It’s Tuesday! Write. Share. Give.
OK, technically this SOL entry may not count because Tuesday was yesterday. Nevertheless, I’m ready to ramble. Plus, I love reading old Slice of Life stories from 2015 when I was active. Right now, I’m waiting for the annual apartment inspection by Neighborhood Services, which will determine if I keep getting a subsidy. This wonderful program is through the Department of Housing & Urban Development(HUD). It’s in danger of being cut in Trump’s budget proposal. Without the program, 60% of my SSDI would go to rent.
Anyway, I’ve been on a serious Spring Cleaning binge. Plenty of old papers have gone to the dumpster, and I’ve gone through a bottle of purple, generic Fabuloso floor cleaner. (Break to sweep maroon rug). I’m back. I focused on different parts of the efficiency each day. A major change was moving a laundry basket from the path to the second closet!
I’ve been playing catch-up on Twitter followers. I started on Twitter in October 2011. Now I’m up to 24.3K tweets and around 6900 followers; they’re on every continent and 1/3 are outside the USA.
I’m watching “Live with Kelly” while I type my day-late SOL. I was really happy to hear Kelly Ripa tell about some man who corrects grammar and spelling mistakes on signs. She added that poor grammar is a pet peeve of hers, and feels that schools don’t really teach grammar much anymore because of grammar checks on computers and no more cursive teaching. When I taught Developmental English/Writing, I only allowed for one of the essays to be on the computer for that very reason. I’d give two grades on each essay–grammar and writing. I read every essay and corrected grammar before returning a second time to evaluate writing style. A new Twitter writing education reminded me of that practice. Do you think “narrative” is a good tag for this post?
Last night at my nearby “watering hole” was extra special because I got to visit a couple of friends from my previous neighborhood–Chris and Calvin from the North Side. Then Facebook revealed today is Chris’s birthday! I joked on the site. “You’re kidding! I just saw you at Stanley’s Famous Bar-B-Q last night…” Let’s say I’m more conservative than in the past, so these two friends are folks I’d like to see more nowadays.
I’ve become a fan of spicy chicharrones, aka. fried pork rinds but sometimes they’re wheat. Way back when, I tried the soft version of chicharrones and didn’t like them, so I didn’t try the snack version is a bag. Golden Flake, Louisiana Hot Sauce pork rinds are my current favorite. Takis in most flavors also get my attention. I just made myself hungry.
Salute to Twitter and its #amwriting community.
When I first started my Twitter account in August of last year I didn’t really understand what it was all about. Being somewhat verbose I found it difficult to express myself within the 140 character limit that Twitter allows, and I felt rather as if I was shouting into an empty cave with only the echoes of my own voice to keep me company.
Then I discovered the hashtag #amwriting and realised that there was a vast writing community on Twitter who actually speak to one another. When you get beyond the incessant self-promotion and pleas to follow, follow, follow and buy, buy, buy, what you actually find are people just like you, sitting at their computer, sipping on their tenth cup of coffee, trying to create something out of nothing.
I started to interact with a few of these people, and began making some online friends. I created a…
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By J.D. (“Joffre”) Meyer
Those of us with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder) live with the strong risk of an exacerbation that is severe enough to go to the Emergency Room by way of ambulance. I developed asthma 18 years before COPD too. We face a mix of lung spasms, excess chest phlegm, and a low FEV (Forced Exhale Volume). Asthma-COPD Overlap Syndrome (ACOS) is known for increased breathlessness and sputum–but a better response to inhaled corticosteroids.
It’s typical for me to have some coughing and wheezing when I awake, and sometimes after a walk. Choice #1 is using an asthma rescue inhaler, such as Pro-Air. It’s like a “Bud Light” version of the nebulizer, as both use albuterol. But the likelihood of its effectiveness goes downhill if our attack is more than simply mild. Rule #2 is not to take the long-term inhalers during an acute attack, such as Advair or Symbicort, and Singulair.
So we go for our dear friend, the nebulizer, and pour a vial of albuterol or albuterol-ipratropium in the receptacle. We get “Albut-Iprat” when our condition becomes worse. I just started getting Combivent, the stronger “Albut-Iprat” inhaler. Our next choice is mask or “pipe.” Most say the pipe-like hose is better because we get more of the medicine. So here’s my first original suggestion. If you wear the mask, put your oxygen canula up your nose (assuming you own one). Really tired COPD sufferers may have difficulties with the pipe.
Speaking of phlegm, keep a plastic can with a lid handy, such as my old Folger’s coffee can, the regular 10.3 oz. size. Don’t even consider swallowing that phlegm. I’m not trying to be funny because it’s not. Don’t expect to be able to run to spit in the nearest toilet or sink either. Make sure you drink enough water too–a likely weak area for most people. 1.5 liters daily should be enough since other fluids are okay; vegetables and fruits are full of water too. I use an attractive purple jug for my water, so I’ll notice it better! I can keep the squirt cap on when I take my many morning pills. Then I remove the cap for water guzzling!
Now let’s look at the OTC (over-the-counter) medicines. For your chest congestion, take some guaifenesin; that is, Mucinex or a generic version. COPD is a mix of emphysema and bronchitis. Bronchitis is like having a perpetual chest cold while emphysema is a destruction of the lung sacs and a lack of elasticity in the lungs.
