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SamuelTheLamanite

God probably won't allow us to find Nahom

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4 hours ago, SamuelTheLamanite said:

Too many assumptions and educated guesses.  

In other words, you have nothing substantive to say.  No examples, and no sources.  Just as I thought.  You find fault with scholarship when it is convenient, but you really know nothing about it.

4 hours ago, SamuelTheLamanite said:

I think you are still missing the point Robert. 

On the contrary, you know nothing about scholarship and so have no concept of what it might mean.  Questioned document examiners follow rules, same as any scholar looking closely at a claim of historical forgery.  It is only that you don't want to play by the rules, and you refuse even to listen to your buddy, Ryan.  No wonder you are so confused.

4 hours ago, SamuelTheLamanite said:

What imaginary worldview? All I am saying is that Ryan agrees with me that Biblical names are not irrelevant like you told me earlier. Me and Ryan disagree with everything else, except with the idea that Biblical names can have a potential impact.  

Again, even though I bolded and underlined items for you, they made no impression on you.  You not only don't understand what Ryan and I have said to you, but you are now falsifying what we said.

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On 10/15/2017 at 5:32 AM, SamuelTheLamanite said:

Physics Guy,

Would you be impressed with a lucky hit of only 1 in 500 odds of pretty much anything?  

Do you agree with Littlewoods law which "states that a person can expect to experience an event with odds of one in a million (defined by the law as a "miracle") at the rate of about one per month." ?

I'd be impressed with a 1-in-500 feat if it were performed on the first try, on demand. Say I ask a mentalist to guess the birthday of my second cousin, and she does it immediately. I wouldn't be convinced she had psychic powers, but I'd be pretty sure she had some trick better than guessing.

I would not be impressed by a 1-in-500 feat if it turned up when somebody else watched five hundred mentalist tricks and posted a video of the single most impressive success. That's my point about NHM being post-selected as evidence for the Book of Mormon.

I've never heard of Littlewood's Law. As stated, it can be obvious or ridiculous, depending on the rate at which things occur that can be counted as "experienced events". There are over two-and-a-half million seconds in a month, so if every second counts as an "event", then Littlewood is cool. If events occur once per week, then on average it will take over 19 millennia for each miracle. If things that happen every nanosecond in every cell count as experienced events, then everyone is experiencing an awful lot of statistical miracles in every second.

 

While I'm back here, are there any updates on that claim by the quoted Dr. Maraqten, that "Nehem" would have had to have been H-with-a-dot-under and not plain H, so that the whole "NHM=Nahom" thing is only a near miss? That sounds worrying to me, from a Mormon apologetics point of view, because it's exactly the sort of nasty little technicality that can scupper things that look nice to non-experts.

Edited by Physics Guy

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40 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Again, even though I bolded and underlined items for you, they made no impression on you.  You not only don't understand what Ryan and I have said to you, but you are now falsifying what we said.

Robert, I understand what you and Ryan are telling me. I disagree with Ryan's points, but at least he understands my point that biblical names are not irrelevant. Ryan even wrote, "It seems like everyone is missing the point of what Samuel is doing."

It is very relevant that there are many ancient toponyms near Nihm that match many Biblical names. Now think of all the claims and aspects of the Book of Mormon. Now think about all the many thousands of religious books in English, some will inevitably have some very lucky hits.  I am sure the Physics Guy would agree.  

22 minutes ago, Physics Guy said:

 There are over two-and-a-half million seconds in a month, so if every second counts as an "event", then Littlewood is cool.

Yes, it is our mind that makes a coincidence meaningful. Can you please explain to Glenn why he has it backward. I told him "There are thousands religious books in the US, and because there are thousands it is inevitable that some are going to have a very lucky hit" He said, "I do not believe that you can provide evidence to back up that assertion. (death and taxes are not really inevitable either, but are highly likely). Try finding Lachoneus or Paanchi in any pre 1830 book, religious or not"

Please

 

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On 10/14/2017 at 9:03 PM, SamuelTheLamanite said:

You are absolutely right, I did forget that only 42% are Biblical. However, many other Book of Mormon names are very similar to Old Testament names such as Kish being nearly identical to Akish.  I don't think the 42% is fair, I say it should be at least 60%.

