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Another Crazy Thread From Cdowis

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21 minutes ago, cdowis said:

You have just proven my point.

YOUR assumption is based on some country hick who wrote the BOM, so it would be very simplistic in its narrative.  Jews from Jerusalem..... Hebrew, of course.  You exclude the possibility of a very  intricate narrative that over the centuries, their language evolved, with the influence of the language of their neighbors.   A unique language unknown to the rest of the world.

If course all languages evolve.  I’m no linguistic expert, but from what I understand linguists can trace the evolution over time.  Also i would expect they could find some evidence of a language that had its original origins in Hebrew or Egyptian.  And shouldn’t they also expect to find fragments from different time periods that would represent different steps in the linguistic evolution?  

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1 hour ago, hope_for_things said:

If course all languages evolve.  I’m no linguistic expert, but from what I understand linguists can trace the evolution over time.  Also i would expect they could find some evidence of a language that had its original origins in Hebrew or Egyptian.  And shouldn’t they also expect to find fragments from different time periods that would represent different steps in the linguistic evolution?  

>>If course all languages evolve
You missed my point, didn't you.
You know that and I know that .....but......are you are admitting that there is an unexpected, unexplained level of complexity and sophistication in the "book delivered by an angel"== linguistics?
Really??

Did you listen to the video? 

 

Edited by cdowis
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Sorry it's hopeless. I have a life to live

 

Edited by mfbukowski

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7 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Sorry it's hopeless. I have a life to live

 

Wait...  what's hopeless?

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3 hours ago, Stargazer said:

Wait...  what's hopeless?

I was frustrated with the discussion going around in circles.

Edited by mfbukowski
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On 12/5/2018 at 1:53 PM, cdowis said:

How do you answer this question from a viewer?

Street Epistemology: Elder Macedone | I know the Book of Mormon is true

 

I liked your comment at Youtube to this video.

I don't think he would like my comments or response. Hypotheticals are just a lame way to make a point when it comes to religion. The problem with religions as I see it is that people assume too much, and that blocks their path to truth.

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19 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

I already expressed that I'm not comfortable using the word "verified" when it comes to historical evidence.  I don't know of any professional historians that speak in those terms.  

Professional history is about trying to reconstruct the evidence as best as possible, some kinds of evidence are more reliable than others, like primary sources as opposed to secondary sources.  But everything has to be evaluated and they have established criteria and methods to critically evaluate these things and to remove as much bias in the process as possible.  You know this, so why are you arguing against the straw-man version of what scholarly historians actually practice?  

People have tried and failed to do this very thing in the past.   Today, it so clearly doesn't have even a shred of supporting historical evidence, that you are right, no respectable scholar even starts down this road anymore in professional publications.  And I would also argue that those apologists who do venture into this territory in more conservative apologetic Mormon publications, such as the Interpreter, are well aware that these kinds of psuedo scholarly essays they write, would definitely hurt their CV if they ever ventured out of Mormon circles because these kind of efforts do not stand up to peer reviewed scrutiny.  

Unfortunately, there is a kind of double speak happening in these apologetic circles.  Where people with specialized degrees hold a level of respect because of their resume, and they use that resume to give credence to their apologetic works.  For example with the BoA, people like Gee and Muhlestein.  Both are clearly smart and well educated, yet they don't follow industry scholarly standards of objectivity when writing about the BoA, and nothing that they've published would hold up peer review or be published in any academic Egyptology journals.  

Lastly, as for believing the BoM is historical based on spiritual witness, that seems a little contradictory to what you've said earlier in this thread.  I guess I don't understand that.  I thought you acknowledged that we can't learn about history through spiritual witness.  If we recognize that spiritual witness experiences have their limits, and for example those limits could include telling a person which stock will increase in value the most, or what lawnmower brand will last the longest, why can spiritual witness tell you whether a story produced by a person in the 19th century is either historical or just a fictional narrative that this person constructed? 

Can you tell me through spiritual witness if Scientology contains an accurate history of human civilization with Xenu populating the earth with humans via space craft 75 million years ago?  Can a spiritual witness tell you anything about the accuracy of any of the multitude of narratives and traditions that people have inherited throughout all the various cultures of the world.  Could it tell you the accuracy of whether blood letting is a viable treatment to cure disease?  These are the kinds of questions I thought we both agreed can't be answered by spiritual witness.  So why do you think the historicity of the BoM can be answered by spiritual witness.  Why is that an exception to the rule?  

