“Big Lists” and apologetics

Well, it’s been a couple weeks, and Jeff has not responded [Jeff posted comments below.  I invited him to explain his position further]

As such I’m going to reiterate my basic point (original post is here)s:

1) Big lists are not to “Shock and Awe” they are to prevent apologists from giving answers  that solve one problem, but totally prove the church isn’t true (i.e. Claiming the Nephites were a tiny subset of central america to avoid the DNA argument, while claiming “Barley” as a hit, or “Quetzalcoatl” as a hit when barley requires the Nephites to be in the South Eastern United States, and we have the DNA samples of people who believed in Quetzalcoatl.

2) Claiming that authors of big lists write “The Big List is loaded with barbed questions that [are not] written in search of a real answer. ” is to presuppose that he can read the minds of the authors.  Knowing several of them, I refute this and suggest it is presumptuous of anyone to ascribe motives to the creation of lists without providing proof of the claim.

3) Attacking a big list as a “Gish Gallop” is just mixing terms up.  A Gish Gallop is an attempt to use up time in a debate.  Large lists that can be researched and provide links to help the truth seeker find details shouldn’t be categorized in the same category.  Indeed, if we provide only one thing that proves the church false, the apologist will say “that’s all they’ve got”.  And if we provide a large list, that is wrong too.  It’s clear that the apologists could easily prove there are no true scotsmen.

4. Jeff Lindsay says

“By the way, for the record, I believe in God and believe that He is the Creator, yet believe that science and religion will ultimately be compatible when properly understood. “

If he doesn’t believe in answering big lists of questions, I doubt he’ll ever see the flaw in his thinking.  If Joseph Smith says the universe is 2.5 billion years old, and science says otherwise, the true scientist must reject Joseph Smith, or else he isn’t a scientist, he’s an apologist.  Mr. Lindsay is a Chemical Engineer, and yet speaks frequently as an authority on MesoAmerican history, Mayan folklore, and early church anthropology.  Now I’m not an anthropologist either, we’re both guys out on the internet stating a view.

Mine, however, is open.  I embrace big lists of questions, even when they don’t support my views.  Go to FAIRLDS.org (or now FAIRMORMON.org)’s websites and go through their Big List of answers (After all, it’s just a big list trying to overwhelm the doubter with answers making his post a big case of the pot calling the kettle black) and see if it is internally consistent.  Read how many locations they choose for the book of Mormon (links and articles will discuss Guatemala, Northern U.S., central america, and a bit in Peru.  Other websites will even go to Malaysia!) and see if they are internally consistent.  Reject what doesn’t hold to science and I think in the end, you will see that their basic claims are not scientifically based, they always boil down to faith-based arguments… and for that, Mr. Lindsay is being deceptive both in how he paints big lists, and in how he presents himself to the world.

Note how many times, my own blog directs people to look at answers on FAIR.  I do not fear what people may read in a big list, because I have scientific, personal and historical truth on my side.

Please note the tagline of FAIRLDS, where he posted his blog, “honest questions faithful answers.”  Keep your faithful answers, I prefer honest answers.

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Last edited by Mithryn on June 8, 2014 at 8:48 pm

5 Responses to “Big Lists” and apologetics

  1. Jeff Lindsay says:

    Fair points, but as I mentioned in my comments, the Big List post was actually inspired by a recent conversation with a struggling member (and is actually a continuation of a post going back several years–the “If only 10% of these charges are true” post at Mormanity). I still haven’t dug into the CES Letter apart from looking at the issues on the LDS temple where they challenge FAIR Mormon. I know, pretty pathetic to be that behind for someone trying to be an apologist of sorts. I will get to it. In my circles here in China, the CES Letter is not an issue as far as I can tell. But I know it is for others in the Church and I do intend to look at it more closely sometime.

    I’m sorry you feel that my position is anti-intellectual. Many people I’ve talked with who were shaken by Big Lists genuinely didn’t understand that there was a large body of information in favor of the LDS position. This is especially true of investigators and new converts, but applies to others as well. The existence of a link to an LDS website does not necessarily demolish the point I was making, nor remove the need to specifically point out some of the things I think people have missed.

    This isn’t just attacking the author, it’s belittling anyone who reads and thinks about it. It’s anti-intellectual and thought stopping. I think that’s not consistent with what I said nor with the spirit of what I was trying to say. I feel that’s a bit over-wrought, but I suppose it’s easy to feel that a defense of something you strongly disagree with must intrinsically be anti-intellectual.

    • Mithryn says:

      Okay. I can understand.

      I still think it belittling to say that people leave without considering the side for the church. If someone discovers a fraud early, that should be praised, not seen as a negative.

      Nor do I see the evidence in favor of, as you mention. So far, all the evidence I’ve seen is circumstantial at best, or just wifts of hope (such as ‘nhm’ or the “seal of mulek”) passed off as something concrete.

      Nevertheless, I’ll update this post to be more general about big lists and less about the ces letter in specific

  2. Jeff Lindsay says:

    Thanks! Also, out of curiosity, can you clarify the point about the Nephites allegedly being in two different places (at once?) based on my arguments? I see Mesoamerica as the genuinely plausible single general location for the bulk of the Nephites and Jaredites during BOM times, so I’m not sure what the second place is that you are thinking of. Perhaps there was some egregious typo in one of my articles. In any case, I’d like to fix it or rethink whatever I said that caused the confusion. Thanks!

  3. Jeff Lindsay says:

    And yes, I see your point: for those who have been carefully looking at pros and cons during their journey, my statement would be insulting if aimed at them. I’ll need to clarify that. The thing I see frequently–“too often”–does not apply to everyone, and there are people such as yourself that have made a genuine effort to way pros and cons.

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