Walk a Month in Their Shoes

It might prove interesting to live another person’s life for a month.  I wonder what it would be like to move from your comfortable three-bedroom suburban home into a one-room apartment with a common bathroom that you share with three other tenants.  Would your new neighbors consider you an easy target for robbery or rape?  Would you be able to survive for a month?

With drugs and alcohol in widespread use, society’s protections are breaking down even in the suburbs.  But moving into a neighborhood with very high crime and drug use will raise red flags even higher than you could have imagined, coming from your middle-class background.

Now, liberals might say that this is exactly what you need to experience for empathy, while conservatives might say that this is exactly what you need to experience to throw these people in prison.  However, the truth is more likely that you need to experience this new type of living in order to understand why you are not liked.

We typically want to be liked, so we work hard to be kind and generous, expecting the same treatment in kind from those recipients.  But after living in the seedy side of town for several weeks, you will come to resent those who live better than you do.  And if they come into your neighborhood with free food and warm clothing, you will see some of them patronizing you.  Instead of liking them, you will despise them.  They will appear to act like they are better than you.  That does not leave a good taste in your mouth.

If you walk a mile in a poor person’s shoes, you will return home with blisters because your feet probably weren’t tough enough to use their cheaper shoes.  And if you see others walking with better shoes, you will not be happy for them.  You will dislike them and their shoes.

So, what does all this mean?  Well, perhaps it simply means that good people on earth should not expect those who continue to commit sins to like them.  Why should they?  The good people remind them that they are leading a bad lifestyle.  And since the bad people may have an ugly future ahead in the afterlife, they should at least have the best of times on earth during their lifetimes.  They should be able to sin as much as they want on earth, because if they are already sentenced to be punished after death, the consequences will not be that much different by continuing their sinning.

And sinners should be able to torture and make the good suffer on earth if the opposite applies after death.  Why should the good get the best of both worlds?  If the good go to Heaven and the bad go to Hell after death, then the bad should be able to experience Heaven during life and the good would experience Hell as long as they live.

And please understand:  I am not saying that is the way it should be.  But  I am saying that if the good stood inside the shoes of the sinners, they might have a completely different perspective of how bad people view good citizens.  They not only don’t like them, but they sometimes want to hurt them and make their lives miserable.  Walk a month in their shoes and you may find out why.

So, why should the sinners stop sinning?  If you have committed sins, it may even be easier for you to continue committing those same sins and even higher sins.  So, why stop?  Well, I suppose that the best answer is because none of us know what happens after death.  The best case for a hardened criminal is that nothing happens at death.  Everything just stops.  However, that is not likely in a recycling universe that has no end.

So, assuming that something happens when we die, what could it be?  Well, most likely we will still be aware of our surroundings.  It probably will be different than what we experience during life, but we may still be thinking.

And if we are still thinking, what will we be thinking about?  We probably will not be distracted by television, family problems, work issues, spousal demands, or whatever else fills your day.  We may be thinking about all the bad things we did during our lives.  Thus, if we had stopped sinning, we at least could feel good about ourselves.  And of course, if we believed that Jesus died for our sins, then we might not think about them at all.  Quite frankly, many Christians would still regret and recall their sins.  It is natural to carry remorse for your bad acts.  But you should still turn all your sins over to God and thank Jesus for His sacrifice.

Even if you gave all your sins to God and did not recall the bad choices you made during life, you would still have to appear before your Creator on Judgment Day.  Nobody knows how this judge-alone trial will proceed, but there most likely will be consequences.

So, the bottom line is that we all should examine ourselves and not our neighbors in order to prepare for both the rest of our life and our afterlife.  It is much more important for you to walk a month correctly in your shoes.  And however you walked in the past may have consequences, but you can minimize that punishment by the way you walk in the present and future.  And if you unify with God, you can walk with God.

