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Posts Made By: Paul Kammueller

January 23, 2003 06:51 AM Forum: Religion

Philosophical query - is a "belief" even a choice?

Posted By Paul Kammueller

...or is it more of an 'occurence' -- you get input. You evaluate it and reach a conclusion. That conclusion may or may not be the one you would have preferred, it is what it is. You "believe" that conclusion.

I pose this because choosing a belief does not seem like a "choice" at all, at least not in the sense that you choose what you want to eat for dinner or something. Because in your mind you know that wanting or not wanting something to be true does not make it so. Rather, belief strikes me as some sort of blend of deductive reasoning combined with an intellectual/emotional "hunch". But not a "choice" as such. I think that's interesting.

January 26, 2003 04:58 AM Forum: Religion

Re: Brien

Posted By Paul Kammueller

Good to see you back Brien, good stuff. I'm still getting caught up of course I was at a work-related party last night so now I'm about 154 posts behind.

January 26, 2003 05:18 AM Forum: Religion


Posted By Paul Kammueller

I'm reading a book about nothing. No, it's not Seinfeld, it's K.C. Cole's "The Hole in the Universe" and the whole book is about nothing, our development of it, and it's place in the Universe. It's real interesting.

Not done yet but it's occurred to me that NOTHING, in the absolute sense cannot exist and never has. I mean, it's only there to compare to something. Some models of cosmology state more or less that 'something' came from 'nothing' because 'nothing' is unstable, that 'nothing' being a quantum-fluctuating false vacuum or something, but even THAT's a sort of 'something' so that's not really 'something' from 'nothing' but merely a 'something' from a very different 'something'. Even if you believe 'everything' was created from 'nothing' by 'God' from an absolute nothing sense, i.e. there was no quantum-fluctuating spacetime or anything, God made it but then He himself would have to be 'something' as He could hardly be 'nothing', unless he didn't exist, in which case he couldn't have made anything.

So there never really was 'nothing'. Ever. The discussion of whether there is/was a Creator is not so much a discussion of whether 'something' can come from 'nothing' but rather what sort of 'something' must give rise to the current 'something'.

My head hurts now.

January 28, 2003 09:59 PM Forum: Religion

January 29, 2003 02:35 PM Forum: Religion

A Metaphysical Speculation

Posted By Paul Kammueller

Suppose intelligent life, whether it's just us, or us plus many various alien forms, or just the alien forms if we do ourselves in, continues to evolve.

Suppose the evolution of consciousness continues for millions, and then billions, of years to the point where it is limited not just to existence through EM waves as we know consciousness now, but through the other forces as well, be it gravity waves, or whatever.

Suppose such consciousness reached a point of development, say a trillion years from now, where it was no longer bound by ordinary 4-dimensional spacetime and had the capacity to exist "outside" in the extradimensional realm, outside of ordinary time, in effect being "Eternal" and being so extremely evolved at this point to have the power to influence space, exert forces, spawn Universes, what have you.

Viewed from any conceivable perceptive or philosophical angle, would this be in any way distinguishable from "God"?

Could this have occurred already many 'universes' ago?

Does the phrase 'have occurred' even have any meaning in such an extradimensional context?

January 30, 2003 04:58 AM Forum: Religion

Met God today, taking a break from here...

Posted By Paul Kammueller

Hi guys -

Have not had the opportunity to participate in discussions since early this morning, and I may be quiet for a bit now.

We had an armed robbery at my place of employment today. So while I was laying on the floor of the bank with my hands tied and a semi-automatic pistol pointed at my head, let me tell you there are no atheists or agnostics under these circumstances.

So gonna spend a little time coming to terms with this whole thing. What happened to me today was the philosophical equivalent of a 10-megaton nuclear weapon.

To all my friends here, just wanted to say, Paul T. keep sharing the whole Christ thing, appreciate your words more than you know, Brien S., keep spreading the good news, keep the discussion alive, Gary P., keep using your mind, Bill B. and Paul B. keep the banter going. Will be back with you guys in a little while.

February 7, 2003 07:06 AM Forum: Religion

Life as an altered state of consciousness

Posted By Paul Kammueller

A speculation, if you will:

What if consciousness, like matter and energy, has different states beyond simple waking, sleeping, and dreaming?

