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JarMan

Joseph Smith: The World's Greatest Guesser

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What amazed me about the discussion was I saw some really smart people on stats from both sides, the guys who came over from Mormondiscussons and had reasonable discussions on the Dales paper. Brant Gardiner seems to have managed both sides.

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21 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

I suppose it could, but how would the House of Israel in the isles of the sea have heard about the 3 days of darkness in the Americas in 34 AD

That presupposes the question for who the isles of the sea are and whether, as a sign, the same underlying cause was causing the phenomena everywhere. After all something else could have been causing darkness for non-Nephites/Lamanites. 

21 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

The correspondences between the Book of Mormon and Southeast Asia are far more specific and precise, even down to a founding by a warrior chief named Maroni. I've shared these correspondences here for nearly two years and the most common response seems to be that they are nothing more than a curious coincidence. If so, then how can we say that similar correspondences in Mesoamerica are something more than coincidence?

I don't think any apologist has (or really can with extant information) demonstrate they are anything more than coincidence. At best they can propose a model that seems reasonable to the data that needs explained. Honestly I suspect a significant portion of parallels apologists bring up will end up turning out to be coincidences. 

The reason I think people don't take your model as seriously is simply the question of how the plates and Moroni got to Joseph Smith from Asia, and why Moroni portrayed things as happening somewhere in the Americas. There's a reason why he Great Lakes models have adherents - it explains the early Mormon issues fairly well. It just fails completely for the text of the Book of Mormon. Even Mesoamerica, as I've noted, has some problems. But of the three models - Thailand, Mesoamerica, and Great Lakes I think Mesoamerica seems the most plausible -- but I'd never say apologists have demonstrated enough to say they have a solid case yet.

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1 hour ago, clarkgoble said:

The reason I think people don't take your model as seriously is simply the question of how the plates and Moroni got to Joseph Smith from Asia, and why Moroni portrayed things as happening somewhere in the Americas.

That presupposes that there were plates buried in a hill in Manchester and that a resurrected being angel named Moroni delivered them to Joseph Smith. The text itself says nothing about the provenance of the plates, so we can't start with these assumptions. 

My working hypothesis is that the underlying narrative of the Book of Mormon started to take shape at Dartmouth in 1785 when Dr. John Smith (a cousin of Joseph Smith's great-grandfather) communicated his ideas of the Americas being populated through migrations from Carthage and Asia. We can be certain the environment at Dartmouth in the 1780s was conducive to the construction of the Book of Mormon narrative because Ethan Smith and Solomon Spaulding, pupils of John Smith, went on to write books that closely resemble the Book of Mormon in many ways. There is even an account told by a family member of Ethan Smith claiming that Dr. Smith had written a history of Israelite migrations to the Americas and that this text was given to Solomon Spaulding. 

So why am I so interested in the correspondences between the Book of Mormon and what was known about Southeast Asia in the early 19th century? Because the first American missionaries to serve abroad left from the hometown of Dr. John Smith for Burma. Their pastor was Elijah Parish, a Dartmouth graduate who had been appointed to Byfield Parish by Dr. John Smith. Elijah Parish was a dear friend of Solomon Spaulding. Here's the important part: witnesses to the Spaulding manuscript claimed that the text described the Nephites and Lamanites in Asia and their passage to the Americas. I'm exploring that possibility.

I've recently visited the small village in Burma where these missionaries from Dr. John Smith's hometown resided in the 1830s. In this village there is a physical golden book that was supposedly delivered by an angel in a white robe.

I'm simply trying to understand all the different elements that led to the 'revelation' of that golden book sitting in a glass box in a small village in Burma. But mostly I'd like to know what it says, and if it has any relationship to the golden book that was delivered to Joseph Smith in the same decade.

Edited by Rajah Manchou
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Just saw this on Mormon Discussions, is there an answer to the contrary to Southerton's find?

I don't know how I overlooked this devastating anachronism for the Sorenson automatons. 

It's clear from the Book of Mormon story that Nephi and co. were skilled archers and brought bow and arrow technology to the New World. They used it to hunt on the way to the boat and after they arrived and then to kill each other for the next 1000 years. The problem is bow and arrow technology did not reach Mexico until 500 to 800AD, a full thousand years AFTER the Book of Mormon story says it was being widely used. The bow and arrow arrived several thousand years ago in the arctic via the Bering Strait and gradually moved south. Even in the Heartland territory it is debatable whether it was present before about 500AD.

And it came to pass that Joseph guessed wrong again.

 

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23 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

That presupposes that there were plates buried in a hill in Manchester and that a resurrected being angel named Moroni delivered them to Joseph Smith. The text itself says nothing about the provenance of the plates, so we can't start with these assumptions.

Well yes.

