Archive for April 17th, 2012

April 17th, 2012

Why Every Christian Must Practice Epistemic Humility

by Max Andrews

There are three primary categories for virtue the Christian/theist will affirm.  The first are the transcendental virtues: truth, beauty, and goodness. The second set is the theological virtues: faith, hope, and love/charity.  Then there are the four cardinal virtues: prudence, courage, patience, and justice.  It’s my belief that every Christian must practice epistemic humility.  What is that?  Well, epistemic humility, in the sense I’ll be using it, refers to an application of the four cardinal virtues in the area of epistemology (knowledge).  Each of these virtues have a respective vice.  For instance, the virtue of moderation would appear as a vice in addiction.

The virtue of epistemic prudence is know when and how to appropriate your knowledge to others.  Have you ever noticed that person in class or in church that seems to be the ‘know-it-all,’ whether they actually are or not?  Of course, it’s worse when they’re simply ignorant of what they’re talking about, but not only is this person annoying but there may be several issues rooted in the flaunting of knowledge. There’s nothing wrong with sharing you’re knowledge but, like I said, it’s how and when you share it.  

April 17th, 2012

Can We Observe Causation?

by Max Andrews

Men wielding billiard sticks and hitting cue balls is an event in which causation can be observed.  What is being observed is the effect of something happening on the quantum level. The momentum of the billiard stick coming into relations with the cue ball and the cue ball receiving the transfer of momentum from the billiard stick sets the causal relationship into action.  The strong nuclear force, which binds the atomic nuclei of the billiard stick, interacts with the strong nuclear force of the cue ball.  Just because we can’t view the forces and particle interaction ourselves doesn’t mean we’re not observing them.  When we observe the interaction we are observing it on a larger scale.  Perhaps what is being unobserved is a direct observation.  However, perhaps it’s the case that when we hear the loud smack of the billiard stick colliding with the cue ball is a direct observation via sound.  The microscopic perturbations of sound waves created are the same sound waves that would be heard on the micro scale.  The only difference would a normal observer would hear a softer version of the sound due to the distance traveled.

April 17th, 2012

Nonlocality as Evidence for a Multiverse Cosmology

by Max Andrews

The following is an abstract from a paper written by Frank Tipler–a major proponent in the fine-tuning/intelligent design dialogues. I believe this is one of Tipler’s papers that he has been trying to get published for a while but has been unable to because it challenges the status quo concerning the issue of nonlocality in quantum mechanics.  I found the paper very interesting and it’s a very short and easy read.

I show that observations of quantum nonlocaltiy can be interpreted as purely local phenomena, provided one assumes that the cosmos is a multiverse. Conversely, the observation of quantum nonlocality can be interpreted as observation evidence for a multiverse cosmology, just as observation of the setting of the Sun can be interpreted as evidence for the Earth’s rotation.

April 17th, 2012

A New Drake Equation: The Probability of Life in the Multiverse

by Max Andrews

The Drake equation is advocated by SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) to show that the probability for ETI has a high probability (N).

N=N*×fp×ne×fl×fi×fc×fL

  • N* Number of stars in the Milky Way
  • fp Number of habitable planets in each system
  • ne number of planets that are Earth like
  • fl number of planets that emerge from inorganic matter or organic precursors
  • fi fraction of those planets on which intelligent beings also evolve
  • fc fraction of those planets on which sufficient communications technology arises
  • fL fraction of average planet lifetime

The problem with the equation is that each f is a number between 0 and 1, the product of the equation will be vastly lower than the total number of suitable stars in the galaxy N*.  Many variables are unknown.  So, the numbers that are brought in depend profoundly on the assumptions we bring into the problem.

April 17th, 2012

Why I’m a Christian: David Rodriguez

by Max Andrews

I grew up going to a private Christian elementary school down in southern California. Because of my exposure to Christianity and God there, I grew up with a fear and basic knowledge of Jesus and his existence. After being switched to public school, I had retained my Christian identity but I never really followed through as a faithful believer–such as reading my bible, going to church, or praying. It was in the 8th grade when one morning my mother woke me up extremely early in the morning saying, “Get up! We’re going to church.” “What? Church? Huh?” Was my initial reaction. I had never attended a church service, outside of the chapel services I went to in my private school, in my life. I was entirely confused. We never went to church, and, out of nowhere, my mom is waking me up EARLY on a Sunday morning for his. Grudgingly, I stood up, got changed, and went with them to a small church that was couched into a little corner of a shopping center next to a pizza shop and a beauty salon.

April 17th, 2012

The Central Task of Theology According to Karl Barth

by Max Andrews

Theology cannot be done without Christ. Christ is the God incarnate and as such is the only interaction that man can have with Him. Von Balthasar used the image of an hourglass to illustrate Barth’s theology, with Christ as the midpoint which all the grains of sand must run. In his own, ‘Fate and Idea in Theology,’ Barth argues that “theology will really be theology when from beginning to end it is Christology.” As a matter of fact with out Barth view of Christ, there would never have been his ‘Church Dogmatics.’

Christ, as incarnate God, is the revelation of God to mankind. It is through Christ that God reveals His grace to us, the very being of God-given to mankind. “If God was not gracious (and this means if He retained the majesty of His Godhead for Himself), if He did not of His own free decision turn toward men, there would be no revelation; man would be left to himself.” (Revelation, 53)  For Barth, Jesus is God-Man manifested to mankind; He is the mediator of our knowledge and the gateway to understanding God. This is essential for Barth’s theological task, Christ is necessary to ‘do’ theology for Barth.