Religion Survey [pdf]
Here is how it began...
I heard the professor on a radio talk program about vegetarianism (Jul 22, 2008). I emailed him and the conversation turned to religion.
I said that the Bible story of Exodus, Noah's ark, and others have no basis in actual history.
The learned BYU-educated doctor disagreed and said he knows someone who is very smart who could prove me wrong.
The professor's emails
It's a holding tank where young Mormons go after high school. The purpose is not education -- it's indoctrination -- and to hold the kids long enough so that they may find Mormon mates. Mormons marry young and prolifically -- as mandated by the Book of Mormon (BOM) and by the history of polygamy and their promise of polygamy in the future.
Link Ancient Egyptian documents -- BYU Museum: Facsimile "B"
"When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done."
Editor's note: It's because of a letter (below) from James Lyons that I decided to delete this web page's subject's identity and replace all references to him with [name]. It's not because of the subject's threat of legal action and not because James Lyons tried to shame me. There's no shame in saying how it is: Being religious in this day and age is stupid, and it's especially so for a professor who spreads such superstitious poison to the young'uns.
The first letter...
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2008 11:10:55 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: from Josh
I heard your interview on the radio this morning. I eat animals but always feel guilty. I'm not a Mormon so I don't know how the scriptures can bolster vegetarianism as is your thesis on that. And what was that thing -- you didn't want to get into it on the radio -- about the ark and 2 x 2 ?
How can one like me, who does not like the taste of veggies and most fruits, become a vegetarian? I agree and I thank you for pointing out the ethics of this!
If you have an answer, I would like to share that with others, when possible.
Date: Wed, 23 Jul 2008 12:45:37 -0600
Josh, thanks for your email.
About the attrocities -- I have some problems with the old testament myself. I was raised atheist and liberal, so I feel that it's ok for me to let go of things that don't uplift. Therefore there is much of the old testament that I simply ignore. I like that Jesus guy though.
About the 2X2 there's actually way too much even for an email, but for example: how could ALL animals fit in an arc? After they got out of the arc they couldn't have eaten animals either until they repopulated enough. There would be serious incest [sic] problems. All human (and animal) DNA would be traceable to common ancestors 4,000 years ago. How did the kangaroos get to Australia after getting off the arc? How did fresh water fish live in salt water for so long? Where did all the extra water come from? Where did it go? There are just so many problems.
About being veg -- I certainly don't eat only fruits and vegetables. I eat sandwiches and burritoes and pizza and ... In other words, I don't sit down to a plate of fruits and vegetables (I would probably feel about the same way you would about doing that); I eat the same foods that 'normal' people eat, but without meat in them. I actually am not totally vegan (I have been eating dairy), but to be consistent with my message, I am moving towards veganism again.
But being vegetarian (without being vegan) is not as hard as it sounds -- you will find almost every kind of food has tasty vegetarian options.
I hope that helps for now ...
Subject: from Josh
Noah and "There would be serious incest problems":
Incest is not a problem with animals! Only for
humans is close interbreeding called incest.
The thing that bothers me most is that animals are made to eat each other. Red in tooth and claw, as they say, in order to continue existence. It's so immensely cruel!
This alone argues against the notion of Intelligent Design.
I feel guilt every time I eat a Hamburger or
have some of that tasty bacon with my eggs. If I had been an all-knowing omnipotent
creator, I would not have made things this way. I
would easily have been a kinder more loving god than
our current Elohim et al. What a mean god we have in
him and in "that Jesus guy".
Date: Wed, 06 Aug 2008 18:35:10 -0600
Thanks, Josh, for your thoughts.
Actually, animals can have incest problems too. I'm not sure what part of that word couldn't extend to them, maybe anthrocentric types feel that the 'sin' of it only applies to us 'rational animals.' Can animals sin?
I beg to differ about 'nobody' -- many adult, apparently intelligent mormons take that arc story pretty literally. I dare you to test that theory after raising your hand in sunday school.
David Hume also turns the argument from Design against itself by arguing that if God made this world (thereby explaining its order) why didn't he do a better job, and points out four circumstances in which the world's make appears to be either amateurish or, more likely, indifferent.
Jesus appears much nicer than the 'Jehovah' of the old testament - a pacifist vs. a genocidal dictator. How could those be the same person? Just a thought.
Incest is something only people can
do. It's in the definition of the word. I just wanted to educate you on that :)
Definition: sexual intercourse between closely related persons.
Nobody with intellectual honesty believes in that ark-flood and Exodus -- I didn't realize I need to be so explicit. Everyone with an education and who is honest knows that these things were made up.
Jesus says some pretty ugly things in the new testament too. Well, he's credited with saying those things -- Nobody really knows what if anything he said, since nobody who could have known him actually wrote anything down. The great teacher himself never wrote moo. Funny, eh?
I don't know from Hume :) I know for that if I had the powers that so-called intelligent Mormons attribute to their gods -- If I had that power I would make a kinder, gentler planet. Hands down and with half my brain tied behind my back!
Mormonism, one of the
But unless you were
Date: Fri, 08 Aug 2008 19:19:32 -0600
[...] I know an extremely smart and very educated guy who is researching extensively for a book that 'proves' among other things that the arc story is real and that it covered the whole earth.
You underestimate the powers of fundamentalism.
