Sunday, January 29, 2006

Believing Scientists?

New York Times article about scientists and faith.

Interesting stuff. The search for truth versus the search for facts. If you make any assumptions about either search or assumptions about their answers, you undermine the process.

Since I read this article, I've been kicking around the idea of believing in God and pursuing science. There have also been some articles about the Intelligent Design arguments as an alternative to Evolution. Kansas and Pennsylvania have seen some Boards of Education struggling with how to address both of these interpretations of how the world got to be the way it is now. What's interesting to me is the argument from scientists that Intelligent Design is not a theory because it cannot be tested for validity. Also, by it's nature it does not seek anything new, it doesn't ask questions, it offers only a single answer: God did it. Science seeks to understand the minutiae, to determine how every cog fits the scheme and the purpose each contributes to the whole. Science is not satisfied with the Atom, but with how the atoms fit together, of what they are composed.

Once you begin to accept that God plays any regular, significant role, you cease to ask new questions and seek their answers with relation to the role you believe God fills. The scientific process doesn't deny any role for God, it just seeks to understand the relationships and mechanisms of the universe.

This was another post that I started months ago, back in August. I'm just getting around to addressing some of the ideas, but it still feels incomplete. I'll have to get back to this subject eventually.

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Small-Market Teams

For the Super Bowl next weekend, the Seatle Seahawks are up against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both are considered small-market teams. Of course, a couple of small-market teams concerns advertisers since the viewership might be lower, but...


The World Series had two small-market teams (see below), and the NBA Finals had a couple of small-market teams, too. Of course the numbers were down, but the main differnce is that those events are week-long developing stories. If they are quick series, they just don't develop the suspense.

Why the White Sox have been a small-market team.

Chicago is the third largest city in the United States. Consider the Houston-Chicago numbers from the 2000 Census:

Houston: 1,953,631

Chicago: 2,896,016

Note that Chicago has been decreasing in population, while Houston has been growing. However, when you consider that Chicago has two baseball teams, and we divide these numbers, the White Sox fan base in the city is probably much smaller than the Houston fan-base (Chicago has a larger metropolitan area, however, so these numbers are probably not a good measure).

Winning brings the fans out of the woodwork, though. The White Sox have sold more than 20,000 season tickets since winning the World Series. It probably helps that they've made some serious commitments to bring back vital parts while adding better pieces here and there. Since the Bears looked horrible in their playoff game, and the Bulls are looking pretty shaky right now, I'm just looking forward to Spring Training next month.

This was a post I started just before the World Series started, but it seemed like something I could just get out there.

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Catch up

For the past few weeks, I've been debating whether to do one long post to catch up on events since I last posted, or just dump a bunch of little posts over a few days. It would definitely be easier to write a few small posts to hit the salient points, but I've got so many excuses for why I haven't been posting. I want to beg forgiveness for not posting by dropping to my knees in front of Carrie Fisher like John Belushi in Blues Brothers:

"I got a flat tire...a rat ate through a wire on my car engine...I had class at DePaul...the White Sox won the friggin' WORLD wife and I went to was my wife's birthday...The Boondocks cartoon was my birthday...the White Sox shook up their roster...someone came into town...there were the holidays (including Christmas, of course)...the Bears swept the Packers...I was sick for two days after Christmas (I didn't get out of bed) was my daughter's birthday...I had to help my brother set up TiVo...I replaced the rat-chewed wire in my car wife and I went to Nashville...I started another quarter at DePaul...the Bears had a home playoff was Dr. King's birthday...IT'S NOT MY FAULLLTTTT!!!"

In actuality, it's completely my fault, of course. My bad, y'all, but everything I listed above did transpire since my last post. I took the week after Christmas off, and I've taken a couple of days off since the beginning of the year. I haven't worked a 5-day week since the week leading up to Christmas. I bought myself the Scrubs, second season DVDs and the Arrested Development, season one and season two DVDs. I've been vegging in with those DVDs for the past few weekends. I spent most of the King holiday watching Scrubs, season two trying to overcome my frustration with the Bears horrible performance in their playoff game. I spent all day yesterday just watching the first season of Arrested Development. Both of those shows have some really good satire in spots, and are usually pretty silly. I was in Scrubs withdrawal since there weren't any new episodes all fall.

One last thought on the White Sox 2005 season: They were a team. In a sport that is quick to glorify individuals, the White Sox were a team, which is why they defied explanation. They could only win as a team. Yeah, they had a bunch of people step up at different times, but there was really no one person who was "the man". None of the guys were .300 hitters for the season. They had a no-name-trade-deadline pickup (Geoff Blum) hit a World Series game-winning home run in his only at-bat during the Series, the only run scored in game 4 was by a guy who spent almost half of the season in AAA (Willie Harris). The last two runs of the World Series, both the margin of victory in their games, came from guys who were on the team for about half the season each, and both those guys won't be around next year. A friend sent me a link to a site that has done some analysis, and the White Sox probably shouldn't have been able to pull it out based solely on the numbers. It's exciting to see a team where the team is somehow better than the sum of its parts. The same sort of team-centric play was evident last year for the Bulls, the Bears, and Illinois Men's Basketball team. The Illini made it to their first NCAA championship in large part due to team play. They didn't have any superstars. It's the basic sports story behind Hoosiers, and it's the democratic ideal. The fact that the same theme of overachievers winning the big game is repeatedly told in many different forms highlights that it is a core theme for Americans. We love to believe that if we put the right parts together and they can complement each other, than we can do the unthinkable. Isn't that really the story of the United States? Who would bet on the colonists to take on a global power and win?

By the way, when in Vegas, I got to pick up $400 that I won when the White Sox won the World Series. I had visited Las Vegas for the first time in November of 2004, and the odds against the White Sox winning were 20-1, so I put down $20. What a great season. It was fun to watch.

About the rat-chewed wire, it must be one of the hazards of living on the West Side. It's the second time that it has happened since we moved in here 4 years ago. It was really cool, though, that I was able to fix it myself. The cables cost about $70, and I don't want to think what labor would have cost.

Anyway, I'm going to try to get back to posting on a more regular basis, but already that hasn't worked out too well. I started this post about a week ago, but didn't get it finished. Of course, I was sitting in class at the time, and I've already seen most of that material. Posting was just a way to keep me awake.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude you have the BB gun use it!


9:27 PM