Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Musings on Family Comments...

Slightly Updated: now that I'm at home and had the time to flesh out a few of these thoughts a little more...

Comment #1: "Science will always simply prove what is found to be true in Scripture..."
--Tom N. Hughes, my father; while working on his porch one weekend.

I have to say, I forget the actual context of the discussion, but I think it had to do with my brother Tom's reading and my mother's take on And Knowing is Half the Battle post.

My father is a Young-Earth believer. That is, he believes in that the 7-day creation process described in Genesis is literal scripture and absolute truth. That it took seven mornings and evenings (literal 24 hours), everything was created that day in its present state (no macro evolution has occurred), and that dinosaurs simply went extinct (I'm guessing on this last one--remind me to ask my father what he believes happened to the dinosaurs...) I believe the popular term for person's like my father these days is he's a believer in ID.

My issue isn't so much that he believes this. If he had actual scientific theories and hypotheses on the issue, and could say, "Look at this" or "look at that," the point would be moot until an answer was happened upon. My issue does lie in the fact that science has already told him that the young-earth theory isn't only not viable, but a simple purview of human history will blow this theory out of the water--even without a deep discussion on evolution, the big bang, or the gravitational proponents of black-hole/worm-hole density. If you take the literal version of history in the bible and lay out a time line, the earth (and everything on it) is only between 6,000 and 10,000 years old--and if that isn't silly enough--the fact that even with literal interpretation you can't come up with a solid year!--today's man and his artwork and past has already been proven by science to have been in America at least 50,000 years, let alone when we first showed up on earth at all! Most recently, the fosilized remains of a child dating 3 million years old have been found in Ethiopia! 3 million years old! Humanoid, though not human, how does one take this into account while still believing in a young earth? Do you just dismiss it as evil scientists trying to disprove a god? (Clue: Science has better things to do with its free time than try to disprove what you believe!)

How does science know? One method is called carbon-dating. (To learn about what carbon dating is, its reliability, and how it works, visit the following links: here, here, or even here.)

And even if you go with the argument of fundies that carbon dating isn't accurate, please explain to me the following:
  1. The hundreds of millions of fossils that are in display cases around the world. Where did they come from? What happened to these creatures in the few thousand years since god created them?
  2. How did that all the dinosaurs, mammoths, early humans, heavily-armored fishes, trilobites, ammonites, and the rest actually live together?
  3. How did the marine creatures die (like the Nothosaurs, Plesiosaurs, Ichthyosaurs...) during the flood? (i.e., if the earth really is that young, what happened to all the deep sea dinosaurs? The ones that Noah's flood wouldn't have wiped out?)
It's fine that you want to ignore scientific evidence; it's no skin off my back; but don't expect science to back you up when the evidence for it certainly isn't there.

And even further, even if you are going to assume that one day, science will somehow "back up the bible," who's to say which bible reader it is going to back up? One could say it already backs up evolution-believing Christians who take a non-literal reading of the creation days! (perhaps more on that at a later date). So, then, if Bob Schmoe from Irving, Illinois, believes the bible literally says that the animals were made first, then Adam and Eve (as in Gen. 1) and Billy-Joe Blow from Tucson, Arizona, believes the bible literally says that Adam was made first, then the animals, then Eve (as in Gen. 2), and both are hard-core, literal bible-believing Baptists, one of them has to be wrong, and science isn't going to back one of them up! So who's to say when the bible actually has been backed up by science? Of course, then there's taking them as allegorical; or as Gen. 2 simply going into detail about Gen. 1; or as two differing accounts by two different authors as a study of the writing styles and features of the two accounts will lead you to conclude...

Do you see the issue here? It all comes back to someone's interpretation over another, which is why there are already so many damn denominations, it ain't even funny!

So, no, Dad, I'm going to have to say science is never going to back you up until you've decided that it does.
Comment #2: "All things in the universe lead to entropy."
--Brother Tom, later that same day, I believe.

