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Our physics color commentator, has published a novel

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The Long Ascent Rob Sheldon’s book is The Long Ascent: Genesis 1–11 in Science & Myth, Volume 1 (Wipf & Stock).

The book tries to probe the minds of early biblical characters struggling to understand nature in the absence of any formal body of science knowledge. Order here.

As “Part I” suggests, he is working on another installment in the series.

17 Replies to “Our physics color commentator, has published a novel

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    The cover picture repels me. Is it supposed to be a wolverine and an otter boxing? Or blood gushing from a fish after a shark tears it to pieces?

  2. 2
    EDTA says:

    Those are the “Pillars of Creation” from the Eagle Nebula.

  3. 3
    rvb8 says:

    The cover is beautiful, it’s the contents that repels me.

    One question; will this be used by IDists in the future as an example of literature that supports ID?

    To probe the minds of Biblical characters such as Moses, Joshua, Noah, Jonah, Abraham, isan interesting thought experiment. That is all that it is, a thought experiment.

    If you would like to read a hilarious, and utterly convincing effort at ‘probing’ the mind of an Old Testament character, I can strongly suggest, “God Knows”, by Joseph Heller, he of “Catch 22” fame.

    Sit with Moses on his death bed, as he refuses to talk to God anymore, until God gives him a decent reason, as to why God killed the bastard child of Moses and Bathsheba.

    Laugh until you fall!:)

  4. 4
    rvb8 says:

    Sorry, I have Moses on the brain.

    Sit with, David on his death bed.

    David is the character lampooned in ‘God Knows’, along with God of course, and David is the character who had the illicit affair with Bathsheba, God knows why I wrote Moses. Heller is nothing if not an equal opportunity lampooner.

    Heh:)

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    kairosfocus says:

    RVB8, kindly, get down from the corner soap-box and lay aside the tendency to erect loaded strawman caricatures of the design inference and design theory. If you do not know the distinction between that inference and the wider theory and Biblical studies/theology or creationism or philosophically driven discussion of origins by now, that is a sign of needing to also take off ideological blinkers. Also, people can and do wish to look at origins issues from various perspectives they find interesting and have the epistemic right to point to support for a worldview from whatever domain of studies it comes. Yes, crude caricatures may be useful in agit prop — an observation made long ago by Hitler — but we must never consider that such is intellectually serious. Actually, that’s one reason why ideological manipulation so predictably ends in marches of ruinous folly. And, frankly, one of the worst of these in our day is that utterly self-refuting, patently amoral and often nihilistic scheme of thought that we may describe as evolutionary materialistic scientism. Never mind the theatrical trick of dressing up in lab coats (as in the days of Plato, such liked to dress up in philosophical robes), evo mat scientism is intellectually and morally bankrupt. KF

  7. 7
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: As you evidently have too much pent-up hostility to fairly hear Moshe’s counsels, perhaps you may listen to Plato:

    Athenian Stranger: [[The avant garde philosophers, teachers and artists c. 400 BC] say that the greatest and fairest things are the work of nature and of chance, the lesser of art [[ i.e. techne], which, receiving from nature the greater and primeval creations, moulds and fashions all those lesser works which are generally termed artificial . . . They say that fire and water, and earth and air [[i.e the classical “material” elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art, and that as to the bodies which come next in order-earth, and sun, and moon, and stars-they have been created by means of these absolutely inanimate existences. The elements are severally moved by chance and some inherent force according to certain affinities among them-of hot with cold, or of dry with moist, or of soft with hard, and according to all the other accidental admixtures of opposites which have been formed by necessity. After this fashion and in this manner the whole heaven has been created, and all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only . . . .

    [[T]hese people would say that the Gods exist not by nature, but by art, and by the laws of states, which are different in different places, according to the agreement of those who make them; and that the honourable is one thing by nature and another thing by law, and that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.– [[Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT. (Cf. here for Locke’s views and sources on a very different base for grounding liberty as opposed to license and resulting anarchistic “every man does what is right in his own eyes” chaos leading to tyranny.)] These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might [[ Evolutionary materialism leads to the promotion of amorality], and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [[Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality “naturally” leads to continual contentions and power struggles; cf. dramatisation here], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is, to live in real dominion over others [[such amoral factions, if they gain power, “naturally” tend towards ruthless tyranny; here, too, Plato hints at the career of Alcibiades], and not in legal subjection to them . . . . [[I]f impious discourses were not scattered, as I may say, throughout the world, there would have been no need for any vindication of the existence of the Gods-but seeing that they are spread far and wide, such arguments are needed; and who should come to the rescue of the greatest laws, when they are being undermined by bad men, but the legislator himself? . . . .