What if you have nasal congestion? A saline nasal spray will open a constricted nose. Later I submitted this article to COPD Breathing Buddies of Facebook, and I was warned about Sudafed. This drug may reduce nasal congestion, but Sudafed can raise your blood pressure, which may happen anyway during a COPD attack. Lately, I’ve been adding ginger root slices, eucalyptus leaves, and even garlic cloves to my morning coffee drip bin. My goal is to reduce inflammation.
If you have severe or moderate COPD, take your Daliresp pill. By the way, since you’re taking all these pills have a water bottle next to your bed. The more water you drink, the more the mucus will be thinned.
Here’s my second original tip. If you have a C-PAP machine for sleep apnea, you can use it when you’re wide awake to force air into your inelastic, sagging emphysema-ridden lungs! Don’t overuse your nebulizer; try a wide range of strategies to stop the COPD attack.
Please check out my methods for battling severe COPD exacerbations! Maybe I have a higher tolerance for pain than many, or a fear of walking home from the E.R. before sunrise? My latest severe attack lasted for 1 hour & 40 minutes!!
And when you quit choking, take your Symbicort and Singulair or whatever.
Consider calling your G.P. M.D. later for an office visit. Last week I got a shot of Salumedrol, a steroid, at her office. Then I got prescriptions for prednisone pills and a Z-Pac antibiotic.
By J.D. Meyer
As she tromped through the field, a battlefield, where the lifeless and wounded warriors lay, the now-famous nurse–Florence Nightingale–tried to help the living while other personnel carried away the dead. The time is the 1850’s; the war is the Russian-British Crimean War (1853-1856); the battle is the Battle of Balaclava in 1854. Alas, The Trooper himself was one of the slain. Ms. Nightingale burst into tears when she saw this soldier dead on the ground, for she heard of his legendary bravery from previous battles.
The Russian musket fire killed our Trooper and even his beloved horse. A couple of bugles lay on the ground amidst the fallen soldiers—no longer to summon the troops to battle. Florence Nightingale and the other nurses had to hurdle the lifeless bodies to reach the wounded—although often mortally wounded. Nurse Nightingale told another nurse, “Such carnage! I’m ready for peace, so we can return to dealing with colds and sprained ankles.” The other nurse agreed, “Our calling is tough. But it’s really becoming a modern science.”
The last round of fire in the Battle of Balaclava got The Trooper; he feared the end was near during this bloody battle. At first, it looked like either side could have claimed a pyrrhic victory. But then the British blundered with a final cavalry charge, immortalized in Tennyson’s, “Charge of the Light Brigade,” that wiped out many British cavalry. Ottoman Turk losses were extra heavy too.
A few Turkish allies lay near the Trooper—some clinging to life. One Turk told Nurse Nightingale about The Trooper’s bravery. “The Trooper seemed like a man possessed. He kept charging toward the Russian lines, dodging many a bullet until the last ones felled his horse then him. We didn’t think he’d last as long as he did.” Nurse Nightingale wept.
No country had more to lose in the Crimean War than the Ottoman Empire—now known as modern Turkey, a smaller but stronger country. Long known as “The Sick Man of Europe,” the Ottoman Empire’s decline was well under way. World War I, some sixty years later, finished the Ottoman Empire’s demise: only to be reborn as the first secular Moslem country in history—Turkey—through the leadership of Attaturk in the 1920’s.
Now we have Indonesia as the second predominantly Moslem secular country. It has a constitution that protects non-Moslems, and it’s even has had the Confucian Church of Indonesia since the late 19th century through the efforts of Chinese immigrants.
Thanks to the noble Turk soldier at the Battle of Balaclava and Nurse Florence Nightingale, The Trooper is not forgotten and never was alone. Nurse Nightingale even sent a message by telegraph about the tale of The Trooper to her former hospital administrator back home in England—just in case she didn’t make it back, but she did.
• Being an unforgiving enemy is when God has lost us. Sophistication results from growing maturity. “Aha” experiences.
J.C. Watts has achieved remarkable success in a wide variety of high-profile activities. Watts was the quarterback of Big 8 Champion, the University of Oklahoma in their wishbone days and Canadian Football League quarterback. Then he became a multi-term Republican congressman from Oklahoma, ordained Baptist minister, and now economic development specialist and beyond.
In our 2005 Founder’s Day Convocation, J.C. Watts showed the value of child-like spontaneity through several examples that reinforced the famous statement in the gospels about how being like a little child towards God is how the relationship is supposed to be. Initially, Mr. Watts found this imagery to be surprising, even confusing, because as a family man, Mr. Watts has seen his children do some embarrassing things in public but out of innocence.
Then Mr. Watts recalled times like when his son pretended to be scoring a touchdown, a heart-warming spontaneous joy. Through such reflections on things near at hand, Mr. Watts saw the meaning of being like a little child-often described as being born again.
Furthermore, one time one of Mr. Watts’s kids asked him to fix a burst balloon! Small children believe that daddy can do everything. And since there are parts of our lives that need mending, we should ask God for help in the same way.
