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25 minutes ago, Robert J Anderson said:

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.

I would say that the evidence is vast and varied and usually FAR more than most people are willing to actually look at carefully. No single piece of evidence amounts to compelling proof. But together it offers a very robust case in favor of the book being what it claims.

For instance, there is evidence that many Book of Mormon names have plausible ANE origins and that they even utilize Hebrew and Egyptian wordplays in a manner similar to widely accepted examples of biblical wordplay. This is consistent with the text's claimed origins and inconsistent with Joseph Smith's own background or the training of any of his associates in 1829. 

Can you say, for instance, that you've carefully analyzed the following body of research and found it to be lacking in evidentiary value:

All Book of Mormon Names

Antiquity

Sam

Josh

Alma

Glosses (and Etiologies)

Deseret

  • Deseret,” Book of Mormon Onomasticon, online at onoma.lib.byu.edu.
  • Book of Mormon Central, “Where Does the Word ‘Deseret’ Come From? (Ether 2:3),” KnoWhy 236 (November 22, 2016).
  • Kevin L. Barney, “On the Etymology of Deseret,” BCC Papers 1, no. 2 (November 2006): 1–11.
  • Paul Y. Hoskisson, “Deseret,” in Book of Mormon Reference Companion, ed. Dennis L. Largey (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 2003), 230.
  • Stephen Parker, “Deseret,” in Daniel H. Ludlow, ed., Encyclopedia of Mormonism (New York, NY: Macmillan, 1992), 1:370–371.
  • Hugh Nibley, Lehi in the Desert/The World of the Jaredites/There Were Jaredites, The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley: Volume 5 (Salt Lake City and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1988), 189–194.

Hermounts

Irreantum

Liahona

Mormon

Rabbanah

Rameumptom

Riplicancum

  • Ripliancum,” Book of Mormon Onomasticon, online at onoma.lib.byu.edu.

Shelem

  • Shelem Book of Mormon Onomasticon, online at onoma.lib.byu.edu.

Wordplays

Abish

Amalickiah

Aminadab

Amulon

Alma

Benjamin

Cain

  • Matthew L. Bowen, “Getting Cain and Gain,” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 15 (2015): 115–141.

Cezoram

Ephraim

Enos

Esau

Faith/Truth

  • John A. Tvedtnes, “Faith and Truth,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 3, no. 2 (1994): 114–117.

Garb of Secrecy

  • John A. Tvedtnes and Matthew Roper, “One Small Step,” FARMS Review 15, no. 1 (2003): 147–199.

Giddianhi

Gad[d]ianton

Heshlon

Isaac

Isabel

Ishmael

Jacob

  • Matthew L. Bowen, “Jacob’s Protector,” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 27 (2017): 229–256.

Jershon

Judah/Jews

Joseph

Laban [Nabal]

Mary

Mosiah

Mormon

Nahom

  • Alan Goff, “Mourning, Consolation, and Repentance at Nahom,” in Rediscovering the Book of Mormon: Insights You May Have Missed Before, ed. John L. Sorenson and Melvin J. Thorne (Salt Lake City and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1991), 92–99. 

Nephi

Noah

Rameumptom

Paanchi

Salem

  • See Alma 13:18 (cf. Hebrews 7:2)

Sebus

Seezoram

Shilum

John A. Tvedtnes and Matthew Roper, “One Small Step,” FARMS Review 15, no. 1 (2003): 187.

Shilom

Matthew L. Bowen, “‘Possess the Land in Peace’: Zeniff’s Ironic Wordplay on Shilom,” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 28 (2018): 115–120.

Word/Things

David E. Bokovoy, “The Word and the Seed: The Theological Use of Bibilical Creation in Alma 32,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 23 (2014): 12.

Zarahemla

Matthew L. Bowen, “‘They Were Moved with Compassion’ (Alma 27:4; 53:13): Toponymic Wordplay on Zarahemla and Jershon,” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 18 (2016): 233–253.

