Manga vs. Anime

"Some of these things are true and some of them lies. But they are all good stories."
-Hilary Mantel
I am very open about my opinions regarding books vs. movies. In fact, I did a whole post about it previously. Essentially, because books and movies are such different forms of art, I don't believe that they can translate effectively. That is to say, I think that books should not be made into movies, and movies should not be made into books. A story meant to be told in one cannot be effectively told in another. However, I've come to a roadblock when I reach manga and anime. Shouldn't the same philosophy carry over? Shouldn't I refrain from watching any anime that's based on a manga series? Not necessarily. In today's post, I'd like to go over manga vs. anime, and ask why this is a different discussion from books vs. movies.

The main similarity between the two discussions is that one side is in a literary format while the other is in a video format. And at first, this may seem to be the entire discussion. But when we look more closely at the reasoning behind the issue, we see that anime and manga are actually far more similar to eachother than movies and books are. Books on the teenage and adult level typically have no pictures. Juvenile fiction will have a few, and children's books will have many pictures, but the books that are made into movies are generally told with words alone. Contrast this with manga, which is comparable to a graphic novel. Already, this removes one of the major barriers between books and movies- narration. Movies, as opposed to books, rely on the visual to show what's going on. But manga does the same, making the stories more easily translatable.

Having seen how books and manga are different, let's next see how movies and anime are different. This one has to do with the time involved in telling a story. Movies often have to cut things out, change events, twist personalities, and make any number of other distortions in order to fit a book-length story into a movie-length format. But because anime is shown in an episodic format, this doesn't need to happen when translating this type of story. They have a much longer amount of time overall to tell the story. (If we assume twenty-minute episodes, two hours of story could be conveyed in six episodes. A short anime series is typically around twelve episodes, which already gives twice the amount of time that a long movies would have.)

We should also keep in mind the similarities between the art styles of manga and anime. Because both use actual images, and because both are animated instead of using live actors, characters in one can look exactly the same in either format. Because of this, one the two differences that I have found between manga and anime is diminished drastically. That difference is that the images move. But because the images in the two formats are essentially the same, the motion isn't a very important aspect. The pictures in the manga are often drawn in such a way that it makes it obvious how they would be moving if they were animated, and this can be directly mirrored in an anime.

The final difference that I've found is, obviously, the addition of sound. This is a bit larger of a difference. But sound effects are often drawn into manga to begin with, and mood music doesn't really take away anything from the story- it just adds another layer. The only thing that could be seen as a problem here is the voices. This is primarily a question of whether the voice acting is any good. However, because I watch subbed anime (and don't speak Japanese), even this difference is heavily diminished.

As a person, I generally tend to prefer manga over anime. But when deciding whether to read or watch a story, I often decide based on which one I saw or heard of first, rather than which one was made first. Because manga and anime are so similar, the stories will tend to match up very closely, and I don't have to worry about whether the adaption is accurate so much as whether the translation is. Of course, there are exceptions, like the original Fullmetal Alchemist anime, which caught up with the manga as it was being published and went in an entirely different direction. For that, I obviously would lean towards reading the manga (or watching the remake, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood; for me personally, that choice went to the manga over the anime once again). But barring exceptions like this, they're so similar that any differences can be pointed out within one or the other and not really affect the story in the same way that books and movies do when translated into the other.
"Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen."
-Leonardo da Vinci

A Christian's Fiction

"And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
-Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
I've heard it said that you can tell what's important to a person by what they fight for and defend. If two things are in conflict and one of them has to go, which one do you toss out? And, while this can sometimes this apply to physical possessions, the most important things aren't the things that we can see with our eyes. (I could write a whole post about that by itself, but I don't think that very many people, if any, would disagree.) Recently, I've seen this coming into play in my life in a very specific way- that is, when encouraged to read, watch, or otherwise engage in fiction that opposes what I believe as a Christian.

