Tag: philosophy

Flat Earth vs Globe Earth: Why it Should Matter to Christians

You may have read my more general post called Flat Earth vs. Globe Earth and Why it Matters to You

This was a more generic discussion of the topic focusing on some of the challenges one faces when starting down the journey – Bible believer or not.

I would like to now address a more specific matter: Why the Flat Earth Should Matter to Bible Believing Christians.

I used the word ‘should’ for a very specific reason: there are many, many things in the Bible that form answers to the question “Who am I?”  Does the question ‘Who am I?” matter to you?  If not, there’s an exit at the back of the hall with the sign ‘Refiners Fire’ above the door.  Go there and then come back when you’re done.  You need some more time in the flames and disappointments of life, apparently.  For the rest of us who have already figured out that there must be more to life than the duplication of cells on a petri dish, let’s continue.

I have heard the following statements from well-meaning believers around town when I asked them to consider the flat earth:

  • It’s not a priority topic like salvation through Jesus
  • The Bible is not meant to be a scientific book
  • It doesn’t affect my faith in God so it’s not a priority for me

Does the answer to the question ‘who am I?’ matter?  It matters more than life itself.  Some people will cross continents, jump out of planes (with parachutes), do wild and death-dancing drugs, get married more than once because the one they married wasn’t their ‘soul mate’, etc, etc.  Some will even, tragically, kill themselves should they not in time find the answer to the question.

Indeed the answer to the question is more important than life itself.  We are here for a short time and what we do here is dictated by who we are.  If you think you are a meaningless piece of randomness floating through space just lucky enough to have ended up on the one floating ball with life on it, you will probably view the world a certain way and behave in accordance with those beliefs.  On the other hand if you believe that the earth is a flat stage and the entire cosmos  with the sun and moon was designed for you, spins around you, and was designed for you, you might act in yet a different way.  If you thought you were the afterthought of a ballot box shook up and thankfully chosen to not not exist, you might act one way.  However, if you thought that a Great Composer composed your life as a dramatic symphony for you, or an Amazing Artist painted this world as a piece of artwork for you and with only you in mind, you might think and act differently.

The answer to ‘Who am I?” is more important than life itself for if you don’t know who you are and why you are here – how then can you live at all?

So who are you anyway?

Have you heard both versions of the story, or have you only heard the story of your random nothingness?

What story are you going to believe when neither can be proven in a petri dish?

Here is a bullet point list of what I believe about who I am, by the grace of God, thanks to the faith He has given me:

  • there was a creative God of love who always was
  • at some point in eternity past, He sovereignly decided to create a place called earth
  • the purpose of God’s creation was to create a home for a new creation called humans with whom God Himself will commune and share His love
  • With amazing glory (see the cosmos), with unspeakable creativity (see how many variations of bees there are as a starter), and with great power (see Genesis 1) He, with His own matter-generating words of wisdom and power, spoke our earth into existence.
  • in Genesis and many other places throughout the Bible this place is described as an immovable flat plane on a solid foundation upon which lie the depths of the oceans and the breadth of the land and over which the stars, moon and sun circle and where a solid firmament exists – far above us and separating us from the waters above.
  • God crafted us with his hands, shaped us into His own image, and placed us at the pinnacle of His creation and then breathed His very life into us separating us from all other creation
  • God made us the focal point of His everything – the centre of His attention – the apple of His eye
  • This whole life is simply a stage upon which we act out the bitter-sweet scenes on our way to eventual and complete redemption

But there are those who cannot believe what I believe.  I don’t have the answers as to why, other than they have not received the faith to believe.  I now find anything that conflicts with the above set of beliefs to defy logic and the very heart that is found within me.  It goes against everything my intuition, conscience and even mind is able to tolerate.

And so this topic of the flat earth and cosmology matters greatly as it speaks clear answers to the question “Who am I?”

Our world has failed us time and time again.

The lure of ‘scientism’ and their wild and spiritual faith-based theories has done nothing more than to leave us empty and thirsting for the truth.  The more and more we thirst, the more and more they craft up theories to leave us more thirsty.

I have found the answer to who I am and now my life is incredible, and (bonus) my faith in my God of the Bible has reached levels I have not yet experienced.

I hope and pray that you will gaze into the cosmos and ask the question again:

“Who am I?”

