Wednesday, July 14, 2010

On Glenn Beck

I watched Glenn Beck's show last night and saw something that I never thought I'd see. Someone on a mainstream secular news channel (the most watched cable news channel actually) talking about a perversion of Christian theology (liberation theology) and correcting it. I listened very closely when Beck, who consulted Richard Land and Anthony Bradley for the show, described what the gospel actually is. He was pretty spot on, saying, "salvation is an individual relationship between a person and God through Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. Jesus said, 'I am the way, and the truth and the light [sic].' I can't be saved for someone else and they can't be saved by me." He also mentioned at one point that our sins were placed on Jesus. This was a very evangelical sounding gospel message.

He was also spot on on how liberation theology twists the entire gospel message of personal forgiveness of sins by grace alone. Liberation theology teaches that the oppressed minority is saved, and for the rich to become saved they need to give to the oppressed minority.

Glenn also recognized that there are those who would question him because he's a Mormon. It is true that I scrutinized the episode for any hints of Mormon theology. Beck let none get in there.

Now let me say that I am a big Glenn Beck fan, and have listened to him for about 6 or 7 years now, and have known he is a Mormon for about 5, I think. I think Beck, especially in the last year and a half, has been an indispensable resource for the conservative movement in America. I think he's sincere and honest and has the personal qualities that so many in his position lack. I just like the guy. He's awesome.

However, I do believe that, theologically, he has a lot of problems. I'm honestly a little surprised that he's still a Mormon, because the man reads--a lot. I would have thought certainly, in his studies somewhere, he would have run across the issues Mormonism faces, at least archaeologically.

Let me just be clear here: I don't believe the Mormon church is a Christian denomination. I don't think salvation can be found in that world view. Mormons believe a number of false doctrines that do conflict with essential Christian beliefs.

To list a few:

  • God (aka heavenly father) is a created, material being who was once human, like us
  • God created the universe out of preexisting material, not ex nihilo as orthodox Christianity teaches
  • Heavenly father isn't the only God, there are many gods.
  • Heavenly father and heavenly mother procreated many spiritual children, including Jesus, Satan, and all of us (meaning we are all brothers of Jesus and Satan).
  • They deny the orthodox teaching of the Trinity (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct persons and the one true God) and teach that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three separate gods (Jesus and the Holy Spirit being offspring of heavenly father and heavenly mother.
  • Jesus was conceived by a literal sexual intercourse between heavenly father and the virgin Mary
  • To reach the highest realm of glory (the celestial kingdom) one must earn their way there by doing works, which flatly contradicts the Bible's teaching of a grace based salvation
  • Shortly after the apostles died, the entire church apostatized and was not restored until Joseph Smith in the 1830's (which goes against all historical records)
I do know that in recent years, Mormons have sought to dialog with evangelicals. I also know that many of their professors and theologians have questioned previous teachings by the church. I hope and pray that Mormons will come to a true understanding of Jesus Christ and will abandon their false teachings.

I don't know where Glenn Beck stands on these doctrinal issues, but since he is a Mormon, I assume he believes them all. These teachings are a corruption of what true Christianity has taught for 2000 years. Much historical revisionism was required to lead these people down this road. I'm going to continue to pray for Glenn Beck and all Mormons.

68 comments:

Marcus McElhaney said...

I'm actually shocked that there is something I agree with Glenn Beck about! The thing I like most about this post is the way you discussed Mormonism and said some nice things about Beck the man but without condoning the errors Mormonism makes' Thanks for sharing, Brennon.

The Seeking Disciple said...

I like Glenn Beck. I disagree with his Mormonism but I appreciate much of what he says. Do I think he is a Christian? No. But neither does he consider me a Mormon.

Skeptical Rationalist said...

Add to the list:
--"as man is god once was; as god is man can become"
--A man can be spiritually sealed to multiple women for posthumous polygamy.
--Proxy stand-ins can be used for temple ceremonies such as baptisms and marriages.

Plus, you know, they put sugar on their breakfast cereal.

No more or less goofy than the notion of God sacrificing himself to himself to give him a loophole to get around his own rules. Nor more unjustified of a belief.

bossmanham said...

No more or less goofy than the notion of God sacrificing himself to himself to give him a loophole to get around his own rules

I love it when a skeptic confirms what the Bible says, "For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God" (1 Corinthians 1:18).

Nor more unjustified of a belief.

The Mormon belief is unjustified due to the scriptural and archaeological failings. The Christian belief faces no such shortcomings.

David said...

"The Mormon belief is unjustified due to the scriptural and archaeological failings. The Christian belief faces no such shortcomings."

Actually, Jews would say Christianity has scriptural failings and many archeologists (and those from other science fields) believe that there are archeological failings, too.

bossmanham said...

many archeologists (and those from other science fields) believe that there are archeological failings, too.

Hmm. False. But thanks for trying.

