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Monthly Archives: February 2014

New Cardinals

Today on the feast of the Chair of Peter, Pope Francis gave red birettas to new Cardinals. These men will advise the Pope, work in the curia and will elect a new Pope from among themselves; granted they are younger than 80.

 

They wear a bright red to symbolize that they are called to shed blood in order to protect and defend the faith.

 

The ceremony was typical of Liturgies with Pope Francis.  It did not have much fanfare or pomp.

 

However, a big surprise took place when at a side entrance Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI entered with a small group.  When the crowd saw him, they immediately gave him a standing ovation and cheered, some were visibly tearful. Pope Benedict XVI waved and smiled back at the crowd as he took a seat on aisle next to the Cardinals-elect.

 

This surprise appearance may signal more involvement of the Pope Emeritus in liturgies.  It is

expected that he may be present for the canonization of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II.  If so, this will be the first time two living Popes will be present at the canonization of two Popes who have passed on to the Lord.  This will indeed be exciting to see.

 

Moreover, Pope Benedict XVI’s presence created the scenario where a retired Pope, current Pope and possible future Pope from among the Cardinals were present in the same place.  It was great to see Pope Benedict XVI.

 

He sat quietly and made a very humble gesture by removing his zucchetto before Pope Francis which is a gesture bishops/cardinals do out of respect for the Pope.  To see a Pope do that for another Pope is something that is a sign of humility.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source:

 

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/22/us-pope-consistory-benedict-idUSBREA1L07X20140222

 

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/world/former-pope-benedict-joins-pope-francis-in-unprecedented-ceremony/article5717162.ece

 

http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/22/world/europe/vatican-pope-new-cardinals/

 

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/pope-welcomes-minded-cardinals-periphery-22628942

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/the-pope/10655523/Archbishop-of-Westminster-Vincent-Nichols-is-made-cardinal-by-Pope-Francis.html

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/pope-emeritus-benedict-xvi-joins-pope-francis-at-a-historic-cardinal-ceremony/2014/02/22/80406b6e-9bfd-11e3-ad71-e03637a299c0_story.html

 

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/02/22/281154372/tale-of-two-popes-francis-benedict-appear-together-in-public

 

 

 

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New Passport

 

 

Pope Francis has just renewed his passport.  He paid the $55 required to renew the important document despite not needing it.  

 

A Pope loses all ties to his nation of birth once elected.  As a sovereign head of state, he has no need of a passport.  However, Pope Francis decided to get his renewed to show that he is just like everyone else and to show that he is still part of his nation Argentina. This of course has sent great joy to his fellow Argentinians.  

 

 

 

 

 

Source:

 

 

http://gma.yahoo.com/video/pope-cant-smile-passport-photos-133307004.html

 

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/pope-francis-renews-argentine-passport-article-1.1617693

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/news/pope-francis-gets-passport-to-show-he-is-a-pope-of-the-people-9136328.html

 

 

Atheism is Stupid V

 

Astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson

This is the fifth installment of my popular “Atheism is Stupid” series.  In it, I will touch upon some misconceptions atheists have regarding the universe and the uniqueness of the human species.

 

Atheists often claim that our universe is extremely hostile to life.  Since it is hostile to life, it is logical to conclude (according to them) that human life is not special nor does it have a unique role. They also conclude that an “intelligent designer” is not possible.  At first glance, this argument does seem to make sense despite it being a Special Pleading fallacy.

 

 

The universe is indeed hostile.  

If a human being goes into space without protection from a suit, he/she will not last very long.  The

Scene from “Total Recall”

skin will have severe burns due to the direct contact of ultraviolet rays from our sun as well as radiation from space itself.  Gasses in the body will expand causing pressure issues that will damage organs. Nitrogen in the blood will turn into bubbles causing “the bends” which is an extremely painful condition some divers experience.

 

Without pressure, water will begin to boil and evaporate which means saliva, tears and the water in the body will immediately begin to dissipate.  Due to lack of oxygen, the body will go into hypoxia and it will decrease in temperature as the skin turns bluish due to cyanosis.  The body will bloat and blindness will come instantly as a person looses consciousness.  Death will follow.

 

So who wants to take a walk in space? 🙂

 

Space is indeed a dangerous place for human life or any life for that matter.  However, does this reality mean that there is no God?  Does this mean that God is not perfect?  Absolutely not!

 

As I wrote in my post “Evidence for God I:”

“While some astrophysicists such as Neil Degrasse Tyson claim that the universe is harsh and hostile to human beings, this does not take away from the fact that human beings exist in an environment that caters to them. The anthropic principle is an indication of this.

Yes there are parts of the universe that are hostile to human beings; however, this is not because these parts somehow exist to destroy us but because we were not meant to exist in them. For example, fish are designed to exist solely in water. If a fish goes out of its element, it will die. Similarly, human beings are designed to exist solely on Earth within the troposphere. Logically speaking, they will indeed suffer or die if they step outside of this habitable zone.

