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MarginOfError last won the day on September 10

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  1. Men in general, no? But certainly some of them are useless.
  2. I'm going to lay out a bunch of propositions without justification, because I'm too lazy to look them up. But this illustrates how I think about the issue. It isn't entirely scripturally backed, but because I'm me, it's obviously correct Premise 1: Returning into God's presence is contingent on obeying his laws. Those who fail to do so cannot be exalted. Premise 2: God, knowing the unlikelihood of anyone living up to standard set forth in Premise 1, proposed a plan where an intermediary could absolve others of their guilt, allowing them to regain eligibility for exaltation. The condition to be an intermediary was completing a life completely obedient to God's laws. I think these two premises are relatively uncontroversial. You can nitpick them if you want, but at their core, I think most of would agree to the basic concepts. There is one thing that isn't addressed here, however. Premise 2 establishes the conditions for eligibility to be an intermediary. But it doesn't establish the terms for becoming an intermediary. This is at the very heart of @Chainsaw's question. And as other have stated, there is no definitive scriptural answer to this question. I think it is common for people to assume the Penal Substitution model. This, by my understanding, makes the assumption that every sin or misdeed is attached to a penalty. And Christ would have had to feel the weight of all of those penalties. As an adult, this model never felt right to me. In some ways, it feels like it multiplies the penalty of sin. Christ had to experience the cumulative penalties of the sins of some 40 billion people (or whatever), but all of those people would experience those penalties at least up until the moment of their repentance? In the case of natural consequences, perhaps even further? It just didn't feel right to me that God's plan to give people the option of exaltation was to increase the cumulative load of suffering in humanity. @Just_A_Guy proposes a Penal Substitution-lite model, where maybe it isn't quite so cumulative, but operates on a similar idea. There is a certain amount of suffering required of each sin, but maybe not an additional penalty on top of the natural consequences. (I may not be fully understanding him). But I think this ultimately has the same flaw in that it marks a multiplication of a fixed amount of suffering based on the actions of each individual. I don't feel good about it. I tend to view it more like this: Premise 1 gives God the rights to judgment--and his judgment is strict. Premise 2 establishes that he is willing to yield the right of judgment to another. Once the right of judgment is yielded to the intermediary, the intermediary is free to set the terms on which a person is exalted. The unanswered question, then, is what are the terms of sale of those rights. In my mind, I suspect the terms were that Jesus, having lived all of God's laws, would be given the rights to judgment so long as he felt all of the pains that are inflicted by the sins of a person on themselves and also on others. To rephrase it, the rights to judgment were sold on the condition that Jesus would be able to have perfect empathy for anything that we feel. So Jesus didn't have to suffer a certain amount of pain for every loaf of bread stolen. Instead, he suffered the pain of hunger, the pain of desperation, and the pain of having the loaf of bread stolen from him; and he only needed to suffer each of those pains enough to have empathy for us. He needed to understand what makes us hurt, what makes us tick, and what factors might lead us into sin. With that empathy, he could then judge if our hearts had returned into a state of being where we no longer have a desire to do sin. Ultimately, even this view increases the cumulative amount of suffering. But it does so in a way that minimizes that total suffering required to reach exaltation. And the idea of a God that is interested in minimizing suffering appeals to me*. It also makes sense to me in the context of the New Testament. We read the Jesus suffered in Gethsemane through the Atonement, and we largely think of that as where all that suffering was borne to purchase the right of judgment. But then he was tortured, mocked, ridiculed. The suffering kept going on for several more hours. But there is this one poignant moment where, hung on the cross, Jesus cries out "Father, why have you forsaken me?" For the first and only time in his existence, Jesus was cut off from the presence of his Father. It was the one thing He had never experienced. And it was so awful, that shortly after he declared "It is finished" and allowed himself to die. In my interpretation, He didn't experience that separation once for every person that lived. He experienced it once, and exactly once. And that was enough to understand how it feels. As a general principle, the price to exchange the rights to judgment can effectively be reduced to "whatever terms they agreed to." And there's a lot of interesting twists and turns you can take on that if you want to liken it to our legal system and contract law. But in the end, I don't think the specifics matter a great deal. I think it ought to be sufficient to recognize that an agreement on the transfer of those rights was struck, and part of that agreement is that we must live up to the expectations of Jesus. These expectations are that we live God's law, and repent of our failures to the best we are able. * With the obvious caveat that what someone believes about God usually says more about the person than it says about God.
