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  1. What a pristine word to choose! You appear to be fulfilling 1 Corinthians 1 to the maximal extent.
  2. Honestly this is good advice. At times in my interactions with criticism and apologetics my grip on the point of spirituality in general has slipped for a bit and that's never fun.
  3. K. Edit: Actually, you know what? I retract my K because I'm frankly done with the hijacking of President Nelson's words, and I'm especially tired of the appropriation of those remarks for rhetorical clout. Let's look at the controversial remark, shall we? Borrowing from my brief training in philosophy and rhetoric, I'll break the offending sentence down into atomic sentences. Let A represent the phrase "lazy learners and lax disciples" and B represent the phrase "struggles to muster faith." With that done, what Nelson says is "if A, then B." Or, in formal notation, A-> B. A standard entailment relation. Such an entailment relation is unidirectional, however. A -> B does not imply the inverse, B -> A. Nelson is accused of saying that everyone who lacks faith is a lazy learner or a lax disciple. That would be represented by B -> A (struggles to muster faith -> lazy learner or lax disciple). However, by the rules of logic, A-> B (which is what he said) does not imply B->A. Yet all I hear, over and over again, is that Nelson said B->A. Enough.
  4. I've recently started comparing the oft-used and overly-broad category "religious experience" with "rational experience" because in my experience rationality is not some disembodied collection of constants but a feeling. When I try to hold two contradictory ideas, I get a feeling that feels like immense pressure on my brain. Being wrong, being illogical has a feel to it and that's how I identify it. I'm convinced that Hume was onto something when he talked about rationality being more about justification of what we already feel to be true. Rationality is deeply bound up with what we would call "feelings" or "sensations"...or in other words, experience. Which is uncomfortable for those who maintain the Cartesian distinction between rationality and emotion, between sense and sensibility, but these days the phrase "Descartes was wrong" seems almost axiomatic.
  5. I am unfamiliar with the term "nothing slaw." Also the central point of disagreement is the belief that your interlocuter is wrong, so I'm not sure why this is controversial.
  6. This is funny to me. You proclaim that you are not a strict literalist, but then ask the "strict literalist" question anyway.
  7. Now that is interesting. I would think that there had been people who consistently identified whether they were attracted to one or the other. Does the literature contradict that?
  8. I'm not so confident that I did. Remember, @Hamba Tuhan is mostly talking about the genesis of fixed and gendered sexual identity here. His comments which you quote discuss the origin of heterosexuality as a concept - which according to our current concepts of sexuality was simply the assumed default. Not so - the concept didn't even exist until the twentieth century. Fixed and gendered sexual identity did not exist, only attraction did. In other words, the thing that defines X - X being alternatively homosexual or heterosexual - did not exist. Which, of course, means that homosexual and heterosexual did not exist. As best we can tell, there have always been same-sex and opposite-sex attractions. "Gay" and "straight" people, however, are a recent development. The phenomenon of fixed sexual identity based on one's gender is new and more vulnerable to critique than is often supposed.
  9. If you were to subject "physical experience" to the same test which you subject religious experience to, it would fail as well. You can't justify "physical experience" without arguing in a circle. You need physical experience to be valid in order to access any of the pieces of evidence you use to justify physical experience (consistency, external validation by your peers, apparent ubiquity). It's circular. Physical experience cannot be justified any more than religious experience can, it's just less controversial right now to subject religious experience to skepticism. Historical attitudes have not always been so sanguine towards physical experience. Some ancient Greek philosophers stressed that the senses were not to be trusted but should rather be subordinated to abstract rationality. Our consummate trust in the physical senses appears to be a cultural feature. And, for what it's worth, reason itself is quite long on people claiming conflicting "truths". Re: the entire political arena, the entire history of philosophy, literature, and aesthetics, frankly all of human civilization. The confidence which we have in sensory observations and science (and even science has this problem in certain cases, re: consciousness studies and disputes between certain interpretations of quantum phenomena) is exceptional, and it manifestly is not the standard for justified belief since all of our social-level beliefs are presumably less justified than scientific conclusions, and yet it is not merely permissible but necessary that we hold them. If reason can lead so many astray (as it clearly must given disagreement), then how can it as a faculty deserve such high and lofty respect? And if your argument depends on reason, but reason itself falls prey to the premises of your argument, then that makes your argument unsound.
  10. Honestly, I view this passage as ambiguous. I know Joseph Smith didn't directly supervise the punctuation of the Book of Mormon, but it still seems to me that the semicolon ("from the beginning of man; and that after the waters had receded") indicates that there is a disjunction between the two clauses surrounding it. Which would mean that "the waters had receded" is not included in the set described by "from the beginning of man". It's an additional thing, an addendum to Ether's preaching, which makes me think that it refers to Genesis as opposed to the Noachian flood.
  11. Depends on how you define "Italian." If you define Italian as a native of the Italian peninsula and culturally similar exclave areas (ie Sicily and Sardinia), then yes, there were Italians, but at that point the thing that defined them as Italians already existed and nothing changed in June 1946. However, if you define "Italian" as a citizen of the state of Italy, then no, there were unironically no Italians before June 1946. Either way, X does not exist before "the thing that defines X" both exists and is associated with X. Respectfully, I don't think this analogy backs up your argument.
  12. Now there's a good translation. That I can understand. In other words, we should consider our past experiences not as discrete events but rather part of a larger experiential whole, and our experience may change how we view those parts relative to the whole?
  13. I read those quotes from Wittgenstein and I agree, those are almost offensive to my Western literalist LDS mind. Yet Wittgenstein was a genius philosopher, truly pathbreaking, and this whispers to me that the world which appears so obvious to me is not in fact so. I'm mostly familiar with Cartesian dualism in the sense of philosophy of mind and substance dualism. How does it relate to the concept of "truth"? As an aside, my studies in philosophy have impressed me with nothing so strongly as the idea that everything Descartes ever said was wrong. I've been doing some reading in epistemology lately, especially regarding Reidian epistemology and Reformed Epistemology. It swirls around the idea of "properly basic" beliefs: beliefs we believe for no reason but that we believe them. The validity of sense experience can be confirmed by nothing but itself: even the concurring witness of 7 billion other humans to our experience of a green tree would still be mediated to us through the same sensory faculties that gave us the green tree experience in the first place. Likewise, our belief in reason can be confirmed by nothing but reason itself (and heaven knows that reason can be as contradictory as anything. Reason, for all that we consider it a common and singular faculty, has as much contradiction and disunion in it, I dare say, as religion does.) The same with belief in other minds and many other foundational beliefs which we believe for no reason at all...other than that we observe them and can't not believe in them. This sort of prepares me for the idea that maybe my inborn foundationalist conception of "truth" is not on the level, but seeing the dots connect and truly feeling them connect, believing and accepting the connection are different things entirely. Yet another step in my ever increasing dissent from the paradigm of objective rationality. Anyways, I want to discuss this portion of the your highlight if you have time. This is hard to understand. I read the the traditional view of experience as "experiences are typically regarded as data points which are established in the past and which we reference as we predict and experience the future." With this conception in mind I cannot understand the rest of it, which makes me think my interpretation must be wrong. What does it mean to "change the given" or to have "connection with the future as its salient trait?" I have lived all of my life taking my experience down as "data points", if you will, which I use to create models of the world. How could there be any other way to live? This last question, of course, is the question of one who has yet to see, as I have yet to do.
  14. I personally go "hmmmmm" quite a lot, mostly because I enjoy humming to myself while I do things or walk from place to place. And, having observed this "perspective", I shall continue my strolling, humming, and enjoyment of life utterly unperturbed. This horse has been whipped down to the bone.
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