FAIR Conference Highlights: DCP & Hamblin Slam B. Hodges

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FAIR Conference Highlights: DCP & Hamblin Slam B. Hodges

Post by Doctor Scratch »

Over on his blog, "Enigmatic Mirror," Bill Hamblin is attacking Blair "LifeOnaPlate" Hodges, who was apparently concerned about DCP's public announcement of Kirk Caudle's resignation from the Church:

Bill Hamblin wrote:Reports have reached me of a little incident at the FAIR conference. Apparently Blair Hodges accosted Dan Peterson in the FAIR bookstore, and objected to Dan mentioning the resignation from the Church of Kirk Caudle, with a possible tacit allusion to the fact that Caudle’s podcast had once been sponsored by the Maxwell Institute.
Hodges demanded an explanation for what Dan had written. Dan said he had nothing more to say. Hodges started calling him a coward, demanding a confrontation and explanation then and there. Dan refused, saying his views on the Maxwell Institute’s “new direction” were clear and public, and he had nothing more to say. The confrontation continued more accusations of cowardice, with Hodges stalking Dan around the FAIR bookstore and conference area for several minutes. “All of you are cowards!” Hodges insisted, apparently referring to me and other critics of the “new” Maxwell Institute as well as Dan.
Well, Blair, I’d be happy to discuss any issue surrounding the Maxwell Institute with you, as long as the discussions are 1- written, 2- you actually also answer my questions clearly and completely, 3- the discussion is public, and 4- it is not anonymous on your part. I’ve tried to have such discussions with you in the past, and you have consistently refused to go on the record.
[Note: the latest spin from Blair's supporters is that I am trying to get Blair fired because I expressed my views on the appropriateness of Blair's behavior. This is NONSENSE. At any rate, I have changed the offending phrase in green below. Also, Dan did not request, approve, or know anything about my post.]
P.S. Many of Blair’s supporters believe that Blair’s behavior is an entirely appropriate way for a junior staff member to treat a full professor at BYU.


The comments are interesting as well:

Kirk Caudle wrote:I made a long post on Bill's Facebook page and he deleted it. I am sure he will delete this one also.

First off, whether or not this exchange actually happened or is 100% actuate is totally besides the point.

What is the point? That Bill would even make something like this into a blog post in the first place.

Dan knew exactly what he was doing by using my resignation to attack the MI. Dan likes to bait people. However, I have nothing bad to say about the MI or during my time with them. Blair is a friend. Further, Bill knows exactly what he is trying to do with this post.

Trying to defame people simply to do it makes zero sense to me.

Again, I am sure this one will probably get deleted too.


Brad Kramer wrote:You're not representing either the exchange between Blair and Dan in good faith, or the ZION'S BOOKS panel in good faith. This kind of scandal-mongering gossip is disgusting, an exercise in defamation for defamation's sake.


DCP wrote:Blair called me a coward several times. And, to be precisely accurate, he said "You're all cowards" at least twice.


Blair Hodges wrote:This is a substantially inaccurate description of a personal conversation I had with Dr. Peterson on Friday, inaccurate both in substance and outcome. I deny it's accuracy. Since it was a personal conversation I'm not inclined to publicly discuss it further. Gossip like this shouldn't have a place especially among members of the Church.


But that's just the beginning, apparently, since Hamblin added a second post:

Bill Hamblin wrote:I just received this from Blair Hodges. It is beyond bizarre!

Blair Hodges wrote:William Hamblin’s recent blog post at Patheos is a libelous misrepresentation of a personal conversation between Dan Peterson and I. It also attacks me on the grounds of my livelihood and employment. I don’t want to involve a lawyer but I will consider it if something is not done to rectify this. I am sending you each direct notice on the counsel of a lawyer to ask you to desist in the defamation and to remove the defamatory material from the blog within the next three days. The offending blog post is here:
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/enigmaticm ... e-cowards/
I have already given public notice that the post is false in the comments at the blog. I have two witnesses who overheard the conversation Hamblin misrepresents and who can also attest to the misrepresentation.
David, if you would like to contact me directly my phone number is xxx-xxx-xxxx.
-Blair Hodges


I’d be happy to modify any part of my blog that is inaccurate. So, what precisely is inaccurate?
Did you demand Dan explain his blog post, or not?
Did you follow him around, repeatedly making this demand, or not?
Did you repeatedly call him a coward, or not?
Did you say “All of you are cowards,” or not?
Please clarify the specific inaccuracies, and I’ll be happy to change the blog post.
(PS If there were two witnesses present, then it was not a “private conversation.”)