P.S. I respect you being busy, don't feel obligated to quickly reply or even reply at all.  I understand, and as always, thanks for the discussion.  

 

 

You are not understanding philosophical justification.

Wipe it from your brain that there is one truth that goes across all contexts, and put some scripture in there instead saying that there are different spheres of Truth.

If one of my papers is "peer reviewed "by a non-mormon he is not my peer. to be a Peer one must have a " PhD " in being a believing Mormon, including how Mormon beliefs are justified both by the spirit and intellectually. Honestly we are not all country bumpkins.

The historical statement "The atonement occurred in 33 AD" in a scientifically historical context is nonsense and not reasonably justifiable.

in a religious sense that same statement is not only justifiable it is the cornerstone.

It is Truth.

and in that sentence the word truth is undefinable. As it always is.

The same thing happens with the statement "The Book of Mormon is true history." 

It is justifiable in the context of faith and not justifiable in a context of science.

And remember that, as Rorty says we know what truth is, we know how a statement is justified the truth itself is undefinable.

So any statement can be true or false depending on context but no statement is TRUE in the  way you understand the word.

Until you understand the contextual nature of Truth, you will not understand this.

A statement may be both true and false at the same time in different contexts.

I would suggest if you actually are interested in doing so memorize the Rorty video that I post so often.

Understand the Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy article on the deflationary theory of Truth.

Both of these justify my response.

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I have asked before and do so again. Hope -for-things, what would it take as evidence for the BoM being  a reasonably correct version of Nephite historical events? Archeologists have done some digging in Meso-America and reported and speculated on the findings. John Sorenson spent decades of his life collecting and comparing the results to BoM statements. One can certainly debate his views and quibble about qualifications etc. but to say there is not a shred of evidence linking the BoM to Meso- America is misleading at best. Others here have said we are looking in the wrong place. I do know that only a very small percentage of potential places to look have been excavated and surprises are always showing up. So, what would it take? And if you did become convinced , how would that change your life? Keep in mind that the fact that Jerusalem exists doesn't prove that Christ paid for our sins, but I will concede that if Zarahemla exists , then the naysayers have a serious problem .

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On 12/6/2018 at 9:38 AM, hope_for_things said:

Of the three examples I shared off the top of my head, the first one was the historicity of the BoM.  Can we find evidence to support that claim through archaeological, anthropological, linguistic, DNA, etc. research?  Any historical evidence to support the narratives in the text, to show that these narratives weren't just stories that Joseph Smith creatively imagined about an ancient American civilization.  All the tools of the academy for evaluating history can be employed to evaluate this question.  Is that what you're asking for, as it honestly seems pretty obvious to me, so I'm not sure what your question is getting at.  

As I see it, the BoM historicity question is a lot like an example that I first read in Carl Sagan's Demon Haunted World about a Dragon in someone's garage.  I haven't seen any evidence to support the BoM as a historical book, so the people claiming it is historical aren't marshaling evidence that stands up to outside scrutiny, rather they are in a very insular way doing apologetic research that doesn't hold up to broader peer review.    https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/The_Dragon_in_My_Garage

I don't see a lot of people saying that the Book of Mormon is a historically proven book.  I believe it is historical due to my testimony but I would not declare it is historical based on some broad consensus of independent evidence from archaeology ect.  They may be a few that do but the bulk of member if they have a spiritual witness of it would logically conclude from what witness that it is historical regardless of outside evidence.  Archaeology, DNA, have not proven the BOM to be true.  They have also not proven it to be untrue.  They simply have not established the facts of it based on the criteria that each uses as of 12/7/2018

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On 12/6/2018 at 6:45 PM, cdowis said:

>>If course all languages evolve
You missed my point, didn't you.
You know that and I know that .....but......are you are admitting that there is an unexpected, unexplained level of complexity and sophistication in the "book delivered by an angel"== linguistics?
Really??

Did you listen to the video? 

