In my latest “Reason as a Guide to Reality” post over at Wheat and Tares, I talked about Popper’s theories of how we gain knowledge based on Conjecture and Refutation.
Here we now have a profound touch point between science and religion. Consider the following scriptures.
…all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.
And my people must needs be chastened until they learn obedience…
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
As discussed in my last post, if science can’t be justified by inductive reasoning, how do we justify it?
Popper’s own epistemology (i.e. theory of how we gain knowledge) is based around conjecture and refutation.
All knowledge is gained by starting with conjecture. Interestingly, inductive “reasoning” does seem to play a role in this. As documented in the Taleb’s book, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable we humans seem to be wired for inductive “reasoning.” We see non-existent causes and effects everywhere. Taleb gives these questionable cause/effects a name: narrative fallacies. Taleb spends a lot of time discussing the problems with our built in inductive reasoning. But there is an upside. We easily generate conjectures – mostly bad ones. Continue reading
So a while back I started writing a commentary on Romans that I was going to post. But the project got bogged down and I never really felt entirely good about the result. But I did prepare this summary of the book of Romans that was to help me ‘get the flow’ of Paul’s thoughts (from an LDS perspective, of course.)
Summary of Romans:
Background: Paul writes to the primarily Jewish Christian community in Rome (a gentile city) to head off problems with Judaizers, those that taught that the Law of Moses was still to be practiced in full. Imagine the problems with baptisms if all adult males had to be circumcised (without pain killer) to be able to join the Church.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation to them that believe (have faith) in Jesus Christ. (Rom 1:16–17). All men are accountable before God because, since the world began, God’s hand in things was perceptible to those that cared to see it (Rom 1:18–20). But most men failed to act on this knowledge and it became a curse to them instead, leading them into great sins. (Rom 1:22–32). Continue reading
In my last post I argued that, contrary to popular belief, science is not actually about observation.
Here I wish to taken an aside and discuss two of the main competing schools of epistemology (i.e. the theory of how we gain knowledge). The traditional view of science was founded by Francis Bacon. This school of thought is (as Popper describes it anyhow) is as follows:
According to Bacon, the nature or essence of the method of the new science of nature, the method which distinguishes and demarcates it from the old theology and from metaphysical philosophy, can be explained as follows:
Man is impatient. He likes quick results. So he jumps to conclusions. Continue reading
In my last post I gave some background on my stint on Mormon Matters and then talked about some of the important players.
When I left Mormon Matters my dear friend, DougG, was the only person that really noticed I had disappeared. He was also the only person that actually asked me to return. When I talked with Doug on the phone (that was when he asked me to come back) this is what I told him.
I said I felt like Mormon Matters played an important role of being a friendly place to ‘let off steam’ for those that didn’t believe in the LDS Church’s defining beliefs any more (sometimes still practicing, sometimes, not) while still allowing them to interact with a certain kind of Mormon that still believed, but was sympathetic to their concerns. This belief-with-sympathies approach really only worked if the believers were willing to not strongly challenge the post Mormons on their new beliefs or on their concerns.
So I had come to wonder if my presence there – where I would directly challenge a former members new beliefs — was disrupting that purpose. Was it possible that I was even causing people to quit by my presence?
We had several post Mormons quit within my short stint due to “too many posts supportive of the LDS Church.” After they quit, John Dehlin quickly utilized his post-Mormon network to find new replacements — and this took all of 30 seconds in most cases. And not a single post Mormon that quit ever said “I quit because I don’t like how Bruce is challenging me too much.” It was generally just the existence of too many “pro Mormon posts” that caused the problem. On at least one occaision, we had a blogger quit because she was upset with how Hawkgrrl had moderated a comment. (If you know how permitting Hawk is with comments, you will laugh at that last statement. You have to be cussing and threatening some GA before she’ll consider cutting the comment. Yet it was true that this angered at least one blogger that then quit.) Continue reading