Wednesday, January 28, 2004

A public service announcement: For links and commentary on all the day's news, head on over to
Hey, everybody! Did you know that there is exactly one edition of the Vulgate (Latin) Bible in print in these United States of America, and that it will cost me at least 80 bucks if I want one? I'm taking Latin right now. I reasoned, "Hey, I know the Bible in English pretty well; it might help me." And of course, to impress people at dinner parties with how many different Bible translations I own. I can personally attest, by the way, that the Lord's Prayer is beautiful in Latin. St. Jerome would be appalled at the lack of availability of his translation. On another note, I saw a Catechism of the Catholic Church prominently displayed there at our beloved University Bookstore. I've always been curious about it. One day I'll get one. Lest you Reformed folks reading this think you're the center of the theological universe, I didn't see the Westminster Standards anywhere. The rest of the world is missing out on a gem, I say.

Monday, January 26, 2004

I've got two things today. Let's talk about Biology 1 at the University of Missouri. Frankly, I'm thrilled to be in a basic biology course so late in my college career. Being a reasonably intelligent person who likes being able to hold my own on a wide variety of subjects, I have begun to feel my knowledge of basic science has slipped. Now then, it amuses me also to report that my biology instructor (who is a very nice lady) shares a last name with our current President. It's somewhat an educated guess, but I also highly doubt she is either related to, or shares any similarity in political philosophy to "W." Travelling toward the point of this post then, one lecture ago, the good doctor explained why she in fact would be teaching evolution, and not any sort of creation. She was quite respectful, and does not seem to harbor any negative emotions whatever toward anyone who believes the Bible to be true, and the Word of God. And that is a very good thing. Yet her reasons for this decision just don't add up. If we desire to limit our field of inquiry to those things which are testable, pray tell, how would we test for the alleged change from one species to another species? Has anyone ever seen that? If we only concern ourselves with natural phenomena, as opposed to the supernatural, what does supernatural mean? "Natural" seems to connote something like, "We understand this pretty well, and we're comfortable with it." "Comfortable" is not the first thing I think of when I think of knowing God. Scary, that's more like it. No wonder they don't want to study God. My second blathering of the day concerns worthless philosophical quotes that show up on calendars and T-shirts. You think, "Well, it's quoted on a calender, it must be profound." Specifically, a quote from Ursula K. LeGuin that said roughly, "It is important to have an end to a journey, but in the end, the journey itself is what matters." And dozens of other quotes abound about endpoints to journeys of self-discovery and the like are unnecessary. Does anybody really believe that? Isn't the final result (what you learned) what makes the meaning? I can tolerate all sorts of things on a journey, as long as we get where we are going. I guess I've even had fun when we didn't. In the realm of thought journeys, though, the mere act of self-reflection is reaching an endpoint. If you did no reflecting, it truly is a pointless waste of time. When I took Spirituality as a class, my instructor said that reflection was a key part of that journey she called "postmodern deconstruction." But there's nothing postmodern about that. If you "arrive" somewhere, even if you're always travelling and arriving, you're making a value judgement every time you come to some conclusion (which postmodernism doesn't allow). Perhaps I'm being unfair. It would likely be due to the fact that the thesaurus in my mind and heart tells me that postmodernism is synonymous with "vaccuous idiocy." I sound really British today in my post.