Welcome! Here's my little personal corner of The Web. My intent is for this to be very personal and open, as I desire to live an open life.

You can also find family info on our family blog at turner98.blogspot.com.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Moving to WordPress

I'm moving over to WordPress, at least for now. See me at jturner22.wordpress.com.

I like both Blogger and WordPress, and they're both great, free services. But I think I like WordPress a bit more for how I work.

Specifically, I'm moving for the following reasons:
  • Better previews of posts. This is important when attempting certain layouts in a post.
  • Better support for pictures. I like the direct integration in WordPress, rather than Blogger's bridge into Picasa.
  • Threaded comments
  • Active and regular development
However, I'm quite concerned about the Visual Editor in WordPress, which seems to eat a lot of valid HTML. I was attempting a post with tables, and when switching from the HTML to Visual editors, I was amazed at how quickly things got screwed up. No good, not good at all.

It also seems like WordPress is more about selling upgrades, so site customization is an extra fee. That's a bummer, as I like creating my own layout and CSS style sheets.

So, nothing's perfect, but free blogs are great, so just choose one and enjoy.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Book Review: "The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief"

The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief

by Francis S. Collins

This is the sort of book that is frustrating, because some parts are excellent (Collins' personal story and the scientific parts), while other sections are pretty weak (almost everything related to theology and philosophy). The subject is just too broad for the author's expertise. He relies heavily upon C.S. Lewis, almost to the point of needing a coauthor credit for Lewis. I found all these sections very weak, as Lewis' weaknesses become Collins' weaknesses.

As others have noted, the subtitle "Evidence for Belief" is unrelated to the book itself. There is no evidence whatsoever in this book, just conjecture. A better and accurate (but less marketable) subtitle would have been "A World-Class Scientist Shares His Beliefs".

Other strong sections are where he warns other Christians about distancing themselves too far from scientific discoveries. He has a genuine concern for the Christian religion, and argues that it may be dragged into irrelevancy as human knowledge progresses.

Overall, I would give a recommendation for this book. It's an interesting and quick read, but unlikely to become an important or classic book.

Book Review: "Who Wrote the Bible?"

Who Wrote the Bible?
by Richard E. Friedman

My short review:

Fascinating, insightful, and very well written. I previously had a passing familiarity with the Documentary Hypothesis, but this book fleshed it all out nicely.

The title is a bit misleading, as it only addresses the major sections of the Old Testament.

I'll probably read this book again soon. I can honestly say for the first time that the Old Testament is beginning to make a whole lot more sense! And that is quite a relief.

Highly recommended.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I anticipate this blog being largely about ignorance, and I mean that in the best possible sense.

From the Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, one of the definitions of ignorance is:
the want of knowledge in general, or in relation to a particular subject [ link ]
Random House Dictionary has a similar definition:
lack of knowledge, learning, information, etc. [ link ]
So ignorance is just a lack of knowledge. While it is sometimes used in a pejorative manner, that is certainly not my intent here.

In fact, it is my honest desire to plumb the depths of my own ignorance, so that I might begin to learn what I do not yet know.

It is humbling to delve into a subject, especially when having some superficial familiarity or presumed knowledge, only to learn just how very much I don't know about it at all. After digging down and discovering the extent of my ignorance, then I may build up my knowledge.

Ignorance is something to be discovered, so that it might one day be removed.

I sometimes reflect on how we are often ignorant about our own ignorance. Quite ironic, isn't it?

However, I've learned lately that sometimes ignorance is bliss. Sometimes we discover things that we wish we hadn't. There is a certain amount of peace in the phrase "What you don't know can't hurt you."

Intent and Purpose

At least at first, this blog will primarily concern my spiritual life, and my walk through issues of faith and conviction. This is not an area that most people talk freely about, which for me, right now, is rather unfortunate.

So this blog is an outlet for me, a place to reveal it all, and let the chips land where they may.

Maybe it's just me, but I find that most of us have many different faces. For various social and personal reasons, we only show a certain face to any particular person. For instance, there's our work face, our family face, our neighbor face, our acquaintance face, our buddy face, our close-friend face, and so on. There are bounds to who we are and who we are expected to be and we quite often submit to these bounds. To various degrees, they shape who we are at any given moment.

I'm not talking about duplicity or hypocrisy, but just the natural tendency to conform to expectations.

Some readers will object, and say they do not follow this pattern. They are always fully themselves. I applaud and admire that.

Other readers might note that this is all just normal. Certainly an acquaintance at work or the gym doesn't want to know everything about you, not in the same way a close friend or family member does. I agree, and wish to note that it is those closest to us that I'm mostly talking about.

So for me, hopefully this blog will help me to foster a more open approach to life. You see, there's been something amiss in my life for quite some time, and I'm sick of it, and I'm done with it, and I need to fix it.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Why the bird?

You might ask, "Why the bird?"

Simple, I just get a big kick out of him.

As a father of three lovely young girls, I've been able to read and enjoy many wonderful children's books. This particular fellow is from Big Dog, Little Dog, by P.D. Eastman.

I don't want to spoil the book for you, but it ends with the unnamed bird offering up advice that I find to be remarkably compelling:

"Why make big problems out of little problems?"

This nicely sums up how I largely look at the world. I don't like silly problems, and I sure don't like when people, myself certainly included, make big problems out of little problems.