 

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Ubuntu: The Relationship Between Freedom and Quality in The Software World

Unlike previous blog posts, I’m going to start this one with two exciting tables to get you thinking. In the first table, I increased freedom and in the second table, I decreased it so that we could look at the effect, if any, on other items. Sorry, they are just image screenshots:

wot_decreased_freedoms wot_increased_freedoms

Someone sent me over this article written by Mark Shuttleworth, chief of Canonical – the company behind Ubuntu.

Usually, Mr. Shuttleworth writes with excitement, hope, positivity and other such forward-moving adjectives. Unlike pretty much anything else I have read written by him, this article sounded more like a dad who was forced by his disobedient kids to lay down the hard law. Just the tone alone being so different from his usual, caught my attention.

It appears that some unnamed European corporation has taken the Ubuntu code (written for free by many coders and volunteers around the world and maintained by the for-profit company Canonical at their heavy cost of time and money), done a few ‘things’ to it, and published it as ‘their own’. For full disclosure, I haven’t done any of my own research like looking at the notice of claims against them. However, what I’m picking up from the article is that the soon-to-be defendantscontributed little or nothing to the base code that made ubuntu what it is today

  • invested little or no money to the ubuntu project
  • decreased the quality of the user experience
  • harmed the Ubuntu name
  • harmed Canonical by means of all of the above

If this is true, it should not be difficult to prove monetary damages for Canonical plus I’m guessing there will be a lot of angry programmers out there who would rally beside Mr. Shuttleworth for screwing up all their volunteer work.

From a bird’s eye view it seems like a suitable analogy for this behaviour would be something like this:

Imagine a grade 5 teacher creating a cool project where the students build a gizmo that’s valuable to the world – let’s say it creates clean drinking water out of thin air. Next thing you know, all the parents and grandparents are excited about the project and start volunteering their time to help build it and make it better. Next thing you know, a company (let’s call them Company A) picks up on the project and realizes that they can help improve the project by funding certain parts plus they can make some money as well because some industries will want an industrial version of these water-makers which is out of the scope of these volunteers time/money to build or support. So Company A starts investing time and money and builds a business around it while continuing to support the kids’ gizmo proliferation around the world. Out of nowhere, Company B, which has not participated in the project at all, shows up, takes the plans that all these volunteers made and improved on over the years at the cost of their time (and at Company A’s expense, too), and starts making their own industrial water-makers. They slap their own brand on it, change one or two small things and start making money. Then problems start happening. They don’t have a volunteer base of countless thousands who can jump in to improve or fix things when they go wrong, so this makes sense. Company B then routes all the problems of their customers to Company A saying “they have support over there, I think…”

I’m guessing that there would be lots of angry kids and grandparents and most people would agree to take action to stop Company B.

The question of this soon-to-be lawsuit will probably hinge entirely on the licensing of the software. Has this European company violated any software license agreements including the free software licenses of Ubuntu? What exactly did they change? Are they guilty of changing the code or are they guilty of not supporting the code? It will be interesting to read the claim, for sure (if you like reading litigation documents)

This also got me thinking about correlation between freedom and regulation. I know that one of the main reasons why myself and others moved to Ubuntu was for the freedom. We didn’t want to be told by bullies like Apple or Microsoft how we are going to be using our hardware and who will be accessing our private information. I started thinking about un-related industries and correlations between different things when you increase or decrease freedom. I thought it would be timely to share the quick charts that I built.

(review charts above again)

As you can see from the charts, it was an interesting exercise. It seems that in most cases clear changes occur in most columns – except one. I could not determine in any instance that quality increased or decreased with the increase *or decrease* of freedom. At a glance you might quickly disagree with my conclusions, but allow me to explain them.

Drinking water: Although you may increase regulation and decrease freedom to do what you want with your drinking water, it is debatable that the government controlled waters with chlorine, fluoride, and who knows what, is better for you that this or that in a free stream of water. The long term jury is still out on this one.

Voting: To clarify I am referring simply to the freedom to vote and having a regulatory system to govern the actual elections and voting procedure. By regulating or not, does it really help improve the final product (the person you are voting for)?  Point proven in recent elections in big North American country…

Guns: Perhaps you could say the quality of the actual physical gun might improve with regulation…. I don’t know enough on the topic, but it would seem to me that a nice old man building a gun in his shop could do just as well as a heavily-regulated gun factory.

