July 15, 2019

    My wife and I have been on one of our periodic Jane Austen binges again.  First, we re-watched the 1995 BBC Pride and Prejudice, with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth.  Then, inspired, we watched the 1996 Emma again, starring Gwyneth Paltrow.  Really getting into it by this point, we binge-watched the 2008 WGBH (Boston)/BBC Sense and Sensibility, with Hattie Morahan.  It’s not nearly as familiar to me as the 1995 film of Sense and Sensibility that features Emma… Read more

July 15, 2019

    As a serious social and political conservative who is inclined to libertarianism on economic issues, I’m anything but a fan of Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).  I’ve paid scarcely any attention to Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), but, given her political positions, it’s safe to say that I would never vote for her, either.   Indeed, I’ve found myself in the, for me, exceedingly odd and unaccustomed position over the past couple of weeks… Read more

July 15, 2019

    I don’t follow Mr. Jonathan Neville’s blogs, have never read a book or an article that he has written, and, although I met him once at a FairMormon conference, can’t remember what he looks like.  But a friend — Mr. Neville would surely describe him as a fellow “M2C” conspirator — has just called my attention to a blog entry that Mr. Neville has recently posted attacking me.  Again.   (“M2C” is Jonathan Neville’s acronym for the theory… Read more

July 15, 2019

    I have to admit that I was intrigued to see this item, and that I’m very curious to find out more about what the speaker will be saying:   “Can the human soul be a scientific concept? 
One ivy league neuroscientist says, “Yes!””   He seems to be taking a rather daring and unfashionable position, and I’m eager to see what the reaction to his thesis will be.   Still, to be frank, my initial interest was tempered… Read more

July 15, 2019

    Here’s a wonderful case of extracting good from bad or, as the old saying has it, of making a silk purse from a sow’s ear:   “Choir Goes Viral for Singing “I Believe in Christ” During NY Blackout”   ***   In any given month, there’s a whole lot going on in places far removed from Church headquarters and the Wasatch Front.  Here are a few examples:   “Latter-day Saints Around the World: Country Newsroom Websites, July 12,… Read more

July 14, 2019

    Frank Wilczek, an American theoretical physicist and mathematician and a 2004 winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics, is currently the  Herman Feshbach Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  He has been described as an agnostic, but apparently insists that it would be more accurate to call him a pantheist.   I offer three quotations from Professor Wilczek that I’ve come across, and that caught my attention.  They come from his 2016 book A Beautiful Question: Finding Nature’s Deep Design, which has now jumped… Read more

July 14, 2019

    Stephen Cranney has just published a review in BYU Studies of The Next Mormons: How Millennials Are Changing the LDS Church (New York City: Oxford University Press, 2019), which was written by Jana Riess with assistance from Benjamin Knoll:   https://byustudies.byu.edu/content/next-mormons-how-millennials-are-changing-lds-church   It’s well worth a look by anybody who read the book or who is interested in the topics that it covers.   “Stephen Cranney is a Washington, D.C.–area statistician, married father of four, and lame-duck scoutmaster in his ward. He has a… Read more

July 14, 2019

    Three passages taken from P.M.H. Atwater, The Big Book of Near-Death Experiences: The Ultimate Guide to What Happens When We Die (Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads Publishing Company, 2007):   As he lay dying on the ground near his mangled car, comedian Sam Kinison was heard talking softly with an unseen presence.  An individual at the scene later told reporters from the Las Vegas Sun what he had said as he conversed with “somebody upstairs.”  Sam pleaded, “I don’t want to… Read more

July 13, 2019

    I bought Alvin Plantinga’s book Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2011) shortly after its initial publication.  To my shame, however, it’s been sitting unread on my shelf since that time.  So I’m finally getting around to reading it — although, thus far, only at the rate of a few pages per day.   I’ve now completed the first two chapters — “Evolution and Christian Belief (1)” and “Evolution and Christian… Read more

July 13, 2019

    My late friend Huston Smith (1919-2016), whom I first met when he was retired from a career of teaching at Washington University in St. Louis (1947-1958), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1958-1973) and Syracuse University (1973-1983) and was serving as a visiting professor of Religious Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, wrote a number of books.  I quote from one of them about what he sometimes called the “Modern Western Mindset”:   The clue to it can be stated in a single sentence: An… Read more

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