Friday, September 27, 2013

Logical Fallacies - Anecdotal Evidence

This one is probably the most difficult fallacies to fight.  An anecdote is a brief story or vignette.  Anecdotal evidence is the use of someone's story as evidence for a general hypothesis.  It often starts with something like, "I knew a guy who," and then continues on with some story to provide evidence.  "I knew a guy who smoked three packs of cigarettes a day and lived to the age of 94, which proves that smoking doesn't cause cancer."  The problem is, statistics only work with large samples, and anecdotal evidence has very small samples, often sample sizes of one.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Is the Church for Everyone?

I've heard people express that the LDS Church is not for everyone.  Certain people thrive in the Church, it is said, while others will struggle.  Many feel that those of a gay orientation would probably fair better in a different church, for example.  This can be a surprisingly touchy subject because of the doctrine that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the "only true and living church on the face of the whole earth with which [the Lord is] well pleased." (Doc & Cov 1:30)

Friday, September 20, 2013

One Benefit of a Mixed Orientation Relationship

I've always been taught that when getting married, couples have this initial period of bliss that wears off after a few months or years, and that the let-down can lead to a "falling-out-of-love" period.  However, I don't think I ever experienced that.  I think that it is one of the benefits of my orientation.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


So, what does it mean to you when you say you are attracted to someone?  What does it mean to be romantic?  I think these things may vary greatly from person to person, so that makes discussion of orientation somewhat problematic.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Logical Fallacies - Confirmation Bias

I remember Gordon B. Hinckley liked to say that if you always look for shadows rather than light, you are likely to find them.  He was pointing out that many critics of the church fall prey to a logical fallacy often called confirmation bias, a kind of fallacy of incomplete evidence.  The idea is that if you believe something is true, you tend to primarily notice evidence for that thing, while missing much of the evidence against it.  Often this happens without the participants even noticing.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Scouting, Part 2

Ezra Taft Benson said, “Give me a young man who has kept himself morally clean and has faithfully attended his Church meetings. Give me a young man who has magnified his priesthood and has earned the Duty to God Award and is an Eagle Scout. Give me a young man who is a seminary graduate and has a burning testimony of the Book of Mormon. Give me such a young man, and I will give you a young man who can perform miracles for the Lord in the mission field and throughout his life."

I can't tell you how often I have heard this quote in many different settings.  I understand the value of helping young men grow up to be great missionaries.  And I agree that a young man who had all these qualities would probably make a great missionary.  But it always hurt a little bit.  Having only achieved the rank of star, it tended to make me feel like I was not an acceptable member of the church and an unprepared missionary.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Scouting, Part 1

I was not a very good boy scout.  I grew up in a family where camping, fishing, hunting was just part of family life, but I wasn't particularly excited about it, nor was I against it.  Camping with the scouts was, therefore, nothing special.  Being severely ADHD, which was not even something people knew about back then, meant that I had a very difficult time completing merit badges and the like.  So while I enjoyed my time in scouts, I was not very successful by the normal measures of awards and badges.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


One thing that I know sometimes bothers my wife is how much of a skeptic I am.  My first reaction to any new idea or information is skepticism.  I immediately refute it, look for facts that give me cause to disbelieve.  I have been trained in an academic discipline in which negative questioning and searching for counterexamples is held in high regard.  However, if you give me time, new information and ideas do eventually change and shape my worldview.