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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 1:37 pm 
B.H. Roberts Chair of Mopologetic Studies
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Some hilariously silly new posts on Hamblin's blog, where he seems to be farming out responsibility over the debate to Steve Smoot:

Hamblin wrote:
My friend Stephen Smoot sent me the following, which I believe is germane to the discussion of Book of Mormon historicity.

==================

S. Smoot wrote:
A note on the limits of archaeology from a post-modernist Mormon apologist … no, wait, that’s a conservative Roman Catholic priest.

Archaeology does not, and cannot, claim to know all about the places it excavates, or the people who lived there. The nature of the finds–––scattered, broken, and accidentally preserved by the fortunes of time and weather, or the oversight of ancient and modern plunderers–––requires scholars to interpret them as pieces in a large jigsaw puzzle, of which most of the missing pieces are lost for good. Through careful detective work, by suggesting models and testing them against the evidence, much can be suggested about the shape of ancient life. Writings in particular allow us to look in on the thoughts of the peoples whose charred and buried cities have been found. But in no case do we have the full story. Evidence from one ancient site often seems to contradict information gleaned from another. The task of dating objects of stone or clay, even written tablets, is tricky and as much an art as a science.

Lawrence Boadt, Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction, rev. 2nd ed. (Mahwah, New Jersey: Paulist Press, 2012), 49.


But when Bill Hamblin says this about the nature of archaeology and history, he’s dismissed by Phillip Jenkins and other critics of the Book of Mormon as some clumsy idiot whose methodology is too ludicrous for words.


Boadt says "most of the pieces are lost for good," not *ALL* of them! None of the kinds of things that Boadt describes can be found for the Book of Mormon: *that* is Jenkins's most important point, and it's the one the Mopologists keep ignoring.

Elsewhere Hamblin is lazily reposting items that Jenkins already put up on The Anxious Bench, but this appears to be new. He makes mincemeat out of Hamblin's suggesting that NHM "precisely" matches bits from the Book of Mormon.

Meanwhile, one commenter on DCP's blog has said that Hamblin is deliberately censoring comments on "Enigmatic Mirror"--surprise, surprise.

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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 1:38 pm 
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Lemmie wrote:

ah, so... a non-event--because to decide that the fact that an apologist is getting the ass-whooping of his career is indeed an event is to step off the straight and narrow. If somehow Hamblin were to emerge victorious it would be an event and have a thread, yes?

So we can conclude that over there, the general consensus is that Hamblin has failed, otherwise, they would be talking about it.


I am not sure I see it that way for the denizens of MADB. I suspect that they would be roundly cheering every response by Hamblin & Co because they have and are buying that sort of arguments to sustain their beliefs. In all likelihood they would believe Hamblin is holding his own. I just disagree with Hagoth7 that it would be a non-event. I suspect that if the mods were to allow it to run its course it would be a lengthy thread, though now, after most of the exchanges are history maybe not.
Were someone to side with Jenkins, the thread would last as long as that person or persons continued to defend what Jenkins was saying.

There was a similar thread started by Canard78 over there, here that went for 26 pages. In the end many of the same points Hamblin was making were repeated by Robert Smith and Brant Gardner.

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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 1:50 pm 
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Fence Sitter wrote:
Lemmie wrote:

ah, so... a non-event--because to decide that the fact that an apologist is getting the ass-whooping of his career is indeed an event is to step off the straight and narrow. If somehow Hamblin were to emerge victorious it would be an event and have a thread, yes?

So we can conclude that over there, the general consensus is that Hamblin has failed, otherwise, they would be talking about it.


I am not sure I see it that way for the denizens of MADB. I suspect that they would be roundly cheering every response by Hamblin & Co because they have and are buying that sort of arguments to sustain their beliefs. In all likelihood they would believe Hamblin is holding his own. I just disagree with Hagoth7 that it would be a non-event. I suspect that if the mods were to allow it to run its course it would be a lengthy thread, though now, after most of the exchanges are history maybe not.
Were someone to side with Jenkins, the thread would last as long as that person or persons continued to defend what Jenkins was saying.

There was a similar thread started by Canard78 over there, here that went for 26 pages. In the end many of the same points Hamblin was making were repeated by Robert Smith and Brant Gardner.


There is some poster--named "Ike," I believe--along with a few others who keep turning up in the "Comments" at "Sic et Non" to repeat the same thing over and over again: "Jenkins won't read! He refuses to read even the Book of Mormon!" in spite of the fact that Jenkins has said, directly, that he's read the Book of Mormon, and that he's also familiar with works such as Sorenson's Mormon's Codex.