I appreciate your thoughts and humor.
With precision and pig- iron wit, this compact
volume lays bare all the
sex, gore, and lunacy
of the Bible.
I think your
friend is very queer -- the one who is working to find
evidence for Noah and water covering all land.
former astronaut Irwin's quest for the arc;
Post-NASA,searching for Noah's ark)
What will your friend count as evidence?
Where did the water go? Tell your friend, before he embarks on this project that he should think, question and read a book. If the deluge had drained into a giant hole, and if, let's say, the hole were as huge as the Great Salt Lake -- then how deep would your friend say that a hole needs to be in order to take up all that water? It would have to be deep indeed -- down, past the center of the earth... the hole would have to exit at its antipodal point, and extend into space for thousands of mile, about three times the distance to our moon. There's no power in this fundamentalist claptrap, unless you count stupidity as power.
Of course simple arithmetic like is not the only thing that makes the Noah story wrong. Since you seem to be defending the Biblical account, I bet you don't know / understand what arguments exits against the Wholly Babble account.
So, may I
ask, what is your education level? I ask because I am trying
to figure out where you are intellectually. I have a
feeling, now, that you and your very intelligent friend both
would not know what evidence is if it bit you in the rear.
My god -- you are right, there are still people alive today
who don't know archeology, geology, anthropology, biology,
genetics... So again, may I ask, what is your
(more)? What will your friend count as evidence?
At 07:07 PM 8/11/2008, you
that my 'friend' (more precise: fellow
ward member) is
actually quite intelligent and does tons of research in
addition to holding a regular job. He does four hour
presentations, for example, on the geography of the Book of
Mormon, among other things.
[Yes, [name] -- sorry,
you are right. I did not read your letter carefully,
thinking that since it's from BYU it's all crap.
I was wrong; I'm sorry. --ED]
you for your reply. It's nice to hear form you -- I
show your email replies to everybody.
You mentioned that you had been raised as an atheist. Everybody was once an atheist -- by virtue of birth : )
having reached adulthood, acquired education and
responsibility, said to yourself -- oh,
the planet -- that place where god's wife
pumps out, ad infinitum, from between her legs, space-aliens
who later will be
supraliminally zapped to earth, a-la
(Superman), you said to yourself, "yes that makes
sense, that's the religion I'll support from now on".
At 04:35 PM 8/13/2008, you
I will remind you: I made a comment on the radio to the effect that the arc story was full of holes, but did not want to go into that. The reason is that, as BYU faculty it might not be wise for me to do so.
I, in fact, think that parts of the old testament, if taken literally, are absurd (both morally and factually).
The point I made to you is that there are MANY among us who do take it quite literally, and they are not all idiots (in fact most of them aren't). As far as why they believe what they do, I think it's because it's how they've been taught it's righteous to believe. [emphasis mine -- Ed]
Here is an important principle of psychology / philosophy that I have learned by observation: If a person is committed to a view (no matter how absurd it may seem from an outsider's point of view) then that person can find all kinds of 'rational' justifications for that view. This is true even to the extent that if those people have control of the sources of information of uninformed people then they can make it even seem absurd to believe otherwise.
This is true not only in religion but also in politics, personal relationships, etc. (for example, if you want to make your ex sound evil to someone he or she hasn't met, it is easy to do so).
Thus many non-idiots actually believe things that seem absurd to those outside of their mind-sets.
As for a more specific answer to your question: how does my 'friend' justify his views about the flood. It is actually quite interesting.
First of all, you asked for 'proof', but that is not typically how even science works -- it's more of an inference to the best explanation of the data. His theory is (as I mentioned Neptunian) that the earth's core is not magma but ice. He claims that this view explains many geologic phenomena better than plutonianism (the magma story). Volcanoes are caused by seismic friction in rocks around the crust, not by a planet full of lava.
Thus, the extra water for the flood came from (and returned to) the earth beneath the surface (which, of course, had melted). As far as the explanation of how and why that happened, he has an elaborate answer, I believe having to do with a temporary slowing of the earth's rotational velocity. [It appears that under [name]'s friend's theory that the core of the earth became superheated water (steam) -- due to friction of the mantle with the ice beneath -- and due to pressure thus created by this friction the frozen core it filled the oceans with cold water and then a short time later the water returned to the earth's core freeze again.]
I want to make some points.
1) He is a religious guy. Therefore, analogous to the intelligent-design people, he is coming at this with an ulterior motive. Therefore, he does not need a 'proof' that this is the way it is (though, as I mentioned, he claims that neptunism can explain some data -- like the bending of seismic waves as they pass through the earth -- better than the magma view), but rather an explanation that counters the objections and allows a justification of scripture. I'm sure you've heard of FARMS, for another example of this.
2) I don't know enough about geology to be able to
demonstrate what's wrong with neptunism (to explain why most
geologists don't believe it) or whether his answers to their
objections and counter-arguments are adequate. But it is at
least an interesting topic.
[It appears that BYU professor [name] can't ascertain
Neptunism is a reasonable
"His theory is (as I mentioned Neptunian) that the earth's core is not magma but
[ Further needling [name] about the veracity of the Noah arc-story is omitted here -- because I'm now ashamed if it -- Ed.]
