All posts by ClarkGoble

Bows, Arrows & the Book of Mormon

This is just a “holder” post for a discussion I was having over whether references to “bows and arrows” in the Book of Mormon should be considered atlals or actual bows. The main argument is over whether there are bows and arrows in the pre-classical period of mesoamerica. A lot of apologetic works have quoted a few articles saying they were. Most of these end up going back to Bill Hamblin’s article “The Bow and Arrow in the Book of Mormon” from the 90’s.

I brought this up in a discussion primarily due to a Book of Mormon Central article on weapons in early Nephite times. While I really like the Book of Mormon Central stuff I was much more mixed about this article due to using art from centuries after the period of the Book of Mormon in question. I think that bows and arrows in pre-Christian Nephite society is perhaps at best controversial. (Roughly 400 BC – 40 BC) As such I think good apologetics should engage with the mainstream views of the data. There was some pushback to this view, mainly based upon a debate over whether there was consensus over the period of the introduction of the bow and arrow in mesoAmerica.
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God and Evolutionary Psychology

Evolutionary psychology suggests God makes more sense than not. I’m not sure he sees the tension between EP giving “just so” stories and claims it proves something. Still it is interesting that EP tends to note that at least aspects of religion are genetic. The debate is over how much of that is false positives from basic agency senses versus noticing something in the world. (The ways eyes help us deal with real objects in the world)

PEL on Scientism

“…[scientism] is contributing to a growing trend on the left, quite as ferocious as anything on the right, toward anti-intellectualism and bigotry, and that it is at bottom incompatible with the principles of a humane, open, and free society.” Partially Examined Life on Scientism.

I used to discuss this a lot back at the old blog. (Sadly I was unable to export the posts in a fashion so they could be imported here). I’ve not talked about it in a long time simply because at a certain point it becomes uninteresting. Most people engaging in scientism simply don’t have much of a mind to even bother attempting to understand why philosophers ask the things they do. Often their view of philosophy is pretty distorted.

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Stats on LDS Retention

Just a short post as I’m planning a longer post on this topic at T&S next week. A few people were mentioning Jana Riess’ talk at the UVU Mormon Studies conference last week. She posted a bit on it at her blog.

While I don’t really disagree with most she says, I do want to raise an important point. We have to be careful comparing statistics from different surveys. Typically they are apples to oranges comparisons with different methodologies – especially in terms of how they decide how to deal with getting diversity into their polls. So, for instance, a poll of 20,000 Mormons might seem like a huge sample size, it wouldn’t be terribly representative of American Mormons if it mainly consisted of people from Rexsburg and Provo. Getting both a representative sample and and sufficiently large sample size is difficult.

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Mormon Millennials Becoming More Republican

Somehow I missed that UVU (just a few blocks from work) was having a religious liberty symposium this week and a Mormon studies conference. The symposium included some big names like columnist Ross Douthat. Alas work would have kept me from going anyway. But I am sad to miss it as some of the talks sounded quite interesting.

I really need to make it more of a point to get out to some of these things – especially when they are so close by. 

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New Atheists and Mormon Moderates

Over at BCC Jacob Baker put up a paper tying New Atheists with the John Dehlin style of Mormon critic. While I’ve not yet read the paper, it seems interesting. I admit up front I’m pretty skeptical of the thesis but want to read it through before commenting.

The basic issue is a quote from notable New Atheist Sam Harris on how religious moderates are unwilling to accept that so much of their religious texts are antithetical to their moral intuitions. That is by simply picking and choosing the passages to follow, they ignore the danger the texts have. The typical counterpoint to this are writers (also atheist I believe) like Robert Wright who think religions modernize when they choose what passages to privilege or ignore.1 To them this is a natural part of religion that the Harris type of critique miss. Wright often directly engages the New Atheists on these issues. Wright often actually sees retrenchment of fundamentalism a backlash to New Atheist like attacks on religion.

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  1. Wright’s The Evolution of God in part is an extended argument along these lines. Although Wright’s discussed them in many articles and podcasts.