Is there a “you” in you?

Is there a “you” in you? April 4, 2024

 

This should be fun!
The official formal photograph of the author of today’s posted article on the Interpreter website (Wikimedia Commons public domain image). Of course, I was wearing a wig.

Newly posted on the perpetually somnolent website of the Interpreter Foundation:  Hugh Nibley Observed: Nibley as an Apologist,” written by Daniel C. Peterson

“Listening to that very generous introduction, I’m reminded of a time when I was asked to chair or moderate a session in which Professor Nibley was speaking. I was sitting next to him when someone gave a prayer, and the prayer went on and on and on and on about what a great privilege it was to sit in the presence of this great man, and so on and so forth. And very audibly, about three minutes into the prayer, sitting next to me, I heard him say, ‘Aw, shucks.’”

Part of our book chapter reprint series, this article originally appeared in Hugh Nibley Observed, edited by Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, Shirley S. Ricks, and Stephen T. Whitlock. For more information, go to https://interpreterfoundation.org/books/hugh-nibley-observed/.

A Ramada blessing
A somewhat sentimental Ramadan “card”: “Ramadan kareem! Wa kulla ‘am wa antum bi-khayr!”  (Loosely, “Generous Ramadan!  May you be well with every [passing] year!”)
I did a recorded interview today that was largely but not entirely focused on the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan.  It will eventually appear on the Latter-day Saint podcast For All the Saints, which is based in the United Kingdom.

Inside the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah
A view of theConference Center as some devoutly hope it will appear during General Conference in a few years or so.  (Wikimedia Commons public domain image)

Some of you are probably aware that the singer David Archuleta has announced his departure from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints over his homosexuality and his perception that the Church is unwelcoming to him.  And that he has taken his mother out of the Church with him.  I’ve never followed David Archuleta, but his announcement saddens me.  I like this published response:  “An Open Letter of Hope to David Archuleta: It’s natural to wonder about the future for those navigating the intersections of faith, sexuality, gender and identity. I believe that future can be filled with peace, happiness and love beyond even their fondest imagination.,” written by Ty Mansfield.

MTC & OTS, SLC, UT, USA sdlkafklslfksklfksla
The Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square
(Wikimedia Commons public domain image)

Hard to believe though it is, President Russell M. Nelson may finally be feeling some of the effects of age:  “President Nelson says age, longevity of service of senior Latter-day Saint leaders is ‘cause for ‘celebration’: Some leaders may sit for messages or prerecord for this weekend’s general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”

I hate to see it, but I suppose that he may be warning us what to expect this coming weekend.  And, after all, I’m thinking that, in his hundredth year, he may actually have earned the right to sit while speaking, or even to pre-record his message.

And, while we’re thinking about the approaching General Conference of the Church, I call this article by Shalissa Lindsay to your notice.  I enjoyed it:  “Screwtape to Wormwood on General Conference”

Aerial view of Mario Beauregard's hospital
Vue aérienne Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal,  Mario Beuregard worked in this hospital for several years.  (Wikimedia Commons public domain)

I’m extracting some notes from Mario Beauregard and Denyse O’Leary, The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Case for the Existence of the Soul (New York City: HarperOne, 2007), so I thought that I would share a couple of them with you.

The first quotation comes from a famous 1996 Athenaeum Reading Room essay (entitled “Sorry, but Your Soul Just Died”)  by the late Tom Wolfe (1930-2018), who was a novelist, a social critic, and the holder of a Ph.D. from Yale University (though in a field quite unrelated to neuroscience).  Wolfe was an atheist and saw himself expounding the “neuroscientific view of life.”  Here is one of the conclusions that, in his opinion, are entailed by that view:

Since consciousness and thought are entirely physical products of your brain and nervous system — and since your brain arrived fully imprinted at birth — what makes you think you have free will?  Where is it going to come from?  What “ghost,” what “mind,” what “self,” what “soul,” what anything that will not be immediately grabbed by those scornful quotation marks, is going to bubble up your brain stem to give it to you?  I have heard neuroscientists theorize that, given computers of sufficient power and sophistication, it would be possible to predict the course of any human being’s life moment for moment, including the fact that the poor devil was about to shake his head over the very idea.  (cited on 4)

However, Mario Beauregard, a French Canadian cognitive neuroscientist who earned his doctorate from the University of Montreal and who is currently at the Department of Psychology at the University of Arizona, dissents.  He responds that

neuroscientists have not discovered that there is no you in you; they start their work with that assumption.  Anything they find is interpreted on the basis of that view.  The science does not require that.  Rather, it is an obligation that materialists impose on themselves.  (4, emphasis his)

On a quite distinct topic, Professor Beauregard writes that

most humans have never believed in atheism or materialism.  Indeed, religion may well have been around as long as humans.  Seventy thousand years ago, the Neanderthals, an extinct species of human, buried their dead with tools, apparently to be used in another world.  Significantly, many Neanderthal dead were placed in a fetal position, suggesting that Neanderthals expected to be “born again” when they died.  British archaeologist Paul Pettitt reports:

At the Sima de los Huesos (“Pit of the Bones”) at Atapuerca in Spain, over 32 individuals of Homo heidelbergensis dating to over 200,000 years ago were found at the bottom of a deep shaft.  It is possible that these bones . . . all got there accidentally — but I doubt it.  Caves and sinkholes are dark, mysterious places; they echo with the strange sounds of wind and water.  In later periods they were regarded as gateways to the “otherworld.”  It seems far more likely that early Neanderthals perceived them in a similar way.  (7, italics mine)

Grim theist
You only need to look at him to realize that this is almost certainly some kind of religious person,
(Wikimedia Commons public domain image)

Finally, whenever you need to make a point about the evils committed in the world by theists and theism, your go-to resource is and will always be the Christopher Hitchens Memorial “How Religion Poisons Everything” File™.  Here is a recent example:  “Four Ways to Become Part of Worldwide Humanitarian Efforts to Care for Those in Need: The Church offers 4 principles of volunteering in the community.”  Shocking, no?  And yet, so far, there are no reports of any arrests being carried out, let alone of any indictments that have been handed down.  These religious thugs look as if they’re going to get off scot-free.

 

 

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