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Book of Mormon Historicity


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1 minute ago, Ahab said:

There is no good reason for anyone to assume that anything written in the Book of Mormon is fiction.  Perhaps its time for you to find out what the Book of Mormon really is.

In my opinion, the book of mormon is an inspired fiction, using the bible as a guide.  The bible is also fictional mostly.  The red sea probably didn't part and certainly the children of israel didn't wander in the desert for 40 years as the bible relates.  There isn't any evidence for the wandering and logistically, it would be impossible for 600,000 people to do so, given sanitation problems, etc.  Also, Adam and the Garden of Eden seems to be a coming of age tale that was part of other traditions.  Anyway, I believe that God inspires these myths to bring people together and comfort people during life's rough spots.  He isn't here and our purpose is to live without training wheels, yet, we have our inspired stories to tie us to the divine.

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1 minute ago, Robert J Anderson said:

In my opinion, the book of mormon is an inspired fiction, using the bible as a guide.  The bible is also fictional mostly.  The red sea probably didn't part and certainly the children of israel didn't wander in the desert for 40 years as the bible relates.  There isn't any evidence for the wandering and logistically, it would be impossible for 600,000 people to do so, given sanitation problems, etc.  Also, Adam and the Garden of Eden seems to be a coming of age tale that was part of other traditions.  Anyway, I believe that God inspires these myths to bring people together and comfort people during life's rough spots.  He isn't here and our purpose is to live without training wheels, yet, we have our inspired stories to tie us to the divine.

So basically your opinion is that God inspires people to tell lies and that he does that to help those people, and the people who read their lies, to feel good and tie us to him, the teller of lies?

Really?

Can't you come up with a better opinion than that?

 

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4 minutes ago, Brant Gardner said:

As a continuation of my previous post on incorrect assumptions, why would we assume that there would be a piece of Old World pottery in Nephite possession? Let's say they brought 100 pots with them. Those would eventually break and need to be replaced. Since none of the Book of Mormon immigrants were potters, why would they hand on to old styles and not use pots that were appropriate for the new foods of the New World? So, the archaeological problem would be to find that one place to find that one possible surviving pot. Archaeologists are thrilled to find remains, because there is always an incomplete picture. The odds of finding one of the original pots are incredibly slim, and there is no reason to expect that the styles would continue.

What about inscriptions? That might be better, but since we don't find any texts that early, it would be remarkable to find any text. Since most appear to have been painted, and probably on perishable materials, why would we expect to find that one with Egyptian text when nothing else has survived either.

As was noted, the problem with Dr. Jenkins' requests was there was a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the available evidence, and what reasonable persistent evidence might even be available.

That's not a problem though.  If there is no definable evidence then it's not the problem of he who seeks evidence.  Its a problem with the claim that there is evidence.  To suggest evidence can't be found because we simply don't have enough information available is simply suggesting we haven't found evidence for the claim.  

It seems what you are saying, and what Hamblin seemed intent on arguing for, its not that there is no evidence its that the claim could still be true in spite of there being no evidence. Well, ok.  But that certainly doesn't show support for the claim nor meet the challenge.  And that's not the challenge's problem.  

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5 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

That's not a problem though.  If there is no definable evidence then it's not the problem of he who seeks evidence.  Its a problem with the claim that there is evidence.  To suggest evidence can't be found because we simply don't have enough information available is simply suggesting we haven't found evidence for the claim.  

It seems what you are saying, and what Hamblin seemed intent on arguing for, its not that there is no evidence its that the claim could still be true in spite of there being no evidence. Well, ok.  But that certainly doesn't show support for the claim nor meet the challenge.  And that's not the challenge's problem.  

However the challenge is meaningless because it asks for that which would be improbable even if the tested theory is true. 

