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 Post subject: Re: Facts, Appearances, and Professor Peterson
PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 12:21 pm 
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Analytics wrote:

But with cwald's consent, you are now officially the primary reviewer of the essay assigned to him.

Cwald, thanks for your willingness to support this project. With your essay successfully delegated, you are officially relieved of your commitment to this thread and are free to enjoy the fair. Have a candied apple for me (or whatever it is one eats at the Oregon State fair)!


Thanks.

I generally live on beer and marionberry milk shakes at state fair.

These have been great reviews so far. Thanks to those of you who have taken the time to do then. Really good, informative stuff.

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 Post subject: Re: Facts, Appearances, and Professor Peterson
PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 1:10 pm 
http://maxwellinstitute.BYU.edu/publications/review/?vol=13&num=2&id=381#1

So my assignment is a piece by Daniel Peterson in 2001.

Quote:
In recent years, Web sites and other publications have commonly come to include a section called "FAQ," in which the initials stand for "Frequently Asked Questions." It seems that the time has come for me, as editor of the FARMS Review of Books,to answer some "Questions Not Asked"—let's call them "QnA"—the supposed "answers" to which seem to be agitating a few souls in certain circles. As is typically done with "FAQs," I'll do so in the form of questions and answers.


I wonder about the applicability of the Graham scale in this case since he is not directly responding to a critic, but rather writing critical questions himself that he then answers. Since he is not responding directly to a critic he can't really do any name calling(0), ad Hominem(1), or respond to the tone(2). Because of the nature of answering your own questions, it's fairly guaranteed someone will ask themselves questions in a way they know they can answer, or for which they know they can make a good counter argument as the case may be.

Because he neither quotes, cites, or identifies those to whom he is responding, he can't qualify for 5 or 6 either.

So I give him 4 overall. Assuming that he accurately represented these 'few agitated souls'.

Feedback is appreciated.


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 Post subject: Re: Facts, Appearances, and Professor Peterson
PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 7:13 pm 
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Assignment: FARMS Review: Volume - 7, Issue - 2

This Editor's introduction by Daniel Peterson is apparently intended as an assurance to readers that the FARMS team of book and article reviewers work hard and do the best they can, and that they (like the authors of the humorous excerpt below) are acutely (and sometimes even painfully) aware of their fallibility.

Peterson begins the Introduction using an excerpt that is cut and pasted from a Protestant magazine that he says he admires but often disagrees with. Since the assigned piece is short, and the excerpt from the Protestant magazine interesting, it is pasted here.

Quote:
One of our pet peeves concerns has to do with how judgmental readers always sometimes conclude that we at Credenda are arrogant simply because we seek to write, teach, and publish with confidence. Well, all we have to say to them is . . . This concerns us. As brothers in Christ we should always assume the best about others even if they are being meatheads.

We can't remember all the times Sometimes readers have popped offexpressed their conviction that it seems like we "always think we're right.— And we suppose they suggested this to us because they thought they were wrong, hey?But of course, we would like to suggest, everyone is in this position. We are created in such a way that no one says things because they believe them to be false. At least not anyone we know.

We are really being humble, and we wish everybody would just lay off, see? We really appreciate your insights and comments except for the really dumb ones. We invite readers to differ, and we expect them to express their differences with confidence. They're just wrong, that's all.

The author reminds the reader that books and reviews are the products of individual humans, all of whom have limitations in knowledge, experience and insight. He reminds the faithful that we are not yet granted access to the great Urim and Thummim" and the "white stone" by which all things will be made known (D&C 130:8 - 10).

The author then thanks all of the folks who helped with the production of Volume 7 issue 2, and then provides his personal ranking of the contents of Issue 2. This ranking of the various contents of a periodical publication by the Editor is a bit unusual and reflects (in a not too subtle way) Doctor Peterson's opinion of himself, his knowledge and his insights.

In a personal postscript to the introduction, Peterson describes his dismay at the broadcast story of a former missionary ("Nick") who resigned from the Church after reading works by Dick Baer and Ed Decker.

He leaves the readers with this bit of insight into his view of himself and the mission of FARMS.
Quote:
When certain people ask why some of us at FARMS spend so much time and effort responding to books of little or no merit (like Decker's), I can only respond that we are thinking of people like "Nick." While we try to have a little fun with what we are doing, we know that, deep down, the issues are very serious. And they have profound consequences.

