Hard Working Traditional Values With A Dash of Fun

Hard Working Traditional Values With A Dash of Fun

Friday, June 21, 2013

Yale Professor's Experiment to Find God

Agnostic Harvard University doctorate, Yale University professor and one time director of the Yale Psycho-physiology Center Gary E. Schwartz decided to use the scientific method to determine whether God exists. His experience is detailed in his 2006 book, The G.O.D. Experiments. It's always informative when someone who does not originally accept the Judeo-Christian world view finds evidence to support this view. Who better to make this claim than someone entrenched in the liberal world of academia?

Having recognized the difficulty of mathematical random distribution to explain the universe, Schwartz felt a universal intelligence was a better explanation. He had no background or training in religion. His parents where Jewish, but did not regularly attend services. He was unfamiliar with the Bible, but after reading Huston Smith's The Religion of Man, he decided if the prophets in the Bible could communicate with God, why couldn't he? He decided to try a personal experiment in contacting God. So at 3 a.m. on a cold winter morning in 1986, Dr. Schwartz decided to pray. As an agnostic, he had no experience with prayer. In his mind he explained that he was a systems scientist undergoing an experiment to find if there were some Guiding-Organizing-Designing process in the universe. He was having issues communicating with "God" because, due to his background, the word "God" evoked a negative emotional reflex. So in his mind he asked the Universe to give him another name for God. I will let Dr. Schwartz tell what happened next in his own words.

Immediately--and I mean immediately-- a name literally popped into my head. The name was not at all what I expected. What I heard was the name "Sam."

Sam! I said to myself, and started to laugh. I know this was foolish and tried to reassure myself.

I thought, I finally build up the courage to ask the universe for another name for God. What happens instead is that I end up like a character in a Woody Allen movie.

However, for reasons I did not understand then (but do now), I was moved to get out of bed, to go to my study, and pull out my favorite dictionary, the huge old unabridged version of Webster's second edition. I was compelled to look up the meaning of the word "Sam." It is, of course, short for "Samuel." . . . According to the dictionary, the name Samuel originally comes from the Hebrew Shemuel, which means literally "name of God."

Dr. Schwartz was shocked by the results of the experiment. This was not what he expected. Due to his position at Yale and concerned what further experiment on this topic could do to his career, he decided to drop his search for Sam.  It was not until a couple decades later when he at the University of Arizona that he felt his career would allow him to pick up the experiment again.

I hope I have raised your interest in reading this book. For those of us interested in advancing the concept of Intelligent Design this provides some useful support from an unexpected source.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Fiddlin' - The Briefs of Laredo

The Briefs of Laredo
Sing to the tune of Marty Robbins' The Streets of Laredo.

As I walked out on the streets of Laredo.
As I walked out on Laredo one day,
I spied a young cowboy who showed too much linen,
He showed too much linen as clear as the day.

"I can see by your outfit that you are a cowboy."
These words he did say as I boldly walked by.
"Come an' sit down beside me an' hear my sad story.
"I showed too much briefs an' my mother did cry."

"It was once in the saddle, I used to go dashing.
"Once in the saddle, I used to go play.
"First to the card-house and then down to Rose's.
"Jump hard off my horse and my pants fell away."

"Get six jolly cowboys to cover my long johns.
"Six dance-hall maidens to blush in appall.
"Put belt loops and buckles all over my britches.
"Put braces to hold up my pants as they fall."

“Then beat the drum slowly, I wore my pants lowly,
“Try not to laugh as I waddle along.
“I looked awfully silly, exposing my undies.
"Now I’m a young cowboy and I know I’ve done wrong.”

“So gather around you a group of young cowboys,
"An' tell them the story of this my sad fate.
"Tell one and the other before they go further.
"Pull up your low britches before it’s too late."

When thus he had spoken, the hot sun was setting.
The briefs of Laredo no more were displayed.
We thanked the young cowboy, his boxers now covered,
An' there stand his Levis, hiked up, to this day.

We beat the drum slowly, he wore his pants lowly,
Try not to laugh as he waddles along.
He looked awfully silly, exposing his undies.
Now he’s a young cowboy and he know he's done wrong.

For an index of all Fiddling Ant parody songs, click here.

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Monday, June 17, 2013

Stealing Marshmallows

A famous experiment first done by researchers in the 1960's presented a marshmallow to four-year-olds. They were told they could eat it now, or wait 15 minutes and get a second marshmallow. Follow up studies of these children discovered that those who were able to wait were much more successful at school and work. Turns out having the ability to delay your reward is a great personality trait.

