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Analytics

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    Separates Water & Dry Land

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  1. OGHoosier, I appreciate you taking the time to respond in detail. I can't help but wonder if I haven't expressed my position very clearly. When I go to a restaurant I might order a steak because everybody else at my table is ordering steak, and I might order a glass of Merlot because that is what I always order. Using heuristics such as these certainly isn't "rational"--at least not compared to trying to evaluating each item on the menu in terms of nutritional benefit, carnal pleasure, and opportunity cost, assigning each permutation of orders a utility score, and then selecting the
  2. No, what you call "good faith exploration" is engaging in confirmation bias as a mechanism to build faith.
  3. Its precise nature is still being discovered, sure. But its existence is not in dispute. Cognitive biases came into existence for a reason. Some striking manifestations of confirmation bias can be thought of as heuristics for making real-time decisions in the face of complexity and ambiguity, sure. But the nature of the biases go way beyond quick decisions made in artificial situations. Take the field of auditing, for example. Auditing firms are paid rather obscene amounts of money to do one thing: make a professional, competent, impartial, and independent evaluation of a compa
  4. I googled "how to overcome confirmation bias," or something like that, and interestingly, most of the answers that popped up on the first page were in the field of accounting. I'm sure there has been tons written about what happened to Enron and Arthur Anderson, and my suspicion is that some important voices blame confirmation bias on the debacle.
  5. Since you asked, a "true" Church should embrace not only the truth, but also the best intellectual tools that best separate truth from error. To understand what I'm getting at here, science tells us not only is the human mind not very rational, it is irrational in predictable ways. Perhaps the most important way the brain is predictably irrational is its powerful tendency to engage in confirmation bias. From an article in Psychology Today, "Confirmation bias occurs from the direct influence of desire on beliefs. When people would like a certain idea or concept to be true, they end up
  6. Well, here is the full story. He published a ton of stuff on the nascent world-wide web about Church in the late 1990's. Then he got bored with it and started to move on with his life and didn't write much about the church for a while. When the proclamation on the family then came out, he was a little offended by the idea that mothers are "primarily responsible for the nurture of children"--according to his own sensibilities, both parents are equally responsible for the nurture of children. So he aded a page about that to his website. Even though he hadn't shadowed a door of a church in y
  7. Another example is an atheist anti-Mormon who went by the name rpcman. For years he severely criticized the church and took deep dives into polygamy, Adam-god, BOA, BOM, etc. The Church ignored him until he criticized the Proclamation in the Family. That is when they promptly called him in and excommunicated him.
  8. Do you know how much federal subsidization BYU receives each year? I would guess something on the order of $200 million, but that is a pretty wild guess. Whatever the amount, we know the Church has the financial resources to cover it.
  9. That's quite possible. I don't have a handle on how much tithing revenue the Church makes. I would think the best we can do is make educated guesses based on what we see it doing with money and the assets it is accumulating. The only thing I'm certain of is that Quinn's "conservative" estimate that tithing revenue grows at 12.9% a year indefinitely is superlatively naive.
  10. What a strange comment. Most mainstream economists think that free markets and distributed decision making systems are strong because they have the ability and motivation to quickly and successfully adapt. I think the U.S. economy proved the point a year ago when a huge amount of office work shifted to work at home on a dime, a huge percentage of retail shifted to home delivery--often next day--on a dime, and food was redistributed from sit-down restaurants to supermarkets, takeout, and delivery. Again, on a dime. And even then, why does an economy need to turn "on a dime" to deal with th
  11. Religion builds community, but it also builds tribalism which has been and continues to be a component of all sorts of conflicts and wars. On a local level, belonging to a local Church is a great thing in terms of mental health, but psychologists have seen people receive the same benefits by joining a bowling league. I'm optimistic that people can figure out how to be healthy without having to throw false and sometimes harmful beliefs into the stew. A war can be a "secular" war but still fought by very religious people who see the world through their religious-colored glasses and
  12. But in all cases, reason, science, and humanism give us the tools and incentives to make the progress continue. The fact that the nones are growing is great news in this regard. Nuclear weapons are part of it, but the bigger parts are two other things. First, as more people have become more wealthy, they have more to lose from any war, nuclear or not. Second, as people have become more secular, they are more inclined to be peaceful. As Pinker says: An immaterial soul is unmoved by the earthly incentives that impel us to get along. Contestants over a material resource are usually b
  13. No, the following map isn't a map of where the Proud Boys are most popular. It shows in dark orange the counties where Scotch-Irish ancestry is statistically overrepresented. Source: Scotch-Irish Americans - Wikipedia
  14. Actually, the world is getting better. I know you might be terrified that the world is coming to an end because somewhere there might be a transgender girl playing organized sports, but let's keep it in perspective. Quoting Pinker: Since the Enlightenment unfolded in the late 18th century, life expectancy across the world has risen from 30 to 71, and in the more fortunate countries to 81.1... The poor may not always be with us. The world is about a hundred times wealthier today than it was two centuries ago, and the prosperity is becoming more evenly distributed across the world’s co
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