Tuesday, February 21, 2006
They're everywhere. They want to help. They can change your life, for a modest fee.
Actually, I'm posting this joke here so I can find it again.
A shepherd was herding his flock in a remote pasture when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced out of a dust cloud towards him. The driver, a young man in a Broni suit, Ray Ban sunglasses and YSL tie, leaned out the window and asked the shepherd, "If I tell you exactly how many sheep you have in your flock, will you give me one?"I know what you're thinking: Ok, Cordeiro, where's the joke?
The shepherd looked at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looked at his peacefully-grazing flock and calmly answered "Sure."
The yuppie parked his car, whipped out his notebook and connected it to a cell phone, then he surfed to a NASA page on the internet where he called up a GPS satellite navigation system, scanned the area, and then opened up a database and an Excel spreadsheet with complex formulas. He sent an e-mail on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes received a response.
Finally he prints out a 150 page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized printer then turns to the shepherd and says, "You have exactly 1,586 sheep."
"That is correct; take one of the sheep." said the shepherd. He watches the young man select one of the animals and bundle it into his car. Then the shepherd says: "If I can tell you exactly what your business is, will give me back my sheep?"
"Okay... Why not." answered the young man.
"Clearly, you are a consultant." said the shepherd.
"That's correct," says the yuppie, "but how did you guess that?"
"No guessing required" answers the shepherd. "You turned up here although nobody called you. You want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked, and you know jack about my business...
Now give me back my dog."
HT Silus Grok
Monday, February 20, 2006
I don't often comment about family issues here, but every now and then I'll make an exception.
I know I've mentioned before that my son, known here under his Nome de Blog as Corderinho, has had a series of vision issues since he was very young. The Ravishing Mrs. Cordeiro and I discovered this after having taken him (at age 3) to a Pediatric Opthamologist who basically informed us that - without corrective lenses - Corderinho is pretty much legally blind.
Since that time we've been working with several different therapists (physical, occupation, visual, etc) to make up for the developmental years lost to his inability so see for the first few formative years of his life. Corderinho is a trooper and if you didn't know his background you'd pretty much think he's just like any other eight-year-old kid.
Late last year the eye doctor told us Corderinho's eyes were not developing together - as normally they would. All that could be done with glasses and vision therapy would not be enough and - unchecked - one of his eyes would begin to drift. There was (and still is) but one solution.
All my life I've been taught (sometimes forcibly so) to keep sharp objects away from my eyes. The phrase "You'll poke, shoot, stab (or otherwise injure) your eye out" is one I'm very familiar with. Now an evidently well qualified, board certified, and otherwise credentialed physician tells me he will do the following to my son's eyes:
Detach the muscles on both sides of both eyeballs and reattach them in the correct place so they eyes begin to work and develop together. No lasers, mind you. Just very sharp small instruments. Corderinho's eyes will be horribly bloodshot for a few weeks - basically looking like a Vampire straight out of the Lost Boys, but other than that his vision should dramatically improve over time.
When you're a kid, there are just some things you shouldn't have to deal with. Surgery is one of them. Personally, I'm of the opinion words like Pediatric and Oncology should never share the same space on a sign. Wishing doesn't make it so, therefore life's not fair sometimes - far too often to the young and small among us.
So, in early March the Ravishing Mrs. Cordeiro and I will take our first born son to the surgical center, hold his hand as he goes under general anesthesia, and pray the surgeons hands perform as advertised. Cordeirinho's a brave kid, he'll do just fine.
That said, prayers for his recovery are and will be greatly appreciated.
Friday, February 17, 2006
Book of Mormon DNA and Agenda Driven Science
O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish. --Book of Mormon, Second Nephi 9:28The Los Angeles Times yesterday published a front-page story entitled Bedrock of a Faith Is Jolted. It basically delves into the research of Simon G. Southerton, an ex-communicated former LDS Bishop whose worldly profession deals with molecular biology.
I highlight the term ex-communicated for a reason. As a practicing Mormon who has some experience (don't ask, because I don't give details) in church leadership, I can state for the record, it takes a lot to get ex-communicated.
To get into the long and the short of Mr. (can't call him Brother anymore) Southerton's "research" he claims to have disproved the central premise of the Book of Mormon by not finding any traces of Semitic (Hebrew) DNA in the peoples of Latin and South America.
I'm not going to detail the Book of Mormon story. If you really want to know, read it for yourself - don't rely on the LA Times or Mr. Southerton as a source.
Shortly put, Mr. Southerton has an axe to grind and he's using science to do it.
Religion and Science have common ground. The most inspiring scientific minds I have known still marvel at the genius of the human body, the incredible majesty contained within a single living organism, and the grandeur of the stars that make up the universe.
The minds of Mr. Southerton, and those who would use his "research" to attempt to bring down all the truth contained within the covers of the Book of Mormon acknowledge no higher authority or intellect than themselves. They would attempt to undermine a book of scripture, the Word of God, using technology and methods the scientific world is just beginning to learn how to use.
Albert Einstein once said "I want to know God's thoughts...the rest are details." If such an accomplished intellect could still be open to the possibility there were things he was not capable of understanding, I submit the Southerton caucus is sadly lacking in the capacity to accept anything on faith.
Faith often confounds those who claim to be wise, who will not accept anything unless it is proven beyond their ability to question. There are things, concepts, and doctrines which - in this lifetime - we will not understand simply because we can't wrap our mortal brains around eternal details.
I commend the Blogfather for his unbiased coverage of this article. A transcript of his interview with the author Bill Lobdell is up at Radioblogger. Thanks, Hugh. The Church has its response to the DNA issue here.
Here's the bottom line. In the spring of 1820, Joseph Smith entered a grove of trees to pray for guidance as to which church to join. One of two things happened in the Sacred Grove. Either what he said occurred actually happened, or it did not. If it did, and I believe it did, than this debate is pointless. Could I be wrong? Possibly. But I'm not going to leave that choice up to a bunch of guys in lab coats standing around a table with steaming beakers of sludge.
Proving the truth of the Book of Mormon via DNA would negate the necessity of the faith upon which the Book is centered. Personally, I think God gets a kick out of confounding scientists. If you want proof of that, go find a Platypus and explain how that animal makes sense.
Here endeth the lesson.