_________________
Scoring:

In this piece, the author was mainly trying to assure readers that the FARM team members worked hard, were aware of their fallibility, and that the work they did had profound consequences. Since this piece was not a response to a criticism or meant to establish a specific position or point of doctrine, it was a bit difficult to score on the Graham scale.

Except for leaving no doubt regarding his distaste for Dick Baer and Ed Decker, Peterson did not deal in personalities. He made his points mainly by assertions and reference to scripture and contemporary Protestant literature. This ranking below is made with the assumption that LDS scripture makes a legitimate reference in a Mormon-oriented publication.

Ranking: 3.5

I think this Introduction was above average for DCP.

_____________

ETA: Thanks to Malkie for the strikeout text tip.

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Last edited by DrW on Sat Aug 24, 2013 7:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Facts, Appearances, and Professor Peterson
PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 7:35 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Facts, Appearances, and Professor Peterson
PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 9:55 pm 
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cwald wrote:
Mayan, will you take my assignment?

I know my limitations. I'm way out of my league here, and feel way inadequate to critique this kind of review and work. I don't think it would be a fair evaluation for the purpose of this thread..


yep. i got this one.

i will work on it on the sabath day.

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 Post subject: Re: Facts, Appearances, and Professor Peterson
PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:10 am 
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Ray, I'd actually be interested in seeing you analyze my "disagreements" with the Mopologists. Particularly with regards to name-calling. Have I been worse than them?

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 Post subject: Re: Facts, Appearances, and Professor Peterson
PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 6:59 am 
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malkie wrote:
Analytics, I have similar feelings of inadequacy here. However, I am more than willing to give it a go if you would like to overlook my lack of 'cred' and use me as a different kind of 'control'. I have done some technical editing, so perhaps I can adapt my toolset for the job - you can be the judge of my success in that, if you wish.

It's completely your choice, since I will be quite ambivalent about having it taken away from me. :smile: :cry: :neutral: :cry: :smile:

Do you have a deadline in mind?

OK - you had your chance. By now I'm starting to feel quite proprietary about my assignment, so don't you dare try to take it away. :twisted:

In the interests of the suggestion I made about my being a non-academic control, I have not read the evaluations presented so far. I'll deliver my eval without trying to use one of the others as a model, and see how it turns out. If you want something different, I'll be amenable to revising.

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 Post subject: Re: Facts, Appearances, and Professor Peterson
PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 5:39 pm 
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I will review George L. Mitton’s introduction to FARMS Review Volume 16, Issue 1, “Editor’s Introduction: Anti-Mormon Writings: Encountering a Topsy-Turvy Approach to Mormon Origins.” Published by the Maxwell Institute in 2004.

I get the lovely chance to read someone’s lead into something published about anti-mormon writings. Prior to writing my review of the introduction, I have not read, and will not read, the essays or reviews that follow the introduction and are published in Volume 16, Issue 1.

It is difficult to say to what, exactly, Mitton could be disagreeing. His opening paragraph says, “It is our experience that a careful consideration of [anti-Mormon] writings is instructive and that the faith always comes out better understood and strengthened. Nevertheless, in this issue we offer essays on a remarkable range of subjects, including several of interest on some very positive works and developments. I will mention these briefly and then discuss some important general matters regarding anti-Mormon writings, helping to explain why we feel a need to study and respond to them. “

I believe Mitton is making the point that apologetics, and FARMS, are necessary and that he disagrees to the opposite argument, that apologetics are not necessary.

The first section of Mitton’s intro, “Some Congenial Things,” merely lists the essays that follow in the Review. Nothing here.

Section Rating for Congenial Things – NA.

The second section of the intro, “Responses to Anti-Mormon Writings – or ad Hominem Attacks?” begins with an insult of sorts. Mitton says that anti-Mormon authors “do their best to undermine our faith and the faith of our youth, vilify the prophets whose memory we hold dear, dishonor our scriptures, and trample on things that are sacred to us and thereby violate some of our most tender feelings.”

