The Sumela Monastery in Turkey’s Black Sea Province of Trabzon.



The Virtual Mirage blog has passed 100,000 comments. Thank you for participating in this blogging community.  I know that there are hip-hop blogs that get that many comments in a month but to me, the number is huge.


You can’t get to heaven on roller skates… Keep them going

– You can’t get to heaven on a jumbo jet, ’cause the Lord ain’t got no runway yet.

– You can’t get to heaven eating fish and chips, ’cause the Lord don’t like those greasy lips.

– If you get to heaven, before I do, Just bore a hole, and pull me through.


War in Ukraine


During the First Gulf War, the Russians received a sobering lesson on how Western weapons worked as their supplied and trained Iraqi army folded in days. The coalition established air supremacy and the weapons were significantly more accurate than the Russians anticipated that they would be. Integrated grids and coms meant that they all communicated well with each other in such a way that the forces arrayed against the Russian-supplied Iraqis couldn’t get a word in edgewise.

In Ukraine, the Russians found out that the anti-tank missiles were devastating against their forces and that the armored spearheads were not effective even though they were massed in great numbers.

Today they are getting a close-up and personal view of how the HIMARS functions in a battlefield setting much to their dismay. As has been covered here on this blog before, the US is working with Ukrainian forces to target the Russians very accurately. It’s difficult for me to explain in an unclassified way how very accurate that can be.

After the recent referendum, Putin appointed an administrator for Kherson. On the first day on the job, a HIMARS missile flew through his window killing him. (sic transit gloria mundi)

The USA allegedly has not given the MGM-140 ATACMS to Ukraine, but some of the strikes in Crimea are too distant for the M-142 and are likely the long-range version.



This comes from Ibn al-Haytham, a Persian scientist who is considered the father of modern optics. It expresses the motivation and thought process found in science.

“Therefore, the seeker after the truth is not one who studies the writings of the ancients and, following his natural disposition, puts his trust in them, but rather the one who suspects his faith in them and questions what he gathers from them, the one who submits to argument and demonstration, and not to the sayings of a human being whose nature is fraught with all kinds of imperfection and deficiency. Thus the duty of the man who investigates the writings of scientists, if learning the truth is his goal, is to make himself an enemy of all that he reads, and, applying his mind to the core and margins of its content, attack it from every side. He should also suspect himself as he performs his critical examination of it, so that he may avoid falling into either prejudice or leniency.” [Source]


Book Review

I recently finished reading, The Social Conquest of Earth, by Edward O. Wilson. Close to the beginning of the book I came across this quote:

“By what force of evolutionary dynamics, then, did our lineage thread its way through the evolutionary maze? What in the environment and ancestral circumstance led the species through exactly the right sequence of genetic changes?

The very religious will of course say, the hand of God. That would have been a highly improbable accomplishment even for a supernatural power. In order to bring the human condition into being, a divine Creator would have had to sprinkle an astronomical number of genetic mutations into the genome while engineering the physical and living environments over millions of years to keep the archaic prehumans on track. He might as well have done the same job with a row of random number generators. Natural selection, not design, was the force that threaded this needle.” (pp. 50-51)

I read that and thought, “Wait, so his argument against the existence of God, or at least the creation is: Because it is too hard and involves an incredibly complex number of interactions across several billion years, and because I would consider that too hard for any being that I can conceive of, it is therefore too hard for God. Thus he could not have done it. It must have been random because otherwise, it would have been too hard for any being that I can conceive of.”

So in other words, whether or not God could have created humans through a long and involved process, is limited by whether or not a single man can conceive of it being possible? That seems rather, um… limiting to me. I am glad that the universe and God doesn’t limit themselves to only do what a single scientist, philosopher, or even group of scientists and philosophers think is possible. If that were the case, then the universe would be an awfully boring place.

This quote was also rather interesting because I had just read an article about how one philosopher’s questioning of materialism and of randomness being the determining force behind our existence got him branded a heretic by the scientific and philosophical community. I put that philosopher’s book on my “to-read” list.

The rest of the book was interesting. The author occasionally takes unwarranted swipes at religion as he is argues against a conception of God that I also find untenable, and if that is how it really is then I too would agree with him, but it’s not so I don’t.

PS: Also when he mentioned “an astronomical number of genetic mutations” I was reminded of this quote from Richard Feynman:

“There are 10^11 stars in the galaxy. That used to be a huge number. But it’s only a hundred billion. It’s far less than the national deficit of nearly $32 trillion. We used to call them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them American debt numbers.”


  1. Some humans persist in creating a tiny box and then put the letters G, O, & D on their box, then insist that God can only exist inside the set limits of their own mind.

    • Yes – and still, how can you look into the moonless clear night sky, or into the face of a newborn baby and not feel a sense of awe and say, “How great thou art!”