Zeezrom

Stephen D. Ricks, “A Nickname and a Slam Dunk: Notes on the Book of Mormon Names Zeezrom and Jershon,” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 8 (2014): 191–194. Gordon C. Thomasson, “What’s in a Name? Book of Mormon Language, Names, and [Metonymic] Naming,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 3, no. 1 (1994): 15–16.

Zoram

Matthew L. Bowen, “‘See That Ye Are Not Lifted Up: The Name Zoram and Its Paronomastic Pejoration,” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 19 (2016): 109–143.

Parallelisms

Heshlon

Matthew L. Bowen, “Place of Crushing: The Literary Function of Heshlon in Ether 13:25-31,” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 14 (2015): 227–239.

Zedekiah/Lord

John W. Welch, “Chiasmus in Helaman 6:7–13,” Reexploring the Book of Mormon: A Decade of New Research, ed. John W. Welch (Salt Lake City and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1992), 130–132.  

Consistencies

Fun Facts,” Book of Mormon Onomasticon, online at onoma.lib.byu.edu. Donald W. Parry, “Hebraisms and Other Ancient Peculiarities in the Book of Mormon,” in Echoes and Evidences of the Book of Mormon, ed. Donald W. Parry, Daniel C. Peterson, and John W. Welch (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2002), 159–160.
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2 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

people are children of a God whose sole reason for being is to help them become like him.

I sure hope that isn't his sole reason.  I hope he is has fun exploring and creating just for the beauty of the experience and other things that benefit only himself most likely.

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14 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

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

You'll find examples at the beginning of the thread. Nahom and general correspondence with Arabia are witnesses of First Nephi. The seal of Malkiyahu. Stubb's research in Uto-Aztecan. LiDAR when contrasted with the views of archaeology in Joseph Smith's time up to later. Literally everything Kevin Christensen has posted. We've been over this. If you don't find it convincing, then so be it. Everyone has a different threshold for what they consider to be evidence, its strength, etc.: if it were not so, disagreement among humans would not exist. But we have to be aware of this fact, aware of our thresholds, and realize that to an extent that our agency is implicated in our beliefs. Belief may not be entirely volitional, but we have a degree of choice in the paradigms we choose to accept, and thus belief is not entirely coercive either. 

Edited by OGHoosier
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3 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

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. 

When this happens, I take a break from MD&D.  Haha.

Anyway, thanks for the exposition on different kinds of evidence.  Maybe discuss strength of evidence, too?  Some evidence like the type that is susceptible to the bias and the paradigm arguments is a lot weaker than evidence that is so strong that refusal to see it is akin to believing the sun is shining when it is clearly cloudy.  I agree that some people are obstinate and won't engage the evidence before them.  It is also the case that some like to portray themselves as open and engaging when they are not in an attempt to claim the other is biased. Maybe that is me or maybe that is you.  I don't think, however, that merely pointing out bias means that there is somehow a tie.  Historicity is troubling because the apologists have to go to a very limited geography to make it work.  They have to believe that DNA supposedly disappeared when there isn't any evidence that that has ever happened.  How could there be when the DNA previously disappeared. Perhaps you could point me to where disappearing DNA is a phenomenon?  Does it occur in bacteria? Other species?

In the end, I think we are paying too much attention to a losing argument.  The better stance in my opinion is to simply acknowledge the weakness, celebrate our positive points (there are a lot) and move on.

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16 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

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?

The Book of Mormon, itself.  What is written therein. What it actually is.  You have no evidence that it is other than what it says it is, what the people who wrote it said it is, so unless it can be shown that it is not true it should be regarded as true. 

I think it's strange that some people seem to want something in addition to that evidence, but in addition to that we also have the word of God that it is what it says it is.

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22 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

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.

Then there is the issue if the critic refuses to make the effort to define for themselves what is to be considered evidence and what isn't.  If one has presented what one believes as evidence only to have it dismissed as irrelevant or a coincidence many times in the past, one learns that it makes sense to discuss the nature of evidence beforehand as well as establishing what will qualify for both involved in the discussion rather than waste effort in putting up stuff that could be dismissed.

