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Robert Ritner - Book of Abraham Interview


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4 minutes ago, gav said:

From what I have watched so far, these sessions are pretty good for a laugh, not pretty tight.

Historical records and archaeology naturally have areas of great factual density and detail interspersed by often far larger gaps. There is plenty in these fields that is not an exact empirical science for precisely these reasons. No one in the fields of history or archaeology can claim that all that will ever be discovered on a matter has been discovered and no further details can ever emerge. This is particularly true the further back in time we go.

Ritner discusses matters for which there are the equivalent of a single page of a newspaper from way back when... Plenty detail for the stories covered on that page, but some stories are truncated since the other pages are missing. Also the rest of the newspaper is completely absent and then there are yet other stories that were never covered on that day or ever... To assert or imply that all that can be known on the matters being discussed is laughable.

Some may say this would be an "Abraham of the Gaps" type argument but I am not the one asserting that all that can be know is known. The burden for this proof resides with Ritner... we are looking at a smattering of document and engravings that cover periods of thousands of years and we know symbolic representation are often co-opted or shift over time, especially over this amount of time.

Just look at the EmodE discussion thread as an example of how rapidly word usage grammar etc. drifts within languages. 

You've misunderstood Ritner if you think he's saying everything can be known is known.  Or can you please show us where he suggested as much?  He seems to be pointing out that many apologetic arguments are really bad, even to the point of deceptive in some cases.  If he's right, that's a terrible shame.  

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3 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

You've misunderstood Ritner if you think he's saying everything can be known is known.  Or can you please show us where he suggested as much?  He seems to be pointing out that many apologetic arguments are really bad, even to the point of deceptive in some cases.  If he's right, that's a terrible shame.  

He never states it but his highly conclusive assertions on many points imply it, by leaving no alternatives/alternative interpretations and by categorically ruling out the ones suggested by the BoA.

He carves things in stone where basically all we may have covering spans of thousands of years is a couple of carved stones. Perhaps you should take a closer look at those apologetic arguments for yourself and not simply swallow the straw men he puts forth of those arguments... It's easy to beat up straw men and pretty shameful too now that you mention it.

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Just now, gav said:

He never states it but his highly conclusive assertions on many points imply it, by leaving no alternatives/alternative interpretations and by categorically ruling out the ones suggested by the BoA.

I'd compare it to a biologist pointing out the weakness in the Bible's explanation of creation.  It simply didn't happen that way and so a biologist pointing out that it simply could not have, sure, is conclusive.  But it's completely reasonable all things considered.  That's kind of the right of experts.

Just now, gav said:

He carves things in stone where basically all we may have covering spans of thousands of years is a couple of carved stones. Perhaps you should take a closer look at those apologetic arguments for yourself and not simply swallow the straw men he puts forth of those arguments... It's easy to beat up straw men and pretty shameful too now that you mention it.

What strawmen are you talking about?  And why would I feel obliged to dig deeply into Egyptology as he has done, when I can stand on the sidelines and listen?  I don't have time to go through that level of training.  

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3 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

I'd compare it to a biologist pointing out the weakness in the Bible's explanation of creation.  It simply didn't happen that way and so a biologist pointing out that it simply could not have, sure, is conclusive.  But it's completely reasonable all things considered.  That's kind of the right of experts.

The levels of expertise and accumulated knowledge we have in the biological fields cannot reasonably be compared to the levels of Egyptology. Apples with Apples please.

 The levels in Egyptology are still so low that much of it barely falls outside of the realms of speculation and the rest is still conjecture and speculation. This is the main reason I find Ritner's conclusive assertions so laughable.

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10 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

What strawmen are you talking about?  And why would I feel obliged to dig deeply into Egyptology as he has done, when I can stand on the sidelines and listen?  I don't have time to go through that level of training.  

Hieroglyphics is a picture language, its not so hard to grasp, a couple of hours with a good dictionary and you can get a reasonable grasp of it... Thereafter it is very easy to validate if "experts" really are behaving as experts.

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43 minutes ago, gav said:

The levels of expertise and accumulated knowledge we have in the biological fields cannot reasonably be compared to the levels of Egyptology. Apples with Apples please.