 

 

 

 

Scientific Evidence in Jury Trials

I have noticed that scientific evidence introduced by the prosecution, which is countered by scientific proof provided by the defense, becomes a “wash” with the jury.  If there are competing scientific witnesses, the jury typically will disregard all the scientific evidence.  At that point, it adds little value to parade in more scientific experts than your opponent.  There is already reasonable doubt in the jury’s mind, and most jurors do not have a scientific mind that will further analyze the science.

This “hung jury” on the scientific evidence can occur even when there is overwhelming DNA evidence.  If the prosecution finds DNA samples at the scene of the crime, the defense can offer an alternative theory as to why the DNA was found.  For instance, the defense may argue that the DNA of the defendant was from a consensual sexual relationship.  Or the defense may have a scientist who shows that the DNA sample was contaminated.  It is a more difficult defense arguing that the police or a third party planted the defendant’s DNA sample, but it has been employed with success as in the OJ Simpson trial.

I have seen cases that attempt to match bite marks on the deceased’s breast with the defendant’s teeth fail as soon as the defense’s scientific expert shows that the bite marks do not match.  When jurors were questioned after the trial, they indicated that the scientific testimony regarding the bite marks was completely ignored in the deliberation room.  The jury reached their verdict based on something other than the science.

I was selected to sit on a medical malpractice trial before I attended law school, and I had the opportunity to see up front how a jury operates.  And each jury is different, but this jury completely ignored all the medical evidence provided during the lengthy trial.  The jurors did not understand it, so they dismissed it.  As long as both the plaintiff and the defendant offer some medical evidence to support their side, the jury will ignore all the medical evidence.

So how did this jury reach their decision?  Well, the foreman picked up a picture of the deceased that was taken about a week before he was seen by the physician and passed it around for everybody to see.  The plaintiff’s attorney had introduced the picture to enlist the sympathy of the jurors since the man looked sick and emaciated.  However, the foreman shook his head and announced, “Can’t you see?  The man was going to die no matter what the doctor did for him.  He was going to die anyway!”  And that’s how the jury made its decision for the defendant physician.

So what’s my point?  It’s simply that science will not convince the average person to believe in dark matter or dark energy or even a Creator.  The reason why the typical individual will believe in something is based on the emotion that carries the day.  This is why crowds are fickle.  One day, they may forgive your actions, but the next day, they may string you up.

The world is becoming more polarized, reducing the size of moderate, middle-of-the-road civilizations.  Extremists are always emotional non-thinkers.  That makes them very dangerous because you cannot reason with them.  And once the majority of world citizens are polarized into two major sides, both hating each other equally, and sometimes not knowing or caring why they hate each other.  Once the fire of hate starts feeding on that emotion, all rational thoughts will go up in smoke and the only thing that will matter will be to continue feeding the fire.  At that point, the only government that can control the emotional chaos in the world will be a totalitarian government.

A thinking person might wonder if this were the plan from day one of a small group of conspirators who created the polarized planet for a totalitarian world controlled by them.  Members of this group who want to take over the world may have sat in jury rooms themselves or perhaps they just understand human nature, which is to ignore science and reason if there is any conflict and rely on emotion to make decisions.

Lucy Lou for President

My proposed letter to the editor of the “Cincinnati Enquirer” is below.  The letter was printed in the newspaper on February 18, 2016, on the editorial page.

I was saddened to hear about the fire that consumed the General Store in Rabbit Hash, KY.  However, I was relieved to hear that nobody was harmed, including Lucy Lou, the mayor of Rabbit Hash.  The local politician is also a candidate for President of the United States.  She announced her run for U.S. president on September 5, 2015, at the Old Timers Day in Rabbit Hash.
Even though some of the presidential candidates are considered “dogs” by their opponents and many of the voters, Lucy Lou actually is a dog.  She is a border collie, who has run the town of Rabbit Hash extremely well for the last seven years.  She actually has spent more time in politics than some other candidates.  Even Donald Trump cannot trump that.
What makes her such a doggone good candidate?  She can run faster than any other candidate.  She will not accept money from lobbyists.  Her salary is dog food.  She has been housebroken, unlike many of the other candidates.  And in her last election, she defeated a jackass.  Even Hillary Clinton seemed to offer support for Lucy when Hillary barked like a dog in one of her recent campaign speeches.