    • As a Retired Weather Geek, and armature Astronomer who loves to read and explore Physics and Science, I am amazed at people who can seriously look upon Creation and deny that it is anything but chance.
      When I teach, I always begin my class with a quote:
      Ps 19 1-4
      The heavens declare the glory of God;
      the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
      2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
      night after night they reveal knowledge.
      3 They have no speech, they use no words;
      no sound is heard from them.
      4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
      their words to the ends of the world.

      Then I implore my students to Open their eyes and minds and Learn…

      MSG Grumpy

      • I sat in a laser safety class at University of Toronto with almost everyone else in the class a PhD or advanced student.
        When the Professor started describing the workings of the eyeball, I commented that it almost looked like it had been designed that way.
        The professor smiled in a knowing way and the other classmates reacted in a way that indicated that it had never occurred to them. The were no negative comments.

        • Humans must have been the first draft, as the blood vessels are in front of the photosensitive cells. The octopus eye got that detail right.

  2. Do I exist ? Why yes I do so logicly some one or some entity created me that created is my god all else falls into line

  3. “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
    Hamlet’s instruction to Horatio has always encompassed my conception of G-d.

    • There is a vast font of wisdom in Shakespeare. It’s oft acknowledged to be fair, yet I can’t read it without a sense of respect for the author (whether Shakespeare or Bacon or whomever). He understood. And as you point out, there is no end to the need for understanding because God is greater than all.

  4. hip-hop blogs + Ibn al-Haytham
    Once again you have made me think. Is hip-hop a large “influencer” on our national outlook? Does my loathing of the genre make me reject any attention paid to how it may be shaping the direction our society travels? Is there anything in this comment that makes sense?

    • Hip hop mostly degrades women – not all, but it’s a common theme. For some reason, inner city women think that it’s nice to be referred to as a “bitch” constantly. I can’t countenance it in my own life. So I don’t

    • Yes.

      Blacks are not the persons who have done the most to increase the influence of hip hop. It is pale-skinned persons in power in the infotainment industries (music, news media, Hollywood). But it’s not my place to label them further, lest I mis-identify what they want to call themselves.

        • “Ye”…listened to his Tucker interview. While he is clearly a solid talent and businessman the jury is out for me, but I give leeway that it was a limited interaction for drawing any conclusions. Let him do what he believes…to each his own, right?

  5. Back in my product development days I worked with a highly intelligent engineer (you know, that genius one working away in his messy office creating the next ‘thing’…we were discussing this very subject. His comment, “Any honest man who looks into the universe has to see intelligent design and know that God exists, it’s too complex to be random.” He paused then said “One cannot divorce science from the divine, otherwise it’s just arrogance.”

    Humility is lost on the eggheads who think they are smarter than everyone else.

    “Man plans, God laughs.” (or for some us, “chuckles”)

    • Incidentally, your blog comment numbers proves how relevant you are for your readership. Validation for ones work is crucial to maintaining.

    • The area of quantum mechanics intrigues me and I’m very drawn to that study (as an amateur). DRJIM used to work at Fermilab on some of those scientific projects, so I envy his exposure. The notion of intelligent design is prevalent at Planck Length science and in the provable notion of many dimensions of space-time.

      Because of my limited mind, I ofttimes need to take a break from it before jumping back into the pond because the implications of the science are so profound. Even though I have a masters in mathematics from the Naval Postgraduate school, I really need to grapple with the math and ask myself if what unfolds is accurate, but so far, the peer reviewed experimentation (duplicated) shows that it is. It’s astounding.

      • Masters in Mathematics…I am duly humbled, yet not surprised.

        These concepts, while very complicated for most mortals, are supported by the Divine because they were created by Him. In the end, assuming I am accepted into the Heavenly club, all will be revealed and no doubt it will be more awe inspiring than what we see in a stunning sunset or DNA-level science. His hand is awesome.

        • I focused on fractal-based encryption because that (beyond DES or DDES) interested me. I went to school as a reward. I never used it. So not that impressive.

          As to learning on “the other side”, I’m sure that it will take effort, but as Einstein explained (with mathematics) time is relative. There will be time.

          • Funny, in the wayback machine I learned that the first design element in any circuit [that required it] was “the clock”.

            Time is an important element because God said so (days & nights). Yet while He created the natural resources, we – as his creations – developed the technology for extraction and use.

  6. Ibn al-Haytham. That applies to everything, not just science. Question everything and arrive at your own conclusions is a good rule to live by.

    Hip hop culture never appealed to me. There is nothing about honor or long term benefit to society just instant gratification so it just doesn’t appeal to me.

    Richard Feynman, we lost him to cancer way too early, the man had a beautifully clear way of explaining things.

    God, just by the very definition means that we mere humans can’t comprehend Him and His works. Heck even just assigning a pronoun is a bit presumptuous isn’t it? But I look up at the night sky or even at a flower, or as you mentioned a baby’s face, and think “this is not random chance, some Being had a hand in this” and I am thankful that I get to exist.

