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We begin our second year on Feb. 8, 2014. We’ve done 3 posts a week
without a miss…so far.
[Note from 3-7-14: We’ve received 1000s of “comments.” We value sincere comments on any, especially recent, posts. It’s easy for them to get LOST under “What.” Further, we consider comments as spam from “sites” that are invisible, or ones we can’t get back to, or in languages we can’t easily decode.]
—We ask for only 12 seconds, and even provide a “door” to block you so you can return to the rest of your (probable) 3,000,000,000 heartbeats of existence…unless you must turn the knob.
—Christianity, Modern Science, Modern Philosophy, Reliable Sources, the Future, EMP, Black Swans, Curiosities, Human Distinctiveness, Origins, Meaning, Morality, Destiny–
Taking 12 seconds for a dip in the sea of facts and observations…about philosophy, religion, and modern science…identifying good resources…seeing what opens the mind and catches the eye…. [Times up! For more walk past the DOOR.]
……………|DOO• | ?——(Our best attempt building a “DOOR” here…)
[We learned the hard way that our “magic door” doesn’t work with tabs…just posts, so in this case please “walk around” this symbol of a symbol that’s supposed to help you not waste time with things you already know about or have little interest in.]
I am a Christian who highly values modern science (especially results of new research), some of the core issues of philosophy, and who realizes that as once there was a beginning, an ending looms down the road. So, much of what we really value, as well as many curious or trivial delights we can’t resist sharing, is altogether ephemeral. That disposed of, is there a door to “more”? As a symbol of the Big Question we give you a DOOR to MORE with nearly every post.
Posts are now scheduled to be Mon., Wed., and Fri. Sign up for a brief email notice that a new post is up. Then you can save even more seconds… Note: there are many places to safely respond. Tell us what you think. Note: Some comments are even collecting at the end of this…
If you don’t know about “black swans,” or if want to know more about who’s at the helm here, you may enjoy the discussion below:
[HERE WE GO… (This was our original start.]
“Taking 12 seconds for a dip in the sea of facts and ideas…about language, philosophy, religion, and science…identifying good resources…seeing what catches the eye,” I mumble aloud as I sit alone in my office. “Celebrating the ‘conscious mind’ in a suspicious world…Say no more.” (Except using color and others gimmicks to help you travel quickly…)
But that wasn’t to be…
The office door slowly opens. George, an older student, one who can start never-ending conversations, enters without invitation, and descends into the empty chair on the other side of my desk. He speaks:
“Sounds like you’ve not quite found your focus. What would I find ‘interesting’ in such a website?”
I (John) reply: “Not sure, George, but consider this: New research has convinced many scientists that Earthlings—listen carefully—are “cosmic organic orphans” or the only species of “life” anywhere that asks ‘Why?’ And maybe the only organic life, period.
John: “Your question, of course, supports this…though you might still wonder if others are ‘out there’ and can also can ask! Scientists are just following evidence, George—which includes new data that many don’t know about. Evidence that underlines “Yes” for here, but “No” for anywhere else.
Geo: “Whoa! ‘Earthlings,’ ‘cosmic organic orphans’? Do you mean that among the billions of stars out there, we’re the only people? How can you say that?”
John: “There’s no evidence for people anywhere else. And rapidly growing evidence suggests that many, many things have to be exactly proportioned, ‘just right’ as Goldilocks might say, for any kind of life to develop and reproduce.”
Geo: “But that doesn’t mean that tomorrow we…”
John: “Right…you’re absolutely right. But the possibility of life being elsewhere is just a guess at this point. The evidence from science alone, using mathematical probability theory, strongly suggests ‘No.’ I discuss this lack of evidence at the beginning of my romance novel, Earth Is Not Alone, which allows for humans almost completely identical to us in at least two other worlds for reasons other than the science we know. Some may say that science suggests life elsewhere, even calling it a ‘hypothesis,’ but science itself has no proof—so far. Of course we can’t rule out finding a ‘cosmic black swan.’”