Joe Hinds

Gravitational Waves

Scientists have made the first direct observations of gravitational waves, which are ripples in the fabric of space-time predicted by Albert Einstein.  It is similar to ripples caused by a rock thrown in a pond, but the difference is that these may go on forever through the space-time fabric.  The hero is LIGO, which is an acronym for Laser Inteferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory.  LIGO picked up gravitational waves created by two merging black holes, which occurred about 1.3 million years ago.  Yet, we can still hear them, rippling through the fabric.

Wow!  So, what does all this mean?  Well, it may herald a future in astronomy where we can finally learn more about the dark side of our universe.  LIGO may pick up gravitational waves caused by both dark matter and dark energy.  Perhaps we will detect waves from the Big Bang.  Only time will tell, but at a minimum astronomers will be able to study other black holes.

LIGO was designed to search for compact binary objects such as pairs of neutron stars or black holes, locked into the spiraling dance of death.  In 1993, Joseph Taylor and Russell Hulse won the Nobel Prize in physics after showing that binary neutron stars radiated gravitational energy.  This was the precursor or indirect proof of gravitational waves.

Patrick Brady, a professor at the University of Wisconsin who worked on LIGO explained the project:  “LIGO senses those last few minutes or seconds of the waves generated just before the objects crash into one another.”  He said that LIGO begins to hear the impending collision once the orbits tighten to about five times per second.  At that point, the gravitational waves reach a frequency of 10 hertz, or cycles per second, the low end of its range.  And in the few minutes left in their lives, the tightening spiral causes both the frequency and strength of the gravitational waves to increase.  Brady concluded, “That means they sweep right through the most sensitive band of the LIGO instruments.”

Scientists are in the early stages of developing supermassive LIGOs to find supermassive black holes in the center of galaxies.  Just like light giving off different frequencies, the gravitational waves also give us different frequencies.  Thus, we will need to develop supersensitive instruments that can detect unique chirps in a field of crickets.  Currently, there are only two detectors online (LIGO and Virgo, the European Gravitational Observatory’s primary instrument in Italy), but researchers will create more and improve them incrementally.  They will broaden the range of detectable waves and pinpoint sources of waves.  Italy’s Advanced Virgo instrument will come online in the fall of 2016.  Others will follow.

In December, the European Space Agency launched the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) Pathfinder into orbit 932,000 miles from Earth.  Even though, Pathfinder will not be searching for gravitational waves, it will prove that a hypersensitive, space-based wave detector is possible to launch into space.  Space will be able to filter out the static and noise detected with earth-based instruments.  Martin Hewisson, LISA Pathfinder scientists said, “We want to make this the quietest place in the solar system.  If LISA is successful, scientists can build a gravitational wave detector called eLISA, which will consist of three spacecraft in an equilateral triangle connected by laser arms.  This detector will pick up gravitational waves generated by binary supermassive black holes, ultra-compact binaries, and small black holes falling into supermassive black holes.

Different events produce gravitational waves of different frequencies. The above graph compares those sources against operating and future detectors.  This shows the potential for future astronomers being able to detect not only where black holes are located in our universe, but perhaps even locating the Big Bang.

But even before we have eLISA, new ground-based gravitational wave detectors should turn on within a few years.  These new instruments will allow astrophysicists to triangulate the positions of waves and hone in on their sources.  An upgraded version of Virgo will begin observations in the fall of 2016 in conjunction with LIGO.  Advanced Virgo’s improvements will increase its sensitivity ten times.  This will allow researchers to probe a volume of space thousands of times larger than before.  Virgo could pick up a gravitational wave signal once per month, or even per week, with its enhancements.  LIGO India is a proposed detector that would serve as the third in the LIGO family and could be operational by 2022.  In Japan, crews have blasted and excavated tunnels in the abandoned Kamioka mine to make way for the Kamioka Gravitational Wave Detector (KAGRA).  KAGRA is expected to detect signals from neutron star mergers every one or two months once it is fully operational.

