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BA77’s off topic thread, Volume 2 — “we’re doing God’s work”

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One my scoundrel-hero-bankers of Wall Street, Goldman-Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein famously said: “we’re doing God’s work“, responding to criticism that his firm made huge profits from the demise of others and he paid himself fat bonuses. Well, in like manner “we’re doing God’s work” here at UD, benefiting from the demise of Darwinism.

Novelists and writers have referred to Jamie Dimon (left) and Blankfein (right) along with other bankers as “Masters of the Universe”.

Due to popular demand, I’m starting another off-topic thread in honor of BA77’s contributions to UD.

Here is an off topic. Dawkins is under the impression that religious belief is mostly perpetuated through indoctrination. I don’t know about that because of people like Mitsuo Fuchida who uttered the historic phrase “Tora, Tora, Tora” as he led the attack on Pearl Harbor.

pearl harbor

Mitsuo Fuchida was a Captain in the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service who is perhaps best known for leading the first air wave attacks on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Fuchida was responsible for the coordination of the entire aerial attack working under the overall fleet commander Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo. After World War II ended, Fuchida became an evangelist, Christian preacher and frequently traveled to the United States to minister to the Japanese expatriate community. He became a United States citizen in 1966. His autobiography was originally released in 1953

Another off topic?
I’m not into cooking, but I have family members that are and watch the food network frequently.
The TV Series Chopped

They are so cruel to the chefs. They give them a batch of basic ingredients from which to design and implement a dish. For example, they gave on set of chefs the task of making deserts with :

pita bread
a bottle of Starbucks frappuccino
honey mentholated cough drops
sour cream

Iron Chef is also pretty cool:

And so is Restaurant Impossible:

I was amazed at what those guys did!

“If you post something off topic in an off topic thread, is it on topic?” I think this question is like Liar Paradox which was reincarnated into Gödel’s incompleteness theorem.

So if we tried answering this question: “If you post something off topic in an off topic thread, is it on topic?”, would discussion of that question be on topic or off topic? 🙂 Would a discussion of the topicness of off topics be on topic? Would the discussion of the topicness of the disucussion of the topicness of off topics be on topic? Would the discussion of the topicness of the discussion of the topicness of the disucussion of the topicness of off topics be on topic? Would….

So, speak your mind but exercise some discretion, keep it family friendly, and try not to start flame wars or launch into attacks against other UD participants. Other than that, talk about what you want. Enjoy!

20 Replies to “BA77’s off topic thread, Volume 2 — “we’re doing God’s work”

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    Sal as to:

    “If you post something off topic in an off topic thread, is it on topic?” I think this question is like Liar Paradox which was reincarnated into Gödel’s incompleteness theorem.

    Interesting insight. And in honor of Godel’s incompleteness theorem and off topic threads:

    Kurt Gödel – Incompleteness Theorem – video

    Alan Turing and Kurt Godel – Incompleteness Theorem and Human Intuition – video (notes in video description)

    BRUCE GORDON: Hawking’s irrational arguments – October 2010
    Excerpt: Rather, the transcendent reality on which our universe depends must be something that can exhibit agency – a mind that can choose among the infinite variety of mathematical descriptions and bring into existence a reality that corresponds to a consistent subset of them. This is what “breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe.” Anything else invokes random miracles as an explanatory principle and spells the end of scientific rationality.,,,
    Universes do not “spontaneously create” on the basis of abstract mathematical descriptions, nor does the fantasy of a limitless multiverse trump the explanatory power of transcendent intelligent design. What Mr. Hawking’s contrary assertions show is that mathematical savants can sometimes be metaphysical simpletons. Caveat emptor.

    Of related note to the incompleteness theorem and God having to ‘breathe fire into the equations’, it is interesting to note that our two best mathematical descriptions of reality require higher dimensional mathematics. Thus strongly suggesting that whatever is ‘breathing fire into the equations’ resides in a higher dimension:

    The Mathematics Of Higher Dimensionality – Gauss and Riemann – video

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960
    Excerpt: We now have, in physics, two theories of great power and interest: the theory of quantum phenomena and the theory of relativity.,,, The two theories operate with different mathematical concepts: the four dimensional Riemann space and the infinite dimensional Hilbert space,

    Moreover, if we allow that God ‘can play the role of a person’ as Godel allowed,,,