(A sidenote: based on the comments, it seems that Hamblin had initially posted Hodges's actual phone number.)

And from the Comments:

Blair Hodges wrote:PS- On the off chance that Hamblin approves my comments I should add by way of warning to others: engaging with Dan was a poor decision for several reasons, not least of all because it has become an object of public misrepresentation. (Also because it gives Bill an opportunity to post my personal cell number on his blog. Mind removing that, Bill?) Since Dan sent me an email of apology after our conversation I hope he will make good on that apology by encouraging his friend to stop misrepresenting things in public.

Engaging with Bill Hamblin likewise shows poor judgement on my part even though he is spreading false gossip about me. Like approaching the proverbial (and now not-PC) tar baby, you'll only get mess all over yourself. It really is better just to ignore it. I hope others learn from my dumb example and choose to disengage from those who spread gossip and discord. I hope that this embarrassing personal discord simply ends and I can help that happen by simply walking away.


Dan Peterson wrote:I apologized, Blair, for telling you to go to hell. It's not my usual mode of expression, and I regret it. Not my favorite moment. I sent you an apology a few minutes later, and I suggested that you not go.

But Professor Hamblin's description of the conversation is quite accurate (and I too have at least one witness).

You approached me. Rather aggressively. I didn't approach you. I simply wanted to look at the book displays.

I suggested that you go to hell after you had called me a coward several times, rather loudly, and after you had told me at least twice -- without further specification or identification -- that "You're all cowards."

You persisted, I again told you go to hell, and then, having tired of being followed by you in the bookstore, I left the bookstore and returned to the meeting hall. I still find the experience quite unbelievable.


Brad Kramer wrote:Dan, I was present and paying close attention to the interaction. Blair did approach you, and was very persistent. And he did call you out (using a quiet, conversational voice, despite his clear perturbance) for using Elder Maxwell's grave and Kirk's resignation from the church to take a public swipe at the MI. And he pushed you for a straight answer. He did _not_ call you a coward until after you told him to go to hell, and he only called you a coward once after you said it. He never called anyone but you a coward, and that was only a representation of your behavior with regard to Kirk's resignation and your blog post. He called out the cowardice of engaging in a deliberate public provocation and then trying to play some incredulous game of deniability, for refusing to take responsibility for what you had deliberately done. It is possible that you are misremembering the confrontation, rather than willfully misrepresenting it, but your account here is definitely inaccurate.

And I say that as someone who immediately after it was over indicated to Blair that I thought confronting you was not a good idea and that he probably should not have done it.


Bill Hamblin wrote:I find Dan's response to Blair's harassment admirably restrained. I would have been much more forthright.


Brad Kramer wrote:If Dan thought his response to Blair was admirably restrained, I very much doubt he would have gone out of his way to sincerely apologize for it. Your choice to make hay out of this entire affair, Bill, has done a major disservice to both Blair and Dan, and to the very serious and sincere effort they both made privately in the aftermath of the confrontation to take conciliatory steps. What a self-indulgent mess.


I'm sure I'm not alone in having wondered what, if anything, would come out of the FAIR Conference this year. It seems that this was it.
"[I]f, while hoping that everybody else will be honest and so forth, I can personally prosper through unethical and immoral acts without being detected and without risk, why should I not?." --Daniel Peterson, 6/4/14

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Re: FAIR Conference Highlights: DCP & Hamblin Slam B. Hodges

Post by Chomsky »

Wow, reads like a soap opera.

I think Kirk Caudle raised the most salient point: "First off, whether or not this exchange actually happened or is 100% actuate is totally besides the point. What is the point? That Bill would even make something like this into a blog post in the first place."

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Re: FAIR Conference Highlights: DCP & Hamblin Slam B. Hodges

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Brad Kramer wrote:If Dan thought his response to Blair was admirably restrained, I very much doubt he would have gone out of his way to sincerely apologize for it. Your choice to make hay out of this entire affair, Bill, has done a major disservice to both Blair and Dan, and to the very serious and sincere effort they both made privately in the aftermath of the confrontation to take conciliatory steps. What a self-indulgent mess.