Edited by Calm
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5 minutes ago, Robert J Anderson said:

When this happens, I take a break from MD&D.  Haha.

Your current alias has you registered in March, but it sounds like you are a longtimer.  If you don't mind, could you share your previous alias(es)

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17 minutes ago, Ryan Dahle said:

I would say that the evidence is vast and varied and usually FAR more than most people are willing to actually look at carefully. No single piece of evidence amounts to compelling proof. But together it offers a very robust case in favor of the book being what it claims.

For instance, there is evidence that many Book of Mormon names have plausible ANE origins and that they even utilize Hebrew and Egyptian wordplays in a manner similar to widely accepted examples of biblical wordplay. This is consistent with the text's claimed origins and inconsistent with Joseph Smith's own background or the training of any of his associates in 1829. 

Can you say, for instance, that you've carefully analyzed the following body of research and found it to be lacking in evidentiary value:

All Book of Mormon Names

Antiquity

Sam

Josh

Alma

Glosses (and Etiologies)

Deseret

  • Deseret,” Book of Mormon Onomasticon, online at onoma.lib.byu.edu.
  • Book of Mormon Central, “Where Does the Word ‘Deseret’ Come From? (Ether 2:3),” KnoWhy 236 (November 22, 2016).
  • Kevin L. Barney, “On the Etymology of Deseret,” BCC Papers 1, no. 2 (November 2006): 1–11.
  • Paul Y. Hoskisson, “Deseret,” in Book of Mormon Reference Companion, ed. Dennis L. Largey (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 2003), 230.
  • Stephen Parker, “Deseret,” in Daniel H. Ludlow, ed., Encyclopedia of Mormonism (New York, NY: Macmillan, 1992), 1:370–371.
  • Hugh Nibley, Lehi in the Desert/The World of the Jaredites/There Were Jaredites, The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley: Volume 5 (Salt Lake City and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1988), 189–194.

Hermounts

Irreantum

Liahona

Mormon

Rabbanah

Rameumptom

Riplicancum

  • Ripliancum,” Book of Mormon Onomasticon, online at onoma.lib.byu.edu.

Shelem

  • Shelem Book of Mormon Onomasticon, online at onoma.lib.byu.edu.

Wordplays

Abish

Amalickiah

Aminadab

Amulon

Alma

Benjamin

Cain

  • Matthew L. Bowen, “Getting Cain and Gain,” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 15 (2015): 115–141.

Cezoram

Ephraim

Enos

Esau

Faith/Truth

  • John A. Tvedtnes, “Faith and Truth,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 3, no. 2 (1994): 114–117.

Garb of Secrecy

  • John A. Tvedtnes and Matthew Roper, “One Small Step,” FARMS Review 15, no. 1 (2003): 147–199.

Giddianhi

Gad[d]ianton

Heshlon

Isaac

Isabel

Ishmael

Jacob

  • Matthew L. Bowen, “Jacob’s Protector,” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 27 (2017): 229–256.

Jershon

Judah/Jews

Joseph

Laban [Nabal]

Mary

Mosiah

Mormon

Nahom

  • Alan Goff, “Mourning, Consolation, and Repentance at Nahom,” in Rediscovering the Book of Mormon: Insights You May Have Missed Before, ed. John L. Sorenson and Melvin J. Thorne (Salt Lake City and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1991), 92–99. 

Nephi

Noah

Rameumptom

Paanchi

Salem

  • See Alma 13:18 (cf. Hebrews 7:2)

Sebus

Seezoram

Shilum

John A. Tvedtnes and Matthew Roper, “One Small Step,” FARMS Review 15, no. 1 (2003): 187.

Shilom

Matthew L. Bowen, “‘Possess the Land in Peace’: Zeniff’s Ironic Wordplay on Shilom,” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 28 (2018): 115–120.

Word/Things

David E. Bokovoy, “The Word and the Seed: The Theological Use of Bibilical Creation in Alma 32,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 23 (2014): 12.