Tell me more about the ICE-believable aspect of your smart friend's ideas please. I know that you are trying to distance yourself from your smart friend's Ideas now, especially that you have now revealed his extremely goofy central-planet ICE idea. What other planets are thought to harbor ICE at their cores...
[ Even more needling [name] about the arc-story is omitted here -- for the same reason -- Ed.]
You claim adherence
to the Mormon FAITH. You are a Mormon, yes? KOLOB, Loahona... reformed
Egyptian... My god, the list of stupid is endless...
[ More insults omitted here -- Ed.]
a Mormon may think that a LIAHONA is a real thing, as is the planet KOLOB, space alien gods,
etc. -- these things are real, yes? And the Mormon celestial kingdom,
that Joseph Smith could translate Egyptian Hieroglyphics, his
'Egyptian - English'
Dictionary, iron and steel were really
smelted in Pre-Columbian
America, yes ?
[ Ditto here -- Ed.]
You say that it's not necessary to be harsh with people who promulgate "goofy ideas", because in the marketplace of ideas, the things I consider as goofy are actually quite popular.
"I am suggesting that more people
believe it than you seem to realize"
Now I decided to post these letters as a BLOG
OK I now see you typed this, as part
of your previous reply: "I, again, am not trying to convince you to be a
literalist about the bible or to believe in the arc story -- I don't believe
it myself !"
That's funny -- and forgive me because I missed this -- but you said in previous email that the fundamentalist viewpoint has a lot of veracity. You told me "You underestimate the powers of fundamentalism." I "misunderstand" what you mean by this. So please tell me what this means, if not what it says: I underestimate the powers of fundamentalism.
So, now you are off the hook on answering what evidence you would accept about the veracity of the ark story. You don't believe it and you think that this Wholly Babble story is just that. Good.
But you are a Mormon and
thus believe in Moses and his Exodus, yes? so... same question... what evidence
would be need to say that Moses was real and the Heebrews... that the Egyptian
captivity was real ?
Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2008 03:17:13
Subject: I am going to make a web page
I've been thinking about what you said, nutrition-wise [at the beginning of this email exchange] and I'm inclined not to believe it.
I'm no expert. But I remember
said... that a novice should weigh strongly the opinion of
the expert... well something to that effect.
seems that you BYU "professors" don't know how things work!
You pass yourselves off as an expert in the field of nutrition, yet you demonstrate, by supporting and adhering to Mormonism, that you don't understand squat about how things really work!
A nutritionist should know something about biology. A biologist understands genetics; a geneticist understands that pre-Columbian humans are *not* lost Israelites.
You, Mr. Mormon BYU professor think that American Indians arrived in the Americas after having found their way across the Atlantic, using a 600-year old GPS-machine which you call the Liahona.
What a stupid, stupid idiot you are -- and to think that you are allowed to go into a classroom to misinform youngsters and speak on the radio to tell people how to eat healthily !!
Of course, we could go on here -- to show how stupid and DISHONEST you & your religion are... we could examiner your goofy belief in...
Polar Bears Get in Way of Drilling For Oil, says Governor"
Sarah Palin, the GOP Vice
presidential candidate in 2008 "...is suing the Bush Administration over its
decision [...] to place the animal under the protection of the Endangered
claiming that climate models predicting the continued loss of sea ice - the main
habitat of polar bears - are unreliable."
I might ask his opinion about
unrelated things of which I happen know something about. Then, I'm
more inclined to accept his claimed expertise in that other unrelated field if
he agrees with my opinion on it.
However, as some kind of minor authority on Mormonism, I do know what the really stupid things are which he believes -- and to which Professor [name] 'bears his testimony' in church on a weekly basis.
Thanks for your message, Richard, here is what I'd add, about the quality of thinking at BYU. Professor [hame] adheres to the Mormon dictum: "When out leaders speak, the thinking has been done" !
[I don't really know for sure if that's so. It's not Mormon gospel. Not doctrine. It's a slogan Mormons have used and seem proud of. I never heard BYU Professor Dr. [hame] state that, I assumed that he adheres to this saying. But I was wrong. In later communication he disavowed this slogan -- ED.]
Subject: Re: I need to rely on an expert to
Dear [name] – RE: "As I mentioned to him, I joined the
church for spiritual (not factual) reasons." -- What the hell is a SPIRIT, anyway?? RE: “He began writing increasingly hostile emails to me accusing me of
believing the very things that I claimed (on the radio and email) NOT to
believe. He is a very strange person in that regard.”
I insert fac-similes of the six brass plates found near Kinderhook, in
Pike county, Illinois, on April 23, by Mr. Robert Date: Sat, 06 Sep 2008 05:41:29 -0600
Dear [name] –
RE: "As I mentioned to him, I joined the church for spiritual (not factual) reasons."
-- What the hell is a SPIRIT, anyway??
RE: “He began writing increasingly hostile emails to me accusing me of
believing the very things that I claimed (on the radio and email) NOT to
believe. He is a very strange person in that regard.”
I insert fac-similes of the six brass plates found near Kinderhook, in
Pike county, Illinois, on April 23, by Mr. Robert
Date: Sat, 06 Sep 2008 05:41:29 -0600
Subject: Re: I need to rely on an URGENT to decide
You seem to think that I am stupid (you repeatedly make reference to that) and that you are smart.