Dr. Scratch wrote:I'm sure I'm not alone in having wondered what, if anything, would come out of the FAIR Conference this year. It seems that this was it.

What a self-indulgent mess indeed. You just can't make this stuff up.

Just one more example of Bill Hamblin and DCP, self-proclaimed principal Mormon apologists in charge of defending the faith, at their pathologically narcissistic best.
David Hume: "---Mistakes in philosophy are merely ridiculous, those in religion are dangerous."

DrW: "Mistakes in science are learning opportunities and are eventually corrected."

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Re: FAIR Conference Highlights: DCP & Hamblin Slam B. Hodges

Post by Kevin Graham »

Interesting developments.

While it is refreshing to see LDS apologists call Dan out for his obvious cowardice, I'm also no fan of those who threaten lawsuits when their antics are made public. As such, I think Blair is exhibiting every ounce of cowardice that he attributes to Dan.

This also is reminiscent of incident back in the 90's when a couple of FARMS apologists (Midgley and Roper?) were harassing the Tanners in their own bookstore.

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Re: FAIR Conference Highlights: DCP & Hamblin Slam B. Hodges

Post by Kishkumen »

As long as people react to DCP, this cycle will continue. It was a dick move on DCP's part to post an announcement of Kirk Caudle's resignation with a picture of the grave of Elder Maxwell, no doubt. But, nothing was to be gained by confronting him. Blair unwittingly rewarded DCPs very minimal efforts by reacting as he did. And this is what DCP and Hamblin are doing these days: engaging in a series of petty provocations. It is not all they are doing, but they are doing this, and unfortunately others are rising to the bait.

Meanwhile, there is a very interesting intellectual discussion about Mormonism that is unfolding in more venues than ever before. More people are participating constructively and from different perspectives. For those who are interested in such things, it is an exciting time. This post-classic-FARMS drama is just an unfortunate distraction.
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Re: FAIR Conference Highlights: DCP & Hamblin Slam B. Hodges

Post by Kishkumen »

Brad Kramer wrote:Dan, I was present and paying close attention to the interaction. Blair did approach you, and was very persistent. And he did call you out (using a quiet, conversational voice, despite his clear perturbance) for using Elder Maxwell's grave and Kirk's resignation from the church to take a public swipe at the MI. And he pushed you for a straight answer. He did _not_ call you a coward until after you told him to go to hell, and he only called you a coward once after you said it. He never called anyone but you a coward, and that was only a representation of your behavior with regard to Kirk's resignation and your blog post. He called out the cowardice of engaging in a deliberate public provocation and then trying to play some incredulous game of deniability, for refusing to take responsibility for what you had deliberately done. It is possible that you are misremembering the confrontation, rather than willfully misrepresenting it, but your account here is definitely inaccurate.

And I say that as someone who immediately after it was over indicated to Blair that I thought confronting you was not a good idea and that he probably should not have done it.

Well, that was what I was waiting for: a more accurate account of what transpired. Thanks to Brad Kramer for sharing this with others and to the Good Doctor for bringing this to our attention.
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Re: FAIR Conference Highlights: DCP & Hamblin Slam B. Hodges

Post by Kevin Graham »

It was a dick move on DCP's part to post an announcement of Kirk Caudle's resignation with a picture of the grave of Elder Maxwell, no doubt.


Wow. I didn't know that he did this.

Well, that was what I was waiting for: a more accurate account of what transpired. Thanks to Brad Kramer for sharing this with others and to the Good Doctor for bringing this to our attention.


To be fair, Dan denies this and says he has a witness of his own. Either way, it doesn't matter to me who did what first. They're both acting like a couple of tools.

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Re: FAIR Conference Highlights: DCP & Hamblin Slam B. Hodges

Post by Kevin Graham »

Meanwhile, there is a very interesting intellectual discussion about Mormonism that is unfolding in more venues than ever before. More people are participating constructively and from different perspectives. For those who are interested in such things, it is an exciting time. This post-classic-FARMS drama is just an unfortunate distraction


But they obviously see Bokovoy's "Got Nuance?" crusade as a threat. And to be honest, I think his latest stuff is going to cause far more problems than he intends to resolve.

