The Muhlestein/Ritner affair

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The Muhlestein/Ritner affair

Post by Stem »

Doesn't look like this has been brought up. I'm curious if it's true.

https://www.fairmormon.org/blog/2020/09 ... -discourse

Kerry Muhlestein is now saying Ritner refuses to engage on the issues due to his health. Somehow now it's turned around from Muhlestein not being willing to engage to Ritner not being able to, due to health. A little a late to this, as I just caught it this FAIR reponse from Kerry this morning, brought up on MD&D.
I personally contacted Professor Ritner. I suggested that we work together on creating an academic volume on the subject. I suggested possible guidelines for doing so, possible academic venues, possible editors, and even a potential table of contents. I modeled it after volumes on contested issues that have been successfully done in academia elsewhere. The goal would be to have a balanced approach observing the highest academic rigor and tone, creating a dialogue with each other rather than having parties who speak past each other. If done correctly, I believe that such an approach can lead to real progress.
Dr. Ritner graciously declined, citing his current health circumstances.
Sounds like Ritner is willing to discuss the issues as they've all been laid out, but is unwilling to engage in a drawn out effort to publish something with Muhlestein due to health concerns. Have we heard what Ritner is thinking about Kerry's proposals?

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Re: The Muhlestein/Ritner affair

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What’s there to discuss? Muhlestein is a flat-earther wanting to discuss geodesy with a physicist.

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Re: The Muhlestein/Ritner affair

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Muhlestein wrote:I modeled it after volumes on contested issues that have been successfully done in academia elsewhere.
I doubt the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago would approve of this any more than the board of the Lawrence Livermore Laboratories would approve of their top physicist debating the aftereffects of Xenu dropping a massive amount of atomic bombs in the Earth's volcanoes, even if Sea Org guaranteed leatherbound volumes with hi-res pictures of volcanoes.
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Re: The Muhlestein/Ritner affair

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This is obviously a ploy to save face. Propose a lengthy and time consuming project to a sick man and then crow about how the sick man refuses to participate. Yet, Kerry Muhlestein won't discuss these issues with RFM or Dan Vogel or anyone else experienced in the nonsense bofa apologetics.

I guess live it up Muhlestein. You really convinced everyone that you have some secret, academic response to Joseph Smith's clear bofa invention. Too bad there isn't the perfect forum for you to show us your powers. We'll just have to be satisfied that you have the answers locked up in that briefcase of yours or on that secret hard drive.
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Re: The Muhlestein/Ritner affair

Post by Lemmie »

In another thread I focused on Muhlestein’s error of assuming his conclusions in analysis, but it would be interesting to see what exactly he proposed to Ritner. It sounds very much like Hamblin’s approach with Jenkins (wanting to set rules and conditions rather than discussing evidence), which went down in flames.

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Re: The Muhlestein/Ritner affair

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Why on earth would Ritner have ever wanted to publish anything with the Flat Earth Brigade? He has nothing to gain from it. He wrote what he wrote, and it will always be exponentially more valuable than anything Gee or Muhlestein will ever write about the Jospeh Smith Papyri. Ritner is at the top of his discipline. Gee and Muhlestein are barely on the map. No offense to them, as I too am barely on the map and Gee has published more in his field than I have in mine. But, I don’t pretend to be on par with people at the top of my field and pretend I have the wherewithal to extend such an arrogantly constructed and utterly silly invitation. On top of that, Muhlestein is extremely rude to refer to Ritner’s health in this way. From the outset M. shows zero class. The whole thing leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Mopologists have made all Mormons look really bad here.

My deepest gratitude go to Prof. Ritner, RFM, and John Dehlin for highly valuable podcast episodes that show how badly Mopologists have mishandled the defense of the Book of Abraham. Anyone who makes it through the whole thing will have no doubt that Joseph Smith did not know and could not translate Egyptian, that the Book of Abraham is not an ancient text, and that Mopologists have obfuscated, misled, and behaved unprofessionally in their dealings with Prof. Ritner.

