Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Mormon churches need this sign out in front

(Thanks to my friend Joe for posting this to Folk of the Fringe a long time ago)


Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Like a stopped clock...

Like a stopped clock, Ed Brayton is correct every once in a while. Teachers Unions are, for the most part, self-serving and have a deleterious effect on education.


Monday, August 29, 2005


Parody of "Dark Dungeons" tract

Yet another classic:

MST3k meets Jack Chick


Is that your hoe?

This post by "HouseApe" at Christian Forums reminded me of this shirt:


Spellcasting 101: Don't Try This At Home

This is another classic:

Spellcasting 101: Don't Try This At Home


Thoughts on a united Ireland

(I originally posted this elsewhere)

I believe Ireland should be united. The English monarchy engineered the situation by installing their Scotch-Irish puppets as lords over the area; it is therefore extremely disingenuous for the English government to claim that they are just honoring the principle of self-determination by keeping a hold on Northern Ireland.


Sunday, August 28, 2005


Donating Blood

I gave blood for the first time today. Although I experienced some trepidation initially, eventually I relaxed and started smiling and laughing. At one point I said, "I don't know if it is the blood loss but I am feeling euphoric."

By the way, I have type A blood (don't know if it is positive or negative, though).


Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Who Will Be Eaten First Cthulhu-Chick Parody

This is a classic:

Who Will Be Eaten First?


Monday, August 22, 2005


Reply to Louis

Again Robbie dear, wit eludes you. I did not say that reason necessitates the scientific method, I said that the scientific method was completely based on reason. Horse, cart, before: arrange these words appropriately.

Main Entry: thus
Pronunciation: '[th]&s
Function: adverb
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English; akin to Old Saxon thus thus
1 : in this or that manner or way
2 : to this degree or extent : SO
3 : because of this or that : HENCE, CONSEQUENTLY
4 : as an example

"whilst I would strongly assert that reason (and thus the scientific) method"

Reason (and) thus the scientific method.

If P, then Q.

P implies Q.

Also, you "demonstrated" nothing more than a piece of mathematics that was worked out prior to the scientific discoveries that it was used for. As it happens, there were some applications of group theory prior to particle physics. Look up spectroscopy and molecular symmetry, particularly of relevance to inorganic chemistry and ligand field theory...but I digress. By the way, what do you think mathematics is? Do you really think that because a piece of maths predates a physical usage of it that it is some sort of platonic object in the ether? Deary me. Perhaps you need to nip back to your PhD superisor and have him or her sit you down and give you a stern talking to.

If you think I am the only Platonist (Neoplatonist, in my case) in mathematics, then you are sniffing glue.

If the reason is not the only reliable method for investigating the universe (which I think you will find is what I actually claimed, in addition to the claim that the scientific method is applied reason and completely based on it, which again, any reading of epistemology 101 or any text like "What is this thing called science" by Chalmers will show you), then what other methods of investigating the universe are there? Faith, revelation, fantasy? I don't think so deary.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy (Hamlet Act I, Scene V)

Adieu you shall not hear from me again, unless of course you have the courgae...

Courgae? Is that Latin? publish your comments at the Panda's Thumb...

Been there, done that.


Saturday, August 20, 2005


Some wisdom from Boethius

In his De consolatione philosophiœ, Roman philosopher-theologian Boethius wrote:

Then said [Philosophy], ‘Think you that this universe is guided only at random and by mere chance? or think you there is any rule of reason constituted in it?’

‘No, never would I think it could be so, nor believe that such sure motions could be made at random or by chance. I know that God, the founder of the universe, does overlook His work; nor ever may that day come which shall drive me to abandon this belief as untrue.’



Athenagoras on the absurdity of polytheism

Chapter VIII.-Absurdities of Polytheism.

