Category Archives: Technology

The Multiverse

About 18 months ago I was writing another blog, which I have since abandoned.  In December of 2005 I wrote the following post on that blog:

The MultiverseThe Multiverse

Last month, I read a physics book, Schrodinger’s Rabbits: Entering The Many Worlds Of Quantum by Colin Bruce. This month, I am making my way through Brian Greene’s The Elegant Universe. A comment I read in the latter just last week has been turning itself over and over in my mind: “According to quantum mechanics, the universe evolves according to a rigorous and precise mathematical formalism, but this framework determines only the probability that any particular future will happen – not which future actually ensues.”

Bruce had built on this concept of quantum to argue in favor of the so-called “many worlds” (or “multiverse”) model of reality. In a nutshell, this idea suggests that there are an infinite number of universes: for every potential outcome of every action (however improbable), there is a reality which embodies it and the consequences which flow from it.

A long time ago I read a lot of books about process theology. If I recall all of that reading correctly, process thought holds that God’s role in creation lies in God’s giving of the initial aim to each “energy event” as it begins to create itself. God’s initial aim is an ideal series of eternal objects (or “possibilities”). God is the One Who Calls, the initial energy event who calls all other energy events forward to greater complexity or beauty. God offers novelty and also limits, thus making growing complexity possible. Because the creation is free, however, the universe moves from the ideal “downward”. The ideal is that possibility for this energy event at this moment that will lead it (and reality as a whole) to greater complexity and intensity of feeling, which process thinkers define as beauty or enjoyment.

Something about the “many worlds” vision fostered by quantum physics and its basis in probabilities seems to me to dovetail with process theology’s understanding of God’s creative activity. I’m not sure yet how these two fields of study intersect, but the multiverse and God’s infinite capacity for goodness and granting freedom to the creation just seem to me to be complementary …. in any event, this is the sort of thing that occupies my idle moments of theological reflection.

I still don’t understand string theory, branes, and all that, and I’m not sure I really understand Whiteheadian process thought and process theology … but I’m still convinced there is a convergence (or at least an intersection) between these fields.  It’s still the thing that occupies my idle moments of theological reflection.



Filed under Christian Stuff, Technology, Theology

Manchester Cathedral FPS

Episcopal Life On Line today publishes an article from the Ecumenical News Service apropos of a Sony video game apparently set in Manchester Cathedral. The first few paragraphs of the article state:

The Church of England has threatened the Sony Corporation with legal action unless it withdraws a video game set in Manchester Cathedral.”During the game, players are asked to assume the role of an army sergeant and win a battle in the cathedral. The video footage of the cathedral battle on ‘You Tube’ has shocked and dismayed us beyond words, and can only be described as virtual desecration,” the cathedral’s dean, the Rev. Rogers Govender, told journalists on June 11.

Sony has said in a statement that “Resistance: Fall of Man” is a fantasy science fiction game and not based on reality.

Govender said, however, “For a global manufacturer to re-create the interior of any religious building, such as a mosque, synagogue or, in this case, a cathedral, with photo-realistic quality, and then encourage young people to have gun battles in the building is beyond belief and, in our view, highly irresponsible.”

Manchester Cathedral interiorDean Govender may have a point. On the other hand, maybe he doesn’t.

Surely the dean would not deny that battles have taken place in religious structures. Surely the dean would not deny that religious structures have been important battlegrounds or landmarks in wars throughout history. And surely the dean would not deny that our religious buildings are battlegrounds in the struggle between good and evil every day. So what, then, is the objection to a fantasy-based game depicting a religious building as such.

On the other hand, the dean is correct that a building dedicated to peace probably should not be used as the background for a shoot-’em-up, FPS (first-person-shooter) video game.

But then, to what extent can religious buildings be used in popular entertainments? One recalls that the cathedrals of medieval Europe were used as theatres when morality plays were produced therein. The cathedral in my diocese is used as a theatrical dining hall for “medieval banquets” and “Boar’s Heads feasts” each December (as are many church buildings throughout the country). And old church buildings have been used as the models for schools of magic (I believe Durham Cathedral was used as part of Hogwart’s School of Wizardry in the Harry Potter movies) and at least part of one church has been used as if it were in the personal art collection of Satan (“Ex Nihilo,” a frieze of subtle and extraordinary power created for the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, by Frederick Hart, was brought to life as a disturbing, living, writhing sculpture over the Prince of Darkness’s fireplace in the movie “Devil’s Advocate”). Are any of these uses any less disturbing than Sony’s use of Manchester Cathedral?

A Sony spokesman is quoted in the article as saying, “Throughout the process we have sought permission where necessary.” If this is true, one assumes the permissions came from the Cathedral itself — why wasn’t the dean aware of this? And if it’s true, where does the cathedral or the dean get off complaining at this late date?

An old public relations saw has it that “there’s no such thing as bad press.” The dean should take this to heart and use this as an opportunity to call attention to the cathedral and invite the players of Sony’s video game to visit the cathedral in person. They might find that the cathedral is a place to do something other than pull a virtual trigger.

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Filed under Anglican Comment, Christian Stuff, Episcopal, Technology

Moving the Cursor

Have you ever wondered what makes the little pointy arrow cursor thing on your computer screen move?  The secret is revealed here.

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Filed under Just for Fun, Technology

On the Road in Kansas City (Part 2)

We aren’t actually in Kansas City. We’re in the city of Merriam, Kansas, in Johnson County, one of the several counties of the KC metroplex. The KC metro is one of those places where you drive from town to town and never even know you’ve done so … you can drive from state to state and not realize it. (At the state line of Ohio and Indiana there is a large light blue metal arch over the interstate; nothing like that at any of the KS-MO “border crossings”!)

Anyway, here we are and while She Who Must Be Obeyed (Thank you, John Mortimer and Horace Rumpole) gets herself ready for the day, I am playing with this blogging application.

I wondered why no one had posted any comments (though there have been 200+ visits since I set this thing up four days ago), and discovered that the comment moderation was set so that only those who had previously commented could post a comment. Isn’t that a Catch-22? You can’t post unless you’ve posted before, but you can’t have posted before if you can’t post. Seems a silly way to set a default.

Life is full of unmarked border crossings and silly defaults. Look out for them!

I’ve reset the comments rules so that anyone who identifies themselves and posts enters a valid email address is allowed. All comments will be moderated, however.

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Owning a Domain is a Pain ….

I own a domain.  I have it hosted with a company I shall not name (yet).  I have had three domains hosted by this company.  Two were for parishes (my former parish and my current parish).

My former parish apparently decided not to have a web-presence after I moved on and allowed the hosting agreement (and presumably the domain registration to lapse).

My current parish finally found a member who volunteered to be the webmaster and he decided to use WordPress as the content management application … but getting that up and running on the host server turned out to be something a problem and we started having difficulty with the domain being down, coming back up, going down again, over and over again.

So we have decided to move it to a local server …. OK, fine.  No problem.

But after we made that decision, the hosting company where my personal domain remains decided to make WordPress (and several other content management applications) available for use, so I opted to stay there and use WordPress on my domain (not this blog, another site I am trying to get up and running).  So I asked the hosting company to do what was necessary to make that happen.

Guess what?

My personal domain is not up, and down, and up, and down.  Website is there … website isn’t there.  Email is accessible … email isn’t accessible.  It’s a pain in the veritable you know what.

I may decide to move that domain.

In the meantime, I have this blog.

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