Edited by OGHoosier
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2 minutes ago, Brant Gardner said:

This seems like a good beginning, because the question of historicity of the Book of Mormon so clearly depends upon the nature of the evidence deemed acceptable. What is seldom done is to look at the assumptions brought to the question. In this case, we have the statement "if there were evidence like there is that the Romans existed." That would certainly be wonderful. Why don't we find that kind of evidence for Nephites? There are so many reasons. 

1) the textual evidence suggests that the Nephites were a minority population amidst a much larger population. Therefore, we shouldn't expect that the Nephites would be similar to the Roman domination.

2) part of knowing about the Romans is the ability to read their texts. That is an Old World luxury. There are extremely few texts that fall into Book of Mormon time periods (the vast majority come after). That is now known to be do the problems of preservation. The San Bartolo painted murals tell us that there was writing in Book of Mormon times, but at the moment, we have this one example and it was almost miraculously preserved. Unless it was carved in stone (most are later than the Book of Mormon), we simply don't have existing texts. The San Bartolo murals are in an earlier form, and cannot be fully read. So the problem of language is huge in the New World. Forget the Book of Mormon, New World studies of pre-Columbian peoples are starved for texts--and is one reason that the Maya studies increased dramatically once the glyphs could be read.

3) The Romans adopted many Greek styles, and because we have good records and an existing knowledge of the distinctions, it is possible to distinguish the Roman copies from the Greek originals. That copying of styles certainly happened in the New World, but we don't know who the originals were. In many cases, we don't know what they called themselves. Our designations for them are typically modern, not ancient.

4) Without writing, we can certainly trace pottery and architectural styles, but we can't tell by their adoption who the people were who adopted them. As a smaller population in  a larger cultural pool (and not one that was the result of invasion), the Nephites would be most likely cultural receivers rather than providers.

5) There is an assumption that we should be able to find something that is Nephite, but there is no way to know what that might be. For example, we know that they began as Jews, but the Jews were religiously aniconic. Therefore, we would have fewer examples. In addition, many things that we might suspect would identify them are too late (menorahs are later than the departure date from Jerusalem). What about the Christian content? What images would indicate New World Christianity? The Spanish thought the cross would, but the New World peoples never experienced a dead Christ, only a resurrected one. The transformation that Paul worked to shift the symbolic meaning fo the cross had no New World need to create a similar transformation. Early Christian symbols were borrowed from Greek mythology (Apollo and the lamb). Some symbols we know as Christian (seeing fish and bread together) require the New Testament understanding. None of the known Christian borrowed symbols were available to appropriate in the New World.

6) The Romans were dominant, and we see the extent of their conquest. We see that kind of influence depending upon time and region for the Olmec, Maya, and Teotihuacanos, and then the Aztecs. So the dominant culture is visibly doing what the Romans did. However, there were Christians in Roman times, and if we had no texts and no remaining interpretations of the early Christian art, we might be hard-pressed to find Christians in the Roman artifacts.

Of course, none of this is positive demonstration of the Book of Mormon. It simply suggests that a simplistic understanding of the kind of evidence that can be brought to bear is insufficient. Why was Dr. Jenkins' request for a single Nephite artifact not a reasonable question? Because it fundamentally misunderstood the nature of the available evidence. if someone were to try to determine my religion from the car I drive, the architecture of my house, the brand of my computer, or any number of physical artifacts, what might someone conclude?

I appreciate the response.  Let me know when something is found.  Incidentally, why do you think that the church chooses to not use some of it's capital to dig in central america where the LGT says to dig?  Perhaps a Nahom like discovery is in the offing?  That would satisfy people like me who don't think historicity is that important, given the lack of evidence.  It would also be a boon to missionary work if vocal critics could be silenced.  I too am tired of hearing about the DNA problem.  Nahom is always touted as something more than it is, because that is really the only game in town.  Imagine if there were actual evidence tying Nephites to the old world?  Anyway, I was converted spiritually and that is enough for me.