    LL, I find so much of value here, both from you and all the commenters; here is to the next 100,000 comments, thank you.

    • Yes, finite beings such as we are yearn to make the universe as finite as ourselves, but it appears to be Infinite. The Webb telescope was supposed to look back to the dawn of creation and all they find are galaxies just like ours – millions of them.

  7. That’s a really nice monastery. You just can’t find contractors like that any more.

    I’m not a religious man, but I’m always running into anti-religious people who say things like “it’ll be funny when alien life is found / met – then all the religious people will have to admit they were wrong.”. I try to explain to them that the essence of God is infinite knowledge and power, and mystery. Scripture doesn’t define God, it tries imperfectly to describe God. Just as science doesn’t define nature, it imperfectly tries to describe nature. You can’t “catch religion in an error”, because God can do anything, and isn’t contractually obligated to tell us. Faith is not a legal document, and isn’t something fragile.

    They almost never get it. The poor reasoning ability of these supposed rationalists always dismays me.


    • Bananas are not mentioned in the Bible, therefore the Bible says they don’t exist.
      Never met a Christian who claimed this(though there may be some out there???).
      Space aliens are not mentioned in the Bible, therefore the Bible says they don’t exist.
      Met a number of anti-religious people who claimed this.

      • That doesn’t make much sense to me — an Earth centric universe. It makes less sense the more “new” galaxies we find with trillions of stars.

        • If God wants to create life on other planets, there is no reason He has to tell us about it. He gave us what we needed for life and godliness, the rest is speculation on our part.

        • I have no problem believing in an earth-centric universe. If that’s the way God intended it I can live with it. Once again check out the YouTube video The privileged planet.

      • Yet, more and more, we find no evidence of life out ‘there.’ It is as plausible to say ‘We are alone in this universe’ as it is to say ‘There are so many stars that there must be something or someone out there.’

        Hypothesis: We are alone in the universe. Right now we are in the testing phase.

        Hypothesis: We are not alone in the universe. Right now we are also in the testing phase.

        Hypothesis: Here on Earth we are finding life in places and under conditions where life should not exist, therefore there is life all throughout the universe. This is false logic. All it shows is that life exists on Earth, just like the Bible says. To say that because there is life on Earth that this proves there is life not on Earth is completely skipping the whole scientific process.

        Not saying that there isn’t life out there, just saying that it’s just as plausible that there is life out there. Right now we are in the “We don’t know so we can’t answer” stage.

        It’s like that Drake Equation that the CETI people seem so in love with. Some brainiac said that because there is XXX number of stars, there must be YYY number of planets and of those planets ZZZ number must carry life. Um, no. Mathematically pretty, but only because of false assumptions. We really don’t know the number of stars, let alone the number of stars with a habitable zone, the number of stars where the habitable zone is actually habitable (like our system, where Jupiter basically shields us from a lot of garbage,) the number of habitable planets in the habitable habitable zone, the number of planets where the perfect conditions for life to exist actually existed, etc.

        Just because you see people in your neighborhood who drink beer while painting their mailboxes black doesn’t mean that all beer drinkers drink beer while painting their mailboxes black.

        False assumptions.

        Are there aliens out there? Don’t know, not enough data.
        Are there aliens out there who are 100% friendly, like that leftist twit Sagan believed? Don’t know, not enough data.
        Are there aliens out there who are 100% unfriendly, like some science fiction writers write about? DK, NED.

        Not enough data. That’s it.

  8. “The Virtual Mirage blog has passed 100,000 comments. Thank you for participating in this blogging community.”
    I think the majority of us comment bacause you have something of value to say, something that resonates with us (as well as the way you say it), whether we agree with your view or not.
    BTW: I am hoping (and waiting) for further commentary about the declining value of the U.S. dollar, the many causes thereof, possible ways to stop this decline, and the possible ways to raise it back up to (at least) a 1970s level before we go through a period that will make a 1920s Depression seem like a walk in the park.

    • A lot of people are watching the declining population of native Europeans, Japanese, Great Russians, Chinese (even weirder with the odd balance of males and females), and so forth. The US has not suffered the same sort of decline and there are a number of reasons for that. Africa on the other hand churns out many children who are not prepared in any way for the realities of the modern world. All of this speaks to instability in markets (who will consume the goods produced looking ahead 100 years?) and the dollar is not worshiped as the ultimate reserve currency anymore. The Euro, RMB, Ruble, etc. are all worse and it keeps the dollar strong in that sense.

