Athenian democracy and Peloponnesian war.

Why was the Peloponnesian War fought? What was its long-term significance?  Greece was divided into independent city-states, these city states were independent from one another.  The two most significant city-states were Athens and Sparta.  After the Persian wars, that resulted in the weakening of Greece, Athens unified with other city-states and formed the Delian league to protect Greece from any further Persian attacks.  Athens, having a strong navy, supplied ships, while the other city-states contributed money.  However, after time had passed, there appeared to be no threat on Greece, and it appeared that this money was being used in the beautification of Athens.  When confronted, Athens argued that it was only fair as the Persians had destroyed their city, that they should take contributions to rebuild it.  It later appeared that Athens would not allow any of the city-states to leave the Delian league.

Thucydides, the great Greek historian said the following “The growth of the power of Athens and the alarm that inspired in Sparta, made war inevitable.”  Sparta and her allies formed the Peloponnesian league, and in 431 B.C., they invade Athens.  Athenians turn to their strength; naval confrontation.  However in 430 B.C., plague breaks out and kills a majority of the Athenian population.  There is a truce from 421-415 B.C., war starts again with Athens’ expedition so Sicily, however, they were unsuccessful.  Sparta had taken up arms again, Athens routed but the Peloponnesian war continued.  Finally, in 404 B.C., Sparta is victorious.  The Delian league is dissolved and Athens has to submit herself to Sparta.

How was Athenian government organized? How much citizen involvement in government was there?  Athenian government had four groups of authority.  The first, the assembly.  the assembly consisted of all Athenian citizens.  To be an Athenian citizen, one must come from two Athenian parents, and it is presumed that they must be male.  The second group of authority was the council of 500, this council consisted of 500 citizens chosen at random.  The council of 500 decided what matters should be presented to the assembly.  The third group was the  law court, the law court consisted of of 600 citizens chosen annually, this was the group from which the jurors were drawn, there were no professional lawyers, just 501 jurors.  Lastly, the Magistrates, about 1,000 citizens elected to fill political offices, these offices were available to most Athenian citizens.

The Development of Ethics in History Influenced by Biblical Material.

What is the view of the biblical materials on the role of ethics in the development of history?

There are many views conveyed in biblical material that present the role of ethics in the development of history.  These views were presented in Genesis, the first book of the bible, and they are consistent throughout the rest of the scriptures.  There are basic ideas that have prevailed through history and have been adopted by many societies today.  This system of ethics and sanctions is not exclusive to Christians, the ideas of this system conveyed in the bible, formed many aspects of western civilization.

A significant amount of the biblical passages possess one theme, sanctions will be inflicted according to ethics.  These sanctions are inescapable and it is the responsibility of the individual to follow the law of God and have good ethics, otherwise, he will ultimately receive negative sanctions.  In order to have good ethics and receive positive sanctions, the individual must obey the law of God.  The righteous who seek out wisdom and understanding, and submit themselves to the law of God, will receive eternal reward.  Evil-doers may receive a temporary earthly reward, but ultimately they will receive sanctions according to their ethics.

The system of obedience towards God’s law, and the sanctions afflicted accordingly is similar to the system of most civilizations of their state state laws.  This system of cause and effect in relation to law is basic to human reason.

It is demonstrated in biblical text that man has free will, men are agents of God, but they are not robotic instruments.  Individuals have the ability to think rationally and choose their own ethical path.  They cannot, however, determine the punishment or reward, except through the correspondence of their obedience towards the law of God, and their ethics.  Good ethics will result in positive sanctions, while bad ethics will result in negative sanctions.

Individuals can choose for themselves how they live out their lives, they can choose the sanctions they will receive, by choosing a lifestyle of wisdom and righteousness, or a lifestyle of wickedness.  This has remained consistent through the development of history.

If a life of righteousness leads to ultimate positive sanctions, why do men choose to participate in evil acts?  There are pleasures in evil, this is why man engages in it.  However, those pleasures are temporary, they wear off, this can result in an addiction to evil activity.  These are materialistic pleasures, but men are weak, they fall to the addictions of materialistic pleasures.  They lose mindfulness of the idea of ultimate sanctions, and forget about the debts they will have to pay back for their loans of temporary material pleasures.  Again, this idea has been consistent throughout the development of history.