Here is why I am pushing back on the historicity debate and why I don't think we should rely on it.  First of all, there isn't much evidence to support it and touting it as a theory makes us look less than to the outside world.  We want to convert people and the internet severely weakened/exposed our historical claims.  Pushing historicity when there isn't much to back it up seems misleading or delusional and lessens our chances at succeeding in our mission.  But, the spiritual claims still remain.  The book of mormon is spiritual and people can benefit from it's contents.  That is what should be pushed, not whether or not one needs to have a different frame of mind to still believe in historicity even though there isn't much to back it up.  Second, and more importantly, I have a close family member that left after he really researched the issues.  He was really struck by the Jenkins/Hamblin debate and was kind of deflated after reading it online.  That led to looking closely at the book of abraham and other issues.  I spent many late nights discussing the issues with him and in the end, he left along with his family.  I haven't given up and still love him and his family to death, but I think the over-reliance on historical claims did him in.  I tried to show him that spiritual confirmation should overcome all other issues, but, he didn't want to hear it.  For him, the church was misleading him as it keeps claiming officially, an historical book of mormon and book of abraham.  President Nelson came out a while ago with a statement that focusing on the spiritual is the most important and I agree wholeheartedly with that sentiment from our Prophet.

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26 minutes ago, Robert J Anderson said:

Dr. Hamblin was evading the question about evidence.  What Dr. Jenkins was asking for was something that ties the middle east circa 600 BC to the new world.  That could be a piece of pottery that had the same style as pottery from 600 BC jerusalem or it could be some egyptian inscription in the new world that matches an inscription from 600 BC found in Egypt.  When police are investigating a murder crime scene and find victim blood and blood from some unknown person, then find a match with that unknown person's DNA with DNA in the FBI's database, one can be pretty sure that the unknown person is either a witness or the perpetrator.  Resorting to how could we ever know like you do seems to be admitting without admitting the lack of historicity evidence.  This can cause a lot of problems with certain members, when historicity is the bridge to die on, especially when they look at the twisted logic put forward by some of the apologists to cover for the lack of evidence for historicity.  The better approach is to focus on the spiritual and not the historical.  There isn't much evidence to show that Moses existed or Abraham or that the children of Israel wandered in the desert for 40 years.  Yet, faith continues.  Perhaps it's time to go to an inspired fiction model?

While I agree that this is really a matter of faith, I think there are problems with demanding such evidences. I suppose trying to deal with them rationally could appear to some as evasion. I see it as trying to deal with nearly impossible demands. 

Using your examples, how do we know what kind of pottery Levi’s family made? If they even did? How could  their pottery-making techniques and materials remain unchanged in a completely different environment? How long did it take for their population to reach levels that would leave remnants that could survive thousands of years? Where would we look for such evidence? How long was it before the Lehites made enduring structures with inscriptions in their language? Where are those structures? 

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16 minutes ago, Brant Gardner said:

As a continuation of my previous post on incorrect assumptions, why would we assume that there would be a piece of Old World pottery in Nephite possession? Let's say they brought 100 pots with them. Those would eventually break and need to be replaced. Since none of the Book of Mormon immigrants were potters, why would they hand on to old styles and not use pots that were appropriate for the new foods of the New World? So, the archaeological problem would be to find that one place to find that one possible surviving pot. Archaeologists are thrilled to find remains, because there is always an incomplete picture. The odds of finding one of the original pots are incredibly slim, and there is no reason to expect that the styles would continue.

What about inscriptions? That might be better, but since we don't find any texts that early, it would be remarkable to find any text. Since most appear to have been painted, and probably on perishable materials, why would we expect to find that one with Egyptian text when nothing else has survived either.

As was noted, the problem with Dr. Jenkins' requests was there was a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the available evidence, and what reasonable persistent evidence might even be available.

So, if I claimed that there was a race of lizard people that inhabited the earth 2000 years ago and that they gave me the secrets to the universe, would you ask for evidence of such?  You should.  What would your reaction be if I said well what do you expect to find?  Say the lizard people build cities just like the native americans did and acted just like they did, of course you wouldn't expect to find anything other than what we find today, yet, the lizard people are supposedly still real according to your logic and I am the humble caretaker of the lizard people's secrets to the universe?