The argument that I commonly hear regarding this topic is, "it's fiction, so it doesn't matter." This can be worded in any number of ways. For example, "yes, this story assumes that evolution is true, but just imagine that God doesn't exist for the sake of the story." Or, coming from another Christian, it might sound more like, "yes, God is real, but this story doesn't take place in our world, it takes place in a world where God doesn't exist." But this doesn't work; as a Christian, I believe that not only life, but the entire universe is impossible without God having created it. The common argument that I hear in response is, "but you accept all sorts of impossible things for the sake of fiction." True, but these are impossible in a different way.

I sometimes read stories that have talking dragons in them. Talking dragons do not exist in our world. In fact, no talking animals exist in our world. However, this is a law of reality, not a law of logic. There is no logical rule that says, "you have a planet, therefore it does not contain dragons," or even, "you have an animal, therefore this animal cannot talk." Of course, if you see a dog, you can deduce, quite logically, that it cannot talk. But not because of a rule of logic. When something is logically impossible, you will be able to show that logical impossibility even within the laws of a different universe, because logic must be true by definition. (This goes back to my post on the different levels of knowing, if you haven't seen it.)

Logic consists of such rules as, if A is equal to B and B is equal to C, then A is equal to C. Believe it or not, I have heard it claimed that this needn't be true in fiction! (And, to be honest, that was the point where I realized that the discussion as a whole may have been pointless.) If you write a story where A and C are both equal to B and yet are not equal to eachother, all you're doing is writing nonsense. The word "equal" has a specific definition. A simpler way of explaining this might be to have a story with a square circle. In such a case, I can draw a picture of a circle and ask, "is this the shape that you described in your story?" If they say yes, then it is not a square. If they say no, then it is not a circle. "But that's not true in my story!" Yes it is, you're just a bad writer. You are using real words with real definitions to describe your story, and therefore, must describe real concepts. You can combine previously existing concepts and rules, or you can tweak the way things work, but you must still be using basic logic for your story.

I believe that it is logical to believe in God. That is to say, if somebody says to me, "I don't believe in God," to me this is as silly as saying, "I believe that square circles can exist." After all, something cannot come from nothing- this is a rule of logic. (Atheists are sometimes quick to point out that something actually can come from nothing, but this is a distortion of the words and is not actually true according to the proper definition of nothing. Dr. William Craig gives a basic rebuttal to this claim in the link provided.) The universe has come into existence, and must have come from something. Therefore, God must exist. Because of this, any story which makes the assumption that God does not exist is, in my eyes, illogical. And, as with any other plot hole or illogical situation in a story that I otherwise enjoy, I must patch up that hole with headcanon.

However, what if a story is so opposed to the Bible that it can't be reconciled? For example, I've heard of a TV show called Lucifer, and from what I know of it, it is directly opposed to the Bible. In this case, we go back to what's important. Which is more important to me: God, or personal entertainment? This is where all those arguments from before go astray- they assume that I see God as simply an aspect of reality, no more, no less. That I have an impersonal relationship with Him similar to one that I might have with a tree. I believe that the tree exists, but it has no special meaning to me. But as a Christian, I don't believe that God is simply an aspect of logic to use at my whim. Logic fits with Him, but that's not all He is. I believe that He is my Creator and Savior. And if I have to choose, I pick Him. Some would say that because it's just fiction, I don't have to throw away my faith- just put it aside. But do you put aside your love for someone when it's convenient? If someone wrote a story that was entertaining and funny and dramatic, but they kept talking in the story about how much they hate your best friend, what would you do? Would you make the same argument? "I don't actually hate my friend, I'm just putting aside my love for them while I read this story." That's not something that I can do.

Stories are just that- stories. Fiction. They're not true, and don't have to fit with the laws of reality. But at the same time, we are in the real world, and stories therefore are required to interact with our world- through real words, through real definitions, through real storytellers, through real readers, through real time, and through real devotion. It makes me uncomfortable when I have to reconcile a story- when I have to imagine that such-and-such happened instead. When it gets to the point where that's impossible, I've already made my choice. Because even if it could be shown that a fictional world can function logically without God, it wouldn't make a difference. The entertainment isn't worth setting aside my Lord.
"What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us."
-A.W. Tozer

