The Science of God

An atheist... in heaven

One of the major, recent stories to come out, was when acclaimed physicist, Stephen Hawkins, made a statement that he believed that God does not exist. In the book excerpt, Hawkins concludes that, “…recent advances in cosmology suggest, the laws of gravity and quantum theory allow universes to appear spontaneously from nothing. [continued] It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.”

A Tumultuous Relationship

Historically, the relationship between science and religion has been an abusive one with religion doing all the damage. All though in a western society like ours, Christian repression of science is always displayed as an example, science has long received its arrows from all types of other religions. Everything from Buddhism to Islam have taken their shots.

Many scientists – understandably so – hold a grudge towards religious institutions on behalf of their long departed, and well-suffered, brethren.

Both claim to seek the same answers. However, the bow is now in the hands of science and the target is now painted squarely on God.

Roles Reversed

The strange thing is now that we live in a time where thoughts of science are no longer repressed for the threat of their opposing views, science on the other hand is on the attack for the exact same reason. If one side comes to a different conclusion than the other, then the process of deduction itself is their proof-positive that the other sides methods, system and beliefs are wrong. It was wrong for religions to do it then, and it is wrong for science to do it now. The argument is trivial and the basis of that argument is childish and best. Reciprocity of the wrong is not equal to the original wrong, but even more so since it exemplifies that the first receipt learned nothing of the injustice.

As you can see in this video, famed geneticist Dr. Francis Collins surmises my point by saying, “And some have seen faith as therefore a threat to the scientific method, and therefore to be resisted.” However he continues that, “Faith in it’s proper perspective, is really asking a different set of questions.”

A Different Set of Questions

Atheists (and those that hate religion) will use Dr. Hawkins’ words to prove their points, yet won’t except the other aspects of agreeing to such an empty hypothesis. If he is correct, then these people should not tell others that they love them, nor listen to music (or embrace any form of art for that matter). Since we are all godless, souless creatres, what need and purpose is their in life than to get solid black-and-white answers?

Stephen Hawkins is a brilliant scientist. Jennifer Lopez is an excellent dancer. Just because these two are experts at their respective fields does not make them go-to’s on subjects outside their knowledge.

Everyone that knows me, knows that I have a deep interest and love in science. Astronomy is one of my favorite hobbies that I have dabbled in as a child. Science should be embraced and allowed to come to every possible conclusion. Science and all of it’s branches have found many answers, and continue to do so, to questions that no religion could ever answer.

However, the quest for understanding God and all that He created already has an answer; we don’t have one, nor will we ever. On our time here on earth at least. There is a reason why we in the Catholic faith call these “mysteries”. I, and others, will continue to search for these answers. Even if we know that our search will provide no definitive answer.

The greatest and most wonderful things in the world also have the greatest questions. And their answers cannot be figured out in a lab or on a white board. What is a mother’s love? What is happiness? Why do this? Any of this! Where did we come from?

Just because I cannot answer these questions, does not mean I won’t try to understand them. And the philosophy of a religious book provides more clarification for those most important questions than any mathematic formula could ever wish to.

I will never have these answers.

Nor will science.

I’m HIV Postitive

I’m HIV positive.

There. I said it.

Attempting to keep my diagnosis secret has always been a huge burden that I have placed on myself. I’m tired of living a lie. Plus, it’s just not that big a deal. If I continue to hide what I have, I continue to hide what I am. And guess what? I like me.

First, to catch a few of you up. I was born with a bleeding disorder called hemophilia. I won’t get all technical with you because if I were you, I wouldn’t want to hear the bore-fest either. The CliffNotes version is that my blood does not clot. This causes massive bleeding, mostly in the form of bruising. That’s all a bruise is really; a cut under your skin. So when you twist your ankle at the hoops court, you lose two days with nothing more than ice and bandaging as treatment. Me? I’m out of service one month plus, with a baseball sized hemorrhage stuffed into my skin.

Also, add to this that blood has these wonderful proteins and enzymes that eat cartilage, you soon have a crippled, wobbled teenager with arthritis.

