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Let me speak to a real human, not a computer

Watson wins! screams various headlines, whether it is the newspaper, or PC World magazine.  Big Blue beat the world chess champion Kasparov back in 1997, but the computer approached chess as a mathematical game.  What are all the possible moves in the next 10 turns?  The chess game is fairly constrained, only 64 spaces for 16 pieces to move.  When I played chess against a computer in 1984, I could consistently beat the computer at chess, but no longer.  So in 13 years, it went from where I could beat a computer to where the computer could beat Kasparov, the world champion.  And now Watson beat Ken Jennings, who had won 74 times in a row in Jeopardy.
   But the computer is really fairly limited.  For example, for Watson to win, it had to be programmed by humans.  Over 30 engineers worked on it, 90 servers, and over 21 terabytes of information had to be programmed into it.  (A terabyte can hold one thousand copies of the Encyclopedia Britannica.) But after all that, while Big Blue can play chess, it cannot play Jeopardy.   And while Watson can play Jeopardy, it is not very good at playing chess.  And it certainly can not play the piano or baseball, or make up original writings, or paint, or worship, or enjoy a good steak, savor a beautiful sunset, smell the hyacinths (that are still blooming here in Norfolk).  It is really very one dimensional.  Computers are programmed by humans to do something, and then they do the grunt work.  While they can calculate, they can't think.  And they can't make judgments except what is already programmed.  They can't laugh or clap, or skip or run.  They can't smile when they hold their grandchildren in their arms.  They are very one dimensional.  Give me real humans, real flesh and blood who can sing, and smile and get a joke or a nuance.  Give me real humans who can love and touch.

Business Week and Creation

Business Week proclaims God as the Creator.  Okay, I confess that I had to read into an article to see God, but He was clearly there.  It is just sad that Business Week does not proclaim Him as the creator.  You see in the article titled  A Sales Surge for Gene Sequencing Machines in the March 21-27 2011 issue they make a comment that quote the 3 billion pairs of gene bases found in every human cell unquote.
   So how big is 3 billion?  A billion is a thousand millions. To help understand, there are thirty one million seconds (31,556,926) in one year.  So a billion is 32 plus years worth of seconds.  And three billion is about a century worth of seconds.  So when Business Weekly reports that their are 3 billion pairs of gene bases, I ask my evolutionary friends, How did that come about?  Imagine all those pairs of genes pairing up with the right genes.  Is it by chance?  Even if the earth is 5 billion or 10 billion years old, there simply is not enough time for all those genes to match up.  The solution is designer - a creator - God!!
   So praise Him for His wonderful creation and the beautiful complexity of our bodies.

God's Creation - Spring has arrived

This week spring arrived in Norfolk.  The daffodils are up and a bouquet of hyacinths are on our kitchen table, filling the whole house with their perfume.  The forsythia are at their peak, a blaze of yellow, and the flowering pear trees are in white.  We have three camellia bushes in full bloom - each bush with hundreds of red and pink flowers, set against dark green leaves.  The redbud, the apple, and the dogwood all have budded.  While I concede that Vermont may have a prettier fall, Virginia has the most beautiful spring.   He could have made this world in black and white, but he did not.  Our God made this beautiful creation.  Praise His greatness.  Praise His creativity. Praise His love for us.

Fair Pay and Three-Pronged Forks

In I Samuel 2:12, Samuel wrote a fascinating vignette on wickedness.  The high priest Eli's "sons were wicked men:  they had no regard for the Lord.  13.  Now it was the practice of the priests with the people that whenever anyone offered a sacrifice and while the meat was being boiled, the servant of the priest would come with a three-pronged fork in his hand.  14.  He would plunge it into the pan or kettle or caldron or pot, and the priest would take for himself whatever the fork brought up.  This is how they treated all the Israelites who came to Shiloh. . . 17  This sin of the young men was very great in the Lord's sight, for they were treating the LORD's offering with contempt."
   In Exodus 29:27 we read "Consecrate those parts of the ordination ram that belong to Aaron and his sons: the breast that was waved and the thigh that was presented.  28.  This is always to be the regular share from the Israelites for Aaron and his sons.  It is the contribution the Israelites are to make to the LORD from their fellowship offerings."
    Thus, Hophni and Phineas, the priests, were greedy.  They were not content with their wages, the breast and the thigh.  The rest of the sacrificed animal was to be a feast for the family.   But Hophni and Phineas had the John Paulson greed factor.  They wanted more, and so they used three-pronged forks to get more meat.  With a three-pronged fork one can spear in the cauldron a larger piece of meat, and with three prongs, it won't fall off so easily. 
    Unfortunately, greed is a universal factor among humans - it afflicts John Paulson today, and it afflicted Hophni and Phineas in the Old Testament.
Thanks to my brother Tim who told how an African pastor applied it to the African church.  But as I wrote, greed is a universal human trait.  It affects Africans, African Americans, Americans, Europeans, etc.