Blog Archives

How much is it worth?

February 14, 2005 | 44 comments
By

Suppose you think the world would be a better place if there were no Walmarts in your town. Then the next question is, suppose you could live in the world where Walmart was not allowed, but you had less money. Read more »

“Told you I did…

February 1, 2005 | 15 comments
By

Reckless are . Now… matters are worse.” “That was our last hope.” “No…. There is another.” Read more »

Benefiting from the Keys

January 25, 2005 | 110 comments
By

Way back in the dawn of time, we had a rather lengthy discussion about the appropriate role of criticising Church leaders. Apparently this topic is still interesting enough to prompt comments, so I thought I’d put my two cents in. Actually, I thought I’d try to put in Elder Eyring’s two cents. Read more »

Utah and the Working Mother

December 16, 2004 | 20 comments
By

On a recent post, Kristine was wondering about the number of Mormon women who work*. Read more »

“Preach My Gospel”– The New Missionary Guide

December 6, 2004 | 34 comments
By

The new missionary manual is out and available for browsing. Read more »

I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.

November 30, 2004 | 13 comments
By

It has been over a month since we’ve had a post mentioning Bob Dylan. I’ll happily fix that problem. Read more »

New Report on Abortion Deaths

September 2, 2004 | 20 comments
By

A new report finds that 70,000 women per year die in unsafe abortions. It looks to me like that is a data point that should be easy for both sides to spin. For pro-life advocates, it is further proof of the harm caused by abortion. And for pro-choice advocates, it is further proof that women need better access to safe abortion services. Read more »

And Thanks For All The Fish

August 6, 2004 | 8 comments
By

I enjoyed blogging here. Thanks for reading and the excellent comments. Also, many thanks to those who ignored the drool coming out of the corner of my mouth as I wandered slowly about the blog muttering incoherently. Today ends my stint and I leave shortly to go frolic up at the infamous Bear Lake. I have high hopes that it is raspberry season. Read more »

A Few Facts on Religion in America

August 5, 2004 | 18 comments
By

I have been reading papers that I may use in a Fall class, and one is a survey of the economics of religion. As best I can tell, this field largely consists of sociologists applying rational choice modeling to questions of religion. As subject matter it is very interesting but the modeling is not terribly well-developed or convincing. In any case, I though I would share the facts of religion, as culled from this paper. Note that this is all from a 1996 paper by Laurence Iannaccone. I should almost put quote marks around it, but it isn’t verbatim... Read more »

The Iowa Electronic Markets

August 4, 2004 | 11 comments
By

As we move through election season, the polls start coming fast and furious; the pundits punditorate, the politicians spin, the news media pretend not to spin, bloggers blog, and everybody offers the inside scoop as to the outcome of the election. How is one to aggregate all this information into the best possible guess as to who will win the presidential election? One excellent way to do it is to pay people to be right. This is exactly what is done at the Iowa Electronic Markets. If you are sure that John Kerry is going to be the next... Read more »

Illegal Work and the Minimum Wage

August 3, 2004 | 5 comments
By

Last Saturday my advisor informed me that he never wanted to read my dissertation again, which was his way of saying he was ready to sign off. So I thought I would amuse everyone (well, me anyway) with a very brief recap of my findings. Let me assure you that there is no Mormon angle to this work, so if you are offended by the secular, feel free to move on. Read more »

This Post Is Mostly True, +/- 3%

August 3, 2004 | 32 comments
By

There is a maxim that the man with two watches never knows what time it is. The funny thing about this is that the man with one watch certainly doesn’t know any better than the man with two, he just thinks he knows what he does not. The man with two watches can maintain no such illusion of certainty because he has two watches with two (possibly ever so slightly) different times. He has been forced to recognize the existence of error. Socrates would be proud. Read more »

Who We Are and What We Are Judged For

July 1, 2004 | 18 comments
By

In a recent post, there was a bit of a debate about what we are or aren’t allowed to be judged for. For example, suppose I honestly don’t believe the Church to be true. I even pray about it. To what extent can I be punished for my lack of faith? In one sense, this is moot as a judgment tool for us because we never observe others’ sincerity and it is not for us to judge other’s eventual salvation or lack thereof. But we do need to know where we stand, so the the question may be worth... Read more »

First Presidency on Disseminating Comments

June 29, 2004 | 11 comments
By

Here is the recent Church statement about repeating General and Area Authority statements given locally (Thanks to Dan for the link): From time to time statements are circulated among members which are inaccurately attributed to leaders of the church. Many such statements distort current church teachings and are often based on rumors and innuendos. They are never transmitted officially, but by word of mouth, e-mail, or rather informal means. We encourage members of the church to never teach or pass on such statements without verifying that they are from approved church sources such as official statements, communications, and publications.... Read more »

There Has to Be Error

June 28, 2004 | 63 comments
By

In a recent post on blessings, Heather notes that sometimes blessings promised don’t happen and that there can be several reasons why this doesn’t occur. I’d like to extend off that idea to note that, if we are to work by faith and not knowledge, things have to not work right sometimes. Thus I am highly skeptical of any evidence that shows too incontrovertibly the Book of Mormon is a historical record. I assume that someone will raise plausible objections to any such evidence given a little time. This is because I don’t believe that most of us now... Read more »

A Model of Information and Prophetic Counsel

June 28, 2004 | 8 comments
By

Suppose Heavenly Father wishes to convey some important information to us that will be useful to our salvation. Now we know that He can communicate with us but that He limits that communication to be based on faith (ours or those around us). Thus, getting answers from God involves a cost in terms of faith and effort (see D&C Section 9). Starting from this point, one can write down a simple model of prophetic guidance that lets us understand what we observe: Assume everyone wishes to know some value T (if it helps, pretend it is the exact percentage... Read more »

What Does a Priesthood Blessing Give That a Similar Prayer Does Not?

June 25, 2004 | 22 comments
By

I have the Melchezidek Priesthood. It gives me authority to officiate in certain ordinances and the responsibility to obey all the commandments and serve those around me. This I understand. Here is the question. If I bless someone as a Priesthood holder, is that blessing more likely to occur than if I were to have simply stood there and offered a prayer for their recovery? Perhaps this question is not sensible. Perhaps the effect of the Priesthood is to change what or when I pray. I am open to that. I think the question is sensible and the answer... Read more »

Twelve Differences Between Taxation and Robbery

June 25, 2004 | 34 comments
By

This is a short primer on the differences between taxation and robbery. At times these two phenomena are sufficiently difficult to differentiate that perhaps such a discussion will be helpful. Feel free to append your own differences to the dozen provided: 1. Taxation is done by a group of people that claim to represent you. Robbers do not claim to represent you. Read more »

Rationality

June 24, 2004 | 16 comments
By

Occasionally there is some odd comment here or there on this site alluding to “rational choice” models. Now almost nobody in economics uses this phrase, because you don’t need a word to describe what everyone is doing. Yet rationality seems to get some non-economists excited. Why? Read more »