However, treatment was found. This clotting agent is simply referred to as, “Factor”. It has gone through many changes and alterations throughout the years, but in the late eighties, early nighties, it was derived from human plasma. Plasma is another fancy-shmancy word for blood. It makes me think of Ghostbusters. Any who, you don’t need to be Columbo to figure out where this story goes. When I was a child, anywhere from 5 to 10 years old, I contracted HIV through my factor.

The medication that was suppose to save my life, is now the same medication that is trying to kill me.

Now, there has been a lot of tears dropped by me and my family because of this. But I’m not here to get into that. In fact, one of the main reasons I’m writing this is because I’m ready to just move past all that. I will tell you, however, the stigma that people with HIV have to be burdened with, is just terrible.

One story I will share is that once, a small group of friends found out about my condition but the good news was, nothing really changed. However, one night we were drinking (like any good set of teenagers) and someone had a bottle of liquor. I remember my friend, was not talking to me and made sure that I didn’t drink out of the shared bottle. To this day, that is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever went through. People being afraid to touch you or to share the same space with you as if your being itself was deadly, has to be one of the worst feelings a human can go through. A modern-day leper. Fortunately, most people will never have to endure that. I did.

However, I hold no ill will towards my friend. Society is so in the dark about this; how can I say I wouldn’t react the same way too? And in all fairness to him, that was many years ago. We have since shared many a bottle, hugs, and tears.

So that’s a major reason why I have tried to keep this close to my chest. Whenever I see a birth control medication commercial, they always warn, “This does not stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV”. Wow. Great. Make sure to give extra special scary notice to HIV. Also, if a side effect was the ability to stop all know diseases, don’t you think that would be the selling point and not period regulation? But I digress…

What I’m trying to ram home is, even though we have gotten better educated about HIV, we still have a long way to go.

The other reason I have not advertised this, I want to be treated the same. It’s funny, but the people who are always at the doctor’s, or have the most medications, are the ones that are the least sick. Meanwhile, us folks walking around with real issues have to get dragged to our appointments. We just don’t like the attention. And it’s the worst kind of attention: pity.

I noticed that people who knew about my condition would talk to me like a toddler. If they got mad at me, they would hold their tongues. I never liked that.

I am not the parasite floating inside my blood stream.

I am not my skin color.

I am not my gender.

I am a child of God, just like you. Nothing more, and nothing less.

So to this day, there is nothing worse to me than a disingenuous person. I can smell you and your fakeness a mile away, so don’t even come near me with that.

Lastly, I have to stop denying it because it truly has been a blessing. It may probably be the best thing that has ever happened to me. If I were you, having just read that, I’d be calling “bullshit”, but it’s true! Let me try to explain.

Going through all this has given me crazy strength, and above all, a perspective on life that few have. This perspective is one of my favorite qualities about myself. How many 10-year olds do you know that have cried themselves to sleep because they would never be able to have children? That kind of introspective thought changes a person. Yes, I have faced many dark days brought onto me from even darker people. But you know what? I have also been a witness and recipient to the most wonderful acts of kindness and love that people can only dream of. And that’s what I choose to remember and that’s what I choose to move me forward.

Nearly all my friends have something to do with my hemophilia and HIV. My beliefs, sense of humor, and smarts, are all things I cherish and most importantly, all these things are derived of my life’s experiences. Would I rather not have hemophilia and HIV, and trade that in to be just another dumb, unfunny guy, who does not understand how the world works? Heck no! That would make me a democrat! 🙂 And most importantly, I would not have you.

Even in romance it has helped, believe it or not. Since I won’t sleep with someone unless I disclose, I have never had one night stands, or flings. And trust me, my sexy, smart self could have had a few, let me tell ‘ya. 🙂 Not only does that mean that I have only been with women I truly cared about, each of these women have been truly beautiful. Do you know what kind of awesome women it takes to sleep with someone who has HIV? I do. They are caring and understanding. They are loyal and confident. They are kind and generous. They are selfless and supporting. And one day, I’m guaranteed to have that as a wife. How awesome is that?

