Archive for September 2008

God is in the Rain

September 29, 2008

Specifically, God is in water.  More specifically, water is biocentrically fine-tuned to allow life to exist.  Even more specifically than that, the unique properties of water, every single one of them, are fine-tunely designed to allow large mammalian life to exist. 

All I ask, is that people think outside the box a bit here.  Why is water the way it is?  How did it’s molecular structure form itself to give water unique, law-violating properties?  The laws of physics didn’t have to be the way they are.  Water didn’t have to have the properties it has, there is no “law of water” that forced it to become this way.  But most importantly, IF the laws of physics were fine-tuned to allow large mammalian life, what would we find?

The Necessity of Liquid

Life exists in a liquid medium.  A complex chemical system that assembles, reassembles and replicates itself as well as manipulating it’s atomic and molecular components and drawing it’s vital nutrients from it’s environment would not exist without a liquid medium.

Solid and gaseous mediums would be excluded.  Atoms in solids are held together in a regular or irregular packed, rigidly stuck to each other where the dynamic interactions that life requires would be unable to happen.  Gases, on the other hand, are far too volatile for the chemical matrix of life to occur there. 

Life can be appropriately defined as a complex chemical system capable of assembling and replicating itself, of manipulating it’s components and drawing its vital nutrients and constituents from its environment.  If the laws of physics had decided that only solid and gaseous states would exist, then life, as it is defined above, would certainly not exist.  Frankly, everything that a cell has to do to survive must happen in a liquid medium.  Stick with me, I’ve got a point.

Unique Thermal Properties

There are several thermal properties of water that allow it to STAY in a liquid state.  What good a liquid medium to life if that liquid medium cannot sustain it’s liquid form in the real world?

For instance, water contracts as it gets colder (technically, it gets more dense).  If water were to contract all the way to the freezing point, then water would freeze bottom to top.  If this were the case, large bodies of water would be unthawable.  In fact, we are able to boil water on the surface without thawing out the bottom freeze so it wouldn’t matter how hot the surface water would get, the bottom freeze of a body of water wouldn’t thaw.  In fact, all the oceans would have long ago been frozen solid as each winter would have expanded the amount of frozen water without summer being able to undo winter’s action. 

However, as it is, water expands at the freezing point, forcing frozen water to the top of a body, allowing that ice to be thawed once the temperature is no longer at the freezing point.  This anamolous property of water expanding below 4 degrees celcius, and expanding further at the freezing point, are in violation of a general law of liquids, solids, and gases.  Shortly, without water’s particular property to contract when cold, yet expand when frozen, we would have no standing bodies of water, it would all be ice.  Life, as we define it, certainly wouldn’t exist. 

The thermal conductivity of ice is very low.  In fact, ice is unable to create an ice pack any more than a few meters deep no matter how cold the ambient temperature gets.  If the thermal conductivity of ice was any higher than, again, our large bodies of water would be made mostly of ice.  If the thermal conductivity of ice was higher, than life would have no thermal insulation underneath ice.  Many species that requires this insulation, including humans living in ice environments, would be unable to survive.

Latent Heat of Freezing

When ice melts, heat is absorbed from the environment and heat is released when the reverse happens.  This is a phenomena called “latent heat”.  The latent heat of freezing of water is one of the highest of all known fluids.  In fact, in the ambient temperature range, only ammonia has a higher latent heat.  Water’s latent heat of evaporation is the highest of all liquids in the ambient temperature range.

If the latent heat of water was similar to other substances, then the climate would be subject to much more diverse temperature changes.  Small lakes and rivers would vanish and reappear constantly. 

Biocentrically speaking, warm-blooded creatures would have a MUCH harder time releasing heat from their bodies.  Heat is needed to be released in large quantities in warm-blooded animals such as humans.  There are three ways of doing this, conduction, radiation, and evaporation.  But as we know, releasing heat by conduction and radiation just doesn’t happen in anything but small amounts,  “Evaporative cooling is therefore the only significant means of temperature reduction” (Lawrence Henderson, The Fitness of the Environment, 1913).  Water has a unique ability to allow such heat reduction via evaporation, and if it’s properties were any different, it wouldn’t happen. 

What this means is that large mammals would be much more greatly affected by the environment and any kind of strenuous activity would cause our organs to overheat and fail on us.  This would greatly limit the size of mammalian life and any increase in size probably would not be selected for because of the enormous energy costs.

