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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Information = IT


Thanks to P e r ∙ C r u c e m ∙ a d ∙ L u c e m for the visual above. My personal recommendation is to choose to drink and ignore the naysayers.
~~~~~~~
Information is one of the three topics this blog is currently discussing, along with the beginning of life and the process of evolution. Other issues may be addressed later on but let us deal with that which is at hand thoroughly rather than be all over the map.
I made the following statements in more than one way:

1) Naturalistic Materialists have no coherent explanation for the advent of information.

2) They also have no explanation for where life came from, and in fact science has "proven" that life only comes from life.

3) They have also failed to demonstrate evolution in action, despite long years with short-life/quick generating organisms like bacteria and fruit flies.

Today I am responding to commenters who were dissatisfied with dictionary definitions of information. Being an information technology professional, I am qualified to speak to this subject in detail.

First, let me say that information is NOT material and one must be careful not to confuse the container with what is contained. The human mind is used to dealing with and understanding the material world and it is harder to conceive of supernatural concepts.

If I hand you a glass of milk, you would recognize the glass as a container and the liquid within as the milk itself. You wish to receive and drink the milk, but milk requires some kind of container in order to transfer it to your possession. This is a simple example and hopefully everyone recognizes that both milk and glass are material, having mass and taking up space within the Universe.

In the world of IT, I might describe my computer in ways that are related to information. For instance, I have a Vista 64-bit OS running with a 1.8 gig AMD quad processor and 4 gigs of RAM and a 250 gig hard drive. I have described numbers relative to information but those numbers are qualitative. They represent rates or quantities of information represented materially as bits. Those bits, the smallest unit of information represented materially in the world of IT, are part of the material world.

You can discuss Shannon's law/theory concerning amounts of information and the speed of the transmission of information but, when you do, you are merely discussing the movement of tiny containers. The information itself is not actually addressed. I can have a hard drive stuffed full of old files left over from downloads and just a bunch of random junk. I could be opening Word documents and put a rock on one of my keyboard keys and fill up my harddrive with documents consisting of nothing more that long strings of the letter "a" or "n" and not actually be transmitting information itself.

You see, information is not the bits or bytes or kilobytes or gigabytes or terabytes. It is the message contained within.

MARSHALL MCLUHAN WAS WRONG


The guy who coined the phrase, "global village", McLuhan recognized that the rapid growth of new methods of communication would revolutionize the world. He sought to quantify and identify the growth, to analyze the effects of such growth and recognize patterns within the process. He came to several conclusions based upon the idea that information was part of the material world. He was wrong, even though many of his conclusions were pretty accurate. The medium is NOT the message. Information is intelligence transmitted. What we commonly call information is actually the translation of a message into a material form. One must not confuse the medium or the method for the message itself. A message is a transfer of intelligence and information is that intelligence which is being transmitted from one entity to another.




I will use an example I presented previously in greater detail. Suppose I have a notepad and a pen. I show you the items. Nothing has been written upon the notepad. I put them on a scale and weigh them. I put you on a scale and weigh you. I weigh myself.




Now I take the pen and draw a bunch of quick scribbles and lines on the pad in a random way. I show it to you. You do not perceive a message from me on the notepad. I weigh the pad and paper and the weight is unchanged. You stand on the scale and your weight is unchanged. I weigh myself and my weight is unchanged.




Now I take the pen and write "Jesus rose from the dead on Easter." You are able to read this message. I have transmitted information to you. I now weigh the notepad and paper and the weight remains the same. You get on the scale and you weigh the same. I get on the scale and I weigh the same. But now you and I both agree that something has passed between you and I. I have transmitted information to you without passing anything material to you. Maybe you already know that Jesus rose from the dead and when. Maybe you didn't know it, or maybe you don't believe it. But you know that I transmitted that message to you whether you agree with it or not.




Back to information technology. I can add items to my harddrive that are nonsensical and they will still take up space. The amount of space taken up by the bits and bytes will not tell me whether they represent actual information or just "white noise."




As you read this blog now, you are receiving information from me and you can do so because you can understand the code I am using and the method of code transmission. I am using the Engligh language and transmitting it using the alphabet typed into this website. Blogger is using bits and bytes organized in such a way that you read my words as if they had been printed upon a page. Do you understand that the bits and bytes, the letters themselves, they are not the message? They are simply the medium by which the message is transmitted. Even the code itself is not the message, it is simply a method I am using by which I can transmit intelligence and that you are able to translate into thoughts within your mind.




In our daily lives, we easily recognize information and differentiate the transmission of information from random noise.