  3. Since @Carborendum is going to pull me into this, I'm going to suggest that the incredulity might be somewhat misplaced. It doesn't look to me that Tai is trying to reinvent calculus, because her notational development doesn't include any attempt to generalize to formulae. Her method is focused on curves. The difference being that a formula has a known and well define structure. A curve may just be the line that goes through a set of observed data. When looking for the area under an empirical curve for which you have no defined structure, your options are to estimate a curve or to break the curve into shapes and add up the areas of the shapes. The two general approaches both have advantages and disadvantages with respect to what kinds of biases they introduce. (bias being the mathematical term for "difference from the true value"). When measuring something like glucose tolerance, the end point can be affected by diet, enzyme activity, food and liquid intake, etc. And with inconsistencies in when a person eats from day to day, you might have to develop a new equation for each person every single day. It would be absurd to do this for a lot of reasons, so working with the empirical curve is the most practical thing to do here. Tai's method, then, is an approach to getting the area under the empirical curve (as opposed to the theoretical curve). Her approach is an algorithm for forming the regions, areas, and their sum from a set of known points on a cartesian coordinate system. That is to say, she isn't proposing the trapezoidal rule as being novel, but the algorithm for processing it may be novel. Objectively, her algorithm is working better than the algorithms she compares against. Therefore, it would appear to have some interest in the field. Why would it have interest in the field? Probably because the software available to people in this field is limited in what it is able to do. (you can complain about this if you like. Certainly, there is software in the world that can do these calculations already. But a lot of them require programming experience, which may not be accessible to physicians or the software programs being used). So here's the point I'm trying to make. It looks like Tai is trying to solve an industry problem, not a mathematical problem. Side note: There was some talk about the difference of trapezoidal rule vs rectangular rule. The difference between the two only matters with empirical curves. But once you start taking the limit as the width of the shape goes to zero, then the solutions converge to each other.
  4. I would make the argument that this is only one contributing factor. The massive expansion of 24 hour media and the need to always have something new and fresh in order to stay relevant (and profitable) means that media companies are digging a lot deeper. So I think we hear about more of these things because the entertainment news industry reports more of them to get more eyes.
  5. To sum it up, as a matter of civil/social policy, I believe abortion should be legal and safe. I also believe people (usually) shouldn't do it, but it's my/our job to persuade them not to. It came from me: To rephrase, I don't think the question makes any sense unless force a claim some difference between "alive" and "life." So no, no one here was arguing that point. It was a necessary stepping stone into my rant. I get where you're coming from. I think we're largely in agreement, if I'm understanding you correctly; as based on my discussion about "well duh it's a living thing." and any line of gestational age we choose to draw about when it is acceptable and when it isn't is arbitrary*. So, please give me credit for doing my best to build on that common footing when I say this: I don't think it's relevant. When you look at the Church's possible exceptions for when an abortion may not be an immediate and despicable evil (me? dramatic? what?)....well, let's look at them: Pregnancy resulted from forcible rape or incest. A competent physician determines that the life or health of the mother is in serious jeopardy A competent physician determines that the fetus has severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth. The most logical thing I can see that these have in common is that they are situations in which the mother's agency was not invoked. So when a mother didn't choose to have sex, imposing the consequences of pregnancy is not necessary. When the mother didn't choose a situation that puts her life at (acute) risk to continue the pregnancy, we need not condemn her for choosing to live another day. Women don't typically choose to have children with severe, life ending defects, and we don't need to condemn them for opting not to go through a tiring, painful, emotionally draining experience to deliver a dead child. I'm repeating a lot of things here, I know, but I really want to emphasize that from an LDS perspective, abortion is a valid and justifiable procedure to counteract the tragic moments when the conditions of a pregnancy violate the woman's agency. So, from a religious perspective, I just don't think it's relevant when the spirit enters the body. * that's a really incomplete sentence, but I don't want to fix......
  6. The way your statement is phrased makes it really hard to dive into without going really far off track for this thread. And it gets really complicated when you try to define "divine law." Right off the bat, we're getting into a debate based on something that doesn't truly have an objectively factual standard. I will concede, however, that societies that have a strong and common moral philosophy are more likely to remain stable. In particular, when that moral philosophy seeks to balance personal rights and responsibilities with not seeking one's own pleasure and profit and the expense/extortion of another, stability is more likely. I have a serious reservations with this statement: My reservations derive from the fact that, again, "divinely revealed truth" has no objective standard. Whose divinely revealed truth? Is that the LDS truth? the Methodist truth? The Islamic truth? The Buddhist truth? As one example, I don't think we should be using civil law to prevent people from using recreational marijuana. Let people smoke it if they want to. We should be using persuasion to convince them to choose not to, rather than the force of law to make them afraid of doing so.
