A Better Idea

For those very things I was to use a “standard” website for, I may just put them on, yes, this blog!

The same principle applies:  no site or source is an island.  This is true of both the Internet and libraries.  And since everyone has different goals of research, claiming that “one site does it all” is quite cavalier.

However, this very blog is a perfect way to communicate information I have learned recently, or not-so-recently.  Whether it’s an issue that may warrant comment, or if I am simply sharing a neat topic I have learned (whether voluntarily or not), this is a great place to discuss it.  And of course, as I progress though my academic endeavors, I become more and more qualified to write about more and more things.  My community college library (and possibly, the one of the university I attend), public libraries (especially the Philadelphia “Central” Library), books I own, and of course, the internet; are all great potential sources that I have access to.  Perhaps the best blog posts concern how academic facts impact daily life.

Well, everything should be back to normal now!

Never Mind About the Proposed Website

Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.  But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us, to reach even to you.  For we are not overextending ourselves, as though we did not reach you. For we were the first to come all the way to you with the gospel of Christ.  We do not boast beyond limit in the labors of others. But our hope is that as your faith increases, our area of influence among you may be greatly enlarged, so that we may preach the gospel in lands beyond you, without boasting of work already done in another’s area of influence.  “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”  For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends. (2 Cor 10:12-18, ESV)

For quite a while I was analyzing the same topics from different angles in order to see what they have in common.  Here’s the catch, though:  I was doing it in an over-extensive way, to determine, say, that if one source had all its details elsewhere on the Internet and often other sources (no matter how widespread).  And deep down, it turns out that all you ought to do is focus on your territory.

Honestly, the real joy in learning comes from understanding that all of it is centered on God, and from there, Wisdom Incarnate, that is, Christ.  And it need not be duplicated.  Everyone’s knowledge base is a library filled with varying repertoires of facts.  And that’s great!  We’re not robots, and your knowledge, gifts, and talents are your personal property.  You can share it, or not, at your discretion.

Also, whether a deceased person that discovered a given principle of knowledge was a Christian or not is irrelevant.  They have been eternally judged by God, and in any case have left behind their contribution for us (cf. 1 Cor 10:25, 27).  And as always, the handy-dandy principles of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes can be useful (as long as they, being OT books, are lined up in context with the NT as well as to society today.)

So, now to the meat and potatoes.  why an endeavor as proposed earlier is not appropriate?Each person must obtain his/her knowledge the way they need– and want– it.  Foolish comparison, and even worse, oppressive distribution of material (like junk mail, your ration of 4-letter words today) is unfruitful and inappropriate.

Note the word “oppressive.”  It’s absolutely fine to distribute information (oral, written, etc.) toward person(s) who are interested.  But don’t get nuts over it; rather, usually, keep it in a nutshell.

So, can we now put barbed wire fences around that university library down the road?

The Worth of One’s Knowledge Base

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.  (Prov 1:7, ESV)

Unbelievers, while being just as able as believers to obtain knowledge, do not thoroughly understand what something means in the long run.  Based on this, Christians have a higher purpose for this, as cited in Phil 2:4 (ESV):

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Fundamentally, we can all use our knowledge bases for the common good, and to advance the kingdom of God.  Whatever your area of expertise is, there is somewhere you can fulfill the needs and demands of whom you serve.

On a personal level, knowledge compounds and inter-plays with previously learned knowledge prior to the newer information.  Whether its a mere pronunciation difference or a topic that builds on something you learned 20 years ago (making for a great review LOL), knowledge is always useful to some extent.

But first of all, let’s discuss what this thing called “wisdom.”  Basically, it is living within God’s parameters of earthly existence to survive and thrive.  This is not the same as actual “earthly” wisdom.  James describes the difference like this:

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (James 3:13-18)

“Heavenly” wisdom comes only through the Holy Spirit, through prayer, Scripture reading, preaching, and other means of grace.  Thus Christians have a fuller awareness of doing what is best as their clock on earth ticks.

And as in all things, moderation.  Ecclesiastes (a Biblical wisdom book, which, like Proverbs, is attributed to Solomon) illustrates when you should draw the line on certain things, such as pleasure, work, and learning.  Yes, we share this terrestrial ball.  But not forever.  So while you should enjoy things on this earth, don’t get too absorbed in them.  For example, Eccl. 12:12 puts secular study like this:

Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

Learning is good, and is something we do whether we like it or not.  But if you study with selfish ambition, that is basically folly.  Yet when done in moderation (as with all your tasks), understanding our natural world (or any other area(s) of knowledge) can bear great benefit.  By the way, since Solomon’s time, “books” have met their rival distant cousin: the Internet.  Gutenberg sure helped, though.