Perhaps I see a utility pole, a metal one, and it has a small smudge of paint. I examine the paint and using logic and forensic reasoning I determine that the paint came from an automobile that scraped against the pole. Perhaps I can determine the make and model of automobile from the composition of the paint and perhaps I can sift through all the local examples of that particular auto and identify the specific auto with a scratch in the right place that actually collided with that pole. Now there is information being transmitted in the form of evidence. We can determine as best we can what event was represented by that smudge. However, the car itself was not attempting to communicate with us. We have reasoning powers that enable us to translate the language of evidence into an understanding of an event. But, again, understand that the automobile was not trying to pass us a message nor was the driver. We may be able to figure out where it came from but it was not an attempt to pass a message to me or anyone else. It is simply an accidental random mark left as a reminder of an event that was almost certainly unintended. It is not a transmission of an intelligent thought.




But if that same pole has a crown and a few letters and symbols painted upon it, that might well be a sign from a gang member that is telling all who understand that this is marked territory, that in the opinion of that gang member this area belongs to him and his gang and other gang members should stay away lest they be attacked. Hmmm. Both cases involve paint on a utility pole. One is just a smudge left over from an accident that we can study and perhaps even find a way to recreate in our mind's eye what that accident may have been. The other is an attempt to transmit a message using a code understood by the target audience/receivers.




Elsewhere on the pole is a message that appears to have been spray painted on using a template so that it appears to be neatly printed, "Post No Bills." We may not have any desire or ability to identify the smudge and it may be difficult to do so. We may not understand gang symbols and therefore can't really get the message the gang is sending. But we are able to read the message that was posted specifically for us that tells us not to put up any "bills", which is an archaic way of telling people not to put up posters and signs. If I happen to be a gang member of a rival gang, I am going to be able to understand the gang signage and now I can decide whether to be warned away by or to ignore it or whether it actually is some kind of welcome to me.




Paint on a utility pole. It could be meaningless, it could be evidence, it could be code intended for a limited audience or code intended for a general audience.




dklsaotguuslnhous is a series of letters of the English alphabet. It is meaningless, simply a bunch of letters I randomly typed. Even though it is using symbols commonly used to transmit information it does not convey any message. Green side up, on the other hand, is a message that has meaning. It might be an instruction for laying sod, for instance.




I conclude that the medium is not the message at all. Containers that commonly carry a message must be filled with intelligence before a message is actually conveyed. It takes an intelligent entity to input the message.




You see, a gang member designed and painted the symbols that made a territorial statement. A worker for the utility company painted the warning, almost certainly because he was directed to do so by a supervisor. The automobile did not purpose to strike the pole, nor did it have a message to transmit.




Now let us apply this to the Universe. There are many ways of transmitting information within this material universe and we find that we must use a material means to convey the message and yet the message is not the medium or the method itself. So when you consider DNA, you find that you have a medium (organic material) and a method (a code using combinations of adenine, thymine, guanine and cytosine) used to convey intelligence. Wikipedia describes DNA thusly:




"Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms and some viruses. The main role of DNA molecules is the long-term storage of information. DNA is often compared to a set of blueprints or a recipe, or a code, since it contains the instructions needed to construct other components of cells, such as proteins and RNA molecules. The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in regulating the use of this genetic information.



Chemically, DNA consists of two long polymers of simple units called nucleotides, with backbones made of sugars and phosphate groups joined by ester bonds. These two strands run in opposite directions to each other and are therefore anti-parallel. Attached to each sugar is one of four types of molecules called bases. It is the sequence of these four bases along the backbone that encodes information. This information is read using the genetic code, which specifies the sequence of the amino acids within proteins. The code is read by copying stretches of DNA into the related nucleic acid RNA, in a process called transcription."


Please note the language used above. "Instructions. Purposes." So now I will add to our definition. Information is intelligence transmitted for a specific purpose.


When I make a blog post, when you speak with your friends, when you write a letter, you are transmitting intelligence and you have a purpose in mind. You also have a recipient in mind and a specific result in response to your message. Dr. Werner Gitt identifies five basic levels of information concept as represented by the illustration.









RUBBER MEETS ROAD




I insist that it is great foolishness to suppose that intelligence has ever been transmitted accidently and with no purpose. Yet a naturalistic materialist will say that intelligence simple developed and that DNA evolved from a series of accidents and the working of natural selection. Have you not learned anything from your time here on Earth? Accidents break things, not fix things. If I drop the glass of milk I will break the glass and spill the milk. By the reasoning of the naturalistic materialist, one of these times I will drop the glass of milk and produce ice cream.




In our world heat transfers from hot things to cold things rather than the reverse. Energy is converted to entropy. Order becomes disorder. There is no place found in the Universe in which these operations are not observed unless an intelligent source brings energy and information into a system to alter the system. Futhermore, throughout the known Universe we have found that matter obeys certain laws that can be understood logically. Gravity operates under an apple tree and five million miles out in space. E=MC2 is true on Earth and on Mars.




The entire Universe is ordered and logically functioning by a set of laws and composed of building blocks that we are able to study and attempt to understand. Matter is composed of molecules which are composed of atoms which are composed of subatomic particles and we can study and predict the behavior of the molecules and the atoms and even, to an extent, the subatomic particles although at the moment mankind has come to the outer limits of his intellect in attempting to comprehend the behavior of subatomic particles.




