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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Mormons, Gays and Polygamy (Page 5)

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Author Topic: Mormons, Gays and Polygamy
Rakeesh
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Those are serious, specific questions, Hobbes, and thus have no place in this scientific question.

...wait.

Anyway, clearly the answer to my question is, "I wouldn't cross your bridge even if there were trolls and crocodiles underneath the other one." It's bizarre. You're speaking so earnestly about the idea that within a century or so, science will be able to definitively prove something isn't there because it will be able to detect every single thing that is there, and there will be no doubt remaining on the latter point, so case closed.

So the reason, according to you, that you're 'not bothered' by religion is because within a century or so science will have answered all of the questions about reality and thus eliminated any possible religious wiggle room. And you say this in apparent earnest respect for science. Are you capable of recognizing the contradiction in this?

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BBegley
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Mother Jones article

Article from Mother Jones indicating that the LDS church has quietly dropped official opposition, or at least isn't interested continuing the fight.
From the article:
quote:
In the five years since the LDS church sent busloads of the faithful to California to canvass neighborhoods, and contributed more than $20 million via its members to support the initiative, it has all but dropped the rope in the public policy tug of war over marriage equality. The change stems from an even more remarkable if somewhat invisible transformation happening within the church, prompted by the ugly fight over Prop. 8 and the ensuing backlash from the flock.

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BlackBlade
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That was interesting. I knew all of those things in isolation, but it was nice to see it unified in a single article.
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steven
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Those are serious, specific questions, Hobbes, and thus have no place in this scientific question.

...wait.

Anyway, clearly the answer to my question is, "I wouldn't cross your bridge even if there were trolls and crocodiles underneath the other one." It's bizarre. You're speaking so earnestly about the idea that within a century or so, science will be able to definitively prove something isn't there because it will be able to detect every single thing that is there, and there will be no doubt remaining on the latter point, so case closed.

So the reason, according to you, that you're 'not bothered' by religion is because within a century or so science will have answered all of the questions about reality and thus eliminated any possible religious wiggle room. And you say this in apparent earnest respect for science. Are you capable of recognizing the contradiction in this?

I was posting from my iPhone at work, in between tasks, so be cool. I shouldn't have to repeat myself anyway. This is Hatrack. I admit, my posts on the subject have been very short, though.
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steven
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quote:
Originally posted by Hobbes:
How would a the theory even address the question? The next step after creating a theory of everything isn't to actually predict everything. It's to spend some cash on a bigger particle accelerator and check and see if maybe the numbers line up with a decent confidence interval to the results we get using some protons. How would one even try to check for the occurrence of a soul? We're still trying, and failing I might add, to truly understand and predict systems bigger than a proton and an electron. How does the existence of souls even factor into this?

Hobbes [Smile]

Several times in this thread I've mentioned the need for experimental verification.

And when you've got a working G.U.T., pretty much by definition, you're not having many problems predicting the behavior of subatomic particles. Unless, of course, something supernatural and therefore unpredictable, is interfering.

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cloark
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steven:
quote:
Assuming the existence of a computer fast enough to do all the calculations, any G.U.T. should be able to predict, with 100% accuracy, any physical interaction in the Universe
We all know that any GUT will have pi in there somewhere. But in order to get 100% accuracy, you're going to have to enter pi into the computer with perfect accuracy. Once you have pi calculated completely, I'm sure we can get started on the rest of the calculations.
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steven
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quote:
Originally posted by cloark:
steven:
quote:
Assuming the existence of a computer fast enough to do all the calculations, any G.U.T. should be able to predict, with 100% accuracy, any physical interaction in the Universe
We all know that any GUT will have pi in there somewhere. But in order to get 100% accuracy, you're going to have to enter pi into the computer with perfect accuracy. Once you have pi calculated completely, I'm sure we can get started on the rest of the calculations.
There's room for rounding to the nearest significant digit, no matter what the calculation. Do you not know about significant digits?
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MrSquicky
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You seem to not understand either the concept of 100% accuracy or of rounding...possibly both.
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steven
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quote:
Originally posted by MrSquicky:
You seem to not understand either the concept of 100% accuracy or of rounding...possibly both.

