Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Vast and Ancient

The universe is vast and ancient, on scales beyond anything imagined in earlier millennia. That seems to upset some folks, but I'm okay with it.

As I've said before, I prefer to take the universe 'as is.' I would much rather learn more about this wonder-filled creation, than insist that the Almighty is limited to what folks knew a few centuries back.

My faith doesn't insist that I learn more about how the universe works: but it isn't threatened by knowledge either. Honest research can't contradict faith, because God made the universe. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 159)

Living With Change

"Nothing endures but change."
(Heraclitus, Greek philosopher, 540 BC - 480 BC)
Two dozen centuries later, change is still very much a part of this creation. God made a universe that is being created: which is good, and which is moving toward perfection:
"Creation has its own goodness and proper perfection, but it did not spring forth complete from the hands of the Creator. The universe was created 'in a state of journeying' (in statu viae) toward an ultimate perfection yet to be attained, to which God has destined it. We call 'divine providence' the dispositions by which God guides his creation toward this perfection:
"By his providence God protects and governs all things which he has made, 'reaching mightily from one end of the earth to the other, and ordering all things well.' For 'all are open and laid bare to his eyes,' even those things which are yet to come into existence through the free action of creatures.161"
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 302)
I figure we've got a choice: accept the idea that we live in a changing creation; or not.

On the whole, I think it's prudent to accept reality.

Continental Drift and Personal Preference

A textbook written with 'religious' people in mind was excruciatingly careful about explaining that continental drift was just a theory: and hadn't been 'proven.'

I sympathize with the authors, who may have wanted to provide adequate educational materials while not offending folks who don't want this creation to be particularly big or old.

Not liking the idea that continents move isn't limited to painfully pious folks. About four decades back, I had a geography/geology professor who loathed and despised continental drift. That attitude helped me decide to major in history, and that's yet another topic.

King Cnut and the Limits of Executive Authority

The last I heard, we're still not sure about exactly what forces have been moving continents around, forming new ocean floors along mid-ocean ridges, and recycling old crust along subduction arcs.

That continents move, carried along on tectonic plates: by now, that's an observed phenomenon. A person might prefer that Earth's crust stay put: but that preference has as much effect on reality as King Cnut's ordering the tide to stop.

Thanks in part to improved technology, like the satellite-based Global Positioning System, we're still getting surprises: like when a city in South America jumped westward by about 10 feet. That was a big earthquake. (Apathetic Lemming of the North (March 10, 2010)

Cnut knew the limits of executive power, by the way. My guess is that his command was intended as a reality check for over-enthusiastic courtiers. ("King Canute (= Cnut) and the waves," J. P.Sommerville, Department of History, University of Wisconsin - Madison)

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Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.