Surface Tension

The surface tension of water is exceeded by only a few substances.  It’s very high surface tension allows for water to be pulled up the roots and into the branches and leaves of plants.  Certainly without this high surface tension, large terrestrial plants would be an impossibility and along with it every species that relies on them, including humans.  Not to mention the oxygen creation that all of life requires and large terrestrial plants provide. 

The very high surface tension of water also draws water into the crevices and cracks of rocks, assisting in the process of weathering and washing chemicals from the rocks.  Also, as the water freezes (and expands) the rocks are fragmented, helping to create soils and further release minerals into the environment to be used by life.

This is an instance when the properties of water are literally adapted for a role in forming the physical environment for life while at the same time being fit for a number of specific biological functions, without either of which large mammalian life wouldn’t exist.

Viscosity and Diffusion

Viscosity is a liquids’ resistance to flow (it also is a resistance to shearing forces).  The viscosity of liquids varies greatly.  For instance, tar has viscosity 10 billion times greater than water and glycerol has a viscosity a thousand times greater than water.  Water has one of the lowest known for any fluid, however there are a few that have viscosities less than water.  Ether is four times lower while liquid hydrogen is one hundred times lower.

If the viscosity of water was any lower biological tissues would not be able to hold together under shearing forces.  Delicate biological structures would be subject to much more violent forces and even under “normal” stress, they would be unable to maintain their structure.  The delicate molecular architecture of the cell probably almost surely wouldn’t be able to hold together.

On the other hand, if the viscosity of water was any higher, then nothing we now call a fish would be able to exist.  Imagine how hard it would be for a fish to swim through olive oil or treacle!  Also, no microorganism or cell would be able to move, not to mention perform the vital processes such as cell division and the action of the mitochondria and other organelles.  Life just wouldn’t exist.

Viscosity also has everything to do with the process of diffusion.  Diffusion is essential for not only microscopic but also large mamallian life.  Due to the viscosity of water, diffusion rates in water are very rapid over small distances (thin membranes).  Oxygen, through diffusion, will cross the average body cell in about one hundredth of a second.  This explains why microscopic life, including small multicellular life, doesn’t need a circulatory system.  If the viscosity of a liquid goes up, the diffusion rates go down.

For instance, if the viscosity of water was just ten times higher, and therefore the rate of diffusion ten time lower, cells would have to be a thousand times smaller.  As a result, only the very simplest of microscopic cells would be possible, anything bigger just wouldn’t be able to feed itself.

An important characteristic is that diffusion rates are very rapid over short distances but very slow if there is far to go.  This brings us to the question of what would happen with large mammalian life with vastly complicated circulatory systems.

Viscosity and the Circulatory System

Diffusion is a greatly inefficient as a transport mechanism over distances greater than a fraction of a millimeter.  Yet, all large organisms, in order to survive, must somehow get nutrients to their cells.  In mammals, billions of tiny capillaries permeate all the tissues of the body. No cell can survive unless it is within 50 microns of a capillary.  For instance, in the active muscles of a guinea pig, there may be 3,000 open capillaries per square millimeter of muscle.  This is a huge number, taking up about 15% of the volume of the muscle.  It’s equivalent to 10,000 tiny parallel tubes running down a pencil lead.

Due to the miniscule nature of these capillaries, only a liquid with a very low viscosity could travel down them.  Imagine attempting to push treacle through a narrow glass tube!  Water is extraordinarily fit for this purpose.  A two-fold increase in viscosity would cause the flow to half.  If the viscosity of water had been only a few times greater than it is, pumping blood through a capillary bed would require an enormous amount of pressure and almost any circulatory system just wouldn’t work. 

There is more:  We just finished saying that the tube must be small enough to make sure that each cell is within 50 microns of a capillary.  Yet, if the capillary tube was only one half smaller, the resistance to flow would be increased by sixteenfold!  (It’s inversely proportional to the fourth power).  Put another way, to achieve the same rate of blood flow through a capillary of only half the size would either require a lowering of viscosity by sixteen times OR a sixteenfold increase in pressure.  Since we can’t change the viscosity of water, to accomplish a sixteenfold increase in pressure would be a biological engineering impossibility. 

The smallest capillaries are 3-5 microns in diameter.  Considering all the limitations described above, 3-5 microns is nothing short of a physiological constant!  It couldn’t be any higher (capillaries would take up too much space) or lower!

