Category: Uncategorized

nobody’s gay

by Andrea Elizabeth

This was my response to a fb post on speculation that Jim Henson and Frank Oz, as well as Bert and Ernie, were gay.

The problem is with the term, gay. Nowadays it’s a definition of who a person is. This is not so, and the misidentification is leading people into sinful relationships. There is homosexual attraction, which is an intermittent activity, as are all attractions, that has different levels of engagement described by the fathers as a glance that if entertained, can lead to coupling thoughts, and then to activities. There is also same sex friendships that can be all over the place in levels of like and love. In our quick diagnosis of gay, as well as homophobic society, Jonathan and David’s Old Testament love is quickly gayified nowadays. Same with St. John leaning on Jesus’ breast. This quick simplistic diagnosis not only leads people to a fatalistic lifestyle view of themselves and others, it also keeps men especially from showing affection to or being intimate with each other. It’s a shame. Who knows if Oz and Henson endulged in the lifestyle? If they did, maybe they mistook and mishandled their feelings for each other. But since it’s speculation, I think it’s better to assume a misdiagnosis from an inaccurate identity politics pov.

Not over but through

by Andrea Elizabeth

After receiving a wake up call diagnosis of NAFLD, which I don’t like to say out loud, and not all who have it are obese, so don’t judge, I started on a strict diet yesterday. It went really well, and I didn’t feel hungry at all. My plan is to only eat between 5 and 7pm. That way I can have two small meals close together and feel like I’m splurging. I’ll adjust what I eat during that time to be successful.

Maybe I’m finally ready to accept only having the very little that my body requires and let go of resentment and feeling cheated out of one of my top pleasures – stuffing my face.

Today it feels like freedom.

I just read St Maximus’ Ambiguum 10:21 and see how it’s not gnostic to deny one’s senses. It is a tough long road though. Your mind and body take a lot of convincing. It’s more like letting go of earthly cares. The caring part is the problem. And we’re conditioned to care about a lot of things we don’t need. And we’re taught that we need a lot more than we do. I’m not going to say that we should just endure a lot of pain though. Pain is an indicator that something is wrong and needs attention. Sometimes it means we need food, sometimes that we ate too much, sometimes that we’ve lost or never had a relationship we needed. Maybe weight gain during emotional or physical pain is an almost inevitable thing for some people. But there are steps toward healing. We are to let ourselves grieve, and I do believe in the 5 stages of grief, and in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. And that weight loss may not be the stage a person is at. Life is tough, but so are we. We can get through it.

inspiration and perspiration

by Andrea Elizabeth

This interview with Dr John Vervaeke has me wondering why he laments that since religion and places of worship aren’t providing wisdom and meaning for people anymore, we need to provide these through science and technology. Is that really a given? There’s a can of worms.

In addition to AI, he promotes Buddhism as a means for gaining wisdom and that some veins of Buddhism also incorporate technology and modern science. This reminds me of another interview I listened to of a Zen Master describing Integral Buddhism. I’m not sure if this is Vervaeke’s type. This review of the book, Integral Buddhism, states:

“What might religion look like in the future? Our era of evolution in social consciousness and revolution in science, technology, and neuroscience has created difficulties for some practitioners of the world’s great spiritual traditions. How can one remain true to their central teachings while also integrating those teachings into a new framework that is inclusive of ongoing discoveries?

Taking the example of Buddhism to explore this key question, Ken Wilber offers insights that are relevant to all of the great traditions. He shows that traditional Buddhist teachings themselves suggest an ongoing evolution leading toward a more unified, holistic, and interconnected spirituality. Touching on all of the key turning points in the history of Buddhism, Wilber describes the ways in which the tradition has been open to the continuing unfolding and expansion of its own teachings, and he suggests possible paths toward an ever more Integral approach. This work is a precursor to and condensed version of Wilber’s The Religion of Tomorrow.”

Firstly, a lot of assumptions about human growth in academia are predicated on the survival tenants of evolution. This is why I think it is harmful for Christians to adopt even a theistic evolutionary point of view. There is a lot of psychological baggage they goes along with it. It is a very selfish paradigm for one thing, and a de-humanizing one. There are so many ways I could go with this. Let me start with the pros of an evolutionary attitude.

It promotes improvement. Not all selfishness is bad afterall.

It promotes humility in putting us on a similar path as animals, vegetables and minerals.

Theistic Christians may differ in that humanity is the chief end of evolution, but the problem some encounter in a purely eschatological point of view is that it can devalue things lower than humanity. I have said before that I’d rather humanize animals, than dehumanize people by calling them primates. This can be achieved while avoiding an anthropomorphic, Disney view of animals. We can objectively acknowledge and respect our similarities with animals, such as emotions, social relationships, and sensitivity to pain, in an almost humanizing way, as well as acknowledge our difference in being made in the image of God as Dr. Rana pointed out in the debate shared on a previous post. We have a unique ability towards music, art, production of food, and very sophisticated technology. Animals see us as gods. However, Christ God is kenotic to the lowest levels, yet there is still a hierarchical distinction.

Con of evolution:

It views systems as random, separate, self-contained opportunities best integrated by the fittest. I would argue that this is the goal of humanistic AI. It seems that computers with their exponentially greater capacity for and dispassion towards the storage, access, and computation of data, are deemed more fit than humans, and are seen as the next step in evolution. This is one reason they want to figure out consciousness.