David said...

"Hmm. False. But thanks for trying."

Hmm, you need to expand your reading list. I can offer suggestions if you'd like. Now, the degree to which archeology contradicts the Bible does depend on whether one is young earth or old earth, but nevertheless, there are plenty of ANE archeologists whose research contradicts the OT narrative.

bossmanham said...

Hmm, you need to expand your reading list. I can offer suggestions if you'd like.

Ditto.

there are plenty of ANE archeologists whose research contradicts the OT narrative.

I await any example you may proffer. It's pretty well known that no archaeological research has ever controverted a Biblical claim.

And an absence of evidence is not an archaeological mark against the Bible because the Bible has been corroborated so often archaeologically, placing the burden of proof on the one who would claim it is deficient.

David said...

"It's pretty well known that no archaeological research has ever controverted a Biblical claim."

Ok, first, just to narrow things down a little, do you think that the Earth is 6000 years old and was once covered by a global flood?

bossmanham said...

Ok, first, just to narrow things down a little, do you think that the Earth is 6000 years old and was once covered by a global flood?

I'm undecided on that, though I lean toward an old earth creationism and localized flood. I also realize that scientific philosophies and epistemic methodological presuppositions influence how scientists interpret evidence. Our scientific establishments are chock full of a presupposition of methodological naturalism, which is based on nothing but personal bias.

Do you have anything beyond attacking young earth creationism?

David said...

"I lean toward an old earth creationism and localized flood."

Well, that does take care of most of contradictory evidence, because it's the Flood and Tower of Babel stuff that really shot down by archeology and other fields of science.

I would agree that the OT history gets more accurate as the period of time described approaches the time in which the books are written. Still, the work of archeologists such as Finkelstein suggests that the actual history of the region does not exactly match the OT narrative. It's not that it's wildly inaccurate, it's just that the findings don't exactly match up with the OT accounts. For example, some have concluded that the evidence best fits the hypothesis that the Isrealites and the Canaanite may have been essentially the same people.

It's not a question of finding a tablet that says "David was never a king", because the archeological record is usually going to be way too coarse-grained for such specifics. It's more the overall pattern created by the collective effort of many archeologists working over many decades. I understand that the absence of evidence does not always mean evidence of absence. Still, after you've looked and looked for something and it's till missing, one starts to wonder. For example, it's not impossible that all of the records of the Exodus could have been erased from Egyptian history. But still, you have to wonder how such a feat could have been achieved.

bossmanham said...

The flood and age of the earth are more geological issues than archaeological. But I digress.

I would agree that the OT history gets more accurate as the period of time described approaches the time in which the books are written.

Or we could interpret the evidence as: more artifacts survive the younger they are. Therefore we have more archaeological evidence for younger sites. Absence of evidence in this case is not a case against the Bible's accuracy.

Still, the work of archeologists such as Finkelstein suggests that the actual history of the region does not exactly match the OT narrative.

And then you have other archaeologists who, while complimentary of some of his work, also say he is "idiosyncratic and doctrinaire." Many conclusions are affected by one's methodology.

Consider this statement by Richard Hess of Denver Seminary, "[Finkelstein's] book must be used with caution because it pretends to describe what we now really know about archaeology and how it contradicts various biblical claims; however, it does so in a biased and non-objective manner. Contrary opinions in interpreting the new evidence are not discussed, much less given a fair hearing. The book is ideologically driven and should be treated that way by any one who reads it."

Don't act as if secular sources are completely objective. No one is.

For example, some have concluded that the evidence best fits the hypothesis that the Isrealites and the Canaanite may have been essentially the same people.

They may have been closely related. Why would that contradict anything in the Bible?

It's not a question of finding a tablet that says "David was never a king", because the archeological record is usually going to be way too coarse-grained for such specifics. It's more the overall pattern created by the collective effort of many archeologists working over many decades.

Seems to be a bit of a case of special pleading, since when the collaborative effort of many archaeologists over many decades say the Bible has never been controverted by archaeological findings.

Still, after you've looked and looked for something and it's till missing, one starts to wonder.

See, you're discounting all of the positive findings out there, which is telling. Again, the burden of proof is on the person who claims the Bible is not reliable.

For example, it's not impossible that all of the records of the Exodus could have been erased from Egyptian history

Sure it is. The Egyptians didn't record embarrassing incidents, which the Exodus certainly would have been. It may never have been recorded by the Egyptians.

David said...

"Don't act as if secular sources are completely objective. No one is."

That's right. Whether or not there is contradictory evidence is, in part, a matter of subjective opinion.

So those who say that there is no contradictory evidence are also offering a subjective opinion. And so their opinions could be wrong, and the those who say there is contradictory evidence could be right. So is it really accurate to say that there is no contradictory evidence? Perhaps it is more accurate to say that there is disagreement about this matter among archeologists.