Thus, careful analysis by Mr. Watts deepened his faith rather than reducing it. When skeptical people become cynical, they find less to believe in and probably become more arrogant.
This brings up another point by Mr. Watts. God wants us to be the best we can be in such areas as work, sports, grooming, etc. Sophistication results from growing maturity with time; however, sophisticated adults can be unforgiving enemies too. They can lose the ability to say that they’re sorry to others and God as well-something little children still have the ability to do. Mr. Watts defined this state of being an unforgiving enemy as when God has lost us.
Therefore, Mr. Watts had an epiphany of understanding, or what the Buddhists call a satori, and the creativity researchers term an “aha” experience about the essential nature of how to be spiritual.
To conclude, despite all of Mr. Watts’s stellar achievements, his faith and experience as a family man served as the source of his address. Mr. Watts tackled one of the more important and difficult concepts in the Bible-being as a little child/the meaning of being born again. Moreover, Mr. Watts connected the value of humility with sophistication
Welcome to Unity Night of Kwanzaa, Tyler Texas—the first night of our seven-night festival. Furthermore, it’s the 50th Anniversary of Kwanzaa! How does Kwanzaa’s founder, Dr. Maulana Karenga describe Unity? Unity invites an “alternative sense of solidarity…the world’s health and wholeness require education to know about others.” In this year’s Unity address, Dr. Karenga asserts, “For we come into being and best express and develop our humanity in relationship.” This reminds me of benevolence, the first of the five virtues of Confucianism (Ruism) Benevolence is a simple four-stroke character, a person standing next to the number “two,” symbolizing society.
Perhaps never before in Kwanzaa’s history have Unity Night presentations got the opportunity to repair an upset, divided country following the last election. In other words, our talks could go beyond the Afrocentric Black Elite. First of all, I resolve to stay positive and not bash ideological opposites. Who remembers that great soul song by the O’Jays, “Unity”? The chorus asserts, “Unity, we must have unity. For united we stand, divided we fall.” I’m going to focus on some great work of fine Muslims in this country and elsewhere.
Let’s start with my hero and favorite journalist, Fareed Zakaria https://twitter.com/FareedZakaria —the host of Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN on Sunday morning at 9 am and re-run at noon. The GPS stands for Global Public Square, and he has interviewed many of the top leaders in the world.
Fareed is a Muslim immigrant from India, and he has a Ph.D. in Political Science from an Ivy League university. He also writes for the Washington Post and published a book, The Benefits of a Liberal Arts Education. However, Fareed isn’t a practicing Muslim but somewhere between deist and agnostic; plus his wife is Christian. Perhaps you could call him a cultural Muslim, but my point is that there is a continuum of beliefs within any religion from nominal to fundamentalist to fanatic.
Ulil Abshar-Abdallah & Indonesia
Our next standout is Ulil Abshar-Abdallah, and we’re friends on Twitter. https://twitter.com/ulil What is the most populated Muslim country? What Muslim country enjoys complete religious freedom in their constitution? The answer to both questions is Indonesia, and Ulil is the founder and leader of the Liberal Islam of Indonesia, also known as the Jaringans. The President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, is known for his love of Heavy Metal music–notably Metallica and Megadeth. Indonesia has plenty of popular native heavy metal bands too, such as Burgerkill. https://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/jul/11/joko-jokowi-widodos-metal-manifesto
I just checked Ulil’s Twitter site, and his pinned tweet states, “Don’t let politics ruin friendship.” A pinned tweet is always first on your list. A few days ago, he retweeted an article from the British journal, Independent, that warned about Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar financing extremist Islamic missionary groups in Germany. A few weeks ago, I shared some news with Ulil and everybody else from the Saudi hashtag #EndMaleGuardianship. It was a cluster of articles about Saudi women battling for equal rights. On Christmas, Ulil tweeted a New York Times article about being okay to wish Muslims a Merry Christmas. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/23/opinion/why-its-not-wrong-to-wish-muslims-merry-christmas.html Christians and Muslims share some of the same miracles.
“What is Liberal Islam? (a) open to all forms of intellectual exploration, all dimensions of Islam; (b) prioritizing religious ethics, not literal textual reading; (c) believing that truth is relative, open for interpretations and plural; (d) siding with oppressed minorities; (e) believing in the freedom to practice religious beliefs; (f) separation of world and heavenly authorities, religious and political authorities. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaringan_Islam_Liberal Islam is a “living organism that makes us feel enthusiasm.” When Mohammad said, “There’s no compulsion in religion,” it was in response to a follower asking Mohammad if he should go get his son, who had moved to practice Christianity–an older religion. Ulil cited a Moroccan feminist, who felt the veil was no longer valid, but it simply serves the political interests of men. Originally, the head coverings were to protect Muslim women from being harassed just to bother Mohammad.But lets keep the burka. I’ve seen some beautiful models wearing them. Furthermore, who could object to an American flag motif?