That line of reasoning isn't nearly as significant as you seem to think. As soon as you start considering variant names, then you have to account for all the little variants that could be made of biblical names. The 2300 names would quickly baloon to tens of thousands of possible variants. That would probably not make a very big dent in the overall percentages because even if you found a bunch of close Bible variants around the Nihm tribal region, you have to realize that Joseph Smith could have been drawing from a HUGE corpus of possible names.

On 10/14/2017 at 9:03 PM, SamuelTheLamanite said:

Ryan, to make things simple let's assume 1 in 500 odds.  Ryan, I want you to think about all the claims and all possible aspects of the Book of Mormon. With many claims and possible aspects you are likely to get a hit, read Little Wood's law. Now, think about all the religious books that have been published. There are thousands religious books in the US, and because there are thousands it is inevitable that some are going to have a very lucky hit.

Little Wood's law seems misapplied here because it assumes that Nahom is the only "hit" in the Book of Mormon. In my count, there are hundreds (and even thousands, depending on how one counts) of hits. Many of them are at least as good as Nahom. And if we want to reduce it down to 1 in 500, I'm fine with that. Add that to 1 in 75 here or 1 in 200 there and 1 in 1,000 on occasion. By the time you get done surveying all the evidences of the Book of Mormon, Nahom being a coincidence seems more and more like a near impossibility. 

On 10/14/2017 at 9:41 PM, Robert F. Smith said:

Basing scholarship on apriorism here seems fruitless to me, Ryan.  We should never be concerned with the personal beliefs of this or that person on whether the BofM is historically authentic.  For a scholar, that puts the cart before the horse.  All the tests conducted must apply dispassionately to the observable facts.  Interpretations might differ, but hopefully for a rational, articulable cause.

I was providing a critique of Samuel's rhetorical approach. And in that line of "scholarship," it seems that accurately identifying his intended target audiences and the widely held assumptions of those target audiences is appropriately placing the horse before the cart.

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I'm not sure there really are so many religious books that mention ancient places, especially if you discount the ones that are undoubtedly ancient themselves. There were a fair number of Theosophical works that talked about the ancient history of Mu and Atlantis; maybe one could look through them for coincidental hits with real archaeology, just as a testbed for this sort of analysis. Theosophical literature is likely all correlated, however, because the authors all fed off each other.

Nil admirari—the determination never to be surprised or impressed by anything—can be taken too far, I think. If something strange happens to me, then okay, strange things are bound to happen to someone, and maybe this time that someone simply happened to be me. But for me, the fact that I'm me isn't post-selected. It's a prior condition. I'm fully entitled to be surprised by this strange thing. To shrug it off as nothing but coincidence, because it was likely to happen to someone, is not what I would call a scientific attitude. Science is actually quite bold about leaping to conclusions, and guessing at big theories based on individual observations of weird things. Doing that is good science, not bad. The necessary next phase, scientifically, is to test the boldly guessed theories as well as you can. That may take a lot of effort, however, and it may be quite a while before the verdict is clear. In the mean time, you're working hard, perhaps even devoting your professional life to a hypothesis based on a few unexplained observations. The psychological ability to work long and hard for something uncertain is what medievals called the virtue of faith. The need for this kind of faith is one of the big differences between science in the sense of scientific research, and science in the sense of established knowledge written in textbooks. A lot of enthusiastic atheists seem to me to confuse those two things, and so they think of their nil admirari attitude as scientific, when in fact it's an attitude with which no-one would ever discover anything.

At some point I think it's legitimate to be impressed by weird coincidences. You have to be careful, however. A lot of coincidences are not really as weird as they seem. If you're actively looking for empirical grounds for believing a pre-determined theory, then cherry-picking and Texas sharpshooting are serious hazards. And in general it's a bad sign to me whenever anyone claims that a single observation must be so extremely unlikely as coincidence that it has to have an otherwise implausible explanation, if they don't talk an awful lot about all the arduous ways by which they accounted for the possibilities of cherry-picking and sharpshooting. It's like hearing somebody tell about how they climbed Everest, and not mentioning thin air and cold. If they'd really done what they claim, they'd have talked mostly about those two things. 

Edited by Physics Guy

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I was in Barcelona this summer and just by coincidence a friend from Florida happened to be there the SAME time we were?  What are the odds of that?  We never planned it, it just happened half way around the world from where both of us live.  So we agree to meet at a cafe across town that evening.  We meet him and start to enjoy the evening catching up on things.  Then my boyfriend looks across the room at that same cafe on that same night at the exact same time and to our astonishment, we see another friend that we know from Copenhagen.  None of this was planned.  It just happened.  So what are the odds of meeting a friend from Florida in a city that we both happen to be visiting at the same time and decide to meet at a cafe across town on the exact night at the exact same time another friend from Copenhagen decides to go to the exact same cafe on the exact same night. Neither one of the friends knew each other nor did either one of them know that we were in Barcelona.