Surely you're not surprised to find that is.a presupposition for most members.

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48 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

Just saw this on Mormon Discussions, is there an answer to the contrary to Southerton's find?

I don't know how I overlooked this devastating anachronism for the Sorenson automatons. 

It's clear from the Book of Mormon story that Nephi and co. were skilled archers and brought bow and arrow technology to the New World. They used it to hunt on the way to the boat and after they arrived and then to kill each other for the next 1000 years. The problem is bow and arrow technology did not reach Mexico until 500 to 800AD, a full thousand years AFTER the Book of Mormon story says it was being widely used. The bow and arrow arrived several thousand years ago in the arctic via the Bering Strait and gradually moved south. Even in the Heartland territory it is debatable whether it was present before about 500AD.

I'd written something up on bows and arrows a few years ago. There's been a few approaches to the problem. I tend to favor the linguistic drift approach particularly since atlatls were regularly called bows. As the post suggests I find some of the mainstream apologetic claims a bit problematic. There have been a few papers and then nothing. If you go to the original sources though it does get interesting. I don't see it as a problem though.

We now in the late era when we know there were bows in Mexico that the elites still favored the atlatl particularly in their art. That suggests social reasons to reject the bow which could explain why Nephi's bow didn't catch on. The Nephites then just use the term for bow-like instruments like the atlatl much like the Spanish did. The problem then is distinguishing javelin from atlatl and the like given the terms in the Book of Mormon. But I honestly don't see it as a problem.

Edited by clarkgoble
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2 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

Surely you're not surprised to find that is.a presupposition for most members.

Not surprised at all, but this presupposition is the primary reason we haven't yet been able to resolve the origins of the Book of Mormon.

A plausible explanation such as it was written by a Smith at Dartmouth and adapted by Joseph Smith is dismissed because it doesn't fit the belief that it was written by Israelites in Mesoamerica and delivered to Joseph by an angel.

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9 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

Not surprised at all, but this presupposition is the primary reason we haven't yet been able to resolve the origins of the Book of Mormon.

A plausible explanation such as it was written by a Smith at Dartmouth and adapted by Joseph Smith is dismissed because it doesn't fit the belief that it was written by Israelites in Mesoamerica and delivered to Joseph by an angel.

There's lots of evidence Joseph was involved. We have his accounts of how he received it. There's no positive evidence that this other figure had written anything nor any idea how such texts could have reached Joseph. Get those and I think you'll find people take your theory more seriously.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/31/2019 at 8:54 AM, Exiled said:

https://www.mormoninterpreter.com/joseph-smith-the-worlds-greatest-guesser-a-bayesian-statistical-analysis-of-positive-and-negative-correspondences-between-the-book-of-mormon-and-the-maya/

Take a look at the comments section. You will find his responses to the Dales' paper there.

He also comments a lot on Dr. Person's blog Sic et Non.  

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/danpeterson/

That's it?

The problem with criticism's like Billy Shears, is that the model is more robust than the criticism gives it credit for.  The model is completely open to disagreements in the assumptions made--and that includes the assumptions of probability.  So, rather than simply throw shade, Billy's (and your) burden in disagreeing with the study is to actually go and run the numbers based on your assumptions, and justify those assumptions with the evidence.  To the extent that neither Billy nor you have done that, your disagreement--although, perhaps, well-based--is useless.

Second, as far as the downsides of the study, recall that the Dales (1) presume Coe's book to be correct (which, I don't think it is 100% - and, as Brant Gardner notes in the comments, there is evidence outside the scope of Coe's book that actually support authenticity), and (2) actually ran a benchmark of sorts with other books.  The Dales are not trying to be "right."  They're trying to construct an objective methodology.  Sure, there are still a lot of subjective calls in populating the methodology.  But the value is in the methodology that they created--not simply the results.

So, I say to Billy and everyone else -- your disagreement with the study is immaterial.  Unless someone has a substantive problem with the Bayesian analysis (and I don't see that anyone is really attacking the legitimacy of the methodology), re-run the analysis using your own assumptions.  Because there are so many "hits" and so few "misses," the weight of probabilities will simply not change the result.  Whether the chance of invalidity of the Book of Mormon is 1:10,000; 1:100,000, 1:1,000,000, or 1:1,000,000,000, or some other absurdly small number, for all practical purposes, the validity is demonstrated and the differences in probability (due to different assumptions) are immaterial.  As an example, if Billy's criticisms about the directions in the BoM were completely right (and they are not, such as when he misreads 3 Nephi 8:1-2 and the truthfulness of the record as meaning the truthfulness of the calendar, which is actually explicitly assumed to be correct--thus, suggesting it might not be), how would that truly change the end result?  Really, it wouldn't.

