Daily Archives: August 7, 2011

Sideband #30: Lonely Vowels

Over on an MLB blog (but it could have been anywhere) someone used the common abbreviation “ppl” for “people,” and it invoked in my head the voice of my high school English teacher ranting about spelling things out.

Mr. Wilson also did not care for the i.e. and e.g. abbreviations of the Latin id est and exempli gratia, respectively. He preferred the less pretentious that is and for example.

And let’s face it, many people misuse i.e. when they actually do mean for example.

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Existence and Consciousness

My recent post about how the Big Bang and “Let there be Light” seem equally fantastic to me triggered an interesting comment from a reader. A detailed response requires more elbow room than a comment allows, so here’s a follow-up article instead.

One of the points involved that our scientific ideas, no matter how inaccurate they may turn out to be, are at least based on evidence. And to the credit of science, when we recognize errors in our interpretation of the evidence, science changes to accommodate the new interpretation. This has been, as I mentioned in that post, hugely successful. One of the failures of our spiritual metaphysics is that it clings to frameworks defined thousands of years ago and often stubbornly refuses to accommodate new information.

However the idea that there is no evidence for the existence of God(s) seems wrong to me. There is the fact that the universe exists and the fact that we recognize and are aware of its existence. Existence and consciousness are daily experiences for us all, and they beg for some explanation. Yet for all its progress, science hasn’t answered those questions. One can argue it hasn’t even made much progress towards an answer. It has some guesses, but the more you study those guesses, the more you realize they are filled with assumptions (at least in the case of the Big Bang).

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