Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Merdeka Day 2011



Connectivity and Church of Facebook

I am seeking a missional use of the socialmedia. These two interesting books offers some interesting insights.

Jessie Rice (2009) correctly pointed out the that phenomenal growth of the social media is the human need for connectivity- whether virtual or real face-to-face. Much of the book explains what facebook is all about. However, Rice does not offer much when it come to a discussion a virtual community. He does not answer the question whether such a community may be formed and if so, in what form? Rice however offers some guidelines on using facebook.

Christakis and Fowler (2011), two well known and respected social scientists examine the importance of human connecting in the second book. Though at time quite technical, they show the importance of connectivity for human well-being. Check out the book website


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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Listen to your mum!


Does the Internet Empowers?

This is one of the questions I have been thinking about. This feature has some interesting insights.


Selamat Hari Raya


Wishing all my Muslim readers Selamat Hari Raya.



Monday, August 29, 2011

Rate my toilet?


Friday, August 26, 2011

What if Star Trek ended this way...

I love this short clip

Space...the Final Frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise, and this is how Star Trek should have ended! Check out Youtube for other 'how it should have ended' clips.



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What I did in My Personal Retreat

There have been some interest in my recent personal retreat and some questions. In this post, I shall share what I did. It is one of the many ways a person can make a retreat.

I took a 5 days personal retreat in the middle of August this year. This is not unusual as I have been making retreats for many years. My retreats are either guided (someone who directs the retreat and me) or self-guided. I prefer self-guided retreats but for someone who is new to retreats, I will suggest a guided retreat as there are certain inherent spiritual dangers in self guided retreats.

There are many reasons why I do a retreat. It may be to seek the Lord in some decision-making, spiritual dryness and times of desolation, times of extreme stress, life-events, empowerment for ministry, frustration and disappointments, soul care or just to enjoy uninterrupted time in His presence.

I take retreats in many locations but I love doing it in my own home. However, it takes more discipline take a retreat in your own home for the possibility of distraction is greater. To plan for a retreat, I usually plan ahead to block off time and take leave from my job. I also plan ahead as to the purpose of the retreat. For example, for this retreat my purpose is to listen to the Lord. I chose the Gospel of John as my main text and Gordon MacDonald’s Building Below the Waterline for my spiritual reading. Usually I journal my thoughts but this time I decided to mind-map on sheets of paper.

I start the day about 6am with a prayer of welcoming and centering prayer. I will sing the hymn which I have chosen which highlights the theme for the day and repeat this through the day.

Day 1:

Day 5:

Then I read the Gospel of John using lectio divina. I also use lectio divina to read MacDonald’s book, stopping at time to reflect and wait upon the Lord. I try to keep my environment as quiet as possible. I do not fast on my retreats as I find fasting usually become a distraction. Interspersed with the praying and reading is times when I will just sit quiet and be still. At other times, I pray the Jesus Prayer. I usually end the day around 8pm when my family arrives home.

I find the time of reading and praying very refreshing and the presence of the Lord very powerful. These are many high wonderful mountain top experiences . However there are times when I experience extreme anxiety and fear (that’s why it is better to do guided retreat). This may be when the Holy Spirit performs surgery on my soul to drive out my ‘inner demons’. It may also be an attack from the Enemy. In a retreat there are good and bad moments but it is in such times of silence and solitude that soul-care takes place.

The later half of the final day is when I prepare for re-entry. I often find it jarring and disorienting to emerge from a retreat and come back to my present lifestyle. Therefore I take the time to slowly readapt.

This is how I did my retreat.

Will you will like to share your retreat experiences?


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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My Personal Retreat

Spent my recent five day retreat with these three items. Prayer(candle), Bible and MacDonald's book.


Monday, August 22, 2011

English as I Speakee It

Overseas readers of this blog and my corresponding website often scratch their heads in puzzlement at my English or rather the way I use it.