Here Mitton is exaggerating and pretending to know the intent of every author. In fairness, it is very possible that the writings of so- called anti-Mormon authors, regardless of their intent, may undermine the faith of youth and vilify prophets. However, the writings of prophets may also undermine the faith of youth and vilify prophets. Mitton’s stereotypes and generalization here are borderline name-calling. Mitton explains that it is an ad hominem attack on the FAIR authors to accuse the authors of FAIR using ad hominem methods. This is a nonsensical argument. Any criticism of the FAIR authors for their use of ad hominem is actually a criticism or disagreement with the content or methods of writing and does not compare to a real ad hominem method where one’s sexuality, affiliations, divorces or wealth come into question.

Section rating for “ad Hominem Attacks” – DH0. The only meaningful content here is that anti-mormons are bullies and do not listen or even counter every explanation the apologists make.

Next, Mitton addresses “The Anti-Mormon Concatenation.” Well, too bad for all y’all, I have not a goddamn clue what that word even means. Here I come, M. Webster-Google. My great-grandma spent many years in a nursing home, I think a lot of her co-tenants were either in diapers or had concatenation.

Thanks Mr. and Mrs. Webster-Google. Apparently, concatenations has nothing to do with a toilet. It is a really big word for when things happen after other things happen, and they are related. Apparently, Joseph Smith used this fancy word when he was in Liberty Jail. He told the saints to respond to the concatenations, or libelous publications, about him or his church. Here, Mitton starts to provide backup to the need for anti-anti-Mormon writing. He claims the anti-Mormon writings go back to Abner Cole and the Palmyra Reflector. In this intro, there are no examples of the satire or anti-Mormon writings. Mitton points to a negative reaction by readers of the Reflector without addressing the content.

Mitton leaps from Abner Cole, to contemporary authors. Early authors did not have the benefit of centuries of re-written history, according to Mitton. They can be excused. Contemporary authors have more information, and thus, must be motivated and led by the series of anti-mormon sentiments that began during Joseph Smith’s life.

Mitton parts with a generalization and attempted jab at George and Camilla Smith’s publishing company, Signature Books. “From Louis Midgley, we have an investigative essay about Signature Books. With its tendentious agenda, it appears to us that it is the publishing house that is far and away producing the most anti-Mormon literature of this genre.” Still, we have no evidence of any arguments made by other authors, though Mitton has declared the writings of Abnor Cole and Signature Books’ authors as anti-Mormon.

The Concatenation section is given a rating of DH0. Only labeling and name-calling was provided in this section. Note, I, Mayan Elephant, I am saying that the use of the label “anti-Mormon” is pejorative, and is on the level of name-calling. Mitton does not provide evidence or cite actual writings or acts that are anti-Mormon.

On Taking Hurlbut and Howe Too Seriously. Well that is some section heading. It reminds me of the entire Maxwell Institute purging of 2012, or whatever it was - Butthurt and How. So some dude, Eber D. Howe, published the first anti-Mormon (allegedly per Mitton) book, Mormonism Unvailed. Mitton says it has been discredited, though it is the foundation of a lot of other anti-Mormon books.

Howe published the Spalding Theory, which we still hear about today. Mitton says only a few die-hards still believe it. Hurlbut was an immoral (first DH1 ad hominem of the intro) excommunicated ex-Mormon. He studied the Mormons extensively and may have been paid for his writings, per Mitton.

In this section Mitton addresses the tone of Hurlbut and Howe. He does have some material (albeit from Dan Peterson) which refutes the actual content of what Hurlbut and Howe presented in the 19th century.
The Hurlbut and Howe section gets a rating of DH2.4. There is mostly a response to the tone, but some response to the content by contradiction. It is sorta like this, ‘they are mean and the fact that Joseph Smith is a prophet, proves that those authors were wrong.’ It is juvenile, but a bit better than calling people ‘anti-Mormon poopooheads.’

Damn this intro is boring. Who reads this?

There is another section here, the “Right Side Up” section. Oliver Cowdery says Joseph Smith is great, but not before declaring himself a sinner and using exactly 242 words in two sentences. Mitton says that Joseph Smith predicts his own persecutions, and that Joseph Smith was told of them by Moroni, or that Cowdery refers to something that Joseph Smith said that Moroni said. This section is gets a score of NA. What Cowdery says that Smith said that Moroni said is way too disconnected to be actual evidence of some need for anti-anti-mormon publications.

