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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Sunspots 28

Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else:

I continue to be amazed at the Botany Photo of the Day. (This has an RSS feed) The photos on the page linked are thumbnails, and, if you click, they blow up to large size, and are spectacular. My Bloglines subscription page gives me the large pictures without any such manipulation.

For a time . . . he indulged in pleasures he could now afford. Sanctuary provided them in rich variety. But his tastes did not run to every conceivable kind, and presently those he enjoyed took on a surprising sameness. "Could it be that the gods of vice, even the gods of luxury, have less imagination than the gods of virtue and wholesomeness?" he wondered. The thought appalled. Poul Anderson, "The Lady of the Winds," in David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer, eds, Year's Best Fantasy 2. New York: HarperCollins, 2002, pp. 378-416. Quote is from p. 379. Story originally appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, 2001. C. S. Lewis said somewhat the same thing, I believe, in The Screwtape Letters.

Article "In the Wake of Katrina: Has "Bioethics" Failed?" saying that bioethics mostly veers from controversy to controversy, without building a firm foundation.

Pastor Perry asks, and answers, "Did Jesus Smile?"

Here's a post on whether extraterrestrials are Christian. (Thanks to Catez Stevens of Blogwatch.)

Slate on why South Korea is leading the world in research on embryonic cells. The article discusses, among other things, the fact that Korea is a nation with a lot of evangelical Christians.

from Ken Schenck on interpreting Scripture:
So I find the way IWU professors and the evangelical milieu uses Scripture is in this pre-modern way. They are looking for absolute truth in the words--the "biblical" perspective on whatever issue. I am not saying that this is bad. What I'm pointing out that Paul did not originally understand himself to be writing for all times and all places. Originally, his words had specific meanings in the light of specific situations... When Christian communities use the words of the Bible as the source of their beliefs, most of the time they are working out modern theology and speaking far afield of what Paul originally had in mind.

Articles on the Dover School trial, which concerns the teaching of Intelligent Design as an alternative theory in public schools. Neither article is sympathetic to ID. This one says that Michael Behe admitted that astrology would meet his definition of a theory. This report, in Slate, is for Tuesday, Oct. 18, and has a link to Oct 17th. (I don't know why there aren't more in this series) I am sure there are reports on the trial sympathetic to ID, but I haven't seen them.

Laura Beth Atwood has posted about true repentance, versus false.

Rebecca confesses to something we've probably all done, namely that we focus on ourselves when tragedy strikes others.

Catez considers the question of what makes a blog successful. I commented on her post. So did others. Thanks, Bonnie, for pointing me there. (I subscribe to Catez's blog, and Bonnie's, and too many other people's, but I saw Bonnie's reference before I got to Catez's.)

I finally noticed, as they were together in Alabama a few days ago, that the cabinet persons responsible for dealing with other countries, from both the UK and the US, have names that come from the grass family. I also finally noticed that the links on my Google personal home page have alphabetized themselves.

Spiked article on stem cell research, wisely saying:

All this being said, ethical discussions are not simply an inconvenience that, in an ideal world, would simply not need to take place. The fact that members of a society disagree on such fundamental questions as 'When does life begin?' or 'What price scientific progress?' is part of what makes us human, and our societies democratic. In this sense, the debates that have accompanied the development of stem cell research are just as important as the scientific developments themselves. It is our capacity to debate questions of principle that makes us capable of making big decisions about life.

My wife and I have safely arrived at our destination in the Pacific Time Zone. Thanks for your prayers.

This week's Christian Carnival is here.

Image source (public domain)

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