Let's test you a little. Here is your IQ test (it's all true/false):
It's a bit ironic for you to toss around
accusations of my stupidity considering your performance so far on this test
(I've already graded #'s 2-7).
Subject: Not all A's spirit C's, so not all B' believes X.'from Kolob
And it came to pass that verily, I do think you are stupid, uneducated,
dishonest or all of those because you think a miracle-based ideology is valid.
The so-called special characters are just quotation marks that for some reason messed up in the email transmission.
It is a bit ironic for you to tell me to be nice.
Subject: Re: Not all AĂ˘Â€Â™s spirit CĂ˘Â€Â™s, so not all BĂ˘Â€Â™ believes X.Ă˘Â€Âť from KOLOB
I have a moderate case of dyslexia, so any kind of extraneous garbage distraction destroys my visual system even more than usual. Knowing what you know about the cause of these distractions (and you should not have emailed them to begin with), I'll tell you how to efficiently (easy + lazy = efficient :) get rid of them .... cut-and-paste your material into a simple text editor such as 'Notepad', for Windows computers. That automatically corrects everything. Then re-cut-and-paste this corrected text into your destination file to email to your victim.
Subject: Re: Re:
Thank you for your first (mostly) polite email. (I don't know what's going on with the email thing -- when I sent it it was fine -- I hope this one doesn't add the gibberish).
The way it (typically) works in academia (and in most other circles) is that a person will present a view, then another person who disagrees then seeks to:
a) correctly understand what that person said (to argue against someone based on what that person doesn't actually say is called a straw-man argument).
b) Understand why they hold that view or what their reasoning is.
c) Point out areas of disagreement -- these areas of disagreement can be matters of fact or matters of principle. Sometimes someone is just wrong about some matter of fact (but often facts too are controversial), and other times people can have different points of view about principle or reasoning. Any and all disagreements can be pointed out and then discussed, but it is important that they be pointed out in light of a) and b) already being accomplished, otherwise it is a waste of both parties' time (this is the case with you and me).
d) Express these things politely, or at least with a sense of professional decorum (that's not to say you can't strongly disagree; you just have to use a style that allows the discussion to go forward rather than merely insult people). People who write in the style of angry letters to the editor don't really persuade anyone, they just rile up people's emotions. This is rude, not persuasive. Usually it's very off-putting to those with opposite views and merely riles up the emotions (not the intellect) of those with similar views. It's cheerleading; not reasoning.
For example, you are welcome as a human with a brain, to disagree with the things I say.
You can disagree with me about animal rights.
You can also
disagree with me (or others) about mormonism. I have several friends who think
that mormonism (and all religion) is absurd and stupid. I used to be an atheist
myself, and I was raised with science (and I still believe in science), so I can
have intelligent conversations about these things.
Subject: It was made after the form of a bedstead, such as was had among the Chaldeans...
RE: “You merely attacked and insulted things that I said that OTHER PEOPLE believe. I even said that I DID NOT believe those things.”
--You volunteered that you do not believe in the flood story and in one or two things, fair enough. It would be really sad to have a university professor express flat-earth beliefs or ideology.
If you are a Mormon, it MUST mean that you belive that Jos. Smith could translate ancient texts -- correctly : )
*If* this ---- according to your prophet and seer and polygamist, Jos. Smith, means
THEN, MR. BYU PROFESSOR, HOW WOULD ONE WRITE THIS in Egyptian:
How stupid do you think we are,
Mr. Mormon apologist professor, that one should believe that really means what
Jos. Smith said it means in his official Dictionary of the Egyptian language??
Or did your Jos. Smith invent an extremely efficient data compression algorithm
Subject: he wants to kill any white male ... it's time to answer now.
BY [ of BYU ] is against a white man ejaculating into a black woman, other men of other races are OK to cum into black women. Why? Please explain your chosen religion. He's not only "against" this, he wants to kill any white male -- not Asian, etc. ... who does this. Is you r religion STUPID or can you defend Brigham Young, Seer, Prophet and Revelator as regards to this?
Thank you kindly in advance for your reply,
(1848 - 1877) BRIGHAM YOUNG 2nd Prophet and President
"You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely,
disagreeable, sad, low in their habits, wild, and seemingly without the blessings
of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind.
"Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man
who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain,
the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so."
The above is a quote from
the namesake of your learned university. You know, of course, that every
stupid thing you singed up for when you became a Mormon is fair game, yes?
|Nothing happened. So 11 days later I wrote a final letter:|
Date: Tue, 23 Sep 2008 13:59:27
Subject: One who corrupts the youth
Whenever I talk with someone like you and when I accuse them of having and supporting goofy / inconsistent [/ hurtful] beliefs like you, and when I point out some of the most goofy ones as I have done many times with you whenever that happens my victim becomes a turtle-ostrich. I don’t blame you for burying your head in the sand and for not defending those stupid, indefensible stonewall-Mormon beliefs. I only blame you for being a Mormon. You are dishonest. You are smart enough to know better and that makes it worse.
And I blame you for being one who corrupts our youths and one who is responsible for increasing my tax burden because y’all don’t pay y’all’s fair share of taxes.