So please, don’t feel sorry me. With the miracles of science I plan to outlive all you that are reading this. I will have my own, healthy children. Don’t runaway either. I don’t want to hear that your sorry, or that your happy for me. Honestly, I’d prefer if you said nothing at all. I’m just like you and your just like me.

I’m HIV positive. And you know what? It’s not a big deal.

Suit Up!

“Now I know I’ve made it!”

These are words we all want to say, usually proceeded by some purchase, event, or other goal being reached. “I have a Ferrari, now I know I’ve made it!” or “I traveled Europe, now I know I’ve made it!”

This is the part of the post where after talking about these superficial goals, how my NIKIMI moment is something more altruistic. Sorry to spoil this part of the movie, but sometimes the guy does not get the girl, the bad guy wins, and yes, a goal in life is selfish and materialistic.

My NIKIMI moment will be when I’m able to where a suit everyday. That’s it.

I thought the goal was to get out of the suit?

Everyone knows how poor my upbringing was. When I was a kid going through some growth spurts, my parents refused to buy me anymore shoes. When I came home one day with bloody toes however, money was miraculously found. Having two older sisters, clothing is more important to women. Plus, one pair of jeans was good enough for two. I wasn’t so lucky.

When I would get promised a new shirt or pants, “In three paychecks”, I couldn’t wait! Having such little clothes growing up made me obsess about fashion. I wish I could wear this and wear that, I’d think. That’s a big reason people with lower income wear clothes that’s a little “louder” than most. You have to make a major statement when you’re hindered with meager means! Hey, when you only have three pieces to work with, you better believe you’re going to notice it – whether you like it or not.

The music video, “Walk This Way”, by Aerosmith and Run DMC exemplifies this point perfectly. I always wondered why rich kids would pay money for ripped jeans, faded shirt, FLIP FLOPS!, and all other things that screamed of poverty. When you see this video, you see two fashion world’s collide. On one side, you have these formerly poor guys in these lush Adidas track suits with these obscene gold chains hanging around their necks. On the other, you have these Boston suburban kids who dress in ragged clothes that looks like they just ripped up their mother’s dresses.

The message is the same, “The grass is always greener on the other side.”

My dad. My artistic inspiration.

Some may wonder how my dad, a lifelong construction worker, can be the driving force for my love of art. Well, all art is creation. And creation is making something beautiful. To this day, I have a passion for architecture that was put into me because of him. I can look at buildings and skylines all day. I have a limitless curiosity on how things are made and built.

Also, my dad is a very proud man who has always taken the most pride in his appearance. He attempts flash and class all the time. It usually comes out more gaudy, but sometimes he hits the mark!

And I believe that buildings and shirts are just like paintings. All these things are created by artisans.

You feel only as good as you look.

So when you see me one day at a barbecue wearing a Calvin Klein suit, don’t ask me why I’m over dressed, come over instead and congratulate me for making it.

Life is too short to go through not looking great everyday.

There Is No Such Thing As A Stupid Person

Dr. King Thinking

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
–Marianne Williamson

First, let me apologize if the final sentence of this paragraph comes off as arrogance. When I do come off as overly confident, it is almost always masking some form of  insecurity. Having said that, I do consider myself a bright guy and people always compliment me on how smart I am.

What makes me so smart? Is it genetics? My mom’s a bright gal, but I do not believe that a culture or race has better attributes than the next; be it physical or mental aptitude. Is it education? Absoultly not. I only have a GED and have never received a single college credit. And if Bernie Madoff and the nightly evening news has taught us anything, it’s that some of the brightest people are in prison. And I know more than my fair share of trust fund kids and these are some of the dumbest people on Earth. Some of them become, what I call, “career students”. I guess they hope that the more letters they get next to their names the more prepared and easy it will be to enter the real world. It won’t.

So what makes a smart person? It’s not a genetic die roll.  And it’s not the free time that a parent or student loan provided for a frameable receipt. It’s several things.

