“Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

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Nimrod
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Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by Nimrod »

Brant Gardner wrote:
marg wrote:Religious faith is different than faith in scientific theories because religion does not offer any means for verification for such claims to God, Gods, afterlife. Religious claims are often mere assertions as opposed to science which warrants its claims with objective evidence or predictive value which can be objectively assessed.

Your first paragraph was so good, I was really disappointed in this one. I agree that there is science behind quantum physics, but that stuff is still really weird. For most of us, we take it on faith because we don't understand it. Is it correct? Pythogoreans had a great explanation for the movement of Venus (I believe I am remembering this correctly). It predicted the movement of Venus accurately, but it was completely wrong. Nevertheless, it had predictive value and was objectively assessed.

Compared to quantum mechanics, it had much less mystery.

Again, the problem is that we confuse the scientific method with an ideology that is based on science. The ideology functions just as religion does. Because religion is supposed to be separate, we tend to cringe at the assignation, but phenomenologically, they operate the same way in people's lives. The majority of people who proclaim science as the "right" way are not scientists and don't do much science. Nevertheless, they are quite sure that science is true (even when it wasn't last year and might not be next year).

Therefore one is rationally justified in relying upon or having faith in science claims which are backed up with support from the scientific community because one has a degree of assurance they are rationally and objectively warranted even if one hasn't done the leg work themselves.
Let's play devil's advocate. You are willing to accept as true something that someone else says they have experienced and found to be true?

You believe because you accept someone else's definition of what is real even though you haven't experienced it for yourself. That is phenomenologically the same whether you have faith in a scientist or a prophet(ess). You have faith in their explanation and the basis on which it was created. Regardless of their methodology, your belief is ideologically founded.

Now, your other argument is that "one is rationally justified." Notice that you are placing your own definition on what it means to be "rationally justified." You are allowing "rational justification" only when it fits your definition and denying it to someone who elects a different reason for belief. For example, some linguists might have sided with Knorozov early on over Thompson. They would eventually be proven correct, but for years Thompson so dominated the discussion that following his lead was "rationally justified." It was also wrong.

I agree that the eventual justification of Knorozov's ideas (it doesn't matter if you don't know the controversy--knowing this much is sufficient for the analogy) followed principles of scientific discovery. In the meantime, however, "science" did nothing to advance the truth. It proceeded just like a dogmatic religion might--and ignored evidence. It functioned as a religion, but was called, and assumed to be--science.

Were Thompson's followers "rationally justified" in dogmatically believing the wrong thing in spite of contrary evidence? Why didn't science prevent that error?

I'm not marg, just as Runtu is not you.

However, I have examined the root methodology of how science operates and how Mormonism operates. In one situation, all information (from God) is routed through one man (or, if real important, 15 men), for whom it is a taboo to question. In the other situation, all information (from discovery and analysis) grows from tens of thousands of scientists working away, and there is a marketplace of ideas out of which the better are vetted, embraced and passed along for mass consumption (until a better idea comes along and displaces it).

Knowing that the don't wear two earrings per ear directive, for example, comes from the tightly funneled source of alleged 'infallibility' does not give me the same comfort level that I have, say, in a new study about the impacts of caffeine consumption have--even though I know there will be a different caffeine study released in the next 90 to 180 days.
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Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by Brant Gardner »

Nimrod wrote:Given how textbooks are driven in large measure by what the highly political Texas state board of education is willing to accept or not, I do take issue with that aspect of the curriculum preparation. . . .

I don’t think any information ought to be viewed uncritically.

I'm with you on both statements. I find the Texas board decision appalling and am glad I don't have to reeducate my children after such an "education."

As for critical thinking, I think learning that (including the tools for knowing how to do it) is perhaps more valuable that the particular subject matter.

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Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by zeezrom »

Runtu wrote:I wouldn't make that distinction. Religion and science both look at the same world but through different lenses.


I'm thinking magic in terms of Heka. http://www.philae.nu/akhet/Heka.html

I'm currently searching for a way to be objective in a religious sense. It seems an impossible task.
Oh for shame, how the mortals put the blame on us gods, for they say evils come from us, but it is they, rather, who by their own recklessness win sorrow beyond what is given... Zeus (1178 BC)

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Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by Brant Gardner »

Nimrod wrote:I have examined the root methodology of how science operates and how Mormonism operates.