As regards, then, the doctrine that there was from the beginning one God, the Maker of this universe, consider it in this wise, that you may be acquainted with the argumentative grounds also of our faith. If there were from the beginning two or more gods, they were either in one and the same place, or each of them separately in his own. In one and the same place they could not be. For, if they are gods, they are not alike; but because they are uncreated they are unlike: for created things are like their patterns; but the uncreated are unlike, being neither produced from any one, nor formed after the pattern of any one. Hand and eye and foot are parts of one body, making up together one man: is God in this sense one?22 And indeed Socrates was compounded and divided into parts, just because he was created and perishable; but God is uncreated, and, impassible, and indivisible-does not, therefore, consist of parts. But if, on the contrary, each of them exists separately, since He that made the world is above the things created, and about the things He has made and set in order, where can the other or the rest be? For if the world, being made spherical, is confined within the circles of heaven, and the Creator of the world is above the things created, managing that23 by His providential care of these, what place is there for the second god, or for the other gods? For he is not in the world, because it belongs to the other; nor about the world, for God the Maker of the world is above it. But if he is neither in the world nor about the world (for all that surrounds it is occupied by this one24 ), where is he? Is he above the world and [the first] God? In another world, or about another? But if he is in another or about another, then he is not about us, for he does not govern the world; nor is his power great, for he exists in a circumscribed space. But if he is neither in another world (for all things are filled by the other), nor about another (for all things are occupied by the other), he clearly does not exist at all, for there is no place in which he can be. Or what does he do, Seeing there is another to whom the world belongs, and he is above the Maker of the world, and yet is neither in the world nor about the world? Is there, then, some other place where he can stand? But God, and what belongs to God, are above him. And what, too, shall be the place, seeing that the other fills the regions which are above the world? Perhaps he exerts a providential care? [By no means.] And yet, unless he does so, he has done nothing. If, then, he neither does anything nor exercises providential care, and if there is not another place in which he is, then this Being of whom we speak is the one God from the beginning, and the sole Maker of the world.


Some wisdom from Plotinus

Plotinus, the "father of Neoplatonism" wrote in his Fifth Ennead:

What can it be that has brought the souls to forget the father, God, and, though members of the Divine and entirely of that world, to ignore at once themselves and It?

The evil that has overtaken them has its source in self-will, in the entry into the sphere of process, and in the primal differentiation with the desire for self ownership. They conceived a pleasure in this freedom and largely indulged their own motion; thus they were hurried down the wrong path, and in the end, drifting further and further, they came to lose even the thought of their origin in the Divine. A child wrenched young from home and brought up during many years at a distance will fail in knowledge of its father and of itself: the souls, in the same way, no longer discern either the divinity or their own nature; ignorance of their rank brings self-depreciation; they misplace their respect, honouring everything more than themselves; all their awe and admiration is for the alien, and, clinging to this, they have broken apart, as far as a soul may, and they make light of what they have deserted; their regard for the mundane and their disregard of themselves bring about their utter ignoring of the divine.

Admiring pursuit of the external is a confession of inferiority; and nothing thus holding itself inferior to things that rise and perish, nothing counting itself less honourable and less enduring than all else it admires could ever form any notion of either the nature or the power of God.

A double discipline must be applied if human beings in this pass are to be reclaimed, and brought back to their origins, lifted once more towards the Supreme and One and First.


Bonus questions for my students

I taught two pre-calc discussion sections this summer and when I would give them quizzes I would ask a bonus question that was completely unrelated to the class in an attempt to lighten the mood. Some of the questions I asked were:

What color eyes does my TA have?

(a) blue
(b) green
(c) hazel
(d) brown
(e) dichromatic

(I wore sunglasses until the quiz was over)

What is my TA's favorite thing about Florida?

(a) humidity
(b) alligators
(c) relatively low cost of living
(d) hurricanes
(e) yo mama

My TA identifies most with the following religion/philosophy/worldview:

(a) buddhism
(b) atheism
(c) christianity
(d) agnosticism
(e) judaism

My TA is least likely to hang out with:

(a) playa-haters
(b) drunken sorority girls
(c) Mormons
(d) atheist and agnostic student assoc.
(e) democrats


Mormon temple vestments

Pretty goofy looking, no?


Friday, August 19, 2005


Today's deep thought

By Jack Handy

"If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time for no good reason."


Some favorite verses concerning Wisdom

She is more beautiful than the sun, and excels every constellation of the stars. Compared with the light she is found to be superior, for it is succeeded by the night, but against wisdom evil does not prevail.

(Wisdom 7:29-30)

For she is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nothing defiled gains entrance to her. For she is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness.

(Wisdom 7:25-26)

Wisdom cries out in the street; in the squares she raises her voice. At the busiest corner she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks: “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge? Give heed to my reproof; I will pour out my thoughts to you; I will make my words known to you…For waywardness kills the simple, and the complacency of fools destroys them; but those who listen to me will be secure and will live at ease, without dread of disaster.”

