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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Metaphysics of Science

Here is a very interesting quote which applies to the "conversation" at the "Natural Selection" post. Michael Ruse, professor of zoology and philosophy, University of Guelph; transcript of the speech given at the 1993 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science [AAAS] February 13/93; "an evolutionist, is metaphysically based at some level just as much as ...some creationist...And to a certain extent, I must confess, in the ten years since I performed, or I appeared, in the creationism trial in Arkansas, I must say that I've been coming to this kind of position myself.....I mean I realize that when one is dealing with people, say, at the school level, or these sorts of things, certain sorts of arguments are appropriate. But those of us who are academics, or for other reasons pulling back and trying to think about these things, I think that we should recognize, both historically and perhaps philosophically, certainly that the science side has certain metaphysical assumptions built into doing science, which---it may not be a good thing to admit in a court of law---but I think that in honesty that we should recognize, and that we should be thinking about some of these sorts of things. ...And certainly, there's no doubt about it, that in the past, and I think also in the present, for many evolutionists, evolution has functioned as something with elements which are, let us say, akin to being a secular religion ... And it seems to me very clear that at some very basic level, evolution as a scientific theory makes a commitment to a kind of naturalism, namely, that at some level one is going to exclude miracles and these sorts of things come what may." Ruse, Michael "Nonliteralist Antievolution" AAAS Symposium: "The New Antievolutionism," February 13, 1993, Boston, MA "...come what may" means: regardless of the facts.  How true, how true indeed.

Monday, October 15, 2007

NYC - The End

I had started out attempting to blog each day of NYC in hopes of letting people back home hear what was happening in as close to real time as possible.  After day three, I was so exhausted that I stopped writing reports.  I needed every minute of sleep I could manage to keep up with the schedule.  I also have been meaning, since then, to comment on the event as a whole but that has sat on the back burner for months now.  As I began to get back into the emergent "conversation", I was reminded of how much I dreaded NYC after hearing who was in charge of it.  I was very harsh in my preparation for the trip and after my negative experience at this year's MAX event at MNU in Kansas City.  So I figured it was time to make a brief comment about how NYC measured up to my expectations. In most areas, NYC exceeded my expectations!  Brian Hull is to be commended for arranging solid and sound speakers.  There were speakers that were not the best but when you have to arrange for that many high quality speakers it would be nearly impossible to hit the nail on the head with every one of them.  Maybe a few had off nights, who knows.  All of them had good messages and solid, Biblical points.  That was a HUGE relief.  Only one started drifting off to the left slightly and he didn't go far so it didn't dimish from the service. They could not have picked a better worship band than Starfield.  They were amazing at every level.  The quality of music and the set up at the Arena was top notch.  Brian and his staff did an incredible job. Of course there were things that could have gone better and I offer these things up only as places for improvement not to be critical as many of the things that were done at NYC were new ideas and with new ideas come new problems.  It is to be expected. The first musical performer was tobyMac.  This was a great kickoff to the event and they tried to keep that energy throughout the entire week but truthfully, outside of Crowder, there is only one direction to go from tobyMac and that is down.  And that is what happened, especially towards the end of the week with everyone getting tired and a lineup of obscure artists with very narrow niches of musical influence.  Starting out with Crowder and ending with tobyMac might have been a better.  Refraining from having artists that have a narrow following like the African-American ensemble and the Hispanic group and even Family Force Five (though I personally enjoyed each of those groups greatly) would have been a wiser choice.  Encouraging performers to understand their purpose in the service would have helped keep artists like Kendalland Barlow from bombing like they did.   I saw Kendall only a few months earlier in L.A. and she  nearly stole the entire event with her performance but at NYC she opted for a series of slow songs that lacked energy.  Barlow spoke more than they played which is always bad for a band.  Too bad really.  I will say, however, that both Barlow Girl and Family Force Five were victims of some bizarre deal concerning the lighting in the arena.  Both of them were forced to play with nearly full arena lights on which effectively destroyed any chance they had of really performing well.  It was a great disservice to the artists and a theft of the audiences' and crews' time, effort and money.  It was sad to witness. Moving on, the food was really lacking.  I cannot imagine the task of feeding that many people in a very limited timeframe.  The set up for distributing the food and moving people through was outstanding.  I was totally impressed.  Still, the choice of food was confusing.  They could have gone with the staples of the American diet and done fine yet each day was some dish that I can imagine only a very small handful of students would ever pick on their own.  And while I appreciated the concept of the African corn meal soup, it wasn't the best idea in the world.  This idea of teaching people to be sympathetic of malnourished people by malnourishing them , this concept that we need to bring people who are up, down for them to understand how the downtrodden should be treated just doesn't make sense and it certainly didn't in this setting where teens and adults were expending high levels of energy with limited rest.   Clear thinking did not prevail, but I am sure it saved a TON of money. Lastly, the tracks, I think were a good idea though they were, in many cases, executed poorly.  Students in the music track never touched an instrument.  Students in Drama did very little drama.  And the track of which I was a part, Boy's Soccer, was terribly organized.  Our location was changed (in fact several locations were changed without the sponsors being alerted which lead to some students missing tracks and some sponsors missing students) without informing us until we arrived at the location.  We were moved into an area that was literally a dangerous place to be and subjected our players to vulgarity, verbal assaults and threats of physical violence.  That tension remained throughout the rest of the week.  We played on a field without lines or goals.  The field, itself was in terrible shape.  Basically any empty lot in the city would have been about the same.  There was actually a manhole ON the feild!  When the lines were finally put onto the field on the final day (we never did get goals), they were crooked.  Now I don't mean "not straight", I mean the entire field was crooked.  The goal posts at each end of the field were around ten yards off from each other.  The coaches and players from Trevecca were amazing and handled the problems very well.  Making the most of a bad situation.  The week was a success entirely because of them.  I will say that the lunches provided to the players each day were very good.  That was done very well. In all, I want to thank Brian Hull for a job well done and I hope it was as positive an experience for him as it was for me.


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