~~~~~~~




It puzzles me that a man can see an automobile and recognize that said automobile had to have been designed and manufactured by intelligent beings and yet, upon discovering that a simple human cell is more complex than a Rolls Royce that same man will accept the idea that said cell came about by a series of accidents. It is not simply the ridiculous odds against the material composition of a cell having happened by a series of chance events, it is the magical appearance of the intelligence/instruction contained within the DNA. Naturalistic materialists must believe that instructions and codes and intelligence just came from nowhere and no one. It is absurdity in the extreme.




Some commenters laugh because I contend that God created the Universe and all contained within it. But my contention is logical and conceivable. If you do not believe in God, you believe in magic because intelligence transmitting instructions via coding for a purpose is simply not going to just happen. I dare you to even begin to explain this logically.




Today is Easter, the day that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. He was seen after his death by over 500 witnesses in at least ten different locations and times. It would have greatly benefitted both the Romans and the unbelieving Jews to find a dead Jesus body or refute the witnesses to his reappearance on Earth but they were quite unable to do it.




Was Jesus raising from death a miracle? Yes, and so was His conversion of water into wine, His raising Lazarus from death and His healings of the lame and blind and demon-possessed. God created the Universe and has authority over it and its laws and systems. He is the owner and according to Colossians chapter one He actually sustains the Universe at every moment by His will.




You can continue to be a grasshopper on the rail, shaking your fist at the oncoming train while claiming to believe that said train does not exist. Or, you can have your free ticket, climb on board and ride the train with the rest of us. My naturalist materialistic friends, you have no logical explanation for the presence of information in the world other than by a creation by a higher entity. I say that the Creator God wants us to know and understand Him and what He has done and thus made sure the Bible was available for man to read and begin to comprehend God within the constraints of our limited abilities.




PS - I would recommend reading this chapter excerpt from Werner Gitt's book.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Emily Dickinson and I agree...




Opinion is a flitting thing,
But Truth, outlasts the Sun --
If then we cannot own them both --
Possess the oldest one --


Emily Dickinson

~~~~~~~

The older I get and the more I find out
The more I find to discover
So therefore I think I shall learn no more
Before I get any dumber

Radar

~~~~~~~

No one has Emily Dickinson quite figured out. She wrote with childlike wisdom and
veracity.  She was reclusive and mysterious, perhaps from a medical condition, perhaps
as a result of a broken heart.  Sometimes she wrote something stunningly significant
with admirable brevity.  I admire that particular sentiment at the top and completely
agree with it.
 