    The God of the Mathematicians – Goldman
    Excerpt: As Gödel told Hao Wang, “Einstein’s religion [was] more abstract, like Spinoza and Indian philosophy. Spinoza’s god is less than a person; mine is more than a person; because God can play the role of a person.” – Kurt Gödel – (Gödel is considered one of the greatest logicians who ever existed)

    ,,then we find a very credible reconciliation between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics into a ‘theory of everything’,,

    General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy, and The Shroud Of Turin – updated video

    Scientists say Turin Shroud is supernatural – December 2011
    Excerpt: After years of work trying to replicate the colouring on the shroud, a similar image has been created by the scientists.
    However, they only managed the effect by scorching equivalent linen material with high-intensity ultra violet lasers, undermining the arguments of other research, they say, which claims the Turin Shroud is a medieval hoax.
    Such technology, say researchers from the National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (Enea), was far beyond the capability of medieval forgers, whom most experts have credited with making the famous relic.
    “The results show that a short and intense burst of UV directional radiation can colour a linen cloth so as to reproduce many of the peculiar characteristics of the body image on the Shroud of Turin,” they said.
    And in case there was any doubt about the preternatural degree of energy needed to make such distinct marks, the Enea report spells it out: “This degree of power cannot be reproduced by any normal UV source built to date.”

    The absorbed energy in the Shroud body image formation appears as contributed by discrete values – Giovanni Fazio, Giuseppe Mandaglio – 2008
    Excerpt: This result means that the optical density distribution,, can not be attributed at the absorbed energy described in the framework of the classical physics model. It is, in fact, necessary to hypothesize a absorption by discrete values of the energy where the ‘quantum’ is equal to the one necessary to yellow one fibril.


    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

  2. 2
    Blue_Savannah says:

    Almost a year ago, I was going through an incredibly serious situation and literally didn’t know how I was going to get through it and what the outcome would be. I sought GOD’s help by praying, reading His word and The Purpose-Driven Life. On a side note, my sister gave me the latter book only a couple months before – coincidence? NOPE ;-))

    Anyway, within a day things started falling into place. I need to make clear these were things that were outside my control and were dependent on answers I needed from other people and companies. To make a long story short, GOD made everything better and gave me peace of mind. In fact, He went above and beyond what I was hoping for!

    We can trust GOD and know that HE will never forsake those who seek HIM!

    Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

    Psalm 9:10

    Praise His holy name!!!

  3. 3
    Axel says:

    I thought (rightly or wrongly!) that some of you might be interested in some thoughts of mine concerning the bible and its interpretation. Although I may have broached a part of it in another thread, earlier.

    I tend not to be a biblical literalist, in areas where it seems not to be demanded, while being in total awe of the Church’s historical, exegetical role, and would almost always defer to the wisdom of the fathers, saints and scholars down the centuries; and be grateful to be able to do so.

    I just don’t know how literally some of the subject matter in parts of the O.T. is to be taken, but I know that it will always be indicative of truth, however metaphorical. And what’s more, my putting my uncertainty ‘on the back-burner’ tends to be vindicated in due course, as the Church’s correctness on the subject is quietly vindicated in my mind.

    What is of crucial significance, however, is that the importance of the spiritual underpinnings transcend mere knowledge for its own sake, as felt, for instance by some scientists with regard to whether the seven days of creation were actual days or a determinate period of time – metaphorical.

    The bible is full of mystery, and Jesus made it clear that the deeper spiritual truths would not be clear, when he couched his words in rhetorical language and in an epic register or tone.

    For instance, he stated: ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.’

    It would have been much more straightforward and simple to understand that saying, if he had said:

    ‘After the resurrection, your real life begins. If you believe in me, though your body may die (temporarily, pending ultimate glorification), your spirit will be unaffected, the life of your spirit will continue without interruption.’

    In this way, first, he states the matter from the perspective of the death of the body; then he turns it round, reiterating it from the viewpoint of the uninterrupted continuation of the life of the spirit.

    Information, knowledge, of itself, is worthless – secular knowledge of almost vanishing significance in the next life. However, the bible provides the context that gives it its true significance in this world, and it cannot do that by simply enunciating facts, because it is dealing with mysteries beyond our understanding: paradoxes, the deep mysteries. They are the end game, anyway.

    This is true even in physics in relation to the microscopic and the macroscopic; the deeper the understanding that the physicists are able to garner, the greater the wall of paradoxes they will then face.

    In fact, I am inclined to believe that the less essentially transcendental knowledge forms a continuum with love, and is at its service, rather as Jesus was at the service of his heavenly Father, with whom, together with the Holy Spirit, he forms the continuum of the Holy Trinity, the one God.

