“Paganism Condemned”

    Paganism Condemned Another common theme beginning in the earliest chapters of the Qur’an is a denunciation of paganism, the worshiping of pagan gods. This theme drew enthusiastic praise from Parley P. Pratt: Mahometanism included the doctrine that there was one God— that He was great, even the creator of all things, and that the people by right should worship Him… On this account, on the simple subject of the Deity and His worship, if nothing more, I should… Read more

“Nobody likes BYU? Some love to loathe the Cougars”

    An interesting, even inspiring, short article from the inimitable Jeff Lindsay:   “Learning from Russell M. Nelson’s Response to an Inspired Recommendation from President Kimball”     ***   From World Religion News:   “Did You Know Mormons Dominate Competitive Dancing?”   Actually, I did know.  But, alas, I’ve never done anything at all to contribute to that domination — except, perhaps, by conscientiously refraining from dancing.   Curiously, I don’t think that the article mentions BYU’s record… Read more

Science has a history, and that is actually significant.

    One of my occasional critics recently pointed out, quite correctly, that I have absolutely nothing to say and that this blog is and has always been utterly bereft of ideas.   There’s no point in contradicting him.  It’s sadly true.  I had an idea back in 1986 or 1987, I think, but — to paraphrase and repurpose a comment attributed to Winston Churchill — I quickly managed to pick myself up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.   Here,… Read more

“Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good”

    Many of you, no doubt, heard Elder Dallin H. Oaks’s remarks at the recent October 2017 General Conference of the Church:   “The Plan and the Proclamation”   With that in mind, you’ll perhaps find the headline to this article, by Fred Karger, as . . . umm, as remarkable as I do:   “Mormon Church’s Crusade of Hate Goes On”   I’ve received communications from certain observers who have described Elder Oaks’s talk as “a hateful rant.”… Read more

Islam and Judge Roy Moore

    I apologize.  I should keep better notes; I’ve forgotten who it was that kindly brought this item to my attention about a week ago:   “Thousands of Muslims march against ISIS as brother of one of Jihadi John’s victims remembers his death”   ***   Thanks to Matthew Wheeler for calling this heartwarming story to my attention, a harbinger of the utopian bliss that will inevitably dawn when atheism bears universal sway:   “Chinese police order Muslims to hand… Read more

Four interesting quotations from a principal figure in the “Intelligent Design” movement

    “The very comprehensibility of the world points to an intelligence behind the world. Indeed, science would be impossible if our intelligence were not adapted to the intelligibility of the world. The match between our intelligence and the intelligibility of the world is no accident. Nor can it properly be attributed to natural selection, which places a premium on survival and reproduction and has no stake in truth or conscious thought. Indeed, meat-puppet robots are just fine as the… Read more

Resources

    From one of my manuscripts:   Indeed, so impressive a convert was Sidney Rigdon that many, who simply could not believe that the semi-literate Joseph Smith had authored the Book of Mormon and could not grant the divine alternative, began almost immediately to claim that he himself, a much more eloquent and highly educated man, was the book’s true author. In 1865, John Rigdon, Sidney’s son, who himself had serious doubts about Mormonism and the Book of Mormon,… Read more

Understanding Arabic and Islamic Names

    First, a few words about Arabic/Islamic names.   There are certain basic elements.  For instance, there is the kunya, an honorific given to married parents that includes the name of their eldest son.  The father of Yusuf (“Joseph”) would thus be known as Abu Yusuf, from the Arabic Ab/Abu (“father”), while the mother would be called Umm Yusuf.   Yusuf’s father and mother will, of course, have their own personal names.  The masculine parental unit might be Muhammad,… Read more

Fidelity to One’s Promises in Ancient Arabia (and the Book of Mormon!)

    Well, it’s the Nobel season, and I’ve been passed over yet again.  Instead, one of the science prizes has gone to a  guy named Kip Thorne.  Kazuo Ishiguro has won the Nobel Prize for Literature — delighting my friend and colleague Van Gessel, who knows something about such matters.  And the Nobel Peace Prize has been given to a group that, as my former student Nate Oman pointed out yesterday, has persuaded “Thailand, the Vatican, and Guyana (and no… Read more

A few notes on crude attempts to reduce everything to matter

    It is very simple to reduce things down to the level of mere matter.  Even the finest cello concerto is, from one not very interesting perspective, nothing more than the scratching of cat gut on cat gut.  Tolstoy’s War and Peace and Anna Karenina are merely blotches of colored liquid on thin sheets made from rag and wood fiber.  The reductionist is merely a transient cell colony, and what we refer to as that cell colony’s reductionist point… Read more

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