No, I assure you, I have a basic grasp of both concepts. However, I'm guessing that cloark doesn't. Anybody who tries to prove the limitations of computer modelling by invoking the irrationality of pi certainly doesn't.
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cloark
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Steven, what does 100% accuracy mean if you can't tell me the exact value of something to any number of significant digits I ask?

I'm well versed in the concepts of accuracy, rounding and the uncertanty principle, which is yet another thing that will doom your 100% accuracy.

While we're at it, chaos theory also dooms your quest, since problems this complicated are very likely to include non-linear differential equations in which very small differences far after the decimal point may have have very significant effects to the solution of problems.

Furthermore, many of these math problems are likely to include factors that have no closed formed solution (and have been proven to be unsolvable). These equations can ONLY be calculated as approximations.

In light of all of this, I have to ask: What do you mean by 100% accuracy?

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DDDaysh
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Sadly, I know many. Probably not half the people I know, but certainly not a very small percentage. It baffles me because some of these people are extremely intelligent, yet manage to put blinders on where creation is concerned.

quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Oh, and for the record, I am very skeptical that 50% or even close to that actually believe what is commonly meant by 'Biblical creation'. Just because they're asked a short question absent context and don't have a bubble to describe what exactly they mean.

How many people does anyone here know that believe the Earth was created in seven 24 hour days less than 10,000 years ago? Is it anywhere even close to 'half of them'?


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steven
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quote:
Originally posted by cloark:
Steven, what does 100% accuracy mean if you can't tell me the exact value of something to any number of significant digits I ask?

I'm well versed in the concepts of accuracy, rounding and the uncertanty principle, which is yet another thing that will doom your 100% accuracy.

While we're at it, chaos theory also dooms your quest, since problems this complicated are very likely to include non-linear differential equations in which very small differences far after the decimal point may have have very significant effects to the solution of problems.

Furthermore, many of these math problems are likely to include factors that have no closed formed solution (and have been proven to be unsolvable). These equations can ONLY be calculated as approximations.

In light of all of this, I have to ask: What do you mean by 100% accuracy?

I alluded to this in an earlier post, but not exactly clearly. I am hypothesizing that, when you can predict human behavior, thoughts, and emotions with 100% success, using math, then you know, for sure, if there are "souls" or not. In order to predict human behavior perfectly, I would imagine you'd have to have an experimentally verifiable G.U.T.. I could be wrong, though.
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scifibum
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Souls are often postulated as things that have no detectable effect on anything that can be objectively measured, so just finding no observable effects might not be convincing.

I do think if human behavior can eventually be simulated or replicated by machine to a degree that is sufficiently recognizable as human, it would start to seem less necessary that a soul exists for those people who believe in dualism because they think it's the only explanation for subjective experience (particularly the experience of will).

Although, I suppose, they might just decide that souls opportunistically occupy suitable vessels, sort of like OSC's auia thing.

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steven
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
Souls are often postulated as things that have no detectable effect on anything that can be objectively measured, so just finding no observable effects might not be convincing.

I do think if human behavior can eventually be simulated or replicated by machine to a degree that is sufficiently recognizable as human, it would start to seem less necessary that a soul exists for those people who believe in dualism because they think it's the only explanation for subjective experience (particularly the experience of will).

Although, I suppose, they might just decide that souls opportunistically occupy suitable vessels, sort of like OSC's auia thing.

Well, that was a good post.

I'm kind of hoping the more intellectual religious apologists come out of the woodwork and try to argue me point by point, though. I want to win this the hard way.

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scifibum
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Your connection of GUT to disproving the existence of souls still makes no sense, steven.
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scifibum
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Just to simplify: Being able to predict all predictable effects doesn't mean that you can predict everything, when your theory predicts that some effects are not predictable.
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kmbboots
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Even if you could predict everything, how does that disprove souls? Are you confusing souls with free will?
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stilesbn
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From what I can tell, under Steven's definition a in order for a soul to be a soul, it must be supernatural. So if we were to predict everything there would be nothing supernatural going on because we would understand everything. Therefore that would prove souls do not exist.