Moroni and the Ritual Life of Joseph Smith section starts out with a digression on the measuring scale. If, ‘You are dumb,’ or, ‘U R a Fag,’ are the zero-base for a disagreement spectrum, then Mitton has managed to go outside the boundaries to a Spinal Tapsian negative 1. Here we go –

Quote:
“This is best seen by comparing [Joseph Smith’s] life with other prophetic figures whose lives have significant common elements or motifs, and especially with Christ, who was the great exemplar. Striving to understand the meaning behind the symbolic things Joseph exemplified can be a lifetime quest but very instructive indeed. Certainly Joseph Smith's neighbors did not begin to understand. Nor would I expect our agnostic-atheist detractors to grasp the significance of these subtleties either since they have already chosen to shut themselves off from an appreciation of transcendent things as obvious as the sun. But those who share our knowledge of the reality of spiritual forces—both good and ill—will recognize the supreme importance of such matters.”


In a nutshell – if you cannot see he was called to do this, and that he is like Christ, then you are just an atheist-agnostic detractor. Such labeling is meant pejoratively and will be followed in the next section with a Devil v. God association. Moroni’s instructions are just hearsay, so they do not get this section out of the DHneg1 range.

Joseph Smith’s Environment and the Two Powers. Guess what the two powers are? This section does not do much to persuade the reader or address the question of why we need apologists, or why we need ad hominem attacks. It merely tells the reader that Mitton’s opinion is that writings about Joseph Smith or Mormons must be from the Devil or God, leaving the option of something just being factual out of these options. This section gets an NA rating. Again, it lacks any factual substance or information about why FARMS or apologetics is necessary, except to highlight his belief that he is on the side of god, and counter arguments are on the side of the devil. So, again, more name-callingish activity, but I will not rate the section.

Overall rating – DH0.

In summary, this intro is a weak benchmark or measure of anything Dan Peterson or other authors write in response to Mormon themed publications. It is an intro to reviews of other books. It is possible that those reviews were line by line rebuttals of factual information, without any personal reference to the authors, publishers or subjects. With regard to the content, Mitton could have simply said we need anti-anti-Mormon authors because an angel said to do it, and the authors at FAIR are on the side of God and His angels.

Mitton may believe that the anti-mormon literature has roots in the 19th century, but he fails to even point out the legitimacy of his pejorative label.

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 Post subject: Re: Facts, Appearances, and Professor Peterson
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 1:17 pm 
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RayAgostini wrote:
Analytics wrote:
Touché. In an effort to keep this thread at the highest of standards, please allow me to re-write that paragraph:

Interesting point. The truth is that between my limited attention span and the typical lengthiness of Peterson's essays, there are very few things he writes that I can make it through.

Better?


It's better, but it's not what you really think, is it? What you really think is encapsulated in the first comment. The second revised comment is an attempt at being more PC, and acceptable to the high standard you set in the OP. Most of the "reviews" so far rated the FR articles/essays between DH1 and DH2. I'd be interested to see other evaluations, when they're posted....

Hi Ray,

You are warmly invited to reply to the posts made here and weigh in on whether or not you think the reviews are fair. As multiple reviewers have noted, the Graham scale isn't directly applicable to everything in the FARMS Reviews under question. However, I believe this exercise can do a couple of things:

1- It helps clarify and quantify the nature of what's been written. Even though the scale was intended for Internet dialogue, what constitutes persuasive argumentation is the same.

2- We are evaluating published writing, which should be held to a higher standard than message board musings.

3- The specific articles we're evaluating were randomly chosen--not cherry-picked.

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 Post subject: Re: Facts, Appearances, and Professor Peterson
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 1:18 pm 
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Gadianton wrote:
I have been assigned to review Lou Midgley's introduction to volume 15, Issue 1....

The Mormon deity might not be contrary to the Bible, but Olson's assertion otherwise is not proven to be a "gratuitous jab". If merely making an unflattering case is a jab, then Midgley is jabbing right back with the old charges that Christians worship the God of Greek philosophy rather than the God of the bible. Had the topic been slightly different, this could have been a 5, as it is, we must throw it out.