Religions beliefs: the ‘negative event’ here would be something like a mass suicide with a cult. The Catholic church is heavily regulated, but is the quality of faith and the fruit of believers higher?

Marriage: I was thinking here free-love marriages versus arranged marriages. Although one might think that by choosing your spouse, instead of your parents choosing him/her might yield a higher-quality spouse/match, I believe the jury is still out on this. Look at the divorces in ‘love marriages’, for example.

So when it’s all said and done the only category where I felt freedom had a measurable impact on quality was in the realm of computer code. No one will deny that the fruity computer company typically has typically stable software which works on stable hardware. But on the other hand, very few of its users, when asked, deny that they feel stifled, controlled and possibly even spied on – if not totally ‘stuck’.

And so there seems to be a much more pronounced correlation between freedom and quality in the world of code.

And that also is why this will be a very interesting legal case to follow. Will Shuttleworth be tempted to pull in some of the freedoms of the Ubuntu code base in order to maintain the quality that Ubuntu deserves? Will a task force of lawyers be commissioned to seek and attack low quality Ubuntu publishers much like how a big proprietary corporation might do?

Until now Ubuntu has wowed the world with its ability to stay both free and yet maintain an incredibly high quality final product which I can boldly say is the same and better than competing proprietary systems in every category. The proof of this quality has been in the pudding with fast world-wide growth with more and more everyday users converting 100% to ubuntu and also in the realm of innovation (look it all up yourself because I don’t even know where to begin!).

On the one hand I’m completely in agreement that selfish individuals and corporations should be stopped in their tracks and made to pay for damaging others. On the other hand, I’m also keenly aware that the freedom of the Ubuntu code must remain of higher importance overall.

I find myself favouring the ‘whatever-it-takes-to-make-sure-ubuntu-comes-out-the-winner’ side but I will remain full open to all sides of this story.

 

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Flat Earth – Considering it Will Improve Your World View

There is a fine line between shutting your brain down and opening your mind to everything that comes along.

For anyone who has been wronged by an authority figure or system, it’s very easy to shift to the ‘open mind’ side and believe every conspiracy that comes along.

For those who cannot afford to be viewed as ‘stepping out of line with popular thought’ they will find themselves shutting down their brain and completely denying the truth in the face of possible adversity.

There is no better training ground to find the balance than that of the flat earth/globe earth discussion.  On both sides of the discussion there are very qualified and intelligent people presenting ideas that range from bizarre cosmological models to Masonic Illuminati government conspiracies.

This discussion would rightly be labeled the ‘mother of all conspiracies’ because if it is confirmed true with scientific evidence, then one must essentially forsake the teachings of our education system on cosmology.

And if we are forced to call into question something so basic presented as true by said education system, it begs the question ‘What else have they lied about?’ or ‘Can I trust anything at all?”

For topics like languages, math, music, art and the like, I wouldn’t be too concerned.  However, for topics where questions about who you are and why you are here are discussed, I would be highly skeptical and cautious upon confirmation of the earth being flat.

And so it is very important that if we are going to live in a free society of any kind that we need to be able to take a good look at this topic without ridicule.  Anyone who has begun to explore the topic will immediately encounter both ridicule and possibly even being ostracized from their social circle.  But one should not be surprised, especially in the science community, if they experience opposition by those whose job it has been to teach the teachings without question.  It would be akin to Martin Luther stapling his 99 points on the door of the Catholic church: that’s a big boat to rock and a lot of authority and power to question

It takes courage to even consider that the earth might be flat.  If you are one who is at least open minded enough to start down this road, good for you.  I have found nothing outside of the Bible more intellectually stimulating and spiritually liberating than this topic and I’m hopeful that others will join in.

At the end of the proverbial day, when the sun sets on the seemingly flat horizon, I just want the truth and nothing more than the truth so help me God.

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Happy 10th, Ubuntu, and Many More!

Thanks to all you folks in the Ubuntu community who reminded me about Ubuntu’s 10th birthday!

I also have rarely been involved so actively and so long as I have in Ubuntu.

So why?

Good question.  Randall Ross nails it in his ‘7 P’s’ article.   they are again for you to review and a reminder of what you are missing if you are locked into other mindsets and technology:

  1. Philosophy
  2. People
  3. Project
  4. Platform
  5. Products
  6. Phenomenon
  7. Paradigm

Happy Birthday, Ubuntu! And many more!

