Different Paradigms, Different Purposes

On the Usefulness of Different Paradigms for Different Purposes, Revisited

By Ken K. Gourdin

This post may be considered a follow-up to “On Purposes and Paradigms: On the Usefulness of Different Paradigms for Different Purposes,” available at the following address (this and any other links last accessed February 12, 2019): https://greatgourdini.wordpress.com/2019/01/24/on-purposes-and-paradigms/. A frequent skeptical contributor to Professor Dan Peterson’s Patheos blog at Sic et non made the comment which spawned it (and which appears in quotation marks below), and I responded:

[Screen name redacted]: “The number of confirmed scientific principles that would be invalidated by these [supernatural or spiritual [i.e., religious]] claims would essentially render the scientific enterprise an unreliable guide to reality.”

Oh, baloney! It would do so only for people who live in your single-paradigm-to-the-total-exclusion-of-all-other-paradigms world. As Professor Peterson has pointed out (again and again and again and again), there are more than a few believing scientists who have no problem using commonly accepted scientific paradigms for the consideration of scientific questions while freely using other paradigms for the consideration of other types of questions. And as I have pointed out to you several times, people of various religious stripes, and even those who are not religious at all, have wrestled and do wrestle with such questions all the time: philosophers, poets and other writers, musicians, ethicists, logicians, and so on.

As loudly and as incessantly as you shout, “Science is the ultimate arbiter of truth and meaning!” the people in the disciplines I mentioned in the preceding paragraph (along with others; that’s hardly an exhaustive list) would (and do) beg to differ.

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Some Things I Know, Some Things I Don’t

Some Things I Know, Some Things I Don’t: And I Struggle to Not Allow The First to Be Held Hostage to the Second

By Ken K. Gourdin

There is tons of stuff I don’t know.  While most of it has little, if anything,  to do with aspects of the history or doctrine or practices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have my own “faith crises”: “Why hast Thou thus dealt with me, Lord?”  Why, given the unmistakable occasions when the Lord has spoken peace to my very soul, do the Heavens seem to be absolute, pure brass on other matters about which I have inquired earnestly?  Why the lack of the “happily-ever-after” endings that, allegedly, are supposed to result when I have striven earnestly to discern and to follow the will of the Lord for me, personally, often even persisting in doing so (however haltingly and imperfectly) through considerable hardship?

I dunno. :unknw:  With Nephi, I can only say, “I know that [God] loveth His children.  Nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things” (1 Nephi 11:17).   Like Nephi, often, my heart groans when I desire to rejoice.  Nevertheless, “I know in whom I have trusted” (2 Nephi 4:19). With Job, I can only say, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath [withheld].  Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21), and “Though [God] slay me, yet will I trust in Him” (Job 13:15).  With the man who sought that the Savior might heal his son who had been vexed by evil spirits, I can say only, “Lord, I believe.  Help Thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:24). With the Apostle Paul and the Corinthians, I am “troubled on every side, yet not distressed”; “perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).  As Alma told his son, Helaman, I can only say, “I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day” (Alma 36:3).

It’s as though the Lord tells me, “Yes, Ken.  If you choose, you can choose to privilege your ‘brass heavens’ moments above the did-I-not-speak-peace-to-your-mind-concerning-the-matter moments we’ve had together (see Doctrine and Covenants 6:22-23).  You can maximize the former while discounting or disregarding the latter.  Or you can do the opposite.  But that’s your choice.”  Honestly, as I’ve said here before, a big part of me wants to “curse God and die,” as Job’s wife told him he should do (see Job 2:9), and, frankly, even in a literal sense rather than simply in a metaphorical one.  But if I were to do that, Christ’s (rather plaintive, it seems to me) query to His Apostles when many of His disciples “went back, and walked no more with Him,” “Will ye also go away?” would remain.  I’d have to ask myself, as Peter did, “Lord, to whom shall (I) go.  Thou hast the words of Eternal Life” (see John 6).

