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Is Christian Faith Dishonest? Montreal, PQ

Echoes of Coinherence, Vancouver, BC

“Freedom All the Way Up: God’s Agape/Probability Design of the Universe,” Wenham, MA

“Adam and the Genome,” Wolfville, NS

“Freedom All the Way Up: God’s Agape/Probability Design of the Universe,”

Moderator(s): Randall D. Isaac
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Percent of extant species which have fossilized 3 B. Wolf I am responding to this post rather late, but here are some general comments for those interested.  More on this can be found in my essay on the Cambrian "explosion" on the BioLogos Forum website.There is an entire field of scientific research referred to as "taphonomy" -- literally, "the study of death."   Taphonomic research includes investigating those processes active from the time of death of an organism until its final burial by sediment.  These processes include decomposition, scavenging, mechanical destruction, transportation, and chemical dissolution and alteration.  The ways in which the remains of organisms are subsequently mechanically and chemically altered after burial are also examined -- including the various processes of fossilization.  Burial and "fossilization" of an organism's remains in no way guarantees its ultimate preservation as a fossil.  Processes such as dissolution and recrystallization can remove all record of fossils from the rock.  What we collect as fossils are thus the "lucky" organisms that have avoided the wide spectrum of destructive pre- and post-depositional processes arrayed against them.Soft-bodied organisms, and organisms with non-mineralized skeletons have very little chance of preservation under most environmental conditions.  The discovery of new soft-bodied fossil localities is always met with great enthusiasm.  Such localities are erratically and widely spaced geographically and in geologic time. Even those organisms with preservable hard parts are unlikely to be preserved under "normal" conditions.  Studies of the fate of clam shells in shallow coastal waters reveal that shells are rapidly destroyed by scavenging, boring, chemical dissolution and breakage.  Occasional burial during major storm events is one process that favors the incorporation of shells into the sedimentary record, and their ultimate preservation as fossils.  Getting terrestrial vertebrate material into the fossil record is even more difficult.  The terrestrial environment is a very destructive one: with decomposition and scavenging together with physical and chemical destruction by weathering.The potential for fossil preservation varies dramatically from environment to environment.  Preservation is enhanced under conditions that limit destructive physical and biological processes.  Thus marine and fresh water environments with low oxygen levels, high salinities, or relatively high rates of sediment deposition favor preservation.  Similarly, in some environments biochemical conditions can favor the early mineralization of skeletons and even soft tissues by a variety of compounds (eg. carbonate, silica, pyrite, and phosphate).  The likelihood of preservation is thus highly variable.  As a result, the fossil record is biased toward sampling the biota of certain types of environments, and against sampling the biota of others.  In addition to these preservational biases, the erosion, deformation and metamorphism of originally fossiliferous sedimentary rock have eliminated significant portions of the fossil record over geologic time.  Furthermore, much of the fossil-bearing sedimentary record is hidden in the subsurface, or located in poorly accessible or little studied geographic areas.  For these reasons, of those once living species actually preserved in the fossil record, only a small portion have been discovered and described by science.  However, there is also the promise of continued new and important discovery.  Keith Miller
by K. Miller
Thursday, August 23, 2012
The Fallen World of Cyberspace 0 P. Arveson Now that Information Technology (IT) has grown into the status of an Age, the Digital Age, I look back and see not only its benefits, but also the vast array of spam, frauds, hackers, malware, trojans, viruses, worms, social engineering, and cyber warfare that has emerged, following every new technology advance right on its heels. This is a new reflection of the fallen world. All emerging within my adult lifetime. I remember when I got my first IBM PC computer, back in about 1987, the "dark ages". I joined a large local PC users group (remember them?) One of the meetings discussed computer viruses, and many of us doubted whether such a thing could even exist. Today, 25 years later, I heard General Keith Alexander of NSA proposing a full military command in charge of "cybersecurity". He is earnestly seeking the services of "black hat" hackers in developing these skills -- and their defenses -- for training across the workforce. I have personally never been interested in hacking, but apparently some people are. Networked computer systems, because of their ability to copy and share code, are inherently vulnerable to self-corruption and self-destruction. It only takes one evil person to create a virus that will then spread exponentially through the network. Hence it takes constant, vigilant human intervention by "white hats" to maintain stable operation on a network. But of course sometimes a "white hat" has a "black hat" underneath. So evil comes back to its origin -- the human level. We are back into the fallen world of ordinary human life. We cannot easily distinguish good from evil. If we could unambiguously, consistently, distinguish friend from foe then evil would soon be banished from the planet. But in all of human history, in all kinds of the strictest, most well-intentioned organizations, it never has been eliminated. Hence we are obliged to spend billions on security, surveillance, intelligence, defense, vigilance, patches, updates, upgrades, etc. A network is like a living organism; it needs an immune system. Such a system is necessarily dynamic, basing its defenses on the nature of the attack. As any living system, which must devote a certain amount of metabolic overhead to self-defense, or else it would die in short order. One wonders, with all the viruses about, why life -- or the network -- lives at all. The answer goes back to a definition of evil attributed to St. Augustine: evil is not an entity in itself; it is the absence of the good, the absence of normal. It cannot exist by itself; it only exists as a parasite on