I think we’re talking about two different things.  I thought you were making the apologetic claim that of course we shouldn’t expect to find any similarities between the languages of Hebrew or Egyptian, and the languages that scientists find when uncovering artifacts in the Americas, because those languages would have evolved so much over those hundreds of years as to be unrecognizable and no connections should be expected to be found.  I was disagreeing with this claim.  

And yes, I watched the video the first day before I commented, no need to be snippy.  

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23 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

You are not understanding philosophical justification.

Wipe it from your brain that there is one truth that goes across all contexts, and put some scripture in there instead saying that there are different spheres of Truth.

If one of my papers is "peer reviewed "by a non-mormon he is not my peer. to be a Peer one must have a " PhD " in being a believing Mormon, including how Mormon beliefs are justified both by the spirit and intellectually. Honestly we are not all country bumpkins.

The historical statement "The atonement occurred in 33 AD" in a scientifically historical context is nonsense and not reasonably justifiable.

in a religious sense that same statement is not only justifiable it is the cornerstone.

It is Truth.

and in that sentence the word truth is undefinable. As it always is.

The same thing happens with the statement "The Book of Mormon is true history." 

It is justifiable in the context of faith and not justifiable in a context of science.

And remember that, as Rorty says we know what truth is, we know how a statement is justified the truth itself is undefinable.

So any statement can be true or false depending on context but no statement is TRUE in the  way you understand the word.

Until you understand the contextual nature of Truth, you will not understand this.

A statement may be both true and false at the same time in different contexts.

I would suggest if you actually are interested in doing so memorize the Rorty video that I post so often.

Understand the Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy article on the deflationary theory of Truth.

Both of these justify my response.

I feel like the problem here is not a misunderstanding of the contextual nature of truth.  I feel like I do understand that.  Here you are talking about a different kind of truth, a pragmatic and religious truth is very different than a scientific truth.  I understand those two distinctions pretty well at this point, and I’m comfortable talking about both kinds of truth.

The problem I see happening is communication related.  I think you are blending the two different types of truth together in your discussion as to make it very difficult for a person to understand which kind of truth you are talking about.

Earlier in the thread you said you agreed with me, that a person cannot use spiritual witness confirm scientific truths.  I completely agree and I think that is an important distinction that is also talked about in this video by the author using his Tic Tac analogy.  The missionary could not reliably use the prayer method to determine how many Tic Tacs were in the box.  Prayer cannot reliably answer that kind of question.  I think you would agree with me here as well.

The part I’m not sure you do agree with me on, but I would like a clear answer if possible, is if you believe that answers to prayers and spiritual experiences can tell someone scientific truths about facts in history.  For example, could a person pray to know whether or not George Washington was the first President of the United States?  Or could prayer tell someone whether or not Plato was actually was a student of Socrates?  Can answers to prayer tell someone if these facts about history are true or not in the realm of scholarly history?

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17 hours ago, strappinglad said:

I have asked before and do so again. Hope -for-things, what would it take as evidence for the BoM being  a reasonably correct version of Nephite historical events? Archeologists have done some digging in Meso-America and reported and speculated on the findings. John Sorenson spent decades of his life collecting and comparing the results to BoM statements. One can certainly debate his views and quibble about qualifications etc. but to say there is not a shred of evidence linking the BoM to Meso- America is misleading at best. Others here have said we are looking in the wrong place. I do know that only a very small percentage of potential places to look have been excavated and surprises are always showing up. So, what would it take? And if you did become convinced , how would that change your life? Keep in mind that the fact that Jerusalem exists doesn't prove that Christ paid for our sins, but I will concede that if Zarahemla exists , then the naysayers have a serious problem .

It would take peer reviewed actual scholarly evidence, not apologetics which is what Sorensen was doing.  Hard evidence, not just some loose parallels and speculative possibilities.  

How would it change my life?  It would completely overturn my current world view in the most extreme and drammatic sense.  I would be forced to consider that the supernatural does actually exist, when everything I’ve learned in recent years has told me that it doesn’t.  This would be the first ever glaring exception confirmed by science that something that isn’t naturally possible for a human to accomplish, was actually accomplished.  As for theology, of course this would have a dramatic impact on my theology as well.  