I’ve told of my medical misadventures (two failed attempts at hip reconstruction, each followed by a month and a half completely immobilized in plaster and months of painful, grueling, and ultimately fruitless physical therapy, which, fortunately, were followed by three consecutive successes without casts even though being casted was a distinct possibility on each occasion) and my gigantic law school misadventure here ad nauseam.  No, I’m not licensed.  Will I ever be?  Will I ever secure even law-related employment, let alone be licensed?  Who knows?  If God knows, for reasons only He can fathom, He hasn’t told me … at least, He hasn’t done so in a way I’ve recognized. “No, Ken.  You didn’t have to stick it out in law school … as long as you didn’t mind answering phones all workday, every workday for the rest of your working life.”  But then, that’s what I’ve been doing for the better part of the last four years anyway.  Go figure! :unknw: :huh:

Unanswered questions, past perplexing experiences, and current bewildering circumstances notwithstanding, I can neither forget nor deny the occasions on which I have had peace spoken to my very soul: “Ken, don’t forget how you felt during our ‘did-I-not-speak-peace-to-your-mind-concerning-the-matter’ moments on January 24 and February 14, 1984, and on June 5, 1985 (see Doctrine and Covenants 6:22-23).  Just trust me now as you did then.  Lean on my ample arm, and whatever it is, I’ll get you through it now just as I’ve gotten you through past bewildering experiences.”  Perhaps I’m simply stubborn, but if I give up that hope, what else do I have left?  I have simply determined, as best I can, to not let what I do know be held hostage to what, as yet, I do not know.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Death Penalty Sought in Officer’s Murder

Death Penalty Sought in Murder of Provo UT Officer Joseph Shinners

By Ken K. Gourdin

Utah resident Matt Frank Hoover, 40, has a lengthy criminal record, has spent several years in prison, and was wanted on several outstanding warrants. Hoover had vowed to go out shooting rather than return to prison if he were confronted by law enforcement. Whatever else one may think of Mr. Hoover (and, frankly, as the son and brother of cops, respectively, I don’t think much of him), he proved to be a man of his word.

When officers from several Utah agencies (chiefly from the neighboring cities of Orem and Provo) attempted to take Mr. Hoover into custody on those outstanding warrants after confronting him in the parking lot of an Orem Bed, Bath, and Beyond store, Mr. Hoover shot and killed Provo Police Officer Joseph Shinners.

According to Salt Lake City’s Deseret News, the Utah County Attorney’s Office, which is prosecuting Mr. Hoover, has determined to seek the death penalty. For the story, see the following address (this and any other links last accessed January 23, 2019): https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900049522/man-with-lengthy-criminal-record-accused-of-killing-provo-officer.html. I commented on the News’ coverage as follows:

As the son of a career law enforcement officer who spent 43 years on the job, I’m fortunate that I don’t know what it’s like to lose a loved one in the line of duty. I do know, however, what it’s like to pray for his safe return every time he left for work. I routinely pray for law enforcement, for soldiers, and for those in similar occupations. My heart goes out to Officer Shinners’ family and friends.

If one wishes to argue that the death penalty should be “safe, legal, and rare,” I would agree with that. The murder of a law enforcement officer is an affront to society and to the justice system as a whole. To allow one who commits it—particularly when he announced, repeatedly, his intent to do so beforehand—to escape such a just punishment makes society both less safe and less just.

If Mr. Hoover really wishes to die rather than spend an inordinate amount of time incarcerated, the state should grant that wish: he should put taxpayers’ money where his mouth is, plead guilty, forego appeals, and seek as expedited a resolution to his case as is possible under the law.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

On Purposes and Paradigms

On The Usefulness of Different Paradigms for Different Purposes

By Ken K. Gourdin

I just posted the following on BYU Professor Daniel C. Peterson’s blog, Sic et non, at the following thread (this and any other links last accessed January 23, 2019): https://www.patheos.com/blogs/danpeterson/2019/01/the-birds.html.

[Screen name redacted], regarding our esteemed host, Daniel C. Peterson: “This atheist doesn’t think that you hate and fear science, but I do think that you disregard those implications science that would interfere with your religious beliefs.”

Not at all, Our Dear [redacted]! Not at all! I’ll let Our Esteemed Host speak for himself. He is more than capable of doing so, and I’m often entertained (not to mentioned enlightened) when he does. But there’s more than one paradigm for discovering and applying truth, and scientific paradigms are simply one class of such paradigms. I suspect that, along with a great number of his co-religionists (a group which includes more than a few scientists), he employs one or more scientific paradigms when considering scientific truths, one or more religious paradigms when considering religious truths, and so on.

