George W. Bush Eulogizes His Father

The NAVY makes a tribute video of Bush’s service:

FLASHBACK (April):

The Hammer Explains His Change From Leftist To Conservative

Charles Krauthammer shares that he has weeks to live. The first video is a short summary of his life (the FULL video is here). The following video is Charles explaining his political shift. (See THE INDISPENSABLE PUNDIT)

A Stephen Hawkings Special Edition of “Serious Saturday”

  • In a lecture from Stephen Hawkings (who holds the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, Einstein’s chair) at a lecture given to a university crowd in England entitled “Determinism – Is Man a Slave or the Master of His Fate.” He discussed whether we are the random products of chance, and hence, not free, or whether God had designed these laws within which we are free. In other words: do we have the ability to make choices, or do we simply follow a chemical reaction induced by millions of mutational collisions of free atoms?

(More at a post on “free will” as part of a response to a local columnist who is no longer with us: Concepts: “Free Will or Not” – That is the Question)

(A post of note is M-Theory – Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, “The Grand Design” – by True Free Thinker)

Stephen Hawking is quoted as saying the following:

  • Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing

However, what the people who support scientism do is often get categories mixed up. Something that needs explanation itself and exists in spatial time relation needs an explanation itself. For instance, Irtiqa comments after pointing out the above quote:

  • …he is already postulating the existence of gravity and the laws that will lead to the creation and evolution of the universe. Shouldn’t we ask about the origin of gravity and all features of the universe? Many of us scientists and thinkers doubt that full explanations of everything can be complete and self-contained, with no need for a metaphysical principle like God.

While I have not read the book, nor plan to, it seems that Dr. Hawking is defining gravity as something other than a function of the mechanics of the cosmos. Perhaps he’s placing gravity outside of the dimensions like theists place God outside the universe? IN which case it is atheism of the gaps theory.  Not to mention that M-Theory itself, if true, doesn’t explain anything away, it just adds more parameters that need explanation. The Blaze has some good insight on this, one can be found by both an atheist and theist dealing with Hawking’s new book:

Another video follows, but, an ex-atheist deals a bit with what is being discussed herein. Here is Dr. Antony Flew’s conversion reasoning:

  • “My whole life has been guided by the principle of Plato’s Socrates: Follow the evidence, wherever it leads.” After chewing on his scientific worldview for more than five decades, Flew concluded, “A super-intelligence is the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature.” Previously, in his central work, The Presumption of Atheism (1976), Flew argued that the “onus of proof [of God] must lie upon the theist.” However, at the age of 81, Flew shocked the world when he renounced his atheism because “the argument for Intelligent Design is enormously stronger than it was when I first met it.”

Okay, another video (you may need to avert your eyes from his “crazy” eyes):

Dr. William Lane Craig touched on this “Theory of Everything” that Stephen Hawking has been wanting for quite some time. In a Q&A he responds after the initial question:

Question:

Dr. Craig, given that, in the past, in its quest for simplicity physics has often discovered previously unsuspected connections between seemingly unrelated constants like electromagnetic constants and the speed of light and given that, in his 1997 lectures at Harvard University, physicist Ed Witten said that most of the recent string theories have no free parameters, that is, no variable constants in the model––all the constants just follow from the mathematical structure of the theory itself, O.K.?––given that, don’t you think it’s even probable that future discoveries in physics will reduce, or even completely eliminate, these seemingly strange improbable coincidences that you appeal to, to give evidence for God’s creation and tweaking of constants in the human universe?

Dr. Craig Responds:

No, I don’t see any reason to think that that’s probable at all, though I would like to hear more about Witten’s claim with respect to string theory. I’m not aware that that’s a feature of that model––that it eliminates all need for fine–tuning. I would very surprised to hear that were the case. I mean what you’re really talking about is a so–called “Theory of Everything.” But what that would ultimately show would be that the laws of physics are not really just physical laws at all but, somehow, they’re logically necessary, which, I think, strikes me as extremely counter–intuitive, that this is the only possible universe that could exist. So from what I’ve read, I think that the idea of ultimately finding some sort of a “Theory of Everything” is really a fantasy. I think we’re always going to be stuck with a certain amount of contingency that just is put in at the beginning.