Billy is straining at a gnat to swallow a camel.  Even if his criticisms are correct, there is no reason to believe that they'd make much (let alone a material) difference in the calculations.

Edited by PacMan
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2 hours ago, PacMan said:

So, I say to Billy and everyone else -- your disagreement with the study is immaterial.  Unless someone has a substantive problem with the Bayesian analysis (and I don't see that anyone is really attacking the legitimacy of the methodology), re-run the analysis using your own assumptions.  Because there are so many "hits" and so few "misses," the weight of probabilities will simply not change the result.  Whether the chance of invalidity of the Book of Mormon is 1:10,000; 1:100,000, 1:1,000,000, or 1:1,000,000,000, or some other absurdly small number, for all practical purposes, the validity is demonstrated and the differences in probability (due to different assumptions) are immaterial.  As an example, if Billy's criticisms about the directions in the BoM were completely right (and they are not, such as when he misreads 3 Nephi 8:1-2 and the truthfulness of the record as meaning the truthfulness of the calendar, which is actually explicitly assumed to be correct--thus, suggesting it might not be), how would that truly change the end result?  Really, it wouldn't.

Oh, but there is a substantive problem with the analysis and it has been raised, both by Billy Shears and myself earlier in the thread. The problem is the analysis is not using an exhaustive set of conditions, which is a requirement for a Bayesian analysis. The analysis assumes that either the Book of Mormon is what it says it is or else Joseph made it up. But there are many, many other possibilities. . . many people who could have made it up besides Joseph. This universe of other potential authors has to be tested against in order for the analysis to be valid. So instead of asking, what is the likelihood Joseph could have made this up, the real question is, what is the likelihood that some person could have made it up? It is only an exhaustive set if everybody in the universe living before the Book of Mormon came forth is considered as a potential author. As I've said before, the Dales have set up a false dichotomy.

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1 hour ago, JarMan said:

Oh, but there is a substantive problem with the analysis and it has been raised, both by Billy Shears and myself earlier in the thread. The problem is the analysis is not using an exhaustive set of conditions, which is a requirement for a Bayesian analysis. The analysis assumes that either the Book of Mormon is what it says it is or else Joseph made it up. But there are many, many other possibilities. . . many people who could have made it up besides Joseph. This universe of other potential authors has to be tested against in order for the analysis to be valid. So instead of asking, what is the likelihood Joseph could have made this up, the real question is, what is the likelihood that some person could have made it up? It is only an exhaustive set if everybody in the universe living before the Book of Mormon came forth is considered as a potential author. As I've said before, the Dales have set up a false dichotomy.

First, no.  The study doesn't say that.  What it does is analyzes the BoM in terms of the claims made by Coe.  It is not simply to prove the BoM--otherwise, the Dales would have included a host of hits that Coe's book says nothing about.

Second, I have to really question your position.  Even critical historians, like Brent Metcalfe, have generally concluded that this was a product of Joseph Smith.  Period.  End of story.  That is to say nothing of apologetic historians.  If you want to believe that the BoM was not a work of Joseph Smith, that's fine.  I think you're in the gross minority, that your view is not supported by the evidence, and that you're grasping at straws.

Third, to the extent that NO ONE knew about the particular details that correlate between the Maya and the BoM in the early 1800s, it doesn't matter if there was 1 author or thousands of contributors.  They are, individually or collectively, still guessing.  It's like comparing a randomly generated number between 1-100, or generating a random number out of a pool of random numbers between 1-100.  It doesn't matter.  The outcome is the same--random.

So you misidentify an issue--it is NOT whether Joseph Smith wrote the book by his lonesome, but whether he was assisted with people knowledgeable about the Mayans.  If he was not (because they didn't exist), then you are creating a distinction without a difference.  The Bayesian analysis remains (materially) unchallenged.

Edited by PacMan

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5 hours ago, PacMan said:

That's it?

The problem with criticism's like Billy Shears, is that the model is more robust than the criticism gives it credit for.  The model is completely open to disagreements in the assumptions made--and that includes the assumptions of probability.  So, rather than simply throw shade, Billy's (and your) burden in disagreeing with the study is to actually go and run the numbers based on your assumptions, and justify those assumptions with the evidence.  To the extent that neither Billy nor you have done that, your disagreement--although, perhaps, well-based--is useless.

Second, as far as the downsides of the study, recall that the Dales (1) presume Coe's book to be correct (which, I don't think it is 100% - and, as Brant Gardner notes in the comments, there is evidence outside the scope of Coe's book that actually support authenticity), and (2) actually ran a benchmark of sorts with other books.  The Dales are not trying to be "right."  They're trying to construct an objective methodology.  Sure, there are still a lot of subjective calls in populating the methodology.  But the value is in the methodology that they created--not simply the results.