Unfortunately, Indonesia has radical Islamic terrorist groups, but the government works with the USA in developing counter-terrorism strategies in USINDO. Indonesian police have successfully raided terrorist training camps. Furthermore, the founder of a leading Islamist group, Jamaah Islamiyah (JI) was imprisoned. http://www.usindo.org/resources/counter-terrorism-strategy-in-indonesia-adapting-to-a-changed-threat-2/ Ulil asserts that the roots of Muslim fundamentalism are a feeling of being left behind in science and economics and becoming spectators of Western injustice. Some Muslims protest the mayor of Jakarta–“Ahok” Basuki, a Chinese Christian.
Edarabia is the Middle East’s #1 Education Guide; helping students, parents and educators to interact and select the best institutions. Edarabia is based in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—all on the Arabian Peninsula. https://twitter.com/Edarabia “Visitors can find the latest industry news, upcoming events, job listings, research updates, compare ratings, add reviews and engage with others in the community forum. Edarabia.com covers all areas of education including but not limited to universities, colleges, schools, nurseries, language institutes, training academies, music schools, online degrees and much more.”
Edarabia’s pinned tweet is a roundup of books recommended by teachers and their reasons why. They have a Paper.li account called The Edarabia Times. Paper.li accounts are a daily newsletter gathered from those you follow in cyberspace. Edarabia and I are Twitter friends too; plus, they added me to an influential educators list. My Paper.li account, The BohemioTX, is my pinned tweet.
On Christmas, I found an awesome article by Edarabia entitled, “Five Tips in Building a Community of Learners.” http://www.edarabia.com/110008/3-tips-in-building-a-community-of-learners/ It was largely a reaction to the possibilities that technology bring to the classroom. Here are the five points: (1) Use an innovative approach. (2) Embrace new learning opportunities. (3) Encourage a ‘community’ between your students. (4) Make learning relevant. (5) Let students know you care about them.
This article reminded me of including edited student essays in my Developmental English textbook. Two of the standouts are about a veteran driving tanks in Bosnia and an account of the “chopped” technique in Houston’s Rap music.
I sent this article promptly to an American education leader, Angela Maiers, the founder of the #YouMatter paradigm. Many of us love to be scholarly with our cyberspace friends and include links to articles and hashtags in our tweets and posts.
Let’s close with an account of the Middle East North Africa (MENA) Information and Communication (ICF) Forum. https://twitter.com/MENAICT It’s the premier ICT industry event in this region. The forum is held once every two years in Jordan through the direction of King Abdullah II since 2002. King Abdullah II is one of our best friends in the Muslim world. A former front-line soldier, King Abdullah II supports our military actions in the Mid-East, avoiding front-line conflict, which would look like a Christian-Islam apocalypse.
“The MENA ICT Forum showcases the entire region’s ICT success stories, and discusses latest trends, opportunities, and future outlooks.” The MENA-ICT Forum launched a 1000 Entrepreneurs National Initiative this year. Israel is a member of MENA, as is all of the Mid-East and North Africa. The first Arab Spring country, Tunisia, is still doing rather well as a democracy
I hope my Kwanzaa Unity talk has shown that we have strong allies in the Islam world, and not just an odd mix of “frenemies” and enemies. We started in the USA with Fareed Zakaria before examining Ulil Abshar-Abdallah and his country, Indonesia; Edarabia, a leading education site, based in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and the UAE, and the MENA-ICT conference and its sponsoring group. Many Muslims are battling for progress in education, religion, technology, and economics.
October 3, 2004/Edited in November-December 2007
Evolution seems to be one of the ultimate battlegrounds between science and religion, despite its overwhelming support from the scientific community, science itself, and acceptance of by most religious denominations—with the glaring acceptance of fundamentalism. In ancient times, when people needed explanations, religion offered something far more often than science. Too often, religious explanations either took the style of the horrible monarchs that ruled their countries and broke their own laws or simply gave fanciful myths or miracles. Unfortunately, the benign early chapters of Genesis gave way to doctrines of humans as fallen creatures in need of atonement and rescue.
However, the reader could accept evolution and still believe in a Savior God rescuing the world from the sin. Religious evolutionists still admit that humans are quite selfish, if not fallen, the result of being big-time winners in the evolutionary struggle. I want this revised Evolution service to be accessible to more faiths than Unitarians, liberal Christians and whatnot. So there are three issues here: the start and continuation of life together with the events surrounding the first people, and the nature of mankind. Even that first australopithecine couple may have really gotten God mad. I doubt it, but there’s a lot of cultural baggage that threatens us into believing it. The fall of Adam and Eve may remind me of the North Korean policy of imprisoning the grandchildren and children of political prisoners, but so what?
Today, many can throw out radioactive dating or that stars have a life and death as if these weren’t part of natural law. Others feel that they’re too good to have cavemen as distant ancestors but cling to original sin beliefs while the war machine and terrorists grind on with torture coming out of our closet.
I hope we can proclaim evolution as more than the integrator of the sciences but as a glorious account of what has really happened on Planet Earth. However, evolution offers a model of reality that’s value-free; we still need a system of ethics. Certainly we don’t need to praise “survival of the fittest” like the Social Darwinists of old. Yet we can praise God as that spark of life—moving creation onward. Getting away from the special creation in Genesis doesn’t mean renouncing God whatsoever. In fact, through an acceptance and understanding of evolution, we should be able to praise God in a more coherent and up-to-date fashion.
