2011-1-24 LATE New Year’s Resolution(s)

OKAYYYY!!! I’m throwing it out there…

I’m having HUGE amounts of trouble staying on track with my goals and I’m not sure why. (well, the obvious answer is that it’s MUCH easier to stay fat, get fatter, be lazy, etc etc etc…but I’ve always been more of a git-r-done kinda guy than that)

I really do NOT want to stay stuck so I’m going to devote some effort into getting a good support network set up around me to help ensure my success. I ran/exercised great week one of this year, then got sidetracked week 2, then a little bit of effort last week and then I stepped on the scales this morning to see what I knew I would see…rats.

So here’s what I’m going to do:

I’ve spent some time writing down 4 associated lists on one piece of paper:

1.) What are the things I WANT to be doing in my life consistently right now?

2.) How have I been FEELING the last 3-4 months? (because I’m not doing them, hint: bad)

3.) How would I LIKE to be feeling? (another hint: good)

4.) What will it TAKE for me to do this? (get to the point where I’m feeling good)

So I’ve written them down and nope, I’m probably not going to post them here, but I will address some of them on some posts…

Here’s what I want to get done today…get up at 6:00 AM…DONE…yeah!, get a run in..NOT yet…but I am committing to the world wide webernet blogosphere that I will…I’ll post today/tonight when it’s done..

Here’s the First List in case you want to know:

What are the things I want to be doing consistently in my life right now?

1.)    I want to be running regularly 5-6 times per week

2.)    I want to be getting up at 6:00 AM or earlier daily

3.)    I want to weigh 215 lbs or less

4.)    I want to feel healthy and rested

5.)    I want to be making breakfast for my family most mornings

6.)    I want to be a size 36 maybe even 34

7.)    I want to be working on my World View

8.)    I want to be growing/developing my Christian Faith

9.)    I want to have a healthy perspective & behavior with food and drink

10.) I want to be spending the right time and effort as a father and husband..

to be continued……

2011-1-9 and on the 7th Day…

I rest. No running, no exercise. It’s a workout I never miss – unless a formal race occurs on Sunday. Otherwise, it’s a nice day off EVERY week.

Church was good today, sort of accidentally. Sunday school specifically. I got to meet a couple that are Russian Missionaries, Petr and Angela. Sort of puts things in perspective when you visit with someone from there and begin to get embarrassed by all your earthly posessions which are probably more than their entire congregation…I need to ponder that a bit more actively.

Anyhoo, on to the good accidental part. The Sunday School lesson seemed to be haphazard in terms of a comparison of the 10 most popular New Years’ Resolutions and a list of resolutions written by Jonathan Edwards in the early 1700’s. I believe the point of the lesson was to compare an honestly committed and passionate Christian’s take on NYR and today’s Me-Centric culture.

But it got me thinking as I looked at the list (and at mine)…lose weight, budget, get organized, exercise more, etc, etc…(fill in your own) and it occurred to me that the REASON I had these NYR’s is because I gave into SELF-serving things like overeating, being lazy, not telling myself “no” in so many ways, etc, etc….

So as I look at the typical NYR list, I see that it is nothing but a HYPER-focus on SELF and what I wanted…what I want in my head, but still, it was about me – which was the common ingredient in each of the areas I was resolving to “do better” in…hmmmm, got me thinking. What if the problem was really a focus on self and this kind of thinking would only make it worse? Seems likely.

If you find yourself at the bottom of a deep hole, stop digging – right? What would that NYR list look like? It just occurred to me that perhaps my resolutions should be more of an outward focus than more inward thinking/looking.  What do you think? Seems like I feel best about myself and least likely to indulge my weaknesses, temptations, bad habits WHEN I am focused on others and my faith (and the thing my faith-system encourages me to do). Does it work that way for you?

I’m just sayin’…

BTW – did you do anything this last week that made YOU think?

2011 1-2 A WHOLE NEW YEAR !!!

