Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Let Us Consider the Evolution During the Life of a Person

   It is because the theory of evolution is important that I come with tonight's thoughts of the evolution of a person. More specifically, I take adaptation to environment and reflect not on what it does to future generations, but what it does to a person during his or her lifetime.
   The athlete is example #1. No athlete ever reached the NBA, NFL or MLB without evolving, without adapting to the environment of the sport, without becoming better than he or she was when he or she started. A runner goes from running 10 minute miles to 6 minute miles by adapting to the environment of running.
   An overweight person? He or she might have genetic dispositions. I do not know. But, I do know, often they reach overweight status by adapting to the environment of having plenty of food to eat.
   The bodies of those receiving medical attention respond to the environment of medications and surgery by recovering. Other times, people's bodies respond naturally, recovering on their own, without medicines or surgeries.
   What of adapting to the weather? Does a person's body, for example, become more adept to living in cold weather after it has been in it for a while?
   If the principle of evolution is true, then the process likely takes place throughout the fuller history of living creatures, not just in the extension of generations. While many change of features might not be observable within a lifetime, it appears others are. While I do not know that these things are commonly mentioned as being part and parcel of evolution in biology books, perhaps they should. They should be a formal part of the study of evolution.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

With the Housing Should Come a Job

   The homeless deserve a home, they do, but should it be more than a homely home? Utah's legislature is considering a housing project that would benefit the homeless.
   I agree you should put a roof over their head, feed them, and help them. But . . .
   I guess I don't know how fancy the housing will be, or even if it will be specifically for the homeless, or anything at all about the proposed project.
   But, just on the principle, what are my thoughts?
   I believe in taking care of the poor. But, I also like the idea of private charity doing it, instead of government. So, are the private charities not doing an adequate job? And, if they are not, is there anyway to get the public to rally around them and help them do more?
   And, should there be a housing project, even if it is the charities that built it?
   I like the idea of more shelter for the homeless. Many just don't fit into the shelters. But, no, I do not know that I like a here's-a-TV-and-everything-else-you-want home. Do we make it so comfortable they don't have the incentive to go out and get jobs?
   If we provide that comfortable of housing, each placement in a home should come with placement in a job, mandatory.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Snow Shovel-Welding Barker Seems to have been Justifiably Killed

   Matthew Taylor was justified, it appears. Taylor is the officer who shot and killed a snow shovel-welding James Barker on Jan. 8.
   Barker not only swung the shovel so hard that he broke bones, but hard enough to dislodge a Taser gun from the officer's hand. That answers one of my questions: Did the officer consider non-lethal response?
   And, prior to that part of the tussle, the officer (according to his own witness) was about to retreat off the porch, where the fight had commenced, but as he was about to do so, was hit by the shovel. If that is, indeed, true, then it answers a second question of mine: Why not -- even if you are a police officer -- flee to avoid the confrontation?
   We will never know all. But, with the evidence District Attorney Sim Gill appears to have received, he made the right decision in not charging Officer Taylor. More, it seems likely this was a case where the officer did do the things you would hope he would do to avoid taking the life of another human being. I will wonder why Officer Taylor didn't shoot just once (instead of firing three shots), or why he didn't shoot to maim. But, it appears Taylor was fearing greatly for his life. He says Barker grabbed at his holster or gun at least twice. 
   "I know if he gets my gun, he's going to kill me," the officer is quoted as saying. "He's still coming. (He's) grabbing for my gun. His one goal was to try and kill me," 
   I continue to wish officers were not trained to kill so much. Was this a case where the assailant's life could have been spared? We may not know for certain, but for all that we do know, the decision not to hold Taylor to blame seems correct.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Does Science Suggest Our Emotions have Physical Properties?