Also if we were to discover the existence of a soul and come to understand it the soul would cease to be a soul because it is not supernatural now that we understand what it is.

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MattP
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Well suppose that a soul is just a hot-swappable backup of consciousness which observes matter in a way that cannot be detected. I don't see how you could disprove that and yet it would still allow for an afterlife that included continuity of consciousness.
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Sean Monahan
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Continuity of Consciousness -- that's a good name for a band.
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steven
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To kmbboots--How could there be a difference between a soul and free will? I assume the two are identical.

To scifibum--I am not talking about being able to predict everything, in terms of electron position, etc. and other such quantum weirdness. I'm talking about being able to predict human behavior.

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Hobbes
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And you think that would be easier for a Grand Unified Theory to do than predict electron and positron behavior?

Hobbes [Smile]

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scifibum
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Then why are you connecting it to a unified field theory? Neurons can already be studied and modeled without reconciling quantum mechanics and general relativity, don't you think?

MattP has offered a good hypothesis that can't be disproven, unfortunately. It would be a violation of the uncertainty principle, I think, but that really wouldn't be surprising for anything which is posited to exist somehow separately from the observable universe.

Edit: Ahem. I'm talking about the "observer effect", and yes, I did make this mistake described in the wikipedia article about the uncertainty principle:

quote:
Historically, the uncertainty principle has been confused[4][5] with a somewhat similar effect in physics, called the observer effect, which notes that measurements of certain systems cannot be made without affecting the systems.

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steven
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Quantum effects appear to probably affect neuron behavior. Here's a link from Discover magazine:

Discover article

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Aros
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Supposition: with a UFT and a computer of sufficient sophistication, I could develop a predictive model to predict the outcome of human behavior. Said model would include all relevant variables and predict behavior with a high level (perfect?) of accuracy.

Steven's argument: abnormalities in the prediction model would indicate the presence of a soul. Lack of abnormalities would indicate that no "supernatural elements" are present -- thus no soul exists.

Refutation: he's an idiot. Show me one article anywhere (other than some bizarre conspiracy theory website). No scientist worth their salt would believe that such a complex predictive model could be built outside of a Douglas Adams novel. Furthermore, if a system included all relevant variables, it would also include a soul, as it would be unable to differentiate. If souls exist, they are not "supernatural" -- regardless of their composition, they are a part of the universe and subject to some of the laws of physics. A true UFT would include them.

Outcomes:
- No predictive ability. Can blame it on countless variables or non-linear equations.
- Highly correlated predictive ability: can argue that a soul inhibited perfect correlation. OR could argue that lack of a soul caused a high correlation.
- Perfect correlated predictive ability: can argue that no supernatural elements are present OR could argue that a soul is not supernatural and its contribution to the predictive model is already part of the data.

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Aros
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quote:
Originally posted by steven:
Quantum effects appear to probably affect neuron behavior. Here's a link from Discover magazine:

Discover article

Oh, and Discover is pretty quack science to begin with. They'll publish a lot of fringe authors whose views aren't really reflective of the scientific community. I didn't bother to read the article -- Steven's already proven his credentials.

Scientific American is pretty much the only semi-reputable pop journal.

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Darth_Mauve
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Aros, I like the way you calmly and logically refute Steven's argument. Starting that argument with the name calling ("he's and idiot")weakens what ever you say afterword. Many readers will read just that part of your argument and write you off as just another inarticulate hot head who has nothing better to add to the debate than cheap insults.

Basically, Steven argues that if we had a computer that could, based on all information except the soul, predict the future completely accurately, then there is no soul.

Aros response is, such a computer can not be made, and if it were made, weeding out the influence of the soul from all other starting data is impossible, and if it were possible any differences between prediction and results would most likely be blamed on other factors.

I agree.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by steven:
To kmbboots--How could there be a difference between a soul and free will? I assume the two are identical.

That isn't a good assumption.
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Aros
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quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
Aros, I like the way you calmly and logically refute Steven's argument. Starting that argument with the name calling ("he's and idiot")weakens what ever you say afterword. Many readers will read just that part of your argument and write you off as just another inarticulate hot head who has nothing better to add to the debate than cheap insults.