    Ath. Then, by Heaven, we have discovered the source of this vain opinion of all those physical investigators; and I would have you examine their arguments with the utmost care, for their impiety is a very serious matter; they not only make a bad and mistaken use of argument, but they lead away the minds of others: that is my opinion of them.

    Cle. You are right; but I should like to know how this happens.

    Ath. I fear that the argument may seem singular.

    Cle. Do not hesitate, Stranger; I see that you are afraid of such a discussion carrying you beyond the limits of legislation. But if there be no other way of showing our agreement in the belief that there are Gods, of whom the law is said now to approve, let us take this way, my good sir.

    Ath. Then I suppose that I must repeat the singular argument of those who manufacture the soul according to their own impious notions; they affirm that which is the first cause of the generation and destruction of all things, to be not first, but last, and that which is last to be first, and hence they have fallen into error about the true nature of the Gods.

    Cle. Still I do not understand you.

    Ath. Nearly all of them, my friends, seem to be ignorant of the nature and power of the soul [[ = psuche], especially in what relates to her origin: they do not know that she is among the first of things, and before all bodies, and is the chief author of their changes and transpositions. And if this is true, and if the soul is older than the body, must not the things which are of the soul’s kindred be of necessity prior to those which appertain to the body?

    Cle. Certainly.

    Ath. Then thought and attention and mind and art and law will be prior to that which is hard and soft and heavy and light; and the great and primitive works and actions will be works of art; they will be the first, and after them will come nature and works of nature, which however is a wrong term for men to apply to them; these will follow, and will be under the government of art and mind.

    Cle. But why is the word “nature” wrong?

    Ath. Because those who use the term mean to say that nature is the first creative power; but if the soul turn out to be the primeval element, and not fire or air, then in the truest sense and beyond other things the soul may be said to exist by nature; and this would be true if you proved that the soul is older than the body, but not otherwise.

    [[ . . . .]

    Ath. . . . when one thing changes another, and that another, of such will there be any primary changing element? How can a thing which is moved by another ever be the beginning of change? Impossible. But when the self-moved changes other, and that again other, and thus thousands upon tens of thousands of bodies are set in motion, must not the beginning of all this motion be the change of the self-moving principle? . . . . self-motion being the origin of all motions, and the first which arises among things at rest as well as among things in motion, is the eldest and mightiest principle of change, and that which is changed by another and yet moves other is second.

    [[ . . . .]

    Ath. If we were to see this power existing in any earthy, watery, or fiery substance, simple or compound-how should we describe it?

    Cle. You mean to ask whether we should call such a self-moving power life?

    Ath. I do.

    Cle. Certainly we should.

    Ath. And when we see soul in anything, must we not do the same-must we not admit that this is life?

    [[ . . . . ]

    Cle. You mean to say that the essence which is defined as the self-moved is the same with that which has the name soul?

    Ath. Yes; and if this is true, do we still maintain that there is anything wanting in the proof that the soul is the first origin and moving power of all that is, or has become, or will be, and their contraries, when she has been clearly shown to be the source of change and motion in all things?

    Cle. Certainly not; the soul as being the source of motion, has been most satisfactorily shown to be the oldest of all things.

    Ath. And is not that motion which is produced in another, by reason of another, but never has any self-moving power at all, being in truth the change of an inanimate body, to be reckoned second, or by any lower number which you may prefer?

    Cle. Exactly.

    Ath. Then we are right, and speak the most perfect and absolute truth, when we say that the soul is prior to the body, and that the body is second and comes afterwards, and is born to obey the soul, which is the ruler?

    [[ . . . . ]

    Ath. If, my friend, we say that the whole path and movement of heaven, and of all that is therein, is by nature akin to the movement and revolution and calculation of mind, and proceeds by kindred laws, then, as is plain, we must say that the best soul takes care of the world and guides it along the good path. [[Plato here explicitly sets up an inference to design (by a good soul) from the intelligible order of the cosmos.]

