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Everything posted by MrShorty

  1. MrShorty

    Neuro's seitch for fremen fanboys

    @Midwest LDS I may read it, only time will tell for sure. So many times, it seems that I find prequels disappointing. The original Star Wars trilogy made vague references to a sequence of events that caused Annakin Skywalker to become Darth Vader. I can imagine all kinds of vague stories and events and myths that lead up to it, but something seems lost when all of that gets pinned down to one canonical story arc (that wasn't really executed that well, IMO). In the same way, I can imagine so many vague, mythical ways for the human vs. machine conflict to play out and lead to the commandment to never make a machine in the likeness of the human mind. Even if it is a good story, I fear I will be disappointed to pin it all down into one concrete story arc rather than think through the myriad plausible variations that exist in my head. Still, with the way Sandworms ended, there is enough curiosity about Omnius and Erasmus and Serena Butler to maybe want to see how Brian and Kevin (and maybe Frank, if Frank had any notes on it) really envisioned the Butlerian Jihad.
  2. MrShorty

    Neuro's seitch for fremen fanboys

    All Hail Shai-Hulud! Kneel before the Old Man of the Desert! Pay your respects lest the Divided God visit you in His wrath!
  3. MrShorty

    Neuro's seitch for fremen fanboys

    I finished Hunters of Dune and Sandworms of Dune to complete the series (at least, as envisioned by Brian and Kevin). More spoilers for those who want to avoid them. Hunters was kind of a slow slog through seeming randomness. The "enemy" is nameless and faceless through most of the book, so I never quite felt the urgency of humanity's preparations and infighting that slowed preparations over the course of the book. The growing and awakening of the gholas and the other events on the no-ship likewise seemed random and without direction -- other than the constant need to run from the nameless, faceless enemy. The reveal at the end that the enemy is none other than the robots from the Butlerian Jihad took me by surprise. Now that the enemy had a name and a face, Sandworms was more engaging. The plot still felt a little disjointed, but I was more interested in finding out how the humans would survive the robot invasion. Through the plot twists that revealed the last Idaho ghola as the ultimate Kwizatz Haderach finally revealed why, as I asked earlier, the original Leto II kept bringing back the Idaho gholas. I still wonder if Frank had this ending in mind as he was writing God Emperor or if this was a later development or even something that Brian and Kevin developed. Having the series end with another war between humans and robots with a different outcome was an interesting way to wrap things up -- kind of bringing the whole thing full circle. I guess my question now is whether or not to read the Butlerian Jihad books to find out how Brian and Kevin envision that beginning of the saga.
  4. MrShorty

    Liberals in the Church

    I am reminded of Senator Harry Reid's (I know, I know, "dishonor on you, dishonor on your cow" -- Mushu) speech at BYU where he recounted that he was frequently asked how he could be both a Mormon and a Democrat, to which he would respond, "I am a Democrat because I am a Mormon." While I would agree in a general sense that, yes, one's religion can and should one's politics, we need to be careful that we don't assume that our religion will influence everyone to adopt the same politics. Some will be Republicans because they are Mormons, and others will be Democrats because they are Mormons, and it seems to me that both outcomes should be acceptable within the Church. Beyond that, I would just echo what MarginOfError said. It seems harder to be "liberal" and be active in the Church than to be "conservative" and be active in the Church.
  5. I found this Wikipedia article about "age of consent" to be informative. There's a link to an additional article on "marriageable age" that -- I thought -- adding some clarification and confusion because marriageable age and age of consent are not exactly the same thing. But, I think the conclusion is still the same. In the US in the 19th century, such a monogamous marriage would not have been scandalous. Maybe uncommon, but not scandalous.
  6. @Carborendum You are correct, this is more of an expression of general human nature than something specifically "Christian". It just seems like we as Christians don't necessarily rise above our human nature any more than non-Christians. It just seems disappointing sometimes.
  7. I wish I knew what to do about that, but I don't. Christianity often seems filled with divisions and intolerance for heterodox and heretical viewpoints. I don't know how to get broader Christianity to agree with us or to accept us as a Christian variant or even how to erase other divisions within the body of Christ. Most of the time I just try to focus on myself and let God worry about the rest of Christendom.
  8. My thoughts -- and I don't know that they are coherent, because I'm not sure how well I understand the whole issue. 1) How are we defining pedophilia? Some say that a rigorous definition is "sexual attraction to pre-pubescent children". Others (especially in the 21st century) will tie it to age of consent or age of majority. The two most prominent "very young" of Joseph's wives are Helen Mar Kimball (married at 14) and Fanny Alger (16). Among Joseph's plural wives were a few rather young (by 21st century standards -- remember that age of consent when it existed in the 19th century was much younger than age of consent in our day) women. 2) Why use inflammatory words like "pedophilia" for this? The topic is difficult enough as it is, without "alleged trolls" entering the discussion brandishing inflammatory words like "pedophile" and claims that Joseph did it all for sexual conquest and such. Brandishing such language often indicates that the "troll" (alleged) is more interested in a fight than in honest discussion of a difficult topic. 3) I agree with @NeuroTypical that a study of history is the place to start. The "Saints" series is well written. In addition, there are several (like Brian and Linda Hales) who have done a lot of research into the Church's 19th century practice of polygamy. Someone who honestly wants to understand -- even if they end up judging that Joseph was "wrong" to implement and practice polygamy the way he id -- will be well served to study the history. Find out what is known, what is not known, and which allegations cannot be proven/disproven with the current evidences. Without delving into the details of the discussion, those are my initial thoughts. It can be a difficult topic that can easily turn into an ugly fight. I think most of us on this forum are not interested in an ugly fight, if that is the only reason for bringing up the topic. For someone who really wants to understand, there is a lot that has been written from a lot of different viewpoints, and some of it is difficult -- especially to our 21st century sensibilities.
  9. MrShorty