So, I say to Billy and everyone else -- your disagreement with the study is immaterial.  Unless someone has a substantive problem with the Bayesian analysis (and I don't see that anyone is really attacking the legitimacy of the methodology), re-run the analysis using your own assumptions.  Because there are so many "hits" and so few "misses," the weight of probabilities will simply not change the result.  Whether the chance of invalidity of the Book of Mormon is 1:10,000; 1:100,000, 1:1,000,000, or 1:1,000,000,000, or some other absurdly small number, for all practical purposes, the validity is demonstrated and the differences in probability (due to different assumptions) are immaterial.  As an example, if Billy's criticisms about the directions in the BoM were completely right (and they are not, such as when he misreads 3 Nephi 8:1-2 and the truthfulness of the record as meaning the truthfulness of the calendar, which is actually explicitly assumed to be correct--thus, suggesting it might not be), how would that truly change the end result?  Really, it wouldn't.

Billy is straining at a gnat to swallow a camel.  Even if his criticisms are correct, there is no reason to believe that they'd make much (let alone a material) difference in the calculations.

Nonsense. You could use the pattern the Dales created in this paper, slap together arbitrary probability factors, cap the negative factors at the same arbitrary max, arbitrarily heavily outnumber ratio of hits (131) to the misses (18), and come up with a conclusion that any fictional work in history could be in any setting imaginable, including Lord of the Rings in 1930's Harlem. Then of course, you could say, well it's so far in favor of LOTR in Harlem, NY that you could switch up a number of assumptions and still get same result. The paper is nonsense. It's embarrassing, borderline offensive, that intelligent people are still supporting it, especially Dan Peterson in LDS Living.

 

 

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42 minutes ago, churchistrue said:

Nonsense. You could use the pattern the Dales created in this paper, slap together arbitrary probability factors, cap the negative factors at the same arbitrary max, arbitrarily heavily outnumber ratio of hits (131) to the misses (18), and come up with a conclusion that any fictional work in history could be in any setting imaginable, including Lord of the Rings in 1930's Harlem. Then of course, you could say, well it's so far in favor of LOTR in Harlem, NY that you could switch up a number of assumptions and still get same result. The paper is nonsense. It's embarrassing, borderline offensive, that intelligent people are still supporting it, especially Dan Peterson in LDS Living.

 

 

Then do it!  If you "could" do it, then do it!  "Slap" it all together!  Because right now, everything you just said is spurious speculation.

The benefit of the Dales' study is that they show you the guts.  The science, the methodology, and the assumptions are all transparent.  The issue is that critics, like you, aren't running your analysis using their objective methodology, because if you do, as much as you subjectively try to skew the results by changing the probabilities and other assumptions, the analysis is so overwhelming in support of the BoM that you will STILL have nothing to show for it.

Again, I invite you to use the Dales' methodology, but correct their assumptions where you think they need correction.  I am genuinely interested in the result.

But you won't do it.  We both know you won't.  Because you have no interest in an actual analysis.  You've put your eggs in a basket of reflexive emotional triggers that finds things you disagree with as "offensive."

Given the high-level statistical conversations that people have had with the Dales, the only thing that's embarrassing is your wishfully, and unfounded, dismissive comments.

Edited by PacMan

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5 hours ago, PacMan said:

That's it?

The problem with criticism's like Billy Shears, is that the model is more robust than the criticism gives it credit for.  The model is completely open to disagreements in the assumptions made--and that includes the assumptions of probability.  So, rather than simply throw shade, Billy's (and your) burden in disagreeing with the study is to actually go and run the numbers based on your assumptions, and justify those assumptions with the evidence.  To the extent that neither Billy nor you have done that, your disagreement--although, perhaps, well-based--is useless.

Second, as far as the downsides of the study, recall that the Dales (1) presume Coe's book to be correct (which, I don't think it is 100% - and, as Brant Gardner notes in the comments, there is evidence outside the scope of Coe's book that actually support authenticity), and (2) actually ran a benchmark of sorts with other books.  The Dales are not trying to be "right."  They're trying to construct an objective methodology.  Sure, there are still a lot of subjective calls in populating the methodology.  But the value is in the methodology that they created--not simply the results.

So, I say to Billy and everyone else -- your disagreement with the study is immaterial.  Unless someone has a substantive problem with the Bayesian analysis (and I don't see that anyone is really attacking the legitimacy of the methodology), re-run the analysis using your own assumptions.  Because there are so many "hits" and so few "misses," the weight of probabilities will simply not change the result.  Whether the chance of invalidity of the Book of Mormon is 1:10,000; 1:100,000, 1:1,000,000, or 1:1,000,000,000, or some other absurdly small number, for all practical purposes, the validity is demonstrated and the differences in probability (due to different assumptions) are immaterial.  As an example, if Billy's criticisms about the directions in the BoM were completely right (and they are not, such as when he misreads 3 Nephi 8:1-2 and the truthfulness of the record as meaning the truthfulness of the calendar, which is actually explicitly assumed to be correct--thus, suggesting it might not be), how would that truly change the end result?  Really, it wouldn't.