Peggy Tan highlights the way Malaysians speakee English

Asking someone to make way
Britons: Excuse me, I’d like to get by. Would you please make way for me?
Malaysians: S-kews / squeeze me, please.
Asking someone to find out what had happened
Britons: Will someone please tell me what has just happened?
Malaysians: What happenleh? Why like that one?
When asking for permission
Britons: Excuse me, but do you think it would be possible for me to enter through this door?
Malaysians: (pointing at the door) Can enter ah?
When assessing a difficult situation
Britons: Hmmm. We appear to be in a bit of a predicament at the moment.
Malaysians: Ayoh! Die-lah! Mati loh?
When declining an offer
Britons: If you don’t mind, I’d prefer not to do that.
Malaysians: I don’t want lah.
In disagreeing on a topic of discussion
Britons: If you don’t mind, Timothy, I do have to interrupt, and I must say I have to disagree with you about this issue.
Malaysians: What stupid idea! You mad and crazy ah?
When asking somebody if he/she knows you
Britons: Excuse me, but you seem to be staring at me. Have we met before?
Malaysians: Why you look at me like that? See what?
When someone is angry
Britons: Would you mind not shouting at me?
Malaysians: Cilakak! You no manners or what man!

read the rest of the article here


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Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Marriage Vows

read more


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Glimpses of SFI seminar on Children Ministry

  an interesting and encouraging seminar on being involved in children's ministry


Friday, August 19, 2011

SFI Seminar on Children Ministry

SFI Seminar 2011/3
 What is the ROI* of a child in church?
                 -The Challenge of Ministry to Children

Date      :            2.00pm- 9.30pm, Saturday 20 August 2011
Place     :             Berea, Holy Light Church, Johor Bahru

Session 1: Children's Church or Sunday School - What's in a Name?
We will look at the characteristics of a teacher as well as the reasons for Christian education programmes in church.

Session 2: Classroom Management and Curriculum Development
We will look at how we handle God's truth and apply it to the church setting for children of different ages.

Session 3: Hands-on lesson preparation and delivery
We will look at an actual Bible passage and look at the different methods used for the child to learn the Bible truth.

Mona Lee Chia was born in Malaysia, became a Christian in England and returned to work in Singapore.  She is married to Rev Christopher Chia and they have two grown-up children, Han Shen and Han Mae. She has been involved in Children's ministry for more than 25 years and has been serving in Adam Road Presbyterian Centre since 1990.  Seeing children grow into strong adult Christian leaders is the fruit that keeps the passion strong.
*ROI - return of investment

 (Seminar cost RM20.00 includes refreshment,dinner and seminar notes).

Spiritual Formation Institute Seminar 2011/3      
What is the ROI of a child in church?

Name: …………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………………….. Church…………………………………………

Tel    : …………………………………………………………………………………. Email:………………………………………………………………………………………..

Please register with Sister Grace Soon of HLCE (Tel:07-2243285)

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For this God is our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end. (Psalm 48:14)
Often we become discouraged because we cannot see God’s long range plan of guidance for our lives. We need to remember that God has promised to guide our steps, not the miles ahead. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord” (Psalm 37:23)

This beloved hymn came from the grateful heart of Fanny Crosby after she had received a direct answer to her prayer. One day when she desperately needed five dollars and had no idea where she could obtain it, Fanny followed her usual custom and began to pray about the matter. A few minutes later a stranger appeared at her door with the exact amount. “I have no way of accounting for this,” she said, “except to believe that God put it into the heart of this good man to bring the money. My first thought was that it is so wonderful the way the Lord leads me, I immediately wrote the poem and Dr. Lowry set it to music.” The hymn was first published in 1875.

No one knows the importance of guided steps as much as a blind person like Fanny Crosby, who lost her sight at six weeks of age through improper medical treatment. A sightless person is keenly aware that there will be stumbling and uncertainty as he continues on his way. As Fanny wrote, “Cheers each winding path I tread, gives me grace for every trial,” she has reminded us that God has never promised to keep us from hard places or obstacles in life. He has assured us, however, that He will go with us, guide each step, and give the necessary grace.