Wow. That is quite a statement, and should not have derived from any of the discussions so far.

In one situation, all information (from God) is routed through one man (or, if real important, 15 men), for whom it is a taboo to question. In the other situation, all information (from discovery and analysis) grows from tens of thousands of scientists working away, and there is a marketplace of ideas out of which the better are vetted, embraced and passed along for mass consumption (until a better idea comes along and displaces it).

Leaving aside the obvious rancor, how would you think a society would function under your second example? Do you see any model of social interaction that has ever used that model successfully?

You are mixing two different types of animals and complaining that the one isn't the other. If I need animal power to fell a tree, I select and elephant, not a poodle. I don't complain that poodles are not elephants.

When you discuss the way a religion organizes itself and its society and compare it to the way "science" would do the same, I suggest that your idea falls to the weight of history. Ideology works to organize societies, "science" can't handle it. Can you imagine waiting on social decisions until a scientific study is done to determine whether or not something is good for the social body?

There is some good research that indicate that drivers can instinctively know the speed at which a road should be marked. Are you suggesting that we take down the speed limits based on that research?

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Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by Nimrod »

Brant Gardner wrote:
Nimrod wrote:Given how textbooks are driven in large measure by what the highly political Texas state board of education is willing to accept or not, I do take issue with that aspect of the curriculum preparation. . . .

I don’t think any information ought to be viewed uncritically.

I'm with you on both statements. I find the Texas board decision appalling and am glad I don't have to reeducate my children after such an "education."

As for critical thinking, I think learning that (including the tools for knowing how to do it) is perhaps more valuable that the particular subject matter.

Agreed.
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Nimrod
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Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by Nimrod »

Brant Gardner wrote:Ideology works to organize societies, "science" can't handle it. Can you imagine waiting on social decisions until a scientific study is done to determine whether or not something is good for the social body?

I suppose that I've been coming at this from the angle of trying to find truth, not social engineering. Be that as it may, mysticism and fear have always been better as tools of some to control others (if that is the aim) than making information generally available.

Brant Gardner wrote:There is some good research that indicate that drivers can instinctively know the speed at which a road should be marked. Are you suggesting that we take down the speed limits based on that research?

Knowing the speed it should be marked and driving within that speed are two different things. I would also suspect that broken down by age, that teenagers have less of that instinct than other aged drivers. I would also suspect that instinct is compromised greatly by the higher the distractions introduced into the driving situation.
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marg

Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by marg »

Brant Gardner wrote:
marg wrote:Religious faith is different than faith in scientific theories because religion does not offer any means for verification for such claims to God, Gods, afterlife. Religious claims are often mere assertions as opposed to science which warrants its claims with objective evidence or predictive value which can be objectively assessed.

Your first paragraph was so good, I was really disappointed in this one. I agree that there is science behind quantum physics, but that stuff is still really weird. For most of us, we take it on faith because we don't understand it. Is it correct? Pythogoreans had a great explanation for the movement of Venus (I believe I am remembering this correctly). It predicted the movement of Venus accurately, but it was completely wrong. Nevertheless, it had predictive value and was objectively assessed.

Compared to quantum mechanics, it had much less mystery.

Again, the problem is that we confuse the scientific method with an ideology that is based on science. The ideology functions just as religion does. Because religion is supposed to be separate, we tend to cringe at the assignation, but phenomenologically, they operate the same way in people's lives. The majority of people who proclaim science as the "right" way are not scientists and don't do much science. Nevertheless, they are quite sure that science is true (even when it wasn't last year and might not be next year).


Science isn't about absolute "truth", it is about current best fit explanations for phenomena. Science isn't about knowing some ultimate reality, it is about understanding how the world works based upon our perceptions and interactions with the world. People don't have to be scientists, don't have to be experts in a particular field to be able to appreciate that there is good reason to accept scientific theories which have gained acceptance by experts in the field the theory relates to. So that "faith" in scientific theories is rational and justified. It is rational to accept the results of experts who one knows has used a reasoning method which is objectively warranted and for which a mean to assess those theories have been offered.

