It’s Been a While

Indian Summer by Sergey Lutsenko httpwww.picture-russia.ruenpicture46977

 

#weekendcoffeeshare

It’s been a while since I last joined you for coffee. I have been busy preparing my new book for publication in paperback and as an eBook. It was a substantial project that is now complete. Yay!

Hopefully, I will find my way back into writing again soon. After completing a book project, there is often a concern as to whether you still have more to write about. It’s kind of like when you have been engaged in a long conversation with someone about something and you both suddenly find yourselves in an uncomfortable, awkward silence wondering where the conversation should go next.

Anyway, it’s good to be free of major projects so my mind is free to wander. I look forward to seeing what you guys have been up to.

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Sleeping to Dream

 

#weekendcoffeeshare

If we were having coffee together, I would tell you that my wedding anniversary is on Valentine’s Day. I wanted to share this song with you because it is so appropriate for how I am feeling right now.

You see my wife passed away just shy of 11 years ago. The song, Sleeping to Dream (about her) by Jason Mraz, is shared as a tribute to my wife and the love I have for her.

Number to Treat

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Source: misterimmortal.com

Source: misterimmortal.com

It’s been a while since we had coffee together. I would like to share with you something surprising about the effectiveness of prescription drugs discussed in the four-minute video below.

It has to do with the total number of prescriptions that must be given out for a particular drug in order to find one patient for whom the drug actually works. Said another way, it is the proportion of patients treated with a drug that will experience its benefits.

Here, let’s watch the video

Why is this important? When a physician prescribes a drug, many patients assume that it is necessary to mange their condition and that it will have positive effects since the drug was ostensibly designed to treat their particular ailment. Therefore, they believe that they must follow doctor’s orders and keep taking the drug even though it may not actually be having beneficial effects for them.

What should patients do? When a drug is prescribed, ask your doctor what percentage of patients treated with the drug benefit from it. Ask what you should be looking for to know that the drug is effective in treating your condition. Discuss side effects and any risks if you stop taking the drug because it does not work for you.

There is so much we don’t know about health issues and the myriad angles used by pharmaceutical companies to boost sales. I hope the video was valuable to you. Hope to see you again soon!

An Interesting Take on the Existence of God

The following is an article from livingwithconfidence.net. As a scientist, I find Dan’s view on issues surrounding the existence of God very interesting.

January 2, 2017

I Call B.S. On Atheism

By Dan Pedersen
(Reblogged here)

I have a theory that there are no true atheists. That everyone, somewhere deep inside, believes that God exists. Somewhere in all of us is a flame of hope — hoping that this life is not the whole story. That when we die we will continue to exist as something more than just atoms and a memory in the minds of those we leave behind.

There’s nothing to be lost by acknowledging to ourselves that we know very little about the nature of reality. It’s perfectly reasonable to accept the possibility God exists in some way — in a way that’s hard for us to comprehend. It’s perfectly reasonable to believe the order and intelligence of this universe are no accident. The chances of it being an accident are so low that no one would take that bet if there were consequences for being wrong. If you had to bet your life’s savings on it you wouldn’t.

As Robert Lanza has said:

“The laws of physics seem to be exactly balanced for life to exist. For example, if the Big Bang had been one-part-in-a-million more powerful, the cosmos would have rushed out too fast for the galaxies and stars to have developed. There are over 200 physical parameters like this that could have any value but happen to be exactly right for us to be here. These fundamental constants of the universe aren’t predicted by any theory — all seem to be carefully chosen to allow for the existence of life and consciousness.”

The Big Bang Theory may very well be true (though even this is shrouded in doubt: one example here), but what happened before the Big Bang? Where did the matter come from that caused the Big Bang? How was there once nothing and then there was something? It’s about as easy to comprehend as being attracted to a frog. As neuroscientist David Eagleman has said “there are thoughts you cannot think”.

Everything is a miracle. The mere fact that we’re here, in all our complexity, is a miracle. If it’s all by chance why does chance exist in the first place? Why does Natural Selection exist? Where did that intelligence come from? Why should there be any natural “laws” at all? Why aren’t they random and subject to constant change?

As Einstein once said (about quantum mechanics), “God does not play dice with the universe.” Einstein may have meant that metaphorically, but if God doesn’t exist why doesn’t nature play dice?