It is clear that today's voters have flunked the marshmallow test. When it comes to Social Security and Medicare, we not only want both marshmallows now, we want the marshmallows of our children and grandchildren. As other posts in this blog have pointed out (The Well,
Get Ready To Pull Your Hair Out - How Social Security Got Started,
Deficits - Not a Family Value), the Social Security and Medicare programs are grossly underfunded to cover the promised payouts. The Federal Government refuses to match income with expenses for these popular program, so the only way they can work is to take away from future generations. Children and the unborn can't vote, so it is a great system for politicians who will be dead before these future generations can do anything about it.

For the sake of our children and grandchildren, it is up to us to ALWAYS vote for candidates that refuse to continue this fiscal immorality. It is clear that current crop of Democrats and even many Republicans are not capable to fixing Social Security and Medicare.  Where is a disciplined four-year-old when you need one?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Fiddlin' - I Am A Homeschool Dad

I am a Homeschool Dad
Sing to the tune of Gilbert and Sullivan's I Am The Pirate King from The Pirates of Penzance

Oh, better far to live and die
Under the homeschool flag I fly,
And play a sanctimonious part,
With a homeschool head and a homeschool heart.

Away from the public schools go we,
Where liberals all are formed-to-be;
And I’ll be true to this song my lads,
And live and diiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiie a Homeschool Dad.

Foooooooor I am a Homeschool Dad!
And it is, it is a glorious fad
To be a Homeschool Dad!

For I am a Homeschool Dad!

You are!
Hurrah for our Homeschool Dad!

And it is, it is a glorious fad
To be a Homeschool Dad.

It is!
Hurrah for our Homeschool Dad!

Hurrah for the/our Homeschoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool Dad!

He is our Homeschool Dad!
He is!
Hurrah for the Homeschool Dad!
And it is, it is a glorious fad
To be a Homeschool Dad!
It is!
Hurrah for the Homeschool Dad!
Hurrah for the Homeschool Dad!

When I sally forth to start my day
I help my wife in a bossy way.
I read a few more books, it’s true,
Than a sports-bred husband ought to do;

But many dad with a right wing view,
If he wants the same for home and crew,
Must manage somehow to get through
More homeschool work than ever I do,

Foooooooooor I am a Homeschool Dad!
And it is, it is a glorious fad
To be a Homeschool Dad!

For I am a Homeschool Dad!

You are!
Hurrah for the Homeschool Dad!

And it is, it is a glorious fad
To be a Homeschool Dad.

It is!
Hurrah for our Homeschool Dad!

Hurrah for the/our Homeschooooooooooooooooooooooooooool Dad!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Is Your Uncle Your Father?

Father's Day is coming soon, but in modern America, more and more children no longer look to their father for support. Instead, they go ask their broke uncle to take care of them.

For most of history, the norm of society was for fathers to be responsible for taking care of their minor children. If a child needed a place to stay, the father would provide. If a child needed a meal, the father would provide. If a child needed clothing, the father would provide.

Now, thank's to Uncle Sam, fathers are optional. Need to feed a child? No need to cut back on beer, cigarettes or lottery tickets. Uncle Sam will feed your kids with school breakfast, lunch, and even dinner.

In the first half of the 20th Century, 70-90% of black children had a mother and a father to raise them. Now, in the early years of the 21st Century, only 30% of black children live in two parent homes.  What has changed?  Men have figured out that they can walk away from fatherly responsibilities, knowing that welfare will step in help support single moms. And the single moms are supportive of this arrangement as evidenced by their voting patterns. In the last presidential election, two thirds of single moms voted for Obama. They like having Uncle Sam to pay the bills that would normally be the responsibility of the father.

Compassionate liberals love how welfare programs "help" the poor. Unfortunately this kind of "help" comes with damaging side effects.
  • Having no dad around means children do worse in school with lower grades and higher drop out rates. 
  • Having no dad around means children are more likely to get in trouble with the law. 
  • Having no dad around means children are more likely to exhibit behavioral disorders and attempt suicide.
  • Having no dad around means boys are more likely to have trouble establishing normal gender identity.
  • Having no dad around means girls are more likely to become single moms.
Society needs to take actions that will encourage fathers to be fathers and not let Uncle Sam take their place.  The "security" provided by Uncle Sam's welfare support comes at an unacceptable cost.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Birds and The Bees and The Dinosaurs

In the 1950's if you were a parent and did not have a "Birds and the Bees" talk with your teen, you were normal.