So when you say "It predicted the movement of Venus accurately, but it was completely wrong. Nevertheless, it had predictive value and was objectively assessed." yes that is what science does. The theory (assuming your example is correct) offered predictive value, even though it was wrong. As better reasoning and data became available to explain an observed phenomena a better theory replaced the incorrect one. Scientific theories evolve with hopefully better fit explanations, but the previous theories were rationally justified and sometimes useful. By contrast by what means do religious claims self correct to offer better more reliably true claims? How can one assess that one religious truth claim is more reliably true than another? Unlike science, religious truth claims to things like God, the afterlife, heaven, hell offer no means to assess their reliability.


Therefore one is rationally justified in relying upon or having faith in science claims which are backed up with support from the scientific community because one has a degree of assurance they are rationally and objectively warranted even if one hasn't done the leg work themselves.
Let's play devil's advocate. You are willing to accept as true something that someone else says they have experienced and found to be true?


Well first of all I appreciate what science can offer. I am willing to accept scientific theories which have gained the acceptance of the majority of scientific experts in a field because I appreciate the process used offers a best fit explanation which offers evidence which can be objectively assessed or predictive value which can eventually be objectively assessed.

You believe because you accept someone else's definition of what is real even though you haven't experienced it for yourself. That is phenomenologically the same whether you have faith in a scientist or a prophet(ess). You have faith in their explanation and the basis on which it was created. Regardless of their methodology, your belief is ideologically founded.


Don't know what "phenomenologically" means and even though I quickly looked it up, I didn't grasp an essence of what it means. So leaving that out....as I said before, I appreciate science isn't about an ultimate reality. It isn't necessary to appreciate an ultimate realty in order to offer explanations of how things work. One doesn't need to know the ultimate reality of an atom in order to offer theories in chemistry. The ultimate reality which we most likely couldn't never know because we are limited by our perceptions doesn't matter as long as a theory offers predictive value and is the best fit explanation for the data obtained.

The faith I have is that scientific theories are not willy nilly assertions with no reliability but rather they are theories which have been tested objectively and can be verified. Religion on the other hand offers unverifiable claims to God, afterlife etc. And typically religious claims build upon those unverifiable claims which makes the additional as well unreliable.

Now, your other argument is that "one is rationally justified." Notice that you are placing your own definition on what it means to be "rationally justified." You are allowing "rational justification" only when it fits your definition and denying it to someone who elects a different reason for belief. For example, some linguists might have sided with Knorozov early on over Thompson. They would eventually be proven correct, but for years Thompson so dominated the discussion that following his lead was "rationally justified." It was also wrong.


If you wish to bring in Knorozov etc then you'll have to link or explain who they are. With regards to my use of the words "rational justified" this is the context I used them in. "Therefore one is rationally justified in relying upon or having faith in science claims which are backed up with support from the scientific community because one has a degree of assurance they are rationally and objectively warranted even if one hasn't done the leg work themselves." The key there is the word "warranted". The scientific community "warrants" scientific theories by gathering evidence, testing, verifying and ultimately offering their findings to others in the field for objective verification. It is the evidence and reasoning which backs scientific theories which makes them rationally justified. By contrast religious claims to God/afterlife/heaven/hell/resurrections etc offer no means for objective verification. What are the warrants to justify such claims? If there are no warrants which can be objectively evaluted, then to accept such claim is not rationally justified.

I agree that the eventual justification of Knorozov's ideas (it doesn't matter if you don't know the controversy--knowing this much is sufficient for the analogy) followed principles of scientific discovery. In the meantime, however, "science" did nothing to advance the truth. It proceeded just like a dogmatic religion might--and ignored evidence. It functioned as a religion, but was called, and assumed to be--science.

Were Thompson's followers "rationally justified" in dogmatically believing the wrong thing in spite of contrary evidence? Why didn't science prevent that error?


I guess it does matter whether I know the controversy or not. I can't comment on that particular controversy if I don't know. I do know that scientific theories evolve, they have not always been correct. They are generally limited by the available data at a particular time and as better data becomes available theories evolve to better fit better explanations. But at least they are self correcting and become better fit explanations. Religious claims of the sort I've mentioned offer no means to evaluate objectively. They are extremely unreliable as truth claims and yet religious build upon those truth claims making the additional claims no more reliably true than the initial claims they were first founded upon. If God isn't true, then all of J. Smith's truth claims involving god are unreliable truth claims. Unlike scientific theories which offer a means to objectively evaluate the reliability of the claim, religious truths claims to the supernatural offer no means for objective verification.