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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 1:57 pm 
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Hamblin wrote:
Archaeology does not, and cannot, claim to know all about the places it excavates, or the people who lived there. The nature of the finds–––scattered, broken, and accidentally preserved by the fortunes of time and weather, or the oversight of ancient and modern plunderers–––requires scholars to interpret them as pieces in a large jigsaw puzzle, of which most of the missing pieces are lost for good. Through careful detective work, by suggesting models and testing them against the evidence, much can be suggested about the shape of ancient life. Writings in particular allow us to look in on the thoughts of the peoples whose charred and buried cities have been found. But in no case do we have the full story. Evidence from one ancient site often seems to contradict information gleaned from another. The task of dating objects of stone or clay, even written tablets, is tricky and as much an art as a science.

Lawrence Boadt, Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction, rev. 2nd ed. (Mahwah, New Jersey: Paulist Press, 2012), 49.


Key bit: "Through careful detective work, by suggesting models and testing them against the evidence, much can be suggested about the shape of ancient life. Writings in particular allow us to look in on the thoughts of the peoples whose charred and buried cities have been found."

Hamblin has been telling us that, because history is not empirical, you can't test anything against the evidence. So, not only does Smoot's quote not support Hamblin's decidedly postmodern approach, but it argues against it.

I'd be embarrassed for these guys, but I don't think they have any idea just how badly outmatched they are.

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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 2:30 pm 
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Runtu wrote:
I'd be embarrassed for these guys, but I don't think they have any idea just how badly outmatched they are.

What's frustrating is that none of the Mormon commenters seem to have any idea, either. The debate goes in circles because nothing Jenkins says will penetrate the Mormons' mental wall of denial, and no non-Mormons, aside the people on this board, seem to be paying attention.


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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 2:44 pm 
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As I've been reading along I suppose the foremost thought in my mind is that as bad as apologetic arguments for the Book of Mormon are, it's not just Jenkins who is unfamiliar with Book of Mormon apologetics.

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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 2:49 pm 
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Jenkins is not versed in playing chess with pigeons.

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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 3:54 pm 
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Gadianton wrote:
It's hugely problematic to even talk about what would constitute evidence for the Book of Mormon. Let's back way up with a mundane example and leave the gold bibles and angels behind for a moment.

Nature in 2011 wrote:
An Italian experiment has unveiled evidence that fundamental particles known as neutrinos can travel faster than light.


This article appeared everywhere in September 2011 and so we have to ask, on the twenty-second of February, was there evidence that the speed of light had been broken? We didn't say proof -- just evidence. The finding came from CERN -- not a FARMS two-ring circus. It's really hard to say, isn't it? We don't want to just rule it out of hand as evidence because then we make the word "evidence" (in favor of x) meaningless. Are we only going to say something is evidence in retrospect? How honest is that? But don't we want to say: hey let's first double, triple, and quadruple check the results before considering it (mere) evidence (in favor of x)?
i realize you were using this as an illustration, but, as you may know, it has been shown that the experiment was flawed.
Quote:
The news shot around the world at, yes, the speed of light, with scientists talking about the possible death of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. CERN did insert a caveat: More tests were needed to confirm the finding.

And now we know the sad truth: Neutrinos don’t travel faster than 186,000-miles-per-second, or if they do, CERN can’t prove it. Indeed, physics was almost upended by a loose fiber optic cable used to connect a GPS receiver to a CERN computer, Reuters reports.

Turns out the problem was one familiar to everyone who works with communications or computing hardware: a loose cable.

In this case, one that connected a GPS to a computer to provide accurate time for the experiment. Once the bad cable was factored-out, neutrinos slowed down and Einstein was redeemed.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/reuvencohen/2012/06/08/cerns-mea-culpa-einstein-was-right-neutrinos-do-obey-the-speed-light/


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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 6:39 pm 
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Runtu wrote:
I'd be embarrassed for these guys, but I don't think they have any idea just how badly outmatched they are.


They keep trying but there is definitely a disconnect. For example, I can't even fathom how Hamblin came to this conclusion below:

"[Jenkins] insists that we provide “credible and plausible” evidence.  This is progress of a sort.  At least tacitly, he seems to have agreed that there is evidence for the Book of Mormon of a sort."

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/enigmaticm ... plausible/>

How does he come to the conclusion, even tacitly, that Jenkins' insistence on credibility can be interpreted that Jenkins agrees that there is evidence for the Book of Mormon???!!!