Dr. Craig continues elsewhere to zero in on this “M-Theory” model (A thorough scouring of this can be found here where this was excerpted from, Beyond the Big Bang):

Ekpyrotic Models

We come finally to the extreme edge of cosmological speculation: string cosmology. These models are based on an alternative to the standard quark model of elementary particle physics. So-called string theory (or M-theory) conceives of the fundamental building blocks of matter to be, not particles like quarks, but tiny vibrating strings of energy. String theory is so complicated and embryonic in its development that all its equations have not yet even been stated, much less solved. But that has not deterred some cosmologists from trying to craft cosmological models based on concepts of string theory to try to avert the beginning predicted by standard Big Bang cosmology.

The most celebrated of these scenarios in the popular press has been the so-called ekpyrotic scenario championed by Paul Steinhardt.[xvi] In the most recent revision, the cyclic ekpyrotic model, we are asked to envision two three-dimensional membranes (or ‘branes’ for short) existing in a five-dimensional space-time (Fig. 9). One of these branes is our universe. These two branes are said to be in an eternal cycle in which they approach each other, collide, and retreat again from each other. It is the collision of the other brane with ours that causes the expansion of our universe. With each collision, the expansion is renewed. Thus, even though our three-dimensional universe is expanding, it never had a beginning.

[…no picture supplied in original post…]

Now apart from its speculative nature the ekpyrotic scenario is plagued with problems.[xvii] For example, the Horava-Witten version of string theory on which the scenario is based requires that the brane on which we live have a positive tension. But in the ekpyrotic scenario it has a negative tension in contradiction to the theory. Attempts to rectify this have been unsuccessful. Second, the model requires an extraordinary amount of ad hoc fine turning. For example, the two branes have to be so perfectly aligned that even at a distance of 1030 greater than the space between them, they cannot deviate from being parallel by more than 10-60. There is no explanation at all for this extraordinary setup. Third, the collapsing and retreating branes are the equivalent of a 4-D universe which goes through an eternal cycle of contractions and expansions. In this sense, the cyclic ekpyrotic model is just the old oscillating model writ large in five dimensions. As such, it faces exactly the same problem as the original: there is no way for the universe to pass through a singularity at the end of each cycle to begin a new cycle and no physics to cause a non-singular bounce. Finally, even if the branes could bounce back, there is no means of the physical information in one cycle being carried through to the next cycle, so that the ekpyrotic scenario has been unable to deliver on its promises to explain the large-scale structure of the observable universe. These are just some of the problems afflicting the model. It is no wonder that Andrei Linde has recently complained that while the cyclic ekpyrotic scenario is ‘very popular among journalists,’ it has remained ‘rather unpopular among scientists’ (Linde 2002: 8).

But let all that pass. Perhaps all these problems can be somehow solved. The more important point is that it turns out that, like the chaotic inflationary model, the cyclic ekpyrotic scenario cannot be eternal in the past. In September of 2001 Borde and Vilenkin, in cooperation with Alan Guth, were able to generalize their earlier results on inflationary models in such a way to extend their conclusion to other models. Specifically, they note, ‘Our argument can be straightforwardly extended to cosmology in higher dimensions,’ specifically brane-cosmology.[xviii] According to Vilenkin, ‘It follows from our theorem that the cyclic universe is past-incomplete’,[xix] that is to say, the need for an initial singularity has not been eliminated. Therefore, such a universe cannot be past-eternal.

Summary

With each successive failure of alternative cosmogonic theories to avoid the absolute beginning of the universe predicted by the Standard Model, that prediction has been corroborated. This beginning of the universe, of space and time themselves, reveals the contingency of the universe. The universe is evidently not necessarily existent, as Hume suggested, since it is not eternal, and therefore its existence does cry out for explanation. It is no longer sufficient to dismiss this problem with a shrug and a slogan, ‘The universe is just there, and that’s all.’

Of course, in view of the metaphysical issues raised by the prospect of a beginning of the universe, we may be confident that the quest to avert such a beginning will continue unabated.[xx] Such efforts are to be encouraged, and we have no reason to think that such attempts at falsification will result in anything other than further corroboration of the prediction of a beginning. In the meantime, the beginning cannot be wished away. Given its origin ex nihilo, the demand why the universe exists rather than nothing presses insistently upon us.