It is a miracle.  God has brought us together.  Amazing.  Shocking. Beyond proof that God does perform miracles in our day.  Should I go on?  

But that wasn't the only miracle that happened.  We went to the beach on a warm day and laid out a blanket.  No sooner had we laid out or blanket then we see a good friend from San Francisco not more than 10 feet away from us.  He arrived about 30 minutes before us.  We had no idea he was in Barcelona.

I think just about everyone has a story of amazing coincidences.  One can hardly draw any scientific explanation from such events.  Sometimes the most unexpected and outlandish coincidences are still just coincidences.  

And why is it that every time I read the title of this thread, my mind wants to read it as "God probably won't allow us to find Nemo."

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5 hours ago, Physics Guy said:

I'm not sure there really are so many religious books that mention ancient places, especially if you discount the ones that are undoubtedly ancient themselves. There were a fair number of Theosophical works that talked about the ancient history of Mu and Atlantis; maybe one could look through them for coincidental hits with real archaeology, just as a testbed for this sort of analysis. Theosophical literature is likely all correlated, however, because the authors all fed off each other...................................................................

7 hours ago, SamuelTheLamanite said:

.........................................................

It is very relevant that there are many ancient toponyms near Nihm that match many Biblical names. Now think of all the claims and aspects of the Book of Mormon. Now think about all the many thousands of religious books in English, some will inevitably have some very lucky hits.  I am sure the Physics Guy would agree.  

Yes, it is our mind that makes a coincidence meaningful. Can you please explain to Glenn why he has it backward. I told him "There are thousands religious books in the US, and because there are thousands it is inevitable that some are going to have a very lucky hit" He said, "I do not believe that you can provide evidence to back up that assertion. (death and taxes are not really inevitable either, but are highly likely). Try finding Lachoneus or Paanchi in any pre 1830 book, religious or not"...........................................

If you count the fictional works of people like C. S. Lewis (Perelandra, Narnia), J.R.R. Tolkien (the Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Silmarillion), George R. R. Martin (Game of Thrones), those Theosophical works you mention, the Urantia Book, etc., you get a hint of the sort of thousands of fictional names and geography which might be compared to actual historical names and geography.  If any such books attempt to portray themselves as authentic history (the Urantia  Book does), it is no problem at all to closely examine them for errors and anachronisms.  One can also successfully find the sources and precedents for the contents of such books.  That is how we are able to separate fact from fiction in Homeric Epic, the Tale of Gilgamesh, the Bhagavad Gita, etc.  I agree with Ryan Dahle that 

Quote

Little Wood's law seems misapplied here because it assumes that Nahom is the only "hit" in the Book of Mormon. In my count, there are hundreds (and even thousands, depending on how one counts) of hits. Many of them are at least as good as Nahom. And if we want to reduce it down to 1 in 500, I'm fine with that. Add that to 1 in 75 here or 1 in 200 there and 1 in 1,000 on occasion. By the time you get done surveying all the evidences of the Book of Mormon, Nahom being a coincidence seems more and more like a near impossibility.

 

Edited by Robert F. Smith

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1 hour ago, california boy said:

I think just about everyone has a story of amazing coincidences.  One can hardly draw any scientific explanation from such events.  Sometimes the most unexpected and outlandish coincidences are still just coincidences.  

And why is it that every time I read the title of this thread, my mind wants to read it as "God probably won't allow us to find Nemo."

I think the problem with your analogy is that Nahom, as a strong evidence in the Book of Mormon, is not unusual. What if nearly every time you go to the Barcelona (i.e. study the Book of Mormon from a different evidentiary angle) you happen to stumble upon an acquaintance (coincidence)? And what if on several occasions, you have a series of coincidental experiences all tied together like you reported  with the two friends at the cafe and the one at the beach (like Nahom). Pretty soon you start to wonder why this is happening to you. You ask around and no one else you talk to has these type of coincidences in their lives (just like other texts don't have the same concentration of coincidences similar to the Book of Mormon). I think, if this were the case, that you would struggle to provide a naturalistic explanation for the unusually high concentration of coincidences that only occur when you travel to Barcelona. 

