Strong and Equal

A better translation of Genesis 2:18 reveals the true stature of woman in the eyes of God. “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” The Hebrew word rendered as “help” is “ezer” which has two roots. One means “to rescue” or “to save” and the other means “to be strong”. It is used several times in the Bible and the majority of time it is used to describe God with reference to the kind of help he provides. Consider the kind of “help” God provided to Moses and the children of Israel in crossing the Red Sea. He opened the sea and let them cross on dry land. That’s the kind of help we’re talking about here, not the kind of help as in, “she helps out around the house.” The word translated […]

Take that Krauss

I really like how John Horgan put that bigoted, pseudo-scientific, anti-religious tag team of Lawrence Krauss and Richard Dawkins in their place. The idea of offering the fact that quantum fluctuations can result in virtual particles becoming real as an answer to the question of why there is something instead of nothing is an insult to the intelligence of their audience, or worse, an appeal to their anti-religious prejudice as being sufficient to blind them to the absurdity of the proposition. As Horgan correctly rejoins, just where or where do the quantum fields that can give rise to virtual particles come from? Surely quantum fields are something and not nothing. Krauss’ thesis would be just plain silly if it weren’t so clearly intended simply as a rallying point for equally rabid atheists whose own pseudo-religious fervor trumps any appeal to reason and quest for truth. I disagree with Horgan’s view […]

Thoughts on a transhumanist interpretation of the King Follett sermon

I am a member of the organization called the Mormon Transhumanist Association. The group is fortunate enough to have an articulate and highly intelligent founder and spokesperson, Lincoln Cannon. I just read this excellent essay where Lincoln interprets Joseph Smith’s famous King Follett sermon. Through this literary device Lincoln reconciles the vital doctrine Joseph Smith taught on that occasion with both transhumanism and Lincoln’s adaptation of the simulation argument which he calls the New God Argument. Such a reconciliation is easy because, as he and I agree, Mormon doctrine mandates transhumanism. I do want to comment on something he says at page 9. “Imagine a posthuman child. Using the tools of quantum archeology, she traces backwards through time and space from effects to causes. Sampling a sufficiently large portion of her present, she rediscovers you. Attaining a desired probabilistic precision for a portion of her past, she recreates you. The […]

State Censorship Objectifies the Human Mind.

I wrote this in response to an invitation to sign a petition to request government censorship of pornography. I am 100% opposed to pornography. I am also 100% opposed to state censorship. If people are forced to choose the right we are no longer moral agents, no longer things that act but things to be acted upon and we can make no progress in developing our moral character through freely choosing the good over the evil. No individual person has the right to make decisions like this for another. When you ask the state to do it for you, you are neither exercising nor delegating a right, you are simply resorting to brute force and asking the state to wield that force on your behalf against others who think differently. By advocating the initiation of force you the aggressor, the perpetrator of a crime against these others. You perpetuate a […]

The Second Coming will be in the 2040s

Many Christians look forward to the literal return of Jesus Christ to usher in a thousand year period of peace called the Millennium. This is certainly a part of Latter-day Saint doctrine. Scripture says no one knows the time of this event but God the Father but that believers should watch for the signs of its coming so they can be prepared. The scriptures are replete with signs but remember that most were written by people who were totally unfamiliar with modern technology. Sure they were inspired and received revealed truth but they still struggled to express it given their lack of experience with today’s (let alone tomorrow’s) technology. I must have been like writing in a foreign language with which they were almost totally unfamiliar. So let’s step away from scriptural interpretation for a minute to see if there is anything that a little logic and common sense can […]

Death

There’s a few things I’m fairly certain about. I believe I have an accurate, though imprecise, appreciation for the degree of uncertainty we have to deal with. (So I’m fairly certain about uncertainty.) The claim to possess absolute knowledge is a fairy tale. The claim, “I am absolutely certain that this (any) statement is true” is either naive, an exaggeration, or a lie. The only source of information about the external world our brain has is what it gathers from our five senses. We are all to familiar with the many maladies that can interfere with the functioning of the senses as we are of disabilities, temporary or chronic, that interfere with the brain’s ability to process sensory information. Hallucinations are real – they are real hallucinations. It is the nature of a hallucination that we are tricked into believing what we hallucinated to be as real as that which […]

John Leslie’s afterlife

I don’t get a chance to update this much as whenever I sit down at the computer, which is most of the day, my present circumstances dictate that I should be working, not typing for pure entertainment. But, as this is my online journal, I wanted to record my brief notes on a portion of one of my favourite books by one of my favourite philosophers, Defending Immortality by John Leslie. Leslie says we have reason to anticipate an afterlife in at least one of the following forms: 1. As Einstein proved, the universe has a four dimensional existence. The past and future is every bit as real as the present since time is relative and there is no way for distant observers to agree upon a single “now”. Therefore, one who, to us, has lived or will live, is living now from the point of view of some observers […]

Would brothers be

Sacrament Meeting talk delivered in New Glasgow on 21 November 2010. A recent sociological study entitled American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us had some particularly interesting findings. I am going to quote a passage from the report of the study. The study … reports that Mormons are among those most friendly toward those of other faiths. …While data suggest that Mormons are among those viewed least positively by many American religious groups, they themselves hold relatively positive views toward members of other faiths, including those outside of Christianity. Of all American faiths, Mormons are most likely to affirm that there is a “true” faith. However, in what might seem a paradox to those unfamiliar with Mormonism, study data also indicate that while many Mormons believe that there is a “true” religion, Mormons are also the most convinced of any group that those outside their faith — including non-Christians […]

Today in Church I . . .

Today in church I got to: 1. speak about how the Reformation made it possible for people to have direct access to the scriptures and a personal relationship with God, rather than through a Priest and how the Restoration gave us even more scriptures and a better understanding of God; 2. lead a discussion of Hosea and the importance of worshiping the one true God and not false idols; 3. lead another discussion on the proper performance of priesthood ordinances such baptism, confirmation and bestowing the gift of the Holy Ghost; 4. receive reports on the home teaching program whereby every member of the Church is contacted each month to offer help and encourage faithfulness; 5. fast and donate the money from the missed meals to help the poor. The old Chinese proverb says: tell me and I’ll forget. Show me, I’ll remember. Involve me and I’ll understand. I’m glad […]

Is Faith Reasonable?

There are some who subscribe to the view that faith and reason are diametrically opposed, mutually exclusive concepts. There is another view. Paul defined faith as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” I am not going to investigate the original Greek as it is this common English translation that many accept as the basis for their own understanding of faith. I am not concerned with what Paul actually thought about faith, or what those who have closed their minds to the subject think of faith, but whether there is a way of reconciling faith with reason persuasively. I think this quote is a good basis for such a discussion. The terms “substance” and “evidence” should strike those of the initial view as properly associated with reason rather than faith. “Substance” very much implies the stuff of this world with which we interact in very […]