Water Did Not Have To Be This Way

It is also evident that this could have been different.  Each substance, solid, liquid or gas that we have investigated have properties that have no mutual dependence on any other substance.  That is to say that there is no law governing the properties of water, they could have been different.  That these independent laws of substances fit together in such a way that if it was any different, life could not have developed.  This points to design.

In Conclusion

The question we must ask ourselves is this:  Is all of this just coincidence upon coincidence?  The viscosity of water must be very close to what it is to be a fit medium for life.  It’s sufficiently high enough to provide protection against shearing forces and sufficiently low enough to provide enough diffusion across cell membranes to allow cellular life to obtain nutrients.  In the case of large mammalian life, it is suffiently low enough to allow diffusion across capillaries that must be the biological constant of 3-5 microns in diameter. 

Water also has unique properties that make it fit for sustaining itself as a liquid.  These properties are, a high thermal capacity, the conductivity of water, the expansion of water upon freezing, expansion of water below 4 degrees Celcius, low heat conductivity of ice, latent heat of freezing, relatively high viscosity of ice. 

The brief evidence reviewed above indicates that water is uniquely adapted and fit for it’s biological role as life’s liquid medium in every single one of it’s characteristics.  There is no other fluid that is competitive with water as the sustaining fluid for carbon-based life.  If water did not exist, it would have to be invented.  The bottom line, we are brought dramatically face to face with an extraordinary body of evidence of precisely the sort we would expect on the hypothesis that the laws of nature are uniquely fit for our own type of carbon-based life as it exists on Earth.

(This post was gleaned from the second chapter of Michael Denton’s Nature’s Destiny:  How the Laws of Biology Reveal Purpose in the Universe.  Since the book is fairly technical, I summarized and paraphrased as much as I could but sometimes I just didn’t know how to say it any differently than Dr. Denton did, so there are some verbatim passages in here too).

The Basic Fine-Tuning Argument For God’s Existence

September 18, 2008

Before I delve into writing some more technical articles on fine-tuning, I wanted to give an overview of what the argument means and the general point the argument is attempting to convey. 

What is Meant by Fine-Tuning?

If I’m attempting to fine-tune a vehicle, I’m doing so with a certain goal in mind.  I’m attempting to get a certain characteristic out of the vehicle.  Either fuel economy, horsepower, top-end speed or whatever my goal happens to be.  I’m using my intelligence to tweak the characteristics of the vehicle to accomplish my goal.

Although the above was a poor attempt by a mechanical ignoramous to use a mechanical analogy, the fine-tuning argument for God’s existence claims that the universe was tweaked in such a way, with a goal in mind.  That goal was human life.  There are two equally important parts to this argument . . .

1.  The characteristics, forces, and phenomena of the universe are fine-tuned to such a degree that human life is possible.  That is to say that if any characteristics were any more than slightly (and in some cases even slightly) changed, human life would be impossible.

2.  The characteristics, forces and phenomena didn’t HAVE TO be this way.  There is no law governing why these characteristics, forces, and phenomena turned out the way they are.  They could have been different. 

The second part of the argument is important in describing the significance of the first part.  If the argument only consisted of the first part, the easy answer would be, “Well of course the characteristics, forces and phenomena of the universe are fine tuned for life, because we are here.”  The second part suggests that the forces were designed for a certain goal in mind, which can only be accomplished by an Intelligence.

Let’s give an example . . .

The Forces of the Universe

Physicists recognize four fundamental forces of nature.  These four determine the characteristics of the universe.  The interesting part, is that they vary greatly from each other over many orders of magnitude.  These forces are the force of gravity, the weak force, the strong or nuclear force and the electromagnetic force.  They are given below in international standard units:  (if only I knew how to do subscripts)

Force of Gravity                    =   5.9 x 10 -39th power

Weak Force                           =  7.03 x 10 – 3rd power

Strong or Nuclear Force        =  15

Electromagnetic Force          =  3.05 x 10 -12th power

The gravitational force is an unimaginable thirty-nine orders of magnitude smaller than the nuclear force.  If it was a mere (in comparison) trillion times larger than it is now, then the universe would be far smaller than it is now.  The average star would have a mass a trillion times smaller than our sun and the lifespan of about a year.  Far too short for life to develop in any meaningful way if at all.  If the force of gravity had been any less powerful, the universe would not be able to hold itself together (and therefore never would have formed at all). 