My poem was written tongue-in-cheek in my twenty-first year, during a time I was not
only attending college but also experiencing a truly significant love relationship for
the first time.  My exposure to higher education, new independence and the wealth of
sensations and feelings of true love had completely enthralled me.  You see, I was a
reader at an early age, reading college level books in grade school for my own pleasure
and learning.  I thought I really understood the world at age 12.  I was surprised and
pleased to learn how many new vistas of knowledge were opening up to me at the age of
21.  I made the poem up on the spot and recited it to my Dad while we were having one
of our man-to-man discussions and he encouraged me to write it down and save it.
 
What follows is a personal rant.  I think Emily was onto something, but I sometimes think
that the scientific community in large part has decided to quit learning in some areas and
has closed minds to new ideas in certain disciplines.  This is the only explanation that makes
sense to me for the continued belief in the increasingly ridiculous concept of evolution.
 
The "why" is a matter of beliefs rather than science.  Right now I am primarily concerned with
pointing out the "what." 
 
PERSONAL INTERLUDE (Just skip this part if you don't care)
 
One thing my Dad and I enjoyed, from the time I began reading "adult" books as a child,
was to sit down and just talk about things...philosophy, religion, news events, science
history or whatever.  In those moments we were more like two guys than father and son.
He had traveled the planet during his military days and then later as a business executive.
He had begun life on my great-grandfather's farm as his family struggled to eek out a
living for three generations of people.  They had pots rather than a bathroom, a mule
instead of a tractor and ate so many turnips that Dad refused to eat one as an adult.  Most
of their meat came from game they had hunted down. 
 
My Dad's family's first car was a Model T Ford that had been converted into a pickup truck.
The gas tank used a gravity feed system to power the engine, so they had to drive backwards
up hills.  Sometime in the late 1930's my grandfather was able to purchase a partnership
in a grocery store where the farm habitually sold its produce.  Grandpa bought a 1922 Chevy
touring car and drove back and forth from the store with a Colt .45 holstered to his belt.
The reason?  His job was to take the money home from the store at night and then deposit
the earnings in the bank the following morning.  Everyone in the area knew my "Pap" had that
gun and knew how to use it.  No one ever tried to rob him or the store.
 
When my Pap was born, there were no planes.  Automobiles were for the rich or were home-made
by inventors.  Even when I was a small boy, my grandparents had a party line phone shared with
several neighbors.  Blackberry and laptops and moon landings and satellite television would have
been foreign to him.  But Pap was a farmboy who worked hard and became a small businessman.
 
I am very proud of him for working hard to make a career and a living for his
family.  I am proud of my Dad for obtaining a scholarship to college and for his eventual
success in the business world as well as his willingness to go to war for his country.
He once found and restored a 1922 Chevrolet touring car that was just like the one his father
had owned. 
 
My Dad died at age 53.  Now I am older than my Dad ever was.  It surprises me that he seemed
so old to me back then and I feel so young right now at age 56.  But I think he gave me a great
gift in that he would take the time to just talk with me and listen to me as an individual from
the time I was just a kid.  He helped me believe in my ability to reason and learn.
 
I benefitted from having a stay-at-home Mom who taught me to read and write before I went to
Kindergarten.  Both of my parents had large libraries and encouraged me to read.  I had carte
blanche beginning in the third grade to hop on a bus and ride to the downtown public library to
check out books.  She made sure I had money for bus tokens and I often went to the downtown
library since the Bookmobile had very limited selections available. 
 
Thanks to my Mom (still kickin' it at age 79) and Dad for encouraging me to read and think
and learn!
 
END PERSONAL INTERLUDE
 
Naturalistic Materialistic people are a challenge to me, in that I have a great deal of hope
that I can open their eyes to see more than their limited point of view while dealing with
their tendency to believe they know it all and have no need to learn more.  It is almost
as if they are living out the theme of my little poem, but not in a sarcastic way but as if
it is the best way to live.  Some of the most famous of these, such as Richard Dawkins,
seem so hopelessly programmed that one could not imagine a new thought ever managing to
penetrate their thick skulls. 
 
Thick skulls?  Is that not a derisive comment?  Yes, but I don't think that Richard Dawkins
is stupid.  I think his skull is thickened by propaganda, whether readily accepted or not, and
that he is almost incapable of thinking outside of his own personal box.  This was illustrated
by the movie "Expelled" in which, during an interview with Ben Stein, Dawkins admitted he would
have no problem with the concept that all life on Earth had been designed as long as that life
had been seeded here by aliens from another part of the Universe!!!!!
 