    Return to Church Guidelines

    In a top down Church, more than anything I think it was very public permission from the top for individual areas (within local guidelines) to start resuming public church meetings. In a top down church, the top has to speak so everyone knows their local authorities have permission to invite people back to church.
  10. @Fether Probably. Because we all know that the final, defining characteristic of apostates is the gullibility to push a button that says, "press if you are apostate".
  11. I'm sure that somewhere, someone would call me an apostate.
  12. I can kind of agree that most of Church resources unfortunately seem to steer people away from evolutionary theory, and I think it is because we have this false dichotomy in our collective heads -- that evolutionary theory cannot be gospel-centric. I don't know why published Church materials seem so reluctant to give any kind of nod towards theistic evolution, but there are plenty of us who believe in evolution without undercutting the pillars of creation.
  13. One scriptural addition (since there is enough concordism in this thread to not feel too bad about adding one). Genesis 2:7 (KJV) -- "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground..." Suggesting that man at least could have "evolved" (evolved and formed being essentially synonyms here) from rocks. Are we the only living things with a connection to rocks?
  14. This got me to thinking -- let me see if I can explain. The main objection to evolution here is that it must be "limited" in some way. But, we have had difficulty defining those boundaries across which life cannot evolve. I recall my own progression from creationist who didn't believe in cross-"type" evolution to now and, I think a good way of expressing that process is one of breaking down those barriers. Dogs and cats have to be a different type gives way to Mammalian carnivores probably have a common ancestor. Horses and cows have to be different gives way to ungulates probably have a common ancestor. Ungulates and whales must be different types gives way to whales and ungulates are common Reptiles, birds, and mammals must be different types gives way to reptiles, birds, and mammals seem to have a common reptilian ancestor. Vertebrates and Invertebrates must be different types gives way to Vertebrates may be descended from invertebrates. Humans must be a special creation separate from everything else gives way to humans and apes seem to have a common ancestry And so on.... It's probably not an exact description of the history of the science, but it seems like a reasonable explanation of the science to be, starting with the idea that microevolution occurs, but there must be boundaries between different "types", and the development of the science kind of feels to me like breaking down those evolutionary boundaries between assumed types. I went further in my thought train to include the idea that, if creationists are correct and there must be some hard boundaries that prevent one type from evolving into another type, then creationists could be (are) pursuing research to identify those boundaries. Such research will rely on fossil, anatomical, DNA, etc. (just as standard evolutionary theory, so it's probably not a good idea to broadly reject the types of evidence evolutionary biologists use). The problems will be the same as evolutionary biology runs into (spotty fossil records, speculation and extrapolation, and so on). However, just maybe when all is said and done, the reconciliation of evolutionary biology and creation biology is to identify the hard boundaries between types. My own unprofessional interpretation is that there are no apparent hard boundaries between types (vertebrates and invertebrates could conceivably be the same "type" or descend from the same "seed" organisms, same for plants and animals, etc.). Just a thought -- may need to think more on it.
  15. So, it isn't so much that evolutionists fail to present evidence for their theory, it's that creationists reject the evidence that has been presented. I suppose the thing that we disagree on is why fossil evidence can or cannot be used as evidence for macroevolution. Wikipedia has a fairly extensive summary article on the evidences for evolution. It includes evidence from the fossil record. I would like to note that I have mostly enjoyed this discussion, as it has mostly avoided the worst of the contentions that often bring more heat than light to this debate. I don't expect either side to convince the other in a lowly forum like this, but it is nice for once to have the debate go on without accusations of apostasy or similar.
  16. Up until now, I did not like the term "theistic evolution" because it implied that we were only talking about life on earth. You have shown me that the term theistic evolution can encompass all of that. With the caveat that my cosmology likely does not reduce down to simple yes/no answers to each of those simple questions, I would answer yes to most of that as a simple summary. I waffle between a view where God pushes the right buttons, pulls the right levers, enters the right constants, and presses "GO" and then let's the evolution play out with minimal to no further intervention or a view with Him getting the process started and then constantly shepherding the process along towards His goals (without looking to us like it is trending towards a specific set of goals). At this point, we are back to @Carborendum's question of what a "type" is and where we draw the line between micro and macro evolution. We talked about horses, and maybe called that microevolution from eohippus to modern horses. But horses are also classed as odd-toed ungulates, along with tapirs and rhinos. Evolutionary biologists would say that all odd-toed ungulates share a common ancestor. In your view, does that make them the same "type"? Is