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17 hours ago, carbon dioxide said:

I don't see a lot of people saying that the Book of Mormon is a historically proven book.  I believe it is historical due to my testimony but I would not declare it is historical based on some broad consensus of independent evidence from archaeology ect.  They may be a few that do but the bulk of member if they have a spiritual witness of it would logically conclude from what witness that it is historical regardless of outside evidence.  Archaeology, DNA, have not proven the BOM to be true.  They have also not proven it to be untrue.  They simply have not established the facts of it based on the criteria that each uses as of 12/7/2018

I would venture to say that most orthodox believers think that scholarly evidence does support the BoM.  I would love to see a survey on some pointed questions about that just to see if my hunch is correct.  

As for actual scholars, I agree that if pressed, most would acknowledge that the evidence for historicity isn’t there in a rigorous scholarly sense.  However, you don’t get that kind of frank honesty from most of them, the wouldn’t go on the record making that kind of statement because it would hurt their credibility in the tribe.  

As for proving the BoM not to be historical I would dissagree with you there.  Because no scholarly evidence supports its historicity, from a scholarly perspective we should assume it isn’t historical.  Does that eliminate the possibility that somehow it was historical with 100% degree of certainty?  No.  You could say the same thing about a multitude of other religious claims though, and I’m not sure there is any way to get that level of certainty about any question.  But that also means that we can’t disprove the rantings of a psychologically disturbed individual as being untrue with 100% certainty either . 

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2 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

....The  part I’m not sure you do agree with me on, but I would like a clear answer if possible, is if you believe that answers to prayers and spiritual experiences can tell someone scientific truths about facts in history.  For example, could a person pray to know whether or not George Washington was the first President of the United States?  Or could prayer tell someone whether or not Plato was actually was a student of Socrates?  Can answers to prayer tell someone if these facts about history are true or not in the realm of scholarly history?

Dictated so please excuse errors in punctuation.

Thanks for putting up with my grumpiness.

And I know I do have a communication problem.

But I am never sure if the communication problem is on my behalf or on the recipient's behalf. I usually mean exactly what I say. Especially in a philosophical context.

if there appear to be conflicts it is because the conflict is not in the communication but in grasping the concept that there is no "truth"that is definable. Truth is not definable

What is a fact?

A true statement. 

From that standpoint there is no such thing as facts, there is only the agreement of a community within a context.

there are no scientific facts there are simply agreements between people in that particular field. 

Even the statement" The Earth is round' requires a cultural context in which one has a concept and a word "Earth" and the concept of "round" as an abstraction. 

one can imagine a hunter-gatherer tribe full of very intelligent people who have no concept of the Earth as a planet, or even the concept of round. roundness is a abstraction. Roundness does not appear in nature. 

Simply look at what we know about previous conceptions of what we now call the Earth.

even to say that a certain tribe believes thus and so is to impose upon them a context that they do not use.

without a context there is no George Washington or the alleged fact that he was a president. Within a context we can call that a true statement. But we still haven't defined truth.

There is no "actually was" anything without context s and paradigms.

You are still asking about" true facts in history "which means you really don't understand contextual Truth at all. ;)

and yes even relativism is only relatively true. Any true relativist knows that. But if you have a better Paradigm than most of the current philosophers out there bring it.

As I see it this is the Crux of our issue. And I have no clue why this stupid program capitalizes Crux or anything else. 🙂

if you had read the Stanford encyclopedia article as I suggested you would know that true simply means" I agree."

 

Edited by mfbukowski

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2 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

I think we’re talking about two different things.  I thought you were making the apologetic claim that of course we shouldn’t expect to find any similarities between the languages of Hebrew or Egyptian, and the languages that scientists find when uncovering artifacts in the Americas, because those languages would have evolved so much over those hundreds of years as to be unrecognizable and no connections should be expected to be found.  I was disagreeing with this claim.  

Hmmmm....can you give me a list of linguists who have expertise in both  the languages of the ancient Middle East as well as the many languages found in mesoamerica?  Anyway, I find it interesting that we have found a possible Middle Eastern word sheum (barley)  in the Book of Mormon in the context of grains as well as several ancient Egyptian names verified by a famous Egyptologist -- Pahoran and Paanchi.

But, of course, just coincidences according to the antiMormons.

And yes, I watched the video the first day before I commented, no need to be snippy.  

Not intended at all.  Just curious, since you didn't mention it as we dig deeper into this book delivered by an angel.