If Dawkins has admitted that his problem with a designed Universe is the idea of a Designer, he
is at least honest.  People like Julian Huxley and Dawkins have that going for them.  Too bad
most naturalistic materialistic scientists who believe in evolution won't own up to it.
 
E-MC2 is an equation that summarizes the relationship between energy and matter.  It would seem
that the naturalistic materialistic scientist would say that it also sums up everything about
the Universe and all that can be known must fit somewhere in that equation.   All scientific
inquiries must be limited thereby.  Anything else is a matter for the religious.
 
I say to you all that naturalistic materialism is a religion.  Humanism is a religion.  Atheism
is, in fact, a religion.  All of these things are bounded by belief.  Naturalistic materialists
are making a religious statement when they say that all scientific studies must be limited to
natural rather than supernatural questions and answers.  Says who? 
 
You see, the Universe is made up of more than energy and entropy.  I challenged my commenters to
come up with an explanation for the presence of information and they could not do it.  The
reason is clear, they have no explanation.  They simply asked more questions in response.
 
Information can be quantified by the amount of space it takes up in some material form to a degree.
for instance, eggroll and gorglel take up precisely the same amount of space on this blog but
one of them transmits intelligence and one does not, at least not in English.  I work in the IT
industry (The binary man says there are only 10 kinds of people...) and we do quantify information
as being multiples of bits.  But what we are REALLY saying is that information is being given
to us and others through a kind of code that can be represented materially and that the code
takes up a certain amount of material space.  Filling up space with stuff is not the same as
transmitting information.  I could start a Word document and then place something to hold down
the "a" key on my keyboard and come back a few minutes later to find I now had a 298 KB
document that consisted of line after line of aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
 
Would there be a message there?  No.  But when I come to the keypad and being typing words,
then I am not just filling up space with letters, I am transmitting information.
 
So we have three major
aspects to existence to deal with:
 
Energy
Entropy
Information
 
Hmmm.  But that is not enough.  I may have something to say, but I must decide to transmit it in
some form and act upon that decision before the information is actually transmitted.  If I must
decide to do it before it gets done, then in fact there is yet another aspect of existence to
consider:
 
Energy
Entropy
Information
Will
 
Yes, I must exert my will to transmit information which, with energy, I then type onto the page
which then causes some energy to be converted to entroy in the process.  Whew! 
 
Guys, naturalistic materialistic scientists suggest that a big bang formed the Universe.  The
concept basically boils down to this:  From nothing came something.  Now this is really kind
of silly when you look at it critically.  But that is basically what naturalistic materialistic
scientists want to believe.
 
They then believe that life just kind of came from non-life somehow.  Now I think that we need to
consider this...
 
DARWIN
 
Charles Darwin grew up in a culture of changing realities.  Although Pasteur had recently shown
that life could not come from non-life, James Hutton had proposed his theory of uniformitarianism
that Lyell had furthered, bring revolutionary ideas to the forefront in the world of geology. In
the matter of social order, Karl Marx and the concept of communism combined with so-called
higher textual criticism of the Bible was bringing upheaval to the political and religious world.
 
Charles Darwin's grandfather had written an evolutionary-style book, Zoonomia, and had sought
for a non-religious solution to the problem of the origins of living things. Charle's father was
nominally a church member but in fact simply wanted to appear to be respectable in order to
advance his successful career in business. Darwin did marry his first cousin, who was a believer
in God. He adored his wife and his little daughter, but the daughter suffered from severe stomach
illnesses and died at age ten. Darwin, himself a descendant of cousin marriage, blamed his
marriage to a cousin for making his daughter genetically deficient and also became a fervent
atheist as a result of her death. Darwin was motivated to find a way to explain away God.
 
Scientists of the time knew little about the nature of life and knew nothing about the DNA system
of coding that is present in all living things.   Had they known, the likely would have simply
dismissed evolution by means of natural selection out of hand.  But they did not know, it became
the accepted dogma and soon everyone was being taught that science had basically proven
the concept to be true.
 
Trouble is, once it was generally accepted that all things were made of earth, wind, fire and water.
It was generally accepted that the Sun revolved around the Earth.  Newton's laws of physics were
the accepted fact, until Relativity came along, until Quantum Mechanics came along...
 