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Re: FAIR Conference Highlights: DCP & Hamblin Slam B. Hodges

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Kevin Graham wrote:To be fair, Dan denies this and says he has a witness of his own. Either way, it doesn't matter to me who did what first. They're both acting like a couple of tools.


OK. Well, I eagerly await the testimony of this witness. Hopefully it is someone without an axe to grind. Hamblin is certainly no kind of reliable witness regarding this stuff.
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Re: FAIR Conference Highlights: DCP & Hamblin Slam B. Hodges

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Kevin Graham wrote:But they obviously see Bokovoy's "Got Nuance?" crusade as a threat. And to be honest, I think his latest stuff is going to cause far more problems than he intends to resolve.


They see a lot of these people as a threat, evidently. They see the new MI as a threat. They consider Religious Studies a threat. They view a lot of the Mormon Studies folks to be a threat.

Of course, this alarmist posture has been decades in the forging. There is always a threat and an enemy. All that changes is its identity.
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Re: FAIR Conference Highlights: DCP & Hamblin Slam B. Hodges

Post by Abaddon »

Hahaha.

This is why I keep reading and staying up to date on Mormon happenings: it's just so dang entertaining.

To think, otherwise extremely intelligent individuals duking it out over a myth that serves as their foundation of life.

"Maxwell likes us more!"
"Nuh uh! He liked us more!"
"My testimony of the myth is more pure than yours!"
"You go to hell!"

You truly can't make this stuff up.

To their credit though, at least they aren't chopping anyone's heads off for not believing in their myth.

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Re: FAIR Conference Highlights: DCP & Hamblin Slam B. Hodges

Post by Kishkumen »

Abaddon wrote:To their credit though, at least they aren't chopping anyone's heads off for not believing in their myth.


Not yet, thank goodness.
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Re: FAIR Conference Highlights: DCP & Hamblin Slam B. Hodges

Post by Markk »

I'm sure the brethren will be happy with this one...if they even care at this point...Bradford looks like a wise man right about now.

From a Evangelicals viewpoint, LDS apologetics is in shambles, with no leader, and no compass. While I obviously think this is great and long hoped for...there is a part of me that is saddened it happed so sophomoric.
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Re: FAIR Conference Highlights: DCP & Hamblin Slam B. Hodges

Post by Kevin Graham »

OK. Well, I eagerly await the testimony of this witness. Hopefully it is someone without an axe to grind. Hamblin is certainly no kind of reliable witness regarding this stuff.


Team Kofford includes people who have obviously had personal issues with the old guard at FARMS. We can't just ignore that fact when talking about grinding axes.

I love David Bokovoy to death, but I'd be lying if I said he was able to completely put aside his issues with these folks when writing his stuff. You don't think he felt the least bit spurned when he didn't get hired on at BYU? It seems like he's been a man on a mission ever since that happened. He's making himself a public figure, publishing more and contacting newspapers for interviews, almost always speaking on issues that these folks would disagree with.

His latest wave of apologetics/scholarship is designed to render so much of their stuff moot, and as Metcalfe recently said, these young scholars at Kofford have a legacy to create for themselves and apparently this is it; trying to get the Church and everyone in it to believe as they do. If you don't then you're just thinking in a binary world and failing to appreciate nuance.

So he is as agenda driven as any of these FARMS guys are.

And I can't speak for the Facebook tendencies on other Kofford profiles, but Bokovoy regularly posts things that would naturally rub these guys the wrong way. Like posting Ritner's refutation of Gee's and Muhlstein's scholarship, and then referring to their stuff as "apologetics" as if what he produces is strictly scholarship. I like what he says, but I'm not going to sit here and act surprised because FARMS folks are put off by it. My point is that he is very active in creating friction between the two camps the same as Hamblin and Peterson. Both sides are guilty of that, and Blair's recent antics have proven just how far they're willing to go with it. He acted no differently than Midgley did when he harassed the Tanners back in the 90's. Hell, I don't even think Midgley called them cowards.

In my view, if you have a problem with someone then take it up with them in private, don't make a scene in public like that and then threaten a lawsuit when that person posts about it online. Blair wanted attention obviously, so now he should own it.