I think the better response is that there isn't any evidence for historicity, but the book of mormon is a wonderful book, a spiritual book, inspired of God.  Beyond that, we will find out in the future life and why waste time chasing something that cannot be found?

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2 minutes ago, Robert J Anderson said:

I am sure you would change your tune if something akin to Nahom was found in the new world.

If something akin to Nahom was found in the New World than the challenge would be successfully answered. I wouldn't complain. But I freely acknowledge that such an outcome is highly improbable, and that defangs your objection. The overall point is that, even if the Nephites existed, such a find would be highly improbable. Therefore, the failure to meet that challenge can't constitute evidence against the Nephites because, again, it demands that which would be improbable even if the tested theory were true.

The whole crux of the Jenkins v. Hamblin debate is that you need to have a firm understanding of what counts as evidence before you start weighing the evidence. Theory matters and definitions matter. Hamblin's response didn't evade the challenge, it went after the underlying assumptions and roots of the challenge. 

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22 hours ago, Ahab said:

Would you be willing to expand your target audience to people who may know only as much as you do, or must someone be more knowledgeable than you are in this subject?  And btw, you misspelled knowledgeable.

Anywho, as you may or may not already know, evidence of history lays in the fact that whatever happened actually happened as it happened, so anyone who knows what happened has that knowledge as evidence of what happened.

Everything else on top of that is just fluff or a derivative of what actually happened.  People in the past wrote the Book of Mormon, for example, and what they wrote is what they knew about what they knew had happened.

I am quoting this post because it seems that some people do not know or understand what history is.

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21 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

However the challenge is meaningless because it asks for that which would be improbable even if the tested theory is true. 

I don't think so.  It simply means there is no evidence.  If the hope is that there will be evidence, then have at it.  Its simply a challenge.  If it can't be met then it can't be met.  If its possible that Nephite pottery has been found but is said to be Mayan, and we don't know, that's not a problem with the challenge.  It's simply a problem with what we know.  But pointing out a possibility doesn't render the challenge meaningless nor does it provide evidence.  It simply means we have no evidence.  

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6 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

I don't think so.  It simply means there is no evidence.  If the hope is that there will be evidence, then have at it.  Its simply a challenge.  If it can't be met then it can't be met.  If its possible that Nephite pottery has been found but is said to be Mayan, and we don't know, that's not a problem with the challenge.  It's simply a problem with what we know.  But pointing out a possibility doesn't render the challenge meaningless nor does it provide evidence.  It simply means we have no evidence.  

I agree with your premise but I don't agree that we don't have any evidence that the Book of Mormon is what it says it is.  When we don't have evidence for something, though, we should be willing to admit it.

You don't have any evidence that the Book of Mormon is not what it says it is, for example.  Live with that and be willing to admit it.

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8 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

I don't think so.  It simply means there is no evidence.  If the hope is that there will be evidence, then have at it.  Its simply a challenge.  If it can't be met then it can't be met.  If its possible that Nephite pottery has been found but is said to be Mayan, and we don't know, that's not a problem with the challenge.  It's simply a problem with what we know.  But pointing out a possibility doesn't render the challenge meaningless nor does it provide evidence.  It simply means we have no evidence.  

Except that Jenkins asked for a specific type of evidence. Pottery, inscriptions, etc. We don't have that specific type of evidence, obviously, so if that's the style of evidence you demand, then so be it. Hamblin's point is that that's not the only thing that counts as evidence, that there are other types of evidence that we do have which are more reasonable to expect, and that you need to have a discussion about what counts as evidence before weighing evidence. 

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1 hour ago, Ahab said:

So basically your opinion is that God inspires people to tell lies and that he does that to help those people, and the people who read their lies, to feel good and tie us to him, the teller of lies?