Let’s remember two key facts: (1) Theory in science is far more conclusive than the use of the term “theory” in everyday life, (2) Evolution refers to changes in populations not individuals; furthermore, this change is inheritable through genetic material. Unfortunately, some dictionaries even offer faulty definitions of evolution. No wonder the layman often has a confused notion of evolution. Indeed, I’m going to gamble later on discussing evolution in language and food, despite that these can’t be genetic changes but do explain culture changes in populations.
When biologists say that humans and chimpanzees evolved from the same common ancestor, it means that “heritable changes in the two separated populations have occurred since they became isolated, according to an article at http://www.talkorigins.org. But evolution is like a branching bush, not a ladder. Only one of the nineteen three-toed horses evolved into Equus, the one-toed horse of today.
First Reading: Keynote Statement for Religious Naturalism
“We find our sources of meaning within the natural world, where humans are understood to be emergent from and hence a part of nature. Our religious quest is informed and guided by the deepening and evolving understandings fostered by scientific inquiry. It is also informed and guided by mindful understandings inherent in our human traditions, including art, literature, philosophy, and the religions of the world.
The natural world and its emergent manifestations in human creativity ad community are the focus of our immersion, wonder, and reverence. We may describe our religious sensibilities using various words that have various connotations—like the sacred, or the source, or god—but it is our common naturalistic orientation that generates our shared sense of place, gratitude, and joy.
We acknowledge as well a shared set of values and concerns pertaining to peace, justice, dignity, cultural and ecological diversity, and planetary sustainability. We may differ on how these concerns are best addressed, but we re committed to participating in their resolution.” http://www.religiousnaturalism.org This statement doesn’t have to be a call to praise the creation instead of the creator but a call that acknowledges we’re reminded of the Divine when we see the creation.
Exploring, Part One: Evidence for Evolution
Charles Darwin and Archaeopteryx
Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, was jolted into developing the theory by way of a trip to South America and the Galapagos Islands—off the coast of Ecuador. Darwin, a naturalist, noticed that the animals on the mainland differed from related animals on the islands. Moreover, there were even different species on the different islands of the Galapagos: finches, tortoises, and iguanas to name a few. Finally, Darwin asked himself, “Why did recent fossils like glyptodonts and ground sloths resemble current species, but still were different? Darwin realized that life must have evolved and wasn’t created all at once. Darwin wrote his Origin of the Species in 1859.
Just two years later, the first missing link was discovered: Archaeopteryx. Archaeopteryx was half bird and half small theropod dinosaur, a creature like Velociraptor of fame from the Jurassic Park movie. And it too lived during the Jurassic Period, roughly 140 million years ago. Since 1861, seven more Archaeopteryx have been discovered. Furthermore, paleontologists discovered seven more dinosaur-like birds that are 30-40 million years more recent than Archaeopteryx.
More Missing Links
Missing link abounds in the fossil record. The path from fish to amphibian is the route of coelacanths like Eusthenopteron to a strong-tailed amphibian named Ichthyostega. How about the path from amphibian to reptile? We got Seymouria, discovered right near Wichita Falls, Texas. How about reptile to mammal? We have quite a fossil record there. Pelycosaurs, like the famous finback, Dimetrodon, were followed by therapsids, like the husky Moschops, and finally cynodonts, or mammal-like reptiles, like Cynognathus.
What skeletal changes do we see from reptile to mammal? The five-piece reptilian jaw streamlines to a one-piece mammalian jaw bone. Meanwhile, reptiles only have one simple ear bone, but that evolved to three ear bones in mammals.
Certain elements like Uranium 238, Potassium/Argon, and Carbon 14 are radioactive. Uranium changes to lead, potassium changes to argon, and carbon 14 changes to carbon 12. These three isotopes can be found in rock of varying ages with uranium good for dating the oldest and carbon 14 best for dating the youngest.
It “takes a certain length of time for half of the atoms to decay, and it will take the same amount of time for half of the remaining atoms, or a fourth of the original total, to decay. In the next interval, with only a fourth remaining only one eighth of the original total will decay” and so forth. Moreover, these rates of radioactive decay don’t vary even
when subjected to extreme heat, cold and pressure. Are we ready to accept that formulas in math and science are as much a part of God’s laws as not lying or stealing? How about shouting a “Praise God!” for radioactive formulas?
Younger layers of rock are deposited on top of older layers of rock. Old fossils are never found with younger fossils. The only way an older rock formation can be found on top is through an occurrence like the Llano Uplift near Austin, Texas. Forces pushing from below made the older rocks go to the earth’s surface. Really famous fossils are called index fossils because you can use the fossil to date the rock in which it was found.
DNA and RNA
Since 1960, we’ve had another scientific proof for evolution: DNA and RNA, the degree of difference between proteins is proportional to the time since they split apart. Thus all living things on earth, from viruses to people, share this DNA code of life, protein synthesis machinery, and the ATP system of energy transfer.