Dancing's Difficulty

"The existence of other people is essentially awkward."
-Lionel Shriver
The other day I went to a swing dance. I'm not great at swing dance; I've been to far more english country dances than swing dances. But it's fun anyway, so I went- after all, how different could it really be? As I soon discovered, very different. I felt like I was back in dancing kindergarten (which, admittedly, was only a few years ago for me). I remembered how difficult it can be to ask a girl to dance, and also remembered how little people seem to understand about why that is. Some guys are naturally social, and have no difficulty asking a girl to dance. Many girls don't seem to understand why a guy would go to a dance and then not ask anyone to dance with him. (However, whether man or woman, people do often seem to think that they understand, and offer encouragement that doesn't actually apply at all.) So in today's post, I would like to explain what goes through my head when I'm trying to ask a girl to dance, as well as going over the "encouragement" that always seems to be offered. Of course, while my particular concerns my not apply to every guy out there, I still think that it's good to get a more general understanding of the topic.

One of the most common things that I've heard is, "you're not asking her to marry you." These events aren't designed for romantic dancing, and it won't be seen as weird if you ask somebody to dance. For guys who are new to such events, it may seem odd to ask a girl to dance. Will she assume that you're interested in her in some romantic way? While this advice was helpful when I was new to dancing, it no longer applies to myself, or to people who are familiar with dances like this. The next assumption seems to be that maybe the guy just doesn't know where a girl is. It's common for somebody (often a parent) to walk over and say something along the lines of, "there are a few girls right over there." Yes, I can see them, but that's actually part of the issue.

One of the problems that I've found, which actually applies to both english country dancing and swing dancing, is that girls tend to group together. Not that that's a problem in and of itself, but if I know all of them or don't know all of them (as is usually the case) then which one do I ask to dance? In asking one girl, "may I have this dance?" I am indirectly saying to any other girl in the group, "I am not asking you to dance at this time." (While this could technically be considered to be true of any girl in the room, it's a different situation, because you aren't right there next to them.) This is a bigger issue at swing dances, because in english country dancing, everybody finds a partner at about the same time, because the dancing starts all at once. But the problem is there for socially awkward guys no matter what the setting is.

An issue that I've found in asking a stranger to dance is one of conversation. I'm bad at conversation, especially in dance, and it's easier to ask somebody that I know. In english country dancing, I've mostly gotten over this, but in swing dancing and waltzes it still applies with full force. On its own, conversation is a minor factor, but it's aggravated by dances that don't have a set end. English country dances have a specific set of moves that everybody performs at the same time, and the caller decides when the dance will begin or end. A swing dance doesn't have a set time to start or end it. How do you decide if it's been too long or too short? If a conversation gets awkward, I wait until they're not looking at me and sneak away. I can't do that in a dance.

Skill level is also something that I have to take into account. This doesn't apply as much at english country dances, partly because I'm generally good at those, and partly because everyone is doing the same thing. But in swing dance, I'm a mediocre dancer. I'm good enough that I could confuse somebody by trying the pretzel, but bad enough that I could easily bore a girl with my very limited moveset. If it's somebody that I know, I have a rough estimate of how much they match my abilities, but it's not perfect. With a stranger, I have no clue whatsoever.

To sum up the basics, if I don't ask a girl to dance, it isn't because I don't like dancing or want to avoid it, or because of any fault by the girls at the dance. It's because, as a highly awkward person, I don't want to cause offense, boredom, awkwardness, etc., which I as a person am very good at bringing about. Of course, I did dance at the dance that I went to. I didn't just stand in a corner feeling awkward. But it did take me a bit of time to figure it out. The reason I've chosen this topic is because, while encouragement is good, it doesn't make a difference if the encourager doesn't understand why there's an issue in the first place.
"I am an inexhaustible source of awkwardness."
-Milena Veen

Controversy Matters Not

"Religion is like a pair of shoes... Find one that fits for you, but don't make me wear your shoes."
-George Carlin
About a week ago, I was watching a Minecraft livestream from a YouTuber that I watch. He was playing on the same server that he uses for YouTube, but the point of the livestream was to gather resources and do other boring things that people wouldn't normally want to watch a whole video about. He livestreamed it (as opposed to doing it off camera) so that he could have a conversation with his audience while he did the boring stuff, and the conversation would make the normally boring things become interesting. During the discussion, the topic of politics came up. I joined the livestream late, so the most I caught of his political opinions was that he didn't support Donald Trump. (Big surprise there. :P) But I did see the chat bar on the right, and I saw a number of people using that quote from above and applying it to politics.