(Proverbs 1:20-23, 32-33)

[Wisdom] cries out: “To you, O people, I call, and my cry is to all that live. O simple ones, learn prudence; acquire intelligence, you who lack it. Hear, for I will speak noble things, and from my lips will come what is right; for my mouth will utter truth; wickedness is an abomination to my lips. All the words of my mouth are righteous; there is nothing twisted or crooked in them. They are all straight to one who understands and right to those who find knowledge. Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold; for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her. I, wisdom, live with prudence, and I attain knowledge and discretion…And now, my children, listen to me: happy are those who keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it.

(Proverbs 8:3-12, 32)

[Wisdom calls] from the highest places in the town, “You that are simple, turn in here!” To those without sense she says, “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. Lay aside immaturity, and live, and walk in the way of insight.”

(Proverbs 9:3-6)

[Wisdom] goes about seeking those worthy of her, and she graciously appears to them in their paths, and meets them in every thought. The beginning of wisdom is the most sincere desire for instruction, and concern for instruction is love of her, and love of her is the keeping of her laws, and giving heed to her laws is assurance of immortality, and immortality brings one near to God; so the desire for wisdom leads to a kingdom.

(Wisdom 6:16-20)

…[I]n every generation she passes into holy souls and makes them friends of God, and prophets; for God loves nothing so much as the person who lives with wisdom.

(Wisdom 7:27-28)

For [Wisdom] is an initiate in the knowledge of God, and an associate in his works…Because of her I shall have immortality, and leave an everlasting remembrance to those who come after me.

(Wisdom 8:4, 13)

Send [Wisdom] forth from the holy heavens, and from the throne of your glory send her, that she may labor at my side, and that I may learn what is pleasing to you. For she knows and understands all things, and she will guide me wisely in my actions and guard me with her glory.

(Wisdom 9:10-11)

“…Happy is the one who listens to [Wisdom], watching daily at [her] gates, waiting beside [her] doors. For whoever finds [Wisdom] finds life and obtains favor from the LORD; but those who miss [her] injure themselves; all who hate [Wisdom] love death.”

(Proverbs 8:34-36)


Thursday, August 18, 2005


Four Brothers

I saw the movie Four Brothers the other day. I enjoyed it and I recommend it, but if you are put off by gratuitous profanity as my pastor-friend Kevin is, then this movie is not for you.


Condemnation of man who mowed down crosses

I would like to join UTI's "DarkSyde" in condemning the actions of one Larry Northern, who callously mowed down memorial crosses for fallen soldiers.


Wednesday, August 17, 2005


More scientism nonsense

On Panda's Thumb, Louis wrote:

The fact of the matter is that whilst I would strongly assert that reason (and thus the scientific) method is the only reliable lens we have to examine the universe through (and I could back this up too!), not everyone thinks this way. Sadly they are wrong. Not because they disagree with me, but because the evidence is against them.

A) Reason is not synonymous with the scientific method

B) The scientific method most certainly is not the only way of examining our universe. For example, group theory (a subdiscipline of abstract algebra) was formulated without regard to any physical applications and without making recourse to the scientific method, but it just so happens that it has been extremely important in studying particles and has predicted many particles that were discovered at a later date.

Louis' asinine comment leads me to believe he does not know as much about science as he thinks.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Mark Perakh: still hubristic and still spreading the same old falsehoods

Mark Perakh, the "Boris Yeltsin of Higher Education," posted this diatribe to Panda's Thumb. In his post Perakh makes reference to two former posts of his that I would like to address.

The first is located here. What was the "unethical behavior" he attributes to Bill? Apparently, Bill had the unmitigated temerity to post anonymous comments to Amazon regarding Perakh's book wherein he referred readers to one of his books for answers to Perakh's criticisms. Indeed, Bill was so keen that no one surmise his identity that he posted his true location.

The second is located here. This one actually refers to me. Perakh claims:

There was once on the PT blog a discussion of certain mathematical concepts including the so called Kantorovich metrics. In his usual disdainful style, using quite rude language, O'Brien claimed that all the contributors to PT were fools with a low status in science and/or mathematics, while he was a student of the prominent mathematician Rachev who, in turn, was a student of a Nobel laureate, the famous Soviet mathematician Kantorovich, the author of the Kantorovich metrics.

