Friday, January 4, 2013

UU chalice lighting this weekend in which I plug #openaccess and twitter

I am going to be lighting the Chalice for the Jefferson Unitarian Church this Sunday, January 6, 2013.  I get about 350-400 words and three minutes of fame.  I figured out a way to get in a plug for Open Access and using twitter for scholarly communication.

Michael Dowd is the visiting minister, and he will be talking about evolution and other scientific stuff. Check out his book (Thank God for Evolution) if you are so inclined.


I was supposedly raised Roman Catholic (which has a hierarchical structure), but I always seemed to question authority, and I do not always believe everything I read.  As a kid, I always asked “why”, probably to the point of annoyance for my Mom and Dad.  Some of the stories from the Bible just didn’t make sense to me.  For example, as a teenager, I questioned the story behind Noah and his Ark.  Why would an all-knowing, all-loving God kill billions of life forms in the 40 day flood? How could all of the Earth’s species fit onto that small boat.  What did the carnivores eat when they were onboard?  There are many stories and miracles from the Bible that I am skeptical of.  Why am I so skeptical?

Lack of evidence.  For me, my God (or Higher Power or whatever) is rooted in the language of science and mathematics, and this “thing” provides us with evidence about the what, when and how the Universe works. (And some of the whys.)  The Universe reveals facts about itself to us through scientific discovery.  The evidence shows that we are “star stuff” as Carl Sagan used to say.   The evidence shows that we evolved from other life forms--the theory of evolution is just about as accepted in science as the theory of gravity.  The evidence shows that the light and energy we get from the sun (through nuclear fusion) and other stars are what provides us with ALL of our energy here on Earth.

While I may not believe in a traditional God, I do believe in love, in caring, and in helping other people get along on this little blue planet.

I am also a librarian, and I am a big user of Twitter.  If you followed me on twitter, you would know how passionate I am about Open Access to scientific information.  In the area of scholarly and scientific communication, I find social networking tools on the Internet to be a great way for people to connect, interact and to learn from people from all over the world.

So, I light this chalice (which includes energy from the sun) in the spirit that we all continue to learn more about science and the universe that we live in.

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