I'm not really here to hone my debate skills. I'm pretty much just in it for the laughs at what some other people believe.
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Tittles
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Yeah, Mauve. Those people obviously need to work on their reading comprehension skills.
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steven
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
quote:
Originally posted by steven:
To kmbboots--How could there be a difference between a soul and free will? I assume the two are identical.

That isn't a good assumption.
Is there any reasoning for that conclusion?
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Rakeesh
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Since you made the soul claims first-and repeatedly-what's your reasoning on the nature of souls and how they might be detected and measured?
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steven
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Since you made the soul claims first-and repeatedly-what's your reasoning on the nature of souls and how they might be detected and measured?

I don't think they exist. That is, of course, a guess. That's not to say that ESP and other such phenomena don't happen, I think they might. I just think that anything like that would be explainable by a sufficiently good G.U.T.. Again, it's just a guess.

The only thing that would convince me that souls exist is if every phenomenon in the Universe is 100% predictable except the behavior of sentient (or near sentient) beings. Especially if behavior became less predictable the more intelligent the creature became, then I would be convinced.

And to be clear, let me say that I am defining a soul as some part of the self that has memory, awareness, and intelligence, but does not depend on anything detectable and/or physical to exist.

I am also saying that I don't think that free will exists. The only thing that would change my mind is if the behavior of sentient beings is the only thing in the Universe that cannot be perfectly predicted.

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jebus202
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quote:
Originally posted by BBegley:
Mother Jones article

Article from Mother Jones indicating that the LDS church has quietly dropped official opposition, or at least isn't interested continuing the fight.
From the article:
quote:
In the five years since the LDS church sent busloads of the faithful to California to canvass neighborhoods, and contributed more than $20 million via its members to support the initiative, it has all but dropped the rope in the public policy tug of war over marriage equality. The change stems from an even more remarkable if somewhat invisible transformation happening within the church, prompted by the ugly fight over Prop. 8 and the ensuing backlash from the flock.

Serious question, and apologies if it has been covered already: How can the Mormon Church change tact on an issue this large, when they are led by a prophet who makes important decisions like this through prayer and direct consultation with God?
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advice for robots
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quote:
Originally posted by jebus202:
quote:
Originally posted by BBegley:
Mother Jones article

Article from Mother Jones indicating that the LDS church has quietly dropped official opposition, or at least isn't interested continuing the fight.
From the article:
quote:
In the five years since the LDS church sent busloads of the faithful to California to canvass neighborhoods, and contributed more than $20 million via its members to support the initiative, it has all but dropped the rope in the public policy tug of war over marriage equality. The change stems from an even more remarkable if somewhat invisible transformation happening within the church, prompted by the ugly fight over Prop. 8 and the ensuing backlash from the flock.

Serious question, and apologies if it has been covered already: How can the Mormon Church change tact on an issue this large, when they are led by a prophet who makes important decisions like this through prayer and direct consultation with God?
Hmm. My initial answer is, as Mother Jones points out, the church hasn't change its stance on gay marriage or marriage in general. It has, however, dramatically changed its PR approach and is attempting, with apologies for its missteps, to establish better relations with LGBT communities, as outlined by the article.

A change in doctrine, like one that would actually change the church's stance on SSM, would be directed by the prophet.

Also, I do believe President Monson was directing the church's actions in 2008 and is continuing to shape its actions now in regard to LGBT issues in his role as president of the church and prophet.

However, how the church carries out what it considers to be directives from the prophet is going to be very human sometimes. I thought the church's involvement in Prop 8 was way too heavy-handed to begin with, and then got carried away quickly by overzealous members. That, and many actions before and after, were not handled well.

The directives do appear to be in conflict if you see the church as interested only in its PR image--or even in its membership count. Yes, the church is correcting its strategy in part to salvage its image internally and externally. But also because church leaders do genuinely want to bring people to Christ rather than drive them away. The church tends to think in longer terms and I think you'll see its overall actions tend to reflect that, with fine-tuning sometimes coming later. I for one believe we haven't seen the whole story unfold yet.

