Perceptions on Reflections

While reading a book by Clifford A. Pickover called The Physics Devotional, a quote reminded me of the importance of reflecting. Pickover wrote about something that Arnold Arons said about physics. Of Arons, Pickover (2015) wrote:

There is a kind of symbolic relationship here between law and theory. A theory becomes more and more respected and powerful the more phenomena that can be derived from it, and the law describing these phenomena becomes more meaningful and useful if it can be made part of a theory. Thus, Newton’s theory of universal gravitation gained greatly in stature because it enabled one to derive the laws that govern the moon’s motion, known by empirical rules since the days of the Babylonian observers. (p. 8)

Within computer science, for instance, the programmer or software developer goes through the process of designing, creating, testing, and debugging a software or system application. This is how a program becomes made. However, the question of why a program does good or bad is commonly expressed with the notion that truth is a matter of pleasure; that is supposed as a fine replacement for the objective balance. For reference, the United States of America, which produces litigation, confirms that scientifically analytical laws follow propositions. Bo Brinkman and Alton F. Sanders distributed information about the classical popularizer of pleasure as truth, John Stuart Mill. Brinkman and Sanders (2013) claimed, “Laws governing free speech in the United States today are generally consistent with Mill’s view. However, the issue of free speech is not settled” (p. 245). For computer science solutions, optimizing code might not always be the simplest or most effective way for building a successful product, but documentation can guide that process. Therefore, the reader may look to an objective source of ethical documentation about people for an understanding of why a particular software is good or bad.

Among scholars, theology is considered the queen of the sciences; it is a responsibility and a gift. The Book of James (KJV) says, “My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons” (2:1). This is a prohibition on favoritism for an ethic of fairness for the Jew and the Gentile. Thomas Aquinas theological first way of proving a Creator supports this. Ellen T. Charry wrote that Aquinas (2000) explained,

For it is only when acted upon by the first cause that the intermediate causes will produce the change: if the hand does not move the stick, the stick will not move anything else. Hence one is bound to arrive at some first cause of change not itself being changed by anything, and this is what everybody understands by God. (p. 32)

Thomas Aquinas perceived that the initial state is the origin of the continuum. With a final point, Archimedes would call this a summation. Regardless of the origin, considering the final point as the end of history, Hegel (1956) argued that “The History of the world is none other than the progress of the consciousness of freedom” (p. 19). The Bible challenges that by conserving a story throughout history. The Almighty, spoken on behalf of by the prophet Isaiah (KJV), said, “And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? And the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them” (Is 44:7). The progress that Hegel mentioned leaves behind truths perceived as irrational for the evolution of validity. Thus, when documenting computer applications, agreement with Hegel would require abandoning whatever causes errors in usefulness according to rationality. However, mainstream physicists who discuss quantum mechanics usually agree that human reason is not always sufficient for understanding the world. The Nazis, for example, were rational in that they had a goal in mind that they thought would be useful to them: creating a master race by destroying the Jews. Therefore, when Arons mentioned that law may be derived from theory, this is in agreement with the mathematical sciences, but it did not embed the assumptions into human perception; empirical observations were considered a stepping stone towards the highest understanding. Therefore, documentation should be valued for what it can help beyond the code. Further, analytically oriented computer scientists should be raised up by reflecting on the big picture when developing applications because doing so provides more contextual understanding.

In the coming weeks, I will work on more courses related to computer science and information systems. That said, there are alternative worldviews in this pluralistic nation that I live among as an American. While that is the case, I do think that I should stay focused on what is straight ahead that is reckoned for me. There may be chronological parameters that allow for people meeting in the middle. Seeking true exegesis for studying the perceptions of others is what I think is the way. Thus, I hope that my comments provide such opportunities over time.

References

Brinkman, W. J., & Sanders, A. F. (2013). Ethics in a Computing Culture. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Charry, E. T., & Aquinas, T. (2000). Inquiring after God by Means of Scientific Study. In Inquiring after God: Classic and Contemporary readings (p. 32). Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Hegel, G. W. (1956). The Philosophy of History.