The other forces are no less essential and precariously positioned in their values.  If the strong force had been slightly weaker, the only substance that would be stable would be hydrogen.  No other atoms could exist. 

As Paul Davies in his Accidental Universe summarizes it:

The numerical values that nature has assigned to the fundamental constants, such as the charge on the electron, the mass of the proton, and the Newtonian gravitational constant, may be mysterious, but they are crucially relevant to the structure of the universe that we percieve. . . . Had nature opted for a slightly different set of numbers, the world would be a very different place.  Probably we would not be here to see it. . .And when one goes on to study cosmology – the overall structure and evolution of the universe – incredulity mounts.  Recent discoveries about the primeval cosmos oblige us to accept that the expanding universe has been set up in it’s motion with a cooperation of astonishing precision.

The laws of physics are exteremely fit for life and the universe has given every appearance of having been specifically set in motion with that goal in mind.

The Force-Dial Analogy

To put this in perspective, there is a great analogy that is in Lee Strobel’s A Case for a Creator.  Lee is interviewing a physicist by the name of Robin Collins.  Let’s say I go to Mars and I find a biosphere there.  Let’s forget for a second about how the biosphere got there.  In the control room of this biosphere, there are 12 dials that control the various forces and constants found in the biosphere.  Note that these dials have an exteremely large range of possible force or constant values.  As you leave the biosphere, you leave all the dials in random positions so that life is not possible in the biosphere.

Let’s say you come back a year later and find that all of the dials are set differently than you left them, all set precisely for the optimal conditions for life.  The word amazement wouldn’t begin to describe it.  The headlines all over the world would be Proof of Intelligent Life Found on Mars.  This would be the conclusion because only an intelligent being would be able to set all 12 dials for all 12 forces or constants to be optimal for life, random would not even be considered a viable answer. 

The situation is actually worse than that for atheists.  Let’s consider the force values table above.  If I were to set all of the possible force values on a linear dial, from the strong force to the force of gravity and everything in between, with one inch increments, each inch representing a possible force value.  There would be billions upon billions of inches that would stretch across the entire universe.  Let’s say I wanted to increase the force of gravity by a single inch increment on this linear dial; the effect would be catastrophic.  It would increase the force of gravity by a billion fold!  Human life would be impossible.  In fact, a planet with a gravitational pull of only one thousand times that of Earth would have a diameter of forty feet.  Multiplying our current gravitational force by one thousand times may seem like a large number.  However, taking into account the entire range of possible force values, as seen in the chart, a thousand fold increase is miniscule!

The Big Picture

In order for this article to be concise enough, it will suffice to say that am I excluding the names and explanations of several ratios, constants, forces, biological and chemical interactions ect. that need to be precisely the way they are to allow human life.  I will gradually get into many of these fine-tuned phenomena. 

Taking into account the many phenomena that need to be precisely the way they are, and considering the possible range of values they COULD HAVE, the probablity of fine-tuning for human life has been conservatively estimated to be at least one part in a hundred million billion billion billion billion billion.  That would be a ten followed by fifty-three zeroes. If you were to randomly throw a dart at some part of the Earth, that would be like hitting a bullseye that’s less than one trillionth of a trillionth of an inch in diameter.  That’s less than the size of a single atom.  It’s unbelievably precise, and the universe NEEDS this precision in order for human life to be possible.  Chance cannot begin to explain this precision, it’s like throwing darts an atom.  Only Intelligence explains this precision.

The Atheistic Response

I’m open to an atheist offering me an explanation I haven’t thought of, but the only one I can come up with, based on my understand of their worldview, is, “We just got lucky”.  Really?  One part in a ten with fifty-three zeroes after it lucky?  As in, we hit that atom with a dart lucky?  Along those lines is the explanation of, “Well, of course the universe is fine-tuned that precisely, because we’re here.”  Is that really a valid explanation?  Isn’t it along the same lines as “God did it”?.  Aren’t you just saying, “Chance did it”?  This is basically admitting that the atheist has no explanation for why or how the constants became the way they are.  It becomes an “It is because it is” argument.  But if that isn’t the only answer the atheist has, then I’m open to discussion.