All the way my Savior leads me;
what have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
who through life has been my Guide?
Heavenly peace, divinest comfort,
here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.

All the way my Savior leads me,
cheers each winding path I tread,
gives me grace for ev’ry trial,
feeds me with the living bread.
Though my weary steps may falter,
and my soul athirst may be,
gushing from the Rock before me,
lo! a spring of joy I see.

All the way my Savior leads me;
Oh, the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised
in my Father’s house above.
When my spirit, clothed immortal,
wings its flight to realms of day,
this my song through endless ages:
Jesus led me all the way.

Osbeck, K. W. (1990). Amazing grace : 366 inspiring hymn stories for daily devotions (259). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications.


Thursday, August 18, 2011


  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

The inspiration of a thrilling revival in New Zealand prompted the late J. Edwin Orr to blend the 23rd and 24th verses of Psalm 139 with a lovely Polynesian melody that has since become one of our most challenging hymns of revival. Dr. Orr’s text opens with the prayer that the revival begin in him. Then he reminds us that revival begins only after God’s people recognize their sin, receive cleansing from it and surrender their “will, passion, self and pride.” The hymn ends appropriately with the assurance of knowing that God will hear and supply our needs.

J. Edwin Orr has been widely known as a challenging evangelist and a noted scholar of historical revival movements. He has written many textbooks and was a professor of world missions. He also lectured and held workshops throughout the world while visiting 150 countries.

“Cleanse Me” was written in 1936 after a stirring Easter convention in Ngaruawahia, New Zealand. Fervent meetings sprang up throughout the city. Inspired by this intense movement of the Holy Spirit, Dr. Orr took time as he left New Zealand to write the verses of “Cleanse Me” on the back of an envelope in the post office. The tune he used was the lovely Maori Song of Farewell, sung to him by four Aborigine girls as he was leaving. In following campaigns in Australia and other parts of the world, Dr. Orr often used this hymn to encourage new spiritual awakenings. His ceaseless prayer was that the people of God would be stirred to pray for yet another world-wide awakening.

Search me, O God,
and know my heart today;
try me, O Savior,
know my thoughts, I pray.
See if there be some wicked way in me;
cleanse me from ev’ry sin
and set me free.

I praise Thee, Lord,
for cleansing me from sin;
fulfill Thy Word
and make me pure within.
Fill me with fire
where once I burned with shame;
grant my desire to
magnify Thy name.

Lord, take my life
and make it wholly Thine;
fill my poor heart with
Thy great love divine.
Take all my will,
my passion, self and pride;
I now surrender, Lord—
in me abide.

O Holy Ghost,
revival comes from Thee;
send a revival—
start the work in me.
Thy Word declares
Thou wilt supply our need;
for blessings now,
O Lord, I humbly plead.

Osbeck, K. W. (1990). Amazing grace : 366 inspiring hymn stories for daily devotions (251). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011


  So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

In this day of self-centered living and pleasure-oriented lifestyle, the total commitment to God of body, mind, and possessions portrayed in this text is difficult for many Christians to achieve. Even though we realize that we have nothing we have not received and that we are only stewards of the good gifts God has entrusted to us, we often fail to apply this basic truth to our daily lives:

The gold that came from Thee, Lord,
to Thee belongeth still;
Oh, may I always faithfully
my stewardship fulfill.

It was said of Frances Ridley Havergal, author of this text, that the beauty of a consecrated life was never more perfectly revealed than in her daily living. She has rightfully been called “The Consecration Poet.”
“These little couplets that chimed in my heart one after another” were for Frances Havergal the result of an evening in 1874 passed in pursuing a deeper consecration of herself to God. “Take my voice and let me sing always only for my King” was personally significant for Frances. She was naturally very musical and had been trained as a concert soloist with an unusually pleasant voice. Her musical talents could have brought her much worldly fame. However, she determined that her life’s mission was to sing and work only for Jesus. The line “Take my silver and my gold” was also sincerely phrased. At one time Frances gathered together her many fine pieces of jewelry and other family heirlooms and shipped them to the church missionary house to be used for evangelizing the lost. Nearly fifty articles were sent with “extreme delight.”