The views of ethics as expressed in biblical text, have shaped western civilization.

Why men are 50% more likely to be colorblind than women.

Joking aside, why are men far more likely than women to be colorblind?

Men are more likely to be colorblind than women, why?  It is all about genes.  Our chromosomes come in pairs, we get one from each parent.  The female gamete has two X chromosomes, and the male gamete has an X and a Y chromosome.  For the child to be female, it must get an X chromosome from the mother, and an X chromosome from the father.  For the child to be male, they must get the X chromosome from the mother and the Y chromosome from the father.  The child will get an X from the female gamete regardless.

The genes for colorblindness are on the X chromosome.  If a female has something wrong with one of her X chromosomes, she has another to back it up, she would thus need two damaged X chromosomes to inherit colorblindness.  Males, however, only have one X chromosome, so if this chromosome is damaged, there is not another one to back it up.  Women have a chance of inheriting colorblindness, however, men are 50% more likely than women to inherit colorblindness.

Aristotle’s Main Points in His Ethics.

Aristotle was an ancient Greek philosopher and scientist.  Aristotle produced many individual works, one in particular of great significance, was his Ethics.  He called this the Nicomachean Ethics, because his father and his son both had the name Nicomachus.  In his ethics, he conveys several ideas that are foundational in western civilization.

According to Aristotle, the end goal of man is to achieve happiness.  Every action an individual takes part in, is in order to achieve something that is good.  The ultimate good, is happiness.  There can be many actions leading up to this ultimate good, but that is what the individual is striving for.  What Aristotle means by happiness may be different than what the modern day person would perceive happiness as.  By happiness, Aristotle means eudaimonia, which is the feeling of fulfillment, of contentedness, and blessedness.

How does the individual find eudaimonia? Well, to have eudaimonia, you possess a feeling of fulfillment.  To feel content and fulfilled, you must know the purpose of your existence.  Humans are separated from every other creature because they possess human reason, and the ability to think rationally.  So to find eudaimonia, the individual must exercise human reason through virtuous acts, to fulfill their existence.

What are virtues? Doing good unto others, and in turn receiving good.  Virtue is found in habitually doing the right thing.  To be virtuous, one must be disciplined in participating in the act of individual virtues.  Happiness is a virtue and in time it brings pleasure and develops your potential excellence.

Happiness is its own end, other ends have further ends but happiness is an ultimate end.

Ethics and Sanctions in Proverbs 1-7.

There is a strong relationship between ethics and sanctions throughout the book of Proverbs.  Chapters 1-7 of the Proverbs present significant representation of this relationship.  The Proverbs are written mainly by Solomon, the son of David.  David wrote a majority of the Psalms; the previous book of the bible.  In the first 9 chapters of the Proverbs, the author provides an introduction.  This is unique, this is not seen in any other book of the bible.

In reading this introduction, it is understood that he is offering guidance to his son.  He provides instruction through imagery.  Wisdom is imaged as the form of a woman, wickedness is also imaged as a woman.  The individual man must not let himself be tempted by the strange woman; the woman of evil.  This is an effective use of rhetoric, the message is conveyed in a way that makes sense.  Women are used as an example of what men desire, and this is represents it in a way that the reader can understand the power of the the decision; good or evil.

If man allows himself to be tempted by the “strange woman,” he will go in the path  of  wickedness.  Bad ethics may give a temporary reward, but that reward will eventually die, and negative sanctions will be inflicted.  However, if a man keeps his heart on the woman of wisdom, and devotes himself to the pure path of righteousness, he will be granted positive sanctions.  Good ethics, may present temporary disposition, but this is only temporary, and in the end, positive sanctions will be given to the righteous man.  While there are several examples, this is the basic theme, and the idea of the feminine forms of wisdom and wickedness effectively conveys this theme.

We see in Proverbs 2:18 “For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead.”  This verse is referring to the strange woman, who represents wickedness.  There may be earthly pleasures for a period of time, but these will fade and the man who follows the path of this wickedness will be lead to death; negative sanctions.  In Dr. Gary North’s conclusion of this verse, he says “If you go with the unrighteous individual, you’re headed for destruction.”  This message is based on the relationship between ethics and sanctions.

