I liked this post discussing belief as choice and wanted to preserve it here with a few highlights and thoughts of my own. I particularly like this quote from Dr. Teryl Givens as it is close to the same way I understand for why faith is so important. It is an excellent response to any questions regarding why God does not make it easier to believe, why he does not reveal himself to us more obviously. “You are not free to believe or disbelieve the Law of Gravity. It’s there. The evidence is so abundant that you are compelled to accept it. So, as a result, there’s no virtue that attaches to your belief in that law. Similarly, if I were to offer you a million dollars to believe in the Easter Bunny, you wouldn’t be able to do it. So, in both of these cases, belief seems to operate […]

International Trade Agreements

Every decision the state makes is wrong. At least in the sense that it is wrong to presume to have the authority to make decisions that rightfully belong to others and then enforce those decisions. The state, all states, have lost that authority (some never had it to begin with) by exercising power beyond that which was delegated by the consent of those over whom that power is exercised. This is at least almost always to be expected. “We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.” — DC 121:39 “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” — Lord Acton In at least one case, the founding and fundamental principles of a state were set out clearly and in writing and, […]

The free car wash

In my opinion this is the best fundraising idea out there. The idea is to hold a free car wash. There’s no catch to that, it’s totally free and you do not ask for donations. You wouldn’t raise nearly as much money if you just asked for donations. The Car Wash Enlist about 20 people to participate in the free car wash. The whole group will participate in washing every car. Someone sprays the car with a hose, someone washes the right fender, someone the left fender, someone washes the hood, and so on. Assign a different job to each of the 20 people so every single person has a role to play in washing every single car. Be warned: if you think you can just hold up a sign saying “Free Car Wash” and people will flock in, you are sadly mistaken. People will think there’s a catch and […]


Notes on light, truth, glory and intelligence

Some relevant scriptures: “And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things.” (D&C 88:67) “Then shall ye know that ye have seen me, that I am, and that I am the true light that is in you, and that you are in me; otherwise ye could not abound.” (D&C 88:49–50) “…the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings; Which light precedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space— The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who […]


Technology can bring people back to church

I was recently reading some articles about why church attendance is generally in decline. One of the main factors cited was that churches are failing to provide for people’s need for community. Interesting. What is a “community” in this age of instant, free, global communication? Geographic proximity is fast becoming irrelevant. Yet churches are nearly invariably organized around a geographic sense of community. Think instead if it was organized around a community of interests, ties of friendship or family, etc. My perspective is that of an LDS Christian. Picture a typical Sunday. Members from our local area get out of bed, get washed, dressed, travel and arrive to sit and listen to 3 of their fellows (usually a youth, a less experienced speaker, and a more experienced speaker) speak on assigned gospel topics. Each talk might or might not be relevant or interesting to those in attendance, but each speaker […]

A line of thought on Theogeny

Nothing to see here folks, move along. This is really just a “note to self” regarding something I just read and pieced together. I was reading John Leslie’s, “The End of the World”. He reminded me that given a large enough collection of black holes, a fully formed intelligent being might emerge as Hawking radiation. He raises this to illustrate the point that the anthropic principle as understood by it’s discoverer, Brandon Carter, and Leslie himself, contemplates situations where it is more likely to find oneself and not situations such as the one I mention which, while possible, are highly unlikely. Nevertheless, it got me thinking that if an intelligent being could thus emerge, why not a virtually omniscient and omnipotent one? Could this be the mechanism by which Leslie’s “Divine Mind” is created by his “creatively effectual ethical requirement”? If so, the only “requirement” would be John Wheeler’s oscillating […]


Refugees are people usually in need of safety, sustenance and sometimes freedom. Naturally good-natured, well-intentioned people want to help by allowing refugees into their country. They think of their own heritage which, especially for North Americans, nearly always includes a legacy of ancestors from overseas coming here and working hard to build a better life for themselves. Most people with that heritage consider it hypocritical not to welcome refugees. However, there are two huge differences between immigrants of the past and today’s refugees. One difference is that yesterday’s refugees needed to be, or become, self-reliant. There was no welfare state to promise free housing, free food, etc. There was private charity, both institutional (usually from churches) or individual, but there was little to no state assistance. Immigrants did not represent an economic loss to others but an economic gain as they proved to be a willing and hard working labour […]

2015 Federal Election Seat Projections

The notion of a herd of lemmings spilling over a cliff holds a certain fascination. Likewise an election. Especially when something the likes of Justin Trudeau is the favourite to win. Anyway, I can’t resist the number crunching and so, despite the risk of being embarrassed by polls which may prove no more accurate than they were in the BC, Alberta and UK elections, here goes nothing. I’m basing these on the regional breakdown of the Nanos polling numbers for Sunday, Oct 18 and the seat projection spreadsheet. I’ve used another poll, I thinf it was an Ekos poll, to help me figure out how to reconcile the fact that Nanos lumps all 3 Prairie provinces together where tooclosetocall treats Alberta separately. I’ve also had to extrapolate the regional Nanos figures from its 3 day averages using its national 1 day (Oct 18) figures. I’m using the 1 day […]

Why you shouldn’t vote

Does voting matter? Is your decision about who to vote for important? Then why are uninformed people allowed to vote? Why are they encouraged to vote? Because the answer to the first question is “yes” and the second is “no” (except to the parties and candidates because they stand to gain or lose power to control our lives and property). But to the state and its political establishment as a whole it doesn’t matter who you vote for, just that you vote, because a vote, any vote, is a vote for preserving the system that enslaves you. Thankfully the days when this kind of support actually matters are coming to an end. I want to re-emphasize this point. If how you voted really mattered there would be less noise about casting a vote and more about casting an informed vote. People who’s shallowness lets them vote based on a candidate’s […]

AI and the Consciousness Issue

It is supposed by some that we ought to reserve human rights for humans and that artificial intelligence (“AI”) ought to never be afforded such rights. More enlightened individuals would temper that by saying that the rights of AI ought to be respected at least if were believed to have acquired consciousness. But then the problem becomes how one can tell whether an AI is conscious when we cannot even know for sure whether another person is conscious. One feels safe in assuming so since the evidence is that other people are physiologically and behaviorally similar enough to oneself to warrant the assumption that since we are conscious, so too are these otherwise similar others. I believe there will be good reason to warrant making this same assumption with respect to AI at some point. The argument against doing so would be something along the lines of thinking that a […]