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Brent Metcalfe

Yes, Will, I Accept Your Offer

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Hi folks,

I've not responded further to Will's theories because I recently learned that John Larson of Mormon Expression is interested in interviewing me about the manuscripts in the BoAbr collection. I expressed openness to the request and began sifting through online forums for issues that may interest cybercitizens. I knew that Will's celebrated FAIR 2010 presentation would figure prominently, but I didn't expect to stumble across such a gracious offer from Will himself...

[William Schryver:] As for [Nomad's] desire to see a debate between me and Metcalfe on the topic of the meaning and purpose of the KEP, I have to agree with him that I don't believe Brent would consent to such a thing. That said, lest there be any question whatsoever, I would welcome such an opportunity.... I would consent to such an arrangement in a heartbeat.

... and...

[William Schryver:] At any rate, I admit that the notion of a Schryver/Metcalfe debate is merely a fleeting fantasy. I suspect that, after a suitable period of silence, he'll finally just quietly agree with my findings and that will be the end of that.

Well, I'm happy to turn Will's "fleeting fantasy" into stark reality.

In short, Will, I accept your invitation to publicly discuss the BoAbr

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I think I can safely speak for everyone here in saying that we're all delighted at your acceptance of Will's offer Brent.

We eagerly look forward to this debate!

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Although podcasting may indeed be rinky-dink, what I have volunteered to do is record and distribute the discussion unedited as well as host the live stream. Since Brent and Will are not conveniently collocated, an audio discussion might do for a more timely addressing of the issues rather than wait another year for a conference. Although the ex-Mormon conference is in October. :P

I don't see how an audio format would interfere with the Lincoln-Douglass format proposed by Will.

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Although podcasting may indeed be rinky-dink, what I have volunteered to do is record and distribute the discussion unedited as well as host the live stream. Since Brent and Will are not conveniently collocated, an audio discussion might do for a more timely addressing of the issues rather than wait another year for a conference. Although the ex-Mormon conference is in October. :P

I don't see how an audio format would interfere with the Lincoln-Douglass format proposed by Will.

No offense intended, John, but I am not willing to "play for peanuts" when it comes to these things.

Brent Metcalfe has never formally committed himself to any set of arguments concerning the meaning and purpose of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers. I obviously have. In order to "debate," there must necessarily be two established positions to be debated. There is now, in the form of my summary presentation at the 2010 FAIR Conference, at least an outline of my position. I have therefore assumed the role of the "affirmative" interlocutor. I will greatly elaborate on those arguments in my forthcoming published article, at which point Mr. Metcalfe (and the general public) will be able to consider those detailed arguments and accompanying evidence, and then, for the first time ever, publish his counter-position on the issues.

After the publication of these competing views, we will finally be in a position to consider the merits of those views, at which point in time a formal public debate will be appropriate. I am confident that the public interest in these things warrants the formal debate format I have proposed. Such a format is best adapted to an elucidation of the respective viewpoints, and will permit a substantial audience to consider the conflicting arguments. I would expect that the debate could be both recorded and simultaneously webcast in order that interested parties worldwide will be enabled to participate in the proceedings.

I very much look forward to Mr. Metcalfe's acceptance of my "offer" to engage him in this public debate concerning the meaning and purpose of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers.

Respectfully,

William Schryver

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Yes, folks, as strange as it may seem, my having significantly raised the stakes from Metcalfe's initial proposition has been met with ... charges of cowardice?

That's right.

Only in The Great and Spacious Trailer ParkĀ© are such twistings of reality possible, thus proving again that there is no delusion the exmormon cannot embrace, given sufficient motivation.

At any rate, in light of a few ignorant comments read there concerning the format I have proposed, it might be profitable for some people to enlighten themselves as to the long-standing tradition of Lincoln/Douglas style debate in this country; a style of debate designed for two interlocutors, according to the pattern established by its namesakes in the famous 1858 Illinois senatorial debates.

Read here: Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858

The format of these debates is by tradition, and many high school forensics students are quite familiar with it: Lincoln Douglas Debate Format

The Affirmative Interlocutor (AI) always begins and ends the debate. The first speech is called the "Affirmative Constructive" and consists of the participant making his case, after which the Negative Interlocutor (NI) cross-examines the AI for a set period of time. The second speech is the "Negative Constructive" and typically consists of the participant addressing/contesting the Affirmative case, following which the AI cross-examines the NI for a set period of time. This is then followed by three rebuttal speeches, two shorter affirmative speeches preceding and following a longer negative one.

It is a traditional and extremely elegant form of public debate still practiced today on account of its enduring popularity.

Though certainly my knees will be shaking the entire time; my hands trembling; sweat dripping from my befuddled brow, and my heart pounding a fevered beat throughout, yet I look forward to the inestimable opportunity to stand in the presence of the master of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers, notwithstanding my admitted unworthiness.

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Your demands do seem a little onerous given the subject matter at hand. I can see why one would wonder...

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Your demands do seem a little onerous given the subject matter at hand. I can see why one would wonder...

Which "demands" might those be? Do you mean the pre-condition that Metcalfe actually publish something beforehand and thereby commit himself to a position? In what way is such a condition "onerous?"