Zarahemla

Matthew L. Bowen, “‘They Were Moved with Compassion’ (Alma 27:4; 53:13): Toponymic Wordplay on Zarahemla and Jershon,” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 18 (2016): 233–253.

Zeezrom

Stephen D. Ricks, “A Nickname and a Slam Dunk: Notes on the Book of Mormon Names Zeezrom and Jershon,” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 8 (2014): 191–194. Gordon C. Thomasson, “What’s in a Name? Book of Mormon Language, Names, and [Metonymic] Naming,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 3, no. 1 (1994): 15–16.

Zoram

Matthew L. Bowen, “‘See That Ye Are Not Lifted Up: The Name Zoram and Its Paronomastic Pejoration,” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 19 (2016): 109–143.

Parallelisms

Heshlon

Matthew L. Bowen, “Place of Crushing: The Literary Function of Heshlon in Ether 13:25-31,” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 14 (2015): 227–239.

Zedekiah/Lord

John W. Welch, “Chiasmus in Helaman 6:7–13,” Reexploring the Book of Mormon: A Decade of New Research, ed. John W. Welch (Salt Lake City and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1992), 130–132.  

Consistencies

Fun Facts,” Book of Mormon Onomasticon, online at onoma.lib.byu.edu. Donald W. Parry, “Hebraisms and Other Ancient Peculiarities in the Book of Mormon,” in Echoes and Evidences of the Book of Mormon, ed. Donald W. Parry, Daniel C. Peterson, and John W. Welch (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2002), 159–160.

I see you cite to David Bokovoy.  He doesn't believe in historicity any longer due to the documentary hypothesis, deutero isaiah and other reasons as to why only a 19th century author could have authored the book of mormon.  I don't know, I just see it differently than most here.

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26 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

@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. 

It gets really interesting when you take these concepts and expand them to other aspects of your life in my experience.

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2 minutes ago, Robert J Anderson said:

When this happens, I take a break from MD&D.  Haha.

Anyway, thanks for the exposition on different kinds of evidence.  Maybe discuss strength of evidence, too?  Some evidence like the type that is susceptible to the bias and the paradigm arguments is a lot weaker than evidence that is so strong that refusal to see it is akin to believing the sun is shining when it is clearly cloudy.  I agree that some people are obstinate and won't engage the evidence before them.  It is also the case that some like to portray themselves as open and engaging when they are not in an attempt to claim the other is biased. Maybe that is me or maybe that is you.  I don't think, however, that merely pointing out bias means that there is somehow a tie.  Historicity is troubling because the apologists have to go to a very limited geography to make it work.  They have to believe that DNA supposedly disappeared when there isn't any evidence that that has ever happened.  How could there be when the DNA previously disappeared. Perhaps you could point me to where disappearing DNA is a phenomenon?  Does it occur in bacteria? Other species?

In the end, I think we are paying too much attention to a losing argument.  The better stance in my opinion is to simply acknowledge the weakness, celebrate our positive points (there are a lot) and move on.

Perhaps it's time for a break then. We're talking past each other. 

For what it's worth, I didn't say that bias makes it a tie. I said that our judgements as to what constitutes evidence precedes any argument based on the evidence. That's why magisterial handwaves to "the evidence" aren't convincing unless you share the same rules about what evidence should be expected. 

For my part, I've read the papers talking about what the Book of Mormon says about its own geography and I have found them, personally and subjectively as all evaluation is, to be strong enough evidence to convince me that the book itself demands a limited geography reading. Thus, the requirement of a "limited geography" isn't evidence against historicity for me, as it is for you. I don't view that as apologetic concession but rather an advancement in knowledge. 

The DNA disappearance issue is another example of "what evidence should we expect?" Should we expect traces of DNA to remain from such a small injection into the population, or should we expect each generation to so dilute the genetic inheritance as to make it unrecognizable 2600 years later? Expectations are everything. 

In this instance, as with many things, perhaps we must leave our disagreement at that. 