In essence, and in very general terms, he's right. All things lead back to entropy. Hence, I think this makes up a large part of his belief in old-earth creationism (i.e., god had to start it all as nothing seems to be self-starting, only self-destructive). He has been able to marry his belief in the bible and in evolution. But if you look into the second law of thermodynamics, you will see that, not only is entropy a very very slow process in most cases, once there is enough "entropy," or disorder, an MEP happens, or "law of maximum entropy production," in which entropy actually leads to the creation of something else (see here, here, and here).

And not only does creation-type physicality happen at a much greater pace than entropy, the whole law of entropy is based on a closed system; that is, a system that has no influence from an outside source. Now, I'm no scientist, and perhaps some of you may be able to explain it better than my rudimentary understanding of things thus far, but science has never ruled out the possibility of outside forces and their effect upon our universe (be that god, something the universe may be inhabited in, or any of the 11 dimensions that string theory has placed on the table that may or may not be part of the universe; there is also an explanation about why gravity seems to be such a weak force in our universe, and string theory proposes that's because gravity is spread across multiple dimensions, or several universes...). The second law, as stated, is "The entropy of a closed system shall never decrease, and shall increase whenever possible." So if you are to use this theory, which incorporates a whole host of other physical laws, as the basis for stating that someone (namely, a god) as the cause for all creation (even though things create and produce in this world of entropy), you must take into account that
  1. we may not be inhabiting a closed system
  2. entropy is a slow, gradual process in most instances anyway, and
  3. entropy itself leads to creation
Perhaps I am misunderstanding something here, but from what I can tell, and from what I have read on these links and other various sites, entropy is not only not a guaranteed constant (in that, entropy is all there is happening), entropy itself leads to something new and different just through the disorder it causes to happen.

Does that make sense to anyone else?
I'll end it for now--I could keep adding onto this for weeks... Perhaps this may become a running series as well--who knows?



I have yet to hear back from Santorum (probably remembers me from my e-mails of constant disagreement with him, and I got a "form" reply from Specter. My state legislators have said that I could come in to learn or volunteer with them, but I need to work... and volunteering doesn't pay, which means I lose my house... I have to ask myself how much I can do before I sacrifice something (like money) in order to gain something (like office), but either way, I need money...

Hmm...

10 comments:

Cori said...

It sounds to me like you and your family have very interesting conversations!

My dad, Kevin and I are all part of a (small) email group that is now discussing whether Genesis 1-11 were meant to be taken literally or not. Interestingly, what came up is that prior to the enlightenment, and thus prior to the development of science, no Christian would have read the Bible literally in the sense that we understand it.

This is what my dad wrote:
Historically literal means what the text meant to say to the first audience. Since the days of the great Reformation this is what literal means. Since the Fundamentalism – Modernism battles at the beginning of the 20 th century in the USA literal has received a different meaning: literalist. But a literalist reading of Gen 1 is as biased as a reading based upon higher criticism. Both are trying to understanbd the text against what the text itself says in its own cultural and historical context, missing the real message.

Its good to realise that even a so-called literal understanding of Genesis which leads to a young-earth belief uses a biased way of reading the Bible.

mom said...

hello jason! i had a bit of time to see whats new on your blog! i am not sure if i like your day to day stuff more or your deep deep stuff the best!?!? :) sometimes by brain doesn't want to work with the deep stuff. :) i am glad you you can find things to write about just with your family! :) i still go back to my favorite comment that i make when you go into stuff like you are with how God made this or how old the earth is and that is no one knows since i feel even your science people had to start with a guess also on some things. now i'm not a number person and i get lost when people start throwing around numbers (thats why i don't watch the numbers tv show :) ) like they really know! come on now what pictures does ANYBODY have what happened how and when. we are going to be all surprised when we get the scoop on any of it. to me God could do anything He wanted. He created it and He could create it any which way He saw fit. just like when i make my afghans i sometimes change the pattern to make it look different and the question on what happen to the strange sea creatures well i just saw they found a walking shark who knows what else is down in the deepest part of the sea? than you know jason that your mother here thinks there is a big foot and other monsters around also! :) and i guess we shouldn't talk about my ghost stories. :) :) i do think all this discussion makes for great debates and interesting stories. :) now this is what my brain comes up with after eating 2 eggs! if i eat 3 eggs to you think i might get deeper?!?! :) :) well, i love you and i have to get back at it. i am so looking forward to see my newest grandson!! :) :) :) :) also before i go i want to say its ashame you are not rich enough to run for an office. i guess we are going to have put up with just rich kids running since us poor people are too busy working to keep a roof over our heads! sorry. i know your heart is good and would try to change some of the stupid stuff that does go on in all levels of our goverment but like it or not i still am glad i grew up here and will try to do the right thing as long as i live. well, take care. love and prayers