In my opinion, Hamblin has moved well past a sort of stubborn, tilting at windmills kind of thought process into a truly delusional place.


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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 7:36 pm 
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It seems that Matt Roper is now trying to help out. Roper excerpts a pair of quotes that deal with archaeological methodology:

Quote:
“It is a vulgar superstition, now, fortunately being dispelled, that archaeology is an empirical discipline . . . archaeological interpretations are a function not only of the evidence at hand, but also of the ideas and assumptions . . . that the interpreter carries about with him.”

R. B. Trigger, “The Strategy of Iroquoian Prehistory,” Ontario Archaeologist 14 (1970): 30, cited in William N. Irving, “Context and Chronology of Early Man in the Americas,” Annual Review of Anthropology 14 (1985): 529.

“Until recently, archaeologists have largely adhered to the belief that their profession is objective and free of value judgment. This idea is associated with the philosophy of positivism, according to which the physical phenomena of the universe are characterized by inherent immutable features; since the meaning of these qualities should be self-evident to the observer, it can be discovered by the scientist, regardless of his or her personal perspective or inclinations. However . . . it is generally accepted today that science depends for its ultimate authority on the attitude of the scientific community, rather than on a rule-governed method of inquiry.”

Talia Shay, “Israeli Archaeology–Ideology and Practice,” Antiquity 63 (1989): 768.


A couple of things are worth pointing out. First, the primary texts here are both from the 1980s--pretty much the very height of the "PoMo" fad that Jenkins mentioned elsewhere in his criticisms of Hamblin. If "methodology" is so important to the Mopologists' argument, then why is Roper citing things that are over 25 years old? The second--and deeper--problem is that both of the articles he's citing are so far beyond what has been established for the Book of Mormon, evidence-wise. Shay, Trigger, and Irving are able to have these methodological conversations in the first place because the subjects under discussion have been shown to actually exist. No one is saying, "Give me one shred of evidence showing that the Iroquois or ancient Israelis" existed. There are texts, bones, remains of villages, pottery shards, and so on--and those are the things that these scholars are having interpretive disagreements over. Roper, Hamblin and others are leaping to the discussion on methodology and the subjective interpretation of evidence without having establish that any real Book of Mormon evidence exists in the first place. You can't have a debate over whether the Nephite sword was used for combat or for agriculture (nor whether it was first "forged" in 325 BCE or 315 BCE) without coming up with a sample Nephite sword to begin with.

It is, as Jenkins said, a case of apples and oranges.

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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 8:19 pm 
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Jenkins has responded to Hamblin's suggestion that he accepts there is Book of Mormon evidence:

Jenkins quote: "I have in fact written asking [Hamblin] to post the following correction about that remark:
"This is absolutely wrong and incorrect. At no point have I ever suggested that there is any evidence whatever in support for the historicity or historical value of the Book of Mormon. I have never suggested or stated that tacitly, or openly, and it is wrong to suggest that I have. Nor do I understand how you could draw that bizarre conclusion from anything I have written."

To give him credit, he is good about posting my comments on his blog."

https://disqus.com/home/discussion/anxi ... in/newest/


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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2015 8:41 pm 
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Quote:
i realize you were using this as an illustration, but, as you may know, it has been shown that the experiment was flawed.


Yes, that's why I used it as an example. As I understand it, the team leaders all resigned their posts. With such a revolutionary finding, the probability of the experiment being flawed seems quite high. Even coming from a top-notch source, we might be skeptical of considering a find like this even as mere evidence (as in evidence in favor of) without substantial oversight. The claims of the apologists are far more wild than even FTL travel.

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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 2:13 am 
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Lemmie wrote:
...So we can conclude that over there, the general consensus is that Hamblin has failed, otherwise, they would be talking about it.

Not quite.

Instead, it's probably much more like this: over there, it would likely be difficult to find more than a handful of people who even know what dialogue you're even talking about.

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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 2:28 am 
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DrW wrote:
hagoth7 wrote:
Instead, the lack of a thread on MADB is more likely because those of us who have followed some of the Hamblin-Jenkins dialogue consider it a non-event.

Completely understandable. After all, when a well known Mormon apologist has each of his treasured Book of Mormon defenses systematically obliterated by a neutral third party academic, and still just keeps on digging (thus compounding the damage), how could any faithful Mormon consider it otherwise, if at all?