Andrew Peacock, a biochemist and Anglican priest, pioneered the early DNA research. Peacock sees the remarkable sharing of all life forms in DNA sequencing and proteins as strong evidence for a “common origin of all living organisms and evolution.” Reverend Peacock hails the epic of evolution from the “Hot Big Bang” to Homo sapiens as an illumination of how the creator God has really been creating. “We witness an increase in complexity and a capacity to be self-conscious and relate the Creator,” according to the theistic naturalism of Reverend Peacock.
Evolution as a Model in Language Development
I will conclude offering evidence for evolution from science through using evolution as a model in cultural change: language and national cuisines. Thus this is certainly not evolution in a genetic change sense, but we can see a change in populations beyond the individual. In addition, these changes take place in a historical perspective not the millions of years to see something like fish evolve to amphibian.
First, I’m going to start with a linguistics professor from Zaire (now Congo again) who teaches at the University of Chicago, Salikoko Mufwene. Dr. Mufwene speaks the king’s English, French, and whatever African languages, and he does it while analyzing the evolution of language, whether standard or somewhat slang. “Competition and Selection in Language Evolution” is one of his many scholarly articles.
An easy way to understand language evolution is to see that Latin evolved into the Romance languages: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Romanian. Language splintering follows colonization. Before the evolution of Latin, we had the splintering of the Indo-European languages from a common proto-Indo-European language. Bantu languages in southern Africa diversified too.
Importantly for evolutionist, language is like a species, a construct extrapolated by individual idiolects. Each language learner integrates what (s) he has heard in a manner like gene recombination. Languages change simply through the efforts of speakers to accommodate each other, “Watchale Border Spanish” changed from “Mirale el espanol de la frontera.”
As mainly a teacher of English writing and grammar, I want to get to the bottom of the reasons for the mutilated subject-verb agreement and irregular verb usage that I live with daily. Importantly, many a scholarly black speaker will deliberately use the dialect vernacular on occasion for aesthetic preference as well as a persuasive rhetorical tool. Dialect in this instance has to be verbal, not visual. How can you have an Ebonics run-on sentence?
When I heard that Black English is rooted in African language grammar rules, I answered, “Which one?” There are roughly one hundred languages spoken in each of the three regions of the Sudan alone. So some Internet surfing revealed that Dr. Mufwene found that the Niger-Congo language family had somehow surpassed the other African languages as a viable cluster of grammar rules for the creolization process of English.
I finally communicated with Dr. Mufwene by email in Summer 2007, and he told me that a full-blown Black English couldn’t have developed before 1877 until the end of Reconstruction when segregation was strictly enforced. Paradoxically, a Black English couldn’t have evolved during slavery since southern blacks and whites still interacted, albeit in a tragic way. Creole languages, like the Gullah, evolved on the islands off South Carolina in a way that reminds me of those Galapagos species much earlier.
Evolution of Cuisines (added in 2007)
Did you know that Soul Food is basically British food jazzed up with black and Native American spices, along with extra vegetables like okra and yams? Hmmm.
We could look at changes in food over the centuries as a type of evolution in cultures that we can see historically. It may not produce changes in one’s genetic code, but it surely produces change in populations. The Spanish Conquest of Latin America brought tomatoes to Italy, potatoes to Ireland, and more. Later those potatoes were made into vodka in Russia. The Americas got rice and wheat out of the deal. All of this happened after 1520.
The French conquered Southeast Asia in the mid 1800’s. The French bread roll is the start of the Vietnamese sandwich; moreover, the word for bread in Vietnamese, banh, is almost the same as the Spanish and French word—pan. Pate, French goose liver, is spread on the bread, and the Vietnamese like the French vegetable trilogy of celery, carrots, and onions too. We could go on-and-on about food, but I bet that you watch the Food Channel anyway.
Agriculture produces change in all kinds of domestic animals and plants; moreover, we witness that type of evolution historically—a real genetic change seen in populations.
Evolution Sermon: Part 2
John Shelby Spong
Let’s start the more religious component of this service with some thoughts from John Shelby Spong, a famous retired Episcopal bishop. Spong writes “The Bishop’s Voice.” (e-publication) and at least once, he wrote about his strong support for evolution.
First, Spong defines anthropology as “the study of human nature, human institutions and the interpretative myths of human beings.” Spong’s thesis asserts that Christian anthropology is very negative in describing humans as wicked and fallen from perfection. The human race even supposedly inherits the first sin of Adam eating a fruit because Eve tempted him after the Devil as Snake tempted her. Importantly, Spong observes that no parental training could produce healthy children with such rhetoric. “Original sin is pre-modern mythology and post-modern nonsense,” declares Spong. Spong clearly represents the extreme revisionist side concerning evolution. Like I wrote earlier, you can believe in evolution and a need for humans to be saved from sin through choosing the right theological belief.
But Darwin’s evolution implies God isn’t finished with us yet notes Spong. The intense struggle to survive has led to victory for human but admittedly as radically self-centered. Spong defines salvation as a “call to go beyond our limits” and enter a new spirituality.”Spong doesn’t see Jesus as the one who died for our sins but still as “Christ
and a defining God presence.” Thus Spong offers a positive theology that still accounts for human evil’s real root.