Subject: Re: One who corrupts the youth
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2008 18:05:26 -0600
If you were an honest (or intelligent) person you would post and reply to thing I actually say (or write), and we could have a debate about those things. But in all cases you attribute to me things I never said (and in many cases have said the opposite) and condemn me for things that I don't espouse, while pretending that I do. For example, you attribute to me the line: when church leaders have spoken the discussion is over ... (or something like that -- I don't remember it because I never actually said it) *; I say the opposite. The discussion is never over.
So why would it be worth anybody's time to reply to someone so dishonest as to attribute things to them that are false?
People don't stop replying to you because they can't handle debate about the truthfulness of their religion (I actually can -- but you wouldn't know). They stop replying to you because you are neither smart nor 'nice' nor honest (there is a great irony because the very three vices you accuse me of are actually true of YOU and not of ME). You simply repeatedly lie by attributing false things and therefore commit non-sequitur and straw man fallacies the whole time. It is a total waste of time and an insult to intelligence.
If you wanted to debate the truthfulness of Mormonism you could actually do so (politely) and get a lively discussion going. But you are not trying to do that. You are just another slanderous internet predator who, when he can't actually condemn someone's words, simply makes things up, claiming that the person said them, when they didn't.
To reply to your quotation (you give no source) about interracial marriage, for example, it is invalid to infer that just because Mormons believe that religious leaders are SOMETIMES inspired, that they are ALWAYS inspired. Many church leaders have said many ridiculous things. You don't know what it is actually like or what it actually means to be a real Mormon, only what you heard someone say certain things, so you falsely attribute those things to all Mormons.
Since your only goal is to slander and vilify, to share what I actually believe about the church with you would be a clear case of casting pearls before swine.
If you really want to know why I was on the radio that day, I will show you. If you can handle knowing what I stand for / against then watch both of these:
getactive.peta.org/campaign/iowa_pigfarm_abuse2: Undercover Investigation Reveals Hormel Supplier's Abuse of Mother Pigs and Piglets and goveg.com/factoryFarming.asp Cruelty to Animals: Mechanized Madness
You see, I was not using animals to promote Mormonism, I was using Mormonism to defend animals.
That is what I stand for: kindness to animals. If Mormons realize that their own religion teaches it then maybe they will change and there will be more peace on earth.
I wasn't on the radio telling the world that Mormonism is true, I was telling Mormons (and other open-minded people) that animals matter and that we must stop abusing them.
Date: Thu, 25 Sep 2008 04:17:34
Subject: Are you a Mormon?
Are you a Mormon ?
Subject: Re: Are you a Mormon?
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2008 18:19:31 -0600
He asked if I am NOT a Mormon. Yes, I am not a Mormon. I will tell him "yes".
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2008 23:22:10
Subject: Re: Re: Are you a Mormon?
Date: Mon, 29 Sep 2008 17:23:06 -0600
I figured you were.
Why? Because normal atheists think religous people are idiots but usually don't bother with them. The ones that show the kind of hostility you've shown me are usually ex-members (or current, disaffected members).
Yes, I am, as you know, a Mormon (13 years).
I understand your argument: that by even being a member of the church I am at least implicitly endorsing a lot of stupid stuff.
I got that a while back. I think it is a legitimate point, one I've heard before, but I don't think it's altogether subtle or totally persuasive.
But I heard you, and took note.
Subject: "I don't think it's altogether subtle or totally persuasive."
THANK YOU! For saying this... "I understand your argument: that by even being a member of the church I am at least implicitly endorsing a lot of stupid stuff"... "I think it is a legitimate point, one I've heard before, but I don't think it's altogether subtle or totally persuasive."
However, I think you are much more (worse) than only implicitly active in endorsing a lot of stupid stuff. To the extent that state-sponsored religion is harmful, you are also endorsing harming others, for example thru forcing non-religious people to support your church. You know that churches are tax exempt and someone has to make up the money the government needs, money which y'all weasel out of paying y'all's fair share of.
[A preposition is not something to end a sentence with, dammit.]
Religions are anti-education. Anti-biology, Anti-genetics, Anti-sex education, and so on. That's why religions build institutions like your BYU, for example. And to show that church schools are inferior, I merely point out than no great scientific progress, discoveries, Nobel prizes, etc. have ever come form a BYU.[name], you keep saying things like "I never said that..." so I thought I'm going to have to start with the basics -- to establish that you are a Mormon (Yes you did say that you converted to Mormonism as an adult). Next, I thought that I'd have to re-type again, all these tenets of Mormonism, and ask you to say, for each whether you believe in that or not. (By "believe in" I mean a short-cut way of saying that something is true.) That way, I'd kneecap your later denial of those goofy Mormon things.
I ask you to say whether you accept these 25 things as true (Bear your testimony, bro.) :
... and if you say that you believe in a substantial number of these then I'd like you to say how you could have been so stupid and dishonest to sign up for Mormonism as an adult -- and be allowed to be called a philosopher.
If you object to be called stupid and dishonest, then you should say why it's not stupid / dishonest to believe or to feign belief in all these goofy Mormon things.
Next we'll work on your Wholly Babble holy bible beliefs.
I'm expecting 25 answers. That's what I'm expecting. What I will get "may vary".
Ps: BTW, I knew about mano a mano; I did that on purpose :)
Date: Mon, 06 Oct 2008 13:24:26 -0600
Sorry it has taken me a while to reply, again. I have been too busy for email lately.
