John Gee's book review and thoughts:

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karl61
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John Gee's book review and thoughts:

Post by karl61 »

I was reading John Gee's book review. The one thing that disturbed me at the end was his thoughts about athiests and believers: that if athiest's are right then LDS are wrong and no one will be able to tell each other that because everyone will be dead , but if believers (LDS) are right, then they will be the one laughing.


http://farms.BYU.edu/display.php?table=review&id=296

"Larson never deals with one issue that lurks in the background: the cost of renouncing the Latter-day Saint faith for what amounts to atheism. If the atheists are right, and the gospel is not true, there is no resurrection of the dead; when a man is dead, that is the end thereof. If the gospel is true, however, death is not the end. If atheism is true, at death Latter-day Saints suffer the same fate as the atheists, but the atheists will not even be around to gloat about it. Less than twenty years after his death, Ferguson has largely been forgotten by those who study the Book of Mormon or work in Mesoamerican archaeology. Twenty years from now, it seems likely that relatively few people will read Larson's arguments or this review of them. Two hundred years from now, Stan Larson and Thomas Stuart Ferguson will be probably be known only to a handful of academics, if that. Two thousand years from now, who would possibly be interested?

If, however, the gospel is true, all of this changes: Stan Larson will still be around, as will the author of this review and anyone who reads it. We can all laugh ourselves silly (or weep) at the flawed arguments that Larson tries to muster. Only if the gospel is true does any of this mean anything at all. Larson seemingly wants the reader to give up the meaning of life and the weight of eternal glory, and offers nothing in return. Like the mugger who demands one's wallet, and takes the credit cards as well as the cash, those who seek to steal the testimonies of Latter-day Saints never inform their victims of the other things they are taking away. A decent atheist may not believe that life has meaning for himself but he would not take away that which gives joy to others.

Of the many problems and flaws of this book, I have dealt here with only a few. Why should the reader waste time on this book when there are more pleasant, important, and worthwhile ways on which to spend it?"



I actually believe that athiests or those who say they don't know may have a more respect for life since this maybe all they have where others who are so sure of an afterlife are caught up in that thought and may miss the roses on the side of the road.
Last edited by karl61 on Mon Sep 03, 2007 3:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Trevor
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Post by Trevor »

"Of the many problems and flaws of this book, I have dealt here with only a few. Why should the reader waste time on this book when there are more pleasant, important, and worthwhile ways on which to spend it?"

Perhaps he could answer the question himself, since he has wasted no small amount of time on it. Or perhaps it is only for the elite guardians of the LDS Church to examine evidence and arguments for the many valets of the organization, relying on the apologetic heroes to guide them in the right path.

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Post by Blixa »

"but the atheists will not even be around to gloat about it..."

Because in the end that's what matters to Gee---getting to lord it over others for eternity.
From the Ernest L. Wilkinson Diaries: "ELW dreams he's spattered w/ grease. Hundreds steal his greasy pants."

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Post by beastie »

Is this just another version of Pascal's wager?
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Post by CaliforniaKid »

I think the editors of the FARMS Review would do well to be a little more careful about what they accept for publication. I mean really, this guy is embarassing.

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Post by harmony »

CaliforniaKid wrote:I think the editors of the FARMS Review would do well to be a little more careful about what they accept for publication. I mean really, this guy is embarassing.


He's the resident fair-haired boy, isn't he?

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The Land of Punt

Post by Trevor »

I have now read Gee's review of Larson's book, and I have to say that I find it disappointing, to say the least.

Let me point out what seems to be one of the most common errors of Book of Mormon apologia that Gee, for all of his training, indulges in all the same.

In his excursus on the Egyptian archaeological problem of the land of Punt, Gee likens an issue for which there is easily identifiable ancient evidence (there are ancient inscriptions about Punt, after all) to the problem of Book of Mormon archaeology, for which we have no comparable ancient evidence. Since we have no comparable ancient evidence for the Book of Mormon, what makes the Punt case applicable? Gee simply proceeds as though it were without addressing this obvious problem.