This brings me to the topic at hand, which is that of controversy. I've found that many people seem to have a similar philosophy to the one from the quotation above. That is to say, the belief that political and religious views are personal, and should not be shared, except perhaps among those who agree with your beliefs. Shoes make you feel comfortable, because they conform to your feet. They change according to your shape and therefore are good at making you feel comfortable, but would not make another person feel comfortable. It wouldn't work to wear another person's shoes unless they have feet that are a similar shape.

There are several problems with this comparison, however. The first, of course, is that someone who would say something like that clearly believes that all controversial opinions are equal, and yet, is trying to assert his or her own opinion over me. That is to say, if you believe that all religions are equal and shouldn't be pushed on others, then feel free to accept your own advice, because my opinion, which you accept as being equally valid to yours, is that not all opinions are equal and that I should be free to share my opinion. (You can see more on this point in my video called Total Equality from a couple weeks ago.)

But additionally, this makes an error in assuming that politics and religion are personal things, as by their very nature, they are not. Political choices affect the entire country, and must be discussed. Religion affects not only the country, but the world. After all, if I'm right and the Bible is true, then that's something that should be widely spread. This isn't a belief that I hold for myself to make myself feel good, it's something that I believe is true for the entire world whether they like it or not. This is very different from a pair of shoes that conform themselves to me. Rather, I desire to be conformed to Christ and the Bible.

Simply because something is uncomfortable for somebody doesn't mean that it's meant only for somebody else. If someone were to spend their life slouching over, and then were to be put in a brace to keep them from doing so, surely this would be uncomfortable. But not because it's meant for somebody else- rather, because that person is the one bent out of shape. And unlike a pair of shoes, politics and religion, as well as any other controversial topic, must be discussed because it affects more than just one person. In fact, if something isn't controversial, you could argue that there is little point to discussing it at all. The quotation at the beginning compares religion to something personal that makes you feel comfortable. But this goes against the very nature of any philosophy that regards the way in which the world works, and thus, is a flawed comparison.
"I don't see how you can write anything of value if you don't offend someone."
-Marvin Harris

Little Things Matter

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around."
-Leo Buscaglia
That quotation isn't entirely relevant to today's post. That's not to say that it isn't relevant at all, or I wouldn't have put it there. But this post isn't what that quotation may have led you to believe. It's easy to give a smile, or to show some simple act of caring, and yet, it's also important. But everybody knows that. It's the type of thing that people post on Facebook, or slap on a motivational picture. (Of course, whether people actually act on it or not is another question, but that's still not what today's post is about.) The reason I bring this up is because what I'm going to do in this post is expand on something that people already accept.

A smile can make a big difference. A little thing, but with a large effect. This is inspiring, so people accept it. It feels good, so people spread it. But what about can I vs. may I? ...That doesn't inspire any particular emotion at all. Let's try something else. Maybe a simple mathematical equation? 2+2*0=? What's the answer? I suspect that people would tend to give one of two answers. Some people would say the answer is 0, and other people would say the answer is 2. The latter would be correct. The reason for this is a little rule called the order of operations, which says that in any equation multiplication and division are performed before addition and subtraction, unless parentheses say otherwise.

Let's go back to can I vs. may I. In our house, it's rather common for my younger siblings to throw "may I" to the wind. "Can I" is used for everything. There's no real reason for that, as it's not any easier, but it still removes clarity. This can be applied to many things, but the reason I bring up this topic is because people will often throw these small ideas to the wind, claiming that it's a little thing, and therefore doesn't matter. "You know what I mean," they say. But I beg to differ. You know what you mean, but how am I supposed to know if you won't communicate clearly?

I once was in a conversation online where it took me about a half an hour to figure out what somebody was trying to tell me because they left out quotation marks around a particular phrase. Communicating clearly is the job of the person speaking. It's not right to expect somebody else to go through the work of deciphering your jumble of words. But this is another topic entirely, and isn't even why I brought up the topic.

The reason I brought this up is because of the political season. Chris Christie in particular was being rather infuriating in one of the debates from a while back when he was bashing on Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio for talking about the goings on in the senate, saying that the American citizens don't care about that stuff. Sadly, he's correct. Many don't care, because they think that it doesn't affect them. They think that, for example, a single word doesn't make a difference. But what if the word changes the sentence, changing the paragraph, the section, the bill, the entire effect of the law? Far-fetched? A little, but not as much as you might think.

If people are paying such heavy attention to something that seems small, they must have a reason. Maybe that's just because they're being petty, but often, it's because it actually makes a difference. You may not understand it, but small things do make a difference. Being clear, closing loopholes, covering every angle, these things make a big difference, just like how one smile can turn a life around. Tugging the corners of your mouth up by about half an inch can change the course of an entire life? No, that's too small. The position of your face doesn't make a difference. ...Or does it?
 "You may think I’m small, but I have a universe inside my mind."
-Yoko Ono

Likable People

Sometimes, I can know that I won't get along with someone before I've even met them. Or should I say, I don't know that I won't get along with them, but based on my track record, I suspect it. I suspect it because I have heard many good things about whatever person it is. The person is fairly popular and well-liked. I have been informed that I should meet this person because they are very likable, and I will get along well with them. I really don't know where people get the idea that I'll get along with likable people. So today, I'll be talking about this type of person. I'll be explaining what I mean, and why I don't tend to get along with them. Part of it is my fault, and part of it isn't. I'll explain more on that later.

The first question to be asked is, what makes somebody likable? Obviously, different people have different personalities, and interact with others in different ways, and get along with different people. (Apparently, I can't get rid of that word, whether on my blog or on YouTube.) So a likable person would have a personality that connects well with a wide variety of other personalities. But a personality isn't all that a person has. There are also questions of politics, religion, and any number of other controversial issues. Of course, it's not a question of what you think about these things, but rather, how you think about them. How do you look at your own opinions? How do you look at the opinions of others? How much are you willing to compromise?

Because I believe that we have a sin nature, I have a rather low opinion of humanity in general. Our instincts are not to better ourselves, but rather, to justify ourselves. Of course, this doesn't mean that there are no people who learn when they need to learn. But people tend to like something if it doesn't particularly challenge them, or if it only challenges them in specific ways. And if someone, for example, gets up in your face and starts shouting at you, that person gets thrown out the window. (As it turns out, I have a friend who did once get up in my face, literally, and started shouting about my attitude towards my hat. But my attitude didn't affect him in any way. He was doing this for my benefit, to challenge me, because I was being stubborn and wouldn't listen any other way.)

This is part of why I have trouble getting along with people who are described as likable or popular. They tend to be, for lack of a better word, weak. They don't tend to challenge people, or ask the tough questions. They are very willing to adapt to what people want, and thus, are less likely to stand up for their controversial beliefs, whether because they back down, or because they just don't talk about them to begin with. Now, I'm not saying that people should be argumentative, but they should be willing to defend their viewpoints in a reasonable manner. Most people, of course, take a defense of an opposing opinion as being unreasonable, regardless of whether it is or not, and thus, would not be inclined to describe such a person as "likable."

Of course, not all "likable" people are like this. Obviously, I do like my friends, and some of them could even be described as popular, or, at the very least, extroverted. It isn't wrong for someone to have many friends, or to be an enjoyable person. But when somebody is described to me in that way, I find myself unable to get along with them. Not that I end up hating them, but that they end up rubbing me the wrong way. And I think that it's because being an enjoyable person isn't merely an attribute that they have, but rather, the attribute that is so overwhelming that that's how people would describe them to somebody else. Not as intelligent, caring, strong, introspective, considerate, or any number of other adjectives, but as having popularity as their primary trait.

But, I will admit, part of the reason that I don't get along with likable people is my own problem. To put it bluntly, I get jealous. People are social beings, and tend to desire affection in various forms. By attention, compliments, or whatever else. To hear somebody mention someone else in a positive light isn't a problem, but often when people talk about somebody likable, they're not just mentioning them. Often, they end up gushing a bit. Because I'm somebody who doesn't mind the spotlight, and even enjoys it, having the attention put on somebody else causes me to get a bit annoyed.