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Re: FAIR Conference Highlights: DCP & Hamblin Slam B. Hodges

Post by Spanner »

Just when I thought things had been getting quite quiet lately!

I can't wait to see what the underlying motives for the confrontation and blog post turn out to be after Bob Bobberson incorporates this into one of his excellent chapters.

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Re: FAIR Conference Highlights: DCP & Hamblin Slam B. Hodges

Post by Kishkumen »

Kevin Graham wrote:Team Kofford includes people who have obviously had personal issues with the old guard at FARMS. We can't just ignore that fact when talking about grinding axes.


True enough. And, I don't think I said otherwise.

Kevin Graham wrote:I love David Bokovoy to death, but I'd be lying if I said he was able to completely put aside his issues with these folks when writing his stuff. You don't think he felt the least bit spurned when he didn't get hired on at BYU? It seems like he's been a man on a mission ever since that happened. He's making himself a public figure, publishing more and contacting newspapers for interviews, almost always speaking on issues that these folks would disagree with.


Yes, he probably hasn't. That said, Bill Hamblin was the person who misrepresented the Kofford Books panel on the relevance on scripture. That was the most recent source of disagreement between David and Bill. And, in my view Bill is clearly at fault. Anyone can watch the youtube video of the panel and see that Bill's description of it is wildly inaccurate.

Kevin Graham wrote:His latest wave of apologetics/scholarship is designed to render so much of their stuff moot, and as Metcalfe recently said, these young scholars at Kofford have a legacy to create for themselves and apparently this is it; trying to get the Church and everyone in it to believe as they do. If you don't then you're just thinking in a binary world and failing to appreciate nuance.

So he is as agenda driven as any of these FARMS guys are.


Yes, and I don't really have a problem with that. I don't have a problem with the classic-FARMS agenda of arguing for a more fundamentalist understanding of scripture. It is when things get nasty that I have a problem. And, Bill Hamblin has gotten plenty nasty.

Kevin Graham wrote:And I can't speak for the Facebook tendencies on other Kofford profiles, but Bokovoy regularly posts things that would naturally rub these guys the wrong way. Like posting Ritner's refutation of Gee's and Muhlstein's scholarship, and then referring to their stuff as "apologetics" as if what he produces is strictly scholarship. I like what he says, but I'm not going to sit here and act surprised because FARMS folks are put off by it. My point is that he is very active in creating friction between the two camps the same as Hamblin and Peterson. Both sides are guilty of that, and Blair's recent antics have proven just how far they're willing to go with it. He acted no differently than Midgley did when he harassed the Tanners back in the 90's. Hell, I don't even think Midgley called them cowards.


Well, we don't know that Blair called them all cowards. According to Kramer, Blair called DCP a coward for not answering his query about the Kirk Caudle post forthrightly.

As for Bokovoy's post on Muhlstein, I applaud it. I think it's great.

Kevin Graham wrote:In my view, if you have a problem with someone then take it up with them in private, don't make a scene in public like that and then threaten a lawsuit when that person posts about it online. Blair wanted attention obviously, so now he should own it.


Agreed, to a point. I am not sure that DCP and Hamblin's reports of Blair making a scene are accurate. Frankly, I don't trust either one of them. If they say someone else made a scene, my first impulse would be to question their accuracy. I have so infrequently agreed with their assessment of anything.
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Re: FAIR Conference Highlights: DCP & Hamblin Slam B. Hodges

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Kevin Graham wrote: Both sides are guilty of that, and Blair's recent antics have proven just how far they're willing to go with it. He acted no differently than Midgley did when he harassed the Tanners back in the 90's. Hell, I don't even think Midgley called them cowards.

In my view, if you have a problem with someone then take it up with them in private, don't make a scene in public like that and then threaten a lawsuit when that person posts about it online. Blair wanted attention obviously, so now he should own it.


