The Role of Science

Encountered this thought-provoking anonymous quote:

The role of science is not to provide everlasting truth;

but rather, to provide a modest obstacle to everlasting error. 
– Author Unknown

Quoted by Nansel and Szlazak in Somatic Dysfunction and the Phenomenon of Visceral Disease Simulation: A Probable Explanation for the Apparent Effectiveness of Somatic Therapy in Patients Presumed to be Suffering from True Visceral Disease.

A couple of searches lead me to a reliable source of the quote

“The aim of science is not to open the door to infinite wisdom, but to set a limit to infinite error.” 
― Bertolt BrechtLife of Galileo

via GoodReads

Alma Did Judge Righteous Judgments

Some notes from my personal scripture study this morning, following Lesson 21 in Book of Mormon Class Member Study Guide, (1999), 13–14

What had Nehor been teaching the people? (See Alma 1:3–4.)

3 And he had gone about among the people, preaching to them that which he termed to be the word of God, bearing down bagainst the church; declaring unto the people that

  • every priest and teacher ought to become popular; and
  • they ought not to labor with their hands, but
  • that they ought to be supported by the people.

4 And he also testified unto the people that

  • all mankind should be saved at the last day, and that
  • they need not fear nor tremble, but that
  • they might lift up their heads and rejoice; for
  • the Lord had
    • created all men, and had also
    • redeemed all men; and,
  • in the end, all men should have eternal life

“Testified,” above, is an interesting word; he feigned witness to a lie.

What was the effect of his teaching? (See Alma 1:5–6.)

5 And it came to pass that he did teach these things so much that

  • many did believe on his words, even so many that
  • they began to
    • support him and
    • give him money.

6 And

  • he began
    • to be lifted up in the pride of his heart, and
    • to wear very costly apparel,
  • yea, and even began to establish a church after the manner of his preaching.

In short, his teaching emboldened the apostasy and watered the roots of sin.

Why do you think Nehor’s teachings were appealing to so many people?  Which of these same teachings have you heard in our day?

His teaching appealed to the natural man; without a firm testimony of the nature of God and our relationship to Him, viz. we are His children with intrinsic worth and divine potential–without a firm testimony of these truths, one stands vulnerable to feelings of decreased self worth.  In the contemporary vernacular, “you don’t feel good about yourself.”  Then, along comes a man who says, “Don’t worry about it; everything will be fine.  You will be saved.  You may feel crumy now, but just wait; God will save you.  Repent?  Oh, no, you don’t need to *do* anything; God loves you so much, He will save you with your sins.  Don’t worry; God loves you.” Subtly, the truth is woven with lying threads.  Superficially, the argument appears rational, logical.  However, upon reflection, and with the essential perspective of gospel light, the deception is revealed, and the enemy in uncovered.  If God were to save all men with their sins, would He be a just God?  If Christ did save us from our sins, if He is the means of salvation, what then of His commandment to repent?  Not alone did the prophets teach repentance, but the Master himself: “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17); and “… I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Matt. 9:13; cf. Mark 2:17; Luke 5:32); also, “…the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15).  The Savior Himself preached repentance.  The teachings of Nehor reject this fundamental principle of the gospel, claiming repentance is not needed, that one need do nothing, and he will be saved, for “the Lord had redeemed all men; and, in the end, all men should have eternal life” (Alma 1:4).

I know that if a man will “keep the commandments of God [he] shall be saved” (Mosiah 12:33).  This salvation comes in and through the Savior Jesus Christ, and in no other way.  I know this because I have tasted of the sweet fruit of His forgiveness, mercy, and love.  I have felt a remission of my sins, which came only after humble repentance.  I know the holy scriptures are true, they are the word of God.  And I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s Kingdom here on earth, preparatory for His return.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Recipes for NUHS Cookbook

Today I submitted the following two recipes for an upcoming cookbook from the Alumni Association of National University of Health Sciences.