Correct so far...

One of the contributors to PT suggested to O'Brien, as to a supposed specialist in this matter, that he post to PT an explanation of the Kantorovich metrics. The effect was amusing – soon the name of O'Brien whose numerous vituperative comments until then were emerging on PT day in and day out, ceased appearing on the PT blog.

That is false. As I told Perakh, I left because Pim Van Meurs moderated me.

Concerning the Kantorovich metric, it was not something I studied with my mentor Dr. Rachev; although he first gained notoriety for his work with probability metrics, his current work focuses on Mathematical Finance, which is what I studied with him (although, it should be noted that the two are not mutually exclusive). That is why I told Perakh I would have to research the subject (by this time, it should be noted, Dr. Rachev had retired from UCSB to take a chair position at Karlsruhe and I was just starting at the University of Florida).

Even though I corrected Perakh's revisionist history in an e-mail, he has not changed his article to conform to reality; I can only conclude that the Boris Yeltsin of Higher Education is more interested in smearing his opponents than telling the truth.


Peezee Myers on Bill Dembski

Peezee Myers posted the following to Panda's Thumb:

"However, a comment from Rasmus Pedersen, citing an article in the Danish newspaper Weekendavisen, shows what the attendees at his seminar thought of it..."

As I noted previously, Peezee can't count, which is why he is a developmental biologist. The translated article posted by Pedersen only accounts for one attendee's impression of Bill's lecture.


Monday, August 15, 2005


Transubstantiation explained

Transubstantiation explained, courtesy of South Park's Stan Marsh.


Patterico on Sheehan

Patterico is telling "the rest of the story" concerning Cindy Sheehan. Apparently, she has called President Bush a "lying bastard" and a "maniac," among other things.

As Patterico noted, "Small wonder Bush is not eager to meet with her again — in public or in private."


Natalie Collins on Jeff Lindsay

Natalie Collins, an ex-Mormon blogger rightly takes Mormon apologist Jeff Lindsay to task for accepting a "faith promoting rumor" without checking its veracity.


Ed Brayton on the Judiciary (Again)

On his blog, Ed Brayton wrote:

The founders took the position that the executive and legislative branches, because they held the power of the military and the purse respectively, were the greatest risk to liberty and to the principles found in the Constitution and they set out to balance that risk by giving the judiciary the power, independent of the ebbs and flows of public opinion, to strike down legislation that oversteps the boundaries of executive and legislative power found in the Constitution. You can see their position clearly expressed in Federalist 78...

What makes Ed think the Federalist papers are representative of what all the founders thought? The Federalist papers are certainly not representative of what Jefferson thought, as I have pointed out previously.


Saturday, August 13, 2005


Egyptus, the founder of Egypt

(This was originally posted here)

In the Book of Abraham we read:

21 Now this king of Egypt was a descendant from the loins of Ham, and was a partaker of the blood of the Canaanites by birth.

22 From this descent sprang all the Egyptians, and thus the blood of the Canaanites was preserved in the land.

23 The land of Egypt being first discovered by a woman, who was the daughter of Ham, and the daughter of Egyptus, which in the Chaldean signifies Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden;

24 When this woman discovered the land it was under water, who afterward settled her sons in it; and thus, from Ham, sprang that race which preserved the curse in the land.

25 Now the first government of Egypt was established by Pharaoh, the eldest son of Egyptus, the daughter of Ham, and it was after the manner of the government of Ham, which was patriarchal (Abraham 1.21-25).

Now, "Egypt" is a Greek word; the Egyptian word for Egypt is Kemet. Why would the eponymous founder of Egypt (according to Joe) have a Greek given name?


116 pages

(This was originally posted to free-saints by Bill Barton on 5/1/2001)

It's not hard to figure out what happened to the pages.

Martin Harris intended to mortgage his farm to finance the printing of the BoM. Martin ignored pleadings from his wife Lucy not to endanger their future in this reckless manner.

So when Martin brought the pages home to convince his wife of their worth, Lucy took them and burned them. No pages, no book, no mortgage.

Joseph's problem at that point was not the pages at all, rather his problem was Martin Harris. If Joseph tried to reproduce what he had dictated, he would certainly miss some details, and Martin would certainly pick up on some of that. Joseph wasn't willing to engage in this scenario, so he had another revelation of convenience directing him not to reproduce the pages at all.