Really?

Can't you come up with a better opinion than that?

 

Look at D&C 19 where God tells Martin Harris that the concept of eternal punishment doesn't mean that people will be punished forever, but that the words are used to get people to repent.  In essence, God is sort of misleading by using "eternal" when he doesn't mean it, so his children will be scared into following him.

6 Nevertheless, it is anot written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written bendless ctorment.

7 Again, it is written aeternal damnation; wherefore it is more express than other scriptures, that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name’s glory.

"Can't you come up with a better opinion than that?"  Really?  How about we keep this civil and not question beliefs.

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47 minutes ago, Kevin Christensen said:

No.  Bluebell was on point.  Hamblin wanted to talk about what counts as evidence and as evidence for what.   Asking for a piece of pottery of the same style as 600 BCE Jerusalem presupposes that Lehi's party consisted of potters.  Were they?  If you spent eight years in the Arabian desert, would skins or pots serve and survive better?  If they didn't have that skill set, and had little opportunity to practice it in the desert and across the Ocean, would they have adopted local material culture?  Consider Brant Gardner here:

https://archive.bookofmormoncentral.org/content/social-history-early-nephites

Comparisons with evidence that Romans left all over Europe makes for a faulty paradigm because the Nephites were a much smaller group, in a more limited area, and the Ancient Mesoamericans, especially pre-Classic, did not leave a lot to work with as far as texts.  We have a lot of Roman material, but very lttle from Mesoamerica.  The same issue shows up for the Bible.  We have Temple libraries from some locations in the Ancient Near East.  How many ancient texts do we have from Israel in BIblical times?  Jenkins presumes we don't need to consider, "What should we expect?"   And the CSI kind of paradigmatic example runs into important issues.  How complete is our FBI database of Lehi's Jerusalem 600 BCE DNA, and where to look for survivals 2600 years later?   And how quickly can things change?  The issue is not whether there is no evidence of people in the right area and the right time doing the right kinds of things as far as we can tell.  People were there, in Mesoamerica, when Lehi shows up.  But writings are not, other than the Book of Mormon.  So, we could punt, and say, "How can we have faith in the absence of absolute certainty, certified by skeptical authorities who were coerced against their will?" or we could compare what is known, respect what is not known, and take status?

It's not that we don't have evidence. It's that have to work with what is available.  And that we approach that evidence via different ideological frameworks that color what we see.  (Are the Black Lives Matters marches primarily  legitimate protests or lawless riots?  Shall we ask Tucker Carlson or Rachel Maddow?  Does it make a difference?  Does the evidence always speak for itself?)  Does everyone follow the evidence to the same conclusions, or does theory influence what we select and emphasize?  

When I look at the National Geographic Special on LiDar, do I see evidence supporting the Book of Mormon, or not?   And is there a difference between "cause to believe" and "knowing with a perfect knowledge"?

https://bookofmormoncentral.org/blog/4-ways-the-new-maya-discoveries-may-relate-to-the-book-of-mormon

It should go without saying that a person who has not read the Book of Mormon would not see any evidence.  Nor would a person who had not seen the Lidar discoveries.  Case in point.  Michael Coe.  Neither his Dialogue essay, nor his PBS interview, nor his Dehlin interview considered Lidar evidence because it did not then exist.

When Michael Coe, in the interview with Dehlin, brought up the notion that the Great Mother was important in Mesoamerica, and that disproves the Book of Mormon because everyone knows the Jews were monotheists, does that mean that the Book of Mormon is false, or that Coe hadn't read Dever's Did God Had a Wife? and Patai's The Hebrew Goddess, and Barker's The Mother of God v1 and Daniel Peterson's Nephi and His Asherah? 