Midgley's final score then is 1.6.

Excellent review Gadianton, thank you.

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 Post subject: Re: Facts, Appearances, and Professor Peterson
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 1:24 pm 
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Stormy Waters wrote:
http://maxwellinstitute.BYU.edu/publications/review/?vol=13&num=2&id=381#1

So my assignment is a piece by Daniel Peterson in 2001.

Quote:
In recent years, Web sites and other publications have commonly come to include a section called "FAQ," in which the initials stand for "Frequently Asked Questions." It seems that the time has come for me, as editor of the FARMS Review of Books,to answer some "Questions Not Asked"—let's call them "QnA"—the supposed "answers" to which seem to be agitating a few souls in certain circles. As is typically done with "FAQs," I'll do so in the form of questions and answers.


I wonder about the applicability of the Graham scale in this case since he is not directly responding to a critic, but rather writing critical questions himself that he then answers. Since he is not responding directly to a critic he can't really do any name calling(0), ad Hominem(1), or respond to the tone(2). Because of the nature of answering your own questions, it's fairly guaranteed someone will ask themselves questions in a way they know they can answer, or for which they know they can make a good counter argument as the case may be.

Because he neither quotes, cites, or identifies those to whom he is responding, he can't qualify for 5 or 6 either.

So I give him 4 overall. Assuming that he accurately represented these 'few agitated souls'.

Feedback is appreciated.

It sounds like this introduction is somewhere on the scale between a 4 and a N/A--it really isn't arguing very much of anything, which of course is fine.

Thanks for the review!

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 Post subject: Re: Facts, Appearances, and Professor Peterson
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 1:26 pm 
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DrW wrote:
Assignment: FARMS Review: Volume - 7, Issue - 2

This Editor's introduction by Daniel Peterson is apparently intended as an assurance to readers that the FARMS team of book and article reviewers work hard and do the best they can, and that they (like the authors of the humorous excerpt below) are acutely (and sometimes even painfully) aware of their fallibility.

Peterson begins the Introduction using an excerpt that is cut and pasted from a Protestant magazine that he says he admires but often disagrees with. Since the assigned piece is short, and the excerpt from the Protestant magazine interesting, it is pasted here.

Quote:
One of our pet peeves concerns has to do with how judgmental readers always sometimes conclude that we at Credenda are arrogant simply because we seek to write, teach, and publish with confidence. Well, all we have to say to them is . . . This concerns us. As brothers in Christ we should always assume the best about others even if they are being meatheads.

We can't remember all the times Sometimes readers have popped offexpressed their conviction that it seems like we "always think we're right.— And we suppose they suggested this to us because they thought they were wrong, hey?But of course, we would like to suggest, everyone is in this position. We are created in such a way that no one says things because they believe them to be false. At least not anyone we know.

We are really being humble, and we wish everybody would just lay off, see? We really appreciate your insights and comments except for the really dumb ones. We invite readers to differ, and we expect them to express their differences with confidence. They're just wrong, that's all.

The author reminds the reader that books and reviews are the products of individual humans, all of whom have limitations in knowledge, experience and insight. He reminds the faithful that we are not yet granted access to the great Urim and Thummim" and the "white stone" by which all things will be made known (D&C 130:8 - 10).

The author then thanks all of the folks who helped with the production of Volume 7 issue 2, and then provides his personal ranking of the contents of Issue 2. This ranking of the various contents of a periodical publication by the Editor is a bit unusual and reflects (in a not too subtle way) Doctor Peterson's opinion of himself, his knowledge and his insights.

In a personal postscript to the introduction, Peterson describes his dismay at the broadcast story of a former missionary ("Nick") who resigned from the Church after reading works by Dick Baer and Ed Decker.

He leaves the readers with this bit of insight into his view of himself and the mission of FARMS.
Quote:
When certain people ask why some of us at FARMS spend so much time and effort responding to books of little or no merit (like Decker's), I can only respond that we are thinking of people like "Nick." While we try to have a little fun with what we are doing, we know that, deep down, the issues are very serious. And they have profound consequences.

_________________
Scoring:

In this piece, the author was mainly trying to assure readers that the FARM team members worked hard, were aware of their fallibility, and that the work they did had profound consequences. Since this piece was not a response to a criticism or meant to establish a specific position or point of doctrine, it was a bit difficult to score on the Graham scale.