PBS: Scientists who are Christian and Pro-Evolution
Francisco Ayala cites Pope John Paul II (1996) who observed that the “conclusions reached by scientific disciplines can’t be in contradiction with divine revelation,” thereby accepting the scientific conclusion that evolution is a well-established theory. Religious scientists are quick to assert that neither science nor religion is the only way to know about God’s laws or reality.
Mark Noll expresses his belief as God speaking to us through two books—Scripture and Nature. The Bible isn’t threatened by responsible scientific investigation. Don’t read early Genesis as if it “were written by a fact-checker at the New York Times,” jests Noll. Already I inserted the section by DNA researcher/Anglican priest, Arthur Peacock in the first half of this service in that biochemistry section.
Notes from Seven Great Post-Biblical Revelations
I bet this service subtitle would appear as an oxymoron to most fundamentalists. It’s sad that old biblical story-telling can be viewed as a substitute for science anymore than someone attempt to rationalize coveting, stealing, or killing—whether it’s from evolutionary science, politics, or psychology. Survival of the fittest was twisted in Social Darwinism and its justification for racism. But evolution can reconcile science and religion in a positive way—clearly the opposite of evolution posing a threat. Moreover, evolution can serve as a bridge to other religions not a prelude to ideological invasion. This worldview should inspire us to “ensure a good future by co-creating evolution (God’s) next adventure in cooperation and complexity.” Humans can live in symbiosis with nature and technology too. Is this positive or what?
Meaning changes over time and there is never only one right interpretation of anything. Meanings vary according to being useful, inspiring, and empowering. Traditional religious values still remain at the heart of individuals maturing and fulfilling our evolutionary potential. Sure nobody has a chance of becoming perfect, but we can make a comeback after a setback. Beliefs like the level of oxygen gas needed for life on earth evolve with time. Vital, life-giving beliefs can become counterproductive and stifling later.
As a species, we’re expanding in communication, thought processes, and technologies of discovery like n God can be viewed as the largest nesting doll—transcendent yet including the other levels of reality. In contrast, the devil personifies entropy: violent, chaotic, and destructive. The cosmos tends toward greater differentiation, complexity, and self-awareness.
Evolution, as a cultural phenomenon, leads to cooperation at an ever-increasing scale. But the fundamental barrier to cooperation is self-interest, often revealed through freeloading and cheating.
Come to think of it; not all cooperation is good when we examine warfare. Warfare seems to look unfair to the previous age. The terrorists blow up civilians and themselves without warning, which goes beyond kamikaze pilots blowing up fellow warriors and themselves. Likewise, the Japanese had to get used to the 13th century Mongols not introducing themselves before combat. Our American revolutionaries wore camouflage and hid among the trees rather than marching into the prairie to battle the British redcoats.
Yet we have leaders like Norman Schwarzkopf do research on friendly fire, soldiers accidentally shooting their own comrades, so it won’t happen again. We try to restrain chemical and atomic warfare. Therefore, all that expanding and differentiation can lead to good or evil.
Connie Barlow: Is This Not Divine?—a UU and missionary for evolution
The death of stars leads to its recycling, so new stars are born. This would have been impossible to witness before advanced telescopes. Belief that stars have a life and death mysteriously can interfere with some folks’ religious doctrines. Copernicus got in trouble for the transition phase of replacing the earth as the center of the universe with the sun. Religious figures just didn’t mind their own business.
Let’s examine the thought of Connie Barlow, a UU who focuses on the divinity of evolution. One of her services notes various facts found during the modern age. We know that the squirrel buries the acorn, leading to more oak and hickory trees. Gymnosperms used to be the dominant trees. We know that plants give off oxygen and animals breathe oxygen. Meanwhile animals exhale carbon dioxide while plants take it in. Finally, Barlow concludes that our notions of the self must expand, or evolve, to include other creatures and our planet—a religious value shift that is under way for many of us.
We started our service on Evolution as Integrator of the Sciences and Spiritual Inspiration through the scientific evidence together with the cultural and spiritual ramifications. The range of back-up from science ties so many disciplines together that evolution literally unifies the sciences. We have chemistry tell us about radioactive dating; biochemistry tells us about DNA and proteins; stratigraphy explains that older rocks are deposited before younger rocks; paleontology shows us transitional species, and so forth. Much of agriculture is based on making evolution happen through manipulating the genetics of domesticated animals and plants for food. Evolution works as a cultural model also. Languages evolve with time as does cuisine.
And a belief in a divinely guided evolution is spiritually inspiring through offering a grounding—a blueprint– for respecting creation and leads to ethical thought on a larger, less tribal scale. We’re making progress even though sometimes it seems like two steps forward and one step back. Above all, don’t make a false idol out of survival of the fittest. We shouldn’t bully those, physically or psychologically, that aren’t as strong as us nor given to bad-hearted schemes.
Consider stop looking at divine law as humans inheriting a fallen nature requiring saving from damnation through belief in one creed., but you don’t have to leave orthodox Christianity to believe in evolution. We’re inclined to be selfish but generally are pretty good creatures.
In fact, good humans are probably getting better at praising God through more denominations from which to choose and improved technology to transmit the message. Moreover, a divinely guided acceptance of evolution gives us a more coherent way to view God’s creation as well as God too.