Jealousy of attention that others receive isn't a good thing, and it's something that I need to work on. But, at the same time, I do still believe that there's a problem when somebody's primary trait is their popularity. When the way that people describe someone is as "likable." After all, there are times that someone like this rubs me the wrong way before I've ever even heard them described. To get along well with many people is not a bad thing, but if it becomes the primary trait that people assign, it indicates, in my mind, that this popularity is coming at the expense of other things that are more important.
"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect)."
-Mark Twain

Tolerate the Intolerant

"Tolerance isn't about not having beliefs. It's about how your beliefs lead you to treat people who disagree with you."
-Timothy Keller
I had a difficult time finding quotations for today's post. Hopefully the ones I've found are adequate. However, in searching for quotations, I did find a fair number of quotations that I couldn't use, including one that I almost considered using for the sake of contrast. It described the paradox of freedom, and I found it to be a rather interesting perspective. So I'll be going over that in today's post. Today's post is, of course, about tolerance. Tolerance is often, I believe, a good thing. However, in today's society, it has been elevated above all else, while simultaneously being twisted and distorted so that it is no longer good. This is what I hope to bring to light in today's post.

In my hunt for quotations I found a piece from Karl Popper's book, The Open Society and Its Enemies. "The so-called paradox of freedom," he wrote, "is the argument that freedom in the sense of absence of any constraining control must lead to very great restraint, since it makes the bully free to enslave the meek." To put it another way, let's say that a country has a law against opposing anyone. The problem with this is that if a criminal does oppose somebody, you have no way of stopping them, because the police force would have to oppose the criminal, and thus, would be themselves breaking the law. Karl Popper compares this paradox to the paradox of tolerance. That is to say, if you tolerate everything, you must also tolerate intolerance.

The obvious point of this paradox is that some restrictions must be in place. For example, in America, we have freedom, but we do not have freedom to murder, as this would infringe upon the rights of another. Likewise, we do not have freedom to enslave another human, as that would take away his freedom. So while we do have freedom, we have limited freedom- we are free, so long as our freedom does not remove another person's freedom. However, Karl Popper's application of this scares me. He writes, "I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force ... We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal."

There are two things that he could mean by this. He could mean that intolerance should be treated as a crime. This is a very scary thought. The second, and (hopefully) more likely, is that intolerance should be treated with intolerance, just as your freedoms are removed when you take another's freedom. Intolerance would be restricted by force in this case only when the intolerance demonstrated itself with force (which would, of course, violate various other laws). On the surface, this is a logical argument. However, because of the way that tolerance has been twisted, I believe that there are some more questions that need to be asked, and some more angles that need to be looked at.

Can tolerance be compared to freedom? In our culture, "tolerance" has become another word for "approval." This is where the issue lies. We no longer desire tolerance. We desire approval. This is why so many people are labeled as sexist, racist, homophobes, islamophobes, and any number of other degrading terms. For example, the Christian faith says that homosexuality is wrong. Christians do not go around beating up homosexuals, but also are not willing to violate their beliefs (note the first amendment of the United States constitution). But Christians are still labeled as homophobes for saying that homosexuality is wrong. So what tolerance is really saying is, "You must approve of the same things I approve. You must support the same things I support. You must accept the same things I accept. If you disagree with something, then don't talk about it."

People are no longer allowed to say that there is objective good and evil, or that there is right and wrong. Much less, that there is only one God and one way to heaven. You must accept other beliefs as valid. Which means that you really can't believe what you want to believe anymore. You can believe what you want, if what you want to believe is that there are many roads to heaven and each person's beliefs are equally good. But if each person's beliefs are equally good, then this must apply to the Christian as well, and the Bible rather clearly indicates that there is good and evil, right and wrong, and one way to heaven through the Lord Jesus Christ. If you truly believe in tolerance as it is preached today, then you must be willing to accept other people's beliefs, even if you disagree with them. That includes a belief that one know the only true path to heaven.
"Tolerance only for those who agree with you is no tolerance at all."
-Ray A. Davis