Martin did eventually mortgage 151 acres of his farm to BoM publisher Grandin. The deal was that Martin had to pay the $3000 printing charge within 18 months (for 5000 leather-bound BoM) or Grandin could sell the land.

Joseph of course had no intention of ever repaying the loan. So when Martin panicked because the books weren't selling, Joseph had another revelation that Martin shouldn't be concerned about such temporal things.

Eventually Martin was forced to sell the 151 acres himself. On April 7,
1831 he deeded them over to early Palmyra settler Thomas Lakey. As part of the deal Martin had to vacate the farmhouse within a month. On May 27 Martin Harris joined the march to the promised land of Kirtland, following the person who had ruined his marriage and bilked him out of his property.

Martin later sold the remaining portions of his farm. He had deeded 80 acres to his wife Lucy in 1825.

The average Mormon will likely give a million dollars to the LDS leaders over 30 years (allowing for 5% compounded interest). And if he ever comes to his senses and leaves, it will possibly/likely cost him his marriage.
So the experience of Martin Harris established an important early paradigm.

See Vogel, "Early Mormon Documents Vol. 3" for documentation concerning the Harris farm.


Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt's choice musings

(This was originally posted to free-saints in 1999 by Don M.)

Today's laugh of the day:

"When all these spirits were sent forth from the eternal worlds, they were, no doubt, not infants; but when they entered the infant tabernacle, they were under the necessity, the same as our Lord and Savior, of being compressed, or diminished in size so that their spirits could be enclosed in infant tabernacles. ...[W]hen Jesus was born into our world, his previous knowledge was taken from Him. This was occasioned by His spiritual body being compressed into a smaller volume than it originally occupied...when this spirit was compressed, so as to be wholly enclosed in an infant tabernacle, it had a tendency to suspend memory.... So it is with man. When he enters a body of flesh, his spirit is so compressed and contracted in infancy that he forgets his former existence...." LDS "Apostle" Orson Pratt, The Seer, p. 21,

"If they were once organized in the vegetable kingdom, and then disorganized by becoming the food of celestial animals, and then again re-organized in the form of the spirits of animals which is a higher sphere of being, then, is it unreasonable to suppose that the same particles, have, from all eternity, been passing through an endless chain of unions and disunions, organizations and disorganizations, until at length they are permitted to enter into the highest and most exalted sphere of organization in the image and likeness of God? A transmigration of the same particles of spirits from a lower to a higher organization, is demonstrated from the fact that the same particles exist in a diffused scattered state, mingled with other matter; next, they exist in a united form, growing out of the earth in the shape of grass, herbs, and trees; and after this, these vegetables become food for celestial animals, and these same particles are organized into their offspring, and thus form the spirits of animals. Here, then, is apparently a transmigration of the same particles of spirit from an inferiour to a superiour organization, wherein their condition is improved, and their sphere of action enlarged. Who shall set any bounds to this upward tendency of spirit: Who shall prescribe limits to its progression? If it abides the laws and conditions of its several states of existence, who shall say that it will not progress until it shall gain the very summit of perfection, and exist in all the glorious beauty of the image of God?" LDS "Apostle" Orson Pratt, The Seer, pp.102-103.

Who needs the comics when they have "enlightenment" like this to read.
even if you were created as a spiritual carrot, you can, through successive
transmigrations, achieve "the glorious beauty of the image of God".


My poem

(I originally posted this to Folk of the Fringe on 3/2/2000, but have since amended it)

We all are familiar with the following verses penned by the hand-me-down wife of both Joe Smith and Brigham Young, Eliza Snow:

In the heavens are parents single?
No; the thought makes reason stare!
Truth is reason; truth eternal
Tells me I've a Mother there.

What you may not realize is that the above verses constitute rankest blasphemy and are an anathema to true Christians. If Eliza Snow could have seen the fiery torments that awaited her in the hereafter, she no doubt would have repented in sackcloth and ashes all the rest of her days. Nevertheless, I’ve composed verses of my own to refute her base-born heresy:

No; Scripture the truth lays bare!
Truth is reason; truth eternal
Tells me I've no "Mother" there.

I am reminded of when I was in high school and my English teacher was discussing the Bible as literature. She suggested that Genesis 1.26-27 might have a unisex god in mind. Being a faithful Mormon at the time, I piped up that my religion taught that God had a wife. One of my class mates then gave me an incredulous look and asked, "What religion is that?" I cannot help but be embarrassed nowadays that I actually believed such pagan nonsense.