In the 1980's if you were a parent and did not have a "Birds and the Bees" talk with your teen, you were foolish.

Now in the 2010's if you are a parent and do not have a "Birds and the Bees" talk with your teen, you need to turn in your parenting card and find another line of work. Conservative parents are unlikely to want to let society, school, TV, and music be the main source of information for their children about the physical and emotional changes that they will encounter as teens. Yet many of us feel unprepared to adequately teach our teens about this important topic.

Fortunately for parents, one of the great parenting experts from the Christian perspective, Dr. James Dobson, has created an excellent tool parents can use to communicate this important information to their children as they approach the teen years.

Later this week I will be taking my third son on a three hour trip from Salt Lake City to Vernal where we will visit Dinosaur National Monument and go river rafting and fishing. I made this same trip with my other two sons and my wife made different trips with our daughters, all when in the 11-13 age range. During the long drive there and back we will listen to Dr. Dobson's book Preparing for Adolescence: How to Survive the Coming Years of Change on CD.

This is an excellent way to help introduce your preteens and teens to information they can use to prepare for their teen years. I appreciate Dr Dobson being able to share these important lessons in a way much more effective than I would be able to do.

There is too much at stake for young people during their teen years and they need information like this so they don't have to rely on the damaging material provided by modern culture alone. I highly, highly recommend that all parents use this program for their children entering puberty.

The topics covered in this recorded book are:

1 - Canyons of Inferiority. Dr. Dobson discusses the journey from puberty to adulthood, including feelings of inferiority regarding physical attributes, intelligence, money and status symbols. He offers sound advice on how to avoid feelings of inferiority and develop self-confidence.

2 - Conformity in Adolescence. How to handle peer pressure and fears of rejection, failure and unpopularity. Dr Dobson warns listeners that conformity can be harmful and can keep young people from doing what is right.

3 - Explanation of Puberty. Describes the physical and hormonal changes adolescents will experience. Also includes a frank discussion of sex and encourages abstinence before marriage.

4 - Meaning of Love. Includes a 10-question quiz with answers to each question. Issues covered include distinguishing real love from infatuation; sex outside of marriage; marrying or staying single; and several misconceptions young people might have about love and marriage.

5 - Search for Identity. Discusses the intense emotions experienced during adolescence; six key characteristics of emotions; conflicts between the generations; and the desire for independence from one's parents.

6 - Getting Real. Dr. Dobson and four 16-year-olds candidly discuss the problems faced by teenagers. Topics include peer pressure, drugs, communication with parents, dating, image issues and more.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Well - An Economic Horror Story for Children

Grandpa tells a horror story to his three grandkids, Ray, Shawn, and Jenna:

"Once upon a time there was a very rich kingdom," Grandpa began.  "The land was rich and the people hard working and generous.  However, there came a time when there was a famine in the land.  Famines had come before and the people had gotten through them by always preparing ahead for times of need. But this famine was much worse than in the past.

“Why?” asked Ray.

“Well some say it was because of some bad decisions made by the parliament regarding trade and money, but regardless . . .”

“What’s parliament?” asked Shawn.

“Parliament is a legislative body elected by the people to make laws. Can I go on with the story now?”

“Yeah, but don’t get grumpy, grandpa,” said Jenna.

“As I was saying, there was a really bad famine in the land and many people suffered.  The elderly in particular suffered.  Many had retired from their farms and had little water.  Good King Franklin decided that this was not right.  Old people should not be forced to live with little or no water.  He had parliament pass a law requiring everyone to bring water from their home wells and dump it into a community well to be used by the old people.”

“That’s nice,” said Jenna.

“That’s not nice,” said Ray.  “What gives the king the right to take away someone’s water to give it to someone else?”

“Parliament did,” Grandpa said.

“It is as simple as that?” asked Ray, “They can just take someone’s water to give to someone else?”

“Well, yes, it’s a way for everyone to help poor old people.” Grandpa said.

“But why get the help through the king?” asked Shawn.  “If you needed water, Grandpa, I could give you some.”                                                                                                                                          

“Ah, but parliament felt it could do a better job.  And the amount of water they demanded was low, only one out of one-hundred buckets.  For the first few years everything ran fine.  You see, the number of old people in the land was not that many.  There was enough water for their needs and the level of water continued to rise.”

“Because more people were putting water into the well than taking it out?” asked Shawn.

