2010 – SMPT Call For Papers

September 1, 2009    By: Matt W. @ 8:08 pm   Category: Uncategorized

2010 – Call For Papers

Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology Seventh Annual Meeting
March 25–27, 2010
Utah Valley University
Orem, Utah

The Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology invites papers on any aspect of Mormon belief, including its philosophical ramifications. We particularly encourage submissions on this year’s theme.

Theme: “The Measure of Their Creation—Theological Anthropology”

Christians generally share the belief that humans are children of God, made in his image. However, this belief takes a distinctive and radical form as it is understood by Latter-day Saints. On the one hand humans are much more like God, in several important respects, than on the traditional Christian view. On the other hand, Mormons take a more positive view of human embodiment and finitude. We will explore LDS teaching on the nature of human beings, with its implications and questions it raises, including comparison with other Christian views. We will also consider how human nature’s various aspects reflect a divine intention or purpose, “the measure of its creation” (D&C 88:19). Possible topics falling under this theme include: (more…)

Breaking: CDC Locates Origin of Pig Flu

April 30, 2009    By: Jacob J @ 5:33 pm   Category: Uncategorized

I love bacon

More Muddled Evolution Theory

December 16, 2008    By: Jacob J @ 12:00 am   Category: Uncategorized

I am a pro-science guy and I believe in evolution. That said, it seems to me from watching the Discovery channel and reading popular science articles that it is easy to get carried away explaining things based on evolution to the point that we forget what evolution is in the first place.†  Evolution is natural selection working on random mutation. Here’s an example from the NYT (hat tip: ZD sidebar) demonstrating how easy it is to slip from sound scientific reasoning into poppycock: (more…)

Praise to the Man: A Hymn By Eliza R. Snow?

September 8, 2008    By: Jacob J @ 11:02 am   Category: Uncategorized

When I was at BYU I used to spend some of my free time between classes hunting for treasures in the BYU library. I made lots of trips to Special Collections since my searches on controversial topics seemed to land me there more often than not. But those trips took time. Frequently, I would just go to the Mormon section (on the forth floor at the time before the HBLL was expanded and it moved downstairs) and look for interesting books to check out. At the time I didn’t have a very clear picture of the larger scholarly community and I assumed if I was going to find interesting things I’d have to dig them up for myself in old books. (more…)

Learning from our religious big brothers: Hinduism

December 19, 2007    By: Matt W. @ 9:57 am   Category: Uncategorized

One of my favorite “doctrines” within the LDS faith is the charge to go and seek out the good of other faiths and to bring them home to Mormonism. This is an effort to do this. If anyone out there is a true expert on Hinduism, apologies abound and corrections are welcome.

The Problem of Evil has been a delightful pointy stick which many have used to argue against the existence of God. For a long time, I thought the LDS church had a unique out for this particular problem, the eternal existence of souls. I was wrong, but not in the way you may be thinking.

Why Obey the Laws of Logic?

December 4, 2007    By: Jacob J @ 12:29 am   Category: Uncategorized

There is a wonderful little book that I would blog if I were not so lazy called Walking the Tightrope of Reason. Robert Fogelin explores the paradoxes and problems associated with reason and logic. On the one hand, we are absolutely and unavoidably commited to the integrity of reason. On the other hand, we find that reason has a tendency to turn against itself and create incoherence when pursued unrestrained. In an early chapter entitled “Why Obey the Laws of Logic?” he makes the point that if we reject the law of non-contradiction, everything goes south fast:

The standard proof that everything follows from a contradiction depends on three seemingly unassailable principles. (more…)

Science Without a Worldview

November 25, 2007    By: Jacob J @ 2:05 pm   Category: Uncategorized

Science offers a worldview. Sure, it is good for a lot of other things too (technologies for example), but I think the scientific worldview is one of the most important things science has to offer. It seems to me that the advances in physics over the last hundred years have left science in an awkward position, which both frustrates and fascinates me.

Ever since Isaac Newton, the prevailing scientific worldview has been one of mechanism, the idea that everything can be explained by physical causes. The universe is seen as a big pinball machine with things bumping into each other, each action causing an equal and opposite reaction, and so forth. (more…)

“Offend the Spirit” — Poor Choice of Words?

October 21, 2007    By: Jacob J @ 12:10 pm   Category: Uncategorized

Vulgarity, profanity, immodesty, violence in movies, and being up past midnight are examples of things that we commonly refer to as “offending the spirit.” I don’t disagree, in general, with the badness of the things on this list but I find the word choice to be a bit problematic. The picture it paints in my mind is different than what I think is actually going on. This language has always conjured for me an image of the Holy Ghost standing up and leaving the movie theater in disgust. In fact, I think that is the image that speakers are trying to evoke by using such language. However, I think there is an important problem with that image. (more…)

Lesser Known Lewis

September 2, 2007    By: Jacob J @ 12:11 pm   Category: Uncategorized

Mere Christianity and Screwtape Letters get a lot of attention, but I find most people have not read much C.S. Lewis beyond that (if anything, the Great Divorce, The Abolition of Man, maybe The Weight of Glory). Although I’m a big fan of his famous books like Screwtape Letters, most of my favorite Lewis comes from his shorter essays and lesser known stuff. Here are some snippets from the Letters of C.S. Lewis, a collection of some of his personal letters to fans and friends. I thought some of these might generate interesting discussion if people are inclined to discuss. I numbered them so you can refer to them more easily. (more…)

Eugene England’s Worst. Arguments. Ever.

July 21, 2007    By: Jacob J @ 6:49 pm   Category: Uncategorized

This post is long, but I didn’t want to title a post as I did without at least trying to back it up. You don’t need to read the whole post to comment, feel free to comment on any one of the several arguments discussed.

I know, we all love Eugene England. You do and I do. Nevertheless, someone needs to point out that the arguments in his famous On Fidelity, Polygamy, and Celestial Marriage are not good arguments, and it might as well be me that does it. Twenty years after being published this paper is still influential and gets semi-regular mention in the bloggernacle. The main point of the paper is to argue that there will be no plural marriage in the celestial kingdom. Not for Abraham, not for Brigham Young, and not for your grandpa who was sealed to a second wife after his first wife died. (more…)

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