Archives for March 2011

Is Strong AI Possible? Mormonism Says No.

Last month the artificial intelligence computer system "Watson" beat the two biggest winners ever on Jeopardy!. Watson is a kind of specific artificial intelligence - it's programmed to do something very specific, which is to answer questions for Jeopardy!. As David Ferrucci, lead researcher of the IBM team that created Watson said, it can only respond to content it's been given and analyzed; it understands language "only in a way we call statistical machine learning. It gives you the answer … [Read more...]

Quotes of Note- The FP and President Clark on Assertion vs. Revelation

I'll admit upfront that there's more than one way to read this.Dogmatic assertions do not take the place of revelation, and we should be satisfied with that which is accepted as doctrine, and not discuss matters that, after all disputes, are merely matters of theory.¬†Your brethren, (Signed) JOSEPH F. SMITH, ANTHON H. LUND, CHARLES W. PENROSE. -James R. Clark, comp., Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 6 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-75], … [Read more...]

Quotes of Note- Elder Widtsoe and President Brown on Limits of our Knowledge and Assumptions

"We set up assumptions, based upon our best knowledge, but can go no further."- Elder John A. Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations, 126.Widtsoe was a European, a Harvard grad, a scientist, and an Apostle, a unique combination I don't believe has been duplicated since. (President Eyring comes close, although New Jersey, a foreign country to many of us, isn't technically in Europe.)Widtsoe makes this statement in context of thinking about the Flood. What I find striking about it is how … [Read more...]

Quotes of Note- Presidents Hinckley and Uchtdorf on Books and Reading

President Hinckley, cited in The Voice of My Servants, p. 61: "I confess that I am constantly appalled by the scarcity of my knowledge, and the one resentment I think I carry concerns the many pressing demands which limit the opportunity for reading." Speaking to BYU graduates, he said, There is a tendency on the part of some graduates to say, `Now all of that is behind me.' No, there is much more ahead than there is behind. We live in a world where knowledge is developing at an … [Read more...]

Better Sex Through Chastity

Premarital sex on college campuses is not something I know anything about. I went to BYU about 10 years ago, and while premarital sex existed there, it certainly wasn't widespread enough to be conceived of as a marketplace. So when I read this Slate article reporting that the current market "price" for sex is currently very low, I was, well, shocked. Apparently single women in their twenties are having sex under conditions for which I wouldn't have even been willing to hold hands. According … [Read more...]

Contributing to the Ensign- Interesting Guidelines

I was looking for something in the Ensign, and noticed two little links at the bottom, "Submit an article to the Ensign. View our updated content submission guidelines."Really? Open submissions? Apparently so. How long has this been going on?The submission guidelines have some interesting things. For example, under the "General Ongoing Needs" section, one sees the first of several desired categories is "By Study and by Faith: These Church history and other academic or scriptural articles are … [Read more...]

Quotes of Note- Elder Talmage on Genesis

"Let us not try to wrest the scriptures in an attempt to explain away what we can not explain. The opening chapters of Genesis, and scriptures related thereto, were never intended as a text-book of geology, archaeology, earth-science or man-science. Holy Scripture will endure, while the conceptions of men change with new discoveries. We do not show reverence for the scriptures when we misapply them through faulty interpretation." -Elder James E. Talmage, "The Earth and Man," LDS Church, Salt … [Read more...]