One, it’s an attitude. The ability to have different perspectives on things is not a logical product, as we have been led to believe, as much as it is an emotional one. To see all avenues – and more importantly, to create new ones – takes a person who is willing to let go of common belief in the face of ridicule, try new things in defieance of one’s own common sense, and enjoyment (which breeds creativity) in the problem when others can only embrace frustration. These are things that do not belong to any race or classroom.

Another, is motivation. We as humans all have certain characteristics. Most of them good; some of them bad. One of these is the feeling that the world and life owes us something. It doesn’t. If you feel your family should love you just because you share the same blood, you are wrong. What a lonely world that would be. It’s an extremely selfish and lazy way to think. I am no different. I would like to say, “I am different”, but I find myself falling into the self-pity trap to this day, although I am getting better! Everyone says they would love to start their own business, learn a new language, play an instrument, be able to read X amount of books, etc. But how many people actually get beyond the initial research? After that, you have to plan and then implement. And even if you get that far, then comes the highest hurdle: failure. If you dream of getting fit, you may read the exercise articles online, you may buy the running shoes, but after that first tough mile; will you be back? Odds are you won’t. And to blast though that, and gain mastery in whatever subject or task takes a motivated individual. And this also does not belong to any race or classroom.

The main difference, I find, between a smart person and a stupid person is excuse making. I grew up poor and isolated. I grew up rich and isolated. I had a terrible parent(s). I did not have a parent(s). I’m too young to do that. I’m too old to do that. I can’t do it now, but I’ll do it later. (And once the later becomes now) I can’t do it now, but I’ll do it later.

Excuses are great. It shifts blame and it let’s you escape responsibility. But don’t expect to get any new results or reach any of your goals. Instead of learning new things and expanding your mind, you’ll be in an endless episode of, “Why me?”

I have bad news for all you “stupid people” and excuse makers. You’re not stupid. You just refuse to apply yourself. You want the world. And guess what? You can have it. You just refuse to try. Don’t look to me and others to inspire you. Be your own inspiration. Be your own challenge. Be your own sense of pride and accomplishment. Create your own dynamic world of interests and hobbies.

I know you’re smart enough. And what scares you to death, is that you know you’re smart enough too.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

–Marianne Williamson

Learning To Swim

Since I’m a 31 y.o. dude, you’re probably thinking that my “Learning To Swim” title is an artistic reference to becoming free or liberated in something. No. I was a 31 y.o. dude that was very good at drowning!

Brown people don’t swim. That’s the truth. Since we grew up in predominantly poor neighborhoods, no one has the luxury of owning a swimming pool, leaving near a park that has a swimming pool, or living next to a natural body of water (ocean, lakes, rivers, etc).

Added to that, the fact that I have banged-up, arthritic joints due to my hemophilia, I was a fish with broken fins, destined to fail.

Here’s how poor I was. A few blocks down from my neighborhood, lived our good friends and my parents compadres*, the Gonzalez’. They were and still are, like our extended family. Well there house just so happened to be right next to a canal. You’re thinking Oh no, well I’m here to say Oh yes, we used that thing as a Water Park. Looking back, it was extremely dangerous, unsanitary, and just plain stupid. To me, however, it still brings a smile to my face. There truly is something special about being the children of immigrant parents in America. You get great stories like these. We even had a funny name for our “Water Park”, Chicano Big Surf. Good times.

O.K., maybe we weren't this bad

Continue reading “Learning To Swim”

In-N-Out Burger SUCKS

When I started this blog, I needed to put an “about me” page. So on January 2nd, I simply placed the first thing that came to mind, “I eat cheeseburgers. A lot.”

I liked it then and I still do. I didn’t go all grandiose. Plus, it was heck’a honest.

I’m not very proud to say it, but I have a pretty bland palette. In one of my better bachelor moments, for a few weeks, every Monday, I would go to Church’s Chicken and order a 20-piece chicken thing. I had breakfast, lunch and dinner for at least two days straight if not three.