"Absence of evidence in this case is not a case against the Bible's accuracy."

But what if a described event did not occur, say an event like the invasion of Canaan. Then the absence of burned villages IS the evidence.

"The Egyptians didn't record embarrassing incidents."

Are you sure? Are the no records of military defeats in the Egyptian historical record?

I understand that evidence can be interpreted in many ways, and I don't think that the later events described in the OT are described in a wildly inaccurate manner. But I think that's it's a little too much to say that there is no contradictory evidence whatsoever when it comes to the later events.

bossmanham said...

That's right. Whether or not there is contradictory evidence is, in part, a matter of subjective opinion.

Correct, however, as you even admitted earlier, it's not about finding one smoking gun piece of evidence most of the time in archaeology. It's about loads of evidence and how one interprets it. People have interpreted the exact same evidence differently than your source, and have been fine with the Biblical record. The burden of proof, again, rests on you.

So those who say that there is no contradictory evidence are also offering a subjective opinion. And so their opinions could be wrong, and the those who say there is contradictory evidence could be right. So is it really accurate to say that there is no contradictory evidence?

I said there's no evidence that controverts a Biblical claim.

But what if a described event did not occur, say an event like the invasion of Canaan. Then the absence of burned villages IS the evidence.

It may be, but, as I stated earlier, since the Bible has been corroborated so often with archaeological evidence, it is left to the skeptic to display any problem. I could simply say with confidence that they haven't found the evidence yet, but it's there. Or I could say that none survived. The general reliability of the Bible is enough to bypass the absence of evidence.

For instance, before the 1950's, they hadn't found the Dead Sea scrolls. So you had silly higher critics who said that the old testament obviously couldn't have been a reliable preservation. Then they found them and all the skeptics had to change their tune. That's been the consistent pattern.

Are you sure? Are the no records of military defeats in the Egyptian historical record?

I don't know. But that's citing an authoritative source, so...

But we've exhausted this subject. I'd like people to comment on the pertinent subject matter of the post.

Rhology said...

Hear hear. I love Glenn Beck. He's a lot more dark and dreary than when he used to make me laugh till I peed myself back in '02, but I consider him the best on the radio.

Rhology said...

because it's the Flood and Tower of Babel stuff that really shot down by archeology and other fields of science.

Argument from silence. The world is a big place, and the vague locational references in the OT are not specific enough to say "We dug all the way down to the Earth's mantle, and there's no tower". Sorry, this is a terrible argument.


some have concluded that the evidence best fits the hypothesis that the Isrealites and the Canaanite may have been essentially the same people.

Just like the "evidence" used to say that the Hittites didn't exist. And yet, it was later discovered they did. Try using a solid argument.



It's more the overall pattern created by the collective effort of many archeologists working over many decades

Who generally start with the presumption of naturalistic materialism. Why should we accept that?



But still, you have to wonder how such a feat could have been achieved.

Sand.

David said...

Ah, Rho. You're a global flood man, yes?

Rhology said...

Yeah, that's fair to say.

David said...

"Yeah, that's fair to say".

Well, I'd say unlike the cases that Bossmanham have been discussing, there's not a whole lot of doubt that the evidence contradicts the Bible IF the Bible says there was a global flood. One might be able to argue the evidence from, say, Jericho as either supporting or contradicting the Bible. And it's awfully hard to prove that something didn't happen using the absence of evidence for the event. But the evidence from geology with respect to the Flood? Now that's another story.

Rhology said...

It is however much more reasonable to take the word of an infallible eyewitness than to trust the ever-changing and shifting views of modern "science". You don't have a time machine. You can't observe what happened. In reality, you have precious little access to the past from that long ago; thus your position is based almost exclusively on blind faith.

David said...

Ah, yes. The infallible eyewitness argument.

Well, apparently, Bossmanham isn't buying your global flood either. And he believes in infallible eyewitnesses. So, perhaps he could explain why there was no global flood, because obviously, you're not going to listen to me.

Rhology said...

The "infallible eyewitness" argument is better than the "we have no idea, so we just assume whatever is in accord with our naturalistic materialist presuppositions" 'argument'.

But yes, bossmanham is welcome to comment on the above-linked post on global flood vs local flood.

David said...

The "infallible eyewitness" argument is better than the "we have no idea, so we just assume whatever is in accord with our naturalistic materialist presuppositions" 'argument'.

Strawman much?

Again, I doubt if you'd listen to me, so I wait to see what B wants to do.

Rhology said...

Oh, by all means correct my 'strawman'.

bossmanham said...

I said I was undecided on the global flood, but lean toward a local flood. There are several different views that different orthodox Christians take on that issue.

David said...

"I said I was undecided on the global flood, but lean toward a local flood."

Why? What is the evidence that leads you to lean toward a local flood?

David said...

"There are several different views that different orthodox Christians take on that issue."