Take my life and let it be
consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
take my hands and let them move
at the impulse of Thy love;

Take my feet and let them be
swift and beautiful for Thee;
take my voice and let me sing
always only, for my King.

Take my lips and let them be
filled with messages for Thee;
take my silver and my gold—
not a mite would I withhold.

Take my love—my God, I pour
at Thy feet its treasure store;
take myself—and I will be
ever, only, all for Thee,
ever, only, all for thee.

Osbeck, K. W. (1990). Amazing grace : 366 inspiring hymn stories for daily devotions (256). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications.

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Random Glimpses of My Desktop (20)

...and a random glimpse of my soul during my spiritual retreat

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011


  Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. (James 4:8 KJV)

This well-loved hymn was written by a talented and charming English woman, Sarah R. Adams (1805–1848) who lived only 43 years. In spite of her delicate health, Sarah Flower Adams had an active and productive life. After a successful career on the London stage as Shakespeare’s Lady MacBeth, she began to write and became widely known for her literary accomplishments. The cross mentioned in the first stanza of her hymn text may have been the physical handicaps that limited her many ambitions.

Sarah’s sister Eliza was gifted musically and often composed melodies for her sister’s poems. Together they contributed 13 texts and 62 new tunes for a hymnal that was being compiled by their pastor. One day the Rev. William J. Fox asked for a new hymn to accompany his sermon on the story of Jacob and Esau. Sarah spent much time studying Genesis 28:10–22 and within a short time completed all of the stanzas of “Nearer, My God, to Thee.” Since that day in 1840, this hymn has had an unusual history of ministering spiritual comfort to hurting people everywhere.

These lines picturing Jacob sleeping on a stone, dreaming of angels, and naming the place Bethel, meaning “the house of God,” seem to reflect the common yearning—especially in times of deep need—to experience God’s nearness and presence in a very real way.

Nearer, my God, to Thee,
nearer to Thee!
E’en tho it be a cross
that raiseth me;
still all my song shall be,
nearer, my God, to Thee,
nearer, my God, to Thee,
nearer to Thee!

Tho like the wanderer,
the sun gone down,
darkness be over me,
my rest a stone,
yet in my dreams I’d be
nearer, my God, to Thee,
nearer, my God, to Thee,
nearer to Thee!

Then with my waking thoughts,
bright with Thy praise,
out of my stony griefs.
Bethel I raise;
so by my woes to be
nearer, my God, to Thee,
nearer my God, to Thee,
nearer to Thee!

Or if on joyful wing,
cleaving the sky,
sun, moon, and stars forgot,
upward I fly,
till all my song shall be,
nearer, my God, to Thee,
nearer, my God, to Thee,
nearer to Thee!

Osbeck, K. W. (1990). Amazing grace : 366 inspiring hymn stories for daily devotions (247). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Random Glimpses of My Desktop (19)



Yet, O Lord, you are our Father, We are the clay, You are the potter; we are all the work of Your hand. (Isaiah 64:8)

This hymn, Have Thy Own Way, Lord was written by Adelaide A. Pollard, 1862–1934
An elderly woman at a prayer meeting one night pleaded, “It really doesn’t matter what you do with us, Lord, just have your way with our lives.” At this meeting was Adelaide Pollard, a rather well-known itinerant Bible teacher who was deeply discouraged because she had been unable to raise the necessary funds for a desired trip to Africa to do missionary service. She was moved by the older woman’s sincere and dedicated request of God.

At home that evening Miss Pollard meditated on Jeremiah 18:3, 4:

Then I went down to the potter’s house, and behold, he wrought a work on the wheels, and the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

Before retiring that evening, Adelaide Pollard completed the writing of all four stanzas of this hymn as it is sung today. The hymn first appeared in published form in 1907.

Often into our lives come discouragements and heartaches that we cannot understand. As children of God, however, we must learn never to question the ways of our sovereign God—but simply to say:

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
while I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
as in Thy presence humbly I bow.

 Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me, I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!

Osbeck, K. W. (1990). Amazing grace : 366 inspiring hymn stories for daily devotions (246). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

WIRED on Creepy Experimentations

Seven Creepy Experiments That Could Teach Us So Much (If They Weren’t So Wrong) 

Wired Magazine July 15, 2011  | 9:17 pm  | Wired August 2011

Photo: Bartholomew Cooke
Contemporary science could make epic leaps if it were to toss away the moral compass that guides it.
Photo: Bartholomew Cooke

When scientists violate moral taboos, we expect horrific consequences. It’s a trope in our storytelling that goes back at least to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: However well-intentioned our fictional scientists may be, their disregard for ethical boundaries will produce not a peer-reviewed paper in Science but rather a new race of subhuman killers, a sucking wormhole in space-time, or a profusion of malevolent goo.
In the real world, though, matters aren’t so simple. Most scientists will assure you that ethical rules never hinder good research—that there’s always a virtuous path to testing any important hypothesis. But ask them in private, perhaps after a drink or three, and they’ll confess that the dark side does have its appeal. Bend the rules and some of our deepest scientific conundrums could be elucidated or even resolved: nature versus nurture, the causes of mental illness, even the mystery of how humans evolved from monkeys. These discoveries are just sitting out there, waiting for us to find them, if only we were willing to lose our souls.
What follows are seven creepy experiments—thought experiments, really—that show how contemporary science might advance if it were to toss away the moral compass that guides it. Don’t try these at home—or anywhere, for that matter. But also don’t pretend you wouldn’t like to learn the secrets that these experiments would more
Will you exchange your soul for this knowledge?

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Intelligent Research?

While the movie Captain America raises issues about human experimentation, the reimagined Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) deals with gene therapy. The underlying question that should be addressed is whether that  human beings be allowed to meddle with their own genetic code? While the genetic code is not related to consciousness and perhoodhood, it does in some ways related foundationally to who human beings are physically. In one sense, we are our God given (via or parents) genetic code. Do we then have a right to alter our own genetic code? This question cannot be answered unless we have a comprehensive theology of the body and a deeper understanding of Christian anthropology.

A brief movie synopsis from Wiki (contains spoilers)
Will Rodman (James Franco) is a San Francisco scientist at GEN-SYS who has been trying to develop a cure for Alzheimer's disease by testing a genetically engineered retrovirus on chimpanzees. The virus mutates the chimpanzees, giving them a human level of intelligence. One of his test subjects, a female chimpanzee named Bright Eyes, goes on a rampage because she believes her baby, to whom she secretly gave birth, is threatened. She is killed after disrupting a board meeting. Will's boss Steven Jacobs (David Oyelowo) orders subordinate Robert Franklin (Tyler Labine) to put all the test chimpanzees down, but he cannot bring himself to kill the chimpanzee's baby, and instead gives him to Will, who names him Caesar (Andy Serkis) and raises him in his house.Caesar has inherited his mother's high intelligence, and learns quickly.

Three years later, Will gives a sample of his cure to his father, Charles (John Lithgow), who is suffering from Alzheimer's disease. At first, his father improves but, five years later, his body's immune system fights off the virus and his dementia more.

The first issue on scientific research raised in this movie is the scientific safety protocols. While using a retrovirus to introduce a new gene into another species is a proven method of gene insertion, delivering it by aerosol (air borne) is not safe. Maybe it is good for storytelling as in the movies but in the scientific world, it is a dangerous delivery system. It is not easily controlled and may spread to the general population. Experiments involving viruses, especially those for gene insertion must be conducted in high secured and controlled environments. There are two potentially dangerous scenarios. If the virus (usually a retrovirus) gets to the general population, it may affect the certain people. It may not be so dramatic as in the movie. Some people may die because of the effect. The second scenarios is that the retrovirus infect the germline cells like the ovum and spermatozoa. In this scenarios, the introduced gene may be transmitted to the next generation. The reason I raise this issue is that we are at the beginning of a molecular biological revolution in the field of science and genetics. Everyone wants to be part of the revolution. Genetic laboratories are being set up all over the world. Are there adequate safeguards in all of these laboratories? Will there be backlane genetic labs as in the movie Blade Runner(my review here)