The thing Dr. Vervaeke seems to be saying that is different between organic beings and computers is our ability to prioritize and properly deem the salience of different data. The human brain does this on a subconscious level. I suppose a computer can be specifically programmed to prioritize in exactly described instances, but he wants a more autonomous response, I believe. Hence the wisdom question.

I believe God gave intuition to everything in the whole universe to prioritize trajectories to achieve their telos. The Westminster Catechism says that this is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. My thinking is that God isn’t that self-centered. He gave life and free will to things. Like I’ve said, I think one purpose of the Great Schism is so that mankind would care about the differentiated elements of the world. We wouldn’t have gotten Imagine Dragons if everyone was in blissful theosis all the time. The Transfiguration shows us that God can shine so bright all differentiation is hidden. He has to dim himself to let other things shine. Dr. Vervaeke’s detailing of the different ways we think is very interesting.

I don’t think computers can be anything but a tool with specific, rather than general objectives. I think inspired people have to come up with the wise way to live, and maybe make a program to facilitate it. I like that technology is enabling a more customized approach to individuals. One size does not fit all. My problem with some Eastern Orthodox prescriptions is largely towards the dietary regimes. I am very sensitive to ratios of carbohydrates, protein and fat and the highs and lows when fasting. The only way I see technology helping with people’s dietary needs, though is through invasive blood sugar or other nutrient analysis. Well maybe more advanced fitness watches could tell through blood pressure and pulseoximetry. I think it was Sam Harris in a discussion with Jordan Peterson who seems to be in favor of implants to analyze and curb bad brain impulses, including behavioral ones. Intuitively I don’t like this. Was it Donald Hoffman who said our brains are shrinking as we get more integrated social systems to help with work? The more you delegate, the more you lose it seems. There will always be advocates for natural solutions, I suppose, and I don’t like how progressives label them with pejorative words like anti vaxxers (if you google the word the articles are all negative against them. I don’t know if they have a different word for themselves.) We don’t know all the complex variables or the far reaching effects of any of our technologies, not even how much they contribute to global warming, though air pollution is a problem regardless. There are so many factors though. It’s scary.

Regardless, I am for inspiration, and it may be that much of wisdom is inspired. I don’t think a computer can be inspired. Possessed? Maybe.


Cognitive science TED talk

by Andrea Elizabeth

John Vervaeke on the task of cognitive science to integrate different disciplines of the mind such as psychology, neurology, artificial intelligence, linguistics and culture. I say we need a model of integration, and that is the God-man, Jesus Christ, the wisdom and word of God.

The great debate

by Andrea Elizabeth

I haven’t gotten to the q&a yet, but I’m so impressed that the University of Cal. at Santa Barbara science professors seemed surprised by Dr Ross’ and Dr Rana’s presentations of their scientific creation model. The second one actually sounds a bit flustered.

The book of nature and the Word

by Andrea Elizabeth

Hugh Ross says God gave us the book of nature and the book of Scripture. St. Maximus says it a little differently, but it’s pretty close.

“The natural law, on the one hand, is to the highest possible degree evenly directed by reason through the marvelous physical phenomena that we see, which are naturally interconnected, so that the harmonious web of the universe is contained within it like the various elements in a book. For letters and syllables it has physical bodies, these being the first things that come to our attention, since they are proximate and particular, having acquired the density through the conjunction  of various qualities. It also has words, which are more universal than these, and are further removed from us and much more subtle, and it is from these that the Word, who has wisely inscribed them and is Himself ineffably inscribed within them, is rendered legible when He is read by us, communicating to us solely the concept that He exists, and not what He is, for through the reverent combination of multiple impressions gathered from nature, He leads us to a unitary idea of the truth, allowing Himself to be seen by analogy through visible things as their Creator.” Ambiguum 10:18 by St. Maximus the Confessor. Translated by Fr. Maximus Constas.

Why Dr Fazal Rana is not an evolutionary creationist

by Andrea Elizabeth

Hominids and Neanderthals

by Andrea Elizabeth

By Hugh Ross’ colleague, biochemist Dr Fazale Rana.

St. Maximus’ dispassion

by Andrea Elizabeth

Why are the best teachers Canadian right now? Jordan Peterson, Jonathan Pageau, Hugh Ross, John Vervaeke, and now Fr. Michael from British Columbia.

“Dispassion is a holy not caring that deeply cares.”

“Not attached, controlled or manipulated by things.”

Now I don’t have to be Buddhist.

thoughts and things

by Andrea Elizabeth

This was a good talk the brilliant Fr. Maximos Constas, who translates the incomparable works of St. Maximus, gave on thoughts. There’s a lot of intro and Greek speaking, but most of it is in English.

The part that struck me the most in light of recent lectures I’ve blogged about on consciousness, is that Fr. Maximos made a distinction of between existing things and our perceptions of them. Most of the cognitive scientists I’ve been listening to don’t want to acknowledge things because they don’t think you can prove they exist beyond our perceptions of them, or at least not in the form we perceive them as. It is helpful to be humble about our perceptions, but I don’t think we have to throw the things out with our bathwater.

Related to this is that since we don’t know what’s going on with people usually, it is good to just say the Jesus Prayer over them. Names are powerful ways of acknowledging the existence of things and people, and using names is a very specific way of connecting with the name bearer without a lot of preconceptions or judgments about them.