the good. Viruses derive their energy and reproductive power only from the good engine of normal cell replication. So the good must have existed before evil. This too is true of cyberspace. The Internet standards, like TCP/IP, HTTP etc. were carefully designed protocols created specifically to carry out communication functions. That was their purpose. They have mechanisms to tolerate faults, dropouts, congestion, noise, etc. but not deliberate, malicious abuse of the protocols themselves. That abuse starts from the top layer of the system, from evil humans. There is nothing evil or wrong in the protocols themselves (other than design flaws which are continually being repaired), but the evil comes from outside. It is parasitic on the system and exploits it. Malware actions are often called "exploits". Sometimes systems can be brought to a standstill by denial-of-service attacks, or other systemic failures. The ultimate remedy for malware: wipe the disk, do a clean install and start over. In the organism, in some cases viral infections can overcome the healthy organism and destroy it. But in the long term, for over a billion years, we are comforted by the fact that life has gone on; good ultimately triumphs over evil. It has done so, partly, because of apoptosis -- individuals sacrificing their lives for the survival of the whole. Survival emerges from death and failure. Evolution destroys evil by dying to contain it. Atonement leads to salvation. Wipe the disk, do a clean install and start over. Be born again.  
by P. Arveson
Friday, August 17, 2012
A Petition for your consideration 1 C. Pinkham Thanks for this post.  I heartily support anything that helps preserve fisheries.
by D. Boorse
Monday, July 16, 2012
Colorado/western US fires 5 R. Isaac One of the positives of the fire has been how it has brought the community together. Here is what my church is doing. This is just a small part of what others are doing. Here the largest church in Fort Collins expresses our corporate gratitude for the fire fighters and first responders.
by R. Blinne
Friday, June 29, 2012
Artifical Intelligents and Reductionism 2 B. Gambone Dear Billy:Check out the following article, which was published in our latest issue of God and Nature magazine. It's all about transhumanism and Christianity. may want to read God and Nature in your spare time if you have questions like these; some of them may already be answered by our writers! Best,Emily
by E. Ruppel
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
American Journal of Physics 82 D. Roemer I just posted my review of  Biology’s First Law: The Tendency for Diversity and Complexity to Increase in Evolutionary Systems on by Daniel W. McShae and Robert N. Brandon. This is a link to it’v already quoted from this book to support my campaign to get the AJP to retract its absurd article about entropy and evolution. This is another quote: Based on what we have said so far, some will be poised and ready to make a leap, from the notion of accumulation of accidents to the second law of thermodynamics…. We advise readers against this, for their own safety. We are concerned that on the other side of that leap there may be no firm footing. Indeed, there may be an abyss. First, we think the foundation of the ZFEL [zero-force evolutionary law] lies in probability theory, not in the second law or any other law of physics. And second, our notions of diversity and complexity differ fundamentally from entropy, in that entropy, unlike diversity and complexity is not a level-related concept.  (location 220 on Kindle) 
by D. Roemer
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
GOD BASED MAGNETISM 0 M. Green GOD BASED MAGNETISM where conventional science went wrong. The facts that were missed, overlooked, ignored, suppressed and denied in conventional science. What is conventional science afraid of, GOD?, the facts?, the truth? I say that magnets are individual. That is, an individual north pole magnet and an individual south pole magnet. If I am able to prove this self evident fact and as well as you could, then this fact proves that conventional science is incorrect in all disciplines’. Furthermore, Einstein and all the other great scientist before him are incorrect also. If you disagree with this, then you must be able to prove that north and south pole magnets are not individual magnets. What say you.
by M. Green
Saturday, May 26, 2012
Flashing the ISS 4 G. Cooper R. Isaac said:OUTSTANDING! That's a great accomplishment. Thanks for posting it. Thanks!  The project was not an advancement for hard science, but such things can help to stir interest in science.  Our local astronomy club has had, at times, over 1,000 people, mostly youngsters, at individual, pro-science events, and the recent "first" with our ISS contact will add spice to our presentations.                 
by G. Cooper
Thursday, March 15, 2012
frank j tipler 2 J. Hayes I can't find the link you mention in your post.  Am I missing something?  I would really like to find this review also!
by H. Looy
Friday, February 24, 2012
Biomedical experiments, public safety, morality 3 E. Ruppel
by E. Ruppel
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Word Power 0 R. Isaac A few days ago, Rory O'Connor was on the Greater Boston show on public television, being interviewed by Emily Rooney. Rory is one of three authors of the book NukeSpeak, a 30 year old book which has just been reissued in a 30th anniversary edition. The authors are strongly anti-nuclear power and devote the book to decrying the euphemistic language with which nuclear power was marketed to the public. I'm a cautious supporter of nuclear power. I think it can be deployed at reasonably safe and economical levels, but it must be done with great care. What struck me about this book is the use of language to convey scientific ideas and technological capabilities. The concept is not new to me. At IBM, we worked hard with our communications team to find the right words to convey the messages we wanted to get across. In the course of doing science, we habitually select language that may be technically accurate but slanted to portray the nuance we want to communicate. That's not wrong. But awareness of the language we use is critical. In the often rancorous debated on science and faith, much can be discerned from the adjectives chosen to describe key players and ideas. One of our goals, hard though it may be too achieve, must be to pay attention to seeking words that are fair and accurate not just in technical meaning but in the nuanced implications.  
by R. Isaac
Tuesday, January 3, 2012