The Einstein Telescope represents a third-generation detector that is in the design phase.  It would be hundreds of times more sensitive than the instruments we have now.  This telescope will be buried underground to reduce noise.  It will form a full triangle like eLISA and will have three detectors: two for low-frequency signals and one to detect high frequencies.

A new era in astronomy is set to begin based on a heightened sense of listening.  So, what is the gravity of this new discovery?  Well, certainly it gives us a new tool for detecting dark matter through sound, which otherwise cannot be detected with sight.  But more importantly, it gives us a basis for using our imagination to carry beyond the simplistic theory of the Big Bang and expansion until everything freezes in the icy depths of space.  Now, we know that Einstein got it exactly right and that the space-time fabric carries throughout the universe.  This fabric is so connected that gravitational waves created over a billion years ago still vibrate across the fabric.

What does all this mean?  Well, I’m not certain, but I think it means that everything in our universe, including time and the Big Bang are still in this fabric.  That may mean that past, present, and future are just nouns that help us imagine where we are in that fabric.  And whether this fabric encloses on itself so that time is continuous or whether this fabric is part of a perpetual time machine that expands and contracts, it really does not matter.  Because the primary point is that the universe is all interconnected in one fabric.  Solar systems are connected to galaxies and galaxies are connected together, so that our universe is one entity.  We don’t know if there are other universes which are also connected like cells in an organism, but we know that we are connected in our universe.

This helps explain a lot of mysteries in our universe.  Now, we know why the stars orbiting on the outside of the Milky Way galaxy are traveling at the same speed as the stars on the interior.  They are all connected in the space-time fabric.  Typically, you would expect the exterior stars in a galaxy to slow down as they get farther away from the center, which probably houses a supermassive black hole.  But if they are in the same fabric as those stars located closer to the center, the distance from the supermassive black hole will not change their speeds.

What else?  Well, this may explain why we can see the galaxy EGS8p7, located 13.2 billion light years away from earth.  This galaxy, the farthest we have seen as of today, was formed about 600 million years after the Big Bang.  So since this ancient galaxy no longer exists, how can we still see the light that traveled 13.2 billion years to reach us?  Traveling at the speed of light, which is faster than any speed our earth can obtain, the light from EGS8p7 would have zipped past us billions of years ago, never to be seen again.  However, if you analyze EGS8p7 as being forever locked into the space-time fabric, then we may someday even discover the Big Bang, also embedded in the same fabric.  And the mystery about why we can still see or hear evidence of ancient galaxies is solved by the space-time fabric, which embraces everything that ever happened or ever will happen in our universe.  However, it makes for a strong case that we currently are in a contraction phase since we can see ancient galaxies just as if we were moving back in time.

Now we can start examining our universe as if it were one entity so that if we detect contraction where we are, the entire fabric of the universe is contracting.  And our universe must be closed by virtue of the fact that a fabric has an end.  The only questions remaining are:  (1) is our universe enclosed in a huge orbit and (2) does it both expand and contract?

It seems highly likely that our universe is enclosed in some type of geometrical figure.  If a system is closed, it must have edges.  And if it has edges, these edges must form some type of design that connects.  The second question is the tougher one.  Scientists believe that the universe has been expanding since the Big Bang and many cosmologists think that it will end in a Deep Freeze.  This theory seems ridiculous to me.

