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About bluebell

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    Creates Worlds Without Number
  • Birthday 10/26/1976

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  1. When I was getting my history degree, my professors loved to talk about the fights that scholars would get into at history conferences over differing interpretations of the same data. One professor said the best was when a disagreement on whether or not the feudal system actually existed or is a modern construct came to actual blows. This same professor would often have us read a primary source and then assign us to argue a relevant point using the source as our evidence. Then, after hashing it out for 15-20 minutes he would make us argue the opposite side using the exact same primary source to support our new position. It was possible to argue both sides, using the same source, every time he made us do it. He wanted us to realize that studying history is not a search for facts (though when that happens, awesome!) but rather learning how to interpret data (that can sometimes/often lack all context) using the available relevant evidence so that you can support your interpretation and it's reasonable. The problem is that the evidence or data is sometimes ambiguous enough that different, even opposing, interpretations can sometimes reasonably be supported equally well. I didn't really understand this about the study of history until I got my degree, so I understand why most people who have never studied history don't understand it either. We've watched too many Indiana Jones/National Treasure type movies and they've warped our expectations and understanding of how these kinds of sciences and arts work.
  2. Heaven (or even just the existence of the spirit/life after death) is a spiritual concept that is not supported by science.
  3. I don't think he was invading the question, but putting it into context. Understanding the realities of what is being requested is important. If someone asks for something that is statistically unlikely to be found, then they should understand that. How would we even know is very relevant (and you didn't answer the questions, which could be interpreted to mean that you have no idea how we would know, which is pretty much correct.) The environment in central and south america is such that most stuff doesn't survive. Even bones dissolve in the acidic soil under most circumstances. Huge cities that housed millions of people are still be discovered, despite the intensive archaeology that takes place in some areas. That reality alone impacts even finding things from ancient civilizations. And then knowing what has been found--being able to put it into any kind of accurate context--is even more difficult, even less likely. Police are dealing with crime scenes that are new-even ones that are months or years old (which, after only a few weeks or months makes the likelihood of finding any viable evidence remote). If it's hard to find evidence after a year, imagine how difficult it is after 1500 years in an acidic environment where a person can be standing within 10 feet of a five story pyramid and not even see it. The two are not comparable. I agree that people who are very concrete in their approach to their faith, people who create 'bridges to die on' that are not necessary, struggle. This is true regardless of the topic. One way to help some move beyond that kind of black and white/concrete thinking is to help them to consider what they are asking for and whether or not it is a reasonable or pragmatic demand. I think that Pres. Dallin H. Oaks is correct, the best approach is when we can use scholarship, revelation, and faith when finding truth. Whenever we leave any of those out of the process, it can create real problems, regardless of which ones we are ignoring.
  4. If you’ve never been a part of such an experience, you don’t have enough information to judge it fairly.
  5. What would a piece of pottery owned by a Nephite look like exactly? How would it be distinguishable? What about inscriptions? How would a Nephite inscription or symbol be shown to be Nephite? FairMormon and Dr. Hamblin point out: "Understanding what archaeologists look for in historical evidence, and that a written record (epigraphic or iconographic) is necessary for building context, what do we find when we turn to the records of the ancient Americas? (Remember that the time period covered by the Book of Mormon ended in about 400 A.D., so we need to look at evidence from before that time.) Of the approximately half dozen known written language systems in the New World (all of which are located in Mesoamerica), only the Mayan language can be fully read with confidence. Scholars can understand some basic structure of some of the other languages, but they cannot fully understand what the ancients were saying. In other words, there is a problem with deciphering the epigraphic record. According to the experts, “the pronunciation of the actual names of the earliest Maya kings and other name-glyphs from other writing systems is not known with certainty.”3 For the time period in which the Nephites lived, scholars are aware of only a very limited number of inscriptions from the entire ancient New World that can be read with some degree of certainty. Even with these fragments, however, scholars are still uncertain from these inscriptions just how the ancients pronounced the proper names and place names (toponyms). Four of these readable inscriptions merely give dates or a king’s name–a very limited cultural context. Another five inscriptions contain historical information and proper names–the mention of the cities Tikal and Uaxactun (for which the ancient pronunciation remain uncertain) and five kings from these two cities (whom we know by iconographic symbols and whose ancient pronunciation remains uncertain).4 With such sparse epigraphic information, how could we possibly recognize, under current conditions, the location of cities we know as Bountiful and Zarahemla, or if the religious rulers were actually named Nephi or Moroni? The critics like to claim that there is no archaeological evidence for the Book of Mormon, but the truth is that there is scant archaeological data to tell us anything about the names of ancient New World inhabitants or locations–and names are the only means by which we could archaeologically identify whether there were Nephites in ancient America."
  6. I agree with the bold, and both the bible and the BOM teach that all creation testifies to the truth of God. But science, as amazing and necessary and able as it is, is still a flawed field of study (like all fields of study), shaped by biases and ignorance, full of unknowns (because so much of this world and the truths in it are un-testable and un-repeatable, something science can't deal with), and ultimately fallible, able to theorize about much and prove very little. Seeking the minimum support (scholarship or science alone), when the full support is available (scholarship, revelation, and faith), doesn't seem all that wise. It seems like an obviously flawed approach to understanding spiritual truth.
  7. That is interesting. From my perspective, if you take Christ out of the book, then what is left isn't worth much.
  8. I think you hit the nail on the head. If we believe that much, then we also have to respect the fact that physical evidence alone can never be enough to prove or disprove it. We can't divorce an authoritative message of the Truth of the Universe and all Time and everything from the Authority that gives it, the Creator of Truth. But unfortunately that's what a lot of people want to do; they want science to prove that it's true before they will believe.
  9. She keeps getting older and will be 6 on Wednesday! Then I have a 7 year old, 15 year old, and 18 year old.
  10. I had forgotten about Jeff Lindsay, thanks!
  11. Because I'm being lazy basically. This is not a subject that I have spent much time on myself, as it's not one that holds a lot of interest for me, but if posters, who do find this stuff interesting and have spent time in the subject, had references on hand that they could share with me, getting those seemed like a much better use of my time and energy than spending the day (or longer) trying to track them down myself.
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