I am not saying you don't make good points. You do make some good points about truth and honesty. I have thought about what you said.
The trouble, as I have mentioned, is that your demeanor makes it impossible to have an honest and open conversation with you about those points. [They always "come back" with that. It's not the content, it's the form! I'm sorry, but I can't suffer fools and dishonestly gladly - Ed.]
If you want proof of my point just make note of the fact that you have already created a web page devoted to excoriating me for saying things that I don't say and for believing things I never said I believed. Therefore you are not one with whom someone can have a fair and honest conversation -- you have already proven yourself to be
a) quite dishonest, and
b) a mere attack machine (rather than a reasonable and understanding human being).
If I tell you that I agree with most of the things on the list then you will say that I am a dishonest idiot. If I say that I disagree with most of the things on your list then you will say that I am a dishonest idiot. [Probably; but first I'd ask you to substantiate. - Ed] There is no room for me to benefit from the conversation.
So I guess you might as well just apply the dilemma rule of logic and decide that I am a dishonest idiot either way and leave it there. An honest and polite person might have been worthy of a sincere and honest discussion of these issues, but you have proven yourself to be neither. Therefore, as I said, the conversation would be a no win for me and would lead you to the same conclusion no matter what I said.
So I close with the reminder of the irony that you are accusing me of being dishonest. I have never claimed that you believed things that you don't or publicly posted false things about you or posted your bosses name and number (presumably for people to complain about you -- again based on false and unjustified things -- in an effort to get you fired) based on false things about you. So if your conclusion is that I am a dishonest idiot then the pot is certainly calling the kettle black, but the pot is much blacker than the kettle in this case.
Have a nice life.
Subject: The demeanor
I thought your long silence was
because you were working up answers to my questions. But alas, no!
Subject: Re: The demeanor
Date: Fri, 10 Oct 2008 17:31:06 -0600
anyone who reasons as follows: "These things are really STUPID, yet you do not deny them. That means you believe them."
Can only be seen as an idiot. So welcome to the club. And you are more so than me since I have not used such fallacious reasoning with you. (suggestion: you might try getting an education, as you put it)
Also, though I have not denied (and I have explained why) those things I have never written false things about you. Yet you do, making you less honest as well.
I am apparently stupid and dishonest by omission. You are so by commision. That makes you worse.
Enough already. If you can reason like an intelligent human being then this whole conversation is a waste of time.
Go ahead and believe that I am stupid and dishonest -- there's nothing I could do or say to talk you out of that view. You take my silence to mean that. You on the other hand, have proved it with your words.
We are done.
Subject: If you can reason
then you waste your time
"Unfortunately, anyone who reasons as follows: 'These things are really STUPID,
yet you do not deny them. That means you believe them." Can only be seen as an
Firstly y'all seem uneducated and unable to tell reality from mythology. I say this because y'all are Mormons who belive in space aliens and pre-Columbian Jews, that praying works, Mother Gonhorra, pre-Columbian iron, silk, coins, horses, that Jos. Smith could translate correctly... ad nauseam.
Secondly, I think y'all should quarantine yourselves on your "campus" to keep your infectious Mormon memes ("momes") from corrupting our youth (see http://nowscape.com/mormon/virus.htm http://www.christianitymeme.org/ ). Here I have enclosed a partial diagram of your Mormon belief system. Anybody who believes THAT, MUST have a screw loose. Y'all ought to take the hemlock, you corrupters of our youth. That's my opinion.
Re: If you can reason then you waste your time
Monday, October 13, 2008 1:25 PM
From: "[name] "
"You say that I am ..."
If you wanted to be honest you would ask me what
I really think and represent it accurately. To attribute things to people that
they don't say or pretend to believe is dishonest. You seem to make a hobby of
that, therefore have very little credibility.
RE: "If you read with
what is called charity, you can understand what someone meant to say even if
that person wrote it incorrectly."
I think if you live with what is called charity, you can understand that it's not nice to encopurage people to go door-to-door to explain to others that they have the wrong religion and that they will burn in hell if they don't change to Mormonism right away... and give up 10% of their income, to boot. And Don't get all prissy. You did the same to me in the last round, Mr. Bertrand Russell.
RE: "When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done" That Mormon slogan is at the top of this web page. You never said that. * I'm sorry if I implied that you had used this slogan even though you (and I, indirectly) pay for the salaries of those who invented it.
It's a quote long attributed (1945) to your church, not to you.
Don't get all pissy about it; you
are grasping at straws. I'm assuming everything else is ok now, as
far as my putting words in your mouth. If you think of something else let
RE: "If you wanted to be honest you would ask me what I really think and represent it accurately." I want to be honest. I did ask you what you think about my 25 points, for christ's sake!! Again, what do you really think?
"You don't know what it is actually like or what it actually
means to be a real Mormon, only what you heard someone say certain things, so
you falsely attribute those things to all Mormons. [
Wed, 24 Sep 2008]"
"As to why I joined the church despite all of those
issues, ... I have already told you, but you appeared not to understand."
RE: "you attributed to me the belief in Noah's ark when our
conversations started with me explaining why that story couldn't be true."
If I read you right, you want to be
counted as a Mormon but also maintain that not all LDS ideology is based in
fact. This is OK so long as you don't throw out too much of your religion.
