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 Post subject: John Gee's FAIR talk
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 12:26 pm 
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LOAP has posted notes on Gee's talk at his blog. Gee says,

Quote:
The Book of Abraham as coming from the "long roll" is witnessed by friends and foes to the Church. [...] The arguments have become so complex that critics argue the church's position: the Book of Breathings is not the Book of Abraham.


The notion that critics are making Gee's argument for him when we say that the Book of Breathings is not the Book of Abraham is downright absurd. Gee's position is that the Book of Breathings was not Joseph Smith's source for the Book of Abraham. The critics argue that it was Joseph Smith's source for the book, but that it is not in fact what Joseph Smith claimed it was. Gee's failure to understand this distinction suggests that it is not we critics who have become confused by the complexity of the arguments.

Seriously: "most critics are not trained or relatively bright?" Thay "don't sign their names to their posts?" Most major online critics of Gee's theories are educated and intelligent, and use their real names as their monikers. I can hardly say I'm surprised to see Gee saying such things about the critics, since attacking them and their intelligence and credentials has become almost habitual for him, but somehow I just can't keep myself from feeling scandalized every time he does it.

As for his arguments, Gee sounds to me to be in retreat. He downplays the importance of the Book of Abraham, insists that apologists have no obligation to deal with the mode of its translation (which he claims LDS simply don't care about), and admits that the evidence for the missing papyrus theory over against the catalyst theory "is not really strong." Even the questions from the presumably sympathetic audience seem to assume this is what Gee was doing.

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 Post subject: Re: John Gee's FAIR talk
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 1:11 pm 
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I strongly recommend checking out the full transcription when it is available.

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 Post subject: Re: John Gee's FAIR talk
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 2:19 pm 
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Chris, if you haven't passed Gee's test that was posted on MADB, you are not qualified to comment in any way about the Book of Abraham.

Please confirm that you have passed the test or delete your original post pronto.

:lol:


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 Post subject: Re: John Gee's FAIR talk
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 5:15 pm 
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I was rereading the test thread on MADB and it looks like Chris was the only one that even took it. I guess the question remains whether you passed it or not.


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 Post subject: Re: John Gee's FAIR talk
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 6:38 pm 
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dblagent007 wrote:
I was rereading the test thread on MADB and it looks like Chris was the only one that even took it. I guess the question remains whether you passed it or not.

I got several questions right, but probably not a passing score by Gee's standards. I should add that there were several "trick" questions where the "right" answer assumes that you agree with the apologists, and Gee did not give me credit for those questions.

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 Post subject: Re: John Gee's FAIR talk
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 7:44 pm 
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CaliforniaKid wrote:
dblagent007 wrote:
I was rereading the test thread on MADB and it looks like Chris was the only one that even took it. I guess the question remains whether you passed it or not.

I got several questions right, but probably not a passing score by Gee's standards. I should add that there were several "trick" questions where the "right" answer assumes that you agree with the apologists, and Gee did not give me credit for those questions.


He was only doing his part to make the internet FAIR.

KA

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 Post subject: Re: John Gee's FAIR talk
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 7:58 pm 
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LoP/Gee? wrote:
1. Its Coming Forth
Most apologetic action takes place here because most critics are not trained or relatively bright, so this is the only error they are really capable of dealing with though they ignore


This should read:

Most Mopologetic action takes place here because most scholars are not interested in the pseudoscientific, magical thinking of the Mopologists, so the only audience the Mopologists have outside other Mopologists exists online.

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 Post subject: Re: John Gee's FAIR talk
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 11:18 pm 
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CaliforniaKid wrote:
LOAP has posted notes on Gee's talk at his blog. Gee says,

Quote:
The Book of Abraham as coming from the "long roll" is witnessed by friends and foes to the Church. [...] The arguments have become so complex that critics argue the church's position: the Book of Breathings is not the Book of Abraham.


The notion that critics are making Gee's argument for him when we say that the Book of Breathings is not the Book of Abraham is downright absurd. Gee's position is that the Book of Breathings was not Joseph Smith's source for the Book of Abraham. The critics argue that it was Joseph Smith's source for the book, but that it is not in fact what Joseph Smith claimed it was. Gee's failure to understand this distinction suggests that it is not we critics who have become confused by the complexity of the arguments.

Seriously: "most critics are not trained or relatively bright?" Thay "don't sign their names to their posts?" Most major online critics of Gee's theories are educated and intelligent, and use their real names as their monikers. I can hardly say I'm surprised to see Gee saying such things about the critics, since attacking them and their intelligence and credentials has become almost habitual for him, but somehow I just can't keep myself from feeling scandalized every time he does it.