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2 minutes ago, Calm said:

Your current alias has you registered in March, but it sounds like you are a longtimer.  If you don't mind, could you share your previous alias(es)

I've periodically read posts here and on other cites, but never posted myself.  My close relative leaving made me want to become more visible and speak my piece.

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6 minutes ago, Robert J Anderson said:

I've periodically read posts here and on other cites, but never posted myself.  My close relative leaving made me want to become more visible and speak my piece.

Welcome!  I'm glad you're posting here even though we have not agreed on some things.  Just try to form the very best opinions you can, okay?  And when you have time please try to find out what God has to say about different things too.

Edited by Ahab
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14 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

You'll find examples at the beginning of the thread. Nahom and general correspondence with Arabia are witnesses of First Nephi.

How so?  I mean I've been the rounds about whether or not Nahom or Bountiful can be considered evidence of 1st Nephi.  How would you explain it as evidence?  

14 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

The seal of Malkiyahu. Stubb's research in Uto-Aztecan. LiDAR when contrasted with the views of archaeology in Joseph Smith's time up to later. Literally everything Kevin Christensen has posted.

Well that's a lot of references.  I'm willing to consider one, in a considered discussion way.  What might we discuss? 

14 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

We've been over this. If you don't find it convincing, then so be it. Everyone has a different threshold for what they consider to be evidence, its strength, etc.

SUre, on a personal level.  But if we're talking history, there are rules to what is considered evidence for a claim.  

Consider:

Quote

Historical evidence can take a variety of forms. Among the most important types of historical evidence are primary sources. Primary sources consist of original documents, artifacts, or other pieces of information that were created at the time under study. So, if we are studying World War II, primary sources would include everything from letters written by soldiers to girlfriends and wives back home to government documents to photographs to physical uniforms and equipment.

Primary sources can be wide-ranging. Battlefield film footage is a primary source because it was filmed right then and there, at that moment in history. Primary sources are usually more valued than secondary sources. Secondary sources contain useful information, but typically involve an analysis of primary source material. Books and magazines are common examples of secondary sources.

Another important type of historical evidence is oral tradition. Oral tradition consists of stories that are not written down but passed on verbally, usually from an eyewitness to succeeding generations. Oral tradition, or oral history as it is also called, is sometimes considered a primary source, although there is debate as to where it theoretically fits as a source. In a lot of ways, it is in a class of its own. Oral tradition is especially important to historians studying various ethnic groups whose history may not be well-documented in writing.

Various forms of historical evidence allow historians and other experts to gain insight into the past and propose theories. That doesn't, however, always mean their theories are necessarily correct, as we shall see.

https://study.com/academy/lesson/historical-methodology-evidence-and-interpretation.html

 

14 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

: if it were not so, disagreement among humans would not exist.

Disagreement in history comes in discussing what the evidence is and how it is applied.  We may call that subjective disagreement, but through such discussion we can arrive at a reasonable place.  

14 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

But we have to be aware of this fact, aware of our thresholds, and realize that to an extent that our agency is implicated in our beliefs.

No.  Agency is an illusion.  

14 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

Belief may not be entirely volitional, but we have a degree of choice in the paradigms we choose to accept, and thus belief is not entirely coercive either. 

Belief is entirely coercive.  

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45 minutes ago, Robert J Anderson said:

I see you cite to David Bokovoy.  He doesn't believe in historicity any longer due to the documentary hypothesis, deutero isaiah and other reasons as to why only a 19th century author could have authored the book of mormon.  I don't know, I just see it differently than most here.

Nice deflection.

I don't personally know Bokovoy, and so I can't say how he feels about the particular publication I cited above. Would he say it isn't "evidence?" Or would he just say that in the overall analysis, the evidence he previously brought to light isn't strong enough to change his new perspective? What I can say is that Bokovoy is the author of only 1 out of about 100 publications I mentioned above, so his view alone isn't that significant when compared to the overall body of evidence. Most importantly, I think that what he said counts as a small piece of the larger onomastic mosaic of evidence. 

Late Edit: And to be clear, I was well aware that Bokovoy's position had changed. It wasn't a mistake or an accident to include his research on the list. 