Are you sure? I've run across many Christians who would strongly disagree with you on this point. Better be careful! You look like a heretic to me!

bossmanham said...

What is the evidence that leads you to lean toward a local flood?

Well one is the height of Mt. Everest. You can't breathe at that altitude very well, plus it's cold. But worldwide flood advocates proffer several possible explanations for that.

I've run across many Christians who would strongly disagree with you on this point.

Yeah, I know. It's a bit frustrating. "You're not saved if you question the worldwide flood!!!!!" I'd like to see the verse that says that.

David said...

"But worldwide flood advocates proffer several possible explanations for that."

Now these I'd like to hear.

Any thing else? There's sooo much evidence against the Flood to chose from.


"Yeah, I know. It's a bit frustrating. "You're not saved if you question the worldwide flood!!!!!" I'd like to see the verse that says that."

Now, I actually agree with you here. I have plenty of OECers in my family, and I'm frankly disgusted at the vigor with which YECers attack their co-religionists.

David said...

Rho,

Any possibility that you're wrong about the global flood? If you were wrong, it there any way we could tell using geology, biogeography, genetics, archeology, antropology, etc.?

Rhology said...

David,

Sure, the hypothetical possibility exists. But you'd have to show that the position is wrong on the grounds of exegeting the Bible, not on the grounds of the fields you're defining, for the testimony of God is far, far more powerful and has far, far more power to communicate content and substance than a few poorly-funded grad students and professors scratching around in sand tens and hundreds of millions of years after the fact.

David said...

"Sure, the hypothetical possibility exists. But you'd have to show that the position is wrong on the grounds of exegeting the Bible."

Ok, so what you're actually saying is that there ISN'T a hypothetical possibility that you could tell if you are wrong using geology, biogeography, genetics, archeology, antropology, etc. We can not use the research of geologists, paleontologists, biogeographers, geneticists, antropologists or archeologists (which adds up to a bit more than a few grad students playing in the sand). All we can do is ask the Bible if the Bible is wrong. Yes?

Rhology said...

Yes to the first.
No to the last - we wouldn't ask the Bible if the Bible is wrong. We'd check to see if we misunderstood the Bible, if we misinterpreted it, used bad exegesis, etc. Human sciences, especially not these forensic sciences with their necessarily-weak theories, can't overturn the testimony of an omniscient being Who never lies.

(Which we haven't, but that's what we'd do.)

David said...

But if you say that the answer is "yes to the first", then how do you know that you have the "testimony of an omniscient being Who never lies"?

Rhology said...

Sorry, I wasn't clear, I don't think.

so what you're actually saying is that there ISN'T a hypothetical possibility that you could tell if you are wrong using geology, biogeography, genetics, archeology, antropology, etc.

I was agreeing with this statement. We as created mortal beings do not put God in the dock. We do not verify His statements. He verifies and judges ours.

David said...

No, no, you were clear. I understood. You're saying that there is no way to use any science of any kind to test the accuracy and veracity of the Bible.

That being the case, again, how do you know that you have the "testimony of an omniscient being Who never lies"?

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rhology said...

Oh, OK. Cool.

B/c He said so.
B/c of the impossibility of the contrary.

Next question is how you know that
1) uniform processes were in place during history, and
2) anything you think you've discovered about the past will carry over into the future and has any bearing on how the world really is in terms of discovering universal principles from having observed individual events (and a very small % of them, at that) (ie, the problem of induction).

David said...

"B/c He said so."

Well, that does end the debate right there.

But how do you know "He said so"? If you're wrong about this, how could you tell?

"B/c of the impossibility of the contrary."

Sorry, I don't understand what you mean here.

"Next question is how you know that uniform processes were in place during history."

Well, first, I'm not sure that all, or even most, of the disproofs of the global flood are the product of assumptions of "uniformity". And second, if one wishes to dispense with "assumptions of uniformity", then any and all stories of any and all cultures can be considered to be true. No uniformity, no consistency in the way the natural world works, then there no way to test any culture's stories.

Rhology said...

Well, that does end the debate right there.

Yep, you're right. Like I said, mere mortals don't get to put God in the dock. There is no higher authority, no higher standard of truth. He IS the standard of truth and right. It's only by gross human rebellion that we'd think that it's OK to put up God to "verification" or something.


If you're wrong about this, how could you tell?

It is impossible that I'm wrong about this, fundamentally. If the God of the Bible does not exist, there is no logic, no rationality, no consistent epistemology.



Sorry, I don't understand what you mean here.

Let me commend this and this to your reading.


the disproofs of the global flood are the product of assumptions of "uniformity".

Come now, sure they are. You think you can discern what happenED in the past by what you find in the ground, and to infer that, you take what you (think you) know about today's processes.
And the problem of induction comment is a very powerful argument. Please address it.

David said...

