Today, I came across a blog post at Mormon Matters, posing the question, "Is the Internet a Urim & Thummim?" This sounds strange to the point of near nonsense, I'm sure, to those of you who are not Mormon. But it does have meaning for Mormons, whose scriptures contain this prophecy from Joseph Smith:
Alan Leigh pointed out to me an interesting PC Magazine article, which reviews a book, "Web Surfers Evolving into Superior Humans", by neuroscientist Gary Small. In the book, Small argues that contemporary infotech is affecting human evolution by providing persons adept at using technologies such as internet searching and text messaging with social selection advantages. Such an observation is consistent with general Transhumanist observations, and illustrates how even marginal advances in our technology (let alone dramatic advances in biotech or nanotech) are contributing toward environmental factors that determine fitness of individuals within their context. So, now that you, dear reader, understand that you have an evolutionary advantage, are you going to use it egotistically or altruistically -- to benefit yourself exclusively or all of us? How do you spend your web surfing time?
I recently received a letter, written neatly by hand and sent through the post (yes, that still happens), from a kind friend with a question regarding the New God Argument. The question and answer are worth sharing here. So, with names removed to protect the innocent, here's the letter, with the question in bold:
Californians will soon be voting on proposition 8, which would amend their state constitution to define "marriage" as being between one man and one woman, exclusively. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, by far the largest Mormon denomination and the church of which I am a member, is perhaps the foremost proponent of the proposition. The Church has encouraged members to donate time and money to the cause. From what I understand, members in California have been calling around and going door to door asking others to vote for the amendment. As documented by mormonsfor8.com members have also donated at least eight million dollars toward advertising in favor of the amendment; this represents nearly half of all money donated to the broader Protect Marriage campaign.