Friday, June 22

The Assault on The Culture Warrior: I'll read it if it's the same as my other books

According to a psychological prinicple known as "confirmation bias," we tend to seek out or interpret information that confirms our preconceived opinions. We all do this. If you disagree, try this experiment. Think of the last time you sought out and read a book that you knew was contrary a strongly held opinion or belief. My guess is you probably haven't. After all, what's the point? Why would you want to have your opinion challenged? If you have, it was probably like me, who often seeks out books that are contrary only to understand the enemy, or see why they're wrong. : )

It is in that spirit that I have began reading, somewhat simultaneously, Bill O'Reilly's Culture Warrior, and Al Gore's The Assault On Reason. O'Reilly offends a lot of people. His is not a book that I would read normally, but I'm reading it. With an (arguably) open mind. To balance that (arguably), I'm reading Gore, who also offends some people. Some might even suggest that Gore's book itself is an assault on reason.

I believe that in order to truly be rational, thinking citizen, we must seek out information from all over the spectrum. We don't need to agree with everything, of course, but learning about other's perspectives will help us understand each other, unify people across partisan lines, and make us more thoughtful in what we do believe.

Any suggestions (from all sides) of books I might want to read? One caveat: I'm not ready to read Ann Coulter, so please don't suggest that. : )

Monday, June 18

Batman's Sweet Ride

Ok, I'm kind of a geek, but ever since Batman Begins, I am crazy about any Batman news, including anything about The Dark Knight, which comes out next summer.

Friday, June 15

LDS leader hits all your favorite topics, from Intelligent Design to women holding the priesthood

An interesting thing has been happening with Romney running for President. LDS leaders are being interviewed in the national media, and they’re not being asked your standard Sunday School questions. Reuters recently interviewed Elder Christofferson of the Seventy. Some excerpts…

On a member voting contrary to a church political stance:
"Even where the church has taken a firm or vigorous position on something…if a member as a government officer votes in a different way or contrary to the church’s position there’s no church censure…either way we say to be honest, be of high moral standards and govern yourself that way but vote according to your best judgment. If we were to try and dictate to members how to vote…we would contravene a very fundamental doctrine and the whole idea of pluralism and religious freedom that we value so much."

On whether or not Intelligent Design should be taught in schools:
"Not necessarily…We’re not pushing that schools teach Intelligent Design but rather that they teach honest science, and at church we teach what we know. Eventually they will come together."

On women someday holding the priesthood:
"I don’t know. I really don’t know. We do honestly believe in the reality of revelation…We think the Lord continues to reveal His will…God has always acted that way and there’s no way he wouldn’t continue. In that sense it would be conceivable…He wants to time things in a certain way that’s up to Him."

On polygamy:
"When someone’s spouse has died for example and they remarry, they could be married in a temple for a second time, sealed as we say. How that sorts out in the afterlife we’ll leave in the Savior’s hand… The default mode is monogamy. That was divinely established at the beginning of time with Adam and Eve and it continues unless God for his own purposes, for whatever reason, permits, or authorizes or directs in this case the practice of plural marriage, and there have been times when He has, if you look at Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob…and this instance here in the early (LDS) church history… but unless God were to specifically reveal to the Prophet this must be done at this time, it’s not, it’s wrong without his direction."

And the quote of the week:
"I think it’s important to admit on the scientific side there are limits to what we know, and on the religious side there are limits to what we know."

That sums up how I feel about knowledge and faith. There is a lot we don’t know. Science will continue to have more discoveries that modify or change current theories, and religion will continue to have more revelations that modify or change current beliefs. May we all be open to further light and knowledge.

Tuesday, June 12

Sorry Mr. Bush, You'll Have To Obey The Constitution This Time

And that could apply to a lot of people (that includes you Bill, and Utah's own Orrin "rule of law" Hatch, of course), Bush just happens to be the one currently wielding the axe. Really, I think there are a lot of politicians (from any party) who claim to uphold the "law" yet try to change it when it is inconvenient. I was happy to read this article today. A federal appeals court ruled that a citizen cannot be detained as an enemy combatant indefinitely, and must be tried in court. WOW! Right to a trial in court. Now that's special. We all should be so lucky.