A Review of Parallels and Convergences: Mormon Thought and Engineering Vision

When M* was asked if we were interested in reviewing any of a list of books from Greg Kofford books, one book in particular jumped out at me called Parallels and Convergences: Mormon Thought and Engineering Vision. I knew that was the one I wanted to review.

The book was much of what I was hoping for. Let me just say that unlike my esteemed colleague at M*, Ivan Wolfe, who also reviewed the book, I am a huge fan of speculative theology, especially speculative ways to work out the points of conflict between our current best scientific theories and our current best theological theories. Or, at least I’m a big fan if it’s not being presented as doctrinal fact, which this book never does. Continue reading

Error Theory Part 2 – Can Evolution Vindicate Morality?

In my previous post I described Error Theory and used Richard Joyce’s arguments to explain that our morality sense includes supernatural seeming notions such as the existence of a ‘moral equilibrium’ or ‘moral facts’ in the world that exist as inescapable demands by an outside authority.

This does not sit well with many a moral atheist, so several attempts to ‘explain morality’ via a naturalistic explanation have been attempted. The primary approach is to use biological evolution as a means of vindicating morality as naturalistic. Specifically, why can’t we use the fact that evolution produced morality as some sort of naturalistic vindication of our feelings of moralities objective rality and profound importance? This is the idea that Joyce now makes short work of. Continue reading

What is Morality?: Error Theory (Part 1)

Note: This is a long post. As with any post like this, I will initially just present the point of view without any criticism to it. But I think it’s a topic that is of potential interest in a backhanded sort of way.

In my previous posts on “what is morality?” I went over the many difficulties of trying to define morality. We found that we do not view morality as:

My final conclusion was that morality was something that had to be accepted on faith. Continue reading

On Being a Believing, Traditional Mormon in an Amoral, “Nuanced” World

By any standard, I am still in the bloom and pluck of life, being only 35 years of age currently.  My physical health is outstanding, my hair is not going prematurely gray, and by contemporary American standards I am fit and within my recommended weight limit.  Financially I am fine (although “secure” is probably not the appropriate word).  I have a brilliant, loving wife and special children.  Truly, there is much to be thankful for.

And yet…I have sobering moments of reflection in which I survey the climate and landscape and resist shudders of despair.  By nature I am not overly pessimistic; I truly believe that over time, the good guys eventually win.  I look forward, with an eye of faith, to the time when righteousness will cover the earth as the waves cover the sea. Continue reading

What is Morality?: What Morality Isn’t

In a previous post, David Deutsch explained why he felt utility was not a good basis for moral justification. I’m going to now give my own thoughts on this, as well as exploring several other possible explanations for morality that ultimately fail.  Warning: this is a long post.

I think the problem with a utilitarian approach to morality is that once we boil down morality to utility we’ve effectively created a basis for when we should and shouldn’t follow morality. But this would fly in the face of our moral intuitions which, as I pointed out in this post, by definition we see as applying at all times to all people. 

As always, the best way to dismiss an argument isn’t to argue against it, but to follow it to its logical conclusions and see if we can accept them. So let’s follow this through logically and see what plays out. Continue reading