Angels speak, act, and are referred to as God

(This was originally posted here)

Trinitarians cite verses that either directly or indirectly refer to Jesus and the Holy Spirit as "God" as prooftexts of their doctrine, but in the Old Testament angels are referred to as "God" and speak as if they were "God." A few examples:

Genesis 16


The angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur.


And he said, "Hagar, maid of Sar'ai, where have you come from and where are you going?" She said, "I am fleeing from my mistress Sar'ai."


The angel of the LORD said to her, "Return to your mistress, and submit to her."


The angel of the LORD also said to her, "I will so greatly multiply your descendants that they cannot be numbered for multitude."


And the angel of the LORD said to her, "Behold, you are with child, and shall bear a son; you shall call his name Ish'mael; because the LORD has given heed to your affliction.


He shall be a wild ass of a man, his hand against every man and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen."


So she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, "Thou art a God of seeing"; for she said, "Have I really seen God and remained alive after seeing him?"

Genesis 21


And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, "What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not; for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is.


Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him fast with your hand; for I will make him a great nation."


Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the lad a drink.


And God was with the lad, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow.

Genesis 22


But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" And he said, "Here am I."


He said, "Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me."


And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven,


and said, "By myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son,


I will indeed bless you, and I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore. And your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies,


and by your descendants shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves, because you have obeyed my voice."

Genesis 31


Then the angel of God said to me in the dream, 'Jacob,' and I said, 'Here I am!'


And he said, 'Lift up your eyes and see, all the goats that leap upon the flock are striped, spotted, and mottled; for I have seen all that Laban is doing to you.


I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and made a vow to me. Now arise, go forth from this land, and return to the land of your birth.'"

Genesis 32


And Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day.


When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and Jacob's thigh was put out of joint as he wrestled with him.


Then he said, "Let me go, for the day is breaking." But Jacob said, "I will not let you go, unless you bless me."


And he said to him, "What is your name?" And he said, "Jacob."


Then he said, "Your name shall no more be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed."


Then Jacob asked him, "Tell me, I pray, your name." But he said, "Why is it that you ask my name?" And there he blessed him.


So Jacob called the name of the place Peni'el, saying, "For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved."


The sun rose upon him as he passed Penu'el, limping because of his thigh.

Hosea 12


He strove with the angel and prevailed, he wept and sought his favor. He met God at Bethel, and there God spoke with him--


the LORD the God of hosts, the LORD is his name:

Exodus 3


And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and lo, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed.


And Moses said, "I will turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt."


When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here am I."


Then he said, "Do not come near; put off your shoes from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground."


And he said, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

If angels are referred to as "God," being inferior to the Son and Holy Spirit, what makes Trinitarians believe their favorite prooftexts that refer to Jesus and the Holy Spirit as "God" make their case?

By the way, let me preemptively address one line of Trinitarian apologia I know will come up:

“ 'The Angel [or Messenger] of the Lord’ is a problematic figure. The ambiguous Hebrew phrase is best translated without the definite article, that is, “an angel [messenger] of Yahweh” (as do the Septuagint and NJV; cf. Matt. 1.20; 2.13, 19; 28.2; Acts 8.26). Later Christian theology tended to see the preincarnate Christ in this figure (hence the definite article), but the phrase probably referred vaguely to any mediator sent by God. He may be human (Hag. 1.13); Mal. 2.7). When the figure is clearly referred to as superhuman, he does not always function as a messenger but instead talks and behaves as if he were God, even failing to introduce his words as the message of another who sent him.”—Samuel A. Meier, Oxford Companion to the Bible

Matthew 1:20
But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

Matthew 1:24
Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:

Matthew 2:13
And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.

Matthew 2:19
But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,

Matthew 28:2
And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

Luke 2:9
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

Acts 5:19
But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said,

Acts 7:30
And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sina an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush.

Acts 8:26
And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.

Acts 12:7
And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.

Acts 12:23
And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.

For those who identify the Angel of the Lord with the preincarnate Christ, I would like to know how he was able to exist in Mary's womb and announce his birth to her as the Angel of the Lord at the same time (in other words, how can he be simultaneously preincarnate and incarnate). I would also like to know why the NT authors who refer to him never bother to identify him with Jesus.