To borrow an example that is wholly outside the religious realm, if I were a juror, I wouldn’t expect E=mc2, notwithstanding the truth of that equation, to be of much help to me in attempting to resolve the question of whether the prosecutor has proven, beyond a reasonable doubt and consistent with the crime(s) with which a defendant been charged, whether Smedley held up the Anytown USA First Bank and Trust on July 1, 2018. So here. Different paradigms are applicable/useful in different realms, and a paradigm which is perfectly useful for one purpose may be wholly unsuitable for another. I’m not “ignoring” E=mc2. It’s simply not relevant to the question(s) I have been called upon to decide.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thoughts for MLK Day 2019

Thoughts for MLK Day

By Ken K. Gourdin

I may be late in the rest of the world, but it is still Martin Luther King Day from where I post.  Here is an amalgamation of thoughts I have shared previously on the blog about the august, esteemed Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day, everyone.

For whatever little they may be worth, here are some of my thoughts on the Rev. Dr. King:

https://www. greatgourdini.wordpress.com/2018/11/18/all-are-beneficiaries-of-dr-kings-vision/

https://www.greatgourdini.wordpress.com/2015/02/05/selma-and-civil-rights/

https://www.greatgourdini.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/letter-from-birmingham-jail/

https://www.greatgourdini.wordpress.com/2013/08/29/mlks-dream/

https://www.greatgourdini.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/in-honor-of-mlk-jr/

https://www.greatgourdini.wordpress.com/2012/08/08/in-praise-of-mlk-jr/

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

On Government Regulation

Note: I should note that I’m not responsible for the somewhat-stilted headline that overstates the case by quite a bit: I like soda. It helps me get through my current boring, repetitive days without going comatose, especially if I haven’t had a particularly restful night the night before. Is it “beloved” to me? The editor confided in me that he was searching for something that fit at deadline, so . . .) The following Op-Ed appeared in the March 26, 2013 edition of the Tooele Transcript-Bulletin.

Government shouldn’t regulate my beloved soda

By Ken K. Gourdin

A certain amount of regulation is necessary to ensure the health and safety of those involved in regulated enterprises. For example, certainly, miners cheered the formation of the Mine Safety and Health Administration, and other workers cheered the formation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

There are other examples of agencies whose missions are necessary. The Food and Drug Administration and the Consumer Product Safety Commission ensure the safety of the things we consume and the other products we use.

However, one wonders whether this necessary protection sometimes changes into something which exceeds the limits of reason and common sense. One wonders whether an agency’s regulatory efforts overstep its original mandate, such as arguably has happened in cases involving the Environmental Protection Agency.

The law of diminishing returns, as applied to regulation generally, holds that the more something is regulated, the less any given regulation contributes to the goal of providing the protection intended. And regulation, for all of the ways it protects us, doesn’t come without costs. Balancing such costs and benefits is challenging.

Former United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall once wrote that the power to tax is the power to destroy. Perhaps the same can be said of the power to regulate. That power, when carried beyond the limits of reason and common sense, also becomes the power to destroy.

Try as it might, there is no way that the government can protect us from all the ways we might harm ourselves. If it were to try, not only would such efforts exceed reason and common sense, they would infringe upon the freedoms upon which the United States of America was created.

The separation of powers ensures that the powers of each government branch – executive, legislative, and judicial – are equal, and that one branch doesn’t try to do something that another branch is meant to do. It’s the legislature’s job to make laws, and the executive’s job to enforce them.

And a law cannot be arbitrary: that is, there must be clear standards to determine how it will be applied. And it cannot be capricious: that is, there must be some rational basis for it.

In striking down New York City’s ban on large sodas, New York Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling ruled that the ban, which applied only to establishments and vendors which sell prepared food (including, for example, restaurants) but did not apply to grocery or convenience stores, violated the separation of powers and that it was arbitrary and capricious.

Even if one thinks that the Coca-Cola Company’s campaign encouraging responsible use of its products is hypocritical, it is right about two things: one, all calories count, and two, if one consumes more calories than he expends, he’ll gain weight. A government regulation isn’t necessary to tell us something we can discover simply by looking in the mirror.

While there’s no denying that much of America is “calorically challenged,” large sodas aren’t inherently dangerous. There are still some areas into which government’s ever lengthening regulatory reach ought not be allowed to go.

Ken K. Gourdin, a Tooele resident and a soda drinker, is a certified paralegal. This column is not legal advice, and anyone needing such advice should contact a licensed attorney.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Death Penalty Sought in Officer’s Murder

I have no idea why WordPress allows users to post on past dates.  For this post, see the following link: https:www.//greatgourdini.wordpress.com/2019/01/25/death-penalty-sought-in-officers-murder/

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment