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Jay Lake
Date: 2012-02-12 06:20
Subject: [links] Link salad wakes up in the city by the bay
Security: Public
Tags:art, links, personal, politics, process, religion, science, sex, tech
Profile ScanpathThis eyetracking scanpath of a bust of Nefertiti by Alfred Yarbus 50 years ago shows how one person's gaze surveyed this face in profile. This squib from art guru James Gurney is pretty cool.

Roger Boisjoly, who tried to stop the space shuttle Challenger launch, has died

New research could lead to hovering airplanes for the military

Does God exist?The case for reconciling the scientific with the divine -- and against the anti-religion of Richard Dawkins. Hmm. Simple question. Does God exist? For values of "exist" which include any form of objective proof outside of an a priori faith structure? No.

The Battle Behind the FightIt’s not really about birth control. Which is a funny thing to say about conservatives, because while they oppose birth control, the forced pregnancy movement is all about controlling births.

Top Ten Catholic Teachings Santorum Rejects while Obsessing about Birth ControlIn the end, of course, civil law must uphold equitable treatment of all women, and a satisfactory compromise may not be possible. We will be the better for having the debate, and attempting to find a modus vivendi. What isn’t helpful is to have loud-mouthed hypocrites who reject all the humane principles for which the Catholic Church stands getting on a high horse about a third-order teaching such as artificial birth control (on which the position of the church has changed over time, and may change again).

Severely XLanguage Log on Mitt Romney's comment on being "severely conservative." Heh.

From the go, roller-coaster GOP White House race

?otd: What city did you wake up in this morning?

Writing time yesterday: 0.75 hours (WRPA)
Body movement: n/a (airport walking to come)
Hours slept: 6.5 (solid)
Weight: n/a
Currently reading: Nekropolis by Maureen McHugh

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User: anton_p_nym
Date: 2012-02-12 15:32 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
AotD: Looking out my window, I'd have to say Novosibirsk.

-- Steve's getting so much snow now that he can't see the neighbours.
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User: ericjamesstone
Date: 2012-02-13 03:50 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Re: "Does God exist?"

Here's the definition of God in that article:

For the purposes of this discussion, and in agreement with almost all religions, God is a being not restricted by the laws that govern matter and energy in the physical universe. In other words, God exists outside matter and energy. In most religions, this Being acts with purpose and will, sometimes violating existing physical laws (i.e., performing miracles), and has additional qualities such as intelligence, compassion and omniscience.

It's debatable whether the Mormon concept of God falls within that definition, which is one of the reasons why non-Mormon Christian theologians consider Mormonism a heresy. (Note: for the purposes of this post, I will be using my understanding of Mormonism, which I believe is within the mainstream of Mormon thought, but there are good Mormons who would disagree with my interpretation.)

As a Mormon, I believe that God intervenes in people's lives, but I do not believe He violates physical laws in order to do so. Rather, I believe that God is aware of physical laws that we do not yet understand, and He is therefore able to do things that are beyond our power to do. (In some ways, it's reminiscent of Clarke's Law; you might say Mormons believe that God uses sufficiently advanced technology that is indistinguishable from miracles.)

Thus, from a Mormon theological perspective, there is no conflict between true science and true religion because truth does not contradict itself. Where there appear to be conflicts between science and religion, it is only because either the science or the religion or both are not sufficiently understood.

For example, both you and I believe that humans are descended from non-human primates, which descended from other organisms going all the way back to one-celled organisms billions of years ago. Where you and I differ on the issue of evolution is that you believe, without any objective proof outside your a priori faith structure*, that the development of humans is completely the result natural selection and random chance, while I believe, also without any objective proof outside my a priori faith structure, that there was some intentional direction of that development by God.

*The mere fact that it is statistically possible that something could happen by random chance is not objective proof that it did happen by random chance. And while it is fair to say that the burden of proof probably lies on those who believe that something other than random chance was at work, the mere placing of the burden of proof on one side is not objective proof that the other side is correct.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2012-02-13 15:00 (UTC)
I pretty much agree with you here (e.g., you are free to define your own beliefs, and I utterly respect and support that freedom regardless of my personal opinion of the beliefs in question), except for your characterization of my understanding of the processes of science as an a priori faith structure.

To put it simplistically, faith proceeds from revelation and tries to fit observation into its perceptions; science proceeds from observation and tries to fit revelation into its perceptions.
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User: ericjamesstone
Date: 2012-02-13 15:39 (UTC)
Subject: Re:
Jay, I'm not characterizing your understanding of the processes of science as an a priori faith structure. I'm characterizing your atheism as such.

The fossil record and DNA analyses are very strong evidence that humans are descended from the same ancestral life as all other species on Earth. That's science.

But what does that science have to say about the existence of God? At most, it can say that an intelligent guiding force does not appear to be necessary to explain the existence of humans.

Now, what is your belief about evolution: (a) the existence of humans is purely the result of random chance and natural selection, (b) the existence of humans is the result of natural selection guided by some being, or (c) it's not possible to know for sure right now whether (a) or (b) is correct.

I may be wrong, but I think that your belief is (a). And if that's the case, it's not because of objective proof of (a), but because that fits into your worldview as an atheist.
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my journal
January 2014
2012 appearances