Geo: “A cosmic black swan? Whatever are you…”
John: “Well, for centuries people in the Northern Hemisphere used to suggest that a ridiculous idea made as much sense as a black swan because everyone knows swans are white.” To many it was a familiar saying.
John: “Then in 1697 a Dutch explorer traveled to a wild part of western Australia and discovered black swans. But surprisingly, instead of dying, the black swan metaphor dramatically morphed into meaning a perceived impossibility that might later be disproven, a meaning that survives to this day. It’s hard for me to ignore this since descendants of those black swans live in a zoo four miles from my home.
“Impossible things today may not be so tomorrow. Many, including ‘string theorists’ who do research, stake their careers on this article of faith.”
Geo (glancing down at his shoes): “John…Let me quickly”—he was smiling—“change the subject. I’ve got kids, and I’m concerned about what they read and how they think—especially as they start out. I’d like to control some of that. Once you said you admired homeschooling, though frankly I have my doubts. I’m not sure what you’re up to, but people need to know more about what to expect here. If you had to put a rating on your new information site, how would you classify it?”
John: “A ‘rating?’ “Classify?’ ”
Geo: “Consider me a unique cosmic organism asking from Earth.”
John (smiling): “Okay, George, you win this hand! I’ll try! I’m a bit fuzzy on ratings, but then, I’ve got kids too…and grandkids. I’ll call the site ‘PG.’”
Geo: “PG? Why”
John: “On www.adozenseconds.com, three times a week you’ll find small bites of information that take no more than a dozen seconds to nibble on before staying entering a door for ‘more’ or going away. Some posts may sparkle. They can fascinate your dinner companions while you wait for the potatoes to be passed. Others may seem solemn, dark, but I hope intriguing. Not to worry about these, however. It’s ignorance about most things that I’m more concerned about. In our sea of new instantly available information, there’s much you can learn from as well as feed your curiosity. I hope to do some sorting there.
“For example: Not long ago I was in the hallway of a charter school talking with a half dozen seventh graders and their teacher. Weekly they would walk to a retirement center five minutes away where my mother, then almost 100, lived and would chat with the residents. It was great experience for all. Then, I’m not sure why, I blurted out: ‘You know, life has a beginning as well as a middle and end. Here’s one way to start to think about that. It’s been observed that the average human life has only 3,000,000,000 heartbeats and…’ Suddenly, the girl on the far right said in almost a whisper, ‘That’s so sad.’ Tears started to form in her eyes. She experienced an epiphany moment (something else worth thinking about). I quickly responded, “But with a tender heart like yours, I’ll bet your heartbeats will be many more—like with my mother. That was an epiphany moment for me. My reasoning was shaky, but the tears stopped.”
Geo: “That story sure took more than twelve seconds!”
John: “Yes, but you helped me make an important point. As bits, or bites (I’m resisting saying ‘bytes’) are offered as posts three times a week—Monday, Wednesday, and Friday—some may strike a chord in the way you think, others, such as playing with palindromes, may not be. Nearly every brief post will have a ‘door,’ that can open to more information, and provide sources that can take you further than the Internet might. (I’ll say more at the homeschool tab.) If a post seems like a dud, take the rest of your three billion heartbeats elsewhere. Life has its limits, at least on Earth, and the meter’s running. But please ‘drop in’ again as you dramatically illustrate by your visit.”
Geo: “And your subject matter will be…?”
John: “Just what you overheard when you came in. As my heartbeats tick on, I read, I think, and I write about what catches my eye, watching, reading, talking, thinking, which I can do more of now. Wonder is often my engine and often it’s hard to settle long in one spot. But I can evaluate and critique. And teach. And share, bundling some related posts into special archives. And if you think I’m missing the mark when I aim my bow and shoot, tell me. I’ll chase after those arrows, though some, mercifully, may remain lost.” (See YOU? two tabs to the right above.)