For about a year now, I have been involved in a massive project to track down, categorize, evaluate, and explicate every known evidence of the Book of Mormon that contains any degree of legitimacy. I have about 40 pages of categorized sources which comprise more than 1500 publications. Even when you sift out all of the highly speculative and weak lines of evidence, we still end up with a massive compilation of studies that pursue intriguing and often times mutually supporting lines of evidence. Most of these evidences, the vast majority of them, have not been dealt with at all by critics of the Book of Mormon. That doesn't mean they are all valid. I'm sure there are lots of dead ends that currently seem inviting. But in the aggregate, I find it fascinating that over and over again, those critical of these evidences resort to coincidence as a sort of catchall  explanation. The fact that critics have to continually resort to this line of defense is good news for the claims that the Book of Mormon is both miraculously translated and authentically ancient.

To be clear, I'm not saying you are a "critic." I'm just saying that those who resort to these lines of reasoning often fail to see the holistic evidentiary picture and the way that many lines of evidence converge together in powerful ways. Nahom is just a very big drop in the bucket of coincidences, folks. 

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Mormon apologists also sometimes complain about the "long list" of critical objections, which is so long that even if item after item upon it is successfully dismissed, still the critics simply shrug and move on to the next item, confident in the aggregate picture of the vast majority. The Mormon apologists imply that the entire list is actually spurious, because no single item on it ever (according to them) withstands close inspection, and its length is simply an anti-Mormon tactic for postponing defeat indefinitely.

I'm not really opposed to the idea that an aggregate picture can be convincing even if individual details prove weak. It's a frustrating principle, however, no matter who applies it. Quantity has a quality all its own.

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10 hours ago, Physics Guy said:

While I'm back here, are there any updates on that claim by the quoted Dr. Maraqten, that "Nehem" would have had to have been H-with-a-dot-under and not plain H, so that the whole "NHM=Nahom" thing is only a near miss? That sounds worrying to me, from a Mormon apologetics point of view, because it's exactly the sort of nasty little technicality that can scupper things that look nice to non-experts.

PG, when the cartographers who made the two earliest maps that show a region Nehhm (Niebuhr) or Nehem (D'Anville) made their maps they had no road signs or other types of markers for the names of the towns and regions. They obtained that information from local residents of the area. Carsten Niebuhr stated in his book ""I have had no small difficulty in writing down these names; both from the diversity of dialects in the country, and from the indistinct pronunciation of those from whom I was obliged to ask them." (Travels through Arabia, 1:35) And that is the way Nephi would have recorded it, by the way it sounded to him. There is no way of ascertaining if the pronunciation was the same during the time the Lehi entourage passed through the area and 1750-1770. Niebuhr noted there were many dialects spoken among the locals and I imagine that was probably the case during Lehi's day also. But the main point is that Nephi was not copying from an inscription but rather penning (or scratching) what he had heard.

Glenn

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1 hour ago, Physics Guy said:

Mormon apologists also sometimes complain about the "long list" of critical objections, which is so long that even if item after item upon it is successfully dismissed, still the critics simply shrug and move on to the next item, confident in the aggregate picture of the vast majority. The Mormon apologists imply that the entire list is actually spurious, because no single item on it ever (according to them) withstands close inspection, and its length is simply an anti-Mormon tactic for postponing defeat indefinitely.

I'm not really opposed to the idea that an aggregate picture can be convincing even if individual details prove weak. It's a frustrating principle, however, no matter who applies it. Quantity has a quality all its own.

To be fair critics often say the same about apologetic defenses. 

I think a big problem with both critics and apologists is not making coherent cases. Often small arguments depend upon particular assumptions that are incompatible with other arguments. It'd be nice for people to be a little more coherent while acknowledging the diversity of views and arguments on both sides. The second problem I'd note is that often both sides when making arguments don't sufficiently engage with counterarguments. 

2 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

Even when you sift out all of the highly speculative and weak lines of evidence, we still end up with a massive compilation of studies that pursue intriguing and often times mutually supporting lines of evidence. Most of these evidences, the vast majority of them, have not been dealt with at all by critics of the Book of Mormon. That doesn't mean they are all valid. I'm sure there are lots of dead ends that currently seem inviting.

I think this is a good point. Although I'd hasten to add that far more apologetic works seem oriented around first looks rather than doing the serious followup they'd need. So they'll mention one or two articles that are suggestive but no one really does further investigation. I do rather wish both sides would come up with the strongest arguments they don't think are dealt with well.

