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James Carroll
Attended Brigham Young University
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James Carroll

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Well, this would have made teaching my institute class a heck of a lot easier back in the day:
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James Carroll

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Sign the Open Letter concerning the future of offensive Artificial Intelligence based weapons. 
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James Carroll

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Catholics out classing the Mormons again: 
The stance by the National Catholic Committee on Scouting came hours after the Boy Scouts voted to permit openly gay leaders and the Mormon Church said it might sever ties to scouting.
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"Deciding something is true based on feelings, is like deciding something is healthy based on how it tastes."
--  Lindsay Van Allen​
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I am going to begin by saying that Bill Cosby is a genius. A comedic genius. Frankly, I have never, in my life, heard anything more funny than his stand-up monologues about family life, parenting, raising children, going to the dentist, etc. They were the work of a genius. He is to comedy what Mozart, or Beethoven was to music, someone with a natural talent, and an ability that shines far above and outside of the norm. And because I love to laugh, I idolized him, because he could make me laugh like no other person ever. 

So, what do we, as a society and a culture assume about someone like this, someone who's abilities in one area outshine our own? Sometimes we assume that if they are a genius in one area, they must be outstanding in others, or we idolize them, or we put them up upon a pedestal, and assume that they can do no wrong. 

This is a mistake. Genius' are human, like the rest of us. Worse, their abilities can potentially create in them a sense of entitlement, which can prove dangerous. Just because Bill Cosby was a brilliant comedian, must it then follow that he could not also be a deranged serial rapist and monster? Does his word become more trustworthy than that of others, just because he is rich? a celebrity?, or worse yet, just because he is a man?

It is a mistake to assume that if Bill Cosby was a comic genius, that he was incapable of being the monster depicted by these women's stories. Just as it is a mistake to assume that if he was a monster, then he could not (actually) have been all that funny back in the day. He was. And he is. And it's time to end the idol worship. 
One by one, they came forward, finding safety in their staggering number and a world that was finally ready to believe them.
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+James Carroll you are right. I agree. I think because someone has lots of money, they buy their justice. It is not right. Those who are hurt, who are lacking in money and name, get no justice at all. So I agree with you. 
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UC Berkeley engineers created a smart cap using 3-D-printed plastic with embedded electronics to wirelessly monitor the freshness of milk (credit: Photo and
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James Carroll

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So, there's an open letter/petition going around to ban autonomous AI offensive weapons.

There are some pretty big names on the signature list, like Stuart Russell (Berkeley), Tom Mitchell (CMU), Stephen Hawking (all around cool dude who was on Star Trek that one time), James Lamond Carroll (crackpot), and Tony Stark (Avengers, IronMan, Member of AAAI, ACM, IEEE, CIS, IEEE CS, IEEE RAS). 

Sweet!

So, if you haven't, go sign the open letter yourself! 
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Happy Illegal Immigration Day (aka Mormon Pioneer Day) everyone!

Today is the day we Mormons celebrate the Mormon pioneers' illegal immigration into Mexico on July 24, 1847 (made illegal, ironically, by the "Law of April 6, 1830").

I'm grateful for my ancestors and friends who risked so much to immigrate unlawfully, have worked so hard to make something of their lives, and have blessed us all with their efforts.

Hat tip +Nathan Hadfield 
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http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865608559/BYU-professor-speaks-on-unnoticed-assumptions-about-the-Book-of-Abraham.html?pg=all

I want to start out by saying that Kerry Muhlestein is an incredibly intelligent and a good person. In all my interactions with him (which were minimal, but not non-existent) he showed kindness, a high breadth and depth of knowledge, and intelligence.

He's also not wrong to suggest that our beginning assumptions color our conclusions. He is also right that “It’s not making assumptions that is problematic…We just have to test those assumptions."

So let's test his. He starts with the assumption that the scriptures in the LDS cannon are true. But that can be tested. He suggests that the assumption that the Book of Abraham was certain to have been translated from the papyri next to Facsimile #1 is flawed, because in Egyptian texts, the text describing a Facsimile is sometimes not next to the Facsimile illustrating that text. He's correct. HOWEVER, in Facsimile #3 we have Joseph pointing at specific text, and telling us what it says. He's wrong about what it says, and Muhlestein knows that. Further, he knows that Facsimile #3 goes with the Hor Book of Breathings.

