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Showing posts from September, 2013


I drove home late this afternoon with a rainbow spanning the whole sky, moving ahead of me the way rainbows do. I stopped about a kilometre from home to take a picture and thought of a couple of times recently when I have heard the rainbow used as a metaphor for the way consciousness and reality interact.   For example, " For the rainbow experience to happen we need sunshine, raindrops, and a spectator. It is not that the sun and the raindrops cease to exist if there is no one there to see them… But unless someone is present at a particular point no colored arch can appear. The rainbow is hence a process requiring various elements, one of which happens to be an instrument of sense perception. It doesn’t exist whole and separate in the world nor does it exist as an acquired image in the head separated from what is perceived (the view held by the ‘internalists’ who account for the majority of neuroscientists); rather, consciousness is spread between sunlight, raindrop

The Language of God

A number of people recommended this book to me recently and I'm glad they did. I interrupted my reading schedule and knocked it off in a couple of sittings. It is a thorough book but not a difficult one. Francis S Collins is a scientist of impeccable credentials. He has studied physics and biochemistry and is one of the world's leading geneticists. He is also an evangelical Christian. The book is in part his testimony of faith but mostly it is a defence of science for those who are sceptical about science and an apologetic for God for those who are sceptical about religion. He includes a brief history of the years he spent as leader of the team which produced the first map of the human genome, one of the most significant scientific achievements of the last Century. It is a book whose emphasis I found a little surprising. For me, it is axiomatic that the universe and everything in it is evolving. It has been about 40 years now since the issue of reconciling evolution to f

All Fixed

On Monday the computer crashed. On Wednesday I got it back, pretty much fixed and ready to go; it was only only a couple of days, but it was a revelation. During Tuesday I lived with the possibility that I wasn't going to get any data off the hard drive, and found that I was not actually all that bothered. There is a pile of old sermon notes but I hardly ever refer to them any more. There are a few hundred Power Point presentations, made to go with the sermons and they also don't get looked at much. There are countless folders of word processing files, copied from computer to computer all the way back to the Atari ST I owned in the 1980s and they are of interest sometimes - old letters and plans and notes and essays. There is a book I sporadically work on, but I'm not optimistic about finishing it. And there are the photos, thousands of the things. Most of them have been seen only by me and most of them are junk. There are, admittedly, a few that I am quite fond of but i


This last weekend I was in Queenstown attending the 150th anniversary celebrations  for St. Peter's church. It was a very full programme, with a walk around the historic sites of the still rumbustious mining town, talks on some of the interesting pioneers, including the founder of the parish, W.G. Rees and music led for the most part by the incomparable Mark Wilson  whose gob smacking jazz improvisations on Happy Birthday enlivened Saturday evening and whose lovely hymn ( Mark on piano, his wife Emma on trumpet) did the same on Sunday morning.  Clemency wore a light blue Victorian  gown with a bustle and frills and I wore a top hat and a wing collar, well some of the time anyway. There was a meal at the Vicarage attended by, obviously, David Coles the Vicar and also five previous vicars all with their respective spouses. A sumptuous lunch after church finished things off very nicely indeed. It was a great start to the week. Then on Monday my new computer crashed. As it was o