To add though, just because something isn't dealt with well, doesn't mean that it invalidates the overall circumstantial case (and this is true of both sides). So for instance to my eyes the biggest problems apologists haven't been able to deal with well are metal objects and the oddity of the brass plates. They can find some similar items, but no real strong parallels for things at the proper area/time. For the critics I just don't think they've done a good job explaining the composition of the Book of Mormon in terms of time and resources by Joseph Smith. (For those who ascribe authorship to him - of course plagiarism or other texts are also common thus the View of the Hebrews and Spalding Manuscript arguments over the decades)

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1 hour ago, Physics Guy said:

I'm not really opposed to the idea that an aggregate picture can be convincing even if individual details prove weak. It's a frustrating principle, however, no matter who applies it. Quantity has a quality all its own.

That is why prosecutors prefer as many charges as they can come up with against people that are charged with crimes, especially if their case for their major allegations are weak. Throw everything against the wall in the hopes that something will stick. That works pretty well when a person is accused of a crime that arouses emotions.

Glenn

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8 hours ago, Physics Guy said:

I'm not sure there really are so many religious books that mention ancient places, especially if you discount the ones that are undoubtedly ancient themselves.

"Ancient" covers a rather large period. There's lots of texts from late antiquity purporting to be from much earlier. The question then is how well they line up and what anachronistic give aways they make. Claiming texts to be ancient to give them more authority has a long pedigree. Admittedly there was less scholarship then so such project in some ways would be much harder than say for Joseph Smith. But then they may also have had access to older texts that were then lost.

To the other discussion about probabilities, I'm not sure how useful it is since we can't quantify these things. We're speaking pretty loosely. Further they seem to be intuitive judgments highly affected by confirmation bias and other such things. Of course improbable events happen with some regularity making things more difficult. I think what's frustrating though is the double standard that gets applied. Within source criticism and related arguments improbably means dismissed. That's supposed to determinatively tell us about the dates of particular texts. Yet critics then refuse to allow such arguments by apologists. That's why I think it's a bit frustrating at times. (I'm of the opinion both types of argument are weak - yet I do notice the double standard)

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2 hours ago, Physics Guy said:

Mormon apologists also sometimes complain about the "long list" of critical objections, which is so long that even if item after item upon it is successfully dismissed, still the critics simply shrug and move on to the next item, confident in the aggregate picture of the vast majority. The Mormon apologists imply that the entire list is actually spurious, because no single item on it ever (according to them) withstands close inspection, and its length is simply an anti-Mormon tactic for postponing defeat indefinitely.

I think the shotgun fallacy is more of a concern for a debate that has time constraints. For instances, if in a live, face to face, public debate, one were to challenge one's opponent by asking him or her to account for 50 concerns that  couldn't possibly be discussed in detail during the allotted time, then that would be an unfair or fallacious way to undercut his or her credibility. 

However, the fact of the matter is that when dealing with something like the Book of Mormon, all lines of evidences, pro and con, should be considered as one seeks to intellectually sort out the various claims. There is nothing wrong with making big lists of evidences and arguments that support a certain theory or position. For instance, I don't see anything wrong (in format) with the CES letter's compendium of concerns. That type of categorization and enumeration is actually important if anyone is to grasp the holistic nature of the argument. The fallacy only surfaces if the evidences that are being listed in summarized form can be shown to be fundamentally flawed. It is not quantity, but quantity inflated with poor quality, that is the concern. 

Moreover, in my opinion, as I have surveyed the back and forth between "apologists" and "critics," for lack of better terms, I have found that the argument is quite one-sided. Apologists have tended to provide cogent and often thorough responses to pretty much any critical arguments that gain notable traction or popularity. In contrast, there are many tomes of apologetic research that have been virtually untouched by critics. 

The point of my bringing this up was because Samuel wanted to broaden the scope of the issue by appealing to Littlewood's law. In that case, one has to account for the uniqueness of the Book of Mormon's content as a lengthy series of unlikely coincidences, rather than a single isolated evidence drawn from the multitude. 

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1 hour ago, clarkgoble said:

There's lots of texts from late antiquity purporting to be from much earlier.

Hey, that's true. I wasn't thinking of those, but only of more recent works.

Quote

(I'm of the opinion both types of argument are weak - yet I do notice the double standard.)

