Skip to main content
Home
Faith is By Choice Striving to Build Faith in the Church of Jesus Christ

Sic Et Non

A blessing that came to me from growing up in a non-academic family

3 months 1 week ago
    There were times, particularly in my early graduate school days, when I thought that my having come from a completely non-academic family had worked against me.   I have friends and colleagues, themselves with strong Ph.D.s from prestigious schools, who have fathers and grandfathers and multiple siblings with professional and academic doctorates — […]
Dan Peterson

A note on Darwinism and worldviews

3 months 1 week ago
    Notes from a manuscript that really can’t even be said, right now, to be “in progress.”  But it’s there, waiting for me to return:   Why does the public care so much about Darwinism and evolution?  Nobody becomes exercised over quantum mechanics, the role of chlorophyll in photosynthesis, or general relativity.  It is […]
Dan Peterson

“A strange part of this experience”

3 months 1 week ago
    I’ve mentioned the meeting on Tuesday afternoon in which I shared the platform with Elders Randy Funk of the Seventy and Gary Stevenson of the Twelve, as well as with Elder Robert S. Wood, an emeritus member of the Seventy, who was the moderator.  The only other non-General Authority speaker beside myself was […]
Dan Peterson

“Returning to Bethlehem: A Cultural Pilgrimage”

3 months 1 week ago
    I want to call attention to an exhibit that will shortly be opening at Brigham Young University’s Museum of Peoples and Cultures.  Those who have visited Bethlehem will find it of special interest, I think, and those who have not yet been to the city of Christ’s birth will be able, through this […]
Dan Peterson

Was Joseph Smith dictating from a (perhaps concealed) manuscript?

3 months 1 week ago
    Yet another item from an unfinished essay of mine:   Not long after speaking with his mother, Emma Smith, Joseph Smith III wrote a letter in which he summarized some of her responses to his questions. She wrote for Joseph Smith during the work of translation, as did also Reuben Hale, her brother, […]
Dan Peterson

Humility in science

3 months 1 week ago
    These unpublished notes are focused on science.  But they shouldn’t be taken as singling science out for unique censure.  All human enterprises are fallible.  Science is actually, on the whole, pretty good at correcting itself — though not quite as good as some devotees of scientism imagine.   A note on humility. There […]
Dan Peterson

A very nice afternoon in Salt Lake City

3 months 1 week ago
    I had the pleasure and the privilege of speaking to a conference of Latter-day Saint chaplains this afternoon, up in Salt Lake City.  I’ve done this two or three times before, but not for several years.  This time, it wasn’t just military chaplains, but also hospice chaplains, police chaplains, chaplains associated with the […]
Dan Peterson

“We recognize what is lovely because we have seen it somewhere else”

3 months 1 week ago
    New, from the Interpreter Foundation:   “‘Abound in Hope’: Stories of the Saints in the DR Congo, Part 6”   ***   For those who like to keep adding to their files, here are two new items.   First, for the already bulging “Utah is a provincial backwater and a Mormon-riddled hell on earth” […]
Dan Peterson

Some thoughts on demographics

3 months 1 week ago
    Demographic shrinkage of the West relative to, say, the Islamic world — and that shrinkage is dramatic — and of the more prosperous and highly educated portion within Western society relative to other classes, will have (is having) economic, political, and social effects far beyond its impact on the specific people who’re deciding not to have […]
Dan Peterson

Of Europan spiky ice spires and related matters

3 months 1 week ago
    My recent debate adversary, Dr. Michael Shermer, has a useful piece in the October issue of Scientific American:   “Why Do People Kill Themselves?  Why do people die by suicide?”   ***   This coming Friday, 12 October 2018, there will be a planetarium show at BYU under the title of “October Sky […]
Dan Peterson

“They ought even to be helped to perish”

3 months 1 week ago
    A couple of passages from Friedrich Nietzsche, The Antichrist: A Criticism of Christianity [1888], translated by Anthony M. Ludovici (New York: Barnes and Noble, 2006).  But, first, a few lines from Dennis Sweet’s introduction to this edition:   In earlier books Nietzsche had made that most profound announcement: “God is dead.”  In other words, […]
Dan Peterson

A Note on Muslims and Christian Churches

3 months 1 week ago
    An interesting article from The Economist:   “Anglophones and Francophones still approach Islam differently: The English and Americans offer pragmatism, the French zeal”   ***   Not infrequently, people write to me to assure me that all Muslims always want to destroy churches and obliterate Christianity, and that no Muslim would ever defend a […]
Dan Peterson

Coming: The Fourth Temple on Mount Zion Conference

3 months 1 week ago
    I’m pleased to be able to share the provisional program for an upcoming conference, co-sponsored by the Interpreter Foundation.   The Fourth Temple on Mount Zion Conference in memory of Matthew B. Brown 10 November 2018 251 Tanner Building, Brigham Young University   Stephen Ricks: Session chair 9:00                 Welcome and prayer 9:15                 S. […]
Dan Peterson

A note from a wren

3 months 1 week ago
    From one of my still-incomplete manuscripts:   An anonymous correspondent for the Buffalo Spectator, recounting his alleged encounter with a Mormon missionary, a fellow-passenger in a stage coach, supplies a striking illustration of what many early nineteenth century skeptics expected to find in the Book of Mormon: I stated that I had read […]
Dan Peterson

Happy birthday, Kenneth. I miss you.

3 months 1 week ago
    I found President M. Russell Ballard’s talk at the beginning of today’s morning conference session profoundly significant and deeply, personally, moving.  And particularly appropriate, for me, on this very date.   My brother, my only sibling, would have been seventy-six years old today.  Unfortunately, he passed away suddenly in March 2012.   I […]
Dan Peterson

Is there any actual truth to this?

3 months 1 week ago
    I believe that I’ve seen the image above before, but I definitely ran into it today and, thus, I assume that it’s going the rounds now at conference time.   First of all, let me state for the record — though some will doubt my words, since I’m widely known in certain circles […]
Dan Peterson

“Directed Evolution” and the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

3 months 1 week ago
    A few days ago, Frances Arnold (of the California Institute of Technology, or Caltech), Gregory Winter (of the University of Cambridge, in the United Kingdom), and George Smith (of the University of Missouri at Columbia) were announced as the winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2018.  For what it’s worth, Dr. […]
Dan Peterson

Into the woods

3 months 1 week ago
    A few days ago, I posted an item in which Joseph Smith described retreating into a grove of trees to pray.  I commented that that account, from much later in his life, seemed to strengthen the plausiblity of the account of his First Vision, since it suggested that such withdrawals into the woods […]
Dan Peterson

Possibly my last post on the Kavanaugh controversy (Hallelujah!)

3 months 1 week ago
    I have not often been an enthusiastic fan of Susan Collins (R-ME).  But I am today:   “Kavanaugh fight: Susan Collins stands up to Democratic bullies and becomes a profile in courage”   If you have the time and the interest, listen to her speech on the floor of the Senate.  It is […]
Dan Peterson
Checked
7 hours 26 minutes ago
Subscribe to Sic Et Non feed