Extraterrestrial intelligence and the existence of God

      Since April 2001, Michael Shermer has written a regular monthly column in Scientific American titled “Skeptic: Viewing the World with a Rational Eye.”  The publisher of Skeptic magazine, Shermer earned a Ph.D. in the history of science from Claremont Graduate University in 1991.  Notwithstanding the title of his Scientific American column, he is an atheist.   In January 2002, Shermer’s column was called “Shermer’s Last Law.”   In it, he drew upon the famous Third Law  propounded by… Read more

“Muhammad’s Reception Among the Arabs,” Part Two

    Continuing with the narrative:   In 622, the Prophet and his followers emigrated from Mecca to Yathrib. This emigration, or hijra, as it is called in Arabic, now serves to mark the beginning of the Islamic calendar. Notice that the calendar does not start with the Prophet’s birth, nor with the beginning of the Qur’anic revelation, but with the emigration to Yathrib. Why? Because Muhammad went from being merely a prophet, a voice crying in the wilderness, to… Read more

More on “Joseph Smith: American Prophet”

    I posted an entry on Wednesday about the premiere of the excellent new film Joseph Smith: American Prophet:   Here are some links where you can see and learn more about it and follow news about it:   https://www.josephsmithamericanprophet.com/   https://www.facebook.com/Joseph-Smith-American-Prophet-127535557872204/   https://twitter.com/LGrobergFilms   Contact your local PBS station and express interest in having the film shown in your area.   ***   And now for a rather different treatment of Joseph Smith — not quite four minutes… Read more

“There truly is no such thing as ‘death'”

    My weekly column for the Deseret News appeared, as usual, in the Thursday print edition but, for some reason, wasn’t published online until this morning.  It’s now available for reading online, though, by those who’ve learned to endure my inevitable and often-noted viciousness, name-calling, and incandescent rage:   “The Council of Fifty and Mormon history”   I intend, as I say, to write a longer review for the Interpreter Foundation.   ***   Speaking of which:   Interpreter:… Read more

“Muhammad’s Reception among the Arabs,” Part One

    Another little installment from a different part of the manuscript:   Muhammad’s Reception among the Arabs In these early days of his prophetic ministry in Mecca, Muhammad reaped much ridicule but few converts. (Among those who did con­vert, however, were some of the greatest names in later Islamic his­tory, names such as Ali, Umar, Uthman, and Abu Bakr. We shall meet them all again.) His call to worship the one God, Allah, and to abandon the worship of… Read more

The Rise and Fall of Steady State Cosmology

    Another passage from Hans Küng, The Beginning of All Things: Science and Religion (Grand Rapids and Cambridge: Eerdmans Publishing, 2007), translated by John Bowden from Hans Küng, Der Anfang aller Dinge: Naturwissenschaft und Religion (Munich: Piper Verlag, 2005):   When around the middle of the twentieth century an attempt was made in apologetic Christian writings to identify the point in time of the Big Bang with a divine creation of the world, non-Christian Marxist scientists, according to the German astronomer Otto Heckman, “disturbed… Read more

Church Acquires Printer’s Manuscript of Book of Mormon

    This is a pretty big deal:   “Church Acquires Printer’s Manuscript of Book of Mormon:  Historic documents purchased from Community of Christ”   It also carried a pretty hefty price tag:  $35 million.   To put that in at least some perspective, though:  I noticed an online comment from an experienced dealer in historic Mormon documents indicating his belief that the market value of the Printer’s Manuscript should have been in the $50-100 million range.   Next, I would… Read more

The next installment

    For all the talk of a land “flowing with milk and honey,” Pales­tine is a relatively difficult place to eke out a living. Tahiti might have been nice, with fruit just waiting to be picked. Switzerland is far prettier. Even in the Near East, there are places where it would have been much easier to live a peaceful life. Take Egypt, for instance. With a regular and predictable river running gently through it, separated from would-be enemies by… Read more

“The Beginning of All Things”

    Some passages from Hans Küng, The Beginning of All Things: Science and Religion (Grand Rapids and Cambridge: Eerdmans Publishing, 2007), translated by John Bowden from Hans Küng, Der Anfang aller Dinge: Naturwissenschaft und Religion (Munich: Piper Verlag, 2005):   There are galaxies that lie beyond our horizon: “Such galaxies are not only in principle unobservable now — they will remain beyond our horizon for ever,” remarks Sir Martin Rees, British Astronomer Royal. (page 43, quoting M. Rees, “Andere… Read more

The Latter-day Saint Travel Ban

    I was pleased, yesterday, to find in my office mailbox an official printed copy of the Brief of Scholars of Mormon History & Law as Amici Curiae in Support of Neither Party that has been filed with the Supreme Court of the United States in the conjoined cases of “Donald J. Trump, et al., Petitioners, v. International Refugee Assistance Project, et al., Respondents” and “Donald J. Trump, et al., Petitioners, v. Hawaii, et al., Respondents.”   I’m one of the twenty-one signatories to… Read more

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