I’m trying to remember how my whole blog works – I’m amazed at how I can forget things when I’m just not doing them frequently. I’m in here trying to clean up the site a bit – had over 800 spam comments…thanks to all you spammers that suck. (that’s all of you by the way) on the off chance that anyone needs and drugs from another country, mail-order wife, nike shoes or viagra at REDICULOUS prices, let me know. Right now I’m working on the assumption that we are all good in those regards. I’m not prepared too much for this but just wanted to jump back into the blogosphere with both feet so I could just get started and refine/remember as I go. I’ll enter a number of comments today and build a new page or two and see if I can grab a few photos as well. And YES – I’m back to running, just barely, but hit the road a little bit this week and will do so again today. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I'm not ready to talk about this

my very wonderful son hit me with some very real tough issues that have come up in his life and was asking for help.

I decided that I’m not ready to be a father.  I’ve got 5 children and I realized that I’m not qualified to mentor them in all the individual ways they need me to and that frightens me to the core.  You see, there’s one major problem, I’m a seriously flawed human being with a LOT of hang-ups.  I’m also a very selfish individual. If you didn’t know this already, being selfish and a good father are mutually exclusive approaches to life…rats.

When these little babies grow up to look down at you (figuratively…he’s actually taller than me) and have heavy life issues it’s pretty sobering.  The first advice that pops to mind “Walk it off, buddy, walk it off” doesn’t seem appropriate.  Double-rats…seems like I may just have to roll up my sleeves and get dirty.

It’s times like these that I’m SO glad that I belong to a bigger plan and a bigger planner.  This world can be so harsh and the answers to life’s questions can be so difficult to decipher. I simply cannot and do not want to imagine what it would be like to have to face the severity and seriousness of life without God and the access He has given us to Him through his Son.  I’m not being silly, I’m not being religious and I can’t imagine being more serious.  Thank you Lord, humbly, thank You for Your peace, thank you for your wisdom, please guide us, please keep us close to you and continue to teach us how to love You and how to love each other.

Lucy Goosey

Houston Museum of Natural ScienceOK…HEEERE’S LUCY!

Now I’m not a scientist nor do I play one on TV..:)  But there is signficant disagreement within the scientific community of what kind of animal this skeleton represents.  The major point that I want to make is that with SO many legitimate concerns about this archealogical find, it’s hard to understand how this should be such a bone of contention. HAHAHAHA – I crack myself up.

So, here’s an incomplete list of issues with this find. I’m going to try to not hypothesize on this post, just list the issues.

1.) from theEncyclopædia Britannica fossil nickname for a remarkably complete (40 percent intact) hominin skeleton found by Donald Johanson at Hadar, Eth., on Nov. 24, 1974, and dated to 3.2 million years ago. The specimen is usually classified as Australopithecus afarensis and suggests—by having long arms, short legs, an apelike chest and jaw, and a small brain but a relatively humanlike pelvis—that bipedal locomotion preceded the development of a larger (more humanlike) brain in hominin evolution. Lucy stood about 3 feet 7 inches (109 cm) tall and weighed about 60 pounds (27 kg).

2.) While 40% of a skeleton seems like a good amount, almost half of the the fossil bone fragments were rib cage pieces.  All bones are not of equal value in piecing together the accurate original form.

3.) More Rib Info: (shape of the rib fossils found)

I noticed that the ribs were more round in cross-section, more like what you see in apes. Human ribs are flatter in cross-section. But the shape of the rib cage itself was the biggest surprise of all. The human rib cage is barrel shaped, and I just couldn’t get Lucy’s ribs to fit this kind of shape. But I could get them to make a conical-shaped rib cage, like what you see in apes (as quoted in Leakey and Lewin, 1992, pp. 193-194).

4.) Skull Fragments – Johanson admits the skull size and brain cavity were chimpanzee-like and make another reference to the smaller pelvis structure (rebuilt somewhat subjectively) conformed to the notion of a smaller skull size – here’s the quote:

Lucy’s wider sacrum and shallower pelvis gave her a smaller, kidney-shaped birth canal, compared to that of modern females. She didn’t need a large one because her newborn infant’s brain wouldn’t have been any larger than a chimpanzee infant’s brain (Johanson, et al., 1994, p. 66).