My only reservation about any of this is that obviously no one will come away from the podcast with any better understanding of what Joseph Smith was doing in this translation. While I understand and respect where Prof. Ritner is coming from, some of his negativity can cloud that issue. It will probably take someone who deals with similar religious phenomena to make a positive case for what Jospeh Smith was doing. Ritner is great for telling us what Smith was not doing in regards to Egyptian.

Not to sound like a broken record, but by all means read Don Bradley’s book if you want to know what Smith was doing in the Book of Mormon. Read Bill Davis’ new book if you want to know more about how he may have done it. Such work is being done, and it won’t be long before someone does something similar with the Book of Abraham. The biggest condemnation of Mopologetics I can think of is that not one of their scholars ever shed such light on the Book of Mormon as Bradley and Davis. At least they like Don’s book. That’s something.
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Re: The Muhlestein/Ritner affair

Post by Aristotle Smith »

My impression is that he would be willing to engage the issues in a forum that would be more informal and not take lots of time. I mean for crying out loud, he spent 13 hours with consiglieri and John Dehlin. He does seem to take a genuine interest in setting the record straight vis-à-vis the Abraham Egyptian Papers. As long as it would take that amount of time or less, I'm guessing he would be willing to engage.

Insisting on a multi-year, refereed, formal book process is simply the Mopologists proposing something that they know will not be accepted so that they can take their victory lap on their tricycles and slap each other on the backsides.

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Re: The Muhlestein/Ritner affair

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Kishkumen wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 4:51 pm
Not to sound like a broken record, but by all means read Don Bradley’s book if you want to know what Smith was doing in the Book of Mormon. Read Bill Davis’ new book if you want to know more about how he may have done it. Such work is being done, and it won’t be long before someone does something similar with the Book of Abraham. The biggest condemnation of Mopologetics I can think of is that not one of their scholars ever shed such light on the Book of Mormon as Bradley and Davis. At least they like Don’s book. That’s something.
Why do you think that is so? I haven't read Don Bradley's book yet and so cannot see how you and the mopologists can agree on a book like Don's. What am I missing?
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Re: The Muhlestein/Ritner affair

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Aristotle Smith wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 5:55 pm
My impression is that he would be willing to engage the issues in a forum that would be more informal and not take lots of time. I mean for crying out loud, he spent 13 hours with consiglieri and John Dehlin. He does seem to take a genuine interest in setting the record straight vis-à-vis the Abraham Egyptian Papers. As long as it would take that amount of time or less, I'm guessing he would be willing to engage.

Insisting on a multi-year, refereed, formal book process is simply the Mopologists proposing something that they know will not be accepted so that they can take their victory lap on their tricycles and slap each other on the backsides.
Exactly right! That they think it needs years is ludicrous. They've HAD OVER A CENTURY. Ritner dismantled it all in 13 hours, let the mopologists start with that.
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Re: The Muhlestein/Ritner affair

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Kishkumen
At least they like Don’s book. That’s something.
OK, I;m NOT trying to be a wet blanket here, I promise, but my skepticism meter just went off. It is not his book they like nearly so much as he has written it as a returned prodigal son to the fold. Had he continued writing as an atheist, they would have Lou Midgleyed him into Outer Darkness, and we all know it. I suspect it is not the content so much as the fact that he now, once again, writes as one of the faithful, And absolutely nothing disparaging is meant against Don in any manner.
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Re: The Muhlestein/Ritner affair

Post by Lemmie »

Muhlestein

...because I am truly interested in academic dialogue about the Book of Abraham, before I posted any kind of response online, I personally contacted Professor Ritner. I suggested that we work together on creating an academic volume on the subject. I suggested possible guidelines for doing so, possible academic venues, possible editors, and even a potential table of contents. I modeled it after volumes on contested issues that have been successfully done in academia elsewhere.
I would be interested in some examples of the “volumes on contested issues...done in academia” that Muhlestein is referring to here.