 

Edited by cdowis

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28 minutes ago, cdowis said:

Hmmmm....can you give me a list of linguists who have expertise in both  the languages of the ancient Middle East as well as the many languages found in mesoamerica?  Anyway, I find it interesting that we have found a possible Middle Eastern word sheum (barley)  in the Book of Mormon in the context of grains as well as several ancient Egyptian names verified by a famous Egyptologist -- Pahoran and Paanchi.

But, of course, just coincidences according to the antiMormons.

And yes, I watched the video the first day before I commented, no need to be snippy.  

Not intended at all.  Just curious, since you didn't mention it as we dig deeper into this book delivered by an angel.

I’m not a linguist or even really interested in that field of study to be honest.  I’m sure there are those with expertise in both areas.  I wonder why you ask this question, is part of the apologetic that nobody out there has sufficient expertise to even evaluate this question?  Therefore we have to hold out the possibility that it’s true?  

I did comment directly about the video in my first post in this thread, go back and check.  

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36 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

Dictated so please excuse errors in punctuation.

Thanks for putting up with my grumpiness.

And I know I do have a communication problem.

But I am never sure if the communication problem is on my behalf or on the recipient's behalf. I usually mean exactly what I say. Especially in a philosophical context.

if there appear to be conflicts it is because the conflict is not in the communication but in grasping the concept that there is no "truth"that is definable. Truth is not definable

What is a fact?

A true statement. 

From that standpoint there is no such thing as facts, there is only the agreement of a community within a context.

there are no scientific facts there are simply agreements between people in that particular field. 

Even the statement" The Earth is round' requires a cultural context in which one has a concept and a word "Earth" and the concept of "round" as an abstraction. 

one can imagine a hunter-gatherer tribe full of very intelligent people who have no concept of the Earth as a planet, or even the concept of round. roundness is a abstraction. Roundness does not appear in nature. 

Simply look at what we know about previous conceptions of what we now call the Earth.

even to say that a certain tribe believes thus and so is to impose upon them a context that they do not use.

without a context there is no George Washington or the alleged fact that he was a president. Within a context we can call that a true statement. But we still haven't defined truth.

There is no "actually was" anything without context s and paradigms.

You are still asking about" true facts in history "which means you really don't understand contextual Truth at all. ;)

and yes even relativism is only relatively true. Any true relativist knows that. But if you have a better Paradigm than most of the current philosophers out there bring it.

As I see it this is the Crux of our issue. And I have no clue why this stupid program capitalizes Crux or anything else. 🙂

if you had read the Stanford encyclopedia article as I suggested you would know that true simply means" I agree."

I’ll own up to the communication thing as well, I wasn’t trying to say that it is all your fault or anything.  

I would agree philosophically that true statements are true within their context, and I think I understand that as we’ve discussed it before as well.  I do have a hope/faith, that there are some universal truths that cross over context.  I call this a hope/faith, because I recognize that its virtually impossible to prove with 100% certainty.  But I’m willing to grant you this point for the sake of our discussion and that I generally agree with this as well. 

So when I was talking about facts in history, I recognize that using the term facts doesn’t work well in philosophical discussions, even though it does work well for common and everyday conversation.  Obviously the point that Washington was our first president is a much more valuable truth, than saying Washington was the first Albino American.  The point I’m trying to make here is that some relative truths are more true than others, so there is some kind of ordering and evaluating of these relative statements that anyone can make.  

So saying that Harry Potter is historical, might be true for the context of a group of people that may believe it very strongly, and perhaps even have created a whole religious organization around that belief.  However, the evidence to support this truth would not be supported by the professional scholarly community, and that point really matters for the greater whole of society.  

What scholars do provides significant value to our culture as does the scientific method. That doesn’t completely remove bias or error from these processes.  We should constantly be skeptical of our assumptions and arguments and the truths that the majority of the scholarly community presents to us.  Time has shown that errors still exist and continue to perpetuate all our institutions.  

However, not all theories are equally likely to be accurate.  And since accuracy matters and has a certain amount of value attached to it, I think we ought to do our best to seek after the most accurate descriptions of truth or “agreement” as a culture.  

Getting back to the original question/point, in an effort to be as accurate at possible and to communicate as clearly as possible, the evidence for BoM historicity is not at all compelling.  And I also don’t believe that answers to prayers should be used as scholarly evidence to answer that question.  Answers to prayers cannot answer questions about history, science, math, etc.  