Edited by Ryan Dahle
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2 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

How so?  I mean I've been the rounds about whether or not Nahom or Bountiful can be considered evidence of 1st Nephi.  How would you explain it as evidence?  

It's evidence in that we have a location referenced in 1 Nephi which was a) unlikely to be known to Joseph Smith, but also b) in the appropriate place chronologically, which was impossible for him (or anyone else in the world) to have known, unlike most of the names on the maps he theoretically (but improbably) could have referenced. Right place, right time, right function, right integration into the narrative. 

5 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

Well that's a lot of references.  I'm willing to consider one, in a considered discussion way.  What might we discuss? 

This is a whole thread in the making. 

5 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

SUre, on a personal level.  But if we're talking history, there are rules to what is considered evidence for a claim.  

You've given me a good discussion of categories of historical evidence, but not on how they fit together in everyone's subjective mosaic of evaluation rules. Put simply, in the presence of ambiguity, people will put different values on different pieces of evidence, which leads to divergent conclusions. 

 

9 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

Disagreement in history comes in discussing what the evidence is and how it is applied.  We may call that subjective disagreement, but through such discussion we can arrive at a reasonable place.  

Discussion only works inasmuch as people share the same rules of evidence and evaluation. We can come to a place of agreement where our evaluative rules and the facts align, if that's what you mean by "a reasonable place." I'm very faithless when it comes to "pure reason": I don't think that there's some untouched ideal of human reasoning that we can hack our way to, which will haul everyone to the same conclusion by its own power. 

12 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

No.  Agency is an illusion.  

Only if you accept strict determinism, which I don't. Compatibilism is more the consensus position, to say nothing of the vocal minority report for free-will libertarianism, and both leave space for agency. 

13 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

Belief is entirely coercive.  

If so, I have not been coerced into believing that. It can seem so until you start thinking about interpretive paradigms and the weak spots in your own interpretations, at which point you realize that you do have the capacity to make interpretive choices about some things. Wittgenstein's rabbit/duck in other words. 

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26 minutes ago, Robert J Anderson said:

I've periodically read posts here and on other cites, but never posted myself.  My close relative leaving made me want to become more visible and speak my piece.

Nice to get new posters.  :)  It works even better since you are already familiar with the board.

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On 8/10/2020 at 3:11 PM, Bernard Gui said:

Jeff Lindsay was my very first exposure to Latter-day Saint apologetics clear back in the early 2000’s before my mission.  

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3 hours 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?

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.  

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4 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

I'm not sure what you mean. Can you give an example of a spiritual concept you believe in that is not supported by science?

Heaven (or even just the existence of the spirit/life after death) is a spiritual concept that is not supported by science.

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45 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

It's evidence in that we have a location referenced in 1 Nephi which was a) unlikely to be known to Joseph Smith, but also b) in the appropriate place chronologically, which was impossible for him (or anyone else in the world) to have known, unlike most of the names on the maps he theoretically (but improbably) could have referenced. Right place, right time, right function, right integration into the narrative. 

If you don't mind, let's expand on these claims.

a)  "unlikely to be known to Joseph Smith"

 

I think others have pointed out there was a map published with nehem on it, near Joseph.  I guess we can say many people today aren't likely to know where Timbuktu is but that hardly means someone can't consult a resource and find it's location.  The other problem is, as I understand it, the location of a tomb is not in or near nehem.  It seems to be a fabricated claim by apologists that it is.  

b)  in the appropriate place chronologically, which was impossible for him (or anyone else in the world) to have known, unlike most of the names on the maps he theoretically (but improbably) could have referenced

I don't know that that's true.  Do we have a source that places nehem in time where it is suggested to be?  

45 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

This is a whole thread in the making. 

You've given me a good discussion of categories of historical evidence, but not on how they fit together in everyone's subjective mosaic of evaluation rules. Put simply, in the presence of ambiguity, people will put different values on different pieces of evidence, which leads to divergent conclusions. 