Here is Dr. Craigs presentation (2hrs, 21 minutes long):

Beyond the Big Bang (Ekpyrotic Models Discussed) from Papa Giorgio on Vimeo.

Joe Aguirre, Kenneth Samples (a philosopher and theologian) and Jeff Zweerink (an astrophysicist) respond to Stephen Hawking’s thoughts on God.

Astronomer and physicist Hugh Ross responds to Stephen Hawking’s book The Grand Design and his views on heaven.

Mathematician, philosopher and Christian thinker John Lennox on Stephen Hawking and the creation of the universe.

Don Rickles Tributes and Roasts (Videos)



40th Vietnam POW Reunion ~ Nixon Library

* Tears *

On May 24, 1973, President and First Lady Nixon hosted American Prisoners of War held captive in Vietnam for the largest dinner ever held at the White House. 40 years later, the Richard Nixon Foundation hosted what was perhaps their last reunion gathering. The following is a collection of television and print news coverage.

…Many who attended the dinner in 1973 believe that, although it had many memorable moments, the one that topped them all was the performance by thirty-five POWs of a ten-line hymn, composed nearly four long years before their release, which expressed their undying love of country in their time of bondage:

Oh God, to Thee we raise this prayer and sing,

From within these foreign prison walls,

We’re men who wear the gold and silver wings

and proudly heed our nation’s call.

Give us strength to withstand all the harm,

That the hand of our enemy captors can do,

To inflict pain and strife and deprive every life,

Of the rights they know well we are due.

We pledge unswerving faith and loyalty to our cause,

To America and to Thee. Amen.

The words and music of “The POW Hymn” were written by one of their own – Colonel J. Quincy Collins, USAF.  In the absence of sheet music and a pen, he wrote the hymn on toilet paper, with a fish bone, employing red liquid from a diarrhea pill for ink. When the guards at the Vietnamese prison, dubbed “Camp Faith,” were away, he and his fellow servicemen would practice the hymn…

(more)

A Pause for some POSITIVE News via “The Rock”

(Mad World News) ….After the vet asked him for a photo at a later date, Johnson said, “Well how bout we do it right now!?” The two posed for a parking lot picture, but the star didn’t feel like that was quiet good enough after all this man has done for our country. “He said, ‘God bless you and thank you,’” The Rock recalled of their post-photo conversation, before the guy walked into the gym and the star got in his car.

Right as The Rock was driving away, he realized something. He ran back into the gym, with his own phone in hand, and asked to take a photo “with that OG who paved the way for so many of us,” he wrote in the post.

Glenn Foden ~ RIP ~ You Will Be Missed by Many

This post is to memorialize the untimely passing of a giant in the cartoon world

Glenn Fish RIP

Almost every day I would look forward to getting a message from Facebook letting me know a new cartoon was out by Glenn Foden. You see, I love cartoons. Every Sunday — as a kid — I looked forward to grabbing the Sunday Funnies from my grandma and reading through them while watching Sunday morning cartoons. As an adult I followed many cartoonists, Chuck Asay, Cox and Forkum, Richard Ramirez,  Eric Allie, Lisa Benson, Gary Varvel, etc. I considered Foden one of the biggies. I even for a very long time had my own “Sunday Funnies,” where I would collect many of the weeks cartoons or humorous pics and post them on my site. Glenn was ALWAYS a part of this early A.M. part of my life as his was one of the first pages I would visit… maybe sneaking in his afternoon Sunday upload or saving it till the next week..

Once in a while he would get a left leaning individual noting how he disliked his cartoons… often times he would thumbs up the comment. I just thought to myself this had two affects: (a) it probably drove the person bonkers, and (b) it showed Glenn’s love of the 1st Amendment. You see, one can tell how a man thinks when he draws a single frame picturing his mind’s view on a complicated issue. The cartoonist shares his complete view in one picture that others (like myself) might take paragraphs to explain.

