The party was pleasant, I got the errands done, and then I took a broom, a sponge, and a bucket of hot water spiked with lavender and sage soap out to the porch. Scrubbing and sweeping and straightening improved the porch no end. It was a clear, cool, beautiful day, perfect for such an undertaking.
I scrubbed in the kitchen, too, and did several loads of laundry, and labeled the piano keys and played through my upcoming solo, and worked on quilting a table runner.
In between times, I read about the religious implications of the steady state system vs. the big bang in God and the New Physics, by Paul Davies. Davies points out that large quantities of the new physics are not only not supported by our experience, but that they make a complete nonsense of much of our direct experience. Embracing these concepts requires us to accept things that we cannot imagine, and to trust in things we can only dimly comprehend through metaphors that we know are inaccurate. Sort of like contemplating the Trinity, or thinking about heaven and hell.
Indeed, these concepts in physics require a level of faith in math that rivals religious faith. He points out also that, given such faith, there is no reason to choose faith in God over faith in math. Aquinas argued that the necessary existence of a first cause for things in the universe was support for the existence of God. Davies says that once you are prepared to accept God as first cause, you could just as easily accept the universe itself as a first cause. Logically, he suggests, there is no difference between faith in something as difficult and counterintuitive as God, and faith in something as difficult and counterintuitive as modern mathematics.
This argument is supported by simple diagrams of infinity, which I found kind of cool.
I think it was Richard Feynman who said that infinity was like dirt… you always found bits of it in everything.
Davies also wrote about the mind. Now, Lewis wrote about the mind, too. and so did the book called Kluge that I read a couple of weeks ago, and it is not so long ago that I read a section in The Science of Discworld on the subject, so it was interesting to compare the various viewpoints. Lewis, of course, was writing before computers mattered much, so he didn’t bring computers into the discussion, and he went with earwigs rather than spiders, but otherwise he said pretty much what there was to say on the subject. Davies had some electricity in there, being a physicist, and I think everyone included dogs. Anyway, Davies reminded his readers that there is nothing in the molecules of our brains that is in any way different from other molecules, and that there is in fact a steady stream of molecules coming and going from us all the time. The existence of God, he says, solves the whole problem of “why” for us; without God, it is very hard to come up with any kind of reason for the mind. I really liked the reason Davies attributes to God: He created a world with such an interesting arrangement of photons and stuff because it makes for an interesting universe. Interesting to whom, Davies does not say. Either us or God, I suppose.
Dawkins would deny that there was any need of a reason, explaining that the desire to make up reasons for things is, along with sweat and music, a quaint byproduct of biological processes.
I had to stop sometimes and think about these things, so I worked on the quilting and watched Pushing Daisies on the computer. I enjoyed it very much. This program, when it is shown, is during choir practice, so I would not be able to see it if my kid had not told me how to watch it online.
Today I have rehearsals and singing in both services (not, fortunately, solos, so I will sing like Tallulah Bankhead and people will just have to lump it), followed by ministry meetings.
But then I intend to read a novel. Lots of people take Sundays off from their Lenten sacrifices. I have always considered that a wimpy thing to do, but I have to read my book for Book Club, and my Booksfree book, so I plan to spend the afternoon doing just that, and thus completely get rid of the ailment I’ve had.
A teacher at the party yesterday told me that what I have had is this year’s strain of the flu. I’m glad to be nearly over it, and hope to get back to the gym tomorrow.