  I sat down to write this blog two hours ago, but found my body was reaching the point in a Sunday afternoon where it gets sleepy. So, I postponed, and as I now return to write, I use what happened as evidence to forward my postulate.
  Behavioral patterns, including sleep patterns, come from our DNA.
  Maybe, this was already an established scientific fact, long before I got to it. I am not scholar enough to know, Maybe I am but traveling on well-traveled ground in arriving at this postulate. Did we already suppose our mannerisms and character traits are products of our DNA? Did we believe every choice and decision we make comes from our DNA? Did we already know our talents and abilities, our fears and emotions -- and even our beliefs -- all come from our DNA? Everything we are and everything we do comes from our DNA.
   I don't lift a fork, but what doing so comes from my DNA.
   Such is my theory.
   Notice, I didn't say these things are dictated by our DNA. I purposefully avoided that. I may treat that in a separate post later.
   When I went to bed, I was feeling groggy. Sleep was due. I would guess I had received six-and-a-half to seven hours sleep the night before. That's not a lot, but at least as much as I usually get. I am postulating, then, that it was not only lack of sleep, but past practice, that led me to feeling groggy. A pattern I had developed was contributing to my feelings of sleepiness.
   How do I know it was DNA? Well, when a bird flies, it doesn't just fly without physical forces being at play. It takes air pressure to lift it. It takes the function of wings to bring about the flight. Nothing is just done without physical properties being at play. Everything has a vehicle.
   So, are we to say that is not the case with behavioral patterns? Are we to say there is no physical presence of emotions and feelings and mannerisms? If they do not have a physical presence, what are they? You may believe they exist without being in substance form, but I tend to think otherwise, and am postulating that all things have matter.
    And, if it is not to be called DNA, what shall we call it? I don't know if this physical presence I speak of is among the already discovered DNA, or if it is a form of DNA yet to be identified. But, I believe our emotions, abilities, choices, and, perhaps, our thoughts, have physical presence.
      I hesitate to quote scripture, but a scripture comes to mind tonight as I write how perhaps our emotions and feelings and thoughts have physical presence. I am lucky enough to turn right to it, although I remember only that it is toward the end of the Doctrine and Covenants.
   "There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes." (Doctrine and Covenants 131:7)
   Does that scripture apply? Perhaps. Perhaps not. To me, it does. But, perhaps while spirits are made of matter, that does not means emotions are.
   This postulate on feelings and dispositions and such being in our DNA does have precedence, even if it hasn't been stated (and it probably has). I cannot call up an example, admittedly, but it does seem I have read of studies of criminal behaviors being passed from one generation to another. And, in a book I am reading on evolution, I hear how sheep dogs are bred to be sheep dogs, which is a trait you might not think could be passed from one generation to another. This is a proven example of a character trait being passed from one generation to another.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Should We Let the Atheists be the Authorities on How Life Came About?

   I am a believer in my God, firmly. Then, along comes someone called the evolutionist and tells me evolution is a proven fact, and therefore there is no God.
   One does not follow the other. If evolution is a fact -- and well it might be -- it does not mean there is not a God. Rather (supposing it is true), it means God is an evolutionist, for He created all things and if He did it by evolution, then He did it by evolution.
   What should we do, then, if we learn science teaches evolution is a solid, proven, undeniable fact? I have a saying: Truth does not run from knowledge. To the contrary, it embraces it. It yearns for it. It seeks it out.
   So, it should be with us. We should seek for all the knowledge we can find on this topic. I wish we, as LDS people, rather than demurring on evolution, would become the authorities on the topic. I am not only glad our schools teach evolution, but wish they taught it more intensely than in any other state, that our students became the most educated in the world on the topic. If evolution is true, and unless and until we find out it isn't, we should be soaking up everything we can learn about it.
   We should not leave it to the atheists to be the authorities on how life came about. If this is knowledge about our God, we should want to be at the forefront.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Perhaps These Dilemmas are a Test of Our Values

  Not all so long after efforts to move the prison from Point of the Mountain -- even though it might be the best site for the prisoners -- comes an attempt to move homeless services away from downtown -- even though that might be the best location for the homeless.
   Who are we trying to serve? Yes, it is true Point of the Mountain would be a windfall to commercial real estate agents, and a profitable location for the companies that would locate there. And, yes, it is difficult to argue downtown businesses might be better served, financially, if the homeless were not there to blight the image of the area.
   But, what of the prisoners, and what of the poor? If we were to locate the prison solely based on what is the best site providing resources for rehabilitation, might we not stay at Point of the Mountain? And, likewise, the downtown area has many advantages for the homeless.
   Perhaps these dilemmas are a test of our values. Do we value rehabilitating the prisoner enough that we look for the very best site available, and not give it up when real estate concerns come calling, saying it is they, and not the prisoner, we should be concerned about? Do we care for our poor so much that we look to locate them wherever will serve them best, and not surrender that location even though businesses plea for us to prioritize them ahead of the poor?
   It is said, home is where the heart is. Well, in dealing with the prisoners and the poor, the heart is where the home is. We will perhaps know where our heart is by where we place their homes.
   In closing, while I am not saying it is right or is wrong to say what I have just said, it is perhaps good to reflect on whether it is. Am I being too judgemental, too accusative? There perhaps are many who would both move the prison and move services for the homeless whose hearts are, in fact, with them, despite not agreeing that this is the time and instance that something should be done for them.