Looking through the Oxford Dictionary of Science

Somewhere where they receive a lot more sunny weather than Greater Vancouver...

A. Looking through the Oxford Dictionary of Science

Even as this is primarily a blog that deals with theology, philosophy of religion, Biblical studies and satire, scientific issues do arise as well and are of course important. Education and academics today do require at least at times the learning of disciplines outside of one's areas of expertise. Somewhat similarly my PhD thesis was completed within a Religion and Theology Department, but the content, as was the MPhil thesis, was as much philosophy/philosophy of religion and it was theology as it primarily dealt with the topics of the problem of evil and theodicy. As well I was required to do some research into empirical theology and social research which included statistics, and also researched how empirical theology related to science. With post viva revisions I was required to research some scientific journals on the subject of consciousness. Even without completing science course work and degrees I have done at least some science research in my academic career and reason I need to keep learning about science particularly in how it relates to the main disciplines I study. The origin of humanity is a topic/subject, for one, that can cover the disciplines of Biblical studies, theology, philosophy, and of course science.

Being quite pleased with the Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy and the Oxford Dictionary of the Bible which I use, I bought on discount with damaged beat up cover the Oxford Dictionary of Science. Yes, I had to ask for the discount and all sales are final, but the price was right. Interestingly, unlike the other two texts this has no author on the cover, although there is a listing with Editors, Advisers, and Contributors provided on a credits page. I have bought other science texts during my academic career and been given other texts, but this text will be particularly helpful for blogging in its dictionary form and its size in larger than the other two Oxford volumes put together.

Oxford Dictionary of Science, (2010), Sixth Edition, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Interesting how the definition differs for entropy for example in the science text, compared to the philosophy text, a term and subject that would be discussed across disciplines even in theology at times:

From the Science Dictionary: Symbol (S) a measure of the unavailability of a systems energy to do work; in a closed system an increase in entropy is accomplished by a decrease in energy available. When a system undergoes change the entropy (S) changes by the amount equal the energy (Q) transferred to the system by heat divided by the thermodynamic temperature (T) at which this occurs. However, all real processes are to a certain extent irreversible changes and in any closed system an irreversible change is accompanied by an increase in entropy. (292).

In a wider sense entropy is interpreted as a measure of disorder, the higher the entropy, the greater the disorder and it states see the Boltzmann Formula. This is the second law of thermodynamics and involves the heat death of the universe. (292).

Simon Blackburn provides a less technical definition and agrees entropy is a property of a closed thermodynamical system. Entropy is a measure of the disorder in the system. He reasons the second law of thermodynamics states entropy always increases. Basically, a useful philosophical summation is provided. Blackburn (1996: 121).

BLACKBURN, SIMON (1996) Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Also in the huge 889 page science volume:

Evolution: Interestingly the text theorized 3000 million (3 billion) years of evolution and explains that up until the middle of the 18th century there was the generally intellectually accepted concept that God created living species. The text then goes on to claim Darwinian natural selection which it states is supported by modern genetics, for example. But, it admits, and I find this quite interesting, that evolution as theory is quite controversial and needs to be firmly clarified in regard to relationships of groups above the species level (304).

All in all a useful text that I will be using as a tool for blogging.

Christian scientific site I am familiar with:

Reasons to Believe

Also Jeff Jenkins of Thoughts and Theology has been showing some clips from Exploration Films lately:

Exploration Films

B. Various

'Classic' high-pitched voice guru. No, all religions are not the same.

If you find the music annoying (one vote from me) you can of course turn the volume down on YouTube.

On the web this is noted as supposedly in India, the home of technical support for many home computer owners. Does potential electrical fire come to mind?

(Image from Amazon.com)

Thanks, Jeff


The Vancouver Sun: Bert & Ernie wedding: Sesame Street says no

'Are wedding bells in the cards for Sesame Street's Bert and Ernie, roommates in the iconic children's TV show who have long been rumoured to be gay?

There's an online petition at the activism website Change.org, with more than 5,000 signatures, which is calling for such a union, or for something else to happen on the show to teach kids that having a different sexual orientation is OK.

"Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics . . . they remain puppets and do not have a sexual orientation."'

I just heard about this on Albert Mohler's Podcast.

In regard to this article I think it is okay for kids to reason that the puppets are asexual/nonsexual. I think it is okay to let children figure it for themselves minus some political/moral agenda.

August 20, 2011

C. Age of the universe the Oxford Dictionary of Science

Having received a reasonable number of comments this month I return to the main topic. The text under this entry states that the age of the universe is the reciprocal value of the Hubble constant ( which is the rate at which the velocity of recession of galaxies increases with distance... Hubble time is a measure of age of universe assuming that expansion rate has remained constant, and it is assumed the expansion of the universe is accelerating. p 400). The Hubble constant according to the Oxford text is assumed to be 13.7 billion years old. p 18. But, it is admitted that the calculation of the Hubble constant and the age of the universe will depend of what theory of cosmology is used. They state that it is usually tied to calculations concerning the expansion of the universe arising from a big-bang theory. p. 18.

I deduce from this entry there is room for some debate in regard to the age of the universe, even from a secular scientific perspective in regard to cosmology which does overlap with the field of philosophy which of course overlaps with the field of theology.

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