Let me say here that I am thrilled to see the church leaders changing tack. I hope the church can continue to some degree to help heal hurts that it has caused and to be a support, rather than a hindrance, to the LGBT community.

Kudos to Mother Jones for showing how the church leadership is willing to admit its mistakes and apologize, alongside the expose on money trails and legal filings.

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Aros
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quote:
Originally posted by steven:
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Since you made the soul claims first-and repeatedly-what's your reasoning on the nature of souls and how they might be detected and measured?

I don't think they exist. That is, of course, a guess. That's not to say that ESP and other such phenomena don't happen, I think they might. I just think that anything like that would be explainable by a sufficiently good G.U.T.. Again, it's just a guess.

The only thing that would convince me that souls exist is if every phenomenon in the Universe is 100% predictable except the behavior of sentient (or near sentient) beings. Especially if behavior became less predictable the more intelligent the creature became, then I would be convinced.

And to be clear, let me say that I am defining a soul as some part of the self that has memory, awareness, and intelligence, but does not depend on anything detectable and/or physical to exist.

I am also saying that I don't think that free will exists. The only thing that would change my mind is if the behavior of sentient beings is the only thing in the Universe that cannot be perfectly predicted.

Even then, would you be convinced that a soul exists?

If we could model everything in the universe except for sentient thought / choice, one could certainly make the argument that intelligence (as a pure analytical ability) can imagine more unique, genuine options for an organism, rather than those generated by instinct.

Can we predict mistakes? Cognitive dissonance? Can we predict actions predicated by emotions? One could easily rationalize that true intelligence cannot be predicted by any model due to the vast quantity of cogent options available to perform any number of actions for any number of reasons. Or in the case of insanity and genius, for no reason whatsoever. What makes a human stop in the middle of the street and look up at the sky? What makes them admire a sun?

I'd argue that a soul is only one of many possible conclusions one could draw from your scenario. You don't believe in free will? Isn't it scientifically more plausible than a soul?

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MrSquicky
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Reading the Mother Jones article, I'm struck that not only does the LDS church owe gay people and their supporters a big apology, but also a pretty big debt of gratitude.

I wasn't really aware that it was an accepted practice among LDS households to throw your teenagers out of the house if they are gay. I can't imagine how you can justify that, especially if you are supposed to value family extremely highly, have a direct line to God, and a built in spiritual immorality detector. I mean, how do you pray to God about that and not have him respond "What the %$& is wrong with you? No, of course you don't do that." But LDS were doing it anyway.

Based on outside pressure, the LDS church is going to start working on that. Because the pro-gay people exposed and made people understand how bad this practice was, the LDS is (hopefully) going to stop being so immoral on this.

I'd made the point before that outside disapproval and correctly identifying bigotry is an important part of changing anti-gay bigots like these parents. Doesn't this make that abundantly clear, and, for the LDS, make you want to thank pro-gay people for helping remove a blot on the soul of your church/community?

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by steven:



And to be clear, let me say that I am defining a soul as some part of the self that has memory, awareness, and intelligence, but does not depend on anything detectable and/or physical to exist.

A baby has a soul but does not have memory. What about someone in a coma? Some animals have memory and intelligence. Do animals have souls? Only some of them? They have free will - at least my cat does!
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quote:
Originally posted by MrSquicky:
Reading the Mother Jones article, I'm struck that not only does the LDS church owe gay people and their supporters a big apology, but also a pretty big debt of gratitude.

I wasn't really aware that it was an accepted practice among LDS households to throw your teenagers out of the house if they are gay. I can't imagine how you can justify that, especially if you are supposed to value family extremely highly, have a direct line to God, and a built in spiritual immorality detector. I mean, how do you pray to God about that and not have him respond "What the %$& is wrong with you? No, of course you don't do that." But LDS were doing it anyway.

Based on outside pressure, the LDS church is going to start working on that. Because the pro-gay people exposed and made people understand how bad this practice was, the LDS is (hopefully) going to stop being so immoral on this.

I'd made the point before that outside disapproval and correctly identifying bigotry is an important part of changing anti-gay bigots like these parents. Doesn't this make that abundantly clear, and, for the LDS, make you want to thank pro-gay people for helping remove a blot on the soul of your church/community?