So please educate me as to what is false about Mormonism. The best you could do
for me would be to show me a Book of Mormon with the things that are NOT
translated correctly... with these things
highlighted in yellow or
mine are in
Date: Thu, 06 Nov 2008 06:11:35 -0700
I see the Mormon CEO primate-seers as akin to the tobacco industry's CEOs,
who, when testifying before the US congress, said, to a man -- oh tobacco smoking? It's actually
good for you! The cock-sucking swines!
The same can be said of
apologists-revelators, who say that Mormonism is actually good for you, it is not a GOOFY made-up fable at all! Madalyn
Murray O'Hair, said "Religion is a mental
Date: Sat, 22 Nov 2008 12:28:48 -0700
Subject: flawed thinking throughout, but light years ahead of your Mormonism nevertheless..
Date: Sat, 22 Nov 2008 19:28:36
Let me be clear.
You are a person that not only tells lies but creates web sites based on telling lies about people (at least me, I imagine that you do the same to others).
In your last email to me you sought to justify telling those lies about me by claiming that my Church lies.
How does the behavior of a church you despise justify you in the same behavior?
--- Stupid -- what are the
lies? Let me know and I will fix.
--- I did not know that!
I thought that Mormons do indeed promulgate that. Mormon missionaries told
Try sticking to truth, and where you don't know the truth thereof you must remain silent or find out the truth.
--- I'll pray harder, longer, for the truth, OK? The TRUTH is... ahem... correct me if I'm wrong... it's that Jos. Smith talked with space aliens and said that polygamy should be practiced by people, and / or by after-life, re-animated dead people on the planet Kolob -- anyway, THAT nonsense is what the church you support claims and promulgates, world-wide.
(I asked you MANY times about these
kinds of things and you say nothing!
It must feel like shit to be someone, a "philosopher", with intellect... to
be one who can't say squat because his church would ostracize him if he said
anything contrarian -- something that's actually true.)
---- I may be in a
better position because I don't use miracles (and 'spirits') to bolster my claims, like you.
--- YOU are a latter-day Mormon and I attribute, rightly so, fundamentalism, to y'all. Not only that, I attribute present-day millemialism to you also. Again, correct me if I'm wrong.
You obviously don't know me and have no basis on which to write about my religious beliefs (except that I believe in kindness to sentient beings -- something that you claimed one does not need religion to conclude -- but that is my basis for vegetarianism.
If you want to pick on mormons, leave me out of it. You don't know anything about what I believe about that.
--- You help Mormons, support them are paid by them and you are one,
as you say!
It appears that you did no read BBC the article to which I sent you a link...
out leaders speak, the thinking has been done"
is quasi-Mormon doctrine (see the LDS
magazine Improvement Era,
June 1945, page 354
). It's a slogan Mormons have often used. I never heard BYU
Professor Dr. [hame] state "When out leaders speak, the
thinking has been done" But he supports those who say those silly things, financially and
no doubt, "spiritually" -- ED.]
held for ransom
It's a contract of sorts between the school and the student. And
Hardy didn't hold up his end, Jenkins says.
It wouldn't matter if Hardy offended the code of conduct as a
sophomore or the night before graduation, Jenkins says. Rules are
rules . Students have to be code-worthy on graduation day.
Hardy figures he's being used to keep other students in line.
"They're dragging this out and making an example of me. And I'm letting them do it," he says. "They control by fear. I'm just allowing people to watch."
Last fall, he appealed the university's decision. A week ago, he got the letter from Dean of Students Vernon Heperi -- no diploma. Hardy refused to answer BYU's questions about his sex life, whether he drank coffee after 2002. As far as he's concerned, those details are none of their business now.
So, Heperi searched Hardy's Web site for some proof.
"I find that the material related to this calendar, as well as other material posted on your Web Site, is inappropriate in light of the teachings of the church and the applicable above-referenced Honor Code principles," Heperi wrote.
To be honest, Hardy, 32, doesn't need the diploma. He has a successful team-building business in Las Vegas. "Men on a Mission" has sold just under 20,000 copies; the proceeds are donated to charity. He's launching a pinup calendar of Mormon Vargas girls, "Hot, Mormon Muffins: Taste of Motherhood." He pays his legal bills with donations.
Still, he wants the diploma. He earned and paid for it. He's thinking of going to court.
"If I was a dishonest person, I would play their game," Hardy says. He's been told he can have the scrap of parchment if he'll return to the church.
I believe that's known as ransom.
w a l s h (at) s l t r i b . c o m Source: sltrib.com
Date: Sat, 7 Mar 200922:19:26 -0700
To: NOWSC <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Three weeks ago, my bishop withheld my ecclesiastical endorsement   [Dress and Grooming Standards, and the Residential Living Standards], for religious reasons, so now I too have been fired from BYU.
Is it really possible to 'enforce' integrity? Or does that make it not integrity after all. It makes the phrase 'honor code' quite ironic.
What do you think? Institutional integrity or religious McCarthyism (combined with rampant Pharisees-ism)?
Date: Sun, 08 Mar 2009
Very interesting. I think he put it quite succinctly - those who behave because they are forced to behave have no integrity. Isn't there a hierarchy principle (Maslow?) that gives reasons for people choosing their actions. At one end of the spectrum is doing what is right because you have a gun at your head, and at the other end is doing the right thing because it is the correct thing to do.
