January 27, 2005

Life in the Old Testament...

...or rather, "Life in OT Backgrounds." So I have some lovely little quotations from Dr. Hummel.

  • First, one I picked up in Computer Architecture from Dr. King. On Abraham: "He was a randy old man."
  • Dr. Hummel reconstructs a conversation between his youngest daughter and his grandmother over Christmas break:
    "Are you old?"
    "Yes, honey, I am."
    "So that means you're going to die soon."
    "Well, yes, honey, that's right... Merry Christmas to you, too."
  • "Usually, eating is more important than art."
  • A student asks, "What's a stele?"
    Hummel stands, holding his hands over his head to indicate the size of the thing, "A stele is, well, it's about... well everything's taller than me." Apparently, Hammurabi's stele is about seven feet tall.
  • On Abraham missing from the Egyptian records: "'Wow. I look like an idiot for chasing after his wife; I thought it was his sister. Oh, wait, it was his sister; that's weird.' You just don't see records like that."

So there it is. I suppose that since I'm no longer acquiring painful quotations, I'll have to supply you with some entertaining ones. Until next time...

Posted by Gallagher at 04:34 PM

January 21, 2005

Proving God

This evening, I attended a panel discussion about different methods of proving God's existence. The panel consisted of one Mr. Moose from Reasons to Believe, Dr. Batts, and Dr. Forringer. It turned out to be highly entertaining, and also quite thought-provoking.

Mr. Moose began the proceedings by declaring that the existence of God can be proved scientifically. Or so he said. His position was more like that of the other two, saying that the existence God could not be proved conclusively, but that there is overwhelming evidence for it. He began with a brief history of the physics of last century. Einstein paved the way for the expanding universe, which was confirmed in April of 1992. In the 70's, Hawking showed that time had a beginning. All this points to the existence of a Creator. He briefly went over the theory of intelligent design, lending more weight to his argument.

The second panelist was Dr. Martin Batts. Amazingly enough, he had a handout and two overheads prepared. Just crazy, I tell you. He rephrased the question of "How can we prove God exists?" to "Can we show with overwhelming probability that God exists?" then spent his time justifying that change. He talked about Kant's theory about two levels of knowledge (the rational and the spiritual) that cannot interact whatsoever, and about Hume saying that only the rational existed. He agreed with neither, saying that Hume is wrong because there are spiritual things, and that Kant is wrong because his ideas of epistemology weaken the Christian faith. He didn't try to prove or disprove the existence of God. But he had a handout. And quoted C.S. Lewis.

Finally, Dr. Forringer spoke. In my opinion, he had the best arguments of the three. Mr. Moose was probably the best-prepared, as he surely gives speeches like this often. Forringer began with an explanation of the reigning scientific thoughts of the late 19th century: that the entire universe was predetermined by the starting positions and velocities of all particles and the laws of physics acting on those particles. "But," he said, "quantum mechanics saves us." Quantum mechanics shows that absolute position and velocity cannot be determined, thus, there is an element of chance in the physical world. Through this element of chance, God is able to do anything without directly breaking the laws of physics. That is to say, if someone or something could control all the random elements of the universe, he could control everything. In essence, that person would be God. Thus, while the element of chance does not prove that God exists, it certainly shows how God could affect his universe without breaking his own set of rules, which is consistent with the idea of a rational God. Forringer said that in order to prove the existence of God scientifically, we must eliminate every other possibility, no matter how infeasible, a task that is practically impossible.

I have a few other editorial comments to make, but I think I shall save them for a later date. I'm also thinking about typing up the notes I took, but that would take both time and effort. As a good student, I have a strong aversion to spending either one.

Posted by Gallagher at 01:11 AM

January 17, 2005

In Preview

If you've never put up laundry by black light, you should try it. It's quite the unique experience.

I figure it's about time I go through my course line-up for this Spring. Having had two classes, I have a fairly good impression of what my classes will be like, but naturally, some things will surprise me throughout the semester. I think I'll just run through what should be a typical week.

On (a normal) Monday, I'll wake up shortly before 9, get ready for the day, and enjoy breakfast. At 10:30, I'll go to chapel, then to the Hive for lunch. I'll waste an hour there, then head to my first class of the day, Computer Theory with Baas. I'm fairly certain this class was made for me. It should be a fair balance of math and computer science, focusing on the math that makes computer science work. There's also going to be a fair amount of programming, which should be very nice. I miss programming. After Theory, I'll probably head to the library for an hour to get a jump-start on my homework or just read for fun. Then at 2:30, I'll head to Linear Algebra with Roden. This is my first Roden class, and I've heard several different things about him. All in all, I think I should enjoy the class, though the homework will be rather tedious. I look forward to the "Theoretical Problems" at the ends of the assignments. How odd is that? After going by the Comp Sci and Math offices to pick up the calculus homework, I'm free for the evening. Free to do work, that is.

Tuesday, I get up before 9:30 in order to get to American Lit on time. Waking the Guatemalan is a chore in itself. At 11, I go eat lunch at SAGA, then head to the Ice Cave to get my books for the afternoon of doom and power. At noon, I have Computer Architecture with King and Cynic. The homework promises to be excessively boring until we get a programming assignment, and the class is a King class, which is necessarily sleep-inducing. After Architecture, I head straight to Old Testament Backgrounds with Hummel. As with any Hummel class, this will be fun, difficult, and rewarding all at the same time. After that, I head over to Solheim for Fatness with Jacobs. Unfortunately, Jacobs wants to take the class seriously, which means I'll have to pay a little bit of attention. How sad. After that, I run by the Comp Sci and Math offices to get the Trig homework. How fun. Thus, after some four hours of class, my Tuesday ends.

Sadly, I am in no honors classes this semester, and I have no evening classes to break up the monotony. Weighing in at 17 hours, with four 3000-level courses, one 4000-level course, and Fatness, this semester promises to be the most difficult at LeTourneau until my last year or so. Should I have any free time left, I'll most likely be reading Euclid or some of the other books I received at Christmas. Maybe I'll read through Pride and Prejudice. Should I have any free time.

Posted by Gallagher at 07:58 PM