Billy is straining at a gnat to swallow a camel.  Even if his criticisms are correct, there is no reason to believe that they'd make much (let alone a material) difference in the calculations.

PacMan, please read the work by Lemmie, Honorentheos, Res Ipsa, and others over at mormon*****.*** and then let's see if your comment remains the same.  Or perhaps you can respond to churchistrue and JarMan here on this site regarding your pronouncements.  Do you have any expertise in bayesian statistics?  Lemmie over at mormon*****.*** has credentials in this area and has done great work exposing the problems with assuming independence and says that correctly accounting for the independence problem would destroy the paper.  How do you respond to this criticism?  How do you respond to the criticism that the likelihood ratios seem to be arbitrarily assigned? 

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1 hour ago, PacMan said:

First, no.  The study doesn't say that.  What it does is analyzes the BoM in terms of the claims made by Coe.  It is not simply to prove the BoM--otherwise, the Dales would have included a host of hits that Coe's book says nothing about.

Second, I have to really question your position.  Even critical historians, like Brent Metcalfe, have generally concluded that this was a product of Joseph Smith.  Period.  End of story.  That is to say nothing of apologetic historians.  If you want to believe that the BoM was not a work of Joseph Smith, that's fine.  I think you're in the gross minority, that your view is not supported by the evidence, and that you're grasping at straws.

Third, to the extent that NO ONE knew about the particular details that correlate between the Maya and the BoM in the early 1800s, it doesn't matter if there was 1 author or thousands of contributors.  They are, individually or collectively, still guessing.  It's like comparing a randomly generated number between 1-100, or generating a random number out of a pool of random numbers between 1-100.  It doesn't matter.  The outcome is the same--random.

So you misidentify an issue--it is NOT whether Joseph Smith wrote the book by his lonesome, but whether he was assisted with people knowledgeable about the Mayans.  If he was not (because they didn't exist), then you are creating a distinction without a difference.  The Bayesian analysis remains (materially) unchallenged.

You are fundamentally misunderstanding a Bayesian analysis. It requires that the comparisons being made are exhaustive. If they are not exhaustive then Bayes' does not and cannot apply in a meaningful way. It doesn't matter what "most" historians think is likely.

The author of the Book of Mormon could have been an early modern author, for example, with Joseph Smith simply reading the manuscript to his scribes. Or it could have been a contemporary scholar Joseph never even met. Whether you think this is likely or not is irrelevant. It only needs be possible. And since it is possible the analysis fails because it does not account for these possibilities.

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25 minutes ago, PacMan said:

Then do it!  If you "could" do it, then do it!  "Slap" it all together!  Because right now, everything you just said is spurious speculation.

The benefit of the Dales' study is that they show you the guts.  The science, the methodology, and the assumptions are all transparent.  The issue is that critics, like you, aren't running your analysis using their objective methodology, because if you do, as much as you subjectively try to skew the results by changing the probabilities and other assumptions, the analysis is so overwhelming in support of the BoM that you will STILL have nothing to show for it.

Again, I invite you to use the Dales' methodology, but correct their assumptions where you think they need correction.  I am genuinely interested in the result.

But you won't do it.  We both know you won't.  Because you have no interest in an actual analysis.  You've put your eggs in a basket of reflexive emotional triggers that finds things you disagree with as "offensive."

Given the high-level statistical conversations that people have had with the Dales, the only thing that's embarrassing is your wishfully, and unfounded, dismissive comments.

See my post on page three, posted on 5/9. I did something like this already.

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1 hour ago, churchistrue said:

See my post on page three, posted on 5/9. I did something like this already.

That's very interesting, except you have a small (meaning huge) problem:

You are making up a narrative that includes Mayan elements ALREADY KNOWING what those elements are.  That's the difference between you and Joseph Smith.  You can read Coe's book (or the Dales' analysis of Coe's book) and literally invent any fantastic narrative you want with perfect Mayan accuracy...because you know what to include!  Joseph Smith did not.

For example: Is there a difference between (1) Me showing off my prophetic ability--giving a narrative of you and your family while laying out the rooms and furniture in your house with amazing accuracy; and (2) You trying to undermine my account by making up some nonsense absurd narrative with Winnie-the-Pooh and Tiger too, while outlining the contents of your house also with amazing accuracy?  Of course!  Such a comparison would be utter nonsense because you already know what your house looks like!  You are comparing apples and oranges.  That is precisely why the View of the Hebrews (and not your fantasy cherry-picking) is a benchmark, because it has something in common with the BoM -- they predated an understanding of Mayan traditions.

