“A history of birds in 48 genomes”

T-Rex in NHM, London

  A piece in the 13 December 2014 issue of the Economist reported on an article that had just been published in Science. It seems that a major research project has recently sequenced the genomes of 48 different species of modern birds, showing that the Neoaves, the biological "clade" that contains 95% of modern bird species (though not chickens and ducks), "arose in a spectacular burst of evolution and diversification just a few million years after the asteroid … [Read more...]

The American Islamic Forum for Democracy

Umm al-masajid al-amrikiyya?

  Here's an interesting operation that advocates significant reform in the Islamic world: http://aifdemocracy.org I shared a platform with Zuhdi Jasser, M.D., the organization's founder and president, down in the Phoenix area last fall.   … [Read more...]

“Celestial Visits in the Scriptures, and a Plausible Mesoamerican Tradition”

One of the altars at Copán

  It's Friday.  So, of course, a new article has appeared in Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture: http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/celestial-visits-in-the-scriptures-and-a-plausible-mesoamerican-tradition/#more-6616 You can't really be surprised at this point, can you? After all, it's the 132nd week in a row . . .   … [Read more...]

New Testament 56

Not too far from where the Bergpredigt was given

  Matthew 5:27-32Compare Matthew 18:8-9; 19:9; Mark 9:43-48; 10:11-12; Luke 16:18 In my commentary on Matthew 5:17-20 a couple of days ago, I mentioned what I call "antinomian" readings of Christianity, which seem to suggest that it's all and only about grace, and that good works have very little place in Christian discipleship.  I commented that one would be hard pressed to defend such a reading from the four gospels, and particularly from the Sermon on t … [Read more...]

Jon Stewart, Utah, and the homeless: More reason, perhaps, to despise Mormons?

SLC, from Capitol Hill

  See the portion about Utah and the homeless that begins somewhere just after (I think) the nine-minute mark: http://www.hulu.com/watch/734770 Utah is such an awful place!  (Or, as certain others do, should I call it "Utard"?)   … [Read more...]

Governor Romney’s decision

The Romneys

  I'm enormously, profoundly, disappointed by Mitt Romney's decision not to seek the presidency. I think that he would have been a superb president.  He's a man of enormous ability, a man of integrity, intelligence, unique business experience, and extraordinary competence.  As I believe I've made clear over the years, I believe that the American electorate made a catastrophically bad decision in 2012 -- and that some, at least, have belatedly begun to recognize … [Read more...]

“Mormons and ‘Gay Rights’: Statesmanship vs. Ideology”

LDS Conference Center SLC UT posted by dcp

  Some reflections from Professor Ralph Hancock, occasioned by the LDS Church news conference held earlier this week: http://ldsmag.com/mormons-and-gay-rights-statesmanship-vs-ideology/   … [Read more...]

Elvis and the Mormons

The so-called King

  I'm afraid that I'm not, and have never been, an Elvis fan. My brother was, though, and I first heard the story of Elvis's visit to an early morning seminary class from him.  When he served as a bishop, Elvis's former bodyguard was in his ward and told him about that experience.  So it was fun to see this article, which reminded me of the s … [Read more...]