    Ponder, what it means for us to be responsibly and rationally free, morally governed contingent beings capable of reasoning logically and needing the guidelines of an inner deep urge towards truth and right in that process. Ponder the implications of reducing that voice of conscience to Ruse and Wilson’s illusion that allegedly enhances reproductive success. Ponder the degradation of reason into cynical manipulation that follows from dulling that voice of conscience and what it means for how we should view the words and arguments of such intellectually debased reprobates bereft of conscience or warping conscience utterly by taking up a crooked yardstick as standard (which will automatically lock out consideration of what is genuinely true and right). Ponder how this sets grand delusion loose in mindedness ending in the chaos of a bull in a china shop. Then, ponder why it is that ever so many will look at the mess and conclude: evolutionary materialistic scientism/philosophy and linked atheistical ideologies are self-falsifying and — on some sobering history since 400+ BC — an outright menace to sound civilisation.

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N — footnote — there’s much more but let’s start with this. We are dealing with those who have a problem reading more than about a tweet. KF

    PS: For those wanting to deal with the trashing of Christendom (joined to such one sided history etc that they don’t know that they are sawing off the branch on which we all sit) this may be a helpful read. My own view is rhetoric and polarisation tactics serve only to distract from core worldview considerations, which are where our worldview and cultural agenda disputes SHOULD be resolved. But then, I am someone who finds discussion of S5 and the question of the principle of explosion to be highly relevant issues. I guess that means we should look at Plato’s parable of the ship of state and that dismissed good for nothing “impractical” stargazer.

  9. 9

    KF @ 6: “RVB8, kindly, get down from the corner soap-box and lay aside the tendency to erect loaded strawman caricatures of the design inference and design theory.”

    I admire your spirit, KF. You provide a good example of how to interact with a/mats…with love and kindness. God knows I need that example.

  10. 10
    rvb8 says:

    Dio, move on please. Restate your argument in a new thread and move on; your argument hasn’t changed I assume; God, miracles, unprovable assertions?

    Kairos,

    I’m recommending a book, a thoght experiment, a piece of fiction by the great Joseph Heller; nothing more.

  11. 11
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  13. 13
    rvb8 says:

    Dio,

    another source please.

    Confirmation bias is an ID standard I know, but you can’t keep linking to the same source again and again, people will think you have no other second hand evidence.

  14. 14
    Dionisio says:

    rvb8:

    You may want to get serious and wake up from your wastefully senseless daydreaming.

    Every new discovery in biology research confirms that you’re on the losing side of this debate.

    It doesn’t matter what you say or do.

    Your embarrassing failure to answer the simple questions linked @5, @11 & @12 above shows your true motives in this website. You and your party comrades always quit the discussions as soon as you realize your trolling hits the wall.

    The quiet visitors can see this.

    However, you’re free to keep being a clown bringing additional traffic to this blog. Maybe that’s why they let you troll here.

    🙂

  15. 15
    Dionisio says:

    Truth Will Set You Free @9:

    Yes, KF definitely knows how to handle those folks.

    I lack those skills.

    🙂

  16. 16
    kairosfocus says:

    RVB8, scrolling up will reveal much more than a mere book suggestion, e.g. your insinuation in the teeth of recently having been corrected on your assertions that no ID-supportive peer reviewed literature exists. I suggest again, it is time to get down from the corner soap-box.And BTW, we do have Moshe’s last discourse, Deuteronomy; your man made up a loaded caricature out of whole cloth. KF

    PS: Plato on the Ship of State, is also instructive:

    It is not too hard to figure out that our civilisation is in deep trouble and is most likely headed for shipwreck. (And of course, that sort of concern is dismissed as “apocalyptic,” or neurotic pessimism that refuses to pause and smell the roses.)

    Plato’s Socrates spoke to this sort of situation, long since, in the ship of state parable in The Republic, Bk VI:

    >>[Soc.] I perceive, I said, that you are vastly amused at having plunged me into such a hopeless discussion; but now hear the parable, and then you will be still more amused at the meagreness of my imagination: for the manner in which the best men are treated in their own States is so grievous that no single thing on earth is comparable to it; and therefore, if I am to plead their cause, I must have recourse to fiction, and put together a figure made up of many things, like the fabulous unions of goats and stags which are found in pictures.

    Imagine then a fleet or a ship in which there is a captain [–> often interpreted, ship’s owner] who is taller and stronger than any of the crew, but he is a little deaf and has a similar infirmity in sight, and his knowledge of navigation is not much better. [= The people own the community and in the mass are overwhelmingly strong, but are ill equipped on the whole to guide, guard and lead it]

    The sailors are quarrelling with one another about the steering – every one is of opinion that he has a right to steer [= selfish ambition to rule and dominate], though he has never learned the art of navigation and cannot tell who taught him or when he learned, and will further assert that it cannot be taught, and they are ready to cut in pieces any one who says the contrary. They throng about the captain, begging and praying him to commit the helm to them [–> kubernetes, steersman, from which both cybernetics and government come in English]; and if at any time they do not prevail, but others are preferred to them, they kill the others or throw them overboard [ = ruthless contest for domination of the community], and having first chained up the noble captain’s senses with drink or some narcotic drug [ = manipulation and befuddlement, cf. the parable of the cave], they mutiny and take possession of the ship and make free with the stores; thus, eating and drinking, they proceed on their voyage in such a manner as might be expected of them [–> Cf here Luke’s subtle case study in Ac 27].

