JediSith Rhapsody

So … the other day I see this meme.

Bohemian Jedi Rhapsody

And then I am compelled to finish the parody as follows…

Is this the Sith life? Is this just fantasy?
Caught in the darkside, no escape from the galaxy
Kill all the Jedi, your master will be so pleased

I’m just a slave boy, someday a Sith I will be
Because I’m easy come, easy go,
Darth Sidious has gotta go
Any way the force goes,
doesn’t really matter to me, to me

Jabba, just killed your pet
Smashed a gate down on its head
Threw a rock and now he’s dead

Leia, your hair is in a bun
Why would you go and do your hair that way?

Yoda, ooh, didn’t mean to make you fly
I’ll be back again this time tomorrow
Help-my-friends, help-my-friends,
my training doesn’t matter

Too late, Luke my son
Sends shivers down my spine,
Emp’rer tased me all the time

Goodbye, everybody, I’ve got no toes
Cuz ObiWan cut my legs off long ago
Mama, ooh, didn’t mean to let you die
This soundtrack really has some awesome horns

I see a carbon silhouetto of a man
Frozen-tush, frozen-tush,
What will you give for Han Solo?
Sidious force lightning, very, very frightening me
(Princess Leia) Princess Leia,
(Princess Leia) Princess Leia
Princess Leia Chewbacca C-3-P-O

(I’m just a poor boy, no Jedi loves me)
He’s just a poor boy from a midichlorian family
Spare him his life from this animosity
Easy come, easy go, will you let me go?

Darkside! No, we will not let you go
(Let him go) Darkside! We will not let you go
(Let him go) Darkside! We will not let you go
(Let me go) Will not let you go
(Let me go) Will not let you go
(Let me go) Ah, no, no, no, no, no, no, no
(Oh papa mia, papa mia)
Papa mia, let me go
Uncle ObiWan told a big fat lie to me,
to me, to me

So you think you can zap me and get me to cry?
So you think you can push me to the dark side?
Oh, baby, can’t do this to me, baby!
Just gotta get out, just gotta get right outta here!

Nothing really matters, anyone can see
Nothing really matters
Nothing really matters to me
Any way the Force goes


Physics and Reality

What is Physics? What is Reality? Is Physics Reality?

Or so I ask my Introductory Physics students on the first day of class. Why is this important? Well, according a fairly famous and important Physicist named Albert Einstein,

“The very fact that the totality of our sense experiences is such that by means of thinking (operations with concepts, and the creation and use of definite functional relations between them, and the coordination of sense experiences to these concepts) it can be put in order, this fact is one which leaves us in awe, but which we shall never understand.”

Einstein, A. (1936). Physics and realityJournal of the Franklin Institute221(3), 349-382.

All human learning is the coordination of the activation of multiple regions of the brain. The Hebbian law that “neurons that fire together wire together” essentially demands this. Apparently, Einstein was at least partially aware of the nature of human learning given his declaration above. The most important aspect of this paradigm is encoding for “the functional relations” between the concepts that we derive from experience in the perceptual field–otherwise known as “the totality of our sense experiences.”

Here we see that there is a psychological dimension to learning Physics, as well as a philosophical one. The psychology of the perceptual field is conceptually simple as it simply refers to what the various cortices in the brain deliver to our cognition. The philosophy of Physics refers to the logic that we must deploy in our sense-making of our sense perceptions along the way to encoding physical laws, the development of theory, etc.

“What philosophy offers to science, then, is not mystical ideas but meticulous method. Philosophical skepticism focuses attention on the conceptual weak points in theories and in arguments. It encourages exploration of alternative explanations and new theoretical approaches.”

Tim Maudlin – Why Physics Needs Philosophy

Science is a rational, empirical, and metaphorical enterprise. It is not simply brain-busting mathematics. Sure we get some of that along the way; but, that’s not what it is.

Anyway, how would one answer these questions about Physics and Reality?

Q: What is Physics? A: the study of motion.

Q: What is Reality? A: the object of your perceptions.

Q: Is Physics Reality? A: No…it is merely a description of it.

Meaning | Values | Purpose

What brings meaning (significance) to life?  I would argue that the intrinsic worth of a person is the bedrock upon which significance can be objectively grounded.  By intrinsic worth, I mean the Imago Dei that we each possess because God decided to create that way.  You do not need to be a theist to appreciate this construct though, because it merely affirms that as creatures we have a moral and rational dimension.  No one really doubts this fact…we merely quibble over its objective grounding.  Perhaps another time?  Can we just get on with appreciating the intrinsic worth of people?

Objective moral values and duties exist … or so most folks agree that they do.  We disagree on whether or not they are objectively grounded in God or Evolution.   I predict that humans will argue this difference until there are no more humans.  In the meantime, can we agree that there are really no good reasons to diminish one another in any way?  Perhaps one exception is the self-defense required to prevent harm or death to oneself or the defenseless?

How do my values correspond with the way meaning enters my life?  IF I suppose that everyone around me should be edified rather than diminished, then I merely affirm that all of us are significant.  If we are significant because of a cosmic accident, then cognitive dissonance will force me to believe something is true in spite of the evidence; however, if we are significant because God made us that way, then I can hang my hat on that one.  Remember, we can neither prove nor disprove God’s existence, so at minimum, the God Hypothesis is a reasonable construct.

Where do we find purpose in life?  I can surely find or create a purpose for myself…such as be a great scientist or philosopher or artist or dance or whatever.  However, I’m not sure that vocations equate to purpose; but they can surely serve the needs of a purpose statement.  My personal preference is that my values and my purpose and the meaning that I find in life all correspond to one another in a coherent way.  For this reason, I prefer to set a purpose in life that seeks to uphold the Purposes of God in every life that I can legitimately influence through relationships that are organic in nature.  In this way, it does not matter much where I live or what I do for a living because every interaction is an opportunity to edify people rather than tear them down.

Obviously I think that this is a good Christian ethic that corresponds to the Goodness of God; but one does not need to know God in order to be good.  We can be good because it is obvious that we should be.  Knowing God is another thing altogether.

Just WHAT are you referring to?

THE tragic failure of mathematics education in the United States is the absence of referents for the symbols that get shoved around by the seemingly mindless rules.  A more concise way to say this is mathematics is taught as though the symbols refer to themselves rather than to quantities or processes.  The Mathematician will scoff at me while the Physicist will applaud.  In Physics, we deal with quantities; whereas in Mathematics, we deal with … uh … hmmm … rules and symbols!  Yes!  Rules and symbols.

I could drone on in writing here; but I think that it will be more efficient if you watch this quick little video that I made that proves that numbers do not add.  Enjoy.

The End of Reason?

There seems to be a cultural shift towards the removal of factual distinctions, especially in terms of fundamental aspects of human nature.  The current out working of such a shift is most prominent in the evolving practice that no one has the right to tell anyone else that they are, or might be, wrong, about something.

For example, if I were to tell you that I am 77 inch tall African woman, you should wonder whether or not I am joking, or just off my rocker.  No one should chastise you for letting me know that I am just a 69 inch tall Dutch boy.  However, current societal shifts are teaching young people to withhold any disputation of factual distinctions in favor of a view that refuses to take a stand.  This is bad for everyone, including the deluded.