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Sic Et Non

Thoughts for Thanksgiving (7)

6 hours 14 minutes ago
    This is the column that I published in the Deseret News on Thanksgiving Day 2011:   Autumn harvest festivals were and are common across Europe, and, as every American schoolchild once learned, our modern Thanksgiving celebrations descend from a meal shared between Massachusetts Pilgrims and Native Americans in 1621. It was not until […]
Dan Peterson

So . . . Was he or wasn’t he?

13 hours 54 minutes ago
    Some additional notes:   So, the impatient reader is asking by now, just what are we to think of Muhammad? Was he a genuine prophet, or was he not? My answer to that is a clear and resolute “I don’t know.” Or perhaps a decisive “Yes and no.” Parley P. Pratt, who was […]
Dan Peterson

Life Out There

15 hours 24 minutes ago
    This article is interesting not only for its main assertion, expressed in its title, but for its illustration of the drawbacks of scientific “compartmentalization” and of the benefits that can accrue when scientists from divergent fields talk seriously to one another:   “Ocean-covered planets may not be the places to search for life” […]
Dan Peterson

Thoughts for Thanksgiving (6)

16 hours 32 minutes ago
    Here’s a column that I published in the Deseret News on Thanksgiving Day 2010:   Most modern Americans are so far removed from farming—we get our milk from cartons, our meat neatly packaged at the grocery store, our grains in cereal boxes, our cranberries in cans—that we easily forget the agricultural roots of […]
Dan Peterson

Singing hymns to . . . well, NOTHING

16 hours 59 minutes ago
    How very, very sad:   “Global Atheist Convention Called ‘Reason To Hope’ Cancelled Because No One Wants To Go”   Wouldn’t you think that people who’re convinced that their few years on Earth are all they’ve got would want to devote some of their rapidly dwindling time to gathering with like-minded hopers?  To being […]
Dan Peterson

Mormonism in the Middle

1 day 13 hours ago
    In a portion of the manuscript that I posted here a few days ago, I commented that Latter-day Saint theological interactions with Muslims will be easier to the extent that we can say positive things about Muhammad, whom Muslims esteem very, very highly — or, at least, to the degree that we’re not obliged […]
Dan Peterson

Is Darwinism necessarily atheistic? (Part Two)

1 day 17 hours ago
    Yet more from my notes:   The late Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002), Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology at Harvard University and an enormously popular popularizer of evolutionary biology, though himself an agnostic (and a Marxist), passionately denied that evolutionary theory was necessarily atheistic, invoking the memory of his third-grade teacher, Mrs, McInerney, whose practice it […]
Dan Peterson

Thoughts for Thanksgiving (5)

2 days 6 hours ago
    This is the column that I published in the Deseret News on Thanksgiving Day 2016:   It’s not insignficant that the verbs “to think” and “to thank” (compare German “denken” and “danken”) share the same linguistic root.  The scriptures are replete with exhortations to “remember,” to reflect, to thank:   “O give thanks […]
Dan Peterson

Near-death experiences and belief in God

2 days 14 hours ago
    Near-death experiences, while they do not directly demonstrate the existence of God, strongly seem to suggest that the universe is the kind of place in which it makes abundant sense to believe that God exists. The actress Jane Seymour would surely agree.  She says that her experience “confirmed her belief in God.”[1]  As […]
Dan Peterson

The disappearance of mind

2 days 19 hours ago
    The insistence of some militantly reductionist adherents of naturalism, that “mind” is merely a more or less illusory product of purely chemical/physical processes, that consciousness and free will are hallucinations, seems to me transparently self-refuting.  Why should I pay any more attention to the neurochemical events in an atheist’s brain than to his […]
Dan Peterson

Joseph Smith’s last days, in Illinois

2 days 20 hours ago
    Further notes on the evident sincerity of Joseph Smith:   “The Prophet did not really desire longer to live,” concluded [Benjamin F.] Johnson.[1]  Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner recalled the Prophet saying, near the end of his life, I am tired, I have been mobbed, I have suffered so much. . . I have […]
Dan Peterson

Thoughts for Thanksgiving (4)

3 days 5 hours ago
    This is the column that I published on Thanksgiving Day 2015 in the Deseret News:   Although American Thanksgiving Day began as a harvest festival, it’s not about eating.  Most of us eat quite well—often too well—every day, so meals aren’t special.  It’s not even really about family.  As its name implies, it’s […]
Dan Peterson

Land of Lincoln

3 days 9 hours ago
    Curiously, being in Chicago, I’ve begun to think of the most famous adopted son of Illinois, Abraham Lincoln.  Many years ago, with her parents, my wife and I visited parts of the state associated with him.  One of those places was the Oakland Cemetery in Petersburg, where Ann Rutledge, who died at the age of […]
Dan Peterson

Judaism, as we know it, begins to emerge

3 days 10 hours ago
    Another passage from one of The Manuscripts.  This one deals with the changes that occurred in Judaism in the wake of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and the cessation of prophecy among the Jews:   An example will serve to make the new situation clear: At roughly the time of Christ, […]
Dan Peterson

Thoughts for Thanksgiving (3)

4 days 6 hours ago
    I published this column in the Deseret News on Thanksgiving Day 2014:   Many years ago, a friend (now deceased) told me about a very high-ranking Church leader (also now deceased) who had been asked to address a group of local senior service missionaries and their wives at their annual Christmas dinner. As […]
Dan Peterson

“The Valkyrie”

4 days 7 hours ago
    Rather a Germanish day today (Saturday).  Also a good day to be inside — dark and windy and rainy.   My wife and I went out to lunch with a long-time friend — I knew him at BYU before my mission; he was called to the same mission as I was (though he […]
Dan Peterson

“The Astonishing Hypothesis”

4 days 17 hours ago
    In his 1994 book The Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search for the Soul, Sir Francis Crick (1916-2004; co-discoverer with James Watson of the double helix structure of DNA) declares his thorough-going naturalism and reductionism very clearly:   “A person’s mental activities are entirely due to the behavior of nerve cells, glial cells, and the […]
Dan Peterson

“Joseph Smith was a Champion of Religious Liberty”

4 days 18 hours ago
    I know.  I know.  It’s not, strictly speaking, a “Muslim ban.”  I don’t use that term myself; I’m merely quoting the title of the article.  So please don’t waste electrons informing me that it’s not actually a “Muslim ban.”  To quote what I myself just said a very short while ago, “I know. […]
Dan Peterson
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3 minutes 13 seconds ago
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