Nowadays, I eat at least three cheeseburgers a week. I love ’em. A red meat sandwich with cheese and a salad (lettuce) all in one. Can’t beat it. So all though I don’t know squat about food and fine dining, I consider myself a connoisseur (aw, shit, fancy French word) of the King of Foods. So it kills me when folks say In-N-Out is good. It’s not. It’s shite.

The real reason you hear people say “Oh man, In-N-Out is the best! They just opened one? Where? Aw shit! ROAD TRIP!” is because these people know two-shits about a decent burger.

Two of the greatest sites ever created are Stuff White People Like and Look At This Fucking Hipster (more on the dreaded hipster in a later post.) All though totally different in how they convey their message, their target is the same thing that all Americans across all races and political affiliations hate; spoiled, out of touch, left-leaning white people. I could save them so much time if they would just wear a shirt that said “I’M EMBARRASSED MY PARENTS HAVE MONEY”. Anyways, back to those vile burgers…

These pretentious few are the one’s that love those wretched things. Unfortunately, they have also suckered some of their normal friends into thinking those things are good.

The best burgers on earth like McDonald’s or McDonald’s they can’t touch. Why? Well the aforementioned STWL has some very good primers. It’s not natural. It’s not organic. It’s not stupid. So when these delicious deprived individuals get a small hint of greasy, fleshy Americana, they have a mouth-gasim. If I ate piles of horse shit all day, like they do, I guess an In-N-Out burger might taste good too.

“It has a secret menu with a vegetarian option!” Well I have a fist with a punch-you-in-the-face option.

So In-N-Out fans, do the rest of us a favor. Go to Mickey D’s, grab a number whatever, super-size the shit out of it and shut the fuck up.

Life Experiments

So I’m learning a lot lately about productivity, lifehacking, and other self induced life changing experiments. We as humans are always looking for that next, get rich quick while losing 50 lbs. in a month, miracle. But what happens when you try something life altering and habit breaking not for your betterment, but just for the heck of it?

Here are three articles about guys who have tried a few off the wall studies, and their the guinea pigs. No matter how different the project they all have the same result: hilarity.

Enjoy.

I Think You’re Fat by A.J. Jacobs

How To Make Visa Obey Your Every Desire by John Hargrave

Will Doing EVERYTHING My Wife Tells Me Turn Me Into The Perfect Husband? another gem by A.J. Jacobs

A Tad Overambitious?

I am making a resolution to myself to learn several skill sets or reach certain goals within the next month. This post will be fluid. What I mean is, as I go along with this, I will add updates to it.

I am trying to excel at four different things that I have been struggling with for years in under one month. Sounds crazy but I think I can do it. With enough foresight and planning, I may actually not overextend myself while accomplishing more.

Continue reading “A Tad Overambitious?”

F.U., S.F.! Sincerely, U.S.M.C.

It’s no secret that San Francisco has a tumultuous relationship with the military. The notoriously left leaning city is no friend of the military since so many of the citizenry is anti-war and against all military engagement in general. I for one have no problem with that. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and different parts of our country lean more one way politically than an another. It’s when city officials impede on people’s first amendment rights that I carry an issue with.

This anti-military sentiment has not always been the case for the City by the Bay. One of America’s oldest and greatest port cities, San Francisco has exported and imported many a precious cargo throughout the years. None more valuable than American servicemen and women deployed to the Pacific Theater during the Second World War.

In fact, as you can see in the video below, San Francisco erupted as Japan surrendered and all hostilities came to an end. They even had a ticker-tape parade honoring all branches of the military, including Marines.

Click here to see film of V.J. Day in San Francisco

Continue reading “F.U., S.F.! Sincerely, U.S.M.C.”

The Low-Information Diet

Once upon a time, like last month, I was always checking in on some type of screen. Whether it was on my computer or on my iPhone, I would regularly check Twitter every minute and my e-mail and facebook every five minutes. The reason people do this, I believe, is everything from feeling important to creating a false sense of “busyness”.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was when people were trying to have Twitter arguments with me. Yeah, you read right. Arguments. Via Twitter. It’s as lame as it sounds.

Continue reading “The Low-Information Diet”