this evidence of microevolution or macroevolution? I introduced whales, which are said to be evolved from land based even-toed ungulates, and even-toed and odd-toed ungulates all share a common ancestor. Does that mean that horses and rhinos and cows and giraffes and camels and hippos and whales are all the same "type" and evidence of microevolution? Where do we draw a line (however vague) between "types" and/or between micro and macro evolution? If I understand the stories correctly, Joseph Fielding Smith and Dr. Henry Eyering had at least one "meeting" to talk about radiometric dating, and they both failed to convince the other of accuracy/inaccuracy of radiometric dating. As near as I can tell, there are examples of "outliers" like you describe, but there don't seem to be enough of these outliers to convince very many in the field that the entire principle of radiometric dating is flawed. As near as I can tell, these kind of examples have convinced them that care must be taken in performing the measurements (to avoid sample contamination, etc.) to get them right, but the theory is still considered sound and these kinds of examples are outliers that likely include some element of careless or incorrect methodology. I get the impression that it will take a lot of "outlier" data to convince the establishment that radiometric dating is fundamentally flawed.
  17. @ldsguy422 A couple of years ago, I recall pulling up that particular lesson in the OT institute manual interested in a variant of the OP's question -- were/are the authors in the Church's curriculum department open to theistic evolution. I was a little surprised when I saw that the lesson in question gave equal air time to the question of young earth creationism and old earth creationism and concluded that we don't know, but then went on -- through statements by Joseph Fielding Smith and Dr. Coffin -- to only present arguments in favor of creationism and against evolution. Even in the '80s (I believe that is when the manual in question was originally written), they should have been able to find someone (if not at BYU someone in broader Christianity -- maybe [gasp] Catholicism) who could write something to balance Coffins creationism with a theistic evolution viewpoint, but did not. I think I would be more impressed with a reference to the old OT manual if they had not seemed so biased towards creationism. I wish they had presented both sides of the creationist vs theistic evolutionist debate (much like they did the young vs. old creationism), or maybe even something like the so-called BYU evolution packet, or similar. Then I could take the manual more seriously on this topic. Some of the confusion could be, as @Vort noted in another thread, maybe we are using the term "creationism" differently than Dr. Coffin would use it -- in a way that includes theistic evolution as a type or form of creationism. However, it seems that you, like me, read this particular manual as saying that creationism does not include theistic evolution as a variant. If Vort is right, then we have not been consistent in using the term creationism to include theistic evolution. All that said, though, I think the now outdated OT manual you cite is evidence that some in the Church curriculum department were not open to theistic evolution in their day (as noted, I think it was originally published in the '80s and retired within the last few years).
  18. I'm not sure this is entirely true -- though I guess it depends on exactly what kind of observation or experience you will accept here. If we will only accept a "forward looking" observation (starting today, I observe and document a species, then monitor the variations among the descendants for a suitably long time until I decide that the descendants have diverged into 2 different "types), then let's say that we will only accept such an observation/experiment. However, I think many evolutionary biologists would point out that nature has already run this experiment many times in the past and has left the record of that experiment in the fossil record, and in the similarities and differences in anatomy and physiology, and in our DNA. These "backward looking" observations have been made and have been interpreted in light of evolutionary theory. We can reject these backward looking observations because there are too many gaps, or because they are too speculative, or because they are biased, or because we will only accept a forward looking observation, or whatever reason we want to give. But I don't think we can simply say that we have not made these observations.
  19. It's an interesting idea. Some questions that come to mind: Does this hypothesis fit better into an eternally existing static universe? How would this fit into a cosmology where the universe's age is finite (our current estimates are about 13 billion years)? Or is the idea of "eternities past" referring to time/space outside of our universe? If I assume that the idea is about transporting existing living things from one point in our universe to another, and considering the age of the universe, is it possible that we are the planet where the evolutionary processes are taking place, and that our planet will provide the "seed organisms" used to populate other planets? Is there enough time between the appearance of larger atoms (like carbon, iron, silicon, etc.) that dominate the makeup of our rocky planet in the early universe for another solar system to go through the complete process of evolution to provide the "seed organisms" for our planet? Even if there is enough time, it suggests that we are only one or two generations after the initial, but I still wonder if maybe we are the first. Of course, a lot of that assumes the universe is self-contained and we are products of this universe. What are the implications if we are transplants from outside of the universe?
  20. MrShorty