Spirits Calling

sun-through-trees

Upon leaving the gym today I was compelled to stop by a small grove of trees. As I looked up into the branches with flashes of the sun passing through on the breeze, I felt so much love. Love for the beautiful trees and love from the trees.

I felt a presence welcoming me to a meditation. It was a remarkably sublime feeling of calm, contentment, and fulfillment. It was a wonderful moment that I did not want to end.

I have walked past those trees hundreds of times without noticing them. But this day I heard them call to me and say, “Come stay a while and let us commune with God and feel His love.”

You might also like to see the following related articles:

Spirit’s Answer to My Prayer

The Golden Morning

Sentinels of Peace

 

The Scientific Aesthetic

Lightning Storm Over the Grand Canyon Copyright by Rolph Maeder, Photography Sedona

Lightning Storm Over the Grand Canyon
Copyright by Rolph Maeder, Photography Sedona

#weekendcoffeeshare 9/17/16

If we were having coffee, I would tell you how I wanted to be a scientist since about the age of ten or eleven. Unlike most children who declare a vocation at such a young age, I never lost sight of the goal and did indeed become a scientist (now retired).

But the other day I was thinking about what it was that kept my dream alive from childhood to fruition as an adult. I mean how many young kids who say they want to be a fireman actually do it? What I realized was that I had an abiding wonder and fascination with all of the mysteries of nature. Science was a tool to reveal its secrets.

As a young boy, I wanted to explore many and varied aspects of the natural world and science. For a time I was an avid mineralogist. I made many expeditions into the creek bed behind the apartments where I lived. My holy grail was to find a geode; I never found one but found some petrified wood instead. I was disappointed at the time, but years later realized how cool and unusual that find was.

I had an inexpensive microscope and peered into the previously unseen details of all sorts of things from hair to bugs and leaves. When the Russians launched Sputnick in 1957, the first satellite, I became fascinated with rockets and space travel. Yes…of course, I fabricated my own rocket. It was a unique home design made from an aluminum pipe with balsa wood tail fins and a crude fuel made with chemicals in my chemistry set. Back then the sets included the components needed to make gun powder—oops.

I realized in retrospect that my design was badly flawed— more like a dangerous firework than a rocket— but it did manage a few flights of maybe 50 feet up before the aluminum could no longer withstand the blast. Thank God my brother and I had the good sense to run like hell when the fuse was lit!

As time went on, I began to develop a pantheistic view of the world. My vision moved beyond practical, objective aspects of my surroundings to a more aesthetic appreciation.

Into middle age, my relationship with science and nature became more inspirational and spiritual, and less investigative. Rather than study and analyze nature, I wanted to experience it. Rather than simply being a refuge from daily life, the natural world became a celebration of the diversity of life—something sacred to be revered, loved, and protected.

Thus, I have come full circle; once again I have that innocent sense of wonder and I am amazed and thrilled by the incredible beauty and complexity of the natural world around me, just as I was as a young boy growing up.

You might like to see the following related articles:

Just So…

The Golden Morning

Nature: A More Expansive Spirituality

The Battle Against Evil

Michael Defeating the Fallen Angels By Luca Giordano – 1660-1665, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1855147

Michael Defeating the Fallen Angels
By Luca Giordano – 1660-1665, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1855147

The world today seems to be in the firm grip of evil. The advent of terrorism is perhaps the most outstanding indicator of this but the widespread badness, selfishness, greed, and lack of compassion among society are other important bellwethers. Understandably, the majority of people feel powerless against many of the evil forces.

The prayer below is a call for help and protection that is very salient to current circumstances. I urge everyone to say this prayer (or your own version of it) as part of your daily devotions.

Prayer for Delivery from Evil
(based in part on the Prayer to St. Michael)

Heavenly Father,

I wish to call upon the Heavenly Hosts to defend us and fight with us in our battle against evil.

I ask that they be our protection against all evil spirits and evil doers in this world.

Send the Heavenly Hosts, I humbly pray
by your power, to thrust Satan into hell along with all evil spirits
who wander through the world for the ruin and confusion of souls
and keep them there so as to remove their negative influences on the people of the world.

And so that the darkness that they created will dissipate
Revealing your wonderful sacred light
That can then, once again, shine upon all of humanity
Drawing all of humanity closer to you.

Lord hear my prayer!

You might like to also see the following related articles:

A Letter to God

Spiritual Lawlessness