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Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by Brant Gardner »

Nimrod wrote:I suppose that I've been coming at this from the angle of trying to find truth, not social engineering.

Except you keep defining "truth" in particular ways that don't allow it to mean anything other than the way you define it.

Certainly religion and science are different. That doesn't mean that they are inherently exclusive. It is possible that both can be "true" when truth is defined inside the realm of the world each seeks to explain. If I accept religion as "true" and am not compelled to see science as "not true." Similarly, it is not requisite that if I believe science to be "true" that religion must be "not true." They deal with different definitions of reality.

If you define your reality as that which science can verify, they you make religion "not true" by your exclusive definition, not by any scientific test.

Be that as it may, mysticism and fear have always been better as tools of some to control others (if that is the aim) than making information generally available.
Your bias is showing when you shift from discussing religion to "mysticism and fear." Another long discussion could go on about those definitions. I don't see any reason to prolong it, however.

Knowing the speed it should be marked and driving within that speed are two different things.

You seem to have missed the point. Science may not make the best social regulator. Religion has always had a function of creating a community with social rules. It has done that more effectively than science can. You are espousing some very narrow definitions that miss important complexities. Contrary to what science espouses, which is the examination of large quantities of applicable data, you are arbitrarily defining away anything that doesn't fit the idea you want to promote.

I suggest that is hardly a scientific methodology (it is using science as an ideology, which has been my point--thank you for representing it).

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Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by Brant Gardner »

I think we have run this particular thread into the ground. I don't know that I have anything more to add. Please feel free to rebut me, but I don't know that we will cover any new ground.

marg

Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by marg »

Brant Gardner wrote:
marg wrote:Claims to the supernatural are assertions, are a man created concept.
Hold on. On what basis do you confidently make such an assertion? I'm not interested in debating whether or not there is a supernatural, but only in how you know that there isn't one.


I didn't say the supernatural does not exist. I didn't say God doesn't exist. Previous to my words you quoted I wrote "No "supernatural" has been established. " When you wrote your statements involving the existence of the supernatural, implicit in your statements was the existence of the supernatural but you didn't establish the existence.

When someone makes a claim or an assumption involving the existence of something for which there is no evidence or means to objectively evaluate, I can assume that claim or the use of the assumption of the existence of that thing is a mere assertion, a man created concept, when I know no evidence has been offered and there really is no good reason why evidence shouldn't exist.

Let me assume that you might say that science cannot demonstrate it. That is problematic because science defines itself into a realm where certain kinds of evidence can be tested. It is therefore inapt when applied to something that suggests that it is founded on principles that science does not measure (or admit).


Science is interested in any phenomenon in this world. It is not anti God or anti what people believe exist and what we refer to as supernatural. But of course any claim to the existence of something which offers no means for evaluation, doesn't even offer any sort of predictive value which can be potentially evaluated is simply a claim with no means for objective evaluation or in other words is an assertion and is unreliable as far as being true. Science can only hypothesize that which can be evaluated.

I might suggest that microbes didn't exist prior to the discovery of the microscope because the couldn't be demonstrated. Then when they were discovered, we had to change that idea. If we don't have the right instrument yet, how do we establish the negative (there is no supernatural--they are all assertions--etc.)


Science doesn't necessarily have to see the things it hypothesizes the existence of. What it needs though is that when it hypothesizes the existence of something even though the hypothetical thing can not be observed that at least the hypothesis of the thing offers predictive value which bears out. So let's say there is no instrument to see microbes but a theory is hypothesized as to their existence. As long as that theory offers predictive value which bears out, then there is at least some objective evidence warranting their existence whether or not they are physically observable. But if someone offers a theory on microbes and there is absolutely no objective evidence in support of them, and that theory doesn't even offer any predictive value...then that theory of their existence is solely an assertion unwarranted. It is possible that some unwarranted assertions could possibly be true.


Again, I'm not advocating for the supernatural. I am simply trying to point out that you are coming to the question with what is called a prejudice (a useful one, but a prejudice nevertheless).


We are sort of talking in circles here. I think that implicit in your argument previously is that the supernatural exists and that that science has a weakness in that it can not assess it. This does not acknowledge that the burden to prove is on those who make claims to the existence of something to establish them. Science is interested in any phenomena, including God claims but those who argue for God offer nothing which can be assessed objectively. And science is interested in assessing claims by objective verification.