I think the double standard is inevitable because people have different prior assumptions. Evidence that is more than sufficient to prefer one hypothesis you consider plausible, over others that you also considered plausible a priori, can be utterly inadequate to support a conclusion that you consider wildly implausible.

I don't think that's even a bad thing. You just have to recognize it, and not waste time trying to beat people over the head with evidence that simply counts much more for you than it does for them. Ordinary reasoning does not lead to one truth, because it is always based on assumptions, and these differ. So ordinary rational argument is a bloodless and gentlemanly game of understanding one another's assumptions and examining the deductions that each draws from them.

It only gets exciting when somebody's assumptions reach a tipping point, and they really start to see the vase look like two faces instead. That's a much more serious game, but I think it's really a game for only one player. Nobody goes through that experience because of somebody else's arguments.

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24 minutes ago, Ryan Dahle said:

I think the shotgun fallacy is more of a concern for a debate that has time constraints. ... [W]hen dealing with something like the Book of Mormon, all lines of evidences, pro and con, should be considered as one seeks to intellectually sort out the various claims.

Had we but world enough and time.

If you're defending a faith that's important to you, or if you're worried about holding on to it, then you may well be willing to read lots of books and think hard about a lot of issues. If on the other hand you're a non-Mormon wondering whether there might be anything to this particular unfamiliar religion, or wondering how it is that Mormons manage to believe it, then you just are not going to devote years of study to the matter before deciding. Life is too short for that, when there are dozens of other belief systems out there, all staking their claims.

A long list can be persuasive if it's a long list of examples of a single basic point, like the zillions of examples of nested adaptation that support Darwinian evolution. If each little case takes a fresh lot of argument to make, and yet only adds a little grain to the pile of evidence, then this is simply the sort of thing that is only convincing at all if you already believe it. Conversely, if somebody does change their mind, it's going to be because of one or two issues that make their assumptions tip. It's not going to be because of how long the long list is.

So either way the long list is irrelevant, except in giving people an ample menu from which to select the one or two issues about which they most care. You can't build a house on a billion grains of sand. You need to build it on one rock.

Edited by Physics Guy

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15 minutes ago, Physics Guy said:

If you're defending a faith that's important to you, or if you're worried about holding on to it, then you may well be willing to read lots of books and think hard about a lot of issues. If on the other hand you're a non-Mormon wondering whether there might be anything to this particular unfamiliar religion, or wondering how it is that Mormons manage to believe it, then you just are not going to devote years of study to the matter before deciding. Life is too short for that, when there are dozens of other belief systems out there, all staking their claims.

Apologetics or intellectual research is not the way that one can reliably learn the truth about God. I have known and know of people that have thought their way in and out of religions. LDS apologteics are good for supplying plausible answers to some, but hardly all secular questions. The other side of the coin is the spiritual and how to discern spiritual truths which would need another thread.

Glenn

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1 hour ago, Ryan Dahle said:

I think the shotgun fallacy is more of a concern for a debate that has time constraints. For instances, if in a live, face to face, public debate, one were to challenge one's opponent by asking him or her to account for 50 concerns that  couldn't possibly be discussed in detail during the allotted time, then that would be an unfair or fallacious way to undercut his or her credibility. 

 That would depend on the emotional  level of the hits the person takes.  Since it is a shotgun fallacy, I will use the shotgun analogy.

From what I have seen, if the shock (shot) of the encounter is deep enough, even if one by one the claims are handled and accepted as valid answers, by the time you  stop even several wounds from bleeding, others of the large number of multiple wounds have been bleeding out as to leave a seriously ill patient spiritually speaking.   Their paradigm has changed to the point the evidence does not have an impact.  

If the person for whatever reason (preparation, exposure to some of the arguments resolved already in a positive way, etc) has enough covering to protect, a thicker skin or bullet proof covering so to speak...even if multiple wounds are taken, they are shallow enough to give time  to treat on an individual level without causing permanent damage, but without decent, immediate treatment wounds can fester and never properly heal, leaving weaknesses in the case of additional injuries in the future.

In other words, even in 'no debate' situations shotgun approaches may have great impact depending on the individual and how they view the world and how they have chosen to prepare themselves as well as what they have been previously exposed to. I have heard  people describe the reaction as immediate, unrecoverable loss of faith from shock as well as a deep shock that lasted over a few weeks before solidifying into  loss of faith. Even in the second case, shock has left deep enough wounds that immediate 'treatment' will be unsuccessful most likely if they do not already have some of the mental (how to properly evaluate and research claims) and spiritual (strong, flexible testimonies) resources to draw on.