And there is Brian Stubbs.  Without the Book of Mormon, how do we account for his findings of influences of not only Hebrew, but Phoenician, and Egyptian in Uto-Aztecan?  Will a person who does not believe in the historicity of the Book of Mormon consider the evidence in the same way as someone who does?

http://bmslr.org/exploring-the-explanatory-power-of-semitic-and-egyptian-in-uto-aztecan/

The framework through which we approach the Book of Mormon always effects what we count as evidence and whether we will settle for partial "cause to believe" or hold out for something that coerces our unwilling submission.  So it is important to be self-aware, and self-critical.  Then shall we see clearly, though short of perfect knowledge.

Now if inspired fiction is that portion of the word you choose to nurture.  Go ahead.  But I have found historicity to be fruitful, delicious to the taste, and promising.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

I think Jenkins was asking for anything, not just pottery and Dr. Hamblin and the other apologists that stood on the sidelines couldn't come up with anything other than questioning the meaning of "evidence."  Clearly if there were any, the resort to paradigms and questioning what is or isn't worthy of being called evidence wouldn't be in the picture.  If a flat-earther is questioning his/her beliefs, I would simply show pictures from outer space.  If someone claims gravity doesn't exist, simply drop a cup onto the ground.  However, in the historicity debates, one must resort to paradigms and bias arguments because the "evidence" is weak.  One must rely on group power and politics to see historicity.  But as you say, you have to go with what is given and unfortunately for us, there is precious little.  How about an inspired fiction paradigm?  Doesn't that answer a lot of questions?  Solve problems?  Certainly it would have saved my close relative and perhaps he would still be in the fold with his family because there wouldn't be the shock of finding out that the true state of the evidence for historicity is a lot less than was advertised.

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6 minutes ago, Robert J Anderson said:

Look at D&C 19 where God tells Martin Harris that the concept of eternal punishment doesn't mean that people will be punished forever, but that the words are used to get people to repent.  In essence, God is sort of misleading by using "eternal" when he doesn't mean it, so his children will be scared into following him.

That's your paraphrase, not the Lord's and not mine.  He does mean that his punishment is eternal... that he is eternal and that his form of punishment is eternal because for as long as people do not repent from their sins there will always be those painful consequences that result from those sins and that those consequences will always result from any sinful behavior... it's just that some people do not correctly understand what it means or in what way his punishment is and will always be eternal.

6 minutes ago, Robert J Anderson said:

6 Nevertheless, it is anot written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written bendless ctorment.

7 Again, it is written aeternal damnation; wherefore it is more express than other scriptures, that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name’s glory.

Torment is different than damnation, and damnation is what we should be most afraid of especially when considering how that damnation could be endless.

6 minutes ago, Robert J Anderson said:

"Can't you come up with a better opinion than that?"  Really?  How about we keep this civil and not question beliefs.

My apologies.  It would have been more pleasant for you if I had simply said I think you could surely come up with a better opinion than that one.

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1 hour ago, stemelbow said:

It simply means there is no evidence.

There is a huge difference between "there is no evidence", and "from the continually growing pile of evidence of civilizations that existed in ancient America from the time period and likely location(s) of the people in the Book of Mormon narrative we currently don't have a way to positively connect any of that evidence to the Book of Mormon".

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1 hour ago, Ahab said:

I agree with your premise but I don't agree that we don't have any evidence that the Book of Mormon is what it says it is.  When we don't have evidence for something, though, we should be willing to admit it.

You don't have any evidence that the Book of Mormon is not what it says it is, for example.  Live with that and be willing to admit it.

uh....ok.  So now you want to put the burden on he who asks the question?  I think that's backwards.  

You claim there is evidence for the BoM telling  true story of ancient people?  What evidence?

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7 minutes ago, InCognitus said:

There is a huge difference between "there is no evidence", and "from the continually growing pile of evidence of civilizations that existed in ancient America from the time period and likely location(s) of the people in the Book of Mormon narrative we currently don't have a way to positively connect any of that evidence to the Book of Mormon".

There is no difference as I see it.  

