Simony, Slander, FairMormon, Tyranny, and Fine-Tuning

Simony, Slander, FairMormon, Tyranny, and Fine-Tuning August 5, 2017


An anomalous galaxy
NGC 4258 is a spiral galaxy well known to astronomers for having two so-called anomalous arms that glow in X-ray, optical, and radio light. Rather than being aligned with the plane of the galaxy, they intersect with it. This composite image of NGC 4258 shows the galaxy in X-rays from Chandra (blue), radio waves from the VLA (purple), optical data from Hubble (yellow and blue), and infrared with Spitzer (red). Researchers are using all of these telescopes to better understand how the supermassive black hole is affecting the galaxy and its anomalous arms.
(Chandra X-Ray Observatory/Caltech/NASA public domain)


The latest iteration of the bi-weekly column by William Hamblin and Daniel Peterson has appeared in the Deseret News:


“Simony — buying and selling church offices — and the Reformation”




For those who might be interested, a video of the final presentation at this year’s FairMormon annual conference is now available on the FairMormon Facebook page:


This is the presentation against which a Facebook poster strenuously warned us all early yesterday afternoon.  (See my account here.)  As I explained last night, I eventually ended up staying for that final presentation (against her urgent advice), but I talked through the entire thing and had nothing to say about it, whether pro or con.


However, it’s now possible for anybody who cares to watch it for himself or herself and — if desired — to measure its barracuda-like viciousness, gauge its toxicity, count its obsessive personal attacks against Mr. Jeremy Runnells, and personally witness its continual reliance on name-calling and logical fallacies.




Jeff Lindsay provides summaries and impressions of the just-concluded 2017 FairMormon conference in two entries on his excellent blog, Mormanity:


“The FairMormon 2017 Conference, Day One”


“FairMormon 2017 Conference, Day Two”



Here’s a slightly long but very good article by Ryan Anderson on “The Continuing Threat to Religious Liberty”:


I strongly — strongly — commend it to everybody out there who cares about either religion or liberty.




The indispensable Robert Boylan usefully calls attention to a 1992 article by my former teacher, good friend, and now-retired longtime Brigham Young University and Maxwell Institute colleague S. Kent Brown.  Published in the distinguished Anchor Bible Dictionary, which was edited by the late David Noel Freedman, it discusses the pre-existence of human souls:




Brother Boylan also alerts us to an interesting item on a subject in which I have particular personal interest:


“Trent Horn vs. Richard Carrier on Fine-Tuning”




Three striking passages on the question of cosmic fine-tuning:


From Robert Jastrow (d. 2008), an agnostic NASA astronomer and author of God and the Astronomers:

“If the universe had not been made with the most exacting precision we could never have come into existence. It is my view that these circumstances indicate the universe was created for man to live in.”  


From Francis Crick (d. 2004) , biochemist, atheist, and winner of the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his role in discovering the molecular structure of DNA:

“An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.”


From Sir Fred Hoyle (d. 2001), an atheist and one of the greatest astrophysicists of the twentieth century:

“A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”



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