Do you not understand that a debate consists in the contest of competing ideas?

As I observed above, I have now presented a very abbreviated summary version of the full case I have yet to make in a formal journal article. When that article appears (which will occur within a reasonably short period of time), then Mr. Metcalfe will be able to assess it and respond to it in like fashion. When he does so, then we will be provided with our two competing ideas, and thus able to debate. Until then, we know nothing of Metcalfe's position on these matters, except some vague sense that he disagrees with my summary exposition as delivered at the FAIR conference. Who knows--it's entirely possible that, after I present my full case in printed format, he will be less inclined to disagree with it, thus making the debate unnecessary. Or, it is entirely possible that his rebuttal will persuade me. Until then, we are engaging in conjecture in a vacuum of information.

Let us therefore allow this time for the discovery of the two positions. I'm certain that there are a great many people who are very anxious to finally see in print Mr. Metcalfe's long-awaited arguments vis-a-vis the Kirtland Egyptian Papers. I know I am.

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Which "demands" might those be? Do you mean the pre-condition that Metcalfe actually publish something beforehand and thereby commit himself to a position? In what way is such a condition "onerous?"

Do you not understand that a debate consists in the contest of competing ideas?

As I observed above, I have now presented a very abbreviated summary version of the full case I have yet to make in a formal journal article. When that article appears (which will occur within a reasonably short period of time), then Mr. Metcalfe will be able to assess it and respond to it in like fashion. When he does so, then we will be provided with our two competing ideas, and thus able to debate. Until then, we know nothing of Metcalfe's position on these matters, except some vague sense that he disagrees with my summary exposition as delivered at the FAIR conference. Who knows--it's entirely possible that, after I present my full case in printed format, he will be less inclined to disagree with it, thus making the debate unnecessary. Or, it is entirely possible that his rebuttal will persuade me. Until then, we are engaging in conjecture in a vacuum of information.

Let us therefore allow this time for the discovery of the two positions. I'm certain that there are a great many people who are very anxious to finally see in print Mr. Metcalfe's long-awaited arguments vis-a-vis the Kirtland Egyptian Papers. I know I am.

I'm talking about your rules of debate. Not even presidential debates are run with that kind of structure. Seems a little over the top to me.

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I see nothing wrong with Will's "demands." If we're going to have a debate, hells bells, let's have a debate with some of format geared toward getting at the truth. But right now, I'm in favor of baby steps of the sort Brent Metcalfe has been saying he is going to take any day now, if only he can find his other shoe: That is, he needs to publish his theories/arguments/analysis of the KEP. Yes, he can wait until Will publishes his findings (per Will's post), but until he actually sticks his neck out, er, publishes his analysis, all the debate about the format of the debate and the posturing about posturing about "calling Will's bluff" on the other board is pointless and just plain--well, I have three chickens in my backyard, so a word comes to mind--as are the nits Brent has attempted to pick from Will's FAIR presentation.

The one who STILL needs to put up--and his acolytes know this--is Sir Metcalfe. Baby steps Brent. Baby steps.

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I'm talking about your rules of debate. Not even presidential debates are run with that kind of structure. Seems a little over the top to me.

And Presidential debates suck as a result.

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I'm talking about your rules of debate. Not even presidential debates are run with that kind of structure. Seems a little over the top to me.

Poppycock! Political debates don't take place until there is a list of conditions several pages long! Where have you been?

In any event, I will make it easier for my publication-challenged potential opponent: he merely has to e-publish his counter-arguments--on his own moribund website, if it suits him. I will be publishing my article in a peer-reviewed journal, but he may merely post his somewhere in cyberspace in order to meet the condition I have requested.

Fair enough?

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Poppycock! Political debates don't take place until there is a list of conditions several pages long! Where have you been?

In any event, I will make it easier for my publication-challenged potential opponent: he merely has to e-publish his counter-arguments--on his own moribund website, if it suits him. I will be publishing my article in a peer-reviewed journal, but he may merely post it somewhere in cyberspace in order to meet the condition I have requested.

Fair enough?

But Will, he's busy, don't you know. Why at the cesspool Graham just posted an e-mail from Brent that he's been busy developing a video game console. If memory serves, I think he's been working on the console for around 25 years. But I'm sure he'll publish his analysis of the KEP once he's done. Maybe by the Prophet's birthday in 2015.

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In any event, I will make it easier for my publication-challenged potential opponent:

Wait a minute, what again did you publish?

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Wait a minute, what again did you publish?

He gave a presentation at FAIR on the KEP. He is GOING to publish in the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies and Restoration Scripture--see his post above. To my knowledge, Metcalfe is still looking for his pencil.

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He gave a presentation at FAIR on the KEP. He is GOING to publish in the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies and Restoration Scripture--see his post above. To my knowledge, Metcalfe is still looking for his pencil.

A presentation at FAIR is not a publication. Why hold Metcalfe to the publication criteria when Will himself has not met it? Or does Metcalfe merely need to announce his intent to publish, like Will did?