Rodolfo said...

My dad is similar to yours. Although he admits in one period in his life when he was a skeptical (more like angry) believer because his prayers(I'm assuming) seemed to go unanswered. Anyway, I also have a gay brother. My dad tells us he's okay with it now but he always interjects with a claim that my deceased mom never approved of it. Of course that's crap because my mom would love us no matter what we did in life so I don't have any faith in my dad's claims. Well I think my brother takes this assumption about my mom very seriously because my brother is also somewhat of a bible reader and because he wants to honor his mom so much he always get screwed up in the head just thinking about it. I with my brother would finally be okay with his homosexuality. I think he's so afraid of the idea that the bible throws homosexuals in hell that it completely paralyzes him in doing anything else with his life.

Thought I'd share because you probably could relate. Thanks for blogging.

Rosa said...

Mom, I am just curious as to whether your beliefs would conflict with electing a gay person to office. By that, I mean, Would you be likely to vote for an openly gay man who was not realted to you? I thought your Christian beliefs would not permit you to advocate homosexuality. I have a cousin who is openly gay and no one (other than me)in our family has any contact with him because of it. His mother cries when anyone mentions his name because she is so hurt by his decision to come out. She believes (as I tend to) that people are not born gay, but choose to act on the wrong compulsions. Her friends have supported her, but they do not understand. I have to say that I would be devastated if one of my four sons told me he were gay. More because of the stigma (truthfully for us both) than anything else, even though I do not really agree with the lifestyle.

mom said...

hello rosa, wow! didn't know i would have to answer any heavy questions on jasons blog! knowing him the way i do i do not think he would mind since he knows his mother loves him very much. i don't know if i can answer a question like this without you knowing how i grew up and not liking very thing i heard in the church i grew up in. one thing i want to say is i had a very shelter life since i had a mother that grew up thinking she had no voice in her family and it was how it all looked to outsiders. i never felt i had a voice either than i married a dear husband who saw my heart and left me have a voice and loved me anyway! :) i hated that my mother who is still to this day is living a life on what it will look like to others. now i think we need to try to follow that to some degree but to let it go into our freedoms that i feel God gave to each of us. we all have our own wills and my mother never understood that and still doesn't and when i had to break away from her she reacted in a horrible matter and it took me awhile to get into my own person but i am getting there yet. :) i know with each year i get older i learn different things i rethink in different ways and some things i might not change but others i will. each of my 5 kids taught me a different lesson and helped me see different things and even my mom who i learned to love in a much deeper level has taught me things. i pray everyday and read the daily bread and what i hear from God is to love others and IF they want to know how to get to heaven i will share in that. i will not force my personal beliefs on anybody. i plant the seed and God will do the rest. now you asked me if i would vote for someone else that is gay. yes, if he stood for doing the right things for the country. i see alot of open gay people who are trying to the right thing to help others. to love the way i feel God wants us to love is not easy and to do that we need His power and even with His power i know i have a hard time loving. right now i feel we have to much hate going on with others who we don't understand and yes i worry for my gay son that someone with a Bible in one hand and a gun or something in the other will harm him. so the more people that open up or run for office and try to do the right thing maybe we will have a some what of a better world. is this going to happen? i really don't know but i know in my little world i will keep trying to do the right thing when it comes to the people i run into and love the way i feel God wants me to love. i don't know if i answered your question but i did try but i am not the good writer my two sons are and one thing i do hear in your comment is that your cousins mom is feeling sad and when you let another person make you feel that sad its not good. that is why i will not let anybody say what i should or should not do because you can't be a christian if you do. loving her gay child should not make her cry and be ashamed!! i love jason and i love rich and if that makes me not a christian to some well pray for me than. my walk with Christ still does not show me that. and if jasons blog lets me have a small voice to help,well than. i think God is using this maybe to help others. there are far too many important issues that are far more important than who is gay and who isn't. sorry jason this is so long on your blog. thank you jason for letting me use your space for my 2 cents. love and prayers ps i will be going away for a bit so jason i feel you can answer anymore of my fan mail!! :) :) :) pretty soon i will be in the time magizine or something!! :) :) :) now i need more coffee! this took all my brain power. :)