Pickover, C. A. (2015). The Physics Devotional: Celebrating the Wisdom and Beauty of Physics.

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Epistemology and Information on the Internet

A practice that is relevant to the development of views is finding citable sources. However, what constitutes a citable source is predicated on the notion that a source is trustworthy.

In contemporary times, one of the most relevant topics related to developing views is how we accept what we consider useful for dissemination, and the Internet is related to that. Bo Brinkman and Alton F. Sanders (2013) said, “Epistemology, roughly speaking, studies the nature of knowledge and how we know what we know” (p. 211). A practice that is relevant to the development of views is finding citable sources. However, what constitutes a citable source is predicated on the notion that a source is trustworthy. Brinkman and Sanders mentioned that the start of the age of Enlightenment began societal dependence on singular experts who apply reason and construct knowledge (p. 211). Although this is the progress of history from a secular perspective and is valid as a concept of reason, it is a position apart from the grace of the Most High. We may look to the ancient philosophy, that of science, also relevant for an understanding of how Biblical truths are germane. In paraphrasing, Stephen Law (2007) said,

Scientists construct theories they believe are confirmed by what they observe. Such confirmation, however, comes in degrees. A theory might be very slightly confirmed by a piece of evidence, or it might be very strongly confirmed. One question we might ask about confirmation is: what makes one theory more strongly confirmed than the next? (170)

For Biblical truths, I think that individuals and people may rely on trust. The strongest argument that a skeptic could say against trusting the Biblical Scriptures is that no sense of self or self-concept may be trusted; all of reality could be a hologram for a single brain interfacing with a computer while placed in a vat. However, the notion that nothing is real therefore nothing is permitted is an induction of an induction, and doing so is a failure to build a general or specific argument based on the character of an individual person or people related to an action or series of actions. Without the acknowledgment of differentiated character, there can be no general brain in a vat. Without a general commanding character, there can be no multiple brains in vats. The notion that a computer could represent human ideals as well as human immorality and unethical behavior as an unconstructed leader that could be known in human terms separates the skeptic’s argument from a brain in a vat controlled by a computer from the essential resulting position that is a computer that is co-dependent on the brain because the best that the computer could be is another level of creation. There must be an ultimate level of truth by the skeptic’s own method of exhaustion. As Thomas Aquinas said of the highest level of existence that must be apart from reality, et-hoc-dicimus-deum: “And this we call God.” (Charry, 2000, p. 33). In proposing this position as the basis of trust, I think that sources that seek truth may be trusted.

When reviewing reports from one source or another on a single issue and there are contradictory reports, that may be an indicator of some unseen truth that may be derived or, on the other side of the mathematical axis of logic, induced. Although there is a contemporary notion that a truth is merely a fact, Biblical truths are facts that apply to all of mankind, male and female. Different people saying the exact same thing about an event implies that there is one source thus different people saying different things about an event implies that there are multiple sources and is more trustworthy than a single source. A Biblical truth that is relevant to this discussion is a verse from Mosaic Law. The Book of Deuteronomy (KJV) says, “One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established” (19:15). Therefore, even with two or more sources, if these so-called sources have a single source for themselves linking them all together, two separate sources are more historically credible in a way that truths may be respected and understood.

With that said, the Internet offers access to much data on the internet, but in my experience, there are relatively few major sources of information. The vertical honor or prestige that is apparent is elevated from the base of horizontal honor that is introductory recognition. For the purpose of keeping the freedoms of speech and equal protections led by the United States, alternative sources or news should probably be acknowledged in a truthful way. Going against that is an attack on the integrity of character that Internet news sources have respect for apart from mere consistency. Rather than only consistency, the integrity of character that I speak of is the consistency of doing right things. Without that kind of integrity, any notion of doing the right thing is coated by the subject of seeking an end that results in maximum good for a particular group of people rather than what benefits man in common. As a Christian American, I believe that those who lack in basic necessities such as knowledge need truths that may help enrich characters so even if money is tight, people may rejoice in the blessings that they do have or will have with hard work.