Geo: “I repeat…your subject matter will be…”
John: “Persistent, aren’t you! There’ll be facts (usually with sources); observations (opinions—from me or from others, with citations); items concerning language, including books, words and how they’re put together, keen ones you should know, ‘neologisms,’ that seem needed and, yes, some even that I’ve created, wordplay, writing techniques, gimmicks, etc.); events (what’s happening, has happened, or will—or may—happen); sources (key places I’ve found for reliable, up-to-date information); areas (four of special interest to me: language, philosophy, religion, and science. I’ll park some things there. See each tab for more.)
Geo: “You’re providing good philosophy in twelve seconds?!”
John: “I like to think so, but I’ll argue that later. But let me lighten up for a minute…”
Geo: “That’s five times a dozen seconds.”
John: “Uh…Got it. You get points for your math. Perhaps you should move on to probability theory. Remember what we’re doing here is having a discussion—that you initiated—not making a post. And, and as I said, most posts will have a ‘MORE’ tab which is easy to ignore.
“Now, let me get off science and share a lighter moment. Just today I discovered in a dictionary an 11-letter American word that I’ll declare to be the longest single word palindrome (the reverse spelling is the same as its forward spelling as in ‘radar’) in the English language as recorded in the Oxford Dictionary of English that comes with my Kindle. And, by the way, James Joyce’s “tattarrattat” that he created to describe the way a character knocked on a door in his 1922 novel Ulysses is not included there. (If Joyce can do that, let me add another foul ball, one of my own creation: “On his third knock the ‘retattarrattater’ confirmed his presence.” Beat that!) The 11-letter word I found is a real word, does not use ‘re’ or ‘de,’ and it is not a place, and you can easily understand it and see what it looks like on the Internet. In fact, it’s part of American history. I challenge you to prove me wrong! Okay, that’s trivial and maybe I’ll have to admit I’m wrong. Be warned.
“Now as to the philosophy you’re suspicious of. In time I’ll offer a practical 3-point framework with teeth (call it ‘Philos. 101K’) to guide you for the rest of your life, one that you can clearly write on a Post-It for your refrigerator door. I’m old enough to do that. Perhaps now you suspect madness is setting in.
“And if that’s not ‘real’ enough, I can point you to Descartes, Kant, Hegel, Whitehead, Keith Ward, William Lane Craig, Alvin Plantinga, Kaku, Ryle, Flew, Dawkins (popular, but thin outside of science), and others with whom you will agree and disagree if you want to go further into the forest. But you probably don’t. Unfortunately, some contemporary philosophers and theologians, once with broader vision, have been overwhelmed by the materialism or naturalism (terms that need defining and looking at) of modern science and have thrown themselves under the bus. Sadly, few mourn their loss. Their brains were keen, but the arms were short in reaching out with real philosophy to real people.”
Geo: “Their ‘loss’? Well, you’ve lost me…Does this ‘Philos. 101K’ mention ‘God’ ”?”
John: “Actually, it doesn’t, not directly. It doesn’t ignore God, however, but starts from another base.”
Geo: “Still I’m suspicious. Would an atheist or an agnostic enjoy tip-toeing in and out of your site? Would they find you naïve? I don’t think you blush when somebody calls you a Christian.”
John: “Don’t know. I’d like to think that, like the late former atheist Antony Flew recently said in his last book, There Is a God, I ‘go where the evidence goes.’ I know atheists and agnostics as well as other Christians who feel the same way, and though they arrive at different conclusions, they believe that moving past locker room and tavern talk is sometimes worth the effort. (My current NBA fantasy league basketball success will not be discussed here.) Of course, a devotee of following www.adozenseconds has to be willing to surrender up to 12 seconds three times a week, and not mind if the arrows now and then fly wide of personal targets.”
Geo: “Who are you anyway?”
John: “That’s under the next tab.”