As for his arguments, Gee sounds to me to be in retreat. He downplays the importance of the Book of Abraham, insists that apologists have no obligation to deal with the mode of its translation (which he claims LDS simply don't care about), and admits that the evidence for the missing papyrus theory over against the catalyst theory "is not really strong." Even the questions from the presumably sympathetic audience seem to assume this is what Gee was doing.

Most critics that I’ve encountered assume that merely by proving that the Book of Breathings portions of the scrolls are not the Book of Abraham that they’ve somehow settled the entire issue. Except that the issue truly is a good deal more complex and both Mormon apologists and official Church publications acknowledge that the BoB is not the Book of Abraham (e.g., Dr. Hugh W. Nibley stated as much before any critics did). Had you read Gee’s other works on the matter (e.g., A Guide to the Joseph Smith Papyri, etc.) then you’d realize that Gee does, in fact, understand the various arguments presented by different critics. The above little snippet that you provided hardly does justice to the corpus of work that Gee’s produced.

But hey, you "just can’t keep [yourself] from feeling scandalized" every time that Gee points that the majority of critics (or any?) who publish works on the matter are not diplomates in Egyptology or otherwise qualified authorities in the field, and so it’s no surprise that you resort to the 'I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I' line of argumentation and attempt to make Gee look uninformed. But your argument lacks substance and cogency; downright impotent.


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 Post subject: Re: John Gee's FAIR talk
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 11:58 pm 
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I don't see what Egyptology really even has to do with the arguments that the apologists are left with. There's only the weakest of links between Egyptology and the missing scroll theory, ie: speculations on how much longer the scroll might have been. That's about it. What has Egyptology got to contribute to "the scribes did it", or the catalyst theory, or the mnemonic device theory?

By pulling actual Egyptologists into the debate, are they going to rescue Joseph Smith's explanation of the facsimile and the characters on it, that we know to have been attached to the BoB, and not to translate out to what Joseph Smith said it did? Hardly. If anything, Egyptologists simply confirm that nothing that the church possesses today, including the original of that facsimile, has really much of any resemblance at all to what Smith said it was.

I guess I'm not seeing your point, Manfred. Sure, Gee has a doctorate in Egyptology. Fat lot of good it does him, however, when he's stuck trying to defend the Book of Abraham using arguments that really have little or nothing to do with Egyptology. Find me the colleagues or teachers of his in Egyptology that actually respect and agree with his Book of Abraham apologetics. Are there any other PhD Egyptologists in the world willing to say there's the remotest chance the contents of the KEP have anything to do with what the Book of Abraham contains?

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 Post subject: Re: John Gee's FAIR talk
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 3:10 am 
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Manfredjinsinjin wrote:
Had you read Gee’s other works on the matter (e.g., A Guide to the Joseph Smith Papyri, etc.) then you’d realize that Gee does, in fact, understand the various arguments presented by different critics.

I have read them, and I am actually quite aware that Gee understands the basic outlines of the critics' position. I was using irony to turn his own accusation against him, and my statement was not meant to be taken literally.

Actually, I think that if Gee understands our position and chooses to misrepresent it then that's actually more problematic than if he simply misunderstood it, don't you?

Quote:
But hey, you "just can’t keep [yourself] from feeling scandalized" every time that Gee points that the majority of critics (or any?) who publish works on the matter are not diplomates in Egyptology or otherwise qualified authorities in the field, and so it’s no surprise that you resort to the 'I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I' line of argumentation and attempt to make Gee look uninformed. But your argument lacks substance and cogency; downright impotent.

What he said, at least according to LOAP's notes, was that they are uneducated and not relatively bright. That's quite different from saying that they aren't trained in Egyptology.

Not that Egyptology makes much difference anyway when one is evaluating the eyewitness evidence about how much papyrus Joseph Smith originally had in his possession. I am a trained historian, which surely helps at least as much if not more in evaluating such questions.

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 Post subject: Re: John Gee's FAIR talk
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 3:22 pm 
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Book of Abraham critics are not "relatively bright"? Wow. The choice of argument by some apologists never ceases to amaze me. Taking the "the critics are just stupid" approach is not a relatively bright approach to apologetics in my relatively dim assessment of the matter.