The nature of the Mormon deity

(This was first posted here)

Our Father in heaven is a personage of tabernacle, just as much as I am who stand before you to-day, and he has all the parts and passions of a perfect man, and his body is composed of flesh and bones, but not of blood--Brigham Young (qtd. in We Believe: Doctrines and Principles of the CoJCoLDS)

God Himself is an exalted man, perfected, enthroned, and supreme. By His
Almighty power He organized the earth, and all that it contains, from spirit
and element, which exist co-eternally with Himself.--Joseph F. Smith, John R Winder, Anthon Lund (qtd. in We Believe: Doctrines and Principles of the

[We] know that both the Father and the Son are in form and stature perfect men; each of them possesses a tangible body, infinitely pure and perfect and attended by transcendent glory, nevertheless a body of flesh and bones--James E. Talmage (qtd. in We Believe: Doctrines and Principles of the CoJCoLDS)



This discussion (initiated by me) at Christian Forums made me feel like this:

Thanks to my friend Joe for the funny (albeit gross) picture.


My response to Steve Benson

Steve Benson, an ex-Mormon cartoonist, posted an article entitled CHRISTIANTIY VS. THE JEWS: AN UGLY LEGACY on the Recovery from Mormonism message board. Here is my response:

Chase notes that this “oldest, most persistent, pervasive, pernicious hatred known to the world” was “reared in the Christian era . . .”

He's laying it on a little thick here.

An examination of the origins of doctrinal Christian hatred of Jews reveals that anti-Semitism not only formed a basis for generations of Christian hatred of, and attacks against, Jews but constituted an integral part of canonized Christian scripture.

Practitioners of Judaism persecuted Christians first, either directly or as collaborators. That is the source of anti-Judaic remarks in the New Testament.

This foundation of Christianity’s systemic anti-Jewishness was built, in part, he notes, on “the rigid method of scriptural interpretation used by the early Christians, which took every unflattering reference to Jews in the Hebrew Bible (in some of the Prophetic books, for example) at face value. The denigration of Jews thus easily slipped into dogma.”

As if there were any other way to take the "unflattering refereces to Jews" in their own scriptures.


Woman, 83, survives 400 bee stings

Woman, 83, survives 400 bee stings

Wow! I wonder if the bees were Africanized?


Friday, August 12, 2005


Scientism nonsense

On Panda's Thumb, Greg Peterson wrote:

"To me the atheistic implications of evolution are obvious and they are substantial, impinging on...God’s sovereignty...and an eternal afterlife. Biology and physics argue strongly against such things."

That is nonsense. Biology and physics do not "argue strongly" against God's sovereignty and an eternal afterlife.


Response to "Pity the Poor Atheist"

I found this bit of offal at Brent Rasmussen's UTI:

The God of the Crusaders sent them to kill Muslims. The God of the Catholics had them kill scientists. The God of the Puritans told them to kill witches. The Hindu god is OK with killing cow-tippers. The God of the evangelists tells them to kill pro-choicers. The God of the Islamists wants them to kill just about everybody else.

Pity, then, the poor atheist. With no god to tell him whom to kill, he can only practice peace on earth, good will toward men.

Lawrence Manes

Atheists Stalin and Mao killed 60,000,000 between them, which is far more than any Christian pope, prince, or potentate.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005


One of my favorite jokes

Frank was excited about his new rifle. So, he went bear hunting.

He spotted a small brown bear and shot it. There was then a tap on his
shoulder, and he turned round to see a big black bear. The black bear
said "You've got two choices, I either maul you to death or we have

Frank decided to bend over.

Even though he felt sore for two weeks, Frank soon recovered and vowed
revenge. He headed out on another trip where he found the black bear
and shot it. There was another tap on his shoulder. This time a huge
grizzly bear stood right next to him. The grizzly said "That was a
huge mistake, Frank. You've got two choices. Either I maul you to
death or we'll have rough sex." Again, Frank thought it was better to

Although he survived, it would take several months before Frank
finally recovered. Outraged he headed back to the woods, managed to
track down the grizzly and shot it. He felt sweet revenge, but then
there was a tap on his shoulder. He turned round to find a giant polar
bear standing there.

The polar bear said "Admit it, Frank, you don't come here for the
hunting, do you?"