Except for leaving no doubt regarding his distaste for Dick Baer and Ed Decker, Peterson did not deal in personalities. He made his points mainly by assertions and reference to scripture and contemporary Protestant literature. This ranking below is made with the assumption that LDS scripture makes a legitimate reference in a Mormon-oriented publication.

Ranking: 3.5

I think this Introduction was above average for DCP.

_____________

ETA: Thanks to Malkie for the strikeout text tip.

Thanks! The formatting is a nice touch.

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 Post subject: Re: Facts, Appearances, and Professor Peterson
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 4:07 pm 
Doctor Scratch wrote:
Ray, I'd actually be interested in seeing you analyze my "disagreements" with the Mopologists. Particularly with regards to name-calling. Have I been worse than them?



Analytics wrote:
Hi Ray,

You are warmly invited to reply to the posts made here and weigh in on whether or not you think the reviews are fair. As multiple reviewers have noted, the Graham scale isn't directly applicable to everything in the FARMS Reviews under question. However, I believe this exercise can do a couple of things:

1- It helps clarify and quantify the nature of what's been written. Even though the scale was intended for Internet dialogue, what constitutes persuasive argumentation is the same.

2- We are evaluating published writing, which should be held to a higher standard than message board musings.

3- The specific articles we're evaluating were randomly chosen--not cherry-picked.


If it's intended for these "standards" to be applied and work both ways, I think it could be profitable in the sense of making us think of better ways of communication.

Speaking for myself, I wouldn't like what I wrote in hardcopy in the 1990s, or what I posted on message boards in the 2000s, say up to 2010 (random neat period), to be held up to "Graham scale" scrutiny. I can't stop people doing that if they want, but I already know what a good argument is, and what a bad argument is. I already understand the DH0 - DH6 scales - don't we all? I would have thought it's mostly common sense.

The FR is now history, so I don't see how it's relevant or applicable to now, and especially to the future. Maybe keeping an eye on "World Table" when it begins would be a much more relevant exercise? I think this scale is one they (World Table mods) might do well to even consider when moderation there begins.

I stand by my earlier statement that if it were applied here, and now, on MormonDiscussions.com, Blixa might even be able to stop ignoring about 50% of posters here (or whatever the high figure is), and maybe even the high rate of exodus, mostly by very fine and intelligent (mostly LDS posters) posters, could be stemmed. That's a very tall order, and seemingly impossible at this stage.

The way it's being done, though, is that many of the posters often guilty of DH0 posts, are making judgements on FR articles going back 23-24 years. It therefore seems like an exercise in vanity.

Ask yourself though, if this is really a board that "welcomes every opinion", and Shades is keen to keep all of them here, why do so many leave (mostly LDS posters)? Because they have a "thin skin"? Does anyone need a "thick skin" to be able to tolerate DH4 - DH6 levels of argumentation? I don't think so. It's the levels below that cause many to leave.

That's why I believe there's little merit in analysing and judging 20-plus year old hardcopy writing, while ignoring the elephant currently in the room.


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 Post subject: Re: Facts, Appearances, and Professor Peterson
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 4:19 pm 
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I think that "thick skin" might be required if people are engaging in DH4-DH6 argumentation that's aimed at your sacred religious beliefs. This was part of the reason, IMO, why the mass migration of TBMs occurred on ZLMB. That was a forum that was moderated to try and keep things at the higher end of the Graham scale, and we all know how it turned out.

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 Post subject: Re: Facts, Appearances, and Professor Peterson
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 5:23 pm 
Doctor Scratch wrote:
I think that "thick skin" might be required if people are engaging in DH4-DH6 argumentation that's aimed at your sacred religious beliefs. This was part of the reason, IMO, why the mass migration of TBMs occurred on ZLMB. That was a forum that was moderated to try and keep things at the higher end of the Graham scale, and we all know how it turned out.


That depends on the intention/s behind the criticism. Let me give an example. I think most know I frequently associate with Muslims. It is possible to question them about their religious beliefs, but if you start with something like "wasn't Muhammad a pedophile?", make sure your will is made out (I'm not kidding). If on the other hand you phrase it like: "I have trouble understanding why Muhammad betrothed/married a nine year old girl, does that ever bother you?" You're actually likely to get a "defense" to such a question, not a knife in your back.