    Simple common-sense physics problem

    If A is correct, it seems like we are assuming that the beverage will be consumed very soon after preparation. The optimum time is long enough for the beverage to cool (and the ice to warm) but no longer so that a minimum of ice actually melts. Of course, this ideal scenario does not account for Murphy's law. According to Murphy's law, as soon as you have poured the drink but before you have a chance to sip contentedly, some little somewhere in the house will have a "crisis" that demands immediate attention, followed by the dog or cat getting into trouble and requiring discipline, and then you will forget that you poured yourself a drink and, by the time you remember and get back to your drink, there is no ice left and it is nothing but watered down sugar water. But, you're a conservative person who doesn't like to waste things, so you knock down the watered down stuff because "you can do hard things" and explain to the littles that they, too, can do hard things -- like drink watered down soda pop with a smile on their face. But, I am still wrong, because the value of the lesson is such that, even accounting for Murphy's law, A is still the best choice (much to my chagrin). I think I'll just drink straight from the 2L bottle, then no one else will want some and I'll have the whole 2L to myself and drown my sorrows in carbonated sugar water (since I don't believe in drinking anything stronger).
  21. MrShorty

    Simple common-sense physics problem

    I remember all of those except the "Cool Cat" glass. Oh to be young and carefree again [wistful sigh]. As one who hates "watered down" more than "a little too warm", my answer is probably something like C, but I'm not too worried about cooling it to 0 C. Just a minimum of ice needed so it is not "warm" (what would that be -- above 25 C?). I would generally prefer 10-20 C soda than watered down soda.
  22. Using horses as an example of micro but not macro evolution strikes me as interesting. It has been a long time, but I still recall the day in an evolution class where we talked about the evidences that whales are evolved from ungulates. A quick browse of Wikipedia's entry, suggests they were even-toed ungulates (like cows) where horses are odd-toed ungulates. The cladogram at Wikipedia claims that hippos are the closest evolutionary relatives to whales, cows and other even toed ungulates would be a little more distantly related, and, eventually, you would get back to a point where horses and whales have a common ancestor. In a completely different case, many biologists consider birds and dinosaurs (theropods, specifically) to be of the same type. If we are going to limit ourselves to microevolution, are we comfortable saying that ducks and chickens and robins and starlings are the same type but different breeds in the same group as tyrannosaurs and allosaurs? For me, the final death knell for my early rejection of macroevolution was that day in this same evolution class when the professor brought out his ape and hominid skulls, talked about the differences between ape and human "types" and then we wnet through his collection and saw how some hominids were more ape like than modern humans, but they were also clearly hominids and not pure apes. It is easy enough to claim that macroevolution does not happen, but merely asserting it as fact does not adequately address the many fossil evidences that are given for macroevolution. We can claim that the evidence for macroevolution is weak, or that it is biased by the researchers desire to validate their theories, or that it is misguided. We can challenge the evidence or reject the evidence as we will, but I don't think we can simply assert that there is no evidence for macroevolution.
  23. I know many of us participated in the two fasts that Pres. Nelson called for, now Pope Francis is calling for another.
  24. I stand corrected, Pope Francis is not the initiator of this day of fasting, but the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity, which, I gather, was a joint Catholic Islam group that falls out of the Document on Human Fraternity signed by Francis and Grand Imam Ahmed el-Tayeb (not sure that is done right).
  25. I think King Benjamin touches on this. In Mosiah 4, vs 27, we often read, "And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order, for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength." and stop there. We then rationalize ourselves that we don't need to try as hard as we think. If we continue, though, "And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize." we see that, while it's true we don't need over exert ourselves, we should be diligent.