And what if consciousness can exist in higher orders than simple brain cells to individual minds, on up to intellectual collectives and furthermore cosmic-scale hyper-dimensional equivalents?

What if one's life is simply the sleeping-dreaming state of an infinitesimal part of that mass. A foray into a lower energy state.

Then each one of us would be but a single neuron in one dozing corner of the mind of God, the world around us being our collective dream.

February 7, 2003 07:13 AM Forum: Religion

'Ultimate Reality', God & Quantum Mechanics

Posted By Paul Kammueller

The gnostics seem to view God as the 'Ultimate Reality'. That everything else is emanated forth from Him and just slightly 'less' real.

I find this concept intriguing in light of quantum mechanics and Heisenberg uncertainty and such. We can peek at things really close but then the laws of nature seem designed to hide things from us beyond a certain point. Try as we might, we can't seem to reach 'ultimate reality' here, in what we perceive as the 'real world'.

I find that very interesting.

February 14, 2003 04:34 PM Forum: Eyepieces

New Expanse eyepiece - first impression

Posted By Paul Kammueller

Someone a few weeks ago brought up the new Orion Expanse lines of eyepieces, which appear to be in the value-priced wide-field category. I was curious too.

I decided to buy one, a 9mm, to try out in my 10" f/8 superplanetary dob. I compared it to my Harry Siebert standard 10mm, another value-priced wide-field eyepiece with similar AFOV and price range. This was by no means a scientific analysis, but I tried it out on the moon and Jupiter with a quick glance at Saturn.

1. Sharpness -- this was pretty close to my eyes, but the Siebert eyepiece was easier to 'snap' to focus quicker to my eye. Seems like my eye has to adjust somehow to 'see' sharply in the Expanse. I don't know how to explain this. Tired eyes?

2. Ghosting -- both eyepieces show some ghosting on Jupiter, but the Expanse is somewhat better so I think the coatings may be better on the Expanse.

3. Eye Relief -- the Expanse has a HUGE eye-lens so eye relief is very very nice for a 9mm wide-field, more than the Siebert. But this comes at some cost:

4. Exit-pupil aberrations ('blackout' or 'kidney bean' effects) -- Severe in the Expanse on something big and bright like the Moon, not seen in the Siebert. The Expanse is hard to use for lunar observing, IMHO.

5. Chromatic aberration, spurious color -- I found this to be more of an issue with the Expanse, especially at the edges. To be expected with the wider lens elements. Moon showed blue & purple flaring all around the edge of the field.

6. Field integrity -- both are pretty good at f/8.

7. What you see -- personally I found I saw pretty similar levels of detail on the Moon, but it felt like I saw detail on Jupiter better with the 10mm Siebert. I should note that conditions were less than perfect and moments of steadiness were fleeting. Anyone else tried these?

February 14, 2003 07:55 PM Forum: Religion

Re: Religious scope preferences

Posted By Paul Kammueller

Being the practical centrist that I am, I prefer my 10" f/8 dob.

For the f/8 ratio giveth thee mighty versatility with little sacrifice. Not too long for low power, not too short for great power.

Yea, a quality f/8 mirror is much easier to make, and thus, easier for thee to find, that would an f/4 mirror. Verily also, an f/8 mirror will require the sacrifice of much less gold than a similar-sized achromat.

Hear this if you have ears! At f/8 thou hast been forgiven of many sins of collimation, where at f/4 thou shalt have no forgiveness. Also at f/8 thou art forgiven of the curse of coma, where at f/4 or f/5 thou shalt have no forgiveness.

And in truth I tell you this: at f/8 thou hast much more manageable length than thou wouldst have with the same aperture at f/15, with little sacrifice in the purity of thine images providing that thou managest thy secondary obstruction in a pious manner.

Verily, at f/8 thou wilst be permitted much more aperture than thou wouldst at f/15, unless thou hast a very large house, and forbidding that thou art so blessed as to have a mighty personal observatory.

And with thine dob thou canst enjoy the heavens with mighty apertures with modest expenditure, whilst thine refractor-buying friends must allocate disproportionate sums to their hobby to achieve such heights of size, followed shortly thereafter and forevermore by allocating disproportionate sums to alimony payments, forcing the sale of said refractors.