Metaphysics Are Necessary

September 11, 2008

Note:  To anyone who is still reading my blog, thanks for sticking with me.  I was sick, hospital sick, and I was in no mood to finish this post.  Now that I’m back in action…here it goes.

It’s been an adventure using presuppositional apologetics these last two months or so.  I keep finding new arguments that atheists use against it, arguments I haven’t heard before.  Some arguments are based on a true understanding of the atheistic and Christian worldview while others are based on ignorance or irrationality.  What follows is of the latter.

First, let’s define some terms.  I might have already gone over these in previous post but redudancy is useful here.  The American Heritage Dictionary defines empiricism as:

1.  The view that experience, especially of the senses, is the only source of knowledge. 

2.  Employment of empirical methods, as in science.

They also define metaphysics as: 

1.  The branch of philosophy that examines the nature of reality, including the relationship between mind and matter, substance and attribute, fact and value.

What atheists, and more specifically naturalists, are want to do, is to ignore that metaphysics exists at all, or that it is a pointless philosophical endeavor.  Instead believing that empiricism is the only route to which we can gain knowledge of anything.  It’s literally an anti-metaphysical bias.  This works well because then the atheist can ignore any metaphysical questions surrounding their worldview, and any metaphysical inconsistencies.  There are several problems with ignoring metaphysics . . .

The Epistemological Method is Not Neutral

Let’s define EpistemologyThe branch of philosophy that studies the nature of knowledge, its presuppositions and foundations, and its extent and validity.

What the atheist is basically saying is that the epistemology of modern science (indeed the modern, educated man!) is that only empiricism is the path to knowledge.  Meaning that only through our sense experience, the scientific method, and the rational reasoning that follows gains us true knowledge. 

Assuming the ultimacy of the human mind is NOT a neutral position!  The Christian position is that God’s self-existence and plan, as well as self-contained self-knowledge, is the presupposition of all created existence and knowledge.  In that case, all human knowledge should be self-consciously subordinated to that plan.  More importantly to this article, both the naturalistic presupposition and the Christian one, are metaphysical positions; both “examine the nature of reality.”

Metaphysics is Necessary to Epistemology

As I’ve argued before, worldviews are systems of presuppositions.  Since they are systems, they include metaphysics and epistemology.  You can’t extract epistemology and empiricism from your worldview and ignore metaphysics without being irrational and willfully ignorant.  How can they be divorced from each other when metaphysics “examines the nature of reality, including the relationship between mind and matter, substance and attribute, fact and value”? These things necessarily affect what and how we know things. 

You cannot yank out your theory of knowledge from your theory of reality.  Your theory of knowledge RESTS UPON your theory of reality.  Without metaphysics, both your epistemology, and the empiricism that goes with it, would be floating in space with nothing underneath it.

For Example . . .

Like I said, this post was inspired by an atheist who made an argument riddled with anti-metaphysical bias.  This particular atheist is Freidenker85 over at Obsessed With Reality.  I would like to respond to some of things he stated as an example of anti-metaphysical bias and the irrationality that follows it.

Throughout your entire reply, you have simply ignored the fact that I do NOT believe in universal uniformity . . .I do believe that there’s uniformity in the space close to us and on earth because this has been exhibited.

You assume that uniformity has been shown in the “space close to us”, whatever that phrase means.  In order for this to be true you must have tested every square inch of the “space close to us” to find if acts the same way across the board.  This has not been done nor is it possible.

More than that, this “space close to us” uniformity is an argument of your own construction formed because you see the danger of my argument.  It is illogical to think that the universe would some how sustain a uniform “space close to us” while everything around us swarms in a chaotic, disorderly cosmos.  If you believe in the uniformity of the “space close to us”, then you believe in universal uniformity.  I’m sorry, there is just no way around it.  There is either universal uniformity or zero uniformity.  There is no middle ground.

 I PERSONALLY do not have any presupposition that it’s just the same as it is in our solar system as it is in some solar system on the edge of the universe, where things could just as well all be blue, fluffy and somehow shaped like elephants.

But even if I give you this “space close to us” stuff, you are begging the question.  Where did the universal uniformity in the “space close to us” come from?  Your belief that the “space close to us” is uniform is a metaphysical one!

Consistency is assumed because we use our past knowledge of consistency to induce it on the future.

