# Computability and Algorithmic Compression

In a previous post I showed how to calculate PI and made the point that purely mental concepts, like PI, actually do exist.

Also, don’t miss this post where I considered how to use math to measure the earth and the moon – a power once associated with Divinity.

Now I want you to think about PI again for a moment. Back in school I was taught to use 3.14 to approximate PI. If I needed more precision I used 3.1416. But actually PI is what we call an irrational number.

Do you remember doing repeating decimals? You know, where you divide a number out and a pattern forms. For example, you take 1 and divide it by 3. The end result is 0.3333… where the 3 goes on forever repeating. The way they teach you in school to write it down is to write 0.3 and then put a bar over the 3 after the decimal to signify that it just keeps repeating forever. Continue reading

# Measuring the Earth and Moon

I ran this back on 2010 as part of my W&T series. I’m including it here for completeness.

God came from Teman… He stood, and measured the earth. (Habakkuk 3:4,6)

Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? (Isaiah 40:12)

In my first post over at Wheat and Tares (check it out if you missed it), I mentioned one of my favorite books, Mathematics for the Million. I also took an example from it on how to calculate the value of PI using reason.

This book also gives several interesting examples of other things that you can do with math. Did you know that you can mathematically calculate the size of the earth, the distance to the moon, and the size of the moon? Did you know that if you know the trick, you can form a right angle without a tool?

Measuring the Earth’s Radius and Circumference

The trick to measuring the Earth’s circumference is to find a well that the sun directly passes over so that you can see the reflection at the bottom of the well. This can only happen on the tropic of cancer, and only on June 21. At the same time that happens, also measure the angle of the shadow at some distance away but at the same longitude. The book uses the example of Syene and Alexandria.

# On Three Almighties, One Moral Will, and Why This Post is a Complete Waste of Time

A reprint from Mormon Matters.

Prepare for the ultimate philosophical smack down between a David and a Goliath! In one corner we have our champ Craig L. Blomberg who I have been told is one of the foremost New Testament scholars in the world. Simply put, he’s brilliant.

Our contender is my former missionary companion who was never anything but a junior companion.

Craig Blomberg comes out of his corner swinging, in How Wide the Divide? His upper-cut is the logical impossibility of the Mormon concept of becoming divine and having more than one Omnipotent “being.” He says,

Even simple logic should suggest that it is contradictory to have more than one omnipotent being; otherwise, for example, not only would God be able to judge me but I would be able to judge God. Both of us could theoretically destroy each other, and then there would be no eternally existing God. (How Wide the Divide? p. 212) Continue reading

# I Was Constrained By The Spirit That I Should Vote For…

[Cross Posted from Sixteen Small Stones]

One of the important aspects of the LDS doctrine of personal revelation is that the Holy Spirit can and does sometimes instruct individuals to act contrary to our own reason and understanding.

So here is a little supposal:

Think of a presidential candidate that you do not support.  Now put the candidate’s name into the appropriate places in the following passage:

And it came to pass that I was constrained by the Spirit that I should support [a specific candidate] for President; but I said in my heart: Never at any time have I supported a [candidate of that ideology/party/record]. And I shrunk and would that I might not support [her/him].

And the Spirit said unto me again: Behold it is the Lord’s desire that [that candidate] be President of the United States…

We spend a lot of time debating and defending our political beliefs, and comparing political candidates to our ideals. But what if, regardless of political party, or ideology, or record, or aptitude, or personality, or anything else we might use to judge our candidates, the Lord for His own reasons wants you to support a candidate different than the one you would choose?

# Apostasy as Conspiracy Theory: Reason, Logic, Insanity and Mormon Intellectualism

[Cross Posted from Sixteen Small Stones]

It’s time to talk about Apostasy. Again.

In this post, however, I want to introduce a new approach to thinking about personal apostasy by drawing what I think are compelling comparisons between apostasy and conspiracy theories.

Conspiracy theories appeal to some very fundamental aspects of human nature and can wield a great deal of influence over people. I believe that a closer look at the appeal and mechanics of conspiracy theories can help illuminate some important aspects of personal apostasy from the church.

My hope is that by exposing these aspects of apostasy I can help not only those members of the church who are dealing with family or friends who have apostatized, but also give pause to those who find themselves being drawn down the path of apostasy, and raise doubts among those who are already a far distance down that path.

Ultimately this is a warning about the limits of reason and logic and the potential dangers of the rational mind.

The concept of conspiracy is deeply ingrained into our entertainment, our political discourse, and even our religion. Conspiracy theories exist among the atheistic as well as religious. They propagate among liberals as well as conservatives, and among the educated as well as the ignorant.