There is instruction provided for the man who chooses the path of wisdom.  The individual must be close to law of God.  The laws of God are standards to which all individuals must live by in order to attain eternal reward.  If one follows the law of God, they exercise good ethics, and this provides them with deliverance from God.  Wisdom is ethical (wisdom in terms of understanding right from wrong).  The individual who seeks wisdom and understanding, rather than wicked action, will attain everlasting positive sanctions.

The relationship between ethics and sanctions in proverbs 1-7 is of great significance.  Ethics influence the end sanction.  While God is the supreme being, man has the free will to choose for himself what path he wants to take.  If the individual lets himself be deceived from the path of righteousness, that is a moral decision of the individual and sanctions will be inflicted according to that moral decision.

 

Cash Accounting vs. Accrual Accounting.

Good accounting is basic to every successful business.  It is the job of the business owner to ensure that the best method of accounting is being applied.  Here is the definition of accounting from Wikipedia: “Accounting or accountancy is the measurement, processing, and communication of financial information about economic entities such as businesses and corporations.”  This provides the basic idea.  Without accounting, a business is sloppy, and it is impossible to run it successful.  Accounting is a structural aspect of every business that should not and cannot be overlooked, there are two basic methods of accounting that are given in the paragraphs below.

Cash accounting method.  In using the cash method of accounting, sales are recorded when cash is received, and the expenses are recorded when cash is sent out.  This may seem like a very basic method, and it is.  However, there are issues.  When using the cash method, the economic reality is distorted.  Some expenses have to be paid months or years in advance, this throws off the financial statements and presents a lot of confusion.

Accrual accounting method.  In the accrual method of accounting, the revenue is recorded when the service or good is delivered no matter when the cash is paid or received.  This is the reverse of the cash method.  It is simple, and it is more productive.  “Accounts payable” is the term we use to record these unpaid expenses.  The accrual accounting method, unlike the cash method, clears up economic confusion and allows for more accuracy in financial records.

Western Civilization 1, Week 4 Writing Assignment.

1. What was the disagreement Socrates had with the Sophists?  The Sophists were a group of Greek teachers who believed there was no absolute truth.  They believed that truth is relative.  They mainly taught rhetoric, however, while the Sophists taught people to be persuasive through use of rhetoric, they did not place significance in the idea they were trying to persuade.  The famous philosopher, Socrates disagreed with what the Sophists were doing.  They believed that there was no absolute good, and no absolute bad, that each individual must determine good or bad for him or her self.  Socrates was in search of the absolute truth; e.g. what is justice? They did not look for the truth, because they had no absolute truth, Socrates disagreed with this.

2. What was Plato’s point in his allegory of the cave?  Plato wrote his philosophy in the form of dialogues, almost like plays.  One of the most famous of these, was his allegory of the cave.  He paints a mental image of men who are blind to reality, who only see the lower materialistic world.

Plato believed there was a higher world and a lower world.  The lower world is that of objects; the world we live in and perceive.  The higher world is that of the forms that are the models and guidelines of the material objects we see.  The forms are not something we can perceive.  For instance, there are many different kinds of cups, but they are all based on one idea we have of what a cup should be.  In his allegory of the cave, he demonstrates that men are ignorant to the higher world of the forms, and that they are satisfied with the past present and future of the material world.  He believed that the highest form of contemplation was to contemplate the unchanging.  The group of men in the cave that he created a mental image of, refused to challenge this thought, and let themselves settle with what changed.

Reasons Offered in the Psalms for Long-term Optimism.

The book of Psalms is the longest book in the bible, and perhaps one of the most influential on modern society.  This collection of literary praises, demonstrates faithful men who remained faithful in both good times, and times of deep despair.  It is clear through this text that these faithful people looked to the future, and had reasons for long-term optimism.