Science could very easily study the supernatural of religious claims if they offered some means of rationally assessing.

Ah, you do get it. Science could tell us if only science and religion were talking about the same thing. Unfortunately, they are not.


Science and religion are talking about the same thing...explanations of phenomena regarding the world and how it operates. The difference is that science backs up its hypotheses with objectively verifiable explanations or at least potentially, whereas religion makes claims which are not objectively verifiable. Hence science offers reliable claims and religion offers unreliable claims.

If a God claim offered predictive value science could evaluate that God.

And then we would understand - like we understand quantum mechanics? Like something that changes nature when we look at it. How does that work? We describe it, we call it science, but what mechanism actually changes physical behavior simply because we pay attention to it? (children excepted, of course <grin>).


At a minimum if a god claim offered predictive value at least we would have good reason to rely upon the actual existence of God as being true.

For example, if that God answered prayers consistently science could offer theories on that God's existence.

Yes, a tough one, that. That is because there are conflicting scientific studies. Some say that prayer helps and some say that it doesn't. Both use the scientific method and claim scientific proof for their conclusions. They are diametrically opposed--but scientific.


My point is not about whether prayer's help an individual or not, my point was that if prayers were answered with high predictability that could be used as reasoning to support the notion that a God answering those prayers exists.

It is not that the supernatural is outside the scope of science but that claims to the supernatural are asserted and no means for assessment are offered, hence they are unreliable truth claims.

You just defined something that is outside the scope of science. It isn't that no means for assessment is offered. All religion offers a means of assessment. Magic is infamous for providing evidence for assessment. What you are saying is that you don't accept those demonstrations because they don't fit into the scientific method.


No Brant, religious claims to such things as the existence of a God, an afterlife, a hell, a heaven, resurrected God-beings etc are claimed by religions with no means to objectively assess and thereby establish with any degree of reliability. If people or organizations who make those claims offer a means to assess then science could assess and offer hypotheses. I'm not anti God or any supernatural anything. Science isn't anti god or anti supernatural either, other than the scientific method requires a degree of evidence to establish claims to the existence of things. A sufficiently reasonable burden of proof has not been met by anyone making claims to the existence of such things claimed by many religions such as afterlife, god etc.

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Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by Nimrod »

Brant Gardner wrote:
Nimrod wrote:I suppose that I've been coming at this from the angle of trying to find truth, not social engineering.

Except you keep defining "truth" in particular ways that don't allow it to mean anything other than the way you define it.

I'll accept that I am trying to find reliable information rather than perhaps truth. And as marg has pointed out, science offers a model of increasingly more accurate, reliable information over time, whereas religion reigns over an ever shrinking pie of 'info'.

Brant Gardner wrote:Certainly religion and science are different. That doesn't mean that they are inherently exclusive. It is possible that both can be "true" when truth is defined inside the realm of the world each seeks to explain. If I accept religion as "true" and am not compelled to see science as "not true." Similarly, it is not requisite that if I believe science to be "true" that religion must be "not true." They deal with different definitions of reality.

If you define your reality as that which science can verify, they you make religion "not true" by your exclusive definition, not by any scientific test.

Compatibility of science and religion all depends on how quickly a religion can let go of or redefine away some of its tenets in the face of scientific development. Safest ground for religion is no specifics, all ethereal. Not much 'news you can use' in that.

Brant Gardner wrote:You seem to have missed the point. Science may not make the best social regulator. Religion has always had a function of creating a community with social rules. It has done that more effectively than science can.


I don't want to be a social regulator. I'll leave that for others. I am a searcher for reliable information.

Brant Gardner wrote:You are espousing some very narrow definitions that miss important complexities. Contrary to what science espouses, which is the examination of large quantities of applicable data, you are arbitrarily defining away anything that doesn't fit the idea you want to promote.

I suggest that is hardly a scientific methodology (it is using science as an ideology, which has been my point--thank you for representing it).

My quest is not to apply the scientific method. I am not a scientist. My quest is to identify reliable sources of information. As an autonomous intellectual being, my choice is deciding which sources of information I will give credence. In examining the two methodologies used, I find science more reliable in providing me information.
Last edited by Nimrod on Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by cksalmon »

Brant Gardner wrote:No. Please read carefully. These are not my definitions. They are the definitions that come from social scientists who have looked at a lot of evidence from a lot of different cultures (including the Old Testament).


