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OGHoosier

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Everything posted by OGHoosier

  1. I mean, I don't really believe in the idea of "neutral scholarship" at all. Everyone comes at questions with an ingrained way of looking at the world that will affect their conclusions. It is not avoidable and it affects what we view as evidence and how we weigh it. But I am not the first to preach such cautions and certainly not the last. So, since I don't believe in truly neutral scholarship, my answer is no, there can be no neutral scholarship on Joseph Smith. Admittedly, the problem is more pronounced when it comes to Joseph Smith since the questions involved require staking whole li
  2. Ritner is an deservedly renowned Egyptologist, very capable in his field. It's the field in question that is the problem. Scholastic Egyptology, like most fields of academic study, focuses on creating a normative framework based on collected data. This framework forms the way we look at the subject matter. In other words, it's about analyzing the data and using it to create a coherent mental picture. This involves figuring out the predictable rules and regularities which make things make sense. Once we determine the rules, we judge things by those rules. This is a useful and honestly indispen
  3. I'll get that book and get back to you. Actually, I did mean to ask you for more recommendations. I've finished reading and digesting "What It's Like To Be A Bat", what's the next great text?
  4. Townsend's upcoming paper, if I am not mistaken, is focused on Clarke's influence in the Isaiah of the Book of Mormon. It wouldn't engage Jackson's work much. I think my comment has been misunderstood. It's my fault for not being more precise. I believe that divine revelation is needed for anything to become doctrine, however, I do think that it's reasonable for God to highlight truths that Joseph found in the world around him. In that sense I don't think that every single doctrine we have needed to be delivered direct from heaven without any intermediary. It's possible that the Spirit c
  5. That's a good point. The experience of transcendence, by nature, transcends the conventional situations for which language is employed. Language fails to describe it, so it makes sense that we would inflate our language with regard to sacred things, not out of a desire to boast but a desire to appropriately capture and represent the sacred and transcendent nature of what we're discussing.
  6. I could go for a scone right about now. Such lapses of awareness are truly unfortunate. I don't read Jracforr as proposing a North American geography. He says in his OP that he views Costa Rica, Panama, and Nicaragua as locations where the Book of Mormon took place. Rather, he's saying that the Nephite settlement followed similar patterns as the European settlement of North America and represents a model for such. However, @Jracforr, I have to push back on a couple of points. It's true that the land northward gets relatively short shrift in the Book of Mormon. Howe
  7. The Holley map is laughable. Jacobugath is supposed to be to the north, Angola should be north of the narrow neck while Morianton should be south of Bountiful, Zarahemla is nowhere near the coast whereas the land of Lehi-Nephi should be at least somewhere near a coast, and Onidah needs to be south, closer to Jerusalem than Zarahemla. For the life of me I'll never understand why Jeremy Runnells wasted any time on this one. Also Zarahemla = Palmyra is ludicrous.
  8. The real question: does God know what it's like to be a bat? I honestly think no.
  9. Indeed. If a mankind had already succeeded in arriving at a truth, why reveal it from on high anew?
  10. You cannot arrive at objectivity through science. Science presupposes the existence of objectivity in order to even exist. Again, this depends on what progress is! Science is good at figuring out means to an end, but how can experimentation tell us what the end "should" be? It's the "is-ought" problem perpetually rearing its head. Harris claims to have solved it, but in reality his propositions in The Moral Landscape just smuggle in a pre-existing definition of "ought" at the beginning. Science can provide us with a "morality" - really just an instruction book - that leads us to a des
  11. I question that which is "seemingly without question." Our instincts can often be selfish, without regard for others. Is selfishness "well-being"? By conflating "well-being" with instinct, this appears to just be equating moral good with instinct. That's highly problematic. I don't think I understand. Can you elaborate?