"Yep, you're right. Like I said, mere mortals don't get to put God in the dock. There is no higher authority, no higher standard of truth. He IS the standard of truth and right. It's only by gross human rebellion that we'd think that it's OK to put up God to "verification" or something."

Well, you do know how to stop a conversation. I believe that God said it, that settles it. If I'm wrong, there is no way to know it or show it. Full stop.

Problem is, all of the words that you attribute to God come from human-written documents. They are at least as prone to error as any science, and since you can't test them, they are arguably even more prone to error than the conclusions of science. And your argument can be made by countless other adherents to countless other relgions. So, I guess that they're all true, too, or at least, it's impossible to know if anyone is right or wrong.

"Come now, sure they are. You think you can discern what happenED in the past by what you find in the ground, and to infer that, you take what you (think you) know about today's processes."

I doubt if Egyptian archeology relies on the kinds of procedures you are referring to here.

So, if one can not use uniformitarian assumptions, is Bossmanham wrong when he says that Mormonism is wrong due to its archeological failings?


Can we be 100%, absolutely certain about how the natural world worked in the past? No. But can we test our assumptions to see if there are reasons to be pretty certain about this assumption. Yes. If we're wrong, are there ways to determine if we're wrong? Yes.

For example, I can't be 100% certain about the rate of radioactive decay in 100,000 BC. However, if I look at the spectra of stars that are 100,000 light years away and if there decay rates revealed in the spectra are consiste with decay rates today, I'm going to start to feel pretty certain about decay rates. Conversely, if I figure out what radioactive decay rates would have to have been in 4000 BC in order to generate a "false" date of billions of years old for the oldest rocks on Earth today, I can see that the amount of radiation that would have been released in 4000 BC would have probably killed all life on Earth. In other words, while scientists in many field make assumptions, there will almost always be a way to show that the assumptions are wrong...unlike your claims about the "testimony of an omniscient being Who never lies"?

And doesn't it bother you that God would create a world that looks so incredibly old and that looks so much like a world in which there was no global flood? If you going to tell the humans all of these tales of a young earth and global flood, don't you think that it would be good idea if you created the world in such a way that the evidence matched the tale?

The articles you linked to may provide a (disputed) argument for deism, but that's about it.

Rhology said...

I believe that God said it, that settles it. If I'm wrong, there is no way to know it or show it. Full stop.

Correct. The next words issuing from your and anyone else's mouth should be: Lord Jesus Christ, I am a sinner, and I repent. Please forgive me.
I pray this daily, and I pray that you'd say it too.



all of the words that you attribute to God come from human-written documents.

I've never argued otherwise.
They're not MERELY human-written, though. The Bible was written by God and man, both.



They are at least as prone to error as any science,

Prove it.



they are arguably even more prone to error than the conclusions of science

I'd surely argue that. What is your argument for that?
Would you take this bet?



And your argument can be made by countless other adherents to countless other relgions.

No, it can't. Only on the surface level could anyone say that. My worldview is entirely consistent internally, and no other worldview, religious or otherwise, is, so no, it can't make the same argument.



I doubt if Egyptian archeology relies on the kinds of procedures you are referring to here.

Please educate me, then.



is Bossmanham wrong when he says that Mormonism is wrong due to its archeological failings?

I would not say this is the best argument against Mormonism, no.



Can we be 100%, absolutely certain about how the natural world worked in the past? No.

Good, we're making progress.
Now, can we be 1% certain about how the natural world worked in the past? No.



But can we test our assumptions to see if there are reasons to be pretty certain about this assumption. Yes. If we're wrong, are there ways to determine if we're wrong? Yes.

Piling up fallacious reasonings is not a good way to overcome fallacious reasoning. It's the "leaky bucket" argument.
how can you test these assumptions? A time machine?



However, if I look at the spectra of stars that are 100,000 light years away and if there decay rates revealed in the spectra are consiste with decay rates today

You ASSUME they're 100K years old. Next?



I can see that the amount of radiation that would have been released in 4000 BC would have probably killed all life on Earth.

You ASSUME you know how much decay was present to begin with. Next?



doesn't it bother you that God would create a world that looks so incredibly old and that looks so much like a world in which there was no global flood?

No. God told us exactly how it went down.
If you then use limited instrumentation, limited knowledge, limited wisdom, and limited methodology (not to mention disregarding your total lack of ability to observe what happened) to construct an alternative hypothesis, that you would find exactly what you were looking for (ie, anything other than evidence for a divine creation) wouldn't be surprising.



such a way that the evidence matched the tale?

And doesn't it bother you that you can't provide evidence that evidence is a good way to discover truth, but that you have to take it entirely on blind faith?

David said...

>All of the words that you attribute to God come from human-written documents.

"I've never argued otherwise.
They're not MERELY human-written, though. The Bible was written by God and man, both"

As you would say, prove it. If you’re wrong, how could you tell that you were wrong?