Huh? Accepted practice? Wrong. Holy crap.
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MrSquicky
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err...yeah, accepted practice:
quote:
It also has long been common practice for Mormon parents to kick LGBT adolescents out of their homes because of their sexual orientation. (When Matt Lawrence, the church pollster's son, broke with his family over Prop. 8, he told stories about his family's efforts to "straighten me out" by sending him to live with homophobic cousins in Utah.) Utah foster parents, too, generally won't take in LGBT children. That's one reason why heavily Mormon Utah has so many homeless LGBT kids on the streets.

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scifibum
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MrSquicky, I think there has been quite a significant shift in the LDS church in the commonplace views of what it means to be gay. Specifically the shift is from viewing homosexuality as a deviant sort of rebellion to viewing it as a more innate sexual orientation.

I don't find it surprising that, in the (previously more prevalent) view that being openly gay equated to openly defying the doctrines of the church, some families would respond by shunning or imposing other extreme consequences. They viewed being "out" as an act of extreme rebellion. Authority does not respond to rebellion with acceptance. (I actually think that for some gay members of the church it felt like rebellion as well, which I think sometimes had harmful side effects.)

It's been really important for the church to acknowledge sexual orientation as something real, rather than an expression of either compliance or rebellion (or a weakness for temptation). Shunning simply doesn't make sense in that case.

Although there's still a rather significant gray area, I think, in that openly embracing "sin" (which gay sex still is, according to the LDS church) is still likely to lead to some degree of exclusion. It's not going to be easy for the average gay LDS without a lot more change.

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It happens, sure. However, it's not accepted officially or unofficially (you're the one who added "accepted", BTW), it's not as common as that passage makes it sound, and it's certainly not a practice. Mother Jones was going a little overboard there, and you're amplifying it.
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scifibum
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afr, I balked at that phrasing too. But while I can't say that I've ever heard of the church hierarchy espousing such a thing, it is indeed a common story. Lots of gay family members have gotten shunned. [Frown]

The other side of the story is that it's probably rarely a stark "I'm gay." "Okay, move out" type of interchange. The rebellion dynamic most likely existed. (Although my sympathies lie with those who were "rebelling" because conformity required them to deny their own feelings.) And it's probably misleading to suggest that the church taught members to follow this course of action.

"Accepted practice" doesn't sit entirely right with me, but I can't deny that it happened a lot, which is I think a genuine downside of how the church has talked about and understood homosexuality in the past.

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MrSquicky
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It's not accepted unofficially? How is that possible? Do you think that people didn't know that massive numbers of kids were getting thrown out of their houses for being gay?

If you read more into it, there is plenty of evidence that there was social approval and even advocacy for the practice. It certainly didn't seem to be something regarded as shameful.

---

I wasn't saying that it was explicitly condoned by the Church leadership, but you know, people hammered away at them for over a decade to do something about this widespread and conspicuous problem and nothing happened until after the Prop 8 backlash. So, yeah, that sounds an awful lot like accepting it to me.

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BlackBlade
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Yeah, outside some bishops and stake presidents instructing parents of gay children to "isolate their gay children from the others" for fear of straight kids becoming gay that is still a very far cry from the church officially telling parents to openly exile their gay children.

The church did not do nearly a good enough job stopping parents from doing that of their own volition, but to say it was a "common practice" along with say hosting wedding receptions in chapels is very misleading.

Today, they have spoken out strongly against such treatment.

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MrSquicky
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
Yeah, outside some bishops and stake presidents instructing parents of gay children to "isolate their gay children from the others" for fear of straight kids becoming gay that is still a very far cry from the church officially telling parents to openly exile their gay children.

The church did not do nearly a good enough job stopping parents from doing that of their own volition, but to say it was a "common practice" along with say hosting wedding receptions in chapels is very misleading.

Today, they have spoken out strongly against such treatment.

I'm not sure that this speaks against it being accepted. People were obviously doing this in large numbers. Despite people pleading with them to do something, the LDS leadership not only "did not do nearly a good enough job stopping parents from doing that of their own volition", they sat back and let it happen, or, you know, accepted it.