As you’ve already stated, you’re new to this stuff so I’ll be kind here.  The statement above is a circular statement.  It can be sufficiently rewritten as “Consistency has happened in the past, so therefore, in the future, we assume nature to be like the past.”  This doesn’t follow.  That’s ok, and like you say, we have to make this circular assumption, and the assumption of induction, to do science.  That’s what we’re discussion.  You’re randomly occuring universe cannot explain why you assume that induction is valid.  “It is because it is” is not an answer.

We don’t have the comfort of your faith in an absolute God.

True, you don’t.  For this discussion, it also leaves you without explanations or reasons for your assumptions of induction and uniformity.  You must believe them with blind faith.

I thought you said that the existence of God is a metaphysical (and metaphysical alone) question: how can there be empirical evidence for God at the same time? Don’t YOU see the inconsistency there?

Yea, an individual’s theistic or non-theistic assumption is a metaphysical belief.  Therefore, there can be no absolute empirical evidence to dis-prove or prove this belief.  However, that does not exclude there being empirical evidence that suggests or points to God.  But, if I gave you fine-tuning evidence for God, you’d have an anti-fine tuning argument/evidence against God, based on your presupposition that He doesn’t exist.  That is why I’m attacking your basic assumptions in uniformity and asking you to explain them without God, which you have not done.

It’s an interesting metaphysical discussion, and I’d like to hear all sides of the story (since this is a somewhat subjective matter) – but really, in a scientific framestructure, I have no idea how the universe started, and I don’t see a scientific reason to attribute its creation to a metaphysical God. A metaphysical reason might be nice, good, and proper. It’s just not scientific, and thus will never be good enough for me.

See, this is your anti-metaphysical bias at full force, and I think a misunderstanding about what metaphysics is, which hopefully I cleared up earlier in this post.  You admit you have no metaphysical reason to assume nature is uniform because “I have no idea how the universe started . . .” yet you will still trust empiricism that is based on this uniformity you can’t explain.  This is illogical and inconsistent.  Having empirical evidence while being unable to explain how and why we can trust that evidence is not good enough for me.  I’ve got the whole package, you must blindly follow empiricism, literally ignoring your massive metaphysical problem.

This is Science?

September 10, 2008

I usually don’t comment on current science news because if I attempted to keep up on it, this blog would be nothing but.  However, I was watching the Today Show this morning and I was struck by something.  As everyone who follows the news a bit knows, physicists in Geneva have built a Large Hadron Collider that took them 30 years and 3.8 billion dollars and is 17 miles long.  The idea, very briefly, is to send particles going almost the speed of light to collide at eachother, perhaps simulating the Big Bang. 

On the Today show, Dr. Michio Kaku was interviewed about the experiment which is close to happening.  When asked what may be the outcome of this experiment, Dr. Kaku said it was about “The theory of everything”, perhaps telling us about “other dimensions and other universes”.  Doing a small bit of research on Dr. Kaku, he has written a book called Physics of the Impossible, which seems to be quite popular.  In the book he urges us to take seriously the ideas of invisibility and time travel.

Wait a minute here.  Other universes?  Other dimensions?  Invisibility?  Time travel?  This is science?  Of course it is.  No really, I agree that we should scientifically explore all options, including these seemingly pointless endeavors.  The ironic part comes in when Dr. Kaku, and any atheists that agree this is science, is asked about God.  I imagine the interview would go something like this . . .

“So, Dr. Kaku, alternate universes, alternate dimensions, invisibility, and time travel.  All these things are possible?” 

“Of course.” 

“Well what about God?”

“That’s not science!”

Hilarious.  Why not explore EVERYTHING?  If we’re willing to entertain the ideas of invisibility and time travel, why not God?  Why the exclusionary bias?  I thought science wasn’t supposed to exclude anything?  No, seriously, I’m asking the question.

I Promise I’ll Get Back to You. . .

September 2, 2008

The comments and blog posts that I want to respond to keep piling up.  The problem is, so does my work outside of the blogosphere.  To go along with my full time job, I’m taking my physics prerequisite for Physical Therapy school (Bio guys like myself shouldn’t have to take math of any sort, much less physics.  It should classify as cruel and unusual punishment) and studying for the Graduate Requisite Exam that I’m taking on Oct. 18th.  Also, the PT school applications are due Oct. 1st. 

Your pity is not needed as I volunteered for this and am actually excited about it, but your patience would be appreciated as I really will get back to all the comments and blog posts that require my attention.