rosa said...

Jason, you are alucky man and Mom, you are a smart lady!!!

Jason Hughes said...

Cori: Sometimes interesting can easily turn into heated, but yeah, we have fun discussing our differentiating theories and whatnot--and hey! At least we get something done while we're going it! :)

mom: Yes, science always starts with a theory, and goes from there, and whether that guess or theory holds water after a few experimenst and whatnot, so you aren't entirely wrong! :)

rosa: Yeah, I know! :)

Tell your aunt to stop being a pity-party cry-baby and tell your cousin that she still loves him! regardless of whether o not someone is born gay (as I know was...), religion is also a choice, so if she feels she cannot love him based on her personal beliefs or religious beliefs, she can always change them like he supposedly changed his orientation....

I may post about that later (the whole born that way vs. choice) later, but it sounds to me like your family kind of stuck you in the middle (am I reading too much into this?) of their fight...

The best youcan do is be a listener, an empathizer, and let all parties know that although all their feelings are valid and need to be voiced, what they end up doing with those feelings and emotions will be a true test of their character and inner heart. Above all, they must decide to continue to love each other, despite disagreements. Without love, they might as well part ways...

But that's just my two cents. Thanks for stopping by!

rodolfo: My dad has actually come a long way (although still has far to journey in my opinion) concerning myself. He at least continues to treat us like human beings, which is more than I can say for how some families treat their gay members...

It almost sounds like your dad is trying to tell your brother he disapporves but indirectly by citing your mom. Your brother not only needs to come to terms on his own (which for some is a life long struggle that never ends), but he needs to tell your dad that even though mom isn't with you guys anymore, he knows she would still love him. If your brother truly wants to honor your mother, he needs to make a conscious choice, I suppose. You may want to tell him to look up an MCC church or a Universal Unitarian church... a lot fot hese churches web sites also have links to explaining how others have managed to marry their idea of god with their life... I'll see if I can find you some links that you may be able to e-mail him....

Talk to you later! Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

mom said...