      If America wants to stop the decline in economics, America needs to be a “good” nation with a strong moral center. We are not that. We are slipping away from being a family-centered nation. Roughly 75% of black children are born into a situation where there is no father in the home. Dysfunction follows inevitably. The swamp loved billionaire Trump. They hated President Trump because he broke the rice bowls and threatened to do more. How many trillions of dollars need to be poured into the national defense (welfare for the middle class) game each year? There are patterns of systemic corruption that create a false economy based on lies like “global warming/cooling/change”. If you want to fix the problems in America, we need to be honest, and we aren’t. We are happy with Barack reading from his teleprompter because he’s half black, we tolerate rigged elections that result in a corrupt, demented, pedo President and his brain-dead whore sidekick, we keep hiring government workers so that the ratio of producers to users is thrown completely out of whack.

      • That last bit is a key red flag indicator. When govt employment is larger than the productive class, and growing, that’s a massive problem for sustainment…mainly because those involved in govt gowth believe in perpetual motion machines.

    • Full-blown Depression would be bad enough. I’m frankly more worried about the response to said Depression. The Swamp has already implemented intrusions and tyrannies that would have had our ancestors with rifles in hand. The Left has added claimed moral superiority to smugly justify those intrusions and tyrannies, as well as shrieking that those measures are Not Enough and that the State (Swamp) needs more power. No one is doing anything because we still have much to lose, and we are smart enough to know that “stepping off the porch” wouldn’t be a matter of turning the temperature of the water up a degree or two. It would be a drastic phase change, like water flashing into steam. But when you’ve lost everything you’ve worked for your entire life (through hyperinflation), or worse, lost the people (to murder, or rape, or just random idiots shooting up a crowd) for whose sake you sweated, suffered, and endured, what then?

      The Left should be careful of what they think they want. What if they do NOT continue to hold the upper hand, and the power of the State is used against them? I saw a remark the other day saying: Weimar problems need Weimar solutions. I took it as snark, but if something like that happened, that would be a disaster. Obviously for the shrieking, self-satisfied Leftists (most of whom I would not mourn) but it would also be a disaster for everyone else as well. The activists, the scolds, the whiners and eternal victims who claim that normal white people are the source of all evil because they are heartless and devoid of mercy are doing their level best to create exactly what they claim to fear.

  9. Someone once described intelligent design as walking through woods and finding a pocket watch. When you look at the watch, you immediately understand that it was designed, compared to apparently random looking forest debris all around. Yet the complexity of the leaves is thousands or millions of times higher than the complexity of the watch. We’re supposed to believe the watch was designed but the leaves just happened. “Of course, the first ones weren’t like that, but natural selection and billions upon billions of evolutionary changes gives us the leaves today.”

    It intrigued me decades ago when I began to learn that the objections to the standard models of evolution weren’t coming from the biology department; they were coming from the physicists and hard scientists. People who can do math.

    Around that time, genetic algorithms were the Big Hotness in computer science. A friend of mine dove into studying a common chess problem: a knight’s tour of the chess board. From any starting square, can the entire chess board be touched using the funny moves of a knight as long as no square on the board is touched more than once. He created a genetic algorithm to solve the problem. It never worked. He did all sorts of things like invoking a routine to “kill off” all the attempts at solution and starting again. He never got it to solve the problem.

    The conclusion I got was there are some problems that natural selection and evolution simply can’t solve.

  10. Thanks for continuing to blog! Always with interesting content, and thought provoking snippets… 🙂 Dark nights at sea, looking up at the stars DOES make one believe!!!

  11. The Sumela Monastery:
    Back when I was closer to 29, I was instrumental in the physical aspects and design of the work in building a dam on a cliff face in the Feather River Canyon to contain a creek that washed over the railroad that followed the canyon.
    I had a crew, air compressors to run jack-leg drills (basically 90 lb jack jammers with a feature to rotate and hammer a drill steel into the rock. We had modern equipment: including a back hoe from Austria, built like a crab, that could climb mountains. Dynamite and det cord. Dewydag rock bolts and hi-tech expoxy to anchor the dam to the cliff. No crane, but chain hoists, pinch bars, and muscle.

    Looking at The Sumela Monastery…I have no words.

    Re. Math:
    “Because of my limited mind, I ofttimes need to take a break from it before jumping back into the pond because the implications of the science are so profound.” -LL

    Again, when I was closer to 29, I discovered that in the more advanced math, while still logical, the solutions can be elusive and at some point your mind becomes less rigid and flows in creative non-linear bursts for less than obvious solutions.
    Almost, if not exactly, like poetry.
    Hence the term, “…an elegant solution…”

  12. Intelligent Design:
    Again, back when I closer to 29, I had a discussion with a full professor who taught organic chemistry.
    I was surprised when he supported the Intelligent Design concept.
    His reason lay in quantum entanglement: the instantaneous switch in polarity of particles occurring over distances at FTL speeds indicated to him that there was/is an intelligence making such thing happen.
    “…’spooky’ actions at a distance”… for Halloween!- Hat Tip to E.

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