Give this guy a break. Religious people can have high morals (obviously) and can think for themselves. People change. Who is to decide what issues and circumstances this guy dealt with in his life.
You must admit, I hope, that you have changed your opinion about many things, and given enough time you would change your opinion about many more. Wouldn't it be sad if we made up our minds about the issues and stayed that way for the rest of our lives? That is what fanatics do.
At 05:09 PM 3/8/2009, you wrote:
Some people give it serious thought and decide they are believers. This guy may be one example.
Yes. I think [name] an example of
one who is a believer; a TRUE true believer --
He pays tithing and thus supports the Mormon church. He tries to defend Mormon doctrine. As to having given religion serious THOUGHT -- Mr. [name] is a true believer, for christ's sake and a fucking-"philosophy" teacher, to boot !.. I think that serious thought did not obtain, in this case, with professor [name]. But I could be wrong. Correct me if it's so, Richard.
I think that Jos. Smith gave more serious thought to matters of religion in 1820 than did Professor [name], 280 years later. And Mr. Smith got it all wrong -- Regarding that, I'm 100% sure you agree! Correct me if I'm wrong about "Professor" [name] in this regard, getting IT wrong -- that to be a Mormon is a good thing.
I'm thinking that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave international relations (and the Islamic religion a great deal of thought too, and his thought came to the conclusion that Israel... well, you know the rest. I can deduce Ahmadinejad's thoughts BELIEFS about what ought to be done with Atheists like me !
It seems you are ALWAYS wrong in defending the religious fuck-heads (or anybody in authority, actually). Why is this -- I can't understand. We A-theists are against religion no matter where it rears its ugly head.
This guy, [name], found himself trapped in a space-age FLAT EARTH Weltanschauung through no fault of his own. Now, until recently, he was a Professor at BYU, the flattest-earth university in the developed world. Why ask me to be tolerant of this? Flat-Earth-ism (KOLOB-ian soul- space travel or notwithstanding) is fucking really, really, REALLY REALLY stupid, and people who believe it should not be involved in 'educating' teenagers... yes or no? Let's do a Gedanken-Experiment and ask Socrates.
UPDATE 2011: Name was
It's because of a letter (below) from James Lyons that I decided to delete this web page's subject's identity and replace all references to him with [name]. It's not because of the subject's threat of a law suit and not because James Lyons tried to shame me nor because of his name-calling. There's no shame in saying how it is: Being religious in this day and age *is* stupid, and it's especially so for a professor to spread such poison to our young'uns.
He calls me 'sir'. Being called sir is always a tip-off that someone hates you: "Please step out of your car sir, spread your legs an place your hands on the hood".
From: James Lyons <email@example.com>
From: James Lyons <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From Salt Lake Tribune
My friend wanted a career change after 18 years as a public school teacher, so she applied to law school at the University of Utah under a program that provided some grant money for non-traditional students. The program required she apply at two law schools, so she also submitted her paperwork to BYU.
As fate would have it, she was not accepted to Utah, but was admitted to BYU.
As she went through the admissions process, she was told she needed a written recommendation from a religious leader of her official denomination or a judge confirming she was an upstanding, moral person worthy of BYU.
"I strongly feel that in politics, people don't bother to appreciate the other side's point of view," said [name], a part- time faculty member at BYU. "I don't think the Republicans at BYU understand why we have the beliefs we do. Having this club on campus is really crucial to Republicans on the opposing side to understand why we believe what we do. We're here to make sure our side gets represented." FindArticles.com/p/articles/
LDS Prof Says Vegetarian Diet
Upholds Mormon Scripture
Mormon Stories #072: Spirituality of the Rising LDS Generation Pt. 4 — “Honesty”: An interview with BYU Professor [name]
October 19, 2007 on 1:15 pm | In Faith, LDS, Mormon, Podcast, Testimony, byu, spiritual |
In part 4 of our series we interview BYU Philosophy Professor Dr. [name]. Dr. [name] was raised a “devout atheist” and then later converted to the LDS Church.
In this interview, he discusses his conversion to the church, along with his views on faith, religion, the church, teaching at BYU, and the importance of honesty and openness in all our religious endeavors.
club is for disenfranchised
Mormons who sense that there is
something wrong with their
religion but they don't quite
know what. They can't
quite put their fingers on the
problem -- it's the TOT
phenomenon: tip of the tongue.
They can smell the stench but
can't see the big
disgusting turd in the
middle of the floor.
I'm paraphrasing, but in essence, that's it, sadly. "Sadly" and "unfortunately" and such -- must be added here to remain politically correct, even though this sentiment should be obvious.
All enrolled continuing
undergraduate, graduate, intern,
or study abroad students are
required to obtain a Continuing
Endorsement for each new
academic year. Students must
have their endorsements
completed, submitted, and
processed by the Honor Code
Office before they can register
for fall semester or any
semester thereafter. Priority
registration for the following
fall semester can begin in early
April. To avoid registration
delays students should complete
and submit their endorsements to
the Honor Code Office by March
Faith is blind New 'miracle' counters vision loss
Any inaccuracies here will be corrected if brought to my attention.