  7. One could argue we codify "moral philosophies" condemning murder, rape, fraud, and theft. I don't personally subscribe to the assumption that religious adherence is a prerequisite to moral behavior. I have mixed feelings about this as another category. At its core, it feels like the same problem, just looking at it prospectively rather than retrospectively. Ultimately, I think I'd advise that the answer to "when life begins" isn't needed in making this decision. I'd be prone to counsel that spiritual guidance and revelation is available and capable of guiding to the correct answer even without this knowledge. Indeed, spiritual guidance shines brightest when the answer isn't obvious. Regardless, a lot of my actions would fall in the same camp of "let them believe and feel what they need to believe and feel to endure the crap sandwich they are being fed." My job is to support and assist on the road to healing of all forms. And lectures on what we do and don't know about the beginning of life have no healing power.
  8. This analogy doesn't stand up to scrutiny for me. I can study the process of a human being developing from embryo to blastocyst to child to adult and gain that same wonder without entertaining the question of when a spirit enters the body. There isn't a similar question to be asked about a locomotive because, well, it never receives a spirit.
  9. this color pallet is soooo bad. I thought for sure it was claiming most representatives were Hindu. I'd like to see this plot normalized to population instead of geographical area. I think you'd get the impression of much more religious diversity than is apparent of it in this format.
  10. I'm going to go ahead and throw a few things into the arena. Some of them might surprise you if you're aware of my political preferences. Maybe not. But here goes anyway. I don't understand why we are looking to the scriptures for insight into when "life" begins. Biologically speaking, a fertilized ovum is a living organism. I don't see any room for debate on that, and it has nothing to do with a spirit entering the body. We could even argue that it was alive before fertilization. So the whole discussion about when "life" begins doesn't have a lot of interest to me. In order to justify the line of inquiry, you are pretty much force to claim some kind of difference between "alive" and "life." Which brings up a lot of interesting academic discussions--somewhere along the line you have to make an arbitrary decision of what constitutes "life." Does that require permanent residence of a spirit? sentience? free thought? moral agency? Regardless of which arbitrary point you choose is going to come with myriad moral implications on how you treat other humans, animals, plants, etc. And to my knowledge, there's nothing in scripture that really guides where to draw that line. More to the point, the demarcation between "alive" and "life" is wholly uninteresting to me (outside of speculative curiosity). In my life, I've only encountered a very few reasons to warrant pursuing the topic at all. First is people who have lost children to miscarriages and stillbirth. My heart goes out to these people. They are seeking comfort following a tragedy. These I encourage to believe whatever brings them comfort. The only other major reason I've encountered for pursuing justification for their stance on abortion. Some wish to claim life as early as possible to justify bans against abortion. To these, I say "get lost" (but in a kind way). I don't have a favorable stance towards codifying religious dogma into civil law. To those that wish to use a later start to life to say that abortion is ok, I say "shut up" (but in a kind way). Why should it be any more acceptable to extinguish something living simply because it hasn't yet started "life." (It isn't, by the way) I'd be interested in knowing if there are any other ways in which it would be impactful to know when a spirit enters a body. I can't really come up with any, although I'm sure there are some.
  11. Careful now...don't threaten us with a good time!
  12. The extra background does help. A lot. And is utterly baffling. If we posit my perspective, which is admittedly more permissive than most here, this does the same psychological and emotional damage* that refusing a child their chosen identity does. It's just doing the damage from the different direction. Each person's path to self discovery and self confidence should be their own to control (with the mentorship and unwavering support of unconditionally loving parents). If you've put yourself in the driver's seat of someone else's self-exploration, you're doing it wrong. * feelings of rejection, depression, etc.