I think there are some significant differences between this latest conflict and Midgley's visit to the Tanners'. For one thing, Midgley didn't go alone: he brought Matt Roper and at least one other person along with him, and their actual intention was to harass and bother the Tanners. Here, it seemed more that Hodges was simply taking DCP to task for the blog posting; I doubt very much that he went in hoping to get Prof. P. to blow a valve. At minimum, it was just him--he didn't bring a "gang" of people along with him like Midgley did. Plus, the main person "publicizing" this, as far as I can tell, is Hamblin, who was (apparently) doing it at the behest of DCP. So, in essence, you get Dr. Peterson "apologizing" to Blair, only to then turn around and give the whole story to Hamblin, who then proceeds to post the whole story on his blog. My point, in any case, is that I think Hodges intended this to be between him and DCP only. Certainly, there wasn't a whole set-up, with photos taken and then posted to SHIELDS. And it just doesn't seem likely to me that the motives were anything close to being similar.

As for the accounts of the incident itself: it seems that the main disagreement has to do with when, exactly, Hodges called DCP a "coward." According to Hodges & his eye-witness, this came after Peterson told him to "Go to hell," though according to DCP, he only said this *after* Hodges called him a "coward." So DCP is intent on trying to paint a picture where he blows up and says "Go to hell!" only after being provoked.
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Re: FAIR Conference Highlights: DCP & Hamblin Slam B. Hodges

Post by Kishkumen »

Doctor Scratch wrote:I think there are some significant differences between this latest conflict and Midgley's visit to the Tanners'. For one thing, Midgley didn't go alone: he brought Matt Roper and at least one other person along with him, and their actual intention was to harass and bother the Tanners. Here, it seemed more that Hodges was simply taking DCP to task for the blog posting; I doubt very much that he went in hoping to get Prof. P. to blow a valve. At minimum, it was just him--he didn't bring a "gang" of people along with him like Midgley did. Plus, the main person "publicizing" this, as far as I can tell, is Hamblin, who was (apparently) doing it at the behest of DCP. So, in essence, you get Dr. Peterson "apologizing" to Blair, only to then turn around and give the whole story to Hamblin, who then proceeds to post the whole story on his blog. My point, in any case, is that I think Hodges intended this to be between him and DCP only. Certainly, there wasn't a whole set-up, with photos taken and then posted to SHIELDS. And it just doesn't seem likely to me that the motives were anything close to being similar.

As for the accounts of the incident itself: it seems that the main disagreement has to do with when, exactly, Hodges called DCP a "coward." According to Hodges & his eye-witness, this came after Peterson told him to "Go to hell," though according to DCP, he only said this *after* Hodges called him a "coward." So DCP is intent on trying to paint a picture where he blows up and says "Go to hell!" only after being provoked.


Exactly. Excellent points all, Doctor.
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Re: FAIR Conference Highlights: DCP & Hamblin Slam B. Hodges

Post by Sammy Jankins »

Note: the latest spin from Blair's supporters is that I am trying to get Blair fired because I expressed my views on the appropriateness of Blair's behavior. This is NONSENSE. At any rate, I have changed the offending phrase in green below. Also, Dan did not request, approve, or know anything about my post.
P.S. Many of Blair’s supporters believe that Blair’s behavior is an entirely appropriate way for a junior staff member to treat a full professor at BYU.


For context the original phrase was:

P.S. I know of some universities where a junior staff member would be reprimanded, and possibly even fired for treating a full professor like this.

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Re: FAIR Conference Highlights: DCP & Hamblin Slam B. Hodges

Post by Kishkumen »

LOL. Yes, I have received similar messages from classic-FARMS scholars. One emailed me to ask me to consider what it would feel like to have one of them contact my department chairman or dean about my activities on this board. Of course, he assured me, this was not a threat.

:lol:
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Re: FAIR Conference Highlights: DCP & Hamblin Slam B. Hodges

Post by DrW »

Kishkumen wrote:LOL. Yes, I have received similar messages from classic-FARMS scholars. One emailed me to ask me to consider what it would feel like to have one of them contact my department chairman or dean about my activities on this board. Of course, he assured me, this was not a threat.

:lol:

Kish,

As an indication of how the Mormon Church is viewed down here (Boca), I was just thinking that any outside contact with my company regarding my activities on MormonDiscussions.com would be just as likely to result in a board resolution for a small bonus as in any disciplinary action.
:wink:
David Hume: "---Mistakes in philosophy are merely ridiculous, those in religion are dangerous."

DrW: "Mistakes in science are learning opportunities and are eventually corrected."

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