Thursday, December 30, 2010

Light, Truth and Gravity

Once I was asked how I could believe in God and science.  It's true that religion and science have a history of conflict.  I think one of the problems is that religions extrapolate dogmas too far, then new scientific discoveries invalidate unfounded beliefs, and the battle begins.  Usually science wins as the theories are proven out.  When religion rationalizes outdated beliefs, it is discredited and the temptation for the "scientifically minded" is to "throw out the baby with the bathwater".

I've managed to see and experience the value in both systems of understanding, and in many instances I am satisfied to see science and religion in agreement.  This happened tonight as I was reading an article on some of the latest thinking in Physics.  The theories start by trying to explain what happens to "information" in the Universe with results of a quantum mechanical explanation for gravity (and dark energy, which no other theory accounts for).   Here's a quote from the article:
Some physicists are convinced that the properties of information do not come from the behaviour of information carriers such as photons and electrons but the other way round. They think that information itself is the ghostly bedrock on which our universe is built.[1]
There seems to be an interesting relationship between "information", "light" and "laws by which all things are governed".

Here are some religious verses:

D&C 88:11-13
11 And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings;

12 Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space

13The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things.

I would equate the bold items as such:
  • "light" with "photos and electrons"
  • "information" with "knowledge" or "enlightenment"  
  • "gravity" with "the law by which all things are governed"
So what does this mean to me?
  1. Scientific understanding is finite.  
  2. Religion provides a hope of infinite understanding.
  3. Religion overreaches
  4. Science corrects religion with new understanding.
  5. Go to step 1.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Enjoy the Holidays with some Economic Headlines

I've been enjoying the holidays: time off work and time with the family.  My usual blog posts tend to be a little too serious and I haven't wanted to ruin the mood for this happy time of year.  The end of the year is approaching so I thought I'd post a list of economic headlines I've been saving up.

The premise I had when I started this was that the economic news seemed to oscillate daily.  I thought I'd try and capture this with the top headline of the day (I missed a few days).  See if you think my premise was valid.

9/14/2010 Wall Street boosted by technology and retail shares (Reuters)
9/15/2010 Mortgage giant losses could reach $400 billion
9/15/2010 Resilient Wall Street edges higher (Reuters)
9/16/2010 Foreclosures Rise; Repossessions Set Record
9/16/2010 Wall Street opens lower after data (Reuters)
9/20/2010 Recession ended in June 2009: NBER
9/21/2010 Housing starts at 4-month high (Reuters)
9/24/2010 Wall St jumps on data enthusiasm
9/28/2010 Wall St flat as consumer confidence on tap (mixed report)
9/28/2010 Consumer Confidence Falls to Lowest Level Since February
10/4/2010 Housing shows stability, factory orders fall
10/4/2010 ...unsustainable fiscal situation... Ben Bernanke
10/6/2010 Wall St opens lower after weak ADP report
10/6/2010 Real estate downturn could last 8 years: IMF
10/8/2010 Economy loses 95K jobs due to government layoffs
10/14/2010 Applications for jobless benefits rise to 462K
10/14/2010 September home foreclosures top 100,000 for first time
10/20/2010 Economy grew sluggishly in recent weeks: Fed
10/20/2010 Wall Street bounces with dollar, earnings
10/21/2010 Shares edge up, whipsawed by dollar, earnings
10/25/2010 Wall St advances on dollar weakness, Fed bets
10/26/2010 Wall St set for weak open on earnings, strong dollar
10/27/2010 Wall St falls on lack of Fed stimulus clarity
10/29/2010 Economy grows at slightly faster pace in Q3
10/29/2010 Economy grew modestly in third-quarter
10/29/2010 GDP growth tepid in Q3, more Fed easing seen
11/4/2010 Wall St rallies as Fed stokes risk appetite
11/8/2010 Fed officials voice concerns about bond buying
11/16/2010 Bond Market Defies Fed
11/29/2010 Citing deficit, Obama freezing federal worker pay
12/4/2010 U.S. unemployment climbs to 9.8%, raising doubts about recovery
12/8/2010 US Treasuries hit by biggest sell-off in two years
12/9/2010 U.S. Initial Jobless Claims Fell 17,000 to 421,000 Last Week
12/21/2010 US teen birth rate at all-time low, economy cited
12/28/2010 111th Congress Created More National Debt Than First 100 Congresses Combined

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

...everything can be taken from a man but one thing...

"We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."

Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning