dream

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

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 […]

vr

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 […]

bribe

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 […]

running-back

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 […]

bitcoin

A better system

Q. A young girl who knows absolutely nothing about politics (or much else) just cancelled my vote because she liked the candidate’s shoes. There has GOT to be a better system of government. A. Here’s a better system. Only voluntary associations. That means no one can force us to obey them. No organization (the state) gets to force anyone (citizens) to obey its edicts without prior consent. The state is replaced by various voluntary associations with differing terms of service. Some offer only collective self-defence. Some offer wealth redistribution, etc. You choose which to join thereby agreeing that the association has the right to enforce its rules on you as per its terms of service. Disputes between individuals are settled under the association’s terms of service. If more than one association is involved, the dispute is settled by appeal to a previously agreed upon dispute resolution service. The association’s decisions […]

church_youth

Why fewer people attend church

I read an interesting article called “The Missing Elements of Modern Worship” which my brother shared on Facebook. I was hoping for further insight into what can account for the epidemic downturn in church attendance. I used the author’s points to take inventory of our own services and I believe we have 100% of these every week. (Excepting only that there is no separated scripture reading but there is typically heavy use of scripture throughout the 40 minutes during which 2-3 speakers “preach expositionally”. So I don’t think anything here can account for the downturn. I think it’s parenting. Parents should insist that children maximally participate in relevant church programs. Nothing, not friends, sports, school, and especially not part time work, should be permitted to interfere with church-sponsored activities. The Church must be the chief focal point of the child’s life, outside of the family. This is the only way […]

blessing

Women and the priesthood

Before I became aware of the movement for ordaining women, I predicted that we would see the day when women were ordained. Since then, after reflecting on the subject, I have come to the view that ordaining women would be counterproductive. Men and women are equal but different with different needs. Men need the responsibility of priesthood authority to realize their divine potential whereas women do not. Remember that Brigham Young once taught that women could bestow a blessing of healing on their sick children. Does anyone seriously contend that Heavenly Father pays less heed to a mother’s prayer on behalf of her sick child than to a father’s priesthood blessing? The difference is that the outwardness, the formality, of the ordinance, and the other outward vestiges of priesthood power, being the responsibility of the man, increases the likelihood that he will be engaged in the work. Women do not […]

sims

We are not Sims.

Nowadays almost everyone who writes an explanatory book on physics for the masses has to address the simulation argument. In his excellent book, Hidden in Plain Sight: The simple link between relativity and quantum mechanics, Andrew Thomas says: (T)hese theories consider the possibility tat our entire universe might be a simulated construct in a vast supercomputer run by an advanced civilization (as if we were simulated characters in the computer game The Sims.) The motivation behind such a simulation being just the same as why we enjoy playing games such as The Sims: for entertainment. This statement, the one in bold, stretches the analogy too far. Have you played The Sims or any similar game? Are those game characters really like you? Hardly! I am not going to try to convince you otherwise, if you disagree, as in your case it may then be true. I address myself to those […]