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4 minutes ago, PacMan said:

That's very interesting, except you have a small (meaning huge) problem:

You are making up a narrative that includes Mayan elements ALREADY KNOWING what those elements are.  That's the difference between you and Joseph Smith.  You can read Coe's book (or the Dales' analysis of Coe's book) and literally invent any fantastic narrative you want with perfect Mayan accuracy...because you know what to include!  Joseph Smith did not.

For example: Is there a difference between (1) Me showing off my prophetic ability--giving a narrative of you and your family while laying out the rooms and furniture in your house with amazing accuracy; and (2) You trying to undermine my account by making up some nonsense absurd narrative with Winnie-the-Pooh and Tiger too, while outlining the contents of your house also with amazing accuracy?  Of course!  Such a comparison would be utter nonsense because you already know what your house looks like!  You are comparing apples and oranges.  That is precisely why the View of the Hebrews (and not your fantasy cherry-picking) is a benchmark, because it has something in common with the BoM -- they predated an understanding of Mayan traditions.

You think that little story shows amazing accuracy about ancient Mesoamerica? That's the point. The Dales model would peg it that way, but actually it's nothing of the sort. The hits are vague and apply to nearly any civilization. The misses are hugely anachronistic and completely rule out the possibility that it's Mesoamerican of origin. 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, JarMan said:

You are fundamentally misunderstanding a Bayesian analysis. It requires that the comparisons being made are exhaustive. If they are not exhaustive then Bayes' does not and cannot apply in a meaningful way. It doesn't matter what "most" historians think is likely.

The author of the Book of Mormon could have been an early modern author, for example, with Joseph Smith simply reading the manuscript to his scribes. Or it could have been a contemporary scholar Joseph never even met. Whether you think this is likely or not is irrelevant. It only needs be possible. And since it is possible the analysis fails because it does not account for these possibilities.

You are not understanding my point.  I'd encourage you to go back and read my post.  While Bayesian analysis requires comparisons to be exhaustive, they need to be material comparisons.  And the comparison that you are contriving is not material.  It doesn't matter.  Your are inventing a comparison that was not the point of the analysis, that is not material, and doesn't even exist.

The Dales' comparison is whether the BoM "guessed" right on the Mayan points in Coe's book.  That is a yes or no.  That you are inserting your own comparison is wholly irrelevant--even if it was material (and it's not).  Again, whether Joseph wrote the BoM by himself or had multiple contributors is irrelevant because they all pre-dated any knowledge about the BoM.  The comparison IS exhaustive because Joseph (regardless of his alleged-collaborators) either knew (through divine means) or guessed with astounding accuracy the Mayan traditions set forth in the BoM (and Mr. Coe's book).  The existence of any collaborators, for purposes of the Dales' analysis, is completely immaterial.

You might as well invent a comparison of whether JS bit his toe nails or clipped them.  That's not exhaustive (maybe he did both), but they have no bearing on what the Dales' were analyzing.

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23 minutes ago, churchistrue said:

You think that little story shows amazing accuracy about ancient Mesoamerica? That's the point. The Dales model would peg it that way, but actually it's nothing of the sort. The hits are vague and apply to nearly any civilization. The misses are hugely anachronistic and completely rule out the possibility that it's Mesoamerican of origin. 

You are not understanding the problem:

(1) If you disagree with the Dales' assigned probabilities, then reassign them your own probabilities, explain your justification, and then re-run the math.  You have not done that.  You will find that your assigned probabilities will change the outcome but with no material effect.  Again, the number is so high (or low) that you will not change it by any material amount (1:trillion is functionally, as a statistical number, no different than 1:million).

(2) You are completely ignoring the fact that you are cherry-picking traditions that you ALREADY KNOW to have correspondence with the Maya.  The Maya were not discovered until the 1840s by Stephens and Catherwood--AFTER the publication of the BoM.  This is the end of your concern.

(3) The misses are NOT hugely anachronistic.  The are simply anachronistic according to Coe.  That is why they are acknowledged as "misses."  For example, horses are not an anachronism.  The Curly horse pre-dated Darwin...and while there are theories how they got here, it is all a speculation.  The Curly horse is truly a mystery and cannot be accounted as a historical anachronism.  But the Dales, for the purpose of their analysis, simply assume that Coe is correct.  They say this in their analysis.  I suggest you read it.

(4) Whether these bits are apparent in all civilizations is irrelevant because you take that into account through the probabilities.  For example, JS knew about thrones.  So the fact that he included them should not be very helpful and be weighted as such.  I believe that's what the Dales did.