Gee then presents one Peters' theory that Punt was in Zimbabwe, and then comments, "if someone, convinced by the flawed arguments of Peters, announced because there was no archaeological evidence of Punt from Zimbabwe that he no longer believed that Hatsepshut inscriptions were historical, one would be inclined to think that person foolish."

Indeed, one would, but that is not just because evidence for Punt might exist elsewhere, it is also because there is ample evidence in favor of the antiquity of these inscriptions and their historical context (Hatshepsut). Sadly, for Mormon apologists and scholars, similar evidence cannot be identified for the Book of Mormon. So the real question about Ferguson is not why he concluded the Book of Mormon to be a 19th century document after failing to find his evidence, but why he took off for Mesoamerica looking for Zarahemla when there was so little to go on in the first place. Obviously, he was not as prudent as the Egyptologists who refused to mount archaeological expeditions to Punt.

Then Gee brings up our lack of archaeological knowledge concerning where his ancestors lived in Kirtland and Nauvoo. Well, we know that Kirtland and Nauvoo existed, and if Gee had no Mormon ancestors, he wouldn't be writing these reviews. The non-existence of Nephites would not have similarly dampened the creative efforts of Joseph Smith to create them.

Well, enough of that. Gee ends with his version of Pascal's wager, which has already been pointed out here. I would like to add one more tidbit on this. I think that indulging in faulty reasoning and believing in things that are not true does have a human cost. When the world is calling out for effective answers to real problems, it strikes me as cavalier to the point of dangerous irresponsibility to claim that dogged adherence to falsehoods, be they erroneous scientific or religious ideas, only means something in the next world. I live in this world, and if Mormonism is not true, I would prefer that people with the IQ of a John Gee devote their attentions to worthwhile problems whose solutions will bear real fruit in the here and now.

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Post by Daniel Peterson »

CaliforniaKid wrote:I think the editors of the FARMS Review would do well to be a little more careful about what they accept for publication. I mean really, this guy is embarassing.

Obviously, the editor of the FARMS Review doesn't agree.

He's the same idiot, though, who wrote letters of recommendation when John Gee applied successfully to the graduate program at the University of California at Berkeley and then later to Yale University, both of which, clearly staffed by idiots of similarly degraded caliber, gave Gee graduate degrees. And he's the same idiot who, serving on Gee's rank advancement committee, solicited and received letters from Egyptologists in North America and Europe who, as it turns out, were likewise idiots and praised Gee to the skies. And he's idiotic enough to observe Gee's quite impressive pace of presentations and publications on three continents and to think that it says something about the quality of Gee's work.

If only the University were savvy enough to come to anti-Mormon message boards for its scholarly review procedures!

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Post by beastie »

So are we to conclude that you, Daniel, actually think Gee's argument here is a good one? Care to defend it?
We hate to seem like we don’t trust every nut with a story, but there’s evidence we can point to, and dance while shouting taunting phrases.

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Post by karl61 »

Daniel Peterson wrote:
CaliforniaKid wrote:I think the editors of the FARMS Review would do well to be a little more careful about what they accept for publication. I mean really, this guy is embarassing.

Obviously, the editor of the FARMS Review doesn't agree.

He's the same idiot, though, who wrote letters of recommendation when John Gee applied successfully to the graduate program at the University of California at Berkeley and then later to Yale University, both of which, clearly staffed by idiots of similarly degraded caliber, gave Gee graduate degrees. And he's the same idiot who, serving on Gee's rank advancement committee, solicited and received letters from Egyptologists in North America and Europe who, as it turns out, were likewise idiots and praised Gee to the skies. And he's idiotic enough to observe Gee's quite impressive pace of presentations and publications on three continents and to think that it says something about the quality of Gee's work.

If only the University were savvy enough to come to anti-Mormon message boards for its scholarly review procedures!


who is the person that recommended John Gee and what has the person published.

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Daniel Peterson
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Post by Daniel Peterson »

beastie wrote:So are we to conclude that you, Daniel, actually think Gee's argument here is a good one? Care to defend it?