 
The Smart Scientist
 
The smart scientist realizes that Truth is always to be strived for but may not ever be found.  It
is the goal and love of the scientist to advance knowledge farther along on the road to Truth but
to not be satisfied with the current thinking just because it is popular.
 
The Average Scientist
 
The average scientist accepts the mainstream point of view in order to get along, to get funding,
to receive tenure and get his papers published.  He focuses his research, usually, in one small
area and seeks to advance knowledge in that one small area and hopefully make discoveries
and simultaneously a name for himeself.
 
The Wise Scientist
 
The wise scientist recognizes that God created all things and that He is the holder of all Truth.
He knows this is why the laws of science are organized rather than random and this is why a man
can study and understand natural processes, because they were designed with purpose and will
by a superior intellect. This understanding underlies his thinking processes as he studies and
tests and questions and seeks for answers. Men like Lord Kelvin and Newton and Linnaeus and
Copernicus were all believers in God as the Creator of all things and that knowledge gave them
confidence that processes could be understood and that knowledge could benefit mankind.
 
 
The Foolish Scientist
 
The foolish scientist doesn't actually care about finding truth, he is most concerned with proving
his point of view.  He will only consider evidence that supports his personal belief system and
may actually try to hide evidence that hurts his cause.  He will make fun of those who disagree
with him, which is not admirable.  Worse, he will work to exclude those with differing beliefs from
the schools and institutions he inhabits.  He seeks to stifly any dissenters and all dissenting
information.  He does not want other points of view to even be presented, let alone seriously
considered!  Sadly, at least a very large minority of scientists fall into the average or the
foolish category.
 
~~~~~~~
 
Commenters, have you noticed how naturalistic materialistic scientists fight so hard to keep any
Intelligent Design information from being presented in schools?  Fear and ignorance!  It is as if
the scientific community, in the majority, is this massive cult that bows to a dogmatic line of
propaganda and shuns all who dare to question that dogma.
 
You expect us to believe that life came from non-life and yet can find no comprehensible means by
which this may have ever been accomplished.  You study life carefully for multiple generations and
find that speciation can happen rapidly but new life is never formed. You expect people to believe
that an explosion created a Universe of orderly systems and laws, that an accident produced
living creatures with remarkably complex parts. You expect people to believe that information
magically appeared from no one and from nowhere and is now found throughout the planet.
 
I asked you before and again I fling down the gauntlet.  Give me an explanation for the presence of
information.  How did intelligence in the form of DNA get implanted in living cells?  How is it born
in the minds of men?  In fact, how can you explain a logical and orderly Universe that obeys laws
that are comprehensible and predictable? Do you expect us to believe that intelligence just
burped into existence?
 
A child understands that if you drop a drinking glass onto the kitchen floor it will spill its contents
and probably shatter into several pieces.  The devout naturalistic materialistic scientist seems to
believe the process would work in reverse once in awhile, that sometimes a bunch of junk on the
ground organizes itself into a nice glass of milk and leaps up into your hand.
 
If we had a scientific community composed of Wise and Smart scientists, we would be benefitted
greatly, as research would tend to focus on where the evidence leads rather than continual
attempts to find ways to disprove the possibility of God.
 
Maybe, in your opinion, the Universe was an accident and life was a lucky break and living beings
are the result of a long string of mistakes and bungles that just happened to coincide with other
mistakes and bungles that just happened to coincide with changing ecological conditions...over
and over and over again millions and millions upon millions of times for each kind of plant and
animal that ever existed.
 
Maybe, in your opinion, thousands of miles of sedimentary rock were laid by local floods, wild
chance caused every mountain on the planet to have once been a seabed, solid rocks can be
folded like putty and some animals evolve into completely new kinds of beings while some remain
the same for millions and millions of years. Oh, and also millions of years worth of rock records
are found some places and not others, while sometimes rock layers are found out of order
because rocks sometimes flip like click beetles and shuffle like cards.
 
Are you sure you want to base your life on such a groundless and empty belief system?  How do
you find any meaning in a random life that happened by chance and will disappear like the tail end
of a breeze? How do you find peace when such questions hang over your head?