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 Post subject: Re: John Gee's FAIR talk
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 3:24 pm 
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Manfredjinsinjin wrote:
Had you read Gee’s other works on the matter (e.g., A Guide to the Joseph Smith Papyri, etc.) ...blahblahblah...


Manfred, do you know who California Kid is? Gee does. And if you don't, perhaps it would behoove you to find out (hint: check out the link at the bottom of his posts), so you don't make a horse's patoot of yourself again.

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 Post subject: Re: John Gee's FAIR talk
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 3:26 pm 
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mms wrote:
Book of Abraham critics are not "relatively bright"? Wow. The choice of argument by some apologists never ceases to amaze me. Taking the "the critics are just stupid" approach is not a relatively bright approach to apologetics in my relatively dim assessment of the matter.


But.. but... but! Gee has a PhD! Surely that should count for something... it doesn't make his argument about the Book of Abraham any better, but it should count for something!

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 Post subject: Re: John Gee's FAIR talk
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 3:42 pm 
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If critics are dumb and uneducated, why is he forced to make these sort of statements:


Quote:
omething to keep in mind in Book of Abraham Apologetics: Church does not rise and fall on the varacity of the Book of Abraham.
Fundamental principles are of Christ. etc. All other things are appendeges. The Book of Abraham is an appendage.

Of the 102,037 scriptural citations in Conference since 1932, Book of Abraham cited 731 times, less than 1%. The D&C 38x as frequently. Etc.

For the critics, this may seem to be a vain superstition, but seem in not worthy of attack. What they attack is not important to LDS. This is not to say LDS can or should forgo the book, but to give an idea of relative importance. It is more important than some things, and less than others.


I simply do not believe any apologists would make these sort of statements unless he/she felt forced to by the validity of the points critics were making.

Apparently I’m not the only one who came to this conclusion, given that someone asked this:

Quote:
How can we defend Joseph Smith as a prophet or his abilities if we can;t defend Book of Abraham?

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 Post subject: Re: John Gee's FAIR talk
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 3:54 pm 
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Exactly. If Joseph Smith invented the Book of Abraham story and passed it off as revealed, inspired, translation from actual materials, then how do we know he didn't invent the Book of Mormon too?

This is why it's important. Not because of how many times it was cited in Conference. It's important because Joseph Smith's trustworthiness and credibility as a prophet is at stake.

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 Post subject: Re: John Gee's FAIR talk
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:31 pm 
I could laugh in John Gee's face, nose to nose, eyeball to eyeball. I don't know how he sleeps at night. Wow!

It's really incredible. Even the angels of God must be somewhat shocked.

Paul O


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 Post subject: Re: John Gee's FAIR talk
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:37 pm 
Quote:
But.. but... but! Gee has a PhD! Surely that should count for something... it doesn't make his argument about the Book of Abraham any better, but it should count for something!


Harmony,

He is a man and he is going to tell you what to do and what to believe, and you best do it!

Running for cover . . . .

:lol:

Paul O


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 Post subject: Re: John Gee's FAIR talk
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:40 pm 
Quote:
PhD


He is the PhD revelator and seer of the church. We don't need prophets to do their job. Just pass it on like they did to Nibley. That makes it simple.

:idea:

Paul O


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 Post subject: Re: John Gee's FAIR talk
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:58 pm 
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Do you still believe that President Monson is a true prophet of God, Paul?

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 Post subject: Re: John Gee's FAIR talk
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 6:07 pm 
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Paul Osborne wrote:
Quote:
But.. but... but! Gee has a PhD! Surely that should count for something... it doesn't make his argument about the Book of Abraham any better, but it should count for something!


Harmony,

He is a man and he is going to tell you what to do and what to believe, and you best do it!

Running for cover . . . .

:lol:

Paul O


That only works if he puts his feet under my table, his shoes under my bed, and his paycheck under my pillow. And then it only works half the time.

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 Post subject: Re: John Gee's FAIR talk
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 6:25 pm 
Dr. Shades wrote:
Do you still believe that President Monson is a true prophet of God, Paul?


Yes I do. But, I'm not happy that, he, along with the rest of them, has passed the ball off to school teachers to explain things that they can't properly explain. I would say that to his face. If I was the prophet, I wouldn't do that. Either I'd get the revelation to tell the saints or I'd tell saints I don't have the revelation. Then let the saints take what they will on faith. But oh my goodness, please don't elevate school teachers above the level of prophets! That is what has happened in the church. People listen to Nibley about the BofA and KEP and not prophets because they have duct tape on their mouths.

Paul O


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