreal.

- Peace

Monday, April 12, 2010

Darlene Brink has a Website.

It will come as no surprise that if you ask me to recommend a Make Up Artist in Calgary that Darlene Brink would be top of my list. She's been the magic behind some of my favorite photos. Now she has a website showing off her work:

- Peace

Sunday, April 11, 2010

James Gosling has left Oracle.

James Gosling, father of Java and native Calgarian has left Oracle and has posted about moving on at his new blog. For those of us who have made our living with the tech he invented this isn't an encouraging sign from the company that now controls Java. For anyone who's heard James speak candidly about J2EE this doesn't come as a surprise, in fact I'm surprised it took this long.

- Peace

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Copyright needs to return to it's roots

The notion that lengthening copyright increases creativity is questionable, however. Authors and artists do not generally consult the statute books before deciding whether or not to pick up pen or paintbrush. And overlong copyrights often limit, rather than encourage, a work’s dissemination, impact and influence. It can be difficult to locate copyright holders to obtain the rights to reuse old material. As a result, much content ends up in legal limbo (and in the case of old movies and sound recordings, is left to deteriorate—copying them in order to preserve them may constitute an act of infringement). The penalties even for inadvertent infringement are so punishing that creators routinely have to self-censor their work. Nor does the advent of digital technology strengthen the case for extending the period of protection. Copyright protection is needed partly to cover the costs of creating and distributing works in physical form. Digital technology slashes such costs, and thus reduces the argument for protection.
Copyright and Wrong From The Economist print edition

Saturday, April 03, 2010

If You Can Make God Bleed

"If you can make God bleed people will cease to believe in him." - Whiplash From the second Iron Man 2 trailer. Really? cause that's a big part of why I believe.

- Peace

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Google Wave Notifications

Looks like Google has been listening, they've added notifications to Google Wave. Not sure how well that will scale, but it beats where they started.

- Peace