So we already know from Facsimile #3 that Joseph can't translate Egyptian accurately. And now we come to the Kirtland papers Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar. These papers line up text from the Book of Abraham translation with text from the Hor scroll, next to facsimile #1. These texts are interpreted in many ways (there's those pesky assumptions again). Some say that they are a grammar that Joseph used in his "studying it out in his mind" as part of his translation process. But the favorite apologetic approach is to assume that they were actually used after the fact, to try and "crack" Egyptian, given Joseph's already inspired translation. But even if that were the case, the texts still show that whoever was doing this attempt at cracking Egyptian, THOUGHT that the text came from the scroll of the Hor Book of Breathings, from the characters next to Facsimile #1. 

Joseph Smith's handwriting is not the most common one in these texts, but it DOES show up. So which Egyptian characters did Joseph Smith himself think he was translating? It would appear to have been the characters next to Facsimile #1. And that is true regardless of which interpretation of the Kirtland Alphabet and Grammar you start with. 

But, of course, the discussion of which text Joseph used is irrelevant. We already know from Facsimile #3 that Joseph is wrong in his attempt to translate Egyptian characters. 

So this "missing scroll" theory of the Book of Abraham is incompatible with Facsimile #3. But it's also incompatible with the fragments we already have. Some geometry and elementary calculus, together with the known thickness of the papyri fragments, lets us calculate the length of the original Hor roll before it was damaged. This work was done by Andrew Cook and Christopher C. Smith. They concluded that no more than 56 cm can be missing from the Hor roll! This means that there is no room on the Hor roll for the text of the Book of Abraham to have appeared at the end. See: https://dialoguejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/The-Original-Length-of-the-Scroll-of-Hor.pdf

While Muhlestein is correct that sometimes illustrations and the text describing them don't always go next to each other on a roll, it's much much harder to claim that they appeared on DIFFERENT rolls!

In my opinion, this means that the missing text hypothesis simply must be abandoned. 

It seems to me that the only thing left for someone who wants to maintain a belief in the inspired nature of the Book of Abraham, would be to assume that the scrolls only loosely "inspired" the text of the Book of Abraham, but were actually unrelated to the text. When I presented this idea to John Gee, he suggested that he rejects it because Joseph told us that he was translating the Papyri, and that he thinks that we simply must believe Joseph about what he was doing, thus Gee's insistence on the missing scroll theory. But this doesn't help us with Facsimile #3, as I told John at the time! 

Another middle road might be to assume that the Book of Abraham actually inspired Egyptian religion at some earlier point, and that Joseph WAS translating the text of the scroll, but he was "translating" it not into what it says now, but into the story that originally inspired it, complete with temple related imagery and theology. That has the advantage of the truth that the Hor book of Breathings is somewhat related to temple theology, at least in that it involves an initiation into the afterlife. But this theory still has to assume that Joseph himself didn't know what he was doing, or he would not have made the claims that the characters above the heads of the figures say what he claims they say. 

Then, we have to struggle with the text of Abraham itself, that contains many an anachronism, and that borrows from Genesis 12, (even from presumably later versions of the Genesis 12 text, that could not have actually been written by Abraham). So even if one explains the translation away with one of the above two ideas, accepting the text of Abraham as authentic is an assumption that is still fraught with problem after problem. 

Muhlestein is right, we have to "test [our] assumptions." The problem is that Muhlestein's don't seem to make any sense when they are tested. 
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+Rafael Espericueta​ not with that attitude :P
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Have him in circles
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Education
  • Brigham Young University
    Computer Science
    BS, with minor in Ancient Near Eastern History, and served on the Ballroom Dance Team. followed by MS and PhD.
  • Woods Cross High School
Story
Tagline
Computer Scientist, Futurist, Religious Historian, and Photographer
Introduction
James L. Carroll has a PhD in computer science, and a minor in Ancient Near Eastern history. He taught institute for several years. As a graduate student he taught Pearl of Great Price, Isaiah, and the Book of Mormon part time in the BYU Ancient Scripture department. 

He is currently a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, doing ensemble machine learning research and computer assisted raidographic analysis for nuclear stockpile stewardship. 

His interests involve artificial intelligence, machine learning, statistics, linguistics, epistemology, consciousness, comparative ritual, and photography. A current list of his publications is available here: http://james.jlcarroll.net/publications/.

His home page is http://james.jlcarroll.net

Religion: 

I attend a Unitarian Universalist congregation. I am culturally Mormon. And in belief I am a theist leaning possibilian transhumanist.

Politics: Moderate conservative

My political views are a jumble of utilitarian, libertarian, conservative, and progressive ideas. And I know what you are thinking, and I revel in the contradiction. I am a moderate first, and I am the enemy of partisanism, and extremism, which I think are the causes of most of the world's problems. 
Bragging rights
PhD in Computer Science, minor in Ancient Near Eastern History
Basic Information
Gender
Male
James Carroll's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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