Thursday, August 14, 2008

Physics everyone needs to know...

There's professor at UC Berkley who is doing something kind of special and cool.

Back in 2000 he had the idea to teach physics at a very basic level. He named the course Physics for Future Presidents. Professor Richard Muller has been teaching this course for more than eight years and it's one of the most popular at Berkley. The course is designed to explain important real world science in such a way as to be understandable to students with other plans than to be scientists.

The best part is you can go to the website and download MP3's or Videos of the lectures so you can take the course too...for FREE, no university credit though.

If you have an ipod or an MP3 player and want something engaging and very interesting to listen to give it try!


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Monday, August 11, 2008

Punishment or Reward. (and when...?)

So I was engaged in my morning commute while listening to one of the many podcasts I subscribe to. One of the topics that arose was divine punishment and reward. I started thinking about the concept of a God that punishes and rewards a being accordingly of the merits or liabilities of his or her life.

I can't help but think of Jerry Falwell after the horrible events of 9-11 when he said:
"I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen."

Let me add my disclaimer right here before i get tons of responses irrelevant to the purpose of my post
The writer of this post in no way believes that the late Jerry Falwell in any way represents the opinions or intentions of ALL Christians.

Now I regard Mr. Falwell in much the same vein that a scientist regards a pathological virus that needs to be studied and observed such that it might be eradicated before it does more harm.

So Mr. Falwell, please consider:

1. It can be said that the majority of the country is some flavor of Christian. Estimates vary but let's say that number is 80% (conservative estimate probably higher)

2. Assuming average dispersion of a population could further then assume that roughly 80% of those that died on 9-11-2001 were Christian too.

So 8 of 10 that God was PUNISHING that awful day were his own followers?

That's a bit of a scorched Earth policy wouldn't you say?

Heck my home state LEGALIZED gay marriage back in 2004 and the worst we've seen is a maple syrup shortage!

From his on-screen antics it seems that Mr Falwell holds to the view that he must either punish or reward in THIS life, in addition to meting out judgment in the afterlife. Honestly, I don't think Mr. Falwell is was as much an idiot as he played at in front of the TV cameras. I very much feel he was considering only the lowest-common-denominator theists in this country. You know the ones I mean... the dentally and genetically challenged sub-species that populate the backwoods of southern states and frighten hikers of the Appalachian Trail*.

So if you are a Christian or Christ-follower, what are you to make of this punishment or reward issue?

Consider the poll I put up in the sidebar of my blog.

What's your view on divine punishment or reward?

Do you believe that God is actively punishing and rewarding people in this life? If so how does He choose when and where to act? Or is that a question you wouldn't even begin to answer?

As far as I can see the evidence is very much against Him acting against those that are doing evil (Paris Hilton, Dick Cheney, Vladmir Putin, Fred Phelps) and those that have done evil (Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, PolPot, McCarthy) evil.



*from Bill Bryson's excellent book "A Walk in the Woods"