5.) More discoveries about the skull:

In 1994, Fred Spoor, Bernard Wood and Frans Zonneveld, all specialists on anatomy, reached a similar conclusion through a totally different method. This method was based on the comparative analysis of the semi-circular canals in the inner ear of humans and apes which provided for sustaining balance. There were some concrete differences between the canals of humans, who walked upright, and apes, that walked bent over. The inner ear canals of all the australopithecines, and, what is more, all the Homo habilis specimens, examined by Spoor, Wood and Zonneveld were identical to those of apes of our day.

5.) Pelvis structure: Johanson claims that Lucy is a “she” but other scientists believe the pelvis was reconstructed incorrectly and indicates it was a “he”.  Why this matters, is the pelvis and knee fragments found are what are leveraged to propel Lucy into the bipedal category.  Meaning if the pelvis and knee fragments were not interpreted correctly then the claim of bipedalism falls flat on it’s face. (the jokes are just too easy – forgive me) BTW Lucy is AL 288-1

Contrary to Sts 14 [designation for a specific A. africanus fossil—BH/BT], delivery [of a baby—BH/BT] in AL 288-1 would have been more complicated than in modern humans, if not impossible, due to the protruding promontorium…. Consequently, there is more evidence to suggest that AL 288-1 was male rather than female. A female of the same species as AL 288-1 would have had a pelvis with a larger sagittal diameter and a less protruding sacral promontorium…. Overall, the broader pelvis and the more laterally oriented iliac blades of AL 288-1 would produce more favourable insertion sites for the climbing muscles in more heavily built males….

6.) It’s all in the wrist – right?

Brian Richmond and David Strait of George Washington University experienced what many might call a “eureka!” moment while going through some old papers on primate physiology at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. “We saw something that talked about special knuckle walking adaptations in modern African apes,” Dr. Richmond said. “I could not remember ever seeing anything about wrists in fossil hominids…Across the hall was a cast of the famous fossil Lucy. We ran across and looked at it and bingo, it was clear as night and day” (see BBC News, 2000).

The March 29, 2000 San Diego Union Tribune reported:

 A chance discovery made by looking at a cast of the bones of “Lucy,” the most famous fossil of Australopithecus afarensis, shows her wrist is stiff, like a chimpanzee’s, Brian Richmond and David Strait of George Washington University in Washington, D.C., reported. This suggests that her ancestors walked on their knuckles (Fox, 2000).

Summary excerpt:

Science writer Tim Friend in an article published in USA Today:

“Lucy’s scientific name is Australopithecus afarensis. She looked very similar to a modern bonobo chimpanzee, with a small brain, a protruding face and large molar teeth. But Lucy has been losing favor over the past 10 years as the direct ancestor of the genus homo… most say they now believe that the idea of tracing humans in a straight line back to an ancestor such as Lucy is too simplistic.

OK – LONG POST – sorry…There is actually quite a bit more information out there and yes, I have selected the info that highlights the problems with using this fossil find to push evolution, but there are actually more problems such as the number of bones found in the same area as Lucy and how they chose/discarded which ones to include as part of this specimen.  Johanson appears to admit quite a bit of bias in making his finds fit his theories.  Also there are other evolutionary biologists that have already dismissed this find as a chimpanzee species. 

We should just do some research before we accept what we read.  There are many blogs where folks are going at it hammer and tongs -which I don’t want to do.  I just want to present some information all in one spot that represents why Lucy has some very real drawbacks as conclusive evidence of evolution and don’t take all those recreations in the museums as correct.

The Science of Unicorns

Sherlock Holmes used great skills of deductive reasoning to come to outlandish, but incredibly accurate conclusions starting with basic logical truths and building from that point to a conclusion.  This is called the Deductive Method and is used in all of those algebra equations we had to learn in school.  Remember? If x = a and a = b, then x = b?