>They are at least as prone to error as any science,

“Prove it.”

The errors are there, but you refuse to allow the use of the tools that show that the errors are there.


>They are arguably even more prone to error than the conclusions of science

“I'd surely argue that. What is your argument for that?”

I gave you the argument. You missed it. Has to do with testability.


>And your argument can be made by countless other adherents to countless other relgions.

“No, it can't. Only on the surface level could anyone say that. My worldview is entirely consistent internally, and no other worldview, religious or otherwise, is, so no, it can't make the same argument.”

You claim that other religions are not “internally consistent”, but I’ll bet we could find plenty of apologists for these other religions that would claim that their religious beliefs ARE internally consistent. There are also plenty who argue that Christianity is NOT internally consistent. Finally, there are many works of fantasy that are internally consistent, so why “internal consistency” the gold standard is beyond me. If the Star Wars Sagas are internally consistent, should we worship the Force?


>I doubt if Egyptian archeology relies on the kinds of procedures you are referring to here.

"Please educate me, then.”

I’m pretty certain that Egyptologists rely on the written records like king lists from Egypt and surrounding areas as well as the chronologies of other cultures, estimates of construction time for various monuments, tree ring data, and yes, radio-carbon dating which can be checked by tree ring data (among other things). There is very, very good evidence for a continuous occupation of the Nile Valley going back way, way beyond the traditional flood date of about 2300 to 2400 BC. Same is true for Chinese civilizations. So, in addition to fighting the geologist, biologist and astronomers, you’re going to have to fight the archeologists as well.


>is Bossmanham wrong when he says that Mormonism is wrong due to its archeological failings?

“I would not say this is the best argument against Mormonism, no. “

Hey B, what you got to say about this?


“Now, can we be 1% certain about how the natural world worked in the past? No.”

As you like to say…prove it.

Can we be even 0.00001% certain that the Creator of the Universe stopped by the Earth about 3500 years ago to tell a single ANE nomad how the Creator made the Earth? No. See? I can play this game, too.

David said...

“How can you test these assumptions? A time machine?”

You test the assumptions by making predictions. Predictions are made in such a way that if the world works in a manner different from the way you assumed, then observations will contradict the predictions. It ain’t perfect, but it’s how science is done, and it’s worked pretty well for us.

How can you test your assumption that God talked to Moses?


“You ASSUME they're 100K years old. Next?”

Oh, so you’re one of those guys who thinks that God magically placed a beam of light all the way from the stars to the Earth when He created the Earth. Or are you a fan of the variable speed of light theory? As you would say, prove it.

“You ASSUME you know how much decay was present to begin with. Next?”

Read a geology textbook. It’ll explain how one can estimate the amount of radioactive material was present in a sample at the start of a measured time period.


>Doesn't it bother you that God would create a world that looks so incredibly old and that looks so much like a world in which there was no global flood?

“No. God told us exactly how it went down.”

Umm, this still doesn’t explain why He made the Earth look old. It just makes God look malicious or inconsistent when you compare the words to the collected data from numerous fields of study.


“If you then use limited instrumentation, limited knowledge, limited wisdom, and limited methodology (not to mention disregarding your total lack of ability to observe what happened) to construct an alternative hypothesis, that you would find exactly what you were looking for (ie, anything other than evidence for a divine creation) wouldn't be surprising.”

This argument would be more convincing were it not for the fact that there is so much evidence for an old earth, the YECers had to invent the “apparent age” hypothesis. If the Earth didn’t look old, then there would be no need for this patch job. The “apparent age” is proof that the YECers know that the evidence is overwhelmingly against them.

You also miss the point of hypothesis testing. Hypotheses are constructed in such a way that if they are false, there should be plenty of evidence to show that they are false. It doesn’t matter what we expect. If the hypothesis is wrong, then observations made will contradict the predictions of the hypothesis. Unlike your version of events, the scientific versions are vulnerable to disproof, and if the world works in a way other than the way we think it works, the data will show it.


>I believe that God said it, that settles it. If I'm wrong, there is no way to know it or show it. Full stop.

“Correct.”

Well, that’s it then. As you would say…blind faith.

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rhology said...

David,

Answered you here. Though feel free to respond wherever you like, even copying and pasting into both places if you want.

David said...

Rho,

You have an annoying habit of wanting to take arguments back to your own site. Don't know why you want to do this when you could just provide a link from your own site to this site, but I'm not interested in playing this game. I posted one comment in Rhoistan, and that wraps it up for me.

So, B? What do you think of Rho's views that archeological research is a bad way to test Mormonism?

Rhology said...

David,

I'm sorry my blogging habits bug you. But I did say you could post any response wherever you preferred, didn't I? Don't be so touchy, please.


What do you think of Rho's views that archeological research is a bad way to test Mormonism?

