Archive for May 9th, 2012

May 9th, 2012

The Joy of Education

by Max Andrews

The greatest joy of education is that it never ends.  There is an enlightening splendor in the discovery of knowledge.  A yearn that is never quenched.  When we think we are satisfied and we’ve learned enough we’ve only demonstrated our finitude.  The virtue of knowledge is completely underappreciated.  The youth go to university to earn a degree for success or a high paying job without understanding that what they have attained is priceless.  The virtue of knowledge and the joy of discovery is widely ignored and set in the periphery.  Why is knowledge not delighted in for its own sake?

May 9th, 2012

The Second Search for the Historical Jesus

by Max Andrews

After the period of no quest ended in 1953 the second, and present, search for the historical Jesus began.  On October 23, 1953 Ernst Käsemann delivered a lecture titled “The Problem of the Historical Jesus.”  Käsemann was critical of the discontinuity of history and faith and that Jesus must be rooted in history to some degree to avoid docetism, which would allow Christ to be formed however the scholar wills.

In 1956 Günther Bornkamm wrote a book titled Jesus of Nazareth and, along the same lines, James M. Robinson wrote A New Quest for the Historical Jesus in 1959.  They argued that faith does not depend on history; rather, a certain amount of “pre-easter” history about the historical Jesus could be known and this was vital to understanding Christian kerygma.

May 9th, 2012

The Difference Between Constructive Empiricism and Anti-Realism

by Max Andrews

The primary difference between realism, constructive empiricism (CE), and anti-realism is where these approaches rest on the spectrum of ontology and explanation.  Realism takes theoretical commitments of science to be real, and not just [disguised] abbreviations for observational claims, or useful fictions we create to organize observations.[1]  Anti-realism is contrary to realism.  Instead of ‘X is an unobservable and X is real’, a la realism, anti-realism purports, ‘X is an unobservable and X is non-real.’  Both schools will recognize that, yes, X is an unobservable but they disagree on the ontic category.  The category of ontology becomes muddled, if not superfluous, when referring to unobservable entities.  An electron is a useful fiction.  Thus, whatever X, if X is commonly referred to what is considered to be an electron, then X is a useful fiction for understanding the consequent state of affairs.  CE rests in between these two ideas. C E makes no commitment to the ontic status of the unobservable and can sway the ontic pendulum either way.

May 9th, 2012

Maxwell’s Electromagnetism Equations

by Max Andrews

James Clerk Maxwell’s (1831-1879) equations represent one of the most elegant and concise ways to state the fundamentals of electricity and magnetism.  From them one can develop most of the working relationships in the field.  Because of their concise statement, they embody a relatively high level of mathematical sophistication.

Below are some equations used by Maxwell appearing in integral form in the absence of magnetic or polarizable media.

Gauss’ Law for Electricity: The electric flux out of any closed surface is proportional to the total charge enclosed within the surface.

May 9th, 2012

Word of the Week Wednesday: Mathematical Invariance

by Max Andrews

Word of the Week: Mathematical Invariance

Definition:  In Einstein’s use of the word, mathematical invariance established a genuine ontology in which the subject grips with objective structures and intrinsic intelligibility of the universe.

More about the word:  Throughout Einstein’s work, the mechanistic universe proved unsatisfactory.  This was made evident after the discovery of the electromagnetic field and the failure of Newtonian physics to account for it in mechanistic concepts.  Then came the discovery of four-dimensional geometry and with it the realization that the geometrical structures of Newtonian physics could not be detached from changes in space and time with which field theory operated.