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1 hour ago, hope_for_things said:

I’ll own up to the communication thing as well, I wasn’t trying to say that it is all your fault or anything.  

I would agree philosophically that true statements are true within their context, and I think I understand that as we’ve discussed it before as well.  I do have a hope/faith, that there are some universal truths that cross over context.  I call this a hope/faith, because I recognize that its virtually impossible to prove with 100% certainty.  But I’m willing to grant you this point for the sake of our discussion and that I generally agree with this as well. 

So when I was talking about facts in history, I recognize that using the term facts doesn’t work well in philosophical discussions, even though it does work well for common and everyday conversation.  Obviously the point that Washington was our first president is a much more valuable truth, than saying Washington was the first Albino American.  The point I’m trying to make here is that some relative truths are more true than others, so there is some kind of ordering and evaluating of these relative statements that anyone can make.  

So saying that Harry Potter is historical, might be true for the context of a group of people that may believe it very strongly, and perhaps even have created a whole religious organization around that belief.  However, the evidence to support this truth would not be supported by the professional scholarly community, and that point really matters for the greater whole of society.  

What scholars do provides significant value to our culture as does the scientific method. That doesn’t completely remove bias or error from these processes.  We should constantly be skeptical of our assumptions and arguments and the truths that the majority of the scholarly community presents to us.  Time has shown that errors still exist and continue to perpetuate all our institutions.  

However, not all theories are equally likely to be accurate.  And since accuracy matters and has a certain amount of value attached to it, I think we ought to do our best to seek after the most accurate descriptions of truth or “agreement” as a culture.  

Getting back to the original question/point, in an effort to be as accurate at possible and to communicate as clearly as possible, the evidence for BoM historicity is not at all compelling.  And I also don’t believe that answers to prayers should be used as scholarly evidence to answer that question.  Answers to prayers cannot answer questions about history, science, math, etc.  

"Accurate". You are still hanging on to that notion. How do we measure accuracy? Corresponding to the world as it is? How do you know howthe world is?

Scholars are called scholars because they are experts in their own paradigm. they can give chapter and verse of every article written in their Paradigm. But they cannot get outside of their paradigm.

Sigh. 

Accurate.

That's like saying a sledgehammer is more accurate than a screwdriver, or vice versa.

There's just tools that work differently for different purposes, some work better than others.

and of course as I have said 9 million times you can't mix contexts.. I don't know why you keep repeating that.

 

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21 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

"Accurate". You are still hanging on to that notion. How do we measure accuracy? Corresponding to the world as it is? How do you know howthe world is?

Scholars are called scholars because they are experts in their own paradigm. they can give chapter and verse of every article written in their Paradigm. But they cannot get outside of their paradigm.

Sigh. 

Accurate.

That's like saying a sledgehammer is more accurate than a screwdriver, or vice versa.

There's just tools that work differently for different purposes, some work better than others.

and of course as I have said 9 million times you can't mix contexts.. I don't know why you keep repeating that.

 

Are you saying my statement about Washington being the first albino American is just as accurate as the statement that Washington was our first President?  Can we measure the accuracy of these two statements?  I believe yes, using critical historical analysis.  What do you think?  

I agree that different tools should be used for different purposes.  I’m still trying to get a answer about whether prayer is a tool that can be used to evaluate the historicity of a narrative like the BoM?  I’m strictly talking about historicity, nothing more or less.  I would argue that only scholarly tools can be used to evaluate the historicity question.  What do you say?  

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4 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

It would take peer reviewed actual scholarly evidence

First we must find one scholar who is well educated in Hebrew/Egyptian AND Mayan language and culture - not too common. Then we need to find three others similarly trained to comment on the first persons findings and probably risk careers by even considering that there was a connection.

I will give you an example of what challenging a world view does. A few years back a scientist , discovered soft tissue in a fossil many millions of years old. A lesser person could have crumbled under the barrage of criticism from other scientists because, according to them, such was absolutely impossible and smelled of creationism in disguise . Fast forward a decade or so and there have been dozens of others who have found soft tissue samples in fossils which claim to be well over 100 million years old. Many scientists now except that the findings are correct. They spend the time now postulating how it happened. Most of the speculations get quite fanciful and special pleading . None that I know of have dared to put forth the idea that the fossils are not as old as stated.

