That law which cometh of evil

Here’s a couple of articles I don’t want to lose track of. Both by Connor Boyack. The first was written in 2013 entitled, “The Lord’s Leaders are Fallible — And That’s Okay”. The comment I left on that article was as follows: Thank you for this article. It strikes me as thoroughly enlightened and reasonable. Like you I sustain the leadership of the Church even while acknowledging that they are all human and prone to error, though far less often than I. That they sometimes err gives me hope that I too may err and yet still, for the most part, obtain truth and find favour in God’s sight. The more recent one is entitled, “Why Does My Church Oppose Medical Marijuana?“. I agree with the author in that I believe the position taken by the Church leadership is wrong. I could couch that in many and varied ways but […]

Hitler did it – – – so what?

It has become fashionable to make fun of anyone who uses Hitler references in debate. The suggestion seems to be that such historical references were somehow made illegitimate merely due to the rarely paralleled depths of depravity to which Hitler’s “ethics” sank. The fact that Hitler did something, anything, should make that thing suspect. He, and other tyrants, past and present, have forced kids to march in support of their causes. The state education system is now forcing kids to march in support of gun control. Any reasonable person would find that similarity worrying – certainly worrying enough to consider the implications within their historical context. There’s a pattern here with this fashionable anti-anti-Hitler non-argument. Intelligence has been described in terms of pattern recognition. Higher intelligence not only recognizes a pattern but can extrapolate from that pattern to predict future behaviour – more cause for concern. Entire books have been […]

People Control

“Gun control” is a euphemism for people control. But guns are supposedly bad. They hurt people and so controlling guns is good right? But there’s still enough of us who believe that people are good that make “people control” a politically risky slogan, even if it is exactly what gun control advocates really mean when they spout their nonsense about gun control. If you reasonably determine that a person poses a threat to the life, liberty, or property of you or another person, you are justified in initiating the reasonable use of force to eliminate the threat. In a free society, that is the only justification for denying someone the possession of a gun. If you believe most people are good and would not use a gun to threaten the life, liberty or property of another, then you are not justified in denying most people the possession of a gun. […]

The value of Bitcoin is real

The other day on Fox News there were three panellists discussing the record value of Bitcoin. One confessed that she had known nothing about Bitcoin until she read up about it as preparation for appearing on this panel. While she conveniently confessed her ignorance, that of her fellow panellists could be quickly and easily discerned from their comments. Here’s a short cut. Whenever you hear or read someone whose criticism of Bitcoin is based on it having “no intrinsic value” or not being “based on anything”, the safest thing you can do is to tune out or click on to something else. All economic value is subjective. If I just drank a litre of water and I have a room full of water bottles, consider how much value one more water bottle would have to me. What would I be willing to give up (pay) for one more bottle of […]

A dream within a dream

I just had an experience I want to make note of for its philosophical import. Steve Day and I were driving somewhere in my car discussing philosophy. At one point Steve asked me how I knew that this experience I was having at that moment was not a dream. After contemplating for a moment I replied that I knew it wasn’t a dream for two reasons. One was that nothing wacky was happening as it so often does in dreams. The second reason was a bit deeper. I presume we have all had that experience, upon waking from a dream, of being somewhat amused, or at least surprised, at our own dream-state gullibility. How could our dream-self have seriously believed the dream was real when, recalling the dream now, it was clearly different in quality from “reality”. Not just because of the presence/absence of wacky components, but just because it […]

Truth is Truth

Just completed a survey about a BYU exhibit and wanted to record a couple of my answers. Q. How do we gain knowledge of truth? “Revelation and scientific discovery represent complementary approaches to learning truth. Although there are significant differences between them, there are also many similarities in the processes they follow. For example, the process of revelation starts with faith in God, but also requires study, action (i.e. “experimenting upon the word”), and prayer. Similarly, science often begins with a hypothesis, and then conducts experimentation to test it. Whether truth comes from a scientific laboratory or by revelation from the Lord, it is all compatible because God is the ultimate source of all truth.” I don’t actually think that revelation and science represent different means of discovering truth. In both cases we gather evidence by observation, we form a hypothesis, and we test that hypothesis by establishing parameters, changing […]

The Reality of Our Simulated Reality

“Everything is “real” if you experience it. And a simulated universe is as real as the universe that simulates it because reality is defined by the information it represents — no matter where it’s physically stored.” So says Maxim Roubintchik in “We Might Live in a Virtual Universe — But It Doesn’t Really Matter“, and I agree. It is unfortunate that people tend to dismiss the simulation hypothesis upon first encounter because they fail to grasp that it doesn’t in any way diminish the reality of what is being referred to as a simulation. And it’s not really their fault because there is usually so much to get your head around that this conclusion is inevitability left until fairly late in the discussion. But by then many have already established their bias against the proposition. Once that happens most are not open minded enough to reconsider their antagonism. Oh well, […]

Freedom is Inevitable

I wrote this in response to this article: I’ll never bring my phone on an international flight again. Neither should you. It’s not that Trump is a fascist. It’s that they are all fascists, or at least corporatists (but that’s essentially the same thing). The ideal behind the original version of the US constitution, that the ultimate political values are respect for each INDIVIDUAL person’s right to his/her own life, liberty, and property, have been replaced with the ideals of the corporatist state – that we are all mere elements of a single body (corpus) which that body (the corporate state) can utilize or dispose of as it sees fit to further its interests. The individual per se is not valued and his/her rights are not respected expect when it serves the state’s higher purpose to do so – which is becoming increasingly less frequent. In this slide toward corporatism […]

A corrupt system

(My response to someone who thinks Donald Trump is the effective answer to a corrupt system.) I believe that the political system of western liberal democracies has been corrupted beyond repair. The system is rigged to minimize the chance of anyone proposing a radical reformation of the system to acquire the power to do so. Voting then is just a shell game where our choices are among options, all of which simply maintain the system while using superficial differences to give us the illusion of choice. By participating in a system which really offers us no choice but to support a corrupt system, we ourselves are supporting the system. We are like the people who all oh and ah over the emperor’s new clothes when he is really wearing no new clothes at all. If we participate in a corrupt system which offers no effective means of reform, we are […]

Do gods reason?

This speculative piece assumes that our omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent God did not merely create pets, but children, and intends to raise his children up to be just like Him, so long as His children do not reject His efforts on our behalf. An argument goes, since gods are omniscient, there is nothing left for them to figure out. Reason is redundant since they already know everything, they only need recall it. Even recalling it is unnecessary since all would be continually before them. I think the capacity to reason essentially defines us. If we stop reasoning, we cease to exist as the type of being that would make me think that our being is truly eternal. If you say to a rather intelligent dog, “you will live forever, but you will do so as a cat,” I believe the dog is justified in thinking his days are numbered. But I […]