It's a good thing that they are doing something about it now, but, to my point, it took the Prop 8 backlash to get them to do anything. As such, it seems to me that you owe the pro-gay people a debt of gratitude.

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quote:
The other side of the story is that it's probably rarely a stark "I'm gay." "Okay, move out" type of interchange. The rebellion dynamic most likely existed. (Although my sympathies lie with those who were "rebelling" because conformity required them to deny their own feelings.) And it's probably misleading to suggest that the church taught members to follow this course of action.
This. I'm sure in most cases, the circumstasnces of the child being thrown out were a lot more complicated than "I'm gay." "Well, then, get out." Yes, misunderstanding and homophobia on the parents' part would lead to increased tension in the home. A change of behavior on the child's part might go against established family rules, leading to more confrontations. At some point the parents or the child might get fed up with an unlivable situation, and the child is told to leave or chooses to. It's a terrible thing when it happens for any reason and harmful for all involved.

Afterwards, both parents and child might choose to explain with something like "He decided he was gay, and that's not a lifestyle we can condone at home" on the parents' part, or "I told them I was gay, and they kicked me out" on the child's part. Both stories may get sympathy and support from peers. But often, the family's struggles aren't ever broadcast to friends and neighbors, and it's hard to tell what happened when the child leaves. The child might say it's because he came out, but there's a whole range of circumstances that outsiders won't know. In some cases the parents may very well have tried as hard as they could to show love and understanding.

While that doesn't excuse the parents' response or behavior in many cases, to say that each case was caused by blatant homophobia and both accepted and advocated by other church members is silly.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
Today, they have spoken out strongly against such treatment.
I don't doubt your sincerity, but as for myself I'm not going to give them credit for 'strongly speaking out' when it comes at the tail end of a massive PR and legal butt-kicking. Good for them for (finally) having unequivocal official opposition to this sort of behavior, but I find myself unable to forget that they're supposed to be well *ahead* of the curve, not behind it.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
Today, they have spoken out strongly against such treatment.
I don't doubt your sincerity, but as for myself I'm not going to give them credit for 'strongly speaking out' when it comes at the tail end of a massive PR and legal butt-kicking. Good for them for (finally) having unequivocal official opposition to this sort of behavior, but I find myself unable to forget that they're supposed to be well *ahead* of the curve, not behind it.
Well that's nice. So now it's not enough that an institution seeks to make amends and do what's right. The fact they weren't ahead of some perceived curve necessitates our not actually forgiving them ever ever ever.

As for political pressure, the church is actually an extremely reasonable body. Some Jews raised concerns about proxy baptism, the church agreed to limit work for the dead to people who are documented ancestors of Mormons. When that rule was broken, people were barred from using church genealogy services. There was no political motivation for the change.

As for why the church is making the changes it is now. I am not convinced it's purely political. But I am not privy to the discussions going on at the top. I do know that members of the church are making persuasive arguments to their leaders and that rises up. I also know that gay members of the church are setting good examples of faithfulness, and that softens hearts more than anything else.

We know how to stick to our guns, we've done it numerous times in the face of worse than political pressure, but we also know we can make mistakes, and seek to correct them when they are made known.

edit: Look I get that you feel like the church is just doing what it needs to to stay relevant. But if that's true, where is the political pressure in the other direction? Why isn't the leadership of the church at least leaning towards the political sensibilities of those in Utah?

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MattP
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quote:
Look I get that you feel like the church is just doing what it needs to to stay relevant. But if that's true, where is the political pressure in the other direction? Why isn't the leadership of the church at least leaning towards the political sensibilities of those in Utah?
It's a tough balancing act, especially today where there is such a sharp divide between the two sides of this issue. What we're seeing right now is a slow movement in the same direction as the culture in general, but lagging behind because of the large base of conservative membership and leadership. It's pretty much exactly where I'd expect the Church to be given current demographics.

It's also unlikely for the Church to lose much membership in Utah given how tied up Church, family, and social networks are here. Where the Church has a relevancy risk is outside the state where alternative social and religious frameworks are more abundant.

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