(5) You are also (again) ignoring that this is NOT an analysis about the Mayan, but about Coe's book and the BoM.  I do not understand why you are not grasping that fact.  It is an analysis of whether or not Coe has any credibility in slandering the BoM based on his own research.  And the answer is, resoundingly, that he has no credibility whatsoever.

Now, does this analysis have bearing on the truthfulness of the BoM?  If we assume that Coe's book as to the Mayan traditions is accurate, then the answer to that question is 'most definitely.'

Edited by PacMan
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, PacMan said:

You are not understanding the problem:

(1) If you disagree with the Dales' assigned probabilities, then reassign them your own probabilities, explain your justification, and then re-run the math.  You have not done that.  You will find that your assigned probabilities will change the outcome but with no material effect.  Again, the number is so high (or low) that you will not change it by any material amount (1:trillion is functionally, as a statistical number, no different than 1:million).

(2) You are completely ignoring the fact that you are cherry-picking traditions that you ALREADY KNOW to have correspondence with the Maya.  The Maya were not discovered until the 1840s by Stephens and Catherwood--AFTER the publication of the BoM.  This is the end of your concern.

(3) The misses are NOT hugely anachronistic.  The are simply anachronistic according to Coe.  That is why they are acknowledged as "misses."  For example, horses are not an anachronism.  The Curly horse pre-dated Darwin...and while there are theories how they got here, it is all a speculation.  The Curly horse is truly a mystery and cannot be accounted as a historical anachronism.  But the Dales, for the purpose of their analysis, simply assume that Coe is correct.  They say this in their analysis.  I suggest you read it.

(4) Whether these bits are apparent in all civilizations is irrelevant because you take that into account through the probabilities.  For example, JS knew about thrones.  So the fact that he included them should not be very helpful and be weighted as such.  I believe that's what the Dales did.

(5) You are also (again) ignoring that this is NOT an analysis about the Mayan, but about Coe's book and the BoM.  I do not understand why you are not grasping that fact.  It is an analysis of whether or not Coe has any credibility in slandering the BoM based on his own research.  And the answer is, resoundingly, that he has no credibility whatsoever.

Now, does this analysis have bearing on the truthfulness of the BoM?  If we assume that Coe's book as to the Mayan traditions is accurate, then the answer to that question is 'most definitely.'

So, you think my little made up story is made up of cherry picked already known traditions of Maya. I guess, that's an impasse. I sort of think it's a generic story that would likely appear in any setting and includes obviously anachronistic details that completely overpower any of the vaguish hits. I think most would think that's laughably not Mesoamerica not one in 8 trillion bullseye. 

To go back to your assigning probabilities concept. How do you assign a probability to an ancient Mesoamerican record being written in Reformed Egyptian? Is 1 in trillion low enough? What about the ancient Mesoamerican record being written on gold plates that covered 1,500+ pages of published material? (Do I have that right? 500 + another 2/3 sealed?) Is 1 in trillion low enough for that? How do you set probabilities that have no precedent and are completely unimaginable for a non-LDS audience? What is the probability the ancient Mesoamerican record contains an account of people that hold in their possession the Hebrew Bible written on Brass Plates? 1 in trillion? Seems low actually to me. I don't know any numbers bigger than a trillion or I'd throw it out.  If I had to choose what's higher probability, aliens came to Earth and built the Egyptian pyramids or the complete Hebrew Bible existed in brass plates translated into Reformed Egyptian in 600 BC Jerusalem, I might take the aliens. What is the probability the people described in this ancient Mesoamerican record spoke Hebrew? 1 in trillion? 

Meanwhile, let's take another look at all the 1/50 and 1/10 hits. I'd take the 15 examples I used in my hypothetical story that accumulate to 1/3.1E18 and readjust it to about 1/20 tops. That's very generous. The rest of the 130 would get a similar adjustment.

Then I'd add another 130 negative correspondences. But why stop there? Let's take it to 1,000 negative correspondences. 

How about animals? I could list all the animals common to Mesoamerica and give negative 1/10 correspondences if a 500 page book didn't include them. I could list 100 of these. That's 10^100 right there.

You see how this is nonsense?

 

Edited by churchistrue

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3 hours ago, PacMan said:

You are not understanding my point.  I'd encourage you to go back and read my post.  While Bayesian analysis requires comparisons to be exhaustive, they need to be material comparisons.  And the comparison that you are contriving is not material.  It doesn't matter.  Your are inventing a comparison that was not the point of the analysis, that is not material, and doesn't even exist.