Is that what I said? Or did you just now reword it to disingenuously try to fool bossmanham and create dissension between us (not that I expect him to fall for it, since he's quite sharp)? Would you expect anyone's respect for you not to drop a few notches because of this unfair statement of yours?

David said...

"Would you expect anyone's respect for you not to drop a few notches because of this unfair statement of yours?"

Perhaps I misinterpreted what you were saying. My apologies. I'd be happy to re-state my question to B if you would clarify your position.

David said...

"I did say you could post any response wherever you preferred, didn't I?"

Yes, you did. But the argument, in all its glory, is going on here. This is where all of the comments are located. Your site only contains an small excerpt of the comments. So why not just stick to this location from start to finish? Seems much simpler and cleaner to me.

Beside, as I said, what's the point of arguing? You have absolute truth and that's that. There is no way to test your truth. There is no argument of any kind that you would ever accept as disproving your truth. Even your "internal consistency" claim can not be tested, because you can just make up the answers you need as you go along. It's not that hard to make things internally consistent when one is writing fiction. These answers do not convince anyone who is not already convinced, but they make you happy, so ok. Seems pointless to argue about it.

Rhology said...

So why not just stick to this location from start to finish?

Fine with me. Anyone can see my own comments with one simple click.


You have absolute truth and that's that. There is no way to test your truth.

1) As if your own blind faith assumptions can be tested.
2) And if mine are true, we can know stuff. If yours are true, we can't.



Even your "internal consistency" claim can not be tested, because you can just make up the answers you need as you go along.

1) The Bible is a static text. You're engaging in some reckless hyperbole.
2) Science has a much more impressive track record when it comes to making up answers you need as you go along.



Perhaps I misinterpreted what you were saying.

"Not the best" is not equivalent to "bad".
It's not a bad argument against LDS, b/c the Book of Mormon tells us that all these massive conflicts involving millions of people and pieces of equipment took place in a relatively small area, things that were totally out of place in the time period such as horses and steel, and these areas aren't desert. Even then it's not a slam-dunk b/c of the problem of induction and the fact that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. I'm saying there are better arguments against LDS than that one.

David said...

"And if mine are true, we can know stuff. If yours are true, we can't."

Huh?


"The Bible is a static text. You're engaging in some reckless hyperbole."

Not really. This static text has been interpreted as needed. And I've watch the way folks respond to tests of internal consistency. You just assign to God whatever characteristic is needed make it all work out. It's not hard to do, but it's not very convincing.

"The Book of Mormon tells us that all these massive conflicts involving millions of people and pieces of equipment took place in a relatively small area, things that were totally out of place in the time period such as horses and steel, and these areas aren't desert."

Yeah, so what? How would any of this even begin to constitute disproof of Mormonism? This isn't just "not the best argument". This is actually a really bad argument against Mormonism.

bossmanham said...

is Bossmanham wrong when he says that Mormonism is wrong due to its archeological failings?

I would not say this is the best argument against Mormonism, no.


Just to note, I never wanted to imply that this was the strongest or only argument against Mormonism.

However, it is an argument. There has been no archaeological confirmation of the BOM. The hill Cumorah not having any evidence whatsoever of the battle described in it is good evidence against the BOM.

The Bible doesn't face this problem as many of its historical claims have been confirmed. None of the BOM's have.

David said...

"The hill Cumorah not having any evidence whatsoever of the battle described in it is good evidence against the BOM."

Clearly, you are denying the possibility that God supernaturally cleaned up after the battle. You are also assuming that past rates of erosion are similar to these rates today. Don't you realize that the evidence of the battle has long since washed away? You are making naturalistic and uniformitarian assumptions.

"None of the BOM's have."

Doesn't the BOM say that there were extensive civilizations in North America before the arrival of Columbus, et al.? That's one claim confirmed.
Besides, you already told me that I can't use the absence of evidence as evidence of absence.

bossmanham said...

Clearly, you are denying the possibility that God supernaturally cleaned up after the battle.

Does the BOM say that's what he did?

You are also assuming that past rates of erosion are similar to these rates today.

Yeah...I have no reason not to. Plus, we have other sites as old and older than the BOM purports to be that still have their artifacts. So....this line of reasoning doesn't work.

Doesn't the BOM say that there were extensive civilizations in North America before the arrival of Columbus, et al.?

Yes, ones that rivaled the Roman empire. But they were two specific ones called the Nephites and the Lamenites. They were also supposedly Christian civilizations. We have no evidence of Christianity until Columbus' time here.

Furthermore, the huge pre-Columbian civilizations in America were in mezoamerica, not New York, where Moroni distributed the golden plates, which we've also never seen. No one but Smith actually SAW them in the flesh (err gold). Others claimed to see them spiritually or covered by a blanket.

That's one claim confirmed.

We've found the Nephites and the Lamenites?

