Skip to main content
Home
Faith is By Choice An LDS Faith Blog

Sic Et Non

What the West Owes the East (Part 11)

1 month 2 weeks ago
    Another few lines from my current manuscript:   Did Arabic literature have any impact upon the literature of the West? Few people in the West would suspect that it did. Yet the answer is almost certainly yes. It has been argued, for instance, that a book written in twelfth century Spain by a […]
Dan Peterson

Wondering about my legacy . . .

1 month 3 weeks ago
    Yesterday was the first Thursday in roughly eight years that the Deseret News hasn’t carried a column by me.  Doing the articles only every other week rather than weekly is going to be an adjustment.  It had became a habit — a regular, structuring element of my weekly routine.   ***   We […]
Dan Peterson

“A piper playing at the gates of dawn”

1 month 3 weeks ago
    It seems to have been Pythagoras, in the sixth century BC, who first used the term cosmos for the orderly and harmonious universe that we observe, as opposed to the chaos that it could be and might once have been.  And, although little is known for certain about him, Pythagoras appears to have […]
Dan Peterson

What the West Owes the East (Part 10)

1 month 3 weeks ago
    We’re just back from a concert at BYU featuring the great pipa virtuoso Wu Man, along with the Huayin Shadow Puppet Band.  It was great fun.   This is the second time that we’ve seen Wu Man at BYU.  She’s a marvelous performer and, from what I can tell (and based on some […]
Dan Peterson

One of the most beautiful places in the world, and among the most sacred

1 month 3 weeks ago
    With four friends, my wife and I had an excellent breakfast this morning at the little Hukilau Cafe in Laie.  And then we attended a session in the Laie Hawaii Temple — something that we always love to do when we’re here.   The “Hawaiian Temple,” as it was long known, was dedicated […]
Dan Peterson

What the West Owes the East (Part 9)

1 month 3 weeks ago
    More dreary prose from my manuscript:   The Arabs were also adept at engineering. In hydraulics, the Abbasid dynasty was already thinking of constructing a Suez canal, connecting the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea. Unfortunately, they had to give up the idea. It was only finally completed, to the huge benefit of […]
Dan Peterson

Some Reflections on Probabilities (3)

1 month 3 weeks ago
    First, Gerald Schroeder quotes something from Scientific American:   Evidence: COSMOLOGISTS INFER the presence of Level Two parallel universes by scrutinizing the properties of our universe.  These properties, including the strength of the forces of nature and the number of observable space and time dimensions [three spatial dimensions and one time dimension] were […]
Dan Peterson

Some Reflections on Probabilities (2)

1 month 3 weeks ago
    A bit more from Gerald L. Schroeder, God According to God: A Scientist Discovers We’ve Been Wrong About God All Along (New York: HarperOne, 2009):   But so convincing is Hawking’s argument [that monkeys, given enough time, could type out a Shakespearean sonnet by sheer random chance, as an analogy to sentient life emerging by random […]
Dan Peterson

Was Joseph reading from a manuscript when he dictated the Book of Mormon?

1 month 3 weeks ago
    Part — only part — of an argument (regarding the Book of Mormon) that I’ve formulated for a future book:   First of all, the evidence strongly supports the traditional account in saying that the original manuscript was orally dictated. The kinds of errors that occur in the manuscript are clearly those that […]
Dan Peterson

Some reflections on probabilities (1)

1 month 3 weeks ago
    Some people seem to imagine rather vaguely that, given billions of years, just about anything can and will happen by sheer random chance, including the assembly of genetic codes and the appearance of life.   This is a subject that requires some reflection.   From Gerald L. Schroeder, God According to God: A Scientist […]
Dan Peterson

What the West Owes the East (Part 8)

1 month 3 weeks ago
    I like etymologies, so, naturally, my manuscript contains a few of them:   Few readers are surprised, probably, to learn that the name Sahara is Arabic (it means “deserts”), but the extent of our debt to the Arabs in the field of navigation and geography is shown by such Arabic terms as nadir, […]
Dan Peterson

What the West Owes the East (Part 7)

1 month 3 weeks ago
    My manuscript-in-progress now takes up some miscellaneous other sciences or disciplines:   “In the sciences,” writes the German scholar Enno Littmann, “namely in medicine, mathematics, and the natural sciences, the Arabs (or, at least, the people who had adopted the Arabic lan­guage) were the master teachers [die Lehrmeister] of medieval Europe.”[1] We have […]
Dan Peterson

Is Mormonism Dying?

1 month 3 weeks ago
      Reading this article in the National Catholic Register by one Anna Abbott, which is crammed to bursting in virtually every sentence with errors of fact and, even more prominently, of interpretative spin, I couldn’t help but think of a famous couplet from Alexander Pope’s poem “An Essay on Criticism” (1711): “A little learning […]
Dan Peterson

What the West Owes the East (Part 6)

1 month 3 weeks ago
    Some more lines from the manuscript, this time focusing on medicine:   In medicine, the Western debt to the Arabs is every bit as great as in the fields already mentioned. The great Montpelier medical school in France, for instance, was founded by Arab doctors fleeing from Spain during the Reconquista. Up to […]
Dan Peterson

Divine Wisdom at the Foundation of the Universe

1 month 3 weeks ago
    One of the most interesting contemporary writers on religion and science is the Israeli-American Gerald L. Schroeder, an Orthodox Jew who earned his B.Sc., his M.Sc., and his Ph.D. in nuclear physics and earth and planetary sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and who currently teaches at Jerusalem’s College of Jewish […]
Dan Peterson

“Aloha ‘Oe”

1 month 3 weeks ago
    We attended services this morning at the Laie Fourth Ward, directly adjacent to the grounds of the Laie Hawaii Temple.  The talks were very good and the music was energetic and there were several spirited “alohas,” and, at the end of sacrament meeting, after the benediction, the multi-ethnic congregation stood to bid farewell […]
Dan Peterson

What the West Owes the East (Part 5)

1 month 3 weeks ago
    Another passage from the manuscript:   Gradually, as the West noticed the riches that were available in Arabic scientific and mathematical writings, the pace of translation picked up. “From the second half of the eighth to the end of the elev­enth century,” writes the great historian of science George Sarton, “Arabic was the […]
Dan Peterson

What the West Owes the East (Part 4)

1 month 3 weeks ago
    Continuing with my manuscript, now focusing on mathematics:   Arab Muslims had very practical reasons for their interest in mathe­matics. The calculation of the precise direction of the qibla (the direction of prayer to Mecca), something that was required for the proper orientation of mosques, relied upon rather sophisticated mathematical operations. So did […]
Dan Peterson

On the limits of archaeology and the limits of conspiracy theories

1 month 3 weeks ago
    The indispensable Robert Boylan of Ireland offers a couple of items regarding the distinct limits of archaeology:   “Stephen Jett on the low rate of survival of written documents in antiquity”   “John L. Sorenson Refutes Michael D. Coe on the Book of Mormon and the New World”   And he invites help, […]
Dan Peterson
Checked
5 hours ago
Subscribe to Sic Et Non feed