Our universe is most likely designed to last forever in a perpetual motion mechanism.  The red shift discovered by Edwin Hubble supports the theory of expansion.  However, the red shift may also support the theory of contraction.  For example if dark energy were to cause expansion and dark matter were to cause contraction of our visible universe, the galaxies would appear to be pulling away from each other in either case. In other words, the dark energy would propel galaxies away from each other, while the dark matter would cause galaxies to contract, shrinking uniformly.  Both expansion in distance and shrinking in size will cause a red shift.

If there were an original expansion of the fabric, then there should also be a contraction if you believe that our universe is a perpetual time machine.  This makes sense to me because if the past and future are in the same fabric, then going backwards in time is not only possible, but is likely.  From our perspective, we may go back to the Big Bang, but we may call it the Big Crunch.

Discipleship

I am not certain that I am right, as I have been corrected many times before, but I believe that discipleship is not based on the number of followers you attract with your teachings.  Rather than counting the numbers of your disciples, you should be examining the quality of your instruction and guidance that actually registers with your students.

Many religious disciples define their mission as to convert as many people as possible to their religion.  I wonder if this is God’s mission or man’s mission.  I predict that God will be more interested in quality over quantity.  I have seen many who have been converted to a religion based on a thin veneer of faith.  And many of those who were converted in one day may be found in the bowels of iniquity in the next.

During the Vietnam War, soldiers were asked to provide numbers of enemy kills.  This led to multiple counts of the same dead bodies, many times counting civilians who also were killed, and, of course, phantom kills.  The numbers were useless.  The numbers of dead were not relevant to anything.  Obviously, they were not relevant to winning the war.

When America negotiated for an end to the war, our leaders angrily told the Viet Cong leaders that they lost every battle and lost many more soldiers than we did.  One of the opposing leaders quietly stated, “Yes, but that was irrelevant.”

Obtaining more numbers of battles or kills is not the real issue.  The goal is to win the war.  And there usually are several avenues to reach that goal, but those routes typically are paved with quality over quantity.  The analogy of winning a war applies equally to reaching another goal – finding peace in the afterlife by unifying with God.

If you have perfect attendance at church and make large contributions and shake hands with several hundred like-kind disciples each Sunday, these numbers are irrelevant to becoming one with God.  If you truly want to instruct others and assist them in reaching God, you must go beyond the surface and dig deep into the soul of God.

If you want to offer discipleship, you must first become one with God yourself.  You cannot train others until you have reached this level.  Then, you will be able to explain to others how to allow God into you, making Him such a part of you that you become one with Him.

Since there are more things that are unknown than are known, we must prepare for the worst and hope for the best.  The consequences for our poor life choices will be much easier to stand if we have God within us.  Nobody has returned from Judgment Day to report on the activities, but we must prepare by allowing God within us, but always hoping for the best.  However, God as part of us is the only way to deal with the worst.  Your duty in discipleship is to make others think… and to think about God so that the unification can be consummated before it is too late.

How Much Do We Know?

With all the improvements in science and scientific research and space exploration, how much do we know… perhaps 10% of what is in our universe?  With the large telescopes on earth and in space, how much do we see… perhaps another 10% of our universe?

Actually, we know less than 1% of what is in our universe and probably much less than 1%.  The visible universe is less than 4% of what is included in the universe and probably much less than 4%, especially if the universe is an ellipse and we can only view it to its horizon.  And even if the visible universe is 4%, we know just a fraction of what is in that visible universe.

So, how much do we know?  Not much at all.  We don’t know much about dark matter and don’t know anything about dark energy.  In fact, we can say with certainty:  we are pretty much in the dark.

We don’t even know that much about what is right in front of us.  The invisible quantum world is right next to us, but we have only scratched its surface.  There are unexplored deep oceans.  There still are many mysteries deep inside the earth’s core.

We, humans, think very highly of ourselves, but actually we are a miserable lot.  We can’t take care of our environment.  We are responsible for a current mass extinction that may end up being worse than the Permian extinction.  Our emotions make us more violent and unpredictable than any other animals.