On any Mormon forum, or even a Mormon-related forum, "religious sensitivities" must be taken into account (and the violation of such placed on the lower end of the my husband scale), which is why "temple content" is only allowed in the Telestial here. This won't or may not be the case for non-religious, or non-Mormon forums. You'll find that most of the complaints from LDS posters who leave here is that they feel their religion has been defiled. Not with legitimate criticism, but mockery.

Given the diametrically opposed views of Mormons and ex-Mormons about this subject - I think it mostly likely that the ship is going to hit the iceberg sooner or later, probably sooner.

Having said that, I do agree that it's problematic, and that some legitimate DH4 - DH6 level arguments will be seen by Mormons as offensive, and will drive some away, but below that level you're almost certain to see a mass exodus.


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 Post subject: Re: Facts, Appearances, and Professor Peterson
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 5:39 pm 
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RayAgostini wrote:
If it's intended for these "standards" to be applied and work both ways, I think it could be profitable in the sense of making us think of better ways of communication.

Speaking for myself, I wouldn't like what I wrote in hardcopy in the 1990s, or what I posted on message boards in the 2000s, say up to 2010 (random neat period), to be held up to "Graham scale" scrutiny. I can't stop people doing that if they want, but I already know what a good argument is, and what a bad argument is. I already understand the DH0 - DH6 scales - don't we all? I would have thought it's mostly common sense.

The FR is now history, so I don't see how it's relevant or applicable to now, and especially to the future. Maybe keeping an eye on "World Table" when it begins would be a much more relevant exercise? I think this scale is one they (World Table mods) might do well to even consider when moderation there begins.

I stand by my earlier statement that if it were applied here, and now, on MormonDiscussions.com, Blixa might even be able to stop ignoring about 50% of posters here (or whatever the high figure is), and maybe even the high rate of exodus, mostly by very fine and intelligent (mostly LDS posters) posters, could be stemmed. That's a very tall order, and seemingly impossible at this stage.

The way it's being done, though, is that many of the posters often guilty of DH0 posts, are making judgements on FR articles going back 23-24 years. It therefore seems like an exercise in vanity.

Ask yourself though, if this is really a board that "welcomes every opinion", and Shades is keen to keep all of them here, why do so many leave (mostly LDS posters)? Because they have a "thin skin"? Does anyone need a "thick skin" to be able to tolerate DH4 - DH6 levels of argumentation? I don't think so. It's the levels below that cause many to leave.

That's why I believe there's little merit in analysing and judging 20-plus year old hardcopy writing, while ignoring the elephant currently in the room.


It seems to me that in order to understand where we are, we need to understand where we came from. History matters doesn't it?

It's a cliché in these parts to cite feeling betrayed by FARMS when you leave the Church, and it is still part of the narrative that they have done and continue to do more harm to the Church than good. And it's also a cliché to hear the other side talk about how these criticisms are nonsense and how about on the whole, they are proud of what they accomplished at FARMS.

Will a more structured analysis help us get to the bottom of this?

I hope so, and I hope that reviewing these writings this way will lead to better understanding and self-awareness in the presence and future.

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 Post subject: Re: Facts, Appearances, and Professor Peterson
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 6:04 pm 
Analytics wrote:
It seems to me that in order to understand where we are, we need to understand where we came from. History matters doesn't it?

It's a cliché in these parts to cite feeling betrayed by FARMS when you leave the Church, and it is still part of the narrative that they have done and continue to do more harm to the Church than good. And it's also a cliché to hear the other side talk about how these criticisms are nonsense and how about on the whole, they are proud of what they accomplished at FARMS.

Will a more structured analysis help us get to the bottom of this?

I hope so, and I hope that reviewing these writings this way will lead to better understanding and self-awareness in the presence and future.