Now the opposite of the Holmsian Method would be Inductive Reasoning which works very differently.  Inductive Reasoning relies upon observation. Anything you hear, taste, smell, see or touch is an observation(or empirical evidence) Inductive Reasoning is called the “Scientific Method” and as such, is the basis for drawing scientific conclusions. Just wanted to mention that science is good at drawing conclusions with things that can be measured and observed but is not great at explaining things we know exist but cannot perceive with the senses, such as emotions for example. Science can’t prove that they exist but more to the point, Science can’t prove they don’t exist. It’s also worth noting that our observations can be incorrect, but let’s assume for now that it’s not an issue. (but it is)

Science can’t prove unicorns don’t exist because of the way science works, it’s just not good at proving the absence of something. The Scientific Method is fairly reliable at proving things exist but is not particularly useful in disproving something exists just because of the way science works.  Often people will pit Science vs. Theology and make a statement that science has disproven the existence of God.  I think they should start with disproving the existence of unicorns to get warmed up, but don’t tell my youngest daughter, she loves unicorns.

Cro-Magnon to the X-Men

I like comics. My son(Corey) wants to be Superman when he grows up; I think he’s already super!  I, on the other hand, would choose other super powers since I have delved into many different comic book hero types.  Seems like there are handier skills than flying, being bullet-proof with X-ray vision.  I like Wolverine a lot, you can pound that guy, burn him, cut him in half and he keeps healing and getting angrier.  The adamantium skeleton helps out too.  This idea that we could start to discover mutant developments in our DNA that allow us to do cool things is, well COOL! As I have examined my personal evolution since I have been reading comics, it appears I am more predisposed to devolve than evolve. rats – super powers would have been much better.

Well, the longer I’m around, the more I notice that we are not improving as a race and I’m also noticing that more and more species are becoming extinct and new ones are not developing. Now I don’t presume to know it ALL, but there are some problems with evolution I have found.  First, most people don’t know what it means – I didn’t really at first. 

Let’s start there:  Evolution means: change over time.

Hmm, that doesn’t sound so bad.  As a matter of fact, I have changed over time :). I found there are a couple of distinct variations in the Evolutionary definitions that are important to mention.  MICRO-evolution and MACRO-evolution. The thing we should all think about is do MICRO(small) changes ever add up to MACRO(large) changes?  There is good evidence for small variations within species, there is LOTS of it.  There is SO much, I found that I feel very comfortable accepting MICRO evolution within species to be a commonplace occurrence even today.  Case in point: Darwin’s Finches.  Charles Darwin used his discovery of a species of finches in the Galapogos Islands that were also present in other parts of the world, America specifically, to propel his theory of MACRO evolution by observing MICRO variations/evolutions between different samples of the same/similar species of finches in different environments.  Namely, the beak size of the Galapogos Finches was obviously larger than their American cousins.  Upon inspection for a cause, it was found that the rocky terrain made a more favorable feeding ground for birds/finches with longer beaks.

OK – I’m following this so far.  Small beak birds don’t get as much food, are weaker and either perish more quickly, get eaten faster or don’t win the Finch Mating Game as often as the Finch with a bigger beak.  So two big-beak Finches “hook up” and guess what they hatch? Pterydactls?….ha. NOPE…they have combined genes that make it more likely to have baby birds with bigger beaks, but they haven’t dropped their genetic code or their recessive traits.  Now I know this is a more simplistic interpretation of his “Origin of Species” but not by much.  Micro-evolution is pretty evident when we find species in an environment that favors bigger or faster citizens of a species.  But we never find that NEW species…we just find another finch with a big beak.  Guess what happens when you take a group of those big beaks back to the mainland where Big beaks are not required…beak size normalizes..still no Pterydactls though…that would be cool, but it doesn’t happen.

