What should you say in a baby blessing?

May 30, 2010    By: Jacob J @ 12:14 am   Category: Uncategorized

The first time I thought about this question was on my flight from the MTC to the mission home in Florida. My older brother had just asked me something about this in a letter and as I sat pondering the question I was reminded once again that I had nothing insightful to say due to my total lack of life experience. Since then I have had a few occassions to bless babies yet I still wonder about this. What is a baby blessing for? In preparing for a baby blessing should I approach it like I do a healing blessing or is it different? (more…)

Jeff G is back in the saddle

March 13, 2010    By: Jacob J @ 8:59 am   Category: Uncategorized

Jeff G is an old friend of this blog so I thought it fitting to point out that he is back in the saddle and blogging about Philosophy and Mormonism at a new blog.

So far, the posts have taken the form of an ongoing dialogue between two interlocutors, much in the same format as a recent discussion between someone and himself here at this blog (ahem). The two participants are “David” (who seems to represent the actual Jeff G’s and his views) and “Jeff” (who seems to represent Jeff G’s best, tho usually losing, defense of Mormonism).

I have always found Jeff G to be one of the smartest and most interesting people in the bloggernacle. You’re not likely to find much in the way of Mormon apologetics at his blog, but if you’re interested in a skeptic’s ruminations about the intersection of philosophy and Mormonism, take a peek over there.

Dennett – Freedom Evolves (lecture)

February 15, 2010    By: Jacob J @ 11:20 am   Category: Determinism vs. free will

I am worried this answer will crater the discussion that continues on the previous thread, so I’m opening a new thread to discuss Dennett’s lecture on his book Freedom Evolves. I know it is sort of stupid to post about this when I haven’t read the book yet, but oh well. Consider this a post about the lecture.

Daniel Dennett – Freedom Evolves – a Dangerous Idea Part 1 (9:55)
Daniel Dennett – Freedom Evolves – a Dangerous Idea Part 2 (9:58)
Daniel Dennett – Freedom Evolves – a Dangerous Idea Part 3 (10:01)
Daniel Dennett – Freedom Evolves – a Dangerous Idea Part 4 (9:59)
Daniel Dennett – Freedom Evolves – a Dangerous Idea Part 5 (9:48)
Daniel Dennett – Freedom Evolves – a Dangerous Idea Part 6 (3:01) (more…)

To you we’re not deep

February 13, 2010    By: Jacob J @ 2:48 pm   Category: Theology

Over at Mormon Insights the erudite S. Faux has been blogging an very interesting series on consciousness and the brain. One of the recurring themes in that series is that consciousness is a physical phenomenon which will eventually be entirely explained by physics. As I explored in my previous post, I believe that the concept of moral responsibility is eviscerated in the context of physicalism. I poked at S. Faux along those lines on a couple of occasions (once starting in this comment, and then again starting in this comment).

S. Faux responded to my prodding with his typical graciousness and even took a stab at answering a few clarifying questions about his philosophical assumptions. My first impressions about his physicalist assumptions appear to me to be supported by his responses there. (more…)

Rocks have feelings too

   By: Jacob J @ 11:55 am   Category: Determinism vs. free will

A couple of years ago I advanced the idea that rocks are free, if the compatibilists are correct. Although this suggestion was called “ridiculous” by the esteemed Jeff G, the three detractors[1] of my view mostly convinced me that it is a very useful way of illuminating the issue. (more…)

Global Warming TEDTalks 2

November 28, 2009    By: Jacob J @ 12:06 pm   Category: Uncategorized

No, this is about an entirely different global warming scandal. In this 2007 presentation, David Keith lets the cat out of the bag by revealing a cheap, fast, effective solution to global warming which we’ve known about for as long as we’ve been worried about global warming. Yes, you read that right.

Keith is a Canada Research Chair in Energy and the Environment at the University of Calgary and the opposite of a global warming skeptic. He loves conservation so much he is conflicted about telling everyone about the cheap, fast, effective solution to global warming because they may not want to conserve once they know about it. In fact, he cites political correctness as the reason no one discusses this cheap, fast, effective solution. (more…)

Synthetic Happiness TEDTalks 1

November 17, 2009    By: Jacob J @ 10:31 pm   Category: Happiness,Life

This talk by Dan Gilbert is one of my all-time favorite TEDTalks, I must have listened to it a half-dozen times. I can’t help but think of my mom who has as one of her principal catch phrases, “I like to keep my options open.”


Movie Review: A Serious Man

November 15, 2009    By: Jacob J @ 9:14 pm   Category: Life

If I’ve counted correctly, A Serious Man is the Coen brothers’ 14th film. As the 2000s got underway, I was starting to think the Coens had lost their mojo. With Intolerable Cruelty in 2003 and then The Ladykillers in (2004) things were on a bad trajectory. Luckily, after taking a few years off they proved they still had some genius left by adding another masterpiece to their body of work with No Country For Old Men. Last year brought Burn After Reading which, despite having its moments, was not in contention for their best work. (more…)

All we like sheep

October 4, 2009    By: Jacob J @ 2:39 pm   Category: Mormon Culture/Practices

Despite my propensity for nonconformity and insubordination, I did my best to assimilate when I went on a mission. I followed a lot of rules, even most of the ones that seemed unnecessary. However, sometimes my contumacious nature could not be contained. (more…)

Of Grandparents and Dying

September 25, 2009    By: Jacob J @ 1:08 am   Category: Ethics,Life

Of my wife and my five remaining grandparents, four of them are nearing the end.

Responsibility and Consciousness

August 27, 2009    By: Jacob J @ 2:26 pm   Category: Life

Lisa: You did fix them, right Dad? Because even a single faulty unit could corrupt every other computer in the world.
Homer: That can’t be true, honey. If it were I’d be terrified.

I recently checked out some books from Oxford’s “A Very Short Introduction” series. I started with A Very Short Introduction to Economics but gave up about two thirds of the way through due to it being extremely boring. Next in the hopper was A Very Short Introduction to Consciousness by Susan Blackmore. This one was plenty interesting but it made me want to strangle Susan Blackmore on several occasions. (more…)

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