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5 minutes ago, Calm said:

In other words, even in 'no debate' situations shotgun approaches may have great impact depending on the individual and how they view the world and how they have chosen to prepare themselves as well as what they have been previously exposed to. I have heard  people describe the reaction as immediate, unrecoverable loss of faith from shock as well as a deep shock that lasted over a few weeks before solidifying into  loss of faith. Even in the second case, shock has left deep enough wounds that immediate 'treatment' will be unsuccessful most likely if they do not already have some of the mental (how to properly evaluate and research claims) and spiritual (strong, flexible testimonies) resources to draw on.

I guess I was responding to the logical soundness of the large list approach rather than its effectiveness. In other words, I was trying to hone in on what was actually fallacious about the shotgun fallacy. I suppose I didn't articulate clearly enough that uncritically accepting a long list of fallacious arguments (based on their quantity alone) can be unnecessarily harmful to one's belief system.

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16 minutes ago, Ryan Dahle said:

I guess I was responding to the logical soundness of the large list approach rather than its effectiveness. In other words, I was trying to hone in on what was actually fallacious about the shotgun fallacy. I suppose I didn't articulate clearly enough that uncritically accepting a long list of fallacious arguments (based on their quantity alone) can be unnecessarily harmful to one's belief system.

:good:

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20 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

That line of reasoning isn't nearly as significant as you seem to think. As soon as you start considering variant names, then you have to account for all the little variants that could be made of biblical names. The 2300 names would quickly baloon to tens of thousands of possible variants.

Yes, and because there are thousands of possible variants the chance of finding a match increases.  

20 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

Little Wood's law seems misapplied here because it assumes that Nahom is the only "hit" in the Book of Mormon. In my count, there are hundreds (and even thousands, depending on how one counts) of hits. Many of them are at least as good as Nahom. And if we want to reduce it down to 1 in 500, I'm fine with that. Add that to 1 in 75 here or 1 in 200 there and 1 in 1,000 on occasion. By the time you get done surveying all the evidences of the Book of Mormon, Nahom being a coincidence seems more and more like a near impossibility.

That is another subject, but many see Nahom as the first archaeological evidence. 

20 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

I was providing a critique of Samuel's rhetorical approach. And in that line of "scholarship," it seems that accurately identifying his intended target audiences and the widely held assumptions of those target audiences is appropriately placing the horse before the cart.

The Nahom evidence is placing the horse before the cart, is it true that no one predicted Nahom to be north of Sanaa before LDS scholars  noticed the Nihm tribe?

20 hours ago, Physics Guy said:

I'm not sure there really are so many religious books that mention ancient places, especially if you discount the ones that are undoubtedly ancient themselves.

Religious books make a lot of claims, they don't have to be only about ancient place names. There are many books that talk about astronomy, human body, the middle east. Many make predictions. All I am saying is that with many religious books making a lot of claims it is inevitable that some are going to have a very lucky hit.  I am sure you agree on that because you are an intelligent person.

 

Edited by SamuelTheLamanite

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Given enough claims, there are bound to be hits. I'm not sure this necessarily means that one can just dismiss all hits, though. Sometimes true things appear surrounded by clouds of fakes, like the weird electrical device with a magnet and coil that looks a lot like the hundreds of bogus anti-gravity and perpetual motion machines on the internet, but happens to be an actual electric motor. If you're not related to the motor's inventor, the cloud of crackpot fakes is probably still good enough reason to ignore all those things until one of them seems to take off commercially. The one person who takes that particular gadget seriously enough to invest early, however, is not being foolish. They're getting rich. So although I don't believe that NHM proves Lehi's journey, I can't point to any general principle of scientific logic that makes the find meaningless.

My view of Nahom is that one three-letter inscription obviously needs an awful lot of dressing up with low-probability arguments before it can stand as persuasive evidence for anything, and for reasons I've already explained, those kinds of argument are extremely difficult to make convincingly. If I were to plunge into the details of exactly how likely any given coincidence might be, I wouldn't be able to argue convincingly, either. If anyone else wants to try to make a more rigorous analysis, wow, good for them, but it's a really difficult job to do thoroughly, and merely making a decent attempt at it isn't worth much. So until I see some really professional-grade confirmation that NHM is something up there with Troy, I'm just going to leave Nahom in the big pile of dubious claims. It's some evidence for Book of Mormon historicity; it's very far from being convincing evidence. 