No interest.

I'm just reacting to the sweeping judgments about John Gee that I routinely see here and in like-minded circles. BYU, Berkeley, and Yale, to say nothing of various Egyptological journals and congresses and scholars, plainly haven't seemed and don't seem to share the opinion of the experts here. So much the worse for them, I suppose. What do they know?

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Post by beastie »

No interest.


You are rarely interested in the actual meat of any topic, Daniel.
We hate to seem like we don’t trust every nut with a story, but there’s evidence we can point to, and dance while shouting taunting phrases.

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Post by Daniel Peterson »

I'm typically interested in the meat of topics.

You assume too much when, as you have for several years, you presume that message boards are the focus of my intellectual life -- and particularly so when you imagine that this one is, or ever could be.

I'm also leaving the country for a month on Wednesday night. I have priorities, and discussing John Gee on this message board, with the people on this message board, will never be among them.

Still, I did want to register my amused reaction to the notion that the jaundiced commentators here have been able to sniff out John Gee's utter and complete professional incompetence when his teachers at BYU, Berkeley, and Yale, and his Egyptological colleagues, have failed to notice it. That's risible on the face of it, and for good reason.

Carry on.

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Post by beastie »

Of course I'm talking about internet boards like this one, Z, and FAIR. It's the only venue I 'know' you in. On these type of boards, you are rarely interested in the meat of topics, and participate only to offer some one-liner you imagine is witty. (sometimes they are, sometimes not) And, of course, to harvest quotes you think demonstrates the malicious stupidity of exmormons.

That's why I've never understood why people - including exmormons - act like you're THE apologist to tackle. I so rarely see you deal with the actual topic that it's been impossible for me to draw a like conclusion. I think you prefer venues in which your assertions are not challenged.
We hate to seem like we don’t trust every nut with a story, but there’s evidence we can point to, and dance while shouting taunting phrases.

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Gee's credentials

Post by Trevor »

I have met John Gee, and I know a little bit about him. He is a nice fellow, and brilliant. I have no doubt of the keenness of his intelligence, or of his qualifications as a scholar. However, just because he has credible expertise in Egyptology does not mean that his arguments about things Mormon are good. It also does not mean that they are not. Whether Larson's book is worthwhile or not, Gee's rebuttal makes some simple mistakes that I am frankly surprised at. I guess this is why it is important to judge arguments on their own merits and not by the degrees or personalities of the people who offer them.

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Post by Daniel Peterson »

beastie wrote:I think you prefer venues in which your assertions are not challenged.

Yes, that's it. I'm scared of controversy and contradiction. LOL.

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Post by beastie »

Yes, that's it. I'm scared of controversy and contradiction. LOL.


I have no idea if you're scared of controversy and contradiction, but you certainly seem to prefer to deal seriously with apologia in venues in which you are not being actively challenged.
We hate to seem like we don’t trust every nut with a story, but there’s evidence we can point to, and dance while shouting taunting phrases.

Penn & Teller

http://www.mormonmesoamerica.com

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Daniel Peterson
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Post by Daniel Peterson »

I prefer to deal seriously with apologia in serious venues.

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Trevor
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Serious venues

Post by Trevor »

Let me know when you find one that fits your definition. Then let me know your basis for making that judgment. It should be interesting.

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Daniel Peterson
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Re: Serious venues

Post by Daniel Peterson »

I already have.

Message boards don't qualify.

If you want to read my serious writing, it's available in print.

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Trevor
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Ah, yes...

Post by Trevor »

I am aware of your writing.

I was wondering whether any message board might qualify as a serious venue, and it does not--a judgment I think is sound.

So, I suppose that what goes on at MA&D, here, and elsewhere is trivial entertainment for you. It's good that you have a healthy sense of humor about it all. I would hate to think that you and other online Mormon apologists were taking what you do online as seriously as some of your opponents seem to.

Since it is all in good fun, it makes me wonder why people get banned at all. I mean, why all the fuss?

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