It is indicated that God is sovereign, and this is consistent throughout the Psalms.  To start, it is important to understand the meaning of sovereignty: “Sovereignty is the full right and power of a governing body over itself, without any interference from outside sources or bodies.”  With that in mind, the Psalms convey that God is the ultimate, there is nothing higher than God.  God is therefore the ultimate good.  Personally, I believe that God created man, and gave man a sense of morality.  In making decisions, man knows what is right and what is wrong.  However, he also gave man free will.  Thus man has the ability to make his own choices.  While the ideal would be to obey God, this is a choice for the individual to make.  What is it that inspires the individual to choose obedience towards God; good over evil?  What were the reasons for the long-term optimism of the faithful?

There is a connection between the law of God and the sanctions of God.  It is a simple idea, obedience towards God, will result in positive sanctions from God.  If God is the sovereign being, then these positive sanctions from God are the ultimate reward that man can attain.  This hope that faith and obedience of man towards God, is a significant reason for long-term optimism.  If you obey God, He will deliver you.

This long-term optimism was only rejoiced in by the individuals who remained faithful and obedient to God.  In the Psalms, there is military language that implies the faithful were delivered by God from the evildoers who refused to dwell in the house of the Lord.  Not all men possessed this long term optimism, there were those who disobeyed the laws of God.  These evildoers did not receive the historical deliverance that the faithful received.  Those who refuse to bow before God, who rebel against His name, were inflicted by God with negative sanctions.

Regarding sanctions, there is sufficient motivation for man to look to God in times of despair and remain faithful and pure in the eyes of God.  Every man has an idea of morals; what they believe is good and what they believe is not moral.  This may or may not coordinate with the law of God, because man has free will, however, if man’s morals do not coordinate with the laws of God, he will be inflicted with negative sanctions.  God intervenes, if man cannot be stronger than the temptations of evil, God will intervene.

The idea of faith and obedience towards God, and in return eternal reward, is, in my opinion, the fundamental reason offered in the book of Psalms for long-term optimism.

My favorite product-based company.

There are countless different types companies that provide a large array of products and services to individuals around the world.  All of these businesses can be categorized in one or both of two categories: product, or service.

A service-based company, such as Uber, a lawyer, or a plumber, offer a professional service.  Select services could be done without these companies but a majority of the population would rather hire the work to someone else.

A product-based company, such as Amazon, Walmart, or Barnes and noble, provide products.  Some select product-based companies, manufacture and distribute their products, while others have suppliers from which they get their products and then they distribute to buyers.

Determining my favorite product-based company is a hard decision, however, it would have to be Amazon.com.  It is really handy to have a reliable online platform that carries nearly every imaginable item sold on amazon.  Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, did a remarkable job in creating and developing an effective online shopping platform.  Amazon offers opportunity for other smaller businesses to distribute their products, and it also offers opportunity for individuals, such as bloggers, to earn money by promoting their products.

Amazon manufactures some of their products, but a majority of products are sold by businesses and individuals, through the Amazon platform.  Amazon is like an online mall, only, way bigger than any physical mall.  Amazon was an innovative idea, that has created a unique online community that has been a huge convenience to many people (including me) throughout their daily lives.

The growth of an organism explained on a cellular level.

“You are probably taller now than you were 4 years ago. What, specifically, caused you to become taller? Explain what happened on a cellular level.”

The cell is the basic unit of life.  Anything smaller than a cell; unable to perform the jobs of the cell, is not a form of life.  Cells are what larger organisms are made of.  Having the ability to understand life on a cellular level allows us to understand the larger organisms.

In terms of human growth, what happens on a cellular level?  Over a time period of, in this case, 4 years, what happens inside a child’s body that causes them to grow taller?  Cells themselves do not grow beyond a certain point, as they would get so large that the systems inside the cell would no longer function properly.  Think of an infant, if they had the same cells from infancy to adulthood, and the cells just grew, the cells would be incredibly large and unable to function properly.  What happens?  The cells actually duplicate.  The cells split, through a process called mitosis, which creates a genetically identical cell.

There are two different phases of the cell cycle, the mitotic phase which is where mitosis occurs, and the inter-phase, during the times when the cell is just carrying out the job it is designed to do.  The cells know what phase to be in because they receive messages from other cells.  The outer membrane of the cell is covered with receptors, that receive messages that “tell” the receiving cell about other cell activity, and this tells the cell what phase it should be in.  The cells in an organism work together systematically to carry out growth, healing, and many other purposes of the organism.