I used his cartoons in a few things on my site or in my YouTube uploads. The most recent cartoon was used in my upload of Larry Elder talking about the bias of media, giving the example of Chevy Chase:

Glenn mentioned this after I posted the video on his timeline:

  • Thanks, Sean. At one time media would at least pretend to be offended when accused of bias. Now they just smile, shrug their shoulders and say, “So what?”

In a post of mine that grows as more progressive-power-hungry legislators make clear their goals, I used a recent cartoon of Glenn’s to accompany an update to the post:

And in true Glenn Foden fashion, he commented on the post:

  • Green shirts have replaced the brown. Well done, sir!

He had a way of acknowledging those of us who were fans of his talent. Others would even post their own personal cartoons on Glenn’s Facebook to get what his thoughts on it were. He was always gracious and uplifting to the person… always showing grace and care to those starting down the path of their own talents.

I never interacted with his family, but I know he will be missed. Just these simple interactions and ability to pear into his mind, frame-by-frame allowed me to know that he will leave a hole in peoples lives, but overflow it with memories of the man he was. I hope and pray he loved the Lord and I will actually get to meet him in the life originally meant for us by our Creator.

I pray that in these rough weeks and months ahead for the longing of the kinds words of a father, husband, uncle, brother, friend, and author of a legend in the cartoonist world… that comfort and solace will be found in faith and relationships garnered though Glenn’s life.

Glenn, I never met you but I felt like I knew you. Thank you for sharing yourself with those beyond your family and friends,

Sean G


A Fellow Cartoonist Memorial


Bish on Glenn

You Will Be Missed Mr. Scalia (R.I.P.)

  • “I love to argue. I’ve always loved to argue. And I love to point out the weaknesses of the opposing arguments. It may well be that I’m something of a shin kicker. It may well be that I’m something of a contrarian.” ~ Justice Scalia 

The U.S. Supreme Court’s Antonin Scalia discusses his public and private life in a remarkably candid interview with Lesley Stahl.

Dave Mirra ~ RIP

NPR has this:

BMX rider Dave Mirra, who for years dominated his sport even as he helped others embrace it, has died at age 41. Police in Greenville, N.C., say they found Mirra “sitting in a truck with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.”

Police found Mirra in a parked vehicle shortly after he had visited friends in Greenville, where he had lived for years as an active member of the community. Mirra is survived by his wife and two daughters.

[….]

Mirra’s athletic gifts resulted in 14 gold medals at the X Games — an international competition where he won medals every year from 1995 to 2008. (He was forced to miss the 2006 games due to injury.) For a sense of how integral Mirra was to his sport, consider that the X Games were first held in the summer of 1995.

Those achievements, and his engaging personality, also brought Mirra fame, from appearances on David Letterman’s show to having two video games named for him, and many appearances on ESPN and MTV, where he hosted two seasons of the network’s Real World/Road Rules Challenge.

His death prompted local news WNCT sports director Brian Bailey to say, “Dave Mirra was to BMX what Michael Jordan was to the NBA, what Babe Ruth or Hank Aaron was to Major League Baseball: He was simply the best of the best.”

Skateboarder Tony Hawk, a longtime friend and colleague of Mirra’s, said in a tweetlast night, “Goodbye Dave Mirra, a true pioneer, icon and legend. Thank you for the memories… we are heartbroken.”…Brain CTE

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) may have played a part in this action by Mirra. CNN notes that football players are not the only athletes that need to be worried about this disease:

3. Football players aren’t the only ones who need to worry about CTE

Despite all the talk about football players, they aren’t the only ones concerned about CTE. The disease has been diagnosed in soccer and baseball players, and possibly even in military veterans. In fact, the first mention of CTE was a disease in boxers called “dementia pugilistica” or “punch-drunk” syndrome in a 1928 issue of the Journal of American Medical Association. The article said, “For some time, fans and promoters have recognized a peculiar condition occurring among prize fighters which, in ring parlance, they speak of as ‘punch drunk.’ Fighters in whom the early symptoms are well recognized are said by the fans to be ‘cuckoo,’ ‘goofy,’ ‘cutting paper dolls,’ or ‘slug nutty.'”

CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains the causes and symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, more commonly known as CTE.