We don’t even know much about ourselves and why we exist.  Why do we think about our existence?  If we didn’t have that nagging awareness, we could be like all the other animals, living through basic instincts without emotional interplay.  But our consciousness and consciences make us different from other animals… and not necessarily different better.  We murder based on hate, greed, sex, desire, jealousy, and anger.  No other animals do that.  We want gold, silver, diamonds, and currency.  Other animals don’t care about these things.  We want luxury automobiles and huge homes with the best furniture.  Other animals could care less.

So, why are we different and what is our purpose?  Well, logically there must be a reason for us to have free will and make choices based on our unique consciousness and consciences.  And the only reason that makes sense is that we are being tested.  Why else would we be able to make choices?  Life with free will would be quite absurd without consequences for our choices.  Existentialism rules our world.

Homo sapiens could have been like any other animal with no awareness or conscience, but we were given free will that no other animals have.  Why?  It has to be because something or somebody will examine these decisions that we have made.  And, of course, there will be consequences.  You cannot judge an animal that acts based on inherent instincts, but you can provide punishment for bad choices made by Homo sapiens.

So, how much do we know about a future judgment?  My guess is that we know less than 1% and probably substantially less than 1%.

Doubts

Whether you are a believer in a Creator or a skeptic, you should challenge your position with doubts.  It is interesting that atheists expend great energy doubting that there is a God, but spend little time doubting their arguments.  It is not logical to require more proof that there is a God than finding evidence that there is no God.

Quite frankly, it requires a leap of faith to justify either belief.  Such a leap by either side requires reasonable doubts.  Doubting is not being a traitor to your belief system.  It actually strengthens your beliefs because it forces you to think about why you believe what you believe and requires you to overcome the doubts.

Unfortunately, the world is becoming polarized by fundamental believers and radical non-believers.  The moderates are being pulled to one side or the other.  The press may indicate that religion is falling by the wayside, but it is not the new religion… it is old traditional religion that is dying out.  The neo-religion embraces groups that are radicalized.  Emotional religion is replacing moderate religion.  The fundamentalists will never doubt their beliefs.  And that is emotional garbage.

Doubting is a form of thinking.  Whenever you have a leap of faith without evidence to support your belief, you should always doubt that leap and constantly challenge it, thus reinforcing your belief.  If you go through life just accepting that belief based on emotion without any thought behind it, there may be a problem when you reach a crisis mode, whether in this world or the next.

If you end up standing before a Creator after being a suicide bomber that killed 50 innocent people, I wonder if the emotion that precipitated that act will please the Creator.  Did you have any doubts before you killed those people?  You probably did not, because your emotions drove you down this path.  Emotions mask doubt.  Emotions destroy thinking.  Emotions lead to bad choices.  Emotions also lead to consequences.  Emotions may make you a martyr who will accept those consequences… unless, of course, they are consequences provided in the afterlife.  Emotions hide those postmortem consequences.  But you killed those innocent people for God, so God should reward you.  The only problem is that God you served is the God of emotion, who some call the Devil.

I believe that the one true God does not countenance murder of innocent people for any reason.  And I want you to doubt that.  But you must also doubt that God wants you to kill for His sake.  I remember when soldiers in Vietnam said, “Kill a Gook for God.”  There may be a God who wants you to kill for Him, but, if so, I believe there is another God who does not want you to kill for Him.  There may be difficult times when I doubt the existence of a good God and think there must be only an evil God, but it is good to examine your doubts.  For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  Thus, I believe for every evil deed attributed to an evil God, there is a good deed supported by a good God.

Will the evil God protect you?  Probably not, because He is evil.  Some argue that if there were a good God, He would make everybody safe and secure now.  However, if you believe in a Creator outside our universe, He may be testing us for entry into His universe.  If you don’t gain admission, you will remain in this universe with the Devil himself in control.  I want you to doubt that too.  However, if you are wrong, the consequences will be forever and ever.