To be frank, I don't read much debate, and I actually lost considerable interest in the dialogue early on, when Jenkins dismissed the NHM evidence. From what I gathered from part of his argument, it would appear that when ZRHML and BNTFL are eventually discovered (and I believe they will be discovered one day), the academic response will be, "well how can we be sure that such spellings aren't just random coincidence, and how can we be sure there aren't dozens of other ZRHML's and BNTFL's scattered throughout the America's, etc."

Later on, I followed considerably more of the dialogue cited here in this forum, but it certainly didn't seem at all like the "obliteration" that some here make it out to be. To each his own I guess.

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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 3:46 am 
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hagoth7 wrote:
... From what I gathered from part of his argument, it would appear that when ZRHML and BNTFL are eventually discovered (and I believe they will be discovered one day), the academic response will be, "well how can we be sure that such spellings aren't just random coincidence, and how can we be sure there aren't dozens of other ZRHML's and BNTFL's scattered throughout the America's, etc."

...


You think that (on the assumption that the Book of Mormon is a historical text) the geographical entity therein called 'Bountiful' was actually called by that name by its inhabitants? Surely you are joking.

May I remark, too, that in a lifetime in which controversy has been a significant part of my intellectual stock-in-trade, I have never, ever, seen so many examples of the fallacy of possible/future proof than I have from Mormons on discussion boards. "What will they say when ..." may be comforting to believers, but it has about as much value in Mormon contexts as "What will you say when you actually meet Santa Claus" does in arguments about where Christmas presents come from.

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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 6:17 am 
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hagoth7 wrote:
To be frank, I don't read much debate, and I actually lost considerable interest in the dialogue early on, when Jenkins dismissed the NHM evidence. From what I gathered from part of his argument, it would appear that when ZRHML and BNTFL are eventually discovered (and I believe they will be discovered one day), the academic response will be, "well how can we be sure that such spellings aren't just random coincidence, and how can we be sure there aren't dozens of other ZRHML's and BNTFL's scattered throughout the America's, etc."

Later on, I followed considerably more of the dialogue cited here in this forum, but it certainly didn't seem at all like the "obliteration" that some here make it out to be. To each his own I guess.


Jenkins has returned repeatedly to the NHM evidence, but basically there are two main points:

1. Nahom shows up on numerous maps of Joseph Smith's day, so the simplest explanation is that he saw it on a map. He is not arguing that it's "random coincidence," but quite the contrary. He's gone further in his discussion of NHM, but it really is weak stuff.
2. From the beginning, he's been asking for New World evidence that meets specific criteria (the Daubert standard), so NHM does not meet the standard because it isn't New World evidence.

So, yeah, it is definitely an obliteration. And yet Hamblin keeps coming back for more.

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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 6:24 am 
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I agree with hagoth7 that the NHM is evidence the Book of Mormon has a basis in fact. I also agree with Runtu that by itself it isn't persuasive evidence that the Book of Mormon has a basis in fact because there are other explanations for it. Now, if hagoth7 produces the gold plates, then you'll be on to something meaningful.

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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 6:34 am 
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Tobin wrote:
I agree with hagoth7 that the NHM is evidence the Book of Mormon has a basis in fact. I also agree with Runtu that by itself it isn't persuasive evidence that the Book of Mormon has a basis in fact because there are other explanations for it. Now, if hagoth7 produces the gold plates, then you'll be on to something meaningful.


If by "basis in fact" you mean that the story takes place in a known location (at least until they build the boat), then I agree with you. That said, it's like saying that Great Expectations has a basis in fact because much of it takes place in London, which we know to exist.

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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 6:37 am 
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Runtu wrote:
Tobin wrote:
I agree with hagoth7 that the NHM is evidence the Book of Mormon has a basis in fact. I also agree with Runtu that by itself it isn't persuasive evidence that the Book of Mormon has a basis in fact because there are other explanations for it. Now, if hagoth7 produces the gold plates, then you'll be on to something meaningful.


If by "basis in fact" you mean that the story takes place in a known location (at least until they build the boat), then I agree with you. That said, it's like saying that Great Expectations has a basis in fact because much of it takes place in London, which we know to exist.

Sometimes you just have to sit back and wonder - right?

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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 7:01 am 
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My favorite quote from Hamblin:

Quote:
Evidence please. You are not privledged [sic] to assert and assert and assert and never be required to do actual research and provide any evidence. It’s time to put up or shut up.

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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 7:07 am 
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Proof that archeology can be inexact and loaded with non-empirical theory:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNcUqmRq9KY

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