That may well be true for a certain number, and probably a large number here, and in that sense may be "therapeutic" for some here, and therefore legitimate to them. But it's not even a blimp on the radar of most inactive/ex-Mormons. The inactivity rate in Australia is about 75%, somewhere between 70%-75%, possibly even pushing 80%, and FARMS/MI never even showed up on the radar. One ward I was in had over 700 members, and about 120 active. Apologetics had nothing to do with that. Where it did show up, some found the apologetics very helpful (as many do in America, and can hardly wait for annual FAIR Conferences), but it made no impact on most who left, negatively or positively. As a bishop I visited numerous inactives, and most comments were along the lines of "I don't believe it anymore", or "I can't believe it anymore", or "I prefer having my freedom", or more light-heartedly, "footy games and beer and BBQs interest me more than Church on Sundays". Most seemed to shy away because of the "demands" of Church membership, and once they fell away the Church and Mormonism became less and less relevant to them.

The "failure of apologetics" is the focus of relatively few, even if it seems like a major issue for "online ex-Mormons" in America and on forums like this one. It's not a major issue, or even an issue at all, for the vast majority who leave - all over the world.


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 Post subject: Re: Facts, Appearances, and Professor Peterson
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:54 pm 
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I'd like to thank Ray for reminding us to have some perspective. The damage done to Mormonism by Mopologetics is indeed somewhat mitigated by the general irrelevance of Mopologetics, as Ray points out.


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 Post subject: Re: Facts, Appearances, and Professor Peterson
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:09 pm 
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Now, some might say the irrelevance of Mopologetics is in fact its greatest failure, but I'm sure that did not occur to Ray when he pointed out the elephant in the room that everyone already was talking about.

I wonder why the prophet of the obvious doesn't offer a stern rebuke to believers who babble endlessly about their faith without realizing the general irrelevance of Mormonism in the world. Oh, that's right: the Book of Mormon is special to Ray, so you're a "pathetic creature" if you notice that his sermonizing cuts both ways.


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 Post subject: Re: Facts, Appearances, and Professor Peterson
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:29 pm 
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Analytics wrote:
Ruskin said:

The work of science is to substitute facts for appearances and demonstrations for impressions.

The purpose of this thread is to make a fact-and-demonstration based evaluation of the quality of Dr. Peterson's apologetics.

I implore everyone to refrain from prejudging Dr. Peterson and his work on this thread. No name calling, sarcasm, witticisms, attacks, etc. Rather, the thread is dedicated to making a fair and substantial evaluation of the question at hand: what is the quality of Dr. Peterson's apologetics?

I'm going to propose a specific methodology for evaluating this question, and everyone who would like to make an honest and fair analysis according to the methodology I am going to detail is welcome to weigh in.

But before I detail the approach, I need a several volunteers to give me a random number between 1 and 39. A limit of one number per volunteer, please.


Hi,

It's a tough one...Dan does not engage in doctrinal apologetics at all. Getting Dan to defend, or discuss core doctrine is almost impossible. The typical answer is "read this or read that,"... "you're wrong,"...or "you're wasting my time."

Can a person that will not engage in core LDS thought, in regards too LDS doctrine, be a LDS apologist?

As a "debater" of LDS Mopology and the champion of the internet Mormon , Dan was the benchmark, so I would have gave him a 30 something.

As a defender of LDS core thought and doctrine...5 or less.

Dan will only defend what is ambiguous and loaded with gray areas.

MG

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 Post subject: Re: Facts, Appearances, and Professor Peterson
PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:24 am 
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RayAgostini wrote:
Analytics wrote:
It seems to me that in order to understand where we are, we need to understand where we came from. History matters doesn't it?

It's a cliché in these parts to cite feeling betrayed by FARMS when you leave the Church, and it is still part of the narrative that they have done and continue to do more harm to the Church than good. And it's also a cliché to hear the other side talk about how these criticisms are nonsense and how about on the whole, they are proud of what they accomplished at FARMS.

Will a more structured analysis help us get to the bottom of this?

I hope so, and I hope that reviewing these writings this way will lead to better understanding and self-awareness in the presence and future.


That may well be true for a certain number, and probably a large number here, and in that sense may be "therapeutic" for some here, and therefore legitimate to them. But it's not even a blimp on the radar of most inactive/ex-Mormons....

It isn't about being therapeutic. It's about better understanding reality. I agree that this is a narrow topic of interest to very few. But that doesn't mean it is somehow invalid.

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-Yuval Noah Harari


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