 The levels in Egyptology are still so low that much of it barely falls outside of the realms of speculation and the rest is still conjecture and speculation. This is the main reason I find Ritner's conclusive assertions so laughable.

I'd give you rep points if I could, but I can't, so this will have to do. 

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40 minutes ago, gav said:

The levels of expertise and accumulated knowledge we have in the biological fields cannot reasonably be compared to the levels of Egyptology. Apples with Apples please.

 The levels in Egyptology are still so low that much of it barely falls outside of the realms of speculation and the rest is still conjecture and speculation. This is the main reason I find Ritner's conclusive assertions so laughable.

I'll go with Ritner and Gee on this.  It's not as if Gee is free of conclusive sounding language when it comes to his statements on Egyptology.  

52 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

What strawmen are you talking about?  And why would I feel obliged to dig deeply into Egyptology as he has done, when I can stand on the sidelines and listen?  I don't have time to go through that level of training.  

 

38 minutes ago, gav said:

Hieroglyphics is a picture language, its not so hard to grasp, a couple of hours with a good dictionary and you can get a reasonable grasp of it... Thereafter it is very easy to validate if "experts" really are behaving as experts.

I"m asking for a strawman you have accused Ritner of arguing against.  What specific argument made by Ritner is a strawman.  With this new claim you offer, what has Gee argued that you can validate?  

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56 minutes ago, gav said:

Hieroglyphics is a picture language, its not so hard to grasp, a couple of hours with a good dictionary and you can get a reasonable grasp of it... Thereafter it is very easy to validate if "experts" really are behaving as experts.

This would appear to conflict with this:

Quote

The levels in Egyptology are still so low that much of it barely falls outside of the realms of speculation and the rest is still conjecture and speculation. This is the main reason I find Ritner's conclusive assertions so laughable.

 

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32 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

I'll go with Ritner and Gee on this.  It's not as if Gee is free of conclusive sounding language when it comes to his statements on Egyptology.  

 

I"m asking for a strawman you have accused Ritner of arguing against.  What specific argument made by Ritner is a strawman.  With this new claim you offer, what has Gee argued that you can validate?  

I can't do your research for you, do yourself a favour when stakes are high, besides blindly accepting the conjecture of any potentially biased experts. If you don't want to develop a basic understanding of the subject matter being presented then at least you can evaluate how it is presented. Quotes and sources are easy to verify and then check if they are quoted accurately and in the true contextual light that the excerpt is supposed or described to be. When defaming those not present they loop them in with quotes and video excerpts during the podcast, the way those excerpts are framed does not reflect their overall context honestly in my opinion, hence those being defamed are not able to answer the accusations for themselves and in the few instances I checked in detail those accusations were not accurate in the first place. Hence straw men. Take any of the quotes or excerpts they bring in and then see if you think they were honest representations.

Currently your mind seems made up, it's not my job to convince you otherwise and if you mind is closed any specific example I provide will be argued round and round in circles. From my perspective I found the statements of those not present unfairly represented. I don't know about you, but yellow journalism of this nature puts me off when accepting the claims of the present "expert". If their case was so solid why would they need to misrepresent the other side they are defaming?

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1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

I'll go with Ritner and Gee on this.  It's not as if Gee is free of conclusive sounding language when it comes to his statements on Egyptology.  

I don't swallow everything Gee says at face value either, once again its an area still fraught with speculation and conjecture

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47 minutes ago, Calm said:

This would appear to conflict with this:

 

How so...

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3 minutes ago, gav said:

I can't do your research for you, do yourself a favour when stakes are high, besides blindly accepting the conjecture of any potentially biased experts. If you don't want to develop a basic understanding of the subject matter being presented then at least you can evaluate how it is presented. Quotes and sources are easy to verify and then check if they are quoted accurately and in the true contextual light that the excerpt is supposed or described to be. When defaming those not present they loop them in with quotes and video excerpts during the podcast, the way those excerpts are framed does not reflect their overall context honestly in my opinion, hence those being defamed are not able to answer the accusations for themselves and in the few instances I checked in detail those accusations were not accurate in the first place. Hence straw men. Take any of the quotes or excerpts they bring in and then see if you think they were honest representations.