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But Will, he's busy, don't you know. Why at the cesspool Graham just posted an e-mail from Brent that he's been busy developing a video game console. If memory serves, I think he's been working on the console for around 25 years.

This is factually wrong. I would expect more from you then passing along rumors about someones RL goings on and trying to spice them up with your recollection. Shame on you.

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I'm talking about your rules of debate. Not even presidential debates are run with that kind of structure. Seems a little over the top to me.

With all due respect, there are plenty of things about current presidential debate structures which annoy me to no end.

I think it boils down to this: people can accuse Will of trying to get out of a debate by making difficult or unreasonable demands. However, a few things stand out to me that call this view into question. For a long time Will has commented about the length of time Brent has had access to photographs, etc. and has ostensibly been preparing a project on the BoA, etc. To date, though, we haven't seen results. Will has put some of his work out on the table, so he's in a somewhat more vulnerable position in that his hand is visible but Brent's cards are still covered. I actually like the idea of asking Brent to get something out on the table in order to even the score a bit before the debate. For one thing, it will allow onlookers to become better acquainted with the respective positions and thus better able follow the debate itself. I hope Brent accepts the offer, it seems to me like a fair one.

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This seems pretty reasonable to me, and I think it only fair that Brent be required to put something on the table as well as Will.

From my perspective, Brent has a lengthy history of critiquing (or dismissing) the positions of others, but he has been very reluctant for decades now to stake out a position of his own that he would then have to defend. This is good guerrilla strategy, but a prospective opponent in a public debate is under absolutely no obligation to consent to it. (My favorite example of Brent's reluctance comes from many years ago, when Bill Hamblin asked Brent what seems to me a very simple, straightforward, and basic question: Assuming, for purposes of argument, that there were no Book of Mormon plates, did Joseph Smith realize that, or did he imagine that they existed? Brent declined to answer the question, which he insisted, was too simplistic for a sophisticated thinker like himself -- though, apparently, it was perfectly adequate for simpletons like Professor Hamblin and myself.)

Anyway, there is, so far as I can tell, nothing written in the stars requiring that Latter-day Saints always play defense.

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This is factually wrong. I would expect more from you then passing along rumors about someones RL goings on and trying to spice them up with your recollection. Shame on you.

Shame on me? Did Graham not publish Metcalfe's e-mail on the the other board? Has Metcalfe had great photos of the KEP for 25 years (unlike Will who got them within the last year IIRC)? Has Will at least put his theories out there in a relatively complete and coherent fashion? Can you point me to where Metcalfe has done anything resembling same? Shame on you for not getting the joke.

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A presentation at FAIR is not a publication. Why hold Metcalfe to the publication criteria when Will himself has not met it? Or does Metcalfe merely need to announce his intent to publish, like Will did?

Read Will's initial response to your OP. Track records are everything: Will announced he would make a great presentation at FAIR. He did. He said he would post videos of that presentation on the Internet. He did. He has since announced that he will publish his findings in a more complete fashion both in print and on a blog. He will.

Brent? Well, some seven years ago, he announced on ZLMB that he would be publishing his critical text of the KEP--of which he has had great photos for 25 years--on or by the Prophet's 200th birthday-December 23, 2005 for the history impaired--and it's now August 12, 2010. I'm not aware of critical text of the KEP published by Mr. Metcalfe. Are you? Nuff said.

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A presentation at FAIR is not a publication. Why hold Metcalfe to the publication criteria when Will himself has not met it?

No one is trying to "hold Metcalfe to the publication criteria when Will himself has not met it," re-read Will's proposal. The important thing, as Will's later adjustment indicates, is that each participant have a working theory with some data on the table.

Moreover, if Metcalfe's position is so sound and "truth" or "accuracy" are the important things to consider, why would he decline these stipulations? Or does he have some ace in the hole he wants to spring for effect in a public debate?

Now, back to my other thread, "Yes, We Have No Bananas."

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With all due respect, there are plenty of things about current presidential debate structures which annoy me to no end.

I think it boils down to this: people can accuse Will of trying to get out of a debate by making difficult or unreasonable demands. However, a few things stand out to me that call this view into question. For a long time Will has commented about the length of time Brent has had access to photographs, etc. and has ostensibly been preparing a project on the BoA, etc. To date, though, we haven't seen results. Will has put some of his work out on the table, so he's in a somewhat more vulnerable position in that his hand is visible but Brent's cards are still covered. I actually like the idea of asking Brent to get something out on the table in order to even the score a bit before the debate. For one thing, it will allow onlookers to become better acquainted with the respective positions and thus better able follow the debate itself. I hope Brent accepts the offer, it seems to me like a fair one.

Well said, Blair.

I will even go further and promise to e-publish a pre-publication version of my article, after which Metcalfe can reciprocate. Then there will be two competing ideas, along with the accompanying arguments and evidence, to constitute the basis of the debate.

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Well said, Blair.

I will even go further and promise to e-publish a pre-publication version of my article, after which Metcalfe can reciprocate. Then there will be two competing ideas, along with the accompanying arguments and evidence, to constitute the basis of the debate.

I think it's entirely reasonable, we'll see if Brent wishes to engage.

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