Wednesday, November 25, 2009


"The Metaphysics of Quality subscribes to what is called empiricism. It claims that all legitimate human knowledge arises from the senses or by thinking about what the senses provide. Most empiricists deny the validity of any knowledge gained through imagination, authority, tradition, or purely theoretical reasoning. They regard fields such as art, morality, religion, and metaphysics as unverifiable."
--Robert M. Persig, Lila: An Inquiry into Morals.

In other words, empiricists have to re-invent the wheel a lot.

What I question is, do we have to view such fields as unverifiable? In the case of art, the content of the communication is received through the senses - watching a dancer, listening to music, even touching a sculpture. In the case of morality it seems that the claims of a given moral can be tested in our own sense experience, or that of others around us (at some level we have to have criteria for accepting some of the sense experience of others or we really do have to not only reinvent the wheel, but do molecular examination of each bite of food we take to make sure it is indeed food [not to mention that we would have to develop such examination methods entirely ourselves]). Metaphysics that claim to merely be imaginative speculation would be unverifiable, but it seems most metaphysics are based on ties (however tenuous) to sense experience--so the validity of the ties is what comes into question. In the case of religion, most religious teachings are in texts which we experience ourselves and can test aspects of with sense experience (to determine whether the authors are trustworthy), and most of those texts claim to be the result of the writer's sense experience of the deity, or extrapolations from previous writers' experiences. I'm not sure if Mohamed claimed his writing to be revealed to him by God (an instance of the former) or, rather, written through him by God (which, since it lacks the humans sense experience, would be unverifiable if we don't allow God's sense experience as valid for argument). In the case of authors like Moses, Isaiah and Matthew, they claim to be writing the result of their sense experience encounters with God. In the case of a writer like Paul, or the author of Ecclesiastes, they generally claim to be explaining or applying the work of previous writers, or that which is obvious from experience. Paul does develop new things, but he generally does so by inference from previous writings, not by just asserting "thus sayeth the Lord."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Adventures in Third Trimester

OK, so it's been a rough few weeks as I've hit 3rd trimester. Several things happened all at once:

First of all, I started having episodes of racing heart and feeling very light-headed/faint. Fortunately, I had an episode right when my OB walked into the room and he was able to observe my heart rate go from 158 to 77 within the space of about a minute. He referred me to a cardiologist who then took an EKG and put me on a heart monitor for 24 hours. I was hooked up to 5 electrodes and had a pager-like thing that I had to sleep with. Of course, I did not have a major episode while the monitor was on, so this week I'll go pick up a 30 day monitor that I will activate when I start having an episode. They believe I have something called SVT that is a type of arrhythmia. It's not life-threatening, but can be serious, because if it lasts for more than 10-15 min. the baby wouldn't be getting enough blood.

Second, I failed my one-hr. glucose test which meant I had to do the three-hr. glucose test to determine whether or not I have gestational diabetes. I HATE NEEDLES. I mean, HATE. So, I was pretty nervous since they do 4 blood draws in the space of 3 hours. The Lord really gave me peace and I did pretty well at staying calm. They let me have a room and just lay down the entire time and listen to my iPod. Currie also came along and kept me company. The good news is: I passed!! Hallelujah. I didn't even want to think about having to check my blood sugar four times a day (like my co-worker who has GD).

Third, I am pretty sure I am having panic attacks. I think this has been brought on by the racing heart episodes, and the fear that it will happen when I'm driving, etc. So, Thurs. morning on my way to work I had to pull over twice onto the shoulder and lower my seat so that I wouldn't pass out. I walked straight to the nurse's station once I got to school and I was white as a ghost. My pulse and blood pressure were normal and she said it sounded like it was brought on by anxiety (I'd had a good breakfast, all my tests had come back normal, etc.). Since then I've had several other episodes of feeling pressure in my chest, like I can't get my breath, and like things are just closing in on me. At this point I don't know if the heart thing causes the anxiety or the anxiety causes the heart thing! I don't feel like I'm worried about things, but when I sit back and think about the major changes that have happened in our lives since Aug. they are pretty significant (new house, still settling in, TONS of projects to be done, unknown future plans if Currie doesn't get into the PhD program, new baby, etc.)!

Anyhoo, I got a much-needed break this weekend. I flew down to FL to see my fam and boy did I get the royal treatment! My aunt arranged for my 2nd cousin (a massage therapist who specializes in prenatal massage) to come to our house and give me a massage. My mom treated me to a pedicure (only the 2nd one I've ever had in my life). I got to go to the beach each day, we ate out, visited, and shopped. Here's some pictures of my "solo babymoon". :)

4 generations (one in utero) together

Breakfast at IHOP

The beach was SUPER windy each day, but to me it was heaven.
The picture is so foggy 'cause of the salt on the camera lens.
Whale at the beach...

Monday, November 09, 2009

This weekend I took a S24O (Sub-24 hour Overnight--See Grant Petersen's article "S24Os" in Adventure Cyclist January 2007) trip (but on a motorcycle) to Pere Marquette State Park to figure out motorcycle camping. I had more stuff than need as I brought a small library to work on a paper--but despite all this junk, the bike still got better than 74 MPG!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Halloween Par-tay

This is probably the first Halloween that Currie hasn't dressed up in either a kilt or a cloak. :) However, in true Currie-fashion, he had to be authentic, right down to shaving the beard so he'd look younger (I've only ever seen him w/o a beard like 3 times in my life). Anyhow, we had fun and got lots of compliments. :)

I made a "pumpkin" cheese ball and my friend and I made Marshmallow Witches together.
(Check out for the recipes.)