Faith Shaking Scientific Discoveries (Or Not)

Take-away: You know all those big big scientific discoveries that seem to shake your faith just a little bit more each time, if you’re being honest? Actually, they usually end up on the cutting room floor. Just wait a bit, and watch some Christian sources like AIG, CMI, or ICR, and you’ll see these claims often be completely retracted or significantly eviscerated. But you won’t usually find the mainstream media covering this because after all we-were-wrongs aren’t all that exciting. Rest assured all science inevitably, eventually, ends up agreeing with the Bible. Here are just a few of the big discoveries that later turned out to be largely hype…

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New Year’s Eve 2010

Goodbye, 2010, we hardly knew ye! Twenty-Ten has been a watershed year for me though I never really considered it like that before writing this. Many personally significant things have happened this year for me and I feel, perhaps, as if I am riding the crest of a wave, one which I’m both exhilarated to be on and also frightened I’ll either slip down the back side of or be let down as it fades. The one thing I will grab hold of is God and His promises and, by these, will I pray that, to face the future, I might become a Cannonball.

My mother passed on early this year. My dad’s mourning has turned to happiness and he will be getting married early 2011.¬† My brother had his first baby, the beautiful baby Arden. My sister’s family continues to grow and each of my nephews and nieces makes me proud.

My father moved out of his house and into a new place for him and his fiance. I moved out of my apartment, of two years, into his old place and, I must say, it’s nice to live in a house again!

Most strikingly, though, for me personally, I feel like I’ve finally emerged out of a three or four year “stop.” A “stop” is what I call it: A period of time where I just “stopped,” and tried to separate myself from pretty much everything, friends, family and, in some ways, my faith. These past few years have been a hard time. Both laborious and emotional.

During this time, I stopped reading my bible, started mixing secular music with my Christian collection, questioned a lot of things in the bible, and experimented somewhat with the world. None of it satisfied, of course, but count yourself lucky if you don’t go, in spite of all wisdom to the contrary, and try to see for yourself what all the non-hoopla is about.

Many years ago, being passionate in my faith, I started collecting Christian music. My friend, Jamie, and I found some amazing stuff. I even got some tunes I remember my brother and sister playing as kids and found out they were still pretty cool. You probably won’t understand it but I actually set out to “find the good music” and prove the Christian music scene had acts just as good as the mainstream. What I found was beyond any of the mainstream. It made the mainstream pale in comparison. I know and remember well it brought joy, delight and happiness cruising around with Jamie, in particular, cranking the “good music.”

You’ll better understand the next part now that I’ve told you about the music I used to love so much. Over time I started mixing Christian muic with secular. I love some of the mainstream stuff. Still do. I listen to music a lot, though, at work, in the car to and from work, to and from hockey and visits with friends up north. The problem with mainstream music is it’s about you and I, all the time, no breaks, ever. It became bitter to me. Very naturally, and without much fanfare, one day I just split up my collection into two folders, “christian” and “secular”, and my playlist has been “christian” ever since. That was a few months ago.

For some reason, that started a change. It made me want to get back into my faith. I can’t remember when but, I got a smart phone around August, and, suddenly, I saw a new and intriguing way to read the bible. I started reading.

I moved into my dad’s old place a few months ago which means I now have a 40 minute drive to/from work. Lots of people think that’s a drag. Turns out it’s brilliant for me. I listen to James MacDonald’s Walk in the Word on my way into work and Ravi Zacharias on the way home. Being under the Word each and every day is an amazing thing.

I need to recognize Creation.com, my passion for creation a gift from my late mother, I suppose. I have had an interest in Creation for a long time even before this year and I think I owe it to Creation Ministries International¬† (Creation.com) to recognize their contribution in effecting my life over the years. You see, Creation isn’t just about creation vs evolution: It’s about the very foundation of Christianity. God’s Word speaks to all the issues relevant in any given age and it is its first book that gives it the authority it needs to speak on those issues. The “young earth creationism” movement is about so much more than just saying the earth was created by God in six days. It’s the seabed foundation of the Christian faith and, without which, the entire faith breaks down into pointlessness. It is because of my reading of young earth creationism that I have an incredible trust in the reliability, authority and historicity of my bible. Do not dismiss creationism. Equip yourself and your friends and family with all that you need to know to be certain of your faith. Confidence in your God, His Word and your faith is there, you just need to go and get it.

I will also mention The Light, a Galaxie radio channel on my Rogers cable tv. They actually do tend to play a number of decent Christian artists and not just fluffy pop. Since moving into my dad’s old house The Light is usually on in the background and is always on when I go for a run on my treadmill.

As I write this, dc Talk’s My Will just started playing on The Light as I finished the last paragraph. Told ya they also play good stuff.

Twenty-Ten is fast closing and I can only thank God for his grace and mercy to me, a sinner, and His sacrifice of His Son on the cross for me. I thank Him for this year and for literally changing me. I pray continually that He will keep changing me still.

Thank you, God, for changing me. Thank you for this year. You already know my hope for next year. Please, may my hope be within your will.

Farewell RedRival (New Year’s Day 2010)

Some might know but many do not know that I’ve been the guy behind RedRival Internet Services. RedRival is closing its doors after twelve years of existence. We were on the market in the twentieth century. How many can say that? There has only ever been myself operating RedRival but I do owe many thanks to people who have helpd me over the years.

Some might know but many do not know that I’ve been the guy behind RedRival Internet Services. RedRival is closing its doors after twelve years of existence. We were on the market in the twentieth century. How many can say that? There has only ever been myself operating RedRival but I do owe many thanks to people who have helped me over the years.