20.1K tweets & 5644 Followers
Twitter has brought this disabled teacher (aka. @bohemiotx) intellectual companionship throughout the world. Roughly 1/3 of my followers are outside the USA and on every continent. My Twitter profile notes that I “read…and share” news, education, health, politics, & social media. Plus I’m an ENFP, a Myers-Briggs Type indicator (MBTI) profile. A few months ago, I made my Paper.li daily e-journal a pinned tweet, meaning that’s the first tweet you’ll see on my site.
I’ve written milestone essays about Twitter in the past, such as when I reached the 1000 and 1500 follower marks. You’ll notice that this article is a week-and-a-half late. That’s because I tweet so much. Somewhat unfortunately, much of my time is spent battling #DumpTrump, for I’m a Democrat, who is definitely anti-fascist.
I’m a serious tweeter because you’ll see links and descriptive #hashtags with my work. But I sometimes participate in the trending topics found in the left-hand margin to add a little levity to my cyberspace work. I have freedom in what I tweet about because I’m retired. Some professionals would need to stay focused on their field or business, and many would need to avoid politics to keep from alienating possible clientele.
Analyzing your Twitter Site
It’s good to belong to those sites that analyze your performance on Twitter. Twitter Analytics is a great place to gain insight on your progress, and it’s at Twitter itself. Each month, you’ll see your top tweet, top follower, top card tweet, and top mention. Furthermore, you’ll see your total impressions and engagements for the month. All this detail goes back for two years; the previous six months only cites you top follower and total impressions.
Here are a few of my favorite examples. My top tweet of September 2016 (6017 tweets) was “Saudi Arabian women take to Twitter to demand independence to men.” #TogetherToEndMaleGuardianship @ulil. Note that I forwarded it to somebody, and he’s Ulil Abshar-Abdalla, founder of the Liberal Islam of Indonesia, as well as my top follower of February 2015 with 598K followers.
Six times this year, my top card tweet has been my revised WordPress article, “Asthma-COPD Overlap Syndrome (ACOS): Footnotes and Commentary from a Patient” Basically, I tried to explain a Top 100 WebxMD article of 2015 from East Asia. Then I added information, such as a link to my article at Newscastic on using your peak flow meter to check your forced exhale volume (FEV), a must before leaving the house or when breathlessness strikes! Twice I’ve sent it to Dr. Bich-May Nguyen @bicmay, a Family Physician in Houston with a Master’s in Public Health Policy from Harvard. Also, I’ve sent it to @InTrainingDoc and @juliaoftoronto, answering the question for the latter “6. Science is poorly communicated to the public.” Hashtags include #COPD, #HCSM, and #ACOS.
My top tweet of May 2016 was an advertisement for #OpenSource (free online textbooks). “@PaulQuinnTigers @michaelsorrell Meet academia.edu, a website where profs can share research internationally,” a tweet approaching 700 impressions. Paul Quinn College, a Dallas HBCU, has gained recognition for being a great comeback story. They converted their football stadium to the We Over Me Farm, expanded work-study programs, and started a free textbook policy to reduce college costs and gain work experience while still in college.
Finally, my top tweet of November 2015 was my article, “Reasons for Community Attachment and Happiness from Richard Florida and Forbes.” Dr. Florida was the first person I followed on Twitter. I’ve been a fan of his Creative Class theory for over a decade. Basically, economic development possibilities improve when leaders follow the 4 T’s model—talent, technology, tolerance, and territorial assets. Dr. Florida is a professor at the University of Toronto. This tweet hit 4400 impressions.
I pinned my Paper.li account The BohemioTX http://paper.li/bohemiotx/1318973557 in March 2016, and it became my top tweet of the month with 983 impressions; it has since mushroomed to 6817 impressions!
My Klout score is a solid 57 right now and stays in the fifties. I’m considered an expert in the top 0.1% on Twitter, Education, Social Networks, Social Media, Leadership, Environment, Teaching, and Digital Marketing. I’m in the top 0.3% for Energy, SEO, and Texas. Klout scores are based on all of your social media sites and you need to have them hooked-in to Klout. For me, that includes Facebook, WordPress, and Linked-in for starters. Twitter accounts for 67% of my network contribution, and Facebook accounts for 25% of it.
You can do a lot with Twitter, including publicizing your efforts to understand your health, maybe helping moderates and liberals in the Muslim world, improving colleges through utilizing their policy, and spreading creative urban planning policy. I’ll be back!
To understand Confucian philosophy you need to start with Confucius and his teachings that have exerted deep influence on society in the past and present.
Bin Song, Ruist (Confucian) practitioner and philosopher, has formulated a reference chart to help one understand primary Confucian teachings and to better equip those to practice this wisdom in daily life.
In previous articles we have discussed the five cardinal human relationships and ten reciprocal duties. In order to comprehend these relationships among other virtues an explanation is summarised below.
Firstly, The Way of Heaven (Tian) (天道, Tiāndào) which appears at the top of the chart, refers to an all-encompassing, constantly creative cosmic power. Tian is the transcendent in Ruism (Confucianism). Dao means “the way”. By placing Dynamic Harmony (和, Hé) below The Way of Heaven, it can be said that Dynamic Harmony is the principle that runs through Tian.
The Way of…
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