    Him who is their partisan and cleverly aids them in their plot for getting the ship out of the captain’s hands into their own whether by force or persuasion [–> Nihilistic will to power on the premise of might and manipulation making ‘right’ ‘truth’ ‘justice’ ‘rights’ etc], they compliment with the name of sailor, pilot, able seaman, and abuse the other sort of man, whom they call a good-for-nothing; but that the true pilot must pay attention to the year and seasons and sky and stars and winds, and whatever else belongs to his art, if he intends to be really qualified for the command of a ship, and that he must and will be the steerer, whether other people like or not-the possibility of this union of authority with the steerer’s art has never seriously entered into their thoughts or been made part of their calling.

    Now in vessels which are in a state of mutiny and by sailors who are mutineers, how will the true pilot be regarded? Will he not be called by them a prater, a star-gazer, a good-for-nothing?

    [Ad.] Of course, said Adeimantus.

    [Soc.] Then you will hardly need, I said, to hear the interpretation of the figure, which describes the true philosopher in his relation to the State[ –> here we see Plato’s philosoppher-king emerging]; for you understand already.

    [Ad.] Certainly.

    [Soc.] Then suppose you now take this parable to the gentleman who is surprised at finding that philosophers have no honour in their cities; explain it to him and try to convince him that their having honour would be far more extraordinary.

    [Ad.] I will.

    [Soc.] Say to him, that, in deeming the best votaries of philosophy to be useless to the rest of the world, he is right; but also tell him to attribute their uselessness to the fault of those who will not use them, and not to themselves. The pilot should not humbly beg the sailors to be commanded by him –that is not the order of nature; neither are ‘the wise to go to the doors of the rich’ –the ingenious author of this saying told a lie –but the truth is, that, when a man is ill, whether he be rich or poor, to the physician he must go, and he who wants to be governed, to him who is able to govern. The ruler who is good for anything ought not to beg his subjects to be ruled by him [ –> down this road lies the modern solution: a sound, well informed people will seek sound leaders, who will not need to manipulate or bribe or worse, and such a ruler will in turn be checked by the soundness of the people, cf. US DoI, 1776]; although the present governors of mankind are of a different stamp; they may be justly compared to the mutinous sailors, and the true helmsmen to those who are called by them good-for-nothings and star-gazers.

    [Ad.] Precisely so, he said.

    [Soc] For these reasons, and among men like these, philosophy, the noblest pursuit of all, is not likely to be much esteemed by those of the opposite faction; not that the greatest and most lasting injury is done to her by her opponents, but by her own professing followers, the same of whom you suppose the accuser to say, that the greater number of them are arrant rogues, and the best are useless; in which opinion I agreed [–> even among the students of the sound state (here, political philosophy and likely history etc.), many are of unsound motivation and intent, so mere education is not enough, character transformation is critical].

    [Ad.] Yes.

    [Soc.] And the reason why the good are useless has now been explained?

    [Ad.] True.

    [Soc.] Then shall we proceed to show that the corruption of the majority is also unavoidable, and that this is not to be laid to the charge of philosophy any more than the other?

    [Ad.] By all means.

    [Soc.] And let us ask and answer in turn, first going back to the description of the gentle and noble nature.[ — > note the character issue] Truth, as you will remember, was his leader, whom he followed always and in all things [ –> The spirit of truth as a marker]; failing in this, he was an impostor, and had no part or lot in true philosophy [–> the spirit of truth is a marker, for good or ill] . . . >>

    (There is more than an echo of this in Acts 27, a real world case study. [Luke, a physician, was an educated Greek with a taste for subtle references.] This blog post, on soundness in policy, will also help)

  17. 17
    LocalMinimum says:

    rvb8:

    I find Dionisio’s (in)famous #1090 to be a pretty spot-on, concise description of what evolution needs to be. It is, in essence, the primary functional requirement of Charlie’s vaporware.

    The proposed product, anyway; the proposal itself has far exceeded its goals of fame, influence, wealth, and legacy.

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