Whole Wheat Pancakes or Waffles

Modified from Linda Carroll

Ingredients

1 1/2 c. Whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp. Baking powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 c. Dry powdered milk

2 Eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp. Vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. Applesauce
1 1/2 to 2 c. Water
1/2 c. Wheat germ (optional)

Optional mix-ins for flavor:
1/4 c. Fruit (Berries, Apples, Raisins, etc.)
1 Tsbp. Cinnamon or similar spices

Directions

Stir dry ingredients in large bowl; add liquid ingredients. Add water gradually for proper consistency. For waffles, bake in preheated, greased waffle iron about 4 minutes. For pancakes, cook on hot greased griddle. Makes about 4 servings. (Dry ingredients may be prepared ahead as a mix.)

Serves: 4
Time Required: 30-45 minutes

My mother made waffles for her family of 10 children every Saturday when I was a child. (She would make 4 times the recipe) Now, I carry on the tradition and make Saturday morning pancakes for my small family. Enjoy!

Dinner in a Pumpkin

From Hyrum Carroll

Ingredients

1 small to medium Pumpkin

1 Tbsp. Vegetable oil
1 chopped Onion

1 1/2 lbs. Ground beef
3 Tbsp. Soy sauce
2 Tbsp. Brown sugar
4 oz can Sliced mushrooms (drained)
1 can Cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 c. cooked rice
8 oz can Water chestnuts (drained)

Directions

Cut off the top of the pumpkin and thoroughly clean out seed and pulp. Preheat oven to 350 F. In large skillet, saute onions in oil until tender. Add meat and brown. Drain drippings from skillet. Add soy sauce, brown sugar, mushrooms and soup. Simmer 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Add cooked rice and water chestnuts. Spoon mixture into pumpkin shell. Replace pumpkin top and place the entire pumpkin, with filling, on a baking sheet. Bake 1 hour or until inside meat of the pumpkin is tender. Put pumpkin on a plate. Remove the pumpkin lid and serve.

Serves: 4-6
Time Required: 60-90 minutes

From the association: “We will start accepting recipes immediately, and when we reach 300, we will have the collection printed. The first 100 participants to send in two recipes (one being an entrée) will receive a free copy of our cookbook as soon as it is completed. Additional copies will be sold in the Campus Store.”  If you are a student, alumnus, faculty or staff of NHS, submit a recipe today!

My Worth is Inherent and Intrinsic

Eight months ago, I failed a midterm examination worth 50% of my grade. While I did better on the final examination, I did not pass the class. As a result, my plans for graduation were postponed by one semester so that I could retake the course. Thankfully, I earned a ‘B’ on the second pass. Today I took the midterm of another course from the same instructor. Based on my performance during the exam, there is a substantial possibility that I failed this exam.

The possibility of retaking a second course from the same instructor and delaying graduation yet another four months is terrifying. It strikes not only at my finances and future plans, but also at my sense of self-worth. When I was a child, I derived much of my worth from the approbation of others–especially my school teachers–and my academic success. Today I know that my worth is inherent and intrinsic, and that it comes from God. My hope of salvation depends on my faithfulness and obedience, not on any worldly success.

Further, as I was reminded yesterday by a trusted mentor, “It’s not about me.” I’m here to learn and to prepare to serve my patients and provide for my family. It’s not about me.

Finally, I am glad that, during this trial, I was able to control my emotions and avoid transference of the stress to others.

If you are struggling with feelings of worthlessness, I encourage you to pray and ask God, “Lovest Thou me?” I know that He will answer your sincere prayer. He has answered my prayer, and since He is no respecter of persons, and since He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, I know that He will treat you with the same kindness and concern. You are His child. Great is your worth, incredible is your potential.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Graphical Gmail ads? Offensive

Dear Google:

Thank you for including me as one of the early adopters in your upcoming changes to Gmail advertisements.  I first noticed a change on 6 April 2011.  The change was dramatic, and gave me quite a shock.  I’ve decided to write this open letter in response.