    So Jesus challenges us to want to understand such mysteries, but to understand first and foremost that they are profound mysteries; they deal with a subject that is actually transcendental. A sound understanding of them, with the right mindset, can only be approached by indirections. Without such a docile mindset, the Holy Spirit is less able to personally coordinate the strands of a person’s intelligence. Unless he is asleep, that is, when he may be more docile!

    The classic instance of this challenging way in which Jesus often preached was when he told the crowd that unless they ate his body and drunk his blood they could have no life in them. So the value of Christian spiritual knowledge is inseparable from the will of the soul of the individual, indeed ultimately from his commitment to it.

    Some were able to say, ‘I want to learn more from this man. I’ve seen and heard enough to ‘cut him plenty of slack’ (for my sake), even if he seems to talk in a baffling way, now and again!’ Others, excessively literalist, walked off, muttering that he was speaking in intolerable language.

    And it is the same God who is personally speaking to a person reading the bible, as the God who originally inspired, and sometimes spoke, the words contained in it. But it, nevertheless, did sound quirky, God citing chapter and verse of the bible to Ian McCormack in the NDE video which I believe bornagain77 linked for us!

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Robin Collins at Cambridge:

    Cosmology and Fine Tuning: Three Approaches – Robin Collins, PhD – video

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    Mirror City Timelapse – video

  6. 6
    julianbre says:

    The Mysterious Drew lectures on Christianity and the culture war.

    Here are two videos of Drew teaching William Lane Craig’s Defenders class for two weeks in a row while Dr. Craig was in Australia. The focus of the videos is on secularism. The importance of the work that the Discovery Institute is doing gets mentioned in second video.

    The Culture War: Part 1
    The Culture War: Part 2

    HT: Wintery Knight

  7. 7
    Axel says:

    Have you read any of Michael Lewis’ books, Salvatore, or any of you other bods? I think the Times’ reviewer was pretty close to the mark in describing him as a genius.

    When I recognised a chapter or two in one of his books of just densely technical guff, I skimmed through at about two seconds a page, but the rest…. wow! This man can write! Very perceptive, wonderful sense of humour.

    And as for the first chapter of Liar Dice, it has to be one of the very best, most immediately gripping introductions to a book in any language. It makes the showdown in High Noon seem like the high point of a Deputy Dawg cartoon. John Merryweather is a name you remember, even if he’s not much more likely to get a Nobel prize than Blankfein, and has started and crashed a couple of his own companies in the meantime, I believe.

    And Lewis’ tour of Europe, called Boomerang, in which he surveys and discusses the financial meltdown here, is another tour de force in its own way. As ever, full of quirky, personal humour, such as ‘fairy rings’ in Ireland, there evidently being considered by the Irish to be no ‘downside’ in avoiding upsetting the little folk..), and a certificate vouching for the absence of trolls, when selling a plot of land in a hard-headed Scandinavian country of all places! Maybe Iceland. Then, on to Greece, the ‘country that invented Math…’

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    Douglas Axe and Ann Gauger Argue that Design Best Explains New Biological Information – Casey Luskin – August 26, 2013
    Excerpt: Problem 1: Offsetting the cost of gene expression,,,
    First obstacle: Because gene expression is costly, it cannot be assumed that weakly converted enzyme functions isolated by laboratory selection would provide net selective benefit in wild populations. ,,,
    First principle: Innovations are more like investments than quick cash. They must be well implemented to offset their cost, and even then the benefits tend to accrue over a long period.
    Problem 2: Winning the fixation lottery
    Second obstacle: Beneficial mutations appearing less than about once per generation in a global bacterial population may remain unfixed for a billion years or more.,,,
    Second principle: For innovations to be established reliably they need to be carried past a critical “tipping point” in numerical representation, beyond which they become self-establishing.
    Problem 3: Complex adaptation — combining rare genetic events,,,
    Third obstacle: Adaptations requiring duplication and modification of an existing gene should not be presumed feasible if they require more than two specific base substitutions, which seems to exclude most functional conversions. ,,,
    Third principle: The substantial reworking of a homologous structure needed to give it a genuinely new function is more suggestive of reapplication of a concept than adjustment of a physical thing.
    Problem 4: The complexity of metabolic pathways,,,
    Fourth obstacle: Accounts of metabolic innovation must recognize that beneficial metabolic traits typically depend on multiple dedicated genes.,,,
    Fourth principle: Useful innovations tend to require the simultaneous solution of multiple new problems, which means they tend to be compound innovations.
    Problem 5: Radical innovation — the need for new protein folds,,,
    Fifth obstacle: Accounts of metabolic innovations must recognize that they often depend on new protein folds.,,,
    Fifth principle: Useful innovations often involve both the reapplication of proven design concepts and the de novo invention of new ones.
    Problem 6: Causal circularity,,,
    Sixth obstacle: The fact that life depends on numerous components jointly means that no simple relationship exists between the functions of these components and the selective story that would be needed for them to have arisen as simple adaptations. ,,,
    Sixth principle: The implementation of innovation is nearly the opposite of ordinary physical causation. It is the top-down arrangement of matter in such a way that the resulting bottom-up behavior of that matter serves the intended purpose of the innovator.