“Correct. As the years went by, the king and parliament added more types of people that could draw water from the well, such as orphans and the disabled.”

“That’s nice,” said Jenna.

“It meant having to raise the amount of water the peasants had to bring to the well,” Grandpa said. “People went along because they were told that one day when they were old, they would be able to draw water from the community well.  More years past and a new king inherited the throne.  His name was King Lyndon and during his reign he made some big changes to the well.  For one, he noticed that many old people got sick and did not have a way to get help from a doctor.  He had parliament pass a law to give the old people water that they could barter with the doctor to get health care.  He also noticed the well was overflowing with water.  Far more water was being poured in the well by the peasants than taken out by the elderly.  He had wars to pay for and other government spending needs.  Going to the people to tax them was dangerous, they might refuse or even revolt.  So he came up with a great plan—Parliament would take water from the well and drop in a rock of the same volume with the message I.O.U. painted on it.  The people never knew that Parliament had been using the water for other purposes because the IOU rocks all sank to the bottom of the well and the water level did not decrease.”

“That’s pretty tricky, Grandpa.”

“Yes, it is,” Grandpa said, “but not everyone was fooled.  There was a well warden who was charged with monitoring the well.  It was a pretty sleepy job for many years, but eventually the well warden decided to match the water level of the well with the number of people that would need the water once they retired.  He was surprised by what he found out and ran to tell the king and parliament. 'Oh great king,' he said, 'We have a big problem with the well.' 'What is it?' the king asked. 'Once upon a time we had very few people drawing water from the well and many people putting water in.  Things have changed.  There are more old people needing water and because the peasants are having fewer children, there are less people adding water to the well.  I figured out that at the rate the old people are taking the water, it will all run out before the young people retire.' The king met with his parliament to decide what to do.  Nobody wanted to tell the people about the problem.  The people were already dumping in almost one out of every six buckets into the community well.  There was no way parliament could ask them yet again to bring even more water.  One of the king’s counselors pointed out that they did not have to do anything.  There was plenty of water in the well for now and maybe over time the problem would go away.  Regardless, they would be dead by then and another generation could deal with it. More years went by and more people retired and began drawing water from the well while there were fewer young people bringing less water to the well.  The water level was
no longer overflowing and the IOU rocks, once deep at the bottom of the well, were now closer to the top and visible for all to see.”

“But isn’t an IOU rock the same as water?” Jenna asked.  “I mean, you can trade the IOU rock and get the water back, right?”

“Well, yes, but do you know where the water came from?” Grandpa asked.

“No,” Jenna said.

“From the same peasants,” Grandpa said.

“Wait,” Ray said. “Doesn’t that mean that the people have to bring double the water?  First, when they originally brought the water and later to replace the IOU rock?”

“Yes, I told you it was a scary story,” Grandpa said.

“But this is hardly fair,” Ray said.  “What if the peasants refuse to replace the IOU rocks with new water?”

“Then the water in the well is much less than appears and it runs out even sooner.  But regardless, the well warden had carefully measured the water levels and kept track of the birth rates and death rates of the people in the kingdom.  When the community well had started, the elderly might on average use water from the well for five or six years before passing on.  Now there were many more old people and they were living much longer so that it was not uncommon for an old person to draw water from the community well for thirty years or more.  As a result, many old people had more water than the young people who were required to fill the well.”

“Well, since it was the king and parliament that created this problem, how did they fix it?” Shawn asked.

“Oh, they didn’t fix it, Shawn,” Grandpa said.  “Parliament recognized that old people vote and they liked their generous supply of water, much more than what they had brought to the well during their working days.  The biggest losers were the young children and the people that had not even been born.  It would be during their lives that the water in the well would be all gone, but they obviously couldn’t vote so there was no reason to fix things.”

“This is a dumb way to get water to old people,” Ray said.  “If I was king, I would have made sure everyone saved up their own water for when they were old.  And if someone was not able to save enough then their children and grandchildren could help.”

“Well, that was how it was before King Franklin,” Grandpa said.  “It didn’t work out well for everyone, but it worked for most people.  In the pursuit of helping old people, King Franklin’s idea ended up ruining the kingdom.  Eventually everyone ended up with less water than before and the kingdom suffered from the result of taking from the working young to give to the nonworking old.  And nobody lived happily ever after.  The End.”

“That’s a stupid ending, Grandpa,” Shawn said.

"Well then, young people," Grandpa said. "It's up to you to change the story so it has a better ending. Can you do it?"