Interestingly enough, we have the brains that allow us to defy this “prison” and go beyond it into outer space. That begs the question, why? It would seem that our brains too were designed to figure out how to counter any harsh situations nature may throw at us. The existence of harsh environments does not mean there is no intelligent design.  Rather, it shows there is specificity in the design.”

Furthermore, let us take into account some instances in which intelligent intention is present in regard to the design and function of the universe and preservation of life.

 

 

EARTH’S OUTER BODYGUARDS

The outer planets such as Jupiter protect Earth from impacts from asteroids and other stellar bodies.  These planets are so large that their gravitational pull has great effect on objects flying thousands of miles away.

 

As you may know, there is an asteroid belt between the orbits of planets Mars and Jupiter.  This asteroid belt is believed to be the remains of a planet that did not form due to the gravitational pull of Jupiter.

 

This asteroid belt contains rocks of all shapes and sizes that contain nickel and iron elements.

These objects sometimes fly off and can become a threat to planet Earth.  However, Jupiter and the other outer planets prevent this by “slinging” asteroids away from Earth.  Objects from the asteroid belt are not the only danger to Earth.  The entire universe is full of meteoroids, asteroids, comets and other things that originate in interstellar space, or the space outside of the Solar System.  The outer planets with their massive gravitational pulls also deflect these foreign objects away from Earth and the rest of the Solar System.

 

THE OZONE LAYER

This layer is probably one that we hear the most about on the news, in school and possibly now after the world has been facing extreme weather.  The Ozone Layer is extremely important to Earth.  Without it, life will not be possible.  It is an invisible layer of ozone with only three to four molecules present for every 10-12 million molecules of oxygen or air.

 

Most of the ozone exists between six to ten miles above surface level with 35 miles extending into the stratosphere.  This layer is responsible for absorbing UV-B or ultraviolet rays from the Sun which are extremely harmful to biological life.  It only allows the right amount in order to regulate weather and allow for life to exist and grow.  The Earth is the only planet to possess this layer.

 

THE MAGNETOSPHERE

The Earth also has its own shield that protects it from the harmful energies of space.  Like the

starship Enterprise in the franchise Star Trek, the Earth generates a magnetic field that deflects radiation from our Sun and from space itself. This is called “Geodynamo.”

 

This shield is generated by the Earth’s core. The core is made of iron and is spinning deep in the Earth.  Gravity keeps the iron compressed into a solid state despite the high temperatures. However, the outer core is liquid and moves as the Earth rotates.  This motion of hot molten iron and other metals generates an electrical current which travels out into space generating a field around the planet. This field offers protection from cosmic radiation and solar flares.  Without this force field of sorts, life would not be possible on Earth.

 

 

THE HELIOSPHERE

If the protection of Jupiter/outer planets, the ozone layer and magnetosphere on Earth were not enough, there is another line of defense called the Heliosphere.

 

The Heliosphere is a gigantic magnetic energy field or bubble that contains the Solar System. This field is generated by the Sun and serves to protect the Solar System from interstellar cosmic radiation that would be extremely harmful to the planets, in particular Earth which has life.

 

CONCLUSION

These are just some instances showing how there is an intent in the structure of our Solar System geared towards the protection of life.  One may say, “it just formed this way, there is nothing supernatural about this.”  While this may be true, it still does not account for the intention for the preservation of life.  The structures I have described here all serve one common theme: preservation of life.

  • If the universe was created by mere chance from an unconscious flow of energy and interaction of matter, how did it know when, where and how to protect life?
  • How did this unconscious agent of energy and interaction of matter know where life existed and that it needed to be protected?
  • How did it know how to protect this life?

 

Trial and error here cannot apply because the universe was created from one “Big Bang.”  This “Big Bang” formed all there is today in a specific order using the “instructions” in the laws of physics without the use of trial and error.  It did not have time to have “test runs” until it found the right processes that served to adequately form and protect life.

 

It is logical to conclude that there is an intelligent direction in the formation of these natural defenses and life in general.  Only an intelligence can be aware of the existence of life in a particular region and that it needs protection.  Moreover, only an intelligent agent can be aware of how to protect this life by installing the right processes and procedures in order to allow for the preservation of the former.  Lastly, an intelligent agent that knows how to design a system to protect life does so because this agent created the life and knows how to preserve it.  Only the inventor of a product knows how it is supposed to work, where it is supposed to work and how to extend its shelf life.

 

Life is indeed special and the universe has shown this with how it protects it and allows it to evolve.

Atheism is stupid for the allowance of the suggestion that an unintelligent unconscious agent created the universe while designing safety measures in order to allow for the preservation of life in a hostile environment.  It is stupid for assuming that life is not special in the universe and that it is just a produce of “good luck.”  The logical conclusion is that an intelligent conscious agent knew what to create, how to create it and how it should protect life.