Up@dawn 2.0

Monday, April 7, 2014


Today we didn't get much time to talk amongst ourselves.  We had a double lecture today in order to catch up.  We did talk a little about evolution, and what the catholic church's stance on deep time is.

I think you guys probably don't know this, but I studied biology for several years before switching majors!  (Ecology, not biochem stuff..)   One of the things I did study pretty in-depth was the theory of evolution, how animal behavior coincides with this theory, and also what some of the holes are.

Have you guys heard of a bullet shrimp?  This is one animal that cannot really be explained using this method.  One of this species' claws is perfectly shaped so that when it snaps it creates a violent shockwave capable of killing its prey from a distance.  If the claw is even slightly out of shape, it is useless.  Not even unable to shoot "bullets" but actually useless as it is too big to be used normally.

This to me just means we cannot fully understand the way things work and it is possible there are forces at work that cannot be explained using strictly science.  Having said that, I personally have no doubt that in general nature is always struggling and changing and that natural selection is true.  I just think there is room for the mysterious force some would call God's hand.  Schopenhouer's beliefs were, on a whole, too negative for me to put much stock in, but his idea that we are all part of a "World as Will" was not too much of a stretch for me.  I don't think it is an evil force feeding off of our goals, but there is an unexplainable driving force in all life!


  1. I'm sure everyone is having the same trouble as I am in finding the readings for this week, but luckily one of the groups figured it out and posted. This week I thought it would be a good idea to switch things up and read out of the book Philosophy Bites back. The topic this week was Clare Carlisle discussing Soren Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling. In this section there is an analysis on Kierkegaard's story that focuses on a particular biblical story about a father who is command by god to sacrifice his son. When he follows through with the orders an angle stops him before doing it and tells him to kill a ram instead. Kierkegaard uses this story to make examples of the Christian faith. In his book he goes from saying that the fathers actions are immoral, and later on says that he should be admired for following gods command. Deciding how Kierkegaard actually feels about this story is very tricky. Basically he wants people to see both sides of it so that they can answer the question of is it right or not. He confronts his readers with the question of is the Christian ideal or faith even actually attainable. I admire Kierkegaard for his writing because the fact that it is so deep and he leaves it to the readers to decide how they feel.

    FQ:What is the name of the father in the biblical story that Kierkegaard writes about?

    DQ: Do you believe it was immoral for Abraham to be so willing to kill his own son?

    DQ: Do you believe that a book like this would strengthen or weaken your Christian faith?

    1. "Trouble finding the readings" - ??? Please explain the nature of your trouble.

    2. I believe that sometimes others have enough faith to do a sacrifice as great as Abraham did. That's because they have that little faith as a grain of mustard seed and expect God to show up and work it out in the nick of time. Me myself don't know if I could go that far. I'm always finding myself making this statement about certain situation in my life, " I would do it if God himself came an told me." So, I guess by saying that I might at some extent believe that it's immoral even if God said do it.

  2. Interesting about the bullet shrimp, Kathryn, but I guess I don't see how it implies mysterious forces. Nature's full of vestigial forms that are neither fully adaptive nor central enough to have been selected out of the pool. We need to resist the impulse to dispel our ignorance with a "God of the gaps," and continue studying.

    Speaking of which: I'd love to hear more about your experience studying biology, if you'd care to share.

    1. The driving force in evolution is the will to survive. Life is a struggle for all organisms, and each characteristic is a balance between using resources to maintain that advantage and the gains it will bring the organism. Vestigial forms occur because DNA degrades as it is continually replicated. Organisms must maintain each feature they have in order to keep it from degrading. Of course, if I say organisms I don't mean individuals, but the species on a whole through deep time. My point was that we can understand how evolution works and we can understand the line many things take in their evolution, but at its heart we cannot understand why organisms have a will to survive. That was the force I was referring to, and in class we were suppose to discuss how Christianity and evolution could coexist, so I said it could be called by some "God's hand."

  3. LH: Life's Sacrifices, Soren Kierkegaard

    DQ: Kierkegaard talks a lot about Abraham and his sacrifice lamb, which was his son Isaac. If called by God to sacrifice your child would you do it, would you have enough faith to even temp it and expect God to show up at the last minute?

    FQ: What does Kierkegaard say faith requires? Risk p154

    FQ: What is the name of Kierkegaard book that tells about this sacrifice of Abraham? Fear and Trembling p152

    FQ: What is the Danish meaning of the name Kierkegaard? graveyard p153

    A video of Abraham taking Isaac to be sacrifice for the lamb:

  4. Zachary VanDusen9:31 AM CDT

    I wanna start out by saying I admire Kierkegaard's faith. Most of his writing was about choices and the difficulty of knowing it was the right choice. Although some of the decisions are very hard to choose, I wish I had the strength he did to make those tough decisions.

    FQ: The book "Either/Or" gives the reader a choice between a life of pleasure or one based on moral rules, who wrote it? Soren Kierkegaard

    FQ: According to Kierkegaard, the duty of God trumps ________. any other duty.

  5. Aaron Caveny11:54 AM CDT

    DQ: is having to much faith ignorant?

    FQ: Kierkegaard was known as the father of what? -existentialism

    Link: http://carm.org/bible-difficulties/genesis-deuteronomy/why-did-god-tell-abraham-kill-his-son-isaac

  6. FQ: Soren Kierkegaard thought of himself as the Danish version of which Greek Philosopher? (Socrates).

    DQ: Is it problematic that God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son when it violates the commandment of "Thou shalt not murder"?

    LINK: https://www.coursera.org/course/kierkegaard

  7. LH: Workers of the World Unite, Karl Marx

    Marx was a big egalitarian. He was about trying to make a difference for the lower class to be treated better. he himself was on a low income and struggled to survive with his wife, seven children, maid, & illegitimate son by her, who was adopted by his best friend Friedrich Engel. There wasn't much change before his death and many thought that his idea would be buried with him.
    Society hasn't change much since then; it's still the rich get richer, the poorer gets poorer, and the middle class suffers for it all.
    The passage spoke about how the Mill owners owning the workers, but there wasn't quite slavery. Their wages were low, they worked long over exhausting hours of labor, and barley had their life to themselves. Well, that sounds like they were slaves to me know doubt about it. It's no such thing as quite a slave either you are or you aren't. They were slaves! Point blank!

    FQ: What is Egalitarian? Characterized by belief in equal political economic and social rights to all people. p159

    FQ: What year did Marx die and of what? Tuberculosis(TB), 1883 p163

    DQ: Do you think many workers are mistreated and under paid today?

  8. DQ: How can anyone see God as perfect and all-good if he asks Abraham to kill his son? Even if in the end he says he doesn't need to, the torment he would have put that man through would have been torture.

    FQ: Which philosopher was Kierkegaard compared to? (Socrates)

    link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmYVl4sgYr4
    Part one of a BBC documentary on Kierkegaard