hello rosa, wow! didn't know i would have to answer any heavy questions on jasons blog! knowing him the way i do i do not think he would mind since he knows his mother loves him very much. i don't know if i can answer a question like this without you knowing how i grew up and not liking very thing i heard in the church i grew up in. one thing i want to say is i had a very shelter life since i had a mother that grew up thinking she had no voice in her family and it was how it all looked to outsiders. i never felt i had a voice either than i married a dear husband who saw my heart and left me have a voice and loved me anyway! :) i hated that my mother who is still to this day is living a life on what it will look like to others. now i think we need to try to follow that to some degree but to let it go into our freedoms that i feel God gave to each of us. we all have our own wills and my mother never understood that and still doesn't and when i had to break away from her she reacted in a horrible matter and it took me awhile to get into my own person but i am getting there yet. :) i know with each year i get older i learn different things i rethink in different ways and some things i might not change but others i will. each of my 5 kids taught me a different lesson and helped me see different things and even my mom who i learned to love in a much deeper level has taught me things. i pray everyday and read the daily bread and what i hear from God is to love others and IF they want to know how to get to heaven i will share in that. i will not force my personal beliefs on anybody. i plant the seed and God will do the rest. now you asked me if i would vote for someone else that is gay. yes, if he stood for doing the right things for the country. i see alot of open gay people who are trying to the right thing to help others. to love the way i feel God wants us to love is not easy and to do that we need His power and even with His power i know i have a hard time loving. right now i feel we have to much hate going on with others who we don't understand and yes i worry for my gay son that someone with a Bible in one hand and a gun or something in the other will harm him. so the more people that open up or run for office and try to do the right thing maybe we will have a some what of a better world. is this going to happen? i really don't know but i know in my little world i will keep trying to do the right thing when it comes to the people i run into and love the way i feel God wants me to love. i don't know if i answered your question but i did try but i am not the good writer my two sons are and one thing i do hear in your comment is that your cousins mom is feeling sad and when you let another person make you feel that sad its not good. that is why i will not let anybody say what i should or should not do because you can't be a christian if you do. loving her gay child should not make her cry and be ashamed!! i love jason and i love rich and if that makes me not a christian to some well pray for me than. my walk with Christ still does not show me that. and if jasons blog lets me have a small voice to help,well than. i think God is using this maybe to help others. there are far too many important issues that are far more important than who is gay and who isn't. sorry jason this is so long on your blog. thank you jason for letting me use your space for my 2 cents. love and prayers ps i will be going away for a bit so jason i feel you can answer anymore of my fan mail!! :) :) :) pretty soon i will be in the time magizine or something!! :) :) :) now i need more coffee! this took all my brain power. :)

Rosa said...

Mom, I am just curious as to whether your beliefs would conflict with electing a gay person to office. By that, I mean, Would you be likely to vote for an openly gay man who was not realted to you? I thought your Christian beliefs would not permit you to advocate homosexuality. I have a cousin who is openly gay and no one (other than me)in our family has any contact with him because of it. His mother cries when anyone mentions his name because she is so hurt by his decision to come out. She believes (as I tend to) that people are not born gay, but choose to act on the wrong compulsions. Her friends have supported her, but they do not understand. I have to say that I would be devastated if one of my four sons told me he were gay. More because of the stigma (truthfully for us both) than anything else, even though I do not really agree with the lifestyle.

mom said...

hello jason! i had a bit of time to see whats new on your blog! i am not sure if i like your day to day stuff more or your deep deep stuff the best!?!? :) sometimes by brain doesn't want to work with the deep stuff. :) i am glad you you can find things to write about just with your family! :) i still go back to my favorite comment that i make when you go into stuff like you are with how God made this or how old the earth is and that is no one knows since i feel even your science people had to start with a guess also on some things. now i'm not a number person and i get lost when people start throwing around numbers (thats why i don't watch the numbers tv show :) ) like they really know! come on now what pictures does ANYBODY have what happened how and when. we are going to be all surprised when we get the scoop on any of it. to me God could do anything He wanted. He created it and He could create it any which way He saw fit. just like when i make my afghans i sometimes change the pattern to make it look different and the question on what happen to the strange sea creatures well i just saw they found a walking shark who knows what else is down in the deepest part of the sea? than you know jason that your mother here thinks there is a big foot and other monsters around also! :) and i guess we shouldn't talk about my ghost stories. :) :) i do think all this discussion makes for great debates and interesting stories. :) now this is what my brain comes up with after eating 2 eggs! if i eat 3 eggs to you think i might get deeper?!?! :) :) well, i love you and i have to get back at it. i am so looking forward to see my newest grandson!! :) :) :) :) also before i go i want to say its ashame you are not rich enough to run for an office. i guess we are going to have put up with just rich kids running since us poor people are too busy working to keep a roof over our heads! sorry. i know your heart is good and would try to change some of the stupid stuff that does go on in all levels of our goverment but like it or not i still am glad i grew up here and will try to do the right thing as long as i live. well, take care. love and prayers