Secondly regards the consequences of genetic manipulation. In this movie, it is implied that in there will be sequels and in these sequels, intelligent apes will take over the world while humans will become intellectually challenged. The chimpanzee Caesar showed the pain and isolation of an intelligent chimpanzee in a world where chimpanzees are dumb pets.  In genetic manipulation as in chimera research, scientists are bringing into beings, creatures that never previous existed. Chimera research involve mixing human and animal genetic materials. Chimera research needs to be strictly supervised. Or will genetic manipulation create a Khan Noonien Singh which cause so much havoc in the Star Trek Universe?

Thirdly, the way the scientist Will Rodman stole samples of the experimental virus and inject it directly into his father who has Azheimer is a horrifying example of how human trials can go wrong. The methodology is important for all experiments. There is a reason why FDA has strict protocols for all drug trials. Scientific experiments need to be objective and impartial unlike a Frankenstein movie.

It is interesting how this movie makes the point that research in intelligence must also be intelligent research.


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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Captain America and Human Experimentations

There have been two recent science fiction movies that involves questionable research ethics. The first is Captain America: The First Avenger where a 'supersoldier' serum and 'vita radiation' was used to transform a skinny Steve Rogers to a hunky Captain America. The second was the reimagined Rise of the Planet of the Apes where gene therapy was used to enhance the intelligence of chimpanzees.

Each of these movies raised at least three concerns about scientific research which I will highlight briefly.

In the movie Captain America, serious considerations have to be given to the moral and theological implications of human experimentation.

Firstly, the use of human enhancement technology to make human beings into weapons. It may be argued that human beings have always being trying to better themselves. From education of the mind and physical exercises for the body, humans has always tested the limitations of their God-given bodies. Recently advances include prosthetic hip replacements which allows the elderly to walk and body sculpturing to develop the present ideal of the perfect proportioned human body by exercises, diet, supplements,drugs, surgery and hormones. Is it morally and ethically admissible to create a 'supersolder' serum in order to create a human weapon?   No doubt in most military in the word, most soldiers are enhanced by technology and stimulants to make them more effective killers. However these technologies can be removed and stimulants wear off. But a permanently altered 'supersoldier' remains altered at the end of the mission. Will that create a social problem later (see Soldier, Universal Soldier series of movies).

Secondly, is there informed consent when human experimentation was performed on Rogers? Or was it manipulation using Rogers' wishful thinking to trick him into 'volunteering' for the serum. Rogers seems blissful unaware what in store for him when he innocently asked 'why is it so big' when he climbed into the transformation chamber. I wonder how many of the people involved in clinical human trials worldwide are aware of what they are in for. In other words, do they give really informed consent? Or are they manipulated into these trials by whatever these research organisations offer them? Rogers wanted to go to the warzone. What incentives was given to volunteers of clinical trials? Why is most clinical trails conducted in the poorer and least developed countries?

Thirdly, Dr Abraham Esrkine who perfected the 'supersoldier' serum was apparently from Nazi Germany. He has tried and failed with Johann Schidmt (a.k.a. Red Skull). While it was not clarified, it was implied that Esrkine would have  experimented on human prisoners in Germany before coming to America. Why would a man with obviously a Jewish name should be a Nazi scientist involved with human experimentation is not explained. A question that arises is that is it morally wrong to use scientific data derived from coerced human experimentation? For example in the Nazi human experiments during the Second World War. Is it morally right to use such data or not? The Nuremberg Trials seem to think that it is not morally right to use these data. It then begs another question. Is it morally justifiable to experiment on death row prisoners? (see Terminator: Salvation. My movie review here).