Sure.  But people do so by violating established rules of evidence.  That is certainly a problem for history as a discipline.  Anyone can look something up and tell the story of history.  But that hardly means everyone is sticking to a historical method, or the historical evidence.  

45 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

 

Discussion only works inasmuch as people share the same rules of evidence and evaluation. We can come to a place of agreement where our evaluative rules and the facts align, if that's what you mean by "a reasonable place." I'm very faithless when it comes to "pure reason": I don't think that there's some untouched ideal of human reasoning that we can hack our way to, which will haul everyone to the same conclusion by its own power. 

Fair enough.  BUt I fail to see the purpose of not trying.  

45 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

Only if you accept strict determinism, which I don't. Compatibilism is more the consensus position, to say nothing of the vocal minority report for free-will libertarianism, and both leave space for agency. 

Strict determinism wins the day when it comes to reasoning and logic.  I don't care that most people disagree.  

45 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

If so, I have not been coerced into believing that. It can seem so until you start thinking about interpretive paradigms and the weak spots in your own interpretations, at which point you realize that you do have the capacity to make interpretive choices about some things. Wittgenstein's rabbit/duck in other words. 

Every ounce of you was not decided by you.  not your composition and certainly not your experience.  Your experience is put upon you.  your very thoughts, as in the synapses firing in your brain, aren't your decision.  They happen, they appear, then disappear as memories fed to you via your experience.  Your choices only appear to be your choices.  But, you simply can't help what you decide to do.  You just do it, as a consequence of what is pre-programmed into you.  

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16 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

If you don't mind, let's expand on these claims.

a)  "unlikely to be known to Joseph Smith"

 

I think others have pointed out there was a map published with nehem on it, near Joseph.  I guess we can say many people today aren't likely to know where Timbuktu is but that hardly means someone can't consult a resource and find it's location.  The other problem is, as I understand it, the location of a tomb is not in or near nehem.  It seems to be a fabricated claim by apologists that it is.  

b)  in the appropriate place chronologically, which was impossible for him (or anyone else in the world) to have known, unlike most of the names on the maps he theoretically (but improbably) could have referenced

I don't know that that's true.  Do we have a source that places nehem in time where it is suggested to be?  

Sure.  But people do so by violating established rules of evidence.  That is certainly a problem for history as a discipline.  Anyone can look something up and tell the story of history.  But that hardly means everyone is sticking to a historical method, or the historical evidence.  

Fair enough.  BUt I fail to see the purpose of not trying.  

Strict determinism wins the day when it comes to reasoning and logic.  I don't care that most people disagree.  

Every ounce of you was not decided by you.  not your composition and certainly not your experience.  Your experience is put upon you.  your very thoughts, as in the synapses firing in your brain, aren't your decision.  They happen, they appear, then disappear as memories fed to you via your experience.  Your choices only appear to be your choices.  But, you simply can't help what you decide to do.  You just do it, as a consequence of what is pre-programmed into you.  

To my bold: You been watchin' conspiracy theories lately Willis? ;) I happen to have just finished watching one about Hollywood and the CIA putting out messages through them.

 

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26 minutes ago, bluebell said:

Heaven (or even just the existence of the spirit/life after death) is a spiritual concept that is not supported by science.

I sometimes wonder what some people refer to as science.  I believe everyone who has died knows there is life after death. They die and then see that they are continuing to live, or at least exist if they don't call that living.

It's repeatable.  Everyone who dies discovers that fact.  Every experiment works, as long as the person doing the experiment actually dies.  And some people have come back from the dead to show us they are still living after they died.

So what is science if not doing what others have done and getting the same results?  Even getting revelation from God can be a form of science.  Even though everyone may not be getting revelation from God.

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3 hours ago, Robert J Anderson said:

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? 

I'm sorry. Did you mean that as a serious question? Are you somehow suggesting that I don't think there is evidence? 

Quote

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?

It isn't the best response. I have written a rather detailed response to this question of historicity, including relevant methodologies and the reason why certain data are compelling beyond chance. Unfortunately, it is book length and not easily summarized in a post. 

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