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Re: The Muhlestein/Ritner affair

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OK, I;m NOT trying to be a wet blanket here, I promise, but my skepticism meter just went off. It is not his book they like nearly so much as he has written it as a returned prodigal son to the fold. Had he continued writing as an atheist, they would have Lou Midgleyed him into Outer Darkness, and we all know it. I suspect it is not the content so much as the fact that he now, once again, writes as one of the faithful, And absolutely nothing disparaging is meant against Don in any manner.
I would guess that they like Don’s book because it is genuinely illuminating regarding important aspects of the Book of Mormon without really challenging core LDS beliefs about its miraculous origins and antiquity. Don did not write the book to undermine LDS testimonies. If anything, he sought to enrich the understanding of both believers and non-believers through good scholarship.

I disagree that the value of his work is solely or even principally in his status as a re-baptized member. If the book was bad, it wouldn’t get much attention. As someone who has read it, I can tell you it is a great book. Anyone can learn a lot of new and fascinating things about the Book of Mormon by reading it.
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Re: The Muhlestein/Ritner affair

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Kishkumen wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 8:26 pm
OK, I;m NOT trying to be a wet blanket here, I promise, but my skepticism meter just went off. It is not his book they like nearly so much as he has written it as a returned prodigal son to the fold. Had he continued writing as an atheist, they would have Lou Midgleyed him into Outer Darkness, and we all know it. I suspect it is not the content so much as the fact that he now, once again, writes as one of the faithful, And absolutely nothing disparaging is meant against Don in any manner.
I would guess that they like Don’s book because it is genuinely illuminating regarding important aspects of the Book of Mormon without really challenging core LDS beliefs about its miraculous origins and antiquity. Don did not write the book to undermine LDS testimonies. If anything, he sought to enrich the understanding of both believers and non-believers through good scholarship.

I disagree that the value of his work is solely or even principally in his status as a re-baptized member. If the book was bad, it wouldn’t get much attention. As someone who has read it, I can tell you it is a great book. Anyone can learn a lot of new and fascinating things about the Book of Mormon by reading it.
What important aspects of The Book of Mormon does Don's book illuminate?

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Re: The Muhlestein/Ritner affair

Post by Stem »

Kishkumen wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 4:51 pm
Why on earth would Ritner have ever wanted to publish anything with the Flat Earth Brigade? He has nothing to gain from it. He wrote what he wrote, and it will always be exponentially more valuable than anything Gee or Muhlestein will ever write about the Jospeh Smith Papyri. Ritner is at the top of his discipline. Gee and Muhlestein are barely on the map. No offense to them, as I too am barely on the map and Gee has published more in his field than I have in mine. But, I don’t pretend to be on par with people at the top of my field and pretend I have the wherewithal to extend such an arrogantly constructed and utterly silly invitation. On top of that, Muhlestein is extremely rude to refer to Ritner’s health in this way. From the outset M. shows zero class. The whole thing leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Mopologists have made all Mormons look really bad here.

My deepest gratitude go to Prof. Ritner, RFM, and John Dehlin for highly valuable podcast episodes that show how badly Mopologists have mishandled the defense of the Book of Abraham. Anyone who makes it through the whole thing will have no doubt that Joseph Smith did not know and could not translate Egyptian, that the Book of Abraham is not an ancient text, and that Mopologists have obfuscated, misled, and behaved unprofessionally in their dealings with Prof. Ritner.

My only reservation about any of this is that obviously no one will come away from the podcast with any better understanding of what Joseph Smith was doing in this translation. While I understand and respect where Prof. Ritner is coming from, some of his negativity can cloud that issue. It will probably take someone who deals with similar religious phenomena to make a positive case for what Jospeh Smith was doing. Ritner is great for telling us what Smith was not doing in regards to Egyptian.

Not to sound like a broken record, but by all means read Don Bradley’s book if you want to know what Smith was doing in the Book of Mormon. Read Bill Davis’ new book if you want to know more about how he may have done it. Such work is being done, and it won’t be long before someone does something similar with the Book of Abraham. The biggest condemnation of Mopologetics I can think of is that not one of their scholars ever shed such light on the Book of Mormon as Bradley and Davis. At least they like Don’s book. That’s something.
I'd say this is close to what I was thinking about it. I was wondering if anyone had heard from Ritner about this invitation. If Muhlestein is unfairly using Ritner's health as the reason, then that just really does seem despicable. I could not figure out why he mentioned it. I'm feeling nosy because I'm just really curious what their conversation was like. I wouldn't doubt if Muhlestein sent him an email and got a response basically saying "I'd be willing to openly engage in a conversation on all the matters I've brought up. In my mind, its up to you to respond. I don't really have the time or interest to engage in a new book on the topic. I've done my research on that topic and haven't seen anything worth revisiting from what you've offered."