Currently your mind seems made up, it's not my job to convince you otherwise and if you mind is closed any specific example I provide will be argued round and round in circles. From my perspective I found the statements of those not present unfairly represented. I don't know about you, but yellow journalism of this nature puts me off when accepting the claims of the present "expert". If their case was so solid why would they need to misrepresent the other side they are defaming?

This deserves to be upvoted, at least in my book, but you have to have at least 25 posts for me to do that! :D

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54 minutes ago, Kevin Christensen said:

This ought to be clearly labeled as an extremely hypothetical reconstruction, rather than as a proven certainty, and compared with not only the papyrus for Facsimile we have, but also the portrait of Mother Smith with the papyrus in the background (painted when the papyrus was in better shape), but also a great many different Lion Couch scenes, to get some idea of the range possible:

Is this the portrait you are talking about?  (I got it from https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/03/Lucy_Mack_Smith_Painting_with_Book_of_Abraham_Vignette.jpg)

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/03/Lucy_Mack_Smith_Painting_with_Book_of_Abraham_Vignette.jpg

Do we know when that portrait was painted?  Could the fascimile have been based on what was published, versus what was actually on the papyrus?

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39 minutes ago, gav said:

I don't swallow everything Gee says at face value either, once again its an area still fraught with speculation and conjecture

This one, too! +1!

P.S.: I notice that one of your interests is herpetology.  Do you play with snakes? :o:shok::D (You needn't derail the thread.  You can reach me at Greatgourdini(at)gmail(d0t)com, if you wish.  I'd love to hear from you.)

Edited by Kenngo1969
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3 minutes ago, webbles said:

Is this the portrait you are talking about?  (I got it from https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/03/Lucy_Mack_Smith_Painting_with_Book_of_Abraham_Vignette.jpg)

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/03/Lucy_Mack_Smith_Painting_with_Book_of_Abraham_Vignette.jpg

Do we know when that portrait was painted?  Could the fascimile have been based on what was published, versus what was actually on the papyrus?

It appears to already have numbers on it, and also the priest is standing on the other side of the lion couch as opposed to in-between the kion couch and the legs of Abraham. We're probably looking at a print of the Hedlock reconstruction. 

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32 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

It appears to already have numbers on it, and also the priest is standing on the other side of the lion couch as opposed to in-between the kion couch and the legs of Abraham. We're probably looking at a print of the Hedlock reconstruction. 

Jeeezzzz, man!  (Or, as Joe Biden says, "C'mon, man!" :D) People who have more than the casual interest I have in most things really annoy me!  Teachers' pets, always the first to raise their hands, the whole bit! ;):D  (Just messin' with ya, OGHoosier!  All in good fun.  All in good fun! :friends::good:)

Edited by Kenngo1969
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1 hour ago, gav said:

I can't do your research for you, do yourself a favour when stakes are high, besides blindly accepting the conjecture of any potentially biased experts. If you don't want to develop a basic understanding of the subject matter being presented then at least you can evaluate how it is presented. Quotes and sources are easy to verify and then check if they are quoted accurately and in the true contextual light that the excerpt is supposed or described to be. When defaming those not present they loop them in with quotes and video excerpts during the podcast, the way those excerpts are framed does not reflect their overall context honestly in my opinion, hence those being defamed are not able to answer the accusations for themselves and in the few instances I checked in detail those accusations were not accurate in the first place. Hence straw men. Take any of the quotes or excerpts they bring in and then see if you think they were honest representations.

Currently your mind seems made up, it's not my job to convince you otherwise and if you mind is closed any specific example I provide will be argued round and round in circles. From my perspective I found the statements of those not present unfairly represented. I don't know about you, but yellow journalism of this nature puts me off when accepting the claims of the present "expert". If their case was so solid why would they need to misrepresent the other side they are defaming?

You are throwing out accusations--strawmen and defaming.  It's on you to supply evidence for those accusations.  I"m asking for that evidence.  I'm not asking you to do homework for me.  If you don't want to provide support for your claims, then I suppose I'll just consider your assertions for what they are.  

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1 hour ago, Kenngo1969 said:

Jeeezzzz, man!  (Or, as Joe Biden says, "C'mon, man!" :D) People who have more than the casual interest I have in most things really annoy me!  Teachers' pets, always the first to raise their hands, the whole bit! ;):D  (Just messin' with ya, OGHoosier!  All in good fun.  All in good fun! :friends::good:)

I always was a teacher's pet. 