David said...

“Does the BOM say that's what he did?”

Does the Bible say that God miraculously removed all the heat generated by the flying continents of the global flood era? Does the Bible say how any number of other impossible things happened during the global flood? The Bible doesn’t say specifically what happened with respect to these impossibilities, but all of these supernatural interventions must have happened, because the Bible can’t be wrong about a global flood.

So, just because a document of absolute truth fails to give the details, we can’t assume that these things didn’t happen. That would be using naturalistic assumptions.


>You are also assuming that past rates of erosion are similar to these rates today.

“Yeah...I have no reason not to.”

You can’t do this. That uniformitarianism.

“Plus, we have other sites as old and older than the BOM purports to be that still have their artifacts. So....this line of reasoning doesn't work.”

And how do you know how old these other sites are without using naturalistic and uniformitarian assumptions?


“We've found the Nephites and the Lamenites?”

Absence of evidence, etc. Or God removed the evidence. Take your pick.

Look, obviously, I think that the BOM is utter rubbish. But how can you prove this scientifically and archeologically if you can’t make just a few reasonable assumptions? If you start with the conclusion that something is absolutely true, no question about it, and if you throw out scientific methods of testing, then you can claim practically anything.

David said...

Oh, and in case it's not clear, I really do agree with you completely about the archeological evidence against the BOM. The genetic evidence is also conclusive.

Rhology said...

What I'd really like to see is David start applying his newfound argumentative strategy to his own position rather than pulling down the Book of Mormon. I think he might be a little concerned that his own faith would come to bright light, that he might not have an answer.

Repent and believe, David. Don't say I didn't warn you.

David said...

"Repent and believe, David. Don't say I didn't warn you."

Ah, yes, it always comes down to this. Fear and threats. Intellectual terrorism. Eternal damnation for thought crimes. Sigh.

Rhology said...

I already asked you to give me some objective way by which you can identify the objective morality of...well, anything, really. None has been forthcoming. This is your 2nd opportunity.

David said...

I already asked you to give me some objective way by which you can identify the objective morality of...

Huh? I thought we were talking about archeology.

Rhology said...

If you recall, you're the one who introduced the concept. You're welcome to withdraw it as well as this last comment of yours.
DAVID: It just makes God look malicious

ME: Do you have some objective moral foundation that could serve to judge objectively whether being "malicious" is right or wrong?


(Source)

Be honest - did you even read the blogpost?

David said...

Oh, I see, it's the malicious comment you don't like. Well, let's just say that this is just my subjective opinion. I'm allowed to have subjective opinions, yes? It's your subjective opinion that God has divine (and mostly hidden) reasons for making the Earth look old, and it's my subjective opinion that it makes God look malicious.

Rhology said...

I'm allowed to have subjective opinions, yes?

Sure. It's when you start communicating them to others and expecting that they mean sthg to anyone else that you become inconsistent.
So it's just your opinion that God is malicious. Big deal. It's my opinion that raw broccoli is not all that tasty, and that drinking the blood of babies born to atheists and Democrats on Wednesday nights is the highlight of my week. (OK, I made the latter one up.)
In other words, and this is the answer to everything if atheism is true - so what?

David said...

"Sure. It's when you start communicating them to others and expecting that they mean sthg to anyone else that you become inconsistent."

Well, I certainly don't expect that things I'm communicating to mean anything to you. That's pretty clear by now. Might mean something to someone else. Who knows?

"So it's just your opinion that God is malicious. Big deal."

Didn't say it was a "big deal". Some would agree with me and some would not. So it goes. Reject it as you please.

Here's what I won't do if you disagree with me. I won't say...

Repent and believe, Rho. Don't say
I didn't warn you.

If you disagree with me, that's ok. No eternal damnation awaits you for disagreeing with me, even if it happens that you are wrong.

Rhology said...

Might mean something to someone else. Who knows?

If you are to be consistent, you should be saying "it is in fact meaningless to anyone else, b/c it is inapplicable outside of me."


I won't say... Repent and believe, Rho.

Yes, that's just the thing. Repent of what? Believe in what? Why? Why should anyone do anything, on atheism?

David said...

"It is in fact meaningless to anyone else, b/c it is inapplicable outside of me."

Well, not exactly. It could well be meaningful to many people besides myself. Could be meaningful if it happens to be an accurate description of something.

"Repent of what?"

Repent of being wrong, of course. That's basically what humans are asked to repent of in most repent-based religions.

"Why should anyone do anything, on atheism?"

Well, I'm not sure I'm an atheist, so I'm probably the wrong person to ask. Depends how you define the term, I suppose.

In any event, this doesn't seem to have much to do with using archeology or any other sciences to figure out if a given event occurred in the past or not.

zilch said...

That was very entertaining: thanks, guys. I would say the score was Real World 1, Bible 0, but that's just my subjective opinion.