    After comparing the “principles” required to resolve the six problems they raise, they conclude that intelligent design provides a compelling way to solve all of these problems:,,,

  9. 9
    scordova says:

    Have you read any of Michael Lewis’ books, Salvatore, or any of you other bods? I think the Times’ reviewer was pretty close to the mark in describing him as a genius.

    Never heard of him, sorry!

  10. 10
    Axel says:


  11. 11
    bornagain77 says:

    Prehistoric giant fish could grow more than 16 metres long
    Excerpt: The Leedsichthys was a huge bony, plankton-eating fish that lived in the Middle Jurassic period around 165 million years ago.,,,
    “What we have demonstrated here is that a small adult Leedsichthys of 8-9 metres could reach that length within around 20 years, whereas after 38 years it would be around 16.5 metres long – possibly even outgrowing today’s massive whale sharks.

    Of note:

    Whale Shark
    The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is a slow-moving filter feeding (on plankton) shark and the largest known extant fish species. The largest confirmed individual had a length of 12.65 meters (41.50 ft) and a weight of more than 21.5 metric tons (47,000 lb), ,, Claims of individuals over 14 meters (46 ft) long and weighing at least 30 metric tons (66,000 lb) are not uncommon.

  12. 12
    Axel says:

    I expect even light reading about derivatives would be a ‘busman’s holiday’ for you, and you’d prefer to spend as much of your time as possible in this kind of scientific area.

  13. 13
    bornagain77 says:

    On Public Radio, Stephen Meyer and Michael Ruse Debate Darwin’s Doubt – August 27, 2013
    Here is the radio site:

  14. 14
    bornagain77 says:

    First Century Historian Flavius Josephus – podcast

  15. 15
    Barb says:

    Here is an off topic. Dawkins is under the impression that religious belief is mostly perpetuated through indoctrination.

    Dawkins is, once again, completely wrong. Historians have noted that the early Christian congregations grew primarily as a result of preaching and subsequent conversions, not through parents “indoctrinating” their children.

  16. 16
    bornagain77 says:

    Michael Denton has a new paper up in BioComplexity:

    The Types: A Persistent Structuralist Challenge to Darwinian Pan-Selectionism – Michael J. Denton – 2013

  17. 17
    bornagain77 says:

    It seems Jerry Coyne has finally caught wind of Denis Nobel’s YouTube lecture outlining why neo-Darwinism is false:

    On Neo-Darwinism, Denis Noble Puts It Bluntly (and Accurately) – Paul Nelson – August 27, 2013

    Seems Coyne is not the happy camper he once was when he was instigating censorship at Ball State! 🙂

    here is a more up to date lecture by Denis Nobel:

    Physiology moves back onto centre stage: a new synthesis with evolutionary biology – Denis Nobel – July 2013 – video

    Here is the paper that accompanies the preceding video:

    Physiology is rocking the foundations of evolutionary biology – Denis Noble – 17 MAY 2013
    Excerpt: The ‘Modern Synthesis’ (Neo-Darwinism) is a mid-20th century gene-centric view of evolution, based on random mutations accumulating to produce gradual change through natural selection.,,, We now know that genetic change is far from random and often not gradual.,,,

    “The genome is an ‘organ of the cell’, not its dictator”
    – Denis Nobel – President of the International Union of Physiological Sciences

  18. 18
    Chance Ratcliff says:

    BA77 @17, heh I saw that earlier. I wonder how much ire Coyne will be able to summon against Noble.

  19. 19
    bornagain77 says:

    Is Syria Fulfilling Bible Prophecy? – video

  20. 20
    bornagain77 says:

    Atheism of the GAP – Moshe Averick – August 21, 2013

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