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46 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

You are throwing out accusations--strawmen and defaming.  It's on you to supply evidence for those accusations.  I"m asking for that evidence.  I'm not asking you to do homework for me.  If you don't want to provide support for your claims, then I suppose I'll just consider your assertions for what they are.  

Yaaawn...🥱The entire pod cast is littered with it and I gave you examples to look into.

 

2 hours ago, gav said:

When defaming those not present they loop them in with quotes and video excerpts during the podcast, the way those excerpts are framed does not reflect their overall context honestly in my opinion, hence those being defamed are not able to answer the accusations for themselves and in the few instances I checked in detail those accusations were not accurate in the first place. Hence straw men. Take any of the quotes or excerpts they bring in and then see if you think they were honest representations.

I'll make it easy for you, here is a link to one of the videos they play excerpts from. It's where they are discussing the lion "bed" scene with with the name Abraham. As lead up they paint a very dim view of the apologists to the point that my first impression was that they were complete ignoramuses on this matter or completely dishonest. Then they play some excerpts to show them (the apologists) talking about this scroll and singing its praises... supposedly in dishonest fashion. Then Ritner and co. show how clever they are because its a sex spell etc. etc. etc. and how ignorant and dishonest the apologists are.... go to the video and play the full excerpt and you will see the apologists know what the setting of that spell is and mention it... you definitely do not get that from the short except they provided on the podcast. It's specifically edited to leave that part out.

 

Last time I am doing your homework!

I base my views on the book of Abraham on the things we do know for sure... It's contents.

Interpretations, speculations and conjecture from critics and apologists while very interesting are based on fragmentary evidence at best.

This fragmented (quite literally) evidence is then compared to what I would consider a hopelessly small and often subjective dataset given the symbolic nature of it and vast time scales involved.

No wonder so many divergent versions can be produced. To call others versions dishonest is arrogant and in itself deceitful. To heap condemnation upon this basis belies ulterior motives. 

It's amazing how few go after the content when that is what we know for sure but instead chose to focus on what can be more easily wrested.

 

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2 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

P.S.: I notice that one of your interests is herpetology.  Do you play with snakes? :o:shok::D (You needn't derail the thread.  You can reach me at Greatgourdini(at)gmail(d0t)com, if you wish.  I'd love to hear from you.)

Mark 16:18

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41 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I have lost count of the number of times I have come across triumphalist, conclusory, this-time-the-Church-is-really-done-for! rhetoric like what is presented above.  I become less enthused when such stuff centers on arguments

  • A) that are about complex, obscure, highly-specialized topics;
  • B) that involve definitive/conclusory statements about matters that necessarily involve considerable amounts of guesswork, conjecture, assumptions, etc.;
  • C) that are predominantly not susceptible to empirical analysis; and
  • D) that are larded up with bolstering language, appeals to authority, sneering, sarcasm, ad hominem, etc.

Also, Ritner seems to have a genuine vendetta / axe-grinding attitude against Gee.  How much of his animus is derived from personality conflicts (going back, it seems, to the controversy about Ritner's removal from Gee's dissertation committed)?  How much has that animus affected his scholarly assessment (see comments by Morris, quoted by Kevin here)?

Also, I'm very much not a fan of John Dehlin's meandering, ignorant (by his own admission), stacking-the-deck approach to interviewing.  I don't trust Dehlin to give the Church a fair hearing, or to accurately or fairly state or summarize the arguments presented by scholars and apologists who have marshaled evidence and argument on issues like the BoA.

Thanks,

-Smac

I'm watching Mark Ashhurst-McGee's speech at FairMormon right now and it demonstrates pretty aptly why Dehlin's reservoir of credibility has been pretty exhausted. I highly recommend it. 

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On 8/5/2020 at 11:17 AM, aussieguy55 said:

........................... What would have have happen if the Fac 1 was removed without loss and revealed the "priest" with a Jackal head?

Unclear what you are saying here.  Could you clarify?

By the way, all Egyptologists understand the priest as wearing a jackal mask, so your putting the word "priest" in scare quotes doesn't make sense.  Are you sure that you understood Ritner correctly?

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