One of those people is Hugh Buchanan who managed the hardware in RedRival’s early life. I owe Hugh much for the trouble I caused him and I can’t thank him enough. He started me out on shared hosting and then moved to a dedicated server when RedRival exploded. It was on a Celeron 366mhz that we transferred our first terabyte of data in a single month. That was the first and only time we ever did that.

RedRival has gone through a few designs over the years. You can check them out at Archive.org (alternate index). As far as the interesting ones:

That was a walk down memory lane for me. The portal homepage was the funniest of them all. Talk about your bandwagons.

RedRival was big at one time. Alexa tracks website’s traffic and is a decent place to find out how you compare to others. Their data no longer goes back very far for RedRival but at one time we were in the top 10,000 websites online by reach. RedRival was definitely big. We had 30,000 members around 2000/01. Unfortunately I accidentally lost our entire user database at one point. RedRival never really hit that peak ever again. I think by the end of 2009 we were somewhere around 15,000 members.

Of course, fads come and go. In the beginning, RedRival was a response to Geocities‘s shoddy free hosting. Nobody liked it. Crosswinds.net was the only other ad-free, free hosting service at that time. They had their issues too with scaling. So RedRival entered the market to take on Crosswinds. To her credit, RedRival remained as the last major free web host before making the switch to an ad-supported model. Not only that, but we also were the last major free web host to implement popups. We held out as long as possible.

We definitely held out as long as possible. I didnt like forcing ads on anybodys pages. I tried so many different methods. There were text ads, banner ads, footer ads, side-bar ads, framed pages, popups, popunders, etc.

In the end, what really killed RedRival was the inability to get any serious money making advertising. It was all CPC mostly and didnt pay nearly what would constitute a decent revenue stream. RedRival never really paid her bills. RivalPro, her sister providing pay hosting services, covered the bills of both for a long time. When I say covered, I mean paid the hosting bills and nothing more. I never made much money at all.

Speaking of advertising, in the wild west days of the internet, advertising networks were willy nilly and anyone could start one. I forget the name now but I got onto one and earned quite a bit of money. When it came time to pay they canceled the account and claimed fraud. Over a period of months I harassed them on forums and warned anybody away from them. One of their guys frequented the same forums I did. Eventually they showed me proof of fraud...a list of 50 IP addresses with no other information. It was lame. So, they eventually agreed to paying most of it back.

RedRival was a labour of love. The last few years of her life saw a largely ad-free existence for anyone actually still using the service (which wasnt many, but I still had a lot of visitors). I paid out of my own pocket. I liked having a hobby to work with technologies so I paid the bills out of pocket for a long time. Eventually, though, having more work to do after your full time job gets old. I play on the computer far too much anyway.

Im really glad to be able to shutdown RedRival and not have to manage it or support its users. My users and clients were some of the best, most gracious people Ive met. RedRival closing its doors is not a reflection of my end-users. Its just simply the circle of life.

Im also really glad to be able to free up some time for hobby projects online. I always have all these crazy ideas and it frustrates me to no end that I can think of a million things that could be a success but I don`t have the drive to get them done. Maybe I’ll be able to relax a little more anyway.

It has really been a tremendous experience and journey for me to have done RedRival for this long. It got me into RivalPro, iDotter and NewsX, and has given me the skills to excel in college and given me a leg up on the competition when looking for jobs. All of that work continues to be of value to me and my employers as I go forward. It was trial by fire but it was a great learning experience.

So, I’ve spoken a lot and there’s really only one thing left to say.

So long and farewell, RedRival!

Update: I would like to thank many more people. My family, my father, my mother, for putting up with me for so long on this project. My sister and brother for encouraging me with it. My extended family who made use of my services and that helped me to keep going. Andrew Elford who setup inconceivable.tj in 1997 or so on a beast of an old machine on a dead slow cable modem. That didn’t last but he helped launched the dream that became RedRival!

William X. Walsh (wish I had a url) who helped me in many things (too bad we don’t see you around anymore!). Ryan Brown, of TBNS.net, whose friendly and fiery competition always kept me interested in improving my service to compete with him! All of the people from dalnet and hypanet irc channels #vr-oasis, etc. That group of people has remained for 12 years migrating to a new network and moving from channel to channel.

My users and clients, some of the best, most gracious, most passionate people I’ve been blessed to work with. The MyRival.com team, which consisted entirely of RedRival members. Apologies to the rest but I can only recall Phzzz right now. Thank you to all who worked on it. MyRival.com was something special.

God, for blesssing me to even be here and to have the opportunity to try all this out, and who blessed me with it for all this time, through the highs and the lows. Thank you.

New Year’s Eve 2009

Goodbye 2009, hello 2010!

Goodbye 2009, hello 2010!

This year has been a hard yet rewarding, difficult yet enjoyable one. I know I am incredibly blessed. I am rich beyond reason compared to those in poverty. I have toys, food, an apartment of my own, a widescreen, a few computers, a wii, a couple of versions of the bible, and way more, definitely more that I simply forget in all my material wealth.

And I have the most valuable thing there is: Jesus Christ’s atonement for my sin.

A friend asked if I was happy the other day. The kind of question put in that kind of way, the kind of way that you know you can’t weasel out of. I made my best effort at weaseling out, though.

I don’t know what happiness is.

If fleeting moments of enjoyment and the rare moment of true joy throughout the year amidst the hassle of life, if that’s happiness than I guess I have it. So that other pervasive, gnawing, dull pained emptiness, I don’t know how to express that in the light of all that God has blessed me with.

To say that I am unhappy in this sea of blessing is, at best, ungrateful and, at worst, reckless abandonment of humility.

To say I am happy, on the other hand, is making an unsound claim.

So, if you ask me if I’m happy, I don’t know how to honestly answer.

I think I will simply say thank you to my God and saviour and ask him if I can be his servant, as one purchased out of slavery with no means to repay in the slightest.