Nov 27, 2010

though we know it not

a poem

and a question


It's quite gratifying to get good marks occasionally. My last two (in both senses - I probably won't be doing any more philosophy for a while, if ever) philosophy courses gained me A+s to help drag my grade point average up a little. I feel an A+ in philosophy is somehow particularly noble, though am not sure why. I finally feel too like I might finally be almost living up to my potential in philosophy. But to balance this, I know I didn't put a huge amount of work in to the courses, particularly the second one. Lectures were missed and revision largely consisted in me trying to reinvent the field with the help of the internet, as that was more interesting. I didn't have much background in it for a stage 3 course and to be honest, it seems I snuck in between the academic cracks using my native intelligence; competing against people who, as interested as they may claim to be in philosophy, have been blessed with less of this as well as with less interesting ideas (i.e. I know how to be controversial without going too far) and of course, along with everyone else I've been taking advantage of general grade inflation. I find it hard to believe that high marks in advanced courses have always been given out so easily as they would seem to be now, particularly in Arts courses.

Comparing all this with my molecular biology papers is potentially a little depressing, but to some extent the same goes there, in that I don't have much background in this field either - the difference is that in that realm, it actually shows up in my marks. I can start to see the stereotype of an Arts degree kind of course in my philosophy papers; pity I've only really just got used to the art of intelligently bullsh*tting as that part of my degree comes to an end. Of course, I tend to believe what I write, but I know full well that it isn't particularly rigorous or even, usually, novel - I just also know that it's better than what my classmates are writing.

Taking another tack, I particularly enjoy getting good marks for defending Christian orthodoxy in fields which are generally presumed to have 'gotten over it'. Perhaps I have postmodernism and the tolerant pluralistic society to thank, but I'm seeing that Christian faith stands up well when articulated clearly and when in critical dialogue with other options on offer in the marketplace of ideas.

Nov 24, 2010

Where, o death? Pike River

So it turns out the the miners trapped at the Pike River Coal Mine have died, perhaps en masse - in the recent second explosion if they weren't already killed in the first.

Thousands of people around New Zealand prayed that they might be discovered alive; from the prime minister downwards - but it looks like this hope won't be fulfilled for any of the remaining miners. Were these prayers pointless? Is it time to shrug in confusion and continue life as usual, or reassess how we're going about it all? "If the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die"?

Is prayer just a futile attempted exercise in wish fulfillment? Is it necessarily silly? Is the universe ultimately a giant fluke of many atoms, bizarrely ordered; and occasionally heart-wrenchingly disordered, with no-one pulling any strings - or somewhere out there is there someone who cares? Where's the evidence? What kind of evidence do we want?

Why do people die? Why do many die 'before their time'? What is a life well lived and what is robbed from those who die early; and if there is any such thing, by whom is it stolen? If life is not perfect, or if we are not, what is the cause? Where do the ideals we have come from and do they hold any real value?

Death comes for all of us. Some of us are killed by carbon monoxide poisoning, others by an explosion, others by cancer, car crashes, drowning, heart attack, murder or chilling accident. Life matters. I hold too, that the ending of a life is truly significant. It's not just a subtle shift in the configuration of a particular collocation of atoms. But why might I think this?

I commend to your attention and study 1 Cor: 15, particularly from verse 12 onwards. I like the option this site gives you to 'listen' to the scriptures; why not check it out?

Nov 23, 2010

to keep up a theme - may as well stay true to the blog's subtitle

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

In my travels I've met a number of committed people of faith from non-Christian families, in some of the most unexpected places, like the Anglican Church - now I've almost come to expect it when out and about in churchy circles.

Here's one I haven't met, a New Zealander who's associated with people I have. Here he briefly talks about marriage and what it might mean, a topic on which I have no clue but am also starting to develop some views. I'll leave the discussion to him. The blog is a collective one called 'kiwifruit' as it's about bearing fruit of the gospel here in New Zealand.

women of the reformation

struggling to find something to post here - too much to do and rather little motivation

this was interesting tho:

Nov 13, 2010

nano to meet you

it seems to me that out of Christians involved in the upper echelons of science, a disproportionate number are involved in Nanotechnology. Why is this? Is Nanotechnology not real science or is it particularly good science, is it coincidence, or am I quite wrong in my supposition?

I think, at least, of James Tour, Cees Dekker, Richard Smalley (deceased, Nobel Prize), Jeff Tallon (NZ) and a couple of British professors at Oxford and Imperial College whose names I can't remember.

Soon I'll write an article of some kind vaguely relating to this kind of thing.

In the mean-time, for some pretty pictures, here's a project relating to one of these people:

Nov 3, 2010

yet, I see

A piece of prose from Jack Kerouak, turned into free-flowing poetry of sorts by moi
(apparently this section provides the context)

Yet I saw the cross
just then
when I closed my eyes
after writing all this.
I cant escape its mysterious
into all this brutality.

I just simply
SEE it
all the time,
even the Greek cross
I hope it will
all turn out true.

Nov 2, 2010

random quotes, sayings and stuff like that

"Anyone who can say with a straight face that Hitler was a Christian.. overdid the plastic surgery." - me

"abortion is highly questionable" - an atheist philosopher from a top UK university

"Wenn du dass glaubst, werdst du mich sehen und verstehen was ich mein wenn ich sag ich will Frei sein." Xavier Naidoo

[Christianity] “was dreamed up by illiterate goatherds 2,000 years ago” – AC Grayling

"If you don’t like the fact that God has intentions for your life, I suggest you simply do not know what those intentions are." - me

Nov 1, 2010

[my name] isn't rich

but Google's sponsored links seem to think so. I sent an email to a friend mentioning "the economics of energy markets" and Google gave me an ad on the sidebar for a BMW dealer in NZ. That was kind of them. Sending emails about science or philosophy (or God!) don't seem to have the same result.

Perhaps this is a hint that I really should keep going with the economics if I want to make money. Fortunately for my sanity, I've given up the "make lots of moolah" plan. I'd probs go with a Porsche anyway.