October 17, 2018

    The capital of the ancient Egyptian Old Kingdom was in Memphis, to the south of the modern city of Cairo, which was only founded in AD 969.   Relatively little is left of Memphis today.  The Egyptians were acutely aware of the transience of mortal life, and they seem to have been much more concerned to build permanent buildings in the necropolis areas that pertained to the capital city — Giza and Saqqara.  Whereas Memphis was built on… Read more

October 17, 2018

    Here are some places where I’ll be speaking over the next month and a half or so:   Saturday, 20 October 2018; Calgary, Alberta, Canada: I’ll be one of the speakers at a YSA “Share Goodness” Conference in Calgary, Alberta, which will be held at 2021 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2T 0G2. My understanding is that I’m scheduled to speak from 2:00 PM until 3:30 PM.  My topic will be “Evidences of the Book of Mormon.”   Sunday, 21 October 2018;… Read more

October 17, 2018

    Growing up in San Gabriel, California, I saw Mount Wilson — a peak in the San Gabriel Mountains — on most days.  It was the dominant feature of the local horizon, as well as my reliable indicator of north.  Its most obvious and striking features were the television and radio antennas, but it was also easy (when we were in the right location and when the smog wasn’t too bad!) to see at least some of its astronomical… Read more

October 17, 2018

    I realize that my use of the term may jar some just a bit, but I’ve always thought of the Restored Gospel as a form of religious humanism.   Please don’t think of the common modern use of the word humanism as shorthand for the more precise term secular humanism.  That’s not what I have in mind at all.   What I do have in mind is probably something more like the exuberant, newly confident Renaissance humanism of… Read more

October 17, 2018

    The Qur’an, the holy book of Islam, lays out a very simple “natural theology,” according to which the physical universe itself, the natural world, is seen as a sign that can point people to God if they will only look.  Here are two representative passages:   “It is God who splits open the seed and the fruit stone:  He brings out the living from the dead and the dead from the living—that is God—so how can you turn… Read more

October 16, 2018

    And they’re the same guy.   (Whether he ever actually went to bars, I have no idea whatever.)   Theodosius Grygorovych Dobzhansky (1900–1975) was a prominent Ukrainian-American geneticist and evolutionary biologist — he came to the United States in 1927, at the age of 27 — who taught successively at Columbia University, the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and Rockefeller University, and then — after the death of his wife, Natasha, and his own retirement — went out to join his former… Read more

October 16, 2018

    Over the years, I’ve run into the comment — often, but not always, from embittered and hostile ex-Mormons — that Mormonism (a term that I’ll use in certain ways until I think of a better one) is a shallow faith, lacking any and all intellectual or cultural merit, satisfying only to unreflective middlebrow business types (if not, indeed, only to dimwits).   Some years ago, Thomas Cahill was attempting, in his best-selling book How the Irish Saved Civilization, to… Read more

October 16, 2018

      Preface:  Kufic Arabic script is style of writing the Arabic language.  It originated very early — presumably in the city of Kufa, in Iraq — but it’s still sometimes used today.  It features the same Arabic letters that are commonly used elsewhere, in other script styles, but, in Kufic, they’re elongated and angular.  (See above.)  This makes Kufic script especially well-suited for, among other things, architectural inscriptions in stone.   Now to my anecdote:   Long ago,… Read more

October 15, 2018

    We’re about to head out for lunch with our good friends Michael and Margie Draper, who are visiting from Indiana.   But, in the meanwhile, here are a couple of nice quotations that I’ve gathered for something that I hope eventually to publish:   The late anthropologist Loren Eiseley, in The Firmament of Time: A scientist writing around the turn of the century remarked that all of the past generations of men have lived and died in a… Read more

October 15, 2018

    I’m headed up to Alberta, Canada, this weekend, for a fireside in Calgary and then a couple of talks in Lethbridge.  So anybody who wants to flee the province before my arrival has until sometime on Friday to do so.  Here’s the schedule as I currently have it:   Saturday, 20 October 2018: I’ll be one of the speakers at a YSA “Share Goodness” Conference, which will be held at 2021 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2T 0G2. My… Read more

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