Thursday, September 25, 2008

Just Why Would You Believe That?

In the sidebar, you'll see I shared a post from the STR blog called Facts vs. Beliefs, which refers to this article from National Review. The NRO article very succinctly summarizes a problem I often run into while attempting to debate people about matters of faith. In short, the skeptic will often resort to blatantly disregarding my arguments from science, logic, or inference, and dogmatically asserting that my Christian beliefs are taken on blind-faith, while his Naturalistic beliefs are based on solid facts of science.

For a good example of this, please refer to the last response to me from Tom Clark in his Naturalism vs. Nihilism thread. I decided not to continue the conversation because he seemed unable to address any of my arguments, but just kept playing the Science vs. Faith card. In fact, he was almost malicious the way he twisted my words in order to make it look like I base my Christian faith on science rather than using science to show that Christian faith is not blind.

I'm learning how to handle this sort of belligerence in a face-to-face conversation (look for a post in the future re: Tactics in Defending the Faith), but online, it's much more difficult due to the nature of the medium. You just can't put someone on the spot and demand that they address your arguments based on their merits, rather than the pre-supposed lack-of-validity of the thing you're arguing for.

It would be refreshing to have a conversation with a skeptic in which he actually considered the validity of my arguments based on their merit of lack thereof.

The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly (Weeds, That Is)

It's been a while since my last post. Been very busy taking down trees in the yard for landscpaing, which has now been, more or less, completed. So, now I'm back. (Yes, I do realize that, since I post from work, it shouldn't matter what I was doing nor how busy I was when I got home. But that's my excuse & I'm sticking with it)

Anyway, one of the unintended side effects of all that yard work was that I now know how to recognize Poison Ivy when I see it. Yes, I got into a patch in my back yard, and didn't even recognize the blisters when they popped out, so it had time to develop into a full-blown rash that swelled my calf up to the size of Schwarzenegger's. Or there abouts. So, in case you were wondering, the pic at the top shows a couple common varieties. As you may have noticed in that picture, the old adage "leaves of three, don't touch me," doesn't always hold true. Some varieties have clusters of five leaves, so it might be a good idea to do a Google image search to familiarize yourself with all the many varieties.

And this is what the blisters look like. They can vary in size, but if you see a string of them in a line, big or small, it's likely you got into some poison ivy without knowing it. There's a product called Tecnu, that you can pick up in the local pharmacy, that can prevent the blisters and rash if you use it within 2-8 hours after contact (unless you're highly allergic).

So that's the bad & ugly, now for the good. There's another weed that often grows side-by-side (or at least nearby) poison ivy, that is a natural remedy for it. It's called Jewel Weed and it's flowers are really quite pretty, as you can see. Apparently, if you crush up the stems of the plant and apply the sap to the affected area, it can prevent the rash as well as Tecnu. Funny thing is, a couple weeks ago, Donna spotted some of these little orange trumpet flowers growing in a wildflower field near our house, but could not identify them. Now we know.

Finally, if you're suffering from insomnia, or just insufferably curious, here's a technical page that describes how poison ivy affects the human body. Actually, I found this very interesting, and it got me wondering whether the over-the-top immune response is a result of changes in the human species or the plant species, since the fall of man. Either way, it's yet another painful side-effect of living in a fallen, sin-cursed world.