Friday, March 8, 2013


In previous posts I have discussed the Book of Abraham (part of Mormon scripture) and tactics used by Mormon apologists in general. Well, it turns out that BYU professor Kerry Muhlestein has recently issued a series of videos which attempt to explain away some common criticisms of the Book of Abraham; like the claim that according to every non-Mormon Egyptologist, the papyri Joseph Smith used in the translation of the Book of Abraham have nothing to do with the book:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Now, some may say that the reason that only non-Mormon scholars are critical of these things (or that only Mormon scholars agree with Mr Muhlestein's claims) is that when a non-Mormon scholar examines the evidence and finds it confirms the claims of Mormonism, they naturally join the church on that basis. However, I have never even heard rumors of such an event taking place (which would also fly in the face of Moroni's Promise in the Book of Mormon), so I am inclined to offer an alternative explanation that Mormon scholars are leading the evidence and succumbing to their own biases. Let me put it another way: No scholar has ever joined the Mormon Church because of evidence in favor of Mormonism. If that ever happens, please let me know.

Well, in response to these videos, YouTuber FlackerMan has issued a rebuttal citing several scholars refuting many of Mr Muhlestein's claims (video below). One expert goes so far as to say that Mr Muhlestein is one of many "ideologically driven researchers, not experts interested in actual evidence" being pumped out of BYU by the Mormon Church in order to appear more credible. This is an important point. The scientific method is designed in such a way as to remove personal biases. Without this mechanism, science would not work and would be subject to opinions and beliefs, rather than supportable, demonstrable evidence. Such "ideologically driven researchers" are, therefore, not scientific in their methodology.

Before we get to the video, let me just point out that every single instance we have where we can actually examine the accuracy of Joseph Smith's translations (i.e. The Book of Abraham, the Kinderhook plates, the lost 116 pagesThe Greek Psalter, the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible), it turns out he got every thing wrong every time, thus indicating that he was making it all up out of whole cloth. Why would the Book of Mormon be any different?

OK, here is FlackerMan's rebuttal:


Here is a recent clip from the Thinking Atheist interviewing a psychologist about confirmation bias:


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