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20 minutes ago, Ahab said:

My apologies.  It would have been more pleasant for you if I had simply said I think you could surely come up with a better opinion than that one.

It's really no big deal, but, you aren't really sorry, right?  I don't think you even need to apologize.  I take a different position than probably most here, so, a little emotion expressed is expected.  However, I'm glad you agree to keep things civil.

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1 hour ago, OGHoosier said:

Except that Jenkins asked for a specific type of evidence. Pottery, inscriptions, etc. We don't have that specific type of evidence, obviously, so if that's the style of evidence you demand, then so be it. Hamblin's point is that that's not the only thing that counts as evidence, that there are other types of evidence that we do have which are more reasonable to expect, and that you need to have a discussion about what counts as evidence before weighing evidence. 

Ok.  What type of evidence is there and what's a good example of something that is evidence.  

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16 minutes ago, Robert J Anderson said:

I think Jenkins was asking for anything, not just pottery and Dr. Hamblin and the other apologists that stood on the sidelines couldn't come up with anything other than questioning the meaning of "evidence."  Clearly if there were any, the resort to paradigms and questioning what is or isn't worthy of being called evidence wouldn't be in the picture.  If a flat-earther is questioning his/her beliefs, I would simply show pictures from outer space.  If someone claims gravity doesn't exist, simply drop a cup onto the ground.  However, in the historicity debates, one must resort to paradigms and bias arguments because the "evidence" is weak.  One must rely on group power and politics to see historicity.  But as you say, you have to go with what is given and unfortunately for us, there is precious little.  How about an inspired fiction paradigm?  Doesn't that answer a lot of questions?  Solve problems?  Certainly it would have saved my close relative and perhaps he would still be in the fold with his family because there wouldn't be the shock of finding out that the true state of the evidence for historicity is a lot less than was advertised.

The discussion of paradigms and the definition of evidence is no "resort." It's an establishment of first principles. Your stance on the matter, on the other hand, indicates that you have chosen to accept the paradigm of evidence adopted by the critics. Did you consider the counterarguments when you did so? Are you justified in ignoring them now? You certainly have not engaged with them here. 

Even your examples illustrate the flaws with a simplistic view of "evidence", and why different types of evidence matter. If you were trying to persuade a flat-earther, you would show them a picture. If you were trying to persuade a gravity-denier, you would drop a cup. So, you would give representational evidence to a flat earther and experiential evidence to a gravity-denier. The flat-earther would see a representation of space while the gravity-denier would experience gravity in action. Those are two different types of evidence! To see a picture of outer space is not to be in outer space and experience it yourself! So, what happens if the person you are speaking to doesn't think that the representation is strong enough evidence for them and demands to experience outer space themselves? Well, unless you can rig up a rocket for them, you're powerless. So long as they demand a specific type of evidence which you can't provide, they will not be convinced, even if the earth is in fact round. Well, we can't dig up a pot (yet) any more than you can rig up a rocket. Our power to convince depends on the evidence demanded by the individual. That's frankly subjective, which kind of takes the wind out of the rhetoric of "objective argument." 

In my experience an inspired fiction model creates more problems than it solves, whereas my engagement with defenses for historicity has brought me fruit. My engagement with the "resort to paradigms and questioning what is or isn't worthy of being called evidence" has been even better. @Kevin Christensen and @mfbukowski have opened my eyes to a whole new world of thinking about evidence, bias, and argumentation. I'm so glad I didn't take the out when I first was confronted with these questions; I wouldn't have learned half as much if I had. 

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1 hour ago, Ahab said:

I agree with your premise but I don't agree that we don't have any evidence that the Book of Mormon is what it says it is.  When we don't have evidence for something, though, we should be willing to admit it.

Glad to hear.

Quote

You don't have any evidence that the Book of Mormon is not what it says it is, for example.  Live with that and be willing to admit it.

The burden is on those claiming historicity.  No one is asking you to prove a negative and you shouldn't either.

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