  13. There are a few things I'd say to this, and I don't think any one of them stand alone, so bear with me. First, virology is not sociology, and we treating virological threats and sociological threats identically seems silly. That isn't to say that our response to the recent virological threat didn't create sociological problems: it most certainly did. But I would think we could learn from those sociological problems that the sociological solution we needed was to come back together. (Where that balance between managing virological and sociological threats sits is, in my view, an insanely difficult question, but not very relevant to the current topic). Similarly in the matter of LGBTQ identities, this is a sociological phenomenon. Running away from it, or isolating ourselves from it, may very well do more damage the good in the long run. Consider also that fleeing to a more like-minded ward/stake comes with the potential for disappointment. So you go find a ward that happens to have no LGBT youth, and a bishop who has a similar mindset at you on these issues. And then 10 months later the bishop is released, six months later, one of the youth comes out with their social transition, and the new bishop makes every effort to welcome, accept, and include that youth as much as church policy permits. What do you do now? Do you pull up stakes and flee again? As the current policies and teachings around LGBT membership filter into the leadership, I would guess it will become increasingly difficult to find a ward that is free of these influences. Lastly, as I said earlier, fleeing a ward over disagreements weakens the body of Christ. Yes, we have conflict over this issue. In some/many cases, that is bordering on contention (with a lot of guilty parties from every angle). But conflict and contention are not the same thing. Unresolved conflict breeds contention, but well managed and deliberate conflict has enormous potential to build unity and intimacy (spiritually and emotionally). So, please, don't flee. Now, for my part, I'm going to have to disengage a lot for this topic here. If you want to learn more about my perspective and viewpoint, message me privately. But this is an issue that has deep feels for me, and, quite frankly, there are too many people here that I don't trust with me deepest emotions to air things out in a public forum.
  14. On the more critical side, I think it's fair to recognize that Amulek was not a particularly strong orator. And unfortunately, we don't get much else from him in the Book of Mormon to know if he got much better with time. In his defense, however, he was kind of new to this preaching thing. He was also being put on the spot by a very hostile and, we are told, skilled debate opponent. He may have been a little flustered. So let's deconstruct the message a bit by first backing up to verses 26 - 34. Zeezrom is questioning Amulek on the nature and existence of God, and it is Zeezrom who introduces the terminology "saved in sin." We aren't really sure what Zeezrom means by this, but Amulek kind of rolls with it. In response, Zeezrom says that Amulek is assuming the ability to command God by saying that He will not save people in their sins. Verse 37 is an attempt by Amulek to clarify what he means. In my opinion, his clarification is rather muddled: No unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven You are unclean if you have sinned You must inherit the kingdom of heaven to be saved What's lacking in the immediate response is that repentance is the bridge from being unclean to becoming clean and inheriting the kingdom of heaven. Amulek kinda-sorta gets around to that in verse 40, but it isn't very direct. So we kind of have to fill in the gaps. And then to top it off, he takes a tangent down physical resurrection in verses 41 - 45 that doesn't add much to his point about sinning, resurrection, and cleanliness. These verses do give us an important hint, however, because they sound very similar to what Alma taught Corianton in Alma chapters 40-42. In those chapters, Alma talks about sin, the Atonement, repentance, death, resurrection, and how all those concepts coexist right up until the resurrection, at which point we stand before God to be judged. If we take into account that Alma met Amulek in chapter 8 and recruited him to help teach, I would guess that the duration of time between chapter 8 and chapter 11 is somewhere in the vicinity of several days to a few weeks. I like to think that Amulek's head is swimming in new information, and the teachings around the physical resurrection are new and exciting to him. In the way I envision these events, he's so excited about this new piece of knowledge and flustered enough by the intense confrontation he's in, that he simply forgets to add a certain part of the puzzle. The message he's trying to convey in verse 37 would come across more clearly if he had though to include some of the teachings in Alma chapter 5 (perhaps verses 26-27?). So, in short, I don't think Alma 11:37 can be properly understood in isolation. It's an incomplete thought. Fortunately, there's enough information in Alma's teachings to help us complete the message Amulek was trying to convey.
  15. Let me reframe a bit and state that when I say "kids*," I'm generally referring to teenagers. I might be more direct with younger kids. But certainly as they age, they should have more talking time. Why should they? Because there's a very real risk that a teenager will choose to hide their feelings from you if you don't. Instead, they may just tell you what they think you want to hear until they get to a place in life where you have less influence over them. And then they go off and do what they want anyway. Talking with them is much more likely to build the kind of trust that keeps communication open and maintains your role as a persuasive influence in their life**. * working in a scouting program with both boys and girls, I've taken to saying "kids." In church settings, "youth" is probably more appropriate. ** Not saying that every discussion will always end in perfect agreement. But I don't think they have to. You just want them to keep to conversational door open.