Even though the epistemology that people may take for granted can be useful in a variety of disciplines, I think that there are issues with contemporary perspectives related to the development of views about contemporary issues. There is a useful application for the skeptic’s strongest position and that is the recognition that computer that the brain in a vat is attached to would ultimately be a part of creation as well, so assuming the highest existence as beyond reality that is thus supernatural is more tenable. Having said that, distinguishing truths that apply to all men, male and female, may help recognize fact from fiction for the purpose of developing information relevant for dissemination on the Internet.

References

Brinkman, W. J., & Sanders, A. F. (2013). Ethics in a Computing Culture. Boston, MA.

Charry, E. T. (2000). Inquiring after God: Classic and contemporary readings. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Law, S. (2012). Philosophy.

 

Reflections of Previous Semesters, and Thoughts on Moving Forward

Since January to August, my course schedule has been steady every week except for a couple times when there was a week break during or after the semesters, and more is here. During the Spring and Summer 2016 semesters at Regent University, I experienced an introduction to 8-week accelerated courses. They were very challenging with a promise of gaining knowledge of how I may approach various fields with Biblical thinking. In-depth studies of Christian theology was the start of my journey at Regent after transferring from a local public college. It was the first time that I had ever sat down and read the works of leaders of Christian thought throughout history from St. Anselm to Thomas Aquinas about arguments for the existence of God, and to topics such as friendship, art, and marriage from Biblically-based perspectives both from centuries in the past to our contemporaries such as Aelred of Rievaulx, St. Augustine of Hippo, and Richard J. Foster. I learned the significance of the superior quality of Biblical prophecy with research into Jesus the Christ’s life on earth. Old Testament studies further built on these understandings.

After that, I faced testing with the understanding of this Biblical foundation in the form of applied dialogues in every course from Microeconomics to Introduction to Programming, and from Making of the Christian Leader to Operating Systems. Each course required rapid integration of faith with the study of reason. With these completed, I became accustomed to this eight-week format.

After a business week and a couple weekends for a break between semesters, Fall classes began, this Monday, the 22nd. Interestingly, I enrolled in a Calculus III course for my program that is fifteen weeks in duration. I say so because the study time was estimated for about the same amount of time as the eight-week courses; there is the same study challenge as an eight-week course, but that duration is doubled. Calculus being the study of infinity is a relevant topic for the integration of the Biblical Scriptures. As one of the Psalmists wrote, “But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children” (NIV, Ps 103:17). According to Andrew E. Hill and John H. Walton, the relevance of this chapter is related to the agenda of the editor of the Psalms. About what its purpose is, Hill and Walton said, “Critical discussion of God’s forgiving the sins of the nation” (Hill & Walton, 2009, p. 429). The Psalms verse and Hill and Walton stated that God Almighty grants his servants blessings of mercy that are collectively grace. This may be interpreted as the privilege of understanding His justice and infinite wisdom, though that does not mean God, himself, is understood beyond his character. Even when Immanuel walked the earth, God the Father reigned in heaven thus his character is known in the flesh, but his infinite Spirit is not fully known. I think that this may apply to Calculus III well as the concept of infinity may be known, but true infinity is not. It is an appealing dichotomy that may be studied for the purpose of growing in true faith for we all assume something as the basis for our worldviews. While this truth about humanity persists, the study of conceptual theory should continue in my view. Having said that, I have more courses this semester.

In general, my other courses are computer science topics, and they are Database Fundamentals, Ethics for Computer Science, and Distributed and Parallel Programming. Each of these eight-week courses required for my major are what interest me. In particular, the research that may equip me with a purpose-driven education is appealing, and I believe that this is the right path for me. Having said that, as these three eight-week courses are accelerated, I chose them two at a time at most. Towards the halfway completed date of the Fall semester, Database Fundamentals has completion as part of its scheduling whereas the remaining two have the beginning of their scheduled coursework for students. While this is work for me, I believe that any truths that I learn from these courses come from God, so I receive blessings then He receives glory. Therefore, my goal in this study consists of working for God Almighty.

Bibliography

Hill, A. E., & Walton, J. H. (2009). A Survey of the Old Testament (3rd ed.). Grand Rapids, MI, MI: Zondervan Pub. House.