Free Will and Emergence

February 28, 2009    By: Blake @ 5:16 pm   Category: Determinism vs. free will

Responsible agency and free will are not consistent either with determinism or indeterminism. This short statement is called the “Mind argument.” It has two parts. First, determinism is incompatible with free will : “If determinism is true, then our acts are the consequences of the laws of nature and events in the remote past. But it is not up to us what went on before we were born, and neither is it up to us what the laws of nature are. Therefore, the consequences of these things (including our present acts) are not up to us.” (Peter van Inwagen An Essay on Free Will (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983), p. 56.) (This is dubbed the “Consequence Argument)

The notion of something “being up to me” is that I exercise a certain type of control over my actions. I am responsible for these acts because they are my actions in the sense that I am responsible for causing them. For something to be my act, it has to belong to me the sense that the act arises from my own acts and not from something that just happens to me or happens by happenstance which is not in my control. The problem with determinism is that I don’t have control over the causes that lead to my acts. (more…)

Hearsay of the Church

   By: Matt W. @ 6:32 am   Category: Life

I am posting up a few interesting rumors I have heard in the last 24 hours which pertain to the church.



February 25, 2009    By: Kent (MC) @ 9:54 pm   Category: Ethics,Evolutionary psychology

Guest post by Kent White

Mormonism offers a worldview which gives meaning and purpose to my life. I love the gospel I find in the Mormon scriptures and I believe that the way I understand that good news has led me to choose two basic axioms which filter my interpretations of my experiences and desires in this life:

  1. I am here to be of service, not to seek to be served.
  2. All these things shall give me experience and shall (eventually) be for my good as a result of:
    1. Christ’s power to heal all the pain I feel
    2. Christ’s power to heal all the pain I’ve caused others but can’t fix myself


Welcoming Guest Blogger: Kent White

   By: Jacob J @ 6:42 pm   Category: The Thang

Kent (MC) is the online moniker of Kent White, the creator of (hence the “MC”). He also created and maintains the sites (The Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology) and

While serving a mission in Mexico, Kent happened to read Hugh Nibley’s “Approaching Zion,” which changed his life forever. As a result of Nibley, Kent took a Hebrew class and ended up graduating from BYU in 2000 with a degree in Near Eastern Studies and a minor in Spanish (though his Hebrew is now in pretty sad shape). He thought he would teach seminary until he realized that he hated kids. He now has five children with his wife of nearly twelve years and works for a charitable organization that helps children. He cites as those authors who have been the greatest influences in shaping his current world-view (in addition to the prophets): Hugh Nibley, Orson Scott Card, Terry Warner, and Blake Ostler. (more…)

Challenges to the Acceptability of Mormonism

February 24, 2009    By: Matt W. @ 10:20 am   Category: Life

Currently, I believe we can lump the challenges our faith faces to it’s modern acceptance as a legitimate faith choice by outsiders into the following categories: Issues regarding Race, Issues regarding Traditional Family Values, and issues regarding Christian doctrine.

Below I will enumerate these issues and discuss them. 


Reading The Old Testament: A First-timers Reflection

February 5, 2009    By: Matt W. @ 10:41 am   Category: Life

So ten years ago, when I joined the church, it suddenly became slightly uncomfortable to me that despite having 11 years of catholic school education, I had never read the Old Testament. So I randomly picked a book of the OT to read, as a way of getting started. It was Nehemiah. As you can imagine, that didn’t go over too well. So I then began reading one chapter of each of the Standard works every day. That lasted for about 20 days, and then I lost my Bible in a car accident.  (I bought a new bible, but alas the habit was broken).  So another 9 months passed, I read the D&C and PoGP for the first time, and went on a mission. (I read the Book of Mormon 2 or 3 more times too) and I started at the OT again. This time I made it to Chronicles, then gave up. When I got married, My wife admitted she also had never finished the OT, and we read together, and made it to Leviticus once, then the end of Genesis, then the middle of Exodus, etc. etc. Then we tried backwards and made it to Jeremiah. So last May I bought the Old Testament on CD. It’s the ‘Inspired By’ TNIV edition, with a dramatized rendition by an all African-American cast.  And last week I finished it.