I suppose its likely we won't hear from Ritner on the conversation.

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Re: The Muhlestein/Ritner affair

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Lemmie wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 8:19 pm


I would be interested in some examples of the “volumes on contested issues...done in academia” that Muhlestein is referring to here.
Yes^^^

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Re: The Muhlestein/Ritner affair

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Kishkumen wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 4:51 pm
Read Bill Davis’ new book if you want to know more about how he may have done it.
Kiskumen,

I apologize if you mentioned this before, I may have missed, but can you provide a title or Amazon link to this book?

Thanks
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Re: The Muhlestein/Ritner affair

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KM does not accept that Ritner et al have nailed the Book of Abraham coffin shut. If he could get Ritner to go along with further "research", he will have effectively kicked the Book of Abraham can down the road for a few more years. Thus KM can say "well there is so much yet to look at, we just don't know the full story-the jury is still out". He could ride that to retirement as the research would go on and on and on!

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Re: The Muhlestein/Ritner affair

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kairos wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:02 am
KM does not accept that Ritner et al have nailed the Book of Abraham coffin shut. If he could get Ritner to go along with further "research", he will have effectively kicked the Book of Abraham can down the road for a few more years. Thus KM can say "well there is so much yet to look at, we just don't know the full story-the jury is still out". He could ride that to retirement as the research would go on and on and on!

k
Surely KM could find others to collaborate on such research - even people who have already done work on the apologetic side of Book of Abraham.

Just off the top of my head:
  • Shulem
  • Philo
  • Dartagnan
I've a feeling I'm missing a couple of others.
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Re: The Muhlestein/Ritner affair

Post by Kishkumen »

I have a question wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:26 am
What important aspects of The Book of Mormon does Don's book illuminate?
What was in the lost 116 pages. How that lost narrative illuminates the Book of Mormon we have. Specifically, how the Passover was highly symbolic and relevant to the departure of Lehi and family from Jerusalem. The numerological significance of the seven tribes of the Book of Mormon. Which tribes were related to Manasseh and which to Ephraim. I could go on, but suffice it to say that Don's book really opens up some mysterious stuff about the Book of Mormon.
Last edited by Kishkumen on Wed Sep 09, 2020 11:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Muhlestein/Ritner affair

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Fence Sitter wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:52 am
Kiskumen,

I apologize if you mentioned this before, I may have missed, but can you provide a title or Amazon link to this book?

Thanks
https://www.amazon.com/Visions-Seer-Sto ... 550&sr=1-1
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Re: The Muhlestein/Ritner affair

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malkie wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:56 am
kairos wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:02 am
KM does not accept that Ritner et al have nailed the Book of Abraham coffin shut. If he could get Ritner to go along with further "research", he will have effectively kicked the Book of Abraham can down the road for a few more years. Thus KM can say "well there is so much yet to look at, we just don't know the full story-the jury is still out". He could ride that to retirement as the research would go on and on and on!

k
Surely KM could find others to collaborate on such research - even people who have already done work on the apologetic side of Book of Abraham.

Just off the top of my head:
  • Shulem
  • Philo
  • Dartagnan
I've a feeling I'm missing a couple of others.
KM wants Ritner, and the side-by-side volume approach, simply to give gravitas to the matter, especially to give the aura of the mopologist's point of view having some type of academic legitimacy. It does not, and it would be foolhearty of Ritner to succumb to such a sucker-punch.

Let it be that type of dialogue that took place a few years back when Philip Jenkins mopped up the late Bill Hamblin over the NHM "bullseye" and other Book of Mormon absurd apologetics.
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