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One problem with shotgun/long-list arguments is the one Clark raised, of coherence. A shotgun fires a lot of separate pieces of shot that fly loose from each other; the problem with a long list is that it is apt to be an unranked and ungrouped list that is simply one thing after another. The worst kind of long list is one that is like a little kid's piggy bank. It only holds a buck-thirty-five, but the little kid thinks they are rich, because it's all in pennies. If you offer to change all those pennies into one dime, one quarter, and one thin piece of paper, the kid gets upset.

In the grown-up world, nobody has time to count pennies. They may be legal tender, but in practice you have to cash them in for bigger units and offer people those. If an apologist assures me that they have ten thousand pennies, I'm not even going to look at the jar. if they want my attention, they've got to wave a Benjamin in my face. That means collecting up all their little pieces of evidence and converting them into supporting examples for a few basic points that can be stated clearly and briefly, and that can be discussed in general terms without having to dive into details right from the start.

Nobody should have to dive into details until a strong case has already been made in general terms. If you think that this doesn't apply to your details, because they are so tremendous, then perhaps they're not really details. Pick the best one, if it's so good, and just go with it. If it's not enough by itself, then you were wrong about how great your details are. Go back to organizing them into a few basic points, as above.

Turning this around, perhaps sometimes the shock effect of a long list of problems can overwhelm somebody even though they shouldn't really be overwhelmed, because they haven't actually been hit by that much. This is perhaps again like the little kid, being more impressed by the mass of pennies than they would be by the same value in large bills. Maybe it can help a person who has been shocked like that to ask them to group the long list into a smaller number of headings, and understand that each heading is bound to have multiple items under it, but that each heading is still really just one point.

On the other hand, sometimes the shock is legitimate. Sometimes we get too used to grouping things under headings, and treating them casually as little tokens, when in fact they hold an awful lot of weight. Being involved in a church, one gets used to tossing tremendous concepts like God and salvation around very lightly; it's a little bit like working in a big corporation and seeing checks for millions of dollars crossing your desk every day. If one day you yourself suddenly gain—or lose—a million dollars, it might be entirely reasonable to sit down and be stunned at just how very much money that is after all. It's a whole lot of pennies.

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6 hours ago, SamuelTheLamanite said:

The Nahom evidence is placing the horse before the cart, is it true that no one predicted Nahom to be north of Sanaa before LDS scholars  noticed the Nihm tribe?

You are correct. The horse does go before the cart. Finally something we can agree on. ;) But I expect that you meant the cart before the horse. But that is an inapt analogy. It does not fit the circumstances at all. The location of Nahom was predicted by Hugh Nibley years before it was found. I have already told you that and given you a reference. I am going to quote the pertinent section from "Lehi in the Desert."

"After traveling a vast distance in a south-southeasterly direction (1 Nephi 16:13, 33), the party struck off almost
due eastward through the worst desert of all, where they “did wade through much affiction,” to emerge in a state
of almost complete exhaustion into a totally unexpected paradise by the sea. There is such a paradise in the Qara
Mountains on the southern coast of Arabia. To reach it by moving “nearly eastward” (1 Nephi 17:1) from the Red
Sea coast, one would have to turn east on the nineteenth parallel. In The Improvement Era for September 1950 the
present writer published a map in which his main concern was to make Lehi reach the sea in the forested sector of
the Hadhramaut, and no other consideration dictated his sketching of the map. He foolishly overlooked the fact
that Dr. John A. Widtsoe had published in the Era some months previously what purports to be a “Revelation to
Joseph the Seer,” in which it is stated that Lehi’s party “traveled nearly a south, southeast direction until they came
to the nineteenth degree of north latitude; then nearly east to the sea of Arabia.” By an interesting coincidence,
the route shown in the author’s map turned east exactly at the nineteenth parallel. This correlation of data from
two totally different sources is a strong indication that both are correct. The only other possible route would have
been down the western shore of the Red Sea from Necho’s canal, and on such a course one cannot turn eastward
until passing the tenth parallel, and then it is not the Arabian Sea that one finds but the Indian Ocean. Along with
this, certain other rigorous conditions must be fulilled which can only be met on the south coast of Arabia.

The notice of the Nihm tribe comes many years later.

Glenn

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