After a student mentioned seeing Exodus Decoded to me after class today, I found myself thinking about one positive aspect of scholarly blogging, and of web-based scholarly publications and sites in general. When a documentary, a book, an article or an interview appears making sensational claims, the response is immediate in a way that was not possible even a few years ago. Once upon a time, a sensational claim would be made on TV or in a book, and then… Read more

Tonight’s episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles made the link between artificial intelligence and parenting more explicit than previously. We make creatures in our image and delude ourselves that we can control them, but we cannot. Sarah characterizes humans in distinction from machines as unpredictable and irrational. Which do we really fear? The irrationality our children and our sentient creations may be capable of? Or the cold, emotionless rationality that is also a possibility, to a greater or lesser… Read more

Beliefnet had a recent entry on “spiritual moments” in LOST (HT The Lead and In the Open Space). For those eager to find the latest previews and spoilers from LOST, there is a whole blog devoted to them. It looks like this week’s episode will fill us in more on the finding of Oceanic 815 (or a plane that is claimed to be Oceanic Flight 815) in the ocean. But will that be in flashbacks or flash-forwards? One question I’m… Read more

A while back I joined as a contributor to the Ancient World Bloggers Group. Today, at long last, I made my first post on that blog, which I am also reproducing here. It relates in particular to the work of an Israeli anthropologist who is featured in a documentary, part of which my class on the Bible watched today.The results of recent forensic investigations of DNA from ancient Canaanite remains and modern inhabitants of that region are featured in the… Read more

I taped Eli Stone after watching the season premiere of LOST, not only to see the Oceanic Airline commercial that was promised to feature in it. The series is about a lawyer who begins having ‘visions’ or ‘hallucinations’. It is discovered that he has a brain aneurism – as his father presumably had, but it went undiagnosed and everyone assumed that he was simply a drunk.The pilot episode was not particularly gloomy, given that the main character is disgnosed with… Read more

I will post about Eli Stone soon, but found I needed to devote a whole post just to the Oceanic Airlines commercial aired during the show. It talks about the “golden pass” allowing one to fly anywhere. The “Oceanic Six” are given such passes (Jack mentioned using his every weekend). Someone who looked vaguely familiar manages to break through the broadcast and say “Can’t trust these people. Oceanic Flight 815 – we found it”.There is an older official site for… Read more

As I continue thinking about the possibility that LOST is exploring issues of the meaning of life and morality in an infinite multiverse, I find myself compelled to conclude that this universe has a balance of good and evil, as well as of order and chaos. In the Star Wars universe the thinking seems to be closer to Taoism, in which there are two fundamental principles, the light and dark side of the force, which need to be kept in… Read more

In a recent post about LOST, I explored the possibility that the mystery of the island being explored in that series may relate to the idea of parallel universes. In this post I want to explore further, albeit very briefly, some of the issues raised by the view (put forward by some physicists, cosmologists and philosophers) that we inhabit an infinite multiverse of which our own universe is but one of an infinite number of universes.It is often said that,… Read more

If you haven’t watched the season premiere of LOST yet then don’t read this post. It is basically one big collection of spoilers. If you have seen it, then please do join me in recalling and reflecting on what we’ve just seen.The way the episode begins is phenomenal. Jack is watching a car chase on TV, pouring himself a drink. He starts with orange juice. We wonder whether this is a flashback or a flash forward. He adds something stronger… Read more

I have been tagged with a meme by Doug Chaplin, and so I need to do the following:Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more. (No cheating!)Find Page 123.Find the first 5 sentences.Post the next 3 sentences.Tag 5 people.I’ve decided to follow his lead and not include the Bible on this desk. Some potential difficulty is created by the fact that the next nearest book will be on a bookshelf situated perpendicular to me so that pretty much… Read more

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