The Dales' comparison is whether the BoM "guessed" right on the Mayan points in Coe's book.  That is a yes or no.  That you are inserting your own comparison is wholly irrelevant--even if it was material (and it's not).  Again, whether Joseph wrote the BoM by himself or had multiple contributors is irrelevant because they all pre-dated any knowledge about the BoM.  The comparison IS exhaustive because Joseph (regardless of his alleged-collaborators) either knew (through divine means) or guessed with astounding accuracy the Mayan traditions set forth in the BoM (and Mr. Coe's book).  The existence of any collaborators, for purposes of the Dales' analysis, is completely immaterial.

You might as well invent a comparison of whether JS bit his toe nails or clipped them.  That's not exhaustive (maybe he did both), but they have no bearing on what the Dales' were analyzing.

You are simply making things up here. I don't know if you are over your head in this discussion or just being intellectually dishonest. I'll try to explain this one more time.

At issue here is the origin of the Book of Mormon. As such, for Bayes' to apply as a method of analysis one needs to consider all possible explanations for its origin. It is not proper to choose two among many and  then do an analysis on only those two things. That is not how Bayes' works. If the position being defended is that the Book of Mormon came about as it says it has, then it can only properly be compared (using Bayes') against all other possible explanations for Book of Mormon origins. Anything less than that is a meaningless comparison.

 

Edited by JarMan
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3 hours ago, PacMan said:

Then do it!  If you "could" do it, then do it!  "Slap" it all together!  Because right now, everything you just said is spurious speculation.

All the hits, plus many that are even more specific, are found in a completely random geography that has seemingly nothing to do with the Book of Mormon. 

I've slapped together a list. Not done yet, but will keep adding to it.

Michael Coe has identified this civilization as a parallel civilization with the Maya.

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Tone it down @JarMan.  

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15 hours ago, churchistrue said:

So, you think my little made up story is made up of cherry picked already known traditions of Maya. I guess, that's an impasse. I sort of think it's a generic story that would likely appear in any setting and includes obviously anachronistic details that completely overpower any of the vaguish hits. I think most would think that's laughably not Mesoamerica not one in 8 trillion bullseye. 

To go back to your assigning probabilities concept. How do you assign a probability to an ancient Mesoamerican record being written in Reformed Egyptian? Is 1 in trillion low enough? What about the ancient Mesoamerican record being written on gold plates that covered 1,500+ pages of published material? (Do I have that right? 500 + another 2/3 sealed?) Is 1 in trillion low enough for that? How do you set probabilities that have no precedent and are completely unimaginable for a non-LDS audience? What is the probability the ancient Mesoamerican record contains an account of people that hold in their possession the Hebrew Bible written on Brass Plates? 1 in trillion? Seems low actually to me. I don't know any numbers bigger than a trillion or I'd throw it out.  If I had to choose what's higher probability, aliens came to Earth and built the Egyptian pyramids or the complete Hebrew Bible existed in brass plates translated into Reformed Egyptian in 600 BC Jerusalem, I might take the aliens. What is the probability the people described in this ancient Mesoamerican record spoke Hebrew? 1 in trillion? 

Meanwhile, let's take another look at all the 1/50 and 1/10 hits. I'd take the 15 examples I used in my hypothetical story that accumulate to 1/3.1E18 and readjust it to about 1/20 tops. That's very generous. The rest of the 130 would get a similar adjustment.

Then I'd add another 130 negative correspondences. But why stop there? Let's take it to 1,000 negative correspondences. 

How about animals? I could list all the animals common to Mesoamerica and give negative 1/10 correspondences if a 500 page book didn't include them. I could list 100 of these. That's 10^100 right there.

You see how this is nonsense?

 

Actually, I don't see how this is nonsense at all.

(1) To he extent that you challenge the assigned probabilities, that's completely legitimate.  As I have repeatedly said, I think that is a worthwhile discussion.  But I'm not going to accept your hyperbolic summary comments as meaningful.  For example, people laughed at the idea of gold plates.  No one, they said, would ever actually use gold plates and that it was all an invention of Joseph Smith.  Except, since the 1800s, gold plates from 500BC to 800BC have been found throughout the Mediterranean area.  I have seen several sets with my own eyes in Europe.  So what was once a huge, ridiculous, and embarrassing miss, is now actually a huge hit.  The brass plates, coming from Jerusalem, is consistent with both period and geography, as is the tradition of gold plates.

In any event, if you want your view to be taken seriously, make the adjustments and then support them.  Until then, you've got nothing.

(2)  But AGAIN, you miss the point.  This isn't about any evidence we can think of.  The Dales' were ANALYZING COE'S OWN CONCLUSIONS.

(3) I'd revisit your other comments.  I think they make quite clear that you don't understand how Bayesian analysis works.  There is no requirement that any particular, let alone all, Mesoamerican animals need to be listed or that there is a negative correspondence due to the lack of information.

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