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Anybody out there in or near Preston, Idaho, or Lethbridge, Alberta? Or, for that matter, anywhere else in the cosmos?

Anybody out there in or near Preston, Idaho, or Lethbridge, Alberta? Or, for that matter, anywhere else in the cosmos? August 18, 2021

 

Oliver Cowdery about to pray
A still photograph taken a year or two ago by James Jordan on the set of the Interpreter Foundation’s “Witnesses” film project in upstate New York

 

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Kyler Rasmussen continues his personal investigation of Joseph Smith’s claims and the probability of their being true with a new blog entry on the website of the Interpreter Foundation:

 

Estimating the Evidence Episode 7: On Three Consonants and a Turn

 

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The theatrical run of the Interpreter Foundation’s Witnesses movie continues to wind down, but it will actually pick up a new movie house this coming weekend — the Worm Creek Opera House in Preston, Idaho.  If you live in or near Preston, don’t miss this opportunity.  If you know somebody who lives in or near Preston, please pass the word along.

 

I also want to remind people in Lethbridge, Alberta, that the film will be running there, through at least this coming weekend, at the Movie Mill.

 

And it’s still showing at the Paramount in Idaho Falls, the Kaysville 3 in Kaysville (Utah), and the Megaplex 18 Theatres at Thanksgiving Point, in Lehi, Utah.

 

It’s also available in Arizona, at the Superstition Springs 25 in Mesa and the Santan Village 16 in Gilbert.

 

Finally, Witnesses has been screening this week at four theaters that are located within two miles of the Brigham Young University campus.  But Thursday night will probably be the last opportunity to see it in those theaters.  And, as I’ve repeatedly pointed out, echoing the movie critic of the Salt Lake Tribune, Witnesses offers a visually beautiful experience when it’s viewed  on a large theatrical screen.

 

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You might find this of piece of interest.  It’s from Dennis Horne:

 

“What led President Joseph F. Smith to study the spirit world, what he learned, and what we know about his work there now”

 

And here it is in longer form:

 

“President Joseph F. Smith’s Special Witness of Jesus Christ”

 

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And here are two short pieces from the invaluable Neville-Neville Land blog:

 

“Correlation ≠ causation”

 

“When Jonathan Neville gets it right, he deserves credit”

 

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Dr. Carl Trueman recently spoke at the FAIR Conference, on essentially the topic for which he seems to have been recently censored (see below).  Are we headed for a period in which Christian and other theistic voices will be suppressed?  I’m inclined to think so:

 

“Opinion: Big Tech is coming for conservative Christians: It’s chilling to think that internet media giants might be sidelining, or even censoring, traditional religious beliefs.”

Wall Street Journal “Social Media’s Threat to Religious Freedom: A theologian’s talk on the Christian view of sex was deemed a ‘content violation.’”

“The Pegasus Project surfaces a new era of oppression for people of faith. Here’s what should be done. — Of the 10 governments that reportedly purchased the tool, all have known histories of human rights violations and have repeatedly demonstrated their desire to suppress dissent.”

 

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I freely confess that I was flattered a couple of days ago when the Deseret News devoted an entire news article to me:

 

“The world’s largest and possibly oldest living organism resides in Utah”

 

And here are a handful of other more or less science-related pieces:

 

“The Science Behind Why Bodies Filled with Light Can Comprehend All Things”

 

“BYU, University of Colorado scientists may have discovered the most lifeless place on Earth”

(The wishful fantasies of a few of my critics notwithstanding, the most lifeless place on Earth isn’t actually a movie theater in which Witnesses is being shown.)

 

“A weirdly warped planet-forming disk circles a distant trio of stars: The bizarre geometry of this system is the first known of its kind”

 

And, while I’m in a scientific vein, here’s a quotation from astronomer and astrophysicist Seth Shostak that I extracted from a book a few years ago:

 

Ever since Galileo, astronomers have somberly charted a universe that is stupefyingly large, bitterly cold, and implacably hostile.  As every schoolchild knows, we occupy a small planet around a common sort of star, itself just one of a hundred billion suns in a rather ordinary galaxy.  Our cosmic situation is insignificant, and life, particularly intelligent life, might be only an accident of circumstance on one tiny, watery world.  Indeed, we have yet to discover whether even a single other celestial body has managed to spawn the simplest biology.

In other words, we might be tempted to judge from current evidence that life is no more than an occasional consequence of nature’s laws, a chance product of the chemistry that those laws allow.  Intelligence, which has emerged only recently on our planet, might be even rarer  In this view, the appearance of life seems if not miraculous, then at least highly unlikely.

But there is something wrong with this picture.  As our understanding of cosmology has deepened, we have been confronted with a disarming fact: it seems that the physical laws and constraints of the universe have been finely tuned for life.  For example, the energy states of atoms are such as to allow the easy formation of carbon in the searing interiors of the stars, and to prevent this element from being quickly transmuted into yet heavier atoms.  But there seems to be no compelling reason why these energy levels could not have been otherwise, resulting in a universe in which carbon — the key building block of complex molecules and therefore of life — was hard to find.  The particulars of the Big Bang were also fortuitous.  Had this initial event occurred with less force, the universe would have long ago collapsed on itself.  With more force, it would have expanded too quickly to allow the formation of galaxies, stars, planets — and us.  Again, it is hard to explain why, like Goldilocks’s porridge, the Big Bang should have detonated with a force that was “just right.”  In the words of physicist Freeman Dyson, such apparent coincidences make it seem as if “the universe knew we were coming.”

Seth Shostak, “Foreword” to James N. Gardner, Biocosm: The New Scientific Theory of Evolution: Intelligent Life is the Architect of the Universe (Makawao, Maui, Hawaii: Inner Ocean Publishing, 2003), xix-xx.

 

 

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