I trust your view of Mesoamerican archaeology, for example, as it relates to relevant LDS truth claims, is also defined by a strong appeal to the consensus of academia.

Is the usefulness of the appeal to (scholarly) authority predictably bounded in your LDS apologia?

marg

Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by marg »

Brant Gardner wrote:
"The scientific method defines itself out of the supernatural. If the supernatural exists, science doesn't answer the question because it only deals with the natural."

Many religious claims are not solely supernatural. Once it is claimed that a god has interfered with mankind that claim is not solely in the realm of the supernatural, once a person claims that God has communicated with them it is not solely about the supernatural, once a book makes claim that God has a hand in its making it is not solely the supernatural, once witnesses testify to seeing a God or angels their claims are not solely off limits to critical examination/scientific critical method process. Once a claim is not solely supernatural, science can or rather critical thinking can be applied to those claims, there is no reason why not.

The problem I have with your statement above is that you've offered no reason why a god which can become human, or which can interfere with mankind, or which can commune with religious leaders, or any book which make claims involving mankind in which the supernatural is involved should be automatically immune to critical examination of the sort the scientific method employs. The problem is that religious claims make naturalistic claims along with super naturalistic. They are not solely supernaturalistic claims with no naturalistic claims along side. You expect a much higher burden of proof from science claims than you do from religious claims. But by what rational justification? By your reasoning you give religions with supernatural mixed with naturalistic claims a free pass from critical examination.

There is nothing inherently off limits to science in claims of the supernatural along the natural. There is nothing inherently off limits to claims of an interfering with mankind sort of God. The burden of proof for such claims lies with those making the claims, it is not up to anyone to disprove them. Scientists can make all sorts of claims but only those who establish those claims through an objective process which of open to critical evaluation get accepted by the scientific community. Science doesn't work by scientists asserting their claims so why should those who assert religious claims be given a free pass from critical examination. I think the prejudice lies with you Brant not with me. The prejudice is that your argument assumes the existence of the supernatural, whereas I remain skeptical until such claims are established sufficiently.

You say "if the supernatural exists" ..then science would not study it, but that's not true. Science or critical thinking can critically evaluate many religious claims because most do in fact offer some naturalistic claims along with the super-naturalistic ones which can be critically assessed.

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Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by Brant Gardner »

cksalmon wrote:
Brant Gardner wrote:No. Please read carefully. These are not my definitions. They are the definitions that come from social scientists who have looked at a lot of evidence from a lot of different cultures (including the Old Testament).


I trust your view of Mesoamerican archaeology, for example, as it relates to relevant LDS truth claims, is also defined by a strong appeal to the consensus of academia.

Is the usefulness of the appeal to (scholarly) authority predictably bounded in your LDS apologia?

My uses of archaeology and ethnography follow the same lines of evidence and argument that I would (and have) used in a completely secular arena. The place where I differ from accepted scholarly doctrine is that I allow that there may have been a people here that is described by the Book of Mormon. That premise is not currently acceptable in anthropological journals or with many anthropologists/archaeologist (and based on may of the abuses LDS authors have committed in the past, I grant they have reason).

My interest in Mesoamerica and the Book of Mormon really have little to do with apologia. I am interested in explaining the Book of Mormon against history--to believers. The best that I would hope for would be that a secular scholar would look at the arguments and say that they can see why I might think that. I really doubt they would change their minds. I don't expect that.

Nevertheless, the scholarship applied is no less rigorous than that which I would use for any ethnohistorical examination. I have been required to jettison several popular "proofs" of the Book of Mormon because I can't fit them into a logical and consistent historical construct. In spite of that, I do still find non-random convergences between the text and known ethnohistory.

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Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

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Did you know that this thread has its own theme song?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2Q_fO7fhJI

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Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by Nimrod »

Brant Gardner wrote:The place where I differ from accepted scholarly doctrine is that I allow that there may have been a people here that is described by the Book of Mormon. That premise is not currently acceptable in anthropological journals or with many anthropologists/archaeologist (and based on may of the abuses LDS authors have committed in the past, I grant they have reason).