  12. "Our morality is a consequence of our inherent desire for well-being" is basically a truism. Moral systems, whether imposed by deity, preexistent in man, or both, exist to guide human behavior towards well-being. The real question at the heart of morality is: what constitutes well-being? That's the most salient objection to Harris on this point. His whole point is that science can give us a morality by determining what behaviors and policies lead to greater well-being, but that just kicks the can down the road. The definition of well-being is a philosophical concern and not a question answerab
  13. I'd like to volunteer, if that's possible.
  14. Studies have been done which demonstrate, even from a neurological point of view, that "free won't" exists. Even Benjamin Libet, the guy who pioneered the original experiments which demonstrated that readiness potential for an action spikes before the subjective decision is registered, went on the record supporting the concept of "free won't."
  15. Lava flowing over a city can create new geographic features. Not what we in English would call a mountain, but that brings about questions of the mechanics of translation which are endemic to all discussions of the Book of Mormon. As I read 3 Nephi 8-10, I see only a couple of references to mountains. The most obvious is 3 Nephi 8:10 It doesn't say that there were no mountains in the vicinity; a landslide or volcanic flow could well have buried the city (or at least major parts of it) and made it part of a preexisting slope. It's also possible that we are looking at a bit of hist
  16. I am not satisfied with leaving it at this. Let's go deeper into the nature of truth in a determinist paradigm. It cannot exist. Under determinism all our thoughts are simply constellations of atoms. The nature of abstraction has gone all the way from existing in a Platonic third realm to simply existing as a constellation of matter in our brains. How can we say, then, that any of our ideas are correct or even reflect the world around us? The process of inquiry that brought us this "knowledge" itself is just a chain of accidents and therefore, what does the concept of truth even mean? Wh
  17. Perhaps I don't have a good grasp of determinism, or at least not as you understand it. Under determinism there are no choices! There is no such thing! That which we perceive as "choice" is just another event in a long causal chain stretching back into an infinite regress, turtles all the way down. How can there be meaning in such a scenario that is anything other than an illusion? There is no "why", only "how." There's no "why we attempt to teach and guide our kids", we just do it, it is as meaningful as the relentless beat of the tides and nothing more. You are using the language of wi
  18. Is correcting a false interpretation of a significant doctrine "quibbling"? Or is the accusation of "quibbling" just a cover for "I have decided on my definition of these terms and will not be moved"? God redefines the meaning of eternal in the passage you yourself quoted. I don't know how to interpret "Nevertheless, it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment" any other way. Clearly the two meanings, "no end" and "endless" are meant to be distinct.
  19. It ought not be missed that the same excerpt that you quote declares that eternal nature of God's punishment does not mean that the damned will be subjected to that punishment perpetually. Interestingly D&C 76 is somewhat ambiguous on the perpetuity of the punishment of even sons of perdition. The bolding is mine: Seems odd that the Lord would show the end of the sufferings of the sons of perdition, or that anyone would ever be able to know them, if they didn't exist. It's not a slam-dunk confirmation of the eventual pardon of Perdition, but it throws some ambiguity into the scene.
  20. Indeed, the whole "suffering for eternity" part is one of the conventional doctrines most dramatically undercut by the revelations to Joseph Smith.
  21. That actually is really interesting. I didn't know that about Chandler's pitch. Since it's a podcast I'm gonna assume that no source was given, which is a shame because I'd like to look into that.
  22. Reading Thomas Nagel's paper on that was a paradigm-shifter for me. Nagel explicitly said that he didn't want to destroy physicalism, but his paper put a pretty big dent in it nonetheless.
  23. That misses the point. Under determinism, it doesn't matter if one doesn't understand what went into a decision (whatever "understand" means in a world where concepts are nothing but constellations of molecules.) If determinism is true, then all "decisions" are really just inevitable events. A faithful determinist never has grounds to be exasperated at all, or gratified at all, for all choices are of equal quality, for none are choices at all. It does in practice. We're just spectators in all this, according to determinism. What consequences could possibly have meaning when they were
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