I logged in to Gmail on Wednesday, and saw my first graphical Gmail ad.  I was disgusted.  To use Facebook’s old rating of image ads, I found it “offensive.”  I have always enjoyed text-only ads in Gmail and elsewhere in the Google-verse: they are usually relevant and appropriate.  Even when off-topic, they are mildly amusing at best and easily ignored at worst.  I know that the Gmail team is working to serve “better ads.”  However, the image ad I received was contrary to the nature of the email I was viewing.

What is to be done? According to Gmail help:

If you don’t want to see ads in Gmail you have the option of using the HTML interface, or POP or IMAP. We’re also committed to data liberation: if you decide to switch to a new email provider, it’s easy to set up automatic forwarding for all new messages that arrive in your Gmail account.
SourceAds in Gmail and your personal data | Gmail help

I have written here in the past my opinion of Google’s claims to be “amoral.”  I invite you to reread that post.  Regarding this recent development, here is how I am responding.

  1. I set basic HTML view as my default view (it’s faster anyway).
  2. I have published this open letter on my blog, with links from my other social media streams.

Looking forward, if Google continues to present offensive ads as part of the Gmail experience, I will have no practical option except to discontinue using the Gmail client and switch to another email platform.

I believe that ads can be effective without being offensive.  Effective ads are related to the surrounding content and most often are similar, not opposed to the surrounding content.  Google executives, I ask that you please reconsider the roll-out of image ads in Gmail.  I use Gmail because it’s better in significant ways; the addition of irrelevant, offensive, graphical ads is too much for me this little frog to take.  If the ads are relevant and appropriate, I will reconsider my decision.  Until then, I will be opting out of Gmail advertisements.

Sincerely,
JF Carroll

Into the Wilderness: Journey Lessons for Today

Drawing on scriptural accounts and experiences from her own life, Dr. Susan Rugh taught BYU students to rely on God-given guides through our journey through life.

Introduction

Travel is defined as “moving through space, across time, in a departure from normal, daily activities.”  From the Book of Mormon, Lehi leaves his home and friends in Jerusalem, leaving “his house, and the land of his inheritance, and his gold, and his silver, and his precious things” (1 Ne. 2:2-4).  Lehi was totally committed to his journey.  He prepared and took his family and necessary provisions into the wilderness.

For any journey, there are three stages:

  1. Prepare for the journey
  2. Travel through the wilderness
  3. Make meaning through reflection

Preparation

First, Lehi’s preparations for his journey were quick, yet wise.  He took what he needed and left what he didn’t.  He prepared to live and travel alone, through unknown paths, without a guide.  Lehi trusted in the Lord and obeyed his word.

The Journey Itself

Second, Lehi embarked on the journey.  Shortly thereafter, God provided a tool to guide them through the wilderness.  A ball, or director, was given to Lehi to “pointed the way wither [they] should go” (1 Nephi 16:10).  This director acted as a compass; however, it only functioned according to the faith and diligence of Lehi’s party.  Sadly, “They were slothful, and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence and then those marvelous works ceased, and they did not progress in their journey” (Alma 37:41).

Lehi and his family traveled for many years until they reached their final destination.  Along the way, “things went wrong”: Nephi broke his bow, his brothers tried to kill him, their ship passed through a great storm, and they suffered “much affliction, hunger, thirst, and fatigue” (1 Nephi 16).

Making Meaning

Third, we can apply lessons from the scriptures and from our own experiences with wilderness journeys to better navigate our current journey into the unknown future.  Dr. Rugh quoted Alma, a descendant of Lehi, who reflected on the journey of his ancestors.  Said Alma, “For just as surely as this director did bring our fathers, by following its course, to the promised land, shall the words of Christ, if we follow their course, carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise” (Alma 37:45).

Closing

Thank you, Dr. Rugh, for your uplifting address.  It gave me great comfort and strengthened my faith in our Savior, Jesus Christ.