Wow, now we have made a bridge between a number of areas of thought!  Would you like to buy it?  (It’s far cheaper than Brooklyn’s for sure!)

Teach What You’ve Just Learned

At CCP, I am doing a public speaking class.  While I am near flunking this course, I have learned some valuable tips and tricks to use to present facts, for the good of both speaker and listener.

When I endeavor to learn material with substantial, if not overwhelming, detail (for example, stuff from Cronodon), a few reads and especially a pleasant “lecture” with a friend, can power learning.

  1.  Read the material until you have a “working” comprehension of the material.
  2. Copy various ideas, whether small details or major facts, onto index cards.
  3. Practice a little by speaking, first in your own mind, then to your listener(s)

It is also good to test yourself on your newly-acquired knowledge.  So by teaching others and testing yourself on this material, you’ll get a grasp on whatever information that is second to none!

Zeroing In On Your True Interests

Biology degrees, unlike physical science degrees (i.e., chemistry, physics, geology, etc.), tend to have a whole bunch of course options for biology elective credit, which you can pick to a total of, say, 5-8 courses.  Moreover, different schools have different “concentration” programs, to orient you in a certain direction.  Yet for me, I prefer the general degrees because you can tailor it to your (mostly) exact interests.

The CCP Biology I (taking now) and Biology II (spring) should give me a general idea, and can give a further standard against which colleges to judge.  The top 3 options currently are West Chester, Widener, and ESU (East Stroudsburg University).  One of my sisters has studied at ESU.  While they all have their own merits, I should tour all of them to determine what college serves me best.

And I am discerning which courses (and their general subject areas) to take, which is more of getting a feel for them than actually deciding.  After all, we should take things one semester at a time.  But I can say my favorite types of courses are ones that primarily involve “action,” e.g., physiology, rather than structure or identification, e.g., anatomy, morphology, pathology, systematics, etc.  But again, you won’t like everything in college.

In this age of information, specialization is paramount.  You can’t really be a generalist anymore and get much done, aside from actually learning the stuff.  While I wouldn’t call such an endeavor a “waste,” it’s far less fruitful than if you just do one thing and do it right.  Brain capacity is constant, yet information quantity is skyrocketing.  So we must each do our part and “zero in!”

Why Biology?

Each program [at ESU] helps students to think. But when a student chooses a program, it is a choice of what to think about. A physics major thinks about different things than a psychology major.  A math major has different matters on her mind than an art major., Dr. Peter Hawkes, Dean of Arts and Sciences at East Stroudsburg University.

While you will always learn new things beyond your college major in your lifetime, college gives you a trajectory for your career and other areas of adult life.


My introductory biology textbook.

For me, that number one thing is biology.  It has a beauty of both unity and diversity.  Contradictory as they may seem, it is a reality.  Diversity in all the life forms on Earth manifests God’s beauty in their habitats and niches, yet their unity in all the core systemic processes equally shows what a wonderful and providential Creator He is.  (Evolutionists claim that all life is not from a common creator, but a common ancestor.  But what is that ancestor?!?)  Remember the idea that cells come only from other cells, and so forth.

And even at the moment, before transfer to a university, I love looking at numerous websites concerning biology.  These can be about animals, plants, neural processes, you name it.  Of course, God made all these structures and processes; the scientists among us just named them.

So to all my fellow undergraduates, whatever your passion, biology or otherwise, go for it!

When the Time is Right

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  (Matthew 6:33)

The past few days have been troublesome for learning things.  Sure, school’s been good, but my attitude toward different subjects has made me a little iffy about my tolerance for certain subjects.  In other words, in my major study field of biology, I have felt a nervousness about certain topics, whether in school or in my personal learning, primarily due to suspicion about overwhelming detail in certain subjects (and sources of such).  The one that is pertinent today is gastropods, or snails and slugs, in case you were wondering.  Yet this is currently a topic of personal study, not in school.

This entire preoccupation turned out quite moot, since it was utterly dependent on the mood of the moment.  Sometimes I’m in the mood to read certain material, other times I feel it may not be the time.

I should keep in mind what Jesus said at the Sermon on the Mount in the above quotation.  Whatever you strive for, keep God in the center.  If it isn’t absolutely pressing as school (or whatever endeavor) is, the best way to approach things is to just determine if your mood (or mind) is well poised to take on doing something non-essential.

Bottom line?  Try to determine how disposed you are toward a certain task that is “on the side” of your chief responsibilities.  In other words, set priorities.  This will help you decide if the time is right.