The same would happen with any findings that supported the BoM. No matter the evidence, being delivered by an angel and translated by the gift and power of God is so impossible that every reason for the connection to the BoM would be put forth as more probable than that. One would still have to exercise faith .

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1 hour ago, hope_for_things said:

Are you saying my statement about Washington being the first albino American is just as accurate as the statement that Washington was our first President?  Can we measure the accuracy of these two statements?  I believe yes, using critical historical analysis.  What do you think?  

I agree that different tools should be used for different purposes.  I’m still trying to get a answer about whether prayer is a tool that can be used to evaluate the historicity of a narrative like the BoM?  I’m strictly talking about historicity, nothing more or less.  I would argue that only scholarly tools can be used to evaluate the historicity question.  What do you say?  

Yes, prayer can be used in conjunction with temporal, secular and scientific pursuits. Naturally, one must know how to use it in the course of observation, query, formulation, assessment, discovery, revelation, etc., and God must have a good reason to respond. In other words, one must have a good reason to pray specifically to know the Book of Mormon is historical knowing that is hardly the invitation the book extends as the purpose for praying about it.

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1 hour ago, strappinglad said:

First we must find one scholar who is well educated in Hebrew/Egyptian AND Mayan language and culture - not too common. Then we need to find three others similarly trained to comment on the first persons findings and probably risk careers by even considering that there was a connection.

I will give you an example of what challenging a world view does. A few years back a scientist , discovered soft tissue in a fossil many millions of years old. A lesser person could have crumbled under the barrage of criticism from other scientists because, according to them, such was absolutely impossible and smelled of creationism in disguise . Fast forward a decade or so and there have been dozens of others who have found soft tissue samples in fossils which claim to be well over 100 million years old. Many scientists now except that the findings are correct. They spend the time now postulating how it happened. Most of the speculations get quite fanciful and special pleading . None that I know of have dared to put forth the idea that the fossils are not as old as stated.

The same would happen with any findings that supported the BoM. No matter the evidence, being delivered by an angel and translated by the gift and power of God is so impossible that every reason for the connection to the BoM would be put forth as more probable than that. One would still have to exercise faith .

For a strong believer in historicity, no amount of scientific evidence could refute their belief.  The studies will always be flawed in one way or another.  

As for the soft tissue example, it’s probably a good thing in general for a significant finding that overturns other findings to require a substantial amount of evidence.  This is a strength in the scientific method and a flaw in religious dogmas.  Science is constantly seeking more accurate descriptions of the universe and how it works, and never believing that it has reached a full or perfect understanding.  Religious thinking is often self deceptive in its traditional appeals to authority and has a sense that it has already arrived at truth and that other views are a threat to it.  Religious thinking isn’t always like this, but often slumps down to this low common denominator.  

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14 minutes ago, CV75 said:

Yes, prayer can be used in conjunction with temporal, secular and scientific pursuits. Naturally, one must know how to use it in the course of observation, query, formulation, assessment, discovery, revelation, etc., and God must have a good reason to respond. In other words, one must have a good reason to pray specifically to know the Book of Mormon is historical knowing that is hardly the invitation the book extends as the purpose for praying about it.

Well, I would say this position is a faith you have in the power of prayer that is unsubstantiated.  I would also ask a follow up question whether prayer can tell you other data points about history?  Like name the leaders of China in the sixth century?  Would you also extend this power of prayer into other scientific realms like physics or math or chemistry?  Could prayer teach you how to build a bomb with common household products, or could prayer give you the first 100 digits in Pi.  Where do the practical limits of prayer begin and end, and do we have any evidence to substantiate these abilities?  

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I remember reading about several of the scientists who made unique and major discoveries saying that they were ' inspired ' . I don't know if they prayed about it though. My reading of the scriptures suggests that we should do all we can to figure out a problem and then. in addition, pray for help. Consider the example of Lazarus. Jesus told men to roll away the stone door, He commanded Lazarus to come forth, He told the men to remove the wrappings. Why didn't He wave His hand and roll away the door and later wave again and remove the wrappings? He only did  what ONLY He could do.

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