Monday, August 01, 2005


The "Privacy Clause of the Constitution"

This post by Patterico regarding Senator Chris Dodd's reference to "the privacy clause of the Constitution" and the attendant comments are a hoot!

"Um, Seator Dodd, what does the privacy clause of the constitution actually say, sir?"

"I can’t tell, you. It’s private."

The Privacy Clause is just to the right of the penumbra. Now you know.

Yeah. It’s in that emination from the penumbra.

Unfortunately, though, there are not words to it. It’s ethereal, spiritual. But some specially-gifted persons apparently can see it and base substantive work on it.

Maybe next he’ll be talking about the Santa Claus of the Constitution.

I’m surprised you don’t know about the "privacy clause". It’s there right next to the "separation of church and state" clause.

I believe Mr Dodd read “The Privacy Clause” of the Constitution on the back of it,it was written in invisible ink,like the Map of the Free Masons….Only thing I can guess.

It’s on the back, in invisible ink, followed immediately by the abortion clause and the repeal of the 2nd Amendment.


Buridan's Ass

Buridan's Ass has been added to my perduto il ben de l'intelletto list. As I see it, the blogger in question starts out being 50% correct (with the title) but his veracity declines rapidly from there.


The Mormon god and ship building

In 1 Nephi 18.2 we read:

Now I, Nephi, did not work the timbers after the manner which was learned by men, neither did I build the ship after the manner of men; but I did build it after the manner which the Lord had shown unto me; wherefore, it was not after the manner of men.

When you are finished laughing at that verse, turn to Ether 2.16-21, then Ether 6.5-8

And the Lord said: Go to work and build, after the manner of barges which ye have hitherto built. And it came to pass that the brother of Jared did go to work, and also his brethren, and built barges after the manner which they had built, according to the instructions of the Lord. And they were small, and they were light upon the water, even like unto the lightness of a fowl upon the water.

And they were built after a manner that they were exceedingly tight, even that they would hold water like unto a dish; and the bottom thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the sides thereof were tight like unto a dish; and the ends thereof were peaked; and the top thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the length thereof was the length of a tree; and the door thereof, when it was shut, was tight like unto a dish.

And it came to pass that the brother of Jared cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, I have performed the work which thou hast commanded me, and I have made the barges according as thou hast directed me.

And behold, O Lord, in them there is no light; whither shall we steer? And also we shall perish, for in them we cannot breathe, save it is the air which is in them; therefore we shall perish.

And the Lord said unto the brother of Jared: Behold, thou shalt make a hole in the top, and also in the bottom; and when thou shalt suffer for air thou shalt unstop the hole and receive air. And if it be so that the water come in upon thee, behold, ye shall stop the hole, that ye may not perish in the flood.

And it came to pass that the brother of Jared did so, according as the Lord had commanded.

And it came to pass that the Lord God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon the face of the waters, towards the promised land; and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind.

And it came to pass that they were many times buried in the depths of the sea, because of the mountain waves which broke upon them, and also the great and terrible tempests which were caused by the fierceness of the wind.

And it came to pass that when they were buried in the deep there was no water that could hurt them, their vessels being tight like unto a dish, and also they were tight like unto the bark of Noah; therefore when they were encompassed about by many waters they did cry unto the Lord, and he did bring them forth again upon the top of the waters.

And it came to pass that the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters; and thus they were driven forth before the wind.

Even with the Mormon god's "furious wind" (a power which he seems to have bequeathed his apologists) it took the Jaredites 344 days to reach the New World, which amounts to less than two miles per hour. Perhaps it took them so long because they were constantly bailing out water from the hole in the bottom of their otherwise "tight like unto a dish" vessels.


The Mormon god's rationale for killing Laban

In the Book of Mormon, we read the following:

And it came to pass that I was constrained by the Spirit that I should kill Laban; but I said in my heart: Never at any time have I shed the blood of man. And I shrunk and would that I might not slay him.

And the Spirit said unto me again: Behold the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands. Yea, and I also knew that he had sought to take away mine own life; yea, and he would not hearken unto the commandments of the Lord; and he also had taken away our property.

And it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me again: Slay him, for the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands;

Behold the Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief
(1 Nephi 4.10-13).

It would seem that the Mormon god is also the god of Jesus' enemies, for in the New Testament we read:

Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not
(John 11:50).


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