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

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 tooclosetocall.com 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 […]

The weirdness of reality

Send light through a beam splitter one photon at a time. Send one of the resulting beams to one lab and the other to a second lab. In the first lab, use a device to change the phase of each photon that arrives. Then measure its phase. In the second lab, just measure each photons phase. Conventional logic would tell you that the photons arriving at the second lab would not be effected by what was happening in the first lab, and so the phase of the photons measured there would be unchanged. But no, it’s phase was changed too. Now remember that an individual photon acts like a wave, until you measure something about it, like exactly where it is, or its velocity, or its state (like measuring its phase). Then the wave “collapses” and it is no longer a wave, spread out over space, but a particle, occupying […]

An accommodation

As reported on KSL.com the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made it official policy today to call for the state to restrict the right of individuals to deny employment, housing, etc. to gays. Unfortunately the statement is couched in terms of “protecting rights”, which this most assuredly is not. No one has a right to someone else’s property. The idea is an absurd contradiction. If you have the final say over a thing’s disposition then that thing is yours – your property. If someone else has the final say, then it is the property of that other person. We can speak of multiple persons each having an “interest” in property such as when two people each hold an equal 50% undivided joint interest in a property. But that is different than saying that any random unspecified person has a right to march into your residence or business and […]

The Blockchain is Bigger than Bitcoin

In this recent article, Matthew Sparkes looks at the current status of Bitcoin. He argues that what is much more important is the fate of the blockchain, the decentralized infrastructure upon which Bitcoin is based, but which does not depend upon Bitcoin for its existence. Or does it? He says that if the price of Bitcoin falls far enough, it is possible that a cascade of failing Bitcoin miners will bring the infrastructure to a stand still. With no mining activity, the length of time it takes to confirm transactions, whether of Bitcoin or any other transaction, would grow until finally they might never be confirmed. This scary possibility is enough to encourage me, as someone who looks forward to the scenario Sparkes described last June in this piece, to continue to hold Bitcoin regardless of the downward trend. Comments comments

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 […]