So, Micro evolution seems to make sense, but I haven’t found good examples of Macro-Evolution.  There should be millions of examples of Transitionary Creatures that were half fish/half monkey or half bird/half spider…I’ll tackle some of the more recognizable “Missing Links” on other posts…like “Lucy”, “Cro-Maganon Man”, and these others we’ve heard about and some we haven’t.

I still like comics and I still think I want the healing mutant powers…that would so rock.

A Monkey's Nephew

I found that I wanted to dig into this thing called “Evolution” and comprehend what it meant. Certainly, we’ve all seen the multi-figured image from our grade schools that shows the evolutionary steps of a monkey to a man, right. I’ve heard a lot of chatter over the years and found that I don’t believe in the Theory of Evolution, but I found that I couldn’t explain clearly why not.  I have heard people say that God used evolution, but that didn’t make a lot of sense simply because “why would He want to or need to?”  Seems like someone’s hoping we can all just get along….I want to find the truth and I want to be willing to look at all facts and see what’s really there, even if I don’t like it.  Rhetoric is not proof, cynicism is not faith, clinging to a belief without questioning it seems too timid.  If God is real, then I think he can withstand a few questions and peeks behind the curtain.  Even if my research doesn’t lead me to complete empirical conclusions, it should get me to a close enough jumping off point to a reasonable conclusion.  Seems like good research should get us closer to one conclusion than another, right?  If we insist on being rational about it, we should be willing to go where the best evidence takes us.

the_evolution_of_manThe Theory of Intelligent Design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best described as designed versus random chance or natural selection that Darwinists would claim. There are many books on this concept of Intelligent Design. I have read 2-3 and have a few more. I also thought it would be fair-minded to read some books from the other side of the debate.

I read both “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins and then read “The Dawkins Delusion” by Alister McGrath. I also read “The Blind Watchmaker” by Dawkins and then “Darwin’s Black Box” again, “The Selfish Gene” by Dawkins and then “The Elegant Universe” by Brian Greene. I read “The Case for a Creator” by Lee Strobel.

I found a certain arrogance in some of the books I read, I’ll let you find out for yourself which ones.  In my search for information, I noticed time and again that some authors would spend a lot of time on more emotional issues and opinions than concrete conclusions. I appreciate passion, but when someone frequently jumps into sarcasm vs. real science, I began to have a hard time accepting their positions completely.  I was actually surprised to find that the neo-darwinists were much more apt to spend a chapter on emotional attacks and ridicule of opposing views.  Frankly, I expected the creationists to play the emotional/spiritual card more often than they did.

What’s the conclusion:  well this post is already getting long, but let me mention a few concepts that really got me thinking:

1.) Irreducible Complexity

2.) Information storage at the molecular level

3.) Fine Tuning in the Universe

I like the clarity of the information I was able to find.  I liked being able to reach some conclusions that made sense without just taking someone else’s word for it

Global Warming? I’m freezing.

I need some intelligent information and opinions here.  I personally feel that Global Warming is a hoax, but I haven’t done my homework and need some help.  I hate to admit this inconvenient truth. :)

What’s a World View?

Well – I didn’t know either until about 2007.  I had someone offer a belief that I didn’t beleive in but I wasn’t prepared to offer any good information, facts or stuff to support my opinion.  I just knew I was right and he was wrong, but I didn’t know why.  The good news is I said to him, “tell you what, I’m not prepared to answer this question, but will you let me do my homework and come back to this?” he said “yes” and we did.  I found that a LOT of good information was available that cleared my thinking and he and I had a MUCH better conversation(s) after that.  I stumbled across the term “World View” and found that it is basically the lens that we look at the world through.  It is the belief structure that includes politics, theology, economics, parenting, citizenship, morality and spirituality.  WOW – that sounds like a lot of work, but it is VERY worthwhile.  I have friends with a bigger brain pan than I have that can carry this mental framework up in the front of their brains, but I am much more mentally challenged than they and need a Big Chief Tablet and a Jumbo Box of Crayons (i.e. this Blog) to keep track of it.  I invite you to post here as your questions or comments will fuel my studying and flesh out my own World View. (and hopefully yours too!)