Interesting that Hollywood is asking these moral and ethical questions which many of us are blissfully unaware


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Monday, August 08, 2011

An Inconvenient Truth

I have always being skeptical of the science behind the claims of global warning and the way it has become a movement to supposedly save the earth.

Writing in First Things, The Truth about Greenhouse Gases: The dubious science of greenhouse crusaders, William Happer, Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics at Princeton University comments,
The existence of the little ice age and the medieval warm period were an embarrassment to the global-warming establishment, because they showed that the current warming is almost indistinguishable from previous warmings and coolings that had nothing to do with burning fossil fuel. The organization charged with producing scientific support for the climate change crusade, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), finally found a solution. They rewrote the climate history of the past 1000 years with the celebrated “hockey stick” temperature record...

Let me summarize how the key issues appear to me, a working scientist with a better background than most in the physics of climate. CO2 really is a greenhouse gas and other things being equal, adding the gas to the atmosphere by burning coal, oil, and natural gas will modestly increase the surface temperature of the earth. Other things being equal, doubling the CO2 concentration, from our current 390 ppm to 780 ppm will directly cause about 1 degree Celsius in warming. At the current rate of CO2 increase in the atmosphere—about 2 ppm per year—it would take about 195 years to achieve this doubling. The combination of a slightly warmer earth and more CO2 will greatly increase the production of food, wood, fiber, and other products by green plants, so the increase will be good for the planet, and will easily outweigh any negative effects. Supposed calamities like the accelerated rise of sea level, ocean acidification, more extreme climate, tropical diseases near the poles, and so on are greatly exaggerated.

“Mitigation” and control efforts that have been proposed will enrich a favored few with good political ties—at the expense of the great majority of mankind, including especially the poor and the citizens of developing nations. These efforts will make almost no change in earth’s temperature. Spain’s recent experiment with green energy destroyed several pre-existing jobs for every green job it created, and it nearly brought the country to bankruptcy.

read more

What do you think? Worth reading the article again.


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Friday, August 05, 2011

Random Glimpses of My Desktop 18

The Kotobukiya Collection, Thor, cold cast porcelain, limited edition 010 of 1200. Avenger Reborn Series.

Read my movie review on Thor here



Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Online Reading Group now reading New Man

This is the book my online group will be reading this month.



Monday, August 01, 2011

Revisiting Stem Cell Research


The Why and Who of Suffering

This book by Adele Gonzalez attempts to answer the age old question of suffering which may also be subtitled the problem of evil. Rephrased in another way, why does a good and loving God allows His beloved people to suffer and evil to proliferate in the world? I do not believe this book adequately answer the question. She started off with a somewhat fatalistic 'shit happens' which embrace a lot of encouragement to bear with our sufferings and remember that God is good to a somewhat mystical retreat into the Mystery of God i.e. we cannot understand suffering because it is part of the Mystery of God.

Gonzalez seems to be deeply influenced by the teaching of the church father Irenaeus. Irenaeus teaches that life on earth is like school for training us for eternity. Suffering and evils are lessons that helps us to learn. Another theologian from whom she draws inspiration is Jesuit Teilhard de Chaidin (my review here and here). Appropriating de Chaidin's Cosmic Christ and Omega Point, Gonzalez skips on the edge of pantheism when she writes about 'energy from our suffering' helps to complete the suffering of the Cosmic Christ and to be one with the Cosmic Christ at the Omega Point.

The strength of Gonzalez's book is not in answering the question of suffering and of evil. I do not believe we will get the answer this side of eternity. This book is inspirational because while it fails to answer the question, it succeeds in providing a companion for our journey through this world which is full of suffering. In sharing her experiences of suffering in her life story, her problems with the institutional church and her physical disabilities, Gonzalez becomes our companion in suffering. She reminds us that we are not alone in our pain and suffering. We suffer together as a community, and as a church. Gonzalez also reminds us that the transcendent God Himself also suffers with us.

Maybe we have been asking the wrong question. Instead of why, we should be asking who. Who is suffering? Who is suffering with whom? God is suffering with whom? 

Good book for the online reading group. Onwards to the next book.


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