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Why Ubuntu: A Bird’s Eye View

I have been a happy member of the Ubuntu community and user of the product for years now.  Today I decided to ask the internet ‘why’.  I had my own reasons why but I wondered what Mr. WWW was telling people.

I was surprised.  I couldn’t find any short summary.  It was all too product-based or too philosophy based but didn’t quite sum up the ‘big picture’ for someone who wanted a quick read.  I was tempted to call this post “Ubuntu: Why all the Hype?”

I remember Randall Ross saying somewhere… or writing somewhere something about ‘How Many P’s are there in ‘Ubuntu’?”  I searched his blog but was unable to find the P’s.  I’ll kindly request that Randall officially publish those or if someone could fire a link to these in the the comments below that will be much appreciated.  The P’s that I remember are Philosophy, People, Product which are the key things that got me moved over to Ubuntu and kept me there.  I think Privacy might have been one, too.

Even the official Why Use Ubuntu page on ubuntu.com wasn’t really that satisfying for me.

So without further adieu, my spew:

~philosophy~

  • it doesn’t cost you money, and therefore is not reserved for the elite.  A child in a poor country has the same rights to be involved as a rich man
  • it is built by the community and therefore for the community.  Instead of a boardroom of software execs deciding which new thing they can craft up that will keep the users in bondage to their business model, a grandpa alone in Moosejaw (that’s a real place, by the way) can, with the help of the community, suggest or even write a change to the system and watch it take place before their eyes.  They can do software instead of being done by software.
  • you remain in control of your hardware that you paid for.  Now that I’ve been an Ubuntu fanboy for a while, I find it disturbing to think that the operating system – the thing that has complete control over your hardware – could be shipped to you pre-installed without your consent.  The company could limit you from what you could do with that hardware you paid for, or they could give themselves power over it without your consent.  I no like.

~people~

  • you’re not alone.  There are people out there who are really excited about Ubuntu and they’ll help you.  They want to see you succeed because when you succeed so do they.  People are volunteering lots of their time to organize meetups, to write helpful material and to write code to improve everything.  You can join or start local groups and you can network online.  Instead of clicking aimlessly online you can talk to people.

~product~

  • it’s unified.  it is the only operating system to have unity (hence the name Unity) from a PC, to a laptop, to  a netbook, to a tablet, to a TV all the way down to a smart phone (search ‘Ubuntu Phone’).  Across all hardware, Ubuntu unites them.
  • it works.  Ubuntu never fails to amaze me.  Whenever I use it, everything just feels and works better.  I don’t get paralysing crashes, slow bootups, lag times, etc.  Its smooth and it works.
  • it’s fast.  On one occasion I was forced to use a big slow operating system.  For fun I decided to boot Ubuntu from a USB stick which should be slower than the native operating system since it’s running on the external drive.  To my surprise it was like someone handed me a new laptop – it was alive again and snappy fast.  The proof is in the pudding.
  • it’s safe.  I challenge you to find any virus written for Ubuntu and if you do, I challenge you to show me that it had any negative impact.  I have not so much as thought about viruses since I made the switch years ago.  Want the world to see everything you do on your hardware?  Do not use Ubuntu!
  • it’s both cool and creative.  I just love the way that every few months I have something to be excited about. I know that someone in the community has changed something for the better and that soon enough when I upgrade to the next release something will get cooler.  Compare that to my crippling and enslaving experience with big proprietary company’s updates when I dreaded the next release because I knew something I paid for in the past would no longer be supported and I would have to pay extra to get it working again.
  • it’s simple and easy.  My mom and dad are 74 years old and have been with Ubuntu for years.  They haven’t experienced any major problems and if they did the community was there to help get it resolved – for FREE
  • its growing.  Although I don’t have the reference here I was under the understanding that Ubuntu was the fastest growing operating system in the world (reference needed).  The point is is that it’s not dying like many other systems and seeing a downward curve.
  • its freakin’ awesome.  No further comments

~project~

I found another P in Ubuntu.

I hope that this has been helpful in converting you from darkness to light and from folly to wisdom.  The great part about having a free will is that no one will stop you from smashing your own head against a cement wall if you want to.  That’s your right.  No one  can take that from you (although they probably should).

Do what you choose but I strongly recommend doing your due diligence and doing the right thing wherever you can.  Imagine regaining your freedom and how sweet that would feel?  It’s empowering.

Join the Ubuntu Project today.

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