Brant, do you doubt the objectivity of those "anthropological journals or with many anthropologists/archaeologist" in disallowing that there might have been such a people as just a reaction to the abuses LDS authors have committed in the past?
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Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by Brant Gardner »

Nimrod wrote:Brant, do you doubt the objectivity of those "anthropological journals or with many anthropologists/archaeologist" in disallowing that there might have been such a people as just a reaction to the abuses LDS authors have committed in the past?

I am actually somewhat acquainted with the general climate in the anthropological community. At the moment, it is highly reactive to any suggestion that anyone influenced New World peoples. With the current strong anti-diffusionist bias, the objectivity will come only after a lot more evidence and time have crossed the bridge.

Nevertheless, much of what they react to doesn't have anything to do with objectivity. Poor history is poor history and LDS authors have written (and some continue to write) some very poor histories. My "favorite" arguments are the ones that declare that the scholars just don't understand and that the author knows what is really going on. You can imagine how the secular community feels about that.

As for issues in the way secular academics deal with the Book of Mormon, there are many. In most cases, it echoes Thomas O'Dea's famous statement that: "the Book of Mormon has not been universally considered by its critics as one of those books that must be read in order to have an opinion of it." When that is combined with what they do know about the Book of Mormon (Hebrews created the culture of the Americas--not my position, by the way) it is pretty certain that they will not be interested in understanding more.

My interests are therefore in educating the LDS population. They have a lot of ideas about the text and history that cannot be correct. If I can influence the internal community first then perhaps the secular community may someday care to pay attention.

harmony
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Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by harmony »

Brant Gardner wrote:My interests are therefore in educating the LDS population. They have a lot of ideas about the text and history that cannot be correct. If I can influence the internal community first then perhaps the secular community may someday care to pay attention.


Would the LDS population that needs education include the Brethren?
(Nevo, Jan 23) And the Melchizedek Priesthood may not have been restored until the summer of 1830, several months after the organization of the Church.

Brant Gardner
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Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by Brant Gardner »

harmony wrote:Would the LDS population that needs education include the Brethren?
John Taylor once made a comment: “The story of the life of the Mexican divinity, Quetzalcoatl, closely resembles that of the Savior; so closely, indeed, that we can come to no other conclusion than that Quetzalcoatl and Christ are the same being. But the history of the former has been handed down to us through an impure Lamanitish source, which has sadly disfigured and perverted the original incidents and teachings of the Savior’s life and ministry.” He was correct that it seemed so from what he understood. He was not correct that there was a correlation, demonstrated by even more data available later.

There are any number of things that the brethren understand because of their education or enculturation that are not part of revelation. On those topics, I expect them to be continually learning. If that means that some of them might also be educated more fully in the ethnohistorical implications of the Book of Mormon, that doesn't surprise me. That process may not have begun when John Sorenson gave classes to the 12 (not all could finish because of other commitments), but I am sure that it is ongoing. You will notice that the introduction to the Book of Mormon had a word change that at least implies some change in understanding.

Nimrod
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Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by Nimrod »

Brant Gardner wrote:
harmony wrote:Would the LDS population that needs education include the Brethren?
John Taylor once made a comment: “The story of the life of the Mexican divinity, Quetzalcoatl, closely resembles that of the Savior; so closely, indeed, that we can come to no other conclusion than that Quetzalcoatl and Christ are the same being. But the history of the former has been handed down to us through an impure Lamanitish source, which has sadly disfigured and perverted the original incidents and teachings of the Savior’s life and ministry.” He was correct that it seemed so from what he understood. He was not correct that there was a correlation, demonstrated by even more data available later.

There are any number of things that the brethren understand because of their education or enculturation that are not part of revelation. On those topics, I expect them to be continually learning. If that means that some of them might also be educated more fully in the ethnohistorical implications of the Book of Mormon, that doesn't surprise me. That process may not have begun when John Sorenson gave classes to the 12 (not all could finish because of other commitments), but I am sure that it is ongoing. You will notice that the introduction to the Book of Mormon had a word change that at least implies some change in understanding.

So, to answer harmony's question in a word, is that a yes?
--*--

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Doctor CamNC4Me
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Re: “Folk” magic redefined by Brant Gardner and Mike Reed

Post by Doctor CamNC4Me »

Hello,

What is, exactly, the point of having a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator that gets so many things wrong?

Very Respectfully,

Doctor CamNC4Me
In the face of madness, rationality has no power - Xiao Wang, US historiographer, 2287 AD.

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